Francis Cardinal George: Requiescant in Pace

Cardinal George

Francis Cardinal George lost his long battle with cancer and died today.  This is what I wrote about him back in 2012:

 

Francis Cardinal George of the Archdiocese of Chicago is alleged to have predicted that for upholding the teachings of Christ he will die in his bed, his successor will die in a prison cell, and his successor will be executed in a public square in Chicago.  Therefore, I am unsurprised that he has written an open letter exploring the “Chicago Values” cited by Mayor Emanuel when he decided to attack the free speech rights of Chick-Fil-A:

 

 

 

Recent comments by those who administer our city seem to assume that the city government can decide for everyone what are the “values” that must be held by citizens of Chicago.  I was born and raised here, and my understanding of being a Chicagoan never included submitting my value system to the government for approval.  Must those whose personal values do not conform to those of the government of the day move from the city?  Is the City Council going to set up a “Council Committee on Un-Chicagoan Activities” and call those of us who are suspect to appear before it?  I would have argued a few days ago that I believe such a move is, if I can borrow a phrase, “un-Chicagoan.”

The value in question is espousal of “gender-free marriage.”  Approval of state-sponsored homosexual unions has very quickly become a litmus test for bigotry; and espousing the understanding of marriage that has prevailed among all peoples throughout human history is now, supposedly, outside the American consensus.  Are Americans so exceptional that we are free to define “marriage” (or other institutions we did not invent) at will?  What are we re-defining?

It might be good to put aside any religious teaching and any state laws and start from scratch, from nature itself, when talking about marriage.  Marriage existed before Christ called together his first disciples two thousand years ago and well before the United States of America was formed two hundred and thirty six years ago.  Neither Church nor state invented marriage, and neither can change its nature.

Marriage exists because human nature comes in two complementary sexes: male and female.  The sexual union of a man and woman is called the marital act because the two become physically one in a way that is impossible between two men or two women.  Whatever a homosexual union might be or represent, it is not physically marital.  Gender is inextricably bound up with physical sexual identity; and “gender-free marriage” is a contradiction in terms, like a square circle.
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Army “Optimism” Program Flops

 

Well this is unsurprising:

More than half of some 770,000 soldiers are pessimistic about their future in the military and nearly as many are unhappy in their jobs, despite a six-year, $287 million campaign to make troops more optimistic and resilient, findings obtained by USA TODAY show.

Twelve months of data through early 2015 show that 403,564 soldiers, or 52%, scored badly in the area of optimism, agreeing with statements such as “I rarely count on good things happening to me.” Forty-eight percent have little satisfaction in or commitment to their jobs.

The results stem from resiliency assessments that soldiers are required to take every year. In 2014, for the first time, the Army pulled data from those assessments to help commanders gauge the psychological and physical health of their troops.

The effort produced startlingly negative results. In addition to low optimism and job satisfaction, more than half reported poor nutrition and sleep, and only 14% said they are eating right and getting enough rest.

Go here to read the rest.  Armies that are fighting and winning and have confidence in their leaders have high morale.  None of this is true for the Army under Obama.  Obama leaves to the next President a hollow military.

I wonder what Patton would have thought of an Army “optimism” program?  I can guess what he would have said, but such language is not fitting for a family blog.  Instapundit puts it well:

You know what helps morale? An Army that fights and wins. You know what doesn’t? A $287 million 6-year “optimism” program. An army overrun with sociology grads, “resiliency directorates,” diversity officers, and the like is not an army that’s focused on fighting and winning. Continue reading

PopeWatch: The H Word

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

Walter Cardinal Brandmuller has used the H word in regard to Catholics in adulterous marriages being granted Communion:

Can the Church deal with the topic of marriage in a pastoral manner that is different from the continual teaching of the Church? Can the Church at all change the teaching itself without falling herself into heresy?

It is evident that the pastoral practice of the Church cannot stand in opposition to the binding doctrine nor simply ignore it. In the same manner, an architect could perhaps build a most beautiful bridge. However, if he does not pay attention to the laws of structural engineering, he risks the collapse of his construction. In the same manner, every pastoral practice has to follow the Word of God if it does not want to fail. A change of the teaching, of the dogma, is unthinkable. Who nevertheless consciously does it, or insistently demands it, is a heretic – even if he wears the Roman Purple.

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Murder on the High Seas

 

 

The Pope has proclaimed a duty for Italians to welcome “immigrants” entering Italy illegally from North Africa.  Italians might be better advised to consider just whom they are to welcome:

 

 

The incident aboard the vessel, which was carrying about 100 migrants, took place in the Strait of Sicily, between Tunisia and Italy.

According to a group of Nigerian and Ghanaian survivors, a fight broke out over religion, with a group of Muslim passengers threatening the Nigerians and Ghanaians after they declared themselves to be Christians.

“The threats then materialised and 12 people, all Nigerian and Ghanaian, are believed to have drowned in the Mediterranean,” the police statement added.

The remaining passengers were rescued and brought to Palermo, where the 15 alleged attackers, who came from Ivory Coast, Mali and Senegal, were arrested.The boat, like many of the claptrap vessels flooding Italy`s shores each week with migrants fleeing conflict and poverty in Africa and the Middle East, had set out from Libya on Tuesday, according to the survivors.

The police said the distraught Nigerians and Ghanaians told a “dreadful” story of their struggle to escape with their lives “by forcefully resisting attempts to drown them, forming a veritable human chain in some cases.” Continue reading

April 17, 1865: Sherman Meets With Johnston

Sherman and Johnston

 

 

One hundred and fifty years ago news traveled slowly outside of areas with operating telegraphs, and so it was that news of Lincoln’s assassination reached General Sherman in North Carolina on April 17, as he was on his way to discuss with General Joseph E. Johnston the surrender of Johnston’s army.  Here is the portion of Sherman’s memoirs where he discussed what happened at the meeting:

Just as we were entering the car, the telegraph-operator, whose office was up-stairs in the depot-building, ran down to me and said that he was at that instant of time receiving a most important dispatch in cipher from Morehead City, which I ought to see. I held the train for nearly half an hour, when he returned with the message translated and written out. It was from Mr. Stanton, announcing the assassination of Mr. Lincoln, the attempt on the life of Mr. Seward and son, and a suspicion that a like fate was designed for General Grant and all the principal officers of the Government. Dreading the effect of such a message at that critical instant of time, I asked the operator if any one besides himself had seen it; he answered No! I then bade him not to reveal the contents by word or look till I came back, which I proposed to do the same afternoon. The train then started, and, as we passed Morris’s Station, General Logan, commanding the Fifteenth Corps, came into my car, and I told him I wanted to see him on my return, as I had something very important to communicate. He knew I was going to meet General Johnston, and volunteered to say that he hoped I would succeed in obtaining his surrender, as the whole army dreaded the long march to Charlotte (one hundred and seventy-five miles), already begun, but which had been interrupted by the receipt of General Johnston’s letter of the 13th. We reached Durham’s, twenty-six miles, about 10 a.m., where General Kilpatrick had a squadron of cavalry drawn up to receive me. We passed into the house in which he had his headquarters, and soon after mounted some led horses, which he had prepared for myself and staff. General Kilpatrick sent a man ahead with a white flag, followed by a small platoon, behind which we rode, and were followed by the rest of the escort. We rode up the Hillsboro’ road for about five miles, when our flag bearer discovered another coming to meet him: They met, and word was passed back to us that General Johnston was near at hand, when we rode forward and met General Johnston on horseback, riding side by side with General Wade Hampton. We shook hands, and introduced our respective attendants. I asked if there was a place convenient where we could be private, and General Johnston said he had passed a small farmhouse a short distance back, when we rode back to it together side by side, our staff-officers and escorts following. We had never met before, though we had been in the regular army together for thirteen years; but it so happened that we had never before come together. He was some twelve or more years my senior; but we knew enough of each other to be well acquainted at once. We soon reached the house of a Mr. Bennett, dismounted, and left our horses with orderlies in the road. Our officers, on foot, passed into the yard, and General Johnston and I entered the small frame-house. We asked the farmer if we could have the use of his house for a few minutes, and he and his wife withdrew into a smaller log-house, which stood close by. Continue reading

Various & Sundry, 4/16/15

- Many are rightfully upset with the two parties in this country, but here’s a reminder that countries with multiple party systems are not fairing any better. Instead of one and a half meddlesome, anti-liberty parties they’ve got five of them in the UK. David Cameron makes John Boehner look like Ted Cruz. No matter the party setup, as long as a significant proportion of the population actively seeks government control at every juncture of life, change is all but impossible.

– Speaking of which, a crystal clear example of why the government gets away with taking more of people’s money: it’s the popular thing to do.

There it is in a nutshell. How much revenue the government collects, the state of the federal deficit or the morality of double taxation aren’t of any concern to Ed Kilgore and his ilk. In the end, the true evil in America is the specter of wealth and success. Purporting to speak for “the commonwealth” in their unwashed masses, liberal spokesmodels are mostly upset at anyone who buys into the “perceived morality of capitalism.” This underpins virtually every argument we have on economics and tax policy. Liberals have their own vision for America and it is one where success is something to be ashamed of and which should be punished wherever it is found. If everyone can’t have everything, then we should all share in the pain regardless of personal merit. The Left embraces socialism wholeheartedly, but most of the time they are at least embarrassed enough about it to lie and come up with some other argument as cover. Kilgore is, in a way, providing a refreshing bit of honesty here.
That doesn’t mean that the effort to repeal the death tax will come without cost. As Noah explained last night, good policy is not always good politics and it would be foolish to completely ignore that warning. It is true that populism is a powerful totem, and during tough economic times it’s easy to wave a red flag in front of the masses and urge them to take up their pitchforks and torches against those they perceive as “the rich.” But everyone with any interest in honest work and the ambition to make a better life for themselves and their family eventually realizes that their own success will become the target if they embrace such policies.

The soak the rich, screw ‘em all attitude is not limited to the secular left. Far too many Catholics think obedience to Catholic teaching entails taking as much from the taxpayer, especially the “rich” taxpayer, as possible. I guess the tenth commandment is as out of vogue as the tenth amendment.

– Speaking of issues Catholics foolishly get behind, the living wage/minimum wage comes to mind. In the interests of advancing their agenda, many will claim that Walmart’s low wages are in effect subsidized by the government in the form of food stamps. Eh, not so much.

– Not all Republican politicians are craven cowards. Example Number One: Mike Lee.

We can do this first by influencing the attitudes of those around us, making every effort to persuade friends and neighbors that constitutionally limited government not only matters but is essential to our prosperity as a nation. Second, we have to remind elected representatives in Washington that the power to make laws belongs to Congress, not unaccountable bureaucrats, and encourage them to enact regulatory reform measures like the REINS Act, which would help put Congress make in charge of lawmaking. Finally, we have to bring our knowledge of the Constitution back to the ballot box and vote differently—especially when it comes to federal offices.

This is just the conclusion of an otherwise sterling essay examining the ways we have drifted over the years.

Of course Lee hasn’t single-handedly ended Obamacare or repealed the entirety of the tax code, so he must naturally be as bad as the rest.

– While Lee is right that we’ve gone far astray from the original constitutional design, some suggested remedies are worse than the disease.

Many on the right have contended that a Convention of States is distinct from a constitutional convention. What’s more, they might say, that process could be the only way to rein in the unelected elements of the federal government, like the judiciary or the nation’s unwieldy and proliferating regulatory agencies. Some on the right contend that the Constitution has been so perverted that it is already essentially defunct. But these same conservatives, who often lament the fact that Republican lawmakers are so regularly rolled by left-wing organizations and liberal politicians, would be foolish to vest in these GOP officeholders the authority to remake the system entirely. They would quickly find that conservative politicians who regularly fail to outmaneuver liberals in Congress don’t find their luck has improved on the convention floor.

I have never understood the call for a constitutional convention. There is zero possibility that what would emerge would be an improvement over our current situation. It would open pandora’s box to any number of bad ideas that would only further weaken the nature of our limited constitutional republic.

– Commenter Phillip has brought to our attention the troubling case of a Priest who seems to have been wrongfully convicted, and his inability to become freed.

- Chris Matthews is a nut, but we knew that already. What’s funny is that on the left’s own terms the Republican presidential field is probably the most culturally diverse in history, while the Democrats have more of the same white faces. You would think Matthews would be celebrating that diversity, not mocking it.

– Fascinating story about Jackie Robinson. Long story short, a black man was booted by the New York Post for being too biased in favor of Republicans. Times have changed.

Churches vandalized by homosexual activists and/or their supporters. Somehow I don’t see this being national news.

PopeWatch: Johnny Rocco

 

 

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

You hick! I’ll be back pulling strings to get guys elected mayor and governor before you ever get a 10-buck raise. Yeah, how many of those guys in office owe everything to me. I made them. Yeah, I made ‘em, just like a — like a tailor makes a suit of clothes. I take a nobody, see? Teach him what to say. Get his name in the papers and pay for his campaign expenses. Dish out a lotta groceries and coal. Get my boys to bring the voters out. And then count the votes over and over again till they added up right and he was elected.

 

 

Johnny Rocco, Key Largo (1948)

 

 

During the Presidential Election post game in 2000, PopeWatch treasured the scene below from the movie Key Largo:

 

Gangster Johnny Rocco, Edward G. Robinson, explains how he made Florida politicians, having “his boys” count the votes in elections and keep counting until the vote came out right.  From a recent interview of Cardinal Maradiaga, a similar mindset exists among supporters of communion for Catholics in adulterous marriages.  Father Z gives us the details:

 

At the Italian site Nuova Bussola, we find the observations of Oscar Card. Rodriguez Maradiaga about the possibility of Communion for the divorced and remarried.

Impossible? “No!”, says the Cardinal.

And if the upcoming Synod rejects the proposal, the Kasperite Solution, hey!… maybe there could be a third synod on the question!

And His Eminence seems to be putting a great deal of stock in polls.

I’m in my car in a parking lot, so I can’t do the translation at the time of this posting.

In tutto il mondo, aggiunge Maradiaga, “i sondaggi dicono che la gente non vuole sposarsi, né in Chiesa, né civilmente, e il Vangelo della famiglia deve essere annunciato, perchè è il progetto di Dio e deve essere sommamente considerato dalla Chiesa”.
Il problema “non è, come alcuni media hanno detto, sulla possibilità dei divorziati risposati di accedere all’eucaristia, no, ci sono cose molto più profonde e che devono essere affrontate nel Sinodo”.
Secondo il Card. Maradiaga il medoto del sinodo, che sarebbe quello di “vedere, giudicare e attuare”, potrebbe anche portare alla convocazione di una terza tappa. “Non sappiamo se alla fine del sinodo di ottobre si chiuderà il processo [sinodale], o se il Papa ne convocherà un terzo, potrebbe essere, perchè si tratta di cose molto importanti…”

Ongoing synods until the desired result is obtained? Continue reading

Now He Belongs to the Ages

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Now he belongs to the ages.”  So said Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary of War, who had kept vigil at Lincoln’s deathbed, after Lincoln died from an assassin’s bullet.

In hundreds of posts since 2008 at The American Catholic and Almost Chosen People, I have examined various facets of the public life of Abraham Lincoln.  Of course, the most important part of Lincoln’s life came, as it will for each of us, after his death when he stood before God for the particular judgment.  In this life the outcome of that judgment is unknown to us.  However, I think  the record is well-established that during the Civil War Lincoln found his mind and his heart turning increasingly towards God.

Lincoln throughout his life had read the Bible and effortlessly used scriptural quotes in his speaking and writing, both in public and in private.  Lincoln had the Bible in his bones, and often turned to it.  Lincoln’s religious opinions are not simple to discern, however, as Mark Noll in a perceptive article skillfully points out.

In 1846 when Lincoln ran successfully for Congress against a well known Protestant minister, Peter Cartwright, he was attacked as an “infidel” and a scoffer against religion.  In a pamphlet Lincoln responded:  “That I am not a member of any Christian church is true; but I have never denied the truth of the Scriptures; and I have never spoken with intentional disrespect of religion in general, or of any denomination of Christians in particular… I do not think I could myself be brought to support a man for office whom I knew to be an open enemy of, or scoffer at, religion.”  Before the election campaign Lincoln went to one of the revival meetings of Cartwright, probably to scope out the opposition.  During the meeting Cartwright asked all those who were intent on going to Heaven to stand, and Lincoln remained seated.  Cartwright then asked all those who were intent on going to Hell to stand, and Lincoln once again remained seated.  Cartwright then inquired of Lincoln directly where Lincoln intended to go since he stood neither for Heaven nor Hell.  Lincoln responded that he intended to go to Congress.

I have always thought that Mary Todd Lincoln, his wife and most perceptive observer, best understood Lincoln’s religious views:  “From the time of the death of our little Edward, I believe my husband’s heart was directed towards religion & as time passed on – when Mr. Lincoln became elevated to Office – with the care of a great Nation, upon his shoulders – when devastating war was upon us then indeed to my knowledge – did his great heart go up daily, hourly, in prayer to God – for his sustaining power When too – the overwhelming sorrow came upon us, our beautiful bright angelic boy, Willie was called away from us, to his Heavenly Home, with God’s chastising hand upon us – he turned his heart to Christ.”

Certainly Mr. Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address gives strong evidence that Lincoln had thought long and very hard about God and human affairs.  Lincoln occasionally gave hints that indicated that he was thinking about his own destiny in the hereafter.  In August of 1864 it looked as if Lincoln was headed to electoral defeat.  A group of Wisconsin politicians visiting the White House suggested that perhaps Lincoln’s prospects would improve if he would agree to drop the Emancipation Proclamation in exchange for the Confederate states returning to the Union.  Lincoln responded briskly:

“I should be damned in time and in eternity were I to do that.  I will keep faith with the gallant black soldiers who have fought and died for this nation at Port Hudson and Olustee. The Proclamation sticks.”

As for the Bible, Lincoln gave frequent public and private comments that indicated his great respect for the book of books.  When Lincoln received the gift of a Bible from freed slaves in Maryland he made the following statement:  “In regard to this great book, I have but to say, it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good the Saviour gave to the world was communicated through this book. But for it we could not know right from wrong. All things most desirable for man’s welfare, here and hereafter, are to be found portrayed in it.

In the summer of 1864 Lincoln spent an evening with perhaps his closest friend Joshua F. Speed.  When Speed arrived Lincoln was reading the Bible.  Speed recounted the incident as follows:  “As I entered the room near night, [Lincoln] was sitting near a window reading his Bible. Approaching him, I said, ‘I am glad to see you profitably engaged.’ ‘Yes,’ said he, ‘I am profitably engaged.’ ‘Well,’ said I, ‘if you have recovered from your skepticism I am sorry to say that I have not!’ Looking me earnestly in the face, and placing his hand upon my shoulder, he said: ‘You are wrong Speed; take all of this book upon reason that you can, and the balance on faith and you will live and die a happier and better man.’”

Very significant evidence as to the impact on Lincoln of the death of his son Willie and the war is given by Phineas Gurley, pastor of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington that Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln regularly attended.  In response to an inquiry as to whether Lincoln was a scoffer, Gurley replied as follows:  ” I do not believe a word of it. It could not have been true of him while here, for I have had frequent and intimate conversations with him on the Subject of the Bible and the Christian religion, when he could have had no motive to deceive me, and I considered him sound not only on the truth of the Christian religion but on all its fundamental doctrines and teachings. And more than that, in the latter days of his chastened and weary life, after the death of his son Willie, and his visit to the battlefield of Gettysburg, he said, with tears in his eyes, that he had lost confidence in everything but God, and that he now believed his heart was changed, and that he loved the Savior, and, if he was not deceived in himself, it was his intention soon to make a profession of religion.”

So much for the historical record.  When it comes to something of the heart and soul like religion, prose and facts can take us only so far.  Time to call on a poet.

Stephen Vincent Benet 87, four score and seven, years ago wrote an epic poem on the American Civil War, John Brown’s Body.  Courtesy of Project Gutenberg, it is available on line here.  In this section of the poem I think he gets close to the truth of Abraham Lincoln and his turning to God during the war.  Lincoln is sitting in the telegraph office at the War Department anxiously awaiting news of the battle of Antietam: Continue reading

Happy Tax Day!

“This is a question too difficult for a mathematician. It should be asked of a philosopher.”(when asked about completing his income tax form)”  

Albert Einstein

 

 

Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. once opined that taxes are the price we pay for civilization.  As usual Holmes was being more glib than wise.  Some taxation is needed for civilization;  taxation that becomes oppressive is usually a sign of a civilization in decline.  In the beginning most taxes are instituted for some more or less necessary purpose, at least that is what is claimed.  Over time they simply exist to feed an ever growing government.  Unlike most associations we develop in our lives, government is completely involuntary and always has compulsion at its beck and call to ensure compliance.  It is all too easy over time for government to simply become a mechanism to transfer funds to favored political groups.  Until governments master this technique usually they stay small simply because taxpayers hate paying taxes.  This taxpayer resistance is overcome when government is able to claim the allegiance of large groups that view themselves as net beneficiaries from taxation.   When sufficient funds are not available, governments simply wish them into being through borrowing and the printing press.  The best argument against big government is to closely watch how the funds taken and manufactured are used by the government each fiscal year.  63 % of the federal budget consists of transfer payments from collective Peters to collective Pauls.  Christ noted that we should render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar.  It is instructive that He never breathed a word about the care of the poor being a responsibility of Caesar, instead making it the duty of each of His followers.  Relying upon Caesar to do this task is rather like using an army to provide day care services.  Thus we have the modern welfare states that attempt at great cost to do what people should do for themselves or what should be the province of private charity.  Government thus becomes ever larger and eventually begins to kill its host, the private sector.  So here is to Tax Day, that monument to human hubris, chicanery and avarice!  Continue reading

PopeWatch: Leadership Pathologies

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

PopeWatch despises books that attempt to distill leadership secrets from such diverse individuals as Napoleon, Attila, Lincoln, etc.  The history is invariably shoddy, and the leadership “secrets” usually banal.  However, Gary Hamet at The Harvard Business Review has looked at the verbal flogging given by Pope Francis to the Curia last Christmas and has distilled from it 15 diseases of leadership:

  1. The disease of thinking we are immortal, immune, or downright indispensable, [and therefore] neglecting the need for regular check-ups. A leadership team which is not self-critical, which does not keep up with things, which does not seek to be more fit, is a sick body. A simple visit to the cemetery might help us see the names of many people who thought they were immortal, immune, and indispensable! It is the disease of those who turn into lords and masters, who think of themselves as above others and not at their service. It is the pathology of power and comes from a superiority complex, from a narcissism which passionately gazes at its own image and does not see the face of others, especially the weakest and those most in need. The antidote to this plague is humility; to say heartily, “I am merely a servant. I have only done what was my duty.
  1. Another disease is excessive busyness. It is found in those who immerse themselves in work and inevitably neglect to rest a while.  Neglecting needed rest leads to stress and agitation. A time of rest, for those who have completed their work, is necessary, obligatory and should be taken seriously: by spending time with one’s family and respecting holidays as moments for recharging.
  1. Then there is the disease of mental and [emotional] “petrification”.   It is found in leaders who have a heart of stone, the stiff-necked;  in those who in the course of time lose their interior serenity, alertness and daring, and hide under a pile of papers, turning into paper pushers and not men and women of compassion. It is dangerous to lose the human sensitivity that enables us to weep with those who weep and to rejoice with those who rejoice! Because as time goes on, our hearts grow hard and become incapable of loving all those around us. Being a humane leader means having the sentiments of humility and unselfishness, of detachment and generosity.
  1. The disease of excessive planning and of functionalism. When a leader plans everything down to the last detail and believes that with perfect planning things will fall into place, he or she becomes an accountant or an office manager. Things need to be prepared well, but without ever falling into the temptation of trying to eliminate spontaneity and serendipity, which is always more flexible than any human planning. We contract this disease because it is easy and comfortable to settle in our own sedentary and unchanging ways.

Continue reading

Abraham Lincoln: February 12, 1809-April 15, 1865

O Captain! My Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:

But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! My Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills;
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding;
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;

Here captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head;
It is some dream that on the deck,
You’ve fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;
From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won;

Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!
But I, with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.
Walt Whitman

Various & Sundry, 4/15/15

- Cancel the primaries, folks, Walker has it all sewn up. I jest, but the horserace stuff really bothers me. I’m as guilty as anyone, and I’m not helping matters with four different links to stories related to the presidential election in some way, but is it too much to ask that we wait a little while before digging seriously into poll numbers?

– I’m extremely critical of Rand Paul, but if he is able to turn the abortion narrative on its head, then kudos.

But Wasserman Schultz’s feigned confidence on the issue of abortion politics was betrayed when she channeled Mitt Romney just a few seconds later. “At the end of the day, it’s unlikely that voters are going to be deciding who they’re going to vote for for president and whether a candidate has their back on this issue,” the DNC chairwoman said of abortion. “It’s more going to be on jobs and the economy.”

You know we are witnessing a tectonic shift in American politics regarding right to life issues when the progenitor of 2012’s War on Women and a self-described champion of “reproductive justice” sounds more like a Republican than Republicans. Wasserman Schultz would rather take the issue of abortion off the table entirely than be faced with the prospect of alienating her party’s rabidly pro-abortion base.

I’m not as sure as Rothman that the tide has turned yet. I’ll note that the polling data has always been more favorable to pro-lifers, and has consistently shown that those whose primary issue of concern is abortion tend to vote pro-life rather than pro-abortion. What has stung Republicans is the, ugh, narrative. It’s about time someone took the fight to the Democrats and put them on the defensive, where they should be, as they are the ones truly on the fringes when it comes to this issue.

– Jonah Goldberg says its only a matter of time before we hear from the Hillarycons.

Since then, the caliber of defectors have proved to be less and less impressive. That’s not to say that some weren’t sincere, but generally speaking their public arguments for switching to the other side were not very persuasive and often at odds with their real motivations. Douglas Kmiec is probably the most notorious example of an “ObamaCon,” at least among pro-lifers (he famously defended Obama’s vote in support of partial birth abortion, a hard case to make for someone calling himself a Catholic pro-lifer). Obama rewarded him with an ambassadorship to Malta, inspiring any of us to quip that it profits a man nothing to trade his soul for the whole world, but for Malta . . . ? Anyway, it will be interesting to see if Hillary Clinton can inspire similar conversions this time around.

Speaking of old Dougie, how is his vice presidential candidacy coming along?

– Hilllary Clinton: faux champion of the poor. I’m not sure that stories like these, which accurately reflect the hypocrisy of Madame Clinton, really have much of an impact on the electorate. By now most people know she’s a phony, and the LIVs who don’t are lost causes.

– David French wants to bring some common sense to the topic of police shootings. This is absurd of course. We demand nothing short narrative-based journalism steeped in ideological hand-wringing.

We live in some scary times. The media are more invested in digging up dirt on ordinary joes (and janes) expressing opinions than they are in vetting actual candidates for the highest office in the land.

 

 

In this picture, who really are the “dreamers”?

 

My thesis is as simple as it is straightforward: The Roman Catholic Church should accept no federal dollars.

My response to the naysayers is equally simple and straightforward, per Amanda Hocking in My Blood Approves: “When you dance with the devil, the devil doesn’t change. The devil changes you.”

Consider the nation’s largest resettlement agency, the USCCB’s Migration and Refugee Services (MRS).

MRS estimates that between October 1, 2013, and September 30, 2014, ~90k young illegal immigrants crossed the border. To deal with the human needs associated with this influx, MRS had a budget of ~$71M (~$789/illegal immigrant).

However, 93% of that ~$71M—$66M–flowed into MRS from the federal government’s spigot. MRS argued that they needed this infusion of federal $$$s to assist the federal government to provide care for unaccompanied, young illegal immigrants.

Supporters of MRS ask: “Who could possibly disagree, except for heartless, anti-immigrant, xenophobes?” Then, too: “The federal government is pouring that money into a charitable, religious organization to provide much-needed services that the feds couldn’t possibly provide. You don’t want to expand the size and scope of government, do you?”

Sounds similar to subsidizing faith-based organizations, a central policy objective of the George W. Bush administration.

There’s one, very big problem, however. MRS must provide those services in ways that are consistent with Church teaching.

So, what’s going to happen when unaccompanied, young, illegal immigrant, females get pregnant? Those federal $$$s require that those females receive “reproductive care,” including contraception, emergency contraception, and abortion.

The USCCB rightly argues that such a requirement violates freedom of religion since contraception, emergency contraception, and abortion are against the Church teaching.

However, that argument may matter not one whit.

Why? The American Civil Liberties Union (ALCU) has filed a suit in a federal court “to order the federal government to release documents related to how groups that are awarded government funding contracts are restricting refugee and undocumented immigrant teenagers’ access to reproductive health services, including contraception and abortion.”

A senior staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, Brigitte Amiri, told Breitbart News, “Religious freedom does not include the right to take a government contract that requires providing access to health care, and then refuse to provide a teen who has been raped the health care she needs.”

So, it’s “deja vu all over again”:

  • Remember when President Obama double crossed the USCCB after securing its blessing to get Obamacare passed? POTUS promised a religious exemption.
  • Remember when, in July 2014, President Obama issued an executive order banning “all companies that receive a contract from the federal government from discriminating against their LGBT employees.” The USCCB called it “unprecedented and extreme.”
  • And just today, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has found “reasonable cause” to rule that a Catholic prep school has unlawfully discriminated against a homosexual band director formerly in the school’s employ.

Get the picture? In baseball, the rule is “three strikes and y’er outta here!”

But, this isn’t baseball. It’s hardball politics, not ecclesiastical politics.

If MRS didn’t take the ~$66M in federal money, its budget would have been ~$5M. MRS would have been free to provide illegal immigrants programs and services in alignment with Church teaching. And, the federal government could use that money to deal with the rest.

But, the USCCB’s desire to expand programming and provide services to more and more illegal immigrants has required taking to the dance floor with the Devil. To keep those federal $$$s flowing into the MRS’ coffers, the USCCB claims that if MRS didn’t provide those services, then chaos would break out.

And that’s the USCCB’s problem?

 

 

To read the Breitbart News article, click on the following link:
http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/04/10/aclu-demands-catholic-bishops-provide-abortions-for-illegal-minors/

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

 

 

April 14, 1865: Toward an Indefinite Shore

 Final Cabinet Meeting

On Friday April 14, 1865, Abraham Lincoln and his wife planned to go to Ford’s Theater in the evening.  But first, Lincoln had a day of work ahead of him, which included a cabinet meeting.

Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy, made this notation in his diary regarding the cabinet meeting that occurred at noon:

Inquiry had been made as to army news on the first meeting of the Cabinet, and especially if any information had been received from Sherman. None of the members had heard anything, and Stanton, who makes it a point to be late, and who has the telegraph in his Department, had not arrived. General Grant, who was present, said he was hourly expecting word. The President remarked it would, he had no doubt, come soon, and come favorably, for he had last night the usual dream which he had preceding nearly every great and important event of the War. Generally the news had been favorable which succeeded this dream, and the dream itself was always the same. I inquired what this remarkable dream could be. He said it related to your (my) element, the water; that he seemed to be in some singular, indescribable vessel, and that he was moving with great rapidity towards an indefinite shore; that he had this dream preceding Sumter, Bull Run, Antietam, Gettysburg, Stone River, Vicksburg, Wilmington, etc. General Grant said Stone River was certainly no victory, and he knew of no great results which followed from it. The President said however that might be, his dream preceded that fight.

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PopeWatch: SSPX

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

For those who assume they have figured this Papacy out, this latest development out of Argentina may come as a surprise where the SSPX has been recognized by the Argentinian government as part of the Catholic Church.  This was done with the support of the Catholic Church in Argentina.  From Rorate Caeli:

 

The Resolution comes from the Secretariat of Worship (Secretaría de Culto), the office of the Argentine Ministry of Foreign Relations and Worship (Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Culto) that deals with government relations with religious bodies, in particular with the Catholic Church, which remains the supported State religion in the Argentine Republic (Article 2 of the 1853 Constitution, revised in 1994). The Resolution credits Cardinal Poli, handpicked by Pope Francis as his own successor in Buenos Aires, with initiating the request for the SSPX to be recognized, but there is every reason to believe that the request came from much higher, from the very top. Rorate reported in May last year that Pope Francis himself had promised to help the SSPX gain recognition in his home country as a Catholic association for legal and administrative purposes:

“When, as a Cardinal, he was in South America, the District Superior [Fr. Christian Bouchacourt] came to ask him for an administrative favor with no relation to the Church; a visa problem, of permanent residency. The Argentine government, which is very leftwing, makes use of the concordat that was established to protect the Church to bother us quite seriously, and tells us, “you say you are Catholic, it is thus necessary for you to have the signature of the bishop in order to reside in the country.” The District Superior therefore went to him to present the problem: there was an easy solution, and that would be to declare ourselves an independent church [before Civil Law], but we did not want to do it because we are Catholic. And the Cardinal told us, “no, no, you are Catholic, that is evident; I will help you;” he wrote a letter in our favor to the government, that is so leftwing that they managed to find an opposing letter by the nuncio. Therefore, a 0-0 tie. Now he is the pope, and our lawyer had the opportunity of having a meeting with the Pope. He told him that the problem was still going on with the Society, and asked him to please designate a bishop in Argentina with whom we could sort out this problem. The Pope told him, “Yes, and this bishop is myself, I promised to help, and I will do it.”

Does this signal an imminent doctrinal and canonical rapprochement between Rome and the SSPX? It would not seem so, from SSPX Superior-General Bp. Bernard Fellay’s qualification that this favor was solicited to ease the visa and residency problems of SSPX members assigned to Argentina. The SSPX could easily have obtained, as almost every other confession, state recognition in Argentina if it had requested recognition as a separate body, for merely civil law purposes, which the SSPX refused to request — what is important is that this demonstrates both the SSPX’s resolve not to be an independent Church, not to be seen as outside the Catholic Church; and, evidently, Rome’s recognition that the SSPX is essentially Catholic. 
______

Update (12:00 PM GMT) – Speaking to Vatican Insider, the Secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei was glad with the decision of Cardinal Poli:
“I am glad that in Argentina this solution could have been found, which does not involve the Holy See, let it be made clear. It is not a juridicial recognition of [the Society of] Saint Pius X as a clerical society [*], the question of the legitimacy of the exercise of the priestly ministry of their priests remains open. But it is an ulterior sign of good will regarding this reality by the Catholic Church.”
“With his decision – Pozzo continues – the ordinary of Buenos Aires recognized that the members of the Society are Catholics, even if not yet in full communion with Rome. We continue working so that full commnion and juridical framing of the Society within the Catholic Church may be achieved.”
[*] Our comment: all true, of course. But Cardinal Poli’s attitude (which could not have reasonably taken place without the full knowledge and approval, and probably even direct participation, of the man who made him archbishop and cardinal) is relevant precisely because, in the eyes of the Argentine Republic, the details of full, or partial, or incomplete, or irregular communion are irrelevant. This Priestly Fraternity, the Society of Saint Pius X, is part of the Catholic Church in the State law in a Republic in which the Church is closely linked to the State, period. Good for the Cardinal, for Pope Francis (who was obviously involved in this decision), and for the Society in Argentina.

Continue reading

Various & Sundry, 4/13/15

Apologies in advance as my schedule will make the V&S a bit spotty over the next few weeks.

– Marco Rubio is officially a candidate for the presidency. He seems to have rehabilitated his standing to the point where he should be considered, at the least. a solid tier two candidate at this juncture.

– I guess somebody else also announced her candidacy. Matt Walsh argues that no, it isn’t time for a woman president.

It’s time, instead, for a competent and honest adult of either gender to be president.

Competent and honest are not words I’d use to describe Hillary.

– The Maryland couple who had a run-in with CPS when their kids were caught walking by themselves once again had a run-in with the authorities.

Danielle Meitiv, the “Maryland Mom” just called. She and her husband are on their way to the CPS “Emergency Crisis Center.” Why?

The police picked up the kids when they were outside AGAIN sometime this afternoon, and this time the cops TOOK THEM WITHOUT TELLING THE PARENTS.

The kids, ages 10 and 6, were supposed to come home at 6 from playing. At 6:30, Danielle says, she and her husband Sasha were pretty worried. By 8, they were frantic. Only THEN did someone from the CPS Crisis Center call the parents and say that the police had picked the children up. The kids are at the Crisis Center. (Danielle thinks that the center must be a place that is open on weekends to intake kids from dangerous situations.)

Evidently a “concerned citizen” dropped a dime on the kids. Nothing says “concerned” as much as calling the cops when you see kids walking by themselves instead of, you know, checking in on the kids yourself. And while most of the comments I’ve read are supportive of the Meitivs, it’s clear that there are a not inconsiderable people who will be elbowing themselves to the front of the line when the police state victory parade comes marching through town.

– Fr. Z asks if you pray for the priests who administered your sacraments. This gave me pause as I considered that two of the priests who gave me my sacraments (or initally gave me the sacraments) are no longer priests. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that priests are people with temptations, anxieties and fears like the rest of us, and they they need our prayers and support.

– John Lillis writes of a dinner engagement with Glenn Beck. Beck’s schtick wears thin after awhile, even if his heart is often in the right place.

– The Mariners turned a 2-1 double play, and that may have been the first in MLB history.

– Somebody compiled a video showing all of the scenes involving Severus Snape in chronological order. Fascinating display of character development.

Miss me Yet?

imagesPKRXDH6A

 

Moe Lane reminds us of the Bush years:

 

In no particular order:

It’s been a bad six years, folks. Particularly the first two: they set the tone for the next four, and likely six. Just the way it is. Continue reading

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