Oh good! Dale Price at Dyspeptic Mutterings has posted a blog article for me to
One of the staples of Catholic apologetics is that the Catholic magisterium safeguards the truth and ensures a unity and clarity that Protestantism lacks.
I would not be so sure of that. In fact, I would say (and have said before) that the current pontiff is demonstrating that the magisterium is little more than the mouthpiece of the reigning pope and only safeguards whatever iteration of whichever truth he wishes to utter. In short, the magisterium is sola papam currentis.
Why no, I am not a Latinist? How could you tell?
This thought was driven home by a recent piece at the estimable One Peter Five: Amoris Laetitia and John Paul II by Josh Kusch.
In short, Kusch spells out with undeniable clarity that Amoris Laetitia expressly contradicts the magisterial statements of Francis’ predecessor, and does so in a particularly unsavory fashion–by either partial quoting or choosing to ignore prior statements altogether. For the latter, Kusch points out how the encyclical Veritatis Splendor flatly contradicts what Francis wants to say–so Francis ignored it. To wit:
The negative precepts of the natural law are universally valid. They oblige each and every individual, always and in every circumstance. It is a matter of prohibitions which forbid a given action semper et pro semper, without exception. (VS 52)
The negative moral precepts, those prohibiting certain concrete actions or kinds of behavior as intrinsically evil, do not allow for any legitimate exception. They do not leave room, in any morally acceptable way, for the “creativity” of any contrary determination whatsoever. (VS 67)
When it is a matter of the moral norms prohibiting intrinsic evil, there are no privileges or exceptions for anyone. It makes no difference whether one is the master of the world or the “poorest of the poor” on the face of the earth. (VS 96)
It would be a very serious error … to conclude that the Church’s teaching is essentially only an “ideal” which must then be adapted, proportioned, graduated to the so-called concrete possibilities of man. (VS 103)
It is in the saving Cross of Jesus, in the gift of the Holy Spirit, in the Sacraments which flow forth from the pierced side of the Redeemer, that believers find the grace and the strength always to keep God’s holy law, even amid the gravest of hardships. (VS 103)
As Kusch ably demonstrates, each contradicts certain central assumptions in the later text.
And yet, the Vatican’s official newspaper is at pains to assert that the later text is, in fact, authoritative.
So Veritatis Splendor–with its forceful restatement of Catholic moral teaching–has been round-filed after less than a quarter of a century?
Anyone else see the problem here?
What I have not been able to suss out is precisely why I should salute Francis’ newest flag when he burnt John Paul II’s. His actions completely undercut his claimed “authority.”
Rather than call Amoris Laetitia “authoritative,” isn’t the honest answer “wait at least a couple of popes and then see?”
Of course, progs are brandishing it like new holy writ. To be expected, yes, but wholly dishonest if one is following McCormick’s contemptuous course. But I don’t see any honest reason why I should regard it similarly.
If this is Catholicism, then I never really understood it. And if the magisterium is just the press office of the current officeholder, then cue Flannery O’Connor. Continue reading
If you sometimes wonder why clerics sometimes do things that seem bizarre, always follow the money:
Leftist Billionaire George Soros donated $650,000 to groups lobbying American bishops in favor of “progressive” domestic policies, according to emails made public by Wikileaks. Soros used his Open Society Foundation and Faith in Public Life, two liberal organizations, to use the September 2015 visit of Pope Francis to the US to “shift national paradigms and priorities in the run-up to the 2016 presidential campaign.”
The group DC Leaks has released more than 2,000 documents from groups associated with Soros.
The money was donated in April 2015 and a report on the effort says successful achievements included “buy-in of individual bishops to more publicly voice support of economic and racial justice messages in order to begin to create a critical mass of bishops who are aligned with the Pope.”
“In order to seize this moment, we will support PICO’s organizing activities to engage the Pope on economic and racial justice issues, including using the influence of Cardinal Rodriguez, the Pope’s senior advisor, and sending a delegation to visit the Vatican in the spring or summer to allow him to hear directly from low-income Catholics in America,” another document states. Continue reading
Then did he raise on high the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch, saying, “Bless this, O Lord, that with it thou mayst blow thine enemies to tiny bits, in thy mercy.” And the people did rejoice and did feast upon the lambs and toads and tree-sloths and fruit-bats and orangutans and breakfast cereals … Now did the Lord say, “First thou pullest the Holy Pin. Then thou must count to three. Three shall be the number of the counting and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither shalt thou count two, excepting that thou then proceedeth to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the number of the counting, be reached, then lobbest thou the Holy Hand Grenade in the direction of thine foe, who, being naughty in my sight, shall snuff it.”
A Reading from the Book of Armaments, Chapter 4, Verses 16 to 20
Ah, history is ever so much stranger than fiction:
A centuries-old hand grenade that may date back to the time of the crusaders is among a host of treasures retrieved from the sea in Israel.
The metal artifacts, some of which are more than 3,500 years old, were found over a period of years by the late Marcel Mazliah, a worker at the Hadera power plant in northern Israel.
Mazliah’s family recently presented the treasures to the Israel Antiquities Authority. Experts, who were surprised by the haul, think that the objects probably fell overboard from a medieval metal merchant’s ship.
The hand grenade was a common weapon in Israel during the Crusader era, which began in the 11th century and lasted until the 13th century, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority. Grenades were also used 12th and 13th century Ayyubid period and the Mamluk era, which ran from the 13th to the 16th century, experts say.
Haaretz reports that early grenades were often used to disperse burning flammable liquid. However, some experts believe that so-called ancient grenades were actually used to contain perfume. Continue reading
If Historiographers should be hardy enough to fill the page of History with the advantages that have been gained with unequal numbers (on the part of America) in the course of this contest, and attempt to relate the distressing circumstances under which they have been obtained, it is more than probable that Posterity will bestow on their labors the epithet and marks of fiction; for it will not be believed that such a force as Great Britain has employed for eight years in this Country could be baffled in their plan of Subjugating it by numbers infinitely less, composed of Men oftentimes half starved; always in Rags, without pay, and experiencing, at times, every species of distress which human nature is capable of undergoing.
As this Pontificate has proceeded, PopeWatch has found much comfort in the writings of Cardinal Newman. As the Pope seeks to place the Church behind various leftist crusades, this passage from the letter of Newman to the Duke of Norfolk on December 27, 1874 seems almost to have a prophetic quality to it:
Thus, if the Pope told the English bishops to order their priests to stir themselves energetically in favour of teetotalism, and a particular priest was fully persuaded that abstinence from wine, etc., was practically a Gnostic error, and therefore felt he could not so exert himself without sin; or suppose there was a Papal order to hold lotteries in each mission for some religious object, and a priest could say in God’s sight that he believed lotteries to be morally wrong, that priest in either of these cases would commit a sin hic et nunc if he obeyed the Pope, whether he was right or wrong in his opinion, and, if wrong, although he had not taken proper pains to get at the truth of the matter. Continue reading
A little trip down memory lane. Go here to see Mark Shea gloating over the axing of Maureen Mullarkey by First Things. Then we have Simcha Fisher’s reaction, go here to see Paul Zummo’s report on that tempest, to Hilary White reporting accurately on Pope Francis at Lifesite News. The wheel doesn’t always come round, but when it does it is hilarious.
Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa notes the surrender of the Pope to the gerontocracy clinging to power in Peking:
In China, among the one hundred and nine Catholic bishops there are eight who have been consecrated at the behest of the communist authorities and who have never received the pope’s approval, thereby incurring excommunication, a couple of them with children and lovers.
But for none other than these eight, by the end of this summer or at the latest before the end of the jubilee Francis is ready to perform a spectacular gesture: a pardon.
Francis missed another stunning gesture by just a hair’s breadth last September 26, during his journey to Cuba and the United States.
That day, his touchdown in New York on his way to Philadelphia coincided with the landing of Chinese president Xi Jinping, who was expected at the United Nations. Everything had been calculated for the two to cross paths “accidentally” at the airport and exchange a greeting. Xi was aware of this ardent desire of the pope, but in the end he let it drop and the meeting did not take place.
From that moment on, however, the secret contacts between the Vatican and Beijing underwent an acceleration. In October and then in January a delegation of six representatives of the Holy See went to the Chinese capital. And in April of this year, the two sides set up a joint working group that now seems to have come to an understanding over a point that the Vatican takes very seriously: the appointment of bishops.
Since it has been in power, in fact, the Chinese communist party has wanted to equip itself with a submissive Church separate from Rome, with bishops of its own appointment ordained without the pope’s approval, beholden to a Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association that Benedict XVI called “irreconcilable” with Catholic doctrine.
A Church of the regime, therefore, on the verge of schism with its eight excommunicated bishops, contrasted with an “underground” Church with about thirty bishops earnestly faithful to the pope, which however pays all the costs of clandestinity – oppression, surveillance, arrest, abduction.
And in the middle the vast gray zone of the remaining dozens of bishops who were ordained illegitimately but then were more or less reconciled with Rome, or were ordained with the parallel recognition of Rome and Beijing but must still remain under the iron control of the communist authorities.
The bishop of Shanghai, Thaddeus Ma Daqin, ordained in 2007 with the twofold approval of the pope and the government, has been under house arrest for four years for the simple offense of having resigned from the Patriotic Association. Two months ago he retracted, but he is still deprived of his liberty. The eighty-five-year-old Joseph Zen Zekiun (in the photo), who has more freedom of speech in Hong Kong, has called “inevitable” the suspicion that this retraction was also desired by the Vatican, just to reach an agreement at any price.
That an agreement has already been reached was confirmed in recent days by Zen’s successor in the diocese of Hong Kong, Cardinal John Tong, with an open letter released in Chinese, English, and Italian that bears all the marks of wanting to prepare the faithful to make the best of a bad lot:
Because the solution at which Tong hints is one of those against which Cardinal Zen has already raised covering fire to the point of threatening conscientious objection:
The example that is brought up most often is that of Vietnam, where the candidate for bishop is proposed by the Vatican but the government can veto him, and then on to other candidates until the government approves one of them.
But for China, the solution of which Cardinal Tong appears to have knowledge sees the roles reversed. The candidate will be selected and proposed to the Vatican by the Chinese episcopal conference. Only that this conference is a creature of the communist party, completely at the beck and call the regime, devoid of “underground” bishops and with one of the excommunicated eight as its president.
“Let us dare to believe that Pope Francis will accept nothing that could endanger the communion of the Church in China with the universal Church,” Tong wrote.
But the pope’s pardon of the eight illegitimate bishops will certainly not suffice to reassure him, Zen, and most Chinese Catholics.
This commentary was published in “L’Espresso” no. 33 of 2016, on newsstands August 14, on the opinion page entitled “Settimo cielo” entrusted to Sandro Magister.
Here is the index of all the previous commentaries:
One indispensable point of reference for a detailed reconstruction of the negotiations underway between the Vatican and China is the analysis published on July 14 by the international news agency Reuters:
> After decades of mistrust, Pope pushes for diplomatic breakthrough with China
Among the eight Chinese bishops ordained without papal mandate and the authors of illicit ordinations in their turn, who because of this have automatically incurred excommunication according to canon 1382 of the code of canon law, three have also been excommunicated in explicit form by the Holy See:
– Lei Shiyin, bishop of Leshan (Sichuan), ordained June 29, 2011;
– Huang Bingzhang, bishop of Shantou (Guangdong), ordained July 14, 2011;
– Yue Fusheng of Harbin (Heilongjiang), ordained July 6, 2012.
For the other illegitimate bishops, the agency “Asia News” of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions has furnished the following names:
– Zhan Silu, bishop of Mindong (Fujian), ordained in 2000, installed on May 14, 2006:
– Ma Yinglin, bishop of Kunming (Yunnan), ordained April 30, 2006;
– Liu Xinhong, bishop of Wuhu (Anhui), ordained May 3, 2006;
– Guo Jincai, bishop of Chengde (Hebei), ordained November 20, 2010.
One of these, Ma Yinglin, is also president of the council of Chinese bishops, the pseudo episcopal conference controlled by the communist regime.
In the statement cited above in the body of the article, Cardinal Zen harshly criticizes the abolition of the advisory committee for China that had a de facto role at the Vatican already at the time when the prefect of Propaganda Fide – the dicastery with jurisdiction over missionary territories, including China – was Cardinal Jozef Tomko (1985-2001), sidelined during the prefecture of Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe (2001-2006) but then reactivated during the prefecture of Cardinal Ivan Dias (2006-2011) and of his successor Fernando Filoni.
The committee, made up of bishops, missionaries, and experts including Zen himself, was repeatedly convened and consulted all throughout the pontificate of Benedict XVI, author of the 2007 letter to Chinese Catholics that is the most significant pontifical document on the subject in the last few decades:
According to Cardinal Zen, one of the last effects of the guidelines from the committee was the courageous July 7, 2012 resignation of newly ordained bishop Thaddeus Ma Daqin from the Patriotic Association, which came at the cost of house arrest:
But since then, and for the whole pontificate of Pope Francis, the committee has not been convened again, without anything having been said about its fate. With Cardinal Zen now commenting as follows:
“No death certificate, no obituary. Extreme disrespect to the members of the commission and to the one who set it up in the first place! Extreme deviation even from the tradition of formal politeness of the Roman curia! The fact is that one of the two living Chinese cardinals [meaning him, Zen – editor’s note] is barred from knowing anything about how [in the secretariat of state] they are negotiating the affair of the Church in China. There is still a Chinese in Rome, but he must be a nuisance, he was exiled to Guam.”
The “exile” to whom Zen alludes is his fellow countryman bishop and friend Savio Hon Taifai – he too a Salesian like the cardinal – called by Benedict XVI from Hong Kong to Rome in 2011 as secretary of the congregation for the evangelization of peoples, but now dispatched by Francis to an island of the Pacific Ocean, as apostolic administrator of Guam, with an unexpected appointment last June 6.
The more I study Theodore Roosevelt, the more I appreciate the impact he had on this nation, both in large and small ways. He brought several phrases, for example, into common usage in this country. One of these is “weasel words”. Roosevelt did not invent the phrase, he noted that he first heard it used in conversation in 1879, but when he used it the phrase quickly entered American popular usage. Roosevelt’s most famous use of the phrase was on May 31, 1916 in a speech entitled Mr. Wilson’s Weasel Words in which he attacked Wilson’s call for “voluntary universal military training”, Roosevelt viewing such a plan as inadequate and calling for a draft. Continue reading
The level of corruption on display in the State Department e-mails just revealed through the litigation brought by conservative group Judicial Watch, is too great for even the mainstream media to ignore:
WASHINGTON (AP) — More than half the people outside the government who met with Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state gave money — either personally or through companies or groups — to the Clinton Foundation. It’s an extraordinary proportion indicating her possible ethics challenges if elected president.
At least 85 of 154 people from private interests who met or had phone conversations scheduled with Clinton while she led the State Department donated to her family charity or pledged commitments to its international programs, according to a review of State Department calendars released so far to The Associated Press. Combined, the 85 donors contributed as much as $156 million. At least 40 donated more than $100,000 each, and 20 gave more than $1 million.
Donors who were granted time with Clinton included an internationally known economist who asked for her help as the Bangladesh government pressured him to resign from a nonprofit bank he ran; a Wall Street executive who sought Clinton’s help with a visa problem; and Estee Lauder executives who were listed as meeting with Clinton while her department worked with the firm’s corporate charity to counter gender-based violence in South Africa.
The meetings between the Democratic presidential nominee and foundation donors do not appear to violate legal agreements Clinton and former president Bill Clinton signed before she joined the State Department in 2009. But the frequency of the overlaps shows the intermingling of access and donations, and fuels perceptions that giving the foundation money was a price of admission for face time with Clinton. Her calendars and emails released as recently as this week describe scores of contacts she and her top aides had with foundation donors.
The AP’s findings represent the first systematic effort to calculate the scope of the intersecting interests of Clinton foundation donors and people who met personally with Clinton or spoke to her by phone about their needs.
Socrates opined that the unexamined life is a tragedy. The same goes for blog writing. Let’s take a look at the lament by Mark Shea over the canning of Simcha Fisher:
Msgr. Charles Pope, has a piece warning us to prepare for persecution.
Prophetic considering that a very good Catholic woman named Simcha Fisher, faithful to the Catholic Church, a mother of *ten* children who has worked tirelessly as a witness to the greatness and goodness of our Holy Catholic Faith, a fine writer who could be making a million bucks somewhere but who is spending her prodigious gifts in the service of the gospel, has been kicked out of her job to the salacious screams of a mob, all for using the English equivalent of “skubala” (Philippians 3:8) now and then and for making a couple of bawdy dick jokes on her private FB page (you know, like when St. Paul remarks to the Galatians that he wishes the circumcision enthusiasts would castrate themselves).
Look, I *get* that I’m abrasive and I get the rejoicing over my losing a job. Fair enough. But don’t hand me a load of bushwah about how Simcha Fisher had this coming. Somehow or other, the anti-abortion-but-not-prolife movement has mutated into a thing that eats its young and imagines that the unborn are being served by punishing a mother of 10 children with loss of her livelihood.
This. Was. Wrong.
Simcha Fisher is an ornament of the Church. She has been such a gift to so many and I will be grateful to God for her till the day I die. Punishing a mother of 10 with loss of income over something this utterly trivial is a judgment, not on her, but on the mob of bullies across St. Blog’s rejoicing over her humiliation. She does none harm. She says none harm. She thinks none harm. Nevertheless, it is not for the bawdy jokes that this mob have sought her blood, but because she would not bend to the marriage of the Faith with a fraudulent disgrace like Donald Trump.
If you value her witness, check out her book and think about hiring this funny, earthy, humble, godly and orthodox woman to come and speak at your parish.
Let’s parse this out shall we?
1. Shea starts out by comparing the persecution of the Church with a writer losing a writing gig.
2. He goes on to say that Fisher could be making a million bucks somewhere unnamed. (I guess then that losing a minor writing job is not an immense tragedy for her?)
3. Shea is unable to see why a Catholic publication would find it problematic to have a writer who makes “dick jokes” on her Facebook page.
4. Shea utilizes the old pro-abort technique of condemning people who oppose abortion as not being pro-life.
5. With no evidence other than his assertion he proclaims Fisher an “ornament of the Church”.
6. Once again he laments the loss of what I assume was a fairly modest income to someone who could earn a million bucks elsewhere.
7. Shea concludes by comparing Fisher to Saint Thomas More and Donald Trump to Henry VIII. Continue reading
At this point in the current papacy, PopeWatch is not surprised by this:
LifeSiteNews and American Life League (ALL) have jointly launched an online petition asking for the withdrawal of the controversial sex education project released by the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Family last month.
The petition, hosted on LifeSiteNews’ LifePetitions platform, is addressed to Pope Francis as well as Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family.
Judie Brown, president of American Life League, stated, “It’s bad enough when Planned Parenthood pushes perverse forms of sex education into our schools. For the Vatican to jump on that bandwagon is a nightmare scenario. Someone must be asleep at the wheel, and it’s high time for them to wake up!”
The petition states (view here):
To: His Holiness Pope Francis and Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family
We, the undersigned, are scandalized and disheartened by the Pontifical Council for the Family’s new project known as The Meeting Point: Project for Affective and Sexual Formation.
This project has many dangerous flaws. For example:
- It fails to state in clear language that parents are the primary educators of their children.
- It never mentions Christ’s teaching on marriage.
- It never names or denounces sexual behaviors such as fornication, masturbation, and homosexual activity.
- It fails to provide any instruction on the Commandments, sin, and the sacraments.
- It uses pictures of life-size naked sculptures to point out the physical differences (including genitals) between a man and a woman in a mixed classroom setting.
- It shows suggestive and provocative images.
- It recommends sexually explicit movies as catalysts to discussion.
Holy Father and Archbishop Paglia, we humbly beg you to protect and guide your flock by retracting this project and restating the Church’s perennial teachings on both the primacy of parents as the educators of their children and the proper approach of extreme caution to this task as explained in Familiaris Consortio.
The sex-ed program was officially launched by the Pontifical Council for the Family during World Youth Day in Poland at the end of July.
Judicial Watch, the conservative group that has forced, through litigation, the release of e-mails from Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State, has a press release today that builds a damning case that “pay for play” was standard operating procedure at the Clinton State Department:
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch today released 725 pages of new State Department documents, including previously unreleased email exchanges in which former Hillary Clinton’s top aide Huma Abedin provided influential Clinton Foundation donors special, expedited access to the secretary of state. In many instances, the preferential treatment provided to donors was at the specific request of Clinton Foundation executive Douglas Band.
The new documents included 20 Hillary Clinton email exchanges not previously turned over to the State Department, bringing the known total to date to 191 of new Clinton emails (not part of the 55,000 pages of emails that Clinton turned over to the State Department). These records further appear to contradict statements by Clinton that, “as far as she knew,” all of her government emails were turned over to the State Department.
The Abedin emails reveal that the longtime Clinton aide apparently served as a conduit between Clinton Foundation donors and Hillary Clinton while Clinton served as secretary of state. In more than a dozen email exchanges, Abedin provided expedited, direct access to Clinton for donors who had contributed from $25,000 to $10 million to the Clinton Foundation. In many instances, Clinton Foundation top executive Doug Band, who worked with the Foundation throughout Hillary Clinton’s tenure at State, coordinated closely with Abedin. In Abedin’s June deposition to Judicial Watch, she conceded that part of her job at the State Department was taking care of “Clinton family matters.”
Included among the Abedin-Band emails is an exchange revealing that when Crown Prince Salman of Bahrain requested a meeting with Secretary of State Clinton, he was forced to go through the Clinton Foundation for an appointment. Abedin advised Band that when she went through “normal channels” at State, Clinton declined to meet. After Band intervened, however, the meeting was set up within forty-eight hours. According to the Clinton Foundation website, in 2005, Salman committed to establishing the Crown Prince’s International Scholarship Program (CPISP) for the Clinton Global Initiative. And by 2010, it had contributed $32 million to CGI. The Kingdom of Bahrain reportedly gave between $50,000 and $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation. And Bahrain Petroleum also gave an additional $25,000 to $50,000.
Various sites are reporting that Mark Shea has been fired from National Catholic Register. Go here to read the first site, Eponymous Flower, that I believe reported it. I have not yet seen anything from National Catholic Register, although Shea no longer appears among their bloggers.
Last month Stephen Herreid at The Stream demonstrated why no Catholic publication, except for the National Catholic Reporter, should wish to continue to publish the writings of Mark Shea:
Last month, blogger John Paul Shimek published a piece at the National Catholic Register in which he roundly insulted and dismissed conservative Catholics. The piece was removed* and replaced with a note telling readers the blog had bypassed editorial review and “did not reflect the Register’s editorial views.”
I was glad the Register took Shimek’s piece down, but Shimek isn’t the only Register writer who seems to lack impulse control when it comes to insulting pro-lifers and conservative Catholics. This is perplexing precisely because the Register is one of the more reliably orthodox Catholic publications.
Consider the views of Mark Shea and Simcha Fisher, two of the Register’s most prominent writers. Shea and Fisher are very active on Facebook and Twitter, where they share their work and interact publicly with their readers. All of the quotations below are taken either from their blogs on Catholic websites, or from their public social media feeds.
Shea is hostile to conservatives, but especially to pro-lifers. Lately he has found a new way to insult them: lumping them in with the most unscrupulous supporters of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump:
A man who will not answer the question of whether he paid for abortions for his sexual conquests. An adulterer with credible rape charges against him, including one from a thirteen year old girl. That is what the prolife movement now stands for and is committed to defend. [emphasis added]
Of course there are countless godly men and women still working tirelessly within the GOP, and many of them are stern critics of Mr. Trump themselves. But Shea is no mere Trump critic. Consider what he writes about pro-life conservatives in general:
- “What the GOP — and above all conservative “prolife” Christians both Protestant and Catholics — still orgasmically [sic] support. They *love* torture! Love it! And they wonder why the prolife movement is dying in the US.”
- “And once again, we see the continuous message of American Movement Conservatism: Poor people are scum. Nothing is more important here than that poor people be punished. Nothing. *This* is one of the *real* core values of the right. And if the families they long to throw out of their jobs are thereby placed under intense pressure to abort their children by the poverty the “prolife” conservative *longs* to afflict them with, well too bad. Money, not unborn human life, is the *real* treasure.”
- “The popularity of Ted Cruz is Reason #92943792837 I call for the surgical removal of the parasite called American Conservatism that has attached itself like a lamprey to a large percentage of American Catholicism.”
- “Very rarely do I encounter conservative prolife Christians who actually believe that human life is sacred from conception to natural death. The overwhelming majority support unjust war, torture, maintenance of our gun violence regime, the death penalty (and fighting the Church to maintain even though it guarantees that innocents will be executed), xenophobia, apologetics for the nuking of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (which the Church calls a “crime against man and God”), grinding the faces of the poor, denial of health care to the poor, and (as the popularity of Donald Trump illustrates) overt racism. The habit of “prolife” people is to battle the Church on some or all of these issues and to appeal to abortion as the rationale for doing so. “We should be focusing on abortion!” they say. But in reality, they spend all their time and energy fighting the Church, not focusing on abortion.” (Emphasis added)
Shea even relishes the prospect of Donald Trump destroying conservatism and discrediting the pro-life movement altogether.
- “It will be exquisite if the prolife movement succeed in electing the first president to have personally paid for an abortion for one of his mistresses. Crowning glory for the Wrong About Everything Party.”
- “My Republican chum here in Washington is already declaring it the end of the GOP.”
- “May [Trump] destroy the whole party and leave it in smoldering ruin.”
On a near-daily basis, Shea campaigns for gun control by sharing stories about black shooting-victims and adding: “Today’s human sacrifice to the gun cult.”
He recently went so far as to express anger that while blacks die at the hands of police, some “crazy gun-toting white ‘patriots’ are still breathing despite posing an obvious menace.” This was in the main body of a blog post addressed to Shea’s colleague Simcha Fisher. As seen below, Shea and Fisher seem to bring out the worst in each other.
Childish Bullying, Revolting Language
On Facebook, Fisher recently joked about the design of a Trump campaign logo: “It’s like, half swastika, half b*** j**.” (Asterisks added.)
When a reader took issue with Fisher’s language, she replied, “What the h**l are you even doing on my wall….? If you don’t like this kind of joke, fine. Move along.” She later accused her critics of only “pretending” to be upset that she “said b*** j**….” The real reason they were upset was “because they like Trump” or because they were in “a tizzy about Hillary.” (Asterisks added.)
For his part, Mark Shea simply replied with another childish gag. “Oh Simcha, live forever. Thank you for your penetrating analysis.” He then shared a slightly censored version of Fisher’s joke on his blog: “Most Freudian/Nietzschean Campaign Logo Evah! … Half Swastika/Half Love That Dare Not Speak its Name.” Continue reading
Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in that grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.
As faithful readers of this blog know, I like to play computer strategy games, almost always historical simulations. I have written before, here and here, about the game Civilization VI which is being release on October 21 and which I eagerly anticipate. As in past incarnations of Civilization, each of the nations will have a leader. Past leaders of the US in Civilization games have been George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. This time it is Theodore Roosevelt. As a fan of Colonel Roosevelt I like the choice, but what have they done to Teddy! His girth is more reminiscent of his successor Taft instead of Roosevelt! Continue reading
With apologies to Andrew Lloyd Webber. Our bruin friend at Saint Corbinian’s Bear gives us Theology, the Art of the Possible:
The Los Angeles Times daily Presidential Tracking Poll today shows Trump two points in the lead. All other polls show Clinton still ahead but with a closing gap between her and Trump. Remember, in August the horserace numbers tend to be unimportant, but the direction can be significant. The Clinton campaign and the mainstream media have been selling the narrative that Trump is a maniac who is a terrible candidate and this race is over. It clearly isn’t, and they had better come up with a new line of attack because this one has passed its sell by date. Continue reading
To the Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, Bishops
and other Local Ordinaries in Peace
and Communion with the Apostolic See.
Venerable Brethren, Health and Apostolic Benediction.
The office divinely committed to Us of feeding the Lord’s flock has especially this duty assigned to it by Christ, namely, to guard with the greatest vigilance the deposit of the faith delivered to the saints, rejecting the profane novelties of words and oppositions of knowledge falsely so called. There has never been a time when this watchfulness of the supreme pastor was not necessary to the Catholic body; for, owing to the efforts of the enemy of the human race, there have never been lacking “men speaking perverse things” (Acts xx. 30), “vain talkers and seducers” (Tit. i. 10), “erring and driving into error” (2 Tim. iii. 13). Still it must be confessed that the number of the enemies of the cross of Christ has in these last days increased exceedingly, who are striving, by arts, entirely new and full of subtlety, to destroy the vital energy of the Church, and, if they can, to overthrow utterly Christ’s kingdom itself. Wherefore We may no longer be silent, lest We should seem to fail in Our most sacred duty, and lest the kindness that, in the hope of wiser counsels, We have hitherto shown them, should be attributed to forgetfulness of Our office.
Gravity of the Situation
2. That We make no delay in this matter is rendered necessary especially by the fact that the partisans of error are to be sought not only among the Church’s open enemies; they lie hid, a thing to be deeply deplored and feared, in her very bosom and heart, and are the more mischievous, the less conspicuously they appear. We allude, Venerable Brethren, to many who belong to the Catholic laity, nay, and this is far more lamentable, to the ranks of the priesthood itself, who, feigning a love for the Church, lacking the firm protection of philosophy and theology, nay more, thoroughly imbued with the poisonous doctrines taught by the enemies of the Church, and lost to all sense of modesty, vaunt themselves as reformers of the Church; and, forming more boldly into line of attack, assail all that is most sacred in the work of Christ, not sparing even the person of the Divine Redeemer, whom, with sacrilegious daring, they reduce to a simple, mere man.
3. Though they express astonishment themselves, no one can justly be surprised that We number such men among the enemies of the Church, if, leaving out of consideration the internal disposition of soul, of which God alone is the judge, he is acquainted with their tenets, their manner of speech, their conduct. Nor indeed will he err in accounting them the most pernicious of all the adversaries of the Church. For as We have said, they put their designs for her ruin into operation not from without but from within; hence, the danger is present almost in the very veins and heart of the Church, whose injury is the more certain, the more intimate is their knowledge of her. Moreover they lay the axe not to the branches and shoots, but to the very root, that is, to the faith and its deepest fires. And having struck at this root of immortality, they proceed to disseminate poison through the whole tree, so that there is no part of Catholic truth from which they hold their hand, none that they do not strive to corrupt. Further, none is more skilful, none more astute than they, in the employment of a thousand noxious arts; for they double the parts of rationalist and Catholic, and this so craftily that they easily lead the unwary into error; and since audacity is their chief characteristic, there is no conclusion of any kind from which they shrink or which they do not thrust forward with pertinacity and assurance. To this must be added the fact, which indeed is well calculated to deceive souls, that they lead a life of the greatest activity, of assiduous and ardent application to every branch of learning, and that they possess, as a rule, a reputation for the strictest morality. Finally, and this almost destroys all hope of cure, their very doctrines have given such a bent to their minds, that they disdain all authority and brook no restraint; and relying upon a false conscience, they attempt to ascribe to a love of truth that which is in reality the result of pride and obstinacy.
Once indeed We had hopes of recalling them to a better sense, and to this end we first of all showed them kindness as Our children, then we treated them with severity, and at last We have had recourse, though with great reluctance, to public reproof. But you know, Venerable Brethren, how fruitless has been Our action. They bowed their head for a moment, but it was soon uplifted more arrogantly than ever. If it were a matter which concerned them alone, We might perhaps have overlooked it: but the security of the Catholic name is at stake. Wherefore, as to maintain it longer would be a crime, We must now break silence, in order to expose before the whole Church in their true colours those men who have assumed this bad disguise.
Division of the Encyclical
4. But since the Modernists (as they are commonly and rightly called) employ a very clever artifice, namely, to present their doctrines without order and systematic arrangement into one whole, scattered and disjointed one from another, so as to appear to be in doubt and uncertainty, while they are in reality firm and steadfast, it will be of advantage, Venerable Brethren, to bring their teachings together here into one group, and to point out the connexion between them, and thus to pass to an examination of the sources of the errors, and to prescribe remedies for averting the evil. Continue reading