Wednesday, September 30, 2009
The book, pictured above, is a compilation of his work.
We received our copy today. First I absolutely love the cover which depicts a who's who of prominent Chicagoans. Paging through the book, I found myself chuckling at cartoons I fondly remember, as well as ones I missed the first time around.
As a Chicagoan, and frequent reader of the Sun Times, I have been fortunate to have a front row seat to Mr. Higgin's work, and I must say that his take on the news is a breath of fresh air in a world dominated by a liberal news media.
A few weeks back I posted a National Catholic Register interview with Mr. Higgins, a fellow Catholic. The interview can be found here.
Mr. Higgins' website can be found here.
I wrote on this subject in a previous post, in which I assert that Mr. Obama is in fact our nation's first "anti-American" president.
Michael Barone, whose work I admire greatly, has written several commentaries about the President's outspoken criticism of the U.S.
Mr. Barone, now writing for The Washington Examiner after many years at US News, published an interesting piece yesterday contrasting Mr. Obama's criticisms with an insightful critique of the U.S. that was written by a young Theodore Roosevelt:
In a recent blogpost, entitled "What would FDR say?", I commented on Barack Obama’s tendency to disparage his country in his speeches and, citing Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson, contrasted it with Franklin Roosevelt’s rhetoric. In my evening reading, I came across another example of talking about your country by the other President Roosevelt. The following passage is from TR’s The Winning of the West, published in 1889, the year he turned 31. It was not his first book, and it was published when he was younger than Barack Obama was when his first book was published. TR is writing about the way Americans settled and developed the West. Warning: he uses words like “race” in a way we wouldn’t today.“It has often been said that we owe all our success to our surroundings; that any race with our opportunities could have done as we have done. Undoubtedly our opportunities have been great; undoubtedly we have often and lamentably failed in taking advantage of them. But what nation has ever done all that was possible with the chances offered it? The Spaniards, the Portuguese, and the French, not to speak of the Russians in Siberia, have all enjoyed, and yet have failed to make good use of, the same advantages which we have turned to good account. The truth is, that in starting a new nation in a new country, as we have done, while there are exceptional chances to be taken advantage of, there are also exceptional dangers and difficulties to be overcome. None but heroes can succeed wholly in the work. It is a good thing for us at times to compare what we have done with what we could have done, had we been better and wiser; it may make us try in the future to raise our abilities to the level of our opportunities. Looked at absolutely, we must frankly acknowledge that we have fallen very far shot of the high ideal we should have reached. Looked at relatively, it must also be said that we have done better than any other nation or race working under our conditions.” Source
Roosevelt's analysis is deep and insightful (whereas I find Mr. Obama's frequent criticisms to be shallow and insipid).
T.R recognizes the U.S. is imperfect, as are all human endeavors. But, unlike Mr. Obama, he wisely argues that the proper comparison is not to some idealized, impossible-to-achieve standard of perfection, but to the other peoples of the world.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
...Dear friends, it is not hard to see that in every young person there is an aspiration towards happiness, sometimes tinged with anxiety: an aspiration that is often exploited, however, by present-day consumerist society in false and alienating ways. Instead, that longing for happiness must be taken seriously, it demands a true and comprehensive response. At your age, the first major choices are made, choices that can set your lives on a particular course, for better or worse. Unfortunately, many of your contemporaries allow themselves to be led astray by illusory visions of spurious happiness, and then they find themselves sad and alone. Yet there are also many young men and women who seek to transform doctrine into action, as your representative said, so as to give the fullness of meaning to their lives. I invite you all to consider the experience of Saint Augustine, who said that the heart of every person is restless until it finds what it truly seeks. And he discovered that Jesus Christ alone is the answer that can satisfy his and every person’s desire for a life of happiness, filled with meaning and value (cf. Confessions, I.1.1)...Full textH/T: Whispers in the Loggia
Monday, September 28, 2009
From American Catholic:
In 1957 comedian Red Skelton was on top of the world. His weekly comedy show on CBS was doing well. He had curtailed the drinking which had almost derailed his career. Not too shabby for a man who had started out as a circus and rodeo clown and who was now often called the clown prince of American comedy. He and his wife Georgia had two beautiful kids: Richard and Valentina Maria. Then the worst thing in the world for any parent entered into the lives of Red and Georgia Skelton: Richard was diagnosed with leukemia. Unlike today, a diagnosis of leukemia in a child in 1957 was tantamount to saying that Richard was going to die soon. Red immediately took a leave of absence from his show. CBS was very understanding and a series of guest hosts, including a very young Johnny Carson, filled in for Skelton during the 1957-1958 season.
Red and his wife made two decisions. First, they decided not to reveal to their son how ill he was; if worse came to worst they wanted him to enjoy the time he had left. The boy’s leukemia was temporarily in remission and outwardly he appeared healthy. When the boy saw “The Last Days of Pompeii” on TV and was fascinated by it, his mom and dad made their second decision. They were going to take him and his sister to Europe so the boy could see Pompeii and other parts of Europe and the world, and to allow the parents to consult with foreign physicians and also to conduct a pilgrimage for their son. The Skeltons were Protestants, indeed, Red was an active Mason, but they had chosen to educate their kids at a Catholic school and Richard was very religious, his room filled with religious pictures and statues. Like many Christians of whatever denomination, in their hour of utmost need the Skeltons decided to seek aid of the Catholic Church...Continued
This well-known carol, drawing on the legend of St. Wenceslaus, tells the moving story of a generous king going to great effort to help one of his poor subjects.
There is a wonderful edition of the carol in children's book form, which I enjoy reading (and singing) to my children each Christmas season.
In his homily today, Pope Benedict, who is currently visiting the Czech Republic, held up Wenceslaus as a model of holiness:
...This morning, we are gathered around the altar for the glorious commemoration of the martyr Saint Wenceslaus, whose relics I was able to venerate before Mass in the Basilica dedicated to him. He shed his blood in your land, and his eagle, which – as the Cardinal Archbishop has just mentioned – you chose as a symbol for this visit, constitutes the historical emblem of the noble Czech nation. This great saint, whom you are pleased to call the “eternal” Prince of the Czechs, invites us always to follow Christ faithfully, he invites us to be holy. He himself is a model of holiness for all people, especially the leaders of communities and peoples. Yet we ask ourselves: in our day, is holiness still relevant? Or is it now considered unattractive and unimportant? Do we not place more value today on worldly success and glory? Yet how long does earthly success last, and what value does it have?
The last century – as this land of yours can bear witness – saw the fall of a number of powerful figures who had apparently risen to almost unattainable heights. Suddenly they found themselves stripped of their power. Those who denied and continue to deny God, and in consequence have no respect for man, appear to have a comfortable life and to be materially successful. Yet one need only scratch the surface to realize how sad and unfulfilled these people are. Only those who maintain in their hearts a holy “fear of God” can also put their trust in man and spend their lives building a more just and fraternal world. Today there is a need for believers with credibility, who are ready to spread in every area of society the Christian principles and ideals by which their action is inspired. This is holiness, the universal vocation of all the baptized, which motivates people to carry out their duty with fidelity and courage, looking not to their own selfish interests but to the common good, seeking God’s will at every moment...
Full homily can be found at Whispers in the Loggia here.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Health care reform: Archbishop Nienstedt weighs in on the importance of the principle of subsidiarity
The inefficiencies of government ensure that such an approach will waste large amounts of taxpayer money and ultimately fail those who it is intended to help.
More importantly, a big-government approach usurps our role as Christians and makes us "soft" by taking responsibility for the poor and disadvantaged away from the individual and from local community where it properly belongs.
Archbishop John C. Nienstedt (St. Paul and Minneapolis) has now joined several other bishops who, in commenting on the national health care debate, have spoken out in defense of the principle of subsidiarity:
...Reading the commentaries of my brother bishops, I realized that I did not mention another essential Catholic principle that should have been included in my last column: subsidiarity, which posits that health care ought to be determined, administered and coordinated at the lowest level of society whenever possible.
In other words, those intermediary communities and associations that exist between the federal government and the individual must be strengthened and given greater control over policies and practices rather than being given less and less control.
To usurp this “hierarchy of communities” is terribly damaging in the long run, both to society as a whole and the individual citizen (See Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 1883, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, No. 185 ff).
Two quotes from Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI are instructive in this regard:
Pope John Paul II has written:
“By intervening directly and depriving society of its responsibility, the Social Assistance State leads to a loss of human energies and an inordinate increase of public agencies, which are dominated more by bureaucratic ways of thinking than by concern for serving their clients, and which are accompanied by an enormous increase in spending” (Pope John Paul II, “Centesimus Annus,” No. 48).
Pope Benedict writes:
“The State which would provide everything, absorbing everything into itself, would ultimately become a mere bureaucracy incapable of guaranteeing the very thing which the suffering person — every person — needs: namely, loving personal concern. We do not need a State which regulates and controls everything, but a State which, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, generously acknowledges and supports initiatives arising from the different social forces and combines spontaneity with closeness to those in need . . . . In the end, the claim that just social structures would make works of charity superfluous masks a materialist conception of man: the mistaken notion that man can live ‘by bread alone’ (Mt 4:4; cf. Dt 8:3) — a conviction that demeans man and ultimately disregards all that is specifically human” (Pope Benedict XVI, “Deus Caritas Est,” No. 28).
To neglect the principle of subsidiarity inevitably leads to the excessive centralization of human services, which leads to higher costs, less personal responsibility for the individual and a lower quality of care....Source
(H/T: Catholic Key)
Saturday, September 26, 2009
From the National Catholic Register:
The monks of Belmont Abbey in Belmont, N.C., hope to provide college women who become pregnant with the resources they need to choose life.
A Charlotte-based organization called Room at the Inn is raising the money to build and staff a residential on-campus maternity and after-care facility on land donated by the monks. It will sit adjacent to Belmont Abbey College, and it will be open primarily to women attending any of the regional schools or vocational institutions.
“We see this as a concrete effort to support what we believe,” said Abbot Placid Solari. “It is important to (figure out) what concrete assistance you can offer to women who find themselves unexpectedly pregnant or feel helpless.”
The new facility will have room for 15 mothers, 15 infants and eight toddlers, and it will include common areas like a chapel, a laundry, a playroom, a kitchen and a dining room. There will be a 24-hour professional staff with a social-work background as well as on-site child care...Continued
Thursday, September 24, 2009
I think the better term would be the first "anti-American" President.
Having listened to various speeches given by President Obama over the last eight months, I have come to believe that he really dislikes the United States and what it stands for.
He never seems to express a genuine pride in his country, nor does he seem to have much interest in our nation's great accomplishments. Rather, he seems to be obsessed with our flaws and imperfections. Indeed, as evidenced by his repeated apologies to the international community, he seems almost embarrassed by the country he now leads.
None of this should be a surprise. There were many red flags raised during the campaign. His frequent and life-long associations with leftist radicals who regularly spew contempt and hatred for the US was a blatant warning sign. As was his wife's declaration that she had never been proud of her country.
Lest anyone think his association with leftist radicals was a thing of the past, we need only look to the story of his former "green jobs" czar, Van Jones. Mr. Jones was appointed to his high-level position despite being a self-proclaimed communist radical with a trail of inflammatory comments in his wake. Moreover, Mr. Jones, according to news reports, was greatly admired by those closest to the President. Who knows how many other such radicals are hidden away in the depths of this administration.
I also cringe when President Obama talks domestic politics. He repeatedly demonizes businesses and corporations as being greedy and corrupt. Yet, he conveniently forgets that these businesses are led by fellow Americans and provide employment and prosperity to tens of millions of Americans. By the way, I do find it quite audacious for a Chicago machine politician to be throwing around charges of greed and corruption and to be proposing government, of all things, as the antidote. Despite his denials, he seems to have major issues with free-market capitalism, the engine our nation's tremendous prosperity.
In the end, I cannot help but to conclude that President Obama is the first American President whose core feelings toward his country are not gratitude and pride, but contempt and embarrassment.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
President Obama has a major decision to make regarding the war strategy in
After two years of debating the issue on the campaign trail and 8 months in office, it is embarrassing and inexcusable for the President to state that he has not yet settled on a strategy.
Oddly, he seems to have simply put aside his announcement in March that he had decided on a new strategy: to implement an aggressive new counter-insurgency effort under the leadership of Gen. Stanley McChrystal.
Now, with McChrystal ready to request 30,000 to 40,000 additional troops to implement this strategy, the President seems to be having second thoughts. What exactly has changed since March?
Now, I will admit upfront that, after 8 years of war with little progress, I am not convinced that a major escalation in
That said, why does the idea of pulling back make me feel so uneasy?
Many questions come to mind:
In the end, would we be drawing down because it is the smart thing to do? Or, rather, would we be drawing down because we have lost the will to fight?
What exactly will happen if we pull out? In the long run, will our national security be compromised? Will we be less safe?
And, does anyone worry about what will happen to the Afghans? What would a reemergence of the Taliban mean for them?
With respect to this last question, D.B Grady, writing for the
…But assuming American defeat, assuming the surrender of Afghan internal affairs to the Afghan people, assuming that the neoconservative ideal followed Irving Kristol to the grave, what would
look like to the average Afghan villager? In southern Afghanistan , it would mean the return of Taliban rule. While much has been written about the Taliban's horrors, the New York Times best described it by listing the following as unclean and, therefore, forbidden: "pork, pig, pig oil, anything made from human hair, satellite dishes, cinematography, any equipment that produces the joy of music, pool tables, chess, masks, alcohol, tapes, computer, VCR's, televisions, anything that propagates sex and is full of music, wine, lobster, nail polish, firecrackers, statues, sewing catalogs, pictures, Christmas cards." Afghanistan
While Code Pink proudly marches against the
Afghanistancampaign, it's hard to imagine the women of so pleased with our withdrawal. The National Organization for Women called life under the Taliban "gender apartheid," and described a third world hell where women were forbidden from attending work or school, could not leave their homes without a male relative, and even then, only when fully covered in a burqa. NOW described a world where women "were beaten for showing a bit of ankle or wearing noisy shoes. They could not speak in public or to men who were not relatives. They were beaten, even killed, for minor violations of these rules." Afghanistan
After eight battle-hardened years out of power, it's hard to imagine the Taliban has lightened up, reformed, or drawn up its very own Vatican II. It is, however, quite easy to believe they've been taking names, and are quite ready to seek retribution against collaborators with the West.
When the Taliban returns, they're going to go medieval on some people, literally.
None of this will affect American life. The shopping malls will remain open, and the postal service will continue delivering the mail. George Will is right:
doesn't matter. Not to our security or our coffers. It is a humanitarian operation and nation building at its most distilled, and the Afghanistan will never recoup the blood spilled or riches depleted. United States
But the 58% of Americans opposed to the war, opposed to a continued
presence there, should have a clear-eyed view of what that means. It means condemning thousands to death, and hundreds of thousands to worse. When the Taliban returns to U.S. and women are properly, in their view, denied any and all access to medical care and education, it should not be a surprise. It should not be a shocking revelation when homosexuals are stoned to death for the crime of existing. It's not an insidious Taliban secret to be later revealed; it is their modus operandi. The Kandahar will not have caused it, but it will have been a party to it. We will have known something terrible was about to happen, and we will have let it. That's a lesson we learned in United States , too...Source Vietnam
Monday, September 21, 2009
The complete text of the letter can be found at Ignatius Insight by clicking here.
...Those 88 defendants were on the other side of the campus, far removed from the site of the Commencement. They are subjected by Notre Dame to the criminal process because they came, as individuals, to Notre Dame to pray, peacefully and non-obstructively, on this ordinarily open campus, in petition and reparation, as a response to what they rightly saw as a facilitation by Notre Dame of various objectively evil policies and programs of Notre Dame’s honoree, President Obama. Those persons, whom Notre Dame has subjected to legal process as criminals, are neither statistics nor abstractions. Let me tell you about a few of them.The disgraceful arrest of Fr. Norman Weslin, described by Mr. Rice above, is depicted here:
Fr. Norman Weslin, O.S., 79 years old and in very poor health, was handcuffed by Notre Dame Security Police as he sang “Immaculate Mary” on the campus sidewalk near the entrance. He asked them, “Why would you arrest a Catholic priest for trying to stop the killing of a baby?” The NSDP officers put him on a pallet and dragged him away to jail. St. Joseph County Police were also there. I urge you to watch the readily available videos of Fr. Weslin’s arrest. If you do, I will be surprised and disappointed if you are not personally and deeply ashamed.
Such treatment of such a priest may be the lowest point in the entire history of Notre Dame. You would profit from knowing Fr. Weslin. Notre Dame should give Fr. Weslin the Laetare Medal rather than throw him in jail. Norman Weslin, born to poor Finnish immigrants in upper Michigan, finished high school at age 17 and joined the Army. He converted from the Lutheran to the Catholic faith and married shortly after earning his commission. He became a paratrooper and rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the 82nd Airborne Division, obtaining his college degree enroute. After a distinguished career, he retired in 1968. As the legalization of abortion intensified, he and his wife, Mary Lou, became active pro-lifers in Colorado. In 1980, Mary Lou was killed by a drunk driver. Norman personally forgave the young driver. Norman Weslin was later ordained as a Catholic priest, worked with Mother Teresa in New York and devoted himself to the rescue of unborn children through nonviolent, prayerful direct action at abortuaries. In 1990 at Christmastime, I was privileged to defend Fr. Weslin and his Lambs of Christ when they were arrested at the abortuary in South Bend. One does not have to agree with the tactic of direct, non-violent action at abortuaries to have the utmost admiration, as I have, for Fr. Weslin and his associates. At Notre Dame, Fr. Weslin engaged in no obstruction or disruption. He merely sought to pray for the unborn on the ordinarily open campus of a professedly Catholic university. The theme of Notre Dame’s honoring of Obama was “dialogue.” It would have been better for you and the complicit Fellows and Trustees to dialogue with Fr. Weslin rather than lock him up as a criminal. You all could have learned something from him. His actions in defense of innocent life and the Faith have been and are heroic. Notre Dame’s treatment of Fr. Weslin is a despicable disgrace, the responsibility for which falls directly and personally upon yourself as the President of Notre Dame.
The other “criminals” stigmatized by Notre Dame include many whom this university should honor rather than oppress. One is Norma McCorvey, the plaintiff in Roe v. Wade, who has become pro-life and a Catholic actively trying to spread the word about abortion. Those “criminals” include retired professors, retired military officers, mothers of many children, a Catholic nun in full habit, Christian pastors, several Ph.Ds, and Notre Dame grads. They are, in summary, “the salt of the earth.” They came, on their own, at their own expense, and not as part of any “conspiracy,” from 18 states. They came because they love what Notre Dame claims to represent. They themselves do represent it. But one has to doubt whether Notre Dame does so anymore.
Clearly, Notre Dame should do all it can to obtain the dismissal of those criminal charges. This has nothing to do with one’s opinion of the tactics of rescue at abortuaries. It is simply a matter of you, as President, doing the manifestly right thing...Full Text
Two pictures say a thousand words:
(Source of photo: voicescarry blog)
Note: For those of you who are on Facebook, I invite you to join the group, Pro-Life Alumni & Friends of the University of Notre Dame. Join here.
The website, Free the ND 88, can be found here.
Published by the Cardinal Newman Society, The Newman Guide identifies faithful Catholic colleges.
Sadly, but not surprisingly my alma mater, the University of Notre Dame, does not make the cut.
Additional information on The Newman Guide, including a free on-line edition of the book, can be found here.
From the CNS website:
Today The Cardinal Newman Society published a new, second edition of The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College, a free online resource for parents and students seeking a faithful Catholic education.This comprehensive Guide recommends 21 Catholic colleges and universities in the United States plus eight international, online and unique programs based on the strength of their Catholic identity. In addition, the Guide includes several essays to help families better understand the search for a strong Catholic college.
The culmination of four years of research and hundreds of interviews, this edition of The Newman Guide builds substantially on the successful first edition which was published on All Saints Day in 2007. All told more than 8,000 copies of that edition were distributed to Catholic leaders and families.
“When we published the original Newman Guide in 2007 we did not know what to expect, but we found that families were eagerly searching for help in identifying Catholic colleges that truly embrace their Catholic mission in all facets of campus life,” said Patrick J. Reilly, President of The Cardinal Newman Society and one of the editors of the second edition of the Guide.
“The mission of The Cardinal Newman Society is to help renew Catholic higher education, and we can think of no better way to do that than by offering this edition of The Newman Guide as a book but also as a free online resource. We are doing this so that as many Catholic families as possible are able to learn about the quality academics and faithful campus life available at the recommended colleges,” said Reilly.
Every college or program recommended in the Guide includes a complete profile that examines academics, governance, spiritual life, student activities, and residence life. New additions to this edition’s profiles are a letter to families from each college president as well as information on financial aid packages.
The online version of the college profiles include additional campus pictures and videos, open house and other event details, as well as a form to request admissions or financial aid information directly from the college.
The recommended Catholic colleges are:· Aquinas College, Nashville, Tenn.· Belmont Abbey College, Belmont, N.C.· Benedictine College, Atchison, Kan.· The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.· Christendom College, Front Royal, Va.· The College of Saint Thomas More, Fort Worth, Tex.· DeSales University, Center Valley, Pa.· Franciscan University of Steubenville, Steubenville, Oh.· Holy Apostles College & Seminary, Cromwell, Conn.· John Paul the Great Catholic University, San Diego, Calif.· Magdalen College, Warner, N.H.· Mount St. Mary’s University, Emmitsburg, Md.· Providence College, Providence, R.I.· St. Gregory’s University, Shawnee, Okla.· Southern Catholic College, Dawsonville, Ga.· Thomas Aquinas College, Santa Paula, Calif.· The Thomas More College of Liberal Arts, Merrimack, N.H.· University of Dallas, Irving, Tex.· University of St. Thomas, Houston, Tex.· Wyoming Catholic College, Lander, Wyo.
A new section in this edition of The Newman Guide recommends international, online and unique Catholic colleges and programs to help provide options to families looking for non-traditional ways to obtain a faithful Catholic education.
The recommended international, online and unique programs are:· Angelicum Great Books Program, online· Campion College, Old Toongabbie, Australia· Catholic Distance University, online· Our Lady of Corpus Christi, Corpus Christi, Tex.· Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy, Barry’s Bay, Ontario, Canada· Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (“the Angelicum”), Rome, Italy· Redeemer Pacific University, Langley, British Columbia, Canada· St. Bede’s Hall, Oxford, England
In addition to the recommended college profiles, The Newman Guide includes several essays to help families put the search for a Catholic college in context.
The essays are:· A foreword by Father Benedict Groeschel, C.F.R.,
co-chairman of The Cardinal Newman Society’s National Advisory Board· “The Status of Catholic Higher Education,” by Patrick J. Reilly,
president of The Cardinal Newman Society· “Finding God on a Catholic Campus,” by Father C. John McCloskey, Ill,
a well-known spiritual advisor and college chaplain· “Why Study Philosophy and Theology,” by Dr. Peter Kreeft,
a well-respected author and professor· “The Value of a Catholic Education,” by Eileen Cubanski,
founder and executive director of the National Association of
Private, Catholic and Independent Schools· “Can You Afford a Catholic Education,” by Phil Lenahan,
president of Veritas Financial Ministries and Our Sunday Visitor columnist· “What’s Catholic About Campus Living,” by Kathryn Lopez,
editor-at-large of National Review Online and a frequent writer on Catholic issues
A study of the first edition’s recommended colleges by The Center for the Study of Catholic Higher Education found that these institutions were not just faithful to their Catholic missions, but were generally also more affordable than other Catholic and private colleges and universities. That study is available online at CatholicHigherEd.org.
“If last spring’s Notre Dame scandal highlighted that there is still a long way to go to renew Catholic higher education, the colleges recommended in The Newman Guide are a prime example of how it is possible to have a quality academic program while remaining strongly Catholic,” said Tom Mead, executive vice president of The Cardinal Newman Society and one of The Newman Guide’s editors.
“As a Catholic father concerned with helping my children get to Heaven, I am personally grateful that there are so many options for a faithful, liberal arts education at the Newman Guide colleges. Our great hope in publishing this edition of the Guide is that tens of thousands of Catholic families will be introduced to these campuses where strong Catholic identity is a priority.”
The complete Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College is available at TheNewmanGuide.com.
Friday, September 18, 2009
From the National Post:
...Prof. Latif is one of the leading climate modellers in the world. He is the recipient of several international climate-study prizes and a lead author for the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He has contributed significantly to the IPCC's last two five-year reports that have stated unequivocally that man-made greenhouse emissions are causing the planet to warm dangerously.
Yet last week in Geneva, at the UN's World Climate Conference -- an annual gathering of the so-called "scientific consensus" on man-made climate change -- Prof. Latif conceded the Earth has not warmed for nearly a decade and that we are likely entering "one or even two decades during which temperatures cool."
The global warming theory has been based all along on the idea that the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans would absorb much of the greenhouse warming caused by a rise in man-made carbon dioxide, then they would let off that heat and warm the atmosphere and the land.
But as Prof. Latif pointed out, the Atlantic, and particularly the North Atlantic, has been cooling instead. And it looks set to continue a cooling phase for 10 to 20 more years. "How much?" he wondered before the assembled delegates. "The jury is still out."
But it is increasingly clear that global warming is on hiatus for the time being. And that is not what the UN, the alarmist scientists or environmentalists predicted. For the past dozen years, since the Kyoto accords were signed in 1997, it has been beaten into our heads with the force and repetition of the rowing drum on a slave galley that the Earth is warming and will continue to warm rapidly through this century until we reach deadly temperatures around 2100.
While they deny it now, the facts to the contrary are staring them in the face: None of the alarmist drummers every predicted anything like a 30-year pause in their apocalyptic scenario.
Prof. Latif says he expects warming to resume in 2020 or 2030. "People will say this is global warming disappearing," he added. According to him, that is not the case. "I am not one of the skeptics," he insisted. "However, we have to ask the nasty questions ourselves or other people will do it."
In the past year, two other groups of scientists -- one, like Prof. Latif, in Germany, the second in the United States -- have come to the same conclusion: Warming is on hold, likely because of a cooling of the Earth's upper oceans. It will resume, though, some day.
But how is that knowable? How can Prof. Latif and the others state with certainty that after this long and unforeseen cooling, dangerous man-made heating will resume? They failed to observe the current cooling for years after it had begun, how then can their predictions for the resumption of dangerous warming be trusted?...Full Story
Thursday, September 17, 2009
I have asked for and received permission to reprint his email here. Mr. Dempsey did emphasize to me that he is providing his own personal reaction to the message of Fr. Jenkins and is not speaking for the Sycamore Trust in this e-mail:
A number of you have asked what I think of the message Fr. Jenkins broadcast yesterday about the measures he has taken respecting the abortion and stem cell research issues. (I attach his statement for any of you who have not received it.) I have tried responding individually and sometimes briefly (and I know unsatisfactorily), but the inquiries have mounted and I do not feel comfortable deferring a reasonably comprehensive response. Accordingly, I will tell you collectively what I think at this point for whatever it may be worth. I emphasize that I do not speak for Sycamore Trust, but only for myself -- we have not had time to deliberate collectively -- and also that I may modify my views as I learn more.
It is a natural reaction, given the bleak history of ND on the abortion and stem cell issues, to welcome and praise Fr. Jenkins's message, and a case can be made that it is reasonable to do so. I will not make that case here. I do not find it persuasive at this point even if arguable. This is why:
This move is obviously a reaction to the backlash over the Obama incident. Surely it would not have been undertaken otherwise. In these circumstances, one ought examine the project with care to judge whether it is more of a damage control measure without deep roots than a reflection of what would be a dramatic course change by the University.
Certainly Fr. Jenkins's commitment to lead the ND contingent at the March for Life is praiseworthy. It seems to me that it is really the obligation of a priest/President of Notre Dame, but the depressing fact is that it has never been done before. Father Jenkins deserves thanks.
But that is a one-time affair. The rest is not heartening. The most troubling sign is the obviously deliberate exclusion from Task Force membership of anyone associated with the ND organizations that have been unashamedly and actively pro-life: the Center for Ethics & Culture and the ND Fund for the Protection of Human Life. Nor was the student representative chosen from the leadership of the student RTL organization or from anyone active in last year's student alliance protesting the honoring of the President, ND Response. It is hard to resist the inference that this is as a move toward marginalizing the Center and the Fund, neither of which receives any University support the way it is.
This is no reflection on those who have been appointed. Insofar as I know of them, they are worthy appointees, able and pro-life. But that does not erase the implication of the exclusion of all representatives of the existing centers of pro-life activities.
The next troublesome element is the specified agenda as it stands so far. Surely it is no accident, though it is to me surprising, that the listed subjects the committee is working on are identical with the agenda given in his speech by President Obama.
Here is what Obama proposed and Fr. Jenkins lists for study:
(1) Obama: "Let's make adoption more available." Jenkins: "the best policies for facilitating adoption."
(2) Obama: "a sensible conscience clause." Jenkins: "a reasonable conscience clause."
(3) Obama: "care and support for women who do carry their children to term." Jenkins: "the most effective ways to support pregnant women."
That's the full list so far for ND. Obama had one more: birth control. As he phrased it: "So let us work together to reduce the number of women seeking abortions, let’s reduce unintended pregnancies. (Applause.)" Note the applause. One trusts neither Father Jenkins nor anyone else understood what the President was saying.
This is an agenda that any secular university could adopt to advance the goal of political accommodation. It is an agenda that pro-choice Catholics can embrace. It does not go to the issue as to which the Catholic Church stands against Obama and the pro-choice and pro-abortion forces: the fundamental and grave immorality of abortion. It is an agenda, to put it perhaps more relevantly, that a faculty ranging from indifferent to hostile to the Church's position will likely not mind.
Here is something many might mind but that ought to be first and foremost for a Catholic university: education. ND students, according to survey results, fall away from the Church's teaching on abortion in large numbers during four years at ND. And why not? There is no instruction, except for the handful who elect it, on that teaching. On another front, ND could, for instance, engage in adult stem cell research. Initiatives like these are proper to a university, and are sorely missed at ND. But these measures would be controversial. They would mark ND as unashamedly pro-life and as doing something that only ND can do, educate and inspire its students.
It has occurred to me also to wonder what Notre Dame can bring to these issues in better fashion than those who have been working on them for years. On the face of it, at least, they seem to be at heart legislative issues to be handled by those charged with, and having the competence to deal with, these questions. We may learn more about that in time; but as we all know the appointment of a committee often signals the end, rather than the beginning, of action.
Finally, it is unsettling but instructive that this announcement comes a day after Fr. Jenkins's' annual address to the faculty in which he described his goals for the year, which included increasing female and minority faculty representation but not a word about the most crucial problem facing the university, the loss of Catholic identity through the failure to hire enough Catholics to restore the predominance required by the Mission Statement. This is a striking falling away from his wonderful inaugural address. The fact that ND did nothing to serve the pro-life cause until forced by the reaction to the Obama incident testifies to the fact that, without a predominance of committed Catholics on the faculty, any pro-life efforts launched under pressure will in time fade away. The risk, and surely it is real, is that this new initiative and the publicity ND is generating about it will deflect attention from the fundamental problem besetting Notre Dame.
Of course this may all turn out brilliantly in the end. Fr. Jenkins may somehow bring about a major change in hiring policy even while setting manifestly inadequate targets and while stressing the need to hire more women and more minorities; the Task Force may turn its attention to the moral issue at the heart of the abortion and embryonic stem cell controversies and proper to a university; it may recommend, and the Administration may adopt, measures in support of the Fund and the Center, or they may thrive even while being cut out. But I return to where I began: A project that deliberately excludes from participation those who have courageously manned organizations standing against the prevailing faculty attitude toward the pro-life cause ought be regarded with suspicion.