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Sunday, February 7, 2016

Choir of Worcester Cathedral - Come Down, O Love Divine



Father Rutler: The Daily Human Struggle

By Father George Rutler

The earliest that Easter can be celebrated is March 22, and that last happened in 1818 when we were not, and it will not happen again until 2285 when we shall be gone. It was very late, April 20, two years ago. That was close to the latest possible date, which is April 25, and that last happened in 1943. 
 
Whenever Easter falls, the forty days of preparation enable thinking individuals to take stock of the state of the world and the state of their own souls. Is the world shaping us, or are we shaping the world? The answer must always be both: we are creatures of our times, and yet we are meant to be timeless. Ash Wednesday recalls our worldliness, being from dust and returning to dust, but we also are heirs to the good cheer of Christ who has overcome the world. Not to get that balance right is to lapse into the anxiety and fear that mark these present times. Observers of our looming national election say that our society is disappointed in its leaders and their policies, but this should not surprise anyone who warned years ago about putting trust in demagogues and their false hope.
 
As we are in the world, we are stewards of creation and fight daily in human struggles, but as we are promised eternal life, we also are engaged in a supernatural struggle against Satan himself. Human solutions to social problems are bound to fail if they do not acknowledge the reality of evil. King David was hounded by a madman, Shimei, who pelted him with stones. David was patient with him because, just as a broken clock is right twice a day, Shimei was shouting out some things that were at least partially true.  But that was a strictly human confrontation, involving the natural virtues of prudence, justice, temperance and fortitude. When Jesus was frequently challenged by Satan and his legion of evil spirits, the struggles were other-worldly, involving the theological virtues of faith, hope, and love. 
 
Unlike Shimei, who only suffered some sort of mental illness, the raver in the land of Gerasenes was possessed by demons. The  townspeople were not only amazed at the power of Jesus, they also were eager for him to get out of town, because they had grown comfortable with the brooding presence of evil and were unsettled by the presence of someone who was good beyond what they thought was possible.
 
In short, practical solutions for daily problems are impractical if they do not invite Christ into the soul, guiding the intellect and the will. In Lent, he says to us what he said to the healed demoniac: “Go home to your people and tell them all that the Lord in his mercy has done for you” (Mark 5:19).   


Saturday, February 6, 2016

Boyd D. Cathey: Why I Support Donald Trump and Not Ted Cruz

Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com

By Boyd D. Cathey

Recently, I was asked by a friend who likes Ted Cruz, why I support Donald Trump and not the Texas senator among the Republican candidates running for president. In partial response to that question, let me set down briefly my thoughts.
I think it is important to begin with a review of some essential history, a brief exploration of the evolution of what is now called “Movement Conservatism” and its symbiotic relationship to the modern Republican Party. Understanding this background is critical to comprehending what has happened and is happening, politically and culturally, to what remains of the American republic in 2016. The transformation of the intellectual brain trust for the Republican Party has fundamentally affected and influenced the successive evolution of the positions the Republican Party has taken over the past fifty years.
Before discussing this history, I think it is necessary that we recall that the GOP Establishment, in fact, never gave up its virtual control of the party structure, despite Ronald Reagan. And since Reagan’s departure it has controlled the party apparatus completely and uninterruptedly. Even under President Reagan, as a dear friend who worked in the White House in 1981 once remarked to me: “Reagan let the Bush establishment people control appointments, and their strategy was ‘Let Reagan speak like Reagan, but we will control appointments and policy’. And basically that is what happened.”
It was my mentor and friend, the late Dr. Russell Kirk, whose volume The Conservative Mind actually initiated what became the older, scholarly “conservatism” in the 1950s. “Conservatism,” as Kirk explained it, encompassed an inherent distrust of liberal democracy, staunch opposition to egalitarianism, and an extreme reluctance to commit the United States to global “crusades” to impose American “values” on “unenlightened” countries around the world. Conservatives should celebrate local traditions, customs, and the inherited legacies of other peoples, and not attempt to destroy them. America, Kirk insisted, was not founded on a democratic, hegemonic ideology, but as an expression and continuation of European traditions and strong localist, familial and religious belief. Indeed, Kirk authored a profound biography of Senator Robert Taft, “Mr. Conservative,” who embodied those principles.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Pat Buchanan: The Remainderman

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Donald Trump won more votes in the Iowa caucuses than any Republican candidate in history.

Impressive, except Ted Cruz set the new all-time record.

And Marco Rubio exceeded all expectations by taking 23 percent.

Cruz won Tea Party types, Evangelicals, and the hard right.

Trump won the populists and nationalists who want the borders secure, no amnesty, and no more trade deals that enable rival powers like China to disembowel American industries.