October 22, 2016

Venezuela Officially Descends Into Dictatorship, With Minimal News Visibility

Thursday evening, Venezuela’s Bolivarian Socialist government arbitrarily suspended the recall effort against “President” Nicolas Maduro, demonstrating beyond any doubt that the South American country now functions as a dictatorship.

Given its gravity, this news, described in coverage at the Wall Street Journal as “a crisis of democracy,” is not getting the visibility it should be receiving.

(more…)

Positivity: Archbishop Chaput — Be like Mary. Punch the devil in the nose.

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 10:00 am

From South Bend, Indiana:

Oct 21, 2016 / 03:50 pm

Catholics should look to Mary to be part of a religion that fights for truth, rather than assimilating to the popular culture, said Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia.

“If we want to reclaim who we are as a Church, if we want to renew the Catholic imagination, we need to begin, in ourselves and in our local parishes, by unplugging our hearts from the assumptions of a culture that still seems familiar but is no longer really ‘ours,’” Archbishop Chaput said.

“This is why Mary – the young Jewish virgin, the loving mother, and the woman who punches the devil in the nose – was, is, and always will be the great defender of the Church,” he added.

Archbishop Chaput addressed the 2016 Bishops’ Symposium at the University of Notre Dame on Wednesday. He spoke on “Remembering Who We Are and the Story We Belong To.”

He began his talk referencing an illustration, reportedly from the Middle Ages, of the Blessed Virgin Mary punching the devil in the nose. “She doesn’t rebuke him. She doesn’t enter into a dialogue with him. She punches the devil in the nose,” he said.

The illustration is apt, he explained, because, according to the Christian author C.S. Lewis, “Christianity is a ‘fighting religion’ – not in the sense of hatred or violence directed at other persons, but rather in the spiritual struggle against the evil in ourselves and in the world around us, where our weapons are love, justice, courage and self-giving.”

The problem is that many U.S. Catholics have abandoned this “spiritual struggle” and have assimilated too much into the popular culture “that bleaches out strong religious convictions in the name of liberal tolerance and dulls our longings for the supernatural with a river of practical atheism in the form of consumer goods,” he said.

Catholic Politicians have done this by following their own “ambitions and appetites” rather than being loyal to the Church, he noted. Laypersons and members of the clergy have done this through a “silent apostasy” of not standing up for the truth when they need to do so.

“For [Pope] Benedict, laypeople and priests don’t need to publicly renounce their baptism to be apostates. They simply need to be silent when their Catholic faith demands that they speak out,” he said, “to be cowards when Jesus asks them to have courage; to ‘stand away’ from the truth when they need to work for it and fight for it.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

Saturday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (102216)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:00 am

This open thread is meant for commenters to post on items either briefly noted below (if any) or otherwise not covered at this blog. Rules are here.