In Praise of Gendercide

Tuesday, June 26, AD 2012

 

The ever insightful and hilarious Andrew Klavan put on his Jonathan Swift hat a few weeks ago and wrote a column in praise of gendercide:

The House of Representatives this past week fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to pass a bill banning abortion based on sex selection — sometimes called “gendercide” because it’s usually aimed at exterminating baby girls. Most Republicans voted for banning gendercide, most Democrats against.

I have to say, I’m with the Democrats on this one. The Supreme Court has decided that aborting our children is a right enshrined in the Constitution. By what logic, then, do we withhold that right from people based on their motives for exercising it?

If a woman chooses to snuff out her unborn child because it’s retarded or handicapped or female, who are we to say her nay? How would we even know why she’s doing it? Are we going to interrogate her? Administer a lie detector test? And what happens when our genetic testing capabilities improve? Are we going to stop her from aborting a child who is genetically destined to be gay? Or unintelligent? Or untalented? Or freckled? Of course not. How could we? As MSNBC host Alex Wagner said, praising the House Democrats’ decision, “It’s about a woman’s right to choose!”
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5 Responses to In Praise of Gendercide

Fortnight For Freedom Day Six: Freedom is not a “Worship Word”

Tuesday, June 26, AD 2012

 

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

On April 12, the Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty of the U.S.  Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued a document, “Our First,  Most Cherished Liberty,” outlining the bishops’ concerns over threats to religious freedom, both at home and abroad. The bishops called for a “Fortnight for Freedom,” a 14-day period of prayer, education and action in support of religious freedom, from June 21-July 4.

 

Bishops in their own dioceses are encouraged to arrange special events to  highlight the importance of defending religious freedom. Catholic  institutions are encouraged to do the same, especially in cooperation  with other Christians, Jews, people of other faiths and all who wish to  defend our most cherished freedom.

 

The fourteen days from June  21—the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More—to  July 4, Independence Day, are dedicated to this “fortnight for  freedom”—a great hymn of prayer for our country. Our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face  of persecution by political power—St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More,  St. John the Baptist, SS. Peter and Paul, and the First Martyrs of the  Church of Rome.  Culminating on Independence Day, this special period of prayer, study, catechesis, and public action would emphasize both our  Christian and American heritage of liberty. Dioceses and parishes around the country could choose a date in that period for special events that  would constitute a great national campaign of teaching and witness for  religious liberty.

 

We here at The American Catholic are participating in the Fortnight For Freedom with special blog posts on each day.  This is the sixth of these blog posts.

Long time readers of this blog will not be surprised to see that I have managed to work a Star Trek episode into one of the Fortnight For Freedom posts!

One of the “alternate Earth” episodes that became fairly common as the original Star Trek series proceeded, as explained by Hodgkin’s Law of Parallel Planetary Development, and stringent episode budgets,  the Omega Glory episode in the video clip at the beginning of this post featured an Earth where a cataclysmic war had driven the Americans, the Yangs, out of their cities and into primitive warbands.  Chinese Communists, the Kohms, settled in America.  Their technology was a few steps higher than the Yangs.  The Yangs had been waging a war for generations to drive the Kohms from their land, and the episode coincided with the Yangs taking the last of “the Kohm places”.

Over the generations, the Yangs had forgotten almost all of their history and what little knowledge remained was restricted to priests and chieftains.

“Cloud William: Freedom?

James T. Kirk: Spock.

Spock: Yes, I heard, Captain.

Cloud William: It is a worship word, Yang worship. You will not speak it.

James T. Kirk: Well, well, well. It is… our worship word, too.

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3 Responses to Fortnight For Freedom Day Six: Freedom is not a “Worship Word”

Rewriting Jefferson

Monday, June 25, AD 2012

A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine sent me a link to David Barton’s book, The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You’ve Always Believed About Thomas Jefferson. It’s almost like my friend, knowing my academic interest in Thomas Jefferson, cast some bait in my direction. And two months later, I took it.

I can honestly say that I went into it with an open mind. Even if Barton misinterpreted Jefferson, maybe he would do so in at least a semi-convincing way. After all, it’s possible for individuals to have high opinions of Thomas Jefferson without being historical hacks. I have tremendous respect for David Mayer, for example, and his opinion of Jefferson is completely different than mine.

Sadly, my low expectations were met. To be sure, Barton does offer enough arguments to rebut the most absurd and historically inaccurate claims about Jefferson. For example, Barton correctly points out the fallacy of the claim that it has been definitively proven that Thomas Jefferson fathered children by the slave Sally Hemings. I also believe that Barton’s insinuations about the partisan motivations behind the claims have some merit. But this chapter exemplifies so much of what is wrong with Barton’s methodology. While there can be no conclusive argument made that Jefferson fathered children by Hemings, it is also impossible to assert with any certainty that he did not. But Barton cannot leave well enough, and Barton distorts the findings of the commission tasked with determining the paternity of Hemings’ children to make it appear that Jefferson almost certainly could not be the father. While it’s certainly true that genetic testing at this stage of history cannot offer conclusive proof one way or the other, the idea that the father of Hemings’ children can be any one of  a dozen men or so is also not really credible. Personally I am rather agnostic on the question, and don’t think it is of huge historic import, but Barton stretches the truth almost as badly as those who adamantly insist that Jefferson was the father.

The real meat of the book focuses on the topic of religion. Again, Barton is incredibly frustrating to read. He asserts towards the beginning of the book that it is important to read primary sources, and to truly understand the historical context when judging historical figures. He is correct on both counts. He then incredibly proceeds to selectively cite dubious secondary sources in order to prove his assertions, and then ignores broader context when cherrypicking quotes from Jefferson.

A prime example of Barton cherrypicking Jefferson occurs in a chapter in which Barton tries to prove that Jefferson was no fan of the secular French Enlightenment. Barton offers as proof of this assertion a critical passage in one of Jefferson’s letters regarding the French philosopher Guillame Raynal. Evidently one critical passage about one obscure thinker is all the evidence we need that Jefferson was at odds with French Enlightenment philosophy. Well then.

Barton’s reliance on dubious sources bites him when discussing the supposed Jefferson Bible. Again, Barton is correct in the narrowest sense when he notes that Jefferson did not attempt to create a bible. Rather, two separate works by Jefferson – The Philosophy of Jesus and The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth – were compilations of Gospel accounts of the life of Jesus. It wasn’t a “bible,” and Jefferson never attempted to pass these compilations off as such. But then Barton claims that neither work was as unorthodox as historians have claimed them to be. Jefferson did not cut out the supernatural elements from the Gospel, and indeed included some stories that referenced miracles and the afterlife. But as Warren Throckmorton and Michael Coulter demonstrate in Getting Jefferson Right, Barton’s source declaring that Jefferson included the miracle stories in his compilations is just plain  wrong. As for the other examples of Jefferson including references to the supernatural, these were mainly concerned with the afterlife. Throckmorton and Coulter concede that Jefferson did believe in the afterlife, thus it isn’t all that surprising that Jefferson would include these references. After all, Jefferson was not an atheist. He certainly believed in God, though he did not believe that Jesus Himself was a member of the Godhead.

And that is really the fundamental problem with Barton’s work. Barton tries mightily to paint Jefferson as some kind of conventional Christian, suggesting that his heterodoxy developed late in life as he fell under the Unitarian influence. Barton has to ignore almost an entire lifetime of Jefferson’s work in order to reach this conclusion. Here is how Jefferson expressed his views on Jesus:

The question of his being a member of the Godhead, or in direct communication with it, claimed for him by some of his followers, and denied by others, is foreign to the present view, which is merely an estimate of the intrinsic merits of his doctrines.

1.He corrected the Deism of the Jews, confirming them in their belief of one only God, and giving them juster notions of his attributes and government.

2.His moral doctrines, relating to kindred & friends, were more pure & perfect than those of the most correct of the philosophers, and greatly more so than those of the Jews; and they went far beyond both in inculcating universal philanthropy, not only to kindred and friends, to neighbors and countrymen, but to all mankind, gathering all into one family, under the bonds of love, charity, peace, common wants and common aids.  A development of this head will evince the peculiar superiority of the system of Jesus over all others.

3.The precepts of philosophy, & of the Hebrew code, laid hold of actions only.  He pushed his scrutinies into the heart of man; erected his tribunal in the region of his thoughts, and purified the waters at the fountain head.

That’s pretty clearly not orthodox Christianity to me.

Jefferson would even call Jesus’s teachings defective, though he praised Jesus as an ethicist. His compilations from the Gospels were meant to restore Christ’s teachings to their original intent, as it were. Jefferson believed that Paul and the other Apostles had distorted Christ’s work, so that is why he took out all accounts of miracles and references to Jesus being in any way part of the Godhead. Most importantly, his compilation ends at the death of Christ on the cross and his placement in the tomb. Jefferson rejected the resurrection.

Jefferson repeatedly excoriated Paul as one of the principle impostors who distorted Christ’s teachings.

Of this band of dupes and imposters, Paul was the great Coryphaeus, and firm corrupter of the doctrines of Jesus.

Jefferson added that Paul was a “Platonist who had brought beclouding mysticism to Jesus’ clear moral teachings.”

Barton also glosses over Jefferson’s disdain of the clergy. He cites some examples of Jefferson praising men of the cloth, but in almost every example Jefferson was praising a fellow heterodox Christian. It would be like trying to prove that someone is a faithful Catholic by highlighting their words of praise for Voice of the Faithful or Catholics for a Free Choice.

In several of his letters, Jefferson overtly criticized organized religion. “My opinion is that there never would have been an infidel, if there had never been a priest,” he wrote to Samuel Smith, meaning that religion creates artificial guidelines which restrict freedom of thought. He added that clergy only lay down these rules in order to augment their own power. “The artificial structures they have built on the purest of all moral systems, for the purpose of deriving from it pence and power, revolts those who think for themselves, and who read in that system only what is really there.”

Barton is correct to temper some of the more extreme claims about Jefferson and religion. Jefferson was no atheist, and it would not entirely be correct to say that he disdained Christianity as such. On the other hand, Barton glosses over much of Jefferson’s more negative assessments of Christianity. Most importantly, his attempt to portray Jefferson’s heterodox views as a late-life aberration is simply laughable.

Barton and those that follow him do neither conservatism nor Christianity any favors by distorting the historical record. Barton seems to be under the impression that each of the Founding Fathers must be protected from the slings and arrows of Progressive historians who would tear down these great men. I share Barton’s distrust and even contempt for most contemporary historians. But Barton’s pseudo-history is no way to counter this trend, and only provides ammunition to those who would mock conservative Christians. The progressive reading of Jefferson happens to be the correct one. Well, you know what they say about stopped clocks.

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14 Responses to Rewriting Jefferson

  • “then ignores broader context when cherrypicking quotes from Jefferson.”

    The ignorance of some people who write books on subjects is vast. The cherrypicking quotes phenomenon is picking up steam the past few years on historical themes, where polemic and assertions based on a very superficial knowledge of a period and the individuals involved appear to be the order of the day. I see this all the time in books about Lincoln.

  • I was delighted to see this review and correction. I concur with Mr. McClarey that cherrypicking historic narratives is totoally destructive of decent scholarship. As Christians the refromers did it to the Bible and gave us heresies and schisms that abound to this day.

  • I read and at times skimmed Barton’s book and found it weak in portraying the true Jefferson. As one who esteems Jefferson, who crafted one of the greatest documents in history — The Declaration of Independent — and who espoused limited government, states’ rights and individual liberty, I lament that we live in Hamilton’s America characterized by big central government with “implied” constitutional powers beyond those originally intended. Indeed, Jefferson had his warts, as we all do, but in the main our third President was a great man whose ideas and ideals helped form a great nation.

    As much better description of Jefferson the man and his political philosophy can be found in Marco Bassani’s book, “Liberty, State & Union: The Political Theory of Thomas Jefferson.” Bassani writes that in Jefferson’s view the three greatest men that civilization had produced were John Locke, Francis Bacon, and Isaac Newton. In contrast, Hamilton said the “greatest human: was Julius Caesar.

    Don and others are right in noting that “cherrypicking” of quotes is a common practice used to support an author’s sometimes skewed or mistaken point of view. Mencken, Hitchens, Dawkins and other atheists frequently quoted from Scripture and other sacred writings to argue their cases, as do countless others. As has been said, “The Bible is an old fiddle on which you can play any tune.”

  • I lament that we live in Hamilton’s America characterized by big central government with “implied” constitutional powers beyond those originally intended.

    Wrong. In fact, we are very much living in Jefferson’s America, but it’s the anti-tradition, utopian Progressive Thomas Jefferson. Hamilton was not the proponent of a leviathan state that his critics (and, I guess, some supporters) have made him out to be.

  • Jefferson is easier to cherrypick than other figures since he had a vast correspondence throughout his life and he wasn’t the most consistent thinker to begin with.

  • Paul, I respectfully disagree. States’ rights, a linchpin of Jeffersonian democracy, have all but vanished. Once considered sovereign, the states, which are supposed to have all rights not reserved to the federal government, are subordinate to the federal government. This was the core of Hamilton’s national view.

  • Joe, you have to separate the surface-level stuff from the deeper philosophy. Yes, Jefferson was an ardent states’ righter – in fact, his views on states rights can be considered extreme. But when you dig deep into Jefferson’s worldview, you have actually have the elements that lead to the creation of the leviathan state. Jefferson would have abhorred what has happened to state sovereignty, but in a greater sense its his very own philosophy that helped lead to this moment. And isn’t that the fundamental problem with the Progressive philosophy, namely, unintended consequences?

  • Jefferson is easier to cherrypick than other figures since he had a vast correspondence throughout his life and he wasn’t the most consistent thinker to begin with.

    Very true. Thomas Jefferson left behind an enormous amount of correspondence, and over his life you can probably find him taking both sides of almost any issue. But I do think that it’s possible to sift through the totality of his writing and come to very firm conclusions as to where he generally stood.

  • Paul, when you refer to a leviathan state I automatically think of Hobbes whose thesis was that government rested on a social contract, an idea that Locke among others embraced. It is know that Jefferson was influenced by Locke and perhaps a step removed by Hobbes. No doubt Jefferson would have “abhorred” the loss of states’ rights but I imagine, too, that even Hamilton, Madison and the other Framers would not have recognized the modern United States of America.

  • Not that it is terribly important, but I remember reading somewhere that the descendants of Sally Hemings’ oldest child had French markers so he could not be Jefferson’s son. The descendants of her other children did not have those same markers, but had markers found in the Jefferson family. I remember that his nephew was strongly suspected as the father, but Jefferson himself could not be ruled out. Now someone tell me if I am remembering correctly.

  • Jenny,

    I believe that it is true. Hemings’ oldest son, Thomas, has been ruled out as being Jefferson’s son.

  • Nearly OT, but worth sharing: there’s an interesting theory that Jefferson may have been inspired by St. Robert Bellarmine’s writings (as filtered through an absolutist Anglican critic) in drafting part of the Virginia Declaration of Rights.

    http://www.amazon.com/Virginia-declaration-rights-Cardinal-Bellarmine/dp/B003TU1ULG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1340736492&sr=8-1&keywords=virginia+declaration+of+rights+bellarmine

    More expansive (and unsupportable) claims have been made regarding Bellarmine’s influence, but Hunt’s thesis makes modest and more supportable claims.

  • I have read that Charles Carrol, influenced by Bellarmine, also influenced Jefferson

  • Man, as a sovereign person, constitutes the government, gives government its sovereignty. When government stops respecting and appreciating the sovereignty imbued to it by the sovereignty of the human being, it ceases to be government and is hell.

June 25, 1862: The Seven Days Begin

Monday, June 25, AD 2012

One of the more important series of battles in American history, collectively known as the Seven Days, occurred in Virginia 150 years ago this week.  By driving away McClellan’s larger Army of the Potomac from Richmond, Robert E. Lee ensured that the Civil War was not going to be a quick Union victory, and that the Civil War, instead of a minor blip in US history, would, by the beginning of 1863, be transformed into a revolutionary struggle that would destroy slavery and alter the Union forever.

Before taking command of the Army of Northern Virginia after the wounding of General Joe Johnston at the battle of Seven Pines, Robert E. Lee had acquired the nickname of “Granny Lee” due to his construction of fortifications and a perception that he was too cautious and lacked an aggressive spirit.  Few nicknames in history have been more inapposite.  As a commander Lee was a gambler and far preferred to attack the enemy than to passively await an attack.  After taking over command from Johnston at the beginning of June, Lee began working towards a big offensive to drive the larger Union army away from the outskirts of Richmond.  To accomplish this he began to draw reinforcements to Richmond from throughout Virginia, most notably Jackson’s Valley Army.

From June 12-15th he had the cavalry of his army, brilliantly commanded by Jeb Stuart, ride around McClellan’s army to ascertain what portion of McClellan’s army was north of the Chickahominy River.

Lee got the information he  needed from Stuart’s reconnaissance.  McClellan had about 25,000-30,000 men north of the Chickahominy.  The remainder of his army, about 60,000, was south of the Chickahominy, in front of the Richmond defenses.  Lee’s plan was bold.  Leaving about 25,000 men in the Richmond defenses, he would take the rest of the Army of Northern Virginia, and attack McClellan’s troop north of the Chickahominy, giving him a two-one battlefield superiority over the Union forces that side of the Chickahominy.  The plan of course was contingent on McClellan remaining passive in front of Richmond.  Lee planned on cutting McClellan’s supply lines by turning McClellan’s flank after winning on the north side of the Chickahominy and crossing to the south side and forcing McClellan to retreat or to be destroyed by the converging Confederates from Richmond and Lee’s forces.  The plan was daring and complicated, especially for an army as green as the one Lee led.

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10 Responses to June 25, 1862: The Seven Days Begin

  • Has any commander in the history of American arms thrown away as many chances as McClellan? Mark Clark, maybe?

  • McClellan basically abandoned his army Dale after Gaines Mill when he personally retreated to south of Malvern Hill. He gave no marching orders for the retreat, leaving his corps commanders to their own devices. Immense stores of supplies and ordinance were burned with no attempt to transport them along with the troops. The Union wounded, 2500, were shamefully abandoned at Savage’s Station. In a less forgiving country McClellan would have been shot for his performance in the Peninsula. In our country he ran for President in 1864, and but for the autumn military victories of that year might have won.

  • Yeah, McClellan basically did what Rosecrans did after Chickamauga, but it somehow didn’t ruin his reputation–too many influential political supporters, I think. It’s a wonder the AoP wasn’t destroyed in detail, and all the credit goes to men like Porter, Hunt and the division commanders.

    In retrospect, my comparison wasn’t fair to Clark–whatever Clark’s other flaws, he had cast-iron clockweights.

  • Dang it! How did we wind up losing the war? Well, next time we conquer!

  • George Pickett after the war was asked who was responsible for losing the battle of Gettysburg. He thought about it for a litte bit and said words to the effect that he always thought the Yankees had something to do with it!

    Linked below is a post where I asked the alternate history question: Was the victory of the Conferacy inevitable?
    http://the-american-catholic.com/2011/04/04/was-the-victory-of-the-confederacy-inevitable/

  • Love a good alternate history, and the Civil War is about as fertile a ground as you can till for such.

    Forstchen and Gingrich’s (!) Gettysburg trilogy is a very good one, and though a trifle hard to follow in spots, Tsouras’ “Gettysburg” is another intriguing “what if.”

  • And from the alternate Gettysburg post:

    “Complicated does not begin to fathom the many facets of Thomas Jonathan Jackson.”

    A-yep. His favorite term of endearment for his beloved wife was “Mi esposa,” picked up from his service in the Mexican War. In warrior mindset, he was rather like Sherman–both were excitable eccentrics determined to smash the foe. Though Jackson was by far the better tactician (though I’ll give Cump higher marks for operational level manuevering).

    Stonewall remains one of the most fascinating characters in American history. What’s the best biography you can recommend?

  • I still like Mighty Stonewall by Frank Vandiver.

    http://www.amazon.com/Stonewall-Williams-Ford-University-Military-History/dp/0890963916

    A story that tells a great deal about Jackson is that during the War a private had been sentenced to death by Jackson. A group of chaplains came to Jackson to ask him for mercy. Jackson responded that the soldier’s crime had been great and that he did not see how the ultimate penalty could be avoided. Jackson talked with them, and suggested arguments in favor of mercy that they had not raised. He prayed with them and as they were leaving he said with tears in his eyes that if he could think of any just reason to spare the soldier he would spare him. The execution went ahead as scheduled the next morning. No matter his personal inclinations, Jackson always did what he thought duty and justice required.

  • If Pickett had given it more thought he could have added “And, General Custer beating J.E.B. Stuart behind the Union center.”

    Pickett’s charge was Fredericksburg in reverse.

    If you Yankees have the time, I recommend Custer Victorious by Gregory J. W. Urwin re: the boy general’s stellar record in the War of Northern Aggression.

    BTW: the general’s younger brother, Tom Custer, won two MoH’s in that war.

  • Mike the Geek,
    God was on our side.

SCOTUS Update: No Decision on PPACA, Most Provisions of AZ Immigration Law Struck Down (Updated)

Monday, June 25, AD 2012

The Supreme Court’s decision on the individual mandate will be delivered on Thursday. Based on who has authored opinions thus far this term, it is highly likely that the majority opinion will be delivered by Chief Justice Roberts. Even if that is the case, that does not mean that the individual mandate is doomed.

Today the Court did deliver an opinion on the Arizona immigration law, striking down three of the four major provisions. The Court permitted the “show your papers” provision, though the language suggests that it must be applied narrowly. Justice Kennedy delivered the opinion of the Court. The case was decided 5-3, with Justice Kagan recusing herself. Justices Alito, Scalia, and Thomas dissented. The opinions can be found here.

The Court also ruled that juvenile convicts cannot be subject to life in prison without parole. As Shannen Coffiin quipped, next “look for the Court to decide that juvenile offenders cannot be sent to their room without possibility of their supper.” The decision is here.

In another case, the Court ruled that its Citizens United decision applies to a Montana state law.

All in all, today’s decisions remind us that, no matter how the Court rules on the individual mandate, the Court is still a bloody mess.

I hope to have further analysis of the Arizona case later today.

Update: Reading through the opinions now in the Arizona case, and I just want to note that Alito agreed with the majority in declaring Section 3 of the AZ law (which forbids the “willful failure to complete or carry an alien registration document”) to be preempted by federal law. Both Thomas and Scalia would have upheld all four sections of the law.

Update 2: And the fig leaf that the Court gave to the state of Arizona proved to be of little use:

The Obama administration said Monday it is suspending existing agreements with Arizona police over enforcement of federal immigration laws, and said it has issued a directive telling federal authorities to decline many of the calls reporting illegal immigrants that the Homeland Security Department may get from Arizona police.

Administration officials, speaking on condition they not be named, told reporters they expect to see an increase in the number of calls they get from Arizona police — but that won’t change President Obama’s decision to limit whom the government actually tries to detain and deport.

Shorter headline should be, “Obama to Arizona: Drop Dead.”

 

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3 Responses to SCOTUS Update: No Decision on PPACA, Most Provisions of AZ Immigration Law Struck Down (Updated)

  • “Obama to Arizona: Drop Dead.”

    Obama to all U S citizens–“Drop Dead.”

  • Getting desperate?
    The more he uses executive orders, the more despotic he becomes, the sooner he will be OUT.
    Can he be indicted for continuing to fail to carry out the law of the land and contradict the Constitution?

  • “Obama to Arizona: Drop Dead.”

    Obama to all U S citizens–”Drop Dead.”

    Isn’t that the point of Planned Parenthood and all that is the Democratic Party?

Fortnight For Freedom Day Five: Why Celebrate the Fourth?

Monday, June 25, AD 2012

 

 

 

 

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

On April 12, the Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty of the U.S.  Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued a document, “Our First,  Most Cherished Liberty,” outlining the bishops’ concerns over threats to religious freedom, both at home and abroad. The bishops called for a “Fortnight for Freedom,” a 14-day period of prayer, education and action in support of religious freedom, from June 21-July 4.

 

Bishops in their own dioceses are encouraged to arrange special events to  highlight the importance of defending religious freedom. Catholic  institutions are encouraged to do the same, especially in cooperation  with other Christians, Jews, people of other faiths and all who wish to  defend our most cherished freedom.

 

The fourteen days from June  21—the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More—to  July 4, Independence Day, are dedicated to this “fortnight for  freedom”—a great hymn of prayer for our country. Our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face  of persecution by political power—St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More,  St. John the Baptist, SS. Peter and Paul, and the First Martyrs of the  Church of Rome.  Culminating on Independence Day, this special period of prayer, study, catechesis, and public action would emphasize both our  Christian and American heritage of liberty. Dioceses and parishes around the country could choose a date in that period for special events that  would constitute a great national campaign of teaching and witness for  religious liberty.

 

We here at The American Catholic are participating in the Fortnight For Freedom with special blog posts on each day.  This is the fifth of these blog posts.

Why do we observe Independence Day on the Fourth of July each year?  Is it merely a historical commemoration, or is it because the lightning words of the Declaration of Independence still have meaning and relevance today?  This is not a new issue.  In the debate over slavery which embroiled this nation a century and a half ago, the phrase “all men are created equal” from the Declaration was argued and fought over.  On June 26, 1857, Abraham Lincoln, in response to the Supreme Court decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford, contended in a speech in Springfield, Illinois, that the phrase “all men are created equal” applied to blacks as well as whites:

Chief Justice Taney, in his opinion in the Dred Scott case, admits that the language of the Declaration is broad enough to include the whole human family, but he and Judge Douglas argue that the authors of that instrument did not intend to include negroes, by the fact that they did not at once, actually place them on an equality with the whites. Now this grave argument comes to just nothing at all, by the other fact, that they did not at once, or ever afterwards, actually place all white people on an equality with one or another. And this is the staple argument of both the Chief Justice and the Senator, for doing this obvious violence to the plain unmistakable language of the Declaration. I think the authors of that notable instrument intended to include all men, but they did not intend to declare all men equal in all respects. They did not mean to say all were equal in color, size, intellect, moral developments, or social capacity. They defined with tolerable distinctness, in what respects they did consider all men created equal—equal in “certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” This they said, and this meant. They did not mean to assert the obvious untruth, that all were then actually enjoying that equality, nor yet, that they were about to confer it immediately upon them. In fact they had no power to confer such a boon. They meant simply to declare the right, so that the enforcement of it might follow as fast as circumstances should permit. They meant to set up a standard maxim for free society, which should be familiar to all, and revered by all; constantly looked to, constantly labored for, and even though never perfectly attained, constantly approximated, and thereby constantly spreading and deepening its influence, and augmenting the happiness and value of life to all people of all colors everywhere. The assertion that “all men are created equal” was of no practical use in effecting our separation from Great Britain; and it was placed in the Declaration, nor for that, but for future use. Its authors meant it to be, thank God, it is now proving itself, a stumbling block to those who in after times might seek to turn a free people back into the hateful paths of despotism. They knew the proneness of prosperity to breed tyrants, and they meant when such should re-appear in this fair land and commence their vocation they should find left for them at least one hard nut to crack.

I have now briefly expressed my view of the meaning and objects of that part of the Declaration of Independence which declares that “all men are created equal.”

Now let us hear Judge Douglas’ view of the same subject, as I find it in the printed report of his late speech. Here it is:

“No man can vindicate the character, motives and conduct of the signers of the Declaration of Independence except upon the hypothesis that they referred to the white race alone, and not to the African, when they declared all men to have been created equal—that they were speaking of British subjects on this continent being equal to British subjects born and residing in Great Britain—that they were entitled to the same inalienable rights, and among them were enumerated life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The Declaration was adopted for the purpose of justifying the colonists in the eyes of the civilized world in withdrawing their allegiance from the British crown, and dissolving their connection with the mother country.”

My good friends, read that carefully over some leisure hour, and ponder well upon it—see what a mere wreck—mangled ruin—it makes of our once glorious Declaration.

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17 Responses to Fortnight For Freedom Day Five: Why Celebrate the Fourth?

  • “And now I appeal to all—to Democrats as well as others,—are you really willing that the Declaration shall be thus frittered away?”

    Democrats are the same today, except in dehumanizing the black man, they dehumanize the human baby. Other than that, nothing has changed since 1857.

  • Previously, I had not seen the connection.

    Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address” (GA) likely is “America’s definitive speech.”

    Mr. Prothero cites Garry Wills’ 1992 book, Lincoln at Gettysburg.

    Lincoln, ” . . . performed one of the most daring acts of open-air sleight of hand ever witnessed by the unsuspecting.” Wills contends that in the GA, Lincoln “traced” America’s birth not to the “godless” Constitution but to the Declaration and its God-bestowed, unalienable rights. Apparently, Wills’ and Prothero think that changed America.

    Seems Obama et al are re-bestowing America’s essence to the “godless” Constitution. And, tons of liberals calling themselves Catholics are blindly aiding and abetting.

    See Stephen Prothero in the June 23, 2012 Wall Street Journal, page C10.

  • Just saying.

    I think the most important aspect of the Gettysburg Address is Lincoln “said it all” in 272 words.

  • One of Lincoln’s cleverest ways of attempting to fudge the Constitution’s explicit and no-nonsense restrictions on his power was to appeal to the Declaration, as if it had some kind of legal, philosophical, or moral weight beyond its immediate purpose.

    His use of it to defend the unconstitutional interference with a legal, constitutional practice in the states was extremely adroit, but as with so much of what he did as President, set an awful precedent for his successors, who would not necessarily find the same benign meaning in “equality” as Lincoln did.

    Once you depart from the Constitution, even if by appealing to the Declaration, you depart from the rule of law.

  • The Constitution governs the courts Tom. The Declaration is the foundation of the American experiment in self-government. Lincoln’s pro-slavery foes were absolutely wrong in attempting to justify their ongoing subjugation of fellow human beings by claiming that the words of Mr. Jefferson did not apply to blacks as well as whites. That Mr. Jefferson clearly intended this is established beyond question by the following section of his original draft of the Declaration:

    “[H]e [the king of Britain] has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating it’s most sacred rights of life & liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. this piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the CHRISTIAN king of Great Britain. determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought & sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce: and that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, by murdering the people upon whom he also obtruded them; thus paying off former crimes committed against the liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another.”

    Lincoln was right and his pro-slavery opponents were deeply, tragically wrong in their attempt to read slaves out of the Declaration. Contrary to your statement, Lincoln did not appeal to the Declaration as a grant of authority to abolish slavery, but he did appeal to the Declaration as evidence of what a crime slavery was against the inalienable rights of man, and that is what his pro-slavery opponents could not tolerate.

  • Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865). Political Debates Between Lincoln and Douglas. 1897. Fourth Joint Debate at Charleston Mr. Lincoln’s Speech (September 18, 1858):

    LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: It will be very difficult for an audience so large as this to hear distinctly what a speaker says, and consequently it is important that as profound silence be preserved as possible.
    While I was at the hotel to-day, an elderly gentleman called upon me to know whether I was really in favor of producing perfect equality between the negroes and white people. While I had not proposed to myself on this occasion to say much on that subject, yet as the question was asked me, I thought I would occupy perhaps five minutes in saying something in regard to it.
    I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races, that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.

  • Yep, Joe because the Democrat Stephen Douglas was using race baiting against Lincoln, just as Democrats use race baiting today. Douglas knew, as Lincoln knew, that due to the virulent racism of the day, that most white voters were repelled at the idea of negro equality, and that is why Douglas used such charges against Lincoln, and why Lincoln sought to repel them. However Lincoln never wavered as to the fundamental crime of slavery:

    “He [Senator Stephen A. Douglas] finds Republicans insisting that the Declaration of Independence includes all men, black as well as white…he boldly denies that it includes negroes at all, and proceeds to argue gravely that all who contend it does, do so only because they want to vote, eat, and sleep, and marry with negroes! Now I protest against that counterfeit logic which concludes that, because I do not want a black woman for a slave I must necessarily want her for a wife. I need not have her for either, I can just leave her alone. In some respects she certainly is not my equal; but in her natural right to eat the bread she earns with her own hands with asking leave of any one else, she is my equal, and the equal of all others.”

    Here is what black abolitionist Frederick A. Douglass had to say in summing up Abraham Lincoln:

    “I have said that President Lincoln was a white man, and shared the prejudices common to his countrymen towards the colored race. Looking back to his times and to the condition of his country, we are compelled to admit that this unfriendly feeling on his part may be safely set down as one element of his wonderful success in organizing the loyal American people for the tremendous conflict before them, and bringing them safely through that conflict. His great mission was to accomplish two things: first, to save his country from dismemberment and ruin; and, second, to free his country from the great crime of slavery. To do one or the other, or both, he must have the earnest sympathy and the powerful cooperation of his loyal fellow-countrymen. Without this primary and essential condition to success his efforts must have been vain and utterly fruitless. Had he put the abolition of slavery before the salvation of the Union, he would have inevitably driven from him a powerful class of the American people and rendered resistance to rebellion impossible. Viewed from the genuine abolition ground, Mr. Lincoln seemed tardy, cold, dull, and indifferent; but measuring him by the sentiment of his country, a sentiment he was bound as a statesman to consult, he was swift, zealous, radical, and determined.

    Though Mr. Lincoln shared the prejudices of his white fellow-countrymen against the Negro, it is hardly necessary to say that in his heart of hearts he loathed and hated slavery. The man who could say, “Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war shall soon pass away, yet if God wills it continue till all the wealth piled by two hundred years of bondage shall have been wasted, and each drop of blood drawn by the lash shall have been paid for by one drawn by the sword, the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether,” gives all needed proof of his feeling on the subject of slavery. He was willing, while the South was loyal, that it should have its pound of flesh, because he thought that it was so nominated in the bond; but farther than this no earthly power could make him go.”

  • Don, parse it any way you want but can you imagine Abe defending those comments on Meet the Press? Or any modern candidate for political office trying to walk that back or weasel himself out of it? It doesn’t matter what Douglass said or anyone else. It’s Lincoln words, forever carved in history, that testify to his core white supremacist views notwithstanding other comments that sought to soften them.

  • Joe you accuse Lincoln by the standards of our time. In his time he was attacked as an advocate of racial equality, and considering that he came out for negroes having the vote before his death, perhaps justly attacked. Lincoln was able to call a well-established institution of his day, slavery, a crime, something that most of his contemporaries failed to ever do. Of course, considering your sympathies for the Confederacy, and the historically illiterate scribblings of neo-Confederate crank Dilorenzo, I find your attacking Lincoln as a racist completely risible.

  • “Standards of our time.” I believe the laws of God, Nature and the Constitution are immutable and are to be used for all times. I have no “sympathies” for the Confederacy per se, only what I believe is a greater understanding and appreciation for the root causes of the Civil War, which have been all too simplified by some historians.

    I am a “Yankee” at heart and also do not rely on DiLorenzo or anyone else to do my thinking. His “Hamilton’s Curse” was a tough read and, unlike his Lincoln books, less persuasive in its thesis.

    I think it’s important, although we disagree on Lincoln’s place in history, to examine whether Presidents including Obama are shredding the Constitution as I think Lincoln did.

    As long as you a quoting a black man, this is from African-American historian and scholar Lerone Bennett, Jr., and his book, “Forced into Glory: Abraham Lincoln’s White Dream.” —

    “Lincoln is theology, not historiology. He is a faith, he is a church, he is a religion, and he has his own priests and acolytes, most of whom have a vested interest in [him] and who are passionately opposed to anybody telling the truth about him.”

  • His use of it to defend the unconstitutional interference with a legal, constitutional practice in the states was extremely adroit, but as with so much of what he did as President, set an awful precedent for his successors, who would not necessarily find the same benign meaning in “equality” as Lincoln did.

    Lincoln may have appealed to the Declaration rhetorically from time to time, but he relied on the Constitution to justify his actions as president. By the way time, what “unconstitutional interference” with a “legal, constitutional, practice” did Lincoln perpetrate? Lincoln, at no time before the outbreak of hostilities, ever inferred that the federal government could interfere with slavery within the states. It was only after the outbreak of the civil war (and 18 months after hostilities commenced) that Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, a completely legitimate wartime measure.

    So it’s time for you to get specific. What unconstitutional action did Lincoln take as president? No generalities, please.

    . It’s Lincoln words, forever carved in history, that testify to his core white supremacist views notwithstanding other comments that sought to soften them.

    Later on I am going to post my review of David Barton’s book on Thomas Jefferson. One of the things that Barton does that is so infuriating is to quote a line here or there without examining the broader context of Jefferson’s political thought. This is the same thing that you’re doing here. It’s a pretty shabby form of historical research.

    Edited to add: Actually, the historical revisionism with regards to Jefferson and Lincoln run in opposite directions. With respect to Jefferson, his defenders point to the occasional line here or there and ignore the rather voluminous amount of his writing that was repugnantly racist even for his day. As for Lincoln, his detractors like to point to this passage here or there to paint Lincoln as an unrepentant bigot, while ignoring the vast literature that shows he had much more progressive views on race matters.

  • “Lincoln is theology, not historiology. He is a faith, he is a church, he is a religion, and he has his own priests and acolytes, most of whom have a vested interest in [him] and who are passionately opposed to anybody telling the truth about him.”

    Historical figures often do have acolytes who cannot see their faults. That being said, that doesn’t mean that the historical revisionism has any ounce of credibility. People like you often spout about Lincoln “shredding the constitution” without offering a shred of evidence. It’s time to do a little original research yourself, so I put the question to you that I put to Tom McKenna. Please cite specifically the unconstitutional actions that Lincoln engaged in. And don’t cite some miserable pseudo-historian like DiLorenzo.

  • As long as you a quoting a black man, this is from African-American historian and scholar Lerone Bennett, Jr., and his book, “Forced into Glory: Abraham Lincoln’s White Dream.”

    As a historian Bennett made Dilorenzo look scholarly. From a review of his tome by James McPherson:

    “But Bennett gets more wrong than he gets right. The book suffers from crucial flaws. Least important are the factual errors, for there are not many. But those that do occur make Lincoln look worse than he was. While a congressman from 1847 to 1849, Bennett asserts, Lincoln claimed to have voted 40 times against the Wilmot Proviso to ban slavery from the territories acquired from Mexico. In fact, Lincoln claimed to have voted 40 times for the Proviso (an exaggeration, but he did support it on every vote).

    More significant are distortions in interpretation. After the Sioux uprising in Minnesota that killed hundreds of white settlers in 1862, Lincoln ”approved one of the largest mass executions in military history,” the hanging of 38 Indians. True enough. But the military court had sentenced 303 Sioux to death. Despite great pressure, unmentioned by Bennett, to approve these verdicts, Lincoln pardoned or commuted the sentences of 265 defendants — by far the largest act of executive clemency in American history.

    Selective quotation also produces distortion by omission. Citing a letter Lincoln wrote to the abolitionist Owen Lovejoy in 1855, Bennett maintains that Lincoln ”did not openly oppose the anti-immigrant Know-Nothing Party,” because in his district, as Lincoln explained, ”they are mostly my old political and personal friends.” Bennett fails to note that in the rest of the letter Lincoln stated that he had already broken with these former Whig associates and anticipated the ”painful necessity of my taking an open stand against them. Of their principles I think little better than I do of those of the slavery extensionists. Indeed I do not perceive how any one professing to be sensitive to the wrongs of the negroes, can join in a league to degrade a class of white men.”

    Bennett never acknowledges that Lincoln was ”sensitive to the wrongs of the Negroes.” Abundant evidence of such sensitivity is conspicuously missing from the book. Also missing is any appreciation of Lincoln’s stand against the expansion of slavery. Because the Constitution prohibited interference with slavery in states where it existed, Lincoln and other Republicans focused on the question of slavery in the territories, where they insisted that Congress had the constitutional power to ban it. In his famous House Divided speech of 1858, Lincoln said that Republicans intended to ”arrest the further spread” of slavery and thus place the institution ”in course of ultimate extinction.”

    No reader who accepts Bennett’s ”unimpeachable fact” that ”Lincoln supported the enslavement of the four million slaves” will be able to understand why seven slave states seceded in response to Lincoln’s election. Bennett quotes from a letter that Lincoln wrote in December 1860 to Alexander Stephens (who later became vice president of the Confederacy), whom Lincoln had known when they both served in Congress a dozen years earlier. ”Do the people of the South really entertain fears that a Republican administration would, directly, or indirectly, interfere with their slaves?” Lincoln asked Stephens. ”There is no cause for such fears.” So why did the South secede? Readers might have gotten part of the answer, and a different understanding of Lincoln, from a portion of this letter that Bennett did not quote: ”I suppose, however, this does not meet the case. You think slavery is right and ought to be extended; while we think it is wrong and ought to be restricted. That I suppose is the rub.”

    It was indeed the rub, but we wouldn’t know it from this book. The South seceded because a man who believed slavery was wrong and was pledged, in his own words, to its ”restriction” and ”ultimate extinction” had, for the first time, been elected president. The war that followed secession prompted Lincoln’s decision in 1862 to issue an Emancipation Proclamation. Yet Bennett declares that Lincoln deserves no credit for freeing the slaves. The president was, he writes, a reluctant Emancipator who was ”forced into glory” by escaping slaves, abolitionists and Congressional Republicans who passed the second Confiscation Act in July 1862, freeing the slaves of persons ”engaged in rebellion against the United States.” This was the real Emancipation proclamation, insists Bennett. Lincoln’s proclamation was a mere afterthought.

    And because Lincoln’s proclamation exempted the border slave states, as well as portions of the Confederacy already controlled by Northern troops (Tennessee and parts of Virginia and Louisiana), Lincoln freed slaves where he had no power to do so and left in bondage all those in areas where he did have power, Bennett asserts. Moreover, Lincoln’s exemptions actually re-

    enslaved a half-million blacks freed by the Confiscation Act.

    All parts of this interpretation are wrong, and the re-enslavement thesis is absurd. First of all, the Confiscation Act freed only the slaves of ”traitors” whom a federal court determined, case by case, to have engaged in rebellion. As James G. Randall, the foremost expert on Civil War constitutional issues, wrote, ”It is hard to see by what process any particular slaves could have legally established that freedom which the second Confiscation Act ‘declared.’ ”Contrary to Bennett, no slave who had achieved freedom in areas exempted from Lincoln’s proclamation was ”re-enslaved.”

    The Emancipation Proclamation, moreover, was based on the president’s war powers as commander in chief to seize enemy property (i.e. slaves) being used to wage war against the United States. Since Union-controlled exempted areas were not at war with the United States, Lincoln had no constitutional power over slavery in those areas.

    Finally, the old canard that the Emancipation Proclamation freed not a single slave, repeated by Bennett, could not be more wrong. From Jan. 1, 1863, freedom would march southward with the Union Army, which became an army of liberation. Once the war was over, the proclamation would cease to have any legal force. That is why Lincoln endorsed a constitutional amendment to abolish slavery, and won re-election on that platform in 1864.

    Bennett’s Lincoln is not only a reluctant convert to Emancipation; he is also an unwavering opponent of equal citizenship for the freed slaves, beholden as he is to his ”dream” of an all-white America. But in what turned out to be his last public speech, on April 11, 1865, Lincoln signaled that he would support the right to vote for freed slaves who were literate or had served in the Union armed forces. Bennett condemns this endorsement as an ”invidious distinction” (because white voters would not face such requirements) of a piece with Lincoln’s commitment to white supremacy. At least one listener to Lincoln’s speech did not agree. ”That means nigger citizenship,” muttered John Wilkes Booth. ”Now by God, I’ll put him through. That is the last speech he will ever make.””

    http://www.nytimes.com/2000/08/27/books/lincoln-the-devil.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

  • so I put the question to you that I put to Tom McKenna. Please cite specifically the unconstitutional actions that Lincoln engaged in. And don’t cite some miserable pseudo-historian like DiLorenzo.

    I believe Gottfried Dietze had a menu of complaints about Lincon’s acts in the early months of 1861 listed in America’s Political Dilemma. I have forgotten them, of course. I believe one concerned appropriations. (He was a non-miserable political theorist).

  • Once again, as usual, I am outnumbered and outgunned here by the Lincoln apologists. I don’t shrink from a fair fight, but further discussion would take us far off-topic and take up much to much preciously bandwidth, which is something Don does not like.

    Let us all realize we have different “bliks” that form the basis of our world views and beliefs. I hereby retreat gracefully without conceding a bit.

  • I will not to beat a dead horse.

    Aside from Abraham using the God and the DoI to shelve the godless US Constitution, using his example to advance religious liberty may be unhelpful.

    Point of information. John Tyler, the tenth US President, was a delegate in the conference that could not avoid the war. He was elected a Virginia Representative in the CSA Congress. He died before it convened. That makes Tyler the only US President to die on foreign soil.

  • “Aside from Abraham using the God and the DoI to shelve the godless US Constitution, using his example to advance religious liberty may be unhelpful.”

    Except of course that Lincoln used neither to shelve the Constitution, but rather preserved it and the nation for future generations.

    Tyler still has living grandkids, amazingly enough.

The “Fortnight for Freedom” and established religion…

Sunday, June 24, AD 2012

With the Catholic Church in the United States deep into its “Fortnight for Freedom,” The Motley Monk thinks it useful to contemplate the blessing of religious liberty called the “Establishment Clause” and the “Free Exercise Clause.”  That is, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

Other nations aren’t so richly blessed.

Grundtvig’s Church, Denmark

Take Denmark, for example, where the Vatican Insider reports that Parliament recently voted 85 to 24 to compel churches in the established Evangelical Lutheran Church to perform homosexual “marriage” ceremonies—identical to those performed for heterosexual couples—inside their sanctuaries.  The new law took effect on June 15th.

One third of the denomination’s ministers say they will not participate in these rituals and may use the law’s “opt out for theological reasons” clause to do so.  However, a bishop must arrange for a replacement.

Okay, The Motley Monk “gets it.”  The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Denmark is an established church and, in fact, has been Denmark’s established church since 1849.  As such, Denmark’s House of Parliament is free to exert its will upon the church as it pleases.  If a minister won’t do what Parliament demands, Parliament has every right to tell the bishop to do what Parliament demands.

Thank God that’s not how it works in the United States.

But, this particular establishment story doesn’t end there.

Better yet is the genesis of the legislation establishing homosexual “marriages” in Denmark’s established church.

The bill’s primary sponsor was Denmark’s Minister of Equality and Church and Nordic Cooperation, Manu Sareen. 

Manu Sareen

Mr. Sareen is an agnostic.

The Motley Monk is down on his knees thanking God for the blessing of religious liberty. 

 

To read the Vatican Insider article, click on the following link:
http://vaticaninsider.lastampa.it/en/homepage/blog-san-pietro-e-dintorni-en/detail/articolo/15837/ 

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

 

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7 Responses to The “Fortnight for Freedom” and established religion…

  • The irony of the so-called Reformation is that on the face of it people sought to “free” themselves from the Catholic Church only to surrender their faith to the whims of the State and/or useful idiots.

  • This causes one to question why is took the Nazis 16 hours to convince the Dansk government to surrender.

    That pagan barbarian was required to cajole an elected legislature to enact such a travesty.

    The gangster regime ruining America doesn’t need to do it like that.

  • Here’s a great write up on ‘error has no rights’ http://www.sspx.org/news/our_first_cherished.htm

    Here’s Fr Isaac Reylea speaking on it as well http://youtu.be/L6eAuK6O4cY says 9 popes have condemned ‘religious liberty’ as the american idea of it says. Here’s Pope Leo XIII on it too http://www.ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/L13TESTE.HTM

  • I first read about this on Catholic Answers. Could not believe it. Bad enough that same sex marriage is legal but what i cannot fathom is the idea of same sex marriage being legal in churches. Truly disturbing.

  • “2. This Vatican Council declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom. This freedom means that all men are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power, in such wise that no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others, within due limits.

    The council further declares that the right to religious freedom has its foundation in the very dignity of the human person as this dignity is known through the revealed word of God and by reason itself.(2) This right of the human person to religious freedom is to be recognized in the constitutional law whereby society is governed and thus it is to become a civil right.

    It is in accordance with their dignity as persons-that is, beings endowed with reason and free will and therefore privileged to bear personal responsibility-that all men should be at once impelled by nature and also bound by a moral obligation to seek the truth, especially religious truth. They are also bound to adhere to the truth, once it is known, and to order their whole lives in accord with the demands of truth However, men cannot discharge these obligations in a manner in keeping with their own nature unless they enjoy immunity from external coercion as well as psychological freedom. Therefore the right to religious freedom has its foundation not in the subjective disposition of the person, but in his very nature. In consequence, the right to this immunity continues to exist even in those who do not live up to their obligation of seeking the truth and adhering to it and the exercise of this right is not to be impeded, provided that just public order be observed.”

    http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decl_19651207_dignitatis-humanae_en.html

  • Established churches, especially where they are faced with little or no competition from rival sects, tend either to theocracy or erastianism.

    The idea of a church as a voluntary association of believers is quite alien to most Europeans and, going back to the French Revolution, there is a tendency to be suspicious of such organisations – Recall the famous declaration of August 18, 1792: “A State that is truly free ought not to suffer within its bosom any corporation, not even such as, being dedicated to public instruction, have merited well of the country” The only exception is when the group’s one and only purpose ias making money. The alternative is a state church, staffed by salaried public officials. Believers, too, tend to regard the ordinances of religion – christenings, weddings, funerals – as a public service, which, as tax-payers, they expect the state to provide for them. In Sweden, the church was disestablished only because lack of demand for its services.

  • Congress is ill equiped to make laws concerning the establishment of religion, man’s response to the gift of Faith from God, because Congress is not our conscience, not individually or collectively. This Obamacare has done, has become the citizens’ conscience, individually and collectively. To do this, Congress must deny to the person his soul and become the soul for the person, like homicide is the taking of a person’s life, Obamacare is the taking of a man’s soul. Soul murder.

Fortnight For Freedom Day 4: John Carroll, Bishop and Patriot

Sunday, June 24, AD 2012

Nor, perchance did the fact which We now recall take place without some design of divine Providence. Precisely at the epoch when the American colonies, having, with Catholic aid, achieved liberty and independence, coalesced into a constitutional Republic the ecclesiastical hierarchy was happily established amongst you; and at the very time when the popular suffrage placed the great Washington at the helm of the Republic, the first bishop was set by apostolic authority over the American Church. The well-known friendship and familiar intercourse which subsisted between these two men seems to be an evidence that the United States ought to be conjoined in concord and amity with the Catholic Church.

Pope Leo XIII on John Carroll, first Bishop in the United States

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

On April 12, the Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty of the U.S.  Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued a document, “Our First,  Most Cherished Liberty,” outlining the bishops’ concerns over threats to religious freedom, both at home and abroad. The bishops called for a “Fortnight for Freedom,” a 14-day period of prayer, education and action in support of religious freedom, from June 21-July 4.

Bishops in their own dioceses are encouraged to arrange special events to  highlight the importance of defending religious freedom. Catholic  institutions are encouraged to do the same, especially in cooperation  with other Christians, Jews, people of other faiths and all who wish to  defend our most cherished freedom.

The fourteen days from June  21—the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More—to  July 4, Independence Day, are dedicated to this “fortnight for  freedom”—a great hymn of prayer for our country. Our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face  of persecution by political power—St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More,  St. John the Baptist, SS. Peter and Paul, and the First Martyrs of the  Church of Rome.  Culminating on Independence Day, this special period of prayer, study, catechesis, and public action would emphasize both our  Christian and American heritage of liberty. Dioceses and parishes around the country could choose a date in that period for special events that  would constitute a great national campaign of teaching and witness for  religious liberty.

We here at The American Catholic are participating in the Fortnight For Freedom with special blog posts on each day.  This is the fourth of these blog posts.

From the beginning of our Republic, American Catholics were at the forefront of the battle to free America from British rule and to enshrine a committment to liberty in our founding documents.  The remarkable Carroll family of Maryland was at the head of this effort by American Catholics.  Charles Carroll of Carrollton signed the Declaration of Independence.  His cousin Daniel Carroll signed both the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution.  Daniel Carroll’s younger brother John Carroll, was the first bishop in the United States of America.

Born on January 8, 1735 in Maryland, he went abroad to study in Flanders and France, joined the Society of Jesus and was ordained a priest in 1769.  With the suppression of the Jesuits in 1773, he returned to his native Maryland as a missionary priest.  A patriot, he served on a diplomatic mission to Canada for the Continental Congress in 1776.  During the War he continued his efforts as a missionary priest, along with efforts to persuade the new states to remove disabilities from Catholics in their new state constitutions.  He was ever an advocate for religious freedom:

When men comprehend not, or refuse to admit the luminous principles on which the rights of conscience and liberty of religion depend, they are industrious to find out pretences for intolerance. If they cannot discover them in the actions, they strain to cull them out of the tenets of the religion which they wish to exclude from a free participation of equal rights. Thus this author attributes to his religion the merit of being the most favorable to freedom, and affirms that not only morality but liberty likewise must expire, if his clergy should ever be contemned or neglected: all which conveys a refined insinuation, that liberty cannot consist with, or be cherished by any other religious institution; and which therefore he would give us to understand, it is not safe to countenance in a free government.

I am anxious to guard against the impression intended by such insinuations; not merely for the sake of any one profession, but from an earnest regard to preserve inviolate for ever, in our new empire, the great principle of religious freedom. The constitutions of some of the States continue still to intrench on the sacred rights of conscience; and men who have bled, and opened their purses as freely in the cause of liberty and independence, as any other citizens, are most unjustly excluded from the advantages which they contributed to establish. But if bigotry and narrow prejudice have prevented hitherto the cure of these evils, be it the duty of every lover of peace and justice to extend them no further. Let the author who has opened this field for discussion, be aware of slyly imputing to any set of men, principles or consequences, which they disavow. He perhaps may meet with retaliation. He may be told and referred to Lord Lyttleton, as zealous a Protestant as any man of his days, for information, that the principles of non-reistence seemed the principles of that religion which we are not told is most favorable to freedom; and that its opponents had gone too far in the other extreme!

 

On June 6, 1784 he was appointed by the Pope as superior of the missions in the United States.  On November 6, 1789, he was appointed by the Pope as Bishop, after being elected to the post by American priests, a procedure previously approved by the Pope.

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2 Responses to Fortnight For Freedom Day 4: John Carroll, Bishop and Patriot

  • Pope Pius XII speaks of the friendship of Bishop John Carroll and George Washington and its effect on the early years of the republic:

    “When Pope Pius VI gave you your first Bishop in the person of the American John Carroll and set him over the See of Baltimore, small and of slight importance was the Catholic population of your land. At that time, too, the condition of the United States was so perilous that its structure and its very political unity were threatened by grave crisis. Because of the long and exhausting war the public treasury was burdened with debt, industry languished and the citizenry wearied by misfortunes was split into contending parties. This ruinous and critical state of affairs was put aright by the celebrated George Washington, famed for his courage and keen intelligence. He was a close friend of the Bishop of Baltimore. Thus the Father of His Country and the pioneer pastor of the Church in that land so dear to Us, bound together by the ties of friendship and clasping, so to speak, each the other’s hand, form a picture for their descendants, a lesson to all future generations, and a proof that reverence for the Faith of Christ is a holy and established principle of the American people, seeing that it is the foundation of morality and decency, consequently the source of prosperity and progress.” (SERTUM LAETITIAE
    Encyclical of His Holiness Pope Pius XII On the Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of the Establishment of the Hierarchy In the United States November 1, 1939 #3)

  • Very interesting Greg. I had not read this encyclical before. Along with much praise, Pius XII had some prescient and prophetic criticisms of American life:

    “16. We desire, however, that this Our praise be salutary. The consideration of the good which has been done must not lead to slackening which might degenerate into sluggishness; it must not issue in a vainglorious pleasure which flatters the mind; it should stimulate renewed energies so that evils may be avoided and those enterprises which are useful, prudent and worthy of praise may more surely and more solidly mature. The Christian, if he does honor to the name he bears, is always an apostle; it is not permitted to the Soldier of Christ that he quit the battlefield, because only death puts an end to his military service.

    17. You well know where it is necessary that you exercise a more discerning vigilance and what program of action should be marked out for priests and faithful in order that the religion of Christ may overcome the obstacles in its path and be a luminous guide to the minds of men, govern their morals and, for the sole purpose of salvation, permeate the marrow and the arteries of human society. The progress of exterior and material possessions, even though it is to be considered of no little account, because of the manifold and appreciable utility which it gives to life, is nonetheless not enough for man who is born for higher and brighter destinies. Created indeed to the image and likeness of God, he seeks God with a yearning that will not be repressed and always groans and weeps if he places the object of his love where Supreme Truth and the Infinite Good cannot be found.

    18. Not with the conquest of material space does one approach to God, separation from Whom is death, conversion to Whom is life, to be established in Whom is glory; but under the guidance of Christ with the fullness of sincere faith, with unsullied conscience and upright will, with holy works, with the achievement and the employment of that genuine liberty whose sacred rules are found proclaimed in the Gospel. If, instead, the Commandments of God are spurned, not only is it impossible to attain that happiness which has place beyond the brief span of time which is allotted to earthly existence, but the very basis upon which rests true civilization is shaken and naught is to be expected but ruins over which belated tears must be shed. How, in fact, can the public weal and the glory of civilized life have any guarantee of stability when right is subverted and virtue despised and decried? Is not God the Source and the Giver of law? Is He not the inspiration and the reward of virtue with none like unto Him among lawgivers (Cf. Job XXXVI:22)? This, according to the admission of all reasonable men, is everywhere the bitter and prolific root of evils: the refusal to recognize the Divine Majesty, the neglect of the moral law, the origin of which is from Heaven, or that regrettable inconstancy which makes its victims waver between the lawful and the forbidden, between justice and iniquity.

    19. Thence arise immoderate and blind egoists, that thirst for pleasure, the vice of drunkenness, immodest and costly styles in dress, the prevalence of crime even among minors, the lust for power, neglect of the poor, base craving for ill-gotten wealth, the flight from the land, levity in entering into marriage, divorce, the break-up of the family, the cooling of mutual affection between parents and children, birth control, the enfeeblement of the race, the weakening of respect for authority, or obsequiousness, or rebellion, neglect of duty towards one’s country and towards mankind.

    20. We raise Our voice in strong, albeit paternal, complaint that in so many schools of your land Christ often is despised or ignored, the explanation of the universe and mankind is forced within the narrow limits of materialism or of rationalism, and new educational systems are sought after which cannot but produce a sorrowful harvest in the intellectual and moral life of the nation.

    21. Likewise, just as home life, when the law of Christ is observed, flowers in true felicity, so, when the Gospel is cast aside, does it perish miserably and become desolated by vice: “He that seeketh the law, shall be filled with it: and he that dealeth deceitfully, shall meet with a stumbling block therein” (Ecclesiasticus XXXII: 19). What can there be on earth more serene and joyful than the Christian family? Taking its origin at the Altar of the Lord, where love has been proclaimed a holy and indissoluble bond, the Christian family in the same love nourished by supernal grace is consolidated and receives increase.”

Fortnight For Freedom Day 3: Chester

Saturday, June 23, AD 2012

 

Their blood flowed as freely (in proportion to their numbers) to cement the fabric of independence as that of any of their fellow-citizens: They concurred with perhaps greater unanimity than any other body of men, in recommending and promoting that government, from whose influence America anticipates all the blessings of justice, peace, plenty, good order and civil and religious liberty.

John Carroll, first American bishop, on American Catholics in the Revolution

Something for the weekend.  Chester,  America’s unofficial national anthem during the American Revolution.   This fits in well with the Fortnight of Freedom proclaimed by our Bishops in resistance to encroachments by government on our religious liberty.

Written by William Billings in 1770, he added new lyrics to the song in 1778 and transformed it into a battle hymn for the Patriots in their war for independence.  The song reveals the strong religious element that was ever-present on the American side of the conflict, with most Patriots viewing the war as a crusade.

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5 Responses to Fortnight For Freedom Day 3: Chester

  • Amen!

    Our Finding principles (Declaration of Independence, Constitution, Gettysburg Address, etc.) are not perfect. It’s just that they are the most perfect governing principles yet devised by fallen man.

    I received an email from a close friend giving the inspirational story of a school trip at the Iwo Jima Memorial. John Bradley’s son happened to be there and he explained what it means.

    The following says it all.

    Six young Marines raised our flag amid terrible combat, with (as always) an extra hand.

    “One thing I learned . . . look at the statue and count the number of ‘hands’ raising the flag, there are 13. When the man who made the statue was asked why there were 13, he simply said the 13th hand was the hand of God.”

    One Nation Under God.

  • That’s beautiful. But I can honestly say that I’ve never heard it or heard of it before, except for a dim reminiscence of some references to the phrase “New England’s God.”

    Thank you.

  • One of my goals in blogging, other than my main goal which is to have fun, is to remind Catholics and Americans of their history and their heritage. In the past 45 years much of it has been sent down a memory hole, and I play a small role in retrieving it.

  • I have never heard of this before. It is wonderful “and praise His name on every cord”

  • I had a trouble understanding Abigail.
    It sounded like “what men are not wont to do, they ought not to do, they know not what.” ??? or was it
    “when men know not what to do, they ought not to do, they know not what”

13 Responses to Sisters! Sisters!

  • They are a flamboyant, gaudy bunch of grey-haired ladies. Seems they sure do love to kiss, kiss up, to Obama. It is fraudulent when articles about them are illustrated by pics of nuns in habits–these gals gave up habits a long time ago. And that is not all they gave up–they abdicated their vow of obedience, have embraced New Age theories which are used to replace authentic dogma, and support every liberal, pro-sex cause that’s out there. And they look so smug about it all! They stick the “poor” out there in front of them as a diversion to justify any and all of their shenanigins. They have gone back to the original Eve who ate the apple, tried to share it around, and proclaimed, “I will not serve.” I had IHM nuns all through grade school and high school, and they did a good job of education huge classrooms full of working class kids. I had BVM nuns for college, and they were a wonderful example of intelligent, educated women dedicated to God and to their work. Then I entered the Society of the Sacred Heart which had a dual life of contemplation yoked to the apostolate of education. That was great until it collapsed after Vatican II. Now that order has closed most of its schools, has almost no new vocations and is dead in the water. Too bad to waste the charism of St. Madeleine Sophie like that. But I am not discouraged. There are many good and holy priests who tend to their parish families and who celebrate a dignified liturgy. Our pope, Benedict XVI, is a saintly and exceptional man, a profoundly spiritual theologian. Gaudy clothes, drum beating, and defiance of authority will not lead anyone to God. The nuns of the LCWR should pay attention: “The game is fixed. The Lamb will win. Be there.”

  • At least most seem to be wearing bras.

  • Excellent! Absolutely excellent!

  • They exhibit themselves as a bunch of overgrown kids.

  • Was there anyone there under 60……besides Obama?

  • Well, they do seem a bit more modestly dressed than many of the younger people I see these days, but they also look like they are on vacation. I’m not sure that is the right tennor for a nun. But I don’t wish to be judgemental.

  • I wonder if Nancy Pelosi washed that week? 🙂

  • The gravest miscalculation that the LCWR makes is that the Roman Catholic Church will not give you all that is good for you. Worshipping creation, the creature, instead of “their Creator”, as the LCWR does, cannot affirm the sanctity of the human soul. How can a woman bishop act “in persona Christi” when her female body does not conform to the Body of Christ? Rejecting her female human body in favor of a totally symbolic male body, a symbolic Body of Christ, does not fit the definition of “in persona Christi” because the PERSON OF CHRIST IS BODY AND SOUL. Any Sacraments of the Church, she may pretent are only symbolic, and therefore, the woman bishop denies the REAL PRESENCE of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. For this reason, and others, the woman bishop does not follow in Apostolic Succession under the Primacy of Peter. The other reason being is that, if she has a true vocation to sanctity, as all people have, the woman ought to be pursuing her spiritual growth, the spiritual growth, which is being denigrated at every turn by the choices she makes, as the woman slowly slips into oblivion, without her female body, without her saved soul.
    If the LCWR worshipped Jesus Christ, true God and true man, as brides of Christ, they would be filled with every grace and blessing, fulfilled. Our Lady said: “Do whatever He tells you.”
    Human sacrifice is the chief form of worship of the devil. Abortion, the killing of the innocent unborn human being is worship of the devil. Fornication is the next highest form of worship of the devil, lust in all of its forms. Every twisted misconception of the TRUTH is the devil’s delight. The devil has no soul and the devil will never be satisfied.

    The second gravest miscalculation of people who will settle for free contraception, sterilization or abortificients in exchange for their freedom of conscience and their rational, immortal soul, is that they have not lost their freedom of conscience or their rational, immortal soul in exchange for contraception. They believe that only those persons who object to contraception, the Catholic Church and God-fearing persons need lose their freedom of conscience when being forced to provide contraception. This is a lie. All persons lose their religious liberty and freedom of conscience. It is only a matter of time when the law impacts each and every citizen adversely. Take for example, the government now, forces people to provide contraception, taking the authority by force. Later the government will take body parts for transplant by force from individuals without their informed consent or force children to marry without freedom to choose to whom, when and where (as do the Muslims). Without God, government does not function for the common good, no matter what they say.
    A third and most insidious misconception is that the devil will be satisfied. Give the devil what he wants and he will go away. When the devil gets our freedom of conscience, he will be satisfied and return to hell; that he will not seek to destroy all men, body and soul in Gehena. Wrong.
    Many people hope and pray that Obama will be content with destroying the Roman Catholic Church, religious liberty and the freedom of conscience, the right to choose virtue over vice and good over evil. Where in the world has that happened, in the Gulag, in the concentration camps, in China’s one child policy, in India’s sterilization policy? The government is taking power to force people to be forcibly aborted, forcibly sterilized, and forcibly euthanized. The government has already taken power to forcibly bring new individuals to life in a laboratory and use their body parts in medical experimentation without their informed consent which comes about at emancipation at eighteen years old. Every crime against humanity has to be concealed. Only when an individual had lost all value, was he released from the Gulag. People will be chased down and hunted for sport. Hung tarred and feathered to burn as torches and even fed to the lions. Women who want their babies will be aborted. Children will be tortured or used as experiments, medical, and social. Some people will be used for their body parts, as organ donors against their will and without their consent.
    God created man in freedom. Government cannot legitimately take our freedom, or deny our access to God.

  • Donald, are those women not ashamed to call themselves Catholic Nuns? And to watch their wrinkled bodies and faces, and dressed up like drunken old wags staggering from the nearest Beer Joint is horrifying. This old lady was mentored and brought up by the Consolata Nuns – in their beautiful white Habits. They handed her over to the Loreto Sisters of the BVM who completed her formation as a truly devoted Roman Catholic. I bore and brought up my children under the mentorship of the same Loreto Sisters who had taught me years earlier. Their black Habit was the “Stamp of Holiness of the Brides of Christ” just like the white Habit of the Consolata Sisters when I was a toddler and a pre-teen was the “Stampt of Purity”.

    These sorry characters are LOST. We need to pray for them. Any Ordained Priest or Man and Woman Religious who arrogantly dishonours their vows of OBEDIENCE, CHASTITY AND POVERTY IS A LOST SOUL. Any Catholic Faithful who virulently abuses and rejects the Authority of the Catholic Church, Her Teachings and the Magisterium IS A LOST SOUL.

    Weep, my beloved Catholics, weep for the souls who have sold themselves to the Devil. I almost shed tears watching that horrid Video. God have Mercy on us all. Let us pray the younger Nuns will not copy these lost souls and be swallowed by the “World”.

  • I recommend the “The Mitre and the Crook” by Fr. Brian Houghton. The book is out of print but can still be found at Amazon and other book sites. A very interesting read.

    I was taught for my my first 8 grades by Benedictines and just loved them. When I entered a Benedictine college the winds of change had started. Nuns out at nightclubs. So sad to see.

  • [email protected]″ Do you know Consolata Bishop Ambrose (Ambrogio) Ravasi, now retired at the Seminary in Marsabit, Kenya? When he was stationed as Superior General for the USA in Somerset, NJ, Father Ambrose always welcomed me as though he had waited his whole life for me to walk into his office. He often talked about his spouse, Kenya. What a treasure.

  • The LCWR is seeking religion beyond Faith. Religion is man’s response to the gift of Faith from God, and a freedom guaranteed by our First Amendment. Religion beyond Faith is called atheism and is not guaranteed freedom by our First Amendment.

  • From Orwell’s essay, “Reflections on Gandhi”

    “But one should, I think, realize that Gandhi’s teachings cannot be squared with the belief that Man is the measure of all things and that our job is to make life worth living on this earth, which is the only earth we have. […]

    “[…] it is not necessary here to argue whether the other-worldly or the humanistic ideal is “higher.” The point is that they are incompatible. One must choose between God and man, and all “radicals” and “progressives,” from the mildest liberal to the most extreme anarchist, have in effect chosen man.”

    Seems as if these women have chosen man.

Liberal Catholics and the Fortnight For Freedom

Friday, June 22, AD 2012

 

 

Christopher Johnson, a non-Catholic who has taken up the cudgels so frequently in defense of the Church that I have designated him Defender of the Faith, has the number of liberal Catholics and their reaction to the Fortnight For Freedom proclaimed by our Bishops:

Jim Naughton’s joint takes note of the US Catholic Church’s latest initiative:

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has called on Catholics throughout the country to observe a “Fortnight for Freedom,” beginning today and running through July 4, to protest the Obama administration’s health care policies.

This is how the USCCB describes Fortnight of Freedom.

The fourteen days from June 21—the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More—to July 4, Independence Day, are dedicated to this “fortnight for freedom”—a great hymn of prayer for our country. Our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face of persecution by political power—St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More, St. John the Baptist, SS. Peter and Paul, and the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome.  Culminating on Independence Day, this special period of prayer, study, catechesis, and public action will emphasize both our Christian and American heritage of liberty. Dioceses and parishes around the country have scheduled special events that support a great national campaign of teaching and witness for religious liberty.

Here’s the obligatory bit that all stories like this are legally obligated to contain about how sharply divided the Roman Catholic Church is over this issue.

Marion McCartney, who attends the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Washington, D.C., opposes the bishops’ campaign. She’s part of a group, Blessed Sacrament Families United in Faith and Action, that wrote a letter to its pastor, saying the partisan nature of the campaign is “a step too far.”

“Nobody’s religious freedom is at stake. That’s just ridiculous!” McCartney says. Is “[Health and Human Services Secretary] Kathleen Sebelius going to come and close all the church doors? I mean, it’s just foolishness.”

Can you say “Episcopalians in Catholic drag?”  Knew you could.

Another member of that group is Jim Zogby, who has worked on human-rights issues overseas. He says the U.S. bishops were spoiling for a fight over social issues with the Obama administration.

“They declared war on the administration, and we the faithful are paying the price for it,” Zogby says. “Our religious freedom, our ability to simply go to church, worship, feel a community, feel safe in that community” has been compromised.

“We’re now being put in the middle of a partisan fight, and that’s wrong.”

It’s easy to see what’s at work here.  To liberal Catholics, as to all leftist Christians, Catholic bishops are “partisan” or “political” when they take a stand on an issue with which the left strongly disagrees(i. e., birth control and abortion).  When they back a cause the left strongly supports, the bishops are acting “pastoral” and truly Christian and doing what God called them to do and stuff.

His wife, Eileen, says Blessed Sacrament, with its mix of liberals and conservatives, has always put politics aside. Not now. At a recent parish meeting about religious freedom, people began attacking President Obama, she says, getting more and more heated.

“Until finally one person leaned forward and he said, ‘Well, I have seen cars in our parking lot with Obama stickers on them, and they are complicit in all of this.’ And I thought, ‘Well I guess I’m not welcome here, because I have an Obama sticker on my car.’ “

If you’ve got an Obama sticker on your car, lady, I have one piece of advice.  Get thee to a Eucharistic Adoration.  Can’t hurt.  Also, the sex abuse scandal.  And nuns are cool now so stop beating up nuns!!

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19 Responses to Liberal Catholics and the Fortnight For Freedom

  • “Episcopalians in Catholic drag!” I love that phrase!

  • Oh, I forgot:

    Bishopress Schori would be so proud! Revelation 2:20-23:

    20* But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and beguiling my servants to practice immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. 21 I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her immorality. 22 Behold, I will throw her on a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her doings; 23* and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches shall know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you as your works deserve.

  • Not one person mentioned the Body of Christ. “People of God” do not murder or approve of murder in the womb. Whoever encouraged that woman to believe that she is ordained is out of order and has done her a great disservice. How sweetly they are defiant. How compassionately they will rip the brains out of a living human being. How gently they say: “No, I will not serve.” They are atheists trying to take control of the Catholic Church, in the same manner the devil has taken control of their souls. Thank God for Pope Benedict XVI.

  • Liberal Catholics sing in one accord: “We have no King but Caesar” (John 16:9).

  • The Common Good!

    Social Justice!!

    They don’t care about faith and morals.

    They are not Catholics. They are liberals fronting as catholics.

  • “Liberal Catholics sing in one accord: “We have no King but Caesar” (John 16:9).”

    Whoa, the truth behind that should send shivers down one’s spine.

  • In the very old days, when a daughter wished to enter a convent, her father had to provide a dowery equal to her life’s support to the convent. It is said that this is the dowery provided by Saint Nicholas. Many a good woman could not enter a convent. And when these arrive at the gates of hell, they will blame their bishop.

  • “And when these arrive at the gates of hell, they will blame their bishop.” it is to these out of order nuns, to whom, I refer. Beg pardon.

  • The video is actually rather sad – the poor woman justifying her “choice” position because it is “private”; as if anything we do is actually private. And, of course, bringing up the canard about “coat hangers” (really would like to see a full scale investigation to find out if there was ever a woman who tried that). They are so lost – just aimlessly mouthing sentiments they cannot possibly have thought through and being willing tools of those who wish to destroy all truth.

  • Sad to see Ms. McCartney confuse “freedom of worship” with “freedom of religion,” but that’s just what her preferred standard-bearer wants to restrict her to. Sadder still that she’d need padlocks on the doors before she’d see a problem.

    Another snapshot from our Catholic house divided.

  • Sorry, I cant get all worked up about this. If the Bishops and the Church wanted true freedom they would stop standing around with their hands out asking for government money for health care, social programs, vouchers, tax exemptions. Has anyone ever heard the saying: “he who pays the piper gets to name the tune.” If the government gives you money (or financial benefit in the way of tax exemptions) they expect you to accept all the conditions that go along with it.

    True freedom means financial freedom. Other organizations have retained their freedom by refusing government assistance. For decades Hillsdale College has stuck by its principles and refused government funding to avoid government regulations. In the 1990’s Bob Jones University stuck by its principles – for awhile – until they caved on the issue of interracial dating (not an admirable cause but you can at least respect them for standing up for their principles). On the other hand look at all the Catholic social service agencies that have been forced to provide benefits to same sex couples because the agency accepts federal or local funds.

    I wish our Bishops would have enough courage to just say “NO” to government money. Unfortunately, that is something our clergy has never been strong enough to do.

  • Your argument is a nonsequitur since the HHS mandate is not contingent upon an employer receiving one thin dime from the Feds.

  • Don is right. I hear this nonsequitur argument all the time, even from folks who strike me as otherwise informed. Weird actually.

  • So in other words, the HHS mandate applies to every organization whether or not it receives federal money, the only exception being a very narrow one that includes houses of worship (I.e., churches, temples, synagogues, etc.), but NOT other religious organizations even when they receive NO federal money.

    Hence the non sequitur nature of the argument: “This is the Bishop’s fault because they receive federal funding for their organizations.”

    I do agree, however, that the Bishops’ ingratiation of themselves with the liberal leftist idea of social justice, the common good and peace at any price to the exclusion of the principles of subsidiarity, personal responsibility and individual accountability has had a lot to do with the current situation. Not all Bishops did this, but enough of this Marxist pollution has so infected the USCCB that we have the current situation. Now they cry religious freedom, having already sacrificed it for universal health care nonsense and other liberal social justice idiocies. The Church is about saving souls from Heaven, and that is where She ought to focus Her energies.

  • “The Church is about saving souls from Heaven…”

    Whoops! That should read:

    “The Church is about saving souls for Heaven…”

    -10 points for me!

  • “I wish our Bishops would have enough courage to just say “NO” to government money. Unfortunately, that is something our clergy has never been strong enough to do.”

    “Don is right. I hear this nonsequitur argument all the time, even from folks who strike me as otherwise informed. Weird actually.”

    Weird indeed. One cannot express oneself freely if one takes part in govt. programs. Though unfortunately, we might have to begin to think this way in order to prevent such a move in the future.

  • Mac and all lawyers at sea,

    I have been warned about hand-written notes and emails (they may be subpoenaed!).

    Can you give a Legalese, one- or two-word translation for the word “bu!!$@&%”?

    Ridiculous, spurious, and nonsequitur just don’t have the “oomph.”

    For accounting and financial BS, I use: “liberal interpretation”, inconsistent application”, “mark to make-believe”, “fairy tale value”, or “extend and pretend.”

    Thanx!

  • Love this video report! In La La land, one can believe just about anything and call herself a Catholic. And one more reason to never sing that stupid song. It may be heartfelt but it, along with many other OCP ditties, does not belong in any Catholic liturgy. SO happy we have the Latin Mass and are not subject to the liturgy nazi’s dictating what we must sing in order to make everyone at Mass feel good about himself/herself.

Fortnight For Freedom Day 2: Martyrs for the Liberty of the Church

Friday, June 22, AD 2012

 

The resistance of More and Fisher to the royal supremacy in Church government was a heroic stand.  They realised the defects of the existing Catholic system, but they hated and feared the aggressive nationalism which was destroying the unity of Christendom.  They saw that the break with Rome carried with it the risk of a despotism freed from every fetter.  More stood forth as the defender of all that was finest in the medieval outlook.  He represents to history its universality, its belief in spiritual values, and its instinctive sense of otherworldliness.  Henry VIII with cruel axe decapitated not only a wise and gifted counselor, but a system which, though it had failed to live up to its ideals in practice, had for long furnished mankind with its brightest dreams.”

Sir Winston Churchill

 

 

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

On April 12, the Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty of the U.S.  Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued a document, “Our First,  Most Cherished Liberty,” outlining the bishops’ concerns over threats to religious freedom, both at home and abroad. The bishops called for a “Fortnight for Freedom,” a 14-day period of prayer, education and action in support of religious freedom, from June 21-July 4.

Bishops in their own dioceses are encouraged to arrange special events to  highlight the importance of defending religious freedom. Catholic  institutions are encouraged to do the same, especially in cooperation  with other Christians, Jews, people of other faiths and all who wish to  defend our most cherished freedom.

The fourteen days from June  21—the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More—to  July 4, Independence Day, are dedicated to this “fortnight for  freedom”—a great hymn of prayer for our country. Our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face  of persecution by political power—St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More,  St. John the Baptist, SS. Peter and Paul, and the First Martyrs of the  Church of Rome.  Culminating on Independence Day, this special period of prayer, study, catechesis, and public action would emphasize both our  Christian and American heritage of liberty. Dioceses and parishes around the country could choose a date in that period for special events that  would constitute a great national campaign of teaching and witness for  religious liberty.

We here at The American Catholic are participating in the Fortnight For Freedom with special blog posts on each day.  This is the second of these blog posts.

June 22, is the feast day of Saint Thomas More and Saint John Fisher, the two great martyrs of the Church who died for the liberty of the Church when King Henry VIII, in order to secure a divorce, sundered the Catholic Church in England from the Catholic Church and placed this new Anglican Church under his control.  Throughout her history the Church has stood foursquare against the attempts by governments to exercised domination over her, and More and Fisher were two in a very long line of martyrs who have died fighting against such attempts.

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2 Responses to Fortnight For Freedom Day 2: Martyrs for the Liberty of the Church

  • ‘ … We are commanded by Christ to render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s and unto God the things which are God’s. Pope Benedict on September 17, 2010, while visiting England, reflected upon Saint Thomas More and the liberty of the Church: ‘

    ‘ … The liberty of the Church and religious freedom are our birthrights as Catholics and as Americans. Eternal vigilance and prompt action in defense are ever necessary to safeguard these treasures. … ‘ Donald MacClarey

    and

    ‘ … but a system which, though it had failed to live up to its ideals in practice, had for long furnished mankind with its brightest dreams.” ‘ Sir Winston Churchill

    Would these “c”atholics, who bash and betray their Lord ( who is in their churches and the deposit of their faith for them ), with their heartless ways of detraction, mocking, and turned backs, begin to do the same with Caesar and one another when that is what’s left for them? Will their media, the LCWR, the liberal naysaying clergy, Mr. GS and crew of hired hands, and their government parties legislate, order, and report spiritual comfort to fill the deadly emptiness of having none?

    If only they could take a step to lift up their hearts to God, who waits, their funerals, weddings, baptisms and holidays (Holy Days) could start wonder at the mysteries of their lives (first, of course) and God in His Ways.

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Surprise! George Soros Funded Group of Left-Wing Catholics Attempting to Sabotage Fortnight For Freedom

Thursday, June 21, AD 2012

 

I am shocked, shocked to learn that Faith in Public Life, a George Soros funded group of left-wing Catholics, Protestants and Jews, is attempting to attack the Fortnight For Freedom, the campaign of our Bishops against the HHS Mandate of the Obama Administration.  Bill Donohue of The Catholic League has the goods:

Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments as follows:

June 21 marks the beginning of the “Fortnight for Freedom” events, the campaign for religious liberty being conducted by the nation’s bishops. Fair-minded persons may disagree with this effort, but there is something unseemly going on when those who work for a George Soros-funded group are quietly providing talking points to the media.

John Gehring is an official at Faith in Public Life, and it is his organization that lives off the bounty of the left-wing atheist billionaire, Mr. Soros. On June 7, Gehring sent a memo to his buddies in the media (a copy of which was generously leaked to me—click here) instructing them on how to handle the bishops. They should begin by questioning the prelates why the Obama “accommodation” wasn’t good enough. “You have to ask why the bishops can’t take yes for an answer,” he wrote.

Teaching them how to handle the “war on the Catholic Church,” Gehring advises, “Several bishops have used inflammatory and irresponsible rhetoric that conflates a process of working through complex policy issues with a fundamental attack on the Catholic Church.” He also frets over the politicization of the religious liberty campaign, an effort made possible, he neglects to say, because of the politicization of religion by President Obama.

Not to be outdone, Gehring presses his lackeys to victimize the victim, beckoning them to ask the bishops—all of whom refuse to prostitute their principles—“Are you willing to sacrifice Catholic charities, colleges and hospitals if you don’t get your way on the contraceptive mandate?”

Finally, Gehring provides a go-to list of Catholic activists who can be counted on to subvert the bishops’ message. It’s what we would expect from a George Soros group.

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9 Responses to Surprise! George Soros Funded Group of Left-Wing Catholics Attempting to Sabotage Fortnight For Freedom

  • They attack only that which threatens them, so I suppose it should be considered good news.

  • WK Aiken, I sincerely hope and pray to the Lord God that the liberal progressive Democrats DO feel threatened.

  • Threatened?

    Liberals would be suicidal if they weren’t innumerate (the equivalent of “illiterate” in mathematics).

    The Zero’s approval rating is 43% (46% disapprove) down seven percentage points in two weeks.

    It’s not just Obama’s serial assaults on religious liberty. either.

    There are NO JOBS.

  • But T Shaw No Jobs isn’t a problem for most Liberals because that means they get to work on their self expression through modern art.

  • It is true that most new agey liberals drive each other nuts, I see my mom getting more and more lonely and insane and more and more tyrannical at home.

  • Valentin, there’s a phrase I heard used often in workplaces for functioning amidst what you describe at home. It was, ‘Hang in there.’ Another was, ‘This, too, shall pass.’
    Keep the Fourth Commandment which God gave to Moses for His people in mind, and remember that you aren’t alone if you keep a place for God (who loves you most) in your heart.

  • Dividing religious groups is the last vestige, perhaps the last page, in Mr. Obama’s notebook on “How To Be A First Class Saul Alinsky Operative.” Too many naive members of secular and religious orders rely on their prayer values alone to overcome political intrusions; it takes equal parts political science and pugilism in balance with prayer.

  • “It is true that most new agey liberals drive each other nuts”

    When your whole political dogma is based on the Primacy of Self, the competiton gets pretty stiff right away.

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We Are Catholics And We Will Be Heard

Thursday, June 21, AD 2012

 

Bravo to The Catholic Association for the fine video above to help us kick off Fortnight For Freedom.  People don’t truly appreciate their freedom until it is threatened.  I think that is also true for many Catholics in regard to the Church.  Time to stand up.  A time for choosing is here.

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4 Responses to We Are Catholics And We Will Be Heard

  • I just discovered your website and I live in Australia. Be great if there was a FFF campaign down here.
    A big issue for us (and I assume in your country) is the campaign against same sex marriage. There is a por SSM campaign at the moment that is cringeworthy in the way it has become trendy and a lot of celebrities have become involved. It is the “hula hoop” concept the latest fad. Roman Catholics (i like to put the Roman in front for extra emphasis as I strongly believe in the traditions of the Church) around the world need to fight this. I especially resent the way that “Marriage Equality” is the term used as opposed to same sex marriage. Talk about Newspeak!

  • Welcome Oz! We are all in this fight together, faithful Roman Catholics the world round!

  • One man and one fake wife or one woman and one fake husband has got to be perjury in a court of law. Perjury cannot be codified, sanctioned or legalized anynore than gay-marriage, as gay-marriage is assault and battery of the other. Religiously though, gay-marriage denies the human beings’ immortal soul.

  • Must Jehovah Witnesses employers include blood transfusions in coverage for Catholic employees? Can Muslim employers insist on Sharia law in the workplace? Must Christian Scientist employers provide health insurance?

    This slippery slope is coated with ice.

Fortnight For Freedom Day 1: Freedom is Not Just a Big Word

Thursday, June 21, AD 2012

 

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

On April 12, the Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty of the U.S.  Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued a document, “Our First,  Most Cherished Liberty,” outlining the bishops’ concerns over threats to religious freedom, both at home and abroad. The bishops called for a “Fortnight for Freedom,” a 14-day period of prayer, education and action in support of religious freedom, from June 21-July 4.

Bishops in their own dioceses are encouraged to arrange special events to  highlight the importance of defending religious freedom. Catholic  institutions are encouraged to do the same, especially in cooperation  with other Christians, Jews, people of other faiths and all who wish to  defend our most cherished freedom.

The fourteen days from June  21—the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More—to  July 4, Independence Day, are dedicated to this “fortnight for  freedom”—a great hymn of prayer for our country. Our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face  of persecution by political power—St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More,  St. John the Baptist, SS. Peter and Paul, and the First Martyrs of the  Church of Rome.  Culminating on Independence Day, this special period of prayer, study, catechesis, and public action would emphasize both our  Christian and American heritage of liberty. Dioceses and parishes around the country could choose a date in that period for special events that  would constitute a great national campaign of teaching and witness for  religious liberty.

We here at The American Catholic are participating in the Fortnight For Freedom with special blog posts on each day.  This is the first of these blog posts.

The video at the top of this post is a scene from the classic movie, The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941), based upon the short story by Stephen Vincent Benet, in which Daniel Webster bests Satan in a jury trial to save the soul of New Hampshireman Jabez Stone.   In this scene Daniel Webster addresses a jury of the damned, all villains of American history.  I have always thought this speech one of the most eloquent statements of what it means to be an American.

In regard to Freedom it reminds us that it is just not a word:  Freedom is not just a big word — it is the bread and the   morning and the risen sun. It was for freedom we came in boats and ships to these shores.  It has been a long journey, a hard one, a bitter one. There is sadness in being a man, but it is a proud thing, too.  Out of the suffering and the starvation, the wrong and the right, a new thing has come, a free man. When the whips of   the oppressors are broken, and their names forgotten and destroyed, free men will be walking and talking under a free star. Yes, we   have planted freedom here in this earth like wheat.  This is the priceless treasure that Goverment encroachments like the HHS Mandate begin to take away from us.

Go here to read the passage in the Stephen Vincet Benet’s short story.  Below is the scene as written in the screenplay:

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27 Responses to Fortnight For Freedom Day 1: Freedom is Not Just a Big Word

  • Defend Religious Liberty.

    Stop Tyranny.

    Defeat Obama.

  • Isn’t it ironic that Democrats are the most anti-freedom people around, from their support of slavery in the 1800s to their support of baby-murdering in the late 1900s and early 2000s? Having sold their souls to Satan, I suppose they have no other choice.

  • Freedom of religion lets us live by conscience.
    Freedom of worship is within ‘church’ walls, not the law. Until … such as places in the eastern world.
    Two weeks for special prayer for Christianity, whether or not locales have any plans to get people together to understand.

  • I will be saying the St. Michael Prayer, which Pope Leo XIII wrote after seeing a horrific vision of demons and St. Michael. Our country, the Catholic Church and the world certainly needs his intercession. We all need to be warriors now!

    Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against the malice and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.

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  • Satan has no soul. Satan is a person as he testifies for himself, but Satan has no soul. Saint Michael, appearing to the children of Fatima, brought to them Holy Communion. Saint Michael bowed to the earth in their presence and confessed that he could not receive the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. Satan, the Destroyer, liar and murderer, cannot be a citizen as he claims in the story The Devil and Daniel Webster, because a citizen constitutes a nation. Just being there as he claims, when the slaves were enslaved, does not constitute citizenship. Constituting the nation constitutes citizenship. Jesus Christ, the Son of Man, has a human, rational soul. Jesus Christ is Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. Because Jesus Christ is the Son of God, perfect innocence, perfect charity, the standard of Justice and mercy, Jesus Christ constitutes all nations, all sovereignty, and therefore, is a citizen of all nations, all people. Jesus Christ, as citizen of the universe, nation and the USA, cannot be denied access to the public square, the public square, Jesus’ God and Father created.
    When the Person of God, the Father, God, the Son, and God, the Holy Spirit, the Trinity of Persons, the first family, the community of LOVE, is returned to the public square, all freedom will reign. Viva Christo Rey
    The moral order is established by God. Jesus Christ lives the moral order.

  • Our US bishops have exercised, for the most part, silence regarding the Church’s truth, though hard sayings, regarding artificial contraception and abortion. The bishops, the USCCB, have not for many years exercised their so called American “freedom” and “freedom of conscience” regarding the Church’s doctrines. They have been afraid to speak the truth in love to Catholics or they have sold their souls to the liberal, often Judaized, philosophies. Fear and silence do not go together with truth and true freedom. Pope Gregory the Great famously said .. “If people are scandalized at the truth, it is better to allow the birth of scandal, than to abandon the truth” Here is what Saint Catherine of Siena said about silence. “I’ve had enough of exhortations to be silent! Cry out with a hundred thousand tongues. I see that the world is rotten because of silence.” A follower of Christ is to be a bondslave of Christ.

    Now we are supposed to be rallying and considering “civil disobedience” in this “Fortnight of Freedom”, when the Americanist bishops and “American Catholics” for the cause of “freedom”, which is NOT the cause of Christ, and is NOT first obedience to God.

    Read what Pope Pius X said about Americanism and the Americanists. The founding of the USA was by those who believed in the principles of the Enlightenment. The principles of the Englightenment are anti-Christ and anti Christ toward Christ’s Catholic Church.

    Thomas Payne and Thomas Jefferson spoke of “freedom” not in Christ’s definition of “freedom” (the glorious freedom of the children of God) but in this worldly Englightenment ideas of freedom, and that is the way this Fortnight of Freedom is promoting “freedom.” This is not freedom under God. This is freedom above God.

    Christus vincit! Christus regnat! Christus imperat!

  • In a word, Jeannon, baloney. Try reading this passage from Leo XIII:

    ” Nor, perchance did the fact which We now recall take place without some design of divine Providence. Precisely at the epoch when the American colonies, having, with Catholic aid, achieved liberty and independence, coalesced into a constitutional Republic the ecclesiastical hierarchy was happily established amongst you; and at the very time when the popular suffrage placed the great Washington at the helm of the Republic, the first bishop was set by apostolic authority over the American Church. The well-known friendship and familiar intercourse which subsisted between these two men seems to be an evidence that the United States ought to be conjoined in concord and amity with the Catholic Church. And not without cause; for without morality the State cannot endure-a truth which that illustrious citizen of yours, whom We have just mentioned, with a keenness of insight worthy of his genius and statesmanship perceived and proclaimed. But the best and strongest support of morality is religion. She, by her very nature, guards and defends all the principles on which duties are founded, and setting before us the motives most powerful to influence us, commands us to live virtuously and forbids us to transgress. Now what is the Church other than a legitimate society, founded by the will and ordinance of Jesus Christ for the preservation of morality and the defence of religion? For this reason have We repeatedly endeavored, from the summit of the pontifical dignity, to inculcate that the Church, whilst directly and immediately aiming at the salvation of souls and the beatitude which is to be attained in heaven, is yet, even in the order of temporal things, the fountain of blessings so numerous and great that they could not have been greater or more numerous had the original purpose of her institution been the pursuit of happiness during the life which is spent on earth.

    5. That your Republic is .progressing and developing by giant strides is patent to all; and this holds good in religious matters also. For even as your cities, in the course of one century, have made a marvellous increase in wealth and power, so do we behold the Church, from scant and slender beginnings, grown with rapidity to be great and exceedingly flourishing. Now if, on the one hand, the increased riches and resources of your cities are justly attributed to the talents and active industry of the American people, on the other hand, the prosperous condition of Catholicity must be ascribed, first indeed, to the virtue, the ability, and the prudence of the bishops and clergy; but in so slight measure also, to the faith and generosity of the Catholic laity. Thus, while the different classes exerted their best energies, you were enabled to erect unnumbered religious and useful institutions, sacred edifices, schools for the instruction of youth, colleges for the higher branches, homes for the poor, hospitals for the sick, and convents and monasteries. As for what more closely touches spiritual interests, which are based upon the exercise of Christian virtues, many facts have been brought to Our notice, whereby We are animated with hope and filled with joy, namely, that the numbers of the secular and regular clergy are steadily augmenting, that pious sodalities and confraternities are held in esteem, that the Catholic parochial schools, the Sunday-schools for imparting Christian doctrine, and summer schools are in a flourishing condition; moreover, associations for mutual aid, for the relief of the indigent, for the promotion of temperate living, add to all this the many evidences of popular piety.

    6. The main factor, no doubt, in bringing things into this happy state were the ordinances and decrees of your synods, especially of those which in more recent times were convened and confirmed by the authority of the Apostolic See. But, moreover (a fact which it gives pleasure to acknowledge), thanks are due to the equity of the laws which obtain in America and to the customs of the well-ordered Republic. For the Church amongst you, unopposed by the Constitution and government of your nation, fettered by no hostile legislation, protected against violence by the common laws and the impartiality of the tribunals, is free to live and act without hindrance.”

    The hatred that some trad Catholics have for their own nation and our heritage of freedom as Americans is simply bizarre and has nothing to do with Catholicism.

  • Correct me if I am wrong, but as I understand it, Pope Leo XIII wasn’t so much critical of the Republican system of secular government over these United States, as he was of installing such a system of government for the Church in these United States. Indeed, one might rightly argue that it is the liberals who want Church matters decided on by popular vote, as though the Church ought to be ruled by the “peepul”.

    Establishing Americanism as the Church government in America is obviously wrong. But having a Constitutional Republican government for secular society is exactly what has prevented secular government from telling the Church what to do or not do, and thus has enabled (or at least allowed) the Successors to the Apostles act like the Successors to the Apostles.

  • In a word, Mr. McClareey, baloney. Try reading this passage from Leo XIII Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae (1899).

    “Pope Leo identified three major erroneous views that served to dilute Catholicism in America. The first is the belief that “in order to more easily attract those who differ from her, the Church should shape her teachings more in accord with the spirit of the age and relax some of her ancient severity and make some concessions to new opinions.”

    And further, Mr. Baloney, your statement “The hatred that some trad Catholics have for their own nation and our heritage of freedom as Americans is simply bizarre and has nothing to do with Catholicism.” is bizaare and has nothing to do with Catholic conduct.

    “The second error condemned by Pope Leo was “that opinion of the lovers of novelty, according to which they hold such liberty should be allowed in the Church, that…allowance be granted the faithful, each one to follow out more freely the leading of his own mind and the trend of his own proper activity.” The pope was condemning the idea of private judgment being the supreme guide as to how one should live, and he was rejecting the idea that the Church should have no say over the consciences of men. The source of this error was the constitutional, enlightenment states that were growing up in the 1800s, and according to American history professor, author and Pulitzer prize winner, Joseph Ellis, the USA is an Enlightenment state. We see the Enlightenment’s imprint on the US in Thomas Jefferson’s famous quote inscribed in the Jefferson Memorial that “I have sworn on the alter of god, eternal hostility to every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”

    “The Third error condemned was “an unwarranted importance to the natural virtues as though they better responded to the customs and necessities of the times.” The late Fr. John Hardon’s Modern Catholic Dictionary, states “In general, active virtues correspond to what is commonly associated with American activism.” The great Dominican Thomist, Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, explained in his monumental work, The Three Ages of the Interior Life, that Americanism was the revival of the spirit of “practical naturalism” which is “the negation of the spirit of faith in the conduct of life”. (Tan Books, 1989, vol 1. P. 275) He teaches that Americanism says that the passions are neither good nor bad, but that they “become so according to the intention of our will. They are forces to be utilized; they must not be mortified, but regulated and modulated.” (p. 276) Americanism resists efforts to “combat private judgment, self-will…[because to do so] is to place oneself in a state of servitude which destroys all initiative and makes a person lose contact with the world, which one ought not to scorn, but to ameliorate.” (p. 276).

    The above summarization of Testem

    At the root of Americanism is pride, a pride that says America is not only unique and special but that it is also the greatest. A pride that corrupts doctrine and says that America knows better than the Church and that the Church should learn from America. A pride that places loyalty to America and the USA before loyalty to the Church and the Holy Father. A pride that places being American before being Roman Catholic. This is what we may draw from Leo’s indication that Americanism is a rejection of the words and spirit of St. Jerome who speaking to Pope St. Damasus said “I acknowledge no other leader than Christ, am bound in fellowship with your Holiness; that is with the chair of Peter. I know that the church was built upon him as its rock, and that whosever gathereth not with you, scattereth.” It is the primacy of Christ and his Church, as well of the authority of the Holy Father, that is needed in the hearts of believers to keep unity. For, as Leo XIII continued, the “true church is one, as by unity of doctrine, so by unity of government.”

    The summarization of Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae is taken from a speech of David Wemhoff, “THE PRO-LIFE MOVEMENT AND THE NEW AMERICANISM”

    http://www.romancatholicreport.com/id172.html

  • Jeannon Kralj,

    Everything you quoted from Pope Leo XIII’s Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae confirms what I wrote: the Pope wasn’t criticizing the Constitutional Repubic that was the United States, but the application of “peepul” rule and popular opinion for Church government.

    Look at the statements in your comment:

    (1) “…The first is the belief that ‘in order to more easily attract those who differ from her, the Church should shape her teachings more in accord with the spirit of the age…'”

    (2) “The second error condemned by Pope Leo was ‘that opinion of the lovers of novelty, according to which they hold such liberty should be allowed in the Church…'”

    (3) “The Third error condemned was ‘an unwarranted importance to the natural virtues as though they better responded to the customs and necessities of the times…'”

    The Pope never criticized the United States herself as a Constitutional Republic. Rather, he criticized trying to apply a system of voting, popular opinion and relativism in place of the Church government that Jesus established.

    BTW, I love my country, but I love God first. So I take exception to these statements:

    “At the root of Americanism is pride, a pride that says America is not only unique and special but that it is also the greatest. A pride that corrupts doctrine and says that America knows better than the Church and that the Church should learn from America.”

    That’s not the Americanism I have or profess. Rather, the Americanism I have and profess is one where God is honored first, where Holy Mother Church occupies a central place in the public square, where free exercise of religion is sacrosanct, and where the country I love is restored to being the Christian Consitutional Republic that she once was. We can never be best or greatest except that God be first.

  • BTW, one other thing Jeannon. You correctly wrote incriticism of this idea: “America knows better than the Church and that the Church should learn from America.” The whole idea of of this fortnight for freedom prayer time is to combat this very notion.

    America does NOT know better than the Church, the indefectible Bride of Christ (though Barack Hussein Obama and Kathleen Sebelius think otherwise), and the Church, the indefectible Bride of Christ, ought NOT to learn anything from America (though LCWR and the other liberal Katholyks think otherwise) except perhaps what NOT to do.

  • Jeannon, when you quote papal documents actually quote them, and not glosses. There is nothing in Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae which supports the wacked out argument you are making.

    Here is what the Pope actually said:

    “From the foregoing it is manifest, beloved son, that we are not able to give approval to those views which, in their collective sense, are called by some “Americanism.” But if by this name are to be understood certain endowments of mind which belong to the American people, just as other characteristics belong to various other nations, and if, moreover, by it is designated your political condition and the laws and customs by which you are governed, there is no reason to take exception to the name. But if this is to be so understood that the doctrines which have been adverted to above are not only indicated, but exalted, there can be no manner of doubt that our venerable brethren, the bishops of America, would be the first to repudiate and condemn it as being most injurious to themselves and to their country. For it would give rise to the suspicion that there are among you some who conceive and would have the Church in America to be different from what it is in the rest of the world.”
    http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Leo13/l13teste.htm

    Paul, the Church teaches us how to go to Heaven, it teaches us very little about a wide range of subjects outside that sphere. The Church has never claimed to have all wisdom in secular matters, and Catholics who pretend otherwise, and I do not place you in that group, are very much mistaken.

  • Oh, and Jeannon, David Wemhoff who you quote seems to hold some nutty theories including that Pope Benedict is a tool of the United States:

    “But that is what conquerors do — they destroy the conquered and themselves if their conquest is not in the name of Jesus Christ and with the sign of the Cross. Munoz’ mind is enslaved by the Americans just as is the mind of Joseph Ratzinger. Benedict’s many speeches praising America are a, if not the, critical factor for the darkening of Munoz’ mind so as to accept error. Benedict, as leader of the Catholics, has been conditioned to be an American and to serve America, and so Catholics are bound to follow their leader into captivity. Ratzinger, now pope, as a type of Manchurian Candidate, is a symbol of America’s occupation of the Catholic Church.

    One of the great causes for hope and miracles of the day, in addition to the numbers of people entering the Church and growing it around the world even while its prelates are suffering through their American and Jewish captivity, is that the Holy Spirit still speaks through the papal encyclicals, such as Deus Caritas Est, which calls Catholics, and all people, to the truth and liberation from error. For error leads to sin, and the wages of sin is death. One need only consult antiquity and societies of the modern era grown too engrossed in serving wealth to see where it all leads. The unfortunate part is that many who consider themselves Catholic will go down with the sinking ship known as America. And, most importantly, many are in danger of the fires of hell because of the American ideas that come from the man who is pope.

    [1] “American(s)” refers to those who hold to the liberal, Enlightenment principles that created the country known as the USA which, with its Constitution and Declaration of Independence in large measure, shape the society known as America. One can be a citizen of the USA (that is, CUSA) and be a Catholic, and most CUSAs are Americans. One cannot be a Catholic and an American. To be an American is to believe in American principles before the teachings of the Church, or in other words to accept the Enlightenment ideals as superior to the teachings of the Faith.”

    http://catholicforum.fisheaters.com/index.php/topic,3445145.0.html

    Rad Trads can be just as nutty as leftist Catholics.

  • I agree with your statement, Donald: “…the Church teaches us how to go to Heaven, it teaches us very little about a wide range of subjects outside that sphere. The Church has never claimed to have all wisdom in secular matters…” (e.g., US NRC oversight of reactor plant safety – clearly a non-spiritual issue.)

    As you correctly noted: “…I do not place you in that group…”

    I should have been more precise in my statements. It’s difficult getting all the nuances right. I did not intend to confuse rightful authority in secular matters that would devolve onto government with authority in spiritual matters that would devolve onto the Church.

  • “the Church teaches us how to go to Heaven, it teaches us very little about a wide range of subjects outside that sphere.”

    I believe the Church’s social teachings, which are founded on caring for “the common good” teach us much about a wide range of subjects outside the sphere of how to go to heaven. For example, the Church used rightly to teach us about usury and how wrong it is. Dante put sodomites and usurers in the same circle of hell. Usury seems to be the basis of the “capitalism” that we have in America. The basics of economics falls within the Church’s social teachings. Another example, the Church cares about just wages for the worker and just prices. It looks to me like the Left and the Right of all parties have been rewarding corporations for moving their industrial operations and jobs for Americans overseas, and they have been doing this for at least 40 years, possibly much longer.

    I do not consider myself a “Rad Trad” and I do not know what the terms “liberal” and “conservative” mean anymore.

    The one thing the Church as been way too silent about is that there have been dark forces and people for centuries, if not millennia, who have in stealth manipulated unjust wars and other deceptions for the purpose of forming a world government, which will nothing other than a death and slavery system for all. We know that one world government will come about from reading the Apocalypse. Who can make war with the beast? But we are to expose it, oppose it, and work to establish Christ the King’s rule on this earth as best we can.

    America was founded as a Protestant country. You say America is a Christian country. When I read the words of Christ, I simply cannot see that.

  • “You say America is a Christian country. When I read the words of Christ, I simply cannot see that.”

    No, I say that America was founded as a country of religious liberty, a concept that the Church has fully embraced.

    “For example, the Church used rightly to teach us about usury and how wrong it is.”

    Yep, and history moved on and the Church came to terms with interest and banks. The world is not static and neither is the teaching of the Church in areas not directly connected to dogma or revelation.

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15235c.htm
    “basics of economics falls within the Church’s social teachings. ”

    Not really. Ecclesiastics tend to be as poor at economics as economists tend to be at theology. A recent example in support of this proposition:

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2011/10/27/a-fisk-of-towards-reforming-the-international-financial-and-monetary-systems-in-the-context-of-global-public-authority/

    “It looks to me like the Left and the Right of all parties have been rewarding corporations for moving their industrial operations and jobs for Americans overseas, and they have been doing this for at least 40 years, possibly much longer.”

    Actually it is the law of production costs. Corporations tend to go where the work force is cheapest, other things being equal. The Chinese now are losing factories along their coast due to rising labor costs. Assuming that government fiat can alter the laws of economics has been a pleasing superstition for too many government officials and clerics down through the centuries.

  • Must Jehovah Witnesses employers include blood transfusions in coverage for Catholic employees? Can Muslim employers insist on Sharia law in the workplace? Must Christian Scientist employers provide health insurance?

    This slippery slope is coated with ice.

  • “the Church teaches us how to go to Heaven, it teaches us very little about a wide range of subjects outside that sphere”.

    I don’t think that is right. I see really no subjects outside that sphere. There is no part of me or my life than I can keep separate from the quest for Heaven. I can’t put my religion in my back pocket when I am thinking about nuclear reactors or anything else.

  • “I can’t put my religion in my back pocket when I am thinking about nuclear reactors or anything else.”

    You will find precious little in Church teaching as to how to construct nuclear reactors Anzlyne, or as to what the Hearsay Rule is, how best to utilize grazing fire in a fire fight, how to fill out the Estate Tax Return that will be one of my duties today or myriads of other topics. The confusion of religion with secular knowledge is never a good idea. Religion of course gives us our guide in morality, but too often clerics pretend to expertise in secular matters that they sadly lack, and not infrequently prove themselves buffoons in such areas to the same extent that non-clerics frequently do when they pontificate on matters of religion.

  • Hi Mr. Mc. I think we are coming from different angles here–both correct I think in what we mean.
    I think we agree that knowledge is not always wisdom, but that wisdom includes knowledge– and morality. Morality requires judgments (distinctions, decisions) based on something– and that “something” is found our religion- the foundational plank to base our lives’ actions and choices on.
    Like you, I don’t think the Bible, Tradition or the Teaching Authority of the Church try to teach us how to build a nuclear reactor. There are lots of things we can know HOW to do with or without revealed religion.
    I do think the wisdom of our religion can help us do what we can morally choose to do, better, having considered the ends, and the means to the ends. Consideration of our religion colors all of our decisions, even though it does not directly supply the ‘how to”

  • “Consideration of our religion colors all of our decisions, even though it does not directly supply the ‘how to””

    Writ large enough on big issues perhaps. My Catholicism however really does not impact my decision on how to apply the Hearsay Rule in court, or whether the Deadman’s Act is a good piece of public policy. On the other hand I think my Catholicism clearly impacts on my view of the sanctity of an oath taken in Court to tell the truth.

  • Yes. and I might add from your quote above:
    …”And not without cause; for without morality the State cannot endure- …. But the best and strongest support of morality is religion. She, by her very nature, guards and defends all the principles on which duties are founded, and setting before us the motives most powerful to influence us, commands us to live virtuously and forbids us to transgress.”

    Thank you so much- I thoroughly enjoy the discussion

  • Even the pagans can see the myth of America was founded as a Christian country on Christian principles.

    Note this article on a “secular humanist” site secularhumanism.org

    http://www.secularhumanism.org/index.php?section=fi&page=walters_32_4

    Once and for All, Is America a Christian Nation?
    The Myth of America’s Christian Heritage
    Kerry Walters

    Do not agree with Professor Walters completely, but he does provide us a much clearer picture of history. Note, in reading the article, that Catholics are not part of the early American “evangelicalism.”

    Catholics were allowed into the New World but were barely tolerated.

  • Hmm, Kerry Walters or Alexis De Tocqueville? I’m really having a hard time determining who might have a firmer grasp on America’s founding.

    In all seriousness, Walters’s grasp of history is almost as poor as David Barton, whom I critiqued here the other day. He cherrypicks select quotes and pretend that he has stockpiled evidence in his defense. If Walters had stopped at Jefferson and Franklin in his litany of heterodox Christians, he would have perhaps had a point. But just as Barton overstates his case with regards to Jefferson’s orthodoxy, Walters overstates his case with regards to the heterodoxy of the rest.

  • From Waller’s linked to article. “But the big players in the founding of the United States—such men as Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Adams, and probably Alexander Hamilton—weren’t.”

    Thomas Paine, the “filthy little atheist” as Teddy Roosevelt called him, was a bit player in the Revolution. Benjamin Franklin was a deist who had doubts about the divinity of Christ, but lacked evidence sufficient for him to venture a verdict. George Washington was a conventional Christian. Thomas Jefferson was a deist. James Madison really doesn’t give enough evidence from his writings to say whether he was a Deist or a Christian. John Adams was a Christian most of his life and had Unitarian leanings by the time of his death. Hamilton dabbled with deism as a young man but was an orthodox Christian by the time of his death.

Obama Creates Jobs!

Thursday, June 21, AD 2012

 

Hattip to Allahpundit at Hot Air.  I do not want to hear the meme any longer that Obama has created no jobs in the private sector.

Here is proof to the contrary:

The protesters popping up at Mitt Romney’s rallies throughout Michigan Tuesday look like run-of-the-mill grassroots liberals — they wave signs about “the 99 percent,” they chant about the Republican’s greed, and they describe themselves as a loosely organized coalition of “concerned citizens.”

They’re also getting paid, two of the protesters and an Obama campaign official told BuzzFeed…

Neither of the representatives agreed to give their names, but two protesters said they were getting paid to stand outside for the rally, though the wage is unclear: one said she was getting $7.25 per hour, while another man said they were being paid $17 per hour.

Meanwhile, about 50 feet away, another protest had been organized by local Democrats in conjunction with the Obama campaign. A campaign official told BuzzFeed they had nothing to do with the other group — which he said he believed they had been sent by the labor-backed “Good Jobs Now” — and confirmed that they were being paid.

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One Response to Obama Creates Jobs!

Barack “Milhous” Obama

Wednesday, June 20, AD 2012

Judging from this morning’s events, I can only assume that there is a Romney campaign mole high up in the councils of the Obama administration.  Absent this, it is hard to understand why the Obama administration, less than five months from election day, thinks it is a brilliant idea to invoke Executive Privilege in order to block the turnover of documents related to the Fast and Furious scandal to the House:

President Obama has granted an 11th-hour request by Attorney General Eric  Holder to exert executive privilege over Fast and Furious documents, a  last-minute maneuver that appears unlikely to head off a contempt vote against  Holder by Republicans in the House.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is expected to forge  ahead Wednesday morning with its meeting on the contempt resolution  anyway.

If the vote proceeds, Republicans have more than enough votes on committee to  pass the resolution. However, Holder would not be considered held in contempt of  Congress unless and until the full House approves the measure.

The move by Holder and Obama to lock down some requested documents only  complicates the fight over the botched anti-gunrunning operation between the  legislative and executive branches.

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20 Responses to Barack “Milhous” Obama

  • Pingback: Two Quick Links « Truth Before Dishonor
  • *looks at the pot of decaf* It’s too freaking early to deal with this kind of BS without serious caffeine, or much stronger stimulants.

  • I am not surprised.

    Yesterday’s Investors Business Daily published the following: “The chief executive who swore to faithfully execute the nation’s laws picks those he’ll ignore and makes up others through regulation and executive order. He sees no need for a Congress or Constitution.”

    His teleprompter is either too arrogant or to deserate to stop digging that hole.

    The Teleprompter-in-Cheif has misspent 40 months figuratively strangling America’s engines of prosperity. The TOTUS and its administration are America’s
    “Black Swans.”

    Little wonder, then, that three days after his immigration demagoguery, polls show Obama (Romney 46 – Obama 43) got zilch for his extra-constitutional arrogance.

  • Oh don’t worry Foxfier, with a little luck we’ll be watching the fallout between now and election day. Get your popcorn ready.

  • I think it’s an insult to Nixon to lump him in with King Kardashian. No one died during Watergate, a third-rate burglary that led to a coup d’etat launched by The Washington Post.

  • “I think it’s an insult to Nixon to lump him in with King Kardashian.”

    Ha! I support what Joe Green wrote!

  • Not thinking that a lousy economy was enough of an advantage for the GOP, they have handed the Republicans a scandal issue.

    You have two choices. Either what’s in the documents is worse than the aroma which arises from refusing to disclose them, or Obama is refusing to disclose them because it is his default to attempt to control the narrative at all times (that last being one suggestion as to why his long-form birth certificate remained under lock-and-key for so long).

  • In the 70s it seemed that all the sanctimony in the world could not wash away the sins of Pres Nixon. A trivial incident that JFK would have told his brother to fix with a visit by some union goons to the NYT, or FDR dismiss airily with some remarks about moneychangers became a full-blown constitutional crisis for the hapless Nixon. It would be interesting to see if the press exerts even a fraction of the effort they made during Watergate to get to the bottom of FF. Then the pundits endlessly intoned about Nixon’s contempt for the spirit of the Constitution, while here we have what appears to be no less than an attempt to subvert the Constitution itself and the MSM cannot bestir itself since it may go right up to its man in the WH.

  • Perhaps the most amusing aspect of all this is the spin that this started under Bush.

    Not exactly.

  • What you talking ’bout Ivan?

    FF would be a trivial incident in JFK administration?
    FF could be airily dismissed if FDR had done it? I don’t think so. There are still lots of guns out there, maybe more American to be killed or have been killed by them, perhaps all only for the effect of changing the Constitutional right to bear arms.
    You might not like the aforementioned Democrats, but I think Nixon, Kennedy and FDR were all true patriots.

  • Analyze,
    To be clear I was talking about the Watergate incident.

  • This is Obama’s first. George W perpetrated about a dozen, all rather questionable.

  • Six times actually, none of which were overturned by a court. We will see how Obama fares.

  • Did any of Dubya’s six, court-sustained EP claims involve illegal activities as in providing the murder weapon to the killer of a federal employee or perpetrating violent schemes aimed at taking away the American people’s Second Amendment rights?

  • “This is Obama’s first.”

    Of course the first time could be an abuse of the privilege. In which case it doesn’t matter how often others have done it.

  • First of all I was not around during the 70’s or 80’s so can someone explain watergate to me? It’s mentioned in a few songs and Lynerd Skynerd says that watergate doesn’t bother him.

    Paul Dwhich state will you take over? I call Delaware and Maryland which may not seem significant but that includes D.C.

  • I’m part way through Michelle Malkim’s book, “Culture of Corruption”, and am simply staggered that all the shenanigans by Obama and his cronies was kept under the radar for so long prior to the 2008 presidential elections
    Its pleasing to see that she, Sean Hannity et al. are working hard to expose all this – there appears to be so much, that there is probably not enough time to get through it all before the elections.

    Politics, Chicago style – nothing seems to change, does it.

  • Alas, no Don. If only there were lawmen with this type of attitude to clean up politics the Chicago Way:

  • First of all I was not around during the 70?s or 80?s so can someone explain watergate to me? It’s mentioned in a few songs and Lynerd Skynerd says that watergate doesn’t bother him.

    Mr. Nixon inherited a most wretched military quagmire from the previous administration and embarked on a policy of ‘withdrawal as a matter of policy rather than as a matter of defeat’ in the words of Dr. Kissinger (his principal counselor on foreign affairs, later the foreign minister). The precedent they had in mind was Gen. deGaulle’s liquidation of the French commitment in Algeria (1958-62). With a variety of purposes in mind, the political opposition undermined government policy (commonly in the service of promoting a rout of American forces in Indochina). One element of this was misappropriation of state secrets by government employees working both sides of the street, Morton Halperin and Daniel Ellsberg among them. They were in cahoots with our perpetually unscrupulous press corps. Mr. Nixon and his confederates thought they were justified in using every means at their disposal to attack and disable these characters. Mr. Nixon also had…issues, and had a neuralgic response to his opponents that some more internally tranquil man (e.g. his successor) might not have.

    The FBI was not the most conscientious of organizations and had been engaged in seedy extra-legal domestic surveillance for some time. They elected to not be helpful, so Mr. Nixon’s subordinates put together a pick-up team of composed of members of the White House staff, people on the staff of the President’s election campaign committee, and assorted subcontractors to do these bag jobs. One odd target of theirs was Lawrence O’Brien, the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee. They burgled his offices and tapped his phone. They needed to repair the malfunctioning tap so they burgled his offices a second time on 17 June 1972. They were collared by a security guard at the building and placed under arrest. There then followed a 10 month long campaign to conceal the filaments that connected the five men arrested to the President and a number of crimes were committed in that interval (such as bribing them). It all began to unravel in April of 1973 and a series of inquiries were undertaken by federal prosecutors and committees of Congress which had fairly demonstrated by August of 1974 that Richard Nixon was in the know about the obstruction of justice and had a general knowledge of what his subordinates were up to in 1971 and 1972. A committee of the House of Representatives had approved three resolutions of impeachment and his impeachment was imminent. A resolution of impeachment requires a trial in the U.S. Senate and he was counseled that only 12 Senators would likely vote for acquittal, so he resigned.