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« November 2013 | Main | January 2014 »

Front Page » Monthly Archives » December 2013

By Angelo Lopez on December 26, 2013

Thanks Ken for your two blogs this December. I always learn from reading your insights and enjoy reading of your experiences. I hope you and all the readers of Everyday Citizen had a good Christmas, and a happy holiday season. Have a wonderful 2014.

I'll end this blog with youtube videos of people and groups who have helped the homeless during past holiday seasons and thoughout the year.

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By Ken Poland on December 23, 2013

Angelo says, “Some people have argued that the Pope's gestures are just empty words.” Popes have issued apostolic exhortations, many of which Angelo referenced for us in an earlier blog. And indeed, many of those exhortations ended up being empty words, as far as changing the centuries old attitudes and rules within the hierarchy of the church. That doesn’t mean that they were not of any value. Seeds were planted. Those words have limited power if the speakers themselves weren’t willing to encourage their readers to follow them or didn’t follow them themselves. Leaders, even in a highly structured organization such as the Roman Catholic Church, can’t perform miracles in changing the hearts of people. Even God does not force change. Eventual consequences may make us wish we had changed, but God allows us to decide when we want to change, then He helps us, time after time, to make those changes.

I guess you could say Jesus issued some ‘apostolic exhortations’ and the New Testament writers gave us many exhortations. But they didn’t change all of the world immediately. They met strong opposition from the established Jewish leaders of the day. There was some dissension, even, in the ranks of the New Testament church leaders.

Human beings are social creatures, but we just can't seem to get along with one another.

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By Angelo Lopez on December 23, 2013

One of the great joys of the past year has been in watching how Pope Francis's papacy has unfolded in his first few months. He has emphasized the church's historical role in championing the rights of the poor and the marginalized; reached out with respect to atheists, Jews, Muslims, gays and lesbians; he granted audience to children, the disabled, refugees; he has reached out to divorced Catholics who are excluded from important church sacraments. He adopted a humbler style, residing in the Vatican’s modest guesthouse rather than the lavish Apostolic Palace, he carries his own luggage, and he pays his hotel bills in person. Pope Francis traded the armored Mercedes SUV that ferried his predecessor for a far more humble Ford Focus. Though he hasn't yet made any changes in church teachings, his humble manner has captured the respect and admiration of the world, especially of those people who have had antagonistic relationships with the Catholic Church.

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By Ken Poland on December 20, 2013

Angelo, it is hard for some of us oldsters to realize that less than half our voting population were old enough to know anything first hand about John F. Kennedy and his Administration. My oldest son was only three years old when Kennedy was assassinated. The vast majority of adults in society today have been influenced by the biased opinions of their parents, teachers, and historians. Yes, I said biased. I happened to agree with JFK's social and political views, therefore, I ignored some of his flaws.

He has been idealized and eulogized by some and unfairly judged and criticized by some. He was not perfect by any means. The 'cold war' that followed WW2 and the Korean conflict was at its hight, in the late fifties and early sixties. The race to reach outer space and establish dominance there was critical. The economic boom created by war was beginning to wane. Civil rights activists were getting bolder and bolder. The cultural revolution was letting women and youth establish independence. Religeous influence of Christian churches had peaked in the early fifties and was in decline. The leaders in the business world and government were no longer dominated by those who were in leadership positions during the depression of the thirties. JFK grew up during the thirties and was the first President that hadn't been responsible for making personal, business, or political decisions before being inducted into the military during WW2. He was, I think, the youngest elected President to take office.

By Angelo Lopez on December 20, 2013

A month ago, the nation remembered the passing of President John F. Kennedy. I was born after Kennedy died, but the glow of his Presidency was still felt by my generation as I was growing up. In 1983, on the twentieth anniversary of his death, I saw a lot of newspaper articles and television specials on Kennedy's presidency, and I grew to admire him. All these years later, we now know of John F. Kennedy's flaws and his myth has been cut down to size. In spite of that, I still like President Kennedy. One of the things that I most admire about President Kennedy was his ability to inspire his fellow Americans to get involved in the affairs of this country so this country could live up to its highest values. "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country", Kennedy said in his inaugural address. Kennedy's words stirred Americans to join the Peace Corps, march for civil rights, help the poor and serve in government.

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By Angelo Lopez on December 11, 2013

Recently, Pope Francis issued forth the apostolic exhortation Evangellii Gaudium, which has set forth his vision on the direction that he wants the Roman Catholic Church to take during his papacy. In his exhortation, Pope Francis urges Roman Catholics and all Christians to be more involved in helping the poor and it offers a stinging critique of the flaws of the capitalist system. This critique has drawn the ire of many American conservatives, who point out that the free market system has produced great economic growth that has lifted large segments of the world population out of poverty and has produced many technological advancements. Pope Francis points out though that this same economic system is brutal to those who are left out of the economic growth. Those that are left behind are trapped in a cycle of poverty that destroys the spirit and many of the poor struggle to maintain their dignity. Unfettered free market economic systems cause vast inequalities where wealth is concentrated on a small group of people. Pope Francis's critique of the capitalist system is not a new teaching that Francis is introducing to the Church. A critique of capitalism's flaws has been an integral part of Catholic Church teaching since the encyclical Rerum Novarum in 1891. This inspired a cartoon I did for the December 4, 2013 edition of the Philippines Today.

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