31 August 2012

Benediction, Tampa & Charlotte


 
from catholicculture.org, the text of the benediction of Cardinal Dolan from the Republican Convention. He also offered the benediction at the end of the  Democratic Presidential Convention, following below.  Photo, left: Antonio Lacerda/EPA

“With firm reliance on the protection of divine providence, let us pray. Almighty God, Father of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Jesus, we beg your continued blessings on this sanctuary of freedom, and on all of those who proudly call America home,” he began. “We ask your benediction upon those yet to be born, and on those who are about to see you at the end of this life. Bless those families whose ancestors arrived on these shores generations ago, as well as those families that have come recently, to build a better future while weaving their lives into the rich tapestry of America. We lift up to your loving care those afflicted by the recent storms, drought, and fire. We ask for the grace to stand in solidarity with all those who suffer. May we strive to include your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free in the production and prosperity of a people so richly blessed.

O God of wisdom, justice, and might, we ask your guidance for those who govern us, and on those who would govern us: the president, and vice president, the Congress, the Supreme Court, and on all those who seek to serve the common good by seeking public office, especially Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan. Make them all worthy to serve you by serving our country. And help them remember that the only just government is the government that serves its citizens rather than itself.

Almighty God, who gives us the sacred and inalienable gift of life, we thank you as well for the singular gift of liberty. Renew in all of our people a respect for religious freedom in full, that first most cherished freedom. Make us truly free by tethering freedom to truth and ordering freedom to goodness. Help us live our freedom in faith, hope and love, prudently and with justice, courageously and in a spirit of moderation. Enkindle in our hearts a new sense of responsibility for freedom’s cause and make us ever grateful for all those who for more than two centuries have given their lives in freedom’s defense. We commend their noble souls to your eternal care as even now we beg your mighty hand upon our beloved men and women in uniform. May we know the truth of your creation, respecting the laws of nature and nature’s God and not seek to replace it with idols of our own making.

Give us the good sense not to cast aside the boundaries of righteous living you first inscribed on our hearts even before inscribing them on tablets of stone. May you mend our every flaw, confirming our soul in self control, our liberty in law. We pray for all those who seek honest labor as we thank you for the spirit of generosity to those in need [with] which you so richly blessed this nation. We beseech your blessing on all who depart this evening and on all those in every land who seek to conduct their lives in freedom.

Most of all, Almighty God, we thank you for the great gift of our beloved country. For we are indeed one nation under God, and in God we trust. Dear God, bless America, you who live and reign forever and ever. Amen.

Followed a week later at the Democratic Presidential Convention.  Again full text from catholicculture.org.

With a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, let us close this convention by praying for this land that we so cherish and love,

Let us Pray.

Almighty God, father of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, revealed to us so powerfully in your Son, Jesus Christ, we thank you for showering your blessings upon this our beloved nation. Bless all here present, and all across this great land, who work hard for the day when a greater portion of your justice, and a more ample measure of your care for the poor and suffering, may prevail in these United States. Help us to see that a society’s greatness is found above all in the respect it shows for the weakest and neediest among us.

We beseech you, almighty God to shed your grace on this noble experiment in ordered liberty, which began with the confident assertion of inalienable rights bestowed upon us by you: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Thus do we praise you for the gift of life. Grant us the courage to defend it, life, without which no other rights are secure. We ask your benediction on those waiting to be born, that they may be welcomed and protected. Strengthen our sick and our elders waiting to see your holy face at life’s end, that they may be accompanied by true compassion and cherished with the dignity due those who are infirm and fragile.

We praise and thank you for the gift of liberty. May this land of the free never lack those brave enough to defend our basic freedoms. Renew in all our people a profound respect for religious liberty: the first, most cherished freedom bequeathed upon us at our Founding. May our liberty be in harmony with truth; freedom ordered in goodness and justice. Help us live our freedom in faith, hope, and love. Make us ever-grateful for those who, for over two centuries, have given their lives in freedom’s defense; we commend their noble souls to your eternal care, as even now we beg the protection of your mighty arm upon our men and women in uniform.

We praise and thank you for granting us the life and the liberty by which we can pursue happiness. Show us anew that happiness is found only in respecting the laws of nature and of nature’s God. Empower us with your grace so that we might resist the temptation to replace the moral law with idols of our own making, or to remake those institutions you have given us for the nurturing of life and community. May we welcome those who yearn to breathe free and to pursue happiness in this land of freedom, adding their gifts to those whose families have lived here for centuries.

We praise and thank you for the American genius of government of the people, by the people and for the people. Oh God of wisdom, justice, and might, we ask your guidance for those who govern us: President Barack Obama, Vice President Joseph Biden, Congress, the Supreme Court, and all those, including Governor Mitt Romney and Congressman Paul Ryan, who seek to serve the common good by seeking public office. Make them all worthy to serve you by serving our country. Help them remember that the only just government is the government that serves its citizens rather than itself. With your grace, may all Americans choose wisely as we consider the future course of public policy.

And finally Lord, we beseech your benediction on all of us who depart from here this evening, and on all those, in every land, who yearn to conduct their lives in freedom and justice. We beg you to remember, as we pledge to remember, those who are not free; those who suffer for freedom’s cause; those who are poor, out of work, needy, sick, or alone; those who are persecuted for their religious convictions, those still ravaged by war.

And most of all, God Almighty, we thank you for the great gift of our beloved country.

For we are indeed “one nation under God,” and “in God we trust.”

So dear God, bless America. You who live and reign forever and ever.

Amen! 

24 August 2012

"Men, Who Needs Them" by Greg Hampikian

from NY Times - August 24, 2012

Men, Who Needs Them?

MAMMALS are named after their defining characteristic, the glands capable of sustaining a life for years after birth — glands that are functional only in the female. And yet while the term “mammal” is based on an objective analysis of shared traits, the genus name for human beings, Homo, reflects an 18th-century masculine bias in science.
   That bias, however, is becoming harder to sustain, as men become less relevant to both reproduction and parenting. Women aren’t just becoming men’s equals. It’s increasingly clear that “mankind” itself is a gross misnomer: an uninterrupted, intimate and essential maternal connection defines our species.
   The central behaviors of mammals revolve around how we bear and raise our young, and humans are the parenting champions of the class. In the United States, for nearly 20 percent of our life span we are considered the legal responsibility of our parents.
   With expanding reproductive choices, we can expect to see more women choose to reproduce without men entirely. Fortunately, the data for children raised by only females is encouraging. As the Princeton sociologist Sara S. McLanahan has shown, poverty is what hurts children, not the number or gender of parents.
   That’s good, since women are both necessary and sufficient for reproduction, and men are neither. From the production of the first cell (egg) to the development of the fetus and the birth and breast-feeding of the child, fathers can be absent. They can be at work, at home, in prison or at war, living or dead.
    Think about your own history. Your life as an egg actually started in your mother’s developing ovary, before she was born; you were wrapped in your mother’s fetal body as it developed within your grandmother.
   After the two of you left Grandma’s womb, you enjoyed the protection of your mother’s prepubescent ovary. Then, sometime between 12 and 50 years after the two of you left your grandmother, you burst forth and were sucked by her fimbriae into the fallopian tube. You glided along the oviduct, surviving happily on the stored nutrients and genetic messages that Mom packed for you.
   Then, at some point, your father spent a few minutes close by, but then left. A little while later, you encountered some very odd tiny cells that he had shed. They did not merge with you, or give you any cell membranes or nutrients — just an infinitesimally small packet of DNA, less than one-millionth of your mass.
   Over the next nine months, you stole minerals from your mother’s bones and oxygen from her blood, and you received all your nutrition, energy and immune protection from her. By the time you were born your mother had contributed six to eight pounds of your weight. Then as a parting gift, she swathed you in billions of bacteria from her birth canal and groin that continue to protect your skin, digestive system and general health. In contrast, your father’s 3.3 picograms of DNA comes out to less than one pound of male contribution since the beginning of Homo sapiens 107 billion babies ago.
   And while birth seems like a separation, for us mammals it’s just a new form of attachment to our female parent. If your mother breast-fed you, as our species has done for nearly our entire existence, then you suckled from her all your water, protein, sugar, fats and even immune protection. She sampled your diseases by holding you close and kissing you, just as your father might have done; but unlike your father, she responded to your infections by making antibodies that she passed to you in breast milk.
I don’t dismiss the years I put in as a doting father, or my year at home as a house husband with two young kids. And I credit my own father as the more influential parent in my life. Fathers are of great benefit. But that is a far cry from “necessary and sufficient” for reproduction.
   If a woman wants to have a baby without a man, she just needs to secure sperm (fresh or frozen) from a donor (living or dead). The only technology the self-impregnating woman needs is a straw or turkey baster, and the basic technique hasn’t changed much since Talmudic scholars debated the religious implications of insemination without sex in the fifth century. If all the men on earth died tonight, the species could continue on frozen sperm. If the women disappear, it’s extinction.
   Ultimately the question is, does “mankind” really need men? With human cloning technology just around the corner and enough frozen sperm in the world to already populate many generations, perhaps we should perform a cost-benefit analysis.
It’s true that men have traditionally been the breadwinners. But women have been a majority of college graduates since the 1980s, and their numbers are growing. It’s also true that men have, on average, a bit more muscle mass than women. But in the age of ubiquitous weapons, the one with the better firepower (and knowledge of the law) triumphs.
   Meanwhile women live longer, are healthier and are far less likely to commit a violent offense. If men were cars, who would buy the model that doesn’t last as long, is given to lethal incidents and ends up impounded more often?
   Recently, the geneticist J. Craig Venter showed that the entire genetic material of an organism can be synthesized by a machine and then put into what he called an “artificial cell.” This was actually a bit of press-release hyperbole: Mr. Venter started with a fully functional cell, then swapped out its DNA. In doing so, he unwittingly demonstrated that the female component of sexual reproduction, the egg cell, cannot be manufactured, but the male can.
   When I explained this to a female colleague and asked her if she thought that there was yet anything irreplaceable about men, she answered, “They’re entertaining.”
   Gentlemen, let’s hope that’s enough.
Greg Hampikian is a professor of biology and criminal justice at Boise State University and the director of the Idaho Innocence Project.

11 August 2012

R&R - Catholic Ryan, Mormon Romney - End days of the RRich - Let us pray.

Cartoon left: David Horsey/Los Angeles Times

Ryan/Romney- each believing in his own version of the sugar plum fairy - yes - but neither one reads their sacred Book:

Matthew 25. 31-46 'Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these. . .(hungry, thirsty, naked, prisoner), you did it to Me'.

"Do it to Me"? - virtual Eucharist? - without the crackers and Cheeses?

Or Mosiah 4.16-26 " [Y]e should impart of your substance to the poor, every man according to that which he hath, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and administering to their relief, both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants.  (thank you, Jon Adams!)

Ref: Dana Milbank, Washington Post, USA Catholic Bishops and Georgetown Catholic professors.

In their defense, both men argue that feeding the poor is not the responsibility of governments-at-large, but that of the members of the plum fairies' clubs.  Does the "Son of Man" narrow his stipulation?  Cf: Catholic bishops letter.  (Parsing ἔθνος, vs 32, to English seems to be "all Nations. . .gathered before Him".)

OMG, what of the "no feeding" downside, Matt. 25.41. . ."depart (to the) eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels" - hope these folks find time from their time a' fool'n with us to read their Book(s). . .just in time!  Photo credit above: 'Reuters/Jason Reed'

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...