Pope Francis the Leftist?

Pope Francis the Leftist

 

 

 

Maureen Mullarkey is back!  You might recall her blog piece on the Pope in First Things that caused Mark Shea a conniption fit, and led the editor of First Things to disavow what she wrote.  Go here to read all about it.  Now, at The Federalist, she is making her case that Pope Francis is a Leftist:

 

Let us be honest. Conservatives are damned if they do, damned if they don’t. While deferential observers are measuring their tones, Francis drives ahead with a demagogic program which makes the state the guardian and enforcer all values. To suppress challenge to a pope’s political biases or erratic behavior is no favor to the Church. It is little more than a failure of nerve that will earn no reward in the press. Silence is a form of collusion.

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PopeWatch: Prediction

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Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa gives us a prediction as to what will occur when the Synod resumes:

 

 

 

ROME, January 23, 2015 – One year ago Pope Francis gathered the cardinals for two days behind closed doors, to tackle questions on the family. And they were a fiery couple of days.

Next month he will bring them together again, this time to discuss the reform of the curia, and here too there will be a battle.

Because many contrasting ideas of reform have sprung up, at least as many as the brains of the nine cardinals who advise the pope, and some of them are even unpresentable. Like that of placing under a yet-to-be constituted dicastery of justice the various institutions and levels of the Vatican judicial system, including the apostolic penitentiary, which judges in the internal forum. With a horrible violation, if it were implemented, of the division between the legislative, executive, and judicial powers that is the prerogative of modern states from Montesquieu onward.

In fact, Francis has taken his time. He has said that he will not put the wraps on reform before 2016. And meanwhile he is proceeding like a general of the Jesuits, deciding himself on what is most urgent for him, in spite of the acclaimed collegiality of his governance.

In presenting his Christmas greetings to the heads of the curia, he slapped them in the face with a catastrophic diagnosis of their “illnesses,” listing fifteen of them, each more abject than the one before. But if one then looks at the few removals and promotions that the pope has made so far, the results are stunning.

The most illustrious of the defenestrated is Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, a great canonist, whose competency and moral uprightness are recognized even by his adversaries.

While the most incredible of the promotions is that Monsignor Battista Ricca, called back to Rome years ago from the diplomatic service after he had caused scandal in three different nunciatures, the last in Montevideo where he had brought his lover, but who then experienced a miraculous career revival as director of the two Roman residences of Via della Scrofa and of Santa Marta, and above all as a friend of many cardinals and bishops accommodated there from around the world, including the one who today is pope and has made him prelate of the IOR, his trusted man at the Vatican bank.

So far there has not been the least follow-up to the proposal that Bergoglio had brought out in the spring before last: to overthrow in the curia that “gay lobby” which he had found living and thriving there.

But more than in the curia, it is with the synod of bishops that this pontificate is innovating.

Francis has made it an almost permanent structure, giving free rein to discussions that previous popes had closed, like that of communion for the divorced and remarried, and most notably on whether or not to admit second marriages.

The result has been a fiery battle between opposing sides, with the bishops of the “peripheries” above all, especially of Africa and Eastern Europe, as intransigent opponents both of divorce and of the recognition of homosexual unions.

But in the end, after the synodal session of next October, it will be the pope who decides, as an absolute monarch, and he has taken care to reiterate this by citing the code of canon law.

His clear sympathies are for the progressive wing, led by the German cardinals, and for the tolerant practice of the Orthodox Churches of the East, which already bless second marriages.

But Francis says he is also fascinated by Paul VI and continues to present as a model of prophetic courage the encyclical “Humanae Vitae,” with which that pope condemned contraception and approved only natural methods for the regulation of births.

He did so once again in Manila a few days ago, while remarking however that Paul VI also “expressed compassion for specific cases and he taught confessors to be particularly compassionate for particular cases.”

And this is what he will probably end up doing.

Francis will hold firm, in words, the Catholic doctrine of indissolubility, and at the same time will encourage bishops and the clergy to have “pastoral,” or practical, compassion and understanding for failed and remade marriages.

Paul VI, who was proclaimed blessed on the concluding day of the last synod, brought a flood of criticism upon himself with “Humanae Vitae,” from outside and inside the Church.

For Francis the opposite could occur, with his giving apparent satisfaction to both intransigents and innovators. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Can’t Truss It

We’re approximately a year away from the beginning of the presidential primary season, and the stars are already out in Iowa. I’ll have a bit more say about the presidential field in the coming days, but I’d just like to note this article from the Washington Post and Rand Paul and his, umm, daddy issues.

This weekend was a crucial one for Rand Paul, the Republican senator from Kentucky and un­declared candidate for the presidency. He was in California, trying to line up donors at an opulent retreat organized by the billionaire Koch brothers.

At the same time, his father — retired after 12 terms in Congress and three presidential runs — was in the ballroom of an airport hotel here, the final speaker at “a one-day seminar in breaking away from the central state.” He followed a series of speakers who said that the U.S. economy and political establishment were tottering and that the best response might be for states, counties or even individuals to break away.

“The America we thought we knew, ladies and gentlemen, is a mirage. It’s a memory. It’s a foreign country,” Jeff Deist, Ron Paul’s former press secretary and chief of staff, told the group. “And that’s precisely why we should take secession seriously.”

A former press secretary  of his dad’s. Not exactly a silver bullet to derail the Paul train. That said, the questions does remain: will his father be a millstone around his neck? Especially when his dad says things like this:

Chris Kyle’s death seems to confirm that “he who lives by the sword dies by the sword.” Treating PTSD at a firing range doesn’t make sense

But that’s just his father talking. It’s not fair to lay the sins of the father at the feet of the son. Rand Paul should stand on his own merits, and the company he keeps.

Paul_Sharpton

It’s going to be an interesting primary season.

*: I feel compelled to note that the title is not a typo. Probably not many Public Enemy fans on this site.

American Sniper: A Review

“I am a strong Christian. Not a perfect one—not close. But I strongly believe in God, Jesus, and the Bible. When I die, God is going to hold me accountable for everything I’ve done on earth. He may hold me back until last and run everybody else through the line, because it will take so long to go over all my sins. “Mr. Kyle, let’s go into the backroom. . . .” Honestly, I don’t know what will really happen on Judgment Day. But what I lean toward is that you know all of your sins, and God knows them all, and shame comes over you at the reality that He knows. I believe the fact that I’ve accepted Jesus as my savior will be my salvation. But in that backroom or whatever it is when God confronts me with my sins, I do not believe any of the kills I had during the war will be among them. Everyone I shot was evil. I had good cause on every shot. They all deserved to die.”
Chis Kyle
My wife and I, the kids are back in college and law school, saw American Sniper at a movie theater in Morris, Illinois on Saturday January 24.  It was the second performance of the day, beginning at 1:00 PM, and the theater still was almost full.  After seeing the movie, the one term that seems to me to apply is stunning, in every sense of the word.  Clint Eastwood has made a masterpiece, the finest of his movies as a director, and made a film biopic that perfectly captures the man Chris Kyle and his times.  It is not a film for kids due to intense combat scenes and frequent use of the f-bomb by troops.  My review is below and the usual caveat as to spoilers is in force.

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PopeWatch: Rabbits and Hares

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

Just a day after Pope Francis told Catholics that they should not feel like they have to breed “like rabbits” because of the Church’s ban on contraception, an American Imam today echoed the Pope’s words, urging Catholics to listen to their spiritual leader.

“Yes, that sounds like an excellent idea,” the Imam reportedly said this morning. “Having many Catholic children is such a burden, and the Catholic world is so overpopulated already. One Catholic child, maybe two, is plenty to bring into the world. Maybe none at all is best.”

The Imam, who has a meager 8 children himself, praised the progressive culture of Europe, where both marriage and child-bearing have reached an all-time low in most countries. “When it comes down to it, a Catholic is really being selfish when bringing more people to suffer in this world. Contraception, even abortion, is really the best option for Catholics.” The Imam concluded, “On the other hand, in a generation or so none of this will matter anyway.” →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Churchill: The Indispensable Man

Gentlemen, you will never make peace with Napoleon! Napoleon cannot be master of the world until he has smashed us up, and believe me, gentlemen, he means to be master of the world! You cannot make peace with dictators. You have to destroy them, wipe them out!

Lord Horatio Nelson, That Hamilton Woman

 

 

Something for the weekend.  Heart of Oak from That Hamilton Woman (1941).  Sir Winston Churchill died 50 years ago today.  He loved that film, echoing as it did his own struggle against Hitler in the earlier stand of Great Britain against Napoleon, and would frequently show it to guests during the War.

 

When Churchill was born veterans of Trafalgar still lived, the same vintage as our current World War II veterans.  Churchill lived into the dawning of the Space Age.  He led a long and colorful life and he changed History.  The beginning of World War II seemed like the dawning of a new era:  the age of totalitarian empires.  The weak and disunited democracies seemed to be on their way out.  Churchill changed all this by keeping Britain fighting, even when victory seemed impossible, and gave his nation their finest hour.  Having reduced the Thousand Year Reich to rubble and ashes, he sounded the alarm against the Soviet Union in 1946.  Instead of the democracies ending up on the ash heap of history, it was the totalitarian empires who did so, ending like vanishing fever dreams at the dawn of a new day.  Churchill, although he battled depression his entire life, was ever an optimist about free peoples.  This was captured I think in his finest speech with this passage:

Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilisation. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be freed and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands.

 

Churchill was the indispensable man of the last century for all those who cherish freedom, and this is a good day to recall him and why it is up to us to continue the fight he waged and to recall his warning if we ever tire of the struggle:

 

But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new dark age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Let’s Pretend

 

 

 

Science Fiction author John C. Wright, a convert from Atheism to Catholicism, asks an intriguing ongoing question about the March for Life:  the zero coverage it receives:

My question for the reader is this: why can the Morlocks not even admit the size and vehemence of the opposition here?

What is gained by pretending we do not exist?

Or, to ask a more precise question, would not striking the pose that they are opposing such a large and bold movement allow them to portray themselves as heroes, and gain them more?

They cower before the weather, and before the Koch Brothers, which do not threaten them at all, but these marches display the strength of a society that bids fair to abolish abortion in our lifetimes.

The young and highly motivated survivors of the antinatal holocaust are gathering, and they see the economic disaster overpopulation scaremongers have done them, they can see the demographic disaster of Europe.

Why do the Left pretend real threats to their hellish hegemony do not exist, but flaunt in comical excesses of emotion their pantomimes gestures of exaggerated opposition to utterly unreal and imaginary dangers? →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Bad Week

 

 

Belying the great progress being made at the state level, the pro-life movement had a bad week on the national level.

The GOP leadership pulled a bill banning abortion after 20 weeks, a piece of legislation that has two-one support in polls, because some House members were nervous about the requirement of the rape exception that the rape be reported to the police.  (Really?  A woman twenty weeks pregnant who claims to be raped hasn’t yet reported the rape to the police?)  Bizarre and cowardly.  The House did pass a bill banning abortion funding and credits for abortion, with the usual regrettable exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother.

Then we have Catholic prelates attempting to turn the pro-life cause into a giant rally for the welfare state.  Frank Walker at Pewsitter has their number:

Here’s an idea. Let’s take the exclusively conservative movement against the uninterrupted slaughter of unborn children and plaster all kinds of leftist slogans to it. Then we can invite Catholic prelates to come advocate for bigger federal programs while they pretend to care about abortion. After all, what is the point of having a Church if isn’t to shepherd Catholics into amoral statist barns and hand power to the enemies of God and man? Isn’t everything about life?

Dead babies aren’t a constituency anyway. Why advocate for them? And if you care about poor people, this is a great way to make sure there’s a lot more of them.

For the pro-life movement to truly succeed, it must fight not only abortion, but also the broader “throwaway culture” wherever life is being discarded, said Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston at a national pro-life Mass.

“What must characterize the pro-life movement is a special love for the poor, the marginalized, the suffering, and especially human life that is in danger of being discarded,” Cardinal O’Malley said in his Jan. 21 homily at the Opening Mass of the National Prayer Vigil for Life.

The cardinal addressed an overflow crowd at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., the largest church in North America. More than 11,000 people were estimated to be in attendance.

Cardinal O’Malley, who heads the U.S. bishops’ pro-life committee, was chief celebrant at the Mass. Five additional cardinals, 44 bishops, and 343 priests concelebrated the Mass, according to a basilica spokesperson. Some 100 deacons and 530 seminarians also assisted.

Wednesday evening’s Mass kicked off an all-night prayer vigil at the basilica, which ends with a closing Mass Thursday morning. The prayer vigil precedes the annual March for Life, which marks the anniversary of the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that led to nationwide legal abortion. The march routinely draws hundreds of thousands from across the country to pray and witness in the heart of Washington, D.C.

Drawing from the Gospel of the day, the story of the Rich Young Man, Cardinal O’Malley cited Pope Francis to explain how one must not only keep the commandments but also love the poor.

Jesus advocates loving your neighbor and helping those in need. He certainly doesn’t teach legal confiscation of property, ruthless regulation of people’s lives, anti-family laws and pro-death policy all blanketed under the excuse ‘loving the poor’, then calling it pro-life.

In the Gospel story, the young man asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life. He “went away sad” when Jesus instructed him to go beyond following the commandments by giving all his possessions to the poor and following Christ.

Jesus was asking the man to take a vow of poverty; to become a disciple, not to give all his money to federally-funded Catholic Charities.

So which does Cardinal O’Malley want from the March for Life in Washington: ascetic lives of poverty, their tax money, their Democrat votes, or all three? →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

PopeWatch: Saint Raymond Nonnatus

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It seems that whenever the Pope is on an airplane and reporters are present, disaster beckons.

 

Francis surprised reporters on the papal plane on Sunday by recounting an anecdote about how he had once asked a mother who had seven children by caesarian section and was pregnant with her eighth if she wanted to “leave behind seven young orphans”.

“She said, ‘I trust in God.’ But God gave us the means to be responsible,” Francis said. “Some think — and excuse the term — that to be good Catholics, they must be like rabbits.” →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Prince With a Thousand Enemies

Dale and Mrs. Price

 

All the world will be your enemy, Prince with a Thousand Enemies, and whenever they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you, digger, listener, runner, prince with the swift warning. Be cunning and full of tricks and your people shall never be destroyed.”

Lord Frith, Watership Down

A picture of Dale and Mrs. Price enjoying some paintballing. Now, whatever could have inspired that!

PopeWatch: 213

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Today, on the 42 anniversary of the monstrous Roe v. Wade decision, it is good to recall these words of Pope Francis in section 213 of Evangelii  Gaudium

213. Among the vulnerable for whom the Church wishes to care with particular love and concern are unborn children, the most defenceless and innocent among us. Nowadays efforts are made to deny them their human dignity and to do with them whatever one pleases, taking their lives and passing laws preventing anyone from standing in the way of this. Frequently, as a way of ridiculing the Church’s effort to defend their lives, attempts are made to present her position as ideological, obscurantist and conservative. Yet this defence of unborn life is closely linked to the defence of each and every other human right. It involves the conviction that a human being is always sacred and inviolable, in any situation and at every stage of development. Human beings are ends in themselves and never a means of resolving other problems. Once this conviction disappears, so do solid and lasting foundations for the defence of human rights, which would always be subject to the passing whims of the powers that be. Reason alone is sufficient to recognize the inviolable value of each single human life, but if we also look at the issue from the standpoint of faith, “every violation of the personal dignity of the human being cries out in vengeance to God and is an offence against the creator of the individual”.

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An Exercise in Raw Judicial Power

As we observe the sad forty-second anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that overturned all state laws banning abortions and effectively served as a judicial death warrant for tens of millions of innocents, I think it is appropriate to pay tribute to the two dissenting Justices, Byron White, a Democrat, and William Rehnquist, a Republican.  Here are the texts of their dissents:

MR. JUSTICE WHITE, with whom MR. JUSTICE REHNQUIST joins, dissenting.

At the heart of the controversy in these cases are those recurring pregnancies that pose no danger whatsoever to the life or health of the mother but are, nevertheless, unwanted for any one or more of a variety of reasons — convenience, family planning, economics, dislike of children, the embarrassment of illegitimacy, etc. The common claim before us is that, for any one of such reasons, or for no reason at all, and without asserting or claiming any threat to life or health, any woman is entitled to an abortion at her request if she is able to find a medical adviser willing to undertake the procedure.

The Court, for the most part, sustains this position: during the period prior to the time the fetus becomes viable, the Constitution of the United States values the convenience, whim, or caprice of the putative mother more than the life or potential life of the fetus; the Constitution, therefore, guarantees the right to an abortion as against any state law or policy seeking to protect the fetus from an abortion not prompted by more compelling reasons of the mother.

With all due respect, I dissent. I find nothing in the language or history of the Constitution to support the Court’s judgment. The Court simply fashions and announces a new constitutional right for pregnant mothers [410 U.S. 222] and, with scarcely any reason or authority for its action, invests that right with sufficient substance to override most existing state abortion statutes. The upshot is that the people and the legislatures of the 50 States are constitutionally dissentitled to weigh the relative importance of the continued existence and development of the fetus, on the one hand, against a spectrum of possible impacts on the mother, on the other hand. As an exercise of raw judicial power, the Court perhaps has authority to do what it does today; but, in my view, its judgment is an improvident and extravagant exercise of the power of judicial review that the Constitution extends to this Court.

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Je Suis Charles Martel

“A victorious line of march had been prolonged above a thousand miles from the rock of Gibraltar in Spain to the banks of the Loire in France; the repetition of an equal space would have carried the Saracens to the confines of Poland and the Highlands of Scotland; the Rhine is not more impassable than the Nile or Euphrates, and the Arabian Fleet might have sailed without a naval combat into the mouth of the River Thames. Perhaps the interpretation of the Qur’an would now be taught in the schools of Oxford, and her pulpits might demonstrate to a circumcised people the sanctity and truth of the revelation of Muhammed.”

Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

The slogan Je Suis Charles Martel is beginning to make its way around Saint Blogs.  Here is some information on the grandfather of Charlemagne who stopped the advance of Islam into what became France in 732 at the battle of Tours.

 

Charles Martel, “The Hammer”, led a life of conflict.  An illegitimate son of Pepin of Herstal, Mayor of the Palace and the true power behind the Merovingian puppet kings, after the death of his father he had to fight his father’s legitimate offspring who sought to deprive him of any share in his father’s inheritance.  Fortunately for Charles a streak of military genius ran through him, and he won battles against the odds, using force multiplying stratagems, including feigned retreats, and attacking in the middle of the day when armies of his time normally took a siesta.  By 717 he was in control of Neustria, showing mercy unusual for his day in letting his defeated adversaries live and treating them with kindness.

The 28 year old ruler now entered a round of endless wars with neighboring kingdoms, gradually extending his power, and building up a professional force of infantry to supplement the peasant levies that made up the vast bulk of most Frankish armies.

A friend and patron of Saint Boniface, he also began the alliance between the rulers of the Franks and the Popes.  He contributed much land to the Church, but roused ecclesiastical ire when he took some back to support his troops.  He might have been excommunicated if both Church and State had not suddenly confronted a common foe. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Chris Johnson Watched the State of the Union Speech So You Didn’t Have To

State of the Union Condensed

 

Chris Johnson, a non-Catholic who has taken up the cudgels so many times for the Church that I have named him Defender of the Faith, watched the State of the Union speech last night so you didn’t have to:

Got started a little earlier than I thought I would.

2:34 I just got back from Freddie’s Market to lay in booze, er, supplies for tonight’s festivities. The more I think about it, the more I believe that Stephen Green may have had the right idea all along.

7:55 Gettin’ on toward that time so I’d better get the first vodka thing going.

8:02 – Let’s rock and roll.

8:08 – Himself is on the way in.

8:13 “Our combat mission in Afghanistan is over”  Really?

8:15  “Growing economy?”  I don’t have a job, dumbass.

8:18  “We are a strong, tight-knit family who has made it through some very hard times.”  Of course that’s never happened before.

8:20 “America is number one in oil and gas.”  No thanks to your opposition to Keystone or fracking, thank you very much.

8:22 Dude’s just making crap up now.

8:23 My way or the highway, bitches.

8:25 Rebecca just isn’t asking for a handout.  Except that she wants “affordable child care” at someone else’s expense.

8:27 You’re not just going to be paying for Sandra Fluke’s birth control.  You’re going to be paying for Sandra Fluke’s birth control AND paid her affordable maternity leave.

8:29 “That’s why this Congress needs to make sure that women are paid the same as men.”  Since they basically are right now.

8:30  Strengthen unions.  Saw that one coming a million light years away.

8:32 Free community college.  ‘Kay.  Who’s paying for it, O?

8:34 Apprenticeships?  You mean like going back to reading law again?  Produced Lincoln, after all.

8:36 This is starting to sound something like a Nuremberg rally.

8:37 “Let’s set our sights higher than a pipeline.”  See you, Keystone.  And get used to paying $3.00 or more a gallon again.

8:40 “And where we too often run under the rocks is how we pay for all this”  Here we go.

8:43 The top one percent.  Saw that one coming a light year away.

8:44 He’s on to foreign policy now.

8:45 Barry thinks his “foreign policy” is making a difference.

8:47 America’s foreign policy has been forceful?  Obama wants a Congressional resolution authorizing force against the “Islamic” State.

8:52  G0 ahead and take “credit” for Cuba, O.  “Stands up for democratic values and extends the hands of friendship to Cuba?”  Care to reconcile those two mutually-exclusive ideas, Barry?

8:53  Computer hackers now?  This have something to do with the IRS scandal?

8:55 Climate change.  Last year was the warmest year of climate change of record, Barry.  Do you have any idea how old the universe is, dimwit?

8:56 Barry wants to go Luddite.

8:57 Dude had to work duh gaze in there.  Pretty much de riguer these days.

8:58 O wants to close Gitmo.

9:00 “I still believe that we are one people.”  Glad you do.

Sorry that things stopped early.  Some kind of technical problem; I’m not quite sure what happened there.  I’ll keep comments open a little while longer. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Chris Kyle and Alvin C. York

 

 

“I am a strong Christian. Not a perfect one—not close. But I strongly believe in God, Jesus, and the Bible. When I die, God is going to hold me accountable for everything I’ve done on earth. He may hold me back until last and run everybody else through the line, because it will take so long to go over all my sins. “Mr. Kyle, let’s go into the backroom. . . .” Honestly, I don’t know what will really happen on Judgment Day. But what I lean toward is that you know all of your sins, and God knows them all, and shame comes over you at the reality that He knows. I believe the fact that I’ve accepted Jesus as my savior will be my salvation. But in that backroom or whatever it is when God confronts me with my sins, I do not believe any of the kills I had during the war will be among them. Everyone I shot was evil. I had good cause on every shot. They all deserved to die.”
Chis Kyle

 

 

I hadn’t planned on seeing American Sniper, the story of the late Chris Kyle, but with it shattering box office records and driving the Left insane, something that director Clint Eastwood has been doing effortlessly for the past four decades, I will have to go see it this weekend and review it for TAC.  Awarded two Silver Stars and numerous other decorations, Navy Seal Kyle always stated that his motivation for being perhaps the deadliest sniper in American history was to protect his fellow troops.  This resonated with me since it was the same motivation for Corporal Alvin C. York in 1918 during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive to take out several German machine gun nests and to capture 132 German soldiers: →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

State of the Union Speech 1924

 

 

Although known as Silent Cal, Calvin Coolidge when he gave a speech made certain that each word he uttered was for a purpose.  In 1923 he gave the first State of the Union speech that was broadcast on radio.  His 1924 State of the Union hit hard what was for him a burning passion:  economy in government.  His views are so at variance to what passes for popular wisdom these days, that they deserve to be remembered.  Here is the portion of his speech dealing with controlling debt and the growth of government: →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

PopeWatch: Anthony Esolen

 

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If the Pope is interested in increasing vocations to the priesthood, he could do worse than to read a post by Professor Anthony Esolen at Crisis Magazine in which he recites the methods by which dioceses can ensure that their priesthood ordinations will remain minute:

 

Dilute the faith. Fighters want something to fight for. Make sure there is nothing to fight for. Do not preach the full doctrine of the Church. Never speak about the terrible sins of our age. Be more sensitive about offending a couple of the people who still show up for Mass, than about offending God. Cut the sixth commandment out of the ten. While you are at it, cut out the second, the third, and the ninth too.

Equate Christian “charity” with rendering to Caesar what is Caesar’s, God’s, your own, your children’s, and your community’s. Assume that everybody who is not named Hitler is going to heaven, because some middling bit of natural pleasantness is enough to please the Almighty. “Be nice,” said Jesus, “even as your Uncle Ronnie was nice,” your divorced Uncle Ronnie who lived with his girl friend, but was good to dogs and small children that were not his to take care of. Lower the bar so that even a moral cripple could fall over it, and at the same time make it seem as if the cripple’s feat of acrobatics, rather than the grace of God, will earn him a place in heaven. Never suggest that the faith is a matter of eternal life or death.

Turn the Sacrament into snack time. Get rid of any remaining altar rails. Make sure that everybody takes the Sacrament into his hands, like a fortune cookie. Tell the people to stand afterwards. Go as far as you can to prevent people from kneeling during Mass. Make it as difficult as possible for people to receive the sacrament of confession. Treat it as insignificant. If somebody does want the sacrament, roll your eyes and make sure that the penitent knows how much it annoys you. Don’t take the penitent’s sin seriously. In fact, give the penitent the impression that he can go on and commit the same sin with impunity. In this way you will make it likelier that a moose will amble down Main Street than that a sin-burdened soul will seek you out, or that a healthy line of them will be making their way to the confessional. And, while you are at it, make sure there are no confessionals. Turn them into closets for brooms, mops, and bleach.

Strip the altars. Are there paintings in your church? Cover them with whitewash, or take them down. Is there an old high altar in the back of the sanctuary? Chop it up and use it for fuel. Better still, tear down two or three old churches and build a new one in the shape of a gymnasium. If you place the stations of the Cross on the side walls, make them so small and ambiguous that no one can tell what they are from more than ten feet away. Put the priest’s chair in the center, at the back wall. Get rid of any trace of genuine folk art, or of the great artistic heritage of the Church. Sing twaddle instead. Wet sloppy twaddle.

Shut down your schools. Give them away to the government to manage, as they have done in Canada. Hire secularists to teach there, or, better, Catholics who hate the Church. If you have an all-male high school, turn it into a co-ed school. If you have a boys’ basketball program, and you don’t have the money for a girls’ basketball program, shut it down. Put RCIA into the hands of laymen of dubious learning and piety. Do the same for religion classes in school. Try to make sure that your classes in history or English will be just like those taught anywhere else. Make Catholic education into public education with holy water—as a stalwart in the battle to restore Catholicity to Catholic schools has put it to me most trenchantly.

Be effeminate. Get rid of every single hymn that has anything to do with Christian soldiership. Castrate the rest of the hymns. Or, better, favor hymns that make Jesus into a kind of safe sweet Boyfriend, with whom you can make out on the couch now and in heaven later. Let the music be led by women, especially women who like to be seen and heard performing it. Put the hand-raising cantor up front, to upstage the priest and Christ. Let girls do silly dance routines up and down the aisles. If you can, have five or six girls do that, in the company of one boy whose mother has obviously compelled his attendance, and who stands there gritting his teeth and fuming. Favor any musical instrument except the organ. Let the piano player tickle the keys like a hired performer at a bar, so that the communicants can, as they return to their pews, slip a fiver into the hat, right next to the long-stemmed champagne glass. Use as many altar girls as possible. Discourage the boys from joining. Give them nothing important to do. Use as many women lectors as possible. In fact, once Mass has become too bland for girls themselves, use the old ladies as acolytes, busying about the altar as if they were laying out the tablecloth and silverware for a party.

Never suggest that the Church needs men for anything. Make “man” into an obscenity. Never suggest that fathers and mothers play complementary roles in the family. Never suggest that Jesus had something important in mind when He chose twelve men as his brothers. Suggest instead that to be a genuine Christian, a man has to stop being a man. Buy the silly feminist notion that Christian women have been “oppressed” for nearly two thousand years.

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