33

Newt Gingrich: Receiving the Eucharist Brings Me Peace

Just listened to parts of the Newt Gingrich tonight by Sean Hannity while I was working and Speaker Gingrich said in the most Catholic language imaginable how receiving the Eucharist brings him peace and comfort.

That was an incredible line.  As soon as I can find it on YouTube, I’ll post it, but I may begin budging towards Gingrich based simply on his faith!

4

Party of Death

 

Nothing like partying at a facility dedicated to slaying the most innocent among us to get some Democrats apparently in the holiday mood.

The women’s auxiliary of the Harris County Democratic Party will hold their politically correct-named “Holiday Party” on December 8 at the late-term abortion business Planned Parenthood runs in the southeast party of Houston that has gained national attention and controversy.

The location is no surprise given the close relationship the Democratic Party has with abortion advocates, especially in Houston. Houston Mayor Annise Parker spoke at the opening of the massive new Planned Parenthood abortion business (the location of the party) in June 2010, saying, “It’s not about the building; it’s about people’s lives; it is not about women, it is about families; and it’s not about what we do here today, it’s about our future.”

Parker lives with her life partner Kathy Hubbard, campaign treasurer for Planned Parenthood and Parker’s bid for re-election as Houston Mayor was endorsed by Planned Parenthood. Continue Reading

8

Green Jobs and other Myths

 

 

 

Thank you Cartoon Klavan!  Green jobs aren’t quite as rare as unicorns, but they are quite expensive.  The notorious right wing rag, The Washington Post, has reported that the Obama administration has spent 19 billion of our money creating a grand total of 3, 545 green jobs.  One cannot say of course that the White House has not been trying to create green jobs.  For example, just look at the Solyndra company, now in bankruptcy.  The Obama administration sent that company 535 million of taxpayer money, and agreed to a restructuring plan for the company’s debt which allowed two private investors to move ahead of the taxpayers.  Then when the company began to imitate the Titanic, Energy Secretary Steve Chu had his minions thoughtfully contact Solyndra and had them hold off on employee layoffs until after the mid-term elections last year, lest voters be unduly alarmed at another half a billion down a green rathole. Continue Reading

27

Some advice from Lech Walesa for Occupy Wall Street…

The freedom fighter and former President of Poland, Lech Walesa, has offered a thoughtful reflection concerning the protests occurring across the Arab world, Europe, and the United States.

Lech Walesa
former President of Poland

 

In a San Francisco Chronicle op-ed, Mr. Walesa sides with the protesters.  But, he also takes them to task:

What has struck me the most as I have followed the protests on television and in the social media is that the protesters generally know that the status quo should not be tolerated, but are a lot less clear and unified about what they want to replace it with.

 

What  idea that unifies the protesters?

In the United States, The Motley Monk would observe that there is little if any talk about God-given rights or inalienable freedoms.  Instead, the Occupy Wall Streeters talk mostly about “economic justice” for the 99% and rail against the evils being perpetrated against them by the 1%.  In this regard, Walesa observes:

Today’s protests seem more focused on the problems that are plaguing many of the world’s advanced economies, with little regard to the impact of government in creating these problems.  What is needed in addition are sound solutions that are mindful of both the effects of government powers and the importance of vital freedoms.  These solutions have to be earned through dialogue between bankers, entrepreneurs, public administrators, labor unions and social organizations….I do not support solely the idea of overthrowing those who are in power.  I support the processes that would lead to new orders guaranteeing individual liberty, democracy, civic virtue, equality and the rule of law.

 

Absent an inspiring idea to unify people, protests are just that.  Eventually, they peter out.  And then, they die as the protesters depart for their homes dejected that their once glorious “movement” failed under the oppressive weight of the powers they were protesting.  In the end, nothing changes because the protesters—who have legitimate concerns—stood against something but stood for nothing.  Mr Walesa observes:

While today’s protesters have many legitimate concerns, let me assure them that instead of either cronyism or greater government control, it is dialogue and solidarity leading to freedom that we should all strive for.

Let’s hope that the people can come together to solve our shared problems.  Otherwise they will have to contend with mere turmoil against the status quo without benefit of a clear, rational and productive alternative for a better future of freedom for all.

 

It might be beneficial for members of the Occupy Wall Street “movement” to read Lech Walesa’s biography.  He has a few lessons to teach them about hope and change:

Before you set out to alter the status quo, you ought to know how to replace it—and you need to be convinced, intellectually and in your heart, that the new system will actually be better.

 

Let the discussion begin…

 

To read the Lech Walesa’s op-ed, click on the following link:
http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=3186

 

 

9

It’s Not About You

Msgr. Pope addresses some of the common concerns about the new translation.  In particular he discusses the charge that it is difficult to understand the new prayers because of the subordinate clauses.

Now, if the priest who recites or sings the prayer is careful with the commas, and alters his tone of voice properly, the new translation is quite intelligible, and also quite beautiful. My own mind lit up as I recited the new prayer above, this morning.

That said, it may still be harder for some in the pew to attend the words of the priest, even if it is well spoken, since the use of sentences with subordinate clauses requires the listener to hold one thought, while a subordinate thought is articulated, and then the speaker branches back to the main thought.

So lets grant that it is a little harder.

But here we come to an important insight that, though it is not politically correct, is still true: The priest is not talking to you. He is not directing the prayer to you, and the first purpose of the prayer is not that you understand it perfectly. The prayer is directed to God, (most often, to God the Father). The priest is speaking to God, and is doing so on your behalf, and that of the whole Church. And God is wholly able to understand the prayer, no matter how complicated its structure.

Too often in modern times we have very anthropocentric (man-centered) notions of the Sacred Liturgy. With the return to the vernacular, and mass celebrated toward the people, (neither intrinsically wrong), there is often the wrongful conclusion that the Liturgy is about us, the gathered assembly. Surely there are aspects celebrated on our behalf and for our benefit, especially the Liturgy of the Word and the reception of Holy Communion, but the prayers of the Sacred Liturgy are addressed to and focused on God.

More at the link.  As much as we’ve touted the new translation and have psyched ourselves up for the new responses, the really radical change is not what we’re saying but what the Priest is saying.  It became immediately obvious that we had something very new with the first prayers.  The very tone of the prayers is completely different.  The language is so much more elevated and distinct.  Even if you had no idea that there was a new translation in effect surely you would have noticed something had changed.

Anyway, that is what struck me with my initial Mass with the new translation.  I’ve been reading over the responses and getting ready, so finally saying “And with your spirit” wasn’t as novel to me as hearing the words of the consecration for the first time. That’s when it really hit me that we have something much more special here.

Of course I still managed to mess up and began responding “and also with you” at the conclusion of Mass.  Something tells me it might be a while before even those of us who are the happiest about the revisions really settle in and adapt to it fully.

4

Don’t Know Much About History

Excellent takedown from Jonah Goldberg of an excruciating bit of historical illiteracy written by Kevin Boyle.  Boyle had written a review in the Times of a couple of books about the Klan, and led with this laugher:

Imagine a political movement created in a moment of terrible anxiety, its origins shrouded in a peculiar combination of manipulation and grass-roots mobilization, its ranks dominated by Christian conservatives and self-proclaimed patriots, its agenda driven by its members’ fervent embrace of nationalism, nativism and moral regeneration, with more than a whiff of racism wafting through it.

No, not that movement. The one from the 1920s, with the sheets and the flaming crosses and the ludicrous name meant to evoke a heroic past. The Invisible Empire of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, they called it. And for a few years it burned across the nation, a fearsome thing to ­behold.

There’s a lot more silliness, including a whopper of a closing paragraph that both Jonah and Daniel Foster rightfully mock.  At any rate, Jonah responds:

The average reader with no specialized knowledge and an unhealthy faith in the wisdom and accuracy of the New York Times might find in all of this reinforcement of the conventional liberal tale of the KKK as a quirky and extremist conservative organization.

But that’s simply not the story of the second Klan. I don’t expect Kevin Boyle to hammer home the Klan’s progressive and Democratic ties. But he manages to make them all sound conventionally conservative. He doesn’t acknowledge that Woodrow Wilson was Birth of a Nation’s most famous booster. Nor does he mention that World War One was the Progressives’ war and that “100% Americanism” was touted and promoted by Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson — our two progressive presidents. He doesn’t mention that evil spirits of World War One were orchestrated by progressive wordsmiths, activists, and artists.

The Klan of the 1920s and 30s would have had more sympathy for the populist sentimentality of the Occupy Wall Street crowd than with the tea parties.  Like the OWS group, they thought the reforms instituted by the Democrat in the White House to be not radical enough.  But acknowledging as much would derail an “academic” with an ideological axe to gore.

 

15

Peter Kreeft Calls a Spade a Bloody Shovel

 

We live in a low, dishonest age where blatant evil is protected with euphemisms.  I take heart whenever anyone stands up against this meretricious trend.  I therefore applaud Dr. Peter Kreeft, Boston College Philosophy Professor and a Catholic convert, for his remarks at a speech sponsored by the Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin on the subject of whether a Catholic can be a liberal.  He minced no words when the subject of abortion and the Kennedy clan came up:

During the Q&A, an audience member brought up the Kennedy political  dynasty and how a group of leading theologians and Catholic college professors  had met with Kennedy family members in the mid-1960s and came up with a way for  Catholic politicians to support a pro-abortion rights platform with clear consciences.

Kreeft said these Catholic advisers “told the Kennedys how they could get  away with murder.” Kreeft then made one of his boldest comments of the evening,  suggesting the theologians who first convinced Democratic politicians they could  support abortion rights and remain Catholic did more damage to the Catholic  Church than pedophile priests.

“These were wicked people. These were dishonest people. These were people  who, frankly, loved power more than they loved God,” Kreeft said. “Sorry, that’s  just the way it is. In fact, I’d say these were even worse than the child  molesters — though the immediate damage they did was not as obvious — because  they did it deliberately, it wasn’t a sin of weakness. Sins of power are worse than sins of weakness. Cold, calculating sins — that’s straight from the  devil.”

A few minutes later, the talk over, the crowd gave him a standing ovation.

Continue Reading

15

National Catholic Reporter in Full Melt Down Mode

Having sat through some pretty dreadful masses since Vatican II, I guess I have a wee bit of schadenfreude right now.  The National Catholic Reporter has an editorial that has to be seen to be believed.  This is a choice paragraph:

The Vatican issued new translation guidelines, Liturgiam authenticam, in 2001, reorganized ICEL to report not to the English-speaking bishops but to the Curia, and appointed a committee, Vox Clara, to advise it on the approval of English translations. All this was done ostensibly to ensure the authenticity of the translation, but it was clear from the beginning that a clerical, imperial ideology was being imposed on the translation. The poetry of language and beauty of prayers were secondary concerns.

 

 

Continue Reading

2

He Outranked Stonewall

 

 

James B. Sheeran knew many roles in his life:  husband, father, Catholic priest and soldier, and whatever his role he gave everything he had.  Born in Temple Mehill, County Longford, Ireland, in either 1814 or 1818, he emigrated to Canada at the age of 12.  Eventually he settled in Monroe, Michigan and taught at a school run by the Redemptorist Fathers.  He married and he and his wife had a son and daughter.

Tragedy stalked the family.  Sheeran’s wife died in 1849 and his son also died of illness.  His daughter became a nun, but also died young of an illness.  Rather than retreat into bitterness, always a temptation for a man afflicted with so much sorrow, Sheeran decided that God was calling him to a new path and joined the Redemptorists, being ordained a priest in 1858.  He was sent to a parish in New Orleans.  In the Crescent City he found that he liked the people and became an ardent Southerner.  When Louisiana seceded, he became a chaplain in the 14th Louisiana, which served in the Army of Northern Virginia under General Robert E. Lee.

Father Sheeran was a priest who believed in speaking his mind.  An example of this was caused by his habit of helping enemy wounded after he had helped the wounded Confederates.  His unit had captured a Union field hospital and Father Sheeran went over to it and was appalled to see that the wounded were not being cared for.  He kept a diary throughout the War and he recorded the following:

The union soldiers “told me that they had no bandages to dress the wounds, no instruments to operate with, and that they were fatigued from the labors of the night.”

“I remarked it would be some consolation to their wounded if they would but visit them and wash the wound of those who were bathed in their own blood. I next went to their men paroled to attend to the wounded, asked why they did not wait on their companions, many of whom were suffering for a drink of water. They told me that they had no one to direct them, that their surgeons seemed to take no interest in the men.”

“I became somewhat indignant to hear the excuses of these worthless nurses, and putting on an air of authority ordered them to go to the rifle pits filled with the dead bodies of their companions and they would find hundreds of knapsacks filled with shirts, handkerchiefs and other articles that would make excellent bandages.”

“They obeyed my orders with the utmost alacrity and soon returned with their arms full of excellent bandage material, and bringing them to me asked: ‘Now sir, what shall we do with them?’” Sheeran was fully prepared to give the required final direction. “Go and tell your surgeons that you have bandages enough now.”

“Off they went to the surgeons….”. “In about two hours I returned and was pleased to find the surgeons and nurses all at work attending to their wounded.”

Father Sheeran did not restrict his outspokenness only to Union soldiers.  His friend Father James Flynn in 1892 wrote about one memorable run in Father Sheeran had with the legendary Stonewall Jackson:

“Going to his [Father Sheeran’s] tent one day, General Jackson sternly rebuked the priest for disobeying his orders, and reproached him for doing what he would not tolerate in any officer in his command. [The exact offense is unknown.] ‘Father Sheeran,’ said the general, ‘you ask more favors and take more privileges than any officer in the army.’ [Sheeran apparently replied] ‘General Jackson, I want you to understand that as a priest of God I outrank every officer in your command. I even outrank you, and when it is a question of duty I shall go wherever called.’ The General looked with undistinguished astonishment on the bold priest and without reply left his tent.”

This incident obviously left an impression on General Jackson.  Just before the battle of Chancellorsville he had ordered that all baggage be sent to the rear which included tents.  Chaplain Sheeran immediately sent in his resignation, claiming that his tent was necessary for him to perform his duties as a priest.  Dr. Hunter McGuire, chief surgeon of the Second Corps, reported on what happened next:

“I said to General Jackson, that I was very sorry to give up [the] Father–; that he was one of the most useful chaplains in the service. He replied: ‘If that is the case he shall have a tent.’ And so far as I know this Roman Catholic priest was the only man in the corps who had one.” Continue Reading

New Catholic Blog: Over the Rhine and into the Tiber

 

An e-mail birdie has informed me of a new Catholic blog which looks quite interesting:  Over the Rhine and into the Tiber.  Go here to take a gander at it.  Judging from its initial posts, I believe that I will be putting it on my personal list of Catholic blogs that I read daily.  Here is a description of the blog from the e-mail which I received: Continue Reading

3

Steve Jobs: Thanks Mom For Not Aborting Me!

 

A follow up to my post, which may be read here, regarding Steve Jobs, Adoption and  Abortion.  Pro-lifers have gotten some static for bringing up the fact that Steve Jobs could have ended up aborted if his mother had not chosen life for him.  Well, it appears that Steve Jobs was thankful that his mother did not choose to kill him through abortion.

“I wanted to meet [her] mostly to see if she was OK and to thank her, because I’m glad I didn’t end up as an abortion,” he said. “She was 23 and she went through a lot to have me.” Continue Reading

3

Thanksgiving 1952: Red Skelton

Red Skelton rose from poverty to become one of the most popular comedians of his day.  A comedic genius, he created a gallery of comedic personas:  Clem Kaddidlehopper, the Mean Little Kid, San Fernando Red, Freddie the Freeloader  and others, which allowed him not only to amuse but also to engage in wry commentary about some of the foibles of his time. Skelton the man was fairly simple:  he liked to make people laugh, and he loved God, Country and Kids.  The love of God and his dying son I have written about in the post The Pope, the Clown and the Cross.  Skelton’s love of God and Country shines through in his rendition of the Pledge of Allegiance which I have written about here.

His love of kids was no mere entertainer’s pose as the following anecdote illustrates:

“Funny how you can go to a doctor’s offices and find magazines that are years old in the lobby. I had to go to a dentist two week ago and found a Golf magazine from the 80’s. I also found a magazine that told me the following story:

Decades ago, a young American was flying across the mountain ranges of Europe on his way to London. Accompanying his friend, a Catholic priest, the two were scheduled to have a meeting with the Pope in England. As the priest talked, the plane suddenly rocked. Then rocked again.  Something told the priest the plane was not destined to ever touch land again.

The passengers, busy in their individual conversations, failed to notice, the priest observed, until a flight attendant made an announcement of impending doom. The plane was over a mountain range and losing altitude.

As expected, panic set in. Continue Reading

7

Messianic Prophecies: Wisdom 2: 12-20

 

 

 

Something for the weekend.  O Come, O Come Emmanuel.  We start Advent tomorrow, and my thoughts have been turning to the many messianic prophecies in the Old Testament that are applicable to Christ.  I do not think there is adequate treatment in contemporary catechesis of the remarkable string of prophecies in the Old Testament that find their completion in Christ.  All Catholics need to be familiar with these prophecies, for they are an anchor for our Faith.  One example is Wisdom 2:12-20: Continue Reading

2

Planned Parenthood Thanksgiving Talking Points

Ah, nothing quite says Thanksgiving like a pro-abort attempting to defend the indefensible while the turkey is being carved!  Worse Than Murder, Inc., a\k\a Planned Parenthood, lest a pro-life word be uttered around the Thanksgiving table, has some talking points for its supporters to mutter :

1. Avoid bumper speak talk. A slogan might work for a poster or a button, but in a conversation it just leads to a heated back and forth. Try to steer clear of catchall phrases—they very rarely lead to common ground or change anyone’s mind.

2. Remember the big picture. Debating when life begins or whether or not abortion is federally funded may get you nowhere. Instead focus on your shared values and the big picture—for instance, talk about how you believe everyone should be able to afford to go to the doctor, or how the decision about when and whether to become a parent is a personal one. You never know, you just may find yourself actually agreeing with your relatives. Continue Reading

6

Thanksgiving 1789

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA – A PROCLAMATION

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor – and Whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.” Continue Reading

8

When The Technocrats Took My Country

Ross Douthat goes through the interesting exercise of translating what just happend to Italy into American terms, and in doing so underscores just how big the Eurozone shake up is:

The murmurs about Barack Obama being forced out began in Berlin and Beijing. After his party lost the midterm vote, there were hints that a government of technocrats would be imposed on America, to save the country from a debt crisis and the world from a depression.

As the debt-ceiling negotiations stalled out over the summer, a global coalition — led by Germany, China and the International Monetary Fund — began working behind the scenes to ease Obama out of the White House. The credit downgrade was the final blow: the president had lost the confidence of the world’s shadow government, and his administration could no longer survive.

Within days, thanks to some unusual constitutional maneuvering, Obama resigned the presidency and Michael Bloomberg was invited to take the oath of office. With Beijing issuing veiled threats against our currency, Congress had no choice but to turn the country’s finances over to the Senate’s bipartisan Gang of 6, which in turn acceded to Chinese and German “supervision” of their negotiations. Meanwhile, there was a growing consensus in Europe and Asia that only a true global superstate could prevent the debt contagion from spreading …

FOR Americans, the scenario I’ve just imagined is a paranoid fantasy, the kind of New World Order nightmare that haunts the sleep of black-helicopter watchers and Trilateral Commission obsessives.
Continue Reading

14

It really is all about being “pro-choice”…

If one is to believe the “rumors” currently circulating around Washington, DC—otherwise called “reactions to trial balloons”—the Archbishop of New York, Most Rev. Timothy Dolan, walked away a winner following his meeting with President Obama last week.

Apparently, the Archbishop of New York convinced the President to uphold the so-called “conscience clause” that would allow religious institutions to be exempt from certain healthcare regulations that are to be promulgated by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, on August 1, 2012.

In the crosshairs is the contraceptive-coverage rule which specifies a more general provision in the Obamacare healthcare reform.  It requires all new insurance plans to cover “preventive services”—including birth control and abortofacients—without co-pays, deductibles or other out-of-pocket costs.

Knowing how Washington, DC, works, some Democrat lawmakers have taken note of the administration’s trial balloon and have gone on the offense.

According to an article in the Washington Post, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) raised the issue with President Obama while she was campaigning with him in New Hampshire.  That discussion followed conference calls last week between other top White House officials and members of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus.  U.S. Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO) said:

I think in the 21st century, most people are stunned to hear that we would even be talking about whether women can buy birth control through their insurance policies.  You would be denying millions of Americans the ability to have an essential part of their insurance coverage because of some attenuated religious affiliation of their employer.

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CN) opined:

What’s baffling is not just the policy, but the political calculus here.  The effect would be to undermine, if not eviscerate, the energy and enthusiasm of huge numbers of young people, women and independent voters who believe in the President.

The President of Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards, called it “unthinkable” that the administration would incorporate the conscience clause in the final regulations.

More interesting to The Motley Monk than all of that political posturing is the article’s report of a discussion involving a graduate student, Taina Vargas:

However, if [Catholic] organizations were to be exempted from the federal rule, these individuals would have to continue paying out-of-pocket charges for birth control—about $20 to $30 per month, according to Planned Parenthood.

Taina Vargas would not even have that option. Vargas, a graduate student studying for a master’s degree in diplomacy and international relations at Seton Hall University, said she was surprised to learn that the Catholic institution’s health plan does not cover her birth-control prescription.

“This really is an issue of principle for me,” said Vargas, who is not Catholic.

“If young women like myself choose to be sexually active and don’t want a child right now so we can focus on our education, I think [birth control] is something the university should provide…

I don’t think it’s right for someone else to make this decision for me.”

Even though Taina Vargas is attending a Catholic university, she is “surprised,” citing some unnamed principle that would require Seton Hall to provide her with birth control so that she can be sexually active and not have a child “right now.”

Vargas’ story raises two important questions:

  1. Exactly what does attending a Catholic university mean for someone like Taina Vargas?
  2. What “principle” does she hold that would trump Catholic moral teaching?

The answers are obvious and are precisely why the conscience clause should prevail.  In this instance, when people go to work for or to attend Catholic universities or colleges, they should fully expect those institutions to uphold Catholic teaching unconditionally.

That’s where Taina Vargas may have it correct: It is a matter of “choice.”

If invited, one can choose to work for or to attend a Catholic institution of higher education with full awareness of its animating moral principles.  If one does not agree with those moral principles, they can choose to turn down the invitation.

 

To read the Washington Post article, click on the following link:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/democrats-lobby-against-any-broader-exceptions-to-contraceptive-coverage/2011/11/21/gIQAdHicmN_story.html

16

Remembrance of Turkeys Past

 

 

 

 

As we prepare for Thanksgiving tomorrow, and as we recall our blessings and thank God for each and every one, let us also remember the humble turkey and the various disasters that result when that proud bird is not treated with the care that it deserves, dead or alive.    Oldtimers like myself will recognize the above video as part of the famous “Turkey Drop” episode from WKRP, a sitcom from the Seventies.

 

Of course Turkey Disasters are not, unfortunately, restricted to the realm of fiction.    Deep frying a turkey poses various risks.

Here we have a case of the flaming avian:

 

 

William Shatner warns of the dangers of deep frying turkeys:

Continue Reading

1

Thanksgiving 1863

If a nation ever needed Divine assistance it was our own America during the Civil War.  Riven in two, the nation must have seemed on a path to destruction by many of those who lived through that terrible trial.  Abraham Lincoln, as he led the United States through that struggle, increasingly found his mind turning to God.  This Proclamation was written by Secretary of State Seward, but the sentiments are no doubt ones in which Lincoln fully joined.

 

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,
Secretary of State Continue Reading

3

We Are Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

 

Hattip to Joe Carter at First Things.  A truly remarkable video showing the development of us humans from our conception to our birth.  While I was watching it I thought of Psalm 139:14:  I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.  Tomorrow as we thank God for his manifold blessings, we should always keep in mind our chief blessing:  His gift of life to us.

9

Lying Worthless Political Hack Hates Catholic Conscience

 

 

It will come as little surprise to faithful readers of this blog, but the Lying Worthless Political Hack, as I affectionately refer to ex-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D. San Francisco), took  the opportunity during an interview with the Washington Post to slam the Church she purportedly is a member of:

On abortion

Pelosi recently was criticized for the way she characterized a bill to amend Republican-proposed conscience exemptions for health-care reform that allow providers to refuse to perform abortions. Pelosi called the measure, which passed last month with some help from Democrats, “savage,’’ and said, “When the Republicans vote for this bill today, they will be voting to say that women can die on the floor and health-care providers do not have to intervene, if this bill is passed. It’s just appalling.”

In retrospect, does she think that assessment went too far? Not at all, she said: “They would” let women die on the floor, she said. “They would! Again, whatever their intention is, this is the effect.’’

Catholic health-care providers in particular have long said they’d have to go out of business without the conscience protections that Pelosi says amount to letting hospitals “say to a woman, ‘I’m sorry you could die’ if you don’t get an abortion.” Those who dispute that characterization “may not like the language,’’ she said, “but the truth is what I said. I’m a devout Catholic and I honor my faith and love it .?.?. but they have this conscience thing’’ that she insists put women at physical risk, although Catholic providers strongly disagree.

On one occasion, she said, laughing, one of her critics on the topic of abortion, speaking on the House floor, said, “Nancy Pelosi thinks she knows more about having babies than the pope. They think like this. And of course I do — I think the pope would agree — and I know more than you, too, mister.’’ Continue Reading

3

Thanksgiving 1908

Theodore Roosevelt, that force of nature that was once President of these United States, was a deeply religious man.  He attended church faithfully his entire life.  (He was Dutch Reformed, but he often attended Episcopal services with his wife.)  He opposed putting the national motto “In God We Trust” on currency, for fear it would cheapen the  noble sentiment, as would be the case, in his view, if it were used on postage stamps or in advertisements.  He was opposed to all religious bigotry as he would state immediately after the campaign of 1908 when the Unitarian Willam Howard Taft came under fire for his religion:

“I did not answer any of these letters during the campaign, because I regarded it as an outrage even to agitate such a question. … To discriminate against a thoroughly upright citizen because he belongs to some particular Church, or because, like Abraham Lincoln, he has not avowed his allegiance to any Church, is an outrage against the liberty of conscience which is one of the foundations of American life. … I do not for one moment believe that the mass of our fellow-citizens, or that any considerable number of our fellow citizens, can be influenced by such narrow bigotry as to refuse to vote for any thoroughly upright and fit man because he happens to have a particular religious creed. … I believe that this Republic will endure for many centuries. If so, there will doubtless be among its Presidents Protestants and Catholics, and very probably at some time, Jews. … In my Cabinet at the present moment there sit side by side Catholic and Protestant, Christian and Jew, each man chosen because in my belief he is peculiarly fit to exercise on behalf of all our people the duties of the office. … In no case does a man’s religious belief in any way influence his discharge of his duties, save as it makes him more eager to act justly and uprightly in his relations to all men.”

A frequent reader of the Bible, Roosevelt once opined that a thorough knowledge of it was more valuable to a person than a college education.

His Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1908 rejoices in the material well being of the country, but notes that there is far more to life than piling up material possessions.  He would have vigorously dissented from the idiotic bumper sticker:  “He who dies with the most toys wins.”  Here is the text of the Proclamation: Continue Reading

5

Why Do Those Bitter Clingers Vote Republican?

 

 

Liberal elites frequently profess astonishment at why so many  middle class Americans vote Republican.  Thomas Frank in 2004 published a book, What’s The Matter With Kansas , in which he bemoaned the fact that his fellow Kansans, or former fellow Kansans I should say since he resides in Washington DC, did not share his love of the Party of the Jackass.  Lee Siegel at The Daily Beast has a brilliant column in which he explains the political facts of life to the Liberal elites in the form of a letter from Occupy Harvard to their parents:

The man you think is a “sucker” because he votes for Republican candidates who don’t seem to give a hoot about him will vote for them every time. He looks at you, the crowd of The-Fix-Is-Always-In, and he casts his lot with the crowd of wealth and initiative.

You see, Mom and Dad, they don’t lie about his prospects. They tell him that he has to sink or swim. They don’t disrespect his willpower by promising that government will make life easier for him. They tell him that they respect his individuality. They tell him straight out what you, the liberal elite, know to be true but will never say. They tell him that life in America is winner-take-all, and that they are the people who will let him keep what he has. They tell him that his religion, his wife’s capacity to reproduce, his children—whether they are “successful” or not—are his treasure. They tell him that they don’t care if he is a person of modest ambition, little sophistication, and humble means. What they value is his capacity to change his own life.

 

What you tell him is that he should put his life in your hands. Yet you scorn his religion. You mock his faith in the sacredness of conception. You deride his belief in family. You tell him that his love for hunting makes him a murderer, and that his terror at being economically displaced makes him a xenophobe and a racist. Then you emasculate his hope for the future by telling him that if his ship comes in—that dream of a ship that makes the grinding disappointment of daily life worth living through—you’ll help yourself to a big slice of it. And you expect him to believe your rhetoric about fairness and equality when, all the while, you are accusing him of gullibility in his politics and bad faith toward the least fortunate of his fellow citizens. When, all the while, you are living untouched by your own policies. When you are cushioned against life’s hardness, not by government, but by simply knowing other people in your class. You expect him to buy your talk about equitable distribution of wealth when you are sailing through tax loopholes off into the sunset. For this man, his emotions make all the rational sense in the world. Continue Reading

5

Lessons For America From the European Fiscal Meltdown

Another fine econ 101 video from the Center for Freedom and Prosperity.   This video exlores the lessons that America can learn from the current European fiscal and debt crisis.

The lessons are very simple:

1.  Higher taxes lead to higher government expenditure and not reduction of government debt.

2.  A value added tax is a recipe for run-away government expenditure.

3.   A welfare state breeds dependency.

4.   Fiscal reform and reduction of government expenditure is impossible once more people are living off the government than are paying taxes to support the government.

5.   Bailouts do not work. Continue Reading

Quas Primas

QUAS PRIMAS
ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PIUS XI
ON THE FEAST OF CHRIST THE
KING
TO OUR VENERABLE BRETHREN THE PATRIARCHS, PRIMATES,
ARCHBISHOPS,
BISHOPS, AND OTHER ORDINARIES
IN PEACE AND COMMUNION WITH THE APOSTOLIC
SEE.

Venerable Brethren, Greeting and the Apostolic
Benediction.

In the first Encyclical Letter which We addressed at
the beginning of Our Pontificate to the Bishops of the universal Church, We
referred to the chief causes of the difficulties under which mankind was
laboring. And We remember saying that these manifold evils in the world were due
to the fact that the majority of men had thrust Jesus Christ and his holy law
out of their lives; that these had no place either in private affairs or in
politics: and we said further, that as long as individuals and states refused to
submit to the rule of our Savior, there would be no really hopeful prospect of a
lasting peace among nations. Men must look for the peace of Christ in the
Kingdom of Christ; and that We promised to do as far as lay in Our power.
In the Kingdom of Christ, that is, it seemed to Us that peace could not
be more effectually restored nor fixed upon a firmer basis than through the
restoration of the Empire of Our Lord. We were led in the meantime to indulge
the hope of a brighter future at the sight of a more widespread and keener
interest evinced in Christ and his Church, the one Source of Salvation, a sign
that men who had formerly spurned the rule of our Redeemer and had exiled
themselves from his kingdom were preparing, and even hastening, to return to the
duty of obedience.

2. The many notable and memorable events which have
occurred during this Holy Year have given great honor and glory to Our Lord and
King, the Founder of the Church.

3. At the Missionary Exhibition men have been deeply
impressed in seeing the increasing zeal of the Church for the spread of the
kingdom of her Spouse to the most far distant regions of the earth. They have
seen how many countries have been won to the Catholic name through the
unremitting labor and self-sacrifice of missionaries, and the vastness of the
regions which have yet to be subjected to the sweet and saving yoke of our King.
All those who in the course of the Holy Year have thronged to this city under
the leadership of their Bishops or priests had but one aim – namely, to expiate
their sins – and at the tombs of the Apostles and in Our Presence to promise
loyalty to the rule of Christ.

4. A still further light of glory was shed upon his
kingdom, when after due proof of their heroic virtue, We raised to the honors of
the altar six confessors and virgins. It was a great joy, a great consolation,
that filled Our heart when in the majestic basilica of St. Peter Our decree was
acclaimed by an immense multitude with the hymn of thanksgiving, Tu Rex
gloriae Christe. We saw men and nations cut off from God, stirring up strife
and discord and hurrying along the road to ruin and death, while the Church of
God carries on her work of providing food for the spiritual life of men,
nurturing and fostering generation after generation of men and women dedicated
to Christ, faithful and subject to him in his earthly kingdom, called by him to
eternal bliss in the kingdom of heaven.

5. Moreover, since this jubilee Year marks the
sixteenth centenary of the Council of Nicaea, We commanded that event to be
celebrated, and We have done so in the Vatican basilica. There is a special
reason for this in that the Nicene Synod defined and proposed for Catholic
belief the dogma of the Consubstantiality of the Onlybegotten with the Father,
and added to the Creed the words “of whose kingdom there shall be no end,”
thereby affirming the kingly dignity of Christ.

6. Since this Holy Year therefore has provided more
than one opportunity to enhance the glory of the kingdom of Christ, we deem it
in keeping with our Apostolic office to accede to the desire of many of the
Cardinals, Bishops, and faithful, made known to Us both individually and
collectively, by closing this Holy Year with the insertion into the Sacred
Liturgy of a special feast of the Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ. This
matter is so dear to Our heart, Venerable Brethren, that I would wish to address
to you a few words concerning it. It will be for you later to explain in a
manner suited to the understanding of the faithful what We are about to say
concerning the Kingship of Christ, so that the annual feast which We shall
decree may be attended with much fruit and produce beneficial results in the
future. Continue Reading

2

A Funeral of Sorts: The Last of the Old Translation

Last year on the First Sunday of Advent, I wrote a piece about the passing of the Propers in the soon-to-be-defunct translation of the Roman Missal.  While we had an entire year to say goodbye to the current Ordinary, each Sunday for the past year has presented us with a set of Propers that would never be heard again.  As we have journeyed over the course of the last fifty-two weeks through the new translation of the Ordinary, we didn’t give nearly as much attention to the once-a-year texts.  Yet these prayers, belonging mostly to the priest, are some of the most exquisite and exciting changes in the new translation of the Missal.

Today is the very last Sunday of the lame-duck translation.  Never again will we hear the translation with which most of us grew up.  While many parishes have already incorporated the people’s Ordinary into their Sunday celebrations, this weekend marks the end of the rest.  (Of course if you are one for “long goodbyes,” there is always the opportunity to go to Mass during this week for a series of last hurrahs.)

It seems timely, then, to visit the Collect (or the “Prayer-formally-known-as-the-Opening-Prayer”) for the very last Sunday in the liturgical year: The Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.  The current rendition reads:
Almighty and merciful God,
you break the power of evil and make all things new
in your Son Jesus Christ, the King of the universe.
May all in heaven and earth
acclaim your glory and never cease to praise you.

As far as these things go, it is not all too bad.  Yet the new and improved version does quite a bit more to emphasize the majesty of our Lord and of this great celebration:
Almighty ever-living God,
whose will is to restore all things
in your beloved Son, the King of the universe,
grant, we pray,

may render your majesty service

that the whole creation, set free from slavery,
and ceaselessly proclaim your praise.  


May we, too, be set free from the slavery of a translation that was in desperate need of being cleansed of its iniquities, and may we ceaselessly praise our Lord and Savior, the King of the universe, through this great gift that has been given to us: The New Translation of the Roman Missal.


As a complementary bookend to this last Sunday of the last year of the old translation, I give you the article written, nearly a year ago, on the first Sunday of the last year of the old translation:

****************************************


A Funeral of Sorts … every Sunday for the Next Year
November 28, 2010

I feel like each Sunday this year presents a funeral of sorts … a passing of Mass texts that will never be heard again.  Rather than mourning this passing, my heart finds solace in the assurance that these texts will rise again in a more perfect form with the “advent” of the new translation.  While we have a full year to pay our respects to the passing Ordinary, there is a rejoicing of sorts that the current Propers have reached the end of the proverbial line: their days are numbered, their time has passed, and blessed be God for that.


Today, the First Sunday of Advent, provides the first example of such a passing.  The Collect, in Latin, reads:
Da, quaesumus, omnipotens Deus,
hanc tuis fidelibus voluntatem,
ut, Christo tuo venienti iustis operibus occurrentes,
eius dextrae sociati, regnum mereantur possidere caeleste.
The current, Lame Duck Translation (to borrow the phrase from Fr. Zuhlsdorf) … what we all heard at Mass this morning … reads:
All-powerful God,
increase our strength of will for doing good
that Christ may find an eager welcome at his coming
and call us to his side in the kingdom of heaven.
The new translation will read,
Grant your faithful, we pray, almighty God,
the resolve to run forth to meet your Christ
with righteous deeds at his coming,
so that, gathered at his right hand,
they may be worthy to possess the heavenly kingdom.
The Mickey Mouse rendering of 1973 lacks a certain dignity when compared with the more new and improved translation.  The later is more faithful to the Latin, but more importantly, it has an aesthetic quality that leaves the Lame Duck version grounded, or perhaps six feet less than grounded.
Let us not prematurely break into the Dies Irae for the passing of the old, decrepit, 1973 translation, for while it seems to have met its certain death with the passing of today’s Sunday liturgy, it pains me to say that its ghost will live on.

Those who regularly pray the Liturgy of the Hours know that the Collect from Mass is often used in the Proper of Seasons and Proper of Saints for the Divine Office.  This is done deliberately, of course, and provides the faithful a perfect opportunity to unite the sanctification of the day found by saying the Liturgy of the Hours with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the source an summit of the liturgy.  If one is faithful to all the hours, the Collect for the First Sunday of Advent is recited four times today (Office of Readings, Lauds, Daytime Prayer, and Vespers), as well as once yesterday (Vespers for the Vigil).

Once the new translation takes effect, there will be a disconnect between the Collect from the Sunday Mass and the Collect found in the breviary.  I sincerely hope that the Bishops allow the new translations to be used during public recitations of the Liturgy of the Hours in order to remedy this disconnect.  Is it possible that new breviaries are printed?  Possible, yes.  Plausible, no.  In the absence of a new printing, a supplement of Collects could be printed to be used alongside the Psalms and Readings from the breviary until such a time that ICEL decides to retranslate the Liturgy of the Hours.  (Don’t hold your breath, by the way.)

All things considered, however, this should not distract us from the burial of these texts that we experience this year.  At least in terms of the Holy Mass, the 1973 “Opening Prayer” for the First Sunday of Advent has met its maker, kicked the bucket, bit the dust, bought the farm, breathed its last, and indeed … croaked.  This is not a cause for mourning, but rather a looking forward to the day of resurrection; for the Latin soul of this prayer is indeed filled with grace, so when it rises again as the 2010 Collect, it will be gloriously triumphant.  We could, in fact, say that that new translation renders the prayer “worthy to possess the heavenly kingdom.”

One Sunday down, 51 more to go.   UPDATE: 51 Sundays down, 1 more to go.
4

General Washington and the Lord of Hosts

We live in an age where scoffing at religion and believers in God is all the rage.  In some ways the Eighteenth Century was like this time period.  In the Age of Enlightenment much of elite Western European opinion mocked Christianity and some  openly embraced atheism.  It was considered witty and daring and fun by the cultural avant garde.  It seemed much less humorous at the tail end of the century when the French Revolutionary regime for a time persecuted Christians and slaughtered them for their faith.  This type of hostility was much less in evidence in Eighteenth Century America.  Even those, for example Thomas Jefferson, who had doubts about the divinity of Christ, praised His teachings and had no doubt as to the existence of God.

George Washington, the commanding American figure of his day, was a very conventional Christian.  He attended church regularly, said his prayers and read his Bible.  His faith was as much a part of him as his love of his wife, his love of Mount Vernon and his ability to lead men through sufferings in the War of Independence that most of us today would find simply unimaginable.  Pious without being sanctimonious, Washington had no doubt that the fate of America in the Revolution was firmly in the hands of God.

We see this belief in the General Order he issued to the Continental Army on March 6, 1776:

Thursday the seventh Instant, being set apart by the Honorable the Legislature of this province, as a day of fasting, prayer, and humiliation, “to implore the Lord, and Giver of all victory, to pardon our manifold sins and wickedness’s, and that it would please him to bless the Continental Arms, with his divine favour and protection”—All Officers, and Soldiers, are strictly enjoined to pay all due reverance, and attention on that day, to the sacred duties due to the Lord of hosts, for his mercies already received, and for those blessings, which our Holiness and Uprightness of life can alone encourage us to hope through his mercy to obtain. Continue Reading

5

Gettysburg Address: November 19, 1863

Johnny Cash in the above video does a superb job of reading the Gettysburg Address.  Go here to read my analysis of the Gettysburg Address.  Winston Churchill, certainly the greatest orator of the English language in the last century, deemed the Address, “The ultimate expression of the majesty of Shakespeare’s language.”  Lincoln’s masterpiece of concision packed with thought will endure as long as our American republic does, and the truths it contains will endure far beyond that time period. Continue Reading

4

Adagio for Brass

Something for the weekend.  Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings performed with brass instruments.  It makes a fit accompaniment to the above video which reminds us of the veterans who ensured that we enjoy the freedom next Thursday to give thanks to God for that freedom and all the other blessings He has showered upon us in this land.  May we be worthy of their sacrifice.

1

November 18, 1861: Jefferson Davis Reports

 

On November 18, 1861, Jefferson Davis issued a report to the Confederate Congress on the progress of the War.  It is a fascinating document.  It details how he perceived the War at this early stage.  Here is the text of the report, interspersed with comments by me:

Richmond November 18th 1861

The few weeks which have elapsed since your adjournment have brought  us so near the close of the year that we are now able to sum up its  general results. The retrospect is such as should fill the hearts of our people with gratitude to Providence for His kind interposition in their behalf. Abundant yields have rewarded the labor of the agriculturist,  whilst the manufacturing industry of the Confederate States was never so prosperous as now. The necessities of the times have called into  existence new branches of manufactures, and given a fresh impulse to the activity of those heretofore in operation. The means of the Confederate States for manufacturing the necessaries and comforts of life within  themselves increase as the conflict continues, and we are gradually  becoming independent of the rest of the world for the supply of such  military stores and munitions as are indispensable for war. The  operations of the army soon to be partially interrupted by the  approaching winter have afforded a protection to the country, and shed a lustre upon its arms through the trying vicissitudes of more than one  arduous campaign, which entitle our brave volunteers to our praise and  our gratitude.

The Confederacy would expand its industrial plant enormously during the War, but it could never compete with the industrial might of the Union.  The crop of 1861 was indeed bountiful, and it did small good for the Confederacy since Davis had decided on an informal cotton embargo which it was assumed would convince Great Britain to recognize the Confederacy since the British textile industry relied upon cotton from the South.  It was a ghastly mistake.  With the Union blockade in its infancy, most of the cotton crop of 1861 could have been shipped to Europe and earned much-needed hard currency for the purchase of badly needed supplies and weapons.  Instead, what cotton was not used for domestic purposes in the Confederacy in 1861, simply sat in warehouses and on docks.  This policy was one of the main blunders of the Davis administration in 1861. Continue Reading

14

Should I Take the Case?

Hmmm, I just received this in my e-mail.  Should I take the case, it sounds very lucrative!
Dear Counsel

My
name is Isabella Minoru. I am contacting your firm in regards to a divorce
settlement with my ex husband Franklin Minoru who resides in your
jurisdiction.

I am currently on assignment in South Korea. We had
an out of court agreement for him to pay $623,000,00 plus legal fees. He has
only paid me $122,000.00 since.

I am hereby seeking your firm`s
assistance in collecting the balance from him or litigate this matter if he
fails to pay as promised because He has delayed for too long. If you are in the
position to represent me at the moment kindly advice immediately.

Your’s
Truly,
Isabella Minoru. Continue Reading

1

Edmund Burke and Political Reform

Edmund Burke is the political thinker most central to shaping my own political views.  Regarded as the founder of modern conservatism, Burke was an odd mixture of idealistic philosopher and practical politician.  Although he presents his ideas in luminous prose, he has often been caricatured as a mere reactionary.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Burke realized that societies change all the time, just as individuals change as they proceed through life.  How the change occurred in the political realm was to Burke of the greatest moment.

Rather than a reactionary, Burke was actually a reformer, fighting against abuses in his time, for example the penal laws which treated Irish Catholics as helots in their own land, and English Catholics as foreigners in theirs’.  When the colonists in America carried on a decade long struggle against the colonial policies of the government of George III before rising in revolt, Burke ever spoke on their behalf in a hostile Parliament, and defended his stance before a hostile electorate.  He prosecuted the first British Governor General of India, Warren Hastings, for crimes committed against the native population.

One of the things that has always struck me about Burke is his consistency, whether defending the rights of Irish and English Catholics, of the American colonists, of the Indians under British rule or attacking the tyranny of the French revolutionaries.  He was always against arbitrary power and held that government could not simply uproot societies. Continue Reading

6

The new Roman Missal is a “net plus”…

 

With the introduction of the new translation of the Roman Missal just around the corner, Crisis magazine reprinted its 2000 article “Worship Gone Awry.”  Its author, Maureen Mullarkey, advanced some excellent arguments about some problems with the Ordinary Form of the Mass (OF), many of which that only became increasingly obvious as the decades of the 1970’s, 80’s, and ’90s unfolded.

But, does that mean the OF is as bad as Ms. Mullarkey indicates?  More importantly, should the Extraordinary Form of the Mass (EF) be made more readily available, as Ms. Mullarkey seems to be implying?

On both counts, The Motley Monk thinks the answer is a resounding “No” if only because Joseph Jungmann’s concept of the “developmental nature of the liturgy” cannot be so easily dismissed.  As the Lutheran theologian, Jaroslav Pelikan, noted one generation ago: “Tradition is the living faith of the dead.  Traditionalism is the dead faith of the living.”

History teaches that what is now the EF developed out of multiple strands constituting a “tradition” of worship, introducing “reforms” to that tradition.  In contemporary language, to make that tradition meaningful—daresay I, “relevant”—in a new era.

The development of medieval Masses and, finally, of the Tridentine Mass also represents a reflection on the part of pastors and theologians in terms of what was not working right in the Mass.  While it is true that the patristic Mass in the West resembled more of  the OF than the EF, great Church Fathers like Augustine inherited a form of the Mass from an earlier time (St. Cyprian of Carthage) in which sacramental theology, especially in terms of the concept of mystery, was not as developed as it was by Augustine’s time.  In this way, Augustine and other Church Fathers from the 5th century onward provided the sources for a later medieval rethinking of liturgy.  So, it’s not the form of the Mass that, say, an Augustine said, that indicates what he really thought, but the deeper sacramental theology in his writings which then influences later medieval developments.  In that sense medieval/Tridentine liturgy was a correction and, perhaps arguably at the time, an improvement over the patristic liturgies.

The same is true of the OF.  It also developed out of a very longstanding tradition of worship, introducing its own “reforms” that hearkened back to the pre-patristic era, “leapfrogging” backwards over the EF’s reforms of the patristic era’s form of authentic worship.

That said, in its intent and design OF may very well have erred in the direction of allowing worship to be made so meaningful—daresay I, “relevant”—that it becomes banal.  And, there certainly is much to support that assertion.  But, that is to overlook the fact that Ms. Mullarkey has emphasized only one side of that history by seizing, as she has, upon post-Vatican II excesses.  That does not mean, ipso facto, that the OF is errant.  After all, the same observation can be made about the EF.  Its attention to the details of historical artifacts—the stuff of maniples, burses, Gothic vestments, birettas, precious metals—can err in the direction of emphasizing what was relevant in previous generations so that that it errs in the direction of being irrelevant in this generation.

There are some real problems with the OF Ms. Mullarkey didn’t mention in her article, but likely would agree with.  These include, but are not limited to:

  • The OF can be celebrated in a prayerful and dignified way.  But, “ad populum” Mass can be problematic in that the celebrant inevitably is reduced to the role of “Entertainer-in-Chief,” even if he keeps his eyes focused upon the altar and not upon the congregation.  Like it or not, the OF encourages people in the congregation to vote implicitly concerning how they “feel” about a particular celebrant’s “style.”  Not only does that verge on Donatism, but it also focuses worship on the person of the ordained minister not the Great High Priest, Jesus Christ through whom God is authentically worshipped.
  • The OF totally and irrevocably erases the “apophatic elements” that are present—even if they are over-emphasized—in the EF.  “Tossing out the baby with the bathwater” may represent a very great loss, one that is known only in retrospect.  After all, authentic worship in any form should “raise up” the congregation’s spiritual sensibilities to the ineffable, not drag them down into the banal.  Clowns, puppets, and vestal virgins prancing around bearing incense buckets, and priests bedecked in vestments decorated with disco-glitter only encourage the latter.
  • In the OF, there is an over emphasis upon Word.  In reality, there are four readings each Sunday if the Responsorial Psalm is counted.  In many instances, the Epistle also has absolutely no connection to the first reading, the gospel, and the “bridge” of the psalm.  And that’s to say nothing about the fact that the celebrant’s prayers are entirely disconnected from the “theme” presented in the readings.  For a sacramental ritual that is supposed to reflect the “best” in that its principles dignify worship of God, this error alone seems egregious.
  • The OF appeals to children and adults who need to be kept busy and entertained because they are easily bored.   However, those who designed the OF appear not to have know or did not realize that the threshold for boredom lowers as people get accustomed to the little gestures and words that they perform, so that even the participation in the Mass signalled in the Missal inevitably becomes boring.  The OF has fallen into the trap of trying to ward off boredom throughout the Mass by getting the congregation “involved.”   But, even that becomes “boring” and can only be reversed if there is continuous change in the liturgy.  So, liturgists keep inventing new gimmicks and tricks for people to perform and remain actively engaged during the Holy Mass.  Even that term, “Holy Mass,” seems somehow unrelated to the OF.

  • The EF requires mental concentration if one’s worship to get absorbed in it in a way that makes what one does a form of engaged participation.  This is not singing.  Nor is it gesturing.  It is being actively engaged with one’s mind (and hopefully, too, one’s heart).  In contrast, participation in the OF has come to mean “everybody does everything.”  And even where that is not yet the case, there is a built in inevitability of people thinking that they are being excluded if there is something the priest does that they can’t do.  This may be the most damning criticism of the OF: it breeds a form of egalitarianism that has very little, if nothing to do with Roman Catholic hierarchalism and everything to do with post-Enlightenment individualism.

 

More likely than not, both the EF and OF err in the direction of crafting idols out of their definitions of “relevance” so that authentic worship today becomes an more of an afterthought rather than a guiding principle.

For what it’s worth, the new translation of the Roman Missal, celebrated/prayed/said (whatever word is appropriate these days) will go a long way in correcting the excesses in terms of relevance.

 

Let the discussion begin…

 

To read Maureen Mullarkey’s article in Crisis, click on the following link:
http://www.printfriendly.com/print/v2?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.crisismagazine.com%2F2011%2Fworship-gone-awry-2

9

Are Primary Voters Superficial?

Rachel Masden has a column up lamenting how Rick Perry’s gaffe in last week’s debate demonstrates our obsessiveness with image over subtance:

As in real life, politicians, voters and the media all get caught up with entertaining but petty nonsense. Case in point: Rick Perry stuck his cowboy boot in his mouth during a recent debate performance, unable to recall one of the three agencies of government he’d euthanize if he were to become president. Turns out it was the Department of Energy — which for a Texas governor to forget about would be a bit like the prime minister of Great Britain forgetting about Buckingham Palace. OK, funny — but really, so what?

For at least 24 hours, the mishap represented arguably the single most globally widespread American news item. I even saw it broadcast and translated on French television in Paris. This is the media and political culture of today — all about stagecraft, showmanship and ratings.

As a political strategist, let me tell you a little secret: Debates are easy to fake. All you need to succeed is a good policy-prep team, a competent spin doctor to distill that policy material down to snappy bite-sized talking points, and the memory and delivery capabilities of a C-list Hollywood actor. Perry just didn’t remember his lines. That’s all.

But what about the other guys who lucked out and did remember all their lines this time? Isn’t it the job of media moderators to recognize boilerplate spin and slice through it on the fly? There’s one reliable way to do this, but it’s rarely seen: In response to a candidate’s prepared take, a media moderator need ask only one question: “What precise action in your background or experience illustrates this principle?” In other words, when a candidate says that he would do something, what has he previously done in his career to demonstrate that value through tangible action? Do you know who any of these candidates really is beyond what he or she claims to be? If not, then thank the style-over-substance media.

The column is timely because I’ve been having some second thoughts about the primary process. Continue Reading

1

China on the Brink of Bankruptcy

China has long been held up as an economic model by some people on the Left in this country.  For example, go here to read a 2009 piece by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman in which he celebrates the virtues of the “reasonably enlightened” rulers of China while bashing Republican opposition to Obama.  Knowing a bit about Chinese history, and quite a bit about Communist regimes of various stripes, I have been skeptical.  I have doubted whether anyone could trust the economic statistics put out by the Chinese government and accepted as Gospel by gullible Westerners.  Well, now the curtain has been lifted for a peek behind the scenes of the Chinese economy.

China’s economy has a reputation for being strong and prosperous, but according to a well-known Chinese television personality the country’s Gross Domestic Product is going in reverse.

Larry Lang, chair professor of Finance at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said in a lecture that he didn’t think was being recorded that the Chinese regime is in a serious economic crisis—on the brink of bankruptcy. In his memorable formulation: every province in China is Greece.

The restrictions Lang placed on the Oct. 22 speech in Shenyang City, in northern China’s Liaoning Province, included no audio or video recording, and no media. He can be heard saying that people should not post his speech online, or “everyone will look bad,” in the audio that is now on Youtube.

In the unusual, closed-door lecture, Lang gave a frank analysis of the Chinese economy and the censorship that is placed on intellectuals and public figures. “What I’m about to say is all true. But under this system, we are not allowed to speak the truth,” he said.

Despite Lang’s polished appearance on his high-profile TV shows, he said: “Don’t think that we are living in a peaceful time now. Actually the media cannot report anything at all. Those of us who do TV shows are so miserable and frustrated, because we cannot do any programs. As long as something is related to the government, we cannot report about it.”

He said that the regime doesn’t listen to experts, and that Party officials are insufferably arrogant. “If you don’t agree with him, he thinks you are against him,” he said.

Lang’s assessment that the regime is bankrupt was based on five conjectures.

Firstly, that the regime’s debt sits at about 36 trillion yuan (US$5.68 trillion). This calculation is arrived at by adding up Chinese local government debt (between 16 trillion and 19.5 trillion yuan, or US$2.5 trillion and US$3 trillion), and the debt owed by state-owned enterprises (another 16 trillion, he said). But with interest of two trillion per year, he thinks things will unravel quickly.

Secondly, that the regime’s officially published inflation rate of 6.2 percent is fabricated. The real inflation rate is 16 percent, according to Lang. Continue Reading

2

Hollywood Is Just Too Conservative

 

It has long amused me that in a country with 40% of the population considering themselves to be conservatives, we have an entertainment industry so dominated by a political point of view that regards conservatives with contempt.  Andrew Klavan, in his own inimitable fashion, explains how Hollywood distorts reality and presents it to us as entertainment.

Continue Reading

8

The Sandusky Interview

Last week Don posted a useful guide for aspiring defense attorneys.  I think we need to add another bullet:  Under no circumstances should you allow your client, who is under indictment for child molestation, to give a nationally televised interview in which he all but announces his guilt:

In the course of this creepy interview Sandusky denies being a pedophile, but does admit to showering with young boys while “horsing around” with them.

Also, when Costas asks him if he’s attracted to young boys, Sandusky hems and haws before saying no.  I don’t know about you, but if someone asked me if I were attracted to young boys I wouldn’t discuss how I like young boys but I don’t like like young boys.

You almost get the sense from watching this that Sandusky wants to confess but prevents himself from flat out admitting his guilt.  Just an absolutely disgusting interview, though Costas deserves kudos for allowing Sandusky to hang himself with his responses.

19

Was Lincoln a Reluctant Abolitionist?

 

 

Lincoln was first and foremost a politician, and the sincerity of politicians is always subject to question, but it is impossible after examining his speeches and private letters not to be convinced of his deep and abiding hatred of slavery.

His attitude towards slavery was well set forth in the following letter to A.G. Hodges on April 4, 1864: Continue Reading

Now Why Can’t We Have Political Scandals Like This?

Larry the Cat, mouser at No. 10 Downing Street, the official residence of the British Prime Minister, is facing calls for his resignation:

British Prime Minister David Cameron is resisting some calls for the resignation of 10 Downing Street’s official mouse catcher Larry, in the wake of the scandalous recent appearance of an uninvited mouse at a recent official government dinner.

Downing Street brought on the 4-year-old Larry last year to help combat a growing rodent problem after TV broadcast cameras caught the image of a “large rat” promenading through the seat of British government.

Like many a professional spinmeister, a spokesman for Cameron’s  government stressed past performance over present-day scandal-mongering. Larry has caught three mice since his services were first employed in February, the spokesman said, and reiterated that he would not be relinquishing his post. The Cameron spokesman also gamely tried to change the subject, noting that “Larry brings a lot of pleasure to a lot of people.” Continue Reading

4

Red Skelton, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and One Nation Under God

Red Skelton and his unforgettable rendition of the Pledge of Allegiance.  Skelton rose out of abject poverty to become one of the great comedians of his time.  His comment about the phrase “under God”  reminds us how deeply this phrase is embedded in American history:

The addition of “under God” to the pledge of allegiance in 1954 of course echoes this sentence from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address:

“It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

The Pledge was altered with that phrase of Lincoln’s specifically in mind.  The Knights of Columbus played an important role in getting the pledge changed, beginning in 1951 to say the Pledge with the phrase “under God” inserted at all Knights of Columbus functions.

Lincoln probably recalled the phrase from George Washington’s use of it in his order to the Continental Army on August 27, 1776 before the battle of Long Island:

The time is now near at hand which must probably determine whether Americans are to be freemen or slaves; whether they are to have any property they can call their own; whether their houses and farms are to be pillaged and destroyed, and themselves consigned to a state of wretchedness from which no human efforts will deliver them. The fate of unborn millions will now depend, under God, on the courage and conduct of this army. Our cruel and unrelenting enemy leaves us only the choice of brave resistance, or the most abject submission. We have, therefore, to resolve to conquer or die.

 

 

 

Continue Reading

5

The Declaration of Independence as Law

Debates sometimes arise as to whether the Declaration of Independence is law. The Declaration isn’t law as a law saying go on green and stop on red is, although it is set forth under the United States Code.  It is much more important than that.  It is one of the essential building blocks of what we as a people believe.  It has been held to be such in numerous decisions of the United States Supreme Court and I cite one of them below: Continue Reading

12

Not One Thin Dime

Well, I see at Mass this morning an insert was placed in the bulletin for the annual appeal for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, and therefore it is time for me to renew my annual request that no Catholic contribute one thin dime to this pernicious and wrong-headed begathon.  Despite window dressing efforts at reform, the CCHD is still in the business of handing out money, given by good-hearted Catholics who think they are contributing money to help people down on their luck, to left-wing pressure groups, many of whom espouse causes directly contrary to the teachings of the Church.  Go here to the website of the group Reform CCHD now to get the details.  Here is their summary regarding last year’s grants, after the CCHD had been ostensibly reformed: Continue Reading

2

First American Saint

“Although her constitution was very frail, her spirit was endowed with such singular strength that, knowing the will of God in her regard, she permitted nothing to impede her from accomplishing what seemed beyond the strength of a woman.”

Pius XII

The first American citizen to be canonized as a saint of the Roman Catholic Church was born on July 15, 1850 in Saint Angelo Lodigiano, in the Lombardy region of a then disunited Italy.  One of 13 children, Francesca Cabrini was born to her mother, who was then 52 years old, two months premature, and it was touch and go for a while as to whether the new baby would live.  Her health would be precarious all of her life, which, considering what she accomplished, should be a standing rebuke to those of us blessed with good health.

She studied for five years at a school run by the Daughters of the Sacred Heart.  Her hearts desire was to be a missionary.  When she applied to enter a convent at age 18, however, she was turned down due to her health.  Nothing daunted, she returned to her home to help her parents on their farm.  A terrible small pox epidemic took the lives of her parents and almost took hers, but she was nursed back to health by her sister Rosa.  Almost miraculously she suffered no disfigurement from the small pox.

Taking a job as a substitute teacher at a nearby village, she taught with such skill and with such obvious love and concern for her pupils, that the rector of her parish, Father Antonio Serrati, who was to become a lifelong friend and advisor of hers, placed her in charge of an orphanage for girls in the parish, the House of Providence.  She was twenty-four at the time and she was presented with no easy task.  The orphanage was known as the House of Providence.  It had been set up by two well-meaning, but incompetent, laywomen, and it was badly organized and visibly failing.  In six years Francesca turned it around, winning the affection of the young girls in the orphanage through the care she showed to them.  While at the orphanage she took vows as a nun, and seven of her girls followed her example and became nuns and helped her run the orphanage.  Here for the first time we see the managerial skill with which Mother Cabrini, as she became universally known, was so gifted. Continue Reading

1

Veterans Day: John 15:13

“When You Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say, For Their Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today”

Epitaph on the Memorial to the dead of the British 2nd Division at Kohima

War is a curious part of the human condition.  It is a summary of the worst that Man is capable of:  violence on a massive scale, cruelty, greed, hatred, and the magnification of every human vice.  Few of us are more “anti-war” than those who have had the misfortune to fight in one and witnessed all the folly, loss and endless pain produced by the inability of men to frequently resolve their differences without resort to the sword.  Yet, in war we also see men rise to the heights of what we are capable of at our best:  self-sacrifice, courage, love and the magnification of every human virtue.  War as the direst of human institutions is to be bitterly regretted, but we must ever pay homage to those who find themselves in this terrible maelstrom and acquit themselves with honor. Continue Reading

1

Jack Webb Wishes A Belated 236th Happy Birthday to the Corps

 

 

 

 

On November 10, 1775 the Continental Congress passed this resolution authored by John Adams:

“Resolved, That two battalions of Marines be raised consisting of one colonel, two lieutenant-colonels, two majors, and other officers, as usual in other regiments; that they consist of an equal number of privates with other battalions; that particular care be taken that no persons be appointed to office, or enlisted into said battalions but such as are good seamen, or so acquainted with maritime affairs as to be able to serve with advantage by sea when required; that they be enlisted and commissioned to serve for and during the present War with Great Britain and the colonies, unless dismissed by order of Congress; that they be distinguished by names of First and Second Battalions of American Marines, and that they be considered as part of the number which the Continental Army before Boston is ordered to consist of.”

The Marines have fought in all our wars and by their conduct have lived up to this description of the Corps:

“No better friend, no worse enemy.” Continue Reading

16

Does This Surprise Anyone?

 

Hattip to commenter RL for alerting me to this.  Father Z directs us to Chiesa for some information about the confusion surrounding the release of Towards Reforming the International Financial & Monetary Systems in the Context of Global Public Authority:

Over at Chiesa, there is a piece about the new, confused “white paper”, as I prefer to call it, from the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

Too Much Confusion. Bertone Puts the Curia Under Lock and Key

The document of “Iustitia et Pax” on the global financial crisis is blasted with criticism. The secretary of state disowns it. “L’Osservatore Romano” tears it to shreds. From now on, any new Vatican text will have to be authorized in advance by the cardinal [Imagine!  The left hand knowing what the left hand is doing!]

by Sandro Magister

ROME, November 10, 2011 – Precisely when the G20 summit in Cannes was coming to its weak and uncertain conclusion, on that same Friday, November 4 at the Vatican, a smaller summit convened in the secretariat of state was doing damage control on the latest of many moments of confusion in the Roman curia. [You would think they’d be getting good at damage control.]

In the hot seat was the document on the global financial crisis released ten days earlier by the pontifical council for justice and peace. A document that had disturbed many, inside and outside of the Vatican.

The secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, complained that he had not known about it until the last moment. And precisely for this reason he had called that meeting in the secretariat of state.  [But… wait.  That means he saw it before it was released.  Or did I get that wrong?]

The conclusion of the summit was that this binding order would be transmitted to all of the offices of the curia: from that point on, nothing in writing would be released unless it had been inspected and authorized by the secretariat of state.  [Interesting in principle, I suppose.  But the Secretariat of State is already the über-dicastery of all dicasteries.  Perhaps the Suprema, the CDF ought to be involved.] Continue Reading

46

What Makes Those “Conservative Catholics” Tick?

Every so often, a “seamless garment” Catholic demand to know why conservative Catholics do not adopt a position of de facto pacifism, oppose capital punishment just as much as abortion, and clap like a seal at the idea of a supranational world political authority as described in the recent Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace note and in Caritas in Veritate. I hope that this helpful outline will clear a bit of this up and explain why we conservative Catholics tend to act the way that we do.

Generally speaking, conservative Catholics have strong feelings about adherence to basic moral issues and doctrines as they have been constantly presented over a long period of time — with the one key distinction (being American, after all) that they’ll tend to be more sympathetic towards democracy and religious freedom than the official Church position 60+ years ago was.

As such, “right-wing” Catholics get upset about:

– condoning various sins relating to the modern culture of sexual license (contraception, abortion, adultery, fornication, divorce, homosexuality, pornography, etc.)

– denial (or creative questioning of) basic Catholic doctrines and scriptural interpretations including: what seems like denial of the real presence in the Eucharist; denial of the efficacy of the sacraments; questioning the historicity of the resurrection; questioning the existence of heaven, hell and purgatory; questioning the necessity, efficacy and supernatural nature of the seven sacraments; making odd claims about the trinity (saying the Holy Spirit is a woman, talking about God the Mother, etc.); questioning the all male priesthood; etc.

– liturgical innovation in senses that seem to break with the past or reduce the sacredness of the liturgy

They tend to go along less with issues that they see as being innovations or at odds with tradition Church teaching and practice. Thus:

– they have a hard time seeing capital punishment as suddenly being a huge problem now because the Church clearly allowed its use it the past. They may be willing to see it as counter productive or badly administered, but getting them stirred up against it as being as bad as or than than abortion, murder, etc. simply is not going to happen. In their minds, something can’t be okay yesterday but the ultimate evil today, no matter how effective the prison system.

– they don’t see the Church as endorsing absolute or de facto pacifism as the Church did not appear to do so in the past

– they don’t see the Church as absolutely endorsing some novel economic system significantly different from what has organically existed in the past. (Added note: Claiming that capitalism is some drastically new innovation and that for most of the past 2000 years something suspiciously like modern democratic socialism was the norm will generally not float well with them either. If anything, they’re likely to see the extreme regulation of trade by local princes and by powerful guilts as corruptions of the past, not as the best elements of the pre-modern economy. They may or may not be right on this, but generally speaking they’re no less educated about the past than their opponents, and often rather more familiar with it.)

– they don’t see how the Church could officially endorse something like the UN or a “supranational authority” when it a) isn’t Catholic and b) is very much a new thing. (By contrast, they don’t have a problem with the Holy League or the Crusades, even though these were clearly supranational organzations/movements endorsed by the Church — however somehow people excited about “supranational authorities” never call for another one of these.)

I hope this will be of help to all those who profess themselves confused.

5

Thieves

As the father of an autistic son who my wife and I love more than our lives, and who we will be caring for during the rest of our lives, I have one word to describe the activities of the Service Employees International Union as detailed in the following story from the Washington Examiner:  Despicable.

 

If you’re a parent who accepts Medicaid payments from the State of Michigan to help support your mentally-disabled adult children,  you qualify as a state employee for the purposes of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). They can now claim and receive a portion of your Medicaid in the form of union dues.

 

Robert and Patricia Haynes live in Michigan with their two adult children, who have cerebral palsy. The state government provides the family with insurance through Medicaid, but also treats them as caregivers. For the SEIU, this makes them public employees and thus members of the union, which receives $30 out of the family’s monthly Medicaid subsidy. The Michigan Quality Community Care Council (MQC3) deducts union dues on behalf of SEIU. Continue Reading