Catholic Transcript Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

As we celebrate the 175th Anniversary of the Archdiocese, we look back… on July 23, 1976 when Archbishop Henry J. O'Brien passed away.
Catholic Transcript Reader Survey
Catholic Transcript Reader Survey
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.

alertAt the Spring Assembly of the U.S. bishops, Cardinal Joseph Tobin suggested that a delegation ofbishops go to the border to see for themselves what was happening to newly arrived immigrants, families and children. On July 1 and 2, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. bishops conference, and five other bishops conducted a pastoral visit to the diocese of Brownsville, Texas. Stops included Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle with the community, a visit to anHHS/OBR Shelter and Mass for the families there, a visit to the Customs and Border Patrol processing center in McAllen, TX, and a press conference at the end of their visit. Catholic News Service accompanied the bishops on their border trip. 

  1. Backgrounder and analysis of the bishops’ trip to the border: Cardinal DiNardo told CNS, “You cannot look at immigration as an abstraction when you meet” the people behind the issue.
  2. At final press conference, Cardinal Daniel Dinardo said the church was willing to be part of any conversation to find humane solutions because even a policy of detaining families together in facilities caused “concern.”
  3. Bishops serve soup to immigrant families at a center run by Catholic Charities and listen to their stories. Scranton Bishop Joseph Bambera said he found hope in hearing the people in the room talk about what’s ahead. They didn’t speak of making money but of finding safety for their children, he said, driven by “the most basic instinct to protect your family.”
  4. At an opening Mass he Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle-National Shrine near McAllen, Texas, Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville told Massgoers, “The bishops are visiting here so they can stop and look and talk to people and understand, especially the suffering of many who are amongst us,”

A delegation of U.S. bishops goes on a fact-finding mission at the U.S.-Mexican border to learn more about Central American immigration detention.

Following their visit to an immigrant detention center, U.S. bishops said they are even more determined to call on Congress for comprehensive immigration reform.