PopeWatch: Demonic Cats

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

 

 

Pope Francis continues to show he’s not your average pope. During a public appearance this afternoon, Francis attempted to comfort a girl whose cat had died, saying, “One day, we will see our animals again in the eternity of Christ. Paradise is open to all of God’s creatures. All of them except for cats. In that case, little girl, the only way you will see your cat again is if you reject God’s grace and end up in hell.”

The Pope’s comment has reignited a debate on the subject, with the Humane Society saying that if Pope Francis believes animals have souls, then “we ought to seriously consider how we treat them,” a representative said. “We have to admit that all animals, save for cats, panda bears, and sloths are sentient beings, and they mean something to God.” →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Veni Veni Emmanuel

 

 

Something for the weekend before Christmas.  Veni, Veni Emmanuel.  The words of this magnificent hymn are from the 9th century and the melody is from 15th century France.  It is more familiar these days in its English translation.  Here is a powerful version that has great meaning for me.  After the death of my son Larry on Pentecost Sunday last year I found it of immense comfort.  Christ is Our Way, Our Truth and Our Everlasting Life.

Keep Up the Bad Work Seth Rogen

Seth RogenSo comedic actor Seth Rogen doesn’t hesitate to call Christians the A-word for supporting Hobby Lobby. Knowing that Christians don’t retaliate, maybe at worst start a picket line.

But when Seth Rogen makes a film, “The Interview”, satirizing the “Great Successor”, Kim Jong-un, he turned and ran, hired body guards, and is too scared to even offer a quote.

Seth Rogen is so fortunate to live in a country built upon Christian values. If he were in an Islamic or Communist nation, he wouldn’t be alive today.

Keep up the bad work Seth Rogen.

So much for freedom of speech in U.S. Catholic higher education…

 

Back in early November, a professor of political science reported in a personal blog post about a fellow professor teaching “Theory of Ethics” who was applying a philosophical text to modern political controversies. Listing some controversies, the professor wrote down “gay rights.” The professor then said to the class, “Everybody agrees on this, and there is no need to discuss it.”

One student disagreed.

After the class had ended, the student approached the professor, stating that the issue and associated matters, like homosexual rights, so-called homosexual marriage, and homosexual adoption, merit discussion. According to the blog post, the student went further, stating that if the professor dismissed the issue and its associated matters based solely upon personal views, that would set “a terrible precedent for the class.”

The professor was skeptical, offering counter arguments. Lastly, the professor asked the student for research demonstrating the student’s assertions.

But, like most political controversies, the discussion didn’t end there, as the professor explained that “some opinions are not appropriate, such as racist opinions, sexist opinions,” asking “Do you know if anyone in your class is homosexual?” and whether, if some student raised his hand and challenged so-called homosexual marriage, “Don’t you think it would be offensive to them?”

The student responded, stating that as an American citizen he possessed the right to advance counter-arguments, to which the professor replied,

You don’t have a right in this class to make homophobic comments….In this class, homophobic comments, racist comments, will not be tolerated.

Finally, the professor invited the student to drop the class.

In late November, The Motley Monk discussed this incident within a broader analysis, “Some stirrings of discontent in U.S. Catholic higher education.”

But, like most matters involving people feeling offended, the story didn’t end there.

On December 17, the professor who wrote the personal blog post received a letter from the institution’s Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences:

The university is continuing to review your conduct and during this period—and until further notice—you are relieved of all teaching duties and all other faculty activities, including, but not limited to, advising, committee work, faculty meetings and any activity that would involve your interaction with… students, faculty and staff. Should any academic appeals arise from Fall 2014 semester, however, you are expected to fulfill your obligations in that specific matter.

Your salary and benefits will continue at their current level during this time.

You are to remain off campus during this time, and should you need to come to campus, you are to contact me in writing beforehand to explain the purpose of your visit, to obtain my consent and to make appropriate arrangements for that visit. I am enclosing with this letter [the institution’s] harassment policy, its guiding values statement, the University mission statement, and sections from the Faculty Handbook, which outline faculty rights and responsibilities; these documents will inform our review of your conduct.

Sincerely…

Even if the suspension is “a bit of a joke, since it’s Christmas break and we aren’t teaching,” as the professor noted in a new personal blog post, what isn’t a joke are some of the potential implications of this suspension:

  • Class discussion that’s likely to “offend” any particular group of students in the class must be proscribed…a “gag” order, as RedState.com described it. Consider all of the matters that might offend particular groups of students.
  • Calling out colleagues who are intolerant of full, free, and unfettered discussion of the facts can warrant a suspension and possible dismissal for failure to adhere to the institution’s harassment policy. Professors would be indemnified from any challenges to their unfounded opinions.
  • Challenging such proscriptions can also end in a suspension and possible dismissal. This would have a “chilling effect” upon free speech, as academic administrators could investigate, censor, and or even punish professors who express their personal beliefs not only in classrooms but in personal blog posts. That process could take the form of harassment which the procees is supposed to ensure doesn’t happen.

Doesn’t all of that present a proximate danger to academic freedom?

About the institution, RedState.com observed:

Marquette is Wisconsin’s leading Catholic university. As such, it is a high profile institution among Catholics both in and out of Wisconsin. It also prides itself as one of the most well known centers of higher education in the state. By imposing a gag order on McAdams, the school has done damage to both its Catholic and academic traditions….

One can only shake one’s head in disbelief, reading of these events and juxtaposing them to Marquette’s mission statement:

Marquette University is a Catholic, Jesuit university dedicated to serving God by serving our students and contributing to the advancement of knowledge. Our mission, therefore, is the search for truth, the discovery and sharing of knowledge, the fostering of personal and professional excellence, the promotion of a life of faith, and the development of leadership expressed in service to others. All this we pursue for the greater glory of God and the common benefit of the human community.

Or, as the now-suspended professor noted:

Marquette…has again shown itself to be timid, overly bureaucratic and lacking any commitment to either its Catholic mission or free expression.

 

 

 

To read the professor’s original blog post, click on the following link:
http://mu-warrior.blogspot.com/2014/11/marquette-philosophy-instructor-gay.html

To read The Motley Monk’s previous blog post, click on the following link:
http://the-american-catholic.com/2014/11/23/some-stirrings-of-discontent-in-u-s-catholic-higher-education/

To read the professor’s update, the December 17 blog post, click on the following link:
http://mu-warrior.blogspot.com/2014/12/reprisal-marquette-warrior-under.html

To read the RedState.com article, click on the following link:
http://www.redstate.com/2014/12/17/catholic-university-imposes-gag-order-prof/

To read the Marquette University Mission Statement, click on the following link:
http://www.marquette.edu/about/mission.php

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

PopeWatch: Realpolitik

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One of the biggest misinterpretations of Pope Francis is the assumption that he doesn’t carefully consider his actions, as opposed to his often careless, occasionally confused, language.  Case in point:

China-watchers, friends of Tibet, and admirers of Pope Francis were amazed and disappointed last week when the Pope announced he would not be meeting the Dalai Lama during the Tibetan leader’s visit to Rome. The Dalai Lama was there with other winners of the Nobel Peace Prize, who—ironically—had gathered in Rome after a planned meeting in South Africa did not take place because Pretoria refused to grant the Dalai Lama a visa. In the end, the pope declined to meet with any of the Laureates. In view of Francis’s extraordinary reputation for open-mindedness, how could this be?

The Dalai Lama has a long history of meeting with the head of the Catholic Church. He met with John Paul II on a number of different occasions and with Benedict XVI once, in a private meeting in 2006. But this time, the Vatican explained, there could be no such encounter because of the “delicate situation,” and because, the Dalai Lama was told, “it could cause problems.” It was plain that the statement referred to relations between the Holy See and Beijing. A spokesman for the Dalai Lama said he was “disappointed at not being able to call on His Holiness the Pope but he does not want to cause any inconvenience.”

Over the last few years, a growing number of world leaders, under pressure from China, have spurned or downgraded meetings with the Dalai Lama. In 2010, President Barack Obama received the Dalai Lama in the White House Map Room, making clear that he was meeting him not as a political leader but as a religious one—which the Dalai had already proclaimed was now his only role. That meeting, which ended with the Dalai Lama leaving the White House through a back entrance past a row of garbage cans, nevertheless infuriated the Chinese government, which condemned the White House for interfering in China’s internal affairs. In May 2012, after Prime Minister David Cameron and his deputy Nick Clegg met the Dalai Lama discreetly and briefly in the crypt of St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Chinese foreign Ministry stated:

We ask the British side to take the Chinese side’s solemn stance seriously, stop indulging and supporting “Tibet independence” anti-China forces, immediately take effective measures to undo the adverse effect, and take concrete action to safeguard the overall development of China-UK relations.

China’s reaction alarmed Cameron, who was planning a visit to Beijing with British business leaders, and the following year the trip took place only after officials in the Cameron government made clear that he had no plans for future meetings with the Dalai Lama.

What happened in Rome is wholly different. Unlike the US, Britain, Norway, and South Africa, among other countries, the Vatican has no economic ties with Beijing, nor does it hold security discussions with the Chinese. It is also usual for the Pope to meet the leaders of other world faiths on purely religious grounds.

What is plain is Francis’s anguish over the fate of the estimated twelve million Chinese who are Catholic and the more than three thousand Catholic priests active in China. About half of China’s Catholics are connected to one of the churches under the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (CPCA), which means their bishops are appointed by employees of CPCA, which was created by the Religious Affairs Bureau of the People’s Republic; the other half are unofficial “House Christians,” who recognize the pope as their leader. Along with China’s Protestants, both groups have at best uneasy relations with the Communist leadership. Earlier this year, Catholic and Protestant churches in some regions of China were designated as “illegal structures” and demolished; in other cases in recent months, Christian religious symbols, such as crosses, have sometimes been forcibly removed. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

To Hate Liberally

 

 

 

Spengler (David P. Goldman) takes a look at the blind fury that seems to be the distinguishing characteristic of the Forces of Tolerance these days:

 

They really, really hate us. George Orwell wrote a morning “Two Minutes Hate” session into the daily life of his dystopia in 1984. One blogger notes that 2,000 of Rachel Maddow’s facebook fans wished that Ted Cruz would fall into an open elevator shaft. What would he have made of the hyperventilating hatred that liberals display against conservatives? Over at National Review, Katherine Timpf reports on a hate manifesto published by the chair of University of Michigan’s Department of Communications. Republicans “crafted a political identity that rests on a complete repudiation of the idea that the opposing party and its followers have any legitimacy at all.” wrote Prof. Susan Douglas. “So now we hate them back,” she explains. “And with good reason.”

In fact, they have their reasons to hate us. They are being silly. We know they are being silly, and they know we know, and they can’t stand it. It isn’t quite how we repudiate the idea that the opposing party has any legitimacy at all. But we can’t stop giggling.

“Reductio ad absurdum” does not begin to characterize the utter silliness of liberals, whose governing dogma holds that everyone has a right to invent their own identity. God is dead and everything is permitted, Zarathustra warned; he should have added that everything is silly. When we abhor tradition, we become ridiculous, because we lack the qualifications to replace what generation upon generation of our ancestors built on a belief in revelation and centuries of trial and error. Conservatives know better. G.K. Chesterton said it well: “Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about.”

The antics of the “small and arrogant oligarchy” that controls the temples of liberal orthodoxy have turned into comic material that Monty Python couldn’t have dreamed up a generation ago. There are now dozens of prospective genders, at least according to the gender studies departments at elite universities. What do the feminists of Wellesley College do, for example, when its women become men? The problem is that no-one quite knows what they have become, as a recent New York Times Magazine feature complained:

Some two dozen other matriculating students at Wellesley don’t identify as women. Of those, a half-dozen or so were trans men, people born female who identified as men, some of whom had begun taking testosterone to change their bodies. The rest said they were transgender or genderqueer, rejecting the idea of gender entirely or identifying somewhere between female and male; many, like Timothy, called themselves transmasculine.

Use the wrong terminology and you’re burned for a bigot. There used to be jokes such as: “How many feminists does it take to change a light bulb? Only one, and it’s not funny.” You can’t tell that sort of joke about  Wellesley because the LGBTs never will agree on the lightbulb’s gender. There are rare cases of babies born with ambiguous genitalia, to be sure. There also are a few individuals obsessed from early childhood with the idea that they were born in the wrong body. They have difficult lives and deserve sympathy (but not public mandates for sex-change operations). Gender ambiguity in its morphological infinitude as a field of personal self-development, though, has become the laboratory for cutting-edge liberal thinking, the ultimate expression of self-invention. LGTB Studies (or “Queer Studies”) departments have or soon will be established at most of America’s top universities, classifying, advocating and defending an ever-expanding number of newly-categorized gender identities. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

247-188

Martha McSally

With the victory of pro-life Colonel Martha McSally (USAF Ret.),( she took Gabbie Gifford’s old Congressional district, so a Second Amendment champion now holds the former seat of the poster child for gun control), the Republicans have 247 seats in the House.  The last time the Republicans had more seats in the House, the year was 1929.  Obama has strengthened the Republican Party more than any President since Calvin Coolidge.

PopeWatch: Cuba

 

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The Babalu Blog, the go to site for news on Cuba, predicted the papal involvement in the “normalization” of relations with Cuba announced yesterday by Obama:

We’re not clairvoyants or prophets.  We just deal with the facts.

Eleven months ago, when Secretary of State John Kerry visited the Vatican, a Babalu post asked: “Will Pope Francis Bring About the Release of Alan Gross?”

Here’s a quote from that post:

How’s this for a scenario?:  Pope Francis gets Alan Gross freed in exchange for the four Castro spies, and, on top of that, orchestrates the restoration of US/Castro diplomatic ties, along with the lifting of the embargo.  And it will all make Obama look so righteous and compassionate rather than weak, all because of the glow lent to the whole deal by Pope Francis’s halo.

Such speculation is not far-fetched.

Well, guess what?  Unfortunately, today’s events have proven that such speculation was in fact correct.

Yeah. The “embargo” has not been lifted yet…. but the current occupant of the White House has turned the circumventing of congress into a rare art form. Just wait.

Hate to say “I told you so.”  Those moments always involve a most exquisite and intolerable kind of pain. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Festivals of Light

 

 

Now Judas celebrated the festival of the restoration of the sacrifices of the temple for eight days, and omitted no sort of pleasures thereon; but he feasted them upon very rich and splendid sacrifices; and he honored God, and delighted them by hymns and psalms. Nay, they were so very glad at the revival of their customs, when, after a long time of intermission, they unexpectedly had regained the freedom of their worship, that they made it a law for their posterity, that they should keep a festival, on account of the restoration of their temple worship, for eight days. And from that time to this we celebrate this festival, and call it Lights. I suppose the reason was, because this liberty beyond our hopes appeared to us; and that thence was the name given to that festival.

Josephus

I have always thought it fitting that Christmas and Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, are so close together usually on the calendar.  This year Hanukkah began on December 16 and will end on Christmas Eve.  Approximately 160 years before the Coming of Christ, the Jews revolted against the Seleucid Empire.  This was one of the most important struggles in all of human history.    It determined that the Jews would remain a people set apart, worshiping Yahweh, and not become, like so many peoples before and since, a lost people, blended into larger populations, their god forgotten.  It was this revolt, led by Mattathias, his name meaning “gift of Yahweh”, and his sons, known collectively as the Maccabees, that is told in First and Second Maccabees.  The revolt was successful, but ultimately, through civil wars and the overpowering military might of Rome, the Jews again fell under foreign domination, and Jesus was born into a world ruled by Rome.  However, the revolt established that the Jews would remain a separate people, worshiping their God and safeguarding their faith.  This was an essential element in setting the stage for the coming of Christ. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Patton on Prayer

 

 

“Almighty and most merciful Father, we humbly beseech Thee, of Thy great goodness, to restrain these immoderate rains with which we have had to contend. Grant us fair weather for Battle. Graciously hearken to us as soldiers who call upon Thee that, armed with Thy power, we may advance from victory to victory, and crush the oppression and wickedness of our enemies and establish Thy justice among men and nations.”

 

The famous “weather prayer” of General Patton was written by a Catholic Chaplain, Colonel James H. O’Neill, Chief Chaplain of the Third Army.   Here is his article on the incident written in 1950.

The incident of the now famous Patton Prayer commenced with a telephone call to the Third Army Chaplain on the morning of December 8, 1944, when the Third Army Headquarters were located in the Caserne Molifor in Nancy, France: “This is General Patton; do you have a good prayer for weather? We must do something about those rains if we are to win the war.” My reply was that I know where to look for such a prayer, that I would locate, and report within the hour. As I hung up the telephone receiver, about eleven in the morning, I looked out on the steadily falling rain, “immoderate” I would call it — the same rain that had plagued Patton’s Army throughout the Moselle and Saar Campaigns from September until now, December 8. The few prayer books at hand contained no formal prayer on weather that might prove acceptable to the Army Commander. Keeping his immediate objective in mind, I typed an original and an improved copy on a 5″ x 3″ filing card:

Almighty and most merciful Father, we humbly beseech Thee, of Thy great goodness, to restrain these immoderate rains with which we have had to contend. Grant us fair weather for Battle. Graciously hearken to us as soldiers who call upon Thee that, armed with Thy power, we may advance from victory to victory, and crush the oppression and wickedness of our enemies and establish Thy justice among men and nations.

I pondered the question, What use would General Patton make of the prayer? Surely not for private devotion. If he intended it for circulation to chaplains or others, with Christmas not far removed, it might he proper to type the Army Commander’s Christmas Greetings on the reverse side. This would please the recipient, and anything that pleased the men I knew would please him:

To each officer and soldier in the Third United States Army, I Wish a Merry Christmas. I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty, and skill in battle. We march in our might to complete victory. May God’s blessings rest upon each of you on this Christmas Day. G.S. Patton, Jr, Lieutenant General, Commanding, Third United States Army.

This done, I donned my heavy trench coat, crossed the quadrangle of the old French military barracks, and reported to General Patton. He read the prayer copy, returned it to me with a very casual directive, “Have 250,000 copies printed and see to it that every man in the Third Army gets one.” The size of the order amazed me; this was certainly doing something about the weather in a big way. But I said nothing but the usual, “Very well, Sir!” Recovering, I invited his attention to the reverse side containing the Christmas Greeting, with his name and rank typed. “Very good,” he said, with a smile of approval. “If the General would sign the card, it would add a personal touch that I am sure the men would like.” He took his place at his desk, signed the card, returned it to me and then Said: “Chaplain, sit down for a moment; I want to talk to you about this business of prayer.” He rubbed his face in his hands, was silent for a moment, then rose and walked over to the high window, and stood there with his back toward me as he looked out on the falling rain. As usual, he was dressed stunningly, and his six-foot-two powerfully built physique made an unforgettable silhouette against the great window. The General Patton I saw there was the Army Commander to whom the welfare of the men under him was a matter of Personal responsibility . Even in the heat of combat he could take time out to direct new methods to prevent trench feet, to see to it that dry socks went forward daily with the rations to troops on the line, to kneel in the mud administering morphine and caring for a wounded soldier until the ambulance Came. What was coming now?

“Chaplain, how much praying is being done in the Third Army?” was his question. I parried: “Does the General mean by chaplains, or by the men?” “By everybody,” he replied. To this I countered: “I am afraid to admit it, but I do not believe that much praying is going on. When there Is fighting, everyone prays, but now with this constant rain — when things are quiet, dangerously quiet, men just sit and wait for things to happen. Prayer out here is difficult. Both chaplains and men are removed from a special building with a steeple. Prayer to most of them is a formal, ritualized affair, involving special posture and a liturgical setting. I do not believe that much praying is being done.” →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

The People and the Police

Part I: Why People Are Inclined To Support The Police

There have been a number of stories in the news lately in which prosecutors have considered and then failed to deliver indictments against policemen in cases where they have killed people. There’s been a fair amount of outrage about this, some of it justified, some of it not. One of the things that has generated so much outrage is that, through it all, most people have supported not indicting these officers. I think it’s worth considering why.

Police are in a difficult position. We, as a polity, pay them to insert themselves into situations that we do not feel ourselves well able to deal with, whether that means domestic disputes, fights between gangs, the mentally unstable, or runaway cows. In return, they get the generic “gratitude towards those in uniform” which our society includes among its civic pieties, but not necessarily huge amounts of comprehension of what they deal with which day (which, of course, varies a huge amount from city to city. What a small town policeman deals with is going to be a lot different from what an LAPD officer in Watts deals with.)

A basic understanding of this is, I think, why in general people are willing to give the police the benefit of the doubt (and then some) most of the time. The police are out there dealing with stuff so that we don’t have to, and there’s an implicit understanding that it would be rather churlish to turn around and prosecute them criminally if they make a misjudgement in doing their job. It’s one thing to go after the obvious “corrupt cop” cases which involve drug dealing, extortion, etc. People see this as a clear abuse of power. However, when the killing can be framed up in terms of “the officer thought he had to do this in order to protect himself/do his duty” people are unwilling to send him to jail.
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PopeWatch: Nunsense

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If there are any Catholics still dense enough not to understand the trajectory of the current pontificate, the ludicrous ending to the investigation of American nuns and sisters in this country should cure their ignorance.  Rorate Caeli gives us the grisly details:

Final report on American women religious issued

 
The “Final Report on the Apostolic Visitation of Institutes of Women Religious in the United States of America” has been issued by the Vatican’s Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, and apparently American sisters and nuns are in perfect communion with the Catholic Church.  Nothing to see here, folks.
There was no mention of social issues, no mention of habits, no mention of open dissonance, and, in fact, the tone of the report seemed to apologize to dissident women religious who obstructed during the process and refused to participate in the apostolic visitation.  One would never know why the apostolic visitation was called for in the first place under Pope Benedict.Contrast that to the Franciscans of the Immaculate under this papacy.
What is interesting is how even the mainstream media understands there has been a significant rupture between Benedict and Francis, most recently reflected in today’s report of the visitation that began in 2008.

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Messianic Prophecies: Haggai 2: 6-8

 

Continuing our Advent look at Messianic prophecies for this year, a series which we began in Advent 2011 and continued in 2102 and 2013, the earlier posts of the series may be read here, here, here ,here, here, here, here, here , here here, here, here, here , here, here, here  and here, we come to Haggai 2: 6-8 :

[6] The word that I covenanted with you when you came out of the land of Egypt: and my spirit shall be in the midst of you: fear not.

[7] For thus saith the Lord of hosts: Yet one little while, and I will move the heaven and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land.

[8] And I will move all nations: AND THE DESIRED OF ALL NATIONS SHALL COME: and I will fill this house with glory: saith the Lord of hosts.  

Saint Augustine reveals Who this passage refers to:  →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Ferguson Ate My Homework

 

Christopher Johnson, a non-Catholic who has taken up the cudgels so frequently on behalf of the Church that I have named him Defender of the Faith, at Midwest Conservative Journal brings us up to speed on  a novel excuse to get out of taking finals dreamt up by some Harvard Law students:

 

The following essay by one William Desmond, a third-year student at Harvard Law School as well as an editor of the Harvard Law Review, is either the most infuriating thing I’ve ever read or the most unintentionally hilarious.  I can’t figure out which.  Seems Des would like Harvard Law to delay whatever exams he’s scheduled to take.  Why?  Ferguson, natch:

Over the last week, much has been said about law students’ petitioning for exam extensions in light of the circumstances surrounding the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner at the hands of police officers. Students at Harvard Law School, Columbia Law School, Georgetown University Law Center and several other schools requested that their administrations allow extensions on final exams for students who have been confronting the aftermath of the recent failed grand jury indictments of the officers who killed the unarmed black men.

Des already knows how people are going to react.

In response, opponents of exam extensions have declared that to grant these requests would be a disservice to the students. Law students, they argue, must learn how to engage critically with the law in the face of intense adversity. Drawing comparisons to events surrounding the Civil Rights Movement and other times of intense turmoil, these opponents portray today’s law students as coddled millennials using traumatic events as an excuse for their inability to focus on a three-hour exam. In essence, law students are being told to grow up and learn how to focus amidst stress and anxiety—like “real” lawyers must do.

They’re all wrong, of course.

Speaking as one of those law students, I can say that this response is misguided: Our request for exam extensions is not being made from a position of weakness, but rather from one of strength and critical awareness.

How’s that, Des?  Because in the last couple of months, the single most traumatic events in the entire recorded history of humanity have occurred.

Although over the last few weeks many law students have experienced moments of total despair, minutes of inconsolable tears and hours of utter confusion, many of these same students have also spent days in action—days of protesting, of organizing meetings, of drafting emails and letters, and of starting conversations long overdue. We have been synthesizing decades of police interactions, dissecting problems centuries old, and exposing the hypocrisy of silence.

Yeah, sure you were.  And doing lots and lots of high-grade ganja from the sound of it.  Out: the dog ate my homework.  In: I was so upset by this country’s refusal to frankly face the effects of slavery that I couldn’t possibly study, never mind do any homework.

I have seen the psychological trauma brought on by disillusionment with our justice system send some law students into a period of depression. After all, every death of an unarmed youth at the hands of law enforcement is a tragedy. The hesitancy to recognize the validity of these psychic effects demonstrates that, in addition to conversations on race, gender and class, our nation is starving for a genuine discussion about mental health. But to reduce our calls for exam extensions to mere cries for help exhibits a failure to understand the powerful images of die-ins and the booming chants of protestors disrupting the continuation of business as usual in cities across the country.

You’re just embarrassing yourself, kid.  Hey shut up, we’re not spoiled children.  We’re…you know…prophetic and crap.

Where some commentators see weakness or sensitivity, perhaps they should instead see strength—the strength to know when our cups of endurance have run over and when the time for patience has ended. Perhaps they should instead see courage—the courage to look our peers in the eyes and uncomfortably ask them to bear these burdens of racism and classism that we have together inherited from generations past. We have taken many exams before, but never have we done this. We are scared, but no longer will we be spectators to injustice.

Des?  I’ve got a real life rule.  When you have to tell others to perceive you as strong and courageous, you’re nothing more than a particularly sniveling, gutless little douchebag.  Oh, and attention furniture companies and stores.  Want to make a boatload of money?  Stock up on fainting couches because guys (?) like Des are going to need one once he starts his law practice.

Our focus and critical thinking are at an all-time peak while the importance of our textbooks is at a low. It is not that law students are incapable of handling their exams. It is that we are unwilling to remove ourselves, even for a few days, from this national conversation.

Uh huh.

As future practitioners, professors, judges and policymakers, we have all been trained not only in the faithful application of the law but also in the critical examination of its effectiveness. And by our analysis, responsible members of the legal community can no longer defend our criminal justice system as exemplifying fair process when that system so frequently produces the same unjust result—life drained from an unarmed black body by a barrage of government-issued bullets.

 

If I ever had to do a nickel for some crime and Des was my lawyer, I guarantee that this snowflake will be waiting at the prison gate when I get out.  To inform me that he was suing my ass into the ground for causing him emotional distress because I was guilty. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Letter to the Pope

 

 

Truth

 

 

Clare Short of Faith in our Families blog has written an open letter to the Pope.  I think this letter typifies the anguish that many faithful Catholics are experiencing under the current pontificate:

Dear Pope Francis,

I have supported you and defended you many times this year. Even when I was unsure of exactly what it was you were saying – I always gave you the benefit of the doubt and stood up for you against those who were criticizing you. However regarding your recent comments denouncing the “rigid” attached to doctrine as “Pharisees” I am sorry but with a heavy heart, I have to disagree with you:

Pope Francis recalled how “Pius XII freed us from the very heavy cross that was the Eucharistic fast:

“But some of you might remember. You couldn’t even drink a drop of water. Not even that! And to brush your teeth, it had to be done in such a way that you didn’t swallow the water. But I myself as a young boy went to confession for having made the Communion, because I thought a drop of water had gone in. Is it true or no? It’s true. When Pius XII changed the discipline: ‘Ah, heresy! No! He touched the discipline of the Church.’ So many Pharisees were scandalized. So many. Because Pius XII had acted like Jesus: he saw the need of the people. ‘But the poor people, with such warmth.’ These priests who said three Masses, the last at one o’clock, after noon, fasting. The discipline of the Church. And these Pharisees [spoke about] ‘our discipline’ – rigid on the outside, but, as Jesus said of them, ‘rotting in the heart,’ weak, weak to the point of rottenness. Gloomy in the heart. This is the drama of these people, and Jesus denounces hypocrisy and opportunism: Even our life can become like that, even our life. And sometimes, I confess something to you, when I have seen a Christian, a Christian of that kind, with a weak heart, not firm, not fixed on the rock—Jesus – and with such rigidness on the outside, I ask the Lord: But Lord, throw a banana peel in front of them, so that they will take a good fall, and feel shame that they are sinners, and so encounter You, [and realize] that You are the Savior. Many times a sin will make us feel shame, and make us encounter the Lord, Who pardons us, as the sick who were there and went to the Lord for healing.” 

You are correct in saying that the Pharisees of 1st Century Jerusalem were politicians. They were not interested in the spirituality of the Jewish faith in anyway shape or form. All they were interested in was satisfying their  lust for power and status over the people. In this way they held God’s people in contempt.  They used rules and regulations to keep people captive.

But Holy Father, don’t you understand?…

The religious politicians of the 21st century are your friends – the Walter Kasper’s and the Cormac Murphy O’Connor’s of this world. They are the ones trying to control the Family Synod. They are the ones manipulating the media. They are the ones doing deals and getting their mates into the position of Bishop to further their own political agenda, when they really, really should never have even been there (Kieran Conry). Just like the Pharisees of 1st century Jerusalem, they are primarily concerned with their own lust for power and status. They hide this behind a smoke screen of words and phrases that seem to offer salvation, but are in-fact as empty as the rules and regulations of 2000 years ago. They hold God’s people in contempt by offering them apparent solutions to the problem of sin. They do not do this by keeping them captive in rules and regulations, but instead they seek to abolish ALL rules and regulations and usher in a climate of relativism. When people perceive their sin as relative, the rules and regulations no longer apply: and consequently their sin no longer exists.

Holy Father don’t you see? The real 21st century Pharisees operate by keeping God’s people captive in their own sin.

I don’t know how the church works in Argentina. I feel there are some cultural differences in Europe that perhaps you are not fully aware of. You see, here, the church has been kept afloat by those who have remained loyal to church teaching. The church has suffered so much damage here over the last 50 years from people wanting to push their own political agenda – to put Man at the centre of the faith rather than Christ. The truth and beauty of Christ – the true spirituality and heart of the Catholic faith has been almost completely replaced by nothing more than a synthetic substitute.

I understand your message of mercy. You are reaching out to those who are not secure in their faith – to those who have perhaps suffered a massive lack of proper religious education and catechesis and have never known the real Jesus or felt His love. I know there are many who are already secure in their faith who do not understand why you are taking this approach – but I do. But there are also those who want to twist this message to their own advantage. The mercy Kasper offers is focused on this life alone. He seeks to please man. He makes no mention of how it will effect people in the next life. To allow people to remain in mortal sin is to ignore God’s truth and God’s justice. How will Kasper’s teaching on mercy effect people’s time in purgatory – or worse? Is this real mercy?

Holy Father, I admire your courage for taking on the heavy cross of becoming Pope, and I pray for you every day. Please Holy Father, I beg you – do not be deceived by those who wish to put Man at the centre of the Catholic faith. Jesus did not come to ‘people please’. He came to set us free from ourselves. Please see the true 21st century Pharisees for who they really are.

I love you and you are in my prayers. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

PopeWatch: Putting a Bit of Stick About

 

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

 

Rorate Caeli brings us an English translation of an article on the Italian section of Sandro  Magister’s blog Chiesa:

 

The Francis Effect: ‘Democratic Tyranny’ against dissenters”  I received it and I publish it: the author is Professor Emeritus of Sociology of Religion in the University of Florence and in the Theological Faculty of Central Italy

The climate of a Pontificate and new eagerness for the stick
by Pietro di Marco
December 12, 2014
I have been told about a recent case indicative of the Catholic climate that is growing. A few months ago some members accused of criticizing Pope Bergoglio were expelled from a historic Florentine volunteer association.
It appears that the proof was obtained from the social network where they had voiced their dissent – perhaps too loudly; an expulsion without a process nor confrontation, invoking statutory articles inaccessible to the accused.
Also from other Tuscan settings, signals are arriving of an eagerness to act with sanctions against “traditional” tendencies; acts in the past, never directed against ideas and behavior truly anti-institutional, when not subversive of rite and dogma. On the contrary, those who have been in the Church, remember the hostility, for decades, from precise environments and people, against Pope Wojtyla or Pope Ratzinger and all of it tolerated by Catholic authority (it involved bishops and leaders of lay associations) formally aligned with Rome. Remarkable that such alignment, at that time helpless, exercises itself now in a pugnacious defense of the reigning Pope only to hit out at orthodox environments and individualities.
Naturally, as in all “respected” repression, nobody is “expelled.” The accused, it is said, put themselves on the outside. It doesn’t matter, (if it did– how aggravating!) that in their polemics they were opposed to the “liquefying ” religiosity that pervades predication, pastoral care and Catholic ethics. Similarly to how one is disgraced in public life with the epithet “enemies of the Constitution”, a use of lethal formulas like “enemies of the Council” or “hostile to Francis” is now affirmed in the Church.
It is enough as an example the vicissitude, still bleeding, of the commissioning of the Franciscans of the Immaculate, where the law of the Church is being used like a stick, i.e. in an anti-juridical manner, by “commissioners” who react to criticism with intimidating language [reminiscent] of political processes from other times. This serious matter, not less than the smaller depurations of which I spoke of, are legitimized by referring to the words and facts of Pope Francis. This is the well-known phenomenon of the abuse of the leader’s words so that vendettas can be put into act.
However, it should be said, there is something more here than the motivation to please a Pope and his entourage and which is already fertile ground for this unprecedented pro-papal front. With the end of Benedict XVI’s pontificate, lay faithful and the clergy seem no longer to have any anti-bodies (they had few before anyway) when confronted with that post-modern Christian rubbish, which consists of admittance of errors and contrition, in self-criticism of our Catholic past “in light of the Gospel” and in all kinds of inclusiveness, as long as they are on the media’s agenda.

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