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Pope Francis’ Challenge - Coping with some tough communications realities
Tea Party Republicans Do the Nation a Great Service !!!
Cardinal Burke Travels from Rome to Alabama for Dedication of a Eucharistic Center -

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Pope Francis’ Challenge - Coping with some tough communications realities - The new Pope is a caring person who wants to make the world aware of God’s mercy and the concern that the Church feels for everyone. He does this with his many personal acts of charity, he holds deformed babies, he visits the sick, he applauds people who make righteous but difficult decisions, etc.

He also does this by making personal statements to media outlets about the great mercy and love that Christ and His Church have for all people regardless of their past sins. Unfortunately the Pope has a tendency to make statements, in such a way, as to allow broadcast media people to “chop and crop” making the Pope appear to be willing to change longstanding Church doctrines on, such things as, abortion, homosexual marriage, artificial birth control, etc.

It is important to parse the many factors facing the Pope as he works to put his laudable message before the world.

First, the world is moving from the distribution of information via written documents to using visual and audible means for distributing information. This trend is exacerbated by the fact that people have ever shorter attention spans. This is regrettable, but it is a present reality.

Second, the Catholic Church has a very complex set of interconnected doctrines and beliefs that number in the hundreds which have been defined and refined over 20 centuries. The Pope can’t ignore this body of doctrines, but he can’t muddy his otherwise clear message with too much attention to all this historic detail. Additionally, at any given moment in history, only six or seven are of intense public concern, so the Pope only has to handle these few issues with tact.

Third any statement by the Pope, whether written or oral, is likely to be edited dramatically by media gatekeepers who may be sympathetic to the Pope, but more likely are not sympathetic. News makers, such as politicians, cope with this editing process by repeatedly feeding the news media short sound bites which can’t be effectively cut. Unfortunately the Pope’s messages do not lend themselves to such sound bites.

Fourth, the Pope needs to speak to many different constituencies, Consider the range:

. there are people of little and no faith and people from non-Christian denominations who have little knowledge of the Catholic Church,

. there are fallen away and disaffected Catholics who have some but maybe not much knowledge of their faith, ...................... there are Protestants who know Christ, but much of what they know about Catholicism is wrong,

. there are practicing Catholics who are in “cafeteria plan” mode accepting some teachings ignoring others,

. there are committed traditional Catholics who cling to the Mass in the extraordinary form, are afraid that a new batch of liturgical changes are coming, and generally know most of the doctrines pretty well, and

. there are knowledgeable active Catholics who know the doctrines, and who are involved in important work such as Birthright, Natural Family Planning, Opus Dei, Knights of Columbus, etc.

Finally, Pope Francis is coping with the basic problem that Christianity has with today’s culture. Thirty years ago, when asked by the liberal commentator, E J Dione, why the Church can’t just bend to modern consensus on a few key social questions? Cardinal Ratsinger said “It is true that a Christian faith taken seriously means non-conformity with a considerable number of contemporary social standards” .... going further he added “a more or less negative image is unavoidable”

With all these cultural limitations, antagonistic gatekeepers, and varied constituencies the Pope has a difficult task getting a fresh, nuanced message about Christ and His Church out to everyone. Of course, the term “difficult” has to be used, rather than the more obvious term “impossible”, because the Pope has special access to the Holy Spirit and that changes the odds of success.

So what can the average Catholic do to help ?

First, when you see a 30 sec news report that mis-characterizes one of the Pope’s statements by leaving out key clarifying points, send an e-mail or letter to the news program’s producer pointing out the facts left out. Be polite, but firm, suggest they give the Pope three minutes once a week rather than only one half minute every day. Explain the Pope represents a two thousand year tradition with 500 key doctrinal statements, and over a billion adherents, he has to be given more latitude to explain his points than, for example, a distraught women who has just seen an auto accident or a mugging.

Second, watch the World Over on the EWTN cable channel ( at 6 PM Central Time on Sunday). This show always shows the major media’s distortions and gives the full truth. With this material in hand, mention the distortion to those you encounter during the day. Don’t lead with “I got something to tell you about the Pope”, rather say “I want to tell you a story about a major media distortion”. The second approach allows you to talk to anyone, after all everyone wants accurate, complete media reports. In telling the distortion story you need to talk about some key Church doctrines that got distorted or passed over completely. This allows you to do ecumenical work while appearing to be nothing more than an advocate for accurate, full reporting. (prepared by Hugh Murray on 10/14/2013)

Tea Party Republicans Do the Nation a Great Service !!! . - The Republicans in the US House, lead by their more conservative “Tea Party” members, decided to force a partial shut down of the Federal government, and they almost got the government to stop borrow additional money to pay its bloated expenses. They did this by refusing to pass a “clean” continuing resolution to keep the government going and by threatening to block an authorization to raise the nation’s debt ceiling.

In the end they relented briefly on both these efforts once they had made their point. They had sent a message to the rest of Washington that business as usual is unacceptable.

The news media, the President, the liberal politicians are touting this as a great defeat for the Tea Party. It is no such thing. They allowed a 90 day reprieve so government borrowings and operations could continue while at long last serious negotiations about future government operations might begin.

Truly, the Federal government is running without necessary checks and balances. Budgets are not set. Individual annual appropriations bills for the various departments are not moving. The Congress has been falling back on its favorite crutch - the continuing resolution. So a conscientious group, including members of the Tea Party, had to resort to drastic means to get sensible negotiations going.


The founders intended that most governmental activity would occur in the states and not at the Federal level. This intention was emasculated by the Civil War which striped all states, north and south, of their usual domains of authority. It put the Federal government in a position where it now dealt with each individual citizen directly on all matters that Washington choose to take up. Later this trend was symbolically extended and made complete, when the state legislators lost their right to pick their states’ US Senators. This right of Senatorial selection was transferred to a direct vote of the people. Later the US Congress began using State Legislatures as local implementing and funding agencies for Federal programs such as Medicaid.

The founders had expected that the US Supreme Court would have very little say in the government. With most governmental activity assigned to the states, it was expected that state courts, not the Federal courts, would be sorting out most difficulties. This assumption was crushed when the Supreme Court began issuing decisions as early as 1803 that assigned to itself the power to decide the constitutionality of all matters. Today the Supreme Court decides what will and what won’t stand constitutional muster. Indeed this power has been extended to the power to levy local taxes even against the expressed will of local people (See Missouri v. Jenkins). Many experts now say a session of the Supreme Court is tantamount to a Constitutional Convention because the court feels no constraint in establishing new constitutional rights and/or constitutional restrictions which were never mentioned or even hinted at in the original.

Additionally, the founders decided, probably because they felt the Federal government would be mostly involved in foreign affairs and interstate commerce, it was important to have a strong executive so the country would speak with a clear voice. They gave the President a strong veto over the acts of Congress allowing for Congressional veto override only with a 2/3 majority in both houses. This is the strongest veto found in any modern republic.

Finally, the founders had opposed parties and factions which have a tendency to amalgamate great power so as to allow selfish groups to acquire outsized, special benefits from government. They knew that there would always be selfish, prideful men who would try to use government to help themselves and their friends. However, the founders knew that if such men could get control of organized parties or factions the damage done could be orders of magnitude larger that the benefit they might derive through one person’s actions.


Now as more and more of people’s lives began to revolve around Federal programs, in such areas as: regulation, government contracting, government employment, tax benefits, and income transfer programs. The complexity of what government does has increased exponentially.

Also Congress has transferred sweeping power to the executive agencies giving them power to “prepare and enforce” implementing regulations, this approach allows regulatory agencies to “flesh out” the general language found in the typical law. Soon the Congress found the Executive Branch was implementing regulations different from or beyond what Congress had intended. Accordingly Congress tried to set up a system for Congressional vetoes to check these sweeping regulations, but the courts have found such “legislative veto” schemes unconstitutional Once the Congress passes a bill and a President signs, it the only way to reign the regulators and regulations is by passing a new bill which the President can veto if he does not want his powers reigned in. (See US Immigration and Naturalization Service v. Chadha)

The foregoing indicates that the American government is much more dysfunctional than it looks in civics textbooks. Although the system has generally worked well because the people who have served in the ten key positions, as President and Supreme Court justice, have generally chosen not to actually use the disproportionate power they possess. There have been a few “nut cases” along the way, but their influence has been mostly constrained by more sensible people serving with them in these top ten positions and, to a much lesser degree, by the 535 members of Congress who possess only very imperfect tools for correction. These include the oversight hearing to call attention to problem areas, a refusal to fund further questionable operations, and/or impeachment.

The checking and constraining functions mentioned above has been significantly reduced in times when the President and both houses of Congress were from the same political party. When one party government exists, the President becomes the leader of not only of the executive branch but also of the controlling party in Congress; if such a Presidents chooses to force programs that advantage a select groups or his pet project through Congress, he probably will be able to accomplish his goal . (Obamacare is an example of such a favored program.)

The American people to their credit have realized that new legislation once passed is a major vehicle for mischief . They realize that once it is passed, the executive, with the support of the courts, can “ride” new laws in nearly any direction the President desires using his regulation writing authority. So generally, the American people have been sending people of opposite political parties to control the different branches of Congress and White House. Subconsciously they seem to desire government where only modest targeted laws are enacted. Where change is incremental not sweeping. To his credit, Bill Clinton recognized this desire on the part of the American people and adjusted his legislative adgenda after his first year in office.


All the forgoing operated pretty well , though not perfectly, until 2000, when more massive dysfunction set in.

When Richard Cheney and George W. Bush, riding two narrow victories, served in the White House for eight years, they chose to fight two wars and set up a new health care entitlement, Medicare part D. When they arrived the nation had a budget surplus but that quickly disappeared as the wars and the new entitlement worked on the budget.

The Cheney/Bush team responded to the 9/11 attack by entering an “on going” civil war in Afghanistan on the side of the minority because the majority side, the Taliban, had given aid and comfort to the 9/11 attackers. But one war was not enough. The administration lied and sent America into a second war to remove Saddam Hussein, the dictator of Iraq.

The difficulty with this strategy, particularly the Iraq war, was the need for several hundred thousands ground troops to deal with guerillas fighters. In the new “all volunteer” Army the plan was for large numbers of ground troops to be provided by National Guard and Reserve units. This meant that these ground troops disproportionately came from patriotic, young middle class families, located in the middle part of the country. These families form the conservative, patriotic core of Red state America, in other words Republican America. Accordingly when the injured and dead began to come back to America, they went mostly to Red state America. The same area that had elected Cheney/Bush. When the American people saw body bags and disfigured men coming back from the two far away places. They realized Sunni freedom fighters, using guerrilla tactics, were gradually, but surely, dislodging this Christian army from their sacred homelands.

Alan Greenspan at the Federal Reserve kept interest rates to low for to long and created a bubble in housing that put a gloss on the economy and thus concealed the cost of the two wars. The large banks recognized what the Fed was doing and made thousands of irresponsible mortgage loans to unqualified borrowers to earn extra fee income. Then to get these loans off the banks books they packaged them up in pools, got unrealistically good credit ratings on the pools by lying to rating agencies, obtained government guarantees in some instances, and sold interests in the pools to unsuspecting investors in the US and surprisingly in Europe as well.

This flood of bad paper began to show itself in the last 18 months of the Cheney/Bush administration. So the American people saw Congress vote nearly a trillion dollar to bail out of the large financial institutions. This was added to the debt from the two wars. In addition the large amount of bad American paper that had been sold to Europeans contributed greatly to the sever recession that gripped that continent.

The war cost in lives and treasure were tremendous plus the disgust seeing greedy bankers bailed out by middle class folks while recently unemployed homeowners lost their dwellings caused the American people to throw caution to the wind, forgot the importance of divided government, and elect a unified Democratic government under the leadership of the most left wing President the country had ever had, Barach Obama.

Obama and the Democrats moved quickly to impose a universal health care system on America in a time of sever recession. The added uncertainty of such a “reform” of 1/6 th of the economy assured that a longer, slower recovery was in store for America. This process was made more difficult by the failing health of Sen Ted Kennedy (D - MA). His vote was the 60th Democrat vote protecting the Senate from a Republican filibuster. Accordingly the Senate’s bill, regardless of its quality, had to be passed quickly by both houses because the polls out of Massachusetts showed a Republican was likely to succeed Kennedy

Then the Obama administration with its control of the White House, and with a good majority in both the House of Representative and the Senate, passed a financial control bill which allowed the Federal government to impose detail regulations designed to clean up the problems in the financial services industry, banks, brokerages, and insurance companies. The law was intended to reign in and control the big financial companies and cause them to consider divesting themselves of their many substaries. The actual effect was to impose a level of regulation that small financial institutions could not withstand. As the many small financial companies closed or merged, the big institutions, that had caused the problem, just got bigger. This bill’s economic dislocation was considerable and did not help the recovery

The President had effectively used his leadership of the Democratic Party to ram through his health care and financial regulatory bills without providing the legislators any opportunity to fully read much less understand the legislation. The Democratic speaker of the House of Represented, Nancy Pelosi, characterized this process by saying “We have to pass the bill in order to learn what’s in the bill”. .

After two years, the American people came to their senses and elected a majority of Republicans to the House of Representatives. Additionally in the Republican primaries, they generally selected the most fiscally conservative candidates. These conservatives, generally called Tea Party Republicans came to Washington to check Obama’s excesses.

However, there were actually very few levers for these conservatives to use implementing their plan to: 1) reverse Obama’s plan to take over 1/6th of the economy and 2) generally cut the size of govt. Money matters, such as annual appropriations for the various department and debt approvals, were the only places where the House has constitutionally mandated “first mover” responsibility.

Since appropriation bills for the various departments had not moved through Congress a continuing resolution for the whole government was needed. The conservatives who had hoped to force a defunding of Obamacare on the Health and Human Services Dept. appropriation bill, were forced to put the defunding language on the continuing resolution. The President and the US Senate, rather than accept this blocking action on their plan to take over 1/6th of the economy, accepted a shutdown of the entire govt. The Democrats, the liberal press, and certain moderate Republicans blamed these conservatives for the shutdown. The President made the shut down as painful for the American public as possible by laying off govt. employees that dealt directly with the public.

Fortunately a debt increase vote was also pending. The conservatives used this situation to reinforce their demands. They refused to vote for the debt increase and this forced Wall Street’s “top 1% ” to become concerned. Then there was a threat by Jack Lew, the Secy. of Treasury, to use available tax receipts to pay the normal bills of government rather than interest and principle on the debt This treat really shocked the Wall Street people. These wealthy people added their voices to those of the Democrats, the media, and the liberal Republicans to demand that the conservatives relent.

The conservatives, always hoping and praying that “the wayward once informed of their faults might repent and change”, decided to give the administration and the Democrats in Congress 90 days to do some reconsideration and engage in serious negotiations.

This drama has only reached the end of its first act. The conservative force is not spent; they continue to push for a return to traditional American values of strong family ties, self reliance, personal charity, self sacrifrace, personal competence, hard work, traditional religious faith, small government, local control, etc. But the liberal force is not spent either. The majority of American are dependent on big government. The programs are very numerous. They include: food stamps, housing assistance, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Securities, Social Security Disability, Supplemental Social Securities, etc. Many people do not like this dependancy, but it exists, and throughout history most people will vote their pocket books over their ideals.

As an aside, it should be noted that that the exsistence of so much dependency by working aged people is the result of government;s elimination of jobs suitable for low skilled men. The reduction of protective tariffs and the relocation of manufacturing jobs to Mexico, south asia, and China has hrlped destroy 53,000 manufacturing plants and destroyed tens of millions jobs that allowed low skilled men to provide income for their families and triggered the need for massive support programs.


In theory, the gradual smooth implementation of, or gradual rollback of, programs that centralize authority and create widespread dependancy, needs a moderate group of legislator both Democrat and Republican. It is terrible to say but these moderates need to be mostly interested in filling up their campaign war chests, getting re-elected, and, most important of all, a willingness to let the enlightened thinking of the “top ten” in Washington direct this process so long a the “top ten” positions are staffed by moderates as well. All the moderates really insist on is a slow implementation of, or slow unwinding of, programs so the public doesn’t get too churned up at any one time. Also, and most important of all, those in the top ten positions must agree that the government debt won’t rise and that the Federal government’s take from the economy will be capped at say 19% of GDP. Without these understandings, the distructive political tactic of promising handouts, with no discussion of costs(or taxes), will appear once again.

However, the way congressional districts are drawn today is problematic for any group of moderate candidates. Well meaning politicians in state capitals following the sentiment laid out by the Supreme Court (see Baker v Carr) have opted to create many left leaning Democratic districts that are so black and so Democratic they will elected a liberal black in both the primary and general election. Each time one of these super Democrat districts is created an adjacent super conservative Republican District is usually created as well. These Super Republican districts have been the source of the most ardent conservatives in Congress.

Additionally , many of these super conservatives have taken the Grover Norquist “no new taxes pledge” and are thus put in direct forceful opposition to the encroachment of costly centralizing ideas like Obamacare, which is a prime example of such a program. This program wishes to provide insurance to the 15% of Americans who lack health coverage mostly because of low family income, pre-existing conditions, and/or mental ailments. However, the designers wanted to pay for this coverage by doing these things 1) requiring insured Americans (the 85%) to pay for features many didn’t want such as mental coverage, maturnity coverage, and pediatric dental coverage to bolster the total revenue paid to insurance companies, 2) using tax money to pay for all or part of the cost of insurance premiums that the low income and mentally people are required to pay but lack resources to pay, and finally 3) make participation in the programs compulsurary so all Americans, healthy or not, have to buy these “juiced up” expensive insurance policies. Thus the 85% must be commanded and controlled so the 15% can be covered. Even better, 100% of all Americans are now subject to detail direction and control from Washington.

With non-moderates coming from Super Democrat District serving in a Congress and with non-moderates coming from Super Republican Districts, the country has a Congress where productive conversation is difficult. Normally one would expect some push from the “Washington ten” to force sense into the conversation, but the Supreme Court missed its chance by simply calling an unconstitutional Obamacare mandate simply a constitutionally allowed tax. That left the ball in the President’s court, but since he is the most liberal of liberal Democrats, he has no inclination to play the peace maker role. His mantra is “rule or ruin”.

So a damaging stand off is likely again in early 2014. The economy will stumble slightly again just as it did with the earlier govt. shutdown and threat by Lew not to pay interest and principal on government bonds. However the American people now understand the full scope of Obamacare and understand the conservatives’ concerns.

Additionally the people now realize that the minor economic stumbles cause by a govt. shutdown and threat not to raise the debt limit, are not nearly as sever as Obamacare which was truly catastrophic for the recovery. It caused every employer in the land to step back, stop hiring (unless the new hire absolutely needed), switch people to part time status, and wait to see what regulations would accompany the health care law. This law left vast discretion in the hands of those who wrote the implementing regulations. The negative impact of Obamacare was exasperated by the fact that the president postponed the implementation of the law. This meant the economic uncertainty caused by the new healthcare law was spread over many more months.


Both Tea Party types and Obama are examples of extreme political actors that are frightening to a majority of Americans particularly if they serve in a “top ten” position. Now it is possible for one or the other of such extremists to get elected or appointed to lesser offices and even get re-elected because of polarized re-districting (as pointed out earlier) or turn out anomilies caused by the distortions in the party mominating processes.

An example or two might help understanding here. Mitt Romney for example template destined to both get the Republican nomination and yet have difficulty in the general election. The nomination was his because 1) it was his turn and that counts for a lot in Republican circles, 2) he was a moderate and every thoughtful person knew the nation needed a moderate, 3) the Republican conservatives were more numerous but the several conservative canadates has split that voter block, and 4) he had access to sufficient funding. However, Romney had a near impossible task in the general election because he could not generate “turn out entusiasim” amongst Republicans because 1) he had come from out of a liberal Republican milieu in Massachusetts that looked suspicious to normal Republicans, 2) his religion, which he strongly embraces, has not yet been accepted as truly a part of main stream Christianity, 3) he had been responsible for Romney-care in Massachusetts which served as a design template for Obamacare. So America missed an opportunity to move from an extremist President to a more moderate President.

The Obama election and re-election are illustrative of how an extremist can be helped by certain anmomolies. Seeking the nomination in 08 Obama was able to play on the feeling amongst party leaders that “the time had come for a black candidate”. Recall Hillary won the majority of elected delegates, but the super delegates (ie party leaders) throw the nomination to Obama. . The Democratic leaders were conscious of Obama’s ability to turn out black voters and they seemed oblivious to the candidate’s extreme record in both Illinois and US Senates. These party leaders focused on the vote getting ability of the candidate, not his extreme positions. These party leaders were correct. Their candidate helped the party win but he then 1) throw a “cross body block” into an already fragile economy with Obamacare, and 2) attacked the Christian culture, including the American Christian culture, that has for centuries defined marriage and rules for government funding of abortion, birth control, etc.

Here in the example the Republican leaders demonstrated a willingness to put forward a moderate who had issues with large groups within the party, whereas the Democratic leaders in 2008 had looked at the huge inner city vote that Obama could mobilize. So regardless of the candidate’s unwillingness to compromise and be moderate, the Democrats pushed him forward.

In sum, the extreme “war hawkishness” of the Bush administration led to the election of an extreme liberal and then Republicans in conservative areas responded by sending tea party extremists to counter the liberal President. However, at the National level the Republican party put forward a moderate Presidential candidate. l pendulum needs to stop swinging so violently. What follows are a few suggestions which might lead the country toward moderation.


The following are unlikely to be adopted, but if they were the United States would likely have a long term future. If proposals such as these are not adopted - rapid decline is likely to befall the US. A large heterogeneous county can’t pssiblly survive without a lot of comity amongst its leaders.

1) Change the veto over ride percent to 55% from 66.66%. This would give Congress a fighting chance to change laws that the President likes but are 1) not working properly or 2) has been used by the President to promulgate onerous regulations.

2) Allow Congress a single house veto over any regulation promulgated by an agency or executive department. (Or less realistic take away the power of Congress to delegate regulation writing authority to the departments and independent agencies. If a provision is not in the law as passed, the provision doesn’t exist.)

3) Allow Congress and/or the state legislators a way to force a delay and/or review of any SC decision. Teddy Roosevelt saw this problem a hundred years ago and yet nothing has been done to address this festering problem. Perhaps a petition from 55 members of Congress (or from 500 state legislators) would triggers a reconsideration of and re-write of the offending court decision.

4) Insist that each state with more than one congressional district install a computer based congressional district boundary drawing system with said system programed to create districts where moderates, regardless of party, are more likely to win ultimate election. This would likely eliminate districts specially created for blacks as well as many tea party districts.

5) Put in a balanced budget Amendment at the Federal level. The balance requirement might have a “suspense” clause for one year only if the unemployment rate is too high and if it can be shown that Congress paid down debt 3% of the debt outstanding in the prior 5 years during the last period of prosperity.

6) Allow for automatic percent reductions in entitlement payments along with automatic cuts in discretionary spending to force the annual budget into balance. The 17 trillion dollar deficit (and the 60 trillion to 100 trillion of unfunded future liabilities) make such an approach mandatory.

7) Back the currency by allowing citizens to exchange dollars for a physical amounts of 25 commodities, the amounts of each commodity would be determined on the date of the exchange with 4% of the basket going to each of the commodities. Perhaps an actual physical exchange would only be allowed for $100,000 of cash or more, but smaller dollar amounts could be allowed by giving the citizen a certificate showing partial ownership of a full basket as of a given date. This would allow units of ownership to develop for small holders to protect their holdings from inflation and/or in the alternative subject them to the risk of losses from the ravages of deflation, whichever developed in the future.

8) Restore to state legislators the right to pick their US Senators. This would restore the appreance of more states rights and federalism. It would also create in the Senate a greater feeling that the prerogatives of the states need to be protected.

9) Put Term limits on members of the US Congress; seven terms for the House or two terms for US Senate. A politician, who has service in both, would be limited to 12 years total service. (Giving the house member an extra two years before being termed out would encourage more career politicians to stay in the House.)

10) Create a “Private Charity money - Public money” match program, say a 50/50 match, for certain eleemosynary activities . Only private charities that have actually raised money would benefit and these charities are usually quite effective. They oftentimes require their beneficiaries to change certain behaviors to fully participate in their programs. These reciprocal requirements, which are difficult for the government to require, are common in programs run by private charities. The benefitted charities would likely do a lot more with the extra money than government run programs.

11) Create an another way to amend the US Constitution, a process that begins and ends in the state legislatures and which has no Washington involvement whatsoever. This would restore, in a nominal way, the sense that the state’s possessed some equality with Washington under Federalism.

12) Restrict lawyers to fewer roles in the Federal government. Lawyers should serve in decision making positions in the judicial branch and in the Justice Dept. in all other areas of government, legislative and executive, their role should be limited advisor positions only, never service in a decision making capacity. This limitation would open many government positions for people with other educations and life experiences....................(prepared by Hugh Murray on 11/22/2013)

Cardinal Burke Travels from Rome to Alabama for Dedication of a Eucharistic Center

The Catholic network EWTN decided to set up a center designed to educate Catholics and non-Catholics about the meaning and importance of the Holy Eurcharist which is the sacrament at the heart of each Mass.

To celebrate this event EWTN invited one of the more conservative Cardinals to celebrate the Mass dedicating the Center on Dec 7, 2013. This Cardinal was Raymond Burke, who heads up the Vatican’s court system which enforces Church Law world wide. He opted to say a Solemn High “Sung” Mass. He said it with the celebrate facing away from the congregation and toward an image of Christ being crucified. In addition Burke arranged to have communion delivered to the faithful kneeling at the communion rail and on the tongue. In addition, many of the Mass’ prayers were recited, chanted, or sung in Latin.

Cardinal Burke delivered a extraordinarily well researched homily on the doctrine of the Holy Eucharist. His remarks lasted more than twenty minutes and should be made available in pamphlets form, to every Catholic and everyone considering conversion to the Catholic Church.

All in all, the Mass was a valiant attempted to bring back the mystery and majesty of the old Tridentine Mass, now called Mass in the extraordiny form. The attempt failed mostly because the priests helping Burke were not practiced with the format and the congregation seemed uncomfortable with the strange format. They seemed unable to let themselves be caught up in this ritual. Additionally the sung and some chanted sections were handled exclusively by nuns. These sections would probably have benefitted from the inclusion of some male voices.

However, despite all the negative points just expounded, the Mass was a great step forward putting the Crucified Christ at the focal point of Mass and reducing the role of the celebrate in the second half of the Mass called the Liturgy of the Eucharist. Communion at the communion rail to communicates who are kneeling was a most heartwarming. If Catholics truly believe that the consecrated host is the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ, it is most appropriate, indeed some might say mandatory, that believers kneel to receive.

All should say: “Thank you Cardinal Burke for bringing such a Mass to EWTN” .......(prepared by Hugh Murray on x/xx/2013)


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This page hopes to bring a common sense, old fashioned view to today's news. The comments displayed on this page were prepared by Hugh V. Murray, who can be reached at hvm@aol.com