Welcome to A Franciscan View

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace . . .

30 November 2014


One of the many concepts recently in discussion is the diversity that we can each celebrate.  This concept, although enobling in some aspects, may lie at the heart of many of our troubles in our country today.  I say this not to diminish that which make us different, but when we emphasize our differences, we tend to make those the concepts that we can use to exclude others from our group.  

One of the key philosophies originated  by the founders of this nation was that of "e pluribus unum" ( out of many, one).  Until 1952, this was the defacto motto of the United States.  It was originally voted on by Congress in 1782 as one of the sayings of the Seal of the United States.  When one carefully considers this concept, it reminds us that our founders were more interested in setting aside our differences to join together  in making this experiment work by emphasizing our similarities. (or, at least that is one way of looking at it.) When we have been great as a nation in the past , it has been this idea that has shown through to all.  

Perhaps we need to look at this overarching concept one again to get ourselves back on track.  Too often, in today's world, we look at how we are differenct and how we can distinguish ourselves from the other.  Not only is that harmful, because we take the idea of exceptionalism to the personal level, trying to make ourselves better that all others, based upon these distinctions.  In our social lives, in our church lives, when we separate, we cause conflict, i.e., "you are not as good as I am". This attitude creates dissension.  That just divides us from each other.  We need to be finding ways to get along better to prevent things like Ferguson Missouri from happening.  Not just here, but world wide.  

I've said it before and will repeat here again, we need to look at ways to think of the other person first and look to their needs and requirements before our own.  To get out of the selfishness of today's world and move toward one of caring for others first, can only help us improve our overall society.

25 November 2014

Fergson, Missouri (Misery)

Well, the grand jury heard all of the testimony, examined all of the evidence, talked, discussed, and decided that there wasn't enough evidence to send  Mr. Wilson to trial.  Today, I am getting all sort of e-mails encouraging me to reject that verdict and jump on the band wagon to have the FEDS move in.  I am probably naive, but I think that if the FEDS think that Mr. Brown's civil rights were violated, they will move in anyway.  

What bothers me is the tone of the e-mails, i.e., that grand jury was wrong, wrong, wrong.  These writers seems to have some other information that no one else is privy to so that they can reach the foregone conclusion that Mr. Wilson should have been sent to trial, NO MATTER WHAT!  Now I readily admit that the number of bullets he shot is probably "overkill" (in reality) and indicates that he has a serious problem that needs to be addressed.  According to some information I saw, Mr. Wilson had issues at a previous employment that may relate to this case.  So, he probably needs to have intensive counseling and a different line of work.  However, where was Mr. Brown coming from when the encounter happened?  What had HE been doing?  How many of us are privy to all (no ALL) of the testimony and evidence?

A few things are clear to me:  

1) For those who think electing a black president cured our race problems, you are plain wrong.  WE still have serious issues between the races and there is enough emnity on both sides to cause friction.  Until we get past that, we will never have ultimate social peace and justice.

2)  Someone was looking for an excuse to burn down Ferguson.  The extreme reaction only supports the radical factions that would keep us apart.  ML King still had the best approach and it remains the best approach to resolving these issues.

3) The police in this country need to re-examine how they approach young black men.  Not all of them are vicious criminals.  Why is the first instinct to draw a gun and "shoot first and ask questions later" which usually ends in death.  Why not ask those questions with a little less hostility in their tone?  Young black men need to re-evaluate their "gangsta" image; is there another way to express their difference? Is there some way to demonstrate their independence without appearing threatening?  Mutual respect is an interesting concept for both police and young folks both with big chips on their shoulders.  I don't know - these interactions are very serious, between police and the public, and I know that it's not all one sides' fault.  There is enough blame to go around.  Perhaps, if folks stepped back and reconsidered how ML King would have approached these issues and did more talking and less confronting we would have less of these incidents.

4) Everyone needs to have a moment of quiet to re-evaluate their beliefs regarding other folks.  We so quickly move to our prejuidices about others.  We need to look at them as Jesus did - as gifted creations of a merciful God, FIRST.  Assume the best first, rather than the worst.  Sometimes those first impressions become self-fulfiling prophecies because of how we react to our inital "gut" instinct.  

5) Finally, we need to change from our self-absorbed life to one in which to other persons becomes more important to each one of us.  When I taught Boy Scouts, many years ago, I always stressed the motto, "Do a Good Turn Daily".  That may be old fashioned, but I do know that its approach to life certainly is preferential to the "me-first and only" attitude of today's world.  Caring for others first is a really radical way to live ones life.  Maybe, just maybe, more of us need to try living this way.

20 November 2014

Why is abortion so important to the women's movement ?

I just thought that I would read a little about Margaret Sanger, the progenitor of the women's movement for procreative rights.  I had some ideas based upon things that I had heard, but the Wikipedia article (clearly a positive one & seemingly balanced) showed a different view.  I had always thought that she was a proponent of abortion, but according to the article,  "Sanger noted that her opposition to abortion was based on the taking of life: "[In 1916] we explained what contraception was; that abortion was the wrong way no matter how early it was performed it was taking life; that contraception was the better way, the safer way—it took a little time, a little trouble, but was well worth while in the long run, because life had not yet begun."[115] And in her book Family Limitation,Sanger wrote that "no one can doubt that there are times when an abortion is justifiable but they will become unnecessary when care is taken to prevent conception. This is the only cure for abortions."[116]

The  earlier part of the article indicated that after having returned to Sadie  Sachs apartment to deal with a second self induced abortion resulting in death, Margaret determined to work for the cause of contraception, which she held was a free speech issue due to the Comstock laws passed in the late 1800's.

Now, my whole point is not to glorify Margaret Sanger or the movement she spawned.  I am just explaining what I found doing a little research.  

My big question is especially in the light of Saint John Paul's magnificent Theology of the Body which was a 2 year explaination of Paul VI's Humanae Vitae, why does the women's movement insist on screaming for abortions as a necessity to be able to fully liberate women to become the professional working person that they want to be?  I just don't understand why abortion is so important to them!  Why is it so important to kill a life (even Margaret Sanger believed this simple fact way before science has proven its truth!)?

Now, I understand that contraception is frowned upon by the Church and with good theology behind it.  But there are proved family planning techniques, taught even by Blessed Mother Theresa taught the people of Calcutta how to do these techniques to limit their families.  And they are a whole  lot more safe and certain that even "the Pill".  Why can't these women who don't want families understand these processes and use them if they are so dead set against having children?  

OK. OK.  Just don't get all huffy on me.  Yes, I understand that "free sex" is supposed to be the thing.  Whenever and whatever feels good is OK.  Well, that's where I have a concern.  Why not take the time to really understand St. John Paul II's Theology of the Body and try it for a while.  I am convinced that this secular relativism is not really working from what I can see in today's society.  Perhaps, we ought to just try it the way that God intended it for a while.  Maybe much of the selfish issues that  create today's problems would be transformed and have a transforming effect on our society.  

I don't know, Just asking.  No. I do know that my faith and following theologians like JPII, Benedict XVI, and Papa Francis is the right thing to do for a full and rewarding life now and in the future.  Hey, ladies, get out of your selfish attitudes.  Hey, every one, get out of your selfish attitudes.  Think of the other person first for a change.  Why not try it?  Might make a big difference in your lives and others.!!

14 November 2014

What should a progressive have as a background?

  • “Anyone who is so “progressive”* as not to remain in the teaching of the Christ does not have God; whoever remains in the teaching has the Father and the Son.”  2  John 9.

Excerpt From: various. “Catholic New American Bible Revised Edition.” Fairbrother. iBooks. 
This material may be protected by copyright.

Check out this book on the iBooks Store: https://itun.es/us/XiDNA.l

  • "Any one who goes ahead and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God; he who abides in the doctrine has both the Father and the Son."  2 John 9

Douay-Rheims Translation

I thought that this was an interesting passage today.  My original read was from the New Amereican Bible, the footnote of which says "progressive" literally means "goes ahead".  In today's political parlance, I suppose that makes some sense, i.e., this group wants to move ahead in the social arena. I wonder if that means that "conservative" means "stay behind"?

Of course, the most interesting thing, for me, is the rest of the sentence: the "not remain in the teaching of Christ, does not have God" part. This may be the fatal flaw of the modern Progressive movement: they have separated themselves from the teachings of Christ. They have tried to make all of their ideas based upon a strictly secular philosophy with no thought of God, or Christ, or any theological being as being the underlying foundation for their activities. When they (modern progressives) make themselves or man ("persons" in their fastidiously political correct parlance) the basis for their philosophy, it allows folks to decide everything for themselves without any reference to anything eternal. All is "in the moment" as it were.  I suggest that this is folly of the grandest scale. Although I understand and respect others beliefs, to exclude something larger and more permanent that ourselves in light of the overwhelming universal evidence, is just nuts!

Well, perhaps that is part of why modern progressives were so thoroughly trounced in the recent election. Not that what we got is a whole lot better (see my earlier reference to a proposed meaning for conservative - "stay behind"). Or, maybe even worse "go backwards"!

How nice it would be if we who really believe in the scripture like St. Francis did, could organize a political organization based on real Gospel values. Folks wouldn't even have to be Catholic to join in. Francis is good for everyone!  An interesting concept. Any ideas out there?