Sunday, December 1, 2013


 (Part 1 of 2)

Remembering J.F.K. and the beneficence of a former benevolent dictator in the Vatican...

   Is Pope Francis a Benevolent Dictator?  How about John XXIII was he in the same mold?

   The question was, could a Roman Catholic be President of the U.S. and not be subject to the Pope in Rome?  John Kennedy in a 1960 Houston speech convinced enough U.S. voters that the pope did not and would not determine his political decisions.   Pope John XXIII saw fit not to remind Kennedy and U.S. voters that as Pope he was infallible in matters of faith and morals, morality including politics.  Kennedy was elected and the 1962 Cuban missile crisis was resolved without massive nuclear destruction.  We moved forward on arms control and civil rights for African Americans with Kennedy providing cogent reasons for moving ahead on these issues.

   Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput stated in 2010 that Kennedy was wrong.  Chaput was later promoted to Archbishop of Philadelphia.

   Kennedy inspired the American people to, “ask what you can do for your country.”  His murder was an American tragedy that resonates to present.

Where were you and how did you react when you knew the President was assassinated?

   Joanne Lange is my partner my friend – my wife of over 40 years.  Our kids went to Milwaukee’s German immersion school.  

   We had a party at our house for school parents, and I noticed this woman was intently staring at Joanne.  She said to Joanne, “did you teach at St. Catherine’s High School in Racine?  “Yes,” said Joanne.  The woman responded, “You were my math teacher; I’ll never forget you.  When they announced that the President was killed – you cried.  I didn’t know that nuns could cry.”   

   Joanne is a retired professor of mathematics at Milwaukee Area Technical College, a volunteer at Voce de la Frontera’s immigrant workers center, and a member of the Comite Timon, the Steering Committee of Voces New Sanctuary Movement.  She is known as ‘Maestra,’ to her former students.

   Josefina Gomez recalled, “I was in Fort Worth, Texas at the time; when it was announced on TV that the President was murdered, I fell to my knees and prayed that God the Father would immediately receive the President in His loving embrace.” 

   Josefina is a mother of four; her son – a father, grandfather and support of a large family - was deported to Mexico and was killed in an automobile accident.  Josefina is a member of the Family Support Group (Círculo de Apoyo) of Voce’s New Sanctuary Movement.

   Bill Snowden recounted, “I was in the ninth grade at the segregated all African American School in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.  When the news of the Presidents assassination reached us, I was in class, and I turned to the kid behind me and said – What are we going to do now?”  

    Bill is a Milwaukee Public School teacher, choir member at his Roman Catholic church, father of four, and a strong supporter of President Obama.

   Jim Zelinski remembered that he was a religion teacher and counselor at Bishop Baraga High School in Marquette, Michigan the day of the assassination.  He shared that he was in his office when it was announced that the President had been shot.  “We immediately went to a classroom and said the rosary.”

   Jim, a Capuchin, is a member of the Steering Committee (Comite Timon) of Voce’s New Sanctuary Movement.

   J.F.K. inspired a generation of political activists.  True enough many have passed and some have lapsed, but those that remain don’t need an explanation of “Si se puede,” the mantra of Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chaves of the farm workers union.  (Yes, it can be done)

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