Tag Archives: politics

Toasting the testy guest

And now we venture into the most wonderful time of the year. But for some — we’re reminded again — it can still be the winter of discontent.

Christine Valentine-Owsik

Ah, the jovial scene: festooned home readied for guests, hearty food lavished on tables and counters, generous open bar, punctuated laughter, crackling fire, soft holiday jazz. This should be fun. People comment on hairstyles, outfits, recent relocations.

But there’s quicksand around the main table. It sits unsuspected as guests balance plates and drinks in search of seats and people to catch up with. The doorbell keeps chiming, the shindig is in full-throttle. Why don’t we do this more often?

At the packed table, political figures are nonchalantly mentioned. Someone barks “no religion or politics here!” But gasoline’s in the fire. People chew in measured silence as others leave the room. And then the blitzkrieg – with denunciations of ‘stupidity,’ ‘idiocy,’ ‘racism,’ slams on Catholicism – peppered with repugnant profanity. Whoa. Anyone choking down food is now getting pulled in, willing or not. Those in adjoining rooms pretend not to hear.

It happens at many gatherings, incensed antagonists ambushing the same targets. Contending with a rapacious adversary is a lifetime training exercise, usually with zero popup warning. Harmless discourse can instantly booby-trap into war.

“The single greatest cause of conflicts – especially in the family – is envy,” says the late Father John Hardon, “and envy of character is the worst kind.” One might think it would be over economic problems, kids, estrangement, or care of elders. But simmering envy has no acceptable reason for its seat at the table; it marinates there … ever-primed to seize and suffocate the resented one. And one doesn’t have to stoke it … just amicably attend an occasion, engage others, and enjoy courteous exchange. Artfully evade talk of business or achievements. Reveal no plans, ideals, or triumphs.

“You’re Catholic, right!?” the table-prosecutor booms. So what about this, and this, and that! Zig-zagging all over the maps of history, religion, politics, and antiquity, depth-charging for an argument, the persona invidiosa throws insults and accusations, pushing for a flash-fight to sink his target into livid defense. The recipient is tempted to fling a knock-out punch, with embargoed counter-invectives no one’s yet heard – and wouldn’t soon forget.

But patient suspension is key.

Rather than an angry retort – which could be justified – a mannerly toast of preliminary listening and saying nothing is a fitting tribute to the snapper. No return smack-downs or sordid accusations. A soldier of Christ follows His example, beginning with patient pause.

The party quiets in anticipation. Then a calm explanation of Catholic teaching – perhaps buttressed by example – hushes it.

Christ has promised His faithful “ … for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict” (Luke 21:15). To make an apt answer is a joy for a man, and a word in season, how good it is! (Proverbs 15: 23)

CHRISTINE VALENTINE-OWSIK is Legatus magazine’s editor.

Reclaiming the Republic: How Christians and Other Conservatives Can Win Back America

Robert G. Marshall
TAN Books, 268 pages 240 pages

Are the liberals and radical secularists winning the cultural and political wars? They’ve certainly made gains, but the struggle is far from over, says author Robert G. Marshall, who served 13 terms in the Virginia House of Delegates before losing in his 2017 re-election bid to the first openly transgendered candidate to be seated in a U.S. statehouse. He argues that religion does have a place in our nation’s political life, illustrates the alarming errors propagated by secularist movements and rulings in contradiction to the vision of the Founding Fathers, and offers a blueprint by which believers and moral conservatives might begin turning back the tide.

Order: Amazon

What matters most

Patrick Novecosky urges Americans to preserve life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness . . .

Patrick Novecosky

There are many reasons why this year’s election is the most important in our lifetime. Religious liberty is under assault by the federal government, our national debt is out of control, our post-Christian culture is virtually unrecognizable to most people over 50 years old, and there’s more.

But in my mind, one reason sums them all up. The men who drafted and signed the Declaration of Independence — arguably the founding document of our great nation — declared that they found certain truths to be self-evident: “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Here’s my reason for this election being pivotal: The current administration — and far too many in our country — no longer recognize these self-evident truths. When the foundational documents of our nation cease to be relevant to voters, we can be certain that radical change is in the air. Shortly before the 2008 election, candidate Obama declared that “we are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” He expressed no interest in recapturing America’s glory or repairing past wrongs. He was advocating for something completely different.

But the blame for the country’s indifference to our founding principles does not rest solely on the shoulders of President Obama. Quite simply, we have failed to appreciate the values that set America apart — and we have failed to teach them to our children. The whole idea of American exceptionalism is lost on most people who have gone through public schools over the past 30-40 years.

Results from the 2010 National Assessment of Educational Progress reveal that only 13% of the nation’s high school seniors showed proficiency in their knowledge of American history. The old phrase “those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it” is coming back to haunt us.

America needs to rediscover its roots. We don’t need to transform our nation, we need to renew it. We need to embrace the principles that made America great, and then teach them to our children. Few understood and articulated these principles better than Ronald Reagan. In 1961, he said: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

Patrick Novecosky is the editor-in-chief of Legatus magazine.