2 Responses to Holst the Planets: Neptune the Mystic

  • I know there are at least 2 lawyer bloggers here. Nothing about the backlash against King & Spalding withdrawing from the DOMA case? It’s not everyday the NY Times agree with opponents of gay marriage.

  • King & Spalding is learning RR that raw cowardice, even in the Law, can sometimes have very negative consequences. I will post about it in due course, unless BA or one of my other co-bloggers beats me to the post.

How Not to Be Accused of Being Islamophobic!

Friday, April 29, AD 2011

Right you are Klavan on the Culture!  Principles are all well and good, until upholding them places us in physical danger.  Then the only reasonable reaction is to make endless excuses for those who view murder as a means of debate, and to exercise canine like eagerness to capitulate to their demands.  Comdey Central, which finds much humor in spitting upon Christianity, capitulated quite quickly when the sensibilities of muslims was offended, right after they began receiving death threats from some adherents of the religion of peace.

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20 Responses to How Not to Be Accused of Being Islamophobic!

  • Quite on target to say the least.
    It should be clear to us by now that the obvious results of capitulation and compromising in the face of a religious culture that willfully uses the sword to protect its philosophy or advance its theology among those within Judeo-Christianity are and will be the same as the going along to get along with progressive liberals by freedom loving conservatives within politics. At some point the insanity and intellectual suicide must stop.

  • Bill, Sr. Please read a book. You have no idea what you are talking about.

    Akbar Ahmed, Journey into America: The Challenge of Islam (2010). Donald, while your post was an attempt at humor, perhaps you would do well to read it too.

    Here’s a review from Foreign Policy: http://afpak.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/06/03/the_challenge_of_islam

    Of course, I suppose it is easier to blame “teh liberalz” for whatever you view as capitulation.

  • Linked below is Robert Spencer writing about a joint appearance he had with Akbar Ahmed on C-Span in 2006:

    http://www.jihadwatch.org/2006/08/akbar-ahmed-and-me.html

    I would highly recommend David that you put David Pryce-Jones The Closed Circle: an Interpretation of the Arabs on your reading list:

    http://www.amazon.com/Closed-Circle-Interpretation-Edward-Burlingame/dp/1566638267/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1304208049&sr=1-1

    An excellent book for beginners in learning about the modern Arab world is David Lamb’s The Arabs:

    http://www.amazon.com/Arabs-David-Lamb/dp/1400030412/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1304208083&sr=1-1

  • What is humorous?

    Does it ease your anxiety to conclude “we had it coming to us” (like Rev. Jones in Detroit yesterday) in Feb 1993 and September 2001?

    We are overdue. Next one: I’m outta here.

  • Klavan is indeed correct. David W., please stop kidding yourself that the only reason people have a negative opinion of Islam is because they don’t read. On the contrary, some of us read all too well – in the decade since 9/11, I have read about Thai schoolgirls beheaded, many thousands of Christians killed in the Sudan, bombs exploding at Passover seders, Pakistani Catholics murdered while at church, “honor” killings of young women in Canada and England, etc. (I can go on). And ONE religion is at the heart of all that murder and it’s not Catholicism or Buddhism or 7th Day Adventism. Are there good and decent people who are Muslim? Yes, just as there are good and decent individuals who are atheists. However, just as I believe atheism adopted wholesale by humans would be disastrous and would result in a world resembling a charnel house more than a Utopia (and the historical evidence backs up my statement) , I think a world governed by Islam would be almost as cruel, ugly and bloody. Again, history backs me up. There is a reason why democracy and the whole concept of human rights developed in the Christian West and nowhere else, even if the secularists wish to pretend that all was darkness before the Enlightenment.

  • Donna V., thanks for clarifing our position along with a good dose of history past and present. Here’s my tribute to you and all women who are willing to (as a recent post here suggested) “fight like a girl”.

    In the beginning the superior “deceiver” wanted to unravel paradise but he also wanted to inflict as much damage as possible to God’s plan. His attack was aimed at the very “heart” of mankind, the woman. This is why, as a result, God spoke to him in no uncertain terms of the “woman” who would in time, with the Holy Spirits help, ultimately triumph over him and “crush his head with her heel”. Having heard this, instead of centuries of finger pointing submission, I think “the man” huddled back there in the corner of the garden, should have been cheering his head off for the “woman” God made perfectly for him. I suppose his ability to envision the promised confrontation and the role planned for her, was a stretch for him. It would be a while before he and the world would come to see and understand the foretold “triumphant” woman’s true capabilities.

  • Apropos to Bill, Sr., above.

    Today, is May 1. Here May is a lovely month dedicated to our lovely Blessed Mother.

    On this bright morning, I remember another bright May morning in 1957, as a first grader in procession in the courtyard of St. Eugene’s Chapel, Sacred Heart Parish the Bronx singing,

    “O Mary we crown thee with flowers today!
    Queen of the Angels! Queen of the May!”

    I desire greater love for the Blessed Virgin Mary.

  • Of course, I suppose it is easier to blame “teh liberalz” for whatever you view as capitulation.

    Why not view Mr. Klavan’s video for some rough insights into why people might be inclined to blame “teh liberalz”? I will give you some hints:

    1. Reflexive denial of personal responsibility (in this case of Afghan tribesman);

    2. Reflexive assignment of culpability to those more proximate (in this case Terry Jones);

    3. Self-aggrandizement in the form of odd and perverse judgments (as explained by Fr. Neuhaus, “what is the point of intellectuals, but to tell us that things are not as ordinary people perceive them”).

    4. Self-aggrandizement in the implicit comparison of one’s enlightened self with the sort of rubes who are partisans of their own culture and who are such simpletons as to think that violent people are actually responsible for their violent acts.

    You people have been producing this sort of cultural white noise since around about 1962. It has gotten to be an utter bore. (And, yes, superciliously admonishing Bill Sr. to ‘read a book’ is part of the act.)

  • Thanks to T. Shaw, yes this is OUR mothers month let us in honor add..
    OUR Mother Mary…….yes, that Mary….
    ….who was Immaculately Conceived and living a simple life dedicated to serving the God of Israel from her very early childhood.
    …who was full of grace and said “yes” to the angel’s salutation to share a child with the Holy Spirit and carry our Lord in her womb for nine months that He might carry the Cross of Salvation for all of us.
    …who, in union with God’s plan, willfully in true charity and sacrifice accepted the prophecy, announced on her son’s first visit to the temple by Simeon, because of this child that her heart would be pierced like non before her.
    …who cared for and nourished that child sharing house, home, and daily family and personal exchanges of love and devotion with Him for thirty years as He grew to manhood.
    …whose mutual love had so entwined its trust in her young son that it would allow Him leave of her for nearly two days journey in their humble land (a preview of his passion and burial) until she would become aware of His absence from friends and her own loving care.
    …who, as His closest companion and confidant over many years, knew exactly where to look for Him upon her return to Jerusalem.
    …who would accept His decision to “be about His Fathers work” but with a mothers love guided His youthful ambitions to a more proper time and place for fulfillment where at her wish and petition He initiated His ministry with the miracle at the wedding feast of Cana.
    ,,,who faithful to words of God to Simeon had to watch with a bleeding heart the horrid brutality thrust upon her child during His powerful passion.
    …and finally that Mary, who though weeping in sorrow would be so willing to lovingly listened to and carry out her son’s dying request along side the disciple whom He loved well that she now take John under her wing in place of Him and that John in turn protect and defend her among men until she rejoined her son the Prince of Peace in heaven.
    This Mary, the world’s very first “Christian”, is my mother and should be recognized in faith as truly the mother of all Christians.

  • It has gotten to be an utter bore. (And, yes, superciliously admonishing Bill Sr. to ‘read a book’ is part of the act.)

    Well said. The assumed air of intellectual and moral superiority is telling. Mr. W, when you stop presuming those with different views will practice your form of goodthink once they grow up, you’ll be worth listening to. Until that happens, you’ll simply be a source of mild amusement.

  • Mr. Price et al. More of the usual from the conservative crowd.

    From taxes being seen as some sort of forcible taking to a rejection of CST to ignorance over the Church’s teachings on the common good to attempting to argue that “union” as historically supported by the Church are not our modern unions to Obama is “not an American” to lumping all Muslims together as “the other”, it’s quite clear that this website is not devoted to American Catholicism, but an American Conservative Catholicism steeped in ignorance both of the world but also of the Church’s teachings.

    On the Islam issue, I note that there is not one reference in the above or comments to what the Church said in Vatican II (Nostra aetate) or what the now blessed John Paul II said in a number of places.

    Upon further review, I don’t have the time to refute the tremendous ignorance and close-mindedness exhibited here. Therefore, goodbye.

    Again, I would urge you all to read more from authors who do not agree with you and be more open minded in your dealing with those who think differently from you. I’m guilty of this myself, but at the very least, I am aware of my fault and try to correct it.

    To the editors of this “publication”, I would suggest recruiting a greater of diversity of viewpoints if you really wish this to be for the “American Catholic”.

  • “Upon further review, I don’t have the time to refute the tremendous ignorance and close-mindedness exhibited here. Therefore, goodbye.”

    Life in an ideological echo chamber is a waste of time David. Judging from your abrupt retreat when your views are challenged, I suggest you could benefit from listening to conservative views and seeking to understand them rather than rejecting them out of hand. Whenever you wish to engage in real intellectual give and take, The American Catholic will be here.

  • Well, David W., since you did not refute even one point that I and other posters have made and your only purpose in visiting this site appears to be to insult others and behave like the santimonious Pharisee praying in the temple (“Thank you, Lord, that I am not like these others!”) rather than to debate in good faith, yes, I agree – you’re wasting your time here.

  • Art, et al above make (what we NRA Life Members/target shooters) call 10-X scores (dead center, pinwheel) on target.

    DavidW like all liberals, and 99% of the lying, liberal-demo-journalist complex/media, has no use for facts or truth that do not support the agenda, opinions, specuations or nightmares of how they wisht reality would be.

    And, books they suggest others read (whom the “write off” as ignorant b/c they won’t read) are replete with lies, unsupported opinions, utter revisionisms, and wild-eyed speculations.

    The motives for the lies are pure. The results are comprehensive ignorance and intellectual incompetence.

  • PS: Note from Ben Franklin for Obama-worshipping intellectuals: “Admiration is the daughter of ignorance.”

  • Again, I would urge you all to read more from authors who do not agree with you and be more open minded in your dealing with those who think differently from you. I’m guilty of this myself, but at the very least, I am aware of my fault and try to correct it.

    And you know I don’t do this because…what, I comment here? You have no idea what I read, yet you assume I need to read more. Stop digging–your hole is about to collapse. Given that I said nothing that could be construed to be “more of the usual of the conservative crowd,” I’m left with little but to regard your comments as an unusually difficult case of projection.

    Lord, that you would have at least a hint of insight into your worst fault….

    P.S.–it’s pride.

  • I don’t have the time to refute the tremendous ignorance and close-mindedness exhibited here.

    Translation: I live in an ideological bubble and am not used to having my views challenged. Having to defend my positions with logical arguments and persuasion is hard, therefore I am going to go away in a huff – but not before insulting everyone else here as my moral and intellectual inferior.

    Yeah, a real model of Christ you are.

  • “Upon further review, I don’t have the time to refute the tremendous ignorance and close-mindedness exhibited here. Therefore, goodbye.”

    Somehow I missed that in the fellow’s litany of self-regard. Now that’s funny right there, I don’t care who you are.

    Donna–nice try, but his pride is impervious to the Pharisee analogy. No doubt he thinks in terms of Jesus not working miracles in Nazareth. The prophet without honor, etc.

  • Hey–greatness like DavidW’s should be honored in some way.

    How about you have a “DavidW Award” here at the blog? Issued periodically to a commenter whose top-flight arrogance suggests he has a history of shoulder dislocations from patting himself on the back?

  • Perhaps Dale, although there might be other commenters who might have a claim to have the award named after them. I will put it to our readers. Do any other commenters come to mind?

Royalty and Ritual

Thursday, April 28, AD 2011

Early tomorrow morning, the world will be watching the royal wedding of Prince William to Miss Catherine Middleton.  While there are bound to be a wide range of critiques that describe a misplaced prioritization of fanfare over marriage, I for one think there is something about the pomp and circumstance that surrounds royal customs from which modern man can take a lesson.  Some time ago, I wrote about how our culture has lost a sense of formality, and along with it an appreciation for ritual and solemnity:

 

At the heart of liturgy is the concept of ritual.  Instead of fitting the Liturgy into our lives, it is in the liturgy that we are taken up into something much bigger, the cosmic worship of God.  The liturgy is a great drama that is being played out on a cosmic scale, and simply by being there, we are taken up into this drama.  This is exactly why having specific rituals in the liturgy is so important.  When there are “lines” that need recited, “actions” or “stage directions” that need followed, the structure of the liturgy itself teaches that the liturgy is bigger than us; we are taught that it is not something that we can create, but something that must be received.  This is all a very complicated way of saying that the liturgy is an objective reality.

 

In contrast, when the liturgy becomes the result of the creative efforts of a “liturgy committee,” the congregation is given the impression that the main focus of the action is not on God but on the people, that we are the creators, not God.  How the liturgy is presented and the way in which it includes us affects how we come to think of the essence of the liturgy and of ourselves as human agents.  This is the basic principle of sacramentality in its most general form.  The principle states that “we are how we act.”  In other words, the way in which we act forms the views we hold and even the type of person we become.  If the Mass is presented as a ritual, people are given the correct impression that it is something bigger than themselves, a sacred action into which they are taken up.  They then come to realize that they are not the center of reality.  If it is presented as self-created, then people come to see themselves as self-creators.

 

I was struck by the objections people raised to the fact that Miss Middleton will be arriving to the wedding by car instead of by carriage.  Whether it was done on purpose, I cannot say, but it strikes me that Miss Middleton, before the wedding, is not in fact royalty, but rather a commoner.  Particularly noteworthy is the fact that the newly married couple will depart from the church by carriage (the same one used by Princess Diana at her wedding), for at that time Miss Middleton will be Princess Kate.  I would hate to concentrate solely on the carriage example, for it is but one of what will undoubtedly be a series of rituals that make the wedding not just any wedding, but a royal wedding.  And I certainly don’t wish to get into the debate over the suitableness of this particular action, but rather to point out the implicit ritual and significance it carries.  It is a nice reminder that actions, in particular rituals, do in fact matter.  And it is ritual that gives an event solemnity.  And solemnity is not necessarily somber, but in fact can be joyful.  In the words of C.S. Lewis:

 

This quality will be understood by anyone who really understands the Middle English word solempne. This means something different, but not quite different, from modern English solemn. Like solemn it implies the opposite of what is familiar, free and easy, or ordinary. But unlike solemn it does not suggest gloom, oppression or austerity. The ball in the first act of Romeo and Juliet was a ‘solemnity.’  The feast at the beginning of Gawain and the Green Knight is very much a solemnity.  A great mass by Mozart or Beethoven is as much a solemnity in its hilarious gloria as in its poignant crucifixes est.  Feasts are, in this sense, more solemn than fasts. Easter is solempne, Good Friday is not. The Solempne is the festal which is also the stately and the ceremonial, the proper occasion for pomp — and the very fact that pompous is now used only in a bad sense measures the degree to which we have lost the old idea of ‘solemnity.’ To recover it you must think of a court ball, or a coronation, or a victory march, as these things appear to people who enjoy them; in an age when every one puts on his oldest clothes to be happy in, you must re-awake the simpler state of mind in which people put on gold and scarlet to be happy in.   Above all, you must be rid of the hideous idea, fruit of a widespread inferiority complex, that pomp, on the proper occasions, has any connexion with vanity or self-conceit. A celebrant approaching the altar, a princess led out by a king to dance a minuet, a major-domo preceding the boar’s head at a Christmas feast — all these wear unusual clothes and move with calculated dignity. This does not mean they are vain, but that they are obedient; they are obeying the hoc age which presides over every solemnity. The modern habit of doing ceremonial things unceremoniously is no proof of humility; rather it proves the offender’s inability to forget himself in the rite, and his readiness to spoil for everyone else the proper pleasure of ritual (A Preface to Paradise Lost, emphasis added).

 

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21 Responses to Royalty and Ritual

  • Fully agree.

    By the bye, you see the same attitude at work in those going to Mass in shorts and flip flops.

    The pervasive love of “informality” of our times is nothing more than a poor excuse for a sloppy and lazy attitude.

    Mundabor

  • I’m watching the ceremony live right now (Abp. Williams just pronounced them man and wife) and I have to admit, the classic Anglican marriage service has a degree of dignity and, well, class that unfortunately, seems to be lacking in the post-Vatican II Catholic ritual.

    The bride looks beautiful, of course, and I’m hoping her dress also sets a trend back toward more modest wedding attire 🙂

  • Chris Hitchens, as mean as ever, wrote a nasty piece about poor Kate marrying into a dysfunctional royal family. Here’s a taste:

    “The usually contemptuous words fairy tale were certainly coldly accurate about the romance quotient of the last two major royal couplings, which brought the vapid disco-princesses Diana and Sarah (I decline to call her “Fergie”) within range of demolishing the entire mystique. And, even if the current match looks a lot more wholesome and genuine, its principal function is still to restore a patina of glamour that has been all but irretrievably lost.”

    The rest can be read hereL

    http://www.slate.com/id/2291497/

  • I remember a passage in the book Why Catholics Can’t Sing, describing the beginning of Mass. A solemn procession, in robes, accompanied by song and ceremony. The the priest says “Good morning, everyone” and the image is shattered. Everything they just did to set the occasion apart from daily life is thrown out the window with a smile and a banal greeting. The first thing the priest should say, “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”, is the most solemn thing a person will ever say – but before that, the priest throws in a “hiya everybody”.

  • I was impressed that the Anglican Bishop of London gave props to St. Catherine of Siena, whose feast day is today: “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”

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  • Pinky,

    There is another book called “Sing Like a Catholic” by Jeffrey Tucker in which he makes the case that the banal song often chosen at the beginning could be what prompts the informal greeting. When the Gregorian Introits are used, the liturgy moves flawlessly from the Introit through the Penitential Rite, as the same solemnity is retained throughout. However, when an “opening hymn” is used that often highlights how great man is, there is something that just doesn’t “seem right” in moving straight through to the penitential rite, in which we confess our shortcomings. Thus, the priest, perhaps subconsciously, feels the need to fill that gap with some transition words (“Good morning …”). Part of this is probably due to the “climactic” nature in the structure of modern hymnody, something that simply doesn’t exist in Gregorian pieces.

    That being said, this is not meant as a defense of such trite greetings, but rather to suggest that the solution might be a recovery of the opening music that the Church has given us for hundreds of years … the Gregorian Propers.

  • I once went to a church and the pastor or priest, don’t remember which, began his sermon by saying: “How ya’ll doin’ today?”

    Think that was the last time I went to church : )

  • I spent some time in England recently, and visited some of the castles and ruins. It helped be get a better understanding of set-apartness. A bloodline, a crown, a coat of arms, a title…it appeals to a strong human instinct. I’m not rejecting the merits of democracy, and as always the strongest argument against monarchy is the individual monarch, but let’s just say that I’m sympathetic to Jake’s point.

    On a slightly related note, I was reading some article about modern men and women recently, and it got me to thinking about courtesy. Men invented courtesy to get women. Now that women are gettable without the man being courteous, we’ve seen courtesy all but disappear.

    Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to drink my milk of magnesia and yell at the neighborhood kids to get off my lawn.

  • Well, if my late mother were still alive, I believe she would have watched every last second of the marriage. My reaction however, other than one of raging indifference, is summed up in this scene from the John Adams miniseries:

  • Men invented courtesy to get women. Now that women are gettable without the man being courteous, we’ve seen courtesy all but disappear

    So, why was my grandmother so courteous?

  • My wife just advised me that if she were not working today she would be watching more of the coverage!

  • The extravaganza was on the telly before I left for work this AM.

    I noted to my bride that the prince wore spurs. She responded, “My son won his spurs in Afghanistan.”

    The younger prince served “over there.” Not sure about the elder.

    If nothing else, Princess Kate will improve the breed (God willing).

  • My wife just advised me that if she were not working today she would be watching more of the coverage!

    Of course. Pageantry is something agreeable to watch. The difficulty you get with this sort of thing is anticipatory embarrassment. Three of the Queens’ four children ended up in the divorce courts and her sister, her brother-in-law, her daughter, and two of her daughters-in-law have (doing what comes naturally) acted to trash the institution (with some peripheral assistance from Prince Charles and his current wife). You just have to hope the next generation will be more dignified and honorable, and it is hard to believe they will be.

  • Going back a thousand years, Art, there’s some bad DNA mixed in the royal tree.

  • Joe, the current dynasty has occupied the throne not for 1,000 years, but since 1714. A number of these Hanoverians have been good sorts. The grossness was in abeyance between the death of Edward Vii and the advent of Lord Snowden (and his rancid ACDC clique). Edward Viii was told to hit the road and take his ho’ with him, which bought the family another 25 years or so of dignified living. They might have had another 25 years if Snowden had been trampled by one of Princess Anne’s horses. As for Sarah Ferguson, OFF WITH HER HEAD.

  • Kate Middleton, aware of the demise of Princess Di in the eyes of the Queen, asked of Her Majesty how she could have a successful and long association with the royals after her marriage to William.

    The Queen responded, ” Wear a seat belt when you’re in the back seat of a car, and don’t piss me off!! ” 😆

    Watched a little of the ceremony during the ads on American Idol merely to humour my better half, then got a serious attack of restfulness and went to bed. It was 10.30 pm. over here when they said “I do”.

  • Of course there is an added sentimentality factor involved, in that the last time most Americans (myself included) saw Princes William and Harry on TV they were grieving teenagers filing into Westminster Abbey behind their mother’s casket.

  • On another happy though unrelated note, courtesy of Mark Shea’s blog and of Women of Grace:

    “America’s most beloved Catholic communications network was spared the devastation caused by a massive tornado outbreak that roared through several states yesterday, leaving at least 202 people dead.

    “According to Michelle Johnson, director of communications for the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), said the network was spared any damage other than some felled trees. While she expects that the storm affected the lives of many of the network’s employees, the facility survived the storm intact.

    “It was like a passover,” she said, referring to the widespread devastation left behind after one of the worst tornado outbreaks in U.S. history struck Birmingham yesterday and left an estimated 30 people dead.”

  • Regardless of what one thinks of the Royal Family and/or today’s wedding, consider this item from Opinionated Catholic:

    I saw this on Twitter and can very much agree:

    MississippiMama Danielle
    Twitter friends busy being all smug and Above It All, you missed the gospel being presented to about 2 billion people.

    http://opinionatedcatholic.blogspot.com/2011/04/for-minute-i-wanted-to-be-anglican.html

  • The bride looks beautiful, of course, and I’m hoping her dress also sets a trend back toward more modest wedding attire

    Agreed, Elaine! It was refreshing to see a wedding dress that did not look like it was held up in defiance of the force of gravity. I spent the day in the hospital getting tested ( and passed with flying colors, thank you, Lord!) and while waiting around in my room managed to see most of the ceremony – and I was enchanted by the whole thing. (Admittedly, sedatives also had something to do with that:-) I also agree with Elaine about the majesty of the Anglican rite.

    I enjoyed the pomp and ritual and, since I am a US citizen, I don’t have to pay a dime for it. If the Brits feel it is worth it to preserve their cultural heritage, I certainly will not argue with them.

    BTW, I also caught a bit of a TV special about Kate Middleton’s family. She has both working class and middle class roots – a great-grandfather was a coal miner. Far more than Diana (who was a member of an old aristocratic family), Kate is truly “the people’s princess.”

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Superman: No Longer For The American Way

Thursday, April 28, AD 2011

DC, in its never ending battle to get people to pay $3.00 for 20 pages of printed material, has Superman renouncing his citizenship in Action Comics 900.  Superman joins non-violent protesters in Iran and is chided for this by the national security adviser to the US President who fears this has created a major diplomatic incident.  Superman renounces his US citizenship on the spot because he is tired of his actions being construed as part of US foreign policy.  Go here to see the panels of the comic book.

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15 Responses to Superman: No Longer For The American Way

  • I thought they killed him off a few years ago….

  • Is Clark Kent still a U.S. citizen? If not, does he have to get a green card to work at the Daily Planet?

    But now that I think about it, did baby Kal-El actually go through the proper channels to immigrate to this country in the first place? Not only is Superman an alien from another planet, he’s an illegal alien.

    So, how can your renounce a citizenship to which you weren’t entitled in the first place?

  • I should have read the entire post. Looks like you’ve already raised these questions. I should have expected as much from a lawyer.

    😉

  • Here is a post I did on the same subject for a Catholic radio station, you might enjoy it:

    http://sonrisemorningshow.blogspot.com/2011/04/superman-to-become-ubermensch.html

  • (Guest comment from Don’s wife Cathy:) Perhaps, since Krypton is no longer in existence (and thus he can’t be deported there by the INS), Kal-El could apply for refugee status, or at least go for one of those amnesty programs our government occasionally offers for regularizing the status of illegal aliens?

  • “I should have expected as much from a lawyer.”

    Law school left its stamp on both of us Jay, yet another good reason not to go to law school! 🙂

    “Kal-El could apply for refugee status”

    Since he faces no fear of persecution I doubt if that would be granted to him. Clark Kent could have qualified for amnesty back in the Eighties, but I assume he took no steps to participate in it.

  • Depending on continuity, Clark wasn’t born on Krypton- the space-pod was an artificial womb and he was “born” in Kansas. (Which explains how a baby survived without major issues, as well as how they’d be able to pass him off as their own. Claiming home birth with a newborn, easy; claiming home birth and bringing in an older child, you’ll have issues….)

    Story-wise, this is not in the Superman comic series, and it’s by a guest writer among many other guest writers– true, this guest writer wrote a batman movie and I think he’s writing the next Superman movie, but it’s still downgraded from epic WTF to more “oy, wish they’d bring back the expressly sandbox issues for this stuff” level.

    (Like the ones where Clark and Lois get married and one kid gets his powers, the other doesn’t?)

  • Schachner Chanen, Jill, Opening Statements: Comic-Con – The Legal Edition, ABA Journal, Vol. 96, Pgs. 10-11, Nov. 2010 has in it the cover of an Action Comic showing a little girl point at Superman stating “That’s him! He’s the man who killed my Daddy!” And much more law related comic book connections.

  • None of us will be satisfied until we see Superman’s long-form birth certificate.

  • Clark, since he was claimed by the Kents, would have a birth certificate. Ditto US citizenship. (No matter where he was born– joys of the “claimed as their own” detail. Isn’t paperwork fun?)

  • “Depending on continuity, Clark wasn’t born on Krypton- the space-pod was an artificial womb and he was “born” in Kansas.”

    That is a bold piece of ret-conning Foxfier considering the hundreds of stories showing Kal-el as a toddler on Krypton! When I was reading Superboy comics in the Sixties, one story explained that the Kents brought Kal-El to an orphanage so that they could then come and adopt him legally. The story revolved around the frantic efforts of the Kents to conceal from the orphanage staff the super feats of super toddler.

    Unless some such procedure was done, I don’t see how legally, without subterfuge, the Kents could have raised Kal-El as their own child. I think actually Martha Kent originally claimed that Kal-El was a child of a relative who had died. Of course this would have been back in circa 1919, long before social security numbers, and if someone was raising a child as their own, unless the “parent” was a kidnapper, the State was not going to be involved.

  • On the other hand, Don, maybe they worked out a joint custody agreement with visitation rights and child support.

  • They sort of had to ret-con it, for the very reasons you point out in your second paragraph– the way that it “works” these days is different than when it was started. (Although I have to wonder if there was an original story beyond “baby put in a ship who was taken in by the Farmer Kent and his wife.”) I seem to remember there are a LOT that have Clark “abandoned” on their farm, too, as a work-around. (Well, it’s true… they found him on the farm, and his parents aren’t showing….)

    Re-telling Supes’ origins is a very popular pastime! (And changing it to match whatever story you feel like telling this time is, likewise, very popular.)

    These days, the idea of someone managing to out of the blue adopt a kid from an orphanage before that “toddler” is nearing junior high is rather unbelievable.

  • Heh, realized: the point would still stand that folks would assume he’s an American citizen, just one who was abandoned, and he’d get his citizenship. No way in heck would a court case claiming all anonymous abandoned babies are barred from being president ever go through!

    I can’t find any details on what an abandoned child would do for a birth certificate, though.

  • This is just a set up for another Crisis on Infinite Earths and other weak plot-clean-up tactics used when Leftists are given too much ‘poetic license.”

    In any event I suspect red Kryptonite is involved. Well at least something red anyway.

    I always thought that Kal-El was a refugee not an illegal alien. Anyway, if he renounces his citizenship can’t Batman just kick his behind again for being a traitor? I’m sure he could leave the Justice League (clearly an imperialist American CIA front) and join U.N. (used to be G.I.) Joe.

    And, yes, I used to collect comic books. . .thank God for Penance.

Will Success Spoil Jeff Davis?

Thursday, April 28, AD 2011

I was four years old when the Civil War centennial began and eight years old when I ended, but even I recall what a big hoopla it all was. In the midst of it all, Thomas Lawrence Connolley, who would become the foremost historian of the Confederate Army of Tennessee, brought out a book in 1963 entitled Will Success Spoil Jeff Davis?, a satirical look at the often over the top aspects of the centennial observations. The book is a howlingly funny look at Civil War mania and still is relevant today. Here is a tiny sample:

The easiest way to publish something on the War is to submit an article to a historical journal. Better still, start your own journal. There are some two thousand in print and, judging by the tone of the articles, many of them are in need of material. Journal writing has its advantages. If he cannot write good prose, the writer can bury himself in footnotes. The footnote is a clever device, designed to confuse the general reader and absolve the author of any lawsuits. For example, consider a typical footnote to the statement “General Crumbley was a bastard.” 34

34. Ibid, see also, Cornstalk, Bastards in Gray, loc. sic.* op. sit., loc. site, sob. Many maintain that General Crumbley was not a bastard. See Thirty Years View by Mrs. Crumbley, op. sit., sic. hoc. Major Kumpley maintained that the General may have been a bastard but that he was indeed a “magnificent old bastard at that/* See diary of Isaac Bumpley, Moose University Archives, XXCI, pt, 2, Sept. 21, 1863. In addition to being a bastard, the General was also a Mason. See diary of Cornelius Kraut, 1st Wisconsin Infantry, SWMVHR (XXI, Je. 45).

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4 Responses to Will Success Spoil Jeff Davis?

Father Michael Pfleger Removed and Suspended

Wednesday, April 27, AD 2011

Cardinal George is to the left and Father Pfleger is to the right.

Updates at the bottom. . .

The Chicago Tribune and WBEZ are reporting that Cardinal George of Chicago has removed from his parish of Saint Sabina and suspended Father Michael Pfleger sacramental priestly faculties ultimately due to his disobedience.

In a public radio show Father Pfleger threatened to leave the Catholic Church if he were to be reassigned to a Catholic High School by Cardinal George, his archdiocesan archbishop.

Cardinal George was disappointed in this particular response, “If that is truly your attitude, you have already left the Catholic Church and are therefore not able to pastor a Catholic parish(.)”

A Catholic priest’s inner life is governed by his promises, motivated by faith and love, to live chastely as a celibate man and to obey his bishop. . .Breaking either promise destroys his vocation and wounds the Church. . .With this letter, your ministry as pastor of Saint Sabina Parish and your sacramental faculties as a priest of the Archdiocese are suspended.

An “associate” minister of Saint Sabina’s Church, Kimberly Lymore, promised to have an “official” response from the Saint Sabina “leadership” to Cardinal George’s actions.

Well I have to say is Father Pfleger had certainly pushed the boundaries of patience on this one.  To say that this was a “shock” or unexpected would be disingenuous of Father Pfleger.

Cardinal George is well within his authority as an apostle of the Church to govern his flock as stated in his role as Archbishop.

Obedience is certainly expected of all archdiocesan priests, but to have Father Pfleger not only disobey the wishes of his archbishop, but publicly threaten to leave the Church if he were to be reassigned to another post went beyond disobedience.

Pray for Father Pfleger, Cardinal George, and the parish of Saint Sabina’s.

_._

ThePulp.it has a roundup of the coverage on the suspension of Father Michael Pfleger from the Catholic blogosphere and the secular media here.

_._

Hat tip to Chris Johnson of the Midwest Conservative Journal.

_._

Update I: Here is the letter Cardinal George handed to Father Pfleger personally simultaneously telling him he doesn’t want to ‘hear it’ about his options.  For the letter click here.

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24 Responses to Father Michael Pfleger Removed and Suspended

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  • It’s about damned time!!!!

  • I pray Cardinal George’s actions will be put to good use and become an occasion for sober reflection and renewal for Fr. Pfleger and the entire parish of Saint Sabina. May Fr. Pfleger return to obedience to Christ and His Church.

  • Fair enough.

    Independently from the controversy itself, to threaten to “leave the church” if one doesn’t get his own way is not acceptable in a priest. To do so publicly is even worse.

    Mundabor

  • Father “Flakey” has been asking for this for a very long time. I predict that he will take Saint Sabina’s now out of the Catholic Church. He has been a de facto one man church for years in any case.

  • My question is: Why did it take so long to remove this flake? Its been known for 30 years that he was a flamin’ liberal, social justice radical! Lets see if Cdl George will have the guts to stand by his actions.

  • This reminds me of George Stallings a few years back. I hope that Pfleger doesn’t take anyone with him.

  • To be fair, it would be a shock to finally be held accountable after how many years of being a national clown.

  • I agree with Stephen E Dalton, there is no room in the Church for justice! I desire Mercy not Justice Christ said! There are a few more priests and bishops that seem a little too just for my tastes as well. Christ didn’t care about the poor “they will always be with you”… why should a priest be wasting his time with poor inner city African Americans when he could be in the rectory brushing up on his Latin and do some real good for the faithful.

  • No doubt Patrick it is simple racism that accounts for the action of the Cardinal, rather than the fact that Father “Flakey” has been in frequent defiance of his superiors throughout his three decades at Saint Sabinas, has often threatened to go into schism if he were removed from Saint Sabinas and, among other charming incidents that we in Illinois know well, has been involved in the following:

    “Pfleger generated controversy by inviting Al Sharpton to speak at a Mass during Black History Month celebrations. Cardinal Francis George disapproved of Sharpton’s appearance, due to Sharpton’s support of abortion. Sharpton was also a presidential candidate at the time, and archdiocese officials were concerned that having a political candidate speak in church would cause them to lose their tax-exempt status. However, George decided that trying to stop Sharpton from coming “would be a futile gesture and a waste of effort”.”

    “In May 2007, During a Rainbow/PUSH Coalition protest outside a suburban Chicago gun shop, Pfleger was accused of threatening the life of the owner, John Riggio. The Illinois State Rifle Association released a tape where Pfleger was heard telling the assembled crowd, “He’s the owner of Chuck’s. John Riggio. R-i-g-g-i-o. We’re going to find you and snuff you out… you know you’re going to hide like a rat. You’re going to hide but like a rat we’re going to catch you and pull you out.” Pfleger later claimed his use of the phrase “snuff you out” was misinterpreted.”

    “Cardinal George rebuked Pfleger, saying, “Publicly delivering a threat against anyone’s life betrays the civil order and is morally outrageous, especially if this threat came from a priest.” Pfleger claimed that he did not intend to use the word “snuff” as a slang term for “kill”, but rather as a substitute for “pull”, as he used later in his statement.”

    “On May 25, 2008, Pfleger gave a sermon at Trinity United Church of Christ, then Presidential candidate Barack Obama’s church, where he made controversial statements concerning Senator Hillary Clinton, Obama’s opponent for the Democratic Party nomination. Pfleger said, “I really believe that she just always thought, ‘This is mine. I’m Bill’s wife. I’m white, and this is mine. I just gotta get up and step into the plate.’ Then out of nowhere came, ‘Hey, I’m Barack Obama,’ and she said, ‘Oh, damn! Where did you come from? I’m white! I’m entitled! There’s a black man stealing my show!'” He then pretended to wipe tears from his face, a reference to Clinton’s emotional speech before the New Hampshire primary, and added, “She wasn’t the only one crying. There was a whole lot of white people crying.”

    “After hearing about Pfleger’s remarks, Obama said he was “deeply disappointed in Father Pfleger’s divisive, backward-looking rhetoric”. Pfleger later released a statement through St. Sabina that read, “I regret the words I chose Sunday. These words are inconsistent with Sen. Obama’s life and message, and I am deeply sorry if they offended Sen. Clinton or anyone else who saw them.” On May 31, 2008, Obama resigned his membership in Trinity Church, saying that his campaign had caused the church to receive excessive media attention. On June 1, 2008, Pfleger released a longer apology to the St. Sabina parish regarding the incident and its aftermath.”

    “On June 3, 2008, Cardinal George asked Pfleger to take a disciplinary leave of absence from St. Sabina. George said in a statement, “I have asked Father Michael Pfleger, Pastor of St. Sabina’s Parish, to step back from his obligations there and take leave for a couple of weeks from his pastoral duties, effective today. Fr. Pfleger does not believe this to be the right step at this time. While respecting his disagreement, I have nevertheless asked him to use this opportunity to reflect on his recent statements and actions in the light of the Church’s regulations for all Catholic priests. I hope that this period will also be a time away from the public spotlight and for rest and attention to family concerns.” Pfleger resumed his parish duties on June 16, 2008.”

    “On April 11, 2010, Pfleger delivered a 70-minute sermon in which he said the Apostles “had run out on” Jesus. “They had turned their backs on Him. They had left the One they had been with for three years, 24/7, and they ran away from Him when He most needed them. Only John, at the foot of the Cross and the women. That’s why there should be woman priests. That’s why there should be married priests. That’s why there should be women bishops and women cardinals.” The Archdiocese of Chicago later issued a statement by Pfleger in which he apologized for his remarks but reaffirmed his support for women’s ordination. Pfleger said on his Facebook fan page that he was told to apologize, despite still holding those opinions. Pfleger denounced critics of his comments as “ignorant haters” who took his homily “out of context” and used them “for their own particular motives.”

  • Patrick, there’s plenty of room inthe Church for true justice. There is, IMHO, no room for a demagogue who stirs up class, racial, and religious hatred nder the guise of so-called “social justice”.
    Don, thanks for the background on Fr Flakey. This man needs a psychiatrist!

  • Once upon a time, persons with religious vocations made vows of chastity, obedience and poverty.

    St. Che, Pray for us!

  • Fr. PFleger is a great example of Jesus Christ and his teachings. He should have left a long time ago. Fr. Pfleger now has the opportunity to open his Own Church.God would be pleased with him. May God bless you Father Pfeger. Go out and Preach the GOOD NEWS !!!

  • Wow !! I am truly shocked to see so many haters on a Catholic Web Site.
    Did you forget “WWJD”, What would Jesus do ? Apparently you did.
    And to say that there is no room in the Catholic Church for social justice ?? That’s totally false. Social justice is one of the main teachings of the Catholic Church.

    While I don’t agree with everyhing Fr. Pflager has said and done, and feel that he has been out of line several times, I think there is no doubt that he has good intentions, and has made many positive changes in his community. That being said though, he is still a Catholic Priest, and is bound by the same set of rules as any other proest. He can’t make up his own rules.

    So if you are true Catholics, how about praying for Fr. Pflager and his congrgation, and for Cardinal George, instead of being haters. Please !!!
    Calling him Fr. Flakey ?? Really ?? Do you think Our Lord would be proud of you for that ??

  • Fr. Pfleger now has the opportunity to open his Own Church.

    Yes, a great example of Christ’s life and mission – taking his marbles and going home.

    That being said though, he is still a Catholic Priest, and is bound by the same set of rules as any other proest. He can’t make up his own rules.

    Yes, and therefore most of what you have just written is therefore kind of silly, don’t you think? Fr. Pfleger is the disobedient one, not those calling him out for his behavior. That you are more concerned about the tone of those who disapprove of this man than in his actions is quite revealing.

    Oh, and adding additional exclamation points and question marks doesn’t make you sound much more insightful.

  • Did you forget “WWJD”, What would Jesus do ?

    What would Jesus do to someone who misused his authority as a representative of JESUS to 1) promote a literal baby-murder supporting member of Caesar’s crowd, 2) kept bringing scandal onto the Church, 3) was publicly spreading false teachings, 4) metaphorically flipped off the just authority over him, metaphorically doing the same to Jesus?

    Um… My imagination doesn’t go that far, but I’m thinking that the money changers might be willing to commiserate.

  • “Calling him Fr. Flakey ?? Really ?? Do you think Our Lord would be proud of you for that ??”

    Perhaps not. Christ might have preferred that I used some of the terms that He used: whited sepulcher, serpent, viper, etc. “Father Flakey” seems rather mild in comparison, perhaps too mild. Thanks for the correction T. Doyle!

  • What would Jesus do?

    Matthew 7:22-23 gives the answer:

    “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

  • WWJD? He might have taken a knotted cord to Father Fleger and ejected him from His Father’s House.

  • Whatever it is they’re teaching over there at St. Sabina’s, it sure the heck isn’t how to spell.

  • Stephen,
    You accuse Fr Pfleger of being a flaming liberal, social justice radical as if thats a bad thing. I guess if you are white, male and catholic in chicago social justice is a threat to your racist way of life. Father Pfleger is hated for one thing and one thing only in chicago, his commitment to the African American Community. It is a well known fact that the Chicago Catholic Community is one of the Most viral racist nests in the country. White catholics in chicago have such a bad reputation that I am embarassed to say I am catholic in other parts of the country because I am always asked how I could be black and catholic in chicago. I always respond by saying it is different for me I belong to St Sabina!

  • RadCat, I do not live in Chicago. I’m male, but I’m not “white”. I’m a Catholic of multi-racial ancestory, (Jew, Arab, sub-saharan African, Turkish, Scot-Irish, English, Spanish, Portuguse, Italian etc.) who’s ancestors practised Judaism.
    You are correct that your kind of “social justice” is a threat to my way of life. I am afraid of a fanatic like Fr. Pfleger who stirs up the very racial hatred that he’s supposed to be preaching against. He supports abortion. He’s for Obamacare which will destroy my health care. In general, he’s just a radical, socialist, Alinskyist who wants to throw his weight around thinking he’s a big shot.
    Finally, you don’t even know me, but you presume to call me racist? If so, why did I contribute to a reward for the capture and arrest of unknown suspects who spray-painted racial slurs on a house and two cars against two little Chinese girls with Down syndrone? This revolting incident happened in Elmwood, Il, the town my ancestors settled and helped found in 1830. I’m proud to be an Elmwood decendant, it’s a pity you’re so ashamed of being from Chicago.

  • Hey Radical Catholic, do I get to point out that Pleger has long been a disgrace since I am part Cherokee, or does my white blood prevent me from pointing out the obvious?

  • Radical Catholic,

    Don’t you find it a contradiction to be a Catholic if the Catholic Church is so offensive to you?

    God bless.

Obama Releases Birth Certificate. Why Now?

Wednesday, April 27, AD 2011

Today President Obama released his long form birth certificate.  Go here to view the video.  This should convince all but the deeply conspiratorial among us, although since I include most of the Birther movement in that category, I doubt if the release of the birth certicate will slow them down one iota.  I have long thought that Obama did not release his long form birth certificate because he secretly loved the Birthers, who allowed his allies to tar all Obama critics as being delusional nutcases.  What I find interesting is why did he decide to release his birth certificate now?

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40 Responses to Obama Releases Birth Certificate. Why Now?

  • “Why now”?

    you answered it in your post.

  • “Donald Trump, the man with perhaps the worst toupe in the history of the world, has claimed credit for this release. I doubt it. I think it more likely that Obama was alarmed by plummeting approval polls.”

    The two aren’t unrelated. Trumps anti-Obama rants were getting a lot of attention because they included Birtherism. Obama may have thought that this would cause the media to stop giving Trump airtime.

  • “Obama may have thought that this would cause the media to stop giving Trump airtime.”

    If that was his intention RR, it was a severe miscalculation. This merely lowers Obama to Trump’s level. “The Donald” has basked in the media limelight for decades, and there is nothing that Obama can say or do to prevent the media from covering intently every foolish syllable that emanates from the Trump that roars.

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  • Maybe he just wanted to stick it to Jerome Corsi.

  • Another sign of the Apocalypse? Just goes to show the shallowness of American political discourse. BTW, I recommend Eric Hoffer’s “True Believers” to see how mass movements, including Christianity, have managed to sustain themselves.

    Here, Hoffer writes brilliantly of identification with a collective whole:

    “To ripen a person for self-sacrifice he must be stripped of his individual identity and distinctness. He must cease to be George, Hans, Ivan or Tadao — a human atom with an existence bounded by birth and death. The most drastic way to achieve this end is by the complete assimilation of the individual into a collective body. The fully assimilated individual does not see himself and others as human beings. When asked who he is, his automatic response is that he is a German, a Russian, a Japanese, a Christian, a Moslem, a member of a certain tribe or family. he has no purpose, worth and destiny apart from his collective body; and as long as that body lives he cannot really die. To a man utterly without a sense of belonging, mere life is all that matters.”

    Which is why the birther movement survives and will continue because those true believers say they are “birthers” proudly, as part of a collective whole rather than as individuals. In every act, however trivial, the individual must by some ritual associate himself with the congregation.

    Hoffer then quotes Montaigne: “I would not speak so boldly if it were my due to be believed,” leaving the reader to sort it out.

  • Post script and memo to Obama: What better way to fan the flames than to say that something is “silly” and the thoughts of a “carnival barker.” Are not these the things that Americans find endlessly fascinating? As Lincoln said, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.”

  • Dr. Pournelle at Chaos Manor has a reader who reports the following:

    —–

    Dear Dr. Pournelle,

    I downloaded the Barack Hussein Obama, II long form birth certificate .pdf file directly from whitehouse.gov. I opened it in Illustrator. Released the clipping mask. Yes, there are multiple layers. The lines of the form are not the same layer as the captions of the form. Individual letters in names and words are in separate layers from the rest of the name or word (i.e., ‘K’ in Kenya, ‘S’ in Stanley, ‘R’ in BARACK, and many more). It sure looks like it has been assembled from multiple elements. I can not think of an innocent reason for these facts. I also find it hard to understand how and why, if it’s a forgery, it’s such a clumsy forgery. Am I missing some reasonable technical explanation for these issues?

    The file has also been scrubbed clean of most meta data. It was created on a Mac using OS X 10.6.7, but I don’t see anything else useful.

    —–

    There’s more at:

    http://www.jerrypournelle.com/view/2011/Q2/view672.html#Wednesday

    I believe nothing that comes from Obama. I’m not a Birther. I don’t go in for conspiracy theories. But Obama himself is a supporter of abortion. So I believe in nothing from him. BTW, for all those liberals out there, I have the same problem with Guiliani who is Republican and supports abortion. If you think it’s OK to murder a baby, then you’ll lie without hesitation.

  • It is very odd that the birth certificate was produced at this late date. I question the authenticity of the birth certificate simply because of the designation of Obama’s father’s race as “African.” Could it be that the narcissistic Obama, unquestionably an unique and special person, would consider it unthinkable and demeaning that he be deemed a descendant of a Negro?

    Also, narcissists must be in the spotlight. Trump was just getting too much attention which forced Obama to call a press conference to obtain his narcissistic supply. What is scary, though, is that if a narcissist cannot get adulation and praise, he will seek to get attention in any deviant and vindictive manner whatsoever.

  • I’m inclined to believe the “why now” is partly due to tanking poll numbers and partly to distract attention from Bernanke’s abysmal press conference today. Inflation, predicted slower growth, and unemployment possibly going back up to 9+%. This is all very bad news for the president.

  • “partly to distract attention from Bernanke’s abysmal press conference today”

    It also succeeded in distracting attention from what may prove to be the biggest U.S. natural disaster since Katrina: a massive tornado outbreak in several Southern states that as of right now (11:39 p.m. CDT) has left more than 70 people dead (a number likely to rise) and nearly half a million people without power.

    Tuscaloosa and Birmingham, AL, were especially hard hit, and violent tornadoes passed awfully close to Hanceville (home of Mother Angelica’s Our Lady of the Angels Monastery) more than once today. I haven’t heard or seen any indication that OLAM or EWTN got hit but I would not be suprised if some of the staff people were affected, so please keep them and all other storm victims in your prayers.

  • Tom Maguire of JustOneMinute offered this hypothesis four months ago:

    … “Obama” is the most tightly controlled brand since Mickey Mouse (and is becoming synonomous with just that), so he is just saving this material (and his law firm billing records, and his college transcripts, and everything else) for his eventual eight-figure book deal.

    Apparently, Donald Trump is now suggesting the President’s college transcripts be released (as were George W. Bush’s, Albert Gore’s, and John Kerry’s – without their consent). The unreleased long-form may prove to have been a bit of earthen embankment after all.

  • (Guest comment from Don’s wife Cathy):
    “‘I also find it hard to understand how and why, if it’s a forgery, it’s such a clumsy forgery.'”
    Paul, I was born on Midway Island in 1958, and my official birth certificate (as opposed to the unofficial one — with goony birds, yet! — from the Naval base hospital there) was issued by the Hawaii Territorial (later State) Department of Health. When I needed a copy of my official birth certificate to get a passport (while I was in college), the one I was sent by the Hawaii State Department of Health was identical in format to the one released this week for President Obama. Obama’s birth certificate does not look like a forgery to me.

  • As predicted, this story has more legs than a centipede. Still want answers to my grassy knoll questions 40-something years later. : )

  • You may very well be correct, Donald. I simply don’t have the ability to determine if a legal document is a forgery or authentic. However, I do note that Obama simply cannot be trusted. That’s all I am saying. As your post points out, the timing of the release of this birth certificate is suspicious. However, even Dr. Pournelle at the link I gave in my previous comment acknowledges what you also think to be the case: the certificate is authentic.

    One thing, however, certain seems to be the case: Obama (whether he is born in the US or is a naturalized citizen) is NOT authentically American. Everything he does is designed for the erection of a secular humanist socialist demokracy.

    This whole thing is so troubling. I confess that I can’t look at the issue dispassionately because I am so totally fed up with the direction that that man has taken this country, and with the way liberal Catholics are still so in love with “The One” if for no other reason than he is the first black president (which shouldn’t matter one way or the other). I am sorry if I am out of line, but my passion gets the best of me. 🙁

  • Paul P.–this is out of line: “One thing, however, certain seems to be the case: Obama (whether he is born in the US or is a naturalized citizen) is NOT authentically American. Everything he does is designed for the erection of a secular humanist socialist demokracy.”

    It never ceases to amaze me how some conservatives treat Obama as if he is some radical lefty. He’s not. From the health care legislation, which was premised on Bob Dole’s proposal in the 90s and not far from what Romney did in MA to the economic and foreign policies inherited from Bush and changed little, he’s truly a mainstream moderate with some left of center policies. Definitely NOT a socialist (ask Bernie Sanders, a real socialist about that).

    For those claiming his approval numbers are “tanking”….ummm…no. http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/other/president_obama_job_approval-1044.html His numbers have remained pretty steady between 45 and 50% since November. He’s right about where most first term presidents have been in their 3rd year (Nixon in the high 40s, Reagan was in the mid-40s, Clinton was in the mid-40s).

    Few liberals talk about him as “The One”. That’s something made up by conservatives. Most on the far left are mad as hell for his continued efforts to reach out to Republicans and for compromising too much. Quite a few on the left feel like he is a corporate sell out.

    For me, he’s a center-left politician. He’s done some good things and others he’s botched. He’s smart and is a very good orator. He will probably be reelected in 2012, especially as the GOP has yet to find anyone worth voting for at this stage.

    Finally, why do you think he is “not authentically American”? Did you say the same ting about Clinton or Carter or LBJ or JFK? They (maybe with the exception of Clinton) all pushed agendas far to the left of Obama. What makes Obama specifically un-American to you?

  • Joe Green: Seriously? The interesting thing about Catholic saints is that they are so different from each other, so completely individual. They do not submerge their personalities into a whole. As the “biggies” of Christianity, they would seem to disprove either your entire argument or its application to Christianity.

    As far as Obama goes, I have no idea why he announced it now. Maybe he really is just sick of the whole thing. I am far more interested in why he hasn’t released all the other information that every candidate typically releases, why he castigates millionaires but itemizes his own deductions, and so on. I assume he was born in America, as most rational people do.

  • Gail, no need to take me seriously. I just enjoy bantering. I think God must have a sense of humor since He created me and broke the mold. As for Obama, every time he opens his mouth, with or without a TelePrompTer, he confirms that he’s an empty suit in over his head. Forget where he was born. He’s unfit to be president, but then, looking around at the competition, I don’t see anyone worthy. What we need is a good king with a sharp ax.

  • Hi Gail…I like what you had to say about Catholic schools on the other thread. I think the biggest challenge they have to is to keep tuition low while having fewer religious on staff (meaning that payroll costs have to go up). The local Jesuit school near me has gone from having 30 Jesuits on staff in the 70s to 3 today.

    As for the birth certificate thing, I think the answer of “why now’ is that he thought it was a good time to make the GOP look like a bunch of loonies, while also trying to avoid the mistakes Kerry made in handling the swift boat thing. However, many black leaders and average folks whom I’ve heard from on this feel incensed by the whole line of questioning, feeling that it is yet another attempt to undermine a black leader, similar to the attempts to portray MLK as a communist. The GOP has done very little to reach out to the black community, so look for another 98-2 split in Obama’s favor in 2012.

    One area that should be of great concern to people on this forum is the Hispanic vote. Hispanics went for Obama 65-35 in 2008. Most Hispanics are Catholic. The immigrant demonization by conservatives not only alienates Hispanics, but drives them to vote for the Democrats. Seeing a 70-30 or worse split with this growing demographic is not out of the question. I would ask American Catholic readers and commentators to think about this.

  • David W.,

    I defer to the following for a description of the current President of these United States:

    http://commentarius-ioannis.blogspot.com/2011/04/current-president-of-these-united.html

    I won’t argue the point further about the man who appoints the GE CEO to his jobs czar position after GE NBC and MS NBC worked tooth and nail to get him elected.

  • PS, every democrat President since and including FDR has been on the fast track to socialism. That includes Carter and Clinton.

  • Illegal immigration is ILLEGAL. David W’s suggests that we think about losing Hispanic votes because of this. I thought about it. Illegal is ILLEGAL. I know a man from Iraq who worked with me at my former employer and he had to go through hell to immigrate. I know a woman from Nigeria who also worked with me. She had to go through hell, too. So we are supposed to have different rules for Hispanics? Why!?

    And no, I am NOT anti-Hispanic. I am anti-illegal.

  • “The immigrant demonization by conservatives not only alienates Hispanics, but drives them to vote for the Democrats. Seeing a 70-30 or worse split with this growing demographic is not out of the question. I would ask American Catholic readers and commentators to think about this.”

    I believe the demonization has been by those who have sought to confuse the issue by making it look like those opposed to illegal immigration are opposed to all immigration. From this the claim is then made that those opposed are anti-immigrant and are thus racist. Thus falsely inciting hate particularly in the Hispanic community.

    I don’t think DavidW is doing this and he is thus not acting contrary to charity. However, he has clearly been confused on the issue by the false accusations and has been taking in by those who are truly demonizing. I ask that he think hard about such irresponsible statements.

  • Well, I would suggest those pushing the “illegal” line to please see what the Vatican has to say:

    http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/migrants/documents/rc_pc_migrants_doc_20000601_migr_presentazione_en.html

    As well as the USCCB:

    http://www.nccbuscc.org/pcmrt/

    I’ve spent some time on the border doing service with various religious and they unambiguously were appalled at what states like AZ have been doing on this topic.

    I’m not calling anyone racist, but would suggest that this forum is a way to reflect on what the Church teaches and how this impacts American life, both socially as well as politically. I would ask if “illegal is illegal” is a stance that is consistent with the Church’s teachings?

  • Phillip’s point is excellent. Furthermore, the Nigerian nuclear software engineer for digital instrumentation and controls, and the Iraqi nuclear hardware engineer for digital instrumentation and controls at my former company were OUTSTANDING engineers – among the best I have worked with in the 30+ years of nuclear energy experience that I have. Yet they went with absolute HELL to come into this country. But I’m told that because I point this out and expect the same level of quality work and dedication to duty from a Hispanic that I would from a black skinned Nigerian or a brown skinned Iraqi or a northern European white American, I am racist. I am told I am a racist because I believe in an equal playing field and applying the same rules to Hispanics that are applied to Nigerians and Iraqis. That’s when I get mad. And that’s why sometimes I just don’t say things here at this blog site with the level of equanimity and calm reserve that Phillip and others use. I work with immigrants all the time. I simply insist on following the rules.

    And BTW, I have been a Catechism instructor for 14 year old Spanish kids. I bought each one a Spanish English Bible and taught them as I would anyone else. There parents were mostly illegals, hired on by local white farmers who effectively enslave them by taking advantage of their illegal status. Furthermore, whatever Catholicism these Spanish people had is long gone as often Dad isn’t the father and he’s living with Mom out of wedlock. Half my Catechism class was like that.

    Yup, none of this may be relevant to the birth certificate topic of this post, but what is relevant is that Democrat Party policies support this very kind of thing. I shall hold my nose in the next election and vote Republican not because I think they are the party of God but because that man in the Oval Office has GOT to be kicked out.

  • David W., read Romans 13:1-7. We are called upon to OBEY the law of the land. There is a process for immigrants to become naturalized. FOLLOW the legal process. That’s the BIBLICAL thing to do. Do NOT treat Hispanics differently than Nigerians or Iraqis.

  • DavidW,

    An addition to your links. This time noting John Paul II’s contributions to the thoughts of immigration (legal and illegal):

    http://coworkersintruth.blogspot.com/2006/05/illegal-immigration-pope-john-paul-ii.html

    One of the more dramatic points for this discussion from this is JP II’s 1995 address refered to in the above link. In this he notes:

    “Illegal immigration should be prevented, but it is also essential to combat vigorously the criminal activities which exploit illegal immigrants.”

    Note that JP II says illegal immigration should be prevented. This would be consistent with CST which teaches that states do have the right to limit immigration. JP II goes on to say that we should help the illegal immigrant but that if they are not able to be accepted by the host country they can be returned;

    “Thus it is important to help illegal migrants to complete the necessary administrative papers to obtain a residence permit.

    Social and charitable institutions can make contact with the authorities in order to seek appropriate, lawful solutions to various cases… When no solution is foreseen, these same institutions should direct those they are helping, perhaps also providing them with material assistance, either to seek acceptance in other countries, or to return to their own country.”

    So illegal immigrants can be deported.

    CST is extremely nuanced and allows a variety of licit opinions in this, as well as other matters.

  • Obamja supports the murder of unborn babies as the right to chose and is using Hillary to export that round the world. Obama supports the equality of the “gay life style” with heterosexual marriage. Obama supports the fatal experimentation on unborn babies as embryonic stem cell research. Yet David W’s contribution is how the right wing opposes illegal immigration.

    Huh?

    Where exactly are your priorities? The problem of illegal immigration will NEVER be solved until we get holy and righteous before the Lord God Almighty. Holiness and righteousness come first BEFORE anything else. Repentance and conversion are first – THEN and ONLY THEN does social justice come about. Matthew 6:33.

  • while also trying to avoid the mistakes Kerry made in handling the swift boat thing.

    The mistakes Mr. Kerry made he made in 1969, 1971, 1979, &c. ‘Twas a bit late in the day when he was running for President.

    I’ve spent some time on the border doing service with various religious and they unambiguously were appalled at what states like AZ have been doing on this topic.

    They’ll get over it.

    His numbers have remained pretty steady between 45 and 50% since November. He’s right about where most first term presidents have been in their 3rd year (Nixon in the high 40s, Reagan was in the mid-40s, Clinton was in the mid-40s).

    It is a matter of scant importance, but it should be noted in the interests of precision that the President’s approval rating averaged 44% during the month of April. You can see here

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/116677/presidential-approval-ratings-gallup-historical-statistics-trends.aspx#2

    that Mr. Ford’s was slightly lower in April 1975, Mr. Carter’s was likewise in April 1979, and Mr. Reagan’s also in April 1983. The thing is, Mr. Reagan and Mr. Ford were near their nadir in public approval and the economy was in both cases near the beginning of a vigorous recovery yet to be acknowledged by the statisticians. Mr. Obama’s recovery began in June 2009 and public finance makes a minefield. I suspect he (and you) will not enjoy the next 19 months.

  • Paul: 1. The “descriptions” you cite from the commentarius article are all either policy issues or verbal gaffes. I disagreed strongly with George w. Bush on policy and he made many verbal gaffes, yet I did not think of him as un-American. Just because you disagree with things like the moratorium on offshore drilling (remember that whole BP oil spill thing?) does not make Obama someone to be demonized. He’s a politician with whom you disagree, not a monster.

    2. “…every democrat President since and including FDR has been on the fast track to socialism.” 70 years does not seem like much of a fast track to me.

    3. I note that in discussing immigration, you emphasize “playing by the rules” in your example and the rule of law, even noting the passage in Romans. OK, fine. Why are you not mad as hell at the businesses that provide the reason for the immigrants to come here? Why aren’t you stomping your feet and demanding that the head of any business that hires illegal immigrants go to jail? Why does this have to be an issue about poor people who are looking for the same opportunities that many of our ancestors had (who did not have to wait 14 years for citizenship, btw) rather than those who are exploiting their labor at the expense of the American worker? Is that putting human dignity first, as the Church states?

  • Hi Art,

    “Mr. Obama’s recovery began in June 2009 and public finance makes a minefield. I suspect he (and you) will not enjoy the next 19 months.”

    I hope for the sake of the country and those suffering from unemployment that the economy takes a turn for the better and companies start hiring again. Coming up with an equitable way to reform health care that is moral and cost-effective is one of the most important issues we face as a people (not to mention ending the wars and addressing climate change). These should not be partisan issues, unless one hopes for more misery for the sake of the political game. Sadly, American politics has become so polarized that many work for the failure of an administration due to political disagreements rather than trying to find common ground.

    Regardless of who is to blame for this situation, it is counterproductive for us all. Claiming that Obama is not American enough, or is not a citizen is counterproductive. Saying that George W. Bush was stupid or a fascist was so as well.

    We may disagree, but there are too many important issues that affect us all as we struggle to do God’s work on this Earth to play such petty games.

  • These should not be partisan issues, unless one hopes for more misery for the sake of the political game. Sadly, American politics has become so polarized that many work for the failure of an administration due to political disagreements rather than trying to find common ground.

    It’s called formulating different opinions on issues. Not everyone agrees about the best ways to address these concerns, and talking about finding “common ground” is just gobbledeygook to gloss over the fact that there are radically different approaches that are often not compatible.

    I also note that ending the abortion holocaust is not one of your pressing concerns. Unsurprising.

  • Thanks Paul Zummo. Your statement is indicative of being part of the problem, not the solution. And yes, I am pro-life and believe that ending abortions by multiple means is a key and pressing issue.

  • Then David W, work for the defeat of liberal Demokracy, Barak Hussein Obama and Nancy Pelosi. They will not waver from their pro-abortion, pro-gay rights policy. Will NOT.

    Holiness and righteous, repentance and conversion come first before anything else. Don’t think for one minute that God will treat these United States any differently than when He had Assyria deport Israel and Babylon deport Judah for their crimes of wickedness, idolatry and sexual perversion. And think not that Manasseh having his children sacrificed by immolation is any different than what Obama does by his policies to the unborn. Manasseh was led away into captivity by a ring through his nose. God forbid that that should happen to the current child-murderer in charge. But as Scripture says, be NOT deceived; God is NOT mocked for whatsoever a man soweth that also shall he reap.

  • Your statement is indicative of being part of the problem, not the solution.

    And your reply is indicative of someone who isn’t interested in serious debate but rather the sort of moral preening that is of little value. People have decidedly different approaches to major issues, and to gloss over these difference with blabber about common ground gets us nowhere. In fact, it is this rather humdrum “can’t we get along attitude” that gets us nowhere. And of course the worst part is that it’s pure bs. You talk about common ground, but only insofar as people come to your conclusions.

    And yes, I am pro-life and believe that ending abortions by multiple means is a key and pressing issue.

    But when you listed the most pressing issues of the day, independently and without being called out on it, you completely neglected abortion. So, I take your protestations about being “pro-life” for what they are – hot air.

  • Here’s what David W wrote, “And yes, I am pro-life and believe that ending abortions by multiple means is a key and pressing issue.”

    Note “…a key and pressing issue.”

    Baby murdering is THE issue, NOT an issue. And any man who thinks that evacuating a baby from his mother’s womb is a woman’s right to chose IS a monster. But that’s what the President in effect said by his own policies.

    A woman has the right to be a healthy mother, and obfuscating that with this false “right to choose” endangers the lives and health of countless women while those who do such things murder their babies. We as a nation will therefore NOT have social justice till we STOP murdering our next generation.

    But to David W., that is simply “an” issue, however key and pressing it really is to him. Indeed, we see by his support for the baby-murderer in charge how key and pressing it is to him. Sorry – I simply can’t help myself when I see this kind of stuff that passes for “Catholic thinking” among the “Catholic” supporters of that man in the Oval Office.

    And no, I do NOT believe the Repubs are the Party of God. Do NOT. They aren’t much better, but one plus zero is still one.

    Geez, I gotta calm down. It ain’t worth the blood pressure rise.

  • I just thought of something else concerning what David W wrote, “And yes, I am pro-life and believe that ending abortions by multiple means is a key and pressing issue.”

    There are NOT multiple means to preventing abortion. There is ONE and ONLY ONE. You don’t want a baby, then don’t have sex. Period. No adultery. No fornication. No sexual immorality. What are we? Wild baboons given to the lust of the moment without a bit of sentience to control our behavior? And then we think we can get away with impunity from any consequences for our sexual immorality? Or did God give us brains and does He expect us to use our them. Liberals exhalt man’s reasoning faculties and denigrate Conservatives as unthinking, unfeeling brutes, so why don’t they use their brains here?

    No sex – no unwanted babies. SIMPLE! I’ve been without sex for four years since being without a wife. I am still not dead.

    OBEY the Lord God Almighty. Do that and abortion will go away.

  • Indeed, why now?

    This absolutely makes no sense!

    Now: Unending unemployment hurts the unemployed and inflicts dolorous destitution on their families. But, that’s only (reality) 17% of we the people.

    Now: Soaring food and fuel prices are hurting (despite the fact that they are not in the guvmint inflation formula) about 98% of we the people. Obamissars (must save Mother Gaia!!!) ordered stoppages of drilling and denied coal permits and mishandled foreign policy; we the people won’t fall for the lies about speculators hurting us. Obama did it.

    The release makes no sense. Without 24/7 making fun of Birthers, Obama worsipping liars in the MSM don’t have “news” with which to distract and misdirect the people.

    It wasn’t working anyway.

  • I praise God that Paul Primavera has the courage and passion to defend the defenseless. Indeed, darkness has fallen over two thousand years of Christianity. Much, if not most, of our nation’s populace is not shouting to the glory of God, but praising the Prince of Darkness. And a sick man is in charge of a sick nation.

ThePulp.it EXTRA: WEDNESDAY

Wednesday, April 27, AD 2011

ThePulp.it EXTRA is the title of a new series of posts that I will be contributing for The American Catholic .  It’s an idea first thought of by fellow blogger John Henry a few years back.  I’ll be posting some of the best that the Catholic Blogosphere has to offer every so often to highlight some great posts around Saint Blog’s.

I hope you enjoy it!

Pat McNamara is Catholic Because of History – Frank Weathers, YIMC

Making Sense of the Resurrection Discrepancies? – Msgr. Charles Pope

Women’s Head Coverings at Mass: I Told You So – Jimmy Akin

Use of Force to Defend a Church from Vandalism – Fr. Z

Easter in a Time of Scandal – Mark P. Shea, InsideCatholic

Fatima in Seven Easy Points – Taylor Marshall, Canterbury Tales

A Case for Hell – Ross Douthat, The New York Times

Ordinariate Comes to Life in Holy Week – Anna Arco & Simon Caldwell

Easter Sunday: Satanic Desecration at Georgia Church -S. Brinkmann

“He Descended to the Dead,” Easter Surprise – Sandro Magister, Chiesa

Anti-Christian Vandalism at PA Univ. during Holy Week – Lisa Graas

If you like this feature and want a regular update twice a day, head on over to ThePulp.it to get the best round-up of posts twice a day in Catholic blogging!

For ThePulp.it click here.

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Looking Back at Lent: Why Do Penance?

Wednesday, April 27, AD 2011

Thinking back over Lent, one of the things that hits me, as it has before, is that I am much better at not doing things for Lent than doing things. Even moderately big changes in my daily routine such as “fasting” by having only one meal a day on Wednesdays and Fridays, or abstaining from alcohol entirely, are fairly doable. However, my resolutions to start each day be reading Morning Prayer, or reading the Pope’s second volume of Jesus of Nazareth, or blogging my way through all of Augustine’s Confessions — not so much.

That’s the point at which I find myself wondering: Is putting so much focus into not doing something a mistake? There is, after all, nothing wrong with eating, or with having my nightly beer or glass of wine. Why should God have any interest in my not doing these perfectly acceptable things? It’s not as if God gets satisfaction out of thinking, “Ah, it’s Lent. I do so look forward to all those little human creatures going in for a little bit of voluntary discomfort. I thrive on discomfort.”

So why give up a few pleasures for Lent — especially while at the same time failing in doing some positive things which would arguably be better things to do?

Well, obviously, the reason for penance is not that God wants us to be miserable.

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7 Responses to Looking Back at Lent: Why Do Penance?

  • It’s also about remembrance (at least it is for me, anyways). It reminds me when I am not drinking that glass of beer of what the season is supposed to be about and what I should be thinking of rather than my own pleasures. In that context, it puts Jesus and His sacrifice front and center in my thoughts, which can lead to other reflections.

    Sadly, many young people see it more as a hassle or guilt trip than anything else. But then, they ARE young people (sigh)…

  • I’ve been taught that you should give up something you enjoy as a suffering in remembrance of what Jesus went through (I was later taught that I should replace it with “something positive”). My problem has always been that after the first week, I don’t miss what I gave up anymore and I’m not suffering anything :/

  • Doing something positive is acceptable, but I tend to think it should be something positive not as in a personal goal with a vague general good, but as a life changing positive or doing something profound for others. Like something that takes us out of our comfort zone and forces us to act on things we know we should do for others but often rationalize it away. I also view the giving up of something not so much as to be a rememberance of Our Lord’s passion (though it is certainly that too!), but as a true mortification. Something that causes us discomfort, a serious denial of the flesh. I’ve had a few good Lents where I was really ambitious in both the mortification and positive departments, and I’ve had many more Lents where I’ve been a sissy and just gave up soda (like this year). As a big soda drinker it’s a definite change of behavior and an inconvenience, however I don’t delude myself into thinking it’s true mortification, after all I end up just drinking more iced tea.

  • The past few years I’ve been trying to do one of each – give up something and do something. I find that I get so much less out of Lent when I give up (or do) something that I’ve done before. I need that “oh, darn it, that’s right” moment as I reach for potato chips (or whatever), followed by the self-pity at my huge sacrifice, followed by the humiliating contrast between not eating potato chips for 40 days versus being crucified for someone else’s sins. That keeps me from falling into the problem that Kylekanos describes.

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  • The self-discipline imposed at Lent serves another purpose also; knowing that you can say ‘no’ to things which are not sinful teaches us we have the strength to say ‘no’ when we are tempted by things that are and gives us the strength to resist.

Abe Lincoln in Illinois: Lincoln-Douglas Debate

Wednesday, April 27, AD 2011

The film Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1940) has perhaps the best recreation of the Lincoln-Douglas debates ever put on film.  The debate portrayed has remarks culled from all the debates,  is an excellent recreation of the main arguments made by each of the men, and is evocative of their speaking styles.

Ironically neither of the actors portraying Lincoln and Douglas were Americans.  The actor portraying Douglas was Gene Lockhart, a Canadian.  If his voice sounds vaguely familiar to you, it is probably because you recall him as the judge in Miracle on 34th Street.  His daughter June Lockhart, of Lassie and Lost in Space fame, carried on the thespian tradition of the family.

Lincoln was portrayed by Raymond Massey, also a Canadian.  Massey was one of the great actors of his day and bore a strong physical resemblance to Lincoln.  Massey served in the Canadian Army in both World War I, where he saw combat on the Western Front as an artillery officer, and World War II, becoming a naturalized American citizen after World War II.  Like Lincoln he was a Republican and made a TV ad for Goldwater in the 1964 campaign.

  Here is a transcript from the film script of the debate:

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Resurrection: The Rock Video

Tuesday, April 26, AD 2011

Robert Holmes “Rob” Bell Jr. is an American “megachurch” pastor and author of such trendy books as Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith, and Sex God: Exploring the Endless Connections between Sexuality and Spirituality. His latest book, Love Wins, which from what I can tell is an exploration of Christian universalism, has caused quite a stir of late.

I don’t know a great deal about Rob Bell, save for my stumbling on this video this morning of Rob Bell preaching on the Resurrection.

Now — ordinarily, you might think the the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead would be sufficient enough to provoke some stirring of human wonder in the listener.

Not so.

Rather, the resurrection (or Rob Bell’s speculations on the meaning of such) has to be accompanied by a hip modern rock soundtrack and a streaming psychedelic light show such as I might have enjoyed — oh, perhaps two decades ago, at a Grateful Dead concert, “under the influence.” To such an extent that, at least from my perspective, the content of his message is repressed, obscured by the barrage of the senses.

What is it with these modern, megachurch televangelists?

What does this say about the attention span of the intended audience?

Has the gospel become so boring that we really have to be entertained by it?

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9 Responses to Resurrection: The Rock Video

  • I kept waiting for him to break into a U2 song. He looks like Bono with those glasses.

    As for the message content? Pretty fluffy, IMHO. Lots of buzz words and catchy phrases (“Embraced, graced and saved by God”). But not much meat on those bones.

  • Yet another reason I’m a convert. Every Protestant church I’ve attended since the 90’s has ended up going the flashy, concert-style route with their “worship” services. There’s just no reverence or sacredness to it. The seriousness with which the Catholic church takes in regards to worship was one of the very first things that attracted my attention.

  • I couldn’t watch the whole thing because I, as well, kept losing his words in the music and lights.

    It also feels like he is speaking to children; people who know nothing about the resurrection. I have always felt that Megachurches talk to their congregants as if they were children and they could possibly not understand anything more than just the basics of faith.

  • I agree with Chris and all of the comments. But…

    While this sort of approach lacks in *nourishing*, it obviously succeeds in *attracting*. So is there anything in this kind of approach which we can somehow emulate — with a thoroughly Catholic foundation — to reach the kinds of people who *are* attracted by it?

  • There’s more of these ‘rock band’ churches all over the place & now ‘worship on the internet’ haha how is worship in the comfort of your couch with a beverage listening to ac/dc or 30 seconds to mars or pick a band?! Go into these places & its grab a coffee, & enjoy the show. Oh & please we have 100s of workers in our groups so donate as much as possible there’s really a cover charge for the band today. This is today’s worst heresy. Do it your way they way that will entertain you. You don’t need those fuddy duddy sacraments or reverance or worship you just need a nice speech & great tunes. Oh & if you are just too lazy to come then turn on your computer we stream it live so you don’t have to make the sacrifice of showing up.

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  • @Chris Burgwald,

    Chris, I wonder really if the attraction you mention is of the “a mile wide and an inch deep” variety? In other words, do people watch it on YouTube once because it’s “edgy”, but then not respond to it in a meaningful way because it fails to challenge them?

    I’ve often thought that what is lacking in so many Catholic parishes nowadays, especially for men (who seem to be abandoning the active practice of the Faith more readily than women), is the challenge to DO something actively to engage one’s Faith and what it means to have it and live it, as Christ calls us to do in Scripture. Off the top of my head, the return of traditional devotions like perpetual adoration of the Eucharist, the Stations of the Cross on Lenten Fridays, and even the public recital of the Rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet testify to young peoples’ desire to get actively engaged and not simply sit passively in Mass and receive the Eucharist passively. Other things that are popular at the Catholic college where I currently teach include alternative spring break missions to Latin America, volunteering at Catholic soup kitchens, tutoring underprivileged children with homework and catechesis at our local Catholic schools, and even the 40 Days for Life and the Life marches in Washington each winter.

    Our young people hunger for the Truth of Christ and for the challenge to live their faith more fully. I think this is a major key to attracting more fallen-away Catholics as well as converting secular atheists and agnostics.

    None of the above is meant to “pooh-pooh” the idea of using social media in Catholic outreach, but merely to suggest that such media are only the very beginning of a more in-depth apostolate we need to be developing in the Church in the US and across the post-Christian West.

  • Kevin, I agree with virtually everything you said, including your opening “mile wide & inch deep” comment.

    To clarify one point… I wasn’t thinking so much of how people like Bell use social media, but more about the apparent popularity of evangelical megachurches with *very* informal services (it’d be a stretch to call some of them worship services); there’s a (relatively) large church of that type a half-mile from my parish, and it’s definitely getting inactives (Catholics and others) to darken the door.

    Hence my question: is there something in what they do that we can emulate in a Catholic context, one with — as you note — great substance in formation and apostolate.

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The Future of Catholic Schools

Tuesday, April 26, AD 2011

With the discussion relating to Catholic homeschooling last week, I was strongly reminded of this (very good) article on the future of Catholic schools in the spring issue of National Affairs which a good friend pointed me towards a while back. As the article points out, the issues facing Catholic schools are many, though perhaps the biggest are:

  • Public schools are no longer the explicitly Protestant institutions they were back in the 1900-1960 era
  • The teaching orders whose virtually free labor made Catholic schools relatively affordable in their golden age virtually ceased to exist in the decades following Vatican II
  • Changing demographics have moved Catholic populations away from many of the schools already built, and in this day and age building new ones is vastly more expensive

    This has left many dioceses struggling with whether to shutter schools, and many of the continuing urban Catholic schools serving students who are mostly not Catholic.

    The Archdiocese of New York, for example, reported in 2008 that, among its inner-city schools, nearly two-thirds of students lived below the poverty line and more than 90% were racial minorities. In Washington, D.C., as of 2007, more than 70% of students attending the lowest-income Catholic schools were non-Catholic. In Memphis’s inner-city “Jubilee” Catholic schools, as of 2008, 96% of students lived below the poverty line and 81% were non-Catholic. In fact, over the past 40 years, the portion of minority students in Catholic schools overall increased by 250%, and the share of non-Catholic students increased by 500%.

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    20 Responses to The Future of Catholic Schools

    • Either way, however, what you get is Catholic schools which are run by Catholics, and to some extent for Catholics, but which do not have imparting the faith to students and maintaining an explicitly Catholic culture as a primary mission. And as this ceases to be the case, many of the parents who are most serious about their children’s faith (and thus who are most likely to provide lots of support and volunteer hours to a school) will start to wonder if it’s really worth making major financial sacrifices in order to send their children to a Catholic school.

      Well, it’s what you get, not what I get.

      I’ll leave to another day the larger discussion that many conservatives seem to exclusively speak to the more affluent and white collar element of society (If the President proposes raising taxes on Americans with incomes over $1/4 mill “They are going to raise your taxes.” Or “Young Catholics are becoming more orthodox and traditional,” citing a survey of college students. And of the 3/4ths of Catholics who do not go to college? )

      And I’ll accept your analysis of suburban Catholic schools. I don’t have any experience there. But I do believe in the value of the Catholic inner city schools that I have experience with. We do a great job in imparting the faith to students and maintaining an explicitly Catholic culture as a primary mission. The baptisms and confirmations of parish school students at the Easter Vigil gave witness to that.

      Some of our school parents try but few contribute much to the school financially or in volunteer time. They are mostly low wage, often working two part time jobs, or they have never met their child, in prison or on drugs.

      Left to my call, I would close the parish before I would close the school. As for the suburban schools, maybe it is time to give up on them.

    • I’ll leave to another day the larger discussion that many conservatives seem to exclusively speak to the more affluent and white collar element of society (If the President proposes raising taxes on Americans with incomes over $1/4 mill “They are going to raise your taxes.” Or “Young Catholics are becoming more orthodox and traditional,” citing a survey of college students. And of the 3/4ths of Catholics who do not go to college? )

      Hmmm. Interesting opening here.

      – I am not clear that conservatives speak exclusively to the more affluent and white collar element of society — any more than that progressives all engage in armchair sham solidarity with “the poor”. Both are exaggerations which people use when they want to make a point about people they don’t like.

      – It is true that conservatives do not tend to take a “don’t worry, they’re not coming for you right now” approach to tax increases. We tend to dislike them in general.

      – Unless you’re seeing very data than I have ever run into, I have no idea where you get the claim that 3/4 of Catholics do not go to college. Overall, more than 60% of American high school graduates take at least some college, and I’ve seen little to suggest that the figures are so diametrically opposite for Catholics as for the rest of Americans.

      And I’ll accept your analysis of suburban Catholic schools. I don’t have any experience there. But I do believe in the value of the Catholic inner city schools that I have experience with. We do a great job in imparting the faith to students and maintaining an explicitly Catholic culture as a primary mission.

      If so, that’s certainly great, though the article I linked to talks in depth about DC inner city Catholic schools, and talks about the tendency to de-emphasize specifically Catholic elements of the curriculum in order to appeal to the 90% of parents who are not Catholic in these neighborhoods.

      Now, providing alternative sources of education (especially when the union-influenced Democratic party establishment is so set on quashing vouchers in DC) is absolutely an activity worthy of the Church’s efforts, but as the article discusses, I think it’s important that if schools have decided that their mission is to provide alternative education venues to poor non-Catholic families, that they frame that subject that way when putting the issue to donors. Right now, urban Catholic school systems are still structured around the idea that a parish school is for educating the children of the parish and should be supported primarily by the parish — yet the actual parishes for many of these urban schools have withered away for lack of Catholics.

      If schools want to re-mission themselves as primarily a missionary or social service institution providing quality education to children who could not otherwise afford private schools, that is absolutely outstanding and should be supported. But it needs to be proposed as that, not as somehow being a continuation of the 1950s model of parish schools in which tuition and that parish’s weekly collection made up the expenses.

    • 84.7% of graduates from Catholic high schools go on to attend four year colleges as opposed to 44.1% of graduates from public schools according to the National Catholic Educational Association.

      http://www.pacatholic.org/catholic-education/catholic-school-students-graduate-go-to-college-at-higher-rates/

      I have never seen any evidence to suggest that three-fourths of Catholics never go to college.

    • In some areas Catholic school are booming. Including one Diocese where the Catholic parents pay no tution and they are building more. However I have been in the Catholic Church long enough to realize that some of these Dioceses could be on the moon and know one will attempt to go there and find out how it works

      http://richleonardi.blogspot.com/2008/04/tuition-free-catholic-schools.html

    • I am not clear that conservatives speak exclusively to the more affluent and white collar element of society

      Not all. I’m just struck by the many occassions where I hear comments made in a general forum by political conservatives but use the term “you” to speak of white collar or affluent people.

      If so, that’s certainly great, …

      I think it is. For me, its one of the brightest spots in church life. That’s why inner city Catholic education is the major focus of my charitable giving.

      though the article I linked to talks in depth about DC inner city Catholic schools, and talks about the tendency to de-emphasize specifically Catholic elements of the curriculum in order to appeal to the 90% of parents who are not Catholic in these neighborhoods.

      In my experience, I think respectful accomodations are met. I’m sure our environment does not meet the standards desired by many of the parents who get their children’s book from Igantius Press. But I have not found any of those folks willing to live in the neighborhoods we serve. It is a religious environment that does not deny our Catholic principles but seeks to serve as we can.

      In raw numbers it is an intake with 90% non-Catholic and an out-take with no less than 20% Catholic. I think the Opus Dei school that relocated from the affluent part of DC to the far suburbs has a 90% Catholic in-take and a 70% Catholic out-take. I’m betting most other suburban Catholic schools are in the same ballpark.

      But we make no apologies for not measuring sucess by how many non-Catholics we get to the baptismal pool. Of the majority who neither come in nor leave Catholic, many of them are quick to witness that their experience has made them better Christians or caused them to become Christians, even though of another community. The alumni newsletter of one of our inner city schools recently profiled a star graduate who proclaimed that his faith was exhanced by the school to the point where it led him to enter the ministry in the Baptist Church (the powers that be however, did decline my suggestion that he be tallied as a vocation from the school).

      These schools I speak of are probably no better academically than the public schools. While it is our mission to give kids a good education, it is not our mission to give them an academic alternatives to the public schools. We work to help enhance their love of God and neighbor and showing them our love of God and neighbor.

      And the parish, including the childless and those who send their children elsewhere are tremendous supporters of this mission.

    • I’m just struck by the many occassions where I hear comments made in a general forum by political conservatives but use the term “you” to speak of white collar or affluent people.

      Most people, absent some reason to do otherwise, assume that their audience in any given conversation is like themselves. Similarly, most people online are by some definition of the term “white collar” though often not “affluent”. (Blue collars as simply not that common these days, as manufacturing work has become so efficient as to need relatively few workers.)

      I’m sure our environment does not meet the standards desired by many of the parents who get their children’s book from Igantius Press. But I have not found any of those folks willing to live in the neighborhoods we serve…. But we make no apologies for not measuring sucess by how many non-Catholics we get to the baptismal pool.

      Following on the above point: like most other people, I tend to address, by default, people in a position similar to my own. In this case, parents with lots of young Catholic children who, if they are going to pay for a Catholic school, want to know that it is serious about teaching the Catholic faith and living out an authentically Catholic environment — not a vaguely Christian one.

      Now honestly, I would have no problem also supporting (to the extent possible given my extant commitments to my parish and diocese and other Catholic organizations such as Food For The Poor) schools run by Catholics for the purpose of providing a free or highly subsidized Christian education to children living in poor urban neighborhoods. I think that kind of work can make some of the biggest differences in people’s actual lives.

      But that seems to me a very different mission than the one which parish schools are typically pitching themselves as fulfilling.

      Also, it’s probably worth noting:

      – It seems odd to fault people who have other options for not wanting to live in poor urban neighborhoods, given that most of the people who do live there would probably rather live somewhere else given the choice too.

      – While it may seem, from your political point of view, like a worthy object of snark, the religious education texts put out by Ignatius Press for elementary level Catholic schools and parish religious education programs really are first rate. Having seen many of the heavy handed and triumphalist reprints from the 30s through the 60s which some homeschoolers use, and the watered-down-to-the-point-of-insanely-dull mainstream texts put out by publishers such as Macmillan and Silver Burdett — the Ignatius Faith & Life texts are very good resources for parents and schools. (I know several “normal” catechists who use them simply because they’re more interesting and less fluffy than a lot of other texts.) I’m not sure why Ignatius Press itself would be considered a particular target of mockery just because they put out solid books, whether CCD texts or the Pope’s works.

    • Most people, absent some reason to do otherwise, assume that their audience in any given conversation is like themselves. Similarly, most people online are by some definition of the term “white collar” though often not “affluent”.

      Yes, I was mostly referring to statements I read or hear conservatives making on television or in the daily newspaper. I confess that my personal interactions tend to be more with working class people than white collar. But I understand your point.

      Following on the above point: like most other people, I tend to address, by default, people in a position similar to my own

      That is why dialogue is so wonderful. I guess I would tend to do the same, but through dialogue both you and I have opportunity for a broader exposure. That’s a good thing, I think.

      Now honestly, I would have no problem also supporting [such schools]. I think that kind of work can make some of the biggest differences in people’s actual lives.

      I appreciate that. Thank you.

      But that seems to me a very different mission than the one which parish schools are typically pitching themselves as fulfilling.

      I guess what you find typical and what is typical in my life is back to the discussion earlier. I don’t think I have ever stepped foot into a suburban Catholic school. I trust your judgment on them.

      It seems odd to fault people who have other options for not wanting to live in poor urban neighborhoods

      I don’t fault such people, but I am a great admirer of those who intentionally live among the poor. Here there must be a dozen “intentional communities” as the kids call them of young Catholics aflame with the Church’s social teaching living among low income people. This movement rarely gets the attention it deserves but I think is one of the great lay apostolates of our time. And they are complemented by many Catholic individual or families doing the same because of their faith and Catholic Social Teaching. It harkens back to the 1930s when Catholic “social justice types” with advanced degrees took jobs in factories to be among the workers.

      I’m not sure why Ignatius Press itself would be considered a particular target of mockery

      I didn’t mock them. I noted they are not successful in getting their publications into the hands of inner city residents who are in need of evangelization. Maybe they tried and failed, maybe they have not tried, or maybe that is not their “market” (sorry to use an entrepreneurial term). I don’t know and I didn’t speculate.

    • I guess what you find typical and what is typical in my life is back to the discussion earlier. I don’t think I have ever stepped foot into a suburban Catholic school. I trust your judgment on them.

      Well, as someone who’s read a certain amount about the actual history of the Catholic school system, I can assure you that it really is the case that parish schools were originally built to serve primarily Catholic children who lived in the parish — not non-Catholic children looking for an alternative to inner city public schools.

      It was as many Catholics left these neighborhoods that the schools re-purposed themselves to serve non-Catholic students.

      This is not a matter of your experience versus mine, it’s simply a matter of history. Among other resources, the article which I linked to above describes the history of the Catholic school system in the US.

      It’s not a matter of urban versus suburban, nor does it require parsing according to different people’s experience. While there have been mission schools of various sorts intended to serve non-Catholic students, the parish schools were built to serve Catholic children from the parish. I’m kind of surprised that someone who generally knows as much about the history of the institutional church in the US as you do would consider this a matter of dispute or opinion.

      Also, just as a side note: I remain unclear why it is that you seem to consistently equate “suburban” with “affluent”, the two do not necessarily correlate at all. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the regions of Los Angeles at all, but San Fernando is a very solidly working class to lower middle class area. It’s not Watts, but it’s no Santa Monica either.

    • I can assure you that it really is the case that parish schools were originally built to serve primarily Catholic children who lived in the parish

      In the case of my Washington, DC parish, that would be WHITE Catholic children. Black Catholic children of the parish were not allowed in the school until those pushy liberals forced the issue.

    • In the case of my Washington, DC parish, that would be WHITE Catholic children. Black Catholic children of the parish were not allowed in the school until those pushy liberals forced the issue.

      Ummm… Okay. I’m not really clear where you’re going with that.

      Obviously I think it’s appalling that DC area parishes behaved that way. Or is this a “see who can associate the other with worse events that happened before I was born” contest?

    • Kurt,

      Do you get paid by the word, or for each accusation you level at the conservative, evil, rich white devil?

      Regards,

      T: one of them

    • Pingback: WEDNESDAY MORNING EDITION | ThePulp.it
    • “Changing demographics have moved Catholic populations away from many of the schools already built”

      I’m hoping to change one small aspect of this problem. It’s actually against federal law to place a housing advertisement that mentions whether a church or religious institution is in the neighborhood. It’s considered a covert signal of intent to discriminate. (Ridiculously strict, I think.)

      Liberalize housing laws like these, and realtors and their clients can more easily form the kind of neighborhoods that support Catholic schools in an organic way.

      “Intentional communities” are probably overrated and require too much work for most people. At the same time, there’s nothing stopping Catholic families from deciding to re-colonize an old urban parish with a high-potential school. These efforts seem more realistic to me than Ave Maria Town-type endeavors.

      Of course, this assumes that the old urban parishes can be safe enough. And I’m not sure this is possible.

      My grandparents had lived in a thriving urban parish neighborhood. But crime increased, Catholics moved away, and they were struck by an arsonist twice in the twilight of their days. Their son still lives in the city only because he’s in the same working-class neighborhood where many police live.

      The anti-suburb mentality ignores these tragedies. It expresses disdain for those who fled for fear of their safety, when we should disdain the authorities who failed (refused?) to provide effective protection.

      Even the anti-racist mentality probably shackled authorities’ hands and guaranteed the destruction of these Catholic neighborhoods. “White flight” was caused by sticks as well as carrots.

    • This is another of those interesting examples of how you never know, when you write a post, where the discussion thread will go. It seemed to me that the interesting story here is how to fund and organize Catholic schools (or if so many Catholic schools are even required) in the Catholic Church in the modern US.

      In the framing of this, the National Interest story seems to provide a pretty compelling example of the issues at play, with Archbishop Wuerl of the Diocese of Washington DC having a dozen inner city Catholic schools which the diocese could no longer succeed in keeping afloat financially turned into secular charter schools so that they could continue their mission (with much of the same staff) albeit with all religious identity stripped away as required by the charter school system.

      What came up as a discussion topic instead, however, was another area in which Catholics have strong opinions about each other.

    • Ummm… Okay. I’m not really clear where you’re going with that.

      Obviously I think it’s appalling that DC area parishes behaved that way.

      I have absolutely no doubt you find that appalling. However, you overlooked that very real and significant historical fact in your accounting of the situation. That’s all.

    • I have absolutely no doubt you find that appalling. However, you overlooked that very real and significant historical fact in your accounting of the situation. That’s all.

      I said that the parish school system in the US was built for the purpose of providing Catholic schooling to the children in the parish. You tell me that in your parish, this was true to an extent, but that prior to a certain point (the 50s or 60s, I assume?) the parish only allowed the children of white parishioners in.

      That doesn’t really change the point that parish schools were built, and their funding mechanisms were design, to provide schooling for Catholic children of families in the parish, via the means of largely free clerical and religious teachers. As parishes have emptied and religious orders with the mission of providing education have dried up, this mission has changed and the structure has in many cases proved unsustainable (as shown by the fact that Abp. Wuerl recently had to secularize a dozen full inner city Catholic schools.)

      I’m not sure what the segregation point brings to the matter — other than that it allowed you to associate yourself with “those pushy liberals” who advocated for the change and by implication to associate conservatives with the racists in your parish.

    • Much is usually written about the decline of our Faith experienced by students at the university or college level and, to a lesser degree, Catholic high schools. Rarely are Catholic K-8 schools part of this discussion, though 47% of this year’s new priests attended these schools (a larger percentage than Catholic high schools or colleges). The focus of concern needs to stress this level for many reasons, not the least of these is that by the time a student reaches high school it is already too late for many. Those who don’t have the opportunity to attend a Catholic high school are doomed to only a two-year Confirmation program where there is little grounding in the Faith, but instead Protestant-like feel good group sessions. While some will disagree, Kumbaya sessions are not enough to enable a teenager to defend their Faith when the inevitable challenge presents itself.
      The Faith needs to be introduced at the lowest level and it must be authentic. Most parents are not very well versed in Catholicism (and the reasons are many). Most say they want their children to know what it is to be Catholic and they ruefully add that they didn’t “get much” when they were younger and they hope for more for their children today.
      Learning the Faith is difficult if one only uses a textbook. This is because most textbooks are very “sugar-coated” and do a great disservice to Catholicism and to students. Why? Many of the basic tenets of Faith are glossed over or ignored. So much of our religion and its heritage are not addressed that our students leave for high school ill-prepared (though the high school curriculum leaves much to be desired, as well) and unable to clearly express what we believe and who we are. (Try, “Why did God create you?” and you’ll hear nothing faintly resembling the old Catechism.)
      Another problem is that students don’t see their Faith in action. Parents have sloppy Mass attendance records, teaching and administrative staffs are not entirely Catholic and, worse, many are “barely” practicing. Hardly what anyone would want from any Catholic school system!
      What can be done?
      Obviously correcting what has already been discussed – first. This will not be as easy as it appears. Publishers wield a lot of influence in public and parochial schools, sacrificing content for cost of books is always a potential problem, though the more “conservative” textbooks are not usually even to be considered.
      Staffs and administrators need to be “authentically” Catholic, not of some other religion and not merely giving lip-service to what we believe – pastors and (arch-)dioceses need to listen to parents and their complaints and not be afraid to take action.
      To the horror of many, introduce an 8th grade final exam for Religion (not a bad idea for high schools, either). The dread this causes many administrators is that they are entirely confident that so many will fail! These administrators know that their Religion teachers are part of the touchy-feely crowd (as they are themselves) and they root-out those who actually try to give students a foundation in Catholicism in a variety of ways (it’s sometimes dangerous to teach the Faith, even in a Catholic school!). It is also common for administrators to give only lip-service to religion as a subject because math and science are more important subjects among their colleagues and in high school and college entrance exams.
      Insure that the pastor is in favor of a school. This is not as obvious as it appears. There are many who did not go to a Catholic school growing up so they don’t understand what is happening, except that it’s a financial drain on the parish. Bishops and, by extension, priests are charged with ensuring that every child who wants to attend a Catholic school can do so, but reality often seems to get in the way.
      How many dioceses left the National Catholic Education Association when it became known that Sr. Helen Prejean and Garrison Keillor were keynote speakers? None? What the Church teaches, Catholics believe – not a portion, not a little, but all. To give people – sisters, priests, bishops, whoever –who do not profess a profound belief in our Faith a platform to speak is inimical to Catholic teaching and gives scandal. School superintendents and bishops share a responsibility in determining who their schools associate with.
      Grounding our children in the faith may also be rewarding in an unexpected way: some may also grow up to become sisters, brothers and priests if the groundwork is properly set. The groundwork lies in the very beginning.

    • FYI, Archbishop Dolan of NY had a thoughtful article on Catholic schools in America a few months ago. See here:

      http://www.americamagazine.org/content/article.cfm?article_id=12448

    • Catholic schools ought to be scrapped entirely, unless they can establish an active association with parish led by pastor which includes financial underwriting such that fees paid per family regardless of income are nominal. (Or, in future, depending on politics, the use of vouchers). Fundraising for the school should not be conducted among presently attending families since this fosters favoritism, is unhealthy and leads to scandal. All schools should be required to promote the basic tenets of the faith and families as well as administrators and teachers also should agree to the necessity to receive sacraments regularly, to attend Mass as a family weekly and to embrace Catholic values in the home. Families whether Catholic or non-Catholic should agree before being admitted.

      As presently constituted many Catholic schools undermine the faith or interfere with the basic practice of the faith by families. Many are unaffordable and become the playground of the rich and powerful, regardless of faith affiliation. This is why so many opt for homeschooling or public school where one can encounter a more diverse cross section of society in general.

    • I find mystifying some of the characterizations of Catholic schools that I have read on American Catholic.

      My children go to Catholic school – my son to the parish school and my eldest to an all-girl IHM school. I find their lives enriched by the experience and helping them grasp the subtleties of our faith forces me to read more, consider more, and pray more.

      “(U)ndermine the faith [and] interfere with the basic practice of the faith by families”? What does that mean? Preparing one’s child for Reconciliation or Holy Communion is a pretty “basic practice of the faith” and Catholic schooling is chocked full of such experiences.! And, have you ever actually met an IHM Sister? If ever there was a repository of fiery faith and dedication among merely mortal beings, it rests there!

      I have the greatest respect for those who home-school. Whether it is by choice or due to necessity, the decision to keep at least a step ahead of what your kids have to know at each grade level, in every single subject, throughout their schooling is an extraordinary commitment. Home-schooling isn’t for everyone though. Some of us lack the patience to be formal teachers. Suggesting that Catholic schools aren’t worth the expense because they are little more than secular schools narrows our options to either home-schooling them as Catholics or give them over to Secularism.

      I wonder too if the cost complaints fail to consider the relative costs of such schooling in 1920 or 1950? Many Catholic families in 1950 had four or more children. Only one parent was working and more people held blue-collar jobs. Might it be unfair to suggest that our costs for raising our children as Catholics are unbearable and theirs were not? From the conversations I’ve heard over the years, sending your children to private schools has always been a burden. Maybe the difference is that it was a burden born more graciously in previous generations.

      The short of it is that I love our schools and see them as a critical piece to preserving Catholicism in America. If one’s treasure is where one’s heart is, maybe the things that are being complained of are more a reflection of our hesitancy to sacrifice for something as little valued in the world as a Catholic education. What I mean is that it is easy choose Catholic schools in places where the public schools are poor.

      It is much harder to choose them where the public schools are little less than campuses filled with every amenity and opportunity EXCEPT faith. Many choose to set aside a Catholic education in favor of what they perceive to be a better, albeit secular, education. I believe though that the sizes of CCD classes reflect the decreasing importance of faith within some families who make that choice. How many of the complaints about the cost and quality of Catholic schools are really masks to hide the darker truth – that loss of access to a top tier football team, university quality laboratories, and vacations to Disney World is an unacceptable cost for “mere” reinforcement of faith and values?

    Christ Died For Your Sins? Don’t Be Silly!

    Tuesday, April 26, AD 2011

    Who was delivered up for our sins, and rose again for our justification.

    Saint Paul, Romans 4:25

    Jamie Manson of the National Catholic Fishwrap Reporter doesn’t think much of the dogma of the Catholic Church that Christ died for our sins, viewing that as a silly pre-Vatican II guilt trip.  Unfortunately for her, two of the finest masters of the art of fisking decided to take notice of her scribblings.

    First up, Christopher Johnson at Midwest Conservative Journal who I have designated Defender of the Faith because of the number of times, he, a non-Catholic, has taken up the blogging cudgels in defense of the Faith:

    Here’s another.  At the National Catholic Reporter, Jamie Manson doesn’t want to know what happened on Good Friday as much as she wants to know why it happened:

    I’ve had more than one Catholic who grew up either before or on the cusp of Vatican II tell me horror stories of how they were taught that Jesus died because of their sins.

    “Horror stories of how they were taught that Jesus died because of their sins.”  I think you already know where Ms. Manson is going with this.

    This was a particularly heavy-handed way for priests and nuns to lay an even thicker coat of guilt on impressionable Catholic school children. Because they were sinners, Jesus had to suffer and die to redeem them. It was one rendering of the traditional theological interpretations of the crucifixion — that Jesus had to die to fulfill the Scriptures and that his death atoned for the sins of the world.

    Get ready for the customary condescending pat on the head.

    I know that countless people throughout the centuries have found profound, life-changing and even comforting meaning in this understanding of the Cross.

    Since Ms. Manson has much more important fish to fry(see what I did there?), she’ll let the rest of you have your little legend.

    But I’ve often felt that if we immerse ourselves in the accounts of Jesus’ arrest, passion, and death as told by the four Gospels, these texts can broaden and deepen our understanding of the crucifixion.

    I don’t know how much deeper one needs to go than getting one’s sins taken care of so that one can go home to the Father.

    It can help us make meaning of so much of the anguish that we witness in our world and in our church.

    I stand corrected.  Jesus died the most horribly agonizing death that it is possible to imagine in order to “help us make meaning of so much of the anguish that we witness in our world and in our church.”  Got it.

    Me, I’ve never ever been able to “make meaning” of diseases, wars, genocides, famines, earthquakes, tsunamis and other tragedies with their attendant human suffering.  I guess I’m not trying hard enough.

    When I read the passion narratives of the Gospels, I don’t hear simply that Jesus suffered and died for our sins. Rather, I hear the four evangelists very clearly say that Jesus’ suffering and death was the will of those who conspired against him — those whose political systems he had undermined, those whose religious convictions he had offended.

    Glad we’ve finally cleared that up.  Neither Romans nor Jews killed Christ.  It was the Republican Party and the religious Right.

    Continue reading...

    14 Responses to Christ Died For Your Sins? Don’t Be Silly!

    • I won’t stick my beak in this doctrinal debate, as Tony Soprano might say, but I find it curious, Don, that Catholics often quote C.S. Lewis, who wasn’t a Catholic. We don’t see Protestants quoting the Popes or Bishop Sheen.

      BTW, Don, is it possible that some of us non-believers will never get it. I reread the parable of the sower constantly and do not believe I am “good earth” in which the sown word can take root. Why are some of us so stubborn?

    • “quote C.S. Lewis, who wasn’t a Catholic.”

      I quote him because he was a brilliant thinker and writer and his Screwtape Letters show immense insight into the human condition. Not all straight thinking is confined to the Catholic Church. Lewis himself was rather eclectic in his use of sources and would sometimes cite Catholics.

      “Why are some of us so stubborn?”

      Free will Joe applied to the complex process by which we humans make decisions about anything. It took a miracle before Saint Paul stopped “kicking against the goad”.

    • I believe Lewis was influenced by Chesterton as well.

      I’ll probably go out kicking, but hope to see the light before it’s too late.

    • …which raises an oft-asked question: “Is there salvation outside the Catholic Church?”

    • “Outside the Church there is no salvation”

      “846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers? Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:

      Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.

      847 This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:

      Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience – those too may achieve eternal salvation.

      848 “Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men.”

      In times past the formulation “No salvation outside the Church” was interpreted so as to emphasize the Justice of God. Today it is interpreted so as to emphasize the Mercy of God. My own humble observation is that it is probably an error to presume too much on either the Justice or Mercy of God.

    • I had a teacher with a similar absence of soteriology. He asked me what I thought of Anselm, and for the rest of the semester, the college professor went after the seventeen year old, all the while preaching non-judgment. I have a suspicion that these guys harbor just a little resentment toward Catholics.

    • Actually, Joe, you *do* see Protestants quoting popes. Just a few weeks ago you had Protestants aplenty favorably reviewing and quoting from vol. 2 of B16’s book on Jesus.

    • It’s true, of course, that C.S.Lewis wasn’t a Catholic.

      There’s some question, though, whether he was aware of this. Not, of course, that he believed himself erroneously to be in communion with the Roman pontiff!

      But he seems to have believed the claim of the Anglicans to have been a continuation of an ancient communion as equivalent to that of the Eastern Orthodox; one could say that he thought the orders of the clergy to whom he submitted himself valid ones because he thought he was in the Anglican Orthodox church, so to speak.

      It’s worth noting that Lewis held this view during an era when the Anglican communion could more easily be mistaken for the Catholic Church. The relaxing of the prohibition against contraception took place during Lewis’ lifetime and he inveighed against it in several writings. Lewis also practiced auricular confession to his Anglican priest (and on occasion to an Orthodox priest of his acquaintance, I believe). Lewis believed in Purgatory and in prayers for the dead, seems to have believed in the intercession of the saints, and in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and in the obligation of obedience to the bishop.

      He did however note that he rejected the Roman doctrine of Purgatory. What to make of this? Apparently what he rejected was the Middle Ages’ imaginings of Purgatory rather than the doctrine itself: All the devils poking sinners with forks and the like. About this, and about the popular forms of devotions to the saints which he also rejected, he does not seem to have made a distinction between what the Church teaches as dogma and what the imaginations of the faithful have added, in a non-canonical fashion, to this over centuries. Or rather, he made that distinction, but seems to have believed that the Catholics did not, and that he therefore could not be Catholic.

      Anyway, he considered himself to be within the ancient church, and was very comfortable quoting all the saints and doctors of the church, including some from the East after the 11th-century schism and some from the Catholic side of the divide after the 16th-century divide.

      The Church calls those divided from her “separated brethren” because by virtue of Christian baptism they have been adopted into the family of God. The Church sadly notes the separation, the lack of the fullness of the union which Christ desired. But she also notes that the separation is not an utter and complete separation: Because the Christian communions and sects hold certain doctrines and sacraments in common, there remains a partial unity, though it is incomplete and insufficient to make us one “as the Son and the Father are one” so that “the world may know.”

      Given the very high percentage that which Catholics affirm which C.S. Lewis also affirmed — rather more than the garden-variety non-denominational American evangelical, in fact! — and given his attention to the ancient saints and doctors and his lack of animosity towards Catholics in his day, it is hard to find much reason for Catholics not only to quote him, but recommend him.

    • How’s her uncle Charlie doing?

      A quote of Bishop Sheen: “Not many men want to die to their lower selves; it costs so much. Some prefer to have a cosmic religion, which neither puts restraint on their pride nor curbs their passions.”

      Zingers from Bishop Sheen:

      “There are not more than 100 people in the world who truly hate the Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they perceive to be the Catholic Church.”

      A heckler asked Bishop Sheen a question about someone who had died. The Bishop replied, “I will ask him when I get to heaven.” The heckler replied, “What if he isn’t in Heaven?”
      The Bishop replied, “Well then you ask him.”

      A man told Bishop Sheen he did not believe in hell. The Bishop replied,
      “You will when you get there.”

      TRUTH

    • If you take the NCR article to its reasonable conclusion, you’d end up with something virulently anti-Semitic. After all, Christ didn’t die for all our sins, but died because of the situation he was in. Our little acts of intolerance may be mini-deaths of God, but the death of God Incarnate was caused by the Romans and the Jews, and I don’t see any Romans standing around for me to vent at.

    • Correct me if I’m wrong, but this presents Christ as “victim.” Rather, he said that no one took his life; he laid it down and could pick it up again.

    • Wasn’t this NCR article’s premise– that the Jews and the Romans were
      responsible for the crucifixion– the same reason for which the NCR and
      their ilk denounced Mel Gibson’s film The Passion of the Christ?

      Before they were for it, they were against it…

    • Mel Gibson has his problems, to say the least, but he made a magnificent film in The Passion of the Christ, and showing his hands as the hands driving the nails into Christ demonstrates a very Catholic understanding of whose sins are responsible for Christ being on the Cross.

    • Don,

      If you don’t have it you should get Benedict XVI’s (Cardinal Ratzinger’s) “Feast of Faith.” Discusses the Eucharist as sacrifice (and only in a limited and sacramental sense, as a meal.) Also discusses the false interpretation of the OT verses which ask not for “sacrifice but a heart turned to God” as denying God seeks sacrifice. Shows how true abadonment to God is in the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross and our union in sacrifice.

    Do The Wealthy Pay Their Share?

    Monday, April 25, AD 2011

    Having linked last week to some discussion on whether the US is really becoming “Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%”, I was struck by this chart, which I saw a link to this morning, over at Carpe Diem, showing top marginal income tax rates versus percentage of income tax paid by the top 1% of earners since 1980.

    However, I thought it would be a lot more interesting if the chart showed the percentage of total income earned by the top 1%, and also showed the total federal tax liability (including Social Security and Medicare) rather than the just the income tax. Luckily, all this information is available easily on line. (Percent of taxes paid. Percent of total income. Historical tax tables.)

    Here’s the chart I produced with that data:

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    6 Responses to Do The Wealthy Pay Their Share?

    • I thought only SS had a cap. Medicare does too?

    • Medicare does not have a cap — but it’s only about a third of what SS withholding is, so the amount of payroll tax on income above the SS cap is pretty low. (I should have been clearer on that.)

    • Employers (small businesses/rich people) match-pay employees’ SS taxes, probably also medicare taxes. Is that in the lines above?

      Here’s a tax where the (evil) wealthy are not paying their share: food/fuel inflation.

      Bastiat: “All taxes ultimately fall on the consumer.”

    • I don’t think 2.9% (Medicare tax) is pretty low. it may be relatively low, as compared to the 12.4% (10.4 in 2011) for so-called social security (OASDI), but it is still substantial. I am using the full amount, employee and employer confiscations, because that is the only honest way to look at it – this is the total cost of confiscation, whether or not it shows up on a paycheck or not.

      That is significant. There is absolutely no moral stance in charging people different rates for any reason. This is blatant discrimination! It is an outrage. It does not respect diversity. It is totally intolerant. it is unfair, unjust and just plain mean. In other words, it is the antithesis of the stated, so-called ‘liberal’ (progressive) dogma.

      When you go to a grocery store do they ask for your citizen identification number, aka SSN? Do the want a disclosure of your income, assets, liabilities, etc.? No. They don’t care. All they want to know is do you have $4 to purchase a gallon of milk or not. They don’t change the price or anything else based on your quintile. They just charge for the milk and if you want to leave with it, they expect the same exact payment they would from anyone else. Fair, non-discriminatory.

      If government is necessary, if it is good, if it is just, then it should cost us all the same. A flat fee, not a percentage.

      Does that mean I think the wealthier should not contribute more to their communities and for the benefit of those less materially fortunate than they? No. But that is Charity and not state taxation.

      So, do the wealthy pay their share? Some pay WAY MORE! Others, through political manipulation, like George Soros and Barack Obama, pay much less than they appropriate. Thieves can be very wealthy and even very poor, either way, they are violating God’s commandment against appropriating someone’s private property.

    • The top 1% of earners pay 40% of Federal income taxes. It seems some believe the top 1% steals 18% of aggreagte national income from undocumented migrants; poor, unwed mothers with three to six half-brothers/sisters who never met any one of their three to six fathers; ex-convicts; et al.

      You may gain graces through charitable (Corporal Works of Mercy) works paid with your money and your time. You may not gain graces by confiscating/taxing someone else’s money and giving it to your dependent voting blocs, sanctimonious Robin Hoods.

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    Anzac Day

    Monday, April 25, AD 2011

     

    Today is Anzac Day.  It is remembered by me each year as a salute to the courage and self sacrifice it honors.  It commemorates the landing of the New Zealand and Australian troops at Gallipoli in World War I.  Although the effort to take the Dardanelles was ultimately unsuccessful, the Anzac troops demonstrated great courage and tenacity, and the ordeal the troops underwent in this campaign has a vast meaning to the peoples of New Zealand and Australia.

    At the beginning of the war the New Zealand and Australian citizen armies, illustrating the robust humor of both nations,  engaged in self-mockery best illustrated by this poem:

    We are the ANZAC Army

    The A.N.Z.A.C.

    We cannot shoot, we don’t salute

    What bloody good are we ?

    And when we get to Ber – Lin

    The Kaiser, he will say

    Hoch, Hoch, Mein Gott !

    What a bloody odd lot

    to get six bob a day.

    The Azac troops referred to themselves as “six bob a day tourists”.  By the end of World War I no one was laughing at the Anzacs.  At the end of the war a quarter of the military age male population of New Zealand had been killed or wounded and Australia paid a similarly high price.  Widely regarded as among the elite shock troops of the Allies, they had fought with distinction throughout the war, and added to their reputation during World War II.  Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, the German Desert Fox, rated the New Zealanders as the finest troops he ever saw.   American veterans I have spoken to who have fought beside Australian and New Zealand units have uniformly told me that they could choose no better troops to have on their flank in a battle.

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    5 Responses to Anzac Day

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    • Donald, there are times I disagree with you about… well lots of things. But I will never disagree when you choose to salute brave men (and women) who choose to put their lives on the line in service of a cause they believe in. Whether it was the ANZAC troops in WWI or the current troops fighting for America and her allies in Afghanistan, these are brave men who often receive far less than they deserve.

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    • Thank you very much for this tribute Don. It is always very moving on ANZAC day when we recall the sacrifices of our men and women in those dark days. Many of my relatives – father, grandfather, uncles, cousins etc served in both world wars, Korea, and had close friends in Vietnam, and now a good friend of mine has her son serving with the NZSAS in Afghanistan

      I had an early start this morning and have only just got home. Your first videa clip shows some scenes of Anzacs – mainly Aussies I have to say. In WW1 & 2, our troop wore different uniform hats – the Aussies wear the slouch hat, while the Kiwis wear the “lemon squeezers”; although in the Boer war, Kiwi troops wore a slouch hat then because the troops were mainly mounted cavalry.
      Our own Hayley Westernra is doing the singing. She hails from Cristchurch, the scene of the recent devastating earthquake, although nowadays she spends most of her time in UK. She has a beautiful voice – has been a rising star since her early teens back in 2003.
      The only blot on the second video clip is the sour faced woman to the right of the queen at about 1.30 into the clip. That is our ex prime minister, Helen Clark, who is now with the UN. Her left wing liberal Govt. did much harm to NZ from 1999 to 2008 both morally and economically, and was responsible for scrapping our Fighter attack wing of our Air Force. Our few hundred fighter pilots and technicians were eagerly snapped up by Australia, UK, and the USA. Oh well………
      So yes, I had a reasonably quiet day yesterday – 8 am. Mass to pray for our old diggers (troops – slang in Oz and NZ) a visit to a close friend who is dying of cancer, then a couple of quiet beers with some friends.
      Thank you once again for your kind tribute, and may God bless you and all our friends in America.

    • “The only blot on the second video clip is the sour faced woman to the right of the queen at about 1.30 into the clip. That is our ex prime minister, Helen Clark, who is now with the UN. Her left wing liberal Govt. did much harm to NZ from 1999 to 2008 both morally and economically, and was responsible for scrapping our Fighter attack wing of our Air Force. Our few hundred fighter pilots and technicians were eagerly snapped up by Australia, UK, and the USA. Oh well………”

      Idiot politicians are like bad weather Don, a sad fact of life!

      “Many of my relatives – father, grandfather, uncles, cousins etc served in both world wars, Korea, and had close friends in Vietnam, and now a good friend of mine has her son serving with the NZSAS in Afghanistan”

      Your family is like mine Don. McClareys have served in all of America’s wars going back at least to the French and Indian War. Having that sort of family connection reminds one of the price that is paid to keep a free nation free.

      “Thank you once again for your kind tribute, and may God bless you and all our friends in America.”

      May God bless and keep you Don and all of America’s friends in the beautiful land of New Zealand.

    April 25, 1861: Stephen A. Douglas: “Protect the Flag”

    Monday, April 25, AD 2011

    Senator Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois, the great antagonist of Abraham Lincoln, gave many eloquent speeches in his career, but the finest one he delivered was at the end of that career on April 25, 1861 to a joint session of the General Assembly of the State of Illinois.  In broken health, his coming death on June 3, 1861 already foreshadowed, he summoned the energy to help save his country.  Always first and foremost a patriot, Douglas was intent on rallying members of his party to the cause of the Union.  After one of the most vitriolic presidential contents in the history of the nation, it was an open question as to whether most members of the Party of Jackson would stand in support of the efforts of the Lincoln Administration to fight to preserve the Union.  Douglas, putting country above party, helped ensure that they would.

    Immediately after the election of Lincoln he made it clear that he would make every effort in his power to fight against secession.  At the inaugural speech of Lincoln, he held the new President’s hat, giving a strong symbol of his support.  Illinois was a key state for the Union in the upcoming conflict.  Pro-Southern sentiment was strong among Illinois Democrats in the southern portion of the State, with even some talk that “Little Egypt”, as the extreme southern tip of Illinois is called, should secede from the rest of the state and join the Confederacy.  To rally his supporters for the Union, and at the request of President Lincoln, Douglas returned to Illinois and on April 25, 1861 had his finest hour. 

    The speech he delivered that day has gone down in Illinois history as the “Protect the Flag” speech.  It was received by both Republicans and Democrats with thunderous applause and cheers throughout.  Although there would be much dissension in Illinois during the War, Douglas helped ensure that Illinois would be in the forefront of the war effort, with its quarter of a million troops, among whom was Ulysses S. Grant, who would ultimately fight under the Stars and Stripes being absolutely crucial to Union victory.

    Here is the speech, interspersed with comments by me:

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    7 Responses to April 25, 1861: Stephen A. Douglas: “Protect the Flag”

    • Didn’t his daughter convert and become a nun? (n/r to the interesting post)

    • Douglas was friendly to Catholics throughout his career. After the death of his wife he married a Catholic, Adele. Although he never joined the Church, he had his two sons by his first wife baptized and raised Catholic. Douglas had two daughers also, one by each of his wives, but tragically both daughters died after a few weeks of life.

    • Douglas was also, due to the influence of his wife, given a Catholic burial that was presided over by the Bishop of Chicago.

      Stephen Douglas was undoubtedly a great man, but he was wrong on the most important issue of his day. And that’s because he was wrong in failing to identify it as the most important issue of his day.

      Douglas thought that national expansion was the most important thing, and devoted virtually all his immense political energy to it. But he was wrong. The most important issue was that of slavery, and that was the issue that came most closely to de-railing his dream of an America that stretched from coast to coast and into the islands of the Pacific.

      And it is what he was wrong about, rather than the good that he did, that he is best remembered for today.

      This is a lesson that many in both parties would profit from.

    • Quite right Paul. I think that Douglas realized that the abolition of slavery could only occur after a huge Civil War. During the Lincoln-Douglas debates Douglas accused Lincoln of being in favor of policies that would inevitably lead to warfare between the States. Lincoln hotly denied this, saying that he had never proposed interfering with slavery where it existed. Both men were correct. Lincoln never proposed actions against slavery where it existed prior to the Civil War, and Douglas was right in that public opinion in the South was so inflamed that the election of even a moderate anti-slavery man like Lincoln to the Presidency, was enough to lead to war. Douglas of course, with his pernicious Kansas-Nebraska Act and his theory that territories should be able to choose whether they would be free or slave, set the stage for bleeding Kansas and helped fan the flames of the oncoming war himself.

    • I was under the impression that Douglas converted to the Faith through the efforts of the great Jesuit mission giver, Father Arnold Damen. Damen converted 10,000 Protestants, and I thought Douglas was one of them. Moreover, he never would have been buried in a Catholic cemetery just because his wife was Catholic, not in 1861, nor had his funeral presided over by a bishop, if he was not a Catholic. I wish I had a source at hand to verify this, but I have certainly read it in my studies of Catholic American history and it is most probably found in the biography of Father Arnold Damen.

    • His wife wanted him to convert on his death bed. Some accounts say he did:

      http://books.google.com/books?id=hpYOAQAAIAAJ&pg=PA292&lpg=PA292&dq=stephen+a.+douglas+deathbed+conversion&source=bl&ots=ZAhetftign&sig=OdKkgoDy5YSkvzNVZcFbc-J-Ax4&hl=en&ei=XDS3Tdm9FoLAgQeMmPBc&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBoQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=stephen%20a.%20douglas%20deathbed%20conversion&f=false

      Other accounts differ. Adele Douglas had the funeral conducted by Bishop Duggan on the grounds that Douglas had never affiliated with any particular faith. Douglas had been a mason and the masons of Chicago were somewhat irked that Bishop Duggan would be conducting the funeral and they turned out in force at the funeral of Douglas, although I believe they were well-behaved and respectful.

    • The biography I read said that he refused an effort by the bishop to convert him on his deathbed. He never practiced Christianity.