Newspaper of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

Hark the herald angels: How sacred music evangelizes, lifts up hearts
Msgr. Vincenzo De Gregorio, director of the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music, is pictured at an organ at the institute in Rome Dec. 6. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)   VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- 'Tis t...

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Witnesses recall New Year’s Eve cathedral blaze of 60 years ago
Written by Jack Sheedy
Left, people gather to watch firefighters attack the blaze as it rages near the towers of the cathedral. The roof eventually collapsed after being completely involved in flames. At right, firefighters...

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Museum featuring crèches of Germany
Written by Mary Chalupsky
German Nativity scene by Egon Wolfsgruber is placed inside a barrel with polychrome wood figurines. (Photo courtesy of the Knights of Columbus Museum)  NEW HAVEN – With its ancestral heritage, c...

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Pope Francis meets Martin Scorsese, director of 'Silence,' at Vatican
VATICAN CITY (CNA/EWTN News) – On Wednesday, Pope Francis added world famous director Martin Scorsese to the list of Hollywood stars he has welcomed for a private meeting in the Vatican, following a...

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Theater review: ‘The Front Page’
John Slattery and Nathan Lane in “The Front Page” (Photo by Julieta Cervantes)NEW YORK – Because of Nathan Lane’s presence in the cast,  the revival of “The Front Page” has attracted attention an...

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Sacred music: a St. Mary tradition
Written by Mary Chalupsky
Nicholas Renouf, director of music at St. Mary Church in New Haven or four decades, accompanies the Schola Cantorum during a noon Sunday Mass at St. Mary recently. (Photo by Mary Chalupsky) NEW HAVEN...

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Retirement Fund for Religious helps when communities can’t
Written by Administrator
Campaign photo for the 2016 Retirement Fund for Religious collection, which will take place Dec. 10-11 in most parishes. (Photo by Jim Judkis) WASHINGTON – The annual Retirement Fund for Religious ...

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Hark the herald angels: How sacred music evangelizes, lifts up hearts
Hark the herald angels: How sacred music evangelizes, lifts up hearts
Witnesses recall New Year’s Eve cathedral blaze of 60 years ago
Witnesses recall New Year’s Eve cathedral blaze of 60 years ago
Museum featuring crèches of Germany
Museum featuring crèches of Germany
Pope Francis meets Martin Scorsese, director of 'Silence,' at Vatican
Pope Francis meets Martin Scorsese, director of 'Silence,' at Vatican
Theater review: ‘The Front Page’
Theater review: ‘The Front Page’
Sacred music: a St. Mary tradition
Sacred music: a St. Mary tradition
Retirement Fund for Religious helps when communities can’t
Retirement Fund for Religious helps when communities can’t

Latest Commentary

ARCHBISHOP

As we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ, I wish all of you a holy Advent and a Christmas...

LOCAL

HARTFORD – Reverend Ivan Dario Ramirez and Reverend Israel Rivera have been incardinated in the Archdiocese of Hartford by Archbishop...

WORLD

Women religious gather outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington March 23, the day the high court heard oral arguments...

ARTS

Gabrielle Union and Colman Domingo star in a scene from the movie "The Birth of a Nation." (CNS photo/Fox) NEW...

FROM OUR READERS

ENFIELD – John Berube, president of the parish council of St. Bernard Parish, thanks Father John P. Melnick, pastor, for...

YOUTH

BRANFORD – More than 300 people attended the 10th annual Archbishop’s Columbus Day Breakfast, held at the WoodWinds this year...
A Washington Post reporter recently visited the hinterlands in search of those peculiar people you find outside the Beltway, New York, Los Angeles and all the other alleged centers of power that drive America.

The reporter wrote a front-page story describing life in an Oklahoma town where people believed "their cherished values are under assault." It was a place that had a large sign proclaiming, "Only God Can Save America."

What a radical and unconventional thought in 21st century America.

Yes, they were simple country folk, but smart enough to understand a fundamental truth that the illuminati in the alleged centers of power are too smart to grasp.

The reporter found the concept amusing as she visited a popular church of 400 congregants in the town of 600, where everyone "recites pledges of allegiance to the United States, to the Bible and to the Christian flag."

A major metropolitan newspaper surely must find it entertaining to think people believe the path back for America is prayer ... and not politics.

You see, the prevailing view has always been that America’s hope lies in politics; and look where that has gotten us. We’re going backwards, and our leaders are making decisions based on opinion polls and pressure from special interest groups rather than principles.

Regardless of your politics, Rick Santorum’s candidacy provoked a lot of chuckles and derision from the culturally elite, who, like columnist Maureen Dowd, found it reprehensible if not outright inane that Santorum once suggested in a speech that Satan had America in his sights. I, too, am inclined to think Santorum was wrong. Satan has America in his claws.

The political season seems to have revved up the pick-on-Catholics pastime. There was also an opinion piece in the Huffington Post by a writer for the Simpsons who described Catholics as cannibals and a lot of other grotesque and insulting and profane things, which he defended as satire.

It was certainly awfully heavy-handed satire, more like the ravings of a lunatic whose underwear was too tight. Have no doubt, Catholics are in the crosshairs for suggesting religious liberty should be protected and committing various other alleged transgressions against the popular culture.

I understood exactly how much trouble we’re in as a country after a shooting in an Ohio school left three students dead, and a headline in USA Today said, "Ohio shooting suspect ‘an average 17-year-old.’"

There was a photo of police leading the alleged gunman out of court – a sullen and pathetic, lonely young man who grew up in an abusive home, and it struck me as telling that, yes, this is the new "average," the new normal in America, where shootings and abuse are so commonplace that we don’t even wince anymore when we read about it or see it on the evening news.

All the legislation in the world by Barack Obama, the Democrats and the Republicans isn’t going to change the situation because a spiritual sickness afflicts our country, and you have to be blind not to see it. In many ways, it’s like alcoholism, the disease of denial, because our leaders and the media refuse to acknowledge there’s a problem.

Our only hope, as the Oklahoma sign says, is God. That means prayer, which is a solution you’ll never read about in New York Magazine or hear on the Senate floor while they prattle on and on.

No institution, no human being – not the President or the Chamber of Commerce or the editorial board of The New York Times or the executive suite at JPMorgan Chase – can inspire or mandate the change that’s necessary to bring the world back to love and to make it the place it was intended to be.

Only heaven can direct that plan, and the force that will save us is prayer, not politics. The good news is you don’t even have to run for office to have a part in this campaign.

Call me crazy, but I’m convinced one decade of the rosary can effect more change for good in the hearts of men and women than a decade of congressional sessions. That kind of spiritual empowerment is available to all of us regardless of our name, rank or Social Security number, regardless of our prestige and gross annual income. All we have to do is start, and the time is now.

J.F. Pisani is a writer who lives with his family in the New Haven area.