Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Big News: Supreme Court Takes Nebraska Partial Birth Abortion Case

Pray, Pray, Pray!

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Encouraging words from President Bush on Darfur

Friday, February 17, 2006

President Bush Slashes Family Planning Funds, Pro-Abortion Groups Mad

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- President Bush's latest budget he's submitted to Congress slashes federal funding for family planning -- promoting contraception in other nations. The decision has abortion advocates hopping mad. On his first day as president in 2001, Bush signed an executive order prohibiting taxpayer funds from being used to pay for or promote abortions in other nations. He later expanded what is known as the Mexico City Policy to cover all State Department funding. During that time, President Bush froze the level of family planning funding at $425 million annually -- the amount funded in the last year of the Clinton administration. That was done as federal funding of most other budget areas increased. But with Bush's new budget, which contains cuts in programs because of funding needs for combating terrorism and hurricane relief, family planning funds have been slashed 18 percent to $357 million.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Nice picture

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Pope holds audience with Laura Bush

First Lady Laura Bush had an audience with Pope Benedict XVI this morning, during her stop in the Italian capital on her way to the opening of the Olympic Winter Games in Turin tomorrow, reported ANSA.

Pope Benedict XVI met with Laura Bush in his private library on Thursday and wished the first lady "a peaceful time" at the upcoming Olympics in Turin, where she is heading the U.S. delegation.

During the 20-minute meeting, Mrs. Bush gave Benedict a small silver bowl; the pope in turn gave the first lady and Barbara rosaries and Rooney a Vatican medal.

On the eve of the visit, the first lady told Vatican Radio in an interview broadcast Thursday: "The American people are a religious people, of course all different religions. But we share a lot of the same values with the Catholic Church."

Loving your enemy

Monday, February 06, 2006

Bush: "Surrendering Our Will to God's Will, We Learn To Serve His Eternal Purposes"

President Bush's remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast on 2 Feb 2006.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. Please be seated. (Applause.) Thanks for the warm welcome. Laura and I are delighted to be here. This lovely personality said this morning, keep your remarks short. (Laughter.)

I appreciate this prayer breakfast a lot, and I appreciate the spirit in which it was formed. Ike said he was living in the loneliest house in America -- for what he got to say is, the rent is pretty good. (Laughter.)

It's great to be here with distinguished guests from all around the world. Your Majesty and Prime Ministers and former Prime Ministers, friends with whom I have the honor to work, you're welcome here. I appreciate the fact that people from different walks of life, different faiths have joined us. Yet I believe we share one thing in common: We're united in our dedication to peace and tolerance and humility before the Almighty. (Applause.)

I want to thank Senators Pryor and Coleman for putting on this breakfast. I appreciate Senator Frist, Representative Blunt, Representative Pelosi, other members of the United States Congress who've joined us on the dais and who are here for this breakfast. I thank the members of my Cabinet who are here. Get back to work. (Laughter.)

I find it interesting that the music is from Arkansas. (Laughter.) I'm glad it is, because they know how to sing down there. (Laughter.)

You know, I was trying to figure out what to say about Bono -- (laughter) --

BONO: Careful. (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: And a story jumped to mind about these really good Texas preachers. And he got going in a sermon and a fellow jumped up in the back and said, "Use me, Lord, use me." And the preacher ignored him, and finished his sermon. Next Sunday he gets up, and cranking on another sermon. And the guy jumps up and says, "Use me, Lord, use me." And after the service, he walked up to him and said, "If you're serious, I'd like for you to paint the pews." Next Sunday, he's preaching, the guy stands up and says, "Use me, Lord, use me, but only in an advisory capacity." (Laughter.)

So I've gotten to know Bono. (Laughter.) He's a doer. The thing about this good citizen of the world is he's used his position to get things done. You're an amazing guy, Bono. God bless you. (Applause.)

It is fitting we have a National Prayer Breakfast, because our nation is a nation of prayer. In America, we do not prescribe any prayer. We welcome all prayer. We're a nation founded by men and women who came to these shores seeking to worship the Almighty freely. From these prayerful beginnings, God has greatly blessed the American people, and through our prayers, we give thanks to the true source of our blessings.

Americans remain a prayerful people today. I know this firsthand. I can't tell you the number of times out there traveling our country, people walk up, total strangers, and say, Mr. President, I'm praying for you and your family. It is one of the great blessings of the presidency, and one of the most wonderful gifts a person can give any of us who have the responsibility to govern justly. So I thank my fellow citizens for their gracious prayers and wonderful gifts.

Every day, millions of Americans pray for the safety of our troops, for the protection of innocent life, and for the peace we all hope for. Americans continue to pray for the recovery of the wounded, and to pray for the Almighty's comfort on those who have lost a loved one. We give thanks daily for the brave and decent men and women who wear our nation's uniform, and we thank their families, as well.

In this country, we recognize prayer is a gift from God to every human being. It is a gift that allows us to come before our Maker with heartfelt requests and our deepest hopes. Prayer reminds us of our place in God's creation. It reminds us that when we bow our heads or fall to our knees, we are all equal and precious in the eyes of the Almighty.

In prayer, we're reminded we're never alone in our personal trials or individual suffering. In prayer, we offer our thanksgiving and praise, recognizing our lives, our talents and all that we own ultimately flow from the Creator. And in these moments of our deepest gratitude, the Almighty reminds us that for those to whom much has been given, much is required.

In prayer, we open ourselves to God's priority, especially His charge to feed the hungry, to reach out to the poor, to bring aid to the widow or the orphan. By surrendering our will to God's will, we learn to serve His eternal purposes. Through prayer, our faith is strengthened, our hearts are humbled and our lives are transformed. Prayer encourages us to go out into the world and serve.

In our country, we recognize our fellow citizens are free to profess any faith they choose, or no faith at all. You are equally American if you're a Hebrew -- a Jew or a Christian or Muslim. You're equally American if you choose not to have faith. It is important America never forgets the great freedom to worship as you so choose. (Applause.)

What I've found in our country, that whatever our faith, millions of Americans answer the universal call to love your neighbor just like you'd like to be loved yourself. Over the past five years, we've been inspired by the ways that millions of Americans have answered that call. In the face of terrorist attacks and devastating natural disasters here and around the world, the American people have shown their faith in action again and again. After Katrina, volunteers from churches and mosques and synagogues and other faith-based and community groups opened up their hearts and their homes to the displaced. We saw an outpouring of compassion after the earthquake in Pakistan and the tsunami that devastated entire communities. We live up to God's calling when we provide help for HIV/AIDS victims on the continent of Africa and around the world.

In millions of acts of kindness, we have seen the good heart of America. Bono, the true strength of this country is not in our military might or in the size of our wallet, it is in the hearts and souls of the American people. (Applause.)

I was struck by the comment of a fellow who was rescued from the Gulf Coast and given shelter. He said, "I didn't think there was so much love in the world." This morning we come together to recognize the source of that great love. We come together before the Almighty in prayer, to reflect on God's will, to seek His aid, and to respond to His grace.

I want to thank you for the fine tradition you continue here today. I pray that our nation will always have the humility to commend our cares to Providence and trust in the goodness of His plans.

May God bless you all. (Applause.)

Friday, February 03, 2006

"Written In Courage": An Analysis of the 2006 State of the Union Address

The take from Fr. James V. Schall, S.J.:
In general, this State of the Union Address was clear, forceful, and well thought out. The President recognizes that decisions must be made and that it is his constitutional duty to make them. "In this decisive year, you and I will make choices that determine both the future and the character of our country." Clearly, the choices can be bad; otherwise there is not much sense in worrying about them. But one of the fundamental strengths of our constitution is that it recognizes, particularly in dangerous times, the fundamental need of a personal decision-making authority that can act. It is striking that the President would use this very classically sounding word "action" in this context–"the destination of history is determined by human action." This affirmation does not necessarily mean that there is no divine action also in history, including in our history. But divine action, as Benedict XVI said in his recent encyclical, is often itself a prod and a stimulus to human thought and action.


The President is quite realistic in the need to keep track of potential terrorists already within our frontiers. We simply have to know about them. They ought not to be free to use our freedoms to destroy us. Furthermore, "if we were to leave these vicious attackers alone, they would not leave us alone. They would simply move the battlefield to our own shores." It does not take a genius to see that this is undoubtedly what would happen. The President thus is a realist who will not be deflected from what is the most serious issue facing us. He is not somehow a stubborn man acting on his own inner needs. He is clear-sighted, observing what is there. He saw what did happen. He knows what can happen.


Probably the most dramatic part of the evening was the presence of Judge Alito, who had just been confirmed that day to the Supreme Court (seemingly against the combined efforts of many Catholic senators worried evidently about protecting abortion, among other unpleasant things). From a pro-life point of view, the President’s most forceful passage was this: "Tonight I ask you to pass legislation to prohibit the most egregious abuses of medical research: human cloning in all its forms, creating or implanting embryos for experiments; creating human-animal hybrids; and buying, selling or patenting human embryos. Human life is a gift from our creator, and that gift should never be discarded, devalued or put up for sale." This is not a passage out of a papal encyclical (though it could be), or out of the playbook of said senators, but one uttered by the President of the United States. More is to be done, no doubt, but this passage is forceful.

Often on the basis of proposals in the bio-ethics field, many writers worry about radical changes in human genes, bodily form, life span, eliminating sexual reproduction, and other areas that suggest the whole culture is in decline. Culture wars, they are called. It is the function of a President to speak of what we ought to be, not naively, but still with the awareness that many of the problems that we encounter are self-chosen. We can turn off from wrong paths. "America is a great force for freedom and prosperity. Yet our greatness is not measured in power or luxuries, but by who we are and how we treat one another. So we strive to be compassionate, decent, hopeful society." This is the sentence the New York Times–which had chosen oil for its front-page summary of the address–cited on the 20th page with the text. But it is a powerful sentence, one that again mirrors the notion that a nation is not just about laws and justice and productivity, but of compassion, decency, hope. As the Pope also said in his encyclical, it does matter how we individually, personally, treat one another.


The only time that the word "God" appears in this address, in this land where we often sing "God bless America," is the last sentence, "May God bless America." We probably have to realize that God will bless not whatever we do, but what actions and choices are for the good that He has given us in creation, in the good in others–including the good, the real good, of those who have declared themselves our enemies.

You can read more of Fr Schall on his website.