50 Shades of the Vatican

 

Pont-cul

  Father Z brings us the news that some men at the Vatican have apparently lost their marbles:

 

I have sometimes offered that, were I Pope, I would create two new dicasteries (while axing a bunch of others).  Firstly, there would be a Sacred Congregation for the Dusting of the Holy Doors.  After all, the major basilicas all have Holy Doors, to be opened in Jubilee years.  They get dusty.  This would be a great role for prelates from around the world who have proven their worth in their previous posts.  Secondly, We would create a Sacred Congregation for Thinking Stuff Through Before Doing It.  The brief of this SCTSTBD is pretty straight forward. You will remember the guffaw inducing filmette that the Pontifical Council for Culture put out a while back?  That strange video about women?  It stirred a lot of controversy.  HERE You would have thought that they had learned something from that episode. But no. And now we see this on page of the Pontifical Council for Culture…. (See image at beginning of post) Continue reading

Quotes Suitable for Framing: William Manchester

 

He was a thundering paradox of a man, noble and ignoble, inspiring and outrageous, arrogant and shy, the best of men and the worst of men, the most protean, most ridiculous, and most sublime. No more baffling, exasperating soldier ever wore a uniform. Flamboyant, imperious, and apocalyptic, he carried the plumage of a flamingo, could not acknowledge errors, and tried to cover up his mistakes with sly, childish tricks. Yet he was also endowed with great personal charm, a will of iron, and a soaring intellect. Unquestionably he was the most gifted man-at arms- this nation has produced.

William Manchester in a great one paragraph description of Douglas MacArthur, American Caesar

One sure way to get a fight started among American students of military history is to mention Douglas MacArthur.  About 40% will regard him as a vastly overrated egotistical incompetent, and another 40% will regard him as perhaps America’s greatest general.  Twenty percent will try to say that both sides have their points, just before a heated debate begins.  My own perspective is that we are still too close to MacArthur’s stormy time to render a judicious verdict on his career.  MacArthur is both the hero and villain of his biography and it will take generations to sort him out.

A decades’ long struggle: Catholic identity and the University of Notre Dame…

 

One of the first, unspoken rules of assuming the presidency of an institution of higher education is “Remake the board in your image.”

That rule contains a lot of wisdom. The president may have only had a slim majority to be elected. And, as the stormy petrels will surely be stirring up all sorts of challenges to one’s leadership from all sides, to garner a significant base of support and win re-election, the challenge confronting any first-term president is to ensure that trustworthy and erstwhile allies are appointed to seats on the board. That requires working very closely with the board’s membership committee and selecting candidates who share the president’s vision of what it means to be a university and here, a Catholic university.

In that regard, the President of the University of Notre Dame (UND), the Reverend John Jenkins, CSC, has done extremely well. Recently re-electing him to UND’s presidency, UND’s Board praised Fr. Jenkins’ “unfailing commitment to the University’s Catholic character.”

Juxtapose that effusive praise to a recently-published opinion piece concerning the morality of UND’s conduct under Fr. Jenkins’ leadership in extending spousal benefits to those recognized as married by civil law (e.g., health insurance and student housing to same-sex employees and students).

The authors of that opinion piece—Gerard V. Bradley, Professor of Law; John Finnis, Professor of Law and Legal Philosophy Emeritus in the University of Oxford and Professor of Law at UND; and, Daniel Philpott, Professor of Political Science and Peace Studies and Director of UND’s Center for Civil and Human Rights—concluded that the extension of those benefits by an institution like UND is “morally indefensible” and will have “far-reaching and very damaging” consequences.

How so? Citing the Catholic moral principle concerning cooperation with evil, they state:

Where homosexual unions have been legally recognized, one must refrain from any kind of formal cooperation in the application of such gravely unjust laws and, as far as possible, from material cooperation.

Furthermore:

The benefits extension undeniably has the direct effect of encouraging same-sex couples to make or persist in an immoral commitment. It constitutes an endorsement of this commitment, promotes it with direct benefits, and cooperates in it in a way that, on widely used theological conceptions, constitutes formal cooperation with wrongdoing.

Since UND is not compelled by law to implement this policy, the authors observe that doing so constitutes “a morally corrupting scandal, needlessly given,” to persons tempted to enter into, or already in, a same-sex “marriage,” as well as to all others, who “can readily infer that the university actually does not regard any kind of sex acts between adults as grave matter.”

Their conclusion? UND’s policy “imperils the souls and the earthly fulfillment of those whom it has undertaken to support in a Christian life.”

In light of this policy, UND’s Board of Trustees’ ringing endorsement of Fr. Jenkins’ leadership provides an object lesson in what is mortally wrong with much of U.S. Catholic higher education today. Many, if not most of those who hold in “sacred trust” the institutional mission—the members of the board of trustees—apparently are not adequately prepared for the trust which they hold, as this evidences itself in the continuous, creeping secularization of the nation’s institutions of Catholic higher education since the 1960s and 1970s when most of those institutions were turned over to lay boards.

It was the presidents of those institutions who successfully built their boards of trustees in their image and likeness. This is how U.S. Catholic higher education came to the precarious state in which it finds itself today where its universities and colleges implement policies that might be acceptable in secular institutions, but not Catholic institutions.

All of this was quite conscious and deliberate, as those presidents sought to have their institutions emulate their secular peers while retaining a patina of Catholic to please the folks and donors that they’re still Catholic institutions of higher education.

And so it is today at UND. As the authors of that opinion piece note:

[Implementing this policy] violates the institution’s duty of love for same-sex couples, who will inevitably be confirmed and encouraged to continue in their wrongful commitment; it also violates the University’s duty of love for everyone in the campus community, many of whom will be misled about the meaning of marriage and the truth about sexual morality, as well as about how a Christian community rightly responds in love to persons living out a public commitment to an immoral relationship.

If that’s not enough, by “build[ing] into the bricks a norm that leads members of the community directly away from a life lived in friendship with Christ,” UND creates a “structure of sin” that “will be difficult to contain.” How so? It will be increasingly difficult to bar from academic administration those who live openly in immoral relationships.

Does this not present a proximate threat not only to the institution’s Catholic identity but also to the freedom in a Catholic university or college to uphold Catholic teaching?

Nearly two decades ago, a UND professor of history, George M. Marsden, narrated the same story as it pertained to Protestant higher education in the United States. Marsden wrote:

In the context of all these forces, we can understand the residual formal role left for religion in universities. Clearly, despite the presence of many religion departments and a few university divinity schools, religion has moved from near the center a century or so ago to far on the incidental periphery. Aside from voluntary student religious groups, religion in most universities is about as important as the baseball team. Not only has religion become peripheral, there is a definite bias against any perceptible religiously informed perspectives getting a hearing in university classrooms. Despite the claims of contemporary universities to stand above all for openness, tolerance, academic freedom, and equal rights, viewpoints based on discernibly religious concepts (for instance, that there is a created moral order or that divine truths might be revealed in a sacred Scripture), are often informally or explicitly excluded from classrooms.

 

 

 

To read the UND’s Board of Trustees’ letter, click on the following link:
http://news.nd.edu/news/55564-notre-dame-trustees-elect-father-jenkins-to-third-term/

To read the opinion piece concerning UND’s policy, click on the following link:
http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2015/02/14522/

To read Marsden’s article, click on the following link:
http://www.firstthings.com/article/1991/01/005-the-soul-of-the-american-university

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
http://richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

 

PopeWatch: Mexicanization

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Time for another round of the popular game, “I’m Offended!!!”:

 

The Vatican said Wednesday that Pope Francis “absolutely did not intend to offend the Mexican people” when he appeared to express concern that drug trafficking was making his native Argentina resemble Mexico.

Over the weekend, the Pope wrote in an email to Argentine lawmaker and friend Gustavo Vera, “Hopefully we are in time to avoid Mexicanization,” referring to the country’s drug trade, the Associated Press reports. After Vera published the email on the website for his organization, the Alameda Foundation, Mexico formally complained that the Pope was unnecessarily “stigmatizing Mexico” despite the country’s efforts to battle drug cartels there. Continue reading

Gangsters

Cardinal Baldisseri

 

 

Among the powers that be at the Vatican there are apparently some using gangster tactics.  Father Z brings us the news:

 

Remember the Five Cardinals Book™? Remaining in the Truth of Christ: Marriage and Communion in the Catholic Church helped to turn the tide – in a good way – during last October’s Synod of Bishops.  It was simultaneously released in English, Italian, French, German and Spanish.  It is going to be issued in: Polish, Portuguese, Hungarian, Croatian, Slovak, and Czech. It contains essays of five cardinals, of the archbishop secretary of the Vatican congregation for the Oriental Churches, and of three scholars direct at the notions suggested by Walter Card. Kasper in the opening discourse of the consistory in February 2014.  It blew the Kasper proposals and arguments out of the water.

You will also remember that Synod members were up in arms because of the manipulations and machinations of the staff of the Synod office.  Remember all the controversies about whether texts of speeches would be released?  About what could be reported?  About how the mid-term report was produced?  About certain strange paragraphs that didn’t reflect the discussions of the Synod?

There’s more.

Here is something of the story that you don’t know, because at the time it couldn’t be told.

The people who crafted the Five Cardinals Book™ wanted to make sure that Synod members had copies, at least in English or Italian, as the Synod was starting up.  Therefore, they sent copies to every member of the Synod (quite a few) through the Italian post to each member’s personal mailbox near the Synod Hall which was set up individually by the Vatican Post.  Remember, Vatican Post is the postal service of a sovereign nation that has laws.  The Book was sent in individually addressed and franked envelopes.  They weren’t just envelopes with someone’s name on them shoved into the slots by whomever.  They were properly sent postal items.

When the organizers of the Synod realized what had been sent to the members of the Synod, someone removed all the envelopes from the members’ mail boxes!

That’s called theft.   That’s called illegal.   They stole people’s mail.  Please correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t that a crime in, I think, every country?   The Vatican City State… that’s a country… isn’t it.

That’s how frightening the Book is to those who want to overturn the Church’s practice and, therefore, teaching.

The Kathnet piece, by  Manfred Ferrari, indicates that the heist was ordered by Card. Baldisseri, who is the head of the office of the Synod of Bishops.

At the end of the piece, Ferrari adds:

[…]

“This episode took place in the Vatican and not in the Kremlin. As I told it to a friend who, in those days, traveled back to Africa, he smiled at me mildly and said, “Manfred, what’s bothering you. Here in South Sudan things aren’t any better … “

There were inquiries made about what happened to the Book.  Only a few of the Synod participants out of the some 200 received their copies… before they were boosted.  The Governor of the Vatican City State would have a legal obligation to look into the situation.  No?

I cannot underscore enough how important the Five Cardinals Book™ was during the Synod.  It is still important.  It is still under attack.  

The Five Cardinals Book™ addressed the foundations of the odd proposals made about Communion for the divorced and remarried, and it demolished them.  Since then, pretty much everything that has come out in favor of the Kasper proposal has not actually dealt with the arguments in the Book.

Instead, they just repeat the same ol’ same ol’ and then suggest that anyone who doesn’t agree is the enemy of mercy and of Pope Francis.  [CUE DIABOLICAL SURPRISE MUSIC HERE] Continue reading

A Threat to the Social Order

Old regimes die hard and no greater threat exists to the way things are done in this country than Scott Walker.  Elected as a Republican governor twice in a formerly blue state, and the victor in a recall attempt, Walker broke the cash nexus between public employee unions and the Democrat party.  By making membership in most public employee unions voluntary, he has sent membership figures and dues through the floor and dried up one of the main cash cows for the Democrat party in Wisconsin, and broken the stranglehold the public employees had on the state budget.  For this revolutionary act he is enemy number one for the Democrats who view a possible successful run for the Presidency by Walker with the same enthusiasm that vampires have for garlic.  The latest non-issue that Democrats have sought to pillory him for, is that he dropped out of college a few credits shy of his BA degree to take a job.

Most Americans of course lack a four year college degree, but it is unusual these days for a high profile politician not to have one. I doubt if it is a political disadvantage since most people I think can distinguish between the wisdom a person possesses, or does not possess, as opposed to the credentials they have.  However, Robert Tracinski at The Federalist explains why this non-issue has been seized upon by the Democrats:

 

 

There are no real class divisions in America except one: the college-educated versus the non-college educated. It helps to think of this in terms borrowed from the world of a Jane Austen novel: graduating from college is what makes you a “gentleman.” (A degree from an Ivy League school makes you part of the aristocracy.) It qualifies you to marry the right people and hold the right kind of positions. It makes you respectable. And even if you don’t achieve much in the world of work and business, even if you’re still working as a barista ten years later, you still retain that special status. It’s a modern form of “genteel poverty,” which is considered superior to the regular kind of poverty.

If you don’t have a college degree, by contrast, you are looked down upon as a vulgar commoner who is presumptuously attempting to rise above his station. Which is pretty much what they’re saying about Scott Walker. This prejudice is particularly strong when applied to anyone from the right, whose retrograde views are easily attributed to his lack of attendance at the gentleman’s finishing school that is the university.

That brings us to the heart of the matter. I have observed before that left-leaning politics has become “part of the cultural class identity of college-educated people,” a prejudice that lingers long after they have graduated. You can see how this goes the other way, too. If to be college-educated is to have left-leaning views—then to have the “correct” political values, one must be college-educated.

You can see now what is fueling the reaction on the left. If Scott Walker can run for president, he is challenging the basic cultural class identity of the mainstream left. He is more than a threat to the Democrats’ hold on political power. He is a threat to the existing social order. Continue reading

PopeWatch: The Vicar of Christ

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Michael Potemra at National Review reminds us of a novel that in some ways is prophetic of the current pontificate:

 

When Cardinal Bergoglio was elected pope on March 13, 2013, and took the name of Francis (in Italian, “Francesco”), I thought immediately of Pope Francesco I, the fictional radical pope created by Walter P. Murphy in his epic 1979 novel The Vicar of Christ. But of course I put the parallel out of my mind immediately, because the new real-life pope was an elderly Argentinean with a sad, shy facial expression and a conservative reputation, not a radical who would turn the Catholic Church upside down.
Here’s a sample of the fictional Pope Francis, responding to some conservative cardinals who ask him why he has written a document that undermines the historic 1968 anti-contraception encyclical Humanae Vitae:
We have written a pastoral document, not a theological one. You theologians may spin your spidery webs but our task is to lead souls to Christ. Humanae Vitae was wrong. It must be discarded.
The real-life Pope Francis of today has said publicly — and quite recently, at that — that he endorses Humanae Vitae. But otherwise the fictional Francis sounds a lot like the real one. Note the contrast between “pastoral” and “theological” — if you want to give heartburn to conservative Catholics, a good shortcut is to make much of that distinction. And note also the contrast between the “spidery webs” of the “theologians,” and his simple concern for people’s souls; this rhetorical populism (e.g., the declared preference for “the smell of the sheep”) is a hallmark of the current pontificate.
And here’s the fictional Francis, contrasting the traditional view — that the pope and the Church “must speak with the clarity and the force of lightning . . . with absolute authority and absolute certainty and absolute finality” – with his own view of papal authority:
As St. Paul wrote to the Philippians, “Christ emptied Himself” of His right to Godness while He was on earth . . . then the Church may stumble and grope toward the truth, not fully comprehending the fire of ultimate truth that burns within it. It can err in the sense of failing to achieve ultimate truth.
I think the real-life Pope Francis is trying to combine this sort of papal humility — expressed in a much greater emphasis on “mercy,” dialogue, and outreach than on reassertions of dogma — with a desire not to flatly contradict any official doctrines. 

Continue reading

February 25, 1865: Lee Will Not Give Up the Texas Brigade

 

..”Attention Texas Brigade” was rung upon the morning air, by Gen. Gregg, “the eyes of General Lee are upon you, forward, march.” Scarce had we moved a step, when Gen. Lee, in front of the whole command, raised himself in his stirrups, uncovered his grey hairs, and with an earnest, yet anxious voice, exclaimed above the din and confusion of the hour, “Texans always move them.”
…never before in my lifetime or since, did I ever witness such a scene as was enacted when Lee pronounced these words, with the appealing look that he gave. A yell rent the air that must have been heard for miles around, and but few eyes in that old brigade of veterans and heroes of many a bloody field was undimmed by honest, heart-felt tears. Leonard Gee, a courier to Gen. Gregg, and riding  by my side, with tears coursing down his cheeks and yells issuing from his throat exclaimed, “I would charge hell itself for that old man.”

 

Private Robert Campell, 5th Texas Infantry

The fighting erupted early on the second day of the Battle of the Wilderness.  Grant assumed that Hill’s corps had been fought out on the first day and could be overrun with a strong attack.  At 5:00 AM Hancock attacked with three divisions, with two in support.  By 6:00 AM Hill’s corps was in full retreat and disaster loomed for Lee.  At that time the 800 man Texas Brigade, perhaps the elite fighting unit in the Army of Northern Virginia, the vanguard of Longstreet’s corps arrived and saved the day.  Longstreet launched a two division counterattack up the Orange Plank Road, with the Texans, who suffered 650 casualties, leading the attack on the north side of the Road.

This action by the Texan Brigade, and similar actions on many other fields, caused Lee to treasure the unit as his shock troops.  This caused Lee to deny a request by the Governor of Texas in February of 1865.  The request and the denial are contained in this letter from Jefferson Davis to the Governor of  Texas: Continue reading

1968: Back to the Future

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1968 is on the line and it wants its chaos back:

 

There is a whole world of expectations behind Pope Francis. It’s as if the Church of 1968 has broken out again. With one difference. The Church’s ’68 was characterized by the publication of the controversial Dutch catechism and by post-Vatican II theological drifts. Paul VI responded to this crisis by issuing the encyclical “Humanae Vitae” and by proclaiming the Year of Faith that culminated with the Creed of the People of God. This time Pope Francis began his pontificate with the Year of Faith and in the end faces the typical hot button issues of the post-conciliar period that are now in vogue again.

And so outdated topics of debate have returned to center stage in the Church. The need for the Church to be less centralized formed the agenda of many progressive theologians after the Second Vatican Council. Decades later a dossier with the reforms needed to achieve this goal was compiled by the Bologna School, a group of scholars that interprets the Second Vatican Council as a rupture with the Church’s tradition, and this file was sent on at least three occasions to the Cardinals before they gathered for the conclave that elected Francis.

Other current topics that can be traced back to the debates immediately following Vatican II include the need for a more merciful opening to homosexual couples and a more compassionate application of the doctrine of marriage.

These – and many other – doctrinal leaps forward were halted by Blessed Paul VI. St. John Paul II blocked them with the enthusiasm of one who loved the Church’s teachings but who, at the same time, was able to be close to people. Benedict XVI elevated doctrine to a higher level, with the energy of one who loves the truth and thinks that the greatest mercy possible is to equip people with the truth.

Three Popes were not enough to shelve a whole generation of post-conciliar theology intended to foster a non-Roman Church – despite the fact that it bears the title of the Apostolic Roman Catholic Church. Continue reading

PopeWatch: Candida Moss

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Professor of Theology Candida Moss at Notre Dame is disappointed with Pope Francis:

News emerged last week that Pope Francis has strongly criticized modern theories of gender, comparing them to the educational policies of Hitler and the destructive possibilities of the nuclear arms race.

In an interview included in a new book by Andrea Tornielli and Giacomo Galeazzi, Pope Francis: This Economy Kills, and released in part in the Italian daily La Stampa, Francis compared gender theory to nuclear arms: “Let’s think of the nuclear arms, of the possibility to annihilate in a few instants a very high number of human beings. … Let’s think also of genetic manipulation, of the manipulation of life, or of the gender theory, that does not recognize the order of creation.”

In using the term “gender theory,” Francis is denouncing the academic perspective that sees gender identities as a spectrum rather than as binaries. Gender theorists argue that the way people identify themselves is the result of social and cultural constructions of gender.

This has important ramifications for how we think about biology and sexuality. While the point may seem academic, its ramifications are not. The recognition that gender exists on a spectrum has provided part of the intellectual foundations for both LGBTQIA advocacy and women’s rights.

In the interview, Francis recalled how a public education minister was given funding for new schools for the poor only on the condition that school textbooks taught gender theory. Francis described this as “ideological colonization” and added that “the same was done by the dictators of the last century. … think of Hitler Youth.”

In his comments on gender and creation, Francis was alluding to the Catholic notion of natural law: that moral and theological principles are encoded in the created world, there to be seen and studied and learned: “The design of the Creator is written in nature.”

But in invoking creation, Francis unavoidably invokes the first chapters of Genesis, where the Bible lays out “the order of creation.” This is where the confluence of tradition, biblical text, and gender runs into some difficulty.

*********************

Moss ends her post with this:

 

But whether he means to or not, when it comes to placating conservative elements in the Church, Pope Francis consistently sells women down the river. For Francis, the go-to issues for establishing his conservative bona fides are his opposition to women priests, contraception, and his scathing judgment of childless families. He may just be rehearsing traditional Catholic perspectives, but when you add to this his tendency to use negative and mildly chauvinistic imagery to describe women a pattern emerges. Even if Francis were a closet liberal, he’s a liberal who ranks women’s interests at the bottom of his list of priorities. And if we take Francis’s position on gender theory and the “natural order” seriously, then we give up certain kinds of gender equality, as well as the possibility of creating a fully welcoming environment for same-sex couples or trans-individuals.

Francis’s interests in poverty and the environment are welcome, exciting, and sorely needed. His comments on women are not. And at the end of the day it’s possible to recycle cardboard without recycling centuries of misogyny. Continue reading

PopeWatch: Betrayal

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A sad feature of Catholic history in the contemporary world is the selling out of Catholics by the Vatican in the name of ecumenism and/or diplomacy.  Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa, gives us a current example:

 

 

ROME, February 20, 2015 – He had a lot to be sorry about, Pope Francis, with the bishops of Ukraine who recently arrived in Rome for their periodic “ad limina” visit.

To these bishops and to their priests and faithful, when two weeks ago Jorge Mario Bergoglio had denounced to the world the war that is devastating their country, the words he had used had sounded terrible. “Fratricidal violence,” the pope had called it, putting everyone on a par, aggressors and victims.

And it had been even worse when Francis had looked up from the text and added on his own: “When I hear the words ‘victory’ or ‘defeat’ I feel a great pain, a great sadness in my heart. Those are not the right word; the only right word is ‘peace.’ Think about it, this is a war among Christians! All of you have the same baptism. You are fighting among Christians. Think about this scandal.”

The fact that Bergoglio has a soft spot for Russia had already been seen with the outbreak of war in Syria, when he called for a day of prayer and fasting to oppose the armed intervention of the United States and France against the regime of Damascus, and Vladimir Putin publicly praised him.

Then there is the influence of the ecumenical factor: of the 200 million Orthodox Christians in the world, 150 million belong to the patriarchate of Moscow and “of all Rus’,” and it is therefore with Moscow above all that the pope wants to cultivate good relations.

But the fact that the aggression of Russia against Ukraine, the armed occupation of its eastern border, the annexation of Crimea should have left the pope indifferent to “victory” or “defeat,” was intolerable for the sentiments of Ukrainian Catholics. All the more so in that these words of Pope Francis promptly brought the applause of Moscow, this time not from Putin but from Orthodox patriarch Kirill, who also has jurisdiction over the Orthodox of Ukraine.

Memories of the persecution of Ukrainian Catholics on the part of the Soviet regime are too fresh. Their Church, after the second world war, was literally annihilated, with countless martyrs killed in the most atrocious ways, crucified, walled up alive, drowned in boiling water.

It was the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 that brought this Church out of the catacombs. But its efforts to regain breathing space have been difficult and are still incomplete, with churches and homes in the hands of Orthodox bishops and priests.

Today the almost five million Ukrainian Catholics know very well that they are the true obstacle to the encounter between the pope of Rome and the patriarch of Moscow. But they will not agree to be sacrificed on the altar of this ecumenical dream.

Ukrainian Catholics are resisting in the western part of the country, in Galicia, in Lviv. But in occupied Crimea and the Donbas, the repression has taken another ruthless turn.

The Vatican nuncio in Kiev, American archbishop Thomas E. Gullickson, appointed by Benedict XVI in 2011, has compared it to that of the Soviets in 1946, “with the complicity of the Orthodox brethren and the blessing of Moscow.” He even evoked “the lessons of ISIS and the so-called caliphate in Iraq and Syria,” to say that “such a tragedy” could also happen elsewhere.

The reports that the nuncio is sending to Rome are detailed and alarming. And Ukrainian Catholics have been furious to see how none of this has appeared in the words of Pope Francis. It is their conviction that in the Roman curia as well, as in Ukraine, the pro-Russian party has free rein and is influencing the pope.

On February 10 the secretariat of state responded to the protests of Ukrainian Catholics with a note, to “clarify that the pope has always intended to address all the interested parties, trusting in the sincere effort of each one to apply the agreements reached by common accord and recalling the principle of international law.”

But this slight reference to legality was certainly not enough to worry Moscow, certain by now that its annexation of Crimea has in fact been accepted by all, including the Vatican, and that for the Donbas, Russianized and with no more Catholics, the same thing could happen. Continue reading

February 23, 1945: The Mass on Mount Suribachi

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Seventy years ago today the Marines raised the flag over Mount Suribachi during the battle of Iwo Jima and a mass was said at the summit.  Iwo Jima probably has the sad distinction of being the most expensive piece of worthless real estate in the history of the globe.  Expensive not in something as minor as money, but costly in something as all important as human lives.  In 1943 the island had a civilian population of 1018 who scratched a precarious living from sulfur mining, some sugar cane farming and fishing.  All rice and consumer goods had to be imported from the Home Islands of Japan.  Economic prospects for the island were dismal.  Eight square miles, almost all flat and sandy, the dominant feature is Mount Suribachi on the southern tip of the island, 546 feet high, the caldera of the dormant volcano that created the island.  Iwo Jima prior to World War II truly was “of the world forgetting, and by the world forgot”.

The advent of World War II changed all of that.  A cursory look at a map shows that Iwo Jima is located 660 miles south of Tokyo, well within the range of American bombers and fighter escorts, a fact obvious to both the militaries of the US and Imperial Japan.  The Japanese forcibly evacuated the civilian population of Iwo Jima in July of 1944.  Awaiting the invading Marines was a garrison of approximately 23,000 Japanese troops, skillfully deployed by General Tadamichi Kuribayashi  in hidden fortified positions throughout the island, connected in many cases by 11 miles of tunnels.  The Japanese commander was under no illusions that the island could be held, but he was determined to make the Americans pay a high cost in blood for Iwo.

Tasked with the mission of seizing the island was the V Marine Amphibious Corp, under the command of General Holland “Howlin’ Mad” Smith, consisting of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Divisions.

On February 18th, 1945 Navy Lieutenant, (the Marine Corps, although Marines are often loathe to admit it, is a component of the Department of the Navy, and the Navy supplies all the chaplains that serve with it) Charles Suver, Society of Jesus, was part of the 5th Marine Division and anxiously awaiting the end of the bombardment and the beginning of the invasion the next day.  Chaplain Suver was one of 19 Catholic priests participating in the invasion as a chaplain.

Father Suver had been born in Ellensburg, Washington in 1907.    Graduating from Seattle College in 1924, he was ordained as a priest in 1937, having taught at Gonzaga University in Spokane.   Prior to the war, while teaching at Seattle Prep, he rigorously enforced the no running rules in the hall, even going so far as to tackle one errant student!  Father Suver was remembered as a strict disciplinarian but also a fine teacher. Shortly after Pearl Harbor, he joined the Navy as a chaplain.

On February 18th, 1945, Chaplain Suver was discussing the upcoming invasion with other Marine officers.  A lieutenant told him that he intended to take an American flag onto the top of Mount Suribachi.  Suver responded that if he did that, he would say mass under it.

At 5:30 AM the next morning Father Suver said mass for the Marines aboard his ship, LST 684. (The official meaning of LST was Landing Ship, Tank;  the troops designated them Large Slow Target.)  After mass, nervous Marines, more than a few of whom had not much longer to live, bombarded the chaplain with questions, especially questions about courage.  He responded, ” A courageous man goes on fulfilling his duty despite the fear gnawing away inside.  Many men are fearless, for many different reasons, but fewer are courageous.”  Continue reading

Now America Is Against Dissent

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100% pro-abort Senator Richard Durbin (D.Il.) celebrates his Jesuit education

My irony meter just broke.  America, the Jesuit rag and not the country, is now against dissent:

It is a curious view of leadership, to say the least, for bishops who do not like what Pope Francis has said to head off to reporters who share a common political ilk to complain.  

Thankfully, Cardinal Wuerl spoke out. Bishops have to be the ones who criticize bishops to garner any attention in the upper echelons. We need their gravitas to address any bishop taking on the pope, the source of unity in our church.

Others might complain of the stupidity of criticizing the church leader who is reaching the public as no one in recent years has done. Still others also can recognize the importance of defending a leader of what can seem like a hidebound institution that needs change to keep the institution vibrant and ready for years to come. Still others can appreciate the paternal, pastoral leader needed by billions of people and the need to support him.

However, it is the bishops themselves who must speak out when dissent comes from within the highest level of the church. This is worthy of their calling to leadership as bishops. Bravo, Cardinal Wuerl. Continue reading

The Temptations of Christ: Part One

[1] Then Jesus was led by the spirit into the desert, to be tempted by the devil. [2] And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterwards he was hungry. [3] And the tempter coming said to him: If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. [4] Who answered and said: It is written, Not in bread alone doth man live, but in every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God. [5] Then the devil took him up into the holy city, and set him upon the pinnacle of the temple,

[6] And said to him: If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down, for it is written: That he hath given his angels charge over thee, and in their hands shall they bear thee up, lest perhaps thou dash thy foot against a stone. [7] Jesus said to him: It is written again: Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. [8] Again the devil took him up into a very high mountain, and shewed him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them, [9] And said to him: All these will I give thee, if falling down thou wilt adore me. [10] Then Jesus saith to him: Begone, Satan: for it is written, The Lord thy God shalt thou adore, and him only shalt thou serve.

Matthew 4: 1-10

 

Lent is a time for confronting evil, both within and without us.  During Lent we recall Christ’s temptation by Satan, the culmination of his forty days and nights in the desert.  This passage has always struck me as mysterious.  Why would God allow Satan to tempt Him to sin?  Why would Satan attempt to do so?

The answer to the  first question is that God became one of us.  Like us in our humanity He was subject to the lure of sin.  The Incarnation is filled with mysteries but few are deeper than this.  God allowed Himself to feel the same attraction to sin, the revolt against the Divine Will, that we, in our Fallen humanity, feel.  He exposed Himself to every weakness that we experience and allowed Satan the opportunity to see if he could tempt God, too, to Fall.  And that was the attraction for Satan.  Eternally in revolt from the love of God, his only hope for victory in this doomed rebellion was to convince God to reject His own love.  God deciding to make himself Man must have struck Satan as madness, and perhaps CS Lewis is correct, even inspired Satan’s revolt:

 When the creation of man was first mooted and when, even at that stage, the Enemy freely confessed that he foresaw a certain episode about a cross, Our Father very naturally sought an interview and asked for an explanation. The Enemy gave no reply except to produce the cock-and-bull story about disinterested love which He has been circulating ever since. This Our Father naturally could not accept. He implored the Enemy to lay His cards on the table, and gave Him every opportunity. He admitted that he felt a real anxiety to know the secret; the Enemy replied “I wish with all my heart that you did”. It was, I imagine, at this stage in the interview that Our Father’s disgust at such an unprovoked lack of confidence caused him to remove himself an infinite distance from the Presence with a suddenness which has given rise to the ridiculous enemy story that he was forcibly thrown out of Heaven. Continue reading

Iwo Jima: Valor Was a Common Virtue

 

 

Seventy years ago the battle of Iwo Jima was under way.  The ferocity of the fighting can be gauged by this stark fact:  there were 82 Medals of Honor earned by Marines during the entire war in the Pacific, 22 of them were awarded for heroism on Iwo.  Here, chosen at random, is the citation for the Medal of Honor earned by Sergeant Darrell Cole.  Prior to serving on Iwo he had fought on Guadalcanal, Kwajalein, Tinian and Saipan.  At twenty-four, his entire adult life had been spent fighting in the Pacific.  Here is his citation:

 

 

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as Leader of a Machine-gun Section of Company B, First Battalion, Twenty-Third Marines, Fourth Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces during the assault on Iwo Jima in the Volcano Islands, 19 February 1945. Assailed by a tremendous volume of small-arms, mortar and artillery fire as he advanced with one squad of his section in the initial assault wave, Sergeant Cole boldly led his men up the sloping beach toward Airfield Number One despite the blanketing curtain of flying shrapnel and, personally destroying with hand grenades two hostile emplacements which menaced the progress of his unit, continued to move forward until a merciless barrage of fire emanating from three Japanese pillboxes halted the advance. Instantly placing his one remaining machine gun in action, he delivered a shattering fusillade and succeeded in silencing the nearest and most threatening emplacement before his weapon jammed and the enemy, reopening fire with knee mortars and grenades, pinned down his unit for the second time. Shrewdly gauging the tactical situation and evolving a daring plan of counterattack, Sergeant Cole, armed solely with a pistol and one grenade, coolly advanced alone to the hostile pillboxes. Hurling his one grenade at the enemy in sudden, swift attack, he quickly withdrew, returned to his own lines for additional grenades and again advanced, attacked, and withdrew. With enemy guns still active, he ran the gauntlet of slashing fire a third time to complete the total destruction of the Japanese strong point and the annihilation of the defending garrison in this final assault. Although instantly killed by an enemy grenade as he returned to his squad, Sergeant Cole had eliminated a formidable Japanese position, thereby enabling his company to storm the remaining fortifications, continue the advance and seize the objective. By his dauntless initiative, unfaltering courage and indomitable determination during a critical period of action, Sergeant Cole served as an inspiration to his comrades, and his stouthearted leadership in the face of almost certain death sustained and enhanced the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country. Continue reading

The Obama Administration Knows Who The Real Terrorists Are

Terrorists

 

 

Since its inception, the Obama administration, the same administration unable to say the phrase, “Islamic Terrorism”, has desperately wanted to turn the focus onto domestic “right-wing” terrorism.  The problem of course is that as organized groups such terrorism is about as rare as unicorn sightings in this country.  Not a problem.  In a just released report, the Department of Homeland Security, and what a truly Orwellian waste of money that huge bureaucracy has become, raises the bogey-man sovereign citizen movement which basically consists of cranks on the internet who appeal to other cranks and losers off the internet, into an alleged country spanning terrorist organization:
Washington (CNN)They’re carrying out sporadic terror attacks on police, have threatened attacks on government buildings and reject government authority.

A new intelligence assessment, circulated by the Department of Homeland Security this month and reviewed by CNN, focuses on the domestic terror threat from right-wing sovereign citizen extremists and comes as the Obama administration holds a White House conference to focus efforts to fight violent extremism.

Some federal and local law enforcement groups view the domestic terror threat from sovereign citizen groups as equal to — and in some cases greater than — the threat from foreign Islamic terror groups, such as ISIS, that garner more public attention.​
The Homeland Security report, produced in coordination with the FBI, counts 24 violent sovereign citizen-related attacks across the U.S. since 2010.

Go here to read the rest at CNN.  JihadWatch gives this bilge the response it deserves:

In the middle of this story on the CNN page was a link to another CNN story that shows just how ridiculous this is: “ISIS burned up to 40 people alive in Iraq, official says.” Have “right-wing sovereign citizen extremists” burned anyone alive? Have these “right-wingers” kidnapped large numbers of left-wing women and pressed them into sex slavery? Boasted that they would conquer the United States and ultimately the world, and that they had sleeper cells in place in the U.K. ready to start killing? Have they actually killed anyone beyond the two officers mentioned in this report? Do “sovereign citizens” give children weapons training and severed heads to play with? Do they burn musical instruments, murder left-wingers for the sole crime of being left-wingers, crucify people as children watch, chop off women’s hands for using cell phones, and behead people for smoking cigarettes?

 

Continue reading

Vox Cantoris Is Not Alone

 

 

Something for Father Tom Rosica and his legal beagles to contemplate:

 

Vox Cantoris posts links to the blogger articles that have rallied to his support:

Blog post collections

http://www.wopular.com/comment/reply/29712047
http://www.novusordowatch.org/wire/blog-of-war-rosica-domet.htm
http://thyselfolord.blogspot.ca/2015/02/porta-vox-do-vaticano-processa-blogger.html
http://biblefalseprophet.com/2015/02/19/must-watch-vatican-threatening-vox-cantoris-blog-for-commenting-on-synod/
http://throwthebumsoutin2010.blogspot.ca/2015/02/pope-francis-spokesperson-fr-rosica.html
http://pewsitter.com/view_news_id_196707.php
http://thyselfolord.blogspot.ca/2015/02/porta-vox-do-vaticano-processa-blogger.html
http://theradicalcatholic.blogspot.ca/2015/02/fr-thomas-rosica-threatens-catholic.html
http://www.foicatholique.com/2015/02/pere-thomas-rosica-un-tolerant.html#more
http://edinburghhousewife.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/davids-trouble.html
http://www.anglicansamizdat.net/wordpress/tag/fr-thomas-rosica/
http://kreuzknappe.blogspot.de/2015/02/aufregung-in-bloggerkreisen-geht-der.html
http://callmejorgebergoglio.blogspot.ca/2015/02/cardinal-carlo-maria-martini-sj.html
http://www.katholieknieuwsblad.nl/nieuws/7026-woordvoerder-vaticaan-dreigt-blogger-met-advocaat
http://the-american-catholic.com/2015/02/20/patheos-crickets-chirp/
http://www.sacerdotus.com/2015/02/fr-rosica-sues-blogger-vox-cantoris.html
http://kavlaanderen.blogspot.be/2015/02/de-canadese-fr-thomas-rosica-van-het.html
http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2015/02/20/vatican-spokesman-threatens-to-sue-catholic-blogger/
http://everydayforlifecanada.blogspot.ca/2015/02/wheres-humility-mercy-and-forgiveness.html
http://the-american-catholic.com/2015/02/20/patheos-crickets-chirp/
http://www.fightingirishthomas.com/2015/02/voris-vox-cantoris-and-vatican-suit-for.html?spref=tw
https://mundabor.wordpress.com/2015/02/20/self-castration-to-spite-the-wife-reflections-on-father-rosica-and-the-blogosphere-m/
https://sacerdotus.wordpress.com/tag/vox-cantoris/
http://catholicanuck.blogspot.ca/2015/02/this-little-bit-of-weirdness-crossed-my.html
http://www.suscipedomine.com/forum/index.php?PHPSESSID=1dfbb9924b26f26c8d73384cb250589d&topic=10401.15
http://www.gloria.tv/media/Qp2hCDB9hNB
http://restore-dc-catholicism.blogspot.ca/2015/02/more-on-father-rosica-spouting.html
http://trilobitedisidente.blogspot.com.ar/2015/02/miserere-mei-deus-allegri-kings-college.html
http://eponymousflower.blogspot.ca/2015/02/vatican-suing-bloggers.html
https://mundabor.wordpress.com/2015/02/21/pray-for-david-domet-vox-cantoris/
http://www.lepantoinstitute.org/uncategorized/fr-rosicas-ironic-lawsuit/
http://trilobitedisidente.blogspot.com.ar/2015/02/miserere-mei-deus-allegri-kings-college.html
https://exmagnasilentium.wordpress.com/2015/02/19/vox-cantoris-is-right-about-father-rosica-fathers-take-on-the-temptation-of-jesus/
https://mundabor.wordpress.com/2015/02/21/rosicagate-look-at-the-waves/
https://exmagnasilentium.wordpress.com/2015/02/18/vatican-spokesman-father-rosica-threatens-to-sue-vox-cantoris-blog/
https://mundabor.wordpress.com/tag/father-rosica/
http://throwthebumsoutin2010.blogspot.ca/2015/02/pope-francis-spokesperson-fr-rosica.html?spref=tw
http://restore-dc-catholicism.blogspot.ca/2015/02/more-on-father-rosica-spouting.html
http://theradicalcatholic.blogspot.ca/2015/02/fr-thomas-rosica-threatens-catholic.html
http://trilobitedisidente.blogspot.com.ar/2015/02/miserere-mei-deus-allegri-kings-college.html
http://www.anglicansamizdat.net/wordpress/blogging/vatican-priest-threatens-to-sue-catholic-blogger/
http://restore-dc-catholicism.blogspot.ca/search/label/Father%20Rosica
http://www.canadiancatechist.com/?p=556
https://mundabor.wordpress.com/2015/02/21/pray-for-david-domet-vox-cantoris/
http://catholictruthblog.com/2015/02/19/vatican-priest-threat-to-sue-blogger/#comment-26061
http://wdtprs.com/blog/tag/vox-cantoris/
https://mundabor.wordpress.com/2015/02/19/rosicology-exploring-irregular-couples-and-other-snippets/
http://catholictruthblog.com/2015/02/19/vatican-priest-threat-to-sue-blogger/#comment-26061
http://canadiancatholicbloggers.blogspot.ca/2015/02/editorial.html
http://www.canadiancatechist.com/?p=556
http://lesfemmes-thetruth.blogspot.ca/2015/02/unbelievable-fr-thomas-rosica-threatens.html
http://eponymousflower.blogspot.ca/2015/02/vatican-suing-bloggers.html
https://veneremurcernui.wordpress.com/2015/02/19/vatican-spokesman-fr-tom-rosica-calls-cardinal-burke-a-dissenter/
http://pblosser.blogspot.ca/2015/02/fr-rosica-brings-lawsuit-against.html
http://www.fisheaters.com/forums/index.php?topic=3467479.0

https://mundabor.wordpress.com/2015/02/21/rosicagate-comedy-gold-and-even-more-nonsense-from-the-mouth-of-the-man-himself/

The Radical Catholic: Fr. Thomas Rosica Threatens Catholic Blogger
Everyday for Life: Careful what you say about the clergy: you may get sued
Jonah in the Heart of Nineveh: Rosica’s Conflicts of Interest, and Other Problems (Video from ChurchMilitant.TV)
An Editorial from SCCB, totally siding with Father Rosica (wink wink).
Anglican Samizdat: Vatican priest threatens to sue Catholic blogger
CATHOLICANUCK
Kitchener Waterloo Traditional Catholic: Really, Rev. Rosica?
Mundabor: Father Rosica Tries To Silence A Catholic Blogger
The American Catholic: Sue ‘em!
Ex Magna: Vatican Spokesman Father Rosica Threatens To Sue Vox Cantoris Blog

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