Monthly Archives: August 2011

Our Divine Pope

Hat tip to the Midwest Conservative Journal for finding what might be the dumbest thing ever written by a journalist about Catholicism.  Considering the competition, that’s actually saying quite a lot.

Though most in the Coptic Orthodox community send their children to Catholic school, they are not Catholic themselves. The differences are slight — they use the same liturgies, though Orthodox Christians differ from Roman Catholics in their belief that the Pope is a human being, not a divine figure — which has meant Coptic Orthodox children most often are sent to Catholic school.

Approximately one-third of Toronto’s citizenry is Roman Catholic.  Even granting the large number of nominal Catholics, this means that Murray Whyte, unless he has truly lives in a sheltered environment, must encounter a decent amount of Roman Catholics.  Sure, this doesn’t mean that he’s going to know or understand the finer details of our faith, but are you kidding me here?

Give Us This Day

William Thomas Cummings, pictured viewer’s left in the above photograph, is known for the phrase, “There are no atheists in foxholes.”  This is the story of the priest behind the phrase.

Born in 1903 he studied at Saint Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park, California and was ordained a priest in 1928.  Wanting to be a missionary priest he joined the Maryknoll Order.  In December 1941 he was serving as a missionary priest in the Philippines.  On December 7, 1941 he showed up at the American Army headquarters in Manila in white vestments and offered his services as a chaplain.  The commandant of the Manila garrison attempted to talk him out of it.  He was 38, old for a combat chaplain, and he was nursing a back injury.  He was also near-sighted and lean as a rake.  Father Cummings vehemently replied that he was determined to be an Army chaplain.    Commissioned as a first lieutenant, he joined the Army in its epic retreat to the Bataan peninsula, where American and Filipino troops, on starvation rations and wracked with malaria, would make a heroic stand for months against the Japanese Imperial Army.

Believing themselves deserted by the US, the troops sang this bit of bitter doggerel:

We’re the battling bastards of Bataan,

No mama, no papa, no Uncle Sam.

No aunts, no uncles, no cousins, no nieces,

No pills, no planes, no artillery pieces.

And nobody gives a damn.

General Douglas MacArthur, in command of all American and Filipino troops in the Philippines, continually pleaded with Washington for a relief force to Bataan.  Shamefully, some of the messages from Washington indicated that a relief force was being put together.   These were lies.   After Pearl Harbor the US simply lacked the naval assets to successfully reinforce Bataan.  Any attempt to do so would almost certainly have led to a military disaster for America.  MacArthur refused an order that he leave Bataan, and stated that he would resign his commission and fight as a volunteer.  He finally left after a direct order from President Roosevelt, but refused to be smuggled out in a submarine, instead going by PT boat to demonstrate that the Japanese blockade of the Philippines could be penetrated.  After he arrived in Australia he was shocked to learn that there were no plans for the relief of the Philippines.  His main goal throughout the war thereafter was the liberation of the Philippines and the rescue of the American and Filipino POWs.

On Bataan Chaplain Cummings quickly became an Army legend.   On Good Friday 1942 at a Bataan field hospital undergoing bombardment Nurse Hattie Bradley witnessed Father Cummings in action:  More piercing screams. Scores must be dead or dying, she was convinced. She dashed into the orthopedic ward for help. There, panic was on the verge of erupting. Then she saw the chaplain…standing on a desk. Above the roar of the airplanes, the explosions and the shrieks of the wounded, his voice could be heard: “Our Father, who art in heaven…” Calmed by his prayers, the patients quieted.”  Father Cummings did this in spite of one of his arms being broken by shrapnel from a bomb. 

On Bataan he was always with the troops near or on the front line.  He said innumerable Masses, administered the Last Rites to the dying and helped with the wounded.  His field sermons were memorable.  In one of them he made the famous observation that “There are no atheists in foxholes.”  The quotation was passed on in the book “I Saw the Fall of the Philippines” by General Carlos P. Romulo, one of the Filipino troops evacuated from Bataan, which was published in 1942.

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What Pro-Abort Catholics Must Believe

Hattip to Mathew Archbold at Creative Minority Report.  The poster is funny and devastating.  However, I would find it even more humorous if purported Catholic newspapers didn’t publish articles like this,  or if articles like this were not dead on accurate as to the attitudes of radical nuns or if so many pro-aborts, an example is here, didn’t end up in positions of power within agencies associated with the Church.  The pro-life cause would be so much more effective if so many Catholics in this country were not actively supporting the right to kill unborn kids.

Vacations and Reality

 

I divide the causes of human laughter into Joy, Fun, the Joke Proper, and Flippancy. You will see the first among friends and lovers reunited on the eve of a holiday. Among adults some pretext in the way of Jokes is usually provided, but the facility with which the smallest witticisms produce laughter at such a time shows that they are not the real cause. What that real cause is we do not know. Something like it is expressed in much of that detestable art which the humans call Music, and something like it occurs in Heaven—a meaningless acceleration in the rhythm of celestial experience, quite opaque to us. Laughter of this kind does us no good and should always be discouraged. Besides, the phenomenon is of itself disgusting and a direct insult to the realism, dignity, and austerity of Hell.

Fun is closely related to Joy—a sort of emotional froth arising from the play instinct. It is very little use to us. It can sometimes be used, of course, to divert humans from something else which the Enemy would like them to be feeling or doing: but in itself it has wholly undesirable tendencies; it promotes charity, courage, contentment, and many other evils.

                                                                 CS Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

My family and I had a great time on our vacation.  Gen Con was grand as it always is, and, as the picture at the top of the post indicates, I made a new friend!  (I am the one who is not green.)

During vacations I attempt to studiously ignore the news, forget about the Law, and focus in on my family and fun.  I find that a bit difficult to do, as I always take a great deal of interest in the noteworthy events of the day, and my legal practice tends to be fairly consuming of my time during non-vacation periods.  Fortunately my family I also find fascinating, and after a day or two I am in full vacation mode and everything but my family fades into the distance for a time.

Alas, vacations always end.  When I go back to my office on Monday, I know that I will have many messages to return, and a full schedule of appointments and court appearances to deal with.  Back home with the internet, I will spend at least an hour each day getting up to speed with current events, and writing my blog posts, and my life proceeds in its familiar non-vacation manner.

It would be easy for me to think that the vacation was a temporary illusion and the way I normally spend my life the reality, but this is incorrect.  God gives us this life as an entirety and it is not for us to divide it.  Our different activities each year and each day are merely facets of the time on this planet we have as a free-will gift from our Creator.  What we do with the time, good and bad, is up to us, but no portion is less our reality than any other portion.  It is our task to enfuse everything we do with love of God and love of our neighbor.

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Get Off the Track!

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Something for the weekend.  Get Off The Track! by the Hutchinson Family Singers, a family group of singers who were very popular in the North during the 1840′s, 1850′s and 1860′s.  They were fiery abolitionists and this song became the anthem of the crusade against slavery in the US. Continue reading

Failure

Congrats.  You’ve managed to do what even Jimmy Carter couldn’t accomplish.

The United States lost its top-notch AAA credit rating from Standard & Poor’s on Friday in an unprecedented reversal of fortune for the world’s largest economy.

S&P cut the long-term U.S. credit rating by one notch to AA-plus on concerns about the government’s budget deficits and rising debt burden. The move is likely to raise borrowing costs eventually for the American government, companies and consumers.

“The downgrade reflects our opinion that the fiscal consolidation plan that Congress and the Administration recently agreed to falls short of what, in our view, would be necessary to stabilize the government’s medium-term debt dynamics,” S&P said in a statement.

Maybe we should have listened to those tea party “terrorists.”

Voting for Polytheists

Jimmy Akin must have had a bet with someone who dared him to write a post that got more comments than the Fr. Corapi stuff.  This may not beat the Corapi story, but this should get . . . interesting before all is said and done.

Jimmy’s post is titled “Should America Elect a Polytheist Who Claims to Be a Christian?”  If you’re not sure who he is referring to, I’ll let him explain:

In various races, we might be asked to vote for candidates who are Mormon.

While they may be very nice people and may even share many values with Christians, Mormons are not Christians. They do not have valid baptism because they are polytheists. That is, they believe in multiple gods. This so affects their understanding of the baptismal formula that it renders their administration of baptism invalid and prevents them from becoming Christians when they attempt to administer the sacrament.

Unlike other polytheists (e.g., Hindus, Shintoists), Mormons claim to be Christian.

Casting a vote for a Mormon candidate thus means casting one’s vote for a polytheist who present himself to the world as a Christian.

He goes on to argue that voting for a Mormon in a national election poses grave concerns.

It would not only spur Mormon recruitment efforts in numerous ways, it would mainstreamize the religion in a way that would deeply confuse the American public about the central doctrine of the Christian faith. It would give the public the idea that Mormons are Christian (an all-too-frequent misunderstanding as it is) and that polytheism is somehow compatible with Christianity.

In other words, it would deal a huge blow to the American public’s already shaky understanding of what Christianity is.

That means it would massively compromise a fundamental value on the scale of the abortion issue.

Jimmy writes that he’d sit out an election between a Mormon and a pro-abortion candidate.

Before stating my disagreement with Jimmy, let me point out where is he is right: Continue reading

The New York Times Has All The Answers!

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You are correct Klavan on the Culture!  The New York Times does have all the answers, and most of them are wrong!  Ad revenues for the print New York Times have been declining for years and the Old Gray Lady is about as profitable as a Soviet Tractor Plant circa 1986.  However, the Newspaper of Record has a plan.  It seems there is this thing called the internet, and the New York Times will get suckers subscribers to pay for access to New York Times content.

This was tried before by the Times and it  was a dismal failure, but this time it will succeed for sureAnd if it doesn’t, the fish wrap industry is just waiting to be conquered!

Knights of Columbus to Take Over JP II Center

Supreme Knight Carl Anderson (and member of my council) announced today at the Supreme Convention in Denver that the Knights of Columbus are acquiring the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, DC.

“True to Pope John Paul II’s vision, and using the story of his life as an inspiration, the shrine will be an opportunity to evangelize and spread the Good News of the Gospel through a New Evangelization,” Anderson said in a public statement.

“Because of his tireless evangelization efforts, an entire generation of Catholics has become known as the ‘John Paul Generation,’ and, certainly, we are honored to continue to spread his profound and powerful message of hope for our country, our continent and our world.”

Archbishop Allen Vigneron of Detroit confirmed that the Knights will provide a $20 million cash payment to the Detroit Archdiocese, which had poured $54 million into the cultural center, a project marked by cost overruns that continued to require large-interest payments from the Detroit Archdiocese.

Wonderful news for a site that was really struggling.

What Everyone Was Thinking of the Debt Debate?

A Pew/WaPo poll over the weekend asked people to give the one word they believed best described the then-still-ongoing debate in congress over the debt ceiling and budget cutting issue. The results are:

The disgust was shared by Democrats, Republicans and Independents, and people reported that their impressions of both Obama and the Republican congressional leadership had worsened (from their already low levels.)

That no one is impressed with the specter of a bunch grown men and women squabbling endlessly is probably unsurprising — if we saw what congress was up to more often we’d probably have this reaction frequently. However, it seems to me that there are two things which make this go-round particularly bad.
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