Monthly Archives: August 2015

Alaska-bound, Obama makes waves by renaming Mount McKinley

He really is a third-world president, isn’t he?

Letter to everybody from James cut in pieces for today’s reading . . .

Letter of James chapter 1, today’s 2nd reading, is a quite expurgated selection, bowdlerized, severely edited, censored so as neither to offend nor reward pious ears.

Dearest brothers and sisters: All good giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change. He willed to give us birth by the word of truth that we may be a kind of first fruits of his creatures. (verses 17 & 18)

Humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you and is able to save your souls. (21b-22)

Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves.

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world. (27)

Not quite nothing to reward: The last, oft-quoted paragraph is a stand-alone gem. Same for the “Be doers” ‘graph. But what’s left out is revealing.

For instance, vv. 19b-20, about habits of deliberation, in the Ronald Knox version:

You know this, my beloved brethren, well enough. It is for us men to be ready listeners, slow to speak our minds, slow to take offence; man’s anger does not bear the fruit that is acceptable to God.

Ready listeners. Slow to speak. Slow to take offence! Hits home. A great point by James, but left out.

Then v. 26, about knowing when to say nothing, again per Knox version:

If anyone deludes himself by thinking he is serving God, when he has not learned to control his tongue, the service he gives is vain.

Now the conclusion, v. 27, as in the day’s reading above, as Knox turned it:

If he is to offer service pure and unblemished in the sight of  God, who is our Father, he must take care of orphans and widows in their need, and keep himself untainted by the world.

Knox has the better translation, in my book. But going beyond that to the substance of James, when you preface v. 27 about orphans and widows with v. 26 about controlling the tongue, we gain a perspective.

James makes one equal to the other. Both he says are essential to serving God. So know when to keep your mouth shut while helping the needy. The courtliness of St. James requires it.

St. James, pray for us.

Starkehaus: Chicago’s Archbishop equals abortion to illegal immigration? Really?

Writer argues that there are some things you can’t do no matter what, vs. the “seamless garment” business that falsifies Catholic social teaching.

Mark, chapter 6: The dance, the promise, the beheading

John the Baptist, model of conscience.

Spoke truth to power, as many self-righteous of this day claim they do, when they know nothing of the kind of power he faced, autocratic, middle eastern, first-century A.D., rule by whim of ruler.

Herodias the trophy wife gave the word to her dancing daughter, voluptuous, tempting, the coolest of chicks. Her stepfather Herod, a potentially decent sort, got lassoed. Had been drinking, the kid got to him (and his hangers-on, watching his every move), he promised the world or half of the part he controlled (I said POWER). The fool.

The angry mother told her. The head. She told the fool in charge, gulp. He liked John, liked to listen to him. John used the occasions not to butter him up but to admonish him. He was not going to back down, knew what was right and what was his duty. Very gutsy guy. Went with his conscience, angered the spiteful woman.

Now what? The others are looking at him. He had promised, had he not? What kind of king was that whose promise meant nothing? He swallowed hard. Turned to the hatchet man (not a figure of speech, as we use the phrase today), said get the head. Hurry up, chop-chop.

The daughter, learning how things are done, took the head on a platter (not figurative), and the mother smiled.

St. John the Baptist, pray for us.

Denver Airport Puts Chick-fil-A on Hold Over CEO’s Marriage Stance | Daily News |

Denver airport people feel “morally obliged” to bounce Chick etc. because its CEO differs from them on same-sex marriage.

Morality, is it? Hmm.

St. Francis is recruited to help save planet earth

Take the
St. Francis Pledge

Pope Francis cares about how the most vulnerable people among us are affected by climate change. Commit to protecting the people God loves by taking the St. Francis Pledge.

By pledging, you commit to praying, acting, and advocating to solve climate change. How you fulfill those commitments is up to you. We’ll send you resources and information to guide your choices. 

After taking the Pledge, you will receive action alerts to make a difference, carbon-reduction strategies to live justly on the Earth, and updates on Catholics leading the charge to solve climate change.

Let’s respond to Pope Francis’s call to act on climate change. Together, we can make a difference.

Dan Misleh,
Executive Director

Holy chutzpah, this assuming St. F. believes in man-made, man-preventive global w.

Why does Univision’s man on horse bother about Trump?

Crusader with microphone:

Over on CBS This Morning, Ramos again proved he is much more interested in pushing an agenda and opinion. Taunting Trump, the reporter insisted that the candidate can’t win:

JORGE RAMOS: Nationwide he doesn’t have the Latino vote and without the Latino vote, he cannot make it to the White House and he’s realizing that. You know, let’s talk in a year from now, let’s see first if he becomes the nominee and if he becomes the nominee he’s going to be pleading for the Latino vote because without the Latino vote, without 60 million that will go to the polls in 2016 he can’t make it to the White House, and he knows it.

However: If he’s not gonna win, why bother about him? Or does Ramos mean he’s not gonna win if Ramos bothers about him? The civilized world depends on Ramos!

Don’t you dare panic . . .

. . . if you know what’s good for you.

Common Core Standards: To Know Them is not to Love Them

Diane Ravitch's blog

Politico reports on the opinion poll conducted by the rightwing journal Education Next:

“COMMON CORE WAR MELLOWING?: Support for the Common Core standards is dropping, but it’s not in a freefall. In fact, it might even be stabilizing. Education Next’s new annual survey [ ] released with the Program on Education Policy and Governance at Harvard Kennedy School shows overall support slipped this year, falling four percentage points to 49 percent. A year earlier, however, support fell 12 points in one year. The survey has two more key takeaways on Common Core: Democrats over Republicans favor the standards (by a 57 percent to 37 percent margin), and the standards are becoming less popular with teachers. (Seventy-six percent of teachers in 2013 said they support the standards compared to 40 percent this year).”

To read the Education Next report, go here.

The big story here is the dramatic decline in…

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Pope Francis said WHAT about St. Francis? Referencing whom?

I think this from # 66 of Laudato si says a lot about Pope Francis:

Saint Bonaventure held that, through universal reconciliation with every creature, Saint Francis in some way returned to the state of original innocence.[40]

In some way, eh? State of original innocence? That would be before Adam and Eve got the heave-ho from paradise.

Adam, Eve expelled


So maybe, in some way, the pope’s patron was cured of original sin, placing him second only to the Blessed Virgin Mary, who was conceived without it! Why haven’t we heard about this before Laudato si?

Because we have not been reading our St. Bonaventure, who floats this arresting speculation in The Major Legend of Saint Francis, VIII, 1, in Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, New York-London-Manila, 2000, 586 — which I know from reading Laudato si footnote 40 (of Francis’s 172).

The next sentence says more:

This is a far cry from our situation today, where sin is manifest in all its destructive power in wars, the various forms of violence and abuse, the abandonment of the most vulnerable, and attacks on nature.

Pope Francis is on firm, well-traveled ground here, except that what it’s a far cry from is the state of innocence granted to St. Francis because of his universal reconciliation with every creature, which we know because the early Franciscan Bonaventure mentioned it in his Life of the saint..

So Pope Francis bolsters his argument for saving the earth with a throwaway line from a 13th-century philosopher-theologian writing a book about the revered founder of his own religious order.

One foot in the 21st century as a prophet against man-made global warming, the other in the 13th as off-the-wall homilist. That’s our pope, too easily impressed.

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