Friday, January 11, 2008

HUMAN EVENTS Endorses Fred Thompson
Posted: 01/11/2008

The 2008 presidential election is the most unusual and most important in many years. It’s been more than five decades since such a race didn’t feature an incumbent President or Vice President. Since World War II, America has not had a presidential election at a time when the stakes were higher. Conservatives have to win this election, and to do so, we have to identify a candidate around whom we all can rally.

Fundamental Beliefs

We begin by recalling the profound words of Ronald Reagan at the Conservative Political Action Conference Feb. 15, 1975: “A political party cannot be all things to all people. It must represent certain fundamental beliefs which must not be compromised to political expediency or simply to swell its numbers.” We believed that then, and we believe it now. The issue for us -- and for the conservative community -- boils down to which of the candidates is most representative of the fundamental conservative principles we believe in. The answer is Fred Thompson.

To reach that conclusion, we looked closely at the former Tennessee senator and his opponents to judge whether they measure up to conservative standards. Some come close, and others clearly do not.

Sen. John McCain of Arizona is a war hero whose personal courage sustained many of the men imprisoned with him in the infamous “Hanoi Hilton.” We honor him, but he does not honor many conservative principles. His co-authorship of the Bush-McCain-Kennedy “comprehensive immigration reform” legislation last summer ran directly against our principles of American sovereignty and national security. His position has not been ameliorated by his more recent explanations of border-security measures he might support. His opposition to the Bush tax cuts, his support for economy-strangling measures to control “global warming” and his anti-torture legislation (which didn’t make torture illegal, it already was: McCain’s law only made a clear law vague to the point of unenforceability) all cut against the conservative grain. And so did his McCain-Feingold campaign finance law with its stifling of political free speech.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is a charming and agreeable gentleman. But his support for the economically disastrous “cap-and-trade” fix for global warming is as bad as Sen. McCain’s position on the issue. The so-called “fair tax” he supports is unworkable. His tax-and-spend policies do not comport with conservative principles, but they do align all too well with Huckabee’s populist rhetoric on the injustice of corporate CEO salaries. His stance on granting special benefits to the children of illegal aliens is also very troubling. On the war, Gov. Huckabee’s understanding of the issues does not impress us. For example, he wants to close the terrorist detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and move the detainees there into U.S. prisons, which -- as Sen. Thompson schooled him on in a recent debate -- would result in the grant of constitutional rights to terrorist detainees even though they are enemy combatants. Gov. Huckabee’s grasp of foreign policy does not make us comfortable.

Rep. Ron Paul’s limited-government rhetoric is appealing to many conservatives, but his unyielding isolationism that might have been appropriate for another era is not realistic. He would withdraw from Iraq regardless of the consequences and then pull American forces out of every other country as well. He does not believe, as we do, that America must win the war against the terrorist-sponsoring nations. We find intolerable his repeated statements that we were attacked on 9/11 because we had a presence in the Middle East. That implies that we were, in whole or in part, to blame for the attacks.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani did an admirable job bringing his city through the crisis of 9/11. Even before that terrible day, he did a commendable job cleaning up Gotham. But the mayor’s pro-abortion, pro-gun control, pro-gay rights social views are more liberal than conservative. And his foreign policy views are of considerable concern. His article in Foreign Affairs late last year seemed less conservative than neo-Wilsonian. Giuliani also said in the June 5, 2007, debate, “We need to look at nation-building as part of what we need to teach our military.” No, Mr. Mayor. We don’t.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is a closer call. We believe his relatively new pro-life position is a sincere one, but examining his record and listening to his campaign rhetoric indicate to us that he is more a problem-solver than a gut conservative. His “RomneyCare” legislation made Massachusetts the first state in the nation to impose an “individual mandate,” which requires everyone in the state to have health coverage or face significant penalties. And we have concerns about the big-government approach he took as governor, raising state “fees,” according to the Cato Institute, by $500 million and proposing two corporate tax increases totaling close to $400 million a year.

Which brings us back to Sen. Fred Thompson.

We make this endorsement on the basis of much research, having interviewed Sen. Thompson and some of his opponents, as well as examining what they have all said and done. We conclude that Thompson is a solid conservative whose judgment is grounded in our principles.

In his Senate years, Mr. Thompson compiled an American Conservative Union lifetime rating of 86.1, which is higher than both Sen. John McCain (82.3) and Rep. Ron Paul (82.3). The Club for Growth has praised Thompson as someone who has a strong commitment to limited government, free enterprise and federalist principles.

On the issues that matter most to conservatives, Sen. Thompson’s positions benefit from their clarity. He is solidly pro-life. He said that he was in favor overturning Roe v. Wade because it was “bad law and bad medical science.” As the National Right to Life Committee said in its endorsement of him Nov. 13, 2007, “The majority of this country is opposed to the vast majority of abortions, and Fred Thompson has shown in his consistent pro-life voting record in the U.S. Senate that he is part of the pro-life majority.”

Thompson’s record is solid on voting to preserve gun owners’ rights, cut taxes, reduce government spending and drill for oil in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He has voted consistently against gay marriage. Thompson is by no means perfect. He strongly supported the McCain-Feingold bill, did not support the impeachment of Bill Clinton on perjury and more than once voted with the trial lawyers against limitations on liability in defective product and medical malpractice cases.

We like the way Thompson unhesitatingly attacks the liberal ideologues and their activists such as and the ACLU, and the way he reaches out to those we knew as the Reagan Democrats.

The question now is whether Sen. Thompson will do what he has not yet done: Take the advantages he is given by his intelligence, his principles, his political skills and this endorsement and make the best use of them.

As the primaries and debates speed by, we would like to see Sen. Thompson continue to invigorate his campaign to carry him successfully through Tsunami Tuesday and to nomination at the Republican convention.

Sen. Thompson, you suffer, like most conservatives, from the built-in problem of not being a professional politician. It’s precisely as Rush Limbaugh said of you: “The problem with Thompson is, and a little bit with me, is I’m a depth guy. I like depth. Television doesn’t reward depth. Television rewards zingers, one-liners, cutesyisms. Fred Thompson produced a brilliant 17-minute video that was on YouTube that explains everything about every issue that he cares about. It’s clear he’s thought deeply about a whole lot.”

In the next week, you have the opportunity to connect with the conservatives in South Carolina who will be eager to hear your message. We were encouraged when you told Iowans, “I think I know how to talk to the American people about the [Democrats] and the danger their victory would pose to the principles we hold dear.” Now is the time you have to do it.

Mayor Giuliani has offered a dozen proposals to American voters. We know, perhaps better than most, what yours are. For example, your stand on reforming the entitlement programs that threaten to bankrupt our nation is courageous and workable. You need to spell those ideas out for everyone in the plainspoken terms that connect with your core conservative constituents. We’ve publicized a list of the 10 most important issues to conservatives, ranging from illegal immigration to tax reform. You need to speak out forcefully on each of them.

We agree with Rush Limbaugh’s characterization of your December 30 video speech to Iowa voters. More speeches like that one and an ad campaign demonstrating the Reaganesque inspiring optimism we know you have could create a momentum in South Carolina that would carry far beyond its borders.

Tell us how you -- rather than your opponents -- would be better able to beat either New York Sen. Hillary Clinton or Illinois Sen. Barack Obama in the fall. You told the Iowans you were, but you need to tell us all now. Why you, and not Mitt or Mike or Rudy or John? Preview your fall campaign by attacking the centers of liberalism as you did in Iowa, and connect each one of them to the liberals you’ll be running against.

As you said, the Democrats are all liberals. It may not matter which candidate you run against, because they’re all a bunch of clones.

We believe that politicians, like the rest of us, can make their own luck. In that regard, we wish you a productive and successful primary season.

—The Editors of Human Events

Jones's Soaring Career Now a Cautionary Tale

Stephen Chernin/Getty Images
Marion Jones acknowledged outside a federal court in October 2007 that she had used performance-enhancing drugs.

The New York Times
Published: January 11, 2008

Once, Marion Jones ran through the streets for a commercial, her girl-next-door smile and spectacular talent sprinting across television screens throughout America. She would become the most glamorous Olympian in 2000, winning five medals, including three golds, and a rare track and field star who was a household name.

From that height, Jones’s fall has been spectacular. She will be sentenced Friday at the United States District Court in White Plains after pleading guilty to two counts of perjury in October. For years she had defiantly denied using performance-enhancing drugs, but her plea came with a sobbing admission on the courthouse steps that she had used drugs, had been involved in a bank-fraud scheme and had lied to government investigators.

She also retired from track and field that day. There would be no more running. The tearful, regretful Jones officially replaced the conquering one.

“It’s sad because you know so many youngsters looked up to her, and their hopes were crushed,” said Kevin Young, the 1992 gold medalist and world-record holder in the 400-meter hurdles, who said he had known Jones since she was 11. “She’ll always be a role model, because of who she is. Even now, she can say, ‘I made a mistake. I took drugs.’ We all need to be out there telling kids, ‘You don’t need to do this.’ ”

For years, Jones had been saying that. Insisting she was clean, Jones spouted an antidrug message. Now, she stands as the prime example of what drug use can cost.

Judge Kenneth M. Karas will decide Friday whether to follow the recommendation in Jones’s plea deal that she serve zero to six months. He could choose up to a year, giving her six months for each count, or not follow the recommendation at all. Prosecutors recently offered the judge more evidence of Jones’s drug use — doping calendars and a doctor’s testimony that signaled use of EPO and human growth hormone. Jones’s lawyers have argued that the consequences of her plea have already been steep enough.

Jones turned over her five medals from the 2000 Olympics, and the International Olympic Committee and the track federation wiped from their books her results dating from Sept. 1, 2000. A 32-year-old mother of two young sons, she is reportedly broke, having squandered the millions she earned in winnings and endorsements.

“She has shown that the risks of being caught cheating are too high,” said Travis Tygart, chief executive of the United States Anti-Doping Agency. “Her case more than any other shows that the first step down the path of deceit is that first decision to cheat. That started everything else. She had to lie to cover up that cheating.

“I hope young athletes see that and decide not to go down that path.”

Perhaps the saddest part of Jones’s story is that many believe she could have accomplished everything she did without drugs. She had been such a transcendent talent, setting national high school records in the 200 meters and the long jump in California and winning a national championship in basketball at the University of North Carolina before turning professional as a runner. She dominated the world scene in the 100 and 200 meters and vied for titles in the long jump before her admitted drug use.

That talent came in such an appealing package, with a luminescent smile and a charming personality, and marketers helped turn her into a mainstream star. Nike created the advertising campaign that made her an icon by the 2000 Olympics.

But she also surrounded herself with questionable people.

Jones’s first husband, the shot-putter C. J. Hunter, tested positive for steroids and was banned from the Sydney Olympics. She later had a relationship with Tim Montgomery, with whom she had her first child. He was banned from track for life for drug use and was convicted in the bank-fraud scheme that also snared Jones. She was coached for many years by Trevor Graham, who will go on trial in March for perjury stemming from the investigation of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative. Later she turned to Coach Steve Riddick, who was also convicted in the bank-fraud case.

“She made bad decisions, and we become the decisions we make,” said Pat Connolly, a veteran track coach who once coached Evelyn Ashford and who has known Jones since her high school days. “That’s Marion’s story.

“It is sad, but people like Marion Jones and Barry Bonds are also victims of an establishment that not only allowed drug use but quietly condoned it. They allowed the idea to spread that everyone else is doing it.”

Connolly said that one of track’s biggest black eyes was that many of its world records are widely suspected to be drug-aided. Jones wanted to set world records that probably cannot be reached naturally, Connolly said. She suggested wiping out all the records and starting anew.

Connolly is also among the growing chorus of people who are frustrated with the ineffectiveness of drug testing and want sports to adopt profiling, where athletes would provide a full health history of blood tests and other baselines throughout their careers that would better indicate if they use drugs. It is a concept supported by Don Catlin, who used to run the antidoping laboratory at U.C.L.A. and now does drug research.

“The injustice is that the innocent can’t prove their innocence,” Connolly said. “The whole approach to drugs has to be redone.”

Tygart said he hoped the current system had reached a turning point with the Balco investigation and Jones’s admission. He said he believed an overwhelming majority of athletes compete without drugs.

“We are all desperate to believe and want to believe in these athletes and these performances,” Tygart said. “But who can you believe? I think we’re at a significant point. I hope there will be an answer for that.”

For now, Jones serves as a cautionary tale that even the brightest smile can be hiding a lie.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Avery Cardinal Dulles: Who Can Be Saved?

Copyright (c) 2008 First Things (February 2008).

"Flagelação de Cristo"
Caravaggio - 1607

Nothing is more striking in the New Testament than the confidence with which it proclaims the saving power of belief in Christ. Almost every page confronts us with a decision of eternal consequence: Will we follow Christ or the rulers of this world? The gospel is, according to Paul, “the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith” (Rom. 1:16). The apostles and their associates are convinced that in Jesus they have encountered the Lord of Life and that he has brought them into the way that leads to everlasting blessedness. By personal faith in him and by baptism in his name, Christians have passed from darkness to light, from error to truth, and from sin to holiness.

Paul is the outstanding herald of salvation through faith. To the Romans he writes, “If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rom. 10:9). Faith, for him, is inseparable from baptism, the sacrament of faith. By baptism, the Christian is immersed in the death of Christ so as to be raised with him to newness of life (Rom. 6:3-4).

The Book of Acts shows the apostles preaching faith in Christ as the way to salvation. Those who believe the testimony of Peter on the first Pentecost ask him what they must do to be saved. He replies that they must be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins and thereby save themselves from the present crooked generation (Acts 2:37-40). When Peter and John are asked by the Jewish religious authorities by what authority they are preaching and performing miracles, they reply that they are acting in the name of Jesus Christ and that “there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Paul and his associates bring the gospel first of all to the Jews because it is the fulfillment of the Old Testament promises. When the Jews in large numbers reject the message, Paul and Barnabas announce that they are turning to the Gentiles in order to bring salvation to the uttermost parts of the earth (Acts 13:46-47).

A few chapters later in Acts, we see Paul and Silas in prison at Philippi. When their jailer asks them, “What must I do to be saved?” they reply, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.” The jailer and his family at once accept baptism and rejoice in their newfound faith (Acts 16:30-34).

St. Paul- Basilica of St. Paul's Outside the Walls in Rome, Italy

The same doctrine of salvation permeates the other books of the New Testament. Mark’s gospel ends with this missionary charge: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole of creation. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:15-16).

John in his gospel speaks no less clearly. Jesus at one point declares that those who hear his word and believe in him do not remain in darkness, whereas those who reject him will be judged on the last day (John 12:44-50). At the Last Supper, Jesus tells the Twelve, “This is eternal life, that they may know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3). John concludes the body of his gospel with the statement that he has written his account “so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ and that believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31).

From these and many other texts, I draw the conclusion that, according to the primary Christian documents, salvation comes through personal faith in Jesus Christ, followed and signified by sacramental baptism.

The New Testament is almost silent about the eternal fate of those to whom the gospel has not been preached. It seems apparent that those who became believers did not think they had been on the road to salvation before they heard the gospel. In his sermon at Athens, Paul says that in times past God overlooked the ignorance of the pagans, but he does not say that these pagans were saved. In the first chapter of Romans, Paul says that the Gentiles have come to a knowledge of God by reasoning from the created world, but that they are guilty because by their wickedness they have suppressed the truth and fallen into idolatry. In the second chapter of Romans, Paul indicates that Gentiles who are obedient to the biddings of conscience can be excused for their unbelief, but he indicates that they fall into many sins. He concludes that “all have sinned and fall short” of true righteousness (Rom. 3:23). For justification, Paul asserts, both Jews and Gentiles must rely on faith in Jesus Christ, who expiated the sins of the world on the cross.

Animated by vibrant faith in Christ the Savior, the Christian Church was able to conquer the Roman Empire. The converts were convinced that in embracing Christianity they were escaping from the darkness of sin and superstition and entering into the realm of salvation. For them, Christianity was the true religion, the faith that saves. It would not have occurred to them that any other faith could save them.

Origen of Alexandria (185-254 AD)

Christian theologians, however, soon had to face the question whether anyone could be saved without Christian faith. They did not give a wholly negative answer. They agreed that the patriarchs and prophets of Israel, because they looked forward in faith and hope to the Savior, could be saved by adhering in advance to him who was to come.

The apologists of the second and third centuries made similar concessions with regard to certain Greek philosophers. The prologue to John’s gospel taught that the eternal Word enlightens all men who come into the world. Justin Martyr speculated that philosophers such as Socrates and Heraclitus had lived according to the Word of God, the Logos who was to become incarnate in Christ, and they could therefore be reckoned as being in some way Christians. Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, and Origen held that the Wisdom of God gave graces to people of every generation, both Greeks and barbarians.

The saving grace of which these theologians were speaking, however, was given only to pagans who lived before the time of Christ. It was given by the Word of God who was to become incarnate in Jesus Christ. There was no doctrine that pagans could be saved since the promulgation of the gospel without embracing the Christian faith.

Origen and Cyprian, in the third century, formulated the maxim that has come down to us in the words Extra ecclesiam nulla salus—”Outside the Church, no salvation.” They spoke these words with heretics and schismatics primarily in view, but they do not appear to have been any more optimistic about the prospects of salvation for pagans. Assuming that the gospel had been promulgated everywhere, writers of the high patristic age considered that, in the Christian era, Christians alone could be saved. In the East, this view is represented by Gregory of Nyssa and John Chrysostom. The view attributed to Origen that hell would in the end be evacuated and that all the damned would eventually be saved was condemned in the sixth century.

In the West, following Ambrose and others, Augustine taught that, because faith comes by hearing, those who had never heard the gospel would be denied salvation. They would be eternally punished for original sin as well as for any personal sins they had committed. Augustine’s disciple Fulgentius of Ruspe exhorted his readers to “firmly hold and by no means doubt that not only all pagans, but also all Jews, and all heretics and schismatics who are outside the Catholic Church, will go to the eternal fire that was prepared for the devil and his angels.”

Benozzo Gozzoli. St. Augustine Teaching in Rome. Detail. 1464/65. Fresco. 220 x 230 cm. Apsidal Chapel of Sant' Agostino, San Gimignano, Italy.

The views of Augustine and Fulgentius remained dominant in the Christian West throughout the Middle Ages. The Fourth Lateran Council (1215) reaffirmed the formula “Outside the Church, no salvation,” as did Pope Boniface VIII in 1302. At the end of the Middle Ages, the Council of Florence (1442) repeated the formulation of Fulgentius to the effect that no pagan, Jew, schismatic, or heretic could be saved.

On one point the medieval theologians diverged from rigid Augustinianism. On the basis of certain passages in the New Testament, they held that God seriously wills that all may be saved. They could cite the statement of Peter before the household of Cornelius: “Truly I perceive that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him” (Acts 10:34-35). The First Letter to Timothy, moreover, declares that God “desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4). These assurances made for a certain tension in Catholic teaching on salvation. If faith in Christ was necessary for salvation, how could salvation be within reach of those who had no opportunity to learn about Christ?

Thomas Aquinas, in dealing with this problem, took his departure from the axiom that there was no salvation outside the Church. To be inside the Church, he held, it was not enough to have faith in the existence of God and in divine providence, which would have sufficed before the coming of Christ. God now required explicit faith in the mysteries of the Trinity and the Incarnation. In two of his early works ( De Veritate and Commentary on Romans), he discusses the hypothetical case of a man brought up in the wilderness, where the gospel was totally unknown. If this man lived an upright life with the help of the graces given him, Thomas reasoned, God would make it possible for him to become a Christian believer, either through an inner illumination or by sending a missionary to him. Thomas referred to the biblical example of the centurion Cornelius, who received the visitation of an angel before being evangelized and baptized by Peter (Acts 10). In his Summa Theologiae, however, Thomas omits any reference to miraculous instruction; he goes back to the Augustinian theory that those who had never heard the gospel would be eternally punished for original sin as well as their personal sins.

A major theological development occurred in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The voyages of discovery had by this time disclosed that there were large populations in North and South America, Africa, and Asia who had lived since the time of Christ and had never had access to the preaching of the gospel. The missionaries found no sign that even the most upright among these peoples had learned the mysteries of the Trinity and the Incarnation by interior inspirations or angelic visitations.

Francisco Zurbarán
The Apotheosis of Thomas Aquinas
Oil on canvas
Museo Provincial de Bellas Artes, Seville, Spain

Luther, Calvin, and the Jansenists professed the strict Augustinian doctrine that God did not will to save everyone, but the majority of Catholic theologians rejected the idea that God had consigned all these unevangelized persons to hell without giving them any possibility of salvation. A series of theologians proposed more hopeful theories that they took to be compatible with Scripture and Catholic tradition.

The Dominican Melchior Cano argued that these populations were in a situation no different from that of the pre-Christian pagans praised by Justin and others. They could be justified in this life (but not saved in the life to come) by implicit faith in the Christian mysteries. Another Dominican, Domingo de Soto, went further, holding that, for the unevangelized, implicit faith in Christ would be sufficient for salvation itself. Their contemporary, Albert Pighius, held that for these unevangelized persons the only faith required would be that mentioned in Hebrews 11:6: “Without faith it is impossible to please him. For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” They could therefore be saved by general revelation and grace even though no missionary came to evangelize them.

The Jesuit Francisco Suarez, following these pioneers, argued for the sufficiency of implicit faith in the Trinity and the Incarnation, together with an implicit desire for baptism on the part of the unevangelized. Juan de Lugo agreed, but he added that such persons could not be saved if they had committed serious sins, unless they obtained forgiveness by an act of perfect contrition.

In the mid-nineteenth century, the Jesuits of the Gregorian University followed in the tradition of Suarez and de Lugo, with certain modifications. Pope Pius IX incorporated some of their ideas in two important statements in 1854 and 1863. In the first, he said that, while no one can be saved outside the Church, God would not punish people for their ignorance of the true faith if their ignorance was invincible. In the second statement, Pius went further. He declared that persons invincibly ignorant of the Christian religion who observed the natural law and were ready to obey God would be able to attain eternal life, thanks to the workings of divine grace within them. In the same letter, the pope reaffirmed that no one could be saved outside the Catholic Church. He did not explain in what sense such persons were, or would come to be, in the Church. He could have meant that they would receive the further grace needed to join the Church, but nothing in his language suggests this. More probably he thought that such persons would be joined to the Church by implicit desire, as some theologians were teaching by his time.

Pius XII

In 1943, Pius XII did take this further step. In his encyclical on the Mystical Body, Mystici Corporis, he distinguished between two ways of belonging to the Church: in actual fact (in re) or by desire (in voto). Those who belonged in voto, however, were not really members. They were ordered to the Church by the dynamism of grace itself, which related them to the Church in such a way that they were in some sense in it. The two kinds of relationship, however, were not equally conducive to salvation. Those adhering to the Church by desire could not have a sure hope of salvation because they lacked many spiritual gifts and helps available only to those visibly incorporated in the true Church.

Mystici Corporis represents a forward step in its doctrine of adherence to the Church through implicit desire. From an ecumenical point of view, that encyclical is deficient, since it does not distinguish between the status of non-Christians and non-Catholic Christians. The next important document came from the Holy Office in its letter to Cardinal Cushing of Boston in 1949. The letter pointed out—in opposition to Father Leonard Feeney, S.J., and his associates at St. Benedict Center—that, although the Catholic Church was a necessary means for salvation, one could belong to it not only by actual membership but by also desire, even an unconscious desire. If that desire was accompanied by faith and perfect charity, it could lead to eternal salvation.

Neither the encyclical Mystici Corporis nor the letter of the Holy Office specified the nature of the faith required for in voto status. Did the authors mean that the virtue of faith or the inclination to believe would suffice, or did they require actual faith in God and divine providence, or actual faith in the Trinity and the Incarnation?

The Second Vatican Council, in its Dogmatic Constitution on the Church and its Decree on Ecumenism, made some significant departures from the teaching of Pius XII. It avoided the term member and said nothing of an unconscious desire for incorporation in the Church. It taught that the Catholic Church was the all-embracing organ of salvation and was equipped with the fullness of means of salvation. Other Christian churches and communities possessed certain elements of sanctification and truth that were, however, derived from the one Church of Christ that subsists in the Catholic Church today. For this reason, God could use them as instruments of salvation. God had, however, made the Catholic Church necessary for salvation, and all who were aware of this had a serious obligation to enter the Church in order to be saved. God uses the Catholic Church not only for the redemption of her own members but also as an instrument for the redemption of all. Her witness and prayers, together with the eucharistic sacrifice, have an efficacy that goes out to the whole world.

In several important texts, Vatican II took up the question of the salvation of non-Christians. Although they were related to the Church in various ways, they were not incorporated in her. God’s universal salvific will, it taught, means that he gives non-Christians, including even atheists, sufficient help to be saved. Whoever sincerely seeks God and, with his grace, follows the dictates of conscience is on the path to salvation. The Holy Spirit, in a manner known only to God, makes it possible for each and every person to be associated with the Paschal mystery. “God, in ways known to himself, can lead those inculpably ignorant of the gospel to that faith without which it is impossible to please him.” The council did not indicate whether it is necessary for salvation to come to explicit Christian faith before death, but the texts give the impression that implicit faith may suffice.

John Paul II

Vatican II left open the question whether non-Christian religions contain revelation and are means that can lead their adherents to salvation. It did say, however, that other religions contain elements of truth and goodness, that they reflect rays of the truth that enlightens all men, and that they can serve as preparations for the gospel. Christian missionary activity serves to heal, ennoble, and perfect the seeds of truth and goodness that God has sown among non-Christian peoples, to the glory of God and the spiritual benefit of those evangelized.

While repeatedly insisting that Christ is the one mediator of salvation, Vatican II shows forth a generally hopeful view of the prospects of non-Christians for salvation. Its hopefulness, however, is not unqualified: “Rather often, men, deceived by the evil one, have become caught up in futile reasoning and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, serving the creature rather than the Creator. Or, some there are who, living and dying in a world without God, are subject to utter hopelessness.” The missionary activity of the Church is urgent for bringing such persons to salvation.

After the council, Paul VI (in his pastoral exhortation “Evangelization in the Modern World”) and John Paul II (in his encyclical Redemptoris Missio) interpreted the teaching of Vatican II in relation to certain problems and theological trends arising since the council. Both popes were on guard against political and liberation theology, which would seem to equate salvation with formation of a just society on earth and against certain styles of religious pluralism, which would attribute independent salvific value to non-Christian religions. In 2000, toward the end of John Paul’s pontificate, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued the declaration Dominus Iesus, which emphatically taught that all grace and salvation must come through Jesus Christ, the one mediator.

Wisely, in my opinion, the popes and councils have avoided talk about implicit faith, a term that is vague and ambiguous. They do speak of persons who are sincerely seeking for the truth and of others who have found it in Christ. They make it clear that sufficient grace is offered to all and that God will not turn away those who do everything within their power to find God and live according to his law. We may count on him to lead such persons to the faith needed for salvation.

One of the most interesting developments in post-conciliar theology has been Karl Rahner’s idea of “anonymous Christians.” He taught that God offers his grace to everyone and reveals himself in the interior offer of grace. Grace, moreover, is always mediated through Christ and tends to bring its recipients into union with him. Those who accept and live by the grace offered to them, even though they have never heard of Christ and the gospel, may be called anonymous Christians.

Although Rahner denied that his theory undermined the importance of missionary activity, it was widely understood as depriving missions of their salvific importance. Some readers of his works understood him as teaching that the unevangelized could possess the whole of Christianity except the name. Saving faith, thus understood, would be a subjective attitude without any specifiable content. In that case, the message of the gospel would have little to do with salvation.

Karl Rahner

The history of the doctrine of salvation through faith has gone through a number of stages since the High Middle Ages. Using the New Testament as their basic text, the Church Fathers regarded faith in Christ and baptism as essential for salvation. On the basis of his study of the New Testament and Augustine, Thomas Aquinas held that explicit belief in the Trinity and the Incarnation was necessary for everyone who lived since the time of Christ, but he granted that in earlier times it was sufficient to believe explicitly in the existence and providence of God.

In the sixteenth century, theologians speculated that the unevangelized were in the same condition as pre-Christians and were not held to believe explicitly in Christ until the gospel was credibly preached to them. Pius IX and the Second Vatican Council taught that all who followed their conscience, with the help of the grace given to them, would be led to that faith that was necessary for them to be saved. During and after the council, Karl Rahner maintained that saving faith could be had without any definite belief in Christ or even in God.

We seem to have come full circle from the teaching of Paul and the New Testament that belief in the message of Christ is the source of salvation. Reflecting on this development, one can see certain gains and certain losses. The New Testament and the theology of the first millennium give little hope for the salvation of those who, since the time of Christ, have had no chance of hearing the gospel. If God has a serious salvific will for all, this lacuna needed to be filled, as it has been by theological speculation and church teaching since the sixteenth century. Modern theology, preoccupied with the salvation of non-Christians, has tended to neglect the importance of explicit belief in Christ, so strongly emphasized in the first centuries. It should not be impossible, however, to reconcile the two perspectives.

Scripture itself assures us that God has never left himself without a witness to any nation (Acts 14:17). His testimonies are marks of his saving dispensations toward all. The inner testimony of every human conscience bears witness to God as lawgiver, judge, and vindicator. In ancient times, the Jewish Scriptures drew on literature that came from Babylon, Egypt, and Greece. The Book of Wisdom and Paul’s Letter to the Romans speak of God manifesting his power and divinity through his works in nature. The religions generally promote prayer and sacrifice as ways of winning God’s favor. The traditions of all peoples contain elements of truth imbedded in their cultures, myths, and religious practices. These sound elements derive from God, who speaks to all his children through inward testimony and outward signs.

The universal evidences of the divine, under the leading of grace, can give rise to a rudimentary faith that leans forward in hope and expectation to further manifestations of God’s merciful love and of his guidance for our lives. By welcoming the signs already given and placing their hope in God’s redeeming love, persons who have not heard the tidings of the gospel may nevertheless be on the road to salvation. If they are faithful to the grace given them, they may have good hope of receiving the truth and blessedness for which they yearn.

The search, however, is no substitute for finding. To be blessed in this life, one must find the pearl of great price, the treasure hidden in the field, which is worth buying at the cost of everything one possesses. To Christians has been revealed the mystery hidden from past ages, which the patriarchs and prophets longed to know. By entering through baptism into the mystery of the cross and the Resurrection, Christians undergo a radical transformation that sets them unequivocally on the road to salvation. Only after conversion to explicit faith can one join the community that is nourished by the Word of God and the sacraments. These gifts of God, prayerfully received, enable the faithful to grow into ever greater union with Christ.

In Christ’s Church, therefore, we have many aids to salvation and sanctification that are not available elsewhere. Cardinal Newman expressed the situation admirably in one of his early sermons:

The prerogative of Christians consists in the possession, not of exclusive knowledge and spiritual aid, but of gifts high and peculiar; and though the manifestation of the Divine character in the Incarnation is a singular and inestimable benefit, yet its absence is supplied in a degree, not only in the inspired record of Moses, but even, with more or less strength, in those various traditions concerning Divine Providences and Dispositions which are scattered through the heathen mythologies.

We cannot take it for granted that everyone is seeking the truth and is prepared to submit to it when found. Some, perhaps many, resist the grace of God and reject the signs given to them. They are not on the road to salvation at all. In such cases, the fault is not God’s but theirs. The references to future punishment in the gospels cannot be written off as empty threats. As Paul says, God is not mocked (Gal. 6:7).

We may conclude with certitude that God makes it possible for the unevangelized to attain the goal of their searching. How that happens is known to God alone, as Vatican II twice declares. We know only that their search is not in vain. “Seek, and you will find,” says the Lord (Matt. 7:7). If non-Christians are praying to an unknown God, it may be for us to help them find the one they worship in ignorance. God wants everyone to come to the truth. Perhaps some will reach the goal of their searching only at the moment of death. Who knows what transpires secretly in their consciousness at that solemn moment? We have no evidence that death is a moment of revelation, but it could be, especially for those in pursuit of the truth of God.

Meanwhile, it is the responsibility of believers to help these seekers by word and by example. Whoever receives the gift of revealed truth has the obligation to share it with others. Christian faith is normally transmitted by testimony. Believers are called to be God’s witnesses to the ends of the earth.

Who, then, can be saved? Catholics can be saved if they believe the Word of God as taught by the Church and if they obey the commandments. Other Christians can be saved if they submit their lives to Christ and join the community where they think he wills to be found. Jews can be saved if they look forward in hope to the Messiah and try to ascertain whether God’s promise has been fulfilled. Adherents of other religions can be saved if, with the help of grace, they sincerely seek God and strive to do his will. Even atheists can be saved if they worship God under some other name and place their lives at the service of truth and justice. God’s saving grace, channeled through Christ the one Mediator, leaves no one unassisted. But that same grace brings obligations to all who receive it. They must not receive the grace of God in vain. Much will be demanded of those to whom much is given.

Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J., holds the Laurence J. McGinley Chair in Religion and Society at Fordham University. This essay is adapted from the Laurence J. McGinley Lecture delivered on November 7, 2007.

Ann Coulter: John Vincent Coulter
Posted: 01/09/2008

The longest baby ever born at the Albany, N.Y., hospital, at least as of May 5, 1926, who grew up to be my strapping father, passed away last Friday morning.

As Mother and I stood at Daddy's casket Monday morning, Mother repeated his joke to him, which he said on every wedding anniversary until a few years ago when Lewy bodies dementia prevented him from saying much at all: "54 years, married to the wrong woman." And we laughed.

John Vincent Coulter was of the old school, a man of few words, the un-Oprah, no crying or wearing your heart on your sleeve, and reacting to moments of great sentiment with a joke. Or as we used to call them: men.

When he was moping around the house once, missing my brother who had just gone back to college, he said, "Well, if you had cancer long enough, you'd miss it."

He'd indicate his feelings about my skirt length by saying, "You look nice, Hart, but you forgot to put on your skirt."

Of course, he did show strong emotion when The New York Post would run a photo of Teddy Kennedy saying the rosary. I can still see the look of disgust. I saw that face in "How To Read People Like a Book" and it was NOT a good chapter.

Your parents are your whole world when you are a child. You only recognize what is unique about them when you get older and see how the rest of the world diverges from your standard of normality.

So it took me awhile to realize that by telling my friends that Father was an ex-FBI agent and a union-buster whose hobbies included rebuilding Volkswagens and shooting squirrels in our backyard, I was painting the image of a rough Eliot Ness type, rather than the cheerful, funny raconteur they would meet.

Besides being very funny, Father had an absolutely straight moral compass without ever being preachy or judgmental or even telling us in words. He just was good.

He would return to a store if he was given too much change -- and this was a man who was so "thrifty," as we Scots like to say, he told us he wanted to be buried in two cardboard boxes from the A&P rather than pay for a coffin.

When I was bombarded with arguments for baby-killing as a kid, I asked Father about the old chestnut involving a poverty-stricken, unwed teenage girl who gets pregnant. (This was before they added the "impregnated by her own father" part.) Father just said, "I don't care. If it's a life, it's a life." I'm still waiting to hear an effective counterargument.

Father hated puffery, pomposity, snobbery, fake friendliness, fake anything. Like Kitty's father in "Anna Karenina," he could detect a substanceless suitor in a heartbeat. (They were probably the same ones who looked nervous when I told them Father was ex-FBI and liked to shoot squirrels in the backyard.)

He hated unions because of their corrupt leadership, ripping off the members for their own aggrandizement. But he had more respect for genuine working men than anyone I've ever known. He was, in short, the molecular opposite of John Edwards.

Father didn't care what popular opinion was: There was right and wrong. I don't recall his ever specifically talking about J. Edgar Hoover or Joe McCarthy, but we knew he thought the popular histories were bunk. That's why "Treason" was dedicated to him, the last book of mine he was able to read.

When Father returned from the war, he used the G.I. Bill to complete college and law school in three years. In order to get to law school quickly, he chose the easiest college major -- a major that so impressed him, he told my oldest brother that if he ever took one single course in sociology, Father would cut off his tuition payments.

As a young FBI agent fresh out of law school, one of Father's first assignments was to investigate job applicants at a uranium enrichment plant, the only suitable land for which was apparently located on some property owned by the then-vice president, Alben Barkley, in Paducah, Ky.

One day, a group of FBI agents saw the beautiful Nell Husbands Martin at lunch with her mother. They asked the waitress for her name and flipped a coin to see who could ask her out first. Father lost the coin toss, so he paid off the other agents. And that's how Nell became my mother.

Mother swore she'd never marry a drinker, a smoker or a Catholic, and she got all three, reforming Father on all but the Catholicism. Even in foreign countries where none of us spoke the language, Father went to Mass every Sunday until the very end.

Of course, toward the end, he probably didn't even remember he was a Catholic. But on the bright side, he didn't remember that Teddy Kennedy was a Catholic, either.

Father spent most of his nine-year FBI career as a Red hunter in New York City.

He never talked much about his FBI days. I learned that he worked on the Rudolf Abel case -- the highest-ranking Soviet spy ever captured in U.S. history -- during one of my brother's eulogies on Monday. But when Father read a paper I wrote at Cornell defending McCarthy and came across the name William Remington, he told me that had been his case.

Father mostly had contempt for Soviet spies. In addition to damaging information, such as military plans and nuclear secrets, the spies also collected massive amounts of utterly useless information on things like U.S. agricultural production. These were people who looked at a flush toilet like it was a spaceship.

He told me Soviet spies reveled in the whole cloak-and-dagger aspect of espionage. One spy gave weirdly specific details to a contact before their first meeting: He would have the New York Herald Tribune folded three times, tucked under his left elbow at a particular angle.

When the spy walked into the hotel lobby for the rendezvous, Father nearly fell off his chair when the man with the Herald Tribune folded under his elbow just so ... was also wearing a full-length fur coat. But he couldn't have told his contact: "I'll be the only white man in North America wearing a full-length fur coat."

In the early 1980s, as vice president and labor lawyer for Phelps Dodge copper company, Father broke a strike against the company, which culminated in the largest union decertification ever -- at that time and perhaps still. President Reagan had broken the air traffic controllers' strike in 1981. But unions recognized that it was the breaking of the Phelps Dodge strike a few years later that landed the greater blow, as described in the book "Copper Crucible."

There was massive violence by the strikers, including guns being fired into the homes of the mine employees who returned to work. Every day, Father walked with the strikebreakers through the picket line, (in my mind) brushing egg off his suit lapel.

By 1986 it was over; the mineworkers voted against the union and Phelps Dodge was saved. For any liberals still reading, this is what's known as a "happy ending."

To Mother's lifelong consternation -- until he had dementia and she could get him back by smothering him with hugs and kisses -- Father wasn't demonstrative. But all he wanted was to be with Mother (and to work on his Volkswagens). They traveled the world together, went to DAR conventions together, engaged in Republican politics together and went to the New York Philharmonic together -- for three decades, their subscription seats were on the highest landing, or as we Scots call it, the "Music Lovers" level.

When Mother was in a rehabilitative facility briefly after surgery a few years ago and Father was not supposed to be driving, we were relieved that a snowstorm had knocked out the power to the garage door opener, so Daddy couldn't get to the car. It would just be a week and then Mother would be home.

My brother came home to check on Father the first day of this arrangement to find that he had taken an ax to the side door of the garage, so he could drive to the rehab center and sit with Mother all day.

When she left him for five days last summer to go to a family reunion in Kentucky, at some point, Father, who hadn't been able to speak much anymore, looked up and asked his nurse, "Where is she?"

And last Friday morning at 2 he passed away, in his bedroom with Mother. The police and firemen told my brother that they kept trying to distract Mother to keep her away from the bedroom with Father's body, but she kept padding back into the bedroom to be close to him.

Now Daddy is with Joe McCarthy and Ronald Reagan. I hope they stop laughing about the Reds long enough to talk to God about smiting some liberals for me.

Ann Coulter is Legal Affairs Correspondent for HUMAN EVENTS and author of "High Crimes and Misdemeanors," "Slander," ""How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must)," "Godless," and most recently, "If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans."


Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Mark Steyn: The Hope of Change

Steyn on America
Wednesday, 12 December 2007

from National Review

Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) speaks to supporters at his New Hampshire primary night rally in Nashua January 8, 2008.

What do you think is the critical issue in this election season? Personally, I blow hot and cold. I used to think the key issue facing the nation was “hope”. But now I wonder if perhaps it isn’t “change”. It was only last year that I bought The Audacity Of Hope by this fellow called Barack Obama. How audacious hope seemed back then! How bold, how courageous! But now, a mere 12 months later, hope seems cheap, glib, easy.

“There has been a lot of talk in this campaign about the politics of hope,” said this guy in Iowa the other day. “But, understand this: the politics of hope doesn’t mean hoping that things come easy.” It turned out to be the same Barack Obama who’d been going on about the audacity of hope. But now he’s fine-tuned his campaign, and he’s running on “change”.

No, don’t yawn. Hillary Clinton may be running around New Hampshire on her “Ready For Change” tour, but that kind of facile focus-group change is just the same-old-same-old. “Change can’t just be a slogan,” says Senator Obama, who’s committed to a Democratic Party “that doesn’t just offer change as a slogan but real, meaningful change, change that America can believe in. That’s why I’m in this race, that’s why I’m running for the Presidency of the United States, to offer change that we can believe in.”

Any cynical hack pol can offer change as a slogan, but Senator Obama’s offering “Change You Can Believe In” as a slogan. It’s on the side of his “Change You Can Believe In” campaign bus. “I don’t want to settle,” he declared in Bettendorf, Iowa, “for anything less than real change, fundamental change, change we need, change we can believe in.” Obama is reshaping the debate: he’s changing the way we think about change. As his chief strategist, James Axelrod, told Politico, the Senator is arguing for “real and authentic change, not synthetic change”. He’s passionately opposed to “synthetic change”, mentioning no names. If you’re looking for a synthetic-change candidate, sorry, he’s not your guy. Include him out. He’ll change his hair, he’ll change his tie, but he won’t change his fierce righteous opposition to synthetic change. In the stirring words that conclude his new TV ad in New Hampshire: “This is Barack Obama. I approve this message to ask you to believe - not just in my ability to bring about real change in Washington. I’m asking you to believe in yours.” I was so enthused I tore off my old “I’m Pro-Hope And I Vote” bumper sticker and replaced it with “I’m Pro-Change And I Believe”. Ask not what you can change for your country, ask what your country can change for you. “I am here,” Obama told the crowd at the Jefferson-Jackson dinner, “because I feel a fierce urgency that the time for change is now.”

Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose. The Democrats are the party of stasis: on affirmative action, there can be no change; on abortion absolutism, there can be no change; even on a less cobwebbed shibboleth such as the Iraq war, there can be no change – they’ve booked the band and caterers for the big Defeat Parade and no matter what happens on the ground in Baghdad and Anbar they’re not going to change their plans. To his credit, on Social Security Senator Obama raised ever so tentatively the prospect that there might have to be just the teensy-weensiest little tweakette of a change to keep the wheels from coming off the entitlement bus, and immediately he got clobbered by Paul Krugman and Democrat activists as a pathetic stooge for the heartless right’s plans to get rid of the whole racket.

In the Democratic Party, “change” is a buzz word but not a meaningful concept. Insofar as they want “change” at all, they only want more of the same - more entitlements, more regulation, more incremental government annexation of health care. Barack Obama doesn’t want to “change” the minimum wage, he merely wants to increase it annually, “so American workers aren’t falling behind”. He seems to think the minimum-wage workforce is not a rotating population of persons en route to or in between other jobs but a fixed pool of employees. Like taking a job at John Edwards’ dad’s mill, getting a minimum-wage gig is a career for life: You start your minimum-wage job in 1982 and you retire in 2027, still at minimum wage. So you’d be in big trouble without Obama’s annual wage increase, and no doubt (in his second term) mandatory health care and paid vacations.

This is a very complacent kind of “change”. Indeed, for the most part, the Democrat programs are about change you can’t believe in, not if you’re a rational human being with an eye to basic math. But Democrats, like the European political class, give the impression that all the great questions have been decided. As Goethe’s Faust puts it:

When to the moment I shall say
‘Linger awhile! so fair thou art!’
Then mayst thou fetter me straightway
Then to the abyss will I depart!

That’s how the Continentals feel about their post-Second World War Eutopian moment: “Linger awhile! so fair thou art!” Yes, all the entitlements are unsustainable in the long term and will plunge them into the abyss, but who cares about the long term if we can just live in one unchanging moment? President Sarkozy is trying to persuade his electorate of what ought to be obvious – that a society in which half the workforce are employed by the state and retire in their 50s with free health care can never make that arithmetic add up. In France, “the time for change” really is now, in the sense that that roaring sound you hear is one almighty waterfall just round the bend. But in democratic societies “real change” is a tough sell, and in this campaign season no Democrat is minded to try it.

Michelle Malkin: No “Comeback Gal”

January 9, 2008 12:00 AM

The Clintons are in crisis.

Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y. reacts at her primary election night victory rally in Manchester, N.H. Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2008.
(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Don’t let the “Comeback Gal” spin fool you. Despite the unexpectedly close finish in New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton’s campaign remains in a tailspin. And the Clintons’ pre-Granite State primary finger-pointing has left an indelible mark. It’s the media’s fault. It’s sexism’s fault. It’s the vast right-wing conspiracy’s fault.

Oh, and it’s all your fault that you laugh out loud when she tries to steal the mantle of “change” from Barack Obama by surrounding herself on stage with moldy political fogies like Madeleine Albright, Wesley Clark, and James Carville.

Watching the Clinton “crackup” before the vote was less like watching glass shatter upon sudden impact and more like watching wax melt under slow, steady heat.

It took a lifetime of lies, deception, hypocrisy and hardball power grabs before Hillary and Bill’s political façades disintegrated. But now, finally, the empty dummy molds underneath have been laid bare completely.

Many will point to Hillary’s watery-eyed performance at a Portsmouth rally on Monday as a watershed moment. Down in the polls and facing imminent defeat, the erstwhile anti-Tammy Wynette turned on the spigot and played damsel in distress: “It’s not easy, and I couldn’t do it if I didn’t passionately believe it was the right thing to do. You know, I have so many opportunities from this country. I just don’t want to see us fall backward, you know?”

The steely voice — infamous for uttering profanities at staffers, state troopers, and her Secret Service detail, bellowing at the Bush administration and Rush Limbaugh, and imitating a fiery southern drawl — turned drippy: “You know, this is very personal for me. It’s not just political; it’s not just public. I see what’s happening, and we have to reverse it.” Insert heartfelt pauses and choke-ups as directed.

So long, feminist hero. Hello, weeping willow. Anyone who believes Hillary spontaneously teared up and got emotional on the campaign trail has been in a coma the last three decades.

Bill Clinton’s diarrhea of the mouth didn’t help. He flailed at reporters for putting his poor, poor wife at a “breathtaking disadvantage” (never mind the countless regal magazine covers of his wife and softball coverage over the years); lamented that he can’t turn her into something “younger, taller, male,” and whined that “the wealthier have more right to free speech than the rest of us” (never mind their $100 million war chest).

In an odd bit of damning with faint praise, Bill told Dartmouth students that “I actually tried to talk Hillary into leaving me when we were in law school, that’s the God’s truth. I told her, ‘You have more talent for public service than anybody in my generation that I have met… I shouldn’t stand in your way.’ She looked at me and said, ‘Oh, Bill, I’ll never run for office.’”

See, she’s lied to him all along.

A few weeks after 9/11, in another moment of crisis in the Clintons’ life, I noted Hillary’s flabbergasting demeanor during President Bush’s address to Congress. Americans around the country also noted her cold behavior.

James Gale of Silver Spring, Md., wrote to the Washington Post: “She at times seemed bored and uninterested, clapping perfunctorily, and at other times she was talking during the speech. I thought her actions were unbecoming a senator at this difficult time.”

Teacher Kathie Larkin of Atlanta wrote to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “This is behavior I would not accept from my sixth-graders listening to a speaker, and I expected better of an adult from a state ripped apart by terrorist violence. Hillary needs to grow up.”

I noted at the time that adversity magnifies deep character flaws. That hasn’t changed. And neither has Hillary.

You can’t fake a core. You can’t fake charm. And you can’t fake humility. Mannequin Hillary tried during the ABC News debate in New Hampshire over the weekend when questioned about her likeability. “Well, that hurts my feelings,” she coyly purred in attempted mock self-effacement.

One problem: The Clintons are too steeped in the politics of self-entitlement to pull off credible self-effacement. Seated next to a rival who has stolen her liberal thunder and who might make history as the nation’s first black president, Hillary couldn’t help declaring: “I am an agent of change, I embody change. I think having the first woman president is a huge change.”

She can’t tolerate someone else out-politically-correct-ing her. This was supposed to be her year. Her triumph. Her her-story.

Maybe a few of those tears welling up in her eyes were real after all. Expect more as this contested race — a race she thought would be a cakewalk — continues.


Jonah Goldberg: Presidential Preference Unmasked

January 9, 2008 12:01 AM

What Americans are really looking for in a president.

Chris Dodd

What do you want in a president?

Ask most Americans that question and you’ll get familiar lines about competence, experience and “the issues.” These cliches are nice and high-minded. But are they true?

The winners of the Iowa Democratic caucuses stacked up in reverse order of experience, with the seasoned Christopher Dodd and Joe Biden scraping the bottom and the relatively inexperienced John Edwards and Barack Obama rising to the top. So much for “the issues” and “competence” driving voters’ decisions.

What Americans really want when they look into a politician’s eyes is to see their own images reflected back, like in Narcissus’ pool. The presidency in particular has become the highest ground in the culture war. Americans want a candidate who validates them personally. “I’m voting for him because he’s a hunter like me.” “I’m backing her because she’s a woman too.” “I’m for that guy because he’s angry like me.” Such sentiments have colored the presidential contest for so long, they’ve saturated it like stain into wood.

“Authenticity” — on which voters supposedly place such a premium — is really just a label put on self-validation. Bill Clinton infamously promised he felt our pain. Hillary Clinton similarly sold her 2000 bid for the Senate by arguing that she was more concerned about the issues that concern New Yorkers than her competitor. Question: Would you prefer a blase surgeon remove your appendix or a very concerned plumber?

On Monday, Hillary Clinton got all choked up campaigning in New Hampshire. “This is very personal for me,” she said of her bid for the presidency, seemingly holding back tears. “It’s not just political. I see what’s happening (in America). We have to reverse it.” Later, she explained that she wanted people to know that she’s a “real person.”

In a sense, this is populism updated for the age of “Oprah” and “Dr. Phil.” Principles and policy details take a back seat to the need to say “there, there — I understand” to voters. As Willie Stark, the populist protagonist of “All the King’s Men,” bellows to the insatiably needy crowds: “Your will is my strength, and your need is my justice.”

Joe Biden

The true Willie Starks this season are John Edwards and Mike Huckabee. In Saturday’s Democratic debate in New Hampshire, Edwards insisted that “this battle” is “very personal” and “deeply personal for me” over and over. His “Two Americas” refrain is an anthem for the politics of envy. He is as much about taking from the haves as he is about giving to the have-nots. Edwards rejects democratic discussion or negotiation. He prefers to “fight against powerful special interests.”

When Edwards says “fight,” you can see in his face he means “punish.” His proposals are meaningless compared to his canned rage. He vows to punish Congress by taking away its members’ health coverage if they don’t give the same coverage, for free, to everyone. It doesn’t matter that he has no power to do that. What matters is that people understand their need is his justice.

Huckabee, who once promised to “take back this nation for Christ,” has masterfully blended right-wing identity politics with feel-your-pain populism. “There’s a great need in this country,” Huckabee explained, “to elect someone who reminds them of the guy they work with, not the guy who laid them off.”

He’s largely right — and shame on us for it. I’ve never met an employer who likes cutting jobs. Yet the assumption behind Hucka-Edwardsism is that if we only had a president who understands — feels! — the pain of losing a job, people wouldn’t lose their jobs.

This is just a variation on visiting the sensitive plumber instead of the detached surgeon. Businessmen have to make hard decisions based on the facts at hand. Isn’t governing also supposed to be about making hard choices — not indulging your feelings or venting your demons?

And then there’s Obama. He would not vent demons, we are told, but unleash angels. But he’s yet another candidate representing emotion over intellect, passion over policy. The hardest choice he presents to us is to choose “hope.” If we are brave or “audacious” enough to hope, we’ll have whatever it is we’re hoping for. Obama will transform us all, deliver us from history and our sins and bring about, in his words, a “kingdom” on Earth just by being Obama. Maybe there are some small truths scattered amid the mountains of such voter-wooing poetry, but spare me any talk that elections are about something other than the poetry.

© 2008 Tribune Media Services, Inc.

Goose cooked with high heat

Tim Sullivan
January 9, 2008

Gossage's ERA was under 3.00 for nine straight seasons.

Rich Gossage was a pitcher by profession and a gunslinger by disposition.

The Goose was malice aforethought with a bushy mustache, a merciless scowl and a ferocious fastball, a stylistic throwback to a baseball era when hitters crowded the plate at their own peril.

“He didn't want to pitch around you,” Jerry Coleman said yesterday. “He wanted to throw the ball right through home plate and through you. He was that kind of guy. He's the only guy who picked up Joan Kroc and threw her in the pool. Who else would do that? Steve Garvey wouldn't do that.”

The newest member of Baseball's Hall of Fame achieved his long-delayed immortality yesterday because of an intimidating blend of velocity and bravado, and despite drenching his team's owner while the Padres celebrated their first pennant.
If Rollie Fingers was statistically superior, and Bruce Sutter more baffling, no closer has handled baseball's most stressful job with more menace or less apprehension than the man who was on the mound when the Padres qualified for their first World Series in 1984.

A lot of guys have enough arm to pitch in the ninth inning for significant stakes, but not all of them have the aptitude. Rich Gossage welcomed pitching under pressure, thrived on it, really. He craved challenges that would have caused some of his contemporaries to crawl under a tarpaulin to seek cover.

“I was brought into situations God couldn't get out of,” he likes to say, “and I got out of them.”

Gossage didn't always prevail – see Brett, George and Gibson, Kirk – but he always expected to be on the mound when it mattered most. Sometimes, as was the fashion in those days, for two or three innings.

“Please don't compare me to these modern-day relievers,” Gossage said yesterday, in reference to Trevor Hoffman and Mariano Rivera. “It's apples and oranges. It's not the same game.”

What Gossage did then is now the job of three pitchers. Four times, Gossage saved at least 25 games while throwing 100 or more innings – a feat no active pitcher has accomplished even once.

“He was fearless,” Tony Gwynn said yesterday after a luncheon at the Hall of Champions. “And he could be fearless from the seventh inning on . . .

“There was nobody he thought he couldn't get out. There was no situation he didn't think he could get out of. And he wanted the ball. And he wanted the ball every day.”

In 1981, Gossage made eight postseason appearances for the Yankees and allowed no earned runs across 14 1/3 innings. Having blown the Saturday night save that necessitated Garvey's epic home run in Game 4 of the 1984 National League Championship Series, Gossage returned Sunday afternoon to throw 33 more pitches to close out the Cubs.

“The jams that I came into were always so exciting,” he said yesterday. “I felt the more difficult the situation, the better I was.”

The Goose was slightly past his peak during his four seasons with the Padres (1984-87), but if he didn't scare you at least a little bit, you probably weren't paying enough attention. To this day, Gossage's 1981 World Series beaning of Ron Cey remains one of the most cringe-worthy film clips in baseball's archives.

And Gossage remains about as remorseless as if he had squashed a bug beneath his boot.

“Hitting in a game (today) is no different than hitting in a home run contest,” he complained in 2006. “It (ticks) me off to say Barry Bonds is the greatest hitter. He's playing in a wussy era. The game is soft. You never get thrown at today.”

Though Gossage plunked only 47 hitters in 1,002 major league games, he used other forms of intimidation. He would sometimes scream at hitters just for stepping out of the batter's box, and his willingness to go up and in at 98 miles per hour proved a good predictor of hitters' fortitude.

Rickey Henderson, whose batting stance was itself an act of defiance, logged nine career at-bats against Gossage and (according to struck out nine times.

Gossage was less dominant against Carl Yastrzemski (12-for-32, .375), but Yaz proved the foil for the defining confrontation of his career. On Oct. 2, 1978, in the one-game playoff that made Bucky Dent famous, Gossage was summoned with one out in the seventh inning to finish the Boston Red Sox.

Clinging to a one-run lead with two out and two on in the bottom of the ninth, Gossage felt his legs shaking, “like I was being led in front of a firing squad.”

He tried to calm himself by recalling that his worst-case scenario would be going home to Colorado and looking at the mountains. Then he fired “one of the hardest pitches I've ever thrown,” a pitch so swift it surprised the seasoned Yastrzemski and produced the game-ending popup caught by third baseman Graig Nettles.

Yesterday, Gossage called that the biggest game of his career. He called election to the Hall of Fame “like being hit with a brick.”

Given the choice, some batters would have preferred to be hit with a brick than by a Goose Gossage fastball.

Tim Sullivan: (619) 293-1033;

Goose Gossage gets Hall of Fame call after nine-year wait

Bill Madden
New York Daily News
Wednesday, January 9th 2008, 4:00 AM

Goose Gossage's intimidating presence on the mound helped pave the way for his Hall of Fame career.

When the call from Baseball Writers Association secretary-treasurer Jack O'Connell came to his home in Colorado Springs at 1:45 Tuesday afternoon, Rich (Goose) Gossage, the most fearsome and intimidating closer in the history of baseball, was reduced to emotional mush and "numbness."

It had been a nine-year wait, made even more frustrating when his mother died in 2006. But now that he was officially minted as the 199th player elected to the Hall of Fame (and only the 106th elected by the baseball writers) out of the more than 16,000 that ever played in the majors, with an impressive 466 votes and 85.8 plurality, Gossage conceded the wait was well worth it.

"It was very emotional, off-the-charts emotional," Gossage said of receiving the news that he was the only player elected with a total of 543 votes. "The waiting has made it sweeter, more special than even going in on the first ballot."

Once he got over the disappointment of not being elected in time for his mother to see it, Gossage came to realize the Hall of Fame voting is a process in which only the no-brainer "automatics" such as Cal Ripken, George Brett, Tony Gwynn and Tom Seaver get punched non-stop tickets to Cooperstown while others, like himself, must endure being evaluated from ballot to ballot. And in Gossage's case, the process was even more complicated by the fact that only in recent years have the voting baseball writers come to better appreciate the fine art of relief pitching.

"I've been saying for a long time, ‘Please don't compare me to the modern day relievers,'" Gossage said. "It's apples and oranges."

Gossage gets his Hall call and smiles about a career ...

... in which he shared many a great moment with Thurman Munson (l.).

He gets no argument on that. While a typical save today occurs when a closer is brought into the game to start the ninth inning, 52 of Gossage's 310 career saves were accomplished by getting seven outs or more. In terms of so-called "tough saves" (in which the closer comes into the game with the tying run on base), Gossage converted 81. Only fellow Hall of Famer Rollie Fingers (101) had more, and as of last year, Mariano Rivera had only 28. And while Rivera is regarded as the preeminent closer of this modern era, the most innings he has ever logged in a season as a closer is 80 2/3. In Gossage's 1975-85 heyday, he pitched more than 100 innings in a season five times and more than 90 twice.

But, like he said, it was a different game back then. And when Chuck Tanner, his manager with the Chicago White Sox, first approached him in 1975 about taking his limited (but lethal) repertoire of sliders and 98-plus mile per hour fastballs to the bullpen, Gossage was game but skeptical.

"You have to understand, back in 1972 you didn't want to be part of the bullpen," he said. "It was looked upon as a junk pile of starters who could no longer start. But I feel fortunate to have been part of the entire evolution and the pioneering of relief pitching. Going to the bullpen was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. I can't even fathom having a career as a starter as I did as a reliever. For one thing, I didn't like the four days off (between starts) and I loved the opportunity to come to the ballpark to pitch every night."

Gossage, 56, said that in his formative years with the White Sox, '72-'76, the three most influential people in his career were Tanner, pitching coach Johnny Sain and, of all people, free-spirited and mercurial slugger Dick Allen.

"Dick Allen took me under his wing and taught me how to pitch from a great hitter's standpoint," Gossage related. "Chuck had huge influence in that he taught me the game from A to Z and Johnny Sain taught me a changeup and later a ‘slurve' because I didn't really have any breaking pitches. After that, my career really began to spiral."

No more so than when he came to the Yankees as a free agent after the 1977 season in what he says was a dream come true for a kid who grew up a Yankee fan in Colorado. In his seven years with the Yankees, he led the AL in saves twice - again when saves were saves - striking out 512 in 533 innings. And his biggest save, he said, will always be the 2 2/3 inning effort against the Red Sox in the '78 playoff game.

"When I put on the pinstripes in 1978 it was like an out-of-body experience," Gossage said. "I had grown up watching them with my dad on TV in the Saturday "Game of the Week" with Dizzy Dean and Pee Wee Reese and we didn't miss a game. I played with nine teams, but there was nothing like playing for the Yankees. The '78 playoff game against the Red Sox was the biggest game I ever pitched in, and it's too bad there had to be a loser. After that, the playoffs and Series were anti-climatic. The saddest of my Yankee tenure was that last year (1983) when all that stuff with Billy (Martin) was going on and I just needed a change of scenery. The fun had been taken out of the game for me."

George Steinbrenner, who obviously played a large role in the turmoil that led to Martin's departure, congratulated Gossage through a statement issued by Yankee PR guru Howard Rubenstein. "The New York Yankees are very proud of his achievement and I, personally, would like to congratulate him and his family on this wonderful honor!" the statement said.

But even though he will be inducted into the Hall on July 27 with Dick Williams, his manager with the San Diego Padres whom he considers the best he ever played for, Gossage will go in as a Yankee.

For it was in the Bronx where Gossage's legend - the menacing scowl, the Fu Manchu mustache that bordered on defiance of Steinbrenner's no facial hair code, the Goose's snorting, flailing delivery - took full bloom only to reach a long overdue fruition Tuesday.

A look at Goose Gossage's Hall of Fame resume:

* Played 22 seasons for nine different teams (White Sox, Pirates, Yankees, Padres, Cubs, Giants, Rangers, A's, Mariners)
* Finished fifth in Cy Young Award voting in 1978
* Won AL Rolaids Relief award in 1978
* Led AL in saves three seasons (1975, '78, '80)
* Nine-time All-Star (1975-78, '80-82, '84-85)
* Won three pennants (1978 and '81 with Yanks; 1984 with Padres) and one World Series ('78)
* Pitched 2.2 innings in famed one-game playoff vs. Red Sox in 1978 at Fenway Park (though he did allow two earned runs on five hits)
* 13th all-time in games pitched with 1,002
* 17th all-time in saves with 310
* Sixth all-time in games finished with 681

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Hall welcomes Gossage into its doors

Dominant right-handed reliever lone selection by writers

By Barry M. Bloom /
01/08/2008 2:00 PM ET

NEW YORK -- The "Goose" is on the loose in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
A year after Tony Gwynn was a first-time electee, along with Cal Ripken Jr., the induction ceremony on July 27 in Cooperstown, N.Y., will again have a distinct Padres flavor.

Rich "Goose" Gossage, who may be better known for his first tour with the Yankees (1978-83), was elected on Tuesday in his ninth year on the ballot. He'll join his former Padres manager, Dick Williams, on the stage behind the Clark Sports Center this coming summer.

Williams, who won the World Series twice as manager of the A's and will go in wearing an Oakland cap, teamed with Gossage in 1984, as the Padres won the first National League pennant in franchise history.

Jim Rice, the former star of 16 seasons, all with the Red Sox, barely missed by 16 votes as he fell 2.8 percent (72.2) below the necessary 75 percent to gain admission to the hallowed red-brick Hall on Main Street in Cooperstown. He'll undoubtedly go in next year, when Rickey Henderson will be an obvious first-time favorite. Rice then will be on the writers' ballot for his 15th and final year.

Gossage, who fell short by 21 votes in 2007, was this time named on 85.8 percent or 466 of the 543 ballots cast.

Andre Dawson, who hobbled on bad knees through many of his 21 seasons with the Expos, Cubs, Red Sox and Marlins, received almost a 10-percent uptick to 65.9 percent and may be right on the bubble in 2009. Voters from the Baseball Writers' Association of America also are taking another look at Bert Blyleven, a pitcher whose career ended after 22 seasons, just 13 victories shy of 300. Blyleven finished fourth behind Gossage, Rice and Dawson with a healthy 61.9 percent of the vote.

In the wake of last month's Mitchell Report, Mark McGwire, the first star player tainted by the steroids era to face the electorate, finished at 23.6 percent, almost exactly the same place as last year, when he also received 128 votes despite hitting 70 homers in 1998 to win his famous record home run race against Sammy Sosa and finishing with 583 in his career. In 2007, McGwire also received an underwhelming 23.5 percent.

Of the 11 first-timers on the ballot, only one -- Tim Raines -- received the requisite 5 percent to remain on the ballot. Raines earned 132 or 24.3 percent. Dave Concepcion, the shortstop on Cincinnati's great "Big Red Machine" teams of the 1970s, received 88 votes or 16.2 percent on his 15th and final chance among the writers.

Williams was one of five managers and executives elected last month by a separate, newly formed Veterans Committee.

World Series-winning managers Williams and Billy Southworth were elected along with Commissioner Bowie Kuhn and owners Walter O'Malley and Barney Dreyfuss.

All will also be inducted on July 27, although Williams is the only living member of the quintet.

Gossage had one of his best years under Williams in 1984 with the Padres, finishing 10-6 with 25 saves and 84 strikeouts in 62 games (102 1/3 innings). He was on the mound in the ninth inning of Game 5 against the Cubs in San Diego to close out the NL Championship Series, his final postseason save. That was also Gwynn's first of his 20 Major League seasons with the Padres.

The Goose's baseball career line over 22 seasons is a road map of baseball stops around the world: Chicago (White Sox); Pittsburgh; New York (Yankees, twice); San Diego; Chicago (Cubs); San Francisco; Fukuoka; Japan; Arlington; Oakland and Seattle.

Gossage finished 124-107 with 1,502 strikeouts and a 3.01 ERA. His 310 saves are 17th on the all-time list, but he never had more than 33 saves in a single season -- 1980 with the Yankees.

A power pitcher who snarled beneath his mustache and intimidated hitters with his 98-mph fastball, along the way, Gossage went from rookie closer to starter back to veteran closer and finally finished as a setup man. Near the end of his career, Goose set up in Oakland for Dennis Eckersley, who was elected to Hall of Fame in 2004
and may have broken some ground for relievers.

It is the second time in the past three years that a premium reliever has been the only player elected to the Hall. Two years ago, Bruce Sutter was elected in his 13th year on the ballot.

Sutter, who had 300 saves in a 12-year career shortened by arm injuries, was preceded by Hoyt Wilhelm, Rollie Fingers and Eckersley, three closers, like Gossage, who also started during their stellar careers. Sutter is the only reliever inducted thus far who never made at least one start.

Fingers, who was inducted in 1992, had 341 saves and threw 1,701 innings in 17 seasons. Gossage had 31 fewer saves in 1,809 innings.

Fingers had seven seasons as a reliever when he logged 100 innings or more. Gossage did it four times and came close in several other seasons.

In a yardstick of how the job of closer has changed since then, Eckersley did it as a reliever only once. So has the Yankees' Mariano Rivera. San Diego's Trevor Hoffman, the all-time leader with 524 saves, never did it.

Hoffman and Rivera are almost certainly future Hall of Fame electees, although Lee Smith, who held the all-time record of 478 surpassed two years ago by Hoffman, has been an afterthought among the writers, garnering only 235 votes or 43.3 percent this year.

2008 Results

Player Total Votes Percentage

Rich Gossage- 466 85.8%
Jim Rice- 392 72.2%
Andre Dawson- 358 65.9%
Bert Blyleven- 336 61.9%
Lee Smith- 235 43.3%
Jack Morris- 233 42.9%
Tommy John- 158 29.1%
Tim Raines- 132 24.3%
Mark McGwire- 128 23.6%
Alan Trammell- 99 18.2%
Dave Concepcion- 88 16.2%
Don Mattingly- 86 15.8%
Dave Parker- 82 15.1%
Dale Murphy- 75 13.8%
Harold Baines- 28 5.2%
Rod Beck- 2 0.4%
Travis Fryman- 2 0.4%
Robb Nen- 2 0.4%
Shawon Dunston- 1 0.2%
Chuck Finley- 1 0.2%
David Justice- 1 0.2%
Chuck Knoblauch- 1 0.2%
Todd Stottlemyre- 1 0.2%
Jose Rijo- 0 0%
Brady Anderson- 0 0%

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.