Category Archives: Obama

The pope’s a player, with a lot to lose

Francis doesn’t see himself that way. He’s more Ben Carson than Donald Trump. But he’s in it deeply.

Pope Francis is becoming an aggressive public player in secular politics, from the environment to economic policy. That carries risks, not for Francis alone, but for the papacy and the institution the pope leads.

Big problem there. He’s betting the farm, which isn’t his to bet.

The day before Pope Francis met with Mr. Obama, one of the president’s aides, Ben Rhodes, said: “How can we make use of the enormous platform that the pope’s visit provides to lift up the work we’re doing and demonstrate how it’s consistent with the direction that’s coming from the pope?” At the White House, Pope Francis praised Mr. Obama’s climate-change initiatives, and the president thanked the pope for supporting his policies on that and his opening to Cuba.

Brothers in Christ? Not quite, but consider this:

It is not possible to do this [exchange encomiums with
one of the big guys] and be “above” politics. Everyone in politics is one of the boys, including the pope.+

And your people have to be dragged along with you:

In Cuba, when the pope’s spokesman, Rev. Federico Lombardi, was asked if Pope Francis knew that 50 dissidents had been arrested, he said: “I don’t have any information about this.” Embarrassing bunk is standard for the Josh Earnests of the world. It should not become so for the pope’s spokesman.

With unforeseen consequences galore:

On one hand, Francis is amenable to being photographed smiling and squeezing hands with Fidel Castro, a decades-long oppressor of his nation’s Catholics. But then the Vatican objects that the pope might be photographed with a famous pro-abortion nun invited by the White House. Barack Obama plays hardball. His Justice Department had already sued the anti-abortion Little Sisters of the Poor.

Whom he unexpectedly visited, true, in a distinctly muted show of support in their battle with one of his new best friends. He has his priorities:

In the past two years, the plight of Christians in the Middle East has gone from persecution to slaughter. Decades of Vatican diplomacy there for the world’s most at-risk Christians has produced very little. Soon there may be nothing left to protect. On Friday, the pope reportedly will address the U.N. about climate change. A jeremiad against Christian extermination would be welcome this week, too.

His new friends use him.

What many of his new political friends mainly seek is to have the pope “moralize” their politics. Francis’ spiritual message could not be more secondary. They won’t be with him in Philadelphia. How allowing the papacy’s core moral authority to be politicized is in the interests of the Catholic Church as an institution is difficult to see.

Very difficult.


Maybe the Little Sisters visit means more than a nod in the right direction.

“What a huge boon to Catholic educators who yearn for relief from the Obama administration’s HHS mandate and protection of their First Amendment rights. This brings attention to the case that represents not only the Little Sisters but so many of us whose rights are denied,” said [Patrick] Reilly [president of the Obama-fighting Cardinal Newman Society].
Than again, probably not. Can we imagine Obama feeling pressured (or much less, inspired) by the Pope, him of the photo-op potential?

Obama’s glacier has shrunk at its usual glacial pace . . .

What is he really thinking?

Did you notice the shrinking Alaska glacier that the President used this week as evidence that humans are causing catastrophic warming? Greenpeace Co-Founder Patrick Moore writes that “the glacier in Glacier Bay began its retreat around 1750. By the time Capt. George Vancouver arrived there in 1794 the glacier still filled most of the bay but had already retreated some miles,” and by 1900 “Glacier Bay was mostly ice-free.” Mr. Moore adds that all of this happened long before human emissions “could have had any impact.”

Life is just a series of photo ops.

What helps

THIS HELPS . . . . A line from the Gospel that rang true for me was “I believe, Lord. Help thou my unbelief.” Another, from St. Paul, says we will see things clear in heaven but now only “through a glass darkly.” Not to worry, you who think you are of little faith.

ASSESSMENT . . . . Here’s an aptly stated judgment, rendered at the end of a Power Line dissection of Obama’s claim for Banking Committee membership as part of his newly discovered toughness toward Iran:

Barack Obama has proved himself an extraordinarily cynical politician. He doesn’t believe in much, but he certainly believes in his own power to make voters believe whatever he says, even when what he says today contradicts what he said yesterday, and even when it constitutes a bald fiction, such as his claim that the Senate Banking Committee is “[his] committee.”

Some day it may begin to dawn on attentive observers that Obama represents a type that flourishes on many college campuses. The technical term that applies to Obama is b.s. artist. Obama is an overaged example of the phenomenon, but his skills in the art have brought him great success and he’s not giving it up now.

Some day.

REACTION . . . . I told an Oak Parker about recent armed robberies in the village, including one in the block next to hers, and she said, “People are really getting desperate,” identifying instantly with the guy holding people up. She also wants to fight terrorism by going after the root causes?

ANTIDOTE . . . . Here’s a possible antidote to this people-getting-desperate approach: Shooting Back: The Right and Duty of Self Defense, by Charl van Wyk. He was a missionary in S. Africa in 1993 when terrorists attacked his church during worship. He shot back and saved lives, though not all, and it’s called a massacre. In his book he makes

a biblical, Christian case for individuals arming themselves with guns, and does so more persuasively than perhaps any other author because he found himself in a church attacked by terrorists.

“Grenades were exploding in flashes of light. Pews shattered under the blasts, sending splinters flying through the air,” he recalls of the July 25, 1993, St. James Church Massacre. “An automatic assault rifle was being fired and was fast ripping the pews — and whoever, whatever was in its trajectory — to pieces. We were being attacked!”

But van Wyk was not defenseless that day. Had he been unarmed like the other congregants, the slaughter would have been much worse.

“Instinctively, I knelt down behind the bench in front of me and pulled out my .38 special snub-nosed revolver, which I always carried with me,” he writes in “Shooting Back,” a book being published for the first time in America next month by WND Books. “I would have felt undressed without it. Many people could not understand why I would carry a firearm into a church service, but I argued that this was a particularly dangerous time in South Africa.”

During that Sunday evening service, the terrorists, wielding AK-47s and grenades, killed 11 and wounded 58. But the fact that one man – van Wyk – fired back, wounding one of the attackers and driving the others away.

SITTING, KNEELING . . . . Reading in May ’08 New Oxford Review of Donna L. Kruger’s complaint about half sitting, half kneeling worshipers — “Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament must surely be offended” — instead of sitting straight up if you have to if elderly and/or with “sore or weak knees,” I was offended mightily, being one of the last mentioned, though also elderly, I guess.

Then imagine my delight in reading the July-August issue with two excellent letters, one from a 71-year-old arthritic male from West Palm Beach, Florida, “with a knee wrecked in a skiing accident fifty years ago,” who does the half and half, partly out of concern for the worshiper kneeling behind him, presumably with strong, healthy knees, for whom it would be “awkward” otherwise. As for offending the Lord, “Who knew?” he asks.

The other letter, from a Very Reverend in Vladivostok, notes perceptively that Americans are getting “bigger year by year” and “half and half may be the only way some of us will be able to kneel” in the churches he visits in Eastern Poland, where kneelers are squeezed in for space considerations.



These animal activists can get active whenever they want, as far as I’m concerned.

This guy has my vote too:


GOOD BOOK . . . . Only at page 548 of Prince of Darkness, Robert Novak’s memoir, did I encounter the second name that I did not recognize. The individual had been identified a few pages earlier, but it hadn’t stuck. That’s how good a book this is: it keeps you attentive and it makes identities clear along the way — two signs of clean copy.

QUOTE . . . . And our wise(guy) quote of the day about newspapers:

If one morning I walked on top of the water across the Potomac River, the headline that afternoon would read:  “President Can’t Swim.”  ~Lyndon B. Johnson

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