Archive for March, 2013

“Rejoice, Dear Hearts!” — Part Two

March 18, 2013

Father Phil Keane, SS. (1941 – 2012)

With time flying by at laser velocity even faster than Superman’s iconic speeding bullet, it’s amazing to recall that our “For Your Consideration” column is now well into its fourth year as a regular weekly feature.

Initiated through the efforts of Lynn Jacobsson in late Autumn ’09, colleague Alan Cheah and I have enjoyed sharing a hopefully more progressive perspective on national and local politics than that so generously offered by other regular Star contributors such as Dr. Bill and Junior Froelich.

There are even times when we are accidently more prescient than usual, such as in the newspaper’s February 21st issue. In an offering entitled, “Rejoice, Dear Hearts.” I devoted significant space to a discussion of Le Moyne College in Syracuse, a Jesuit institution.

The whole thrust was stressing the importance of critical thinking as encouraged by a Jesuit philosophy exposing students to comparative schools of reflective thought without fear of concurrent contamination. One learns to avoid confusing knowledge with belief or firm facts with fanciful fiction. My specific point of focus was the brilliant early ’60’s comedy of a gentleman named Dave Gardner, who reminded me very much of “a Jesuit” in his awesome ability to seemingly reflect on almost everything at once.

Little did I know that within a few short weeks Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina would be chosen to head the Roman Catholic Church, naming himself Pope Francis the First. In the process, our New Holiness also becomes the first Pope ever hailing from the Americas and, of even greater significance, the first Jesuit to reign supreme over a billion plus faithful souls around the world.

Make no mistake. There’s much more happening here than meets the uninformed eye. Don’t look for immediate, obvious, rapid change. Do expect extraordinary thought, rigid reorganization, steel discipline and exemplary dedication to social justice and economic equity.

Less welcomed by many will be initial adherence to traditional male organizational dominance and most matters concerning S-E-X. This wild and dangerous area includes negative outlooks on homosexuality, promiscuity, birth control, abortion, masturbation, all sensitive body parts, and fond memories of innocently discovering puberty — or any extended conduct –mental or physical — relating to all of the preceding.

So I submit Francis the First will be sexually and constrictively conservative, while socially and positively progressive. You know what? I’ll take that for openers.

Late last year, I lost an old friend.

Father Philip Keane, S.S. had attended school with me for six years at Cathedral Academy in Syracuse. When we graduated in ’59, I headed for Le Moyne as Phil began his studies for the priesthood, eventually becoming Proctor at St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore and obtaining global renown as a major Catholic Theologian.

In 1977, the Paulist Press published a masterwork by Father Keane entitled, “Sexual Morality.” Among other brilliantly reasoned positions was Phil’s argument that “homosexual conduct cannot be understood as absolutely immoral.” In May of 1984, the Vatican’s Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger ordered the book banned by officially lifting its imprimatur, believing Father Phil was promoting an “intrinsic evil.

This is the same Joseph Ratzinger who despises Rock & Roll music for being “an expression of elemental passions,” referencing “Heavy Metal” as “an instrument of The Devil”, and hates Harry Potter for being guilty of “subtle seductions which act imperceptibly and deeply, dissolving Christianity in the soul before it can grow properly.” Yep. The same former member of Hitler Youth who — in 1990 — defended the Church’s Inquisition driven condemnation of Galileo in 1633 as being “rational and just.” Galileo’s mortal sin, of course, was to insist that the earth moves around the sun.

In 2005, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI. A few weeks ago, Benedict became the Sarah Palin of Pontiffs, quitting before his job was done.

Phil Keane would have made a fine Jesuit.

I remember Father Phil’s final words to the class after celebrating Mass at our 50th High School Reunion in 2009.

“I’ll pray for you for all Eternity.”

To which I responded at the time in my heart and now in print — “Rejoice, Dear Hearts!”

Perhaps there’s hope in this new Pope.

“Bullfighting in Coarsegold?”

March 4, 2013

Jose Maria Manzanares

Although the Oakhurst area has been treated to two separate displays of impressive support for gun rights these last few weeks at the intersection of Highways 41 and 49, local participants might as well have been demonstrating against the introduction of bull fighting at next year’s Coarsegold Rodeo.

No one is discussing any such thing, just as no one is talking about taking anyone’s guns away or introducing any major legislation nationally that hasn’t already been the law here in California for at least the last two decades.

The old “Slippery Slope” argument isn’t remotely applicable. That’s like arguing for no speed limits in characterizing any form of collective restraint as inevitably opening the door to complete restriction. As Mr. Spock would observe — that’s not a logical perspective.

So let’s use basic reason.

What has President Obama’s history been on gun legislation since he took office in January of 2009?

In February of that year, he supported former President George Bush’s last minute rule before leaving office allowing loaded guns in national parks.

In 2010, the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence gave the President a report card of seven F’s for his first year in office, including one on “standing up to the gun lobby.” reported at the end of 2011, “We’ve seen little or no evidence that the Obama Administration is doing much to regulate guns or gun ownership.”

Caroline Brewer, Director of Communication for the Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, says, “We certainly don’t have a record of President Obama calling for an elimination of any kind on handguns in the United States.” Brewer adds, “After the near fatal shooting of U.S. Representative Gabby Gifford, the President called for better background checks, not banning guns.”

All of the above is presented in response to a number of anti-Obama, anti-government proclamations included in the recent Tea Party supported Oakhurst demonstrations.

Can’t our poor President do anything potentially right for the seemingly outraged politically right? And let’s be mindful of the fact that President Obama’s record on Gun Safety prior to the Sandy Hook killings, particularly lack of inclusion or even the slightest reference to the issue in his successful re-election campaign, has earned him significant negatives from the left wing of his own party.

To help set the record straight, the Democratic Club of Oakhurst will be distributing informative leaflets on both Saturday, March 16th, and Saturday, March 23rd, from 2 till 4 in front of Von’s.

I already have my own sign ready. It simply says, “Support the Constitution! NO Confiscation!”

We’ll have a copy of the Second Amendment visible as well. It states, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

I am of the opinion that the phrase “well regulated” clearly necessitates reasonable measures of control, meaning it’s probably not cool to keep nuclear tipped rockets in one’s garage. And I believe the words “free State” can be fairly defined as the new government existing on December 17, 1791 — known to all these days as our current United States of America. It’s hard for me to envision our Founding Fathers declaring, “If we get this wrong, shoot us!”

Anyone who thinks they’re going to overthrow a tyrannical federal government with their AK-47’s might want to read up on drones, cruise missiles, our Navy SEALs and APC’s.