Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Today on Kresta - May 11, 2010

Talking about the Things That Matter Most on May 11

4:00 – After the Fall: Saving Capitalism from Wall Street and Washington
Robust financial markets support capitalism, they don't imperil it. But in 2008, Washington policymakers were compelled to replace private risk-takers in the financial system with government capital so that money and credit flows wouldn't stop, precipitating a depression. Washington's actions weren't the start of government distortions in the financial industry, Nicole Gelinas writes, but the natural result of 25 years' worth of such distortions. As Gelinas will explain, adequate regulation of financial firms and markets is a prerequisite for free-market capitalism -- not a barrier to it.

4:20 – Wired for Intimacy: How Pornography Hijacks the Male Brain
Pornography is powerful. Our contemporary culture as been pornified, and it shapes our assumptions about identity, sexuality, the value of women and the nature of relationships. Countless Christian men struggle with the addictive power of porn. But common spiritual approaches of more prayer and accountability groups are often of limited help. Neuroscientist and researcher William Struthers is here to explain how pornography affects the male brain and what we can do about it. Because we are embodied beings, viewing pornography changes how the brain works, how we form memories and make attachments. By better understanding the biological realities of our sexual development, we can cultivate healthier sexual perspectives and interpersonal relationships. Struthers exposes false assumptions and casts a vision for a redeemed masculinity, showing how our sexual longings can actually propel us toward sanctification and holiness in our bodies.

4:40 – The Renaissance: God in Man (Volume 8)
The Christians: Their First Two Thousand Years is bringing the Christian story through to the end of the twentieth century. Part One of this extraordinary series, the first six volumes, was completed in November 2004. Now the 8th of 12 volumes has been released - The Renaissance: God in Man. We look at the story of Christendom between the mid-1300s and the early 1500s, a time period that spans what are known as the Late Middle Ages and the Renaissance. General Editor Ted Byfield is our guest.

5:00 – Direct to my Desk – The Illegal Immigration Debate: The Church, The State, and Prudential Judgments
Cardinal Roger Mahoney calls the law “German Nazi and Russian Communist techniques.” The USCCB calls it “badly broken.” Bishop John Wester, Chair of the USCCB Committee on Migration calls it “draconian.” Archbishop Charles Chaput calls it “flawed.” The Bishops of Arizona say the law “is not a legitimate solution.” We are, of course, talking about the Arizona law on illegal immigration. We look at the law, the reality on the ground, the role of the Church, and the prudential judgments. And we want your participation.


  1. Prior to the Immigration Debate show today:
    The American Catholic Church is split just as American society is. The USCCB is infected with liberal social justice people who are on the left side of that split within the church--usually they are liberal theologically and their prejudices, emphasis and focuses are not necessarily the prejudices, emphasis and focus of authentic Catholic teaching. I look with a jaundiced eye at anything that comes out of the USCCB and their spokespeople and representative Bishops who have all out jockeyed each other in the 'social justice' camp to be put into these offices. As to the immigration debate, I dont see that any of the valid, politically feasible choices on either side as being open to being unChristian and therefore my vote and political support should not be a matter of American church policy. Thats my limited view built on an imagined model of the world. I'd like to hear a better model.I'd like to hear Al give a show on specifically the flaws of the USCCB and the split within the American church , but granted I understand why you might not want to be seen as a USCCB mudraker, since you especially seem dependent on their spokespeople being on your show.


  2. Hi Mr. Kresta, I tried to reach your show this afternoon but to no avail. You're very popular it seems.

    One of your callers, the man prior to the gentleman from D.C. spoke about smoking out the businesses that employ these illegal immigrants. You agreed that this is a major contributor to the viewpoint that "these people come here to do jobs we won't."

    I'd like to tell you that I employ illegal immigrants. Not at my place of employment, mind you, but they mow our yard and do the various other tasks that need to be done around our house. They also work at our restaurants, cleaning tables and restrooms. They provide maid and butler services for some of the more respected people I know. They also construct our roadways, build various buildings, and await employment at the employment house down the street from where I have lived my whole life. They are a staple in my life. I can't speak with authority but it is my understanding that they also work in the fields of farmers - mainly corporate farms.

    Who will do these jobs that they do? Good question. I think there are people with hands that will do the work, but they won't take the payment and smile about it. To be quite frank with you, I don't believe that they'll appreciate such employment. We're told that a college degree and deskjob are what is a "success" in public school - which I survived - and then we demand the lowest possible prices for goods that we buy and services that are provided to us. It's a given that cutting costs is a plus, even if that means employing illegals.

    Now I'm not going to give you the exact names of the places where I eat, the roads on which I drive, and the people with whom I run, but you wanted to know where some our illegal brethren are employed.

    I appreciate your running commentary on this issue; and of course it can never be separated from the socioeconomicopolitical milieu in which we find ourselves. I tend to favor giving them citizenship, after proper channels are traversed to assess physical, mental, and criminal worthiness, because of the fact that they seem to be some of the only people having babies these days. (They and the good Catholic families.) The Good Lord only knows who is going to pay my part of Social Security when I retire in 50 years.

    I hope my post can add something to the discussion.


    Matthew Wade

    P.S. - I'm in Dallas, TX.

  3. Years from now when the Catholic Church becomes smaller and its members more of the core faithful,I'll be proud to say that I didnt look for direction nor provide support for this group.


    Although, I give to Catholic Relief Services(CRS) run by the USCCB, I havent been able to find anything bad about CRS in the media, or at least anything that arises to the beyond the level of occassional minor corruption, although I'm sure there is bad in the minute details of the distribution of funds. So far, I havent been able to find a better overseas relief service that is Catholic.


  4. Part 1:
    Psst, RB2, just between you and me.
    I like your contributions so I'm going to ramble on (no alcohol is involved) in a way that the pseudo-prophets to my right like to do.

    Have you ever noticed that when they get called on pretending to know more than they do, they muster a shivering upper lip and say, like the Veggie Tales Pirates: "What do you mean, we are only trying to help, Don't you see we are the pirates who don't do anything... and when the bishops ask us to do anything.... we just tell them...WE DON'T DO ANYTHING.”

    RB2, the divisions are worse than you let on. There are distributists ticked off at neo-cons who are the bane of radicalists all of whom look with disdain at down and dirty apparitionists who've never heard a supernatural claim they couldn't enlist as attestation to their favorite seer's authenticity who often has a fondness for European auxiliary bishops who like to hide behind social democracy.

    Seers tend to like Marx. To everyone according to his ability, to everyone according to their need. The seer says, "I'm able to produce visions," thus "you need to provide for me." Very convenient.

    There's vile backbiting among laity directed toward bishops and there's elitism among clerics who seem to forget that without the laity they look awfully silly saying Mass.

    There is suspicion all around. It would do Nietzsche, Freud and Foucault proud. There are fundamentalists teaching Scripture in religious orders and parishes and anti-supernaturalists filling administrative posts at the Catholic Theological Association.

    There are nuns that have added the labyrinth as a sacramental and others who believe that abortion has some parallel to the shed blood of Christ....this baby broken for you.

  5. Part 2
    And the video you suggest is full of accusation about episcopal complacency and ignorance so easily manipulated by shrewd, lay employees whose Gore/Kerry/Obama bumper stickers have been papered over with those declaring allegiance or antipathy to Global Warming, Preferential Option for the Poor and The Rainbow (representing, no doubt, the Noahic covenant .... Glory.)

    And there are people like yourself so perfectly and sensibly in the middle that I'm tempted to adjust my GPS to your solid vibes. However, since I am redefining the center I can’t give you too much credit yet. BTW, where do you locate yourself in St. Paul’s picture of the Corinthians- there never has been a small or large faithful core.

    You've got much to offer if you stay away from immature crackpots who trained with chicken little and who have little respect for the reputations of men and women whose lives have been given to serve Christ and His Church in spite of their obvious flaws. As NOW, Planned Parenthood and Christopher Hitchens know, bishops make big targets with their odd wardrobes, celibate male culture, and impenetrable hierarchies.

    Criticism flows easiest from those who have never had to lead or manage or serve pastorally. So it’s usually the inexperienced who squawk the loudest. Let them have their kicks exposing all those hypocrites, false brethren, and ignoramuses on staff at the U.S.C.C.B. and then guess what, they might get replaced by the hysterics, the alarmists, those waiting in the wings for a power vacuum that they can fill assuring us of their oh so servant hearts. Just spell their name right and make sure they look good on camera.

    In the meantime the King is on the Throne aghast at the condition of his court but he's also said that the wheat and the tares are going to be sorted out at the end of history... Probably right after the sheep and the goat thing.

    Oh, BTW, I almost never talk to a representative from the U.S.C.C.B. As a rule they are not very good guests. They tend to be too politically correct. My abstinence from muckraking and my restraint is almost entirely rooted in the theological concept that we are a Communion and a Family and I break the communion as little as possible and I try to not let familiarity breed contempt any more than I have to. The episcopate, especially the Bishop of Rome, is our visible sign of unity. This goes to the heart of our ability to proclaim the Gospel.

    Jesus taught that the world has a right to judge whether the ather sent the Son by the degree of observable love and unity they witness on the part of his disciples. (That is the Kresta paraphrase of John 17).

  6. My local parish which is not really my parish is very liberal, serves as a Franciscan priest storage depot/hotel, more 'less than manly' priests than you can shake a stick at. Seems this church was heavily a part of the child abuse scandals in the day. A street-clad nun is the Pastoral Assistant and is in charge of the Liturgy. She has given homilys with talk of womens equality. She doesnt have the church celebrate 'Divine Mercy Sunday', yet 1-2 weeks later Earth Prayer Day is a big to do and promotion(maybe a Gaia connection with the nun) and yes we have a promotion of the labryinth/maze walk thats supposed to enhance your catholic spiritualy.
    Other people give homilys also, choir director, 1st grade cathecist, anyone with some accomplishment whom they want to honor. The pastor gives homilies that are askew to Catholic truth. One of the resident priests in homily talked about giving masses at Mel Gibsons Church--dont know what to think of that one? The Church was promoting some book for everyone to read(the nun directs all this)...so the author gives a homily(licit) then talks of Anthony Quinn and a quote or two from the actor to get our attention. BTW, Anthony Quinn died and was buried as a Protestant, had numerous wives whom he publicly cheated on, and had many illegitimate kids out of wedlock, all easily available on Wikipedia...oh yeah but he played a Pope on the big screen. The 'social justice' corner of the bulletin lists about 7 or more organizations we are encouraged to join...one of which is Amnesty International(to this day). The choir director has elevated clapping to a musical art form. The church has neither kneelers or traditional statues...the BVM is a relief plaque on the wall with nowhere to kneel. I dont go to this church regularly, but I have paid attention over the years.Its a very large Church and the vast majority of parishioneers at this particular parish are fairly clueless and dont have the ability to discern. I find it truly amazing that this one Church(they do what they want) really displays the gamut of the many things that are wrong out there for those willing to see. In contrast, the nearby parishes that I travel to attend are relatively okay or very true.

    Al Wrote:
    "BTW, where do you locate yourself in St. Paul’s picture of the Corinthians- there never has been a small or large faithful core.:

    Sorry, my bad choice of words actually conjures up 'last remnant' fundamentalist talk: "...years from now when the Catholic Church becomes smaller and its members more of the core faithful"

    What I was referring to was Pope Benedict XVI I've heard of snippets where has wrote and said that a smaller church population adhering to ALL the dogma is better for the Church's survival in dark times than including a larger Catholic fold that only picks and chooses bits of the dogma to satisfy its modernist attitudes. Was he referring to Europe in the future and/or analogously the U.S.? Of course, there are alot of clouds on the horizon.


  7. Part 1
    Well said. I find myself laughing as I read your description. Gallows humor I suppose but it's all too true.

    The local parish where the Krestas were received back in 1992 had a Sister L, DRE, dressed in street garb who, in a special outdoor Memorial Day mass behind the rectory, tried to lead us in prayers to Mother/Father God attempting to get us in a dialectic two step between sky god and mother earth. I reported the incident along with the green songsheets to the parish pastor.

    He apparently chastised her since we never had a similar incident and she was demoted somehow.

    On the other hand, this same priest was dismissed in 2003 for a credible allegation that he put the moves on a teenage boy fifteen years before.

    So he's gone, she stays as the pastoral administrator. Lord have mercy on us all.

    Benedict's remarks are often contrasted with John Paul II's on a new springtime. I perform a mental gymnastic that allows me to view the new springtime as a flowering of the purification.

    Honestly, I don't see the problem as the bishops. To attack the episcopacy is to saw off the very limb we are sitting on.

    The more we ridicule, desacralize, make common the episcopal office, treat the bishops like a renegade band of incompetents or connivers, make them the butt of jokes or the target of our chronic moral indignation, the less plausible the Catholic faith becomes.

    We dress them in special vestments, mitre, crozier, coat of arms in order to remind us of the authority Christ has invested in the office. The bishops, among many other things, function iconically making the reality of Christ and the Apostles available to us today. This doesn't mean they are above criticism or are not subject to the basic rules of truthtelling but it means we don't subject them to mockery, ridicule or debase them.

    My problem with so much of the "reporting" on the CCHD or the bishops' handling of politicians is that it lacks respect. It takes something sacred and treats it as common. I know that people will argue that it isn't the office they are disrespecting, just the occupant. But in Catholic thinking the universal and the particular, the office and the occupant are united in a way that is different from the American presidency.

    Thinking as a Catholic means using the Incarnation as our grid for interpreting reality. We don't get to say as Protestants often do, it's not about the Church, it's about Jesus. No, for us it is about the Church which is mystically united to its Head. The Church is not decapitated. The Head is known through the Body.

    No, the problem is not first of all with the bishops, especially in a literate society where the laity have access to Church teaching like no other time in history.

    No, the problem is with the laity who for too long have been told to pray, pay, and obey. the laity has to come into its own. The hierarchy exists to equip the laity to do works of service.

  8. Part 2

    The laity doesn't use the resources at its disposal. It's lay support for organizations like the "franchise" of Jesuit-run colleges and universities and politicians like Jennifer Granholm, Nancy Pelosi and Barak Obama, lay consumption of debased entertainment, lay refusal to find their identiy in the Church rather than the Republican or Democratic parties, lay pursuit of "American way of life" rather than the "imitation of Christ." I could go on. The bishops aren't the problem, we, in the pews, are. When I was ordained as an evangelical Protestant pastor, one of the elders who ordained me made the point that it is not great pastors who make great congregations. Rather, great congregations make great pastors. Or another way of putting it: the laity get the bishops they deserve.

    Since 2000 two thirds of the bishoprics have changed hands. Most would argue that the changes and new appointments have been for the better.

    Around 70 bishops spoke out against Notre Dame's honorary doctorate to Obama. That wouldn't have happened ten years ago. What changed? Lay Catholics in groups like the Cardinal Newman society and Catholic radio as well as awakened ND alumni exhorted their bishops to show appropriate zeal for the faith.

    In the last five years the number of Catholic colleges and universities that have invited inappropriate commencement speakers have dropped from 24 to 9.

    In the last thirteen years, the number of Catholic radio stations have grown from 4 to @150.

    While we could wish the Catholic population had grown faster in the last ten years it has grown. Had lay Catholics been more effective in apologetics and evangelization the whopping number of former Catholics (they constitute the 3rd largest religious bloc in America)would have been sharply reduced.

    I do think things will be tough but we are in the midst of that purification rather than awaiting it and the future of the Church in America is with the laity not the hierarchy. Your intelligent zeal is evidence of the strength of the laity. We need to spread the wealth.

    The New Testament contains about 21 different "one another" commands. Exhort one another, pray for one another, bear one anothers burdens, confront one another, forgive one another, etc. We don't need to learn much new stuff, we need to be reminded to act according to what we already know. Most of us are educated far beyond our obedience.

    The Episcopal Book of Common Prayer has a great prayer: "Give us such an awareness of your mercies, that with truly thankful hearts we may show forth your praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving up ourselves to your service."

  9. Thanks for the comments Al.
    Have to say I agree with you on all.
    However, I am a little less constrained than you when it comes to Bishop talk, but I definitely do recognize and draw a line towards respect of the office.