Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Opera As Art, Pop As Porn

Just a reminder to everyone: in the Bay Area we are blessed to have one of the finest opera companies in the US. Actually, the San Francisco Opera is regarded second only to The Metropolitan in New York City. Now I am excited to learn that one of my favorite operas of all time, Mozart's “The Magic Flute,” will be performed in June and July. And tickets are still available.
For some, opera brings to mind uncomfortable images of women in metal brassieres and overweight baritones stabbing each other. Those are stereotypical images that have some basis in truth, but mainly in the Wagnerian opera cycles. I recommend that everyone go to see at least one opera in their lifetime, and it is an event that must be experienced live. As great opera involves not just the sense of hearing, but sight. As most operas that I have seen on television loose their impact on the flat screen. The only opera singer to successfully make the jump to motion pictures and convey some of the passion of the music was Mario Lanza. Today, film musical have disappeared (not for lack of interest) but because there are no great talents in existence that can pull one off. The subtly is gone from film. And opera is about the power of the big note, but also the slight gesture and the small wink.
Merely listening to opera music on a record or disk, for example, can be tiresome. Opera is about reaching for the transcendent. Bringing Art to life. Opera thrives in the three dimensional world of the stage. In contrast, modern popular music can not escape the two-dimensional. Only the truly great pop performers, such as Elvis Presley, Diana Ross and Barbara Streisand can soar on stage; or transfer their greatness to the large screen. The rest of them shrink. As a twenty-something I loved Madonna, but when I saw her live she vanished. On the small television screen, in her music videos, her thin talent is magnified to appear larger than it is. Her attempts to go to the big-screen have failed. The same goes for her modern equivalents: Britney Spears, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry. On their concert tours, they relay solely on costumes, dancers and pyrotechnics as their voices can not carry. Contemporary actors require the same crutch.
As I like to think, modern music is often akin to pornography. It is trapped by its conventions and baseness. Pop music does not try to elevate the soul, but make its aspirations entirely earth-bound. It also can not break the two-dimensional barrier. As with pornography it must be admired on a flat surface. Hence the popularity of YouTube and music videos released directly to the internet. Also, the artist is gone, today's music is entirely producer driven; Kesha is a prime example of this trend. Even at friendly venues during the various music industry awards, performers always resort to shock for recognition; here I am remembering Lady Gaga from a few years ago spattering herself with blood, andthis year Nicki Minag staging a mock exorcism. Over two-hundred years ago, Mozart wrote “The Magic Flute.” Will anyone remember “Last Friday Night” by Perry? In ten years it will be forgotten. You can toss their songs out like last months Playboy. There will always be something “new” right around the corner.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Rant: Private Conversations in Public

I am constantly astonished by people who walk into my store while engaged in the most personal conversations with spouses, children, etc. They usually talk loud and reveal intimate details about their lives. I find it completely bizarre. This only goes to prove a theory that I have held for many years, since I first developed the idea back at UC Berkeley while studying some of the French Impressionists: that there is a continual eroding of the demarcation between private and public space. The most exaggerated examples came from the talk-show craze of the 80s and 90s when hapless guests would reveal the most embarrassing secrets about themselves to gawking audiences. Back in my favorite decade of the 20th Century: the 1950s, women especially guarded their private lives and space. The families dirty-laundry was left inside: for this reason Grace Metalious' tawdry 1956 novel “Peyton Place” was such a shocker at the time. Today, it would be considered tame. And then I also love the 50s sitcoms that showed the women of the house never leaving home without gloves and a matching handbag. Then, a certain public appearance and decorum was expected and often required. Now, I am amazed by how many people emerge from their homes and shop, bank, and even work in jeans, shorts and flip-flops. The worst offenders are those that attend church as if they were on their way to a slumber party. People please keep your private conversations within the four walls of your home or even your car. No one wants to hear you fight with your wife or husband or reprimand your kids. Silence, please.

The Face of Suffering

I am often fascinated by photographs, especially old ones. These are two of the most interesting I have recently seen. One is of the future Pope John Paul II and the other of Pope Benedict XVI. Reminds me of contemporary photographs of the Carmelite nun St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. They are intense. Remarkable more for the pictures of the two boys. But at that time, everyone, particularly children, grew up fast and knew suffering at a young age. Pope John Paul under the oppressive heal of Hitler in Poland and Pope Benedict back in the Fuhrer’s heartland. Both came from fairly comfortable middle-class backgrounds, but they still knew death up-close. Pope John Paul was conscripted to harsh labor details, and Pope Benedict's down-syndrome cousin was executed. How different our youth of today appear: non-nonchalant, constantly giddy, brain-dead. But has everything changed: are we no longer in the midst of suffering? Or have we chosen just to ignore it as the smell of a death-camp and the nice clean appearance of an abortion clinic do not equate in our minds.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Cardinal-Designate Dolan and Our Own Bishop Vasa

Found this wonderful photo while I was looking for something else.

Men of the Year: The US Catholic Bishops

I sometimes overhear a good bit of priest and bishop bashing in my store; which I refuse to take part in. As for myself, I have always maintained that the problems within the Catholic Church in America has more to do with the laity than the priests or the bishops. Case in point: a poll commissioned last year by the Fordham Center on Religion and Culture found that just 16% of Catholics recalled hearing about the booklet the bishops regularly print to guide Catholics on political decisions. Of those who had heard of it, just 1% had read it. And 74% said the document did not influence their vote. Reminds me of this line from Zechariah: “But they would not hearken, and they turned away the shoulder to depart: and they stopped their ears, not to hear.” As I see it, many Catholics in America are completely disconnected from the magisterial teachings of the Church that comes to us through the Bishops from the Holy Father. Under Pope Benedict XVI, the US Bishops have been stellar in their response to the HHS mandate forced upon us by Obama, his minions, and several “catholic” political stooges. The USCCB web-site is easy to navigate and jam-packed with information regarding the mandate and other issues relevant to the Catholic Church. Everyone knows how to find, sign-up, and use facebook, is it asking Catholics too much to spend a marginal amount of time investigating their own Faith? I think the Bishops have done their part, now it's our turn.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Greatest: Bishop William E. Lori

Here is the transcript of the testimony delivered by Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport, given today on behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops before the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, United States House of Representatives. He is clear, concise and right-on-point. God bless the Bishop. I think his appearance will be one of the finest moments in Catholic-American history. Amazing.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of the Committee, for the opportunity to testify today. For my testimony today, I would like to tell a story. Let’s call it, “The Parable of the Kosher Deli.” Once upon a time, a new law is proposed, so that any business that serves food must serve pork. There is a narrow exception for kosher catering halls attached to synagogues, since they serve mostly members of that synagogue, but kosher delicatessens are still subject to the mandate. The Orthodox Jewish community—whose members run kosher delis and many other restaurants and grocers besides—expresses its outrage at the new government mandate. And they are joined by others who have no problem eating pork—not just the many Jews who eat pork, but people of all faiths—because these others recognize the threat to the principle of religious liberty. They recognize as well the practical impact of the damage to that principle. They know that, if the mandate stands, they might be the next ones forced—under threat of severe government sanction—to violate their most deeply held beliefs, especially their unpopular beliefs.
Meanwhile, those who support the mandate respond, “But pork is good for you. It is, after all, the other white meat.” Other supporters add, “So many Jews eat pork, and those who don’t should just get with the times.” Still others say, “Those Orthodox are just trying to impose their beliefs on everyone else.” But in our hypothetical, those arguments fail in the public debate, because people widely recognize the following.
First, although people may reasonably debate whether pork is good for you, that’s not the question posed by the nationwide pork mandate. Instead, the mandate generates the question whether people who believe—even if they believe in error—that pork is not good for you, should be forced by the government to serve pork within their very own institutions. In a nation committed to religious liberty and diversity, the answer, of course, is no.
Second, the fact that some (or even most) Jews eat pork is simply irrelevant. The fact remains that some Jews do not—and they do not out of their most deeply held religious convictions. Does the fact that large majorities in society—even large majorities within the protesting religious community—reject a particular religious belief make it permissible for the government to weigh in on one side of that dispute? Does it allow government to punish that minority belief with its coercive power? In a nation committed to religious liberty and diversity, the answer, of course, is no.
Third, the charge that the Orthodox Jews are imposing their beliefs on others has it exactly backwards. Again, the question generated by a government mandate is whether the government will impose its belief that eating pork is good on objecting Orthodox Jews. Meanwhile, there is no imposition at all on the freedom of those who want to eat pork. That is, they are subject to no government interference at all in their choice to eat pork, and pork is ubiquitous and cheap, available at the overwhelming majority of restaurants and grocers. Indeed, some pork producers and retailers, and even the government itself, are so eager to promote the eating of pork, that they sometimes give pork away for free.
In this context, the question is this: can a customer come to a kosher deli, demand to be served a ham sandwich, and if refused, bring down severe government sanction on the deli. In a nation committed to religious liberty and diversity, the answer, of course, is no.
So in our hypothetical story, because the hypothetical nation is indeed committed to religious liberty and diversity, these arguments carry the day. In response, those proposing the new law claim to hear and understand the concerns of kosher deli owners, and offer them a new “accommodation.” You are free to call yourself a kosher deli; you are free not to place ham sandwiches on your menu; you are free not to be the person to prepare the sandwich and hand it over the counter to the customer. But we will force your meat supplier to set up a kiosk on your premises, and to offer, prepare, and serve ham sandwiches to all of your customers, free of charge to them. And when you get your monthly bill from your meat supplier, it will include the cost of any of the “free” ham sandwiches that your customers may accept. And you will, of course, be required to pay that bill. Some who supported the deli owners initially began to celebrate the fact that ham sandwiches didn’t need to be on the menu, and didn’t need to be prepared or served by the deli itself. But on closer examination, they noticed three troubling things. First, all kosher delis will still be forced to pay for the ham sandwiches.
Second, many of the kosher delis’ meat suppliers, themselves, are forbidden in conscience from offering, preparing, or serving pork to anyone. Third, there are many kosher delis that are their own meat supplier, so the mandate to offer, prepare, and serve the ham sandwich still falls on them. This story has a happy ending. The government recognized that it is absurd for someone to come into a kosher deli and demand a ham sandwich; that it is beyond absurd for that private demand to be backed with the coercive power of the state; that it is downright surreal to apply this coercive power when the customer can get the same sandwich cheaply, or even free, just a few doors down.
The question before the United States government—right now—is whether the story of our own Church institutions that serve the public, and that are threatened by the HHS mandate, will end happily too. Will our nation continue to be one committed to religious liberty and diversity? We urge, in the strongest possible terms, that the answer must be yes. We urge you, in the strongest possible terms, to answer the same way.
Thank you for your attention.

Art and Beauty

I recently discovered a great contemporary religious artist by the name of Joseph F. Brickey. I have not seen such exquisitely beautiful works since the great neo-classical artists of the 19th Century: i.e Bouguereau, Ingres, and Alma-Tadema. His technique is unequaled in today's art field. This is certainly due to innate talent, but also shows many years of intense training. His art would be labeled as sentimental by many, but I find it an extraordinary throwback to the great European academic painters who believed that art and beauty were the ideal. Brickley also is a return to the artist-craftsman that breaks the modern bohemian stereotype of the artist as libertine. Brickley is a member of the LDS Church and many of his works reflect that, but everything listed under the Biblical Subjects section of his web-site is awesome.

Web address:

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Minaj Triage: Boycott These Corporate Sponsors

Urgent! Please send these corporate sponsors to the emergency room, as the only thing that hurts them is a big knock to their pocketbooks. We Catholics really need to get serious. Please boycott these companies and their products.

Superbowl Halftime (featuring Madonna, Nicki Minaj and MIA) sponsor:

2012 Grammy Awards (they knew exactly what Minaj would do during the show) sponsors:
Delta Airlines
WM Waste Management
People Magazine

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Devil Made Me Do It: Minaj and Her Supporters

I just learned that media hack Ryan Seacrest will soon be pushing Nicki Minaj’s new single and album on his national radio show. She debuted the whole mess at the Grammy’s while mocking the Catholic Church. Please boycott the Seacrest show as well as “American Idol” which he hosts. Enough is enough. Catholics can no longer stand by and let our Church and traditions be openly and unapologetically ridiculed. It was no accident that Minaj appeared at the Super-bowl Halftime show with the woman who started the whole thing: Madonna. She made mocking the Catholic Church into a near art. Now, her minions are continuing her work and taking it to a whole other level. Minaj, by satirizing and sexualizing the rite of exorcism, gradually and methodically chips away at how the ritual is perceived and begins to trivialize it, as well as the Church, in the public’s mind. It is the same thing that Madonna tried to do with the image of the Virgin Mary: by constantly flashing the rosary between her bosoms, making love to a saint in her music-video for “Like a Prayer,” and by naming one of her albums “The Immaculate Collection.” Madonna’s and Minaj’s continued support by corporate America proves just how deep Satan has drilled into the American cultural framework. As Catholics, we can no longer support this black-mass of satanic insanity.

Nicki Minaj: The Latest Non-Talent Superstar

The talent-less Nicki Minaj, is the latest so called pop-star to join Madonna, Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, and Katy Perry to slam religion in a pathetic attempt to gain fans and wealth. Unfortunately, for the most part, it works in getting them free publicity. I will not get into the stunt Minaj pulled at the Grammy Awards, but it was blatantly anti-Catholic. Please boycott this insipid woman.

The Obama Trap, Part II

I neglected to point out in my last post, as Archbishop Dolan clearly stated in his visit with Fr. Groeschel: Obama will try to marginalize all life-loving religions. That means not only the Catholics, but the Mormons, the Orthodox Jews and so on. For proof look no further than how the same-sex marriage advocates tried to demonize the LDS Church when they publicized that the Mormons backed Prop. 8 in California. We should all have learned from World War II that an attack on one religion is an attack on all. And we must not let this happen again. The Holy Father once said: “We must ask ourselves: have not we Christians become perhaps too silent? Do we not perhaps lack the courage to speak out and witness as did those who witnessed the healing of the deaf-mute in the Decapolis? Our world needs this witness; above all, it is waiting for the common testimony of Christians.”

The Obama Trap

The recent so-called “compromise” by Obama on his abortion/contraception mandate may be part of a plan to corner the GOP and make whoever is the Republican candidate (now it is looking like it will be Romney or Santorum) appear intransigent and anti-women. Obama pulled this same stunt when he at first refused to release proof of his US citizenship. Then, all of a sudden, he produced something resembling a record of live-birth and subsequently made Donald Trump and others look like even bigger fools. Now, Obama is recreating himself as the great mediator; the one who is willing to cooperate. He wants to place the GOP field in the mind of the electorate with those misogynistic Catholic prelates. I have already heard several times on the media that 77% of Catholic women support the mandate. They like repeating this figure ad nauseam. The GOP needs to turn this around and expose Obama for the sneaky ideologue that he is.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Dolan Talks Romney

Just finished watching “Sunday Night Prime” with Fr. Groeschel and his guest Cardinal-elect Archbishop Timothy Dolan. The episode was taped a few days ago. They talked mainly about the Obama abortion/contraception mandate. Their discussion did not include the so-called “compromise” as that announcement had not been made at the time of the interview. One of the most interesting points made by Dolan concerned presidential candidate Mitt Romney. He made the argument, after a lengthy discussion Dolan had with Groeschel about the history of anti-Catholicism in the US. Dolan said (and I am paraphrasing) that during the 2012 Presidential campaign we will see a renewed anti-religiosity that will be primarily aimed at Mormons. He said that this is mainly because any religion that is pro-life, family, and morally-centered particularly draws the ire of the so-called progressives. He also stated that you can not vote for Mitt Romney for other reasons, but the reason should not be because he is a Mormon.

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Health Insurance Compromise: Another Obama Trojan Horse

Just finished reading an AP news-wire article about Obama's supposed “accommodation” to religious institutions on the new abortion/contraception insurance mandate. The most important line in the whole story was: “Planned Parenthood and the Catholic Health Association each approved of the compromise...” First of all anything that Planned Parenthood approves of must be in their best interest, therefore not in the interest of anyone who wants to protect life; secondly, the Catholic Health Association has absolutely no credibility whatsoever as they openly defied the USCCB and heartily backed the passage of Obama-care. Obama just pushed another Trojan Horse through the gates. Wake-up America!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Catholics Stand With Obama

Here are some shocking poll numbers: 58% of Catholics support the Obama abortion/contraception mandate. Even worse: 77% of Catholic women approve. But when I read that 98% of Catholic couples have used artificial birth-control, well -it's not so surprising after all. What we are dealing with is a two-fold problem: it is a problem of education and obedience. People have not been properly catechized and those that have are unwilling to obey. Right now, I am thinking - what a mess.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Super Bowl: Bread and Circuses

… Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions — everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses.

And so it was during the Roman Empire. Back then, the Emperor was obliged to subsidize the grain supply to Rome, making generous allotments to every citizen in the city. In addition, usually at the beginning of each new Emperor's reign, and the turn-over of rulers became more and more bloody as the Empire began to weaken, large, elaborate, and expensive spectacles were arranged for the enjoyment of the elite and the rebel alike. When the flow of free grain stopped or the blood stopped gushing in the Coliseum, the people became unwieldy. Since then, governments have changed little: they continue with the handouts and the entertainment of the masses is on a grander and wider scale than the Romans could have dreamed. Case in point: while the Obama administration was telling our Catholic Military chaplains what to preach, the US was watching the increasingly inane Super bowl. The event is less about sport and more about image and brand placement. The inordinate attention paid to the commercials is mind-blowing. The players, with exceptions of course, are largely over-payed, over-pampered and bloated. And this year, they dragged out an old-standby: Madonna. The parallels between the contemporary world and Rome could not have been more clear than when she entered the stadium in a mock homage to Elizabeth Taylor's “Cleopatra.” It was a poor copy. Madonna again relied on the young and talentless as she did back a few years ago when she kissed Britney Spears on stage during the MTV Awards. This time, she glommed onto the grossly abominable LMFAO; who were also featured in an M&M commercial; I will never again buy products from Mars Inc. But one of the spookiest things about her performance were the black-stretch bands she wore in a vain attempt to conceal her arms. As many have noticed, Madonna's vascular arms have become increasing claw like as she has aged. Reminds me of a story told to me by an old Benedictine nun: she had been asked to investigate a supposed apparition of the Virgin Mary. When she threw holy-water on the image, the figure rotated upside-down and revealed hideous bird-like feet.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Komen Caves: The Flee Generation Runs Once Again

Today, the Susan G. Komen Foundation decided to cut and run and backtrack on it's earlier decision to defund Planned Parenthood. I started to think: was this a matter of weakness, caving in to political pressure or economics? It could be any of these, but I think it mainly comes down to apathy. St. Maximilian Kolbe once said: “The most deadly poison of our times is indifference.” Similarly, last year, Pope Benedict made this statement: “We are witnessing a growing indifference to religion in society, which considers the issue of truth as something of an obstacle in its decision-making, and instead gives priority to utilitarian considerations.” Today, from faith to marriages, there is an incredible lack of commitment. People drift away from their religion, and I have heard it several times in my store, because it is too hard; too restrictive. Or they bail-out on a marriage that is getting to be a bit too much work. This is because: for the most part, from the foundations, the firm dedication was never there in the first place. Nowadays, those who have strong views are often labeled as radicals. Therefore, when the Komen Foundation felt the heat they quickly melted. If their resolution had been firm, they could have withstood the onslaught. But few of us have the resolve or the will to stick by our principles. It is always easier to get along. But this lackadaisical attitude, as Kolbe could testify, leads to mass apathy even in the face of genocide. And as the Holy Father stated: we even begin to loose all Faith in God.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Devil Has Come Home: Obama Shows His True Colors

On May 16th, 2009 President Obama gave the key-note address at the graduation ceremony of Notre Dame University in Indiana. The appearance created much controversy at the time, as the gullible and pig-headed University leaders refused to accept the advice of several US Bishops, including their own, and not invite Obama to speak. Well he did, and Obama also received an honorary degree. This is part of what he said: “So let's work together to reduce the number of women seeking abortions by reducing unintended pregnancies, and making adoption more available, and providing care and support for women who do carry their child to term. Let's honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion, and draft a sensible conscience clause, and make sure that all of our health care policies are grounded in clear ethics and sound science, as well as respect for the equality of women.” Now, we live under the shadow of Obama's forced insurance mandate that will require religious institutions to provide coverage that also includes abortions and contraceptives. No exceptions. Oh, religious organizations have an extra year to comply. 
This move by Obama shows his naked and shameless grab for power. Even the usually Obama-friendly media networks like CNN and MSNBC, are left somewhat puzzled by his unorthodox and potentially incredibly unpopular move in this volatile election year. But this only goes to prove the deep ideological cancer that rests in the very soul of Obama and all his compatriots. They are not tolerant, they are not pacifists, they are not progressives. They are old-fashioned Soviet totalitarians. From the get go, they are coming after the biggest Christian fish in the US: the Catholic Church. By their reasoning, if they can bring us down, the others should fall into line rather easily. But they forgot about our incredibly Holy and visionary Pope. Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict gave marching orders to the US Bishops last month during their visit to Rome and they have been remarkably obedient: from Cardinal Mahony in Los Angeles to Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia. Now, as US Bishops have made it rather clean that a vote for Obama is tantamount to (at best) a mortal sin; Catholics must surly follow the guidelines set by our Church, here represented by the ecclesial hierarchy, and abandon this false prophet who carried 54% of the Catholic vote in 2008.

October Surprise: The Pope to Declare German Mystic Doctor of the Church

In October of this year, Pope Benedict will canonize and make a Doctor of the Church 12th Century German mystic Hildegard of Bingen. I first became acquainted with Blessed Hildegard back when I was a student at UC Berkeley. I was not involved with the Faith then, and I say her as only one of many Medieval female ecstatics. At the time, I was working on a paper about the cult of relics and women religious. I remember she was particularly popular with some eco-feminists that I knew. Somehow they had incorporated some of her botanical texts into the New Age lexicon.
I had not remembered Hildegard until I read of her impending canonization. My first thought was: this is an unconventional choice. She nor her writings are widely known, especially in the English speaking world. But after more thought, I remembered that Pope Benedict has never been predictable. And like himself, Hildegard was a person of many talents and interests. The Holy Father is a true “Renaissance Man,” in an age when they are sorely lacking, and Hildegard was a “Renaissance Woman” before the Renaissance even took place. Her writings are scientific, theological as well as mystical; she was even a composer. She also expressed some surprisingly frank, for it's time, opinions on the problem of homosexuality. On Hildegard's mystical experiences the Holy Father said:

As always happens in the life of true mystics, Hildegard too wanted to put herself under the authority of wise people to discern the origin of her visions, fearing that they were the product of illusions and did not come from God. She thus turned to a person who was most highly esteemed in the Church in those times: St Bernard of Clairvaux, of whom I have already spoken in several Catecheses. He calmed and encouraged Hildegard...This, dear friends, is the seal of an authentic experience of the Holy Spirit, the source of every charism: the person endowed with supernatural gifts never boasts of them, never flaunts them and, above all, shows complete obedience to the ecclesial authority. Every gift bestowed by the Holy Spirit, is in fact intended for the edification of the Church and the Church, through her Pastors, recognizes its authenticity.”
These words of the Pope should also further resonate with those who follow, propagate, or visit super-natural shrines that have not been approved by Church authorities. It should also serve as a litmus test when determining the authenticity of all other mystics or supposed apparitions. Here, the Holy Father sees very clearly into the future and can witness that the time has come for a genuine and powerful mystic to enlighten the 21st Century. This somewhat reminds me of Pope John Paul II's promotion of St. Faustina and the Divine Mercy devotion during the final years of his pontificate. For also, Hildegard seems directly suited for our time. She combines a impressive breadth of knowledge with a concern for the environment, sexual morality and a very grounded but extraordinary otherworldly consciousness. The Holy Father knows that the Modern world is thirsty for a return to authentic spirituality that is transcendent but always firmly anchored to the shiftless solidity of ecclesiastical tradition. Hail! To our new Saint and new Doctor of the Church: Blessed Hildegard of Bingen.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Marco Rubio: The Good News and the Not-So-Good News

The Republican Senator from Florida, Marco Rubio, has introduced a bill that would allow all religious employers an exemption to a requirement that health care coverage include contraceptive services. The bill should have a fairly good chance of passing as many Christian sects and even liberal-leaning Catholics have come out to oppose the mandate. Obama's health insurance law would require all employers, even religious affiliated entities, to provide abortion/contraceptives as a part of their employee insurance benefits. Thankfully Rubio has stepped up to try and clean up the mess. I also think Rubio's endorsement of presidential hopeful Mitt Romney proved instrumental in Romney carrying the state by a wide margin in the Republican primary.
While reading several articles about Rubio I assumed he was a Catholic; he is the son of Cuban immigrants who usually staunchly maintain their Catholic traditional identity. After a bit more digging, I discovered that Rubio self-identifies as a Catholic but has been attending for the past six years, and contributed $50,000 to, a Florida non-denominational mega-church. Virgilio P. Elizondo, a priest who teaches at the University of Notre Dame was asked about Rubio's duality. “I don’t think this is very common,” Father Elizondo said. “I know that some Catholics switch for a while and then return, and some switch and never return, but I really don’t know of any who claim to be Catholic but attend another church.”

While I was disappointed to read that Rubio no longer practiced his Catholic faith, which of course includes attending Mass, this does not take away from his qualities as a moral political leader. For this same reason, since I disagree strongly with most of the tenants of the LDS religion, I also still believe that Mitt Romney can be an effective national leader. In addition, I have mentioned this before but perhaps it is worth repeating, as a country we should embrace any calm port in this horrible storm we find ourselves. Romney and Rubio are not my prefect candidates but they are a far superior choice to the man who now occupies the White House. Just look at what he is currently trying to force upon the religious institutions of this country. Do you need any more proof?