UPDATE: Timothy Cardinal Dolan Ahead of Obama for TIME’s Influential People List

UPDATE: Timothy Cardinal Dolan Ahead of Obama for TIME’s Influential People List

Just got word of this from a Facebook friend. ;Go show your support for our latest American Cardinal, and the man who’s taking point on the battle with the Obama Administration over the HHS Contraception Mandate! Click here or on the image to vote! He’s way behind right now because this hasn’t been publicized enough. SHARE THE LINK WITH EVERYONE YOU KNOW! h/t – Erika D. Don’t forget to join our cause on Facebook! ;Click below! Click to go to the Catholics Against HHS Facebook Page UPDATE 3/31/12 @ 6:30pm EST 1677 Yes, 3854 No UPDATE 3/31/12 @ 8:30pm EST 2785 Yes, 3902 No Over a thousand YES votes in two hours! Great job! However, Andrew Cuomo and Cecile Richards are still higher on the list! We must knock out these pro-aborts, folks! UPDATE 4/1/12 @ 12:00am EST 4712 Yes, 3985 No Cardinal Dolan is now beating Cecile Richards and Andrew Cuomo, AND the YES votes are rising much more rapidly than the NO votes! Keep it up! Don’t forget, you can vote NO on anti-Catholics, too. UPDATE 4/1/12 @ 9:00am EST 5891 Yes, 4087 No Okay, folks, let’s get the word out! UPDATE 4/1/12 @ 3:00pm EST 7555 Yes, 4239 No UPDATE 4/1/12 @ 9:00pm EST 9600 Yes, 5378 No Cardinal Dolan is now in 21st place and not too far from overtaking Obama! Keep it up! UPDATE 4/2/12 @ 9:00am EST 11,715 Yes, 6740 No The No vote is starting to grow at a faster rate as Cardinal Dolan gets closer to the top. Keep spreading word! UPDATE 4/2/12 @ 8:00pm EST Timothy Dolan: 15651 Yes, 12502...
Lottery Question: Why Do Good Things Happen to Bad People?

Lottery Question: Why Do Good Things Happen to Bad People?

Most of us have pondered at one time another the ageless question: why do bad things happen to good people? Occasioned by the recent record-breaking lottery excitement, I’m flipping the question: why do good things happen to bad people? When I was a teenager, I babysat for some very wealthy family friends who had a second home in an exclusive gated community in Kansas City. It was, in my humble expertise, a posh mansion. One morning, my parents received a call from these friends and went to the computer to watch a video of the most recent lottery winner. There on the screen was the latest winner, who had just purchased the home next to our friends’ posh manor – he was a redneck. Within a month, we heard that he had placed a large trampoline in the front yard, a major faux pas in an exclusive neighborhood. In the time since that incident, I’ve married into a self-described redneck family and looking back, I can’t imagine that I would have allowed the attitudes of my neighbors to keep me from installing a trampoline, either. I certainly can’t say that I think rednecks are “bad people,” but much of America would consider them unworthy to win the lottery: why did they get to win the lottery? Why do good things happen to bad people? While the traditional question (Why do bad things happen to good people?) is an essential matter of justice in an often unjust world, our question, no less traditional, is a matter of ingratitude. The real core of the question is not why good things happen to...
The Distinction Between Welfare and Charity

The Distinction Between Welfare and Charity

When I was a sweet, naïve freshman in college, I was inspired by a “liberal”, philosophy, namely, that if we all paid higher taxes, then fewer people would be poor. It seemed like such an easy and straightforward way to help so many people out, who could possibly be against that? Slowly I began to realize that this philosophy was too easy. I knew lots of faithful Republicans whom I knew for a fact were definitely “pro helping poor people” and yet were opposed to this government philosophy. One day I was eating lunch with a notoriously Republican friend of mine, and on our walk back to the dorms, he stopped to give his leftovers to a man begging on the street. We had been debating politics and I asked in all sincerity, “If you Republicans really love the poor, why are you against the government helping them?” It’s a simple question, but it seems to be at the crux of a major divide in our country today. I actually can’t remember his response, but as the years went by and I discerned my role as a Catholic in politics at a deeper level, I realized that charity, freely given out of love is what God asks of us. Charity that is coerced by punishment of law (through taxes) isn’t charity at all, it’s rendering to Caesar what is his.  Of course, rendering unto Caesar is important, we need a society with roads, bridges and stoplights. In fact, Jesus endorses this kind of giving, “Render unto Caesar what is Caesars, render unto God what is God’s”. Being charitable is...
Catholic Trivia: Who is Keyser Soze?

Catholic Trivia: Who is Keyser Soze?

Before my dedication to following Christ, one of my favorite movies was The Usual Suspects.  For those of you who haven’t seen it, the movie revolves around a detective, played by Chazz Palminteri, trying to determine the cause of a very large shootout and explosion at the docks.  One survivor turns up at the hospital and manages to give a description of the veritable boogeyman responsible for the carnage.  The detective asks the man a series of questions, and the man mumbles in a foreign tongue until finally the words “Keyser Soze”Kye-sir So-zay stumble from his mouth.  The detective spends the rest of the movie trying to find this Keyser Soze, who is made out to be more of a ghost than a real person.  For those of you who haven’t seen it, don’t.  It’s full of violence, foul language, and a host of other morally offensive material. One of my all-time favorite movies, which doesn’t corrupt the soul, is Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in which Dr. Jones and his father, played by the always entertaining Sean Connery, travel to find the Holy GrailThere's a lot more to the story, but most if not all of you have seen the movie. If you haven't what are you waiting for?.  This movie is also a classic. So what does this have to do with Catholic trivia?  Well, did you know that Keyser Soze is a real man?  Most movies construct fabricated information in order to create the story.  In this case, those pieces of fabricated information are that Kyser Soze exists and the whereabouts of the Holy Grail...
Spring Break! (from what?)

Spring Break! (from what?)

The university where I teach got an unexpected extra week added on to our Spring Break this year, courtesy of a blown power line that knocked out power to the entire campus for the past several days. Technically we still have class online this week but don’t have the ability to meet on campus (at least, the ability to meet with lights, A/C, and PowerPoint slides). Spring Break and unexpected job vacations all provide contrasts between the everyday status quo routine and a brief period of respite. I got to stay home this week, didn’t have to dress up beyond shorts and a t-shirt, and had full-time access to our pantry’s Hershey Kiss supply. So what filled my days this week? Lounging around? Wife and kids fanning me with palm fronds and feeding me grapes? Not so much. As it so often happens, I did have a little more recreation this week but spent much of it doing chores around the house and yard. This week was not so much a reprieve from responsibility, but a refocus on other responsibilities. We may get vacations from work, but we never get vacations from doing our duty. Similarly, Lent is seen as forty days of drudgery, before and after which we are free to indulge our desires. Instead of a brief vacation interrupting the normal hard days of work, Lent is a brief period of hard work interrupting the normal days of ease. In the same way that I’m still a husband and father with responsibilities whether it’s Spring Break or not, I’m still a Christian with responsibilities to God and...