Wooing the Catholic demographic: CNN’s Jake Tapper interviews President Obama about Pope Francis…

Friday, January 31, AD 2014


The folks over at CNN emailed The Motley Monk the transcript of Jake Tapper’s January 30th interview of President Obama. Among the topics covered was the President’s upcoming trip to Rome which includes a meeting with Pope Francis.

The transcript:

TAPPER: Are you bringing [your daughters] to the Vatican for when you meet the Pope?  Are they going to come?

[OBAMA]: You know they met, uh, the previous pope, the last one.  [Umm, who was that guy?] But I’m not sure they’re going to have a chance to go this time.  It was wonderful great story.  Sasha was still pretty young at the time, it was my  first year in office and they see the Sistene Chapel and they’re going through the various chambers, each time she’d she somebody dressed up in the cloth she’d say ‘Is that the pope?  Is that the pope?’  How bout that guy over there?’ No no you’ll know when it is finally the pope.

TAPPER: I was thinking about this pope and there’s so much excitement that he’s going to change everything.   [Dream on, Jake. “Everything?” Come now!] You want to talk to him about managing expectations at all is that something he needs to think about?

OBAMA: I have been really impressed so far with the way he has communicated what I think is the essence of the Christian faith and that is a true sense of brotherhood and sisterhood and a true sense of regard for those who are less fortunate.  My suspicion is based on what I’ve seen of him so far, he’s a pretty steady guy.  I don’t think he needs any advice from me on staying humble. [That’s for sure.]

TAPPER: He’s not worrying about his approval ratings? [Imagine that! Someone on the face of the globe who isn’t interested in approval ratings? BTW: If the Pope was worried about his approval ratings, he’d not have said some of the things he’s said.]

OBAMA: I don’t think he is.  I think he is someone who is very much focused on his faith and what he needs to do to make sure that folks not just in the Catholic faith, but people all over the world are living out the message that he thinks are consistent with the lessons of Jesus Christ so I’ve really been impressed with him so far. [There you have it. Pope Francis gets an endorsement from President Obama, even though Pope Francis has said “No” to abortion, women priests, so-called “homosexual marriage,” and the like.]

The Motley Monk isn’t quite sure how or why he was emailed the transcript with the portion of the interview concerning Pope Francis highlighted. Perhaps CNN is attempting to woo the “Catholic demographic,” the 75% of U.S. Catholics whose positions on moral issues align with those of President Obama.



To access Jake Tapper’s interview, click on the following link:

To access The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:


Continue reading...

18 Responses to Wooing the Catholic demographic: CNN’s Jake Tapper interviews President Obama about Pope Francis…

  • When President Obama uses Executive Orders to bypass the will of the people, Congress, no matter how nice he makes it sound, he effectively ceases to represent his constituents and therefore forfeits his presidential office. In a manner of speaking, Obama will successfully have self-excommunicated himself from the Presidency. Obama will become an ordinary citizen and lose the power of the Executive office and the Executive Order.
    The taxes Obama is planning to use are not his, but the taxes of his constituents. Therefore, Obama becomes a thief, a swindler, a liar.
    Every Executive order written by Obama , all 923 of them, see Vision to America News [email protected]
    are examples of his seizure of autocratic power.
    It is obvious, now that Obama’s daughters have reached the age of reason, and can think for themselves, he no longer wants his daughters to see the Pope Francis.
    The problem in the autocratic echelons is that in their plunge to get and hold power, they refuse to see that the world is spinning and constantly moving forward. Growth, a sign of life, is obliterated because the powers that be, need things to stay the same, stagnant, stale, and under their boot.

  • So the most incisive question Jake Tapper can think of to ask Obama about the Pope is You want to talk to him about managing expectations at all is that something he needs to think about?
    Basically, Tapper compares the Pope’s entry onto the world stage with Obama’s entry onto the world stage, and would Obama like to give the new guy any advice. ???

  • Everything that guy just said is a lie.

  • Two interesting takes May and Tamsin.
    I wonder if Bill O’Reilly will ask a Catholic question. Maybe about the Little Sisters of the Poor.

  • Why does it seem people aren’t really bothered by lies ?

  • Anzlyne, it really bothers me. The world is unwell.
    Why doesn’t it bother anyone (else)? He who tells the most lies, wins, if the media also want what he wants and they do. It is aspirational lying, supported for now by our relative affluence. ($17T debt? Unreal.) We don’t want the truth, we want stories. 🙂 Ben Rhodes, one of the highest National Security advisors to the president, has a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. Yes, the guy who is helping “shape the narrative” of the foreign policy of the world’s Last Superpower is a creative writer.

  • There aren’t chambers in the Sistine Chapel.

  • wooot I never heard of “aspirational lying” before so I looked it up! Lying to make yourself look better, like you wish you were. Yes I can see that happening.!
    I also see just old fashioned lying to trick people into giving you your way.
    Proverbs 6:16-19
    There are six things that the Lord hates,
    seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
    and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans,
    feet that hurry to run to evil, ” a lying witness who testifies falsely,
    and one who sows discord in a family.

  • This article just sickens me…FIRSTLY, Our Pope is not ‘this guy’. WOW. Second, as a previous commentator said, there are NO CHAMBERS in the Sistine Chapel… I am so disgusted with the using of MY FAITH with lies to garner more favor among more of the weak and faithless in the Catholic Faith…But, dumb me, He did that already. I am praying really hard that Pope Francis is FIRM and mentions the Catholic Church’s stand on ABORTION and as to so called same sex marriage. I love the rewriting of MY FAITH by Jake and Barack… NO ONE EVER would think what those two babbled about who loves their Catholic Faith, and, as having any real sense of Christ’s Bride . The Catholic Church.

  • Obama is the greatest student of Alinsky.

    He equates his lies as a tool to get the advantage he desires.

    Tar and feathering this molester of free people is not enough.

    Rats. I just remembered.
    I’m to pray for him.

  • Must agree with all of your reflections so far! Anzlyne, That’s exactly how I feel about our homilies every Sunday. Beautiful stories, absolutely nothing on teachings and truths of the faith. When I am in my little Church in Southern Colorado, our Priest, Father Williams, who is from Nigeria, “teaches” through every homily connected with that days readings. I have been at Mass when there may be 8 of us and you would think he is preaching to a packed house, and by gosh, when you leave that Mass you “know” what the Church is teaching. No one can say, “no one ever told me that.” On Sunday’s when he does have a packed Church he is exactly the same with his homilies. It is so fantastic and I just wanted you to know that there are some Catholic Priests who actually know their faith, are not afraid of teaching the truths and so be it.

  • “Philip: “Rats. I just remembered. I’m to pray for him.”
    Barack Obama was created in innocence and virginity, bodily and spiritually at the first moment of his existence. Barack belongs to our God and is one person for whom Christ died so that Barack might return to our Father in heaven to WHOM he belongs. If one prays, there is no way one cannot pray for all in The Lord’s prayer, the OUR FATHER. Barack was an innocent babe in the arms of his mother after nine months in her womb.
    So it is with Andrew Cuomo.
    I must pray for them too.
    My prayer is : “God made them, God will take care of them. Blessed be God in His angels and in His saints.” If they reject the Divine Providence of The Declaration of Independence and our Blessings of Liberty, and refuse to honor our Constitution in the Fifth Amendment my prayer stays the same: “God made them, God will take care of them. Blessed be God in His angels and in His saints.” If anyone miss the boat, it is their choice. Glad you’re aboard.

  • I pray for Obama but it makes me sick to look at him. Obama is the epitome of disgusting.

  • Mary De Voe.

    My mother is the personification of peace. She is also Irish. When Obama makes his presence known via television, my mom raises her temper and cannot get to the remote fast enough to “turn him off.”

    Your correct in your attitude for prayer.
    Thank you for helping me along.
    Can’t wait until the ship arrives at the golden Eternal shoreline.

  • “Why does it seem people aren’t really bothered by lies ?”

    I think it came in three stages. Under Nixon, we didn’t expect to be lied to. We were genuinely surprised at the extent of it. Under Clinton, well, he was just so good at it! Now, we’ve reached the point where we just assume that everyone’s lying. I think Garrison Keiller once said that a politician telling the truth is like a blue 7. Sometimes when you see a 7, it’s blue, and sometimes when you see something blue, it’s a 7, but there’s no reason when you see one thing to immediately assume it’s the other. That’s what we accept now.

  • “he’s a pretty steady guy”, is he serious? Have some damn respect Obama.

    His choice of words are as thought-out as his stupid policies.

  • ”75% of U.S. Catholics whose positions on moral issues align with those of President Obama”- that’s a crying shame.

    I can tell you for a fact that the majority of practicing Catholics outside of the US, for example Australia where I live, do not like Obama- this opinion stems from his politics and from his record on protecting life, and support of the gay agenda. Catholics are not fooled just because he is your first “black” president.

    And I also know that the business world shakes it’s head at his management of the US Economy (or should I say, mis-management). He appears as though he has a poor understanding of numbers, and of the way an economy should be stimulated. A second term and he still is fluffing his way through it!

    So I guess from an outsider’s perspective, its difficult to sometimes see the truth from the lies when you are immersed in the situation, as the US population are.

    And that 75% Catholics who eat his lies, are really choosing to turn a blind eye because not doing so, is too difficult to bear- if you can admit that the leader of your country is taking you for a ride by his own agenda, you can’t help but feel despondent, frustrated and depressed. Trust me, we had your government for 5 years! It was a very uninspiring and depressing time in our nation- even though it was meant to be a wonderful time (Gillard was our first female PM), it was the exact opposite.

    I pray things turn around for your country. Soon.

  • The Pope is going to smoke Obama. Not sure how yet, but I can see it happening already.

Class and Amnesty

Friday, January 31, AD 2014




Usually forgotten in the debates over illegal immigration is the class aspect.  A good example of this is why the House  GOP leadership embraced amnesty yesterday.  For Democrats an embrace of amnesty is obvious:  more Democrat voters down the road based on current voting patterns.  The reason why Republicans would agree to such a plan brings out the class dimension.

I can only imagine the amount of money the Chamber of Commerce and other pro-illegal alien groups must be throwing at the House GOP leadership for them to embrace amnesty, a policy hated by almost all rank and file Republicans.  Go here to read about the plan proffered by the GOP leadership which is barely disguised amnesty for illegal aliens.  The desire of many businesses for a continuing stream of illegal aliens from south of the border, drawn by the lure of eventual legalization, as occurred with the 1986 amnesty, is a betrayal of our own native workers at a time of high unemployment.  Senator Jeff Sessions (R.AL) explains this largely ignored aspect of the immigration debate:

Once again, we have  the same recycled talking points—crafted, it would appear, with the help of the same consultants and special interests. Each time, the talking points are followed by legislation that fails to match the promises—legislation that, at bottom, ensures only the amnesty and not the enforcement. The leadership talking points look like an attempted repackaging of the tired Gang-of-Eight-style formula that has been proposed, rejected, and re-proposed for years. It is no surprise then that Senator Schumer and former Speaker Pelosi are so encouraged by these developments. But while Democrat leaders and interest groups appear satisfied, this document was not voted upon by the GOP conference and clearly does not represent the consensus of Republican members. Is it not time we pushed aside the stale proposals stitched together in concert with the same lobbyists, and asked what is in the best interests of the hardworking American citizen—and the nation?

In three fundamental respects, the House leaders’ emerging immigration proposal appears to resemble the Senate plan: it provides the initial grant of amnesty before enforcement; it would surge the already unprecedented level of legal lesser-skilled immigration to the U.S. that is reducing wages and increasing unemployment; and it would offer eventual citizenship to a large number of illegal immigrants and visa overstays.

Rank-and-file House Republicans are the last line of defense for working Americans. Now is the time for rank-and-file House Republicans to claim the leadership mantle and to say, firmly: our goal is to transition millions of struggling Americans from welfare and joblessness to work and rising wages. The President has not only dismantled enforcement but has delivered for a small group of special interests and CEOs by forcing through the Senate legislation that drastically surges the future flow of new immigrant workers competing against unemployed Americans. There is a reason why these increases are never mentioned in the slick ads and radio spots: the American people reject them. Americans earning under $30,000 prefer a reduction to an increase in current record immigration levels by a 3-1 margin. Republicans have the chance to be the one party giving voice to the real-world concerns of the everyday worker whose wages have been flat or falling for more than 10 years.

House leaders should support—not ignore—the immigration officers pleading for help. They should stand with—not against—unemployed American workers. And they should expose—not join—the President’s campaign to pass an immigration plan that will hollow out our shrinking middle class.

Continue reading...

15 Responses to Class and Amnesty

  • “The class aspect of the immigration debate is usually ignored, but it is real and biting. Elites get cheap servants and businesses get workers willing to take rock bottom wages. ….”

    This would be a great bulletin insert. IMO there could be one little addition and that is :
    “Ordinary American citizens get to compete for lower paying jobs with people who are not citizens ”

    As we know from the life of St. Paul, citizenship matters.

  • The Democrats and liberals want more 100%-state dependent voters and warriors for the class wars.

    The Republicans and Wall Street//Chamber of Commerce want less stuff for media lying and cheap labor.

    The middle class gets it in the end.

    Remember, everything them social justice guys say is pure feces of the male of the bovine species.

    Bend over. Here it comes again.

  • “Hey, the President has all-time low favorability ratings, and the configuration of the House and Senate just about guarantees that the GOP adds to its majority in the House and pickup the majority in the Senate. What can we do to completely stop our momentum? I got it! Let’s put all of our efforts behind something that most of the public doesn’t care about, and those that do represent a large chink of our base, and they absolutely oppose it. Cha-ching!” – Well overpaid GOP consultant.

  • I guess as an attorney you are accustomed to reading statements with an eye to discovering what the enunciated language allows the other guy to do to your client. I did not see the salient points of the statement as such where you see them

    Reince Priebus in particular has conducted himself in recent days in a manner that should induce the Republican National Committee to remove him from his position ASAP.

  • I wonder if the bishops of the US, because of the humanitarian concerns, have considered meeting and working with the bishops of Mexico (and Central America) to find ways of improving life where the people are, that they might be salt and leaven and “bloom where they are planted”.
    The poorest and the most needy don’t get to emigrate. The bishops put pressure on government in this country, but what about going to the roots of the desire to emigrate illegally, at great cost and in great danger.
    Right now some Church leaders in the US and in central America provide the language and the philosophical framework for socialism. They don’t give the people the linguistic framework for capitalism, although, they at least seem to recognize the benefits to be gained here in this economy.
    As the pope speaks about capitalism he may also want to speak about its obvious benefits- people are voting with their feet, even if they words/philosophy given them by their political and religious leaders may be marxist, they are moving toward capitalism as fast as they can.
    It would be great if the bishops could throw some effort into educating front line priests and people to be able to articulate conservativism. …. and (continuing my dream) these immigrants who are now going to become citizens would become the kind of Catholic Americans Gov. Cuomo etal. dread.

  • Roger Simon, “A Modest proposal for Immigration Reform: Illegal immigrants, assuming they have lived here for a decent period of time and have not committed a felony, can have amnesty, but they can NEVER be allowed to vote. They can do anything else that is legal, but if they want to vote — or run for office or practice law in our country, as just happened in California — they must return home and go through the normal immigrant application process, however long that may take until they have citizenship.”

    Here’s my Modest Proposal for Preventing Illegal Invaders From Being a Burthen to Their Neighbors and America, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Publick: Put a bounty on them.

  • Ok explain to me this legal status that is Not Citizenship . I don’t get it. Is there ant meaning or I privilege attached to being citizen . Why become a citizen ?

    Pay taxes?

  • Americans earning under $30,000 prefer a reduction to an increase in current record immigration levels by a 3-1 margin. If this is true, and Jeff Sessions is a guy who does his homework, why is this not on the lips of every Republican who steps in front of a camera? How on God’s green earth would that simple statement get spun away from them by the media in 2014?

  • If this is true, and Jeff Sessions is a guy who does his homework, why is this not on the lips of every Republican who steps in front of a camera? How on God’s green earth would that simple statement get spun away from them by the media in 2014?


    It does not register with them because they only converse with people drawn from a narrow circle.

  • tamsin,

    Art Deco is being charitable.

    Cheap labor!

    Evidently, the rump, professional GOP is in bed with the Chamber of Commerce and the monied interests.

    They fear and loathe the tea party, in particular, and conservatives, in general. That’s one reason they keep their imbecilic mouths shut about the Obama/Holder/IRS wars on conservatives and the American way of life.

  • Y’all realize that many voters believe our Catholic bishops pump scamnesty because they wish to fill the pews and collections baskets, yes?

  • Perhaps the GOP would make more headway toward a sensible immigration policy if it could do a better job of explaining why unchecked illegal immigration is bad for EVERYONE — not just U.S. citizens, but illegal immigrants themselves (who place themselves in a situation where they can be perpetually exploited by employers and by the federal government) and Hispanics in general (who are subject to constant suspicion of being illegals even when they are not). It does not necessarily have to be framed as an us-vs.-them issue, although I suppose that’s just how politicians operate.

  • In addition, I think the Church would be wise to make a distinction between the general human charity and respect due to all people, which of course would include immigrants regardless of their legal status, and the rights of U.S. citizenship, which are NOT due to everyone but only to legitimate U.S. citizens.

    It’s one thing to say that the Church should welcome everyone to attend Mass and receive the sacraments, or that its members should voluntarily offer food, clothing, shelter, etc. to a family in need without having to check their immigration status first. It’s something else entirely to argue that federal and state governments should make no distinction between citizens and non-citizens for purposes of voting or for other benefits or privileges that are funded by taxpayers (e.g. holding driver’s licenses or receiving Medicaid or TANF).

    There’s also the fact that many, perhaps most, illegal immigrants use fake or stolen Social Security numbers — often assigned to them by the persons who arrange for their passage to the U.S. — to obtain jobs; this can lead to all sorts of headaches for the persons who legitimately hold that SSN and constitutes a form of theft.

    As for the “rule of law” argument, I’d say as I have for years, that it would be better to have a more liberal legal immigration process and consistently enforce it than to have a process that is strict on paper but which is enforced selectively or not at all.

  • The virtue of Charity is an issue of the human soul and one’s private conscience. The crime here is that the government has taken over the virtue of charity and demands obedience from the people and the bishops are campaigning that the government should oversee amnesty. Immigration is under the control of the government but amnesty is not.

PopeWatch: Notre Dame

Friday, January 31, AD 2014

28 Responses to PopeWatch: Notre Dame

  • Great start Pope Francis. Follow through is completely another story however this tone was long overdue.

    Catholic Identity indeed!

  • Gregory Baum and his band of Canadian rebels, who derided Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae, would be pleased with their contemporary counterpart Gary Gutting’s advocacy of abortion; for this subset of “Catholics” abortion is the natural and holistic progression of Baum’s efforts to normalize contraception.
    When contraception fails, abortion is their solution. The popes must be enlightened and made to submit to progress

  • “. . . will continue to . . .”

    On what planet does Pope Francis exist?

  • “There is, then, a strong case for thinking that abortions always bring about some bad results — at a minimum the loss of potential human life — and that for most pregnancies abortion would be morally wrong.”
    Science has proved that human life of an individual person begins at fertilization. “Potential human life” is actually a human life with potential. The endowed human soul is rational, innocent and virgin, capable of willing to live. The will to live of the human person, newly begotten, is the states’ right to life. Since man is born into ignorance, it may be that the sovereign person, begotten, has forgotten more than you or I can know. Even when we retain our free will and intellect, intuition and freedom, intangibles, that cannot be aborted, we can and may have forfeited most of our endowed gifts and talents. Gutting is a prime example of my theory.
    Firstly: The innocent person, begotten, may not be put to death for the crimes of his parents, rapist, murderer or whatever.
    Secondly: The innocence, legal and moral, of the newly begotten is the standard of Justice for the nation and the people. This is the compelling interest of the state.
    Thirdly, The sovereign person endowed with sovereign personhood by our Creator at fertilization, and the conception of the immaculate soul, until undone by concupiscence, constitutes the nation, of We, the people. This is the absolute compelling interest of the state in protecting and providing for the sovereign person in the womb.
    Gutting’s fine example of atheism, undeterred by Catholicism, the teaching Magisterium of the Catholic Church, science, tradition and common decency makes Gutting a prime candidate for expulsion.

  • he had better not.. he does have the right to express his opinions. if he does suffer any consequences, it will make me even MORE ashamed to be catholic

  • He has a right to be in support of legalized abortion and be employed at a Catholic university? What an odd conception of rights you have Ed. Does the position of the Church in defense of innocent human life also make you ashamed?

  • “…being ashamed to be catholic.”

    This is the line in the sand. Catholic identity. Supporting views contrary to our Catholic identity is what is Shameful.
    It’s time to chose. Catholic in name only weakens the institution, the Church!
    Catholic in deed truth and witness is what will usher in a New Springtime.
    A time of grace for all souls, especially ones teaching contrary to Our Holy Faith.

  • It appears to me that the professor is engaging in the sin of scandal.

    II. Respect for the Dignity of Persons

    Respect for the souls of others: scandal

    2284 Scandal is an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil. the person who gives scandal becomes his neighbor’s tempter. He damages virtue and integrity; he may even draw his brother into spiritual death. Scandal is a grave offense if by deed or omission another is deliberately led into a grave offense.

    2285 Scandal takes on a particular gravity by reason of the authority of those who cause it or the weakness of those who are scandalized. It prompted our Lord to utter this curse: “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”85 Scandal is grave when given by those who by nature or office are obliged to teach and educate others. Jesus reproaches the scribes and Pharisees on this account: he likens them to wolves in sheep’s clothing.86

    2286 Scandal can be provoked by laws or institutions, by fashion or opinion.


  • Ed,

    If so, then Christ, when He comes again in glory, will be ashamed of you.


  • I followed you link back to your previous writing about this professor and “we don’t need no stinkin’ bishops”. Thanks so much for this blog and your consistent Catholic work. You bless us all and you help us stay in touch with right thinking people who reinforce our faith- especially when there are so many who, (in teaching positions at Catholic universities) would lead Catholics astray.

  • “he does have the right to express his opinions.” Not as fact, unless he prefaces his opinion as opinion and says that he truly does not know. Then, in fact, Gutting is wasting the precious time of his students.

  • Ed, he does have a right to express his opinion. Once it is expressed this becomes an act that can be judged. If this act is contrary to the teaching of the Catholic Church, we have an obligation to refute it in kind – publicly or privately. If this act is by a teacher at a “catholic” university, then it is an incredible scandal and the height of hypocrisy.

    You are protecting the freedom to speak and express opinions. That is fine. Once opinions are expressed, we have to do our part to respond in a manner that reveals Truth. Being “ashamed” to be catholic and allowing scandalous statements to go unanswered is not acceptable. It is a refusal to recognize the Truth and to protect our Lord and Savior. If we do not recognize God here, He will not recognize us at our particular judgment. Lets join together and “fight the good fight.”

  • Factum, non verbum.

    I see talk from the Pope to Norte Dame, but no backup actions.

  • Paul W Primavera.

    Going way out on a limb here….

    For starters a bronze bust of Fr. R. Weslin stationed in a prominent area on campus. The inscription; As a reminder to all who tread this sacred holy ground.
    Be not afraid.

    May 15th 2009 our humble defender of the unborn was hauled off to jail in hand cuffs. Guilty of praying for the unborn on Notre Dame property, opposing Obama’s presence and baloney honorary degree.

    The bust of this true Catholic priest should be a lasting testimony of Catholic Identity on Catholic Universities around the globe. Fr. Weslin passed away near my workplace in Northern Michigan.

  • Norte….not Notre. (sorry)

  • In the interest of transparency I am not a graduate of Notre Dame University. Notre Dame University is the keystone to Catholic HIgher Education. As it goes, so does most if not all of Catholic higher education. In 1967, Father Hesburgh, head of Notre Dame led a conference of heads of major Catholic Universities and Colleges in America at what is known as “The Land of Lakes Conference”. Its purpose was to draw up a policy in which the “Catholic universities and colleges” expressed a new relationship between themselves and the Church and between the Catholic universities and the intellectual life. In masse, led by Notre Dame, the universities sided with entering into a full robust search for intellectual excellence along with “academic freedom’ and other values their secular counterparts held most dear. The cost? Catholic identity and faithfulness not only to Church teaching but to their own mission within the Church.

    While other Catholic Universities and colleges have embraced this outright-Georgetown being the crown jewel of that crowd, Notre Dame has wavered back and forth (I know some will claim it has not wavered, but it has not gone the route of Georgetown). The Obama administration knew exactly what it was doing when they targeted Notre Dame for a major address in which Obama spouted political niceties about recognizing Catholics do not agree with abortion etc.-that turned into outright lies. In the meantime Notre Dame, desiring the prestige etc burned its incense to Caesar. Nonetheless it did not hide crucifixes etc at the expressed direction of the Obama administration as did Georgetown. Notre Dame is wavering, sitting on the fence.

    It joined with so many others in suing the government over the HHS mandate, but when it lost its case (certainly not its fault) it declared it would comply with the mandate-again wavering back and forth. However, this time there are enough Catholic alumnae etc that are pushing back etc. One of their projects was the setting up of a Rome campus of the University. It was to these folks that the pope addressed his very well-aimed comments, using the fine classical (ancient) art of rhetoric [although a bad word for many, it actually is a form of communication urging a certain direction, a change of direction etc. It was the language of the Church Fathers, a venerable tradition indeed). To put it in perhaps less diplomatic terms, what Pope Francis has done has set off a ticking time bomb-calling up the Catholic troops of the alumnae and board members calling for an end of the wavering and to once and for all side with Catholic identity and mission.

    In the meantime, the ripple effect of this happening at Notre Dame will effect the other Catholic universities and colleges. It is very likely the undoing of the 1967 Land of Lakes Conference. Finally.

  • Botolph.


    Thank you for your synopsis.
    I hope your right.

  • Philip,

    Me too lol

  • Botolph.”“Finally.” Thank you for your synopsis. I hope your (sic) right.””
    I second the motion. It may take some time like a volcano or avalanche. I never realized what an ignorant man Hesburgh was. Thank you Botolph

  • Mary De Voe,

    You are very welcome. One thing however I should note is that there very well could be some prominent “Catholic universities or colleges” that will resist this call back (call to repentance) to Catholic identity and mission. They will become totally secularized and literally be “Catholic” in name only-by long association of the name with “Catholic” or even keeping a saints name etc. However they really will be secular and not Catholic.

    This is a time of grace for the Church-opportunity to respond to the call of Christ to holiness and in this way to be the ‘sacrament’ of Christ, the Light for the Nations. However, the time of pruning is literally ‘upon us’ and there will be a great deal of pruning indeed.

  • Two conferences that were bruises on history Lambeth and Land of Lakes. Maybe there will be an equal and opposite pair of conferences sometime that will help bring us back to our senses.

  • Anzlyne,

    You are correct about both conferences-Lambeth and Land of Lakes. But just a clarification for those who might not be as familiar with them: Lambeth was the conference of the Anglican Communion in 1930 [they take place every ten years] It was not a Catholic conference. In that meeting however, the ANglican Communion broke with the received Apostolic Moral Tradition, allowing birth control in certain circumstances. That was the proverbial camel’s nose under the tent. A whirlwind developed within all of Christianity.

    In direct response to the Lambeth Conference, Pope Pius XI wrote his encyclical December 31, 1930 Casti Connubii [literally: Chaste Wedlock] which condemned eugenics (a major issue in the West at the time specially in America with such American names as Rockefeller, Ford, and Sanger etc behind it]. It condemned abortion. However its teaching on the sanctity and meaning of marriage is what it primarily takes on: holy matrimony is a sacrament which is equal to virginal and unmarried. It condemned adultery and divorce and called for husbands to love their wives as Christ love His Bride the Church.

    Prior to Casti Connubii it was thought by Catholics that the only real purpose of marriage was to have children. this certainly remains central yet Pope Pius XI added the unitive dimension-love. Here was development of doctrine. Up until this point marriage was seen primarily for the procreation of children. Now it has a two-fold nature and mission: it is both creative and unitive, life giving and love giving. [As you can see Humanae Vitae in 1968 simply repeated this teaching. It was ‘the world and Catholics’ who wanted to reduce marriage to the unitive (opening the gates to any and all forms of unions between consenting adults)

    The Land of Lakes Conference, was a major meeting of heads of Catholic Universities and colleges. It has not been completely tackled, but the speech of Pope Francis to Notre Dame shows the direction he is going in and desires for Catholic universities and colleges.

    Frankly, what I see emerging is a new form of the Code of Canon Law. The Code of 1983 was good but has already been ‘tweeked’ and still needs to be worked on. A real reform of the Canons will bring a clear discipline back into the Church. However, we will see what develops over the next few years.

  • Botolph: “Prior to Casti Connubii it was thought by Catholics that the only real purpose of marriage was to have children.” It still is. Children bring the unitive dimension to matrimony that is the Sacrament of Matrimony. Children, the prospect of children and the intent for children bring the unitive dimension into matrimony.

  • Mary De Voe,

    You are correct, the procreative, creative, life-giving is fundamental to the meaning and practice of conjugal (marital) love. WHat Pope Pius XI brought forth from the Tradition that was not at that point fully understood was the unitive, love-giving aspect is just as fundamental. Since 1930, the Church has taught that marital love is both life-giving and love-giving. Humanae Vitae simply reaffirmed this teaching in 1968

    Today most of the world and sadly many Catholics want to separate the life-giving from the love-giving so that marriage is only about two consenting adults loving each other, changing the meaning of marriage. The Church cannot and will not change her teaching to conform to the world on this

  • Botolph: Thank You for your kind response. Follow me closely. There is no unitive love without the prospect of children. As Isaiah says: “bring forth my sons and daughters from afar” These sons and daughters from afar are our constitutional posterity, as some have called our posterity “our future”. These children to be brought forward are innocent virgins created in perfect Love, our standard of Justice, without whom, all human consent, public and private has been annihilated. Human consent being imperfect to every degree, only the perfect love and innocence of the newly begotten satisfy the demands of consent. One hears oaths, not recommended, in fact, a crime against the innocent and totally unnecessary, for God’s will be done, oaths “on the lives of my children.” using the perfect innocence of children to proclaim the truth of any matter.
    In my own words, if one truly loves you he will desire more of you, and do all that is in his power to bring more of you “from afar”.
    Unitive love is a corollary of procreative love. As any corollary, unitive love cannot be separated from procreative love without destroying the fabric of marriage. “I love you, but only so far” does not make marriage, simply because the other spouse may mean “til death do us part”. Both spouses must mean the same to grow in love. Marriage must be what it is.

  • Mary De Voe.
    No truer words spoken.
    God bless you.

  • Mary De Voe,

    You are completely on target 🙂 !

  • Philip and Botolph: Then pray for me. Thank you.

PopeWatch: The Cover of the Rolling Stone

Thursday, January 30, AD 2014


But the thrill we’ve never known
Is the thrill that’ll getcha when you get your picture
On the cover of the Rollin’ Stone

Dr. Hook, The Cover of the Rollin’ Stone

Although it is only a pale shadow of the former influence it had in our culture, the fact that Pope Francis is on the cover of Rolling Stone does signify that he has become a hero for much of the cultural left.  The story itself by Mark Binelli in the magazine is astonishingly wrong headed, even by the standard of the raw ignorance which most of the denizens of the media reveal whenever they seek to discuss Catholicism.  A sample will suffice:

After the disastrous papacy of Benedict, a staunch traditionalist who looked like he should be wearing a striped shirt with knife-fingered gloves and menacing teenagers in their nightmares, Francis’ basic mastery of skills like smiling in public seemed a small miracle to the average Catholic. But he had far more radical changes in mind. By eschewing the papal palace for a modest two-room apartment, by publicly scolding church leaders for being “obsessed” with divisive social issues like gay marriage, birth control and abortion (“Who am I to judge?” Francis famously replied when asked his views on homosexual priests) and – perhaps most astonishingly of all – by devoting much of his first major written teaching to a scathing critique of unchecked free-market capitalism, the pope revealed his own obsessions to be more in line with the boss’ son.

Continue reading...

18 Responses to PopeWatch: The Cover of the Rolling Stone

  • It just gets better.

    Rolling Stone Magazine readers are typically young liberals and heavily influenced by pop culture and trends. Or are the tragic type who think they are still young, culturally aware trendsetters.

    So, I think this is great- bringing the Pope to the sector of the population that would normally turn it’s nose up at organized religion and their respective figures (unless of course if those figures happened to be the Dalai Lama or Deepak Chopra).

    And despite the fact they misrepresented the Pope in the article, how horribly “uncool” will they look when the Pope is in the news for a good old Catholic comment? After all that WILL happen. It’s only a matter of time…

    The media, sectors of it anyway, are so fickle, and just plain stupid.

  • I’m surprised they didn’t air-brush a doobie in Holy Fathers hand.

  • “I’m surprised they didn’t air-brush a doobie in Holy Fathers hand.”

    No one air-brushes anymore. It’s Photoshop now.

  • George.

    Thanks for the correction.

  • Hah hah. The Pope has SOUL! Go figure.
    I don’t think the dopes in the press are going to trip him up. It sort of reminds of of Jesus with the Pharisees and Saducees.

  • Does anybody remember Laurel and Hardy?

  • “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”

    It’s an honest hope that this Fisher of Men will have nets filled to overflowing for our Merciful Lord Jesus. Regardless of the opinions of Laurel and Hardy, this Holy Father may help bring some lost sheep home.

  • Which journalism school did Binelli attend? Or did Rolling Stone just grab the copy boy with the Italian surname for credibility. You know, cause the Pope lives in Italy and all. And where did he do his research? Entertainment Tonight? One commenter on another blog summed it up- be glad they spelled his name correctly, and move on.

    Binelli’s comparison of Pope Benedict to Freddy Kreuger is vile. Can you imagine doing the same thing to Obama, and using the monkey jokes…sorry, but seriously, where do these people get off?

    I might google Binelli to find a photo if him, so I can compare him to a character out of The Hobbit.

  • Ez.

    Precious…. 🙂

  • Ok, so Mark Binelli is cited as a contributor to Men’s Journal, is a published author and thinks Detroit is the Place to be…in other words he is a try-hard, writer struggling to write about anything meaningful, and missed the opportunity in his Pope Francis piece to give his writing meaning. But, I’m I know God uses our cynicism for good.

    I’m slightly disappointed he doesnt look like a character out of The Hobbit. But, If he thinks Pope Benedict looks like a menacing character with knives for hands, like soneone who could give children nightmares, then he should know photos of him show him sporting the same clothes, or I’ll fitted attire, and his facial expressions come across as though he is permanently sniffing cheese, with an inability to crack a smile. Oh, and he looks either malnourished, or lives off a diet of cigarettes and black coffee. Probably the stress of searching for meaning. If he sniffs harder, he’ll notice it under his nose 😉

  • Well he got something right. The times are always a’changing, – but he doesn’t seem to know that the Truth never does.

  • Philip: “Regardless of the opinions of Laurel and Hardy, this Holy Father may help bring some lost sheep home.”
    I love Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, especially the March of the Wooden Soldiers and their triumph over the Bogey men.
    It is my constant prayer that all may be one in Christ.

  • Mary De Voe.

    Your prayer is close to Jesus’ heart.

    No disrespect intended, but my Father Frank loved the antics of L&H.. I was born in 61′ and only caught a glimpse of their act. I liked their friendship on the screen. Always coming back to a shake of the head and the raised shoulders.

  • Not sure how many heard Kresta yesterday, but a very good segment was produced on the media, left and right’s sensation with PF. Al’s points are solid, as usual, and brings home much for all to learn I believe.


  • Philip: No disrespect taken. Stan Laurel was the brains and Oliver Hardy was the heart. Pope Francis’ face resembles that of Stan Laurel. And every time I see Pope Francis I am reminded of Laurel and Hardy… comic geniuses. And now, Pope Francis, prayer genius.

  • Wait until these liberals discover that Pope Francis is Catholic.

  • Actually, 80% of Rolling Stone subscribers are baby boomers–Age of Aquarius throwbacks from the 60s.

    The rest of us simply outgrow Rolling Stone magazine and leave “childish ways”–like liberalism–behind…

  • Pingback: PopeWatch: Bishop James D. Conley | The American Catholic

Treasury Salute: Edwin Booth

Thursday, January 30, AD 2014

During World War II the Treasury sponsored radio salutes to great Americans of history.  The above video is their salute to Edwin Booth.

Perhaps the finest American Shakespearian actor of his day, Booth was the son of Junius Brutus Booth, most assuredly the finest American Shakespearian actor of his day, and the brother of John Wilkes Booth.  Junius Brutus Booth threatened to assassinate President Andrew Jackson, read about it here, and John Wilkes Booth of course did assassinate President Abraham Lincoln.  Edwin Booth, who supported the Union as much as his brother did the Confederacy, saved the life of Robert Lincoln, the son of Abraham Lincoln in late 1864 or early 1865.  Lincoln recalled the incident in 1909:

The incident occurred while a group of passengers were late at night purchasing their sleeping car places from the conductor who stood on the station platform at the entrance of the car. The platform was about the height of the car floor, and there was of course a narrow space between the platform and the car body. There was some crowding, and I happened to be pressed by it against the car body while waiting my turn. In this situation the train began to move, and by the motion I was twisted off my feet, and had dropped somewhat, with feet downward, into the open space, and was personally helpless, when my coat collar was vigorously seized and I was quickly pulled up and out to a secure footing on the platform. Upon turning to thank my rescuer I saw it was Edwin Booth, whose face was of course well known to me, and I expressed my gratitude to him, and in doing so, called him by name.

Continue reading...

Brace Yourselves: The Dark Enlightenment is Upon Us

Wednesday, January 29, AD 2014

If you haven’t heard just yet, there is a new political ideology making headway mostly in the online world: neoreaction. A friend of mine, Nicholas Pell, has given the basic rundown of this movement complete with useful introductory links for Taki’s Magazine. It will be worth your time to familiarize yourselves with this movement, regardless of what you come to think of it or may think already, as I believe it will only grow with time. For those who don’t know, by the way, I’m your local, friendly, fringe political theorist 🙂

Though the neoreactionaries appear to be a diverse group, ranging from your familiar traditional Catholic monarchists to godless futurists and trans-humanists, they are united by one common belief: that democracy has failed. It is this singular belief, in my view, that distinguishes neoreactionaries from conservatives, at least in the United States. Many of the other beliefs I have seen expressed by NRs, such as a strong preference for hierarchy, order, rational discrimination, and things of this nature are acceptable to most conservatives who aren’t, say, Huntsmanites. Of course I distinguish conservative politicians, whose expressed views are subject to public scrutiny, from the average voter. 

Continue reading...

149 Responses to Brace Yourselves: The Dark Enlightenment is Upon Us

  • The Constitution for the United States of America is ratified by every state. Any change to the Constitution must be ratified by three quarters of the states. The Preamble, the purpose of the Constitution is unchangeable, immovable, irreducible. Let us go forward with our inheritance. Live the Constitution, Love the Constitution.

  • Wow. Unchangable, immovable, irreducible? It’s not Holy Scripture. I prefer the Constitution to all other arrangements that are possible at the moment. But don’t forget the Declaration of Independence, which articulates even more fundamental truths – namely that any government, if it ceases to protect the legitimate rights of the people, can be and ought to be tossed off.

  • “It’s not Holy Scripture.” The Constitution for the United States of America is the TRUTH, the whole TRUTH and nothing but the TRUTH, so help me God. The “Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity”, all future generations should flow forth from these unalienable rights endowed by our Creator to man, the citizen, who with his sovereign personhood constitutes the state. God, through the sovereignty of the human being, creates Caesar.
    Our posterity, our (constitutional) posterity exist in the mind of God. God, WHO is TRUTH. America is all generations, who have gone before us, in We, the people, all citizens, here and now and all future generations to come who have yet to be brought forth. The future generations come to us in perfect TRUTH, innocence and virginity. God does not make junk or sin or evil, only perfect Justice. The human soul comes to us in perfect TRUTH and Justice. The Supreme Court Justices are the personification of God’s perfect Justice.
    “…namely that any government, if it ceases to protect the legitimate rights of the people, can be and ought to be tossed off.” The Constitution is the measure by which government must be judged or reckoned, or “tossed off”. God made us, God takes care of us.

  • Yeah… I’m just gonna slowly back away now. Though I have to say something about this here:

    “The Supreme Court Justices are the personification of God’s perfect Justice.”

    When they forced abortion-on-demand on the 50 states of the Union, they were the personification of Lucifer’s nether-regions.

  • Also, The Declaration of Independence is also ratified by all of the colonies before the colonies became states.

  • Our problem is not democracy. It’s decadence.

  • “When they forced abortion-on-demand on the 50 states of the Union, they were the personification of Lucifer’s nether-regions.” and they ought to have been “tossed off”. Roe v. Wade denied the human soul endowed by our Creator with unalienable rights, free will, intellect, intuition, genius. Roe V Wade denied to every American male the ownership of his offspring, his seed, giving the child over to the individual who intended to end his life, to scrape the human soul from the womb. Justice Stewart Potter asked Sarah Weddington, the attorney for Roe if the child in the womb might be a “person”. The child was not given the benefit of a doubt, because no one knew. Human rights are predicated on the existence of the human being, an individual substance of a rational nature. Thomas Aquinas’ definition of the “person”
    The Supreme Court is to deliver equal Justice to all persons. In delivering equal Justice to all persons, living, deceased and yet to come, the Supreme Court is the personification of the virtue of Justice

  • Donald McClarey welcomed you back to The American Catholic. Welcome back.

  • Welcome back Bonchamps, I reread you post and it is very good.”neoreaction” Obama wants to be king and the neoreactionists are going to make it happen.

  • Wherever this ultimately leads it would appear that we are in for a rough patch of civil violence.

  • Pingback: Bill O'Reilly Interviews Priest Who Performed Exorcism - BigPulpit.com
  • As Winston Churchill said, democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.

  • Thank you for the education Bonchamps.

    “Meathead” has had his way. Such a more peaceful planet these days. Oh by the way…mall shootings / school shootings. Blame it on Church and Democracy.

    God help us.

  • In the U.S.; less than a century of full-blown democracy has resulted in steadily increasing moral degeneration, family and social disintegration, and cultural decay in the form of continually rising rates of divorce, illegitimacy, abortion, and crime. (xiii)

    This reminds me of this post by Sarah Hoyt where she remarks on how everybody (yes, I’ve even noticed it with a lot of Catholics) seems to have some concept of “paradise lost”. i.e. “Today sucks, yesterday was better, tomorrow’s going to be even worse.”

    There was always this bliss and perfect place from which we came tumbling down.

    In the early stages of the turning, humans can’t visualize what comes next and always always treat it as chaos and dissolution, which then goes to feed the myth of paradise lost.

    Really, read the whole thing. Then realize it’s all been downhill after that first week. Yesterday had its sins. Tomorrow will to. We may as well do the best we can to reduce our part’s in today’s.

  • Our problem is not democracy. It’s decadence.

    Our problem is original sin. 😉

  • Unalienable rights can only be endowed by an infinite Supreme Sovereign Being, our Creator. “The rights the state gives, the state can take away.” as said by Thomas Jefferson. Therefore, the rights the state gives may be called “alienable” Unalienable rights, rights that cannot be taken away point to an infinite God. Human rights which must be unalienable since man is not created by the state, point to an un-created Supreme Sovereign Being WHO is existence and exists and may not be blasphemed without denigrating every human being and all of creation.
    In other words, our Founding Principles and our Founding Fathers brought forth this nation, the United States of America on acknowledging an infinite loving God WHOM they called “our Creator”. And furthermore, invoked God’s Divine Providence in The Declaration of Independence and God’s Divine Providence in the Preamble to our Constitution for the United States of America as “the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and to our posterity,”
    Atheism has no place here, in America. We, the people, tolerate the misunderstandings of the atheist, but atheism can go to hell where it belongs.
    Any movement such as the “neoreactionaries” better have a firm grasp on theology and the God who created and endowed man, composed of human body and rational, immortal human soul in free will and freedom and endowed man with unalienable human rights for now and eternity, or the movement’s participants better prepare to endure the loss of their immortal souls.

  • ““Today sucks, yesterday was better, tomorrow’s going to be even worse.”” and for atheism to prevent us from invoking Divine Providence is un-American and pure evil. Evil is as evil does. “You will know them by what they do.”

  • ““Today sucks, yesterday was better, tomorrow’s going to be even worse.”” and for atheism to prevent us from invoking Divine Providence is un-American and pure evil. Evil is as evil does. “You will know them by what they do.”

    Uh… I suppose? Maybe?

    Sorry, you went off the reservation there and didn’t leave a forwarding address. No idea what your point is.

  • A republic, if we can keep it.

    The rise of popular democracy, it seems to me, goes hand-in-hand with the rise of egalitarianism and the fall of the Republic, in the United States. Need not be linked, you say? Truly, but I believe that they are.

  • I recently quoted Gibbon from “Decline and Fall . . . “ Here it is paraphrased: “An educated, well-informed populous, possessed of arms, tenacious of property, and collected into constitutional assemblies form the only balance capable of preserving a free constitution against enterprises of an aspiring prince (despotism).”

    The word “republic” is derived from the Latin “res publica.” It means the public thing. Laws that equally affect all the people are good. Those that positively affect some of we the people while adversely impacting others of we the people are bad.

    Life, liberty and property (pursuit of happiness) are inalienable rights given to you by God.

    The progressives believe the government/state owns you and your property.

    The Constitution needed to amended to impose the income tax (not proprtional) on some of the people; along with the Federal Reserve: set up to benefit the money interests and the nation state. These were some salvoes fired in 1913 from so-called progressives’ siege guns which are constantly battering the “walls” of the Republic. The income tax and FR tear at the people’s hold on their property/pursuit of happiness.

    One hundred years after the 1913 impositions of the FR and the income tax, the US is suffering evolving Obamocracy (class war, gender, race-baiting, and sexual orientation politics). They’re daily pitting some of us against the rest of us. In reality, it’s idiocracy.

    The only answer is to limit the idiots’ power.

    That the idiocrats have not destroyed everything is a testament to the strength of the American people and their families.

  • Democracy is a very big problem.

  • T. Shaw.
    Thanks for Gibbons quote.
    The balance is precarious. Maybe it has been for quite awhile. To some it feels as though the wheels are falling off of the cart. Thank you for the clarity.

  • A theme of the 19th century historian, Lord Acton, was that freedom and equality are, perhaps, ultimately incompatible.

    Of the French Revolution, he observed, “The hatred of royalty was less than the hatred of aristocracy; privileges were more detested than tyranny; and the king perished because of the origin of his authority rather than because of its abuse. Monarchy unconnected with aristocracy became popular in France, even when most uncontrolled; whilst the attempt to reconstitute the throne, and to limit and fence it with its peers, broke down, because the old Teutonic elements on which it relied – hereditary nobility, primogeniture, and privilege-were no longer tolerated. The substance of the ideas of 1789 is not the limitation of the sovereign power, but the abrogation of intermediate powers.”

    Now, it is precisely these “intermediate powers” that are the great obstacle to despotism; the Tudor despotism would have been impossible, before the destruction of the feudal nobility in the Wars of the Roses. Henry VIII could sent More and Fisher to the scaffold; the Emperor Charles V could not send John of Saxony or the Landgrave of Hesse to the scaffold. In Scotland, it was no idle boast, when “Bonnie Dundee” or “Bloody Clavers,” depending on one’s point of view declared

    “There are brave downie wassles three thousand times three
    Cry hey for the bonnets o’ Bonnie Dundee”

    It was the clansman’s loyalty to his chieftain that maintained his freedom from government interference.

    By contrast, those who care chiefly for equality are easily persuaded that, if the central power is weak, the intermediate powers will run riot and oppress.

  • The Wilsonian “administrative state” and its progressive “rule by experts” was a pipe dream, borne of the now-derisible naive confidence of the turn of the 20th Century. Industry, science and law were finally taming the brutish natures of man (they thought,) and soon there would need be no more political conflict of any kind. A kind of Platonian Republic would be set in place, whose philosopher kings would be scientific, economic and social experts, and Man would witness “The End of History.” The War to End All Wars was the final cataclysm, and after the imperialist bourgeoisie had expended their bellicose urges once and for all, peace – not necessarily freedom, but that was a fair price to pay – would rule the world.
    We still labor under the works of the acolytes of that self-contradictory dream. The progressives, after WW2 fully compromised by their humanist cousins the communists, are still trying to build “the perfect state” and the only thing in their way is that pesky Constitution and its idiotic “limited government” ideas.
    Democracy, as attested to repeatedly throughout history, works well when the population is educated, resolute, moral, industrious and prosperous. However, as Athens teaches, all it needs is for one lazy but charismatic scoundrel to convince the public that they can vote themselves money from the treasury, and it collapses. Elaine, the Winston Churchill quote is among my favorites, as is another of his: “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with an average voter.”
    The progressives have taken advantage of democracy’s Achilles’ Heel, and are attempting to pull an end run around the Constitution. They have convinced too many people that security is favorable to liberty, and any thought of removing the safety caps of Leviathan scares the willies out of soccer moms and pajama boys from Seattle to Miami. Reversing that attitude will be generations in the doing.
    At this point, there’s usually a call to action or resolution of course. Sorry. All I have is Pray the Rosary, spend time with Our Lord in Adoration and take the Sacraments as often as is practical. Our current troubles will work themselves out as the natural balance asserts itself as it has in the past, again and again. We should simply be certain that we are standing on The Rock and not on sand when the waters rise, which they will. Gahenna will receive boxcars of fuel very soon, so we simply need to be sure we are not among it.

  • I’m kind of with Art Deco. Democracy is not so much the problem as it is a system that is quite efficient at garbage in, garbage out. Or, as Will Rogers (I think) put it somewhat: Democracy is that system of government where the people get the government they deserve, good and hard.

  • First of all: All pure democracies have fallen because majority rule leads to tyranny of the majority.

    Second of all: We were never meant to be a democracy! Our form of government is a republic.

    Third of all: The reason our form of government is failing us is because we are not willing as a whole to govern ourselves. Please read the following quotes from John Adams, one of our nation’s founders and second president. I have included the link below for additional founders’ thoughts on why our country is failing.

    “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
    John Adams

    “Liberty can no more exist without virtue and independence than the body can live and move without a soul.”
    John Adams

    “Public virtue cannot exist in a nation without private, and public virtue is the only foundation of republics.”
    John Adams

    “[I]t is religion and morality alone which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free constitution is pure virtue.”
    John Adams

    “The laws of man may bind him in chains or may put him to death, but they never can make him wise, virtuous, or happy.”
    John Adams

    “Statesmen, my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for liberty, but it is religion and morality alone, which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free Constitution is pure virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People in a greater Measure than they have it now, they may change their rulers and the forms of government, but they will not obtain a lasting liberty.”
    John Adams

    “Honor is truly sacred, but holds a lower rank in the scale of moral excellence than virtue. Indeed the former is part of the latter, and consequently has not equal pretensions to support a frame of government productive of human happiness.”
    John Adams


  • I really think we are very lucky to have this Pope at this point in history.
    He has Meathead eating out of his hand.
    Let’s all try to give those poor stupid souls a hand up out of Gahenna, no matter how hard they try to get there.
    It really is very annoying to deal with Meathead, though.

  • Thank you, Barbara, for the quotes from John Adams.
    “First of all: All pure democracies have fallen because majority rule leads to tyranny of the majority.” The majority of one, or “E Pluribus Unum”, “One from Many” is our constitutional posterity, the one who comes to us in innocence and virginity, in truth and Justice raises us all up..
    Walter Yates:
    “Wherever this ultimately leads it would appear that we are in for a rough patch of civil violence.”
    Walter, the violence is already upon us in the form of the lies about the human person in pornography, the eradication of the virtue of Justice, the standard of Justice, of the newly begotten innocent posterity, the pearl of great price in the human body, the human soul, denied by atheism, and the surrender of sovereignty for a bowl of pottage. How much more violence can happen to a people, a sovereign nation before it ceases to exist?
    Bonchamps: “But don’t forget the Declaration of Independence, which articulates even more fundamental truths – namely that any government, if it ceases to protect the legitimate rights of the people, can be and ought to be tossed off.”
    This principle is also inscribed in the First Amendment which proclaims the peoples’ right to petition government for redress, with the connotation that the government is ready, willing and able to address and redress any fault or mistake without imposing absolute autocratic authority abused over the citizen who constitutes its very existence.(Obama care and the HHS Mandate are very good examples of absolute autocratic authority abused)
    WK Aiken:
    “The Wilsonian “administrative state” and its progressive “rule by experts” was a pipe dream”
    Woodrow Wilson’s pipe dream, the League of Nations is alive and well in the United Nations and both as corrupt, imposing atheism, removing any acknowledgment of our Creator, Divine Providence and of man’s soul. The human rights of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights defines man and human rights as coming from the “community” or the state, They say that these rights are inalienable, but without an infinite God to reinforce man’s rights what will a corrupt state do for man except enslave him?
    Michael Paterson-Seymour: “By contrast, those who care chiefly for equality are easily persuaded that, if the central power is weak, the intermediate powers will run riot and oppress.”
    “…those who care chiefly for equality” must busy themselves with equal Justice. There is honor among thieves, therefore, equality can only be made through the virtue of Justice, equal Justice for all. “Those who hunger and thirst for Justice will have their fill.”
    “Balance!” The Executive, the Legislative and the Judicial branches of government are balance. These people represent we, the people.
    T Shaw:
    “Laws that equally affect all the people are good. Those that positively affect some of we the people while adversely impacting others of we the people are bad.” Very well said.

    “Democracy: The God That Failed” If persons are not insulted by that title, they ought to be. Patriotism is a virtue. Politicians are punks. “All I have is Pray the Rosary”

  • Nate Winchester: “““Today sucks, yesterday was better, tomorrow’s going to be even worse.”” and for atheism to prevent us from invoking Divine Providence is un-American and pure evil. Evil is as evil does. “You will know them by what they do.”
    Uh… I suppose? Maybe?
    Sorry, you went off the reservation there and didn’t leave a forwarding address. No idea what your point is.”
    I did not go very far. I see the neoreactionaries as trying to circumvent our founding principles. God is dead. Democracy is dead. If the neoreactionaries called themselves “reactionaries” they would lose the appearance of civility and their true face of the roaring lion seeking to devour souls would become evident, but because they call themselves “neo”, not ye there, people will feel empathy for them and for their cause.

  • Barbara quotes John Adams: ““Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
    One wonders whether the U.S Constitution would have functioned as well in a country whose morality and ethics were informed by Catholicism rather than protestantism.
    Much of the success of the federal republic of America was tied to a strain of enlightened individualism bolstered by a protestant work ethic and an ethos of self reliance encouraged by a uniquely Puritan vision.
    I suspect Adams might have concluded that Catholicism and the Constitution would be incompatible.

  • Mary de Voe wrote, “’…those who care chiefly for equality’ must busy themselves with equal Justice.”

    Of course. As Hilaire Belloc said of the French Revolution, “The scorn which was in those days universally felt for that pride which associates itself with things not inherent to a man (notably and most absurdly with capricious differences of wealth) never ran higher; and the passionate sense of justice which springs from this profound and fundamental social dogma of equality, as it moved France during the Revolution to frenzy, so also moved it to creation.

    Those who ask how it was that a group of men sustaining all the weight of civil conflict within and of universal war without, yet made time enough in twenty years to frame the codes which govern modern Europe, to lay down the foundations of universal education, of a strictly impersonal scheme of administration, and even in detail to remodel the material face of society—in a word, to make modern Europe—must be content for their reply to learn that the Republican Energy had for its flame and excitant this vision: a sense almost physical of the equality of man.”

    But it was not democracy, but the armies of Napoléon that gave a code of laws to a continent and restored the concept of citizenship to civilisation.

  • “Woodrow Wilson’s pipe dream, the League of Nations is alive and well in the United Nations and both as corrupt, imposing atheism, removing any acknowledgment of our Creator, Divine Providence and of man’s soul. The human rights of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights defines man and human rights as coming from the “community” or the state, They say that these rights are inalienable, but without an infinite God to reinforce man’s rights what will a corrupt state do for man except enslave him?”

    Exactly. What they thought would happen and what we now truly labor under are polar opposites. Their naivete and prideful self-deception (or, more accurately, their willingness to be deceived by the Prince of Lies) made their hallucinations seem very real, and their descendants continue to pursue that unreality, at our cost. The awakening will be sudden and painful, as are all awakenings from such stupors.

  • “Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath?” — Thomas Jefferson

    And then Pope Leo XIII asked, “can belief in God be secure when the government is indifferent to Him, and when ten thousand different denominations all claim equal rights and importance?”

    Good questions, all.

  • MPS,

    Men are not equal. That is why the French Revolution is one of histories greatest mistakes and crimes. It unleashed communism upon the world, men who accurately saw that the bourgeois Napoleonic republic could only proclaim equality in name. Marx and Lenin would see to it that a massive totalitarian state would try to create equality in fact. 100 million corpses and several failed states later, we see the ultimate fruits of Jacobinism.

    Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, et. al;, on the other hand, were quite consciously aware of the benefits of aristocracy. Though America could have no official hereditary aristocracy, Jefferson believed in an aristocracy of natural talent and merit, while Madison sought to prevent the tyranny of the majority – who would violate property rights in the name of “equality” – in Federalist 10.

  • Bonchamps writes, “…And then Pope Leo XIII asked, “can belief in God be secure when the government is indifferent to Him, and when ten thousand different denominations all claim equal rights and importance?”
    “We have been assured, sir, in the sacred writings, that ‘except the Lord build the house they labor in vain that build it.’ I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without His concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel; we shall be divided by our little partial, local interests, our projects will be confounded and we ourselves shall become a reproach and a byword down to future ages. And, what is worse, mankind may hereafter, from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing government by human wisdom and leave it to chance, war, or conquest.” (Benjamin Franklin)
    “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become more corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters. ” (Benjamin Franklin)

  • Bonchamps: “And then Pope Leo XIII asked, ““can belief in God be secure when the government is indifferent to Him, and when ten thousand different denominations all claim equal rights and importance?””
    Jesus Christ, the Son of the Supreme Sovereign Being, giver of life and our Creator, is a sovereign person, a citizen of the world, a Perfect Person, the revelation of Justice and of God, our Father in heaven. “When one person is denied civil rights, all persons are denied civil rights” I do not know who said that but it is true.
    When the Person of Jesus Christ is denied His freedom, His Justice, equal Justice for all sovereign persons is violated and becomes a sign of vagrancy.

    “Equality” is endowed by our Creator, by God, not the Court of law. “We hold these truth to be self-evident, that all men are created equal”…in sovereign personhood. Sovereign personhood is from our Creator. Equality is from God. The virtue of equal Justice, on the other hand, is a virtue to be practiced by the court of law and is the only Justice to be asked for and gotten from a court of law.
    The pursuit of Happiness is one of the endowed civil freedoms. It is a companion to freedom of Religion. The pursuit of Happiness is not a guarantee of catching Happiness, but the eternal pursuit of God. One is only free to pursue God. And the state may not “…prohibit the free exercise thereof.”

  • Bonchamps wrote, “That is why the French Revolution is one of histories [sic] greatest mistakes and crimes. It unleashed communism upon the world…”

    In 1848, Tocqueville, in a speech to the National Assembly, declared the precise opposite, “But, concerning the very principle of private property, the Revolution always respected it. It placed it in its constitutions at the top of the list. No people treated this principle with greater respect. It was engraved on the very frontispiece of its laws. The French Revolution did more. Not only did it consecrate private property, it universalised it. It saw that a still greater number of citizens participated in it. It is thanks to this, gentlemen, that today we need not fear the deadly consequences of socialist ideas which are spread throughout the land. It is because the French Revolution peopled the land of France with ten million property-owners that we can, without danger, allow these doctrines to appear before us.”

    This is precisely the Distributist principle that Catholics like Belloc and Chesterton championed.

    Tocqueville added, “The ancien régime, in fact, held that wisdom lay only in the State and that the citizens were weak and feeble beings who must forever be guided by the hand, for fear they harm themselves. It held that it was necessary to obstruct, thwart, restrain individual freedom, that to secure an abundance of material goods it was imperative to regiment industry and impede free competition. The ancien régime believed, on this point, exactly as the socialists of today do. It was the French Revolution which denied this.”

  • de Tocqueville wrote before the full implications of Jacobinism mutated into Bolshevism. Equality in private property is impossible to maintain. We can only be equal in our right to possess property, never in the quantity of it or what we are able to profit by it through the addition of our individual initiative and industry. France has had to contend with radical socialist and communist parties, as has all of Europe.

  • “France has had to contend with radical socialist and communist parties, as has all of Europe.”

    And yet, in no country in Europe is land ownership more widely distributed and I am sure the similarity between Poujadisme and the American Tea Party movement is not lost on you.

  • MPS and Bonchamps,

    Private ownership of property is converted to a conditional license to occupy when a state, through taxation or regulation (eminent domain), has recourse to strip one of “ownership” by reason of one’s failure (or inability) to pay or perform.

    Is this what the French Revolution granted its citizens?

  • Slainte,

    Arguably yes. Though the “takings clause” of the 5th amendment puts sufficient restrictions upon the federal government so that we needn’t necessarily say that we have mere “conditional license to occupy.” Fair value must be paid, after all. Allodial titles to land are now all but extinct, but the 5th amendment is far superior to most other arrangements.

  • Slainté

    “Since property is an inviolable and sacred right, no one shall be deprived thereof except where public necessity, legally determined, shall clearly demand it, and then only on condition that the owner shall have been previously and equitably indemnified” (Déclaration des droits de l’Homme et du citoyen)

  • MPS and Bonchamps,

    The Constitutional and other safeguards protecting the right of private property are quite amenable to change depending on policy makers’ sliding definition of legitimate state interest.

    In the U.S, the “Kelo” decision erased the bright line that made eminent domain “”takings” rare and permitted under very narrow circumstances, ie., infrastructure needs. Kelo opened the door for the state to “take” private properties for the benefit of private developers who promise to increase state and municipal tax revenues. The reasonableness of the compensation offered the citizen who is divested of his “private property” is what the state deems to be fair market value.

    In the U.S. we are on a slippery slope…

    In addition to transferring private property from the aristocrats/church to the citizens, the French Revolution also gave the world “The Committee of Public Safety” with the power to oversee the security of the fledgling republic, and of course, an administrator Robespierre to oversee it.
    Monsieur Robespierre contrued his duty as a mandate to execute anyone who fell under suspicion, including one Thomas Paine who narrowly escaped the guillotine.
    As the Jacobins became the French government, the “Committee of Public Safety” arbitrarily arrested and executed anyone whom they deemed a threat to the Republic’s interest. Thus, was born the Reign of Terror.
    I side with Bonchamps on his evaluation of the French Revolution, MPS. NO to Voltaire and NO to other French “thinkers” who supported the Jacobins and the Reign of Terror.

  • It is not virtuous Justice to remove sanctions from atheism. The atheist denies the self-evident truths and equality into which our Creator created all men. It is not virtuous Justice to remove sanctions from unnatural sexual behavior. The homosexual practitioner denies the self-evident truths and equality into which our Creator created all men. It is not virtuous Justice to remove sanctions from the killing of innocent human beings who are created in equality and the self-evident truths of the reality of the human soul in immortality, reason, sovereign personhood, and free will. The abortionist, the atheist, the homosexual practitioner tell the court that God created some human beings who are less than equal. If all men are created equal by God, then, how is it that our Creator created all men equal except some, without calling God a liar?

  • slainte: “In the U.S, the “Kelo” decision erased the bright line that made eminent domain “”takings” rare and permitted under very narrow circumstances, ie., infrastructure needs. Kelo opened the door for the state to “take” private properties for the benefit of private developers who promise to increase state and municipal tax revenues. The reasonableness of the compensation offered the citizen who is divested of his “private property” is what the state deems to be fair market value.”
    The Fifth Amendment reads “for public use” with just compensation. The court changed the Constitution without the ratification by three quarters of the states’ informed consent, by substituting and contorting the meaning to be “public purposes”. This is unconstitutional. Must We, the people, have a constitutional amendment to return to the original constitution? Will the real America please stand up.

  • slainte: “As the Jacobins became the French government, the “Committee of Public Safety” arbitrarily arrested and executed anyone whom they deemed a threat to the Republic’s interest. Thus, was born the Reign of Terror.”
    The execution of a person for treason without bloodguilt is a crime against humanity. Only for killing a man must a man be put to death. “But when a man kills another after maliciously scheming to do so, you must take him even from my altar (compassion, mercy) and put him to death.” Exodus 21:14. So, without God, this country is becoming Godless.

  • What I am reading about in the Reign of Terror is mob rule. They had fancy clothes but despicable virtue or no virtue at all. Speaking of mob rule Obama and his pen and Andrew Cuomo and their ideal of democracy. Some people want no morality or virtue imposed upon them as long as they are the mob that rules.

  • Slainté & Mary de Voe

    The great Catholic historian, Lord Acton summed up the Terror; “It was prepared by the defeat and defection of Dumouriez; it was developed by the loss of the frontier fortresses in the following July; and it fell when the tide of battle rolled away after the victory of Fleurus.”

    The Committee of Public Safety was, in effect, the War Cabinet, when the Republic was faced, in the words of another Catholic historian, Hilaire Belloc, with “civil conflict within and of universal war without.” Its leader or prime minister was Carnot, the War Minister. Robespierre, who had no executive rôle, was its spokesman in the Assembly or “Leader of the House,” in parliamentary terms. His task and it was not an easy one, was to get the Committee’s resolutions passed, to maintain the Deputies’ confidence and that of the Commune of Paris, which, in effect, held the government hostage. What they were capable of, they had shown in the September Massacres.

    To sustain the war, Carnot demanded a draft of 700,000 men, the requisitioning of supplies to support them and the imposition of a non-convertible paper currency (the Assignats) Most of the victims of the Reign of Terror were draft-dodgers and deserters, hoarders, peasants who concealed grain, black marketeers and currency speculators. A minority were guillotined; most were executed on arrest by drum-head courts-martial.

    Those who enforced Carnot’s policies of summary executions and the burning of villages, to leave the recalcitrant with the option of joining the colours or starving, were men like Kléber, Moreau, Reynier, Marceau, and Ney, who commanded the army of Sambre et Meuse, Hoche, Desaix, and St. Cyr, who commanded the army of the Rhine and Bonaparte and Masséna who commanded the army of the Apennines. Such a constellation of military talent has never been equalled and, for twenty years, these men and their successors sustained a successful war against the whole of Europe. That was the real French Revolution; in comparison, events in Paris were a side-show.

  • MPS and Bonchamps,

    MPS, thank you for your description of the Reign of Terror; the people of the Vendee, however, who rose up to protect against the annihilation of a Catholic France and its monarchy would likely take issue with your praise of Robespierre and company.
    Bonchamps, apologies for derailing your thesis that the French Revolution was a primary cause of modern day Communism. My comment qualifying private property as state property in the wake of excessive taxation and onerous regulation did not advance your conversation.
    I hope that you and MPS will continue where you left off as I believe your thesis is credible.

  • All humans are created equal in dignity, but are inherently unequal in function and ability.

    Liberal progressivism maintains the opposite, hence its tyranny of elitism.

  • Slainté

    Belloc describes the outbreak of revolt in the Vendée: “Four days before the defeat of Neerwinden itself (on 18 March 1793), and four days after the decree of conscription in the villages, a horde of peasantry had taken possession of the town of Chollet in the southern part of this district, Vendée. Three days before the Committee of Public Safety was formed the insurgents had defeated regular forces at Machecoul, and had tortured and put to death their prisoners…”

    It was conscription that triggered that revolt (The rising in Lyon occurred on 20 May following). As Lord Acton laconically put it, “They hated the Revolution, not enough to take arms against it, but enough to refuse to defend it. They were compelled to choose.”

    To argue, as some have done, that the Civil Constitution of the Clergy (Law of 12 July 1790) passed nearly three years earlier, had anything to do with the rebellion is fanciful, although the execution of the king, less than three months earlier on 21 January may have had an influence.

    At all events, The émigrés and their princes had no love for these peasants and stay-at-home gentry and clergy, who took so long to declare themselves; one of their leaders, Puisaye showed Napier a letter in which the Count of Artois (later Louis XVIII) directed that he should be put secretly to death. That was shrewd; a man who had led a revolt against one government could, perhaps, rouse the people against another.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour: “”To argue, as some have done, that the Civil Constitution of the Clergy (Law of 12 July 1790) passed nearly three years earlier, had anything to do with the rebellion is fanciful, although the execution of the king, less than three months earlier on 21 January may have had an influence.”” “…the Civil Constitution of the Clergy (Law of 12 July 1790)” the state subsumed the clergy because they were men and citizens, and subsumed the priests because the state and their law denied their human souls, the transcendent and immortal part of their being. It could not but have had an effect no matter how many years later. This is what is going on in American now, the denial and disrespect for the human soul.

  • “Most of the victims of the Reign of Terror were draft-dodgers and deserters, hoarders, peasants who concealed grain, black marketeers and currency speculators. A minority were guillotined; most were executed on arrest by drum-head courts-martial.” You conflate draft-dodgers,deserters, hoarders, from an unjust war with black marketeers and currency speculators. This would put Wall Street to the guillotine, wouldn’t it?
    “draft-dodgers and deserters, hoarders, peasants who concealed grain,” and anyone else who refused Obamacare, and stuck to their Constitutional rights and freedoms.

  • “That was the real French Revolution; in comparison, events in Paris were a side-show.”

    Ah! What convenient way to ignore genocide, which is precisely what happened in the Vendee. I have no idea what motivates MPS’s obscene apologia for one of the most brutal and bloody crimes in human history, nor do I care. All the pedantry and name-dropping in the world, all of the Bellocs and Actons in existence, cannot wash away the crimes of that clique of nun-killing, church-desecrating, Catholic-mass-murdering fanatics. Every future persecution of the Church by secular powers, from the anarchists in Spain to the Freemasons in Mexico and Bolsheviks in dozens of countries, was prepared by the Jacobins and their march through the Vendee.

  • Puisaye showed Napier a letter in which the Count of Artois (later Louis XVIII) directed that he should be put secretly to death. That was shrewd; a man who had led a revolt against one government could, perhaps, rouse the people against another.

    Le Count d’Artois was later Charles X. The Count of Provence was Louis Xviii.

  • MPS, I suspect that while your residence is in Scotland, your heart is in France. I can identify with this.
    So what is the story of the St. Maur family and its place in the French Revolution.

  • Art Deco

    You are right, of course and it was the Count of Provence who wrote the letter.

  • Slainté

    They were Vidames or stewards of the Abbey of Saint-Maur-des-Fossés, presiding over capital cases that could not be tried in the Abbot’s court, because churchmen could not pronounce a death sentence without incurring irregularity for “defect of mildness” (defectus lenitatis). In other words, they were minor provincial noblesse de rôbe.

    Despite their Church connection, they were free-thinkers and liberals before the Revolution; afterwards, they were very devout and supporters of the various coalitions that go by the name of the “Party of Order.”

    The Scottish branch settled in Scotland in the 12th century – After the Reformation, Catholics and, later, Jacobites to a man (and woman)

    I do practice law in France and spend about a third of my time there. I have a little studio apartment on the Left Bank, in the Bl Raspail, near the Luxembourg Gardens. It is an authentic piece of old Paris – My French Law Agent’s wife said she could imagine Toulouse-Lautrec staying there, when he was down on his luck.

  • Bonchamps,
    I have been reading up on the Dark Enlightenment and as you might tell by my blog name; Trebuchet, I may be a candidate for enlistment. I find that I am mostly in agreement with your position that the Jacobins of the French Revolution led by Robespierre and their attempt at democracy destroyed the Republic and has worked its way through Marx and from Marx to Herbert Marcuse and the Frankfurt School founded by Lenin and moved to Columbia University in 1930 by John Dewey (for a full history of the effect the Frankfurt School has had on education and society and how it has destroyed our Republic read “Cry Havoc” by Ralph de Toledano). That is where I disagree with you; in order to save The Republic that this country was founded on democracy must be eliminated. I am in full favor of what the Founding Fathers put in place and they realized that democracy as practiced by the Jacobins was the enemy of liberty and The Republic which they had established here. What is ignored by the acceptable, handpicked historians of the Frankfurt School is that at the time of our Revolution the Founding Fathers had fully intended to make America a Constitutional Monarchy, which England had already become(King George did not cause the conditions that led to the Revolution. He was being poisoned with arsenic and his bastard half brother Lord North, a member of the Illuminati, was imposing the tax and conditions on America that caused the break.), and France under the guidance of Lafayette an Charles Danton was about to become. The idea was to unite these Republics into a form of world governance guided by Natural Law as enumerated in the Pentateuch and seasoned with the Salt of Mercy of the New Testament. It was to be a secular extension of Christendom that had existed in Europe since Charles Martel. But the Jacobins destroyed the Monarchy in France, chased Lafayette to Austria where he spent 5 years in prison, and executed Charles Danton the real architect of the Republic (Danton and Lafayette were members of the same Masonic Lodge in England as Ben Franklin). Also, something not taught in present day histories of the French Revolution is that it was not a popular uprising; in fact as others have pointed out here, the Vendee/Royalist/Catholics were dead set against it and paid dearly to the tune of at least 500,000 murdered by the Jacobins. So how does a small group of radicals pull off such a coup? “Money is the Mothers Milk of Politics” said Lenin. During the Crusades the Hapsburg rulers of the Franco-Austrian Empire were charging a Tax to support the expedition to the Holy Land. Some Frankish cloth merchants approached the Turks and arranged safe passage through the Holy Land to an ancient land considered the gateway to India and the Far East known as Arian part of present day Iran and India. They established a base in Geneva to deposit gold and silver and established the Note of Credit which when presented in their established center in Arian would allow them to draw upon their account in Geneva. These merchants became opposed to paying tax to the Monarchs and the Church but had no problem paying protection to the Turks perhaps because it gave them a monopoly on trade in Europe and they became incredibly wealthy and had no intention of giving it up. For the sake of brevity I must skip over much history at this point but suffice it to say that the founding of America (by a union of Catholic Bankers and Masons; yes that’s right Catholics and Masons) was not in the French Merchants play book and they sought to stop it. The Jacobins were heavily financed by these Merchant Bankers and by their friend the Sultan of Mysore who expected in return the French to drive the English Navy from the seas. The Jacobins did mostly what they were expected to do. As an aside anyone who thinks that the Vendee lands were turned over to the people of France by the Jacobins is wrong; most of the Church and Vendee lands were given to the wealthy supporters of the Jacobins. So here is the upshot. These Merchant Bankers became the enemy of The Republic, of Christendom, of the Monarchy and of Free Markets. These are the things that threaten them most because they would cause the dilution of their wealth and power, especially a truly free and open form of free market capitalism. They financed Lenin in 1917 with 10 million in gold, they helped bring Hitler to power, they control the IMF, the World Bank, the Central Bank of every nation and our Federal Reserve; they’re the Man on the Grassy Knoll and the Occupy Movement. These men and women love what passes for democracy today because it allows them to purchase the votes they need to insure their continued success. I believe it was C.S. Lewis that said “Lucifer sits in the boardroom of every bank”. So if I am a reactionary because I feel there is a need to change the path we are on then, Oh Well. But I do feel the name Dark Enlightenment sounds to foreboding; perhaps:

    Verus Sapientia Illuminatio

  • Trebuchet,

    Democracy cannot be destroyed. There is no practical program for such a thing to occur.

    There is a practical program, however, for the nullification of federal tyranny at the state level (to be addressed, in detail, later on). Popular sovereignty in the context of state’s rights has widespread support, and is the key to resisting the dark forces determined to cast into the fire once and for all Christendom’s tattered remnants.

  • Amendment 5 – Trial and Punishment, Compensation for Takings. Ratified 12/15/1791.
    No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
    “for public use” and only for public use.

  • MPS, thank you for the background information. What issues were pre-Revolutionary “liberals and free thinkers” concerned about? In other words, what caused the French Revolution….why the blood bath?
    Slightly off topic: Your fellow countryman General Jean Humbert is very well thought of in County Mayo, Ireland and by members of my family. Gen. Humbert rendered assistance to the Irish against England in 1798. Although the campaign was not successful, the towns people, in gratitude, erected a monument in his honour in the middle of town. His memory is still very much alive today.
    It’s curious that so soon after the French Revolution, French troops were active in Ireland….the French apparently viewed Ireland as the back door into England; and England knew it.

  • Bonchamps,
    Why in your opinion was the French Revolution so much more violent and bloody than the American Revolution when both apparently sought to displace old hierarchical/monarchical orders with new orders grounded in Enlightenment principles?

  • Ms. De Voe,
    Eminent Domain has been interpreted more broadly than you might imagine. See, NYS Court of Appeals decision and NY Times Article of November 25, 2009.

    In the Matter of Daniel Goldstein, et al., Appellants, v. New York State Urban Development Corporation, d/b/a Empire State Development Corporation, Respondent.

    NEW YORK COURT OF APPEALS, 2009 NY Int. 180, 2009 NY Slip Op 08677.
    Decided on November 24, 2009, No. 178
    NEW YORK REGION | November 25, 2009
    Ruling Lets Atlantic Yards Seize Land
    The last major hurdle to a $4.9 billion development in Brooklyn fell after a ruling by New York’s highest court.

  • Slainte,

    The simple answer is that the American colonists were attempting to preserve their rights as Englishmen. The French were attempting to destroy and rebuild society from the ground up. The American colonists were fighting for independence – not for the destruction of the old order. The old order could continue to exist in England or Canada or wherever else people were willing to put up with it.

    Not so with the French. Read Rousseau’s Social Contract. “Anyone who says ‘outside the Church, there is no salvation’ ought to be driven from the state.” The French Revolution was about the elevation not just of reason over faith/religion, but the state over all challenges to its authority. Rousseau hated the Church because it divided men’s loyalties – the same reason Hobbes hated it. The Jacobin terror was arguably the first secular totalitarian regime in history, totalitarian because it demanded absolute and undivided allegiance. The profaning of the churches, their desecration, their physical leveling, the genocide in the Vendee – the worst outrages of this revolution, like many that would follow, were against the Church. It is what middle-class Jacobinism, anti-clerical/Masonic nationalism, and Bolshevism have in common, a rabid hatred for this institution that dares to tell men that they have loyalties and duties more important than those they owe to their temporal rulers.

  • Slainte: “Eminent Domain has been interpreted more broadly than you might imagine”
    Interesting that the Courts may take privilege with the Constitution without informed consent of the people for whom the Constitution is written. It is extremely evident in the separation of church and state which words are not in the Constitution and ignore the words “nor shall private property be taken for public use” words which are in the Constitution and all this without ratification by the people.

  • ““Anyone who says ‘outside the Church, there is no salvation’ ought to be driven from the state.””
    Andrew Cuomo’s statement that people who are anti-abortion, pro gun ownership or against gay-marriage do not belong in New York State is so similar that it is chilling.

  • Bonchamps,
    I have read Rousseau’s “Social Contract”. I am also aware that the American and French masons who headed the respective revolutions shared a visceral disdain, if not hatred, for Catholicism.
    I surmised the reason the blood bath occurred in France, but not America, was due to Catholicism’s almost non-exisent role in America. In France, it would seem the effort was to annihilate the Church and those who refused to renounce the faith.
    It seems telling that Ben Franklin, Voltaire, the Marquise de Lafayette, John Paul Jones all belonged to Paris’ “La Loge des Neuf Sœurs”….the Nine Sisters Masonic Lodge.
    Perhaps I am wrong…but having read so much about masonry from various popes, I take the matter seriously.

  • Slainte,

    I don’t think you are wrong. But keep in mind that Anglo-American Freemasonry and Continental Freemasonry are different animals. It is true that Locke wanted to exclude Catholics from religious toleration, but Jefferson, Washington, et. al. saw that this would be absurd. There was already a Catholic colony in America, Catholics had – in spite of Puritan persecution – contributed to the war for Independence, France had come to the aid of the colonies, French soldiers and envoys were among the colonial armies, etc. The milder form of Freemasonry simply holds that all religions are more or less equal, including Catholicism.

  • Bonchamps,
    Final point. You will note in my comment to MPS that I reference General Jean Humbert who landed on the west coast of Ireland in 1798 ostensibly to assist the Irish against the usual British onslaught. What I never realized is the significance of the words General Humbert used in his proclamation to the Catholic Irish.

    To wit:

    “…an excerpt from the proclamation of General Jean Humbert, the French General who led the French and Irish armed forces in the short-lived Republic. The proclamation was made on 22 August 1798, the day the General first landed in County Mayo, Ireland:[3]


    After several unsuccessful attempts, behold at last Frenchmen arrived amongst you…

    Brave Irishmen, our cause is common. Like you we hold as indefeasible the right of all nations to liberty. Like you we are persuaded that the peace of the world shall ever be troubled as long as the British ministry is suffered to make with impunity a traffic of the industry and blood of the people . . .

    Union, Liberty, the Irish Republic! Such is our shout. Let us march. Our hearts are devoted to you; our glory is in your happiness.”

    Quite amazing..Gen Humbert appears to be delivering a masonic message to the Catholic Irish peasants.

  • Mary De Voe writes, “…It is extremely evident in the separation of church and state which words are not in the Constitution and ignore the words “nor shall private property be taken for public use” words which are in the Constitution and all this without ratification by the people.”
    I am equally concerned with the unexpected expansion of Eminent Domain following the Kelo decision. We need to pray for our judges so that they may exercise great care and prudence in their deliberations and rulings.

  • Who gave government officials permission to change the Fifth Amendment from “public use” to public purposes in eminent domain. Government officials are not “the public” and their use is not the “public use”. Who gave government officials permission to change The Constitution for the United States of America without ratification by We, the people, at least three quarters of the states?
    Who gave Andrew Cuomo permission to alter the citizens’ spiritual life? Cuomo was elected to represent the public’s public life. Who gave Andrew Cuomo ownership of New York State? Al Capone went to prison for less than that.
    Who gave Obama permission to alter his constituents’ spiritual life, deciding for us how much tax money is to be redistributed and who shall receive redistribution, who shall live and who shall be aborted, who shall be allowed self-defense and who shall suffer jeopardy of life, who shall be given permission to sully their souls with unnatural sex, and who shall not be allowed to remain innocent and pure, and who shall be given stimulus packages and who shall pay for it?
    Who gave Roe versus Wade permission to own the human life in the womb?
    Who gave government officials permission to substitute unnatural sex for natural sex?
    Who gave government officials permission to euthanize old folks except that we remember freedom?

  • Bonchamps you wrote
    ”Democracy cannot be destroyed. There is no practical program for such a thing to occur. There is a practical program, however, for the nullification of federal tyranny at the state level (to be addressed, in detail, later on). Popular sovereignty in the context of state’s rights has widespread support, and is the key to resisting the dark forces determined to cast into the fire once and for all Christendom’s tattered remnants.”
    You are right; the Republican form of Democracy that was given to us by the Founding Fathers as described in Federalist #10, (addressing the question of how to guard against factions, or groups of citizens, with interests contrary to the rights of others or the interests of the whole community ie; the ACLU) should not be destroyed. It is what has protected us against the pure democracy of Rome which destroyed the Republic and gave them the Emperors and that of the Jacobins which gave France Napoleon, and now our faux democracy as practiced by the Progressives which is on the verge of giving us “one party rule” (if there is such a thing as re-incarnation then I would have to say Robespierre has returned as Obama). However; at the same time I support an uprising as that of Captain Shay who along with other farmers that fought in the Revolutionary Army came home to find that the “Courts” had taken their lands and homes for unpaid taxes during the time they were fighting and sold them (mostly to their wealthy friends who had helped to put them on the bench). Shays’ Rebellion; as it became known, failed and Shay spent two years in prison. When the situation was brought to the attention of then President Thomas Jefferson he had the judges arrested and the lands restored to Shay and the other farmers. So, I suppose that when you used the term “Nullification of Federal Tyranny”, we are in approximation to each other and that rather than a destruction of democracy; a re-balancing of power must take place. Your use of the phrase “Popular Sovereignty” strikes a chord with me and I look forward to your exposition on the subject.

  • The “spirit” of the Vendee did not die; it lived in the heart of Charles Maurras and “Action Francaise” in 1934…
    In a recent article “February 6, 1934: A Royalist Last Stand”, Gary Potter recounts Charles Maurras’ heroic leadership of a group of Catholic men assembled under the banner “Action Francaise” who valiantly, yet unsuccessfully, assaulted French police in Paris’ Place de la Concorde to seize control of Palais Bourbon.
    The goal of Charles Maurras and Action Francaise assault…to restore monarchy to 1934 France and to replace France’s “national Masonic motto of “liberte, egalite, fraternite” with “travail, famille, patrie (Work, Family, Country).”
    “Action Francaise upheld both authority and freedom”…” Maurras saw the family as the heart of society. In fact, family was so important to the men of Action Francaise they wished to be ruled by an identifiable one instead of by corrupt politicians and faceless bureaucrats. As a father is the natural head of his family, so a monarch is head not simply of the royal family but the family of the nation. (As with so much else wrong with modernity, decline of the family as a social institution can be seen to begin with the Revolution of 1789. The nineteenth-century novelist Honore de Balzac recognized this. He wrote: “When it beheaded Louis XVI, the Revolution beheaded in his person all fathers of families. The family no longer exists today; there are only individuals.”)”
    Action Francais claimed “…Decentralization of political power was vital. Napoleon, who incarnated the Revolution, concentrated it in the central government in Paris, where it remains unto this day even as in the U.S. it has been centered in Washington since the War Between the States…”
    “…Restoration of the monarchy in France would have entailed the revival of regional parliaments, professional and workers’ guilds, and similar organic associations. The King’s authority might be absolute but these intermediary bodies, together with the teachings of the Faith, would limit its scope.”
    “As for the Faith, making Catholicism the religion of the state was another of the goals of Action Francaise.”
    “…Maurras saw that men need work, not mere jobs, and it is best done when done where they live. That is, Action Francaise wished France to remain as she still largely was before World War II, primarily an agricultural country. Rootedness was desired, not the restlessness of industrial society…”
    “Despite the defeat in Place de la Concorde on February 6, 1934, these principles of Action Francaise, without restoration of the monarchy, were….enacted into law – by the government that existed in France between 1940 and 1944. It made abortion, for instance, a capital offense and required religious education in state schools with a crucifix in every classroom. This government came into power when the parliament of the Third Republic, acting in the aftermath of the army’s retreat before advancing German troops, voted itself and the Republic out of existence….”
    “why did no trace of Vichy’s achievements remain after World War II?….It was due to one of the worst mistakes a Pope has ever made. Misled by powerful French prelates, notably the Archbishops of Bordeaux and Algiers (then a French city), Pope Pius XI issued a ban against both Action Francaise and its newspaper in 1926….”
    “….it was left to his successor, Pope Pius XII, to lift the ban. It was his second official act as Pope, his first being his assumption of the Throne of St. Peter, but it still came too late…”.
    “….The French political left remembers this as an occasion when “fascists” came close to overturning the institutions through which France has been governed since the Revolution of 1789…”

    Source: http://catholicism.org/february-6-1934-a-royalist-last-stand.html.

  • Slainté

    In the memorable exchange in 1910, in Maurice Blondel’s publication, L’Annales de philosophie chrétienne, between Maurras’s Jesuit defender, Pedro Descoqs and the Oratorian Lucien Laberthonnière. over the affiliation of Catholics with the Action française movement, led by the agnostic positivist Charles Maurras. So far as I know, this exchange has never appeared in English, which is astonishing, as it was what united such disparate thinkers as Blondel, Maréchal, the Dominicans, Chenu and Congar and the Jesuits, Lubac and Daniélou. It was a fundamental moment for the Nouvelle Théologie, much as Keble’s Assize Sermon had been for the Oxford Movement.

    Descoqs argued that Maurras’s political views were independent of his views on religion and that they coincided with Catholic social teaching, so that with proper precautions Catholics could associate themselves with his movement. Maurras’s mistake about the supernatural did not prevent his analysis of the natural from being quite accurate.

    Blondel agreed with Descoqs only on the point that the basic issue was the relationship between nature and the supernatural. In Descoqs’s conclusion he saw a perfect illustration of the theological extrinsicism which made the supernatural simply a superficial addition to the natural order, leaving the latter essentially untouched and related to the supernatural only by an external decree of God. For Blondel nature was made for the supernatural, and a failure to recognize that sublime destiny could not leave one’s analysis of the natural laws of society unaffected. He called himself an “integrist” precisely because religion is comprehensively, inclusively pertinent to the human condition. Even more seriously, Descoqs had allowed Maurras’s insistence on order and submission to evacuate his notion of Christianity itself, to the point that Descoqs was content with:

    “A Catholicism without Christianity, submissiveness without thought, an authority without love, a Church that would rejoice at the insulting tributes paid to the virtuosity of her interpretative and repressive system… To accept all from God except God, all from Christ except His Spirit, to preserve in Catholicism only a residue that is aristocratic and soothing for the privileged and beguiling or threatening for the lower classes—is not all this, under the pretext perhaps of thinking only about religion, really a matter of pursuing only politics?”

  • MPS,
    How did Vatican II resolve the crisis within the French Church arising from competing dual theories of “Nature and the Supernatural”? What did the VII Council conclude about nature and the supernatural?
    Did St. Thomas Aquinas recognize a dualism between Nature and the Supernatural?
    Finally, what is the Church’s present “vision of humanity” post Vatican II…either of the following or some other view?
    Augustineanism….man exists, wretched and fallen, in a state of nature darkened by the temporal effects of original sin with no ability to aid in his own salvation and completely dependent on a distant God. Only through the intercession and unmerited Grace of God is man able to be saved. Nothing man can do on his own initiative may contribute to his salvation.
    Thomism…..man exists in nature darkened by the temporal effects of original sin but through the unmerited Grace of God and the Church, man is saved. Through his intellect and reason, albeit skewed by original sin, man may come to know God and aid in his own salvation.
    Thank you for your perspective.

  • Slainté
    We should bear in mind Para 29 of Splendor Veritatis, where Pope John Paul II stated: “Certainly the Church’s Magisterium does not intend to impose upon the faithful any particular theological system, still less a philosophical one.”

    As for St Thomas, he is quite definite that “the beatitude of any rational creature whatsoever consists in seeing God by his essence” [In IV Sent, d. 49, q. 2, a. 7:] and that “one has not attained to one’s last end until the natural desire is at rest. Therefore the knowledge of any intelligible object is not enough for man’s happiness, which is his last end, unless he know God also, which knowledge terminates his natural desire, as his last end. Therefore this very knowledge of God is man’s last end.” {SCG III, c. 50.] In this he would appear to be at one with St Augustine’s famous opening line of the Confessions, “You have made us for yourself and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”

    He is equally clear on the sheer gratuity of grace: “Even though by his nature man is inclined to his ultimate end, he cannot reach it by nature but only by grace and this owing to the loftiness of that end.” [In Boethius de Trinitate, q. 6, a. 4 ad 5.]. He also says, “The nature that can attain perfect good, although it needs help from without in order to attain it, is of more noble condition than a nature which cannot attain perfect good, but attains some imperfect good, although it need no help from without in order to attain it.” [ST I-II, q. 5, a. 5 ad 2] and he quotes Aristotle as saying “that which we are able to do through friends we can in a certain way do on our own.”

    By contrast, all of the Thomists of the 16th century cite Aristotle in this context: “If nature had given the heavenly bodies the inclination to linear motion, she would also have given them the means for it.” [De Caelo, II, 290a] . . . the thought of a “desiderium naturale,” which points in nature beyond nature, would, according to the theologians of the sixteenth century, make salvation a right, and grace would cease to be a gift. The consequence of this was that they superimposed a hypothetical purely natural destiny of man, a “finis naturalis,” onto the actual destiny given in salvation history; and thus the fateful construction of a “natura pura” came into being. The mischief came when this purely hypothetical natura pura was made the foundation-stone of their Natural Law theories. By contrast, Maurice Blondel, insisted that we must never forget “that one cannot think or act anywhere as if we do not all have a supernatural destiny. Because, since it concerns the human being such as he is, in concreto, in his living and total reality, not in a simple state of hypothetical nature, nothing is truly complete (boucle), even in the sheerly natural order”

    For de Lubac and his school, Nature is not a divine seed, but rather an emptiness which is “ordered” to its fulfilment in Christ precisely because it exists as a privation. Nature is no sort of divine seed, or immanent movement toward the supernatural, rather it is instilled with a desire for the supernatural that is born precisely out of its own poverty. Grace is purely gratuitous, precisely because creation is itself a gift – “You have made us for Yourself…” This is perfectly consistent with Lumen Gentium, which avoided the Scholastic categories altogether..

  • MPS wrote, “….all of the Thomists of the 16th century cite Aristotle in this context: “If nature had given the heavenly bodies the inclination to linear motion, she would also have given them the means for it.” [De Caelo, II, 290a] . . . the thought of a “desiderium naturale,” which points in nature beyond nature, would, according to the theologians of the sixteenth century, make salvation a right, and grace would cease to be a gift….”
    Does the aforementioned reasoning reflect the neo-Thomist “Salamanca School”?
    If so, does the “rights/obligation” concept of Natural Law arise from Renaissance era “Christian Humanism”?
    Ie., Human beings have a desire and thus a “right” to know God, which creates a corresponding “duty” by God to convey Grace upon us so that we may attain the end of our desire….or….alternatively the Divine Will is obligated and subordinated to our human will to make Himself known to us.
    If so, this is Hubris.

  • Slainté

    No, the Salamanca School – and all the Neo-Thomists – absolutely rejected the idea of a desiderium naturale, precisely because they believed this was necessary to safeguard the gratuity of grace. Accordingly, they believed that a theory of Natural Law could be developed that left man’s supernatural destiny out of account.

    That was why Charles Maurras’s Jesuit defender, Descoqs a follower of Suarez’s interpretation of St Thomas had allowed the political sphere a wide degree of autonomy and he was prepared to detach “political society” from “religious society.” Laberthonnière retaliated by accusing Descoqs of being influenced by “a false theological notion of some state of pure nature and therefore imagined the state could be self-sufficient in the sense that it could be properly independent of any specifically Christian sense of justice.”

    Jacques Maritain, too, challenged the Neo-Scholastic doctrine of natura pura by insisting that “the knowledge of human actions and of the good conduct of the human State in particular can exist as an integral science, as a complete body of doctrine, only if related to the ultimate end of the human being . . . the rule of conduct governing individual and social life cannot therefore leave the supernatural order out of account” and “Man is not in a state of pure nature, he is fallen and redeemed. Consequently, ethics, in the widest sense of the word, that is, in so far as it bears on all practical matters of human action, politics and economics, practical psychology, collective psychology, sociology, as well as individual morality,—ethics in so far as it takes man in his concrete state, in his existential being, is not a purely philosophic discipline. Of itself it has to do with theology…”

  • Slainté

    Recall the scathing words of the Abbé Laberthonnière to those French Catholics who hoped that L’Action française would lead to “the triumph of the Church in society.”

    “The triumph of the Church in society? That would be excellent. But then, it is necessary to examine by what means our religion permits us to pursue it. Moreover, it has not been promised us. And then, it is not, perhaps, the most pressing of our tasks.

    The Church is like Christ. To go to souls, she is, in her own essence, a soul of truth and kindness. And, if He needs a body to act in the world, it is by His soul and for His soul that His body subsists. And, if we wish His body to be beautiful and vigorous, if we wish it to be radiant, let us labour to enrich her soul with the faith and love of our souls.

    Her power does not consist in giving orders, to which external obedience is required, backed up by threats or favours. Her power is to raise souls to the life above. It is to give birth to and to cultivate in consciences the supernaturalising obligation to live for God and for others, through Christ, and to pass through temporal defeats to a triumph that is timeless.

    Do not indulge in childish dreams, when you have in your grasp eternal realities that invite you. Understand, all you who would triumph and reign on earth – Et nunc, reges, intellegite.” [To a French audience, instantly recognizable as the text of Bossuet’s funeral oration for Henrietta Maria, widow of the executed Charles I of England that everyone reads at school]

  • MPS.
    The words from Abbe Laberthonniere have sung in my being and I am grateful for your contribution, otherwise I may never heard the truest of song.

    “And if we wish His body to be beautiful and vigorous, if we wish it to be radiant, let us labor to enrich her soul with the faith and love of our souls.”
    Yes! Sanctification.

    “It is to give birth to and cultivate in consciences the supernaturalising obligation to live for God and for others, through Christ, and to pass through TEMPORAL DEFEATS to a TRIUMPH THAT IS TIMELESS!

    Outstanding! Thanks for sharing your talents and education. God bless.

  • Philip

    And that is in my limping translation:

    « Et si nous voulons que son corps soit beau et vigoureux, si nous voulons qu’il rayonne, travaillons à enrichir son âme de la foi et de l’amour de nos âmes… c’est de faire naître et de cultiver dans les consciences l’obligation surnaturalisante de vivre pour Dieu et pour les autres par le Christ et d’aller ainsi à travers les défaites du temps, à un triomphe qui n’est pas de temps. »

  • MPS,
    I am reflecting upon your response to my queries and formulating a reply.
    But in the interim, I want to join Philip in letting you know how privileged we are as a group to have you among us; and I am personally grateful for your patience and willingness to share your impressive knowledge of philosophy, theology and even folklore (ie., Sir Boyle Roche : )

  • MPS, I can only assume that when philosophers and theologians go before God upon their death, Our Lord must scratch His head and charitably inform them that they confuse even Him with some of their theories and pearls of wisdom. : )
    That said, I hope I will not worsen your headache, that I confess to be solely responsible for, with my fledgling efforts…
    So the Jesuit Descoqs would have aligned with the Dominican Cardinal Cajetan who proposed an order in which the hypothetical state of “pure nature” would have its own natural end distinct from man’s supernatural end.
    Descoqs and Cajetan would support agnostic Maurrus whose “Action Francaise” movement, while not ordered toward the supernatural, sought to attain temporal ends consistent with the Church’s interests.
    For Descoqs and Cajetan, natural law could thus exist separately from revelation; positive law could exist separately from divine providence; Rawlsian philosophy on social justice might be deemed acceptable because its ends are acceptable notwithstanding that its reasoning is not aligned with the supernatural end of man. All of the foregoing assumes Nature has an end of its own separate from God/the supernatural and this is called extrinsicism.
    But DeLubac and the Neo-Theologians reject the separation of Nature from the Supernatural insisting they are integrated and thus dependent on God and grace as gift.
    Karl Rahner, following De Lubac, sought to integrate Nature and Supernatural but went too far when he declared God to be immanentized in nature.

  • Pingback: Lightning Round -2014/02/05 | Free Northerner
  • Slainté

    Bang on! The argument over l’ action française was the catalyst, but the real disagreement was over Natural Law and, beyond that, of the whole relationship between nature and grace.

    Blondel, Maritain and Laberthonnière saw clearly that the Neo-Thomists unwittingly endorsed the liberal privatisation of religion; if the Gospel has nothing distinctive to say about “the practical matters of human action, politics and economics, practical psychology, collective psychology, sociology, as well as individual morality” (Maritain) and unaided human reason is a sufficient guide, religion has no rôle in the public square. It seems to me that the New Natural Law School (Finnis, George & al) have taken up, where the Manualists left off.

    As for Karl Rahner, like de Lubac and other theologians, he was struggling with a profound mystery: the interior fact of soliciting grace and the external fact of revelation which together make up Christianity. It is here, particularly, that the documents of VII are illuminating, in locating, rather than attempting to solve the mystery.

  • An interesting article on the problems with De Lubac’s theory of the natural desire for the supernatural.


    I will also have to look up one or two good books that note significant problems with De Lubac’s interpretation of Aquinas.

    The long and short is that De Lubac may have been seriously wrong in that interpretation.

  • MPS,
    Thank you for your guidance; it finally makes sense.
    Two final points;
    I refer you to Gary Potter’s article “February 6, 1934: A Royalist Last Stand” which provides in part,
    “Not as soon, but eventually, Pius XI realized he had made a mistake. He charged Msgr. Alfredo Ottaviani, future head of the Holy Office, with the mission of negotiating a face-saving agreement with Action Francaise that would allow him to lift the ban. Ottaviani succeeded, but Msgr. Giovanni Montini, the future Pope Paul VI and an ardent disciple of the French liberal Catholic philosopher Jacques Maritain, kept the agreement bottled up in the Vatican bureaucracy until the Pope died in 1939. Thus it was left to his successor, Pope Pius XII, to lift the ban. It was his second official act as Pope, his first being his assumption of the Throne of St. Peter, but it still came too late. World War II began less than three months later – not time enough for the rehabilitation of Action Francaise to register in the minds of very many before the hell of war broke loose.” http://catholicism.org/february-6-1934-a-royalist-last-stand.html.
    Why the delay in lifting the ban of Action Francaise until 1939…were the reasons political or theological or was something else at play?
    In the 1950s, Yves Congar, Joseph Ratzinger, Henri De Lubac, Karl Rahner, Hans Urs von Balthasar and others were on a list compiled by the Holy Office (now the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) suspected of, or under a cloud of, possible Heresy. Your insight as to why is appreciated.

  • Phillip,
    Thank you for your comments and the article on De Lubac and man’s natural desire for the supernatural.
    I look forward to reading it.

  • Slainté

    The ban on l’ Action française was unusual, in that, not only were a number of Charles Maurras’s books placed on the Index – He had expressed his contempt for the spôoirit of the biblical prophets and even Jesus in certain of his early works – but so was its newspaper, with future editions being prohibited “sight unseen,” as it were.

    The movement had a number of dubious aspects: its “Catholic atheism,” a purely instrumental attitude to religion, as a source of social cohesion and, above all, as the guardian of order, its virulent anti-semitism and integral nationalism and its appeal to violence. Pope Leo XIII, after all, had exhorted Catholic to “rally to the Republic,” explaining that a distinction must be drawn between the form of government, which ought to be accepted, and its laws which ought to be improved, only to be accused by the Catholic press of “kissing the feet of their executioners.” In 1940, alas, too many Catholics, under its influence, rallied, not to the Republic, but to Vichy and the members of its paramilitary wing, the Camelots du Roi moved seamlessly into the Milice, enthusiastically rounding up Jews for deportation. After the Liberation, Maurras was sentenced to life imprisonment as a collaborator. A few of his followers had been shot in the épuration sauvage and others fled abroad. Partly as a result, there was an enormous wave of support for the Communists – the « parti des 75.000 fusillés morts pour que vive la France » [the party of the 75,000 shot, dead that France might live) for its leading rôle in the Resistance.

    The suspicion aroused by the « Nouvelle théologie » had its roots in the Modernist crisis at the beginning of the century. As Blondel had pointed out, “First, the scholastic ideology, which still exclusively dominates, includes the study neither of religious psychology nor of the subjective facts that convey to the conscience the action of the objective realities whose presence in us Revelation indicates; this ideology only considers as legitimate the examination of what objectively informs us about these realities as designated and defined. Moreover, and especially, everything is instinctively resisted that would limit the authoritarianism born of an exclusive extrinsicism. And, without formulating it, the conception is entertained according to which everything in religious life comes from on high and from without. Only the priesthood is active before a purely passive and receptive flock.” Any deviation from the traditional scholastic model was seen as a stalking horse for the Modernism condemned in Lamentabili and Pascendi.

  • Thank you MPS for sharing your gift of intellect and clarifying so much
    historical and other information about France’s faith journey.
    It does seem that not only France, but the entire world, needs a renewal and
    return to authentic Catholicism. Hopefully this can be accomplished without
    further wars or wrongly scapegoating minority groups. Gary Potter who wrote
    the article about the Action Franchaise event at Place de Concorde that
    occurred 80 years ago today claims that Maurras became Catholic before he
    Perhaps then hope does spring eternal.
    Pax tecum.

  • “”Only the priesthood is active before a purely passive and receptive flock.””
    According to St. Augustine, the faithful participants (the flock) must offer up their hearts to God at the same time the priest offers up his heart at the Offertory of the Mass. Only the priest brings Jesus Christ’s Real Presence to the altar. The flock participates through the priest. It is called assisting at Mass and it is a mortal sin to miss Mass on Sunday without, as it were, extenuating circumstances.
    Pax tecum.

  • slainte,

    A good insight into how such an apparently minor philosophical distinction of the natural desire for the supernatural can lead to serious political differences:


  • Phillip,
    Wow, what an interesting article; I appreciate Prof. Deneen and have read several of his pieces on the topic of liberalism.
    Having spent some time thinking about liberalism, I sthink perhaps the great and ongoing battle of the last few centuries might well be the repeat clashes of Catholicism v. the Enlightenment (now known as Liberalism).
    As to individual Catholics, what appears to distinguish the two categories referenced by Prof. Deneen is the degree to which each respective group has ingested, absorbed, and synthesized Enlightenment principles with their Catholic faith. Dineen’s “radical Catholics” seems to exhibit a tougher time holding irreconcilable principles as equally true and acceptable in contrast with the John Courtney Murray American traditionalists who seem to do so effortlessly and without concern.
    How does one reconcile the following principles:
    i. radical individualism with Catholic concern for the common good;
    ii. separation of church and state with a Catholic concept of state which envisions God’s presence in all facets of governing and whose end is God directed;
    iii. religious freedom with a Catholic view that the Catholic Church is the one true Church and no other Church holds the fullness of Truth; and therefore cannot be equal;
    iv. the secular state’s elevation of reason (science) to the exclusion or segregation of faith.
    Our motivation as Catholics living out our faith journey in all facets of our lives cannot be oriented toward enlightened self interest, utility, or beneficial contractual exchange, it must always be about love of Christ and the desire within us to imitate Him and to draw closer to Him through prayer and interaction with others. We Catholics desire Him and it is because we want to be with Him that we strive to act as we ought, and then confess and do penance for those times when we fall short in our efforts. Liberalism is simply incompatible with Catholicism because its ends conclude in a natural end which does not engage the supernatural.
    Politically, I sometimes wonder whether the Enlightenment Revolutions of the 18th century weren’t designed to accomplish the same End merely using different techniques or strategies. The singular End is the conversion of Christianity, and in particular Catholicism, to a single faith system oriented toward a natural secular humanism which denies the supernatural.
    The French Revolution was a head on assault against all things Catholic and Christian which substantially weakened Catholicism in France, while the American Revolution was a more passive enterprise in sowing Enlightenment principles within a Christian culture which progressively and inexorably, over time, wore away and eroded first protestant christianity, and now Catholicism.
    If true, we may now be experiencing something akin to a stepped up effort whereby Catholics, each imbued by a liberal culture with varying degrees of enlightenment ideology will proceed to duke it out with each other.
    As Catholics, it is important to pray for unity among Catholics and christians and for the Holy Spirit to purge from within us false ideologies which compete with the trur faith.
    Fortunately, I think there is a desire within many Catholics to know and be with Christ and to live their lives oriented toward Him…and it will be this desire, with prayer, which the Holy Spirit will build upon to overcome the spirit of this world (nature) and thus unite us with Christ (supernatural).
    Your thoughts?

  • slainte: “The singular End is the conversion of Christianity, and in particular Catholicism, to a single faith system oriented toward a natural secular humanism which denies the supernatural.”
    This is called atheism. To deny the infinite God of Catholicism is to deny unalienable civil rights to Life, Liberty and pursuit of Happiness. Rights that come from the state may be taken away by the state, and are, as is the state, finite, ending. Unalienable civil rights come from the Infinite God. Man’s soul is immortal and cannot be sustained by finite rights. Man’s home is in eternity with God. Denying the supernatural destroys any hope of an immortal soul to see God in eternity. Denying man’s immortality is despotism and the epitome of totalitarianism.

  • Thank you Mary for a very wise and prescient comment. While writing my comment I was reflecting on the discussion with MPS regarding natura pura and our desire for God, Phillip’s article, as well as two pending political issues, ie., the HHS mandate launched against the Church in the U.S, and most recently the U.N assault against the global Church.
    It does seem sometimes as if the forces are aligned against Catholicism. I tend to agree with you that what is at work is either a form of atheism or possibly pantheism; neither of which acknowledge the supernatural. Not quite sure….but I wish it would all just stop. You summed up the situation very well. : )

  • Philip & Slainté

    Aristotle famously called Man a ζῷον πολιτικόν – a political animal, For him, it is as blindingly obvious that people everywhere live in communities as that bees live in hives or wolves in packs. The root of the human community, the polis is the family or household: διὸ ἐν οἰκίᾳ πρῶτον ἀρχαὶ καὶ πηγαὶ φιλίας καὶ πολιτείας καὶ δικαίου – Hence in the household are first found the origins and springs of friendship, of political organization and of justice (My translation)

    This is why Yves Simon says that Man, taken as an isolated individual is “no longer unequivocally real” and that the highest activity/being in the natural order is the free arrangement of men about what is good, brought together in an actual polity, where it is no longer a mere abstraction.

    Now, the Enlightenment denied this. It was a fundamental principle of the Enlightenment that the nature of the human person can be adequately described without mention of social relationships. A person’s relations with others, even if important, are not essential and describe nothing that is, strictly speaking, necessary to one’s being what one is. This principle underlies all their talk about the “state of nature” and the “social contract,” and from it is derived the notion that the only obligations are those voluntarily assumed. It was in this spirit that Bentham says that “the community is a fictitious body,” and it is but “the sum of the interests of the several members who compose it.” The contrast with Aristotle could not be more complete.

    Grace perfects nature. As VII reminds us, we are redeemed in and through our membership of the People of God. Our nature demands community.

  • “radical individualism with Catholic concern for the common good”

    It is not clear to me that the Enlightenment philosophers were all supportive of the concept of radical individualism. There are so many different brands of philosophy from the Enlightenment that ultimately take their most distilled form in the pure materialist philosophy of Marxism. This last is at its core pure collectivism. So in reality there is no one Enlightenment understanding of the person and his relationship to society.

    I think Locke in part captures what is true of Catholic theology (though he is quite off with his epistemology and this corrupts his work.) But he does understand that we are individual persons and that the common good itself cannot compromise the good of individual persons. This because individuals do possess rights. (JPII in Memory and Rememberance commented on the concept of individual rights being an accomplishment of the Enlightenment.) Catholic social teaching does teach the primacy of the person and the ultimate good of the person in ordering society.

    Of course this Catholic position is not a radical individualism as the person is by his very nature called to be in communion with others. As MPS notes from Aristotle, we are political animals. Not that we are to argue policies but that we are to live in society and order it to the good of all persons. This is where some philosophers from the Enlightenment do get things right. That is, we are persons in society and we must order that society that respects the good of all. (By the same token, as MPS notes, there are those Enlightenment philosophers who get things very wrong and as noted, not necessarily from a radical individual perspective but from a radical collectivist perspective also.)

  • This from the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church on this tension (if you will) between the person and the common good:

    125. The human person may never be thought of only as an absolute individual being, built up by himself and on himself, as if his characteristic traits depended on no one else but himself. Nor can the person be thought of as a mere cell of an organism that is inclined at most to grant it recognition in its functional role within the overall system. Reductionist conceptions of the full truth of men and women have already been the object of the Church’s social concern many times, and she has not failed to raise her voice against these, as against other drastically reductive perspectives, taking care to proclaim instead that “individuals do not feel themselves isolated units, like grains of sand, but united by the very force of their nature and by their internal destiny, into an organic, harmonious mutual relationship”[234]. She has affirmed instead that man cannot be understood “simply as an element, a molecule within the social organism”[235], and is therefore attentive that the affirmation of the primacy of the person is not seen as corresponding to an individualistic or mass vision.

  • Then there is this:

    “The Church’s social doctrine strives to indicate the different dimensions of the mystery of man, who must be approached “in the full truth of his existence, of his personal being and also of his community and social being”[237], with special attention so that the value of the human person may be readily perceived.”

    Thus we are not radical individuals. Nor are we social beings only. We are persons in community.

  • Finally (at least for now) this on the uniqueness of the person in relation to society:

    “131. Man exists as a unique and unrepeatable being, he exists as an “I” capable of self-understanding, self-possession and self-determination. The human person is an intelligent and conscious being, capable of reflecting on himself and therefore of being aware of himself and his actions. However, it is not intellect, consciousness and freedom that define the person, rather it is the person who is the basis of the acts of intellect, consciousness and freedom. These acts can even be absent, for even without them man does not cease to be a person.

    The human person, must always be understood in his unrepeatable and inviolable uniqueness. In fact, man exists above all as a subjective entity, as a centre of consciousness and freedom, whose unique life experiences, comparable to those of no one else, underlie the inadmissibility of any attempt to reduce his status by forcing him into preconceived categories or power systems, whether ideological or otherwise. This entails above all the requirement not only of simple respect on the part of others, especially political and social institutions and their leaders with regard to every man and woman on the earth, but even more, this means that the primary commitment of each person towards others, and particularly of these same institutions, must be for the promotion and integral development of the person.”

  • Philip

    Marx fully embraces the Enlightenment view of the individual. For Marx, the individual –the basic unit of the social sphere – is, quite simply, the biological entity. In other words, individuals are the “atoms” (in the Greek sense) of which society is composed. He utterly rejects the organic concept of society and the state. He rejects precisely those elements on which Mazzini laid such stress in the constitution of the national community: “They speak the same language, they bear about them the impress of consanguinity, they kneel beside the same tombs, and they glory in the same tradition.” Hence Marx’s hostility to the family.

    Yves Simon, by contrast, whilst acknowledging that “the polity, at its best, is designed so that men bring forth the perfection of their knowing and artistic capacities within an order that allowed them to pass individual lives benefiting from the temporal and spiritual goods made possible by different persons bringing forth differing accomplishments and perfections, yet making them available to each other,” nevertheless insists that ““Beyond the satisfaction of individual needs, the association of men serves a good unique in plenitude and duration, the common good of the human community.”

    This would have been unintelligible to Marx, although his master, Hegel, grasped it very well.

  • The Supreme Court decision of Roe versus Wade made property of the sovereign individual substance of a rational nature carried in a woman’s womb. The finite court took possession of the newly begotten sovereign soul as chattel. The legal and moral innocence of the human soul at conception impacted Justice as less than nothing and imposed atheism on America’s moral law.
    The Supreme Court decision of Roe versus Wade emasculated every man and father in America as well as every woman and mother in America. The constitutional posterity brought forth in fertilization as a son or daughter ordains a woman as a mother and a man as a father.
    The innocent sovereignty of our constitutional posterity constitutes our nation from the very first moment of his existence. His virtue and purity is the standard of Justice for the nation and the Supreme Court.
    Roe versus Wade is Justice aborted.

  • This is by far one of the best discussions I have ever encountered on this sight. Ok people now I know how the ultimate confusion of “democracy” and “republic” has been churned and churned throughout history but never in such readable explainable scholarly vocabulary. Thank You All! I have been trying to educate my adult children in these matters, as to the “what’s why’s when’s and who’s. Some of them get it some of them don’t want to. That’s what’s scary and why we should be being taught the truth’s and not just a bunch of sappy stories. Anyway “what people don’t know won’t hurt them”, right? Like in this little quote from a “devout” Catholic I once knew, “If it doesn’t say in 50 pages or less what I need to know, then I don’t need to know it!” I rest my case(again)

  • “…For Marx, the individual –the basic unit of the social sphere – is, quite simply, the biological entity. In other words, individuals are the “atoms” (in the Greek sense) of which society is composed.”

    But this is the point of calling Marxism a rejection of the individual in favor of radical collectivism. A person does not have dignity apart from his being part of the collective (an atom making up the molecule if you will.) This is what the Church refers to (and as I cited above) in the Compendium as “simply as an element, a molecule within the social organism”. For Marxism is not about radical individualism, but the individual reduced to a part of the organism.

  • Philip wrote, “For Marxism is not about radical individualism, but the individual reduced to a part of the organism.”

    But for Marx, there is no organism, merely constructs; there is no”self” or “individual” greater than the human individual. Families, corporations, nations are not real, in the sense that a man is real. They are, at best, “artificial persons,” not, as they were for the Civilians, “moral persons.”

  • There is no organism in the Aristotelian or Thomistic sense. There is the state though, which is all encompassing and which substitutes for all those other intermediary organisms. And it is the “atom” of the individual who is part of the state in Marixism rather that a person living in community which is the Christian sense. Thus not individualism but collectivism in Marxism.

  • MPS and Philip,
    Alexander Solzhenitsyn lived the majority of his life under Soviet Communism. In 1978, Solzhenitsyn acknowledged that Marxism is a fruit of the Enlightenment precisely because it involves man’s rejection of God in favor of an individualism which insists upon its own self sufficiency and denies man’s true nature as rooted in and oriented toward the supernatural. He also draws conclusions about the likelihood of success for the West in light of its rejection of man’s reliance on God.
    For your consideration, I refer you to Alexander Solzhenitsyn, “A World Split Apart”, a Commencement Speech delivered 8 June 1978 at Harvard University, http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/alexandersolzhenitsynharvard.htm.; see also, http://youtu.be/WuVG8SnxxCM
    “……This means that the mistake must be at the root, at the very basis of human thinking in the past centuries. I refer to the prevailing Western view of the world which was first born during the Renaissance and found its political expression from the period of the Enlightenment. It became the basis for government and social science and could be defined as rationalistic humanism or humanistic autonomy: the proclaimed and enforced autonomy of man from any higher force above him. It could also be called anthropocentricity, with man seen as the center of everything that exists.
    The turn introduced by the Renaissance evidently was inevitable historical. The Middle Ages had come to a natural end by exhaustion, becoming an intolerable despotic repression of man’s physical nature in favor of the spiritual one. Then, however, we turned our backs upon the Spirit and embraced all that is material with excessive and unwarranted zeal. This new way of thinking, which had imposed on us its guidance, did not admit the existence of intrinsic evil in man nor did it see any higher task than the attainment of happiness on earth. It based modern Western civilization on the dangerous trend to worship man and his material needs. Everything beyond physical well-being and accumulation of material goods, all other human requirements and characteristics of a subtler and higher nature, were left outside the area of attention of state and social systems, as if human life did not have any superior sense. That provided access for evil, of which in our days there is a free and constant flow. Merely freedom does not in the least solve all the problems of human life and it even adds a number of new ones.
    However, in early democracies, as in the American democracy at the time of its birth, all individual human rights were granted because man is God’s creature. That is, freedom was given to the individual conditionally, in the assumption of his constant religious responsibility. Such was the heritage of the preceding thousand years. Two hundred or even fifty years ago, it would have seemed quite impossible, in America, that an individual could be granted boundless freedom simply for the satisfaction of his instincts or whims. Subsequently, however, all such limitations were discarded everywhere in the West; a total liberation occurred from the moral heritage of Christian centuries with their great reserves of mercy and sacrifice. State systems were — State systems were becoming increasingly and totally materialistic. The West ended up by truly enforcing human rights, sometimes even excessively, but man’s sense of responsibility to God and society grew dimmer and dimmer. In the past decades, the legalistically selfish aspect of Western approach and thinking has reached its final dimension and the world wound up in a harsh spiritual crisis and a political impasse. All the glorified technological achievements of Progress, including the conquest of outer space, do not redeem the 20th century’s moral poverty which no one could imagine even as late as in the 19th Century.
    As humanism in its development became more and more materialistic, it made itself increasingly accessible to speculation and manipulation by socialism and then by communism. So that Karl Marx was able to say that “communism is naturalized humanism.”
    This statement turned out not to be entirely senseless. One does see the same stones in the foundations of a despiritualized humanism and of any type of socialism: endless materialism; freedom from religion and religious responsibility, which under communist regimes reach the stage of anti-religious dictatorships; concentration on social structures with a seemingly scientific approach. This is typical of the Enlightenment in the 18th Century and of Marxism. Not by coincidence all of communism’s meaningless pledges and oaths are about Man, with a capital M, and his earthly happiness. At first glance it seems an ugly parallel: common traits in the thinking and way of life of today’s West and today’s East? But such is the logic of materialistic development.
    The interrelationship is such, too, that the current of materialism which is most to the left always ends up by being stronger, more attractive, and victorious, because it is more consistent. Humanism without its Christian heritage cannot resist such competition. We watch this process in the past centuries and especially in the past decades, on a world scale as the situation becomes increasingly dramatic. Liberalism was inevitably displaced by radicalism; radicalism had to surrender to socialism; and socialism could never resist communism. The communist regime in the East could stand and grow due to the enthusiastic support from an enormous number of Western intellectuals who felt a kinship and refused to see communism’s crimes. And when they no longer could do so, they tried to justify them. In our Eastern countries, communism has suffered a complete ideological defeat; it is zero and less than zero. But Western intellectuals still look at it with interest and with empathy, and this is precisely what makes it so immensely difficult for the West to withstand the East.
    I am not examining here the case of a world war disaster and the changes which it would produce in society. As long as we wake up every morning under a peaceful sun, we have to lead an everyday life. There is a disaster, however, which has already been under way for quite some time. I am referring to the calamity of a de-spiritualized and irreligious humanistic consciousness.
    To such consciousness, man is the touchstone in judging everything on earth — imperfect man, who is never free of pride, self-interest, envy, vanity, and dozens of other defects. We are now experiencing the consequences of mistakes which had not been noticed at the beginning of the journey. On the way from the Renaissance to our days we have enriched our experience, but we have lost the concept of a Supreme Complete Entity which used to restrain our passions and our irresponsibility. We have placed too much hope in political and social reforms, only to find out that we were being deprived of our most precious possession: our spiritual life. In the East, it is destroyed by the dealings and machinations of the ruling party. In the West, commercial interests suffocate it. This is the real crisis. The split in the world is less terrible — The split in the world is less terrible than the similarity of the disease plaguing its main sections.
    If humanism were right in declaring that man is born only to be happy, he would not be born to die. Since his body is doomed to die, his task on earth evidently must be of a more spiritual nature. It cannot be unrestrained enjoyment of everyday life. It cannot be the search for the best ways to obtain material goods and then cheerfully get the most of them. It has to be the fulfillment of a permanent, earnest duty so that one’s life journey may become an experience of moral growth, so that one may leave life a better human being than one started it. It is imperative to review the table of widespread human values. Its present incorrectness is astounding. It is not possible that assessment of the President’s performance be reduced to the question how much money one makes or of unlimited availability of gasoline. Only voluntary, inspired self-restraint can raise man above the world stream of materialism.
    It would be retrogression to attach oneself today to the ossified formulas of the Enlightenment. Social dogmatism leaves us completely helpless in front of the trials of our times. Even if we are spared destruction by war, our lives will have to change if we want to save life from self-destruction. We cannot avoid revising the fundamental definitions of human life and human society. Is it true that man is above everything? Is there no Superior Spirit above him? Is it right that man’s life and society’s activities have to be determined by material expansion in the first place? Is it permissible to promote such expansion to the detriment of our spiritual integrity?
    If the world has not come to its end, it has approached a major turn in history, equal in importance to the turn from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. It will exact from us a spiritual upsurge: We shall have to rise to a new height of vision, to a new level of life where our physical nature will not be cursed as in the Middle Ages, but, even more importantly, our spiritual being will not be trampled upon as in the Modern era.
    This ascension will be similar to climbing onto the next anthropologic stage. No one on earth has any other way left but — upward.”

    Source for above: http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/alexandersolzhenitsynharvard.htm.; see also, http://youtu.be/WuVG8SnxxCM

  • Sorry folks I come to this conversation late. Not sure how it got by me lol

    I have read through the comments and they are vast but perhaps I can offer just a few thoughts

    1) The Enlightenment was ‘the second Reformation’. As the Reformation was a revolution against the Church while keeping Christ, Christian morality etc in the name of faith alone, the Enlightenment was a revolution against Christ (and revelation; and therefore revealed morality) in the name of ‘reason alone’ [‘reason alone’ is an actual quote of Descartes] What was left was the Deist concept (construct) of God and a ‘natural morality’ This led to the third, less widely known revolution in the 1800’s in which Deism, Victorianism, all Appolonian principles were overthrown by the Dionysian revolution led by Marx, Nietzche, and others-even into the arts in such peoples as Wagner etc.

    2) I used to believe that the American revolution was the good revolution and the French revolution the bad one based on the principles which they espoused etc. I am beginning to realize what we are witnessing now in what seems to be the overthrowing of the principles of the Founding Fathers in favor of the French Revolution;s principles is actually simply-the Enlightenment really coming home to roost in America and claiming us as its own-completely

    3.The problem with this is-the whole Modern Age is not only coming to an end, it is all but completely gone-and the Reformation and Enlightenment are manifestations of the Modern Age. Countries etc built on ‘the Enlightenment’ are in for a lot of trouble as are the religious communities founded in the Reformation because if it has not yet happened, their foundations are about to begin rumbling like they never have before
    We are now in the first decades of the Post-Modern Age (which will eventually get a real name for itself)

    4.Because precisely VII is not a break with Tradition etc but is based on the whole of Divine Revelation manifested in Catholic Tradition, it is a sure way of moving toward the future into the post-modernist age. Its optimism is time-bound, but its faith is ever ancient, ever-new. We need to work at really correctly interpreting then receiving the Council if we are to prevent dissipation (aka the spirit of VII crowd) or endless fragmentation (aka ultra-traditionalist side)

  • Slainte,

    FYI – I’m going to be publishing a lengthy essay on Deeneen’s piece and the conflict between liberals and illiberals on Monday.

  • Bonchamps,
    Thank you; I will look for your article. If it is not being published at this forum, either a link or a notice about the publication site would be appreciated.

  • “…Solzhenitsyn acknowledged that Marxism is a fruit of the Enlightenment precisely because it involves man’s rejection of God in favor of an individualism which insists upon its own self sufficiency and denies man’s true nature as rooted in and oriented toward the supernatural.”

    I might say from reading the speech that he does link Marxism and the Enlightenment but that that link is in materialistic humanism (the separation from man of his end in God – something not present in all Enlightenment philosophies.) However, I do not believe he is saying that Marxism is necessarily individualism. In fact from the links of the Compendium I believe we see one of the errors of the recent past in ordering society is a disordered sense the collective (Marxism). One can be a radical individualist or a radical collectivist as both can be the fruits of materialistic humanism.

    In fact the need for such a collectivist impulse in materialistic humanism is the need for something greater than the self. In an authentic Christian humanism this is God. In materialistic humanism it is the collective – at least for some.

  • Phillip,
    When an individual, by voluntary exercise of his free will, completely liberates himself from all Authority, in particular by denying Christ’s kingship through the Church, choosing instead to rely upon his own capabilities, he ends up standing naked and defenseless, first against the barons of industry and capitalism who view him as a factor of production, and then, before the state which views him as a source of tax revenue. Neither entity assigns the rugged individualist any sense of dignity or value beyond his perceived utility at that present moment.
    The individual who pursues liberty to its natural end finds shackles awaiting him. He is consensually bound to accept the shackles because he has rendered himself powerless by casting off the natural protective buffers which are the family, the church, and/or the community. Having freed himself from the latter buffers, he creates his own destiny by denying his membership as a social being.
    The Enlightenment convinces man that through his own capabilities, and without God, he can negotiate and thus perfect himself in and through nature…the reality though is that the natural end of a fallen world is enslavement to that world. It is only through man’s supernatural destiny that he may enjoy true freedom and equal worth before and in Christ.
    Solzhenitsyn describes a humanism which is divorced from Christ, and which is thus an empty promise leading to the inevitable natural end of communism. Catholic humanism conversely exalts man as made in Imago Dei and leads him to a supernatural end which is a share in the divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
    Men who are enslaved to communism are in that state because they exercised their individual free will to cast off the very forces (family, church, community) which existed to protect them from that state. When man freely chooses to reclaim Christ in his life, and subordinates his will to that of Christ’s. only then does he have the ability to free himself self imposed shackles.
    Indeed “man is born free, but he is everywhere in chains.” Jean Jacques Rousseau

  • I am not sure that all Enlightenment philosophers see man as capable of perfecting themselves. Perhaps the Continental Enlightenment but certainly not the English.

    Its not clear to me that those who fell under Communism did so by rejecting intermediary groups. Rather, Communism was generally imposed by those with a disordered sense of the human person – including individual rights.

    I will defer to my sense of Marxism as being a radical collectivism to this:

    “…we have to add that the fundamental error of socialism is anthropological in nature. Socialism considers the individual person simply as an element, a molecule within the social organism, so that the good of the individual is completely subordinated to the functioning of the socio-economic mechanism. Socialism likewise maintains that the good of the individual can be realized without reference to his free choice, to the unique and exclusive responsibility which he exercises in the face of good or evil. Man is thus reduced to a series of social relationships, and the concept of the person as the autonomous subject of moral decision disappears, the very subject whose decisions build the social order. From this mistaken conception of the person there arise both a distortion of law, which defines the sphere of the exercise of freedom, and an opposition to private property. A person who is deprived of something he can call “his own”, and of the possibility of earning a living through his own initiative, comes to depend on the social machine and on those who control it. This makes it much more difficult for him to recognize his dignity as a person, and hinders progress towards the building up of an authentic human community.”

  • Phillip,
    When man chooses to reject or subordinate God in his life, something will appear to fill the vacuum. As the Church, the family, and the community represent God’s plan to make Himself known to man on earth, man’s choice to set aside or maginalize these things creates within man a privation. To fill the privation, man looks to the things of the earth…materialism, consumerism, new age spiritualism….yet over time it becomes apparent that none of these things fulfill man’s core desire to know and be united with Truth. Man experiences the emptiness of the lack of connection with his source and loses joy in his life; there can be no beauty, truth, or goodness absent the presence of God in our lives.
    On a societal level, when many men reject or subordinate God in favor of assigning primacy to the ways and morality of the world, a progressive devolution occurs within that community of men. I would suggest that the natural end of this devolution is communism. When communism emerges, it is the malignant consequence of a steady and willful refusal to love, honor, and obey God by a pivotal number of people within society. Those who pay the greatest price are the innocent citizens who remain faithful to God and yet are forced to live within a communist society that has been degraded because of its rejection of Christ.
    Phillip, please consider Pope John Paul II’s visit in June 1979 to his beloved Poland.
    Peggy Noonan wrote a piece entitled “We Want God” which provided, in part:
    “….It was the first week in June 1979. Europe was split in two between east and west, the democracies and the communist bloc–police states controlled by the Soviet Union and run by local communist parties and secret police.
    John Paul was a new pope, raised to the papacy just eight months before. The day after he became pope he made it clear he would like to return as pope to his native Poland to see his people.
    The communists who ran the Polish regime faced a quandary. If they didn’t allow the new Pope to return to his homeland, they would look defensive and frightened, as if they feared that he had more power than they. To rebuff him would seem an admission of their weakness. On the other hand, if they let him return, the people might rise up against the government, which might in turn trigger an invasion by the Soviet Union.
    The Polish government decided that it would be too great an embarrassment to refuse the pope. So they invited him, gambling that John Paul–whom they knew when he was cardinal of Krakow, who they were sure would not want his presence to inspire bloodshed–would be prudent. They wagered that he would understand he was fortunate to be given permission to come, and understand what he owed the government in turn was deportment that would not threaten the reigning reality. They announced the pope would be welcome to come home on a “religious pilgrimage.”
    John Paul quickly accepted the invitation. He went to Poland.
    And from the day he arrived, the boundaries of the world began to shift.
    Two months before the pope’s arrival, the Polish communist apparatus took steps to restrain the enthusiasm of the people. They sent a secret directive to schoolteachers explaining how they should understand and explain the pope’s visit. “The pope is our enemy,” it said. “Due to his uncommon skills and great sense of humor he is dangerous, because he charms everyone, especially journalists. Besides, he goes for cheap gestures in his relations with the crowd, for instance, puts on a highlander’s hat, shakes all hands, kisses children. . . . It is modeled on American presidential campaigns. . . Because of the activation of the Church in Poland our activities designed to atheize the youth not only cannot diminish but must intensely develop. . . In this respect all means are allowed and we cannot afford any sentiments.”
    The government also issued instructions to Polish media to censor and limit the pope’s comments and appearances.
    On June 2, 1979, the pope arrived in Poland. What followed will never be forgotten by those who witnessed it.
    He knelt and kissed the ground, the dull gray tarmac of the airport outside Warsaw. The silent churches of Poland at that moment began to ring their bells. The pope traveled by motorcade from the airport to the Old City of Warsaw.
    The government had feared hundreds or thousands or even tens of thousands would line the streets and highways.
    By the end of the day, with the people lining the streets and highways plus the people massed outside Warsaw and then inside it–all of them cheering and throwing flowers and applauding and singing–more than a million had come.
    In Victory Square in the Old City the pope gave a mass. Communist officials watched from the windows of nearby hotels. The pope gave what papal biographer George Weigel called the greatest sermon of John Paul’s life.
    Why, the pope asked, had God lifted a Pole to the papacy? Perhaps it was because of how Poland had suffered for centuries, and through the 20th century had become “the land of a particularly responsible witness” to God. The people of Poland, he suggested, had been chosen for a great role, to understand, humbly but surely, that they were the repository of a special “witness of His cross and His resurrection.” He asked then if the people of Poland accepted the obligations of such a role in history.
    The crowd responded with thunder.
    “We want God!” they shouted, together. “We want God!”
    What a moment in modern history: We want God. From the mouths of modern men and women living in a modern atheistic dictatorship.
    The pope was speaking on the Vigil of Pentecost, that moment in the New Testament when the Holy Spirit came down to Christ’s apostles, who had been hiding in fear after his crucifixion, filling them with courage and joy. John Paul picked up this theme. What was the greatest of the works of God? Man. Who redeemed man? Christ.
    Therefore, he declared, “Christ cannot be kept out of the history of man in any part of the globe, at any longitude or latitude. . . . The exclusion of Christ from the history of man is an act against man! Without Christ it is impossible to understand the history of Poland.” Those who oppose Christ, he said, still live within the Christian context of history.
    Christ, the pope declared, was not only the past of Poland–he was “the future . . . our Polish future.”
    The massed crowd thundered its response. “We want God!” it roared.
    That is what the communist apparatchiks watching the mass from the hotels that rimmed Victory Square heard. Perhaps at this point they understood that they had made a strategic mistake. Perhaps as John Paul spoke they heard the sound careen off the hard buildings that ringed the square; perhaps the echo sounded like a wall falling.
    The pope had not directly challenged the government. He had not called for an uprising. He had not told the people of Catholic Poland to push back against their atheist masters. He simply stated the obvious.
    In Mr. Weigel’s words: “Poland was not a communist country; Poland was a Catholic nation saddled with a communist state.”
    The next day, June 3, 1979, John Paul stood outside the cathedral in Gniezno, a small city with a population of 50,000 or so. Again there was an outdoor mass, and again he said an amazing thing.
    He did not speak of what governments want, nor directly of what a growing freedom movement wants, nor of what the struggling Polish worker’s union, Solidarity, wanted.
    He spokeof what God wants.
    “Does not Christ want, does not the Holy Spirit demand, that the pope, himself a Pole, the pope, himself a Slav, here and now should bring out into the open the spiritual unity of Christian Europe . . .?” Yes, he said, Christ wants that. “The Holy Spirit demands that it be said aloud, here, now. . . . Your countryman comes to you, the pope, so as to speak before the whole Church, Europe and the world. . . . He comes to cry out with a mighty cry.”
    What John Paul was saying was remarkable. He was telling Poland: See the reality around you differently. See your situation in a new way. Do not see the division of Europe; see the wholeness that exists and that not even communism can take away. Rhetorically his approach was not to declare or assert but merely, again, to point out the obvious: We are Christians, we are here, we are united, no matter what the communists and their map-makers say…..”

    Source: “We Want God” by Peggy Noonan published by The Wall Street Journal. http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB122479408458463941.
    So I would suggest Phillip that we can head off and defeat communism locally and globally one man and one woman at a time by freely willing and then renewing our Catholicism and inviting God back into our society.
    Where Christ lives, communism and the privation it seeks to fill perishes.

  • I have no doubt that when one substitutes any god for God, evil will result. Those gods include the individual, sex, money, power or the State. This does not prove that radical individualism is the root of all evil in the World. In fact, from the comments I posted above from the Compendium, the Church cites a disordered sense of the individual (either as radically isolated or as radically collectivist) as the source of social evil. There reference to the latter is to Marxism.

    I also agree with your citing John Paul II. The quote I give immediately above about disordered anthropology that reduces the individual to the communal is his, from Centesimus Annus. He above all of the past century, understood the destructiveness of the person of the collectivism of Communism.

  • Phillip wrote, “…I have no doubt that when one substitutes any god for God, evil will result. Those gods include the individual, sex, money, power or the State…”
    But Phillip, of the things you cite…”the individual, sex, money, power or the State”…only the individual who is made in the image of God has the free will to choose to accept or reject Him, to obey or disobey Him, and/or to place Him above all other things…and that is the ultimate trial we all face in this vale of tears. Will we choose Him no matter the circumstances or the trials we encounter on this earth?
    From the time of the Garden of Eden, woman and man, individually, have answered God’s question mostly in the negative….choosing to obey and rely upon themselves first and relegating God to a distant second. Hence, Original Sin is the manifestation of a inverted radical individualism which causes us to be turned in on ourselves and away from God.
    The Enlightenment encourages the individual to divorce himself from God and to rely upon and look to himself first, not God. Its roots which are grounded in dissent are also found in the revolt that is the Reformation.
    Enlightenment thought perverts what the compendium and John Paul II properly qualify as a well ordered God centered man.
    I think we agree on some points…I just believe that we are not always victims of things being imposed on us…sometimes we contribute to our own maladies by failing to choose properly.

  • Philip and Slainte,

    It is commonly accepted that the Enlightenment begins with Renee Descartes. He is to the Enlightenment what Luther was to the Reformation. While Luther called for ‘faith alone’, Decartes called for “reason alone”. In order to overcome the devastating doubt and uncertainty that followed the Renaissance/Reformation, Descartes sought to establish the firm foundation on the ‘subject’: “Cogito ergo sum”=”I think therefore I am”. In doing so he turned philosophy on its head, making epistemology [what I know] as the foundation rather than metaphysics [what is] as the foundation. Philip, here is the beginning of radical individualism which cuts across all of the Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment philosophers/philosophies. It is true, some have a softer version, may I use the phrase, but all have this in common. Further Descartes called for the leveling of all ‘tradition’ by the one using ‘reason alone’. This was done by radically doubting anything ‘received’, traditionally held, or backed by authority etc. The isolated ego (“I”) searched for the truth, reality, or whatever they wanted to do.

    Philip, while I recognize that Anglo-saxon [Locke, Burke] (and American) Enlightenment [Founding Fathers] was not initially as radical as say, the French or German versions, I have slowly grown aware that much of what we see now going on here in America is not imported (as I once thought) from ‘the French Revolution” but is the natural progression of the Enlightenment principles set in place by the Enlightenment Founding Fathers. The major difference between America and say, France, is that the American Enlightenment has never waged a culture war against the Judaeo-Christian culture and civilization established here already in the thirteen colonies (and future states)-it has not ‘waged a culture war’-until now.
    I believe it is going to get pretty intense [and by the way, America has indeed changed so much it will not go back to the way things were-when Obama ends his term in office. There are many out there to take his place and are just as committed to this ‘culture war’ against Judaeo-Christian culture in America

    What is really a complicating issue however, is these progressive forces, arising from the Enlightenment have not yet grasped that we are no longer in the Modern Age (of which the Enlightenment was a very key part). We have moved into a new era, as I have mentioned before-we can call it ‘the post-modern era’ for the time being. With the Post-modern era, the foundations of the Enlightenment are being radically called into question-and with it the Enlightenment-secularist interpretations of our Founding Documents etc. It is only but Americans digging deep into the rich fertile soil of the Judaeo-Christian Western Culture that America has a chance of surviving.

    It is even more ironic, that in this new era, the Church might be the only major force to uphold ‘reason’ [although never isolated] against not only the winds of change, but the forces of anti-reason, anti-logos that are rising

  • No. It is original sin that corrupts all social action. Some in the form of radical individualism and some in the form of radical collectivism which the Church, and most profoundly in the recent past, JP II, saw when it pointed out the errors of both anthropological positions.

    Though I think at some level we are talking of different things. The state of pure nature is not merely an Enlightenment one. It has a profoundly Catholic status also. This was confirmed in Humani Generis. This encyclical sidelined De Lubac and his position for a while. But that is an aside.

    But that is an aside. My point is, that Marxism is a disordered understanding of the proper nature of the human person in favor of a radical collectivism. This disordered perspective is properly diagnosed by the Compendium. One may argue that as all sin is personal, all is the result of a radical individualism. But this does not reach to the reasons for this personal sin – that of a disordered anthropology.

  • Phillip,
    I agree with your observation that the temporal effect of original sin affects everything in nature, including man’s free will, thus promoting an inclination in man toward concupiscence or sin.

  • It is often overlooked that the atheism that has become dominant in the West is not the atheism of Marx or Feuerbach, still less of Nietzsche (although these certainly exist among old-fashioned thinkers like the “New Atheists); it is the atheism of Auguste Comte.

    Maritain described it perfectly: “Iit is neither militant nor argumentative, nor wishful of self-proof — so surely and comfortably installed that it is not even conscious of an adversary (its Adversary has disappeared). It has a quality of ease and naturalness, of proud tranquillity, which makes it unique in its kind. It has no need for Prometheus, it does not insult the gods, and does not raise against God the claim of the enslaved or alienated man — the old slavery and the “long minority of mankind” have spontaneously come to an end with “the irrevocable exhaustion of the reign of God.”

    This atheism does not want an eschatological effort of history, thanks to which the human species will finally reach its divinity… [O]riginally, in the generative movement of Comtian atheism, it is not mankind that is the concern, but Comte himself. And Comte does not feel the need of being God; it is enough for him to be Comte. What happened in him when he became conscious of himself was a simple phenomenon of internal shiftings. He “spontaneously” and “naturally” recognized that the central place which God was thought to occupy really belonged to himself, Comte, and he slipped into that place as into the hollow of his bed, never to move from it.”

    Comte never argued against God’s existence, “because it was already resolved, not by way of rational inquiry and philosophical examination, but in virtue of an ethical private option — in virtue of the wholly personal and incommunicable act of non-faith accomplished at the moment when he deliberated about his own life.”

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour: Auguste Comte and Maritain both came before the imposition of atheism as a religion in the public square by the Supreme Court. Next came abortion, that would have been impossible if God did occupy the culture. And all the rest: pornography, the legalization of pedophilia, sodomy, the removal of all sanctions against vice, the disregard for minor children and parental authority and the contempt for Divine Providence.
    Co-existence until atheism could subjugate the people. In the trenches of Pro-Life movement, the atheist will tear one to shreds and leave your cold bloody body on the floor.
    Comfortable atheism?…for the atheist.
    Atheism is a lie, perjury in a court of law. God is existence; the atheist exists, God exists. Now, if the atheist will stop being a public scandal and go quietly back into his comfort zone, himself, the world will be a place of freedom.

  • Botolph, slainte, and Philip (In God We Trust, Philip): “It is commonly accepted that the Enlightenment begins with Renee Descartes. He is to the Enlightenment what Luther was to the Reformation. While Luther called for ‘faith alone’, Decartes called for “reason alone”. In order to overcome the devastating doubt and uncertainty that followed the Renaissance/Reformation, Descartes sought to establish the firm foundation on the ‘subject’: “Cogito ergo sum”=”I think therefore I am”. .
    I hope I get this right. Again, in God we trust.
    Luther’s “faith alone” requires a free will act of man to accept faith. The free will act is the work of man for his salvation, the iota of work required is the free will act to the acceptance of faith and salvation for salvation.
    “Cogito ergo sum”=”I think therefore I am”. . Again, man must make a free will act and consent to thinking, to reason… as a verb. In the use of his free will, man is evidence of man’s immortal, rational human soul, the transcendent human being, making of the atheist a liar of himself to himself.
    In every moment of his existence from fertilization to natural death, man must give consent, the free will act to live. This free will act of consent from one instance to the next, to live, life itself, in the individual, is evidence and proof that man is an individual substance of a rational nature, Thomas Aquinas’ definition for the person.
    Man is proof of the existence of God.
    Atheism has no place, in or our of any comfort zone, that Lucifer gained his own kingdom by refusing God as Saul Alinsky said cannot be, since annihilation is not a kingdom. Annihilation is nowhere. Annihilation is annihilation, constant and forever.

  • “Atheism has no place, in or out of any comfort zone,” In God We Trust. for perfection, not in the computer.

  • Mary de Voe wrote, “Auguste Comte and Maritain both came before the imposition of atheism as a religion in the public square.”

    Jacques Maritain (1882-1973) certainly saw just that: « La République ne reconnaît, ne salarie ni ne subventionne aucun culte » [The Republic does not recognise, nor salary, nor subsidise any religion] – Law of 9 December 1905.

  • Mary,

    Descartes is generally considered the beginning of Modern Philosophy. This as he took a radical departure from Scholasticism and sought to establish a basis for knowledge that was as certain as Mathematics;

    Descartes views human nature as consisting of the dual substances of mind and body. He begins this analysis by noting that that which comes through the senses can deceive. Through Meditation One and Two from the Meditations, he comes to realize that he is a thinking thing. He then begins to develop an understanding of sensory knowledge, first by proving that God exists and does not deceive. From this he concludes that sensory information, while not without the ability to deceive, nonetheless does exist in itself. As it exists and God will not deceive, this sensory, and thus corporeal, reality has a true existence.

    Descartes further argues that those things, which can be conceived of separately, do truly exist separately. Minds are pure spirits without extension. On the other hand bodies are extended in space. Therefore, because of this distinction, they are truly separate substances. There is not an intermingling of these substances though Descartes sees them as intimately united, producing a certain unity. He uses the analogy of a sailor and a ship (Meditation 6). When part of the ship is damaged, the sailor can see this though there is no formal union between them. Likewise, the mind may perceive pain, etc. though there is no union between the substances of mind and body.

    Knowledge for Descartes seems to begin in the self. I doubt all things but since I doubt I am certain that I am thinking. Therefore I can at least be sure I am thinking that I am deceived. So if all other knowledge is in doubt, this at least cannot be doubted, that I am a thinking and as such am a thinking thing.

    Then Descartes goes on to show that there is other certain knowledge – specifically the knowledge of the existence of a benevolent God who does not deceive (Meditation 3). By this proof, which is evident according to Descartes only through mental operations, he can then build upon what can be known. Since this God cannot deceive, then those things that are clearly and distinctly known by the mind are also true. This does not mean that there is no possibility of error as man, because of their finite abilities can produce error even in their mental images when one assents to what is not clear and distinct knowledge. But, that which is clearly and distinctly known is true (Meditation 5).

    Now, he can then proceed to conclude that sensory knowledge itself exists. First there exist faculties for understanding material things. God will not give us such attributes if such things do not exist. We then conceive of such things as objects extended in space such as geometric figures. There are also those images that come to me apart from mental thoughts (i.e. pain). Therefore, since we conceive these things, there must be existing material things. While this knowledge is less certain than mental knowledge, it nonetheless exists apart from my mind.

    Descartes aims to show that science rests on that which is clearly and distinctly known. This foundation is in what is known in the mind and not the senses. He begins by bringing into doubt all the beliefs that come to us from the senses (1st Meditation) He withholds assent from those things that he cannot completely assent to with certainty. As the senses can deceive, as in dreams, they must be rejected as helping us understand what a man is. Ultimately the aim is not to prove that nothing exists or that it is impossible for us to know if anything exists but to show that all our knowledge of these things through the senses is open to doubt. Since we do know that external objects exist, this knowledge cannot come to us through the senses, but through the mind.
    How then do we know things? Again, he starts from the assumption that there is a God who deliberately seeks to deceive. But the very fact that I am deceived it follows that I exist for while I can be deceived about the content of any thought, I cannot be deceived about the fact that I am thinking. But since I only can be certain of the existence of myself as I am thinking, I have knowledge of my existence only as a thinking thing. It remains possible that all knowledge of external objects, including my body, could be false as the result of the actions of a deceiving God. It is not, however, possible that I could be deceived about my existence or my nature as a thinking thing.

    Descartes still has no knowledge of anything outside of his mind. He still has to argue that things exist outside of his mind. He must do this, however, strictly on the basis of the contents of his own mind again as he doubts his own senses.

    He first does this by proving that God exists and possess those attributes that prohibit his deceiving. As God created humans and gave them reason which tells one that ideas come from external corporeal things. If they do not come from external objects, then God must be a deceiver, but he is not. Therefore, material objects exist.
    He now needs to reconcile these two aspects of our nature – mind and body. He does this by separating us into two distinct substances: mind and body. Descartes shows two ways in which mind and body seem to have different properties and as such they must be different things. I can be certain that my mind exists. I cannot be sure that my body exists. As things can be conceived distinctly are different substances the mind and body are separate substance.

    The problem now becomes, if mind and body are separate substances, and what is sensed is less certain knowledge, this would to call into question whether that which exists outside the mind is truly real. As Descartes himself points out, that which is sensed that is not the object of mathematics is questionable. This being so, so much of the world is ultimately called into doubt, and with it, much of what we understand of the world that comes to us through our senses. Can we then really relate to it? How can we go beyond what is merely formed in our mind? And what of social relationships founded on an understanding of another person as sensed and related to through language as a sensed form of communication. Ultimately, we become prisoners of mind, unable to relate truly to that which exists outside of mental states.

    In this way, Enlightenment philosophy can reduce one to the radical individual through a distorted epistomology. However, once this was established, then other disorders of anthropology (the false collectivism of Marxism) emerged

  • MPS wrote regarding Comte: “….Comte never argued against God’s existence, “because it was already resolved, not by way of rational inquiry and philosophical examination, but in virtue of an ethical private option — in virtue of the wholly personal and incommunicable act of non-faith accomplished at the moment when he deliberated about his own life.”
    But didn’t Comte craft a “Religion of Humanity”?
    And what did Science teach him about nature?

  • Phillip wrote: “…Descartes aims to show that science rests on that which is clearly and distinctly known. Since we do know that external objects exist, this knowledge cannot come to us through the senses, but through the mind…”
    Science informed the world, after accumulating its medical data, that Terry Schiavo could no longer think, and therefore in its estimation she no longer “is”. The Courts, in reliance upon scientific findings purporting to measure one’s humanity, permitted Schiavo’s husband to terminate a life deemed no longer to exist.
    Descartes’ elevation of subjective truth over objective truth marginalizes man by assigning him value only if he can perform or think. Man’s humanity as a person with an immortal soul does not factor into this equation.
    Woe to the unborn infant in utero, or the handicapped child, or the elderly stroke victim who might find him or herself unable to be proven to think or perform to the satisfaction of the medical establishment.
    “Cogito Ergo Sum” is the measure of life to Descartes’ progeny…but not to the Catholic Church which recognizes the humaniry of the person from the moment of conception through and including natural death regardless of whether that person can think, or know, or perform.

  • I don’t think that was Descartes’ aim, though that is what moderns made of it. Again, and perhaps strangely, he was seeking for a more certain basis for knowledge. Unfortunately, others took off from his ideas and undermined his purpose. Though this was predictable given his faulty epistomology.

    This to point out, as Bonchamps does in his most recent excellent post, that the Enlightenment project, while flawed, is not uniform in its approaches or errors. Doing so really does no justice to truth.

  • Phillip,
    I am not a philosopher or an academic. My knowledge of Descartes is from my university days years ago and living with the present manifestation of Enlightenment ideas as they play out in the American culture. I am not trying to undermine or mock truth; I am trying to understand how we got to where we are today with the Church being attacked by secularists. The answer I suspect is in philosophical thought and perhaps, as you have suggested, its subversion.
    Do you know whether Descartes had a good relationship with the Church…was he a faithful Catholic?
    Also …you write very well and communicate esoteric ideas in a very comprehensible way…. not an easy thing to do. Are you a philosopher or an academic?

  • Slainté asked, “But didn’t Comte craft a “Religion of Humanity”?

    He did, indeed, with himself as the High Priest of Humanity, with feast days for heroes of Humanism &c

    As for the knowledge of nature, he posits his famous « la loi des trois états » or “law of the three stages,” In the theological state the human mind explained phenomena by “supernatural agents” and by arbitrary wills conceived in the image of man. In the metaphysical state it explained them by abstract entities and hidden causes (“abstract forces inhering in bodies, but distinct and heterogeneous,” and everything was referred to vital forces, substantial forms, natural essences &c). In the positive state it does not seek to explain them, it observes them as facts and unifies them by laws, and so makes itself capable of rational prediction (it restricts itself to “considering them as subjected to a certain number of invariable natural laws which are nothing else than the general expression of the relations observed in their development”).

    To repeat, in this third stage, everything is to be understood in the light of sense-verified science, with both “wills” and “causes” being replaced by “laws” or invariable relations between phenomena.

    Now, many people today, especially those with a scientific background, who have never heard the name of Comte would treat his “law of the three stages” as a common-place, as a statement of the obvious. They are, thus, completely immune to any metaphysical argument, for their criterion of truth excludes them a priori.

  • Philip

    The problem with the Cogito is this: it only guarantees the thinking that thinks this thought. . In his “I think,” I” is no more a referring expression than “it” is a referring expression in “it is raining.”

    Locke exposed this when he asked, “might not the thinking substance which thought the thought “I did it” — the genuine thought of agent-memory — nevertheless be a different thinking substance from the one that could have had the thought: “I am doing it” when the act was done?” Thus, as Miss Anscombe points out, Locke detached the identity of the self or ‘person’ from the identity even of the thinking being which does the actual thinking of the I-thoughts.

    In other words, the “I” has to be constantly re-identified in every act of thinking and Descartes has no way of doing this

  • “Also …you write very well and communicate esoteric ideas in a very comprehensible way…. not an easy thing to do. Are you a philosopher or an academic?”

    Thanks. I have never been accused of writing well. I have a Masters in Philosophy but am not an academic.

    As far as I know, Descartes was a faithful son of the Church. He just got his epistomology wrong.

  • MPS writes, “…In the theological state the human mind explained phenomena by “supernatural agents” and by arbitrary wills..”
    What sort of theology might a humanist like Comte manufacture and what were its “supernatural agents”? Does this in our times as “Ethical Humanism”?
    When we discussed “Natura Pura”, we wrote about “Natural Law existing separately from Revelation” and “Positive Law existing separately from Divine Providence.
    Pre-Enlightenment and the introduction of “positive law”, were the laws that governed men in western christendom rooted in either/or Biblical Revelation or Natural Law? Were they codified and recognized as such?

  • What Maritain says may ring true. It’s passive men unwilling to believe in anything or, God forbid, act on belief. However, it may be a bit digressive to focus on the Comté as if he sprang from the head of Zeus himself! If we are to put the Comté-Atheist, the Enlightenment and the all that follows to the test, shouldn’t we start by questioning and investigating what came before the Enlightenment and Comté? I believe the first thing that we should take a look at is the one European institute (or corporation) that has not appeared to fail Europeans in the last 1000 years. The one self-perpetuating system that has outlasted all other European authorities and remains unquestioned and uncontested because of its successes.

    Where else do you start but the European universities? What else could have birthed a man like Comté or an age like the Enlightenment? Taken to exaggerations and stripped of practical interests; do not the habits, customs and dogmas of this self-perpetuating system track rather closely with those tendencies found in the post-Enlightenment mind?

    – a rigorous individuation
    -a preference for internationalism
    -an unerotic universalism
    -an acquired taste for novelty
    – a fetish for scientific and quantifiable inquiry
    -a unique (and wildly successful) and easily imitative pedagogy, influenced by non-parental adults and weaker social bonds that are, in some ways, more tenacious and fulfilling than any blood bonds you find in traditional kinships and societies.

    And this is the crux of the problem. The University system created in Europe has been resilient through religious wars and political turmoil; it has survived all sorts of poor hypothesis and fashions; it is malleable, adaptable and constantly expanding into more minute areas of human experience, and has bred success both directly and indirectly to the point anyone who questions this system is at best eccentric and more likely the product of a jaundiced Abecedarian-like mind- rightfully so in many regards.

    Yet, since the nations were given representation in running the medieval universities, our intellectual movements have been ever more fashioned and in agreement with the prejudices that arise from the very habits and methods that make the university system so beneficial. That they perpetually shed anything too provincial, intrinsic or relational is a primary feature in making them successful as centers of higher education as well as harmful to quasi-reactionaries in our Enlightened age.

    So without truly confronting our learning institutions, dark-enlightenment enthusiasts are like flounders swimming up stream insisting to any trout that’ll listen that if they do it hard enough, they may actually catch up to and depredate the salmon population. All the while, the schools of Comté-salmon happily spawn over and over again with nary a thought or discomfort. Yet at the same time, the very notion of an educational confrontation from the D.E. crowd is preposterous. 1) There is nothing that could sensibly (and successfully) replace the university from scratch. 2) Chances are any replacement will end up with the same values and tendencies of today’s corporate universities. 3) Opposition to universities would merely attract the very few specific classes, groups and milieus that gravitate towards inchoate rebelliousness and anti-intellectualism. These groups are woefully unhelpful as they either tend to implode quickly or metastasize into something real unsavory and wicked. 4) Most importantly, it is simply not in the character of a conservative or reactionary to overthrow institutions, much less Christians of those stripes!

    Where does that leave you?

  • Hmmmmm writes, “….Where does that leave you?”
    Interested in your thesis and wondering how you would respond to your own queries?
    Welcome to the discussion.

  • As a layperson. Theology and philosophy are bound up inseparably in the human soul. All mention is paid to the mind, as a thinking brain? Free will and intellect, as I know them are attributes of the human soul. The intellect perceives God and the free will assents to knowing, to loving and believing God. And it was to God Descartes turned.
    Terry Schiavo had her will to live destroyed because some people placed her free will to live in her mind, but not in her soul. Terry Schiavo’s will to live, free will, intellect and sovereign personhood inhere in her human soul. The human soul being immortal cannot be destroyed, therefore, Terry Schiavo’s will to live was denied to her, as was her body and all nourishment. Homocide.
    The unborn, the comatose, the alzheimers all will to live, created equal with those who conspire to deny these persons their will to live.
    Philosophy itself is based on the assumption of man’s human soul. The greatest Philosopher, our brother, Jesus Christ, came to earth to save our souls, and in the Resurrection, our minds, wills, intellects, senses and bodies.
    Thank you for letting me give you a piece of my mind.

  • Mary De Voe,

    Actually Mary, not a piece of your mind but something quite profound

  • Botolph: All for God through Jesus.

  • Mary De Voe said, “….Terry Schiavo had her will to live destroyed because some people placed her free will to live in her mind, but not in her soul. Terry Schiavo’s will to live, free will, intellect and sovereign personhood inhere in her human soul. The human soul being immortal cannot be destroyed, therefore, Terry Schiavo’s will to live was denied to her, as was her body and all nourishment. ..”
    Thank you for your wisdom Mary. We must protect the vulnerable against those who would measure a person’s value by their usefullness to society. All people notwithstanding their ability to think or know or perform are valuable and loved; no exceptions ever.

  • Slainté

    For Comte, the “theological stage” in the knowledge of nature was what anthropologists call “animism.” Thus, Bl John Henry Newman says, “It is the notion of power combined with a purpose and an end …. Accordingly, wherever the world is young, the movements and changes of physical nature have been and are spontaneously ascribed by its people to the presence and will of hidden agents, who haunt every part of it, the woods, the mountains and the streams, the air and the stars, for good or for evil.”

    As to Pre-Enlightenment law, the Roman jurists talk a good deal about the “jus gentium,” the laws common to all peoples and therefore rooted in human nature. One can see how this would chime in with Stoic notions of Natural Law, which was influential at the time they wrote (1st – 2nd century AD) Of course, the focus of their interest was private law – the relations between private citizens.

  • Hmmmmm

    The Universities adopted and popularised the Enlightenment, but none of its leaders operated outside the Universities – Voltaire, Diderot, D’Alembert and the Encyclopédistes, Bacon, Hobbes, Rousseau, Descartes, Hume were none of them academics

  • MPS writes, “….For Comte, the “theological stage” in the knowledge of nature was what anthropologists call “animism.”…”
    So the philosopher Comte wasn’t so much an atheist as he was a worshipper of nature not unlike the pagan Druids?
    The philosopher Kant argued that the essence of religion was leading a virtuous life, and everything else was superstition and delusion. Our Lord Jesus Christ then would be counted as merely a figure of superstition and delusion?

  • Slainté wrote, “So the philosopher Comte wasn’t so much an atheist as he was a worshipper of nature not unlike the pagan Druids?”

    No, the “theological” and the “metaphysical” stages are, precisely, stages through which the human mind has to pass, before arriving at the positive stage, which alone is knowledge.

    For Comte, the only real knowledge is reached in the “positive” stage; In which man does not seek to explain nature, he observes the phenomena – the evidence of the senses – as facts and unifies them by laws, and so makes himself capable of rational prediction (the mind restricts itself to “considering them as subject to a certain number of invariable natural laws which are nothing else than the general expression of the relations observed in their development”). He abandons the quest for “causes,” (a notion that belongs to the “metaphysical” stage. Instead, he says, “I burned 2 g of hydrogen in 16 g of Oxygen and I got 18 g of water and I find that this ratio is constant.” From this, he can predict the result of burning any given quantity of hydrogen in any given quantity of oxygen and he can even go on to generalise this, by trying the experiment with other elements and discover “laws” of atomic weight, valence numbers and the like. Whether these “laws” are necessary, or mere statistical generalisations are metaphysical questions and, for Comte, meaningless questions, for the answer cannot possibly be verified by observation.

    Comte certainly recognised the practical and emotional value of religion; he simply insisted that it could not provide us with knowledge. The popular fact/value distinction goes straight back to Comte.

    As for Kant, he would have distinguished the “Christ of faith” from the “Jesus of history,” rejecting the one and revering the other.

  • MPS writes,
    “…the “theological” and the “metaphysical” stages are, precisely, stages through which the human mind has to pass, before arriving at the positive stage, which alone is knowledge.”
    And is there a correlation between Comte’s evolving mind and Hegel’s evolving spirit?

  • Slainté

    The Romantic Movement was under way and historicism was in the air, but that is the only connection. Comte would have rejected any sort of Absolute; for him, only the empirically verifiable was real. He is remarkably modern and with myriad followers who have never heard of him.

  • Michael PS and Slainte,

    Comte is the “father of positivism”. Am I correct in saying this?

  • Botolph asks, “Comte is the “father of positivism”. Am I correct in saying this?”


    Of course, the idea that truth consists in either relations of ideas (logic and mathematics) or matters of fact (empirical science) goes back to David Hume.

    The Vienna Circle, the Logical Positivists and the early Wittgenstein (with reservations) are his modern philosophical descendants, but his ideas have taken hold outside the academy and are simply taken for granted by many who have never opened a work of philosophy. It is part of the Zeitgeist.

    As an heuristic principle, a methodology, in the physical sciences, there is a good deal to be said for it.

  • Mr.Paterson-Seymour,

    Indeed, those you mention may not have been professors in universities. Yet as prominent as those names are, they do not contain the whole era; and with due respect to the French, the Scottish Enlightenment may have been more trans-formative. Were not the universities of Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen its biggest proponents? Didn’t Joseph Black, Dugald Stewart, James Playfair, Adam Ferguson, Francis Hutchenson, Hugh Blair, Thomas Brown, Adam Smith, and even Thomas Reid; among others, hold professorships in Scottish universities?

    Of course if we go to the previous age, I imagine the argument could be made that the universities were even more influential.

    Where is the person who not been affected by the teaching of Eramus, Luther, Mair or Bodin?

    I’m aware of your point: in the scheme of grand narratives, how can one point to the universities as the cause when so many prominent individuals (such as the ones mentioned) throughout history were not faculty; were not working for the benefit, progress or furthering the university system; and in some cases, had nothing to do with the communities? Furthermore, it may be faulty thinking to attribute the success of some to their teaching. There are plenty of cases where the thinker was brilliant and came to prominence through the written word but were lousy teachers, completely forgotten and overlooked, stuck in small and remote colleges or taught subjects that were not within their range of genius. These are good objections to my earlier post and one I do not have a ready rebuttal .

    However, many listed were educated through the university system and are not wholly separate from that environment. I do not believe it unreasonable to suggest that we factor in that universities operate like any successful and healthy human organization, developing traits to aid its own preservation and dropping any notions nonessential or harmful to its organizing principles.

SPI Infomercial

Wednesday, January 29, AD 2014

A true blast from the past.  An SPI, Simulations Publications Inc., infomercial filmed in the seventies to introduce people to wargames.

Among my hobbies, besides writing blog posts and annoying people for fun and profit, is the playing of rather elaborate strategy games.  I began playing these games circa 1971 when I wheedled a copy of Luftwaffe from my parents for Christmas that year.  The next year for Christmas I received a copy of Panzerblitz, and I have been playing and collecting strategy games since that time.

My wife and I acquired our first computer in 1987, a Commodore 64.  Since that time almost all of my playing of strategy games has been on the computer.  Christmas Eve 1991 was a memorable one in the McClarey household.  It was the first Christmas Eve we spent with our newborn twin sons, and our copy of the computer strategy game Civilization arrived in the mail.

In between playing with our infants and introducing them to the joys of Christmas, we took turns charting the courses of societies through 6,000 years of history.  For a young married couple fascinated by history, it was the ideal Christmas present.


Computers do spoil us.  My playing of board wargames has diminished to almost nil.  When I do attempt to play a board wargame, keeping track of the rules without the aid of a computer and doing the math calculations in my head seems too bothersome for the game to be enjoyable.  Perhaps I am simply lazy, but I do believe exposure to computers does foster a “Can’t a computer do it?” attitude.

Continue reading...

23 Responses to SPI Infomercial

  • You brought to mind Risk.
    My brother Doug and I would play for hours. Not very “deep” in the strategic aspects, but still much fun.

  • Risk, a gateway game into Civilization.

    I wonder if there are sophisticated uber versions of Civ in Heaven?

  • Tito Edwards.

    The last one who tried to elbow his way into that heavenly version wasn’t well received.

  • Risk is to SPI and Avalon Hill what Twinkies are to haute cuisine. That said, my patience for lavish setup and rules parsing has run thin as well in the wake of computer games.

    I’m introducing my son to some, with simpler titles like Across Five Aprils, which is light enough yet still offers a bit of depth. I’m eyeing the value of my SPI collection and thinking eBay may be in its future.

  • “I’m eyeing the value of my SPI collection and thinking eBay may be in its future.”
    Yeah, I’ve made some money selling games on eBay including some of my SPIs. A good game for a beginning war gamer is We the People published by Avalon Hill in 1994, if you can find a copy on eBay, the beginning of Mark Herman’s series of card driven war games. Relatively simple game mechanics and good historical flavor from the cards.

  • Yes, Herman’s card-based games were good, as were his titles with Richard Berg (SPQR, etc). I still have them all. I’ve been on the press lists for 20 years, and never got rid of almost anything. I have a giant stack of stuff from The Gamers I never even punched. Maybe they’ll pay for my retirement…

    I did finally start selling off all my ASL modules. Life’s too short for ASL.

  • One additional point about “gateway drugs” to wargaming. I introduced my son to Memoir 44 and Battle Cry (very light games from Richard Borg), and he really enjoyed them. They were quick, fun (lots of plastic figures) and easy.

    Now that he’s a bit older, he’s getting frustrated with the limitations of design and the strange rules (you can lose 3/4ths of a unit without suffering any attack penalty), and is requesting more complex games. I don’t think the hobby needs to die out. I see teens picking up Warhammer and Flames of War (WW2 miniatures). They just need to be eased into it.

  • Memoir 44 has a very enjoyable online incarnation. Wargameroom has a great series on some GMT games allowing them to be played on computer with rules enforcement:

  • Just bought Civilization IV a few months ago. (Still haven’t looked up from the computer screen. What season is it?) I’ve been through it all: Avalon Hill, D&D, reading Tolkien, playing Sim City. It’s been fun. But since we’re all Catholics here, I don’t mind asking you, do you think it’s a misuse of time? I can’t tell if I’m being scrupulous, or if I’m burning out on Civ, or whatever, but I’ve been trying to figure out what it’s Aristotelian final cause is, and I haven’t come up with a good answer.

  • “But since we’re all Catholics here, I don’t mind asking you, do you think it’s a misuse of time?”

    Christ loved sailing on the Sea of Galilee I suspect. God did not place us here to be serious all the time, but also to sample harmless amusements that bring joy to the heart and give the mind and/or body a workout. Any amusement can be an abuse if we allow it to dominate our lives, but in moderation they are a much needed seasoning for this Vale of Tears.

  • Still have a decent collection of SPI stuff, including the massive “Invasion America” and “Objective: Moscow” ultragames.

    Then there’s the Avalon Hill stuff, which is more playable. “Britannia” is a lighter beer and pretzels game of British history between the Roman invasion and the Norman Conquest–really, really fun.

    Alas, you can blame TSR for screwing up the SPI purchase. I’ll let Greg Costikyan explain:


  • “Invasion America” and “Objective: Moscow”

    Two of my favorites, especially Objective Moscow and its orbital samurai drop troops! The imagination behind some of those SPI games was awe inspiring.

  • Yes, Dunnigan and Co. were pretty imaginative. Not to mention mordantly funny: I remember one of their games involved rules for tactical nuclear weapons. For the simulation of a strategic nuclear exchange, “the designer recommends dousing the game map in lighter fluid and striking a match.”

    Good stuff.

  • No one’s mentioned Tactics II yet. Please don’t leave me feeling like the oldest one around here!

  • I suspect that if one surveyed men and women as to their level of interest in these games, (especially those relating to war strategy), the result would likely reflect greater interest by men than women.
    Of course if there was a Jane Austen game focused on her novels and characters, I would sign on forthwith. : )

  • slainte: I always wanted to be a spy, but I followed my vocation and brought five children into the world. Some time later I realized that I would not have survived or made a very good spy.
    I like Jane Austen for the good she brought to her culture.

  • Ms. De Voe,

    I commend you on your wise decision to become a mom and bear five immortal beings.
    “But one thing is necessary. Mary hath chosen the best part, which shall not be taken away from her”. Luke 10:42
    I love to read Jane Austen as her characters disclose much about the human condition and the moral constraints of a golden age. Their reflections on virtue and honor, and even the vices, are timeless in their application.
    Some years ago, I visited Bath, England to attempt to capture the reality of Jane’s novels…proverbially stepping back in time to another age. I stood gawking at the Hanoverian wonders…the Circus, the Royal Crescent, and the wonders of a much earlier age…the Pump Room and Roman Baths with their greenish, lead tainted waters and surrounding antique statues.
    Such fun….only later did I learn that Jane Austen disliked residing in Bath and was happy to leave. I concluded that she must be daft. : )
    Now how might one translate an Austen novel into a game of strategy and chance…a war between the virtues and the vices?

  • Not mentioned here but every bit as fun were “Play-by-mail” strategy games. The upsides were that the play board was a modern atlas and the pieces were limited only to the imaginations of the players.
    The downside is that they were moderated, so if a player was more adept than and strategically superior to a moderator, the plans were ususally misunderstood and not executed correctly until the player was able to explain the order of battle in more explicit detail. While this is a necessary condition for victory in most cases anyway, the one battle that was lost because the moderator misunderstood was always taken the same way as a ball game lost because the ref blew the call.
    Nonetheless, there was little to compare with the thrill of opening the mailbox and finding a $3.00-postage envelope stuffed with battle outcomes, salvage totals and casualty lists.
    I remember the very first time I transmitted production expansion and battle plans via modem to the moderator’s AOL account with a 9600-baud modem. It was only marginally quicker than the mail.

  • My family and friends still play Axis and Allies, which has a great balance between overly simplistic Risk type games and the more technical board games like SPI. I detest playing Risk. Too much chance, too little strategy and flips have too much impact on in determining the winner.

  • slainte: “I commend you on your wise decision to become a mom and bear five immortal beings.” The best thing I ever did. A woman cannot grow another arm or leg. A woman can grow another person.
    “I love to read Jane Austen as her characters disclose much about the human condition and the moral constraints of a golden age.” “the moral constraints of a golden age” Could it have been a golden age when only men could vote and inherit property, on the chance that men would all be gentlemen and not cads or “gold diggers”, when infants were promised in marriage at birth? I am so much happier in our day and age. Now if only I could invent a game to focus on these problems. Can you imagine a game of players marrying to obtain an estate? Oh, that is monopoly.

  • Mary De Voe wrote,
    “….Could it have been a golden age when only men could vote and inherit property, on the chance that men would all be gentlemen and not cads or “gold diggers”, when infants were promised in marriage at birth? I am so much happier in our day and age”
    No matter the travails of that age Mary…I cannot read or watch “Pride and Prejudice” and not want to be transported back to that time and place….even with the possibility of cads and gold diggers lurking about.
    Have a look at this video…..accompanied by a glass of wine, of course. Perhaps you will agree?

    Elizabeth is every bit as masterful a strategist in capturing Darcy (while letting him think he caught her) as the men who strategize to win war games. : )

  • slainte: Thank you, thank you for the link. I watched the whole 6 episodes last night. Here with is my take:
    Mr. and Mrs. Bennett never went to bed enjoying each other’s company. Mr. Bennett did not cherish his wife. What did he expect of his children, who were embarrassed for their parents. The fact that Mr. Bennett relied on his daughter, Lizzie, instead of his wife and later rejected Lizzie’s advice is troubling. The proper behavior was exemplified by Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner. Mr. Gardiner, the brother of Mrs. Bennett, calmed and reassured her, whereas, Mr. Bennett was rather smug and distant. A firm hand in the smaller sqirmishes would have gone a long way to bring peace to the household. Mr. Bennett grew. Mrs. Bennett grew. Mr. Darcy grew. Lizzie knew who she was. I liked Mr. Bingley. Most of this idiocy might not have been, were women given the vote and were free to own land and given inheritance. Job gave his daughters an inheritance. Only landowners voted, so only men voted. Women, especially, if they were cherished by their spouses would have had inheritance and land. The only way this could have happened is if the estate were sold and the proceeds given to the wife and family before the death of the husband.
    The acknowledgement of the human person by the curtsy and bow was indeed spectacular. War of self-defense and survival is indeed the only game to play. War of aggression will only teach players how to hog the road down home.
    If I were to choose a part in the story, I would enjoy playing the histrionics of Mrs. Bennett. Were I a man, I would enjoy playing the obsequiousness of Mr. Collins. I couldn’t do the part played by Barbara Leigh-Hunt, of Rosings Park. I appreciated the servants, some of whom had more class and character than the principals. The artificial teeth and hairpieces to make some of the characters less attractive also tickled me.
    A game to cast lots to see into which class one might be born and how one might play out one’s life might be fun.
    The courtesy and deference were indeed uplifting and would make one want to return to those days.

  • Mary Devoe wrote, “….Mr. and Mrs. Bennett never went to bed enjoying each other’s company. Mr. Bennett did not cherish his wife. What did he expect of his children, who were embarrassed for their parents…”
    I am happy that you enjoyed “Pride and Prejudice” and commend you for having watched all six episodes; I can assure you the novel is even better. While you are an acknowledged Bingley fan, I am most definitely a Darcy fan; he is quite amazing as is Colin Firth. : )
    Thank you for your insight regarding Mr. and Mrs. Bennett; I confess to never having paid much heed to the dynamics of Mr. and Mrs. Bennett’s marital relationship, yet your observation is spot on. The couple is dis-engaged from each other; almost estranged. There is no touching of the other, or uplifting verbal communication, or shared laughter, or even sitting comfortably with each other. He hides behind his newspaper or sits away from her pretending to be engrossed in financial records, and she remains turned away from him, issuing frenzied orders to her daughters, and complaining to him of matters over which he has no control. She is so fixated on her own sense of financial in-security that she unwittingly and publicly emasculates him in her search for quick-fix solutions. She further breaks all rules of propriety and protocol when she publicly proclaims her match-making strategy to an assembled group of strangers; clearly a matter best reserved for private conversation. Yet Mr. Bennett is not without blame; as her husband and head of the family, he should have assumed control and guided his wife and daughters to secure their well being. By neglecting these duties, his indifference resulted in chaos for the entire family. His love for his daughters, though, is apparent when he laments to Elizabeth, who is leaving for vacation, that he shall miss her and Jane as he will have no one else with whom to enjoy intelligent conversation.
    Your point, Mary, is well taken about the perilous role occupied by women in 18th century England. English commonlaw assigned women a status akin to chattel…divesting them of any right of ownership of property, inheritance, or of making a living. Women were completely beholden to their sons and/or male relations for food and shelter in the event of a husband’s premature demise. Those who had no male relatives were at a significant disadvantage and quite possibly faced financial ruin. Much of Mrs. Bennett’s panic is directly related to her not having borne that all important male heir. Her future well being, and that of her daughters, was thus contingent on the whims of a distant male relation and heir to the Bennett estate, the very obsequious Mr. Collins. Yet none of this can be blamed on Mr. Bennett as he is as much a victim of the legal status of women as his wife. His weakness, if one can be identified, was his indifference to his wife’s panic and a failure to assert dominion over the situation. As a consequence, his wife assumed control, and in so doing, emasculated him, embarrassed the family, and created distance in their marriage.
    I agree with your assessment of the Gardiners; they are a loving and well balanced couple who enjoy each other’s company after many years of marriage. And I have no doubt that Jane and Bingley, and Elizabeth and Darcy would follow suit. All in all, “Pride and Prejudice” is still good fun despite the passage of two hundred plus years since Jane Austen wrote it.
    If you are interested Mary, I would also recommend the novel and movie rendition of Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility”. Here is the link to the trailer. http://youtu.be/eJMnm28vAqQ
    Have fun.

Humanities Replaced by Banalities

Wednesday, January 29, AD 2014

In fine, I have written my work, not as an essay which is to win the applause of the moment, but as a possession for all time.




I recall as a boy the first day I made the magic acquaintance of Thucydides who unlocked for me an enduring love of ancient Greece.  I then passed on to Herodotus and Plutarch, and next to Plato and Aristotle.  As a boy and teenager in Paris, Illinois the great historians and philosophers of Greece, and then Rome, became my favorite instructors.  Looking on the way in which most colleges and universities ignore this priceless heritage today is painful.  My favorite living historian, Victor Davis Hanson describes the magnitude of the loss:



If the humanities could have adopted a worse strategy to combat these larger economic and cultural trends over the last decade, it would be hard to see how. In short, the humanities have been exhausted by a half-century of therapeutic “studies” courses: Peace and Conflict Resolution Studies, Post-Colonial Studies, Environmental Studies, Chicano Studies, Women’s Studies, Black Studies, Asian Studies, Cultural Studies, and Gay Studies. Any contemporary topic that could not otherwise justify itself as literary, historical, philosophical, or cultural simply tacked on the suffix “studies” and thereby found its way into the curriculum.

These “studies” courses shared an emphasis on race, class, and gender oppression that in turn had three negative consequences. First, they turned the study of literature and history from tragedy to melodrama, from beauty and paradox into banal predictability, and thus lost an entire generation of students. Second, they created a climate of advocacy that permeated the entire university, as the great works and events of the past were distorted and enlisted in advancing contemporary political agendas. Finally, the university lost not just the students, but the public as well, which turned to other sources—filmmakers, civic organizations, non-academic authors, and popular culture—for humanistic study.

The way this indoctrination played itself out in the typical humanities class was often comical. Homer’s Odyssey was not about an early epic Greek hero, who, with his wits, muscle, and courage overcomes natural and human challenges to return home to restore his family and to reestablish the foundations of his community on Ithaca—a primer on how the institutions of the early polis gradually superseded tribal and savage precursors. Instead, the Odyssey could be used to lecture students about the foundations of white male oppression. At the dawn of Western civilization, powerful women, such as Calypso and Circe, were marginalized and depicted as anti-social misfits, sorceresses on enchanted islands who paid a high social price for taking control of their own sexuality and establishing careers on their own terms. Penelope was either a suburban Edith Bunker, clueless about the ramifications of her own monotonous domesticity, or, contrarily, an emancipated proto-Betty Friedman, who came of age only in the 20-year absence of her oppressive husband and finally forged outlets for her previously repressed and unappreciated talents. The problem is not necessarily that such interpretations were completely untrue, but that they remain subsidiary themes in a far larger epic about the universal human experience.

Students were to discover how oppressive and unfair contemporary life was through the literature, history, and culture of our past—a discovery that had no time for ambiguity such as the irony of Sophocles’s Ajax, or the tragedy of Robert E. Lee. Instead, those of the past were reduced to cut-out, cardboard figurines, who drew our interest largely to the extent that they might become indicted as insensitive to women, gays, minorities, and the poor of their age—judged wanting by comfortable contemporary academic prosecutors who were deemed enlightened for their criticism. To the extent that these dreary reeducation seminars were not required as part of the General Education curriculum, students voted with their feet to pass them up; when enrollment was mandatory, students resigned themselves never to suffer through similar elective classes in the future.

Continue reading...

4 Responses to Humanities Replaced by Banalities

  • Not surprising that Hanson nails it, but he really does nail it. History requires humility. It requires you to not judge by your standards, but to step back and attempt to judge by universal standards. Without the former, it’s advocacy like Hanson condemns. Without the latter, it’s the relativism which proceeded the modern advocacy. You can’t learn anything by saying that Homer doesn’t comply with the current modern standard of, say, sexuality. But you can learn from him, maybe get another datapoint for appraising your own era and his.

  • “Money” quote: “A liberal arts education was once a gateway to wisdom; now, it can breed ignorance and arrogance.”

    I would have deleted “can.”

  • ~1970:
    The professors of current professors began to “be cool” in manner. Classic classrooms with now sought after as antique wooden desk front and center (if not raised on a platform) became the chair for his grubby jeans or the stool for his feet to scratch. The self-proclaimed humanists, ironically, were meticulous about forming amorphous circles for students to be able to be on the gritty floor after pushing the chairs an desks out of the way. Communications were no longer sent by raised hand and surrounding silence. Interruptions of first person experiences were indulged as the clock ticked and weeks and months passed. It would be interesting to study the evolving syllabi and course titles from that time to present in the path to a Bachelor of Arts degree.

  • Pingback: Is God Pro-Life or Pro-Death? - BigPulpit.com

Andrew Cuomo, Father Barron and Alexis de Tocqueville

Wednesday, January 29, AD 2014

Statue of Bigotry

Hattip to cartoonist Michael Ramirez for his brilliant Statue of Bigotry cartoon.  A guest post by commenter John By Any Other Name:



Father Robert Barron, who no one could credibly call a firebrand, had a post at National Review Online that caught my attention:

“In the course of a radio interview, Governor Andrew Cuomo blithely declared that anyone who is pro-life on the issue of abortion or who is opposed to gay marriage is “not welcome” in his state of New York. Mind you, the governor did not simply say that such people are wrong-headed or misguided; he didn’t say that they should be opposed politically or that good arguments against their position should be mounted; he said they should be actively excluded from civil society!”

The good guv’ner somewhat walked back his comments, trying to spin it that it wasn’t that people who were pro-life, pro-“assault weapons” and “anti-gay” (these were the other two descriptors Cuomo used) weren’t welcome, just that they would have a hard time winning office in the state.  Yet, Father Barron properly captures the evil of this in his observation: “they should be actively excluded from civil society!”
This is precisely what Alexis de Tocqueville was discussing in the below quote.  I stumbled across this one while looking for another quote from Democracy in America.  I confess I haven’t actually read the book, though it’s on my reading list after I finish the Knox translation of the Bible and a few other important books.  Emphasis is mine.

Tyranny in democratic republics does not proceed in the same way, however. It ignores the body and goes straight for the soul. The master no longer says: You will think as I do or die. He says: You are free not to think as I do. You may keep your life, your property, and everything else.  But from this day forth you shall be as a stranger among us. You will retain your civic privileges, but they will be of no use to you. For if you seek the votes of your fellow citizens, they will withhold them, and if you seek only their esteem, they will feign to refuse even that. You will remain among men, but you will forfeit your rights to humanity. When you approach your fellow creatures, they will shun you as one who is impure. And even those who believe in your innocence will abandon you, lest they, too, be shunned in turn. Go in peace, I will not take your life, but the life I leave you with is worse than  death.

Continue reading...

25 Responses to Andrew Cuomo, Father Barron and Alexis de Tocqueville

  • Andy and his father Mario are Catholic – pro-infanticide, pro-sexual perversion Catholics in public! They brag about it! Why aren’t they publicly excommunicated as St. Paul did to the sex pervert in 1st Corinthians chapter 5? Or as Hymenaeus and Alexander were excommunicated in 1st Timothy chapter 1? What is wrong with Cardinal Dolan and Bishop Hubbard? It is one thing to have private sin even sexual, fail but try to do good again. It is another to brag about and extol one’s perversion.

  • Cuomo is a thug who needs to be held responsible.

    NYS is the worst-taxed state in the US, with NJ a close second worst.

    All the libs have are class hate/war, gender, race-baiting, and sexual orientation.

    Your so-called social justice is class war with a thin vaneer of pious-sounding claptrap. (N.B. I stifled myself from typing a more colorful metaphor.)

    First they came for the Jews, and I did nothing . . .

    Do something. That could be desultory, passive resistance or emigration to remnant America.

  • “”You may keep your life, your property, and everything else. But from this day forth you shall be as a stranger among us. You will retain your civic privileges, but they will be of no use to you. For if you seek the votes of your fellow citizens, they will withhold them, and if you seek only their esteem, they will feign to refuse even that. You will remain among men, but you will forfeit your rights to humanity. When you approach your fellow creatures, they will shun you as one who is impure. And even those who believe in your innocence will abandon you, lest they, too, be shunned in turn. Go in peace, I will not take your life, but the life I leave you with is worse than death.””

    This is called white martyrdom. It may be called segregation. It is called taxation without representation. How can Andrew Cuomo represent his constituency, when he refuses to acknowledge their existence and sovereign citizenship, even as they constitute the state?
    Ostracism, also known as exile, and shunning were intended to drive evil from your midst, as called for by Moses and his law. This was mandated to maintain purity, innocence and virginity in the tribes of Israel. Innocence and purity are necessary virtues to deliver Justice. It is the duty of the state to deliver Justice. Therefore, it is the duty of the state to protect and provide for innocence and virginity. Here, Andrew Cuomo drives innocence and virginity away from our midst, making of the people a thoroughly criminal class unable to deliver Justice.
    Andrew Cuomo is an indecent and unjust man who ought to be impeached for not representing his constituency.

  • Paul W Primavera: “Andy and his father Mario are Catholic – pro-infanticide, pro-sexual perversion Catholics in public! They brag about it!”
    Andy and Mario Cuomo are wannabe pro-abortionists, wannabe homosexual sodomists. These are campaigning for the pro-abortion and pro homosexual sodomy vote and disenfranchising, disengaging and discarding their constituents. Pro-abortionists and pro-sodomists have already exiled themselves from the halls of Justice because vice and lust can never be changed into virtue and love. They have self-excommunicated themselves and probably do not receive Holy Communion. It is up to the Catholic parishioners to make sure that they do not.
    This is the end fruit of embracing: “I am personally opposed to abortion but I cannot impose my morality (or lack thereof) on anyone.” Read: “I do not do abortions and I do not commit sodomy but so, I must impose my vacuum on all of my constituents for the abortion and gay vote” Immorality imposed, constituents disavowed, bigotry enacted.

  • These are campaigning for the pro-abortion and pro homosexual sodomy vote and disenfranchising, disengaging and discarding their constituents.

    Well, if they keep winning elections, then it would seem they are not disenfranchising, disengaging and discarding their constituents, or at least not enough of them to lose office. Cesspools like NY, NJ and the Left Coast will remain what they are until those who feel marginalized “vote with their feet.” Although I would think that, politicians being what they are, the average Joe gets shafted while muckety mucks (who you would think would like to avoid such high-tax places) get back room deals to make it worth their while to stay.

  • There are the motives for the left’s long-running campaigns to control education and chuild-rearing (latest is all day pre-school); seize your guns; tax your income; and confiscate/regulate (how you use) your property.

    Gibbon “Decline and Fall . . . “ paraphrased: “An educated, well-informed populous, possessed of arms, tenacious of property, and collected into constitutional assemblies form the only balance capable of preserving a free constitution against enterprises of an aspiring prince (despotism).”

  • T Shaw is correct. Democracy is the despotism of a simple majority ignorant of principle and intent on voting themselves bread and circuses, thus are Democrats like Mario and Andy Cuomo despots. Only in a Republic does T. Shaw’s educated, well-informed populous, possessed of arms, tenacious of property, and collected into constitutional assemblies exist. Today’s populous of Facebook, reality TV and gay sex promoting Grammy Awards is NOT that populous, but rather a people with whom the likes of Caligula would be most at home.

    I hate Democracy – two wolves and one sheep voting on what is for dinner. I love liberty – a well armed, well educated sheep contesting the vote.

    Democracy – the tail side of the coin whose head is Socialism.

    Liberty – freedom – is always contrary to both Democracy (dictatorship by the majority) and autocracy (dictatorship by an autocrat).

    Democracy – 1st Samuel chapter 8 in action.

  • My father had the great misfortune to work for Mario Cuomo, He thought Mario was an egomaniacal gas-bag, who shamelessly unleashed the powers of his office on anyone (and there were several of these people) who Mario did not like. Mario personally saw to the destruction of an industry that employed thousands of people. It was an industry for which New York State was famous. Mario did not like the people running the industry. So he wrecked it, and put thousands of people out of work, and left huge, rusting, unused buildings on the horizon.
    My father said he had exposure to Andrew the evil spawn. Andrew, “man of the people” that he is, yelled and screamed at a parking lot attendant at a NYS facility, for not recognizing the then 20-something lawyer as the “Governor’s son”. My father said Andrew did this in order to impress the senior NYS officials who were with him at the time. My father was not favorably impressed.
    The Cuomo’s are a bunch of filthy, oppressive, elitist scumbags, on both a political and personal level. I moved out of New York State a long time ago. Although I am generally regarded as “the stupid one” of all my parent’s children, the fact that I got out of New York before that greasy, loudmouthed slimeball Andrew took over gives me an automatic win when I am with my siblings. So I am grateful to the Cuomo clan for that, I suppose.
    Andrew Cuomo is certifiably insane. I have no doubt that he is going to take care of himself, and as he goes down the political toilet to dwell with the Eliot Spitzers and Anthony Wieners of this world, we will all simply pray for a second flush, to somewhat alleviate the stink he left behind.

  • Not that I want to pile on . . .

    But, you won’t see this anywhere in the media.

    A. Cuomo was head of US HUD late in the Clinton maladminsitration.

    I don’t know if he has had all the copies burned, but he misspent tax money to publish a big, glossy magazine type publication touting his vast achievements as US Housing Cappo di Cappi (spelling?).

    He controlled FNMA/FHLMC/GNMA/FHA. He dictated that the mortgage agencies (government sponsored entirprises) that 50% of their trillions of $$$ home loan purchases had to be to “low-to-moderate” income borrowers.

    The rest is history.

    A. Cuomo mightily helped inflate the housing bubble, crash, and the great recession.

  • The majority voting idiots of New York State elected the imbecilic Cuomo, just as the elected his father three times.

    I invite the good, observant Catholic New Yorkers and other pro life New Yorkers of any Christian belief to pack up and get the hell out of Cuomo’s empire. Policies enacted by the NYC majority have made the most of the rest of New York State an economic disaster.

    I dread the day when Philadelphia and its suburbs lord it over the rest of Pennsylvania as NYC and its burbs do to the rest of New York State. Ed $pendell was elected twice as Pennsylvania governor with his power base in Southeastern Pennsylvania and God help us if another Filthy-delphian pol takes the Governor’s Mansion.

  • Andrew Cuomo swore an oath to uphold the Constitution on inauguration day. For Andrew Cuomo to turn around and refuse to represent some of his constituents after swearing an oath to represent all of his constituents and after taking in the citizens’ tax money is more than bigotry, it is malfeasance in office, subject to impeachment.

  • Meanwhile, back in the Land of Lincoln, we have someone who appears to be a lakefront Chicago liberal Democrat in GOP clothing — gazillionaire Bruce Rauner — going all out to buy, I mean win, the Republican primary for governor by flooding the airwaves with campaign commercials and raking in huge campaign donations.

    For reasons that would take all day to explain, I really, REALLY don’t trust this guy and if the general election ends up being Rauner vs. incompetent, bumbling Democratic incumbent Pat Quinn, I refuse to vote for either. His signature issue is reining in state employee unions and abolishing (not just reforming, but abolishing) their pensions (which is a serious issue); never mind the fact that he made a substantial chunk of his fortune off of investing… wait for it… state employee pension funds!

    By the way, Rauner contributed LOTS of money to Ed “Spendell” just a few years ago and he’s a close enough buddy of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel that their families have taken vacations together. Why he’s running as a Republican, I don’t know, unless he’s trying to make sure that the more socially conservative candidates (there are 3 others, at least 2 of whom are pro-life and pro-2nd Amendment) never get past the primary.

  • “we have someone who appears to be a lakefront Chicago liberal Democrat in GOP clothing — gazillionaire Bruce Rauner”

    You said it Elaine! His wife is a big time pro-abort. Each year she contributes $5,000.00 to Personal Pac, the pro-abort lobbying group in our state led by the fanatically anti-Catholic bigot Terry Cosgrove. Rauner’s ads manage to say precisely nothing. He is a perfect example of the one party, the Combine in John Kass’ immortal phrase, that dominate our state and use it as their personal piggy bank.

  • Meanwhile, back in the Land of Lincoln, we have someone who appears to be a lakefront Chicago liberal Democrat in GOP clothing — gazillionaire Bruce Rauner

    One gets the impression that if you all had Carol Mostly Fraud in the governor’s chair you wouldn’t have worse policy but the conduct of public business might be more amusing. Did her fiancee ever turn up or is he still on the lam?

  • Penguin’s Fan: the Mohawk Valley, the Southern Tier, and Western New York have some abiding problems but otherwise the state is in passable condition. Cuomo was returned to office in 1990 because of the state GOP’s self-destructive stupidity, which is an abiding feature of political life in New York. The electorate was so fed up with him by 1994 that they put goodfella George Pataki in office.

    And Cuomo is not an imbecile, the voters are. They could not tolerate David Patterson, who is the only normal human being who has occupied the governor’s chair in the last 30 odd years; he retired in part because his poll numbers were wretched. They’ve spurned a number of class acts over three decades (Jacob Javits, Harry Wilson, and Herbert London to name three) in order to put the likes of Alphonse d’Amato, Charles Schumer, and George Pataki in office.

    As for Cuomo, ‘borderline psychopath’ might come closer to the mark.

  • Believe it or not Art she ran for mayor of Chicago in 2010 coming in fourth. She was evicted from her home in 2012. Mostly Fraud is the living embodiment of contemporary Illinois politics.
    As far as I known Kgosie Matthews is still in the never never realm where so many people who embarrass Democrat pols seem to end up.


  • She was evicted from her home in 2012.

    Well, then, she needs the work.

  • Haven’t we been hearing for years from ‘pro-abortion Catholic politicians’ that they have to represent all of their constituents? Governor Cuomo shows that ‘politically pious dribble’ to be an outright lie

  • In the interests of accuracy, Gov. Cuomo NEVER said that pro-lifers, etc. were “not welcome” or “should be excluded from civil society.” He said, in the context of a discussion of GOP politics in the state of New York, that they “had no place” there, and that “that’s not who New Yorkers are”. These statements are open to different interpretations, the most likely (and the one later confirmed by the governor himself) being that social conservatives “have no place” in the NYGOP because voters won’t vote for them. Which is, as I’ve said before, a sobering enough statement as it is. However, Fr. Barron doesn’t help his credibility by misquoting the guy.

  • (and the one later confirmed by the governor himself)

    Yeah, after he was caught. Cuomo, who is a very nasty piece of work, would put a bounty on the head of pro-lifers if he could.

  • Sorry Elaine, but the logical conclusion of Cuomo’s comments is that pro-lifers are not welcome in New York. Yes, technically the statement was about elected Republicans (or those who hope to be elected Republicans), but if pro-life Republicans are not welcome in the New York state GOP, then logically pro-lifers are without a representative voice, ergo they would be unwelcome in their own state.

  • ‘Tyranny in democratic republics … It ignores the body and goes straight for the soul.’
    Once the souls of ‘Christians’ are overcome, such as that of the lost governor, contagion rages, spreading deadly and insane symptoms of weak and mean character throughout society. The debates over what comprised the so called platform of the D party in the last ‘election’, for example, revealed the weak spot for such as the overcome heads of state to eliminate. Capitulation, apathy, ignorance, and fear keep the diseased overpaid and actively contagious, urging more to sell their souls.

  • Elaine, I submit to you that Fr. Barron wasn’t actually misquoting or taking him out of context. Also, my selection of de Tocqueville’s point about tyranny’s manifestation in a democratic republic is precisely supported by Cuomo’s original statement as well as the “clarification”. Let me line these up (hopefully the HTML works with me…):

    Cuomo: “if they are the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York. Because that is not who New Yorkers are.”

    Cuomo clarification (per the statement excerpt at Politico): “If you read the transcript, it is clear that the Governor was making the observation that an extreme right candidate cannot win statewide because this is a politically moderate state.”

    Father Barron: “he said they should be actively excluded from civil society!”

    de Tocqueville: ” For if you seek the votes of your fellow citizens, they will withhold them, and if you seek only their esteem, they will feign to refuse even that.”

    Personally, I can see how the “clarification” has the veneer of making the statement appear less offensive…but to me, I still hear the hollow ring from the application of public relations spin. Maybe I’m jaded, but that’s why I’m looking to what a host of other more learned folk are saying, including Father Barron.

    First Things chief editor R.R. Reno observed when interviewed by National Catholic Register said this:

    “My predecessor [Father] Richard John Neuhaus has the answer: When orthodoxy is optional, it will eventually be prohibited. Put differently, when moral truths are made optional so as to be ‘inclusive,’ they will eventually be prohibited,” Reno told the Register.
    “Andrew Cuomo’s remarks are telling,” said First Things’ Reno. “Yes, they were off-the-cuff and shouldn’t be taken as thought out or programmatic. But they reflect a sometimes unconscious liberal intolerance. Everybody is welcome — as long as they’re liberals. I see it as a political expression of the ‘dictatorship of relativism.’”

    In that same article by Joan Frawley Desmond, George Weigel weighed in:

    “Father Neuhaus’s observation about optional orthodoxy becoming banned orthodoxy helps a bit in explaining the slippery slope from Mario Cuomo to Andrew Cuomo. But so does a lot of obviously ineffective catechesis and preaching,” Weigel told the Register.

    “Andrew Cuomo has often talked about the portrait of Thomas More in his office. He doesn’t seem to understand that he’s playing Henry VIII (or at the very least, Thomas Cromwell), not More, in the drama of Albany.”

    And Desmond had linked to Michael Gerson at The Washington (com)Post:

    Cuomo has reached an advanced stage of political polarization: regarding one’s democratic opponents as unfit for democracy. I imagine the feeling will now (in some quarters) be returned. And so the spiral continues — sometimes leftward, sometimes rightward, ever downward.

    Then you have Rev. George W. Rutler over at Crisis Magazine comparing and contrasting Cuomo with Pliny the Younger (who persecuted Christians, contra Candida Moss’ “scholarship”):

    “He [Cuomo] did not threaten to throw anyone to wild beasts, but the tone of the governor of the Empire State was decidedly imperious, and the threat of having to move west of Hudson River might be unsettling to even the most devout Catholics.”

    I really think that the crux of the quotes, citations, and such is that Cuomo is exhibiting a social intolerance for certain types of thought. As a test, if you were to substitute, say, racism/slavery as the subject of Cuomo’s rant, I daresay virtually everyone here would be onboard with him. The Ku Klux Klan has effectively been marginalized in civil society, and that’s just and proper. But here, the same exercise is being applied to a significant minority of the state (and that same minority in New York represents various majorities elsewhere in the Union). Further, whereas the positions and views that the KKK can be regarded as objectively and morally wrong, the position and views of those, at the least, on the pro-life side are quite the opposite on the yardstick of merit. The point is that since Cuomo is unanchored from any apparent moral ground as a consequence of moral relativism, he can’t make any distinction between the two. Thus, the only consistent reaction he, like other progressives can take, is the superficial equivalence of treating pro-lifers, pro-Second Amendment types, and traditional marriage supporters.
    So I close with a final observation on James Madison from Gerson’s comments:

    While James Madison would not be surprised, he would not approve. “In all cases where a majority are united by a common interest or passion,” he warned, “the rights of the minority are in danger.” A majority, he argued, can easily become a “faction,” seeking “illicit advantage.” This is dangerous in a democracy, not only because the rights of individuals are important but also because diversity of opinion balances factions against each other. Madison hoped that U.S. leaders would help check the passions of factions rather than inciting them for political advantage, so that “reason, justice and truth can regain their authority over the public mind.”

  • Editing fail:
    Thus, the only consistent reaction he, like other progressives can take, is the superficial equivalence of treating pro-lifers, pro-Second Amendment types, and traditional marriage supporters with legitimately wrong groups that should be excluded from civil society. Let me also add another de Tocqueville quote that I think is relevant here:

    Most religions are only general, simple, and practical means of teaching men the doctrine of the immortality of the soul. That is the greatest benefit that a democratic people derives from its belief, and hence belief is more necessary to such a people than to all others. When, therefore, any religion has struck its roots deep into a democracy, beware lest you disturb them; but rather watch it carefully, as the most precious bequest of aristocratic ages.

    This appears to be the source of the quote “America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great”, frequently mis-attributed to de Tocqueville…which, while he didn’t write that, it still has the ring of truth to it.

  • “”Cuomo: “if they are the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York. Because that is not who New Yorkers are.””
    Cuomo does not get to say who New Yorkers are. That is like telling a woman to get gender reassignment, or a man to get sterilized.

Why We Fight: The Battle of China

Wednesday, January 29, AD 2014

Hollywood director Frank Capra directed many classic films including Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and It’s a Wonderful Life.  However, he thought his best work was the Why We Fight series of films that he directed for the Army during World War II.  Sicilian born Capra was the son of Italian immigrants and was an American patriot to his fingertips.  He served in the Army during World War I as a Second Lieutenant.  Immediately after Peal Harbor he enlisted in the Army.  He was put to work making films explaining to American GIs why the US had to fight and win World War II.  Army Chief of Staff George C. Marshall explained to Capra the importance of this task:

Now, Capra, I want to nail down with you a plan to make a series of documented, factual-information films – the first in our history – that will explain to our boys in the Army why we are fighting, and the principles for which we are fighting … You have an opportunity to contribute enormously to your country and the cause of freedom. Are you aware of that, sir?

The films he produced are widely considered to be masterpieces today.

Continue reading...

One Response to Why We Fight: The Battle of China

PopeWatch: Chatting with the Prez

Wednesday, January 29, AD 2014


Matt Archbold at National Catholic Register, go here to read it, has a post where he imagines ten things that Obama might say to the Pope.  Here is ten things that PopeWatch thinks the Pope might say to Obama:

10.   Joe Biden, is he like that in private?

9.     No, it is true, Buenos Aires is windier than Chicago.

8.     Yes, I can perform an exorcism but I do not think it would help Nancy Pelosi.

7.      Yes, I used to smoke also.  No I did not have to hide it from my wife as I have never been married.

6.      Yes, not being married is a job requirement.

5.      Freedom of worship is not the same thing as freedom of religion.

Continue reading...

7 Responses to PopeWatch: Chatting with the Prez

The federal judiciary and the battle to interpret the Constitution: “Some basic plumbing lessons”…

Tuesday, January 28, AD 2014


Q: How many federal judges does it take to screw in a light bulb?

A: One. They hold it and the universe revolves around them.

Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-TX)—a former state district judge for the 7th Judicial District and Chief Justice the Texas 12th Court of Appeals—repeated that joke at a recent “Conversations with Conservatives” event sponsored by the Heritage Foundation and reported by CNSNews.com. Gohmert was making the point about how liberal federal judges are ruling against state-made prohibitions banning so-called “homosexual marriage” In Gohmert’s view:

…it’s up to the states to define, according to the Supreme Court. So for one omnipotent, omnicious, ubiquitous federal judge, who is wise beyond his education, to say, to make such a declaration about the law, I think requires revisiting by each state and compliance with the U.S. Supreme Court.

This cannot continue like one of the 9th Circuit judges reportedly said, that, “Well, we know we’re not doing in accordance with Supreme Court precedent, but they can’t reverse all of our [decisions] so we’ll keep cranking them out.”

We gotta’ get back to real law and order and that includes by judges not becoming God in their place….That stuff’s gotta’ stop. We’ve got to get the law back in the hands of the state where it was originally intended in a federalist republic.

What’s got Representative Gohmert irked is that liberal federal judges are ruling against state laws that ban “homosexual marriage,” based upon the assertion that there is no biological evidence to support the idea of marriage between a man and a woman. These judges, Gohmert argues, “need some basic plumbing lessons.”

Liberals pillory conservatives like Gohmert for their commonsense assertions and portray conservatives as rubes or knuckle-dragging Neanderthals because they just aren’t “with it” and don’t possess any “withitness.” But, Gohmert’s commonsense observation is rooted in Natural Law theory which, it should not be overlooked, provides the philosophical foundation for much of what’s written in the Declaration of Independence and is enshrined in the Constitution.

What liberals have been attempting to do for decades by “packing the courts”—and is so patently obvious in everything that led up to the Roe v. Wade decision—is not to “rewrite” the nation’s founding documents, as some conservatives have argued. No, liberals have been attempting to substitute Utilitarianism for Natural Law theory. That is why they must direct their vitriol, in particular, at Justices Scalia and Thomas, both of whom understand what’s involved in this attempt to change the philosophical underpinning of the nation’s founding documents.

Unfortunately, many voters don’t “get it” or their eyes “glaze over” when it comes to appreciating the very important role the third branch of the federal government plays in protecting their natural rights.

And liberals are just as happy as a bed of clams that voters react in these ways.



To read the CNSNews article, click on the following link:

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:

Continue reading...

8 Responses to The federal judiciary and the battle to interpret the Constitution: “Some basic plumbing lessons”…

  • Happy as clams at high tide. 🙂
    But would you say the secular case against redefining marriage is based on utility, or natural law? Where does the Basic Plumbing argument fall?
    I continue to believe Cordileone was pitch perfect in his defense of continuing to define marriage as between one man and one woman.

  • “How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.” — Abraham Lincoln, R-Ill.

    ” . . . based upon the assertion that there is no biological evidence to support the idea of marriage between a man and a woman.”

    Why do we live like this? The ignorance and the stupidity . . .

    For those not yet absorbed into the lie-borg: biological entities have imperatives such as: avoid being eaten, breathe, eat, drink, sleep, and procreate. If biological units don’t have the drive to procreate, the species self-extincts itself (I added that second “itself” for my lie-borg friends).

    As it is forbidden to quote Scripture or Church Teachings, I fall upon Aristotle and Plato for pagan advice.

    The gay gestapo requires that the state redefine marriage to include passive/sterile/unnatural buggery, which Plato (see Gorgias) termed “ridiculous, loathsome, disgraceful, shameful, and wretched.”

    Gassy gays want the state to force the rest of us to believe that such shameful perversion is equal to fecund, sacramental marriage, i.e., that which sodomy can never be: marriage’s moral and legal equivalent.

    Elsewhere, Plato provides additonal condemnations. (See Laws 636c) Plato, speaking through the character of the Athenian stranger, rejects homosexual behavior as “unnatural” (para physin), describes it as an “enormity” or “crime” (tolmema), and explains that it derives from being enslaved to pleasure.

    Here are comments from Aristotle. “Others arise as a result of disease [νόσους] (or, in some cases, of madness, as with the man who sacrificed and ate his mother, or with the slave who ate the liver of his fellow), and others are morbid states resulting from custom, e.g. the habit of plucking out the hair or of gnawing the nails, or even coals or earth, and in addition to these sex with men [ἀφροδισίων τοῖς ἄρρεσιν]; for these arise in some by nature and in others, as in those who have been the victims of lust from childhood, from habit.” [Nicomachean Ethics Book 7:5] [Arist Eth Nic 1148b 27-30]

    His equation of sodomy with nail-biting or eating coal was made to communicate that which they have in common: essential futility. Likely, Aristotle meant the weird comparisons to highlight his conclusion.

    There are no rationales for sin only causes.

  • I thought TACs readership might find of interest an article from 1998 by the late Fr. Francis Canavan, S.J., entitled “The Eminent Tribunal” which traces the U.S. Supreme Court’s discovery and development of “substantive due process” and the manner in which it caused an expansion and redefinition of the judiciary’s role.
    “The Eminent Tribunal” was originally published by “First Things” in 1998.

  • The judge takes an oath to deliver the Virtue of Justice, equal Justice for all persons. Equal Justice is not equality but Justice that must be the truth and nothing but the truth, or it is a miscarriage of Justice. The Virtue of Justice, Justice is a virtue, is giving to all persons what they truly deserve, not always what they want, but what they truly deserve. Equality leveled at all persons might be injustice for all or most. Only the Virtue of equal Justice can and maybe obtained in a court of law…because the Court is not our Creator, God is. NOR can the Court live our lives for us. Every person must live his own life and every person must strive to deliver equal Justice for himself and all other persons.

  • Pingback: Weighty Problems - BigPulpit.com
  • T Shaw

    An excellent post.

    it is axiomatic that acts of the understanding are specified by their object and good and bad choices are no more equivalent than apprehension and misapprehension, truth and error are equivalent species of an identical genus; rather, bad choices are paralogisms (παραλογισμός = Unreasonable or fallacious).

    The good choice, “This – being such – is to be done,” is intelligible, because intelligent; the act of the bad will is a surd, ultimately unintelligible. True enough, we can often trace its causes to instinctive or dispositional factors, but it remains logically incoherent.

    That is why Aristotle says in the Third Book of EN, “All wicked men are ignorant of what they ought to do, and what they ought to avoid; and it is this very ignorance which makes them wicked and vicious. Accordingly, a man cannot be said to act involuntarily merely because he is ignorant of what it is proper for him to do in order to fulfil his duty. This ignorance in the choice of good and evil does not make the action involuntary; it only makes it vicious. The same thing may be affirmed of the man who is ignorant generally of the rules of his duty; such ignorance is worthy of blame, not of excuse.”

  • Mary De Voe

    Your definition of justice closely follows that given in the first sentence of Justinian’s Institutes, “Iustitia est constans et perpetua voluntas ius suum cuique tribunes” Inst Lib1.1 – Justice is a constant and perpetual intention to render to each his own.

    As to its “constant and perpetual” character, the SCOTUS has never distinguished itself by a scrupulous adherence to precedent. Indeed, in Jones v Opelika [319 US 584 (1942)] one finds Roberts J complaining that, in some six years, the court had fourteen times reversed one or more of its earlier decisions, many of them recent. He observed that such decisions tended “to bring adjudications of this tribunal into the same class as a restricted railroad ticket, good for this day and train only. I have no assurance, in view of current decisions, that the opinion announced today may not shortly be repudiated and overruled by justices who deem they have new light on the subject.”

    As one particularly egregious example, a constitutional case, Minersville School District v Gobitis [310 US 586 (1940)] that was decided by a majority of eight to one, was overruled three years later in West Virginia School Board of Education v Barnette [319 US 624 (1943)] by a majority of six to three. Of the six, three of the Justices (Black, Douglas & Murphy JJ) had changed their minds, two (Jackson & Ritledge JJ) were new appointments and one was the former lone dissident (Stone CJ, formerly Stone J)

    Surely, the highest court having once decided what the law is, it should be for the legislator to say what it ought to be.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour: “Surely, the highest court having once decided what the law is, it should be for the legislator to say what it ought to be.”
    I am so happy that you, Michael, associate the law as coming down through the Court to the state’s sovereignty, then to each individual person’s sovereignty. The Virtue of Justice does not allow vice, nor the violation of natural law. The judges of the Court must acknowledge that they are the personification of God’s perfect Virtue of Justice.
    Interpret the Constitution? I would be happy if the Court read the Constitution.

The State of the Union Address That Will Never Be Delivered

Tuesday, January 28, AD 2014

State of the Union



Here is the State of the Union Speech that will never be delivered:

“Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, Distinguished Guests, my fellow Americans.  Each year it is a duty of the President to report on the State of the Union to the Congress.  Often these speeches have been mere feel good exercises, frequently containing little of substance.  Tonight is going to be different.  Tonight it is time for blunt truth.

America is a great and strong nation, but in many ways the State of our Union is troubled.  We have the worst economy in the last three decades.  Signs of recovery are few.  I could attempt to assess some responsibility for this poor economy to my predecessor, but that would be pointless.  You, the American people, are not interested in blame.  What you are interested in is improving the economy, and so far, under my watch, that has not happened.  I, in good faith, attempted to stimulate the economy through a massive stimulus bill.  Thus far the results have been meager for the amount of money spent.  Time for a course correction.  Beginning tomorrow I am going to hold meetings with the Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress.  The economy is my number one priority, as it rightly is yours, and I am open to all ideas, from whatever source, to jumpstart the economy and return us to the path to prosperity.  If taxcuts and spending cuts are necessary to get the economy moving, so be it.  Whatever works is my watchword on this key issue.  To quote another President from Illinois, “The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the stormy present.”  I am a Democrat, by the standards of many Americans a Liberal Democrat.  I’m proud of this, but I will not allow my adherence to certain beliefs to stand in the way of improving the economy.  Time for us all, past time, Republicans, Democrats and Independents, to work together to get the economy moving.    This is my chief concern and I will do whatever it takes to accomplish this task.

Continue reading...

8 Responses to The State of the Union Address That Will Never Be Delivered

  • Well, this is a cute but rather inadequate analysis of our nation’s crisis condition. It ignores what is predicted to be major in the speech, wealth and income inequality, which is a major factor in the fiscal restraint advocated here. It reinforces the notion that spending more than half a trillion dollars a year on military and war is truly justified in order to protect our safety and well-being, an idea that I think is very questionable. It fails to address whether the rich or the poor will be most hurt by the cuts to “cherished programs”. Will these be the cherished Social Security check to pay Grandma’s rent and groceries, or the billions in annual oil subsidies to the otherwise highly profitable oil companies? Will these be cuts to unemployment benefits and food stamps, or cuts to “carried interest” tax deductions for millionaires? The point about the government always stalling and delaying and pushing it down the road is well taken, but that’s about it.

  • “It ignores what is predicted to be major in the speech, wealth and income inequality,”
    Which Obama, by his stewardship of a lousy economy, has materially contributed to. He deserves the appellation “Foodstamp President”. A growing economy is the only way to address disparities in income. Welfare programs fed by a growing government certainly will not, except by making more Americans welfare dependents of Uncle Sucker.

    “It reinforces the notion that spending more than half a trillion dollars a year on military and war is truly justified in order to protect our safety and well-being,”

    Such expenditures are much preferable to going into a major war. As our first President noted in the first state of the Union address:
    “To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.” We have ignored this advice often in our history to our peril.

    “It fails to address whether the rich or the poor will be most hurt by the cuts to “cherished programs”.”

    This administration has a deep commitment to crony capitalism. Such programs as those that funded Solyndra should be on the chopping block.

    “Will these be the cherished Social Security check to pay Grandma’s rent and groceries, or the billions in annual oil subsidies to the otherwise highly profitable oil companies?”

    Grandma of course is likely to get far more from the Ponzi scheme known as social security than she ever put in. However, she is safe as the political will to do anything to reform social security is not there and will not be until the system faces collapse. I would be in favor of doing away with subsidies to all businesses although the “subsidies” to petroleum companies are not what you likely think they are:


  • Romney says Obama’s policy of Quantitative Easing is the biggest cause of income inequality.

  • It is time to put aside long-winded speeches that have little substance. We are in this situation for no one’s fault but or own. It is not democrats or republicans. It is us. We have let this poor economy and out-of-control spending happen.

  • The State of the Union: terminal.

    So, I watched four re-runs of “The Big Bang Theory” in between zapping to and from several college B-Ball games. (That drives the warden nuts.)

    I would have lost IQ-score points if I had wasted two hours of my life listening to rank rhetoric concerning class hate, gender, race baiting, and sexual orientation, delivered by a second-rate, racial agitator/socialist.

    Hey! Next time you feel compelled to listen to the smartest woman (“What difference does it make now?”) on the planet, get out a sheet of paper and pen and make a tick-mark for each “um”, “duh”,and “uh” you hear.

  • No I did not watch,waste of time.Not sure why Woodrow Wilson started the show after Thomas Jefferson started sending his state of the union in writing.The only thing I would add to the undelivered speech would be something to the effect that our problems are in large part to the abandonment of traditional marriage and of the family.

  • Ten seconds, pre-muted, revealed a trio – one on foot leaning on a prop, two seated attentively behind the propped one. The difference between the seated ones was one being bobble-headed in smiling agreement and the other not.
    Indulging in both ‘My Fair Lady’ on demand tv and reading a thing called ‘live blogging’ the speech were how I verified that the above address was not delivered.

PopeWatch: Incisive Capillaries?

Tuesday, January 28, AD 2014




Well, PopeWatch is pleased that not only PopeWatch sometimes has difficulty understanding what Pope Francis is saying.  Father Z gives us an example:

There are times when, try as I might, I have no idea what – or whom – Pope Francis is talking about.  I am not alone.

I had a few requests to explain something that Francis said to a group of women, a meeting of the Centro italiano femminile. The English translation I was sent is… puzzling.  [UPDATE: I think the translation came from Fishwrap HERE.  To be fair, John Allen said the translation was rushed.  Hey!  We have all been there!]

I looked up the Italian at L’Osservatore Romano:

“… mi sono rallegrato nel vedere molte donne condividere alcune responsabilità pastorali con i sacerdoti nell’accompagnamento di persone, famiglie e gruppi, come nella riflessione teologica; e ho auspicato che si allarghino gli spazi per una presenza femminile più capillare ed incisiva nella Chiesa”.

The translation I received:

“I’m happy to see many women sharing certain pastoral responsibilities in accompanying persons, families and groups, and in theological reflection,” Francis said, “and I’ve voiced hope that spaces for a feminine presence that’s more capillary and incisive [più capillare ed incisiva] in the Church will be enlarged.”

What the heck does “more capillary and incisive” mean?

In English, it doesn’t mean much of anything.  I think the translator fell into the trap of using “false friends” when rendering this from the strained Italian.

It seems as if Francis wants a presence of women that is more “strand-like and cutting”.  That is consistent with my experience of women religious who made our lives miserable in seminary back in the ’80s.  ”Capillary and incisive”.

That, of course, is not what Francis has in mind.

He doesn’t have any time for the LCWR types, after all, whom he has warned about being “zitelle… old maids” (in the sense that they become “sterile”, not “bearing fruit” in their vocations) and evincing female machismo.  There is also no indication that Francis is associating women and hierarchy.

However, capillare can mean “widespread” and incisiva can mean “effective, trenchant”.

That said, the Holy Father went on to speak about the “feminine genius”.  He confirmed that their irreplaceable role in the family must not be neglected, overlooked (trascurato).

So, Francis wants women in general, in whatever role they are playing, to be fruitful.  On this occasion he strongly emphasized their roles in the family.

He is not interested in women being more “strand-like and cutting”.

Continue reading...

16 Responses to PopeWatch: Incisive Capillaries?

  • A creative communicator close to my heart.

    “communicating in an overly formal manner”… What on Gods good earth for?

    When you get posts like this one, it pays not being a formal speech-maker- especially when you finally arrive at the heart of Pope Francis message!
    Its also good material for the always interesting PopeWatch!

    If you want run-of-the-mill BS speeches, that say it clearly but mean nothing….Obama is your go-to guy.

  • The reports on this speech are driving me nuts! Most of them say something like “Pope wants greater role for women in the church.” Really? Maybe our Papa needs to visit a few more parishes and look who keeps things running. Hint, it ain’t us guys. Holy Father, we need more men to step up!

  • “”…capillare can mean “widespread” and incisiva can mean “effective, trenchant””. This makes sense.

  • come on you guys you know about capillary action and the effect that can have on a material. – so structures could be envisioned that would allow women’s gifts to penetrate through and have a positive effect

  • “Holy Father, we need more men to step up!”
    Michael, I am so glad you noticed. Even though women act through the priest, and we do have some beautiful men, if beautiful will describe men, wouldn’t it be wonderful to have more men.

  • I don’t care what anyone says: WOMEN SHOULD BE PRIEST! Get the heck out of
    the kitchen and dust room and do what the Good Lord called you to do! I hope
    I live long enough to see it. If a church did not permit altar girls I would not
    attend . Lord help us have some common sense before it’s too late.

  • I don’t care what anyone says

    Evidently including everything the Church has been saying for approximately 2,000 years. As a helpful guide, here’s the Catechism on the priesthood, especially starting at 1575. You might also want to read some Pope John Paul II while you’re at it.

    do what the Good Lord called you to do
    Funny, but during his ministry Christ never actually called a woman to be his Apostle. I guess the eternal God was just afraid of making waves.
    I hope I live long enough to see it.
    And hillbillies want to be called “Sons of the Soil,” but it ain’t gonna happen.
    If a church did not permit altar girls I would not attend.
    Nice to see someone with a good sense of priorities.

  • Jesus also didn’t make any waves about slavery!

  • Jesus also didn’t make any waves about slavery!
    Which would be relevant if the Church had some long-standing magisterial teaching that it upended, but it did not. But it’s charming of you to call out our Lord for failing to live up to his pc obligations. How very . . . Anglican of you.

  • “Jesus also didn’t make any waves about slavery!”

    That is not as troubling as when Pete Seeger compared himself to Jesus before Pontius Pilate during Seeger’s House UnAmerican Activities Comm. hearing. But, it’s close.

  • The comparison of Church teachings about priesthood with efforts to deal with slavery over the years is a little disjointed. Equally un-satisfactory is an effort to equalize the roles of men and those of women in the Church. These things are not like the other.
    Slavery is a human enterprise/institution.
    Catholic priesthood is a divine enterprise/institution.

    Priests are men, not men are priests.

    🙂 God is faithful and good! He is the one who calls man to the priesthood. He works through the Church He established. As you read the Bible esp the Book of Moses and the history you see how plainly we need order and direction. Jesus has not left us alone.
    Trust the Church as you trust God. He gave His word on it. The Mass is something we received from God, not a prayer service that we design. The sacrament of Holy Orders is from God. We don’t have the authority to change the matter or the form.
    It is just not our call. It might seem you could make it better if you were running things, but -“who is like God?”
    The popes do not grab personal power to re-design the Church in the image they might like. They do try to protect and pass on what was handed to them, giving up personal life to serve God and His still stiff-necked and unruly people,

  • “I hope I live long enough to see it.” Rita, you will live forever.
    Anzlyne: “Priests are men, not men are priests.” Correctly stated.
    The Church needs Catholic women as sisters to bring Catholic education back to Catholic school.

  • “Jesus also didn’t make any waves about slavery!”
    Jesus said: Love God with your whole being and your neighbor as yourself.” That pretty specifically rules out slavery.

  • For years we had nuns teaching and working hard without pay and now they live in poor homes on next to nothing. Don’t dare ask them to do this again. That’s just not going to happen.

  • A number of years ago, I had the misfortune to witness at the
    beginning of mass a procession of middle-aged dancing nymphs
    without shoes and in sheer white garments. They danced around a large
    colorful ceramic bowl, which, I believed, contained the Eucharist
    and which an unusually tall woman held above her head, as the
    middle-aged nymphs proceeded to the altar.

    Later and in keeping with the modernization of the Church, immodest,
    sexed-up young women, who aspired to become the next Kim Kardashian,
    handed out Holy Communion.

  • Rita :”For years we had nuns teaching and working hard without pay and now they live in poor homes on next to nothing. Don’t dare ask them to do this again. That’s just not going to happen.”
    That is the problem and that is the solution. I remember, in the convent, the sisters took care of one another better than your or I would get in hospital because they did it for God.

Feast Day of the Angelic Doctor

Tuesday, January 28, AD 2014

As a highly Pagan poet said to me: “The Reformation happened because people hadn’t the brains to understand Aquinas.”

GK Chesterton

A whole lifetime is far too short to survey the intellectual and spiritual riches left to us by Saint Thomas Aquinas.  He is best studied bite sized chunk by bite sized chunk.  Here is such a chunk that I think is useful as a guide to Catholic bloggers:

Article 4. Whether a man is bound to correct his prelate?

Objection 1. It would seem that no man is bound to correct his prelate. For it is written (Exodus 19:12): “The beast that shall touch the mount shall be stoned,” [Vulgate: ‘Everyone that shall touch the mount, dying he shall die.’] and (2 Samuel 6:7) it is related that the Lord struck Oza for touching the ark. Now the mount and the ark signify our prelates. Therefore prelates should not be corrected by their subjects.

Objection 2. Further, a gloss on Galatians 2:11, “I withstood him to the face,” adds: “as an equal.” Therefore, since a subject is not equal to his prelate, he ought not to correct him.

Objection 3. Further, Gregory says (Moral. xxiii, 8) that “one ought not to presume to reprove the conduct of holy men, unless one thinks better of oneself.” But one ought not to think better of oneself than of one’s prelate. Therefore one ought not to correct one’s prelate.

On the contrary, Augustine says in his Rule: “Show mercy not only to yourselves, but also to him who, being in the higher position among you, is therefore in greater danger.” But fraternal correction is a work of mercy. Therefore even prelates ought to be corrected.

I answer that, A subject is not competent to administer to his prelate the correction which is an act of justice through the coercive nature of punishment: but the fraternal correction which is an act of charity is within the competency of everyone in respect of any person towards whom he is bound by charity, provided there be something in that person which requires correction.

Now an act which proceeds from a habit or power extends to whatever is contained under the object of that power or habit: thus vision extends to all things comprised in the object of sight. Since, however, a virtuous act needs to be moderated by due circumstances, it follows that when a subject corrects his prelate, he ought to do so in a becoming manner, not with impudence and harshness, but with gentleness and respect. Hence the Apostle says (1 Timothy 5:1): “An ancient man rebuke not, but entreat him as a father.” Wherefore Dionysius finds fault with the monk Demophilus (Ep. viii), for rebuking a priest with insolence, by striking and turning him out of the church.

Reply to Objection 1. It would seem that a subject touches his prelate inordinately when he upbraids him with insolence, as also when he speaks ill of him: and this is signified by God’s condemnation of those who touched the mount and the ark.

Reply to Objection 2. To withstand anyone in public exceeds the mode of fraternal correction, and so Paul would not have withstood Peter then, unless he were in some way his equal as regards the defense of the faith. But one who is not an equal can reprove privately and respectfully. Hence the Apostle in writing to the Colossians (4:17) tells them to admonish their prelate: “Say to Archippus: Fulfil thy ministry [Vulgate: ‘Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it.’ Cf. 2 Timothy 4:5.” It must be observed, however, that if the faith were endangered, a subject ought to rebuke his prelate even publicly. Hence Paul, who was Peter’s subject, rebuked him in public, on account of the imminent danger of scandal concerning faith, and, as the gloss of Augustine says on Galatians 2:11, “Peter gave an example to superiors, that if at any time they should happen to stray from the straight path, they should not disdain to be reproved by their subjects.”

Reply to Objection 3. To presume oneself to be simply better than one’s prelate, would seem to savor of presumptuous pride; but there is no presumption in thinking oneself better in some respect, because, in this life, no man is without some fault. We must also remember that when a man reproves his prelate charitably, it does not follow that he thinks himself any better, but merely that he offers his help to one who, “being in the higher position among you, is therefore in greater danger,” as Augustine observes in his Rule quoted above.

Continue reading...

6 Responses to Feast Day of the Angelic Doctor

  • Summa Theologica because theology is the study of God.

  • Pingback: Does NFP Ever Really Fail? - BigPulpit.com
  • As a Lay Dominican, I love all things Aquinas. I like how your post started by saying the following is “useful” to Catholic bloggers (since I am one), but then you didn’t comment any more. I drew my own conclusions on how this section of Aquinas’ Summa may be applied to Catholic bloggers (i.e. don’t use your blog to openly bash your bishop or the pope, but you may offer criticism with charity), but without your further commentary I was left wondering if I had arrived at the same conclusion you had. In any event, great post! Thanks!

  • Thank you for your kind words Christopher. You arrived at the same conclusion that I did.

  • Thank you Donald. I have been struggling with the proper balance in rendering criticism of the USCCB and certain bishops. We are in a fight against the ideological forces of evil and infighting is not helpful so on the one hand we must be careful that criticism of any sort does not undermine true authority. Still, I wonder what Aquinas would say with respect to the willimgness of some clerics to render ill informed judgments on prudential and public policy issues, or when the bishops through the USCCB advocate for legislation on global warming, or obamacare minus abortion, or minimum wage mandates which hurt employment, or increased spending on welfare, or when the CHD continues to fund questionable “social justice” causes. In that arena, dispute, argument and challenges to wrong thinking is critical and “charity” is misunderstood to require tolerance of the intolerable. So what would Aquinas say to us and to those clerics who render prudential judgments in imprudent ways.

  • So God will stone us to death if we tell a pro-choice Bishop he’s full of Satan?

    I think you might be confusing those passages.

    God is telling us not to correct the priest in his priestly duties. You’d have to be absurd to suggest that we’re never a part of correcting the wayward men who become priests when they bring scandal to the Church.

    Do you seriously counsel that we let grave evils occur whenever there is an evil bishop? Can the bishop commit murder and we would be stoned to death for correcting him?

First State of the Union Address

Tuesday, January 28, AD 2014

The first state of the Union address, then called the President’s annual message to Congress, was delivered by President Washington to the First Congress on January 8, 1790.  It is also the shortest.  Would that his predecessors, as in so much else, had followed his example!  Here is the text of the speech:


I EMBRACE with great satisfaction the opportunity, which now presents itself, of congratulating you on the present favourable prospects of our public affairs. The recent accession of the important state of Northcarolina to the Constitution of the United States (of which official information has been received)— the ruling credit and respectability of our country— the general and increasing good will towards the government of the union, and the concord, peace and plenty, with which we are blessed, are circumstances auspicious, in an excellent degree, to our national prosperity.

In reforming your consultations for the general good, you cannot but derive encouragement from the reflection, the measures of the last session have been as satisfactory to your constituents as the novelty and difficulty of the work allowed you to hope.– Still further to realize their expectations, and to secure the blessings which a gracious Providence has placed within our reach, will in the course of the present important session, call for the cool and deliberate exertion of your patriotism, firmness and wisdom.

Among the many interesting objects which will engage your attention, that of providing for the common defence will merit particular regard. To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.

Continue reading...

2 Responses to First State of the Union Address

  • “And by teaching the people themselves to know, and to value their own rights; to discern and provide against invasions of them; to distinguish between oppression and the necessary exercise of lawful authority; between burthens proceeding from a disregard to their convenience, and those resulting from the inevitable exigencies of society; to discriminate the spirit of liberty from that of licentiousness, cherishing the first, avoiding the last, and uniting a speedy, but temperate vigilance against encroachments, with an inviolable respect to the laws.”
    The first generation of citizens knew and understood freedom, the Blessings of Liberty, “the blessings which they have a right to expect, from a free and equal government.” “…from a free and equal government.” A government free from corruption and in equal Justice.

  • Thank you, Donald R. McClarey. I saved this for myself. George Washington is still with us.

PopeWatch: Doves and Serpents

Monday, January 27, AD 2014


Alfred W. Klieforth, US consul general at the Vatican, had a conversation with Pius XII soon after he became Pope in 1939.  He reported the conversation to his superiors, including this statement by the Pope:  ”He said that he opposed unalterably every compromise with National Socialism. He regarded Hitler not only as an untrustworthy scoundrel, but as a fundamentally wicked person. He did not believe Hitler capable of moderation.”  This type of clear eyed analysis is sometimes missing today in the Church which since World War II has often seemed to adopt a de facto pacifism.  A small symbolic event yesterday reminds us of why prayers for peace alone are often not sufficient in this Vale of Tears:

Continue reading...

56 Responses to PopeWatch: Doves and Serpents

  • “The stones will cry out.”

  • I wonder if the Pope observed and took a lesson. A well arm dove – so to speak – would be able to fend off aggression from seagull and crow alike.

    Keep your weapon clean and your ammo dry.

  • In addition to calling on all Catholics to say the Rosary prior to Lepanto, Pius V also put together a fleet to actually fight the Turks. That second step has been missing from Vatican thinking for a long time, and this pope is certainly not the one who will bring it back.

  • That flying circus was a fine, flapping metaphor for the efficacy of pacifism.

    PS: I recent saw on-line a study that concluded that nations decide to go to war based on the perceived weaknesses of the foes.

    “Only the dead have seen the end of war.” Plato(?)

  • Holy Rosary in hand as the scavengers form overhead.
    Whats for dinner? Marriage definition? Unborn Life? Holy Church?

    Pray as if your children’s life depends on it…..it does!
    Eternal life!

  • If the release of the doves was an act symbolic of peace then the attack by the crow and sea gull was an act symbolic of the forces of evil.

  • That also happened when B16 released doves. Seems like heaven and earth are witnessing about spiritual warfare

  • T Shaw wrote, “I recent saw on-line a study that concluded that nations decide to go to war based on the perceived weaknesses of the foes.”

    I should have thought that a perception of a potential enemy’s growing strength is at least as likely to precipitate war.

    In 1914, many in France believed that, with their stagnant population and Germany’s growing one, they could not wait another generation, if they were to have any chance of recovering the lost provinces of Alsace and Lorraine. Similarly, Germany, believing war with Russia was inevitable, did not want to wait until she had completed the expansion of the railway system that would enable her to mobilise her massive reserves. Likewise, there were those in Britain who regarded the naval arms race with Germany as unsustainable and that, therefore, the sooner war came, the better.

    Then again, Austria believed that, if she allowed herself to be humiliated by Serbia, she would lose control of her own minorities; Russia, especially after her humiliation by Japan, thought the same would happen, if she allowed her ally, Serbia, to be humiliated.

    In other words, war here and now, because it is now or never.

  • Never underestimate the power of prayer!
    By prayer Jesus found the means to complete the mission.
    By prayer you have been redeemed!

    Don’t underestimate prayer Donald McCleary.
    By prayer you we’re created. No mistakes in the birth of a soul, none.
    Without prayers hell on earth.

  • As Anzlyne pointed out, the same thing happened when Pope Benedict released two doves.

    In other news sites I read that neither raven nor seagull are birds of prey, so they were not attacking to kill (and eat) the doves. Instead it might have been a turf issue seeing the two doves as interlopers, unwanted visitors etc

    On a practical and humanitarian basis I would suggest that the Vatican for go such an event, especially since it is not part of any rite etc of the Church, but a ‘symbolic’ act only.

    As to Donald’s point about the Church since WWII being de fact pacifist, I would nuance. I believe it is safe to say that the Church is nuclear pacifist. According to the received addresses, letters and other writings of various popes, but most especially Blessed John Paul II, it is safe to say that the Church has placed herself squarely against any use of nuclear arms-based precisely on the traditional Just War principles [proportionality, no collateral damage (civilian casualties) etc]

    The Just War principles still remain part of the Church’s received tradition. What has taken place however is a accompanying sense, even a demand, that there are other options, most especially dialogue etc : that in fact if war takes place, no matter how ‘just’, it is always a failure of mankind. That is indeed a development of the Church’s stance. Further, ‘peace’ which is defined as more than ‘merely the absence of conflict’ is a good which needs to be constantly sought, worked for, etc

    Another development within the Church is its growing sense of the Church’s universality-Catholicity. In times past (before Vatican I) bishops were frequently appointed by rulers, Kings etc. Thus there would be a compromised identity and allegiance etc. giving rise to bishops and clergy being cheerleaders for their national cause etc. Now, after Vatican I (this is not a typo-I mean Vatican I] bishops’ allegiances are fundamentally to the Church [I am not taking away issues of patriotism here] One example sticks out in my memory. When Argentina invaded the Faulkland Islands, Pope John Paul II called together the bishops of Great Britain and Argentina [or at least representatives of the two conferences] to a special meeting in Rome-so that they would not be seen railing against each other. This too is different, a development.

    I believe all of us realize as time goes on that ‘war’ as we traditionally know of it, really has been transformed. For example, the First and Second World Wars mark wars which imitate the societies that were fighting-mass production in business was imitated in the mass onslaughts. invasions etc in both wars. We no longer live in that world. Globalized etc for better or ill, for example, China recognizes that she would have a price to pay herself (forgetting American response for a moment) if she were to attack America. Her economy etc would be effected drastically etc

    However, warfare now has taken the form of ‘terrorism’ in all of its forms-thus the image of the two birds attacking the two doves does indeed apply. Just look at the terrorist attack in Boston. Americans in Boston were killed, maimed and terrorized by two young men who themselves were caught up in their own home country’s [Chetznya] against Russian hegemony, a Moslem country against a secularist and Christian country. However they brought the terror to Boston. We live in a very very different world. Old paradigms no longer work. Now how, besides the absolute necessity of prayer, can and should the Church respond?

  • “Now how, besides the absolute necessity of prayer, can and should the Church respond?”

    Common sense and at least a cursory study of history might help. The de facto pacifism embraced by the Church since World War II defies both.

  • Donald,

    I am a big believer in common sense, and you know, I think where I stand with the necessity of the study of history, but honestly besides criticizing what you call the de facto pacifism, you actually have not offered what the Church could/should do. I really am interested in hearing what the Church should do in the face of terrorism, ‘clash of civilizations etc

  • Botolph,

    The Church and all of us should pay for VICTORY.

  • That would be “pray.”

  • T Shaw

    OK I “buy that”. The Church should pray for victory-but of what or rather of whom? [I am not being sarcastic etc here] Peace? The end of terrorism? [all of which I fully agree with] or did you have something else in mind (a serious question)?

  • Botolph,

    Victory of good over evil; light over darkness; life over death; freedom over slavery; . . .

    But, I do not daily pray for victory. I pray that our brave soldiers may come come in one piece.

    I recall dropping off my son at his company area on a cold, snowy night. Mother and I were driving his vehicle. As we departed the company area, one of his comrades in another vehicles came along side and (thinking it was our son) called out, “VICTORY!”

  • T Shaw,

    I totally agree with your points, especially our service men and women. It was horrible how the vets were treated coming home from Vietnam-it was horrible!

  • In the 16th century the Church faced the dual threats of the Protestant Rebellion in Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, and England, and the Ottoman incursions up into Austria-Hungry. The Church’s response was to excommunicate the heretics, and fight against the Muslim Turks.

    Today the Church faces the dual threats of liberal progressivism (supported by not a few self-described Catholics) and Islamic extremism. What should the Church’s response be other than what it has already established as a precedence for itself?

    But today we have all too often lavender dressed effeminate clerics without an ounce of manhood in them. Thus will God prune His Tree, whether by liberal progressive dictatorship called “Democracy” or by Islamic extremism, or by both, but prune His Tree He will till the dead branches of lavender are cut away and fruit can be borne for the Kingdom of God. What God let Assyria do to Israel and Babylon do to Judah serves as a stark reminder of the painfulness that this pruning process will be.


  • Paul Primavera,

    In the 1500s-1600’s the Church was faced, as you said with the double crisis of the Protestant Reformation and the onslaught of the Moslem Turks further into Europe. To the first group the response was excommunication [actually the first real response was the Council of Trent and the clear teaching/then excommunication] The Church did raise up Christian forces to defeat the Turks at the Battle of Lepanto, but not without the power of prayer (the rosary).

    I believe we need to be clearer and yes tougher with those going against major Church teachings such as abortion, marriage etc. We do not have armies nor have the power to raise armies against Islamicist terrorism etc but we still have prayer (the rosary), clear understanding about what Islam is and wants, and constant speaking out against what is happening to Christians in all parts of the world. The rosary brought down the Soviet Empire, we still have that weapon.

    We are basically in agreement

  • Amen Paul.
    I believe you have it right.
    This time is an era of pruning.
    The shears just started to cut.
    Were in for a “crew cut.”

  • Yes there seems to be a hope for peace that may be unrealistic. I can understand the cry of the popes’ hearts “no more war, war never again” especially with their WWII experience. I can also understand the struggle with the idea of pre-emptive war. I think those popes had, as did so many of us, hopes that the UN could be a peacekeeper. As we see now the UN can be dominated by aggressive and even hostile nations who many band together on erstwhile religious lines that are actually political lines. I think the defacto pacifism has been based on hope related to the UN but in the meanwhile that hope is wearing thin.

  • Anzlyne,

    I totally agree with your point

  • As long as the conflict between good and evil continues on the spiritual level it will continue in the world.
    We hope to win the spiritual war not just by prayer but also by our personal witness, and by active conversion of the world. That is for all of us the laity and clerical.
    During the French Revolution the actual terror of spiritual warfare was made plain. That battle ultimately came to an end right after the spiritual victory of the nuns at Compiègne.
    As far as the involvement of the “institutional” Church goes, shouldn’t it be in the leadership in the clear dialogue and direction given to believers and unbelievers alike.

  • “The rosary brought down the Soviet Empire…”

    Untold prayer yes. But also untold sacrifice of military personnel from many nations in the Cold War and when that war became hot.
    Yes prayer and mortification. But action is also needed.

  • “Yes prayer and mortification. But action is also needed” -Philip

    We have always depended upon military defense against evil. That lying devil seeks to kill and destroy, and, stubborn as we are, we seek to live!
    I surely believe in military action.
    I don’t know for sure what action by the Church… outside of the leadership and pontificating that could and should include moral support for soldiers against tyranny.

  • “The rosary brought down the Soviet Empire…”

    Those prayers aided the United States Nuclear Submarine Force in deterring Soviet aggression. I was a proud member thereof – a submarine reactor operator.

    As Philip pointed out, action is needed. Our motto was, “Death from below.” The Soviets knew it, and their fear of that fact was a great motivator for peace given that they couldn’t find our subs but we could always find theirs.

    The enemy fears death. Remember that, because when he dies he knows where he is going.

  • Unfortunately, political reality is often a lot murkier than a fight between good and evil, truth and error.

    During the Thirty Years’ War, Cardinal Richelieu and Père Joseph du Tremblay, passionate in their devotion to the Church, believed that only the French monarchy could successfully uphold the Catholic cause in Europe and saw the « Pré carré » as the only secure bastion of the Faith.

    Accordingly, whilst crushing the political power of the Huguenots at home, they supported the Protestants against the Habsburg power. They subsidised the Dutch to fight the Spanish and engineered the Swedish intervention, formalised in the Treaty of Bärwalde.

    Two hundred years later, we find Catholic powers, France and the Dual Monarchy defending Ottoman rule over the Christian populations of the Balkans, as a barrier to Russian influence in the region. Napoléon III saw this alliance as essential to France’s ability to act as the protecting power of Catholics in Syria and the Levant.

    Good men, pious men, trying to deal with a concrete situation according to their best lights.

  • “We do not have armies nor have the power to raise armies against Islamicist terrorism etc”

    How about, after consultation with the political leaders of the countries involved, the pope calls on all Catholic men with military training to offer their services to defend Christians who are being killed by Muslim terrorists and war bands in various countries throughout the world?

    This wouldn’t work in the Middle East, where the governments are usually part of the problem, but should work in some of the African countries where you have large Christian populations and governments that try to protect those Christian populations. Why not give them help?

  • “Yes there seems to be a hope for peace that may be unrealistic. I can understand the cry of the popes’ hearts “no more war, war never again” especially with their WWII experience.”

    There will never be peace on Earth until the Second Coming. To claim that we, as human beings, can achieve it is delusional.

  • “Good men, pious men, trying to deal with a concrete situation according to their best lights.”

    No, men interested in increasing their country’s, and thereby their own, power at the expense of the Church. The French have an especially bad record on this going back to Philip Augustus.

  • this is a metaphor of the damage this so-called pope does to the Christ’s herd: thanks to him we are all exposed to the devil’s claws, or the wolves’ clutches… to become their victims.”Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves.”

    A false shepherd , who is not a true shepherd, and whose sheep are not his own, and doesn’t love them and is willing to harm them, does all he can to harm them, and let the wolves catch and scatter them….. “Beware of false shepherds”!

  • bbruno

    Pope Francis is not a ‘so called pope” He is the validly elected successor of Saint Peter.

  • botolph,

    ” validly elected “? A heretic, and even worse elected by heretics, a pope validly elected??? Not at all, according to “Cum ex apostolatus Officio “, and according to reason, as confirmed by Leo XIII in his “Satis Cognitum”:” “Cum absurdum sit opinari, qui extra Ecclesiam est, eum in Ecclesia praeesse”., And those who are heretics are outside the Church, and can’t preside over it!

  • bbruno,

    So the gates of hell have indeed prevailed against the Church huh? And that makes Christ’s promise what a lie? And if it is a lie, He is not the Way the Truth and the Life? And if He is not the Way the Truth and the Life, God has not fulfilled any of His promises? And if God has not fulfilled any of His promises He is both unloving and unfaithful? Really?

    Have you really thought this through and brought it to prayer?

  • Bbruno

    Those who attempt to use past definitions as a criterion by which to judge the living voice of the Magisterium would do well to ponder the words of Bl John Henry Newman: ““It is in vain to say that the man who judges from the Apostles’ writings, does submit to those writings in the first instance, and therefore has faith in them; else why should he refer to them at all? There is, I repeat, an essential difference between the act of submitting to a living oracle, and to his written words; in the former case there is no appeal from the speaker, in the latter the final decision remains with the reader…. I can fancy a man magisterially expounding St. Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians or to the Ephesians, who would be better content with the writer’s absence than his sudden reappearance among us; lest the Apostle should take his own meaning out of his commentator’s hands and explain it for himself. In a word, though he says he has faith in St. Paul’s writings, he confessedly has no faith in St. Paul.”

    This obviously applies to those who appeal to past popes or councils (who can no longer speak for themselves) against the teaching of the living successors of the apostles.

  • Botolph and Michael Paterson

    the gates of hell have indeed prevailed against the Church – See more at: http://the-american-catholic.com/2014/01/27/popewatch-doves-and-serpents/#sthash.SdoJyyA6.dpuf

    Exactly! “the gates of hell” do prevail against the Church when they succeed in getting us to believe that the shepherds ‘elected ‘ by them are true shepherds of the church, when they get us to accept their church – the “strange church” as it was seen by the Ven. Emmerich- as the true Church of Jesus Christ. Heretics and non-believers can’t be part of the Church (read above Leo XIII), lest of all, shepherds (“good shepherds” ) of the Church. The Church, is an “ens morale” ( ‘legal person’ in english?), not a natural person (persona physica), and an ens morale can remain for a while without anyone to preside – phisically – over it, (as it happened to the Church during the persecution of the roman emperor Decius, a vacancy of 4 years … and remenber that in the face of God one thousand years are like one day- and thus 60 years are like zero comma and comma …of one day!) It is Jesus Christ the Head of His Church, and it was He who said: “behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” “I “!

    if you hold that these are true popes (these conciliar popes) , then believe in the “freedom of conscience “, “freedom of religion”, “the same God for us, christians and muslims and jews…” , “the salvation for all men for the simple fact of the shared humanity” etc. etc…These are all doctrinal errors, alredy condemned by the previous popes…No true pope can contradict another pope. If this happened, the church would be destroyed, and a pope can’t destroy the Church. If he does so, he’ s not a pope: he’s a fake pope! Beware and pray that Christ comes soon and unmask these false prophets, false shepherds , and destroys these gates of hell: because, I’m sure, at the end, they NON PRAEVALEBUNT!!!!

    Henry Newman is an example of false shepherd, beatified by a false pope ( he permanently opposed the dogma of papal infallibility, and his life was also of doubtful morality…) , in order to confirm himself – and the concilar popes – in the false doctrine teached by them, in order to deceive the faithful, and ruin all men!!”

    If you do well with the new church, good: I stay with the OLD one: that which makes me believe:

    -“In unum Deum, Patrem Omnipotentem.. 
Factorem cæli et terræ…

    -Et in unum Dóminum Iesum Christum,

    Filium Dei unigénitum
et ex Patre natum ante ómnia sǽcula:
Deum de Deo, Lumen de Lúmine, 
Deum verum de Deo vero, 
génitum, non factum, 
consubstantiálem Patri…qui propter nos hómines
et propter nostram salútem,
descéndit de cælis, 
et incarnátus est de Spíritu Sancto 
ex Maria Víirgine et homo factus est,
passus et sepúltus est, 
et qui resurréxit tértia die …
et ascéndit in cælum, 
sedet ad déxteram Patris, 
et íterum ventúrus est cum glória, 
iudicáre vivos et mórtuos, 
cuius regni non erit finis.

    -Et in Spíritum Sanctum, 
…qui ex Patre Filióque procédit, 

Et unam sanctam cathólicam
et apostólicam Ecclésiam.

    – Et in unum Baptísma
in remissiónem peccatórum.
- Et in resurrectiónem mortuórum,
et vitam ventúri sæculi.

    This is not the God of the jews the muslims or (without their knowledge ) of every men: this is the CATHOLIC God – the only true God, in Jesus Christ revealed! no matter what Bergoglio, sorry, pope Francis, say! Freedom of religion, isn’t it true?

  • bruno,

    You apparently did not understand what I wrote. If indeed since 1958 the gates of hell have prevailed against the Church-completely against Christ’s own promise to Peter concerning the Church built upon Peter, then the whole thing-including what you are ‘fighting for’ does not exist. This is that clear. Paul made it clear in 1 Corinthians 1 5 when he wrote, If Christ has not been raised from the dead we are the most pitiful of men” This is one of those very clear moments, decisions need to be made indeed, but remember, if hell has prevailed against the Church since 1958 then there is no Church at all.

  • Jesus Christ is Head of the Catholic Church. Pope Francis is the visible head of the Catholic Church on earth and the Vicar of Christ. Without Christ, we are all going to hell, bbruno, Mary and the pope. Hope to not see you there.
    Oh, when souls are in hell there is no remembrance of others. The souls in heaven do not know the souls in hell.

  • Botolph ( and Mary)
    It is clear that you too – Botolph – have some difficulty in understanding me.I strongly believe that the gates of the hell won’t prevail, despite all these infernal forces mobilised against Christ and His church, and now from inside the structures of the Church.How could we accept a church that gives a teaching opposed to its previous teaching, which contradicts its own magisterium? In the name of a living tradition? What’s a living tradition: that which change with the living? According to their tastes? Once an anathema against those who asserted Freedom of Conscience and Freedom of Religion, and now woe to the opponents! Come on!

    The Church has not ceased to exist since 1958: it has entered the night of the proof, it has undergone, as it were, the darkness of an eclipse… If you don’t agree with me, tell me how I could accept the new beliefs such as those I exemplified in my previous comment… I am misunderstanding the words and statements of these – I.M.O – popes (the conciliar popes?), am I? No one here is stupid! 60 and more years of teaching misunderstood! And no misunderstanding about the teaching of the previous centuries and centuries…

    Dear Mary, I hope that God has pity on me, but certainly to believe in these new church is not the right way to have His pity on me!

    At peace!

  • bbruno,

    I see you are a very sincere believer-seeker. It is those who have twisted texts and meanings who have beguiled you. There is no contradiction of teaching on faith and morals in the Church. Change in how to handle certain issues, such as ‘freedom of religion’ yes, but no change in teaching etc. Those who have caught you in their snares are confusing you as if policies, principles and even canons are the same as teachings on faith and morals.

    The term you have been given “the night of the proof” is a ‘new teaching’ and does not exist in Scripture or the Tradition of the Church. Remember, ‘private revelations’ of ‘seers’ or even saints are not ‘the teaching of the Church’. Yes, indeed, the Church is always n the midst of toils and struggles and tribulations (from Saint Augustine). We are like disciples in the ‘bark of Peter’ out on the Sea of Galilee. A storm comes and we are ready to abandon ship. We scream “Lord save us”, yet Christ is in our midst. After He calms the storm with a simple command, He looks back at us and decries our ‘lack of faith’. There is only one bark-that of Peter. If we step outside of it, we drown.

  • Bbruno

    You say that Rome departed from the true faith in 1968. The Eastern Orthodox will say she did so in 1054. By what test are we to know that you are right and they wrong?

    The Armenians and the Copts will claim that both East and West abandoned the true faith in 451. What argument would you use to contradict them? It cannot be a question of numbers, surely, which would destroy your own case.

    And then we have the Assyrian Orthodox Church, which says that they alone are faithful to the Apostolic teaching, which all the rest of the Christian world abandoned in 431, whilst they have maintained their faithful witness for going on 1,583 years. How would you seek to persuade them that they are in error?

    There is only one answer that holds up: the faithful, be they many or few, be their doctrine apparently traditional or apparently innovatory, be their champions honest or unscrupulous, are simply those who are in visible communion with the see of Rome. And in fact there can be little doubt that, in the West, our labelling of this party as orthodox and that as heterodox in early Church history comes down to us from authors who were applying this test of orthodoxy and no other. It is a test remarkably easy of application; just what one would expect of the criterion of a divine message, intended for all, regardless of learning, capacity or circumstances.

  • bbruno you are apparently worried about is that the current “Rome” is not in communion with the “Rome” pre Vatican II. I don’t know enough; about your concerns to address them in detail I just know I Decided to Accept in Faith some of the things that are hard for me to understand. I have had the experience of simply getting very upset only to find out that I had a mistaken understanding … like Gilda Radner’s church lady I have had to say “never mind!” 🙂
    Seriously, bbruno, think of Peter’s response in the sixth chapter of John when the Lord’s teaching was hard to accept, when others actually walked away from Jesus. Peter said “Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” That is Peter’s confession of faith!
    This is a big decision here, not to follow the Church since Vatican II. 1. Your decision could easily be based on deep misunderstanding
    or 2. You now are our of the boat. You are relying only on your own conscience and inner sense of direction, in other words you are a protestant.
    You know it was at John 6:66 that some disciples turned and walked away from the Lord, not recognizing the Truth.

  • Botolph,
    tell me ,
    -do you believe that our God, the God by Jesus Christ and IN Jesus Christ revealed, is the same God Jews and Muslims believe in?
    -do you believe that the jews have the salvation without the faith in Jesus Christ? That the Old Covenant is still in force, and not abrogated?
    -Do you believe that all men are saved for the mere fact that they are men, for their having their human nature in common with Jesus Christ? -Do you believe the New Mass is the same Mass as that of S. Pius V ( by the lutherans and anglicans this one detested, and that one exalted?)
    -Do you believe that a pope, even as a simple priest, can’t tell anything about, for instance, the gays?
    – Do you believe that a pope can change the nature of christian marriage and rules connected (as Bergoglio has just announced)?

    I do not.

    And I would be beguiled??? Or you, perhaps? In my readings, I’ve had S. Thomas Aquinas’ among my preferred, and the first thing I’ve learnt from them is ‘Principium contradictionis’, i.e. “Nothing can be both A and not-A.”

    Michael Paterson

    I said that NEW Church appeared officially since 1958, with John 23, since the very moment of his election.
    You speak about various accusation of departures from the true faith, 1054, 451, 431… Why do you not record the year 33, when Judas Iscarioth betrayed Jesus Christ because of his non-conformity with the faith of the jews about the Messiah? Aside from that, I will answer to your question: “By what test are we to know that you are right and they wrong?” i in the same way as you do, “by the test of the church of Rome”. Because only to Peter Jesus Christ promised his assistance. The various accusation made against the Catholic Church of departing from the true faith turned against those who made them, and they went off the Church of Peter, off the Rock established by Jesus Christ for His Church.
    NOW – and here I am in desagreement with you – the builders of the NEW Church pretend to be the shepherds of the Church of Christ, and even from “the See of the Blessed Peter” (Leo XIII), that they occupy abusively.

    “For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths.”

    And this is enough.

  • bbruno:
    tell me ,
    -do you believe that our God, the God by Jesus Christ and IN Jesus Christ revealed, is the same God Jews and Muslims believe in?
    If this were true these persons would know Jesus Christ.
    -do you believe that the jews have the salvation without the faith in Jesus Christ?
    The Jews have God WHO is leading them into the Faith of Jesus Christ and salvation.
    That the Old Covenant is still in force, and not abrogated?
    The Old Covenant is not abrogated which means destroyed. The Old Covenant is fulfilled in Jesus Christ, crucified and risen from the dead.
    -Do you believe that all men are saved for the mere fact that they are men, for their having their human nature in common with Jesus Christ?
    There is the matter of free will. Jesus saves all men. Men must accept salvation.
    -Do you believe the New Mass is the same Mass as that of S. Pius V ( by the lutherans and anglicans this one detested, and that one exalted?)
    The Mass of St. Pius V came before Henry VIII’s protestant revolt and is loved by the Lutherans and Anglicans. The New Mass and the Mass of St. Pius V are the same Mass. The Mass brings to earth the Real Presence of Jesus Christ, the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.
    -Do you believe that a pope, even as a simple priest, can’t tell anything about, for instance, the gays?
    The gays are persons who have same sex orientation. The gay agenda, their homosexual act and their militant intent to become an icon, are not connected with the same sex orientation.
    – Do you believe that a Pope can change the nature of Christian marriage and rules connected (as Bergoglio has just announced)?
    Pope Francis promised to study the situation of those outside of the church because of their marriage. Pope Francis promised a committee and a study.

  • Mary de Voe

    –The Jews have God WHO is leading them into the Faith of Jesus Christ and salvation.

    … In fact, look how the jews have arrived at the faith in Jesus Christ! (cfr Talmud!). They are ‘obstinate’ since the times of Saint Paul!

    –The Old Covenant is not abrogated which means destroyed. The Old Covenant is fulfilled in Jesus Christ, crucified and risen from the dead. . –

    … ‘To abrogate’ means: -to repeal or do away with (Oxford Dict.)- to end a law or agreement (Cambridge Dict. )-to end or cancel in a formal and official way (Merriam-Webster)
    Ratzinger, ‘pope’ Bened.XVI, speaks about the parallelism between the Synagogue and the Church ( at the Synagogue in Rome, January, 1st 2010 ). And he reflects exatly the whole thought of the conciliar church…before and after him…

    –There is the matter of free will. Jesus saves all men. Men must accept salvation.

    …All right. But not salvation ‘apart from acceptation’. Saint Peter is categorical:”Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ”. But Bergoglio ‘pope’ Francis says: fellow your conscience and you are saved ( see his recent dialogue with Scalfari, the italian bearded Guru, as reported in the very influential newspaper ‘La Repubblica’ , founded by him.

    –The Mass of St. Pius V came before Henry VIII’s protestant revolt and is loved by the Lutherans and Anglicans. The New Mass and the Mass of St. Pius V are the same Mass.

    … But AFTER Henry VIII, those who were discovered saying the Pius V’s Mass, would be “hanged drawn and quartered…” ( have I to cite Edward Campion Robert Southwell Henry Walpole?), because of this very Mass, sentenced by Luther Martin as the “utmost abomination” just for its being a ‘sacrifice’, the ‘same sacrifice of the Cross’, and not for its bringing us the real presence of Christ, which he maintained through the way of the consubtantiation… and by the Anglicans an abominable act of idolatry…A Mass very loved indeed! Only if you see it only as a ‘presence’, as you are just doing, assuming that all catholics still understand this presence as real or symbolic….But how this presence without the sacrifice??? How a ‘table’ and ‘banquet without an ‘altar’???..

    —The gays are persons who have same sex orientation. The gay agenda, their homosexual act and their militant intent to become an icon, are not connected with the same sex orientation.

    …The gays are persons who are PRIDE of their orientation- Gay Pride Parade – , and Bergoglio ‘pope’ Francis tells us the he can’t judge! Is it for this reason he has become ‘their’ man??? (cfr. ADVOCATE )
    —Pope Francis promised to study the situation of those outside of the church because of their marriage. Pope Francis promised a committee and a study.

    … To study what? How to make the christian marriage a bit less indissoluble??? And divorce a mere passage? And a man plus man- or a woman plus woman- a simple variation of marriage? And why not polygamy and… polyandry as good as these other variations???

  • anzyline

    .”Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”  That is Peter’s confession of faith!

    -Certrainly: Peter’s confession, not the false Peter’s, who disavows Jesus Christ’ s words of eternal life! – See examples above.

    The faith is not “assensus sine ratione” or “contra rationem” .
    Faith involves the consent of reason: it’ not a blind consent! (cfr S. Thomas Aquinas, , S.T. P.I-II, Q.15)

  • God became man if that isn’t sacrifice enough for you you are hopelessly lost. If symbols are all you see, you must look deeper. Why do you speak for Pope Francis? He and the Magisterium will speak with infallibility.

  • bbruno.

    Q; Did Jesus condemn the man who was expelling demons in His Fathers name?

    One of the twelve wanted to have the man cease, yet Jesus did not want it so.

    Could the time spent in arguments aganist The Holy See be more useful?

    The man expelling demons “didn’t belong” in the eyes of the Apostle!

  • Blessed, soon to be St. John Paul the Great……a wolf?

    World Youth Days – Eastern communist block – Divine Mercy Sunday – just a few of the “workings of the wolf.”

    bbruno. Please help me to understand Jesus’ prayer; St. John’s Gospel chpt. 17

    Good reflection material.

  • Philip,

    rightly Our Lord reproached them, because that one was right: he had driven out demons in HIS Name ( NOT “in His Father’s name, as you quoted – and I guess the reason of this change…a freudian slip?)… “In the NAME of Jesus Christ”, thanks to the faith in the unique saving force of the Name of Jesus Christ, the only ” name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.” And it is for that, that Jesus adds: “Whoever is not against us is for us.”Mc 9.

    But be careful: the same Jesus says to us: Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters”-Mt 12,30.

    “With me” means: “only with me” : whoever tries to put all toghether, is simply against Him. And whoever thinks of gathering from everywhere, he simply scatters!

    But now for the new church, “every name” is good for ‘salvation’, even “the name” of our own conscience! – ( Bergoglio ‘pope’ Francis to Scalfari, following Ratzinger ‘pope’ Benedict XVI, who teached that the coscience is the supreme Tribunal! ).

    Or will it not be that we believe in the ‘salvific’ force of any names, since we really do not believe in any devils ( in fact, in the administration of the Sacrament of Baptism, the New church hasn’t removed any kind of exorcisms???)

    –As for the understanding of John 17, I think it is good to focus on these words of Him: “this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.” That is, the faith in the only true God, the Father, who has sent to us his only begotten Son, to rescue and save us”. No other god, and no conscience free from its duty to recognise this Supreme and Ultimate Thruth!

    -As you see, we are in the same line of the previous discussion.

  • bbruno.

    You quote Our Lord: “..whoever does not gather with me scatters.”

    Sounds like you bbruno.
    Sounds like you have fallen away from…how did you put it…the thruth.

    We will pray your stiff neck loosens up.

  • Bbruno

    You persist in the fallacy of trying to judge the faithful by their tenets and the Church by its teaching.

    The church is a visible body that exists here and now, consisting of those in communion with the see or church of Rome. Either a person is in visible communion with the Holy See and with the bishops in communion with it, or he is not.

    Any other test is a resort to private judgment.

    You are making complications, where none exist.

  • Philip and Michael

    “Sounds like you have fallen away from…” : the modernist ‘throuth’! That is good news! After all, I’m following my conscience, not my complications, and on your popes’ word, I’m at peace, and thus in no need of your praying…

  • ” No other God and no conscience free from it’s duty to recognize this Supreme and Ultimate Thruth.”
    – bbruno

    Quiet….St. Peter said to the “modernist,” On the other side of the wall are all the pre- V. 2 traditionalist. They still think that they are the only ones saved!

    Peace bbruno and good will be yours.

  • Bbruno,
    I shared some of your concerns relative to Vatican II…and was able to find clarity with the assistance of many commenters who post here.
    You might find our discussions of interest to you. See, comments attached to the following article.


  • Philip,
    …and so with you!


    I’ ll follow your advise. Bearing always in mind that in every discussion with the modern catholics, at a certain point it’ s no use going on in it: we employ the same terms, but with reference to different – opposite – situations. No hope to understand each other. At this point has brought us – the catholics – the Vatican II: a very nice spring for the church and the world! Or the triumph of darkness??? Let us wait and see!