Friday, July 17, 2009

L'Osservatore Popolano (ie: The common people's observer)

Here are come further comments about my gripe with LOR. They are spurred on by some confusion people had regarding my original comments abotu the issue.

OK, I don't REALLY think that somebody should burn down L'Osservatore Romano. What I do think is that the editor, Giovanni Maria Vian, needs to be replaced. Why?

1) He, as I mentioned, has come on TV in Italy saying that Obama is not a "pro-abortion president." What this indicates to me is that

1) either he is ignorant of Obama's policies and anti-life record as president, in which case he is simply being a less-than-impressive journalist, who is unable to keep up on international politics;

or 2) he has an agenda by which he is tyring to adopt Obama's tactics of appealing to Catholic voters by trying to downplay the real issues at hand and adopt the rhetoric of "common ground." Unfortunately, there are some issues that are either black or white, and it is impossible to compromise. Thus, the only common ground that we can share with the pro-choice people is the desire to "reduce abortions." The problem is that while claiming that this is their goal, which Obama has said many times, he has also appointed one person after another (the new surgeon general being the latest) who is radically in support of his policies regarding "reproductive rights," which include abortion and contraception. For the editor of the pope's quasi-official newpaper to go on record saying things like he has, speaks to me of something fishy...either he is deliberately trying to sow confusion, and has bought into the European fascination with Obama (or rather, with anybody that is not Bush), or he is simply ignorant of Obama's real record.

2)Vian is right in saying that Obama's first 100 days could have been "worse." They always can be. He could have started a new war with Iran, he could have appointed a much more radical judge to the Supreme Court, he could have pushed for FOCA...

However, Vian made the point specifically about life point is that actually, Obama's first 100 days mark the most radical changes in policies and issues related to life in the shortest period of time ever. Period. We know that he has appointed pro-choice Catholics to very prominent positions (ie: Health and Human Services secretary, one of the assistants in the same office, the surgeon general, Judge Sotomayor (who while not having a cleaer record on abortion is highly praised by NARAL etc.), Miguel Diaz (who is not pro-choice, but espouses a logically incoherent position realted to life issues), and on and on and on. Not to even mention the speech at Notre Dame (which was also downplayed by the LOR). So the point is, the editor of the Vatican's nespaper has no right to publish such pieces when they are clearly contradictory to the reality, and are simply bait for a liberal media in this country that is only seeking to support Obama and make it appear that faithful, orthodox Catholics are fanatical and radical.

3) About Michael Jackson...rather than praising him and saying things like "His judicial ups and downs following allegations of paedophilia are well known. But no charge, even as bad and shameful, was sufficient to diminish his legend among the millions of fans around the world," if the LOR ought to comment at all, it should focus on the tragedy of his life. The man is a tragic figure who never truly experienced love in his childhood, which led to his many identity crises, and led to his creation of himself as an idol...rather than continuing to treat him as an idol as the rest of the world, Jackson deserves to be treated as a person by somebody. Shouldn't the Church, which upholds the dignity and value of every person, treat him in this manner? Furthermore, ignoring the controversies (ie: "bad and shameful charges") associated with him diminishes the gravity of the immoral acts he may have committed (I say "may," since he was never found guilty, but then again, neither was O.J.)

4) I will withhold further comments about Harry Potter, since I am not qualified to speak about the books or movies, as I have not read them. I do point to the scandal, however, and maintain it as such, that the editor of LOR, which ought to support the work and mission of the Holy Father, is shooting him in the foot. In 2003, Ratzinger said in a letter to a German author, reagrding her critique of Potter, that, "It is good that you enlighten people about Harry Potter, because those are subtle seductions, which act unnoticed and by this deeply distort Christianity in the soul, before it can grow properly." Ratzinger's point is that the unsupervised and undiscussed acceptance of the content in Harry Potter can work very strongly on a child's imagination, which is innocent and attune to the existence of moral good and evil. This capactiy of every child to possess an awareness of these deep truths, however, must be carefully nurtured and directed by its parents according to the faith, so that it does not develop a thwarted vision of reality. The problem with Harry Potter therefore is not that it really deals with things imaginary, but rather that it imaginatively deals with reality. (How's that for a Chestertonian phrase?)

The point is, if Ratzinger has said something publicly about the issue, the LOR should not contradict him, if it seeks to be faithful to its own mission, among which is:

1 - to reveal and to refute the calumnies unleashed against Rome and the Roman Pontificate;

5 - to inspire and promote the veneration of the august Sovereign and Pontiff;

I'm just pointing out the contradictions between the mission of the paper and its recent activities.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Polish Christian Artist

Magda Aniol sings a really cool song about John Paul II. The refrain is, "there is nobody better than John Paul II," until the final part of the song (still in rhyme) begins singing "we have a new (pope), Benedict XVI."

I think it is a beautiful example of how so many young people in the so-called "John Paul II" generation in Poland have shown that their faith is not only based on a national/cultural attachment to the "Polish pope," but rather, that the faith is based upon the love of Jesus Christ and His Church, out of which comes a great love for our current (German!) Holy Father.

While obviously the Church in Poland has its own struggles (such as lustration in the post-communist era), one very admirable and beautiful quality about the faith there is its simplicity and fidelity to the Magisterium and its love for the Petrine Ministry. Obviously, not all Catholics in Poland actually take to heart what they externally profess (such is human nature), but if I were to generalize (never a very good thing to do), I would say that the admiration for the Holy Father has to do with his upholding of traditional moral values and the value of the family and relationships based on Christian charity in a community, all essential aspects of the "fully developed and integrated human life" that the communists sought to destroy. Hence, in the pope was (and is) not only the Vicar of Christ and successor of Peter, but more concretely, one who understands that human life can only flourish when emphasis is placed on the true and unadulterated dignity of the human person. In this sprit, I hope to offer some upcoming reflections on the new encyclical, Caritas in Veritate.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Back from Vacation

John Joseph enjoys the mile-high view!

Sorry about no posts in awhile. We are finally back from vacation, which included a sweeping tour of the West, while visiting family.

We were at the Grand Canyon a few days ago, and today I learn that a man drove off it!