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Barney Fife: The Law

Saturday, April 29, AD 2017


Don Knotts was a comedy genius but he understood that his creation, the bumbling Deputy Barney Fife, needed depth to be an effective character.  Here he faces down two men, each far more physically powerful than himself, simply because his badge represents the Law and the people the Law represents.  It is an example of a character overcoming his fear and helps explain why Sheriff Taylor had Fife as his Deputy.  A bravura performance from the Silver Age of Television.

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PopeWatch: Ad Orientem

Saturday, April 29, AD 2017



From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:


After conducting his first symphony since being named Maestro of the New Mexico Philharmonic, Chinese-born Li Wei Chen has been under heavy scrutiny from longtime patrons for conducting Beethoven’s famous 9th Symphony while facing the orchestra.

Season subscriber Lance Humphrey told EOTT that he was offended that Chen did not conduct facing the audience like their old maestro.

“Look, I understand that the symphony is still the symphony no matter what, but I just think that turning his back toward us while conducting just takes us back to an archaic time.”

Many have reportedly labelled Chen a “Symphonic Rad Trad,” saying that he was out of touch with mainstream music.

New Mexico Symphony donor Cecilia Cotes told EOTT that it reminded her of times when she would be in music class and would be “whacked on the knuckles with a violin bow.”

“It’s completely outdated. What we want is Maestro Chen to turn and face us so that we can feel like we’re participating in the orchestral movements. Does that make sense?”

At press time, Chen has said that he would not turn to face the people, but would consider allowing a number patrons on stage to turn the pages of the sheet music during concerts.

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Hogs of War

Friday, April 28, AD 2017


I love the irony:


Three Islamic State fighters were mauled to death by a pack of wild boar, reports U.K.’s  The Times. Another 5 militants were also injured in the attack.

The men were said to be taking cover in a field as they set up an ambush for local tribesmen, local leaders said.

“It is likely their movement disturbed a herd of wild pigs, which inhabit the area as well as the nearby cornfields,” Sheikh Anwar al-Assi, a chief of the local Ubaid tribe and supervisor of anti-ISIS forces, told the Times. “The area is dense with reeds, which are good for hiding in.”

The incident occurred after Islamic State fighters executed 25 people in the town of Hawija, one of three Islamic State complete-control strongholds in Iraq. The executions were ordered after several people tried to escape the town, according to local leaders. 

13 Responses to Hogs of War

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They Don’t Like the Bill of Rights

Friday, April 28, AD 2017


Last night I watched The FBI Story (1959) starring Jimmy Stewart as FBI agent Chip Hardesty.  Through the story of his career the history of the FBI was told.  A somewhat sanitized version to be sure but accurate as far as it went.  Go here to read some background on the film.  From an entertainment standpoint it is a great film, full of humor and drama, Jimmy Stewart and Vera Miles doing a good job of making you care about Chip Hardesty and his wife.  In one moving scene Hardesty and his wife learn that their only son was killed in the first assault wave on Iwo Jima.  As the black tide of grief washes over them as it does almost all parents who lose a child, Stewart seemed to be actually experiencing that sorrow.  A decorated Colonel in the Eighth Air Force who flew bomber missions during the War, I expect that Stewart while filming that scene was recalling the many young men he had known who had died in the units he commanded, and the letters he wrote to their parents and wives.  A good film, but that is not why I am writing this post.


In a clash with the Ku Klux Klan Hardesty describes it as follows:

The next day, Sam and I were sent down South with five other agents.  We were given simple instructions:  To check on a group of terrorists known as the Ku Klux Klan.  They had one minor complaint:  They didn’t like the Bill of Rights.  They said so in speeches.  They said so  in a lot of different ways.  They ransacked homes……and defiled ancient devotions.  It was a secret organization……that was so powerful it didn’t have to be secret.

This struck home to me because in this country we see the growing influence on the left of groups that also do not like the Bill of Rights.  To their credit some leftists are beginning to speak out against these groups, including Senators Warren and Sanders, Professor Cornell West and talk show host Bill Maher.  It is a frightening movement that bodes ill for civic peace.  Here is a current example of what these groups are accomplishing:



For years, the 82nd Avenue of the Roses parade has kicked off Portland’s annual Rose Festival and marked beginning of the Oregon city’s parade season.

But after a threatening email was sent to parade organizers – singling out members of the Multnomah County Republican Party (MCRP) who were planning to take part – officials have decided to cancel the family-friendly procession in an effort to avoid any clashes between protesters and marchers.

“This would have been the 11th year of the parade. This is culturally enriched community that has grown very diverse over the years,” Rick Jarvis, a spokesman for the Rose Festival Foundation, told Fox News. “The association has worked very hard to get everyone together in one common are and the parade helped served in that function.”

Local media reported that the email was sent from “[email protected],” and said that if members of the MCRP marched on Saturday they planned to have “two hundred or more people rush into the parade into the middle and drag and push them out.”

“You have seen how much power we have downtown and that the police cannot stop us from shutting down roads so please consider your decision wisely,” the anonymous email said, in reference to the violent riots that broke out in Portland after the 2016 presidential election, reported the Oregonian. “This is non-negotiable.”

4 Responses to They Don’t Like the Bill of Rights

  • “We have met the enemy and he is us.” Pogo, Walt Kelly, 1970.

    Herein I demonstrate my firm grasp of the obvious. Antifa and KKK thugs are the same.

    One problem is that the elites and lying media (redundant) do not have a tenuous grasp of the obvious.

  • The 2d incarnation of the Ku Klux Klan evaporated quite rapidly after 1930 and was all but defunct during the war. (That’s what made Robert Byrd’s Klan organizing so odd, rather like someone organizing War Bond rallies in 1963. He was trying to assemble an organization which was completely passe in a state with few minorities of any description; post-war, the West Virginia congressional delegation was generally friendly to the interests of blacks – with one notable exception). The Klan dissolved in 1944, was refoundeded in 1946, and broke up into klanlets in 1949. Even during the civil rights era, the klanlets were consequential in only about four states.

    What’s notable about the postwar klan is that it was run by unimportant people, who, with very few exceptions, neither recruited nor suborned local officials. (The Neshoba County, Miss. Sheriff’s department was the most salient exception). The antifa types do not have a murderous aspect to them as yet, but they are executing institutional policy in places like Berkeley.

  • “’You have seen how much power we have downtown and that the police cannot stop us from shutting down roads so please consider your decision wisely,’ the anonymous email said, in reference to the violent riots that broke out in Portland after the 2016 presidential election, reported the Oregonian. ‘This is non-negotiable.'”

    There are young millennial spoiled brat college grads in their mid and late 20s in my Oregonian company who believe in first marginalizing and then silencing conservatives. Even from management the disgust for conservatives and Republicans is palpable. The irony is that my company is a nuclear one and Oregon – bastion of godless eco-wacko enviro-nazi anti-nuclear liberalism – would never permit building a nuclear power plant in its Soviet Socialist sodomite rights, baby murdering Republik on the left coast.

  • If any person dies because medical help cannot reach him, those who shut the roadways down have bloodguilt on their hands. Any disruption that brings hardship to any other person is criminal and a violation of peaceable assembly, good will for the common good and disenfranchises the evil doer to the degree of the murder, mischief and mayhem they bring about and God will punish, even in this life.

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PopeWatch: Egypt

Friday, April 28, AD 2017


The Pope faces a situation on the ground far different from the view of Islam as a religion of peace that he has repeated ad nauseum:


Pope Francis is facing a religious and diplomatic balancing act as he heads to Egypt this weekend, hoping to comfort its Christian community after a spate of Islamic attacks while seeking to improve relations with Egypt’s Muslim leaders.

Security has been tightened, with shops ordered closed and police conducting door-to-door checks in the upscale Cairo neighborhood where Francis will stay Friday night. His only public Mass is being held at a military-run stadium.

Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said Francis wasn’t overly concerned and wouldn’t use an armored car, as his predecessors did on foreign trips. Francis insisted on going ahead with the trip even after twin Palm Sunday church bombings killed at least 45 people and a subsequent attack at the famed St. Catherine’s monastery in Sinai.

“We’re in the world of ‘new normal,'” Burke said. “But we go forward with serenity.”

The highlight of the two-day trip will be Francis’ visit Friday to Al-Azhar, the revered 1,000-year-old seat of learning in Sunni Islam. There, he will meet privately with grand imam Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, and participate in an international peace conference.

Francis has insisted that Christian-Muslim dialogue is the only way to overcome Islamic extremism of the kind that has targeted Christians and driven them from their 2,000-year-old communities in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East. While condemning extremist attacks against Christians, he has said he is traveling to Egypt as a messenger of peace at a time when the world is “torn by blind violence.”

But his message of dialogue and tolerance has been rejected as naive by even some of his fellow Jesuits, for whom Islam remains “a religion of the sword” that has failed to modernize. Even ordinary Egyptian Christians see his visit as a nice gesture but one that ultimately won’t change their reality.

“He has been saying the same words for years, which is all about love and tolerance, but political Islam ruined the world and the most important change should come from Al-Azhar,” said John, a 24-year-old Coptic Christian student from Cairo who declined to give his last name because he feared reprisals.

5 Responses to PopeWatch: Egypt

  • My prayers are for his safety.
    The encouragement he can provide to the Christian community might only be surface, however they live, suffer and die in their harsh anti-Christian climate.
    Change in the hearts of radical Islam is doubtful, yet this visit is going to reach below the surface because “Be not afraid,” is the commonality being shared with the fellow Christians…and weakness, discouragement and futility isn’t the message that they will receive from PF’ visit. Just his presence will help encourage, strengthen and fortify their hearts. If nothing else.

    He deserves our prayers in my opinion.

  • Dialogue…blah, blah, blah.
    Queen Isabel, Charles Martel and John Sobieski showed the world how to deal with Islam.

  • with all due respect, someone needs to explain that denial is not a river in Egypt.

  • Taking anything good from any attempt to do good isn’t a form a denial. It’s a form of hope. Unseen works that causes a transformation of heart is not always visible at the onset. Afterwards however it can be seen as works being done by God.
    The instruments are not always gold chalices adorned with precious stones.

    If my hope is in vain then shame on me..not for hoping, but for allowing others to cause my heart to doubt God’s mercy and works from whomever he wishes to work through.

  • I agree with Penguins Fan above. Ceterum autem censeo Islamismum esse delendum! Vive Christe Rex!

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Bear Growls: No Love From This Teddy

Thursday, April 27, AD 2017



Our bruin friend at Saint Corbinian’s Bear does not think much of the Pope’s TED talk:


Everybody loves to hate TED talks. It is an official entry on the “Stuff White People Like” website. Comedian Sam Hyde was spot on when he gave a ridiculously self-congratulatory TED talk on “the 2070 Paradigm Shift” a few years ago, while dressed like a Greek hoplite.

With his “Neo-Earth Good Government League” he should have been the warm-up act for Francis’ TED talk.

 Among the gems (this is Sam Hyde):

What inspires me, is teaching African refugees how to program Javascript. What inspires me is finding out how to use MagLev trains to get resources to the moon. These are the challenges that tomorrow’s going to face.

It should be no surprise that Pope Francis popped up on a TED to talk about the “Future You.”
The Bear finds that phrase ominous, since, actuarially, the future Bear will shortly be fertilizing the daisy patch. But, of course, the future is full of hope for Pope Francis. But what kind of hope?
As the Bear read the bland comments, he recalled the brilliant po-mo generator that assembles jargon into academic essays that have fooled at least one journal. It would not be hard to create a “Francis Generator” that did a quick paste job using solidarity, refugees, migrants, youth, arms dealers, dialogue, and those evil northern bastards who stole everything from the south, etc.

This talk could have been generated by the Bear’s hypothetical program. And it is just as hard to write a sensible story about. You can skim it for yourself. It isn’t that long. It is devoid of any genuine Catholic insights. The theological virtue of Hope is reduced to an expectation for a better tomorrow – here on earth. Pope Francis actually calls for a revolution. A worldly revolution, of course, that would put in power progressives like himself.

It makes an uncomfortable read, because you realize that this is not someone who is all that interested in souls, or Heaven, or any of that stuff. Jorge Bergoglio was elected Pope to advance the agenda of the Prince of This World. His gospel is the anti-gospel of the Prince of This World.

7 Responses to Bear Growls: No Love From This Teddy

  • For this pontiff, Marxists are just “Christians in a hurry.” His admiration is palpable, tinged with green, even.

  • I agree with St. Corbinian’s Bear. Depose and anathematize Jorge Bergoglio, and never ever elect another Latin American to the Papacy until leftism is eradicated from South America.

  • 🙄 🙄
    My favorite was a pic of former Secretary of State Mrs. Clinton with the caption; “I am and have always been an advocate for children.”

    Those blobs of tissues would disagree.

  • Oops.
    Wrong thread.

  • So little of what this pontiff talks about pertains to Christ or everlasting life in heaven or repentance for one’s sins. It’s always something to do with left wing political issues. Outside of the elites in the American coasts, academia, Ontario, and the EU, the world has had about enough of leftist crap.

  • People, even ordinary Catholic people notice it—the sheer polit-sprach Zarathustra of Jorge the Red—is now too much to take.

  • We need Sam Hyde in Pope Francis drag to do a spiel on the needs of the modern world (love sweet love) and the misguided myths of Catholicism.

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PopeWatch: Ted Talk

Thursday, April 27, AD 2017


PopeWatch guesses this was inevitalbe:  The Pope gives a TED Talk.  TED Talks are videos by individuals with ideas that the TED media organization  (Technology, Entertainment, Design) deem worthy of being spread.  Started in 1984 in Silicon Valley, the first videos were technical in nature.  Now, most of the videos seem to convey ideas viewed as non-threatening by the global chattering classes.  Apparently the Pope is clearly in that category.  Here is the transcript of the Pope’s address:

6 Responses to PopeWatch: Ted Talk

  • What I would have said to the liberal progressive feminists who frequent TED talks and invariably support and advocate sodomy and infanticide of the unborn:

    “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?” Matthew 23:33

    “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 4:17

    It is time to flee Sodom and Gomorrah instead of ingratiating one’s self with the inhabitants of those cities.

  • The best TED talk I heard was one which taught you the proper way to tie your shoe laces so they don’t get loose. Actually informative.

  • “Why the only future worth building includes everyone” Our Creator already did build a
    future that includes everyone, but some refuse to include themself. FREEDOM must remain free.

  • Mary De Voe hit the proverbial nail on the head.

  • “Fortunately, there are also those who are creating a new world by taking care of the other, even out of their own pockets. Mother Teresa actually said: ‘One cannot love, unless it is at their own expense.’”

    Finally! Something His Holiness and I agree on!

    “So, your holiness, can I quote you the next time someone questions my Christian bona fides due to my lack of support for expanding social programs through the State? I mean, it sounds like we are in agreement that it doesn’t count as charity if one takes the money of another to provide it.”

  • David, Libs aren’t too smart. You need to speak very slowly and use small words.

    Progressives likely can’t understand the truth. Peter doesn’t derive physical conditioning benefits by forcing Paul to do 100 push-ups a day.

    20 April 2017, Instapundit: “Social Justice is collective guilt and punishment, which means it’s actually injustice. Individuals only can be praised or punished for that which they have done.”

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3 Responses to Words to Live By

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Only in France

Wednesday, April 26, AD 2017



The French are in the process of electing a President.  The vagaries of French politics I usually find fairly bewildering, as one might expect from a nation that since 1789 has had a monarchy, three constitutional monarchies, two empires, a fascist state and five republics.  The French use a run off system by which the two top candidates, if no candidate gets above 50%, go up against each other.  The French finished the first round over the weekend.  The two candidates, drum roll, are:


Marine Le Pen of the National Front.  She has been compared to Joan of Arc.  Well perhaps, if one can imagine a pro-abort Joan of Arc who has been twice divorced and is shacked up with a significant other.  The National Front is sort of a Le Pen family business, started by her Daddy Jean-Marie LePen, probably a fascist, who she threw out of the party in 2015 when he made one of the thousands of controversial statements that litter his career.  She is widely assumed to be doomed in the run-off, and that is probably the case, although she does recognize that France is in a war with Jihadists, something that most other sectors of French political opinion do their best to ignore.

Emmanuel Macron is a renegade moderate socialist, if there is such an animal.  The French establishment has rallied around him to save them from dragon lady Le Pen who might, if elected, actually change the way France has done business since the days of the Sun King, whatever the French government of the day calls itself: heavily centralized rule from Paris, with the rest of France being, at best, a suburb of Paris.  He is 39 and his spouse is 64.  They met when he was 15 and she was his teacher at a private Jesuit school, married with three kids.  Private meetings between them ensued where they no doubt had interesting conversations in the Jesuit manner regarding marital fidelity.  They confessed their undying love for each other when he was 16.  When he turned 18 she dumped her husband, although in Gallic fashion they did not get married until 2007 after she finally divorced husband the first.  During the campaign Macron was accused of having a homosexual relationship with the head of Radio France.  He has denied this, and that denial may be correct, because as far as I can ascertain the head of Radio France did not teach at the Jesuit school while he was a student.

16 Responses to Only in France

  • Sounds like the French are following the Inspector Clouseau model for a leader.

  • I think they were only formally married about 10 years ago. One of his step children is two years his senior. The affair supposedly began in 1994 and his parents sent him out of town to school to keep the two of them separate. Very very peculiar.

    There were one or two candidates more appealing than Marine Le Pen, but one was dogged by corruption scandals and another just never caught on, finishing with 5% of the ballots.

    The use of the term ‘5th Republic’ is a convention, the ordinal made use of when a new constitution is implemented. The institutional discontinuities in French politics have been induced by military invasion. The country has not suffered discontinuities from internal disorders since 1860, and there has been only 1 republic since 1870.

  • Jean-Marie Le Pen entered the National Assembly in 1956 as one of the 56 deputies of Pierre Poujade’s Union de défense des commerçants et artisans [Union for the Defense of Tradesmen and Artisans], a sort of French version of the Tea Party movement – Anti-tax, anti-parliamentary, anti-intellectual and anti-Semitic (much of this directed at the Jewish Prime Minister, Pierre Mendès-France). As a teenager, Poujade had joined the Parti Populaire Français of Jean Doriot, the Communist turned fascist and, from 1940-1942 he supported the Revolution nationale of Philippe Petain until the German occupation of the free zone, when he joined the Free French Forces in North Africa.

    Poujade mellowed in later life and, in 1984, President Mitterrand appointed him to the Conseil économique et social where he was a keen supporter of biofuels.

  • a sort of French version of the Tea Party movement – Anti-tax, anti-parliamentary, anti-intellectual and anti-Semitic (much of this directed at the Jewish Prime Minister, Pierre Mendès-France).

    In discussions of this sort, you’ve grossly mischaracterized first Nigel Farage and now the Tea Party. You really haven’t any aptitude for this sort of thing. At all.

  • Macron (Maybe Chas. Manson should run) reminds of the democrat dork the leftish pond scum are attempting to impose on GA – 6 in the June special, run-off election.

    Britain had its Brexit. America has its President Donald J. Trump. And, France . . . This time maybe the countryside will outvote the Paris elites that are out if touch with the desires and needs of the French people.

  • “The use of the term ‘5th Republic’ is a convention, the ordinal made use of when a new constitution is implemented.”

    The First Republic was killed by Napoleon. The Second Republic was ended by the plebiscite which created the Second Empire. The Third Republic succeeded the Second Empire and was ended by the Nazis. The short lived post war Fourth Republic died in 1958 as a result of a disguised military coup prettied up after the fact to place DeGaulle in power. French constitutional arrangements have all the long term stability of jello. History shall see if the Fifth Republic exceeds in longevity the Third Republic.

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  • So both Le Pen and Macron are sexual deviants. France is doomed, and at its low birth rate, there will be no 6th Republic.

  • Even if Le Pen is “Trumpish”, I just don’t see that France is in quite the same spot as the US. The other issue is that Macron is not a Hildebeast – at least, he does not come across as flat out unlikable as she. I also get the impression that the first round (which seems sort of like a primary) leans more left, opposite of what we had. That is, Clinton had one lousy candidate to beat out; trump had 15 or 16, all on the right of center for the most part. The French “primary” appears to have had more left of center candidates (and likely voters), therefore it is likely they would gravitate more toward Macron than Le Pen. Still, stranger things have happened.

  • The short lived post war Fourth Republic died in 1958 as a result of a disguised military coup prettied up after the fact to place DeGaulle in power.

    That’s a common meme, but it’s false. Ministerial crises were routine in France in the first dozen years after the war. De Gaulle’s appointment as prime minister in June 1958 was perfectly above-board and the peculiar features of his ministry were agreed on by the stakeholders in question. There was a military mutiny in Algeria and Corsica, where all of 3% of the French population lived.

    French constitutional arrangements have all the long term stability of jello. History shall see if the Fifth Republic exceeds in longevity the Third Republic.

    Neither the fall of the 2d Empire or the 3d Republic were attributable to intramural disorders. Unless you’re expecting France to be overrun by the Germans again in the next dozen years, that’s not much of a threat as we speak. The organic laws assembled in 1875, the constitutional drafts in 1945 and 1946, and the current constitution are all legal scaffolding for a parliamentary republic. There are some incremental differences and the seminal conditions which prevailed when each were first in operation differed. However, these constitutions are species of one genus. The notable innovation of the current constitution was the electoral system (which has promoted the consolidation of political factions) and some changes in the mechanics of parliamentary responsibility. Both have allowed longer ministries (2.5 years v. 0.5 years under the previous constitution). There have been some changes in legislative process as well. France’s problems tend to derive from its political culture, not its constitution per se.

  • “That’s a common meme, but it’s false.”

    I think that would come as a vast surprise to Jacques Soustelle. Without the coup, including the occupation of Corsica by the conspirators, and the threat of the Army seizing Paris, DeGaulle would never have been given the powers to reshape France in his own image.

    “Neither the fall of the 2d Empire or the 3d Republic were attributable to intramural disorders.”

    True unless one considers that Napoleon III fell into Bismarck’s trap and declared war on Prussia, and that the Third Republic was a model of instability all through the twenties and thirties, having 32 prime ministers (presidents of the council of ministers) if one does not count Petain at the end. Weakness at the top of any government will invite foreign aggression sooner or later.

  • I think that would come as a vast surprise to Jacques Soustelle. Without the coup, including the occupation of Corsica by the conspirators, and the threat of the Army seizing Paris, DeGaulle would never have been given the powers to reshape France in his own image.

    There’s a difference between ‘anxiety’ and ‘threats’. French politicians had had to put together about two-dozen ministries in the previous dozen years, with none lasting longer than 17 months. They’d failed badly at one enterprise (Indo-China) and were failing at another (Algeria). It’s not surprising most of the politicians and public were at the end of their tether. That’s rather different than Gen. Massu or whomever rolling the tanks into Paris (something fairly routine in Latin America at the time but done only twice in Europe between 1945 and 1989).

  • Oh, I think the Fourth Republic was a disaster Art and the Fifth Republic was an improvement. However, it is hard to overestimate just how suspicious of DeGaulle the political class in France was. There was a reason that after he went off in a huff in 1946 he spent the next twelve years on the outside looking in. I do not think he would have come to power without the politicians knowing that the Army was prepared to act if they did not.

  • Two of the countries (or people) I am always drawn to are Russia and France- probably best to say – my “idea” of Russia and France.
    and I always remember that the people held on to the Faith in France when Germany England Switzerland … all went to protestantism-
    but, heck, now even the pope seems to have gone to protestantism.
    Immigration isn’t new to France- all during their long 19th century they had lots of immigrants from their eastern Europe, middle east and Africa..

    England and Germany and Sweden established national churches in a time of growing nationalism- (even known by a french word – chauvinism–) but french kings pretty much wanted to stay Catholic.
    The Sorbonne. the Crusades. Such a battlefield in the two world wars. I am disappointed they haven’t found some better candidates for leadership. Just like us in the USA their two candidates are pretty much representative of the modern milieu.

  • i should not have said national church in Germany because the various principality went their own way– cujus regio, ejus religio– the political leader chose the religion

  • Anzlyne wrote, “Immigration isn’t new to France…”

    Indeed not. A survey in 1955 showed that one in four French people had one grandparent born outside Metropolitan France.

    One recalls how Charles Maurras used to rail against the « métèques »

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PopeWatch: Venezuela

Wednesday, April 26, AD 2017


The Pope has gone silent on Venezuela where a low level civil war is underway as desperate people take to the streets against their Castro wannabe government.  Father Raymond de Souza wonders why:



For a brief period, the Vatican was involved as a mediator in talks between the Maduro regime and the opposition. The government was happy for the Vatican role, for it believed that it gave them added legitimacy. The opposition trusted the Church because of the longstanding criticism of Chavismo by the Venezuelan bishops, led by Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino of Caracas.

The mediation role required the Vatican to maintain general neutrality its public diplomacy. However, the mediation talks were short-lived due to the Maduro regime failing to meet the conditions for the talks to continue, which included release of political prisoners and respect for democratic norms.

As the locus of activity has moved to the streets, the Venezuelan bishops have become pointedly critical of the Maduro regime and more clearly allied with the opposition, which has the people on its side against Maduro, who controls the courts and the military.

Maduro has thus unleashed government goons against the Church, entering parish churches to disrupt Masses. On Wednesday of Holy Week, Maduro’s men burst into the Chrism Mass of Cardinal Urosa, shouting threats and physically assaulting the cardinal.

It would therefore seem time for a thunderous denunciation from Francis against the Maduro regime. Certainly, the government has brought to Venezuela an “economy that kills,” with people dying for lack of food and medicine, to say nothing of protesters dying in the streets. The path of dialogue has long been abandoned by a regime that sends armed men into churches to intimidate the Church by threatening people at prayer.

So why has the Vatican gone quiet? Why no strong statement of solidarity with Cardinal Urosa, attacked in his own cathedral in Holy Week? Why no mention of the suffering people of Venezuela in this Easter’s Urbi et Orbi?

It may be a genuine uncertainty about the best path forward, though it is quite clear that Venezuela’s bishops have lost confidence in the Maduro regime. It may be thought that strong words from the Holy See might further inflame Maduro’s violence against the Church.

Or it may be that such a step would require Francis to direct criticism at a Latin American leftist, which he heretofore has not done. To the contrary, Latin American leftists have enjoyed favour under this pope, with both Raul Castro of Cuba and Evo Morales of Bolivia getting unusually warm receptions on visits to the Vatican.

The Holy Father has yet to visit his native Argentina, but chose Cuba and Bolivia for significant moments in his papal travels. To come out against the Maduro regime would require a break with Castro and Morales specifically, and the militant Latin American left more generally.

7 Responses to PopeWatch: Venezuela

  • “Again we say: Marxist socialism is the wrong way, and therefore should not be set in Venezuela.”


    A Wrong Way to say the least.

    No disrespect to this topic, however I am certain that our Nation came so close to sliding down the Wrong Way.
    Obama and female Obama in pantsuits would see Venezuela as a model. A blueprint of elite success to wipe out all middle class and govern the serfs.

    Thank you and God for giving U.S. a chance to get back on course.

    May PF ponder the plight of the Venezuelan people while studying this letter. May freedom win. May dignity and prosperity return to Venezuela by means of free trade and democracy. God help them and help us to support them once the current leadership has been disbanded.

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  • The Pope is a leftist. So he cannot criticize Venezuela’s govt. And he won’t. Leftism is more important to him than Christ.

  • Re: LQC. “Leftism is more important to him than Christ.” I think we can be sure of one thing: that the situation in Venezuela will only be worse after the Pope’s visit as his message is from the evil one.

  • Venezuela is the neighbor of my wife’s home country, Colombia. The two nations share the same founders, Bolivar and Santander, the same language, a similar culture and, for a time, a somewhat integrated economy. There are important differences.
    Originally, Bolivar wanted to found a nation, Gran Colombia. Colombia was Nuevo Granada and where the most important battles in the war for independence from Spain were fought.

    Bolivar was not much appreciated in his last days. After his death, his dream of Gran Colomiba evaporated. While Colombia, often plagued with violence, has maintained an elected government Venezuela has often been ruled by caudillos. Much of the “llanos” (plains) of Venezuela are under water for a good part of the year due to the seasonal rains. The Rio Orinoco is basically unused as a means of transporting goods or raw materials. Venezuela relied far too much on oil as a basis for its economy and thus is subject to the fluctuations of global oil demand. What’s more, Venezuelan crude oil is heavy in sulfur content and the only refineries that can handle it are in the United States. Historically Catholic, the Church has never had the clout in Venezuela one would think it should have.

    Chavez and his “Bolivarismo” has been an unmitigated disaster. Chavez squandered Venezuelan wealth on getting leftists elected in Ecuador, Bolivia and Brazil. He gave Cuba oil and provided aid and comfort to the FARC narcoterrorists in Colombia.
    So, Venezuela exports to the United States baseball players and young women who sign up for dating services to meet American men. My wife did translating work for one of them in Colombia.

    The Venezuelan people are going to have to solve this by themselves. They embraced the lunatic thief Chavez and his partner in crime Maduro. Private manufacturing sites have been seized. PDVSA, the Venezuelan state oil company, infested with Chavez cronies, is corrupt and inefficient. Maduro wants to become another Castro. This will get worse before it gets better.

  • The Venezuelan bishops have issued another pastoral letter on January 13, 2017 entitled Jesus Christ, the Light and the Way for Venezuela. Here is a link to some excerpts: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/venezuelas-crisis-demands-a-timetable-for-elections-bishops-exhort-89249/

  • I suspect the Pope hasn’t a clue how to process events in Venezuela. Most of us in this country (I suspect) believe that private property, freedom, and order are mutually re-inforcing characteristics. The Pope at times seems to think of commerce and industry as species of street crime. Also, one way to look at the Chavez movement and it’s kin in Ecuador and Bolivia is to see them as a revival of Peronism in its original form and mode of practice. Peron was not the only praetorian populist of his era – you had Jacobo Arbenz and Gustavo Rojas Piniilla during his first tour in office and Omar Torrijos, Juan Jose Torres and Juan Velasco Alvarado around the time of his return in 1973.

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First Episode of Playhouse 90

Wednesday, April 26, AD 2017


The things you find on You tube!  The first episode of Playhouse 90, the hour and half long weekly series that aired on CBS from 1956-1960.  This episode, Forbidden Area, was written by Rod Serling and directed by John Frankenheimer.  Introduced by Jack Palance, this live Cold War espionage drama starred Charlton Heston and Vincent Price.  That television used to present such quality fare makes one weep for the current waste of airtime programming, usually filled with sniggering obscenity, mindless violence, and almost no thought, that makes up most television schedules.

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Founder Lessons

Tuesday, April 25, AD 2017


I have a crowded day today.  The centerpiece is six bankruptcy first meetings of creditors that will extend from noon to two-thirty PM.  As is usually the case when I am in a hearing over the lunch hour, I will grab some fast food in my travels and eat in my car.  About 50% of the time the food comes from a McDonald’s, as will be the case today.  (No, having done this for thirty-five years I neither lose control of the car nor suffer from indigestion, although sometimes my ties end up the worse for wear.)

On Sunday my bride and I watched the Blu-ray of Founder (2017) the biopic starring Michael Keaton in the role of McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc.  The film is a dark comedy and Michael Keaton’s manic comedic drive is a good fit for the film.  The film tells a somewhat fictionalized tale of how Ray Kroc took the idea of the McDonald brothers for fast service of hamburgers, fries and pop and turned it into a globe-spanning corporation.

The film depicts Kroc as both hero and villain.  Without his endless energy and resourcefulness the McDonald’s concept of fast food would have remained in San Bernardino and a handful of southwest locations.  However, Kroc is also shown cheating the brothers and divorcing his wife of 39 years to pursue a younger woman.  The latter charge is correct.  It is even worse than the film depicts.  When the younger woman did not divorce her husband, Kroc married wife number two and dumped her and married the younger woman, Joan Kroc, in 1969 when she finally did divorce her first husband and became wife number three.  That tells you all you need to know about Ray Kroc as a human being.  However, the wheel always comes round.  Joan Kroc was a liberal airhead who gave away Kroc’s hard earned fortune after his death to such worthless causes as a million bucks to the Democrat party and 235 million to NPR.  Ray Kroc, who was a political conservative, was doubtless grinding his teeth in the world to come.  Hopefully he wasn’t outraged by the billion and a half she left on her death to the Salvation Army, a worthy cause.  The allegation that Kroc cheated the McDonald brothers by denying them royalties is an urban myth.  Kroc had to scramble to raise the 2.7 million they wanted as a buyout in 1961, the equivalent today, after taxes, of eight million apiece.  When Kroc suggested that they accept installment payments, the brothers said they might as well then continue getting their royalties of 0.5% per annum of the franchise profits.  It was understood that no royalties would be paid to the brothers after the sale.  Kroc was a rough business man, but an outright cheat, no.

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Anzac Day 2017

Tuesday, April 25, AD 2017

[19] Wilt thou give strength to the horse, or clothe his neck with neighing? [20] Wilt thou lift him up like the locusts? the glory of his nostrils is terror.

[21] He breaketh up the earth with his hoof, he pranceth boldly, he goeth forward to meet armed men. [22] He despiseth fear, he turneth not his back to the sword, [23] Above him shall the quiver rattle, the spear and shield shall glitter. [24] Chasing and raging he swalloweth the ground, neither doth he make account when the noise of the trumpet soundeth. [25] When he heareth the trumpet he saith: Ha, ha: he smelleth the battle afar off, the encouraging of the captains, and the shouting of the army.

Job 39:  19-25

Today is Anzac Day, in Australia and New Zealand.   It commemorates the landing of the New Zealand and Australian troops at Gallipoli in World War I.  Although the effort to take the Dardanelles was ultimately unsuccessful, the Anzac troops demonstrated great courage and tenacity, and the ordeal the troops underwent in this campaign has a vast meaning to the peoples of New Zealand and Australia.

At the beginning of the war the New Zealand and Australian citizen armies, illustrating the robust humor of both nations,  engaged in self-mockery best illustrated by this poem:

We are the ANZAC Army

The A.N.Z.A.C.

We cannot shoot, we don’t salute

What bloody good are we ?

And when we get to Ber – Lin

The Kaiser, he will say

Hoch, Hoch, Mein Gott !

What a bloody odd lot

to get six bob a day.

By the end of World War I no one was laughing at the Anzacs.  At the end of the war a quarter of the military age male population of New Zealand had been killed or wounded and Australia paid a similarly high price.  Widely regarded as among the elite shock troops of the Allies, they had fought with distinction throughout the war, and added to their reputation during World War II.   American veterans I have spoken to who have fought beside Australian and New Zealand units have uniformly told me that they could choose no better troops to have on their flank in a battle.

A century ago in 1917 the Anzac troops were still fighting in the Great War.  They accomplished many remarkable feats of arms during that year, but perhaps the most remarkable was the charge of the 4th Australian Light Horse Brigade at Beersheba, a battle in which both Australian and New Zealand troops fought.  The long day of cavalry was almost over, but the mounted infantrymen of the 4th Light Horse, waving their bayonets in lieu of sabers, routed the entrenched Turks and only suffered light casualties themselves, a true military miracle.  The war horse, ridden by Anzacs, had his last moment of military glory.


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PopeWatch: Maradiaga

Tuesday, April 25, AD 2017


Carl Olsen at The Catholic World Report  demonstrates why Cardinal Maradiaga, who is very close to the Pope, is an insult to all sentient Catholics:


The three key remarks are as follows:
I think in the first place they [the four cardinals] have not read the Amoris Laetitia, because unfortunately this is the case! I know the four and I say they are already retired. How come they did not say anything in regard to those who manufacture weapons? Some are in countries that manufacture and sell weapons throughout the genocide that is happening in Syria, for example. Why? I would not want to put it – shall we say – too strongly; only God knows people’s consciences and inner motivations; but, from the outside it seems to me to be a new pharisaism. They are wrong; they should do something else. …

I think the car of the Church has no gear to go in reverse. It pulls itself forward because the Holy Spirit is not accustomed to go backwards. He always brings us forward. I am not afraid because I know it is not Francis, it is the Holy Spirit who guides the Church, and that, if He has allowed this Pontiff to come, it is for some reason, and we certainly ought to look to the future with hope because, more and more, the Church is God’s, it is not our own. We are only servants. …
Let us look above all at reality, because to see also if there aren’t many cases of those who are in a second union–we will not enter there because there are many reasons– but that they in a healthy conscience [feel] that their first marriage was not valid and that they have found a new family, they are living in conformity to the law of God, why throw stones? why? Instead of saying, “How are we doing with the new generation because they could prepare themselves better to have a good family. And this is Amoris Laetitia… It happens that so many times the methods that these four brothers [the four cardinals] only look at, who think that they are the bosses [or masters] of the doctrine of faith [pensano che sono i capi della dottrina della fede], they don’t look at the the very great majority of the faithful who are happy with Amoris Laetitia.” [translations courtesy of Andrew Guernsey]

Although relatively short, these remarks speak volumes. Some thoughts:
1) It is revealing, to put it mildly, how often those who criticize the four cardinals—Raymond Burke, Carlo Caffarra, Walter Brandmüller and Joachim Meisner—do so in such a personal, rude manner. This is to be expected of course in the woolly thickets of blogs and personal sites, but this is often the case coming from high-ranking prelates and others who are close to Pope Francis. That said, they may simply be emulating the Holy Father himself, who has a, well, colorful way of addressing those he disagrees with or thinks need to be put in their place. To say, as Cardinal Maradiaga does, that Cardinals Burke, Caffarra, Brandmüller and Meisner, have not actually read the controversial Apostolic Exhortation is the sort of low, embarrassing pot shot best suited for teenagers. That he says with such obvious disdain is bothersome, even scandalous.

2) It is a further example of how some of those close to Francis, and even the Holy Father himself, refuse to seriously address pressing, thoughtful, cogent, and important questions regarding marriage, morality, the sacraments, and a number of related matters. Put bluntly, it reveals either a sad superficiality or a dismissive disdain. Neither possibility engenders much trust or peace of mind.

3) The sorry attempt to change the subject by referring to the manufacturing of weapons (a popular theme with Francis, who in June 2015 denounced those who manufacture weapons and then criticized the Allies for not bombing trains during World War II) and the use of the tired—and rather ludicrous—descriptive “pharisaism” not only reveals disdain, but a consistent strategy: to isolate, label, and destroy. The focus (shrewdly, from that perspective) is on the alleged, if vague, faults of critics, who are routinely dismissed as pharisaical, rigid, dogmatic, and so forth.

4) If the four Cardinals are wrong, as Cardinal Maradiaga states, then simply show it. It’s starting to remind me of the kid in junior high who claims to have a football signed by Terry Bradshaw but never shows it to anyone because it’s in storage, it got lost, and so forth. But he keeps bragging about it. At some point you realize the football doesn’t exist.

5) The appeal to the Holy Spirit—also used in equally vague and sloppy ways by Cardinal Farrell back in October 2016—is a red herring; it is meant to suggest that nearly everything the Holy Father says and does is directly inspired by the Holy Spirit. In fact, Cardinal Farrell stated: “Do we believe that he didn’t inspire our Holy Father Pope Francis in writing this document?” In fact, speaking with some needed precision, papal and conciliar texts are not “inspired” by the Holy Spirit; rather, the Holy Spirit protects the Magisterium from formally teaching error in matters of faith and morals. The language of “inspiration”, strictly speaking, is almost always (if not always) confined to the deposit of faith; that is, divine revelation as transmitted through Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture. Which is why the fathers at Vatican II noted, in Dei Verbum, that “we now await no further new public revelation before the glorious manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ” (DV, 4). Insinuating that the Church can change teachings simply because Pope A or Pope B decides he wishes to is problematic, to say the least; this is especially the case when the matter at hand has to do with the very nature of the sacraments, the proper role of conscience, and the life of grace (as I’ve discussed elsewhere).

14 Responses to PopeWatch: Maradiaga

  • Your thoughts on Maradiagas rant are sensible. Many centuries ago blood was spilt between clerics who sat across from each other debating dogmas and sound theological principals. It wasn’t all pleasantries and refined decorum. I’m​ recalling a lecture from years ago at Marytown and the presentation he gave spoke of the heated debates leading to brawls before the acceptance of the truths we now take for granted. Holy Spirit? Both sides claimed that they had authentic promptings from the Holy Spirit. In time and in bloodshed, the truth was and is that matters of doctrine must be accurate and supported by TRUTH regardless of “feelings.”

    I’m not suggesting a cage fight between Cardinals. I am in favor of teams opposed to each other sit down and hammer this out for the sake of souls and their final destination.

  • Philip, when both sides sincerely seek the truth, hammering things out sometimes works, when one side seeks to undermine the truth, their can be no compromise without capitulation to untruth. Some things are simply not negotiable.

  • “…when one side seeks to undermine the truth, there can be no compromise without capitulation to untruth.”

    This is what liberals do all the time – undermine the truth. You cannot argue or debate with them. It’s like wrestling with a pig in the mud. You get all dirty yourself and the pig enjoys it.

    I cannot wait for this Pontificate to be finished. That man who occupies the Seat of St Peter will NOT repent NOR recant. Will NOT.

  • Don L.

    I understand.

    The Barque of Peter is being beat up pretty good. The Ship will make it home but not before being pounded and and stressed. The owner of the Ship will make sure it’s precious cargo is intact.
    Regardless of the helmsman’s abilities or negligence.

    Be Calm…and the seas subsided.
    I must remember that.

  • …and’s were on sale today…two for one.

  • It’s very revealing that this Pope and his supporters rely not on clarity and
    honesty to persuade others of the truth and wisdom of their positions.
    Rather, there is the use of brute force, as seen in the demolition of the FFI
    and the recent gutting and dismissal of the entire Pontifical Academy for
    Life. There is a consistent use of ambiguity and confusion in pronouncements
    and a refusal to clarify– most notably in the Pope’s refusal to answer the
    dubia submitted by the four Cardinals. And there is the chicanery and
    manipulation we saw at the Synod on the Family, used to force a predetermined
    result while keeping up a fiction of collegiality. Letting proxies like Cardinal
    Maradiaga malign fellow prelates in public is another form of coercion we keep
    seeing from this Pope.

    If a leader has to resort to such low methods to obtain his desired results,
    it means that he knows that his agenda, when plainly stated, would never
    persuade men of integrity. Like LQ Cinncinnatus said above, I too cannot
    wait for this miserable pontificate to be finished.

  • It’s very revealing that this Pope and his supporters rely not on clarity and
    honesty to persuade others of the truth and wisdom of their positions.
    Rather, there is the use of brute force, as seen in the demolition of the FFI
    and the recent gutting and dismissal of the entire Pontifical Academy for
    Life. There is a consistent use of ambiguity and confusion in pronouncements
    and a refusal to clarify– most notably in the Pope’s refusal to answer the
    dubia submitted by the four Cardinals. And there is the chicanery and
    manipulation we saw at the Synod on the Family, used to force a predetermined
    result while keeping up a fiction of collegiality. Letting proxies like Cardinal
    Maradiaga malign fellow prelates in public is another form of coercion we keep
    seeing from this Pope.

    If a leader has to resort to such low methods to obtain his desired results,
    it means that he knows that his agenda, when plainly stated, would never
    persuade men of integrity. Like LQ Cinncinnatus said above, I too cannot
    wait for this miserable pontificate to be finished.

  • Clinton.
    Your words are good enough to be repeated! Bravo!

  • As Joseph Butler, the Bishop of Bristol and a celebrated Anglican divine, philosopher and apologist, said to John Wesley, the noted ranter and enthusiast, “Any pretension to revelations or gifts of the Holy Spirit is a horrid thing, sir, a very horrid thing.”

  • Thanks, Philip.
    Not quite sure how I double-posted…

  • Gamesmanship leavened on occasion with petty abuse. Sounds like a standard issue Anglican vicar, post 1930 vintage. You contemplate what the Church was in 1958 and where we are today. It all fell apart so quickly.

  • Maradiaga sounds a bit snide when he refers to them as “already retired”. once he said about them…”they don’t understand reality”
    But the four cardinals exhibit spiritual maturity – strength and courage.

  • The words ‘mafia papacy’ spring to mind when reading Carl Olsen article on consiglierie Maradiaga and godfather Bergoglio whose racket is offering cheap grace in order to control people’s souls. These people are clearly in league with the devil who goes about the world for the ruin of souls.

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Monday, April 24, AD 2017


I can’t believe that I forgot that April 23 was Talk like Shakespeare Day.  Fortunately, Father Z did not:


Today, I suddenly realized, is…


shakespeareYes, it is the birthday of the Bard.

In the past I have encouraged you to talk like Shakespeare.

To help you, I have offered videos and some suggestive words.  I hope you remember them.

I also, to enkindle in you a true zeal for this moment – which can spill over into tomorrow because, hey, why not? – I even posted a scene from a little known play called…

A Most Tragikal Hystory of Obama I

I found another little known piece (I dashed off) which might bring you to beg the Muse for … the… thing muses give.

The Trumping of the Shrew

Dramatis personae:
Lord Trump: President of these USA
Lord Sean: Baron of Spicer – Secretary of Press
Lord Bannon: Earl of Breitbart – Counselor
New York Times
Lord Sessions – Attorney General
Hillary Clinton
Crowd – Outside

O for a network pundit that would salve
the anxious outcome of elections tense,
a stage for wonk debates, senators to prate,
and congressmen to guide th’ electorate.
So has the ruddy Donald, hair swept up,
defied th’ establishment and, in his wake,
has claimants one by one discomfited,
brought down in vanquishment and loss.
But pardon, sponsors all, for we halt now
your pandering for sales with this stock gang
of mainsteam media elites, who press
in conference for POTUS now to hear.
List! List! O list if ever you
did county love and office high respect.
For Donald, hair in place, has enteréd
a statement now to make, with many quips
to batter newsies where they stand or sit,
because their daily coverage is for….

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