The Leftist Mentality In A Nutshell

Wednesday, June 22, AD 2011

Cars is one of the few Pixar or Dreamworks movies that I have not seen (and with a two-year old, I’ve seen a lot).  Well it doesn’t look like I’ll be seeing the sequel either.

Debuting in theaters this Friday, the seemingly innocuous Disney-Pixar film ‘Cars 2’ has become a tool to wedge a fight against fossil fuels in favor of alternative forms of energy.

When John Lasseter moved from executive producer to executive director last year, he overhauled major portions of the plot into a good vs. evil story against big oil.

Here is the part of his interview that caught my attention.

Continue reading...

44 Responses to The Leftist Mentality In A Nutshell

  • This is vastly disappointing as Cars was a very good movie and I highly recommend it. So much of contemporary Leftism in this country boils down to a game of let’s pretend. Remember all those green jobs Obama was going to create?

    Neither does he. When it comes to being out of touch with reality, the Bourbons just prior to the French Revolution had nothing on the forces of the Left in this country. Those who studiously ignore reality tend to end up being trampled by it.

  • No fan of greedy Big Oil here, but I still need gas to run my car and so do all the cars in the movies, which I haven’t seen. If Hollywood is so worried about fossil fuels, why not make a movie called “Trains” and push for high-speed rail. Here is WI, Gov. Walker turned down $800 million in federal aid for such a project. Last I heard, California took it.

  • Folks,

    I have worked in the nuclear energy field for 30+ years, including submarine pressurized water reactors, and commercial pressurized and boiling water reactors. Regardless of the sad events of Fukushima Daiichi, in general nuclear energy is the safest means of generating low cost, pollution-free electricity (I slept within the same container that held an operating nuclear reactor and I am still alive!).

    Now as for Fukushima Daiichi, these were BWR/3 and 4 designs with Mark I containments that had not undergone all the design chages made to similar reactors in the US. If those design changes had been made, then it is possible that the outcome of the earthquake / tsunami would have been different. Yet in spite of the fact that four of the six reactors have been utterly destroyed, there has been (to the best of my knowledge) ZERO loss of life among members of the general public due to the reactor mishaps, unlike a dam which burst due to the earthquake and drowned more than 1700 people in a nearby village (so much for green power) and unlike the oil refineries in the Chiba Prefecture which exploded and dumped their toxins to the ground and air, never to decay away.

    I don’t have time here to go into the non-issue of TMI (which proved that when the worst happens to a US PWR, containment works), or into Chernobyl (a graphite moderated light water cooled RBMK is an accident waiting to happen due to its positive void coefficient of reactivity at low power levels). But the new Generation III+ designs being put out by GE-Hitachi and Westinghouse employ passive cooling features that prevent or mitigate the impacts of Loss of Offsite Power (LOOP) events such as what doomed Fukushima Daiichi. The Economically Simplified BWR (ESBWR) and the AP1000 both use features that passively cool the reactor core in the event of a reactor coolant system leak or rupture with no outside electrical power available.

    Additionally there are Generation IV designs such as High Temperature Gas Cooled Reactors (HTGCR), Molten Salt Reactors fueled with thorium (MSR), Liquid Metal Fast Breeder/Burner Reactors (LMFBR), Peeble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR – a form of HTGCR) etc., for which loss of coolant accidents are non-issues. These designs can generate electricity and produce hydrogen gas for fueling motor vehicles employing either with fuel cell technology or the standard internal combustion process.

    There is enough uranium and thorium in Earth’s crust to provide energy to every inhabitant of our planet at the same level as the average American consumes, and to do so for tens if not hundreds of thousands of years. We do NOT have an energy crisis. We have a greed crisis. It’s easier to stay reliant on mineral slime and mineral rock that pollutes the air and kills thousands of people annually from lung disease than it is to do the right thing.

    Will we have future reactor accidents? Yes. And the aftermath will still be a fraction of what coal pollution kills annually, or what a single hydro-electric dam break can cause. And as to the issue of spent nuclear fuel, using a fast burner such as GE-Hitachi’s PRISM or Carlo Rubbia’s Energy Amplifier makes that a non-issue. And as to nuclear weapons proliferation concerns, civilian reactors that breed plutonium-239 from uranium-238 generate too much non-fissile, non-separable plutonium-240 along the way that would make any bomb fizzle out (as North Korea’s bomb did) to make it a militarily useful weapon. Furthermore, the thorium-232 / uranium-233 cycle would obviate this concern (especially since thorium’s abundance is 30 times uranium’s).

    BTW, even though coal pollution kills 30000 annually, it’s still safer than having no electricity and thus being without refrigeration, lighting at night, air conditioning, hospital machines that work, etc. We need some realism here: wind and solar are a joke, coal and oil are bad but not the worst, and nuclear is the best choice. To all those who decry fossil fuel, let them stop using gasoline for their cars, and tell the electric company not to transmit any coal-generated electricity to their house.

    When I have time, then I can give web links to wwhat I wrote above. But right now my employer (whom we should call “Nukes ‘R Us”) expects some service from me, so I have my duties to attend to (and I am sure readers want me attending to my duties even though I am thankfully a boring desk-top engineer right now and rarely have to go into the field – seniority has some advantages!).

  • Thank you Paul. One of the good things about blogging is encountering readers who are experts in various fields.

  • BTW, even though coal pollution kills 30000 annually, it’s still safer than having no electricity and thus being without refrigeration, lighting at night, air conditioning, hospital machines that work, etc.

    Well said. After the TVA electrified the region where he lived, a Tennessee farmer was quoted as saying:

    “The greatest thing in life is to have the love of God in your heart. The second greatest thing is to have electricity in your house.”

  • While I don’t claim to be a history buff, wasn’t Chernobyl an “intentional” accident? I thought the Russians were trying to see how far they could go on with a coolant failure before they could restore everything to normal. I am under the impression that they had to actually bypass nearly all the safety features built into the reactors to do this experiment, am I wrong on that? And everyone totes around saying how terrible nuclear is because of what happened there (and when I inform those opposed to nuclear that it was an intentional accident, they shoot back with, “well we shouldn’t do it anyway 🙄 ).

    Geothermal energy is also fairly useful. It powers about 30% of Iceland’s power, similarly with the Philippines. We can extract about ~1E18 Joules of energy (from all the geothermal plants in the world) from earth’s core which has a heat content of ~1E31 Joules, so our extraction is nearly insignificant. There are ways to even send the used heat back down to the core to be recycled. The environmental effects are also very small compared to coal & gas plants currently used, so it’s a win-win situation (cheap energy and little pollution).

  • High-speed rail is a good idea if it’s implemented right. In the US, we typically install it along short, crowded routes. The Acela, one of the US’s better HSR’s, connects DC and Boston with four stops along the way. You simply can’t get to high speeds when you’re going through cities and making stops. Consider the proposed high-speed rail line between Iowa City and Chicago. It’s projected to travel at 45 mph, taking an hour longer than a bus. It’ll cost riders more than twice a bus ticket, and be less fuel-efficient.

    The problem with energy policy is that it gets politicized. The Right objects to anything but drilling, while the Left signs off on any untested technology. We need to be more rational. Residential solar panels are popular and provide a decent-enough output; we should be promoting them. Wind farms and nuclear power are successful in Europe; we should be promoting them here. We should be drilling for oil for the long term, not tapping our strategic reserves for a short-run fix.

    In Europe, the major airports have train stations in them. A person can wheel his luggage down a ramp and onto a local or inter-city train. In the US, most newer airports are being built on cheaper land far outside the city, with lousy public transportation options and big rental car lots. That’s stupid. HSR isn’t going to replace air travel (which is increasing in popularity), but it can be integrated into our transportation system. If it isn’t, it’s a waste of money.

  • Kyle – Yes! Here’s a good rule of thumb: don’t put nuclear plants where the ground is unstable. Use geothermal in earthquake and volcano zones.

  • Regarding Chernobyl, please see:

    An experiment was being performed at Chernobyl when at low power. The engineers wanted to find out if after a reactor scram there would be enough steam to keep the turbine generator generating electricity until the the emergency diesel generators got on line. The problem is an RBMK’s positive void coefficient of reactivity. During the experiment, steam voids formed under the control rods. In an RBMK, because graphite is the neutron moderator, the moderation effect of water is exceeded by its macroscopic cross-section for absorbing neutrons. So when the steam voids form, stem (being less dense than water) absorbed less neutrons. So more were available for fission. The process sky-rocketed. An exacerbating factor is that the boron control rods had graphite tips so that as the rod is inserted to nullify the neutron chain reactor, a spike in thermal neutrons occurs before the boron can absorb. Thus, when the control rods were inserted, power went momentarily up. This accelerated the steam void formation.

    BTW, to do this experiment the operators had to over-ride safety systems and violate procedures. And on top of that, an RBMK is a natural uranium fueled weapons breeder. The Soviets were trying to kill two birds with one stone. Still, the number of direct deaths from Chernobyl are in the scores, and pale into insignificance when compared with other sources of energy (e.g., wind power when there’s no wind or solar power at night and your hospital machine keeping you alive needs electricity).

  • Hey guys, my response to the question about Chernobyl went into moderation. Is this because of the links I put in it to Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Nuclear Energy Institute and Virtual Nuclear Tourist web sites?

  • Paul,

    Yes, if your comment has more than one link it will go into moderation. I approved it. And thanks for the info. I completely agree with you on nuclear energy. Honestly I think we should use all forms of energy that are available to us. If wind and/or solar is viable in a certain location, go for it. What’s insane is mandating a one size fits all for the entire country.

  • The US NRC has specific siting criteria for nuclear power plants. All this is a part of 10 CFR 50. See General Design Criteria at:

    See also “License, Certifications and Approvals for Nuclear Power Plants” at:

    You guys have no idea of all the analysis that goes into probabilities for worst case earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, etc., here in the US. It literally fills volumes.

  • To be honest, I wasn’t all that crazy about the first Cars either, it was one of my least favorite Pixar movies (down there with Bugs Life) in part because of the “how heartless is it that the new highway caused this town to dry up” theme — which kind of ignored the issue that the town was portrayed as only having boomed in the first place because of the old highway.

    It sounds like the new film just takes the unthinking heartstrings pulling one step further.

  • Pinky, the lame “drill, baby, drill” argument from the right merits a response. First of all, the once Seven Sisters, now down to 3 or 4, that monopolize the oil industry continue to do so not only by maintaining one of the most influential lobbies in Wash, DC, but also by manipulating the markets through so-called speculators in the trading pits.

    The world is awash in oil, but turn down the spigot a bit and create an artificial demand and, thanks to the laws of economics, you’re able to keep the price up and pocket billions.

    Secondly, the idea that America can drill its way out of the “energy crisis” and become “less dependent on foreign oil” — two bromides that the corporate and state-controlled media have managed to thread successfully into the running narrative — is ludicrous on its face.

    Back in the 1980s I visited Alaska’s North Slope to cover the oil boom. Everybody back then was hailing the discovery of millions of barrels of oil in Prudhoe Bay, to be pipelined from Valdez down to Alaska southern ports for shipment throughout US. But Atlantic Richfield and its partners, in cohoots with Aramco and other Arab-linked groups, did what any good capitalist does: they sold the oil to the highest bidder, which turned out to be Japan.

    Thus, over a 20-year period, American oil was being sold almost exclusively to the Japanese. So much for solving the “energy crisis” and becoming “less dependent” on foreigners. Instead, U.S. oil companies were reaping obscene profits — as they still do to this day — by exporting precious assets overseas.

    One or two other points: The media like to headline the crude oil price every day to accustom the ignorant masses to the notion that if the price goes up or down a few dollars this will have a direct impact on what they pay at the pump. In fact, the refineries are making gasoline from oil stocks and inventories that were bought, for the most part, years ago at much cheaper prices. Yet the price of gasoline keeps going up. Why? First of all, as the spread between crude costs and gasoline widens, so do profits. This accounts for the typical 40 to 60% profit gains by ExxonMobil, Shell, BP and others. Meanwhile retired oil execs bail out of their golden parachutes with nine-figure payoffs and everyone is dumbfounded as to why it costs them $4 a gallon to fill up their tanks. Can anyone read a balance sheet anymore? Of course, the stockholders are happy but the taxpayers and consumers, get the short end as usual. Meanwhile Congress and the White House do everything they can to maintain the oil depletion allowance and cut tax breaks for Big Oil.

    In January 2007 crude was selling for $75 barrel and my corner station sold gasoline at $1.75 a gallon. Now crude is $100 and gas is $4. There is no correlation other than to note the obvious disparity. You can’t blame inflation, OPEC, the Arabs, gas-guzzling SUVs as much as you can Big Oil, which continues to gouge. As Gordon Gekko famously proclaimed “Greed is good, and for want of a better word, it’s the only thing that will save the United States of America.”

    Lastly, Obama, who has taking major campaign “contributions” from Big Oil does little except to unleash toy poodle Eric Holder to keep an eye on “speculators” to make sure they’re not violating the law, whatever the law is. Unlike JFK, who bully pulpited U.S. Steel after it raised steel prices and got them to back off and unlike LBJ, who called GM’s boss on the Oval Office for raising car prices, Obama has said nothing about gouging. And his scolding of Wall Street has been mere lip service to placate the dumb voters.

    There, I feel better now.

    Drive on!

  • Joe, I didn’t say “drill, baby, drill”. I definitely don’t believe that we can drill our way out of the energy crisis, although drilling will be part of the solution. The whole point of my post was that that sort of sloganeering doesn’t help anyone; we need to be looking at practical solutions.

    With that in mind, it’s got to be recognized that Alaskan oil increases the overall world supply of oil, thus decreasing the pressure on prices. The more we produce, wherever it’s sold, the more the world market is satisfied. Also, there is a bottleneck in the refining process, and any increase in our national refining capability would increase the worldwide capability.

  • Let me add to what Joe has so correctly described. Fossil fuel’s only credible competitor is nuclear. Fossil fuel loves renewable energy because renewable is so unreliable that utilities always have to have spinning reserve (i.e., generators spinning at low output) for when the sun gets hidden by clouds or the wind stops blowing. Renewable energy is big bucks for fossil energy.

    Now let’s have a few facts. Gregory Jaczo is the current US NRC Chairman. He used to work for Massachusetts Representative Ed Markey against the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in MA and against the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station in the adjaceent state of VT. Then he went to work for Harry Reid against the Yucca Mountain spent fuel repository. When John Roberts waas nominated by Bush as Cheif Justice in SCOTUS, Reid said no, not unless his boy Jaackzo got appointed to the NRC as a Commissioner.. So Bush compromised. Then the Nuclear Energy Institute pitched a fit aand proposed Peter Lyons, a pro-nuke, to balance him out. Bush agree. Jackzo and Lyons were both recess appointments to the NRC when pro-nuke Dale Klein was Chairman. Then Obama got elected. He demoted Dale Klein to being a regular Commissioner and promoted Jackzo to Chairman. Then at the end of the 5 year terms of Klein and Lyons, he let them go. Now we have an anti-nuke as NRC Chairman and this guy has just recently killed NRC review of Yucca Mountain wiithout allowing it to go to a full vote by the five member Commission. GAO just did a report on this. He didn’t do anything criminal, but what he did was unethical. I can’t find the GAO report right now, but the fact of the matter is that Jackzo did an end run around the other 4 commissioners to serve his master Harry Reid..

    Now at the same time we don’t reprocess / recycle spent nuclear fuel to remove the long-lived actinides and burn them up in fast neutron reactors because Carter (another liberal Democrat – all these guys are liberal Democrats) killed reprocessing on false fears of nuclear weapons proliferation (and that isn’t feasible because PWRs and BWRs in the US make too much non-fissile plutonium-240 with the plutonium-239; not good for bombs but great for reactor fuel).

    So inn the meantime we use fossil fuel and continue our dependency on imported oil. While most of our imports are from Canada (Canadian shale oil), we make Europe moree dependent on Mid-East oil and that finances the terrorists. Who supports this? Obama’s renewable energy schemes. Sure, little electricity comes from oil, but all that coal (22 railroad car fulls every 2 weeks for a typical coal plant) has to be transported by diesel powered trains.

    A 1000 MW reactor is refueled once every 2 years by a truck load of fuel rods.

    We are so freakiing stupid.

  • Our failure to reprocess nuclear fuel is the most inexplicable thing in the whole energy story. And it was implemented by Carter, who should have been our most pro-nuclear president! But it wasn’t overturned by Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush Jr., or our current President, and I’ve never heard a good reason why.

  • Pinky,

    The answer is the same as it has always been all throughout history when money is involved: greed. All those politicians on left and right who benefit from contributions from fossil fuel are beholden to fossil fuel. Nuclear is a threat to fossil fuel. Reprocessing / recycling is a threat. So the answer is to amp up the regulations to make building a new nuke too expensive, and then prevent life cycle management of used nuclear fuel. We only burn 5% of what’s in the fuel rods. Only 5%! Instead of recycling / reprocessing, we were going to throw the 95% away! That’s plain stupid.

    Using Carlo Rubbia Energy Amplifiers or fast neutron burner reactors we can consume the 95%. Indeed, even a Candu (Canadian Deuterium Uranium) reactor could burn what spent fuel a US PWR and BWR produces, but we don’t even do that.

    There’s big money involved here, and both political parties have dirt and blood on their hands.

  • I do NOT speak for any utility, NSSS company, or other organization, but I worked here for 18 years (not now – went to a different company for more $ and fewer off-hour call-ins – selfish of me I suppose).

    Safe. Secure. Vital. And the best group of people I have ever worked with. That’s the truth.

  • Paul P: You have not addressed the problem of nuclear waste. As long as nuclear power creates deadly waste that will remain deadly for pretty much all of time, and we have no good way to store it, I don’t see how anyone can really be in favor of it. Otherwise, yes, I agree — nuclear energy is clean, safe to operate, and pretty much limitless. But nuclear waste is an awful big elephant in the room. However, maybe you have an answer and I’m not aware of and if there is one I’d be glad to hear it.

    I am so sorry to hear this about Cars 2. I really thought I would hate Cars 1 and I thought it was great. The part about the town being abandoned when they built the new highway may be uncomfortable for some, but that’s what really happened to towns on Route 66. The only Pixar movie I have disliked is Ratatouille. It had a fabulous end but getting to the end was so tedious! It was supposed to be a French rat, not a neurotic New York rat who ought to have been in therapy and so talked all the time as if he were talking to his therapist. Not to mention the “I am too artistic to fit in with my blue collar family” stuff (so boring) and the human hero being illegitimate. Yeah… didn’t like that one. Although, as I said, I do think the end is a classic. And I liked A Bug’s Life!

  • Yes, I have addressed nuclear waste. Compared to the millions of tons of toxins dumped into the environment by coal plants every year, nuclear waste for all the US reactors would fit into a foot ball field. Furthermore, we can recycle the “waste”, burning up the long lived actinides and rendering a million year repository like Yucca a moot point. I now have to go to a meeting, but I will have more to say on this later. BTW, a 1000 MW coal plant releases more radioactivity into the environment than a 1000 MW nuke because of the naturally occuring thorium, uranium and radium in coal. At Indian point Con Ed in the 1960s wanted to build a coal plant but couldn’t because the emissions from the coal plant would swamp our rad monitors. The whine about waste is a red herring. What are you going to do about the fly ash fields from coal plants that have toxic mercury that never every decays away. Millions of tons of it.

  • For more information about radioactivity in coal combustion, please see the following from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory:

    I have written several essays on this topic which I will post once I get access to my computer at home. Suffice it to say that I have stood above spent fuel pools with radioactive rods in them, I have been around dry casks that store spent fuel which has been outside the reactor for at least five years, I have been involved in programming PLCs that control massive refueling machines that move fuel rods from core to spent pool and back, I have stood but inches from fresh, non-irradiated fuel, I have calibrated radiation monitors for buildings containing spent fuel, and miraculously I am still alive.

    I’d rather work in a nuke plant any day of the week than a coal plant where black dust is everywhere and no one does anything to clean up messes. Look at those photos in the link I gave you to IPEC. Look at how the turbines and floors gleam. look at how clean everything is. That’s nuclear power. We manage our spent fuel the same way. In fact, if coal had to sequester its wastes the way we nukes do, there wouldn’t be a single coal plant running. But willy nilly they got to dump millions of tons of sewage into the atmosphere while some people whine about spent nuclear fuel that is really a resource, not a danger.

    BTW, 50% of US electricity is coal, 20% is nuclear and the rest is mostly natural gas with a sprinkling of renewables. Want to know why there aren’t more nukes? Because natural gas was marketed as cheap and clean in 1990s, and TMI and Chernobyl were marketed as the poster children of nuke power. Now we all pay through the nose for that mistake and who gets rich? Big natural gas suppliers like Russia. It ain’t about safety or spent fuel, folks. It’s about the money. Follow the money. Who benefits from fears over spent fuel?

    OK – more tonite when I have time – gotta go. After all, my job is “Nukes ‘R Us.” And I LOVE my job.

  • Gail,

    The only Pixar movie I have disliked is Ratatouille.

    Aw, come on, Ratatouille was the best one! 🙂

  • Folks,

    I promised more information on used nuclear fuel commonly called “waste”, and what a waste it would be to deposit it in a geologic repository for a million years, not using up all the valuable energy left within in. The Nuclear Energy Institute has lots of information at sub-links here:

    So lets puts some things in perspective:

    A 1000 MWe PWR or BWR nuclear power plant annually produces 27 tons of used fuel that can be recycled and consumed in a fast neutron burner reactor, obviating the need for Yucca Mountain.

    A 1000 MWe coal fired power plant annually produces:
    400,000 tons of fly ash
    20,000 tons of SOx
    20,400 tons of NOx
    7,400,000 tons of CO2
    100 tons of small particulates
    1,440 tons of CO
    for a grand total of 7,841,940 tons of waste (compared to nuclear’s 27 tons that can be recyled)

    And the coal plant’s waste never ever decays away and cannot be recycled or otherwise reused.

    Let’s take a 1000 MWe natural gas plant:
    2 tons of SOx
    157 tons of NOx
    199,472 tons of CO2
    12 tons of small particulates
    68 tons of CO
    for a grand total of 199,711 tons of waste annually. So the next time Obama’s General Electric (yup, CEO Jeff Immelt is Obama’s jobs adviser – follow the money!) talks about clean natural gas turbines, they sure are clean – up to a whopping 199+ thousand tons! And the more GE wind turbines you buy, the more spining reserve you need, for which GE has a solution – its natural gas turbines. It’s all about the money.

    Here’s a 1000 MWe petroleum burner:
    2248 tons of SOx
    898 tons of NOx
    328,655 tons of CO2
    168 tons of small particulates
    66 tons of CO
    for a grand total of 332,036 tons of waste dumped into the atmosphere as if into a sewer.

    Now I didn’t even consider the tons of mercury, chromium, nickle and other heavy metal toxins that fossil fuel burning releases – toxins that never ever decay away. And I simply don’t have time to go into more detail.

    The nuke industry (under Carter’s non-proliferation act) has had to give the Federal Government a certain amount of money to store used fuel. Each nuke plant of the 104 in the US has to give so much money every year. Back when I was tracking this stuff in the early 2000s, the fund was 25 billion dollars +. Now Harry Reid and his hey boy Gregory Jackzo in the NRC has said: no Yucca Mountain. So the right thing to do is return all those billions of dollars to the reactor plant owners and tell them to take take of their own waste. But Dems won’t let them. Why? Reprocessing! The fools are afraid of weapons proloferation, but used commercial fuel is useless for bombs – too much Pu-240 with the Pu-239.

    Those billions of dollars for Yucca Mountain are probably up to 30+ by now. But we got cash for clunkers and a banking bailout and a bailout of Government – er, I mean, General – Motors! Follow the money, folks, follow the money.

    Is nuclear power 100% safe? Nope, never will be. Ain’t no such animal as 100% safety – never will be. But there are worse things than nuclear: coal. And then there are things even worse than coal: no electricity. Any complainers out there want to live with gas lanterns and no running water? You want your lights to turn on at night and your refrigerator to work? Then let us professionals do our job and stop tying our hands. (I speak rhetorically – not to anyone specifically on this blog site).

    Sorry, folks. I get so darn irritated. The public and the politicians haven’t a clue, Dem or Repub. Time to go to Adoration and get calmed down.

  • I am amazed at the level of expertise certain people can bring to a discussion such as this.

    Here in Southwestern Pennsylvania, specifically in Washington and Greene counties, there is a nearly 300 year supply of coal. The local leftist rag ran a series of articles about the “horrors” of burning coal for power generation.

    Most of Pennsylvania, except for the northwest corner and the southeast corner, sit atop the Marcellus shale formation, which contains more than a hundred year’s worth of natural gas. Once again, the leftist rag runs screeds demanding an extraction tax. People (I think most of these are bussed in and organized by some Soros backed group) protest against “fracking” and accuse it of fouling their water wells. Water wells go at most a few hundred feet deep. The shale formations are more than a mile deep.

    Westinghouse Electric is based in Pittsburgh, They build nuclear power plants all over the rest of the world – but not here.

    I’ll take my 3 year old to see Cars 2 anyway. He likes the characters. Lasseter makes good movies despite his lousy politics. I skipped Wall-E, which is about an overly polluted world.

  • I agree with Penguin Fans. The liberals don’t want any solution except the solution that doesn’t work. Can’t use nuke ’cause of spent fuel fears, meltdown fears, and weapons proliferation fears. Can’t use coal and gas ’cause of green house gas fears and ground water pollution fears. Gotta use wind and solar that don’t work when you most need them: at night and on hot windless summer days or snowy, cloudy winter days. Indeed, if wind power were so darn great as they claim, then why don’t we still ship cargo at sea using sailing ships?

    Even though I think nuke power is a magnitude of order better, there are things worse than a 300 year supply of coal and a 100 year supply of shale oil. It’s called no refrigeration, no lighting at night except for candles, no air conditioning, no TV, no radio, no computers, no running water, no in-house toilets (because of no sewage treatment plants run by electric motor-driven pumps), no electronic hospital machines, no anything that requires electricity which is virtually everything nowadays.

    This is but one of many reasons why I despise liberalism (though there are some pro-nuke bloggers who are liberals and I can’t fathom why – some people are simply suicidal).

  • PP, I’ve got nothing against nukes, but can’t help remembering the scary scenario in the 1979 thriller, The China Syndrome, in which a physicist says a meltdown would render “an area the size of Pennsylvania permanently uninhabitable.” The movie, starring Jack Lemmon and Jane Fonda, was released 12 days before the Three Mile Island accident, which, of course, helped box office sales.

    Fiction or not, the film raised disturbing questions about the safety of nuclear plants and while accidents have been rare if they do occur the possible outcomes are indeed frightening (Fukushima, e.g.), triggered by a 9.0 earthquake.

  • “I’ll take my 3 year old to see Cars 2 anyway. He likes the characters. Lasseter makes good movies despite his lousy politics. I skipped Wall-E, which is about an overly polluted world.”

    I’ll take my 9 year old also and like other movies explain how people can use movies and other venues (schools, churches) as political propaganda. He’s already become quite proficient at pointing out flaws in commercials and Obama speeches.

  • Joe,

    You can read about the TMI event here:

    TMI proved that when the worst thing happens to a US reactor, no one dies, no one gets injured, but the stockholders get hit in the pocket book and the regulations are amp’ed up. Yup, the operators screwed up: tagged out aux feed water, didn’t believe their indications when the PORVs stuck open and RCS press was low bur Pzr level was rising, failed to see that the steam bubble went into the core, etc. ad nauseam (I teach this stuff because my employer insists that our engineers follow the darn the procedure and believe in their indications and obey the stinking regs, and my employer is an evil capitalist who wants too make money and can’t do it without obeying the regs and being safe – imagine that!).

    Now as for Fukushima Daiichi, it was hit by a double whammy of an earthquake and a tsunami. Call it an “Act of God” or “Act of Nature” if you will – no one can protect against that. Maybe half a dozen people died directly. In the mean time, the same earthquake cause a dam failure that drowned 1700 people in a nearby village. Let’s see: less than dozen deaths from Fukishima (and all plant workers, NOT general public) vs 1700 villagers dead from green power – black death.

    By the way, why no mention of the petro fires in the Chiba Prefecture that burned out of control for 10+ days, spewing their never decaying chemical toxins into the atmosphere and soaking the nearby land with oil? Pictures of secondary containment roofs blowing off at Fukushima makes for good sensationalism, but not for accurate reporting of what really happened.

    And BTW, if the Fukushima plants had implemented the upgrades that US BWR/3’s and 4’s with Mark I containments had to implement, then the events would have been very different. The batteries for Reactor Core Isolation Cooling Turbines lost power because they didn’t have long enough lasting batteries for the valve controls. And no, I don’t like Mark I containment structures and I can’t go into all the technical reasons here. But the facts are less than a dozen deaths due to Fukushima and 30000 annually in the US from coal fired power plant air pollution.

    That magic word “radiation” makes nuclear so much more fearful. Did you know that wildlife has returned to the Chernobyl area and is thriving? Or how about the Oklo natural reactor in Africa a couple of billion years ago, and today Africa has among the widest diversities of life on the planet. See:

    As far as the China Syndrome movie goes, there is a reason why Jane Fonda is called Hanoi Jane.

    Next will be web links to the passive safety features of GE’s ESBWR and Westtinghouse’s AP1000 that obviate TMI, Chernobyl and Fukushima events.

  • For an animation on the passive safety design of GE-Hitachi’s ESBWR, please see:

    In the Media gallery on the right side of the page you will have to click the first arrow or triangle to get the video going, then just follow the on-screen instructions.

    For the Westinghouse AP1000 passive core cooling system, please see:

    For the Westinghouse AP1000 passive containment cooling system, please see:

    I can get the Mitshubishi APWR and the Areva EPR ones, too, if you want, but you get the idea. These designs are even safer than the current ones and are designed for a LOCA concurrent with a LOOP. And GE’s design doesn’t need any outside intervention or even external electrical power for up to 72 hours.

    Any more questions? Oh, one last thing: go here for the PRISM reactor. It obviates our spent nuclear fuel problem. Harry Reid can go jump in a toilet.

    I used to teach training classes on basic nuclear technology with the guy who is in charge of this. But I went to a different (and better) employer. Can’t stand Jeff Immelt (GE’s CEO) sucking up to Obama.

  • Opps – sorry guys – you gotta approve another of my posts because I put too many web links in it to nuke specific info that will clear up a lot of mis-conceptions. Lots of animation, too.

  • I am sorry to post yet again, but Joe had mentioned the mishaps at Fukushima Daiichi. Please go here for info:

    US Nuclear Regulatory Commission – Japan Nuclear Accident – NRC Actions

    US Nuclear Energy Institute – Information on the Japan Earthquake and Reactors in That Region

    Do NOT listen to ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, MS NBC, NBC, NPR, PBS, etc. Whenever one of the talking heads open their mouths with the word “nuclear”, you can be assurred it’s BS. News journalists (for all their liberal screeching that we Christians are so anti-science) are themselves without even the basics in knowledge of physics, chemistry and biology. The overwhelming majority wouldn’t know the difference between a centimeter and an inch (2.54 cm = 1 inch, BTW). So how can they possibly speak intelligently about neutrons and gammas, boron and hafnium, Pu-239 and U-235, rems and sieverts, etc.? Dumb, dumber, dumbest. Sorry – I have a low opinion of what passes for media in this country.

  • Paul, it’s easy to see why you get so annoyed at the politicians and the media. A half-truth works just as well as a lie and has a longer half-life.

    29 years ago I started my first year in college. In my first class (Speech) there was a character who was fervently anti-nuclear power. According to him, he knew all of the problems with nuclear power that no one else knew because of his father’s employment in the nuclear power field.

    Yeah, right, another 18 year old know it all. I did not like teenagers when I was a little kid. I didn’t like teenagers when I was a teenager. I don’t like teenagers now.

    There were some articles in the local libertarian rag, quoting a nuclear engineer, who was asked about what to do with the spent nuclear fuel. He pointed out how easy it is to reprocess the stuff, but Carter made it illegal and nobody has had the guts to overturn that stupid decision.

    When it comes to the “enviornment”, truth rarely gets out, but lies last forever. Rachel Carson was a total fool. Her contention that DDT caused the shells of wild birds to be too thin has been thoroughly discredited, but DDT is illegal almost everywhere. Had DDT still been in use, countless lives lost to malaria would have been saved, but the “enviornmentalists” don’t really care about human life.

    I pointed out earlier some facets about the Marcellus shale gas deposits in Pennsylvania. Our local school board was overwhelmed with a bunch of protesters whining about a proposed gas well on some vacant property owned by the school district. The usual platitudes about “the children” were thrown about, like my son throwing rocks in the street. It’s so much BS. Pennsylvania has had a boom in gas drilling because New York State and West Virginia (also part of the Marcellus shale gas field) either ban drilling (New York, no surprise) or an extraction tax (West Virginia). My cousin is a geologist and she said the complaints about fracking are all lies. The damage done, if any, is due to an unreputable company that damages roads by exceeding weight limits, or improperly treats the used fracking fluids.

  • Please do not let your little ones watch TV. Read books, play toys or just enjoy the day. TV dulls everyone. Thanks.

  • Penguins Fan,

    I agree with you 100%. BTW, President Jerry “lame duck” Ford was the one who started the nonsense about no spent fuel reprocessing and Jimmy “I am a liberal” Carter implemented it. Both Repubs and Dems have their hands dirty. And from his days at US Naval Nuclear Power School, Jimmy Carter (a former nuke sub officer) KNEW that spent fuel from a commercial PWR or BWR had too much Pu-240 in it to make a useful bomb. He KNEW. I know he knew because he went through the same US Naval Nuclear Propulsion Training that I went through. But as you pointed out, the facts don’t matter.

    When the lights go out and the refrigerator compressor motors stop, then they’ll ask where’s the coal, gas and uranium. Green power – black death.

    Hey, as an aside, what’s green on the outside and pink on the inside? Nope, not a watermelon, but a Demokratik Party operative hell bent on eco-justice and social justice. Think about it. I gotta stop. Time for my nightly meditation and Bible reading. I need some serenity. But thanks for the support, Penquins Fan!

  • I really Enjoy Wallie (probably my favorite), Monster inc., Monsters vs Aliens and the first Toys. I never seen Cars didn’t seem apealing. Paul P. Thanks for the information. I had to do research on Nukes when Japan problem hit because I knew hype would be overwhelming. I went to the MIT site and a site call ANS all things nuclear. I was waiting for someone in California to find some unfound uranium with all the gyger counters that were purchased.

  • Cars has to have been the worst Pixar film, and has become their merchandising movie, which I suspect may have been the intention. As an adolescent (I’m as ashamed of that fact as I should be) ’90s kid, I grew up on Pixar, consistently amazed – with the notable exception of the stupid sports movie where nothing happened to completely uninteresting characters. The sequel ( I am willing to bet hard money.) will be comparable to “Space Balls II: The Quest for More Money.”

  • I sounded so hard on Pixar in that post. Let me say for the record that I am a massive Pixar fan, and that I really think every movie with that one exception is both hilarious and beautiful, and that I have cried during at least four of their movies.

  • Well, I took the family to the drive-in (right next to the takeoff runway at the Pittsburgh Int’l Airport) last night. My son loves the Cars characters and, for being 3 1/2 years old, watched most of the movie.

    I saw countless kids with Cars clothes, Cars kid sized lawn chairs, etc.

    It wan’t bad, but the end of the movie was as convoluted as h-e-double hockey sticks and it definitely was not the best effort made by Pixar.

    As for the merchandising – people like me are as much to blame for it as the people who license and produce the stuff. My son has, as follows:
    – a Lightning McQueen tricycle, (I bought it and it was the cheapest trike in the store)
    – a Cars toybox (the only other one in the store was a Toy Story toybox)
    – a set of Cars sheets and pillowcase for a twin bed (I bought ’em)
    – several Cars characters t-shirts (all from my cousin, whose son outgrew them)
    – several Cars pajamas,
    – a Cars toddler bed he has since outgrown ( a present from Grandma),
    – a McQueen -shaped pillow,
    – Matchbox size toy cars of McQueen, Finn McMissile and another character, and
    – a Sheriff with a (formerly) loud siren my brother bought, in part to annoy me with the noise.

    When we were looking for a toybox, my son wandered off a few feet away, grabbed the set of Cars sheets, and dragged them over to my wife and me.

    I grew up with Loony Tunes, Speed Racer and the black and white Popeye cartoons. Those were better than anything made today – and a LOT more violent. Merchandising back then was unheard of

  • Fan, I haven’t seen a drive-in since I left NYC 40 years ago. Didn’t think there were any left in the country. Of course, in those days, nobody watched the movie. It was just the best place to take your girlfriend. 😆

  • I neglected to point out that Rachel Carson, she of the garbage book Silent Spring (the Dan Brown of her time), which propogated the lie about DDT, was from Pittsburgh and had a bridge named after her. I still call it the 7th Street Bridge. Carson’s garbage has cost an untold number of lives, in my wife’s native Colombia and elsewhere where malaria can be contracted.

    One more thing about the natural gas wells, and oil wells in particular – in parts of rural Northeastern Ohio, specifically eastern Portage County, northwestern Mahoning County (not far from Youngstown) and Columbiana County (about 60-65 miles northwest of Pittsburgh) there are countless oil derrick and gas wells to bee seen in farmers’ fields. Imagine that – food being grown near a gas well! Some fortunate folks there have gas wells that supply their homes with natural gas and they don’t have to buy natural gas or propane or heating oil.

  • Joe, I live near Pittsburgh.

    Pittsburgh is 25 years behind the rest of the country and is d_*n proud of it.
    Catholics are 50% of the population of Allegheny County and Allegheny county has among the highest rates of church attendance in the nation. This cuts across all Christian churches.

    As for who gets elected from here, that’s another discussion.

  • Pitt Fan, I just hope you don’t catch up to NY, which just passed “gay marriage” law and made me vow never to go back to the city that I once thought was the greatest in the world. Now it’s a cesspool.

  • Pingback: Top Pixar Movies | The American Catholic

Moral Sense and Unequal Exchange

Wednesday, June 22, AD 2011

Every week I make a point of finding the time to listen to the EconTalk podcast — a one hour interview on some economics related topic conducted by Prof. Russ Roberts of George Mason university. Roberts himself has economic and political views I’m often (though not always) in sympathy with, but he’s a very fair and thoughtful interviewer and has a wide range of guests. This week’s interview was with a semi-regular on the show, Prof Mike Munger of Duke University, and the topic was the concept of euvoluntary exchange which Munger has been attempting to create.

Munger’s project aims to identify why it is that some seemingly voluntary transactions are seen as morally repugnant by most people, and are either socially disapproved of or outright outlawed. So for example, say that Frank is very poor and desperately wants to provide for his family. Tom is very rich and is loosing eyesight in both his eyes. His doctor believes they can pull off a revolutionary new surgery and transplant a healthy eye into him, but they need the eye of a live, healthy person who matches Tom’s blood type and DNA well. Frank is a match and is willing to give up an eye in return for a million dollars.

Now, there are a few people who lean heavily in the rationalistic direction who would say this sounds like a great idea because it makes most people better off, but most people would react to this with revulsion, and it is in fact illegal to do this kind of thing in the US.

The interesting thing is that voluntarily donating an organ (so long as giving it up isn’t considered too big a detriment to you) is considered morally admirable, and is legal. So, for instance, there was a case a year or two ago in our parish where one young woman in the parish donated a kidney to another parishioner who needed a transplant.

Munger’s argument is that in the Frank and Tom example, the transaction may seem voluntary but it’s not really voluntary because of the disparity in means between Tom and Frank.

Continue reading...

17 Responses to Moral Sense and Unequal Exchange

  • DC,

    Very good blog posting. Informative and interesting.


  • Excellent post, Darwin. Much food for thought. I would suggest that perhaps what is morally permissible and what is morally admirable are two different things. While charity is admirable, it is not required that we give all resources beyond basic needs to the poor — though that would certainly be admirable. I sense that this understanding might contribute to the analysis, though I’m not sure. Perhaps I’ll add more later.

  • Very enlightening. So in Catholic terms, the works of mercy are ways of eliminating non-euvoluntary choices by increasing the BATNA.

  • You seem to be “mixing apples and oranges”, i.e., morals and economics.

    My understanding: economics is the study of the allocations of relatively scarce supplies/resources among relatively unlimited demands/wants. Price is the allocation mechanism. When morals, philosophy, theology, governmental interventions, etc. are applied, economics no longer is the driver.

    Then, what may be the unintended consequences?

    It is likely the recent US financial collapse was magnified by Federal interventions aimed at more widespread home ownership, and concomitant politically motivated “pro-borrower” and “pro-homeowner” policies.

    Contrast that with Canada’s banking system that has consistently promoted responsible borrowing and prudent lending and underwriting practices with little politically motivated interference, while the U.S. banking system seems to have been encouraged to pursue excessive lending risks to “low to moderate income” borrowers because of a political obsession with home ownership.

    N.B., The Canadian government takes responsibility for “affordable housing.”

  • While Prof. Munger may be onto something with his euvoluntary idea, his BATNA criterion is clearly wrong.

    Take the example of the guy who wants to sell me water for $1000 when I am dying of thirst in the desert A transaction is not euvoluntary if the disparity in BATNAs is too great. Suppose, though, that the guy says “hey, you’re our 1000th customer, so you get a bottle of water on the house!” In that case the disparity in BATNAs is even greater than if he charged me $1000. On the other hand, the more he charges for the water, the less disparity in BATNAs there will be.

    Additionally, I don’t think it’s right to say, as Munger does, that if a transaction is euvoluntary then it is necessarily just. In the case of organ donations, for example, you can’t pay for a kidney even if the person you pay has the same standard of living as you do, and I don’t believe you would be allowed to make a live donation of your eyes even if no money was involved.

  • Here’s another interesting wrinkle. In Prof. Roberts example, he is very uncomfortable about the fact that the place he was house-sitting for in Chile had a cook who was supposed to make him dinner. Suppose, though, that instead of house-sitting he had been put up in a hotel and part of his hotel room was free meals at the hotel restaurant. I suspect that Prof. Roberts would not have been uncomfortable at the thought he was being cooked for in that situation, even if the pay for the cooks in the two cases was the same

  • Isn’t this kind of why charging interest use to be a no-no, but it’s not these days? IIRC, the rule is from when you only borrowed if your life/family/serious well-being depended on it, and now borrowing is a simple economic tool or to make things easy?

  • T Shaw,

    I would agree with you that economics is really only able to look at how systems work, while ethics and morality are used to examine whether some action is moral or not. Munger is clearly doing some kind of ethics or philosophy here, not economics, in trying to determine what sort of transactions are ethical.

    And as such, I’m not sure he’s entirely successful, in that I’m not sure that the inequality he talks about makes an action moral or immoral, though I think he has a very interesting observational point in that clearly a lot of people feel that this kind of inequality makes these actions immoral.


    While Prof. Munger may be onto something with his euvoluntary idea, his BATNA criterion is clearly wrong.

    Take the example of the guy who wants to sell me water for $1000 when I am dying of thirst in the desert A transaction is not euvoluntary if the disparity in BATNAs is too great. Suppose, though, that the guy says “hey, you’re our 1000th customer, so you get a bottle of water on the house!” In that case the disparity in BATNAs is even greater than if he charged me $1000. On the other hand, the more he charges for the water, the less disparity in BATNAs there will be.

    I may be misunderstanding this, but I was taking his assessment of BATNA to be a question of “how much worse does my situation get, compared to the current state, if no transaction takes place.”

    In that situation, the guy in the desert is going to die if he doesn’t get water, so things get much worse for him if he doesn’t get the bottle of water, no matter what the price. For the guy in the Jeep, he’s in exactly the same situation as before if he doesn’t make the sale — he doesn’t have the extra money that would come from price gouging, but he does still have the water, the Jeep, and one assumes a way to get out of the desert.

    If I’m right on this, I think Munger would say that the BATNA is the same regardless of the price charged for the water — but that because the disparity in BATNA is so high, we only feel morally comfortable with the water being given for free or for a “fair” price, not with a high price.

    Additionally, I don’t think it’s right to say, as Munger does, that if a transaction is euvoluntary then it is necessarily just.

    I would agree with you there. One can maybe gloss over it a bit by making a proviso that the parties to the transaction have to have rightly ordered desires, and thus ruling out anything that seems wrong as being not really voluntary because a rightly ordered person wouldn’t want it, but at that point one has just invalidated the whole line of argument.

    The one I thought of was: What if a person honestly wants to commit suicide, and he meets a big game hunter who has always wanted to try hunting a human — so they come to a deal whereby the hunter will give a large sum of money to the suicide’s family in return for being able to kill him. No matter how honestly both parties claimed to be acting freely, and how similar their social station, I don’t think many people would see this as a just transaction. (Though I suppose one could also try to bracket by saying the transaction is just, it’s just that it’s an unjust thing being bought.)

  • BA,

    Here’s another interesting wrinkle. In Prof. Roberts example, he is very uncomfortable about the fact that the place he was house-sitting for in Chile had a cook who was supposed to make him dinner. Suppose, though, that instead of house-sitting he had been put up in a hotel and part of his hotel room was free meals at the hotel restaurant. I suspect that Prof. Roberts would not have been uncomfortable at the thought he was being cooked for in that situation, even if the pay for the cooks in the two cases was the same

    Yeah, you’re right, there’s clearly a sense of directness that is causing the discomfort here. The student probably also wouldn’t have got upset if her hosts had said, “I’ll get your laundry washed for you by the woman who does our laundry,” and then paid the laundry lady the same amount.

    Though there are people who get worried about indirect transactions. For instance, I knew a couple of very earnest women who refused to buy any clothes labeled as being made in certain countries because they were worried that the workers in those countries might not be being paid enough.

  • I may not be getting this at all, but I’ll add my 2 cents.
    This is a question of will and of sin. I need to engage my will in a sin in order for a sin to take place. The house-sitter and the washing customer are only willing to carry on normal, innocuous activities. Their participation in exploitation is too remote to register prudentially. They do not match the (hypothetical) man who will not love his brother enough to give him a cup of water–the Levite wills not to love.
    Economic measures derive from our culture which is based on (Christian) truth. Where we would sin by withholding aid or solace (like the Levite who passes by the robbery victim) our culture strives, by various means including economic theories generated by it, to alert us and cause us to avoid it.
    It seems to me that the gal with the dirty laundry and the house-sitter are evincing scruples foisted on them by materialist liberalism.

  • Darwin,

    The BATNA doesn’t change depending on the price of the water. However, according to Munger’s criterion, what matters is not the BATNA per se, but the *disparity* between the BATNA and the transaction.

    For example, suppose we say that not dying is worth a million dollars to me (purely for purposes of illustration, mind you). If I have to pay $1 for the water, the disparity between the transaction and my BATNA is $999,999. If I have to pay $1000, the disparity is $999,000. If I have to pay $100,000, the disparity is $900,000, and so on. The more I have to pay, the less the disparity between than transaction and my BATNA.

    Or take the sweatshop example. The more you pay the sweatshop workers, the greater the disparity between their sweatshop job and their BATNA. In fact, if you their wages are low enough, then the disparity between their BATNA and the sweatshop job won’t be big at all. So the implication here is that the less you pay sweatshop workers, the closer sweatshop jobs come to being euvolunary. Which is clearly not an accurate description of how anti-sweatshop people think.

  • The BATNA doesn’t change depending on the price of the water. However, according to Munger’s criterion, what matters is not the BATNA per se, but the *disparity* between the BATNA and the transaction.

    Hmmm. I guess what I had taken Munger to be arguing (and what I think I said above, unless I mis-spoke) that he takes it to be a problem (a lack of euvoluntariness) to have a financial transaction in which there is a large disparity in the BATNAs of the two parties in the transaction.

    If your reading is correct, then yeah, his claim is totally incoherent and doesn’t even apply to his examples.

  • What if a person honestly wants to commit suicide, and he meets a big game hunter who has always wanted to try hunting a human — so they come to a deal whereby the hunter will give a large sum of money

    There are times when I am quite pleased I stayed out of philosophy classes.

  • You and me both Art! Whenever I despair over the maddening hairsplitting of the Law, I read some philosophy and I am consoled by the comparison!

  • Heh, fair enough. I’ll admit, that one comes pretty close to the “trolley-ology” that I despise. I just wanted to make the point that unless one is some kind of total relativist, one can’t claim that involuntariness is enough in and of itself to make an action just. 🙂

  • Art- Just the kinda stuff that folks come up with when they try to apply scientific method to right and wrong.

    Guessing everyone here has heard the shocking numbers of college students that would save their own dog before they’d save someone they don’t know when both are drowning in a river?

In anticipation of Corpus Christi

Wednesday, June 22, AD 2011

A stirring account from Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York:

Last week, we bishops met for our annual Spring Meeting, this year in Seattle. We had a lot of business: liturgical matters, revision of the Charter to Protect Youth, approval of a defense of fragile human life against physician-assisted suicide, a decision to issue a document to help our priests, deacons, and ourselves preach better . . . plus a lot more.

But the most productive session came on Friday morning. As usual, we began with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. But then we gathered as the Blessed Sacrament was placed in the monstrance on the altar. There we prayed: morning prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours; silence; an excellent conference by a brother bishop; silence; opportunity for confession; and closing Benediction.

It was, in my mind, the most productive part of our meeting. Nearly two hundred bishops, on their knees, in silent prayer, before Jesus, really and truly present in the Holy Eucharist.

As I tip-toed out of the room to stand in line for confession, I heard two of the young hotel workers chatting.

“It’s sure quiet in there,” whispered one of them. “What are they doing?”

“It’s weird,” replied the other. “They’re not doing nothing. They’re all just kneeling there quietly looking at this flat piece of bread in this fancy gold holder.”

He almost got it right . . . except that we believe, with all our heart and soul, that it’s not a “flat piece of bread,” but the second Person of the Blessed Trinity, Jesus Christ, really and truly present in the Sacrament of His Body and Blood.

Continue reading...

One Response to In anticipation of Corpus Christi

Green Who?

Wednesday, June 22, AD 2011

From the only reliable source of news on the net, the Onion.  Actually I am a Green Lantern fan from way back.  When Abin Sur, Green Lantern of this sector of the galaxy, crash-landed on Earth, he willed his power ring to find a successor to take over his position as Green Lantern.  The ring chose test pilot Hal Jordan.  Green Lanterns are basically intergalactic cops established by the Guardians of the Galaxy who live on the planet OA.  Each Green Lantern has a power ring which has been decribed as the most powerful weapon in the Universe.  The rings can do almost anything, limited only by the will of the user.  Due to a necessary defect in the rings, and to make the Green Lantern comics much more interesting, the ring cannot affect anything yellow.  The rings must be recharged every 24 hours in front of, what else, a Green Lantern which each green lantern possesses.  The Green Lantern recites this oath as the ring is being recharged:

Continue reading...

6 Responses to Green Who?

Fiat voluntas tua sicut in caelo et in terra, Prima pars

Tuesday, June 21, AD 2011

The following is the first part of a gloss on an article I recently received from a friend. The second part will appear in a few days. I apologize for not having the full reference for it, but it appears to be an address by Francis Cardinal George given to the Library of Congress on June 16, 1999, titled “Catholic Christianity and the Millennium: Frontiers of the Mind in the 21st Century.” In light of the missing reference, the citations below are paragraph numbers rather than page numbers. I apologize ahead of time for those who have read or plan to read the article. While I have tried to give the Cardinal credit where due, a reading of his paper will reveal my blatant plagiarism.

The Thomistic scholar Etienne Gilson describes in The Unity of the Philosophical Experience the inevitable demise of a philosophy that ignores the highest question of being, i.e. metaphysics. In “Catholic Christianity and the Millennium: Frontiers of the Mind in the 21st Century,” Cardinal George argues for a specifically Christian metaphysics, or an “incarnation metaphysics.” This metaphysics begins with the “provocative claim” that is at the heart of Christianity. “In Jesus Christ, God has become a creature, without ceasing to be God and without compromising the integrity of the creature he becomes” (George, 3). The radicality of this Christian claim is evidenced by the history of heresies, most of which denied either the divinity or humanity of Christ, or in some cases, both, by arguing for a quasi-divine and quasi-human nature in the incarnated Lord. At least two Ecumenical Councils (Chalcedon in 451 and Nicea in 325) upheld the hypostatic union, the fact that, “in Jesus, the divine and the human unite without competition or compromise” (George, 3).

Continue reading...

7 Responses to Fiat voluntas tua sicut in caelo et in terra, Prima pars

George Orwell the Obama Administration is On the Phone

Tuesday, June 21, AD 2011

Hattip to Christopher Johnson at the Midwest Conservative Journal. I would note at the outset that this is not one of The Onion parodies I like to play from time to time on this blog.  With the Obama administration however, the nation each day resembles more a Onion parody.  The United States Department of Agriculture, yes, you read that correctly, is pressing for mandatory gay rights training:

U.S. Department of Agriculture activists want to impose their intense brand of homosexual sensitivity training governmentwide, including a discussion that compares “heterosexism” – believing marriage can be between only one man and one woman – to racism.

If accepted by the Obama administration, that move could mean more sessions for military service members already undergoing gay-sensitivity indoctrination. Critics fear additional gay-oriented training would add an unnecessary burden for combat troops and encourage some to leave.

USDA officials have asked the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which oversees all federal employee policies, to impose its gay-awareness programs on all federal departments, according to an internal newsletter. The training includes a discussion of “heterosexism” and compares it to racism. It says people who view marriage as being between only one man and one woman are guilty of “heterosexism.”

The push for the training is coming from Agriculture Secretary Thomas J. Vilsack, former governor of Iowa. The Democrat has launched a departmentwide “cultural transformation” that includes a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Special Emphasis Program.

The USDA’s senior training coordinator, Bill Scaggs, has developed a sensitivity program far more extensive than the Pentagon’s training for the anticipated lifting of the ban on open ho[JUMP]mosexuals in the ranks. His training program, which OPM calls “groundbreaking [and a] model for other agencies,” delves more into gay issues and terminology. It also justifies pro-homosexual political positions.

Continue reading...

4 Responses to George Orwell the Obama Administration is On the Phone

  • Gee, thanks for ruining my breakfast. 🙁

  • Isaiah 5:20
    Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
    Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness;
    Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!

    Wisdom 2
    “But let our strength be our norm of justice; for weakness proves itself useless.

    “Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us; he sets himself against our doings, Reproaches us for transgressions of the law and charges us with violations of our training.

    “He professes to have knowledge of God and styles himself a child of the LORD.

    “To us he is the censure of our thoughts; merely to see him is a hardship for us,

    “Because his life is not like other men’s, and different are his ways.

    “He judges us debased; he holds aloof from our paths as from things impure. He calls blest the destiny of the just and boasts that God is his Father.

    “Let us see whether his words be true; let us find out what will happen to him.

    “For if the just one be the son of God, he will defend him and deliver him from the hand of his foes.

    “With revilement and torture let us put him to the test that we may have proof of his gentleness and try his patience.

    “Let us condemn him to a shameful death; for according to his own words, God will take care of him.”

    “These were their thoughts, but they erred; for their wickedness blinded them,

    “And they knew not the hidden counsels of God; neither did they count on a recompense of holiness nor discern the innocent souls’ reward.

    “For God formed man to be imperishable; the image of his own nature he made him.

    “But by the envy of the devil, death entered the world, and they who are in his possession experience it.”

    This is about gay privileges and brainwashing/group think.

    Spirtual Works of Mercy:
    “Admonish the sinner.” For this, and many additional, reasons it is a mortal sin to vote democrat.

  • Yah right, Letting the homosexual agenda out of the closet will not affect anyone else….right!!! I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn that I’d like to sell.

Maureen Dowd Does Theology

Tuesday, June 21, AD 2011


One of the House Catholics at the New York Times, Maureen Dowd, recently wrote a column in which she attacked the stand of Archbishop Timothy Dolan against gay marriage.  In the column she made the mistake of mentioning Canon Lawyer Ed Peters, who writes an incisive blog In The Light of the Law that I visit religiously.  Ed Peters responded to Dowd:

Fine, you ask, what does any of this have to do with me? I might have thought, nothing, except that Dowd decided to link my recent criticisms of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s reception of Communion at a Mass celebrated by Albany Bishop Howard Hubbard (despite Cuomo’s open cohabitation with a woman not his wife), with Abp. Dolan’s criticism of efforts in the New York legislature to legalize “gay marriage”, the ‘link’ being that Cuomo is a strong proponent of “gay marriage” and would sign such a bill if it reaches his desk.

Okay, yes, I think that Cuomo’s signature on such a bill would add to his Communion-eligibility problems under Canon 915, but Abp. Dolan is not making that argument: he is arguing natural law on marriage and common sense, not sacramental discipline. (I know, I know, one would have to have read and understood Dolan’s arguments to see that point, but even if Dowd didn’t or doesn’t, some of her readers would have and do). So why does Dowd not discuss Dolan’s arguments on marriage in her article about Dolan on marriage, and later, if she wishes, tackle my arguments on holy Communion in an article about me and holy Communion (assuming I was worth her time in the first place)? Why smush these two strains together?

Because Dowd apparently thinks she has discovered some “ah-ha” contradiction in the Church’s logic. She writes: “Therein lies the casuistry. On one hand, as Peters told The Times about Cuomo and Lee, ‘men and women are not supposed to live together without benefit of matrimony.’ But then the church denies the benefit of marriage to same-sex couples living together.”


That’s not right. That doesn’t even rise to level of being wrong. Instead, that’s what comes from someone who is not even pretending to be interested in what the other side actually holds.

Continue reading...

5 Responses to Maureen Dowd Does Theology

  • Only way I know the NYT exists is because you guys seem compelled to respond to its inanities. And, that’s like trying to debate a set of wind chimes in a tornado.

    Dowd and NYT on matters of faith and morals: comprehensively confused and infallibly ignorant.

    I wouldn’t read the NYT with Ted Bundy’s eyes.

  • Tell us how you really feel about the New York Fish Wrap T.Shaw! 🙂

  • I apologize for offending . . .

  • I wonder, as Peters implies at the end of his piece, if Dowd realizes she has challenged the Times dogma that gay can do no wrong?

  • I had the same reaction as T. Shaw. I try to read the original article before reading posts about it, so I clicked over to Maureen Dowd’s piece. It was terrible, malicious, fallacious: vintage Maureen Dowd. I couldn’t figure out why I’d bothered. Then I read Ed Peters’ reply, and it was basically “Dowd’s article is terrible, malicious, and fallacious”. Yup.

SOLT Statement Regarding Fr. John Corapi

Monday, June 20, AD 2011

Official Statement of SOLT (Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity) regarding Fr. John Corapi:

As the Regional Priest Servant of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT), I issue the following statement on behalf of the Society.

On 16 March 2011, the Bishop of Corpus Christi, Texas, and the SOLT received a complaint against Fr. John Corapi, SOLT. As is normal procedure and due to the gravity of the accusation alleging conduct not in concert with the priestly state or his promises as a member of a society of apostolic life of diocesan right, Fr. Corapi was suspended from active ministry (put on administrative leave) until such a time that the complaint could be fully investigated and due process given to Fr. Corapi. In the midst of the investigation, the SOLT received a letter from Fr. Corapi, dated June 3, 2011, indicating that, because of the physical, emotional and spiritual distress he has endured over the past few years, he could no longer continue to function as a priest or a member of the SOLT. Although the investigation was in progress, the SOLT had not arrived at any conclusion as to the credibility of the allegations under investigation.

At the onset, the Bishop of Corpus Christi advised the SOLT to not only proceed with the policies outlined in their own constitutions, but also with the proper canonical procedures to determine the credibility of the allegations against Fr. Corapi. We reiterate that Fr. Corapi had not been determined guilty of any canonical or civil crimes. If the allegations had been found to be credible, the proper canonical due process would have been offered to Fr. Corapi, including his right to defense, to know his accuser and the complaint lodged, and a fair canonical trial with the right of recourse to the Holy See. On June 17, 2011, Fr. John Corapi issued a public statement indicating that he has chosen to cease functioning as a priest and a member of the SOLT.

The SOLT is deeply saddened that Fr. Corapi is suffering distress. The SOLT is further saddened by Fr. Corapi’s response to these allegations. The SOLT will do all within its power to assist Fr. Corapi if he desires to seek a dispensation from his rights and obligations as a priest and as a professed member of the SOLT. We request your prayers and the intercession of the Blessed Mother for the healing of Fr. Corapi and for any who have been negatively affected by Fr. Corapi’s decision to end his ministry as a priest and a member of the SOLT.

Fr Gerrard Sheehan, SOLT
Regional Priest Servant


Continue reading...

63 Responses to SOLT Statement Regarding Fr. John Corapi

  • I’d say Corapi does need our prayers and a swift kick in the hind end. I greatly enjoyed his sermons broadcast over the radio a few years ago. I admired both his fervor and his good humor. The failure to actively defend himself against what he alleges are baseless charges and then his unilateral, and bizarre, statement seeking to cease to function as a priest, leads me to assume that the charges against him are likely true and that is therefore why he is not proceeding forward with his defense. Supporters of Corapi will doubtless consider such an assumption as unfair, but it is certainly more “fair” than the way Corapi has let down the many people who looked up to him as a Champion of the Faith.

  • Priests are human beings, too. We don’t know the full story. Furthermore, Bishops continue to allow liberal priests to disinform and mislead the masses. Maybe Father Corapi did commit wrong doing. Maybe not. But he never misled the masses with heterodox liberal progressive crap from the left wing of the Church. True, one could argue this Black Sheep Dog thing is an attempt to mislead. I don’t know. It’s too soon to judge. I would suggest a little charity right now. I am surprised to find myself writing those words.

    Lord Jesus, I do hope and pray that the allegations against Father Corapi are false. Whatever the case may be, if he does deserve the swift kick in the behind that Donald suggests, then Thy will be done. Amen.

  • The SOLT will do all within its power to assist Fr. Corapi if he desires to seek a dispensation from his rights and obligations as a priest and as a professed member of the SOLT.


    And as long as he remains a member of the order, should not their investigation continue to its conclusion?

  • I caught a few of Corapi’s self-righteous sermons on EWTN in recent years and always found him a bit creepy. Another reason why I have yet to fully embrace Catholicism.

  • More on the “black sheepdog.” who apparently will now give up and go the way of Jim Bakker and probably turn up soon on TBN

  • Joe,

    I expected that response from you. Fr. Corapi didn’t preach the Demokratik Party’s false gospel of social justice, the common good and peace at any price. He preached the Gospel of Repentance and Conversion. I suppose that that Gospel was pretty creepy to Jesus’ detractors, as well. Now were there things that I didn’t like about Fr. Corapi? Yes – the whole thing over the sales pitch for his CDs, DVDs and books. But St. Paul did say somewhere in his epistles that the workman is worthy of his hire, and in the main Fr. Corapi was on target. As to whether he’s done wrong or not, he is human and therefore by definition he has done wrong. Who hasn’t?

    One thing is certain: while maybe Fr. Corapi is misleading (or could mislead) people with this new adventure (the Black Sheepdog web site), he didn’t do any of the crap that spews forth weekly from parish pulpits by liberal progressive priests.

    I shall always remember Fr. Corapi as a man of God who, perhaps like King David before him, sinned. Yet the Bible says that David was a man after God’s own heart.

    BTW, Fr. Corapi is a self-admittted cocaine addict. Addicts are almost always grandiose and victimized in their own eyes. Recovery is a daily process contingent on one’s spiritual condition (as Bill Wilson states in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous), and no one is exempt from the possibility of relapse which often happens in the head long before that first drink or drug is picked up. I speak from my own king-baby experiences. Therefore, it’s easy to condemn Fr. Corapi as creepy. It’s not easy to be forgiving and pray for him. So last night I spent an hour at Eucharistic Adoration praying for him, not because I am holy or better than him, but because I am just one drink or drug away from a drunk myself. NO, I did NOT say Fr. Corapi has relapsed. Rather, what I am saying is that I see mixed messages in Fr. Corapi’s statement – messages of victimization alongside messages of “don’t blame the bishop.” That’s behavior I well recognize only because much to my own doom I have indulged in it.

    Pray for Fr. Corapi. Then when you’re done, pray again.

  • Paul, sorry no prayers for him from me or anyone else including myself. After decades of sending up requests and receiving zero replies, I’m done with that nonsense. As for Corapi, he’s a hypocrite first and foremost for having taken vows of obedience, chastity and poverty and then breaking all three. Secondly, this is the same old pattern we see every time a “man of the cloth” declares his sins to the world, issues the obligatory oh-poor-me apology, a general denial of the charges and then portrays himself as “the victim.” For me yet another nail in the coffin that is the Catholic Church.

  • For me yet another nail in the coffin that is the Catholic Church.

    One would think that witnessing yet further proof of the fallen nature of man would lead one to reconsider the primary purpose of Christ’s ministry on Earth. If you’re looking for the sort of God that allows for a semi-utopian plane of existence where none are fallen or deserving of prayer, then naturally you are going to be disappointed.

  • Joe,

    For years I sent up prayers and got what I thought were zero replies. I have since realized I wasn’t praying what I should have been praying:

    “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying ONLY for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.”

    My problem was that I was always asking for my will to be done instead of His, so like the good Father that He is, He said, “NO!!” (because my willk gets me drunk or high), and then He had the unmitigated gall to have my coworkers and supervisor force me into a rehab and a 12 step program. He saved my life in spite of my best efforts to the contrary. So now I pray, “Thy will be done.” And I don’t expect visions from Mount Sinai. God doesn’t give them to me anyways because I would just consider them LSD flash backs.

    Did Fr. Corapi break his vows? I don’t know for sure. But I certainly broke every vow I made to God. Yet He still had mercy. Don’t judge the Bride of Christ by Her fallible servants. “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” “All man’s righteousness is as filthy rags.”

  • “I’d say Corapi does need our prayers and a swift kick in the hind end” “leads me to assume that the charges against him are likely true”

    I guess I expected something a little better from AC. But, as I’m beginning to see, Catholics turn on and abandon there own quicker that you could bat an eye. The insufferable snobbery has indeed drifted over here too, following the lead from Mark Shea. No, They’d rather see Father Corapi bleed to death. Did you even bother to listen to his 2nd meesage.

    With all your heroic posts about brave Americans, you have truly revealed yourself to be a coward, a sellout.

  • Paul, it’s always interesting how Scripture can be used for whatever purpose or excuse one needs to summon. I read, too: “Ask anything in my name and it shall be done.” I didn’t see an asterisk on that comment by Jesus nor did I think it applied to his apostles only.
    Kierkegaard said prayer doesn’t change God, it changes us. And he was right. Because it changed me into a non-believer. I’m glad, Paul, you’re saved and believe. I cannot come to the point and don’t think I ever will. As for “God’s will,” another easy way to explain all the disappointments that we as humans experience after the sufferings and travails we are forced to endure. Like Job, who am I to question the Man in Charge? Either do it His way or hit the highway to hell. That’s not free will.

  • I guess I expected something a little better from AC. But, as I’m beginning to see, Catholics turn on and abandon there own quicker that you could bat an eye. The insufferable snobbery has indeed drifted over here too, following the lead from Mark Shea. No, They’d rather see Father Corapi bleed to death. Did you even bother to listen to his 2nd meesage.

    All other things being equal, I would have been happy to give Corapi the benefit of the doubt, but up and abandoning your vows as a priest is way up there on the list of worst possible things you could do in this situation.

    I think Creative Minority Report pretty much nailed this one.

  • Did you even bother to listen to his 2nd meesage. [sic]

    I don’t know about Don, but I did, and it convinced me further that something was afoul.

  • Joe,

    To ask something in Jesus’ Name is to do what He did: “Father, if it be possible, may this cup be removed from me; yet not as I will, but Thine be done.”

    When I pray, “God, in Jesus name heal this person”, or “God, in Jesus’ name give me a new wife,” I am demonstrably NOT praying in Jesus’ name, but making a mockery of His name (which I did for years as I treated God like a slot machine).

    I was in hell when I did things by my own will. I was once a millimeter away from the heroin needle, AIDS and death. I lived that hell for a number of years. I should be dead underneath a bridge with a needle in my left arm and a bottle of vodka in my right hand. I really don’t want to go back.

    Have bad things happened to me in the 25+ subsequent years? Yup. A woman who once loved me and marrried me has turned on me. I don’t get to see my kids any longer. I often feel so alone. But when I look at all these things objectively, I usually see where “self-will run riot” has screwed up my life, NOT God. Hell is my refusal of God. God doesn’t so much send me there as I send myself there. He isn’t a dictator who says, “My way or I burn you for an eternity.” He is a Father who says, “Don’t send yourself to hell; come home into my loviing arms.” But in His love He respects our free will and has provided a way without Him. That way is simply hell. In other words, refusal of God is hell and it starts here and now. I have been there and done that.

    Read the Chapter to the Agnostic in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. I realize you’re not alcoholic (and this isn’t “Catholic”), but at least look at this with an open mind (and any Traditionalists reading this shouldn’t object to something that has saved millions of lives). Don’t close yourself up as I did for so many years. Here’s the link (I hope – I really hate doing blog comments on an iPad – Apple ain’t all it’s cracked up to be):

  • Sorry about the digression from the topic of Fr. Corapi, folks. I was just answering Joe’s objections. As for Fr. Corapi, yes, I think something is afoul, but II shall still give him the benefit of the doubt. Yes, I agree with Darwin that abandoning one’s vows is a very bad sign indeed. Yet we still donn’t know all the circumstances, and Fr. Corapi, as fallibly human as he is, still isn’t one of the effeminate nit wit liberal progressives spewing forth nice-nicee at Sunday morning Masses instead of openly confronting abortion, contraception, sodomy, etc. However, as a recovering cocaine addict, he is likely finding (as the Big Book describes) that the lime light is a set up for relapse, mental and spiritual if not physical. Nope, I did NOT say he relapsed. But as Paul Zummo said, something is afoul.

  • Zummo’s reference to second message I believe is this. Plays the blame game.

    Still pointing fingers. Remember when you point a finger there are four more pointing back at you.

  • “With all your heroic posts about brave Americans, you have truly revealed yourself to be a coward, a sellout.”

    Get over yourself Jasper. Actually that is sound advice for Corapi also. Since you are lobbing personal insults I am putting you on moderation.

  • Darwin, I find myself agreeing with you for a change. Great Corapi parody:

  • Father Corapi’s latest announcement is here:

    He references the accusation of relapse. I repeat: I have NOT accused him of relapse. I do NOT know who has so accused him. I am simply thankfully that I myself haven’t relapsed. But this audio release makes me more worried than ever. I shall continue to pray for him. Please, everyone, pray for Father Corapi.

  • Sounds like Corapi was fed up with the Church hierarchy for failing to lawyer him up on prior accusations, including raping a woman in Milwaukee and allegations he was back on coke. Likewise, the bishop appears to have either had the goods on him on the latest charge or felt the continuing charges of wrongdoing were sufficient in themselves to justify letting him hang out to dry.

    Corapi says the Church “didn’t lift a finger” to help him over the years with legal expenses or health care and that he spent tens of thousands of dollars of his own money on such things. Which raises the question as to where all the money came from. Evidently, he did a thriving business in selling crucifixes, Bibles and other religious items via EWTN, on his website and by the collection plate while on an Elmer Gantry-style tour.

    As he “broadens” his interests, look for him to show up soon on secular shows and TBN hawking his autobiography and taking cheap shots at the Church while piously professing to still be a faithful son. Oh, the hypocrisy! But then, who among is is not a hypocrite at one time or another in our sorry lives?

  • “For me yet another nail in the coffin that is the Catholic Church.”

    Please Joe. Judas, an apostle, betrayed the Son of God with a kiss. If human weakness, folly and sin were an argument against Catholicism the Church would have died at the Crucifixion. It is no argument against Catholicism that some of its representatives are mired in sin. Christ died on the Cross precisely to save us from the consequences of our sins and not to magically transform the race of Adam into sinless Angels who will never have give way to temptation or sin. Mother Church has confession for the very good reason that we are all sinners in great need of repentance. The idea that priests can sin is no more argument against the truth of the Faith, then the idea that cops and judges commit crimes is an argument against the law.

  • Don, I take no pleasure in schadenfreude. While Corapi dug his own hole, seems to me the Church could have done more both now and in the past to stand by him IF he is/was innocent as he proclaims. Perhaps, however, the budget for legal expenses has been so overwhelmed that there’s nothing in the till to defend yet another lawsuit.

  • A point of clarification regarding that accusation of rape in Milwaukee to which Joe refers,, Fr. Corapi explained in his audio recording that the alleged incident occurred when he wasn’t even present in Milwaukee, and that the woman who so accused him explained to the police that he jumped out of the TV screen and raped her.

    Joe, please let’s have some relevant context here.

  • Does anyone know if Corapi collected the $3.2 million he won in a lawsuit and, if so, what he did with the money?
    Here’s a link referring to it:

  • Paul P, my point referring to the rape charge was not to give it any credence but rather to point out that the Church, as he asserts, did not come to his defense. Corapi said he had to clear things up by hiring his own lawyer and it cost him 5 grand.

    I’m interested in the legal/canonical process, which Corapi is foregoing asserting it is “impossible” for him to get justice or be exonerated. It would seem to me that the Church and ultimately Rome, to which he could finally appeal, would use a fair and exhaustive process in a search for the truth.

    Don, any insights into this?

  • Regarding my previous post, here is but one example of how a falsely accused priest suffered calumny. His death came June 11 after much needless suffering.

  • Remember when you point a finger there are four more pointing back at you.

    Actually, only three. Unless you have some wierd jointing in your thumb, which usually rests across the other three fingers when pointing, and therefore is aimed to the side, rather than back at you. :mrgreen:

  • “I’m interested in the legal/canonical process, which Corapi is foregoing asserting it is “impossible” for him to get justice or be exonerated. It would seem to me that the Church and ultimately Rome, to which he could finally appeal, would use a fair and exhaustive process in a search for the truth.

    Don, any insights into this?”

    The Church would have the right to take any action against him she pleased in regard to his status as a priest and any ecclesiastical sanctions that were to be imposed. Just because Corapi is saying “no mas” does not end the matter as far as the Church is concerned. If Corapi is refusing to cooperate, which I assume that is what he is saying, then he could be held to have defaulted in the case. In regard to these issues of course I am not a Canon Lawyer, nor do I play one on the blog, and it would require a Canon Lawyer to flesh out the very rough outline I have just given.

  • I agree with Joe. I am a proud Catholic, but beleive the Church does absolutely nothing to defend it’s accused priests. In light of all the bad publicity the Catholic Church has had recently, it just does not want anymore! So.. They take the priest out of service, shut him up, and tie up the acusations in court till they go away and are forgotten. The accused priest never get’s justice, and the accuser is usually shut up by an out of court settelement with the stippulation they can not talk about or profit from the incident.
    I beleive John Corapi is doing the right thing. I hope he goes after the false accuser in court, exposes them, and the unfair practices of the Catholic Church when it pertains to accused priests.
    I pray for all involved, and God’s Will be done when it comes to defending your bretheren.

  • c matt, point conceded, 3 not 4 fingers, of course. In my case, I can point my thumb back at me when I raise my forefinger at a higher angle…oh, never mind.

  • Don, by “any action,” assume this could include defrocking or excommunication. I came across the word, “laicize,” which sounds like a euphemism for defrocking. In any event, it appears his days as a priest are over despite is claims otherwise.

  • Don,

    I’m sorry about the comment above, it was out of line-

  • No problem Jasper. As far as I am concerned it never happened. You are off moderation and I feel so good I am even taking T.Shaw off moderation! 🙂

  • Please see, “Calling Back Black Sheep Dog Home” at St. Joseph Communications.


  • “Please see, “Calling Back Black Sheep Dog Home” at St. Joseph Communications.”

    While I found their appeal moving, it was erroneous in the respect of their “Come back to the Church” statements and their exhorting Corapi to be “obedient”. John Corapi has not left the Church. He may or may not be on that trajectory, but he hasn’t left the Church as of yet. Nor has his actions constituted an act of disobedience. By stating “[t]he SOLT will do all within its power to assist Fr. Corapi if he desires to seek a dispensation from his rights and obligations as a priest and as a professed member of the SOLT.” Fr. Sheehan is acknowledging that Corapi is acting within his rights.

    While I find the course that he has decided to embark upon troubling, some of the critiques of it to be just as troubling. For one I find Mr. McClarey’s saying he believes the accusations against him to be likely true on that basis to be knee jerkish and uncharitable. His actions, given the present provisions now in place that have trapped several accussed priests in suspebnsion indefininately, give no indication of his guilt or innocence for that matter.

    I say this as one who is neither a fan or anti-fan of Corapi. I just think we don’t have enough knowledge of the facts thus far to make teh kind of critiques that thave been made. I would suggest one read what Bishop Gracida has to say via the link Jay Anderson posted above.

  • I would also like to say that in reading the somewhat distressing accounts of those who have been positively influenced by John Corapi’s preaching I am reminded of how I feel about the unCatholic behavior of the prominent Catholic apologetics and writers establishment’s refusal to, as Our Lord says, “pull the plank out your own eye before you pull the speck out of your brother’s eye.” I am talking about the way they refused and still refuse, to hold people like Mark Shea accountable for his calumnious diatribes against those who hold legitimately Catholic views on geopolitical and national security issues. For a good, but by no means exhaustive, synopsis, I would recommend reading Chris Blosser’s take here:

    Like many of those who were influenced by Corapi, I was similarly influenced by the works of Catholic apologists like those at Catholic Answers, and the like when I was just coming back to the Church almost 20 years ago. And to watch these very same people continue to circle the wagons around their bad apples while telling others to clean their batches is heartbreaking. So, I understand the pain many are feeling with the whole Corapi situation. But there is no evidence at this juncture that John Corapi has engaged in calumny or enabled it. Unfortunately the same cannot be said about the “orthodox” Catholic apologists and writers establishment.

    I think that what has transpired in the last last decade with things like teh priest sex abuse scandal, the horrible double life lead by LC founder Marcel Maciel, as well as what I describe above offers a great opportunity to for us Catholoics to take a long hard look at ourselves before we tell the rest of the world what is wrong with them.

  • When encountering sad developments like Corapi’s, it is important to remember this wisdom from Flannery O’Connor:

    Christ was crucified on earth and the Church is crucified by all of us, by her members most particularly, because she is a church of sinners. Christ never said that the Church would be operated in a sinless or intelligent way, but that it would not teach error. This does not mean that each and every priest won’t teach error, but that the whole Church speaking through the Pope will not teach errors in matters of faith. The Church is founded on Peter who denied Christ three times and couldn’t walk on the water by himself. You are expecting his successors to walk on the water.

    O’Connor had it right. We will always have sinful priests, just as we will always have sinful laity. We must hold onto the Church anyway — I hope Corapi eventually realizes that too.

  • If you take time to read the hundreds of comments on various websites, the vast majority are supportive of Corapi, who is gradually achieving cult status. Many of his followers are pledging eternal devotion to him, which reminds me of what happened with Jim Jones 30-some years ago when they all wound up drinking the Kool-Aid.

    Corapi’s selection of “black sheepdog” not only connotes the idea, as I am sure he intended, of portraying himself an antiestablishment underdog rebel but also alludes to his defiance of the Church leadership. His in-your-face, less-than-humble pronouncements paint a picture of a megalomaniac tone deaf to the vow of obedience he took when ordained.

    The entire story has yet to unfold and be rewritten. Interesting timing given that his autobiographical book is due out soon, which no doubt he will be plugging on every talk show he can get on, fueled by the growing notoriety he himself has managed to ignite, making him much in demand for his 15 minutes+ of new-found fame.

    Clearly the Church would like nothing better than for this rogue to vanish into obscurity, but Corapi’s avowals to keep on trucking augur for more drama and unwanted publicity in the weeks and months ahead. Sooner or later, the 3-page letter the alleged victim wrote to the bishops will be leaked, providing more salacious material for the tabloids. One can see the cover story of a future Enquirer: “Pop Preacher In sex-drug scandal”. Should sell a lot of books.

  • “For one I find Mr. McClarey’s saying he believes the accusations against him to be likely true on that basis”

    Having spent the last 29 years representing people in court accused of felonies or misdemeanors, I have never, in the hundreds of cases I have been involved in, had someone who is innocent not mount a vigorous defense. Corapi began this whole melodrama by claiming that the charges against him were false and stating that he would cooperate in the process. Now he refuses to cooperate in the process, walks away from the priesthood and wants people to simply accept his word that he is innocent. Yeah, to me that all adds up to someone who is probably guilty of what he is accused of. Common sense should not fly out the window simply because a priest is the accused.

  • I for one hope and pray you are wrong, Donald. I am still sick to my stomach because (having been a lying alcoholic dope fiend myself) I know how true your words could be for me. But for the grace of God……..

  • Don, in a narrow sense your analysis is compelling but in a larger frame of reference, consider the complications caused by Corapi’s civil lawsuit against his accuser, which SOLT determined to be a problem in conducting its investigation.

    As The National Catholic Register reported:

    “The civil suit against the former employee created a problem for SOLT investigators.

    “In canon law, there can’t be any pressure on witnesses; they have to be completely free to speak. The investigation was compromised because of the pressure on the witnesses. There were other witnesses that also had signed non-disclosure agreements,” said Father Sheehan (diocese spokesman).

    “The canon lawyers were in a difficult situation, and Father does have his civil rights and he decided to follow his legal counsel, which he had a right to do,” he said. “We tried to continue the investigation without speaking to the principal witnesses.”

    Read more:

    Perhaps it’s too fine a legal point to put on it, but is Corapi, as a priest, precluded from exercising his civil rights and are these rights subordinate to the Church’s authority?

  • I might add that I would be overjoyed if Corapi were to be found to be completely innocent. However, I can see little chance of that ever being the case since he refuses to cooperate in the process.

  • I know, Donald, that you would be overjoyed if Fr. Corapi is found innocent. We all would. But everything looks so dark now, and it doesn’t help that he chose the Black Sheepdog moniker.

    I like Joe’s relative open mindedness about this whole thing. He’s being a lot more charitable than many of either Fr. Corapi’s supporters or detractors.

  • “Perhaps it’s too fine a legal point to put on it, but is Corapi, as a priest, precluded from exercising his civil rights and are these rights subordinate to the Church’s authority?”

    Canon law is certainly not my field Joe. I will look at his as an ordinary non-Canon attorney. Corapi is suing his accuser for breach of confidentiality for breaking a condition of employment that she not reveal anything about her employment. I think it is a stretch to say that a confidentiality agreement would prevent her from revealing drug use or violation of celibacy by Corapi, but that is the basis of the lawsuit. Her attorney might well be counseling her not to say anything more since further comments might lead to further damages, although I would say such a risk would be minimal. Corapi of course should have waived the confidentiality agreements so that his accuser and witnesses could have spoken freely to the Church authorities. I would assume that his priesthood would be far more precious to him than enforcement of a civil contract. All of this underlines the dangers that can arise when priests establish businesses, especially when businesses are based on their preaching as priests. Trade and being a priest go ill together, and this is part of the Corapi saga that hasn’t received enough attention yet in my opinion.

  • Don

    Comparing your experience in American civil law, which is generous to the accused, to a process in the Church that is quite the opposite is an apples to oranges comparison.

  • Thanks, Paul P. I know I get snarky at times and tweak you believers, but deep down I believe in the truth and am always seeking it. As a freelance writer, I’m trying to dig out some facts. Appreciate the latitude that has been extended on TAC in allowing a diverse range of opinion.

  • I just think that more evidence needs to come to light before we start going around saying we think he is guilty (or innocent for that matter) of what he is accused of. That’s not throwing common sense out the window at all.

  • Don, as for Corapi’s “business” side, consider that Bishop Sheen for several years hosted what likely was quite a profitable TV show but did not compromise (as far as we know) his integrity as a priest. I still watch Sheen and never got the sense of self-promotion and always admired his humility. However, someone must have made a lot of money from Life is Worth Living. Likewise, Sister Angelica and EWTN likely are in the black and although the network is not in the “business” of making a profit, it is the only way it can stay on the air.

  • Don:

    Here is Corapi’s explanation as to why he filed the civil suit for breach of confidentiality clause. You will notice that he claims that he was advised by Bp. Gracida, former Ordinary of Corpus Christi, who granted permission for the erection of SOLT, and the Founder of the SOLT himself. This is posted on Bp. Gracida’s blog with no qualification that Corapi is misrepresenting him. You of all people ought to know that you shouldn’t publicly state such an opinion without doing the needed research into the matter.

    “Many have asked, or criticized, me (FATHER JOHN CORAPI) concerning the reason I filed a civil defamation suit against the accuser in this case. It is because the two men I respect most in the Catholic Church advised me to do so. Fr. James Flanagan, Founder and most respected member of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, and Bishop Rene Gracida, the former Bishop of Corpus Christi, had a meeting on this matter. The result was that they advised me strongly to file a civil defamation suit. Why would they do this? Because they felt it was the only way I could receive a fair and just hearing. This advice was conveyed to me through Fr. Tony Anderson of the Society of Our Lady.”

  • Has anyone considered 1st Corinthians 6:1-8?

    “How can any one of you with a case against another dare to bring it to the unjust for judgment instead of to the holy ones? Do you not know that the holy ones will judge the world? If the world is to be judged by you, are you unqualified for the lowest law courts? Do you not know that we will judge angels? Then why not everyday matters? If, therefore, you have courts for everyday matters, do you seat as judges people of no standing in the church? I say this to shame you. Can it be that there is not one among you wise enough to be able to settle a case between brothers? But rather brother goes to court against brother, and that before unbelievers? Now indeed (then) it is, in any case, a failure on your part that you have lawsuits against one another. Why not rather put up with injustice? Why not rather let yourselves be cheated? Instead, you inflict injustice and cheat, and this to brothers.”

  • There is strong evidence Fr. Corapi is guilty of misrepresenting his military service history.

  • Personally, I ignore Mark Shea and will continue to do so.

  • As far as I know Greg, Corapi has not filed a civil defamation lawsuit. He has filed a breach of contract suit for alleged violation of the confidentiality agreement by the former employee. In a civil defamation lawsuit Corapi would have to prove that the charges made by the accuser were false. In a breach of confidentiality suit the truth or falsity of the accusations would not be at issue but rather whether confidential information was disclosed about his business. Since Corapi is a public figure I think he would have extreme difficulty winning a defamation lawsuit under current case law, so I do not fault him for not bringing such a suit. I do find it odd that he appears to be referencing a civil defamation suit when what he has actually filed is a breach of contract suit.

  • Paul, I’m as big a fan of the genetic fallacy as the next guy, but permit me to glean the essentials from the above link: Fr. Corapi claimed to have received Special Forces training, and even wearing a Green Beret.

    A FOIA request for his military record reveals no such assignment:

    [Look at the upper right hand corner for a link to the service record]

  • Dale,

    Maybe what you write is correct. I do not know. However, is not a US military web site, nor does it have the power or ability to comply with an FOIA request.

    I do agree, however, that Fr. Corapi did indulge in exaggeration from time to time. I took the embellishments in his stories as such – good story-telling for the old Irish Catholic ladies, but as an ex-submarine reactor operator (with zero Special Forces or Green Beret experience, thank the Lord Jesus!), I just didn’t take all that stuff literally. I really didn’t like being in the Military because I didn’t like going out to (er, I mean under) the sea for months at a time. But I can embellish my experiences, too. Standing watch at the Reactor Plant Control Panel for hours on end over and over again for weeks on end was so boring (and thank God, because any excitement there is a bad day in paradise!).

  • PS, Dale:

    In case you submit an FOIA request on me, my last name was Towne at the time, I served from 76 to 82, I spent most of my time in the shipyard and saw very little at sea experience, and I hated being out to sea because it kept me away from my partying. Except for my drunken exploits that I don’t remember (due to blackouts), my life was pretty boring.

    I don’t begrudge Fr. Corapi his embellishments. I do think leaving the priesthood is a bad idea. But what do I know? I am just a boring nuclear engineer (well, technically a QA specialist for software in digital microprocessor-based instrumentation and controls systems used in nuclear power plants, but that’s a mouth full, so I’ll embellish with “nuclear engineer” and perhaps 10 years from now somebody will say I lied). 😉

  • “embellishments,” Paul, a nice word for lies. FYI, I tried reaching Corapi at his listed phone number in Montana but it’s no longer in service. Calls to Corpus Christi diocese were answered by a frightened receptionist who said she didn’t have a clue about any of this and Father Sheehan was out of town till Monday and was the only one who could talk to the press.

    The more digging you do on this story the fishier it gets. I smell cover-up.

  • Joe, I deleted your comment. No need to go there.

  • I understand, Paul. Thank you.

  • About the only comment that bore any weight is one that states – “We don’t have any facts” – Here’s what we know for sure.
    – Father has been a faithful, deliberate, constant and devoted loving priest to his Church, its teachings and have brought many many people back to the church and I personally can account for his teachings saving my brothers life and that of many other viet nam veterans.
    – A woman has posed allegations.
    – Our justice system was founded on – Innocent until proven guilty.

    – Opinions and judgement are both thoughtless and Godless
    – Fr. Corapi, our Catholic Church and all Priests are under siege by the devil.
    – Hopefully Fr. Corapi will no stop praying and his followers will continue to pray for him.
    – Most of all considering his devotion to his church – and I am sure as my priest would indicate – not without pain – all families have disagreement and all families have disfunction – even the church – but no less – may his parents of the church while following the law – support him as the law of the land and of the church investigate to uncover the truth.

    May God Bless Fr. Corapi, All of our priests and our church world-wide – and today I pray mostly for Fr. Corapis order and superiors – that they will support and love thier brother in Christ and help him fight this battle to uncovering the truth in Jesus name.

  • Opinions and judgement are both thoughtless and Godless

    As this is an opinion and the tenor of the comment is rather judgmental . . .

A Father to Everyone

Monday, June 20, AD 2011

The conjunction of Trinity Sunday and Father’s Day had me thinking yesterday about the fact that we are urged by Christ to call God our Father. Every so often you hear someone claim that we only call the first person of the trinity “God the Father” because it has been men doing the talking through most of Christian history. Had it been women in charge of things, so the claim goes, we might be talking about “God the Mother” instead.

It strikes me that the basic problem with this point of view, from a human perspective, is that it assumes that the relation of men to their fathers is more like the relationship between women and their mothers than it is like that between women and their fathers. This suggests that sex is the primary determining factor of the relationship we have with our parents — one sort of relationship with the parent of the same sex, a different sort of relationship with the parent of the opposite sex.

Like all mistakes, there is, I think, some element of truth to this. The parent of one’s own sex serves as an example (even if in sad circumstances a negative one) of how the child will be a parent. Sons know that some day they may be fathers. Daughters know that some day they may be mothers. And yet, this sense cannot be the sense in which we see God as father. We will not grow up to be God like Him, we will not become creators of our own universes. We will not become all knowing, all powerful and eternal. So the sense in which we (or according to that theory, men) see God as a father is not the “I could be like him someday” sense.

At the more basic level, it seems to me that “father” and “mother” are archetypes which are different — and although sons and daughters may relate to their father differently, the ways in which both sons and daughters relate to and understand their father are more similar to each other than the way daughters relate to their mother is to the way sons relate to their father.

When Jesus told us to call God our Father, He didn’t mean in the most literal and physical sense, one which would have come naturally to many pagans at that time. God the Father does not come down, like Zeus to some pretty girl, and father each one of us. And yet, we understand God as our Father because as human persons our understanding of “father” is an imperfect understanding of what our relationship with God the Father is.

As such, it seems to me that all of us, men and women, can equally relate to God as being our Father. If anything, the difference in this for men and women would not be that men see God as a father while women see Him as a mother, but rather that men relate to Him as sons while women relate to Him as daughters.

Continue reading...

One Response to A Father to Everyone

A One State Solution for Peace in the Middle East

Monday, June 20, AD 2011

No, no Klavan on the culture!  Everyone knows that if the Jews would simply disappear the Arab world would become an oasis of peace and tolerance!  At least that is what I have been told over the years by numerous combox adversaries and correspondents.  Prior to becoming a blogger, I would comment on other Catholic blogs, and one of my favorits sites was Amy Welborn’s Open Book.  After commenting there one day I received a lengthy e-mail from a correspondent who I responded to in a fisk format.  This correspondence occurred on April 17, 2007, and I thought that some of our readers might find it diverting: 

Continue reading...

49 Responses to A One State Solution for Peace in the Middle East

  • Does Israel have sins? YES! Just read the Old Testament and see also that it applies to the modern nation-state as well. So what? America has sins too. We kill over 4,000 innocents daily – probably more than the Nazis did.

    I find it odd that we compare Israel (whether fabricated political Zionism or Judiasim in general) and America with the perfect and always find them wanting. Surprise! What a shocker that nations of sinners are flawed. Yet, at the same time we highlight the good that all our enemies do. Did Saddam do some good? Was he somewhat stabilizing? Was he a counterweight against Iran? Yes. So what. He was also a murderous thug who ran a totalitarian state and often worked against our interests. Most often our legitimate interests as well as the interests of the transnational globalist bankers and their minions who act as a parasite on our country, and Israel too (psst- most these globalist bas!@&ds are Jewish! But, not really – they are actually atheists, or worse Luciferians who are only culturally ‘Jewish’ – this gives lefties the cover to be anti-Semites (but only Jewish anti-Semites, they treat Arab Semites as noble savages, you know like Native Americans and Negros – aren’t lefties sweet!) because lefties hate God and apparently God loves Jews, I think His Son’s Jewish)

    When we compare the atrocious state of Israel with the rest of the tyrannies in the middle-east, she don’t look so bad. When we compare post WWII America with the Constitutional Republic intended by the Founders she looks pretty bad, even downright disappointing. Again, so what. Compare America with all of our neighbors in the southern part of our hemisphere, most of Europe, China, Russia, or any other nation in the history of civilization for that matter. We look pretty darn good,

    The simple fact is the UN, communist (democratic socialist) powers that desire a one-world tyranny need a world war beginning in the middle east and are even moving the pieces to do so right now. Why? To exhaust the West (NATO which is the USA under Euro-socialist control) and empower the East (Commies), while redistributing our wealth to the third-world in order to gain a lock over all the natural resources. Political Zionism (which is an anti-Jewish scheme) considered establishing the homeland for the Jews in Uganda, but it was decided that had no Biblical basis. You know how we Western Christians are so stupid that we will go along with anything if you can find a textual, albeit not contextual, basis in the Bible we blindly believe in, with not rational thought.

    Israel in Palestine had both the Biblical basis and the strategic location of placing an ‘enemy’ in the middle of the middle-east. Furthermore, for just about all of its history the territory of Palestine has always been a garrison state. Just ask King Baldwin. Why would anyone want to have their homeland there? It defies logic. I would have picked New Zealand.

    If you are a tyrannical enemy of mankind and you want global hegemony how would you look at the chess board of the world? America is always standing in your way, so erode her from inside and tie her closely with Israel. Inspire the Moslem and Arab world to attack Israel and draw America into a long war to drain her (why is it that the war in Iraq was quick, decisive and extremely successful and then we entered into a long, protracted and messy occupation). This will destroy Israel, America and the Moslem world. What will be left? Atheistic Communism from China, with a resurgence of it in Russia and probably a UN Communist Federal System of global tyranny. This is Stalin, Hitler and Mao’s dream along with a host of uber-elite Western ‘capitalists’.

    Will it happen? We can’t know. Will they try? Without a doubt. If the Bible is any indication, it is likely, if we turn to God, that Israel will surprise everyone by defeating insurmountable odds. Then again, God’s Wrath has been harshest on Israel for her fornication in the past and America is no exception to this rule. The big question is not so much will a world war start in the middle-east, it is not an if, it is a when. We just have to wonder on which side of this conflict the USA will be. By all indications right now – it is not the side of Israel.

    Those pesky Jews have been causing problems forever. They undermined the utopian, pharonic regime in Egypt, they invaded and slaughtered every tribe in Palestine, they vandalized the walls of Jericho with a shofar, they brought the Colonial Western Powers (Romans) to the middle-east and their Rabi Yesua min Nazret spread a counter-revolutionary ideology that has been the bane of totalitarian governments for over 2,000 years. No wonder worldly powers hate Jews and by extension the Catholic Church and America too.

  • Just out of curiousity, was your correspondent Daniel Nichols, Marv Wood, or some other individual?

  • I know it wasn’t Marv Woods Art. I can’t recall the name of my correspondent, although it was someone whose name I didn’t recognize. I didn’t retain the original e-mails, just copies of my fisks, so I can’t check the name.

  • Just saying: to set straight the record:

    During each week in June 1967, 200 to 300 Americans were getting killed in Vietnam.

    On the other side of the world . . .

    At 0800 hrs, 8 June, 1967, eight Israeli recon flights flew over ‘Liberty,’ which was flying a large American flag. At 1400 hrs, waves of low-flying Israeli Mystere and Mirage-III fighter-bombers repeatedly attacked the American vessel with rockets, napalm, and cannon. The air attacks lasted 20 minutes, concentrating on the ship’s electronic antennas and dishes. The ‘Liberty’ was left afire, listing sharply. Eight of her crew lay dead, a hundred seriously wounded, including the captain, Commander William McGonagle.

    At 1424 hrs, three Israeli torpedo boats attacked, raking the burning ‘Liberty’ with 20mm and 40mm shells. At 1431hrs an Israeli torpedo hit the ‘Liberty’ midship, precisely where the signals intelligence systems were located. Twenty-five more Americans died.

    Israeli gunboats circled the wounded ‘Liberty,’ firing at crewmen trying to fight the fires. At 1515, the crew were ordered to abandon ship. The Israeli warships closed and poured machine gun fire into the crowded life rafts, sinking two. As American sailors were being massacred in cold blood, a rescue mission by US Sixth Fleet carrier aircraft was mysteriously aborted on orders from the White House.

    An hour after the attack, Israeli warships and planes returned. Commander McGonagle gave the order. ‘prepare to repel borders.’ But the Israelis, probably fearful of intervention by the US Sixth Fleet, departed. ‘Liberty’ was left shattered but still defiant, her flag flying.
    The Israeli attacks killed 34 US seamen and wounded 171 out of a crew of 297, the worst loss of American naval personnel from hostile action since World War II.

    Less than an hour after the attack, Israel told Washington its forces had committed a ‘tragic error.’ Later, Israel claimed it had mistaken ‘Liberty’ for an ancient Egyptian horse transport. US Secretary of State, Dean Rusk, and Joint Chiefs of Staff head, Admiral Thomas Moorer, insisted the Israeli attack was deliberate and designed to sink ‘Liberty.’ So did three CIA reports; one asserted Israel’s Defense Minister, Gen. Moshe Dayan, had personally ordered the attack.

    In contrast to American outrage over North Korea’s assault on the intelligence ship ‘Pueblo,’ Iraq’s mistaken missile strike on the USS ‘Stark,’ last fall’s bombing of the USS ‘Cole’ in Aden, and the recent US-China air incident, the savaging of ‘Liberty’ was quickly hushed up by President Lyndon Johnson and Defense Secretary Robert McNamara.

    The White House and Congress immediately accepted Israel’s explanation and let the matter drop. Israel later paid a token reparation of US $6 million. There were reports two Israeli pilots who had refused to attack ‘Liberty’ were jailed for 18 years.

    Also, during the 1973 war, they tried and failed to shoot down our SR-71’s. If I told yoiu how I know, I’d have to shoot myself.

    Tagged: Don’t Urinate on My Shoes and Tell Me It’s Raining Department.

  • Where to begin T. Shaw?

    1. Compensation-Israel paid $6,000,000.00 for damage to the Liberty, $3,323,500.00 to the families of the 34 men killed and $3, 566, 457 to the 170 crewmen wounded. Much more when I have time later today.

  • Here is a discussion you had.

    You were contending with “Al” (an admirer of Fr. Feeney), Morning’s Minion, Chris Sullivan, and Nate Wildermuth. The style is most unlike any one of them. The bilge about William Kristol’s defunct advocacy group sounds like Daniel Nichols, but the U.S.S. Liberty is not one of his fixations. Amusing puzzle….

  • Klaven’s Jewish one state solution would be as bad as the Palestinian one state solution. The Jewish culture that Zionism came from is just as anti-christian as the Muslim culture that now dominates the Middle East. If the Israelis were to achieve this goal of a one state solution, it would further inflame the situlation in the Middle East. They would lose the war with the Muslims in the long run, because there are more Muslims than Jews in the Middle East, and the high rate of abortions in Israel and the high Muslim birthrate are guaranteeing the IDF won’t have enough soldiers to fight it’s battles in the near future.
    If anyone wants some intelligent commentary on the Middle East from a Catholic perspective, is a good place to go. TAC should link to it.

  • and the high rate of abortions in Israel and the high Muslim birthrate are guaranteeing the IDF won’t have enough soldiers to fight it’s battles in the near future.

    Fertility rates have been tanking in the Arab world and adjacent areas for a generation and have been measured in recent years as being below replacement levels in Tunisia, Algeria, Lebanon, and Iran. Israel has a total fertility rate of 2.7 (the occidental world’s highest) and net immigration as well. See the CIA World Factbook on these matters.

  • “You were contending with “Al” (an admirer of Fr. Feeney), Morning’s Minion, Chris Sullivan, and Nate Wildermuth.”

    It certainly was none of those gentlemen as I am quite familiar with each of their writing styles and, as you pointed out, my interlocutor exhibited none of their usual writing traits.

  • Stephen, Klavan’s one state solution was meant to be completely humorous, although in on off the record conversations Arab leaders have been known to admit wryly that their countries were often better off being run by the Turks, the French or the British. I disagree that Zionism is anti-Christian. Catholics are free to worship as they please in Israel. The problem for Arab Christians is not the Jews but their Arab muslim “brothers and sisters” whose attitude towards the Arab Christians usually run the gamut from disdainful contempt to murderous persecution. The best gift any Christian can give to an Arab Christian living in the Arab world is a one way plane ticket to the West.

  • Mac,

    Don’t bother trying to convince any sentient being that in the middle of a “life-or-death”, national-survival war, the IDF had excess fighter bombers, TP boats, and munitions and eight tactical hours to strafe life boats trying to sink an Egyptian army horse transport.

    No wait! The Egyptian horse cavalry had them surrounded!

    The 34 KIA of the Liberty and about 58,000 other Americans in the 1960’s and 1970’s were expendable.

  • Lunch time and time to respond to T. Shaw. T. Shaw, why attack the Liberty and not sink it? The Israelis had it well within their power to do so. Instead, after they realized their mistake they called off their torpedo boats and had them radio the Liberty to offer assistance. The Captain of the Liberty, Commander McGonagle, confirmed this. The Israelis also immediately notified the US embassy in Israel of the mistaken attack and provided a helicopter to fly a naval attache to the ship.

    Let us assume that the Israelis wished to sink the Liberty for some reason unknown to us. Why didn’t they do it when they had the opportunity? The conspiracy nuts and raving anti-Semites who have seized upon this have no explanation for this, just as they have been unable to provide any rational explanation as to why the Israelis would want to sink the Liberty in the first place.

    T. Shaw, if you, and all and any other sentient creatures on the planet, wish to know the actual facts about the Liberty attack, go to the website linked below:

  • Interesting comments, all. God promised Abraham that whoever curses his descendants will be cursed and whoever blesses them will be blessed. St. Paul says in Romans 11:1, “…has God rejected His people? By no means!” Indeed, every government that has persecuted the Jews lies in the dung heap of history. They are gone, and against all odds (right or wrong) there is a nation called Israel exactly as prophesied.

    I am sorry, but I can’t buy into all the anti-Israel stuff. Was Israel wrong in attacking the USS Liberty? You betcha! Is Israel really the state that God envisioned would be the re-constituted new Israel? Probably not. Is Zionism really Christian? Nope – only Christian is really Christian. But when an Israeli soldier shoots and kills a Palestinian child, it’s a complete miss whereas when an Islamic Jihaddist does the same thing, it’s a direct hit.

    Is Israel a bad nation. Yup, and so are we. And there are worse ones: Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Red China for starters. We had better all repent – Jew and Gentile – before God’s wrath comes upon us. Romans 11:11-24 comes to mind.

  • Don, Zionism sprang from Jewish minds. The Jews reject Jesus as the Christ come in the flesh. I Jno. 2:22-23 and II Jno. 7 says any one or any group that believes this is anti-christ.
    As for the claim that “Christians are free to worship as they please in Israel” they may be “free” but they’re mistreated by the Israelis. Go to the and click on the article Catholics Can Not Be Zionists. Read the first comment to the article by Sarah. The Israeli’s use our Catholic Breathern as buffers to shied them from the Muslims. Some freedom, eh?
    Art, even if fertility rates have been tanking in the Arab countries, that’s not what I was talking about. The Palestinian Muslim birthrate in Israel is growing faster than the Israeli Jewish birthrate. The Israeli Jews, with the exception of the Orthodox and Haredim groups, are declining, due to abortion and contraception. Most of these people are anti-zionist, so they won’t be really eager to help the Zionist state. And that 2.7 birthrate, the highest in the Middle East, most of that 2.7 is coming from the Orthodox and Haredim, who, as I’ve already pointed out, are not too thrilled about Zionism. Again read the articles that the Catholic Knight has posted on his site about Zionism, Israel, Jews, and Middle Eastern Christians so you can be better informed about wants really going on over there.

  • “Don, Zionism sprang from Jewish minds. The Jews reject Jesus as the Christ come in the flesh. I Jno. 2:22-23 and II Jno. 7 says any one or any group that believes this is anti-christ.”

    That is not what the Church teaches Stephen.

    839 “Those who have not yet received the Gospel are related to the People of God in various ways.”

    “The relationship of the Church with the Jewish People. When she delves into her own mystery, the Church, the People of God in the New Covenant, discovers her link with the Jewish People, “the first to hear the Word of God.” The Jewish faith, unlike other non-Christian religions, is already a response to God’s revelation in the Old Covenant. To the Jews “belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ”, “for the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.”

    840 “And when one considers the future, God’s People of the Old Covenant and the new People of God tend towards similar goals: expectation of the coming (or the return) of the Messiah. But one awaits the return of the Messiah who died and rose from the dead and is recognized as Lord and Son of God; the other awaits the coming of a Messiah, whose features remain hidden till the end of time; and the latter waiting is accompanied by the drama of not knowing or of misunderstanding Christ Jesus.”

  • Don,

    The Catechism is right about those Jews who practice the Hebrew faith. However, Zionism is not Judaism. Zionism is a manufactured political movement and the only theology employed by its fabricators is Luciferianism. They twisted Scripture in order to justify Zionism to ignorant Jews and Christians. Zionism was cooked up in the same vat as Communism, democratic Socialism, Fascism, Corporatism, State Capitalism, National Socialism, etc. It is an evil idea, it is not Scriptural, it has no basis in Tradition and it does not help the Jewish people in the least. In fact, it is probably a sick way of getting them all into one place so they can be more easily annihilated by their Moslem neighbors.

    The ‘Jews’ that came up with Zionism, like Theodore Herzel are cut from the same cloth as ‘Jews’ like the Rothschilds, Weishupt, Marx, Freud and Soros. That is they are worldly minded men, atheists, and Satanists who happen to be born of a Jewish womb. None of them practice the Jewish religion. They either don’t believe in God, or if they do, they hate God. Any truly faithful Jew cannot in good conscience be a Zionist (in the political sense) neither can a good Christian and especially Catholics.

  • Stephen Dalton, what you said was as follows:

    They would lose the war with the Muslims in the long run, because there are more Muslims than Jews in the Middle East, and the high rate of abortions in Israel and the high Muslim birthrate are guaranteeing the IDF won’t have enough soldiers to fight it’s battles in the near future.

    You made reference to ‘muslims…in the middle east’, not the Arab population in the West Bank, Gaza, or Israel. In any case, the recent demographic history of the broader and the narrower population have been much the same.

    The salient statistic for this discussion is the Total Fertility Rate, not the birth rate. Again, Israel is reproducing in excess of replacement levels. The size of their manpower pool is increasing, not declining, so it is difficult to understand how you acquired this fancy that their population will be denuded by abortion. While we are at it, these statistics here (source not vetted) would seem to indicate that Israel has one abortion for every eight live births, which is half what that rate is is in France or the United States (to take two examples).

    The weighted average of the fertility rates for the Arab population on the West Bank and Gaza is currently 3.7. That is less than half of what it was a generation ago while the Total Fertility Rate in Israel has, if anything, increased slightly. The ‘birth rate’ in the territories in question is not ‘growing faster’ than in Israel. The differential in fertility between the two populations has declined dramatically. Also, Israel has net immigration. The West Bank and Gaza do not.

    As for the composition of Israel’s fecund population, I have not time to check proper survey research. I would note, however, that United Torah Judaism (the political party of non-Zionist Orthodox Jews in Israel) commanded about 4.7% of the vote during the country’s most recent parliamentary election. Somehow, I do not think this subpopulation accounts for Israel’s fertility.

  • Zionism is a manufactured political movement and the only theology employed by its fabricators is Luciferianism

    You think Chaim Weizmann was a devil worshiper?

  • Rubbish AK from beginning to end. Zionism is a political movement among Jews to establish a homeland for themselves after almost 2000 years of bitter persecution. Both observant and non-observant Jews have embraced it. To call it Luciferianism is both obscene and ignorant. Your ranting about a laundry list of Jews comes close to anti-Semitism. Any more along those lines and your comment will be deleted and you will be banned from this website. First and last warning. I have very low tolerance for anti-Semitism.

  • It would help the case of self-described Christian anti-Zionists if they would acknowledge that Zionism didn’t grow in some nefarious vacuum.

    Rather, it was a response to increasingly virulent anti-Semitism, often in Catholic garb. If you want to be upset about Zionism, be prepared to point a finger at our ancestors in the Christian faith.

  • I’m currently reading (and very much enjoying) David Mamet’s The Secret Knowledge. I think this passage is rather apt:

    Our American plane has been forced to land at some foreign airport, by the outbreak of World War III. It will not be allowed to depart. Two planes are leaving the airport; we must choose which we want to board. One plane is flying to Israel and one to Syria, and we must choose.

    . . . No one reading this book would get on the plane to Syria. Why? It is a despotism, opposed to the West, to women, to gays, to Jews, to free speech. It is a heinous Arab version of National Socialism, dedicated to the murder of every person in Israel. And yet one may gain status or a feeling of solidarity by embracing the “Arab cause.”

    But we embrace it only as entertainment. In the free market, which is to say when something is at stake, we will vote otherwise.

  • Some people forget Romans 11:17-24:

    But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, a wild olive shoot, were grafted in their place and have come to share in the rich root of the olive tree,
    do not boast against the branches. If you do boast, consider that you do not support the root; the root supports you. Indeed you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” That is so. They were broken off because of unbelief, but you are there because of faith. So do not become haughty, but stand in awe. For if God did not spare the natural branches, (perhaps) he will not spare you either. See, then, the kindness and severity of God: severity toward those who fell, but God’s kindness to you, provided you remain in his kindness; otherwise you too will be cut off. And they also, if they do not remain in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated one, how much more will they who belong to it by nature be grafted back into their own olive tree.

    I especially like verses 28 and 29:

    In respect to the gospel, they are enemies on your account; but in respect to election, they are beloved because of the patriarchs. For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.


    God does NOT renege on His promises.

  • When someone brings up Bush and illegal invasion of Iraq, I go to the below website and relook what was said:

  • Hey, the IDF is on our side, now.


    1. The IDF knew it was a US ship. 0800 multiple recon flights.
    2. Aerial recon photos from recon flights delivered to higher HQ.
    3. Any E-2 gomer could see it was a US Navy ship.
    4. The pols and generals run it up the flagpole.
    5. They decided they need to stop the US Navy from observing whatever IDF was doing.
    6. Didn’t need to sink the ship to accomplish that mission.


  • Slightly off-topic, can anyone recommend a good book on the Suez Crisis? I’m currently reading a book on the Israeli War of Independence and would like to follow it up with one about 1956.

  • A nice brief history is linked below. The Osprey Essential Histories are excellent on the military aspects on any conflict in history and their maps are of very high quality:

    American historians have by and large ignored the Suez crisis in 1956. The Brits have written quite a bit on it, but much of it strikes me as too focused on the domestic political consequences of the Brits going into Suez and that is not what I am interested in.

  • “5. They decided they need to stop the US Navy from observing whatever IDF was doing.
    6. Didn’t need to sink the ship to accomplish that mission. ”

    Ridiculous T. Shaw. You have not given any indication about what could be so sensitive for the Israelis that they would risk attacking an American naval vessel. If they were going to take such a risk in order not to be detected doing whatever, (Activating the ark of the Covenant? Talking to aliens?), there would only have been one way to be certain that the Liberty could not detect what they were doing and that was to send it to the bottom of the Mediterranean. Not to mention that attacking a US ship would be precisely the wrong way to get the US Navy not to pay very close attention to what the Israelis were doing from then on. The whole idea that this was a deliberate attack is simple nonsense.

  • the high rate of abortions in Israel

    This fellow Johnston has a table which offers a useful summary of the share of pregnancies lost to abortion across 101 countries. Israel is somewhere around the 30th percentile.

  • Don,

    As a Semite, I take offense to being accused of being anti-Semitic. I am pretty sure most of my Jewish friends would be shocked at that too.

    I said nothing anti-Jewish in my post. It was anti-Zionist. Whether you believe it or not, even whether it is true or not, I stated that I SEE A DIFFERENCE between the two and I chided one and praised the other. So whatever I posted was most definitely anti-Zionist, but I know that our older brothers in faith have a big role to play yet in salvation history and I do not disparage faithful Jews or the Jewish faith. This applies to modern Rabbinical Judaism as well as the ancient faith.

    The modern nation-state of Israel is NOT Biblical Israel, although it could very well be prophetic Israel. We are Israel, as in Catholics. Mary, another Jew that I love, stated it clearly in her Magnificat.

    Most of the political movements of the 19th and 20th century, including political Zionism, were cooked up by the same vain of humanistic pride.

    Note: Political Zionism is not religious Zionism. The return of the people Israel to Palestine is inevitable, it is probably occurring now as a result of political Zionism, but the intention is not the same. Faithful Jews who return to Palestine may be mentioned by St. John as the or the fore-bearers of the 144,000 in the Apocalypse, although I suspect that large numbers of Moslems who were probably Jews before the eighth century might be included. Nevertheless, the political movement of Zionism has a different intent in its inception. I am not suggesting that most participants knew that. The fear and confusion following WWII and the fact that half of the Nazi’s camp victims were Jewish moved many Jews who wouldn’t have bothered with Zionism to embrace it.

    It is clear that there is an intent to place a small, yet powerful Israel right in the middle of Arab National Socialist and Moslem Jihadists in order to ignite war and probably world war. War is good business and we always need to have enough tension to launch one anytime. Clearly the mid East is gearing up for war again, on a big scale. Will it be the trigger of WWIII? Perhaps. Yet, if we would pray the Rosary for Peace, perhaps not.

    I apologize if my poor writing skills sparked your rebuke. Nevertheless, being that my Mother and Queen is Jewish, I do not take these things lightly.

  • AK, you can hold whatever views you wish, but on this blog there are limits on what I will tolerate in the comboxes. Your comment above does not come close to those limits, even though I disagree with a fair amount of it. Your earlier comment went over the edge of what I am willing to tolerate in regard to the discussion of Jews and Zionism, and I pointed it out to put you on notice since you have been commenting here for a long time and I did not wish to immediately ban you as a result. As for your views of Israel, I would merely note that John Paul II, who did so much to improve relations between Jews and Catholics, did not share them. I quote from his speech given in 2000 during his pilgrimage to Israel:

    “Dear President and Madame Weizman,
    Dear Prime Minister and Madame Barak,
    Dear Israeli Friends,
    Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

    1. Yesterday, from the heights of Mount Nebo I looked across the Jordan Valley to this blessed land. Today, it is with profound emotion that I set foot in the Land where God chose to “pitch his tent” (Jn 1:14; cf. Ex 40:34-35; 1 Kgs 8:10-13), and made it possible for man to encounter him more directly.

    In this year of the two thousandth anniversary of the Birth of Jesus Christ, it has been my strong personal desire to come here and to pray in the most important places which, from ancient times, have seen God’s interventions, the wonders he has done. “You are the God who works wonders. You showed your power among the peoples” (Ps 77:15).

    Mr President, I thank you for your warm welcome, and in your person I greet all the people of the State of Israel.

    2. My visit is both a personal pilgrimage and the spiritual journey of the Bishop of Rome to the origins of our faith in “the God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob” (Ex 3:15). It is part of a larger pilgrimage of prayer and thanksgiving which led me first to Sinai, the Mountain of the Covenant, the place of the decisive revelation which shaped the subsequent history of salvation. Now I shall have the privilege of visiting some of the places more closely connected with the Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Along every step of the way I am moved by a vivid sense of God who has gone before us and leads us on, who wants us to honour him in spirit and in truth, to acknowledge the differences between us, but also to recognize in every human being the image and likeness of the One Creator of heaven and earth.

    3. Mr President, you are known as a man of peace and a peacemaker. We all know how urgent is the need for peace and justice, not for Israel alone but for the entire region. Many things have changed in relations between the Holy See and the State of Israel since my predecessor Pope Paul VI came here in 1964. The establishment of diplomatic relations between us in 1994 set a seal on efforts to open an era of dialogue on questions of common interest concerning religious freedom, relations between Church and State and, more generally, relations between Christians and Jews. On another level, world opinion follows with close attention the peace process which finds all the peoples of the region involved in the difficult search for a lasting peace with justice for all. With new-found openness towards one another, Christians and Jews together must make courageous efforts to remove all forms of prejudice. We must strive always and everywhere to present the true face of the Jews and of Judaism, as likewise of Christians and of Christianity, and this at every level of attitude, teaching and communication (cf. Address to the Jewish Community of Rome, 13 April 1986, 5).

    4. My journey therefore is a pilgrimage, in a spirit of humble gratitude and hope, to the origins of our religious history. It is a tribute to the three religious traditions which co-exist in this land. For a long time I have looked forward to meeting the faithful of the Catholic communities in their rich variety, and the members of the various Christian Churches and Communities present in the Holy Land. I pray that my visit will serve to encourage an increase of interreligious dialogue that will lead Jews, Christians and Muslims to seek in their respective beliefs, and in the universal brotherhood that unites all the members of the human family, the motivation and the perseverance to work for the peace and justice which the peoples of the Holy Land do not yet have, and for which they yearn so deeply. The Psalmist reminds us that peace is God’s gift: “I will hear what the Lord God has to say, a voice that speaks of peace, peace for his people and his friends, and those who turn to him in their hearts” (Ps 85:8). May peace be God’s gift to the Land he chose as his own!


  • The attack on the USS Liberty has all the attributes of a deliberate attack. Quite clearly the downing of the Iranian airliner by the USS Vincennes was a tragic mistake. Captain Rogers had a window of only about a minute to decide on a missile launch. At the back of every Allied captain’s mind at that time was the fiery demise of the UK destroyers, in the earlier Falklands war at the hands of Argentinian pilots armed with Exocet missiles. A very strong and convincing case has also been made that the downing of the Korean airliner over Sakhalin in 1985, by a Soviet pilot was similarly a tragic error, brought about by the fatal confluence of loss of navigation on the 747, the lack of any means of contact between the fighter pilot and the stricken plane, and the cat and mouse games that US and Soviet air forces play in that part of the world.

    However given the duration of the attack on the Liberty and the fact that the Israeli pilots could make out the US markings, which is quite unlike these other cases, the weight of the circumstantial evidence points to a deliberate and sustained attack. To my conspiratorial mind, in 1967 some Israelis who had not forgiven the Americans for sabotaging the 1956 Suez campaign against Nasser felt no qualms about attacking a US ship which they had reason to believe was not on an innocent mission. They had been burned once before by the Americans, and were not about to let them a mere eleven years later, derail what in the event proved to be an overwhelming victory over the Muslims.

  • Whomever said, “In war, the first casualty is truth.”

    “The whole idea that this was a deliberate attack is simple nonsense.”

    You insist that the Israeli War Ministry and Government and IDF pilots (do not wear eyeglasses, either!) did not know that that was a US Navy vessel, or that the IDF and Israeli Government did not issue orders to attack said noncombatant US Navy vessel for two hours. That is beyond credibility.

    I do not know the motive. I will not speculate.

    You may ask Moshe Dayan why he ordered the USS Liberty massacre . . . when you see him.

  • “I do not know the motive. I will not speculate.”

    Because you have no answer T.Shaw as to what could have possibly motivated a deliberate attack, and why, if the attack was deliberate, the Israelis did not finish the attack and send the Liberty to the bottom of the sea, rather than halting the attack and seeking to give aid to the Liberty. Like most conspiracy theories, those surrounding the Liberty flourish in the absence of knowledge of what actually occurred, and endure because of passion substituting for simple common sense.

  • The U.S.S. Liberty has been a particular fixation of the American Educational Trust and advocacy journalists like Donald Neff (who Time made use of as their bureau chief in Jerusalem, go figure). These characters find nothing anomalous about the absence of any conceivable purpose for attacking the U.S.S. Liberty because they regard Israel as simply malign. In their minds, Israel does this because that is what Israel does. Some more inventive sorts have concocted an explanation that states that Israel attacked the Liberty as a diversion to cover up war crimes like the mass execution of prisoners in the Sinai. That no such mass execution can be shown ever to have occurred is a petty detail.

  • Thank God for Israel. American Jews have a place to go when America goes belly up. I’m emigrating to Canada.

    Of course, the IDF made many other fatal mistakes during the six day war.*

    It is counter-intuitive to think the IDF believed the USS Liberty was an Egyptian ship. Facts prove otherwise.

    I do not need to prove motive**. The IDF had the opportunity and they did it – habeus 34 corpi. Yeah! Your ilk got OJ off on two murders. What is 34 to a whole country?

    If you need the motive . . . When you and Mac get to the the place where he has gone, you can ask Dayan why he did it.

    * Wikipedia: “In three hours on the morning of June 5, 1967, the first day of the Six Day War, the Israeli Air Force executed Operation Focus, crippling the opposing Arab air forces and attaining air supremacy for the remainder of the war. In a surprise attack, the IAF destroyed most of the Egyptian Air Force while its planes were still on the ground. By the end of the day, with surrounding Arab countries also drawn into the fighting, the IAF had mauled the Syrian and Jordanian air forces as well, striking as far as Iraq. After six days of fighting Israel claimed a total of 452 Arab aircraft destroyed, of which 49 (11%) were aerial victories.”

    ** I am not a tool sitting in your jury box, counselor. I prefer the company of used car salesmen and real state agents.

    Love them ad hominems, too.

  • No ad hominems T. Shaw, but simple analysis of what happened. You, like all those who embrace a conspiracy angle on the Liberty, are unable to ascribe motive to the Israelis to conduct a deliberate attack or explain why the Israelis called off the attack and offered assistance. People may be entitled to their opinions, they are not entitled to their own set of facts.

    I believe you may have been taken off moderation. Back on moderation for you, not for your arguments in this thread but because of the “colorful and exuberant manner” in which you sometimes express your opinions.

  • “I can tell you for an absolute certainty (from intercepted communications) that the Israelis knew they were attacking an American ship.”
    — NSA Deputy Director Oliver Kirby

  • The Israelis screwed up and people died. The Israelis admitted they screwed up (maybe they didn’t admit the screw up in the way that some would have liked them to have admitted the screw up, but they did admit it). The Israelis paid reparations. What more should we or could we want?

    Given a choice between Israel and most other nations on this planet, I would choose Israel.

  • I want somebody to apologize to USS Liberty survivors who were accused of being Arab propagandists and antisemites.

  • I wonder if we deliberately attacked HMAS Hobart on June 17, 1969?

    “On the early hours of 17 June, while preventing North Vietnamese resupply of Tiger Island, Hobart was fired upon by a United States Air Force (USAF) aircraft.[6] The aircraft approached Hobart with its IFF transponder switched off, and fired three missiles during two passes.[6] The second missile failed to explode, but the first and third damaged the superstructure, radar room, exhaust funnels, Ikara missile magazine, and superstructure, killed two RAN personnel, and injured seven others.[6] The aircraft came around for a third attack run, but was scared off when Hobart fired five rounds from her main gun.[7] Despite being damaged, Hobart sailed to the nearby cruiser USS Boston, which had been hit by a missile from another USAF aircraft, and formed an anti-aircraft screen with the cruiser and her escort, USS Blandy.[7] After being relieved, Hobart sailed for Subic Bay, where the damage was inspected by RAN and USN personnel, including three admirals.[7]”

    I say deliberate since these type of attacks never happen by accident and our motivation was clearly to corner the world market on kangaroos and bloomin’ onions.

  • “I do not need to prove motive.”

    And yet people wonder why America is festooned with lawyers. As an aside, it’s strikingly reminiscent of a rather famous Jewish bureaucrat’s similar approach to what he also regarded as legal frippery: “What need have we for witnesses?”

    “I can tell you for an absolute certainty (from intercepted communications) that the Israelis knew they were attacking an American ship.”
    — NSA Deputy Director Oliver Kirby

    Have these been declassified, or did a Deputy Director of No Such Agency talk out of turn and disclose the content of classified material? If it’s the former, I’d sincerely like to read them.

  • You need to put me back on moderation.

  • I got my version of the Liberty incident from reading Bamford’s book which paints the attack as a deliberate and unprovoked one in order to hide an ongoing Israeli massacre of Egyptian POWs. However after having just read Michael Oren’s analysis ‘The USS Liberty: Case Closed’ I have to agree that there is a strong case for the defence. In the first place there was no widespread massacre of Egyptain prisoners. It appears that there was a series of fateful coincidences and errors that led to the attack. Pres Johnson, who is routinely reviled in the further reaches of Libertyland as a sellout to Israel, emerges as a sensible man. Apparently the planes that were sent out from the USS Saratoga at the distress signal of the Liberty were F-104s armed with nuclear weapons. It was a most sensible decision to recall them back. Had they been used, it would have been akin to dropping a 1000lb bomb to settle a playground fight. The clincher in the NSA transcripts is that it shows that Israeli pilots for whatever reasons thought that were in fact attacking an Egyptian ship. Again the fact the Israelis launched 5 or 6 torpedoes, only one of which hit home points to a helter-skelter operation rather than one of clockwork precision directed from on high. Unless one wishes to posit another level of conspiracy, this time involving pilots using napalm instead of missiles and naval units unable to find their targets, the conclusion has to be that the Liberty incident was the result of tragic mistakes rather than a deliberate act.

  • Thank you Ivan. Honest assessment of historical evidence is always necessary when trying to recreate the past. The best study that I have read of the Liberty incident is that of Jay Cristol, a Captain in the US Naval Reserve and a Bankruptcy Judge. He has a topnotch site in which he goes over the incident in exacting detail.

    Below is a link to a letter Cristol has at his site by Marvin E. Nowicki, who was one of the Hebrew-English specialists aboard a Navy EC121 and who listened in on the Israeli pilots and the crews of the Israelis motor torpedo boats during the attack on the Liberty. The text of the letter is as follows:

    “Letter from Marvin E. Nowicki, Ph.D., published in The Wall Street Journal, Wednesday, May 16, 2001, page A-23:

    Tragic “Gross Error” In a 1967 Attack

    In regard to Timothy Naftali’s review of James Bamford’s book “Body of Secrets” (Leisure & Arts, May 9): Mr. Naftali doesn’t quite have it right concerning the book portion dealing with the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty in 1967. I know because I am the person to whom Mr. Natfali [sic] refers as the “chief Hebrew-language analyst” aboard the U.S. Navy (not Air Force) EC121 aircraft. He says that I recall one of my teammates telling me of hearing references to “a U.S. flag” from Israeli pilots.

    For the record, we (my teammate and I) both heard and recorded the references to the U.S. flag made by the pilots and captains of the motor torpedo boats. My personal recollection remains after 34 years that the aircraft and MTBs prosecuted the Liberty until their operators had an opportunity to get close-in and see the flag, hence the references to the flag.

    My position, which is opposite of Mr. Bamford’s, is that the attack, though terrible and tragic especially to the crew members and their families on that ill-fated day in June 1967, was a gross error. How can I prove it? I can’t unless the transcripts/tapes are found and released to the public. I last saw them in a desk drawer at NSA in the late 1970s before I left the service.

    Ashley, Ill.”

    And here is a link to the NSA intercepts which were released by the NSA in 2003:

  • Hi Donald, I have since read some of the threads on this matter. The impression I now have is that some of the more subtle (and thus more effective) insinuations, are from followers of the Pat Buchanan School of Selective Historical Reconstruction. For a particularly dishonest example, a phrase from an Israeli pilot “it is an American flag” is melded together with a phrase from his control station “fire anyway” or words to that effect to imply that the Israelis deliberately set out to destroy an American ship, when the truth is that the Israeli control was acting on the belief that it was an Egyptian ship running a false American flag. In addition there is too much recovered ‘memory’ years after the event, strewn around for my liking.

    The original inquest conducted a few days after the event contradicts later, lurid accounts of Israelis shelling lifeboats and firing on seamen in the waters among other lies. Not for nothing do the Romans have a principle of law : the first thought is the true thought.

  • Quite right Ivan. I hope I have conveyed on this blog what a sacred thing History is to me. History is not served when people attempt to twist it by lies to serve another purpose than letting us know what happened in the past. Here is another example, the use of alleged unnamed informants:

    “Fifteen years after the attack an Israeli Pilot who was ordered to participate in the attack came forward, approaching Liberty survivors and former Congressman Paul N. McCloskey. The pilot relates that he identified the ship as American and informed his superiors, but was told to proceed with the attack. When he refused to do so, he was arrested on returning to base.”

    Note, no name is given, nothing is brought forward to substantiate this. This unnamed fellow is usually described as a “senior Israeli lead pilot”.

    Well, the problem with all of this is we know who the lead Israeli pilot on the attack was: Yiftah Spector. After he was dismissed by the IAF in 2003 for his signing of a pilot’s protest against Israeli air operations in Gaza and on the West Bank, Spector talked about the attack on the Liberty. Here is a story that appeared on this in the Jerusalem Post on October 10, 2003:

    “An Israeli pilot who mistakenly attacked the American intelligence ship USS Liberty during the 1967 Six Day War said they were lucky he had no bombs – otherwise he would have sunk her.

    “There was a mistake. Mistakes happen. As far as I know, the mistake was of the USS Liberty being there in the first place,” said Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yiftah Spector.

    After 36 years Spector, who this week was dismissed by the IAF for signing the pilots’ refusal letter protesting the policy of targeted killings, agreed to speak to a reporter for the first time on his role in the attack on the Liberty, an American spy ship strafed on the fourth day of the war.

    Flying a Mirage III fighter jet code named “Kursa” or couch, Spector was the first pilot to reach the ship, which was about 20 nautical miles west of Gaza. He had been on an air-to-air mission and was not loaded with bombs.

    Spector, now 63, went on to become a triple ace, shooting down 15 enemy aircraft, and take part in the 1981 raid on the Iraqi nuclear reactor, earning himself a place in the pantheon of Israeli fly boys. This week he ended a 20-year stint teaching new generations of pilots.

    Spector had always refused to discuss the attack on the USS Liberty, which killed 34 US sailors and wounded 172, or even be revealed as the pilot who led the attack on her. Until now.

    “I did not fire on the Liberty as a human target. I was sent to attack a sailing vessel. This ship was on an escape route from the El Arish area, which at that same moment had heavy smoke rising from it,” Spector said.

    “It was thought to be an Egyptian vessel. This ship positively did not have any symbol or flag that I could see. What I was concerned with was that it was not one of ours. I looked for the symbol of our navy, which was a large white cross on its deck,” he told The Jerusalem Post. “This was not there, so it wasn’t one of ours.”

    The concern of the IAF was that Spector and his wingman, who had been diverted from the Suez Canal, would strike one of the Israel Navy ships in pursuit of the vessel, which was assumed to be Egyptian. IAF archival recordings of the pilots’ radio transmission of the actual attack obtained by the Post show that Spector was specifically requested to verify that the ship was a military vessel and not Israeli.

    According to the June 8, 1967, radio transmission, Spector said: “I can’t identify it but in any case it’s a military ship.”

    Speaking of the event 36 years later may have caused Spector to mix what he remembered with what he may have read and his testimony does not always match archival facts.

    “I circled it twice and it did not fire on me. My assumption was that it was likely to open fire at me and nevertheless I slowed down and I looked and there was positively no flag. Just to make sure I photographed it,” said Spector, who retired from active duty as a brigadier-general in 1984.

    Experts intimately acquainted with the incident said that the only photos Spector took were from his gun-sight camera during his strafing run. Regardless of whether the 455-foot ship bristling with eavesdropping antennas flew a US flag, which it evidently did from its starboard halyard, that banner was shot off in Spector’s first strafing pass.

    “I was told on the radio that it was an Egyptian ship off the Gaza coast. Hit it. The luck of the ship was that I was armed only with light ammunition [30mm] against aircraft. If I had had a bomb it would be sitting on the bottom today like the Titanic. I promise you,” Spector said.

    The 30mm rounds were armor piercing, which to this day led Liberty survivors to believe they had been under rocket attack. Spector’s first pass ignited a fire which caused the ship to billow black smoke. Ironically, Spector transmitted he suspected the Liberty was putting out smoke to deliberately mask itself.

    “Every order is given by commanders and the last one to receive it has to decide whether he will pull the trigger or not. In this instance I was the fighter. I checked what I had to check [i.e. that it was a military ship and not one of ours] and pulled the trigger,” Spector said.

    “The crew should be thankful for their luck [that I was on an air-to-air mission and did not have any bombs]. It is a pity we attacked. I’m sorry for poor Capt. (William Loren) McGonagle, who was wounded in the leg and the other guys who were killed and wounded.”

    “I’m sorry for the mistake. Years later my mates dropped flowers on the site where the ship was attacked,” Spector said. “I’m the last guy who has a problem with admitting mistakes and asking for forgiveness. There was a mistake, but it wasn’t my mistake.”

    He added he remains baffled that the conspiracy theories live on that Israel deliberately attacked the US intelligence ship. He suggested it might be due to anti-Semitism, or anti-Israeli sentiments.

    “I know that after the war one of the first things that was done was the establishment of a [US] senator’s inquiry. I know this personally, because I was called upon to testify before it. They came to the country and I was questioned. I told them what I told you just now – that there was a mistake. I am sorry for the mistake. In war mistakes happen,” Spector said.

    He said that he had never in the past 36 years ever met with any of the Liberty survivors, but has no qualms about doing so now.

    “They must understand that a mistake was made here,” Spector said. “The fool is one who wanders about in the dark in dangerous places, so they should not come with any complaints.”

Saint Augustine on the Blessed Trinity

Sunday, June 19, AD 2011


 We have sufficiently spoken of the Father and of the Son, so far as was possible for us to see through this glass and in this enigma. We must now treat of the Holy Spirit, so far as by God’s gift it is permitted to see Him. And the Holy Spirit, according to the Holy Scriptures, is neither of the Father alone, nor of the Son alone, but of both; and so intimates to us a mutual love, wherewith the Father and the Son reciprocally love one another. But the language of the Word of God, in order to exercise us, has caused those things to be sought into with the greater zeal, which do not lie on the surface, but are to be scrutinized in hidden depths, and to be drawn out from thence. The Scriptures, accordingly, have not said, The Holy Spirit is Love. If they had said so, they would have done away with no small part of this inquiry. But they have said, God is love; so that it is uncertain and remains to be inquired whether God the Father is love, or God the Son, or God the Holy Ghost, or the Trinity itself which is God. For we are not going to say that God is called Love because love itself is a substance worthy of the name of God, but because it is a gift of God, as it is said to God, You are my patience. For this is not said because our patience is God’s substance, but in that He Himself gives it to us; as it is elsewhere read, Since from Him is my patience. For the usage of words itself in Scripture sufficiently refutes this interpretation; for You are my patience is of the same kind as You, Lord, art my hope, and The Lord my God is my mercy, and many like texts. And it is not said, O Lord my love, or, You are my love, or, God my love; but it is said thus, God is love, as it is said, God is a Spirit. And he who does not discern this, must ask understanding from the Lord, not an explanation from us; for we cannot say anything more clearly.

Continue reading...

2 Responses to Saint Augustine on the Blessed Trinity

  • Through the hard lessons of human history the true perspective of the God/mankind relationship became evident to a precious few, the Israelites, who accepted the Creator and obeyed his commands. It is to our eternal benefit and everlasting thanks that they did and a covenant was formed which bound them together for generations to come.
    Salvation history seems to show that man obviously was a “slow learner” when it came to understanding our relationship with the Creator. So our eternal and loving God gave humanity a while to experience life at a distance from him. This prepared us for Christ; his beloved Son, the Teacher, his Word in the flesh.
    It was time for us to visually see, audibly hear, and bare witness to his word and love in action exemplified by his own Son. The Father through the Holy Spirit, which is his Will in action, came to us in the Incarnate flesh of Christ. Only an omnipotent being as our God could have designed and implemented such a revealing divine and complete plan for mankind’s ultimate salvation as the birth and life of Jesus.
    Through Christ we are called to become a new creation with a new commission and share intimately with the Creator in his plan for “his people”. We are now united as “one body” through Christ and pledge our will to do his “on earth as it is in heaven”.
    Family was God’s one choice for revealing his “Word” to “become flesh and dwell among us”. This was his model for man to understand our triune God, his love for us, his desire to be in communion with us, and to enjoy the mystery of his presence among us in this our universal home.
    It was a humble family which faithfully accepted the arrangement on his terms, by his means not as they had planned, and for his will to be done. Both Mary and Joseph, as part of that original covenant, were devout Jews and “willing” to do whatever God had in mind for them knowing they would be together “with child” in their adventure for the Holy Spirit who came to “overshadow” them.

    So what do we see here? A complete and dedicated union of a devoted husband, a pure and faithfully obedient virgin wife, and a divine child combined in love and purpose to make up the celestial package for the worlds first “Christmas”. A single unit of persons, Family was its name; Salvation was its goal; Love was its eternal message.
    There exposed and unfolded to the world was heavens “eternal family” of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in their greatest act of love for mankind’s salvation, spiritually conjoined with a “holy family” of husband, wife, and savior child. The nature of heaven’s Trinity revealed on earth in “Family” as only God would have it for the sake of all in humanity’s ultimate and nearly unimaginable triumph, the Incarnation.
    Father God is Love, willed through the Holy Spirit and His chosen vessel our Immaculate mother Mary, the “triumphant” woman named and promised in the garden, to be present among us as our savior Lord, His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ once and forever.


Matt Talbot: Denying All to Gain All

Sunday, June 19, AD 2011










Matt Talbot was a drunk.  He came to this state partly as a result of nature and nurture, as his father was an alcoholic, as were most of Matt’s brothers.  Born into a poverty stricken home on May 2, 1856 in Dublin he became an unskilled laborer who blew most of his wages on feeding his addiction to drink.  The worst thing he did to buy alcohol was to steal a fiddle from a street performer and sell it for booze.  Penniless in 1884, he took the pledge not to drink and kept it for the remainder of his life.

However, turning away from alcohol was only a small part of his transformation.  In order to truly change one’s life it is never enough to turn away from something.  We must also turn to something.  Talbot turned to God.  He began to attend daily Mass  and read books and pamphlets on the Faith.  He repaid his debts and, after a fruitless search for the fiddler whose fiddle he stole, donated the money he wanted to pay the fiddler for his stolen fiddle to the Church for Masses to be said for the fiddler.

Continue reading...

4 Responses to Matt Talbot: Denying All to Gain All

2 Responses to Scotland the Brave

Unilateral War Making by the Executive (Updated)

Friday, June 17, AD 2011

The Congress shall have Power . . . To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water; – Article I, Section 8

The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to Grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment. – Article II, Section 2

It’s not a good feeling agreeing with Dennis Kucinich.  Finding myself on the same side of an issue as Kucinich makes me seriously reconsider my opinion.   But as they say, even a bind, deaf, paralyzed, rabies-afflicted squirrel finds a nut every now and again.

It’s less distressing to disagree with Charles Krauthammer.  He’s usually spot on, but he tends to go off the rails when it comes to foreign policy.  Not always, mind you, but in Krauthammer you can see the legitimate difference between neoconservatism and traditional conservatism.  Last night he had this to say about the War Powers Act and President Obama’s war hostilities kinetic military action in Libya:

KRAUTHAMMER: I understand why Congress wants to retain prerogatives, as does the president. I’m not surprised that Durbin would act this way. I am surprised that so many Republicans are jumping on the war powers resolution. They will regret it. If you have a Republican in office, you have isolationists Democrats trying to restrain his exercise of his powers under constitution and the Republicans aren’t going to like it.
I would not truck in war powers resolution. I have also think the administration’s defense of what it is doing is extremely week and misguided. Obama’s answer essentially is well, the resolution is out there. But it’s not relevant because it isn’t really a war, which is absurd.

BAIER: We’re not in hostilities.

KRAUTHAMMER: Right. What he should say I, like my other predecessor, I do not recognize the legality of this act and its authority over the presidency. That’s where he should make his stand.

BAIER: When he was Senator Obama he spoke the opposite.

KRAUTHAMMER: And as a president he is implicitly supporting the resolution saying it doesn’t apply here. It implies if it were a real war, as he pretends it’s not. I have to comply. No president ought to do that.

I agree with him with regards to Obama’s duplicity.  I also share his skepticism about the War Powers Act.  But he’s wrong about the rest.

Continue reading...

14 Responses to Unilateral War Making by the Executive (Updated)

  • Obama criticized Bush for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, then he does worse in Libya, and uses the Orwellian phrase, “Kinetic Military Action.” But the main stream media and the proudly liberal won’t see this hypocrisy, or seeing it, won’t acknowledge it.

    If the news media acts this way now so far from the 2012 election, then what will happen as the election draws nigh? Is there any hope of defeating this godless man of murder and depravity?

  • I have no doubt that the War Powers Act is an unconstitional infringement on the powers of the President as Commander in Chief. I also have no doubt that, absent an emergency, any President who goes to war without Congressional authorization is a fool.

  • It is only an issue if the president has an (R) behind his name.

  • I see this as two issues:

    1. What does the Constitution mean? Difficult question.

    2. What is the de facto law? Easy. The President can ignore the War Powers Act and do whatever he wants outside the US for as long as Congress will pay for it. That’s always been the de facto law.

  • The War Powers Resolution seems to be another attempt by the legislature to codify Retroactive Ratification. Alexander Linn suggests that it is a “realigning” of the war powers, that “in passing the Resolution, Congress sought to set parameters on the Executive’s ability to commit military forces to combat. The Resolution codified limitations on the ability of the executive branch to initiate unilaterally or to engage in military hostilities.” The form of the resolution itself suggests that Congress’ efforts were expended more to “define” than “realign.” (Alexander C. Linn, International Security and the War Powers Resolution, 8 Wm. & Mary Bill of Rts. J. 725 (2000).

    The Resolution affirms that the President, acting as Commander in Chief, my direct military action after a Declaration of War or with specific Statutory Authorization. Since both of these circumstances are spelled out in the Constitution of 1787, they cannot be a “grant” of such authority to the President. He already has such authorization. Only with the addition of a “national emergency created by an attack upon US interests” did the legislature stray beyond the established grounds of the original constitution.

    Congress asserted a check on this last point in that the President was thereafter required to “consult” with Congress “in every possible instance” before deploying troops and regularly through the deployment. Loose construction of the Resolution aside, this last point seeks to capture the breadth of presidential inroads on legislative powers. There is a close corollary to Retroactive Ratification in the consulting requirement, but the up-front determination of when a “national emergency created by an attack upon US interests” occurs. Critically, the limitations proscribe no particular type of presidential war power exercise, not even those exercised against Americans at home such as were illustrated in Korematsu, Kimball Laundry, and Youngstown. Linn suggests that “[n]otwithstanding that the President’s modern control over war conflicts with the Framer’s intent, the problem is not the increase in executive power. There are compelling reasons the Executive to hold a quantum of war power that contradicts the Framers’ intent.” Linn seems to suggest that the Constitution itself is not the benchmark of presidential power. This is to say that our constitutional jurisprudence, however muddled, holds the keys to limiting the powers of a runaway executive.

    Even Hamilton would have cringed at that notion.

    The War Powers Resolution places on the Executive the burden only that he must report what he has done to Congress within 48 hours and the need for deployment, the constitutional and legislative authority, the scope, and the duration of hostilities thereafter. More significantly, the President receives a 60 day “grace period” during which he can engage in military action without authorization and an additional 30 days if there is an “unavoidable military necessity.” If Congress fails to order the executive to pull back, their acquiescence can go on indefinitely.
    It does not appear that the War Powers Resolution places any new burdens on the President since our written constitution and our constitutional jurisprudence already placed similar limits on the executive. Perhaps the Resolution is little more than a touchstone for public discourse. If so, it serves more to subtly illustrate the underlying constitutional principles that the Congress is, by the text of the Constitution, the preeminent institution of government and that, however much presidential powers may lay claim to law making powers, he is still bound by an older order.

  • If the War Powers Act is unconstitutional it is because it delegates too much power to the President to initiate hostilities, not because it impinges on his powers as commander in chief.

    The practical reality, of course, it much as RR stated.

  • Congress only has the power of the purse over the military. The President is clearly commander-in-chief under the Constitution of the military. Congress has no more power to instruct the President as to what may be done with the military than the President has power to compel Congress to appropriate funds for the military. Congress of course, whenever it wishes, has the power to deny funding for specific military operations. Since this is difficult to do politically, we have flapdoodle like the War Powers Act, which is a simple attempt by members of Congress to avoid the heavy lifting of denying funds if they wish to terminate a military operation.

  • The item that is missing from most every discussion is just what is a “State of War”. A Declaration of War creates a State of War. There has always been lawful armed conflict existing outside a formal State of War. The War Powers Act attempts to deal with involvement in armed conflict outside of a formal State of War.

    1. A Sate of War can only exist between two independent countries. Declaring war is recognizing the other party as an independent country. The big example from American History is the Civil War. The North never declared war on the South, doing so would have recognized the legitimacy of the southern states succession. Instead Congress declared the southern states were engaged in an insurgency against the proper government.

    2. A State of War is between two countries as a whole every citizen of one is an enemy of the every citizen of the other. Take Libya, whatever the goals are we are supporting a faction in civil war we are not saying that evey Libyan is an enemy of every American.

    3. A State of War can only be formally ended by a peace treaty. It is somtes commented that a formal declarion of war is not so much an authorization to fight but a refusal to talk and let the issue be settled by arms.

    A declarations of war is clearly inappropriate for intervening in acivil war such as Libya. Given the nature of a State of War, modern nuclear weapons and the wording of the UN Charter formal declarations of war are pretty much obsolete.

    The clear meaning of the Constitution is that only Congress has the ability to declare a formal State of War.

    Lawful conflict outside of a State of War falls into a rather fuzzy boundary between Legislative and Executive powers. The War Powers act could only work with good faith cooperation between Congress and the President which we don’t have. The problem now is that th President did not seek that coopeation.

  • I hadn’t thought of that Hank, but wouldn’t it be better if we used a more literal definition of “state of war” as this would probably be more true to the founders’ meaning; keep in mind this is a term they don’t actually use. I can see your point though, about undeclared military excursions throughout early US history.

  • Ike

    Thank you. The definition I gave has been customary international law for several centuries, it can’t be ignored and is probably what was meant by the framers since almost all wars then were declared. I think there is in practice a domestic law “state of war” which applies in cases where a formal declaration is not appropriate. The War on Terror and Iraq War resolutions created this for their respective actions, but there is no resolution for Libya. Thus a problem.

  • Once hostilities commence, Congress has limited authority other than the purse, as Don said. It’s before hostilities commence where Congressional power is at its height, and that’s what I am concerned with here.

    Hank raises a good point, worthy of its own post. Modern warfare is certainly something different than what existed at the time of the Framing. So where do we draw the line? To me it boils down to this question: are we comfortable with the Executive taking unilateral action of this nature? Occasional air strikes are one thing, but in this specific situation where America has pledged military support to a long-term (not just a few strikes) military engagement, even if it’s another country’s civil war, Congress ought to approve before we proceed (or continue). No, this is not a declared war in the traditional sense, but it crosses the line into an area where it is within Congress’s legitimate Constitutional authority to intervene.

  • “Congress only has the power of the purse over the military.”

    You need to reread the constitution.

    Being the commander in chief doesn’t mean you have plenary authority to initiate hostilities (the commander in chief of Canada, for example, is Elizabeth II). If you look at the original understanding of the constitution it is quite clear on this point. The President has the authority to repel invasion, but to actually initiate hostilities he needs congressional approval. In practice it hasn’t been that way for a long time, but the same could be said of many other constitutional provisions.

  • “In practice it hasn’t been that way for a long time,”

    That will do for the understatement of the week! Whatever the initial intention of the Framers was, from the beginning the Constitutional provision granting to Congress the power to declare war has not acted as a restriction on the power of the President to use the military, as amply demonstrated by Presidential use of the military during the first 20 years after the drafting of the Constitution to wage war against Indian tribes, google battle of Fallen Timbers, foreign powers, France and the Barbary Pirates, and internal insurrections, the Whiskey Rebellion. If any of the Framers said a peep against any of this, all done without a formal declaration of war, I am unaware of it. A wise president will make certain that Congress supports such efforts, but it is clearly not required under the Constitution that he obtain such approval from the Congress, let alone seek a declaration of war, before using the military to engage in a war.

  • This is why I said it’s better seen as 2 separate issues, the academic question of constitutionality and the reality of the de facto law.

    On most other issues, one can sue to enforce the Constitution so the academic and the practical are one and the same. But how to conduct foreign affairs is a political question which the courts do not entertain on the merits. It extends, not only to military matters, but diplomatic as well (see, Goldwater v. Carter). Courts have heard and dismissed these kinds of cases before. Scalia, when he was on the DC Circuit, wrote the decision in Sanchez-Espinoza v. Reagan dismissing a war-powers-based challenge to US intervention in Nicarauga on the grounds that it was a “nonjusticiable political question.”

The Beatitudes from the Gospel According to Luke, Tertia Pars

Friday, June 17, AD 2011

This is the third and final part of a three-part piece. The first part is found here, and the second part is found here.

4. Commentary on the Kingdom and Poverty

There are two goals for this final section. The first is to investigate what is meant by Christ’s phrase, “the Kingdom of heaven,” and the second is a reflection on why the here-and-now-ness of the kingdom has particular relevance for the blessing of poverty in Luke’s Beatitudes.

As stated in the previous part, Christ’s promise, “yours is the kingdom of heaven” immediately harkens back to His own proclamation, “The Kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the Gospel” (Mark 1:14-15). We have already seen the interpretation given by Origen/Pope Benedict, but let me diverge for a moment and examine one other interpretation. During the later half of the 20th century, a particularly secular view (held mostly in Catholic theological circles) of the Kingdom of God gained considerable ground (Benedict, 53). This position is motivated by the desire to apply Christ’s supposed message to the widest possible audience. It is a slow process of moving from any kind of specificity with regards to God’s people to a meaningless generality. Beginning with the rejection of Judaism in general (for in Judaism the focus is on a specific people), Christ, it is claimed, came not for a chosen subset of people, but for the individual; he came to establish a Church that is inclusive of all people. This desire for an all-inclusiveness is seen as violated by the Church in her so-called “pre-Vatican II nature,” a nature that was guilty of “ecclesiocentrism.” Thus, to continue this search for all-inclusivity there was a move towards “Christocentrism” (and away from the Church herself) which strived for a less “divisive” message. However, the next two steps were quick to follow. Since Christ belongs exclusively to Christians, perhaps we should be concerned only with the general idea of God, hence a “theocentrism.” The final step was a surrender of the very idea of God, since even God can be a cause of division among people and the various religions of the world. In the end, we are left only with man, and in this stripped down theology, the “Kingdom” is simply a name given for a world governed by “peace, justice, and the conservation of creation” (Benedict, 53). The task of religion, it is held, is to work in harmony to bring forth this kingdom on earth.

On one hand, this seems laudable; it finally allows all people to enjoy Christ’s message in harmony, to appropriate it in their own belief systems and world views. On the other hand, there is not much left of the message itself; it has been stripped down to what amounts essentially to secular humanism.

To rescue Christ’s message from such deprivation, we must first recognize that the Lord never preaches simply a “Kingdom” but instead preaches the “Kingdom of God” or the “Kingdom of Heaven.” “When Jesus speaks of the Kingdom of God, he is quite simply proclaiming God, and proclaiming him to be the living God, who is able to act concretely in the world and in history, and is even now so acting…. The new and totally specific thing about his message is that he is telling us: God is acting now – this is the hour in which God is showing himself in history as its Lord, as the living God, in a way that goes beyond anything seen before. ‘Kingdom of God’ is therefore an inadequate translation. It would be better to speak of God’s being-Lord, of his lordship” (Benedict, 55-56). This is consonant with the prior observation that the Hebrew word malkut and the Greek word baseleia are action words. It is also consonant with the use of the present tense in Luke 6:20.

To further our understanding of Christ as the Kingdom of God incarnate, let us examine Saint Thomas Aquinas’ observation that man’s final cause is identical with his efficient cause, i.e. from God we have come and to God we must return. Our fulfillment, our telos, is in nothing other than God himself. In order to be fully man, we must give our entire existence back to the very source of our existence. Man is unique in the world in that he alone can actively strive away from his proper telos. That is, man can, by the gift of free will, choose not to give himself back to God. To do so is to be in-human, to remain unfulfilled. Given that man’s proper end is God himself, we can understand why Vatican II says, “Christ, the final Adam, by the revelation of the mystery of the Father and His love, fully reveals man to himself and makes his supreme calling clear” (Gaudium et Spes 22). Finally, if what it means to be human is to give of ourselves to God and to possess God deep within our souls, and if the Kingdom that Christ promises is none other than His very self, we can conclude that the promise, “Blessed are ye poor, for yours is the kingdom of heaven” can be understood as, “Blessed are ye poor, for yours is Christ,” or rather, “Blessed are ye poor, for you have already within you what it means to be fully human.” When understood this way, if it is true that the poor already possess within their being their own fulfillment, then is is abundantly clear why they are “blessed.” *

It remains now to try to come to grips with why poverty brings with it such blessing. What is it about poverty that is so authentically human? We must first make a critical distinction between poverty and destitution. All human beings are entitled to have their basic needs met. The fact that millions are living in our world in the state of destitution, where hunger and disease ravage entire cultures, is a great sin against humanity, and it cannot be ignored that Christ was relentless in his call for a preferential option for the destitute. Every time we withhold our cloak from the naked or our food from the hungry, we perform sin not only against the human person, but also against Jesus himself. Poverty, on the other hand, is not identical with destitution. The Latin word used in the Nova Vulgate is pauperes. It is true that this is best translated as “poverty,” but what is perhaps more noticeable is that the Gospel does not use the word egenus or the word inops, both of which could be translated as destitute (though inops is more often rendered as “helpless”). Nor did the author use a form of the verb destituo (forsaken). Poverty (pauperes), as opposed to destitution, is the state of having only what one needs. It is this state of simplicity that Christ calls “blessed” and to which he attaches the promise of the kingdom of heaven.

As the Fathers of the Church unanimously observed, to advance in the life of virtue, poverty must come first. This is due to the ontological difference between God and the world. It is the unique Christian distinction that God is absolutely other to the world. God is not part of the world, nor is the world as a whole equivalent to God. Because of this distinction and because of our call to return to God, this world becomes God’s gift to us to be used as a means for this return. Simply put: God is the end; things are means to this end. On one hand, when one is deprived of the basic needs of life, this physical state of destitution necessarily brings with the challenge of spiritual destitution (for the human person is a body-soul unity). This is precisely why we must work to eliminate destitution in the world, not primarily because of the physical sufferings, but first and foremost to allow God’s people the freedom to worship Him in health of body, mind, and soul **. On the other hand, the possession of goods beyond that of basic necessity brings with it the risk of using goods as ends in themselves. It is interesting that, while Christ cured the sick, made the blind see, made the deaf hear, to my recollection, he never once made a poor man rich.

Christ, in this first beatitude, does not say, “To those who are impoverished, I say to you, do not think that this most unfortunate state is permanent, for the day will come when I will relieve you of this poverty and make you rich.” Instead, he says, “Blessed are you poor.” Poverty itself bring with it blessing, or rather sanctity. If the possession of goods beyond that of basic needs bring with it the risk of treating this excess as an end in itself, then it follows that the more we possess, the further we find ourselves from pursuing our proper end: God. The further we are from our proper end, the less human we find ourselves. We are now in the position to reason our main thesis.

In proclaiming, “Blessed are ye poor, for yours is the kingdom of heaven,” Christ is making an ontological observation. Poverty brings with it the simplicity to give oneself to God, which is the final cause of all of humanity. In other words, poverty provides a more authentic human experience. In this, there is blessing.

Of course, all of this is more pressing given the large percentage of humanity that are living in the state of destitution, a state that potentially hinders their ability to know, love, and serve God. It becomes all the more crucial for us to divest ourselves of our excesses to satisfy the basic needs of others. However, we must be careful to avoid misrepresenting the Gospel as a kind of call for a distributive justice. Virtue is always performed in the heart of the individual. We cannot expect political agendas and government policies to force virtue upon the hearts of its citizens. To do so ignores the authentic freedom that is at the core of the dignity of the human person. The ends of such policies can only be atheistic ends, as history has demonstrated. This does not mean that charity and generosity cannot be cultivated among groups of people, but the Church has consistently and wisely taught the principle of subsidiarity, that things are best handled by the smallest competent authority.

In summary, I would be remiss if I did not clarify one last thing. The state of poverty is not purely material; material poverty alone does not bring salvation. Recall Basil’s comment from the second part, “For many are poor in their possessions, yet most covetous in their disposition; these poverty does not save, but their affections condemn.” On the other hand, neither is poverty is purely spiritual. There are those who want to reduce Christ’s call to poverty to the mere detachment from goods. This too is a distortion of the Gospel message. Recall also from the first part the two critical Greek manuscripts (Papyrus 75 and Codex Vaticanus) deliberately avoid the phrase “poor in spirit” and instead opt for simply “poor.”

Finally, there are many other aspects of the Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount that could enrich this discussion, such as the connection the Beatitudes share with the presentation of the Ten Commandments. Many writers far more learned than myself (Pope Benedict, Servais Pinkares, and Thomas Dubay to name only but a few) have already done so; thus, I humbly leave the reader to take up the various texts on this topic for further spiritual reading.


* As a side note, the present possession of our eschatological fulfillment is at the heart of the Christian virtue of hope. See Pope Benedict’s second encyclical letter Spe Salvi for a more lengthy discussion of this.


** In Pope Benedict’s first encyclical letter, Deus Caritas Est, he warns against separating the preaching of the Gospel from humanitarian efforts to alleviate people from their sufferings. Primarily, we are called to preach Christ crucified.

Continue reading...

One Response to The Beatitudes from the Gospel According to Luke, Tertia Pars

Don’s Book Haul

Friday, June 17, AD 2011

When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes.


We at The American Catholic like to keep an eye, frequently jaundiced, on popular culture.  One recent development that I enthusiastically endorse are videos posted by individuals on Youtube discussing “book hauls”, books that they have recently purchased.  I find this heartening.  I have always regarded myself as a hopeless book addict, and now I learn that my addiction is socially acceptable, perhaps even cutting edge!  This post will therefore tell you about a book haul I made yesterday, but first a bit of background information.

When I was growing up in Paris, Illinois, my mother and father used to give me and my brother a dollar each as our allowance.  (Considering that between them my parents brought home about a $100.00 a week, I thought the allowance was rather generous. )  My parents expected us to clean the house each day before school, to do the dishes and to run to the grocery store to pick up items during the week.  It was emphasized to us that the allowances were not payment for our work.  We worked at our chores because we were members of the family, and our parents gave us our allowances because we were members of the family.

You could do a lot with a dollar when you were a kid in the sixties.  Comic books cost 12 cents, cokes were a dime, candy could be purchased for a nickel to a dime.  However, I spent a fair part of my money at the local Goodwill.  Paris did not have a bookstore, but the Goodwill had a bookcase with used paperbacks and hardbacks.  The paperbacks were a nickel and the hardbacks were a dime.  New used books came in fairly frequently.  Most Saturday mornings I would go into the Goodwill and search through the books.  It was there I first made the acquaintance of Plato, Aristotle and Aristophanes.  On one memorable day, the divine Dante came my way for the first time with a paperback copy of Purgatorio, and a “new life” began for me.  History books were plentiful, especially on the Civil War and World War II and I gobbled them up.  Thus I began my personal library, and I have some of those books to this day.  And so my shameful addiction devotion to purchasing mass quantities of books as cheaply as I can began.

Continue reading...

25 Responses to Don’s Book Haul

  • Not exactly a “haul,” but good recent finds from the used book stores:

    1. The University Sermons of Ronald Knox. An absolute steal at $8, given that Bookfinder doesn’t have the Sheed version (which is what mine is) at below $68.

    2. Freedom From Fear by David Wallace. It’s a history of the Depression and WW2, part of the Oxford History of the US series. Excellent so far, but try to find the hardcover as it is an unwieldy (if well-bound) paperback.

    3. Hilaire Belloc: Edwardian Radical. Looking very much forward to this after I finish off the other two.

    As an aside, Union 1812 is a good book. Great character and event sketches written in an engaging journalistic style. A little light on details (and maps), though.

  • Anything by Ronald Knox is a very good find Dale. I assume that people hold tight to his works as I do not find them very abundant at the book sales I haunt.

    Agreed as to Union 1812. Inadequate maps are the bane of most books on military history, sometimes comically so. I was recently reading a fairly good book on the peninsula war marred by the handdrawn maps of the author that combined lack of detail with extreme inaccuracy. Good historical atlases are often a necessary accompaniment to much of my reading.

  • Great haul, Don. I, too, have been a voracious reader since junior high, picking up steam during my Navy days when long voyages at sea taught me to carry along Hemingway, Steinbeck, Twain and several classics including Milton’s Paradise Lost and Dante’s Divine Comedy. I read two books a week, a pace I have kept up until now my 69th year.

    Unfortunately, over the years my book shelves got so crowded I was forced to donate many to local libraries and charities, and sometimes would find them recycled at area flea markets, where, succumbing to a sentimental streak, I would often buy them back.

    As a devotee of pre-and post Victorian-era literature, I zeroed in in a lot of Dickens, Hardy, Eliot, Trollope, Fielding, Thackeray, Gaskell, Wilkie Collins with a few Russian novelists such as Dostoevsky and Tolstoy thrown in. For me, most anything written in antiquity or up to 1900 beats almost anything written afterwards except for the few standouts mentioned above.

    While I prefer fiction, I haven’t ignored the Bible, of course, which I suppose isn’t fiction (I read it cover to cover although it didn’t quite all sink in), and have a good collection of Bishop Sheen, Chesterton, and early Christian writers that I keep on my top shelf, along with most of Taylor Caldwell’s novels (Great Lion of God, Pillar of Iron (the life of Cicero), and Dear and Glorious Physician my three favorites).

    Recent pickups include The Warden and Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope, Edward Abbey’s The Journey Home, No Name by Wilkie Collins, The Brothers Karamazov (new translation) for a re-reard, and The Dictionary of Mis-Information, which explodes dozens of urban legends and other myths such as: The Battle of Bunker Hill was not fought at Bunker Hill, Paul Revere never made it to Concord on his famous midnight ride, and Lincoldn did not write the Gettysburg Address while on a train, nor did he write it on the back of an envelope. Also, Cleopatra was not Egyptian, the guillotine was not French nor named for its inventor, and a compass does not point to either the North geographic pople or the North magnetic pole.

    As an amateur study of history and a lifelong journalist, I believe fact-checking is important and too much written historian is a product of invention and wishful thinking.

    Enjoy your new reads and please share any nuggets you discover with the TAC audience as future grist for debate or discussion.

    Enjoy the rest of your vacation.

  • Thank you Joe. I have always found that books make the best of friends, except when you try to borrow money from them. 🙂

  • The local library had a book sale last weekend as part of the summer reading program kickoff. We bought 20 hardbound children’s books (probably close to $200 worth) for $4.

  • We bought 20 hardbound children’s books (probably close to $200 worth) for $4.

    AND YOU DIDN’T LET THE REST OF US KNOW?! Seriously–wow. I pulled up something similar–but still not that good–when a local library branch closed four years ago. About 10 or so Madeline and Dr. Seuss books for a song. It was the haul of books for the grownups that had my wife doing the Double Facepalm.

  • Joe,

    Trollope beat me to it. I was going to write a book and title it, The Warden: The Story of My Wife.

  • T. Shaw, actually the Warden in Trollope’s book was a nice guy. But I know what you mean, having been “institutionalized” most of my life. Has anyone read “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption” by Laura Hillenbrand? I just ordered it, after recently re-reading her wonderful book about Seabiscuit.

  • I am in the process of reading Atlas Shrugged and find it wanting. I have affinity for the theory behind the book – producer, second handlers, looter, parasites, etc but find the characters hollow, the plot is weak and the book is very predictable. On well only 900 +/- pages to go.

    Any recommendations for my next summer book?

  • Dale, they were selling books in almost spotless condition for .25 apiece or 5 for $1. Couldn’t believe some of the books we were able to get for that price.

  • CatholicLawyer, I read one Ayn Rand book, “The Fountainhead,” and found it boring. Fiction: “Captains and the Kings” by Taylor Caldwell. Non-fiction: “The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt,” by Edmund Morris.

  • My sympathies, CL. Read it a year ago and just recently got over the emotional scarring of trudging through that crap.

    How about some Dostoevsky? Not exactly light, but you can’t go wrong.

  • Dale, they were selling books in almost spotless condition for .25 apiece or 5 for $1. Couldn’t believe some of the books we were able to get for that price.

    Even better. Yeah, I’d have been a danger to myself and others at that sale. The library closure books were more of a mixed bag–definitely not pristine, but the reinforced library bindings helped. The stuff I got for personal use was much better–a two volume Cambridge medieval history, Gilbert’s Churchill biography (1 volume edition), a two volume compilation of Thomas Aquinas’ “greatest hits,” a set of the Encylopedia Americana from 1996, a multivolume Dictionary of American History, an Oxford Dictionary of the Classical World…and that’s what’s off the top of my head. I was there the day you could fill a paper grocery bag for $2.

    For some reason, Heather has laid down the law and said no more encylopedias. Period. Must be one of her inexplicable tics.

  • but find the characters hollow, the plot is weak and the book is very predictable. On well only 900 +/- pages to go.

    Even materialist morality plays can be a bit too didactic, it seems.

    I cop to not having read a word of her books–her Objectivist nephews and nieces are a turnoff that way–but I’d heard that she has a certain pulp competence with her prose that helps. I imagine even that talent could be thwarted by 1100 pages.

    How about Belloc’s “The Servile State”? Touches on a some of the same themes, but from a Catholic perspective.

  • My book haul from the annual public library book sale today included the following:

    — “The Devil in the White City” by Erik Larson, a critically acclaimed tale of Chicago during the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. I figure I’ll like this one because I liked Larson’s “Isaac’s Storm”, about the Galveston Hurricane of 1900.

    –“The Chicago Race Riots: July 1919” by Carl Sandburg. Most of you know Sandberg as a poet and Lincoln biographer, but did you also know that he was a journalist who wrote a series of articles on one of the darker moments in the tangled racial history of the Windy City? Neither did I, until I spotted this book.

    — “Jesse James: Last Rebel of the Civil War” by T.J. Stiles. Haven’t gotten too far into it yet, but it’s already clear to me that he and his brother Frank would more accurately be described as (pro-Confederate) terrorists or war criminals than “legendary outlaws.”

  • Jesse and his brother Frank Elaine were cold blooded killers and thieves who dressed their crimes up in political ideology. My favorite film representation of Jesse James is that of Robert Duvall in the film The Great Northfield Minnesota raid.

  • “Gilbert’s Churchill biography (1 volume edition),”

    I have been collecting the individual volumes over the years, and still have a ways to go, but I have the first two volumes of Churchill from birth up to his entry into Parliament, the two volumes from 1914-1916 and Churchill’s dismissal as First Lord of the Admiralty after Gallipolia, and the two volumes on Churchill during World War II. Churchill was a very great man and in Sir Martin Gilbert he got a biographer worthy of him.

  • Don, Churchill was indeed “a very great man” and history has been very kind to him. But his early collusion with the weak Edward VIII, who wanted to cut a deal with Hitler, is well documented. Like him or not, Christopher Hitchens details such events in this piece:

  • Churchill gave some support to Edward VIII before he abdicated in hopes that he would come to his senses and ditch the American divorcee gold digger he was infatuated with. He of course had no sympathy for the Duke of Windsor’s fatuous thoughts that a peace could be worked out with Hitler and shunted him off in 1940 as Royal Governor of the Bahamas.

  • I resonated with this post because some of my best memories from childhood are centered around books. I have a question though: After hauling books around the country with us for years, we’re thinking of moving to eBooks. I feel very ambivalent about this and wondered, as a bibliophile, if you’ve tried it yet? My daughter assures me that I’d love it & they’re just going to dump all my books when I die anyway 🙂 I can see how it’d be fine for novels etc but I can’t see how I’d like that format for anything I’m attached to…

  • theresarita, My wife bought me a nook last Christmas and I did not like it, wound up getting a refund. I’m an old school, analog type of guy who likes the feel of a real book in my hands. Plus I found the Nook hard to read because of the glare. My 2 cents.

  • (Guest comment from Don’s wife Cathy:) We’ve downloaded a few free eBooks onto our iPad (Star Wars stories for our autistic son who loves Star Wars), as well as apps for a couple of British magazines (RetroGaming and Dogs Today) which are prohibitively expensive for Yanks like us to subscribe to in their paper versions. I can see where an eBook reader would be a great convenience for college students with loads of bulky textbooks (although you can’t resell e-textbooks at the end of the semester, and one’s choice of eBook reader would depend on the format used at one’s college for their textbooks). I can also see where the compactness of an eBook reader would help someone living in really tight quarters. However, I’m still not quite used to clicking my way through an eBook, and (so far, at least) still prefer actual paper books for most things.

  • I bought a Kindle five months ago and I love it. One of the best things about it is that I can get books instantly. A cool feature is that at the end of books there are recommendations for similar books, and I’ve actually picked up a few things I would not have read otherwise. I discovered Mary Roberts Rinehart through this feature. There are so many books available for free or for much cheaper than what you’d pay for the hardcover or even a paper back. I’ve downloaded 50+ books and have probably spent less than $25 on them.

    It’s really no different than reading a book in terms of how it looks on the page. It’s not a computer screen, so your eyes don’t glaze over. And as someone who likes to read multiple longish books and who travel frequently, my back appreciates it.

  • To all my TAC friends. It’s not hard to see why those who fought in WWII are called “the greatest recommendation.”

    Don, perhaps you can piggyback on to this link about the extraordinary heroic life of Louie Zamperini, who became a Christian and forgave his Japanese torturers while he was a POW. Incredibly inspiring story.

  • …”The Greatest Generation” ….

27 Responses to Andrew Jackson and Our Lady of Prompt Succor

  • “The battle was a shot in the arm to American morale after a lack-lustre war”

    For many years afterward, the anniversary of the battle was celebrated not only in New Orleans but all over the Nation, with almost as much festivity as the Fourth of July — some called it a second Independence Day. In the 1820s and 1830s, before the first great waves of European immigration, the Eighth of January was a bigger celebration than Christmas to many Americans!

  • Our Lady of Prompt Succor has been a very powerful intercessor on behalf of New Orleans, particularly during the hurricane season.

    I’ll also add that I’ve been to the chapel in that Ursuline Convent, and still today there is a stain glass pane depicting the battle. It’s the only time I’ve ever seen the American flag in a stained glass window of a Catholic Church.

  • “After the battle Old Hickory came to the convent to thank the nuns for their prayers. “By the blessing of heaven, directing the valor of the troops under my command, one of the most brilliant victories in the annals of war was obtained.” In after years, whenever Jackson visited New Orleans, he always made a point of also visiting the Ursuline Covent.”

    How downright heartwarming. Why, Jackson was practically Catholic. I’m almost certain I remember a story about Jackson that had something to do with “mourning and weeping in the this vale of tears”.

    Oh. Wait. Check that. The story was about Jackson and all the mourning and weeping along the Trail of Tears.

    There are few in American history that I despise more than “Old Hickory”. Chief Junaluska, Jackson’s Indian ally against the “Red Stick” Creeks at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, saved Jackson’s life during that earlier battle in the War of 1812. Later Junaluska would say about Jackson “If I had known that Jackson would drive us from our homes, I would have killed him that day at the Horseshoe.”

  • Elaine: I was unaware of that. Truly fascinating! What a help to Jackson when he started the Democrat party!

    Michael: I have only seen an American flag in a stained glass window of a Catholic church in only one other place. At Saint John’s chapel at the U of I in Urbana there is depicted a World War I doughboy kneeling under a cross, and an American flag is in the scene.

  • Jackson is a mixed bag Jay, as I noted in this post:

    However, God often uses flawed instruments to work His will, and I cannot see why he could not have used Jackson to do so. As for Jackson and the Church, he was no bigot when it came to religion as his actions demonstrated:

    “As already noted, Jackson, through the influence of his wife, became more religious as he grew older, although his religion always had a bit of his rough edges about it, as this vignette demonstrates:

    ”young Nashville lawyer: “Mr. Cartwright, do you believe there is any such place as hell, as a place of torment?”

    Rev. Peter Cartwright: “Yes, I do.”

    young Nashville lawyer: “Well, I thank God I have too much good sense to believe any such thing.”

    Andrew Jackson: “Well, sir, I thank God that there is such a place of torment as hell.”

    young Nashville lawyer: “Why, General Jackson, what do you want with such a place of torment as hell?”

    Andrew Jackson: “To put such damned rascals as you are in, that oppose and vilify the Christian religion.””

    Jackson was no bigot on matters of religion as this passage in a letter to Ellen Hanson on March 25, 1835 indicates (the spelling is all Jackson):

    “I was brought up a rigid Presbeterian, to which I have always adhered. Our excellent constitution guarantees to every one freedom of religion, and charity tells us, and you know Charity is the reall basis of all true religion, and charity says judge the tree by its fruit. all who profess christianity, believe in a Saviour and that by and through him we must be saved. We ought therefor to consider all good christians, whose walk corresponds with their professions, be him Presbeterian, Episcopalian, Baptist, methodist or Roman catholic.”

    Jackson proved that this was no mere verbiage by his actions. He and his wife served as the guardian for Mary Anne Lewis, a Catholic. They made certain that she attended Mass and received instruction in the Faith. When she married, Andrew Jackson hosted the wedding on November 29, 1832, and her Catholic wedding was the first Roman Catholic ceremony performed at the White House. Next year the second Roman Catholic ceremony took place at the White House, the baptism of her son, Andrew Jackson Pageot. When the priest asked if the baby renounced Satan, President Jackson, who thought the query was being addressed to him, said in a loud voice: “I do! Most indubitably!” (Hattip to Thomas J. Craughwell for the details of this incident.)”

    (Me defending Jackson? What a confusing way to start off this day!)

  • “(Me defending Jackson? What a confusing way to start off this day!)”


    I admit to having a visceral reaction to even hearing or reading the man’s name. My dear mother, bless her heart, loves Jackson. I’ve always found him utterly repugnant. Even when I read positive stories about him, such as the ones you’ve related, all I can see is the blood on his hands and the demagogery gurgling up in his throat.

    One of my heros, David Crockett, could see him clearly for what he was, and had the audacity to oppose Jackson on his Indian policy (and other matters, as well). It cost Crockett his political career, and, ultimately, his life, as he told his former Tennessee constituents, “Y’all can go to Hell, I’m going to Texas.”

  • Over 43 years ago, I dated a girl who was a student at Ursuline Academy, the Bronx, NY.

    I shall avoid the near occasion to bash Jackson and the demagogue party. That, I’ll defer to Daniel Webster.

    From Robert L. Bartley, WSJ, 10/20/2003, “. . . In his 1832 veto of renewing the Bank’s (Second Bank of the United States) charter, Jackson complained that its profits went to foreigners and a ‘few hundred of our own citizens, chiefly of the richest class.’ Daniel Webster replied that the message was a ‘wanton attack whole classes of people, for the purposes of turning against them the prejudices and resentments of other classes.’ The tradition, of course, runs strong even today in the party of . . . ” Obama, Reid, and Weiner.

  • Pingback: This is my kind of story! « A Blog for Dallas Area Catholics
  • The fact that he wasn’t an anti-Catholic bigot doesn’t lessen the cold cruelty of a man who made it his business to persecute the Indians of the South-East US. Jay is right. If his actions were done for the sake of revenge, it is still inexcusable. Before moving to the White House he was always warring against the Indians, making unjust treaties that they only agreed to out of fear. He up-rooted entire Indian tribes, four or five of them, and forced them to walk almost 1500 miles to Oklahoma for “relocation” I think it was the Creeks who lost over one quarter of their people (1400 dead) making the journey. He pursued this relocation policy with a vengeance. He was guilty of genocide in any book.

  • Have you ever heard “The Battle of New Orleans” by Johnny Horton? It’s a highly humorous ballad written in the ’60’s. Johnny Horton also wrote other ballads that were popular before the British Invasion, including “Sink the Bismarck,” “Comanche,” and “North to Alaska” for the John Wayne movie of the same name.

  • “The fact that he wasn’t an anti-Catholic bigot doesn’t lessen the cold cruelty of a man who made it his business to persecute the Indians of the South-East US.”

    Well, being part Cherokee and all Republican it is safe to say that I will never be a member of any Andrew Jackson fan club. I regard the Trail of Tears as a blot on our national honor. However, it is ahistorical to heap the blame for all of this on one man. Jackson was carrying out a policy of Indian removal that was strongly backed by almost all the pioneers in the Southwest. (Not all. Davy Crockett spoke out against the policy for example, as Jay noted.) The Indian wars that Jackson was involved in prior to his Presidency do not break down into simple terms of evil White and good Indians. Often the sides were mixed with Indians and whites fighting on both sides which often amounted to civil wars between tribal factions. The Creek War of 1813-1814 where Jackson first rose to prominence was certainly this type of struggle. Jackson was a major player in the conflict between Whites and Indians in the Southwest, and he used the wars to grab land for the white settlers, but I have little doubt that if Jackson had never been born precisely the same sort of wars would have been fought with the same sorts of outcomes. As for accusing Jackson of genocide, that is simply rubbish. Jackson wanted the Indians removed to across the Mississippi; he did not want them eliminated as a race.

    Jackson is the only American president to adopt an Indian child, which is what he did for a two year old Creek toddler, Lyncoya, found on the battlefield of Talladega. He lived with Jackson and his wife thereafter as their adopted son, with Jackson hoping to eventually send him to West Point. Tragically, Lyncoya died of tuberculosis in 1828. Complicated does not begin to describe Andrew Jackson.

  • “Have you ever heard “The Battle of New Orleans” by Johnny Horton?”

    Indeed I have Sandra!

  • Some of my thoughts on the ever-controversial Andrew Jackson, tied into a very good video on Old Hickory and his role in American history.

  • “As for accusing Jackson of genocide, that is simply rubbish. Jackson wanted the Indians removed to across the Mississippi; he did not want them eliminated as a race.”

    Okay, then, ethnic cleansing, which is oh so much better (although I fully concur with the genocide charge).

  • Words have meanings Jay and genocide does not fit what Jackson accomplished with the Indian Removal Act of 1830. However, if any of you palefaces wish to solace your grief for the wrong done to my Cherokee ancestors, for a reasonable monetary contribution to me I can send you out a certificate of forgiveness in Cherokee! 🙂

  • However, if any of you palefaces wish to solace your grief for the wrong done to my Cherokee ancestors, for a reasonable monetary contribution………….”

    That’s great!

    Man, you’d fit right in down here with the radical Maori grievance industry.

    Would you like a referral? 🙂 😀 😆

  • I’m only beginning Don! My Irish ancestors are still waiting for a personal apology from the Queen of England for the Potato Famine. Then my Scottish ancestors are still waiting for an apology from the Queen of England for Culloden. My Irish ancestors also are upset due to the English settling the barbarous Scots in Ulster, but then my Scottish ancestors take umbrage at this, begin muttering about drunken Irish, and then my Irish and Scottish ancestors begin to fight among themselves! At any rate, when it comes to the right to be historically aggrieved, I will take a backseat to no one!

  • As an Irishman (potato famine and otherwise being treated like $h!+ by the Brits and their American cousins for 700+ years), a Scotsman (Highland clearances), and a pinch of Native American thrown in for good measure, I’m wondering when I’m going to receive my reparations for all the ethnic cleansing we’ve suffered.

    Don, I take a backseat to no one when it comes to harboring ethnic grievances for which I hope to receive full restitution some day.


  • I’m almost certain there’s an ancient chiefdom in Ireland or Scotland of which I’ve been deprived. Surely I can be compensated for that loss by being awarded some castle or manor on a remote lough/loch (with a good village pub nearby, of course).

  • The song “Battle of New Orleans” was actually written by an Arkansas school principal named Jimmy Driftwood as a learning aid to his students; it was set to a traditional fiddle tune called — you guessed it — “The Eighth of January.”

  • Great post. Always enjoy reading your articles Don even if I somewhat disagree. I think you are correct though about what would have happened had Jackson not been born. Probably the same thing, only God knows. There were horrible atrocities. Few can match those of the Brits under Oliver Cromwell when he slaughtered 1/3 of the Irish, well funded by the Rothschilds. Some of hIs soldiers, after shooting the husband, ripped children from their mothers arm, tossed them into the air, and catch them on their swords. His statue still stands tall in Trafalgar Square (I think) in London. He is so honored with a statue for inviting the Jews back to England after they had been exiled.

  • Thank you Brian. Old Ironsides was a piece of work indeed.

  • What a great reminder of the power of prayer through the Holy Sacifice of the Mass. We have an extraordinary Catholic history, as witnessed in this account of the Battle of New Orleans. When Andrew Jackson would later, as president, make that fateful and tragic act against the native Americans, known as the “trail of tears” in 1830ff, I have no doubt that the power of the prayers of the Ursuline Sisters was with the Cheerokee people and all who suffered.

  • Pingback: Know Today That God Loves You | St. John
  • My grievance over Jackson’s Indian relocation policy isn’t JUST that he did it, it’s that he did it after the Supreme Court ruled it was unconstitutional! So much for honor and upholding a vow to “preserve, protect, and defend” the Constitution…

  • Actually Jackson’s apocryphal response to John Marshal, “John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it!” is about the only thing I like about Jackson’s Indian Removal program. John Marshall had a bad habit of getting John Marshall and the Constitution confused.

    Contrary to popular belief, the Supreme Court in Worcester v. Georgia did not rule the Indian Removal Act unconstitutional. What it did hold is that Georgia could not ban whites from being present on Indian lands in Georgia. Marshall wrote the opinion finding that only the federal government had jurisdiction in regard to Indian lands.