|Madame de Polignac in Court Dress|
Sunday, July 24, 2016
If you have a child that isn’t writing well yet that is okay! There are ways to work around that. You can involve them in the process by asking them what they’d like to say, scribing it for them and then having them sign their name. (Read more.)
- It causes your child to reflect on what they have received and who they have received it from.
- It teaches them what gratitude looks like because yes, showing gratitude does take a little bit of effort.
- It allows them to practice their writing skills.
- It causes other people to feel good because not only do people like to be appreciated but most people also enjoy receiving notes from children.
- It provides the perfect opportunity to teach your children about addresses, the postal service and how to properly address an envelope.
Last week I wrote about volume I of The God of the Gulag, Jonathan Luxmoore’s study of the 70-year Communist persecution of Christians in Russia and Eastern Europe. Having now read volume II, “Martyrs in an Age of Secularism”, which roughly covers the period after the death of Stalin in 1953 until the collapse of Communism in 1989-1990, I asked Luxmoore: what had inspired him to undertake such a long and often harrowing labour?Share
He tells me there are four reasons. He thinks that the full story of the persecutions has never been told before – only accounts within individual countries. Again, he wants readers to understand that recent martyrs of Communism are no different from those in the early Church who had suffered under the Caesars; “these are modern figures like St Perpetua”. He also feels that attempts to conceal or play down Communism’s violent past should be challenged and brought into the open. And he thinks it important to record the changes in Communist methods during these decades, which required different kinds of Christian witness.
Does Luxmoore think the Vatican could have played a more effective role in combating Communism in the early period, during the pontificates of Pius XI and Pius XII? He reminds me that they had regarded Communism as a sudden savage subversion of history which would not last. It was Paul VI, elected in 1963, who realised that “it was here to stay” and that therefore the Church would have to work with it.
How would he describe the role of Cardinal Wyszynski of Poland, compared with that of Cardinal Mindszenty of Hungary? Luxmoore feels the former had a clearer grasp of what was happening when the Communists took over. Mindszenty had been shocked to find himself arrested, whereas Wyszynski played a long hand, refusing to be pushed into “a straitjacket” of opposition.
Finally I ask: who stands out as a particularly heroic individual? Luxmoore replies unhesitatingly, “Janina Jandulska, a 30-year old invalid from Ukraine, who organised a rosary group from her village home. She was arrested in 1936 and accused of running a subversive political organisation. She was shot in her wheelchair. Like the ancient Blandina, she had stood up to her adversary.” (Read more.)
Saturday, July 23, 2016
If we’re concerned with voting according to Catholic principles, I honestly wonder how this election is an open question. Objectively speaking it takes five minutes on Google to determine that Trump is reasonably friendly to the prolife cause in tangible ways like influencing the judiciary (google his specific list of nominees which directly led to Priests for Life endorsing him), chipping away at Planned Parenthood’s abortion business and political power, as well as seeking specific economic reforms (look at his policy platform) that would improve position of poor families thus reducing the need for abortions.
In addition, Trump is vehemently anti-war in all but narrowly justified cases like fighting the Islamic State. He’s been complaining about Iraq and Afghanistan as long as Bernie Sanders. Also, all evidence points to his ending Obama and Hillary’s horrible multi-country drone war and policy of causing civil wars in Libya and Syria.
Thus the two nonnegotiable triggers that have swayed almost all conscientious Catholics I know into voting either Republican or Democrat in every election in my lifetime, being pro-life and anti-war, are met here. The USCCB, not that they have much credibility in this arena, says you should not vote for a candidate who exhibits clear objective complicity with evil, and can abstain from voting at all if all candidates are objectively and clearly complicit. I don’t see that satisfied here, but even if it was, what are conservative Catholics’ objective reasons for not voting Trump? Do they have valid, rational reasons or can they simply not stomach the social shame the left has placed upon supporting Trump? Is being able to tell liberal friends that they didn’t vote for Trump worth having Hillary control the executive branch and judicial appointees for 4-8 years? (Read more.)
And here is A Message for Christians about Donald Trump. Share
The man who wrote what Liberals use as the definitive book on community organizing admits to having no virtue. So he destroys communities, using his kind of people. Take Hillary Clinton for example. Hillary loved Alinsky's work so much that she actually wrote her senior thesis at Wellesley College on his work, his most notable product being the bible of Liberalism: Rules for Radicals. Obama loved Hillary's work so much that he made her Secretary of State, or what I like to call America's Marketing Department. Why stop at America, when you can ruin the world. Alinsky dedicated Rules for Radicals to Lucifer:
Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins -- or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom -- Lucifer.
Another Alinksy disciple, America's very own Barack "You didn't build that" Obama, built his community organizing model around that of Alinsky, including not worrying much about the results. (Read more.)Share
Friday, July 22, 2016
A home is not only where the next generation is initiated into human life. It is also where each of us must find a space congenial to every-day life. A house is where humans live; a home is where they truly come alive. Christoper Alexander, an architect, is keenly aware of the deep connection between patterns in space and patterns of living. The connection is reciprocal. How we live in a certain space, the patterns of our actions, will affect the physical structure of that space. Likewise, the physical structure of a space–and this includes everything from size of the room, furniture arrangement, window placement, color schemes, and much more–will affect the quality of actions in that space.Share
Alexander paints a picture of a ‘living pattern’: “And what of a party around a kitchen table, people drinking together, cooking together, drinking wine, eating grapes, together preparing a stew of beef and wine and garlic and tomatoes which takes four hours to cook–and while it cooks, we drink, and then, at last we eat it.” Such a pattern of behavior, we might say, gives life to a room. And likewise, a room can be well-designed and arranged so as to encourage such a pattern of behavior. This does not require great financial resources; it does require attention to what patterns of living we want to foster, and how to foster them. (Read more.)
There are some simple rules governing modern American political conventions. If you speak at the convention, you endorse the nominee. If you can't endorse the nominee, you don't go. You certainly don't use a prime time speaking slot to try to sabotage your party's fall campaign.Share
A number of Trump's foes have refused to endorse him, even though they had all pledged to support the GOP's nominee. All, except one, chose to stay away from Cleveland. The only absentee to come under any criticism for skipping the convention is John Kasich, and that is only because he is the governor of Ohio. If Kasich were the governor of Michigan or Pennsylvania instead, his absence would generate no more comment than Lindsey Graham's.
Last night, of course, Ted Cruz ostentatiously broke all these rules. It was self-promotion masquerading as principle. It explains why almost no one who works alongside Cruz in Congress has anything good to say about him.
And it may backfire. Cruz's antics last night will certainly drive up the ratings for tonight. If Pence's terrific speech from last night is any indication, Trump's speech tonight will be good. And if Trump does deliver a masterful speech tonight, with tens of millions of American watching, it will be the political equivalent of a grand slam. (Read more.)