How the saints help us

18 Oct 2015

John Henry Newman and hope in Christian life · Hermann Geissler, Osservatore Romano (English Version) Sept. 11, 2015. Reproduced by permission. In a discourse on Saintliness the standard of Christian Principle, Newman develops these ideas. As usual, he starts with the conscience, that instinct of the heart which tells “the difference between right and wrong, and is the standard by which to measure thoughts and actions” (Mix 83). The light of conscience is given to us to guide the soul in its journey towards heaven: “to tell us our duty on every emergency, to instruct us in detail what sin is, to judge between all things which come before us, to discriminate the precious from the vile, to hinder us from being seduced by what is pleasant and agreeable, and to dissipate the sophisms of our reason” (Mix 84). To perform this function the conscience “needs to be regulated and sustained. Left to itself, though it tells truly at first, it soon becomes wavering, ambiguous, and false; it needs good teachers and good examples to keep it up to the mark and line of duty” (Mix 83). According to Newman, the tragedy is that these necessary teachers and examples are…

Margaret Thatcher: Tribute to a Successful Revolutionary

12 Apr 2013

Margaret Thatcher: Tribute to a Successful Revolutionary

I met Margaret Thatcher as she was entering Thames Television headquarters in London during the 1979 election campaign, after which she won the first of three successive election victories. She was interested that I was holding a copy of a recently-published book about appearing on television: It’s Your Turn Next. Margaret Thatcher on the platform I’m grateful that Margaret Thatcher did come to power in the UK. She proved to be Britain’s greatest peacetime Prime Minister in modern history and a strong, though not uncritical, ally of the United States. She restored the British people’s sense of self-confidence and purpose. She reminded us that Britain had already written glorious unique pages in European, indeed world history, and had the potential to make further magnificent contributions if we would accept necessary reforms. Told once that a report with which she disagreed was based on facts, she replied: ‘Facts! I’m here to change the facts!’ That is why she was admired by so many and achieved the highest approval ratings of any leader of her Party in modern times, 62%. She took tough decisions in economic management that had been dodged for years in the name of political…

Gun Control: Message from Mayor Bloomberg

04 Apr 2013

This post introduces the nationwide coalition Mayors Against Illegal Guns. It outlines the history of the coalition, and features a personal message from Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City. The writer of this blog, Michael H. Collins, is author of The American Panorama: A Comprehensive Guide to the Culture of the United States, available from Michael R. Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City and Co-Chair of Mayors Against Illegal Guns A personal message from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg In March 2013, Mayor Bloomberg wrote me to give details of the campaign by him and some 900 other mayors to combat the scourge of illegal guns across America’s towns and cities. This post publicizes the mayors’ initiative as a contribution to the debate on effective measures of gun control. Readers from other countries which have problems of gun violence will also find the post of interest. Michael Bloomberg writes: ‘’Dear Mr. Collins: ….In New York City, cracking down on gun criminals and traffickers has helped us drive crime down to record lows. But even though we’ve made New York the safest big city in the nation, the threat of gun violence remains, and…

Gun Control: How to End Gun Violence

22 Mar 2013

Gun control is among the top news items and blog posts. Searches for the keyword ‘’gun control” have spiked. So have those for ‘’Obama gun control’’ and ‘’Batman Tragedy’’. There are few criminal events as stunning and frightening as a mass shooting. Sudden, random and unpredictable episodes like the killing of six men by a gunman in a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin; the early morning massacre at an Aurora, Colorado, movie theatre; and the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, Connecticut. These horrific events have spawned a federal task force on gun control and kick-started a national conversation about gun violence and gun law. President Obama is even considering a “universal background check” for anyone wanting to own a gun Lawmakers began a new session of Congress with the mass shooting at Newtown inspiring a new push to pass gun control laws that could prevent another tragedy. On Day One, lawmakers in the House of Representatives introduced nearly a dozen bills related to gun violence. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-New York, a long-time gun control advocate, led on the Democratic side. She is sponsoring legislation that would require background checks for all gun sales — including at gun…

Welcome Pope Francis! A New-Style of Leader

14 Mar 2013

A humble, principled and compassionate leader has been elected Pope.The cause of peace and justice and, indirectly, the campaign to overcome gun violence, took a stride forward on March 13, 2013, with the election of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires as Pope. Although I am not a Catholic but an Episcopalian (Anglican), I welcome the election of this man of surpassing holiness, towering intellect, great strength of character and deep compassion as leader of the largest Christian denomination. Jorge Bergoglio is a humble, down-home sort of guy who cooks his own dinner and rides the bus. Some of that will have to change now he is Pope, but the principled inner core of the man shines out and his integrity will never let him forget where he came from. Most likely, we shall never meet this wonderful man and come to know him personally. Yet if we study the tradition he is from, that of St Francis of Assissi and St Francis Xavier, founder of the Jesuits, of which Cardinal Bergoglio was a Provincial, we shall come to understand something of him. And if we follow the example he will set as best we can in our own circumstances,…