8

I Vote For the Zombies

 

 

Thirty-seven percent (37%) of American Adults believe the federal government would do a better job than zombies running the country today. But the latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that most Americans don’t share that view, with just as many (37%) who feel zombies would do a better job running the country and another 26% who can’t decide between the two

10

Obama Lied, Your Insurance Died

Well, the Congress Critters with Ds after their names are beginning to scurry for political cover:

Sen. Mary Landrieu said Wednesday she would propose legislation to ensure all  Americans could keep their existing insurance coverage under Obamacare, a fresh  sign of the political problems the law’s rollout has created for congressional  Democrats.

Landrieu, a Democrat who faces a tough reelection in Louisiana in 2014, said  she would either offer her own bill or formally sign onto another measure that  would ensure that the law would not force anyone off of their existing health  policies. Continue Reading

7

Exhibit A That Some Lawyers Do Have a Sense of Humor

 

 

The prosecution in a case in Tennessee was stupid enough to file a motion in limine to stop the defense counsel from referring to it as the government.  The response of the defense counsel in that case, the aptly named Drew Justice, is classic.  A small sample:

Should this Court disagree, and feel inclined to let the parties basically pick their own designations and ban words, then the defense has a few additional suggestions for amending the speech code. First, the Defendant no longer wants to be called “the Defendant.” This rather archaic term of art, obviously has a fairly negative connotation. It unfairly demeans, and dehumanizes Mr. Donald Powell. The word “defendant” should be banned. At trial, Mr. Powell hereby demands be addressed only by his full name, preceded by the title “Mister.” Alternatively, he may be called simply “the Citizen Accused.” This latter title sounds more respectable than the criminal “Defendant.” The designation “That innocent man” would also be acceptable. Continue Reading

1

Harry Truman’s Ghost Letter

A suitable topic for Halloween.  Harry Truman, soon after he became President, wrote a letter to his wife in which he referred to ghosts in the White House:

THE WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON

June 12, 1945

Dear Bess:- Just two months ago today, I was a reasonably happy and contented Vice-President. Maybe you can remember that far back too. But things have changed so much it hardly seems real.

I sit here in this old house and work on foreign affairs, read reports, and work on speeches — all the while listening to the ghosts walk up and down the hallway and even right in here in the study. The floors pop and the drapes move back and forth — I can just imagine old Andy and Teddy having an argument over Franklin. Or James Buchanan and Franklin Pierce deciding which was the more useless to the country. And when Millard Fillmore and Chester Arthur join in for place and show, the din is almost unbearable. But I still get some work done.

Hope the weather lets up and you will be able to do some work on the house. The Gibson boy should have been taken care of long ago. I’ll see what’s happened. I’m not able to do as many things for my friends now as I did when I was just a dirty organisation Democrat and a County Judge.

Guess you and Helen will have a grand time. Hope you do. We are working on Dr. Wallace. Glad everybody was in his right mind at the family party. Undoubtedly they were walking the straight and narrow for your mother. But I’m sure you had a nice time anyway.

That address mixed up is causing me some embarrassment (if that’s the way you spell that blushing word.) I addressed a letter to you at 4701 Conn. Ave. Independence Mo., and another one 219 North Delaware, Washington, D. C. Now it seems I sent one to the Rolands. The boys in the House here didn’t catch that one but they did the other two.

I’ll have Reathal attend to the chores you suggest. I haven’t seen her but twice since you left. She comes in after I go over to the office, usually goes out to lunch and doesn’t come back until I am gone again and then goes home before I get over here.

Had Charlie Ross and Rosenman to lunch yesterday. We worked on my San Francisco speech. ,that date is postponed until next week now on account of the slow wind-up and Gen. Eisenhower’s visit.

Write me when you can – I hope every day.

Lots of love.

Harry. Continue Reading

5

PopeWatch: NSA

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PopeWatch this morning is not about Pope Francis but rather about allegations that the NSA spied on the Vatican during the recent conclave:

An Italian magazine is reporting that the National Security Agency (NSA) spied on internal communications at the Vatican and phone calls at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, the church residence where cardinals lived during the papal conclave and the pope’s current home. 

The weekly magazine, Panorama, reports in an issue that hits the streets on Thursday that the NSA labeled calls in and out of Vatican offices as “leadership intentions,” “threats to the financial system,” “foreign policy objectives,” and “human rights.” It says calls regarding this year’s election of the new president of the Vatican Bank, Ernst von Freyberg, were also intercepted.

The magazine does not cite a source for the wiretapping allegations, but it does refer to WikiLeaks to suggest that Francis was being watched as far back as 2005 when he was the Archbishop of Buenos Aires.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi was quick to dismiss the charges on Wednesday.

“We don’t know anything about this, and in any case we don’t have any concerns about it,” he said in a statement. Continue Reading

5

Incubus

Well that was odd.  Last night my bride and I watched the film Incubus.  Released in 1966, it is notable today as being one of the very few feature films made entirely in the made up language Esperanto and for starring a pre-Star Trek William Shatner.  It is a horror film about succubi and temptation.  By our standards today it is pretty tame and virtue triumphs in the end.  The true horror in the film mainly resides in the ghastly overacting, so bad that Shatner, a man whose entire career has rested on histrionics, actually seems restrained throughout most of the film. Continue Reading

19

No Snickering While You Read This!

 

 

Well, maybe a little.

“I spent two years defending Obamacare. I had constituents scream at me, spit at me and call me names that I can’t put in print. The congressman was not re-elected in 2010 mainly because of the anti-Obamacare anger. When the congressman was not re-elected, I also (along with the rest of our staff) lost my job. I was upset that because of the health care issue, I didn’t have a job anymore but still defended Obamacare because it would make health care available to everyone at, what I assumed, would be an affordable price. I have now learned that I was wrong. Very wrong.”

For Klinkhamer, 60, President Obama’s oft-repeated words ring in her ears: “If you like your health plan, you will keep it.”

When Klinkhamer lost her congressional job, she had to buy an individual policy on the open market.

Three years ago, it was $225 a month with a $2,500 deductible. Each year it went up a little to, as of Sept. 1, $291 with a $3,500 deductible. Then, a few weeks ago, she got a letter.

“Blue Cross,” she said, “stated my current coverage would expire on Dec. 31, and here are my options: I can have a plan with similar benefits for $647.12 [or] I can have a plan with similar [but higher] pricing for $322.32 but with a $6,500 deductible.”

She went on, “Blue Cross also tells me that if I don’t pick one of the options, they will just assume I want the one for $647. … Someone please tell me why my premium in January will be $356 more than in December?”      

The sticker shock Klinkhamer is experiencing is something millions of individual policyholders are reeling from having gotten similar letters from their private insurers. Continue Reading

10

PopeWatch: Untier of Knots

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Sandro Magister on his blog Chiesa notes that Pope Francis has a special devotion to Mary, Untier of Knots:

Mary-Untier-of-Knots-1

 

 

In Augsburg, in the church of the Jesuits, dedicated to Saint Peter, there is a venerated Marian image: the Blessed Mother “untier of knots.”

In it Mary is depicted untying the knots of a ribbon held out to her by an angel, which another angel is receiving from her with no more knots. The meaning is clear. The knots are all that complicates life, difficulties, sins. And Mary is the one who helps to untie them.

Bergoglio was deeply struck by this Marian image. When he returned to Argentina a few months later, he brought with him a good number of prayer cards with the Blessed Mother “untier of knots.”

His doctoral thesis was abandoned at its birth, and even the thought of Romano Guardini did not leave a lasting imprint upon Bergoglio. In the interview with Pope Francis in “La Civiltà Cattolica,” in which he dedicates ample space to his authors of reference, Guardini is not there.

But in exchange, thanks to his stay in Germany in 1986, Bergoglio unknowingly brought a new Marian devotion to birth in Argentina.

An artist to whom he had given one of the prayer cards acquired in Augsburg reproduced the image and offered it to a parish of the working-class Barrio de Agronomía, in the center of Buenos Aires.

On display in the church, the image of Mary “desatanudos” attracted a growing number of devotees, converted sinners, and marked an unexpected growth of religious practice. To such an extent that after a few years there was a well-established tradition of a pilgrimage to the image, from all over Buenos Aires and from even farther away, on the 8th day of every month.

“I never felt myself so much an instrument in the hands of God,” Bergoglio confided to a Jesuit confrere who was his disciple, Fr. Fernando Albistur, now a professor of biblical studies at the Colegio Máximo di San Miguel in Buenos Aires.

Fr. Albistur recounts this in a newly released book edited by Alejandro Bermúdez, with interviews with ten Jesuits and ten Argentine laymen who are longtime friends of Bergoglio.

And he is not the only one. In the same book, Fr. Juan Carlo Scannone, the most authoritative of the Argentine theologians and a former professor of the young Jesuit Bergoglio, also relates the same episode.

In Scannone’s judgment, the instance of the Blessed Mother “untier of knots” helps us to understand more deeply the “pastoral” profile of Pope Francis and his accentuated attention to the “people.” Continue Reading

13

Rational Evil

Dennis Prager , in this episode of his Prager University series of videos, takes on an ever popular heresy:  evil is irrational.  This heresy is popular for any number of reasons but doubtless it all boils down to the belief, completely unfounded in human experience, that reasonable people will agree on what is good and what is evil.  The experience of the last half century in the West should have knocked that bit of foolishness into a cocked hat.  Agreement on good and evil in practice is largely a matter of convention.   If the social norms of a people come under challenge, we quickly see apparently reasonable people disagreeing on such fundamental questions as whether an unborn child has a right to life, or whether sex outside of marriage is evil.  Continue Reading

14

The War on Us

 

 

 

Back in the Eighties, when the Time-Life series on the Civil War was coming out, there was a dramatic ad with a Civil War soldier pointing a musket at the reader.  The ad said:  “If the battle of Gettysburg were fought today, you would be the enemy.”  Increasingly  many Americans, most, but not all, conservative and/or religious, are being treated as enemies to be subdued by their own government.  Angelo M. Codevilla in a brilliant post at the Library of Liberty and Law faces the issue squarely:

Increasingly, the US government’s many police forces (often state and local ones as well) operate militarily and are trained to treat ordinary citizens as enemies. At the same time, the people from whom the government personnel take their cues routinely describe those who differ from them socially and politically as illegitimate, criminal, even terrorists. Though these developments have separate roots, the post-9/11 state of no-win war against anonymous enemies has given them momentum. The longer it goes on, the more they converge and set in motion a spiral of civil strife all too well known in history, a spiral ever more difficult to stop short of civil war. Even now ordinary Americans are liable to being disadvantaged, hurt or even killed by their government as never before.

Government’s violent treatment of citizens has become generalized and unremarkable. Consider.

This month in Washington DC, Federal police riddled with bullets a woman suffering from post-partum depression who, had she been allowed to live, might have been convicted of reckless driving, at most. She had careened too close to the White House and Capitol, but had harmed no one and her car had stopped. In the same month, California sheriffs’ deputies killed a 13 year-old boy who was carrying a plastic toy rifle. It is not illegal to carry a rifle, never mind a toy one. America did not blink. A half century ago, Alabama sheriff Bull Connor’s use of a mere cattle prod to move marchers from blocking a street had caused a national crisis.

In a casual conversation, a friendly employee of the US Forest Service bemoaned to me that he was on his way to a US Army base, where he and colleagues would practice military tactics against persons who resist regulations. A forester, he had hoped to be Smokey the Bear. Instead, he said, “we are now the Department of Provocation.” In fact every US government agency, and most state and local ones now police their ever burgeoning regulations with military equipment, tactics, and above all with the assumption that they are dealing with people who should not be dealt with any other way.

Modern militarized government stems from the Progressive idea that society must mobilize as for war to achieve “the greater good.” Hence we have “wars” on everything from hunger and drugs and ignorance and global warming. Reality follows rhetoric. Since the health of “the environment” is a matter of life and death, the Environmental Protection Agency must deal with “enemies of the planet” with armored cars, machine guns, and home invasions. Apparently, even the Department of Education has SWAT teams.

The general population is increasingly inured to violence. The latest “Grand Theft” video game, for example, involves torturing a prisoner. Fun. That is only one step beyond the popular TV show “24” in which the audience cheered the hero’s torture of terrorist suspects. Contrast this with Dragnet, the most popular TV cops drama of the 1950s, whose Sergeant Joe Friday knocked on doors and said “yes ma’m, no ma’m.”

But governments, including ours, do not and cannot oppress citizens equally.

Persons who possess the greatest power have the larger opportunity to direct blame and distrust, even mayhem, onto those they like least. Since the mid- 1990s, authoritative voices from Democratic President Bill Clinton to Republican New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, echoed by the media have intoned a familiar litany: America is beset by racism, sexism, homophobia, and religious obscurantism, by domestic abuse, greed, and gun owners. These ills are not so different from those found in backward parts of the world where we fight “extremism” in order to fight terrorism. Indeed these ills argue for fighting extremism, indeed for nation-building in America as well as abroad. Who in America embodies extremism? Who is inherently responsible for social ills, including terrorism? Who will have to be re-constructed? No surprise: the ruling class’ political opponents: the conservative side of American life. Continue Reading

1

PopeWatch: Twitter Pope

 

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Pope Francis reached a milestone of sorts yesterday:

 

A jubilant Pope Francis celebrated reaching 10 million followers on messaging site Twitter on Sunday , a milestone in the Vatican’s drive to spread the gospel through social media.

“Dear Followers I understand there are now over 10 million of you!” the pontiff wrote on his nine accounts, which publish simultaneously in languages including Latin, Polish and Arabic. “I thank you with all my heart and ask you to continue praying for me.”

The first non-European pope in 1,300 years has tripled the number of followers of the @pontifex handles since succeeding Benedict XVI in March, according to the Vatican, which announced Francis had reached 10 million after adding together the followers of all his accounts. This would make the pontiff more popular than the New York Times and just behind rapper Kanye West, according to websites. Continue Reading

1

October 29, 1863: The Charge of the Mule Brigade

The battle of Wauhatchie, featured in a post yesterday which may be read here, is primarily remembered in Civil War lore for a minor incident that occurred during the fight.  The Confederate Hampton Legion, led by General Wade Hampton, of Longstreet’s Corps, apparently was disordered briefly by a stampede of Union mules and that allowed the Union to plug a gap in the battle line.  Union troops waggishly suggested after the fight that the mules be breveted as horses.  Here is the poem by that endlessly prolific author Anonymous: Continue Reading

6

ObamaCare and the Big Lie

One of the many, many lies that Obama told when he was selling ObamaCare was that if you liked your policy you would get to keep it.

Obama knew that this was a lie when he said it.  ObamaCare was designed to cause people to lose their pre-existing insurance.  NBC, probably the most pro-Obama administration of the three networks, has a story explaining how the hilariously named Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) mandates the loss of such policies:

 

President Obama repeatedly assured Americans that after the Affordable Care Act became law, people who liked their health insurance would be able to keep it. But millions of Americans are getting or are about to get cancellation letters for their health insurance under Obamacare, say experts, and the Obama administration has known that for at least three years.

 

Four sources deeply involved in the Affordable Care Act tell NBC NEWS that 50 to 75 percent of the 14 million consumers who buy their insurance individually can expect to receive a “cancellation” letter or the equivalent over the next year because their existing policies don’t meet the standards mandated by the new health care law. One expert predicts that number could reach as high as 80 percent. And all say that many of those forced to buy pricier new policies will experience “sticker shock.”  

None of this should come as a shock to the Obama administration. The law states that policies in effect as of March 23, 2010 will be “grandfathered,” meaning consumers can keep those policies even though they don’t meet requirements of the new health care law. But the Department of Health and Human Services then wrote regulations that narrowed that provision, by saying that if any part of a policy was significantly changed since that date — the deductible, co-pay, or benefits, for example — the policy would not be grandfathered.

Buried in Obamacare regulations from July 2010 is an estimate that because of normal turnover in the individual insurance market, “40 to 67 percent” of customers will not be able to keep their policy. And because many policies will have been changed since the key date, “the percentage of individual market policies losing grandfather status in a given year exceeds the 40 to 67 percent range.”   Continue Reading

14

PopeWatch: Liberal Christianity

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Dale Price at Dyspeptic mutterings has an interesting series in which he discusses the problems he has with Pope Francis.  The problems PopeWatch believes boil down to a concern that Pope Francis may turn out to be an advocate of Liberal Christianity, that place where Christianity goes to die:

 

He was a beloved itinerant shepherd who lived simply, residing in a single spartan room when he wasn’t visiting the flock. Known for his humility and down-to-earth speaking style, he was deeply beloved by Catholics and non-Catholics alike. He emphasized ecumenism to an unprecedented degree, and believed that the Second Vatican Council was the watershed event in Catholic history. He encouraged modern biblical study, presenting historical-critical hypotheses from the pulpit, chided Catholics who “looked backward” to older ways, and urged the embrace of dynamic change.

His name was Kenneth Untener, and he was the bishop of Saginaw from 1980 until his death in 2004. The parishes in his domain were my first experience with progressive Catholicism, and they stirred and shaped my–there is no other word for it–hostility to the entire progressive religious project. Now, let me clarify one thing here: there is a distinction between religious progressivism and the political version. For my part, I think one can be a devout Catholic and support what are generally regarded as progressive political policies. The late, great Robert Casey, Sr. of Pennsylvania (but not his wayward, sail-trimming fraud of a son) embodied this possibility–and did so well. But, as with Catholics who align toward the right side of the spectrum, if you’re doing your faith right, you will inevitably conflict with certain political shibboleths of your non-Catholic brothers in arms. Or at least you’d better. And it is clear that getting your hands dirty living and working with the poor, a la Catholic Worker, is wholly, utterly and unimpeachably Catholic.

These are to be distinguished from religious progressivism, which is diagnosed comprehensively here. It is always and everywhere bad news. Which is not to say that people who hold modernist views are to be treated like bad news–they shouldn’t. But you have your work cut out, no question. The contemporary flavor of modernism is fond of emotivism and is less susceptible to, or even interested in, logical argument. And if they’re in power, buckle up and heads to the storm. Continue Reading

8

Benghazi Betrayal

 

Well, it took over a year, but 60 Minutes last night ran a feature on the Benghazi attack on September 11, 2012 that is absolutely damning for the Obama administration.  With Lara Logan as the lead reporter,  it revealed an administration indifferent to the security for our diplomats and who left men fighting for us in the aftermath of the attack to fend for themselves.  It did not ask the key question of why no military assets were sent to rescue them.  From the transcript of the report:

 

 

The same force that had gone to the compound was now defending the CIA Annex. Hours later, they were joined by a small team of Americans from Tripoli. From defensive positions on these rooftops, the Americans fought back a professional enemy. In a final wave of intense fighting just after 5 a.m., the attackers unleashed a barrage of mortars. Three of them slammed into this roof, killing former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.

 

Lara Logan: They hit that roof three times.

 

Andy Wood: They, they hit those roofs three times.

 

Lara Logan: In the dark.

 

Andy Wood: Yea, that’s getting the basketball through the hoop over your shoulder.

 

Lara Logan: What does it take to pull off an attack like that?

 

Andy Wood: Coordination, planning, training, experienced personnel. They practice those things. They knew what they were doing. That was a– that was a well-executed attack.

 

We have learned there were two Delta Force operators who fought at the Annex and they’ve since been awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and the Navy Cross — two of the military’s highest honors. The Americans who rushed to help that night went without asking for permission and the lingering question is why no larger military response ever crossed the border into Libya — something Greg Hicks realized wasn’t going to happen just an hour into the attack.

 

Lara Logan: You have this conversation with the defense attache. You ask him what military assets are on their way. And he says–

 

Greg Hicks: Effectively, they’re not. And I– for a moment, I just felt lost. I just couldn’t believe the answer. And then I made the call to the Annex chief, and I told him, “Listen, you’ve gotta tell those guys there may not be any help coming.”

 

Lara Logan: That’s a tough thing to understand. Why?

 

Greg Hicks: It just is. We–, for us, for the people that go out onto the edge, to represent our country, we believe that if we get in trouble, they’re coming to get us. That our back is covered. To hear that it’s not, it’s a terrible, terrible experience. Continue Reading

7

The Many Faces of Abe

One of the many things that I find fascinating about Lincoln is how different he looked in most of his photographs.  All but one of the Lincoln photographs were taken during the last eleven years of his life, and they are an interesting study in contrasts.  This is especially intriguing since the subject of a photograph in Lincoln’s day had to sit absolutely still for at least 18 seconds, and I would think this would tend to flatten out any emotions that the subject was feeling at the time which might have altered his features.

I have studied Lincoln now for almost a half century and the complexity of the man is perhaps his most salient feature, and that shines through in his pictures.  A man known for his humble birth, but who hated the life of poverty and drudgery that he worked so hard to escape from.  Famous for reading before the embers of a fire place as a child, he read little as an adult beyond newspapers and a few choice books, but what he read he retained with a bear trap like grasp. A teller of humorous tales who was afflicted with deep melancholia.  No formal education to speak of, but the finest writer of prose ever to sit in the White House.  A deeply logical man who loved Euclid, he could understand the passions, the loves and the hates, that almost destroyed his nation.  A humane man who abhorred bloodshed, he presided over the bloodiest war in our history.  Viewed with suspicion by the abolitionists of his day, it was his fate to destroy slavery that had existed in what would be the United States for a quarter of a millennia.  Turn Lincoln over in your mind and new facets of the man spring up.

Stephen Vincent Benet in his epic poem on the Civil War, John Brown’s Body, captured some of the many Lincolns that appeared in the photographs: Continue Reading

13

Don’s Latest Book Haul

 

 

My wife and I were out and about yesterday and hit two book stores:  Babbitt’s Books in Normal, a fantastic used book store with thousands of fairly off beat volumes and a black cat as a charming guard cat for the establishment, and the Barnes and Noble in Bloomington.  As faithful readers of this blog know my wife and I are dedicated book packrats.  Here are the books I purchased yesterday:

From Babbitt’s:

1.  Thaddeus Stevens by Ralph Korngold-A 1955 biography of the great abolitionist Congressman from Pennsylvania, who was usually an adversary of Lincoln, sometimes an ally, who reshaped Reconstruction in a punitive direction after Lincoln’s death and came close to unseating his successor.  A great man, but one whose impact on the country ran contrary to the goal he wished to accomplish:  full equality for blacks.  A Greek tragedy of a life in many ways.

2.  The Racial Attitudes of American Presidents from Abraham Lincoln to Theodore Roosevelt by George Sinkler-A 1971 study of how these presidents viewed racial minorities, particularly blacks.  Considering how much is written about race in this country, I believe this is the only book I can recall on this aspect of the topic.  I have begun to read it and it looks fascinating.

3.  A History of Apologetics by Avery Cardinal Dulles-A 1999 reprint of the 1971 book by Dulles.  I have never read anything by the late Cardinal Dulles without coming away dazzled by his intellect, and I doubt that this will be any different.

On to Barnes and Noble: Continue Reading

22

Obama’s Commissars

Obama Commissar

 

 

In the old Soviet Union the regular officers and troops of the Red Army tended to despise the political officers, commissars, who enforced political orthodoxy, interfered with military operations, and who would inform on them in a heartbeat if they got a step out of line politically.  Remember the good old days when Americans would have laughed at the idea that such a symbol of a totalitarian state could ever infest their military?

 

 

Don’t donate to the tea party or to evangelical Christian groups —  that was  the message soldiers at a pre-deployment briefing at Fort  Hood  said they received from a counter-intelligence agent who headed up the  meeting.

If you do, you could face punishment — that was the other half of the  message, as reported by Fox News.

The briefing was Oct. 17, and about a half-hour of it was devoted to   discussion about how perceived radical groups — like tea party  organizations  and the Christian-based American  Family Association — were  “tearing the country apart,” one unnamed soldier  said, to Fox News.

Among the remarks the agent allegedly made: Military members who  donate to  these groups would be subject to discipline under the Uniform  Code of Military  Justice, the soldier reported.

Liberty Institute has stepped in to investigate. Michael  Berry, one  of the nonprofit’s attorneys, said he has been advising the  soldier  about his options — but that in the meanwhile, he said the American   public should be on guard. Continue Reading

6

Who Needs Fake Horror?

Hattip to Instapundit.  It is deeply ironic that young people, one of the main constituencies that helped elect Obama, will be the ones trying to dig this country out from the effects of this administration long after I am dead and gone.  My condolences to the young people who refused to be scammed, but who are along for a very rocky ride anyway.

1

Victory at Sea

Something for the weekend.  The main theme from The Victory at Sea documentary series.  Originally broadcast from 1952-1953 on NBC, the documentary series on World War II at sea was endlessly shown in reruns as I was growing up, and I watched it whenever I could and loved it.  The musical score by Richard Rogers made each episode a magical retelling of the great War that ended a dozen years before my birth.  The series is in the public domain and is available on You Tube.  Below is one of my favorite episodes, which tells the story of the slamming surface  battles waged by the United States Navy and the Imperial Japanese in the seas around Guadalcanal: Continue Reading

3

Paul Krugman Political Hack

 

U_S__Total_Deficits_vs__National_Debt_Increases_2001-2010

 

 

Once upon a time Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman actually had some interesting thoughts about economics.  That was before he became a political hack.  Here is Krugman on the deficit in 2004:

 

 

 

PROFESSOR PAUL KRUGMAN, PRINCETON ECONOMIST: Well, basically we have a world-class budget deficit not just as in absolute terms of course – it’s the biggest budget deficit in the history of the world – but it’s a budget deficit that as a share of GDP is right up there.

It’s comparable to the worst we’ve ever seen in this country.

It’s biggest than Argentina in 2001.

Which is not cyclical, there’s only a little bit that’s because the economy is depressed.

Mostly it’s because, fundamentally, the Government isn’t taking in enough money to pay for the programs and we have no strategy of dealing with it.

So, if you take a look, the only thing that sustains the US right now is the fact that people say, “Well America’s a mature, advanced country and mature, advanced countries always, you know, get their financial house in order,” but there’s not a hint that that’s on the political horizon, so I think we’re looking for a collapse of confidence some time in the not-too-distant future.

TONY JONES: When you say the not-too-distant future, what does that mean?

We know there may be a crisis in paying, for example, in social security…

PROFESSOR PAUL KRUGMAN: What I envision is that at some point, we have about 10 years now until the baby boomers hit the United States.

The US even more than other advanced countries has a welfare state that’s primarily a welfare state for retirees.

We have the huge bulge in the population that starts to collect benefits and earn the next decade.

If there isn’t a clear path towards fiscal sanity well before that, then I think the financial markets are going to say, “Well, gee, where is this going?”

 

Here is Krugman on the deficit this week: Continue Reading

8

598 Years Since Agincourt

We are in God’s hand, brother, not in theirs.

King Henry V

The anniversary of the long ago battle of Saint Crispin’s Day gives us yet another opportunity to recall the immortal “Band of Borthers Speech” that Shakespeare put into the mouth of Henry V, a speech that could put fight into a dog dead three days, or, mirabile dictu, even a live Congress Critter:

WESTMORELAND. O that we now had here

    But one ten thousand of those men in England      

That do no work to-day!

  KING. What’s he that wishes so?

    My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin;      

If we are mark’d to die, we are enow

    To do our country loss; and if to live,

    The fewer men, the greater share of honour.

    God’s will! I pray thee, wish not one man more. Continue Reading

3

PopeWatch: Obsessions

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Father Z has this quote from Father George Rutler:

Blessed John Paul II once submitted to an interview with the respected journalist Vittorio Messori, who asked him if he was perhaps “obsessive” in his preaching against abortion. The Holy Father replied:

“The legalization of the termination of pregnancy is none other than the authorization given to an adult, with the approval of an established law, to take the lives of children yet unborn and thus incapable of defending themselves. It is difficult to imagine a more unjust situation, and it is very difficult to speak of obsession in a matter such as this, where we are dealing with a fundamental imperative of every good conscience — the defense of the right to life of an innocent and defenseless human being.” Continue Reading

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Girlie Hats for Marines

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That sound you hear are Gunnery Sergeants whirling in their graves:

 

A change to the Marine Corps’ uniform hats could take the hard-nosed Leathernecks from the Halls of Montezuma to the shops of Christopher Street.

Thanks to a plan by President Obama to create a “unisex” look for the Corps, officials are on the verge of swapping out the Marines’ iconic caps – known as “covers” — with a new version that some have derided as so “girly” that they would make the French blush. Continue Reading

42

Poverty and abortion on an equal footing?

Way back in 2005, then-Msgr. Robert W. McElroy wrote an article published in America in which he argued that Catholic public officials who endorse the legalization of abortion should not be denied communion. The then-Monsignor’s fear? He wrote:

The imposition of eucharistic sanctions solely on candidates who support abortion legislation will inevitably transform the church in the United States, in the minds of many, into a partisan, Republican-oriented institution and thus sacrifice the role that the church has played almost alone in American society in advocating a moral agenda that transcends the political divide.

Msgr. McElroy must have had then-Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in mind when writing that gem.

McElroy

The Most Reverend Robert W. McElroy
Auxiliary Bishop
Archdiocese of San Francisco

Well, that was then and the-now Auxiliary Bishop of San Francisco, the Most Reverend Robert W. McElroy, is once again writing in AmericaThis time, he’s arguing that the Church in the United States “must elevate the issue of poverty to the very top of its political agenda, establishing poverty alongside abortion as the pre-eminent moral issues the U.S. Catholic community pursues at this moment in the nation’s history.”

With Pope Francis serving as his inspiration, Bishop McElroy writes:

If the Catholic Church is truly to be a “church for the poor” in the United States, it must elevate the issue of poverty to the very top of its political agenda, establishing poverty alongside abortion as the pre-eminent moral issues the Catholic community pursues at this moment in our nation’s history. Both abortion and poverty countenance the deaths of millions of children in a world where government action could end the slaughter. Both abortion and poverty, each in its own way and to its own degree, constitute an assault on the very core of the dignity of the human person, instrumentalizing life as part of a throwaway culture. The cry of the unborn and the cry of the poor must be at the core of Catholic political conversation in the coming years because these realities dwarf other threats to human life and dignity that confront us today.

Arguing that “both abortion and poverty countenance the deaths of millions of children in a world where government action could end the slaughter,” Bishop McElroy asks his readers why, if the sanctity of the unborn human life is a doctrinal issue of the Church and, therefore, requires faithful Catholics to defend it in the public square, Catholics do not feel equally compelled to demand that their government fund social justice programs in the United States and abroad?

To answer that question, a brief review of the reasons McElroy provided in 2005 regarding why political leaders who support abortion legislation should not be denied Holy Communion is necessary:

  • it would be perceived as coercive;
  • it would identify abortion as a specifically Catholic issue and play into the hands of those who accuse the pro-life movement of imposing religious tenets upon Americans;
  • it would make it appear that abortion defines the church’s social agenda; and,
  • it would “cast the church as a partisan actor in the American political system.”

That was then, but now when the issue is “poverty,” McElroy writes in his current piece:

Choices by citizens or public officials that systematically, and therefore unjustly, decrease governmental financial support for the poor clearly reject core Catholic teachings on poverty and economic justice. Policy decisions that reduce development assistance to the poorest countries reject core Catholic teachings. Tax policies that increase rather than decrease inequalities reject core Catholic teachings.

Bishop McElroy’s conclusion? The “categorical nature of Catholic teaching on economic justice is clear and binding” (italics added).

Economic justice trumps justice for the unborn?

In The Motley Monk’s estimation, Bishop McElory is dead wrong for two reasons:

First: In the 2004 memorandum to the U.S. bishops titled “Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion — General Principles” then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, wrote:

3. Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia. (italics added)

Second: Catholic moral theology holds that moral principles expressed in the negative (“Thou shalt not…”) are generally more binding than moral principles stated in the affirmative (“Thou shalt…”). It’s easy to see why this is the case. A precept expressed in the negative tells me one thing that I may not do, but one expressed in the affirmative does not tell me exactly what I must do; it merely expresses an end goal. For example, the commandment, “Honor thy father and thy mother” does not tell me how to do that.

As this principle is applied to abortion, the obligation not to commit abortion has greater moral clarity than, for example, the obligation to provide healthcare for the poor, to solve hunger, or to stop the melting of glaciers. These latter precepts do not imply a clear obligation. Men and women of good will can and will legitimately disagree about the best ways to address issues like healthcare, hunger, and the melting of glaciers.

Congressional as well as United Nations committees debate, and even legislate policies for dealing with issues like these. Individual bishops as well as national bishops’ conferences may very well agree with these policies and propose that Catholics support them. But, bishops cannot morally obligate anyone to do so.

Why not?

If Catholics believe there are better ways to address these issues than through the particular government programs that the bishops support (programs which, by the way, demonstrably involve enormous waste), Catholics are free—arguably, morally obliged—to opt for other ways to reach these laudable ethical goals than the means urged by the bishops.

In contrast, abortion is wrong in an absolute sense. Bishops and national bishops’ conferences can bind the faithful to oppose the legalization and government funding of abortion because the evil involved in the practice is absolutely clear and because defined Church teaching states so.

Examined from this perspective, when Bishop McElory writes that the “categorical nature of Catholic teaching on economic justice is clear and binding,” and deduces from this an obligation morally binding on Catholics to support specific government policies, he is not only wrong but also is making a mockery of Catholic moral theology as well as Catholic magisterial teaching.

The Motley Monk wonders whether Bishop McElroy wants it both ways, just like those Democrat pro-abortion Catholic politicians.

******

To read Bishop McElroy’s recent article in America, click on the following link:
http://www.americamagazine.org/church-poor

To read then-Msgr. McElroy’s article about not denying Holy Communion to pro-abortion politicians, click on the following link:
http://americamagazine.org/node/147154

To read then-Cardinal Ratzinger’s 2004 memorandum, click on the following link:
http://www.ewtn.com/library/curia/cdfworthycom.htm

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

18

Democrats in Panic Mode

 

A few Democrats are beginning to understand that ObamaCare is beginning to turn into a political nightmare for them.

Democrats facing difficult reelection campaigns in 2014 — Sens. Mark Pryor of  Arkansas, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Mark  Begich of Alaska — came out on Wednesday evening in support of extending the  open enrollment period of the law, as first proposed by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of  New Hampshire, who is also up for reelection in 2014.

Senate Republicans — and their campaign arm — are seeking to do anything and  everything to tie Democrats like Pryor, Begich and Landrieu to Obamacare,  betting they are on the wrong side of public opinion regarding the health care  law. With web issues continuing to plague people’s abilities to sign up on the  federal exchange, these Democrats are seeking to get ahead of GOP attacks.

Shaheen called the experience of trying to sign up for the insurance  marketplaces “incredibly frustrating and disappointing” and said the system is  “riddled with problems.” In that light, Shaheen wrote a letter to President Barack Obama saying that the open  enrollment period should be pushed past March 31, given that the exchanges  remain weighed down by problems more than three weeks after their rollout.

“I support extending the enrollment period to give people who haven’t had  access or who want more choice enough time to shop from the 40 competitively  priced plans in Louisiana’s marketplace. The administration should consider this  common sense suggestion,” Landrieu said.

Both Begich and Pryor also indicated worry that people would get unfairly  dinged by the $95 penalty if the website problems persist — a scenario that  Manchin and Isakson are drafting legislation to avoid.

“I have repeatedly said this law is not perfect,” Begich said. “Given the  recent website issues, I also support extending open enrollment season. I want  to work with the administration to ensure that individuals are not unfairly  penalized if technical issues with the website continue.” Continue Reading

1

PopeWatch: Bling Bishop Gets Hook

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

One of the problems within the Church that rarely gets attention is the gross incompetence, and occasional corruption, with which Church funds not infrequently are handled.  Pope Francis has chosen to make an example:

 

A senior member of the Catholic Church known as the “luxury bishop” has been suspended from his diocese in Germany while the Vatican investigates a house refurbishment that reportedly ran into the millions of dollars.

Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst of Limburg, who had been under pressure to resign, will leave his diocese for an unspecified period, the Vatican said in a statement on Wednesday. Monsignor Wolfgang Roesch will be in charge of the diocese during the bishop’s absence, the Vatican added.

Tebartz-van Elst “cannot presently exercise his episcopal ministry,” the statement said.

The Vatican also said it would audit spending on renovations to the bishop’s residence, which Germany’s Spiegel magazine reported cost up to 31 million euros ($42.70 million). Continue Reading

5

A politically uncorrect Miss World 2013…

 

In an interview on the Filipino news show ANC Headstart, the recently crowned Miss World 2013, Megan Lynn Young, responded to questions about human sexuality.

PHILIPPINES-LIFESTYLE-MISSWORLD-YOUNG

Miss World 2013, Megan Lynn Young
(click on picture to watch the interview)

Concerning a controversial anti-life law making its way through the Philippine courts, Miss Young stated:

Well, I’m pro-life and if it means killing someone that’s already there, then I’m against that, of course. I’m against abortion.

Asked about contraception, she said:

I don’t engage in stuff like that as of now. I think that’s – uh, sex is for marriage. That’s my belief. So, when it comes to the RH bill, as long as my beliefs are no abortion; it should be with your partner for life. Then that’s my stand.

About divorce?

 Divorce. I’m actually against divorce, because I’ve seen, of course, that in my family. So I think that if you marry someone, that should be the person you should be with forever, through sickness and health, through good and bad, you should be with that person.

Then, get this question: “Now, a woman as gorgeous as yourself, how do you say no to sex? “

You just say no. If they try to push you, then you step away because you know that that person doesn’t value you, doesn’t value the relationship as much – and if the guy is willing, you know, to sacrifice that, then that means a lot.

Well, duh!

Espousing those politically uncorrect views, how did Miss Young—born to a Filipino mother and an American father and living in the Philippines—ever get crowned “Miss World 2013”?

More to the point, doesn’t this entire line of questioning say a whole lot more about the interviewer–as representative of the mainstream media–than it does the interviewee?

The Motley Monk “kudos” to Miss World 2013, Megan Lynn Young, for her staunch defense of life!  Hopefully during her year-long reign, this Miss World will be free to continue espousing her politically uncorrect views.

10

Rand Paul’s Amendment

 

 

As long time readers of this blog know, I have nothing but contempt for Ron Paul (R.Pluto), the former member of Congress, or as I like to refer to him, Doctor Delusional.  However, my attitude towards his son, Senator Rand Paul (R. Ky.), is completely different.  I have long thought he is clever, and now I think he has a streak of true political genius in him.  Springboarding off public outrage over the devious means by which Congress, with the connivance of the Obama administration, has gotten around ObamaCare applying to either members of Congress or their staff, Rand Paul has proposed this amendment to the Constitution:

‘Section 1. Congress shall make no law applicable to a citizen of the United States that is not equally applicable to Congress.

‘Section 2. Congress shall make no law applicable to a citizen of the United States that is not equally applicable to the executive branch of Government, including the President, Vice President, ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and all other officers of the United States, including those provided for under this Constitution and by law, and inferior officers to the President established by law.

‘Section 3. Congress shall make no law applicable to a citizen of the United States that is not equally applicable to judges of the Supreme Court of the United States, including the Chief Justice, and judges of such inferior courts as Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.

‘Section 4. Nothing in this article shall preempt any specific provision of this Constitution.’ Continue Reading

14

PopeWatch: Surprise

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

PopeWatch would suggest that a good rule to follow in regard to the pontificate is that the tea leaves may not be as easy to read as one would expect.  For example, it has been widely thought that Pope Francis is interested in allowing divorced and remarried Catholics whose prior marriage has not been annulled by the Church to receive Communion.  Based upon an article appearing today, that may not be the case.  Father Z gives us the details:

 

In tomorrow’s edition of L’Osservatore Romano there is a long essay (4000+ words) by the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Archbp. Müller, on the hotly-debate issue of Communion for the divorced and remarried.  (I haven’t checked it against the Italian yet.)

I mentioned that I had been hearing rumblings about a piece in L’O for a little while.  This seems to be it.

Müller opposes the various solutions that have been presented for the divorced and remarried.   This is not to say that the Prefect believes it impossible for the Church ultimately to find a solution to the dilemma.  Rejecting some proposed solutions is different from rejecting any possible solution.  (Please, those of you in Columbia Heights, don’t freak out when you read that and dash about like Chicken Little.  Theologians make distinctions.  Rejection of proposed solutions could be part of a process.)

At the core of Müller’s piece there seems to be a dismantling of all the arguments that depend mostly on “mercy” without the concomitant dimension of justice, the Lord’s own teaching, etc.

This is going to be spun by the left as the Bad Guy’s attempt to stop Francis.

Müller won’t be presented as the voice of reason.  No, he will be the Bad Guy. Continue Reading

16

Vatican: Church Teaching On Divorce Not Changing

Among Catholics who hope (or fear) that Pope Francis’s new style indicates that Church doctrine and practice are up for grabs, the announcement of a synod to be held next year to discuss marriage and the family, and particularly the pastoral care of divorced and remarried Catholics, caused some stir. However, a document put out by the head of the CDF makes is clear that the Church’s teaching on the indissolubility of marriage (and the inability of those living with someone they are not sacramentally married to to receive communion) will not be changed and indeed cannot be changed. If clarity is what you like in Church documents, Abp. Muller brings it in spades:

After the announcement of the extraordinary synod that will take place in October of 2014 on the pastoral care of families, some questions have been raised regarding the question of divorced and remarried members of the faithful and their relationship to the sacraments. In order to deepen understanding on this pressing subject so that clergy may accompany their flock more perfectly and instruct them in a manner consistent with the truth of Catholic Doctrine, we are publishing an extensive contribution from the Archbishop Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The problem concerning members of the faithful who have entered into a new civil union after a divorce is not new. The Church has always taken this question very seriously and with a view to helping the people who find themselves in this situation. Marriage is a sacrament that affects people particularly deeply in their personal, social and historical circumstances. Given the increasing number of persons affected in countries of ancient Christian tradition, this pastoral problem has taken on significant dimensions. Today even firm believers are seriously wondering: can the Church not admit the divorced and remarried to the sacraments under certain conditions? Are her hands permanently tied on this matter? Have theologians really explored all the implications and consequences?
Continue Reading

The Army of the Potomac

Army of the Potomac

Army of the Potomac, advancing army,

Alloy of a dozen disparate, alien States,

City-boy, farm-hand, bounty-man, first volunteer,

Old regular, drafted recruit, paid substitute,

Men who fought through the war from First Bull Run,

And other men, nowise different in look or purpose,

Whom the first men greeted at first with a ribald cry

“Here they come!  Two hundred dollars and a ka-ow!”

Rocks from New England and hickory-chunks from the West,

Bowery boy and clogging Irish adventurer,

Germans who learnt their English under the shells

Or didn’t have time to learn it before they died.

Confused, huge weapon, forged from such different metals,

Misused by unlucky swordsmen till you were blunt

And then reforged with anguish and bloody sweat

To be blunted again by one more unlucky captain

Against the millstone of Lee.

 

 

Good stallion,

Ridden and ridden against a hurdle of thorns

By uncertain rider after uncertain rider.

The rider fails and you shiver and catch your breath,

They plaster your wounds and patch up your broken knees,

And then, just as you know the grip of your rider’s hands

And begin to feel at home with his horseman’s tricks,

Another rider comes with a different seat,

And lunges you at the bitter hurdle again,

And it beats you again–and it all begins from the first,

The patching of wounds, the freezing in winter camps,

The vain mud-marches, the diarrhea, the wastage,

The grand reviews, the talk in the newspapers,

The sour knowledge that you were wasted again,

Not as Napoleons waste for a victory

But blindly, unluckily–

until at last

After long years, at fish-hook Gettysburg,

The blade and the millstone meet and the blade holds fast. Continue Reading

4

The Army of Northern Virginia

Furling the Flag

 

 

 

Army of Northern Virginia, fabulous army,

Strange army of ragged individualists,

The hunters, the riders, the walkers, the savage pastorals,

The unmachined, the men come out of the ground,

Still for the most part, living close to the ground

As the roots of the cow-pea, the roots of the jessamine,

The lazy scorners, the rebels against the wheels,

The rebels against the steel combustion-chamber

Of the half-born new age of engines and metal hands.

The fighters who fought for themselves in the old clan-fashion.

Army of planters’ sons and rusty poor-whites,

Where one man came to war with a haircloth trunk

Full of fine shirts and a body-servant to mend them,

And another came with a rifle used at King’s Mountain

And nothing else but his pants and his sun-cracked hands,

Aristo-democracy armed with a forlorn hope,

Where a scholar turned the leaves of an Arabic grammar

By the campfire-glow, and a drawling mountaineer

Told dirty stories old as the bawdy world,

Where one of Lee’s sons worked a gun with the Rockbridge Battery

And two were cavalry generals. Continue Reading

7

Czeslawa Kwoka

 

Czeslawa Kwoka

Let not anyone pacify his conscience by the delusion that he can do no harm if he takes no part, and forms no opinion. Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.

John Stuart Mill, 1867

 

 

Hattip to HappyAcres.  The story of the murder of Czeslawa Kwoka has been making the rounds of the internet.  Just one of the tens of millions of  victims of the attempt by Adolph Hitler seventy years ago to bring to reality his nightmarish vision of the future of humanity.

Czesława Kwoka, a 14-year-old Polish Catholic girl (prisoner number 26947) from the small village of Wólka Złojecka is photographed upon her arrival at Auschwitz concentration camp in December 1942. Wilhelm Brasse, an inmate who served as the camp identification photographer, recalled photographing Kwoka:

“She was so young and so terrified. The girl didn’t understand why she was there and she couldn’t understand what was being said to her.

So this woman Kapo took a stick and beat her about the face. This German woman was just taking out her anger on the girl. Such a beautiful young girl, so innocent. She cried but she could do nothing.

Before the photograph was taken, the girl dried her tears and the blood from the cut on her lip. To tell you the truth, I felt as if I was being hit myself but I couldn’t interfere. It would have been fatal for me. You could never say anything.”

Kwoka died in the camp in March of 1943. Continue Reading

24

Not Enemies, But Friends

When writing about the Civil War I always marvel that it did not inflict mortal harm on this Republic.  That it did not do so, was because many good men and women, on both sides after the War, lived up to the prophetic words of Lincoln, uttered at the end of his First Inaugural Address:

We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.

This was all put nicely in a conversation that Douglas Southall Freeman, the great Civil War historian, had with his father Walker Freeman, a Confederate veteran who had served in the Army of Northern Virginia, while Douglas was writing his magisterial four volume R.E. Lee. Continue Reading

19

PopeWatch: Ideology Bad

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

Pope Francis thinks it is a bad thing when Christianity becomes an ideology.  PopeWatch believes that throughout History people with ideologies have attempted to use Christianity.  However, Christianity as an ideology is a new one as far as PopeWatch is concerned.  Father Z is also puzzled:

Here is something that the Pope said:

It is, he said, “the image of those Christians who have the key in their hand, but take it away, without opening the door,” and who “keep the door closed.”

Asking those present how a Christian is able to fall into this attitude, the Pope reflected that “The faith passes, so to speak, through a distiller and becomes ideology. And ideology does not beckon (people).”

Noting that it is a “lack of Christian witness does this,” he stressed that “when this Christian is a priest, a bishop or a Pope it is worse.”

“When a Christian becomes a disciple of ideology,” urged the Pope, “he has lost the faith: he is no longer a disciple of Jesus, he is a disciple of this attitude of thought,” and “the knowledge of Jesus is transformed into an ideological and also moralistic knowledge.

Ideology frightens, ideology chases away the people,” he stressed, stating that it is because of this that many are distanced from the Church.

“It is a serious illness, this Christian ideology. It is an illness, but it is not new,” he said, recalling how the Apostle John alludes to this mentality in his first letter.

Pope Francis then emphasized that the attitude of those who lose their faith in preference of personal ideologies is “rigid, moralistic, ethical, but without kindness.

“But why is it that a Christian can become like this? Just one thing: this Christian does not pray. And if there is no prayer, you always close the door.”

“The key that opens the door to the faith,” the Pope noted, “is prayer,” and “when a Christian does not pray, this happens. And his witness is an arrogant witness.”

The Christian who does not pray, urged the Pope, is “arrogant, is proud, is sure of himself. He is not humble. He seeks his own advancement…when a Christian prays, he is not far from the faith; he speaks with Jesus.”

When we pray, the Pope reflected, Jesus tells us to “go into your room and pray to the Father in secret, heart to heart,” because “It is one thing to pray, and another thing to say prayers.”

Those who do not pray abandon the faith, stressed the Pope, and allow it to become a “moralistic, casuistic ideology, without Jesus.”

[…]

The Holy Father’s passion is clear and strong, isn’t it?   It is a little stirring to read this.  I’ll bet it is even more so to hear it in person.   But …

The Pope’s language about ideology is so vague that I can’t for the life of me make out who or what he is talking about.  It could be that he has a first name and a last name in mind, but I have no idea who she might be.

Does anyone know what he is talking about?  Really?

Go back and read over the report again and ask yourself if you truly understand what he is talking about.

Does the spanish for “ideology”, which may be behind his thought, have some nuance of meaning that is different from English or Italian?

What did the Pope really say in this short, non-magisterial fervorino? Continue Reading

1

ObamaCare 3.5

ObamaCare 3.5The only reliable source of news on the net, The Onion, reports that the Obama administration has a solution to the computer glitches that have marred the ObamaCare roll out:

 

WASHINGTON—Responding to widespread criticism regarding its health care website, the federal government today unveiled its new, improved Obamacare program, which allows Americans to purchase health insurance after installing a software bundle contained on 35 floppy disks. “I have heard the complaints about the existing website, and I can assure you that with this revised system, finding the right health care option for you and your family is as easy as loading 35 floppy disks sequentially into your disk drive and following the onscreen prompts,” President Obama told reporters this morning, explaining that the nearly three dozen 3.5-inch diskettes contain all the data needed for individuals to enroll in the Health Insurance Marketplace, while noting that the updated Obamacare software is mouse-compatible and requires a 386 Pentium processor with at least 8 MB of system RAM to function properly. Continue Reading

8

Debt Ice Berg

debt ice berg

 

Go here to read the accompanying article.  What lies ahead for this country is debt repudiation down the road or a new currency with the same face amount, and an actual value of 10% of current value, which is another way of saying debt repudiation.  This is going on in almost all the nations of the world and we are heading for a crash which will make the Great Depression seem like a minor blip in comparison.  The tragic element in this farce is that it is all man made and could have been avoided.

20

PopeWatch: The Francis Effect and Nancy Pelosi’s Bishop

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

Father Z has coined a phrase “the Francis Effect” that I fear we will all become quite familiar with:

Six months into this pontificate, and people are starting to go a little crazy.

For example, the Archbishop of Birmingham is talking about intercommunion with Anglicans, based on a document which dates back to 1993 and concerns the conditions necessary for intercommunion with the Eastern Orthodox.   (In other words, that document doesn’t apply.  One is an actual Church with valid sacraments and the other is neither.)

For example, in the Archdiocese of Freiburg, Germany, some minor chancery official usurped authority which was not his in order to outline a “policy” that would allow the divorced and remarried in the diocese to receive Communion.  (In other words, it remains entirely against the law and, whether he did it on his own or with the wink and nod of the diocese’s administrator, someone oughta get their backside paddled, and hard.)

Not helpful.

In some places, the Church’s teaching on doctrine and morals are out the window.

Real colors are being revealed.

We have a prime example of the Francis Effect from Nancy Pelosi’s pet Bishop:  Robert W. McElroy.  Appointed by Pope Benedict for some inexplicable reason as an auxiliary bishop of San Francisco in 2010, McElroy wrote a piece for the Jesuit rag America in 2005 in which he rode to the rescue of pro-abort Catholic politicians facing a potential risk of being denied the Eucharist for voting in favor of child murder in utero: Continue Reading

7

The Great Shea-Voris Grudge Match

Mark Shea and Michael Voris recently met for some verbal sparring:

 

Before I start to describe all that I recall regarding the event, in the interest of transparency I have to say that I would place my own views in closer proximity to the Voris camp than to the Shea camp, although I do greatly respect and enjoy reading/watching both gentlemen’s work.

Since Mr. Shea was arguing in the affirmative on the topic, he gave his opening arguments. The mic was then passed to Mr. Voris, and this is where things quickly became a bit heated. In his first turn or two at the microphone, Michael Voris focused less on the substance of the debate, but instead started referencing quotes that Mark Shea had written on his blog regarding ChurchMilitant.tv, Michael Voris, Michael Voris’s followers, etc. Michael Voris clearly came to the debate with an ax to grind.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that what Shea has written on his blog regarding Voris was both juvenile and irresponsible (you can search Mark’s blog for yourself), but I have to say that this tactic by Voris didn’t reflect well on him. Where I was sitting, there was a chorus of groans erupting when it became clear that Michael Voris was starting in with the personal attacks rather than addressing the question posed. Thankfully, this was the most contentious portion of the debate, which only lasted around 45 minutes. Everything following that moment was a bit more civil, with the two even finding some common ground. Continue Reading

6

Father Scannell: What Causes Most of the Trouble in the Church?

Father John Scannell

Father John W. Scannell, whose war time exploits I have written about today in a companion post, here, was a priest with a great love of the Eucharist and a clear understanding of what ails the Church.  Here is an excerpt from one of his sermons:

 

My dear friends and believers in our Lord’s Real Presence in the Most Blessed Sacrament.

It is my personal belief – in fact, conviction – that most of the troubles in the Church today are caused by a loss of Faith in Our Lord’s Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar.  How could any priest, religious, or lay person ever leave the Church if they really believed in Our Lord’s Real Presence in this Sacrament?  Yet, statistics indicate that millions of Catholic people have abandoned the practice of the Faith in the United States.

I dare say that there is not a single person in this congregation who has not had a relative or several relatives and friends who have fallen away.  What are we to do?  There is one thing that we should not do: nag at them or pester them.  We can especially influence the Lord and touch His Sacred Heart by prayer, fasting and almsgiving.  That is one powerful weapon that we have at our command.

To give you an example of how powerful prayer is, let us take an incident form the life of St. Thomas More, the man for all seasons.  He had four children, three girls and one boy.  The oldest child was Margaret, whom he affectionately called, “Met”, and who was his pet.  Yes, he had a pet, though he gave his fatherly affection to the other three.  (Even Our Lord had a pet among the twelve Apostles, St. John, still He loved the other Apostles with an infinite love).  Meg grew up and fell in love with an attorney, William Roper, and married him.

The new ideas of religion were being disseminated from the mainland of Europe, the ideas of Luther, Calvin and Zwingli.  They influenced Roper to such an extent that he became Lutheran.  This was a shock to Thomas More and to the whole household.  Poor Moore, in desperation, he betook himself to prayer.  “Meg”, he said, “I have borne a long time with your husband; I have reasoned with him and argued with him in those points of religion, and given him family counsel; but I see that none of all this has called him home.  Therefore, Meg, I will no longer argue or dispute with him.”  Moore’s prayers were successful.  After a few years, Roper came back to the Faith and remained an exemplary Catholic for the rest of his life. Continue Reading

4

With the Wolfhounds

Father John Scannell

NEC ASPERA TERRENT

No Fear on Earth-motto of the Wolfhounds

John W. Scannell came into this Vale of Tears on March 28, 1907.  Ordained a priest on May 26, 1934 for the Archdiocese of Denver and was assigned to Saint Mary’s in Colorado Springs.  Father Scannell relates how he came to join the Army as a chaplain:

It was during July, 1937 that two members of the Colorado Springs Reserve Officer’s Association came to the parish rectory of St. Mary’s stating that they had no chaplain and asked if I would consider joining the Reserve Corps as a chaplain.

I said that I would take steps to join and thanked them. The physical examination was passed successfully. One obstacle had to be overcome. At that time it was required of chaplain candidates to write a thesis on some ethical question, but I was unable to write the thesis because the pastor of the parish became ill. This meant that two priests had to do the work of three.

However, early in March 1939, I saw the war clouds loom over Europe and I hurriedly wrote the necessary document and forwarded same to the War Department. In July I was informed that my physical exam was passe’ and ordered to get another. This I proceeded to do. Finally on Jan 26, 1940, I received my commission in the Army of the United States. I became a First Lt. in the Chaplains’ Corps.

Early in March, 1941, I received orders from the War Dept. directing me to report for duty at Camp Callan, California, which was about four miles north of La Jolla (Torrey Pines). Camp Callan was a brand new camp and I was the first chaplain (later there were eight) to report for duty. It was a Coast Artillery Replacement Center. Every 13 weeks we received 7,000 men. These were given basic training and sent onto various Coast Artillery posts. The C.A.C. is, of course, a defunct corps. Early in 1943 they converted from the role of Coast Artillery to anti—aircraft. I reported for duty at Camp Callan on March 31, 1941.

It would take too long to relate what happened at Camp Callan on “Pearl Harbor Day”. About New Year’s Day, 1942, I wrote to the Chief of Chaplains and requested overseas duty. As usual, orders were slow in coming. Finally, on April 5, 1942, I went north on a train to the Port of Embarkation at Fort Mason, California, and we sailed for the Hawaiian Islands on April 7.

There were 17 ships in the convoy, including the escort vessels, and it took 10 days to reach Honolulu. (A convoy travels as fast as its slowest ship.)  It was April 17 and by evening of the same day I was in the field, assigned to the 25th Infantry Division and attached to the 35th Infantry.

I was with the 35th at Ewa Plantation for about three weeks when an Assistant Hawaiian Department Chaplain in charge of Catholic Chaplains unceremoniously bounced many of us around. I was transferred to the 19th Infantry, 24th Division, bumping a chaplain who had come over on the same orders! Our mileau was the north shore of Oahu with 1st Bn. Hq. in the Kahuku area. I remember that one of the First Bn .s duties was to guard Kahuku Air Base.

It was sometime in September that Father Terrence Finnigan, 25th Divison Chaplain contacted me and asked if I was interested in returning to the Division. They were short six chaplains, 3 Protestant and 3 Catholic, and the Division would be pulling out shortly for action. I was glad to volunteer because I had become a little tired of the “Rock” and partly because I was still smarting from the original transfer.

On November 7, 1942, I reported for duty with the 25th Division and was attached to the 27th Infantry Regiment, the Russian Wolfhounds. (There are Irish wolfhounds, you know). We sailed with the second echelon on December 5 and arrived at Guadalcanal on December 30, 1942. As I recall, six days later on January 5, we relieved the First Marine Divison and began our push on Kokumbona. I remember one of the Marines saying that they had not advanced an inch for four weeks. We rolled up the Japanese flank and took their Hq. and landing beach at Kokumbona in about 15 days.

Let the above suffice for personal history for now.

Father Scannell, like most extremely brave men, was reticent to talk about his bravery.  He became a legend among the Wolfhounds.  Here are his decorations for heroism:

The Legion of Merit

The Silver Star with Oak Leaf Cluster

The Purple Heart

The Bronze Star Continue Reading

25

Tolstoy and The Battle of the Will

On audiobook, I’ve been wrapping up re-reading War & Peace, while in print I’ve been reading David Herrmann’s The Arming of Europe and the Making of the First World War, which is about the developments in military technology, army organization, tactics and the arms race in Europe during 1904-1914 and to what extent these led to the outbreak of World War One.

One of the things for which World War One is well known is that, at the opening, generals on both sides were deeply convinced that the essential means of winning a battle was the spirited attack. Making spirited attacks in the face of machine guns and rapid firing artillery could have deeply horrific results, and the resulting learning process has led, in retrospect, to the view of the Great War as being typified by useless slaughter.

French officer machine gunned down in a counterattack at Verdun – 1916
Bilderdienst Süddeutscher Verlag, Munich
Stepan, Photos that Changed the World, p. 31

The common wisdom is that in 1914 military leaders did not realize how much these new weapons had changed the modern battlefield. Continue Reading