Friday, January 30, 2009

Academy of Holy Angels Decides not to Honor Pro-abortion Politician

This should not be news. A Catholic institution acting Catholic ought not be particularly noteworthy. Of course, it never should have gotten that far in the first place.

In a story I alluded to last week, the Academy of Holy Angels in Richfield was set to induct State Rep. and gubernatorial candidate, Paul Thissen (D-Minneapolis), into its Activities Hall of Fame, until the school was faced with the fact that Mr. Thissen has an impeccable legislative record on abortion, to the point of earning a rating of "zero" from Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life heading into last fall's election.

The administration explained its decision in an e-mail to some of its financial supporters prior to the story appearing in the media:
As you may know, Paul Thissen, Academy of Holy Angels (AHA) class of 1985, was nominated for induction into the AHA Activities Hall of Fame this year. ...

[T]he nominating committee was not aware of Mr. Thissen’s voting record in the Minnesota Legislature regarding pro-abortion issues. As a result of Mr. Thissen's public position to actively suport [sic] pro-abortion issues, AHA has chosen not to include him among this year’s inductees to the AHA Activities Hall of Fame. We have done so, not because we do not appreciate his past achievements, but because we cannot endorse his legislative actions relating to abortion. Mr. Thissen’s legislative voting record is in conflict with the teachings of the Catholic Church, as explained by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in their Statement on Catholics in Political Life.

The Statement says of those in political office, "The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions."
As an AHA alumnus, donor, and parent of two current and five future students, I am relieved by the school's action, but there is no cause for joy here.

Paul and I are old friends, going back to first grade. When he was earning all-conference honors as a receiver our senior year, I was the quarterback. For all his gifts, I was surprised and disappointed when he first ran for office to find him opposite science, natural law, and the teaching of the Church in which we grew up together.

Now that he offers the standard Cafeteria Catholic fare as his defense, I am having a hard time hearing anything other than a smarmy politician:
I had imagined that the high school I attended -- the institution that taught me the importance of social justice in Minnesota -- would have valued and been honored by that work. ...

When I heard about this, I really was disappointed, not so much because of the award, but because the award was for something that had nothing to with my position on giving women the choice of what to do during a pregnancy.
Well, there is always Reason for Hope #5: For God, all things are possible.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Is it Immoral to Google Bomb President Obama?

Memorial of St. Angela Merici

In reading last week the story of how a Google bomb of George W. Bush has now been predictably and avoidably redirected to Barack Obama on the White House web site, I was faced with the puzzle of whether Google bombing the president, in general, is morally licit. Typical Google bombings ought to strike any one as a cross between mildly clever and slightly amusing.

However, in light of President Obama's recent revocation of the Mexico City Policy, there may be sufficient evidence to conclude that the president is "cooperating with evil," or is, in a harsher, more abstract sense, a "baby killer," in truth.

Nevertheless, the question that remains is that does adding the links to point these phrases to the president's biography (a la cooperating with evil, or baby killer) qualify as "irony aimed at disparaging someone by maliciously caricaturing some aspect of his behavior, or some other form of bearing false witness?" [CCC #2481] I can see it either way...

Monday, January 26, 2009

I Pledge...

Memorial of Ss. Timothy and Titus

A week has gone by since this video was posted and started drawing comments on talk radio. With the advent of the Obama administration, different people could be expected to be affected differently right off. For example, while a cousin-in-law has experienced improvements in his spatial reasoning, sense of smell, and the freshness of his breath, I have had to change my own flat tire and pay for two tanks of gas. Nevertheless, I'll try to play along:

I pledge to not try to wrap my head around the idea that the occupant of the White House ought to be the factor that pushes someone to change his toilet-flushing habits, or be a good mother to her children.

With the planned closure of Guantanamo Bay's detention center, the revocation of the Mexico City policy, and a push for higher fuel economy and emissions standards, I pledge to take President Obama at his word, thereby precluding the need to wait to see what he does before acting in the hopes he will behave pragmatically.

OK, OK, OK. More in the spirit of renewal and reconciliation then...

I pledge to get my BMI where it ought to be.

I pledge to pray daily for the protections and conversions of certain national and local politicians.

I pledge to get caught up on my reading by finishing all the books I have started that I have bought, borrowed, or received as gifts since Christmas 2007, including those that I've been carrying around in my car, before buying another book (watch the Reading Lists tab in the future to track progress).


Lesson learned. Don't blog pledges you don't really intend to keep.


Congratulations to Troglotyke #1 on his Confirmation last Saturday at the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis. Note that Archbishop John Nienstedt is in the upper right-hand corner of the picture.

Friday, January 23, 2009

5 Reasons for the Pro-Life Movement to have Hope

1. Marches for Life: Tens of thousands of abortion opponents rallied Thursday on the National Mall, with thousands more in St. Paul and each of other state capitals to mark the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade amid concerns posed by a new president who is devoutly pro-choice. We are not alone.

2. We have intellectual heavyweights like Princeton's Robert P. George.

3. A local Catholic high school has withdrawn a planned honor for a pro-"choice" politician. Prayer and a ground game can still work; confirmation came this morning of the change in the school's plan. That there should have to be a change is still disappointing, but at least the issue appears to have been averted.

4.We've been here before, as Michael J. New points out:
The pro-life movement is despondent. During the recent election cycle, pro-lifers incurred a series of disappointing political defeats, culminating in the election of a president who steadfastly supports keeping abortion legal. Furthermore, some pundits suggest that the Republican party's pro-life stance hurt its candidates, and thus the party should take a more moderate position.

Worse, the new president has pledged to support the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), which would give the legislative and executive branches' seal of approval to the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision and roll back many of the pro-life movement's hard-fought gains. Because of the recent electoral losses in the U.S. Senate, the pro-life movement is desperately scrambling to find 41 senators to mount a successful filibuster.

Is this the dystopian scenario we face today? Nope. What I have just described is the political landscape in 1993, the last time the pro-life movement found itself in the political wilderness. There were plenty of reasons for pessimism at the time, but the movement refused to give up and went on to make some very impressive gains during the 1990s—gains that remain today, and should give pro-lifers plenty of hope for the future.
5. [F]or God all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26)

[submitted by e-mail]

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Prayer for President Obama

Memorial of Ss. Fabian and Sebastian

From Archbishop John Carroll's Prayer for Government, 1791:
We pray Thee O God of might, wisdom, and justice! Through whom authority is rightly administered, laws are enacted, and judgment decreed, assist with Thy Holy Spirit of counsel and fortitude the President of these United States, that his administration may be conducted in righteousness, and be eminently useful to Thy people over whom he presides; by encouraging due respect for virtue and religion; by a faithful execution of the laws in justice and mercy; and by restraining vice and immorality. Let the light of Thy divine wisdom direct the deliberations of Congress, and shine forth in all the proceedings and laws framed for our rule and government, so that they may tend to the preservation of peace, the promotion of national happiness, the increase of industry, sobriety, and useful knowledge; and may perpetuate to us the blessing of equal liberty.
We beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior, in the Unity of the Holy Spirit. Amen.


CatholicCulture.org is sponsoring a perpetual (around-the-clock) 30-day Rosary, asking God to bless the new administration with an authentic perception of the Good. You can sign up here: Obama Rosary.

President Bush, Adieu

Not bad. Not great. Still a good man. What will his legacy be?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Not Full of Hope

Happy Belated Birthday to Troglotyke #5

If she hasn't already, I expect that the Troglodytrix will be changing here Facebook status to read something like that she is expecting the worst, but hoping for the best regarding our new president. I, on the other hand, just have low expectations.

Part of the fallout of the campaign is that the hopes of the day are not very appealing--watered down, shallow, hollow, a thin gruel, pick a metaphor--whether they only are tethered loosely to reality, inflate symbolism over substance to a dizzying degree, or are expected to be fulfilled by just a man. All the hopers may be flocking to Washington, but I suspect there is little hope in Mudville tonight. Then again, maybe it's just me.

The trouble then is that this, first, gets in the way of the virtue of true Hope, the desire for heaven, and second, is hard to let go. Julie at Adoro, points to the trouble of the latter in contemplating the rich man's plight:
But there are things I hold in reserve. My own private stash of personal wealth. It's not money. It's not jewelry, or anything else.

It's my life. I'm still guarding it jealously. Jesus wants it, everything, without reserve, and I'm still screaming, "It's mine!"
What makes some of our possessions precious enough that we hold them in reserve is not that they are gems, but that they are ours.

This hopelessness is one that I will have to let go, lest I go away sad. Perhaps I can get to be hope-neutral by noon.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Obama Sups with Conservative Talking Heads

Barack Obama met recently with conservative talking heads, who were critical of his candidacy, including George Will, Bill Kristol, David Brooks, and Charles Krauthammer. No doubt that this will reflect well on the President-elect. All these gentlemen are generally fair (likely why they were picked for the evening) and would not have come at the newly sworn President with guns blazing anyway, but we can now expect them to turn away from (silly) artificial timelines and the like and advocate more "loyal" and less "opposition" from the loyal opposition.

Now, if Rush Limbaugh's secret trip to Washington had been for this meeting, that would have been more interesting. As it is, it smacks a bit of standard inside-the-beltway fare.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Still Working Out the New Blogging Schedule

Memorial of St. Hilary
Happy Belated Birthday to the Troglomatrix

Life keeps getting in the way--perhaps a counterexample to those who would assert that blogging is life.

[posted by e-mail]

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Catholic Carnival is Up

Memorial of St. Raymond of Penafort

... at 50 Days After. Because I'm in a social networking mode, this week's torchlight post is Contra's own Adopt a Catholic Blog; an interesting idea I intend to... umm... adopt.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Bulk of Redesign is Complete

Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Jesus

There will continue to be tweaks, of course, as certain elements get tested, but I think I have the big stuff out of the way. Comments desired.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

The New Year

Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
Happy New Year!

May it be blessed for you and yours.


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Because Life is Life
and not just on election day