Monthly Archives: October 2009

Crime, Punishment and the Pixar Lamp

If I had been defense counsel I would have argued diminished capacity.  After all these years I suspect that the lamp has become very dim indeed with the passage of time.

Anglicans And Catholics To Reunite, Reaction And News Roundup

St. Thomas More

I will be updating this post as often as I can throughout the day [Last update at 10:01pm CDT].  I’ll be reporting on reactions and news concerning this groundbreaking development that came from the Vatican this morning.  The Vatican issued a note explaining a new provision in an upcoming Apostolic Constitution that will allow for a structure to be in place to receive Anglicans and Episcopalians into the Catholic Church.  Basically a corporate reunion!

To read the full text of this announcement from the Vatican click here.

To read the full text of the joint press release of the Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Gerard Nichols, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, click here.

Reaction and news from around the world [all emphasis mine]:

Last Update of the day at 10:01pm CDT (Earlier updates further down this post)

Ruth Gledhill of the Times of London.  Offers a brief history of what transpired the last couple of years between Anglo-Catholics, and those inside the Vatican, both faithful and dissident Catholics.

Rome has parked its tanks on the Archbishop of Canterbury’s lawn [Interesting choice of words, but nonetheless accurate in my opinion] after manoeuvres undertaken by up to fifty bishops and begun two years ago by an Australian archbishop, John Hepworth [The leader of the Traditional Anglican Communion].”

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Church Opens Doors To Anglicans Seeking Reunion With Rome


This morning William Cardinal Levada announced at the Vatican that Pope Benedict XVI has introduced a canonical structure in an upcoming Apostolic Constitution that allows for corporate reunion with Anglicans by establishing Personal Ordinariates.

A Personal Ordinariate would be similar to Military Ordinariates which have been established in most countries to provide pastoral care for the members of the armed forces and their dependents throughout the world.

Here are the highlights from this mornings announcement:

  • It provides for the ordination as Catholic priests of married former Anglican clergy.
  • Historical and ecumenical reasons preclude the ordination of married men as bishops in both the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.
  • The Constitution therefore stipulates that the Ordinary can be either a priest or an unmarried bishop.
  • The seminarians in the Ordinariate are to be prepared alongside other Catholic seminarians, though the Ordinariate may establish a house of formation to address the particular needs of formation in the Anglican patrimony.
  • These Personal Ordinariates will be formed, as needed, in consultation with local Conferences of Bishops, and their structure will be similar in some ways to that of the Military Ordinariates.

Cardinal Levada has stated:

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Vista Users Rejoice!

With the release of Windows 7, we PC users can only hope that Gates & Co got it right this time and that we can kick Vista, the worst computer operating system devised by fallen man, to the gutter.  Here is a good article setting forth some of the more annoying features of Vista, and here is an article which explains why Vista never was accepted by many PC owners.  Windows 7 seems to be getting good reviews from the testers, but we will all be able to find out on our own soon enough. Continue reading

Party Loyalty and the New York 23rd Congressional District

Elephants not RINOSI have been a Republican as long as I have been old enough to pay attention to politics.  I have usually found the Republican party to be a much closer fit to my conservative political views than the Democrat party, and therefore my party allegiance was not a difficult choice for me.  It also helped that most members of my family in the paternal line have been adherents of the GOP since the Civil War, although in the case of my late father it was more out of a strong dislike of the Democrat party which he used to call  …, actually, since this is a family blog I will not repeat some of the epithets my father used in regard to the party of Jackson.  Thus I am a Republican both by conviction and heredity.

However, party loyalty is a two way street.  In order for a political party to deserve the loyalty of its supporters, the party must field candidates that broadly stand for what most party members believe in.   In the special congressional election for 23rd district in the New York, the GOP powers that be in that district have singularly failed to do so.  They have nominated  a liberal Democrat in Republican clothes as the standard bearer of the Republican party.  Michelle Malkin in this column here succinctly states why the GOP nominee Deede Scozzafava is running in the wrong party.

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Into the Minefield

Father Craig in Minefield

October 27, 1913.  The Great War was soon to begin in Europe and Leo Peter Craig was born into this world in Everett, Massachusetts.  He was five years old when his mother died, leaving his father with five young children to raise.  Under these unusual circumstances, his Aunt, Veronica Craig, a member of the Dominican Sisters of Springfield Kentucky, received a dispensation from her vows in order for her to help raise her brother’s children.  For 18 years she dedicated herself to this task, becoming a second mother to young Leo.  After the children were all raised, she returned to the religious life.  Leo attended the LaSalle Academy of the Christian Brothers in Providence, Rhode Island.  Going on to Providence College, he obtained his BA in 1935, at which time he entered the Dominican novitiate at Saint Rose’s in Springfield, Kentucky.  He completed his philosophy courses at the Dominican House of Studies in River Forest, Illinois, and his theological training at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, DC.  He was ordained to the priesthood on May 21, 1942.

Father Leo P. Craig

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First Catholic Mass at Pensacola


August 15, 2009 marked the 450th anniversary of the first Catholic Mass at Pensacola, Florida.  Earlier Masses had been said during exploratory expeditions in the continental U.S., but this was the first at a settlement, albeit one that would last for little more than a year.  Dominican priests of the Tristan  de Luna expedition celebrated Mass on August 15, 2009, Julian calendar, near Pensacola Florida.  The Dominicans were Fathers Pedro de Feria, as vicar-provincial of Florida, Dominic of the Annunciation, Dominic de Salazar, John Macuelas, Dominic of Saint Dominic, and a lay brother.

As the Blessed Virgin Mary is the patroness of the US, it was fitting that the date was the Feast of the Assumption.  A reenactment occurred with a Mass on August 15th of this year in PensacolaThe King and Queen of Spain visited Pensacola in February as part of the celebrations.

In 1959 the Knights of Columbus erected a cross, pictured above, at the site of the first Mass in Pensacola.  450 years is a huge span of time in human affairs, and it is the Mass, the everlasting sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ, that unites us with those Catholics so long ago, the early pioneers of our Faith in our Land.

CNN and HuffPo Feeling Heat Over False Racist Quotes to Rush Limbaugh

[Updates at the bottom of this post as of 4:21pm CDT 10-16-2009 AD]

This week there has been a whirlwind of character assassination done by the mainstream media to conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh’s bid to purchase the St. Louis Rams (American) football team of the National Football League (NFL).   They have been accusing Mr. Limbaugh of saying several racist quotes without confirming their existence.  All the alleged racist quotes have been debunked by Snopes earlier this week as well as being denied by Mr. Limbaugh.  Additionally many in the mainstream media have been unable to find any evidence of these allegations.

But today there has been a sudden realization of regret when the heat turned up on their yellow journalism.  Regret that some elements of the mainstream media were involved in libel and slander.

The most prominent of the yellow journalists are liberal news anchors Anderson Cooper and Rick Sanchez of the left-of-center CNN, sports columnist Bryan Burwell of the liberal St. Louis Dispatch, and finally the liberal Huffington Post (HuffPo) blog.

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A Very Bad Argument Against Capital Punishment

As an aside in an otherwise unrelated talk, I heard a priest say the other day, “How can there be any logic in capital punishment? How can you teach people to respect life by threatening to kill them?”

Regardless of what one thinks about the legitimacy of capital punishment, this is a bad argument. Throughout history, legitimate authority has used the threat of legally sanctioned violence (punishment) to prevent people from committing crimes, and it does indeed work pretty well. Not only that, but there’s an example from everyday life that most people have direct experience with: Telling young children that biting, kicking, scratching, hair pulling, kicking, hitting and any other physical attacks I haven’t thought of at the moment will be met with a spanking actually works very well. Indeed, at the ages of 3-8 when children are capable of more-or-less controlling their actions but have very limited ability to empathize with others (especially others who are making them angry) it’s often pretty much the only effective manner of preventing intra-sibling fights getting nasty.

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John Adams and the Church of Rome

John Adams, second President of these United States, was a man of very firm convictions.   Once he decided to support a cause, most notably American independence, nothing on this Earth could convince him to change his mind.  In regard to religion he was raised a Congregationalist.  Although described as a Unitarian, I find the evidence ambiguous in his writings and I suspect he remained at heart a fairly conventional Protestant.  As such he was unsympathetic to the Catholic faith by heredity, creed and conviction.  However, he did attend Mass on occasion, and his writings about these visits show attraction mixed with repulsion.

On October 9, 1774 Adams and George Washington attended a Catholic chapel in Philadelphia during the First Continental Congress.  He reported his thoughts about the visit to his wife and constant correspondent Abigail:

“This afternoon, led by Curiosity and good Company I strolled away to Mother Church, or rather Grandmother Church, I mean the Romish Chapel. Heard a good, short, moral Essay upon the Duty of Parents to their Children, founded in justice and Charity, to take care of their Interests temporal and spiritual.

This afternoon’s entertainment was to me most awful (Adams here means awe-inspiring and not the more colloquial use of the term common in our time.) and affecting. The poor wretches fingering their beads, chanting Latin, not a word of which they understood, their Pater Nosters and Ave Marias. Their holy water– their crossing themselves perpetually– their bowing to the name of Jesus wherever they hear it– their bowings, and kneelings, and genuflections before the altar. The dress of the priest was rich with lace– his pulpit was velvet and gold. The altar piece was very rich– little images and crucifixes about– wax candles lighted up. But how shall I describe the picture of our Saviour in a frame of marble over the altar, at full length, upon the cross in the agonies, and the blood dropping and streaming from his wounds.

The music consisting of an organ, and a Choir of singers, went all the afternoon, excepting sermon Time, and the Assembly chanted– most sweetly and exquisitely.

Here is everything which can lay hold of the eye, ear, and imagination. Everything which can charm and bewitch the simple and the ignorant. I wonder how Luther ever broke the spell.”

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The Bi-Partisanship Fallacy

There’s a school of thought which greatly admires “bi-partisan” approaches to solving political problems. The idea of representatives and senators putting aside their differences to “reach across the aisle” and work together seems admirably, if only because our social training all points towards the importance of compromise in order to get along with others.

However, I’d like to question whether there are often pieces of legislation which are genuinely bi-partisan.

Some legislation is essentially non-partisan. Instituting a national alert system to help track down kidnapped children, for instance, is hardly something which has a major political faction aligned against it.

In other cases, there’s legislation which applies to factions within each party — a result of the fact that our two major political parties include sub-factions which disagree with each other on major issues. For instance, “bi-partisan” immigration reform might draw support both from the business faction within the GOP and the pro-immigration faction within the Democratic Party, while being opposed by labor focused Democrats and immigration focused Republicans.
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Let's find the fallacy!

Yesterday The Nation‘s John Nichols wrote a rather scathing piece about President Obama: the piece is entitled “Whiner-in-Chief” and the first line reads, “The Obama administration really needs to get over itself.”

Of course, I tend to agree with perspectives like that. :-)  But near the end of the piece Nichols tries to argue that the country isn’t as divided as the White House thinks, and along the way, he makes a heckuva non sequitur:

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Gov Perry Moves to Stall Investigation of Execution of Innocent Man

Megan McArdle links to a post by Publius of Obsidian Wings on Governor Perry’s recent move to slow the investigation into likely miscarriage of justice (due to a faulty arson investigation) which resulted in the execution of Cameron Todd Willingham. This much-discussed New Yorker article makes a fairly solid case that the evidence that Willingham set fire to his own house (resulting in the death of his three daughters) was far from conclusive. Publius says:

In 2005, after the execution, Texas established a commission to investigate forensic errors, and the commission started reviewing the Willingham case. In the course of its review, the commission hired a nationally recognized fire expert who ultimately wrote a “scathing report” concluding that the arson investigation was a joke.

The expert was originally set to testify about his report on Friday, October 2. On Sept. 30, however, Perry suddenly replaced three members of the panel, including the chair, against their wishes. The new chair promptly canceled the hearing. More recently, Perry replaced a fourth member (he can only appoint four — other state officials appoint the remaining five members).
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POW Servant of God Recommended for Medal of Honor

Father Emil Kapaun

Hattip to the Curt Jester.  Father Emil Kapaun, the POW Servant of God who died a heroic death in a Chinese POW camp during the Korean War, and who I have written about here, here and here may soon have a new earthly honor.  Army Secretary Peter Geren has recommended that Father Kapaun be awarded the Medal of Honor.  Now it is up to Congress to pass the legislation to send the award on to President Obama.  I recall when I drafted my original post I was surprised that Father Kapaun had not been awarded the Medal of Honor since clearly he had earned it many times over.  If awarded the Medal, he would bring the number of chaplains to eight who have received the highest military decoration this nation can bestow.

The Nobel Peace Prize Thirty Years Ago

We are talking of peace. These are things that break peace, but I feel the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a direct war, a direct killing – direct murder by the mother herself.

Thirty years ago the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Mother Teresa.  Here is the Nobel Peace Prize Lecture she gave on December 11, 1979.

As we have gathered here together to thank God for the Nobel Peace Prize I think it will be beautiful that we pray the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi which always surprises me very much – we pray this prayer every day after Holy Communion, because it is very fitting for each one of us, and I always wonder that 4-500 years ago as St. Francis of Assisi composed this prayer that they had the same difficulties that we have today, as we compose this prayer that fits very nicely for us also. I think some of you already have got it – so we will pray together. Continue reading

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