Pio Nono: First Pope to be Photographed

Monday, September 30, AD 2013

A liberal pope, that’s the most egregious thing I can imagine!

Metternich’s reaction upon hearing of the election of Pius IX


Pio Nono is often regarded in secular histories as a hopeless reactionary.  That is as misguided as the Metternich quote above, when the Pope was regarded as a liberal at the beginning of his reign.  Pio Nono was Pio Nono, and it is mistaken to attempt to place him into a secular box.

In regard to technology, and the 19th century was in many ways a time period when technology was changing in a more revolutionary fashion than our own day, Pius tended to eagerly embrace it.  Photography was a prime example of this.  Before the reign of Pius, the pope to almost all Catholics outside of the hierarchy was a fairly shadowy and mysterious figure.  Most had little idea of what the pope looked like, and while his office was understood as important, the man behind the office was a question mark.



Pio Nono changed that.  He used the new science of photography to form a link between himself and the average Catholic.  The first Pope photographed, Pio Nono sent out many autographed photographs of himself.  It was a rare rectory by the end of the reign of Pio Nono that did not have a picture of the Pope.

Pio Nono understood the value of what we call public relations.  He once acknowledged that he was the number one attraction for tourists in Rome.  He also had a sharp sense of humor, telling the Anglican bishop of the Mediterranean that he found himself living in the bishop’s diocese!  We can see this understanding of the attraction of his personality in some of his photographs:

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5 Responses to Pio Nono: First Pope to be Photographed

  • Pius IX was also the first pope to set foot on United States territory on August 1, 1850 when he, along with King Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies, visited USS Constitution at anchor in the harbor of Gaeta, Italy. He was received on board with a 21-gun salute and gave his benediction to the eighty Catholic members of the crew. He stayed aboard for about three hours (becoming seasick in he captain’s cabin!) and departed to a second 21-gun salute. He later sent rosaries to those crew members he had blessed.

  • Thank you for the info WS! I will have to write a blog post on that incident sometime.

  • Pius IX had two papacies, not one. As a spiritual leader he was continuously successful, leading the Church against all the odds from triumph to triumph. As a king and political leader – the last king-Pope – he made every mistake he could possibly make (even being seen together with the abominable Ferdinand II was an incredible error of judgment, since even reactionary powers like Austria could not bear that mindless brute) and made the end of temporal power a certainty. It is my view that when God has some end in mind, He may cause a Pope to be made who is not necessarily bad, but is the wrong one to fight a certain battle in a certain position. In 1870, it is my view, the time had come for temporal power to come to an end – for reasons too long to argue here, but I will defend this view if I have to – and a Pope came to power who was the right man to lead the spiritual power of Peter against the mightiest powers on the earth, but absolutely the wrong one to keep even a shred of the Pope’s old kingdoms. Likewise, nothing is more evident than that the wrath of God was over Europe and the word from the last years of the Victorian age, and that the terrible consummation we have seen in nation after nation during the twentieth century was the terrible punishment for the arrogance and godlessness of man in this age. And so, just as the disaster was unfolding, the Holy Spirit sent us two saints – Pius X and the still uncanonized Benedict XV who were, each, absolutely the wrong saint at the wrong time in purely political terms. Pius X all but went to war against France, and made the Church alien, and therefore irrelevant, to modern culture; Benedict XV added a streak of fanatical pacifism hitherto alien to the Papacy, which led him to condemn the struggle against German aggression as a “useless slaughter”, infuriating the patriotic leaders who knew that they were trying to save their nations against German assault, while gaining zero points from the Germans, who hated him on principle. The result is that the Vatican was completely excluded from the politics of Versailles – where every other delegation, concerned or not with the war, was received, the Pope alone being left out – and left the politics of Europe to unfold essentially with no kind of input from St.Peter.

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Winfield Scott and the Irish Pows

Sunday, September 29, AD 2013

colonel winfield-scott

Winfield Scott, the most notable American general between the American Revolution and the Civil War, began his climb to becoming a general at 27 by the heroism he displayed as a Lieutenant Colonel at the battle of Queenston Heights on October 11, 1812.  An American defeat, Scott was among the 955 Americans captured.

The British at this time did not recognize the right of any British subject to change his nationality.  Such a subject, captured fighting in a foreign army, was considered by the British to be a traitor and liable to summary execution, sometimes being given the opportunity to avoid death by enlisting in the British Army.

At first the American captives were treated rather well.  Scott was even invited to dinner by British General Roger Sheaffe, who also protected the Americans from the Indian allies of the British.  Shipped to Quebec, the Americans were paroled and were due to leave via ship for Boston on November 20, 1812.  The day before a commission of British officers boarded the ship where Scott and his men were waiting to sail.  The British began questioning the American enlisted men.  If they detected an Irish brogue, the man was arrested as a traitor to the Crown.  Hearing the commotion this was causing, Scott rushed from below deck.  Defying an order from the British to go below, he ordered the men who had not been interrogated not to say another word.  To the 23 men who had been arrested, he promised the United States would protect them.  The men obeyed Scott and all refused to say a word.  The British eventually gave up and took the 23 men off the ship.  Scott and the remainder sailed for Boston on November 20.  Of the 23 men arrested by the British, 13 were executed.

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3 Responses to Winfield Scott and the Irish Pows

  • Ah, you fooled me, Donald!
    From the title I thought this post would be about the San Patricio Brigade.

    I hadn’t heard of killing of Irish POWs but it’s hardly a blip in the annals of Sassenach perfidy.

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  • I was delighted to read this about Scott. I thought I was the only one who had heard about his heroism on the ship at Quebec. I was so struck by it that it makes up a chapter in my historical novel, “Madness: The War of 1812.” In it, among those that Scott saves is the story’s protagonist, Ens. Will Quinn, an Irish-born immigrant. He’s about to undergo questioning by the British major (I couldn’t find his name in my research) when Scott storms up from below decks and saves those who weren’t among the 23. Much of the chapter portrays the “dialogue” between Scott and the major as best as I could describe from the research. Scott, it turns out, was one of the few officers that performed admirably during the early years of the war. One that didn’t was Gen. William Hull, who botched the attack on Canada from Fort Detroit. For that he was court martialed and became the only field general to be sentenced to death for his abject failures on the battle field. President Madison later commuted his sentence.

    I didn’t know about the Mexican-American war incident; thanks for telling it.

Dale Price Explains Why I Am Worried

Saturday, September 28, AD 2013

My friend Dale Price at his blog Dyspeptic Mutterings has often supplied me with blogging ideas that I have stolen borrowed.  Unfortunately he hasn’t been blogging much lately.  That was broken with a post on Pope Francis which sums up many of the reactions I have been having:






In which I exile myself from polite company and retreat to the margins of Catholic society.

This is basically how I feel. Like the person Sutherland is pointing at the end of Invasion. Essentially, the Catholic world I know has been seized by body snatchers and is about to notice that I am not lining up to board the F1 to the Promised Land.
Yes, this is about the interview. Quick summary of my reaction: some very good parts, some easily-soundbitten ammo I can expect to see all over the place, but is still explicable in terms of preaching the Gospel, and a disastrous, giant ticking nuke about to blow us back to the Church of the 1970s.
The Interview Was Candy Mountain Awesome, Charlie! Everyone agrees–it was full of candy, and joy, and joyness! You don’t believe that?

Yeah, well, I can live with that. Hier stehe ich. Ich kann nicht anders.
[Just to make the inevitable scream of “That’s unclean Protestant talk!” a little easier.]
As I see it, there are three serious problems, two of which are related to how it’s being received and processed, and the third is the nuke.
Problem 1: We Are All Ultramontaines Now.

Don’t drag me into this, Americain. My Papa Pius would have cracked your skulls
as the opener for the ritual of excommunication. Then he’d have gotten mean.

Including–nay, especially!–people who have spent a generation ignoring, deriding or spinning away every encyclical, apostolic letter and motu proprio that flowed forth from the pens of John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

But an interview–in America Magazine–well, my God! It’s new tablets from Sinai! And we can play historical critical whiteout with the parts we don’t like! Is it Elohist or Deuternomic? Forget it–we’ll figure it out later! Anyway–miraculously–we agree with the whole thing! (More of which later.)

A 44th Edition including The Interview! is no doubt being prepared as we speak.

As an aside, it’s good to see the Jesuits at America released from the dungeons after the long night of Benedict the Destroyer. The shackle chafe marks being no doubt hidden under the long sleeves. Some advice: sunlight and a vitamin regimen will banish the sallow complexions.

But, really, uniform praise–especially this wall-to-wall and adulatory–makes me uneasy. There’s something fundamentally off about it. In fact, the adulation being heaped on Pope Francis is general is…odd. I mean, it’s almost like he’s being given a prize for not being Benedict. That’s certainly the case on the Catholic left, which is transferring its creepy cultish adoration of Obama, the Not-Bush, to Francis, the Not-Benedict. Benedict the Rottweiler, Who Can be Safely Archived and Forgotten Like a Bad Dream In This New Age.
What the right’s deal is, I don’t know. The Pope Says We Must Re-Balance, So We Must Re-Balance. It smacks too much of a new CEO coming in, and everyone having to get with the program. At a minimum, it’s a feverish celebration that has no parallels with how it received Benedict, which was more defensive and apologetic, and less effusive in its praise.
You saw nothing in the interview heralding trouble, eh? Nothing at all?
The fact both are united in swoonery suggests that one or the other is missing something. And someone is, as we shall see in Problem 3.
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27 Responses to Dale Price Explains Why I Am Worried

  • I have to wonder if the Pope likes this confusion and swooning that he has caused in the media. Ever since that foot washing thing, it’s all been about how much public praise can be heaped on him for his humility, his understanding the poor, his turning back the clock on dogmatism and doctrine, his tolerance and kindness. It’s quite frankly cultist. But maybe I just don’t understand. 🙁

  • A few ‘points’ that hopefully could be helpful:

    1. The form of communication was an “interview” (some say a better description is really a ‘ conversation’). While not a new form of communication (Blessed John Paul and Benedict both used it with journalists) the difference is the immediacy of it. It was almost immediately published unlike the books of Francis’ predecessors

    2. No new doctrine in either faith or morals was proposed/taught ; no doctrine of either faith or morals was ‘changed’ (never mind denied)

    3 we need to keep in mind and use Benedict’s hermeneutic of continuity seeiing the continuity of substance while recognizing (and for some criticizing/complaining about) the change in emphasis/ trajectory etc

    4 while some in the Church (here I would not include America Magazine) have interpreted everything since the deat of Servant of God Paul VI as ‘discotinuity’ with Vatican II, it is not ‘helpful’ to jump to the same conclusion (especially so soon) of seeing everything discontinuous after the resignation of Pope Benedict.

    5 Some statements taken out of context-for example concerning abortion and gay marriage-were quickly picked up and misinterpreted by some forces witihin an those outside the Church. But in order to gain insight into Pope Francis take him in total context- for example his major address to the Italian doctors concerning the dignity of the unborn or Pope Francis’ excommunication of the Australian priest who among other things was a proponent of gay marriage

    6 An important read for all is George Weigel’s. Evangelical Catholic in which he speaks of the passing of the Post-Tridentine Era in which he points out both ‘progressives’. And ‘integralists’ remain rooted while a new era and new way of being Catholic is being born

  • One would have thought that “Traditionalists” would have welcomed the curbing of the power of the Roman dicasteries – Subsidiarity and all that?

    After all, the Council of Sardica in 343 provided that a bishop deposed by a provincial synod might appeal to the bishop of Rome, who might either dismiss the appeal or send the case for rehearing before a neighbouring synod; no question, there, of a rehearing at Rome.

    One of the privileges most insisted upon by the Church in France before the Revolution and valiantly defended by les rois très-chrétiens was that all ecclesiastical causes should be heard and finally determined by the clergy of France.

  • Ah, the Gallican heresy. The Church in France has usually thought that they could govern themselves better than Rome, and the anti-clericalism of the French Revolution demonstrated how well they succeeded. As for subsidiarity MPS, I do not think it means what you must think it means, at least in the instance you have raised.

  • Like all people, our new pope is a person with flaws and failings. I find it odd that a person’s humility is paraded around so proudly. I also find it odd that a person who is so humble so often ends up drawing attention to himself for his humility. I don’t know if it’s him or the people around him or the mainstream media. I suspect the MSM until proven otherwise. I think that a lot of this is culturally driven. As Americans, we have a distinct culture. Our new pope comes from Argentina and seems to be displaying aspects of that culture. I think it would be a mistake to read too much into it, either on the part of conservatives or liberals. I don’t think he’s going to be as reserved and careful as his predecessors. I think it can be understood as trying to reduce the personal space between the Church and those who need the Church’s sacraments of forgiveness.

  • Many people are “obsessed” with LIFE and the RIGHT TO LIFE. As many people are “obsessed” with the TRUTH and JUSTICE. Without TRUTH, there can be no JUSTICE. Without LIFE, there can be no free will, no FREEDOM. Without LIFE in the human body, there can be no human soul, no reason, no immortality. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, death occurs when the soul can no longer abide in a decomposing human body. Usually two days after cessation of brain waves and heart beat, the person is dead. Clinical death is a gimmick used to procure and harvest human organs. As the human body begins life with a soul, the body ends life without the soul. This is true for all of nature. In the case of the human being composed of body and soul, the soul is made in the image of God and therefore the human body takes its form from the soul in an act of free will, of consent to become a human being in the will to live. The human being comes into existence at fertilization of the human egg by the male sperm. God cooperates in procreation by creating a new individual human soul, with free ill and sovereign personhood. Those who would oppose this reality are miscarriages and idiots.
    The TRUTH is that marriage consists in the consummated marital act. Some people want equality but they refuse EQUAL JUSTICE which is predicated on the TRUTH, the whole TRUTH and nothing but the TRUTH, so that gay militants in a court of law perjure themselves by introducing fake husbands and fake wives and demand legally acknowledged marriage without the consummated marital act.
    In the case of “in vitro fertilization” of an individual of the human species, concocted by “three parents”, “their Creator” may not freely create a rational, immortal human soul for the invention, leaving the miscreation without human rights, a slave, a subhuman made of human parts but not of God’s Divine Providence, in short, Frankenstein. In the case of the human being composed of body and soul, the soul is made in the image of God and therefore the human body takes its form from the soul in an act of free will, of consent to become a human being in the will to live. Denied his free will consent to come into existence as a three parented individual miscreation, the human monster is angry and with cause having been denied his free will consent to come into existence as a three parented miscreant. The only hope is that Frankenstein destroyed his maker, but the monster also destroyed many innocent villagers. And if only monsters, devoid of human souls survive and fill the earth, there will be nobody but God to care.
    One is too many human beings who refuse to employ their humanity, their human compassion, reason and free will. One is too many human beings addicted to pride, lust, greed, cruelty and the legion of other vices without the grace to free oneself. The pride of the scientist engaged in and even inventing a monster devoid of the human soul is despicable, but the proud scientist must know that it has been done before, even before time began, and by Lucifer.
    Now, if the American Civil Liberties Union intends to grant civil rights to a miscreant devoid of the human soul, they need to start right now, procuring the consent of the three parented “in vitro fertilized” human beings being brought into existence without human souls , without free will, without informed human consent. FREEDOM

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  • The note I made in the margins of The Interview, regarding Francis’ denunciation of denunciators was, “he does not like tattletales.”

  • What are we to do Don? I’m too much of a conservative to schism with SSPX. What can I do but trust? I am a Christian and, as such, have to trust that He knows what He is doing and that I don’t and can’t. Sure I have my concerns. Heck, I even have my quick fixes for my concerns but all I can do is trust.

    All of the back and forth is just exhausting and all for something over which we have absolutely no control whatsoever.

    I appreciate the theorizing and deep thought. I really do. I just can’t begin to guess where this is going and am afraid that too much questioning of it will lead me down a road contrary to our Faith.

  • while a new era and new way of being Catholic is being born

    I am still trying to figure out what was so wrong with the old way of being Catholic.

  • c matt wrote, “I am still trying to figure out what was so wrong with the old way of being Catholic”

    Everyone has heard the old adage, “Frederick the Great lost the battle of Jena” – a system suited to his needs and his age, slavishly adhered to by his successors, was unable to adapt to changed conditions.

  • Just a further thought on Mr. Price’s piece: I wonder if His Holiness was speaking to the loyal Catholic laity and not to the clergy in his critique of being overly focussed on perversion and abortion.

    It has certainly not been my experience that those topics are covered in homilies, teaching, or public expression by our clergy. However, practicing Catholics talk an awful lot about those subjects – particularly on the internet. So I wonder if His Holiness wasn’t speaking to his fellow priests at all. Perhaps he was saying to us “you are the faithful son in the Parable of the Prodigal Son and your bitterness towards your wayward brother is keeping you from the party. Drop the bitterness and come inside. Everything I have is yours already and, now that he is back, I will work on fixing him.”

  • “What are we to do Don?”

    Wait and watch and critique respectfully when necessary. I do not think that the “mold” of this papacy has been necessarily set yet, so such critiques may well do some good. Being a pope is something that no one can ever be adequately prepared for. Popes learn as they go along and the early stages of a papacy are frequently not a good predictor of the papacy as a whole.

  • “Perhaps he was saying to us “you are the faithful son in the Parable of the Prodigal Son and your bitterness towards your wayward brother is keeping you from the party. Drop the bitterness and come inside. Everything I have is yours already and, now that he is back, I will work on fixing him.”

    I know of no conservative Catholics who are objecting to Francis’ comments because they don’t want the “wrong type of sinners” brought back to the Church. I think there are two concerns: (1) he is not going to draw anyone back because his statements could be construed as affirming people in a life that is in fact sinful (as if the father in the Prodigal Son had sent a message to his son saying, “I still love you my son and, by the way, I really think people focus way too much on idolatry, harlotry, and drunkenness”); and (2) his words are going to be used by people like NARAL, Catholics for Choice, etc., to undermine efforts to protect life, protect marriage, and protect religious freedom.

  • With respect Mr. English, I don’t think I said that we ARE objecting to sinners coming to Christ. I’m one of them so I surely understand your point. I also understand your two points and share them.

    I was solely exploring the Pope’s words and audience and seeking to apply them. I meant no offense, only to suggest an alternative audience to the one that Mr. Price had identified.

  • I wonder if His Holiness was speaking to the loyal Catholic laity and not to the clergy in his critique of being overly focussed on perversion and abortion.

    I knew a priest once who had an excessive interest in freemasonry. He alsto had some rhetorical failures when preaching on sexual topics, though I cannot say with any certainty he paid o’er much attention to it.

    That fellow aside, I cannot say I have ever met a priest whose concerns on these matters was not integrated into a tapestry of teaching. (Bar those priests you meet who avoid sexual topics entirely).

    I realize the Pope teaches and legislates for the whole Church, but this is just not our problem.

  • You are very easily dyspepticized (new word just for you). Try, try, for God’s sakes, try a little faith. It will sustain you.

  • “I was solely exploring the Pope’s words and audience and seeking to apply them. I meant no offense, only to suggest an alternative audience to the one that Mr. Price had identified.”

    No offense taken, and you might be right about Francis’ intended audience. But, if you are right, that in itself is evidence of a serious problem. Progressive Catholics certainly thinks Francis was chastising Conservative Catholics, which is why they are lauding the interview.

  • “Try, try, for God’s sakes, try a little faith. It will sustain you.”

    I have a little faith. That’s why I can critique the Pope’s words in matters not of faith and morals.

  • The longer Francis is Pope, the more I miss Benedict. The world should bend and come to Jesus truth, not the other way around.

    I see no good coming out of these councils..only more liberalism and cuddling up to the world.

  • “he does not like tattletales.” Are we not free men?

    “Everything I have is yours already and, now that he is back, I will work on fixing him.” A repentant sinner is already fixed.

    Militant feminists, Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards, Nancy Pelosi are most obsessed with abortion. Militant homosexuals are most obsessed with gay marriage.

  • I can see things developing in the minds of the faithful and priests. Last year my parish made a big deal about being involved in the ‘chain of life’ by the Planned Parenthood ‘Aboratorium’ to fight abortion. This year, barely a peep about it. Likewise, I question myself, I wonder if by protesting am I showing a judgemental, angry, and hateful face to the world that I am to help to find God. Is the Pope telling us to back off a bit on the protest and try another plan. I know that I probably won’t attend this years ‘chain of life’ because of this confusion. How many others will do likewise?

    I also fear that just as with the ‘Spirit of Vatican II’ and the changes that were allowed such as the removal of most reverencial art and actions as well as most Catholic fasting and devotion, we will not replace our pro-life activities with personal evangelization. We will just not be as involved in yet another area of works for God.

  • From “If”, by Rudyard Kipling,
    “If You can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools”

    In this case, “You” is Jesus or the Holy Spirit. And, in truth, They can bear it.

  • God bless this Pope! He is reminding the faithful that being a true Catholic and Pro-Life person is more than a few narrow issues. Sadly, our Church has been shoe-horned into only highlighting those few issues to the exclusion of others.

    When your floor boards are rotting and giving way, you don’t focus on the ceiling. The Faith in the West is dying, yet I have not heard any concern from some segments of the Church. Look at the collapse of the Church in Ireland, yet no outrage! The Center-Right Catholics have focused on abortion to the exclusion of everything else. Yes, that is a flagship issue of the Pro-Life movement, but it is not the only issue. Opposing abortion does not make one Pro-Life, because being Catholic is composed of a whole range of issues and beliefs.

    My mother went bankrupt fighting her cervical cancer; I almost lost her twice, once when I was on deployment. I can’t imagine not having her at my wedding. Where is her right to life in the conservative worldview? And the millions of people engaged in ferocious battles against deadly conditions? Life is sacred from birth to natural death, and the does mean all stages in between.

    If conservatives would find a way to provide healthcare to all (definitely WITHOUT abortion funding), and would return to its historic tradition of supporting environmental conservation, it would be a perfect pro-life movement. Sadly, it has embraced militant atheist Ayn Rand anarcho-libertarianism. That is just as anti-Catholic as Marxism.

    God bless.

  • Ben, are you sure you’re not from Nebraska or some midwestern state? The reason I ask is that surely you must have access to a limitless supply of straw in order to create that kind of strawman army.

    God bless.

    I was going to let this go, but to me there is absolutely nothing more despicable than someone who spends four paragraphs completely defaming other people, lying about their motives, and misrepresenting everything they stand for, adding a trite little “God bless” as though to fully hammer home that they consider themselves to be morally superior.

    You know what Ben – if this is the attitude you wanna take, see ya.

  • My mother went bankrupt fighting her cervical cancer; I almost lost her twice, once when I was on deployment. I can’t imagine not having her at my wedding. Where is her right to life in the conservative worldview? And the millions of people engaged in ferocious battles against deadly conditions? Life is sacred from birth to natural death, and the does mean all stages in between.

    If your mother is terminally ill, it really does not matter what conception of the right to life I endorse. My regrets about your situation.

  • Looks like the pope is at it again, another interview, another eye brow raising comment.

    The most serious of the evils that afflict the world these days are youth unemployment and the loneliness of the old.

    He goes on to say without employment, youth have no hope. Interesting perspective for a man called to bring Jesus to the world. They are bad things, but are these the most serious of evils in the world today?

    We need to include the excluded and preach peace. Vatican II, inspired by Pope Paul VI and John, decided to look to the future with a modern spirit and to be open to modern culture. The Council Fathers knew that being open to modern culture meant religious ecumenism and dialogue with non-believers. But afterwards very little was done in that direction. I have the humility and ambition to want to do something.

    Sigh. Where do I begin? I love you Francis, but you’re going to give me more gray hair. 🙂


You Have a Duty To “Ban” Books

Saturday, September 28, AD 2013

This weekend marks the conclusion of Banned Books Week, a festival of moral preening in which students, librarians, teachers and others congratulate themselves for bravely demanding that various books not be removed from library (typically school library) shelves.

The event ties in to basic modern tropes of progress and freedom. After all, says the common wisdom, who burned books? Nazis. And crazy people in the middle ages who were afraid of progress. We don’t want to be like them, do we?

Of course, choosing not to have a book in your collection is not really “banning” it (as in making it forbidden to own) nor is it “censoring” it (removing parts). So to start with much of the furor over the “banning” of books is overwrought.

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8 Responses to You Have a Duty To “Ban” Books

  • A pandora’s box of a post subject! 😉 Whose ox is being gored, who is doing the banning or the selecting, where lies the moral authority?
    (“moral responsibility to populate that collection with books which are suited to its purpose” )
    I’m guessing it ultimately belongs in the home? In my own Catholic home, all 5 of those pretty sharp offspring loved Life of Brian– although you know how our beloved Church felt about it.
    Maybe that is going to someday be revealed to me as the cause of the downfall of faith in at least one of them.

  • My wife has a master’s degree in library science from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and the American Library Association has been left wing since I began paying attention to it after my bride and I were married in 1982. This stunned me since growing up the librarians I knew were very sweet and apolitical older ladies who loved books. (Perhaps one of a myriad of reasons why I was attracted to my very sweet, apolitical, when I married her, young librarian who loved books!)

    Here is a link to an article which gives a good overview of the bias from a decade ago, and the situation has if anything gotten worse:




    Banned books week is a classic red herring. The ALA opposes parents and taxpayers having any control over books purchased with public funds. That is to be left to “neutral” gatekeepers like the ALA. Of course technology is prying this prized position away from the ideological think-a-likes that control the ALA. It has been years since I borrowed a book from a library. When I was growing up and as a young adult I would always have 5 or 6 books from a library that I was reading. When my kids were young in the nineties, before we were connected to the internet, we would take them to our local library regularly. With the internet, amazon, kindle, etc, the public libraries days, at least in their present configuration, are numbered, which both saddens and gladdens me. Saddens me from nostalgia for the role libraries played in my earlier life, especially my childhood, and gladdens me for readers, now more than ever, being able to decide for themselves the “books” they will be exposed to.

  • Thomas Sowell in 1994 called National Banned Books Week National Hogwash Week!


  • „Dort, wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man am Ende auch Menschen. „ – Almansor, Heinrich Heine (1821)

  • Thank you Michael

  • Michael,

    I’m not talking about burning books, though, nor am I talking about real book bans in which the government seeks to keep a book from being published or distributed. The bans being protested by Banned Book Week are simply the decision not to stick a book in a given library. I maintain that’s not only acceptable but is at times a duty. Further, I suspect that the advocates running Banned Book Week don’t actually disagree with me — they support exerting control over book collections, they just have different standards than the people they object to.

  • How many titles on building your own AR-15 are sitting on these same “censored” shelves?

    as for protection – you can throw a book or hide behind it (if it is really big or you are small) if someone decided to shoot up the library, but I think the girl sitting on the left has a better shot at making it.

Twelve O’Clock High

Saturday, September 28, AD 2013

Something for the weekend.  The score from the movie Twelve O’clock High (1949).  A film shorn of any Hollywood glamor or heroics, it tells the story of the fictional 918th bomb group as it pioneers daylight precision bombing in the early days of the Eighth Air Force in England and suffers harrowing losses as a result.  Veterans of the Eighth Air Force applauded the film for its stark realism and its demonstration of the impact of war on the men called upon to fight it.  Anyone who has not seen this masterpiece should do so as quickly as possible.

Here is the opening of the film:

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3 Responses to Twelve O’Clock High

Coming Soon to a Mall Near You?

Friday, September 27, AD 2013

18 Responses to Coming Soon to a Mall Near You?

  • As I understand it, the terrorists who did this crime were Muslim. And while the news media did report about this attack, the fact that the perpetrators were Muslim is glossed over or hidden, and the similar attacks occurring daily against Catholic, Orthodox, Coptic and Protestant Christians – again perpetrated by Muslims – are studiously ignored. These Islamic fanatics are torturing and murdering women and children daily, especially if they are Christian or Jewish, and ignoring the plight of the victims is consistent with how the main stream media treats the torture and murder of the unborn by liberal progressives. Indeed, liberal progressives and Islamic fanatics are so different that they are the same.

    PS, Not all Muslims are so inclined. I have worked with a few throughout my career, and those with whom I worked were invariably honest, hardworking and respectful of the beliefs of others.

  • We find good and bad in all religions. The problem with Islam currently is that it contains within it not insignificant groups dedicated to performing atrocities like this on a regular basis. Our feckless immigration policy, dating all the way back to 1965,
    blithely views this hard fact of life with cold indifference, as we set about setting the stage for a permanent low level, I hope, war of religion in this country.

  • Because Obama!

    Say there are 1,000,000,000 muslims on the planet. If 1% are violently inclined, that’s 10,000,000. If 99% of the world-wide violently inclined are finance/logistics/overhead, then there are 100,000 fell killers arming, planning, training, and waiting for the whistle to go off.

    Do the math. There are 300 to 600 mass-killers in the US. The variables are when and where.

  • Listening to Robert Spencer on “Catholic Answers,” the problem is more than groups within a religion creating violence. There is a leg of Islam stool which advocates violence; it’s a tenet of the faith. According to him, we should be led to believe Islam is essentially a religion of peace because some, the non-violent Muslims, choose not to adhere to every aspect of their faith.

  • The problem with Islam is that unlike Taoism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, etc., the Islamic scriptures – the Koran – does advocate and command violence against and dhimmitude of non-Muslims. Not all Muslims are like that. Perhaps not even a majority are like that. But it is the one single religion that officially requires forced subjugation if not death of those who do not adhere to its tenets, and that is the fundamental problem.

    Yes, there will always be evil people in any religion, even the Catholic Church, but the amount of evil perpetrated by such individuals pales in comparison to what Islam has done, and the official Scriptures of such religions forbids such violence, contrary to the Islamic scriptures.

    Again, that doesn’t mean all Muslims are bad. It just means that when the basis of a religion is bad, then one can and should expect bad results. What happened at this Mall in Kenya and what continues to happen to Christians in the Middle East is far more than simply bad. Soon, as the title to this post indicates, it may happen here in the US as liberal progressives welcome more and more intolerant Muslims under the guise of tolerance and open mindedness, and that may be how God allows us to be punished for our licentiousness, hedonism, paganism and atheism. God does not change. He punished Israel with the Assyrians and Judah with the Babylonians. It is not inconceivable that He may punish (or allowed to be punished) America with Islam. God is Holy and He demands Holiness.

  • So how does this end? Can the theology of violence be removed from Islam? Is it too ingrained in the faith to be removed? Can it be removed while sparing the pride of its followers? Or, is it a cross we must live with until the end of time?

    I don’t see how it can remain and Muslims live peacefully with others. It’s really sad to see so many people, a civilization that did well before Islam, be dragged down by calls for violence and hate.

  • Islam has been around for almost fourteen centuries. The willingness of its adherents to have peaceful relations with non-Muslims has varied wildly based upon time and place. However, no majority Islamic state has ever existed where non-Muslims enjoy civic equality, leaving lip service aside, with Muslims. Such states developed among majority Christian populations only with the greatest difficult and are relatively new historically speaking. Whether Islamic peoples can ever produce such states is very much an open question and the historical record is not hopeful, to say the least.

  • “So how does this end?”

    By Jesus Christ triumphing over satan, death and hell. It ends with the conversion of Muslims to the Faith once delivered unto the Saints. We were commanded to go forth, preach the Good News, and Baptize in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. For too long we have lived under the false gospel of live and let live, your religion is as good as mine, let’s all just co-exist. There is no co-existence with the devil and the violence of Islam is diabolical. It takes the Cross to defeat Islam. That’s how it ends. No Islam. No Buddhism. No Taoism. No Hinduism. They are all false. Only Christianity is the fullness of Truth, and far from being arrogant or self-assured, we should work out our salvation in fear and trembling for our Lord is a Holy God.

  • It would be interesting to see how much campaign money is being donated to anti-2nd Amendment groups and candidates by Islamists. I know the sources must be domestic but the ways to funnel funds are many and difficult to expose.

  • Donald R McClarey wrote, “no majority Islamic state has ever existed where non-Muslims enjoy civic equality”

    Turkey under Ataturk? Kemalism was heavily influenced by the French concept of laïcité and the complete separation of l’éspace public (the sphere of the state and its administration) and l’éspace privé (the sphere of civil society)

  • True MPS, and as we see today that concept is coming under increasing attack in Turkey. Additionally, Atatuk’s reforms took place under a very repressive regime and only after most Christians, Greeks and Armenians, had been driven out of Turkey, those who were not butchered. Turkey for the Turks was also a motto of Ataturk. The largest minority group, the Kurds, have long had a hate-hate relationship with the government of Turkey. Modern Turkey is 99.8% Islamic, if one includes in that figure people who profess no religion but were raised in the Muslim faith.

  • Donald R McClarey wrote “Turkey for the Turks was also a motto of Ataturk.”

    Indeed it was and that is instructive in itself.

    The Arab revolt against Turkish rule was matched by a Turkish revolt against Arabic influence – From adopting the Roman alphabet and the replacement of Shari’ah law with the Swiss Civil Code and the Italian Penal Code to such apparently trivial matters as banning the fez and the veil and changing the Adhan from Arabic to Turkish. The dissolution of the Dervish orders recalls the dissolving of the Congrégations in France and sprang from similar anti-clerical sentiments

    In short, national solidarity trumpted religious solidarity, symbolized by the abolition of the Caliphate.

    The Pan-Arabism of the Ba’athist parties and the secularism of the PLO, at least in its origins, reflect a similar tendency.

  • Which is proving in our day to be a rather week reed against a resurgent Islam. In any country with a majority Islamic population I would never bet, long term, against Islam. I do not think muslims in the mass will follow the secular path blazed by the Christian West, and in some ways I can understand why they would not. This century will witness a clash of civilizations to mirror the clash of secular ideologies of the last.

  • “I do not think muslims in the mass will follow the secular path blazed by the Christian West”

    They do seem to have become stricter of late.

    When I was a schoolboy, the Aga Khan and Prince Aly Khan were familiar figures at Longchamp and the ladies of their entourage always wore Western dress. He was Imam of the Nizan Ismailis and the first President of the All-India Muslim League. No imam would permit that today, or allow them to take his arm.

    The same was true of Ex-King Farouk of Egypt and his party, whom I saw taking tea at the Negresco in Nice; I suppose I was about eight (1953-4)

    Then again, the two female Muslim cabinet ministers in the Sarkozy government, Rachida Dati and Fadela Amara were enthusiastic supporters of the headscarf ban in schools [« l’affaire du foulard »] and, in their speeches, constantly stressed laïcité, gender equality and gender desegregation.

  • Most Islamic violence happening today is being perpetrated by Sunni/Wahabbist also called Salafist Muslims. A look at Saudi Arabia shows what to expect from them. Absolutely no tolerance for other religions and (as they call us) infidels. Both Al quaida and the Taliban fall into this most fundamentalist form of Islam. There are many active Jihadist groups throughout the world. Their desired form of government is theocracy governed and Sharia law. For America to attempt bringing Democracy to these people (Operation Iraqi Freedom) is Oxy-moronic. Christ’s words “render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s” doesn’t work with them. It’s all for Allah. The Wahabbist form of Islam is not only a threat to Christians and Jews but to other Muslims who don’t conform to their fundamentalist beliefs. The spread of this extreme form of Islam should be a concern to all who don’t want a return to 15th century Arabic governance.

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  • After reading the description of the cruel violence, my first thought was of the Reavers from Firefly.

The Alamo, John Wayne and Faith

Friday, September 27, AD 2013

The tumult and the shouting dies—
The Captains and the Kings depart—
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.

Rudyard Kipling, from Recessional

Interesting that John Wayne, who directed the film The Alamo, would have a religious debate just before the final battle scene.  However, as I have written in a post which may be read here, John Wayne, death bed Catholic convert, had a strong faith in God, even as he realized that in many ways he was not living properly.  The film The Alamo was first and foremost Wayne’s love note to America, but I think Wayne was also making a statement about faith in God.

Wayne’s personal relationship with God is represented well in this clip, beginning at 9:26, that did not make it into the film.


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17 Responses to The Alamo, John Wayne and Faith

  • Beautiful piece of work Donald.
    So true about “time.” In a moment,.or after five decades of humble labor, it’s never ours to decide or judge. He IS who IS, and we the dust on HIS feet.
    I believe that is what makes us his children, an undenibe realization that nothing in this life is ours, except our short comings. He is the King of Kings, the true DUKE, the real HERO.

  • A hunger for God exists in us all Philip. Much of the chaos of our time is because of efforts to deny this hunger or to channel it to new false gods. Wayne was wise enough to understand this hunger and satisfy his before his final curtain call.

  • Donald. In a humble disposition I ask if you could allow me to help in feeding this thirst.

    On Oct. 12th, over 10,950 cities will be united in the Holy Rosary around the world. The following day, the 96th anniversary of Our Ladys Oct. Miracle of the Sun in Fatima. Pope Francis will be consecrating the world to Her Immaculate Heart. Please consider this topic, conversions and helping to give living waters to the thirsty. The site to find a city near you is; ANF.org

    Thank you for your consideration.

    12 Noon on Oct. 12th.

  • Like Columbo……oh one thing.
    If folks do not find a city or town near them, then by all means they can host the rally. This is my third one. It’s very easy. Please go to; ANF.org to find out more.
    “In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph.”
    Our Lady in Fatima.

  • The funny thing is that Wayne gives much more credit to Santa Ana and his Mexicans than they deserve. Honour to fallen foes was the last thing on their mind, and I would rather not think what they would have done to a woman and a girl-child who had fallen alive in their hands. They would certainly not have let them go alive and untouched, let alone with the honour of arms. It is know from Mexican documents that about half of the defenders, including Crockett, fell into Mexican hands still alive and were butchered while helpless. (That is not a slur on their courage, simply that it is impossible for any garrison to die fighting to the last man. As you know, American troops took many prisoners even at Iwo Jima and Okinawa.) That is the same that the Mexicans did at Goliad. Wayne wanted, for his own artistic and moral reasons, a clash of heroes, honourable and brave and respectful of each other’s honour and courage. That is probably not very historical, but makes for a marvellous movie, which, having originally been butchered by the critics for political reasons, is now being recognized as one of the great Westerns. (I heard the name of Akira Kurosawa being tossed around as a term of comparison.)

  • The woman depicted Fabio is Susanna Dickinson, the widow of Captain Dickinson in charge of the Texan artillery at the Alamo. She and her small daughter were treated with chivalry by Santa Ana after the fall of the Alamo, according to her account, with the self proclaimed “Napoleon of the West” even offering to adopt her daughter and educate her at his expense, an offer declined by Mrs. Dickinson. Santa Anna was a bundle of contradictions and was quite capable of ordering an atrocity one moment and making a generous gesture the next.

    Like most of Wayne’s work, The Alamo has more than stood the test of time, the true test of any work of art.

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  • ‘Looking up at him I thought, this is no actor but the hero of all mythology miraculously brought to life.’

    Louise Brooks on John Wayne

    Regarding his portrayal of Santa Ana , I recall reading years ago that he very much wanted to avoid providing any sort of encouragement to anti Hispanic prejudice.

  • Wayne always had a deep respect for Hispanic culture and spent a large amount of time south of the border, particularly in Panama. He chose as his epitaph: “Feo, Fuerte y Formal”, and it is a shame that has not yet been put on his grave site.

  • I think John Wayne spent his life perfecting a certain range of characters. He tried to step out of them – once as a centurion, once as Gengis Khan – without great success, which shows that his tremendous manhood was not just manly, but specifically American, and nineteenth-early twentieth American at that. Some actors reach their best when stepping outside their usual roles. Helen Mirren, the everlasting Sexy Older Woman, won the Oscar virtually by acclamation for her splendid portrayal of Queen Elizabeth – a woman she did not resemble physically and who could not possibly be played sexy. Ben Kingsley, the positive hero of Gandhi, positively stole Satan’s role in Sexy Beast. Wayne could not have done that. But in what he did, he was supreme. Many great actors, including the best – Bogart, Tracy, Gary Cooper, Gregory Peck – have done cowboys or cowboy-type heroes, but nobody has so filled the screen in them as Wayne has, nobody has ever projected that depth of experience and living, that stoical, enduring humanity. Katharine Hepburn, a woman in whose presence other actors trembled (it is said that if you look carefully, you can actually see Judy Hollyday shaking in Adam’s Rib), dedicated one chapter of her autobiography to unstinted, fluent and delighted praise of him as man and actor, ending with: “….Wayne has a wonderful gift of natural speed. Of arrested motion. Of going suddenly off on a new tack. Try something totally unrehearsed with him. He takes the ball and runs and throws with a freedom and wit and gaiety which is great fun. As powerful as is his personality, so too is his acting capacity powerful. He is a very very good actor in the most highbrow sense of the word. You don’t catch him at it.”

  • AT the time of the Alamo, Texas was a Mexican territory. Catholic Mexico had recently abolished slavrey in mexico. Mexico went to the Alamo to enforce the abolition laws. American settlers, protestans and evangelicals in the Texas territory of Mexico warned Mexico not to enforce the anti slavery laws. You want to remember the Alamo? Then remember it was a battle to protect the rights of Americans to hold men in bondage. I have a book that has just been released that tells this whole story

  • Rubbish Steve. Santa Anna was a brutal dictator who had no respect for any form of human liberty. Both Texans and Tejanos opposed his rule. The flag that flew over the Alamo had 1824 on it, in reference to the democratic constitution of Mexico that Santa Anna had suppressed. Texas was only one of seven states that rebelled against Santa Anna, the others being brutally suppressed. Santa Anna was no friend of either liberty or the Catholic Church as this statement by him indicates:

    Say to Mr. Poinsett that it is very true that I threw up my cap for liberty with great ardor, and perfect sincerity, but very soon found the folly of it. A hundred years to come my people will not be fit for liberty. They do not know what it is, unenlightened as they are, and under the influence of a Catholic clergy, a despotism is the proper government for them, but there is no reason why it should not be a wise and virtuous one.

  • I would go futher. Santa Ana became a tyrant BECAUSE he was an enemy of the Church. Starting as an anti-clerical liberal, and frustrated by the Catholic culture of his country, he threw democracy overboard, as many left-wing caudillos have done since. True, some of the issues the Texans had with him had to with slavery – even though very few Texans then or since actually held slaves; they just came from parts where the holding of slaves was seen as natural. But the bigger issue was the loss of representative government and the constitution of 1824, and, as you say, many more federal states revolted against Santa Ana’s usurpation. The Texans were the only ones who succeeded, and, being cut off not only from Santa Ana’s tyranny but also from any liberal or democratic prospects in other parts of Mexico, drifted ever closer to the much closer and more populous Anglo giant to the east. But none of that was fated.

  • Rubbish? your deep held belief in the “Black Legend” is rubbish…
    Did you know the second president of mexico was a black man – his father was of african decent. read this

    Why is it EVERY foreign leader who does not fit the American narrative is a “brutal dictator” The fact is evangelical and prostestants were responsible for all the racial horrors that best this great country .. The Indian Relocation Act of 1831, the trail of tears, slavery, 600,000 dead in a chastisement that General Grant called “God’s punishment’ for the Mexican American war.

  • You are a very silly man. Who was the second president of Mexico has nothing to do with whether Santa Ana was a brute or not. Nor does the Trail of Tears. You simply don’t know how to make a point – nobody has ever taught you that you have to stick to the point, and that irrelevant material is irrelevant. Now go home and sue your old schoolteachers, they deserve it.

  • “your deep held belief in the “Black Legend” is rubbish…”

    Oh yes, I spend my time on this blog perpetrating anti-Catholic bad history, as anyone who has read my many posts on historical subjects on this blog can attest! 🙂

    Your reaction and resort to ridiculous allegations was caused by the simple fact that you were called on your obvious ignorance of the Alamo and the Mexican history surrounding it, and you had no response other than to flail about.

  • Maister B.

    The quote from Katherine Hepburn is new to me. I will make a point of getting hold of the autobiography for my collection. Many thanks.

Various & Sundry, 9/26/13

Thursday, September 26, AD 2013

Little Sisters of the Poor v. HHS

It could be the title of a Supreme Court Case down the line.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius finalized a contraception mandate that ignores the fact groups like the Little Sisters of the Poor are religious organizations, according to a lawsuit filed to protect them against fines for refusing to comply with an Obamacare mandate.

“We cannot violate our vows by participating in the government’s program to provide access to abortion-inducing drugs,” Sister Loraine Marie said of a class-action lawsuit filed against the mandate on behalf of multiple religious organizations that provide health benefits.

McCain the Traitor

Eh, so the government is cracking down on nuns. John McCain knows who the real bad guy is – that whacky Ted Cruz. This has inspired some righteous Jeff Goldstein indignation.

Lacking the courage to hold a colloquy with Cruz during his twenty hours of filibustering (yes, filibustering — as it was intended, remember?), Republican Senator John McCain — in collusion with Democrat Majority Leader Reid and the execrable Chuck Schumer (both of whom fearing intellectual embarrassment, also lacked the stones to go head to head with Cruz, who had previously shredded the hapless demagoguing of Dick Durbin and turned Tim Kaine into a feckless foil) — took to the floor afterwards and made the case for surrender and “settled law”,  his pitch being that, because Obama won the 2012 election, the issue of ObamaCare had been decided.

Forget for a moment that the GOP establishment, who had previously given us an awful McCain candidacy, gave us as a candidate the one man who could not fight Obama on ObamaCare, he and his staff, in conjunction with Ted Kennedy, having been the architects of the state usurpation of private healthcare; instead, pay attention to the underlying assertion McCain is making, which comes down to this:  rather than a system of checks and balances (the people also elected, for instance, a GOP House), McCain believes the US to have a set of revolving kings whose agendas are set once they win elections.  That is, he’s both pro-authoritarian and pro-majoritarian — though only when it suits his purposes.

And he’s just getting started.

I can’t imagine why Jeff would have cause to distrust McCain.

A Citizen Journalist Responds to the Critics of Ted Cruz

Goldstein was truly on fire today.

If you don’t mind a tiny bit of constructive criticism, let me remind you that the McCain / Romney presidencies never really went as planned.  Similarly, the decision to balk at the very constituency that brought you to power in the House has, as you know, not given you the kind of positive press from the left-leaning legacy media that you expected it might.

Which is all just a very short way of saying you really aren’t nearly as smart as you think you are — and in fact, on the scale of political smarts, your nuance has perpetually pushed you leftward, which, while on the powerful authoritarian end of the political spectrum, nevertheless suffers from  being on the dumbest and most dangerous end, as well.

As someone who initially didn’t feel very strongly about the Defund Obamacare approach, it’s getting harder and harder to stomach the fecklessness of large segments of the GOP. Certainly Cruz, Lee, et al. had a rather difficult hill to climb, but the Brutus treatment offered them by their fellow “Republicans” has made any attempt at change impossible.


To the surprise of no one with functioning brain cells, it turns out red light cameras may not be about safety after all.

Schools Are Not Parents

Charles Cooke has this crazy notion that what children do in the privacy of their own homes shouldn’t lead them to getting suspended at school.

Justify My Time

I watched 30 seconds of Madonna’s 17 minute video and wanted to scratch my eyes out with a dull screwdriver. Fortunately Ace and others had enough patience to sit through it all and offer some hilarious commentary.

First World Tears

Great insight from Simcha Fisher. You know what – just because you’re not a starving African child doesn’t mean you don’t get to have a bad day.

But does that mean we need to go around with a cheerful grin pasted on our mugs all day long, no matter what?  I don’t know about you, but that would not help me in the slightest (and yes, I have tried!).  If we find ourselves in a situation that tries our patience, exhausts us, makes us angry or helpless, it really doesn’t help to say, “Yes, but at least I’m not starving in a lice infested mud hut!”  All I get from that is deeper in my funk:  not only am I better off than 90% of the women in the world, I’m an ungrateful, whiny brat!  Somehow, this thought does not catapult me into good cheer.

Here’s the key: there’s a big difference between admitting we’re suffering, and constantly complaining about it.   it’s perfectly fine to admit that we’re suffering — yes, even if someone else somewhere in the world is suffering more.  There is nothing intrinsically wrong with saying, “This stinks.”  But what matters is what you do next, once you look suffering in the face and call it for what it is.

10 Travel Tips

Frankly, number two on the list has always worked for me.

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4 Responses to Various & Sundry, 9/26/13

  • Any chance the case will be given the short title of The Poor vs Obama??

  • The action might better be captioned,

    “Sister Carol Keehan, D.C. of the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul and the Catholic Health Association of the United States, Plaintiff


    The Little Sisters of the Poor”, Defendant.

    This past week Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur on Raymond Arroyo’s “The World Over” overruled any objections raised by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops to the HHS Mandate relying upon Sister Carol Keehan’s acceptance of Pres. Obama’s accomodation.

    Why would The Little Sisters of the Poor fare any better than the USCCB?

  • Because Obama loves the poor!

    He thinks it best that we all are poor.

    So, he’s dismantling the evil, unjust economy one vicious sector at a time. At the moment, his commissars are wrecking health and coal-generated electricity.

    Social justice!

  • Barack Hussein Obumbler is the second adolescent to occupy the White House. Bill Clinton was the first.

    When Ronald Reagan left office in January 1989, the US economy had turned around. Inflation, interest rates, unemployment and taxes were down. Tax revenues were up. The USA had the world’s best military. 1989 saw the end of Communism in Europe and 1991 saw the USSR fade into oblivion – on Christmas Day the ugly red flag was taken down over the Kremlin and replaced by the Russian tricolor flag.

    And it was all p***ed away. Bush 41 raised taxes and was beaten badly. The economic growth during the Klintoon years was the result of the capital gains tax cut Dick Morris told him to sign or not get reelected – that and several Republican governors who held the line on taxes and spending.

    Bush 43 could have been the4 heir to Reagan and instead made most of the mistakes his father made. We ended up with the most evil government this country has had since FDR was in the White House…..Obumbler, Reid, Pelosi.
    And if you don’t think FDR was a scumbag, do some research on what he did to anyone who disagreed with him. The man was a dictator.

    In a sense, we deserve what we have brought upon ourselves -a GOP that has a ruling class that desires to be Democrat Lite, a Democrat Party that is in effect organized crime and countless clueless young people who put the Chicago village idiot in the White House twice.

Perennial Adolescence

Thursday, September 26, AD 2013


Strange, I had always taken your highness for a perennial adolescent, who cared only for his pleasures.

Bishop Folliot to Henry II in the screenplay for the film Becket

The modern world seems intent on destroying both childhood and adulthood:


The idea that suddenly at 18 you’re an adult just doesn’t quite ring true,” says child psychologist Laverne Antrobus, who works at London’s Tavistock Clinic.

“My experience of young people is that they still need quite a considerable amount of support and help beyond that age.”

Child psychologists are being given a new directive which is that the age range they work with is increasing from 0-18 to 0-25.

“We are becoming much more aware and appreciating development beyond [the age of 18] and I think it’s a really good initiative,” says Antrobus, who believes we often rush through childhood, wanting our youngsters to achieve key milestones very quickly

Go here to read the rest at BBC News Magazine.  The war on childhood has been on course for quite a long time:  easy divorce, sex education reaching down to kindergarten, using drugs to control perfectly normal children, and zero tolerance policies for child hood play that boys have engaged in as long as there have been boys.  For about the same time period, adolescence has been lengthening, so a brief period of tolerated irresponsibility, circa 14-18, has now been broadened to at least 30.  I see it in my legal practice, as paternity cases have tended to replace divorce cases for clients in their twenties who, to my jaundiced eye, have about as much of a chance of being responsible parents as a mouse has of learning algebra.

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13 Responses to Perennial Adolescence

  • Yesterday in a village churchyard I noticed a distinctive Commonwealth War Graves headstone. RAF sergeant pilot, killed 1941, aged 19. No perennial adolescence then.

  • Words have a certain creative force. That is they don’t just describe what is, they also describe what can be and define a possibility.. in a way making allowance for what people may want to do anyway. “Look Ma I don’t have to move out on my own now, it says so here in the newest social studies. I am ok the way I am.. Heck it looks like I have a few more years before ..

  • C. S. Lewis, Aldous Huxley and John F. Kennedy, all three, died on November 22, 1963. Atheism has no where to go. Huxley’s character hung himself. I watched Dead Poets Society with Robin Williams. There too, the young man committed suicide. Without Christ’s “Come follow me”, young people have no destiny, no future, no hope, no goal, no pursuit of Happiness. Victor Frankel’s book, Man’s Search for Meaning is a good read.
    With the assassination of JFK, it was ten years before anyone noticed that Huxley was missing. Listening to Aldous Huxley made my blood run cold. Atheism has nothing to offer. Not a prophet, Huxley opened the door to decanting human beings, as Anzlyne points out.

  • Atheism has no where to go. Huxley’s character hung himself.

    That was Huxley’s point, wasn’t it?

  • Maybe not, or maybe not entirely. I forgot that John hung himself as much out of shame as existential despair; maybe more.

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  • 25 years ago I was driving through France and we decided to stop off at their WWI War Memorial (Ossuary) at Verdun. The walls contained the cremated bones of thousands of martyrs of the Battle of Verdun and the names and ages of the victims were chiseled into the stone. Mostly teenagers. The lost generation.

  • About 40 years ago, I was at (USO bus tour) Verdun (that night ate Thanksgiving Dinner at a McDonald’s in Paris). There was some kind of riot going and the gents d’armes were formed up carrying rifles. At Verdun, there was so much unexploded ordnance that you were warned not to step off the paved paths.

    Vietnam: Paul P., Danny N., Joe M., Dave B. Bill R., . . . they never saw 20 years. A number more never saw 25.

    Most of us, to some extent, suffer from the “Peter Pan” syndrome, which drives the wives crazy. I’m 63 going on 16.

    They may as well stay adolescents. Look at the country we’re leaving them.

  • It’s worth remembering that the adjectival term “adolescent” dates only from about the late 18th century and the contemporary concept of “adolescence” is even later. Before then, adulthood was considered to begin in the early to mid ‘teens. A clear echo of this is the custom of celebrating the Bar (or Ba’at as the case may be) Mitzvah at about 12 or 13.

  • In the early days of this nation, when most people were not middle class or wealthy and they farmed for a living, it was not uncommon for people in their teens to marry, as, given that they survived childhood (no easy task when there were no vaccinations for childhood diseases) young people learned to plant crops, slaughter and prepare farm animals for supper, cut trees with axes and build log houses and barns, make their own clothes.

    They were not warehoused in classrooms in large buildings, shuffled from room to room, having little interaction with adults besides their teachers and parents when they return home.

    Preschool, a year of kindergarten (full day in many school districts), followed by twelve years of classrooms. To follow that, how many people can get a job that supports themselves and a family out of high school? You can’t anymore, so add college or technical school.

    I submit that modern education is a racket. Public university tuition rises each year everywhere. College graduates have tens of thousands of student loans to pay off that cut into their meager earnings for years, preventing the likes of purchasing a new car or a new home. My school property taxes go up and up each year. They have reached a point where my home’s assessed value exceeds the bank appraisal by over $10,000.

    Slopular culture glorifies bad adolescent behavior just as political correctness treats it as if punishable by sharia law.

    Our education system (such as it is) and entertainment have led to perpetual adolescence. However, parents who have the will and the backbone to make sure their children do not become lazy adults can put a stop to it.

  • I see it in my legal practice, as paternity cases have tended to replace divorce cases for clients in their twenties who, to my jaundiced eye, have about as much of a chance of being responsible parents as a mouse has of learning algebra. –Donald R. McClarey

    Can’t have a divorce without a marriage first, but a baby – sure!

    I remember how the know-it-alls mocked Newt Gingrich’s suggestion that orphanages have a better track record raising children into well-adjusted, competent adults than unwed mothers. The know-it-alls were wrong that time too, of course.

  • “Maybe not, or maybe not entirely. I forgot that John hung himself as much out of shame as existential despair; maybe more.”
    The “normal man” hung himself. That is Huxley’s point.

11 Responses to Fireman Saves Kitten Open Thread

  • Back in the day, we’d place unwanted kittens in burlap sacks, weighted with rocks, and throw them in the bay. Now, the powers that be save kittens but do to 47,000,000 human babies what we did to surplus kittens.

    OTOH, alley cats conrolled the rat population.

    Today, we send our “top” rats to Congress.

    And so, 535 American villages are missing their idiots.

  • Wow. I definetly agree that worrying about kittens more than people is wrong. Are we not also caretakers of the animals given to us by God. I value human life way beyond animal life. We were created in the image and likeness of God and are special.

    I also think that in the midst of destruction this fireman wanted to experience something good. He saved this kitten and I’m sure this helps him deal with the destruction he sees.

    Please understand I would never value life of an animal over life of a human being expecially the most innocent. There are people out there who don’t. There are those out there that think nothing of killing an inoccent human being yet would never want an animal killed. God help these people.

  • T.Shaw, leave it to you to see this charming video and wax nostalgic for drowning kittens! 🙂

    To some of us God gives us power over others, animals as well as humans, for a time during our lives. I have always thought that the mercy and kindness we show, along with justice, on those occasions are quite predictive as to our own reception in the world to come from God.

  • cute and adorable…

  • “You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.”

    This quote is attributed to everybody from Goethe to Malcolm Forbes, but it is in any event true.

  • That kitten – is he/she named Lazarus?? 🙂

    Many of you in the US of A may not know of another “Lazarus” moment which happened on San Francisco Bay over the past week – The Americas Cup regatta.

    Emirates Team NZ had won the first 5 races, 5 – zip. The Oracle Team USA won one. ETNZ kept winning lost of the races, till they were on Match Point – 8 – 1; the winner was the first to win 9 races.
    It is reported Larry Ellison, in the last 10 days of the regatta, spent $15 mil. to improve the Team Oracle boat. The thing that chokes most kiwis is that he employed kiwi technology and kiwi boat builders(predominantly) to reconfigure the boat, and it gained 2 minutes in time around the course. ETNZ improved their times also, but not to the extent OTUSA did. It was amazing to watch these 72 foot catamarans on hydrofoils, doing in excess of 45knots at times. These boats are really at the cutting edge of design and technology.

    Oracle Team USA did a Lazarus act, and won the last 8 races so the final score was OTUSA 9 – ETNZ 8.

    A fantastic effort by our guys, but in this particular sport, its hard to beat money, as has always been the case in the Americas Cup.

    But NZ can take a lot of credit from Oracles win – The OTUSA syndicate is owned by Larry Ellison, but headed up by kiwi Russell Coutts. The majority of the crew on the boat were kiwis, the boat designers were kiwis but funded by Ellison, and a large number of Oracles shore crew and boatbuilders were kiwis.

    So we don’t feel that bad by being beaten by the USA 🙂

    Just wait till nest time !!!!

  • Our kiwis beat your kiwis Don! 🙂

    Any sporting contest that is that close and hotly contested does honor to all the participants!

  • And while I never did it, I took the kittens to the farm, a burlap bag with a brick was common practice. My daughter had a kitten that took up with a pole cat, a genuine, real skunk, Pepe Le Pew himself. They honeymooned under the car. Every morning the kitten came out and the skunk went back into the woods. Kitty did not know she wasn’t a skunk.

  • Our kiwis beat your kiwis Don!

    Very true, Don. 🙂
    To be fair, the OTUSA crew was made up of quite an international bunch. Only, I think, 2or 3 Americans, but also a few Aussies – including the skipper, Jimmy Spithill, a world renowned sailor, and a couple of pomms (brits) including Ben Ainslie(actually Sir Ben) who has won several Olympic gold medals, and has a freakish ability to pick wind shifts, and the correct wind lanes to sail in.
    But yachting is very much a professional sport nowadays, and particularly the Americas Cup, so when someone like Russell Coutts, managing the team for a guy like Larry Ellison who has an unlimited budget, offers a crew position and is prepared to pay the best for the best, who would turn it down.

  • Don and Don,

    Them “yachts” looked more like space ships. Here’s my idea for a cup race. First in from San Francisco to NZ.

    If I had an unlimited budget, I’d have built one of them 100-foot schooners that used to (dory) fish for cod on George’s Bank, early in the last century.

    Not to worry. The All Blacks would beat the heck out of any US rugger team.

  • Look at that kid’s backpack, and all the damage– their whole life is screwy… and that fire fighter was able to give them back the kitten, at least.

    The burlap sack option is a coward’s way; if you must kill, you should do it cleanly and quickly.

If the Modern Media Had Covered Christ

Wednesday, September 25, AD 2013

25 Responses to If the Modern Media Had Covered Christ

  • In the interests of consistency Donald, you would have to say something like this:

    “t would help if the [Lord] would first stop engaging in self-inflicted wounds.It is tough being the [Son of God] currently, I understand that. He accepted the job, and he needs to remember that every single word he says is going to echo around the globe. It helps the [Lord] not at all to attempt to put a smiley face on this and not to understand that he is causing confusion to his friends and celebration to his foes.
    The [Lord’s] heart is in the right place. Now he needs to get his lips to the same place.”

  • I normally do not confuse Christ with the Pope Greg. I found this to be an amusing post, hence I ran it, but the parallel it seeks to draw with Pope Francis’ woes are fairly strained. What truly scandalized the Jews was the claim of Christ to be God, the ultimate blasphemy, except that He was God. In matters of morality, as opposed to ritual purity, there was almost no division between Christ and the Pharisees, and where there was a division, divorce, Christ tended to be more severe. As far as the Romans were concerned the divisions between the Jews and Christians were quite incomprehensible as demonstrated by the reaction of Pilate.

  • I don’t confuse the two either. But if the Pope’s comments “confuse his friends” , his friends are just as if not more ignorant than his foes. I think every time a pope says things like this (remember B16’s comments at Regensburg that stoked a violent backlash that caused at least one death as well as how they twisted his condom remark that he was saying having sex with a condom was morally licit as a means of disease prevention when the context of his remarks make clear that he is speaking positively about the intention not the use of the condom itself) our side responds in a predictably Pavlovian way. We give the MSM the reaction they want. We come off as defensive and are too damned arrogant to realize it. We need to step bak and not take the bait when they do this.

    Now, I am not saying the pope’s comments are above criticism. We are not bound to agree with the way he says things like this. In fact, I think soon-to-St. John Paul II’s anti-death penalty stance caused far more confusion than anything Francis has said to date.

  • P.S/ In stead of wringing our hands over what Pope Francis said in that interview, we should seize upon the opportunity and not let the MSM drive the conversation.

  • “But if the Pope’s comments “confuse his friends” , his friends are just as if not more ignorant than his foes.”

    Total rubbish Greg. Most Catholics are like most people: they do not follow events with the magnifying glass that blog denizens do. A Pope who speaks carelessly and gives ammo for the media to twist his words is just asking for confusion among normal Catholics who get most of their information still from the mainstream media. The Catholic Church is not a Church for the elect few but rather a means of salvation for the great mass of believers. All popes speak carelessly at times, but Pope Francis seems to make a habit of it, and I hope he stops it very soon, or this will be a very long papacy indeed.

  • “P.S/ In stead of wringing our hands over what Pope Francis said in that interview, we should seize upon the opportunity and not let the MSM drive the conversation.”

    That might be a sound strategy if anyone, including the Pope, had the foggiest idea of what he was driving at often times. I confess that his meaning often seems obscure to me and subject to widely varying interpretations.

  • “Total rubbish Greg. Most Catholics are like most people: they do not follow events with the magnifying glass that blog denizens do.”

    Horse hockey Donald. Even the most ignorant who don’t follow event know no pope would say what the media portrays him as saying. That much should be obvious. The response of many on our side is what gives the media ammo. They bait and we swallow it. As dumb as they are they make us look even dumber.

    When Pope Francis starts slandering the damned few elected officials who make legitimate attempts to protect citizens entrusted to their jurisdiction, you might have something to wring your hands about. But until then….

  • “Even the most ignorant who don’t follow event know no pope would say what the media portrays him as saying.”

    Indeed? I doubt it, if all they read are stories like this:

    “But his vision of what the church should be stands out, primarily because it contrasts so sharply with many of the priorities of his immediate predecessors, John Paul II and Benedict XVI. They were both intellectuals for whom doctrine was paramount, an orientation that guided the selection of a generation of bishops and cardinals around the globe.

    Francis said the dogmatic and the moral teachings of the church were not all equivalent.

    “The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently,” Francis said. “We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel.”

    Rather, he said, the Catholic Church must be like a “field hospital after battle,” healing the wounds of its faithful and going out to find those who have been hurt, excluded or have fallen away.

    “It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of his blood sugars!” Francis said. “You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else.”

    “The church sometimes has locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules,” he lamented. “The most important thing is the first proclamation: Jesus Christ has saved you. And the ministers of the church must be ministers of mercy above all.”


    After the results of last year’s election I would not underestimate the ability of the mainstream media to sway public opinion, especially since there is a not insignificant segment of Catholic clergy and laity in this country who would very much like the Church to go the Episcopalian route, and who have joined eagerly in touting Pope Francis as their liberal Pope.

  • Yes and you can finds quotes from his two immediate predecessors who say exactly the same thing. And many of that “generation of bishops and cardinals around the globe.” are the ones who are actually doing a great deal to distort Church teaching when it serves their ideological agenda. And I cannot see how they are not doing it knowingly, but I don’t hear much about that from the orthodox Catholic commentariat when it is their heroes in the episcopate who are doing it.

  • No one Greg ever accused Pope John Paul II or Pope Benedict XVI of soft pedaling Church doctrine on abortion or homosexuality. The criticism in the mainstream media was all the other way. Pope Francis is being touted as a liberal Pope because there is enough ambiguity in what he says that the mainstream media is able to make a plausible argument. Additionally some of what he says is simply bizarre:

    “We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.”

    Most clergy I have encountered almost never talk about these issues and seem to wish they would go away. It has been a few of the Catholic laity, God love them, who chiefly have been carrying on this fight. Pope Francis is misinterpreted because it is so easy to do based on what he has said.

  • If I may interject…(I, myself, have been both confused by some of Pope Francis’ messaging and comforted by more in-depth analysis of his Holiness’ comments here and elsewhere)…I submit that DarwinCatholic’s post may put some more clarity to what he means (http://the-american-catholic.com/2013/09/25/pope-francis-excommunicates-and-laicizes-dissident-australian-priest/). While this situation calls for prayer and not celebration, I think rumors of a “pro-gay” Pope were greatly exaggerated (as seen on Fox News, no less), insofar as any change in doctrine is concerned.

    I also found this helpful…

    The Church’s teaching could not be more clear: but if every one of Pope Francis’s public speeches were like this, the Church’s teaching might well lose all of its force. As Frank Weathers notes, Pope Benedict, in an address to the bishops of Switzerland on November 9, 2006, explained why:

    I remember, when I used go to Germany in the 1980s and ’90s, that I was asked to give interviews and I always knew the questions in advance. They concerned the ordination of women, contraception, abortion and other such constantly recurring problems.

    If we let ourselves be drawn into these discussions, the Church is then identified with certain commandments or prohibitions; we give the impression that we are moralists with a few somewhat antiquated convictions, and not even a hint of the true greatness of the faith appears. I therefore consider it essential always to highlight the greatness of our faith—a commitment from which we must not allow such situations to divert us.


    To be sure, the article doesn’t whitewash the “There That Is Not There”:

    Pope Francis, it is said (with more than a little justification), does not speak with the precision and clarity of his predecessor. And in the face of distortions by the New York Times and confusion among the faithful, precision and clarity are greatly to be desired.

  • “No one Greg ever accused Pope John Paul II or Pope Benedict XVI of soft pedaling Church doctrine on abortion or homosexuality. The criticism in the mainstream media was all the other way. Pope Francis is being touted as a liberal Pope because there is enough ambiguity in what he says that the mainstream media is able to make a plausible argument. ”

    No, they just said Benedict XVI changed a major plank of Church teaching with his condom comment which not only wasn’t anything close to what they say he said, the comment was made in an interview that was not an official statement anyway. And it was Francis, not JPII or B16, that just excommed and laicized an Aussie priesr who advocating women;s ordination. And this very same priest was also a staunch advocate of same sex marriage.

    As far as the statement you quote above, as a lawyer Donald you ought to instinctively given to reading things which much greater care than you seem to be reading this quote. For one, the pope is saying these issues are not the only issues we should insist upon. And yes, we should speak of them in context. And those who speak of these issue in the right way do in fact speak of them in context. Is not the constant refrain from the very same MSM that the Church is only about opposing abortion, contraception, and homosexuality? Secondly, he says the teaching of the Church is “clear” on these points? Who doesn’t know where the Church stands on these things? He is not saying that we should talk these at all, but not place exclusive focus on them.

    What is “bizarre” about the statement you quote is more your interpretation of it as bizarre than what he actually said. Could he have said things in a better way? Sure. Bear in mind, not only was this interview not conducted in English and there are not always exact parallels between any two languages, but Francis himself does not speak English and that also has an effect on what words he might choose when speaking a different language. The fact that the conclave elected Bergoglio despite the fact he doesn’t speak English was a bit of a surprise. I think he is gonna have to overcome his tone deafness learn to speak English.

    I think it is dangerous for the Church when we excessively allow worrying about how the MSM is going to spin what we say to control what we and how we say things.

    But as far as public statements and high profile Catholics, there is a far more serious problem. And I think you know what I am referring to. And until we address that problem, we have absolutely no moral right whatsoever to criticize anything, much less what the pope said in that interview.

  • Thanks for the heads-up about checking the comments at the original post
    Mr. McClarey. They did not disappoint. The actual comments to the
    post were also amusing– especially the faux spam from “sheephearder55″…

  • The Lord Jesus Himself and Paul his dynamic if often acerbic apostle caused uproars, confusion etc to those not taking the time to really “hear” them. It is not for nothing that the Lord “had to say” “do not think that I have come to destroy the Law and the Prophets, I have come not to destroy but to fulfill”. (Matthew 5.17). Pau’s emphasis on Christ, His Cross and grace and the obedience of faith over observance of the Law was at one point in Church history the cause of such.confusion that a large portion of the Catholic Church followed an Augustinian monk away from communion with the Church and took a major Council of the Church to contextualize Paul’s teaching within Tradition-yet we still hear Paul almost every Lord’s Day in Holy Mass.

    Taking the time to really listen to Pope Francis yields not confusion but great peace ( see Ignatius’ discernment of spirits)

    Having said this Pope Francis’ contextualizing such issues as abortion, gay marriage and contraception within the Gospel is timely and necessary-just as necessary as emphasizing the truth of the teachings concerning these issues. After all, the Church recognizes and teaches that Her teaching on abortion, gay marriage and contraception are based on Natural Law, not Divine Revelation. The truth concerning all three issues is available to reason, faith is not ‘needed’.

    The Pope is rightly concerned that without the proper (read ‘ortodox’) contextual reading of such issues and emphases within the Church we could inadvertently reduce the whole of the Catholic Faith to ‘morality’. It is in this light that Francis’ comments on “rules” needs the read. By way of an objective witness to the same concern read George Weigel’s excellent Evangelical Catholicism in which he clearly states that a characteristic of the “dying” post Tridentine Catholicism is a focus on rules. He notes that both ” progressive” and “traditionalist” Catholics are still stuck in this dying era of Church history-one focusing on them to rid us of them while the other believing we need them at all costs

  • The words of a Pope and the Word of God are different. To equate the two is to make an idol of the Papacy. Something that flies in the face of that relationship with Christ.

    Here again I believe is how the Pope poorly words things. From the homily of his Mass today:

    “You cannot know Jesus without having problems. And I dare say, ‘But if you want to have a problem, go to the street to know Jesus – you’ll end up having not one, but many!’ But that is the way to get to know Jesus! You cannot know Jesus in first class! One gets to know Jesus in going out [into] every day [life]. You cannot get to know Jesus in peace and quiet, nor even in the library: Know Jesus.”

    Really. One cannot know Christ in first class. Its unclear his exact meaning but is he saying the rich don’t have problems. Is he saying they don’t know Christ in their lives.

    From the Navarre Bible Commentary on the Beatitudes in Luke about understanding what poverty truly is:

    “24. In the same kind of way as in verse 20, which refers to the poor in the sense of those who love poverty, seeking to please God better, so in this verse the “rich” are to be understood as those who strive to accumulate possessions heedless of whether or not they are doing so lawfully, and who seek their happiness in those possessions, as if they were their ultimate goal. But people who inherit wealth or acquire it through honest work can be really poor provided they are detached from these things and are led by that detachment to use them to help others, as God inspires them. We can find in Sacred Scriptures a number of people to whom the beatitude of the poor can be applied although they possessed considerable wealth–Abraham, Isaac, Moses, David, Job, for example.

    As early as St. Augustine’s time there were people who failed to understand poverty and riches properly: they reasoned as follows: The Kingdom of Heaven belongs to the poor, the Lazaruses of this world, the hungry; all the rich are bad, like this rich man here. This sort of thinking led St. Augustine to explain the deep meaning of wealth and poverty according to the spirit of the Gospel: “Listen, poor man, to my comments on your words. When you refer to yourself as Lazarus, that holy man covered with wounds, I am afraid your pride makes you describe yourself incorrectly. Do not despise rich men who are merciful, who are humble: or, to put it briefly, do not despise poor rich men. Oh, poor man, be poor yourself; poor, that is, humble […].

    Listen to me, then. Be truly poor, be devout, be humble; if you glory in your rag- ged and ulcerous poverty, if you glory in likening yourself to that beggar lying outside the rich man’s house, then you are only noticing his poverty, and nothing else. What should I notice you ask? Read the Scriptures and you will understand what I mean. Lazarus was poor, but he to whose bosom he was brought was rich. ‘It came to pass, it is written, that the poor man died and he was brought by the angels to Abraham’s bosom.’ To where? To Abraham’s bosom, or let us say, to that mysterious place where Abraham was resting. Read […] and remember that Abraham was a very wealthy man when he was on earth: he had abundance of money, a large family, flocks, land; yet that rich man was poor, because he was humble. ‘Abraham believed God and he was reckoned righteous.’ […] He was faithful, he did good, received the commandment to offer his son in sacrifice, and he did not refuse to offer what he had received to Him from whom he had received it. He was approved in God’s sight and set before us as an example of faith” (Sermon, 14).

    To sum up: poverty does not consist in something purely external, in having or not having material goods, but in something that goes far deeper, affecting a person’s heart and soul; it consists in having a humble attitude to God, in being devout, in having total faith. If a Christian has these virtues and also has an abundance of material possessions, he should be detached from his wealth and act charitably towards others and thus be pleasing to God. On the other hand, if someone is not well-off he is not justified in God’s sight on that account, if he fails to strive to acquire those virtues in which true poverty consists.”

    In this case a small failure on the part of the words of the Pope to communicate the real truth of the Word of God. But a failure nonetheless.

  • Phillip, I sense that almost nothing this Pope could say would ‘please’ you. Perhaps the last pope who did was Pius V?

  • Keeping in your tenor, your idolatry of the Papacy would move one to be a Protestant.

    Now continuing in a truly Christian fashion. What I have been saying all along is that Francis communicates in a poor (I would even say clumsy) fashion.

    My faith is not based on the Pope or anything he says. It is not based on any of his words. It is based on the Word of God – Christ. That in fact is what the Pope is (poorly) saying in his homily and in that (as Hadely Arkes said “bizarre”) interview.

    As my faith is in the Word of God and not in the faulty words of man, I do believe when this Word of God grants infallibility to the Pope in Faith and Morals (not style or specific words). That is a truly Catholic understanding.

  • Hmmm your dialectic forcing a split between the Word of God and the words of man (here I am not speaking of Pope Francis) is a very familiar one-an Augustinian friar 496 years ago claimed pretty much the same position

  • Nope. They are the words of Francis himself. And JP II and Benedict. It is a relationship with Jesus the Christ that is the source and summit of the Christian life. From this, all else flows including the truths about faith and morals that the Pope speaks.

    You are confused (and without great peace) if you think Francis is saying otherwise.

  • Enough back and forth on who is a real Catholic, gentlemen. I do not allow that on my comment threads.

  • Donald,

    I do not doubt Botolph’s Catholicism. I am merely defending mine.

  • Horse hockey Donald. Even the most ignorant who don’t follow event know no pope would say what the media portrays him as saying

    Then why has NOT A SINGLE CATHOLIC I KNOW WHO IS NOT A BLOGGER “know” this? Bloggers generally know the MSN is rubbish on religion; other orthodox religious groups even know this, and I’ve seen them (Molly Hemmingway!) leap to defend Catholics from the mangled portrayals… but most folks are blinking, and going “what on earth is up with the Pope?”

    Perhaps they’re just more aware that being Pope doesn’t automatically mean you’re all that good, although stuff is much better defended now….

  • Then why has NOT A SINGLE CATHOLIC I KNOW WHO IS NOT A BLOGGER “know” this? Bloggers generally know the MSN is rubbish on religion; other orthodox religious groups even know this, and I’ve seen them (Molly Hemmingway!) leap to defend Catholics from the mangled portrayals… but most folks are blinking, and going “what on earth is up with the Pope?”

    I’ll bet these same Catholics thought Benedict XVI changed Church teaching with his condom comment:


    And even if you read what Benedict actually said in context (which doesn’t approve of condom use in any way) it is far far more vulnerable to being twisted in damaging way than anything Francis said in that interview. People need to get a grip. Those who are wringing their hands about this are waving the white flag of surrender to the media. Any Catholic who thinks Pope Francis said what the media said he did is an ignoramus who have problems that are beyond any the reach of rational explanation.

  • As Donald said, all popes use less than optimal words when expressing a thought. Their words will be taken out of context by the MSM. But with Pope Francis, it’s a habit, a recurring event.

    When even the most ardent papal defenders are perplexed when Pope Francis speaks, something is amiss. It seems almost weekly we see links to articles which seek to explain what Pope Francis really means, and it’s not because his thoughts highly academic or theological. Not a good sign.

    I understand and mostly agree with Pope Francis says, but I don’t agree with the way he says it. I hope no one construes from this that I am a member of SSPX. 😉

  • I’ll bet these same Catholics thought Benedict XVI changed Church teaching with his condom comment:


    You made a claim about “all Catholics” who aren’t bloggers. Pointing to another example of media malpractice does nothing to support the claim, anymore than finding a non-blogging Catholic who agreed with you would do so.

Pope Francis Excommunicates and Laicizes Dissident Australian Priest

Wednesday, September 25, AD 2013

Mr. (formerly Fr.) Greg Reynolds of Melbourne, Australia expressed “shock” at being the first priest to be excommunicated by Pope Francis for advocacy of women’s ordination, homosexual marriage, and other offenses.

The letter, a copy of which NCR obtained and translated, accuses Reynolds of heresy (Canon 751) and determined he incurred latae sententiae excommunication for throwing away the consecrated host or retaining it “for a sacrilegious purpose” (Canon 1367). It also referenced Canon 1369 (speaking publicly against church teaching) in its review of the case.

“Pope Francis, Supreme Pontiff having heard the presentation of this Congregation concerning the grave reason for action … of [Fr. Greg Reynolds] of the Archdiocese of Melbourne, all the preceding actions to be taken having been followed, with a final and unappealable decision and subject to no recourse, has decreed dismissal from the clerical state is to be imposed on said priest for the good of the Church,” read the document, signed by Archbishop Gerhard Muller, prefect for the congregation, and his secretary, Jesuit Archbishop Luis Ladaria.

Excommunication refers to the severest measure of censure for Catholics and forbids an individual from participation in any eucharistic celebration or other worship ceremonies; the reception or celebration of sacraments; and holding any ecclesiastical or governing role in the church.

The document, dated May 31 — coincidentally Reynolds’ 60th birthday — provided no reason for the excommunication. However, a separate letter sent Friday from Hart to his archdiocesan priests indicated Reynolds’ support of women’s ordination was a primary reason.

“The decision by Pope Francis to dismiss Fr Reynolds from the clerical state and to declare his automatic excommunication has been made because of his public teaching on the ordination of women contrary to the teaching of the Church and his public celebration of the Eucharist when he did not hold faculties to act publicly as a priest,” [Melbourne Archbishop Denis] Hart wrote.

But Reynolds said he believes the excommunication also resulted from his support of the gay community. He told NCR that in the last two years, he has attended rallies in Melbourne advocating same-sex marriage and has officiated at mass weddings of gay couples on the steps of Parliament — “all unofficial of course.”

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3 Responses to Pope Francis Excommunicates and Laicizes Dissident Australian Priest

  • Thank you for the post and link to the “dog” article in the Aus. paper. Looking at the photo in that story made me realize just how common these little dissident groups are! looking at them felt so familiar—I feel like I know those people. I do know so many of those who are well intentioned but still just “orbiting” around the teachings of the Church, who can’t quite accept that everything isn’t OK, and that it may hurt somebody’s feelings, people just have to accept the hard truth about life. They are so often very intellectual people who can explain away and justify and prolong discussions without ever making it to the bottom line.
    It is too bad how they keep reinforcing each other and keep each other from accepting the truth. They obfuscate and persist in spinning their way through life disoriented, unwilling to just stop spinning, get a grip. and realize that you don’t have to be an observant Catholic to know that SS activity doesn’t work, is not satisfying and is in fact hurtful to the practitioners. You don’t have to be an observant Catholic to see that dogs are not human, or that women, even in the most liberated communes of the 1960 and 70 era , as in the group led here by the man formerly known as Father, are still following their womanly role of making the name tags for the gathering.

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  • I would like to request a correction. Pope Francis DID NOT excommunicate this Priest, the Priest excommunicated himself. Excommunication is not an act of the Church or Vatican, it is an act of the free will of the person. The person freely chose to go against Church teaching, therefore putting himself outside of the community of the Church, or excommunicating himself.

Pastoral Letter on Abraham Lincoln

Wednesday, September 25, AD 2013

These communities, by their representatives in old  Independence Hall, said to the whole world of men: “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.

Abraham Lincoln, August 17, 1858


The things you find while wandering the Internet!  Here is a pastoral letter on Abraham Lincoln written in 2009 on the bicentennial of his birth by Bishop W. Francis Malooly, Wilmington Diocese:



A Pastoral Letter to the People of the Diocese of Wilmington by Bishop W. Francis Malooly

Abraham Lincoln was born 200 years ago today.  Lincoln was not a Catholic.  Nor was he a member of any organized denomination and his religious views are in many ways obscure.  Some aspects of his legacy are still controversial almost 150 years after his death.  Yet, by any measure Abraham Lincoln was one of America’s greatest statesmen and his speeches and writings contain some of the most profound thinking relating to religion that have been produced in this nation.  Moreover, in his life we can see many of the classic Christian virtues; virtues that are as relevant today as they ever were in the past; virtues that help explain why Lincoln’s legacy is so large.

Before turning to Lincoln, himself, though, it is useful to first consider another statesman whose life reflects those virtues.  In 2000, Pope John Paul II proclaimed Saint Thomas More to be the patron of statesmen and politicians: “There are many reasons for proclaiming Thomas More Patron of statesmen and people in public life.  Among these is the need felt by the world of politics and public administration for credible role models able to indicate the path of truth at a time in history when difficult challenges and crucial responsibilities are increasing…His life teaches us that government is above all an exercise of virtue.”

My predecessor, Bishop Michael Saltarelli, inspired by Pope John Paul II’s proclamation, issued in September 2004 his Litany of Saint Thomas More, Martyr and Patron of Statesmen, Politicians and Lawyers which concludes with the prayer: “Intercede for our Statesmen, Politicians, Judges and Lawyers, that they may be courageous and effective in their defense and promotion of the sanctity of human life – the foundation of all other human rights.”
3    With this Litany, Bishop Saltarelli emphasized that it is important for each of us to remember politicians and public servants daily in our prayers.  He also placed the Diocese of Wilmington at the forefront of efforts to foster and promote devotion to Saint Thomas More. As G.K. Chesterton so prophetically stated in 1929 “Thomas More is more important at this moment than at any moment since his death, even perhaps the great moment of his dying; but he is not quite so important as he will be in about a hundred years’ time.”4

I followed Bishop Saltarelli’s lead this fall when I reissued the Litany and asked every parish to pray it at the end of every Mass in the Diocese the weekend of October 25-26, 2008.

Saint Thomas More and Abraham Lincoln were two very different men, living in different countries and separated by centuries.  Nevertheless, they shared the view that public service required them to pursue the public good rather than their own personal ends, even to the point that they put their lives at risk-and ultimately died-in that pursuit.  Indeed, Lincoln and St. Thomas shared many virtues-virtues that are key to effective public service.  In Lincoln’s life, Catholics and non-Catholics alike can see so many dimensions of the beatitudes, the theological virtues (faith, hope and charity) and the cardinal virtues (prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance) lived vibrantly.   We can see through the lens of Abraham Lincoln so many of the lessons that were taught in the life of Saint Thomas More – that virtue in the life of the politician extends to both their public and their private lives, that magnanimity and charity lead to solid decisions in moments of crisis and confusion, and that governance is above all, an exercise in virtue. 

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Popular “Science” Shuts Down Comments

Tuesday, September 24, AD 2013




Popular Science is shutting down comments.  Why?  Well I guess because robust debate can be bad for science:

A politically motivated, decades-long war on expertise has eroded the popular consensus on a wide variety of scientifically validated topics. Everything, from evolution to the origins of climate change, is mistakenly up for grabs again. Scientific certainty is just another thing for two people to “debate” on television. And because comments sections tend to be a grotesque reflection of the media culture surrounding them, the cynical work of undermining bedrock scientific doctrine is now being done beneath our own stories, within a website devoted to championing science.

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11 Responses to Popular “Science” Shuts Down Comments

  • The origins of climate change and evolution are their examples of “scientific certainty”?

    Not that “scientific certainty” is all that good of a phrase; I can think of some things that are certain that sciences has verified, but popular theories aren’t them!

  • I made the first comment on the story below, and was responded to in various ways, mostly just ad hominem attacks, but when I tried to respond back to these comments of others, I was unable to because I was censored off the site.

  • Hm, someone should ask them what they think of Galileo. See how long it takes them to realize the hypocrisy.

    Every scientific theory is one experiment away from obsolescence.

  • More astounding is the credentialed imbeciles’ utter lack of self-awareness. They’re not searching after truth, but building the agenda.

    Their “scientific certainty” is ideology.

    They unwittingly take whole chapters out of the playbook of the Medieval Inquisition, sans enhanced interrogation techniques.

    Meanwhile, the Obama regime is acclerating the US crash-dive into bankruptcy by executive order – dismantling coal-generated electricity capacity.

  • I deal with these people all the time. They are invariably liberal progressive Democrats and they have dominated nuclear energy forums. They are die-hard materialists, and tolerate absolutely no dissent from their creed of atheistic evolution, global warming, etc. They denigrate anyone who has religious faith – and openly and without apology – and they think that just because they are smart, they know everything and are godlike in intellect. They disregard that most scientists who created this edifice of science on which they stand were themselves Christian. Invariably they are shocked to learn Roman Catholic Belgium priest Father Georges Lemaitre came up with the idea of the Big Bang as a consequence of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, or all the other scientists who were Christian (e.g., Louis Pasteur, etc.). They refuse to read anything that bona fide modern scientists like Dr. Hugh Ross (a Protestant) or Dr. Stephen M. Barr (a Roman Catholic) have to say (read Dr. Barr’s book, “Modern Physics and Ancient Faith” – it is freaking GREAT!). When they are told that Pope Pius XII dealt very intelligently with the Theory of Evolution in his encyclical “Humani Generis”, or Pope John Paul II discussed the unity of truth in reason and faith within his encyclical “Fides et Ratio”, they shut down and refuse to read those too. They are so “open minded” that anything which opposes their preconceived world views they discount as the myth of a sky god. They don’t even want to hear what and who Yahweh is – the creator of the sky, the one who is outside of space and time, matter and energy. They are the most obnoxious, intolerant, divisive, inconsiderate, and unkind group of people you would ever encounter.

    BTW, everyone should have the links on science below as internet favorites – one is Catholic and the other is Protestant. And everyone should educate himself in science. We shouldn’t let ourselves be bamboozled by these liberal materialist miscreants. As St. Peter wrote, we should ever be ready to give a defense of the faith that is within us. And one last thing: every Catholic should read “Humani Generis” (I taught an apologetics class on it one time) and “Fides et Ratio” – they are on the Vatican web site. There are no excuses for being ignorant any longer.

    Magis Center or Reason and Faith with Father Robert J. Spitzer

    Reasons to Believe with Dr. Hugh Ross

  • If only the US Bishops had such righteous indignation over the Deposit of the Faith!

    You would think these scientism freaks have suddenly found religion by suspiciously adopting their own doctrine of infallibility.

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  • Popular Science? You mean it’s still around?

  • Popular Science? You mean it’s still around?

    How much longer until the 100th anniversary of Pop Sci’s prediction of the flying car?

  • Science, falsely so-called, provides only confusion when used in politics and the courts to push an agenda. For instance, many people think there is such a thing as marriage between humans who share the same sexual apparatus, when it is impossible for marriage and offspring to occur when two of the same gender attempt to couple together. When grown men and women fight over whether there is such a thing as “Gay Marriage,” it confuses children who need to have guidance in these matters that is simple and straightforward, and certainly not a matter to be argued about. Some of the gravest scandals have been perpetrated by the scientific community. And openly discussing matters with children present that should be left to academics behind closed doors is an example of this.

September 24, 1863: Hooker to Chattanooga

Tuesday, September 24, AD 2013

Secretary of War Edwin Stanton was an irascible and cantankerous man who didn’t suffer fools, or anyone else for that matter, gladly.  He was often a pain to be around.  However he more than made up for his lack of people skills, with driving energy, imagination and tenacity.  These characteristics all came into play in the wake of the Union defeat at Chickamauga.

On the night of September 23, 1863 he went to the White House and took the drastic step of summoning the President from his bed to attend a hurried council of war.  Stanton proposed to dispatch to Chattanooga from the Army of the Potomac the XI and XII corps, some 20,000 men.  Lincoln was dubious that the troops, having to travel some 1200 miles by rail, would arrive in time to aid Rosecrans.  Stanton came prepared for this objection.  Present at the meeting was Colonel D.C. McCallum, head of the Department of Military Railroads, who, at Stanton’s prompting, promised that the troops could be shipped in a week, and vouched for it with his life.  Lincoln, reassured, agreed to the plan.  The expedition was to be commanded by Major General Joseph Hooker, the former commander of the Army of the Potomac given another opportunity to play a major role in the War.

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One Response to September 24, 1863: Hooker to Chattanooga

Moral Laws vs Moral Fashions

Monday, September 23, AD 2013

Well-known atheist Richard Dawkins managed to grab himself some less than positive reactions a couple weeks ago when he gave an interview in which he dismissed the “mild pedophilia” which was common in the English school system of his youth as not being such a big deal if one considered the climate of the times. Justifying this attitude Dawkins explained:

I am very conscious that you can’t condemn people of an earlier era by the standards of ours. Just as we don’t look back at the 18th and 19th centuries and condemn people for racism in the same way as we would condemn a modern person for racism, I look back a few decades to my childhood and see things like caning, like mild pedophilia, and can’t find it in me to condemn it by the same standards as I or anyone would today.

The points most people drew from this are:

– Actually 18th and 19th century racism was pretty bad, many at the time did recognize it, and we should in fact condemn it.

– Identifying “mild pedophilia” as some kind of okay thing is something only a sick person with no morals would do.

I don’t disagree with these points. Nor is this new territory for Dawkins, who has something of a history of trivializing child abuse. He’s the one who argued, “Odious as the physical abuse of children by priests undoubtedly is, I suspect that it may do them less lasting damage than the mental abuse of bringing them up Catholic in the first place.”

But I think there’s a more general tendency to be seen in Dawkins’ comments which is worth discussing as well. As a thoroughgoing materialist, Dawkins doesn’t recognize the existence of objectively real moral laws. Rather, what he sees is a sort of moral fashion. In the 18th and 19th centuries, racism was common and socially acceptable. Even “good people” who you’d want to have in your drawing room were often highly racist. (After all, it paid to be racist: slaves were the most valuable capital assets in some whole countries, including the US.)

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