Tag Archives: Pope Benedict XVI

PC madness: City of Phoenix recruits lifeguards who can’t swim

drowning in debt

Pope Benedict 16th called it the Dictatorship of Relativism. He wrote:

In his futuristic novel Brave New World, the British author Aldous Huxley had predicted in 1932 that falsification would be the decisive element of modernity. In a false reality with its false truth – or the absence of truth altogether – nothing, in the final analysis, is important any more. There is no truth, there is no standpoint. Today, in fact, truth is regarded as far too subjective a concept for us to find therein a universally valid standard. The distinction between genuine and fake seems to have been abolished. Everything is to some extent negotiable.

A sub-division of that dictatorship is the Tyranny of Diversity.

Judicial Watch reports April 3, 2013, that “In a staggering case of affirmative action gone wild,” the city government of Phoenix, capitol of Arizona and America’s 6th largest city, is recruiting minorities to be lifeguards at public pools even if they’re not good swimmers. It’s all in the name of diversity.

On its official website. the city proudly declares that “diversity” is among Phoenix’s “vision and values”:

We Value and Respect Diversity
Understanding diversity helps us to work together and serve our community. Diversity is more than gender and race; it encompasses our uniqueness and individuality. By embracing our differences, we find many paths to success. We put this belief into action to provide effective services to our diverse community.

Evidently officials are willing to compromise those “effective services” at 29 public swimming pools spread throughout the city. To diversify the lifeguard force, Phoenix will spend thousands of dollars to recruit minorities even if they’re not strong swimmers, according to an official quoted in a news report. Blacks, Latinos and Asians who may not necessarily qualify can still get hired, says the city official who adds that “we will work with you in your swimming abilities.”

Kelly Martinez, a Phoenix official, explains that the pools are largely used by Latino and African-American kids, but most of the lifeguards are white and this creates a huge problem. “The kids in the pool are all either Hispanic or black or whatever, and every lifeguard is white and we don’t like that. The kids don’t relate; there’s language issues.”

To help diversify its lifeguard ranks, the city raised about $15,000 over the past two years in scholarships to offset the cost of lifeguard-certification courses. Recruits who pass a swim test at the end can apply to be city lifeguards.

One of the recruits is high school junior Jesus Jimenez. He didn’t grow up going to pools with his family but likes the idea of lifeguarding. If he is selected to be a lifeguard, other pool staff will work with him on his swimming skills all summer.

Judicial Watch points out Phoenix’s recruitment of minority lifeguards is part of a national trend to boost the minority workforce at whatever cost. Under Obama we have seen a lot of this at the federal level through a variety of specially-designed government programs that give ethnic minorities special treatment at all federal agencies as well as medical and agricultural fields, among others.

Earlier this year the administration made history by hiring the government’s first “Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity” to mastermind a multi-million-dollar effort that boosts the number of minorities in biomedical research and slashes discrimination in the federal grant process. The effort was initially launched last year after a government-sanctioned study uncovered a “disturbing and disheartening” lack of racial diversity in the field.

Before that the administration created a new office to help build a “diverse and inclusive workforce” at all federal agencies and Obama appointed a “Diversity Czar” at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to help advance the goal of greater inclusion and diversity in government programs. Who could forget the race and gender employment quotas required at private financial institutions under Obama’s financial reform measure (known as the Dodd-Frank bill) to overhaul Wall Street? It’s all in the name of diversity.

screwthetaxpayer

And of course, it’s the taxpayer who gets screwed because we are paying for all these “diversity” programs.

~Eowyn

Tuesday Morning Laugh..

SUCCESSION OF POPE

opopo

 

 

WASHINGTON, DC – Sources close to the White House have learned that Barack Obama is planning to run for the office of Pope when the College of Cardinals convenes to elect a successor to ailing Benedict XVI at the end of this month. Calling on the promise of Equality for All, Obama is said to firmly believe that the time has come for a non-Catholic to occupy the Vatican‘s highest office.

Foreseeing a looming citizenship issue he states that he has discovered an Italian birth certificate that proves he was born in Rome before he was born in Kenya. “That Hawaiian birth certificate never has been worth what I paid for it anyway,” he noted.

Continuing, he concluded, “And there’s no way that a handful of cardinals could be more expensive to buy than 10 million voters in Michigan.” Further questions should be directed to Obama’s Papal Campaign Manager, Abdul Azeem Khan.

~Steve~                         H/T   Miss May         

Frontrunner to succeed Pope Benedict 16th had called for a World Political Authority

News came this morning that Pope Benedict 16th is resigning.

Nine names are said to be papabili (potential popes), frontrunners to succeed Benedict 16th. Among them is an ominous name — Peter Turkson of Ghana, Africa.

It is not just that his name “Peter” is evocative of St. Malachy’s (1094-1148) prophesy that the last pope would be one “Peter the Roman,” Peter Turkson was the person who, in 2011, had called for a “supranational world political Authority,” i.e., a one-world government.

I am therefore re-publishing this post, originally titled “About the Vatican’s Call for a World Political Authority,” which I had first published on October 26, 2011.

~Eowyn (Feb. 11, 2013)

Two days ago, on October 24, 2011, the Vatican issued a curious document calling for the creation of a “supranational global political Authority” and a central world bank to manage and cure the ills of the world’s economies.

The proposal, Note on the reform of the international financial and monetary systems in the context of global public authority” (henceforth, “The Note”), was not authored by the Pope but by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace (PCJP). Nevertheless, the PCJP is a part of the Roman Curia or the Holy See, the leaders of the PCJP are appointed by the Pope, and The Note liberally references and quotes past and present popes. Given all this, one can only conclude that The Note has Pope Benedict XVI‘s approval.

To read a translation of The Note, click here.

The Note begins by declaring:

“The economic and financial crisis which the world is going through calls everyone, individuals and peoples, to examine in depth the principles and the cultural and moral values at the basis of social coexistence. [...] as Benedict XVI teaches, the crisis ‘obliges us to re-plan our journey, to set ourselves new rules and to discover new forms of commitment, to build on positive experiences and to reject negative ones. The crisis thus becomes an opportunity for discernment, in which to shape a new vision for the future. In this spirit, with confidence rather than resignation, it is appropriate to address the difficulties of the present time.’”

The author(s) of the Note attributes the global economic crisis to mainly two factors:

  • Economic liberalism, i.e., the free market;
  • Problems of personal and national ethics — of greed and unbridled “materialism.”

All of which, The Note maintains, has led to great inequalities, between/among nations and peoples, and a seemingly intractable global economic crisis.

The Note’s proposed remedy is contained in Section 3, titled “An Authority over Globalization.”

The Section begins by referring to Pope John XXIII’s teaching, in what The Note calls “the prophetic” Encyclical Pacem in Terris of 1963. In the encyclical, John XXIII observed that the world was heading towards ever greater unification, that a correspondence was lacking in the human community between the political organization “on a world level and the objective needs of the universal common good,” and expressed the hope that one day “a true world political authority” would be created.

The Note then urged that John XXIII’s teaching be implemented today “in view of the unification of the world engendered by…globalization, and of the importance of guaranteeing…a free, stable world economic and financial system.” Moreover, The Note insists, the present Pope Benedict XVI himself had “expressed the need to create a world political authority,” given the ever longer ” agenda of questions” that must “be dealt with globally” — questions of “peace and security; disarmament and arms control; promotion and protection of fundamental human rights; management of the economy and development policies; management of the migratory flows and food security, and protection of the environment.”

The Note then asserts that the answers to all these questions in an “increasingly interconnected and interdependent” world “are not just sectorial and isolated, but systematic and integrated,” and should be “geared to the universal common good.” To do otherwise is to consign ourselves to a world characterized not by “the common good” but dominated by only “the strongest nations.”

The Note then proposes that a “supranational world political Authority” be “set up gradually” to deal with all these problems. The Note recognizes that such a world political Authority (WPA) “cannot be imposed by force, coercion or violence, but should be the outcome of a free and shared agreement” and “a sincere dialogue”. Such an agreement can only come “from a process of progressive maturation of consciences and freedoms as well as the awareness of growing responsibilities.”

The Note then goes on to say that the WPA must recognize and respect the differences of the world’s many disparate cultures and civilizations. This WPA would be “subsidiary” to the world’s many governments: “Governments should not serve the world Authority unconditionally. Instead, it is the world Authority that should put itself at the service of the various member countries.”

Such a WPA would:

  • Make decisions “with a view to the global common good, which transcends national goods.” [Who decides what "the global common good" is?]
  • Create “the socio-economic, political and legal conditions” essential for “efficient and efficacious” markets that “are not over-protected by paternalistic national policies.” [Excuse me, but didn't The Note just say that it was "economic liberalism" (i.e., the free market) that had caused global inequities and the global economic crisis, in the first place?]
  • At the same time, those “efficient and efficacious” markets must be well-financed, instead of being “weakened by systematic deficits in public finances and of the gross national products.” ["well-financed" by whom?]
  • At the same time as the WPA ensures there be “free and stable markets,” there would also be “a fair distribution of world wealth.” [No contradiction there!]

The Note then proposes it is “logical” that the creation of such a GPA should “proceed with the United Nations as its reference.”

To that, I can only ask: “And how well is that working?”

So the Vatican is proposing that we should begin the process toward creating this global welfare state of a World Political Authority by using the UN as our “reference” — whatever that means.

Is this the same United Nations, whose IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) — the world’s chief “climate change” institution — again and again has been caught issuing unsubstantiated and downright fraudulent claims about global warming? The same United Nations that is overrun with New Age occult mumbo-jumbo? (See my 4-part series on the UN here)

God help us.

So what is this Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace (PCJP) that issued The Note?

Wikipedia says the PCJP, founded in 1967 as part of the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, is dedicated to “action-oriented studies” for the international promotion of justice, peace, and human rights from the perspective of the Roman Catholic Church. The Council’s objectives and mandate are the promotion of “justice and peace in the world, in the light of the Gospel and of the social teaching of the Church.”

The PCJP’s president is 63-year-old native of Ghana, Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, who was appointed by none other than Pope Benedict XVI himself in 2009.

Cardinal Peter Turkson

Turkson also is a member of other important institutions in the Vatican: the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church and the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses.

Turkson’s most recent appointment may be the most important. On 16 October 2010 Pope Benedict appointed him as a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith — the same institution that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger had headed, before he was chosen to succeed Pope John Paul II, and so became Benedict XVI.

Clearly, Peter Turkson is being groomed for high office. Indeed, Wikipedia’s entry on him says that “Peter Turkson is considered papabile,” which means a cardinal of whom it is thought likely or possible that he will be elected pope. A literal English translation would be “popeable” or “one who might become pope”.

Wikipedia also identifies Peter Turkson him as being the source of The Note:

“In response to the global economic crisis started in 2008, Cardinal Turkson together with bishop Mario Toso elaborated a proposal to reform the International Financial System by creating a Global Public Authority and a Global Bank that consider the interest of all developing countries. The document of 40 pages was officially presented in October 2011….”

If The Note sounds familiar to some, that is not surprising. It is merely that neo-Marxist Liberation Theology in a new and global garb — the same liberation theology repudiated by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1984 and 1986.

In a speech, “Protecting Human Life and Dignity: Promoting a Just Economy,” which Turkson delivered at the Social Ministry Gathering in Washington, D.C., February 13-16, 2011, the cardinal said the following:

The first step is surely to face the difficulties of the present time, not with ready-made answers or simplistic (/simplifying) ideologies, but with a realistic attitude and with discernment. [...] In order to confront the problems of our world we must first study them, we must learn to SEE them clearly and recognize what constitutes injustice at every level. ‘Seeing’ demands more than a glance based on presumptions of ideology or prejudice (even political affiliation: Republican or Democrat). Rather, using the available scientific tools, we must conduct a rigorous analysis of social conditions, their causes and interconnections, their effects, especially on the poor and marginalized, and the contemporary experiences of the People of God who struggle. Beside an empirical analysis, we make use of biblical insight, the tradition of our Church’s social teaching, theological reflection to ‘judge’ the situation described. And out of this effort – which sometimes entails solitary research but which often is a collaborative task – emerges a way forward and proposals of what to do and how to ‘act’.”

I humbly suggest that the good Cardinal Peter Turkson should take his own admonishments to heart and refrain from prescribing to the world the “simplistic/simplifying ideology” and “presumptions” of Marxism.

I will now end this post with this last little nugget:

St. Malachy (1094-1148), the first Irish saint in the Catholic Church, prophesied that the last pope would be one “Peter the Roman”:

“In the final persecution of the Holy Roman Church there will reign Petrus Romanus, who will feed his flock amid many tribulations; after which the seven-hilled city will be destroyed and the dreadful Judge will judge the people. The End.” 

UPDATE (Nov. 21, 2011):

10 days after The Note was issued, the Vatican’s Secretariat of State convened a special meeting in which the Roman Catholic Church’s Secretary of the State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone effectively denounced The Note. For details, go to my post.

~Eowyn

Pope Benedict XVI to resign

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Pope Benedict XVI announces his resignation in a surprise statement

UPDATE!!!    Pope Benedict XVI will resign on Feb. 28, The Vatican announced Monday, according to the Associated Press.

For more information… http://www.politico.com

Pope Benedict XVI is to resign at the end of this month after nearly eight years as the head of the Catholic Church, saying he is too old to continue at the age of 85.

The unexpected development – the first papal resignation in nearly 600 years – surprised governments, Vatican-watchers and even his closest aides.

The Vatican says it expects a new Pope to be elected before Easter.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger became Pope in 2005 after John Paul II’s death.

The BBC’s David Willey in Rome says the move has come as a shock, but in theory, there has never been anything stopping Pope Benedict or any of his predecessors from stepping aside.

Under Canon Law, the only conditions for the validity of such a resignation are that it be made freely and be properly published.

A Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, said that even the Pope’s closest aides did not know what he was planning to do and were left “incredulous”. He added that the decision showed “great courage” and “determination”.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti is quoted as saying he was “greatly shaken by this unexpected news”.

The brother of the German-born Pope said the pontiff had been advised by his doctor not to take any more transatlantic trips and had been considering stepping down for months.

Talking from his home in Regensburg in Germany, Georg Ratzinger said his brother was having increasing difficulty walking and that his resignation was part of a “natural process”.

He added: “His age is weighing on him. At this age my brother wants more rest.”

‘Incapacity’At 78, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was one of the oldest new popes in history when elected.

He took the helm as one of the fiercest storms the Catholic Church has faced in decades – the scandal of child sex abuse by priests – was breaking.e took the helm as one of the fiercest storms the Catholic Church has faced in decades – the scandal of child sex abuse by priests – was breaking.

n a statement, the pontiff said: “After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry.

“I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering.

“However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to steer the boat of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognise my incapacity to adequately fulfil the ministry entrusted to me.

“For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.”

A German government spokesman said he was “moved and touched” by the surprise resignation of the pontiff.

“The German government has the highest respect for the Holy Father, for what he has done, for his contributions over the course of his life to the Catholic Church.

“He has left a very personal signature as a thinker at the head of the Church, and also as a shepherd.”

POPE BENEDICT XVI

  • At 78, one of the oldest new popes in history when elected in 2005
  • Born in Germany in 1927, joined Hitler Youth during WWII and was conscripted as an anti-aircraft gunner but deserted
  • As Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger spent 24 years in charge of Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – once known as the Holy Office of the Inquisition
  • A theological conservative, with uncompromising views on homosexuality and women priests

Mayan priests debunk 2012 end-of-world prophesy

The sky is falling! – Not

Chicken_Little

We are now a mere 8 days from the much-ballyhooed Dec. 21, 2012 End of the World supposedly prophesied by the ancient Mayans. Reportedly, a panic is spreading among children and suicidal teeangers. As many as 1-in-10 people believe in the Mayan prophesy.

Please take a deep breath.

The world won’t end in 8 days.

How can I say that? Because we have Mayan priests’ own words about 2012 debunking this stupid prophesy.

Here are their words, helpfully provided by blogger George Washington for ZeroHedge, who emphasizes that Mayan elders say something very different from what we might have heard. The elders insist that the 2012 end-of-the-world notion is strictly a western misconception.

Here are what Mayan elders say:

  • Wakatel Utiw – leader of the National Council of Elders Mayas, Xinca and Garifuna, Day Keeper of the Mayan Calendar, and 13th generation Quiche Mayan Spiritual Leader -  says that the end of the Maya calendar has nothing to do with the end of the world. He also explains that December 21, 2012 might not even be the end of this cycle of the calendar: “Contrary to popular belief the living elders of the Maya do not agree that December 21, 2012 is the end of their calendar. A new ‘Sun’ represents the beginning of a new Long Count cycle in the calendar system of approximately 5,200 years, which they say may not happen for many years.”
  • Tz’utujil Mayan elder Tata Pedro Cruz says that the world will not end in 2012, quoting Mayan elder and priest Carlos Barrios (who has extensively studied the Mayan calendars): “Anthropologists visit the temple sites and read the inscriptions and make up stories about the Maya, but they do not read the signs correctly. It’s just their imagination. Other people write about prophecy in the name of the Maya. They say that the world will end in December 2012. The Mayan elders are angry with this. The world will not end. It will be transformed.”
  • Leonzo Barreno – a Guatemalan native who was trained by Mayan elders to read the ancient calendars – says the ‘apocalypse’ concept is a false interpretation of the Long Count calendar, that the Mayan elders taught him that December 21 this year simply marks the start of a new calendar: ‘There are two sides to the story,’ he told CBC. ‘The one that we know is this apocalyptic meaning that has been given to the Long Count. ‘The other side of the story is the Mayan side, which you rarely see on media articles, because they never interview my own people.’ ‘For them it’s a joyous event, not an apocalyptic event. What is coming is the end of a calendar and the beginning of a new one.
  • Ricardo Cajas – president of the Collective of Native Organizations of Colectivo de Organizaciones Indígenas de Guatemalasays the date did not represent an end of humanity or fulfillment of the catastrophic prophecies, but that the new cycle “supposes changes in human consciousness.” (Translation).
  • Pedro Celestino Yac Noj – a Mayan sage living in Cuba – says “The 21st is for giving thanks and gratitude and the 22nd welcomes the new cycle, a new dawn.”
  • Mayan priest Jose Manrique Esquive believes that 2012 may bring a transition to a better time for humankind.
  • The AP reports in 2009, “Apolinario Chile Pixtun is tired of being bombarded with frantic questions about the Mayan calendar supposedly “running out” on Dec. 21, 2012. After all, it’s not the end of the world.” “Definitely not, the Mayan Indian elder insists.” “Chile Pixtun, a Guatemalan, says the doomsday theories spring from Western, not Mayan ideas.”

And if you don’t believe what the current Mayan leaders say, please remember that archaeologists recently found a cache of ancient Mayan calendars which goes thousands of years past 2012.

Lastly, none other than Pope Benedict 16th recently declared that – due to a miscalculation – we are currently in AD 2016, not 2012. So if the world indeed ends on Dec. 21, 2012, then we must have missed it four years ago!

Read Washington’s entire article here.

~Eowyn

A saint who understands our troubled times

The word “saint” simply means holy or pure.

Before they became holy, saints were just like you and I. Take a look at the painting below of the man named Benedict, born in the mid-5th century when the Roman Empire was crumbling. His face shows well the wear and tear of our human living and suffering. This is how One Hundred Saints describes Benedict’s times:

“Overrun by pagan and Arian tribes, the civilized world seemed during the closing years of the fifth century to be rapidly lapsing into barbarism: the Church was rent by schisms, town and country were desolated by war and pillage, shameful sins were rampant amongst Christians as well as heathens, and it was noted that there was not a sovereign or a ruler who was not an atheist, a pagan or a heretic.”

A perfect description of the troubled times we live in, isn’t it? For, like Benedict, we too are living in a time when a great empire — the American — is waning and crumbling. May we find solace and inspiration in Benedict’s life, teachings, and example!

~Eowyn

“Pray and Work” -  St. Benedict of Nursia (AD 480-547)

We do not have a contemporaneous biographical account of Benedict, despite his historical importance as the founder of Western monasticism. The little we know about his earlier life comes from the Dialogues of St. Gregory, published 46 years after Benedict’s death.

Born in 480, four years after the abdication of the last Roman emperor, in the town of Nursia (the modern Norcia) in today’s central Italy, Benedict was the son of a Roman noble. Sent by his father to Rome to study, Benedict was revolted by the licentiousness of his classmates. Fearing he might be contaminated by their example, Benedict left Rome and became a hermit in a wild and rocky place now known as Subiaco. There, he lived alone for three years in a cave, in contemplation and prayer. He succeeded in overcoming three demonic temptations — those of putting himself as the center of his life, that is, narcissism; sensuality and worldliness; and anger and revenge.

Soon, the word spread of this wise and holy man. Many people began visiting Benedict, bringing him food and receiving from him instruction and advice. Among his visitors were a community of monks who, having lost their abbot by death, asked Benedict to take his place. But Benedict’s strict notions of monastic discipline did not suit them. So the monks tried to get rid of him by poisoning his wine! But their diabolical plot was foiled when the jug of wine broke in pieces as Benedict made the sign of the cross over it. Benedict rebuked the monks but forgave them. He then left them to return to Subiaco.

There, attracted by his holiness and miraculous powers, disciples began flocking to Benedict. Overcome with envy, a priest called Florentius sought to destroy Benedict by spreading lies and even tried to kill Benedict with a poisoned loaf. According to St. Gregory, Benedict’s life once again was saved when a raven seized the loaf and flew away with it.

Eventually, Benedict collected the worthy from among his disciples and founded twelve monasteries, each with 12 monks and its own prior, with Benedict as director.

In 529, Benedict left Subiaco and settled in hilly Monte Cassino, where he overthrew a pagan temple dedicated to Apollo and built two chapels in its stead. In time, the chapels and their surroundings grew into the Abbey of Monte Cassino — the most famous abbey the world has ever known and the source of the Benedictine Order.

It is believed that during this period of time, Benedict composed his Rule — a book of precepts. Though it was primarily intended for the monks at Monte Cassino, Benedict’s Rule has become the leading guide in Western Christianity for monastic living in community, especially Benedictines. More than that, the Rule is addressed to all of us who renounce our own will to take upon us “the strong and bright armor of obedience to fight under the Lord Christ, our true king.”

So what is the Rule of St. Benedict?

Benedict described his Rule as “minimal, just an initial outline.” St. Gregory put it best when he characterized the Rule as Benedict’s teaching by example — “as he himself lived.”

Briefly, the two main tenets of St. Benedict’s Rule are Humility and Ora et Labora (pray and work):

1. Pray and Work: St. Benedict believed that being a follower of Christ requires both faith and works. Faith without works is a dead faith. One must pray to become close to God, as well as work through daily deeds in order to be fruitful as a branch on the Vine of Christ. Indeed, Benedict had founded the Benedictine Order precisely based on this precept of ora et labora — prayer and manual labor. And, true to his teaching by example,  Benedict did not confine his ministries to just the Abbey and the monks who lived there, but went out into the communities, curing the sick, relieving the distressed, giving alms, money, food and supplies to the poor.

2. Humility: As St. Gregory describes it, “the Abbot must . . . serve rather than to rule in order to show them all what is good and holy by his deeds more than by his words” and “illustrate the divine precepts by his example.” The Abbot “must also be a person who listens to the brethren’s views, as “the Lord often reveals to the youngest what is best.”

Pope Benedict XVI calls Benedict’s Rule, written 15 centuries ago, “surprisingly modern” in its prescription that “a man with public responsibility even in small circles must always be a man who can listen and learn from what he hears.” In a speech in 1990, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger emphasized the importance of St. Benedict for Europe in our post-modern times when “man is exposed to the danger of succumbing to the ancient temptation of seeking to redeem himself by himself – a utopia which … in 20th-century Europe … has caused ‘a regression without precedent in the tormented history of humanity’…. Today, in seeking true progress, let us also listen to the Rule of St. Benedict as a guiding light on our journey.  The great monk is still a true master at whose school we can learn to become proficient in true humanism.”

It is, therefore, not without reason and import that when he was elected to succeed Pope John Paul II on April 19, 20o5, Ratzinger chose Benedict as his pontifical name.

In closing, I want to address a Sacramental associated with this saint which is used by exorcists during the Rite of Exorcism as an external sign of the saving Power of Jesus. It is the medal or Crucifix of St. Benedict, which both Dr. Eowyn and I wear on a small chain necklace. Here’s a description:

“The origin of the medal of St. Benedict is very ancient. It was certainly suggested by the efficacious use that the patriarch made the sign of the cross against the assaults of the Demon narrated by St. Gregory. Pope Benedict XIV established the design of this medal. On one side it carries the image of St. Benedict holding a cross in his hand and on the other side there is a larger cross with Latin initials. Due to the fact that the cross represented is an essential element of this medal, it is called the Medal-Crucifix of St. Benedict.

On the back there is the effigy of the Saint, holding the cross in his right hand and the Rules in his left hand; on his right there is a cup from which a serpent is escaping (a recollection of the poisonous wine from which he miraculously escaped); on the left we have a crow taking away the poisoned bread.”

Inscribed on the medal and cross are Latin words, including “May the Holy Cross be my light”, “Get behind me Satan!,” “You won’t persuade me to do evil,” and “PAX” (Peace).

St. Benedict is the patron saint of Europe and, fittingly, of victims of poisoning. His feast day is today, July 11.

Sources

  • One Hundred Saints, Bulfinch Press
  • Lives of the Saints, edited by Michael Walsh
  • “Saint Benedict of Norcia,” General Audience, St. Peter’s Square, Wednesday, April 9, 2008, by Pope Benedict XVI

For the raison d’être of FOTM’s new series on “Angels and Saints,” please see Dr. Eowyn’s explanatory post,Calling on the Army of Angels and Saints.”

~Joan

Congress must protect Americans’ freedom of religion from Obama’s assault

Did you know that last Friday, June 8, 2012, TENS OF THOUSANDS of Americans rallied in more than 160 cities across the United States?

No?

Ask the alphabet TV networks why. [Read more about the liberal media's non-coverage of the massive rallies, here.]

Last Friday, TENS OF THOUSANDS of people demonstrated for our religious freedom and against ObamaCare’s abortifaient/birth control mandate. The HHS (Health & Human Services) mandate forces Catholic hospitals and schools to include contraception and abortifacients in their health coverage. Doing so violates the Catholic Church’s religious beliefs. In effect, the mandate directly cuts into the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause’s promise of freedom of religion, as well as the standard interpretation of the clause as being “the separation of Church and State.” [See “Obama declares war on the Church. Church fights back with historic lawsuit”]

It is not just Catholics who should be concerned about Obama’s HHS mandate. All Christians, all faiths, and all non-religious Americans who value the U.S. Constitution should be concerned. Remember this?:

“First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.” -Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984)

It is in that spirit that I recommend this letter written by FOTM’s co-founder Joan, which was sent to her state’s state and national legislators and representatives, as well as the state’s major newspapers.

~Eowyn

Pro-religious freedom rally in Washington, DC, June 8, 2012.

We are members of a “Why Catholic” study group at our local parish. Some of us are United States Veterans and we are all productive American citizens. Now, we are studying the Early Church together, learning about the apostles, the Church Fathers and brave martyrs who gave their very lives for God, exercising their inalienable rights of religious freedom. Because we love God and our country, we must communicate to you our deepest concerns, asking for your effective help and advocacy. We must not and cannot be silent.

As you are aware, on August 1, 2011, the Obama administration, by and through the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, issued regulatory provisions pursuant to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”). In part, this mandate requires American citizens to pay for health insurance plans that provide full coverage for surgical sterilization and contraception, which includes abortifacients, such as the “morning-after” pill. These drugs kill innocent and precious unborn children in their mothers’ womb.

Pursuant to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops‘ (USCCB) “Urgent Memorandum of February 15, 2012,” they stated that:

“On January 20, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reaffirmed a rule that virtually all private health care plans must cover sterilization, abortifacients and contraception. The rule exempted “religious employers,” but excluded those that served or employed people who were not members of their religious community. This was so narrow that it failed to cover the vast majority of faith-based organizations, including Catholic hospitals, universities, and service organizations that help millions every year.”

Essentially, the HHS mandate would force Catholic American citizens to act against their Faith, to act against our religious beliefs, notwithstanding that the mandate also requires private businesses, American citizens of all faiths, to provide their employees with this insurance coverage since there are no exemptions for insurers that would object to these provisions, which include secular for-profit religious employers, or for-profit private enterprises or individuals. These horrific provisions are not dissimilar to the laws of the former Nazi Germany.

Religious liberty is now jeopardized, threatened and adversely affected, even though it is guaranteed by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States as an inalienable right: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” Religious liberty cannot exist under duress and coercion with regard to our beliefs and our conscience. As Catholic Americans, we cannot and will not act against our faith, and we will not comply with the mandate – a mandate that violates our religious freedom under the Constitution of the United States. It is unconscionable that such a mandate would ever be issued in the Land of the Free and of the Brave. But remarkably, it has been issued, and not surprisingly, under the Obama administration.

In response to the USCCB’s declaration of non-compliance, on February 10, 2012, the Obama Administration issued a “final rule”, “without change,” granting the delay of enforcement of the mandate for a one-year period directed to religious non-profit organizations that still were not exempted, such as our schools, colleges, hospitals and charitable organizations. The Obama Administration then “promised” to draft other regulations to accommodate them by the end of the designated year period. But as the USCCB Memorandum states:

“But even under this future accommodation, our charities, hospitals and colleges will still be treated as second class citizens of our religious community, and still be forced to pay for coverage which violates their religious convictions. This is unacceptable.”

The issue in this matter is not about whether or not contraception or abortion can be prohibited or allowed by our government. Nor does this have anything to do with the “reproductive rights” of women. The REAL ISSUE IS whether or not American citizens practicing their religious beliefs can be coerced by the government to act against their religious beliefs. Accordingly, the REAL ISSUE is about religious freedom, religious liberty and freedom of conscience. The ultimate conclusion can only be that WE ARE UNDER ATTACK by the Obama administration!

Addressing Catholic Americans, Pope Benedict XVI wrote:

“Of particular concern are certain attempts being made to limit that most cherished of American freedoms, the freedom of religion. Many of you have pointed out that concerted efforts have been made to deny the right of conscientious objection on the part of Catholic individuals and institutions with regard to cooperation in intrinsically evil practices. Others have spoken to me of a worrying tendency to reduce religious freedom to mere freedom of worship without guarantees of respect for freedom of conscience. Here once more we see the need for an engaged, articulate and well-formed Catholic laity endowed with a strong critical sense vis-à-vis the dominant culture and with the courage to counter a reductive secularism which would delegitimize the Church’s participation in public debate about the issues which are determining the future of American society.”

This freedom of religion is not being fought just for Catholics. The USCCB’s Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty, chaired by Archbishop-designate William E. Lori of Baltimore, issued a statement on religious liberty, “Our First, Most Cherished Liberty,” which begins:

“We are Catholics. We are Americans. We are proud to be both, grateful for the gift of faith which is ours as Christian disciples and grateful for the gift of liberty which is ours as American citizens. To be Catholic and American should mean not having to choose one over the other. Our allegiances are distinct, but they need not be contradictory and should instead be complementary. That is the teaching of our Catholic faith, which obliges us to work together with fellow citizens for the common good of all who live in this land. That is the vision of our founding and our Constitution, which guarantees citizens of all religious faiths the right to contribute to our common life together.”

More particularly, this teaching is actualized by all of the thousands of Catholic organizations, such as hospitals, schools, universities, charities, all providing remarkable contributions to the common good of the people of America. As a result of the HHS mandate, all of these wonderful contributory Catholic entities are jeopardized, perhaps out of existence. According to the mandate, we can only hire Catholic employees and can only serve Catholics. But we are called to serve all of humankind. Jesus, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, commanded us to love God with our whole heart, soul, and mind, and with all of our being, and He also commanded us to love our neighbors as ourselves. We cannot allow Obama and his administration to define for us who are our neighbors and how we are to live our Catholic Faith! To echo the Ad Hoc Committee’s “Our First, Most Cherished Liberty”: “Religious liberty is not only about our ability to go to Mass on Sunday or pray the Rosary at home. It is about whether we can make our contribution to the common good of all Americans.” Our Catholic Faith is lived in the totality of our lives, as we live our Faith in our worship, in our vocations, in our works for the good of all humankind.

Accordingly, we are stand with our bishops in their calling to us, to protect religious liberty and freedom of conscience, where we:

a. Request of the Obama administration that they immediately rescind this HHS mandate; and

b. Request of Congress to enact legislation to protect religious liberty, to protect the constitutional rights of religious institutions and individuals from government force and undue dictatorial coercion, regarding health care and any and all matters that might affect religious liberty.

Indeed and in fact, we are aware that the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act of 2011, H.R. 1179, S. 1467, introduced on March 17, 2011, sponsored by Representative Jeff Fortenberry with 223 co-sponsors, which is a response to Obamacare, has been languishing in Committee, having been referred to the House subcommittee on March 28, 2011. This Act provides in pertinent part that those entities who participate in health insurance coverage, “retain the right to provide, purchase, or enroll in health coverage that is consistent with their religious beliefs and moral convictions.” That is why we are asking for your intervention to help us with appropriate legislation, even emergency legislation, to protect our religious liberty guaranteed to us under our Constitution. Please free the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act from lingering unproductively in Committee enabling that it be brought for Congressional vote at once.

Furthermore, pursuant to the document, “Our First, Most Cherished Liberty,” the USCCB states as follows:

“We suggest that the fourteen days from June 21 – the vigil of the feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More (the patron saint of religious liberty), to July 4, Independence Day, be dedicated to this “fortnight for freedom” a great hymn of prayer for our country.”

During this fortnight for freedom, we are called to focus all the energies we can muster, wherein special events will be held setting out the absolute importance of religious liberty. This period has been declared as it memorializes courageous martyrs who remained faithful to their faith, to their consciences, facing persecution by political powers that took their lives: St. John Fisher, St. Thomas More, St. John the Baptist, Sts. Peter and Paul, and the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome. It would be wonderful if appropriate legislation could be introduced during this period of time to insure our religious liberty.

Arizona State Representative Debbie Lasko and State Senator Nancy Barto re-introduced HB2625 into the Arizona legislature this year to help protect the religious freedom of many organizations in Arizona. This legislation broadens the religious exemption to include “any organization whose articles of incorporation state a religious motivation and whose religious beliefs play a significant role in its operations.” Governor Jan Brewer signed this bill into law in May of 2012. She stated in pertinent part, “In its final form, this bill is about nothing more than preserving the religious freedom to which we are all constitutionally entitled.” She further stated, “It’s also a very good time to unite with people of other faiths on this bedrock issue. If we don’t do it now, we’re going to see much more serious erosion.” Our names will be counted as holding firm and true to our Catholic Faith, and true to religious liberty for all of the citizens of this country.

Finally, the First Amendment prohibits the “establishment” of any faith or religion or belief system which cannot be coerced or forced upon the American people. Obama and his administration violate this provision because they are trying to force upon us the belief system for this country of “radical secularism,” overshadowing any other religious beliefs held and coercing compliance of radical secularism by unjust federal laws. This is reprehensible and it is sickening.

Consequently, we thank you in advance for your valuable considerations and timely actual help in this important matter. We are praying for you and your effective contributions to ensure religious liberty!

~Joan