Monday, January 28, 2019

Courage From a Boy and a Priest

Father Peter Shaba
America sent many missionaries to Africa. Now Africa is sending them to us because the Catholic faith is growing there but has atrophied here. One such is Father Peter Shaba from Nigeria who said 10:30 mass last Sunday at Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Fryeburg, Maine. His homily on abortion was only the third I’ve heard in thirty years of attending mass nearly every week all over New England.

“If the mission of Jesus is to save life,” said Father Shaba in reference to Sunday’s mass readings, “for us his followers, our mission is to save and protect life as well. Yes, to save and protect life no matter how young or old that life is, especially the most vulnerable, the unborn. But is that the world mission today? Especially [for] those [who] call themselves Christians — good Catholics? Brothers and sisters, good Catholics don’t support the killing of innocent children — never.”

“We [all]watched what just happened in New York — the passing of the abortion law legalizing abortion up until birth, the Reproductive Health Act which was called ‘a historic victory for New Yorkers and for our progressive values…’ Are we progressing as humans in matters of life or are we retrogressing?” asked Father Shaba. “When we can kill babies who are very vulnerable, who should be cared for and protected since they cannot do that for themselves — but instead of doing that, we are happy and joyous that a law signing their death warrant has just been passed?”

He was referring to all the Catholic legislators who celebrated as Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill into law on the 46th anniversary of Roe V Wade. As Fox News reported it: “Cuomo directed the 408-foot spire on the One World Trade Center, the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, the Kosciuszko Bridge, and the Alfred E. Smith Building in Albany to be lit pink to ‘celebrate this achievement and shine a bright light forward for the rest of the nation to follow.’” 

Father Shaba continued: “I watched with sadness the man who signed this law [and] the women who were with him, other men and women present there especially those close to him — how happy they were, cheering him on, the grandmother who sat close to him, happy, laughing, cheering evil and thinking that all is well? These people should be crying and wailing. Brothers and sisters, I am telling you today: all is not well. We need to pray for our nation.”

Catholics, including lay people, priests, and a few American bishops are calling on their fellow bishops to censure Governor Cuomo — either excommunicate him or at least to deny him the Eucharist in his home parish. Is anything stirring? On Saturday, Bishop of Albany Edward Scharfenberger wrote to Governor Cuomo, according to according to Fox News: “Your advocacy of extreme abortion legislation is completely contrary to the teachings of our pope and our Church.”

Cuomo knows what he’s doing: making an ass of his bishop. So what now Bishop Scharfenberger? Another strong letter to follow? Only days before signing this sinful bill, Governor Cuomo “touted his Catholic faith during the State of the State address,” according to Fox News. Ordinary Catholics want their bishops to do something and we’re gravely disappointed with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops for refusing to uphold, or even practice Catholic teachings. How can they now allow Cuomo to peddle his Catholicism for political purposes and days later publicly defy the church to which he claims to belong? According to the Catholic Encyclopedia of Canon Law: “The diocesan bishop governs with legislative, executive, and judicial powers according to the norms of law.” Do your job, bishop!

Nick Sandmann, Bishop Foy
And speaking of cowardly bishops, what did Covington, Kentucky Bishop do last week after a Covington Catholic High School boy was pilloried in the pro-abortion media for marching against abortion? Did he defend the boy? No. The bishop threatened him with expulsion! As LifeSiteNews reported: “Bishop Roger Joseph Foy of Covington, Kentucky, along with the Covington Catholic High School administration succumbed to the mainstream media's leftist spin of the Friday, January 19 altercation.”

When our bishops lack the courage of a sixteen-year-old high school junior in the face of political and media pressure, what are we to think? Do they really believe in the teachings of the church they pretend to lead? It’s no wonder pews are emptying and churches are closing in America and Europe. Too few priests and bishops believe strongly enough in church teachings to champion them.
It takes a boy and a priest from Africa to show us what courage looks like, to shine the light on what America has become when “progressive” Catholics celebrate the slaughtering of our unborn children while calling it “Reproductive Health Care.”

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Male Issues

At the Women's March

Men aren’t doing well here in the 21st century. Male life expectancy has always been lower than that of females by about five years but lately, it is declining further. Researchers cite what they call “deaths of despair” in non-college-educated white men aged 45-54. “The mortality rate for that group… increased by a half percent each year from 1999 to 2013,” according to NPR, mostly because of suicide, drugs, and alcohol, yet progressives insist men should renounce their “white male privilege.” It would appear that white men are feeling anything but privileged.

Fifty years ago, 60% of those with bachelor’s degrees were men. Today the reverse is true. Boys are behind girls in primary and secondary schools as well and according to a 2002 60 Minutes report they’ve been falling behind for a long time. Increasingly, boys simply don’t like school. For many parents, it’s a fight to get their sons to school every morning.

During my teaching career, it was clear that the culture of most public school classrooms suited girls much more than boys, many of whom found it confining and restrictive. They needed more active, hands-on activities such as a vocational school environment would provide. Unfortunately, those were reserved for high school boys only — by which time many had developed profoundly negative feelings about school and themselves that were very hard to penetrate.

Men who do go to college might be considered part of a “rape culture,” especially white men. Ask the Duke Lacrosse team. Ask the University of Virginia’s Phi Kappa Psi fraternity about “rape culture.” With no evidence, and only on the word of a single woman in each case, two large universities made these young men’s lives hell because both institutions denied the men any presumption of innocence and automatically assumed the worst. The same phenomenon led to the Kavanaugh Hearings debacle.

At the Women's March
This is not to deny that a lot of men behave abominably toward women and always have. Such men have little or no control over their sexual urges and don’t think they need to either, no matter who is hurt by their actions. Relatively recent laws against sexual harassment were much needed and overdue, but presumption of innocence and due process must be enforced at all times.

Last week’s news included articles on “toxic masculinity” and a Gillette commercial titled: “Is This The Best A Man Can Get?” Several conservative pundits objected but I saw little problem with it. It dramatized examples of men and boys bullying others and disrespecting women, but also of good men speaking up and acting to intervene.

Conspicuous by its absence in any of this was the plague of pornography to which so many men and boys have become addicted, and which contributes enormously to the dehumanization of women. That scourge was never mentioned.

At the March For Life
Last weekend there were two women’s marches in Washington. Friday saw the 44th March for Life. It was attended by a hundred thousand or more conservative women and a few men marching against abortion. Saturday it was the 3rd annual Women’s March with liberal women and many themes: Mostly it was a march against President Trump because the 1st march occurred the day after his inauguration. Second to that was a pro-abortion theme. Then there were climate change, black lives matter, and an anti-male theme. One sign called for the extinction of old white men. 
At the Women's March
Numbers were down at the Women’s March after a controversy over anti-Semitism — especially that of Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam. One of the March’s organizers, Tamika Mallory, has a close association with Farrakhan and refused to denounce his Anti-Semitic statements. Ironically, it was Farrakhan who organized the Million Man March which drew more than 400,000 in 2005 and pushed themes of black unity, personal responsibility, and respect for black women — all good things it would seem. Anti-semitic remarks by Women’s March organizer Linda Sarsour, a Palestinian Muslim, drove down numbers as well.

At the Women's March
Meanwhile, $4.4 million in taxpayer money funded an American Psychological Association study that purports to define “traditional masculinity” and especially what it sees as negative aspects of it. Psychologists from Clark University and other institutions contributed to the "First-Ever Guidelines for Practice with Men and Boys," which includes, for example, a "Male Role Norms Inventory-Short Form” by former APA President Ronald Levant — an analysis of how much “toxic masculinity” men have as determined by questions like: “Do you think men should be macho, or do you lean more to the metrosexual?” That is the highlighted question on his web site.
At the Women's March
Levant discounts biological differences between men and women, believing masculinity is entirely a social construct. I suspect that when men learn more about the APA’s new guidelines, even fewer will seek counseling from guys like Levant. They’d rather kill themselves.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

The Dogma Lives Loudly Within

If someone were to have told me a year ago that many if not most American Catholic bishops disagreed with Church teachings enumerated in the Catechism of The Catholic Church, I wouldn’t have believed it. After the revelations of 2018 regarding Cardinal McCarrick, the Pennsylvania grand jury report, and the Archbishop Vigano testimony, however, there can be no doubt. And I’m sad to say that even more sickening revelations will likely come in 2019 since several other state attorneys general are investigating many dozens of bishops— and so is the US Justice Department.

Archbishop Vigano
After being born Boston-Irish-Catholic-Democrat in 1951, I remained a Democrat until 1993 when I dropped out during the first year of the Clinton Administration after realizing that pro-abortion and pro-homosexual biases had been so closely woven into the fabric of the party that I could not in good conscience remain. In 2002, The Boston Globe, which I read every day at the time, broke the homosexual priest scandal and I nearly dropped out of the Catholic Church as well. I didn’t, however, because, to paraphrase Senator Diane Feinstein: The dogma lives loudly within me.

The Globe didn’t call it a homosexual priest scandal. That’s what I called it then and still do while the Globe consistently calls it a pedophile priest scandal. The USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) calls it that too — even after 2004 when the study it commissioned, The John Jay Report, returned overwhelming evidence that it was indeed a homosexual priest scandal. Officially called The Nature and Scope of the Problem of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests and Deacons in the United States, the study concluded that 80% of the sexual abuse victims were post-pubescent males. The perpetrators were clearly homosexual priests but the USCCB would not admit that. They still don’t, but some bishops and other clergy are finally breaking ranks after the sordid revelations of 2018.

Divisions within my Church will widen in the coming year as lay people in the pews are forced to choose sides. One or more of several possible scenarios will unfold: A dozen or more state attorneys general in New York, Michigan and elsewhere may call press conferences detailing hundreds, even thousands of sexual assaults by priests and bishops. What if the press conferences come weekly? What if they coincide with still another Supreme Court confirmation battle over a Catholic nominee? Fence-sitting will become increasingly uncomfortable for parishioners.

Many expect liberal Associate Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg to announce retirement after her most recent cancer surgery. If she does, President Trump will likely appoint US Circuit Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett to replace her. It was at Barrett’s Circuit Court confirmation hearing that Diane Feinstein said: “the [Catholic] dogma lives loudly within you, and that is a concern.” Democrat Senator Dick Durbin asked her: “Do you consider yourself an orthodox Catholic?” Barrett’s confirmation will make the raucous Kavanaugh hearings of last year seem tame by comparison.

At the Kavanaugh hearings
We haven’t seen this level of anti-Catholic bigotry since John Kennedy ran for president in 1960. I was in the fourth grade then at St. William’s School in Tewksbury, Massachusetts, and I remember wondering — what was wrong with being a Catholic? For the next four decades or so, anti-Catholicism subsided but now it’s back, among Democrat senators at least. It’s okay to be a Catholic in government as long as you support abortion like Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, John Kerry, Patrick Leahy, Dick Durbin, Susan Collins, Sonia Sotomayor, and several others do, but if you live by Catholic teachings you’re an “extremist.”

Left-wing Democrat Senators Kamala Harris and Mazie Hirono last week accused Brian Buescher, another Catholic Trump nominee for district court judge in Nebraska, of belonging to an organization that held “extreme positions.” That organization, the Knights of Columbus, supports marriage only between a man and a woman and is against abortion. Though I’m not active beyond monthly monetary contributions, my name is on K of C roles which makes me an “extremist” too. The “extreme positions” in question are basic teachings of the Catholic Church which bishops are responsible to uphold, but most don’t.

A few like Bishop Olmsted of Phoenix warn pro-abortion Catholic politicians not to approach the communion rail to receive the Eucharist. Catholics in the pews can only assume that most bishops don’t take Catholic Church teachings on abortion or homosexuality seriously. As I wrote in a previous column, I’ve heard only two homilies on abortion at weekly masses in Maine New Hampshire, and Massachusetts over the past thirty years. How many have I heard about homosexuality? Despite the enormous media attention given to the issue over that time, I’ve heard only one — and that, ironically, from former Portland, Maine Bishop Richard Malone whose present flock in Buffalo, New York is clamoring for his resignation. He’s under investigation there for protecting homosexual priest abusers. Federal investigators have been asking questions about him here in Maine as well.

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Left & Right January 2, 2019

Newspaper publisher Mark Guerringue again sits in the left chair and we begin with Trump's wall. The producer asks us if the wall is built without funding from Mexico, will it hurt Trump's reelection chances in 2020. I say no. If he gets a wall at all, or part of one, it would be good for him. If he loses this standoff with the Dems and doesn't get funding for his wall, that will hurt him badly.

Mark agrees and cites Bush 41's "No New Taxes" pledge as a comparison. Should Trump not get his wall, he could be in trouble for reelection.

We go to Mitt Romney's op-ed in the Washington Post critical of Trump's character. I contend that if Romney's move portends decay of Trump's Republican support in the Senate, that could spur the new Democrat House to begin impeachment proceedings because the likelihood of finding Trump guilty in the Senate might increase.

Again, Mark agrees. He thinks Trump a terrible person and Republicans who support him sell their souls. He says Democrats will be forced to impeach. I contend that Democrats are driving the impeachment investigations, not being forced by circumstances.

Mark cites former Trump Attorney Cohen's testimony about payoffs to women with whom Trump had affairs as impeachable offenses. I disagree, citing Alan Dershowitz and suggesting that Trump's base knows what he's like and supports him anyway because he gets things done. Mark interrupts, suggesting that no one should be supportive of Trump because he's a terrible person and I should be more critical of him.

I contend the Meuller Investigation exists to divert attention from Obama officials spying and interfering in the 2016 election against Trump and Trump's base sees it that way -- that cooperation between mainstream media and Democrats drives Meuller's efforts. Mark calls that another conspiracy theory. I point out that no evidence of collusion between Trump and Russia has come out because there isn't any. Mark says we don't know because there's an investigation going on and we have to wait for results -- and to talk about it is pointless.

Mark cites the Trump Tower meeting, but gets riled and interrupts when I try to comment on the meeting that he brought up. Things get contentious and Mark asks to change the subject.

Mark brings up global warming and a NASA report citing that 97% of climate scientists say human activity is mostly responsible for global warming. I dispute that claim and remind Mark that we have had many heated discussions about this in another forum. I had previously cited thousands of other scientists who refute the 97% "consensus." He derides those scientists as funded by petroleum interests and therefore not reliable.

Again he gets riled up that I still don't agree with his global warming claims and interrupts me when I offer conflicting evidence. It goes on that way for several minutes until nearly the end of the show.

Monday, January 07, 2019

Do Democrats Want Open Borders?

Our government is divided over border control and so is our country. At least a thousand people a day are apprehended at the Mexican border. Some days it’s more than three thousand. More than twenty million people live here illegally. Some claim it’s double that. Most Democrats and not a few Republicans would make them all legal if they could. Conservatives accuse them of wanting open borders. They vehemently deny that but then advocated allowing the recent caravan of “asylum seekers” from Central America (and elsewhere) to enter and await court hearings on individual cases which take years to process.

Citing a Gallup poll, The Washington Examiner claimed last month that 158 million people worldwide want to come to the United States. Democrats criticize President Trump for being too restrictive of illegal immigration, asylum seekers, refugees, and the rest but when asked how many of the millions who want to enter America should be allowed in, they dodge the question. Meanwhile, they continue to advocate for whatever migrant group is dominating the news cycle and call anyone who would seal the border “racist” and “xenophobic.”

Ellison is Vice Chairman of the Democrat Party
So, what can we conclude? That they’re against any limits? It would seem so, but for Democrats to state that openly would be political suicide. While claiming to support border security, they defend sanctuary cities and sanctuary states that harbor illegal immigrants including criminals. They want to abolish ICE — Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Speaker Nancy Pelosi calls a proposed border wall “immoral.” Many Americans consider support for these contradictory positions incongruous, disingenuous, and deceptive.

Portland, Maine homeless shelters are full of African “asylum seekers” who came over the Mexican border and made a beeline for Maine. The Portland Press Herald blames President Trump in a Sunday editorial last week, but should perhaps blame itself. In story after story, the paper has been extolling the “benefits” of people coming to Portland from all over the world, legally and illegally, for years. Benefits for migrants of all kinds are obvious: cash, food, housing, medical care, education, and so on.

Why are they coming to Maine? A previous PPH article states: “because the city and state are among the few that offer shelter and financial assistance to the immigrants while their asylum cases are being processed.” Mainers who pay for this chafe while the Press Herald lectures them about the wonders of diversity and multiculturalism. In the paper’s online edition, comments are disabled for most of the stories because whenever they’re enabled, hundreds of Mainers voice their frustration.

Open-borders activists calling themselves “advocates” have spread the word around the world: You don’t have to cross a desert and hop a fence or wade the Rio Grande to sneak into the United States anymore, although many still do that. If you can make it to the US/Mexican border, just say the magic words: “I need asylum” and border guards will let you in, then send you anywhere in the country you want to go, including Maine. “About three or four families from African countries such as Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo arrive at Portland’s Family Shelter each week after crossing the southern U.S. border, according to David MacLean, the city’s social services director,” in the Press Herald two weeks ago. MacLean is evidently in touch with “advocates” in Texas who send them north.

Much of liberal media portray legal and illegal migrants as oppressed, impoverished, desperate, starving, or otherwise deserving of taxpayer assistance. Many conservative outlets point out criminal and terrorist elements masquerading as refugees and playing on America’s heartstrings. A similar media duality exists across Europe and the result is political turmoil on both continents.

Ordinary Europeans and Americans watch reports of healthy-looking, fairly well-dressed crowds of people who don’t look desperate at all. They’re not starving; many are overweight and carry cell phones. Are the millions coming northward on both sides of the Atlantic really “refugees” and “asylum seekers?” Some probably are. Most probably aren’t. They’re simply seeking better jobs and welfare benefits.

Ordinary Europeans and Americans have been watching all this for years. In 2010, I flew down to our Mexican border to see for myself. After observing the chaos on our side of the fence for five days and talking to border patrol guards, I came away convinced that we need much stronger border security than the flimsy bits of wall that any reasonably fit person could easily scale. I wrote about all that here and here.

More recently I’ve watched video of Africans in overloaded boats heading to Italy and Spain and wasn’t surprised when Italians elected a government promising to turn those boats back. Last spring I spent a few days in Barcelona and visited ports in Italy and France. At every port, I saw hundreds of African men aggressively hawking cheap trinkets to tourists all day long. The same was true at the inland city of Florence, Italy. They were everywhere.

Immigration will likely remain the most divisive issue in the western world through 2019.