“Just another guy with a blog.  No big whoop.”

August 12, 2009

Disgusted by the Notre Dame Scandal? Then Rally Around Belmont Abbey College

Belmont Abbey College is under fierce attack right now because it will not offer health-care coverage for abortion and contraception. In other words, it's being persecuted for being faithful to its Catholic identity. If this bothers you (it bothers me), then show your support by contributing generously to the new "Chancellor's Fund," which has been set up to help the school protect its Catholic identity. Donate securely here.

Belmont Abbey College is nestled in the plush green rolling hills of Belmont, North Carolina. The campus could provide the backdrop for a film depicting the idyllic Catholic College. Founded by and still served by Benedictine Monks, it provides a visual witness to the beauty of the Benedictine mission of “work and prayer” and the Order’s significant role in helping to birth the great European Universities out of the Monasteries of the Middle Ages. The Monastery on campus is a symbol of the dynamic Catholic Faith, life and culture which characterizes this Catholic College.

— By Deacon Keith Fournier, Catholic Online —

What is more appealing than even its beauty is Belmont Abbey’s dedication to handing on the fullness of Catholic faith, thought and culture to their student body. It has an overt commitment to teaching the fullness of the Catholic Christian faith and infusing in its graduates a Catholic worldview. The President of the College, Dr. Bill Thierfelder, is right out of Central casting. With a background in athletics and Sports medicine, he has dedicated his academic leadership to promoting a truly Catholic, fully human, virtue centered lifestyle on campus.

When I first met him I was struck by his height and his gregarious manner. He could have just stepped off the basketball court. As I listened to him speak, it became clear that this was a man who understands the fullness of the Catholic vision for the human person, the family and the social order. He also takes seriously the essential role of the Catholic academy in training the new missionaries for the New Evangelization of every segment of the contemporary culture. Finally, he has the courage required of a Catholic leader.

In 2007, a faculty member discovered that under the College’s existing Health Insurance Plan, anti-life and anti-family products and procedures were potentially covered, including abortion, contraception and sterilization. The College, a Catholic institution committed to the infallible teaching of the Catholic Church concerning the sanctity of life, removed the provisions. President Thierfelder explained this action in a letter he sent to students, faculty and friends of the College with this refreshingly clear statement:

“The teaching of the Catholic Church on this moral issue is clear. The responsibility of the College as a Catholic College sponsored by the monks of Belmont Abbey to follow Church teaching is equally clear. There was no other course of action possible if we were to operate in fidelity to our mission and to our identity as a Catholic College.” He was absolutely correct. Belmont Abbey College was just being Catholic! . . . (
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"I Won't Back Down," by Tom Petty:

Well, I won't back down, no I won't back down
You can stand me up at the gates of hell
But I wont back down

Gonna stand my ground, won't be turned around
And I'll keep this world from draggin me down
Gonna stand my ground, and I won't back down

Hey baby, there ain't no easy way out
Hey I will stand my ground
And I won't back down.

Well I know what's right, I got just one life
In a world that keeps on pushin me around
But Ill stand my ground and I won't back down

Hey, baby, there ain't no easy way out
Hey, I will stand my ground
And I won't back down
No, I won't back down

Fun Poll: How Is America Going to End?

From Josh Levin and Chris Wilson at Slate.com:

For the last week, I've considered many possible scenarios for America's downfall: the rise of a climate strongman, the emergence of a transnational class of superhumans, secession by the country's leading maple syrup producer, and others. At the same time, the Slate hive mind has been cranking away, analyzing the likelihood of various end-of-America scenarios with our "Choose Your Own Apocalypse" interactive feature.

Your task was simple: Browse through a list of 144 potential apocalypses and choose up to five that seem most likely to wipe the United States off the map. As of Wednesday night, 60,020 readers had submitted their visions of the end of America. Many of those participants came from outside the U.S.—a healthy 15 percent of the people who viewed the feature came via this Russian site. Our 60,000 "Choose Your Own Apocalypse" submissions included votes for 255,496 individual scenarios. We've tallied the ballots and analyzed the data. Out of the 144 scenarios in the apocalypse grid, here are the five you believe are the biggest threat to America's continued existence:

The most popular scenario—"Loose Nukes," chosen by 10.5 percent of Slate readers—combines modern and old-fashioned anxieties. "Taliban fighters wrest nuclear weapons from a destabilized Pakistan.

Or al-Qaida acquires a small arsenal of nukes from a disintegrating Russia," the scenario description embedded in "Choose Your Own Apocalypse" reads. "The nonstate actors launch against the United States in an attack exponentially worse than 9/11." The presence of terrorists at the top of the charts indicates that we're still smarting from al-Qaida's 2001 attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon—perhaps the most recent event that raised momentary doubts about the country's continued existence. The fact that we envision those terrorists hitting us with nukes indicates that we have the same fears as the World War II generation. In the last 65 years, nothing has come along to supplant the scariness of a mushroom cloud.

While "Israel-Arab War" (picked by 7.6 percent of users) represents another worry that's generations old, the "Peak Oil" (9.3 percent) and "China Unloads U.S. Treasurys" (8.2 percent) scenarios are new apocalyptic visions. Peak Oil—"Petroleum production reaches terminal decline.

Oil becomes too expensive to extract, and alternative energies can't maintain our fossil-fuel-dependent lifestyle"—is the hobbyhorse of widely read collapsists James Howard Kunstler and Dmitry Orlov. It's the scenario of choice for the modern doomsayer who thinks Western civilization has industrialized its way to destruction. Fears of an economic collapse triggered by China pulling out from the American economy are a symptom of both our worries over the current economic crisis and anxiety over America's place in the world.

The scenario I'm most surprised to see in the top five is . . . (continue reading)