7

Soft Tyranny

Above this race of men stands an immense and tutelary power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratifications and to watch over their fate.  That power is absolute, minute, regular, provident, and mild.  It would be like the authority of a parent if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood: it is well content that people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing.  For their happiness such a government willingly labors, but it chooses to be the sole agent and only arbiter of that happiness; it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances: what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living?

Was there a greater political prophet than Alexis de Tocqueville? I think not. He wrote about American society and government nearly 200 years ago, and his brilliant insights into American culture specifically and political theory more generally are as relevant today as they were when he first wrote, if not more so. It’s as though he possessed a crystal ball and saw the ascension of petty tyrants like Michael Bloomberg.

If Mayor Bloomberg gets his way, and it looks like he will, large sodas and other sugary drinks will be a thing of the past, at least at restaurants, movie theaters, cafes, and stadiums across the five boroughs.

Under the mayor’s proposed plan, drinks at these locations would not be over 16 ounces. If businesses break the rule, they’ll be hit with a $200 fine.

Thomas Farley, the city’s health commissioner, said the measure is a new way to fight obesity. He estimates that over 60 percent of New Yorkers are overweight.

Aside from the bogus statistics – I grew up in New York City, and 60% of the people are overweight only if the ideal weight is “anorexically thin” – this is yet another attempt by Nanny Bloomberg to dictate to the people of New York how to live their lives. You may remember Mayor Mike from such public health efforts as banning smoking pretty much everywhere and banning the evil known as transfats.

Even if one agrees that it is good for people to not smoke and to eat healthy, is there no end in sight to these efforts to control the daily lives of citizens? You know, other then when it comes to those same citizens aborting their children because they’re only girls.

Let’s leave aside the fact that such a ban would be futile as, after all, customers could just order multiple beverages. This is yet another effort to control behavior. Certainly this is not the most egregious assault on personal liberty in this nation’s history, but that’s sort of the point, and that was Tocqueville’s point as well. It’s the little things that get you. In other words, the real danger in democratic governments isn’t large-scale deprivations of liberty (though these are certainly possible as well), but rather the minute, insufferable attempts to manipulate people and treat others as though they were children.

That said, this story is yet another corrective to the old saw that it is social conservatives who want to control every aspect of our daily lives. If Michael Bloomberg is a social conservative, then I’m afraid to know what I’d be labeled.

But have no fear New Yorkers. Even if Mayor Mike takes your giant sodas away, at least he won’t be touching your donuts.

5

The Party of Gendercide and the Words of Abraham Lincoln

Live Action today released a second video showing that Planned Parenthood, an organization that I have designated  Worse Than Murder, Inc, has no problem with sex selection abortions.  Go here to read my post on the first gendercide video released by Live Action.  Today the House failed to muster the two-thirds vote necessary to pass the  Prenatal Non-Discrimination Act which would have banned this unspeakable evil.  The Obama administration opposed the bill.  Obama has never found any form of abortion he opposes and Planned Parenthood has his complete allegiance.  In the House 276 Republicans voted in favor of the bill, 7 against.   Democrats voted 161 in favor of gendercide and 20 against.

The core of the Democrat party today is abortion.  The vote on gendercide demonstrates just how extreme this allegiance is.  As in the days of slavery, the Democrat party champions the notion that we can, in good conscience, ignore the rights of portions of the human race, and that the unborn, like the slaves of old, are mere property and may be destroyed at the mother’s will and whim.  The words of Lincoln should be our battle cry against this old evil in a new form: Continue Reading

39

“Kids” Living With Their Parents Forever Thanks to Obama

Just how far in the tank is the Mainstream Media for Obama this election year?  Time gives us an example:

Just how much of a bummer is it to be well past the age of adulthood and  still living under your parent’s roof? As this living arrangement grows  increasingly common, the perception is that it’s not so bad after all. In fact,  living with mom and dad can be pretty sweet. According to a new survey, young  adults who live with their parents are nearly as likely to say they are  satisfied with their housing situation as those who live on their own.

Last fall, a study revealed that the number of young adults living with  their parents had soared. Prior to the recession, 4.7 million Americans ages 25  to 34 lived with their folks. As of last year, though, the number had increased  to 5.9 million, thanks largely to years of widespread high unemployment and  underemployment for young workers—who often simply did not have the money to  move out of their own. Continue Reading

9

Review of For Greater Glory

There is well known to Us, Venerable Brethren – and it is a great cause of consolation for Our paternal heart – your constancy, that of your priests and of the great part of the Mexican faithful, in ardently professing the Catholic Faith and in opposing the impositions of those who, ignoring the divine excellence of the religion of Jesus Christ and knowing it only through the calumnies of its enemies, delude themselves that they are not able to accomplish reforms for the good of the people except by combating the religion of the great majority.

Pius XI, FIRMISSIMAM CONSTANTIAM

The film, For Greater Glory, the heroic story of the Cristeros who fought for the Church and religious liberty in the twenties of the last century in Mexico, is opening on June 1.  Go here  to read my first post on the film and the historical background of the Cristeros War.   I will be seeing the movie with my family on Saturday, and I will have a full review of the film on Sunday or Monday.  In the meantime, reviews are beginning to come in.  I enjoyed this one by Dustin Siggins at Hot Air:

Over the last several years Catholics in America and Europe have experienced what they believe are the stripping of religious rights, and many are concerned the situation could easily turn into a public confrontation with various governments. One example of this is in England, where just this week the federal government has moved to declare wearing crosses in public is not a right. On this side of the water, my church’s parochial vicar Father Robert Lange often quotes His Eminence Francis Cardinal George, Archbishop of Chicago, who in 2010 said the following: “I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square.”

Such things were on my mind as I watched “For Greater Glory,” a movie about the Cristeros, or “soldiers for Christ,” who fought against religious persecution by the Mexican government from 1926 to 1929. The movie starts with laws which encroach upon religious freedom relatively benignly, such as not allowing the public wear of religious symbols. The Mexican government then moves to decry foreigners who allegedly control the nation’s citizens, particularly the Vatican, and rounds up all foreign-born bishops and priests to force them to leave the country. Peaceful rallies and protests are responded to with military force, which leads to an economic boycott.

The boycott is the last straw for Mexican President Plutarco Elías Calles. Ignoring the counsel of his advisers, he begins invading churches and killing Catholic priests and parishioners. This leads to protests of various forms, from peacefully marching in the streets to violent rebellion. At the heart of the entire movie are a teenage boy who sees his mentor shot before his eyes, an atheist whose wife’s Catholic faith and his own belief in religious freedom cause him to lead the rebellion, a woman whose network of faithful Catholic women is critical to the rebellion’s early formation, a rebel whose legendary fighting skills are matched by his disdain for authority, and a priest whose violent leadership in the rebellion causes a great deal of spiritual uncertainty. Continue Reading

15

It’s a Girl! And It Doesn’t Matter

I don’t like gimmicks. And though I am sure I will offend a few people by saying as much, I believe that the recent focus of pro-life activism on sex-selective abortion has the air of a gimmick, one of the latest in a series of end-run appeals to the public. There is the legislation being pushed by Trent Franks (R-AZ) that would punish abortionists who fail to determine if an abortion is requested for sex-selective reasons. There are also the efforts of Live Action and its leader, Lila Rose, whose methods I have questioned in some cases and outright rejected in others.

Let’s start with my first problem with this focus: say sex-selective abortion is actually outlawed. How will this be enforced? All a pregnant woman has to do is, when asked if her abortion is due solely to the fact that her child is a girl, is say “no.” I guess a few might answer honestly, but then, who is going to make sure that the abortionist is asking the question in the first place? I remain highly skeptical regarding the effectiveness and enforcability of such laws.

Continue Reading

34

Obama Working Willfully To Undermine Hierarchical Catholic Church

A few years ago I would have thought the title of my piece was too extreme- I bought into the charisma of Barack Obama- never publicly supported him- but I thought he was someone who could bridge some of the serious difficulties that pro-life Democrats faced within my political party. I read his books, I thought he respected the Catholic Church as much as a secular political liberal could be expected to. Around that time I was trying to work from the inside of the Democratic party- running for Florida State House as a pro-life Democrat, and later serving as Vice President for the Florida Democats for Life organization. This was also the time period where I was invited to become part of a national Catholic Democrats listserve which included such notaries as : Vicki Kennedy, Lisa Sowle Cahill of Boston College, Rev. William D’Antonio and Rev. Anthony Pogorel of the Catholic University of America, Peggy Steinfels of Fordham University, Rev. Thomas Reese of Georgetown, Vincent Miller of Georgetown/U. of Dayton, Dan Maguire of Marquette, Doug Kmeic of Pepperdine, Suzanne Morse of NCR, Chris Korzen of Catholics United, Alexia Kelly of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, Steve Callahan of the AFL-CIO, and others (Eric LeCompte, Nicholas Carfardi, James Salt, Morna Murray, Fred Rotondaro, Kari Lundgren). I never agreed to keep all that passed before my eyes confidential, but I never publicly revealed the basic content until now.

 
My reason for going public now is due to the recent event where the Worcester Bishop Robert McManus weighed in to prevent Vicki Kennedy from speaking at the Anna Maria College commencement. The press I read portrayed the Bishop as being overly vindictive and Kennedy milked the rejection, playing innocent, as though she is doing nothing to try to upend the Catholic Church as we know it- as a Hierarchical Institution. It was my experience on the Catholic Dem listserve that Vicki Kennedy was essentially my nemesis. I defended the Church as a Hierarchy, and the official teachings on abortion et al, and she took me to task almost every time I wrote pro-orthodox Catholic commentary- with plenty of Amens from her fellow travelers on the listserve. I did receive a few positive private emails from some on the listserve, but on the whole it was a very discouraging experience trying to defend the Church as a convert, who would be at a total loss if the Catholic Church put no stock in the teaching authority of the Pope and the Bishops, and taught that contraceptives, legal abortion, and gay marriage were just fine and dandy things. So Soon after posting this on the listserve-

 
“It is deeply troubling to me that this Catholic Democrats listserve membership seems more intent on finding reasons to pull some kind of palace coup against the Catholic Church Magisterium and Hierarchy in general, than to address specific issues related to the Catholic interests in American politics. I am a convert to Catholicism, I knew what I was signing up for in becoming a Catholic, I accepted the teachings and authority lines as prescribed by the latest Catechism. I simply cannot understand why those who seem to relish openly trashing the Apostolic successors retain membership in the Church- that is something that I can only address as an appeal to someone else’s good conscience. Most of my family is of the Protestant variety, I understand that thinking and worldview but reject it, but they are acting in good conscience- they don’t believe what the Catholic Church teaches about her role, so they don’t invest in the Catholic narrative and authority line. Maybe what I’m finding here at Catholic Democrats are many good protestants but not orthodox Catholics as I understand things?

You can remove me from your rolls if it displeases many here that I don’t conform to the groupthink on display here, otherwise I will continue to offer my two bits to challenge the establishment views of liberal, anti-Catholic Hierarchical voices which parallel the hard Catholic Right- in their wrongheadedness- in my humble opinion anyway. One is certainly free to criticize the clerical/Hierarchical handling of sexual abuse cases over the years- but how this all fits in with being a Democratic Party member is something I can’t fathom. Tim Shipe”

My offer to leave was accepted after Vicki Kennedy wrote a smack-down on me; and shortly thereafter I severed my own Democratic party membership and ended my leadership role with Florida Dems for Life- I took Archbishop Chaput route of becoming a political Independent and remain such today.

 
To come up to speed- back a couple of years ago- I knew that the most powerful and connected Catholic Democrats in our country were interested in more than just getting more traction on Catholic social justice issues in our American political system- I would describe the agenda/mind-set of Vicki Kennedy et al for the most part as the following:

 1. Obama embodies the Catholic social tradition- he’s a better guide than the out-of-touch Pope/Bishops 2. Democrats for Life leaders were not welcome – despite my own inclusion for a time- Kennedy seemingly successfully squashed the idea of Kristen Day being invited to be part of the listserve 3. The Bishops who were outspoken for advocating the primacy of the right to life for the unborn were demonized, mocked, ridiculed, and at times the idea of trying to bring on an IRS investigation on these type of Bishops was being encouraged by some ( especially if they dared to consider withholding Communion from Pro-choice Dem leaders) 4. Bishops were described as “self-designated custodians of ‘the tradition’”. 5. Catholic Dems could aptly be self-described for the most part as “intra-Catholic warriors” 6. The Clergy Scandals were to be used to help bring the end of the Bishops line of authority- teaching and otherwise 7. This authority should pass to those who know best- the secular-minded Catholic professors and their liberal political activist friends- since there really can’t be such a thing as a Holy Spirit-guided Catholic Church with Popes and Bishops playing a key role- I suppose they could still hold onto ceremonial roles like the Kings in Europe.

 
I can see clearly now that President Obama has been very conscious of this war for control within the Church- and his choice of Vice President and HHS Secretary- Biden and Sebelius, respectively, was a conspicuous power move to set in place the acceptability of dissenting Catholic leaders and thought into the mainstream of American societal structures and popular imaginations. The fact that Obama “evolved” on Gay Marriage with help from his Catholic buddy Joe Biden, and his determination to mandate contraception as a must-have “medicine” through the offices of Catholic Kathleen Sebelius- all of this plays right into the larger goals of the Catholic Democratic party elite. There has been no such evolution in his comprehension and compassion for the thousands of unborn humans killed every day in abortions, and the threat to religious liberties is finely focused on the authority of Catholic Bishops and the official teachings of the Catholic Magisterium. I believe the Catholic Dems elite would like to re-make American Catholic Bishops in the image of the Anglican church in England- with Obama playing a kind of King Henry VIII role in forcing power transfers ( counting on public/Catholic lay apathy).

 
My conclusion is this- I am not in disagreement with the Catholic Dems elite on an across-the-board basis- I am not a conservative ideologue any more than I am a liberal one. There are political issues where I go left and others where I go right or down the middle- I make the honest effort to stay as close to the official social doctrine teachings of principles, and even the prudential judgment application of those principles as the Bishops and Vatican officials advise. I find that the same powers-that-be that are given Holy Spirit assistance to teach firm principles, are also pretty darn good at putting forth ideas for applying those principles into the real world of political legislation and the like- but I acknowledge it’s not an exact science with one formula fits all simplicities, however. That’s how I would describe my own efforts in being a wanna-be orthodox, faithful Catholic on matters of social doctrine. Others may disagree- I have no doubt that the Catholic Dem elites I list above are well-intentioned- but I believe they are threatening great harm to many souls and to the future of our Catholic Church as the Hierarchical Institution – founded by Jesus Christ. Reforms should be taken up in a spirit that respects the obedience of Faith. I don’t abide by clergy abuses and incompetent administrative decisions made by Catholic bishops- but you don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater- just as you don’t kill babies in the womb to solve the problems of women and their mates.

5

Question: If they trust women, why don’t they trust mothers?

SHOCKER: Teens need their mothers. Mothers can help their daughters. Even in crisis.

There’s an article forthcoming in the journal Economic Inquiry by Professors of Economics, Joseph Sabia and Daniel Rees, that shows parental notification or consent laws are associated with a 15 to 25 percent reduction in suicides committed by 15- through 17-year-old women. The researchers analyzed National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health data collected from 1987 to 2003 and found results that are consistent with the hypothesis that laws requiring parental involvement increase the “expected cost of having unprotected sex,” and, consequently, protect the well-being of young females. (Hey, they’re economists.)

Here’s the reasoning, taken from this paper by the same authors.

  • Researchers have already found, using state-level data from 1981 through 1998, that parental involvement laws reduced teen gonorrhea rates 12 to 20 percent among teen females. (Klick and Strattman, 2008)
  • Other recent studies provide evidence that female adolescents who become sexually active at an early age are more likely to suffer from the symptoms of depression. (Hallfors et al. 2004; Sabia and Rees 2008)
  • Research has shown that multiple sex partners increased the likelihood of substance abuse. (Howard et al. 2004)
  • It is also been found that adolescent females who had multiple sex partners were 10 times more likely to develop the symptoms of major depression than those who remained abstinent. (Hallfors et al. 2005)
  • There was no evidence of a similar relationship between male multiple partners and adolescent depression. (Hallfors et al. 2005)

So the hypothesis is: If parental involvement laws discourage minors from risky lifestyles that affect their physical health, then they would promote emotional health of teenage females as well. Analyzing suicide rates will give an indication since there have been many studies that link depression and suicide. The national suicide data was analyzed and that’s exactly what they found – a supporting correlation. Parental involvement laws correlate with fewer suicides. Further in support, there was no evidence of a similar relationship among male adolescents, and no correlation between parental involvement laws and suicide for older women because, well, neither group would be affected by those laws.

Makes sense, right? You’re probably thinking, “Did we need to pass those laws, wait and see what happened, and then count suicides?” No, we didn’t, and there’d be at least some justice if the people opposing those laws would take notice.

You’d think someone who really cares about women would be able to take an objective view of this data and consider it as an appeal to our collective conscience. You’d think someone who parrots, “Trust Women!” would be consistent enough to also trust mothers who are raising teens. When the state comes between teens and their parents, it just follows that the adolescents will not be as close to their parents as they ought to be.

This only affirms what we already know. Parents of teen girls can be trusted – should be trusted for the psychological benefit of a daughter in crisis. The abortion advocate community doesn’t seem as concerned about young women, though, as they are about politics and agendas. They instead say that people just want to make it harder for teens to have abortions, and that teens have a “fear of abuse” from unrelenting parents. Oh, and they’ll say something about how correlation doesn’t equal causation, revealing that they either are ignorant of analytical methods or, even worse, knowledgeable of them but dishonest when the results don’t fit their predetermined conclusions. Some will even say that teen women should be trusted to make their own decisions even when the decision for these desperate young women is to end their own lives. Of course, we all know why Planned Parenthood doesn’t want the parents involved. Ac$e$$ to abortion.

So I have a little hypothesis of my own. I predict (but would love to be proven wrong) that not a single abortion advocate will come forward and honestly reassess parental consent laws even though there is no body of data to support their premise. Could they admit that maybe, just maybe, the default condition is not that most parents of teens are abusive. Imagine!

If they trust women, why can’t they trust mothers and fathers? Where does this automatic distrust of parents come from anyway? Perhaps there’s a cost associated with believing that a mother has the right to kill her own child in the womb, and that cost is faith in people to love their children unconditionally at any point in life, even during difficult times.

H/T:  Michael J. New at National Review

Image: Microsoft Powerpoint

6

Live Action Shows US The Real War on Women

 

 

Hattip to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air.  The intrepid Lila Rose and her colleagues at Live Action expose the real war on women waged by Planned Parenthood, I have designated that organization as Worse Than Murder Inc., in regard to sex selection abortions:

AUSTIN, May 29 – Today, Live Action released a new undercover video showing a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Austin, TX encouraging a woman to obtain a late-term abortion because she was purportedly carrying a girl and wanted to have a boy. The video is first in a new series titled “Gendercide: Sex-Selection in America,” exposing the practice of sex-selective abortion in the United States and how Planned Parenthood and the rest of the abortion industry facilitate the selective elimination of baby girls in the womb.

“I see that you’re saying that you want to terminate if it’s a girl, so are you just wanting to continue the pregnancy in the meantime?” a counselor named “Rebecca” offers the woman, who is purportedly still in her first trimester and cannot be certain about the gender. “The abortion covers you up until 23 weeks,” explains Rebecca, “and usually at 5 months is usually (sic) when they detect, you know, whether or not it’s a boy or a girl.” Doctors agree that the later in term a doctor performs an abortion, the greater the risk of complications.

The Planned Parenthood staffer suggests that the woman get on Medicaid in order to pay for an ultrasound to determine the gender of her baby, even though she plans to use the knowledge for an elective abortion. She also tells the woman to “just continue and try again” for the desired gender after aborting a girl, and adds, “Good luck, and I hope that you do get your boy.”

“The search-and-destroy targeting of baby girls through prenatal testing and abortion is a pandemic that is spreading across the globe,” notes Lila Rose, founder and president of Live Action. “Research proves that sex-selective abortion has now come to America. The abortion industry, led by Planned Parenthood, is a willing participant.”

Six studies in the past four years indicate that there are thousands of “missing girls” in the U.S., many from sex-selective abortion. The U.K., India, Australia, and other countries ban sex-selective abortion, but the U.S., save for three states, does not. On Wednesday, Congress will debate the Prenatal Non-Discrimination Act (PRENDA), which would ban sex-selective abortions nationally. Continue Reading

96

Attempting to advance the ball, the President of the University of Notre Dame drops it…

Let me say very clearly what this lawsuit is not about:  it is not about preventing women from having access to contraception, nor even about preventing the Government from providing such services.  Many of our faculty, staff and students—both Catholic and non-Catholic—have made conscientious decisions to use contraceptives.  As we assert the right to follow our conscience, we respect their right to follow theirs.

This is part of what the President of the University of Notre Dame (UND), the Reverend John Jenkins, CSC, had to say in a statement explaining his decision that UND would file a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana.  The lawsuit concerns the so-called “Obamacare mandate” promulgated by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, who just happens to be a UND honorary degree recipient.

The explanation, posted to Fr. Jenkins’ page on the official UND website, articulates a position that many Catholics are familiar with and take for granted.  That is, as long as in their consciences Catholics believe that conduct contrary to Church moral teaching is moral, they are free to engage in that immoral conduct because they believe it is moral.

 

The Motley Monk is no moral theologian or canon lawyer, but he is able to read and is saddened in reading Fr. Jenkins’ comments.

Why?

Fr. Jenkins contradicts long-standing, Magisterially defined Catholic moral teaching concerning artificial contraception (cf. 1989 Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “The moral norm of ‘Humanae Vitae’ and pastoral duty“).  In sum, Catholics do not possess a “right” to conscientiously dissent from defined Catholic moral teaching concerning the use of artificial  contraception.  After all, in the Catholic view, “rights” devolve not from man—bolstered by science, theology, and the social sciences or public opinion—but from God.

For a President of a Catholic university or college—especially one who is an ordained priest—to state otherwise promotes a false impression, ultimately creating or furthering serious confusion and ambiguity among the Catholic faithful, in particular. Rather than upholding the Church’s credibility in teaching matters concerning faith and morals, statements like that of Fr. Jenkins only provide ammunition to those who are opposed to the Church’s teaching.

It would have helped Fr. Jenkins had he grasped, in particular, the meaning of the CDF document’s reiteration of Pope Paul VI’s words to priests:

Worth recalling here are the words which Paul VI addressed to priests: “It is  your principal duty—We are speaking especially to you who teach moral theology—to expound the Church’s teaching with regard to marriage in its entirety and with complete frankness. In the performance of your ministry you must be the first to give an example of that sincere obedience, inward as well as outward, which is due to the Magisterium of the Church, For, as you know, the Pastors of the Church enjoy a special light of the Holy Spirit in teaching the  truth (cf. Lumen Gentium, n. 25)” (Humanae Vitae, n. 26).

Priests are called to lead by defending the Church and its moral teaching, calling the faithful to greater fidelity to the truth as defined by the Magisterium.  This is especially true of priests who are appointed to lead Catholic universities and colleges.

While The Motley Monk applauds Fr. Jenkins in his attempt to advance the ball upfield in the U.S. Catholic Church’s current battle with the Obama administration concerning religious liberty, The Motley Monk thinks Fr. Jenkins dropped the ball when it came to his statement explaining his rationale.

 

And people wonder why the critics contend that U.S. Catholic higher education is “Catholic in Name Only”?

 

 

To read Fr. Jenkins’ statement, click on the following link:
http://president.nd.edu/communications/a-message-from-father-jenkins-on-the-hhs-lawsuit/

To read the CDF document, click on the following link:
http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19890216_norma-morale_en.html

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, click on the following link:
http://themotleymonk.blogspot.com/

4

New Video Clips From For Greater Glory

 We wish to pay a special tribute of praise to those members of the clergy, secular and regular, and of the Catholic laity, who, moved by burning zeal for religion and maintaining themselves in close obedience to this Apostolic See, have written glorious pages in the recent history of the Church in Mexico.

Pius XI, Acerba animi

 

The film, For Greater Glory, the heroic story of the Cristeros who fought for the Church and religious liberty in the twenties of the last century in Mexico, is opening on June 1.  Go here  to read my first post on the film and the historical background of the Cristeros War.  I have found some new video clips online from the film.  The video at the beginning of the post shows Enrique Gorostieta Velarde, portrayed by Andy Garcia, and his family being turned away from a Church closed by the Mexican government.    Enrique Gorostieta Velarde, not a believing Catholic at the start of the struggle, would eventually become the leader of the Cristeros.

In the above clip Father Christopher, portrayed by Peter O’Toole, rejects the counsel to flee from government troops by Blessed Jose Sanchez del Rio, portrayed by Mauricio Kuri.  Captured by government soldiers during the Cristeros War,  Blessed Jose Sanchez del Rio refused a command to renounce his Catholic faith by shouting out “Death to Christ the King” and was murdered by his captors.  He shouted Viva Cristo Rey before he died and, according to an eyewitness, drew a cross on the ground with his blood and kissed it before he died.  He was 14 years old.  He was beatified by Pope Benedict on November 20, 2005. Continue Reading

11

Babbling Incoherency

Chris Hayes has gotten more attention in the past 24 hours than he has throughout his run at MSNBC. Hayes decided to share his thoughts on the Memorial Day holiday.  Here’s the video:

Here’s an exact transcript of the above.

Thinking today and observing Memorial Day, that’ll be happening tomorrow.  Just talked with Lt. Col. Steve Burke, who was a casualty officer with the Marines and had to tell people [inaudible].  Um, I, I, ah, [Steve] Beck, sorry, um, I think it’s interesting because I think it is very difficult to talk about the war dead and the fallen without invoking valor, without invoking the words “heroes.” Um, and, ah, ah, why do I feel so comfortable [sic] about the word “hero”?  I feel comfortable, ah, uncomfortable, about the word because it seems to me that it is so rhetorically proximate to justifications for more war. Um, and, I don’t want to obviously desecrate or disrespect memory of anyone that’s fallen, and obviously there are individual circumstances in which there is genuine, tremendous heroism: hail of gunfire, rescuing fellow soldiers and things like that. But it seems to me that we marshal this word in a way that is problematic. But maybe I’m wrong about that.

I’ve chosen this because it underlines what I wanted to write about. Sure the substance is awful enough, but the manner in which it is delivered is so pathetic that it just cries out for mockery.  Continue Reading

6

Uncle Bill and Memorial Day

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

 Inscription on the memorial to the dead of the British 2nd Infantry Division at Kohima.

War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth a war, is much worse. When a people are used as mere human instruments for firing cannon or thrusting bayonets, in the service and for the selfish purposes of a master, such war degrades a people. A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice; a war to give victory to their own ideas of right and good, and which is their own war, carried on for an honest purpose by their free choice, — is often the means of their regeneration. A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever-renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other.

John Stuart Mill, 1862

 

One of my earliest memories is being called a “Dirty Yank”.  My Dad met my Mom while he was in the Air Force in Newfoundland.  After his enlistment ended he was unable to find work in Saint John’s, my Mom’s home town, so the young couple traveled to my Dad’s home town in Paris, Illinois.  I made my appearance shortly thereafter.  My Mom, who was all of 21 at the time, grew homesick, so she and my Dad, an elderly 24, pulled up stakes again and moved back to Saint John’s.  Family tranquility was forever destroyed when my little brother arrived a year and a half later, as he and I quickly put our heads together for campaigns of mischief and nefarious activities which enlivened my childhood.  The family stayed in Saint John’s until I was four, jobs were still scarce on the ground there, alas, before the family moved back permanently to Paris in the summer of 1961.

During our stay in Saint John’s I met all of my maternal relatives on a frequent basis, and other than my maternal Grandmother and Grandfather, my favorite was no doubt my great Uncle Bill Barry.  Whenever he would come over he would yell out, “There’s that Dirty Yank!”  I would lisp out in return, “There’s that Dirty Newf”!

Bill Barry was a truly wonderful man.  An Irishman with a laughing, sunny disposition, he was also a fighter.  A boxer in his young manhood, he lived up to Chesterton’s famous observation about the inhabitants of the Emerald Isle:

 For the great Gaels of Ireland 

 Are the men that God made mad,

For all their wars are merry,

And all their songs are sad.

He loved to brawl when he was a young man, but there was always a smile on his face when he was doing so, albeit the police who had to bust up some of the fights he got involved in didn’t always share the joke.  It was to be expected that such a man would join up with the Royal Army immediately when war was declared on Germany in 1939.  When he was asked why he did, he said, “Well, someone has to teach the Limies how to fight!”  Fight he did, taking part in the D-Day invasion, and fighting on through France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany until the thousand year Reich became the twelve year Reich.  He rose from private to sergeant, receiving a field promotion for the courage and leadership he displayed in taking a village.  He had a short spell as a noncom.  After the Lieutenant left him and a squad in charge of the village, Uncle Bill led his men to an abandoned wine cellar and then, as all the best military leaders do, led by example.  “Men, do as I do!” he shouted as he began to chug a bottle of wine.  Inspired by this oration his men followed him, and by the time the Lieutenant arrived back, Uncle Bill and his command were dancing in the streets.  The Lieutenant promptly, and correctly, tore the stripes off Uncle Bill’s tunic and he spent the rest of the war as a private.  That was fine with Uncle Bill, since he had signed up to fight and not to make the Army a career.  A fighter Uncle Bill definitely was, but not a soldier! Continue Reading

9

The Thuggery Continues

On Friday I linked to the blogger Patterico’s recounting of his horrific experience of being “SWATted.”  Tonight Erick Erickson at Red State was the latest to fall victim to this kind of malicious attack.

Tonight, my family was sitting around the kitchen table eating dinner when sheriffs deputies pulled up in the driveway.

Someone called 911 from my address claiming there had been an accidental shooting.

It wasn’t nearly the trauma that Patterico suffered, but I guess the Erickson household is on somebody’s radar.

Luckily it was two sheriffs deputies who knew me and I had already, last week, advised the Sheriff’s Department to be on the look out for something like this.

 This goes well beyond harassment.  At some point somebody is going to be killed because of this.
9

Fortnight For Freedom

 

 

 

The fight over the HHS Mandate is about to come to a boil.  In June the Bishops are going to have this document inserted in Mass bulletins throughout the nation which mentions the necessity of disobeying immoral laws in certain situations.

Some unjust laws impose such injustices on individuals and organizations that disobeying the laws may be justified.  Every effort must be made to repeal them.  When fundamental human goods, such as the right of conscience, are at stake, we may need witness to the truth by resisting the law and incurring its penalties.

I am almost thankful to President Obama.  Due to his blind hubris, his willingness to ride roughshod over American liberties for cheap perceived political advantage, he has awakened the Church in this country from her slumber, and reminded Catholics that they are part of the Church Militant here on Earth. 

Beginning for two weeks, up to Independence Day, the Bishops are having a Fortnight For Freedom: Continue Reading

1

Saint Augustine on Pentecost

I. The Coming of the Holy Ghost with the Gift of Tongues foretells the Unity of the Church throughout all peoples.

This is a solemn day for us, because of the Coming of the Holy Ghost; the fiftieth day from the Lord’s Resurrection, seven days multiplied by seven. But multiplying seven by seven we have forty-nine. One is then added: that we may be reminded of unity.

What is the meaning of the Coming of the Holy Ghost? What did it accomplish? How did He tell us of His Presence; reveal It to us? By the fact that all spoke in the tongues of every nation. There were a hundred and twenty people gathered in one room; ten times twelve. The sacred number of the Apostles was multiplied ten times. What then, did each one upon whom the Holy Spirit descended speak in one of the tongues of each of the nations: to this man one language, to this man another, dividing as it were among themselves the tongues of all the nations? No, it was not so: but each man, singly, spoke in the tongue of every nation. One and the same man spoke the tongue of every nation: the unity of the Church amid the tongues of all the nations. See here how the unity of the Catholic Church spread throughout all nations is set before us. Continue Reading
2

For Greater Glory: God’s Timing

 

The film, For Greater Glory, the heroic story of the Cristeros who fought for the Church and religious liberty in the twenties of the last century in Mexico, is opening on June 1.  Go here  to read my post on the film.  The National Catholic Register’s Tim Drake has an interview with the producer of the film, Pablo Jose Barroso.  Note what the producer says about the timing of the film in regard to the struggle for religious liberty the Church is waging today in our country:

Tell me about the film.

It’s a great experience because it takes you to that period and beautiful  country, with its art and settings. It’s a story of hope, of freedom and of  heroism. The film tells the story of the pacifist movement, a group of people  who were trying to change things in Congress peacefully, as well as the story of  a former general who is recruited to organize the Cristeros into an army. You  also see several of the martyrs, including Blessed Jose Sanchez del Rio. In the  end, it’s about people standing up against oppression and dying for Christ. My  hope is that it will give viewers great hope.

What do you hope viewers take away from the film?

I think that, culturally, we’re not being congruent with our religious  beliefs. We are not standing up for our faith. We’ve been tolerating things that  are wrong. It seems as if it’s easier for people to be against God than to claim  him as their Creator. In this Year of Faith [to begin in October], the Holy  Spirit can help people to be more faithful. If only one person who doesn’t  believe in God sees this film and reflects on him, that is my best hope.

Given the current fight for religious freedom going on in the U.S., do  you see the release of the film as God’s timing?

Yes, it was frustrating and difficult not to have the film released when I  wanted it, but the Lord’s time is not our time. The movie is about conscience.  No one ever wins when religion is oppressed. As believers we need to band  together. This is the perfect time for this film. Hopefully, it will help wake  people up to the things that are taking us from God. In the end, this will harm  us. We have to be faithful. Continue Reading

Ronald Reagan on Memorial Day

Freedom is not only a gift, but also a summons to personal responsibility. Americans know this from experience – almost every town in this country has its monuments honoring those who sacrificed their lives in defense of freedom, both at home and abroad.

                                        Pope Benedict XVI

 

My fellow Americans, Memorial Day is a day of ceremonies and speeches. Throughout America today, we honor the dead of our wars. We recall their valor and their sacrifices. We remember they gave their lives so that others might live.

We’re also gathered here for a special event—the national funeral for an unknown soldier who will today join the heroes of three other wars.

When he spoke at a ceremony at Gettysburg in 1863, President Lincoln reminded us that through their deeds, the dead had spoken more eloquently for themselves than any of the living ever could, and that we living could only honor them by rededicating ourselves to the cause for which they so willingly gave a last full measure of devotion.

Well, this is especially so today, for in our minds and hearts is the memory of Vietnam and all that that conflict meant for those who sacrificed on the field of battle and for their loved ones who suffered here at home.

Not long ago, when a memorial was dedicated here in Washington to our Vietnam veterans, the events surrounding that dedication were a stirring reminder of America’s resilience, of how our nation could learn and grow and transcend the tragedies of the past.

During the dedication ceremonies, the rolls of those who died and are still missing were read for three days in a candlelight ceremony at the National Cathedral. And the veterans of Vietnam who were never welcomed home with speeches and bands, but who were never defeated in battle and were heroes as surely as any who have ever fought in a noble cause, staged their own parade on Constitution Avenue. As America watched them—some in wheelchairs, all of them proud—there was a feeling that this nation—that as a nation we were coming together again and that we had, at long last, welcomed the boys home.

“A lot of healing went on,” said one combat veteran who helped organize support for the memorial. And then there was this newspaper account that appeared after the ceremonies. I’d like to read it to you. “Yesterday, crowds returned to the Memorial. Among them was Herbie Petit, a machinist and former marine from New Orleans. ‘Last night,’ he said, standing near the wall, ‘I went out to dinner with some other ex-marines. There was also a group of college students in the restaurant. We started talking to each other. And before we left, they stood up and cheered us. The whole week,’ Petit said, his eyes red, ‘it was worth it just for that.'”

It has been worth it. We Americans have learned to listen to each other and to trust each other again. We’ve learned that government owes the people an explanation and needs their support for its actions at home and abroad. And we have learned, and I pray this time for good, the most valuable lesson of all—the preciousness of human freedom. Continue Reading

8

Eternal Father

Something for the weekend.  Eternal Father seems very appropriate for a Memorial Day weekend, as we remember those who paid the ultimate price for the freedom we cherish.  Written in 1860 as a poem by William Whiting in England, the music to accompany the lyrics was composed by John B. Dykes in 1861.  The moving hymn has always been a favorite of those who serve in the military:

Eternal Father, strong to save,

Whose arm hath bound the restless wave, 

Who bidd’st the mighty ocean deep  

Its own appointed limits keep;  

Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee, 

For those in peril on the sea!

O Christ! Whose voice the waters heard

And hushed their raging at Thy word,  

Who walkedst on the foaming deep,

And calm amidst its rage didst sleep;

Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,  

For those in peril on the sea!

Most Holy Spirit! Who didst brood

Upon the chaos dark and rude,

And bid its angry tumult cease,

And give, for wild confusion, peace;  

Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,  

For those in peril on the sea!

O Trinity of love and power!

Our brethren shield in danger’s hour;

From rock and tempest, fire and foe, 

Protect them wheresoe’er they go;

  Thus evermore shall rise to Thee

Glad hymns of praise from land and sea. Continue Reading

16

Sons of Cain: St. Michael, Knights of Longinus, and Bohemians

Can you answer the Teaser Questions at the end?

When I asked my political science and history buff, numerical mechanics expert, Special Ops retired military officer husband to recommend his favorite author so I could read it, it was a wifely effort to show love, to get to know him better. He answered, “Tom Clancy,” and handed me Debt of Honor and Executive Orders, an overwhelming 2,500 page paperback brick stack. My eyes bugged out.

But hey, I’m committed, so I read Tom Clancy’s masterpiece tale, and my hesitation turned into enthusiasm. The technical world of national warfare, really the pitting of good and bad individual leaders against each other, was fascinating and caused me to rethink the meaning of pacifism. Through the characters, I developed an appreciation for the courage and humility required of good leaders. Tom Clancy is a master at teaching through storytelling because his novels are exhaustively researched, reality-based fiction. The two-part story (only part of a bigger series) centers around a terrorist attack in which a hijacked Boeing 747 is flown directly into the U.S. Capitol during a joint session of Congress, decapitating the government. It is interesting to note that the books were published four and six years before September 11, 2001. Many people wondered about the prophetic nature of the book because it turned out to be more real than anyone anticipated. Tom Clancy understands the mentality of his characters, deeply.

Reading Val Bianco’s novel, Sons of Cain, was kind of like that, except Mr. Bianco brings a spiritual fullness to his work that makes it eternally pertinent. It is not nearly as tedious as working through a Clancy military novel, but the progression of the story ushers the reader into a life-changing experience, beckoning a more thoughtful dive into current world events and what goes on the minds of those who cause them. It makes spiritual warfare tangible and present, yet with an inspiring catechetical quality. I no longer wonder how to think of angels and demons, and I can almost see the “spiritual space” in the battle of good and evil when I consider how and why certain events happen the way they do. Are there large and terrible demons with their claws dug deeply in the heads and abdomens of men, preying on their minds and souls, coercing them to malice and perceived power, even as it makes them feel sick? Think about it! Continue Reading

24

Does E.J. Dionne Even Pretend to be a Catholic Anymore? (Updated)

E.J. Dionne thinks the American Bishops are just a bunch of right-wing meanies .  No, seriously.

The headlines this week were about lawsuits brought by 43 Catholic organizations, including 13 dioceses, to overturn regulations issued by the Obama administration that require insurance plans to cover contraception under the new health-care law. But the other side of this news was also significant: The vast majority of the nation’s 195 dioceses did not go to court.

Which Dionne takes as a signal that those dioceses do not approve of the suits.

Has Dionne ever taken even an elementary logic course?  That the other dioceses did not join the suit does not imply that they oppose the suit.  They may have chosen not to participate for any number of reasons.  For instance, newly installed Bishop Lori in Baltimore explained on EWTN just last night that the Archdiocese of Baltimore did not join the suit because it was a time of transition with him just being installed last week.  As for the other dioceses, they may not have the time and resources to join the suit.

Dionne then – hysterically – implies that the Church is being over-run by right-wing Bishops.

Until now, bishops who believed that their leadership was aligning the institutional church too closely with the political right had voiced their doubts internally. While the more moderate and liberal bishops kept their qualms out of public view, conservative bishops have been outspoken in condemning the Obama administration and pushing a “Fortnight for Freedom” campaign aimed at highlighting “threats to religious freedom, both at home and abroad.”

But in recent months, a series of events — among them the Vatican’s rebuke of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, encouraged by right-wing U.S. bishops — have angered more progressive Catholics and led to talk among the disgruntled faithful of the need for a “Catholic spring” to challenge the hierarchy’s shift to the right.

It’s amusing that Dionne chooses to frame the issue as a right-versus-left one, and even more amusing that he seems to be implying that the Vatican was prodded by a bunch of scheming winger-Bishops to issue its rebuke.

To his credit, Dionne does manage to find a few Bishops who are opposed to the lawsuit.*

Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, Calif., broke the silence on his side Tuesday in aninterview with Kevin Clarke of the Jesuit magazine America. Blaire expressed concern that some groups “very far to the right” are turning the controversy over the contraception rules into “an anti-Obama campaign.”

“I think there are different groups that are trying to co-opt this and make it into [a] political issue, and that’s why we need to have a deeper discussion as bishops,” he said. “I think our rhetoric has to be that of bishops of the church who are seeking to be faithful to the Gospel, that our one concern is that we make sure the church is free to carry out her mission as given to her by Christ, and that remains our focus.”

My sympathies to the Catholics in Stockton, California.  One can only imagine the sterling homilies they must hear every Sunday.

This is simply nonsense.  The Obama administration drew a very clear line in the sand.  I’m sorry to break this to Bishop Blaire, but when  a presidential administration declares open war on religion freedom, it de facto becomes a political issue.  I realize that you must be of the generation that believes that the only way to resolve anything is deep dialogue and expressions of “concern,” but sitting on your behind and just hoping that the administration will be nice to you down the line is not going to accomplish anything.

Already, there are reports that some bishops will play down or largely ignore the Fortnight for Freedom campaign, scheduled for June 21 to July 4, in their own dioceses. These bishops fear that it has become enmeshed in Republican election-year politics and see many of its chief promoters, notably Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, as too strident.

I’m so confused.  Bishop Lori himself didn’t attach himself to the lawsuit, so obviously by Dionne’s logic he must be opposed to the suit.  Does that mean that Bishop Lori believes that Bishop Lori is too strident?  The mind reels.

Again, it’s a pity that some Bishops do not have the courage to stand up and fight for religious freedom.  Like Bishop Blaire, they are of the mindset that it’s best not to cause too much trouble or kick up too much of a fuss – unless of course the issue is changing the translation of the Mass.  Then these same Bishops kick and scream and do everything in their power to fight change.  But when it comes to challenging an administration intent on curtailing their freedoms – meh, better to just hold a series of seminars and hope everything gets sorted out in the end.

Dionne then makes some hay over the phony “compromise” offered by HHS, a compromise only gullible left-leaning Catholics put any stock into.  Because at the end of the day, for people like Dionne hiking taxes on the rich is more important than minor issues such as abortion and religious freedom.

Dionne closes with this whopper:

For too long, the Catholic Church’s stance on public issues has been defined by the outspokenness of its most conservative bishops and the reticence of moderate and progressive prelates.

Yes, we all remember how all those right-wing Bishops led the charge when it came to immigration reform, or the war in Iraq, or in recent budget debates.

Signs that this might finally be changing are encouraging for the church, and for American politics.

Hey, Dionne finally says something I agree with. Of course he has now clue that the behavioral change is now quite the one he thinks is happening.

*Update:  See Donald’s comment.  In fact, even Blaire is on board with his fellow Bishops.  Sorry, EJ.

4

The Obama administration’s attack on religious freedom: The Second Vatican Council’s “spirit of ecumenism” at work…

 

When he was a seventh grader, The Motley Monk recalls his homeroom teacher, Sr. Gerald Francis, OP, making a matter-of-fact statement that caught The Motley Monk’s attention.

“God will not be mocked,” Sr. Gerald Francis said.

That may very well be what’s playing out in an ironic way in the United States today.

How?

It seems to The Motley Monk that President Obama and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius have done more than many on the Catholic left be might be capable of imagining: They’re fostering the Second Vatican Council’s much-touted “spirit of ecumenism”—and, in particular, a spirit of moral outrage—to refocus the nation upon traditional Christian moral values.

Advancing the Second Vatican Council’s
“spirit of ecumenism”?

 

Imagine the nation’s Catholic, Baptist, Orthodox Jew, Orthodox Christian, Mormon and other religious leaders gathering in the early 20th century to discuss the state of religious freedom in the United States and to develop a plan to confront this moral malignancy.  They wouldn’t gather to pray!

Yet, according to an article in the Church Report, that’s exactly what happened at the Ethics and Public Policy Center’s American Religious Freedom Program which sponsored a daylong summit on Thursday, May 24th.

The Chairman of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Richard Land, perhaps expressed best the participants’ sentiments when he said:

We must all be willing to stand up and tell the government “No.”  Secularists don’t like people of faith because the ultimate authority for us is not the state.  The ultimate authority is God.

Of course, detractors will continue to portray the nation’s Catholic bishops as being controlled by a “minority” of conservatives whose primary backers are Curia officials in Rome and whose less-than-thinly-veiled intention is to compel women to submit to Rome’s moral dictates.  Thank you, for more of the “same old, same old” insightful analysis, Mo’.

But, The Motley Monk would note, that’s evidence of a very different agenda—whose specific action items include agitating for abortion, artificial contraception, and women’s ordination—rather than the specific agenda the nation’s Catholic bishops have focused upon: the Obama administration’s unprecedented attack on religious freedom.

Archbishops Lori and Dolan

 

This broader issue is tangential to that other agenda with its action items.  The focus is the attack upon the freedom of religious groups to hire employees of their choice as well as the rights of orthodox believers to abstain from activities forbidden by their religious beliefs.

The threat is real.  Not just for Catholics but also for those who believe in and uphold traditional Judaeo-Christian morality.

“God won’t be mocked.”

That President Obama and his Catholic HHS Secretary have pushed an anti-traditional Judaeo-Christian moral agenda that advances the Church’s ecumenical agenda would be a “delicious” irony.

 

 

To read the article in the Church Report, click on the following link: http://www.thechurchreport.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=siteContent.default&objectID=155162

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, click on the following link:
http://themotleymonk.blogspot.com/

32

Go Margeaux! Victorious in Defense of the Eucharist

Margeaux Graham is really a quite reserved young woman, confident, articulate and anticipating the future that lays before her in a nation where women have the opportunity to become influential political leaders. She doesn’t sensationally seek the spotlight, and genuinely desires to adhere to reasonable codes of conduct in a democratic society. She takes sincere pride in her academic achievement. As a Catholic, she also refuses to compromise her obligations. This is her first priority, and now this priority has caused a conflict she must face. At a time in our country, and in our world, when threats to religious freedom plaque the media daily, this young woman’s simple and sincere willingness to challenge long-standing, but very flawed, policies and practices is inspiring.

What if everyone refused to dismiss the Eucharist with such boldness?

A Recap. It all started when Margeaux was selected to attend a prestigious Girls State session by the American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) in Florida. She was chosen as a delegate based on her outstanding scholastic ability and her desire to learn more about how our government works. The session is a 9-day experience where the girls participate in a mock democratic government that fosters civic leadership and stimulates, in the words of the Director, a “desire to protect the privileges and responsibilities of our democratic form of government.” It is a high honor to be chosen for participation.

In preparing for her trip, to her surprise, Margeaux was told that she could not attend Mass on Sunday, and that her only option would be to attend the “non-offensive” non-denominational service offered for all participants. This was motivated at least in part by a concern for safety, understandably. The organizers do not permit the girls to leave the session alone for any reason. So Margeaux’s mother, willing to accommodate this reasonable concern, sought help from a sympathetic member of the local American Legion. She offered to come take her daughter to Mass, or to have someone arrange for a priest to celebrate Mass at the conference site. But — this accommodation was rejected. Margeaux then wrote the letter reprinted in the last article to the President of the state ALA chapter, explaining that she must decline the invitation, and the academic and civic honor extended to her, if it meant that she had to neglect her obligation to attend Mass.

Discussions are still underway and they are praying for a favorable outcome. The intent is not to disparage anyone, only to defend a teen’s right to attend Mass and to develop as a leader in our country. The accommodation being requested in perfectly reasonable, and defensible by the constitutional and civic rights guaranteed to citizens of the Unites States. A young woman should not be discriminated against because she is a faithful Catholic.

In the meantime, Margeaux has responded to the state officer who scolded her and told her God would understand if she skipped Mass. Margeaux is taking a stand, not so much over being accommodated, but at the insult to the Eucharist. This high school junior minces no words and flat out, boldly defends the source and summit of the Christian life. I hope someone at a Catholic university is able to help her with her future endeavors. With the exception of the first sentence, you might consider reading the opening paragraph out loud!

 

Continue Reading

17

Blogburst Friday – Political Thuggery II: The Brett Kimberlin Saga (Updated)

In my post last week, I alluded to the ordeal involving the blogger Aaron Walker (who blogged under the name Aaron Worthing) and his run-in with convicted terrorist Brett Kimberlin.  Kimberlin pressed assault charges against Walker, and Walker completely denies the allegations.  Dan Collins had an excellent summary of the entire story.

This was just the tip of the iceberg.  Earlier this week, the blogger Stacy McCain felt threatened enough to leave the state of Maryland  after, as McCain claimed, Kimberlin contacted McCain’s wife’s employer.  McCain has continued to post about Kimberlin, and suspects that Kimberlin is the man behind the blog (and twitter account) Breitbart Unmasked.

The story has slowly picked up steam through out the blogosphere.  Initially it was only mid-sized and smaller bloggers, but then Michelle Malkin – a writer intimately familiar with intimidation tactics – talked about this on Wednesday.  Ace of Spades has been all over this as well, providing some more background information about Kimberlin.  Lee Stranahan, meanwhile, has posted a video that provides more context for who Kimberlin is and what he did in 1978.  Bretibart.com also provides some more background information.

Once dubbed “The Wizard of Odd” by Time Magazine, you may recognize the name Brett Kimberlin for much more than Justice Through Music or Velvet Revolution, especially if you’re from Indiana. That’s because in 1981, Kimberlin, then the owner of vegetarian restaurant Good Earth, was finally convicted of a week-long bombing spree in Indianapolis, IN in which eight separate bombs caused extensive property damage, destroyed a police cruiser, and severely maimed a man, which eventually led to the man’s suicide. Kimberlin’s story has so often been overlooked or understated by the national media, which unfortunately all but failed to follow up on what were later proven by the same journalist who first reported on his story to be mistruths. But locals to IN know exactly what happened and have never forgotten it since. It’s time the public got the full story.

Infamously known as “The Speedway Bomber,” Brett Kimberlin exploded his eighth and final bomb on September 6, 1978, which nearly blew off the right leg of his victim, Carl DeLong, and seriously injured the man’s left leg and right hand, causing his leg to be amputated. DeLong committed suicide two years later, unable to cope with the pain and devastation of his injuries. The victim’s wife Sandra later won a civil judgment against Kimberlin for $1.6 million.

Police had immediately suspected Kimberlin in the bombing case. He’d been in trouble since high school, was a suspected drug trafficker and he was already the suspect in a murder that had occurred only months earlier.

Chris Johnson at Midwest Conservative Journal links to several others.  Of particular note is Patrick Frey, who blogs as Patterico.  Frey has had his own run-ins with Kimberlin and his associates, and has posted an amazingly detailed account of how his life was placed in jeopardy.

So why should you care?  First of all, Kimberlin isn’t some isolated individual. As Patterico’s post in particular demonstrates, there are Democrat activists who freely associate with him. Further, he has received funding from the likes of Barbara Streisand and others.

More importantly, this entire saga shines a light on a very real pattern of intimidation against conservatives.  Make no mistake about it – there are certain individuals on the left who are actively working to suppress points of view that run contrary to liberal dogma. Instead of countering our arguments, these titans of intolerance prefer to use bullying tactics in order to shut us down.

These bullying tactics will not work, and in fact they seem to be only working to motivate conservative bloggers to be even more active and vigilant.  That’s why today there is an organized blogburst for freedom, and I am proud to be a part of that. I do not speak for my co-bloggers on this subject, but I for one refuse to be intimidated into silence.

Also see Bob Belvedere at the Camp of the Saints for a roundup of other bloggers participating in today’s blogburst.

Update: Michelle Malkin has a comprehensive list as well of all the other bloggers.  I’ll link to them after the jump:

Continue Reading

John Ford, John Wayne and Grierson’s Raid

Well, you Yankees and your holy principle about savin’ the Union. You’re plunderin’ pirates that’s what. Well, you think there’s no Confederate army where you’re goin’. You think our boys are asleep down here. Well, they’ll catch up to you and they’ll cut you to pieces you, you nameless, fatherless scum. I wish I could be there to see it.

   Miss Hannah Hunter of Greenbriar, portrayed by Constance Towers in The Horse Soldiers 

 

 

One of my commenters at Almost Chosen People, the American history blog I run with Paul Z, noted my post on movies for a Memorial Day weekend and directed me to a review he had written of The Horse Soldiers (1959), the classic retelling of Grierson’s Raid during the Civil War by John Ford, and the last of the “cavalry collaboration” films between Ford and John Wayne.  I enjoyed the review, and Fabio Paolo Barbieri, the author, has given me permission to repost it here:

 John Ford’s THE HORSE SOLDIERS.  About half of this movie is one of the greatest war films ever done; indeed, one of the greatest that can possibly be made – more, perhaps, may be made, but not better.  It would, in my view, be impossible to give a better, a more painful, a more affecting and tragic view of war.  War is one of the greatest subjects in the arts, and it affords a virtually infinite field for reflection and for emotion; and it is my view – or rather, I think, my experience, that the authors of this movie reached to its very bottom.  More ketchup sauce, more plastic severe limbs, more and more savage special effects, could not possibly increase its impact, because that impact is not on the gut and the nerves, but on the emotions and on the mind.  It is a work of thought, as well as of magisterial narrative control.
(That, incidentally, is why I find The Bridge on the River Kwai overrated.  It collapses at its very last frame, when the American character describes everything that has gone on until then as “madness, madness”.  Whatever its implications and its emotional content, it clearly was not madness; and the impact of those final words is that of a simple refusal to think about what the movie had shown – an inexcusable retreat into irrationalism.  That any reflection would be very painful is an explanation but not an excuse.)
Great narrative artists think in plot structure, and the plot structure of that half of The Horse Soldiers – the significant half, the masterpiece half – is both unique and extraordinarily well realized.  The climax of the story is not where we expect it to be; and both the false and the true climax are worked up to with exacting, time-burning care, for maximum impact.  The story concerns a U.S. cavalry raid – said to be a real historical event – to destroy an important Confederate railway line and depot and so deny besieged Vicksburg vitally needed supplies.  The cavalry column, led by a former railway worker promoted to Colonel on the battlefield, will be moving from beginning to end in enemy territory, and have to keep its mission secret down to the very moment in which it will accomplish it.  The movie does an excellent job of displaying the difficulties and the dreadful exhaustion of such a mission; indeed, it is typical of the way in which every narrative element is used to build up, that the meeting of officers with which it starts takes place in a downpour  – this immediately informs us that this mission will be no joy ride.  (And because John Ford is economical and does not abuse story elements, the downpour is not repeated – although the cavalrymen enjoy the pleasures of forced marching, bug swarms, swamp rides, injuries, amputations without anaesthetic, fever, battle deaths, sunstroke and exhaustion.  To inform the public that this story is to be taken seriously is one thing; to repeat oneself unnecessarily is another.)
Dodging Confederate forces and possible spies (but pausing to rescue one decent Southern sheriff from two villainous defectors – a charming scene), the cavalrymen reach their target, which they find virtually ungarrisoned, its few soldiers under the command of an armless veteran who once was the friend of one of the Union officers (a fine touch, reminding us of what a civil war actually does).  Indeed, just as they are sitting in the captured village, a Confederate train appears on the line – as if just coming to fall right into waiting Union hands.
It seems too good to be true, and it is.  Quick inquiries by the suspicious ex-railwayman colonel (John Wayne) bring out the fact that the captured enemy commander had been found in the telegraph office.  A minimum of rushed orders send the practiced Union veterans scurrying to set their own trap, around the only road down which the enemy must charge; and when the Confederate soldiers of which the train was full come charing out, they are met with murderous fire on all sides and slaughtered nearly to the last man.
As I said, there is no abuse of ketchup sauce or flying body part; this is not Quentin Tarantino.  But Ford makes damn well sure that we understand, first, that these are extraordinarily brave men – they go on charging at an impossibly entrenched enemy as long as there is one of them left standing; and, second, that their only reward for their bravery is agonizing death or lifelong deformity and mutilation.  Not only is the battle itself a model of perfect staging and shooting (indeed, throughout this movie, Ford’s always luminous photography reaches an especial pitch of inspiration), but he takes some considerable time after the battle scene to give us an account of the desperate and mostly unavailing medical care given the injured Confederates by medics of both sides.  At the same time, not to miss any opportunity for bitter and powerful contrasts, the Union cavalrymen are carefully destroying, with considerable and rowdy good humour, every bit of railway they can reach and the whole content of the local depot.

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6

More Movies For a Memorial Day Weekend

 

Last year I gave my top ten picks for movies for Memorial Day weekend.  Go here to read that post.  Here are more films, in no particular order as to merit, to help remember those who went into harm’s way for us:

 

10.  The Gallant Hours (1960)-James Cagney as Admiral William F. “Bull” Halsey, video clip at the beginning of this post, the film highlighting Halsey’s brilliant leadership in the fierce naval battles that raged around Guadalcanal in 1942.  The importance of Guadalcanal was put succinctly by Halsey:  “Before Guadalcanal the enemy advanced at his pleasure. After Guadalcanal, he retreated at ours”.

9.   John Paul Jones (1959)-  Robert Stack, just before he rose to fame in the Untouchables, is grand in the role of the archetypal American sea hero.  Bette Davis is absolutely unforgettable as Catherine the Great.  The climactic sea battle with the Serapis is well done, especially for those pre-CGI days.  The only problem with the film is that many of the details are wrong.  This is forgivable to a certain extent since scholarship on Jones was badly skewed by Augustus Buell in a two volume “scholarly biography” which appeared in 1900.  Buell was a charlatan who made up many incidents about Jones and then invented sources to support his fabrications.  Buell was not completely exposed until Samuel Eliot Morison, Harvard professor of history, and an Admiral in the Navy, wrote his definitive biography of Jones. Here is a list of the fabrications of Buell compiled by Morison.  Morison’s book appeared after the movie, which is to be regretted.

8.  The Sands of Iwo Jima (1949)-This film earned John Wayne his first Oscar nomination as best actor.  (Broderick Crawford would win for his stunning performance in All The King’s Men.)   Wayne was initially reluctant to take the role, partly because he had not fought in World War II, and partly because he saw script problems and didn’t like the character of Sergeant Stryker as initially written in the screen play.  (There is evidence that Wayne, 34 at the time of Pearl Harbor, and with 3 kids, did attempt to volunteer in 1943 for the Marine Corps with assignment to John Ford’s OSS Field Photographic Unit, but was turned down.) 

Wayne was convinced to take the role because the film had the enthusiastic backing of the Marine Corps, which viewed it as a fitting tribute to the Marines who fought in the Pacific, and to help combat a move in Congress to abolish the Corps.  Marine Commandant Clifton B. Cates went to see Wayne to request that he take the role and Wayne immediately agreed.  (Thus began a long association of John Wayne with the Marine Corps, including Wayne narrating a tribute to Marine Lieutenant General Chesty Puller.)

Appearing in the film were several Marine veterans of the Pacific, including Colonel David Shoup, who earned a Medal of Honor for his heroism at Tarawa, and who would later serve as a Commandant of the Corps, and Lieutenant Colonel Henry Crow who led a Marine battalion at Tarawa.  The Marine Corp hymn is sung in the film after the death of Wayne’s character, one of ten films in which a Wayne character died, and as the raising of the flag is recreated.

Taking part in the flag raising were Rene Gagnon, Ira Hayes and John Bradley, the three survivors of the six flag raisers who survived the battle.  (The three men who raised the flag and subsequently died in the battle were Franklin Sousely, Harlon Block and Michael Strank.)  (First Lieutenant Harold Schrier, who led the flag raising party that raised the first, smaller, flag on Mount Suribachi, and who was awarded a Navy Cross and a Silver Star for his heroism on Iwo Jima, also appeared in the film.)  The flag on top of Mount Suribachi could be seen across the island, and was greeted with cheers by the Marines and blaring horns by the ships of the Navy.  A mass was said on Mount Suribachi at the time of the flag raising and I have written about that here.  Go here to see the ending of the Sands of Iwo Jima and listen to the Marines’ Hymn.

7.  The Horse Soldiers (1959)-In 1959 John Ford and John Wayne, in the last of their “cavalry collaborations”, made The Horse Soldiers, a film based on Harold Sinclair’s novel of the same name published in 1956, which is a wonderful fictionalized account of Grierson’s Raid.

Perhaps the most daring and successful Union cavaly raid of the war, Colonel Benjamin Grierson, a former music teacher and band leader from Jacksonville, Illinois, who, after being bitten by a horse at a young age, hated horses, led from April 17-May 2, 1863 1700 Illinois and Iowa troopers through 600 miles of Confederate territory from southern Tennessee to the Union held Baton Rouge in Louisiana.  Grierson and his men ripped up railroads, burned Confederate supplies and tied down many times their number of Confederate troops and succeeded in giving Grant a valuable diversion as he began his movement against Vicksburg.  The film is a fine remembrance of the courage of the soldiers North and South who fought in our war without an enemy.

6.  Red Tails (2012)-  This film was released on Blueray this week, and I have been viewing it and enjoying it immensely.

Blacks have served in all of America’s wars, in spite of the racial hatred that was often directed against them during their service.  In World War II the military was still segregated, and opposition to blacks serving as pilots was intense.   However, the Army Air Corps could not ignore that blacks had passed the tests to qualify as aviation cadets. Trained at Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Alabama, the 99th Pursuit squadron was activated in 1941 and sent overseas to North Africa in April 1943.

The 99th served in the Sicilian Campaign and in Italy.  In the Spring of 1944 it was joined by the 100th, 301st and 302nd pursuit squadrons and formed the all black 332nd fighter group.  The 332nd flew as escorts for bombers flying bombing raids into Czechoslavakia, Austria, Hungary, Poland and Germany.  The 332nd became known as the Red Tails, or Red Tail Angels, for the red paint on the tails of their planes, and for the skill with which they guarded the bombers they escorted.  The men of the 332nd in their time in combat destroyed 261 enemy planes, damaged another 148, and flew a total of 15,533 combat sorties.  They suffered 66 pilots killed.  95 Distinguished Flying Crosses for heroism were earned by the pilots, along with other awards for valor, and the 332nd received three President Unit Citations.  A bomber group, the 477th Medium Bomber Group, consisting of the 616th, 617th, 618th and 619th bomber squadrons, was formed from Tuskegee Airmen, but the War ended before the unit was deployed overseas.

Red Tails, is a long overdue salute to these men who had to fight not only the enemy but the racial prejudice of  many of their fellow Americans.  They were a credit to their nation and to their race, the human race.

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12

Pro-Aborts at Record Low

Pro-lifers at my alma mater, the University of Illinois, explain why they are pro-life in the above video.  They are on the cutting edge of a cultural shift on abortion that is magnificent to behold.  The Gallup poll on abortion released today illustrates this.

The 41% of Americans who now identify themselves as “pro-choice” is down from 47% last July and is one percentage point below the previous record low in Gallup trends, recorded in May 2009. Fifty percent now call themselves “pro-life,” one point shy of the record high, also from May 2009. Continue Reading

3

The Old Issue and Our Issue

The eleventh in my ongoing series examining the poetry of Rudyard Kipling.   The other posts in the series may be read here, here , here , herehere , here, here, here,  here and here.   Kipling had a deep love of English history and a deep love of English freedom, and he well understood the turbulent conflicts over a millennium that had created that freedom.  He was also keenly aware of developments in his own time, the rise of socialism first among them, that threatened the freedom he cherished.  Published on September 29, 1899 at the outset of the Boer War, the poem the Old Issue is an interesting meditation on freedom and how it could be lost.  Ostensibly a criticism by Kipling of the tyranny of the Boers over English settlers, the poem goes far deeper than that, and to me has a very contemporary feel:

 

“Here is nothing new nor aught unproven,” say the Trumpets

“Many feet have worn it and the road is old indeed, “It is the King–the King we schooled aforetime!” (Trumpets in the marshes–in the eyot at Runnymede!)

“Here is neither haste, nor hate, nor anger,” peal the Trumpets, “Pardon for his penitence or pity for his fall,

“It is the King!”–inexorable Trumpets– (Trumpets round the scaffold at the dawning by Whitehall!)

“He hath veiled the Crown and hid the Sceptre,” warn the Trumpets, “He hath changed the fashion of the lies that cloak his will. “Hard die the Kings–ah, hard–dooms hard!” declare the Trumpets, (Trumpets at the gang-plank where the brawling troop-decks fill!)

Ancient and Unteachable, abide–abide the Trumpets! Once again the Trumpets, for the shuddering ground-swell brings Clamour over ocean of the harsh, pursuing Trumpets– Trumpets of the Vanguard that have sworn no truce with Kings!

 

 

All we have of freedom, all we use or know– This our fathers bought for us long and long ago.

 

Ancient Right unnoticed as the breath we draw– Leave to live by no man’s leave, underneath the Law–

Lance and torch and tumult, steel and grey-goose wing, Wrenched it, inch and ell and all, slowly from the King.

 

Till our fathers ‘stablished, after bloody years, How our King is one with us, first among his peers.

So they bought us freedom–not at little cost– Wherefore must we watch the King, lest our gain be lost.

 

Over all things certain, this is sure indeed, Suffer not the old King: for we know the breed.

 

Give no ear to bondsmen bidding us endure, Whining “He is weak and far;” crying “Time shall cure.”

(Time himself is witness, till the battle joins, Deeper strikes the rottenness in the people’s loins.)

Give no heed to bondsmen masking war with peace, Suffer not the old King here or overseas.

They that beg us barter–wait his yielding mood– Pledge the years we hold in trust–pawn our brother’s blood–

Howso’ great their clamour, whatso’er their claim, Suffer not the old King under any name!

He shall mark our goings, question whence we came, Set his guards about us, as in Freedom’s name.

Here is naught unproven–here is naught to learn, It is written what shall fall if the King return.

He shall take a tribute; toll of all our ware; He shall change our gold for arms–arms we may not bear.

He shall break his Judges if they cross his word; He shall rule above the Law calling on the Lord.

He shall peep and mutter; and the night shall bring Watchers ‘neath our windows, lest we mock the King–

Hate and all divisions; hosts of hurrying spies; Money poured in secret; carrion breeding flies.

Strangers of his counsel, hirelings of his pay, These shall deal our Justice: sell–deny–delay.

We shall drink dishonour, we shall eat abuse, For the Land we look to–for the Tongue we use.

We shall take our station, dirt beneath his feet, while his hired captains jeer us in the street.

Cruel in the shadow, crafty in the sun, Far beyond his borders shall his teachings run.

Sloven, sullen, savage, secret, uncontrolled, Laying on a new land evil of the old–

Long-forgotten bondage, dwarfing heart and brain– All our fathers died to loose he shall bind again.

 

Here is naught at venture, random or untrue– Swings the wheel full-circle, brims the cup anew.

Here is naught unproven, here is nothing hid: Step for step and word for word–so the old Kings did!

Step by step and word by word: who is ruled may read. Suffer not the old Kings: for we know the breed–

All the right they promise–all the wrong they bring. Stewards of the Judgment, suffer not this King! Continue Reading

175

Margeaux’s Stand: Catholic Teen Defends Her Right to Attend Mass

True Leadership

“The American Legion Auxiliary is the world’s largest women’s patriotic service organization. Through its nearly 10,500 units located in every state and some foreign countries, the Auxiliary embodies the spirit of America that has prevailed through war and peace. Along with The American Legion, it solidly stands behind America and her ideals.

Well?

While the nation discusses and debates the attacks on religious freedom, a high school junior in Florida has put her academic reputation on the line to stand up for her faith. Margeaux Graham was selected this year to participate in a prestigious 9-day leadership event in her state’s capital. The American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) of Florida has an annual “Girls State” program whereby the participants “learn how to participate in the functioning of their state’s government in preparation for their future roles as responsible adult citizens.” It is a “nonpartisan program that teaches young women responsible citizenship and love for God and Country. They are awarded 3 college credits and rare notoriety in the college application process.

Margeaux is a faithful Catholic. That is, she takes her obligation to attend Mass as just that — her obligation. When she inquired about nearby Catholic churches to plan where she would attend, she was told by the staff that the only opportunity any of the girls would have to participate in a Sunday service is to attend the “non-offensive”, non-denominational service offered for all at the conference. The event takes place at the University of Central Florida Florida State University and the cathedral is nearby the campus. [see update] A member of the national American Legion even contacted the Auxiliary to arrange for a priest to celebrate Mass on campus, and this accommodation was denied.

So Margeaux took action herself. She wrote to the organizers declining the invitation, with firm resolve, unless she was allowed to attend Mass. This is her letter, reprinted with permission. Mind you, she is a high school junior.

 


TO: American Legion Auxiliary Unit #21
FROM: Margeaux Graham
RE: Girls State 2012
DATE: May 7, 2012

I am regretfully writing this letter to formally inform you that I will be unable to attend Florida Girls State in June. I am extremely honored that you found me worthy to represent American Legion Auxiliary unit #21 and am devastated that I cannot participate. I attended orientation on May 6, 2012 and was informed by [name private] that I would not be allowed to attend Mass on Sunday.

My faith is very important to me, as it has been to countless Americans. This country was founded on the principles of religious and personal freedom, the fundamental rights that either you or your loved ones fought to protect. It is disheartening that the Florida Girls State program is structured in such a way that it prohibits participation of young women who have a strong conviction for their religious practices.

The only opportunity to participate in a Sunday service is presented in a “non-offensive”, non-denominational service. As a Catholic Christian I find it offensive that I am not allowed to attend Mass and am perplexed as to how this service could accommodate the beliefs of other religious groups, such as Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and all Christian religions. I am disappointed to see the lack of respect for religious creed from the Florida Girls State program by limiting participants to only one religious paradigm.

Miss [name private] made it quite clear that I had to choose between my faith and Florida Girls State. I was looking forward to attending with great zeal, the knowledge, experience, and friends gained would have been invaluable. My faith has made me who I am, it has shaped me into the young woman that you chose as your delegate, for me to deny my faith would be hypocritical. Words cannot express my disappointment that the Florida Girls State program is designed to only accommodate delegates who fit into a pre-determined religious belief system or none at all.

Margeaux Graham


 

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7

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter the Movie!

Born in a valley in Ken-tuck-ee

Greenest state in the Land of the Free

Raised in the woods so’s he knew every tree

Kilt him a vamp when he was only three.

A-bie, A-bie Lincoln, King of the vamp free frontier!

After the book Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, one had to know the movie was inevitable!  It is being released on June 22.   Historically, Lincoln was portrayed as a vampire in some cartoons by critics during the Civil War, but I do not believe that he was ever accused of killing one! Here is a video that was done to promote the book when it was first published:

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46

Catholic Vote Beclowns Itself for Romney

My friend Jay Anderson links to this story.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney scheduled a $50,000-a-plate fundraiser at the home of Phil Frost, the executive of the company that makes the Morning After Pill, on Wednesday night. Plan B One-Step is produced by Teva Pharmaceuticals, Frost’s company.

The pharmaceutical executive’s residence was one of several stops scheduled to increase Romney’s war chest during a two-day swing through Florida.

Well I guess if “Catholic” universities can honor the likes of Kathleen Sebelius, we shouldn’t be too upset when “pro-life” candidates go groveling for money from people who make pills that kill unborn children.  After all, Romney desperately needs money to not air ads that criticize Obama too harshly, so we should be forgiving of this slight oversight.

In all seriousness, what made this story even more sickening was the response from an individual at Catholic Vote.org:

Brian Burch, president of CatholicVote.orgdidn’t seem troubled by the fundraiser saying, “What matters is whether a President Romney will end all taxpayer support for abortion-inducing drugs, repeal unconstitutional mandates that force private institutions to cover such drugs, and whether he will make progress in building a culture of life.”

I can understand why pro-lifers are willing to swallow their pride and back Mitt Romney over Barack Obama.  There’s no possible way for a Romney administration to be worse than Obama, goes the thinking.  Having set such an incredibly high bar for themselves, one woud like to believe that pro-life groups would still hold their candidate’s feet to the fire.  There’s no excuse for Romney associating himself with those who profit off of the death of innocents.  It is even more inexcusable for Catholic groups to completely shrug off this affair.  I have to agree with Jay’s assessment that people of Burch’s ilk are nothing more than a “Republican-first-pro-life-second political hacks.”

This isn’t about whether Romney is preferable to Obama, so save your breath there.  If this is the kind of gutless pushback Romney is going to receive as a candidate, why would anyone expect him to respect pro-lifers once he is elected president?  You can vote for him if that is what your conscience dictates, but please don’t make a fool of yourself by turning a blind eye to his misdeeds now, because you’re just laying out the carpet right on your back for President Romney to walk all over.

13

See You In Court Mr. Obama

 

 

 

 

By this time I rather suspect that at least some of his campaign strategists, if not President Obama, are beginning to wonder if it was such a bright idea to pick a fight with the Catholic Church in an election year.  Ed Morrissey at Hot Air gives us the details on 43 lawsuits filed simultaneously around the country today attacking the HHS mandate as blatantly unconstitutional:

Today’s Roman Catholic calendar lists May 21st as the feast day of St. Christopher Magallanes, a martyr killed for celebrating Mass during the Cristero War in Mexico. Perhaps Catholics today may want to recall St. Thomas More — the patron saint of lawyers, who was executed for refusing to agree to a mandate that gave Henry VIII the prerogative of defining religious expression in England.  Dozens of Catholic institutions filed lawsuits today against the Department of Health and Human Services over its mandate and its narrow definition of religious practice:

Catholic archdioceses and institutions filed suit in federal district courts across the country Monday against the so-called contraception mandate, claiming their “fundamental rights hang in the balance.”

The plaintiffs include a host of schools and organizations, including the University of Notre Dame and the Archdiocese of New York. The lawsuits, though related, were filed individually.

The schools are objecting to the requirement from the federal health care overhaul that employers provide access to contraceptive care. The Obama administration several months back softened its position on the mandate, but some religious organizations complained the administration did not go far enough to ensure the rule would not compel them to violate their religious beliefs.

Kathryn Jean Lopez posts a brief statement from Timothy Cardinal Dolan, president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and one of the chief critics of the HHS mandate:

We have tried negotiation with the Administration and legislation with the Congress – and we’ll keep at it – but there’s still no fix. Time is running out, and our valuable ministries and fundamental rights hang in the balance, so we have to resort to the courts now. Though the Conference is not a party to the lawsuits, we applaud this courageous action by so many individual dioceses, charities, hospitals and schools across the nation, in coordination with the law firm of Jones Day. It is also a compelling display of the unity of the Church in defense of religious liberty. It’s also a great show of the diversity of the Church’s ministries that serve the common good and that are jeopardized by the mandate – ministries to the poor, the sick, and the uneducated, to people of any faith or no faith at all. Continue Reading

10

Liberalism & Natural Law: A Response

My previous post on “gay marriage” has drawn a little attention. First Mark Shea posted parts of it on his blog, and now another commentator has weighed in, this time from what I would consider a more traditionalist perspective that merits a response. It is a welcome break, I must say, from addressing critiques from the left in support of “gay marriage.” It also gives me an opportunity to make a number of additional important points and hopefully delve a lot deeper into some significant issues. So I’ll begin by thanking the author of the critique, Innocent Smith, or IS for that.

Now to the critique itself. The central idea here is that I, along with many other contemporary Catholics, have issued a liberal response to a liberal challenge. We have, IS says, “conceded the philosophical grounds of [our] position to liberals.” One of the ways we have done this is by accepting the “private/public” distinction of John Locke, which holds that the secular state is responsible for our material welfare, while the Church is responsible for our souls – as opposed to what I imagine would be a holistic approach in which each are responsible for both (I don’t think the clear alternative is presented by IS). The Church, he claims, rejects this distinction. Continuing on, IS writes that we ought to be basing our arguments against things such as the contraception mandate or “gay marriage” squarely on the Church’s teachings against it; instead, we are making appeals to religious liberty.

Focusing on my arguments in particular, he writes that “[t]here is apparently nothing which this blogger is not willing to grant his opponent, so long as it is kept private”,  and that “[t]he homosexual is to be tolerated so long as he is not seen or heard from.” Finally:

“[T]his blogger does not wish to simply “live and let live,” but has a distinctive view of sex and marriage that he simply assumes ought to form the basis for public policy. And this, it turns out, is what is the matter with the libertarian rhetoric that comprises the first two-thirds of the post. There is no neutral ground in the gay marriage debate: one side will inevitably impose its view on the other. In that sense, this blogger is right: what the pro-gay marriage side seeks is to have its viewpoint publicly enshrined. What needs to be pointed out, however, is that so does the anti-gay marriage side.”

Where to begin?

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Is the American press anti-Catholic?

While it’s easy to paint any institution—like the press—with the broad brush strokes and to pretend the portrait accurately depicts the entire institution, The Motley Monk thinks it pretty safe to say the general impression of the U.S. public is that the national press is basically liberal in terms of its members’ political leanings and is also generally not balanced when it comes to reporting issues concerning Roman Catholic teaching.

This lack of balance is something liberals and conservatives might actually agree upon.  Liberals because they enjoy having the press report their point of view.  And conservatives because they are angry because they feel cheated because their point of view isn’t being reported.

In light of this broad brush portrait and observation, The Motley Monk was pleasantly surprised to read the ombudsman for the Washington Post, Patrick B. Pexton, taking time in an op-ed to respond directly to the question: “What would lead so many Washington Post readers during the past six months to conclude that the newspaper is anti-Catholic?”

That’s a great question, no?

Pexton’s conclusion—following a bit of the expected institutional self-defense—revealed more than bit of refreshing candor, in The Motley Monk’s opinion.

Concerning the critics’ charge that the Washington Post is anti-Catholic, Pexton wrote:

They have a point. There are deep divisions within the church that Post  reporting should accurately reflect. But sometimes The Post’s reporting and even  editorials fall short in conveying the passion with which many Catholics hold  their views, whether they be against the contraception mandate, gay marriage,  abortion or in favor of aid to the poor. It doesn’t mean that Post reporters or  editorialists have to embrace those views, but they should accurately explain  them in a ways all readers can understand. That, after all, is also part of  getting at the truth.

The Motley Monk thinks Mr. Pexton is absolutely correct.

To be a “free press,” its members will always hold personal opinions—both pro and con—about the various matters they report.  But, if the press is to remain “free” and exercise its “watchdog” function, its members must not be beholden to any particular interest or ideology that would cause any of them to distort the facts they are reporting.

A free press reports the whole and entire truth as it’s currently understood, supporting reportage with all of the relevant facts.

As an institution, perhaps the Washington Post isn’t anti-Catholic.  However, The Motley Monk wasn’t persuaded by Paxton’s institutional self-defense which included the number of Catholics and members of the Catholic hierarchy whose op-ed columns are published in the Washington Post. The number of Catholics who contribute to a newspaper, whether they are liberal or conservative, doesn’t guarantee a newspaper is “getting at the truth.”

Likewise, what guarantees that the Washington Post is “getting at the truth” isn’t that its reporters “get Catholics,” as conservative Catholics as well as the members of the hierarchy at the Archdiocese of Washington and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops opined to Mr. Pexton as he was cobbling together his op-ed.

Getting at the truth requires that every Washington Post reporter—not its op-ed contributors—report the facts.  They mustn’t allow any particular bias to interfere with reporting those facts as objectively as is possible…as is expected of any press that would dare to call itself “free.”

 

 

To read Patrick Pexton’s op-ed in the Washington Post, click on the following link:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/does-the-post-hate-catholics/2012/05/18/gIQAsfyVZU_story.html?wpisrc=nl_hdlns_wknds

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, click on the following link:
http://themotleymonk.blogspot.com/

3

Georgetown: the Anti-Catholic Catholic University

William Peter Blatty, well-known novelist, author of the Exorcist, a Georgetown graduate, class of 1950, is spearheading an effort to force Georgetown to reform, or to cease to call itself Catholic.  Here is his letter:

Dear Friends,

I invite you today to join me in The Father King Society to Make Georgetown Honest, Catholic, and Better by signing on to a very special effort here. I ask you also to curtail your donations to Georgetown University for one year.

The late Jesuit Father Thomas M. King was a good friend. I had the privilege of lecturing his theology class, which started the rumor that he had inspired my priestly character in The Exorcist. Father King inspired many other things; and our effort now.

On May 5, 2012, in a speech to American bishops, Pope Benedict XVI called on America’s Catholic universities to reaffirm their Catholic identity. The Pope noted the failure of many Catholic universities to comply with Blessed John Paul II’s apostolic constitution Ex corde Ecclesiae. The Pope said that preservation of a university’s Catholic identity “entails much more than the teaching of religion or the mere presence of a chaplaincy on campus.”

For 21 years now. Georgetown University has refused to comply with Ex corde Ecclesiaie (“From The Heart of the Church”), and, therefore, with canon law. And, it seems as if every month GU gives another scandal to the faithful! The most recent is Georgetown’s obtuse invitation to Secretary Sebelius to be a commencement speaker.

Each of these scandals is proof of Georgetown’s non-compliance with Ex corde Ecclesiae and canon law. They are each inconsistent with a Catholic identity, and we all know it. A university in solidarity with the Church would not do these prideful things that do so much harm to our communion. (You can pen a heartfelt letter to the Cardinal Archbishop of Washington and the Holy Father offering your own experience here.)

In the months to come, The Father King Society will ask Georgetown and the Church for explanations and decisions. In 1991, in an effort led by courageous Georgetown students, my dearly missed classmate, GU Law Center Prof. Richard Alan Gordon, took the awesome step of submitting a canon law petition asking the Church to remove Georgetown’s right to call itself Catholic. Then Dean of Students John J. DeGioia had authorized the funding of a pro-abortion student advocacy group. A contemporaneous secret memorandum from the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities to the presidents of all Jesuit institutions showed us that Dr. DeGioia’s decision was part of a larger scheme: GU was to be the dissident leader for others to follow. Dean Gordon’s effort was provocative and drastic, but within months of the filing, Rome required Georgetown to reverse itself, and Georgetown did.

Father Tom King was actively involved and submitted an essay to be used in support of the canon law action. (We post it here.) Soon after the 1991 “GU Choice” funding, a meeting took place on campus that collected the students, teachers, alumni and parents who had reacted to the University’s scandal in diverse ways. Fr. King listened intently, and then the mild-speaking priest told us of a call the night before from his brother, also a priest. His brother had said, “Tom, you have to choose sometimes — either you fish or cut bait.” Father King told us that he had decided to fish. And now, at long last, so have I. I ask you to join us!

For almost two decades, The Cardinal Newman Society has pursued with true inspiration and devotion its unique ministry to strengthen Catholic higher education in America. CNS has agreed to help us. Likewise, the St. Joseph’s Foundation, a Texas charity that focuses on canon law, has been a source of valuable information. We appreciate the help of both apostolates.

We may choose to file a canon action again, one much larger in scale and seeking alternative forms of relief that will include, among others, that Georgetown’s right to call itself Catholic and Jesuit be revoked or suspended for a time. We will ask for lesser relief as well. Of course, what we truly seek is for Georgetown to have the vision and courage to be Catholic but clearly the slow pastoral approach has not worked. I invite you to sign the “Mandate of Procurator” on this website so that I, and other alumni, parents, teachers and students, may represent you in this special and historic Church petition. Continue Reading

7

Pope Leo The Great on the Ascension

I. The Ascension completes our faith in Him, who was God as well as man

The mystery of our salvation, dearly-beloved, which the Creator of the universe valued at the price of His blood, has now been carried out under conditions of humiliation from the day of His bodily birth to the end of His Passion. And although even in “the form of a slave” many signs of Divinity have beamed out, yet the events of all that period served particularly to show the reality of His assumed Manhood. But after the Passion, when the chains of death were broken, which had exposed its own strength by attacking Him, Who was ignorant of sin, weakness was turned into power, mortality into eternity, contumely into glory, which the Lord Jesus Christ showed by many clear proofs in the sight of many, until He carried even into heaven the triumphant victory which He had won over the dead. As therefore at the Eastern commemoration, the Lord’s Resurrection was the cause of our rejoicing; so the subject of our present gladness is His Ascension, as we commemorate and duly venerate that day on which the Nature of our humility in Christ was raised above all the host of heaven, over all the ranks of angels, beyond the height of all powers, to sit with God the Father. On which Providential order of events we are founded and built up, that God’s Grace might become more wondrous, when, notwithstanding the removal from men’s sight of what was rightly felt to command their awe, faith did not fail, hope did not waver, love did not grow cold. For it is the strength of great minds and the light of firmly-faithful souls, unhesitatingly to believe what is not seen with the bodily sight, and there to fix one’s affections whither you cannot direct your gaze. And whence should this Godliness spring up in our hearts, or how should a man be justified by faith, if our salvation rested on those things only which lie beneath our eyes? Hence our Lord said to him who seemed to doubt of Christ’s Resurrection, until he had tested by sight and touch the traces of His Passion in His very Flesh, “because you have seen Me, you have believed: blessed are they who have not seen and yet have believed John 20:29 .” Continue Reading

24

O Say Can You See?

Something for the weekend.  The Star Spangled Banner.  Often assailed by critics as unsingable, too war-like and on other grounds,  I love it and I am proud that it is our National Anthem.   It is an interesting song for a national anthem in that the first stanza, the one we all attempt to sing, has an important question at the end of it:  Oh, say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?   That particular question has to be asked by each generation of Americans, ours no less than the generations who came before us.

Here is a superb video giving the historical back ground behind the writing of The Star Spangled Banner:

Continue Reading

15

A Blogger’s Revenge

Duane Lester, a blogger at the All American blog, posted a story a couple of weeks back detailing the results of an audit of Holt County, Missouri.  A small local paper in the county seat in Oregon, Missouri ran a story about the audit a few days later.  And not just any story – they ran Lester’s post, word for word and without attribution.

Lester decided to pursue the matter and wrote a letter arguing for his copyright claims, demanding $500 in payment.  Then Lester paid a visit to the newspaper’s editor, and caught it all on film.

Mr. Ripley’s demeanor suddenly changed once he realized that he was being filmed, and perhaps that’s the only reason he decided to eventually make the payment to Lester.  Of course Ripley would have wound up paying a lot more in court costs had he decided to defend his plagiarism, so it was probably the right financial move.

What astounds me are some of the reactions to the video.  There are people more upset that Lester videoed the confrontation than that Ripley blatantly plagiarized Lester.  Yeah Ripley “goofed,” they claim, but that Lester is a meanie by intimidating a small-town newspaper editor.

You see this sort of thing on blog comments all the time, particularly on Catholic blogs where certain commenters spend roughly 20 paragraphs droning on about charity in what is a thinly veiled, passive aggressive attempt to say “I am better than you.”  Justifying horrible behavior by focusing on the medium by which the behavior is exposed is almost as bad as the behavior itself.  As I said, I’m not sure Lester would have received justice had the camera not been rolling, though he perhaps would have received a black eye.  Maybe Ripley will now be more reticent about ripping off young bloggers in the future.

Kudos to Lester for standing up for his rights.

79

What Radical Gays Really Want – And Will Never, Ever Have

Since “gay marriage” is all the rage, especially since Biden and Obama decided to make public statements on the matter, it is virtually all I have been hearing about in my own online networks. Debates are raging, friendships are being tested, hostility is everywhere. One thing emerges out of this chaos more clearly than anything else: the gay agenda, which I define as a radical political program with the aim of legitimizing homosexuality in all spheres of human existence, is based on the hysterical repetition of outrageous lies. It is not unlike  the completely fraudulent “war on women”, a war that was supposedly declared when a number of Americans publicly resisted the idea that they ought to pay for other women’s birth control.

In the case of “gay marriage”, the big lie is that there is some desire on the part of conservatives and Christians in this country to actually deny some right, some liberty, some freedom to people who identify themselves and live as homosexuals. As abhorrent, disordered and immoral as I find the “gay lifestyle” to be, the truth is that – and here I speak for virtually every conservative Christian I know or have read – we really are not the least bit interested in micro-managing the sex-lives of our fellow citizens. We have absolutely no desire to have uniformed gendarmes kick in your bedroom doors to make sure no acts of sodomy are taking place in the middle of the night. The only thing more repugnant to me than such acts would be the prospect of becoming comfortable with the sort of routine invasions of personal privacy that would be required to ensure that no one was living out their life as a homosexual.

 

To be even more specific, to the gay couple we say: we do not care if you visit one another in the hospital. We do not care if you grant one another medical power of attorney. We do not care if you jointly own property. We do not care if you leave property for each other inherit when one of you dies. We do not care if you own a home together and live in it. We do not care if you get dressed up, rent a local hall, stage whatever sort of ceremony you like, and even refer to yourselves as “married.”

We may object, on different grounds, some secular, some religious, to your adopting children. After all, there are now other human beings in the equation- and there seems to be at least some kind of moral consensus across political lines that the interests of children do sometimes take precedence over the rights and privileges of adults. In any case, its something we can safely set aside for the moment.

To reiterate, this time specifically to the radical homosexual: on all the  issues that concern the consenting adults only, we don’t care. Of course we care in the abstract that you are leading lives of grave sin in open defiance of God, but then so do millions of “heterosexuals” who fornicate, commit adultery, use artificial contraception, sterilize themselves, and so on. Not every sin can or should be a matter for the state to concern itself with, and we are content to let God judge in these matters; but no sin, and this brings us closer to the main point here, can ever be called a virtue, no evil can ever be called a good, by any Christian with a conscience, or by any citizen who cares about the integrity of society.

You can live as you want, engage in whatever sort of contracts you like, conduct any sort of ceremonies you please. But there is one thing you cannot have, and it is the one thing you seek through this radical political agenda, these hysterical protests and complaints about Christians: our approval. It cannot possibly be about anything else, because it is really the only thing you are missing. You want to live in a world in which everyone regards what you do and how you live not only as normal, but as a positive good. And your attempts to legalize “gay marriage” are about this and this alone. It is not about “equal rights” that you already possess, it is not about the freedom to openly identify as gay, which you already have. It is about using the power of the state to force society to recognize your living arrangements and lifestyle choices as legitimate. It is about policing the thoughts and opinions of the American people. It is about sharing prestige with properly and truly married couples. It is about envy and resentment, and a deep, abiding hatred of religion in general and Christianity in particular.

Let me be blunt: your disordered lifestyles are not equal to the traditional marriage or the traditional family, which have served as the foundation of civilization since its very beginnings. You do not deserve equal prestige, and nor, for that matter, do “straight” couples who actively choose not to procreate. And you have no right to such things. You have no right to have the state give you extra benefits, tax breaks, or anything of the sort – you have no right to have your romantic choices ratified by society. You don’t have the right to go through life without being heckled or bullied, as you heckle and bully the Christians you hate, as you mock with the most disgusting outrages imaginable all that we hold sacred.

In the face of your tyranny, your bullying, your mockery, your boundless hate, we will continue to persevere.

3

Sad Joe

Rumors have been afloat lately that Obama is set to dump Biden.  Judging from the frenzied, one might say hysterical, tone of Biden in the speech earlier this week featured in the video clip above, one might well believe that Biden is looking at the political hook coming toward him.  This might explain why Biden forced Obama’s hand on gay marriage by coming out in favor of it before Obama did.  Rule one of being Veep is never upstaging the POTUS.  Presumably Biden believes that if he is beloved of the base of the Democrat party, Obama will not dump him.  Alas, strategizing, indeed thinking of any sort, has never been Biden’s strong suit.

 

Unfortunately Biden matters not one whit to the Democrat base, and by acting out he merely convinces Obama that perhaps it is time that Joe meet the acquaintance of the many individuals and groups that Obama has thrown under the bus in his political career.

This is all so unfair.  Joe Biden, as beloved national clown, has been one of the few success stories of this administration.  Imagine how much grimmer the past four years would have been without the comic stylings of Jollie Joe.  Poltical pratfalls and endless gaffes, a tireless willingness to play the complete buffoon, nothing has been beneath Biden in his endless task to lighten the mood of the nation.  I therefore announce the formation of the Biden Forever Superpac.  We will do everything in our power to keep Joe on the ticket.  Save Joe!  I pray that we prevail, but if we fail, we will always have YouTube to remember Joe by! Continue Reading

55

Political Thuggery

One of the hallmarks of the progressive left is its open-minded embrace of differing viewpoints, or so they tell us.  They repeatedly hit us over the head with their loving compassion for all mankind.

Sometimes, though, I have to wonder how tolerant these beacons of liberty truly are.  For example, how is deliberately trying to get conservatives blocked on twitter a demonstration of one’s warm embrace of contrary viewpoints?  I’m also not really seeing the compassion of barring people from public places because of their stance on gay marriage.

Also, orchestrated efforts to falsely accuse conservative bloggers of criminal activity just in effort to silence them does not exactly scream “open-minded.”

And I might not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I am reasonably certain that issuing death threats and promising to burn down Churches because of their opposition to gay marriage is, well, rather intolerant.

It’s easy to shrug off and even laugh at these idiotic attempts to silence people and intimidate others into not expressing their opinions in public.  In one sense, these goons are indeed simply laughable.  One envisions these scaliwags coming home after a long day protesting with 12 like-minded people, having caused thousands of dollars in property damage along the way without being charged.  Somehow dressing up like a zombie and throwing feces at people did not cause Americans to rise up and demand that the top marginal tax rate be increased.  Frustrated, there is now nothing to do except listen to the sound of your mom snoring in the next room.  So what’s a frustrated 99 percenter do but do all they can in their power to make sure that the person expressing their first amendment right to free speech be silenced.

What’s even more laughable is that these goons think that their efforts at intimidation are actually going to work.  You mean people with deep political feelings aren’t just going to shut up because some fool anonymously runs to twitter to block their account?  Even death threats are having no effect.  So it’s got to be frustrating that, as with most aspects of their lives, they can’t even do intimidation right.

Of course we shouldn’t so breezily dismiss what these thugs are doing.  Even if the charges against Mr. Worthing are a complete croc, he still has to expend time and money defending himself.  And it not exactly an easy feeling knowing that some psycho stalker is out there ready to pounce because he disagrees with your political opinions.  All it takes is one deranged lunatic, and a person’s life can be ruined or worse.

Make no mistake, things will get scarier as the year progresses.  Political tensions are always high during election years, and in the age of the internet and social media, we’re not about to enter into an age of reason and understanding.  And while these sad individuals might lack the power to actually shut their opponents down, there are those in positions of authority who are itching to use that authority in a way that our Founding Fathers would never have dreamed possible.

Well, I don’t want to end my post on that macabre note, so here’s a fluffy pop song to play us out to the weekend.

7

So it’s wink and nod…and provide them cover….

 

In an extraordinarily interesting post at CatholicCulture.org, Phil Lawler raises the question “Is the New York Times protecting dissident priests?”

Lawler’s post is written in response to a New York Times article concerning religious attitudes toward so-called “homosexual marriage”in which the author, Terry Mattingly, noted:

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that homosexual behavior is a sin, but there are Catholic priests who secretly bless gay unions.

That dependent clause contain a bombshell—which Lawler describes as being treated almost as an “afterthought”—and raises a very important issue.  Mattingly observes:

If, in fact, the Times has factual material about Catholic priests blessing same-sex relationships and unions then this is clearly the most important news angle in this piece. This is a major news story, buried deep in a related news report.

However, note that this claim (which I do not doubt, by the way) appears with absolutely no context, no attribution, no clue as to the source of this information. The Times does not even claim to be printing this information based on anonymous sources who requested protection from the Vatican. This is most strange.

Assuming that Mattingly’s article is accurate, Catholic priests are blessing so-called “homosexual marriages.”

That wouldn’t surprise The Motley Monk.  But, if that is the case, Lawler notes:

…these priests are clearly acting in defiance of the Church: the institution they claim to serve. That defiance would constitute a major news story, not merely an observation to be made in passing.

Lawler asks: Why doesn’t the New York Times provide the evidence? After all, that would be news, no?  He adds:

Any Times reporter who actually witnessed a Catholic priest blessing a homosexual union, or heard a credible first-hand report of such an event, should have written a news story about it, and that story should have appeared on the front page. That didn’t happen.

Why not?

Lawler observes that the New York Times may be protecting dissenting priests from ecclesiastical discipline for three possible reasons:

  1. The New York Times reported something as fact when it had no solid evidence. (The Motley Monk thinks “Unlikely.”)
  2. The New York Times had solid evidence, but withheld it because the priests demanded anonymity. (The Motley Monk thinks “Likely.”)
  3. The New York Times knows of priests who have blessed homosexual unions, and those priests did not request.  But, the New York Times decided not to identify them anyway. (The Motley Monk thinks “Perhaps.”)

While Lawler believes the third reason provides the most likely explanation, The Motley Monk doesn’t.  The Motley Monk thinks it more likely that those priests who celebrate so-called “homosexual marriages” requested anonymity.

After all, there are many priests who dissent from a variety of Church teachings.  Think of those who “bless” the marriages divorced persons whose previous marriages haven’t been annulled.  There also are those priests who advise their parishioners that using artificial birth control is “completely moral.”  Then, too, there are those priests who participate at faux Masses celebrated by so-called “women priests.”  Why should it be any different for those priests who believe that so-called “homosexual marriage” should be a sacrament?

What many of these priests who dissent from these Church teachings absolutely don’t want is that their dissent be made public by the New York Times or any other news organization.

Why?

It would endanger their status as public ministers of the Roman Catholic Church.

So, it’s wink and nod…and provide dissenting priests cover.

And The Motley Monk wouldn’t be surprised if many of their bishops happen to know it.

 

 

To read Phil Lawler’s post at CatholicCulture.org, click on the following link:
http://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/otn.cfm?id=912

To read Terry Mattingly’s article in the New York Times, click on the following link:
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/14/us/gay-marriage-issue-divides-churches.html?_r=1

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, click on the following link:
http://themotleymonk.blogspot.com/

8

Meet one of the Church militant’s young members…

Watching those “20-something” Occupy Wall Streeters opine time and again on cable television about all that’s wrong with the United States—the fellow Sean Hannity interviewed on his show was particularly disturbing—it’s pretty easy to succumb to the temptation to believe that “every thing’s going to Hell in a hand basket” and the current crop of young adults won’t amount to very much.  In short, the nation’s future is bleak.

But, The Motley Monk thinks, the picture that’s being portrayed by cable television is, at a minimum, a distortion.

For example, consider Miss Delaware 2011, Maria Cahill.  Maria grew up in an Irish Catholic family in Newark, DE, the second oldest of seven children.

As Miss Rehoboth Beach, Maria spoke about her genesis as a pro-life Catholic.

 

 

Given her public stature, statements like these have transformed Cahill into a lightning rod for the pro-choice lobby.

According to an interview in Townhall Magazine, she’s accused of being “conservative,” “close-minded,” and “brainwashed” due to her Catholic upbringing.  (The Motley Monk can only recall the statement “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.”)  Yet, Cahill maintains that’s completely the opposite of who she is:

That’s the most hurtful thing people could say—like I’m not my own person!  It’s the farthest thing from the truth.

Insofar as The Motley Monk is concerned, Cahill not only “gets it.”  But’s she’s also witnessing to the real war on women that’s being promulgated by the pro-choice lobby.  For Cahill, the root of the problem is that people aren’t focused upon the fact that it’s another life that’s at stake.  She said:

No one likes to think of themselves as selfish.  But whenever those terms get thrown around like “My body, my choice,”  you’re just bringing it all back onto yourself, and, to me, that’s selfish, whether people want to believe it or not.

Worse yet, Cahill believes that selfishness is causing the current assault upon the nation’s unborn:

This topic of abortion and birth control and all these things are so taboo now. And why is that? These young people in high school, its something that we don’t talk about anymore…and I think the reason for this is…is because this is murder we are talking about. You know, people don’t use that word anymore…that’s a bold word…but that’s what it is. It’s murder.”

And it’s bold of Cahill to use the “M” word for what so many others characterize as a “choice” and a “right.”

Maria Cahill
Pro-Life Catholic and
Miss Delaware 2011

 

As in most things concerning “cable television,” it’s the case that it’s not who’s being interviewed but who’s not being interviewed that’s important.

And, in this regard, The Motley Monk thinks there’s very good reason to be full of hope.  God renews each generation through the Church militant and there are many fine young Catholic adults who belong to it.

 

 

To read about Maria Cahill in Townhall Magazine, click on the following link:
http://townhall.com/tipsheet/elisabethmeinecke/2012/04/25/a_charming_ambassador_for_life

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, click on the following link:
http://themotleymonk.blogspot.com/

33

Why The Government Can’t Get Out of the Marriage Business

As the US continues it’s “national conversation” on same sex marriage, it’s fairly standard for someone to suggest that it’s time for the state to get out of the marriage business and have marriage be a strictly religious/personal arrangement. This seems like a fairly neat way to sidestep the issue of having to reach a state consensus on what marriage is, with the inevitable one-side-tramples-the-other problem that suggests. However, I’d like to suggest that it’s an impractical and illusory solution.

To start with, I think we need to look at why the state is involved in marriage in the first place. I’d suggest that the reason has little to do with managing morals or family values, it has to do with the essential function of government: being an arbiter in disputes, primarily about property. In this regard the state ends up needing to define marriage and know who is married in order to answer two questions: who owns what and whose kids are whose.

Say two people have been spending a lot of time together for the last five years. Now they’ve had an argument and want to not see each other again, but one of them claims that some things in the possession of the other are actually his. Are they? The state gets pulled into these questions because its job is to arbitrate disputes rather than leaving people to solve them the old fashioned way (which was by raising themselves up on their hind legs and bashing each over the head with flint axes.) Continue Reading

6

Flash: Science Says Conservatives Are Crazy and/or Stupid.

 

 

One of the more depressing aspects of the age in which we live  is the prostitution of what is called Science for political ends, by people who claim to be scientists.  The pursuit of truth is a noble endeavor.  At its best that is precisely what Science is.  Too often currently what is called Science is politicized junk with a clear agenda at its core.  Andrew Ferguson in The Weekly Standard examines this phenomenon in regard to the attempt by liberal academics to claim that those holding conservative political views are irrational, selfish or just plain stupid.

Earlier generations of leftists knew the power of Science to discredit their political opponents. Most famously, in the years following World War II, Theodor Adorno and his fellow sociologists developed the F scale—“F” for fascism—to identify the “authoritarian personality” that so often gave rise to political and cultural conservatism. They discovered that conservatives suffered (unconsciously!) from “prefascist tendencies” like “intolerance of ambiguity” and “moral rigidity.” They acquired this scientific knowledge by reading questionnaires filled out by 180 respondents during the last year of World War II. Among the respondents were Rotarians, patients at mental hospitals, San Quentin inmates, students at the University of California, and members of the Lion’s Club.

You don’t hear much about Adorno anymore. As a political figure he was too extreme, and as a social scientist he was too transparently political, to remain in good repute with scientists who have persuaded themselves that they have no ideology. In time it became clear that in pretending to plumb the authoritarian personality, Adorno and his “investigators had arrived at their conclusions in advance” through a “set of self-validating procedures,” as the great sociologist Christopher Lasch put it.

Our generation of Democrats, in and out of the press, have now rediscovered Adorno’s methods, and put them to the same purpose. Edsall himself has become a booster of a series of “studies” that together form, in his words, “an extensive academic critique of the right.” The studies are boring, which is why the few people who bother to look them up rarely get beyond the one-paragraph summary. But they’re worth studying for an insight into the way Adorno’s heirs, our own psychopundits, continue his work.

The studies rely on the principle that has informed the social sciences for more than a generation: If a researcher with a Ph.D. can corral enough undergraduates into a campus classroom and, by giving them a little bit of money or a class credit, get them to do something—fill out a questionnaire, let’s say, or pretend they’re in a specific real-world situation that the researcher has thought up—the young scholars will (unconsciously!) yield general truths about the human animal; scientific truths. The scientific truths revealed in Edsall’s “academic critique of the right” demonstrate that “the rich and powerful” lack compassion, underestimate the suffering of others, have little sympathy for the disadvantaged, and are far more willing to act unethically than the less rich and not so powerful.

How do we know this? A paper called “Power, Distress, and Compassion: Turning a Blind Eye to the Suffering of Others” describes a study put together by a team of social psychologists at the University of California, Berkeley, a few years ago. Graduate assistants managed to collect 118 undergraduates, most of them under the age of 21. The kids agreed to participate in the experiment because they were given $15 or class credit for a psychology requirement. A skeptic might point out that the sample of participants was thus skewed from the start, unnaturally weighted toward either kids who badly need $15 or psych majors. And all of them, by definition, were the kinds of kids who want to go to college at Berkeley. Almost half of the participants were Asian American; only 3.5 percent were African American. Caucasians made up less than 30 percent. Continue Reading

6

75%!!!!

 

Will Smith, Obama supporter and proponent of the rich paying more in taxes, is stunned to learn that under the tax proposal of the newly elected Socialist President of France,  Francois Hollande, he would be paying 75% of his income in taxes.  Hollyweird celebrities do tend to live in a bubble, and it is amusing to see their reaction when they catch a glimpse of outside reality.  Ah well, I’ll probably still see Men in Black III Memorial Day weekend: Continue Reading