Jan 24, 2009

Catholic Priest Gives Prayer in Kansas Legislature

A friend who lives in Lawrence, Kansas told me the good news that Fr. Brian Schieber used the opportunity to give the January 22, 2009 invocation to the Kansas legislature to decry abortion. The story is reported in the Lawrence Journal World.

A guest chaplain upset some Kansas House members Thursday with a prayer remembering millions of children that he said were "legally exterminated" by abortion and decrying a national "culture of death."

The Rev. Brian Schieber, pastor at Most Pure Heart of Mary Catholic Church, gave his prayer on the 36th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion across the nation.

"We remember the over 53 million beautiful, innocent unborn children who have been legally exterminated in our land," he said in his prayer. "By Your grace, guide us to transform this culture of death into a culture of life and a civilization of love."

Back in the late 60's I attended a Cardinal Mindszenty Foundation conference in St. Louis and met the sister-in-law of Eleanor Schlafly, the executive director of the Foundation (now celebrating its 50th year).

Phyllis Schlafly of Eagle Forum was running for a national office within the Republican Party and some of her friends, including my spiritual Godmother Lucy, met to work on her nomination and I got to tag along. Rather ignorant of how the world works, I asked Phyllis why it was so important to get elected to this position.

Phyllis' answer was preceded (rightfully!) by a look of almost complete disbelief that someone could ask such a dumb question, but I'll always remember her very informative answer. "An elected office usually has little real power to do things, but it is an excellent platform from which to speak to others and convince them of your viewpoints."

Way to go, Fr. Brian!

Jan 21, 2009

US, We Have A Problem....

"This ominous statement from the new White House website [now promoting abortion 'rights' and homosexuality] left me with a sinking feeling that our discussions about our Christian faith in a "pluralistic" society - and in the public square - may also be at risk." (Thanks to Carolee Adams and the Brown Pelican Society for this important news)


Senator Obama also laid down principles for how to discuss faith in a pluralistic society, including the need for religious people to translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values during public debate.

Winter Robins

I've never seen so many robins in the wintertime. Several hundred were in my back yard at one time in late December. The last few mornings have brought five to ten robins to eat snow and seeds next to the sheltered black raspberry bushes where a small amount of snow remains. This morning the robins were joined by a sizable flock of blackbirds and a few redbirds.

Our place is blessed with many songbirds. Once we had a guest from western Kansas visit us in late May. The early morning weather was warm and her bedroom windows were open. My friend came out to breakfast saying that it was a pure delight to hear the vibrant songs of so many birds! She said that never happened where she lived.

Two bad memories of birds distress me in my old age. The highly talented mocking birds frequently sang their melodious songs from a nearby electric pole when our children were babies. During one naptime, one sang so long and loudly that I was afraid he would wake the baby, so I chased him away. I have been very sad that no other mocking bird has returned in the past 30+ years.

The second bad memory is of the birds who plagued our cherry tree. We had lots of robins, bluejays, sparrows, blackbirds, etc. who ate the ripe red cherries and that I used to chase away. But that day one rare Baltimore Oriole was with the other common birds--and I didn't see him. I ran with a BB gun into the back yard--running, shouting loudly, and firing at the same time. Unfortunately, the beautiful yellow and black Oriole was the only bird that was hit, and fell out of the cherry tree to the ground before I reached it. I have been sick about my error ever since.

Serve More, Sin Less

A very good motto....

Jan 20, 2009

Gaddafi, Islam, and Christianity

The long-time President of Libya (since 1969), Muammar al-Gaddafi, is a bellwether on the Islamic-Christian wars of the 21st Century because he has immense influence over Muslims living in the rest of the world. A dangerous and fervent Muslim who was trained by the British, he is extremely serious about extending the rule of Muhammed over the entire world. Just as it was important to read Hitler's "Mein Kampf" in the 1930's to see where this German dictator was going, it is critical to hear Gaddafi when he speaks of international Islam's attempts to conquer lands where Christianity survives.

Over 25 years ago The Wanderer newspaper reported an invitation from al-Gaddafi to Pope Paul VI to debate the rightness of the Catholic religion. From the time and the manner in which the invitation was issued, I thought it might have come from a young leader who seriously wanted to examine which faith was true (or alternatively seize an opportunity to try to demonstrate the superiority of Islam).

Msgr. Michael L. Fitzgerald describes the public meeting in Libya from the viewpoint of a liberal priest:
...a Christian-Muslim seminar was held in Tripoli, Libya. This took place in February, 1976. Though it came about by agreement between the Secretariat for Non Christians and the Arab Socialist Union of Libya, the initiative really came from the Muslim side. Since the Libyans were the hosts, the main burden of organization fell to them. This in fact led to some surprises. Through the generosity of the Libyan leader, Colonel Mu’ammar Gaddafi, about 500 people, Christians and Muslims, from all over the world, were invited to Tripoli for the occasion. So what had been intended as a private meeting between theologians turned into a public manifestation, held in the main theatre of Tripoli, with the participation one evening of Colonel Gaddafi himself. It must be said, these conditions made the dialogue difficult. There is a great difference between exchanges in a closed circle and papers read to the public.
The meeting was made-to-order for conversion to Christianity, but the great opportunity to show real belief in the Divinity of Jesus Christ was lost. Gaddafi then claimed it was clear that Islam had easily won the debate. I've thought for a long time that if truly saintly and firmly believing priests had demonstrated authentic Christianity, the world might be different today. Instead, the meeting illustrated the liberal and unorthodox charade of a 'doubting and 'searching' church it had become in the post-Vatican II days of the 1970's.

The result of this failure to impress Gaddafi with authentic Christianity is seen on a number of Gaddafi videos posted to YouTube. Gaddafi speaking in Timbuktu claims "Muhammed is the prophet of all people. He superceded all previous religions...All people must be Muslims....Muhammed is the prophet of the people in Scandanavia, in Europe, America, Asia, and Africa....[America] should agree to become Islamic in the course of time, or else declare war on the Muslims." Gaddafi then boasted that Islamic immigration and births in European countries mean that within a few decades "Allah will grant Islam victory in Europe without swords, without guns, without military conquests."

Gaddafi also claims that Obama's Islamic heritage and training will mean better times for Arabs in the Middle East. Gaddafi then states that "The thing we fear most is that the black man suffers an inferiority complex. This is dangerous. If our brother Obama feels that because he is black he doesn't have the right to rule America, this would be a disaster, because such a feeling would make him behave whiter than white..."