Monthly Archives: June 2012
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
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:
To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, click on the following link:
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
I am seeing this video for the first time tonight and believe it is important that all Catholics see it.
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
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 1263. 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
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
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
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
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 clarity? Very 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
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:
To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, click on the following link:
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
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.
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.