Thursday, January 28, 2016

Weighing in on Politics

Today is the day of the final presidential debate before the Iowa caucuses.  Of course everyone knows that.  The news media won’t let us forget it.

I’m thinking especially about Donald Trump.  Almost daily, he comes out with some outrageous comment.  I’m convinced that that is his strategy – to remain in the public eye daily by saying or doing something that will be a major story with the news media.  Meanwhile, what all other candidates are saying is left as inaudible background murmur.

Some say that Trump would be a disaster for our country.  Some have compared him to Adolf Hitler because of his apparent racist comments.  Some have called attention to his narcissism, claiming that he is so self-absorbed that he thinks he can do virtually anything.  Some have looked especially at the way he has denigrated women, the physically disabled, and other people who get in his way.  Some have said that his extreme wealth and rise in power have clouded his mind and made him overly self-confident.  He looks good to some people because they agree with him on the issues and like his in-your-face style.

My opinion, though it doesn’t count for much, is simply that Trump is dangerous and not presidential material – for all of the above reasons and others.  Can you imagine him hosting a state visit or dinner with another head of state?  Or can you imagine him finding himself in open conflict with a congressman or senator over some piece of legislation that he has proposed?  The concept of gridlock takes on a whole new meaning with extreme anger and denigration coming from the president.  And what if Mexican government will not pay for his wall after all.  His anger and frustration would be very embarrassing to you and me.  No, he should not be our next president.

So who should be our next president?  The most important issue that I see is the partisanship and gridlock in Washington.  Party loyalty is so out of control that to the folks back home (you and me) it appears that nothing gets done, and when it does get done, it is by unconstitutional executive order.  To me, this eliminates anyone who has been part of this problem, because we can assume that the problem will continue.  However, there is something to be said about experience on the national level.  So, I’m wanting a candidate that has the best chance at ending the rancor and bringing people together while at the same time a candidate who has some worthwhile experience with how Washington works.  Chris Christie comes to mind.  John Kasich comes to mind. 

I would also like to see a return to family values, a return to the pro-life and pro-religious freedom values.  Marco Rubio has impressed me with his apparent strong Catholic faith.  Mike Huckabee has also impressed me in this regard.  To get the right person elected is going to take prayer.  I urge all my readers to begin a prayer program, perhaps a rosary novena or daily Mass intentions, or whatever you are comfortable with.  I feel that life as we have known it may be slipping from our grasp and that only God’s Providence can save us. 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

More Pain Than I Can Remember. But ...

I apologize for the fact that there was no MTT post last week.  Actually, it was one of the busiest and hardest working days of my life … the last full day living in my Lincoln, Nebraska, home.  I had to prepare to turn over the house I’ve lived in for 38.5 years to new owners.  And for the second night in a row, my wife and I slept on the floor of our bedroom because on Wednesday the movers took away all the beds in our house.  My back, my hips, my feet, and my head all ached at the same time … more pain than I can remember.  There was very little sleep; and the emotional pain of leaving the house where my three daughters grew up and where my wife and I spent well over half our lives was apparent.

I am now officially a resident of Rochester, Minnesota.  The house we bought is very nice.  The purchase price was over $100,000 more than the selling price of our old house.  So we are experiencing some pain in or bank account too!  The new house backs up to a small 9-hole, par-3 golf course.  So we are assured of having a well-groomed back yard (the fifth green is right behind the house), especially since the part on our side of the property line is fully managed by an association.  See the accompanying photo.

So far, we’ve been to Mass here in Rochester twice, in two different parishes, since arriving on Friday night, January 15.  Once on Sunday morning, January 17, and once yesterday, January 20.  Of course, we’ve been to Mass at many parishes all over the country in our lives, so this is not big news.  But today, where are my thoughts?  Well, I observed once again that the Mass is the Mass no matter in what Catholic Church it is celebrated.  There was a penitential rite in which we recalled our past sins and once again felt remorse because we offended God.  There was the Liturgy of the Word, the Scripture readings, in which we once again listened to the Word of God from both the old and new Testaments.  There was the recitation of the creed, in which we expressed, once again, our belief in the Blessed Trinity and the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church, the Catholic Church.  And there was the Liturgy of the Eucharist, in which the bread and wine were transubstantiated into the body and blood of Jesus Christ and distributed to all faithful Catholics present to eat and drink as directed by Jesus himself over 2000 years ago.

But what especially struck me was the apparent holiness and devotion of the people here.  For example, we arrived twenty minutes early for the Mass yesterday.  There were already about 25 people present praying the rosary.  Shortly after this was completed, the bells rang out above the church and the group immediately began to pray the angelus prayer.  People entering the chapel genuflected or bowed before the Blessed Sacrament.  Ten minutes later, the Mass began with the opening hymn, complete with an organ accompaniment.  Remember, this was a week day.  All sung the praises of their God.  Yes, I felt quite at home.

My prayer for today:  Lord, thank you for bringing me to this beautiful city, to its beautiful Catholic Churches, and to our beautiful new home.  Amen.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Change is Coming

My wife and I are moving.  A new parish, a new diocese, a new city, a new state.  We’re moving from a decidedly conservative state (Nebraska) to a decidedly liberal state (Minnesota).  “Why?” my conservative friends ask.  My best answer is that Divine Providence has been in charge of my life and is in charge now.  What He has in store for me now is not known, but the fact is, we are moving and I’d better be ready.  The move will take place next week.  A new home and a new adventure. 

It got me thinking about change.  It got me thinking about conservative vs liberal.  It got me thinking about social issues, about all the changes taking place in modern society, and this path that we are going down.  Gay marriage comes to mind.  Feminism comes to mind.  The current election cycle comes to mind.  Okay, let’s jump in.

Whoever thought, back in the day, that one day a man would be able to legally “marry” another man, or a woman another woman.  It seemed absurd to me at the time and it still does.  Now I’m all for equal rights for all, but this seems so ridiculous, so dishonorable, so immoral.   Modern society seems so bent on treating symptoms rather than disease.  Instead of allowing gay marriage as the way to respond to same-sex attraction, it seems to me that we should put money into determining the causes of such attraction and then to prevent it from happening in the first place.  Yes, I obviously believe that one is not born with this problem.

I mentioned feminism.  I’m thinking of how, in some contexts, the word “man” or the word “mankind” refers to both men and women as human beings and does not specifically denote masculinity.  Try looking up the definitions of these words.  In Webster’s dictionary, the definition of “man” as a male human being doesn’t appear until definition #3.  Definition #1 and #2 do not use the word “male” at all.  The definitions of “mankind” are similar.  I’m thinking of Christmas hymns, for example, in which the word “men” has been changed to “all.”  So silly.  So illogical.  So petty.

And what of the current election cycle?  Why are people so attracted to Donald Trump?  I think it is because he is so “in your face” about the issues.  Many people are looking for that kind of attitude, perhaps as a way to wake people up.  Society has allowed the kind of change exemplified by my two examples above that a certain segment is now finally speaking out by supporting him.  Myself, I do not support Trump because he is not what I would call “presidential.”  But I would vote for him if he is the conservative candidate.

Okay, back to my move to Minnesota.  I’m nervous about going to a more liberal Catholic diocese.  I’ve noticed that parishes there refer to themselves as “welcoming.”  To me, that is a bit of a red flag.  It’s like they need to point this out as if to say that other parishes are not welcoming.  But, as I told my wife, I will adapt.  And my prayer?  Short and sweet.  Divine Providence, please show yourself.  Amen.

The photo is of our new house in Rochester, Minnesota.