Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!
May the Son of God, Savior of the World,
reign in the hearts of all who fear God 
and believe in His Omnipotence!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

A Tribute to the Children of Sandy Hook

I had already logged off of my blog for the night when I read an email from one of my younger brothers. I had to post the poem that was in the email he sent. It makes me weep -- in joy for the children and in sorrow for the loved ones who love and miss them so much.

Eleven Days Before Christmas

Twas' 11 days before Christmas, around 9:38
when 20 beautiful children stormed through heaven's gate.
Their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the air.
They could hardly believe all the beauty they saw there.
They were filled with such joy, they didn't know what to say.
They remembered nothing of what had happened earlier that day.

"Where are we?" asked a little girl, as quiet as a mouse.
"This is heaven." declared a small boy. "We're spending Christmas at
God's house."
When what to their wondering eyes did appear,
but Jesus, their Savior, the children gathered near.

He looked at them and smiled, and they smiled just the same.
Then He opened His arms and He called them by name.
And in that moment was joy, that only heaven can bring.
Those children all flew into the arms of their King.

And as they lingered in the warmth of His embrace,
one small girl turned and looked at Jesus' face.
And as if He could read all the questions she had
He gently whispered to her, "I'll take care of mom and dad."
Then He looked down on earth, the world far below
He saw all of the hurt, the sorrow, and woe.
Then He closed His eyes and He outstretched His hand,
"Let My power and presence re-enter this land!"
"May this country be delivered from the hands of fools"
"I'm taking back my nation. I'm taking back my schools!"
Then He and the children stood up without a sound.
"Come now my children, let me show you around."

Excitement filled the space, some skipped and some ran,
all displaying enthusiasm that only a small child can.
And I heard Him proclaim as He walked out of sight,
"In the midst of this darkness, I AM STILL THE LIGHT."

Written by Cameo Smith, Mt. Wolf, PA
The names and ages of Sandy Hook's dead children and school staff: Charlotte Bacon (6), Daniel Barden (7), Rachel Davino (29), Olivia Engel (6), Josephine Gay (7), Ana M Marquez-Greene (6), Dylan Hockley (6), Dawn Hochsprung (47), Madeline F. Hsu (6), Catherine V. Hubbard (6), Chase Kowalski (7), Jesse Lewis (6), James Mattioli (6), Grace McDonnell (7), Anne Marie Murphy (52), Emilie Parker (6), Jack Pinto (6), Noah Pozner (6), Caroline Previdi (6), Jessica Rekos (6), Avielle Richman (6), Lauren Rousseau (30), Mary Sherlach (56), Victoria Soto (27), Benjamin Wheeler (6), Allison N Wyatt (6).

A Moving Video Tribute to Baby Dominic Pio

What a beautiful video tribute to the little boy whose struggle for survival has brought so many to their knees in the past month. We must continue to pray for Baby Dominic Pio and his family.

God Bless the entire Gundrum family 
and grant them a very Merry Christmas!


Sunday Snippets for 12/16/12

Thanks to Sunday Snippets host "This That and the Other Thing" for providing this chance for Catholic bloggers to share their thoughts with each other. Below are the posts to my blog for the week of 12/16/12. Merry Christmas to All!

A Tribute to the Children of Sandy Hook

A Moving Video Tribute to Baby Dominic Pio

Iben Browning, Y2K, the Mayan Calendar, and the God Who Loves Us

Baby Dominic Pio Progressing

Mental Illness and the Destruction Caused by Anorexia

Twelve Days of Christmas

Starbucks, Planned Parenthood, and Conscience

Merry Christmas to All and 
a Happy 2013 to all 
Catholic Bloggers!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Starbucks, Planned Parenthood, and Conscience

I knew there was a reason I did not like Starbucks. Well, besides the fact that I cannot stand the taste of their coffee. This story gives me another reason. (Link to story in the previous sentence.) My disdain for Planned Parenthood is no secret. Same with my distaste for Starbucks.

When my husband told me tonight that he bought Starbucks cards for our two teens, I told showed him this story. Then I told him that I will buy them Dunkin' Donuts gift cards. When they open their gifts on Christmas we tell them that, as young Catholics, they will have to make lots of decisions that will force them to weigh their consciences -- as they will all throughout their lives. Making purchases or not will be one of them when they know that a product supports causes that are against our Catholic faith and beliefs.

I suspect that at least one Starbucks cards will be spent before our 13-year-old is confirmed in May!

It's your choice...


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Twelve Days of Christmas

Last weekend my husband and I took a we days to get away and relax. A very kind friend gave us some points from her "timeshare" ( for lack of a better characterization) and we got away to historic Williamsburg, Virginia. Although the drive down was a headache in I95, we arrived safe and sound on Friday. Tragically, it was the same day that the Connecticut shootings occurred. But we still managed to enjoy ourselves on Saturday as we explored the historic areas and did a little shopping.

One of the highlights of our day was a street performance by a "gang" of young college aged men who were trying to earn a few dollars for themselves, something I do not begrudge them in the least. So here is the video of one of their songs. It is one of those songs which normally causes people to cringe when they hear it announced. Indeed, a program on the TV tonight called it the Christmas version of "21 bottles of beer on the wall." Yes, it is "The Twelve Days of Christmas," but in a style you have never heard before. Enjoy.

Check out the website for these talented singers at 


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Mental Illness and the Destruction Caused by Anorexia

In the last week we have been made aware of how mental illness can take over a person's life -- in the emerging profile of Adam Lanza, who shot and killed 27 people and then himself last Friday in Connecticut. That unspeakable tragedy will never be forgotten, and the wounds will never fully heal.

Sadly, the following video depicts another person with a mental illness - an illness that is destroying the life of the woman who suffers from it and the lives of her loved ones.

I can personally attest to the the hold that anorexia can have over a person's psyche. Thanks be to God, I was able to (mostly) break free from the psychological hold that the need (desire) for perfection and acceptance can have on you.

We Christians, as a faith-based People of God, have to be aware of the emotions and actions and words and cries for help of those around us. We are a People of God, and if we have no trust in each other nor a belief in Him, we are destined for bitter self-destruction.



Baby Dominic Pio Progressing

Pre-surgery Wednesday
In my busy-ness I have been a bit neglectful this week of keeping up with the progress of Baby Dominic. His mom reports that he continues to progress in Boston. He had another surgery this morning, and his diabetes persists. But his wounds are healing up. He had an infection in a place on his face, and there is concern that cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) may be leaking. They may have to put in a stint. But Dominic Pio is having some periods without excruciating pain -- enough to cuddle with Mom and be able to watch Sesame Street. Please keep praying!

[UPDATE Thursday 12/19/12]
Dominic's mom, Mary, posted a photo of him after the surgery where they had to open a whole between his eyes to drain fluid. He is recovering, and he seems to be in less pain. His siblings are visiting him, and Mary says he is really responding to them. That's great news!

Post-surgery Wednesday

Iben Browning, Y2K, the Mayan Calendar, and the God Who Loves Us

In every generation there are tales of the coming of end times, of Armageddon, and of the demise of life as we know it. Some predictions are more more memorable than others.

Recently I was reminded of the events of twenty-one years ago, in early December 1991. I was a much younger 30-year-old elementary school teacher back then, and I recall vividly the hype that grew to overwhelming decibels over the prediction by a man named Iben Browing that a monumental earthquake was going to strike the New Madrid fault that runs along the Mississippi River between Missouri on one side and Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee on the other. So adamant and persistent was Browning in his prediction that our classrooms in the Catholic school where I taught stockpiled water and other essentials. Then on the days that he pinpointed --December 2 and 3-- we got out of school because the public schools closed on those days. No joke.Nothing happened, naturally, but the "better safe than sorry" crowd prevailed.

Then came the Y2K about 8 years later. It was predicted that the change over to 2000 would disrupt everything--from finances to life-sustaining medical equipment, to such a degree that the world was in danger of exploding at the stroke of midnight going into January 1, 2000. Never mind that there are 24 time-zones and not everyone enters the new year at the same time. We were told that our existence was so intertwined that computers would crash and we would be lucky to survive. Again, nothing happened, and everyone that I know lived to tell about it.

A similar phenomenon is happening now. I had heard about it but had read nothing about it in recent weeks. Then this morning the cleaning lady in the building where I work was at the coffee pot very early. We were the only ones in the building. That's when she generally does her work. She is from Mexico, and spoke no English when I first met her almost 7 years ago. Now she has mastered the basics of the English language quite admirably. We were speaking about Christmas and the coming break when she interjected,  "I scared. Bad things going happen. You hear about this?" At first I was confused, then I realized she was referring to the prediction that this is the end of times since the Mayan calendar has come to an end.

"Oh," I said. "You mean the Mayan thing?"

"Yeeeeees," she said, eyes wide as she nodded her head affirmatively. "We could die."

I smiled a bit and assured her, "I think God would not let us die in a blast. I think he loves us too much to let the world go 'BOOM.'" I emphasized the BOOM with sound effects and spreading my arms wide.

She smiled too, and said, "Yeah, I think so, too. But I still scared."

The end is supposed to come at sunrise on December 21, which is Friday. Tomorrow our cleaning lady is treating the folks who work in our building to pizza. So I told her, "Well if it happens at least we will die with our stomachs full from your pizza!"

She chuckled out loud and said, "Yeah. I better make it pizza with the works!'

I thank God for giving both of us a sense of humor amid all this craziness.



Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Tale of Two Domi(e)nics

Dominic and his dad
Over the last week I have been updating readers on the progress of Baby Dominic as he recovers from life-altering surgery. His family feared losing him in the aftermath of his facial reconstruction. He is still not out of the water yet, but there is great hope and he is making progress every day. His family cannot wait to be reunited when Dominic is able to go home. There will be great rejoicing when that milestone is reached. I pray that it will be soon. Families need to be together to love and support one another.

Sadly, though, there is another Domenic who needs our prayers. This is Domenic with an "E", and he is across the ocean in Sweden. Domenic also desperately wants and needs to be with his family -- his mother and father. However, the government has decided that is not going to happen. A Swedish appellate court this week reversed an earlier court decision by a lower court that would have sent Domenic home. Instead, the appellate court has said that the parental rights of Domenic's parents, Christer and Annie, should be terminated. Domenic was taken away from his parents 3 1/2 years ago, and now his hope for being returned to them is dimming.

Domenic and his mom
What did Domenic's parents do that is so horrible that the Swedish government has taken their only child away from them? They homeschooled him. I know, it almost makes you laugh because it is so preposterous. But that is the truth. I have written more on my other blog, so I will refer you there for more details.

Please add Domenic to your prayer list. He and Dominic both need our prayers so that they can each be re-united with their families who love them beyond measure.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Mor-an More It Appears Virginians Have Been Had

So this is a perfect story for Catholic voters to be informed about and to learn from.
The Moran Boys 
Back in October, days before the nation-wide election, Virginia Congressman Jim Moran's son, Patrick, was caught on tape being receptive to voter fraud. He laughed at the proposed scheme and told an undercover pretend-liberal how to fake documents in order to vote illegally for dozens of people. The fake liberal explained that his helpers were going to pretend to be these voters so they could vote for Obama. Sonny Moran was campaign manager for Daddy's campaign in the Northern Virginia area. When the news broke, Daddy Moran explained away his son's crimes, and the voters in northern Virginia bought the lies. They re-elected the enabling Daddy Moran to Congress over an Army veteran with impeccable credentials.

Today a story appeared in a local Arlington paper/website that Sonny Moran beat up his girlfriend outside a D.C. bar a few nights ago. Yes, the big bad baby Moran smashed his girlfriend's face into a metal trash can. What a man! He beat up a defenseless woman. What father wouldn't be proud? So what was his Congressman father's response?

“Patrick and Kelly are both good kids and I hope their privacy will be respected,” Rep. Moran said in a brief statement. “They look forward to putting this embarrassing situation behind them.”

Really? Embarrassing? Does one plead guilty to assault, amended down from felony domestic violence (which Son Moran did today) simply because it is embarrassing?

Me thinks this should be labelled for what it is: a "war on women..."

I guess the old saying really is true: The apple doesn't fall far from the tree...

NOTE: True to form, the girlfriend released a statement saying the police report was wrong, that she accidently fell into the trash can. Ahhhh, so that's why young Moron pled guilty to assault. Makes sense. Won't be surprising when he beats the living daylights out of her next time. That will be really embarrassing! Here's a screenshot of the D.C. Superior Court record.

What does not show up at the bottom is that the sentence was 90 days suspended (translated no jail time), 50 hours of community service (probably registering people to vote), and $50. That last one should really set him back. He has until January 13 to pay it from the allowance Daddy gives him.

What a joke. Just like his old man.



Baby Dominic Pio, Mother Mary, and Aunt Becky

Baby Dominic continues to make progress. Keep checking his website to see his progress. His mom, Mary, writes when she can, but she has 7 other children that need her love and care also.

Mary's sister Becky occasionally writes in her stead on, and she also writes a blog of her own called Roses for Mary. At first I thought it was a blog about her sister Mary, but then I saw that it is about her business. Becky makes rosaries with roses in them -- roses for Mary. If you are looking for a nice Christmas gift, this is a terrific website to visit.

Handmade rosary "wooden" clay bead rosary, St.Benedict--reserve for Anna
I borrowed this image from Roses for Mary to
show an example of the rosaries Becky makes.
And Becky has another blog called "A Blog for Grandma" where she writes about her life with her husband kids mostly. I was captivated reading her most recent entries. In particular, she writes about meeting her nephew, Dominic Pio, for the first time just last month around Thanksgiving. She describes the concern she felt over her own five children seeing Dominic for the first time in light of his facial deformities. Here is what Becky writes about the events:
And so I had plenty of reason to be nervous about the kids seeing Dominic for the first time. I had prepared them as best I could with showing them pictures of Dominic, watching videos, showing them how he is a not just a typical baby, but very special in the eyes of God. I told them how when God gives a child a handicap, He also gives them a few extra gifts as well--gifts that most typical people don't have. I then told them, "So get all your questions out now--I don't want you guys asking Uncle Mark and Aunt Mary all sorts of things about Dominic's "bubble" because it might hurt their feelings." They didn't have any questions at the time. But they had a lot of sympathy for Dominic to which Lucy loudly lamented when she first met him, "Poor Dominic! How will he ever be able to pick his nose?!"
Isn't that precious? Out of the mouths of babes. I will return to Becky's blogs to see how business is going and how her life is progressing!

God bless you, Becky. And God bless Mary and Baby Dominic Pio!


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Baby Dominic Pio Continues to Make Progress

Baby Dominic Pio's mother posted a couple of pictures of herself and her husband holding Dominic -- their first chance to have substantial contact since the surgery a week ago.

Mom and Dad Gundrum holding Baby Dominic

Baby Dominic sleeping with his favorite blanket
They say God never gives us more than we can handle. I think sometimes He comes pretty close!

Keep getting well, Baby Dominic!


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Advent: Waiting for Birth... and Death

Today is the Second Sunday of Advent, and while many (not all) Christians around the world observe this time (generally between Thanksgiving and Christmas) as a period of waiting for the coming of our Savior, millions around the world are watching the end approaching. That is, they are waiting for death to arrive for some entity that has meant a great deal to their respective countries. In particular, Great Britain, Venezuela, South Africa, and the United States are watching and waiting.

The question I pose is this: Which of these four impending deaths speaks most loudly to your conscience? I have ranked them in the order that they have meaning for me -- in terms of reflecting on what this means in the proverbial "grand scheme of things."

The Duchess of Cambridge visits Tuvanipupu Island on their Diamond Jubilee tour of the Far East in Honiara, Guadalcanal Island
Duchess Kate Middleton
(1) Duchess Kate and her deteriorating condition. Ever since it was announced earlier this week that the "Royal Couple" is expecting a baby, the paparazzi and media in general have gone into a frenzy. She was in the hospital for several days, then went home. And now it appears her condition has worsened. It seems a given that she will lose this baby and that all the British subjects will mourn. Indeed, the loss of every child's life is a sad occasion, especially when it is "a choice" by the mother to end the life. Clearly Kate has not chosen termination, but death does happen even without a mother choosing it. So, as sad as this will be if the child does not make it full term, at the risk of sounding callous, it will not affect my grand scheme nor, I daresay, the world's.I just wish the world for mourn for EVERY child that dies before having a chance to live outside the womb.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Minister Nicolas Maduro
Chavez appoints Veep as successor
(2) Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez appoints his successor before heading back to Cuba for pointless treatment of his cancer. Chavez has been dictator of the South American country for twelve years. He won re-election in October in a contest that many think was rigged against a much younger, more handsome, and charismatic candidate. Apparently Chavez has had a reality check and is admitting that he is not immortal. Or perhaps it's just that he was pressured by the legislature to make alternative plans just in case. In this case, I am betting that the just-in-case becomes THE case. Chavez will kick the bucket before his January third-term inauguration. And that will be a good thing for freedom-lovers around the world. Whether it is a good thing for the people of Venezuela remains to be seen. Since Chavez appointed his successor, it may be more of he same old same old.

Nelson Mandela
(3) Nelson Mandela, affectionately known to the people of South Africa as Madiba, is approaching the end. Mandela is 94 years old. Fifty years ago his chances of reaching age 50 were almost nil. A very dear friend of mine lived through the turmoil of 1980s-90s in South Africa when the white ruling class finally ceded power to the majority black native Africans. My friend showed me how important Mandela is, not just to the South African people, but to anyone who believes that no group of people should ever enslave others. I read Mandela's autobiography about 8 years ago, and I can say without a doubt that the mourning that will resound around the world when Madiba passes to his maker will be loud, sincere, and memorable in itself. I will join them in remembering a great man who, despite his short-comings, is one of a handful of men who have made a positive lasting mark on the history of modern civilization.

A farmer in rural America
(4) Rural America is dying. The head of the United States Department of Agriculture told farmers this week that they are becoming irrelevant. With the loss to Obama in November, conservatives who make up the vast majority of the agricultural industry are being told that they have to change and start thinking like city-dwellers. Vilsack was addressing the declining population of rural states and the decrease in interest in farming that is being shown by young people raised in farm states. If America cannot produce her own food, she will have to turn to other countries to feed her people. Or she will have to import people to do the jobs that no one here wants to do. This latter phenomenon has already been taking shape for the last four decades as immigrants come in to do jobs that farm owners say Americans do not want to do. For me, this death would be the most tragic and the most destructive if it came to pass. I come from a family of farmers. Several of my brothers still have their hands in the occupation, tangentially at best since it is hard to make a living at it these days. So when I see the decline in this honorable way of life, a part of me dies along with it. My prayer is that men and women who love this way of life will find a way to instill in the younger generation the importance of maintaining it. It is too important to let it die....


Friday, December 7, 2012

Update on Dominic Pio and His Battle for Survival

Baby Dominic Pio needs prayers immediately. The little angel is struggling for his life. His mom has posted additional post-surgery pictures and is asking people to pray for him.

His brain is recovering, but there are other complications that caused him to code yesterday. Please storm Heaven with your prayers and ask any believer that you know to pray for this little boy and his family.

IUD Fails Woman, But D & C at Planned Parenthood Doesn't

Last month I highlighted the story of a young girl in Florida who got pregnant at age 14, delivered the child in her bathroom at home, and snuffed out the baby boy's life with a towel. She even explained this step by step to police days later, after her mother found the baby's decomposing body wrapped up in rags in her bedroom. In that blog post I said:
What is astonishing to me is not what happened to this baby or what the teen mother did. It is the fact that no one is acknowledging the real crime in all of this. It is the abortion-supporting American public who should be charged with murder in this case.
One reader commented that I was drawing conclusions from the facts of the article, which I do not deny. Indeed, this article on the Life Site News website this morning offers support for my assertion that we live in a society where women have been inculturated to believe that if a pregnancy or the prospect of bearing a child is unappealing, then they should just end their child's life. Just so they do it before the child's head enters the world.

The Life Site article is about  a woman who wrote to a pro-abortion website to express her shock over having gotten pregnant while her IUD, which she calls her "faithful friend," was implanted in her uterus. She says she told her boyfriend she was pregnant, and then she called Planned Parenthood to schedule an abortion. She writes:
When I put down the phone I'm hit with a wave of relief. This all seems much more manageable now. Something went wrong, but now there are steps to fix it. Yes, I’m pregnant, but it’s a temporary state. I can see the day on the calendar when it won’t be true anymore. I just have to make it through the week. We’ve got a solution, it’s the solution we want, and now we just have to wait until we can act. Wednesday, then Saturday, then freedom.

But that still leaves a week of being pregnant.

How inconvenient for her.

Such lovely choices of IUDs to fit her mood.
That one week of being pregnant had a slight effect on the woman's conscience. On the way to the PP clinic for the abortion, she questioned herself and wondered about the life growing inside her. She wondered if she should be unselfish and keep the child, which she calls "embryonic cells." Then "reason" took over and she said, “I want us to be sure without a faulty copper wire forcing our hand.”  Naturally, she had the abortion since she and her BF are just "not there yet."

How inconvenient for the child.

This excerpt from the Life Site article is spot on:
According to Brian Clowes, a researcher with Human Life International, [this woman's] experience is all too common. “This story is about only one of the nearly two and a half million contraceptive failures that occur in the United States each year,” said Clowes, “and nearly half of these end in abortion.  
 “Women (and men) have been conditioned to use devices that just do not do what they are billed to do - prevent pregnancy” he said. He pointed out that “when our pills or IUDs or condoms fail, we feel entitled to ‘fix’ the problem with abortion.”

“Contraception has made us spiritually and emotionally lazy,” he said.
Can I get an "Amen"? What is there to contest in that conclusion? That's Lazy with a capital L.

There are a lot of things in our society, lifestyle, culture, educational system, political system, entertainment industry, and, yes, even our Church, that have made us spiritually and emotionally Lazy. I struggle with Laziness in my own life. None of us is perfect. That is what makes us human.

I just don't see murdering babies as a solution to anyone's problems. And I feel certain (WARNING: Conclusion being drawn ahead!) that the woman in the article did not solve her and her BF's only problem with that D & C at Planned Parenthood.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Girl Who Went Off the Fiscal Cliff

Mara Rooney as Lisbeth Salander
A few nights ago my husband and I watched the movie The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I had previously listened to it as a book on tape while driving to and from work for a week or two. It is an excellent movie/story/book. The movie alludes to the socialistic economy of Sweden, where the story is set, especially with regard to the main character, Lisbeth, being a ward of the state at age 23. She is taken care of by the state and has a (pig of a) guardian who doles out her government-awarded money to her.

I tell you this because conservative commentator and author British-born Mark Steyn  recently made a comment on Sean Hannity's show about the looming fiscal cliff and how, if things continue devolving in this country like they are under Obama, the U.S. soon will be like a "big Sweden." Sadly, about half of the people in this this country would like that to happen. Here's the Steyn cliff clip.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Please Pray for Baby Dominic Pio

I just read a new blog set up by the parents of a special little boy. His name is Dominic Pio, and he was born with facial deformities that defy explanation. It is almost as if two faces were joined into one, with a "bubble" in the middle of his face. The condition is called frontonasal dysplasia with encephalocele.

Dominic with siblings
Dominic, who was named after St. (Padre) Pio, is undergoing corrective surgery this week in Boston -- today, in fact.The latest report is that the "bubble" has been successfully removed. Little Dominic still has a long way to go though. So please join your prayers with all those who are praying for this special little boy and his family.

His family asks for prayers, so I am passing on this information. I am praying for strength and precision on behalf of the doctors who work to create a new face for this little boy. He has a loving family, and he deserves to be as "normal" as possible.

UPDATE 12/5/12: Post-surgery, Dominic Pio survived and is in recovery. Check back to his website where his mom is posting updates on his progress along with pictures like the one below.



Monday, December 3, 2012

Oh, Tannenbaum... Tannenbaum...Tannenbaum al

If you guessed 54, you are exactly right.

That is how many Christmas trees the Obamas have put up in the White House this year -- not counting what is in their private residence.

Is Al Gore having a heart attack over the carbon footprint this first family is leaving behind? What about the tree-huggers? Are they picketing outside the White House yet?

I like this little ditty by Dean Hilgeman, a Commenter on the website that published this story today.

 you better not work.
you better not try.
you better not earn.
I'm telling you why.
Obama Claus is coming to town.

He sees you when you're building.
he wants what you all make.
he'll tell the 47 per cent.
that being rich is a mistake.

oh you better not work.
you better not try.
you better not earn.
I'm telling you why.
Obama Claus is coming to town.

he’ll tell you to be thankful.
to bow down and give thanks.
or he’ll send you to a FEMA camp.
to get your thinking “straight”.

oh you better not work.
you better not try.
you better not earn.
I'm telling you why.
Obama Claus is coming to town.

he'll give you a free cell phone.
say Obamacare is great.
he'll tell you being a success.
is something you should hate.

oh you better not work.
you better not try.
you better not earn.
I'm telling you why.
Obama Claus is coooming tooo tooown!


Catholicism, Capitalism, and Cannibalism

One of the most distressing things I read these days from liberal writers is the notion that the Catholic Church does not believe in free market capitalism. I am doing my best -- which at this hectic time of the year is limited at best -- to read more on the topic.  

Earlier this year there was a short piece out of Loyola University of New Orleans on "Catholicism and Capitalism" which discusses very briefly the positions taken by Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict with regard to the "uneasy relationship between Catholicism and capitalism." Indeed I cringe when I read what comes across as an oxymoron when JP II said in his 1987 encyclical letter Sollicitudo Rei Socialis:
"The tension between East and West is an opposition... between two concepts of the development of individuals and peoples, both concepts being imperfect and in need of radical correction... This is one of the reasons why the Church’s social doctrine adopts a critical attitude towards both liberal capitalism and Marxist collectivism."
Yes, it is the pairing of the two words "liberal" and "capitalism" that I find antithetical. By "liberal" I surmise that JP II meant something more like "unbridled" rather than the meaning that "liberal" has garnered in this country -- synonymous with Democrat, in the same way conservative has become synonymous with Republican. One would never say "conservative socialism." I know well that so much of communication is about semantics, and the use of terms to mean things that they were not initially intended to cover or convey. That is a huge reason that education on all side of the issues is necessary today.

Father Robert Sirico, founder and president of the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty, recently published a book called Defending the Free Market: The Moral Case for a Free Economy. I just ordered it, and hope to read it over the holidays, if I do not have a mental breakdown before then. Here is Fr. Sirico defending his free-market economics think-tank as being in line with Catholic social teaching.

 During an interview earlier this year with Joseph Gorr on teh Patheos Evangelical channel, Sirico had this to say:
Sirico: I really find helpful Blessed John Paul II’s delineation between what might be called “capitalisms” in his 1991 encyclical Centesimus Annus where he says that the kind of “capitalism” which should replace the collapsed Communist regimes in Central and Eastern Europe and recommended to the developing world ought to be one “which recognizes the fundamental and positive role of business, the market, private property, and the resulting responsibility for the means of production, as well as free human creativity in the economic sector…” but then he is quick to add, “even though it would perhaps be more appropriate to speak of a “business economy,” “market economy,” or simply “free economy” (see Centesimus Annus, no. 42). Such an expression of human liberty, grounded in ethical and religious tradition—especially natural law reasoning—and circumscribed by law, is to my mind, the best we can get on earth. This approach is neither libertine nor anarchistic.

One of the real reasons that discussion needs to be had on this subject within the Church is that Catholics on both sides of the political aisle are at each others throats. If we do not have tempered, intelligent, collaborative discussion on the subject, the next C'ism to come along will inevitably be cannibalism.