The National Catholic Review

File this under the "Really?" column.  David Gibson over at Politics Daily reports President Obama's surprising devotion to Mary, Help of Christians. 

Somehow this slipped past the Disputations filter, but during her vacation in Spain in August, First Lady Michelle Obama revealed that her husband--a.k.a. President Obama--"always carries a picture of Mary Help of Christians in his wallet."

Mary Help of Christians is the patroness of the Salesian order of priests and nuns, and during an Aug. 13 visit to the Spanish city of Ronda with her daughter, Sasha, the first lady stopped at the Salesian community there. 

According to the Salesian news service, she told the priest in charge that her husband "always carries with him a photograph with an image of Mary Help of Christians, to whom, those present reported, the first family of the United States has great devotion."

Read the rest here.  But this shouldn't be surprising or offensive to anyone with half a brain.  For one thing, Obama is Christian.  And Mary, well, helps Christians through her prayers and examples.  Anyway, I give this story a few days before people start pouncing on it as evidence of his...something or other. 


Stanley Kopacz | 9/30/2010 - 11:39pm
I guess if we want to compete with the third world and totalitarian countries, we'll have to become one, with millions of people working for near nothing while some get very rich.  WHy can't the scumbag unions accept dollar-a-day wages for their members?  Then they will have jobs, at least until they starve to death.  I'm sure another thirty more years like the last thirty years should get us to where China is now.  One-fifth of the population doing great, four-fifths doing the work for nothing.  Terrific.
Tom Maher | 9/30/2010 - 9:55am
You did not know the number of small busesee greatly increasing during the 1980s?  Well small business increased explosively because of the time of the Reagan tax cuts beginning in 1981.

Individual  income taxes were cut across the board for all income levels a hugh 36% .

Since small busines file individual income taxes (not corporate traxes) they directly became far more profitable - 36% more.  This is a hugh incentive to go into business and stay in business.  It benefited the economy enormously.  Tens of millions of new business that would previously been unprofitable or marignal to run were now economically worthwhile. 

Remeber beofre the 1980s except for the Kennedy tax cut which also benedited the economy rate were at the very high Roosevelt rate where taxes where as high as 96%.  - the government was got most of the profits of all enterprises.  Reagan put a ceiling on how much the government could get.  People got to keep more of what they earned.  So small businesses becasme a more viable part of the economy.  The idea of profitable small businesses were no longer looked down on. from the great deperession.
Marie Rehbein | 9/29/2010 - 8:51pm
I remember the stagflation days.  That's when I got my first job and bought my first house.  It was only when interest rates went up to 17% (yes, seventeen percent) for a mortgage that inflation stopped.  I think it's entirely possible to argue that the effect of any one president's policies is delayed by decades and should not be judged before it is possible to take an historical perspective.

Furthermore, Reagan may have said "Mr. G...tear down this wall", but it was not because of that that it was torn down.  By that time the USSR was actively looking for a way to change their economy since it was obvious to their leaders that their system was not working for them. 

As to this burgeoning of small business in the early 1980's-can anyone give some examples?  I did not see this happening.  Did any of these small business become larger?  Are they still in existence?  Did they pay their employees enough for those people to set up a household and maintain it until retirement?
Anonymous | 9/29/2010 - 5:31pm
My fellow conservatives should read this Catholic professor from Georgetown tear apart modern Republicans in quite a philosophic manner:
Anonymous | 9/29/2010 - 5:06pm
'I would surmise that big business created millions of jobs but they were overseas."
-why do you suppose this is the case (assuming its veracity, for now)?  Because the cost of doing business is lower in other countries, espeically the cost of labor.  Its amazing that the American labor union held this country hostage this past summer because of outrageous pension plans at GM.  There are, of course, "big businesses" building jobs in the USA: toyota, Mercedez Benz, BMW, Nissan all have opened or expanded plants in my part of the country.  They were able to do this effectively because most states in the south are "right to work" states, meaning laborers have a true choice re: unionization and most choose NOT to unionize and have higher paying jobs as a result.

and I've never understood your question/criticism about the "quality" of jobs created by small businesses.  What are you suggesting, that if a job fails your "quality" test it is somehow unworthy of economic value?
Anonymous | 9/29/2010 - 5:02pm
Reagan has been dead for quite some time & last held office 22 years ago, so I don't understand the skirmishes over his legacy.  It seems clear to me that people today look back at the 80s as (relatively) good times, especially when compared to the 70s (as Cosgrove points out).  He was a symbol of freedom, together with JP II, standing up to the anti-humanism of statist communism.  Yet liberals want to re-fight "Reaganomics" (and probably Latin America, too) and some Republicans haven't figured out yet that 2010 ain't 1980.  What should be challenged is the false liberal belief that a strong chief executive is the answer to our ills.

If you really think that the economy today is any more or less highly regulated than it was 20 something years ago and that somehow we've been "saved" from wild west capitalism, you are stuck in some neverland.  I keep saying this verifiable fact over and over and over: nothing helps big business more than big government because the latter entrenches the position of the former by raising obstacles (cost) to the growth of competition.  But sleep peacefully at night, dear citizen, knowing that some bureaucrat is looking out for you!

And basic economics really should be required in college, esp Catholic universities.
Stanley Kopacz | 9/29/2010 - 4:59pm
I would surmise that big business created millions of jobs but they were overseas.  As for the small businesses, I wish they were all the types I tended to deal with in my career.  High tech, innovative, well-paying.  Sooner or later, though, most seem to get gobbled up by the bigger companies.  But how many small businesses are like that?  What is the quality of the jobs they produce?  It's one thing to flip burgers, it's another to fabricate focal plane arrays. 
Anonymous | 9/29/2010 - 12:17pm
I say we stick to the Mexico City Policy issue when considering Obama. 

There is nothing Christian about expanding the reach and promotion of abortion "services" by American NGOs - including the abortion mill Planned Parenthood - across the world.  This is in addition to his wholesale refusal to ban partial birth abortions as a politicians in Chicago.

Obama can say he is a Christian in public during an election season - this does not mean that he acts like one - esp. when considering the policies that slaughter millions of innocents.

Hopefully that prayer card lights a fire under his butt and he does actually convert...
Anonymous | 9/29/2010 - 4:24pm
Since Reagan became president, over 40 million new jobs have been created by small businesses.  Most are good paying jobs.  No new jobs have been created by large businesses.  That does not mean that some didn't create jobs but as one did, another lost jobs.  So the engine of economic growth in the last 30 years has been small business.  We can thank this job creation to Ronald Reagan who reigned in the insanity of the Jimmy Carter administration and provided an environment for entrepreneurs to succeed.  I suggest anyone interested to read Robert Samuelsons book on the economy of that time: 
''The Great Inflation and Its Aftermath: The Past and Future of American Affluence'' 
There was a term back then when Reagan became president called ''stagflation'' and it was crippling the country.  Watch the famous malaise speech of Carter.  Reagan got rid of the malaise and the country moved ahead with a new direction.

Marie Rehbein | 9/29/2010 - 3:51pm

Sorry to knock into you again, but Jimmy Carter's biggest booboo was discouraging the Shah of Iran from suppressing dissidents in his country.  Today we pay the price for that.

However, today we also pay the price for Reaganomics, under which we all lived well but at the expense of our futures.  That was when oversight and regulation began to be abandoned so that we could pretend we were living in a 1950's sitcom.
Beth Cioffoletti | 9/29/2010 - 1:33pm
I agree with you Stanley, that Obama's inner (spiritual) life should not be fodder for discussion or determining how worthy he is to be our president. 

He is a man who, I believe, prefers to keep private his inner dealings with God.

But with all the doubt about him being a Muslim, he has to declare publicly his Christian convictions.  And I can't figure out if this leak about him carrying a holy card and having a devotion to Mary was a pre-determined or an accidental "slip".  It all bothers me, his having to publicly discuss his faith.  But what if he didn't?  People would allude, as some commenters here do, that he has not real faith. 

There is a reason for the separation of Church and State; I wish we could honor that more in this country.  Crossing that line ends up making religion a ploy and cheapens authentic spirituality.
Stanley Kopacz | 9/29/2010 - 12:22pm
I just wish Obama were as proactive a reformer and a danger to the advancing feudalism of this country as the conservatives here seem to think he think he is.  I wish he were truly worthy of their hatred.   I had my doubts and suspicions when I voted for him and unfortunately, they were true.  Nevertheless, I'd still vote for him over the other main party.  I'll take the pilot who pulls back on the stick even a little.  For me, it's the lesser of two evils. I'll take a few more seconds before we auger in.

Otherwise, I'm tired of any cult of personality, either those who want to hagiograph him or those who demonize him.  It's just a way of distracting from the real problems.  I'm not all that interested in Obama's inner life when his outer life isn't getting things done.

Anonymous | 9/29/2010 - 12:10pm
"All the presidents are better than Reagan. "

Tell that to Jimmy (never met a dictator I didn't like) Carter. 

Reagan had something (we can debate the extent) to do with the fall of the Iron Curtain & the defeat of Soviet Communism, which whatever it might be, I hope we can all agree was anti-human and anti-life!  Come on liberals, sometimes conceding a point is not a defeat, its actually honorable.  I admit that Roosevelt (whatever his prevarications before Pearl Harbor) was the right President at the right time, and acknowledge problems with the New Deal.  It was, if ever there was one, a "just war".  Or I suppose we could have just prayed some 6 million people would NOT have otherwise been annihilated for their faith.

Liberalism: long on theory, short on morality.  that is precisely why a minority of Americans identify as liberals.

PS - The "industrial-war complex" is personified by Robert McNamara: a LIFELONG Democrat!
JAMES OLEARY MR | 9/29/2010 - 11:45am
I get my information from personal experience as a social worker, from reading widely and not from FOX news, which is apparently where my critics get their information. I also read lots of American history. War? Look at which party keeps funding the war machine. Why are the generals almost all Republicans? Best president? Wait and see. Lincoln was a wonderful man but as an administrator or lawmaker, he was a failure. Roosevelt? Very dishonest and at the end of the day, a friend of Churchill and a war monger. Catholic issues? What can he possibly do to stop abortion? Can't a person know abortion is a sin but it's a sin committed by the woman who has the abortion and the doctor who does the abortion. Isn't it? 
Marie Rehbein | 9/29/2010 - 11:14am
Jeff Landry,

All the presidents are better than Reagan. 
Anonymous | 9/29/2010 - 10:18am
"I am a Catholic like I presume you are so why is it not obvious to you as it is to me, that the Democratic Party promotes life and the social teaching of the Catholic Church while Republicans definitely do not? Obama is the best president we have ever had. Eisenhower, Reagan, the two Bushes, were all lazy men who had no sense of the common good and no conscience at all when it came to war. Nixon worked hard, unlike the other Republicans,  and the Democrats we have had: Carter, Clinton and Obama worked very hard for the greater good. If it was up to the Republicans we would still have child labor, endless warfare and third world destitution for the poorest of our citizens."

Ah yes, why can't "intelligent" Catholics not see this for what it is!?!?!  I hope it is some attempt at humor, because to imply by any measurable standard that Obama is "the best president we have ever had" is pretty...well ridiculous.  Better than Lincoln? Roosevelt? Reagan?  Come on.  All of us need to re-read our Augustine on politics & not put such blind faith in any one person.

At least the poster used his full name.
Anonymous | 9/29/2010 - 9:51am
This is getting off topic but maybe Mr. O''Leary should read David Carlin's book

''Can a Catholic Be a Democrat?: How the Party I Loved Became the Enemy of My Religion'' 

or visit Detroit to see the fruits of Democrat policy or better yet visit the South Side of Chicago and look at housing projects that are closed up and dilapidated which Obama's associates built with his support.  I made a point on another thread discussing Obama's religion that he is probably not very religious at all because how could one who is religious, stand idly by and watch his constituents get screwed.

I could also make a strong argument that biggest force of immorality in the world today is America's Democrat Party. 
Anonymous | 9/29/2010 - 1:15am
I am not attacking Obama as a partisan as I am not a Republican, I am simply pointing out facts that should trouble serious Catholics. 

He is doing much more than following the "law of the land" (a problem in itself since the law is immoral!) - he EXPANDED abortion coverage across the world via striking down the Mexico City Policy, a move that allows for the federal funding of NGOs that promote abortion as "family planning" internationally.  He included federal funding in his healthcare program for abortion as we are seeing in several states.

As for stem cell research, he specifically struck down the federal funding of this research and disingeniously stated that moral values did not conflict with the science.

Obama is more a friend of "progress" than he is of life.

Tom Maher | 9/29/2010 - 12:57am
Obama's Catholic inclinations do not seem likely at all.  This is in the same category as the guys and girls who see some religious image in their french toast at brealfast. - it just is not there.

Maybe we can get some serious reporting soon?  It is only 35 days to the November election, a fairly important event.  There most be millions of more worthy and realistic things to report on.
JAMES OLEARY MR | 9/28/2010 - 11:14pm
Brett, Obama doesn't "promote" abortion, war or experimentation on human life. He follows the laws of the land. I don't see how he could behave any differently. What I don't understand is how intelligent Catholics, including bishops, could fall for the anti-Obama propaganda spewing from his political enemies. I am a Catholic like I presume you are so why is it not obvious to you as it is to me, that the Democratic Party promotes life and the social teaching of the Catholic Church while Republicans definitely do not? Obama is the best president we have ever had. Eisenhower, Reagan, the two Bushes, were all lazy men who had no sense of the common good and no conscience at all when it came to war. Nixon worked hard, unlike the other Republicans,  and the Democrats we have had: Carter, Clinton and Obama worked very hard for the greater good. If it was up to the Republicans we would still have child labor, endless warfare and third world destitution for the poorest of our citizens. Malcolm Moos wrote Ike's speech about the dangers of the military-industrial complex, in which Ike reveled and Reagan was one of the most contemptible hypocrites, uneducated and cynical, ever to come along in American politics. And you attack Obama. 
Marie Rehbein | 9/28/2010 - 9:08pm
Perhaps it is the influence of Cardinal Bernardin from President Obama's days as a community activist in Chicago.
Anonymous | 9/28/2010 - 7:19pm
Right, actions speak louder than words; this is an election season and he will say whatever he necessary to bolster his political image.

We can only pray that Obama has a true conversion that leads him away from the promotion of the culture of death (abortion, war, expirmentation on human embryos etc.) at home and around the world.

PS - it is still amazingly sad that Catholic will overlook such blatent disregard for natural law and truth in the name of "political progress."
Peter Lakeonovich | 9/28/2010 - 6:52pm

You mean Obama wouldn't support the Holy Father's "Vigil for all Nascent Human Life"?

Sure would be a nice surprise if he did.

Here's a link from the USCCB.
Anonymous | 9/28/2010 - 6:30pm
Except that Catholicism and Christianity do not lobby for murder. Come on, Padre...
Anonymous | 9/28/2010 - 5:36pm
This would be interesting.  There were rumors that George Bush was considering Catholicism and with Tony Blair converting, this would make a lot of world leaders looking towards Rome.
Gail Grazie | 9/28/2010 - 3:52pm
I remember reading a story during the Presidential campaign relaying an incident that allegedly occurred when the President was in France. Reportedly, someone asked him what he carried in his pocket and he pulled out some coins and a Miraculous Medal. I don't know if the story is true but there was a photo with the story that may or may not have been photo shopped.  I do not question that the President is a Christian (sad that I even have to say that).  I want to add that it is my understanding that Islam holds Mary in high regard.  It is also my understanding that Mary's House in Ephesus is a place of pilgrmage for Christians and Muslims.  I am not familiar with the tenets of Islam so I hope I have stated this correctly
Beth Cioffoletti | 9/28/2010 - 2:16pm
In his book, Dreams of My Father, (while at Columbia?) Obama mentions interest in contemplative life.  I am a bit surprised that he carries a photograph (?, a holy card? a photograph of a painting?) of Mary.  Though I would never want to pry into someone's spiritual life, if this is true, I would like to know more.  The fact that it was relayed "publicly" seems a little strange to me.