The Inauguration of Donald J. Trump as 45th President of the United States - January 20, 2017

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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Thomas Aquinas College to Open East Coast Campus

California-based Great Books program enters deal involving Hobby Lobby property

Like bookends on the shelf of its celebrated Great Books program, Thomas Aquinas College will soon have campuses on both the West Coast and the East.

The pioneering Catholic college, based in Santa Paula, California, is announcing today that it plans to open a new campus in Massachusetts. It has entered into a preliminary grant agreement with the National Christian Foundation (NCF) to accept its gift of a former secondary school campus in Northfield, Massachusetts. TAC will assume ownership of the 217-acre property on May 2 and open its doors to students on this branch campus in the fall of 2018.

Prior to May 2, the college will complete its assessment of the physical plant at the new site and continue its efforts to obtain necessary permitting.

Read more at  Aleteia >>

Monday, January 23, 2017

Father Rutler: Remembering Calvin Coolidge

During these days of transition in government, temperance in expectations is a wise policy based on experience. Calvin Coolidge said, "It is a great advantage to a president, and a major source of safety to the country, for him to know he is not a great man." The Yankee farmer was frugal with words, but they were not cheap. No fawning reporters claimed that his sober speeches sent a tingle up their legs. Magazines did not hail him as “The Second Coming,” and he would have thought it absurd to promise that his presidency was “the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.” Thus, he did not disappoint.
In his own instance, Coolidge’s competence was as great as his humility.  True to his dictum that “One of the greatest favors that can be bestowed upon the American people is economy in government,” the nation during his administration enjoyed unprecedented prosperity, decreased income tax (he thought that the national average income tax of $300 was outrageous), a federal budget surplus, unemployment down to 3 per cent, a decline in racial strife, and a boom in technological patents and progress.
Coolidge became president at the unexpected death of Warren G. Harding, who thought of himself as a significant orator. But that splendid curmudgeon, H.L. Mencken, said of Harding’s rhetoric: “It reminds me of a string of wet sponges, it reminds me of tattered washing on the line; it reminds me of stale bean soup, of college yells, of dogs barking idiotically through endless nights. It is so bad that a sort of grandeur creeps into it.”
On the other hand, Coolidge spoke very well indeed. He was the last president to write his own speeches. Though the media caricatured him as “Silent Cal,” he gave more press conferences than any president before or since.
On the 150th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, Coolidge said that equality, liberty, popular sovereignty and the rights of man “belong to the unseen world. Unless the faith of the American people in these religious convictions is to endure, the principles of our Declaration will perish.”
Our nation has been given a remarkable chance, through all its government branches, to set what is right, and to fix what is wrong. The prayer of our nation’s first bishop, John Carroll, in 1791 is offered again in this new year:
“We pray Thee O God of might, wisdom, and justice! Through whom authority is rightly administered, laws are enacted, and judgment decreed, assist with Thy Holy Spirit of counsel and fortitude the President of these United States, that his administration may be conducted in righteousness, and be eminently useful to Thy people over whom he presides; by encouraging due respect for virtue and religion; by a faithful execution of the laws in justice and mercy; and by restraining vice and immorality.” 

Friday, January 20, 2017

President Donald J. Trump's Inaugural Address

Chief Justice Roberts, President Carter, President Clinton, President Bush, President Obama, fellow Americans, and people of the world: thank you.

WE, the citizens of America, are now joined in a great national effort to rebuild our country and to restore its promise for all of our people.

Together, we will determine the course of America and the world for years to come.

We will face challenges. We will confront hardships. But we will get the job done.

Every four years, we gather on these steps to carry out the orderly and peaceful transfer of power, and we are grateful to President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama for their gracious aid throughout this transition. They have been magnificent.

Today’s ceremony, however, has very special meaning. Because today we are not merely transferring power from one Administration to another, or from one party to another – but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the American People.

For too long, a small group in our nation’s Capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost.

Washington flourished – but the people did not share in its wealth.

Politicians prospered – but the jobs left, and the factories closed.

The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country.

Their victories have not been your victories; their triumphs have not been your triumphs; and while they celebrated in our nation’s Capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.

That all changes – starting right here, and right now, because this moment is your moment: it belongs to you.

It belongs to everyone gathered here today and everyone watching all across America.

This is your day. This is your celebration.

And this, the United States of America, is your country.

What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people.

January 20th 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.
The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.

Everyone is listening to you now.

You came by the tens of millions to become part of a historic movement the likes of which the world has never seen before.

At the center of this movement is a crucial conviction: that a nation exists to serve its citizens.
Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families, and good jobs for themselves.

These are the just and reasonable demands of a righteous public.

But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists: Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system, flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of knowledge; and the crime and gangs and drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential.

This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.

We are one nation – and their pain is our pain. Their dreams are our dreams; and their success will be our success. We share one heart, one home, and one glorious destiny.

The oath of office I take today is an oath of allegiance to all Americans.

For many decades, we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry;
Subsidized the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military;
We've defended other nation’s borders while refusing to defend our own;  And spent trillions of dollars overseas while America's infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay.
We’ve made other countries rich while the wealth, strength, and confidence of our country has disappeared over the horizon.

One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores, with not even a thought about the millions upon millions of American workers left behind.

The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed across the entire world.

But that is the past. And now we are looking only to the future.

We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital, and in every hall of power.

From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land.

From this moment on, it’s going to be America First.

Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families.

We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies, and destroying our jobs. Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength.

I will fight for you with every breath in my body – and I will never, ever let you down.

America will start winning again, winning like never before.

We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth. And we will bring back our dreams.

We will build new roads, and highways, and bridges, and airports, and tunnels, and railways all across our wonderful nation.

We will get our people off of welfare and back to work – rebuilding our country with American hands and American labor.

We will follow two simple rules: Buy American and Hire American.

We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world – but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first.

We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to follow.

We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones – and unite the civilized world against Radical Islamic Terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth.

At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other.

When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.

The Bible tells us, “how good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.”

We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity.
When America is united, America is totally unstoppable.

There should be no fear – we are protected, and we will always be protected.

We will be protected by the great men and women of our military and law enforcement and, most importantly, we are protected by God.

Finally, we must think big and dream even bigger.

In America, we understand that a nation is only living as long as it is striving.

We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action – constantly complaining but never doing anything about it.

The time for empty talk is over.

Now arrives the hour of action.

Do not let anyone tell you it cannot be done. No challenge can match the heart and fight and spirit of America.

We will not fail. Our country will thrive and prosper again.

We stand at the birth of a new millennium, ready to unlock the mysteries of space, to free the Earth from the miseries of disease, and to harness the energies, industries and technologies of tomorrow.

A new national pride will stir our souls, lift our sights, and heal our divisions.

It is time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget: that whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots, we all enjoy the same glorious freedoms, and we all salute the same great American Flag.

And whether a child is born in the urban sprawl of Detroit or the windswept plains of Nebraska, they look up at the same night sky, they fill their heart with the same dreams, and they are infused with the breath of life by the same almighty Creator.

So to all Americans, in every city near and far, small and large, from mountain to mountain, and from ocean to ocean, hear these words:

You will never be ignored again.

Your voice, your hopes, and your dreams, will define our American destiny. And your courage and goodness and love will forever guide us along the way.

Together, We Will Make America Strong Again.

We Will Make America Wealthy Again.

We Will Make America Proud Again.
We Will Make America Safe Again.

And, Yes, Together, We Will Make America Great Again. Thank you, God Bless You, And God Bless America.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Gary Glenn's Greatest Battle

Gary Glenn
You have read about Gary Glenn on these pages before.  We believe he is one of America's most promising political leaders.  

Gary was elected to the Michigan House of Representatives in November 2014, representing the 98th House District serving Bay and Midland counties. He serves as vice chairman of Michigan's House Energy Policy Committee and on the House Commerce and Trade, Military and Veterans Affairs, and Tax Policy committees.  In 2015, the Michigan Information and Research Service, Lansing's oldest daily legislative news service, selected Gary from among 55 first-term state representatives and senators as its MIRS "Freshman Legislator of the Year".  In the current session of the Legislature, the Republican House Caucus selected him as Associate Speaker of the House Pro Tem.  But it was in this past year, while never missing a vote, committee meeting, or caucus in the state House that Gary, with God's grace and the help of a loving wife, waged the greatest battle of his life.  Following is the story of that battle and the testimony of a valiant soldier of Christ.

Life changed one year ago today, January 15, 2016, when I stopped by Mid-Michigan Medical Center on the way to my son's basketball game for a quick MRI to locate what was expected to be a herniated disk that was causing severe pain in my leg. Never made it to the game, as they walked me from the MRI to the Emergency Room instead after what the MRI found was stage 4 "metastatic" cancer -- specifically, a tumor that had eaten away an entire vertebrae and broken my back.
Further tests indicated that the tumor had originated in my prostate, with a very high PSA score of 348 (anything over a 4 being considered a warning sign of cancer). After five heavy radiation treatments over the next six days, the PSA score had dropped to 100. My personal physician called that a "near miracle."
In the days that followed the front page news of my diagnosis, we know thousands of prayers were offered on my behalf -- from Midland Baptist (my church) to the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem to a Catholic mass in Washington, D.C., to dozens of other churches in Michigan and beyond that wrote to say they'd put my family and me on their prayer lists.
The House Republican caucus didn't just pray, but laid hands on me and prayed. And five weeks after being diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, the University of Michigan Cancer Center told me the cancer was in remission, with a PSA score of 0.2. (If dropping from 348 to 100 was a "near" miracle, what was dropping four weeks later to 0.2?)
The first night in the emergency room, the neurosurgeon said he'd have to perform surgery to insert a titanium cage into my spinal column to replace the destroyed vertebrae, and fitted me with a back brace -- to hold me together? -- in the meantime. But as we watched the X-rays over the next four months, we saw the black hole in my spinal column where a vertebrae used to be start filling in again with white. A new vertebrae has since grown back out of nothing. (Since multiple doctors told me that doesn't happen, and it caught a brain surgeon by surprise, what do we call that?) In May, he told me to take off the brace, work my way back into normal activity, and he didn't need to see me again. A few weeks ago, I played basketball again for the first time in over a year.
But all that was the easy part. After they told me I was in remission, UM Cancer Center said they still wanted me to undergo five months of chemotherapy to help ensure the cancer doesn't start growing again, or least delay the time until it does. That was the brutal part, worse than the cancer itself. Steroids. Hormone drugs. Chemicals whose purpose was to damage and destroy my cells. Incomprehensible weakness. Gaining nearly 60 pounds and ten inches on my waist in three months.
Not only pretty devastating physically, but certainly a lifestyle shock to a guy who'd kept in shape, worked out, chopped wood for weeks every fall, played basketball twice a week, and otherwise held the old man body at bay through age 57. But, praise the Lord, at least I'm still standing. And I hope to call back the mental toughness and discipline of Army basic training and football and track practices of years past to work my way back to the condition I was before.
Through all the above, I never missed a vote, committee meeting, or caucus in the state House, but only because my wife Annette drove me back and forth to Lansing for five months when I was, literally, unconscious. The steroid high of the chemotherapy would keep me on my feet for the legislative session days Tuesday through Thursday, then I'd crash hard when the steroids wore off, Annette would drive me home to go to bed each Thursday night, and I wouldn't get up again until the following Tuesday morning to go back to Lansing. Only by God's grace and provision of strength, "lest any man should boast" -- and Annette's sacrifice of the time she'd planned to spend at home with our youngest child the last year he'll be living with us -- was I able to continue to do the job to which I'd been elected.
Now, six months after the last chemo treatment in late July, my hair is growing back, my strength is slowly returning, I've lost some of the weight and inches, and the PSA score is now less than 0.02, the lowest it's been yet.
I'm thankful. To my wife. To my children. To my mother and sisters. To my friends. To my pastor and my church. To legislative colleagues who helped hold me up. To all of you who prayed for and encouraged us over the last twelve months. To all the doctors and nurses and technicians at Mid-Michigan Medical Center and the UM Cancer Center.
And most of all, for the healing power of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, called down by thousands of prayers on my behalf, Whose faithfulness sustained and strengthens me for the challenges ahead. I look forward to discovering whatever work for which He's kept me this side of heaven, because I believe we are all here for a purpose, and so long as the Lord gives me breath, I intend to fulfill mine.
Please continue to keep my family and me in your prayers, and may God bless and keep us strong for the fight!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Father Rutler: Painting on the Canvas of History

Painting landscapes in the classical academies was done indoors, to “improve upon nature” the way formal gardens arrange flowers according to geometry. In the nineteenth century, the painters of the Barbizon and Hudson River schools began to paint outdoors (“en plein air”), trying to show nature as it is. The invention of portable easels and oil paint in tubes like toothpaste made it easier to move out from the studio. A painting by John Singer Sargent showing Monet at his easel in the woods of Giverny is a splendid picture within a picture, emphasizing the care taken to get the diffused light just right, so that nature looks really natural.

We would have no art, and no urge to paint—whether as cavemen painting antelope or Frans Hals painting men drinking beer—were it not for the fact that humans are in the image of God who made the whole universe his canvas. He chose the Holy Land as the scenery for history’s greatest event.

Israel is only about the size of New Jersey, and yet its topography moves from the snow-capped Mount Hermon down to the lowest spot on our planet: the Dead Sea. In between, at the trickle of a river between the two, John saw the Lord approaching and said, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29). The baptism of Christ, which was an illustration of how the human race will be cleansed of corrupting pride, and which is celebrated after the Feast of the Epiphany on the liturgical calendar, anticipates the baptism the Church offers: not a poetic symbol, but an actual change in the soul so that it becomes what the art of God wants it to be.

Baptism is not an option. It is the “the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one” (Ephesians 6:16). Positive proof of this effect is the holiness of saints, and the majesty of Christ himself. Negative proof is the viciousness of evil when it is allowed to act freely. Picture the carnage in Istanbul on the Feast of the Mother of God, when scores of people were killed and wounded by a man dressed as Santa Claus.

At the Council of Nicaea, three centuries before the rise of Islam with its denial of Christ as the Lamb of God, Saint Nicholas challenged Arius for having similarly rejected the truth. And denial of the truth has deadly consequences. “The man who denies that Jesus is the Christ—he is the liar, he is Antichrist; and he is denying the Father as well as the Son, because no one who has the Father can deny the Son, and to acknowledge the Son is to have the Father as well” (1 John 2:22-23). All this was painted by God on the canvas of history.