20

Its Official: I’m Not a Racist

I was worried there for a while. The narrative that the professional race industry and its subsidiaries across the spectrum of the American Left puts forth about what constitutes racism in the United States changes so often that I’m not sure from one day to the next whether or not I am a racist. But the latest missive from an authority no lesser than the Congressional Black Caucus has clarified the issue for me, and I have never been more relieved.

If I think Obama is “cool” and use the word to describe him, I am a racist (had I used the word to describe him when Ebony magazine and CNN did, I would have been fine). Logically, therefore, if I don’t think Obama is cool, I am not a racist. I’ve never really thought Obama was cool. Most of the time he bores me to sleep. So you might say I was a racist when Ebony/CNN thought it was ok to say that Obama was cool, since I didn’t find him cool then. Now, though, my racism has been revoked.

Of course, I may be jumping the gun. Logic is not exactly high on the priority list of people who manipulate emotions with hysterical rhetoric for raw political power. At some point, expressing one’s opinion about Barack’s uncoolness may well be considered racist again, or even simultaneously with a belief in his coolness. Both could be racist, or  neither, in which case it might be racist not to have an opinion one way or the other. What will we do then?

We can always look to the emotional cues of our enlightened superiors in the political and media establishment. At a moment’s notice, we can, like the citizens of Oceania, change our opinion on the racist content or lack thereof in the notion that Obama is cool. We can hysterically denounce all those who hold the currently racist opinion one day, then rehabilitate ourselves when the non-racist opinion becomes the racist opinion the next.

What happens if we find ourselves far from a telescreen to tell us what to think and show us how to react to the latest meme? We find a way to believe that Obama is both cool and uncool at the same time. All we have to do is discover how to double-think, which is:

The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them… To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just as long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies – all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth.

So there you have it. As diligent consumers of the mainstream American media, you should already have an advanced degree in the subject. Avoid the stigma of racism, which we have been psychologically programmed to fear more than the boubonic plague and nuclear annihilation, with vigilant double-think. If you don’t, you’re a racist.

5

For Greater Glory: See the Movie and Read the Books

On June 15, a book tied in with the For Greater Glory movie will be released by Ignatius Press.  Bearing the same name as the movie, it is a history of the Cristero Movement.  The author was recently interviewed by Zenit:

 

ZENIT: Neither a film nor a ZENIT interview is sufficient to explain all the historical intricacies of such a complex epoch. Still, could you give us a brief overview of the Cristero War?

 

Quezada: The Cristero War is a chapter in Mexico’s history in the 1920s, when thousands of Catholics answered this crucial question [of religious freedom] at the cost of their very lives. President Plutarco Calles launched a direct attack on the Catholic Church using articles from Mexico’s Constitution, which created this uprising and counter-revolution against the Mexican government during that time. The original rebellion was set off by the persecution of Roman Catholics and a ban on their public religious practices.

 

There are two important dates to point out here.

 

The persecution began on Aug. 1, 1926, when the government re-enacted the penal code and forced the closure of all Catholic churches throughout the entire country with its new anticlerical laws. However, the first coordinated uprising for religious freedom did not occur until Jan. 1, 1927.

 

It was not until mid June 1929 when the truce was officially signed, bringing an end to the Cristero War.

 

ZENIT: Is For Greater Glory a historically accurate film?

 

Quezada: Apart from some “artistic license” the film is essentially accurate.

 

ZENIT: The movie alludes to some discrepancy between the Vatican’s position regarding the religious persecution, and that of the Cristero fighters. Could you explain this?

 

Quezada: When the oppression was about to begin, the Vatican granted permission — requested by the Mexican bishops — to cease any Catholic religious services in order to avoid confrontations. Additionally, the Holy See wrote letters to the government requesting they abolish the Calles Law. The government ignored each request. As the war intensified, Rome continued to have direct communications with President Calles to ask for leniency. Not only were Vatican officials [in Mexico] dismissed, but diplomatic relations were broken off by the government. Lastly, Pope Pius XI wrote an encyclical letter to the clergy and the faithful of Mexico to give them courage and hope during this persecution. There was really not much else the Holy See could do. On Nov. 18, 1926, the Pope sent the encyclical letter Iniquis Afflictisque (On the Persecution of the Church in Mexico) to offer prayers and encouragement during this difficult time. Continue Reading

18

Sex should NOT BE a MORAL ISSUE, it should be a PRACTICAL ISSUE

The woman formerly known as beautiful and author at Huffington Post, Shannon Bradley-Colleary, had an article recently with the declarative title “Abstinence Got Me Pregnant.” It’s a “family planning” story meant to demonstrate that people should not be expected to follow a moral code when it comes to sexual intercourse, and probably many women (who don’t think about what words mean) can relate.

The author describes how she was raised by religious parents and a father that scared off boys while cleaning his gun, how she fell in love in college and “relinquished” her virginity unexpectedly on Cheez-It crumbs behind a couch in an off-campus apartment while “roommates farted and belched like cannon-fire in adjacent rooms,” how she began taking birth control pills and used them for the next five years as a “serial monogamist,” how after she had her heart broken and broke a few herself she decided to take a “leave of absence” and become abstinent, how a broken-hearted young man still pursued her with roses, poetry, and silly declarations of love, how she got pregnant and to her relief miscarried so she was “spared, making a choice” that might “haunt” her for the rest of her life, and finally how some ten years later she gave birth to two daughters with her husband “at just the right time, with exactly the right partner.” What does she credit for things working out well? Birth control, because abstinence got her pregnant.

Her point: “…sex should NOT BE a MORAL ISSUE, it should be a PRACTICAL ISSUE.” [Emphasis hers.]

She plans to take her daughters to Planned Parenthood when they are in high school because although she hopes “they will only give themselves to men who cherish them” she believes it is better to be “practical” and dispense with any “moral imperatives” so they won’t ever experience shame or blame. She concludes, “Knowledge is power.”

Take a deep breath, relax your face muscles, and let’s examine the logic of this statement because this is a serious issue that needs to be clarified. I once thought this way too, until I realized 1) everyone needs a moral code, and 2) words mean things.

Continue Reading

18

Bishops, That is a Pretty Nice Tax Exemption You Have There. Wouldn’t Want Anything Bad to Happen to It.

 

 

Modern liberals are not noted for their subtlety.  Case in point is Melinda Henneberger.  A writer for the Washington Post, she is a liberal in good standing and a Catholic, a graduate from Notre Dame in 1980, who has written for the New York Times, Commonweal, a Catholic journal for those who like a dollop of incense with their leftism, and was a contributing editor for Newsweek, the magazine that is almost worth the buck its latest owner paid for it.  Henneberger is pretty ticked at the Church in regard to what she perceives as political attacks on the South Side Messiah.  Her recent column on this subject is deserving of a fisk, and I am happy to oblige:

The Catholic Church practically invented politics, so it may be asking too much to expect American bishops to steer completely clear of affairs of state.

Good, a snide start illustrates the fury with which this column was written as the good ship Obama begins to take on water.  Liberal writers are usually at their nastiest when they start to perceive that a political pasting of Biblical proportions is on the way for their team

There are times when they couldn’t if they wanted to, and they think this is one  of those times.

Ah, but you know better, don’t you Ms. Henneberger?

The upcoming “Fortnight for Freedom” campaign to push back against this  administration’s health-care mandate for contraceptives, however, sounds so much  like a “Fortnight to Defeat Barack Obama” that I’ve gotten to wondering what our  prelates would have to do to cost the church its tax-exempt status. (IRS rules  are pretty clear that churches have to give up their exemption if they campaign  for or against a political candidate.)
Please, that paragraph is a bad joke.  Democrat candidates for decades have campaigned in black churches and many of those same churches are quite forthright in their political advocacy.  Think of the Reverend Wright, the man who Obama, hilariously, claims led him to Christ, and his sermons which were merely long political diatribes.  The IRS has long turned a blind eye to this type of blatant political activity.

That is not going to happen, and I’m not suggesting it should. But as a thought exercise, what would it take to provoke such a thing?

She is certainly right that it is not going to happen unless the Democrat party has a true death wish. 

If a bishop compared Obama to, I don’t know, Hitler and Stalin, would that be campaigning against him?

Oh, but wait, Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria tried that already. Jenky wasn’t exactly a household name before that tirade.

We can see from the above that whatever Ms. Henneberger studied at Notre Dame, reading comprehension was not high on the list.  What Bishop Jenky actually said was:

Remember that in past history other governments have tried to force Christians to huddle and hide only within the confines of their churches like the first disciples locked up in the Upper Room.

In the late 19th century, Bismark waged his “Kultur Kamp,” a Culture War, against the Roman Catholic Church, closing down every Catholic school and hospital, convent and monastery in Imperial Germany.

Clemenceau, nicknamed “the priest eater,” tried the same thing in France in the first decade of the 20th Century.

Hitler and Stalin, at their better moments, would just barely tolerate some churches remaining open, but would not tolerate any competition with the state in education, social services, and health care.

In clear violation of our First Amendment rights, Barack Obama – with his radical, pro abortion and extreme secularist agenda, now seems intent on following a similar path.

Now things have come to such a pass in America that this is a battle that we could lose, but before the awesome judgement seat of Almighty God this is not a war where any believing Catholic may remain neutral.

This fall, every practicing Catholic must vote, and must vote their Catholic consciences, or by the following fall our Catholic schools, our Catholic hospitals, our Catholic Newman Centers, all our public ministries — only excepting our church buildings – could easily be shut down. Because no Catholic institution, under any circumstance, can ever cooperate with the intrinsic evil of killing innocent human life in the womb.

No Catholic ministry – and yes, Mr. President, for Catholics our schools and hospitals are ministries – can remain faithful to the Lordship of the Risen Christ and to his glorious Gospel of Life if they are forced to pay for abortions.

What Bishop Jenky was doing Ms. Henneberger is called issues advocacy and is perfectly permissible under IRS regulations.  Nice try however to ignore the obvious.

What if, however, the best-known bishop in the country — and among the  most likeable — said “the White House is strangling the Catholic  Church”?

No again; Cardinal Tim Dolan of New York did that, too. And Bishop Salvatore  Cordileone of Oakland said we have reason to fear “despotism” under Obama.

What Cardinal Dolan actually said:

The exemption given to the church is so strangling and so narrow and it’s also presumptuous that a bureau of the federal government is attempting to define for the church the extent of its ministry and ministers,” said Dolan on CBS’s “This Morning.”

What Bishop Cordileone actually said:

My own experience, I sort of backed into this religious liberty debate by my involvement with her Siamese twin–the definition of marriage in the law. And I got swept up in that, not exclusively, but in large degree because I was enlightened by Dr. [Robert] George and other people of his kind as to the erosion of the rights of religious institutions to serve the broader community in accord with their moral principles precisely because of this issue. As well, the rights of individuals to have their freedom of conscience respected.

When I saw what was happening my eyes were opened, it made me fear that we could be starting to move in the direction of license and despotism.”

Once again, both examples of issues advocacy. 

(Even Pope Benedict XVI has joined the fray – though the former Joseph Ratzinger is really not much of a fray-joiner. “Many of you, he told American bishops, “have pointed out that concerted efforts have been made to deny the right of conscientious objection…with regard to cooperation in instrinsically evil practices.’’ Abortion, he means. Birth control, which is barred under church teaching,  must be provided free to employees of Catholic institutions as part of their health care plans under the Affordable Care Act. Where does abortion come in? Some opponents argue that the Part B ‘morning-after pill,’ which is also provided as part of the bill, is an abortifacient, though science doesn’t support that claim.)

Ah, how Pope Benedict does set the teeth on edge of “progressive” Catholics!  Go here to read the Pope’s warning of the erosion of religious liberty in this country.  Once again, the Pope’s remarks would be considered issues advocacy.  The fact that Ms. Henneberger brings up these remarks indicates the depth of her ignorance on the subject of political activities deemed impermissible by the IRS regarding churches. Continue Reading

3

25 years ago: “Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down This Wall!”

Twenty-five years ago, on June 12, 1987, President Ronald Reagan challenged Premier Gorbachev of the Soviet Union to tear down the Berlin Wall.  Just a little over two years later, on November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall did fall, a casualty of the movement for liberation in Eastern Europe, started by Solidarity in Poland, and supported throughout the Eighties by President Reagan and Pope John Paul II.  Those who were not alive during those days, or too young to remember the events, I suspect have a difficult time understanding how truly miraculous those events seemed to those of us who grew up during the Cold War.  The Soviet Union and the Communist regimes it imposed in Eastern Europe seemed like a permanent fixture of the World.  Reagan however, never believed this.

In a speech in the House of Commons on June 8, 1982, President Reagan made this startling prediction:

 

Since 1917 the Soviet Union has given covert political training and assistance to Marxist-Leninists in many countries. Of course, it also has promoted the use of violence and subversion by these same forces. Over the past several decades, West European and other Social Democrats, Christian Democrats, and leaders have offered open assistance to fraternal, political, and social institutions to bring about peaceful and democratic progress. Appropriately, for a vigorous new democracy, the Federal Republic of Germany’s political foundations have become a major force in this effort.

 

We in America now intend to take additional steps, as many of our allies have already done, toward realizing this same goal. The chairmen and other leaders of the national Republican and Democratic Party organizations are initiating a study with the bipartisan American political foundation to determine how the United States can best contribute as a nation to the global campaign for democracy now gathering force. They will have the cooperation of congressional leaders of both parties, along with representatives of business, labor, and other major institutions in our society. I look forward to receiving their recommendations and to working with these institutions and the Congress in the common task of strengthening democracy throughout the world.

 

It is time that we committed ourselves as a nation — in both the pubic and private sectors — to assisting democratic development.

 

We plan to consult with leaders of other nations as well. There is a proposal before the Council of Europe to invite parliamentarians from democratic countries to a meeting next year in Strasbourg. That prestigious gathering could consider ways to help democratic political movements.

 

This November in Washington there will take place an international meeting on free elections. And next spring there will be a conference of world authorities on constitutionalism and self-government hosted by the Chief Justice of the United States. Authorities from a number of developing and developed countries — judges, philosophers, and politicians with practical experience — have agreed to explore how to turn principle into practice and further the rule of law.

 

At the same time, we invite the Soviet Union to consider with us how the competition of ideas and values — which it is committed to support — can be conducted on a peaceful and reciprocal basis. For example, I am prepared to offer President Brezhnev an opportunity to speak to the American people on our television if he will allow me the same opportunity with the Soviet people. We also suggest that panels of our newsmen periodically appear on each other’s television to discuss major events.

 

Now, I don’t wish to sound overly optimistic, yet the Soviet Union is not immune from the reality of what is going on in the world. It has happened in the past — a small ruling elite either mistakenly attempts to ease domestic unrest through greater repression and foreign adventure, or it chooses a wiser course. It begins to allow its people a voice in their own destiny. Even if this latter process is not realized soon, I believe the renewed strength of the democratic movement, complemented by a global campaign for freedom, will strengthen the prospects for arms control and a world at peace.

 

I have discussed on other occasions, including my address on May 9, the elements of Western policies toward the Soviet Union to safeguard our interests and protect the peace. What I am describing now is a plan and a hope for the long term — the march of freedom and democracy which will leave Marxism-Leninism on the ash-heap of history, as it has left other tyrannies which stifle the freedom and muzzle the self-expression of the people.

Run of the mill politicians deal with crises as best they can, usually on an ad hoc basis.  True statesmen have a vision that allows them to shape the future, and to leave the World better than they found it.  Reagan was a statesman.  Here is the text of his Tear Down This Wall speech: Continue Reading

5

This is Why I Call Pro-Aborts, Pro-Aborts

 

 

I never use the term “pro-choice” but always use the term “pro-abort” to designate those who are perfectly fine with the unborn having no legal protection from contract killing in the womb.  Here is an example of why I do so:

 

Melissa Clouthier, a conservative blogger, attended the panel and reported on how one member urged attendees to applaud women who had killed their unborn children in abortions:

 

In an act of public bullying, one of the three speakers, Darcy Burner of Washington (the others being Elizabeth Warren and Mazie Hirono of Hawaii), asked women who had had an abortion to stand up in front of other attendees. It was difficult to estimate the number of women as they were sprinkled through out the audience. They stood alone while Burner admonished the attendees to hold their applause.

Then Burner asked the others seated in the audience to stand and give these women a standing ovation. The audience complied enthusiastically. I sat during this spectacle.

Burner said,”If you are a woman in this room, and statistically this is true of about 1/3 of the women in this room, if you’re a woman in this room who has had an abortion and is willing to come out about it, please stand up.”

She continued, “Now, if you are willing to stand with every woman who is willing to come out about having had an abortion, please stand up.” Nearly everyone stood.

Burner said, ”This is how we change the stories in people’s past. We need to make it okay for women to come out about the choices they make.”

The left will say that they’re not pro-abortion, they’re pro-choice or they’re pro-women. It was clear, though, that abortion itself was elevated as something good and something to be celebrated. The speaker and the audience was honoring women who had an abortion as though the action was an objectively good thing. Continue Reading

9

Just Seen It Reviews For Greater Glory

The hard working film mavens of Just Seen It give For Greater Glory an enthusiatic review in the video above.  It is one of the more perceptive reviews of the film that I have seen.  The two reviewers come at the film from a purely secular viewpoint and had little if any knowledge of the Cristero War prior to viewing it.  The message of religious freedom that the film conveys is obviously the most important part of the film, but even leaving that aside the movie is a masterpiece of the filmmaker’s craft.

5

The Corps and the Kiwis

Hattip to Don the Kiwi for reminding me of this anniversary.  Seventy years ago on June 12, 1942 the Marines landed in New Zealand.  They were the vanguard of some 20,000 Marines who would train in New Zealand before going on to hellish battlefields throughout the Pacific, including Tarawa featured in the above video.  In the memoirs of the Pacific War that I have read, US troops stationed in New Zealand and Australia viewed their time there as paradise and the Aussies and the Kiwis as some of the friendliest and most hospitable people on the planet.  Some US servicemen settled in both nations after the war, and some 15,000 Aussie and 1500 Kiwi women went to America as war brides. Continue Reading

3

Ideology trumps reporting…

In a National Review Online article, Ann Carey summarizes the mainstream media’s reaction to and fallout from the doctrinal assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).

In short, the reporting reveals “ignorance/laziness/bias.”

No surprise there, because this lack of reporting of the facts furthers the mainstream media’s ongoing “David versus Goliath” narrative.  Except, of course in this version, it’s “All of those poor, disrespected, and enslaved Sisters versus THE male Vatican apparatchiks.”

One difficulty with this narrative, at least as it’s being reported by the mainstream media, is that most of those Sisters don’t belong to LCWR.  According to Carey:

The grassroots sisters in religious orders do not belong to LCWR, and have neither voice nor vote in the organization. Many of these sisters have told me they resent the LCWR claiming it represents them.

Then, too, Carey points out that most of the mainstream media has ignored the serious doctrinal problems identified by the CDF, indicating a “rejection of faith.”  These include: undermining the doctrines of the Holy Trinity, the divinity of Christ, and the inspiration of Sacred Scripture as well as embracing radical feminism.  As Carey notes:

These are all major doctrines of the Catholic Church, not just “basic, nonheretical questions about gender equality in the church,” as the Times editorial claims.

The Motley Monk notes that in this narrative—pitting the Church’s mission against a secularist agenda—the mainstream media doesn’t seem to be much interested in reporting the facts.  After all, the ideological target is the Church, which may explain why those facts aren’t being reported.

 

Worse yet, Carey thinks, the truth may be that those who are reporting the story may not have even read the CDF’s documentation.

 

To read Ann Carey’s article, click on the following link:
http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/301714/nun-too-accurate-reporting-ann-carey#

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

5

Shocking News for Those Who Haven’t Been Paying Attention

 

I am shocked, shocked to learn that the Obama administration cares as little about religious freedom abroad as it does religious freedom at home:

 

 

 

The U.S. State Department removed the sections covering religious freedom from the Country Reports on Human Rights that it released on  May 24, three months past the statutory deadline Congress set for the release of these reports.

The new human rights reports–purged of the sections that discuss the status of religious freedom in each of the countries covered–are also the human rights reports that include the period that covered the Arab Spring and its aftermath.

Thus, the reports do not provide in-depth coverage of what has happened to Christians and other religious minorities in predominantly Muslim countries in the Middle East that saw the rise of revolutionary movements in 2011 in which Islamist forces played an instrumental role.

For the first time ever, the State Department simply eliminated the section of religious freedom in its reports covering 2011 and instead referred  the public to the 2010 International Religious Freedom Report – a full  two years behind the times – or to the annual report of the U.S.  Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), which was released last September and covers events in 2010 but not 2011. Continue Reading

6

Ed Morrissey Reviews For Greater Glory

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air saw a rough cut of For Greater Glory back in March, so I was curious to read his review, and here it is:

 

 

For Greater Glory tells the story of the Mexican government’s attempt to stamp out the Catholic Church under President Calles (played by Ruben Blades), and the uprising that followed, a civil war that killed 90,000 people. Calles attempted to enforce the anti-clerical laws put into Mexico’s 1917 socialist Constitution by demanding the expulsion of foreign priests, banning public demonstrations of faith (including the wearing of clerical garb), and making criticism of the government by priests punishable by five years in prison. A boycott organized by the Catholic Church prompted Calles to get even tougher, and open war broke out. Enrique Gorostieta (Andy Garcia), a general who had fought for the winning side in the revolution, chose to lead the Cristero rebellion, and the film focuses mainly on Gorostieta, two of his lieutenants, and a young boy named Jose Sanchez del Rio, who was later beatified by the Catholic Church.

Back in March, I was fortunate enough to see a rough cut of the film, and wrote a semi-official review at the time (from which I borrowed the synopsis above) with the caveat that I would wait to see the theatrical release.  Last night, my wife and I saw it in its limited Twin Cities release, and the final cut has significantly improved the narrative flow of the film. One of the few areas of concern I had from the rough cut was the difficulty in following the constant shifting between subplots in the first half of the film, and some ambiguity about the intent in some scenes.  Those problems were resolved nicely, with additional footage in some areas and smoother transitions throughout. Continue Reading

22

Corpus Christi, the Angelic Doctor and my Wife

When Corpus Christi rolls around I always think of Saint Thomas Aquinas and his great eucharistic hymn Pange Lingua Gloriosi Corporis Mysterium written by Saint Thomas at the command of Pope Urban IV to celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi instituted by the Pope in 1264.   It says something vastly significant about the Church that perhaps the greatest intellect of all time, Saint Thomas Aquinas, was not only a Doctor of the Church, but also capable of writing this magnificent hymn. 

The last portion of the hymn, Tantum Ergo, has vast significance for my family.  My wife, who is a far better Catholic in my estimation than I am, is a convert.  A Methodist when we married, she converted to the Church a few years later.  She had questions regarding the real presence, and this line from Tantum Ergo resolved them:  Faith tells us that Christ is present,  When our human senses fail.  When our kids came along she would whisper at the Consecration to them:  First it’s bread, now it’s Jesus.  First it’s wine, now it’s Jesus. 

Here is Saint Thomas on the Real Presence: Continue Reading

35

Lying Worthless Political Hack and Ex Cathedra

 

 

When the Lying Worthless Political Hack, aka Nancy Pelosi ex Speaker of the House, opens her mouth in regard to her purported faith, The Catholic Church, you know the results are going to be unintentionally hilarious:

CNSNews.com asked Pelosi, who is Catholic, whether she supported her  church in the lawsuits it has filed, which argue that the  administration’s regulation violates the freedom of religion guaranteed  by the First Amendment.

What about the 43 Catholic institutions [that] have now sued the  administration over the regulation that requires them to provide  contraceptives, sterilizations, and abortifacients in their health care  plans?” CNSNews.com asked. “They say that violates their religious  freedom.  Do you support the Catholic Church in their lawsuits against  the administration?”

Well, I don’t think that’s the entire Catholic Church,” Pelosi  responded. “Those people have a right to sue, but I don’t think they’re  speaking ex cathedra for the Catholic Church.

“And there are people in the Catholic Church, including some of the  bishops, who have suggested that some of this may be premature,” Pelosi said.

It is unclear why Pelosi would have pointed out that when an archbishop—such as Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, Cardinal Donald  Wuerl of Washington, D.C. or Archbishop Carlson of St. Louis—sues the federal government in actions designed to protect the First Amendment rights of  American Catholics he is not speaking “ex cathedra.”

“Ex cathedra” refers to the infallible authority that Catholics believe the pope exerts when he makes a formal and solemn declaration on  matters of faith and morals. It is not a term to describe lawsuits the church files in civilian courts.

In a 1993 audience, Pope John Paul II quoted the first Vatican  Council in explaining the Catholic understanding of the “ex cathedra”  authority of the pope.

When the Roman Pontiff speaks ex cathedra, that is, when in exercising his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians he defines with his supreme apostolic authority that a doctrine on faith and morals is to be held by the whole Church, through the divine assistance promised him in the person of St. Peter, he enjoys that  infallibility with which the divine Redeemer wished to endow his Church  in defining a doctrine on faith and morals,” said the Vatican Council.

The Catholic teachings that sterilization, artificial contraception and abortion are morally wrong—the basis for the suits that the archdioceses, dioceses, universities, schools and charitable organizations have brought against the Obama  administration–are in fact inalterable teachings that the church says are rooted in natural law. Continue Reading

5

Ray Bradbury: Requiescat in Pace

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9iyKI2pJbE
You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.
Ray Bradbury

When I was a boy I devoured science fiction, and I still read quite a bit half a century later.  Ray Bradbury, who died at 91 on June 5th, was not one of my favorite writers when I was young.  A bit too complex and little if any of the space opera that I enjoyed so much.  However, even then I knew that what I was reading in “Dandelion Wine” or “The Martian Chronicles” was writing of a very high order indeed.  In my teen years I came across “Something Wicked This Way Comes“, and this passage has always stayed with me:

Sometimes the man who looks happiest in town, with the biggest smile, is the one carrying the biggest load of sin. There are smiles & smiles; learn to tell the dark variety from the light. The seal-barker, the laugh-shouter, half the time he’s covering up. He’s had his fun & he’s guilty. And all men do love sin, Will, oh how they love it, never doubt, in all shapes, sizes, colors & smells. Times come when troughs, not tables, suit appetites. Hear a man too loudly praising others & look to wonder if he didn’t just get up from the sty. On the other hand, that unhappy, pale, put-upon man walking by, who looks all guilt & sin, why, often that’s your good man with a capital G, Will. For being good is a fearful occupation; men strain at it & sometimes break in two. I’ve known a few. You work twice as hard to be a farmer as to be his hog. I suppose it’s thinking about trying to be good makes the crack run up the wall one night. A man with high standards, too, the least hair falls on him sometimes wilts his spine. He can’t let himself alone, won’t let himself off the hook if he falls just a breath from grace.

Bradbury was a native of Waukegan, Illinois, his family eventually moving to Los Angeles.  A child of the Depression, Bradbury lacked the funds to go to college and instead educated himself in libraries as he pursued a career as a writer.  For ten years he visited libraries three days a week.  He wrote every day, a trait he recommended to all writers.  (It certainly is a handy habit for a blogger!)  He endured endless rejections and kept pecking away on rented typewriters until he became not only a financially successful writer, but, much more importantly, a good one.

Although Bradbury is known as a science fiction writer, Bradbury rejected the label, holding that almost all his fiction was better described as fantasy, and I tend to agree with him.  In any case, he is the last survivor of the Golden Age of Science Fiction to pass beyond our mortal sphere, and that thought leaves me sad.

In a field dominated by liberals, Bradbury was a fairly outspoken conservative.  He gave the execrable Michael Moore hell when he named one of his idiot bait films Fahrenheit 9/11.  Go here to read some of his unvarnished opinions on some of our recent presidents.

His masterpiece is widely regarded as Fahrenheit 451, a cautionary tale of a future totalitarian regime with a friendly face that bans books.  For a book lover like Bradbury there could be no greater crime:

The books are to remind us what asses and fools we are. They’re Caesar’s praetorian guard, whispering as the parade roars down the avenue, ‘Remember, Caesar, thou art mortal.’

The book, which came out in 1953, has several prophetic passages: Continue Reading

11

Few Things Are More Pathetic Than a Dumb Prosecutor

One of the professional requirements of being an attorney, especially an attorney engaging in litigation, is developing a tough hide when it comes to criticism.  Most of my brethren and sistren of the bar develop such hides.  Alas, some do not:

Alan M. Dershowitz’s Perspective: State Attorney Angela Corey, the prosecutor in the George Zimmerman case, recently called the Dean of Harvard Law School to complain about my criticism of some of her actions.
She was transferred to the Office of Communications and proceeded to engage in a 40-minute rant, during which she threatened to sue Harvard Law School, to try to get me disciplined by the Bar Association and to file charges against me for libel and slander.

 

She said that because I work for Harvard and am identified as a professor she had the right to sue Harvard.
When the communications official explained to her that I have a right to express my opinion as “a matter of academic freedom,” and that Harvard has no control over what I say, she did not seem to understand.
She persisted in her nonstop whining, claiming that she is prohibited from responding to my attacks by the rules of professional responsibility — without mentioning that she has repeatedly held her own press conferences and made public statements throughout her career.
Her beef was that I criticized her for filing a misleading affidavit that willfully omitted all information about the injuries Zimmerman had sustained during the “struggle” it described. She denied that she had any obligation to include in the affidavit truthful material that was favorable to the defense.
She insisted that she is entitled to submit what, in effect, were half truths in an affidavit of probable cause, so long as she subsequently provides the defense with exculpatory evidence.
She should go back to law school, where she will learn that it is never appropriate to submit an affidavit that contains a half truth, because a half truth is regarded by the law as a lie, and anyone who submits an affidavit swears to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
Before she submitted the probable cause affidavit, Corey was fully aware that Zimmerman had sustained serious injuries to the front and back of his head. The affidavit said that her investigators “reviewed” reports, statements and “photographs” that purportedly “detail[ed] the following.” Continue Reading

8

Something “new” for Catholic high schools in Cleveland: A radical, revamped Catholic religion curriculum…

 

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that the Diocese of Cleveland has “revamped” its high school religion curriculum which will be implemented when school reopens this fall.

Perhaps the biggest surprise for those who grew up in the pre-Vatican II era is that the term “revamped” today means “redoux.”  Gone is the post-Vatican II “God loves you, so feel good doing it” religious education curriculum which stressed the many and varied pathways to salvation.  The revamped curriculum will feature a traditional Catholic religion curriculum that stresses orthodoxy and moral clarity.

 

The Superintendent of Schools for the Diocese of Cleveland, Margaret Lyons, says the revamped program will be “Gospel-centered” and “very orthodox.”  In addition, the revamped teaching materials have expunged any “shyness about talking about moral issues” and will convey concepts “known to previous generations of Catholics but absent from more recent instruction.”  The Motley Monk would note that means many of the catechetical “noun-ing’s” representative of that era—“faithing,” “theologizing,” and “deconstructing”—are “out.” 

Moral clarityVery orthodox?  No shyness?

Omigosh!  This is radical!

While the revamped curriculum “underscores Jesus Christ and the Paschal Mystery” as the source of salvation, students will “read and [will be] guided through Church documents” and if it’s to be believed…

They [will be] taught the role and importance of the Magisterium in guarding and passing on the faith, as well as being a sure guide to positive thinking and behavior.

Additionally, students [will be] instructed in ancient prayer practices used throughout the Church’s two thousand years of history, including the Rosary, Lectio Divina, meditation, the Liturgy of the Hours, the Psalms, litanies and readings in Sacred Scripture.

Omigosh, again!  Magisterium? A sure guide?

What happened to magisterium of the vox populi Dei?

Superintendent Lyons also says the purpose of the revamped curriculum is to cultivate an enduring and lifelong faith, one that’s capable of standing up to cultural secularism and moral relativism.

Wasn’t that called forming “the Church militant” in a previous era?

 

Most Reverend Richard G. Lennon
Bishop of the Diocese of Cleveland (OH)

 

According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the revamped religion curriculum comes in response to concerns raised by teachers and clergy about the quality of religious instruction in local Catholic schools.  After being appointed Bishop of Cleveland in 2006, Most Reverend Richard G. Lennon listened and assessed the situation, a process that resulted in the 2012 revamped religion curriculum based upon the Catechism of the Catholic Church and guidelines from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The Motley Monk will be watching closely to see if Cleveland’s revamped Catholic religion curriculum will demonstrate significantly better learning outcomes than the post-Vatican II religious education curriculum did.  Since the 1970s, the National Catholic Educational Association’s Assessment of Catechesis and Religious Education has demonstrated very little difference in outcomes between students attending Catholic schools and those attending CCD programs.  All along, the dirty little secret everyone knew—including the nation’s Catholic hierarchy—was that few young Catholics learned anything demonstrably Catholic during those decades.

At a minimum, future graduates from Cleveland’s Catholic high schools will hopefully know something about the Catholic faith and its practice.  That certainly would represent one important step in the right direction.

After all, knowing little-to-nothing about the Catholic faith and its practice, whatever became of the vast majority of those graduates of Catholic high schools students who were taught the post-Vatican II religious education curriculum?

One thing is certain: They surely aren’t attending Sunday Mass but want those big, expensive church weddings…what has been called “an important catechetical moment.”

 

 

To read the Cleveland Plain Dealer article, click on the following link:
http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2012/06/cleveland-area_catholic_high_s.html

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

8

Nimitz Reports on the Battle of Midway

My wife has the distinction of being one of the few people born on the Island of Midway.  (We have pictures of her as an infant with some Laysan Albatrosses, better known on Midway as Gooney Birds.  The medical staff was so excited at her birth that they put her in the new incubator, although they did not turn it on.)  This has led to never-ending confusion over the years when she has presented her birth certificate, with puzzled individuals wondering where Midway is.  Seventy years ago today all of America was learning where Midway was.  A battle which has been called a miracle, Midway was the turning point of the war in the Pacific, with the decisive defeat of the Japanese strike force aimed at Midway that Admiral Yamamoto had intended to give a crushing blow to the remaining US carriers.  The victory of Midway was the product of hubris, MAGIC, luck, courage and skill.

1.  Hubris-Since Pearl Harbor the Japanese had won incredible victories on land, sea and in the air, and now controlled a huge Empire throughout East Asia.  Japanese historians have described this as the period of “victory fever”.  Even a very level headed and pragmatic individual like Admiral Yamamoto was affected by this atmosphere of seeming invincibility.  Japanese intelligence as to the dispostion of the US fleet in the Pacific was poor, and Yamamoto’s plan to lure the Americans into battle by threatening Midway was very much a strike into the unknown, and risked Japan’s fate in the war on one battle. 

2.  MAGIC-US cryptographers had broken many Japanese diplomatic and military codes.  The project was collectively known as MAGIC.  In December of 1941 Naval cryptographers had broken the Japanese high command naval fleet code designated JN-25.  Nimitz, the commander in chief of the US fleet in the Pacific, knew as a result that Midway was the target of the Japanese fleet and assembled his three carriers and support ships to oppose the Japanese fleet with its four carriers, two light carriers and support ships.

3.  Luck-It is hard in our era of satellite surveilance and ubiquitous electronic sensoring systems, to realize just how much a deadly game of blind man’s bluff a carrier battle was in 1942.  Radar, still in its infancy, gave the US a critical edge at Midway, but finding the Japanese fleet carriers to attack them was as much a product of luck as anything else.  If the Japanese had been luckier, Midway could easily have been a disastrous US defeat.

4.  Courage-There were many brave men on both sides, however the palm for gallantry has to go to the aviators of Torpedo Squadron Eight from the Hornet and Torpedo Squadron 6 from the Enterprise and their attacks on the Japanese carriers on June 4.  The men had to know that without cover from their own fighters they would almost certainly not survive their attack runs on the carriers.  They went in anyway, and almost all of them died.  Many Japanese observers were stunned while watching this.  Japanese propaganda called Americans weak, decadent and cowardly, and here were American pilots going to their deaths in the best samurai style as they attempted to sink the well guarded carriers.  The attacks failed, but they drew most of the Japanese carrier air patrols away from the carriers, kept the carriers off balance and unable to launch their own strikes and depleted the ammunition and gasoline of many of the Japanese planes guarding the carriers.

5.  Skill-Approximately 30 minutes after the torpedo squadron attacks, three squadrons of American SBD’s from the Enterprise and the Yorktown came upon the Japanese carriers.  They were led by Commander C. Wade McCluskey who decided to prolong the search for the Japanese carriers and found them by following the wake of a Japanese destroyer.  In a matter of minutes the three squadrons inflicted devastating damage on three of the four Japanese fleet carriers, winning the battle of Midway for the United States.

Here is the report of Admiral Nimitz on the battle.  Note the emphasis in his report on lessons learned and improvements that had to be made based upon these lessons: Continue Reading

119

Gay Fascism & Judicial Tyranny Strike Again

A ruling by the New Mexico Court of Appeals has found that Christian photographers cannot refuse to photograph a “gay wedding” on religious grounds. The absurdity and tyranny of this ruling is almost unfathomable, but what is less surprising is the vindictive nature of the entire case. As an entire slew of court cases in Canada demonstrates, the radical homosexual movement is not about fairness, tolerance or equality. Like its equivalents among racial minorities (think Black Panther Party) or feminists, it is about envy, revenge, and domination. As I have argued and will continue to argue, the homosexual movement is the movement of hate, intolerance, bigotry, and totalitarianism. Whether your are Christian or not, whether you have homosexual inclinations or not, the implications of the New Mexico court’s rulings for political liberty, religious freedom and private property rights ought to frighten you if you care in the least about these concepts.

Continue Reading

23

They Show Their Love By Insulting You

Last night marked the darkest hour in all of human history. Humanity has seen pestilence, wars, famine, genocide, and atrocities of all shapes and sizes. But all of that paled in comparison to Scott Walker’s “surviving” a recall victory by a “narrow” 7-point margin.

Why was this the darkest day in human history? Because it was the day democracy died.

It’s the end of the USA as we know it, but strangely I feel fine.

According to Democrats, the recall election was either the moment western civilization marked its inevitable decline or a great sign that Barack Obama is going to roll to re-election. While the truth is probably somewhere in between, either way Democrats expressed tremendous outrage over this election that was bought by Scott Walker and the evil Rethuglicans. Evidently spending a lot of money on elections is a bad thing. Unless of course you’re Barack Obama.

The narrative shift demonstrates a couple of things about the progressive left, neither particularly positive. The first is the blatant dishonesty. It’s quite amusing to listen to these people complain about “the death of democracy” when they’ve spent the better part of the past 18 months organizing, busing people in from other states, staging rallies and sit-ins, ushering their representatives out of the state in the middle of the night to shut the legislature down, and basically just throwing giant hissy fits because they aren’t getting what they wanted.

More importantly, it highlights something that has been an essential fabric of the left since the Enlightenment: their utter contempt for people. According to their vision of how the world should work, Scott Walker would easily have been thrown out on his keister were it not for all the money funneling into Wisconsin on his behalf. The implication is that the people are so dumb that they forgot how angry they are supposed to be with Walker just because of a bunch of 30 second advertisements. I wonder if these people even realize how arrogant and snobbish they sound. Because there is a rather nasty undercurrent to all this talk that makes it seem that they don’t have too high an opinion of most other individuals.

As I said, this really dates back to the Enlightenment, particularly the philosophes of the French Enlightenment. As Gertrude Himmelfarb wrote, it was a common tendency among the philosophes to generalize the virtues and elevate “the whole of mankind” over the individual. The most striking example of this wariness towards real, live, human beings was Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Throughout his writings, but especially in his Confessions, he continually wrote of other people in a manner that demonstrated his contempt for them. He felt so isolated from the world that he wrote:

I am now alone on earth, no longer having any brother, neighbor, friend, or society other than myself.  The most sociable and the most loving of human has been proscribed from society by unanimous agreement.  In the refinements of their hatred, they have sought the torment which would be cruelest to my sensitive soul and have violently broken all the ties which attached me to them.  I would have loved men in spite of themselves.  Only by ceasing to be humane, have they been able to slip away from my affection.  They are now strangers, unknowns, in short, nonentities to me – because that is what they wanted.

And yet his entire philosophy was geared towards improving the lot of mankind.

This succinctly summarizes the attitude of much of the left throughout history: they love humanity, but they hate people. Much of what I have read and seen over the past 24 hours has made that abundantly clear.

3

Father Ranger

Monsignor Joseph R. Lacy

The men of the 5th Ranger Battalion could barely keep from laughing when they first saw their chaplain, Lieutenant Joe Lacy, a week before D-Day.  These were young men, in peak physical condition.  Father Joe Lacy was old by Ranger standards, knocking on 40, overweight by at least 30 pounds, wearing thick glasses and short, 5 foot, six inches.  He was described by one Ranger as “a small, fat old Irishman.”  No way would he be able to keep up when they  invaded France.

On the trip across the Channel to France,  Chaplain Lacy told the men:  “When you land on the beach and you get in there, I don’t want to see anybody kneeling down and praying. If I do I’m gonna come up and boot you in the tail. You leave the praying to me and you do the fighting.”  A few of the men began to think that maybe this priest was tougher than he looked. Continue Reading

19

Letter from Granddaughter of General Gorostieta

 

 

Here is a translation of a letter from a granddaughter of  General Gorostieta, who is portrayed by Andy Garcia in For Greater Glory, to Andy Garica.  Go here to read the letter in the original Spanish.   Hattip to commenter Rogelio Núñez Ruiz. Translation is by my hard working and deeply appreciated better half Cathy:

[Opening commentary by Fernando Banuelos, Editorial Director of the Cine 3 film news website:]

Letter from Maria Teresa Perez Gorostieta to Andy Garcia about Cristiada [AKA For Greater Glory ]

This is an emotive letter sent by Maria Teresa Perez Gorostieta, granddaughter of General Gorostieta, to Andy Garcia for his role in Cristiada.  Although I’m not a fan of Mexican films, especially Mexican history films in another language and with non-Mexican actors, I believe that this film falls in the “top-priority must-see” category of films, just to see what they say about us, and to see how faithful this adaptation is to what history tells us.

[Maria Teresa Perez Gorostieta’s letter follows:]

Mr. Garcia:

I saw the film last week, and I enjoyed the character of my grandfather, even though I don’t share the legend that he was an unbeliever and converted in the Movement; it seems to me that [portraying him that way] brings him to people in a better way than if they had portrayed him as being too religious.

I congratulate you for having accepted the role on behalf of my mother, who unfortunately died 4 days before they finished filming it; she was happy that it would be you who would interpret it.  His death scene is lovely and, as the Bible says, the applause that counts is in Heaven, and the whole family is there, so that the Glory of the Cristeros is now that they’re with God.

I don’t know if you read the letters which we sent to you through the Director, but I believe that my grandfather had the arrogance with which you characterized him, and the tenderness he showed his people.  He had a great love for his family:

[Quoting a letter from General Gorostieta to his family:]

“For my little children, who I can’t give a kiss to, who I can’t buy a ball for, who I can’t, as I did so often, let sleep in my arms, on such a great date for the world, on a day in which even wild beasts become tender with Glory!, by your conduct I send them this gift:  all the privations which they suffer, all the sorrows which you and I suffer, are only obedient to one end – leaving them a road, marking for them a route.  I know well that there are smoother roads in the world, and God well knows that I know how to walk them.  But those aren’t the ones that I will leave marked for them.  It’s the same bitter, gloomy road that their grandfather marked for me, the only one that exists, if one is to be forever content to have finished it and able to give an account of the journey.  The only one which, having been walked, imparts true peace.  I give them as a gift, the privations and the sorrows which the road is giving me.  Give them many kisses, and never rest from preventing – I don’t say now, but [even] within many years – that they should lose their faith on such a road.” Continue Reading

25

ABBA Open Thread

Well, Governor Walker won last night in Wisconsin, we have had more than two million visits to our website, and I am on vacation next week, so I am in a good mood!  Time for my ABBA guilty pleasure, and, besides, we haven’t had an open thread in a while.   The usual open thread rules apply:  be concise, be charitable, and, above all, be entertaining!

27

Walker Wins

 

 

Pro-life Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin has won the recall election decisively.  His victory is a clear sign of how the political winds are blowing in Wisconsin and strongly indicates that Wisconsin may well end up in the Republican column in the presidential election this year, which is devastating for Obama.  One little statistic that should send shivers down the spine of Democrat strategists this evening.  When Walker won in 2010 he won the Catholic vote by two points.  Exit polls show him winning the Catholic vote by ten points tonight.  More and more Catholics are realizing that they have no home in the modern Democrat party.  When a conservative Republican like Walker can win in a traditionally Blue state like Wisconsin, largely due to the Catholic vote, the political landscape is changing rapidly. Continue Reading

30

More on the “instruction”: Sr. Margaret Farley, RSM fires back…

It didn’t take long for the New York Times to report a statement issued by Sister Margaret Farley, RSM, whose 2006 book concerning sexual ethics was deemed unfit for Catholic consumption.

In her statement, Sr. Farley wrote:

I can only clarify that the book was not intended to be an expression of current official Catholic teaching, nor was it aimed specifically against this teaching. It is of a different genre altogether.

Sr. Farley is a crafty thinker.  Note her use of the phrase “official Catholic teaching.”

Invoking that phrase, Sr. Farley communicates something subtle: She was not intending to write a book that would reflect what the Vatican teaches.

Crafty indeed!

What Sr. Farley is distinguishing between is what the Vatican teaches about sexual ethics and what she believes is an authentically Catholic sexual ethics.

At the same time, however, those who serve on Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) also happen to be clever.  Its members possess decades of experience in spotting such crafty linguistic games.

The Motley Monk thinks this distinction earned Sr. Farley a slap on the wrist.  After all, the CDF’s instruction makes clear there is no authentic Catholic teaching that is not official Catholic teaching.

In contrast, Sr. Farley would like others to believe that her book is eminently suitable for Catholics, even though it does not present official Church teachings. That’s unacceptable to the CDF.

Consequently, if Sr. Farley wants to write ecumenical theology, she remains free to do so.  But if her theology does not square with the teaching of the Magisterium, then Sr. Farley should expect that the CDF will not allow Sr. Farley—or any Catholic theologian who plays the same crafty linguistic game—to pass her speculations off as suitable for Catholics.

In short, “Just Love” is not suitable for Catholics to use to form their consciences.

 

 

To read the New York Times article, click on the following link:
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/05/us/sister-margaret-farley-denounced-by-vatican.html?_r=2&hp

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

7

The Fugitive (1947)

A Fugitive: I have a question, Lieutenant. When did you lose your faith?

 A Lieutenant of Police: When I found a better one.

The film For Greater Glory has reminded me of director John Ford’s forgotten The Fugitive (1947).  Very loosely based on Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory (no priest in an American film in 1947 was going to have the moral failings of Greene’s whiskey priest) the film did poorly at the box office and soon fell into oblivion, except among film critics who regard it as one of Ford’s more interesting works.  Ford said it was  his favorite film.

The film is set in a nameless country, obviously Mexico where the movie was filmed, where religion has been abolished by the government.  Henry Fonda is the last priest hunted by a police lieutenant, played maniacally by Pedro Armendáriz.  Armendariz is a whole-hearted convert to atheism, and views the capture of Fonda as a noble task.   Continue Reading

11

Sex-Selective Abortion Follow-up

I recently posted on the topic of sex-selective abortion. After seeing an article on LifeSiteNews on the recent Congressional vote on the sex-selective abortion bill, I felt a little bit of a follow-up was in order. LSN’s Steve Mosher writes:

 [T]he vote on PreNDA has exposed dozens of Democrats, along with a handful of pro-abortion Republicans, as pro-abortion extremists. After all, what else are we to call those who favor abortions performed for the sole purpose of eliminating unborn baby girls because of their sex?

Call me the perpetual nay-sayer if you will, but I find this entire statement to be flawed from top to bottom.

Continue Reading

14

Morrissey on Converts, Faith and Politics

Ed Morrissey had a great post inspired by the conversion, so to speak, of Jo Ann Nardelli. She is the former Democratic party official in Pennsylvania who left the party, prompted in part by the Democratic party’s embrace of gay marriage. Joe Biden’s appearance on Meet the Press sealed the deal. As a result, she has not been treated kindly by former colleagues.

The longtime Democrat from Blair County quit the party and registered as a Republican, and then boldly walked in a Memorial Day parade in support of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

“A couple of people who I thought were friends turned their backs on me, literally, as I was walking in the parade,” she said on Tuesday. “I have to admit it made me sad, but that is the way it is.”

Morrissey discusses this as well as the case of Artur Davis, who also has quit the Democratic party. Then he explains, in very charitable terms, the reasons that some Catholics remain in the Democrat party, despite it holding positions that are antithetical to the Catholic Church on most social issues. He does a great job of explaining the nuances of Catholic economic teachings to an audience that is mostly non-Catholic. The following succinctly captures the tone of Morrisey’s post:

However, even while we do our best on a personal and institutional level within the church, our community, state, and nation have an impact on the scope and depth of the societal and human ills we hope to alleviate.   Some Catholics feel that significant involvement of representative government represents the best and most direct way to achieve our mission, and support the political party that more closely aligns itself with that philosophy and agenda — Democrats.  Others feel that the mission is best directed at a personal and institutional level and oppose significant government involvement as wasteful, impractical, and counterproductive, and those Catholics are more likely to be Republicans.

As such, these fellow Catholic liberals (many of whom do oppose abortion) do not deserve our scorn or a condescending attitude; they come to these positions honestly and faithfully.  We may disagree on the best approach to the mission at hand, but we are at least united on the mission itself.

In a sense it might be more difficult for conservative Catholics to accept this than for conservative non-Catholics, particularly because we are so close to the issue. We can get easily frustrated by fellow Catholics who persist in supporting a party that upholds so many terrible positions on life and death matters. And I do think that a handful of left-leaning Catholics offer up merely token opposition to their party on social issues, but who largely ignore these matters so as not to distract from the more important (to them) economic issues. Yet there are leftist Catholics  who are genuinely committed to the pro-life cause and who struggle with their party’s stance on social issues. And it is with regards to these individuals that we ought to heed Ed’s words.

Another thing strikes me about all this, and it’s that many of these political conversions have occurred due to differences of opinion on social issues. We have been told more times than I can possibly count that this election is all about the economy, and nothing but the economy. Yet we’re seeing more and more Catholics leaving the party that has been not only their home, but likely their parents’ home and their grandparents’ home. And they aren’t leaving the party because of its stance on income taxes. For those who insist that social issues are a losing proposition for conservatives and the Republican party, they might want to reconsider that position in light of the mounting evidence.

6

The Memorial to Ike and Ugly Design

Dwight Eisenhower is getting a memorial in Washington, DC. That’s the good news to those who are fans of Ike.

The memorial is being designed by Frank Gehry. It’s about what you would expect from the king of post-modern design.Eisenhower Memorial

I guess it could be worse, but it’s certainly not a design befitting a figure like Eisenhower. This is an opinion shared by Eisenhower’s family and a growing number of Congressmen. The family issued this statement on May 30:

The scope and scale of the metal scrims, however, remain controversial and divisive. Not only are they the most expensive element of the Gehry design, they are also the most vulnerable to urban conditions, as well as wildlife incursions and ongoing, yet unpredictable, life-cycle costs. This one-of-a-kind experimental technology, which serves as the memorial’s “backdrop,” is impractical and unnecessary for the conceptual narrative. For those reasons, we do not support a design that utilizes them.

Indeed, not only is the design not very attractive, it’s a nightmare from a conservator’s perspective. It’s so bad that the National Civic Art Society has developed a website dedicated to fighting against the design.

As the Daily Caller article mentions, Representatives as diverse as Jim Moran and Darrell Issa are expressing their objections to the design. This is one of those rare times where you might be able to contact your local Congressman and persuade him to take action.

I know that art is a subjective matter, but is it possible to create designs in the 21st century that are actually attractive?

27

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith slaps Sr. Margaret A. Farley, RSM, on the hand…

In a notification dated March 30, 2012, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) stated that the book, “Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics” written by Sister Margaret A. Farley, RSM, contains “erroneous propositions, the dissemination of which risks grave harm to the faithful.”

In her 2006 book, the CDF states that Sr. Farley—now retired from the faculty at Yale Divinity School—“does not present a correct understanding of the role of the Church’s Magisterium as the teaching authority of the Bishops united with the Successor of Peter, which guides the Church’s ever deeper understanding of the Word of God as found in Holy Scripture and handed on faithfully in the Church’s living tradition.” 

In addition, Sr. Farley’s treatment of specific moral issues—including masturbation, homosexual acts, homosexual unions, the indissolubility of marriage, and the problem of divorce and remarriage—are erroneous and ambiguous.  The CDF notes:

…either ignores the constant teaching of the Magisterium or, where it is occasionally mentioned, treats it as one opinion among others. Such an attitude is in no way justified, even within the ecumenical perspective that she wishes to promote. Sr. Farley also manifests a defective understanding of the objective nature of the natural moral law, choosing instead to argue on the basis of conclusions selected from certain philosophical currents or from her own understanding of “contemporary experience”. This approach is not consistent with authentic Catholic theology.

Because Sr. Farley’s affirms positions that are in direct contradiction with Catholic teaching in the field of sexual morality, the notification states:

The Congregation warns the faithful that her book Just Love. A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics is not in conformity with the teaching of the Church. Consequently it cannot be used as a valid expression of Catholic teaching, either in counseling and formation, or in ecumenical and interreligious dialogue. Furthermore the Congregation wishes to encourage theologians to pursue the task of studying and teaching moral theology in full concord with the principles of Catholic doctrine.

While the focus of the notification is the content of Sr. Farley’s book, The Motley Monk notes that Pope Benedict XVI approved it and ordered its publication.

Might this notification, approved and ordered before what The Motley Monk called the “hostile takeover” of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, provide another signal that the Vatican is going to take a more activist stance in “truth in labeling”?

The warning is gentle, but it’s there.

The CDF wants to “encourage theologians to pursue the task of studying and teaching moral theology in full concord with the principles of Catholic doctrine.”

 

To read the CDF’s notification, click on the following link:
http://www.news.va/en/news/cdf-publishes-notification-on-book-just-love

To read The Motley Monk’s post on the hostile takeover of the LCWR, click on the following link:
http://the-american-catholic.com/2012/05/01/the-vatican-vs-the-good-sisters/

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

2

Archbishop Chaput Enthusiastically Recommends For Greater Glory

 

 

Archbishop Charles  Chaput of the Philadelphia Archdiocese has written a column which appeared on May 29th whole-heartedly recommending that Catholics see For Greater Glory:

Earlier this week we celebrated Memorial Day. For most of us, the holiday informally marks the start of summer. Over the next three months families will take their vacations, the pace of life will slow a bit and people will have a little more precious time to relax and restore their spirits.

The purpose of recreation is to renew us in body and soul; to give us time to think; to reconnect us with family and the gift of being alive. For me, that usually means a week of fishing with friends, catching up on a pile of good books and enjoying a few good movies.

And since all good things are meant to be shared, I can already recommend — in fact, enthusiastically recommend — a film that no Catholic should miss this summer.

“For Greater Glory” opens in select theaters this Friday, June 1. Written, directed and acted with outstanding skill, it’s the story of Mexico’s Cristero War (also known as La Cristiada, 1926-29). Largely ignored until recently – even in Mexico – the war resulted from Mexico’s atheist constitution of 1917, subsequent anti-religious legislation and fierce anti-clerical persecution by the government of President Plutarco Elias Calles, who came to power in 1924. Continue Reading

64

“The Catholic Church Is Dangerous, Outdated And Should Dissolve” Yahoo!

No this isn’t a quote from Catholic Democrats or Obama Administration Catholics- but I suspect it represents the worldview of the typical secular liberal who is feeling his/her oats these days.  With all the propaganda attacking traditional morality and the Hierarchical Catholic Church available in the mainstream media- it should hardly be surprising that an article like this can pass as intelligent commentary on the Church without a firestorm of protest from any corner of American society. If you don’t think that America is heading for a major push to drive the real Catholic Church underground- leaving behind a sort of patriotic catholic church as in China- consider that the Catholics aligned with Obama are probably in agreement with much of this Yahoo commentary- if they are speaking among themselves.  It would be nice to find a journalist who would press the prominent Catholic Democrats into offering their honest critique of this Yahoo piece. I think everyone needs to just come clean and be direct on where they stand- so that we can get this debate out into the open where the Truth longs to be seen.  Here is the article –  http://news.yahoo.com/catholic-church-dangerous-outdated-dissolve-204000761.html  [ Yahoo has apparently taken the link down for now- so here is the content of the piece]- 

The Vatican (generally meaning “the Pope”) is angry with nuns for their behavior, and Cardinal Dolan from the New York Archdiocese is embroiled in yet another pedophile priest scandal. Let’s look at how the two situations prove the Catholic Church is on its last legs.

Starting close to home we have Cardinal Dolan’s little fiasco. It just came to light he might have been part of a plan to pay off child-molesting priests 20 grand each to leave the priesthood quietly, according to a CNN report.

The alleged reason was to hide the pedophiles’ actions and avoid lawsuits by paying them hush money. If it were anyone buy clergy committing these acts my guess is that mass arrests would have already been made.

Another CNN report talks about the Vatican’s recent attack on American nuns. The statement from Rome says they have gone rogue and have become radical feminists. The reason? The Pope thinks they should spend less time supporting social justice and more time opposing same-sex marriage, abortion, and euthanasia.

The Vatican is enforcing sanctions against the nuns, taking punitive action to get them back in line. The Pope is essentially telling each of these nuns, “Shut up and get back in the kitchen where you belong, woman.” Apparently in the mind of the Pope social justice just isn’t a big deal.

It’s possible that Dolan was trying to protect the institution of the Church with his actions. If so he and his Church are broken. I don’t care how loyal he is to the Church — it should be instantly obvious that the well-being of a child rape victim is more important than an organization. Normal people can’t stand the idea of letting child rapists off the hook.

It’s possible the Pope thinks he’s making the right decision biblically — and he might be correct. If so, his scripture is broken. It’s ancient mythology that treats women like property. It’s making him think social justice is irrelevant.

The Catholic Church is out of touch with reality and cares little for social justice and women’s rights. Any religion so broken should dissolve and give its adherents a chance to live better lives without it.

 

Andrew Riggio

Andrew is a freelance writer living in New Hampshire. He is passionate about writing the way Mozart was passionate about music.

and here is one written by a Catholic Democrat over at NCR  – “We are all Sinead O’Connor Now”  http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/we%E2%80%99re-all-sinead-o%E2%80%99connor-now   

 

The thing to remember is that for the secular/catholic liberal mindset- there is no difference between seeking administrative reform and accountability from our clergy and bishops and seeking to uproot official teachings/doctrines and replace them with ideas about morality which pass the mass media/Hollywood smell test. This is a huge distinction- and because Catholic Democrats tend to blur the lines – they threaten to do great damage to our Faith from within- using the ample powers of State and Media who are always ready to chop the Church up into controllable bits.

2

Saint Jerome on the Trinity

Saint Jerome in his sermon on Psalm 41 gave an immortal reflection on the Trinity:

 

Like a deer that longs for springs of water, so my soul longs for you, O God. Now just as those deer long for springs of water, so do our deer. Fleeing Egypt – that is, fleeing worldly things – they have killed Pharaoh and drowned all his army in the waters of baptism.

Now, after the devil has been killed, they long for the springs of the Church: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

We can find the Father described as a spring in Jeremiah: They have abandoned me, the fountain of living water, to dig themselves leaky cisterns that cannot hold water.

About the Son we read somewhere: They have forsaken the fountain of wisdom. Continue Reading

25

A Film For Our Time, and All Times

 

No one, surely, Venerable Brothers, can hazard a prediction or foresee in imagination the hour when the good God will bring to an end such calamities. We do know this much: The day will come when the Church of Mexico will have respite from this veritable tempest of hatred, for the reason that, according to the words of God “there is no wisdom, there is no prudence, there is no counsel against the Lord” (Prov. xxi, 30) and “the gates of hell shall not prevail” (Matt. xvi, 18) against the Spotless Bride of Christ.

Pius XI, INIQUIS AFFLICTISQUE

 

I knew that my viewing of For Greater Glory was going to be something special when two Dominican nuns, in habits,  came out of the showing before the one my family and I attended and one of them remarked to me that it was a very powerful film.  I replied that we were looking forward to seeing it.  Well, that wasn’t completely true.  My worldly, jaded 17 year old daughter would much have preferred to have been back home killing zombies online with her internet chums.  By the end of the film  she was weeping over the scene in which 14 year old Blessed  José Sánchez del Río, stunningly portrayed by Mauricio Kuri,  was martyred.  I did not blame her.  I have not been so deeply moved by a film since I saw The Passion of the Christ.

Before we go any farther, I should announce the obligatory spoiler alert.  I will be mentioning plot elements that people who have not seen the film might not wish to have revealed to them.  For those wishing to continue on, if you have not read my initial post here on the historical background of the Cristeros War, you might find it helpful to look at it before reading this review. Continue Reading

22

Need Reader Input: Who Are The Top 10 Dynamically Orthodox Catholic Bishops?

 I would like some help in identifying the most active, passionate, orthodox American Catholic Bishops currently serving. It is a cultural thing that we seem to love rating everything- not a bad thing- and I have a personal interest in this topic because I want to offer my services to a Bishop who needs someone who gets the following Big Three Realities that I have been focusing on in my last three postings here at American Catholic.

 

1. The Obama Administration is threat #1 to the continuance of our Hierarchical Catholic Church- here in America and since we are a Superpower in worldly terms this could damage a big chunk of Christendom. I do not speak as an Obama-basher with Republican talking point tie-ins- I was a lifelong Democrat who only recently gave it up to become an Independent, not Republican. My realization about the Obama threat emerged slowly after being absorbed in a national Catholic Democrats listserve with some of the real heavyweights- like FOB (Friend of Barack) Vicki Kennedy. It was clear to me that Kennedy with her fellow travelers in Catholic universities, and liberal Catholic political organizations, have been intent on much much more than just getting more traction in American policies and legislation for a few political issues often neglected by the conservative-Right. There is blood in the water for the Church Hierarchy due to the notorious Minor Abuse Scandals. These prominent Catholic Dems seem intent on using whatever power they can muster to force changes in the Church to cut the Hierarchydown to size- replace the Teaching Authority with liberal Catholic college professors and liberal political activists who will “save” the Church from irrelevance among the youth. We have seen that President Obama has been systematically assisting in this process- not openly- but consider his choice of Joe Biden as VP with his pro-choice, pro-gay marriage beliefs, and Kathleen Sebelius as HHS Secretary who is pushing contraceptives down everyone’s throats, and I suspect we’ll see that Justice Sotomayor is pro-choice, pro-gay marriage eventually. The threat to religious liberties will hit the Catholic Church Hierarchy first, with the contraceptives mandates and then gay marriage will turn the Catholic Church Catechism into Hate Literature and every orthodox Catholic into a bigot along the lines of the old school racists back in the 60’s. No one wants to be a racist- so I’m sure that Vicki Kennedy et al are counting on most American Catholics to simply abandon their Bishops’ leadership and embrace her brand of progressive Catholicism which is Obama-cool. So- me thinks the Bishops need a few folks around who see this danger and are willing to stand with the Bishops and the Catechism. I’m here to help.  Here’s a link to my piece on the Catholic Dems/Obama “conspiracy”-  http://the-american-catholic.com/2012/05/31/obama-working-willfully-to-undermine-hierarchical-catholic-church/

 

2. Having this information about the Obama-Catholic Dem elite battleplan is useful- but I am also interested in assisting a good Bishop at the parish level with practical steps- all perfectly legal- for assisting the process of cultivating a new breed of orthodox Catholic political leaders. Pope B teaches us to free ourselves from ideologies in his last encyclical- the social doctrine of the Church is the stuff we need more of in America- the reason we keep swinging wildly from Republican to Democrat in the races for political power is that at the gut level most people get that each Party has got some things right and some things wrong. There is no Party of God- even if right now the mainstream Democratic Party represents the greater threat to the Church/Christ- we are still talking about lesser evils. The Catholic social doctrine is about building civilizations of love- this is the positive vision that is the corrective of narrow ideologies which feed on anger for the most part. The way to bring Christ’s Way into the marketplace of ideas in American political thought and debate is for more fully informed and inspired Catholic voices to emerge and assume the responsibilities of leadership at every level of our society. There is so much that we could do in every parish and school-  here is my POA (Plan of Action) which I would love to bring into a parish in a diocese where the Bishop is aware and involved to guide the development- I’m not interested in being a lone ranger or riding against the wishes of the local Bishop.  Here’s the Plan-  http://the-american-catholic.com/2012/05/10/wanted-orthodox-catholic-political-leaders-time-to-get-serious/

 

3.  Finally, my long experience in the trenches of Catholic high schools has left me with many thoughts on how to inculcate a genuine Catholic identity which has a chance of being transmitted to our very distracted youth. I would love to be part of an orthodox Bishop’s team to help select passionately orthodox Catholic administrators/teachers/staff to be in place to give life witness, along with instructional guidance, to budding disciples of Christ. You can’t give what you don’t have- so if we want Catholic students to come out the other side in love, or more in love with Christ and His Church- then you don’t load up the schools with adults who are full of dissenting views from the Catechetical teachings of the Church. I’m not saying everyone has to be some kind of a stepford-wife cheerleader type of Catholic- we all have our personalities- but if you are an adult working in a Catholic school you should be someone who is thirsty to know what the Church teaches and why- especially if it pertains to your particular discipline or area of responsibility. I get into a lot more detail beyond just the staffing issue in my article below.  I am open to returning to the teaching field or entering new territory in administration under the right Bishop in a diocese that really wants to play it straight-up as a passionately Catholic institution -without being satisfied with a PR-level Catholic Identity which produces nice dog and pony shows for visiting bishops and parents- but scratch the surface and where is the love for the Church? If you fall in love with the Church you will just want to know more and more and to share more and more with the youth and everyone you meet- am I right?  Here’s the last link-  http://the-american-catholic.com/2012/04/16/a-vision-of-catholic-education-from-the-front-lines/

 

OK- if you are still with me- here is how you can help- write out up to 10 names(and email addresses if you have them!) of Dynamically Orthodox Catholic Bishops here in America- with the name of their Diocese.  You can order them according to your own rating system. I want to follow the science here and the shortest distance between two points is a straight line- I want to begin a new mission in using whatever talents I possess for the sake of Christ and His Church- I have tried to use these talents to produce something helpful to preserve and protect the Hierarchical nature of our Catholic Church- If Christ didn’t desire a Hierarchy why bother with Apostles- He could have just had disciples with no leadership inherent in the Church- but He didn’t- evidence from Scripture, history and logic all persuaded me in my Truth Quest. I don’t want to just apply for jobs blind to the leadership in a given Diocese. Leadership matters, that’s why leaders get targeted all the time, and why assassinations are so unfortunately common throughout human history. I want a meaningful mission within the Church and short of that I will do whatever I can do to provide for my wife and four young children- this is my story and why I need our Reader’s Input. Brother (Sister) can you spare a moment and share what you know? God Bless you.

23

Lech Walesa “Too Political” For Obama Administration

The Obama administration, in its never-ending quest to embarrass itself and America, has insulted one of the pivotal figures in ending Communism in Europe, Lech Walesa:

According to the Wall Street Journal, Polish officials requested that Walesa accept the Medal of Freedom on behalf of Jan Karski, a member of the Polish Underground during World War II who was being honored posthumously this week. The request makes sense. Walesa and Karski shared a burning desire to rid Poland of tyrannical subjugation. But President Obama said no.

Administration officials told the Journal that Walesa is too “political.” A man who was arrested by Soviet officials for dissenting against the government for being “political” is being shunned by the United States of America for the same reason 30 years later.

Meanwhile, one of the recipients of the Medal was Dolores Huerta, the honorary chair of the Democratic Socialists of America. So socialist politics are acceptable, but not the politics of a man who stood up and fought socialism.

This revelation follows an eruption of outrage in Poland after President Obama referred in his remarks at the Medal of Freedom ceremony to “Polish death camps,” a phrase that Poles have battled since the end of the Cold War. The phrase suggests that Poles were complicit in Nazi concentration camps, which of course is not the case. In fact, Poles were exterminated in the camps.

 

The White House’s flippant response to the uproar caused the Polish president and prime minister to demand more thoughtful and personal reactions. But White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Wednesday that the president has no plans to reach out to his Polish counterparts and has shrugged off the outrage in Poland. Continue Reading

6

They Will Shoot Me on Tuesday

I die but God does not die!

Blessed Anacleto González Flores before his martyrdom, April 1, 1927

Something for the Weekend. El Martes Me Fusilaran.  (They will shoot me on Tuesday.)    A  song performed  by Vicente Fernández Gomez celebrating the fight for the Church and religious liberty by the Cristeros in Mexico in the twenties of the last century.  This seemed appropriate on the day when my family and I will be seeing For Greater Glory.  Go here to read my post on the film and the historical background on the Cristero War.  Here are the lyrics of the song translated into English: Continue Reading

35

Roger Ebert Pans For Greater Glory For Being Too Catholic

 

 

Roger Ebert is one of the more celebrated movie critics in the country.  He is also a secular liberal of a fairly exteme variety.  This was on display in his review of For Greater Glory.  Go here to read the review.

Ebert confesses that he had never heard of the Cristeros war:

This war has all the elements to make it well-known, but I confess I’d never heard of it. A close Mexican-American friend, well-informed in Mexican history, told me she never has, either. Is it in the usual history books? You’ll learn a lot about it in “For Greater Glory,” the most expensive film ever made in Mexico, an ambitious production with a cast filled with stars.

Judging from the rest of the review, this confession of ignorance was superfluous.

Ebert seems to lack any concept of the Catholic beliefs regarding martyrdom:

It is well-made, yes, but has such pro-Catholic tunnel vision I began to question its view of events. One important subplot involves a 12-year-old boy choosing to die for his faith. Of course the federal troops who shot him were monsters, but the film seems to approve of his decision and includes him approvingly in a long list of Cristeros who have achieved sainthood or beatification after their deaths in the war.

Yes Mr. Ebert, we Catholics do believe it is better to die than to deny Christ.  We have it from the mouth of Christ that this is what we should do.  If you have problems with this, take it up with Him.

Ebert seems to believe that it is OK to persecute the Church a little, but Mexican President Calles took things a wee bit too far:

President Calles (Ruben Blades), who can’t believe the Cristeros can possibly be successful, pursues the war beyond what seems to be all common sense. It’s one thing to enforce legal restraints on the Catholic Church and another — a riskier one — to order such extremes as sending all the bishops and foreign-born clergy out of the country and authorizing the murder of priests in their own churches.

Overall Ebert thinks that For Greater Glory is a good film, but all this Catholic business ruins it:

For Greater Glory” is the kind of long, expensive epic not much made any more. It bears the hallmarks of being a labor of love. I suspect it’s too long for some audiences. It is also very heavy on battle scenes, in which the Cristeros seem to have uncannily good aim. But in its use of locations and sets, it’s an impressive achievement by director Dean Wright, whose credits include some of the effects on the “Lord of the Rings” films. If it had not hewed so singlemindedly to the Catholic view and included all religions under the banner of religious liberty, I believe it would have been more effective. If your religion doesn’t respect the rights of other religions, it is lacking somethingContinue Reading

15

Sesame Street Torture For Terrorists

The longer I live, the more I am convinced that reality is so much more strange, and frequently hilarious, than any fiction:

According to Al Jazeera, prisoners at Guantanamo Bay were “tortured” with Sesame Street. Really. Prisoners reported to Al Jazeera that they had been forced to wear headphones playing music from Sesame Street on a continuous loop for days on end. Christopher Cerf, who composes for the show, was outraged. “My first reaction was this just can’t possibly be true,” he said. “Of course, I didn’t really like the idea that I was helping break down prisoners, but it was much worse when I heard later that they were actually using the music in Guantanamo to actually do deep, long-term interrogations and obviously to inflict enough pain on prisoners so they would talk.” Continue Reading

42

Expert Advice on “Breastfeeding” Without Controversy

This is in response, sort of but in general whether you’re in the military or not, to this photo, and others, mentioned at Huffington Post, and elsewhereGo ahead, gawk and wince.

Nursing doesn’t have to be controversial. Too often the conflicts over breastfeeding in public turn into a debate about whether the woman has a right to expose herself in public or not. One side says it’s natural and the woman is justified, the other side says she isn’t because, frankly, it makes people uncomfortable.

When I was younger, I was in the first category, a me-first mentality and the media seems to encourage that mindset. “Look what a great mom I am!” For me, that need to show-off was a compensation for the compromises and insecurities of trying to appear liberated. As I nurse this seventh child now, I realize my approach to nursing has changed, drastically. [1] Age? Experience? Faith? (Exhaustion?) A lot of reasons.

First, that compulsion to prove myself vanished. I’m happy, confident, and proud in my home, and if I must go somewhere, then I am prepared to find an enclave. Nursing, like it or not, is private, and a woman is not oppressed if she has to excuse herself to feed her child. It’s a considerate gesture, an act of propriety, to acknowledge those around you — basic good manners. [2]

Second, because it will happen, when I have no choice but to nurse in front of other people, I do it discretely. It doesn’t have to be a big deal, and a woman’s attitude can put others at ease. Cover up with a blanket, focus on the baby, and do what needs to be done. This may seem insignificant, but refraining from eye contact will do much to maintain a little private bubble. [3] Chances are, no one will even notice, and your mini-withdrawal will put them at ease if they do. Once the baby’s situated, carry on. People don’t mind knowing you are nursing, it’s the risk of exposure that makes them nervous. Understandably so. Nursing is intimate.

Third, I simply let myself enjoy it. It’s not a competition and babies grow too fast anyway. These are precious moments. So what if you have to make temporary sacrifices? So what if you have to learn, by sometimes failing, to navigate uncomfortable scenarios graciously?

Last, using a more appropriate word helped me orient my thinking. “Breastfeeding” sounds so utilitarian. I prefer to call it “nursing” which implies loving care. Moms nurse the child in the womb, and into adulthood. Every stage comes with its challenges and joys, so let the first years be intimately special, and leave the controversy for another day. [4]

In other words, lighten up. You don’t need publicly published professional photography to capture the moment and rankle a non-issue.

 

What? Did you think I've violate what I just said with a photo of a bare-chested woman?

 

[1] More like, all pretense has been beaten out of me.

[2] No one posts pictures of changing poopy diapers.

[3] Shooting daring glances at strangers is a bad idea.

[4] Like those things Mr. Donald R. McClarey pointed out.

 

Image credit: Microsoft Powerpoint