Monthly Archives: July 2011
Thomas Wolfe once famously wrote “you can’t go home again” and I guess that sometimes applies to films. When I was a boy and a teenager I loved the film Abe Lincoln in Illinois. Released in 1940, the film was an adaptation of Robert E. Sherwood’s broadway play. Raymond Massey gave a stunning performance as Abraham Lincoln which has remained with me, although I have not seen the film, other than Youtube excerpts, in probably 35 years. Recently I learned that the film had been released on DVD. Purchasing it, I watched it last Friday evening.
The film was certainly as powerful as I remembered it. Raymond Massey gave an eerily on target performance as Abraham Lincoln and Gene Lockhart was magnificent as Lincoln’s great antagonist, Stephen A. Douglas. However, in the intervening decades I had learned quite a bit about Lincoln and his time and several aspects of the film I found grating:
1. Historical howlers: Every Hollywood “historical” epic tends to commit sins against the historical record, but Abe Lincoln in Illinois had some egregious ones:
a. Jack Armstrong, one of Lincoln’s earliest New Salem friends, is shown as offering to throw a tomato at Stephen A. Douglas during one of the Lincoln-Douglas debates in 1858. I assume it was his ghost since Armstrong died in 1854.
b. John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry which occurred in 1859 is shown as taking place before the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas Senate race.
c. Lincoln is shown as receiving a military bodyguard immediately after being elected. No such protection was afforded the president-elect by President Buchanan, even though Lincoln was deluged with death threats.
d. In an affecting scene, the citizens of Springfield begin singing the Battle Hymn of the Republic as Lincoln heads off to Washington in February of 1861. The song wouldn’t be written until November of that year and not published until 1862.
2. Ann Rutledge-The film spends a great deal of time depicting the romance between Lincoln and Ann Rutledge. There is virtually no historical support for this charming old fable.
3. Lincoln the Reluctant-Lincoln is shown as a very reluctant politician. Rubbish! Lincoln loved politics and was an enthusiastic participant throughout his life.
4. Mary the Shrew-Mary Todd Lincoln is depicted in the film as a shrew who drives an ambitiousless Lincoln forward to fulfill his destiny very much against his will. Lincoln had quite enough ambition on his own. By most accounts the Lincolns had a loving marriage, with the usual ups and downs familiar to most married couples who stay together through good and bad times. Continue reading
Father John Corapi released a statement on his Black SheepDog blogsite basically denying some, but not all, of the allegations put against him by his order, S.O.L.T.
I won’t get into what who said what or not since this will be an open thread, but I don’t recall Padre Pio resigning from the Capuchins for the restrictions placed on him from the many allegations levied against him at the time. And if I recall correctly, he was under these restrictions for ten years. Plus, after they were lifted, there were still restrictions to when and where he could practice.
Yes, we are all not perfect, but Jesus did ask us to be perfect as he is perfect, ie, strive for perfection.
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Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, current faculty member and former president of the Chicago Theological Seminary ,(don’t laugh yet), doesn’t think much of Catholic bishops expressing opposition to gay marriage, and she said so recently at some length in the “On Faith” (trust me that is a misnomer) blog at the Washington post. Christopher Johnson at Midwest Conservative Journal, a Protestant who takes up the cudgels in defense of the Church so often that I have named him Defender of the Faith, gives her a fisking to remember:
Nobody, and I mean nobody, does pompous, arrogant self-righteousness better than liberal Protestants. Via David “He Reads ‘On Faith’ So You Don’t Have To” Fischler comes this drivel from the Chicago Theological Seminary’s Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite criticizing a Catholic bishop for being…well…a Catholic bishop:
How can we expect other nations around the world to create and sustain pluralistic democracies when prominent religious leaders in the United Sates, such as Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of New York, fail to grasp the fundamentals of this concept?
“Happy would I be if I could sacrifice for God what Custer threw away to the world.”
Bishop Martin Marty
During his approximately 59 years on this Earth it is probable that the Sioux chieftan Sitting Bull met only one white man he trusted implicitly: Martin Marty.
Marty was born on January 12, 1834 in Schwyz, Switzerland to a shoemaker and his wife. Gifted scholastically, he attended the Benedictine school attached to Einseideln Abbey. Upon graduation he entered the novitiate, taking his final vows in 1855 and being ordained a priest a year later. It is quite likely he would have remained at the abbey for the remainder of his life, “of the world forgetting, and by the world forgot”, except that in 1860 his abbot ordered him to take over a disobedient and debt-ridden daughter house of the abbey in Saint Meinrad, Indiana. He performed a minor miracle in restoring the morale and faith of the monks at the abbey at Saint Meinrad and brought it back to fiscal solvency. The abbot decided that he was doing such a good job that he should stay where he was in America. In 1870, the Saint Meinrad Abbey achieved independent status by a Papal decree of Pius IX with Father Marty as the first abbot. It continues in existence to this day as an abbey and a seminary. Continue reading
The past couple weeks I posted a summary and brief commentary on an address given by Francis Cardinal George at the Library of Congress in June of 1999. While it didn’t spark that much debate, several people have written to me asking if I could upload the document, which appears to be absent from the internet as it stands. (Yes, it is hard to believe, but there are some things that are not yet on the internet.) I was, and still am, apprehensive about violating any copyright laws, either in letter or spirit. While I am fairly confident that it is okay for me to post this, I wish also to make it publicly known that if Cardinal George, or any other who claim rights to this fine essay, wish it to be removed, I will do so immediately and with sincere apologies.
That is the “fine print,” if you will.
What follows is the speech in its entirety: Catholic Christianity and the Millennium: Frontiers of the Mind in the 21st Century, an Address at the Library of Congress on June 16, 1999, by His Eminence, Francis Cardinal George.
Back in high school
I met a girl and she could turn all the boys heads when Al Gore was Bill Clinton’s running mate, I mocked Gore’s monotone drone by pretending to be a robot, repeating the same hackneyed talking points over and over again. Every sentence would begin, “Bill Clinton and I . . .” and then after sputtering a few cliches, I’d break down. One of my classmates would pretend to wind me up and then I’d start all over again, repeating what I just said.
Little did I know that I was anticipating Ed Miliband, the UK’s Labour Party leader, by a mere 19 years.
I have to admit that at first I was unconvinced that the strikes were unnecessary, or that parents and the public had been let down by both sides, or that the government had acted in a reckless and provocative manner. By the third response I started to see that the government had acted recklessly and let down the parents and the public, but I still thought the strikes were necessary. By the final response I saw the light of reason, convinced by Miliband’s powerful argument.
As AP points out, this gets even better.
At just 41 years old, he’s already the leader of Britain’s Labour party, which means there’s an exceedingly good chance that he’ll be prime minister some day. What could go wrong?
Oh I’m sure it’s just going to go swimmingly when he’s negotiating with whatever dictator emerges out of Libya. Maybe he’ll get $48 worth of beads for the islands.
Update I: The press release is now up on the S.O.L.T. website. Thanks to reader Wellington for alerting us to that.
Update II: Read the Catholic Blogosphere’s reactions to the S.O.L.T. Bombshell on ThePulp.it here.
Update III: Fr. Corapi has responded. Let’s just say that I find the response less than convincing.
[Editor's Note: I have just gotten off the phone with the editors of the National Catholic Register and they have confirmed that this is a genuine press release from Father Gerard Sheehan of S.O.L.T. They, S.O.L.T., are unable to take phone calls or respond to emails because they have General Chapter meetings until July 21, ie, reclused.]
Jimmy Akin links to a press release from Fr. Gerard Sheehan, who was Fr. Corapi’s religious superior in the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT). It rehashes some of the things we’ve already heard about the investigation of Fr. Corapi, but then concludes with this:
SOLT’s fact-finding team has acquired information from Father Corapi’s emails, various witnesses and public sources that, together, state that, during his years of public ministry:
— He did have sexual relations and years of cohabitation (in California and Montana) with a woman known to him, when the relationship began, as a prostitute.
— He repeatedly abused alcohol and drugs.
— He has recently engaged in “sexting” activity with one or more women in Montana.
— He holds legal title to over $1 million in real estate, numerous luxury vehicles, motorcycles, an ATV, a boat dock, and several motor boats, which is a serious violation of his promise of poverty as a perpetually professed member of the society.
SOLT has contemporaneously, with the issuance of this press release, directed Father John Corapi, under obedience, to return home to the society’s regional office and take up residence there. It has also ordered him, again under obedience, to dismiss the lawsuit he has filed against his accuser.
SOLT’s prior direction to Father John Corapi not to engage in any preaching or teaching, the celebration of the sacraments or other public ministry continues. Catholics should understand that SOLT does not consider Father John Corapi as fit for ministry.
Wow. I’m sure this is far from the last we will hear about this.
This Klavan on the Culture is from July 2010 and it is just as topical today. The Obama years are an endless national Groudhog Day with a lousy economy, high unemployment and multiple wars being fought on autopilot, and a completely clueless Chief Executive who fails to do anything to change anything in a positive direction. For a candidate who promised Hope and Change, Obama has delivered Despair and Stasis, the lost years of Obama.
Prof. Dr. Richard Russell, a former CIA analyst who is a convert to the Catholic Faith, a man who describes himself as a “student of war”, recently delivered an address in The Netherlands about the messages of Our Lady of All Nations. All I can say about this is that is truly fascinating, and I strongly recommend a listen.
- Declaration of Independance – read the transcript and the history of the founding document of our nation (Library of Congress) | learn more about the battle for its preservation (PBS NOVA)
- Catholic Sources and the Declaration of Independence by Rev. John C. Rager. The Catholic Mind XXVIII, no. 13 (July 8, 1930), looks at synergies between the thought of Aquinas and Bellarmine and that expressed in the Declaration, asking: “Did Jefferson know of Bellarmine?”? (In How Catholic is the Declaration of Independence?, Commonweal takes a look at the “Scholastic-roots-of-democracy theory”; and CatholicHistory.net provides a bibliography on Catholics and the American Founding).
- Carl Olson interviews Dr. Bradley J. Birzer, author of American Cicero: The Life of Charles Carroll (Ignatius Insight) | Learn more about our Catholic founding father
- What do Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI think about the American Founding?.
- Discover the riches of The Federalist Papers – by way of a commentary by Paul Zummo (The Cranky Conservative), who maintains: “I absolutely believe that an understanding of the Federalist Papers is essential for understanding the U.S. Constitution and, therefore, understanding America.”
- Listen to Johnny Cash recite “I am the Nation”.