Outsourcing Maternity

Monday, October 12, AD 2009

If you thought the modern world couldn’t get any more messed-up in its understanding of reproduction and the family, you need turn no further than the WSJ weekend section, and a feature article on people hiring surrogate mothers from India to bring their children to term.

According to Hrishikesh Pai, a Mumbai-based in-vitro fertilization specialist and vice-president of the Indian Society for Assisted Reproduction, India now has about 350 facilities that offer surrogacy as a part of a broader array of infertility-treatment services, triple the number in 2005. Last year, Dr. Pai says, about 1,000 pregnancy attempts using surrogates were made at these clinics. This year, he estimates the figure will jump to 1,500, with about a third of those made on behalf of parents from outside India who hired surrogates.

Rudy Rupak, president of PlanetHospital, a California-based medical-tourism company, says that in the first eight months of this year he sent 600 couples or single parents overseas for surrogacy, nearly three times the number in 2008 and up from just 33 in 2007. All of the clients this year went to India except seven who chose Panama. Most were from the U.S.; the rest came from Europe, the Middle East and Asia, mostly Japan, Vietnam, Singapore and Taiwan.

Mr. Rupak says that because of growing demand from his clients for eggs from Caucasian women, he’s started to fly donors to India from the former Soviet republic of Georgia, where he has connections with clinics. The first woman arrived last month. A PlanetHospital package that includes an Indian egg donor costs $32,500, excluding transportation and hotel expenses for the intended parent or parents to travel to India. A package with eggs from a Georgian donor costs an extra $5,000.

For the Indian surrogates themselves, it’s an experience often fraught with emotional conflict. In most cases, the egg comes either from the woman who wants to become a mother but can’t carry a child, or from an egg donor. The egg is then fertilized with sperm from the intended father, or a sperm donor, and implanted in the womb of a surrogate who bears the child. Sometimes, no money changes hands, particularly when a friend or relative acts as the surrogate. Alternatively, it’s a commercial transaction, which is almost always the case in India for would-be parents from overseas.

Still, it’s a way to raise money in sometimes desperate circumstances. Take Sudha, a 25-year-old mother of two who now works as a maid in Chennai earning $20 a month. She owes moneylenders about $2,700, borrowed to pay bribes to secure a government job as a streetsweeper, which never materialized. A neighbor told her she could earn about $2,000 at a local clinic by bearing a child for an infertile couple. She gave birth in July 2008 — and is haunted by the memory. “Whenever I have free time and I lie down, I think about the child. I pray that the child is safe and happy and is taken care of well.”

Continue reading...

3 Responses to Outsourcing Maternity

  • Indeed. And pity the “egg donor” mothers, who in addition to losing all contact with their children may pay with subsequent infertility and broken health.

  • Why do people seek these services?

    Judging from the radio show I was listening to yesterday– about IVF and multiple births– it’s because they don’t see the children as real, or people.

    This guy– the normal announcer, not the woman being interviewed– calmly announced that he and his wife had been going to have triplets, and were going to “selectively reduce” them. For the good of the surviving children, of course. Later added that they were only going to have twins, now, apparently without “selective reduction.”

    Made me sick to my heart.

Columbus, Catholicism and Courage

Monday, October 12, AD 2009

“This, indeed, is probably one of the Enemy’s motives for creating a dangerous world—a world in which moral issues really come to the point. He sees as well as you do that courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point, which means, at the point of highest reality. A chastity or honesty, or mercy, which yields to danger will be chaste or honest or merciful only on conditions. Pilate was merciful till it became risky. “

C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

This is one of those years in which the government decreed Columbus Day, the second Monday in October, actually falls on October 12, the date, under the Julian calendar, when Columbus discovered the New World.  Columbus Day is observed also in Spain as Dia de la Hispanidad and Fiesta Nacional and as the charmingly unpc Dia de la Raza in most Latin American nations. 

 In this country Columbus Day used to be an uncomplicated celebration, especially for Italian Americans.  Now it has become controversial with Columbus blamed in some quarters for genocide against Indians and being the founder of the American slave trade.  As Dinesh D’Souza pointed out in this article in 1995 in First Thingsthe condemnation of Columbus today tells us far more about current political battles than it does about the historical record of Columbus.  From a modern standpoint there is indeed much to criticize Columbus for since, in most ways, he was a typical man of his time, as we are, in most ways, typical children of ours.  Among other views inimical to our time,  he saw nothing wrong about establishing colonies and bringing native peoples under the rule of European powers.  He had little respect for the religions of native people and wanted them to be Catholic, as, indeed, he wanted all the world to be Catholic.  (I see nothing wrong in this myself, but rest assured most of our contemporaries in this country would.)

Prior to ascending the pulpit to launch a jeremiad against someone of a prior time however, it might be useful to consider the criticisms that Columbus might have of our time.  The embrace of nihilistic atheism by so many in the West in our time would have appalled him. The easy availability of the most degrading types of pornography would have sickened him.  Our weapons of mass destruction he would have seen as a sign of the reign of the Anti-Christ.  Ecumenicalism he would have viewed as a turning away from the True Faith.  The celebration of abortion as a right would have seemed to him as the ultimate covenant with death.  The Sixties of the last century popularized the term generation gap, describing the difficulty that parents and their teenage offspring had in understanding each other.  Between our time and that of Columbus there is a generations’ chasm and the use of Columbus as a whipping boy in current political disputes only increases our problem of understanding him and his time.

Continue reading...

40 Responses to Columbus, Catholicism and Courage

  • “On Columbus Day I honor a faithful Catholic who had a dream to spread the faith of Christ throughout the globe and the courage to make that dream a reality…”

    Hear, hear, I second your awesome post…Columbus was a Catholic Patriot of the highest order and brought light, progress and order to the New World!

    And as you have denoted above a master sailor to boot whose routes are still, TO THIS DAY, in existence and utlized for cross Atlantic journeys.

  • I have recently read a fascinating book entitled “1434” by a certain Gavin Menzies. The essence of the book is, as it carries on its head page, “The year a magnificent Chinese fleet sailed to Italy and ignited the Renaissance.”

    This is a follow up to his book, “1421” where he outlines the contribution China made, in those early years, to knowledge of the world known to the Chinese, but still veiled to the Europeans.

    Columbus – according to Menzies – was aware of the Chinese maps of the Pacific, such as they were in those times, which included basic outlines of the coastline of North America.

    Very interesting stuff – which probably could have influenced Columbus in his assurance of landfall to the West.

  • According to Chinese historians, Menzies is a kook. You should watch him sweat and squirm during interviews when asked to back up his claims.

  • “From a modern standpoint there is indeed much to criticize Columbus for since, in most ways, he was a typical man of his time, as we are, in most ways, typical children of ours.”

    I believe that’s called moral relativism. He used torture. Though, I guess if you’re a moral relativist, that wasn’t intrinsically evil in the 15th century.

    Columbus Day should be rebranded as Settlement Day or Colonization Day or better still Bartolome de Las Casas Day.

  • No restrained radical what it means is that our time is very good at seeing specks in the eyes of prior generations and ignoring the planks in ours.

  • Don the Kiwi,

    I’ve heard of that book.

    From what I am aware of, Columbus probably had a map of the new world from his Portuguese contacts. It was not uncommon for nations to hoard maps and keep them secret due to a crazy idea called “capitalism”. You see many European countries were looking for an alternate trade route to the far east after the fall of Constantinople to the Muslims.

    So it was in their best interests to keep maps as state secrets. Portugal, at the time, had the most extensive survey of the worlds ocean routes. They mapped many unknown lands prior to most European countries such as the Americas and Australia.

    That’s what I am aware of.

    Regardless, it was the Vikings that first discovered America.

    Tito the Norman

  • The Beringians discovered America circa 40,000 BC.

  • RestrainedRadical,

    If you want to play that game then it’s actually the Pangeans that “discovered” America circa a quarter billion BC.

  • My Cherokee ancestors discovered the New World first, doubtless when they were being chased by some ferocious animal across the land bridge where we now have the Bering Straits! 🙂

  • Aw shucks, little did your ancestors know that those cute, fuzzy-wuzzy polar bears chasing them were destined to be stranded and to starve on the melting ice down the road a tad.

  • Donald,

    You do know that Columbus has, rather unfortunately, been repainted as a tyrannical villain these days, no?

    Kids Study the Dark Side of Columbus


    “I talk about the situation where he didn’t even realize where he was,” Kolowith said. “And we talked about how he was very, very mean, very bossy.”

    In McDonald, Pa., 30 miles southwest of Pittsburgh, fourth-grade students at Fort Cherry Elementary put Columbus on trial this year — charging him with misrepresenting the Spanish crown and thievery. They found him guilty and sentenced him to life in prison.

    “In their own verbiage, he was a bad guy,” teacher Laurie Crawford said.


  • I’m quite aware of it e. The kids of course are merely mimicking what they are taught by politicized teachers and textbooks. NEA Today predicted in 1991 that “Never again will Christopher Columbus sit on a pedestal in United States history.”, and Columbus is a prime target of many leftist teachers.

  • I’m quite aware of it e. The kids of course are merely mimicking what they are taught by politicized teachers and textbooks.

    Given that most public schools are manned by such teachers, it won’t be long now that such foul revisionism will take its toll and the malarky that they’re being taught will ultimately become the “truth” for future generations.

    Just another grand reason why folks should send their children to public schools!

  • Given that most public schools are manned by such teachers, it won’t be long now that such foul revisionism will take its toll and the malarky that they’re being taught will ultimately become the “truth” for future generations.

    The criticisms offered of Columbus aren’t malarkey. It’s undeniable that Columbus was involved in slavery, or that he committed atrocities as governor. One might offer lame defenses based on cultural relativism or whatever, but that wouldn’t change the fact that he did do those things.

  • Blackadder,

    So you would actually characterize Donald’s defense of Columbus as a “lame defense based on cultural relativism or whatever”?

    Instead of merely rallying on the side of such folks, why don’t you provide that same compelling defense you expect of Donald et al?

    Quite ironic that you demand such substantial defense from persons of the latter persuasion while you yourself failed to provide similar substantial support for your claims but, quite simply, merely asserting that these provide such a “lame defense”.

    Must make what you said doubly lame, if not, hypocritical, to say the least.

  • Quite ironic that you demand such substantial defense from persons of the latter persuasion while you yourself failed to provide similar substantial support for your claims

    If you mean my claims about the criticisms of Columbus being factually accurate, I didn’t provide any “substantial support” because I assumed this was taken for granted. Donald’s “he was a typical man of his time” defense implicitly concedes as much. However, in case anyone is inclined to dispute this, I offer the following:

    As governor and viceroy of the Indies, Columbus imposed iron discipline on the first Spanish colony in the Americas, in what is now the Caribbean country of Dominican Republic. Punishments included cutting off people’s ears and noses, parading women naked through the streets and selling them into slavery.

    One man caught stealing corn had his nose and ears cut off, was placed in shackles and was then auctioned off as a slave. A woman who dared to suggest that Columbus was of lowly birth was punished by his brother Bartolomé, who had also travelled to the Caribbean. She was stripped naked and paraded around the colony on the back of a mule.

    “Bartolomé ordered that her tongue be cut out,” said Ms Varela. “Christopher congratulated him for defending the family.”


  • We are all sinners from the first generation to the last. Columbus was no exception, neither am I and neither are you. Within the context of his times Columbus was overall a hero. Did he have flaws? Of course. Did he make mistakes? Certainly? Did he commit objectively evil acts? Probably. Name a great historic figure that didn’t.

    I think the key point as pointed out above is that he was in conformity to his time and his time had many, many imperfect Catholics and many holier than we. What his time did not have is the cultural, institutional and pervassive consecration to evil and the princes of this dark world that we have today.

    I suspect that had Columbus been given a vision of what his New World would become, he might not have sailed. Of course, that denies all the good we’ve done and doesn’t account for the farther fall of his Genoa or the land of the Catholic King and Queen. Pitty. We throw so much away.

    Do we have men today with the sack that he showed to risk everything for the cause of Christ sailing into a seemingly endless ocean? It seems we are a bunch of wimps who patter about the Internet as if we are accomplishing something. I must admit I am ashamed for my part in falling so far from the time of Columbus and worse for ever tolerating these new ‘historical facts’ about the butcher of Cuba and the bane of the peaceful Native American Indians.

    Come on people, are any of us capable of such heroism despite our fallen nature? Also bear in mind Isabel chastised him for bringing natives in shackles back to Spain – she dispatched him to win souls for Christ.

    As for the earlier discoveries of the Western Hemisphere the evidence is that they most certainly happened especially because there were people living here when he got here – so what? None of his predecessors ever maintained communication with Eurpope and none brought the Gospel with them and none lasted.

    A most daring and admirable admiral, yet ill suited to be a governor. Those of you who honor this man, I salute. Those who are derriding him, you aren’t half the man he was and if not for him you wouldn’t be lving here, so it is best that you politely close your pie hole.

  • Blackadder:

    I appreciate your raising the quality of debate by what appears to be a rather substantive contribution to the present discussion.

    I guess this means that the “Knights of Columbus” (?) should rethink about renaming their fraternal organization and consider adopting a more genuinely charitable figure as opposed to their namesake.

  • I don’t know that it’s necessary to cease admiring a historical person’s accomplishments merely because one is realistic about their faults. Goodness knows, unvarnished accounts can tell us some rather unflattering things about others on the American civic calendar (George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, etc.) and indeed for us Catholics there are saints who had involvement in torture and executions for heresy which even the most traditional-minded would find it impossible to condone in this day and age. That does not, I think, mean that we need to cease admiring the genuine good deeds of such people — even as we should be honest with ourselves about their faults.

    I think it’s a seriously bad idea when we deceive ourselves about the past. (Examples from my own recent reading would include the fact that the New England colonists, while certainly seeking religious freedom for themselves, imposed their own religious regime pretty brutally on the colonies; and also that however despicable the French revolutionaries may have been, the anciene regime was pretty impressively corrupt and cruel in its own lesser fashion.) However, that hardly means that one must only focus on the evils of people in the past and not their more admirable qualities.

    In that regard, I don’t necessarily see recognizing the harshness of Columbus as governor as incompatible with celebrating his accomplishments. And to be honest, while he was pretty harsh, he was no more so than many other rules of his time — and not only ones ruling over natives of the Americas. Mutilation (and come to that execution) was still a pretty common punishment for comparatively minor crimes in many parts of Europe at the time.

  • It makes more sense to express moral indignation using the template of our times against the persons of our times because they coincide. Judging the past using today as a standard is always difficult. How long has racism been understood as it is now? Should we condemn every historical figure from before the last century or so knowing that almost all of them would be regarded as racists of some sort?

    Still, we should have a balanced view. Morality is not relative, and evil is always and everywhere evil. Shedding light on the good, bad, and ugly in each historical figure is not out of line. Understanding that we’re all products of (flawed) times and cultures, we should temper our condemnation. Maybe it’s right to retire Columbus Day as a holiday in light of what we know about the man, but another possibility is that we can use such moments as a reflection on our own hubris.

  • I think I have an edition of a Chesterton book (Orthodoxy?) that, in the preface, makes some sort of apology for anti-Semitic remarks in the text. (I don’t recall the actual passages, however). I mean, it’s *G.K. Chesterton*! Throw him out the window for it? I don’t think so, especially considering that it’s highly unlikely he would express such views if he were alive today.

  • Well, I only believed Blackadder’s point worth entertaining because it would seem unless were we to adopt Hegel’s historicism, it must be the case that Columbus was actually an evil person.

  • For a balanced view of Columbus:


    As to the activities of Columbus as a governor, it should be remembered that most of the charges against Columbus were hotly contested by Columbus and his supporters at the time. Bad reports sent back to Spain against a governor were the time honored way to have a governor removed. In the case of Columbus they succeeded. Additionally the Spanish were almost as litigious as we modern Americans and these disputes often resulted in court cases that dragged on for decades of contradictory testimony.

  • Here is a good overview of the tangled history of this period. People who make rash judgments with an inadequate knowledge of Columbus and his times do a disservice to the historical record.

    “At home, however, court favor had turned against Columbus. For one thing, the ex-colonists were often bitterly hostile to the admiral and his brothers. They were wont to parade their grievances in the very courtyards of the Alhambra, to surround the king when he came forth with complaints and reclamations, to insult the discoverer’s young sons with shouts and jeers. Again, the queen began to criticize severely the shipment of Indians from the new-found lands to Spain. And once more, there was no doubt that the colony itself, whatever the cause, had not prospered so well as might have been desired. Ferdinand’s support of Columbus had never been very hearty, and his inclination to supersede the Genoese now prevailed over the queen’s friendliness. Accordingly, on the 21st of May 1499, Francisco Bobadilla was appointed governor and judge of Hispaniola during royal pleasure, with authority to examine into all complaints. Columbus was ordered to deliver up his charge to Bobadilla, and to accept whatever the latter should deliver him from the sovereigns. Bobadilla left Spain in June 1500, and landed in Hispaniola on the 23rd of August.

    Columbus, meanwhile, had restored such tranquillity as was possible in his government. With Roldan’s help he had beaten off an attempt on the island of the adventurer Ojeda, his old lieutenant; the Indians were being collected into villages and Christianized. Gold mining was profitably pursued; in three years, he calculated, the royal revenues might be raised to an average of 60,000,000 reals. The arrival of Bobadilla, however, speedily changed this state of affairs. On landing, he took possession of the admiral’s house and summoned him and his brothers before him. Accusations of severity, of injustice, of venality even, were poured down on their heads, and Columbus anticipated nothing less than a shameful death. Bobadilla put all three in irons, and shipped them off to Spain.

    Alonso Vallejo, captain of the caravel in which the illustrious prisoners sailed, still retained a proper sense of the honor and respect due to Columbus, and would have removed the fetters; but to this Columbus would not consent. He would wear them, he said, until their highnesses, by whose order they had been affixed, should order their removal; and he would keep them afterwards “as relics and as memorials of the reward of his service.” He did so. His son Fernando “saw them always hanging in his cabinet, and he requested that when he died they might be buried with him.” Whether this last wish was complied with is not known.

    A heart-broken and indignant letter from Columbus to Doña Juana de Torres, formerly nurse of the infante Don Juan, arrived at court before the despatch of Bobadilla. It was read to the queen, and its tidings were confirmed by communications from Alonso Vallejo and the alcaide of Cadiz. There was a great movement of indignation; the tide of popular and royal feeling turned once more in the admiral’s favor. He received a large sum to defray his expenses; and when he appeared at court, on the 17th of December 1500, he was no longer in irons and disgrace, but richly apparelled and surrounded with friends. He was received with all honor and distinction. The queen is said to have been moved to tears by the narration of his story. Their majesties not only repudiated Bobadilla’s proceedings, but declined to inquire into the charges that he at the same time brought against his prisoners, and promised Columbus compensation for his losses and satisfaction for his wrongs. A new governor, Nicolas de Ovando, was appointed, and left San Lucar on the 13th of February 1502, with a fleet of thirty ships, to supersede Bobadilla. The latter was to be impeached and sent home; the admiral’s property was to be restored; and a fresh start was to be made in the conduct of colonial affairs. Thus ended Columbus’s history as viceroy and governor of the new Indies which he had presented to the country of his adoption.”

    Columbus was not spotless in his conduct, but many of the recriminations launched against him were from sources with definite axes to grind against him.

  • Chesterton expressed anti-semitic sentiments on occasion. He was also one of the first gentile writers outside of Germany to vociferously denounce the Nazi persecution of the Jews. History is rarely simple.

  • Our expectation of history is pretty amazing. How do we expect imperfect humans from ages past to transmit data to us accurately when we can’t even agree on events and data that occur right before our eyes here and now?

    The other ridiculous assertion is that Europeans or more specifically Columbus brought slavery to the Western Hemisphere. Really? Slavery is as old as the Bible. Perhaps you’ve heard of a tribe of people called Hebrews ensalved by Egyptians for 400 years!

    Does anyone take the notion seriously that the native Indians did not war against each other and take slaves for generations before Columbus was even born? For that matter was it really the white man who brought slavery to Africa? Do any of us really think so highly of man that we are shocked that someone will enslave someone else?

    Salvery is a tool used by the immoral world of he who has the might is right. That notion ruled man for most of our history. It was broken by the liberator of slaves – Jesus. It is only in Christian lands that slavery could have ever been defined as a moral evil. Had Columbus not brought the Catholic faith to the Western Hemisphere who would we blame for the near-erradication of slavery? I say near, becuase America and the world is still very much addicted to slavery. Governments treat people like slaves, crimals have slaves and increasingly white women and children are taken from right here in the US of A and sold around the world as slaves.

    To blame slavery rather than the credit for spreading the Gospel to Columbus is sick, twisted, deceitful and in no way, shape or form productive. Was he a mess? Probably – keep in mind he IS NOT ST. COLUMBUS.

  • Judging the past by using today as a standard is always difficult.

    Was j. christian suggesting that today’s standard is actually superior than those of the past?

    Are we talking about the very same modern standard that has deemed the killing of an innocent child as a fundamental right of human beings?

    It is not mere coincidence that Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize; indeed, it is because he is the very epitome of “today’s standard” that he won the award as he reflects quite precisely very well prized values of modern society:

    Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — President Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, but a closer analysis of the award shows his only achievement at the time he was nominated was exporting taxpayer-funded abortions. Obama hadn’t accomplished much else in office when the nominations were finalized.

    The Norwegian Nobel Committee’s deadline for nominations for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize was February 1, just 11 days after Obama’s inauguration.


  • e: No, I wasn’t.

  • Although it’s a side issue, I’m not sure that Columbus’ “accomplishments” really amount to as much as is often suggested. Columbus thought that you could get to India quicker by just sailing west. He was wrong about this, and if it hadn’t been for the fact that there was a land mass between Europe and Asia he and his men would have all died and he would not even be a footnote in history. You can say that organizing the trip took courage, but the same could be said of literally thousands of other voyages. Having stumbled upon the Americas, Columbus proceeded to act in a manner which was despicable not only by our standards, but also by the standards of many people at the time (when Donald says that Columbus contested the charges against him this reminds me of the bit in the Shawshank Redemption about how Morgan Freeman’s character was the only guilty man in the prison because everyone else claimed they didn’t do it).

    I’m all for recognizing the accomplishments as well as the failings of historical figures, but I also try to follow Lord Acton’s philosophy on the matter:

    I cannot accept your canon that we are to judge Pope and King unlike other men, with a favorable presumption that they did no wrong. If there is any presumption it is against the holders of power, increasing as the power increases. Historic responsibility has to make up for want of legal responsibility. Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men…

  • BA Columbus was the one who had the courage to do it, and the skill to sail 3000 miles out of the sight of land to accomplish it, no small achievement in the 15th century. His error in theory led to his making a great discovery in fact, not an uncommon event in history. As to Columbus being guilty of the axe grinding allegations by his enemies which you recycled, obviously the King and Queen of Spain thought differently at the time after hearing his side of the story. Unlike the Morgan Freeman character, Columbus was exonerated once he had the opportunity to respond to the charges.

  • For those interested in learning more about Columbus, the best biography is still Samuel Eliot Morison’s Admiral of the Ocean Sea published in 1942. Morison was an odd combination of professor, historian, sailor and naval officer, he rose to Admiral during World War II, all of which allowed him to write a superlative biography of the Master Mariner. Morison also wrote the multi-volume official history of the USN in World War II, a work I also highly recommend.


  • I’d love to see the Knights of Columbus adopt a saint’s name instead. Or how about the “Sons of Charles Caroll”?

  • Allegations that Columbus’ discovery was ‘accidental’ completely discounts Divine Providence. I suppose God sat that voyage out, may be he was tired from all the rest of the minute work he does for the rest of us.

    All that pennance, fasting and prayer couldn’t have had anything to do with the success of the voyage.

    God only uses perfect vessels to accomplish His work, right?

  • Or maybe the the Warrior Crusaders of Saint James!

  • As to Columbus being guilty of the axe grinding allegations by his enemies which you recycled, obviously the King and Queen of Spain thought differently at the time after hearing his side of the story.

    They got him released from prison, but did not restore him to his position as governor. I don’t think that proves they thought the charges were baseless (you can’t assume getting a Presidential pardon means the guy was innocent).

  • A good point BA, although the crown did send him out on another voyage of discovery in 1502 and made good his financial losses. I don’t think the King and Queen failed to reinstate him because they believed the charges, but rather because Columbus made a rather poor governor. He was lax with the Spanish colonists when he should have been firm. This led to attempted coups and then Columbus reacted with the other extreme. It didn’t help that the colonies initially were far from profitable. Columbus was a great sailor, but the wheels tended to come off for him when he was given responsibilities ashore.

  • Blackadder & Donald: Thanks for bringing such “meat” to these discussions!

    BlackAdder: I must take issue with your belittling Columbus’ endeavour. After all, we are talking largely about uncharted lands/oceans wherein actually reaching destination was far from certain and, indeed, as Donald himself had indicated, thousands of miles away.

    Think of it this way: wouldn’t an explorer who dared ventured into uncharted regions of space, unsure of actually reaching a Minshara class planet with the route he’s planned to take in the outer reaches of space be nonetheless considered brave and, indeed, demonstrate exceptional courage for the very fact that in spite of incredible uncertainty as to accomplishing this goal (which seems even downright impossible to most, if not, all people at that point in time) and all the dangers therein; still, that adventurer continues on in spite of the odds.

    Tito Taco: So long as you do not use that EWTN name: “Knights of St. Michael” or whatever that is; talk about exceptionally gay.

  • I don’t think the King and Queen failed to reinstate him because they believed the charges, but rather because Columbus made a rather poor governor. He was lax with the Spanish colonists when he should have been firm.

    If cutting off people’s noses, selling them into slavery, etc. is considered lax, I’d hate to hear the details of the “firm” policy you’d have preferred.

  • Read the historical record Blackadder. His laxity in regard to the Spanish colonists is on ample display which led to rebellions which had to be put down with executions. Morison sets out the situation well at the link below:


  • e.,

    That was tongue in cheek.

    Look up “humor” or “satire” in the dictionary and maybe there you’ll figure it out.


Saturday Night Live on Nobel Peace Prize Award

Sunday, October 11, AD 2009

Fairly gentle satire of the Nobel Peace Prize award to President Obama, although they do get to the only reason for the award:  Obama is not George Bush.   With the satire of a done-nothing presidency last week, Saturday Night Live is helping to inaugurate a new phase in the Obama saga, one in which he can no longer assume that comics will treat him as off-limits simply because of their usually leftist political sympathies.

Continue reading...

3 Responses to Saturday Night Live on Nobel Peace Prize Award

  • They seem to not want CNN to fact check the skit! Now, if CNN would fact check, the Nobel prize committee…

  • Fairly gentle, yes. I think I felt the brush of a feather on my cheek, as the opportunity to be really and deservedly funny winged its way past both me, and the SNL writers.

  • This is the worst impersonation of a president ever on SNL.

    I don’t see the effort on the part of Fred Armisen of pulling it off. Will Farrell as Bush set the standard and Fred falls far short. Execution is (almost) everything and Fred just can’t pull it off. They need someone else because if they continue with him, unless he gets a comedic talent transplant, the SNL will have another bad season.

7 Responses to The Vessel With the Pestle

  • Also from this movie — “An unemployed jester is nobody’s fool.”

  • Ah yes, I remember the movie well.
    I saw it with my brother in law in about 1962.
    Danny Kaye has to be one of the best commedians ever – I loved that movie.

    One of the most amusing sequences is when he was to be made a knight – some issue arose that required the process to be done in a hurry. I’ll never forget Danny being marched around while reciting stuff like –
    ” Yeah, yeah, verilly yeah.”

    That became one of my pre-marriage, pre-engagement party sayings.

    Seems pretty puerile now though. 🙂

  • Don the Kiwi is right — the knighting/marching scene is equally hysterical, as are several others in the film (such as the one where he woos the princess “He lives for a sigh, he dies for a kiss, he lusts for a laugh — HA HA!” ). But IMHO the best is the fencing scene with Basil Rathbone, when the hypnotized jester, who thinks he is the best swordsman in the world, keeps “unhypnotizing” himself by saying “You will die like that!” and snapping his fingers.

  • Pingback: Send in the Clowns « The American Catholic
  • Pingback: In Honor of the Political Season « Almost Chosen People

Hollywood Comedienne Attacks Papa Bene

Sunday, October 11, AD 2009

Comedienne Sarah Silverman is known for her profane and vulgar humor in the Hollywood scene.  Miss Silverman, in an attempt at satire, presents a sketch on the HBO program “Real Time with Bill Maher” on  how to solve world hunger.  On the surface the sketch she offers is almost harmless, but her degrading attack on our Pope is insulting to him and all Catholics.

Sarah Silverman attacks Pope Benedict XVI

Here is a partial transcript:

Think about it, we need a hero, and who is more primed to be our hero than the Pope? He’s literally a caped crusader. What is the Vatican worth, like 500 billion dollars? This is great, sell the Vatican, take a big chunk of that money, build a gorgeous condominium for you and all your friends to live in, all the amenities, swimming pool, tennis court, waterslide, and with the money left over, feed the whole (expletive removed) world.

You preach to live humbly, and I totally agree. So, now maybe it’s time for you to move out of your house that is a city.

On an ego level alone, you will be the biggest hero in the history of ever. And by the way, any involvement in the Holocaust, bygones.(sic) […]

Why bother with something like this?

We need to be aware that we are in this world, not of it.  We need to be a witness to Christ for others.  Sometimes in our endeavors to evangelize the world we can get caught up in all its trappings and are more vulnerable to fall into sin.  One can laugh at oneself without being mean-spirited or degrading.

Miss Silverman may be funny to her fans, friends, and colleagues, but that doesn’t mean she is right or that her attempt at humor on our pope is ok.  Yes we can laugh at ourselves and even our beautiful German shepherd, but there are limits and Miss Silverman has more than exceeded these limits.

So the next time you laugh at what you think may be an inconspicuous jab at our Catholic faith, remember, does it denigrate the person it is aimed at in a mean-spirited manner?  Does it cheapen your faith in mockery?  Especially if profane language is used, it’s a good indication that the person delivering it is doing it out of hate and spite.

I will not post the video because of the vulgarity she exhibits which is her modus operandi, but you can view at your own discretion on NewsBusters here.

Continue reading...

7 Responses to Hollywood Comedienne Attacks Papa Bene

  • Jackie Mason on the no-talent sick yenta.

  • Meh. She’s just one more bigot who has no clue what she’s talking about, like rest of her political class. Best to just ignore it. It’s the one thing that hurts people like that.

  • Someone should tell the poor young idiot that the Pope doesn’t own the Vatican. He lives in a relatively small apartment.

    But he does travel and appear in public with the grandeur of any world leader – why shouldn’t he?

  • Silverman’s entire schtick is saying outrageous things. You see, she’s actually not even remotely funny. Not even a little. So she tries to compensate for that by just saying something and making the “Oh, did I just say that?” face. Yawn.

  • Actually, I kind of enjoy her when she is not discussing religous topics. Just like I kind of enjoy Don’s posts when he is not promoting his military, foreign policy or political view points.

    What she is saying is nothing new for Hollywood. I remember Hollywood making the same point in the 60’s or early 70’s in the movie Shoes of the Fisherman, where Anthony Quinn as a Slavic born Pope sells off the Vatican and its treasures to feed the world and to avert world war. Of course the trouble is what do you do a month later when the money is all gone?

  • Someone should tell her that Notre Dame University has a bigger annual budget than the Vatican.

  • Like some liberals, ie, the White House, facts often get in the way of selling your point of view.

9 Responses to Salieri: Requiem in C Minor

  • “One hears such sounds, and what can one say but…. Salieri?” 🙂

    Amadeus is my all-time favorite movie — though I realize it is NOT historically accurate, and that Salieri was probably a better composer than he has been given credit for.

    I like the film because of the excellent way in which it portrays how wounded pride and vanity can claim someone like Salieri, obviously a devout and sincere Catholic who really did want to glorify God by his work, yet by the end of the movie has turned completely against God and given himself up to his hatred of Mozart. I think of it as a cautionary tale for people like me who may be “smarter than the average bear” when it comes to Catholic teaching, etc. but not necessarily any more holy or less sinful.

    There is now a “director’s cut” of Amadeus available, which is about 20 minutes longer. Some of these added scenes explain the story better (warning: one of them does contain nudity, and would probably have bumped the movie up to an R rating had it been included in the original) but there are others that were left out for good reason.

  • My favorite part of Amadeus is when Mozart improvises on Salieri’s welcome march. Just when you think he has finished playing, he adds three more comical notes and giggles loudly right at Salieri.

    Amadeus is a great film, it is in my top 10. Of course it isn’t historically accurate, and I think that should be mentioned at the beginning of such films. It isn’t fair to Salieri to be remembered in such a way.

  • Here is the scene with cuts.


  • Amadeus was a magnificent play and film although the amusing portion for me was the age old lesson that someone can be a genius in one area of life and a jerk and hapless in other areas. Salieri is simply unable to accept this and thus must destroy Mozart.

  • One of my favorite pieces of music is Salieri’s variations on La Follia di Spagna. Brilliant stuff.

  • Grrr to have and be able to afford only dial-up.

  • “One of my favorite pieces of music is Salieri’s variations on La Follia di Spagna. Brilliant stuff.”

    Finally someone who appreciates good music

  • Finally someone who appreciates good music.

    Or rather merely another pathetic admirer of such marvelous mediocrity!

  • Settle down maestros!

They Like The Look of This Fellow

Friday, October 9, AD 2009

Though I’d disagree with his conclusion that this is in any way “a bold step” (it strikes me rather as a silly but rather conformist step, if you think about the sort of circles the Nobel committee moves in) I think this BBC commentator gets things pretty much right in saying “Obama gets reward for world view“:

In awarding President Obama the Nobel Peace Prize, the Norwegian committee is honouring his intentions more than his achievements.

After all he has been in office only just over eight months and he will presumably hope to serve eight years, so it is very early in his term to get this award.

The committee does not make any secret of its approach. It states that he is being given the prize “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and co-operation between peoples.”

This is of course an implied criticism of former US president George W Bush and the neo-conservatives, who were often accused of trying to change the world in their image.

It’s tempting, of course, to point out that Obama doesn’t deserve the award because he hasn’t achieved anything, and plenty of people are asking, “For what?” But really, I think it’s questionable that even the Nobel committee thinks President Obama has achieved much of anything yet. Rather, he’s the sort of person they like to see as president of the United States, and so (even though he’d only been in office for ten days as of the nomination deadline this year) he was nominated and selected in order to express approval for the simple fact that someone with his worldview is now president of the US.

Now, if Obama were to be deeply classy, he’d decline the prize saying that he doesn’t want to be awarded a prize when he doesn’t believe that he’s yet achieved what he should in the world and that there were much more deserving nominees. He would then get the recognition of being selected, but the even greater recognition for being realistic about where he currently is in his presidency. I’m not holding my breath, but if he does I’ll be impressed.

Continue reading...

6 Responses to They Like The Look of This Fellow

  • To late.

    President Obama said “I will accept this award as a call to action.”

    He couldn’t help himself I’m sure.

  • But the narcissist told us he was humbled as he accepted it. I beleive that as much as I beleive everything else he says. Joe Wilson and I are in agreement on this.

    Do you know how you can tell when BHO is lying?

    Yup, you guess it – his lips are moving.

  • The other nominees must have been disastrously inapropriate. Who were they? Can’t seem to find them anywhere.

    Actions speak louder than words.

    But I’ve gotta say – the words have been well delivered, well scripted ( by whom), and well teleprompted.

    What more do we need?

    Hey – the actions MUST be better than the words 🙂

    Mustn’t they……….:roll:

  • Don,
    I’m sure you’re being facetious, but as an FYI, I’ve posted a partial list here:

    I caught a bit of Don Gonyea of NPR trying to explain the selection early yesterdayy morning, and his take was fairly close to yours:

    “Well, it really does seem to be an award that honors what he stands for and what he hopes to do, than what he has actually accomplished…He has initiated and worked hard to get the peace process going in the middle east, but nothing has really taken fruit there yet; you can look, Guantanamo is still open, still troubles with Iran and North Korea, but the committee sees this president as giving the world hope for a better future, and that seems to be what this is, an award to encourage him to keep doing what he has been doing.
    It seeems like this is a reward for the President for changing direction in US foreign policy…while the Bush administration is mentioned nowhere here, certainly Europe, much of the world was so critical of Pres. Bush…again, Pres. Obama’s entire campaign …was based on changng that direction. This is the Nobel committee embracing that change, even if we haven’t seen real fruits from that change yet.”
    (Full discussion here:

  • cminor.
    Yes you’re right, and thanks for the list.

  • For the record, the other “disasterously inappropriate” Peace Prize nominees (I know that’s tongue in cheek, Don 🙂 ) include:

    Sima Samar, women’s rights activist in Afghanistan, who “with dogged persistence and at great personal risk” kept her girls’ schools and clinics open in Afghanistan under the Taliban regime which strictly forbade ANY schooling for girls over 8 years old, and later became Minister for Women’s Affairs;

    Ingrid Betancourt, French-Colombian ex-hostage held for six years (and who also has publicly discussed how the experience led her to rediscover her Catholic faith and devotion to Mary);

    Handicap International and Cluster Munition Coalition, two organizations devoted to cleaning up unexploded land mines;

    Hu Jia, a human rights activist and an outspoken critic of the Chinese government, who was sentenced last year to 3 1/2 years in prison;

    Wei Jingsheng, who spent 17 years in Chinese prisons for urging reforms of China’s communist system and now lives in the U.S.; and

    Dr. Denis Mukwege, founder and head of Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo, who has dedicated his life to helping Congolese women and girls who are victims of gang rape and brutal sexual violence.

    I can’t help but wonder if the Nobel was actually a consolation prize for (thankfully) not getting the 2016 Olympics… after all, Mr. and Mrs. Obama came all the way to Denmark (which is pretty close to Norway, isn’t it?) and put all that effort into their Olympic presentation only to get whacked in the first round of IOC voting… so maybe the Nobel committee thought this would cheer him up!

43 Responses to Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize

  • The sound you hear is Mother Teresa & Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King turning over in their graves.

    But I guess refusing to meet with a previous winner, the Dalai Lama, in order to appease a socialist country, China, is what makes you qualified these days. As does supporting the murder of millions of people via abortion.

    1 of thing, even if Obama gave the money to the US treasury, & he won’t, it wouldn’t be more than a drop in the ocean of American debt.

  • War is Peace. Only Obama could get such recognition while simultaneously killing people in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq…. not to mention heading on a collision course with Iran and failing to resolve the Guantanamo situation. Oh, and I’m sure the steady decline of the American dollar will be aces for world peace and stability.

    But hey guys, if they can give Paul Krugman and award for economics and Henry Kissinger a peace prize, might as well give it to the Messiah-in-Chief.

    Today it seems Libertarians, Republicans, anarchists, pro-lifers, anti-war protesters, global warming skeptics, free market economists, Arabs, Persians, Afghanistan and Pakistan can all find something to agree on: The Nobel Peace Prize is a JOKE.

  • So we have one winner (Norman Borlaug) who developed a strain of wheat that launched the Green Revolution and wiped out famine in India and Pakistan and other countries. Then there’s another winner, Mohammed Yunnis whose bank launched micro-loans which allow the poor (mostly women) to get a start in a small business and work to support their families. Then there’s Mother Teresa who wore out her life nursing the poor and despised, and another former President Teddy Roosevelt, who negotiated the peace treaty that ended the Russo-Japanese War.

    Now, what has Obama actually *done*?

  • “The sound you hear is Mother Teresa & Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King turning over in their graves.”

    Since I got up this morning I’ve been wondering if an exhumation of Alfred Nobel might find him face down.

  • To all Obama haters: “Love your enemies.”

  • … but no one said anything about liking your enemies.

  • ” … but no one said anything about liking your enemies.”

    I guess He didn’t think about that loophole! Ooops.

  • Pingback: St. Joseph’s Vanguard And Our Lady’s Train » Blog Archive » Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize
  • IIRC, the Nobel Committee has given the award to Eisaku Sato (the Prime Minister of Japan from 1964 to 1972), Yasser Arafat, Le Duc Tho, and Elie Wiesel. ‘Peace’ is defined in these circumstances as whomever the committee fancies this year. (And on that basis I recommend Janeane Garofalo for next year’s prize; she is more pleasant to look at than any of the foregoing and often amusing as well).

  • “To all Obama haters: “Love your enemies.””

    A pity Bob that our Nobel laureate President doesn’t seem to heed that admonition for the unborn. Although I doubt he views them as enemies. Merely “punishment” and “inconvenient”.

  • —–“To all Obama haters: “Love your enemies.””

    —–A pity Bob that our Nobel laureate President doesn’t seem to heed that admonition for the unborn. Although I doubt he views them as enemies. Merely “punishment” and “inconvenient”.

    Forgive him.

  • “Forgive him.” Well, sure. All the while refusing for a moment to let up on the pressure and charitable criticism for his failures and refusals on these issues.

    As to the prize itself, eh. It became a debased currency once it was clear that Arafat was an unrepentant murderer, and went into hyperinflation with the Committee’s hatred for the 43rd President. The good news is that they’ve run out of ways to say f-u to George W. Bush.

    To paraphrase some timeless advice on this thread–“To all Bush haters: ‘Love your enemies.'”

  • Bob’s remark, above, surprises me.

    Who “hates” Obama, here? Who here wishes he’d collapse with an aneurysm, spend the rest of his life in a vegetative state? Who here hopes he’ll fail as a husband or a father? Anyone?


    I don’t hate Obama. I, for one, pray that he will, before the end of his term, anchor himself a sensible political and moral philosophy and govern (very successfully!) from within it.

    But as he’s unlikely to become a libertarian-leaning conservative Catholic any time soon, I realize my prayers are most likely to be answered in a different way: That he’ll have minimal success in achieving an agenda fostered by his current, not-so-sensible philosophy.

    When a politician exercises his powers of governance, he is both the man and the policy platform; he is a person, and also a “performance in office.” This potentially causes confusion in popular thinking and language, for one can justly (while being a good and obedient Christian!) express disapproval in the strongest terms for the exercise of the office or the policies, while having the usual attitude of charity towards the man as a private person.

    I hope Obama’s a good father and husband. I also hope that, barring a reversal of his political priorities and philosophy, that he has no success whatsoever in achieving any of his current policy goals.

    That hope is simply not an expression of hate for the man. Non-Christians may balk at the distinction “hate the sin, not the sinner,” but for a Christian, the distinction should be elementary.

    How much more, then, is it okay to hate a lie not even committed by the man himself?

    For that, of course, is what this Nobel Peace Prize is…or borders on being. That is what is indicated by these imagined visions of the founder and various deserving former winners rolling in their graves.

    It is simply a lie that President Obama merits a Peace Prize, as a man or as a President. He has committed exactly zero acts of heroic virtue, or even of noteworthy insight, which could merit such an award.

    The purpose of the award is to give the committee one last opportunity to exercise their Bush Derangement Syndrome, even when it’s no longer politically relevant. I remember in the movie “Pretty Woman” Richard Gere’s character speaking about his anger with his father, and how, after he purchased his father’s company, broke it up, and sold the pieces, his therapist told him he was “cured.”

    That’s bad therapy in-and-of itself…but what would the therapist have said if Gere’s character still felt compelled, as an act of anger against his father, to break up his father’s company even though his father had already been in the grave for years? There comes a point when revenge looks silly even by man’s standards. If you have a bitter and angry disagreement with a person in this life, and they die before you, you can be forgiven for not putting flowers on their casket.

    But if you can’t stop yourself from showing up periodically to urinate on their grave for months and years later? Something is psychologically out-of-balance.

    I think, then, that it is not poor Obama himself, but the Nobel Committee — along with large swaths of the political elite in Europe — who are the subject of all this “rolling in the grave” criticism. They were scandalized by the Texan-ness of the Bush presidency, and they just can’t let it go.

    They’d sooner give an Olympic medal to three-year-old who shows signs of being athletically gifted, or a Pulitzer to a first-grader whose formation of “See Spot Run” was especially good, or a Peace Prize to a President whose administration is still in its infancy and whose policies are not yet even implemented except as bland expressions of good will, than give up expressing their contempt for Obama’s predecessor.

    Time to call in a shrink. Why delay? Their socialized medical system will pay for it, won’t it?

  • This is just amazingly silly.

    Though I suppose it takes the duty of finding winners off them for the next several years, they can just keep giving the prize to Obama every years for continuing his “accomplishments”.

  • I for one think Obama deserves the award. After all, he made peace between Henry Louis Gates and Officer Crowley, right?

  • “This is just amazingly silly.”


  • Given the behavior of Gates it does indeed qualify.

  • Hmm. The Nobel Prize web site states that the deadline for nominations for Peace Prize is Feb. 1. Did Pres. Obama do anything in his first 12 days in office, to warrant this recognition?

    A few nominee names have leaked … Nicolas Sarkozy, Greg Mortenson (a fine choice for his educational work in Afghanistan and Pakistan), Pete Seeger (?). But Obama?

    Says more about the Prize committee than about Obama, and more about appeasement than peace.

  • So what happens when you give an ego inflating prize to a narcissist?

  • This is a great day for American patriots! Even the Vatican has congratulated Obama for his efforts to bring people together. I hope this will encourage him to help bring peace to the Middle East.

    An NCR translation from the Italian of the Vatican message follows:

    “The awarding of the Nobel Prize for Peace to President Obama is greeted with appreciation in the Vatican, in light of the commitment demonstrated by the President for the promotion of peace in the international arena, and in particular also recently in favor of nuclear disarmament. It’s hoped that this very important recognition will further encourage that commitment, which is difficult but fundamental for the future of humanity, so that the desired results will be obtained.”

  • The time to complain is next year, when he wins the Nobel Prize for Medicine based on his intention to cure cancer.

  • This is remarkably telling of the kinds of values espoused by today’s society: “Engage in a Crusade to Kill Children, Win a Nobel Peace Prize!”

  • Phillip:

    Beijing, China (LifeNews.com) — An attorney who is one of several human rights activists in China working with Chen Guangcheng against forced abortions is one of the nominees who lost the Nobel Peace Prize award to pro-abortion President Barack Obama. The committee awarded the prize to Obama after him serving just 11 days in office.

    Hu Jia, an activist on other issues, is an attorney for Chen and an outspoken critic of the Chinese government in part because of the forced abortions and sterilizations that occur in its one-child family planning campaign.

    He is one of the nominees the Nobel Peace Prize considered along with Obama and legitimate human rights activists.

    In other words, murdering children as opposed to saving them is proof positive of serving the Cause for Peace!


  • You have to realize that promoting abortion is essential to the global elite’s (for lack of a better phrase) vision of “progress” and even “peace”.

    It is a key element of population control, and as we all know from our science czar and his wacky friends, population control is at the top of the list of things that cause all of the world’s problems.

    Abortion isn’t considered violence, only surgery.

  • So true, Joe. We need to control those populations “we don’t want too many of.” Can’t have peace when those unwanted populations are constantly on your doorstep begging for help.

  • Abortion isn’t considered violence, only surgery.

    Yeah–and Genocide isn’t violence, just necessary social subtraction.

    Whatever Joe.

  • e., Joe was describing the mindset, not embracing it. Joe is an individual whose passion for the pro-life cause cannot be overstated.

  • Why does anybody pay attention to the Nobel Prizes in any field but the sciences? And even then.

    Have a look at the prizes awarded for literature.

    How comes it that a secret committee of unknown Norwegians is considered competent to award such prizes?

    Tom Lehrer said that the stopped playing because he could not compete with the Nobel Committee awarding the peace prize to Henry Kissinger.

  • This is just as bad, if not, even worse than when Al Gore got the Nobel Peace Prize for his scaremongering instead of Irena Sendlerowa, a Polish Catholic nurse who worked for the health and care department of the city of Warsaw in 1940 against the tyranny of its German Governor who ordered the confinement of the city’s jews to the infamous Warsaw Ghetto.


  • I thought the Nobel committee couldn’t have been more tainted when they gave it to Jimmah’ Carter, but I stand corrected now that President Obama has won.

  • Tito Taco:

    Awarding a Peanut Farmer the Nobel Peace Prize in spite of his nuttiness is one thing; awarding a vicious Pro-Abort precisely for his children-killing crusade is another thing entirely.

  • Actually a case could be made for Carter receiving the award on the basis of the Camp David peace accord between Israel and Egypt in 1979. Unlike Obama Carter had done something which helped bring peace, and a lasting one, in one area. It is probably the major achievement of the Carter administration which otherwise was rather barren, to put it charitably, of accomplishment.

  • Yeah I always considered Carter kind of harmless. It’s difficult for me to take him seriously, though I’ve felt his peace efforts have some merit. Giving the award to Al Gore I found more unnerving. But even in Al Gore’s case at least he MADE SOMETHING, no matter how incredible faulty and on the verge of being proven wrong.

    This award essentially goes to Obama for the emotional merits of his political campaign in 2008, hardly a beacon of peace. During the campaign he fought to protect the right to murder unborn children all the while promoting increased military action in Afghanistan and Pakistan. These are not the markings of someone wishing to spread peace.

  • Fortunately, it would appear that the ‘World’ is not actually that stupid:

    World cheers, puzzles over Obama’s Nobel: From Britain to Afghanistan to China, congratulations come in — but seem to be overwhelmed by confusion about why the U.S. president won this prize.

    By Adrienne Mong, NBC News Producer

    KABUL, Afghanistan – News that President Obama had won the Nobel Peace Prize came as a surprise to people we spoke to in Kabul…

    But when we asked whether he thought the U.S. president deserved the prize, he replied, “He just became the president. Things are just the same as the way they were by the administration of Mr. [George W.] Bush. Things are not better, things are worse and worse.”

    By Lawahez Jabari, NBC News Producer

    Still, both Israeli and Palestinian officials welcomed the news and offered congratulations.

    But, in the street, the reaction was much different. The news that Obama won the peace prize was met with surprise. It was a shock for both sides and the major question is: “For what?”

    By Bo Gu, NBC News Producer

    Very few people applauded the president’s honor on the comment thread. After any comments that say something like, “I think Obama deserves the prize,” the comment was immediately followed by angry replies. Comments like, “Yeah the whole country and Iraq and Afghanistan are laughing at you!” Or “Why don’t they just give it to Adolf Hitler?” Quite a few Chinese netizens raised the same question: “Is today April Fool’s Day?”

    By Mary Murray, NBC News Producer

    U.S.-Cuba politics aside, Esteban Morales, U.S. Studies professor at Havana University, thinks the Nobel committee’s choice was “inappropriate.”

    “I find it paradoxical that he won this prize when the U.S. is currently embroiled in two wars and has practically declared its intention to attack Iran,” said Morales. “While I give him the benefit of the doubt with his talk about tolerance and unity, in real life he’s done nothing to solve the problems at hand. Maybe he would deserve this down the road, but I have to ask today: What peace does this award represent?”

    By Paul Goldman, NBC News Producer

    LOKICHOGGIO, Turkana District, Kenya – In this village in northern Kenya aid workers were shocked when they heard the news that native son President Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

    “Why?” asked a logistics officer of the World Food Program. “What has he done to deserve it?”

    SOURCE: http://worldblog.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2009/10/09/2093914.aspx

  • The translation from NobelSpeak is very accurate.

    Which demonstrates again for the umpteenth time that the UN and its affiliated bodies are a joke.

    The next recipient will praobably be Kim Jung Il for stopping his county’s nuclear program. That would be more meritorious.

  • Don, don’t give them ideas!

  • “This is a great day for American patriots!”

    Hey Ann,

    Remember, dissent is patriotic.

  • Pingback: Saturday Night Live on Nobel Peace Prize Award « The American Catholic
  • Pingback: Obama wins peace prize - Page 9 - Christian Forums
  • Pingback: Obama Negotiates With Wild Fire « The American Catholic
  • ????????????? ?????????. ???????? ?? ??? ????-?????? ??????????? ?? ???? ??.

Our Disappearing Heroes

Friday, October 9, AD 2009

HMNZS Achilles

A special guest post for American Catholic by commenter Don the Kiwi.

Last week I attended the funeral of my wife’s uncle, James William Foy. Jim was born on 21st. January 1926, and died on the 24th, September 2009, aged 83.   Jim died of bowel cancer, which was diagnosed too late for it to be operable, several months previously.  Though he was raised  Catholic, like some of his generation his war experiences tended to dilute the importance of our Faith to him, and though he had a crucifix, and pictures of the Sacred Heart  and of Our Lady in his home, he hadn’t practised his faith for many years.

The funeral service was conducted at the Matamata funeral director’s ‘chapel.’ It was a very secular affair, and the only part remotely religious was the recitation of The Lord’s Prayer toward the end of the service. Jim had joined the RNZ Navy as soon as he left school, and after his training, was posted to HMNZS Achilles (a light cruiser, of the 1939  Battle of the River Plate fame) in 1944. Part way through the service, which was attended by a number of aged war veterans – friends of his from the local RSA (Returned Services Assn.) – an old shipmate of Jim’s named James Craig, rose and walked to the rostrum. These are his words, as best as I can recall them.

Continue reading...

3 Responses to Our Disappearing Heroes

Thanks to the Young, the Tide is Still Turning Toward Catholicism

Thursday, October 8, AD 2009

All too often I hear the familiar refrain; “how can the tide be turning if the world seems to be increasingly at odds with the Church?”  The skeptics of my book, The Tide is Turning Toward Catholicism refer to many newsworthy stories in their query of my thesis. They point to elected officials and government czars seemingly supportive of ideas that not only challenge the core of Catholic beliefs, but conventional societal beliefs about the family as well. The skeptics of my thesis point to the latest Hollywood Cause Célèbre which involves rallying around a man (famed Film Director Roman Polanski) who has admitted to raping a child of 13 when he was 45 years old. They also point to the outright mockery of the Catholic Church at the hands of the entertainment industry by those who believe the tide is turning in their direction. In addition, the skeptics of my thesis also point to stories that barely get any media attention such as an abortion clinic who prominently displayed a crucifix in their window with Jesus replaced on the cross by a chicken. Another sign in the window of the same abortion clinic read “no job too big or too small.” How could the tide be turning if this is what we see and don’t see on television news, the morning paper or on the internet they asked? Thankfully, there are many reasons that tide is turning, and we need to look no further than the young to understand why.

Keep in mind that while the tide is turning for the Church, it is turning in the wrong direction for for the world. The Church is the only one who can save the world and it is something which has already been done many times in history, which is why the enemies of the Church are so upset. If the enemies of religion would be as kind to us as they are toward the liberal mainline Protestant churches, one would have cause to be worried. However unlike the mainline Protestant churches, the Catholic Church’s numbers are not in a free fall and vocation numbers are on the increase.

Continue reading...

12 Responses to Thanks to the Young, the Tide is Still Turning Toward Catholicism

  • What a splendid hope-filled article. Thank you.

  • Pingback: Thanks to the Young, the Tide is Still Turning Toward Catholicism - Christian Forums
  • Kudos on a masterpiece that Polanski can only wish to achieve. As Christ didn’t find the going to be anything but tough even though one would think his power would have made it otherwise, neither can we expect anything different. But we should look at how far Christianity has gone despite the setbacks along the way. And we know the tide will keep turning in our favor It has to if the promised victory at the end of the Bible is to be realized.

  • Amen Dave. As Bishop Chaput told those in Rome, in an editorial in an Italian magazine article, to those churchman who seemed to favor our President’s early rhetoric and his speech at ND, Free will today is valued more highly than life. Good to read your comments again and yes, the tide is truly turning. Take care and God Bless.

  • Regarding the Diocese of Rochester, last Monday the Catholic Courier (DOR’s diocesan newspaper) published a story publicly admitting what had been common knowledge locally: In a mere 8 years (i.e., from 2000 to 2008) the diocese had lost over 25% of its weekend Mass attendees.

    While diocesan leadership has blamed our decline in Mass attendance on what it terms a demographic shift (i.e., northern Catholics moving to the sun belt states), the bottom line is that DOR is losing Mass attendees 9 times faster than Catholics are leaving New York State.

    See http://www.catholiccourier.com/tmp1.cfm?nid=78&articleid=109508&cfid=4092824&cftoken=68817627

  • “and often residing in the rural parts of their dioceses”

    This is also true for our few seminarians in the Diocese of Rochester. Not one of the six was raised within the city of Rochester or its surrounding suburbs in Monroe County. Two are from Livonia, two from Elmira, one from Ontario county, and another has been residing here only a brief time since entering college. Perhaps this is a good thing, as our more liberal priests and lay Pastoral Administrators (laypeople or nuns who have full control over one or more parishes) are located within Monroe County.

    ~Dr. K

  • Dr. K. It was good to see that Elmira was listed in my old parish I left years ago ( and I do mean years ago ) Our current Bishop came from that city and there are still many othodox young people there. I remember Bishop Sheen when he did his best to create the right environment for all of us in the Diocese.

  • I believe it is a mistake to write of “Catholicism”, as though it is but another ISM. The Church and the sacraments are but the means to get us into heaven. As the Church teaches, you may go to Mass every day of your life and still fail.

    As the council fathers of Vatican II attempted to indicate, every person in the world is a potential Catholic. Being human is being almost a Catholic.

    Was it not one of the weaknesses of the Church in pre Vatican II days that it had – that its members had – too certain a sense of salvation? That it did not pay attention to Satan who roams the world seeking whom he many devour?

    The sudden rise of divorce, of contraception, of abortion demonstrated how weak were the defenses of Catholics against these temptations. And how too sure of themselves were our bishops, who even today do not “like” to bring up these subjects.

    These failed shepherds will have much to explain when called to give their accounts.

  • I hope my children or perhaps my grandchildren live to see that you are correct.

  • Dave,

    A fine start to your contribution on the American Catholic website.

    I do see these changes, but as Father Zuhlsdorf says, brick by brick.

    Lets be the change agents at each of our own parishes as we assist our churches to return reverence and orthodoxy with charity back!

  • Gabriel Austin asked, “Was it not one of the weaknesses of the Church in pre Vatican II days that it had – that its members had – too certain a sense of salvation?”

    As one who was raised in the pre-Vatican II days, including 16 years of Catholic education ending with a college diploma in 1965, I would have to answer in the negative.

    In my little corner of the world (upstate New York) we were all well aware of what mortal sin was, as well as its consequences.

    Our catechesis may have been overly legalistic at times, but it was not short on authentic Church teaching.

    That is just the opposite from what I see today in that same little corner of the world.

  • Mike writes Sunday, October 11, 2009 A.D. at 9:30 am
    “Gabriel Austin asked, “Was it not one of the weaknesses of the Church in pre Vatican II days that it had – that its members had – too certain a sense of salvation?”

    “As one who was raised in the pre-Vatican II days, including 16 years of Catholic education ending with a college diploma in 1965, I would have to answer in the negative.
    “In my little corner of the world (upstate New York) we were all well aware of what mortal sin was, as well as its consequences.
    “Our catechesis may have been overly legalistic at times, but it was not short on authentic Church teaching”.

    We were intellectually – superficially – aware of the catechism. But how deep did it sink?
    Perhaps you do not recall the [non] reception of Humanae Vitae. Encouraged by “theologians” bishops simply ignored it. It was too unpopular.

    The ferocity of Judy Brown’s work is due to her having been told by her parish priest that it was OK to use the pill. When she discovered that he lied, she became and remains furious.

    Bishop Shannon had the honesty to resign, without publicity, when he decided he could not accept Humanae Vitae.

    “That is just the opposite from what I see today in that same little corner of the world”.

    My point precisely. From overly “legalistic” to every man his own bishop, which is to say seeking excuses to do what we want to do, rather than what we ought to do.

    I harp on this because I see a misunderstanding of the work of the Church. It is not to create an institution; that institution exists and is protected. It is rather the tiresome business of getting each of us into heaven which is our future and not being overly concerned with the future on earth.

Obama and Conscience

Thursday, October 8, AD 2009

Obama Conscience Clause

A great post here by Ed Morrissey of Hot Air, demonstrating how any statements made by Obama as to respecting conscience clauses allowing institutions and individuals to opt out of involvement in abortion and contraception are simply rubbish.  He cites the Becket Fund’s  recent press release here regarding the Belmont Abbey College case where the college is being sued by eight employees before the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC):

Continue reading...

4 Responses to Obama and Conscience

  • Pingback: Looks like Catholic conscience is under attack yet again - Christian Forums
  • What does Obama have to do with this issue? A private institution has the right to opt for whichever insurance policy they deem appropriate. Employees have never been able to insist on certain types of coverage (i.e. many do not include maternity benefits) offered by the employer. It’s a ‘take-it-or-leave-it’ option. One can always choose to buy private insurance or work elsewhere. People seem to forget that an employer is not required to offer any particular type of coverage,and it is a benefit that may soon disappear, to be replaced by something much worse.


  • Rather than close, couldn’t they just drop coverage all together? I know that would not be desirable, but it seems less extreme than closing the school.

  • “A great post here by Ed Morrissey of Hot Air, demonstrating how any statements made by Obama as to respecting conscience clauses allowing institutions and individuals to opt out of involvement in abortion and contraception are simply rubbish”.

    I suggest that the proper designation of Mr. Obama’s statements was that made by Congressman Wilson: “You lie”.

Ardi: Looking at the Latest Missing Link

Thursday, October 8, AD 2009

Virtually everyone with any access to news last week probably heard about Ardi, a 4.4 million year old skeleton of a human ancestor found in Ethiopia. However, given the tendency of the mainstream media to cover every ancient primate discovery as “Scientists discover ‘missing link’ which ‘changes everything'” those who don’t track these things can easily become confused, or even rather suspicious of the whole thing.
So, what is Ardi, and why is this discovery a big deal?

Ardi is a 45% complete skeleton of a female individual from the hominin species Ardipithecus ramidus. This is not a new species: we’ve known about Ardipithecus ramidus since a small number of bones from a member of the species was found in 1992 and formally described and named in 1994. Living about 4.4 million years ago, Ardipithecus ramidus is also not the oldest human ancestor known or a common ancestor between humans and our apparent closest genetic living relatives, the chimps. However, the excitement about Ardi (found along with less complete remains of a number of other Ardipithecus ramidus individuals and also fossil evidence about the plants and animals present in their environment) is not just hype. It is a very important find. Here’s why:

Continue reading...

12 Responses to Ardi: Looking at the Latest Missing Link

  • Another point that needs to be made is the highly inaccurate art of dating these fossils. Combine that with the fact that you can never find one group of geologists and/or geneticists to even agree with either anthropologists and/or archeologists.

    For example, Lucy’s bones were found within a 32 square mile radius. What kind of science is that?

    I can find a chupacabra within a smaller radius just by piecing together dog and chicken bones together.

    Just my two cents worth.

    Oh, and don’t get me started on carbon-14 dating.

  • It is almost like someone very, very intelligent wrote the DNA code that created human animal bodies (like a single pair) for a human soul to be infused into and in that wisdom allowed nature to take its course and develop cousins who only have a corporeal soul to animate them. Hmm. Makes you think.

    Nah, that sounds like a fantasy. It is obvious that a random, infinite universe accidentally manufactured life and that undirected life evolved from amino acids into human beings who other than being smarter are no different than other animals. That makes much more sense. Randomness, yeah, thats far more rational so it must be scientific.

    Thanks for posting that. I was curious and I think there is a show on Discovery or National Geographic. It piqued my interest but I dread watching becuase they paint evolution infallible and prove the Law of Evolution before they can even postulate something probable for the origin of life. I’m lazy and it takes too much effort to pull the facts out from their nihilistic fantasy.

    It irks me being caught between neo-pagan ‘scientists’ and young-earth creationists. As if God isn’t wise enough to develop evolution and wait 15 billion years for Adam and Eve.

    Do you ever feel insane becuase ‘intellectuals’ think you are a superstitious troglodyte and fundementalists/evangelicals think your an apostate?

  • Do you ever feel insane becuase ‘intellectuals’ think you are a superstitious troglodyte…

    In the Words of The Great Picard:

    “Horrifying… Dr. Barron, your report describes how rational these people are. Millennia ago, they abandoned their belief in the supernatural. Now you are asking me to sabotage that achievement, to send them back into the dark ages of superstition and ignorance and fear? No!

  • Picard has 3 bad Star Trek movies to his name and 1 good one. Kirk is good even in bad Star Trek movies. 🙂

    Fascinating read. Thanks for the post, Darwin.

    I’m happy to discover from the above drawing that it appears the makeup in the original Planet of the Apes may actually not be that unrealistic.

  • Actually, the Planet of the Apes movies (as opposed to its incredibly inferior reincarnated version on TV) were quite thought-provoking.

    Just one of many interesting questions it raised: would it be considered ethical to kill Hitler when he was a child knowing full well the horrors that would inevitably result if he were allowed to live?

  • Thanx fer the links! You’ve saved me some trawling!

  • e,

    I’ll admit it’s been a while since I’ve seen the Planet of the Apes movies, but I don’t recall there being anything in there about killing Hitler as a child. Which of the films are you thinking of?

  • Tito,

    The Hadar formation where Lucy and the remains of a number of other australopithecus individuals were found is pretty large, but the accounts I’ve read of the find have all indicated that all the bones from the individual nicknamed Lucy (the one 40% complete skeleton) were found in close proximity in a single gully.

    It’s true there are certain controversies regarding dating, but honestly you’re not generally going to see huge reversals on these thing. At this point, stratography-based dating is pretty good in most areas.

    American Knight,

    Well, I’d want to point out that “random” in the scientific sense doesn’t make a philosophical or theological statement as to whether something is intended or created by God, it just has to do with whether it’s predictable. So God’s providence and “random” evolution are not necessarily at all contradictory.

    But yes, it does get really old on the one hand trying to explain scientific findings to other Christians, and on the other hand having a bunch of New Atheist scientists in the background howling that science has disproved God.

    I suppose the bright side is that we’ve been dealing with this kind of silliness ever since St. Augustine’s time. He talks about the same conflict in Confessions, and Galileo quoted him in his letter to the Grand Duchess Christina.

  • I believe it was the last one, if not, the one before the final one.

    From what I vaguely recall, they were attempting to make a decision whether or not to kill the offspring of the two parent apes, who was said to be the very one that would bring about the future world where apes were rulers of men.

    It was, I believe, some general who attempted to make the analogy of whether it would be right to kill Hitler if he were only a child.

    Obviously, he was endeavouring to draw a parallel between the would-be leader of the future world of Apes who would conquer man to Hitler.

  • Blackadder:

    Just found it!!

    It was “Escape from the Planet of the Apes”:

    *** (out of four)
    DVD Grades: Image A Sound B

    Arguably the most dated franchise entry (in terms of production values), Don Taylor’s Escape soars regardless, thanks to fine performances, the touching couplehood of Cornelius and Zira (McDowall (returning to the role after his absence in Beneath) and Hunter disappear into the make-up more than ever before), and a thought-provoking climax that carries genuine tragic weight.

    Whaddya know, another downed spacecraft! Cornelius and Zira exit Taylor’s repaired vessel only to find themselves in present day America. Initially the toast of champagne society, the media quickly turns on them when details of Taylor’s fate surface through interrogations.

    A shady Washington official (Eric Braeden) moves to sacrifice Zira’s child upon birth, arguing the Hitler clause (as in, knowing what you know, would you murder Hitler in his youth?), a predication that masks inter-species racism–er, specism?

    SOURCE: http://www.filmfreakcentral.net/dvdreviews/plotaevolution.htm

  • DarwinCatholic:

    But yes, it does get really old on the one hand trying to explain scientific findings to other Christians, and on the other hand having a bunch of New Atheist scientists in the background howling that science has disproved God.

    When confronting Protestants (in my own immediate experience, Evangelicals in particular), it would be prudent to simply take the Catholic Church’s stand concerning Faith & Reason and not yield to their cries of Apostasy simply because we Catholics are broadminded enough to consider the fact that scientific truth need not contradict Truth itself.

    A similar event in our historical past should prove a very apt & cautionary tale:

    The heliocentric model posited a moving Earth orbiting the sun just as the other planets did.

    Although viciously attacked by Protestants for its alleged opposition to Holy Scripture, the Copernican system was subject to no formal Catholic censure until the Galileo case… (p 69)

    The Church, sensitive to Protestant charges that Catholics did not pay proper regard to the Bible, hesitated to permit the suggestion that the literal meaning of Scripture – which at times appeared to imply a motionless Earth – should be set aside in order to accomodate an unproven scientific theory. (p 72)

    SOURCE: http://books.google.com/books?id=zVDR2ZePzvUC&pg=PA69&lpg=PA69&dq=thomas+woods+how+the+catholic+church+built+western+civilization+galileo+protestant&source=bl&ots=JeHccIr-iK&sig=4DG0lgRSw-xJntSnaxA4usYc3EI&hl=en&ei=MW_OSve1G5fymwOipYX9Ag&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CA0Q6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=&f=false

Congress Needs A Good Pronking

Thursday, October 8, AD 2009

From the only reliable news source on the net, the Onion.  The Urban Dictionary here has a list of the various meanings attributed to the term pronk by Congressman Cummings.  Other definitions of the term are here, here, and here.  To all of this pronk nonsense, I can only quote Abraham Lincoln:   “You can pronk all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot pronk all the people all the time.”

Continue reading...

Catholicism Flourishes in Kerala

Thursday, October 8, AD 2009

Luca Fiore of Oasis magazine wrote an article on the Christians in Kerala titled, The Amazing Secrets of Kerala.  I will briefly summarize this article presented by the eloquent Sandro Magister of Chiesa.

Legend has it that Saint Thomas the Apostle arrived and preached in Mylapore, India, not far from Madras, where he suffered martyrdom and where his tomb is kept today.  Prior to his martyrdom Saint Thomas arrived in Kerala at about A.D. 52.  The Christians in south west India called Thomas Christians due to the missionary efforts of Saint Thomas.

St. Thomas the Apostles Tomb Chennai Madras

The Christians in Kerala are of the Syro-Malabar Rite within Catholicism and they constitute up to 20% of the population, where in the rest of India Christians are just a bit over 2%.  Kerala is a pluralistic society where the majority of residents are Hindu, Muslims make up 25%, and Christians 20%.  All the faiths live in peaceful harmony which is unlike some parts of India.

The state of Kerala is somewhat of an anomaly in India.  With relative peace among the different faiths, Kerala also has the highest literacy rates in the country, over 90% compared to roughly 65% to the rest of India.  Another exception is that Kerala is also the only government with Marxists in control.  This coming from a state where the majority of the schools, from elementary to university levels, are predominantly Christian.

Conversions are not common, but when they occur, there is normally no violent reaction whether they convert to Christianity from Hinduism or Islam, though Pentecostals are the most militant and cause the most disturbance among the residents of all faiths.  There are many reasons for conversion to Christianity, some convert because of the communal aspects of worship which is lacking in some Hindu strains.  Other convert due to the love the converts witness that is carried out among Christians.  But there is no definitive evidence of the major reasons behind conversions.

Continue reading...

9 Responses to Catholicism Flourishes in Kerala

  • Thanks for the fascinating post, Tito.

  • Generally speaking, there’s very little inter-religious fighting and the church is flourishing. The church doesn’t like the Communists because of their atheist agenda. The Hindu fundamentalist BJP has very little support here.

    I’m proud to me a St Thomas Christian myself!

  • The Saint Thomas Christians will be the ones that ultimately turn India into a great Christian nation!

  • I am very proud,because I am an Indian malayali and a roman catholic

  • I am from Kerala, living in the U.S. for the last
    40 years. Through the persecution perpetrated by
    the Hindu religious party BJP and her allies
    made dramatic changes to create a solid unity in
    between the Christian denominations. The Christian
    Church will not grow without severe persecution,
    so the equation is working well in India. The
    Holy Spirit is working in full force, and millions
    of people are coming to follow Christ. The Hindus
    who are educated know, what the Christians have done
    for them in education and social uplift. But the
    crooked politicians are using the spade card of
    religion, but their strategy is not working as they have planned, and they are getting discouraged every day.

    The people of India, especially the Hindu community
    are seeking after the truth and they are finding
    the truth “Jesus Christ” and following by the thousands. Also, many miracles are taking place
    all across India, and that brings a lot of non-Christians to the Christian faith.

  • u ignorant mathew take care of ur own catholicism first,u have enemy within before converting others.once theconverts gets education they realise the truth of god and will follow hindu way of life.

  • dear mathew what british couldnt do for 300 years do u think is possible to do now,this type of ignorance is making people to still follow ur religion with out reasoning,logical thinking and making money for drunkards,paedopholes.because they are ur priests

  • as long as america sends money your religion will survive in the world once that money stops flowing ur downfall starts

  • Joseph,

    It’s interesting that you conflate the British Raj with missionary work.

    Why are you so concerned about an extremely small minority roughly 2.3%?

    Why do you feel the need to lash out at Christians as such?

    You think it is money that is fueling their faith?

    You have it completely wrong.

    If you can’t keep this discussion civil your comments won’t get approved.


Wednesday, October 7, AD 2009


     White founts falling in the Courts of the sun,
     And the Soldan of Byzantium is smiling as they run;
     There is laughter like the fountains in that face of all men feared,
     It stirs the forest darkness, the darkness of his beard;
     It curls the blood-red crescent, the crescent of his lips;
     For the inmost sea of all the earth is shaken with his ships.
     They have dared the white republics up the capes of Italy,
     They have dashed the Adriatic round the Lion of the Sea,
     And the Pope has cast his arms abroad for agony and loss,
     And called the kings of Christendom for swords about the Cross.
     The cold queen of England is looking in the glass;
     The shadow of the Valois is yawning at the Mass;
     From evening isles fantastical rings faint the Spanish gun,
     And the Lord upon the Golden Horn is laughing in the sun.

Continue reading...

11 Responses to Lepanto

  • Capponi’s book is indeed excellent, and I strongly recommend it.

  • Thank you Dale.

    Is it Triumph good?

  • Tito,

    I found Triumph to be more exciting but Dale is right – it is awesome. If you liked Triumph make sure you get the History of Christendom by Dr. Carroll, founder of Christendom College – I think it is five or six volumes. Excellent.

    What saddens me is that we seem to have forgotten the victory at Curzolaris (Lepanto) and we are losing ground through immigration and population, especially in Europe. The West may simply wimper and die. Where are the Knights? Where are the fathers and mothers? Catholics lead the way.

    Our Lady of Victory ora pro nobis.

  • AK,

    I have read Dr. Carroll’s series, it is top notch to say the least!

    What I am currently reading is almost as good as Triumph and Dr. Carroll’s book it’s “How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization” by Thomas E. Woods. It is good reading so far.

    I will take both Dale’s and your advice and get that book.

    I hear that Hilaire Belloc’s Crusade’s book is great also.

    Our Lady of Victory ora pro nobis.

  • Dr. Woods’ book is excellent. He also hosted a few episodes based on the book on EWTN. Not on the same subject but his most recent, Meltdown, is very well done too.

    I have not read Belloc’s stuff and if I get any more books my wife might kill me. However, I did enjoy Madden’ short book about the Crusades. Also completely off topic, Crocker has an excellent book about the War for Southern Independence, the PIG to the Civil War and he specifically mentions the crown of thorns the Pope wove for President Jefferson Davis, CSA.

    You don’t sleep much do you?

  • Meltdown? I’m going to do some research and update my Amazon wish list again!

    No, don’t sleep much, but I do like to sleep.

  • Great poem from Chesterton.

    Reminds me of my school days – good work Don.

    My RCIA night was Tuesday 6th. I told them all about the feast day – “The Holy Rosary” – previously “Our Lady of Victories.”
    I gave them Crocker’s article in Crisis Magazine a year or so ago. They were all astounded.
    So then I told them about 9/11 – 11th Sept 1683 – the Battle of Vienna where the Catholic army defeated the Muslim army and sent them packing back to the Balkans.

    When I explained the same history to my daughter she was quite overwhelmed – this stuff is not taught in schools anymore – not even Catholic schools.

    The salvation of Western civilisation is in debt to the Catholic church – no mistake.

    Tell that to your average Joe on the street – you’ll be met with guffaws.

  • Unfortunately Don too many Catholics know as much about the history of their Church as a pig knows about penance. I am glad, but not surprised, that you are waging a one man campaign against this tide of ignorance!

  • God created time for us so we can journey back to Him through it. If we don’t know where we came from, how we got here, what we did right and what we did wrong; how the heck are we supposed to know where we’re going?

    The best way to demorilze a people, take away their pride (the good pride, not hubris), confuse their values and enslave them is to make them forgot their history, or better yet give them one more sympathetic to your cause.

    That’s what we have today in this country, the Western world and in the Church. The Church built Western Civilization and preserved the wisdom of the pagan philosophers, the good things from the Roman Republic and transmits the most important historical event.

    As Don Kiwi said most people would laugh at this becuase they’ve been taught that Rome fell becuase of the Babrabrians (they have no idea what global cooling had to with it) and then kingdoms cropped up that forced the working-class to work for the feudal lords and then, in typical western warmonger fashion, invaded Muslim lands until the Enlightenment, when smarter, more rational and irreligious people saved human kind from the Dark Ages.

    Irrational, decietful and woefully borring. Hence why kids can’t keep their pants up around their waist – they don’t know the history of belts.

  • I first encountered this poem in the form of an excerpt — the first four lines of the last stanza — which appeared as part of the foreword in an edition of Don Quixote that I read at age 14. I didn’t remember who wrote it, but it has always stuck in my heart and I was delighted years later to discover Chesterton was the author, and along with that, the rest of the poem.

  • Tito:

    I’m not a huge fan of Triumph. It has its moments, but Crocker’s handling of Byzantium suggested to me that a Greek guy had beaten his high school football team for the state championship and stolen his girlfriend afterwards.

    I don’t have a problem with a historian displaying his sympathies and animosities, but I prefer it to be based on something other than sheer spite.

Football Player Flagged For His Faith After Touchdown Celebration

Wednesday, October 7, AD 2009

Most football fans can relate to scoring a touchdown.  Especially when seeing your favorite team or player score one youChris Johnson flagged for praying or celebrating too much jump up and give high-fives, chest bumps, or take shots of your favorite spirits.

Well in the NFL, or what is sometimes called the “No Fun League”, this past Sunday Chris Johnson of the Oakland Raiders went to his knees and claimed he was giving thanks to God after intercepting a pass for a touchdown.  He was immediately flagged for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for excessive celebration.  Chris Johnson claims it was because he made a religious display while celebrating the touchdown.

I’m of a different mind when it comes to celebrating touchdowns.  The town I grew up in playing football as well as how I practice my faith I generally frown upon celebrating in the end zone.  The way I look at it is that it’s your job to score points.  I don’t chest bump my colleague each time I turn on my computer at work?!  I don’t high-five the secretary for each message she hands over to me?!

It’s your j-o-b to intercept footballs and run them back for touchdowns.

Continue reading...

24 Responses to Football Player Flagged For His Faith After Touchdown Celebration

  • Sounds like a bad call. Ref probably misunderstood, that’s all.

  • I don’t chest bump my colleague each time I turn on my computer at work?! I don’t high-five the secretary for each message she hands me over?!

    Thank you! This is the point I have always made. At least with the guy scoring a touchdown he has done something really significant. What really infuriates me are the guys who dance around like idiots after tackling a guy who has made a 5-yard gain. Err, what exactly are you celebrating there buddy?

    Then again, considering how few tds the Raiders will score this year, maybe the ref should have just let this one go. After all, what other than divine intervention can explain a Raider actually getting into the end zone?

  • Yeah, I agree Paul. And it is worse than simply celebrating for doing your job. A defensive player who celebrates for making a good tackle after a successful offensive play is placing his individual performance over that of his team. It is unseemly and irritating to real football fans everywhere.

    I have absolutely no problem with celebrating after a team makes a particularly good play, but it should not cross the line into taunting.

  • If you want to celebrate in the NFL it’s a called a “Super Bowl Parade”.

  • My mother, a devout Catholic from Italy, would practically foam at the mouth when athletes would credit God with their success. “So, what, God hates the Vikings?! God doesn’t care about your game!” she’d yell.

    I’ve always wanted to see someone stand up after a game and say, “I was doing great until Jesus made me fumble.” (If God is making one team win, he’s making the other lose.)

  • LOL, foam at the mouth!

    I don’t worked up about it. But I do not approve of it.

    I’m not saying it’s wrong, but the way I read about humility, what they do in the endzone does not portray what a practicing Christian should behave as.

  • I don’t know, getting on your knees and thanking God for your success in front of multitudes of people seems pretty humble to me. Though, I don’t care for over the top displays.

  • In and of itself, I see nothing wrong with an athlete publicly thanking God for giving him the opportunity and ability to make a great play. I don’t understand these practices as thanking God for favoring them or their team as such, just acknowledgements that their talents come from God and gratitude is in order.

  • Katherine B.,
    I agree completely.

  • What’s wrong with praising God? Thought America was a land where we can have freedom of Speech.

  • I’m not so sure what to make of Tito Taco’s commentary here.

    There are many examples where you might witness folks giving thanks to God in sports be it a touchdown in football or a homerun in baseball, simply because they’re genuine grateful to God or perhaps due to a certain enthusiasm that overwhelms them that very moment or maybe even both.

    Now, if Tacoboy were talking about certain folks, say rappers (in fact, one in particular), who did a rap song about God supposedly in order to glorify Him, but when he failed to win the award for it for Best Song way back when, complained like a petulant child and even arrogantly bragged that the award belonged to no one but him — that demonstrates not only a severe lack of Christian humility but also, I dare say, hypocrisy, too.

    Heck, that might also go for rappers in general who, for the most part, promote gang violence and even engdender much hatred towards white folk; yet, when they win a music award, the first one they thank *SHOCK* is God!?

  • Luiza & e.,

    So you’re telling me that each time your boss gives you a pat on the back you immediately bend to your knees in front of him and pray out loud?

  • Tito:

    There is the possibility that it might simply be for “show”, but for the most part, I would think that the person who just made the touchdown/homerun was (1) genuinely thankful for having made such an achievement within a game, (2) overcome by the exhilaration he felt at that very moment, which manifested itself in a rather ostentatious display of thanking God then, or (3) both.

    In fact, there’s a time I recall while playing basketball with some friends during free time at university, that when I made a 3-point shot from a very considerable distance; because of what I considered then to be a “miracle” shot for myself, coupled with a sense of excitement right then after I made the shot, I happened to thank God for my having made it.

  • It’s not the “praising God” that’s a problem, it’s that “for show” part.

    I went to high school with a guy who used to cross himeslf before running a track event. It wasn’t that he was particularly religious; he was of South American parentage and did it for reasons of “cultural identity.”

    In the immortal words of John Riggins:
    “When you get to the end zone, act like you’ve been there before.”

  • That quote existed long before Riggins played football. It is most commonly attributed to the Bear.

    It is plain that you never played football. Trying to discern appropriate behavior on the gridiron by analogizing to what is appropriate at the office just doesn’t work. When I win a big case, we don’t carry our managing partner or first chair litigator to the champagne, but it these types of celibrations are certainly perfectly fine for football.

  • Mike,

    Lets play logic.

    Does a heart surgeon have to have heart surgery in order to operate?

    Like I said, a Super Bowl parade is the time for such behavior.

    And yes, I played football, right tackle thank you very much.

  • It’s a GAME! They are PLAYING. Let them PLAY!

  • Bill,

    Glad to see you around here!

    I agree it’s just a game, but you have to agree to some extent that some celebrations do get out of hand.

  • You’re right: it was the Bear, not Riggo.

    This is what happens when one is married to a D.C. boy. Everything begins and ends with the Redskins, even when they’re losing.

  • Tito:

    Lets play logic…. Does a heart surgeon have to have heart surgery in order to operate?

    Is there anything the matter with a heart surgeon, after having successfully operated on a patient who had little or no chance at all making it, thanking God afterwards for quite possibly making that very operation a success?


    It’s not the ‘praising God’ that’s a problem, it’s that ‘for show’ part.

    Personally, I have great admiration for major league baseball players who actually have the guts to cross themselves during a game in spite of the fact that they might get persecuted not only by secular thugs but *SHOCK* fellow Christians who are only too happy to stone them all because of their paying witness to Christ in front of a largely anti-Christian crowd (and that would most certainly include those purportedly Christian hypocrites, too)!

  • Oh, and by the way:

    But he that shall deny me before men, I will also deny him before my Father who is in heaven. (Mt 10:33)

    In other words, there is much to be said for the Protestant notion of paying witness that, quite unfortunately, certain Catholics have been remissed at professing in public; worse, they would even stone those who actually do!

  • Tito,
    To answer your logic question, the answer is no. But before a person critizes a heart surgeon for his performance, it would certainly be helpful to have experience as a heart surgeon. And being a patient would seem to be pretty inadequate.
    Make no mistake. I cannot stand gratuitous displays of taunting and celebrations that are inordinate or, as you state, get out of hand. But spontaneous displays of joy upon accomplishment is not offensive to me; and I agree with e. that public displays of gratitude to one’s Creator are actually somewhat counter-cultural and pleasing, as long as they do not appear gratuitous and designed predominantly to bring attention to oneself. It is a matter of degree and context. I do agree that many, perhaps most, of the celebratory displays we see are unsportsmanlike and regrettable, but it just isn’t clear to me that this is an example of such. The rule was promulgated to combat unsportsmanlike taunting, and I agree with the rule; but I find it doubtful that this was such a case.

  • Mike,

    I agree about the rule.

    What I am saying is that, beyond the rule, if you want to thank God do it appropriately, not to show off.


    Stop drinking your hippie neighbors kool-ade.

  • The lord gave each of us gifts, skills, hobbies and trades to which he blessed us to be great in.

    Celebrate the achievments, honor him and shine light on great, glorious moments.

    I know there have been MANY times I have stopped dead in my tracks and Thanked the Lord and I’m betting all of you have too. The only difference is that he was on National television and we are not.

    Should all of us be flagged and fined because we weren’t in the confines of our home when we have fell to our knees in appreciation or because we bow our heads in a public restraunt?

    I am proud to honor my lord and whether it be on television or at home I am not ashamed nor am I not being humble.

    But he that shall deny me before men, I will also deny him before my Father who is in heaven. (Mt 10:33)

    Perfect example.

American Catholic: One Year Retrospective

Wednesday, October 7, AD 2009

As Donald noted yesterday, it’s been a year since we started here at The American Catholic. I know we’ve all been pleased both at the quality of the writing from the team as a whole, and also from the interest from our readers.

Looking back over the last year, we put together a list of some of the our favorite posts.

A Can of Worms: In Praise of the Latin Mass Joe Hargrave

Apologia Pro Libertarianism Sua Blackadder

Are Pro-Lifers Stuck with the Republican Party? John Henry

Becoming A Father, A Polical Manifesto Tim Shipe

Catholic Chaplains Series Donald McClarey

Catholic Teachings on Economic Life Eric Brown

Catholics Teaching, Homosexuality and American Life Eric Brown

Cocaine, Cardinal Ocampo, and the Drug Wars Tito Edwards

Delayed Adulthood, Preliminary Thoughts Joe Hargrave

Don’t Adulterate the Adultery Ryan Harkins

Fides Quaerens Intellectum Eric Brown

Generations & American Catholicism John Henry

Moral Simpletons Joe Hargrave

Nationalism and the Problems of the Middle East DarwinCatholic

Partisanship and Empty Rhetoric Ryan Harkins

Pro-Life Movement: Democrats Need Not Apply Tim Shipe

Redistribution of Wealth: A Catholic Perspective Joe Hargrave

Send Me Your Poor DarwinCatholic

Should Catholics Own Guns? Ryan Harkins

Socialism, Catholicism and the Common Good John Henry

Staying Rooted in Parish Life DarwinCatholic

The Old School Date Tim Shipe

The Poor You Will Always Have With You Ryan Harkins

The Vatican’s Rifles DarwinCatholic

Uncomfortable Thoughts on the Declaration Blackadder

Were the Apostles Socialists? Blackadder

Women Priests in the Catholic Church Eric Brown

Continue reading...

5 Responses to American Catholic: One Year Retrospective