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What’s Wrong with the World is dedicated to the defense of what remains of Christendom, the civilization made by the men of the Cross of Christ. Athwart two hostile Powers we stand: the Jihad and Liberalism...read more

"Mexico City Policy" ended by President Obama

From an AP story released 2 hours ago:

In a long-expected move, President Barack Obama plans to sign an executive order ending the ban on federal funds for international groups that perform abortions or provide information on the option, officials told The Associated Press on Friday. Liberal groups welcomed the decision while abortion rights foes criticized the president.

Known as the "Mexico City policy," the ban has been reinstated and then reversed by Republican and Democratic presidents since GOP President Ronald Reagan established it in 1984. President Bill Clinton ended the ban in 1993, but President George W. Bush re-instituted it in 2001 as one of his first acts in office.

The policy bans U.S. taxpayer money, usually in the form of U.S. Agency for International Development funds, from going to international family planning groups that either offer abortions or provide information, counseling or referrals about abortion. It is also known as the "global gag rule," because it prohibits taxpayer funding for groups that lobby to legalize abortion or promote it as a family planning method.

Read the rest of the story here. If anyone discovers objections to the president's policy voiced by Doug Kmiec, Jim Wallis, or Rick Warren, please bring them to my attention. I would be more than happy to post and/or link to them.

Comments (53)

"If anyone discovers objections to the president's policy voiced by Doug Kmiec, Jim Wallis, or Rick Warren, please bring them to my attention."

- Will do. I'm not exactly sure how they 'voice' cricket noise, though.

Stupid me, I'd been thinking for a while (for what this was worth) that Congress had passed Mexico City and that at least Congress would have to rescind it. Or is it one of those things where Clinton initially "rescinded" it by putting a twisted interpretation on it?

So he plans to. Not that I doubt he will carry out that plan, but it sounds like he is trying to hide it as much as possible (low key event, late on a Friday). I don't know if that is better or worse. IT just makes him seem that much slicker than Slick Willie.

Haven't you all heard? Obama's E.O., not to mention his domestic economic policies, actually has the potential to end American taxpayer-funded abortions overseas.

Obama's has an almost preternatural ability to read others. He quickly detects the deep psychic currents welling within, and with a seductive gloss of empathy, manipulates those inner longings and motives for his own interests. Given his yearning to be loved, Warren was easy pickings. Warren will periodically voice sorrowful dissents for the next 4 years, but not so strongly as to jeopardize his dream of becoming the nation's Pantheist In Chief. Kmiec & Wallis swooned at first sight and will now justify their obsequiousness to Moloch's new High Priest as a form of Christ-like meekness, even as they invent more and more incredulous and self-abasing rationalizations for their devotion. Soon, it will be too embarrassing to watch, much less comment on.

We've only begun to see Obama's imperious manner emerge. This is a Herodian edict fitting, indeed, for an anti-Christian like Obama.

I predict that by the end of this year, you will see multitudes of Americans in despair of what this nation and its drones have wrought.

We will get the judgment we have earned as a people. Although, I expect like most sinners, we never really get all that we deserve because God is simply that merciful.

How does a man wake up in the morning and say to himself, "The first thing I must do is to see that more babies get killed in the world."

And these are the same damned people who throw screaming fits when some Arab child is killed by Israeli or American rockets. Oh the inhumanity of it!

But if life is not sacred while its within the womb, how can it be sacred anywhere else?

Ah, well, forgive me. I just find all this unbearable. I wish I could just stop caring since what good does it do since the rage is truly impotent.

It's like Instapundit said today about the so-called Bailout: "This is not so much a stimulus, as a massive transfer of wealth from the politically unconnected to the politically connected."

Well, all us pro-life folks are just as politically unconnected. Even when a republican's in office, we're still unconnected. We're the extremists just like we are for insisting marriage, by definition, can only be between a man and a woman. That makes us bigots, now.

Are you pro-life? That makes you worse than an abortionist. An abortionist practices an honorable profession why you, poor, superstitious, deluded, oppressive fool, are a monster who hates women. You don't love babies. That's a lie. No, you really hate women and want to hurt them, oppress them, enslave them, keep them barefoot and pregnant. And the women who are pro-life are even worse -- brain washed. self-loathing Stepford Wives.

I predict that by the end of this year, you will see multitudes of Americans in despair of what this nation and its drones have wrought.

If only that were to happen. Unfortunately, I predict the opposite - the more airtime he gets, the more fawning media coverage he gets, the more world-wide adulation he gets from leaders of other countries, the more he will cast his spell of feel-goodness amongst the masses. Rather than despair, I foresee more blind faith. As Kevin points out, he has an almost mystical ability to swoon others into a trance. It is actually a bit scary.

I'm just going to make sure I grow my bangs long enough so that the unity police can't see that I refused the mark.

I hope you guys have seen Buchanan's piece (also at TAC and probably 50 other places) wherein he shows... well... I wouldn't say fawning... but at least something less than utter loathing for O'Bama's Inauguration Speech. Unfortunately, the trade-off for a sane (well at least sanER than W's) foreign policy is, yes, the High Priest of Moloch.

It's really too bad BHO missed the symbolism of rescinding the order yesterday (Thur 1/22).

When the times ultimately reach their most dire point, I doubt that any here would be so brave as to refuse any seemingly vile act by the munificent president such that even if he were to make it mandatory that all citizens of the nation should swear an Oath that God is not God but that he is, they would unreservedly do so accordingly and without regret.

It's really too bad BHO missed the symbolism of rescinding the order yesterday (Thur 1/22).

This is his "post-partisanship" and pragmatic governance. No inflammatory symbolism. Instead, a quiet, soothingly conciliatory tone that allows us to "remain united as we focus on the problems that really matter". He is a man for his times, wielding a kinder, gentler shiv into your rib cage. You won't even feel it.

Thanks for the heads-up, Steve, on the Buchanan piece. I'm disgusted. I'll have to force myself to read it. Time was when I voted for Buchanan in a primary because of, among other things, abortion purism. We've come a long way since then, haven't we? Buchanan among the rest of us. But I think he and I have traveled in different directions.

Kevin, yes, I read that in a news piece: That Obama didn't do it yesterday in order to show that he wasn't doing the "expected thing." Oh, brother. _One day_ delay in this little offering to Moloch, and we're all supposed to be oo-ing and aah-ing about how unpredictable he is? I mean, I'm just overwhelmed by how unpredictable that is. He delayed a _whole day_.

Whenever anyone suggests "post-partisanship," they are requesting that you abdicate your political liberty. For what they are doing is to culturally criminalize dissent. It is the liberal version of the conservative appeal to patriotism.

What we live in is an age deeply suspicious of reason. We emote. Prolifers show pictures of cuddly babies. Prochoicers show pictures of coathangers. And yet, early fetuses don't look like cuddly babies and virtually no illegal abortions prior to Roe were performed with coathangers (most were performed by physicians in their offices after hours). The question is what is just. But justice doesn't move us. For sometimes what is just is not what is pleasant. And we don't want to believe it. So, we pretend.

In our political discourse we deeply enjoy showing our opponents' hypocrisies and personal flaws, though neither cluster of acts supports the veracity of our own beliefs. The exercise is enjoyable, but it is not a deliverance of reason. The enjoyment is emotional. We emote. We don't think. To be sure, we think we think. But we don't think.

When Barack Obama said that the question of life's beginning was "above his pay grade," he thought he was clever, since he presented to his listeners a false humility that he thought would move them. Again, no thought. Just emotion. When John McCain blamed "Wall Street greed" for the mortgage crisis, he was full of shit, and he knew it. It was, of course, the greed of America's average knuckleheads, in cooperation with mortgage lenders with the underwriting of the government, that produced the crisis. But McCain couldn't tell the truth. For the truth, a deliverance of reason, was not pleasant. He had to make you feel good about your own virtue by blaming "the other." If he were in Germany in 1939, it would have been "the greed of Jewish bankers" or some other pathetic excuse for German moral depravity.

President Obama wants to put "science in its proper place," which means of course that he intends for his government to subsidize the creation and destruction of embryonic human life so that we can find cures for all the diseases from which the baby boomers do not want to die.

In sum, we want to live forever by killing our progeny while residing in houses and owing commodities financed by unlimited credit (on which we we will saddle the progeny that we didn't kill) while popping blue pills between episodes of American Idol. We are so screwed.

We want to live forever by killing our progeny while residing in houses and owing commodities financed by unlimited credit while popping blue pills between episodes of American Idol. We are so screwed.

Posted by Francis Beckwith | January 23, 2009 7:23 PM


Dr. Beckwith's version of Idiocracy, coming soon to a theatre (or rather, a neighborhood) near you!

And people wonder and scorn when we call them "pro-abortionists". The facts support the term, so it ought to be the preferred handle.

“It was a nightmare,” said Ms. English, 29, who had been living with the mother of her half-brother until she became pregnant and was given an ultimatum: have an abortion or leave. She said abortion was not an option. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/20/nyregion/20neediest.html?_r=3

Herods come and go, but there is a certain kind of Light they can never fully extinquish. Barack Obama, meet Jabrilla and Elijah English.

No word on Kmiec speaking out against Obama but he has mentioned the importance of Obama pursuing his agenda in the next couple months before appointing him ambassador to the Vatican.

http://www.americanpapist.com/2009/01/kmiec-claims-consideration-for-vatican.html

Glad to see his eye is firmly set on the pro-life cause.

I don't suggest Americans will be in any despair over abortion or a homosexual agenda being fulfilled or for any important moral reason.

I believe that he's going to do so much damage to the economy that multitudes will wail as they did under Carter.

The Great Depression was merely a Recession until Hoover and FDR got their hands on it. Unemployment was actually going down after going up only a little. Well let Thomas Sowell explain:


"Let’s start at square one, with the stock market crash in October 1929. Was this what led to massive unemployment?

The Vedder and Gallaway statistics allow us to follow unemployment month by month. They put the unemployment rate at 5 percent in November 1929, a month after the stock market crash. It hit 9 percent in December — but then began a generally downward trend, subsiding to 6.3 percent in June 1930.

That was when the Smoot-Hawley tariffs were passed, against the advice of economists across the country, who warned of dire consequences.

Five months after the Smoot-Hawley tariffs, the unemployment rate hit double digits for the first time in the 1930s.

This was more than a year after the stock market crash. Moreover, the unemployment rate rose to even higher levels under both Presidents Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt, both of whom intervened in the economy on an unprecedented scale."


I do not indict America as a materialist nation. We are far less worse than others (if they could be so fortunate) and the most generous people in history. But it is the pocketbook that gets people's immediate attention and reaction(other than war).

What the Dems have planned is economic disaster. I'll be buying some gold if I can before prices rise again as they did today.

Paging Father Michael.

Click on the link below and observe the servile Joseph Biden prostrating himself at yesterday's signing ceremony in which first world imperialism is lauded in Orwellian language as "a life-affirming action."

Any pastoral thoughts Father?
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/jan/24/obama-change-policy-abortions/

Hi Kevin I followed the link and for some resaon expected to see something written about Biden or a quote from him--to no avail. Then, I saw the picture....servile to say the least.

If this is imperialism, which I think it is, the conventional understanding of imperialism is too limited.

That the U.S. is exporting policy that is pro abortion speaks poorly of the citizens. So, at what point are we citizens responsible? Do we revolt ?,

If God sends nations against the U.S. in judgement, how can we argue innocents were hurt/killed? If we do nothing substantive,[internet site notwithstanding], we tacitly agree. It is a government of the people, by the people after all.

Whenever anyone suggests "post-partisanship," they are requesting that you abdicate your political liberty. For what they are doing is to culturally criminalize dissent.

Another fine example is John McCain, who actually has taken legislative steps aimed at criminalizing "partisanship," and has attempted to justify his backroom attempts to pass unpopular bills without debate by citing the supposed evils of "extracurricular politics," that is, political expression by people other than Senators. This is not a party-line disease, and the outcome of this last election would not have mitigated the problem one whit.

So, at what point are we citizens responsible? Do we revolt ?

Brad,
The question of collective guilt also raises the issue of collective punishment. Clearly, we all bear some responsibility for what is done in our name, but I don't think we can be held responsible by a temporal power anxious to violently preempt the anti-Christian aims of our elites.

The revolt thus far has been confined to prayer, fasting and personal witness. I suspect we all have to increase our spiritual and corporal acts of mercy and seriously consider civil disobedience. Otherwise, this whole thing will end badly.

Yes Kevin, it will end badly as we [this generation] continue to say be well, be fed, be warm, while we have the ability to do something and DO NOT. The Christian community has not been willing to step in the way between the oppressor and the oppressed in a demonstrative way--that is anywhere near equal to the seriousness of the offense. Operation Resuce seems to me to be the only effort of significance and it wasn't even supported by many at all. In fact Randall Terry, Joe Scheidler et al were left hanging after the RICO law was perverted to go after orgainizers of an anti-abortion civil disobedience events. We still shrink back because of this. That the liberal courts were allowed to call civil disobedience racketeering is a slap in the face toward us--MLK et al might've stood as we should've over the ruling. This ruling still affects how we can act.

We talked back a while ago about showing signs, and whether it was gratuitous displays of evil to make a point. I argued that the seriousness of the act warrants an agrressive approach. At times, I've fought the temtation to do violence toward the abortion industry. I cnat help but to think that if a one day old baby was immenently close to being killed, and anyone of us was near to stop it with a violent act toward the killer, we'd act to save the baby without considering the personal costs. Why then do we not act similarly--if we value the unborn? We have some "splainin to do".

Operation Resuce seems to me to be the only effort of significance and it wasn't even supported by many at all.

Brad,
Three things killed off Operation Rescue. First, the heavy financial penalties that came with passage of FACE and the hardship of being charged with a felony. Second, the vicious display of police brutality that occurred in West Hartford, CT. Third, Randall Terry. I met the man in 1992 outside the Dem Convention and he struck me as a cross between Elmer Gantry and Eddie Haskell. He was an organizational mess (I won't bore you with his logistical blunders that created some surreal and dangerous moments)with an exceptionally cavalier attitude towards the people who were willing to sit in front of the abortuary. In a desperate bid for media attention, he resorted to the "shock therapy" of parading a fetus in a jar. By day 3 of his operation several of us wanted to beat the guy senseless and send him over to Planned Parenhood. I hope he has changed. His sidekick, Mahony seemed much better.

You do raise a point that makes us all uncomfortable. Before we start exposing our naked organs to swords, I think we should ask; have we done all that we can within the narrowing confines of allowed dissent?

Hi Kevin, I'd disagree with the simplistic way you describe the 3 events as I'm pretty sure we'd disagree that the showing the baby in the jar incident was bad. I met with Randall Terry several times myself and supported his New York state political run. Ironically he was somewhat instrumental in getting me acquainted with Reformed writings, [he has since done what Francis Beckwith has{maybe prior to} and joined the Catholic Church]. He's still promoting pro life acitvism and a champion to the unborn in my mind.

A few months ago my wife was asked to walk and pray the rosary at a local abortuary on the day they do late term abortions. I agreed to accompany her. Once there, and after a few minutes of pacing along the sidewalk, I told her I felt I was looking at a Nazi crematorium, and she was shocked to realize, that, indeed, the horror going on a scant hundred feet from us was of the same kind as the Nazis practiced.

I vowed never to return to such a duty as we were doing because the rage and anger I felt at our society that would not let me run in there and stop those evil minions of the devil from doing what they were doing -- well, this is a society that deserves awful judgment.

If I cannot take up arms and put a stop to these murders, but simply stand in impotent fury and despair, then what's the use? Prayer is not efficacious or edifying under the circumstances. Prayer did not stop the Holocaust, and won't stop this. Only a revolution or violence will. Do we pray for that? For success in militancy, in forging a militia, creating a free state, defying the Fed Gov? That doesn't hold out much hope right now either.

This is partly why I insist that America is finished as a republic and liberal (classic sense) democracy. We are a godless society which is forging its own disorder and destruction because of it. I can't cheer on the end of the republic because you and me will have to endure the chaos and craziness of it all. The rain will fall on the guiltless, too.

It's not our fault (we few) that we can't inspire the nation to awaken and act against these great moral evils which have derailed a once great Christian nation. We are few and the self-absorbed and narrowly focused are many. And our enemies have almost all the resources of private and our public money to advance their propaganda and indoctrination program.

It's not that America is doomed. But the republic is becoming more meaningless everyday, and the oligarchy and ochlarchy is beyond our control. Life will go on as it dd in imperial Rome for a very long time, but Christianity will return to being an oppressed cult within a larger pagan society. Perhaps oppressed enough that people will find it worthwhile to leave it in large enough numbers in order to colonize the wilderness again in the hinterlands. Those are the kinds of actions God will bless, support, and prove providential to as he did to the Jews and the Pilgrims.

Either we separate ourselves from this society for our own, or we will suffer greatly. We must unite, separate and defy.

That's beyond most of our ability right now, but given a little time, our grandchildren will have great incentive to flee the madness.

I don't know how sarcastic Prof. Beckwith was trying to be by soliciting a reaction from Wallis. Wallis said the president's choice of the day after Roe was a sign of his enlightened, nation-unifying wisdom:

"I am encouraged that President Obama’s first action on abortion was to release a statement supporting a common ground approach to reducing abortion, even as he also reiterated his policy of supporting legal choice. Even more significant was his decision not to issue an executive order rescinding the “Mexico City policy” on the day of the anniversary of the Roe decision and the annual March for Life. For the past two decades, this particular rule has become a back-and-forth of instituting and repealing as administrations have changed—almost as a partisan tit-for tat.

"In breaking the symbolic cycle, President Obama showed respect for both sides in the historically polarized abortion debate, and called for both a new conversation and a new common ground. I hope that this important gesture signals the beginning of a new approach and a new path toward finding some real solutions to decrease the number of abortions in this country and around the world... "

====

In related news, Catholic News Agency reports that Carlos Polo, a Peruvian who is Director for Latin America of the Population Research Council, said that under the Clinton administration's anti-Mexico City Policy, " USAID financed the most brutal, compulsory campaign of sterilizations, with the open support of feminist, pro-abortion organizations, despite the fact that poor, peasant women were the victims of the campaign.”

Polo reported that international outcry forced USAID to end its funding of then-President Alberto Fujimori’s sterilization campaign.

“But by then, thousands of women, most of them in their late teens and early 20s had been sterilized, and several died as a consequence of the procedure.”"

"In breaking the symbolic cycle, President Obama showed respect for both sides in the historically polarized abortion debate

Wallis should complete his descent into self-parody and become the editor for the Religious section of The Onion.

If I cannot take up arms and put a stop to these murders, but simply stand in impotent fury and despair, then what's the use? Prayer is not efficacious or edifying under the circumstances.

Prayer is not supposed to be personally edifying, and when offered drained of faith, not likely to be heard. The reason we can't inspire the nation to awaken and act lies within those rendered infertile by doubt.

Prayer is not supposed to be personally edifying, and when offered drained of faith, not likely to be heard. The reason we can't inspire the nation to awaken and act lies within those rendered infertile by doubt.

Nonsense. The idea that mass and sincere prayer (and you're the one deciding if it's sincere enough) is effective betrays a serious lack of judgment about the ways of God.

What you write is as bad as a "name it, claim it" religious fervor or Jabez's prayer (or whatever that book was called). Societies don't change because a few people pray for God to do something. They change because God has put power into the hands of people to change. And change is usually brought about by suffering and misery.

If you don't get this, you don't get anything about God. That is, God can't make anyone like you, love you, or help you. You can't pray for God to change anyone's heart except you do it in vain.

You can't pray for God to change anyone's heart except you do it in vain.

That doesn't seem quite correct, scripturally speaking, Mark. Having just had a rather exhausting and somewhat upsetting session with some Baptist friends over an entirely different issue, I don't feel inclined to do more than work from memory here rather than looking up a lot of references, but I remember the Apostle Paul asking people to pray for his missions work (because a great door had been opened to him but there were many adversaries), which seems like a prayer for _something_ to do with other people's hearts. And Paul tells us to pray for kings, and it's hard to see how that could not include praying for something to do with their hearts. And in fact Proverbs says that the heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord, who turns it like the rivers of water. And Paul was always praying for his Christian converts and telling them at the beginnings of letters what he was praying for for them--that they would be filled with the knowledge of this and the understanding of that and so forth--which is praying for their hearts. Paul also asked for prayers that he might be released from prison "the sooner," which has to have something to do with praying for God to influence people. I don't see how it could not. And Jesus Christ tells us to pray for those who persecute us, and what in the world could we be praying for on their behalf that would be beneficial for them _but_ a change of heart?

That's just a few examples off the top of my head.

Mind you, I'm sympathetic to your concern that we not talk as if God is a big slot machine so if we just got enough people to pray sincerely--whoosh, like magic--everything would change. But petitionary prayer for other people, including for their states of heart, seems pretty well-established in Scripture, even if we have a lot of gaps in our understanding about how it works.

The idea that mass and sincere prayer (and you're the one deciding if it's sincere enough) is effective betrays a serious lack of judgment about the ways of God.

God judges the sincerity of the supplication and if you enter into prayer convinced you will not be heard, then I'd say you're right.

You can't pray for God to change anyone's heart except you do it in vain.

Really? St. Augustine, his mom, Monica and a host of converts like ex-abortionist Bernard Nathanson say hi! Despair born of impatience makes for bad theology and leads to your anti-evangelization; separate ourselves from this society.

Several years ago, a mother of five led an effort in my area to close an "obstetrician" offering abortions through quiet, prayerful sidewalk witness. At no point did more than 40 of us gather out in front, yet 18 months later, the abortionist closed up shop. You're now going to say prayers weren't heard? Abortionists have been re-stigmatized and there are more homes for moms facing crisis pregnancies than "reproductive clinics", yet to listen to you, our prayers are all unanswered.

Before you go off half-cocked with your plans for a Christian diaspora, try and pray for the forbearance to live within the here and now and the courage to embrace the suffering that is coming our way. Pray that you may learn how to pray.

Hi Mark, I think the OT examples of how God operates could give you hope. I surely do feel the same contempt for a society that has laws that are so upside down. This is calling evil good and good evil. I posted a 2 Pet. reference on another thread where Lot's *righteous* soul was tormented every day by the lawless deeds done around him. Judgement is upon us--but why? Is it because of the unrightousness of the sinners, or the failure of the Church to be salt and light? God expects the wicked to do wickedness, He expects His Church to oppose them--at all personal costs--I dont think we've been willing.

The Lord will cause the wicked to be ruled into submission if His Church will only obey Him--the nation of Israel failed to be holy and feed the hungry,protect the helpless,take care of the widow.orphans etc..., judgement came, repentance led to restoration of peace in the land and freedom to be obeient to God.

Well, I'm late in getting back to this. Many have fairly referenced many verses from the Bible to demonstrate that God listens and and often heeds the prayer of the few or the many. I'm not going to dispute any one particular verse.

I am going to point to individual experience. How many have any of you ever conclusively seen mass prayers to be effective to the point of radically changing a moral situation? Or the prayers of a few radically altering an individual's behavior? Monica had to wait a long time to see a man come round, but was it her prayers that did it or was it Augustine's midlife crisis and Catholic guilt which did the trick?

Did the USSR fall because of the prayers of millions after seventy years? Or was it natural progression of social and economic forces that did it in?

Just because we ask God for help, doesn't mean the world or we will get it. Except that we get it everyday if we want to go to God ourselves to be changed. And groups can change, families,tribes or nations.

Before the forces of life, we are almost helpless children. We have to rely on God like babies relying on parents. Yet, we still get killed, smashed, diseased and dead in any event.

Does prayer work? Sometimes in petition but more generally if it is people asking, with some fear and trepidation, to know God better.

Generally, though, we pray for others or something because it makes us feel good, it doesn't hurt to ask, it makes others feel cared for (which is a good thing) and it helps us endure all the disappointments life (and God) provide us with.

The sad fact is that life is usually disappointing but it's not unsatisfactory.

I don't know. A number of times I've had my prayers answered disconcertingly good and hard, to the point where I tend to caution people to be careful in what they pray for.

Mark, we're actually _told by Christ_ to offer petitionary prayers for specific things. ("Give us this day our daily bread.")

I don't support my Christianity by empirical studies designed to show that "prayer works." And I wouldn't advise trying. (I support it by other empirical arguments.) Still, I think it would be a big mistake to say, "If you can't be absolutely sure that a petitionary prayer has worked in a given instance you've witnessed, we should assume that they don't." That is, if one is a Christian and is supposed to accept what we're told in revelation.

Yet, we still get killed, smashed, diseased and dead in any event...Does prayer work?...The sad fact is that life is usually disappointing but it's not unsatisfactory.

Quite a bit there as you touch on the mystery of suffering, the importance of union with God and the centrality hope plays in the life of the Christian. Benedict addresses all these aspects and more in Saved by Hope;
http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/encyclicals/documents/hf_ben-xvi_enc_20071130_spe-salvi_en.html

Of special relevance is when he says prayer is; “a process of inner purification which opens us up to God and thus to our fellow human beings”. He notes the “intimate relationship between prayer and hope”, and says "prayer is the school of hope". May I suggest you attend class more frequently, knowing to the core of your very being that Christ is present here and now, and read the Encyclical. After that, see if you really doubt that prayer is the source of miracles.

Kevin,

After that, see if you really doubt that prayer is the source of miracles.

I can somewhat empathize somewhat with what Mark Butterworth has said.

That is, people have often said prayers for the sick and dying such as a member of the family who is currently being ravaged by Cancer and, yet, experience the seeming utter futility of such prayers when, ultimately, such prayers aren't answered (at least, not to our satisfaction).

Even further, dying children of third world countries also say the "Our Father" and ask that God give them their daily bread -- but do these sick and destitute children actually do?

More often than not, they die of disease and famine; that is, if they're not first raped and subsequently slaughtered by fellow countrymen.

That is why I find this wishy-washy, Kumbaya treatment of prayer and supplication that has become so popular in our days by such ongoing fads as the prosperity gospel should hardly constitute the kind of relationship we should engage in with our God.

The fact of the matter is some folks, particularly modern-day Christians, delude themselves into thinking that if they pray to God, God will (and, indeed, must answer their prayers accordingly) since even the dictates of Scripture has Jesus uttering, "Ask and You Shall Receive".

This is principally why such Christians end up being non-Christians and even later the worst of atheists.

They regard God in such a do ut des manner that would make God seem like our servant who had better take our orders because we had prayed to him as he had instructed of us rather than to treat him as God; that the "ask and you shall receive" dictate contractual obligations on His part which he had better attend to accordingly.

I don't think (or, at least, I hope) that Mark Butterworth would doubt prayer as being a source of miracles; rather, it would seem that we are oftentimes more disappointed that God had not answered our very prayers to our own liking.

I don't think (or, at least, I hope) that Mark Butterworth would doubt prayer as being a source of miracles.

I disagree Ari. Mark said;
"God can't make anyone like you, love you, or help you. You can't pray for God to change anyone's heart except you do it in vain."

"Monica had to wait a long time to see a man come round, but was it her prayers that did it or was it Augustine's midlife crisis and Catholic guilt which did the trick?" He fails to see how the internal crisis"

"Did the USSR fall because of the prayers of millions after seventy years? Or was it natural progression of social and economic forces that did it in?"m>

He is lacking hope, a very pervasive, common and dangerous malady affecting far too many Christians. As a result he cannot see God acting through others.

Kevin,

As a result he cannot see God acting through others.

His statement, "God can't make anyone like you, love you, or help you" would seem (even if tangentially) to coincide with yours above; that is, "God acting through others" would happen to depend primarily on fellow Christians choosing to behave as such toward their fellow man in a manner befitting as if toward (or, better yet, because of a very love for) Our Lord & Saviour, Christ.

As even the passages in Matthew 25 would reveal and, thereby, acknowledge (specifically, as regarding those who are more of that 'goat' persuasion), there are those several circumstances where this happens not to be the case.

Therefore, in such an instance where one has deliberately decided not to give aid to the poor or provide convalescence for the sick, etc., God can't make that person do so. There needs be an act of the will on the part of such individuals whereby these persons freely choose to perform acts of charity as these by their own volition and genuine sense of charity.

It would, thus, seem that it is only when the Christian cooperates accordingly that instances of “God acting through others” become reality.

Kevin,

I like what you quote from Benedict and agree as far as what the quotes say.

I am happy to pray for anyone in need (and do). I pray for moral causes and that people will embrace the Truth.

Why because I hope good things will result, but I have come to accept the fact that nearly all prayers get the answer "no". I hope, but I am not distressed or surprised at God. I have a very strong sense and idea why God is not magic, and yet performs miracles.

If you want to see God perform a lot of miracles, watch him work on people who have begun to turn their hearts to him. There just about isn't anything God won't do to bring people to faith and Christ including revealing himself in his glory to them. I know from first hand experience as a convert and watching other converts.

A church filled with zealous and good people will also enjoy many blessings as God encourages their zeal and desire for wisdom.

A nation that undergoes a Great Awakening may even find many godsends when it is time for it to defy its king and liberate itself from its bonds.

But suffering, ahh suffering lays in wait, too, as one of God's blessings and goads.

Lydia,

When we are moved to pray for others, it is generally because we are helpless to directly affect another person. Our only hope lies in God, so we appeal to him and it is often a balm to us and maybe to whomever we pray for. It is a little bit of healing for us and for another in a moment when we are anguished by our impotence, but wish to express our compassion and pity.

The desire and willingness to pray for others also puts us in a mood or spirit of holiness to some extent and we bring some peace into ourselves and the world which is clearly worthwhile. It is part of what Paul meant when he said he was strongest when he was weakest. We are impotent, but prayer and petitionary prayer reveals that vulnerability has a holiness in a world where people work so hard to become tough, invulnerable, and safe.

The fact that I don't think my prayers for some one or thing ever amount to a hill of beans, well, I find an kind of comfort in knowing or seeing that I have no real power in this world to command anything. I can merely recommend an idea, wish or hope to God. I don't have to be disheartened if He rejects my appeal. Maybe my next idea will better suit Him.

But I've sat in church and during the part where we pray for the bishop, the pope , the president, the war or this disaster or whatever, most of the time I roll my eyes at the idea that we're doing something which is purely pro forma. Not for everyone, perhaps, but I will not pray for God to change Obama's heart. I'd rather pray for God to smite him, and then laugh because I know he won't do that either.

There is so much wrong with individuals -- the madness, derangements, disorders, immaturity, foolishness, pain, woundedness is of such an enormous scale that the idea of praying for humanity to wake up from its drunken selfhood, well, its too much. But I pray that incrementally, people might improve.

Mark,
Just because God acts in ways not easily understood by us does not mean; nearly all prayers get the answer "no". I also think the most common and surest way people turn their hearts to him is through prayer. When we storm heaven with prayer hearts soften, graces flow and lives are changed. God is active in the affairs of men and Christ is present to us always, even in our most darkest moments and regions. To forget these basic facts is to slide into the despair that is the hallmark of our culture's smiley-faced nihilism.

As for suffering, you are right, but no one willingly shoulders the Cross in the manner required without being in union with God. I agree that the success of the pro-life movement hinges on active and visible witness, not fine polemics or passive substitutes like merely voting. Yet, a revolution has to occur within our own hearts first, before we can expect others to regain their moral sanity. We must make Christ visible to others and the strength to do so is only found in prayer and the sacraments. To pursue Christ through prayer requires hope - the belief that He waits there to meet and walk with us in our journey.

But I've sat in church and during the part where we pray for the bishop, the pope , the president, the war or this disaster or whatever, most of the time I roll my eyes at the idea that we're doing something which is purely pro forma. Not for everyone, perhaps, but I will not pray for God to change Obama's heart. I'd rather pray for God to smite him, and then laugh because I know he won't do that either.

There is so much wrong with individuals -- the madness, derangements, disorders, immaturity, foolishness, pain, woundedness is of such an enormous scale that the idea of praying for humanity to wake up from its drunken selfhood, well, its too much. But I pray that incrementally, people might improve.

What's so funny (and sadly tragic) about the above comments is that the latter paragraph describes precisely Mark's behaviour in the former.

Mad? Deranged? Disordered? Immature? Foolish? In Pain? Wounded?

For somebody who mostly rolls his eyes when in prayer isn't engaging in prayer at all but, quite simply, a mockery.

Moreover, for somebody to actually make petition to God (even if in jest) such as to treat God as merely his Hitman suggests a very disordered individual.

Indeed, the very meaning and purpose of prayer is lost on such a person.

Perhaps Kevin's prior assessment was merely an understatement concerning this particular individual, who should be best left in the hands of God alone -- and even maybe some psychological counseling.

Ari, "Christian nihilist" is an oxymoron, but Mark belongs to a sub-culture that tries to live the contradiction. They advocate an exodus from society, violence against civil authorities and question the sincerity of their fellow communicants as they sow despair in the pews. They adhere to a reductionist form of faith (steeped in Old Testament imagery) that serves merely as a social critique and cultural identifier. Truly sad to behold. I'd say pray for him and others so afflicted, but I don't want to incite another screed against the efficacy of prayer.

We must make Christ visible to others and the strength to do so is only found in prayer and the sacraments.

Christ made himself visible to others and the world and it did not alter his time and much of anyone's behavior.

But this is getting out of hand and the amazing judgments a few are making as to whether I pray or need to pray or am incompetent in prayer or whatever is not only getting absurd but insulting. Too many foolish presumptions about my faith. When you've truly crossed the barren desert, you'll have a different perspective than those enjoying frequent oases.

It is interesting for you to say that, Mark, since my own entry into the desert was precipitated in part by my own prayers being answered with pretty exacting specificity. Maybe the lesson here is that however we pray, we should expect the Cross in answer.

Oh and I agree that there seems to be a lot of speculation based on pretty thin gruel here. Whatever the case, pax Christie.

Too many foolish presumptions about my faith.

Really Mark, what can one conclude from; I will not pray for God to change Obama's heart. I'd rather pray for God to smite him, and then laugh because I know he won't do that either - where is the charity, hope or faith in that comment?

I agree you are in a barren desert, but it is one you chose and where you will remain as long as you publish fantasies about smiting your adversaries and mock prayer.

Christ made himself visible to others and the world and it did not alter his time and much of anyone's behavior.

Tell that to antiquity and it's institutions of slavery, "exposure" and murderous patriarchy, as well as the many unremebered gods of past ages. Please fire-off the memo to the school-children, refugees, prisoners, homeless and infirm who have all met Christ through his imperfect dsiciples - 2000 years after Calvary.

Your making a case to shirk the Cross and the prayer life that sustains us, shoulders, all because the Church's earthly mission has not yielded a social order to your liking. We are called to be faithful, not successful and it your own spiritual state, not that of your cultural enemies that you should be most concerned about. The despair in your comments is breathtaking and I truly hope you address it with a priest as soon as possible.

Kevin,

Really Mark, what can one conclude from; I will not pray for God to change Obama's heart. I'd rather pray for God to smite him, and then laugh because I know he won't do that either - where is the charity, hope or faith in that comment?

I agree you are in a barren desert, but it is one you chose and where you will remain as long as you publish fantasies about smiting your adversaries and mock prayer.


Precisely.

Yet, in spite of the explicit statement made, Zippy seems to have considered even this as "pretty thin gruel", less he is referring to something other than this person's prayerful disposition.

In other news though (from your favourite papist):

Breaking: Pro-life, devout Catholic named new RNC chair!

I'm hearing that it happened just minutes ago: Former Maryland Lt. Gov. (and former state party chairman) Michael Steele has been elected as the new chair of the Republican National Committee.

So who is he?!

CollegeNews tells us:

"Steele is a staunch social conservative: devoutly Catholic, pro-life, anti-embryonic stem cell research, etc."Breaking: Pro-life, devout Catholic named new RNC chair!

I'm hearing that it happened just minutes ago: Former Maryland Lt. Gov. (and former state party chairman) Michael Steele has been elected as the new chair of the Republican National Committee.

So who is he?!

CollegeNews tells us:

"Steele is a staunch social conservative: devoutly Catholic, pro-life, anti-embryonic stem cell research, etc."

Ari,
Seems those prayers of petition are be heard by Someone;

NEARLY half a million dissident Anglicans are on the verge of rejoining the Catholic Church in a move their leader suggests may be the beginning of a flood to Rome of millions of Anglicans worldwide who oppose gay and female clergy.
http://www.theage.com.au/national/dissident-anglicans-poised-to-join-catholics-20090129-7t2q.html

Cardinal Castrillon, head of Ecclesia Dei, has just been quoted as saying that Bishop Fellay, head of the SSPX, recognises the Second Vatican Council.
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/damian_thompson/blog/2009/01/29/the_drama_continues_head_of_sspx_recognises_vatican_ii_says_cardinal_castrillon

Wow. Next week will likely bring some news from the Eastern Church.

Zippy seems to have considered even this as "pretty thin gruel", less he is referring to something other than this person's prayerful disposition.
I thought it was clear, but now I will make it moreso, that I was agreeing with Mark Butterworth that imputing all of these things to a man's faith and prayer life based on the thin gruel of a few comments in a combox is over the top.
I was agreeing with Mark Butterworth that imputing all of these things to a man's faith and prayer life based on the thin gruel of a few comments in a combox is over the top.

The heresy that holds prayer to be a vain, "pro forma" exercise offered to a non-responsive God spawns disorders like; calling for retribution rather than conversion, and social separation instead of evangelization. Let us hope the real-life spiritual state of anyone making these comments(and Mark is not alone)is entirely different. The Gnostic undercurrent that periodically surfaces in these threads deserves to be refuted lest the broader pro-life movement be tarnished by the association. Gross injustice is not overcome by the loss of hope, or the dissent into bitterness and escapism.

The heresy that holds prayer to be a vain, "pro forma" exercise offered to a non-responsive God ...
Again, you are making rather large extrapolations from some pretty thin gruel, as far as I can tell. I'm pretty sure I disagree some with Mark Butterworth about prayer, but I think he has a really great point that our prayer lives are far more about changing us and getting to know God than petitioning to conjure some result we want in the world. I say that as a guy who has very narcissistically asked God for rather specific and extraordinary things in the past, and gotten them, good and hard.

If Mark Butterworth is called more to pray Psalm 58, 83, 109, or 137 than some watered down modern version of Oprahfied bootlicking niceyhood, well, all I can say to that is that warriors are called to be Christians too, and more power to him.


6
"Find a lying witness, an accuser to stand by his right hand,
7
That he may be judged and found guilty, that his plea may be in vain.
8
May his days be few; may another take his office.
9
May his children be fatherless, his wife, a widow.
10
May his children be vagrant beggars, driven from their hovels.
11
May the usurer snare all he owns, strangers plunder all he earns.
12
May no one treat him kindly or pity his fatherless children.
13
May his posterity be destroyed, his name cease in the next generation.
14
May the LORD remember his fathers' guilt; his mother's sin not be canceled.
15
May their guilt be always before the LORD, till their memory is banished from the earth,
16
For he did not remember to show kindness, but hounded the wretched poor and brought death to the brokenhearted.
17
He loved cursing; may it come upon him; he hated blessing; may none come to him.
18
May cursing clothe him like a robe; may it enter his belly like water, seep into his bones like oil.
19
May it be near as the clothes he wears, as the belt always around him."
20
May the LORD bring all this upon my accusers, upon those who speak evil against me.

I think he has a really great point that our prayer lives are far more about changing us and getting to know God than petitioning to conjure some result we want in the world.

No, Mark echoes a common complaint when he cites his disillusionment with the world as reason as to doubt the efficacy of prayer. Hard to imagine an interior transformation occurring if one enters communion without much hope. And I'm afraid this view of prayer is rather thin gruel;"we pray for others or something because it makes us feel good, it doesn't hurt to ask, it makes others feel cared for (which is a good thing) and it helps us endure all the disappointments life (and God) provide us with." I think we pray for others because we believe. And prayers of intercession are a form of praise that alter our inner lives as we are acknowledging our total dependence on God.

May no one treat him kindly or pity his fatherless children.

Are you saying the proper spiritual disposition during the Prayer of the Faithful is for everyone to adopt the stance of the Psalmist quoted above? "We pray that death, disease and famine rain down on the political leadership that oversees the abortion regime. Lord hear our prayer." Really? Is that something we should even request in solitude?

warriors are called to be Christians too

And Christians are called to be warriors who trust the spiritual weapons we've been given. Not complaining about their futility or placing our faith in lesser instruments. From what I've observed, it is those who possess the deepest reservoirs of hope who are the biggest risk takers and most often confound those wise in the ways of the world.

than some watered down modern version of Oprahfied bootlicking niceyhood

Sounds like you might want to confront your Pastor and pray for the restoration of his vocation. Or find a new parish.

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