Sunday, July 30, 2006
Pope: Keep on Praying
Friday, July 28, 2006
Fr. Tom Euteneuer offers A Solution for the Mid-East Conflict
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Archbishop Sheen - Possible Miracle
Labels: Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
Monday, July 24, 2006
Keeping Children Safe by Fr. Frank Pavone
Most who seek an abortion do not do so because of “freedom of choice,” but because they feel they have no freedom and no choice. In so many instances, the pregnant young girl has loving parents, but is afraid of hurting or disappointing them. As a result, the very people who can best help her are the last ones she wants to tell. Parental involvement laws reconnect that frightened young girl with her own parents, enabling her to discover that the fears she had about parental rejection were unfounded, and enabling those parents to give their daughter the help and guidance she needs.
Predictably, as a result, studies have shown that such laws reduce the numbers of abortions in the places where they are in force.
But abortion is a business, and its practitioners act accordingly. Parental involvement laws make for bad business at the clinics, which is why abortion advocacy groups oppose these laws at every chance they get. Moreover, abortion clinics in states that do not have such laws advertise that fact, and people take minors across state lines to circumvent the law that requires parental involvement. Those most likely to transport a minor in this way, of course, are adult men who have committed statutory rape by having sexual activity with a minor. It has been well established, through undercover investigative activity and evidence now available to the public, that abortion clinics routinely assist sexual predators to cover up this activity by refusing to report them to the authorities.
In order to protect the welfare of minor girls and the rights of parents, Congress has a duty to regulate this interstate activity. The House of Representatives already passed, in April of 2005, a bill called he Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (CIANA) (H.R. 748), which makes it a crime to transport a minor across state lines to circumvent a parental involvement law.
In the Senate, the Child Custody Protection Act (S. 403) is similar. It would make it a federal offense to transport a minor across state lines for an abortion without fulfilling the requirements of a parental involvement law in effect in the home state.
Pro-abortion legislators have introduced amendments to the bill that would grant exceptions for incest, or if a member of the clergy did the transporting. But one can gain “clergy” status in a few minutes on the internet, and the law should be all the more ready to stop those guilty of incest. Of course, the money the clinics make from abortion goes in part to the political campaigns of the legislators who support it. The bottom line again is business.
Saint Charbel (Sharbel) Makhlouf
He was born Youssef Antoun Makhlouf in Bekaa Kafra On 8 May 1828, the youngest of 5 children. His family was poor but very devout. He had 2 uncles who were hermits at St Antonious Kozhaya monastery. His upbringing gave him a great devotion to prayer. At age 2 his father died. In 1851 at the age of 23 he left home to go to the Monastery of Our Lady of Mayfouq where he entered the novitiate. He was later transfered to the Monastery of Saint Maroun at Annaya where in on 1 Nov 1853 he pronounced the monastic vows of poverty, chastity and obedience & took the name Charbel. At the St Kobrianous and Justina monastery in Kfifan, Batroun he finished his theological studies. St. Nimatullah Kassab El-Hardini was 1 of his teachers. He was ordained a priest on 23 July 1859 in Bkerke. He returned to St. Maroun's & stayed there for almost 16 yrs exercising his priestly ministry. On 15 Feb 1875 he was given permission by his surperiors to move to the nearby Hemitage of Ss. Peter & Paul. He spent the next 23 yrs of his life there in prayer, fasting, contemplation, study of Scripture & manual work. The Eucharist was the center of his life & he had a deep devotion to Mary. On 16 Dec 1898, while reciting the "Father of Truth, here is Your Son, Victim of Expiation; here is the Blood which intercedes for me, it is my offering, accept it" during the elevation of the Host at the Holy Liturgy, he suffered a stroke. On Christmas Eve 1898 he died in church having received the sacraments of the Church. Soon, bright lights were seen arround his grave at the St. Maroun cemetary. His body was later found to be exuding a blood-like substance. A cloth used to collect some of this fluid has touched many sick people who either received relief or complete healing. Several times over the yrs his body has been examing & found to be still intact & flexible. In 1925 his cause was opened by Pope Pius XI. On 5 Dec 1965, at the close of Vatican II, he was beatified by Pope Paul VI. On 9 Oct 1977, Pope Paul declared him a saint.
I would recommend some websites with more about him, including information about the miracles God has worked thru St. Charbel's intercession: http://www.marcharbel.com/ http://www.maronite.org.au/stcharbel/saintcharbelife.html & http://www.charbel.org/ The 2nd link is from the Maronite Eparchy of Australia & has a lot of information on the Maronite Church. The Maronite Church is the only Eastern Catholic Church that does not have a coresponding Orthodox equivalent as they never were seperated from Rome. (The only other Eastern Catholic Church that never seperated was the Italo-Greek also known as the Italo-Albanian Church in Southern Italia.)
St. Charbel, confessor, holy hermit, we ask your intercession before the Throne of Him whom you served, Jesus for a peaceful solution to the problems in Southern Lebanon. AMEN!
Note: The sources I used to get information from use various English spellings of the Lebanese names. I have used what I felt was the best variation. I realize that I may not have always opted for the best or most accurate. I apologize for my ignorance.
Sunday, July 23, 2006
Maronite Catholic Bishops Issue Statement on S. Lebanon Situation
Geagea and his friends say they know what [Lebanon] is now becoming: a Shiite fiefdom of Hezbollah. And to stop Hezbollah, to take away its weapons, to diminish its influence, they were willing to see Israel attack their country.
"God will be good to us ahead," Muhanna said. (Barrage Reopens Wounds of a Fractured Beirut, Washington Post Mon 17 July 2006 p A01)
Saturday, July 22, 2006
President Bush Promotes Ethical Stem Cell Research
Labels: Stem Cell Research
Friday, July 21, 2006
Pope calls for day of prayer & penance for situation in the Middle East.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
World War III
Monday, July 17, 2006
Papa Benedetto XVI on the Middle East (Angelus 16 July 2006)
Sunday, July 16, 2006
More on Priests for Life
Saturday, July 15, 2006
Israel & Hezbollah
& as a Catholic I am paying attention to the statements issued by the Vatican. & trying to make some sense of why it said some of what it said. In particular to how it said Israel has the right to defend itself, yet the very things it needs to do, the statement seemingly condemns. "As in the past, the Holy See also condemns both the terrorist attacks on the one side and the military reprisals on the other. Indeed, a state's right to self-defense does not exempt it from respecting the norms of international law, especially as regards the protection of civilian populations," Cardinal Sodano said. "Once again," he said, "it appears obvious that the only path worthy of our civilization is that of sincere dialogue between the contending parties."
All the reports I have read show that Israel is doing their best to avoid civilians. Yet Hezbollah has no respect for civilians. It has vowed to wipe out Israel. In order to do it they will wipe out civilians, children, whoever stands in their way. By their actions they have shown that they are unwilling to engage in sincere dialogue with Israel.Israel's ambassador to the UN, Dan Gillerman, pointed out that they are responding to an unprovoked attack from Hezbollah. To do so they have to fire on the places Hezbollah is operating out of. Where?, as is reported on Fox News' website: "Hezbollah operates with near autonomy in south Lebanon" The report goes on to point out:" and the government has resisted international pressure to disarm it — a step that could break the country apart."
"The real occupying power in Lebanon is terror — terror instigated by Hezbollah but funded by Iran and Syria," Gillerman said. Lest you think what he is saying is hyperbole, consider the following. The EU Parliament on 10 March 2005 approved the following resolution:"Parliament considers that clear evidence exists of terrorist activities on the part of Hezbollah and that the EU Council should take all necessary steps to curtail them." Many countries, including the USA consider Hezbollah a terrorist orginization.
On 2 September 2004, the UN Security Council adopted resolution # 2559, co-authored by France & the USA. It called for "all remaining foreign forces to withdraw from Lebanon", & "or the disbanding and disarmament of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias". Israel puuled out of Lebanon. Lebanon was supposed to disarm Hezbollah. On 28 January 2005 the UN Security Council issued another resolution, # 1583. From the UN Press release about the statement: "Through the unanimous adoption of resolution 1583 (2005), the Council expressed great concern about the serious breaches and the sea, land and continuing air violations of the Blue Line. It urged the parties to put an end to the violations, refrain from any act or provocation that could further escalate the tension, and abide scrupulously by their obligation to respect the safety of the Interim Force and other United Nations personnel. The text was sponsored by Denmark, France, Greece, Romania, United Kingdom and the United States." On 23 January 2006, in response to Lebanon's failure to obey either resolution, the UN Security Council issued the following statement: “The Council calls on the Lebanese Government to sustain its efforts to achieve progress on all these issues in accordance with resolution 1559 (2004) and to pursue a broad national dialogue, and the Council calls on all other parities concerned, in particular the Government of Syria, to cooperate to this end.” As is evidenced by recent events, Lebanon has failed in its responsiblity to do so. & in my mind, by doing so, are as responsible & guilty as Hezbollah.
I agree with Cardinal Soldano that negotiations would be the ideal. But, as I said earlier, Hezbollah's actions have proven that they will not keep their word. I am not claiming that Israel has handled everything perfectly. But, in looking back on everything Israel has done, pulling out, giving up territory, etc, on the promises of the other side, only to be attacked, there reaches a point, sadly, where they are left no choice but to defend itself. Still, as their Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, told UN chief Kofi Annan, they are willing to let the UN mediate a cease-fire. But only if the terms include disarming Hezbollah & the return of the 2 kidnapped Israeli soldiers.
At this point all I can do is pray. Pray that things don't escalate. Pray that Lebanon, rather than condemning Israel because of its actions, will do what it should have done a long time ago & disarm Hezbollah. In doing so, it will show Israel that it is sincere in its desire for peace & give Israel reason to trust their words as more than empty promises.
The Middle East has a history of arround 5000 yrs of war & strife in this area. So, it would seem that my hopes are pie in the sky. But, I also have a deep faith in God, that He can change hearts. That He can bring about a peaceful solution to the problems in the Middle East. Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He can bring that peace about. A peace that sees that both Arab & Jew are treated justly, that both can have a homeland where they can live in safety. Hopeless, if done only by man's power & strength. But, as Scripture reminds us, with God, ALL things are possible.
Friday, July 14, 2006
Akathist to St. Joseph
(The following information is taken from several sources. The 2 primary ones that I used were OrthodoxWiki.org (http://www.orthodoxwiki.org/Akathist) & NewAdvent.org (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01092c.htm). I apologize for any errors in advance & ask for corrections clarifications.)
It often begins with the Trisagion prayers. The hymn consists of 13 parts, each having a kontakion & an oikos (ikos). It can include a troparion as well as additional prayers. (A fuller explanation can be found at the OrthoWiki site as well as definitions of the various words used to describe parts of it. The 1st akathist hymn was written in honor of the Theotokos, the Blessed Virgin Mary, full title: The Akathist to the Most Holy Theotokos. It was written in the 7th Century AD. Many more have been written since them. Some honoring Mary & many other saints as well as Jesus, the Holy Cross & events in Jesus' life.
The full title of the Akathist in honor of St Joseph is called The Akathist Hymn In Honor Of The Righteous Joseph, The Betothed Of The Most-Holy Virgin, Mary. It is too long to publish here. A version of it, as used by the Kyivan Church of the Catholic Communion with instructions as well as some other information about it can be found at:http://hometown.aol.com/dangellbrown/akathistjoseph.html
It also includes links to many other akathists, Catholic & Orthodox.
Labels: St. Joseph (San Giuseppe)
San Guiseppe Pray for Us!!!!!
St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church,
look upon the world & the great need of the Church for men & women who are motivated to leadership, capable of spreading the Kingdom of Christ on earth, & able to make known, by example & teaching, the beauty & truths of Christ.
Pray, Blessed Joseph, that those to whom God has given talents & calls to the service of the Church, may not prove slothful & unworthy in their vocations.
The 2nd was written by Pope Blessed John XXIII.
St. Joseph, be our protector. May your interior spirit of peace, silence, good work & prayer for the cause of Holy Church always be our inspiration. May your spirit bring us joy in union with your blessed spouse, our sweet & gentle Immaculate Mother, & in your strong yet tender love of Jesus, the glorious & immortal King of all ages & peoples. Amen
The next is 1 of the five litanies approved by the Holy See for public worship.
Lord have mercy Christ have mercy.
Lord Have Mercy. Christ hear us. Christ graciously hear us.
God, the Father of Heaven, Have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, Have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost, Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, Have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, Pray for us.
Holy Joseph, Pray for us.
Renowned offspring of David, Pray for us. (repeat after each petition)
Light of Patriarchs,
Spouse of the Mother of God,
Chaste guardian of the Virgin,
Foster father of the Son of God,
Diligent protector of Christ,
Head of the Holy Family,
Joseph most just,
Joseph most chaste,
Joseph most prudent,
Joseph most strong,
Joseph most obedient,
Joseph most faithful,
Mirror of patience,
Lover of poverty,
Model of artisans,
Glory of home life,
Guardian of virgins,
Pillar of families,
Solace of the wretched,
Hope of the sick,
Patron of the dying,
Terror of demons,
Protector of Holy Church,
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, Spare us, O Lord!
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world. Have mercy on us.
He made him the lord of his household. And prince over all his possessions.
Let us pray: O God, in your ineffable providence you were pleased to choose Blessed Joseph to be the spouse of your most holy Mother; grant, we beg you, that we may be worthy to have him for our intercessor in heaven whom on earth we venerate as our Protector: You who live and reign forever and ever.
Saint Joseph, pray for us. Amen!
Labels: St. Joseph (San Giuseppe)
St. Joseph Universal Patron of the Church
The feast was originally celebrated on the 3rd Sunday after Easter. In 1913, revisions of the Missal & Breviary it was moved to the Wed before the 3rd Sunday after Easter. In 1956, after the institution of the feast of St. Joseph the Worker, the feast was dropped & the title of Patron of the Universal Church was added to the 19 Mar feast. In 1969 the title of patron was dropped completely.
So why is St. Joseph considered the Patron of the Universal Church? The answer can be found in the following passage taken from Pope John Paul the Great's Apostolic Exhortation Redemptoris Custos issued on 15 Aug 1989. In it he shares his thoughts as well as those of several of his predecessors. This part is from Section VI.
"28. At a difficult time in the Church's history, Pope Pius IX, wishing to place her under the powerful patronage of the holy patriarch Joseph, declared him "Patron of the Catholic Church."(42) For Pius IX this was no idle gesture, since by virtue of the sublime dignity which God has granted to his most faithful servant Joseph, "the Church, after the Blessed Virgin, his spouse, has always held him in great honor and showered him with praise, having recourse to him amid tribulations."(43)What are the reasons for such great confidence? Leo XIII explained it in this way: "The reasons why St. Joseph must be considered the special patron of the Church, and the Church in turn draws exceeding hope from his care and patronage, chiefly arise from his having been the husband of Mary and the presumed father of Jesus..., Joseph was in his day the lawful and natural guardian, head and defender of the Holy Family.... It is thus fitting and most worthy of Joseph's dignity that, in the same way that he once kept unceasing holy watch over the family of Nazareth, so now does he protect and defend with his heavenly patronage the Church of Christ."(44)29. This patronage must be invoked as ever necessary for the Church, not only as a defense against all dangers, but also, and indeed primarily, as an impetus for her renewed commitment to evangelization in the world and to re-evangelization in those lands and nations where-as I wrote in the Apostolic Exhortation Christideles Laici - "religion and the Christian life were formerly flourishing and...are now put to a hard test."(45) In order to bring the first proclamation of Christ, or to bring it anew wherever it has been neglected or forgotten, the Church has need of special "power from on high" (cf. Lk 24:49; Acts 1:8): a gift of the Spirit of the Lord, a gift which is not unrelated to the intercession and example of his saints.30. Besides trusting in Joseph's sure protection, the Church also trusts in his noble example, which transcends all individual states of life and serves as a model for the entire Christian community, whatever the condition and duties of each of its members may be.As the Constitution on Divine Revelation of the Second Vatican Council has said, the basic attitude of the entire Church must be that of "hearing the word of God with reverence,"(46) an absolute readiness to serve faithfully God's salvific will revealed in Jesus. Already at the beginning of human redemption, after Mary, we find the model of obedience made incarnate in St. Joseph, the man known for having faithfully carried out God's commands.Pope Paul VI invited us to invoke Joseph's patronage "as the Church has been wont to do in these recent times, for herself in the first place, with a spontaneous theological reflection on the marriage of divine and human action in the great economy of the Redemption, in which economy the first-the divine one-is wholly sufficient unto itself, while the second-the human action which is ours-though capable of nothing (cf. Jn 15:5), is never dispensed from a humble but conditional and ennobling collaboration. The Church also calls upon Joseph as her protector because of a profound and ever present desire to reinvigorate her ancient life with true evangelical virtues, such as shine forth in St. Joseph."(47)31. The Church transforms these needs into prayer. Recalling that God wished to entrust the beginnings of our redemption to the faithful care of St. Joseph, she asks God to grant that she may faithfully cooperate in the work of salvation; that she may receive the same faithfulness and purity of heart that inspired Joseph in serving the Incarnate World; and that she may walk before God in the ways of holiness and justice, following Joseph's example and through his intercession.(48)One hundred years ago, Pope Leo XIII had already exhorted the Catholic world to pray for the protection of St. Joseph, Patron of the whole Church. The Encyclical Epistle Quamquam Pluries appealed to Joseph's "fatherly love...for the child Jesus" and commended to him, as "the provident guardian of the divine Family," "the beloved inheritance which Jesus Christ purchased by his blood." Since that time-as I recalled at the beginning of this Exhortation-the Church has implored the protection of St. Joseph on the basis of "that sacred bond of charity which united him to the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God," and the Church has commended to Joseph all of her cares, including those dangers which threaten the human family.Even today we have many reasons to pray in a similar way: "Most beloved father, dispel the evil of falsehood and sin...graciously assist us from heaven in our struggle with the powers of darkness...and just as once you saved the Child Jesus from mortal danger, so now defend God's holy Church from the snares of her enemies and from all adversity."(49) Today we still have good reason to commend everyone to St. Joseph.32. It is my heartfelt wish that these reflections on the person of St. Joseph will renew in us the prayerful devotion which my Predecessor called for a century ago. Our prayers and the very person of Joseph have renewed significance for the Church in our day in light of the Third Christian Millennium.The Second Vatican Council made all of us sensitive once again to the "great things which God has done," and to that "economy of salvation" of which St. Joseph was a special minister. Commending ourselves, then, to the protection of him to whose custody God "entrusted his greatest and most precious treasures,"(50) let us at the same time learn from him how to be servants of the "economy of salvation." May St. Joseph become for all of us an exceptional teacher in the service of Christ's saving mission, a mission which is the responsibility of each and every member of the Church: husbands and wives, parents, those who live by the work of their hands or by any other kind of work, those called to the contemplative life and those called to the apostolate.This just man, who bore within himself the entire heritage of the Old Covenant, was also brought into the "beginning" of the New and Eternal Covenant in Jesus Christ. May he show us the paths of this saving Covenant as we stand at the threshold of the next millennium, in which there must be a continuation and further development of the "fullness of time" that belongs the ineffable mystery of the Incarnation of the Word. "
The entire letter (with footnotes so you can go back & read the other documents) can be found at:
Labels: St. Joseph (San Giuseppe)
Monday, July 10, 2006
Priests for Life Update
Mission to Magadan
Magadan is a seaport and industrial city located on Tauisk Bay on the northern shore of the Sea of Okhotsk. It has a population of a little under 130000. Sadly, the city's origins are rooted in the Gulag labor camp system set up by Stalin. The town was founded in the 1930s. It served as a transit point for political prisoners heading to the gold mines. 1n 1991 they found an area polluted with radioactive cesium. They are in the process of cleaning it up. Even with all that is going on there is poverty. Many women are being forced into abortions due to poverty.
Fr. Michael was originally from the Archdiocese of Anchorage, AL. Christmas 1990 saw Fr. Micael accompanied Archbishop Francis Hurley to Magaden where they celebrated Mass. This was the 1st public Mass ever. In January 1991, Archbishop Hurley helped a small group of Russians establish the first Roman Catholic parish there. It was named the Parish of the Nativity of Jesus. 6 months later Archbishop Huley found Eastern rite Father Austin Mohrbacher to be the 1st pastor. In 1994 the Archbishop assigned Fr. Michael there as resident pastor. In 1996 Fr. David Means arrived from the St. Louis Archdiocese to assist him. January 2001 saw the groundbreaking for a new Church building. Christmas 2002 saw the blessing of the new church. On 4 July 2004 the church was formally consecrated. In 2003 the Daughters of Charity set up a convent in Magadan to serve the parish. Also in 2004 they had a facilitator from Rachel's Vineyard put on several retreats for women who had abortions. The parish is a part of the Diocese of St. Joseph in Irkutsk, Russia. To give you some idea of the size of the diocese, it is a 4 hr flight to reach Magadan from Irkutsk. The parish has grown from 12 people to over 200.
The Archdiocesen newspaper, The Catholic Anchor, has on its website http://www.catholicanchor.org/MMpages/MM.html several articles that have appeared in the paper. They can give you more information about the work being done there. As well as tell you of the problems they have had. Unfortunately, The Russian Orthodox Church hasn't always been welcoming to the reestablishment of the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern & Western Rites. Part of this was an attempt to expel Fr. Michael.
Even more importantly, what is needed is financial help for the Archdiocese of Anchorage to continue its work. Fr. Groeshel always ends his show asking for the viewers to help support EWTN. This night he didn't merely ask that people send money to support the Mission. It was more like the Holy Spirit speaking through him & saying that the viewers are to send money. Not a suggestion, more like a Divine command. It was something I felt strongly convicted to do. Shortly thereafter, I sent a check. & now I ask readers to do the same. You have read about some of the work they are doing. This work takes money. PLEASE HELP!!! Checks should be made out to Mission to Magadan & sent to the Archdiocese of Anchorage at this address:
Archdiocese of Anchorage
Mission to Magadan
225 CORDOVA ST
ANCHORAGE AL 95501-2409
Labels: Mission to Magadan
Friday, July 07, 2006
Priests for Life
Ok, that is the simplified version of what they do. They are involved in a wide variety of activities to accomplish their mission. The orginization is lead by Fr. Frank Pavone. It began in 1991. So, what are some of the things they do.
Their main mission is to train & assist priests to enable them to lead the fight for life. They do so 1st of all by enabling priests who are particularly active in pro-life work. They provide educational materials (literature, tapes, seminars) to enable priests to better address life issues. & they help priests to better relate to the various pro-life groups out there. They have several priests who work full time with the group, travelling arround & often speaking at parishes, either at special events or at Sunday Masses.
Not all their material is aimed towards priests, many of their resources are directly aimed at seminarians, deacons & the laity to eanble them to do their part. 1 of their (in my opinion) more important resources, is their materials to educate people on how to be active in the political process. I say this because, until the laws are changed, abortion will continue. Prayer is important & the keystone of all pro-life activities but we are also called to action. Priests for Life is a powerful prophetic voice for political responsiblity.
They also help those who have been involved in an abortion (both men & women) to find healing & forgivenss for thier actions. Their 2 main ways are through Rachel's Vineyard, which puts on healing retreats, & Silent No More, who's purpose is to inform the public about the emotional & physical pain that abortion causes to men women & families.
Another part of their work is The Missionaries of the Gospel of Life. The best way to explain the group is to let them explain themselves: "The Missionaries of the Gospel of Life will be constituted as a Society of Apostolic Life. This is not a religious congregation, but does have a community life. The focus is on the mission ("apostolic life"), which will take the members nationwide in the defense of the unborn. The Society seeks to give witness before the Church and the world to the priority of the right to life as the foundation of all other rights, and to the absolute claims to respect and protection that this right makes upon every individual and community in the human family." The group will include priests, deacons & lay members.
This is a nutshell description of the orginization. For more info on anything above, check out their website: http://www.priestsforlife.org/ (The info I have provided is quoted or paraphrased from their website.) In future blogs I will go into more detail about some of their activities as well as those of other pro-life groups.
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
It is 4 July 2006. America is now 230 yrs old. & even though a lot has changed, a lot is still the same. We struggle with many of the same concerns. What does it mean to be free? How do we protect our freedoms? What role should our government play?
Perhaps, that is part of the reason why the movie remains so fresh for me. What was begun back then is still unfolding.
I had to laugh at 1 scene. As a part of it the Congressional secretary, Charles Thompson, is reading a list of congressional committees. Some of them sound ridiculous. The fact is, they all were committees set up by the Continental Congress. The same is true of the resolutions mentioned. They were actually introduced & debated on. & things haven't changed. Look at some of the things the US Congress & our state legislatures waste their time on.
The other thing that is at the heart of the movie is the struggle that went on to bring about the birth of our nation. That we even came to be is a miracle. To get 13 colonies to agree wasn't easy. Each colony saw itself as its own country, not a part of a greater whole.
I will admit that the movie isn't totally accurate. When the script was published in book form, the authors answered the question by pointing out 4 things, those added, deleted, changed & surmised. For drama's sake, they did slightly rearrange the time line. Because the only information kept in the minutes were the final votes, the actual debates were based on things written by the participants at various times in the years following.
I've previously mentioned John Adams letter on the 3rd to his wife. Those lines are used as a basis of the song from which I got the title of this blog, Is Aybody There? Another line said by John Adams was actually said by his cousin Sam in a slightly different form. During the debate on the slavery clause John says posterity will never forgive us if we don't deal with the problem. Sam Adams line came close to predicting the actual date of the Civil War. Adams never owned a slave. Even Ben Franklin had owned a couple at 1 point in his life. He did set them free.& went on to found the 1st anti-slavery group in the Colonies. Jefferson, sadly, never followed through on freeing his slaves. & we have paid for the sins of slavery.
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."
This is the heart of the Declaration. & the whole document is our country's seminal document. It laid the foundation for our Constitution, our laws, our very nature as a country. As I said, we are still debating the meaning of these words. Part of that is because some people do not want to accept their foundation, natural law, esp as expressed by St. Thomas Aquinas. But, that would mean acknowledging the existance of God, which many people do not want to do. All I will say for now is, to fail to do so is to turn this country from the direction it was meant to go. At that point we may have to do again what Jefferson wrote as the reasons for what they did then: " That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."
I pray that God will turn this country back to it's roots & to Him. May we truly be a land who's laws reflect those unalienable rights for all from conception to natural death.
Labels: John Adams
Monday, July 03, 2006
David McCullough is probably the most well respected & preeminent historians of our time. He has written several excellent books. For 2 of his books he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. He has received many other awards. I own 2 of his books, 1776 & John Adams. I consider them 2 of the premier books in my collection.
1776 is his latest & tells of the events that occur that year in America. It doesn't focus much on the writing of the Declaration because that subject is covered in much more depth in his bio of John Adams. But, the book is much more than just a collection of information about those events. As a result of his extensive research on both sides of the Atlantic your are able to know, through quotes from letters, the 1st hand experiences of those involved, not just the elite & leaders, but the every day common people who were affected by these events.
John Adams came out in 2001. I have read several biographies & believe this to be the best of the lot. It is also 1 of his 2 Pulitzer Prize winners. Because of how their lives from about 1775 on, this is also, to a lesser extent, a partial biography of Thomas Jefferson. Again, this is much more than a rehashing of facts. Through the use of the various Adams journals & correspondence as well as those of others who came in conntact with the Adams you get to know him as a flesh & blood human being. McCullough doesn't cover up the flaws.
OK, so who was John Adams, 1 of my greatest heroes. The simple answer: delegate to both Contnental Congresses, signer of the Declaration of Independence, signer of the peace treaty between the USA & England, 1st American ambassador to the Court of St. James, 1st Vice-President & 2nd President. The real story is much more complex. My short answer is: "Without John Adams the USA would have never come into existance. He was the man behind the drive to declare independence, the 1 who brought it about, the man who insured the survival of the USA because of what he did as president in preventing war with both England & France.
Like most people growing up I didn't know much about John Adams. It wasn't until I discovered the movie version of the play 1776 that my interest in John Adams began. That movie very quickly became my favorite because of its theme, the start of our country. I will be honest, it isn't perfectly accurate, no play can be. In the paperback edition of the script, the authors talk about the changes they needed to make, the biggest of which is a having the Declaration being debated & edited before the final vote on Independence.
John Adams was born 30 Oct 1735 in Braintree (now Quincy) in Massachusetts Bay Colony. He graduated from Harvard & went on to become a lawyer. In 1764 he married Abigail Smyth (another mostly unsung hero from the early days of our country). As the various tax acts, stamp act etc. were passed & forced on the Colonies he began writing & speaking out against them. In 1770 he was 1 of 2 lawyers defending the English soldiers involved in the Boston Massacre. He saw this as the morally right thing to do because he believed every accused person deserved the right to a lawyer to defend him at trial. His actions resulted in his being elected to Massachusetts House of Representatives. In 1774 he was elected to represent Massachusetts in the 1st Continental Congress & to the 2nd in 1775. There he lead the charge to declare independence. He nominated Washington as Commander-in-Chief of the Army. His work on getting the Navy going has won him the title of father of the navy. He served on the committee to write the Declaration & was the 1 who insisted on Jefferson writing it. He did make a few additions/changes before it was submitted to Congress. I could go on & on about his accomplishments. I would recommend David McCullough's book for the whole story. There you will come to understand how much we actually owe to him.
John Adams became my hero because of who he was. He had strong beliefs in what was right & wrong. He described himself as obnoxious & disliked. He also knew that he would be the forgotten Founding Father. At 1 point in the play Adams says the following to Adams (based on an actual writing of his): "I won't be in the history books anyway, only you. Franklin did this and Franklin did that and Franklin did some other damn thing. Franklin smote the ground and out sprang George Washington, fully grown and on his horse. Franklin then electrified him with his miraculous lightning rod and the three of them- Farnklin, Washington, and the horse- conducted the entire revolution by themselves." He deeply loved Abigail. He called her "his dearest friend".
I deeply love the United States. I love its values, what it stands for as proclaimed in the Declaration. This is because my maternal grandparents were immigrants from Italia. They came over because of the promises this country held out. As I learned about John Adams I came to love him, flaws & all. I am not to happy about his support of the Sedition Acts. But, in the end, I saw him as just as much the father of our country as George Washington is.
In yesterday's blog I pointed out what he said about celebrating America's independence. He may have gotten the date wrong. But he was very accurate on the how of celebrating the birth of the USA. Interestingly enough, while in France he became 1 of the 1st people to throw parties to celebrate the 4th.
Thank you John Adams.
(Again, I highly recommend reading David McCullough's books 1776 & John Adams as well as viewing the movie 1776.)
Labels: John Adams