Sharia in Dearborn?

Thursday, June 24, AD 2010

Apparently the police acting to unconstitutionally arrest individuals attempting to hand out proselytizing literature to Muslims in Dearborn is not unusual according to this release from the Thomas More Law Center:

In what some have described as police enforcement of Sharia law at the annual Dearborn Arab International Festival, last Friday night Dearborn Police Officers arrested four Christian missionaries and illegally confiscated their video cameras which were recording the events surrounding their arrests.  The Thomas More Law Center, a public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, today announced it is representing all of the Christian missionaries.

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28 Responses to Sharia in Dearborn?

  • “Will we see more of this type of official misbehavior wherever Muslim immigrants become the majority…”

    Yes.

  • I don’t know. This sounds more like an attempt by the police to keep the peace.

    I’ve been at pro-life rallies where police have arrested pro-abortion activists who were handing out literature. It’s the same principle, make sure a heated situation doesn’t escalate.

    Given that the missionaries were targeting a large gathering of Muslims, this sounds like it was intended to provoke a reaction. I think it would have been different if they had been handing out literature during a normal day.

    I’m sympathetic to the message of the missionaries, but I don’t think the method is effective.

  • “I don’t know. This sounds more like an attempt by the police to keep the peace.

    I’ve been at pro-life rallies where police have arrested pro-abortion activists who were handing out literature. It’s the same principle, make sure a heated situation doesn’t escalate.”

    Such an action is unconstitutional. You can’t arrest people constitutionally for fear of violence from the targeted audience. That is called a “heckler’s veto” and has been condemned by the Supreme Court many times.

    http://www.rbs2.com/heckler.htm

    This is not a murky area of the law. The Dearborn police knew that legally they could not arrest the missionaries but they did it anyway.

  • Such an action is unconstitutional.

    To be more clear, police in the case I described above did not make any arrests until the pro-abortion people had been warned several times to move across the street.

  • JohnH; I don’t think that affects the question of the constitutionality of the request. Why have the police the right to issue such directives if no laws are being broken? If they do so in order to “keep the peace,” and in doing that they attempt a “heckler’s veto,” then they are acting unconstitutionally.

    Not that our country is very big on members of the state or federal executive branches adhering to the constitution…

    My sense is that these sorts of arrests happen all the time, and I wouldn’t be surprised if these evangelists entered the festival precisely because they knew it would cause conflict. What is being sought here? A true evangelization or an opportunity to score points in the culture wars?

  • WJ

    I know examples of evangelicals doing this at Catholic events, being thrown out (and if they won’t go), being arrested. So you are correct — this kind of thing happens all the time, and yes, the evangelicals are looking for conflict.

  • An example where this happened, and where Protestants have played the martyr card for similar activities against Catholics, look no further than here:

    http://formercatholicsforchrist.com/mrssexton/index.html

    On Monday, Sept.2, a woman walked up to the booth and took some of our tracts. She proceeded to walk into out booth, throw the tracts on the ground and stood on them, blocking the posters. We asked her to stand outside the booth, as we had spent $250 for the booth. I even advised her to purchase a booth next year and call it “Former Catholics For Christ is a hate group” and to use all the information she had gathered in our booth. She refused to leave, stating that she had permission from the Stark County Fair Board to picket us. My sister went to the fair board office to find out if this was true. She had lied. They called security, but to our surprise, the security refused to ask her to leave the booth. They said she was exercising her free speech. Diane explained that the booth was not “free” and that we had purchased the space. We again asked that she be removed to the outside of our booth. The security guards refused. My husband asked, “Is it okay if I take our Jesus is the Only Way poster and stand in the Catholic booth down the isle.” The security guard threatened my husband with jail if he spoke again. Finally an officer in full uniform showed up. He argued with the lady for about 10 minutes until the Stark County board showed up and made her leave. She returned to the sheriff’s booth where she worked (“volunteered”). Many of the booths that witnessed the events came up and offered their support.

  • “My sense is that these sorts of arrests happen all the time, and I wouldn’t be surprised if these evangelists entered the festival precisely because they knew it would cause conflict. What is being sought here? A true evangelization or an opportunity to score points in the culture wars?”

    Considering the fact that three of the four missionaries are converts to Christianity from Islam, I rather suspect an opportunity for true evanagelization. In any case, the important point for me is that cops have no right to arrest individuals who are simply exercising their right of freedom of speech peacefully on public property.

  • By asking the Christian evangelists to move across the street, the intent of the police may not have been so much to deprive them of their right to distribute literature as to exercise a reasonable time, place and manner restriction on their right to assemble. Not sure if this is kosher though if the distribution violated no ordinances, etc. But probably very understandable. I suspect the charges will be related to refusing to comply with police instructions rather than distributing anything, and further suspect they’ll be dropped.

  • I suspect the charges will be related to refusing to comply with police instructions rather than distributing anything, and further suspect they’ll be dropped.

    Ditto.

  • Henry K.,

    Remember this is an Arab International Festival, not a Muslim International Festival.

    Your straw man holds no water.

  • Tito:

    And the festival in Ohio was a public one… not a Catholic one…

  • Tito,

    if it is an Arab festival than perhaps the title of the post, which refernces sharia, should be edited

  • Nope. One of the key elements of Sharia is that proselytizing Muslims is not to be tolerated. The Dearborn police department seem to agree with that.

  • The Dearborn Chief of Police is a Muslim.

  • It is funny how my comment was deleted. But I will try one more time:

    the situation with the booth and the anti-catholic was at a city festival, not a Catholic one…

    [found the comment and restored it]

  • I don’t know what happened to your previous comment Karlson. This is my thread and I’ve approved each comment you’ve made.

  • Well, someone deleted it, perhaps before you saw it, Donald.

  • “Not sure if this is kosher”

    Actually, if we’re talking about Muslims the proper term would be “halal” — the dietary rules of Islam, which actually are similar to those of the Jewish faith in some respects (e.g. banning pork, requiring specific methods of slaughter).

    The event in question bills itself as an Arab International Festival. Now, haven’t some of us been making the point, in posts regarding Israel and the Palestinians, that NOT all Arabs are Muslims? Surely there are Christian Arabs (most likely Maronites or members of other Eastern Rite Churches) in Dearborn as well as Muslims. Do they participate in this festival? It would be nice to get their take on the situation.

    I

  • Yes Elaine, Dearborn has very large Arab population and they are Muslim, Christian, and some rather secular. I’m not familiar with this festival but I’m quite sure it’s open to the general public and people of all faiths and ancestry attend. Dearborn has a very large and popular festival in the summer that many people from all over the region attend. I wouldn’t be surprised if these folks intend on distributing their literature then too. My guess is that if they do they will be sent away or locked up again.

  • It really doesn’t matter if the missionaries are ineffective or a little obnoxious, that’s not the point. The point is that this is America and people are allowed to hand pamphlets to you and say things to you about their beliefs. I’m always polite to the Baptists, Mormons, JWs and anti-corporate union petitioners when they come to my door. I don’t always take their stuff, but I don’t summon the police either. The union people usually need a shower unlike the Mormons, but hey, it takes all kinds.

    When I lived in Pittsburgh there were street preachers downtown and in Oakland. They were totally obnoxious, IMHO, but they were allowed to do their thing due to freedom of speech–they weren’t arrested. We have the freedom to make asses of ourselves. One guy was an ex-Catholic and he tried to engage me in conversation. He was itching for an argument, and I didn’t give him the satisfaction. But I didn’t get offended by him either. I’m just thankful that I don’t need the require the kind of meds that he should have been on. Even so, these people weren’t hurting anybody and more than the pigeons.

    These Muslims need to get used to America. It might be more to our advantage to pass out copies of the founding documents. Obviously it would be nice if they converted to Christianity, but most are too stubborn and brainwashed, not to mention scared, to even think about it.

  • These Muslims need to get used to America. It might be more to our advantage to pass out copies of the founding documents.

    The chief of police in Dearborn is behaving in a manner congruent with the default settings of the educational apparat in this country, which in turn is simpatico with the political class in Canada, Sweden, and the Netherlands, among other loci.

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  • JohnH says:
    Thursday, June 24, 2010 A.D. at 1:26 pm
    I don’t know. This sounds more like an attempt by the police to keep the peace.

    I’ve been at pro-life rallies where police have arrested pro-abortion activists who were handing out literature. It’s the same principle, make sure a heated situation doesn’t escalate.

    Given that the missionaries were targeting a large gathering of Muslims, this sounds like it was intended to provoke a reaction. I think it would have been different if they had been handing out literature during a normal day.

    I’m sympathetic to the message of the missionaries, but I don’t think the method is effective.
    =====
    Um, there’s a freedom of religion, but NO freedoms for abortion within ANY aspects of the Constitution, the Declaration, nor the Bill of Rights. So, for police to arrest someone for passing out PRO-abortion literature is perfectly within the province of law enforcement. Whereas, police have NO rights with respect to what someone does regarding religion and the free exercise thereof. PLEASE READ YOUR FOUNDING DOCUMENTS: Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence before commenting on what you “think” is okay or not. Opinions are NOT valid in a court of popular opinion nor courts of law!

  • It appears to me that the police were very patient, my father raised me to obey the law and if the police asked me to leave the area then i better leave the area. If you hang around and argue you should expect to be arrested. Also the they stated they were across the street, apears to me they were right next to a ride at the event. Bottom line is they went their to get a rise out of the event and they got what they deserved.

  • The missionaries were aqcuitted back in September of the bogus breach of the peace charges:

    http://www.examiner.com/independent-in-detroit/four-christian-missionaries-acquited-of-inciting-dearborn-michigan-muslims

Political Miscellania 6/24/10

Thursday, June 24, AD 2010

A roundup of recent political news.

1.  Nikki Haley, see the above video, crushed her opponent in the runoff 65-35.  She survived bizzare accusations of infidelity, attacks on whether she is a Christian, her parents are Sikh immigrants, and outright racism.  She is only 38 years old, her youth being something she has in common with the new generation of conservatives running and winning this year.  She has a 20 point lead on her opponent in the general election and is the odds on favorite to win in the fall and be the next governor of South Carolina.

2.  Tim Scott handily won his runoff against Paul Thurmond for the Republican nomination for Congress from South Carolina 1.  This is a heavily Republican district, so Mr. Scott, who many consider to be the most conservative member of the South Carolina legislature, will now almost certainly be the first black Republican congressman from South Carolina since Reconstruction.

3.  The bad news for the Democrats for November just will not stop.  Gallup released a poll this week which shows a huge enthusiasm gap in favor of the GOP.

The current average is based on four measures of this enthusiasm question since February, including the recent June 11-13 USA Today/Gallup poll. In that poll, 53% of Republicans said they were more enthusiastic than usual about voting and 39% were less enthusiastic, while 35% of Democrats said they were more enthusiastic about voting and 56% were less enthusiastic.

Republicans’ net score of +14 more enthusiastic in the latest poll compared with the Democrats’ net score of -21 represents the largest relative party advantage Gallup has measured in a single midterm election-year poll. More generally, Republicans have shown a decided relative advantage in enthusiasm throughout 2010, averaging a net score of +28, compared with Democrats’ net score of 0.

(Gallup instituted a separate enthusiasm question in March on its Daily tracking survey, which asks voters to say how enthusiastic they are about voting this year as opposed to comparing their current enthusiasm to their enthusiasm in prior elections. This new enthusiasm question lacks a historical trend but has also shown a consistent Republican advantage throughout the year.)

The 28 percentage-point party difference in net scores on the “more enthusiastic than usual” question in 2010 is the highest Gallup has measured in a midterm election year, with 1994’s 17-point Republican advantage the only other midterm election-year gap coming close. (See the table at the end of the article for full data by party.)

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One Response to Political Miscellania 6/24/10

  • Re: Patty Murray’s challengers… Akers is solid, but he just doesn’t have much of a following among folks here in WA. He’s a businessman from Bellingham, who intends to streamline or LEAN out the bureaucracy.

    Rossi is (in my mind) a Johnny-come-lately to the race, and is the supposed establishment choice. He has name recognition, but he has yet to win a statewide race. In my time here, he’s the guy that lost to Christine Gregoire (governor) twice.

    Clint Didier is the man who has won my support. He’s a former tight end for the Redskins, and even caught a TD pass in the Superbowl. He’s a farmer, and a football coach back in Easter WA. By no means is he a polished politician, he admits quite frankly that he is not a polished politician.

    The Washington State Republican Party recently held their convention. Terra Mork, a local activist and pro-life conservative gives her take on the convention here and here. Additionally, Michelle at “Life of the Party”, another local local activist and pro-life conservative gives her endorsement to Didier as well.

    Anecdotally, the signs you see around town for Senate candidates are primarily for Didier. I have not seen one for Rossi. I’ve only seen one for Akers and one for Murray. WA is typically a blue state, but the enthusiasm seems to be falling mostly behind Didier, as Terra’s report of the straw poll seems to indicate. It should be interesting to see how the top two primary plays out to see who really will be on the ballot in the general.

General Petraeus Replaces General McChrystal, Obamas Presidency on the Brink

Thursday, June 24, AD 2010

President Obama has replaced General McChrystal with General Petraeus.

I haven’t really thought too much about General McChrystal’s comments regarding President Obama, but I am of the mind that American generals should have complete respect for the authority and the office of the presidency while in uniform.  We are the United States of America, not a second rate banana republic.

General McChrystal should have been smarter than to express his negative opinions of President Obama, though harmless, it is a small step towards chipping away of the established civilian controlled military.

I am almost feeling sorry for my fellow Hawaiian Barry Obama.  His healthcare push has grinded to halt his legislative agenda and the oil spill is ruining his presidency.  He’s certain to lose one or both houses of congress this November and then General McChrystal’s expresses his private sentiments of an inexperienced presidency which most Americans are coming around to view him as.

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13 Responses to General Petraeus Replaces General McChrystal, Obamas Presidency on the Brink

  • It’s hard to image things getting better for the community organizer.

  • His arrogance and know-it-all attitude will do him in if the GOP takes one or both houses of congress.

    Clinton at least is a pragmatist.

    I see Obama shooting his foot and his mouth off.

    He’ll be like the Arabs, I mean, “Palestinians”, he’ll never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

  • Obama’s presidency on the brink? He just neutralized the greatest potential 2012 threat, David Petraeus, without spending any political capital. Obama is happy.

  • I doubt if Petraeus has any political ambitions. If he had, he wouldn’t have taken the assignment. I assume Petraeus thinks he can turn the tide in Afghanistan as he did in Iraq, and I pray that he can.

  • Our great, presidential genius:

    V.D. Hanson: “It is one of ironies of our present warped climate that Petraeus will face far less criticism from the media and politicians than during 2007–8 (there will be no more “General Betray Us” ads or “suspension of disbelief” ridicule), because his success this time will reflect well on Obama rather than George Bush. It is a further irony that Obama is surging with Petraeus despite not long ago declaring that such a strategy and such a commander were failures in Iraq. And it is an even further irony that he is now rightly calling for “common purpose” when — again not long ago, at a critical juncture in Iraq — Obama himself, for partisan purposes on the campaign trail, had no interest in the common purpose of military success in Iraq.”

  • I predict the following news item in June 2013, “Former President Obama indicted on corruption, fraud and tax charges.”

    That would be in addition to the “war crimes” charges Move-On.org brings in World Court.

    At least then, he’ll be able to wear his “Che” T-shirts.

  • He should have expected this, I know I did. If General McChrystal worked in the private sector, he would have been fired a long time ago.

  • I don’t believe Obama is on the brink as the headline says. In fact, I can think of no obvious reason yet to believe he won’t be re-elected.

  • “I don’t believe Obama is on the brink as the headline says. In fact, I can think of no obvious reason yet to believe he won’t be re-elected.”

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/140810/voters-split-obama-election-2012.aspx

  • “I can think of no obvious reason yet . . . ”

    Some obscure reasons:

    17% Real unemployment

    5,000,000 more home forelosures

    Wars unending

    Assassinations of innocent people by drones

    Gitmo still operating

    Oil spill to end all oil spills

    Inspector General-gate

    Bankrupt union pension funds

    Bankrupt community hospitals closings

    Bankrupt school districts

    Bankrupt cities

    Bankrupt counties

    Bankrupt states

    Rezko

    Blagoyevich

    Does anyone know why the solution to the most urgent, gravest health care crisis, i.e., state control over health is held in abeyance until 2013? Does it have anything to do with November 2012 would have given we the people two years of that mare’s nest?

  • I thought to add my $.02 here. I posted a critical commentary of my own at Vox-Nova:

    http://vox-nova.com/2010/06/24/whatever-is-necessary-obama-defends-war-again/

    Peace,

    Sam

  • There are a lot of scenarios in which President Obama would get elected to a second term. One foreign policy success, a forgotten oil spill, and two years of campaigning against a do-nothing Republican Congress, combined with a lousy Republican presidential candidate who fails to inspire his own party while scaring the frustrated Democrats back in line…tell me that isn’t winnable for him.

  • To those who disagree with what I wrote: none of that matters if the GOP fails to post a good nominee; ie Clinton in ’96 and Bush in ’04. We have not reached an “anyody but Obama” stage yet.

    In fact, I will say that if the GOP takes back even just one house of Congress, his reelection prospects improve.

    Do not underestimate him, the power of incumency or the dedication of his supporters. And, if a new war or big military action occurs the nation might support him into a second term.

    Polls schmoll

C.S. Lewis Book, The Great Divorce, Coming to the Big Screen

Wednesday, June 23, AD 2010

The following is from Alex Birko of the A.V. Club reporting on C.S. Lewis‘s book, The Great Divorce, being produced into a movie:

Last week marked the arrival of the trailer for the third “Chronicles Of Narnia” movie, The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader, and as everybody knows, C.S. Lewis news always comes in twos. It appears that Lewis’ religious allegory The Great Divorce is the latest of his work be slated for the big screen, according to Variety’s announcement that production studios Beloved Pictures and Mpower Pictures are joining forces to co-produce. Children’s author N.D. Wilson, known for the 100 Cupboards fantasy trilogy and his parodies of the Left Behind series, is attached to adapt the screenplay. With luck, the arrival of Mpower (The Stoning Of Soroya M.) will jump-start the project, and let it avoid the seemingly never-ending gestation plaguing the film adaptation of Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters, which was announced back in 2006, scheduled for a 2008 release, and delayed until 2010. It’s seen little discernable progress since.

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12 Responses to C.S. Lewis Book, The Great Divorce, Coming to the Big Screen

  • OK, now, technically, Lewis was a universalist, like George MacDonald, who serves as the Virgil to his Dante. However, the views of _The Great Divorce_ are “unconventional” only to Protestants, as it is really Lewis’s take on Purgatory.

  • GodsGadfly,

    Lewis was a universalist

    I’m pretty sure he was an Anglican. And a Anglo-Catholic at that.

    Unless you’re referring to something else?

  • Lewis was a universalist? I wasn’t aware that it was his soteriological view at all; in fact, I have a hard time — given my knowledge of his other views — believing that Lewis was a universalist. He explicitly says things that would lead one to conclude otherwise particularly when talking about Hell.

  • I should note that the Christian hope for salvation for everyone–for no one deserves or earns on their own accord the gift of Heaven–is not the same thing as the so-called doctrine of universalism.

    There is a difference for holding onto the radical hope that no one should ever have to face the reality of Hell, a reality so unimaginable, undesirable, and horrendous that there should be a deep fervor in all Christians that we should hope and pray fervently that by responding to God’s grace and/or God’s unfathomable mercy that all poor sinners are delivered from the menacing threat of eternal damnation. This view does not necessitate the heretical assumptions that there is no Hell, that no one goes to Hell, or that eternal punishment is incompatible with God’s mercy.

  • Eric has it right on Lewis (and why Balthasar consistently quoted Lewis in his works when dealing with eschatology). Lewis isn’t a universalist, because he made it clear universalism would lead to a rejection of free will. But he did hold out that the intuition of George MacDonald would be shown true — that while it is not necessary that everyone will be saved, it is possible that everyone will. This hope is what is expressed at the end of The Great Divorce. Lewis directly questions MacDonald in it, and MacDonald says, quite rightfully, “We don’t know the end.” That is indeed where we stand, and why we must work out our own salvation with much fear and trembling while hoping that Christ’s grace will lead us to that salvation.

  • I don’t know how I feel about this. I love Lewis, but I think there’s less room to be artistic (as opposed to Screwtape, which i thought could have the gaps between the letters filled imaginatively). Being less room, I fear room will be created. Oh well; let’s hope it comes out well.

  • From the synopsis provided by Mpower:

    Story centers on a man who learns that the sprawling, dim metropolis where he’s been living is actually Hell; he hops on a bus headed for the outskirts of Elsewhere, only to discover that the one place worse than Hell, for a self-absorbed ad executive, just might be Heaven.

    it sounds like it might be headed into clicheville. Is there any lazier Hollywood shorthand for bad guy in need of redemption than “self-absorbed ad executive”? Variations included businessman-who-works-too-hard, salesman-who-has-no-time-for-his-kids, etc. (Not CEOs, though. In Hollywoodland, CEOs are beyond redemption and have no souls.)

  • I am not optimistic.

    The protagonist of the book was, of course, Lewis himself, with the book taking place as a dream, and the solid blocks of light crushing his ghostly existence during Heaven’s dawn at the end are only the books of his reading-table which, in his slumber, he had pulled down on his own head.

    So, “self-absorbed ad executive” indicates right away that they’re taking liberties.

    Lewis was no universalist.

    But I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find that Hollywood’s version of The Great Divorce is a lot of universalist, “all religions are the same” claptrap.

    Certainly they’ll have to put in a Christian who got damned for believing too much in the exclusivity of his faith. (Now if that Christian should happen to be Father Feeney, fair enough. But they wouldn’t stop there: They’ll make it a “reactionary” Catholic bishop whose sin was a lack of charity, exhibited by his exclusion of a pro-choice politician from communion, or some such thing.)

    One of the best characters in the book is the heretical Anglican clergyman whose apostasy, far from derailing his career, won him book deals and a bishopric.

    A true-to-Lewis film would take this character, self-consciously pattern him after Shelby Spong, and make it utterly unquestionable (as it was in the book) that the man is ultimately a damned soul, and deservedly so.

    But will they do that, in a film?

    C’mon. What’re the odds?

    And what’re the odds that the woman who loved her son too possessively will still, in the movie, be a woman? Nah. She’ll have become a man. Probably a distant father who wasn’t sufficiently accepting of his son’s homosexuality, or some such thing.

    Lewis’s book makes it clear that a person who rejects Christ is in hell, and that it’s deserved, and their own fault. And that Purgatory is the process by which a soul filled with self-love is purged of that self-love because as they themselves, wrenchingly, finally relinquish the last poisonous bits of it, they are thereby choosing to love Christ above all else, and thus become, for the first time, truly human souls.

    If that message gets past Hollywood’s Satanic censoring, it will be such a miracle as to possibly presage the imminent Second Coming.

    Which event I anticipate much sooner than any cinematic version of The Great Divorce that does it justice.

  • R.C.

    The one big hope that they would be close to Lewis’ spirit: the executors of Lewis’ estate would not let the right go without it.

  • I don’t know Henry; I want to be optimistic about this, but Lewis’s estates’s executors did let that diluted and shallower version of Prince Caspian go to production.

  • R.C.,

    I wouldn’t be too worried about it. One of the producers is a former executive for Icon (i.e. Passion of the Christ) and the screenwriter is solid Christian whose father is a pastor and huge Lewis, Tolken, Chesterton, Sayers fan. I imagine that some liberties might be taken in translation from book to film, but only because of the difference in medium.

  • And every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord.

Patron Saint of Attorneys

Wednesday, June 23, AD 2010

Hattip to my friend Jay Anderson at Pro Ecclesia who has a superb tribute to Saint Thomas More here.

Yesterday, June 22, was the feast day of Saint Thomas More.  Never has saintly sanctity and legal acumen been combined so well in any man as in Saint Thomas More.  The foremost English lawyer and judge of his day, he was one of the most learned men of his time, at the forefront of the Christian humanist revival of letters.  He rose to the highest office of England, save that of the King.  He could have lived a life of ease and comfort, enjoying a peaceful old age, basking in the honors and plaudits his hard literary and legal work had earned him.  Instead he died the death of a martyr, going to the chopping block in defense of his Catholic faith.  Here is a contemporary account, August 4, 1535, written in the Paris Newsletter, of the last days of Saint Thomas More.

On the 1st July 1535, Master Thomas More, Chancellor of England, was brought before the judges and the accusations against him read in his presence. The Chancellor and the Duke of Norfolk turned to him and said, “You, Master More, have gravely erred against the King; nevertheless we hope by his clemency that if you repent and correct your obstinate opinion in which you have so rashly persevered, you will receive pardon.” He replied, “My Lords, I thank you very heartily for your good will. I pray God preserve me in my just opinion even to death. As to the accusation against me, I fear words, memory, and judgment would alike fail me to reply to such a length of articles, especially considering my present imprisonment and great infirmity.” A chair was then ordered to be placed for him, and he proceeded as follows:

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5 Responses to Patron Saint of Attorneys

G.K. Chesterton on Lincoln

Wednesday, June 23, AD 2010

The patron saint of paradox, G. K. Chesterton, had a great gift for taking the familiar, twisting it to a new angle in his mind and producing insights that were often brilliant and always well written.  On 1921 he made a lecture tour of the US.  In 1922 he wrote a book, What I Saw In America, which is filled with interesting observations on the US by one of our more acute observers.  Here are his reflections on Lincoln.  I certainly do not endorse everything he writes, but I find all of it fascinating.

Lincoln and Lost Causes

It has already been remarked here that the English know a great deal about past American literature, but nothing about past American history. They do not know either, of course, as well as they know the present American advertising, which is the least important of the three. But it is worth noting once more how little they know of the history, and how illogically that little is chosen. They have heard, no doubt, of the fame and the greatness of Henry Clay. He is a cigar. But it would be unwise to cross-examine any Englishman, who may be consuming that luxury at the moment, about the Missouri Compromise or the controversies with Andrew Jackson. And just as the statesman of Kentucky is a cigar, so the state of Virginia is a cigarette. But there is perhaps one exception, or half-exception, to this simple plan. It would perhaps be an exaggeration to say that Plymouth Rock is a chicken. Any English person keeping chickens, and chiefly interested in Plymouth Rocks considered as chickens, would nevertheless have a hazy sensation of having seen the word somewhere before. He would feel subconsciously that the Plymouth Rock had not always been a chicken. Indeed, the name connotes something not only solid but antiquated; and is not therefore a very tactful name for a chicken. There would rise up before him something memorable in the haze that he calls his history; and he would see the history books of his boyhood and old engravings of men in steeple-crowned hats struggling with sea-waves or Red Indians. The whole thing would suddenly become clear to him if (by a simple reform) the chickens were called Pilgrim Fathers.

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11 Responses to G.K. Chesterton on Lincoln

  • I wouldn’t call that exerpt “interesting;” I’d call it asinine. I just occured to me that GKC enjoys the same underved awe among conservative Catholics as Heinlein did among old sf fans. GKC is so wedded to his binary contrasts and paradoxes that he blissfully ignores facts to draw his predetermined conclusions. I daresay he toured America to see exactly what he already expected to see.

    Can we possibly lay aside this cliche about the “industrial North”? The states of the Northwest territory were fully agrarian but their farms were owned and worked by free men. Moreover, by men with a higher rate of literacy and education than Southerners, thanks to public support for education and many local liberal arts colleges.

  • I certainly don’t agree with some of Chesterton’s points here (and I think it shows how his style of thought and prose can get old after a while) but it’s an interesting clip of historical thought, that’s for sure.

    I hadn’t been aware that some Brits had compared the Unionist cause in Ireland to the Federal cause in the American Civil War. It is indeed a very inapt comparison, and for roughly the reasons Chesterton outlines somewhere in his thicket of prose.

    However, this also shows up the British affection for the Confederacy which has always struck me as odd and unattractive. I can only think it springs from the fact that for Brits like GKC and Churchill, the South seemed to have a proper understanding of societal order. The ante bellum South was in some ways a feudal society not that far off from what persisted in England, though slavery and Jim Crow were certainly more vile than English peasantry and class prejudice.

    And I continue to simply not get GK’s “wage slavery” line of thinking. If he can’t see how much more attractive wage labor is than slavery, he should take a look at how much former slaves considered their dignity to be enhanced by working for wages rather than masters.

  • It’s funny, but just last night I led a book club discussion of Orthodoxy. I’ll repeat one thing I mentioned, and it is that though I do find Chesterton enjoyable and many of his observations quite unique and perceptive, he’s not quite my cup of tea. Frankly I think C.S. Lewis is the better writer, and mainly because I don’t have to read him three times in order to figure out what he’s saying.

    Other than that, I agree with pretty much everything Darwin said.

  • Now that a couple of commenters [commentators?] have had their fast draw on GKC’s essay and opinions about Lincoln and the South and the North, they might find it worthwhile to go back and reread what GKC actually said.

    If wage slavery is difficult to understand, you might try reading a little about the Company Town.

  • Who exactly in England was pro-Confederate? Not the millworkers of Lancashire who would rather be out of work than help the Southern cause.

    Chesterton seems to have often made historical observations that really just pegs to hang up comments about contemporary England. I see no evidence from the exerpt that he knew much about American history or society.

    And by the way, Rocks (the breed of chicken) come in Red and Barred versions, too. Heaven knows what he might have done with that datum.

  • “Who exactly in England was pro-Confederate?”

    Quite a few English aristocrats and most of the elites of the Tory and Whig parties, as well as a not inconsiderable portion of the remainder of the population. Lord Palmerston, the Prime Minister of England during the Civil War, who began his career as a Tory and ended as a Whig, is a perfect example of this sentiment. William Gladstone, Chancellor of the Exchequer, also a former Tory who was now a Whig, spoke for an influential portion of the British public when on October 7, 1862 he made a speech in which he remarked: “There is no doubt that Jefferson Davis and other leaders of the South have made an army; they are making, it appears, a navy; and they have made what is more than either-they have made a nation.” He added, “We may anticipate with certainty the success of the Southern States so far as regards their separation from the North.”

  • I just started reading What I Saw in America and am only on the third chapter I believe. I find the criticisms based on this excerpt to be rather unfair or misplaced. I don’t suppose it’s the various readers’ fault because they are reacting to the excerpt, but had they read the first chapters of the book they would understand that one of the purposes of the book was to discuss how different America was compared to his preconceived notions. He also addressed how uninformed or incorrect his take could be because he only visited a small number of places and only saw what he saw.

    Reading Chesterton is much like reading history; the context means a lot. The man had a Catholic sensibility long before his conversion. He saw the worst aspects of the industrial revolution and Capitalism. Things that we might find hard to relate to because that beast has been somewhat tamed and made right, and because the 20th Century taught us how bad the alternative can be. GKC was a man who loved people for their own sake and saw virtue in the life of the common man. He loved life and desired that simple love for all. He arrived in America during Prohibition – the idea of which rightfully struck him as backward. He despised Puritanical excesses, but was also fair enough to recognize virtue where it existed. All in all, based on what I’ve read of WISiA, he was quite appreciative of America.

    And Sandra, I’m sorry but I missed where the color of Rocks came into play because I don’t recall Chesterton making any reference to color. However, if he identified them as a particular color it could very well be because that’s all there were back then or that is what they were known for. Things as we know it now weren’t always the case.

    I don’t always agree with GKC, but often times I find that the reason I don’t agree is because I have the benefit of having access to what would have been the future to him.

  • “GKC was a man who loved people for their own sake and saw virtue in the life of the common man.”

    And isn’t this one of the qualities Lincoln is best known for as well? He said “God must love the common people for He made so many of them.” GKC and Lincoln both managed to be men of great intellect and ideas but without developing a contempt for the “rabble” or for those who disagreed with them, as so many intellectuals do.

    I find it interesting that GKC percieved Lincoln as being more “French” than British in his approach to ideas. RL says GKC “had a Catholic sensibility long before his conversion.” Maybe Lincoln had a touch of it as well? (He had cousins who were Catholic, by the way; they lived in western Illinois in a now-vanished settlement called Fountain Green.)

  • I don’t have to read him three times in order to figure out what he’s saying.

    Wheh…I thought I was the only one.

    without developing a contempt for the “rabble” or for those who disagreed with them

    well, for St. Abe, you don’t have to develop a contempt for those who disagree with you when you can just throw them in jail.

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McChrystal Should Be Fired

Wednesday, June 23, AD 2010

It will come as no surprise to readers of this blog that I hold President Obama in very low regard.  I believe he is a man completely out of his depth, has shown little leadership,  has sponsored fiscal and economic policies that are disastrous for the country, and is an enthusiastic supporter of  abortion.   It may come as a surprise to some of our readers that I believe one of Obama’s critics should be fired from his job.

General Stanley McChrystal is the head of US and Nato forces in Afghanistan.  He unwisely agreed to be interviewed for a story about him in Rolling Stones.  The article may be read here.  In the article the General is fairly uncomplimentary about Obama and most of the Obama officials he has encountered:

When Barack Obama entered the Oval Office, he immediately set out to deliver on his most important campaign promise on foreign policy: to refocus the war in Afghanistan on what led us to invade in the first place. “I want the American people to understand,” he announced in March 2009. “We have a clear and focused goal: to disrupt, dismantle and defeat Al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan.” He ordered another 21,000 troops to Kabul, the largest increase since the war began in 2001. Taking the advice of both the Pentagon and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he also fired Gen. David McKiernan – then the U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan – and replaced him with a man he didn’t know and had met only briefly: Gen. Stanley McChrystal. It was the first time a top general had been relieved from duty during wartime in more than 50 years, since Harry Truman fired Gen. Douglas MacArthur at the height of the Korean War.

Even though he had voted for Obama, McChrystal and his new commander in chief failed from the outset to connect. The general first encountered Obama a week after he took office, when the president met with a dozen senior military officials in a room at the Pentagon known as the Tank. According to sources familiar with the meeting, McChrystal thought Obama looked “uncomfortable and intimidated” by the roomful of military brass. Their first one-on-one meeting took place in the Oval Office four months later, after McChrystal got the Afghanistan job, and it didn’t go much better. “It was a 10-minute photo op,” says an adviser to McChrystal. “Obama clearly didn’t know anything about him, who he was. Here’s the guy who’s going to run his f—–g war, but he didn’t seem very engaged. The Boss was pretty disappointed.”

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30 Responses to McChrystal Should Be Fired

  • Obama should be fired.

    You quote others than the General. Maybe McCh should be fired because he isn’t doing the job. O’s doing his job . . .

    O fired McCh’s predecessor. This will be Number Three A$$crackistan CinC in less than two years.

    Apparently, you are unfamiliar with GI humor. When they aren’t griping or joking, you have a morale problem.

    Please provide the general’s contemptuous quotes.

    McK is not being fired for contempt. He’s being fired for blasphemy. That’s why O wants his private political army.

    Obama should be fired. Cult of persoality. FO

  • I’m quite familiar with GI humor T.Shaw, having served in the Green Machine in the Seventies for three years. McChrystal either knew precisely what he was doing in which case he was being openly contemptuous of Obama, or he is too stupid to have such an important command. One doesn’t reach four star rank without being well aware of how dangerous journalists can be. As to Obama being fired, I will do whatever I can to bring that about at the polls in 2012.

  • Donald R. McClarey says: “McChrystal either knew precisely what he was doing in which case he was being openly contemptuous of Obama, or he is too stupid to have such an important command.”

    Well he voted for Obama so I’m not so sure the latter doesn’t fit.

    I’m retired military (USAF 24 yrs) and I have to agree with the article poster. If he had problems with Obama he had one of two choices; take it up the chain or resign.

    McChrystal’s background is special forces (black ops) who operated largely in the shadows his whole career. He was hired for his war fighting skills, and wasn’t “groomed” to play the game politics. He didn’t have the political acumen of a General Petreus who is a master at handling the press. Like Patton, McChrystal has a history of frankly speaking his mind. As we used to say “he allowed his alligator mouth overload his hummingbird ass”. It’s ruined many a career, including this one.

  • Wait a second. What did McChrystal himself say?

    ““It was a 10-minute photo op,” says an adviser to McChrystal. “Obama clearly didn’t know anything about him, who he was. Here’s the guy who’s going to run his f—–g war, but he didn’t seem very engaged. The Boss was pretty disappointed.”

    The adviser said this, it seems, and perhaps not even with McChrystal’s awareness or in his presence. Can you provide quotes from McChrystal that run afoul of 888 Art. 88?

  • Since McChrystal’s comments and actions did not rise to the level of McCarthy’s actions or comments I think the proper compromise is for Obama to accept McCrystal’s resignation. McChrystal did not disobey any orders from his Commander-in-Chief. I agree with much of General McChrystal’s observations, also.

  • I guess Stalin would have had him shot.

    In spite of the imbecility of an incompetent administration and frenetical Obama worshippers the great and free American people will win this

    War? . . . War?? What war???

    Thank you for your service.

    My son (airborne ranger qualified infantryman) just came home from a year in Afghan.

    I served in SAC and USAFE in the seventies. I only had contact with Army troops in West Germany around the time USAF (from Thailand) had to shoot up the Khmer Rouge gomers that hijacked the Mayaguez. The USAF, unlike the Army, somehow had managed to maintain a modicum of morale.

    What would Curtis LeMay do? I did not say I “like” McCh. For one, my kid couldn’t get air on target when he needed b/c it may have disturbed some nearby taliban-sympathizers.

    And, I have little use for snake-eating, throat cutting, sniping periphery peckers. How could any one of them ever get about major? Warfare is max firepower all the time. Or, else don’t bother.

    You’re a lawyer. Isn’t the TRUTH the ultimate defense? I’ll paraphrase Yogi Berra, “If it’s true, it ain’t contemptuous.”

    Behead all those who insult Obama!

    Some excerpts from the Rolling Stone article

    “I Never Know What’s Going to Pop Out . . .

    “Gen. McChrystal on a dinner he must attend with a French minister to try to keep French support in the war in Afghanistan:

    ‘I’d rather have my a– kicked by a roomful of people than go out to this dinner,’ McChrystal says.

    “He pauses a beat.

    “‘Unfortunately,’ he adds, ‘no one in this room could do it.’

    “‘Who’s he going to dinner with?” I ask one of his aides.

    “‘Some French minister,'” the aide tells me. “It’s f—— gay.’

    “Gen. McChrystal and an aide ridicule Vice President Joe Biden (Gen. McChrystal previously has gotten into trouble with the president for calling the counterterrorism strategy advocated by Vice President Biden “shortsighted”):

    “‘Now, . . . McChrystal wonders aloud what Biden question he might get today, and how he should respond. ‘I never know what’s going to pop out until I’m up there, that’s the problem,’ he says. Then, unable to help themselves, he and his staff imagine the general dismissing the vice president with a good one-liner.

    “‘Are you asking about Vice President Biden?’ McChrystal says with a laugh. ‘Who’s that?’

    “‘Biden?’ suggests a top adviser. ‘Did you say: Bite Me?’

    “Gen. McChrystal on working with Washington to re-evaluate the strategy in Afghanistan:

    “‘Last fall, with his top general calling for more troops, Obama launched a three-month review to re-evaluate the strategy in Afghanistan.’ I found that time painful,’ McChrystal tells me in one of several lengthy interviews. ‘I was selling an unsellable position.’ For the general, it was a crash course in Beltway politics — a battle that pitted him against experienced Washington insiders like Vice President Biden. . .

    “Gen. McChrystal and an aide on an email from U.S. special envoy Richard Holbrooke:

    “At one point on his trip to Paris, McChrystal checks his BlackBerry. ‘Oh, not another e-mail from Holbrooke,’ he groans. ‘I don’t even want to open it.’ He clicks on the message and reads the salutation out loud, then stuffs the BlackBerry back in his pocket, not bothering to conceal his annoyance.

    “‘Make sure you don’t get any of that on your leg,’ an aide jokes, referring to the e-mail.

    “The general’s strategy that was leaked to the New York Times:

    “McChrystal and his team were blindsided by the cable. ‘I like Karl, I’ve known him for years, but they’d never said anything like that to us before,’ says McChrystal, who adds that he felt ‘betrayed’ by the leak. ‘Here’s one that covers his flank for the history books. Now if we fail, they can say, ‘I told you so.’

    “Gen. McChrystal on his first meeting with the president:

    “The general first encountered Obama a week after he took office, when the president met with a dozen senior military officials in a room at the Pentagon known as the Tank. According to sources familiar with the meeting, McChrystal thought Obama looked ‘uncomfortable and intimidated’ by the roomful of military brass.

    “Gen. McChrystal on tensions with the administration:

    “Part of the problem is structural: The Defense Department budget exceeds $600 billion a year, while the State Department receives only $50 billion. But part of the problem is personal: In private, Team McChrystal likes to talk s— about many of Obama’s top people on the diplomatic side. One aide calls Jim Jones, a retired four-star general and veteran of the Cold War, a ‘clown’ who remains ‘stuck in 1985.’

    “Gen. McChrystal on Richard Holbrooke:

    “McChrystal reserves special skepticism for Holbrooke, the official in charge of reintegrating the Taliban. ‘The Boss says he’s like a wounded animal,’ says a member of the general’s team. ‘Holbrooke keeps hearing rumors that he’s going to get fired, so that makes him dangerous. He’s a brilliant guy, but he just comes in, pulls on a lever, whatever he can grasp onto. But this is COIN, and you can’t just have someone yanking on s—.'”

  • A good discussion on Article 88 is here:

    http://tullylegal.com/article88.pdf

    Military prosecutions under 88 have been quite rare since World War II, only one being cited in the linked article. However, every member of the military is made aware of Article 88. Certainly I was made aware of it when I was in the Army, along with my colleagues at the time.

  • I think McCrystal wanted his observations to be known, felt like he had been placed in an impossible situation since Obama’s policies are making it impossible to win over in Afghanistan, and wanted an out. Since, McCrhystal is a smart guy I think he wanted to be able to resign or be relieved of his duties.

  • The McChrystal quotes are hilarious, and largely true, but I think Donald’s right: you can’t have serving generals mouthing off at civilian authority in front of reporters like that.

    On the other hand, if he’s seeking a career in Republican politics, he probably has a lot of fans at the moment…

  • Teresa, which Obama policy is making it impossible to win in Afghanistan?

    Don, I’m shocked. I think the Republican response would be “McChrystal made a mistake but he’s the best guy we have and by firing him Obama is putting politics before national security.”

  • There’s a lot of second-hand stuff in that passage. But in the military, a commander takes responsibility for the actions of all the men under his command. McChrystal has to take the hit if the article is accurate and he and the people around him were disrespectful of the President.

  • Restrainedradical,
    Obama has been either indecisive or he has simply had trouble making tough decisions.

    Diehl at the Washington Post points out:
    “For months Obama has tolerated deep divisions between his military and civilian aides over how to implement the counterinsurgency strategy he announced last December. The divide has made it practically impossible to fashion a coherent politico-military plan, led to frequent disputes over tactics and contributed to a sharp deterioration in the administration’s relations with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.”
    “The real trouble is that Obama never resolved the dispute within his administration over Afghanistan strategy. With the backing of Gates and the Pentagon’s top generals, McChrystal sought to apply to Afghanistan the counterinsurgency approach that succeeded over the last three years in Iraq, an option requiring the deployment of tens of thousands more troops. Biden opposed sending most of the reinforcements and argued for a “counterterrorism plus” strategy centered on preventing al-Qaeda from establishing another refuge.”

    Three of Obama’s errors are pointed out here

    Plus, I think that this is absurd: http://www.navytimes.com/news/2010/05/military_restraint_medal_051110mar/

  • The editor of Rolling Stone:

    Bates dismissed any suggestion that McChrystal was deliberately trying to torpedo his own command with the article. McChrystal has a history of speaking his mind, sometimes to his detriment, such as when he was quoted last fall criticizing a strategy being pushed by Vice President Joe Biden.

    “There are far easier ways of doing that, if that’s what you want to do, and more dignified ways,” Bates said.

  • I admit that General McChrystal may not have been deliberately torpedoing his own command but his comments or the aide’s comments may leave one open to that perception.

  • Empty suit,
    Meet salute.

    A bit over two years ago, I believe Senator Obama voted “present” on Senate resolution PROTESTING ads calling Gen. Petraeus “General BetrayUS.” That took courage.

    Some racists viewed that as a vote of “no confidence” in Gen’l P and the Iraq surge strategery. We enlightened know that was in the national interest.

    Now, Quis Ut Deus fires Gen’l. McKiernan’s personally selected loud mouth replacement.

    Pvt. Bailey had a tatoo on his forehead: “F The Army.”

    If I were Gen’l. P, I’d before he becomes person number 28(?) Obama throws under the bus in the national interest.

  • “As it happens I think McChrystal is largely accurate in regard to his acerbic obseravtions about the Obama administration, and if he were saying them after he resigned or retired, I would be cheering him on. However, civilian control of the military is a key aspect of our system. The President is the civilian commander-in-chief of the military. Disrespect shown to him by a high ranking officer is an inexcusable act of contempt for the concept of civilian control.”

    Exactly how I would expect a lawyer to approach this issue. There is an ocean of difference between having respect for the constitutionally established civilian control of the military and having contempt for the individual, or administration, exercising that control today. Your statement is childish in its simplicity and not improved by anything approaching accuracy. While McC’s words may absolutely violate Article 88 (which, by the way, cares not for the accuracy of the contemptuous statement), that is a horse of an entirely different color than the notion that the act is unforgiveable. You may recall that Truman forgave MacA far more grave and numerous slights than Obambi has suffered here. It was only when he could no longer trust Mac to follow presidential orders that Truman finally offed his command.

    If you spent three years in the uniform, and probably as a lawyer, then you might remember something about two often competing ideas; “good order and discipline,” and “mission accomplishment.” Although the first threshhold was clearly crossed; I am not sure relieving McC and demoting Petraeus serves to do anything but thicken and heighten the wall between our modern day Lincoln and the military.

    As for the absurd suggestion that the Genral should have resigned or retired first, then written a tell-all, that would have been an extreme act of cynical moral cowardice on his part- exactly the kind of thing one might expect a lawyer to recommend. As you well know, to “resign in protest” is to lose all benefits; pretty much a fiscal hari kari. To request immediate retirement is safe, but not assured. Only by speaking out while still on active duty can a general consider himself to have done his duty to his troops on those occasion where he deems himself to have been left no path to victory.

    A general’s primary legal responsibility is upward, but by far his most essential loyalty must be directed downward. If MCC believes that the administration is bent upon not winning, or even not committed to victory, he has no moral option to remain silent. If he speaks his mind at his retirement parade, no one would care and he would have protected only himself. If, and only if, McC entered this interview with his eyes open as to the risks to his career, and laid it out there anyway, then he has my admiration.

    In the very near future, generals and admirals the likes of which you seem to approve of will likely be all that is left us. That will be when the predators fly armed over Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, or for that matter, Houston and Dallas. One day the turrets of US fighting vehicles will turn to face US citizens in their homeland. And generals the likes of those you find acceptable will issue statements bemoaning the domestic terrorists who have forced the Great Leader to order them into combat on US streets.
    I scoff!

  • 1.”There is an ocean of difference between having respect for the constitutionally established civilian control of the military and having contempt for the individual, or administration, exercising that control today.”

    Not really. If a general doesn’t understand that he needs to resign and enter the political arena.

    2. “that is a horse of an entirely different color than the notion that the act is unforgiveable.”

    That is a subject of opinion. My opinion is that generals not wise enough to prevent themselves and their staff from shooting their mouths off about their civilian superiors really need to be in another line of work.

    3. “If you spent three years in the uniform, and probably as a lawyer”

    I served before I went over to the dark side and went to law school.

    4.”I am not sure relieving McC and demoting Petraeus serves to do anything but thicken and heighten the wall between our modern day Lincoln and the military.”

    Other than the inapt reference to Lincoln you may be right about that. Obama was placed in a darned if you do and darned if you don’t situation. It will probably depend on how Petraeus does and if he is able to loosen the inane rules of engagement that our troops currently operate under in Afghanistan.

    5. “As for the absurd suggestion that the General should have resigned or retired first, then written a tell-all, that would have been an extreme act of cynical moral cowardice on his part- exactly the kind of thing one might expect a lawyer to recommend.”

    Your statement is complete and total rubbish. Not criticizing your civilian superiors comes with being a soldier in the US Army. If General McChrystal did not understand that before he understands that now. As for risking his benefits, if he truly believes that the country is endangered by a politician’s decision that is a small risk for someone whose job description entails risking his life for his country.

    6. “If MCC believes that the administration is bent upon not winning, or even not committed to victory, he has no moral option to remain silent.” Agreed, after he is no longer in uniform. The elected leaders get to make policy and active duty officers do not get to publicly disagree with those decisions.

    7. “In the very near future, generals and admirals the likes of which you seem to approve of will likely be all that is left us.” If they are of the calibre of Grant, Lee, Marshal, Farragut, Nimitiz and a host of other generals and admirals who did not engage in public disputes with the civilian authorities, then the country will have nothing to fear.

    8. “One day the turrets of US fighting vehicles will turn to face US citizens in their homeland. And generals the likes of those you find acceptable will issue statements bemoaning the domestic terrorists who have forced the Great Leader to order them into combat on US streets.” Paranoia and argument ad absurdum make a poor combination.

  • One reason that Rolling Stone’s Magazine had that much access to McChrystal’s aides is that they were stuck in Europe because of the volcano. I do wonder whether if McChrystal’s aides were thinking that at least some of their conversation(s) were off the record.

  • Over at BlackFive: Crash:

    This could be a media event.

    “The scandal surrounding the release of the Rolling Stone profile on McChrystal may have been designed to shift the media’s attention away from the real story – the release of the Congressional report on tens of millions of American taxpayer dollars going to the Taliban and Afghan warlords in a mafia-style protection racket.

    “The Host Nation Trucking contract for moving NATO supplies into Afghanistan is worth $2.16 billion. And much of that money, has ended up in the hands of corrupt Afghan warlords as well as the Taliban. But thanks to the media circus surrounding McChrystal, a major story that incriminates not only the DoD, but also the Obama administration has gone virtually unnoticed. This major story isn’t on the front page of any newspaper or website . . . ”

    Obama’s paying US taxpayers’ money to terrorists murdering Americans.

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  • Even in civilian life people get fired every day for badmouthing their bosses. It’s not uncommon these days for people to get canned just for making negative remarks about their company or their boss on their private blogs, Facebook or Twitter, let alone in nationally published media. Why would Gen. McChrystal be any different?

    My gut feeling is that he was fed up with his job and really didn’t care whether he got fired or not, so he sounded off figuring he had nothing to lose. There is also the possibility (as other posters have pointed out) that he intended some of his comments to be off the record; but again, when dealing with any reporter (and I should know because I used to be one), you must NEVER simply assume your comments are off the record.

  • Never trust an ink-stained wretch Elaine! 🙂

  • DRM
    In RE: your response number 4. The disdain in which Lincoln held the constitution’s limitations on his office is repeated in Obama. The actual transgressions by Lincoln during his first two years were actually more egregious than Obama’s.

    In RE: your response number 5. Not convinced. You say that “if he truly believes that the country is in danger” that he should first resign and then speak because his benefits are a small thing against the good of the country. I’d really like to see you put your entire fortune where your typing fingers go. In your scenario, before he says words no one will hear or heed, he should just forfeit his entire future. I think it better to put the benfits on the chopping block, piss off your boss, then see if he can see past his ego. You want military leaders such as the German aristocrats who personally deplored and yet uttered oaths of personal loyalty to Hitler. Careful what you ask for- far more of the swine are what you want than is healthy for the nation.

    In RE: your response number 7: Practically none of thoise people would have survived the downsizing of the 90s- they either would have left in disgust, or been railroaded by the guys you will applaud when they come sheepishly to the microphone on the WH lawn and tell us all what an honor it was just to be nominated. After this, more real fighters will say “no thanks” and true believers the likes of the idiotic and progressive NSA Jones will be stepping up to vie for the title of misster congeniality.

    Just to make the point. I never said that the POTUS is not entirely within his rights to fire any officer. All military officers serve at the pleasure of the president. That does not mean that the president is right to exercise his option. I really don’t think it will do a thing for mission accomplishment- at least not accomplishment of the admin’s stated mission in Afghanistan.

  • Obama was attracted to McChrystal because he is also a true “greenie”. He believes in Obama’s pipe dreams of an oil free economy. He also banned FOX News from his headquarters. He voted for Obama which also makes him to be not too smart.
    It is really funny to see kindred spirits turn on each other. He might be a good soldier but that is what he is.
    He should have publicly quit as soon as he was recalled and walked out with his head held high. He seems to have grovelled and even his comments about Obama’s conduct of the war are ridiculous. Obama denied his request for more troops and even waited almost six months to make a decision. That was when he should have Quit!!!

  • “In RE: your response number 4. The disdain in which Lincoln held the constitution’s limitations on his office is repeated in Obama. The actual transgressions by Lincoln during his first two years were actually more egregious than Obama’s.”

    Actually I think a more apt criticism of Obama is that he has done very little and basically is a suit of empty clothes without an emperor. I do not think that he has gone beyond the limitations of the Constitution much more than any other President since FDR. I think his domestic policies are almost uniformly dreadful, but I can’t claim that the Constituiton prevents him from doing what little he has done. As for Abraham Lincoln, he was fighting a civil war. I would note that similiar policies were utilized by the Confederate government, although their attacks on “rebels and traitors” against the Confederacy as they deemed Southern Unionists I have always found rather ironic. Lincoln’s measures were of course ratified by Congress, and ratified by the people at the polls in 1864.

    “I’d really like to see you put your entire fortune where your typing fingers go. In your scenario, before he says words no one will hear or heed, he should just forfeit his entire future”

    Yes, actually, if he deems the good of the nation really depends upon his speaking out while in uniform. The whole concept of a military is based upon making the ultimate sacrifice to save their country. That is why there are lots of statues to military heroes and precious few for attorneys. Of course this has nothing to do with the present situation since the General was not going public over some great policy disagreement, but rather paying the price for stupidly allowing his staff and himself to shoot their mouths off to a reporter from the Rolling Stones.

    “Practically none of thoise people would have survived the downsizing of the 90s- they either would have left in disgust, or been railroaded by the guys you will applaud when they come sheepishly to the microphone on the WH lawn and tell us all what an honor it was just to be nominated.”

    Hardly. Downsizing of the military in the nineties was nothing compared to the downsizing of the military during the times in which they lived. They endured because they loved the military and the country. They also understood the very simple concept that the elected leaders get to determine the size of the military and not the officers who head the military.

    “All military officers serve at the pleasure of the president. That does not mean that the president is right to exercise his option. I really don’t think it will do a thing for mission accomplishment- at least not accomplishment of the admin’s stated mission in Afghanistan.”

    For the reasons stated I think the President had no choice but to fire the General. Whether it will have an impact on Afghanistan depends very much on Petraeus. McChrystal was an enthusiastic proponent of the most restrictive rules of engagement in American military history, and I hope Petraeus will act to get ride of them.

  • DRM,
    The downsizing of the military in the 90s was not, in fact, like so many of the others in history. Bush I, firm believer in the new world order, started the ball rolling, and an enthusiastic Congress, both sides of the aisle, proceeded to reap a non-existent “peace Dividend”. That was on the outside. On the inside, we threw out career Sergeants because they did not have enough college credit, and soldiers of all ranks who failed height and weight, or physical fitness standards. We left on active duty tons of people who frequently absented themselves from field training so that they could take the “encouraged” college classes. We wanted and got a military that looked good, ran well, and had impressive educational stats. More than a few officers and senior NCOs who had performed well in combat during Desert Storm were sidelined on promotions to make the point to those who had not deployed that nothing would be held against them.

    The drawdown really took effect in the area of operationas and maintenance. Field time was slashed across the Army. It got so bad in the middle 90s, that we had to wait for geo-political stressors to get folks in the field for more than two significant field exercises in a given year. At the small unit level, even in combat support and service support arms, much gets lost when the sergeants forget what it’s like to maintain standards in the field as if lives depended on it. We all saw this play out at the end of March, 2003.

    I really can’t talk about the maneuver battalion and brigades of the 90s across the Army- I moved from Second Lieutenant to Captain in rear echelon units- but from where I sat, I saw the Army get a bit thinner physically, nominally better-educated (book learning), faster at the two mile run, and far less familiar with field operations. After I left the operating force and went into combat developments, some marginal steps were taken to regain some of the lost warrior ethos, so the effects of the drawdown began to be mitigated by decade’s end.

    There are those who often say that in between wars, the Army focuses much of its efforts on eliminating the warrior who won the last war before they can upset the neatly arranged ricebowls of the institutional Army. I believe it, I think I have seen it.

    Trust me, with all of our sensitivity training and diaper changing classes, very few of those Generals and Admirals you mentioned would have remained. As I think you know, no one is promoted past two star level. So every three and four star lives a far more political life than most people imagine. The crop of four stars around today were groomed for high office during the latter Clinton and early W. Bush years, nominated and confirmed mostly during the second W. Bush administration, and are being weeded out now.

    I note that you come to Obama’s defense on the constitutional issue. Since when was the constitutional standard “no more of a violation” than the other guys? You and Obama, your mother must be so proud!

  • “The downsizing of the military in the 90s was not, in fact, like so many of the others in history.”

    I’m familiar with the reduction in the Nineties. My brother, who was an armor Captain, was offered a buyout, saw the writing on the wall, took it, and has been happy ever after teaching political science and economics at a military academy. The reduction was nothing compared to reductions after the Civil War, World War I and World War II. As to the quality of the military after the reduction, I think it performed well in Afghanistan and Iraq, both very tough situations. Any qualms I have about either of those conflicts have been due to political decisions rather than the overall performance of the military.

    “There are those who often say that in between wars, the Army focuses much of its efforts on eliminating the warrior who won the last war before they can upset the neatly arranged ricebowls of the institutional Army. I believe it, I think I have seen it.”

    A fairly common occurrence in the history of the Army with a weeding out process of leaders taking place when the shooting starts in the next war.

    “So every three and four star lives a far more political life than most people imagine.”

    Thus it has ever been, at least since WWI.

    “Since when was the constitutional standard “no more of a violation” than the other guys?”

    You have given no citations of constitutional violations by Obama that stand the slightest chance of causing him any problems in the Court or with Congress. Unwise polices on the other hand, that is another matter, as will be shown at the polls in November of this year, and, I hope, at the polls in 2012.

The First Icons of Saints Peter and Paul

Wednesday, June 23, AD 2010

Nicole Winfield of the Associated Press wrote this neat article on these rediscovered icons inside Rome’s catacombs:

Twenty-first century laser technology has opened a window into the early days of the Catholic Church, guiding researchers through the dank, musty catacombs beneath Rome to a startling find: the first known icons of the apostles Peter and Paul.

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One Response to The First Icons of Saints Peter and Paul

Real Sex vs. the Contraceptive Mentality (Part 2)

Tuesday, June 22, AD 2010

[Continued from Part 1]

Restraint, Relationships and Planning Parenthood

When I say that we “naturally want to avoid having children” at certain times, I would imagine that the image that comes immediately to mind is of birth control, abortion or infanticide, and most traditional societies have seen these in some form or other. However, I’d like to turn our attention to something so basic and so prevalent that we don’t think about it much.

From an anthropological point of view, the entire structure of our romantic and family relationships serves as a way to control childbearing, limiting it to situations in which offspring can be supported. Consider: Requiring that young women remain virgins until marriage ensured that children will not be born without a provider. Nor was the decision to marry, when it came, a strictly individual affair. Marriage was negotiated and approved by the wider families, because the families were in effect committing to help support the new family unit being created. Many cultures also required the husband’s family to pay a “bride price”, not simply as compensation for the lost contribution of the daughter to her own family, but as proof that the husband was of sufficient means to start a family.

Once in place, this set of cultural mores and laws provided an easy way to adjust to want or plenty:

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12 Responses to Real Sex vs. the Contraceptive Mentality (Part 2)

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  • Chastity is very important both in and outside of marriage.

    “And the set of moral and societal norms surrounding marriage provide us with a way to manage that fact responsibly in order to have children only when we believe we can support them.”

    I agree. But, unfortunately our society’s norms and sense of morality has changed over time leading to a deterioration of family values, which has also in turn led to a break up of the traditional family unit.

    Plus, the Catholic Church has been quite remiss in promoting and teaching proper fertility treatment alternatives to IVF that are in line with Catholic teachings.

    But, Fr. Benedict Groeshel did recently host a show on Catholic fertility for couples with fertility issues.

    http://teresamerica.blogspot.com/2010/05/faithful-couple-reflects-on-issues-of.html

  • I wondered if you’d mention Ireland. People think of the Irish as baby-crazy, but that has not always been the case as you say.

  • As a cradle Catholic I agree with your assessment. The only thing I don’t agree with is the use of birth control (aka condom) when your married and don’t want children. My spouse is a Medical Doctor and also disagree with the method the church authorized since it is not as full-proof as birth-control or condom. Let me correct myself hormone birth-control we are also against. My question I guess is why is the church against condoms even in marriage?

  • Marriage requires an openness to procreating and condoms inhibit that openness or are a barrier to that openness.

    Here is chart analyzing all forms of contraception and it shows reasons why the Church is against each form of contraception.

    http://www.usccb.org/prolife/issues/nfp/action.shtml

  • Alex,

    As Teresa says, the Church’s opposition to barrier forms of birth control are based on the understanding that they falsify the procreative nature of the sex act. From a Catholic point of view, there is not a moral difference between the use of hormonal and barrier methods of birth control.

  • Alex,
    While it’s hard to see at a glance because the columns are out of alignment, the chart to which Teresa links gives typical use effectiveness ratings (it’s not specified on the page but it looks to be measured in terms of pregnancies per hundred users) for all methods. Pregnancy rates for the fertility-acceptance methods allowed by the Church are actually lower than they are for barrier contraceptives–quite a bit lower if you exclude the now disused calendar rhythm method.

    These methods do demand a high degree of self-discipline, which many couples are unwilling to impose on themselves.

  • Alex..again…abstaining when the wife is fertile teaches sexual control, which is essential and the reason why couples who utilize NFP don’t divorce or stray.

  • The problem I see with NFP is not the theoretical admissibility of the practice, but with the widespread disregard of the Church’s requirement that such mean be used only for grave reasons.

    Now customarily one does not simply judge his own case– he submits the matter to an independent person. Hence, those having recourse to these methods should be doing so only after consultation with an orthodox spiritual advisor, who can judge the facts of a couple’s situation and determine if there truly is a grave cause for avoiding cooperation in the creation of new life.

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  • Sorry, for my delay in responding back. Thank all of you for the comments. We have looked into this method further and also reading Gregory K. Popcak’s “Holy Sex!” is the ultimate guide to a fulfilling, happy, yet virtuous sexual life.” I have to recommend this book because it does lay out what NFP is in detail and makes it sound so.. much more loving … read the book if anyone was like me… Thanks

Planned Parenthood, What Happened to the Money?

Tuesday, June 22, AD 2010

A US Government Accountability Office (GAO) report has brought out an interesting mystery in regard to the federal funds given to Worse Than Murder, Inc, aka Planned Parenthood:

A new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) on federal tax money funneled into Planned Parenthood and similar organizations raises more questions than it answers about the nation’s largest abortion chain.

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Lyon Cathedral: Pious Young Catholics Face Down Militant Gays

Tuesday, June 22, AD 2010

From Father Zuhlsdorf:

Prepare to be disgusted and then edified.

This from LifeSite with my emphases and comments:

Catholics Defend French Cathedral de Lyon During Homosexual “Kiss-In”

By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

LYONS, June 17, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Approximately 200 young Catholics came to the defense of the Cathedral of Lyons, France, during a “kiss-in” protest held by homosexuals in front of the building last month.

The homosexuals reportedly came on the eve of the “World Day Against Homophobia” in May to kiss each other in front of the cathedral, [vile] presumably in protest against the Catholic Church’s 2,000-year-old condemnation of homosexual sex acts[I believe the condemnation is in the Old Testament as well.  It is also written into our being as images of God.]

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10 Responses to Lyon Cathedral: Pious Young Catholics Face Down Militant Gays

Toy Story 3

Monday, June 21, AD 2010

I’ve become a very big fan of Pixar’s works, especially their recent works of Wall-E and Up. I don’t know what Pixar’s philosophical leanings are, but I think there’s a lot in their movies for Catholics of all ages to chew on. Indeed, Pixar provides some of the few films that are excellent visually and in plot, a rarity in Hollywood these days.

If you haven’t seen Toy Story 3, I recommend you (and your family) go do so. While I don’t think viewing the previous ones is an absolute necessity, much of the emotional punch of the film is added by the backstory and so I would do so.

If you have, come on below for all the spoilers and discussion of the movie.

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Parish Shopping

Monday, June 21, AD 2010

As my wife and I are expecting in November, we’ve started to consider where we’re going to baptize the baby. Most churches that we’ve seen want you to be a parishioner before they baptize you. This has brought up the question of what parish we really belong to. We’ve found that that’s not an easy question.

Over the weekend, Tito had a post that inquired about the existence of good parishes in Las Vegas for his family. Some of the things he looks for are an orthodox priest faithful to the Magisterium, a beautiful Church, and a liturgy that aspires to beauty and lacks some of the folksy elements of post-Vatican II as well as the more scandalous aspects of the “spirit of Vatican II” like liturgical dancers.

None of those desires are unreasonable. In fact, those things are the rights of the faithful.

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24 Responses to Parish Shopping

  • I wonder if obedience is the least popular of all virtues. Sure, some other virtues get beaten up in our society, but obedience is equally resented by the nonreligious, the casually religious, and the devout.

    For quite a few years, a sleep disorder prevented me from attending early Mass. I got in the habit of attending 5 p.m. Mass at the next parish up the road. Now that I could make it to my local parish at noon, I still go up the road, because my local parish is really ugly and everyone talks through Mass.

    Before the sleep problems, I attended the Latin Mass at another parish, and it’s there that I’m registered.

    Anyway, I guess my excuse is that I’m not shopping around, and I’ve settled at a parish that’s not 100% to my liking. But it’s still not the one I actually reside in.

  • I think you have to find a good, solid church, recognize its faults, and get involved in valid ways to make it strong in those areas. We chose our parish 10 miles from home (when there are parishes 1 mile and 3 miles away) because we liked the setting, the physical church, and we interviewed, and liked the priest. But the parish is weak in spirituality, so when there was an opening for musical director, we helped find qualified people to interview. We have worked to bring in good evangelist-type preachers (we’re having Fr. Wade Menezes of the Fathers of Mercy in a few months). My point is, select a place you can live with, then do what the Holy Spirit asks you to do to make the parish better.

  • Very good article Michael.

    I feel if I were to stay active in my geographical correct parish, I would have been driven out due to my orthodoxy.

    Fortunately, I do not have that problem (Deo gratis).

    I’m all for being change agents. The question is to ask God for the courage to stay in an unCatholic parish.

  • I believe that there are many ways of living our faith as Catholics. While I am fairly conservative, I also know that is not the only path. There is always going to be some cognitive dissonence. The question is how much you can stand.

    My parish has had three different pastors in the last nine years, each with a different personal style and a different management style, as well as three deacons and I can’t even count how many assistant pastors/priest in residence. But the parishioners are the church. I feel comfortable and welcome with them, in contrast to my previous parish, where, after 25 years, I still hardly knew anyone’s name. Involvement really wasn’t welcome at my previous parish. It was the same group of people who “did things.” Quite the contrary where I am now. Ours is a very large parish. We need 18 people, per Mass, to distribute Communion. That involvement is good for the parishioners and it is also good for the community of the parish. I really think that you need to go where you feel part of the community, even if you have to drive past some other parishes to get there.

  • Tito Edwards says: I feel if I were to stay active in my geographical correct parish, I would have been driven out due to my orthodoxy.

    That happened to me. I’ll give the Reader’s Digest version. I was out of the Church for 25 years (the Prodigal Son). When I returned I was SHOCKED at all the “changes” that had taken place and I totally felt like a fish out of water.

    I was having marital problems and approached my pastor for counseling. I told him that I would like to go to confession and he replied “what makes you think you have to go to confession?”

    My wife went through the RCIA program and since I was her sponsor I was subjected to a whole years of “The best of Fr. McBrien” by the “Church Lady” that ran the program. It was a watered down mess. I sponsored another individual the following year and got into battles with the Church Lady over the lack of content in “her” program.

    I approached the parish council once to try to start a Family Rosary program using the materials from the Apostolate of Family Consecration. I mentioned at the meeting that it had the blessing of Pope John Paul II and the Associate Pastor rolled his eyes and sighed out loud.

    I was ostracized by the priests, and criticized by them to my wife for teaching then such heretical things as communion on the tongue. My wife & I eventually ended up divorcing and she left the Church and moved in with her BF. I went “parish shopping” where I found a marvelous orthodox parish that had five priests, DAILY confession, Divine Mercy & 40 hrs devotions etc.

    IMHO it’s WELL beyond “judging” – in some locations it’s become a matter of survival.

  • I think at times it is prudent to go to another parish. The parish I belonged to geographically in one city was quite unusual in its practices. Went to Mass there only once. The priest and nun processed down the aisle together with the nun wearing a dress with the exact same color of the priest’s vestments. They alternated saying the Introductory prayers of the Mass and sat in a pew together leaving the altar area empty. There were several same-sex “couples” in the congregation all beaming proudly at the homily that spoke of the equality of all “life choices.”

    Left at that point as I thought the Mass ultimately could be invalid. Never returned.

  • If there is a Latin Mass parish in your area perhaps you and your wife should consider there?

    If you raise your child in a novus ordo parish you will constantly have to explain to the child how inapprppriare the plethora of liturgical abuses are, and how the liturgy is theologically deficient, that Holy Mass is not the time where we celebrate ourselves but is the representation of Christ on the Cross in an unbloodied way. The mass is a sacrificial offering, not a fiesta.

    Since his/her very soul hangs in the balance, consider, should s/he go to a parish offering the Mass of the Great Saints of the last 400 years, or the mass where bishops of very questionable orientation give Holy Communion to the Sisters Of Perpetual Indulgence dressed in drag, the mass loved by those seeking to destroy Christ’s Church?

    When one considers the tremendous cost of choosing wrong, I think the only right choice readily becomes clear. Extraordinary Form from Baptism onward. The child will truly be blessed to be spared all the tremendous abuses, false teaching, sacrileges, and all the confusion that comes from such things.

    If you wish for the child to grow into a practicing catholic as an adult, the novus ordo must be fled from before it can corrupt the child and destroy his/her faith as it has done to millions over the last 40 years.

  • It’s not about ‘novus ordo’ versus TLM, but the concept of obedience to the Church Christ founded vs. disobedience. ‘Novus ordo’ done correctly is obedient to the Magisterium. That said, there are lots of incorrect novus ordo masses. Any mass using a Gather Hymnal could make the mass incorrect. But If you can teach your children to obey, to respect, and to be humble, they will be horrified in what they see, and be good humans and good Catholics. I would start with a daily reading of the Beatitudes, and homilies by Fr. Corapi and Fr. Pablo Straub, and Fr. Wade Menezes, or any Fathers of Mercy.

  • So if one raises a child correctly one will be subjecting them every Sunday to an experience that horrifies them?

    That is surely the way to build a love for the Mass, by weekly subjecting them to the horrific novus ordo.

    Thank you for bolstering my point concerning TLM. It seems that even a surface analysis reveals that it is an issue of content and which missal is used, since the novus ordo is fundamentally different from TLM in it’s theology. One is about the sacrifice, the other is about fiesta time and the “church of aren’t we fabulous.”

    The novus ordo is a lot like socialism. Lefties keep declaring “we just haven’t done it the right way yet! It will work this time! Really!”. But when clear thinking prevails it becomes clear that the problem is the novus ordo itself, and no variation of Catholicism-watered-down-with-Protestantism-liturgy is going to work.

    Taking such radical risks with the soul of a child is unfathomable to me. For the child’s own sake, an EF parish is objectively the optimal choice. Since a parent always wants what is best for their child, and an EF parish would be best for the child, the conclusion is inescapable.

  • Jim:

    That’s horrible. I think your story really brings out something I mentioned: your own spiritual condition. If you’re just trying to come back into the Church and fix your marriage, I would find the best possible parish with the best priest. You would have been right to ditch that parish, I think.

    Philip:

    I think you have a clear case of leaving. That Mass probably wasn’t valid.

    Ezekiel:

    Well, by the time my child is old enough to understand the Mass we’ll have moved (hopefully) out of Baton Rouge to either New Orleans or Lafayette.

    That said, I don’t think an EF parish is necessary. The novus ordo is a valid mass, and there are many parishes that provide the ordinary form in a way that it is still beautiful and faithful to the church (which is true in part b/c the church has said the novus ordo is acceptable, and being faithful entails acceptance of the validity of the novus ordo, even if the EF is personally preferred).

    That does get me thinking on another point: how much should one consider the local parish when buying a house? I tend to know Lafayette & New Orleans fairly well, and I think I would consider the orthodoxy of the local parish when making my decision. I don’t think that’s bad, though it may encourage parishes to become more like factions. I’ll have to think about that. Anyone else have thoughts on that angle?

  • Maybe I’ve just been fortunate, but I really don’t see what is so “horrific” about the Novus Ordo Mass as long as it is done reverently. I have been “subjected” to it from my earliest memory, as has my daughter, and we’re still completely faithful, practicing Catholics.

    Yes, I have been to TLM Masses and I’m all for keeping that tradition alive; yes, I like to hear Latin and real Gregorian chant (there is a parish in my area that does that), and yes, I think the new translation coming next year (hopefully) will go a long way toward restoring a sense of mystery and sacredness. However, I have seen many NO Masses done beautifully and reverently so it is not impossible.

    Of course this may be because I have had the good fortune to live in parishes that never went off some of the deeper ends of liturgical experimentation, and have never been subjected to any of the grosser liturgical abuses apparently common in some dioceses (e.g. liturgical dance, lay persons giving homilies, invalid Eucharistic matter, etc.) The worst liturgical “abuse” I have seen in the last 10 years or so is the use of some theologically questionable hymns (like “Ashes” and “City of God”), but other than that, I really can’t complain.

  • As far as your C.S. Lewis analogy.

    He was referring to the denominations of his day where people went to where they felt “comfortable”.

    Plus C.S. Lewis was a Protestant, not a Catholic.

    We aren’t “judging”, but asking for the faith Christ left us, not some invention from a 60s leftover.

  • As a matter of clarity to my previous posts; I fully agree and believe that the novus ordo (with proper form and matter as required, that is a valid priest, valid bread/wine, etc) is a valid mass.

    If my posted suggested otherwise, such an error is entirely my own and I regret any confusion.

    It is my assertation that the EF is not simply superior as a matter of personal preference, but
    is an objectively superior form of worship.

  • Also, as per the matter of church shopping, the law clearly does not require one to be enrolled at one’s geographic parish. Parishes are erected to ensure the faithful have access to what is their right, not to bind the faithful to access what is their right only in a particular place.

  • Tito:

    No, Lewis was not talking about different denominations, but different presentations of the liturgy within the Anglican Church (High and Low Church). Yes, he was Anglican but Anglicans have parishes too. While one clearly has to make an analogy between Lewis’s situation and what we as Catholics face today, I think the analogy is helpful.

    And as I said, the laity do have a right to the faith. I just want people to be careful before they bolt their parish.

    Ezekiel:

    The canon law I quoted suggests that it is at least preferable for all the people to enroll in their local parish (unless there are differences of rite, nationality, etc.). Whether or not i is just merely preferable or actually binding in law is something a canon lawyer would have to interpret.

    I tend to agree with you about the superiority of the EF, though I have seen EFs done poorly such that the best NOs are superior to them. I have a feeling if Novus Ordo Masses were done right, people wouldn’t be having this discussion nearly as much.

  • Ezekiel says: Also, as per the matter of church shopping, the law clearly does not require one to be enrolled at one’s geographic parish.

    Actually, I don’t think you’ve read that right. As a Catholic, you are *automatically* a member of the parish you reside in. You no longer have to register though.

    See here:
    http://catholicexchange.com/2008/04/11/111841/

    Note that:

    On a regular basis, when it comes to weekly Mass attendance and routine reception of the sacraments, we are not obliged to attend any one church in particular. Canon 1247 asserts that on Sundays and holydays, the faithful are obliged to participate in the Mass, but does not specify that we must attend Mass in any specific place. Similarly, we may receive the sacrament of confession from any priest who is lawfuly able to administer it (c. 991), without regard to the location where this takes place.

    Therefore, there is no legal reason why one cannot routinely attend Mass and receive the sacraments at a parish church other than the one to which we technically belong — although this is hardly an ideal situation. But on major occasions, such a child’s first reception of the sacraments, we have seen here that it is the norm that these be celebrated in one’s own parish church. And when it comes to marriage, as discussed above, the law is even more serious, for the validity of a marriage depends in part on whether it is celebrated in the parish of one of the spouses.

    I believe that many churches that have the EF are set up as personal parishes, and you may join those although your “mother” parish will still be the one you reside in.

  • Just remember that you are always the exception, and you will do well in life. 😉

    As a former parish shopper, I recognized that my need to be an exception was a poor reflection on me. In retrospect, I was quite silly in those days. For most folks, their involvement in a parish is one hour per week. If you are looking for more than that – and there is nothing wrong with desiring more – there are para-church organizations that are better equipped to help you.

  • I think there are certainly spiritual dangers to parish shopping — some of which we’re seeing on display. However, there are also times when it is important to move out of an environment where you family is not being spiritually nourished.

    Also, it seems to me it’s fairly important to be withing reasonable distance of your parish, since if you’re to be active there you’ll be going down there frequently.

    If you’re just entering an area or just coming back to the Church, I see no problem with looking around at the parishes within reasonable striking distance of your house before deciding which one to register in. However, once you’re settled on a parish it seems to me that the motivation for leaving would have to be something fairly major.

  • I agree with those who don’t believe the NO Mass, done correctly, is horrific. It’s simply not. I’d much rather have a priest enunciating the prayer in English reverently and properly than to have him stumbling over the Latin, butchering it so it’s undecipherable. Either mass, done properly, is beautiful. Remember, there is only one Mass. No, I don’t want tamborines, guitars, drums and piano, clapping during the Gloria, etc. But the lectionary for the NO mass is definitely superior, and gives a greater sense of the entire Bible. Well done Latin in the TLM is superior to the vernacular in the NO. But I’ve been to Hanceville and seen a NO mass using Latin, and it was truly amazing. I’ve been to TLMs that have also been amazing. I’ve been to both where I felt the content was lacking, even though Jesus was present (thereby providing a valid mass).

  • Hard to believe, when I was a pre Vatican 2 kid, all the Masses at all the churches around my very Catholic town were essentially interchangeable. Therefore people simply belonged to the closest church’s parish.

  • What an interesting perspective on “Parish Shopping.” I really liked the point that you made that if all of the orthodox parishoners leave, then the parish has little hope of changing, even if they do get a good orthodox priest. When I was still attending the parish I grew up in, I did try to respectfully approach our priest with certain problems I was having in our parish. One being that I felt that other parishoners were not respecting the presence of the Blessed Sacrament by talking and visiting after Mass instead of observing sacred silence. The priest basically blew me off. After several incidents with this priest, I left the parish and joined a more traditional parish downtown, St. Agnes. I hope that you find a good parish to belong to, and bring your baby into the Church!

  • I agree with the general tenor here. It’s a balancing act, making sure that you receive necessary spiritual support without becoming what Lewis called a “connoisseur of churches”. Smart thread.

  • Yep, sometimes times I think this “spirit of Vatican II” is really one spirit with dual personalties. I’ll call it the “spirit of the world I”…

    I say this because among many of the same spirits that had collected upon my once sick soul, (in which the true Spirit was cleansing me by fire), were to be found also hanging about the philosophies of the parish our entire family converted within.

    For over a year I didn’t realize that every wednesday evening I was (as a convert in waiting for baptism)involved with a Call To Action prayer group.. But, Our Lady gave me a strong heart for unity with the Chair of Peter during this time… On a terrestrial level, I’m sure she realized how much I had offended God previously in life, and would not bring before the Heart of the Most Holy Trinity any triump of Her Immaculate Heart that would not now or in the future remain obedient to Christ speaking through His Church.

    And that’s the whole crux of the problem, as I see it.
    These same dual spirits want desperately to confuse us all on the reality and required doctrines of Love, including the obedience Christ exemplifies in doing the will and works of the Father–still today through His Church.

    I’m on board with the notion of the orthodox remaining…

    I think that in a hidden way Our Lady uses us to destroy all manner of errors. I now look back on that time whimsically reflecting on my overly zealous self insisting to that same Call To Action group that they sit patiently through my readings of the Marian Movement of Priests book, followed by the Holy Rosary. Now I understand their discomfort a bit better. Facts are facts though:

    That group has now disbanded.

    God bless you all…

    jme
    http://www.fratres.wordpress.com

  • I agree that a well done N.O. can be very reverent. I have been fortunate in that I have not experienced too many cringe-inducing Masses, except for the occasional folksy or otherwise less than inspiring hymns (seem to get at least one each Mass).

    But, I do think a solid case can be made that the TLM, in its structure, is an objectively superior form of Catholic worship. Cardinal Ottaviani (sp?) pointed out the main differences, and over time, it seems the NO form has somewhat deteriorated – that is, it has allowed for more innovation (kind of hard to ad lib in Latin, after all, even though, ironically, “ad lib” is Latin. Go figure). Of course YMMV with individual priests, but the TLM form itself has more Catholic elements, and it is hard to argue against the claim that the NO is more Protestantized. The NO is still valid of course, and can be reverent, but the form itself seems to have purposefully changed certain elements that are not just trivial, and not necessarily for the better.

Under the Roman Sky

Monday, June 21, AD 2010

A new film, Under the Roman Sky, starring James Cromwell as Pius XII, details the heroic efforts of Pius XII to save the Jews of Rome from the Nazis, after Rome came under Nazi occupation subsequent to the fall of Mussolini following the Allied invasion of southern Italy in 1943.

Rabbi David G. Dalin, in his review of a Moral Reckoning, a tome by Daniel Goldhagen which sought to blame Catholicism for the Holocaust, details the efforts of the Pope to save the Jews of Rome:

Goldhagen’s centerpiece is the outrageous allegation that Pius XII “did not lift a finger to forfend the deportations of the Jews of Rome” or of other parts of Italy “by instructing his priests and nuns to give the hunted Jewish men, women and children sanctuary.”  Much of this is lifted straight from anti-Pius books like Susan Zuccotti’s Under His Very Windows–and thus Goldhagen repeats the errors of those books and adds extras, all his own, in his determined attempt to extend their thesis into over-the-top railings against the sheer existence of Catholicism.

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4 Responses to Under the Roman Sky

  • I may be wrong. I think Goldhagen’s and Zuccotti’s fictionalizations would be classified “calumny” and “detraction.”

  • I believe too much attention is paid to the books attacking Pius XII. Goldhagen has lied; Cornwall has lied. They are like weeds in the garden, impossible to eradicate completely. One can but let them be treated as Our Lord recommends we treat chaff. We have better things to do.

  • “We have better things to do.”

    Whatever the situation there are usually better things to do. However, responding to calumnies of this degree against Pius XII is an important thing to do. People will believe this rot unless Catholics respond with the truth, loudly, clearly and frequently.

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The U.S. Bishops Dereliction of Duty

Monday, June 21, AD 2010

Michael Voris lays down the law on those bishops that refuse to be our shepherds.

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18 Responses to The U.S. Bishops Dereliction of Duty

  • This is shameful. I really expected better from American Catholic than this.

  • I agree with ctd. Many of the accusations are unfounded; disagreeing with the bishops approach or saying they could do more does not mean they should burn in hell. But the accusation that the bishops have mostly lost their faith is scandalous and outrageous, especially as he has not one iota of proof to back that claim other than his anger, fueled by his “stb” that the bishops aren’t doing what HE wants them to.

  • Michael Voris is 100% correct. The USCCB is infiltrated with liberalism and progressivism. Righteousness and holiness come FIRST before immigration reform, studies of Islamic holy writings (yup, that’s on the USCCB web site) and all the other social justice stuff.

    We cna expect MORE icelandic volcanoes, MORE Haitian earthquakes, MORE undersea oil geysers as long as we continue on this path of destruction.

    Repent for the King of God is at hand. That’s the message that the USCCB does NOT teach. Does NOT.

  • I’m so sick of our Bishops being attacked by those using such shameful language as Mr. Voris uses against succcessors of the Apostles. No matter what they do, they’re attacked from both the left and the right. Depending on who you’re listening to, they’re either doing too much or not doing enough.

    Our Bishops are not perfect, but they’re the shepherds that Christ and His Church have given us. We don’t have to agree with everything they say or do, but we do owe them basic respect and deference. Who the hell is Mr. Voris to preach to the Bishops about their being endangered of hell? And what world does Mr. Voris live in where the Bishops are avoiding controversy and are afraid to take a stand on issues? Has he been paying attention for the last year-and-a-half?

    Maybe someone should tell Mr. S.T.B. to S.T.F.U.

  • When the laity are demanding that bishops abandon the faith and embrace sodomy and heresy they are being “prophetic”

    when the laity point out that the bishops have abandoned the faith and embraced sodomy and heresy it’s time for the stupid laity to shut up already!

    Besides, how dare he use pre-Vatican II words like “hell”! My liberal pro-everything-democrat bishop said it doesn’t exist!

  • The scandal lies in either the bishops lack of fidelity or in your choosing to attack the messenger.

  • Tito:

    He doesn’t offer a shred of evidence, and he attacks ALL of the bishops. Even assuming he’s just talking about the USCCB, he doesn’t explain why he’s angry (other than not denying communion). Indeed, the Church has been improving lately-becoming more orthodox and more dedicated to traditional liturgy. The bishops also bravely stood against Obamacare. I really don’t why he’s so angry.

    So it’s not the messenger, it’s the fact the the message lacks substance and truth. Though I have to admit, the brilliant use of the random posting of words next to him really drove home his message for him /sarcasm. 😉

  • Michael,

    When the Bishops publicly excommunicate Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi and all the other self-described Catholic politicians who make a mockery of the faith while supporting abortion and gay marriage, then we will know that change has come to the USCCB. The Bishops weren’t brave to oppose Obama care. They were forced into by circumstance. But if they risk losing tax-exempt status by putting apostate and heretical politicians on notice, then that will be cause for celebration.

  • Michael,

    you concede the point you are trying to make when you admit that bishops are becoming more orthodox, which requires that they were previously less than fully orthodox.

    I guess speaking truth to power and exercising the prophetic role of the laity is only allowed if one is seeking to make converts to sodomy, heresy, and modernism.

    It is increasingly clear that a great many of our bishops do not believe what the church believes.

  • a) There is no such thing as “the bishops”, there are bishops. Some of these bishops are simply amazing in their orthodoxy, courage, and pastoral understanding. Some are average. Some are poor. A few are bordering on heterodox.

    b) I’m not clear how one would say “It is increasingly clear that a great many of our bishops do not believe what the church believes.” First off, I’m aware of not generally issued teaching by the US bishops which is contrary to orthodoxy. Nor am I aware of some rising tide of heterodox statements coming out from bishops. If anything what’s noteable is that many of those who caused most embarrassment in the past are gone or going: Weakland was disgraced and resigned. Mahony is retiring shortly, etc.

    c) This frustration is most frequently voiced around political concerns, yet if anything the bishops have become noteably more politically independant in the last decade. The number of bishops who spoke out against Obama’s honorary degree from Notre Dame was noteable, as was the strength of the statements surrounding the health care bill. We’ve come along way from the Bernadine era of the USCCB, much less the Catholic ghetto, when many of the bishops were active agents within the Democratic Party framework.

  • He should have made some qualifying remarks, but I think he does describe the modal type in the American episcopacy.

  • Michael Voris continues his discussion here:

    But on the USCCB web site what do we see?

    New Website Highlights Catholic Church’s Significant Role in Immigration Debate for Almost a Century
    http://www.usccb.org/comm/archives/2010/10-091.shtml

    Regional Bishops Issue Joint Statement on Migration
    http://www.usccb.org/comm/archives/2010/10-118.shtml

    West Coast Catholic-Muslim Dialogue Compares Sacred, Pious Writings
    http://www.usccb.org/comm/archives/2010/10-109.shtml

    What about righteousness, holiness, repentance and conversion? What about Jesus as King of kings and Lord of lords, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah?

    Instead, we have a USCCB article entitled, “Pro-life Chair Voices ‘Grave Concern’ Over FDA Plan to Approve Abortion Drug for ‘Emergency Contraception’”

    http://www.usccb.org/comm/archives/2010/10-121.shtml

    Grave concern? That’s what the USCCB has? Grave concern? Whoopie-Doo! The bishops have grave concern!

    Let them do to the pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage Catholic politicians – Dem or Repub – what St. Paul did to Hymenaeus and Alexander in 1st Timothy 1:19-20. Let them put their grave concern into action. Hand the apostates and heretics over to satan exactly as St. Paul did so that they can be taught a lesson. There is clear Scriptural precedence.

    PS, the overwhelming majority of such politicians are DEM, NOT Repub no matter how much some people here may dislike the Repubs. And that’s a fact.

    Another PS, vote Constitution Party. It’s platform is closest to Church teaching.

    http://www.constitutionparty.com/party_platform.php

    This whole thing is so frustrating.

  • Michael D.,

    😉

    Everyone else,

    We all know what Michael Voris is saying and to whom.

    Maybe he could have chosen less harsh words, but the point was made.

  • Ezekiel:

    No. Holiness does not necessarily mean effective administration/leadership.

    For example, John Paul II was a very holy man and did many things well. But in regards to the Legion of Christ and the sex abuse scandal, he made many mistakes.

    Maybe the bishops have made many mistakes in the past in leading their flocks, but that doesn’t mean they’re morally corrupt. I’m not saying none of the bishops are heterodox, but if you’re going to make the claim you need to rely on more than broad generalizations and start showing some evidence and some numbers.

  • A bishop’s primary duty, his obligation to Christ and the Church, is to preach the Gospel. Additionally, he is the principle teacher within his diocese and has a duty to teach. “woe to me if I do nit preach the gospel”

    If by holiness you mean utter failure to fulfill their
    obligation to Christ and the Church then we are surely being led by the holiest bishops since Henry VIII required oaths.

    If you would like to start discussing the utter moral corruption of the USCCB or individual
    bishops we can do that. But, we need only
    look at the CCHD, Garvey’s appointment to CU, and Ted Kennedy’s canonization to know exactly where the wolves stand.

    Pope Benedict is indeed slowly improving the quality and orthodoxy of our bishops, thanks be to God, but we are talking about improving from having bishops who have been openly
    practicing homosexuals and conducting of pagan rites and worship of false gods in cathedrals.

  • Paul Primavera:

    New Website Highlights Catholic Church’s Significant Role in Immigration Debate for Almost a Century

    Regional Bishops Issue Joint Statement on Migration

    Are you contending that the condition of migrants is not a moral issue of concern to the Church? The Holy See would certainly disagree. Such a position would be inconsistent with the official teachings of the Church and Sacred Scripture. Moreover, one of the documents point out that the American bishops have been involved in the issue for “almost a century.” Their alleged heterodoxy, therefore, began long before any “modernist” episcopacies.

    West Coast Catholic-Muslim Dialogue Compares Sacred, Pious Writings

    John Paul II, again in official teachings, made it clear that ecumenical dialogue is a Catholic obligation, not just an academic endeavor. Your “proof” of bishop dereliction is actually proof of obedience to the Church.

    Instead, we have a USCCB article entitled, “Pro-life Chair Voices ‘Grave Concern’ Over FDA Plan to Approve Abortion Drug for ‘Emergency Contraception’”
    Grave concern? That’s what the USCCB has? Grave concern? Whoopie-Doo! The bishops have grave concern!

    So essentially your complaint comes down to a disagreement over a choice of words? The words seem appropriate considering the audience – public leaders, not Catholics, but why should that matter?

    These type of flimsy charges are not worthy of serious consideration, but are nevertheless disrespectful of our shepherds and harmful to the body of Christ.

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  • CTD & Jay,

    When the bishops begin behaving like Catholics and bishops then they probably will garner the respect they have lost due to their cowardliness.

    Of course if you want to continue to defend the indefensible so be it.

    But while crap like this:

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2010/06/27/the-disgrace-of-cardinal-danneels-and-the-belgian-catholic-church/

    continues, then I won’t hesitate to point out facts that show the incompetence of some of our shepherds.

Happy Father's Day

Sunday, June 20, AD 2010

We Dads are a fairly simple lot, most of us.  Just feed us a good meal and give us some peace and quiet, and most of us will be quite happy today.  Besides, for most fathers every day is Father’s Day, as we quietly thank God for giving us that honor and that responsibility.

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2 Responses to Happy Father's Day

  • For some if us it is a very mixed day due to divorce and the support of the Church for our adulterous spouses and their lovers, which encourages unending loss of faith in our children(and ourselves) as well as confusion, divided loyalties and often, very unhealthy life styles.

    I am grateful for my parents and, especially today, for my father who was baptized in the Episcopal Church, raised, essentially, as a Presbyterian and died receiving a Catholic burial. He was always there.

    God bless you, Dad. I love you.

  • I can even skip the good meal and have leftovers as long as there is peace and quiet.

    And my children are doing what they’re supposed to be doing, which has nothing to do with Father’s Day.

Grammar Nazis Attack!

Sunday, June 20, AD 2010

Hattip to commenter RL.  Content advisory as to one incident of Nazi like nihilistic violence at the end.   (Go here to view the video, as the embedding has been disabled since I drafted the post.)

Some people think it is in bad taste to use Nazis in a humorous fashion.  I respectfully disagree.  Laughing at the Nazis is one of the best ways to remember them on the ash heap of history.  Too often they are given almost demonic status as avatars of evil which is precisely the wrong way to remember them.  I agree with the late Werner Klemperer, a Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany who served in the US Army during WW2.  Decades after the war he would play the bumbling Colonel Klink on the television show Hogan’s Heroes.  Klemperer said that he would go to his grave happy knowing that he had helped make the Nazis look ridiculous.

Of course Hitler is not amused which is rather the point.  Content advisory:  Hitler uses extremely rough language, but what else can we expect of Hitler?

Hitler and his followers dreamed of a thousand year reich.  They believed that they were reshaping the future of all of mankind.  Ending up as the butt of humor is the worst fate that any true believing Nazi could have envisioned for his movement.

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5 Responses to Grammar Nazis Attack!