Friday, March 28, 2008

Abortionist Obama: "I will not Yield and Planned Parenthood will not Yield"

http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=57643

Can a Catholic vote for Obama?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Posted: February 29, 2008
1:00 am Eastern

© 2008

Those who accuse presidential aspirant Sen. Barack Obama of empty rhetoric must have missed his speech last July, recently made public, to the benefactors of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. At that festive event, he was as sharp and specific as a scalpel.

"The first thing I'd do as president," he told a cheering audience, "is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. That's the first thing that I'd do."

The audience cheered enthusiastically. And well they might. As NARAL enthuses on its website, this act would "codify Roe v. Wade's protections and guarantee the right to choose for future generations of women."

In short, if we are to take Obama at his word, his first priority as president would be to serve an early death sentence on millions of unborn Americans.

Obama's record as state senator in Illinois and as United State senator show that these particular sentiments are not, as he might say, "just words."

In 2002, as an Illinois state senator, Obama voted against the Induced Infant Liability Act and twice helped kill it in committee. This bill would have protected those miracle babies that somehow survived late-term abortions.

When Jill Stanek, a delivery-ward RN and now WND columnist, appealed to Obama's committee that certain abortion doctors might be ideologically inclined to let such babies die, Obama replied, "What we are doing here is to create one more burden on a woman, and I can't support that."

Obama's Planned Parenthood speech five years later showed no softening of the heart. He attacked the Supreme Court for upholding a congressional ban on late term abortions, calling the decision "disturbing," and he worried out loud that the appointment of one more judge like Sam Alito or John Roberts could mean the end of Roe v. Wade.

(Column continues below)




To be sure, Obama voted against both Roberts and Alito and proudly reminded the audience of the same.

Although a self-described bridge-builder, on the issue of abortion Obama may be building his own ideological "bridge to nowhere."

"I will not yield and Planned Parenthood will not yield," he told his supporters, before adding disingenuously, "but that doesn't mean that we can't find common ground."

Just what "common ground" a man who holds even the life of certain newborns cheap can find with people who believe all human life is sacred eludes those of us less visionary than Mr. Obama.

Ostensibly compassionate, Obama pities his fellow citizens who fail to see his "big picture." Instead, he lamented, such people "seek out the narrowest and most divisive ground."

This seems to be a failing largely of fashion. As he joked to his audience, "Culture wars are so '90s."

"It is time to turn the page. We want a new day here in America," Obama continued, adding in his newfound colloquial voice, "We're tired about arguing about the same ol' stuff."

What makes Obama's appeal even more troubling is this very colloquialism, his unsubtle attempt to use language and skin color to link his dubious crusade to that of the civil rights leaders of the past.

In speaking of the debate between abstinence education and contraception-oriented sex education, for instance, Obama pulled an ace from up his sleeve that no other candidate could have.

Said Obama shamelessly, "As Martin Luther King used to say, 'It's not either/or, it's both/and.'" To be clear, King was not talking about sex education.

"We're the country that's fought generation after generation to extend that equality to the many, not restrict it to the few," Obama carried on, now fusing a woman's right to an abortion to that of a black child's right to an equal education. "We've been there before, and we're not going back."

Martin Luther King's niece, Alveda King, has an altogether different take on her uncle's legacy. As she says simply and logically, "How can the 'Dream' survive if we murder the children?" Unlike Obama, Alveda King is sensitive to the fact that black babies are nearly three times more likely to be killed in the womb than white.

President Bush captured the spirit of that legacy when he signed into law The Born Alive Infants Protection Act. This act, passed by unanimous voice vote in the Senate in 2002, is comparable to the one Obama killed in Illinois.

"It is a step toward the day when the promises of the Declaration of Independence will apply to everyone, not just those with the voice and power to defend their rights," said Bush in signing the bill.

"This law is a step toward the day when America fully becomes, in the words of Pope John Paul II, 'a hospitable, a welcoming culture.'" Indeed, the pope himself had earlier admonished America to honor its civil rights history by outlawing abortion.

From the perspective of the Catholic Church, abortion is like no other social issue. The Catholic Church allows for the possibility of a just war and even capital punishment under certain circumstances, but there is no such thing as a "just" abortion.

Anyone who has doubts about the Church's official position need only read the Pope John Paul II's 1999 revisiting of Pope Paul VI's historic encyclical, "Humanae Vitae." The pope does not mince words.

Depriving an innocent human being of life, and life undeniably begins at conception, is "always morally evil." He adds, "This tradition is unchanged and unchangeable."

There can be no yielding, he continues, to "convenient compromises" or the "temptation of self-deception." How can there be? "We are dealing," says the pope bluntly, "with murder."

In some Catholic circles, self-deception rules. There are those who had hoped to use the illegal immigration issue to offset abortion issues much as they used the death penalty issue in 2000 against George Bush.

But, as John McCain will certainly attest, God works in strange and mysterious ways. That issue no longer works even as a diversion.

A Catholic can vote for Obama. If he is willing to pay the price, he can do any fool thing he wants. After all, who among us hasn't done something foolish or sinful?

But most of us have better sense than to brag about it on our bumper stickers.

Is Obama's Planned Parenthood Encouraging Donations "Aimed at Aborting Black Babies?”

Is Obama's Planned Parenthood Encouraging Donations "Aimed at Aborting Black Babies?”

Yes, read below.

Fred

http://imby.wordpress.com/2008/03/02/planned-black-parenthood/

Planned Parenthood of Idaho officials apologized Wednesday for what they called an employee’s ‘serious mistake‘ in encouraging a donation aimed at aborting Black babies,” The Statesmen said.

According to a press release by Vice President of External Affairs Julia Piercey, “a known anti-choice extremist set out to smear Planned Parenthood.” Rose, who calls herself a whistleblower, believes the tapes speak for themselves.

[http://imby.wordpress.com/2008/03/02/planned-black-parenthood/]

Abortionist Obama: "The First Thing I’d do as President is, is Sign the Freedom of [Abortion] Choice Act"

Coming soon Planned Parenthood’s Barack Obama as the Abortionist President.

Fred

Barack Obama before Planned Parenthood Action Fund, July 17, 2007

Dessa Cosma: [W]hat would you do at the federal level not only to ensure access to abortion but to make sure that the judicial nominees that you will inevitably be able to pick are true to the core tenets of Roe v. Wade?

Barack Obama: Well, the first thing I’d do as president is, is sign the Freedom of Choice Act.

[http://lauraetch.googlepages.com/barackobamabeforeplannedparenthoodaction]

Planned Black Parenthood
Posted on March 2, 2008 by A.M.

The Abortion Debate

*Editor’s Note: This entry is cross-posted at BlogHer.

“When the history of our civilization is written, it will be a biological history, and Margaret Sanger will be its heroine,” Gloria Steinem wrote in Time.

What Steinem omitted in her tribute to the founder of Planned Parenthood was her outspoken view of eugenics as the “most adequate and thorough avenue to the solution of racial, political and social problems.”[1]

According to a pro-life student magazine at UCLA, Planned Parenthood may not have abandoned their founder’s beliefs.

A sting operation by The Advocate uncovered Planned Parenthood donations earmarked by race in Idaho and Ohio.

“We obtained the information by having an actor call clinics across the country and pose as a donor. The actor who called, The Advocate’s advisor, communicated to them a very racist agenda — the one that Margaret Sanger, Planned Parenthood’s founder, had envisioned. He then asked to donate money specifically to ‘reduce the numbers of Blacks,’” said Lila Rose, editor-in-chief of The Advocate.

“In fact some went so far as agreeing with the anti-Black agenda” — like Autumn Kersey, vice president of development and marketing for Planned Parenthood of Idaho. “On Tuesday, The Advocate released transcripts and audio recordings of this phone call and another to fund-raising representatives in Ohio,” according to TheIdahoStatesmen.com.

“Planned Parenthood’s 800 clinics receive more than 200 million dollars of taxpaper money annually. It’s unacceptable for a nonprofit to accept donations that target specific races,” Rose said. “With more than 79% of clinics in minority neighborhoods, and more than 1400 Black abortions daily, these programs are doing precisely what their actor asked them to do. Planned Parenthood is (intentionally or not) exterminating the Black community,” she wrote.

“What the Ku Klux Klan could only dream about, the abortion industry is accomplishing,” says Klan Parenthood. “Lynching by the Ku Klux Klan isn’t as efficient at killing Blacks as Planned Parenthood abortions. Thanks to them, in America today, almost as many Black babies are killed by abortion as are born.”

Blacks receive 35% of all abortions in the United States, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. “The abortion ratio for black women (503 per 1,000 live births) was 3.0 times the ratio for white women (167 per 1,000 live births). The abortion rate for black women (30 per 1,000 women) was 3.1 times the rate for white women (10 per 1,000 women).”

Planned Parenthood of Idaho officials apologized Wednesday for what they called an employee’s ‘serious mistake‘ in encouraging a donation aimed at aborting Black babies,” The Statesmen said.

According to a press release by Vice President of External Affairs Julia Piercey, “a known anti-choice extremist set out to smear Planned Parenthood.” Rose, who calls herself a whistleblower, believes the tapes speak for themselves.

What was said
Autumn Kersey of Planned Parenthood in Boise: Good afternoon, this is Autumn.

Donor: Hello, Autumn, I’m interested in making a donation today.

Kersey: Fantastic!

Donor: What about abortions for the underprivileged minority groups?

Kersey: Oh, absolutely. We have, um, in fact, uh wonderful, fantastic news. We just received a very generous donation to our women in need fund.

Donor: Wonderful. I want to specify that abortion to help a minority group - would that be possible?

Kersey: Absolutely.

Donor: Like the black community for example?

Kersey: Certainly.

Donor: OK, so the abortion I can give money specifically for a black baby, that would be the purpose.

Kersey: Absolutely. If you wanted to designate that you wanted your gift to be used to help (an) African-American woman in need, then we would certainly make sure that that gift was earmarked specifically for that purpose.

Donor: Great. Because I really face trouble with affirmative action, and I don’t want my kids being disadvantaged, you know, against black kids. I just had a baby; I want to put it in his name, you know.

Kersey: Mmhmm, absolutely.

Donor: So that’s definitely possible.

Kersey: Oh, always, always.

Donor: So I just wanna - can I put this in the name of my son?

Kersey: Absolutely.

Donor: Yeah, he’s trying to get into colleges, and he’s going to be applying, you know, he’s just … we’re just really big … he’s really faced troubles with affirmative action.

Kersey: Mmhmm.

Donor: And we don’t, you know, we just think, you know, the less black kids out there the better.

Kersey: (Laughs) Understandable, understandable. … Um David, let me, if I may, just get some sort of specific general information so we can set this up the right way. You said you wanted to put it in your son’s name, and you would like this designated specifically to assist (an) African-American woman who’s looking to terminate a pregnancy.

Donor: Exactly, and yeah, I wanna protect my son, so he can get into college.

Kersey: All right. Excuse my hesitation, um, um, this is the first time I’ve had a donor call and make this kind of request, so I’m excited, and I wanna make sure I don’t leave anything out.
[http://imby.wordpress.com/2008/03/02/planned-black-parenthood/]

Might McCain Pick Gay Agenda Romney for VP?

Might McCain Pick Gay Agenda Romney for VP?
By doing so he may give the presidency to to Hillary-Obama. I know a pro-lifer who said if Romney is the VP he will not vote for McCain.

Many pro-family activists will consider this a sign McCain as president will be for homosexual "Special Rights" and wishy-washy on pro-life.

Fred



Mitt Romney's Liberal Paradigm Shift: a Republican FOR Homosexual 'Special Rights'

MEDIA ADVISORY, Feb. 4 /Christian Newswire/ -- Peter LaBarbera, founder of Republicans For Family Values, today criticized GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney for his "novel pro- homosexual positioning in the GOP." On Dec. 16, Romney (the alleged "conservative" in the race) told NBC's "Meet the Press" that "it makes sense at the state level" to enact pro-homosexual "sexual orientation" laws. (Last week, CNN's Roland Martin reported that Romney told him that he opposes "gay marriage," but supports "gay rights.")

LaBarbera issued the following statement:


Mitt Romney just doesn't get it on the homosexual agenda, and if he doesn't get at after serving as governor of liberal Massachusetts -- where "gay marriage," homosexual adoption and pro- homosexuality indoctrination in schools ALL were advanced by the sort of pro-gay "sexual orientation" laws he's now espousing -- then he's not going to get it at the federal level.

Romney is already using his bully pulpit as a candidate to affirm "gay rights"-- even AFTER he's earned the backing of pro-family leaders who seemingly would have much to teach him about the danger and misuse of pro-homosexual laws. (Note that Romney uses gay-affirming "discrimination" rhetoric even with regard to the Boy Scouts' ban on homosexuals.)

I don't know any serious pro-lifers who are pro- homosexuality. We all have compassion for homosexual strugglers, but we draw the line at laws that would distort "civil rights" to include sinful and changeable homosexual behavior -- because these laws will be used to compel individuals, business and even ministries to violate their beliefs and support homosexual relationships (see the Weekly Standard article, "Banned in Boston," about Boston Catholic Charities electing to close down its historic adoption agency rather than place kids in homosexual households).

Romney is trying to shift the GOP's pro-family paradigm on homosexuality, and it's an unwise shift -- much like retreating from a principled position on pro- life (e.g., "I'm pro-choice but not pro-partial-birth abortion"). Due to Romney's potential for being the "Nixon-goes-to-China" president who advances pro-homosexuality agendas in the GOP -- I cannot support him.

Why do the same conservative pundits who have assailed Mick Huckabee and John McCain as too liberal, promote the fiction that Mitt Romney - who strongly defended abortion-on-demand and who remains in favor of anti-Christian homosexual special rights laws as a Mormon -- is a "conservative"?



Christian Newswire

McCain, Romney campaign together
By LIZ SIDOTI, Associated Press Writer Thu Mar 27, 6:51 PM ET

SALT LAKE CITY - In a show of Republican unity, one-time bitter foes John McCain and Mitt Romney raised money and campaigned together Thursday for a single goal — getting McCain elected president.

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"We are united. Now our job is to energize our party," the Arizona senator said in an airport hangar, flanked by Romney and Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., an early McCain supporter. Both have been mentioned as potential vice presidential picks, and McCain praised each.

Romney lauded McCain and promised to do all he can to help, saying: "He is a man who is proven and tested" and without question the right man to be president.

In February, Romney won 90 percent of the vote in Utah to McCain's 5 percent. Romney's ties to the state run deep, from his Mormon faith to his work overseeing the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City.

"Look, that wasn't the only state I lost to Governor Romney in — it was just the largest loss,' McCain said chuckling. He joked that it was abject humiliation but understandable given Romney's Utah links. "I was at least hoping to break into double digits though!"

"I think he did just fine in New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida, California ...," Romney said, laughing about states McCain won.

The two then headed to Denver for another fundraiser accompanied by Meg Whitman, the outgoing chief executive of eBay Inc. and a former Romney backer who now supports McCain.

On the flight, there seemed to be little residual acrimony between the former rivals.

They sat next to each other and ate turkey sandwiches. They laughed and talked during the hourlong flight, and were complimentary of each other when talking to reporters traveling with McCain.

A tanned and rested Romney said it was fun to be campaigning again and nice not to feel any pressure. "I don't have to worry about goofing up," he said. He brushed aside questions about a No. 2 spot on the GOP ticket.

At one point, McCain answered a question by lamenting an accelerated GOP primary process that he said doesn't allow voters to scrutinize the candidates as much.

"Mitt just went through the process," McCain said and turned to the former governor.

"The process was very good to you ...," Romney responded. McCain laughed, and Romney added that the process was good to him, too.

McCain, who has struggled to raise money compared to Democratic rivals Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton, is on a weeklong Western fundraising swing. Romney is popular in Utah and Colorado, states with large numbers of Mormons.

Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, dropped out of the race last month after it became apparent it would be near impossible to topple McCain in the convention delegate race. He endorsed the Arizona senator a week later and pledged to help him win the nomination.

Since then, McCain has praised Romney repeatedly as someone who is certain to continue playing a large role in the GOP. Romney, for his part, has suggested that he'd accept a vice presidential slot, though some Republicans privately speculate that he's looking ahead to a possible repeat run in 2012.

Neither man appeared especially fond of the other during the campaign. Romney cast McCain as outside of the GOP's conservative mainstream and a Washington insider who contributed to the problems there. McCain, in turn, argued that Romney's equivocations and reversals on issues indicated a willingness to change his positions to fit his political goals.

(This version CORRECTS SUBS 13th graf to correct attribution to Romney, sted McCain.)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

"McCain Cannot Win in November Without the Catholic Vote"

"McCain cannot win in November without the Catholic vote." Romney will not do it. Mitt might lose McCain some more pro-life and pro-family voters.

Fred

McCain and the Pope:

McCain cannot win in November without the Catholic vote

How is he going to get it?

by Robert R. Reilly

(re-published with permission from insidecatholic.com)

March 25, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Sen. John McCain cannot win in November without the Catholic vote, which is around 25 percent of the electorate. How is he going to get it? The worst thing he could assume is that it is going to fall into his lap because Catholics will have nowhere else to go. Some people with nowhere to go simply stay home. Or they may go elsewhere, as it appears they have already been doing.

The Wall Street Journal reports that in "a recent survey of 19 states that have held presidential primaries this year, 63% of Catholics identified themselves as Democrats." That's up from 42 percent in 2005. Not a good augury for McCain.

Senator McCain not only needs Catholics who will vote for him, but who will each find ten other Catholics who will do the same. That is not going to happen unless he galvanizes the Catholic electorate. He has an opportunity to do this when Pope Benedict XVI visits the United States during April 15 to 20.

I was President Ronald Reagan's liaison to the Catholic community from 1983 to 1985. In the 1984 election, President Reagan won the Catholic vote and was the first Republican to do so. Senator McCain might want to take a look at how that happened.

I recall a definitive moment when the Democrats vociferously complained about the ads run by the Reagan campaign in Catholic newspapers. The ads featured a photo of Reagan and John Paul II smiling together. Was this not politicizing the Catholic Church? How dare the Republicans do such a thing?

At that time, Archbishop John Foley was the pope's minister of communications and principal spokesman at the Vatican. When asked, he responded to the complaints by saying that, since these two men shared so many fundamental moral principles in common, it was the most natural thing in the world that they should appear together in a photograph. Not wishing to hear that statement made again, the complaints from the Democrats immediately ceased.

The key here is that Archbishop Foley, who came from a Democratic family in Pennsylvania, did not have to make this up -- it was true. President Reagan had embraced moral positions on the family, on the sanctity of human life, on school prayer, and against pornography that were completely congruent with those of the Catholic Church. And, like John Paul II, he was fighting for them.

Can Senator McCain say the same? If not, a photograph with Benedict XVI is not going to solve his problem. He needs to campaign on these issues just as Reagan did. He cannot simply claim that point of view; he needs to promote it. He needs to articulate it.

In 1983, President Reagan wrote an article titled "Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation," which appeared in the Human Life Review. That was an extraordinary thing for a sitting president to have done. The fact that he did it convinced many Catholic pro-lifers that Reagan was sincere in his beliefs and was not simply acting for political advantage. They rallied around him.

Later, Reagan showed Bernard Nathanson's film The Silent Scream in the White House. What can Senator McCain do? He can invite his opponents on this issue -- whether it is Clinton or Obama -- to watch The Silent Scream, or its equivalent, with him. Ask them to join him in protecting innocent human life, including the partially born babies, whom both Obama and Clinton think have no right to life.

Senator McCain should draft his version of "Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation" and publish it in First Things or a comparable journal. Make it an issue. Proselytize. If Senator McCain does not think that is the role of a presidential candidate, then he does not think like Ronald Reagan.

Of course, this is a risky strategy, but risk conveys conviction, as Senator McCain demonstrated when he courageously risked his political future to promote the surge in Iraq. He needs to build upon that impression of courage by extending it to the social issues Catholics care about most. If he throws as much conviction and energy into these issues as he did into his backing of the surge, Catholics and others will flock to his banner -- and he can win. If he tries to coast on the moral issues, he will not.

So what should Senator McCain do when Benedict XVI visits in April? This is his opportunity to demonstrate that he understands the significance of the pope's thought as it relates to the institution of the family, the sanctity of human life, and the threat of radical Islam.

He needs to appear on EWTN with Raymond Arroyo and speak to that significance. He needs to do interviews in the National Catholic Register and other Catholic journals, and on Sirius radio's Catholic channel, which will cover the pope's visit by the hour. He needs to say that what the pope is expressing goes beyond a sectarian Catholic audience, as it addresses the core issues of Western civilization. He needs to say that Benedict was right at Regensburg in assessing moral relativism as the greatest threat to the West and to the integrity of reason, and that he was right also about the nature of the threat from an unreasoning version of Islam.

If this is the side you are on, Senator McCain -- as I believe it is -- you have this opportunity of letting others know, so they can rally to you.

Robert R. Reilly was a special assistant to President Reagan and served as his liaison to the Catholic Church. He is a frequent contributor to InsideCatholic.com and Crisis magazine.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Hillary-Obama ACLU-Pervert Complex vs. The McCain Military-Industrial Complex

The Hillary-Obama ACLU-Pervert Complex vs. The McCain Military-Industrial Complex
Michael Savage said our choice is the Hillary-Obama ACLU-Pervert Complex vs. the McCain Military-Industrial Complex. I agree.

With McCain there is hope he may not be as bad as we fear, but with Hillary-Obama there is no hope.

Fred

Monday, March 24, 2008

Story Behind the Story: The Clinton Myth

Story Behind the Story: The Clinton Myth
By Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen
The Politico

Friday 21 March 2008

One big fact has largely been lost in the recent coverage of the Democratic presidential race: Hillary Rodham Clinton has virtually no chance of winning.

Her own campaign acknowledges there is no way that she will finish ahead in pledged delegates. That means the only way she wins is if Democratic superdelegates are ready to risk a backlash of historic proportions from the party's most reliable constituency.

Unless Clinton is able to at least win the primary popular vote - which also would take nothing less than an electoral miracle - and use that achievement to pressure superdelegates, she has only one scenario for victory. An African-American opponent and his backers would be told that, even though he won the contest with voters, the prize is going to someone else.

People who think that scenario is even remotely likely are living on another planet.

As it happens, many people inside Clinton's campaign live right here on Earth. One important Clinton adviser estimated to Politico privately that she has no more than a 10 percent chance of winning her race against Barack Obama, an appraisal that was echoed by other operatives.

In other words: The notion of the Democratic contest being a dramatic cliffhanger is a game of make-believe.

The real question is why so many people are playing. The answer has more to do with media psychology than with practical politics.

Journalists have become partners with the Clinton campaign in pretending that the contest is closer than it really is. Most coverage breathlessly portrays the race as a down-to-the-wire sprint between two well-matched candidates, one only slightly better situated than the other to win in August at the national convention in Denver.

One reason is fear of embarrassment. In its zeal to avoid predictive reporting of the sort that embarrassed journalists in New Hampshire, the media - including Politico - have tended to avoid zeroing in on the tough math Clinton faces.

Avoiding predictions based on polls even before voters cast their ballots is wise policy. But that's not the same as drawing sober and well-grounded conclusions about the current state of a race after millions of voters have registered their preferences.

The antidote to last winter's flawed predictions is not to promote a misleading narrative based on the desired but unlikely story line of one candidate.

There are other forces also working to preserve the notion of a contest that is still up for grabs.

One important, if subliminal, reason is self-interest. Reporters and editors love a close race - it's more fun and it's good for business.

The media are also enamored of the almost mystical ability of the Clintons to work their way out of tight jams, as they have done for 16 years at the national level. That explains why some reporters are inclined to believe the Clinton campaign when it talks about how she's going to win on the third ballot at the Democratic National Convention in August.

That's certainly possible - and, to be clear, we'd love to see the race last that long - but it's folly to write about this as if it is likely.

It's also hard to overstate the role the talented Clinton camp plays in shaping the campaign narrative, first by subtly lowering the bar for the performance necessary to remain in the race, and then by keeping the focus on Obama's relationships with a political fixer and a controversial pastor in Illinois.

But even some of Clinton's own advisers now concede that she cannot win unless Obama is hit by a political meteor. Something that merely undermines him won't be enough. It would have to be some development that essentially disqualifies him.

Simple number-crunching has shown the long odds against Clinton for some time.

In the latest Associated Press delegate count, Obama leads with 1,406 pledged delegates to Clinton's 1,249. Obama's lead is likely to grow, as it did with county conventions last weekend in Iowa, as later rounds of delegates are apportioned from caucuses he has already won.

The Democratic Party has 794 superdelegates, the party insiders who get to vote on the nomination in addition to the delegates chosen by voters. According to Politico's latest tally, Clinton has 250 and Obama has 212. That means 261 are uncommitted, and 71 have yet to be named.

An analysis by Politico's Avi Zenilman shows that Clinton's lead in superdelegates has shrunk by about 60 in the past month. And it found Clinton is roughly tied among House members, senators and governors - the party's most powerful elite.

Clinton had not announced a new superdelegate commitment since the March 4 primaries, until the drought was broken recently by Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) and West Virginia committeeman Pat Maroney.

Clintonistas continue to talk tough. Phil Singer, the Clinton campaign's deputy communications director, told reporters on a conference call Friday that the Obama campaign "is in hot water" and is "seeing the ground shift away from them."

Mark Penn, the campaign's chief strategist, maintained that it's still "a hard-fought race between two potential nominees" and that other factors could come into play at the convention besides the latest delegate tally - "the popular vote, who will have won more delegates from primaries [as opposed to caucuses], who will be the stronger candidate against McCain."

But let's assume a best-case scenario for Clinton, one where she wins every remaining contest with 60 percent of the vote (an unlikely outcome since she has hit that level in only three states so far - her home state of New York, Rhode Island and Arkansas).

Even then, she would still be behind Obama in delegates.

There are 566 pledged delegates up for grabs in upcoming contests. Those delegates come from Pennsylvania (158), Guam (4) North Carolina (115), Indiana (72), West Virginia (28), Kentucky (51), Oregon (52), Puerto Rico (55), Montana (16) and South Dakota (15).

If Clinton won 60 percent of those delegates, she would get 340 delegates to Obama's 226. Under that scenario - and without revotes in Michigan and Florida - Obama would still lead in delegates by 1,632 to 1,589.

The only remote possibility of a win in delegates would come if revotes were held in Florida and Michigan - which, again, would take a political miracle. If Clinton won 60 percent of the delegates in both states, she would win 188 delegates and Obama would win 125. Clinton would then lead among pledged delegates, 1,777 to 1,757.

The other elephant in the room for Clinton is that Obama is almost certain to win North Carolina, with its high percentage of African-American voters, and also is seen as extremely strong in Oregon.

Harold Ickes, an icon of the Democratic Party who is Clinton's chief delegate strategist, points out that every previous forecast about this race has been faulty.

Asked about the Obama campaign's contention that it's mathematically impossible for Clinton to win, Ickes replied: "They can't count. At the end of it, even by the Obama campaign's prediction, neither candidate will have enough delegates to be nominated."

This is true, as a matter of math. But even the Clinton campaign's own best-case scenario has her finishing behind Obama when all the nominating contests are over.

"She will be close to him but certainly not equal to him in pledged delegates," a Clinton adviser said. "When you add the superdelegates on top of it, I'll think she'll still be behind him somewhat in total delegates - but very, very close."

The total gap is likely to be 75 to 110, the adviser said.

That means Clinton would need either some of those pledged delegates to switch their support - which technically they can do, though it would be unlikely - or for the white-dominated group of superdelegates to join forces with her to topple Obama.

To foster doubt about Obama, Clinton supporters are using a whisper and pressure campaign to make an 11th-hour argument to party insiders that he would be a weak candidate in November despite his superior standing at the moment.

"All she has left is the electability argument," a Democratic official said. "It's all wrapped around: Is there something that makes him ultimately unelectable?"

But the audience for that argument, the superdelegates, will not easily overturn the will of the party's voters. And in fact, a number of heavyweight Democrats are looking at the landscape and laying the groundwork to dissuade Clinton from trying to overturn the will of the party rank and file.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who has not endorsed either candidate, appears to be among them. She told Bloomberg Television that superdelegates should "respect for what has been said by the people." And she told ABC's "This Week" that it would be "harmful to the Democratic Party" if superdelegates overturn the outcome of elections.

A Democratic strategist said that given the unlikelihood of prevailing any other way, Clinton now must "scare" superdelegates "who basically just want to win."

The strategist said Clinton aides are now relying heavily on the controversy over Obama's retiring minister, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, to sow new seeds of doubt.

"This issue is the first thing that's come along that I think is potentially fatal to his electability argument," the strategist said.

"They're looking ahead and saying: Is it possible this thing is just going to drip, drip, drip, drip - more video? Where does that leave us if he's our presumptive nominee and he's limping into the convention and the Republicans are just read to go on him, double-barreled?"

The strategist also said Clinton's agents are making more subtle pitches.

"I've heard people start to say: Have you looked at the vote in Ohio really carefully? See how that breaks down for him. What does that portend?" said the strategist. "Then they point to Pennsylvania: In electorally important battleground states, if he is essentially only carrying heavy African-American turnout in high-performing African-American districts and the Starbucks-sipping, Volvo-driving liberal elite, how does he carry a state like Pennsylvania?"

Her advisers say privately that the nominee will be clear by the end of June. At the same time, they recognize that the nominee probably is clear already.

What has to irk Clintons' aides is that they felt she might finally have him on the ropes, bruised badly by the Wright fight and wobbly in polls. But the bell rang long ago in the minds of too many voters.

----------

Avi Zenilman contributed to this report.

[http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0308/9149.html]

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Is Easter a Historical Fact?

Is Easter a Historical Fact?
Did Jesus Christ Rise from the Dead?

Briefly, therefore, the fact of Christ's Resurrection is attested by more than 500 eyewitnesses, whose experience, simplicity, and uprightness of life rendered them incapable of inventing such a fable, who lived at a time when any attempt to deceive could have been easily discovered, who had nothing in this life to gain, but everything to lose by their testimony, whose moral courage exhibited in their apostolic life can be explained only by their intimate conviction of the objective truth of their message.

Again the fact of Christ's Resurrection is attested by the eloquent silence of the Synagogue which had done everything to prevent deception, which could have easily discovered deception, if there had been any, which opposed only sleeping witnesses to the testimony of the Apostles, which did not punish the alleged carelessness of the official guard, and which could not answer the testimony of the Apostles except by threatening them "that they speak no more in this name to any man" (Acts 4:17).

Finally the thousands and millions, both Jews and Gentiles, who believed the testimony of the Apostles in spite of all the disadvantages following from such a belief, in short the origin of the Church, requires for its explanation the reality of Christ's Resurrection, fot the rise of the Church without the Resurrection would have been a greater miracle than the Resurrection itself.
[http://209.85.173.104/search?q=cache:Rn9XpTPv0u0J:www.newadvent.org/cathen/12789a.htm+resurrection+historical+fact+catholic&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=us&ie=UTF-8]


Resurrection of Jesus Christ

Resurrection is the rising again from the dead, the resumption of life. In this article, we shall treat only of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. (The General Resurrection of the Body will be covered in another article.) The fact of Christ's Resurrection, the theories opposed to this fact, its characteristics, and the reasons for its importance must be considered in distinct paragraphs.

I. THE FACT OF CHRIST'S RESURRECTION
The main sources which directly attest the fact of Christ's Resurrection are the Four Gospels and the Epistles of St. Paul. Easter morning is so rich in incident, and so crowded with interested persons, that its complete history presents a rather complicated tableau. It is not surprising, therefore, that the partial accounts contained in each of the Four Gospels appear at first sight hard to harmonize. But whatever exegetic view as to the visit to the sepulchre by the pious women and the appearance of the angels we may defend, we cannot deny the Evangelists' agreement as to the fact that the risen Christ appeared to one or more persons. According to St. Matthew, He appeared to the holy women, and again on a mountain in Galilee; according to St. Mark, He was seen by Mary Magdalen, by the two disciples at Emmaus, and the Eleven before his Ascension into heaven; according to St. Luke, He walked with the disciples to Emmaus, appeared to Peter and to the assembled disciples in Jerusalem; according to St. John, Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalen, to the ten Apostles on Easter Sunday, to the Eleven a week later, and to the seven disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. St. Paul (1 Corinthians 15:3-8) enumerates another series of apparitions of Jesus after His Resurrection; he was seen by Cephas, by the Eleven, by more than 500 brethren, many of whom were still alive at the time of the Apostle's writing, by James, by all the Apostles, and lastly by Paul himself.

Here is an outline of a possible harmony of the Evangelists' account concerning the principal events of Easter Sunday:

The holy women carrying the spices previously prepared start out for the sepulchre before dawn, and reach it after sunrise; they are anxious about the heavy stone, but know nothing of the official guard of the sepulchre (Matthew 28:1-3; Mark 16:1-3; Luke 24:1; John 20:1).
The angel frightened the guards by his brightness, put them to flight, rolled away the stone, and seated himself not upon (ep autou), but above (epano autou) the stone (Matthew 28:2-4).
Mary Magdalen, Mary the Mother of James, and Salome approach the sepulchre, and see the stone rolled back, whereupon Mary Magdalen immediately returns to inform the Apostles (Mark 16:4; Luke 24:2; John 20:1-2).
The other two holy women enter the sepulchre, find an angel seated in the vestibule, who shows them the empty sepulchre, announces the Resurrection, and commissions them to tell the disciples and Peter that they shall see Jesus in Galilee (Matthew 28:5-7; Mark 16:5-7).
A second group of holy women, consisting of Joanna and her companions, arrive at the sepulchre, where they have probably agreed to meet the first group, enter the empty interior, and are admonished by two angels that Jesus has risen according to His prediction (Luke 24:10).
Not long after, Peter and John, who were notified by Mary Magdalen, arrive at the sepulchre and find the linen cloth in such a position as to exclude the supposition that the body was stolen; for they lay simply flat on the ground, showing that the sacred body had vanished out of them without touching them. When John notices this he believes (John 20:3-10).
Mary Magdalen returns to the sepulchre, sees first two angels within, and then Jesus Himself (John 20:11-l6; Mark 16:9).
The two groups of pious women, who probably met on their return to the city, are favored with the sight of Christ arisen, who commissions them to tell His brethren that they will see him in Galilee (Matthew 28:8-10; Mark 16:8).
The holy women relate their experiences to the Apostles, but find no belief (Mark 16:10-11; Luke 24:9-11).
Jesus appears to the disciples, at Emmaus, and they return to Jerusalem; the Apostles appear to waver between doubt and belief (Mark 16:12-13; Luke 24:13-35).
Christ appears to Peter, and therefore Peter and John firmly believe in the Resurrection (Luke 24:34; John 20:8).
After the return of the disciples from Emmaus, Jesus appears to all the Apostles excepting Thomas (Mark 16:14; Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19-25).
The harmony of the other apparitions of Christ after His Resurrection presents no special difficulties.
Briefly, therefore, the fact of Christ's Resurrection is attested by more than 500 eyewitnesses, whose experience, simplicity, and uprightness of life rendered them incapable of inventing such a fable, who lived at a time when any attempt to deceive could have been easily discovered, who had nothing in this life to gain, but everything to lose by their testimony, whose moral courage exhibited in their apostolic life can be explained only by their intimate conviction of the objective truth of their message. Again the fact of Christ's Resurrection is attested by the eloquent silence of the Synagogue which had done everything to prevent deception, which could have easily discovered deception, if there had been any, which opposed only sleeping witnesses to the testimony of the Apostles, which did not punish the alleged carelessness of the official guard, and which could not answer the testimony of the Apostles except by threatening them "that they speak no more in this name to any man" (Acts 4:17). Finally the thousands and millions, both Jews and Gentiles, who believed the testimony of the Apostles in spite of all the disadvantages following from such a belief, in short the origin of the Church, requires for its explanation the reality of Christ's Resurrection, fot the rise of the Church without the Resurrection would have been a greater miracle than the Resurrection itself.

II. OPPOSING THEORIES
By what means can the evidence for Christ's Resurrection by overthrown? Three theories of explanation have been advanced, though the first two have hardly any adherents in our day.

(1)The Swoon Theory
There is the theory of those who assert that Christ did not really die upon the cross, that His supposed death was only a temporary swoon, and that His Resurrection was simply a return to consciousness. This was advocated by Paulus ("Exegetisches Handbuch", 1842, II, p. 929) and in a modified form by Hase ("Gesch. Jesu", n. 112), but it does not agree with the data furnished by the Gospels. The scourging and the crown of thorns, the carrying of the cross and the crucifixion, the three hours on the cross and the piercing of the Sufferer's side cannot have brought on a mere swoon. His real death is attested by the centurion and the soldiers, by the friends of Jesus and by his most bitter enemies. His stay in a sealed sepulchre for thirty-six hours, in an atmosphere poisoned by the exhalations of a hundred pounds of spices, which would have of itself sufficed to cause death. Moreover, if Jesus had merely returned from a swoon, the feelings of Easter morning would have been those of sympathy rather than those of joy and triumph, the Apostles would have been roused to the duties of a sick chamber rather than to apostolic work, the life of the powerful wonderworker would have ended in ignoble solitude and inglorious obscurity, and His vaunted sinlessness would have changed into His silent approval of a lie as the foundation stone of His Church. No wonder that later critics of the Resurrection, like Strauss, have heaped contempt on the old theory of a swoon.

(2) The Imposition Theory
The disciples, it is said, stole the body of Jesus from the grave, and then proclaimed to men that their Lord had risen. This theory was anticipated by the Jews who "gave a great sum of money to the soldiers, saying: Say you, His disciples came by night, and stole him away when we were asleep" (Matthew 28:12 sq.). The same was urged by Celsus (Orig., "Contra Cels.", II, 56) with some difference of detail. But to assume that the Apostles with a burden of this kind upon their consciences could have preached a kingdom of truth and righteousness as the one great effort of their lives, and that for the sake of that kingdom they could have suffered even unto death, is to assume one of those moral impossibilities which may pass for a moment in the heat of controversy, but must be dismissed without delay in the hour of good reflection.

(3) The Vision Theory
This theory as generally understood by its advocates does not allow visions caused by a Divine intervention, but only such as are the product of human agencies. For if a Divine intervention be admitted, we may as well believe, as far as principles are concerned, that God raised Jesus from the dead. But where in the present instance are the human agencies which might cause these visions? The idea of a resurrection from the grave was familiar to the disciples from their Jewish faith; they had also vague intimations in the prophecies of the Old Testament; finally, Jesus Himself had always associated His Resurrection with the predictions of his death. On the other hand, the disciples' state of mind was one of great excitement; they treasured the memory of Christ with a fondness which made it almost impossible for them to believe that He was gone. In short, their whole mental condition was such as needed only the application of a spark to kindle the flame. The spark was applied by Mary Magdalen, and the flame at once spread with the rapidity and force of a conflagration. What she believed that she had seen, others immediately believed that they must see. Their expectations were fulfilled, and the conviction seized the members of the early Church that the Lord had really risen from the dead.

Such is the vision theory commonly defended by recent critics of the Resurrection. But however ingeniously it may be devised, it is quite impossible from an historical point of view.

It is incompatible with the state of mind of the Apostles; the theory presupposes faith and expectancy on the part of the Apostles, while in point of fact the disciples' faith and expectancy followed their vision of the risen Christ.
It is inconsistent with the nature of Christ's manifestations; they ought to have been connected with heavenly glory, or they should have continued the former intimate relations of Jesus with His disciples, while actually and consistently they presented quite a new phase that could not have been expected.
It does not agree with the conditions of the early Christian community; after the first excitement of Easter Sunday, the disciples as a body are noted for their cool deliberation rather than the exalted enthusiasm of a community of visionaries.
It is incompatible with the length of time during which the apparitions lasted; visions such as the critics suppose have never been known to last long, while some of Christ's manifestations lasted a considerable period.
It is not consistent with the fact that the manifestations were made to numbers at the same instant.
It does not agree with the place where most of the manifestations were made: visionary appearances would have been expected in Galilee, while most apparitions of Jesus occurred in Judea.
It is inconsistent with the fact that the visions came to a sudden end on the day of Ascension.
Keim admits that enthusiasm, nervousness, and mental excitement on the part of the disciples do not supply a rational explanation of the facts as related in the Gospels. According to him, the visions were directly granted by God and the glorified Christ; they may even include a "corporeal appearance" for those who fear that without this they would lose all. But Keim's theory satisfies neither the Church, since it abandons all the proofs of a bodily Resurrection of Jesus, nor the enemies of the Church, since it admits many of the Church's dogmas; nor again is it consistent with itself, since it grants God's special intervention in proof of the Church's faith, though it starts with the denial of the bodily Resurrection of Jesus, which is one of the principal objects of that faith.

(4) Modernist View
The Holy Office describes and condemns in the thirty-sixth and thirty-seventh propositions of the Decree "Lamentabili", the views advocated by a fourth class of opponents of the Resurrection. The former of these propositions reads: "The Resurrection of our Saviour is not properly a fact of the historical order, but a fact of the purely supernatural order neither proved nor provable, which Christian consciousness has little by little inferred from other facts." This statement agrees with, and is further explained by the words of Loisy ("Autour d'un petit livre", p. viii, 120-121, 169; "L'Evangile et l'Eglise", pp. 74-78; 120-121; 171). According to Loisy, firstly, the entrance into life immortal of one risen from the dead is not subject to observation; it is a supernatural, hyper-historical fact, not capable of historical proof. The proofs alleged for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ are inadequate; the empty sepulchre is only an indirect argument, while the apparitions of the risen Christ are open to suspicion on a priori grounds, being sensible impressions of a supernatural reality; and they are doubtful evidence from a critical point of view, on account of the discrepancies in the various Scriptural narratives and the mixed character of the detail connected with the apparitions. Secondly, if one prescinds from the faith of the Apostles, the testimony of the New Testament does not furnish a certain argument for the fact of the Resurrection. This faith of the Apostles is concerned not so much with the Resurrection of Jesus Christ as with His immortal life; being based on the apparitions, which are unsatisfactory evidence from an historical point of view, its force is appreciated only by faith itself; being a development of the idea of an immortal Messias, it is an evolution of Christian consciousness, though it is at the same time a corrective of the scandal of the Cross. The Holy Office rejects this view of the Resurrection when it condemns the thirty-seventh proposition in the Decree "Lamentabili": "The faith in the Resurrection of Christ pointed at the beginning no so much to the fact of the Resurrection, as to the immortal life of Christ with God."

Besides the authoritative rejection of the foregoing view, we may submit the following three considerations which render it untenable: First, the contention that the Resurrection of Christ cannot be proved historically is not in accord with science. Science does not know enough about the limitations and the properties of a body raised from the dead to immortal life to warrant the assertion that such a body cannot be perceived by the senses; again in the case of Christ, the empty sepulchre with all its concrete circumstances cannot be explained except by a miraculous Divine intervention as supernatural in its character as the Resurrection of Jesus. Secondly, history does not allow us to regard the belief in the Resurrection as the result of a gradual evolution in Christian consciousness. The apparitions were not a mere projection of the disciples' Messianic hope and expectation; their Messianic hope and expectations had to be revived by the apparitions. Again, the Apostles did not begin with preaching the immortal life of Christ with God, but they preached Christ's Resurrection from the very beginning, they insisted on it as a fundamental fact and they described even some of the details connected with this fact: Acts, ii, 24, 31; iii, 15,26; iv, 10; v, 30; x, 39-40; xiii, 30, 37; xvii, 31-2; Rom., i,4; iv, 25; vi, 4,9; viii, 11, 34; x, 7; xiv, 9; I Cor., xv, 4, 13 sqq.; etc. Thirdly, the denial of the historical certainty of Christ's Resurrection involves several historical blunders: it questions the objective reality of the apparitions without any historical grounds for such a doubt; it denies the fact of the empty sepulchre in spite of solid historical evidence to the contrary; it questions even the fact of Christ's burial in Joseph's sepulchre, though this fact is based on the clear and simply unimpeachable testimony of history.

III. CHARACTER OF CHRIST'S RESURRECTION
The Resurrection of Christ has much in common with the general resurrection; even the transformation of His body and of His bodily life is of the same kind as that which awaits the blessed in their resurrection. But the following peculiarities must be noted:

Christ's Resurrection is necessarily a glorious one; it implies not merely the reunion of body and soul, but also the glorification of the body.
Christ's body was to know no corruption, but rose again soon after death, when sufficient time had elapsed to leave no doubt as to the reality of His death.
Christ was the first to rise unto life immortal; those raised before Him died again (Colossians 1:18; 1 Corinthians 15:20).
As the Divine power which raised Christ from the grave was His own power, He rose from the dead by His own power (John 2:19; 10:17-18).
Since the Resurrection had been promised as the main proof of Christ's Divine mission, it has a greater dogmatic importance than any other fact. "If Christ be not risen again, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain" (1 Corinthians 15:14).
IV. IMPORTANCE OF THE RESURRECTION
Besides being the fundamental argument for our Christian belief, the Resurrection is important for the following reasons:

It shows the justice of God who exalted Christ to a life of glory, as Christ had humbled Himself unto death (Phil., ii, 8-9).
The Resurrection completed the mystery of our salvation and redemption; by His death Christ freed us from sin, and by His Resurrection He restored to us the most important privileges lost by sin (Romans 4:25).
By His Resurrection we acknowledge Christ as the immortal God, the efficient and exemplary cause of our own resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:21; Philippians 3:20-21), and as the model and the support of our new life of grace (Romans 6:4-6; 9-11).
Publication information
Written by A.J. Maas. Transcribed by Donald J. Boon. Dedicated to Bishop Andre Cimichella of Montreal, and to Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha
The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XII. Published 1911. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, June 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York

Copyright © 2007 by Kevin Knight (EMAIL). Dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
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Is Easter a Historical Fact?

Is Easter a Historical Fact?
Did Jesus Christ Rise from the Dead?

Briefly, therefore, the fact of Christ's Resurrection is attested by more than 500 eyewitnesses, whose experience, simplicity, and uprightness of life rendered them incapable of inventing such a fable, who lived at a time when any attempt to deceive could have been easily discovered, who had nothing in this life to gain, but everything to lose by their testimony, whose moral courage exhibited in their apostolic life can be explained only by their intimate conviction of the objective truth of their message.

Again the fact of Christ's Resurrection is attested by the eloquent silence of the Synagogue which had done everything to prevent deception, which could have easily discovered deception, if there had been any, which opposed only sleeping witnesses to the testimony of the Apostles, which did not punish the alleged carelessness of the official guard, and which could not answer the testimony of the Apostles except by threatening them "that they speak no more in this name to any man" (Acts 4:17).

Finally the thousands and millions, both Jews and Gentiles, who believed the testimony of the Apostles in spite of all the disadvantages following from such a belief, in short the origin of the Church, requires for its explanation the reality of Christ's Resurrection, fot the rise of the Church without the Resurrection would have been a greater miracle than the Resurrection itself.
[http://209.85.173.104/search?q=cache:Rn9XpTPv0u0J:www.newadvent.org/cathen/12789a.htm+resurrection+historical+fact+catholic&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=us&ie=UTF-8]


Resurrection of Jesus Christ

Resurrection is the rising again from the dead, the resumption of life. In this article, we shall treat only of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. (The General Resurrection of the Body will be covered in another article.) The fact of Christ's Resurrection, the theories opposed to this fact, its characteristics, and the reasons for its importance must be considered in distinct paragraphs.

I. THE FACT OF CHRIST'S RESURRECTION
The main sources which directly attest the fact of Christ's Resurrection are the Four Gospels and the Epistles of St. Paul. Easter morning is so rich in incident, and so crowded with interested persons, that its complete history presents a rather complicated tableau. It is not surprising, therefore, that the partial accounts contained in each of the Four Gospels appear at first sight hard to harmonize. But whatever exegetic view as to the visit to the sepulchre by the pious women and the appearance of the angels we may defend, we cannot deny the Evangelists' agreement as to the fact that the risen Christ appeared to one or more persons. According to St. Matthew, He appeared to the holy women, and again on a mountain in Galilee; according to St. Mark, He was seen by Mary Magdalen, by the two disciples at Emmaus, and the Eleven before his Ascension into heaven; according to St. Luke, He walked with the disciples to Emmaus, appeared to Peter and to the assembled disciples in Jerusalem; according to St. John, Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalen, to the ten Apostles on Easter Sunday, to the Eleven a week later, and to the seven disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. St. Paul (1 Corinthians 15:3-8) enumerates another series of apparitions of Jesus after His Resurrection; he was seen by Cephas, by the Eleven, by more than 500 brethren, many of whom were still alive at the time of the Apostle's writing, by James, by all the Apostles, and lastly by Paul himself.

Here is an outline of a possible harmony of the Evangelists' account concerning the principal events of Easter Sunday:

The holy women carrying the spices previously prepared start out for the sepulchre before dawn, and reach it after sunrise; they are anxious about the heavy stone, but know nothing of the official guard of the sepulchre (Matthew 28:1-3; Mark 16:1-3; Luke 24:1; John 20:1).
The angel frightened the guards by his brightness, put them to flight, rolled away the stone, and seated himself not upon (ep autou), but above (epano autou) the stone (Matthew 28:2-4).
Mary Magdalen, Mary the Mother of James, and Salome approach the sepulchre, and see the stone rolled back, whereupon Mary Magdalen immediately returns to inform the Apostles (Mark 16:4; Luke 24:2; John 20:1-2).
The other two holy women enter the sepulchre, find an angel seated in the vestibule, who shows them the empty sepulchre, announces the Resurrection, and commissions them to tell the disciples and Peter that they shall see Jesus in Galilee (Matthew 28:5-7; Mark 16:5-7).
A second group of holy women, consisting of Joanna and her companions, arrive at the sepulchre, where they have probably agreed to meet the first group, enter the empty interior, and are admonished by two angels that Jesus has risen according to His prediction (Luke 24:10).
Not long after, Peter and John, who were notified by Mary Magdalen, arrive at the sepulchre and find the linen cloth in such a position as to exclude the supposition that the body was stolen; for they lay simply flat on the ground, showing that the sacred body had vanished out of them without touching them. When John notices this he believes (John 20:3-10).
Mary Magdalen returns to the sepulchre, sees first two angels within, and then Jesus Himself (John 20:11-l6; Mark 16:9).
The two groups of pious women, who probably met on their return to the city, are favored with the sight of Christ arisen, who commissions them to tell His brethren that they will see him in Galilee (Matthew 28:8-10; Mark 16:8).
The holy women relate their experiences to the Apostles, but find no belief (Mark 16:10-11; Luke 24:9-11).
Jesus appears to the disciples, at Emmaus, and they return to Jerusalem; the Apostles appear to waver between doubt and belief (Mark 16:12-13; Luke 24:13-35).
Christ appears to Peter, and therefore Peter and John firmly believe in the Resurrection (Luke 24:34; John 20:8).
After the return of the disciples from Emmaus, Jesus appears to all the Apostles excepting Thomas (Mark 16:14; Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19-25).
The harmony of the other apparitions of Christ after His Resurrection presents no special difficulties.
Briefly, therefore, the fact of Christ's Resurrection is attested by more than 500 eyewitnesses, whose experience, simplicity, and uprightness of life rendered them incapable of inventing such a fable, who lived at a time when any attempt to deceive could have been easily discovered, who had nothing in this life to gain, but everything to lose by their testimony, whose moral courage exhibited in their apostolic life can be explained only by their intimate conviction of the objective truth of their message. Again the fact of Christ's Resurrection is attested by the eloquent silence of the Synagogue which had done everything to prevent deception, which could have easily discovered deception, if there had been any, which opposed only sleeping witnesses to the testimony of the Apostles, which did not punish the alleged carelessness of the official guard, and which could not answer the testimony of the Apostles except by threatening them "that they speak no more in this name to any man" (Acts 4:17). Finally the thousands and millions, both Jews and Gentiles, who believed the testimony of the Apostles in spite of all the disadvantages following from such a belief, in short the origin of the Church, requires for its explanation the reality of Christ's Resurrection, fot the rise of the Church without the Resurrection would have been a greater miracle than the Resurrection itself.

II. OPPOSING THEORIES
By what means can the evidence for Christ's Resurrection by overthrown? Three theories of explanation have been advanced, though the first two have hardly any adherents in our day.

(1)The Swoon Theory
There is the theory of those who assert that Christ did not really die upon the cross, that His supposed death was only a temporary swoon, and that His Resurrection was simply a return to consciousness. This was advocated by Paulus ("Exegetisches Handbuch", 1842, II, p. 929) and in a modified form by Hase ("Gesch. Jesu", n. 112), but it does not agree with the data furnished by the Gospels. The scourging and the crown of thorns, the carrying of the cross and the crucifixion, the three hours on the cross and the piercing of the Sufferer's side cannot have brought on a mere swoon. His real death is attested by the centurion and the soldiers, by the friends of Jesus and by his most bitter enemies. His stay in a sealed sepulchre for thirty-six hours, in an atmosphere poisoned by the exhalations of a hundred pounds of spices, which would have of itself sufficed to cause death. Moreover, if Jesus had merely returned from a swoon, the feelings of Easter morning would have been those of sympathy rather than those of joy and triumph, the Apostles would have been roused to the duties of a sick chamber rather than to apostolic work, the life of the powerful wonderworker would have ended in ignoble solitude and inglorious obscurity, and His vaunted sinlessness would have changed into His silent approval of a lie as the foundation stone of His Church. No wonder that later critics of the Resurrection, like Strauss, have heaped contempt on the old theory of a swoon.

(2) The Imposition Theory
The disciples, it is said, stole the body of Jesus from the grave, and then proclaimed to men that their Lord had risen. This theory was anticipated by the Jews who "gave a great sum of money to the soldiers, saying: Say you, His disciples came by night, and stole him away when we were asleep" (Matthew 28:12 sq.). The same was urged by Celsus (Orig., "Contra Cels.", II, 56) with some difference of detail. But to assume that the Apostles with a burden of this kind upon their consciences could have preached a kingdom of truth and righteousness as the one great effort of their lives, and that for the sake of that kingdom they could have suffered even unto death, is to assume one of those moral impossibilities which may pass for a moment in the heat of controversy, but must be dismissed without delay in the hour of good reflection.

(3) The Vision Theory
This theory as generally understood by its advocates does not allow visions caused by a Divine intervention, but only such as are the product of human agencies. For if a Divine intervention be admitted, we may as well believe, as far as principles are concerned, that God raised Jesus from the dead. But where in the present instance are the human agencies which might cause these visions? The idea of a resurrection from the grave was familiar to the disciples from their Jewish faith; they had also vague intimations in the prophecies of the Old Testament; finally, Jesus Himself had always associated His Resurrection with the predictions of his death. On the other hand, the disciples' state of mind was one of great excitement; they treasured the memory of Christ with a fondness which made it almost impossible for them to believe that He was gone. In short, their whole mental condition was such as needed only the application of a spark to kindle the flame. The spark was applied by Mary Magdalen, and the flame at once spread with the rapidity and force of a conflagration. What she believed that she had seen, others immediately believed that they must see. Their expectations were fulfilled, and the conviction seized the members of the early Church that the Lord had really risen from the dead.

Such is the vision theory commonly defended by recent critics of the Resurrection. But however ingeniously it may be devised, it is quite impossible from an historical point of view.

It is incompatible with the state of mind of the Apostles; the theory presupposes faith and expectancy on the part of the Apostles, while in point of fact the disciples' faith and expectancy followed their vision of the risen Christ.
It is inconsistent with the nature of Christ's manifestations; they ought to have been connected with heavenly glory, or they should have continued the former intimate relations of Jesus with His disciples, while actually and consistently they presented quite a new phase that could not have been expected.
It does not agree with the conditions of the early Christian community; after the first excitement of Easter Sunday, the disciples as a body are noted for their cool deliberation rather than the exalted enthusiasm of a community of visionaries.
It is incompatible with the length of time during which the apparitions lasted; visions such as the critics suppose have never been known to last long, while some of Christ's manifestations lasted a considerable period.
It is not consistent with the fact that the manifestations were made to numbers at the same instant.
It does not agree with the place where most of the manifestations were made: visionary appearances would have been expected in Galilee, while most apparitions of Jesus occurred in Judea.
It is inconsistent with the fact that the visions came to a sudden end on the day of Ascension.
Keim admits that enthusiasm, nervousness, and mental excitement on the part of the disciples do not supply a rational explanation of the facts as related in the Gospels. According to him, the visions were directly granted by God and the glorified Christ; they may even include a "corporeal appearance" for those who fear that without this they would lose all. But Keim's theory satisfies neither the Church, since it abandons all the proofs of a bodily Resurrection of Jesus, nor the enemies of the Church, since it admits many of the Church's dogmas; nor again is it consistent with itself, since it grants God's special intervention in proof of the Church's faith, though it starts with the denial of the bodily Resurrection of Jesus, which is one of the principal objects of that faith.

(4) Modernist View
The Holy Office describes and condemns in the thirty-sixth and thirty-seventh propositions of the Decree "Lamentabili", the views advocated by a fourth class of opponents of the Resurrection. The former of these propositions reads: "The Resurrection of our Saviour is not properly a fact of the historical order, but a fact of the purely supernatural order neither proved nor provable, which Christian consciousness has little by little inferred from other facts." This statement agrees with, and is further explained by the words of Loisy ("Autour d'un petit livre", p. viii, 120-121, 169; "L'Evangile et l'Eglise", pp. 74-78; 120-121; 171). According to Loisy, firstly, the entrance into life immortal of one risen from the dead is not subject to observation; it is a supernatural, hyper-historical fact, not capable of historical proof. The proofs alleged for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ are inadequate; the empty sepulchre is only an indirect argument, while the apparitions of the risen Christ are open to suspicion on a priori grounds, being sensible impressions of a supernatural reality; and they are doubtful evidence from a critical point of view, on account of the discrepancies in the various Scriptural narratives and the mixed character of the detail connected with the apparitions. Secondly, if one prescinds from the faith of the Apostles, the testimony of the New Testament does not furnish a certain argument for the fact of the Resurrection. This faith of the Apostles is concerned not so much with the Resurrection of Jesus Christ as with His immortal life; being based on the apparitions, which are unsatisfactory evidence from an historical point of view, its force is appreciated only by faith itself; being a development of the idea of an immortal Messias, it is an evolution of Christian consciousness, though it is at the same time a corrective of the scandal of the Cross. The Holy Office rejects this view of the Resurrection when it condemns the thirty-seventh proposition in the Decree "Lamentabili": "The faith in the Resurrection of Christ pointed at the beginning no so much to the fact of the Resurrection, as to the immortal life of Christ with God."

Besides the authoritative rejection of the foregoing view, we may submit the following three considerations which render it untenable: First, the contention that the Resurrection of Christ cannot be proved historically is not in accord with science. Science does not know enough about the limitations and the properties of a body raised from the dead to immortal life to warrant the assertion that such a body cannot be perceived by the senses; again in the case of Christ, the empty sepulchre with all its concrete circumstances cannot be explained except by a miraculous Divine intervention as supernatural in its character as the Resurrection of Jesus. Secondly, history does not allow us to regard the belief in the Resurrection as the result of a gradual evolution in Christian consciousness. The apparitions were not a mere projection of the disciples' Messianic hope and expectation; their Messianic hope and expectations had to be revived by the apparitions. Again, the Apostles did not begin with preaching the immortal life of Christ with God, but they preached Christ's Resurrection from the very beginning, they insisted on it as a fundamental fact and they described even some of the details connected with this fact: Acts, ii, 24, 31; iii, 15,26; iv, 10; v, 30; x, 39-40; xiii, 30, 37; xvii, 31-2; Rom., i,4; iv, 25; vi, 4,9; viii, 11, 34; x, 7; xiv, 9; I Cor., xv, 4, 13 sqq.; etc. Thirdly, the denial of the historical certainty of Christ's Resurrection involves several historical blunders: it questions the objective reality of the apparitions without any historical grounds for such a doubt; it denies the fact of the empty sepulchre in spite of solid historical evidence to the contrary; it questions even the fact of Christ's burial in Joseph's sepulchre, though this fact is based on the clear and simply unimpeachable testimony of history.

III. CHARACTER OF CHRIST'S RESURRECTION
The Resurrection of Christ has much in common with the general resurrection; even the transformation of His body and of His bodily life is of the same kind as that which awaits the blessed in their resurrection. But the following peculiarities must be noted:

Christ's Resurrection is necessarily a glorious one; it implies not merely the reunion of body and soul, but also the glorification of the body.
Christ's body was to know no corruption, but rose again soon after death, when sufficient time had elapsed to leave no doubt as to the reality of His death.
Christ was the first to rise unto life immortal; those raised before Him died again (Colossians 1:18; 1 Corinthians 15:20).
As the Divine power which raised Christ from the grave was His own power, He rose from the dead by His own power (John 2:19; 10:17-18).
Since the Resurrection had been promised as the main proof of Christ's Divine mission, it has a greater dogmatic importance than any other fact. "If Christ be not risen again, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain" (1 Corinthians 15:14).
IV. IMPORTANCE OF THE RESURRECTION
Besides being the fundamental argument for our Christian belief, the Resurrection is important for the following reasons:

It shows the justice of God who exalted Christ to a life of glory, as Christ had humbled Himself unto death (Phil., ii, 8-9).
The Resurrection completed the mystery of our salvation and redemption; by His death Christ freed us from sin, and by His Resurrection He restored to us the most important privileges lost by sin (Romans 4:25).
By His Resurrection we acknowledge Christ as the immortal God, the efficient and exemplary cause of our own resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:21; Philippians 3:20-21), and as the model and the support of our new life of grace (Romans 6:4-6; 9-11).
Publication information
Written by A.J. Maas. Transcribed by Donald J. Boon. Dedicated to Bishop Andre Cimichella of Montreal, and to Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha
The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XII. Published 1911. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, June 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York

Copyright © 2007 by Kevin Knight (EMAIL). Dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
[http://209.85.173.104/search?q=cache:Rn9XpTPv0u0J:www.newadvent.org/cathen/12789a.htm+resurrection+historical+fact+catholic&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=us&ie=UTF-8]

Sunday, March 16, 2008

"Catholic University Allow[s] Someone who Strongly Believes in Partial-Birth Abortion"

Pro-Life, Catholic Advocates Complain About Michelle Obama Speech at Villanova
Philadelphia, PA (LifeNews.com) --

Another Catholic college is getting tagged by pro-life advocates for hosting a pro-abortion speaker -- this time Villanova University for a Thursday appearance by Michelle Obama. The wife of pro-abortion presidential candidate Barack Obama spoke before 2,500 people at a political rally for him at Villanova’s Jake Nevin Fieldhouse. Senator Obama's pro-abortion views are well-established and he favors keeping abortions legal another 35 years and paid for with taxpayer dollars.

Michelle Obama, also an abortion advocate, endorsed partial-birth abortion in a 2004 fundraising letter for her husband. Kristan Hawkins, the director of Students for Life of America, alerted LifeNews.com to the appearance and said it violates the pro-life and Catholic views of Villanova students. “It is disheartening to see a Catholic university allow someone who strongly believes in partial-birth abortion, a procedure which our Supreme Court even ruled to be barbaric and cruel, come to their campus to speak," Hawkins said. The pro-life student leader told LifeNews.com she spoke with Villanova's president who informed her that student groups, which invited Obama, are independent and Villanova officials can't control their activities.

ACTION: Father Donohue, the president of Villanova University, can be reached at president@villanova.edu. Please let him know you oppose Obama's visit. Full story at LifeNews.com.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Is Your Child's School on the list?

Homosexual Day of Silence - Is Your Child's School on the list?


Dear Dr. Frank,

Because of the action of concerned parents, hundreds of schools have removed their school as a listed participant in the pro-homosexual "Day of Silence." You can join the fight for your children too!

On, Friday, April 25, several thousand schools across the nation will be observing "Day of Silence (DOS)." DOS is a nationwide push to promote the homosexual lifestyle in public schools.

When AFA alerted parents of this public school classroom disruption by homosexual student activists, many took action immediately! If you haven't gotten involved, it's critical that you do so today!

A simple phone call or letter to school administrators, telling them your child will not attend school the day it observes DOS, may be enough to cause some participating schools to change their plans. Sample letter here.

Please listen to a 60-second radio ad warning parents about Day of Silence, then forward this email to your local Christian or conservative radio station. Ask them to broadcast it as a Public Service Announcement (PSA)! MP3 file or WAV file

Click here for Frequently Asked Questions about the Day of Silence.

In the past week alone, over 200 schools have announced they are dropping plans to participate. Please, get involved for the sake or your children, and all children, today!



Take Action!


What should parents do? Check with your local school principal to see if your child's school will be participating in DOS. If the school is participating, notify other parents about DOS and ask them to join in keeping their children out of school on that day.
Here is a partial list of schools which are expected to participate in DOS: If your school is listed, call your local school and ascertain whether they officially or passively allow students to observe "Day of Silence." If your school is listed, please double-check with your local school to see if the school is actually sponsoring DOS. Sometimes the "participation" turns out to be a handful of kids who are saying they have a homosexual club and are observing this protest day, but without school endorsement. We sincerely hope your school, if listed, is not actually an official sponsor. If it is not, we will take them off the list, if a school official asks us to do so. Please e-mail your correction to webmaster@missionamerica.com.

Some tips:

Be sure of the date that DOS is planned for your school. (The national date is April 25, but some schools observe DOS on a different date.)
Inform the school of your intention to keep your child home on that date and explain why. Click here for a sample letter.
Explain to your children why you're taking a stand: Homosexual behavior is not an innate identity; it is a sinful, unnatural and destructive behavior. No school should advance a physically, emotionally, and spiritually destructive sexual lifestyle to students.
Schools do not have to tolerate students remaining silent in class. Schools can adopt policies that require parental consent for students to attend any club, including those premised on sexual orientation or gender identity. Click here for more information from Attorney Mat Staver with Liberty Counsel who provides free information to parents, students, and schools regarding their rights associated with noncompliance on the Day of Silence.






Thank you for caring enough to get involved. If you feel our efforts are worthy of support, would you consider making a small tax-deductible contribution? Click here to make a donation.


Sincerely,



Donald E. Wildmon, Founder and Chairman American Family Association Donate with confidence to AFA
(gifts are tax-deductible)


It's Not Gay
The sanitized version of homosexuality being presented is not the whole truth. They're Coming to Your Town
Homosexual activists take control of a city government in a small Christian resort community. Spiritual Heritage Tours
Explore Washington, D.C., from a Christian perspective with AFA President Tim Wildmon.

In keeping with our privacy policy, AFA may periodically contact you regarding issues of concern to the family. Rest assured that your e-mail address will be kept in the strictest confidence.
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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

“'Gender-Bender Chemicals' are Negatively Affecting the Environment"

“'Gender-Bender Chemicals' are Negatively Affecting the Environment"

by Judie Brown


When I saw the latest report on starlings and the dreadful damage that birth control hormones are doing to their ability to sing, I was amazed!

The thing that made me stop and take notice was not that additional research is showing that “gender-bender chemicals” are negatively affecting the environment, but rather that such scientific results do not get even a minimal amount of attention from the major media in America.

According to this most recent article, “scientists at Cardiff University have discovered that the brains of male starlings foraging for worms at a sewage treatment works in South-West England have been subtly changed by being contaminated by estrogen from the contraceptive pill and hormone replacement therapy.“

The report says that female hormones pass into the sewage by way of female urine and remain unaffected by the sewage itself. However the hormones do cause the part of the brain that controls the starling’s song to grow much bigger, causing them to sing at greater length and with more “virtuosity than usual.”

At UCLA researchers have found the same effect on female finches so that they are singing like the males do, though in the past female finches never sang.

Some researchers are even describing the hormones that enter the environment as a type of “pollution” and are concerned about the long range effects they will have on the environment as we know it. For example, in Florida during the 1980s alligators were failing to reproduce because males had been negatively affected by the estrogen in the streams and rivers. And in Britain another study found that, “a third of male roaches in rivers and streams have been producing eggs which are normally produced by female sex organs."

Some research suggests that these negative effects are having a deleterious impact on men as well, predicting that the “average man will be unable to father children within decades.”

The article does not represent some harebrained idea that was concocted in the back room of a pub! It is based on the scientific research of several environmental scientists from various parts of the world and their work should be taken seriously.

We already know that synthetic hormones can cause all sorts of problems for the women who ingest them. Add to that the problems that the residuals are causing for the environment and for the men in society and you have to wonder why there is not more effort to get the things off the market. Of course no sooner did I get that sentence onto my screen then the answer became obvious: money!

Pharmaceutical companies make billions on birth control chemicals and hormone replacement therapy, so why sound alarms when it is so easy to ignore these studies and keep the results from the public? While some would say that the health and wellbeing of the nation’s human beings should be the number one priority of the government, the media and big business, it has become painfully clear over the years that this is simply not the case when dealing with matters of sexual relations that involve birth control and abortion.

When you read about the impact these hormones is having on humans, you really have to wonder what in the world is wrong with people who are in positions to warn the public of the impending disaster that human beings will face. For instance:

Communities exposed to high levels of these and other gender-bender chemicals, from the Great Lakes of North America to the Russian Arctic, have been found to give birth to twice as many girls as boys.


Gender-bender chemicals are not just for the birds! Apparently they are going to negatively affect every aspect of society as we know it . . . unless something is done to correct the problems that have caused the imbalances reported in this article.

Don’t hold your breath!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Pray as you Read this Catholic Manifesto

Pray as you read this Catholic Manifesto for the 21 century. It shows the only solution for peace for your family and the world.

Fred


“What, then, is the solution? At the very least it will demand of us, each in his own vocation and sphere of influence, a consecration to Truth as the final arbiter of reality in all situations that confront us.

It will necessarily lead us to abandoning artificial constructs of interaction with the world—especially those strategies that would seek a good at the cost of hiding or equivocating the truth. It will demand courage of us, especially the willingness to lose everything for the sake of truth.

Moreover, it will demand that in our very being we become presences of incarnated truth, bringing Christ into the so-called “naked public square” not only in our words but with our whole lives.

It must be done with love, but it must also be done firmly, clearly, and with moral authority. Mankind does not need more rhetoric. It needs living words dynamically present in the agoras of the world. It needs steadfast men, it needs witnesses, it needs martyrs.”

[http://studiobrien.com/site/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=162&Itemid=76]

Sign of Contradiction and the new world order

by Michael D. O’Brien

If the warning of the Mother of God at Fatima is understood in its broader sense, (“Russia will spread her errors throughout the world and many nations will cease to exist.”), what is now occurring globally is a new wave of the original forces that launched the tide of the French Revolution, followed by successive revolutions that increasingly secularized the human community. Then came the great waves of the Communist revolution, Fascism, and so forth, wave after wave that reshaped human societies and institutions—indeed the very perceptions of life itself. We are presently in the midst of the worst and most dangerous wave of all, the tsunami of worldwide Materialism.


A tsunami out in mid-ocean is barely noticeable, just a swell on the surface that seems harmless, hardly rocking the boat. But when the wave meets the shore it reveals its nature and the horrendous damage begins. That is why Catholic peoples, if they are faithful to their identity and stand firm in their respective nations, becoming fully who and what they are, will be “signs of contradiction.” I think of Poland, Slovakia, Croatia, Malta, Ireland, and others—few in number but not lacking in courage. God-willing, such signs will stick in the throat of the Beast and inhibit, perhaps even stop, its plans to devour mankind. Given enough time and perseverance, they may even succeed in turning the European Union back toward the original vision of its founders, which was Christian in its principles and was intended for the building of a community of nations, not the creation of a godless European super-state.


Resistance will cost much in terms of sacrifice, for it asks men of good will and good conscience to stand firm in the face of seemingly overwhelming odds. As Pope Benedict said in his concluding remarks on March 24:



… be present in an active way in the public debate on the European level, aware that this is now an integral part of the national debate, and accompany this effort with effective cultural action. Do not bow to the logic of power as an end in itself! May you draw constant motivation and support from the admonition of Christ: if salt loses its flavor, it is good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.


The manifestations of the struggle vary from continent to continent, but are the same in essence: mankind is presently involved in a worldwide war against the eternal value of the human person. We cannot retreat from these conflicts, cannot abandon the field to the opposition. Neither should we presume that we can preserve a little space for morality by making a “separate peace” with evil. In this regard, J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings has much to teach us about governments, wars, and the personalities that shape our future: The passages where Saruman, a political realist, makes his compelling arguments for submission to the Dark Lord are significant, his brilliant malice obvious enough. But we should also keep in mind brave Boromir, a benevolent and idealistic political realist, who was a hair away from handing the whole world over to the Dark Lord without realizing he was doing so. And he would have done so, had not a small and humble person named Frodo run from Boromir’s ever-so-reasonable arguments. In his flight from deception, Frodo did not abandon his mission but rather preserved its integrity and in the end, against all odds, brought it to fulfillment. Fiction, myth, fantasy? Yes, in a sense, but ultimately more real than much of what we consume through the information media.


How easily we grasp at reductionist “realist” solutions. How swiftly we fall into fractures between the interior and exterior life, forgetting (or never having learned) that individuals and nations alike cannot long sustain two contradictory modes of interaction with the world: for example, one set of rules about human life for domestic policy, and a different set of rules for foreign policy. The interior and the exterior should be one, as well as positive and morally true, otherwise disintegration follows. Power and wealth may extend for a time a false equilibrium, but it cannot last. Moreover, its latter condition will be worse than its former.



Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. (Psalm 127)


What, really, is the psychological cosmos in which we now live? The larger architecture seems visible enough: the declining demographics of the West, the rise of China as an economic and military threat, the apparent instability of Islamic nations and subsequent Pax Americana, fear of terrorists ever-present like a gas in the atmosphere within the borders of our homelands, while our deepest terrors are anesthetized by the “soma” drug of consumerism. And all about us we are offered false either/or solutions. For example, look carefully at the candidate “choices” in the politics of democratic Western nations and you will find utilitarianism at every turn— camouflaged by idealist or patriotic or humanitarian or “liberal”-versus-“conservative” rhetoric, as well as its most odious offshoot, religious utilitarianism.


For the sake of illustration, imagine this scenario: You are presented with a choice. Threatened by a foreign leader with a Koran in one hand and in his other a nuclear weapon, you can choose to elect as your own national leader a figure with a Bible in one hand and in his other a nuclear weapon. Which of the two would you want to determine the future of the world? Oh, and as a supplementary detail, both of them are willing to drop the bomb on the other.


Recoiling in horror, you might then turn to an alternative set of candidates, thinking you must now elect a leader who, like you, abhors nuclear weapons. He may or may not have a Bible in one hand, but it is more likely he will have The Humanist Manifesto (a sacred text of Materialism) in one hand and a suction tube in the other.


Are these our only choices? If so, this is no choice at all. It is a piece of deadly theater.


Is there no third way? Why is so much public discussion about the current world situation lacking in creative imagination? Why is there so little serious examination of alternative paths through the maze of our current troubles? Has the entire world become gripped in a fierce lock-step fatalism that masquerades as realism? Has virtually everyone in governments lost faith in anything other than raw power and the instruments of death?


In his encyclical The Splendor of Truth, John Paul II wrote that “the morality of acts is defined by the relationship of man’s freedom with authentic good. This good is established, as the eternal law, by Divine Wisdom, which orders every being toward its end … Acting is morally good when the choices of freedom are in conformity with man’s true good…” (Veritatis Splendor, n.72, see also 71-83). Quoting Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae, he goes on to warn that “while it is true that sometimes a lesser moral evil may be tolerated in order to avoid a greater evil, it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it (cf Romans 3:8)—in other words, to intend directly something which of its very nature contradicts the moral order…” (VS, n.80).


Webster’s dictionary and the Oxford University dictionary provide excellent definitions of the term utilitarianism. Strictly speaking, it proposes that the moral worth of an action is determined by its outcome—in other words, the end justifies the means; one may do evil in order to bring about a perceived good. In a broader sense, utilitarianism can be defined as a philosophy (and I include here conscious and subconscious philosophies) that reduces the eternal value of the human person to a utility. He is a number; he is a mechanism; he is a component in an agenda. He is as valuable as what he can produce or to the degree that he can be used for production. He is disposable to the degree that his life impedes or has ceased to be useful for a perceived end, usually described as the “common good.”
Let us pause a moment here and recall two sayings about this very attitude:



“It is better that one man should die than the entire nation be destroyed.” (Caiaphas)

“The fruit of abortion is nuclear war.” (Mother Teresa of Calcutta)


Caiaphas is a master strategist, the arbiter of “lesser evils” for the sake of an apparent national religious good. In sharp contrast, Mother Teresa points to the real configuration of the world: individuals and nations cannot do evil without consequences; even the most “private” or personal acts affect the human community; internal moral evils will express themselves eventually in external moral evils, because the moral order has been broken at the foundational level; “lesser evils” on the national and international scale can unleash evils of catastrophic proportions.


When pondering the proliferating “isms” of our era, it is easy to get lost in the terminology. But for the sake of simplicity, it may be helpful to consider the two distinct moral philosophies of Materialism and Utilitarianism as alternate faces of the same phenomenon. Or put another way, they are incestuously united, producing in turn one deformed offspring after another. Put still another way, we could see practical utilitarianism as the working arm of theoretical Materialism; and by extension, religious utilitarianism as the working arm of religious materialism.


Religious materialism? How is that possible? Indeed, it is not only possible, it is abundantly evident all around us, and is manifest no more obviously than in nations that profess themselves to be religious while pursuing policies that wage aggressive war—militarily, economically, demographically, and culturally—racking up vast numbers of innocent victims while they invoke the national deities. Pious rhetoric notwithstanding, we should look at what they do. Utilitarians in practice (though not always in their lip-service) deny the truth that each and every person is a good in himself, of equal and eternal value. Utilitarians do not consider that “common goods” purchased by the destruction or exploitation of human life are not good. In fact, the evils they bring about are more insidious and corruptive when masquerading as virtue. Listen to their words, if you must, but observe more carefully their actions.


Such philosophy is possible only in minds that have succumbed to moral compartmentalization. Their fractures in perception and thinking lead to evil acts justified as “necessary evils” or “lesser evils” for the preservation of the apparent good. Some utilitarians reject even these categories, for they cannot conceive of their actions as “evil” in any way whatsoever. Thus, the abstraction of catastrophe—countless unique human lives are eradicated violently in the name of the “good”, and reduced to statistics. Domestic collateral damage and foreign collateral damage, all tabulated, interpreted, and presented to us as data, which supposedly we are to sagely weigh in a state of dissociation. That is the rhetoric of hell.


There is a deeper problem with all this, namely, that once utilitarianism, in theory, is defined and exposed, every Catholic would say, “Oh, yes, that’s evil.” Yet, all too often there is a disconnect between theory and practice, as if we feel that such evils are regrettable but unavoidable; and that it is impossible for us personally to bridge the great chasm between what we conceive as a Christian “ideal” and practical reality, what we feel are our sad but necessary compromises with evil. To the degree that we think this way, that is the measure of how badly we have become infected by utilitarianism. The objective reality here is that other human beings, who are as beloved by God as we are, will pay for our disconnect with their suffering and/or their deaths. We will continue to vote for the utilitarian who seems less evil to us or who offers us an apparent good, such as security or economic stability (which we have, consciously or subconsciously, decided is a higher good than the sacredness of human life). A problem deeper still is the inability to even see the disjunct. What is the cause of this? Is it utilitarianism alone, even the worst kind, religious, or is there something else that needs pondering here?


Perhaps it bears considering that the most terrifying form of utilitarianism might be the kind that is not only religious, but is spiritual as well. To become a “spiritual utilitarian” would mean that one enters a deeper realm of evil, where other souls are manipulated, exploited, and discarded for a spiritual end—in other words a Satanic level of evil. It is beyond the scope of this article to examine that dimension, but it begs a question: What prevents religious utilitarianism from becoming spiritual utilitarianism?


What, precisely, is the security wall that keeps us from slipping that far down? Is it our sense that we are the good guys? Is it a medicine bag of democratic nostrums and notions, an ethos, a vague sense of right and wrong, a line drawn in the sand over which we are sure we would never cross. Where is this line? What stops us from stepping over it, or from being pushed over it by perceived historical necessities? We are more than familiar with what bad guys do, the Hitlers and Stalins and Maos and suicide bombers of diverse persuasions, and all their lesser imitators. But what about us? Where, exactly, are our outermost limits of the permissible?


“If God is dead, then everything is permissible,” says one of the characters in Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov. But what if a person still believes in God and goes to church, perhaps even devotedly, yet his instinctive feelings and his choices remain those of a practical materialist? For such a person, “everything” is still permissible, but it is considered an unfortunate unavoidable necessity. Thus, he will need to find a self-justifying political philosophy, without which he could not live with himself. His philosophy may be brilliantly articulated or hardly articulate at all, but in its various degrees of sophistication it will do a common thing: It will deny that moral absolutes are authoritative in every sphere of human endeavor. He may bow to those absolutes when practiced in private life, but will negotiate them away in the realm of public life. The negotiations may be argued in sublime language, the moral questions sliced to molecular thinness, the compromises justified by impressive reasoning, but the end effect will be the same. The “liberal” and “neo-liberal,” the “conservative” and “neo-conservative” alike, will enclose the moral order of the universe in a ghetto, and he will do it in the name of freedom.


What, then, is the solution? At the very least it will demand of us, each in his own vocation and sphere of influence, a consecration to Truth as the final arbiter of reality in all situations that confront us. It will necessarily lead us to abandoning artificial constructs of interaction with the world—especially those strategies that would seek a good at the cost of hiding or equivocating the truth. It will demand courage of us, especially the willingness to lose everything for the sake of truth. Moreover, it will demand that in our very being we become presences of incarnated truth, bringing Christ into the so-called “naked public square” not only in our words but with our whole lives. It must be done with love, but it must also be done firmly, clearly, and with moral authority. Mankind does not need more rhetoric. It needs living words dynamically present in the agoras of the world. It needs steadfast men, it needs witnesses, it needs martyrs.

A generation ago, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger said in an interview that the two most compelling evangelical gifts of the Church are its martyrs and its arts. The role of martyrdom in an apostate age remains what it always has been, though its forms are now many. But what can our cultural works do to resist the decline and fall of a civilization? For one thing, they can be signs of contradiction against the tyrannical character of the surrounding psychological cosmos, the anti-human, which is the overwhelming ethos of our times. For another, they can point to a coming dawn, the civilization of love that is still possible for mankind.



“We are not asked to have shining armor to overcome Goliath, but simply to know how to choose a few stones, the right ones, with the wisdom and courage of David.” (John Paul II)


Impossible in human terms, by human strengths? Yes, of course it is. But it is precisely the impossible to which we are called. The Gospels first revolutionized the world and gave us civilization because a small group of people dared to believe in the impossible. They knew that Jesus is the Master of the Impossible. His birth, death, and resurrection were the “impossible” surprise in history. And there are more surprises to come.


[http://studiobrien.com/site/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=162&Itemid=76]

posted by Fred Martinez