Friday, January 26, 2007

Our Worthy Knights Collecting for the Cause of Life

(Picture courtesy of Brigid Harris)

Question: How does the Right to Life March happen each year? How does it get set up and organized? How do all the bureaucratic boxes get checked?

Answer: through a lot of people's hard work and the financial support of the marchers.

Each year volunteers from the Father Diamond Council #6962 (Fairfax, Virginia) of the Knights of Columbus helps by collecting donations in the line of march. This is a picture of Larry Gottschalk, a past Grand Knight and a gem of a man, collecting last Monday. Larry, another twenty four knights, and three of their spouses worked Constitution Avenue. They have done this for fourteen years holding out their buckets.

Their work is not done once the March for Life is over. They have to take the money back to Fairfax. There they count it: every dollar, quarter, dime, nickel, and penny of it. That is a big job in itself! Finally they have to turn it over safe and sound to the organizers of the March. And this is only one of the things the Council does for the March.

This year the marchers chipped in 25,890 U.S. dollars and one Canadian $50 bill.

That is a new record. Judging from the pictures I have seen and from the amount the marchers gave, maybe this was the biggest March ever! (The previous record was in 2002.)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Brownback for President

Senator Brownback was a hit among pro-lifers according to the Washington Post's Dana Milbank. Whenever I marched, he enthusiastically addressed the crowd to enthusiastic responses.
Image above: Brownback for President signs at the March for Life. (Courtesy of Brigid Harris.)

Image on the right: Brownback (R-Kan.) addresses the Pro-Life Americans. (By Alex Wong -- Getty Images)

The March For Life: The Crowd

Picture courtesy of Brigid Harris.

The press seems to ave settled on the phrase "tens of thousands" to describe the size of the crowd at the March for Life. That was what both the Post and the Washtimes used. Even Voice of America had an article and used the same formula. This is the second year in a row (no pun intended) that I have missed the March. Typically there were at least 150,000 when I marched. That is based on rough counting when you can get a view ahead and behind. This occurs when the March turns off Constitution Avenue and you start heading up Capitol Hill. This picture is taken just past the turn.

It seems that this year the crowd was even bigger. You would not know it from the media coverage. Life News legitimately
complains about the Post's coverage. According to the Indianapolis Star, the March did not even exist: see Ken Waldron's email.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Coverage of the March For Life

The Washington Times published an article in its metropolitan section, but had a great picture ("Rally to Reverse Roe") at the very top of the front page. The Washington Post, the establishment paper, had its coverage on page 10. Whereas its coverage was prominent on yesterday it disappeared from the main page today.

Monday, January 22, 2007

The March For Life

It is strange. This is the second year in a row that I have not been in the March for Life. Joining with 150,000 or so civil rights marchers for the unborn was becoming an annual event when I lived in Washington. The family had a much better track record than I have. Brigid is the only one that made it this year.

Both the Washington Post and the Washington Times web sites cover it. Kansas always had a strong contingent. When Senator Bronbeck and the Kansas congressmen spoke a loud roar would rise from the crowd. Benedictine College was always well represented. This year the March includes over 750 Catholic pro lifers from the Wichita Diocese including Bishop Jackels.

You can hear and see one of our marchers from the area on the Washington Post video in the next post.

Margaret Mans From Goddard, Kansas makes the Washington Post Video!

Today is the March for Life in Washington. It is the thirty fourth anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision allowing abortion on demand (Roe vs. Wade.) The Washington Post, the establishment newspaper in our nation's capitol, has a video on its website covering the March. On it Margaret Mans from Goddard (west of Wichita) is interviewed among others.

Clink on the link [ Video by: Akira Hakuta /] to listen.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


We are hearing readings from the "Letter" to the Hebrews in the daily mass cycle. It can be argued that it is less an epistle than it is a homily to either Jewish or Jewish Christian priests.

Scott Hahn has an excellent
set of lectures that "decodes" Hebrews. He applies his extensive cross reading of the Old Testament and his liturgical insights to unlock the meaning of a text that most of us find puzzling.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Liturgy is not about me!

"Liturgy", he says, "is not entertainment, it is not self-validated. Liturgy is the experience of heaven, not something that happens to me in some sort of emotional-personal state."

For one thing, heaven may not be what we think it will be.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Catholic Homeschooling in Wichita

The Holy Family Home Educators, Catholic homeschoolers, can be found at .

And (tip of the Akubra to the anonomous commentor) HFHE Wichita now (September, 2007) has a website at

They are quite active and cover all grades.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Why Icons Do Not Look Quite Real

St. John Chrysostom with liturgical Scroll: The Holy Monastery of St. Catherine, Mount Sinai; Photography by Bruce M. White, 2005

Why Are Icons Not Quite Realistic?

The answer is partly liturgical: because the artists want them to be really real! The church fathers understood the divine liturgy, what we Catholics call the “mass,” as action in which we mortals join the angels, saints, and martyrs in the work of praising God and offering the divine sacrifice.

What does this mean for art? Since our coworkers in the liturgy (those angels, saints, and martyrs) are not here on earth, they should not look like they are here on earth. Their reality is literally otherworldly. The artist must convey the difference between a being that is “really real” (to borrow a phrase from The Last Battle) rather than simply in the flesh. To achieve this, their icons consciously deviate from the use of perspective and other skills used to make a two dimensional picture look like something we see in our three dimensional world.

The ancient Greeks knew perspective. They had the technology to paint realistic paintings. Some time during the long Byzantine period, they lost the ability to portray with perspective. Why? I do not know. If I had to guess, it was because icons’ dominance crowded out painting that was “realistic” in a purely earthly way.

"Holy Image, Hallowed Ground: Icons From Sinai" at the Getty Museum

The Getty Museum in Los Angeles is showing an exhibit of icons, "Holy Image, Hallowed Ground: Icons From Sinai." The Wall Street Journal’s Tom L. Freudenheim writes about this “inspired and inspiring exhibition.” He tells us it is “a singular event simply because these rare Byzantine works of art have rarely been seen away from their home at St. Catherine's Monastery in Egypt, and never before in such profusion.”

St. Catherine's is an Orthodox monastery built on the mountain where God spoke to Moses and gave him the law. It is the source of the Sinaiticus codex, one of the earliest and best sources for the scripture. This manuscript is now in the Vatican library.

Freudenheim continues, “The Getty's expansive exhibition catalog suggests that there is much we have yet to learn about the early Christian tradition, in which icons -- painted images of sacred subjects -- were primarily used in private worship, before they became part of Byzantine church decoration. Of the 70 awe-inspiring objects in the exhibition, ranging from the sixth to the 16th centuries, 62 are on loan from St. Catherine's, so it's surprising to learn that they were first published only in the 1950s.” Read on...