We are not just material beings, but spiritual persons with a need for meaning, purpose, and fulfillment that transcends the visible confines of this world. This longing for transcendence is a longing for truth, goodness, and beauty. Truth, goodness, and beauty are called the transcendentals of being, because they are aspects of being. Everything in existence has these transcendentals to some extent. God, of course, as the source of all truth, goodness, and beauty, has these transcendentals to an infinite degree. Oftentimes, He draws us to Himself primarily through one of these transcendentals. St. Augustine, who was drawn to beauty in all its creaturely forms, found the ultimate beauty he was seeking in God, his creator, the beauty “ever ancient, ever new.”―Sister Gabriella Yi, O.P.

Bishop Lopes: A Pledged Troth. A pastoral letter on Amoris Laetitia.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Recent headlines. Liberalism vs Realism: a clash of cultures; women at risk.

How is it that such good intentions (i.e., to give shelter to refugees) have resulted in situations in which such horrific crimes are frequently being committed against German and European women?

Read beyond the representative headlines which capture something of the intensity of the debates concerning refugee immigration from Middle Eastern regions to the West.

New York Times
Germany on the Brink
by Ross Douthat JAN. 9, 2016
On New Year’s Eve, in the shadow of Cologne’s cathedral, crowds of North African and Middle Eastern men accosted women out for the night’s festivities. They surrounded them, groped them, robbed them. Two women were reportedly raped.
Though there were similar incidents from Hamburg to Helsinki, the authorities at first played down the assaults, lest they prove inconvenient for Angela Merkel’s policy of mass asylum for refugees.
That delay has now cost Cologne’s police chief his job. But the German government still seems more concerned about policing restless natives — most recently through a deal with Facebook and Google to restrict anti-immigrant postings — than with policing migration. Just last week Merkel rejected a proposal to cap refugee admissions (which topped one million last year) at 200,000 in 2016.
CLICK ON LINKS TO READ FULL ARTICLES

Wall Street Journal
Germany Says 22 Asylum Seekers Are Among Those Sought for New Year’s Eve Assaults (WSJ)
by ANTON TROIANOVSKI
Wall Street Journal — Updated Jan. 8, 2016 4:14 p.m. ET
BERLIN—Germany said at least 22 migrants seeking asylum were among the suspects in alleged New Year’s Eve assaults in Cologne, the latest disclosure in the aftermath of a night of violence that has put new pressure on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s welcoming policy toward refugees.
The state government forced the police chief in the city of Cologne, Wolfgang Albers, to resign amid widespread criticism of how his force handled the incident. Cologne Mayor Henriette Reker said the police leadership apparently tried to obfuscate what happened that night, leaving her trust in the city’s top police officials “significantly shaken.”
The alleged series of attacks and thefts by migrants on New Year’s Eve in the Rhineland city of one million people—with more than 170 complaints, largely for sexual assault, filed by victims with local police—has turned into one of Ms. Merkel’s biggest domestic crises as she has tried to keep Germans behind her in welcoming refugees.
Amid widespread criticism in the news media that officials were playing down the extent of the attacks and the involvement of migrants, Ms. Merkel’s government pushed back on Friday and tried to show transparency.
New York Post
Europe is enabling a rape culture 
by Ashe Schow
January 10, 2016 | 6:26pm
In the wake of horrifying tales of sexual assault perpetrated by potentially up to 1,000 men on New Year’s Eve, German officials have made two stunning decisions.
The first, from Cologne, Germany — where the attacks took place — was Mayor Henriette Reker telling women to adopt a “code of conduct” to prevent further sexual assaults, which crossed the line into “victim blaming.”
The second, from the broader German government, was to crack down hard — not on those responsible for the assaults, but for those criticizing the Muslim immigrants who may have perpetrated them.
Let’s take a step back and remember how all of this started. On New Year’s Eve, women celebrating in Cologne were reportedly groped, sexually assaulted and/or robbed as they walked the streets.
More than 100 criminal complaints have been filed, 75 percent of which were reports of sexual assault. Two women reported being raped by the men, who were allegedly of North African and Arab appearance. Women in Hamburg and Stuttgart also reported similar attacks.
So far several dozen have been identified, most of which were asylum seekers.
But due to Germany’s desperation to prove not only that it’s the most tolerant country in Europe but also that letting in hundreds of thousands of immigrants would have no disastrous consequences, the female victims of the attacks were initially ignored by the political class. Had the alleged perpetrators been white members of a fraternity, the international response would have been completely different, as the Atlantic’s David Frum noted.
Breitbart [The following report, a few months old, offers a series of prescient observations that should encourage all people of goodwill and compassion to insist that concerns regarding threats to women's safety should be taken much, much more seriously, especially in light of recent attacks.]
Europe’s Rape Epidemic: Western Women Will Be Sacrificed At The Altar Of Mass Migration
by ANNE-MARIE WATERS 6 Oct 2015

In Norway, recent statistics revealed that 100 per cent of violent street-rapes committed in the capital city of Oslo were committed by “non-western” immigrants. It’s a similar story in Denmark, where the majority of rapes are committed by immigrants, usually Muslim.

In England, it’s been rape after rape – tens of thousands of young British girls are brutalised, tortured, beaten and raped by organised gangs comprised almost exclusively of Muslims. And now we have Germany. When Chancellor Merkel threw open the doors of her country to hundreds of thousands of migrants from the Middle East and Africa, she opened the door to the rape of German women.

Rape and sexual assault (as well as forced prostitution) is rampant within the refugee camps in Germany, and it has spilled out to the nearby towns. Rape in Germany has already been described as an “epidemic” and one that the German authorities, and media, are keeping rather quiet about. The reality is that German authorities, who know that many of these asylum seekers are rapists, will allow those men to live freely among German women – they have decided to allow German women to be raped, just like authorities all across Europe.

Women of Europe must understand what is happening here. This is not Page Three, or a Carry On film sexist joke (for the record, I wouldn’t be without my Carry On collection); this is a truly brutal hatred of women that demands we are slaves and absolutely believes it has the right to rape women who don’t submit. The men think of women this way because that is where they come from, that is what they know.
The short answer to the question raised at the top of this post is: liberals rarely considered the consequences of their rash actions which permitted many men to exploit the advantages accorded to them by governments unwilling to evaluate with a critical mind the potential for real harm to their citizens. Can anyone deny that arrogance—i.e., the assumption that liberal policies make the world a sweeter place—has played its part in blinding societies to the real and present dangers of poorly managed immigration? Are German liberals attempting to absolve themselves of the consequences of their shortsighted policies and for having ignored common sense?

Quagmire

Europe is in serious trouble. Only a few months ago, the EU attempted to pressure European countries to accept United Nations refugee quotas. A few countries, for example Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, resisted pressure to conform. As it turns out, those few countries correctly anticipated the destabilizing effects of admitting migrants in numbers far exceeding nations' abilities to provide adequate processing to ensure the security and safety for their own citizens.

By failing to observe common sense and address the legitimate concerns of citizens, nations such as Germany are now in a state of crisis. Those same states which have adopted liberal policies are responsible for putting their female populations at risk, and have provided the circumstances by which domestic extremist factions are using crises to fuel hatred of legitimate refugees.

The media has helped to create and perpetuate the myopic policies of liberal-progressive politicians, who are perhaps better described as non-realists, by demonizing any citizen who expresses concern and labelling said citizens as belonging to the "far right". (Anything or anyone to the right of the leftwing media is characterized by said media as "far right".) By suppressing legitimate criticism of liberal policies, the media has participated in the creation of a situation which puts women at high risk of assault. Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Germany, Britain—the experiences of those nations comprise a rapidly expanding litany of horror and sorrow for women of those countries.

The obvious questions: Do the experiences of European countries have anything to say to North Americans? How should we react to those experiences? Are we smart enough to identify any mistakes in the making?

Effective leadership.

It seems like a fair assumption to state that people of goodwill can agree that helping legitimate refugees find safe shelter is a good thing. The liberal media, given their complicity in creating current crises, should be willing to correct their behaviour by indulging an appreciation of people's concerns that necessary includes articles calling for governments to: 1) ensure adequate oversight of immigrants' applications and admittance procedures; 2) ensure citizens' safety and well being by anticipating potential threats and acting in a timely manner to suppress those threats; 3) provide to refugees an adequate program of formation in societal values and laws which protect inalienable rights; 4) ensure the rule of law is respected and, where it is not, enact swift and comprehensive action to ensure the rule of law prevails over imported negative cultural baggage that tolerates or promotes violence against women.

Act now or act later.

If liberal-progressive governments fail to act now in a reasonable manner, they may soon be compelled by unruly circumstances to act in ways that most modern societies would find repugnant. For example, what modern Western nation would resort to internment camps to protect citizens from threats to their societies? And yet, that is precisely where some nations might find themselves soon enough if they do not make the hard decisions now to ensure measured immigration which favours refugees with impeccable reputations and legitimate claims to refugee status. Failure to exercise just evaluation now in a reasonable and authentic manner which considers the common good will likely result in that failure burgeoning into restrictive measures which resemble martial law and the policies of yesteryear that saw entire classes of people or racial-ethnic groups subject to mass incarceration.

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