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Conservative U.S. Catholics Feel Left Out of the Pope’s Embrace

Kendrick Brinson for The New York Times
Debating a New Pope, Faith and Doctrine: Some American Catholics in the church’s conservative wing say Pope Francis has left them feeling abandoned and deeply unsettled.
SMYRNA, Ga. — When Pope Francis was elected in March, Bridget Kurt received a small prayer card with his picture at her church and put it up on her refrigerator at home, next to pictures of her friends and her favorite saints. 
Filippo Monteforte/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Pope Francis at the Vatican on Saturday.
She is a regular attender of Mass, a longtime stalwart in her church’s anti-abortion movement and a believer that all the church’s doctrines are true and beautiful and should be obeyed. She loved the last two popes, and keeps a scrapbook with memorabilia from her road trip to Denver in 1993 to see Pope John Paul II at World Youth Day.
But Ms. Kurt recently took the Pope Francis prayer card down and threw it away.
“It seems he’s focusing on bringing back the left that’s fallen away, but what about the conservatives?” said Ms. Kurt, a hospice community educator. “Even when it was discouraging working in pro-life, you always felt like Mother Teresa was on your side and the popes were encouraging you. Now I feel kind of thrown under the bus.”
In the eight months since he became pope, Francis has won affection worldwide for his humble mien and common touch. His approval numbers are skyrocketing. Even atheists are applauding.
But not everyone is so enchanted. Some Catholics in the church’s conservative wing in the United States say Francis has left them feeling abandoned and deeply unsettled. On the Internet and in conversations among themselves, they despair that after 35 years in which the previous popes, John Paul II and Benedict XVI, drew clear boundaries between right and wrong, Francis is muddying Catholic doctrine to appeal to the broadest possible audience.

Read the rest here: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/10/us/conservative-us-catholics-feel-left-out-of-the-popes-embrace.html?hp&_r=1&

What Dido did, Satan saw & O’Keeffe painted

How the humanities can come out on top in the education debate

November 2013
The New Criterion
 .... When a panelist promised a feminist reading of Wordsworth’s Lucy poems and another raised the common-sense question, “But do those poems really have feminist content?” the speaker could reply, “Your question assumes that the poems are fixed objects to which we must respond ‘properly,’ but as Derrida and Rorty have shown, that is a mystification, and it restricts us from doing the labor of social change.” Whatever change the speaker proceeded to envisage, the disciplinary adjustment was plain: The field had to stand on us, the professors, not on them, the poems, plays, novels.
It couldn’t work, of course......
A June 22 statement in The New York Times by Vernon Klinkenborg bore the title “The Decline and Fall of the English Major,” while Leon Wieseltier’s 2013 Commencement Address at Brandeis opened, “Has there ever been a moment in American life when the humanities were cherished less, and has there ever been a moment in American life when the humanities were needed more?”
The evidence they and others invoked was material, not ideological......
These statements and others on how the humanities foster critical thinking, cultivate Information Economy skills, help enact social change, resist utilitarianism in human affairs, etc., may be challenged in one aspect or another, but they are all reasonable and they pop up in education discussions all the time. Their commonplace status, however, shouldn’t obscure the fact that they share an extraordinary characteristic. It is a trait so simple and obvious, and so paradoxical, that one easily overlooks it, especially as these voices so earnestly endorse the humanities. The paradox is this: They affirm, extol, and sanctify the humanities, but they hardly ever mention any specific humanities content. The American Academy report terms the humanities “the keeper of the republic,” but the names Homer, Virgil, Dante, Shakespeare, Bernini, Leonardo, Gibbon, Austen, Beethoven, Monet, Twain, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Martha Graham never surface....
Critical schools rise and fall, academic trends shuffle at an accelerating pace, celebrities are made and forgotten, but Hegel’s master-slave sequence, Wordsworth’s “and, oh,/ The difference to me!” O’Keeffe’s blossoms, Parker’s riffs . . . they endure and they impress no matter how much the professors unmask, demystify, politicize, and otherwise play with them. We are far enough removed and in bad enough shape to judge the denial of the greatness and priority of High Art a terrible miscalculation.

Unless the professorate reasserts its subservient role and foregrounds actual genius, all the solemn committee reports and importunate op-eds in the world won’t slow the steady deterioration of the fields.

Pierre-Narcisse Guérin, Aeneas tells Dido the misfortunes of the Trojan city, 1815 

Read the full article here: http://www.newcriterion.com/articles.cfm/What-Dido-did--Satan-saw---O-Keeffe-painted---7728

Senior Leader in Legionaries of Christ Resigns

Wednesday, November 06, 2013 5:55 PM

Legionaries of Christ
Fr. Deomar De Guedes.
– Legionaries of Christ
One of the most senior leaders of the Legionaries of Christ has resigned from the order, saying he "did not have the necessary energy to confront the challenges" of his position.
Fr. Deomar De Guedes LC, second general counsellor of the order, submitted his resignation to Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, pontifical delegate of the Legionaries of Christ.

Cardinal De Paolis has been leading a reform of the Legion since revelations of grave abuse and corruption by its founder, Father Marcial Maciel, came to light.

In a statement, the order said Fr. De Guedes “had asked the pontifical delegate to be exclaustrated from the Legion, but Cardinal De Paolis granted him permission to resign “extra domum,” meaning Fr. De Guedes may reside outside of the religious community for one year.”

“The cardinal asked Fr. De Guedes to reevaluate his situation during that year in light of the new superiors who will be elected in the next General Chapter,” the statement added.

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/edward-pentin/senior-leader-in-legion-of-christ-resigns#ixzz2k70UmIGl

EXCLUSIVE: National Catholic Education Association Gets Gates Foundation Grant to Promote ‘Common Core’ in Catholic Schools

Catholic Education Daily

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation paid the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) more than $100,000 to support teacher training and materials on implementing the Common Core school standards, The Cardinal Newman Society has discovered.

The $100,007 grant made in September will only fuel division over the NCEA’s public encouragement for Catholic schools to adopt the Common Core standards, despite serious concerns about the standards’ academic quality and impact on schools’ Catholic identity.

The revelation comes even as The Cardinal Newman Society and other Catholic groups and dioceses—led by the National Association of Private Catholic and Independent Schools (NAPCIS)—are co-sponsoring a meeting in New Jersey with Catholic school superintendents, principals and educators to discuss concerns about the Common Core, a controversial education reform movement funded largely by the Gates Foundation.

- See more at: http://www.cardinalnewmansociety.org/CatholicEducationDaily/DetailsPage/tabid/102/ArticleID/2661/EXCLUSIVE-National-Catholic-Education-Association-Gets-Gates-Foundation-Grant-to-Promote-%E2%80%98Common-Core%E2%80%99-in-Catholic-Schools.aspx#sthash.yoCUInaO.dpuf

Billy Graham in ‘The Cross': ‘I Know Where I’ve Come From, Why I’m Here, Where I’m Going. Do You?’

November 8, 2013|5:09 pm

Billy Graham delivered what may be his last address to America last night in a short video entitled "The Cross," in which the world-recognized preacher asked America: "I know where I've come from, I know why I'm here, I know where I'm going, do you?"

Graham's message aired Thursday evening as the pastor celebrated his 95th birthday in Asheville, North Carolina with an estimated 900 attendees, including former vice presidential candidate and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. The 30-minute message was later made available for viewers to watch online on the My Hope with Billy Graham website, and will be made available in select broadcasting networks this weekend.

At age 95, Graham's most recent message has been dubbed as possibly being his last; the evangelical leader and former spiritual advisor to multiple U.S. presidents has suffered a series of medical ailments, including Parkinson's disease, in his old age. Graham's message in "The Cross" was one of both sadness and hope; the pastor lamented over how greatly America has distanced itself from God, and how he believes the nation is in "great need of a spiritual awakening."

"I want to tell people about the meaning of the cross [...] the real cross of Christ," Graham, who appeared impassioned even in his old age, said in the video. "I know that many will react to this message, but it is the truth and with all my heart, I want to leave you with the truth."

Graham then asked Americans to look inside themselves and to seek a revival in Christianity: "I know where I've come from. I know why I'm here. I know where I'm going. Do you?" the pastor questioned. Graham's address was also sprinkled with excerpts from his past sermons. "People don't want to hear that they're sinners. To many people it's an offense," Graham told his audience in the pre-recorded message. "The cross is offensive, because it directly confronts the evils that dominate so much of this world."

Read the rest here: http://www.christianpost.com/news/billy-graham-in-the-cross-i-know-where-ive-come-from-why-im-here-where-im-going-do-you-108409/

Edie Sundby fires back

A few days ago, we posted this link to a Wall St. Journal editorial by Edie Sundby, a woman who is losing her health insurance and with it, access to her cancer doctors, because of Obamacare.


The White House subsequently tweeted this:
Dan Pfeiffer @pfeiffer44
The Real Reason That The Cancer Patient Writing In Today’s Wall Street Journal Lost Her Insurance http://thkpr.gs/1hHgZjp

So Ms. Sundby took to Fox News to respond:

From http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2013/11/07/cancer_survivor_edie_sundby_responds_to_condescending_attack_by_white_house_on_kelly_file.html

School Bus Driver Fired For Leading Prayer Sessions

George Nathaniel, 49, is also a pastor in Minnesota

By Dan Fastenberg | Posted Nov 7th 2013 @ 11:13AM

A public school bus driver in Minnesota has been fired for leading Christian prayers on his bus. George Nathaniel, 49, had previously been warned against the prayer sessions but he decided to continue with the prayer sessions anyway. Nathaniel, who also works as a pastor for two Minneapolis churches, claims he had been upfront about his intentions to lead prayer sessions. He also says the Christian religion is under attack.

"I let them know I am a pastor and I am going to pray," he told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. But on Oct. 30, he received a letter from the Durham School Services bus company, which stated: "There have been more complaints of religious material on the bus as well as other complaints regarding performance. In accordance with the previous final written warning you received, your employment is hereby terminated."

What was the reason for the firing? Nathaniel was fired for violating the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, which prohibits the government from establishing a national religion. And in the 1962 case Engel vs. Vitale, the Supreme Court "ruled that it's unconstitutional for a public school to lead or encourage students in prayer," as Opposing Views put it. The Court has repeatedly upheld the ban in subsequent rulings.

What exactly did Nathaniel do? His sessions took place over the seven-minute ride to the Edward D. Neill Elementary School and Metcalf Junior High School. Nathaniel told the Star Tribune the sessions would start with a song and then the students were asked if they wanted to join in. He said the idea was to "give them something constructive and positive to go to school with."

Read the rest here: http://jobs.aol.com/articles/2013/11/07/school-bus-driver-fired-for-leading-prayer-sessions/?ncid=txtlnkusaolp00000058&

Analysis: Tens of millions could be forced out of health insurance they had

Published: November 7, 2013 Updated 14 hours ago

— Even as President Barack Obama sold a new health care law in part by assuring Americans they would be able to keep their insurance plans, his administration knew that tens of millions of people actually could lose those their policies.

“If you like your private health insurance plan, you can keep your plan. Period,” Obama said as he pitched the plan, the unqualified promise he made repeatedly.

President Barack Obama speaks at Temple Emanu-El in Dallas on Nov. 6, 2013.
LOUIS DELUCA — Dallas Morning News/MCT

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/11/07/207909/analysis-tens-of-millions-could.html#storylink=cpy
Yet advisers did say in 2010 that there were large caveats and that anyone whose insurance plan changed would lose the promised protection of being able to keep existing plans. And a report in 2010 said that as many as 69 percent of certain employer-based insurance plans would lose that protection, meaning as many as 41 million people could lose their plans even if they wanted to keep them and would be forced into other plans. Another 11 million who bought their own insurance also could lose their plans. Combined, as many as 52 million Americans could lose or have lost old insurance plans.

Some or much of that loss of favored insurance is driven by normal year-to-year changes such as employers changing plans to save money. And many people could end up with better plans. But it is not what the president pledged.

Caught in the firestorm of his broken promise, Obama on Thursday apologized.

“I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me,” he told NBC News Thursday evening. “We’ve got to work hard to make sure that they know we hear them and we are going to do everything we can to deal with folks who find themselves in a tough position as a consequence of this.”

Read the rest here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/11/07/207909/analysis-tens-of-millions-could.html

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/11/07/207909/analysis-tens-of-millions-could.html#storylink=cpy

Pope Francis Embraces a Modern Leper and the World is Drawn to its Knees

May this beautiful action of love by Pope Francis, a new Francis, draw the whole world back to God.
The moving encounter caught the attention of those in the square. The scenes of the tender embrace went viral.

By Deacon Keith Fournier
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Pope Francis kissed a modern day leper on Wednesday. The whole world is being drawn to its knees. I believe this a move of the Holy Spirit. I only pray that Christians will respond and seize the moment.Pope Francis, a man who moves in the Holy Spirit, responded to Jesus Christ on Wednesday. He left the pope mobile and embraced this man with the affection of a spiritual father. He kissed him with paternal tenderness. He recognized his beauty as a gift from God, the source of all beauty. He saw this man as the Father does and drew us to our knees. In so doing, he calls us all to conversion. 

VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - On Wednesday, November 6, 2013, Pope Francis traveled through the crowd of the faithful gathered in St Peters square to hear his weekly catechesis. This is a tradition of the modern popes. Each, in their own manner and style, teach the Christian faithful on an aspect of living the Christian life.

The whole world paused in the face of an authentic witness of God's love and Mercy on Wednesday. The gates of hell were rattled. We all beheld the very heart of the Gospel of Jesus Christ spoken in a language much more powerful than words.

Francis usually delivers a simple and popular exposition on living the Christian life. He is a pastoral pope, a man who speaks in simple words and prophetic action. On Wednesday, after his beautiful address, he followed his customary practice of driving through the crowd in an open pope- mobile.

This is an evangelical Catholic Pope. He is a man deeply in love with Jesus Christ, the Living Word - and deeply in love with the people whom Jesus loves. He speaks with words and actions. Like his namesake, he is a word walking, a living testimony to the prophetic meaning of the Christian message.

Pope Francis saw a man in the crowd who was severely disfigured by neurofibromatosis. This is a debilitating disease which has devastating effects. The effects can include intense pain and suffering, vision problems, learning impediments, cancerous lesions and severe disfigurement.

The physical effects can sometimes render those afflicted with such severe disfigurement that people recoil from even being around them. This reaction is much akin to the reaction people had toward lepers during the life of Francis of Assisi. He was among them. He hated lepers and avoided them at all cost.

However, during the movement of God's grace which occasioned his profound conversion and commission, Francis confronted a leper. He was moved by the love of God to embrace and kiss this leper. When he did, the leper was revealed as Jesus Christ.This changed Francis and spawned a movement which changed history.

Read the rest here: http://www.catholic.org/international/international_story.php?id=53083

Oregon Rations Medicaid Coverage for Cancer Treatments, Assisted Suicide is Okay

by Wesley J. Smith | Salem, OR | LifeNews.com | 11/8/13 12:50 PM

As I have discussed here previously, the first state to explicitly ration Medicaid–an integral feature of all single payer systems–the screws against terminal cancer patients. Now, the issues is gaining wider discussion in Oregon.

From an opinion column published in the Statesman Journal by Peter J. Pitts:
In August, Oregon’s Health Evidence Review Commission issued an update to its guidelines for providing cancer treatment to low-income individuals covered by the state Medicaid program. These new guidelines require that Medicaid deny coverage for certain cancer treatments for patients that have been deemed “too” sick, haven’t responded well to previous treatments, or can’t care for themselves.
Through these new rules, Oregon state bureaucrats are severely restricting access to care and dooming potentially thousands of local patients to a premature death…It’s true that for some late-stage cancer patients, the odds are long than any additional treatment can help. But without access to the latest that medical science has to offer, a patient’s survival rate simply drops to zero.
These guidelines dictate that Medicaid only provide “palliative” care – painkillers, acupuncture treatments, wheelchairs, drugs for nausea, and the like.
It’s death panel time!
Oregon’s new Medicaid guidelines take treatment decisions out of the hands of doctors and patients and put them in the hands of distance state bureaucrat willing to cut costs no matter the human toll. It’s the practice of cost-centric controls over patient-centric care.
In the new USA, these kind of death maneuvers will always be done in the bowels of the deep bureaucracy without direct representational democratic involvement.

Read the rest here: http://www.lifenews.com/2013/11/08/oregon-rations-medicaid-coverage-for-cancer-treatments-assisted-suicide-is-okay/
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