Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Christmas started?

On Nov. 28th, the huge Christmas Tree in Rockerfeller Center in New York City was lit up.  The media and those who participated cried out "Now the Christmas season has officially gone underway..."  Wrong! 

The Christmas season begins at sunset on Christmas Eve and ends at the Baptism of the Lord.  

We are currently about to enter the season of Advent, not Christmas season.  When will secular society return Christmas back to the Catholic Church?  It is our holiday!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Leah, Welcome to the Catholic Church

Congratulations to Leah Libresco who left Atheism and came home to the Body of Christ - The Holy Catholic Church. 

 Welcome home to the Catholic Church 
The Pillar and Foundation of Truth

Atheism Dilemma III

Atheism many times presents itself as the sole rational position.  If one is not an Atheist, one is not "rational" or "intelligent."  Those who are religious are considered "superstitious" or in living in the "Bronze age."   The latter is extremely far from the truth since it was the Catholic Church who gave us modern science as we know it.  Before CERN, NASA, or any scientific institution, there was the Catholic Church.

Franciscan Friar, Roger Bacon formulated what is now universally used to obtain empirical evidence: the Scientific Method.  Without this method, we would not have discovered the many scientific discoveries that are taught today.  From Evolution, to the Big Bang, from Chemistry to Biology; none of the knowledge we possess today would have been possible had it not been for Friar Bacon and the Catholic Church who supported him.

It is funny to hear Atheists cite Science as the "killer of God."  Science is no such thing.  It is even funnier to hear Atheists claim that religion opposes Science.  Again, this is a distortion of the truth.  The Catholic Church being the pioneer of modern science and academia has always advocated its use to learn of God's creation.  The Church is not alone.  Islam as well produced many great mathematical and scientific minds.  How can these 2 great religions produce science and hate it at the same time?

Moreover, how can science "kill God?"  Well, Atheists often cite Evolution and Physics in order to "disprove" God.  Using misunderstood knowledge, they create all kinds of sophistries in an attempt to formulate supposed logical arguments against the existence of God.

Does Evolution disprove God?

Well let's take a look.  Simply put: Evolution is the theory that all organisms developed throughout time from primitive genetic points.  In other words, all life gradually changed over millions of years developing into its present complex structure.  It is an ongoing process that will see more changes as time passes.

The theory was first proposed by Charles Darwin, a Christian who authored The Origin of Species in 1859.  In the book, he describes his observations while on board the HMS Beagle on a 5 year journey.  He noticed similarities in organisms that led him to conclude that they had a common ancestry.  Human beings were found to have many similarities with the ape.

Evolution takes place in many ways.  Microevolution is one of them.  In microevolution, tiny changes or mutations take place in the genetic makeup of organisms.  These changes are possibly due to errors in genetic processing and/or environmental factors.  Radiation and chemicals have been observed to cause mutations in genetic material.

Natural Selection is another manner in which Evolution takes shape.  In Natural Selection, an unconscious agent or mechanism is believed to dictate which organisms are strong enough to survive.  Those organisms with genetic structures that are not built to handle the environment will eventually become extinct.  Only those who have a better genetic build up will survive and therefore add to diversity among organisms.

Then there is Speciation which is the point where an organism mutates and becomes a different species.  This difference makes it incompatible to reproduce with organisms that still retain the older genetic buildup.  The consequence is a new species that can only reproduce with its own kind.

Evidence for Evolution is based on observations in the fields of anthropology, homology, paleontology, and molecular biology.

What about Abiogenesis?

Abiogenesis is also cited as proof that God cannot possibly exist nor could have created man.  Abiogenesis is the study of how life can come from inorganic compounds.  This is believed to have taken place during the Eoarchean period in which the molten Earth was cooling down.  As this occurred, the molecular structures of inorganic materials formed together in such a manner that bacteria was formed - or carbon/water based life.  It is then believed that from this primitive life, new species evolved.

The concept is not impossible.  Scientists created an artificial cell using synthetic Mycoplasma Genitalium which has its origin in parasitic bacteria.  Recently, an artificial Jellyfish was created with rat cells and silicone.

The question is, do the aforementioned disprove God?

The answer is no.  These theories and ideas all deal with natural processes and not causality.  Evolution is still a theory with many gaps in it.  There are still issues with it such as the HAR1 gene, the Cambrian explosion, missing fossil records, the Missing Link and so on.  Despite claims that the "Missing Link," or transitional fossils were found, these have all shown to be false.    

Nevertheless, the theory is still valid and can stand for now based on the evidence collected. 

In Physics, we learn that matter cannot produce information.  All matter in this universe is information.  The structure of it, how it is built and interacts, and what makes it construct itself in the way it does is all information.

Think of the universe as a computer screen.  In a computer, the OS system organizes data in such a way to allow the user to interpret it in the way human beings learn to use language and data.  Data is a collection of codes that organize to create images on a screen.  The codes on a computer are programmed in such a way that the user can tell a Word document from a Music file.

The universe is the same.  Everything is coded - it is built on information structured to exist in a particular manner.  Matter cannot produce this code on its own.  So only two possibilities exist:

  1.  It was just there 
  2. An intelligence programmed it.

Both possibilities might satisfy a rational mind; however, when we observe how we program DVD's, CD's, computers and the like, the latter makes more sense.  Computers, DVD's, CD's - all which are matter - do not program themselves.  A programmer is needed.  Since the universe is information and it cannot produce it on its own, the logical conclusion is that an external intelligence capable of programming instilled the information within matter.  When the impossible is extinguished and all that is in its place may be improbable due to lack of tangible evidence, then the latter must be the reality that holds what is true.

In light of this, neither Evolution or Abiogenesis can "kill god."  Both would merely be the instruments of an intelligence used to create and sustain life.

All processes whether natural or man-made have an origin.  Both need a mover.  


Wii U and Ipad Mini

Today Nintendo's Wii U was finally released to the public.  As expected, the systems which comes in black and white were sold out.

This system has high definition capabilities, a touchscreen control pad, and other things that make it unique from the original Wii.

Despite having technology that still is not comparable to the Playstation 3 or Xbox 360, Nintendo will most likely celebrate another success in this new device because it serves a wide range of ages.  From 3 year old's to 90 year old, they have all used the Wii system's simple playing technique for enjoyment and also fitness.  I personally have enjoyed playing Wii with relatives and friends, even though I've nearly destroyed furniture and my own hand in the process.   

A few weeks ago Apple released the Ipad mini which is a smaller version of its popular Ipad which is now in its 3rd version.  The Ipad mini is about 7'' and pretty much has the same functions as its big brother.

It has cameras, the same OS system, wifi and so on.  However, some have complained that its screen touch technology is not as sensitive as the larger model.

I have an Ipad and use it a lot.  If only I have had this device in high school and my early college years; it would have made things a bit easier.  

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Rainbow Blindness

When we see a rainbow in the sky we can sometimes stand still staring at it memorized at the colors and its formation. The rainbow as we know, was hijacked by the LGBT movement. Since the late 60's, they have been trying hard to promote their hedonistic lifestyle and normalize it.

It has come to my attention recently that a young man named Lennon Cihak from the Diocese of Crookston was denied Confirmation by Father Gary LaMoine of Assumption church.  At first, I was puzzled as to why until I read the details.

 Apparently, the youth was seen with a sign that stated his support of so-called "same-sex" marriage.  Father LaMoine did the right thing in questioning the Confirmation request.  Cihak denied Confirmation, he was not prevented from receiving it by the Church.

My message to Cihak:

Confirmation is an extremely important Sacrament of Initiation.  In it, you affirm strongly your Faith. It is not a social event or liturgical fanfare.   As a Catholic you are deciding that you will live by Jesus' teachings and will defend them. I understand your concern for gay people, but you are not showing them God's love by aiding and abetting their lifestyle which is contrary to God's will. Witness to them with your fidelity to Christ and the Church. Disregard the ignorant comments and false support from those on here and Twitter who only seek to inflate your ego and mislead you. Jesus too was tempted by Satan with popularity. Stand for Christ and His Church, not popular opinion.

I invite all my brothers and sisters in the Catholic Church to pray for this young child of God that he may see that our position is one of truth, not bigotry.  No one does more for the LGBT community than the Catholic Church.  The late John Cardinal o' Connor despite being harassed by the LGBT, always took time to visit those who suffered from AIDS at hospitals and even cared for them.  Countless priests, religious and lay people do similar.

The LGBT are God's children as well.  No one should attack them or hate them for their orientation.  We all have fallen short of God's grace.  However, we must care for one another and admonish one another when one is on the wrong path.

Homosexual activities and so called "same sex" marriage is not ordained by God.  God is clear on this in Scripture and in the Church's teachings. It serves no purpose in nature.  No gene for it exists, and most psychologists believe it to be nurtured.  

The LGBT have the highest rate of mental illness and HIV infection of all groups.  This is not something we should cheer about, but question.  Why is this?  There must be something wrong with the way this group lives if they are suffering in this manner.

A true Christian would reach out and prevent a brother and sister from falling off the cliff of perdition.
The sacrament of Confirmation calls us to be witnesses for Christ.  This young man must understand this and realize that his support of this lifestyle is a slap to Christ on the Cross and to humanity.

Only dead fish go with the flow, as the saying goes.  The fish has always been a symbol of Christians.  We "fishes" must swim against the current of the world and change its course.  The Church would be useless if we just believe and do as the world does.  This is not what God intended.  The Church is the Pillar and Foundation of the Truth.  (1 Timothy 3:15)

I hope and pray that God will reveal this to this young man.  He has a good heart and I applaud him for caring for others despite his compassion being misguided.

Here is our exchange on Twitter:

***UPDATE NOVEMBER 19, 2012***

Letter From Father Gary LaMoine to Members of Assumption Parish, Barnesville

Father Gary LaMoine from Assumption Catholic Church in Barnesville, Minn. sent a letter to the members of the Assumption Parish. KFGO has obtained this letter and here it is in it's entirety.

From: Fr. Gary LaMoine

To: Members of Assumption Parish, Barnesville

Reason: Recent celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation

Date: November 15, 2012

On Sunday, November 11th, the parish rejoiced in the celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation with 20 men and woman of the parish. I congratulate all who entered the Church as full members and hope that their open commitment to live out their lives as Catholic Christians will bring them much personal joy and peace. It was a beautiful celebration and a great day.

The celebration of the sacrament was, however, surrounded by some controversy. A couple of candidates chose not to enter
into full communion with the Catholic community because of their disagreement with the teaching of the Church concerning marriage. I use the word chose very deliberately since they verbally withdrew from candidacy in conversation with one or more of the teaching staff.

One of the candidates withdrew after defacing a pro-marriage sign and placing the same on his Facebook website. When I challenged the young man as to why he was doing this when he knew he was rejecting a central teaching of the Church, he affirmed his rejection of the teaching for personal reasons and said that he no longer wanted to be confirmed. This is in direct contradiction to what has been subsequently proclaimed by the candidate and his family. He and his family are saying that he was denied the sacrament. This is not true; the young man withdrew from the ceremony. Nevertheless, even if he had not withdrawn from the confirmation ceremony, I would have had no choice but to remove him from consideration given his rejection of marriage as we understand it. Rejection of the Church’s teaching on marriage is a very serious breach of faith. We believe that the teaching on marriage (that marriage is between one man and one woman for the purpose of creating new life), is a matter of divine revelation; it comes directly to us from God. Rejection of the teaching on marriage is, for example, similar to the rejection of the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity or the rejection of the doctrine of Christ as being both human and divine. Marriage, divinely received, is a central belief. Intending to celebrate the sacrament of Confirmation, while rejecting a central belief, is an absolute contradiction. One cannot embrace the faith of the Church in Confirmation while rejecting it at the same time.

It is to my dismay that what should have been kept an internal Church matter has now become a public controversy. To place this controversy into the public forum was the decision of the young man and his family; it was not my intention or the intention of Bishop Hoeppner who was informed about the situation shortly after the young man withdrew from candidacy. The Bishop and I now find ourselves harassed by the media, coming to my door at 9:30 PM last Wednesday for a newspaper interview and being called to give comment on a KFGO radio program. All this activity originated from the young man and his family. Agreeing to disagree and leaving it at that is not acceptable to the young man and his family. What this family hopes to gain is beyond my present comprehension.

I apologize to the parish for the actions of this family. I have personally spent much time talking to them face to face about their unwillingness to accept the teaching of the Church on marriage but to no avail. I can only say that I am willing to continuing the conversation, but not in the public forum. This I will not do.


Friday, November 16, 2012

Lincoln - A True President

Today, a new movie on America's renown 16th president is being released in theaters across the globe.  The movie has received great reviews and I am looking forward to watching it.

Abraham Lincoln is my favorite president.  He was a man of strong conviction.  A lawyer by training, he was set on from the very beginning to ending one of America's ugliest institutions: slavery.

Slavery was big business.  It brought a lot of money to landowners who used slaves to toil and work the fields.  Any attempt to free slaves was extremely frowned upon for this very reason.
    Who does not like money?
    What rich person does not love being rich?

Man's greed for money throughout his existence shows no limits.  The dignity of others is often trampled upon in order for another to get it.  It is no wonder why St. Paul said,

"The love of money is the root of all evils..."  

Some who opposed slavery did so for the benefit of the white man.  Lincoln however saw it differently.  He said,
"I must take into account the rights of the poor Negro" (RW, p. 432)  

He saw this as being part of the Declaration of Independence, he stated:

"The Declaration of Independence set up a standard maxim for free society, which should be familiar to all, and revered by all; constantly looked to, constantly labored for, and even though never perfectly attained, constantly approximated, and thereby constantly spreading and deepening its influence, and augmenting the happiness and value of life to all people of all colors... " (The Radical and the Republican, p. 62).

When laws were passed preventing slaves from escaping and allowing marshals to retrieve them, Lincoln was horrified.  Moreover, when the Fugitive Slave Clause was presented which stated that runaway slaves from slave states who fled to free states must be returned to owner was presented, He said,

"to assist in catching a fugitive slave, I should suggest to him that others could run a great deal faster than I could."  (The Radical and the Republican, p. 63)

This clause allowed for the government to even send the army to retrieve runaway slaves and contain them if they rebel.  In response to the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 he had this to say:
"It is ungodly; it is ungodly; no doubt it is ungodly!" (The Radical and the Republican, p. 63)

African Americans, at the time were seen as property, not citizens.  They were only 3/5 human beings and were not considered persons in the same regard as white people.  With the 3/5's compromise, slaves were counted as only 3/5 of a free white person for the sole purpose of taxation and representation.  Because of this compromise, the southern states had more political power.  This would bring much discord with the north who did not see it as fair that the south had all this power.

The conditions of slavery were not something anyone would love to be in.  They lived poorly, were abused physically, mentally, verbally and sexually.  They could not vote, own property or speak against white people.  The hardships were so bad that many risked it all by escaping.  Those who were caught were tortured or hung on trees in order to make an example to those who might even think of escaping.  It is hard to believe now in 2012 that this happened in the United States of America.  Unfortunately it did and not only here, but in other nations as well.

For all intent and purpose, the United States' Constitution implicitly supported Slavery.  This brought about many disputes both for and against Slavery.  William Lloyd Garrison, publisher of "The Liberator" - a newspaper promoting antislavery views - called the Constitution, "a pact with the devil."  He was so serious about this that he even torched a copy of it in public. (The Radical and the Republic p. 9)

Slavery was everywhere in the union and nowhere mentioned in the Constitution.  Euphemisms were used in order to address it.  Slavery was not restricted solely to Black people.  Whites and also Native Americans were used as slaves.  Two kinds of racism existed then: Cultural and Biological.  Cultural racism was the idea that groups are different based on how they were raised, culturally speaking.  Whites and Blacks are different races because of the values and cultures each possessed which were obviously different.  A member of one race can join another only if he/she adopts the culture of the new race.  Biological racism was the idea that physical traits such as skin color, facial features and hair texture defined who belonged to a particular racial group.  Whites were always seen as superior.

As slavery was ending in the north, those slaves still in chains in the south who desired freedom wanted it even more.  Blacks in the north eventually were accepted into society.  Many of them got educated and had jobs, but still did not have the same rights as white men.  It is interesting to note, that women were in a similar situation as Blacks, including white women.  They too were seen as property and did not have rights.  Only the white male was legally considered the sole citizen of the United States with full protection of the law and with full human rights.

In the north, many Abolition Societies organized which sought more freedom for the slaves.  They campaigned to end slavery and wrote pamphlets promoting the cause.  Ironically, whites and blacks who were against slavery were part of separate abolitionist groups.  The Quakers were at the forefront in promoting abolitionism at the time.  David Walke, a former slave wrote the book, "Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World" which was published.  In it, he calls for all Blacks to claim their rights as Americans even by using force.  

Different methods were used to slowly ween American society of Slavery.  Manumission was one of them.  Manumission was the voluntary freeing of the slaves by slave owners.  Virginia, Maryland, and North Carolina were the first to try this experimental method.  George Washington was one of the first to do this.  He voluntarily freed his slaves.  The practice of Manumission would eventually face legal problems as slavery became more profitable and any attack against it was seen as a threat to local economies.  The consequence of this was the creation of a large black free population in the northern states that bordered with the south.  Conditional termination was proposed, or the idea that slavery would end depending if certain conditions were met.

With the election of Republican president, Abraham Lincoln, the tide against slavery would begin to rise.  Acts and laws in favor of slavery were challenged.  The south began to protest, eventually separating from the union.  Lincoln had a hard decision to make.  He could either free the slaves and possibly destroy the United States of America, or give in to the south's demands.

Where did his hatred for Slavery come from?  While in his home state of Kentucky, Lincoln's family belonged to the Little Mount Baptist Church.  The minister there, Jesse Head, preached to them the evils of slavery.  It was religion - Christianity - that instilled the antislavery stance into Lincoln.  This is significant because some claim that the Bible supports slavery and that Christianity advocated it.  This is far from the truth.

Lincoln trusted in Divine Providence.  He stated that:

 "God will settle {slavery} and settle it right, and that He will, in some inscrutable way, restrict the spread of so great an evil."  (The Radical and the Republican p. 48)     

The president saw slavery as not only a temporal issue, but also a spiritual one.  Slavery was the physical manifestation of evil.  Lincoln truly believed God would end it once and for all, and He did.

Today we have a new "slavery" - abortion.  The unborn, just like African Americans back in the day are disregarded as commodities of the born.  Unfortunately, we have no Lincoln who would face the issue head on even if it meant splitting the nation apart.  Lincoln was a true leader - a true president.  Despite all odds against him; despite facing a Civil war in which at times the Union was losing ground, he stood by his convictions and Emancipated the Slaves.  He did the moral thing in immoral times.

On January 1, in the year 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation would take effect.  Shortly after, the Civil war would end and America would have new life.

During President Obama's inauguration in 2008, Lincoln's Bible was used.  History seems to repeat itself in that the enslavement of Black people and attempts to free them triggered the Civil war and now the first Black president is triggering a large petition from all 50 states asking to secede from the union due to his policies.

Thank God for President Lincoln.  May he rest in God's peace.  May God bless the United States of America.  As Lincoln said,

"This nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."  Gettysburg Address 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Cardinal Dolan to Obama - HHS NO WAY!

And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six. - Revelation 13: 16-18

It seems like the Catholic Church is facing "Nero" all over again...

Cardinal Dolan, the President of the USCCB and Archbishop of New York boldly declared that the Catholic Church would not obey any law which pertains to the HHS mandate.

With the passing of "Obamacare," the HHS mandate was included which is an attack on religious freedom and freedom of conscience.  The government is basically forcing religious institutions and those of good conscience to support contraception and abortion or face penalty.

Religious freedom is under attack.  It is the first right guaranteed in the Constitution.

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or
prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech"

It is no wonder why 50 states are petitioning to secede from the union.  Our government has gone out of control and is becoming a dictatorship.

I love my country, but I love my Church more.  So Your Eminence Cardinal Dolan, you can count me in with the civil disobedience.      


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

No Evidence for God, therefore No God

Atheists often rely on the appeal to ignorance fallacy: "No evidence for God, therefore there is no God" to settle any discussion with Theists regarding the existence of God. 

At first glance, the argument seems to make sense. If its not there, then it's not there right? Well let's examine it closer. 

  1. First, how do we know that something does not exist?  In order to truly know for certain, one must be omniscient; that is to say, one must know about everything in reality.  This is obviously impossible for a human being.  We are barely scratching the surface on this physical universe with Physics as is. The more we look at sub atomic particles, the more this universe DOES NOT make sense. 
  2. Second, evidence can be anything.  Does a historian need to produce the living corpse of George Washington to prove he existed, or are written accounts of his life enough?   
  3. Third, the human being's senses, perception and cognitive abilities are extremely limited. The brain compensates a lot when processing stimuli so it does not always give an accurate account of what we call "reality."

Just because we might not be able to see, hear, taste, smell or feel God does not mean God does not exist.  Let me explain this using a historical figure in American history.   

I'm sure you've heard of Helen Keller. She is a well known figure in American history. Keller was blind, deaf and mute.

We all rely heavily on our senses, in particular hearing and sight. Imagine living without them. Unless you are touched, you will not have any awareness that something or someone is near you. Keller experienced this. 

Now suppose you had this condition. You cannot see or hear and 10 people encircle you without touching you and at the same time they avoid making any vibrations that your sense of touch might pick up.
  • Would you be aware of those 10 people? 
  • Would you have "empirical evidence" of their presence? 
The answer is no. You would be completely oblivious to their existence due to the absence of 2 of your most important senses.

  • The evidence is there: 10 people encircling you. 
  • The problem is that you cannot sense them by normative means. 

Just because you lack this ability to sense them does not mean the 10 people are not there.

God is the same. He is around us, we might not sense His presence as we would another human, animal or object unless He wills it, nonetheless, He is there.  Our perceptual limitations are not the final word on what exists and does not exist.  Therefore "absence of 'evidence' does not mean evidence of absence."

Monday, November 12, 2012

Civil War 2012?

It is a scary time in America.  Over 20 states have filed for secession ever since President Obama won reelection by defeating Republican candidate, Mitt Romney.  Many Americans are concerned with the state of the United States of America.  Unemployment continues to rise, the economy is not getting any better, crime is increasing - it just seems hopeless.

  • Will the United States of America split apart again?  
  • Will there be another Civil War?  

Only time will tell if history will repeat itself.  The first Civil War was ironically under President Lincoln who like Obama, also originates from Illinois.  However, the issue then was Slavery and how the south saw the emancipation of slaves as detrimental to the power of states and the local economy.  The issues of today affect all of us.

If things do not improve in the nation, the people will rise again.


USCCB General Assembly - 2012 November

The Catholic bishops of the United States of America are meeting this week in their annual General Assembly.  This year, the bishop are engaging on a wide variety of topics all focusing on the new evangelization.  With the election in the past, the bishops now see that a lot has to be done.  The United States of America is changing.  The new challenges must be met head on.

May the Holy Spirit guide our bishops and instill in them the wisdom, knowledge  and courage to face the problems of today and tomorrow.

Cardinal Dolan spoke eloquently in his address:

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York,
president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)

Address given at the USCCB General Assembly Fall meeting on November 12, 2012.

My brother bishops, 
Yes, we have "a lot on our plate" as we commence our meeting, urgent issues very worthy of our solicitude as pastors -- the suffering in vast areas not far from here caused by the Hurricane of two weeks ago, the imperative to the New Evangelization, the invitation offered by the Year of Faith, and our continued dialogue, engagement, and prophetic challenge to our culture over urgent issues such as the protection of human life, the defense of marriage, the promotion of human dignity in the lives of the poor, the immigrant, those in danger from war and persecution throughout the world, and our continued efforts to defend our first and most cherished freedom -- all issues calling for our renewed and enthusiastic commitment.
But I stand before you this morning to say simply: first things first. We gather as disciples of, as friends of, as believers in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, "the Way, the Truth and the Life," who exhorted us to "seek first the Kingdom of God."
We cannot engage culture unless we let Him first engage us; we cannot dialogue with others unless we first dialogue with Him; we cannot challenge unless we first let Him challenge us.
The Venerable Servant of God, Fulton J. Sheen, once commented, "The first word of Jesus in the Gospel was 'come'; the last word of Jesus was 'go'."
Fifty years ago, on October 11, 1962, Blessed John XXIII courageously convened the Second Vatican Council "the greatest concern of which," he insisted, "is that the sacred deposit of Christian doctrine should be guarded and taught more efficaciously." (Allocution on the occasion of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, Gaudet mater ecclesia).
We gather for our plenary assembly in our nation's premiere see, at the close of the XIII Ordinary General Synod of Bishops, still near the beginning of the Year of Faith. Both occasions have the same origin, the same goal expressed by Blessed John XXIII: the effective transmission of the faith for the transformation of the world.
A year ago we began our visits ad limina Petri et Pauli. I know you join me in expressing deep gratitude for the extraordinary affection, warmth and fraternal care with which our Holy Father welcomed us.
But Pope Benedict did not stop with his gracious hospitality. No. He also gave us plenty of fatherly advice -- for our ministry as pastors of the Church and our personal role in the New Evangelization.
Here's an especially striking example from his first ad limina address: "Evangelization," the Successor of St. Peter noted, ". . . appears not simply a task to be undertaken ad extrawe ourselves are the first to need re-evangelization. As with all spiritual crises, whether of individuals or communities, we know that the ultimate answer can only be born of a searching, critical and ongoing self-assessment and conversion in the light of Christ's truth."
As we bishops at the just concluded Synod of Bishops confessed in our closing message:
"We, however, should never think that the new evangelization does not concern us as Bishops personally. In these days voices among the Bishops were raised to recall that the Church must first of all heed the Word before she can evangelize the world. The invitation to evangelize becomes a call to conversion."
"We Bishops firmly believe that we must convert ourselves first to the power of Jesus Christ who alone can make all things new, above all our poor existence. With humility we must recognize that the poverty and weaknesses of Jesus' disciples, especially us, his ministers, weigh on the credibility of the mission. We are certainly aware – we bishops first of all – that we can never really be equal to the Lord's calling and mandate to proclaim His Gospel to the nations. We… do not hesitate to recognize our personal sins. We are, however, also convinced that the Lord's Spirit is capable of renewing His Church and rendering her garment resplendent if we let Him mold us."(Final Message of the Synod of Bishops to the People of God, October 28, 2012)
The New Evangelization reminds us that the very agents of evangelization – you and me -- will never achieve that abundant harvest Blessed John XXIII described unless we are willing and eager to first be evangelized themselves. Only those themselves first evangelized can then evangelize. As St. Bernard put it so well, "If you want to be a channel, you must first be a reservoir."
I would suggest this morning that this reservoir of our lives and ministry, when it comes especially to the New Evangelization, must first be filled with the spirit of interior conversion born of our own renewal. That's the way we become channels of a truly effective transformation of the world, through our own witness of a penitential heart, and our own full embrace of the Sacrament of Penance.


"To believers also the Church must ever preach faith and penance," declared the council fathers in the very first of the documents to appear, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy(SC, n. 9)
​To be sure, the sacraments of initiation - - Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist - - charge, challenge, and equip the agents of evangelization. Without those sacraments, we remain isolated, unredeemed, timid and unfed.
​But, the Sacrament of Reconciliation evangelizes the evangelizers, as it brings us sacramentally into contact with Jesus, who calls us to conversion of heart, and allows us to answer his invitation to repentance -- a repentance from within that can then transform the world without.
​What an irony that despite the call of the Second Vatican Council for a renewal of the Sacrament of Penance, what we got instead was its near disappearance.
​We became very good in the years following the Council in calling for the reform of structures, systems, institutions, and people other than ourselves.That, too, is important; it can transform our society and world. But did we fail along the way to realize that in no way can the New Evangelization be reduced to a program, a process, or a call to structural reform; that it is first and foremost a deeply personal conversion within? "The Kingdom of God is within," as Jesus taught.
​The premier answer to the question "What's wrong with the world?" "what's wrong with the church?" is not politics, the economy, secularism, sectarianism, globalization or global warming . . .none of these, as significant as they are. As Chesterton wrote, "The answer to the question 'What's wrong with the world?' is just two words:'I am,'"
I am! Admitting that leads to conversion of heart and repentance, the marrow of the Gospel-invitation. I remember the insightful words of a holy priest well known to many of us from his long apostolate to priests and seminarians in Rome, Monsignor Charles Elmer, wondering aloud from time to time if, following the close of the Council, we had sadly become a Church that forgot how to kneel.If we want the New Evangelization to work, it starts on our knees.
Remember a few years back, when Cardinal Cahal Daly led us in our June retreat? Speaking somberly of the Church in his home country, he observed, "The Church in Ireland is in the dirt on her knees." Then he paused, and concluded, "Maybe that's where the Church is at her best."
We kneel in the Sacrament of Penance because we are profoundly sorry for our faults and our sins, serious obstacles to the New Evangelization. But then we stand forgiven, resolute to return to the work entrusted to us - as evangelizers of the Gospel of Mercy.
I recall a conversation about a year ago with one of our brother bishops, newly ordained, attending his first plenary assembly. I asked his impressions of the meeting. "Well organized, informative, enjoyable," he replied, but he went on to observe that it was one moment in particular that had the greatest impact on him. It was during our closing Holy Hour, as he entered the large room next to the chapel, to see dozens and dozens of bishops lined up to approach the Sacrament of Penance. This new Bishop told me that he felt that moment had more of an influence upon him than anything else at the meeting.
Who can forget the prophetic words of repentance from Blessed John Paul II, during the Great Jubilee, as he expressed contrition – publically and repeatedly - for the sins of the past? He mentioned the shame of the slave trade, the horrors of the holocaust, the death and destruction wrought by the crusades, the injustices of the conquest of the new world, and the violence of religious wars, to name only a few.
I remember during the celebration of the 50thInternational Eucharistic Congress in Ireland last June, when Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the Papal Legate, expressed this so forcefully as he spoke on behalf of the Holy Father at the penitential shrine of St. Patrick's Purgatory: "I come here with the specific intention of seeking forgiveness, from God and from the victims, for the grave sin of sexual abuse of children by clerics. . . In the name of the Church, I apologize once again to the victims, some of which I have met here in Lough Derg."
And so it turns to us, my brothers. How will we make the Year of Faith a time to renew the Sacrament of Penance, in our own loves and in the lives of our beloved people whom we serve? Once again, we will later this week approach the Sacrament of Penance.
And we'll have the opportunity during this meeting to approve a simple pastoral invitation to all our faithful to join us in renewing our appreciation for and use of the Sacrament. We will "Keep the Light On" during the upcoming Advent Season!
The work of our Conference during the coming year includes reflections on re-embracing Friday as a particular day of penance, including the possible re-institution of abstinence on all Fridays of the year, not just during Lent. Our pastoral plan offers numerous resources for catechesis on the Sacrament of Penance, and the manifold graces that come to us from the frequent use of confession. Next June we will gather in a special assembly as brother bishops to pray and reflect on the mission entrusted to us by the Church, including our witness to personal conversion in Jesus Christ, and so to the New Evangelization.
We work at giving our people good examples of humble, repentant pastors, aware of our own personal and corporate sins, constantly responding to the call of Jesus to interior conversion. Remember the Curé of Ars? When a concerned group of his worried supporters came to him with a stinging protest letter from a number of parishioners, demanding the bishop to remove John Vianney as their curé, claiming he was a sinner, ignorant, and awkward, St. John Vianney took the letter, read it carefully ... and signed the petition!


As I began my talk this morning, my brothers, so I would like to end it, with Blessed John XXIII.
It was the Sunday angelus of October 28, 1962.The message the Holy Father delivered on that bright Roman afternoon never even mentions the phrase New Evangelization.But it strikes right at the heart of the mission entrusted to each of us as shepherds.
"I feel something touching my spirit that leads to serenity," Good Pope John remarked. "The word of the Gospel is not silent.It resonates from one end of the world to the other, and finds the way of the heart. Dangers and sorrows, human prudence and wisdom, everything needs to dissolve into a song of love, into a renewed invitation, pleading all to desire and wish for the establishment of the Kingdom of Christ. A kingdom of truth and life; a kingdom of holiness and grace; a kingdom of justice, love and peace."
How could we not see it alive in those holy men and women of every time and place, the heroic evangelizers of our faith, including most recently St. Kateri Tekakwitha and St. Marianne Cope?
We have beheld it in the Church's unrelenting corporal and spiritual works of mercy, in the heroic witness of persecuted Christians, in the Church's defense of unborn human life, the care of our elders and the terminally ill, advocacy for the unemployed, those in poverty, our immigrant brothers and sisters, victims of terror and violence throughout our world, of all faiths and creeds, and in our defense of religious freedom, marriage and family.
And, I have suggested today, that as we "come and go" in response to the invitation of Jesus, we begin with the Sacrament of Penance.This is the sacrament of the New Evangelization, for as Pope Benedict reminds us, "We cannot speak about the new evangelization without a sincere desire to conversion." (Homily for the Opening of the XIII Ordinary General Synod of Bishops).
With this as my presidential address, I know I risk the criticism. I can hear it now: "With all the controversies and urgent matters for the Church, Dolan spoke of conversion of heart through the Sacrament of Penance. Can you believe it?" 
To which I reply, "You better believe it!" 
First things first!  -

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Walking Dead

In 2010 a new television program appeared on the network AMC.  The Walking Dead - originally a comic book series - made its way to the big screen.

The comic book and show focuses on a group of survivors in a zombie apocalyptic world.  A virus is spreading around causing dead corpses to reanimate and feed off living things.  Because of this, the series presents a lot of violence of gore.  However, the show also has many philosophical themes within its story line.

In the first season,  the main character Rick Grimes finds himself in a world where zombies have taken over.  After being shot while performing his duties as a law enforcement officer.  Grimes is hospitalized and is in a  coma of sort.  He wakes from the coma only to see the hospital and neighborhood look like a war zone.   He then encounters his first zombie or "walker" in the form of a half torso dragging itself on a park.  Horrified and confused, he goes to his home to find that everyone had left.  He then finds a man and his son who cares for him.  As the story line moves forward, he eventually finds his wife and son as well as a group of survivors.  His best friend Shane is there and apparently lied to his wife saying that Rick was dead in order to begin a sexual relationship with her.  Shane and Rick's wife have an affair during this time.  Throughout this season we see the theme of survival, suicide as a means to escape life's troubles.

As the group tries to survive, a horde attacks them killing some.  They move on and head to the CDC in hopes of finding help.  They instead find a scientist who lost hope in finding a cure.  He was the only one left and saw his attempt to find a cure futile.  At first he is reluctant in letting Rick's group enter but then lets them in only to hold them there as the CDC's anti-contamination system which causes the entire compound to explode begins counting down after fuel runs low.  The scientists offers this death as an easy way out.  Instead of living out in the world where zombies can attack, he offered a form of "mercy killing."

In the second season, we see Philosophical and Moral issues presented such as what makes a human person or living soul.  Abortion and contraception are also presented.  Despite the character Lori bearing a child that is probably Shane's and at first wanting to abort it, she keeps the child.  This is interesting because if the world has literally ended as the characters knew it, why have more kids?

God is also questioned.  Rick wonders why God would allow the world to succumb to "the Walking Dead."  Hershel, a veterinarian and farmer who is deeply Christian attempts to explain God's mystery, but eventually he himself begins to doubt later on in the season.

As the second season develops, we see characters begin to lose their humanity.  Shane, Rick's best friend becomes this maniac who only thinks of survival.  Eventually, Rick goes survival mode as well, but retains his right conscience.  He ends up killing Shane after Shane led him into the woods to kill him.  The farm in which they have been living in is over run by "walkers" and they have to flee.  Two of the group are killed, one is lost and the others run for their lives.  Rick, his son and Herhsel return to the highway where the second season began and wait to see if the others return to the same stop.  Hershel makes an interesting but funny comment:

"I can't profess to understand God's plan, Christ promised the resurrection of the dead. I just thought he had something a little different in mind."

The group eventually reunites and wander in the forest.  The one who was lost, Andrea, comes across a mysterious lady named Michonne who has 2 arm less and jaw less walkers and a katana sword.  They become friends and in the third season come across a barricaded small town called "Woodbury" after being captured by Merle, who was in the first season as the brother of Daryl and who was left cuffed to a pipe.  He had to amputate his own hand in order to free himself.  This town is headed by a man who goes by the title "governor."

Meanwhile, Rick and his group come across a prison.  They begin to clear it out, but Hershel is bitten and Rick amputates his lower leg in order to prevent the acceleration of the infection.  While in the forest, Rick informs the group that the doctor at the CDC told him that every one has the infection.  They are the "Walking Dead," so to speak.  People will turn into zombies when they die even if they never came into contact with a zombie.

As the third season moves forward, T-dogg is bitten on the shoulder and risks his life to save Carol.  He is devoured by two zombies in a corridor of the prison.  Lori, Rick's wife goes into labor and is about to die.  Carl, her son shoots her in order to prevent her from becoming a walker upon death.  Rick learns of this and loses his mental faculties.  He begins to take his anger out on zombies and other members.  Rick goes to the basement to view Lori's body and to his surprise finds that a walker devoured her remains.  He then begins to hallucinate by hearing a dead phone ring.  He answers and hears the voices of members of the group who have died, including Shane and Lori.

Towards the end of the season, Glenn and his girl friend Maggie are captured by Merle.  Glenn is severely beaten and left to fight a walker with his arms restrained.  He defeats the walker and tries to escape only to run into the group from the small town.  During this time, Andrea begins a love affair with the governor.  Michonne is suspicious of him and leaves.  She sees the kidnapping of Glenn and Maggie and finds the prison and tells Rick and the rest of the group.  Rick plans a rescue plan.  He attacks the town and rescues Glenn and Maggie.  Daryl gets capture eventually after trying to find his brother Merle.

The Walking Dead is a great program, not meant for children, but good for teens and adults.  It presents a whole array of issues dealing with Philosophy, Religion and Morality.      

Friday, November 9, 2012

New Catholic Blog

I've created a new Catholic Blog and am looking for faithful, zealous orthodox Catholics (clergy, lay, religious) convert/revert to co-author blog posts on it.  

This blog is a place to share the faith, personal testimony, prayers, poems, apologetics, evangelization, ideas to promote the faith, and questions all geared to celebrate this Year of Faith.  

If interested, please contact me Email me  

Why did Obama win - Romney lose?

The elections are over.  It was one of the most negative in the presidential election's history.  From accusations of felony and murder, to throwing grandmothers over cliffs, the election had everything but the kitchen sink, so to speak.

Polls would show Obama ahead and others showed Romney.  The race seemed to be nearly tied.  Romney spent millions presenting Obama as a failure.  He did very well on the debates.  So what happened?

It is not news that America is imploding.  Our economy is hanging on a string and the employment rate is disappearing every month.  The country is in disarray.

During the debates Obama repeated the same rhetoric of 2008 and basically blamed Bush for everything.  Bush created such a big mess that he (Obama) needed 4 more years to help fix it.  The problem with this is that Obama added more debt than any president in America's history.  If Bush made a big mess, Obama set that mess on fire creating a disaster.

Romney seemed to counter every point Obama made, but his problem was that he suffered from "Romnesia," as Obama nicknamed it.  Romney constantly moved around on issues.  In one instance he is pro-abortion and in the next he isn't.  In one has no issue with same-sex marriage and in the next he does.  It was like 2 candidates in one.  As Colin Powell stated correctly:  "So I’m not quite sure which Governor Romney we would be getting..." 

Also, Romney did not do much to gain the attention of minorities and women.  He has to understand that for centuries minorities have been forced to see themselves as the "victims of America who need help."  I know this growing up in New York City and seeing how we all were taught in schools to believe that the government was mom and would care for us.

A lot of attention was supposed to be given by Romney to minorities - Latinos in particular.

Women were also a big topic on the campaign.  Unfortunately, colleges pontificate to women that in order for them to be seen as equal to men, they must push for "reproductive" rights.  Pregnancy and children are seen not as blessings, but as a way to make a woman inferior and unequal.  Abortion and contraception is then pushed forward.  The woman becomes the sum of her vagina.  She becomes not a strong intelligent person, but a weak person who defines herself through her ovaries.  It is sad indeed, but they fall for this stupidity.

The "war on woman" as it was labeled was blamed on Romney and Republicans.

The youth were also a large group that voted for Obama.  This was expected.  Obama catered to them and even went on MTV.  Romney hardly gave eye to them.  The youth just like women are taught in universities all kinds of nonsense.  Liberalism and Progressivism are the "correct" path for humanity.  Religion, morals are just superstitious nonsense.  There is "no such thing as universal morality."  This moral relativism is instilled into the youth.  There is no line between right and wrong.  This is why marijuana and same-sex marriage were legalized in some states.  Young people are impressionable.  If they see a rock star personality, they will literally idolize that personality.  Obama is known for his charisma and his "cool" demeanor.  I guarantee that if a famous singer, rapper or someone ran for president and the youth had the majority vote, that famous person would get elected.  The youth would disregard the positions of the candidate and will vote based on popularity.  This is another sad thing.  

Romney's campaign failed to give attention to these groups and address their concerns in a way that was not condescending or sanctimonious.

Obama did give attention to this groups, but by compromising morals and common sense.

Moreover, Bush was reelected in 2004 because of the war on Terrorism.  Americans felt that it didn't make sense to put a new president in during a time of war.  This would have disrupted everything.  What if Kerry pulled out the troops as soon as he took oath?  Most likely, the same was applied to Obama.  Why take out a man who was in the process of cleaning a mess up and put someone in who is new and doesn't know where the broom closet is?

I personally like both Obama and Romney.  I think they mean well, but their ideas need some work.  Obama is African American.  I got emotional when he got elected.  I thought about the slaves, Dr. King and every African American who felt like they were not human or not worth the title of American.  Finally, one of them is in the White House.  It was a historic event that I will never forget.

My issues with Obama are his progressive views.  He is the most pro-Abortion president to ever hold office.  He defends that barbaric act as if it were something sacred.  I applaud Obama for his attention towards health care, but did not like that it was at the cost of religious freedom.  It is wrong for the government to force religious institutions to pay for things their doctrines are not in favor of.  This is a huge breach of separation of Church and State.  Furthermore, I don't like the fact that he continues spending and does not offer any budget to keep the country's finances in order.  His support for same-sex marriage completely disregards how dangerous it will be in society.  It seems like he is pushing for socialism in American.  This is scary indeed.

Romney I liked because he is religious, knows about business and holds on to traditional values.  Unfortunately, his flip flopping hurt him greatly and turned me off as well.  I'm sure he could have helped the nation greatly with his business skills, but what about the other issues?  Will he change his mind one second and then again the next?   Will he at one moment oppose abortion and the next support it?  How about same-sex marriage?  Flip flopping while in the White House would cause some serious confusion and damage to the nation.  

I want a president who knows where he/she stands and does not move from there.  I want a president who respects life, religious freedom, education, marriage, and the value of the dollar.

Obama won and I will pray for him.  May God guide him and bless him always in these hard times.  I pray he will change his views on abortion, marriage, religious freedom and the economy.  Those are the main issues that turn me off about him.    

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

4 More Years...

The verdict is in and America has decided to keep President Barack H. Obama in the White House four more years.

Electoral Votes  
Obama 301  Romney 203

****This blog post will be updated later on.....****


Romney's electoral votes just went up to 206.  Either way, it will not make a difference in the election.  Barack H. Obama won both the popular and electoral votes.

Thousands gathered at the White House, Times Square, in Chicago and all over to celebrate Obama's reelection.  The GOP aka Republicans were left dismayed after Romney's defeat.  After a long wait, Romney finally conceded defeat in a speech that called for unity and the success of Obama's second presidency.  Here is Romney's concession speech:

Thank you.

I have just called President Obama to congratulate him on his victory. His supporters and his campaign also deserve congratulations. I wish all of them well, but particularly the president, the first lady and their daughters.

This is a time of great challenges for America, and I pray that the president will be successful in guiding our nation.

I want to thank Paul Ryan for all that he has done for our campaign and for our country. Besides my wife, Ann, Paul is the best choice I’ve ever made. And I trust that his intellect and his hard work and his commitment to principle will continue to contribute to the good of our nation.

I also want to thank Ann, the love of my life. She would have been a wonderful first lady. She’s — she has been that and more to me and to our family and to the many people that she has touched with her compassion and her care.

I thank my sons for their tireless work on behalf of the campaign, and thank their wives and children for taking up the slack as their husbands and dads have spent so many weeks away from home.

I want to thank Matt Rhoades and the dedicated campaign team he led. They have made an extraordinary effort not just for me, but also for the country that we love.

And to you here tonight, and to the team across the country — the volunteers, the fundraisers, the donors, the surrogates — I don’t believe that there’s ever been an effort in our party that can compare with what you have done over these past years. Thank you so very much.

Thanks for all the hours of work, for the calls, for the speeches and appearances, for the resources and for the prayers. You gave deeply from yourselves and performed magnificently. And you inspired us and you humbled us. You’ve been the very best we could have imagined.

The nation, as you know, is at a critical point. At a time like this, we can’t risk partisan bickering and political posturing. Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people’s work. And we citizens also have to rise to the occasion.

We look to our teachers and professors, we count on you not just to teach, but to inspire our children with a passion for learning and discovery. We look to our pastors and priests and rabbis and counselors of all kinds to testify of the enduring principles upon which our society is built: honesty, charity, integrity and family. We look to our parents, for in the final analysis everything depends on the success of our homes. We look to job creators of all kinds. We’re counting on you to invest, to hire, to step forward. And we look to Democrats and Republicans in government at all levels to put the people before the politics.

I believe in America. I believe in the people of America. And I ran for office because I’m concerned about America. This election is over, but our principles endure. I believe that the principles upon which this nation was founded are the only sure guide to a resurgent economy and to renewed greatness.

Like so many of you, Paul and I have left everything on the field. We have given our all to this campaign.

I so wish — I so wish that I had been able to fulfill your hopes to lead the country in a different direction, but the nation chose another leader. And so Ann and I join with you to earnestly pray for him and for this great nation.

Thank you, and God bless America. You guys are the best. Thank you so much. Thank you. Thanks, guys.

President Obama later spoke sounding like the 2008 candidate version of himself with enthusiasm, charisma and emotion.  In his speech, he reminded the people that there is still work to do.  Here is his speech:

Thank you so much.

Tonight, more than 200 years after a former colony won the right to determine its own destiny, the task of perfecting our union moves forward.

It moves forward because of you. It moves forward because you reaffirmed the spirit that has triumphed over war and depression, the spirit that has lifted this country from the depths of despair to the great heights of hope, the belief that while each of us will pursue our own individual dreams, we are an American family and we rise or fall together as one nation and as one people.

Tonight, in this election, you, the American people, reminded us that while our road has been hard, while our journey has been long, we have picked ourselves up, we have fought our way back, and we know in our hearts that for the United States of America the best is yet to come.

I want to thank every American who participated in this election, whether you voted for the very first time or waited in line for a very long time. By the way, we have to fix that. Whether you pounded the pavement or picked up the phone, whether you held an Obama sign or a Romney sign, you made your voice heard and you made a difference.

I just spoke with Gov. Romney and I congratulated him and Paul Ryan on a hard-fought campaign. We may have battled fiercely, but it's only because we

love this country deeply and we care so strongly about its future. From George to Lenore to their son Mitt, the Romney family has chosen to give back to America through public service and that is the legacy that we honor and applaud tonight. In the weeks ahead, I also look forward to sitting down with Gov. Romney to talk about where we can work together to move this country forward.

I want to thank my friend and partner of the last four years, America's happy warrior, the best vice president anybody could ever hope for, Joe Biden.

And I wouldn't be the man I am today without the woman who agreed to marry me 20 years ago. Let me say this publicly: Michelle, I have never loved you more. I have never been prouder to watch the rest of America fall in love with you, too, as our nation's first lady. Sasha and Malia, before our very eyes you're growing up to become two strong, smart beautiful young women, just like your mom. And I'm so proud of you guys. But I will say that for now one dog's probably enough.

To the best campaign team and volunteers in the history of politics. The best. The best ever. Some of you were new this time around, and some of you have been at my side since the very beginning. But all of you are family. No matter what you do or where you go from here, you will carry the memory of the history we made together and you will have the lifelong appreciation of a grateful president. Thank you for believing all the way, through every hill, through every valley. You lifted me up the whole way and I will always be grateful for everything that you've done and all the incredible work that you put in.

I know that political campaigns can sometimes seem small, even silly. And that provides plenty of fodder for the cynics that tell us that politics is nothing more than a contest of egos or the domain of special interests. But if you ever get the chance to talk to folks who turned out at our rallies and crowded along a rope line in a high school gym, or saw folks working late in a campaign office in some tiny county far away from home, you'll discover something else.

You'll hear the determination in the voice of a young field organizer who's working his way through college and wants to make sure every child has that same opportunity. You'll hear the pride in the voice of a volunteer who's going door to door because her brother was finally hired when the local auto plant added another shift. You'll hear the deep patriotism in the voice of a military spouse who's working the phones late at night to make sure that no one who fights for this country ever has to fight for a job or a roof over their head when they come home.

That's why we do this. That's what politics can be. That's why elections matter. It's not small, it's big. It's important. Democracy in a nation of 300 million can be noisy and messy and complicated. We have our own opinions. Each of us has deeply held beliefs. And when we go through tough times, when we make big decisions as a country, it necessarily stirs passions, stirs up controversy.

That won't change after tonight, and it shouldn't. These arguments we have are a mark of our liberty. We can never forget that as we speak people in distant nations are risking their lives right now just for a chance to argue about the issues that matter, the chance to cast their ballots like we did today.

But despite all our differences, most of us share certain hopes for America's future. We want our kids to grow up in a country where they have access to the best schools and the best teachers. A country that lives up to its legacy as the global leader in technology and discovery and innovation, with all the good jobs and new businesses that follow.

We want our children to live in an America that isn't burdened by debt, that isn't weakened by inequality, that isn't threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet. We want to pass on a country that's safe and respected and admired around the world, a nation that is defended by the strongest military on earth and the best troops this—this world has ever known. But also a country that moves with confidence beyond this time of war, to shape a peace that is built on the promise of freedom and dignity for every human being.

We believe in a generous America, in a compassionate America, in a tolerant America, open to the dreams of an immigrant's daughter who studies in our schools and pledges to our flag. To the young boy on the south side of Chicago who sees a life beyond the nearest street corner. To the furniture worker's child in North Carolina who wants to become a doctor or a scientist, an engineer or an entrepreneur, a diplomat or even a president—that's the future we hope for. That's the vision we share. That's where we need to go—forward. That's where we need to go.

Now, we will disagree, sometimes fiercely, about how to get there. As it has for more than two centuries, progress will come in fits and starts. It's not always a straight line. It's not always a smooth path. By itself, the recognition that we have common hopes and dreams won't end all the gridlock or solve all our problems or substitute for the painstaking work of building consensus and making the difficult compromises needed to move this country forward. But that common bond is where we must begin.

Our economy is recovering. A decade of war is ending. A long campaign is now over. And whether I earned your vote or not, I have listened to you, I have learned from you, and you've made me a better president. And with your stories and your struggles, I return to the White House more determined and more inspired than ever about the work there is to do and the future that lies ahead.

Tonight you voted for action, not politics as usual. You elected us to focus on your jobs, not ours. And in the coming weeks and months, I am looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties to meet the challenges we can only solve together. Reducing our deficit. Reforming our tax code. Fixing our immigration system. Freeing ourselves from foreign oil. We've got more work to do.

But that doesn't mean your work is done. The role of citizen in our democracy does not end with your vote. America's never been about what can be done for us. It's about what can be done by us together through the hard and frustrating, but necessary work of self-government. That's the principle we were founded on.

This country has more wealth than any nation, but that's not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military in history, but that's not what makes us strong. Our university, our culture are all the envy of the world, but that's not what keeps the world coming to our shores.

What makes America exceptional are the bonds that hold together the most diverse nation on earth. The belief that our destiny is shared; that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations. The freedom which so many Americans have fought for and died for come with responsibilities as well as rights. And among those are love and charity and duty and patriotism. That's what makes America great.

I am hopeful tonight because I've seen the spirit at work in America. I've seen it in the family business whose owners would rather cut their own pay than lay off their neighbors, and in the workers who would rather cut back their hours than see a friend lose a job. I've seen it in the soldiers who reenlist after losing a limb and in those SEALs who charged up the stairs into darkness and danger because they knew there was a buddy behind them watching their back.

I've seen it on the shores of New Jersey and New York, where leaders from every party and level of government have swept aside their differences to help a community rebuild from the wreckage of a terrible storm. And I saw just the other day, in Mentor, Ohio, where a father told the story of his 8-year-old daughter, whose long battle with leukemia nearly cost their family everything had it not been for health care reform passing just a few months before the insurance company was about to stop paying for her care.

I had an opportunity to not just talk to the father, but meet this incredible daughter of his. And when he spoke to the crowd listening to that father's story, every parent in that room had tears in their eyes, because we knew that little girl could be our own. And I know that every American wants her future to be just as bright. That's who we are. That's the country I'm so proud to lead as your president.

And tonight, despite all the hardship we've been through, despite all the frustrations of Washington, I've never been more hopeful about our future. I have never been more hopeful about America. And I ask you to sustain that hope. I'm not talking about blind optimism, the kind of hope that just ignores the enormity of the tasks ahead or the roadblocks that stand in our path. I'm not talking about the wishful idealism that allows us to just sit on the sidelines or shirk from a fight.

I have always believed that hope is that stubborn thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us so long as we have the courage to keep reaching, to keep working, to keep fighting.

America, I believe we can build on the progress we've made and continue to fight for new jobs and new opportunity and new security for the middle class. I believe we can keep the promise of our founders, the idea that if you're willing to work hard, it doesn't matter who you are or where you come from or what you look like or where you love. It doesn't matter whether you're black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, able, disabled, gay or straight, you can make it here in America if you're willing to try.

I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests. We're not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions, and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are and forever will be the United States of America.

And together with your help and God's grace we will continue our journey forward and remind the world just why it is that we live in the greatest nation on Earth.

Thank you, America. God bless you. God bless these United States.
Republicans, the Pro-Life movement, Traditional Marriage movement, Catholic leaders and conservatives were upset at the outcome.  Nevertheless, many of them offered congratulations without compromising their views.

Congratulations to Barack H. Obama. 



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