Every so often I like to make the readers of this blog -- a tiny but most influential group of folks with far too much time on their hands -- aware of some recent developments that have caught my interest. Despite all the weirdness that percolates through the media and seeps into the common understanding, there are many interesting things happening in the world. Here are just a few that have attracted my attention.
G. K. Chesterton Canonization Cause. One of the great Catholic converts of the 20th Century is being considered as a candidate for sainthood. Check out this statement on the Chesterton cause by Father Ian Boyd, C.S.B., President of the G. K. Chesterton Institute for Faith and Culture at Seton Hall University.
I was first introduced to Chesterton when I was in high school and accidentally came across a few of his books in my dad's library, and I've loved him ever since. I suppose I can say without fear of contradiction that there are two kinds of people in the world: those who have read Chesterton and those who haven't. If you fall among those in the latter category your life is woefully incomplete. Pick up a copy of Orthodoxy, first published in 1908 before Chesterton's conversion to Catholicism, and still in print, and then just go on from there reading any of the dozens of books written by Chesterton. If you're a Kindle user, try this remarkable collection of 21 Chesterton works: The Chesterton Reader. And if you still want more, you can turn to Ignatius Press which is publishing an ambitious multi-volume edition of Chesterton's complete works.
Atheists Tell Pope Francis Not To Pray. The very presence of atheists has always amazed me. After all, if one believes we're just evolutionary accidents, well, what's the sense of living? Why suffer life's difficulties and pains when one's ultimate end will be just oblivion? I suppose that's why so many atheists end up committing suicide as they begin to experience the physical and mental complications that often accompany old age. But until then they seem to get all excited about anyone who believes in anything more than nothing.
For example, when Pope Francis prayed for those in the Philippines who were suffering from the effects of the recent typhoon, atheists in Southern California came unglued and spent their loose change on a number of billboards. Their complaint? Instead of asking his flock to engage in meaningless prayer, the pope should have asked Catholics to do something constructive by sending money to the storm victims. According to Dave Muscato, spokesman for atheists.org, "We want to make sure that people understand that when you pray the only thing you are doing is making yourself feel better...but if you want to help, you actually need to do something." Of course, Mr. Muscato conveniently overlooks the fact that believers give huge amounts to charity, far more per capita than atheists, who it would seem prefer to spend their money on billboards attacking the pope. Ah well...pray for them.
Obama Administration Fines Catholics for Being Catholic. Yep, that's right...if a Catholic institution does not comply with the contraceptive and abortifacient mandate of the Affordable Care Act (aka, Obamacare), it can expect to be fined big bucks. For example, Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina, a Catholic college run by Benedictine monks, is suing the federal government, charging that Obamacare unconstitutionally forces the college to violate its core religious belief in the sanctity of human life. The act mandates that the college would have to offer contraceptive and abortifacient services in its employee healthcare plans. The fine for the college would be a tidy $7 million. This is just one more example of the increasingly open hostility to religious freedom exercised by our government in general and by this administration in particular. Three loud cheers for Belmont Abbey! Oh, yes, it's worth mentioning that the University of Notre Dame is also suing the federal government for the same reason. To read more, click here.
Euthanasia for Children? Just in case you still believe that civilization is alive and well in the once Christian continent of Europe, here's a news story that should give you pause. A Belgian parliamentary committee overwhelmingly voted to approve euthanasia for children of all ages. It is expected that the full parliament will pass the law easily. How unfortunate for the children of Belgium whose lives will soon be at risk from the moment of conception until old age. Any nation that kills its children simply because they are inconvenient -- and sadly, this includes our own nation -- is inherently evil. Of course I am politically incorrect to the extreme. I also believe that any nation that sends its women into combat is a nation of cowardly men.
Pakistan's Sharia Court: Death for Blasphemers. In one more example of Islamic barbarity, the federal Sharia Court in Pakistan has decided that the only permissible sentence for those convicted of blasphemy is death. It's important to understand that Islam's idea of blasphemy also includes saying anything that insults the name of the prophet Muhammad. Christians and other non-Muslims obviously do not believe that Muhammad was a true prophet. If we accepted him as a prophet, we'd have to throw out the entire New Testament and most of the Old Testament. Since much of Christian belief contradicts what Muhammad included in the Koran, just stating these beliefs could easily be considered a blasphemous insult deserving of the death penalty. It's easy to see why so many Christians have been imprisoned in Pakistan as a result of the blasphemy law. Read more here.