And I want to say something to the schoolchildren of America who were watching the live coverage of the shuttle’s takeoff. I know it is hard to understand, but sometimes painful things like this happen. It’s all part of the process of exploration and discovery. It’s all part of taking a chance and expanding man’s horizons. The future doesn’t belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave. The Challenger crew was pulling us into the future, and we’ll continue to follow them.
President Ronald Reagan, January 28, 1986
As regular readers of this blog know, I am honored to share my birthday, February 6, with the greatest president of my lifetime: Ronald Wilson Reagan. Today is my 59th birthday and the one hundred and fifth for President Reagan. One aspect of his Presidency was the power of his oratory: Mr. Reagan being a master of giving voice to sentiments with verbal images that could move and inspire his listeners. One of the best short samples of his skill, is the speech that he gave on the day of the Challenger disaster. Reagan, obviously filled with grief himself, did not allow his speech to be a mere lament. While honoring the dead he pointed to the future, and told the hard truth that loss and disaster are the inevitable price to be paid for exploration and new frontiers. Here is the text of his speech: Continue reading
From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:
“Your Holiness, thank you for granting me this private audience with you,” the bear growled in Italian as he arrived at the Apostolic Palace before leaning over to eat the pope’s ring and finger as is tradition.
The bear offered Francis a book of works by the early 20th-century writer of Winnie-the Pooh, A.A. Milne, and showed him the reproduction of Michael Bond’s famous portrait of Paddington Bear that had hung over his bear den as a cub.
The bear, snubbed for a Golden Globe for his moving portrayal of a bear trying to feed his hungry family in the unsettled wilderness of the northern Louisiana Purchase in the 1800’s, is a longtime environmental campaigner who in 1998 launched his Yogi Bear Foundation to support initiatives aimed at helping bears learn how to maul people before they get shot in the face.
I suppose that few people would disagree that the spelling of words in the English language is a mess. Trying to impose rules, with myriads of exceptions, on a language that grew with no consensus as to spelling, has bedeviled generations of school children and foreigners attempting to learn the language alike.
Whenever a problem existed, Teddy Roosevelt optimistically assumed that a solution could be found. Thus in 1906 as President he became a champion of what he called spelling reform, backing the efforts of the organization called The Simplified Spelling Board, founded early in 1906, which was funded by Andrew Carnegie.
On August 27, 1906 Roosevelt wrote to the head of the US Printing Office:
Oyster Bay, August 27, 1906
To Charles Arthur Stillings
My dear Mr. Stillings:
I enclose herewith copies of certain circulars of the Simplified Spelling Board, which can be obtained free from the Board at No. 1 Madison Avenue, New York City. Please hereafter direct that in all Government publications of the executive departments the three hundred words enumerated in Circular No. 5 shall be spelled as therein set forth. If anyone asks the reason for the action, refer him to Circulars 3, 4 and 6 as issued by the Spelling Board. Most of the critcism of the proposed step is evidently made in entire ignorance of what the step is, no less than in entire ignorance of the very moderate and common-sense views as to the purposes to be cahieved, which views as so excellently set forth in the circulars to which I have referred. There is not the slightest intention to do anything revolutionary or initiate any far-reaching policy. The purpose simply is for the Government, instead of lagging behind popular sentiment, to advance abreast of it and at the same time abreast of the views of the ablest and most practical educators of our time as well as the most profound scholars—men of the stamp of Professor Lounsbury. If the slighest changes in the spelling of the three hundred words proposed wholly or partially meet popular approval, then the changes will become permanent without any reference to what officials or individual private citizens may feel; if they do not ultimately meet with popular approval they will be dropt, and that is all there is about it. They represent nothing in the world but a very slight extension of the unconscious movement which has made agricultural implement makers write “plow” instead of “plough”; which has made most Americans write “honor” without the somewhat absurd, superfluous “u”; and which is even now making people write “program” without the “me”—just as all people who speak English now write “bat,” “set,” “dim,” “sum,” and “fish” instead of the Elizabethan “batte,” “sette,” “dimme,” “summe,” and “fysshe”; which makes us write “public,” “almanac,” “era,” “fantasy,” and “wagon,” instead of the “publick,” “almanack,” “aera,” “phantasy,” and “waggon” of our great-grandfathers. It is not an attack of the language of Shakespeare and Milton, because it is in some instances a going back to the forms they used, and in others merely the extension of changes which, as regards other words, have taken place since their time. It is not an attempt to do anything far-reaching or sudden or violent; or indeed anything very great at all. It is merely an attempt to cast what sleight weight can properly be cast on the side of the popular forces which are endeavoring to make our spelling a little less foolish and fantastic.
Go here for a list of words whose spelling he wished to simplify.
Something for the weekend: The Foggy Dew, written by Canon Charles O’Neill, a parish priest, in 1919 and set to the tune of a popular love song. We are just a bit over two months before the centennial commemoration of the Easter Rising in Ireland on April 24, 1916. A militarily hopeless venture, it was easily crushed by the British. Yet, astonishingly, this doomed quixotic episode began the events that within five years would bring to an end in most of Ireland of almost a thousand years of English rule. History is usually so much more dramatic, and unlikely, than fiction.
Stephanie S. at The Right Geek has some interesting thoughts on Social Justice Warriors, and what a pretentious term that is, and Original Sin.
The SJW’s version of Original Sin does not apply to everyone equally. If you’re white, you’re more guilty than a “person of color.” If you’re straight, you’re more guilty than someone who is gay. If you are “comfortable” with your “assigned gender,” you’re more guilty than someone who is trans. If you’re a man, you’re more guilty than a woman. The list goes on and on. And because identity is “intersectional,” the formulae are even more intricate than the above binaries would suggest; indeed, you basically have to sit down and explicitly rack up your “victim points” to figure out just how much sin you have to expiate. The higher your point total, the less you are required to examine yourself, purge your hidden hatreds, and control your own behavior. Thus, a white, heterosexual, “cis-male” is the lowest of scum and must flagellate himself constantly to make up for it…
… while someone who is black, “pansexual,” and “genderfluid” is free to be as vicious and as abusive as “they” like — because, of course, “they’re” obviously “punching up.”
The SJW’s worldview is not only byzantine in its complexity; it’s also protean in its application. Just when you think you’ve finally figured it out, the SJW pulls a Lucy with her football and goes off to change the ground rules. Consider the issue of “representation.” The most reputable studies indicate that, for example, somewhere between two to six percent of the population is gay. It stands to reason, then, that in order to truly “represent the world as it is,” my writer friends should make sure that two to six percent of the characters they create are gay. Right? Right? Nope — not in SJW Land! For the SJW, the fact that gay people have appeared in virtually every modern television program that I’ve ever watched – and often in very visible roles – still does not satisfy. As John Trent reports today at The Federalist, she wants already established characters – like Captain America – to hop onto the rainbow bandwagon. And I suspect she’d find other reasons to complain even if Steve did get himself a boyfriend because, for the SJW, there is no endgame — no final objective she can clearly define.
The “social justice” movement, in short, is not True and Beautiful; instead, it has all the earmarks of an evil power grab. And as I’ve said many times before, we shouldn’t stand for it. Continue reading
The big game is on Sunday. I of course refer to Puppy Bowl XII. Go here to read about it. Cali, my Jack Russell Terrier, is looking forward to it with eager, and barking, anticipation.
Our bruin friend at Saint Corbinian’s Bear brings us this news on the latest twist in the Harris County indictments of the two pro-life undercover investigators:
Two things surprise the Bear, though. First, one might say the mountain labored and brought forth a mouse. No time behind bars? Not even a conviction? Remember, this a supposedly a 20 years in prison case. They must really not want to get this anywhere near trial. Second, it is extremely unusual to present a felony defendant with a plea bargain the first time the defendant is in court! The defense has not had time to review discovery, subpoena materials (maybe), and assess the evidence.
It sounds like an offer she can’t refuse. Once you go to trial, anything can happen. The Bear was always very conservative. It appears the State of Texas has accomplished whatever it wanted to accomplish and is ready to wash its hands of the sorry mess.
Well, he would if the only choice were between Trump and Cruz. His rationale for his choice is revealing:
“I think I would choose Trump,” the liberal former president said to the House of Lords, when asked about the U.S. presidential race, “which may surprise some of you, but the reason is Trump has proven already that he’s completely malleable. I don’t think he has any fixed opinions that he would really go to the White House and fight for.”
The Pope is coming under attack for his recent remarks on China:
Close watchers of the Holy See were taken by surprise by the content of an interview with the Asia Times in which the Argentinian pontiff said the world need not fear China’s growing power and avoided any mention of human rights or the restrictions on Catholics and other Christians’ freedom of worship in the world’s most populous nation.
Writing on his blog for Italian weekly L’Espresso, Magister lamented Francis’s “total silence” on questions of religion and freedom and what he interpreted as an “unrestrained absolution” of the Chinese communist regime’s historical record.
The Argentinian pope made only the lightest of allusions to China’s troubled recent history, saying a people sometimes “makes a mistake and goes backwards a little, or takes the wrong path and has to retrace its steps to follow the right way.” Continue reading
Commenter Guy McClung takes the Shea voting advice in regard to pro-abort Bernie Sanders to its logical conclusion:
Dear Friends in Christ, We encourage all faithful believers to vote in the upcoming elections which are so important to the future of our cities and of our beloved country which was once a shining star in Christendom.
You can in good conscience vote for Adolf Hitler, but you cannot vote for him for the wrong reasons, which would be a mortal sin. You, as we all do, know that his government has killed millions of people, and millions of Jews, including thousands of Jewish babies, and that this will continue for the foreseeable future since he has told us this will be so and this is his Party’s publicly stated policy. If you vote for him and his government because you want them to kill Jews, that would be a mortal sin. You cannot vote for Hitler so that more Jewish babies will be killed, that would be a mortal sin.
If you vote for him and his Jew-Killing government, it must be for good reasons. If you like the fact that they have made the trains run on time, and do not vote for him so Jews will be killed, that will be not only morally permissible, it will be an act of virtue. If you vote for him, not because more Jewish babies will die horrible deaths if he is elected (which, of course, is absolutely certain), knowing your own tax dollars are paying for the killing, but because he has increased employment here in the Fatherland and will continue to do so, that will be a civil good in accord with your moral duty as a good citizen. If you vote for Hitler because he has all but eradicated poverty and hunger (by his focus on preparing for the war that is now inevitable), in accord with the Savior’s Sermon on the Mount and the Gospel’s clarion call to social justice – you can proceed in good faith to vote for him and any Nazi Party candidate for any office, knowing you have followed your conscience and you will have no sin to confess. We all know that our tax money funds the Nazis killing programs, provides the money to run the Death Camps, pays for the ovens that cook away most of the evidence of the dead bodies, and pays for the fuel for the trains that bring the people to the camps. You cannot pay your taxes with the intent that these things be done. If however you pay your taxes, as all good citizens should, so that children (the children of good Germans) will be properly educated or, for example so that foreign workers here are properly housed and fed, then you can in good conscience pay your taxes and win merit in heaven for doing so. Continue reading
Larry D, who blogs at Acts of the Apostasy, one of the most intentionally funny Catholic websites not named Eye of the Tiber, summarizes in Trek Speak his parting of the ways with Patheos, or, as he calls it, The Blorg. Go here to read all about it. When it comes to Patheos, Catholic bloggers need the spirit of Commander Eddington: Continue reading
Only one sitting governor in the history of the United States has been assassinated, which is remarkable over two hundred and forty years of history and the number of men who have served as governors. The very unlucky man was William Justus Goebel. A Democrat, Goebel had an abrasive personality. He was not a glad-hander, greeting only his closest friends. His features were described as reptilian. Nonetheless, his championship of populist economics as a Democrat gave him the political heft to win a State Senate seat in Kentucky.
In 1895 he had a shootout with a political opponent, former Confederate General John Lawrence Sanford. Goebel had referred to Sanford as Gonorrhea John in a newspaper article. Witnesses were not sure who fired first. Sanford’s bullet passed through Goebel’s coat and ripped his trousers. Goebel’s bullet hit Sanford’s head, Sanford dying five hours later. Placed on trial, Goebel claimed self-defense and was acquitted.
Goebel ran for Governor as a Democrat in 1899. He was opposed by Republican William Taylor and John Y. Brown, a former Democrat governor, who ran as the candidate of a faction of the Kentucky Democrats. Taylor won the election, beating Goebel by 2,383 votes. The Democrat controlled General Assembly invalidated enough votes to allow Goebel to win. Republicans were incensed and the state seemed to be heading for civil war. William Taylor was sworn in pending a judicial determination of who won.
On January 30, 1900 Goebel, while walking near the State Capitol in Frankfort, came under fire from persons unknown. Five or six shots were fired from the State Capitol with one seriously wounded in the chest. The next day Goebel was sworn in as governor, dying on February 3, 1900. The Kentucky Court of Appeals eventually ruled that the General Assembly had acted legally in having Goebel sworn in. Continue reading
If Pope Francis has any spare time to read, he could do worse than reading Father George Rutler’s article at Crisis on the Church in Germany and the attitude of German clerics to the Church in Africa:
The social consequences of German idealism were hymned in the refrain “Am deutschen Wesen soll die Welt genesen” (“The German spirit shall heal the world”) and it stained the twentieth century with its bitter irony. By 1912, eugenic theory banned interracial marriage in German colonies. When French occupation forces included African troops after World War I, mulatto progeny were called “Rhineland bastards” and in Mein Kampf, Hitler disdained them as a contamination of the white race plotted by Jews and “negrified” Frenchmen. In 1937, Hitler approved “the discrete sterilization of the Rhineland bastards” by a special Gestapo commission.
While one would not impute such crassness to contemporary intellectuals, mauled as they have been by history yet oblivious to their wounds, a remnant bias seems irrepressible. During last year’s Synod on the Family, Cardinal Walter Kasper expressed frustration with African bishops for opposing more conciliatory attitudes toward homosexuality that he called their “taboo” and said that Africans “should not tell us too much what we have to do.” Cardinal Kasper denied having said this, and managed an awkward apology when a recording of what he said was presented as evidence. The cardinal’s remarks echoed the poorly tutored John Shelby Spong of the Episcopal Church who said of Africans in 1998: “They’ve moved out of animism into a very superstitious kind of Christianity. They’ve yet to face the intellectual revolution of Copernicus and Einstein that we’ve had to face in the developing world: that is just not on their radar screen.”
Kasper’s condescension is not limited to Africa. Before Pope Benedict XVI’s trip to the United Kingdom, Kasper said: “When you land at Heathrow Airport, you sometimes think you’d landed in a Third World country.” Like Kasper, Cardinal Marx seems uncomfortable with anything lacking the advantages of Teutonism, and said of his German Church on February 25, 2015: “We are not a subsidiary of Rome.” But his fellow countryman Cardinal Müller, of a more generous cultural spirit as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, responded that what Cardinal Marx expressed was “an absolutely anti-Catholic idea that does not respect the Catholicity of the Church.”
After the close of the Synod, the official website of the German bishop’s conference said that the exponential growth of the “romantic, poor Church” in Africa is due to the lamentable fact that “the educational situation there is on average at a rather low level and the people accept simple answers to difficult questions.” And lest anyone think that the “Dark Continent” is a phrase remaindered to the dustbin of history, the website added that in Africa “the growing number of priests is a result not only of missionary power but also a result of the fact that the priesthood is one of the few possibilities for social security on the dark continent.” If this reeks of “the white man’s burden,” let it be noted that Rudyard Kipling actually coined that phrase, not in reference to Africa but to the Philippines during the Spanish American War, and would have been appalled by the German “Uberlegenheitskomplex”—superiority complex.
That complex is redolent of the disdain shown toward the early Christians by Pliny the Younger, Lucian of Samosata, and Celsus who, like the writer for the German bishops, Bjorn Odendahl, regretted with imperious loftiness the rusticity, superstition, and poverty of the followers of the Christus. One does not know what Herr Odendahl is paid for writing such prodigious infelicity, but given the wealth of the German Church, he is not on an African pay scale. The German Church is the wealthiest per capita in the world, and the second biggest employer in their country. The German Catholic leaders, for all their claims to social progressivism, are in the pay of the government through tax subsidies, by which arrangement German priests are paid much more than their counterparts in the United States while their bishops are paid upwards of $189,000 a year plus benefits.
They hardly fit Saint Paul’s description of the prototypical Christians, albeit those in northern Corinth: “Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong” (1 Cor. 1:26-27). And we may infer that among the Corinthian Christians there were not many Aquikantians. It certainly is an oblique glance at the German bishops who hosted opulent dinners in Rome during the last Synod in the villa newly bought by Cardinal Marx’s archdiocese of Munich and Freising for 9.7 million Euros, while African Catholics were being hounded by Islamic terrorists.
During their “ad limina” visit to the Holy See in 2015, the German bishops were told by Pope Francis that a severe consequence their “careerism” was spiritual indolence. According to a survey published in April, 2015 by the German bishops’ own Conference, only 54 percent of priests in Germany go to confession, and only a bare majority of them pray daily, while 60 percent of the German laity do not believe in life after death. The virtual collapse of Catholic life in Germany gives substance to the observation of Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum in Die Tagespost on May 7, 2015, as he critiqued the “superbia” of many German hierarchs: “The existing German ecclesial apparatus is completely unfit to work against growing secularism.” Meanwhile, the number of Christians in Africa has grown from about eight million in 1900 to over half a billion today. Continue reading
Ah, Groundhog day, that loopiest of all American observances, dating back to 1886 or 1887. While I am doubtful of the predictive powers of a woodchuck’s shadow, (Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow, indicating an early spring according to Groundhog Day lore.) who couldn’t hold in high esteem a species that has bitten some nosey politicians on earlier Groundhog Days?
Over at National Catholic Register Mark Shea carries water for socialist pro-abort Bernie Sanders:
Sanders? The pro-abort? But, but! Cardinal Ratzinger said in 2004:
Regarding the grave sin of abortion or euthanasia, when a person’s formal cooperation becomes manifest (understood, in the case of a Catholic politician, as his consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws), his Pastor should meet with him, instructing him about the Church’s teaching, informing him that he is not to present himself for Holy Communion until he brings to an end the objective situation of sin, and warning him that he will otherwise be denied the Eucharist.
Yes. He certainly did. And he’s absolutely right. And if my reader were in any way indicating he supported Sanders because he supports abortion, he’d be in exactly the pickle Cardinal Ratzinger describes. But my reader is obviously not trying to support abortion. What he’s trying to do is support the other things Sanders advocates, many of which are obviously and immeasurably better than what Trump advocates. And in a contest with a GOP candidate such as Trump whose views on abortion are indistinguishable from Sanders, there is therefore a case to be made that my reader can do so without incurring any sin at all.
Sez who? Sez Cardinal Ratzinger in the same letter:
A Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate’s permissive stand on abortion and/or euthanasia. When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favour of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons.
In other words, if you vote for somebody who advocates grave evil (abortion, euthanasia, torture, etc.) because of the grave evil they advocate, you are guilty of advocating the grave evil yourself and therefore are unworthy to present yourself for communion.
But! If you vote for somebody, not because you support their advocacy of grave evil, but because you are trying to prevent an even graver evil, or because you think there is some proportional good supporting them will achieve, you are not committing a sin and are only offering remote material cooperation with evil. Bottom line, the Church says that you can, under certain circumstances, vote for a pro-abort candidate. Meaning it is on the cards that, under certain circumstances, my reader might be able to vote for Bernie Sanders. That’s not me talking, remember. That’s the future Benedict XVI talking. Continue reading
Rorate Caeli has a story which underlines what is wrong today in the Church:
He is one of the few bishops present at Family Day, perhaps the only one. Without fear of exposing himself or of being criticized by the other bishops, alongside the families, saying no to the Cirinnà Bill on civil unions and with an appeal to the President of the Republic, [he says]: “I hope that the Bill will be examined by the Head of State, Sergio Mattarella and that he doesn’t sign the decree: it is in conflict with article 29 of the Constitution which states that the family is based on matrimony.”
Monsignor Giancarlo Maria Bregantini, Bishop of Campobasso-Bojano, set out at 5 o’clock yesterday morning with a group of faithful from his diocese to be part of a demonstration at Circo Massimo. As a shepherd does, not abandoning his sheep.
This is a civic and secular battle, a battle of basic dignity for three reasons: first of all, because the family is of perennial significance; second, because the snares regarding certain secular positions of some days ago are in the increase; and third, if we give in on the family, we are giving in also on the social level.”
Because freedom cannot exist without the truth, and the truth signifies that God created man and woman with the capacity to give life. If we give in on the freedom of the family, we give in on freedom [even] in business affairs. There will be more dismissals, more poverty and exploitation. This is the mystery in the end, everything is connected.
A wonderful piazza, peaceful and joyful. It is not the Piazza of the left or the right, it is not the piazza of bishops and lay people. It is the piazza of a lot of people who place the family at the center of society. And I also want to be here to say what the lay people have in their hearts.
It is an ambiguous government bill, terribly contaminated. Is everything now licit and the same? This is not good at all. It is to be completely rejected, it is wrong to put homosexual unions on the same footing as the family. Even more to be rejected is the idea of allowing the adoption of children by “the partner”.
I think so, because two million people gathered together in the same place; these are not virtual numbers like last Saturday’s (demonstration pro-Cirinnà) scattered here and there in the squares. Here it was all one; here you experience the presence of a united people. This is strength and Parliament cannot think it is the sole representative of a reality which it is not then capable of sharing in and representing.
I think so. Renzi cannot ignore the position of so many families. This time it isn’t possible to cheat. What’s difficult it to get all the Catholic institutional forces together – this yes. But the lay base, with no political affiliations, won a long, long battle. Here we have a popular gathering, like the Pope said in Florence – as in Don Camillo… here you feel the people, and share in their joys and feel their tears.
Nobody came here in someone else’s name; we had the free choice to come or not and I decided to be here. I came because I felt the need to be beside my people along with the many other people who believe in the family. Certainly, it would have been wonderful to see other bishops in this piazza.