Posted by Curt on 19 June, 2016 at 11:00 am. 2 comments already!


Kathryn Jean Lopez:

A good father — whether in the home or as a voice of moral or temporal authority — tends to tell the truth and do important things to free souls and lives. At a time when we are urgently in need of tender fathers, consider the examples of men who’ve given witness to these things, consider Ronald Reagan, Pope Francis, and William F. Buckley Jr., founder ofNational Review — three men who probably have never been considered together.

First, President Reagan. His 1964 “Time for Choosing” speech used to be a common staple of any conservative diet — which may seem strange, given that the speech didn’t win the election for Goldwater. But it did however unintentionally, build a national following for Reagan.

He talked in that speech about the dangers of accommodation and appeasement — which have a lot to do with being afraid to call evil by its name. He warned against the spiritual, moral, and economic decay caused by these sins.

He warned against saying to those enslaved behind the Iron Curtain at the time, “Give up your dreams of freedom because to save our own skins, we’re willing to make a deal with your slave masters.” He quoted Alexander Hamilton, who said, “A nation which can prefer disgrace to danger is prepared for a master, and deserves one.”

Unfortunately, these days, while we may want to love freedom, we don’t always know what it is anymore. What you mean by freedom may be different from what I do. Planned Parenthood and other ideological lobbies co-opt such unobjectionable words for rallying to their cause.

Reagan understood the cost of freedom. In his “Time for Choosing” speech, he said,

You and I know and do not believe that life is so dear and peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery. If nothing in life is worth dying for, when did this begin — just in the face of this enemy? Or should Moses have told the children of Israel to live in slavery under the pharaohs? Should Christ have refused the cross? Should the patriots at Concord Bridge have thrown down their guns and refused to fire the shot heard ‘round the world? The martyrs of history were not fools, and our honored dead who gave their lives to stop the advance of the Nazis didn’t die in vain.

I bring this up not because I’m advocating any war other than the one for good and against evil. We live in a world today where men and women have been asked the question Jesus asked Peter: Do you love me? And they have not denied Him. Some have given their lives for Jesus Christ. Pope Francis has said — and Pew numbers back him up — that there are more martyrs in the world today than in the first days of Christianity. And yet so many of us don’t think we have time to pay attention. We look away and follow more entertaining news stories. My brothers and sisters, these people — the Christian martyrs in our world today — remind us who we are. Pray for them. Advocate their cause. Talk about them.

And, please, whatever you do, do not waste your freedom. Do not fail to stand up for it. Do not become enslaved to any of the idols of our day that can distract our souls to death.

In that speech, Reagan, in a plea for moral responsibility in citizenship, said:

You and I have the courage to say to our enemies, “There is a price we will not pay.” “There is a point beyond which they must not advance.” And this — this is the meaning in the phrase of Barry Goldwater’s “peace through strength.” Winston Churchill said, “The destiny of man is not measured by material computations. When great forces are on the move in the world, we learn we’re spirits — not animals.”

And he said, “There’s something going on in time and space, and beyond time and space, which, whether we like it or not, spells duty.”

Does that resonate with you today, on a lot of fronts?

Reagan went on to say, “You and I have a rendezvous with destiny.”

He drove it home with this: “We’ll preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we’ll sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness.”

There are many challenges today to life, family, the most vulnerable. We must rise to meet them.

Reagan also said in that “Time of Choosing” speech something that explains why the Little Sisters of the Poor, an order of Catholic women who serve the elderly poor, now find themselves at the Supreme Court looking for religious-liberty relief from our current White House. He said that “our natural, unalienable rights are now considered to be a dispensation of government and freedom has never been so fragile, so close to slipping from our grasp as it is at this moment.”

Historian Steven Hayward, who has written for National Review frequently over the years said about the “Time for Choosing” speech, “It also provided a template — an understanding of government as ruinously ambitious and out of control, projecting weakness and uncertainty to our enemies abroad — that still defines conservatism today.”

He added that Reagan “would not have been so successful for so long with appeals to emotion alone. ‘A Time for Choosing’ reveals a coherent political philosophy that differed in subtle ways from the main current of conservatism, blended with great skill and art in Reagan’s rhetoric.”

When you look at politics today, do bear in mind that Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders or anyone else on the political scene didn’t start the fire, to borrow a line from Billy Joel. And I think we’d be wise to study but, again, not make idols of some of our founding fathers — of America and of a conservative movement that formed and inspired some great and even successful leaders.

You may remember I mentioned the urgent need we have today for tender fathers. And I firmly believe that we have a great one in Pope Francis. You do not have to be Catholic to see a wisdom and humility in his model of leading with mercy. So many of his words and gestures are invitational. He wants to re-propose the Gospel to people who often have no idea what Christianity has to offer them about what is true and good and beautiful.

He gives so many examples — examples that frequently do not make the New York Times.

This spring, for example, he spoke to teenagers who were on pilgrimage to Rome. There are these beautiful pictures of him hearing confessions in St. Peter’s Square. There’s such joy on his face and such peace on the face of many of the teenagers.

Actually, as a journalist, I always hesitate to use a picture of people praying and receiving sacraments. These are such intimate things. But sometimes our world needs to see these things, which can often be so countercultural and yet speak to some of our deepest needs.

On that Saturday, with the teens in front of him, Pope Francis said:

Dear young friends, what an enormous responsibility the Lord gives us today! He tells us that the world will recognize the disciples of Jesus by the way they love one another. Love, in other words, is the Christian’s identity card, the only valid “document” identifying us as Christians. It is the only valid document. If this card expires and is not constantly renewed, we stop being witnesses of the Master. So I ask you: Do you wish to say yes to Jesus’ invitation to be his disciples? Do you wish to be his faithful friends? The true friends of Jesus stand out essentially by the genuine love; not some “pie in the sky” love; no, it is a genuine love that shines forth in their way of life. Love is always shown in real actions. Those who are not real and genuine and who speak of love are like characters is a soap opera, some fake love story. Do you want to experience his love? Do you want this love: yes or no? Let us learn from him, for his words are a school of life, a school where we learn to love. This is a task which we must engage in every day: to learn how to love.

Not to divert things, but there’s this song that I keep hearing in airports and hotel restaurants and taxis. The refrain goes: I love you like a love song, baby. I love you like a love song, baby.That seems to unintentionally speak to exactly what Pope Francis is talking about. You’ve heard a few songs that pass for love songs in American culture. That’s not love. It reminds me of a synthesizer-laced 80s pop song from Howard Jones. He sang: What is love anyway? Does anybody love anybody anyway?

That’s the kind of question Pope Francis asks near daily. He gives morning homilies that are published on, a Vatican website, available in English translation before most Americans are awake. And they are constantly challenging Christians to be Christian. He talks about the dangers of lukewarm Christianity. We cannot be museum pieces, he says. We cannot pretend the Bible is an artifact.

Read more

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x