2 Responses to Gabriel’s Message

Prayer Requests

Friday, November 29, AD 2013

The day before Thanksgiving I prayed for a miracle and my prayer was granted.  The miracle was a small one,  with meaning only to my immediate family, but a miracle I am certain it was.   As all faithful readers of this blog know, my prayer was not granted because of any holiness on my part, but because, due to the infinite mercy of God and the intercession of the Virgin Mary, and perhaps also due to the intercession I suspect of my son Larry, even the prayers of a sinful lawyer will gain a hearing in the court of Heaven.  I have been too cavalier in my attitude toward prayer and that is going to change.

Please put your prayer requests in the comboxes below.  Remember that God hears each of our prayers even, and perhaps especially, when to our eyes we do not gain what we request.

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34 Responses to Prayer Requests

  • That all priests remain virgin in perpetuity. That all children remain virgin and innocent. That all families remain in the Sacred Heart of Jesus. That all may be one.

  • and Thank you, Donald R. McClarey

  • For our son’s return to Christ and the Church. Our Lady Undoer of Knots please help him.

  • That my son “overcome” dyslexia.

  • That I get a faculty job to support my family (wife, son, daughter, twin daughters).

  • May Our Lady of Victory intercede with God to grant these petitions.

  • For Donald, his family and his intentions; for.all who frequently and not as frequently comment on this blog site; for all who never post but regularly visit this blog and finally for those souls searching, hungering who visit and those who are.hurting, alienated and the most hardened, we pray

  • that my children and their families return to Christ and the church

  • “For Donald, his family and his intentions;”

    Thank you Botolph, that was very kind.

  • I need plenty more belief, plenty more power of prayer and more Holy Ghost with me. Please pray also that God gives me gifts of God’s grade.

  • For the conversion of my adult children and their spouses. For a deeper walk with God and Mother Mary for all those who read this wonderful blog during this Advent season. In thanksgiving for Donald’s miracle.

  • For my husband’s conversion.

  • In Thanksgiving for the many vehicles available to help me grow in faith and that my faith grows and deepens. For those in my family who have left the Church, that they will return. For my brother, may he realize responsibility is not a bad thing and is better than addiction and the “carefree” life on the street; For my Brother-in-Law, that he will find Christ and the Church; For my parents in their infirmities- that my Dad’s dementia-caused outbursts will decrease and that my Mother will accept help from others. For the intentions of all who post or otherwise visit this blog. Blessings to the McClarey family.


    O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, hear me.

    From the desire of being esteemed,
    deliver me, Jesus.
    From the desire of being loved,
    From the desire of being extolled,
    From the desire of being honored,
    From the desire of being praised,
    From the desire of being preferred to others,
    From the desire of being consulted,
    From the desire of being approved,

    From the fear of being humiliated,
    deliver me, Jesus.
    From the fear of being despised,
    From the fear of suffering rebukes,
    From the fear of being calumniated,
    From the fear of being forgotten,
    From the fear of being ridiculed,
    From the fear of being wronged,
    From the fear of being suspected,

    That others may be loved more than I,
    Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
    That others may be esteemed more than I,
    That in the opinion of the world,
    others may increase, and I may decrease,
    That others may be chosen and I set aside,
    That others may be praised and I unnoticed,
    That others may be preferred to me in everything,
    That others may become holier than I,
    provided that I may become as holy as I should.

    – Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val

  • Pro versione meae coniugis pristinae ab atheismo in Christianitatem, et pro securitate defensioneque mei duo liberi parvoli. In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritu Sancti, Amen.

  • Thank you, Don McClarey, for sharing your miracle with us. The Memorare is so powerful. I continue to ask God through the BV Mary to send my two sons good & devout Catholic women who will lead my sons back to their faith and that they will have long and happy Catholic marriages. I must have patience and remember that God doesn’t work according to my timelines.
    I believe that we are granted small miracles frequently; many that we do not even recognize as such.
    May everyone on this blog and my family and dear friends have their prayers answered.

  • That my daughters may truly return to their belief in Christ, and turn from their support of abortion.

  • St. Joseph, St. Anthony, St. Jude and St. Rita please intercede for me and find my just-laid-off brother a rewarding new job.

  • For inner strength, humility, and wisdom. In Jesus’ name, amen.

  • Donald.
    My dad, Frank Joseph, is on his death bed in the nursing home. Last rites have been given.
    Please pray for my ailing mom who will deeply miss his company.
    Thank you in advance. Our family thanks you and May God continue to bless you and yours.

  • Prayers on the way Philip. Only our faith in God keeps us sane when we deal with the death of a loved one.

  • I wasn’t sure any message other than a prayer request was appropriate. I am glad you did make this comment, Donald

    Philip, your father, mother and family are in my prayers. Those of us who have lost one or both parents totally sympathize with you. One word however, you will never cease being a son. Remember tat.

  • pls pray for (a) son Alroyd who obtained job after long time barely a month and has a hairline fracture on his leg, that he is healed and it will not his work and movements and successfully complets his contract. (b) for brother in law John Andrade to have (or might already have) due to high diabetics and swelling on his right let has to amputate his two toes of right left is successful and healed. (c) for my inlaws property in Goa thats been unauthorizedly usurped and auctioned without knowledge fraudulently with our signatures; (d) that my plot of land in hometown where nobody is caretaker is safe also those leaving in my homes on rental are honest and there exists no problems and lives peacefully

  • I give thanks for news of the beginning of my HL remission today. Please Lord keep me under your protective care- that I may stay healthy, and along with my husband, to guide my 3 little daughters through life and watch them grow into adulthood.

    I pray for all parents of children here on earth, and those that have passed, to be with The Lord.

    Lord hear our Prayers.

    Thank you Donald.

  • Thank you Ez. I pray all continues to go well for you.

  • Lord, increase my faith!

  • That Dr R has mercy on me and helps me amen

  • Thank you for your prayers.
    My dad passed away at 4:05 this morning. Todays 1st reading from Isaiah comforts our family at this time of loss.
    It is also comforting to know that your efforts have helped him in his time of need. God bless all of you.

  • May he even now be enjoying the Beatific Vision Philip.

  • Anzlyne-

    B e a u t I f u l !

    So kind of you. My mom is moved and inspired by the proof that We Are Family.

    So many family members that its difficult to fathom while on Earth.
    Bless you & thank you.

28 Responses to PopeWatch: Father Robert Sirico

  • Excellent questions by Fr. Sirico.

  • My Impressionistic impression is that the Curia has done a magnificent job of pulping the rotting carcass of the dead horse known as laissez faire capitalism (ca. 1776 – ca. 1929; died after a long illness).

    I’m pretty sure there’s a strawman or three in there as well, but it’s kind of hard to tell, what with all the goo.

  • As a Catholic who likes hierarchy probably better than most, I just wish that those men would stop speaking beyond their areas of competency, because in these areas, their unsubstantiated opinions are not expert, or sacred; they are as valuable as yours or mine, aka worthless.

  • Jesus would not have overturned the money changers tables in the temple if He had found true love of neighbor in the business transactions of the money changers. Jesus found the pursuit of profit, instead of the practice of virtue. Offering a benefit to the needy and receiving full value in return, is a corporal work of mercy and a blessing at the same time.
    Obama has no concept of fear of the Lord and his voice rings as an empty gong as He manipulates Holy Scripture to serve his own evil agenda.

  • …laissez faire capitalism (ca. 1776 – ca. 1929; died after a long illness)
    –Ernst Schreiber

    I question your claim that what you call “laissez faire capitalism” ever existed. Define your terms and point to historical examples.

    Just as Chesterton said of Christianity, that it has not been tried and found wanting but rather that is has been found difficult and not tried, so it is of the free market. People find the free market difficult, it requires thinking for oneself rather than having a Mommy State tell one what to do, so most people go running to the State begging to be enslaved.

    Therefore all the elders of Israel assembled and went to Samuel at Ramah and said to him, “…appoint a king over us, like all the nations, to rule us.”
    –1 Samuel 8:4-5


    You do remember these Scriptures being read at Mass, I do. And what was the answer to the people’s request for a king?

    Samuel delivered the message of the LORD in full to those who were asking him for a king. He told them: “The governance of the king who will rule you will be as follows: He will take your sons and assign them to his chariots and horses, and they will run before his chariot. He will appoint from among them his commanders of thousands and of hundreds. He will make them do his plowing and harvesting and produce his weapons of war and chariotry. He will use your daughters as perfumers, cooks, and bakers. He will take your best fields, vineyards, and olive groves, and give them to his servants. He will tithe your crops and grape harvests to give to his officials and his servants. He will take your male and female slaves, as well as your best oxen and donkeys, and use them to do his work. He will also tithe your flocks. As for you, you will become his slaves. On that day you will cry out because of the king whom you have chosen, but the LORD will not answer you on that day.”
    –1 Samuel 8:10-18 (emphasis added)

    So many people today are just as foolish as those Israelites, despite having the knowledge of what happened to the Israelites recorded in the Scriptures.

  • There is an alternative to the free market.
    It is the slave market.
    –Angelique Michelin

  • Paul Primavera has done an excellent job, first, of alerting us on Thanksgiving, of the ” possible” translation problem of Evangelii Gaudium, but more specifically in its so called “economic section”. Today, in the above post, he provides a link to a very solid site providing a more accurate translation from the original Spanish document.

    I am emphasizing this, because before we can begin to comment etc on the document itself, or discuss Fr. Sirico’s gentle but poignant questions, the issue of translation is extremely important

    In reading the newer, unofficial translation, provided in the above link, I am both relieved and concerned. I am relieved to discover that those responsible for translating were inhibited by a real working knowledge of Spanish and not driven or clouded by some ” ideological” agenda, no matter how slight. However I am also concerned. I am concerned that the translator(s) who apparently have English ( and I would add: American English) as their first language, do not have a full grasp of Spanish ( Here. I mean ” from the inside”, how it is really lived, breathed and spoken). As someone who has studied two languages ( besides my native American English of course)-one for twelve years- I can tell you that being able to speak/ translate from within the language is extremely important. ( After 12 years of French I still do not feel I really communicate within the language). To bring my point to its conclusion, it is essential that the Vatican comes to fully realize this important aspect of translation lest the translator and translation betrays the author and original text.

    Having said this, I find the discussions found here and there among knowledgible folks and experts on the new Exhortation very enriching and enjoyable. On a blog such as this where there is a general discussion on such matters, people bring their insights etc and frequently, sources such as this translation problem, or Donald bringing Fr Sirico and the Acton Foundation on the economic issues. I would mention a great post concerning the Exhortation on the Liturgy. This post was written by Jeffrey Tucker at Chant Cafe, and brought out some very substantive and even provocative questions in dialogue with the Exhortation and Pope Francis.

    I mention this post as an example of how committed Catholics can grow and be enriched in dialogue with other committed Catholics. I participate in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite. I am rooted there. Nonetheless, I was delighted when Pope Benedicy published his Motu Proprio enabling those who are or desired to be rooted in what he calls the Extraordinary Form to do so. I do not consider EF Catholics less Catholics ( although I have felt the opposite sometimes). I find discussion among committed Catholics- and we are actually very diverse ( here I am speaking of genuine diversity, not dissent etc) despite what we might commonly think or believe. Returning to my point, Chant Cafe offers a very deep sense of Liturgical Music, ozone which sometimes emphasizes the EF. I find no problem with that. Why? Because the conversation goes deeper than perceptions, preferences and, yes, I will say it, prejudices. I have found this at the Acton Institute and am a regular reader there. Notice also that I like American Catholic. I don’t always agree etc that’s fine. However, where I find committed Catholics, not conservatives, liberals, etc. I am home.

  • lol in my post above: ” ozone”= ” one”. My iPad did it again lol

  • Our “preferential option for the poor” must translate into asking ourselves “so, what is the preferable option for the poor?” but only after we refute the commonly held belief that Market Man is “fallen” while Government Man is “immaculately conceived”.

  • For Micha:

    laissez faire capitalism (aka “the free market”) 1776 (Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations) to ca. 1929 (stock market collapse resulting in the Hoover depression that Roosevelt later made “Great”) died after a long illness (everything from Karl Marx to John Maynard Keynes, but probably foremost the Progressives’ penchant for seeking to rationalize everything) is what I had in mind.

    We’re in essential agreement. The point I tried to make, perhaps too obliquely, is that the free market was regulated to death a long time ago. Almost before living memory, in fact. But still people complain that the problem with the market is not enough regulation.

  • tamsin,

    The ” preferential option for the poor” cannot and must not be identified with any socialist-Marxist doctrine, although there are those from both ideological extremes who seek to do so. It means what Christ meant in opening the scroll in the synagogue at Nazareth which read, ” The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, therefore He has anointed Me to proclaim the Good News to the poor, liberty to captives, sight to the blind, a year of favor ( Jubilee) of the Lord” ( Luke 4; Isaiah 61). It means reaching out to those on the margins, those who know they need salvation.

    No human system, Marxist, market, nor any form of government is not “fallen” and as you put it ” immaculate”thus the radical need for Christ and His Gospel

  • I take Father Sirico’s comments with a grain of salt. Check out the interview posted at http://www.culturewars.com that outlines the milestones in Father Siroco’s life.


    Here is the title you can scroll down on the page and find.

    (Rev.) Robert Sirico and Sins that Cry to Heaven: The Real History of Sirico and the Acton Institute, an interview with Randy Engel and Tom Herron (May 2007)

  • Culture Wars is a crazed anti-Semitic rag. I am unsurprised that the delusional E. Michael Jones would have Father Sirico in his cross hairs.

    Mark Shea gives some background on this smear:


  • Mark Shea may deconstruct conspiracy theories if he wants. Michael Jones and others catalog facts about the background of Sirico. I agree Mr. Jones has a lot to say. I do not agree with all of his work. What is presented in this exchange however, is just the factual data on Sirico’s background. If you have not heard it before, you really need to have a listen. The information is backed up with sources. It his hard to argue with clear data when valid references are provided. It is worth knowing the truth in any case. May God bless all of you!

  • http://www.catholicleague.org/unseemly-attack-on-father-sirico/

    Father Sirico has never concealed his performance of gay marriages prior to his conversion to Catholicism. It would only be a scandal for Father Sirico if he had attempted to conceal his errors prior to his conversion.

  • Donald,

    I applaud your forthrightness in speaking the truth about Fr Sirico

  • I am not concerned with his past but believe it should be made plain to everyone. Not everyone is aware of the background of this man. What you should be concerned with is this. Who is he working for? Have you figured out who funds the Acton Institute and who set it up? It is all in the link provided earlier.

  • Someone with Fr. Sirico’s history should not have been ordained (and the Acton Institute is an odd apostolate). That having been said, that in and of itself does not establish that the Acton Institute has been promoting anything problematic.

    As for E. Michael Jones, he was once an engaging social critic but went completely off the rails several years ago. Herron has long done a remarkably faithful imitation of a malicious character whose targets are various figures writing in defense of Church teaching (because they’re ‘neo-cons’ dontcha know). He’s actually offered defenses of Maureen Dowd betwixt and between.

  • laissez faire capitalism (aka “the free market”) 1776 (Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations) to ca. 1929 (stock market collapse resulting in the Hoover depression that Roosevelt later made “Great”

    No. The economy began a rapid recovery in the Spring of 1933 and production per capita had returned to what would be expected from long term trends by 1941.

  • “Someone with Fr. Sirico’s history should not have been ordained…”


  • Have you ever noticed how some people – particularly those with a liberal progressive bent – demand that we be ever so forgiving and loving, and yet they suspend the application of such an admonition to themselves when discussing a man like Father Sirico who is a conservative proponent of free market economics. I would wager that if he were a proponent of the false gospel of social justice, the common good and peace at any price, then his history as a Pentecostal pastor who married homosexuals who be all forgiven and forgotten, and any conservative who would dare to bring such to light would be condemned as being intolerant, unforgiving, hateful, mean, spiteful, divisive, unkind and the ultimate liberal progressive Democrat crime – not nice.

    Well guess what! I am NOT nice and I love Father Sirico’s work and I pray and wish for him and the Acton Institute every success in turning the tide of this insane Marxist idiocy that infects everything from the Papacy on down. I hate, despise, loathe, detest, abhor and hold in utter disdain and disgust this godless, prideful, arrogant attitude that with just the right amount of government sponsored social justice financed by my tax money and yours, mankind can create on his own the Kingdom of God on Earth. That is unmitigated male bovine manure – putrid, fetid hubris of the highest order – that deserves only one place: the fires of Gahanna.

    OK, enough of a rant this morning. Sorry, folks.

  • You need to read up on this man’s history. He was certainly a bad bet in 1989 and Pope Benedict’s articulated standards would have inhibited his ordination were they in place and respected. As far as I know, there have been no post-ordination scandals concerning Fr. Sirico, so it has not worked out badly. Sometimes, you get lucky. Based on the information set available in 1989, you might have thought his assignment record would come to resemble that of Paul Shanley, and you only make decisions prospectively.

    Although I have seen these matters brought up by peace-and-justice Catholics, that’s not their primary concern with regard to Fr. Sirico and his associates. These types adhere to an inchoate notion of political economy which fancies there is something dirty about advocacy on behalf of the market economy (which they misapprehend and caricature). Some of them refer to papal encyclicals (without giving any indications about how the principles enunciated therein are to be operationalized), others seem to think the writings of Ayn Rand are the inspiration for Republican social policy, others fancy free trade is some sort of social malignancy for all parties, others make vague references to Chesterbelloc, and others slide into discussions of ‘Americanist’ heresies and ‘masonic’ institutions.

  • “He was certainly a bad bet in 1989…”

    I was a bad bet in 1989, and should have been ejected from the nuclear power industry for a variety of reasons. Of course, being a nuclear engineer at an operating 1000 MW reactor doesn’t exactly carry the same level of responsibilities as being a priest does. Fortunately, my employer was willing to forgive me (so long as I did certain things to pass the scrutiny required by Regulation).

    Matthew 18:21-22 – 21 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.

  • “You need to read up on this man’s history.”

    I have not read it though it seems from what you intimate that he has homosexual temptations.

    I don’t know when Benedict’s standards were put in place (you seem to say after Sirico was ordained.) If that’s the case, then perhaps Providence brought him to orders before the standards (Augustine anyone?)

    Here’s something about gay marriage issue from Sirico:


  • I have not read it though it seems from what you intimate that he has homosexual temptations.

    That’s a rather anodyne way of putting it.

  • Do you believe Father Sirico would make a good pope?

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Soldiers In Greasepaint

Friday, November 29, AD 2013

Bob Hope’s NBC radio special “Soldiers in Greasepaint” broadcast on Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 1943.  A salute to millions of brave Americans who were spending Thanksgiving a long way from home seven decades ago.

By the time of World War II Hope was 38 and too old to likely be assigned to a combat area.  He got around that by spending much of his time during the War entertaining troops in combat zones, occasionally coming under fire.  Hope’s genius as a comedian was a rare gift;  a willingness to spend it entertaining American troops was a worthy way of using that gift.

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2 Responses to Soldiers In Greasepaint

  • Thanks for these. What a loving, giving man Bob Hope was!

    Why are you accepting ads from, and promoting, on this otherwise fabulous website, the pro-abortion companies Hilton Hotels (which donates to Planned Parenthood) and from General Mills, which donates a minimum of $1million per year to Susan G Komen Race for the Cure – which we all know donates millions to Planned Parenthood?

  • These are google ads. We have no control over them. The ads that show up are based on searches from the computer that logs in to the site. I make zero from any ad revenue, the revenue being used solely to maintain the site. Any further questions should be directed to Tito since I have absolutely no involvement with the ads that appear on TAC.

Thanksgiving For Small Blessings

Thursday, November 28, AD 2013




Each Thanksgiving I say grace for my family and thank God for His major blessings in our life, but what about the small blessings?  Here I make up for the lack:

1.    That William Shatner has not directed another Star Trek film.

2.    That the Pope has not yet condemned blogging as a complete waste of time.

3.    That I have never tasted tofu turkey.

4.    That President Obama did not attempt to do for car insurance what he has done for health insurance.

5.    That my bride likes my snoring.

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3 Responses to Thanksgiving For Small Blessings

Lincoln and the Creation of Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 28, AD 2013

In the midst of this, however, He, from Whom all blessings flow, must not be forgotten. A call for a national thanksgiving is being prepared, and will be duly promulgated.

Abraham Lincoln, from his last public address, April 11, 1865

Abraham Lincoln frequently throughout the Civil War called for Thanksgiving for Union victories and for prayers and repentance for national sins.  The idea however of an annual Thanksgiving did not spring from him but from Sarah Josepha Hale, a noted literary figure who, among other accomplishments wrote the child’s poem Mary Had a Little Lamb.  Born in 1788, for years she had led a movement for a national day of Thanksgiving to be observed annually.


Permit me, as Editress of the “Lady’s Book”, to request a few minutes of your precious time, while laying before you a subject of deep interest to myself and — as I trust — even to the President of our Republic, of some importance. This subject is to have the day of our annual Thanksgiving made a National and fixed Union Festival.

You may have observed that, for some years past, there has been an increasing interest felt in our land to have the Thanksgiving held on the same day, in all the States; it now needs National recognition and authoritive fixation, only, to become permanently, an American custom and institution.

Enclosed are three papers (being printed these are easily read) which will make the idea and its progress clear and show also the popularity of the plan.

For the last fifteen years I have set forth this idea in the “Lady’s Book”, and placed the papers before the Governors of all the States and Territories — also I have sent these to our Ministers abroad, and our Missionaries to the heathen — and commanders in the Navy. From the recipients I have received, uniformly the most kind approval. Two of these letters, one from Governor (now General) Banks and one from Governor Morgan are enclosed; both gentlemen as you will see, have nobly aided to bring about the desired Thanksgiving Union.

But I find there are obstacles not possible to be overcome without legislative aid — that each State should, by statute, make it obligatory on the Governor to appoint the last Thursday of November, annually, as Thanksgiving Day; — or, as this way would require years to be realized, it has ocurred to me that a proclamation from the President of the United States would be the best, surest and most fitting method of National appointment.

I have written to my friend, Hon. Wm. H. Seward, and requested him to confer with President Lincoln on this subject As the President of the United States has the power of appointments for the District of Columbia and the Territories; also for the Army and Navy and all American citizens abroad who claim protection from the U. S. Flag — could he not, with right as well as duty, issue his proclamation for a Day of National Thanksgiving for all the above classes of persons? And would it not be fitting and

patriotic for him to appeal to the Governors of all the States, inviting and commending these to unite in issuing proclamations for the last Thursday in November as the Day of Thanksgiving for the people of each State? Thus the great Union Festival of America would be established.

Now the purpose of this letter is to entreat President Lincoln to put forth his Proclamation, appointing the last Thursday in November (which falls this year on the 26th) as the National Thanksgiving for all those classes of people who are under the National Government particularly, and commending this Union Thanksgiving to each State Executive: thus, by the noble example and action of the President of the United States, the permanency and unity of our Great American Festival of Thanksgiving would be forever secured.

An immediate proclamation would be necessary, so as to reach all the States in season for State appointments, also to anticipate the early appointments by Governors.

Excuse the liberty I have taken

With profound respect

Yrs truly

Sarah Josepha Hale,

Editress of the “Ladys Book”

There is no evidence that Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation was issued in response to this letter, but it is probable.  Here is the proclamation on October 3, 1863 by President Lincoln that established Thanksgiving as an annual event:

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Thanksgiving Day Lesson: Socialism Never Works

Thursday, November 28, AD 2013




From  Of Plymouth Plantation, by Governor William Bradford:

All this while no supply was heard of, neither knew they when they might expect any. So they began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop than they had done, that they might not still thus languish in misery. At length, after much debate of things, the Governor (with the advice of the chiefest amongst them) gave way that they should set corn every man for his own particular, and in that regard trust to themselves; in all other things to go on in the general way as before. And so assigned to every family a parcel of land, according to the proportion of their number, for that end, only for present use (but made no division for inheritance) and ranged all boys and youth under some family. This had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the Governor or any other could use, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave far better content. The women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn; which before would allege weakness and inability; whom to have compelled would have been thought great tyranny and oppression.

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6 Responses to Thanksgiving Day Lesson: Socialism Never Works

  • Every human relationship without God breeds contempt. The individual forms the community; the community must provide for the individual. Unless the community provides for the individual, the community will become a prison. The acknowledgement of property rights was and is a public acknowledgement of fundamental human rights.

  • Someone seems to have conveniently forgotten that the central tenet of Jesus’s teachings were socialistic.

  • Someone seems to be unable to read the Gospels without red colored specs. They have about as much to do with socialism as they do with interior design. Holding goods in common was a stupidity that some of the early Christians came up with on their own and abandoned, outside of monasteries, quite quickly because it didn’t work, as it always does not work. Saint Paul and his admonition that those who do not work should not eat is an indication just how quickly the experiment in common goods came to a screeching end.

    Pope Leo XIII in his great encyclical against socialism put paid to the attempt by socialists to appropriate Christ for their cause:

    “For, indeed, although the socialists, stealing the very Gospel itself with a view to deceive more easily the unwary, have been accustomed to distort it so as to suit their own purposes, nevertheless so great is the difference between their depraved teachings and the most pure doctrine of Christ that none greater could exist: “for what participation hath justice with injustice or what fellowship hath light with darkness?”7 Their habit, as we have intimated, is always to maintain that nature has made all men equal, and that, therefore, neither honor nor respect is due to majesty, nor obedience to laws, unless, perhaps, to those sanctioned by their own good pleasure. But, on the contrary, in accordance with the teachings of the Gospel, the equality of men consists in this: that all, having inherited the same nature, are called to the same most high dignity of the sons of God, and that, as one and the same end is set before all, each one is to be judged by the same law and will receive punishment or reward according to his deserts. The inequality of rights and of power proceeds from the very Author of nature, “from whom all paternity in heaven and earth is named.”8 But the minds of princes and their subjects are, according to Catholic doctrine and precepts, bound up one with the other in such a manner, by mutual duties and rights, that the thirst for power is restrained and the rational ground of obedience made easy, firm, and noble.”


  • Socialism cannot work. Socialism abandons the dignity of the human person who constitutes government and worships the herd, the group, the government. Government so distorted cannot function as servant of the people as it imposes its own agenda to survive without its constituents.

  • “Someone seems to be unable to read the Gospels without red colored specs. They have about as much to do with socialism as they do with interior design.”
    The dignity of the person invokes the virtue of charity. Involuntary charity, that virtue defined by someone else, denies free will, the dignity of the sovereign person and is extortion.

  • No! I am Spartacus!

PopeWatch: Evangelii Gaudium

Wednesday, November 27, AD 2013




PopeWatch decides to take the Thanksgiving holidays off and the Pope releases Evangelii Gaudium!  Go here to read it.  The short take of PopeWatch is that it is a mishmash.  Much of it is merely a restatement of traditional Catholic teaching and therefore bound to be a relief for  those fearing that the Pope was going to alter Church teaching in an unorthodox manner on such issues as abortion and gay marriage.  The economic portions, all too often, read like warmed over Peronism, the disastrous and amorphous political ideology that has helped make Argentina, fated to be a very rich nation in the 19th Century, an economic basket case.  Much more next week after PopeWatch has digested the Thanksgiving turkey and examined Evangelii Gaudium in greater detail.

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25 Responses to PopeWatch: Evangelii Gaudium

  • Wake me when he publishes a wordor two about zeal for the glory of God, zeal for the salvation of souls, the forgiveness of sins . . .

    It’s as if statist governments, central planners, command economists for the past 150 or so years have not been tearing away at private enterprise and property [sigh] . . .

    And,this pope still blames the free market????

    Socialism produces the same results everywhere: In the Argentine breadbasket, the regime moves to jail “hoarders” as bread prices soar. Bloomberg: “Argentina plans to apply a law that forces holders of wheat and flour suitable for bread making to sell stock on the domestic market in a bid to contain inflation.” (Instapundit)

    David Galland interview on Argentina at Zero Hedge: It is like a textbook case in government gone mad.

    “They have stolen the retirement accounts, devalued the currency, and put capital controls in place. There are trade controls so that people can’t import necessities into the country, but instead, have to manufacture them locally, with the government giving monopolies to their friends. They have price controls, which force the local supermarkets to not raise their prices. This will ultimately lead to shortages. And, there are already shortages of certain items. They didn’t like an opposition newspaper, so they nationalized the newsprint manufacturing industry. In fact, just about every single thing that you could do to screw up a country, they have done. It is comical to see the extremes they have gone to. For example, in Argentina, if you publish an inflation statistic that differs from of the official government numbers, you could be hit with a $100,000 fine. I had never heard of this anywhere else – except maybe in communist Russia. They are really completely out of control and the country is spinning off into la-la-land. Frankly, I love living right in the midst of all of it.”

    “In the case of Argentina, and the United States as well, it is a testament to the legacy strengths of the country – minerals, an educated population, agricultural land in abundance, energy resources – that despite a history of bad governance, the economy is still remarkably robust. People living outside of the country would be forgiven, based on the media reporting, for thinking the place is a basket case – but, against all odds, it isn’t. To a large extent that is because the government’s policies have chased much of the economic activity underground.”

  • Folks,

    A friend on Facebook pointed out the following which places the translation of the economic sections of Evangelii Gaudium in question. While and the controlled version for Papal documents is invariably in Latin (and I know Latin), I cannot find on the Vatican web site the Latin version of Evangelii Gaudium, so I cannot verify what this person says (below). Yet what he writes is credible. The bottom line is this: believe nothing any Vatican translator provides. Get the original Latin and find out for yourself. If you don’t know Latin, then I am sure there are people here at TAC who do.


    Once again, translators of Papal documents put a liberal progressive spin on the translation – that is no surprise:

    “Here’s one just ONE compare ‘n’ contrast (in Evangelii Gaudium), adding some emphasis to underscore that what you’ve seen “ain’t necessarily so.”

    Official English Version

    54. In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world.

    Correct English Translation

    54. In this context, some still defend “spillover” theories which suppose that ALL economic growth, FOR WHICH A FREE MARKET IS [MOST] FAVORABLE, *BY ITSELF* brings about greater equity and social inclusion in the world.

    Note the mistranslation is both very powerful and yet very subtle, carefully guarding its semantic lines of retreat…plausible deniability, if you will. The “tell” or smoking gun is the it-can’t-be-an-accident exclusion of the phrase “by itself.” When I noticed the translator had excised it (not just “rendered it poorly”) my antennæ began to flutter violently. To my mind it changes the entire complexion of the whole section.

    This points not to, say, the USA but rather, places like China and Russia where economic growth is divorced from moral concerns and human liberties. If economic growth ALONE were the mechanism for greater justice, etc. then Russia and China would have exhibited that, and (duh) obviously they don’t. The issue is not “wealth is bad” but that “wealth WITHOUT MORAL UNDERPINNINGS is bad.””

  • Meanwhile, the damage a bad translation (if it is in fact a bad translation) continues on.

  • To continue, why is the controlled Latin version of Evangelii Gaudium NOT here?


    And why is Adhortationes Apostolicae not linked here?


    That’s not the case with Ioannes Paulus II or Benedictus XVI or any of the rest of the modern Pontiffs. But it is with Francis. Why?

    This is very odd. The Latin text is supposed to be the controlled document. In my field – nuclear power – the phrase controlled document has a special meaning. It means that it’s that one special document version that is the only authoritative version and the only version permissible for technicians, operators and engineers to use in nuclear power plant work. The Church has an analogous arrangement with using Latin for its controlled documents. So why is the Latin for Evangelii Gaudium missing?

    Could it be that the Latin says something different than the English, French, Italian, German, Spanish and Portuguese versions? Could it be that some people in the Vatican with a liberal progressive agenda want to spin the facts and twist the meaning to advance their false gospel of social justice, the common good and peace at any price? Or am I just being a right wing Neanderthal?

  • How long will people keep insisting the Francis 1 is being ‘misinterpreted’? No he is not being misinterpreted. He simply spurns simple declarative sentences, and chooses instead to spout ambiguities at every given opportunity. His purpose in doing so is to create ample wiggle room so that, when his ideas are attacked in a credible way, he can back out of any charge that sticks, and be free to confuse in another way at another time. We are not dealing with an honest man. Rather, one who indeed is ambitious for his own ends, not necessarily those of Christ’s true Church. This man needs to be put in the context of what is happening all around us. Let’s work to face reality and connect the dots.

  • I have to agree completely with Barbara. God forgive me but I honestly just don’t trust this man.

  • Barbara Jensen

    It was the ecclesiastic and statesman, Talleyrand, who famously remarked, « La parole a été donné à l’homme pour déguiser sa pensée » [Speech was given to man to conceal his thoughts], although he may have had Voltaire in mind, who said « ils ne se servent de la pensée que pour autoriser leurs injustices, et emploient les paroles que pour déguiser leurs pensées » (Le Chapon et la Poularde)
    [Men use thought only as authority for their injustice, and employ speech only to conceal their thoughts]

  • The language in which Evangelii Gaudium was written is Spanish and not Latin. All other versions, including the Latin text, are and will be translations. That an official text from Rome does not originate in Latin is no longer novel. The Catechism’s original language was French, and all first translations came from that edition. The later Latin typica text became the official text because it actually nuanced a few paragraphs and added some new material to keep up with the actual magisterium of Blessed Pope John Paul II. I am sure there will be a Latin translation soon, but there is no plot to suppress the original Latin text. Conspiracy theorists can get an extra portion of turkey today 🙂

    I do not speak, read or write Spanish ( I misjudged and had 12 years of French way back when :-)) I therefore cannot comment on the accuracy of the English translation. Even if I was fluent in Spanish I would be very reticent of making a fast judgment on the translation-unless it was of such nature as that j’joke of an interview with that Italian editor winging it based on his memory. However, having already read the economic portion of the Exhortation-which is within the context of proclaiming the Gospel to the poor ( this Exhortation is not an exercise of the social teaching of the Church)-I want to strongly affirm the meaning or sense that Paul Primavera has shared: it is not wealth that is bad in itself but ‘ wealth without moral underpinnings” ( and I would add: ‘responsibility’

    We all know, even from Scripture that translation can be tricky issue, if not a betrayal of the author. Take for example Paul’s well known economic teaching in his Letter to Timothy. According to the most common rendition, “Money is the root of all evil” Wow, This proves what I have always suspected about him. He is a radical Marxist not only interested in subverting the sacred traditions of circumcision , kosher laws and ( gasp!) breaking down the barriers Jew and Gentile, male and female, but (gasp!!) the necessary barriers between slave and free!! He must be a secret Spartacan! Paul’s whole point has been from the start, is to subvert the authority and economy of the Roman Empire! Anyone can see this! We just can’t trust him! He comes from that backwater of the Empire, Tarsus, where Cleopatra sailed into its harbor a century before Paul, to attempt to disassociate th eastern portion of the Roman Empire from Rome. See? It all is connected!

    Or is it? Paul actually wrote, “The LOVE of money is the root of all evil”. That changes everything doesn’t it? Although to be honest, the real statement gives little comfort for anyone overly attached to money, or anyone whose first impulse is to protect any economic system from the critique of the Gospel.

    Pope Francis, who.even in this Exhortation on transforming the Church according to the needs of Her mission to evangelize, states categorically his pro life credentials, writes that the recent world wide economic crisis was not an economic crisis but a human crisis, one based on the failure to respect the dignity of the human person. If this is perceived by some as problematic or worse, can we really have heard Evangelium Vitae? Doesn’t respect for each person from the moment of conception until natural death mean more than simply being anti abortion or anti euthanasia, as important as these themselves are?

    Pope Francis also states, “Money must serve not rule ( or have dominion)”. For a people who confess that “Jesus is Lord” and proclaim ” Jesus Christ is King” ( not Marx or Adams, Keynes or Wall Street) is this really so radical?


  • Good Morning and Happy Thanksgiving to all. Yesterday I had Lush Bimbo on and he ranted and carried on so bad about the Pope’s latest “teaching”. I read the whole thing and it could well be “misinterpreted” as a bash on capitalism. However I just wish the Holy Father would really think about how he words everything. Did he even really write this or as was suggested above was it “interpreted” in a different way by those in different cultures. It should not be this way. Again the “confusion” created by the evil one through these “misinterpretations” is very disheartening. Diabolical, Diablo. “Prowling about the world seeking the ruin of souls.”

  • @Jeanne Rohl: In my opinion, there’s been far, far too many statements and actions by this Holy Father that would support my (and many others) feeling that he means exactly what he says, at least in that moment. My concern is not only about some of the outrageous things he says, but that then the next day, say something that contradicts what he said the previous day. Not making a correction to what he had previously said, mind you, just making a new statement that happens to contradict what he’d said. Or so it seems. Part of the problem is that he’s incredibly vague. In almost everything I read of his statements, I’m left thinking “what does he mean by that?” or “who is he referring to?”

    I don’t think he’s reading someone else’s words at all. This is him. Which begs the question, many questions, actually. Does he know the Catholic Faith? Does he think dogmas and teachings were changed with Vatican II? Does he know the role of Vicar of Christ, i.e., salvation of souls, as opposed to worldly issues? I know the Popes have and should make pronouncements regarding worldly issues relating to the poor, just treatment of workers, speak out against persecution of Christians, abortion, etc., but he just strikes me as one who doesn’t give a lot of thought to what he’s saying, or he’s not very bright, God forgive me for saying that.

  • Happy Thanksgiving Jeanne,

    We know these facts: this Apostolic Exhortation was written in Spanish. Everything else is translation. The Exhortation incorporates many propositions, from the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization. These are specifically referred to in the footnotes. The portion of the Exhortation referenced above on the economy ( and apparently referred to by Rush Limbaugh-I don’t listen to him, so I did not hear him- only the reports of what he said) is actually a small part of the whole Exhortation. The section actually is addressing the evangelization of the poor.

    If there is an issue of translation it will soon be rectified, we can be sure of that. However, in reading this relatively short portion of the Exhortation I did not really hear anything that struck me from the Catholic perspective. The comments of the pope might surprise an American completely committed to a particular ideology and/or economic perspective; I am sure it would surprise non Catholic readers. However, if read within the whole corpus of Catholic Social Teaching, and here I. Would reference the several encyclicals of Blessed John Paul, and the one social teaching encyclical of Pope Benedict, I simply do not find anything shocking, earthshaking etc.

    I will repeat my agreement with the comment by Paul Primivera that it’s meaning is that it is not wealth that is bad but wealth without moral underpinnings. I am sure you would agree that there is nothing shocking about that. Pope Francis puts it succinctly: ” Money should serve, not rule”. This actually is a great synthesis of the Gospel perspective on economics

    (If anyone continues wondering about Catholic Social doctrine, go to the Catechism and see what and how the Church teaches in this important area. In sum? “Thou shalt not steal”. This goes against so called progressive economics as much as against more traditional laissez faire economics)

  • In preparation for his show, Rush Limbaugh reads many newspapers and watches television shows (although MSNBC not so much if I recall properly). His understanding of what the Pope said came from the Washington Post. Rush admits he is not a Catholic (and does not appear to know the name of the document, or the document type). He said “Now, I’m not Catholic. Up until this, I have to tell you, I was admiring the man.” (The man in question being Pope Francis.) He was “totally befuddled.”

    Later on in the show, he too, talked about the Pope’s words being “mistranslated.” In fact, he seems to have been quite taken by the idea that “the left” deliberately mistranslated so as to further its government-controlled economic agenda. And he noted that the Pope seems to have a history of his remarks being “mistranslated.”

  • I see nothing in the Holy Father’s words that derogate from the limitations placed on the public authorities by Pope Paul VI in his 1967 encyclical, Populorum Progressio: “It is for the public authorities to establish and lay down the desired goals, the plans to be followed, and the methods to be used in fulfilling them; and it is also their task to stimulate the efforts of those involved in this common activity. But they must also see to it that private initiative and intermediary organizations are involved in this work. In this way they will avoid total collectivization and the dangers of a planned economy which might threaten human liberty and obstruct the exercise of man’s basic human rights.”

  • Ever since this papacy began I’ve had the music from Evita on my mind.

  • This is a FYI. I received info that the Vatican site took down ( the English translation of) Evangelii Gaudium. No reason given for the action. However, as discussed above, if the translation was inaccurate, it has come to the attention of higher authorities in the Vatican and dealt with.

    If indeed the translation was faulty, the problem lies within the Curia ( used in the broadest meaning). Whether carelessness, ineptitude or the translator’s own ‘interpretation’, the fault lies in the Curia. I don’t believe anyone could argue that the Curia does not need a radical overhaul

  • The version that you can just click to and read on the website appears to be down. The PDF file, however, is still there (and I assume it is the same translation.) Since most people (computers) have Acrobat Reader, it wouldn’t slow them down much. Not sure about iPods and Smartphones, however, if they can handle a PDF file.


  • Before this pope I already was struggling to keep a good sense of trust in our Church leaders… there has been misdirection, misleading in seminary formation, naive ineptitude really. Which has led to whole parishes full of people being misled.

    The Church is not leading the culture but following it like a dog with its tail down.
    It seems like the liberal priests nuns and Catholic leaders don’t understand what they are doing. How important it is to safeguard the treasure we’ve inherited and are rapidly losing.
    After a Catholic funeral Wed I overheard this:
    ” Oh yeah we were Catholic- all the kids were baptized here. We go to the Lutheran church now. The words are almost exactly the same.” (I know which Lutheran church he meant- mega, and they have stadium seating with cup holders)

    We were in a different area and went to Mass Thanksgiving morning. I don’t have time here to describe to you how liberal and protestant the mass was.
    I want to trust Francis; I do trust God. But now it seems the liberals have voted in one of their own kind.
    I don’t think God will let it get too out of hand, but I wonder if Evangelii Gaudium feeds meat to the people who are subverting the mission of the Church. Someone who thinks deeply like Michael Paterson and Botolph have the intellectual underpinnings not to be flummoxed– but there are LOTS of “low information” Catholics out here.
    I guess our prayer could be for clarity of thought. Fulton Sheen pray for us.

  • “Someone who thinks deeply like Michael Paterson and Botolph have the intellectual underpinnings not to be flummoxed– but there are LOTS of ‘low information’ Catholics out here.”

    Quite true. The overwhelming majority of Roman Catholics know neither Sacred Scripture nor the Catechism. Most would be hard-pressed to tell the difference between Joel and Jonah, Elijah and Elisha, Eli and Samuel, let alone be able to discuss intelligently the issues raised in Evangelii Gaudium. Ignorance is the current hallmark of the majority of the population of the Roman jurisdiction. Sad. Very sad, considering the monumental intellectual legacy left to us by the depository of the Faith.

  • Anzlyne,

    While I appreciate your compliment, faith is a gift, which I am sure you have, from the comments you have made on this blog. Our Catholic Faith is a whole and a Catholic cannot pick and choose, like a supermarket, what we buy or don’ buy. We are going through two coinciding vast changes. Our Western Civilization and culture are going through a profound change. It is hard to envision how it will turn out, or even if it will have a good end.

    The Church is undergoing through a vast change ( and I would encourage you or anyone to read George Weigel’s “Evangelical Catholicism” for insights on this change) as well. The difference between the two changes is that Christ is Risen, has conquered sin and death, and has promised and given the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth to the Church. This is the Mystery of Pentecost. Christ has promised us that the Church built on Peter will not be able to be conquered by the forces of hell.

    While I am often seen as ” defending” Pope Francis on this blog. I am not a person who cannot see weaknesses or imperfections in a pope. I saw them in Blessed John Paul, soon to be a saint ( in his case his vision was so vast that he had little time nor desire to ” waste his energy” on matters in the Curia. Pope Benedict, I believe also to be a saint and brought out once and for all a true interpretation of the Council in the hermeneutic of continuity and reform as well as showing that the first and fundamental Constitution of VII was on Divine Revelation. Nonetheless, through his appointments, the papal diplomatic service in the world became ” problematic” to say the least. Misstatements caused real difficulties with Moslems and even some distancing with Judaism. The man as Cardinal and then Pope attempted to bring healing and reconciliation to the relationship with the Society of Pope Pius X, sadly to no avail. No matter how he tried he just could not stop the implosion going on in the Curia. While too early to come to a real grasp of Pope Francis’ ministry, I will be the first one to say not all has gone well. However, on the major, substantial issues, in doctrine and discipline and in his collaboration style I give him pretty high marks. Nonetheless, I recognize that while we have had ( and I believe have a ) good popes, I fully realize we have had bad popes-very bad popes- yet the gates of here’ll did not prevail.

    It is faith in Christ’s commitment to and union with the Church- not on the strengths and talents of individuals that keeps me Catholic. It is that same faith that keeps me at peace on a very deep level when I see strengths, weaknesses and yes even sin in the members of the Church, ordained or not.

    Hope this helps

  • Botolph writes, “I fully realize we have had bad popes-very bad popes- yet the gates of hell did not prevail.”

    Whilst that is certainly true I draw still greater comfort from the way in which the Church has not only survived, but flourished under a great many rather indifferent ones.

    From Sixtus V, who died in 1590, to Leo XIII, who was elected in 1878, we had a virtually unbroken succession of popes, who had risen through the ranks of the Vatican bureaucracy and who were, by habit, taste and training, administrators. The sole exception, Benedict XIV, better remembered today as Prospero Lambertini, the great canon lawyer, can fairly be ranked with Innocent IV as a canonist and with Leo X and Clement VII for his learning and he appears as a giant in that age of pygmies.

    It is not unfair to describe the result as one of assiduous mediocrity. Even in Catholic countries, they had the same impact and the same popular appeal, as the average Secretary-General of the United Nations or President of the World Bank. Pio Nono was popular because he was pitied.

    Thirty popes and not a Leo or a Gregory, a Hildebrand or an Innocent III amongst them; the very suggestion seems absurd. Meanwhile, we had the Church riven by the Thirty Years War, the Quietist controversy, the Jansenist heresy, the Gallican controversy, Josephism, the suppression of the Jesuits, the French Revolution and its aftermath, and the Risorgimento, in none of which can the Holy See be said to have distinguished itself.

    Yet it was also the Church of St Francis de Sales, St John Eudes, St Vincent de Paul, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, St Louis de Montfort and countless other saints, who formed the devotional life of generations of Catholics

  • Really great discussion here! Thank You all. As I have said before, I go to the Sacrifice of the Mass. I receive the Sacraments and know that God alone will give us direction. The line about “Evita” really cracked me up. Now I will have that in my head all day! It is very hard this “defending” of the faith, with all of the sidewinders wanting to take it down. whether it is intentional or ” misinterpreted” it certainly is a challenge. As a young woman many years ago teaching CCD in the most traditional of forms, our priest at the time, God Bless His Soul, Father Tom Mannion from Ireland, whom we referred to as “Bishop Sheen”( of the Diocese of Lacrosse) after his dramatic show of “breathing hard” because I was taking up so much of his “air” by having so many children, would just roar in his Irish brogue, “Jeanne Rohl, my god woman, you’re more Catholic than the Catholic Church!” And I would just smile and say, “Thank you Father”! Boy did we have some deep deep discussions. God Bless

  • Thou shalt not steal. But, who, whom? In Venezuela, Maduro is convinced that businessmen are stealing from the poor by marking up prices. He will correct their error by imposing price controls.

    Everything in the Holy Father’s words would seem to encourage Maduro, who thinks it’s “private initiative and intermediary organizations” that have failed. He is merely appropriately restraining the “absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation.” Right?

    As per T. Shaw’s update on Argentina, I excerpt a Reuter’s article on Maduro’s latest efforts:
    Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro said a stricter wave of inspections for suspected price-gouging would begin on Saturday in an aggressive pre-election “economic offensive” aimed at taming the highest inflation in the Americas.
    “We’re not joking, we’re defending the rights of the majority, their economic freedom,” Maduro said on Friday, alleging price irregularities were found in nearly 99 percent of 1,705 businesses inspected so far this month.
    Maduro, who has staked his presidency on preserving the legacy of late socialist leader Hugo Chavez, launched a theatrical – and often televised – wave of inspections this month to force companies to reduce prices.
    He says “capitalist parasites” are trying to wreck Venezuela’s economy and force him from office….
    “The inspections are continuing daily and have let us see into the under-world of capitalism,” Maduro said in his latest speech to the nation, warning of severe sanctions starting Saturday against businesses maintaining unjustifiably high prices.
    Government officials say companies have been marking up prices by as much as 1,000 percent over cost, though many retailers say they have been forced to hike prices sharply due to lack of access to foreign currency at the official rate….
    The leader of Venezuela’s main business group Fedecamaras, Jorge Roig, said this week the government’s erroneous economic policies and excessive controls risk setting up the nation for a dire 2014 of shortages and stagnation.
    Roig accused policymakers of “improvisation” in the face of growing economic distortions and insisted that businesses nationalized in the Chavez era were operating at half capacity, while only 2 percent of expropriated land was productive.
    “Mr. Jorge Roig, you have just declared economic war on the country,” Maduro retorted on Friday.

  • Tamsin

    Chavez was no friend to the Church when he was in full power. Like all other “statists” who see complete and absolute hegemony by the State, he saw the Church as a constant threat. It was really only in his terminal illness, faced with a much more powerful absolute, that he made some peace with the Church. What his successor is doing with the Church I am not as aware.

    As one of the Catholic leaders in Latin America who, while still keeping ” the preferential option for the poor”, Bergoglio worked to undo the damage the extreme aspects of Liberation Theology had worked within the Church in Latin America.

    It is important to read Pope Francis in a Catholic perspective, a perspective of faith, and not an ideological one that sees only two real choices: either socialist statism or completely unfettered financial/market forces.
    Once ‘possible’ translation issues are dealt with, the question is “How do the comments of Pope Francis continue and/or deepen earlier social/economic teachings of the Church

  • Pope Francis never saw unfettered capitalism in Argentina. Never.

    Argentina should be a wealthy country but it is a basket case because of its citizens and who they have put in power. Argentina has the world’s seventh largest economy in 1900. During WWII, Argentina had Axis sympathies and let Nazis into the country. They elected Peron who nearly destroyed the country.

    Kinda strange how Chile has made capitalism work and Argentina always shoots itself in the foot.

    Venezuela is another basket case. Keep ’em poor and dumb and they fall for class warfare – anywhere.

  • Pingback: More on Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel - BigPulpit.com

Thanksgiving Proclamation: 1789

Wednesday, November 27, AD 2013

Throughout the American Revolution Congress had set aside days of Thanksgiving to God for American victories.  After the surrender of Burgoyne in 1777 Congress authorized General Washington to proclaim a national day of Thanksgiving, which he did, designating it to be observed on December 18, 1777.  Thus, President Washington readily agreed when the new federal Congress authorized him to issue a Thanksgiving Proclamation, establishing the first American Thanksgiving to be held on the last Thursday in November.  Washington observed the day by attending church at Saint Paul Chapel and donating beer and food to imprisoned debtors in New York City.  Here is the text of the proclamation:

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Remembrance of Turkeys Past

Wednesday, November 27, AD 2013

As we prepare for Thanksgiving tomorrow, and as we recall our blessings and thank God for each and every one, let us also remember the humble turkey and the various disasters that result when that proud bird is not treated with the care that it deserves, dead or alive.    Oldtimers like myself will recognize the above video as part of the famous “Turkey Drop” episode from WKRP, a sitcom from the Seventies.


Of course Turkey Disasters are not, unfortunately, restricted to the realm of fiction.    Deep frying a turkey poses various risks.

Here we have a case of the flaming avian:



William Shatner warns of the dangers of deep frying turkeys:


Of course there are those among us who revel in the destructive possibilities of cooking turkey.

If deep fry a turkey you must, follow these tips:

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4 Responses to Remembrance of Turkeys Past

One More Thing to Thank God For This Thursday

Tuesday, November 26, AD 2013



Michael Totten reminds us why we might wish to thank God this Thursday that we were not born in Cuba:

Private Internet is banned. You can only get online in hotels, Internet cafes, and government offices. Regular citizens are effectively prohibited from accessing the Web by the price. It cost me seven dollars an hour to use a dial-up connection. The government caps Cuban salaries at 20 dollars a month, so it costs a citizen ten days of income just to get online for an hour. Once they do get online, the connection will be so slow that surfing around is impossible. It took me the better part of my hour to get connected, to open my inbox, and to send a single email to my wife telling her I had arrived safely and without incident.

The government strangles the Internet because it fears free information. There can be no other reason. That’s also why they vet journalists in advance and require special visas. Information can barely get in and barely get out. There can be no Twitter or Facebook revolution in Cuba’s near future.

And there are apparently no real newspapers or magazines, at least none that I saw. No International Herald Tribune. No Newsweek and Time in the dentist’s office. No Google News since there is no Google. Certainly not the Wall Street Journal or The Economist.

I hadn’t even been there a full day and I already felt umbilically severed from the rest of the planet. My awareness of the world narrowed to what I could see right in front of me. I felt as though I had lost one of my senses. I had no real access to the Internet. No CNN, no New York Times. No blogs, not even my own. Nothing at all. I could not use my iPhone. I may as well have been at the bottom of the ocean.

The only newspaper I saw was Granma, the official organ of the Communist Party. Juventud Rebelde supposedly exists somewhere, as well, but I didn’t see any copies.

That, by the way, is the most outrageously named newspaper I know of. The English translation of Juventud Rebelde is Rebel Youth—as if it’s Cuba’s version of Rolling Stone. But God, no. It’s not that at all. Rebel Youth indoctrinates young people with the zombie ideology of walking dead men. Youthful and rebellious it ain’t. It is the most tired, stale, old, and establishment “newspaper” in the hemisphere.

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18 Responses to One More Thing to Thank God For This Thursday

  • Cuba sounds like the perfect home for Michelle, Barry, Nancy and on and on.

    I am grateful for our freedoms.
    To all contributors and frequent visitors of TAC….Happy Thanksgiving and Blessings to you and your loved ones.
    Thank God for all of you.
    Your insights and deep Faith help me to go on proclaiming the Great News in my daily affairs. Thanks be to God.

  • Obama must wish he was Castro.

  • But, free healthcare!

  • By far the scariest part I found was:

    French philosopher Michel Foucault assailed it as a cruel, ingenious cage. “The panoptic schema makes any apparatus of power more intense,” he wrote. “It’s strength is that it never intervenes, it is exercised spontaneously and without noise.”

    Prisoners collaborate in their own surveillance because their heads are haunted by the thought of an all-seeing eye.

    No prison was ever designed to all of Benthem’s specifications, but dozens were constructed around the world that met most of them. The one that most closely resembles Benthem’s Panoptic regime is in Cuba.

    I have something to add to it, but quite frankly it chills me too much to say anything.

  • Nate, I think today’s society of surveillance is primarily a product of increasing crime. When morality breaks down, people are less likely to self-govern. Resources are limited, and security personnel cannot be placed everywhere. But cameras can be placed almost everywhere.

  • Be careful what you wish for. The way Obama’s going, you’re headed right down that path.
    But I suspect that’ll change next November.

  • What continues to astonish me is just how committed some peopel remain to theory. They are willing to forego all sorts of things, mistreat others, and deny reality fro the sake of a marxist dream. It’s incredible. Cuba and North Korea are dinosaurs. What’s really scary is that many people in free countries continue to believe in marxism.

  • Don the Kiwi-
    “…but I expect that will change next Nov.”

    How I wish!!
    In 2016 the Dems will go with Cult hit Hillary. As the mindless dweebs thought it cool and “historic” to vote for the 1st Afro-sudo-American you can bet your 4X beer that they’ll vote Hell er eee.

  • “But I suspect that’ll change next November.”
    Right now the Dems are in full melt down mode over ObamaCare and it will only get worse by election day next year. In 2016 I think the public will be more than ready to make the customary swing to the opposing party after a two term presidency.

  • “When morality breaks down, people are less likely to self-govern. Resources are limited, and security personnel cannot be placed everywhere.”
    When morality breaks down? Did morality self implode” The person of God was forcibly removed from the public square by atheism which denies the immortal rational human soul and eternal destiny. When nobody was looking our unalienable civil rights went to hell in a hand basket. Human sacrifice, pornography and every other vile, evil vice became our women’s home companion. Men never bothered to grow up. So, we got sodomy. Legalized, codified atheism begot every demon in hell and you say morality broke down. Well, it had a lot of help.
    As far as Hillary, Hillary was more than willing to put innocent men in prison for two years for healing a patient without her healthcare. Hillary is the matron of the gulag. Wait and see if Obamacare isn’t willing to imprison citizens for practicing freedom. Obamacare has a clause which states that Obama may change anything at any time, even Congress cannot do that. Obama can order a conscience clause if he cared about his constituents. “…or prohibit the free exercise thereof.”


  • Obama offering a “conscience clause” is akin to Hitler offering a Kosher catalog to the “vacationers of Auschwitz.”

    In the end the two sweet ideologists will have an eternity to pat each other on the back at their “social justice practices.”

  • Jon,

    I must apologize for heading into the wind with guns blazing with my last comment. All these happenings are no act of God. They are calculated and diabolical man made travesties of Justice. I do not apologize for speaking what they are. I apologize for saying it to an inocent person.
    Do forgive me and celebrate a Happy Thanksgiving. At our home some Thanksgiving Days we have a WHOBEAST…one roast beef with eight chiken legs attached. Domesticated WHOBEASTS can’t fly any more than domesticated turkeys.

  • Philip: “Obama offering a “conscience clause” is akin to Hitler offering a Kosher catalog to the “vacationers of Auschwitz.”
    True. Enjoy your domesticated turkey and remember grace before meals.

  • This to shall pass Mary DeVoe…
    domesticated turkey & the reign of a false presidency.

  • Mary De Voe, I was speaking metaphorically when I said morality has broken down. It’s kind of like saying America hates itself or our society is committing suicide.
    What is a Whobeast and what does it taste like? Where can i get one?
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  • On November 27th in 1095, Pope Urban II (declared Blessed by Leo XIII) called upon the Franks to defend Eastern Christians and liberate Jerusalem for the glory of God. Give thanks to God for the crusaders.

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  • Finally found what it was that was unnerving me.


    Prisoners collaborate in their own surveillance because their heads are haunted by the thought of an all-seeing eye.

    That’s what’s happening. Society is being turned into a Foucault cage as a whole, and we citizens are collaborating in our own surveillance.

    If anything, the cage proves we don’t need the “all-seeing eye” everywhere. Just enough places at random times to convince us it’s everywhere.

    And we’ll construct our own cages.

Thanksgiving: Time to Discuss ObamaCare?

Tuesday, November 26, AD 2013



ObamaCare Propaganda Sheet

And you all think that Thanksgiving is about thanking Almighty God and having a great meal!  Allahpundit at Hot Air sets us straight:

Believe it or not, these soulless robots have prepared an actual talking-points memo for the occasion replete with tips on how to plan your “talk.” My favorite: “Integrate the talk into family time.” Good advice — and for my money, the more dramatic the integration, the better. When your cousin pulls out baby pictures of her newborn and tries to pass them around, grab her arm gently but firmly and say, “Hey — isn’t there something more important we should be discussing?”

Don’t be fazed by the stunned silence that follows. That’s your opening to grab your iPad and start the Powerpoint on enrollment that you’ve prepared.

I like the idea that you, by dint of having donated to Obama and happily swallowed endless lies about keeping your plan and your provider network, are necessarily the “voice of reason” at the dinner table this year. In the unlikely event that you find yourself seated across from one of these benighted schmucks, you can play it three ways: One: Deflect. Change the subject. Bring up “The Walking Dead” or how boring the NFL is this year or whether maybe Orwell had a point about statism’s insidious power to dehumanize people by reducing them to cogs in a government propaganda machine. Two: Engage. Ace has prepared a helpful talking-points memo of his own in case you find yourself at a loss upon being pitched on O-Care by the same arrogant little sh*t who called you ignorant for doubting that the program would work at Thanksgiving dinners past. (If Ezra Klein has any conservative relatives, he or she is about to have the best Thanksgiving ever.) Three: If there are people at the table considering buying a plan on the exchange, wait patiently until they’re done cursing Obama for having forced their insurer to cancel their old coverage and then prepare them for how to shop on the exchange.

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14 Responses to Thanksgiving: Time to Discuss ObamaCare?

  • This has got to be the best idea since the suggestion of some self-appointed health experts a couple of years back, that the holidays were a great time to remind your overweight relatives about the dangers of obesity…

    If you read the letter carefully, though, it does NOT say that the reader should initiate dinner table discussions of Obamacare, it simply offers talking points for responding if one is asked about it (“when people turn to you”), or for joining in a discussion that has already begun (“Sometimes it’s easier to just let all those rants go without getting involved”).

    The best line in this letter has to be “Chances are, folks at the dinner table probably look to you mostly as a voice of reason on the subject.” Really? They’re going to look to a hardcore Obama supporter who signed up to be on the Organizing for Action mail/e-mail list as a “voice of reason?”

  • Ha! I beat them too it, and with a stranger (two actually). Insurance and what not came up naturally in conversation. . .on the tennis court of all places. We all agree ObamaCare is a disaster, and I’m likely to lose my insurance next year during the second round of health insurance cancellations.

  • “I beat them TO it . . .” I know where the boys get their dyslexia.

  • I don’t engage in conversation with people for whose opinions I have no respect. So, I can’t ask, “For what are you thankful this year?”

    It’s all lies. Lies. All lies.

    Here’s my coined response to my relative Obama-worshiping idiots: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame in me. Fool me for five years, I’m an obama voter.”

  • Should I keep the talking points folded in my pocket for easy reference to spring my enlighten superior intellect on my unwitting, ignorant, hate filled, racist, parochial, gun clinging family members? Oh what burden we, the best and brightest, have to bear being saddled with uncles (and other family members) such as we have. I like the idea of the PowerPoint – can someone feed me that too so I do not have to think too hard or do any work. With a PowerPoint , I can do a much better job of talking down to my family. Do not think I am not thankful for anything . . . I thank god or gods or goddess or spirits or force or whatever. . . that I only have to sit with the unintellectual masses once a year! Now, where is my tobacco pipe and tweed jacket with patches on the elbows, I want to sit down and read the new issue of the Occupy America magazine.

    I enjoy how patronizing they are about those silly old uncles spouting off at the dinner table. It is making assumptions about the “family” that does not exist in the modern liberal idea of family. (A family is any group that decides it is a family.)

    It just oozes with condescension, clichés, paternalism, and oversimplification.

    And with that I wish Happy Thanksgiving to all and to all a good night . . . or something like that.

  • Yup. I guarantee you, more people are going to be sharing their health insurance stories this year than any Thanksgiving before. At some tables, that’s all they’re going to talk about.

  • “uncles everywhere feel the need to spout off about Obamacare.”

    I read that first sentence and thought the rest of the letter was going to be a parody about uncles who want to tell you how wonderful America will be when everyone “gets covered.”

  • What I have to say to Obama about his Obamacare and all of his legions of doom is quite unprintable. Godless, iniquitous, diabolical man of sin and depravity.

  • It is reasonable, from the standpoint of a secularist mindset, that Thanksgiving dinner would be an opportune and effective setting for healthcare discussion. To someone who reads the holiday in a religious light, it is irreverent. It comes down to how we value our priorities. Christians will probably feel Thanksgiving is a time to focus upon God and the debt of gratitude we owe him. To discuss health insurance matters during that time would be inappropriate.

  • It is reasonable from the stand point of a political opportunist to view every disaster as an opportunity to advance their cause – it does not in actuality make is so . . . our society may be so harden as not to view it as such but bad manners are still bad manners. (See “You don’t ever want a crisis to go to waste; it’s an opportunity to do important things that you would otherwise avoid.” – Rahm Emanuel). Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful for what we have and reestablish family connections. It is not a time to advance your political position. I am not saying it does not happen but I tend to agree with Miss Manners on this topic:
    But to be polite — and for that matter, to be effective — those with opposing views must be respectful and fair. That requires listening to the other’s argument and conceding when convinced. And it means confining the discussion to the subject matter, eschewing personal criticism.
    Miss Manners’ Guide to the Turn-of-the-Millennium” that discussing financial matters is generally considered in poor taste, whether the financial matters are yours or someone else’s. Other taboo topics are religion, sex and politics, according to Martin. Although these topics are fascinating to many, they can cause emotions to run high, resulting in major disagreements among guests and a ruined dinner party.

  • Crises are indeed moments of opoportunity. Revolutionaries have sometimes hoped to create them in order to usher in change. Thanks for your comments.
    While Miss Manners may have an issue with discussing religion during a holiday dinner, I certainly don’t. As a Christian, I have to disagree with her on that. In the case of Thanksgiving, it’s hard to imagine giving thanks if no Creator exists, and the Christian God is the inspiration for this yearly thanksgiving.
    It is unfortunate that people attribute their success to themselves oftentimes. If one reflects properly, they’ll see they are part of a vast, intricate web of interdependency with the Almighty God orchestrating all things. It is also a terrible thing when Thanksgiving is equated wtih eating a well-cooked turkey with sides. Happy Turkey-Day simply isn’t adequate–it indicates profound ignorance and reduces the day to one of gluttony. That simply won’t do.

  • Honestly, I hate Thanksgiving for personal, childhood-wound reasons, but I guess I should be thanking God Almighty that my parents & sister are conservative, and cannot stand anything having to do with Obama. While I think the phrase, “It could be worse,” is extremely mean to say to people who are suffering, I do think can fit in well this Thanksgiving, in light of the propaganda going around.

  • Ace of Spades’ Turkey Day tip: “Hey remember when you said that ObamaCare was going to work great, and then, when people asked you how it actually worked, you sort of implied they were stupid for not knowing, and yet you never provided any evidence that you had any idea of how it was supposed to work yourself? Yeah, you were wrong then, too.”

    People want to discuss ObamaCare on Thanksgiving Day because it’s the largest turkey in America.

    Missy: Das dicke ende kommt noch. Which is very bad for the worldies, not so much for people of Faith: God fits the back for the burden: offer it up.

  • Jon, I agree with you in that my family thanks God for his blessings on Thanksgiving . . . if I have guests over I do not brow beat them with the Bible instead I try evangelize by example. It is a slower process but one I am more comfortable with. As an aside, I have found over time that confrontation is not the most effective form of changing someone’s opinion or views. Telling someone they are wrong or an idiot is not an effective method to win someone over. Pointing out flaws in their logic and then letting them come to their own conclusion is more effective. As for crisis, you seem to be agreeing with liberals that you can do anything you want as long as it advances your cause. I am sorry but I do not believe that the end justifies the means. It may be effective in the short run to get where you are going but how many wrong acts end in a just society? Is it better to lose your soul in your rush to an ends or is it better to lose the fight but keep your soul? I know my choice but God gives us free will so you can make yours. Please understand that I am a highly flawed man but with God grace I shall be healed.

PopeWatch: Three Errors

Tuesday, November 26, AD 2013




Sandro Magister is noting that Pope Francis seems to be correcting three errors:

ROME, November 22, 2013 – In the span of a few days Pope Francis has corrected or brought about the correction of a few significant features of his public image. At least three of them.

The first concerns the conversation that he had with Eugenio Scalfari, set down in writing by this champion of atheistic thought in “la Repubblica” of October 1.

The transcript of the conversation had in effect generated widespread dismay, because of some of the statements from the mouth of Francis that sounded more congenial to the dominant secular thinking than to Catholic doctrine. Like the following:

“Each one has his idea of good and evil and must choose to follow the good and fight the evil as he understands them.”

At the same time, however, the interview was immediately confirmed by Fr. Federico Lombardi as “faithful to the thought“ of the pope and “reliable in its general sense.”

Not only that. A few hours after it was published in “la Repubblica,” the interview was reproduced in its entirety both in “L’Osservatore Romano” and on the official website of the Holy See, on a par with the other discourses and documents of the Pope.

This gave birth to the idea that Jorge Mario Bergoglio had intentionally chosen the conversational form of expression, on this as on other occasions, as a new form of his magisterium, capable of reaching the general public more effectively.

But in the following weeks the pope must also have become aware of the risk that this form entails. The risk that the magisterium of the Church might fall to the level of a mere opinion contributed to the free exchange of ideas.

This in fact led to the decision, on November 15, to remove from the website of the Holy See the text of the conversation with Scalfari.

“It was removed,” Fr. Lombardi explained, “to clarify the nature of that text. There were some misunderstandings and disagreements about its value.”

On November 21, interviewed at the Roman headquarters of the foreign press, Scalfari nonetheless revealed more details of the matter.

He said that the pope, at the end of the conversation, had consented that it should be made public. And to Scalfari’s proposal that he send him the text beforehand, he had replied: “It seems like a waste of time to me, I trust you.”

In effect, the founder of “la Repubblica” sent the text to the pope, accompanied by a letter in which he wrote among other things:

“Keep in mind that I did not include some of the things that you said to me. And that some of the things that I attribute to you you did not say. But I put them there so that the reader may understand who you are.”

Two days later – again according to what Scalfari claims – the pope’s secretary, Alfred Xuereb, telephoned to give the go-ahead for  publication. Which took place the following day.

Scalfari commented: “I am perfectly willing to think that some of the things that I wrote and attributed to him are not shared by the pope, but I also believe that he maintains that, said by a nonbeliever, they are important for him and for the activity he is carrying out.”


But even the calibrated and thoroughly studied interview with Pope Francis in “La Civiltà Cattolica” – published on September 19 by sixteen magazines of the Society of Jesus in eleven languages – has in recent days been taken into the shop of things to be corrected.

On a key point: the interpretation of Vatican Council II.

This has been made clear by a passage of the letter written by Francis himself to Archbishop Agostino Marchetto on the occasion of the presentation on November 12 of a volume in his honor, against the solemn background of the Campidoglio. A letter that the pope wanted to be read in public.

The passage is the following:

“You have demonstrated this love [of the Church] in many ways, including by correcting an error or imprecision on my part – and for this I thank you from my heart – but above all it has been manifested in all its purity in your studies of Vatican Council II. I have said this to you once, dear Archbishop Marchetto, and I want to repeat it today, that I consider you the best hermeneut of Vatican Council II.”

The definition of Marchetto as “the best hermeneut” of the Council is striking in itself. Marchetto has in fact always been the most implacable critic of that “school of Bologna” – founded by Giuseppe Dossetti and Giuseppe Alberigo and today directed by Professor Alberto Melloni – which has the worldwide monopoly on the interpretation of Vatican II, in a progressive vein.

The hermeneutic of the Council upheld by Marchetto is the same as that of Benedict XVI: not of “rupture” and “new beginning,” but of “reform in the continuity of the one subject Church.” And it is this hermeneutic that Pope Francis has wanted to signify that he shares, in bestowing such high appreciation on Marchetto.

But if one rereads the succinct passage that Francis dedicates to Vatican II in the interview with “La Civiltà Cattolica,” one gets a different impression. “Yes, there are hermeneutical lines of continuity and of discontinuity,” the pope concedes. “Nonetheless,” he adds, “one thing is clear”: Vatican II was “a service to the people” consisting in “a reinterpretation of the Gospel in the light of contemporary culture.”

In the few lines of the interview dedicated to the Council, Bergoglio defines its essence this way three times, also applying it to the reform of the liturgy.

Such a judgment of the grandiose conciliar event immediately appeared so summary to many that even the pope’s interviewer, director of “La Civiltà Cattolica” Antonio Spadaro, confessed his amazement in transcribing it from the pope’s spoken words.

Meanwhile, however, this judgment has continued to garner widespread consensus.

For example, in receiving Pope Francis at the Quirinale on a visit on November 4, the president of the Italian republic, Giorgio Napolitano, thanked him precisely for making “resonate the spirit of Vatican Council II as a ‘reinterpretation of the Gospel in the light of contemporary culture,’” citing his exact words.

And praise for these same words of the pope has come – for example – from the foremost of the Italian liturgists, Andrea Grillo, a professor at the Pontifical Atheneum of St. Anselm, according to whom Francis has finally inaugurated the true and definitive “hermeneutic” of the Council, after having “immediately put in second place that diatribe over ‘continuity’ and ‘discontinuity’ which had long prejudiced – and often completely paralyzed – any effective hermeneutic of Vatican II.”

In effect, it is no mystery that “service to the people” and a reinterpretation of the Gospel “brought up to date” are concepts dear to the progressive interpretations of the Council and in particular to the “school of Bologna,” which has repeatedly declared itself to be an enthusiast of this pope.

But evidently there is someone who has personally pointed out to pope Bergoglio that reducing the Council to such concepts is at the least “imprecise,” if not “mistaken.”

And it was precisely Marchetto who took this step. There has always been great trust between him and Bergoglio, with mutual esteem. Marchetto lives in Rome at the residence for clergy on Via della Scrofa, in room 204, next to room 203 where the then-archbishop of Buenos Aires stayed during his trips to Rome.

Pope Francis not only listened to the criticisms of his friend, he welcomed them. To the point of thanking him, in the letter he had read on November 12, for having helped him in “correcting an error or imprecision on my part.”

It is to be presumed that in the future Francis will express himself on the Council in a way different from that of the interview in “La Civiltà Cattolica.” More in line with the hermeneutic of Benedict XVI. And to the great disappointment of the “school of Bologna.”


The third correction is consistent with the two previous ones. It concerns the “progressive” tone that Pope Francis has seen stamped upon the the first three months of his pontificate.

One month ago, on October 17, Bergoglio seemed to have confirmed this profile of his once again when in the morning homily at Santa Marta he directed stinging words against Christians who turn the faith into a “moralistic ideology,” entirely made up of “prescriptions without goodness.”

But one month later, on November 18, in another morning homily the pope played a completely different tune.

He used the revolt of the Maccabees against the dominant powers of the age as the point of departure for a tremendous tongue-lashing of that “adolescent progressivism,” Catholic as well, which is disposed to submit to the “hegemonic uniformity” of the “one form of thought that is the fruit of worldliness.”

It is not true, Francis said, that “in the face of any choice whatsoever it is right to move forward regardless, rather than remain faithful to one’s traditions.” The result of negotiating over everything is that values are so emptied of meaning as to end up merely “nominal values, not real.” Even more, one ends up negotiating precisely over “the thing essential to one’s very being, fidelity to the Lord.”

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9 Responses to PopeWatch: Three Errors

  • “…reinterpretation of the Gospel in the light of contemporary culture…”

    What we need is reinterpretaion of contemporary culture in light of the Gospel.

  • “…reinterpretation of the Gospel in the light of contemporary culture…”

    What we need is reinterpretaion of contemporary culture in light of the Gospel.

    I was not scared until now.

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  • Today’s Richmond paper reprinted a Washington Post article, “Pope blasts ‘trickle-down’ economics” which had quotes from the pope’s apostolic exhortation of Tuesday. As written it was not positive about the US.
    Reporting on religion in general is usually inaccurate and the Post is the worst. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

  • AT LEAST these are small steps in the right direction to correct the many malaprops of Bergoglio: but he has a long way to go to get on the Ratzinger-Wojtyla track. And he has a huge disadvantage: besides his limited theological educational background, he is a Jesuit, and most that I have met in recent years are way too full of themselves. And remember: his true self is as an self-proclaimed admirer of truly schismatic-bound late Cardinal Martini.

  • This man is just getting warmed up. He knows what he is doing and is not stupid, even though he appears that way. The verbal ambiguities and heretical statements are feelers to see how far he can push the envelope. His intentions are becoming oh so clear. Let us pray for Holy Mother Church.

  • I disagree, Barbara. I do not think Pope Francis is being deliberately heterodox. I think he believes he is being authentically Catholic. He simply brings with him all the social justice baggage of a Latin American cleric. He is not perfect. But the gates of hell will not prevail. The Holy Spirit preserved the Church from Popes who were really evil, and Pope Francis is NOT evil. I have been reading Evangelii Gaudium. I am about 1/3rd of the way through. There are some things (particularly on economics) that I disagree with (but that may be due to poor translation). Overall, it seems to be an excellent document – not perfect, but certainly better than what I could write.

  • Paul, you have every right to your opinion of this pope, as do I. We do not have to agree. Please know I will be praying for our Church and for Francis as well. The Truth never goes away, and, as time unfolds, Truth will be revealed. I ask God to bless you.

3 Responses to PSA: Most Domesticated Turkeys Cannot Fly!

Illinois 48th? I Protest!

Monday, November 25, AD 2013

5 Responses to Illinois 48th? I Protest!

  • Actually, Don, I think California will always have an edge on us in this department because their laws and courts are way screwier than ours. Plus, Rhode Island is so small and heavily urbanized and has a long enough history of municipal corruption that it could be a reflection of what Cook County might look like if it had its own state all to itself. On those two bases alone I would say they have beaten us to the bottom.

  • I respectfully disagree Elaine. Illinois has the worst credit rating of any of the States and that is an accurate reflection of the misgovernment that makes this rich state de facto bankrupt.

  • If by “worst run state” you mean “state with the worst/most incompetent FISCAL management,” then yes, I would agree we win… I mean lose… hands down. But if you define “worst run” to mean “worst in ALL aspects of overall governance” I still think there are at least a few states that are worse in that regard. CA and RI have already been mentioned, plus NJ and LA have, I think, more entrenched and pervasive corruption at the local government level.

    NY and CA are also still be worse us in some aspects of tax burdens and oppressive nanny state-ism; IL gained a few points in the personal freedom category by finally enacting a shall-issue concealed carry law, though the outcome of the rules implementation process for obtaining permits remains to be seen.

    As for which state is most corrupt, I dunno that “number of jailed governors or other public officials” is necessarily the most accurate measure of that.

    Personally I would say the best measure of corruption is: how difficult is it for an ordinary citizen lacking wealth or political connections to obtain needed services — for example, a professional license or a building permit — or to have a grievance resolved (e.g. a disputed tax bill) without resorting to extra-legal measures, such as paying bribes, seeking intervention from someone with more clout, or promising to vote for a particular person or slate of candidates? While Chicago is notorious for this type of corruption, I’m not sure how other communities or other states would compare; I suspect some might be as bad or worse.

  • Don – Don’t be a wuss. California just wanted it more than Illinois, and they outplayed you. And look at all that California has going for it: natural resources, an established educational system, cutting-edge technology, Hollywood. They managed to blow all of it in pursuit of their goal of #50. Put another couple million of your Illinoisans in unfunded prisons and come back next year.

    As for me, Maryland, My Maryland, you’re only in the middle of the pack, but I know you can do better. It’s that massive inflow of money from around the US – although I notice that your budget is still a mess. You’ve got the crime to make it to the 40’s, if you just didn’t have that high per capita income. Still, I respect your failure. Virginia is #14, and you’re #24. So squander away, and if states like Illinois keep phoning it in, you could be a playoff contender one day.

  • I have just been thinking, I know things have gotten a little better here, but what does it say about the REST of America, when PA (home of the one and only Philadelphia) is barely in the bottom half?

PopeWatch: Hermeneutic of Continuity

Monday, November 25, AD 2013




Father Z has what he believes is an important indication that Pope Francis is following in the footsteps of Pope Benedict in how he views Vatican II:


The 450th anniversary of the closing of the Council of Trent is coming up on 4 December.  We like to celebrate these great milestones in salvation history.  So, there are great doings in Trent, in the northern area of Italy which is part of the (also) German-speaking Tirol.  As is customary, Pope Francis will send a Cardinal as his personal representative.  Who better than His Eminence Walter Card. Brandmüller?

When the Pope sends a Cardinal off on one of these missions, he sends him a formal letter, charging him with his task and indicating something of his own hopes for the occasion.  The anniversary of the closing of the Council of Trent is no exception.

In his letter to Card. Brandmüller, Pope Francis explicitly cites Pope Benedict XVI pontificate-defining address in 2005 to the Roman Curia in which he spoke about the “hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture” (e.g., the Karl Rahner crowd and their descendants, still active today) and the “hermeneutic of reform”, or “hermeneutic of continuity”.

In this explicit reference Francis is aligning himself with Benedict and that key moment and concept underlying Benedict’s pontificate.

This comes in the wake of Francis writing to Archbishop Marchetto (refresh your memory HERE), a critic of one of the powerhouses of the ”hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture”, the so-called “Bologna School” of interpretation of the Council.  Francis surely broke a lot of liberal hearts when he referred to Marchetto (who in this matter is completely aligned with Benedict) as one of the best interpreters of the Council that he knows.

The letter of Francis to Card. Brandmüller is available in the Latin original in the Bollettino.  Here is my rapid translation of the first part of the letter, which is the important part.  I scaled down some of the flowery stuff. The second part is the usual boilerplate and of less interest.

To our Venerable Brother Walter Cardinal (of the Holy Roman Church) Brandmüller Deacon of St. Julian of the Flemish

Since the 450th anniversary of the day on which the Council of Trent drew to its favorable end, it is fitting that the Church recall with readier and more attentive eagerness the most rich doctrine which came out of that Council held in the Tyrol. It is certainly not without good reason that the Church has for a long time given such great care to that Council’s decrees and canons which are to be recalled and heeded, seeing that, since extremely grave matters and questions sprang up in that period, the Council Fathers employed all their diligence so that the Catholic faith should come into clearer view and be better understood. Without a doubt as the Holy Spirit inspired and prompted them, it was the Fathers’ greatest concern not only that the sacred deposit of Christian doctrine be defended, but also that mankind be more brightly illuminated, in order that the saving work of the Lord could be diffused throughout the entire globe and the Gospel be spread through the whole world.

Harking closely to the same Spirit, Holy Church in this age renews and meditates on the most abundant doctrine of the Council of Trent. In fact, the “hermeneutic of renewal” [interpretatio renovationis] which Our Predecessor Benedict XVI explained in 2005 before the Roman Curia, refers in no way less to the Council of Trent than to the Vatican Council. To be sure, this mode of interpretation places under a brighter light a beautiful characteristic of the Church which is taught by the Lord Himself: “She is a ‘subject’ which increases in time and develops, yet always remaining the same, the one subject of the journeying People of God” (Address of His Holiness Benedict XVI to the Roman Curia offering them his Christmas greetings – 22 December 2005).


This is a significant letter.

First, it affirms that we can indeed, and rightly, Read Francis Through Benedict.

Second, it affirms that Francis is, and rightly, reading Francis Through Benedict.

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19 Responses to PopeWatch: Hermeneutic of Continuity

  • “PopeWatch also wishes that it was not necessary to rely on such ‘tea leaves’ in figuring out where Pope Francis stands.”

    YES. This.

  • Ah yes, Fr. Z. You gotta admire his relentless optimism. He’s downright determined to make Francis into what he should be. God bless him for that.

  • My impression has been that Roman Catholicism crystallized with Trent; that it continues to teach the very same things. Is this correct, anyone?

  • Jon,

    Whether we are speaking of the Council of Trent, the Second Vatican Council, or any of the Ecumenical Councils of the Church, the very same Church, the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, meets, preserves and passes on ( teaches) the Apostolic Tradition, the Catholic Faith. Now it does so under very different Historical contexts, with very different questions, problems, or issues that the Church needed to face and or address.

    When the Council of Trent met, between 1545 and 1565 (The bishops did not meet for twenty straight years; there were periods of time the Council was not in session), the Medieval world and world view was collapsing being replaced with the Renaissance. The Scholastic way of teaching was being replaced by the Humanist ( here don’t think of secular humanism). The culture was changing from an oracular ( based on hearing/listening) to literary ( reading) thanks to the invention of the printing press, bringing profound changes in communication. Although it is a myth that the Medieval world thought that the world was flat- they knew from the ancient Greeks it was round, Europeans now discovered the New World of the Americas, and their native people’s, as well as discovering just how big Africa was by sailing around its southern tip. Although not yet well known, Copernicus, a Polish cleric in minor orders, had already theorized that the sun, not earth was the center:we moved around it, not it around us, as the ancient Greeks and common perception would have it ( This would all blow up in the very poorly handled Galileo affair in the 1600’s)

    The Church, as in every age, needed reform and renewal. In many ways it had grown too comfortable with the Medieval world view, and confused that with her identity and Tradition. It is true, that in certain aspects of Church life, things needed to change-big time. She was still teaching the truths of the Catholic Faith using the Scholastic method, with disputations and argumentation-a method used in the Universities. While several generations of Catholic humanists were calling for a Return to the Sources: Sacred Scripture and the Fathers of the Church ( for example, Erasmus and Saint (Sir) Thomas More), the Church in general was resistant.

    Catholic Reform however was being called for and within the religious orders especially, was underway. One of those reforming orders were the Augustinian Friars and one of their number was Father Martin Luther. His first calls for reform were met with genuine acceptance, because they were Catholic. Because it was a Dominican, John Tetzel, who set Luther off in the way Tetzel was presenting indulgences for the sake of building the new ( our present day) Saint Peter’s Basilica, it was thought that it was simply an argument between two monks. That was not the case. Soon the whole of Germany then Northern Europe was on fire ( Much of what happened can be traced to cultural differences between Northern and Southern Europe).

    As we have spoken before early Luther was indeed Catholic, but soon he himself became enflamed, becoming more and more radicalized. Other Reformers, even more radical at first joined with him, but later broke with him over doctrinal matters ( the biggest issue was the Eucharist which Luther believed to be the Body and Blood of Christ-although he did not hold the full Catholic Teaching on the subject; the other Reformers believed the Eucharist to be symbolic but not really Christ’s Bodily Presence). Luther’s biggest issue was justification by grace and received/ accepted by faith. He limited the sacraments to two, basing that teaching to his acceptance of Scripture alone. Calvin first followed him, then broke with his teaching. King Henry VIII first fought Luther’s teaching, then forced the whole Church in England to break with Rome and see him as head of the Church. The King of Sweden did not like his Cardinal in Stockholm’s policies and all but literally overnight made the whole Church in what are now the Scandanavian countries, bishops and all, Lutheran.

    It was in response to this firestorm that the Council of Trent was called. Luther, and Calvin were invited to the Council, but refused to go. The Council had two fundamental tasks, answer the doctrinal “questions and positions” of the Reformers and totally reform, not the substance of the Church ( teachings, sacraments, governance) but the way things were behind done. No change in moral teaching but in the morals of her members. There were two groupings within the Council, one group wanted to present Church teaching, reform her ways, but be more irenic ( peaceful) toward the Reformers and their Reformation. Cardinal Reginald Pole was among their number as was the Father General of the Capuchins. They in no way accepted the teaching of the Reformers, but thought reconciliation with the Reformers might still be possible, and wanted the Council to work toward that goal. The other group, intensely reformist, believed that the Reformers wre in fact ” gone”, no reconciliation was possible. They wanted to present the Church’s teaching clearly in response to and in rejection of the Reformers. There was no real dispute in the Council over the teachings of the Church or the need for a deep reform of the Church. The dispute was how best to present and go about this reform. The second group prevailed.

    When the Council of Trent ended on December 4th, 1565, it was the same Catholic Church that emerged from it that had entered the Council, but it nonetheless looked very different. The Medieval Catholic Church had emerged from the Council, the Church of the early Modern Era, “the Tridentine” Catholic Church.

  • I am with Elizabeth: Fr. Z is an optimist and I hope he will be right. However: Two points: the hermeneutic of rupture obviously exists, or Benedict XVI would not have spent so much time and effort trying to remediate the problem. Just anecdotally: how many times have you spoken to a priest about a matter and gotten the “Oh,-we- dont-teach-that-doctrine-since-V2-anymore” response. Recently, I brought some very good extra Catholic books to a good priest I know and admire, for his distribution to other Catholics: when he looked at some of them (all classic works, all imprimatur, some were Pre V2 catechisms), he demurred, saying, “Oh we dont teach that since Vatican II.” My point: on the ground level, there was a rupture in teaching at V2.
    2nd point: Pope Francis is being reined in—by someone, or some group of people, after his recent rhetorical blunders. DICI, a trad publication notes: “…The interview that Pope Francis granted on October 1 at the Italian daily newspaper La Repubblica, this interview, which was available on the Vatican website, was taken down on November 15, at the request of the Secretariat of State. One question-and-answer had already been condemned by L’Osservatore Romano, the one in which the Pope declared that everyone had his concept of good and evil and that he had to follow his conscience.

    On the day after the publication of the interview, faced with the dismayed reactions of many Catholics, Fr. Federico Lombardi, spokesman for the Holy See, had explained that this was neither a Magisterial document nor an encyclical, but rather an occasion for the Supreme Pontiff to express himself “with great sincerity and simplicity” (sic). In order to justify the decision to remove it from the Vatican website, Fr. Lombardi declared: “The text is reliable on a general level, but not on the level of each individual point analyzed,” since the interview had not been recorded and no written notes were taken. Pope Francis has to stop making his personalistic comments declaratory of the Catholic Church, pure and simple. As documented before, he has a deficient theological background (certainly when compared to JP2 and BXVI). The time to get a clue has come.

  • Thanks, Botolph, for that rather thoughtful explanation of things. I don’t think cultural differences were responsible for the profound change during this era, except in part insofar as the emergence of political nationalism and some differentiation of national identity began to emerge–though not too much. Actually, the PRotestant churches would further facilitate nationalism. Thanks for explaining the Roman church today as tridentine. I wanted to know if Vatican II brought any significant alterations, but it does not seem so. Theologically, you say it is tridentine I think.
    Interestingly, the Renaissance worldview was Medieval; it was just more elaborate (see Tillyard’s the Elizabethan World Picture). C. S. Lewis drove home the point that all we have, generally speaking, are pictures, and the intellectuals of any time usually know that. People sensed the world was round and revolving around the sun and so on, but people also have other models and approaches that work better for practical purposes, and then there’s popular or common prejudices, etc.
    I think tradition is oftentimes legitimate. The difference, and what’s at stake, is the question of its role. Protestants wish to keep tradition subservient to Scripture. The apostolic era is done and the canon is closed. To place tradition on an equal footing with Scripture at this point would create serious problems.
    When christendom split at the Reformation, cultural differences emerged. Generally, cultural differences were the effect, not the cause of that split. The cause of the split was tension that built up over Scripture versus church tradition, with the south mainly siding with Rome on tradition and the north, for different reasons, siding mostly with Scripture and independent thought.
    Some people wanted political change, others were humanists, and still others were purists of the Christian faith. The English and Scandinavian revolutions were propelled by political interests more than theological per se. But note that within the political movements new churches often emerged solely over theological reasons.
    The central difference then and more so now from my perspective is this: Roman Catholicism places tradition on a par with Scriptrure while Protestantism’s only/ultimate authority remains Scripture. Do you agree?

  • Jon,

    First, let me make this point, a point often overlooked or under rated by many. Since 1545, the year the Council of Trent bega, the Catholic Church has had three Ecumenical Councils: Trent, Vatican I and Vatican II. These three Councils are intricately related ( just as the first four Councils are). Although all Councils need to be seen and interpreted within the whole Catholic Tradition, these three cannot be understood without eac other. All three are ultimately about the Mystery of the Church at the beginning of the Modern Era (Renaissance-Reformation: Trent), in response to radical aspects of the Enlightenment: Vatican I and finally in response the end of the Modern Age and the beginning of the Post Modern Era: Vatican II. Jon you are correct to call the present Church Tridentine, however within the new historical context of the beginning of the post modern era, it would be more precise to call today’s Church as post Vatican II.

    As to your questions concerning Tradition and Scripture, it is important to note that each of the three Councils just mentioned contain teaching on this subject, with a bit of development manifest in the next Council. Catholics and Protestants believe and hold to the the authority of the Word of God, Jesus Christ, the full revelation of God ( see Hebrews 1.1). God had revealed Himself and His saving will in ” many and various ways through the prophets” but never fully. The fullness of Revelation is the Person of Jesus Christ, and in and through Jesus Christ.

    In turn, the Risen Christ handed on (Traditio) this full revelation to the Apostles, the Apostolic Tradition ( none of which was written down, except of course the Greek version of theHebrew Scriptures, which became through Christ, the Old Testament. Within the Apostolic generation some of that Apostolic Tradition was written down under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Those inspired texts were accepted by the Apostolic and sub apostolic ( next generations) Church as authoritative and normative. Along with these Scriptures an authoritative summary and synthesis of the whole revelation, the word of God was also handed on: the Rule (canon) of Faith. This ancient and authoritative Rule of Faith was passed on generation after generation, to each new catechumen (convert) coming into the Church in the sacraments of Initiation. This ancient Rule of Faith, a particularly well known form of which we know as the Apostles’ Creed is authoritative and normative. It is completely drawn from the Scriptures, but it also interprets Scripture. Finally, when struggling with many texts all claiming apostolic authority or authorship (Gnostic texts etc), the early Church was able to discern the texts whether they were in continuity or faithful to the Rule of Faith.

    See, Jon, Scripture and Tradition are not totally separate sources of Revelation, the word of God. Like husband and wife the two, while distinct, are intimately one. This is the contribution of Vatican II. While maintaining the distinction of Scripture and Tradition, Vatican II emphasizes the authority of the revelation of God, the word of God, handed down by the Word of God made flesh to the Apostles who in turn handed the revelation down in the Apostollic Tradition. Two particular forms of this revelation, word, Tradition are Sacred Scripure and Sacred Tradition in the Rule of Faith and Apostolic Succession.

  • Botolph, I agree tradition was ongoing in the sense that the apostles taught and wrote and this body of teaching continued to be transmitted. I totally understand that. I just think eventually other teachings that were alien to Christianity ‘crept in’ and became part of that (T)radition. So I believe we have to unravel the true traditions from the false ones. Further, some traditions aren’t false but merely extra-biblical. These are not binding. That’s my take on tradition. In other words, not all tradition is sacred, and not everything that’s sacred is authoritative and normative. I hold to a more nuanced and complex understanding of tradition.

  • Jon,

    First let me say that I have been using Tradition with a capital T. That distinguishes it from tradition or traditions with a diminutive t. The distinction is very important for Catholics. Tradition with a capital T is the Apostolic Tradition, Revelation which as you rightly stated in your earlier post was closed at the end of the Apostolic Age. This Apostolic Tradition can only be handed down to new generations, be preserved and protected. Nothing can be added to this Tradition or subtracted from it-by anyone- not even the popes and bishops. This Apostolic Tradition is especially manifested in the Sacred Scriptures but not limited to them. I believe that is the rub for Protestants.

    Let me ask you this. Where do you find, in any of the Books of the Bible, but for the sake of argument we will stick to the NT, the list of the Canon of the Scriptures, which books made it into the New Testament? This becomes a real issue for Protestants when the Da Vinci Code or National Geographic or the History Channel start talking about some new book found or papyrus fragment discovered claiming to be some lost writing of an apostle. Or how can you, on the basis of only referring to the Books of the Bible, declare the extra books added by the Mormons or the peculiarities of. Mormon or Jehovah Witness translations of the Bible, or even the criticisms of Moslems who claim that both Jews and Christians have corrupted Scripture but the Quuran gets them right: how can “you” answer these points, criticisms and objections using only the texts of Sacred Scripture? What, then is your authority that validates the Sacred Scriptures, since no Christians believe the Scriptures were authored only by God Himself, as the Moslems do the Quuran?? Who has the ability/ authority to choose which books made it and which books did not? By what substantive criteria do “they” use to decide this- remember, there are many books with apostole’s name on the text?

    See Jon, Apostolic Tradition both contains and passes on Apostolic Succession: the Apostolic College (Peter and Apostles) is passed on down through the centuries in the Popes, the successors of Peter and the college of bishops in communion with him. In the second century the bishops, such as Saint Irenaeus, arrived at the beginnings of what we now call the Canon. First against Marcion who wanted to throw out the whole Old Testament and most of the New, because those books were too Jewish. Then which books claiming apostolic authorship and authority were authentic, based on two further criteria: agreement with the Rule of Faith and agreement with what the Church in Rome founded on Peter and Paul, believed and taught.

    Tradition is what has been handed down, authoritatively taught, celebrated ( all seven sacraments) and preserved and not added to, by the Catholic Church. Tradition is the essence, substance of the Church and cannot be changed only developed and explained. Everything else is tradition with a small t, and while venerable etc are not of the essence or substance of the Church and can be changed.

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  • The church did not decide the canon; it discerned it. Protestants believe that and trust the Holy Spirit’s role in that. So any texts introduced later on are considered bogus. Remember, we have the Spirit within which knows the truth as well as the spirit of Antichrist. If you read the gospel of Thomas, for example, you’ll sense you’re dealing with a different spirit.
    The church is always advancing theology, which in one sense can be considered development. But Protestants understand theology is subject to scriptural critique and may be scrapped at any time. We always ‘go back’ to the Bible for continual correction. So Protestants mean something different when they speka of tradition. It’s not really development, but contextualization and re-contextualization. In terms of this, what tradition looks like now can be quite different from what it looks like somewhere else in the future. The traditions in Scripture, however, must be upheld at all times.
    Viewed from one angle, the only difference between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism lies in terms of how tradition is defined and/or the role afforded it. Your thoughts?

  • Jon,

    How Catholics and Protestants define Tradition and the role afforded it is sadly not the only issue dividing Catholics and Protestants. While a Protestant can come to the Catholic Church and receive one doctrinal or moral truth when asked (here I am speaking of actual, genuine, authoritative teaching- not some ‘theological theory or opinion’) a Catholic cannot go to an authoritative Protestant source. How many denominations and non denominational groups are there? I am not attempting to be sarcastic here, just frustrated. Last count I heard there are well over thirty thousand denominations!

    The crux of the matter between Catholic and Protestant ” positions” is the relationship between Christ and the Church. Is the Church the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12), His visible presence in the world-or not? Is. The Church the Bride of Christ (Eph. 5) , the New Eve (Gen 2), drawn from the pierced side of the New Adam as He slept in death (Jn 19) and receiving new life from Her Spouse in the Garden of the Resurrection (Jn 20) which in turn, by the power of the Holy Spirit She is able to share with Her children in and through the Sacraments?

    Is the Church, according to Christ’s intention and the ‘ constitution’ He gave Her a visible or invisible community? If invisible why did He pray at the Last Supper that ” they may be one” (Jn 17)? If She was invisible who could tell and how could they tell that She was or was not “one”? When Christ ascended into heaven did He leave a Book or a Church? Can one really claim that the only way the Apostles left their authority to the future generations of the Church only in the Scriptures ? If so, how can the Scriptures ” assert” their authority without a Church reading, interpreting and yes, coming to conclusive and authoritative decisions concerning their meaning? Or are we truly left bereft with every person deciding his own interpretation?

    I will take this moment to again ask- why are you carrying on this kind of ” dialogue”? Are these questions that you have really leading anywhere or is this just a continuous dialogue carried on as if all we have are opinions outside the Scriptures themselves-which of course themselves are opened to endless interpretations with no hope of really arriving. at an authoritative Truth? To each response that I have written, you seem to simply give back the “Protestant” position with no real movement toward further insight into the truth-at least it comes off this way. If we aren’t getting anywhere, the point of this is……what?

  • I think it’s a matter of degree. If by authoritative you mean the ability to commmunicate the gospel message and to bring it to bear on all of life, I would say that some Protestant churches do that and others don’t. That’s about as authoritative as I would expect, given the Bible is a story that culminates in the Kingdom of God and its implications. It’s a matter of believing it and becoming a part of it by faith. This also means recognizing our bankrupcy before God and his gracious gift, i. e. Jesus Christ. Plenty of churches exist that will speak prophetically and authoritatively about that. Unfortunately, many Protestant denominations choose to adopt liberal progressivism; they capitalize on the social justice aspect to the detriment of everything else. This is a travesty. These are the churhes that are unable to speak prophetically (except when it is a social matter–and oftentimes they’re wrong on those matters).
    I know many denominations and non-denominational groups exist. This was never a problem for me. I never thought of the church in the Roman Catholic sense. I only wish these grouops accepted each others’ diversity to a greater extent. Too often, they critisize and judge each other. A loving acceptance of the diversity of Christ’s body demonstrates the unity we have in Christ. The diversity is by no means a sign that we aren’t one. Of course Christ and his body are inseparable. I do not think the church must always be visibly apparent and structurally unified across time and space.
    We can and often do misread the Bible. God’s people are guided by the Spirit who is our interpreter, and that’s an ongoing process. It is not that every person decides meaning for themselves. All authentic Christians agree on the essentials of our faith. Disagreement arises concerning various particulars.
    I think you may be framing the debate in terms that are way too black-and-white. I would like to reiterate that my positoin and the position of many Christians is more complex and nuanced, not necessarily representing the stereotypically Protestant viewpoint. You seem to say the Roman Church has truth and can speak authoritatively. Well, I would point out that otehr chruches exist, which do the same. Tradition is an element for many Christian groups, but Protestants generally define it differently from Catholics.
    I suspect, in fact, that the major difference really is the role of tradition. When a church believes in the PRotestant understanding of the role of tradition, it is interpreted in terms of Scripture. Scripture is used to make sense of everything else.
    The purpose of this dialogue, as I said before, is to gain mutual insight into each others’ positions as well as our own. I think you sense we’re at an impasse now, and that is probably the role of tradition. That seems to be what it all comes down to, even if it doesn’t look like that from where you’re standing.

  • Of course a major difference exists beyond all this, but it’s rooted in the broader problem of the role of traditiion. That difference entails justification. Is one justified by faith alone or by faith and works? My response is that we’re justified by faith alone, and that that fatih will necessarily bear fruit. So we’re justified by faith alone, but not by a faith that is alone if that makes sense. I think the distinction is crucial. Portions of Scripture abound that hammer it in.

  • Jon,

    Actually we have come not to an impass but crossroads. The real issue is not the role and authority of Tradition (Luther’s principle of Scripture alone), or how we are saved ( Luther’s principle of “faith alone”). These are indeed important and have been answered in the Council of Trent. The real issue is the Truth. We both believe Jesus Christ is the Truth. We both believe that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth. However beyond that agreement is harder to find.

    Let me say this. Anything I say about the Catholic Church, Her teachings, Her Sacraments, Her ‘ government’ given to us by Christ, I say in humility. I have been given the gift of faith in God, in Jesus Christ and in Hiis Holy Spirit in the Church ( communion-fellowship of the Spirit). At a very young age I believed God loved me and that I was a child of God. A bit later in life I encountered Christ Who entered my life in a very deep way and lifted me up, guiding me along life’s paths, and has led me to this point. I have come realize that the Church is not an institution ” over there”, or those people ” over there”. The Church is ” We”, “us”. All who believe in their hearts that Jesus is Lord and confess with their lips that God raised Him from the dead and is baptized is a member of the Church-perhaps not (yet) in full communion with the Church, but are indeed a child of God, a member of the Body of Christ and (unless in serious post-baptismal sin) a dwelling place of the Holy Spirit.

    Catholics do not possess the truth, instead we are grasped by the Truth. That truth sets us free. By the grace of the Spirit we are maintained in the Truth. With Christ’s own commission we teach everything Christ has taught us in making disciples of all nations, and are empowered by the Spirit to do so.

    What I am about to sat, Jon, you will no doubt have difficulty hearing, never mind accepting. However it is this: by Christ’s own promise and the Gift of the Spirit of Truth, the Catholic Church in substance, in Her essentials, is the same Church of the Apostolic Age, the age of the Fathers, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Modern era, and now the Post-modern age. That is not a boast. We can only boast in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. However it is the truth, to which I am called to witness. “I can do no other, so help me God”

  • Thank you for your testimony! I’m glad you point out that Jesus Christ is the Truth to which the Spirit witnesses. But I sense you still need the church to be visibly and institutionally one, whereas unity in the Spirit is sufficient according to my understanding. The nature of the church is an issue that’s part of a larger one: the role of tradition. So in a sense, as I said before, Sola Scriptura is the central dividing point; our differences relate to the role of tradition. It is in relation to this that the justification issue and all others are decided. What do you think?

  • Jon,

    As I stated before, we have reached a crossroads. We are no longer ” on the (same) road together”. We are no longer really speaking with each other, but sadly, past each other. That to me is an exercise in frustration. I know Catholic doctrine and Protestant interpretations do not agree, and so do you.

    I think it is interesting to note that you keep pointing out or insisting that it is Tradition/Sola Scriptura that is the flash point, when both Catholics and Lutherans stated the fundamental issue was ” justification” Catholics and Lutherans have pondered, prayed over and worked in a constructive dialogue that led to a joint confession: we are justified by the grace of Jesus Christ through faith”. We finally got past the now centuries old argument between faith alone and faith and works. I also would point out that this is the teaching of the Council of Trent.

    Since our paths are diverging once again, I wish you well, pray that the Lord blesses you and yours. I won’t be entering into any further dialogue on Catholic/Protestant differences with you on this blog site. However I do pray that we might ” merrily meet in heaven”, as Saint Thomas More once prayed

  • Thanks, Botolph. And have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  • Jon,

    Thank you A happy Thanksgiving to you as well! God bless you

November 25, 1863: Missionary Ridge

Monday, November 25, AD 2013


The culmination of the Chattanooga campaign, the battle began in the morning on November 25 with Sherman attempting to take Tunnel Hill.  His attacks met with no success in the face of fierce Confederate resistance.

Grant ordered the Army of the Cumberland to advance against Missionary Ridge, and the attack began at 3:30 PM.  Grant, doubting that the heavily fortified Missionary Ridge could be taken by a frontal assault, ordered that only the rifle pits at the base of the ridge be taken, with the troops to await further orders.  Thomas launched a four division attack, about 23,000 men.  The rifle pits were taken, and the Union troops began to come under heavy fire from Confederate positions on Missionary Ridge.  They immediately began a charge up the ridge to the astonishment of Grant:

 Our men drove the troops in front of the lower line of rifle-pits so rapidly, and followed them so closely, that rebel and Union troops went over the first line of works almost at the same time. Many rebels were captured and sent to the rear under the fire of their own friends higher up the hill. Those that were not captured retreated, and were pursued. The retreating hordes being between friends and pursuers caused the enemy to fire high to avoid killing their own men. In fact, on that occasion the Union soldier nearest the enemy was in the safest position. Without awaiting further orders or stopping to reform, on our troops went to the second line of works; over that and on for the crest—thus effectually carrying out my orders of the 18th for the battle and of the 24th for this charge. 

I watched their progress with intense interest. The fire along the rebel line was terrific. Cannon and musket balls filled the air: but the damage done was in small proportion to the ammunition expended. The pursuit continued until the crest was reached, and soon our men were seen climbing over the Confederate barriers at different points in front of both Sheridan’s and Wood’s divisions. The retreat of the enemy along most of his line was precipitate and the panic so great that Bragg and his officers lost all control over their men. Many were captured, and thousands threw away their arms in their flight.

Missionary Ridge

The battle of Missionary Ridge was the most stunning example in the War of a frontal attack against a fortified position succeeding.  Bragg’s center was broken and his army routed, with headlong retreat being the only course of action open to him.  Confederate and Union casualties were each about 10,000 with another 4000 Confederates taken prisoner.  Many of the Army of the Cumberland Union troops went into battle yelling “Chickamauga!  Chickamauga!”  That defeat was now well avenged, and the Chattanooga Campaign was at an end.  Here is the report of Major General George Thomas, commander of the Army of the Cumberland:

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