Friday, January 23, 2009

From Catholic News Services

Roe v. Wade the 'Dredd Scott' of our age, commentator argues
Washington DC, January 22 (CNA).-In an article for the National Review, M. Edward Whelan III, President of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, made the argument today that the pro-abortion rights U.S. Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade is the "Dredd Scott" decision of our age. Both cases, he wrote, invoke "substantive due process" to deny American citizens the authority to "protect the basic rights of an entire class of human beings."
The 1857 Dredd Scott v. Sandford decision ruled that a prohibition on slavery could not apply to slave owners who brought their slaves into free territory. This ruling helped precipitate the U.S. Civil War.
The 1973 decision Roe v. Wade, Whelan explained, imposed permissive abortion laws nationwide. January 22, 2009 marked the 36th anniversary of the ruling.
He noted that the Dredd Scott decision ruled that a prohibition on slavery "could hardly be dignified with the name of due process."

"Thus were discarded the efforts of the people, through their representatives, to resolve politically and peacefully the greatest moral issue of their age," Whelan wrote.
"Roe is the Dredd Scott of our age. Like few other Supreme Court cases in our nation's history, Roe is not merely patently wrong but also fundamentally hostile to core precepts of American government and citizenship," he argued.
"Roe is a lawless power grab by the Supreme Court, an unconstitutional act of aggression by the Court against the political branches and the American people. Roe prevents all Americans from working together, through an ongoing process of peaceful and vigorous persuasion, to establish and revise the policies on abortion governing our respective states."
The Roe v. Wade decision, he charged, imposes on all Americans "a radical regime of unrestricted abortion for any reason all the way up to viability."
"Sloppy language" in the predominant reading of Roe v. Wade's companion case, Doe v. Bolton, leaves abortion "essentially unrestricted even in the period from viability until birth."
Whelan argued that Roe v. Wade fuels "endless litigation" as "pro-abortion extremists" challenge minor abortion-related measures enacted by state legislatures despite such laws being "overwhelmingly" favored by the public. He said these contested measures include those requiring informed consent, parental involvement in the case of a minor who seeks an abortion, and partial-birth abortion bans.
He further argued that Roe v. Wade "disenfranchises" those millions of Americans who believe the "unalienable right to life" warrants "significant governmental protection of the lives of unborn human beings."
"So long as Americans remain Americans—so long, that is, as they remain faithful to the foundational principles of this country—I believe that the American body politic will never accept Roe."
A 2007 study sponsored by the Ethics and Public Policy Center and the Judicial Confirmation Network found that Americans were opposed to overturning Roe v. Wade 55 to 34 percent. However, the survey found that Americans were also ignorant about how Roe v. Wade functions in practice.
When educated about the permissive mandates of Roe v. Wade, survey respondents then favored overturning Roe v. Wade by 48 to 43 percent.
Noting a difference of opinion on abortion, Whelan concluded his National Review essay:
"I respectfully submit… it is well past time for all Americans, no matter what their views on abortion, to recognize that the Court-imposed abortion regime should be dismantled and the issue of abortion should be returned to its rightful place in the democratic political process."
Asked by CNA about the argument of Democratic-leaning Catholics that the legal battle to overturn abortion laws should be abandoned in favor of a "common ground" that would reduce abortions via social policies, Whelan said:
"Genuine pro-lifers have long recognized the need both to provide legal protection to the unborn and to provide support to mothers facing unwelcome pregnancies. There's no reason not to pursue both goals. The policies that President Obama has embraced -- including, for example, repeal of the Hyde Amendment -- would instead result in a dramatic increase in the number of abortions."

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Nothing like mutual respect to build up the nation.

"Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around. . .when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right. That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen. Say Amen. . ."

Olympic Instruments say that my new hurdy-gurdy will be ready in a few weeks!

Monday, January 19, 2009

St. Ita of Kileedy

Beside being the feast of Sts. Maur and Placid, January 15 was also the feast of St. Ita of Kileedy, aka "The foster-mother of the saints of Ireland." Born into the Irish royalty, she became a nun and eventually and abbess.

There is no doubt Ita excelled in the ‘Six Gifts" of Irish womanhood the ancient Celt looked for in the well educated girl - wisdom, purity, beauty, music, sweet speech, embroidery. She refused an offer of marriage as she wanted to consecrate herself completely to Christ. Her father refused her. She went at once to an aged priest she had known from childhood and publicly made her vows which she had already formed in her heart. She left her father’s house and the pleasant places round it and set out with some companions for the Ua Conaill territory in the West of Munster, the present Co. Limerick, to a place called "Cluain Creadhail" which some interpret to mean "Meadow of Faith" and which is now called Kileedy. Legend has it that Ita was lead to Killeedy by three heavenly lights. The first was at the top of the Galtee mountains, the second on the Mullaghareirk mountains and the third at Cluain Creadhail. Her sister Fiona also went to Killeedy with her and became a member of the community. (by Bridgid Haggerty)

She had a school for girls, and later, one for boys. Several Irish saints came under her instruction in their childhood and youth. There are several "visions" attributed to her that have been collected over the centuries. They are remarkable examples of Celtic religious poetry. Here is one called

Saint Ita sees Christ come to her in a vision as a baby to be nursed:

It is Jesukin ("Jee-su-kin" diminutive of Jesus)

who is nursed by me in my little hermitage:

though it be a cleric with treasures,

all is a lie save Jesukin. (One can imagine her addressing one of her boy students with this fond diminutive.)

The nursing I do in my house

is not the nursing of a base clown:

Jesus with the men of Heaven

under my heart every single night. (A description of her mystical union with Christ and the saints.)

Young Jesukin, my eternal good! (Absolutely!)

To heed him is a cause of forgiveness,

the king who controls all things,

not to beseech Him will cause repentance.

It is Jesus, noble, angelic,

not an unlearned cleric, ('Way too many of those even now.)

who is fostered by me in my little hermitage,

Jesus the son of the Hebrew woman. (St. Mary the Virgin)

Sons of princes, sons of kings,

though they should come into my country,

I should not expect profit from them;

more likely, I think from Jesukin. ("Put no trust in princes, in man in whom there is no help.")

Sing ye a chorus, O maidens, (She could be addressing her nuns.)

to Him who has a right to your little tribute,

who sits in his place above,

though Jesukin is at my breast.

Source: The Martyrology of Oengus trans. by Whitley Stokes, London, 1905

Brother Tobias DeSalvo, OSB, of happy memory

Father Prior David called me Sunday afternoon with the word that our beloved Brother Tobias had died. He had been battling cancer for a short while, and had received chemotherapy in Fort Smith. They brought him home Friday, but had to take him back to Ft. Smith Saturday because he was in great pain. The reality was that the chemo, because of his weakened condition, had seeped through his intestines into his abdominal cavity and caused septicemia (septic shock leading to death). Of course by being so weak, the intestinal walls could not hold back whatever was in the intestines.

I shall miss him as a friend, beyond the loss to our monastic community at his passing. He was the only one who stood with me in the late unpleasantness, and actually suffered with me in the aftermath, although he did not go into voluntary exile as I did. We never saw eye-to-eye on a number of issues, but that did not stop us from being close. I drank his wine and enjoyed his company. He was always cheerful even in trials, and had a lot more energy than you could believe from looking at the picture to the left. He looks like an old man there, and I guess that years of hard physical labor and little sleep had taken their toll, but I will not remember him thus. (When he was in college at SLU at the time I was there, I can remember him falling asleep over his books, nodding off, waking up and trying to study again. It was kind of funny, but he was never absent from Morning Prayer, which is more than you can say for me.) You can see the beginning of a smile at the corner of his lips, and I'm sure that he thought that taking his picture was more to be endured than enjoyed, especially when there was work to be done.

When I came back for visits, if I had the time, I would try to take him over to the Sonic in Paris and get him a root beer float. He loved sweets, especially ice cream, so it was always a treat for him.

Today at 5:30 I shall say the Requiem Mass for the repose of his soul and the Officium defunctorum (Office for the Dead) during the day. May his memory be eternal, and may he rest in the peace he so justly deserves!