Anglicans And Catholics To Reunite, Reaction And News Roundup

Tuesday, October 20, AD 2009

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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18 Responses to Anglicans And Catholics To Reunite, Reaction And News Roundup

  • Does this action reverse Apostolicae Curae?

  • A brilliant stroke on the part of Pope Benedict. He has the mental agility and energy of a prelate half his age. Disaffected Anglicans now have a home and the powers that be in the Anglican Church have a major problem. To all of our Anglican brothers and sisters who will be joining us I say that we are overjoyed to have you!

  • Might I just add that this is what Ecumenism is supposed to be about: Conversion into the Catholic Church, and not the other way around (i.e., Catholics mutating into Protestants)?

  • e.,

    In addition to what you said, Ecumenism is about conversion, not dialogue that continues without resolution.

  • Tito: I was having problems earlier at the website. Would you kindly remove the first instance of my comments above since it’s merely a duplicate?

    Also, would you happen to know if in that ordinariate in the Anglican ultimately means that a person can actually be married and yet become a priest in that rite (for lack of a better word)?


  • e.,

    Yes, I read the Note that was released early this morning the same way.

    Married men can now become priests in the Catholic Church, but only within the Anglican Personal Ordinariate. Very similar to Easter Catholic Rites.

    But they may not become priests in the Latin Rite, which encompasses the vast majority of Catholics worldwide.

    I’m sure once the mainstream media gets to reading the details they’ll begin to make hay about this pretty soon.

    Take note though, only unmarried priests can become bishop within the Anglican Personal Ordinariate, just as in the Easter Catholic Rites and the Easter Orthodox Churches.

  • Tito:

    Thanks for the info!

    I’m just wondering if a person who is seeking to become a priest and yet at the same time be married, alls he need do is pursue such vocation but within that same Anglican Personal Ordinariate which you mention; in other words, will this be at long last that loophole for those married but yet feel a calling to serve the Lord in the priesthood.

    Here is The Wall Street Journal scoop:

    Vatican Opens Door for Anglican Converts

    ROME — Pope Benedict XVI introduced a fast track for Anglicans seeking to join Roman Catholicism, paving the way for conservative Anglicans frustrated by their church’s blessing of same-sex unions and homosexuality in the priesthood to enter the Catholic fold.

    The Vatican on Tuesday announced plans to create a special set of canon laws, known as an “Apostolic Constitution,” to allow Anglican faithful, priests and bishops to enter into full communion with the Vatican without having to give up a large part of their liturgical and spiritual traditions.

    With the measures, Pope Benedict is attempting to reclaim ground lost by the Roman Catholic Church in the 16th century when King Henry VIII defied papal authority to found the Church of England. The move clears the way for entire congregations of Anglicans to join the Catholic Church and makes it easier for married Anglican priests to convert without embracing Catholicism’s traditional code of priestly celibacy…'s_Most_Popular

  • e.,

    As much as the mainstream media hypes that the solution to a declining pool of priests is to allow married people to pursue this vocation, it won’t be anything more than a trickle.

    We all know that families that practice and teach the faith to their children, ie, foster vocations, in addition to participating in orthodox Catholic parishes will create large pools of seminarians.

    As evident in the Lincoln and Omaha dioceses of Nebraska.

    Allowing married men and wymyn priests is a band-ade at best.

  • Tito:

    Obviously, woman priests is clearly forbidden and should never be allowed — ever.

    However, allowing married priests is more of a disciplinary rather than a doctrinal matter; I don’t see how such a thing can actually even be considered subversive.

    In fact, even Fr. Corapi admitted as much in his Catechism of the Catholic Church series on EWTN.

  • e.,

    I know that it is a discipline and not doctrinal.

    I agree with you completely on this point. You may have misread my comment on this, but to be clear, I believe you and I are on the same page.

    I’m fine with allowing married priests. Especially how it will be set up in the upcoming provision in the Apostolic Constitution.

    …and I looove Father Corapi!

  • I got to see Fr. Corapi in Buffalo this past August on Our Lady’s feast. He is wonderful. A true son of the Church.

    I prefer that the Latin Rite keep the celibacy discipline. We are at a point right now where experience is teaching us that when we are orthodox we grow and when we are hetrodox we wane.

    Even though the Pope could lift this I think it diminishes the priest’s efficacy if he has to worry about the formation and protection, etc. of children of his own flesh – it is actually a freedom to be able to care for all the children in his parish.

    Nevertheless, whatever the Pope decides is fine by me. I think everyone except the Holy Spirit underestimated our German Shepherd. He rocks.

  • AK,

    I agree 100%.

    Celibacy needs to be kept for many apparent reasons, one of the most basic is he has dedicated his life to Christ. Adding a good wife would only shorten his time on earth.

  • Fr. Grandon is a distant relative of mine by marriage, whom I met for the first time when he had just become Catholic and had gone from being an Episcopal priest to a Catholic layperson. Great guy with a really interesting conversion story.

    On another blog I read that Rt. Rev. Keith Ackerman, retired Episcopal bishop of Quincy, Illinois (its cathedral, however, is in Peoria), was more or less stripped of his episcopal status by the “High Priestess” referred to above… he also is a great guy, good friends with Bishops Myers and Jenky, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him jump the Tiber now. Since he’s married and has kids he wouldn’t be able to be a bishop anymore, but given how he’s been treated by his own denomination of late, he’d probably have little to lose if he did convert.

  • Also, maybe I’m getting WAY ahead of everyone here… but could this approach to ecumenism be carried even beyond the boundaries of the Anglican or Orthodox churches? Could we someday (probably centuries from now, if ever) have a Lutheran Rite or Baptist Rite or Pentecostal/Charismatic Rite that combine their distinctive styles of worship with the sacraments, doctrines and teaching authority of the Church?

  • Elaine,

    I briefly touched on that in the next posting.

    In my opinion, I could possibly see something for the Lutherans in a Personal Ordiniate.

    But after them, there are no vestiges of any signs of an apostolic church. Maybe the Methodists, but that is stretching it a bit.

    But again, it’s strictly my opinion.

  • Tito:

    No disrespect; however, if you actually felt that way about married priests, then why did you put it up there with woman priests which, in fact, can never be allowed as it directly goes against Christian doctrine itself?

    Also, I don’t think there could ever be rites that would cater to such Protestant sects as the Baptists who clearly do not hold the same Christian beliefs that we do, like the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

    Ironically, it is folks like the Lutherans who we have more in common (relatively-speaking, of course) in comparison with those sects who are far more heretical in degree.

    Yet, I do greatly appreciate the fact that you are keeping us apprised of such news. Keep it up.

    Adding a good wife would only shorten his time on earth.

    This reminds of precisely what Saint/Sir Thomas More once said as regarding marriage; that is, once a man is married, he can never be free of worry!

  • e.,

    Now your reading into things way to much.

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Church Opens Doors To Anglicans Seeking Reunion With Rome

Tuesday, October 20, AD 2009


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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13 Responses to Church Opens Doors To Anglicans Seeking Reunion With Rome

Vista Users Rejoice!

Tuesday, October 20, AD 2009

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.

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9 Responses to Vista Users Rejoice!

  • That’s why I’m a Mac gal… Apple recently released a new OS called Snow Leopard; anyone out there tried it?

  • love the line “even Hitler had problems with Vista”

  • Hitler was also a eugenicist and the Gates family is a very pro “population control” family. Makes you think. Unfortunately Apple supports so-called “gay marriage”. It is becoming increasingly difficult to purchase from companies that are not engaged in political agendas that are against Church teaching.

    On the bright side – I never got Vista and heard nothing good about it. I’m glad that MS responded to consumers and ‘fixed the glitch’. I wonder if anyone is amazed at how in a (relatively)free market the consumer is the ultimate arbiter of what gets produced. Sadly the American consumer isn’t so concerned with products being made here in the USA and by companies that are not if favor of killing babies or endorsing same-sex families.

  • “Sadly the American consumer isn’t so concerned with products being made here in the USA and by companies that are not in favor of killing babies or endorsing same-sex families.”

    So what are we supposed to do Knight… toss out our computers and shut down this blog until a new Bill Gates- or Steve Jobs-like computer genius who also happens to be a devout Catholic and 100 percent pro-life comes along to start a new company? Good luck with that.

  • I’m going to have to agree with Elaine on this one… what can you do?

    I never had this operating system issue. I keep the one I have on the computer I buy until I buy I a new computer. I’ve never once upgraded operating systems. I have Vista on my laptop and it’s worked out for me fairly well.

  • Haven’t tried Snow Leopard yet. No rush, since it was more of a streamlining update.

    I’ve had two great ‘conversions’ in my life. The first was to a Mac. 🙂

  • I wasn’t suggesting a boycott of computers. I was merely lamenting the situation. We would not be engaged in this discourse if I wasn’t running Windows XP on my Gateway PC. I am also not suggesting that we are cooperating with evil by purchasing products made by companies that have intentions contradictory to our faith. Of course, if there was a viable alternative it would be incumbent on us to use it. I don’t think there is and that is what makes me sad.

    Were we as a people more faithful then we would have a better option. I hope I didn’t intimate that I expected someone to do soemthing about computer operating systems. We have to pick our battles. I think our battle is to ensure that our government stops sanctioning and these days promoting the evil of child murder through pregnancy abortion. When we succeed in that and also convincing our American culture to become a culture of life then it goes to follow that creative human beings will develop PC operating systems that are not only superior to what we have now but also companies that do not promote the horror of abortion or the destruction of the traditional family.

    Joe, I too do not upgrade my OS; however, I have refrained from purchasing a new machine in order to avoid Vista or paying for the downgrade to Windows XP. Perhaps when 7 is released and the reports are favorable then I may purchase a new machine with the new OS and while I know that I am supporting the profits of a man who is opposed to my beleifs I will still make the purchase because the benefits of a computer enable me to do more good (God willing) then my contribution to Gates’ evil actions in ratio.

    Please forgive me if my post was poorly worded.

  • Speaking of Hitler’s problems with Vista, there is now a You Tube channel devoted entirely to parodies of this scene from “Downfall”… most of them depict Hitler either 1) ranting about the shortcomings of some video or online gaming system, or 2) as a current political figure ranting about a recent defeat or setback.

Party Loyalty and the New York 23rd Congressional District

Monday, October 19, AD 2009

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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5 Responses to Party Loyalty and the New York 23rd Congressional District

  • Many would dismiss your plug for the Conservative party as simply taking votes away from the alleged Republican and handing the race to the Democrat. This is a false dichotomy becuase we are not officially a two party country. That is just habit. I think it is a bad habit since it is becoming clearer everyday that we are actually a one party system with two factions.

    “Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.” — John Quincy Adams

    What we need is a true defenition of what a conservative is becuase that term is so overused and usually simply means Republican. Some of us authentic conservatives have never been Republicans becuase it seems that party is constantly moving away from or apologizing for alleged conservative principles.

    There is now and has always been a group within the Republican party that are not actually conservative. They have been referred to as the Northeast Establishment, country club, chamber of commerce, WASP, RINO, neo-con, etc. Sadly many of them remain in the party and we have only two choices:

    Surgically extract them, or,

    Establish another authentically conservative party.

  • American studies confirm this. ,

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Into the Minefield

Sunday, October 18, AD 2009

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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10 Responses to Into the Minefield

  • I was married in Holy Innocents Catholic Church in Pleasantville, NY.

    Thank you for this story.

  • Thanks for the great piece on Fr. Craig. Do you mind if I report it to our website?

  • Not at all Father. My chief reason for doing these posts on Catholic Chaplains is so that these brave men are remembered, so I am always happy to have these posts relisted on as many web-sites as possible.

  • Thank you for this post about Fr. Craig. I have included his story in my own posting, “Shepherds in Combat Boots.” Catholic priests pack the gear!

  • Oh, and I linked to Fr. Pietrzyk’s post as well as yours.

  • Thank you Anita!

  • Great idea to feature the story of Providence College alumnus Fr. Leo Craig OP ’35 in your edition which covered Veterans’ Day. Fr. Craig is honored at Arlington National Cemetery with his named engraved on a Catholic Chaplains Monument at Chaplain’s Hill. Also honored on the plaque are the names of approximately 75 Catholic Chaplains Killed in Service in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. The site also has monuments to WWI and Proetesant Chaplains.

    Our Sons of the American Legion organization is working with several Jewish organziations to add a fourth monument to this site which will honor ten Rabbis killed in service. We hope to gain approval and erect the monument by next Veterans Day.

    We were drawn to this project by the WWII story of the “Immortal Four Chaplains”, revered in the American legion, who’s heroism on a doomed troop ship became legendary. The four chaplains represented the Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish faiths. When their troop ship, the Dorchester, was torpedoed in the North Atlantic in February 1943, they did everything they could to help their fellow soldiers survive, even giving up their life preservers and gloves.

    Any individual or group interested in supporting the project is welcome to contact me. Pictures of Chaplains Hill can be found on our website.

  • A very worthy project Mr. Kraetzer.

  • FYI: We received an email from a city clerk in Everett, MA, where Fr. Craig was born. According to their records, Fr. Craig was born in 1913, not 1918. Thought you’d like to know. Thanks again for doing this posting.

  • Thank you Father for the correction. I have altered the post to reflect this information.

8 Responses to Best Candidates for Employee Owned Companies

  • Fun stuff, fun stuff.

    Ok, here are my comments.

    1) As you say, the first points against EOCCs are uncontroversial. Again, following J.S. Mill, or more recently, Robert Dahl and other advocates of economic democracy, it is widely acknowledged that there must be a period of worker-investor partnership. The shares alloted to workers are necessarily smaller, so that investors can profit. The idea is that a successful business will be able to gradually change the ratio of worker to investor ownership in favor of the workers.

    As Mill wrote, “it is even likely that when such arrangements become common, many of these concerns would at some period or another, on the death or retirement of the chiefs, pass, by arrangement, into the state of purely co-operative associations.” Others have suggested other means the same ends might be achieved.

    2) Regarding democracy, you write,

    “The success of such companies rely heavily on the creativity of the management team, and so they’re naturally going to be strongly top-down organizations. Democracy is much better at inertia than creativity, and thus the top down structure.”

    I think perhaps the fallacy here is the assumption that all decisions must be subject to a democratic vote. I would not propose that rank-and-file workers be granted creative control over new projects, or even a democratic veto. Of course the management team, if it so desires, can seek such input.

    But there are many, many operations besides the development of creative ideas that must take place in a company, no matter what they do. Administration, distribution, accounting, etc. There are day to day operations which have nothing to do at all with the creative process – there is no reason why the by-laws governing these non-creative processes cannot be democratically decided or influenced by those who must carry them out.

    The rank-and-file worker does not necessarily need a direct say in every decision made, in other words, in order for there to be democracy. The idea is to extend as much control and provide as much accountability possible within those areas that most directly affect the workers.

    3) Further on the topic of democracy, you write of large firms that

    “an individual worker’s vote is not going to count for much with so many employees.”

    I must object once again. I’ll leave aside whatever parallels might be drawn with political democracy and the implications that might have.

    Rather, I would suggest that, again, the concept of democracy need not be so narrowly applied. It need not be limited to a guaranteed vote on every matter. It may be as simple as having a say in the by-laws that govern a particular worker’s area of a particular firm, and a mechanism by which management can be held accountable. Or it could be more expansive. It depends upon what workers, managers, and investors are willing to agree upon.

    4)Here are what I think are serious problems: Ultimately a degree of good will must play a role, since I imagine that to many investors, it appears that a firm that keeps its workers in line autocratically or oligarchically will be more focused on the bottom line than one in which, yes, operations might be potentially held up by deliberations. This is one area where arguments against unions and arguments against economic democracy overlap; rising and falling stock values sometimes follow the victories and defeats of management versus labor.

    Superficial calculus might declare that more shares for the workers means less shares for the investor, but if worker ownership and democracy lead to greater productivity – and I think they can, do, and will continue to – then everyone wins.

    What we need are socially conscious investors who strive to do with their money what Christian morality demands of them, or their secular social conscience, or call it what you will. This is not to say that people should make BAD investments as an act of charity, but perhaps that they should forgo super-profits overnight for more modest returns over a period of time.

    For, in the end, if the model works, it works. There may be situations where slavery or some other hideous form of exploitation would yield even greater profits than the typical capitalist firm, but we avoid those and outlaw those because they are morally reprehensible. We let, in other words, a moral consideration, a view of the human person, draw a limit for our economic behavior.

    There is no reason this cannot also be a positive sentiment – instead of abstaining from a bad form of investment for moral reasons, engaging in a good form of investment for other moral reasons.

  • I would not propose that rank-and-file workers be granted creative control over new projects, or even a democratic veto.

    In what sense, then, would the company be “employee owned”?

  • In the sense that workers own shares and earn dividends from them…?

    I suppose I should say, it isn’t necessary that every worker have control over every process in EOCC. It is sufficient that they have control over their immediate area of work, have the ability to hold all management accountable for their leadership and performance, and own shares in the company.

    I mean, do investors typically insist on control over the creative work of the management team? No. They own the company but, to use an example Darwin might be thinking of, they don’t sit in at every meeting to design the next video game, they don’t hover over the shoulder of the screen writer or the producer of the next movie.

  • Here is the guy who blazed the train here in the US

    Learn how Jack Stack and his fellow employees transformed a failing division of International Harvester into one of the most successful and competitive companies in America using the principles of Open-Book Management.

  • Your typical investor isn’t going to be sitting in on board meetings, at least not at a large company. But if they don’t like the way the company is being run they can sell their shares, or vote against management at the next election. Because of this management is going to be very concerned about keeping shareholders happy, and would be unlikely to do anything that would upset the shareholders.

    In the case of a typical public company, keeping the shareholders happy isn’t inconsistent with a great deal of creativity and growth within a company. Where the shareholders are employees, however, the situation is somewhat different. Unlike a typical shareholder, who has invested only a small portion of this income in a given company, an employee shareholder will have almost his entire livelihood dependent on how the one company does, which is going to make him less willing to abide high risk/high return strategies. In addition, if an employee’s shares are going to be diluted whenever a new employee is hired, that is going to make employee shareholders less willing to expand, as doing so could lessen the value of their own shares even if it makes the company as a whole more successful.

    Mind you, all of that is premised on the idea that shareholders have some indirect control over management stemming from their ability to sell their shares freely and/or exercise voting rights. Presumably, though, you don’t think that employees should be able to sell their shares freely, as if they could the “employee owned” company would quickly become a regular investor-owned company. And based on your recent comments, it doesn’t seem like you think employee shareholders should have voting rights either (I kind of doubt that this is your view, but that’s what it sounds like from your recent statements). In that case I’m not clear on how you think employees are supposed to “hold all management accountable.”

  • “Your typical investor isn’t going to be sitting in on board meetings, at least not at a large company.”

    No kidding. And they aren’t going to sit in on “should Gandolf’s robe be dark grey or light grey in the Lord of the Rings video game” session either. The point here was simply that creative decisions are not going to be subject to democratic vote – but those coming up with the ideas will be held accountable for their performance.

    “Unlike a typical shareholder, who has invested only a small portion of this income in a given company, an employee shareholder will have almost his entire livelihood dependent on how the one company does”

    Understood. That still doesn’t mean that everyone has to have a vote on everything. This is a very simple point I am responding to. It isn’t an absolute requirement for economic democracy or worker ownership. It’s simple. There’s no need to nitpick the point. Either you agree or don’t. Either people have to be able to vote on everything for there to be democracy, or they don’t.

    Now, onto the other points…

    “which is going to make him less willing to abide high risk/high return strategies”

    Isn’t this assuming that the employee isn’t also earning a salary – like every executive is today? What is the difference between the executive with extensive stock options, whose “entire livelihood” is tied up with the company he works for, and the worker’s who stake is probably smaller? Wouldn’t it be less of a dependency on share value and more of a willingness to risk?

    On the other hand what makes a CEO and a well invested board of directors want to take major gambles with everything they have? Why is there a difference?

    “In addition, if an employee’s shares are going to be diluted whenever a new employee is hired, that is going to make employee shareholders less willing to expand, as doing so could lessen the value of their own shares even if it makes the company as a whole more successful.”

    It could do that, yes. Presumably, everyone will understand that possibility when they sign up. But even if the value of their shares decline, they would still be earning more than their counterparts in the industry who don’t own anything. Moreover, I see no reason to assume that this is a likely thing to happen. As the National Center for Employee Ownership reports,

    “Just as important, however, are potential productivity gains. Studies consistently show that when broad employee ownership is combined with a highly participative management style, companies perform much better than they otherwise would be expected to do. Neither ownership nor participation accomplishes these significant gains on its own. Companies want employees to “think and act like owners.” What better way to do that than to make them owners?”

    They do much better – meaning, as they company performs better, bringing on new workers will only make it better, and not necessarily cause a dividing up of the shares to result in a loss of income to the shareholders.

    As for the final paragraph….

    While I don’t think it needs to be a contract for life, I do think there has to be a contract of some kind, yes – for the reason you state.

    But the contract also includes voting rights, and I have absolutely no idea what “statements” you are talking about that suggest I don’t think employee shareholders should have voting rights. I do think they should have voting rights, I just don’t think they need to have a vote over everything.

    Let me try, try, to put it more clearly: some decisions depend upon objective knowledge, experience, skill, things that cannot be decided democratically. Those are the sort of things Darwin was referring to, companies that rely on the creativity of a small team to make big profits. I don’t think that creative process itself requires democratic oversight. But I do think that if it is manifest that the ideas aren’t selling, the workers can vote them out, like investors do with any poorly-performing executive officer.

  • Joe,
    CEOs, entrepeneurs, and creative talent gamble on risky, potentially high reward strategies because the payoff for success is so much bigger, and because they don’t usually risk everything – their chances of rebounding from a loss are higher. Investors who choose such companies also have a higher appetite for risk than your average company man.

    And Blackadder’s point about workers being hesitent to dilute their share of the profits by allowing more employees rings true to me – look at how unionized industries (services in Italy, for example) and professional occupations (doctors, teachers) both tend to resist allowing more workers (through deregulation and licensing reform).

    That said, I find your idea for transitioning from venture capital to employee ownership as an industry matures an interesting one – perhaps through a pre-established dividend amount/share buyback (e.g. 3 times the investment, adjusted for inflation?).

  • Sometimes its true about the unwillingness to dilute shares, but the situations you’re talking about aren’t the same ones I’m talking about. I think that if it is clear that adding more workers is going to make the company more successful, worker-owners are going to have better reasons to bring on more worker-owners than union workers or professional associations are.

    A wage worker’s wages, even in a union, are determined more by supply and demand on the labor market than the profitability of the firm they work for. With worker-owners it is the other way around.

    As for the transition, yes, something along those lines.

First Catholic Mass at Pensacola

Friday, October 16, AD 2009


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.

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6 Responses to First Catholic Mass at Pensacola

  • I often found it ironic how the New World was originally “Catholic”, only later to become conquered and at last dominated by Protestantism by none other than our great American forefathers.

  • What is the Feast of the Assumption? Is that he former Holy Day of Obligation honoring the Mother of God? The one which much of our bishopric have decided is too inconvenient?
    The Inconvenient Mother of God.

  • “The Inconvenient Mother of God.”

    I put that up there with the inconvenient Immaculate Conception, too.

  • “Hello! I want to let you know about an awesome group called “Kepha, the Brotherhood of the Iron Will.” Kepha is a growing brotherhood of Catholic fathers and sons in seven states that are faithful to the Holy Father. We promote the Culture of Life through monthly retreats and shared daily prayers and provoke each other to Heaven according to our motto, “Dynamic Orthodoxy, Infectious Joy.”

    Kepha’s is a high-octane Catholicism rejecting spiritual laziness and moral compromise. We are under the patronage of our “BIG 3”: St. John Bosco, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, and Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati. Kepha members agree to live by 5 commitments : Apologetics, Brotherhood, Charity, Mortification and Prayer.

    Kepha is a non-profit organization with chapters in Texas and Louisiana. If you know of any men who are looking for an excellent way to strengthen their relationships with their sons, then please tell them about Kepha.

    You can find out more information on our web site at
    You can read an article about Kepha, our founder Brent Zeringue wrote here
    We look forward to hearing from you!

    God bless you!
    Corey Harned

  • I wonder if the god-haters will push to remove all crosses from the national veterans’ cemeteries.

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

Friday, October 16, AD 2009

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

  • If I were a St. Louis Rams fan, I would not want an owner who couldn’t tell how good a quarterback Donovan McNabb was (at least before his injuries).

  • I would not want an owner who couldn’t tell how good a quarterback Donovan McNabb was

    Sigh. You know, Rush never actually said Donovan McNabb wasn’t a good quarterback. In fact he has repeatedly said that he is. The whole fiasco was about how he felt the media portrayed McNabb – a point that Chris Collinsworth actually all but confirmed the very next week when he overhyped McNabb’s role in an Eagles’ victory that was all but due to the defense.

  • BTW, somewhat tangentially, a person can be deemed overrated who, noentheless, is still a great player. Case in point: Derek Jeter. Jeter is no doubt a Hall of Fame caliber ballplayer, yet at the same time he is completely over-hyped by a fawning media. At the time Rush made the comments I think it’s fair to say that McNabb, while a very good player, was probably slightly overrated by the media. Even if you don’t think the media was motivated by racial considerations, I thought at the time that such a consideration was fair.

  • Being a liberal means never saying you’re sorry.

  • Yeah, I thought Rush’s comment was probably correct, but imprudent for exactly the reason that has manifested this past week. People with agendas would twist his words to manipulate people without gray matter.

  • This is on of the many instances where the mainstream media tries to silence crazy uncle Rush, not because of what he says, but because they disagree with his point of view and are jealous of his following and his wealth.

    If he hasn’t pulled a Pete Rose (or something similar), why would he not be allowed partial ownership of a sports team? I guess I will never understand that one…

  • Speaking of bad journalism… Anderson Cooper did -not- use the false quotes, he merely pointed out they weren’t accurate, which is an example of yellow journalism? Logic fail.

  • No one destroyed Rush Limbaugh…he is still going strong…those who lied will have their lies backfire on them at some point…what goes around, comes around. Actually, Rush would probably not have had as much time for his radio show so the liars have enabled Rush to stay and fight against the radicals who have infiltrated our adminstration and our country. Way to go!!!!

  • Paul, Just this guy,

    Being a liberal means never saying you’re sorry.

    That was funny!

A Very Bad Argument Against Capital Punishment

Thursday, October 15, AD 2009

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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22 Responses to A Very Bad Argument Against Capital Punishment

  • “How can you teach people to respect life by threatening to kill them?”

    It is widely assumed that whenever the death penalty is under discussion, that if any theological considerations are to be invoked at all, these will weigh against it. “Surely, mercy is to be favored” is often the prevailing thought. However, the situation is much more complicated than that.

    In my own view, the underlying principle of retributive justice needs to be explained, especially since nowadays it’s largely misconceived.

    By retributive justice, I don’t mean the animalistic indulgence, impersonal spite, or maliciousness against an offender.

    Rather), there are important social values (i.e., the RIGHT TO LIFE) which MUST BE UPHELD for the sake of an orderly society and that those who affront these values by their violent behaviour must be called to account for their actions by proportionate punishment.

    For instance, in the case of someone who deliberately takes a life, our willingness to impose the death penalty is our testimony to how seriously we take the value against which he has offended.

    There is nothing brutal in treating a person as a responsible agent who can be held accountable for his acts and requiring he sustain the burden proportionate to the burden he has wrongly inflicted against others.

    Quite the contrary, what is brutalizing and dehumanizing (pace DarwinCatholic) is to overthrow our principle of retributive justice and, in effect, TREAT THE CRIMINAL AS LESS THAN A RESPONSIBLE AGENT — as some sort of behavioral animal who’s not really responsible and culpable for his crimes, who has to be treated and cured but not punishment.

    Finally, we can’t have a concept of mercy if we don’t have a principle of retributive justice to begin with.

    There first has to be an understanding that these offences demand such punishment and once we have a principle like this in place, then there can be mercy on the part of a governor or whoever can relax the strict requirements of Justice in an individual case.

    But if we try to codify the notion of mercy without a sense of retributive justice in the first place, we don’t have mercy — we have SENTIMENTALITY!

    Catholics should note that the previous Holy Father, John Paul II, in his encyclical Evangelium Vitae looked at the situation in terms of modern social conditions and judged, in his personal opinion, that the conditions under which Capital Punishment should be used would be quite rare. Yet, he didn’t eliminate it all together.

    Moreover, Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, issued a memorandum subsequent to EV in which he pointed out that presumably because of the ambiguities that surround this question, there can be a legitimate diversity of opinion among Catholics regarding when Capital Punishment should be used. Note that he expressly did not state that he was against it.

  • For instance, in the case of someone who deliberately takes a life, our willingness to impose the death penalty is our testimony to how seriously we take the value against which he has offended.

    Even though I am opposed to the death penalty, I think that the point above is a very astute one, especially against those who make the argument that the death penalty debases human life.

    It’s funny, but I generally find many if not most of the arguments against the death penalty to be pretty bad. That said, the ultimate argument against it – that it’s simply immoral (if not prohibited by the Church) still is ultimately persuasive to me.

  • If the death penalty is so immoral, then what kind of God exactly do we Christians believe in?

    Let me remind you that it was God Himself who commanded that murderers be executed.

    In Genesis 9: 5-6, God commanded Noah and his descendants to execute murderers.


    Because murder is the ultimate violation of the divine image in humanity, and killing the perpetrator is the only proportional punishment!

    The rest of the Torah reinforces that command, and the New Testament doesn’t countermand it.

    Indeed, even Sister Helen Prejean herself admitted as much in her book, Dead Man Walking, when discussing Jesus and the adulteress in John 8:

    “It is abundantly clear that the Bible depicts murder as a capital crime for which death is considered the appropriate punishment, and one is hard pressed to find a biblical ‘proof text’ in either the Hebrew Testament or the New Testament which unequivocally refutes this. Even Jesus’ admonition ‘Let him without sin cast the first stone,’ when He was asked the appropriate punishment for an adulteress (John 8:7) – the Mosaic Law prescribed death – should be read in its proper context.

    “This passage is an ‘entrapment’ story, which sought to show Jesus’ wisdom in besting His adversaries. It is not an ethical pronouncement about capital punishment.”

  • I assume that the priest is perhaps unfamiliar with the copious portions of the Old Testament that call for death for numerous offenses. The current stance against the death penalty turns Church teaching on this issue on its head for the past two millenia. Both the State and the Church held throughout that time period that the death penalty could be justly exacted by the State.

    The Baltimore Catechism well set forth the traditional teaching:

    “Q. 1276. Under what circumstances may human life be lawfully taken?

    A. Human life may be lawfully taken:
    1. In self-defense, when we are unjustly attacked and have no other means of saving our own lives;
    2. In a just war, when the safety or rights of the nation require it;
    3. By the lawful execution of a criminal, fairly tried and found guilty of a crime punishable by death when the preservation of law and order and the good of the community require such execution.”

    If people of a state wish to abolish the death penalty, frankly that is a issue that doesn’t move me one way or the other. I am mildly in favor of the death penalty in extreme cases but it is not a hot button issue for me. However religious arguments from a Catholic perspective I find difficult to take seriously considering the vast amount of Catholic teaching to the contrary until the pontificate of John Paul II. I find it impossible to believe that the Church was mistaken on this issue for almost 2000 years.

  • A side note, but: Pulling examples of Catholic moral teaching, the priest focused a lot on both abortion and capital punishment (which he presented as absolutely forbidden). I think many priests who feel worried that they’ll be cast as too political by talking about abortion seek to balance it by condemning capital punishment equally — feeling that this shows how they aren’t partisan.

  • Even though capital punishment in today’s circumstances may be wrong, I think it is also wrong to try and say it and abortion are issues of equal importance. Abortion claims millions of lives every year, ruins entire nations (look at Russia!), destroys families, places souls in jeopardy… it is a scourge on all society. On our list of priorities, abortion has to come before capital punishment.

    I also can’t get too enthusiastic about trying to save the lives of cold-blooded murderers and rapists. As a Catholic, I will assent to the teaching of the Church, but as a human being, I won’t deny that I have a desire to punish violent crime so severely that others will be terrified to undertake it.

    I’ll also add, though, that I think no one should EVER go to prison for possession of drugs, that we have FAR too many laws, obscure, arcane, hidden laws that sometimes trap people unjustly. The punishment has to fit the crime, and in our society, the punishment is too light for the worst criminals, and too harsh for the vast majority. Our priorities are entirely out of order.

  • Generally speaking I’m against the death penalty, but I definitely make an exception for whoever invented television reality shows.

  • *shrug* It’s from the same school of argument that claims making war for peace doesn’t make sense, or that “F*ing for virginity” doesn’t make sense.

    (Hint: both of those most reliably result in peace and virgins, respectively….)

    If everyone that commits premeditated homicide were exicuted, they wouldn’t commit another murder and thus the number of murders would go down.

    Natch, how effective something is doesn’t argue for or against the morality of the action….

  • foxfier:

    Were you by any chance intoxicated when you wrote the above? ;^)

    I’ve heard “Make Love, Not War”, but what exactly does “F*ing for virginity” mean?

    That’s the first time I’ve ever encountered such an expression.

  • Run a google search e. It is ubiquitous on the Left, and Foxfier cleverly demonstrated what an inane phrase it is.

  • Lucky you, e– there’s (bleeped and unbleeped) bumper stickers of it all over. Usually the full phrase is “Making war for peace is like (making love) for virginity.”

    Was quoted at me in high school– I think it’s from the 60s?– and the other teens weren’t impressed when I pointed out that it would result in a net gain of virgins…. But I fear I’m derailing the topic; just meant to point out the school of thought.

  • Where I’m at, I’ve never encountered such bumper stickers.

    Although, I’ve quite recently encountered license plates that, for some reason or another, carry the insignia “War of Warcraft”, which seems particularly odd for me, personally; I mean, isn’t this some sort of video game?

    As far as the death penalty is concerned, I am still of the opinion that not only is it a categorical imperative (in the Kantian sense) but also a moral one if anything, especially if we are to give any sort credence whatsoever to Holy Writ.

    Furthermore, there is also the fact that much of the criminal elements in prisons are quite encouraged by the fact that in place of any such death penalty, the worst they can suffer are multiple life sentences; hence, we’ve virtually bestowed upon these a “license to kill”, so-to-speak.

    The degree to which we deem the value of life itself is illustrated quite nicely these days by a society that hardly thinks the taking of life deserves nothing more than merely time away in prison!

    How very apt as such values are much in keeping with the Culture of Death!

    Obama is indeed a worthy recipient of the Noble Peace Prize given the kind of society that exists today where its very values are so warped.

  • Although, I’ve quite recently encountered license plates that, for some reason or another, carry the insignia “War of Warcraft”, which seems particularly odd for me, personally; I mean, isn’t this some sort of video game?

    *big grin* Yes, yes it is– one with a really good sense of humor. I’d be delighted to have more Warcraft stickers instead of political ones….Given my luck, I’ll just end up with political Warcraft ones. (Palin is <a href=""Varimathras! Warlocks pwn as Demo-crat!”)

  • Actually, the one I encountered wasn’t a bumper sticker; it was a license plate.

    I know they make custom plates for certain causes (e.g., “Save the Whales”, etc.); but I take it that the prominence of this particular video game is such that it too became deserving of the honor of becoming a custom plate as well?

    Curious, your link didn’t turn up (maybe due to the html coding); but were you actually indicating that Palin also plays this video game?

    If anybody could provide an incentive for folks to play that video game, it’d be a hot babe like her! *wink*

  • Oh, nice— guessing that it’s one of those states that lets most anything be made into a plate, then.

    Heh, I did mess up the HTML– tried to remove the Palin example, ended up only removing the closing tag. (figure less is more when it’s an in-joke)

    I’m pretty sure Palin doesn’t play WoW– although her kids might, especially that son in the military. (Amazing number of military folks in online games- pay 12 bucks a month for subscription and you can visit friends any time you’ve got an internet connection. Plus, the game and a six pack are a pretty good evening on the cheap.)

  • Lamartine wrote of the abolition of the death penalty: “Que messieurs les assassins commencent”.

    It seems to me that many Catholic commentators overlook the fact that death is not a final end. You can get run over any day.

    I am reminded of the prisoner on death row who was seated on the metal seat of his toilet, while fiddling with his radio, and managed to electrocute himself.

    The question should be about the effect on the society that uses the death penalty, not on the person executed.

  • No, what people need to realize is the total disregard for life that our society has (and, in particular, Catholics themselves), such that the deliberate taking of a life is deemed as petty as a lesser offence wherein we practically impose upon murderers penalties equal to those of the latter!

  • I can’t say I’d agree that being dead is less about the dead person than what it does to society…by that reasoning, murderers should get off easier if they kill folks whose death ends up being a net gain, and that’s rather nuts.

    Based on the fact that those places where they don’t use the death penalty, the folks who murder tend to get off (Only chart I can find fast– average of 10 years served for murderers) rather lightly, and with rather high recidivism {35% here, although location etc will matter.} it’s not so good an idea….

  • I just have no luck with HTML today….

  • Doctrine develops. Times change. JP2 didn’t reverse anything. The state may execute. But in modern America, it is unnecessary. Completely compatible with the Baltimore Catechism which states that it’s acceptable “when the preservation of law and order and the good of the community require such execution.”

    As for the “bad argument,” I don’t find it bad at all. When less drastic measures are sufficient, preserving life is a great testiment to how much society values it.

  • Development of Doctrine a la Newman is one thing restrained radical, reversal is another. I defy anyone to say with a straight face that John Paul II did not intend to abolish the death penalty. This stands traditional teaching in this area on its head. One of the great strengths of the Church is how heedless it has been over great gulfs of time to the momentary shifts in popular intellectual prejudices and emotional passions that sweep over almost all other human institutions. The mainline Protestant denominations are dying proofs of what happens to religious organizations that shift Church teaching to embrace the zeitgeist.

  • …preserving life is a great testament to how much society values it.

    Imposing criminal penalties on murderers that are equivalent to those of even lesser offenses is sheer testament of how trivial this society deems murder to be — but, hey, that’s not all that surprising given how abortion (which is nothing more than murder) is also treated so casually and how facets of the Culture of Death itself is promoted quite enthusiastically by even certain Catholics that they would deliberately ignore Scripture itself concerning these two things.

John Adams and the Church of Rome

Thursday, October 15, AD 2009

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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18 Responses to John Adams and the Church of Rome

  • Good stuff. I’ve heard similar sentiments from traditional conservative Protestants. Pomp has its fans. I’d love to see a return of the high and low Mass distinction. The high being a High TLM and the low being a Novus Novus Ordo (guitars, drums, and hand holding).

  • That is a very sound proposal restrained radical.

  • Note to restrainedradical: NO need not be guitars, drums and hand holding. To the contrary, in my experience, that isn’t that case at all. The Holy Father celebrated the NO when visiting the U.S. – was that as irreverent as you suggest?

  • In his description of the aesthetics of the Mass, are we sure Adams is reacting positively? If he is a man of New England prejudices, such things, even if “affecting” and able to “charm and bewitch” are negative. With a low opinion of humanity, the fact that it amazes him that Luther could succeed in leading people away from Catholicism isn’t necessarily praise for the Church – after all, the people were bewitched!

    Additional information on Adams and Catholicism can be found here:
    and here:

    In both those cases, Steven Waldman sees in Adams’s letter about the Philadelphia Mass nothing but criticism. I confess to being unsure on the topic; I originally read it that way, but my understanding of the word “awful” was based on the current conventional usage.

    One comment that I thought Don might be sympathetic too, if it were applied to the post Vatican II current of thought in the order, is Adams’s assessment of the Jesuits: “This Society has been a greater Calamity to Mankind than the French Revolution or Napoleans Despotism or Ideology. It has obstructed the Progress of Reformation and the Improvements of the human Mind in Society much longer and more fatally.”

  • Adams was a cross-grained personality Zach. He normally phrased a compliment within a criticism. Something he disliked like the Catholic Church received the full brunt of this habit. As to his comment about the Jesuits, it reminds me that Jesuits were banned from Massachusetts under penalty of death in 1647. Ah for the halcyon days when enemies of the Church were the ones ladling harsh criticism upon the Jesuits.

  • “I wonder how Luther ever broke the spell.”

    Two words: Marty Haugen

    Of course it took a few centuries 🙂

  • Good stuff.

    In my opinion the NO (or Ordinary Form) can be celebrated reverently.

    But in my opinion because of the many NO Masses I have attended in my short life, I have never, ever seen a NO Mass done well or correctly. Until I came to the Anglican Use of the Latin Rite Mass and fell in love with this beautiful Liturgy.

  • Donald:

    This is the first time I’ve ever encountered such a relatively reverent portrayal of a vehemently anti-Catholic like Adams — and, quite ironically, from such a devout and respectable Catholic as yourself.

    While I myself may respect the man for his significance in our American history, other than that, I regard him with as much personal respect as I would a Cromwell or a Cranmer.

  • There’s a striking contrast in just a few of Adams’ paragraphs. First this:

    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 doubt Adams considered himself simple and ignorant, but it sounds like he’s been charmed and bewitched a bit despite himself. Are only the simple and ignorant drawn to beauty?

    Before that, there’s this:

    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.

    He’s clearly disgusted by the crucifix. Not beautiful at all, in his eyes. I hear echoes of his horror in my Protestant New England mother’s thoughts about some of the more graphic imagery used by the Church.

    The beautiful and the grotesque together: Drawn to one and repulsed by the other, Adams doesn’t seem to be able to make sense of it…

    Nor does this guy:

    Many are drawn, but the teaching is hard, and they walk away.

  • “Adams doesn’t seem to be able to make sense of it.”

    True and tragic.

    “This is the first time I’ve ever encountered such a relatively reverent portrayal of a vehemently anti-Catholic like Adams — and, quite ironically, from such a devout and respectable Catholic as yourself.”

    Truth to tell e. I feel sorry for Mr. Adams. He grew up in an intensely anti-Catholic environment. Unfortunately for him no Road to Damascus experience occurred to him. However, his comments indicate to me that, in spite of himself, he felt on some level an attraction to the Church. He reminds me of the rich young man who walked away from Jesus after the young man learned the cost of discipleship. To embrace the Faith for Adams would have meant turning his back on everything that mattered to him: his Protestant faith, his heritage, his family and his education. I can be sympathetic for someone like Mr. Adams who lacks the light that guides us, especially when the antipathy he felt towards the Church, as far as I know, never tainted his actions as a public official. Adams always stood foursquare for freedom of religion, and in this country that is all Catholics have ever asked.

  • Donald:

    Well, I am appreciative at least of how your entry provides us a somewhat refreshingly different perspective from which to view Adams’ anti-Catholicism, however distasteful I find the man to be personally. Objectively speaking, the man is a great historical figure; yet, on a more intimate note, there remains much to be desired upon closer inspection, particularly regarding one fierce prejudice of his which he could not help but be explicit.

  • I agree with Donald. Adams was a man of his times and place and Massachusetts in the 18th century was clearly not Catholic-friendly. I believe it was only a generation before Adams that religious freedom was actually enacted in Massachusetts, except for those of the “Popish” faith.

    It would be hard to describe Adams as a Unitarian, since the Unitarians were not established as a denomination until about 50 years after Adams death.

    I recently read a book about the role of Sundays in both Britain and New England, including the time of Adams. Strict sabbatarians pretty much ruled in New England in those days. Their expectation was that you attended church services on Sunday essentially all day, which featured a sermon by the preacher that would be at least an hour in length. Very dour, you didn’t dare nod off, no smiling allowed on Sunday at any time or anywhere. The “competition” so to speak for how Sunday should be lived was “the Continent,” where the Church of Rome essentially said “go to church for an hour or so and then relax.” There was great resistence to such a slack observance of the sabbath, but, over time, the Catholic approach prevailed. I suspect that some of Adams’ reaction is based on his experience and assumption of how Sunday “should” be observed.

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  • Trust me, John Adams was not at all attracted to Roman Catholicism. On the contrary he was repulsed, if fascinated, by its lack of attention to the First Commandment, and its prosaic and pedestrian, if spare, use of English.

    If Cathilocs are truly interested, they must study the Pilgrims, the Puritans and those who spent blood and treasure to come here to establish a new country and a new covenant in order precisely to avoid the synergy of Church and State that was extant in their native countries of Europe.

  • Actually Irish Catholics who emigrated to this country had more than enough of state enforced Protestantism, so we Catholics have little to learn from the Pilgrims and Puritans on that score. Incidentally, the Puritans had nothing against an established Church as long as they ran it, as the period of their rule in Massachusetts amply indicates. As for Mr. Adams, his diary entries and letters speak for themselves.

  • It is strange to me that you people can’t see what he was saying when he says “I wonder how Luther ever broke the spell”.

    He wonders, is amazed, that Luther was ABLE to.

    He contemplates the pomp and stage work, the “glamour” of the artifice, notes the ignorant simple peoples not even comprehending the language the chants are in, and is amazed that Luther was able to break the spells hold. Part of the amazement was obviously at Luthers toolset, bland un-glossy reason to combat the pomp, and yet, successful !. Hence his wonder.

    When he says “Here is everything which can lay hold of the eye, ear, and imagination. Everything which can charm and bewitch the simple and the ignorant”, he means to damn the churches use of pomp and trickery as propaganda to fool the gullible.

  • Thank you for your strenuous efforts in pointing out the obvious Apteryx. Perhaps you could also explain why he kept coming back time and again. The disdain is there, but also wonder at the beauty of it all. Unlike many people, internet atheists for example, Adams was able to contemplate that he might be wrong:

    “yet, perhaps, I was rash and unreasonable, and that it is as much virtue and wisdom in them to adore, as in me to detest and despise.”

The Bi-Partisanship Fallacy

Wednesday, October 14, AD 2009

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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12 Responses to The Bi-Partisanship Fallacy

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

    Legislation supported by Olympia Snowe + Democrats = “bipartisan”!

  • I have a dim view of ‘bi-partisanship’

    To paraphrase Tom Woods: Americans have two parties- the stupid party and the evil party. Once in a while, they come together to do things both stupid and evil. This is called ‘bi-partisanship’.

  • I’m inclined to agree with Anthony. Any bill that passes overwhelmingly is liable to be a bad idea (the a national alert system being a case in point).

    Judging by common usage, I would say that a “bi-partisan” is a Democrat initiative with some Republican support. Republican initiatives don’t count as bi-partisan, even if they have the support of lots of Democrats.

  • Republican initiatives don’t count as bi-partisan, even if they have the support of lots of Democrats.

    That, or if there is a Republican initiative which gained support from some Democrats and actually worked out, it becomes the property of the Democrats, such as “Clinton’s welfare reform”.

  • In California we have a governor who does nothing when it comes to the will of the people and yet screams out in defense of his policies, “we have reached accross the aisle and have come to an agreement.” It seems to me that many times bi-partisanship is just an excuse to do what they want, the people be “darned”.

  • Obama lauded Olympia Snowe for her support of a ‘bi-partisan’ bill…does one ‘yes’ vote from a Republican make the bill bi-partisan? I don’t think so…

  • NCLB seemed to be bipartisan (stupid and evil it has been called by some, of course). One could argue that Obama’s inclusion of tax cuts as such a large portion of the stimulus package was a failed attempt to make it bipartisan.

  • To the extent that the two parties really do represent different political philosophies

    Indeed. Material for a post or ten, me thinks.

  • I thought everything from Wasington was bi-partisan since I can’t tell the difference between the Demoncrats and the Republican’ts. Is there a difference?

    Would that we had two parties rather than the tax more and tax a lot more party and the kill babies and proud of it and kill babies but pretend to have a problem with it party.

    Does anyone really fall for this malarkey?

  • I can’t tell the difference between the Demoncrats and the Republicant’s. Is there a difference?

    Well, you can’t tell the difference between certain Catholics and Protestants these days; so, it ain’t surprising.

    Besides, one need only look to California’s governor: a Demoncrat in RepubliCath’s clothing!

  • Really? I though it was a metal alloy skeleton with live human flesh on the outside.

  • To my knowledge, the only good thing about the Governator in whose state I am glad to no longer be a resident is that he’s not Grey Davis — but that’s a pretty meager accomplishment, and people have gotten rightly tired of it by now.

6 Responses to Obama Negotiates With Wildfire

  • Hilarious!

    Our president should just apologize for being so combustible.

    That’s his M.O. thus far!

  • OT, Donald, and I’m sorry, but I’m wondering if Limbaugh has a good case if he decides to sue for defamation. I opined so on another blog: after all, the bid process is supposed to be secret, but Rush’s bid was leaked to the press. He was then defamed as a racist by people who used made-up quotes attributed to him. It sure looks like he has a case to me, but then I remembered, I’m no lawyer. And the law certainly can be an ass.

  • Donna V.,

    I’m no lawyer as well, but if I were Rush Limbaugh I would sue MSNBC and CNN until they went under.

    It’s character assassination as well as defamation.

  • Under current case law Donna it is very hard for a public figure to prove defamation. However as a practical matter I think he should sue. The legal costs are of absolutely no concern to Limbaugh, his ratings, already sky-high, would continue into the stratosphere, and he would reveal his critics in the deadstream press to be lazy recyclers of made-up garbage from the internet.

  • Don is right about the difficulty of a public figure making a defamation case. That said, the standard is not impossible by any measure. What RL would have to show is that the defendant news outlets published false statements that were harmful to RL’s reputation with reckless disregard of their truthfullness. If indeed, for instance, CNBC falsely attributed a racist statement to RL, it would have to demonstrate that it too some effort to confirm the accuracy of the attribution, and did not just recklessly publish it.

  • Mike P.,

    Sounds like Rush has a possible lawsuit to pursue if those are the thresholds, then they seem very attainable from what I heard on MSNBC & CNN.

Let's find the fallacy!

Tuesday, October 13, AD 2009

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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4 Responses to Let's find the fallacy!

Gov Perry Moves to Stall Investigation of Execution of Innocent Man

Tuesday, October 13, AD 2009

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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15 Responses to Gov Perry Moves to Stall Investigation of Execution of Innocent Man

  • Agreed. It’s funny: I was strongly pro-death penalty until I read Evangelium Vitae, which — between the strength of the case and the authority of the author — relatively quickly led me to change my mind. Upon further review, I found that my former pro-penalty views conflated justice with vengeance, something which I find common for many (albeit not all) death penalty-supporters today.

  • Agreed that Governor Perry was wrong. As to the case itself, after 27 years at the bar, defending accused felons as part of my practice, generally the cases are more complicated than the news media reports. Here is the response of the Chief of the Corsicana Fire Department to the Texas Forensic Science Commission regarding this investigation.

    I normally view media investigations seeking to establish the innocence of someone convicted of a crime with the same skepticism I apply to the prosecution’s case at a trial. Unless I reviewed the trial transcripts I am in no position to judge whether Willingham was wrongfully convicted. I would agree with the article in the New Yorker that jailhouse snitch testimony is worthless. The saving grace is that normally a competent defense attorney can filet the snitch in cross examination and, in my experience, juries usually heavily discount such testimony.

  • #1 The headline of this article is misleading.

    #2 Even for those who strongly support the driving privilege (indeed, perhaps especially for them) citizens should have some assurance that the state takes the use of the driving privilege with utter seriousness and takes every possible precaution to avoid a permanent and tragic miscarriage of safety. One “possible precaution” is to ban automobile use. I’m sure the advocates of taking “every possible precaution” will give up their cars.

  • Mr. McClarey:

    Stick by your reading the transcripts. The state contends that the snitch was unaware of the X pattern in the children’s bedroom yet he testified that Willingham told him he poured the accelerant in an X pattern.

    Some more:

    1) “Cameron Todd Willingham: Media Meltdown & the Death Penalty:
    “Trial by Fire: Did Texas execute an innocent man?”, by David Grann–the-death-penalty.aspx

    As more reality comes to light, the more into disrepute run’s Grann’s article.

    Myarticle, above, was written and released prior to the Corsicana Fire Marshall’s report, below

    2) EXCLUSIVE: City report on arson probe:
    State panel asks for city response in Willingham case

    3) No Doubts

    For a collection of articles, go to:

    Corsicana Daily Sun, The Willingham Files

    OTHER REPORTS: There is the potential for, at least, 3 more, official, reports on this case: the Texas Fire Marshall’s office, which will give an official and requested reply, the Corsicana Police Dept. and Navarro County District Attorney’s office, both of which, I speculate, may only contribute to the TFM report, but could issue their own reports.

    There is an official “report” which, it appears, few have paid attention to – the trial transcript.

    I find that rather important because, at least six persons, who were involved with the trial, two prosecutors, the defense attorney, two surviving fire investigators and a juror have all voiced support for the verdict, still, in the light of the criticism of the arson forensics.

    One of those original fire investigators is, now, an active certified arson expert.

  • “Death Penalty Support: Modern Catholic Scholars”

    “Pope John Paul II: Prudential Judgement and the death penalty”

  • Just to clarify: I don’t consider the death penalty itself to be unjust, and I’m not strongly persuaded by the suggestion that it’s not needed to protect society in the modern world. I am, however, a bit ambivalent towards capital punishment as it exists in the US in that it seems to me there’s little value of either justice or protection to society in executing someone 15-20 years after the crime, which is what seems to be standard.


    The part of the New Yorker article I found fairly convincing was down in section IV where it talks about Dr. Hurst’s work on arson and overturning of assumptions in other cases that certain burn patterns could only be left by arson.

    Now, maybe I’m overly open to “expert testimony” of an experimental sort, but given that his findings had been used in a several similar cases to establish reasonable doubt, it seems to me like it would have been worth at least putting things on hold while looking into the question. I’m not thoroughly convinced the guy was an upstanding citizen, or anything, but it sounds like there were at least serious questions about the assumptions being used (reasonably enough, because they were standard in the industry) by the arson investigators at the time. And if the article is fully accurate on the arson, I’d be pretty confident the guy was probably innocent.

    That said, I think the vast majority of stuff put out by anti-capital punishment groups in an attempt to prove innocence is so clearly bunk (and transparant bunk at that) that one of the factors here may have been that a few people in the Texas justice system has simply stopped paying much attention to information presented on behalf of people on death row. That might be understandable in a sense, but it’s also a major problem.


    Are you trying to argue that the state _shouldn’t_ make every effort to make sure it only executes guilty people? Really?

  • DC: I certainly agree that the death penalty is not *inherently* unjust (that’s our faith’s teaching), but I disagree that we need the death penalty to protect society, at least in developed countries wherein prison technology keeps the most dangerous away from society. There might be the occasional exception, but in the vast majority of cases, I don’t see how the application of the death penalty *in our country* is needed to protect society.

  • Not only does our faith teach that the death penalty is not inherently unjust, the unbroken tradition of the Church stretching back to the Old Testament is that the death penalty is in fact sometimes a necessary penalty. Because the “moral equilibrium” upset by the crime of murder cannot be righted by any penalty short of death, the common teaching of the Church has always been that both natural and Divine justice require this penalty.

    Even today, under the Catechism’s far more negative treatment of capital punishment, acknowledgement is made that this penalty is sometimes necessary in order to defend the community, and should occur “rarely” only when certain advancements have occured which might render offenders harmless– advancements that have not yet occured, at least in this country, where no reliable methods exist (consonant with our Constitution) to render offenders harmless.

    Any view of capital punishment that denies or disparages the fundamental duty and right of the state to execute certain offenders is closer to the heresy of Waldensianism than to Catholic orthodoxy.

  • Here are but a few of the many examples showing that we do not in fact have the ability to render offenders harmless:
    Nor is it all clear what the Catechism was referring to when it mentioned “the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm.”

    Moreover, since we execute only a tiny fraction of murderers (1/4 of 1%), after fair trials and extensive and thorough appeals on many levels, it can confidently be said that in fact we only execute offenders “rarely.”

  • Tom, we do have the ability to render offenders harmless: supermax prisons come to mind.

    As to moral equilibrium, I think you overstate your case: the Magisterium has never said that anyone guilty of murder must be put to death for justice’s sake. More broadly, the Catholic doctrine of justice has never said that punishment ought to be of the same nature as the offense, and no society with Christian roots that I’m aware of thought of or practiced such a notion of justice (we don’t steal from thieves).

  • I cover the Catholic support for the death penalty above, as well as a review of Gerald’s Hurst’s interview.

    It is arguable that Pope John Paul II made numerous errors in EV and that such were just transferred into the Cathechism.

  • The Church’s solid and perennial teaching has been that the death penalty is in accord with natural and Divine justice, and that states have a right and even a duty to use this penalty.

    No one said that every murder has to be punished with death, only that the state acts justly and well, and not deficiently, when it executes someone convicted of murder. With all due respect, classical notions of justice, embraced by the Church for two millenia, ratify the principle that the moral harm done by murder is generally only fully repaired by what moralists call the “congruent satisfaction” of capital punishment.

    Abolitionism or squeamishness about this penalty does not respect life but in fact cheapens it by lessening the punishment that most closely fits the offense. If you want the long list of citations from Scripture, from the Church Fathers, from the Schoolmen, from the Popes, I can do that for you, but I suspect a smart guy like you probably knows that the Church has always not just tolerated, but blessed the practice of capital punishment.

    As to supermaxes, anyone familiar with these places can tell you that escapes occur, inmates murder or seriously injure each other and the guards; parole rules and executive pardons can result in the release of these offenders years after they are “safely locked away.”

    In any event, it clearly rests with the informed judgment of the civil authorities as to whether an offender is a threat to kill or harm again. In those cases, executions do not contravene even the Catechism’s ambiguous teaching.

  • Tom, I agree with your first ‘graph wholeheartedly.

    I think I need some clarity regarding your views on the appropriate punishment for murder. Previously you stated that “the ‘moral equilibrium’ upset by the crime of murder cannot be righted by any penalty short of death” mean that the death penalty is *required* for murder? I doubt that’s what you meant, which is why I opined that you overstated your case.

    But you seem to both deny & affirm that that’s your meaning in your latest comment when you write, “No one said that every murder has to be punished with death” but then proceed later to add, “the moral harm done by murder is generally only fully repaired by what moralists call the “congruent satisfaction” of capital punishment.” Can you clarify for me? Do you simply mean that *most* murders are appropriately punished by death, but not all? Or something else?

    Regarding supermaxes, I’m not familiar with an successful escapes… I’m guessing that you are, though. Link or reference?

  • When determining the efficacy of prisons rendering offenders harmless, one must take into account (i) the ability of offenders to commit murders while in prison, either by directly murdering guards or fellow “guests” or indirectly doing such or murdering those outside the prison via order. While I generally oppose the death penalty, there may be instances that may still be warranted to protect others.

  • The Catechism provides little time for justice, which must dominate the utilitarian aspect of protection.

    “While punishment does serve the purpose of protecting society, it also and primarily serves the function of manifesting the transcendent, divine order of justice–an order which the state executes by divine delegation.” ” . . . it may be argued that such a conception of punishment, rooted in the restoration of moral balance, always presupposes an awareness of the superordinate dignity of the common good as defined by transcendent moral truths.” (5)

    “Yet the presence of two purposes–retributive and medicinal justice–ought not obscure the priority of assigning punishment proportionate to the crime (just retribution) insofar as the limited jurisdiction of human justice allows. The end is not punishment, but rather the manifestation of a divine norm of retributive justice, which entails proportionate equality vis-à-vis the crime.” “The medicinal goal is not tantamount merely to stopping future evildoing, but rather entails manifesting the truth of the divine order of justice both to the criminal and to society at large. This means that mere stopping of further disorder is insufficient to constitute the full medicinal character of justice, which purpose alike and primarily entails the manifestation of the truth. Thus this foundational sense of the medicinality of penalty is retained even when others drop away.” (6)

    5) “Evangelium Vitae, St. Thomas Aquinas and the Death Penalty”, p 519, Steven A. Long, The Thomist, 63 (1999): 511-552

    6) ibid, p 522

POW Servant of God Recommended for Medal of Honor

Tuesday, October 13, AD 2009

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.

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One Response to POW Servant of God Recommended for Medal of Honor

The Nobel Peace Prize Thirty Years Ago

Tuesday, October 13, AD 2009

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.

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2 Responses to The Nobel Peace Prize Thirty Years Ago