18

Google Celebrates Their Religion

Ed Driscol notes that Google has a predictable manner of observing Easter.  Ironic, since whatever else you could say about Cesar Chavez he was a devout Catholic:

 

“While two billion Christians around the world celebrate Easter Sunday on this 31st day of March, Google is using its famous ‘Doodle’ search logo art to mark the birth of left-wing labor leader,” Twitchy.com notes, adding that “Google’s Easter insult sparks Twitter backlash, mockery,” as well it should.

 

The timing of latest in-your-face politically correct homepage is oddly appropriate. As Dennis Prager has written, “You cannot understand the Left if you do not understand that leftism is a religion,” and one with its own sources of mythology. Back in 2006 at Tech Central Station, Lee Harris described French Marxist Georges Sorel (1847-1922), and the concept of the Sorelian Myth:

Sorel, for whom religion was important, drew a comparison between the Christian and the socialist revolutionary. The Christian’s life is transformed because he accepts the myth that Christ will one day return and usher in the end of time; the revolutionary socialist’s life is transformed because he accepts the myth that one day socialism will triumph, and justice for all will prevail. What mattered for Sorel, in both cases, is not the scientific truth or falsity of the myth believed in, but what believing in the myth does to the lives of those who have accepted it, and who refuse to be daunted by the repeated failure of their apocalyptic expectations. How many times have Christians in the last two thousand years been convinced that the Second Coming was at hand, only to be bitterly disappointed — yet none of these disappointments was ever enough to keep them from holding on to their great myth. So, too, Sorel argued, the myth of socialism will continue to have power, despite the various failures of socialist experiments, so long as there are revolutionaries who are unwilling to relinquish their great myth. That is why he rejected scientific socialism — if it was merely science, it lacked the power of a religion to change individual’s lives. Thus for Sorel there was “an…analogy between religion and the revolutionary Socialism which aims at the apprenticeship, preparation, and even the reconstruction of the individual — a gigantic task.” Continue Reading

8

Easter and History

I am an historian, I am not a believer, but I must confess as a historian that this penniless preacher from Nazareth is irrevocably the very center of history. Jesus Christ is easily the most dominant figure in all history.

H.G. Wells

How many movements throughout the history of Man have flourished briefly and then vanished into everlasting oblivion, forgotten entirely by History or relegated to the briefest of footnotes?  From a human standpoint that was clearly the fate of the movement started by the carpenter/rabbi from Galilee following His death on a cross.  His followers had scattered and went into hiding at His arrest.  He was denied by the mob, their choosing a bandit and murderer over Him.  Condemned by the foreigners occupying His country, His people observed His death by mocking Him.  The idea that He had founded a “Church” that would spread around the globe, altering all of human history, and causing Him to be worshiped as God by billions of people would have struck any neutral observer as mad ravings.  Yet that is precisely what happened.  Continue Reading

29

Eschewing liturgical protocol can cause some real world problems…

 

There are some on the Catholic left who are chortling in response to the “Good News” that Pope Francis washed the feet of 12 prisoners, aged 14-21—and two them, female prisoners—on Holy Thursday. The question they are in a frenzy about concerns how best to interpret this liturgical statement.  After all, the ritual calls for “viri” (i.e., “men” as in males). They are wondering: Is Pope Francis signaling something positive, namely, greater “inclusion” and “diversity” in the liturgy than has been customary during the past two pontificates?

According to The Telegraph, Pope Francis told his first general audience this past Wednesday:

Holy Week challenges us to step outside ourselves so as to attend to the needs of others: those who long for a sympathetic ear, those in need of comfort or help.

 

Eschewing protocol—stepping outside of ourselves and our comfort zones—is something Pope Francis apparently intends to do.  But, did the Pope step “outside of” or “beyond” liturgical protocol at the Holy Thursday liturgy? After all, one the two women whose feet he washed, one was a Serbian Muslim.

 

 

Some  on the Catholic right have been guarded in their evaluation of this Pope’s early ministry.  More traditional, liturgically conservative Catholics  have expressed concern about the new Pope’s approach to the liturgy, in particular.  The footwashing of the Serbian Muslim woman will heighten their level of discomfort.

More important than the liturgical statement Pope Francis may have intended to telegraph is that, in doing so, he may have overlooked, neglected, or disregarded, if not violated Muslim law.

According to the Code of Ethics for Muslim Men and Women—Rules Related to Socializing:

The Rules of Touching

193 – Rule: Body contact is not allowed with one who it is not allowed to look at, and every kind of touching of the body to any part of the other one’s body is haram and one must refrain from this; unless it from on top of the clothing and it is without the intention of lust. ABGKLMS

 

While the Pope may have intended this particular footwashing to be “a positive sign” in the life of the Serbian Muslim inmate whose foot he washed, strict Muslims may take offense.

Like Pope Benedict XVI, it may not be long before Pope Francis finds himself being challenged by an Imam who issues a fatwa.  In October 2006, Pakistan’s Jamaat-ud-Dawa has issued a fatwa asking the Muslim community to kill Pope Benedict for his “blasphemous” statement about Prophet Mohammad:

The Jamaat-ud-Dawa has declared death to Pope Benedict and said that in today’s world blasphemy of the Holy Koran and the Prophet has become a fashion….Prominent Jamaat leader Hafiz Saifullah Khalid said that in the present circumstances, jihad has become obligatory for each Muslim. Muslims are being declared terrorists and our battle for survival has already started. The Muslim world has rejected the Pope’s apology and decided to continue protests and demonstrations in big cities.

 

Eschewing protocol can be refreshing and prove reinvigorating.  It can be a sign of love and respect, fulfilling the spirit of the law” rather than living according to the “letter of the law.”

In retrospect, it can also cause unintended problems.

 

 

To read the article in The Telegraph, click on the following link:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/the-pope/9960168/Pope-washes-feet-of-young-Muslim-woman-prisoner-in-unprecedented-twist-on-Maundy-Thursday.html

To read the Muslim Code of Ethics rules of touching, click on the following link:
http://www.al-islam.org/a-code-of-ethics-for-muslim-men-and-women/6.htm

To read the about the fatwa issued against Pope Benedict XVI, click on the following link:
http://in.rediff.com/news/2006/oct/03raman1.htm

7

The Cross: Sign of God’s Life

A Good Friday meditation on the Cross by commenter Greg Mockeridge.

Out of all Christian symbols, the sign of the Cross is by far the most significant. In the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox faiths, the blessings given by priests, which are believed to convey actual grace, are given with the sign of the Cross.


The Cross also symbolizes one of the cruelest forms of capital punishment ever inflicted in human history. So it should be no surprise that this “sign of contradiction” is seen by many as the largest “stumbling block” of the Christian faith.


Such reaction, while superficially understandable, ignores a foundational truth of human experience large and small as attested to by history: the greatest of life’s triumphs and successes have always come on the heels of the worst failures and horrors.


This truth finds it fulfillment in the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Our Lord.


While believing firmly in the truth of this great paradox, I couldn’t shake the feeling that the Cross symbolized something more than just a paradox, a deeply profound paradox though it may be.


In reading what then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now pope emeritus Benedict XVI) had to say regarding the sign of the cross in his book Spirit of the Liturgy, I believe my hunch was vindicated. The sign of the Cross is the sign of God’s mark on creation prior to being a sign of crucifixion.
He states: Continue Reading

14

Ayn Rand Rants Against CS Lewis

“Supposing there was no intelligence behind the universe, no creative mind. In that case, nobody designed my brain for the purpose of thinking. It is merely that when the atoms inside my skull happen, for physical or chemical reasons, to arrange themselves in a certain way, this gives me, as a by-product, the sensation I call thought. But, if so, how can I trust my own thinking to be true? It’s like upsetting a milk jug and hoping that the way it splashes itself will give you a map of London. But if I can’t trust my own thinking, of course I can’t trust the arguments leading to Atheism, and therefore have no reason to be an Atheist, or anything else. Unless I believe in God, I cannot believe in thought: so I can never use thought to disbelieve in God.”

CS Lewis

I have always found amusing a fifth rate mind coming up against a first rate mind in a debate and being reduced to muttering imprecations with all the intellectual content of scrawlings on a bathroom wall.  Such was the case when Ayn Rand decided to read CS Lewis’ Abolition of Man and scribbled out her hate in the margins:

C. S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man Ayn Rand’s marginalia
I am considering what the thing called ‘Man’s power over Nature’ must always and essentially be. No doubt, the picture could be modified by public ownership of raw materials and factories and public control of scien­tific research. But unless we have a world state this will still mean the power of one nation over others. And even within the world state or the nation it will mean (in principle) the power of majorities over minorities, and (in the concrete) of a government over the people. And all long-term exercises of power, especially in breeding, must mean the power of earlier generations over later ones.… So in the pre-science age, there was no power of majorities over minorities – and the Middle Ages were a period of love and equality, and the oppres­sion began only in the U.S.A. (!!!) The abysmal bastard!!!
The later a generation comes – the nearer it lives to that date at which the species becomes extinct – the less power it will have in the forward direction, be­cause its subjects will be so few. There is therefore no question of a power vested in the race as a whole steadily growing as long as the race survives. The last men, far from being the heirs of power, will be of all men most subject to the dead hand of the great plan­ners and conditioners and will themselves exercise least power upon the future. … It is unbelievable, but this monster literally thinks that to give men new know­ledge is to gain power(!) over them. The cheap, awful, miserable, touchy, social-meta­physical mediocrity!
There neither is nor can be any simple increase of power on Man’s side. Each new power won by man is a power over man as well. Each advance leaves him weaker as well as stronger. In every victory, besides being the general who triumphs, he is also the prisoner who fol­lows the triumphal car.… So when you cure men of TB, syphilis, scurvy, small pox and rabies – you make them weaker!!!
In the older systems both the kind of man the teachers wished to produce and their motives for producing him were prescribed by the Tao – a norm to which the teachers themselves were subject and from which they claimed no liberty to depart.… And which brought such great joy, peace, happi­ness and moral stature to men!! (The bastard!)
We do not look at trees either as Dryads or as beautiful objects while we cut them into beams: the first man who did so may have felt the price keenly, and the bleeding trees in Virgil and Spenser may be far-off echoes of that primeval sense of impiety. The stars lost their divinity as astronomy developed, and the Dying God has no place in chemical agriculture. To many, no doubt, this process is simply the gradual discovery that the real world is different from what we expected, and the old opposition to Galileo or to ‘body-snatchers’ is simply obscurantism. But that is not the whole story. It is not the greatest of modern scientists who feel most sure that the object, stripped of its qualitative properties and reduced to mere quantity, is wholly real. Little scien­tists, and little unscientific followers of science, may think so. The great minds know very well that the object, so treated, is an artificial abstraction, that something of its reality has been lost. This is really an old fool – and nothing more!  

 

 

Ad hominem!

And what does he think an abstraction is, that great “advocate of reason”?

Here’s where the Kor­zybski comes out in him

 

Continue Reading

36

Msgr. Pope on Gay Marriage

Every now and then as I begin to think about writing a post, I’ll see that someone has written on the very topic I was about to write about, taking the exact same view but expressing it in such a way that it would make any attempt on my part to add to it just plain futile. So when I saw Msgr. Pope’s blog post on gay marriage this morning, I realized he just saved me about an hour’s worth of writing.

Here’s the opening:

There is, among faithful Catholics, a dismay, and even an understandable anger at the events unfolding at the Supreme Court these past days related to to gay unions. And even if the court were to uphold traditional marriage (which does not seem likely), or merely return the matter to the States,  it seems quite clear where our culture is going regarding this matter, approving things once, not so long ago, considered unthinkable.

What then to do with our dismay and anger? It is too easy to vent anger, which is not only unproductive, but in the current state of “hyper-tolerance” for all things gay, angry denunciations are counter-productive.

Rather our anger should be directed to a wholehearted embrace and living out of the biblical vision of human sexuality and marriage. Our anger should be like an energy that fuels our zeal to live purity, and speak of its glory to a confused and out-of-control culture.

The fact is, traditional marriage has been in a disgraceful state for over 50 years, and heterosexual misbehavior has been off the hook in the same period. And, if we are honest, heterosexual misbehavior and confusion has been largely responsible for bringing forth the even deeper confusion and disorder of homosexual activity, and particularly the widespread approval of it.

We have sown the wind, and now reap the whirlwind (Hosea 8:7).

Our anger, dismay and sorrow are better directed inward toward our own conversion to greater purity as a individuals, families and parishes, than outward toward people who will only interpret it as “hate” and bigotry” anyway.

There’s much more at the link as he delves into how the contraceptive mentality has already degraded marriage. There’s been a domino affect, and gay marriage is really just the last domino.

I was attending a conference this week and heard a speaker who talked about generational differences in the workplace. Even though it was geared towards workforce issues, it applied to our culture more generally. The overwhelming support for gay marriage among millenials (generally those 30 and under) is easily explained when you examine the context of the culture and society they grew up in. Not only is mass media propagandizing to them, but many if not most of these kids have developed in an environment where marriage is not the institution it was for our grandparents. In other words, heterosexuals damaged the institution long before homosexuals did.

That’s an argument often made by people who support gay marriage, and so we have a tendency to dismiss it. They happen to be right – it’s just that the logical conclusion that flows from that analysis is not that we should further erode the institution of marriage, but that we need to re-examine all of the other elements that have broken it down through the years.

At any rate, please read the rest of Msgr. Pope’s fine blog.

On a related note, Bill O’Reilly is still a pinhead.

8

Saint Peter and the Last Supper

 

 

I have always been fascinated by the figure of Saint Peter, our first Pope.  He was such an unlikely choice!  God could have chosen a priest, a very wise teacher, a prophet, a ruler, even, Heaven help us, a lawyer.   Someone who, to most superficial human eyes, would have been vastly more suited to be the first head of His Church on Earth. Instead he chose a humble fisherman.  Why?  Any number of reasons, I suppose, many of them still known only to God.  Perhaps one of the major factors was the love that Peter bore for Christ.  We see this after their first meeting when Peter urges Christ to go from him because Peter is a sinful man.  I think that at that point Peter desperately wanted to follow Christ, but he thought he was unworthy to because of his sins.  He was willing to have Christ depart from him in order to protect Christ from Peter’s sinful nature.

Peter is heartbroken when Christ reveals that he must die on the Cross.  Peter tells Christ that this must not happen, only to be rebuked by Christ for acting as a Satan attempting to tempt His human weakness.  This was said shortly after Christ, no doubt to Peter’s immense shock, advised him that He was going to build His Church on him, and committed to him the keys of the kingdom of Heaven.  How strange it must have all seemed to the Fisherman from Galilee!  However, his love for Christ kept him at the side of Jesus.

At the Last Supper when Christ reveals the Eucharist, He has this dialogue with Peter:

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.”

And he (Peter) said unto him, “Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death.”

And he (Jesus) said, “I tell thee Peter, the cock show not crow on this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.”

After seeing the great miracle of the Last Supper, Peter did precisely that, deserting Christ in His hour of need, denying him three times.  Continue Reading

5

Screen Pilates: Stephen Russell

 

Continuing our series on screen portrayals of Pilate that I began in 2011 during Holy Week.    The posts on portrayals of Pilate by Rod Steiger, Richard Boone, Barry Dennen, Hristov Shopov, Telly Savalas and Frank Thring may be read here, here, here, here  here and here.

Stephen Russell portrays Pilate in The Gospel of John (2003) which is a straight forward no frills presentation of the Gospel of John.  As in the Gospel of John Pilate is shown in the film as first curious about Jesus and then sympathetic to Jesus.  He attempts to save Jesus by giving the mob a choice between Jesus and the bandit Barabbas.  When that fails he presents Jesus after He has been beaten and utters the phrase Ecce Homo, Behold the Man. Continue Reading

59

So Who Are The Bigots?

big·ot [big-uht]
a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion.
Origin:
1590–1600; < Middle French ( Old French: derogatory name applied by the French to the Normans), perhaps < Old English bī God by God

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2013.

A movement to redefine a basic institution of civilization into a novel form, unsupported by traditional practices or even rational justifications for gov’t involvement. Supporters commit acts of vandalism, intimidation/assault (including by law enforcement), and violence up to and including attempted mass murder; those who oppose are met with bullying attempts to silence them and ban their employment.

All of those could also apply to the introduction of laws against blacks and whites marrying.

Actual voting results do not back up claims that the fight is over, and even if they did– Truth is not determined by a majority vote. Forcing people to call a thing by a nice name does not change the thing; as was pointed out in arguments yesterday, forcing kids in a class to call everyone a friend does not actually make them friends.

22

Tell Us What You Really Think Greg

Greg Gutfeld unloads on Jim Carrey, an aging Canadian comedian whose career is currently in the process of tanking, over Carrey’s remakably unfunny “Hee-Haw” attack on the late Charlton Heston and anyone who supports the Second Amendment.  Nothing is sadder than a professional funnyman who does not realize that his time in the limelight has passed him by.  I have two words for Mr. Carrey:  Jerry Lewis.  Oh well, perhaps the French will hail him as a genius too.

3

Screen Pilates: Frank Thring

Frank Thring as Pilate

 

 

Continuing our series on screen portrayals of Pilate that I began in 2011 during Holy Week.    The posts on portrayals of Pilate by Rod Steiger, Richard Boone, Barry Dennen, Hristov Shopov and Telly Savalas may be read here, here, here, here and here.

The late Frank Thring, an Australian actor, had the distinction of playing both Pilate and Herod Antipas in major films, Pilate in Ben Hur (1959) and Herod Antipas in King of Kings (1961).

In Ben Hur we get a glimpse of the backstory of Pilate.  Thring portrays Pilate as an urbane Roman aristocrat dismayed that he is being sent to govern bleak and hot Judea.  At a party given by Arrius to anounce his adoption of Ben Hur, go here to view the video,  Pilate indicates his dismay at the prospect.  After Ben Hur wins his famous chariot race, Pilate cynically crowns Ben Hur as the “one true God” for the moment, of the people.  Go here to watch the clip. Continue Reading

14

Quotes Suitable for Framing: Pope Leo XIII

Christians are born for combat.

Pope Leo XIII

 

 

To recoil before an enemy, or to keep silence when from all sides such clamors are raised against truth, is the part of a man either devoid of character or who entertains doubt as to the truth of what he professes to believe. In both cases such mode of behaving is base and is insulting to God, and both are incompatible with the salvation of mankind. This kind of conduct is profitable only to the enemies of the faith, for nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good. Moreover, want of vigor on the part of Christians is so much the more blameworthy, as not seldom little would be needed on their part to bring to naught false charges and refute erroneous opinions, and by always exerting themselves more strenuously they might reckon upon being successful. After all, no one can be prevented from putting forth that strength of soul which is the characteristic of true Christians, and very frequently by such display of courage our enemies lose heart and their designs are thwarted. Christians are, moreover, born for combat, whereof the greater the vehemence, the more assured, God aiding, the triumph: “Have confidence; I have overcome the world.”(13) Nor is there any ground for alleging that Jesus Christ, the Guardian and Champion of the Church, needs not in any manner the help of men. Power certainly is not wanting to Him, but in His loving kindness He would assign to us a share in obtaining and applying the fruits of salvation procured through His grace.

SAPIENTIAE CHRISTIANAE

Pope Leo XIII

 

4

The Ten Commandments of the Science Fiction Writer

Ten Commandments

 

 

My co-blogger Darwin has a good post at his blog, Darwin Catholic, expressing his irritation at three laws proposed by the late science fiction writer Arthur Clarke.  Go here to read it.  The proposing of laws seems to often go with the territory of being a science fiction writer.  Asimov had his laws of robotics, for example.  Reading Darwin’s post propelled me into imagining the ten commandments for science fiction writers, and here they are:

 

 

1.  You are a science fiction writer, and will write only science fiction:  no fantasy, no (spit) urban fantasy, no (gag) romance novels disguised as fantasy.  This rule is subject to being overruled if you really, really need the cash.

2.  You will not bow down to the idols of popular taste or to what will sell in the mass market.  Kindle and e-publishing will have your sole worship.

3.  You will not take the name of science in vain and have more than three scientific absurdities in each story that you write.

4.  All the rest of creation labors for only six days.  For science fiction writing wretches remember the words of Heinlein:  “Six days shalt thou work and do all thou art able; the seventh the same, and pound on the cable.

5.  Honor your father and your mother as they may well be the ones supporting you as you seek fame and fortune by scribbling endlessly for a living. Continue Reading

9

Screen Pilates: Telly Savalas

 

Continuing our series on screen portrayals of Pilate that I began in 2011 during Holy Week.    The posts on portrayals of Pilate by Rod Steiger, Richard Boone, Barry Dennen and Hristov Shopov may be read here, here, here and here.

Telly Savalas in The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965) gives a fairly stolid performance as Pilate.  He portrays Pilate as a world weary Roman functionary to whom Christ is merely a problem he does not need.  When he transfers Christ’s case to Herod, we see Jose Ferrer who gives a strikingly good portrayal of Herod Antipas.  Ferrer portrayed Herod as a man touched against his will by the words of John the Baptist.  Now however he has executed John the Baptist, and has given himself up for damned, taking refuge in drink. Continue Reading

17

Who really deserves to be stomped on?

Across the state from Florida Gulf Coast University—so far, this year’s “March Madness” Cinderella team—a student at Florida Atlantic University (FAU), Ryan Rotella, claims to have been suspended from his Intercultural Communications class.

The problem?

According to CBS12 News, Rotella is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  His professor, Dr. Deandre Poole, asked students to write the word “Jesus” on a piece of paper and step on it.  Rotella refused, saying the act was insulting to his faith.

Surely, if Dr. Poole had students write “liberal activists,” “gays,” illegal immigrants,” “maggot-infested dopers,” “Obama,” or any other number of names or phrases on a piece of paper and step on it, and the students refused, they would be commended and Dr. Poole would be put on notice, no?

Rotella should be commended and the professor “put on notice,” no?

Let’s not forget, however, this is contemporary American higher education and not just as it being enacted in classrooms in the sunny State of Florida.

Conservative news outlets and websites jumped on the story, festooning their headlines with eye-catching statements including “Professor Makes Students ‘Stomp on Jesus.'”

To protect the institution’s “brand” from these right-wing media assaults, FAU’s administration issued the following statement:

A recent classroom exercise in an Intercultural Communication course at Florida Atlantic University has attracted public attention and has aroused concern on the part of some individuals and groups. The exercise was based on an example presented in a study guide to the textbook Intercultural Communication: A Contextual Approach5th Edition, written by a college professor who is unaffiliated with FAU. The course is taught by a non-tenured instructor on an annual appointment.

Contrary to some media reports, no students were forced to take part in the exercise; the instructor told all of the students in the class that they could choose whether or not to participate.

While we do not comment on personnel matters, and while student privacy laws prevent us from commenting on any specific student at the University, we can confirm that no student has been expelled, suspended or disciplined by the University as a result of any activity that took place during this class.

What is intriguing about this story is not that  FAU’s statement doesn’t contest the fact that Dr. Poole did invite the class to participate in this activity.  Nor is it intriguing that FAU’s statement contradicts Rotella’s, in that “no student has been…suspended.”  No, that’s all a sideshow, as those two items deflect from what really is interesting, namely, what must be going on in the minds of professors, like Dr. Poole, who believe they must introduce an activity like stomping on the name of Jesus into their classrooms.

Yes, they surely will argue, academic freedom guarantees their right to “push the boundaries” to get students “to think for themselves.”  In light of this lofty ideal, who should give one hoot about offending Christians?

Yet, this is to overlook what is intriguing about this story: The fact that professors don’t need to engage students’ feet in the activity of stomping on pieces of paper containing the name “Jesus” to learn to think for themselves.  After all, isn’t that  organ located at the opposite end of the human anatomy?

Then, too, there’s the administration’s “apology.”  FAU’s administration wrote:

This exercise will not be used again. The University holds dear its core values. We sincerely apologize for any offense this caused. Florida Atlantic University respects all religions and welcomes people of all faiths, backgrounds and beliefs.

Now, this  apology is very interesting.  Note how, as with so many so-called “apologies” today, the activity that’s being apologized for is “any offense this caused.”  The act itself—stomping on the name of Jesus in an FAU  classroom—doesn’t merit an apology.  No, what requires an apology is that some close-minded or perhaps even bigoted party or parties, like Ryan Rotella, took offense.  Apparently, Dr. Poole and others like Dr. Poole never “intend” to cause offense by introducing two-footed activities into their classrooms to get their students to think for themselves.

Perhaps students like Ryan Rotella should stomp on Dr. Poole and FAU administration as well.

 

 

To read the CBS12 article, click on the following link:
http://cbs12.com/news/top-stories/stories/fau-student-says-he-suspended-not-stepping-jesus-6034.shtml

To read the FoxNews Radio story, click on the following link:
http://radio.foxnews.com/toddstarnes/top-stories/professor-makes-students-stomp-on-jesus.html

To read the FAU administration’s statement, click on the following link:
http://www.fau.edu/explore/homepage-stories/2013_03message.php

To access The Motley Monk’s webpage, click on the following link:
http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/index.html

12

You Pro-Life Torturer You

 

 

Wesley Smith, in an article in The Weekly Standard, notes that there is a move afoot at the United Nations to hold that banning abortion is torture:

 

 

“They” in this instance are the international community in general and the United Nations special rapporteur on torture, the Argentine human rights activist Juan E. Méndez, in particular.

Méndez—whose full title is “special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”—just released a report to the General Assembly on torture “in health care settings.” It is a startling read. He brands with that extreme term not only medical actions and omissions that clearly are not torture as most people understand it, but also national policies disfavored by the international ruling class. Thus, “The Committee against Torture has repeatedly expressed concerns about restrictions on access to abortion and about absolute abortion bans as violating the prohibition on torture and ill treatment.” Unstated (but implied) is that pro-life countries like Ireland are committing crimes against humanity. Continue Reading

44

Biden Refuses to Kiss the Ring of Pope Francis

 

 

Hattip to Matt Archbold at Creative Minority Report.  Veep and Beloved National Clown Joe Biden excuses his refusal to kiss the ring of the pope by making up a fable about his Mom:

He remembers getting a call from his mother, who told him not to kiss the queen’s ring.

Years later, when he was to meet Pope John Paul II, Biden says his mother told him not to kiss the pope’s ring.

Biden, a Roman Catholic descended from struggling Irish immigrants, says his dad said it was “all about dignity.”

Biden says his mother told him that no one is “better” than him. And while Biden should treat everyone with respect, his mother said her son should also “demand respect.'” Continue Reading

13

The Cultural Divide Quiz

The notion that America is becoming increasingly divided between a liberal-leaning, coastal- or urban-dwelling elite and more conservative folks living in “flyover country” has been around for some time. However, author Charles Murray put a bit of a new spin on it in his book “Coming Apart: The State of White America 1960-2010.”

In conjunction with the release of his book in 2012, Murray composed a 25-question quiz designed to determine whether the quiz-taker is in touch with mainstream American culture or lives in one of the elite “bubbles” described in the book. The quiz can be taken at this link.

Some of the more unusual questions in the quiz include:

— Have you ever bought a pickup truck?
— Have you gone fishing in the past 5 years?
— In the past month, have you voluntarily socialized with anyone who smokes?
— Have you ever had any close friends who were evangelical Christians?
— Have you ever participated in a parade not connected with environmentalism, gay rights, or an anti-war protest?
— Who is Jimmie Johnson?
— What does “Branson” mean to you?
— In the past year, have you stocked your fridge with domestic mass market beer (e.g., Pabst, Budweiser)?

Continue Reading

11

Triumph of the King

zechariah

(This is my regular post for Palm Sunday which I repost each year.  Have a happy and blessed Palm Sunday and Holy Week.)

“9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Sion, shout for joy, O daughter of Jerusalem: BEHOLD THY KING will come to thee, the just and saviour: he is poor, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. 10 And I will destroy the chariot out of Ephraim, and the horse out of Jerusalem, and the bow for war shall be broken: and he shall speak peace to the Gentiles, and his power shall be from sea to sea, and from the rivers even to the end of the earth.”

Thus did the prophet Zechariah, writing half a millennium before, predict the entry of Christ into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.  How many such glorious entrances into cities have there been over the ages?  Every civilization I am aware of has such ceremonies, either parades in peace time or entrances of conquest or liberation in war time.  The Romans turned this into an art form with their triumphs, with the reminder of the slave to the imperator of  fleeting human mortality: “Respice post te, hominem memento te”.

Few such triumphs have turned into utter disaster as quickly as that of Jesus:  Jerusalem at His feet on Sunday, and Christ dead on a Roman Cross before the sun had set on Friday.  Small wonder that no contemporary historian or chronicler at the time took note.  However some sort of official report probably was filed after the crucifixion.  Writing circa 116 AD, and relying heavily on official records for his history, in regard to the great fire at Rome under Emperor Nero Tacitus states:

“15.44.2. But, despite kindly influence, despite the leader’s generous handouts, despite appeasing the gods, the scandal did not subside, rather the blaze came to be believed to be an official act. So, in order to quash the rumour, Nero blamed it on, and applied the cruelest punishments to, those sinners, whom ordinary people call Christians, hating them for their shameful behaviour. 15.44.3. The originator of this name, Christ, was sentenced to torture by Procurator Pontius Pilate, during the reign of Tiberius, but although checked for a moment, the deadly cult erupted again, not just in Judaea, the source of its evil, but even in Rome, where all the sins and scandals of the world gather and are glorified.”

Tacitus, clearly hostile to the Christians, points his finger at one of the great mysteries of history.  In human terms the Jesus movement was nipped in the bud at its inception.  Yet in less than three centuries the Roman emperor bowed before the cross.  The triumph of Palm Sunday led only to disaster, and the humiliation and death of the cross led to triumph in eternity and here on Earth.

For we Catholics, and for all other Christians, no explanation of this paradoxical outcome is needed.  However there is much here to ponder for non-believers and non-Christians.  In purely human terms the followers of Christ had no chance to accomplish anything:  no powerful supporters, no homeland embracing their faith, cultures, both Jewish and Gentile, which were hostile to the preaching of the Gospels, other religions which were well-established, the list of disadvantages could go on at considerable length.  We take the victory of Christianity for granted because it happened.  We forget how very improbable such a victory was. Even more improbable is that what began on Palm Sunday, the triumph of Jesus, has continued till today in spite of all challenges that two thousand years of human folly could cast up.  How very peculiar in mortal terms!

Let us give the last word to the patron saint of paradox G. K. Chesterton: Continue Reading

6

Palm Sunday One Hundred and Forty-Eight Years Ago

I have always thought it appropriate that the national nightmare we call the Civil War ended during Holy Week 1865.  Two remarkably decent men, Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant, began the process of healing so desperately needed for America on Palm Sunday, April 9, 1865 at Appomattox.  We take their decency for granted, but it is the exception and not the rule for the aftermath of civil wars in history.  The usual course would have been unremitting vengeance by the victors, and sullen rage by the defeated, perhaps eventually breaking out in guerilla war.  The end of the Civil War could so very easily have been the beginning of a cycle of unending war between north and south.  Instead, both Grant and Lee acted to make certain as far as they could that the fratricidal war that had just concluded would not be repeated.  All Americans owe those two men a large debt for their actions at Appomattox. Continue Reading

Your Tax Dollars at Play

As faithful readers of this blog know I am a Star Trek fan.  Therefore I am doubly offended that the IRS decided to spend $60,000 bucks on a Star Trek and Gilligan’s Island parodies:

Yes, the IRS goes boldly where no man has gone before. And like a space tourist, the IRS wrote a check to do it. Some headlines suggest the price tag was $4 million. Actually, the IRS studio itself cost around $4 million but the Trekkie movie was around $60,000. Continue Reading

18

The Fix Was In

 

 

Patterico at Patterico’s Pontifications has received copies of e-mails between retired Fededal District Court Judge Vaughn R. Walker and one of Ted Olson’s legal partners, demonstrating the depth of collusion between the judge who ruled that Proposition 8, the state constitutional amendment in California approved by the voters banning gay marriage was unconstitional, and Ted Olson who led the legal team seeking to overturn Proposition 8:

 

Vaughn R. Walker, the judge who struck down Proposition 8, California’s gay marriage ban, sought Ted Olson’s opinion regarding whether Walker should attend next week’s Supreme Court arguments on the gay marriage cases. Olson was one of the lawyers who successfully persuaded Judge Walker to strike down Proposition 8 after a trial held in 2010.

In December 2012 emails obtained exclusively by Patterico.com, Judge Walker, who retired in February 2011, asked Olson’s law partner to “ask Ted if he thinks my attending the argument would be an unwanted distraction.”

Above: Retired federal judge Vaughn Walker, who struck down Proposition 8, seeks Ted Olson’s opinion as to whether he should attend next week’s Supreme Court arguments on gay marriage.
 

When Olson’s law partner responded that Olson thought Walker’s attendance would be a “potential distraction,” Walker agreed not to go, saying he understood Olson’s reaction and was not surprised by it. Walker described himself as “only moderately disappointed not to see the argument,” and added: “Ted’s argument will be spectacular, I’m sure.” Continue Reading

37

Yes I Still Support The Iraq War

This last week marked the tenth anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq War and so it offered many pundits a chance to write anguished pieces of self examination in which they told why they wish they had opposed the Iraq War. (Then there’s the variant in which those who were opposed all along snear at those who are late to the anti-war party.)

My reactionary tendency revolts against the late breaking attempt to jump on the band wagon, but even setting that aside I can’t find it in myself to see toppling Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship as an unworthy endeavour. If anything, the main injustice I see in the Iraq War was in not having gone all the way to Bagdad in 1991. We left the Iraqi people hanging out to dry in 1991, allowing Hussein to crush the uprising which we encouraged but failed to support. Hussein remained a brutal dictator, but one ruling at our sufferance from 1991 to 2003. I think removing him at any point during that time would have been a just and noble action.

Certainly, there is a great deal that could have been done better in the aftermath of the invasion and toppling of the regime. I wish that it had been done better and that suffering and loss of life, both Iraqi and American, had thus been less. It seems odd, however, to argue that ending Hussein’s dictatorship could only be just if we knew for a certainty ahead of time that all of our actions in the region afterwards would be carried out with competence and success.

There’s a lot that the Bush Administration can be blamed for, and in many ways the Iraq War and its aftermath were ill-managed. But even in its current unpopularity, I still support the basic justice of seeking to finish the job that we started in 1991 and end one of the world’s nastier little dictatorships while it was still easy to do so.

23

Top Ten Reasons Why Liberals Would Have Hated Abraham Lincoln

The Lincoln (2012) film is coming out on Blu-ray and DVD on March 26, 2013 and I can’t wait to get my copy.  Faithful readers of this blog know that I immensely enjoyed the film.  Go here to read my review.

The film I enjoyed.  The attempt by liberals involved with the film  to steal Lincoln, a very partisan Republican, as one of their own, I did not find amusing, except in a bleakly dark fashion.  Go to here to read a post I wrote to refute the contention of the director of the film, Steven Spielberg, that the parties had switched positions since Lincoln’s day.  Actually modern liberals would have hated Abraham Lincoln, and here are ten reasons why:

1.  Marriage Equality-Gay Marriage was obviously not an issue in Lincoln’s day, but I know he would have been against “Marriage Equality” , the most vacuous political slogan in many a moon, because he was against “marriage equality” for polygamists.  Not recalled much today, but the Republicans ran opposed, as they said in their 1856 platform, to “those twin relics of barbarism, slavery and polygamy”.  Lincoln signed the Morill Anti-Bigamy Act on July 8, 1862.

2.  Military-Industrial Complex-The first example of a Military-Industrial Complex in American history was the mighty war machine assembled by Lincoln to crush the Confederacy.  One can imagine the outraged Code Pink demonstrations.

3.  Catholics-One does not have to peruse Leftist web sites for lengthy periods before usually finding examples of raw anti-Catholic bigotry.  Go here to read about what Lincoln thought of the anti-Catholic bigots of his day.

4.  Separation of Church and State-Imagine, just imagine, the outrage of liberals if a President were to use the White House grounds to host a fund raiser to build a Catholic Church.  Yet, that is precisely what Lincoln did on July 4, 1864.  Go here to read about it.

5.  Dead White Males-Lincoln did not regard the Founding Fathers as dead white males, but champions for human liberty as he ringingly proclaimed them on August 17, 1858:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” This was their majestic interpretation of the economy of the Universe. This was their lofty, and wise, and noble understanding of the justice of the Creator to His creatures. [Applause.] Yes, gentlemen, to all His creatures, to the whole great family of man. In their enlightened belief, nothing stamped with the Divine image and likeness was sent into the world to be trodden on, and degraded, and imbruted by its fellows. They grasped not only the whole race of man then living, but they reached forward and seized upon the farthest posterity. They erected a beacon to guide their children and their children’s children, and the countless myriads who should inhabit the earth in other ages. Wise statesmen as they were, they knew the tendency of prosperity to breed tyrants, and so they established these great self-evident truths, that when in the distant future some man, some faction, some interest, should set up the doctrine that none but rich men, or none but white men, were entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, their posterity might look up again to the Declaration of Independence and take courage to renew the battle which their fathers began — so that truth, and justice, and mercy, and all the humane and Christian virtues might not be extinguished from the land; so that no man would hereafter dare to limit and circumscribe the great principles on which the temple of liberty was being built. (This statement also indicates where Lincoln would likely stand in our current debate on abortion.  Lincoln could always see the common humanity that unites all those “stamped with the Divine image”.) Continue Reading

10

There Is Not Just One Way To Be Pope

One of the things that’s been bothering me (as well as several other good bloggers I read) in the days since the election of Pope Francis is the seeming need of many to identify a single cookie-cutter model which every “good” pope most follow. I recall some of this when Benedict succeeded John Paul, but it was perhaps more muted both by a certain gravity stemming from John Paul’s very public death and funeral, and also by the fact that the although we certainly lived in a “new media” age then, it hadn’t gained the dizzying speed which social media has since provided to “reax”.

Thus it seems as if much of the coverage of the new pope boils down to, “Francis isn’t as intellectual and liturgically focused as Benedict, so he’s not as good” or else “Francis is so ‘humble’ and focused on the poor, he’s clearly a much better pope than Benedict”. Then there’s the next level of escallation in which each side tries to steal the virtues of the other: Oh yeah, well if Francis were really humble he wouldn’t insist on simplicity, which is really a subtle exercise in saying “look at me”! You say Francis cares about the poor and about simplicity? Well look how much Benedict cared about the poor and about simplicity!

I think this quickly gets silly, and more to the point it starts to act as if there is only gone right way for the pope to act. The fact is, being the shepherd of God’s flock on earth is a job large enough that there are multiple different ways of doing it that are right. (Which is not to say that every way is right, obviously, we’ve had some pretty bad popes over the centuries.)

It seems to me that John Paul II’s dense intellectualism combined with his oversize and highly charismatic personality was arguably exactly what the Church needed at the time of his pontificate — as we emerged from a time in which it seemed like the roof was coming down and everything was up for grabs. Benedict’s liturgical focus was another thing that the Church desperately needed at the time that he was chosen — and I think that his ability to write deeply yet clearly was also a huge need. If John Paul II’s struggle to incorporate Catholic teaching and a moderl philosophical understanding of the human person were something very much needed in our modern era, I at the same time suspect that Benedict’s books (both his books about the life of Christ and the many books he wrote prior to his pontificate) may actually be read more often by ordinary Catholics in the coming decades than anything that John Paul II wrote.

Similarly, I think that Francis’ intentional simplicity is something that we need to see in our pope at times. This is not to say that Benedict and John Paul were not simple. They were, though in different ways. But while not every saint needs (or should) be simple in the sort of over-the-top way that our pope’s namesake St. Francis of Assisi was, St. Francis nonetheless remains a good saint to have. That it is good that we have St. Francis as an example does not mean that every other saint is the less for not being St. Francis. (I mean, let’s be honest, St. Francis could be kind of nuts.) And similarly, admiration of Pope Francis’s qualities need not, and indeed should not, be turned into a criticism of other popes for not being like him in every way.

11

Of Centurions, Love and Kipling

 

The twenty-first in my ongoing series examining the poetry of Rudyard Kipling. The other posts in the series may be read here, here , here , here, here , here, here, here, here, here, here, here , here, here, here , here, here, here , here and here.  Kipling throughout his literary career had two great loves:  his love for England and his love for the British Army that guarded England.  A variant on these two themes is displayed in The Roman Centurion’s Song  which Kipling wrote for A Child’s History of England in 1911.  This is the lament of a Roman Centurion who has served forty years in Britannia.  His cohort, circa 300 AD, has been ordered back to Rome and the Centurion does not want to go.  After forty years Britannia has become his home and he wishes to stay.

Kipling once famously wrote in his poem The ‘Eathen, that the backbone of an army is the non-commissioned man.  That was certainly the case with the Roman Legions.  The centurions were an interesting combination of sergeant major and captain.  They were long service men, almost all risen from the ranks.  They normally commanded 60-80 men, although senior centurions, at the discretion of the Legate in charge of the Legion, could command up to a cohort, 500-1,000 men.  Each centurion had a place in the chain of command  with the primus pilus being the head centurion of a legion.  The military tribunes and legates who led the legions were Roman aristocrats, most of whose military experience was much less than the centurions under them.  If they were wise, they left the day to day management of their legion up to the centurions and paid heed to their advice in combat situations.  In the contemporary histories that have come down to us, the centurions are normally treated with great respect.  This is reflected in the movie Spartacus where Senator Gracchus notes that if the Senate punished every commander who ever made a fool of himself, there would be no one left in the Legions above the rank of centurion.

It was not uncommon for centurions to become quite fond of the people and the foreign lands they were stationed in for lengthy periods.  We see this with the Centurion Cornelius and his encounter with Peter described in Acts 10:

[1] And there was a certain man in Caesarea, named Cornelius, a centurion of that which is called the Italian band; [2] A religious man, and fearing God with all his house, giving much alms to the people, and always praying to God. [3] This man saw in a vision manifestly, about the ninth hour of the day, an angel of God coming in unto him, and saying to him: Cornelius. [4] And he, beholding him, being seized with fear, said: What is it, Lord? And he said to him: Thy prayers and thy alms are ascended for a memorial in the sight of God. [5] And now send men to Joppe, and call hither one Simon, who is surnamed Peter: Continue Reading

45

Dr. Ed Peters: “Nancy Pelosi will not change on her own”

Dr. Ed Peters’ response to the fact that Nancy Pelosi took communion at Pope Francis’ Mass bears quoting in full:

Communion time in St. Peter’s is, for the vast majority of lay persons (not heads of state, and not folks chosen to receive from the pope), pretty much a mob scene, so there is nothing to be gleaned from the fact that Nancy Pelosi took holy Communion at Pope Francis’ installation Mass — nothing, that is, except that either Pelosi suffers from one of the most malformed consciences in the annals of American Catholic politics or that she is simply hell bent on using her Catholic identity to attack Catholic values at pretty much every opportunity. Certainly, Pelosi’s taking the Sacrament is not, in the slightest, a Roma locuta on pro-abortion Catholics and Communion.

Nancy Pelosi is America’s problem, not Rome’s, and it is obvious that, if left to her own lights, she will never mend her ways. For her sake, therefore, and for those confused by the chronic scandal she gives, Pelosi needs to be formally warned against taking holy Communion for so long as she promotes, as consistent with our Catholic faith, a variety of gravely immoral policies (per cc. 916, 1339); ministers, meanwhile, in her environs need to be directed to withhold Communion from her till advised otherwise by the competent ecclesiastical authority (per c. 915).

Dr. Ed Peters, In the Light of the Law March 20, 2013.

11

Brave New World

I may have mentioned this before, but one of my favorite novels is C.S. Lewis’s That Hideous Strength. It was the final part of what is known as Lewis’s Space Trilogy. A brief summary of the book is available at this link. The villain in this book is an entity called the National Institute of Coordinated Experiments – N.I.C.E. – which seeks to build a Utopian society based on science. Of course they are basically nothing more than totalitarian, atheistic thugs.

My admiration for the book is based on the fact that Lewis was a prophet. At least, that’s what struck me when I read this headline and accompanying story:

Britain on course for ‘three parent babies’

Britain is on course to become the first country in the world to legalise the creation of IVF babies with three biological “parents” after the fertility watchdog announced that the public is in favour of the controversial technology.

And then Bob Grant’s voice entered my head: They’re sick and they’re getting sicker.

But hey, evidently a majority of people would be down with completely re-working the laws of nature.

A major consultation found that a majority of people would back the therapy, under which a small part of a mother’s genetic material is swapped with that of a healthy donor to eliminate the risk of passing on a host of hereditary diseases to her child.

By removing faulty DNA from the mitochondria, which is always inherited from the mother, experts believe the child and future generations could be spared from a collection of devastating conditions affecting the heart, muscles and brain.

And this is how we’ll convince people that we aren’t entering Frankenstein-levels of biological tinkering. You see these great minds are merely making sure that no one should endure the burden of an imperfect child. Don’t you feel so much better about this project now?

And then on top of the ethical and moral concerns, there’s this:

The HFEA, which carried out the consultation, advised ministers that if they do legalise the therapy, donors and patients should remain anonymous and have no right to contact one another.

Yeah, that always works out well.

And if you’re concerned that we’re at risk of making Gattaca a reality, don’t you worry your little heads off.

Dismissing fears that allowing the treatment could be the start of a “slippery slope”, she emphasised that the therapy – which could become the first treatment to alter the human germ line – would only be available for people at risk of passing on mitochondrial disease.

For now. Oh, she didn’t actually add those words, but I’m sure that’s what she meant, at least if she had a moment of honest self-reflection.

Fortunately, despite the repeated insistence – based on absolutely no data presented in the article – that this procedure has broad public support, clearly not everyone in jolly old England has lost their ever-loving minds.

But opponents of the technique have questioned the moral justification of engineering embryos, and questioned how the resulting child’s sense of identity might be affected by the knowledge that they have three biological parents.

Dr David King, Director of Human Genetics Alert, said: “Historians of the future will point to this as the moment when technocrats crossed the crucial line, the decision that led inexorably to the disaster of genetically engineered babies and consumer eugenics.”

Now, now, Doctor, our best and brightest have assured us that we have nothing to worry about. That should make us all feel much better.

5

Kermit Gosnell: Symbol of our Times

 

The trial of Kermit Gosnell, the symbol of our age of abortion, is proceeding:

 

 

A medical assistant told a jury Tuesday that she snipped the spines of at least 10 babies during unorthodox late-term abortions at a West Philadelphia clinic.

Adrienne Moton’s testimony as part of her guilty plea to third-degree murder, came in the capital murder trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, the clinic owner, who is on trial in the deaths of a patient and seven babies.

Prosecutors accuse him of killing late-term, viable babies after they were delivered alive, in violation of state abortion laws.

Gosnell’s lawyer denies the murder charge and disputes that any babies were born alive. He also challenges the gestational age of the aborted fetuses, calling them inexact estimates.

Moton, the first employee to testify, sobbed as she recalled taking a cell phone photograph of one baby left in her work area. She thought he could have survived, given his size and pinkish color. She had measured him at nearly 30 weeks.

‘The aunt felt it was just best for her [the mother’s] future,’ Moton testified.

Gosnell later joked that the baby was so big he could have walked to the bus stop, she said. Continue Reading

2

Red Badge of Courage

He had been to touch the great death, and found that, after all, it was but the great death. He was a man.

The Red Badge of Courage, Stephen Crane

I recently was watching The Red Badge of Courage, (1951) and I was struck yet again by what a forgotten masterpiece it is.  Filmed in stark black and white, the film has almost a documentary feel to it, as if a World War II era newsreel camera had magically transplanted itself to the Civil War.  The combat scenes are highly realistic depictions of Civil War combat, and the actors speak and act like Civil War soldiers and not like 1951 actors dressed up in Civil War costumes.

As one critic said at the time, watching the film is like watching a Matthew Brady photograph of the Civil War come to life.

It was a stroke of genius for director John Huston to have as star of his film Audie Murphy, as the youth who, in Stephen Crane’s unforgettable novel, has his first taste of combat in the Civil War.  Murphy looked like a typical Hollywood “pretty boy” but he was anything but.  From a family of 12 in Texas, Murphy had dropped out of school in the fifth grade to support his family after his father ran off.    His mother died in 1941.  In 1942 he enlisted in the Army at 16, lying about his birthday, partially to support his family and partially because he dreamed of a military career.  By the end of the war, before his 19th birthday, he was a second lieutenant and had earned in hellish combat a Medal of Honor, a Distinguished Service Cross, two Silver Stars, a Legion of Merit, a French Legion of Honor, a French Croix de Guerre, a Belgian Croix de Guerre, two Bronze Stars and three Purple Hearts.  He was the most decorated soldier of the US Army in World War 2.

Murphy’s co-star in the film was also an Army combat veteran, Bill Mauldin, the famed cartoonist who drew the Willie and Joe cartoons in Stars and Stripes, the Army newspaper, during World War II. Continue Reading

39

How to Destroy America and How, Perhaps, to Save It

Dr. Ben Carson’s speech to CPAC.  Dr. Carson is a pediatric neurosurgeon, who performed the first successful separation of conjoined twins joined at the back of the head in 1987.  With the aid of his mother who believed in him, he rose from dire poverty in the slums of Detroit.  His is the epitome of the American success story.

He told Obama some hard truths about ObamaCare at the National Prayer Breakfast this year:

Go here to read a post my co-blogger Paul Zummo wrote about that appearance.

 

At CPAC Dr. Carson talked about how he would destroy America if he were an enemy of the country.

1. Create division among the people.

2. Encourage a culture of ridicule for basic moral principles.

3. Undermine the nation’s financial stability with crushing government debt.

4. Weaken the morale and funding of the military.

“It appears, coincidentally, that those are the very things happening right now,” Carson noted ruefully, although he went on to say it would be a mistake to pin this entirely on Barack Obama, or any other individual. Continue Reading

49

Top Ten Reasons Why Obama is Not Satan

Satan Obama

 

The Internet is abuzz with the fact that Satan on the History Channel’s The Bible miniseries, which has gotten great ratings, looks a tad like Obama if Michele gets him to go on a veggies only diet.  I really don’t see much resemblance but it does give us a good excuse to look at the top ten reasons why Obama is not Satan:

1.  Hell has never run a deficit.

2.  Satan, whatever his other manifest evils, has never voted present.

3.  Satan resides in Hell and Obama resides in Chicago.  (A small difference I concede.).

4.  Satan is the prince of liars, while Obama is at most an archduke of liars.

5.  Satan to my knowledge has never eaten dog. Continue Reading

35

The Liturgical Direction of Pope Francis: A Diatribe Against the Diatribes

In my initial post on the election of Pope Francis, I concluded with a mild chastisement of those who have take on a spirit of uncharity with regards to the liturgical decisions of the new Holy Father.  To be clear, I have never suggested that papal decisions are beyond criticism.  Pope’s are not perfect in every matter.  Some will have strengths in one area and weaknesses in others.  Pope John Paul II was not a very strong liturgical pope, but he will inevitably be numbered among the Church’s “Great” Holy Fathers for more reasons than we can count.  Pope Benedict was a masterful liturgist, but his management of those in the Secretary of State’s office left something to be desired.  Even someone like Pope Paul VI, who was largely responsible for the tragic liturgical rupture of the last century, managed to produce Humanae Vitae, arguably one of the most important Catholic moral documents in recent memory.  I am also not suggesting that we put on rose colored glasses and assume that Pope Francis will “come around” to the liturgical stylings of his predecessor.  It is likely he will not.  This pope seems to be entirely committed to simplicity in both his private and public actions.  That being said, respectful conversation about liturgies, papal or otherwise, are not only appropriate, but also encouraged.  Pope Benedict XVI believed firmly in a “bottom up” liturgical reform.  The new liturgical movement will not be driven off course in the least by the actions of this or that pontiff.  It will continue to bear fruit so long as it is done in charity and with a spirit of filial love for the Holy Father.  This last point is essential.  The liberal factions within the Church who have been calling for things such as women’s ordination will never be taken seriously, and not simply because they are asking for the reversal of infallible teachings, but also because their tactics are often tactless.  While the new liturgical movement has on its side the history of the Church, the argument from beauty, and the backing of many within the magisterium, I can assure you that the day we abandon the virtues of charity and obedience is the day that we surrender our right to be taken seriously.  It is also the day that, as individuals, we put up barriers to our personal sanctification.  Without charity, there can be no holiness.

With that, there are a few points I wish to make as we go forward.  First, Vatican Information Services reported on March 14, “The director of the Holy See Press Office commented on the Pope’s first public appearance yesterday evening, greeting the crowd gathered in St. Peter’s Square. He noted a few significant gestures that characterized the simplicity and serenity of that encounter, beginning with the Pope’s request that the faith pray for him and his choice of vestments” (emphasis added).  The Holy Father has made deliberate decisions regarding his vestiture, but he has done so by asking for our prayers.  Since when do we not take men at their word?  There are those who have tried to cast Pope Francis’ humility as anything from “misplaced” to “disguised arrogance.”  While we can agree or disagree on the choice of vestments itself, and while we can have respectful dialog about what “simplicity” means within the Roman Rite and papal liturgies, it is entirely inappropriate to judge what is in the pope’s heart.  He has said that he wants to bring a spirit of humility and simplicity to the papacy and the wider Church, and we owe him the benefit of the doubt that this is his true intention.  To assume arrogance and pride in another man’s hear, especially the pope’s, is not our place.  He deserves to be taken at his word.  He also deserves the prayers for which he has asked.  We are Catholic, folks.  We pray.  We pray, and we abandon ourselves to the will of God.  Rather than vitriol, we should exhibit virtue.  Before we jump on a website to level our criticisms, perhaps we should take an hour to pray both for our own dispositions and for the Holy Father.

Second, there has always been a tug between the simple and the ornate within the Church.  The Roman Rite itself has always been by its nature simple and less ornate than many of the eastern rites.  Even within the Gospels we have Jesus presented as somehow both.  We have the scene at Bethany where he allows the woman to pour the expensive oils on his feet despite the objections from Judas that the oil could be sold and the profits could be given to the poor.  And yet we can’t ignore the fact that Jesus was a humble and relatively poor man who lived a life that was as simple as can be.

Look, those who have known me for years know full well what side of the liturgical coin I prefer.  Like the oil at Bethany, I think that no expense is too much when it comes to the worship of the almighty God.  I believe whole heartedly that the liturgy does not belong to anyone, including this or that pope.  I believe that the most important thing for our time is to recover the essence of the sacred liturgy and to restore a spirit of continuity with our past.  I know deep within me that the liturgy is the key to reviving Catholic identity, and identity is key to evangelization and the universal call to holiness.  I rejoiced in the beauty of the Benedictine liturgies, from the vestments to the chant to the altar arrangements.  I will miss them tremendously, for my heart tells me that they will very much not be present in the Franciscan liturgies to come.  It is okay to say that I side with Benedict on this.  It is even okay to say that new liturgical movement will push ahead despite the decisions of Pope Francis.  But it is not okay to throw the baby out with the bath water, and it is certainly not okay to resort to childish tirades over a man we barely know.

In other words, if we can adopt the humility called for by our beloved Holy Father, we can and we will learn something from him.  As I said from the beginning, every pope has his strengths and weaknesses. To ignore the former because we are preoccupied with the latter is a disservice to ourselves, to the pope, and to the Church.  If we focus too much on the liturgical rupture of Paul VI, we will miss Humanae Vitae.  If we zoom in on some of the misplaced ecumenism of John Paul II, we will fail to recognize the brilliance of his writings on faith, reason, and the nature of the human person, not to mention the part he played in bringing down communism.  If, like the media, some see only the failed management of certain curial departments under Benedict XVI and are consequently blinded to the importance of his liturgical legacy, they are equally to blame.  How is it that the fans of Benedict’s liturgies so readily understand this last example but fail to see the flip side of the coin in the previous two examples?

Pope Francis does have something to teach us, and I firmly believe it is a lesson that much needed in the world: a call to simplicity and personal poverty.  I don’t mean here personal destitution, but rather that call to Gospel poverty clearly spelled out in the Sermon on the Mount.  It strikes me when reading Luke’s account of this monumental sermon that the beati of the poor is the only one that bears a present promise.  All the others guarantee some future reward (you shall be filled, you shall laugh, etc.).  Yet when it comes to being poor, the promise reads, “Yours is the kingdom of God.”  There is blessing in simplicity, yet the world in which we live is not at all conducive to this call.  Despite this, it remains true that in this call to simplicity we will find God.

Please don’t get me wrong.  I am very much of the camp that our worship of the almighty God in the Sacred Liturgy is something the deserves both great attention to detail and an aesthetic that conveys the reality of heaven-com-down-to-earth, or perhaps the other way around.  Yet the beauty that we should portray in our liturgy should be in stark contrast to the simplicity found within our own lives.  Before we decry the liturgical decisions of Pope Francis, we would do well to get our own houses in order.  The possessions we have, the gourmet food we eat, the expensive clothes we buy, the cell phones we carry, and the very computers that we use to type out the anti-Francis diatribes … all of this bears asking, “Is it really necessary?”  When it comes to the things of the world, there is nothing neutral.  Every thing we own, every activity we do, every medium we consume … it either does or does not contribute to our own holiness.  The lesson from the first days of the Franciscan pontificate is simple: we must take a spiritual inventory of our own lives, and we need to divest ourselves of those things that are not helping our sanctification.

Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.  This pope has much to teach us, even if we disagree with him on things liturgical.  Dialog.  Discuss.  But do so in a spirit of prayer and humility, and dare I say it, charitable obedience to our new pope.  He deserves our love.  He deserves our respect.  He deserves our prayers.  He deserves our filial devotion.  And he does so because he is the Vicar of Christ on earth.  He is our Holy Father.

3

Freedom of the Press Under Siege

Churchill Freedom of the Press

If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and one, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.

John Stuart Mill

Freedom of the press appears to be under siege in what used to be thought of as free nations.

It comes after talks were held overnight between the Lib Dem and Labour leaders and a senior Tory minister on a new press watchdog.

But Tory Maria Miller said leaders still needed to discuss details.

An overhaul of press regulation began after it was revealed that journalists had hacked thousands of phones.

Lord Justice Leveson’s inquiry into press ethics in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal called for a new, independent regulator backed by legislation, which prompted months of political wrangling.

The prime minister had opposed establishing a watchdog backed by law, but the other parties have pushed for it.

The BBC’s Nick Robinson said Labour and the Liberal Democrats appeared to have accepted a watered-down version of their demands for full legal underpinning of a royal charter establishing a new watchdog.

Ms Miller said: “We’re very close to a deal. What has been accepted by all the main parties is that the prime minister’s royal charter should go ahead, and more importantly we’ve stopped Labour’s extreme version of the press law.” Continue Reading

2

The Dominican and the Devil Dogs

Father Paul Redmond

The sons of Saint Dominic have supplied many heroic military chaplains throughout their illustrious history, and one of these men was Father Paul Redmond.  Born on March 27, 1899 in New Haven, Connecticut, he served as an enlisted man in the United States Navy during World War I.  He was ordained a priest in the Dominican order in 1930.

By 1942, Father Redmond was 43 years old, about a decade older than the average chaplain.  No one would have said anything if he had sat this World War out.  Instead he joined the Navy and became a Marine chaplain, and not just any Marine chaplain.  He took a demotion in rank from corps chaplain to battalion chaplain to serve with the 1st and 4th Raider battalions, elite combat formations.  Among men who were brave simply by virtue of qualifying to join such outfits, Chaplain Redmond stood out.  During the campaign on Guam, Father Redmond would go into the mouths of caves occupied by Japanese troops to attempt to convince them to surrender, and I find it difficult to think of anything more hazardous offhand.

In the midst of the attack on Orote Peninsula on Guam, the Chaplain was tending the dying and wounded while under fire.  He called to his assistant Henry to give him a hand.  His assistant was understandably reluctant to expose himself to enemy fire.  Father Redmond yelled to him that as long as he had led a good, clean life nothing would happen to him.  Henry yelled back that he had not led a good, clean life and therefore he was going to sit tight until the firing let up.

One Marine recalled Redmond’s almost preternatural courage: Continue Reading

2

No One Expects the Irish

Hattip to Ann Althouse.  When I was at the University of Illinois I had a friend who was a grad student in physics.  He was part Black, part Sioux, part Irish, part Mexican, part Greek and part Italian.  He was also a conservative Republican and an Evangelical.  He used to take sly amusement in giving affirmative action officers fits when he put down “smorgasbord” as his ethnicity.  One asked him on what continent the country of Smorgasbord was located.

17

Abraham Lincoln and Robert Emmet

The Seven Days made the Irish Brigade’s reputation. It was said that whenever General Sumner prepared for battle he would ask, “Where are my green flags?” and that he once quipped that if the Irishmen ever ran from the field he would have to run as well. When Abraham Lincoln visited McClellan’s army at Harrison’s Landing, Va., where it was preparing to ship back to Union territory, an officer claimed the president picked up a corner of one of the Irish colors, kissed it and said, “God bless the Irish flag.”

Terry L. Jones, Civil War Historian

Throughout his life Abraham Lincoln was sympathetic to the plight of the Irish.  In 1847 he contributed $10.00 for relief of the Irish during the Great Famine, not an inconsiderable amount of money at a time that private soldiers during the Mexican War were being paid $8.00 per month.

When Irish Catholics faced discrimination in this country Lincoln spoke up for them in spite of the fact that most Irish Catholics were Democrats.

In the 1840s America was beset by a wave of anti-Catholic riots.  An especially violent one occurred in Philadelphia on May 6-8.  These riots laid the seeds for a powerful anti-Catholic movement which became embodied in the years to come in the aptly named Know-Nothing movement.  To many American politicians Catholic-bashing seemed the path to electoral success.

Lincoln made clear where he stood on this issue when he organized a public meeting in Springfield, Illinois on June 12, 1844.  At the meeting he proposed and had the following resolution adopted by the meeting:

“Resolved, That the guarantee of the rights of conscience, as found in our Constitution, is most sacred and inviolable, and one that belongs no less to the Catholic, than to the Protestant; and that all attempts to abridge or interfere with these rights, either of Catholic or Protestant, directly or indirectly, have our decided disapprobation, and shall ever have our most effective opposition. Resolved, That we reprobate and condemn each and every thing in the Philadelphia riots, and the causes which led to them, from whatever quarter they may have come, which are in conflict with the principles above expressed.”

Lincoln remained true to this belief.  At the height of the political success of the Know-Nothing movement 11 years later, Mr. Lincoln in a letter to his friend Joshua Speed wrote:

“I am not a Know-Nothing. That is certain. How could I be? How can any one who abhors the oppression of negroes, be in favor of degrading classes of white people? Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we begin by declaring that “all men are created equal.” We now practically read it “all men are created equal, except negroes.” When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read “all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and catholics.” When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty-to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy [sic].”

As a young man Lincoln memorized the speech of Robert Emmet, a Protestant Irishman, before he was sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered in 1803 after his capture by the British.  Emmet’s family was sympathetic to the plight of their Irish Catholic countrymen, as they had been earlier sympathetic to the cause of the patriots in the American Revolution.  He was captured after leading an abortive rebellion in Dublin in 1803.  Unbeknownst to Emmet, his chief defense counsel had been bribed by the British to help assure his conviction, although his junior defense counsel manfully defended Emmet with all of his skill.  Emmet himself took full advantage of his opportunity to speak before sentencing: Continue Reading

11

Little Miracles

No, I don’t mean “kids.” They’re really big miracles in little packages. I also don’t mean things where small happenstances have big side-effects– like the time something silly I can’t remember happened, and delayed my car enough that we missed being T-boned or caught in the huge pileup with it from a run-away car. Barely.

I mean things where you are just not having a good time of it, for perfectly normal and predictable reasons…and then something rather odd happens that made you feel better, or fixed a problem unexpectedly.

The “hey, I know you’ve been down, but I also know you like rocks and I found this pretty crystal. Have a nice day!” type stuff.

Got to thinking on it because 1) I am a total sleep wimp, and 2) I’m a month and a half from the next baby being due. That means that, most nights, I can’t sleep. Mental note: next time, make sure that the last trimester is at the END of DST…. 😉

A couple of days ago, the girls were having screaming fits over everything. They’re tired, too; they miss their dad, mom isn’t as fun and can’t pick them up anymore, and there have been some minor disasters the last few weeks, from medical to minor injury to very minor vehicle trouble. As an added bonus, I emptied all the odds and ends stuff out of the closets to organize them properly, got a bunch of storage boxes and all… about two months ago, and haven’t managed more than a third of it. I knew that TrueBlue did a lot, but this is ridiculous.

I was unable to sleep, again, and about ready to cry from frustration, so I thought I’d try to find a registration code for a game I had on the old computer. Can’t find it. Try ever odder groupings of the name… and this email forward from a family friend that witnessed for our wedding, but has since died, popped up. It was one of those probably made up tear jerkers about a guy whose car suddenly had problems, and he managed to get to a gas station where he saw a woman in distress. He helped her and her kids out, feels the urge when she asks if he’s an angel to tell her “they were busy, so God sent me” and when he gets back to the car, it of course starts up.

The cry I got from that did more good than two hour’s worth of sleep, and I know it’s been making my days a bit easier. They’re still…trying, but I can deal a bit better, now. I’ve been able to get enough energy to do a couple of the things that I’ve had on my list for far too long, and I KNOW it’s made me a bit less irritable.

I still can’t find anything that should’ve triggered that search to bring up that email. I’m sure there’s something, but… a little, well-timed “accident” of the sort mom always taught us to be grateful for.

Trigger any thoughts anybody would like to share?

4

Ides of March: Antony Explains it All

I think it would have amused the Romans of Caesar’s generation if they could have learned that the assassination of Julius Caesar would eventually receive immortality through a play written more than 16 centuries after the event by a barbarian playwright in the Tin Islands that Caesar had briefly invaded.  It would have tickled their well developed concept of the ludicrous, judging from Roman comedy. Continue Reading

1

Happy Pi Day

NATURE and Nature’s Laws lay hid in Night:

 God said, “Let Newton be!” and all was light.

Alexander Pope

Back in my mispent high school days I got extra credit in one of my math classes by giving presentations on Friday each week on the lives of famous mathemeticians, my way of compensating for the fact that math and I have always had a tortured relationship.  However, even though higher math will always remain a closed book to me, the history of math is not, and it reminds me that exploration in the realm of pure knowledge can be just as exciting as the exploration of the earth and the stars.  Faith and Reason allow us to explore the glory of God’s creation and what we do with the knowledge we gain thereby makes all the difference, both in time and in eternity.

Mock on, mock on, Voltaire, Rousseau:
Mock on, mock on: ‘tis all in vain!
You throw the sand against the wind,
And the wind blows it back again.

And every sand becomes a Gem,
Reflected in the beam divine;
Blown back they blind the mocking Eye,
But still in Israel’s paths they shine.

The Atoms of Democritus
And the Newton’s Particles of Light
Are sands upon the Red Sea shore,
Where Israel’s tents do shine so bright.

William Blake

 

26

Bad History: Was the Persecution of Christians a Myth?

Donald McClarey has a well deserved barn-burner of a post up at The American Catholic about a new book entitled The Myth of Persecution: How Early Christians Invented a Story of Martyrdom out from University of Notre Dame theology professor Candida Moss. I’d seen a couple articles on this book before it came out and more or less passed over them as yet another fluffy work of pop scholarship intent on telling us that “everything we know is wrong” in relation to Christianity. However, the book appears to be getting a certain amount of press and is climbing the Amazon sales ranks, so it’s worth giving it a bit of attention as the politically motivated pop-history that it is.

Dr. Moss talks about her motivations for writing the book in an interview at HuffPo:

I initially became interested in this subject because of a homily I heard that compared the situation facing modern Christians in America to the martyrs of the early church. I was surprised by the comparison because modern Americans aren’t living in fear for their lives and the analogy seemed a little hyperbolic and sensational. After this, I began to notice the language of persecution and victimization being bandied about everywhere from politics, to sermons, to the media, but rarely in regard to situations that involve imprisonment and violence.

She goes on to argue that modern Christians have a view that persecution of the early Church was pervasive when it was in fact not:

[A] lot of weight rests on the idea that Christians were persecuted in the early church because, without the idea of near-continuous persecution, it would be difficult to recast, say, disagreements about the role of prayer in schools as persecution. … But intriguingly, the historical evidence for systematic persecution of Christians by Jews and Romans is actually very slim. There were only a few years before the rise of the emperor Constantine that Christians were sought out by the authorities just for being Christians. The stories about early Christian martyrs have been edited, expanded, and sometimes even invented, giving the impression that Christians were under constant attack. This mistaken impression is important because it fosters a sense of Christian victimhood and that victim mentality continues to rear its head in modern politics and society. It’s difficult to imagine that people could make the same claims about persecution today were it not for the idea that Christians have always been persecuted.

Moss also has a recent piece in The Chronicle of Higher Education summarizing her argument and promoting the book: Continue Reading

17

Quotes Suitable for Framing: Thomas Babington Macaulay

Joseph Stalin: How many divisions has the Pope?

Pius XII (later, to Winston Churchill) : Tell my son Joseph he will meet my divisions in heaven.

 

 

After the events of this week, with the election of the 266th Pope, this quotation from the anti-Catholic writer Lord Macaulay written in 1840 comes vividly to mind:

 

 

There is not, and there never was on this earth, a work of human policy so well deserving of examination as the Roman Catholic Church. The history of that Church joins together the two great ages of human civilisation. No other institution is left standing which carries the mind back to the times when the smoke of sacrifice rose from the Pantheon, and when camelopards and tigers bounded in the Flavian amphitheatre. The proudest royal houses are but of yesterday, when compared with the line of the Supreme Pontiffs. That line we trace back in an unbroken series, from the Pope who crowned Napoleon in the nineteenth century to the Pope who crowned Pepin in the eighth; and far beyond the time of Pepin the august dynasty extends, till it is lost in the twilight of fable. The republic of Venice came next in antiquity. But the republic of Venice was modern when compared with the Papacy; and the republic of Venice is gone, and the Papacy remains. The Papacy remains, not in decay, not a mere antique, but full of life and youthful vigour. The Catholic Church is still sending forth to the farthest ends of the world missionaries as zealous as those who landed in Kent with Augustin, and still confronting hostile kings with the same spirit with which she confronted Attila. The number of her children is greater than in any former age. Her acquisitions in the New World have more than compensated for what she has lost in the Old. Her spiritual ascendency extends over the vast countries which lie between the plains of the Missouri and Cape Horn, countries which a century hence, may not improbably contain a population as large as that which now inhabits Europe. The members of her communion are certainly not fewer than a hundred and fifty millions; and it will be difficult to show that all other Christian sects united amount to a hundred and twenty millions. Nor do we see any sign which indicates that the term of her long dominion is approaching. She saw the commencement of all the governments and of all the ecclesiastical establishments that now exist in the world; and we feel no assurance that she is not destined to see the end of them all. She was great and respected before the Saxon had set foot on Britain, before the Frank had passed the Rhine, when Grecian eloquence still flourished at Antioch, when idols were still worshipped in the temple of Mecca. And she may still exist in undiminished vigour when some traveller from New Zealand shall, in the midst of a vast solitude, take his stand on a broken arch of London Bridge to sketch the ruins of St. Paul’s.

Cardinal Carberry and the First Conclave of 1978

 

 

 

John Cardinal Carberry was one of the men who had the unique experience of attending two Papal Conclaves within little more than a month of each other in 1978.  He was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1904, the youngest of ten children.  He enrolled at Cathedral College in 1915, where he displayed a love for the priesthood, playing the violin and baseball.  Like many men who become Cardinals in the Church in America, he studied at the North American Pontifical College and was ordained in 1929.

He served as a curate at Saint Peter’s in Glen Cove, New York.  Obtaining a doctorate of canon law from Catholic University of America in 1934.  From 1935-1940 he served as secretary to the Bishop and Assistant Chancellor of the diocese of Trenton, New Jersey.  (One of the hallmarks of Carberry’s career was a broad range of experience around the country rather than remaining in one diocese his entire life.)

From 1941-1945 he served as professor of canon law at Immaculate Conception Seminary in Huntington, New York.  From 1945-1956 he was Chief Judge of the diocese of Brooklyn.  In 1956 he was appointed Coadjutor Bishop of Lafayette, Indiana.  He succeeded as second Bishop of Lafayette in 1957.

He attended all the sessions of Vatican II and was an active participant.  In 1965 he was named seventh Bishop of Columbus, Ohio.  At Columbus he gave active support both to the civil rights movement and ecumenicalism.

In 1968 he was appointed the fifth Archbishop of Saint Louis.  By this time the chaos within the Church that followed in the aftermath of Vatican II was well underway and Carberry did his best to oppose it.  He celebrated Humanae Vitae and established the Archdiocesan Pro-Life Commission, giving an early impetus to the pro-life movement in Saint Louis.  He opposed Communion in the hand until 1977, fearing that it was irreverent and would lead to hosts being stolen for use in Black Masses.  He spoke out loudly against the sitcom Maude, one of Norman Lear’s television vehicles to preach liberalism to what he perceived as the great unwashed, which celebrated contraception and abortion.  He was one of the American prelates in the vanguard against the activities of the liberal Archbishop Jean Jadot, Apostolic Delegate to the United States from 1974-1980, whose influence on the Church in America was almost entirely pernicious.

Reaching the mandatory retirement age of 75, he retired in 1979 and passed away in 1998. Continue Reading

4

How the Running Dogs Live

 

A North Korean propaganda video as to how we poor Americans live.  It reminds me of Japanese propaganda in World War II that used to tell Marines that while they were fighting their wives and girlfriends were sleeping with Hollywood Stars like Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck.  In regard to North Korea there is only one piece of “propaganda” we need to use which is pictured below: Continue Reading

9

Francis Has Returned As Pope?

The signs are as unmistakable as they are stunning; Francis has returned to rebuild the Church. The first New World Pope, who happens to be the first Jesuit Pope, has taken the name of Francis. It didn’t stop there. St Francis known for his miraculous ability to communicate with God’s creatures may have sent a sign. It seems a stubborn seagull kept landing on the Sistine Chapel smoke pipe a couple of hours before Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, the very modest living prelate from Argentina was chosen.

About the name Francis, could it also be for Francis Xavier the famous Jesuit missionary to the Far East? Who knows for sure but perhaps it is a very deft touch by the man from Buenos Aires. In addition, was it not a Franciscan Pope (Clement XIV) who famously suppressed the Jesuits in France in the 1700s, which many believe helped the radicals of the French Revolution in their bloody but unsuccessful attempt to destroy the Church? Another sign; perhaps a nod to reconciliation? The Conclave began on March 12, the day both St. Ignatius (founder of the Jesuits and St Francis Xavier, perhaps the second most famous Jesuit saint) were officially canonized in 1622. Continue Reading

54

Habemus Papam!

 

Live Feed:

 

White Smoke is blowing from the Vatican’s chimney. We will know the identity of the new Pope shortly.

Update 2:40: No announcement yet, but it should be coming shortly. I just have to say as someone who couldn’t watch eight years ago, this is awesome.

Update 3:00: Thomas Peters has linked to this handy dandy list of the Cardinals’ names in Latin, so you will know who the new Pope is approximately three seconds sooner.

Update 3:12: It’s Cardinal Bergoglio of Argentina, and he has chosen the name Francis.

Update 3:49: John Allen had written a profile of Cardinal Bergoglio, now Pope Francis I, a week ago. H/t: Dale Price. Reading some of the critical comments at the Reporter fills me with great hope.

2

James Cardinal McIntyre and the Conclave of 1963

 

 

 

James Cardinal McIntyre was very unhappy with Vatican II and spoke about it, one of the few Cardinals who did.  However, McIntyre was a man who never minded swimming against the stream.  Born on June 25, 1886 in New York City,  his father a member of the mounted police and his mother an immigrant from Ireland.  His father was rendered an invalid after a fall from a horse in Central Park, and his mother supported the family as a dressmaker.  When she died in 1896 his father and James went to live with a relative.  To support himself and his father, James became a runner on the New York Stock Exchange.  He was offered a junior partnership in 1914, but declined to pursue his dream of becoming a priest.  He was ordained in 1921 and served as associate pastor at Saint Gabriel’s on the lower East Side until he was made Assistant Chancellor of the Archdiocese of New York in 1923, rising to Chancellor in 1934.  In 1939 he formed the Columbiettes, the woman’s auxilary of the Knights of Columbus.  In 1940 he was named Coadjutor Bishop of the Archdiocese of New York.  In 1946 he was named Coadjutor Archbishop of New York, and in 1948 second Archbishop of Los Angeles.

Ever a fighter, McIntyre led the successful campaign to overturn a California state law which taxed Catholic schools.  He was made a Cardinal in 1953 by Pius XII.  Under his leadership the Archdiocese went through a period of immense growth, McIntyre showing exceptional foresight in purchasing land cheap as the sites of future churches and schools.  Endlessly hardworking, he made sure the Archdiocese ran efficiently and effectively.

McIntyre was Orthdox in his religion and hard right in his politics, which put him at odds with most other of the high clergy in the Church of his day.  He sent his priests to classes conducted by the John Birch Society about the threat of Communist infiltration.  He railed against moral laxity in the film industry, normally a sacred cow in California.

He never let politics stand in the way of friendships.  He was a friend of Dorothy Day although their political views were light years apart.  Go here to read what Day wrote about the Archbishop.

Vatican II met with his disfavor.  In a speech to the Council Fathers on October 23, 1962 he uttered words which proved prophetic in regard to proposed changes in the liturgy:  “The schema on the Liturgy proposes confusion and complication. If it is adopted, it would be an immediate scandal for our people. The continuity of the Mass must be kept.”

He voted in the Conclave of 1963.  He was no happier with Vatican II after the Conclave than before.  When the Immaculate Heart of Mary sisters went crazy following Vatican II, a process described in excruciating detail here, McIntyre told them that they had to follow Vatican II guidelines for religious.  They refused to do so, the Vatican backed McIntyre up, and almost all of the IHM sisters left the Church.  Until he retired in 1970 McIntyre continually butted heads with radical priests and nuns.  He was totally opposed to the zeitgeist of the time, and clearly could not have cared less.  After his retirement he served as parish priest at Saint Basil’s in Los Angeles, and would say the Tridentine Mass on the side altars.  He died at 93 in 1979. Continue Reading