Dear Catholic Bishops, The poet John Milton wrote: “The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed.” Church leadership is called upon to do the right thing, especially in difficult times: to speak the truth boldly and lovingly and to watch over those entrusted to their care. When bishops fail to fulfill this sacred obligation, the lay faithful are left feeling confused, neglected, and abandoned.
Such is the situation as we approach our national election in which a clear and obvious divide exists on essential matters related to earthly wellbeing and eternal welfare: the protection of God-given life from conception to natural death; the safeguarding of the family and the wellspring of sexuality; the dignity of all persons, including the rights of conscience and the freedom to live and worship without interference from the state or persecution from the culture.
The Democratic Party that once championed the civil rights of all has now become hostile to Christian faith and those who practice it. Their shrunken tent has no room for those who are pro-life, no room for those who profess what has been called mere Christianity, nor for any who believe in the value of patriotism insofar as patriotism embodies a natural preference for one’s own country.
Moreover, the Democratic presidential candidate himself can be considered Catholic in name only, for in nearly a half-century of public life he has routinely, repeatedly, and systematically rejected what the Church teaches: on life issues, on sexual morality, on religious liberty. When asked recently whether he would support an eight-year old’s decision to change gender, he answered in the affirmative.
GEORGE DUNLAP, OCT 5, 2020. If you are seriously curious about Columbus, slavery, and the European transit to the Americas. I offer you a history lesson… by Robert Royal.
Earlier this year, statues of Christopher Columbus were torn down by mobs in cities like Baltimore and Richmond. In recent decades, some authors have questioned the legacy of Columbus. Robert Royal, Catholic author and the President of the Faith & Reason Institute, gave a defense of Christopher Columbus during a lecture at the Basilica on October 1. Royal is the author of Columbus and the Crisis of the West and 1492 and All That: Political Manipulations of History.
Royal clarified that he did not want to give a “full-throated defense” but added that Columbus has been unfairly demonized and that it is a topic that “very few people know anything about and that a lot of people are agitated about.”
Robert Royal is the founder and President of the Faith & Reason Institute in Washington, D.C. and Editor-in-Chief of The Catholic Thing. He is author of over 10 books, including Columbus and the Crisis of the West and 1492 and All That: Political Manipulations of History. His articles have appeared in scholarly journals and publications including First Things, The Wilson Quarterly, The Catholic Historical Review, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Washington Times and National Review. He is a frequent contributor on EWTN and can be regularly seen on “The Papal Posse” segment on The World Over. Thomas More College in New Hampshire recently named Royal their first Saint John Henry Newman Visiting Chair in Catholic Studies.
George Dunlap, September 30, 2020. Two Catholic writers I really enjoy, Brad Miner, alive and kickin’ it, and G.K. Chesterton, a man for all ages. This awesome article by Brad Miner is about Chesterton’s…… Blue Tigersand today’s lack of clear understanding.
Do you know about G.K. Chesterton’s example of the blue world? He writes in Orthodoxy of a reformer whose passion is to make the world blue – not in the sense of unhappy, mind you, but actually the color blue.
“He could have heroic adventures,” GKC writes, “the putting of the last touches to a blue tiger. He could have fairy dreams; the dawn of a blue moon. But if he worked hard, that high-minded reformer would certainly (from his own point of view) leave the world better and bluer than he found it.” It’s a silly example of reforming, he admits, but therefore simple to grasp.
However, “if he altered his favourite colour every day, he would not get on at all. . .there would be nothing to show except a few blue tigers walking about.”
Chesterton’s famous summary is this:
So it does not matter (comparatively speaking) how often humanity fails to imitate its ideal; for then all its old failures are fruitful. But it does frightfully matter how often humanity changes its ideal; for then all its failures are fruitless.
This seems to me a paraphrase of Edmund Burke’s sage counsel that:
it is with infinite caution that any man ought to venture upon pulling down an edifice which has answered in any tolerable degree for ages the common purposes of society, or on building it up again without having models and patterns of approved utility before his eyes.
2020 is the Year of the Iconoclasts, and it remains to be seen if it ushers in an Era of Iconoclasm – a sorrowful period during which not just stores continue to be looted by rioters but more of our history and culture too: library shelves stripped, and bonfires built. I doubt it will come to that, but even less likely is that a phoenix would rise from the ashes if it does.
When Girolamo Savonarola set ablaze the “vanities” on February 7, 1497, his intention was to cleanse the Catholic morals of Florence, not to destroy Florence itself. This is clearly not true of our contemporary iconoclasts: Antifa, Black Lives Matter (BLM), and the rest of the neo-totalitarian mob, whose lawlessness and seditiousness have only rarely been condemned or suppressed, even in the cities they’ve besieged. Indeed, they’ve often been praised by local officials – so much so, in fact, that some mayors have marched in solidarity with them, unmasked against COVID-19, even as they have imposed draconian measures against church attendance in order to prevent the spread of the virus.
If I recall correctly, it was in the aftermath of the death of the career criminal George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis, that the basketball player LeBron James popularized the hashtag “#Kap was right” – “Kap” referring to Colin Kaepernick, whose kneeling at NFL games was in protest to what Kaepernick asserted is an extreme number of racist murders by white police of black suspects.
But Mr. Kaepernick is wrong. It is the heart of his argument (and of Black Lives Matter) that white police apply fatal force to black suspects at a rate and frequency that “proves” systemic racism. But if that’s so, why do the facts say otherwise?
BY: George Dunlap. I remember April 4, 1968 well, the day Dr. King was killed. I just turned 13 years old the week before. I was in 8th grade, Cutler Ridge Jr High School, Cutler Ridge, Florida. I remember it well and I will never forget how my parents talked to my brothers and I. Telling us that as faithful Catholic/Christians we are to love all of God’s children. My father told me that God, created us all, in his vision, and we were to always be kind. As I read Eduarado J. Echeverria post below, I relived that time of the school segregation challenges and the death of Dr. King. It was a very troubled time and by the grace of God we worked hard to build a better community. I remember Dr. King and the times well, I will not forget.
Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I have a Dream” speech before a huge crowd at the August 28, 1963 March on Washington, D.C. The key to understanding King’s speech is his appeal to the notion of a “promissory note,” of principles asserted in the “Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.”
Significantly, King was not a proponent of “identity politics,” of black power, because he argued, as the African-American scholar Shelby Steele correctly states, “whites were obligated to morality and democratic principles.” Steele adds that black Americans are obligated “to principles,” not “to black people as a class.”
We as Catholic’s care about the events unfolding around us daily. The challenge is to understand those topics that not only affect us but also affect our families and neighbors. This interview with Raymond Arroyo with EWTN and Deacon Burke is spiritual and enlightening. This conversation will prepare you to better share the Catholic solution with your family and neighbors.
GEORGE DUNLAP, JUNE 7, 2020. Return To Normalcy is not a successful course to follow…….we are failing to excite our children about our Catholic Faith and love of God. We are losing our children to ……..our Catholic weddings are down, our Catholic schools are decaying, our attendance at mass is evaporating weekly, We can not Return to the Old “Normal”, we must pray and take action for the Godly New Normal. We must pray and come together as faithful Catholic families must. Russell Shaw’s post today says it all. Please find the time to digest this powerful post. God Bless our children and their families.
As the Church in America emerges from lockdown, blinking and a bit unsteady on its feet, there are two familiar sayings to which Catholics emphatically should not turn for guidance on what to do next. They are: “Return to normalcy” and “The more things change, the more they are the same.
” Besides being the slogan of Warren Harding’s 1920 presidential campaign, the problem with “Return to normalcy” lies in its unspoken assumption that the condition of the Church before the lockdown is worth getting back to. Clearly it isn’t.
The cynical “the more things change” isn’t acceptable either because of its world-weary assumption that improving the state of American Catholicism is out of the question. Difficult, yes. Out of the question – pray God it’s not.
But, someone might ask, why this haste to rule out returning to how things were before the lockdown? The answer is simple: going back to the way things were in the not-so-distant past would mean returning to an ecclesiastical ethos of steady, debilitating decline.
You don’t think so? Consider the numbers (source: the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate). Between 1970 and 2018, annual figures for Catholic marriages in the United States fell from 426,309 to 143,087; infant baptisms from 1.089 million to 615,119; students in Catholic elementary and secondary schools from 4.4 million to 1.8 million; and elementary and secondary school students in parish religious education from 5.5 million to 2.9 million.
The number of diocesan and religious priests dropped from 59,192 to 36,580; religious sisters from 160,931 to 44,117; and the rate of weekly Mass attendance from 54.9 percent to 21.1 percent. One of the few categories with a significant upward trend was “former Catholic adults,” who increased from 3.5 million in 1970 to 26.1 million two years ago.
Here it may be objected that at least the Church in the United States is better off than the Church in most places in Western Europe and Canada. But this is rather like saying somebody with one broken leg is better off than somebody with two broken legs: it’s true, but it isn’t helpful. And it sheds no useful light on what either party needs to do to recover.
Whatever else it may or may not have done, the coronavirus crisis is an invitation to us to think big about the future of our Church. If we make good use of this opportunity, what we’ve lately been through might even turn out to have been at least somewhat for the good. *
My immediate practical suggestion, therefore, is that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) create a blue-ribbon commission to study the impact of the lockdown on the Church in America and make recommendations for the future. Among the things to be examined are these:
How did being cut off from most usual exercises of priestly ministry affect priests’ attitudes toward their priesthood?
How did being without the Eucharist and other sacraments for so long impact the laity?
When the lockdown ended, did attendance at weekly Mass return to what it had been, rise dramatically and remain high, or decline?
Cut off from most ordinary sources of income, what alternative sources did dioceses, parishes, schools, and other institutions find to stay afloat (supposing, that is, they managed to do that)?
What practical conclusions about using the media can be drawn from the apparent popularity of televised and live-streamed Masses while the churches were closed?
George Dunlap, April 10,2020. Today, Good Friday, is the Crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ, today we learn that our journey by way of the cross is full of, sorrow, pain, grief, death, and hope with beauty. But we know that on Easter we, with redemption, all can choose life with God.
He had, my dear brethren, to bear the weight of sin; He had to bear your sins; He had to bear the sins of the whole world. Sin is an easy thing to us; we think little of it; we do not understand how the Creator can think much of it; we cannot bring our imagination to believe that it deserves retribution, and, when even in this world punishments follow upon it, we explain them away or turn our minds from them.
But consider what sin is in itself; it is rebellion against God; it is a traitor’s act who aims at the overthrow and death of His sovereign; it is that, if I may use a strong expression, which, could the Divine Governor of the world cease to be, would be sufficient to bring it about.
Sin is the mortal enemy of the All-holy, so that He and it cannot be together; and as the All-holy drives it from His presence into the outer darkness, so, if God could be less than God, it is sin that would have power to make Him less. And here observe, my brethren, that when once Almighty Love, by taking flesh, entered this created system, and submitted Himself to its laws, then forthwith this antagonist of good and truth, taking advantage of the opportunity, flew at that flesh which He had taken, and fixed on it, and was its death.
The envy of the Pharisees, the treachery of Judas, and the madness of the people, were but the instrument or the expression of the enmity which sin felt towards Eternal Purity as soon as, in infinite mercy towards men, He put Himself within its reach. Sin could not touch His Divine Majesty; but it could assail Him in that way in which He allowed Himself to be assailed, that is, through the medium of His humanity. And in the issue, in the death of God incarnate, you are but taught, my brethren, what sin is in itself, and what it was which then was falling, in its hour and in its strength, upon His human nature, when He allowed that nature to be so filled with horror and dismay at the very anticipation.
George “Thomas” Dunlap, 4/5/2020. Last week I turned 65, since I was a child, my family would return from Church on Palm Sunday, I would always have a palm in my hand, always, and now nothing. I believe in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. I now understand, having full and complete acceptance in our Lord without having to feel his wounds. I am learning how to accept without doubt, learning daily now, full belief in our God. AMEN. David G Bonaguar, JR, explains it best see below.
Today, in countless Catholic churches the world over, palms will not be given to the faithful. Many of us will watch piously on our TV screens as priests begin by blessing the palm branches in an action that makes this Mass so distinct, so memorable, and, normally, so tactile.
But not this year. We will not be present to receive our palms, to hold them as the Gospel of Jesus’ triumphal ascent into Jerusalem is read, to make crosses out of them, to thread them through our crucifixes upon returning home. It is a Palm Sunday without palms.
The annual commemoration of our Lord’s passion is not meant to be melancholic. Catholics rightly celebrate the events of Holy Week, knowing that the sorrowful passion is the means of our more glorious redemption. And so we begin Mass on this day with a note of triumph: “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, the king of Israel. Hosanna in the highest!”
This year, however, our joy is tempered, with the Coronavirus keeping us from reliving these mysteries, as we ought. Ours is an historical religion, and it is through the Holy Week liturgies, above all, that we are mystically transported to the very moments that changed the world – and each of our lives – forever. Now we have to relive our history with our senses and souls deprived of the accessories: smells, sights, and even physical presence at the liturgical celebrations themselves.
Instead, we will find our historical anchor in something that transcends the senses: the deprivation the disciples felt between the passion and the resurrection.
Normally, receiving palm branches is the first act of our paschal celebration, and it points ahead to the end of the story a week hence. Christ enters Jerusalem today hailed by all as the king of the Jews. The palms, explains the liturgist Fr. Pius Parsch, are “symbols of our loyalty to Him and of our willingness to do Him homage.”
* This procession was one of the few times in His life that our Lord accepted public honors. He only did so on His own terms, upsetting all our expectations of what we think a king should be. He received gold, the symbol of kingly power, only as a helpless infant. Now, as a man who has manifested unimaginable power, He chooses the meekness prophesized by Zechariah, repeated in today’s Mass: “Tell the daughter of Zion: Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on an ass, and on a colt, the foal of an ass.” (Matthew 21:5)
George Dunlap, March 24, 2020. Back to my earlier post on March 19, 2020, Finding Balance. Do we as Catholics really ever choose to engage or are we just arm chair prayer soldiers, we are standing by as our nation kills the unborn. We are also moving to killing Grand Ma & Grand Pa by mindless acceptance of euthanasia, no one whats to care for the Old Folks….and someday they may not want to care for you or me.
Time for Tea and Crumpets is over. We must engage evil; with Gods son Jesus Christ as our one true Shepherd.
The below essay by Hadley Arkes compares our desire to save lives, only the ones present, not the unseen gifts, from God, the children. I pray ,one day, soon we all understand that by our in-action we are no different than those doing the killing.
I count myself as one of those votaries, working in the vineyard of natural law, who does not find his work among “theories.” I am drawn, with others of my club, to those precepts of “common sense” that ordinary people routinely do grasp in order to get on with the business of life – the things they need to know before they are capable of trafficking in theories. Before anyone engages in banter with David Hume about the meaning of “causation,” he knows – even without realizing that he knows – his own active powers to cause his own acts to happen.
British philosopher John Finnis would point up in this vein the many ways in which people weave into their acts every day an anchoring premise about the goodness of preserving human life. In Finnis’s examples, we look both ways from the curb before we cross the street; we hold drives to rescue people from famine in distant countries. We have not yet exactly constituted a hospital or emergency service built on the premise that the main mission in dealing with an injured person is to dispatch him to his death more quickly in order to relieve his family of hard decisions. With an assumption they never think to question, these services take their mission as the saving of lives.