I Vote For the Zombies

Thursday, October 31, AD 2013

8 Responses to I Vote For the Zombies

Obama Lied, Your Insurance Died

Thursday, October 31, AD 2013

10 Responses to Obama Lied, Your Insurance Died

  • Apparently, the 52% of Americans who re-elected Obama are unfamilar with the street con game: “Three Card Monte.”

  • As an aside, the govt. tested the website a month before go live and it failed with only 200 – 300 federal employees attempting to use:


  • The plain lie that you could keep your health plan was key to ObamaCare getting through Congress.

    From IBD, “Obama’s ‘keep your plan’ pledges were perfectly precise. By making this false claim and repeating it over and over again, he was able to convince those who had insurance that they’d be immune from ObamaCare.”

  • My guess is that north of a third of the population is unalterably committed to him and will never hold him responsible for one thing; the people reacting to this are the 15% or so of the public who have never been all that invested in him.

  • We have two batchelor sons. The 31 y.o. in VA doesn’t have health through his employment and sees through the ruse. He’ll pay the $95+ fine, if it comes to that.
    The 33 y.o. lives in an expensive area of CA. He works fulltime and parttime jobs plus has a 3rd, his own company. The fulltime employment pays $170/mo. towards premiums. The group insurance has been dropped so this week he bought individual -$360/mo. plus $5k deductible and it doesn’t cover much. “Mom, I pay the premiums, but cannot afford to get sick.” Perhaps he’ll vote conservative in the next election, if there is such a candidate.

  • Re Sen. Landrieu: My husband has family in LA and they always saw Landrieu for what she is.
    Hopefully her family name won’t be enough to get her re-elected this time. What whoppers will these (D) politicians who voted for Obambinationcare come up with to save their skins NOV 5th and in 2014?

  • Re: Mary Landrieu: So typical! Scratch a liberal, get a hypocrite, every time. Ms. Landrieu will be running for re-election soon, and this is just a ploy to cover her pro-abortion stance, for a constituency largely Catholic. She calls herself a Catholic, but has supported every bill to fund Planned Parenthood that has come her way.

  • Art – Generally correct but I think it’s more like 20-25% instead of 33%+. A small positive, but when elections are won and lost by 3-4 points, it could make the diff. Plus, I also believe that a good chunk of the brainless faithful will simply be too depressed, especially if Hillary runs – the slaughter at Benghazi will ironically be an apt metaphor for what she’ll go through.

  • Whenever a Democrat politician starts talking like a Republican, you know election time is drawing near.

Exhibit A That Some Lawyers Do Have a Sense of Humor

Thursday, October 31, AD 2013

7 Responses to Exhibit A That Some Lawyers Do Have a Sense of Humor

  • In Scotland, all prosecutions are brought in the name of the Lord Advocate. The sederunt begins with the clerk saying, “Call the diet, Her Majesty’s Advocate against AB.”

    The prosecution in the High Court is referred to as “the Crown” (“Crown witness” or “Crown production”) and prosecuting counsel is “the Public Prosecutor.” There was one judge with a slight speech impediment, who pronounced it very like “clown.”

    In the Sheriff Court, the prosecutor is “the Fiscal.” The Procurator-Fiscal, to give him his full title was, as the name suggests, an officer of the revenue. His interest in crimes was in the fines, forfeitures and escheats that he could claim for the Crown, so very much part of the government.

    The accused is “the Panel” (an old word for list – the list of accused) or “the Accused” and the victim is “the Complainer.” “The Defender” is confined to civil proceedings.

    In France, I once heard a rather bold advocate, in an impassioned speech, remind the jury that the Procurator of the Republic shared his title with Pontius Pilate

  • Almost all criminal defendants are guilty as sin in my experience, but there is a vital distinction between actual guilt and the prosecution meeting its burden of proof.

    I would not second-guess your informed opinion of the state court assembly line. It just seems that quite a few high-profile cases are awfully dubious, most particularly those in federal court. Glenn Reynolds has been writing on this subject.

  • You certainly can find egregious prosecutions Art, and I have defended against some, but the vast, vast bulk of prosecutions are of manifestly guilty individuals.

  • I’m going to forward both motions to my brother and see if he’ll try declaring, “Captain Justice, Guardian of the Realm and Leader of the Resistance for the Accused Citizen, Your Honor.” We’ll see if judges in Delaware have a sense of humor.

    The prosecutor’s original motion complaining about being referred to as “the Government” is just plain stupid. But in cases listed US (or NY, IL or whatever) v. Collins is it the gov’t or the people who are against me? I suspect many people are prosecuted for things the people are for but the gov’t is against.

  • Donald R. McClarey

    “[T]here is a vital distinction between actual guilt and the prosecution meeting its burden of proof.”

    My favourite illustration of this is the Scottish case of Creasey v Creasey [(1931) S.C. 9] It was not a criminal case, but an action for divorce. However, at that time, the criminal standard of proof applied in consistorial cases, viz. proof beyond reasonable doubt and on corroborated evidence.

    Mr Creasey averred that the Defender, Mrs Creasey, had committed adultery with the Co-Defender, against whom he concluded for expenses. The evidence against the Defender consisted of various admissions of hers, corroborated by evidence of clandestine association. Accordingly, the Lord Ordinary found “facts, circumstances, and qualifications proved relevant to infer that the Defender committed adultery with the Co-Defender, therefore divorces &c”

    Now, the Defender’s admissions were not evidence against the Co-Defender, for he had neither authorised nor adopted them; as against him, they were mere hearsay (An excellent rule, for her admissions might be quite untrue and induced by hidden and private motives) and the evidence of clandestine association was uncorroborated. So, the Lord Ordinary found “the Pursuer has failed to instruct facts and circumstances relevant to infer adultery betwixt the Co-Defender and the Defender” and he was assoilzied from the action.

  • Once “Defendant” has made public domain, it is forever. Who cares that one was found innocent of the crime. One will always be the “Defendant.”

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2 Responses to A Halloween Favorite at My House

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  • The wife and I watched it on Halloween night, as we do on every Halloween night. It is one of my favorite lines in the whole movie. Another one is : “I think I will start with an Old Fashioned, and bring it up to date.” The Ghost Breakers is my favorite Bob Hope movie.

Harry Truman’s Ghost Letter

Thursday, October 31, AD 2013

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:


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.


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One Response to Harry Truman’s Ghost Letter

  • What a nice letter! Bess Truman must have written well, also, for him to have been looking forward to daily missives.

    Wonder whether anything’s going on tonight – if they are there.

PopeWatch: NSA

Thursday, October 31, AD 2013

5 Responses to PopeWatch: NSA

  • So what exactly does the Regime of liberal progressive Democrats in control have to fear from Jesus Christ’s One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church that it has to resort to spying?

    Two words: Judgment Day.

  • For some reason I’m not that upset.
    Spying on foreign leaders whether hostile or friendly is to be expected. Getting caught is incompetence.
    I’ll bet $20 that previous administrations have spied on the Holy See as well. They would have been foolish not to, especially after John Paul II showed the impact the Church can have.

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  • Thomas Collins, I don’t share your attitude. While this administration and the
    Holy See don’t have anything like the cordial relationship that they had under
    President Bush and Benedict XVI, we are (at least in theory) still allies. While I
    can appreciate that all governments must gather intelligence, what the NSA is
    doing these days will only alienate what few friends we still have out there.

    Imagine you have a business associate, with whom you’ve had a long and very
    cordial relationship. You’ve always assumed that his company kept tabs on what
    yours was up to– who was retiring, how promptly invoices were paid, who your
    purveyors were, etc. Then, you discover that not only was this associate keeping
    an eye on those things you reasonably expected, but he was also having your
    home and business phones tapped, was steaming open your personal letters,
    and hiring people to dig through your trash and follow your wife and children.
    With this discovery, I daresay your relationship with that associate would… change.

    One other unrelated and slightly off-topic thing: with what we’ve come to find out
    about the NSA’s new-ish ability to monitor all email and phone calls in the
    name of national security, why haven’t we seen more concern about the government
    snooping into domestic political campaigns? Couldn’t an amoral administration
    use the NSA to undermine the political campaigns of those it did not like? They
    could make Nixon look like a piker…

  • Perhaps the NSA, like Popewatch, is trying to figure out what the Hxxx this Pope is saying, too.


Thursday, October 31, AD 2013

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.

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5 Responses to Incubus

No Snickering While You Read This!

Wednesday, October 30, AD 2013



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.

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19 Responses to No Snickering While You Read This!

  • President Obama has a proven track record helping the little people from his prior career in community organizing.

    WSJ editorial, “The Obamacare Awakening”, conclusion: “ . . . Once customers are herded into the exchanges, HHS has the power to further standardize benefits, further limit choices by barring certain insurers from selling through selective contracting, and generally police the insurers to behave like the government franchises they now are. The state-run exchanges in Vermont and the District of Columbia have already barred individual coverage outside their exchanges.

    “None of this is an accident. It is the deliberate result of the liberal demand that everyone have essentially the same coverage and that government must dictate what that coverage is and how much it costs. Such political control is the central nervous system of the Affordable Care Act, and it is why so many people can’t keep the insurance they like.”

    Binyamin Applebaum in the Boston Globe:
    “[A] Globe review found that thousands of apartments across Chicago that had been built with local, state, and federal subsidies – including several hundred in Obama’s former district – deteriorated so completely that they were no longer habitable.

    “Grove Parc and several other prominent failures were developed and managed by Obama’s close friends and political supporters. Those people profited from the subsidies even as many of Obama’s constituents suffered. Tenants lost their homes; surrounding neighborhoods were blighted.”

    Exhibit A is the horror of South Chicago where Obama’s cronies (Resko) bilked the city of millions for “public housing.” Housing so shabby that it was condemned in less than 15 years as uninhabitable. But Obama and company lined their own pockets with cash and power. The poor had “victory” courtesy of Obama for three or four years…until the roofs leaked and the doors warped and the plumbing rusted.
    Today the poor of South Chicago are still poor, and poorly housed. But Obama, following the Alinsky model he applied so astutely, is hailed as a redeemer, a power-broker for the poor. Who was served? The poor or a Marxist politician with dreams changing America into a nation of “organized” serfs?

  • Who was served?

    Answer: both. The Marxist (I’d say fascist, but why quibble?) was served. The poor got served, as the kids (used to?) say.

  • No Snickering

    Schadenfreude pairs better with a Milky Way Dark anyway.

  • Insane. I have a question. Even if this horrendous law was repealed tomorrow – would the price go down to pre-stupid law values? I think this is just the tip of the avelanche…

  • If I were not so lazy and had a stronger stomach, I would look into clocking the revolutions per minute currently being logged by M.Z. Forrest and Morning’s Minion. Maybe Darwin will do it for me.

  • Alinsky model indeed T. Shaw.
    Liar from the very beginning.
    Used Catholic school in Chicago to get things going….then tries to disembowel the Holy Catholic Church with HHS mandate.
    This ego maniac transparent as crude oil radical Muslim is no President of these United States.
    He is a agent of darkness.
    A son of Satan and our prayers for his soul might be the only lifeline for him.
    Jesus saves sinners with a contrite heart.
    May this imposter pray for change in his heart.

  • Good. I am glad this is happening. The only way these liberals will learn anything is to have to suffer the consequences of their asinine, godless, iniquitous liberal progressivism.

  • I hate Obama and alinskyism like the Archangel hates Satan and sin.

  • Their tears of rage and frustration are sweet, sweet nectar.
    Thank you, Mr. McClarey, for brightening my day!

  • If Obamacare doesn’t work out as promised it must be due to the greed of the private sector, “wreckers” if you will. Fixing it will demand even more gov’t control.
    Harry Turtledove wrote an alternate history “Joe Steele” in which Stalin’s parents immigrated from Georgia to the US. Listen to it free at:

    I don’t think we’re _quite to the show-trial phase but just wait.

  • Another Obamacare defense talking point is that while some premiums are going up, the average premium price is going down. I don’t see how it’s possible. I hope we get some real numbers from mostly reliable sources.

  • http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/timstanley/100243707/sebelius-says-obamacare-website-never-crashed-obamacare-website-promptly-crashes/
    Read the comment by cyclicrate in above blog

    The US has entered into a contract with a real estate firm to sell 56 buildings that currently house U.S. Post Offices. The government has decided it no longer needs these buildings, most of which are located on prime land in towns and cities across the country. The sale of these properties will fetch about $19 billion.

    A regular real estate commission will be paid to the company that was given the exclusive listing for handling the sales. That company is CRI and it belongs to a man named Richard Blum.

    Richard Blum is the husband of Senator DianneFeinstein. (Most voters and many of the government people who approved the deal have not made the connection between the two because they have different last names).

    Senator Feinstein and her husband stand to

  • A regular real estate commission will be paid to the company that was given the exclusive listing for handling the sales. That company is CRI and it belongs to a man named Richard Blum.

    Well I remembered her husband’s name. A dear friend of mine experienced in the ways of state and local politics in New York was insistent on this point: hunt for your truffles where the no-bid contracts be.

    Blum is 78 years old and was already rich a generation ago. Feinstein grew up upper class and married well several times over. That these geezers are raking it in should be a scandal of scandals.

  • Let’s see. I’m a numbers type of guy.

    Fifty-six buildings for $19 billion, that averages at about $399 million per postal palace. Assuming even a low 3% commission that’s $570 million.

    Much of it will wend it’s way back to Barrack and Holder through Acorn, Rezko, et al.

    “That these geezers are raking it in should be a scandal of scandals.” Only where there is a (R) in parentheses behind their names.

    I take solace in the knowledge that they can’t take it with them. It will burn.

    Fienstien and her husband are oligarchs. They will be exempted from the death panels.

    To the viscous go the spoils.

  • Ditto to what T. Shaw wrote at 10:24 am.

  • Now – there must be the skulduggery of George Bush weaving its mayhem here.
    Surely SOMEONE can find facts to support its George Bush’s fault –


    (maybe the Tea Party………can we blame the Tea Party?.)

  • Is Ms. Klinkhamer offering us an example of invincible ignorance?

    Not that I could this as an example, the temptation to indulge in schadenfreude makes her story a near occasion of sin.

  • Oh, I haven’t noticed if anybody so far has mentioned Obama’s promise that under the Obamatopia regime, the average household would save $2500 per year on their health plan.

    We were warned way back when that all of Obama’s promises come with an expiration date. Every. One. Of. Them.

  • With all of the “savings” from lower insurance premiums I’ll be able to contribute to the brownshirt “no child left-in-the-womb” programs.
    Thank you Obama.
    You are sooooo cooool.

PopeWatch: Untier of Knots

Wednesday, October 30, AD 2013



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




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.”

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10 Responses to PopeWatch: Untier of Knots

Rational Evil

Wednesday, October 30, AD 2013

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. 

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13 Responses to Rational Evil

  • I sometimes fancy that Natural Law thinking has done real harm to Christian witness and provided a cover for civic religion.
    The Neo-Thomists had developed a theory of Natural Law, based on Suarez’s interpretation, or rather, travesty of St Thomas. They had talked of a “natural order,” governed by Natural Law, consisting of truths accessible to unaided human reason, as something that can be kept separate from the supernatural truths revealed in the Gospel. This “two-tier” account of nature and grace was based on this view that the addition of “grace” was something super-added to a human nature that was already complete and sufficient in itself and apart from any intrinsic human need
    In the memorable exchange in 1910, in Blondel’s publication, L’Annales de philosophie chrétienne, between Maurras’s Jesuit defender, Descoqs and the Oratorian Lucien Laberthonnière, Descoqs, a follower of Suarez’s interpretation of St Thomas had allowed the political sphere a wide degree of political autonomy and he was prepared to detach “political society” from “religious society.” Laberthonnière had retaliated by accusing Descoqs of being influenced by “a false theological notion of some state of pure nature and therefore imagined the state could be self-sufficient in the sense that it could be properly independent of any specifically Christian sense of justice.”
    So far as I know, this exchange has never appeared in English, which is astonishing, as it was what united such disparate thinkers as Blondel, Maréchal, the Dominicans, Chenu and Congar and the Jesuits, Lubac and Daniélou. It was a fundamental moment for the Nouvelle Théologie, much as Keble’s Assize Sermon had been for the Oxford Movement.
    Thus, Maurice Blondel, insisted that we must never forget “that one cannot think or act anywhere as if we do not all have a supernatural destiny. Because, since it concerns the human being such as he is, in concreto, in his living and total reality, not in a simple state of hypothetical nature, nothing is truly complete (boucle), even in the sheerly natural order”
    Jacques Maritain, too, declared that “the knowledge of human actions and of the good conduct of the human State in particular can exist as an integral science, as a complete body of doctrine, only if related to the ultimate end of the human being . . . the rule of conduct governing individual and social life cannot therefore leave the supernatural order out of account” and “Man is not in a state of pure nature, he is fallen and redeemed. Consequently, ethics, in the widest sense of the word, that is, in so far as it bears on all practical matters of human action, politics and economics, practical psychology, collective psychology, sociology, as well as individual morality,—ethics in so far as it takes man in his concrete state, in his existential being, is not a purely philosophic discipline. Of itself it has to do with theology”

  • Preamble
    “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
    In the 52 words of the Preamble to the US Constitution, the Law of the Land lies the reason and purpose of the United States of America which cannot be corrupted, not changed because the Preamble addresses the human rights of : “We, the people of the United States of America”, past, present and future generations. The human rights of all people, the human species, conceived as sovereign persons, innocent and virgin, perfect, until visited by the sins of corruption and concupiscence of their fathers.
    Had Adam, the first human being, told Eve, his wife, that “NO” I am not eating the apple”, Eve’s corruption would have been annihilated, as a husband has rule over his wife’s vows, oaths and indiscretions. The human race might have come into being, as each individual might come into being under Adam’s correct, politically correct and perfect obedience to “their Creator” for the common good.
    Correctness is necessary for the common good. Correctness is spelled out in The Preamble. “ in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,” Our posterity are all future generations yet to be born known only to God in God’s infinite wisdom. “ and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and to our posterity” brought forward from all past generations, our posterity are guaranteed the “Blessings of Liberty”
    “do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” “do ordain”, that is to make into law and establish this law throughout the land.

    “Violation of the Preamble to the Law of the Land, our United States Constitution is violation of “We, the people”, past generations, the now generation and all future generations. The Law is alive and living in time and in eternity, now and forever.
    The dictates of being human are inscribed in the Preamble.
    If the Liberal Left does not like it, they can go live somewhere else. Being inhuman and overriding another sovereign person’s human rights is demonic. Evil is practiced by the demonic.

  • “Descoqs, a follower of Suarez’s interpretation of St Thomas…” “Human existence is the criterion for the objective ordering of human rights.” Francisco Suarez

  • But Suarez overlooked St Thomas, where he says, ““even though by his nature man is inclined to his ultimate end, he cannot reach it by nature but only by grace, and this owing to the loftiness of that end.” [In Boethius de Trinitate, q. 6, a. 4 ad 5.] for he says, “the happiness of any rational creature whatsoever consists in seeing God by his essence” [In IV Sent, d. 49, q. 2, a. 7:]

    Again, St Thomas says, ““The nature that can attain perfect good, although it needs help from without in order to attain it, is of more noble condition than a nature which cannot attain perfect good, but attains some imperfect good, although it need no help from without in order to attain it.” [ST I-II, q. 5, a. 5 ad 2] and he quotes Aristotle as saying “that which we are able to do through friends we can in a certain way do on our own.”

    This is also the teaching of St Augustine, when he says, in the first line of the Confessions, “You have made us for yourself and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”

  • To the extent I’m following your reasoning Michael (if I’m following your reasoning because I’m not at all familiar with the debate you describe), I’d say that, at least as far as the good ol’ U. S. of A is concerned, our prevailing schools of social thought are predominantly structural and post-structural, i.e. social rather than moral, so I don’t see where natural law fits in to our present debates, except perhaps by its absence.

  • Excellent post. None are more evil than the quintessentially rational liberal who in defying self as god condemns unborn babies to death because it is the reasonable thing to do.

  • Ernst Schreiber
    Descoqs had urged Catholic support for Charles Maurras and his ultra-nationalist political party, Action Française because Maurras, though an atheist, who did not recognize the supernatural constitution of the Church, nevertheless had great esteem for the Catholic Church, along with the monarchy, as “the rampart of order” and assigned her a privileged position in his new order.
    Descoqs argued that Catholics could collaborate with positivists like Maurras, because “these latter have very just, though incomplete and ‘deficient’ ideas on several points: order, authority, [and] tradition.” (In other words, they were neo-fascists.) He maintained the natural order has “its proper value and relative independence” and insisted on maintaining the “essential distinction…between purely political and economic questions and moral and religious questions.” Laberthonnière, Blondel and their supporters insisted otherwise; for them, the two were inseparable. That was the crux of the quarrel.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour,
    You are certainly correct on the misreading/misinterpretation of Saint Thomas first by Suarez, then by the Neo-Thomists writing after the call by Pope Leo XIII for a return to Thomas as a perennial philosophical/theological system. I will not get into the specifics of the late 19th century French Political questions.

    Thomas was building his system fundamentally on Augustine, the Doctor of Grace. Thomas however enhanced the place of creation/nature, while Augustine had done so with grace. While Thomas emphasized the distinction of grace and nature ( in much the same way as Chalcedon emphasized the two natures of Christ) he never radically separated them, as did Suarez and the later Neo-Thomists ( actually creating a ‘Nestorian-like’ theology of nature and grace). Thomas held to the profound and fundamental unity of nature and grace given by Augustine (analogously giving us the unity of the Person of Christ of the Council of Ephesus). Thomas saw grace perfecting (or building on) nature. This axiom does not only give us the distinction of nature and grace, but reveals that nature is perfected, most fully itself when graced. As Saiint Irenaeus would write (in 187 AD) “The Glory of God is man fully alive and man fully alive sees the Face of God”. This is a far cry from the almost accidental relationship between nature and grace in Suarez et al.

    It is in this light that we need to see Thomas’ teaching on Natural Law. Thomas believed that the Eternal Law in the mind of God is revealed first in Natural Law then completed or perfected by Divine Law (revealed in both Old and New Testament). As nature is ‘perfected’ by grace, according to Thomas, so natural law is ‘perfected’ by Divine Law. This is fully revealed when we realize that what the New Testament reveals is the Law of the Spirit (grace) with Christ Himself as our new Norm.

    To return to the actual point of the above article, especially quoting Jihn Adams, then this dynamic, completing, fulfilling, perfecting relationship of grace to nature, reveals just how fundamental moral and religious people are to the commonweal.

  • Great post. Made me think of th evil of the Reign of Terror, dedicated as it was to Reason.

  • “Made me think of the evil of the Reign of Terror, dedicated as it was to Reason.”

    To eat of the Fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was the REASONABLE thing to do:

    Genesis 3:6

    So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food [the lust of the flesh],
    that it was pleasant to the eyes [the lust of the eyes],
    and a tree desirable to make one wise [the pride of life],
    she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.

    But Jesus did NOT do the logical, REASONABLE thing in Luke 4:1-13 and Matthew 4:1-11.

    He did NOT turn the stones into bread [the lust of the flesh].
    He did NOT bow down to worship Satan at the sight of all the kingdoms of the world [the lust of the eyes]
    He being empowered as God did NOT dash Himself down from a great height [the pride of life]

    Reason unbridled by religious charity always leads to the dominance of the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. It is unreasonable to humble one’s self. But to do otherwise is to forsake eternal life in Heaven for Esau’s REASONABLE bowl of porridge.

    1st John 2:15-17

    15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

  • I am not sure how to express this, but here it goes:
    There is some excellent argument offered at this site that when I have the time to read I am glad of it. However, it comes across as a closed discussion among a few individuals trying to prove this or that to the other one with a few listeners, like me, listening in. That’s fine if this is the purpose of The American Catholic. However, my first impression was that The American Catholic was intended to permeate the general American Catholic population, welcoming discussion, encouraging thought and dare I say, nourishing conversion while presenting Truth. Granted it would be a slow process and the general Catholic population is woefully ignorant of our faith, but it seems to me that is where we have to go and “elevate.”
    I have not often replied, but I have on a few occasions and only once did one person reply. Following the thread of several discussions it suggests to me the usual pattern is engagement of those few persons known in a sort of intellectual parry. Again, fine if that is your purpose and for the few, informative and interesting. But with no disrespect intended, in fact only admiration, I still yearn to discover a vehicle for reaching, inviting, enticing, engaging a broader population. Perhaps I am very mistaken and you have a large and growing participants. If so, I gladly stand corrected of my ignorant impressions.

  • We have far more readers than those who are actively involved in the comboxes. Our daily hits vary from a usual 4,500 up to a high of 12,000. Our hard core of commenters is usually about fifty individuals with the individuals changing somewhat over time. A highly popular post will usually have comments from people outside of the core. I am always interested in comments from people who do not regularly comment, because new insights are always welcome. (Unless they are crazy of course. 🙂 )

  • Kevin,

    Perhaps I have been one of those to whom you refer. I am sorry if I have come across as just wanting to carry on a conversation with just a few. That is not my intention

    I suggest you jump in. If it seems I have not really responded to your point. Point it out to me. Faith filled, reasoned questions and discussions are what we try to attain here

The War on Us

Tuesday, October 29, AD 2013




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.

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14 Responses to The War on Us

  • Once again, American Samaritans only step in when the man has been robbed, beaten, and left for dead. It is far too late to stop this trend, enshrined in Article I Section 10 of the US Constitution.

  • Art. I sec. 10 –is that the “Good and Proper” clause, or the “Necessary Welfare” clause?

  • It is human nature to fear and loathe those whom you have harmed. Ergo the war against us.

    Despair is a sin. Don’t do it.

  • I can think of nothing less likely.

    As Slavoj Zizek observes, “The commonly accepted motto is that the Left, if it is to regain political effectiveness, should thoroughly reinvent itself, finally abandoning the so-called “Jacobin paradigm.” In our post-modern era of “emerging properties,” chaotic interaction of multiple subjectivities, of free interaction instead of centralized hierarchy, of a multitude of opinions instead of one Truth, the Jacobin dictatorship is fundamentally “not for our taste”… Can one imagine anything more foreign to our universe of the freedom of opinions, of market competition, of nomadic pluralist interaction, &c., than Robespierre’s politics of Truth (with a capital T, of course), whose proclaimed goal is “to return the destiny of liberty into the hands of the Truth”?” No “politics of Virtue” for today’s Left

    Today’s sensitive liberals want 1789 without 1793; that is, a decaffeinated revolution. It is only dinosaurs on the Hard Left, like Alain Badiou, who still argue that, if one wants A, then you should not shirk from its consequences, but gather the courage to say B – the terror needed to really defend and assert A. Saint-Just asked: “What do they want, who want neither Virtue nor Terror?” His answer is well known:”They want corruption.” That is today’s Left to a T (the T left over from truth)

  • Michael, you tell me I must seek out the opinions of a Serb intellectual and believe him and not my own eyes about what is going on and has been going on in my own country, in some aspects for more than fifty years and in some respects for about a dozen years. Thanks for your input.

  • I take solace in the fact that Jesus look Pontius Pilate straight in the eye and said, “My Kingdom is NOT of this world.” I fear the day (far more than this police state) when He will return and we all will have to look on Him whom we have pierced, and He will judge the living and the dead – every single one of us. Domine Deus, miserere nobis and totius mundi!

    What is happening is this country because of godless liberal progressive Democrats is terrible, but in a perverse sort of way this is God’s justice. He dealt severely with the Northern Kingdom Israel and the Southern Kingdom Judah for their apostasy. He does not change. We have sown the whirlwind and have asked that He remove His protecting hand. Being a true Gentleman, He will oblige us just as He did in the first Civil War.

  • “What do they want, who want neither Virtue nor Terror?” His [Saint-Just] answer is well known:”They want corruption.” That is today’s Left to a T

    Of course they want corruption. That’s because corruption is how you prepare a people for enslavement to a Despot, as Franklin acknowledged at the time the Convention adopted the Constitution for Ratification:

    I agree to this Constitution, with all its Faults, if they are such; because I think a General Government necessary for us, there is no Form of Government but what may be a Blessing to the People if well administred; and I believe farther that this is likely to be well adminstred for a Course of Years, and can only end in Despotism as other Forms have done before it, when the People shall become so corrupted as to need Despotic Government, being incapable of any other.

  • The un-named woman above was Miriam Carey. As described by Emmett Tyrrell Jr in an article titled A Disgraceful Killling she was a young black single mother with a college degree who was suffering from severe post partum depression with psychosis. Not a danger to anyone according to health officials. Because she was driving erratically, armed federal police surrounded her car and shot to kill. She had nothing in her vehicle that was dangerous, only her 1 year old son in the back seat and luckily he was not harmed.
    The police could have incapacitated her by shooting out her car’s tires or some other means. Amazingly Congress gave the participating officers who shot to death an unarmed woman a standing ovation. Few news stories on this senseless killing. No public outcry about police violence. No Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton.

  • I have been telling people that Christians and conservatives are being maligned like the Jews were before the killing started–and just like the vast majority of the world at the time Hitler came to power refused to believe what was actually happening–those with whom I address this subject also refuse to see what is happening. I will be surprised at nothing.

  • MPS, I wish to my core you were correct. This, however, prevents me from agreeing as readily as I might have before:


  • Sorry, I missed the punchline.

    “It Can’t Happen Here.”

  • We live in Bizarro World when people will wear Trayvon Martin hoodies, and their parents let them (I just passed by such a family at the mall), but those same people wouldn’t wear a “Remember Miriam Carey” shirt, and probably wouldn’t know who she is. I guess it’s okay to be shot & killed by aggressive police, but not killed in self-defense. I totally understand what Jesus meant when He said, “Weep for your children.”

  • In 2009, we were told there was a need to watch out for domestic terrorists and that these included people who are pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, religiously motivated, and returning veterans. You know, people like us. The federal government is growing far too powerful and we are in grave danger of losing our freedom, perhaps our lives. Beginning with the so-called War on Drugs, police departments have become increasingly militarized. SWAT teams seem to be mainstreamed into police work. Poor Miriam Carey appears to have had a nervous breakdown at the wrong time and in the wrong place. May she rest in peace and may God help this country.

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October 29, 1863: The Charge of the Mule Brigade

Tuesday, October 29, AD 2013

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:

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One Response to October 29, 1863: The Charge of the Mule Brigade

  • I’ve always loved this story, I think I first read of it in “Hard Tack and Coffee”.
    Since we are one EMP attack from being transported back to the 19th century (or at least the early 20th) I wonder if our military planners have a mule breeding program on tap.

ObamaCare and the Big Lie

Tuesday, October 29, AD 2013

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.”  

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6 Responses to ObamaCare and the Big Lie

  • I suspect, like Bill Clinton, the notions of ‘truth’ and ‘falsehood’ do not register with this man in the way they do with ordinary people. He just utters whatever b.s. serves his purposes at the moment.

  • You got what you voted for…now everyone has to live with the results! Hope “you” are happy!

  • I’d really like to know why no one is trying to impeach him. When comparing him to Nixon, he seems about a billion times worse. But then again, maybe the thing he lacks is integrity. Nixon resigned, right? I am ashamed to say that I don’t know history for that part of US History.
    When I posted on FB, in August, that we couldn’t keep our same plan, several Obama lovers came on to my post & posted that they love what they have, are happy with the changes & don’t care (or don’t think) that he lied. Now it’s October, and I wonder if they’ve gotten the letter or other news that what they liked isn’t allowed.

  • I’d really like to know why no one is trying to impeach him.

    1. Nixon faced a legislature controlled by the political opposition and Obama does not.

    2. Nixon violated various and sundry unwritten standards which politicians impose on each other. Read Ron Nessen on how Gerald Ford, who was pleased to tolerate creatures like Lyndon Johnson and John Kennedy, thought of Nixon. Read George Will on Nixon, ca. 1973, which one may surmise reflects what a great many Republican congressional staff though of him as well as what Will’s old boss Gordon Allott thought. Our political class has lowered its standards and Obama had gotten mulligans all his adult life.

    3. Obama’s offenses likely cannot be readily formulated into discrete violations of the federal penal code. Some of Nixon’s could.

    4. Nixon had to manage a war which, in the words of Nicholas von Hoffman, ‘split the ruling classes’. In so doing, he offended a critical mass of the political establishment and there was the manpower on hand (Archibald Cox, Leon Jaworski, John Sirica, Katherine Graham et al) to take him down. The media establishment is commercially quite a bit weaker and has less integrity than was the case in 1970; they are Obama’s puppy dogs. As for the legal establishment, they get more scandalous every year.

    5. As Robertson Davies said, there is scant relationship between popularity on the one hand and integrity and good performance on the other. A large bloc of the population is willing to give Obama a pass as they were Bilge Clinton, for reasons one surmises are superficial.

  • “A large bloc of the population is willing to give Obama a pass as they were Bilge Clinton, for reasons one surmises are superficial.”

    The large bloc grows each day. The hundred million that dependent on the government to provide for them outnumber full-time employed, taxpayers.

  • What health care plan do the Obamas have????

    If he really believed in the AFCA, President Obama (with Michelle next to him and their daughters behind them) should have signed up or had the pretense of signing up in front of live cameras from every network and news service.

3 Responses to How Many Countries Are There?

  • Brilliant!

    Ben Franklin to James Wilson in the musical 1776 during the vote on independence:

    “Every mapmaker in the world is waiting for your decision.”

    In the same musical the comment about revolutions put into the mouth of Ben Franklin usually equally applies to new nations:

    “Revolutions come into this world like bastard children, Mr. Dickinson – half improvised and half compromised.”

  • Good one Don!

    I had to post this video. It succinctly explains what is difficult to say without offending someone.

    As for Communist China, they could easily break up and form five or six nations and return strips of land back to nations they took it from such as Korea and Mongolia.

    What are these nations? Well there is East Turkestan, the brewing rebellious Muslim province that has no connection ethnically nor linguistically to the Han Chinese.

    There is of course Tibet.

    Then after returning lands to Korea, the border area around North Korea (Most likely North Korea, but I’d prefer it to return to South Korea) and Mongolia, what the Communist call “Inner Mongolia”.

    Then there is ‘China’ itself which could be broken up in many pieces because of of linguistic and ethnic differences, ie, Szechuan, Yunnan, Hun an, etc. But to keep it simple lets say Manchuria and Taiwan right off the bat are free. Then the Mandarin speaking north separates from the Cantonese speaking south and leave it at that.

    Nothing like a bit of geopolitics to start off the morning.

  • As for Communist China, they could easily break up and form five or six nations and return strips of land back to nations they took it from such as Korea and Mongolia.

    What are these nations? Well there is East Turkestan, the brewing rebellious Muslim province that has no connection ethnically nor linguistically to the Han Chinese.

    There is of course Tibet.

    Tibet and Sinkiang are exceedingly low density territories. The slice of Sinkiang which is either predominantly Uighur or predominantly Kazakh has about 6 or 7 million people living in it. IIRC, Tibet has about three million inhabitants. There actually is no supralocal area where Mongols or Koreans constitute a majority. Less than 1% of the population of China lives in these ethnic minority zones.

    About a third of the population does live outside the Mandarin language zone. Not sure whether the various dialects are coterminous with identity formations. Decentralization would certainly be a necessity there given the massive population, but not so sure the people on the ground would aspire to political fragmentation along the lines of Germany prior to 1870 (or 1806).

4 Responses to Kathleen Sebelius Explains It All

  • Impaling Obamacare on ridicule may be the only thing they understand and the only thing that may work.

  • Getting a shut down on the video.. “This video is private.”

    Oh well.

    Sebelius might have been the preverbal “last straw” according to Catholic radio host Al Kresta. Today he reported that a formal request to remove “Catholic” from Georgetown University identity will be delivered to the Vatican. It seems the latest slap in the face of good practicing Catholics at Georgetown was when they honored K. Sebelius recently.
    A well documented complaint spanning twenty three years of abuses that appose Catholic teaching is making its way to Rome.
    TAC. Please inquire.

  • May 21st 2012 you did report William Blatty complaint regarding Georgetown.
    I apologize for not looking in your archive sooner.

  • I posted a new version of the video which links to watch it on Youtube.

PopeWatch: Liberal Christianity

Monday, October 28, AD 2013


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.

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14 Responses to PopeWatch: Liberal Christianity

  • A quibble about these remarks: a social democratic or syndicalist bias is congruent with the orthodox Catholic faith. With regard to contemporary ‘progressives’, that sort of thing is just not where their proverbial g-spots are. Subcultural affiliations, consumer tastes, cues and idioms, social and cultural issues, occupational sectors, and social class all matter a great deal more in differentiating ‘us’ and ‘them’. Even with regard to social democratic and syndicalist measures, contemporary progressives are reliable advocates for bureaucracies of helping and caring and rather less reliable advocates of the economic welfare of impecunious wage earners. You can be a loyal Catholic and be the sort of welfare-labor Democrat common in 1948, but you cannot be the latter and be a contemporary ‘progressive’ because you will advocate too many things that are deal-breakers for contemporary ‘progressives’.

    The problem with the Commonweal crowd and the Sojourners crowd and the ordinary run of mainline clergy, dissenting Catholic priests, and the church-o-cracy in all denominations is that they are contemporary progressives who speak intermittently in a Christian idiom.

    The problem with many peace-and-justice Catholics is that they are so fanatical on the subject of certain political questions that they confound their sometime adversaries with their real antagonists.

  • In short, they’re Liberals first, and foremost, and christians number ten or further down the list.

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  • “For my part, I think one can be a devout Catholic and support what are generally regarded as progressive political policies.”

    Really? What exactly are Progressives progressing towards? The goal – just like the phrase “I have a right to choose” – is unstated. Do progressives in their hubris think that by their good works they can establish a man-made kingdom of God on Earth by government taxation of those who work to benefit those who refuse to? That makes the latter addicted to the teat of the public treasury, forever dependent on Caesar instead of on God.

    2nd Thessalonians 3:10 states:

    “For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: If any one will not work, let him not eat.”

    BTW, In John chapter 6, after Jesus fed the multitude with the loaves and fishes, He and the disciples went around the lake to the other side, and the crowd, awakening in the morning, found Him gone and sought after Him. When they caught up with Him, “…they said to him, ‘Rabbi, when did you come here?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give to you; for on him has God the Father set his seal.'” (Verses 25-27)

    The crowd did NOT get a second free handout. It ain’t about filling empty bellies. It’s about conversion and repentance. As 2nd Chronicles 7:14 says:

    “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

    What the poor to get better? Stop the sin!


    No more liberalism. No more progressivism.

  • Sorry you feel that way, Paul, but you’ll never convince me Bob Casey Sr. was a bad Catholic. And while Catholic social teaching has been greatly misused and misrepresented by those who worship the State, it is impossible to square genuine CST with libertarianism.

  • I remember well Bp Untener, and his leadership and “teaching” was the greatest evidence, as I was recently trying to relate to someone else, of the discontinuity of Vatican II (“V2″) with the previous Church we had.

    Let’s just look at Sacro. Conc (On the Liturgy): no where was the Traditional Latin Mass abolished in the text of SC or any other V2 document—yet it was forbidden by V2! Even by its own document, SC contradicts V2: the liturgy is to remain normatively Latin (no. 36), Gregorian chant is the proper musical form (no. 116), and the pipe organ is the normative liturgical instrument (no. 120). Is that the way the liturgy is celebrated in your parish each Sunday? If so, they must be “radical traditionalists?”

    The theological “experts” who advised the bishops and cardinals —Congar, Rahner, Kung, Chenu, others—quickly formed their own clandestine operations with deliberate efforts, well-documented now in their own personal diaries, to break with “ultramontanism” and in fact to contest the authority of the pope and place all authority in “a council of bishops” (see deMattei, The 2nd Vatican Council, an Unwritten Story).
    Card. Suenens exulted that V2 had become “1789 in the Church”, a new French Revolution and a break with the past. Even then-Cardinal Ratzinger commented in 1988: “The Second Vatican Council has not been treated as part of the entire living tradition of the Church, but as an end of Tradition, a new start from zero. The truth is that this particular Council defined no dogma at all, and deliberately chose to remain on a modest level, as a merely pastoral council; and yet many treat it as though it had made itself into a sort of super dogma which takes away the importance of all the rest. ” (1988 address. Chilean Episcopal Conference).
    Yves Congar, one of the V2 periti, remarked with satisfaction that “The Church has had, peacefully, its October revolution.” Schillebeeckx admitted, “We have used ambiguous phrases during the Council and we know how we will interpret them afterwards.” Congar also affirmed that Vatican II’s Declaration on Religious Liberty is contrary to the Syllabus of Pope Pius IX, saying: “It cannot be denied that the affirmation of religious liberty by Vatican II says materially something other than what the Syllabus if 1864 said…”
    After decades of this nonsense, and the new Pope claiming “we have to put into effect V2”, forget it for me. The only ones that are making sense and that have a consistently harmonious and undemagogued liturgy are the trad groups, curious as they are: but Untenauer and a certain one-time bishop of Phoenix who was his twin separated at birth have done it for me and a good part of my family.

  • Many of Dale’s commenters urge patience; reading Francis through Bergoglio, so to speak. A hermeneutic of biography?

  • For those who already interpret Vatican II as discontinuous with the whole Catholic Tradition, I can only say that this flies in the face of the actual Documents of Vatican II, the Popes since Vatican II, the Extraordinary Synod of 1985 (precisely on the authoritative interpretation of Vatican II, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church (which both quotes Vatican II and interprets it in its Teaching). If an interpretation of rupture were accurate the promises of Christ of the Spirit Paraclete as well as His promise that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church built on Peter would be empty and futile.

    It is important not to confuse the Extradordinar Form (TLM) with other issues of so called traditionalists groups

    As for the above article concerning Pope Francis as a so called progressive,nthe author actually was stating Pope Francis is a “”Modernist”” (as described by the Magisterium of Saint Pope Pius X). Modernism states that we take Catholic Teaching, empty it of content so as to make the teaching in line with “modern thinking”

    This did not take place in Vatican II, in any magisterial teachings of the popes since Vatican II and has not happened in any preaching/teaching of Pope Francis

    Despite all signs pointing otherwise some still are afraid of this Pope. I find no substantial basis for this anxiety and fear

  • It is not fear of the Pope that motivates many of us, but fear of his exceptionally poorly worded interviews and other public comments. Particularly how they are read and used by others. For example:


    Being in a public institution myself, these are stormy times added to by Pope Francis’s lack of foresight. But it is early in this pontificate and I suspect there has already been a fair amount of fraternal correction of the Pope guided by the Holy Spirit.

  • Fair enough Philip. I had pointed out In a response sometime ago, that it was interesting that there have been no interviews since his meeting with the council of 8 cardinals. I still find this fact interesting. As Cardinal Brogoglio, he did not like interviews. That tells me that he lacked experience in giving interviews. To be honest I felt that the “Jesuit interview” was the best and more insightful into ‘the man’.

  • Steve Phoenix

    Not only Cardinal Yves Congar, but Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (as he then was) called Gadium et Spes a counter-Syllabus.

    “If one is looking for a global diagnosis of the text [of Gaudium et spes], one could say that it (along with the texts on religious liberty and world religions) is a revision of the Syllabus of Pius IX, a kind of counter-Syllabus …. the text [of Gaudium et spes] plays the role of a counter-Syllabus to the extent that it represents an attempt to officially reconcile the Church with the world as it had become after 1789.” Here is the original French text: «Gaudium et Spes est (en liaison avec les textes sur la liberté religieuse et sur les religions du monde) une révision du Syllabus de Pie IX, une sorte de contre-Syllabus. […] Ce texte joue le rôle d’un contre-Syllabus dans la mesure où il représente une tentative pour une réconciliation officielle de l’Église avec le monde tel qu’il était devenu depuis 1789. (Cardinal Ratzinger, Les Principes de la théologie catholique) »

    I believe the attempts to suggest a discontinuity between Pope Francis and Benedict XVI are misconceived

  • Well thanks be to God that you are hear to clarify the pope’s words for us, given your deep insight into his inner voice and heart. Man, I thought I was lost for a moment.

  • Actually, Michael P-S, I was asserting the discontinuity between the Church prior to V2 and the church after. Ratzinger in his own memoirs recounts how disconcerted he was by news from the V2 newly formed bureaucracies, especially the Consilium on the Liturgy, radically altered what many of the Council Fathers thought they were voting for at V2. Ratzinger spent much of his episcopate “walking back” V2 (just one example: most notably the sacrmental words of institution (“For you and for all” vs. “For you and for many” – If ever there was a prima facie evidence of a rupture, a break with the past just acknowledge that change, not done by the V2 congregation, but by Cicognani’s shadow committee which operated form 1964 to 1969. But for those of you who care to know the truth (other than Botolph,who apparently has a programmed function key to smear people like me as “radicals”, and prefers to remain in the dark), just read Romano Amerio’s Iota Unum, give Roberto de Mattei (The 2nd Vatican Council: an Unwritten Story) at least a reading (he corroborates Amerio’s eyewitness account point-by-point, and finally read Mark Fellows’ Twilight at Fatima, all voluminously researched works with incontrovertible evidence that something went off the rails at V2 (as if you cant tell the tree by its fruits).

  • er. correction. I meant “Ratzinger spent much of his pontificate walking back” V2 (not “episcopate”).