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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Save the Liturgy...

We're on vacation in Disney. Attended Mass at the local parish (which shall remain anonymous). They've omitted the Gloria, lectors wear special jewelry here to let everyone know they can read, priest changed the words of consecration (no kidding!!) and added all sorts of prefaces and wording changes to the Eucharistic prayers, etc etc. Nobody knelt at the consecration and very few knelt after receiving Holy Communion. At the examination of conscience, we were asked to think about all of our gifts. Oh goody goody gumdrops...I don't really need to think about all those nasty things I've been doing or thinking all week. I can just come and catch a bit of the Jesus show and feel all better. And I haven't even told you about the "let's all feel good about each other-We are many parts" music. "WELCOME TO THE DIOCESE OF ORANGE. There, I feel better. Now that I've vented a bit...allow me to introduce you to Father Z, if you don't know him already.

Fr. John Zuhlsdorf is Moderator of the Catholic Online Forum and the ASK FATHER Question Box. The WDTPRS columns appear weekly in The Wanderer. He is blogger extraorinaire and you really should follow him if you're not already. He is known famously for his "say the black, do the red" exhortations that help us to follow more closely and faithfully the teachings of the church. The black/red thing doesn't show up on my blog so be sure you follow the link and you'll see what I'm talking about. The below extract is today's entry regarding a recent Life Site News interview Cardinal Cañizares, the current Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

LSN: Is the liturgical revolution over? Is the Church in general becoming more balanced about the liturgy?

We’re still suffering it but also we are in a moment of great hope. The Pope Benedict XVI makes the renewal of the spirit of liturgy to rekindle in the conscience of all the true sense of the liturgy. [As a matter of fact, I think it is clear that Pope Benedict has a plan for the revitalization of the Church. I call it his "Marshall Plan".] Which should help to impose a great new unstoppable liturgical movement. ["a great new unstoppable liturgical movement"] Nevertheless, [get this…] we have not yet applied in a truthful way the teachings of Vatican II read in continuity with the tradition of the Church. [Exactly.] This is the commitment of this congregation continuing the [work of the] Holy Father that presides over us in faith and charity and over the whole Church.

Continue reading...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters

(by Portia Nelson)

I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. I am lost...I am helpless. It isn't my fault. It takes forever to find my way out.

I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don't see it. I fall in, again. I can't believe I am in this same place. But it isn't my fault. It still takes a long time to get out.

I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it is there. I still fall's a habit...but, my eyes are open. I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately.

I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.

I walk down a different street.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Apostola Apostolorum

I love this Saint. She is my hero. She is the namesake of this Blog. I have claimed her feast day as my own and usually find some special things to do today in her memory. There's a lot out there in the blogosphere to assist in meditative thought so I'll refrain from the urge to plageurize. One of the reasons I am drawn to her was the seeming profundity of her healing. You see, Mary didn't have 1 or 2 character issues that she needed to work on. She was ensnared with a whopping seven demons that were destroying her from the inside out...(talk about hair in a hurricane), and Christ, her savior and our savior removed them all. Mary Magdalene provides insight and inspiration into every life that seems to be despairing, out of control and void of hope. Her example and Christ's miracle in her life encourages me that amidst all of my flaws, foibles and funks, I too can experience the love, compassion and freedom from bondage that the Lord so urgently and abundantly wants to give me. My cup runneth over.

The church venerates this great Saint today (puts her next in line to the Blessed Mother in the Litany of Saints) and holds her up as our example of amazing turn-arounds. We love Cinderella stories, don't we? This is THE Cinderella story of all time. We go from "demon-possessed woman without-too-many-scruples" to Apostola Apostolorum - Apostle to the Apostles. God writes straight with crooked lines.

I learned only recently that St. Mary Magdalene is the person who we can thank for the beloved "Easter Egg". According to tradition, during a dinner with the emperor Tiberius Caesar, Mary Magdalene was speaking about Christ's Resurrection. Caesar scoffed at her, saying that a man could rise from the dead no more than the egg in her hand could turn red. Immediately, the egg turned red. Because of this, icons of Mary Magdalene sometimes depict her holding a red egg as you may note above.

Saint Mary Magdalene,
woman of many sins, who by conversion
became the beloved of Jesus,
thank you for your witness
that Jesus forgives
through the miracle of love.

You, who already possess eternal happiness
in His glorious presence,
please intercede for me, so that some day
I may share in the same everlasting joy.


Monday, July 20, 2009

The Bible is for Catholics

The Bible Is for Catholics
By Mary Elizabeth Sperry

The Bible is all around us. People hear Scripture readings in church. We have Good Samaritan (Luke 10) laws, welcome home the Prodigal Son (Luke 15), and look for the Promised Land (Exodus 3, Hebrews 11). Some biblical passages have become popular maxims, such as "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you (Matthew 7:12)," "Thou shalt not steal (Exodus 20:15), and "love thy neighbor" (Matthew 22:39).

Today's Catholic is called to take an intelligent, spiritual approach to the bible.
Listed here are 10 points for fruitful Scripture reading.

1. Bible reading is for Catholics. The Church encourages Catholics to make reading the Bible part of their daily prayer lives. Reading these inspired words, people grow deeper in their relationship with God and come to understand their place in the community God has called them to in himself.

2. Prayer is the beginning and the end. Reading the Bible is not like reading a novel or a history book. It should begin with a prayer asking the Holy Spirit to open our hearts and minds to the Word of God. Scripture reading should end with a prayer that this Word will bear fruit in our lives, helping us to become holier and more faithful people.

3. Get the whole story! When selecting a Bible, look for a Catholic edition. A Catholic edition will include the Church's complete list of sacred books along with introductions and notes for understanding the text. A Catholic edition will have an imprimatur notice on the back of the title page. An imprimatur indicates that the book is free of errors in Catholic doctrine.

4. The Bible isn't a book. It's a library. The Bible is a collection of 73 books written over the course of many centuries. The books include royal history, prophecy, poetry, challenging letters to struggling new faith communities, and believers' accounts of the preaching and passion of Jesus. Knowing the genre of the book you are reading will help you understand the literary tools the author is using and the meaning the author is trying to convey.

5. Know what the Bible is – and what it isn't. The Bible is the story of God's relationship with the people he has called to himself. It is not intended to be read as history text, a science book, or a political manifesto. In the Bible, God teaches us the truths that we need for the sake of our salvation.

6. The sum is greater than the parts. Read the Bible in context. What happens before and after – even in other books – helps us to understand the true meaning of the text.

7. The Old relates to the New. The Old Testament and the New Testament shed light on each other. While we read the Old Testament in light of the death and resurrection of Jesus, it has its own value as well. Together, these testaments help us to understand God's plan for human beings.

8. You do not read alone. By reading and reflecting on Sacred Scripture, Catholics join those faithful men and women who have taken God's Word to heart and put it into practice in their lives. We read the Bible within the tradition of the Church to benefit from the holiness and wisdom of all the faithful.

9. What is God saying to me? The Bible is not addressed only to long-dead people in a faraway land. It is addressed to each of us in our own unique situations. When we read, we need to understand what the text says and how the faithful have understood its meaning in the past. In light of this understanding, we then ask: What is God saying to me?

10. Reading isn't enough. If Scripture remains just words on a page, our work is not done. We need to meditate on the message and put it into action in our lives. Only then can the word be "living and effective."(Hebrews 4:12).

- - -Mary Elizabeth Sperry is Associate Director for Utilization of the New American Bible.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Let Them Eat Cake...Really

Nun Becomes Best-Selling Author With Cookbook

KRAKOW, Poland — Emerging from the quiet of her convent, Sister Anastazja Pustelnik was confronted by a jarring image — her smiling face on posters plastered around town to hawk the cookbooks that have made the 59-year-old nun one of Poland's best-selling authors.
Despite worldly success, Sister Anastazja says all her efforts are in service to God. After morning prayers, she walks every day from her convent to the Jesuit center in downtown Krakow to cook lunch for 20 priests, giving them "strength when they go out into the world." At Easter she bakes each priest a lamb-shaped cake to take on visits to their families.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Blessed G.K. Chesterton?

"If you look at a thing nine hundred and ninety-nine times, you are
perfectly safe; if you look at it the thousandth time, you are in frightful
danger of seeing it for the first time."
G.K. Chesterton

"Blessed" G.K. Chesterton?
Interview on Possible Beatification of English Author
By Antonio GaspariROME, JULY 14, 2009 ( Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) is well known for his clever and humorous writing, and his thought-provoking paradoxes. But he might also become known as a saint, if a proposal to launch his cause of beatification goes forward.ZENIT spoke with Paolo Gulisano, author of the first Italian-language biography of the great English writer ("Chesterton & Belloc: Apologia e Profezia," Ediciones Ancora), about the origins of this proposal. Here, Gulisano explains why Chesterton might merit recognition as a saint...
Read the rest here:

Monday, July 13, 2009

Lessons in Anger & Prayer

A personal admission: I detest working on household finance. It is a world of mystery, intrigue and sabotage. More than once I have admitted that I am powerless over this stressing task and that my situation has become unmanageable. I blame this more or less on the fact that my father never taught me how to balance a checkbook before I went off to college. I realize that this is a lame excuse, but an excuse nonetheless. Efforts of trying to correct course and right the ship are usually met with many good intentions and poor follow through, however I am a work in progress and God loves me enough to send me back to the classroom of humility time and time again.

One such excursion was last week. Having reached a point of powerlessness and unmanageability once again, I turned to an expert in the field: a financial planner who, I assume, among other things, will help me to arrive at a financial plan and keep us on track with our elusive family budget. This is not the first time I have thrown up my hands in despair, but I am certainly hoping it will be the last. Ellen is a lovely woman. She is no-nonsense, direct, conservative, traditional and BORING (and I mean that in a respectful and good way). She does things with paper and pencil and refers often to her own former spending foibles. She is also on to my husband's Tommy Bahama habit, so this means that I like her a lot. I don't know if I buy her "seeing that extra money in the savings account is more fun than taking that Rome vacation" line however I am willing to delay my gratification in order to give her the benefit of the doubt.
So why do I quote anger at the top of this entry? BECAUSE I spent the better part of Friday and Saturday following Ellen's directions. Adding entries to her splendid spreadsheets, copiously compiling additional supportive dollar signs and bearing my financial soul to a complete stranger only to lose it amongst my 50,000 directories on my hard drive. It was nowhere to be found. The irony is that I have MANY folders and files named "finance", "budget", "expenditures": these are the wreckage of my past endeavors to reign in the family spending machine. They reside gleefully in my hard drive sort of like artifacts from a sunken treasure ship at the bottom of the deep blue sea. But, ya think I could find the priceless pearl that was only created a day ago? Nada. It is lost. Hopelessly missing. Gonesville.

The 'losing of things' usually sends me to a bad mood rather quickly. In this case, it was my brain sending a signal to my gut via a conduit of adrenaline that the problem will be solved by throwing said pc out of nearby window. By some grace, I was spared this urge and alternatively was reduced to sobbing and utterances of the word "why...". This episode illicited a reaction from my 12 year old. He is a brave boy. He actually entered the (den of fools) office and chanced to offer some consolation.

"Mom, what's wrong?"

Thru tears..."missing...can't find...all that work...gone".

Putting his arm around my shoulder...."Mom...", asks Jake, "Did you pray?"
The dark side of me offers a 1 minute subconscious rebuttal...

"What did he mean, did I pray? Of COURSE I did not pray. I mean, c'mon. I am in the midst of my drama. What could praying possibly do but knock me off that horse that is so fun to ride?? Besides, the adrenaline rush is sooooo exhilerating! Pray. Peeshaw."

And now the Conscience overrides the dark side with the only action worth a darn: "O Lord, please help me find my stupid missing paperwork that is gone forever." or something to that effect. And then I walked away.
2 hours later, I decided that I would backtrack and create an entirely new document. Just for grins, I pulled the most recent 'Ellen' document and tried to "Save As" to a place that I would remember. It went to a temp file location on my drive. Guess what else was there? The document that went missing. Prayer answered.
Why do I share this with you? There are only three possibilities:

1. To demonstrate that I clearly have more work ahead of me in many areas of my life
2. To illustrate that wisdom & clarity can & does issue from the mouths of 12-year olds
3. Go to prayer first: it will save you 10 minutes of angst

*Footnote: It is honorably mentioned here that I learned as a pre-Christian, a prayer that my Grandma Phillips taught me. If something has gone missing, simply cross both legs and ask God to help you find it. As a Catholic, I learned that Grandma's prayer was the Methodist version of the "Tony, Tony please come round, something's lost that must be found" request. Bottom line, I know St. Anthony is behind this whole thing! Thanks be to God.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

God speaks in Prickly Pears & Ragged Rock Flowers

Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.
C. S. Lewis

Okay, so I'll try something profoundly unoriginal, here...

Some of my most noteworthy thoughts arrive in my head where neither pen nor paper can be found within a radius of 10 miles. I hiked Pinnacle Peak last week on a beautiful summer morning. I was enjoying the scenery and the serenity when I stumbled upon a couple of desert dwelling cactus wrens feasting on the fruit of a prickly pear. Laying on the trail, the bright orangy-red fruit-pear had burst open revealing its contents which, upon closer examination, resembled beluga caviar. The birds were taking turns pecking at, what I assumed to be, the breakfast of bird champions. I've lived in the Sonoran Desert now for nearly 15 years and I continue to be amazed by the stark beauty that enshrines this environment. The birds and the fruit? My reminder that God is abundantly provident, supplying the needs of man, beast and foul with his bounty.
The Pinnacle Peak Trail is a short, non-loop trail in North Scottsdale which spans 2 small is, you guessed it...Pinnacle Peak; a distinctive peak depicted in most of the real estate east of Pima Road and North of the Loop 101. In total, average hike time to complete it is about 90 minutes if you're movin'along. The trail is wonderfully maintained and is peppered with educational signs of the local flora and fauna. I usually ignore the signs (story of my life?) and continue walking, blissfully unaware of the great education that could be had. The hike of last week was a little different; I did notice one sign in particular. I was paying attention after the birds and what drew it was a very hearty little plant growing out of a rocky crevice. I've seen bouganvilla doing this along highway concrete barriers too and have always been perplexed by the tenacity of the plant to survive in what would seem to be impossible conditions. Upon closer examination, this particular plant had a cool name: Ragged Rock Flower. I googled it and found that it grows on steep, north-facing mountain sides or within deep narrow canyons across southern Arizona, often growing straight out of crevices. It has showy, often fragrant, white flowers with five petals. It is one of the most beautiful shrubs of the Sonoran Desert.
Seems to me this is yet another lesson. I know some people who remind me of this plant. They seem to have graduated from the school of hard knocks (or at least take up seats on the board!). Yet they keep plugging away despite hardship, danger, toils and snares. I admire these people. They seem to be more detached from the fluffly things of earthly existence and thrive in an environment that is more interior. Like the plants, they must have strong "roots" that go down deep into the mineral content of the rock strata. They must be able to sit still for long periods of time and absorb things that might be hard to comprehend. They have learned that they can rely on the sturdy rock, to supply their needs and shield them from the buffets of the winds & storms and from animals that might try to pilfer their tender shoots and leaves as they struggle to survive in what might seem to be some impossible terrain. From the outside, it might appear that our Ragged Rock Flower doesn't stand a snowball's chance in hell of survival. However that's just the problem. We're on the outside, seeing the problem, identifying the difficulties. Perhaps we need to have an interior perspective. One that looks from the inside, out. From this vantage point, we might be able to witness a little of the micro-universe where God also reigns.

Psalm 18: 33-37
This God who girded me with might, kept my way unerring,

Who made my feet swift as a deer's, set me safe on the heights,
Who trained my hands for war, my arms to bend even a bow of bronze.
You have given me your protecting shield; your right hand has upheld me; you stooped to make me great.
You gave me room to stride; my feet never stumbled.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Remembering MAX

Heaven gained back one of her prizes today. I attended the funeral of a man most notably known around Our Lady of Joy and St. Gabriel parishes as MAX. Max was an affable man in his early 70s who made it his life's mission to bring joy and gladness to others...unwittingly!

The story goes that Max was involved in a rather harrowing military accident that by all accounts, he should have never lived through. The event left Max with a limpy gate and a speech impediment that I always mistook for a form of autism. You could tell when Max was at Mass (which was almost every day) by the jingle of his dog tags and his HAPPY-ness. (And the extremely loud sneeze). Max was always the first to volunteer for any form of activity and the last to leave from any event. He accompanied us on Rosary Sunday bus rides downtown and was usually in the office before any of us to grab that first cup of Joe. No one else was allowed into the coveted staff sanctuary to do this, mind you, unless you were Max! He had a charm about him that surpassed all of the passing greatness of most codgers his age and a smile that could knock your socks off.

I've known Max personally for over 2 years. It took him 18 months to learn my name. He frequently came down to the choir area after Mass and would clap musingly for Robbie and I when we had finished the closing hymn. Max was a consummate music lover and he always made us feel more than appreciated. On his daily rounds up at the office cup O Joe run, he would usually visit and if I was not at my desk, he would leave me a yellow sticky note with the words scribbled out: "Hi Karen! MAX"

Today at Max's funeral Mass, the most laudible scripture passage was chosen for him by his family. It properly identified Max's essence and how he lived his life:

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
I Cor 13

What a human treasure in earthly sums. We may not have always understood Max's words due to his impairment, however we all knew him by his actions. What a great lesson Max has been for me and for countless others who knew & loved him. I think I will strive to be like him.

May choirs of angels come to greet you...
Miss you, Max! Karen

Attention Arizonans

From my friend Kay Allen down at 1st Way Crisis Pregnancy Center...

Today we can finally encourage all we know who are like minded, an inexpensive way to promote the pregnancy centers, and especially the HOPE Ultrasound Mobile Unit in Arizona.

The Center for Arizona Policy (CAP) and Arizonal Right to Life have worked thousands of man hours to get this plate passed through the Arizona legislature amongst disillusioning resistance. Finally it has passed and people are not hopping on board!! But do you know what this little plate does for us, and especially for the HOPE Ultrasound Mobile Unit?

70% of all funds paid for the plate will go directly to fund pregnancy centers in Arizona, and there are only 40 of us.

But CAP has promised that the majority of the nice large grant will go to the HOPE Ultrasound Mobile Unit because of its non denominational collaboration and its mission to go to the abortion clinics to meet women and teens in their crisis pregnancy with choices, support and HOPE.

Please click on the link, sign up for your new pro life (hard fought and won) plates and remember that if you send this to friends who have never helped, never given or volunteered, it is a new and inexpensive way to help us, and testify for LIFE!!
(We'll be looking for YOU as we drive through town!! tee hee)
God Bless you,

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Cosmic Irony...(not lost on me)

Today's 1st reading stung of sensational irony as our new parochial vicar (brand new pastor) took his place at OLJ for the first time at the Saturday evening Mass:

Ez 2:2-5 As the LORD spoke to me, the spirit entered into me and set me on my feet,and I heard the one who was speaking say to me:Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites,rebels who have rebelled against me;they and their ancestors have revolted against me to this very day. Hard of face and obstinate of heart are they to whom I am sending you. But you shall say to them: Thus says the LORD GOD! And whether they heed or resist—for they are a rebellious house—they shall know that a prophet has been among them.

Now far be it from me to compare our lil' old parish up in Carefree Arizona to those stubbon, mule-hearted Israelites :-), however, in this Year of Priests, I wonder how much we consider what this domino effect/real estate deal gone mad/scooby shuffle of shepherds and folds really does to a man of God. No amount of seminary training adequately prepares one for the true upheaval and systematic wrecking of chaos upon what seemed to be a placid existence of answering a call to the vocation of priesthood. Not only must this man meet an entire parish and try to get to know them on a personal level, he must also endeavor to determine the true spiritual, formational, liturgical, financial "health" of his new parish. All this while answering multitudes of email/phone calls and dinner invitations and miraculous requests to turn loaves into fishes, tom toms into symphonies, fixing with expediency glaring liturgical misdeeds, such as major cleavage exposing EMHCs into less provocative and more modest volunteers (and that last one is as real as it gets). If there's an associate to meet, we have the added issues of compatibility, schedules, rectory orientation and the "let's see where we align" conversations that hopefully allow the two to peaceably co-exist for an undefined length of time under sometimes less than collaborative circumstances. (and don't forget food, pets and vacations).

And then there are the seasoned parishioners who consider themselves the fateful mentors of new priest on campus who feel it their own calling and dut to "work the new guy over and tell him how things should really run around here". You know - the "bend him to our will or die" parishioners who will be the first to storm off and leave the minute one of their best ideas falls flat at the threshold of new pastor's door. Ah yes, these are the things mighty-collared men must behold, deal with and let roll gracefully from their backsides.

And then there is staff. Oh wait, they are perfect. Nevermind.

Father Patrick says he'll answer to either Father Patrick or Father Farley. In my brain, I will inevitably call him Father Parley. I am sorry ahead of time. He offered an insightful yet personal homily this weekend and didn't even capitalize on the softball God threw him with the Ezekiel reading! Among other things he made us 3 promises:
1. To not steal the parish's money
2. To maintain the highest moral integrity
3. To keep us solidly on track on doctrine.

He also mentioned many times his willingness to grow with us in holiness and get to know us in the image and likeness that we were made. I would say he was very well received. I would also like to offer my gratitude for him all of the priests who have served at Our Lady of Joy and have offered their lives for the salvation of my soul. These promises have been upheld by each pastor that I have witnessed in my 13 years as a catholic and for this I remain grateful. As torch is passed from priest to priest, I hope you know how much you are all loved and prayed for.

Thank you, Lord, for all of our priests, young and old, fresh and seasoned, energized and tired. Help us to be a grateful flock and keep our obstinancy in check. We ask that You, Most Merciful God, continue the good works that you have begun in these men. May You bestow your lovingkindness upon each of them who bear You to our most needful world.

Is this a work of the Holy Spirit????? You betcha.

The Declaration

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America
hen in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.
John Hancock
New Hampshire:Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton
Massachusetts:John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery
Connecticut:Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott
New York:William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris
New Jersey:Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark
Pennsylvania:Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross
Delaware:Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean
Maryland:Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Virginia:George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton
North Carolina:William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn
South Carolina:Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton
Georgia:Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton