Monthly Archives: April 2011
Something for the weekend. The lilting strains of Lilliburlero from the classic movie Barry Lyndon (1975).
The song originated during the Not So Glorious Revolution of 1688, after the usurper William of Holland, with the help of English traitors, chased James II, the rightful King of England, from his throne due to James’ Catholicism. Like most of the Stuart monarchs, the bad points of James tended to outweigh his good points, but the obloquy heaped upon his reign in most of the histories of this period is largely a function of partisan distortion and outright religious bigotry. On the other hand, Jacobite views of this period of British history, which goes to 1746 and the smashing of the army of Bonnie Prince Charlie, the grandson of James II at Culloden, tend greatly to exaggerate the virtues of the “Kings across the waters” who, Old Pretender (James II), Young Pretender (James III) and Bonnie Prince Charlie, were basically selfish blockheads who probably would have been disasters as monarchs if they had succeeded in regaining the throne. History, alas, often gives us unpalatable alternatives. Continue reading
Hattip to Catholic Key Blog.
Richard Rich Douglas Kmiec, who sold out the pro-life movement by supporting the most pro-abortion candidate in our nation’s history for President, Barack Obama, now the most pro-abortion President in our nation’s history, is pretty much a disaster as ambassador to Malta, his equivalent of the going rate for traitors of thirty pieces of silver, according to a State Department Report.
He is respected by Maltese officials and most mission staff, but his unconventional approach to his role as ambassador has created friction with principal officials in Washington, especially over his reluctance to accept their guidance and instructions. Based on a belief that he was given a special mandate to promote President Obama’s interfaith initiatives, he has devoted considerable time to writing articles for publication in the United States as well as in Malta, and to presenting his views on subjects outside the bilateral portfolio. He has been inconsistent in observance of clearance procedures required for publication. He also looks well beyond the bilateral relationship when considering possible events for the mission to host in Malta. His approach has required Department principals, as well as some embassy staff, to spend an inordinate amount of time reviewing his writings, speeches, and other initiatives. His official schedule has been uncharacteristically light for an ambassador at a post of this size, and on average he spends several hours of each work day in the residence, much of which appears to be devoted to his nonofficial writings.
At the same time, he has not focused sufficiently on key management issues within the embassy. . .
. . .The Ambassador advised the inspection team that he intended to discontinue his outside writings and focus on matters that directly pertain to the embassy and priorities outlined in the Mission Strategic and Resource Plan (MSRP). Within weeks of the team’s departure, however, he resumed drafting public essays that addressed subjects outside his purview as Ambassador to Malta and detracted from his core responsibilities. These activities also detracted from the core responsibilities of embassy staff members who devoted time and effort to reviewing and editing the ambassador’s drafts and seeking approvals occasionally after the writings had been submitted for publication from Department officials.
Hattip to Creative Minority Report. Worse than Murder, Inc , a/k/a Planned Parenthood, and the other denizens of the “murder is a right!” movement, must be getting desperate judging from this ad. The Pro-aborts are subletting to Grassroots Campaigns the gaining of “volunteers” for their cause at the rate of $335-$535 a week. Go here to have a gander at Grassroots Campaigns, and here to gain some background information on these paid “astroturfers.” “Astroturfing” is the creation of fake groups to simulate an actual grassroots popular organization. David Axlerod, Barack Obama’s chief campaign strategist in 2008, became a very wealthy man perfecting this political black art. Continue reading
The blogger Gateway Pundit relays the news that Muslim Troops have slaughtered 1,000 Christians on the Ivory Coast:
Early reports suggested that more than 800 people, largely from the Gbagbo-supporting Gueré tribe, were killed in a single day at the sprawling Salesian Saint Teresa of the Child Jesus mission in Duekoue, 300 miles west of Abidjan towards the Liberian border. The attackers seem to have been largely soldiers descended from Burkina Faso immigrant Muslim families loyal to Ouattara.
Late yesterday the Roman Catholic charity Caritas said more than 1000 people were massacred in Duekoue. A Caritas spokesman said Caritas workers visited the town and reported seeing a neighbourhood filled with bodies of people who had been shot and hacked to death with machetes.
The perpetrators of the massacre are troops loyal to the Muslim President Alassane Ouattara, rebels attempting to forcefully remove Laurent Gbagbo, the incumbent President refusing to step down after allegedly losing the vote in November 2010.
As Gateway Pundit notes, “the conflict has been brewing for years,” with a country divided between the Muslim North and Christian South and a disputed election of a Muslim president against a Christian incumbent who has remained in office since 2000.
Further reading is required to grasp the true horror (and nature) of the conflict: Continue reading
This video is dedicated to Drs. Rand and Ron Paul!
(With all due respect to my libertarian colleagues, I couldn’t resist posting this video)
Hat Tip: Lisa Graas
Unsurprisingly the big story here in the Washington DC Metro area is the potential government shut down. While most Americans go about their business, hardly giving it a second thought, dire predictions of the doom to come are broadcast throughout all media institutions. We should expect rioting in the streets (no, seriously, I heard someone suggest this), mass mayhem, a crippling of our Nation’s infrastructure, and worst yet – feline and canine cohabitation.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The Washington Express – the free, Reader’s Digest version of the Washington Post – had a headline this morning that blared “NOT THE CHERRY BLOSSOMS!!!” It seems that this weekend’s cherry blossom parade would be canceled if there is a government shutdown.
This is indeed horrible news. Sure American troops are in harm’s way around the world, and we are printing money hand over fist as our country goes deeper into debt to totalitarian regimes, but that’s nothing compared to the sheer terror of tourists being slightly inconvenienced by the cancellation of a hokey parade in downtown Washington. Leave aside the fact that they will still be free to see the cherry blossoms themselves (even if they are now past their peak bloom), and that many of the tourist attractions in our Nation’s Capital are outdoor sites that will still be open. It is surely worth compromising on such an insignificant thing like the federal budget in order to avoid this catastrophe.
The Express goes on to detail some of the ways in which we are all going to be affected by a shutdown. I would recommend listening to Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings as you read the proceeding paragraph in order to set the appropriate mood.
The Obama administration warned Wednesday that a federal shutdown would undermine the economic recovery; delay pay to troops fighting in three wars; slow the processing of tax returns; and limit small-business loans, and government-backed mortgages during peak home-buying season.
The Express then calls this a “dire message.” Indeed.
Now that you’ve had the appropriate amount of time to digest this warning of the coming apocalypse, let’s take these items one at a time.
The Reformation was engendered in beastly lust, brought forth in hypocrisy and perfidy, and cherished and fed by plunder, devastation, and by rivers of innocent English and Irish blood.
A good trick question for a history quiz would be, “Where is Thomas Paine buried?” The correct answer would be, “No one knows!’
Paine died in New York City on June 18, 1809. His views on Christianity had made him persona non grata in the US, his services during the American Revolution to the cause of Independence being overlooked. A controversy has raged since his death as to whether he did or did not recant his attacks against Christianity. I would say the burden of the evidence is that he did not. Six people attended his funeral. No Christian church would bury him, so his corpse was interred in unhallowed ground under an oak tree on a farm he owned in New Rochelle. There his bones rested until September 1819, when his body was stolen.
John Hawkins talks about a little kerfuffle that emerged over remarks made by Kay Hymowitz:
“Before [today], the fact is that primarily, a 20-year-old woman would have been a wife and a mother,” author Kay Hymowitz told the crowd of about 100 for the Manhattan Institute in New York City. Men would have been mowing lawns and changing the oil in their family sedans instead of playing video games and watching television. In previous decades, adults in their 20s and 30s were too busy with real life for such empty entertainment, Hymowitz says. “They didn’t live with roommates in Williamsburg in Brooklyn and Dupont Circle in D.C.
Hey, I didn’t have a roommate when I lived in Dupont Circle. All 400 square feet of that place were entirely mine! And I’ll have Kay know that I broke up my Madden playing and television watching with at least 20-30 minutes of work on my dissertation per day. Hmmm, maybe that’s why it took me five years to finish it.
In all seriousness, this is a fairly innocuous statement, or at least it is for those of us who don’t have a secularist perspective on happiness.
Cue the angry liberals.
Amanda Marcotte, famed for a writing style that makes Maureen Dowd look like George Will, as well as for her way TMI-laden posts about her sex life, is none too pleased:
I think it’s important to remember that no matter how much huffing and puffing and rationalization goes on, a great deal of conservative ideology can be summed up as “the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy”. Or even just the fear that someone might just be having fun, at least without clearing it with the authorities first that they’re the right race and income level to feel pleasure.
…I often find myself wondering, and today more than most days, how things can get this bad. It seems to me that if wingnuts put a tenth of much effort as they do into resenting others into improving their own home and sex lives, they’d be too busy being happy and blissful to give a f*ck what anyone else is doing. It’s just basic logic, and I wonder why not just do the math and go for it.
As Hawkins rightly points out, the irony of this statement is that studies show that “married people are happier than single people, religious people are happier than non-religious people, and conservatives are happier than liberals.” I would also point out married people have more sex than single people, so if anything conservatives are the ones pushing people to more fulfilling sex lives, an observation I heard Alan Keyes make when he was running for President in 1996 (before he lost his mind). Evidently in Marcotte’s world the only good sex to be had is when you get good and loaded at some slimy bar in the downtown DC, take some random stranger to your bed, and never see the guy again. Boy that really sounds joy-filled to me.
It also never ceases to amuse me when I hear religious conservatives derided as being uptight about sex, the implication being that we’re not getting laid enough. Yet, at the same time, we’re mocked for having such large families. Hey, geniuses – how do you think we got those large families? Biology may not be your strong point, as evidenced by Andy Sullivan’s deranged rants about Sarah Palin and the maternity of Trig, but try to put two and two together.
As dumb as Marcotte’s rebuttal is, Matt Yglesias takes the cake:
The above video is the Republican parody launch video for the Obama campaign. Below is the real launch video for the Obama campaign. Which is funnier? Continue reading
I expect great things from this fraulein. Training a cow to jump with someone on her back is quite a feat. Now all we need are cow races! Hmmm, I think I have just thought of a major tourist attraction for Central Illinois!
Warner Todd Huston reports on an exchange between MSNBC fill-in host Chuck Todd and Time Magazine’s World Editor Bobby Ghosh.
GHOSH: The thing to keep in mind that’s very important here is that the Koran to Muslims, it is not, it is not the same as the Bible to Christians.
The Bible is a book written by men. It is acknowledged by Christians that it is written by men. It’s the story of Jesus.
GHOSH: But the Koran, if you are a believer, if you’re a Muslim, the Koran is directly the word of God, not written by man. It is transcribed, is directly the word of God.
That makes it sacred in a way that it’s hard to understand if you’re not Muslim. So the act of burning a Koran is much more, potentially much, much more inflammatory than…
TODD: Directly attacking… directly attacking God.
GHOSH:…than if you were to burn a, burn a Bible.
TODD: … Directly attacking God.
The stupid, it hurts.
This is a nonsensical distinction. Jews and Christians may acknowledge that the Bible was physically written by men, but we also believe that it is the inerrant word of God. No, the biblical authors did not act as mindless stenographers transcribing for the Almighty, but they were truly inspired and guided by the Holy Spirit. This makes it no less sacred or less holy to us than the Koran is to Muslims. After all, there must be some reason that we place our hands on the Bible when we make public oaths, right? If it was just a bunch of words written by men, then why would we swear by it?
No, the different reactions to the desecration of our holy books has nothing to do with how we respectively view them. What they tell us is not that Muslims revere the Koran more than we revere the Bible, but rather that a certain portion of the Muslim population will violently react to any mere insult, and that violent extremists within Islam are looking for any excuse to kill infidels. But that’s a lot less politically correct of an explanation than the vapidness offered by these two goofs.
The must see movie of 2011: Cristiada. When this film comes out I will make it my personal mission to see that as many people view this movie as possible. A movie retelling the heroic struggle of the Cristeros deserves all the support it can get, and I hope it is a box office smash.
The story of the Cristeros is the tale of the attempt by the Mexican government to crush the Catholic Church. Mexico had a long history of anti-clerical political movements prior to the revolution of 1910. However, the Mexican Revolution brought to the fore radical elements that pushed through the Constitution of 1917 with its anti-clerical articles 3, 5, 27 and 130. In his encyclical Iniquis Afflictisque, the first of three encyclicals he wrote condemning the persecution of the Church in Mexico, Pius XI decribed the war against the Church waged by the Mexican government:
In the first place, let us examine the law of 1917, known as the “Political Constitution” of the federated republic of Mexico. For our present purposes it is sufficient to point out that after declaring the separation of Church and State the Constitution refuses to recognize in the Church, as if she were an individual devoid of any civil status, all her existing rights and interdicts to her the ac quisition of any rights whatsoever in the future. The civil authority is given the right to interfere in matters of divine worship and in the external discipline of the Church. Priests are put on the level of professional men and of laborers but with this important difference, that they must be not only Mexicans by birth and cannot exceed a certain number specified by law, but are at the same time deprived of all civil and political rights. They are thus placed in the same class with criminals and the insane. Moreover, priests not only must inform the civil authorities but also a commission of ten citizens whenever they take possession of a church or are transferred to another mission. The vows of religious, religious orders, and religious congregations are outlawed in Mexico. Public divine worship is forbidden unless it take place within the confines of a church and is carried on under the watchful eye of the Government. All church buildings have been declared the property of the state. Episcopal residences, diocesan offices, seminaries, religious houses, hospitals, and all charitable institutions have been taken away from the Church and handed over to the state. As a matter of fact, the Church can no longer own property of any kind. Everything that it possessed at the period when this law was passed has now become the property of the state. Every citizen, moreover, has the right to denounce before the law any person whom he thinks is holding in his own name property for the Church. All that is required in order to make such action legal is a mere presumption of guilt. Priests are not allowed by law to inherit property of any kind except it be from persons closely related to them by blood. With reference to marriage, the power of the Church is not recognized. Every marriage between Catholics is considered valid if contracted validly according to the prescriptions of the civil code.
9. Education has been declared free, but with these important restrictions: both priests and religious are forbidden to open or to conduct elementary schools. It is not permitted to teach children their religion even in a private school. Diplomas or degrees conferred by private schools under control of the Church possess no legal value and are not recognized by the state. Certainly, Venerable Brothers, the men who originated, approved, and gave their sanction to such a law either are totally ignorant of what rights pertain jure divino to the Church as a perfect society, established as the ordinary means of salvation for mankind by Jesus Christ, Our Redeemer and King, to which He gave the full liberty of fulfilling her mission on earth (such ignorance seems incredible today after twenty centuries of Christianity and especially in a Catholic nation and among men who have been baptized, unless in their pride and foolishness they believe themselves able to undermine and destroy the “House of the Lord which has been solidly constructed and strongly built on the living rock”) or they have been motivated by an insane hatred to attempt anything within their power in order to harm the Church. How was it possible for the Archbishops and Bishops of Mexico to remain silent in the face of such odious laws? Continue reading
With respect to Terry Jones’ burning of the Qu’ran, my position (as a Catholic) is to echo the statement of the Vatican: it is “an outrageous and grave gesture against a book considered sacred by a religious community,” and an unnecessary provocation (if even to make a point). A peaceful dialogue between communities is not advanced by such a direct attack on the other. Likewise, with respect to caricatures of Mohammed by the Western press:
In addition, coexistence calls for a climate of mutual respect to favor peace among men and nations. Moreover, these forms of exasperated criticism or derision of others manifest a lack of human sensitivity and may constitute in some cases an inadmissible provocation. A reading of history shows that wounds that exist in the life of peoples are not cured this way.
I said as much last year (“Lars Vilks, Gay Muhammad and Freedom of Expression” (American Catholic May 16, 2010) — Lars Vilks may endorse his right to depict a gay Mohammed or a paedophile Jesus. We might countenance his First Amendment “right” to sacrilege as Americans, but I believe as Catholics we should protest such offenses, not only to ourselves but to our fellow Muslims.
However, what I think also merits comment is exactly that which is noted by Rich Sanchez in his column: when a Qur’an happens to be vandalized, such an action is “not only offensive, but also dangerous — especially to our troops.” In fact, Terry Jones’ sacrilege “can have dire consequences for all of us.”
But why would it — why should it — be considered dangerous, even lethal, to our troops?
Surely this fact is a travesty as well?
In the past several days, a Muslim mob protesting the actions of Terry Jones in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan, culminated in an attack on the United Nations headquarters, the murder of six Nepalese guards and 3 foreign staff members, “hunted down and shot, some in the back, as they ran from a bunker where they had tried to hide. One person’s throat was also slit.” [“Koran Burning Prompts Third Day of Rage” Globe and Mail April 3, 2011.] Two US soldiers were shot dead by an Afghan border policeman in Maymana, northern Afghanistan (The Telegraph April 5, 2011).
By no means am I equating all Muslims with the mob in Afghanistan. We do not see this level of violent protest here in the United States by American Muslims. But surely those Muslims protesting the actions of Terry Jones, and Mr. Rick Sanchez as well, can agree that there is something seriously amiss when the vandalization of a religious icon — or cartoons published in a newspaper — result in a violent mob and the slaughter of innocents.
Christians, much to our dismay, suffer similar incidents of abuse and vandalization of that which we hold sacred here in America: the Holy Mother smeared with feces, the Crucifix dipped in urine, funded with taxpayer dollars and labled “art” to boot.
And yet, has the media ever reported mobs of Christians hunting down and killing the perpetrators of such sacrilege? — Speaking from personal experience, by and large when such incidents occur, the result is the congregation of Christians in prayer and silent, nonviolent protest.
What is it about Muslims in other nations that we see them react in this manner? Is this a religious thing? — Can it be so readily dismissed as a ethnic or cultural thing?
When critics of Islam depict it as a “violent religion”, why do so Muslim reactions have a tendency to lend credence to the very characterization they are protesting against?
I ask this with all respect, as a reader, as a Christian, and as a friend to the Muslim community.
(I wrote this for April 1, 2011 for the blog Almost Chosen People, and I thought that the various Civil War mavens who read The American Catholic might find this interesting.)
As we mark the 150th anniversary of the War Between the States there are many historical questions to ponder. However, one question rises to the fore as it always does when the War Between the States is discussed: Was Confederate victory inevitable?
Because of the ten following factors, I’d say that it was:
1. Abraham Lincoln- Few Presidents have ever been elected with no executive experience, but that was precisely the case with Lincoln. Although he could deliver a magnificent speech and was clearly a master of the English language, Lincoln quickly demonstrated that he was an amateur in running the government. His frequent sacking of generals led to instability in the Union Army command, the frequently hostile relations with Congress, including members of his own party, that hampered his policies, the corruption that marred the supply of the Army, these and many more features of his administration attested to the fact that Lincoln was an extremely talented man who simply was out of his depth. Perhaps the task was too large for any man to preserve the Union by force of arms, but certainly it was too great for Mr. Lincoln.
2. Supremacy of the Defence-General Robert E. Lee quickly realized that the old Napoleonic charges were impossible against fortified positions held by troops armed with rifled muskets. Although his troops initially meant the title derisively, Lee, the King of Spades, repeatedly used field fortifications, beginning in 1862, to nullify the Union manpower advantage on the battlefield.
3. Size of the Confederacy- The sheer size of the Confederacy, three times the size of France, ensured that the attempted Union conquest would be a massive undertaking, too massive as it turned out for the Union. If British seapower, beginning in 1862, see number 6 below, had not caused the lifting of the Union blockade, prevented the landing of Union troops along the coasts of the Confederacy and contested Union naval control of the Mississippi river, it is conceivable that the Union could have coped with the immensity of the Confederacy, but such was not the case.
4. Lee-Jackson partnership-No command team in history proved more effective than the Lee-Jackson combination. Beginning at Chancellorsville, Lee and Jackson dealt the Union body blows at Gettysburg in 1863, and the Wilderness in 1864, almost a replica of the Chancellorsville victory a year before. No wonder that Lee was the second president of the Confederacy and Jackson the third.
5. Enlistment of black soldiers-After the victory at Gettysburg, Lee put his immense prestige behind the cause of enlisting black soldiers under the Confederate battle flag with the promise of freedom for themselves and their families. Resistance to this move was immense in the Confederacy, but with Lee behind it all resistance was overborne. The 100,000 black troops who fought for the South in 1864 were essential to the Confederate victory, and paved the way for the passage of the Gradual Emancipation Act of 1870, which President Robert E. Lee, just before his death, claimed to be his greatest victory. Continue reading
In my first post on Blessed Clemens August Graf von Galen, which may be read here, we examined the life of this remarkable German bishop who heroically stood up to the Third Reich. Today we examine a sermon that he preached at the Cathedral of Saint Victor’s in Xanten, Germany on February 9, 1936, long before the three sermons that he preached in 1941 which made him famous around the globe. Prior examinations of his 1941 sermons may be read here, here and here.
I have just consecrated a new altar in your venerable and splendid cathedral,in a small space deep beneath the choir. But why? Your church is already so richly endowed with altars.
Beginning a sermon with a question is an approach that I wish more priests and bishops would use. It engages the minds of the listeners from the outset.
You know the answer. The researches of the past few years have given proof that there below us lies a holy and particularly venerable place. Not only has the tradition been substantiated, according to which several previous churches were said to stand on the site of this present church, the oldest of them dating back to the time of the martyrs, to the fourth century A.D. We are also provided with fresh evidence that holy martyrs, who with their blood bore witness to Christ, were interred here, to await the resurrection. We believe in the resurrection of the body. Christ’s words have given us this promise: The hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of God. Whosoever does not
believe in the independent life of the individual soul, in its continued existence after the death of the body, in its reunification with the bodyand in life everlasting, this man is no true Christian. We hold these beliefs, because we believe in Christ, who is the truth. Because we hold fast to the beliefs of the Apostles and of our Christian forebears. The entire history of your city, speaking to you through the its towering churches, which are monuments in stone, proclaiming itself in the stones found lying beneath them, is evidence of our faith.
The martyrs have always been the human bedrock for Catholicism, from Saint Stephen, the first of the ever glorious martyrs, to our own day with the recent martyrdom of the brave Shahbaz Bhatti. Continue reading
Something for the weekend. Agincourt by the ever talented folks at History for Music Lovers, to the tune of As Tears Go By, by Marianne Faithful.
October 25, 1415 was an amazing day for the English. The English longbow had long proved in the Hundred Years War to be a devastating weapon in the hands of skilled archers, but rarely had the English faced such long odds as they did at Agincourt. Approximately 6,000 English, exhausted and worn from their march, faced approximately 30,000 French. About five out of six of the English were archers with the remainder men-at-arms, knights and nobility. The French had about 10,000 men-at-arms, knights and nobility, and 20,000 archers, crossbowmen and miscellaneous infantry.
The English established their battle line between the woods of Agincourt and Tramecourt, which offered excellent protection to both of their flanks. The English archers made up the front line with stakes set in the ground before them to impale charging horses. Archers were also placed in the woods to provide flanking fire against advancing French. The men at arms and knights and nobility, were divided into three forces behind the archers. They fought on foot.
The terrain between the woods that the French would have to cross in their attack of the English consisted of newly ploughed, and very muddy, fields. Having walked through muddy fields on several occasions in rural Illinois, I can attest that simply getting from point A to point B in such terrain can be exhausting, let alone fighting at the end of the tramp through the morass. Continue reading
I thought I had read all of Montaigne’s essays! Apparently not. Withywindle at the blog Athens and Jerusalem reveals one I am unfamiliar with:
There are many sorts of zombies, and what means are efficacious against one are not against another. For some are fast and some are slow; some have the spark of life and others are revenant corpses; some savor brains while others will seize hold of what they can. Further, what we know generally of zombies is unreliable; for what Romeros says, Pliny contradicts; and Galen says first to do no harm, which does not appear to me to be of any use whatever. So the means to resist the undead are all uncertain.
I prefer to take no settled action. Some will flee zombies, others run toward them to decapitate them, but I will merely go about my daily round. If fortune dictates that I be bit by a zombie, or even eaten entire, I will attempt to compose myself in the interval before I begin to decompose; but there is no reason to be alarmed unduly before the event. Yet while I hold that philosophy should train us to be equable generally before the threat of the undead, yet may we scream as they approach, particularly if they are fast zombies, for it is not the job of philosophy to make us pretend a terror we feel not; and it is no weakness to be afraid of zombies at the moment. The weakness is only in the anticipation. Continue reading