18

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

 

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:
Jake Tapper's exclusive interview with President Obama airs only on CNN

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

 

15

Class and Amnesty

amnesty

 

 

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

28

PopeWatch: Notre Dame

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

 

 

Pope Francis had some interesting words for the Trustees of the University of Notre Dame:

Essential in this regard is the uncompromising witness  of Catholic universities to the Church’s moral teaching, and the defense of  her freedom, precisely in and through her institutions, to uphold that teaching  as authoritatively proclaimed by the magisterium of her pastors. It is my hope  that the University of Notre Dame will continue to offer unambiguous testimony  to this aspect of its foundational Catholic identity, especially in the face of  efforts, from whatever quarter, to dilute that indispensable witness. And this  is important: its identity, as it was intended from the beginning. To defend it,  to preserve it and to advance it! Continue Reading

18

PopeWatch: The Cover of the Rolling Stone

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

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

Treasury Salute: Edwin Booth

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

149

Brace Yourselves: The Dark Enlightenment is Upon Us

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

23

SPI Infomercial

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

4

Humanities Replaced by Banalities

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.

Thucydides

 

 

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

25

Andrew Cuomo, Father Barron and Alexis de Tocqueville

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

1

Why We Fight: The Battle of China

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

7

PopeWatch: Chatting with the Prez

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

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

8

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

 

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:
http://cnsnews.com/news/article/michael-w-chapman/gohmert-pro-gay-marriage-judges-need-some-basic-plumbing-lessons#sthash.UxCWkYmi.dpuf

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

8

The State of the Union Address That Will Never Be Delivered

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

16

PopeWatch: Incisive Capillaries?

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

 

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

6

Feast Day of the Angelic Doctor

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

2

First State of the Union Address

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:

FELLOW CITIZENS Of the SENATE, and HOUSE of REPRESENTATIVES,

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

56

PopeWatch: Doves and Serpents

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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

13

Gay Thought Police Take Note

Thought Police

 

 

Larryd at Acts of the Apostasy has a first rate response to the attempts by gay activists to coerce businesses into providing services for gay marriages:

 

As more states allow so-called same-sex marriages, either by vote or governmental fiat, more and more small businesses owned by committed Christians, such as this bakery in Oregon, will be pressured to act contrary to their religious beliefs, and be forced to close, or fined beyond their ability to pay.

However, it needn’t be that way. At all.

While I commend and applaud the bakery owners cited in the above story, and fully stand behind them and other business owners in the exercise of their 1st Amendment rights, it must be understood that the instigators aren’t being motivated by matters constitutional. These gay activists aren’t looking for justice under the law per se; their goal is the minimization and outright obliteration of any Christian influence within the marketplace. They detest the influence of Christian morals, and have found a means by which they can reduce said influence, under the agreeable guise of “equality”: filing discrimination lawsuits against small business owners.

And for now, it appears they are winning.  Courts have been ruling in their favor – rightly or wrongly – and with each victory, the gay activists are becoming more emboldened, and momentum is on their side.

It’s time to put an end to that right now, and there’s a legal way to do it. A way that respects the religious beliefs of the small business owners. A way that eliminates the “rights vs rights” battle.

Let’s use the example of the Christian bakery owner. All he would need to do is enact a company policy stating that some level of the profit, up to and including 100%, from any wedding reception contract, will be donated to organizations and/or candidates who support traditional marriage as between one man and one woman. This policy would have to be publicly posted within his establishment so as to remove any doubt from any customer where he stands on the issue. Thus, gay activists who want to order their cake from that bakery would understand in clear and precise terms that they will be funding organizations and/or candidates who stand for traditional marriage. Furthermore, this policy would affect every and any customer wishing to order a cake – gay, straight, whomever.  Every wedding cake. Every platter of cannolis. Every dessert cart. That would eliminate any charge of discrimination, because everyone’s order would be helping to fund, say, the Family Research Council, or NOM.

If you think about it, there is nothing new about this. Large corporations publicize who they support all the time, and people decide whether or not to patronize them. Boycotts have been waged against Target and Walmart and other companies, for instance. It’s a thing. What I’m proposing is a bit more assertive, especially for small businesses and proprietorship, but it might be the protection – or at least a stopgap measure – they need.

Imagine it – Michael and Justin enter a bakery wanting to order a cake from John 3:16 Baked Goods.  The owner sits down with them as they look over his portfolio, and select cake #19.

“How much for #19?” they ask, fully expecting him to tell them he can’t in good conscience make cake #19 for their reception. Their lawyer’s phone number is on their iPhone’s speed dial, and they’re ready to hit send.

But the owner doesn’t go there. Instead he says, “Well, that cake goes for $1500. But let me remind you guys – John 3:16 Baked Goods’ policy is that 100% of wedding contract profits goes to NOM, and I make about 10% on #19. So you’d be donating $150 to NOM, for all intents and purposes. Just so you know.”

“B..but we don’t want our money going to NOM!” they exclaim.

“Well, guys, here’s the thing about business. I provide a service for which you pay me money. Once you give me a check, it’s no longer your money. It’s my money, and last time I checked, I have the right to spend my money any way I please. But I feel it’s fair to tell you the store policy when it comes to any and all wedding reception contracts.”

At which point, Michael and Justin leave the store in a huff, and John 3:16 Baked Goods isn’t dragged into court. Because let’s face it – no militant gay activist will ever do anything to support traditional marriage. Their goal is to destroy and dismantle, and the very thought of any money going to organizations and candidates opposed to them – especially money from a check they just wrote – would prevent them from signing a contract.

Mind you, this won’t prevent persecution, or bad press, or personal attacks. And the bakery risks losing other business because, unfortunately, a good number of Christians don’t see a problem with so-called same-sex marriage. But the baker stays in business – earning a lower profit, mind you, I understand that – in order to provide for his family and his employees. And he’s witnessing to his faith, and putting his money where his mouth is. And every Christian baker that stays in the marketplace is good for the faith, and ultimately the marketplace is better for it.

Such a policy can be used by any business that provides wedding services – florists, photographers, limousines, and the like.  It takes the “rights vs rights” element off the table, and turns it into a financial/economic circumstance. No discrimination. No bias. Merely a public company policy, informing customers upfront where the money will be going.

And believe me – like-minded Christians and traditional marriage supporters will flock and rush to help these businesses.  So any lost profits from the wedding side of their business would be compensated. I truly believe that. Continue Reading

10

Sinister Rotary

AbeLincolnevent2013

Service Above Self

Motto Of Rotary

 

I always stop in at Ed Driscoll’s blog each day.  He is always worth reading.  As a member of Rotary since 1985, go here to view the Dwight Rotary Club’s web site, I have found one of his latest posts quite a hoot:

More seriously, if Keillor’s rhetoric sounds sclerotic and reactionary, it’s because he’s tapping into a nearly century-old tradition of “Progressives” who see no evil on the left; but plenty bubbling up from the right. In his new book, The Revolt Against the Masses, Fred Siegel looks back at Sinclair Lewis’s 1935 book, It Can’t Happen Here, which posited that the Rotary Club(!) was poised to seize American power:

The heart of It Can’t Happen Here is laid out in the opening chapter, which presents the local Rotary Club, with its Veterans of Foreign Wars tub-thumping patriotism and prohibitionist moralism, as comparable, on a small scale, to the mass movements that brought Fascism to Europe. Later in the novel, he has a character explain, half-satirically and half-seriously, “This is Revolution in terms of Rotary.” In other words, Lewis’s imagined fascism is little more than Main Street writ political. When he wants to mock Windrip, he describes him as a “professional common man” who is “chummy with all waitresses at . . . lunch rooms.” For Lewis, fascism is the product of backslapping Rotarians, Elks, and Masons, as well as various and sundry other versions of joiners that Tocqueville had once celebrated as the basis of American self-government. There is more than a hint of snobbery in all this. The book’s local incarnation of evil is Jessup’s shiftless, resentful handyman Shad Ledue, who was a member of the “Odd Fellows and the Ancient and Independent Order of Rams.” Ledue uses Windrip’s ascension to rise above himself and displace Jessup from his rightful place in the local hierarchy of power.

If the book were merely an indictment of red-state nativist intolerance, there would be little to distinguish it from numerous other novels and plays of the 1920s that were part of “the revolt against the village.” Lewis was hardly the only writer of the period to, Mencken-like, describe the average American as a “boob” or “peasant.” What made It Can’t Happen Here compelling was that it showed the boobs working through a familiar institution, the local Rotary, to become a menace to the Republic.

In a 2012 issue of Commentary, building on research for The Revolt Against the Masses, Siegel goes on to note that after World War II, the Frankfurt School picked up the left’s attack against middle America:

“In the over-developed countries,” wrote Herbert Marcuse, who became the most famous Frankfurt School theoretician of the 1960s, “an ever-larger part of the population becomes one huge captive audience—captured not by a total regime, but by the liberties of the citizens whose media of amusement and elevation compels the Other to partake of their sounds, sights, and smells.” He was arguing, in effect, for greater social segregation between the elite and the hoi polloi.

Dwight Macdonald, the most influential American critic of mass culture in the late 1950s, concurred with the Frankfurt School. Writing in crackling prose redolent of Mencken’s, he too argued that bourgeois prosperity was creating a cultural wasteland: “The work week has shrunk, real wages have risen, and never in history have so many people attained such a high standard of living as in this country since 1945,” Macdonald complained.

“Money, leisure, and knowledge,” he went on, “the prerequisites for culture, are more plentiful and more evenly distributed than ever before.”

Macdonald, who was educated at Phillips Exeter Academy and Yale and associated with the anti-Stalinist leftists at Partisan Review, still couldn’t bring himself to support the United States against the Nazis in World War II on the grounds that “Europe has its Hitlers, but we have our Rotarians.”

My dad, who passed away in 2006, was a life-long member of the Rotarian Club, and president of his local South Jersey chapter for a year in the mid-1970s. At the time, I just remember him putting on a gray suit, navy blue rep tie and his omnipresent double-soled black Florsheim wingtips to trundle off to the weekly meetings.

In retrospect, I had no idea how Absolutely. Hard. Core. he was.

Continue Reading

13

PopeWatch: Good Morning Father!

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From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:

VATICAN––Shortly after it was revealed that his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, defrocked 400 priests for sexual abuse of minors, Pope Francis decreed the immediate removal of priestly faculties for 300 priests from Europe and the Americas who were found in defiance of liturgical norms and persistently refused to greet parishioners with the traditional “Good Morning” liturgical salutation. “The rubrics are clear in this regard; the celebrant is to smile, holds his hands out widely and welcomingly, and say ‘Good Morning,’ in a jubilant voice, before continuing with the Penitential Rites,” said a spokesman for the Holy See, defending the Holy Father’s decision. He continued, “a committee has been established also to ensure that liturgical norms for homilies are followed strictly by all who preach at Mass.” These norms, he explained, are somewhat more flexible: “the priest or deacon or layperson with a degree in theology or pastoral ministry has the option, in this case, of beginning with either a story or a joke. But beyond this, there is little wiggle room. Defying this would be the liturgical equivalent of deliberately changing a note in Marty Haugen’s ‘Mass of Creation’ setting for the Eucharistic Prayer, the Canonical penalty for which is an automatic excommunication.” The spokesman concluded firmly: “We are not at liberty to tamper with the Holy Liturgy of the Church, adding and subtracting as we see fit. That would make it more about us than about God.” Continue Reading

5

Winter War

 

Something for the weekend.  Today my family is going down to Champaign-Urbana to participate in  Winter War 41 .  I have been participating in this wargaming and rpg gaming extravaganza since 1975.  The only possible song for this weekend is Finlandia Hymn by Jean Sibelius.  The above video is a tribute to the brave Finnish troops who defended their nation against the Soviet Union in the Winter War of 1939-1940 and the Continuation War of 1941-1944.

An English translation of the Finnish lyrics:

O, Finland, behold, your day is dawning,

The threat of night has been banished away,

And the lark of morning in the brightness sings,

As though the very firmament would sing.

The powers of the night are vanquished by the morning light,

Your day is dawning, O land of birth.

  O, rise, Finland, raise up high

Your head, wreathed with great memories.

O, rise, Finland, you showed to the world

That you drove away the slavery,

And that you did not bend under oppression,

Your day is dawning, O land of birth. Continue Reading

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Little Sisters of the Poor : 1; Obama Administration: 0

 

 

The Little Sisters of the Poor have won a permanent stay from the US Supreme Court while they pursue their appeal.  Ed Morrissey gives us the details:

 

 

The first Supreme Court stay of the HHS contraception mandate, issued by Justice Sonia Sotomayor on New Years Eve, was a pause in the proceedings in order for the court to consider whether the Little Sisters of the Poor would suffer significant damage if forced to comply while their challenge is on appeal. Today, the whole court issued a stay of more significance — one that extends to another group suing to block enforcement:

The Supreme Court said on Friday that, while litigation continues, the federal government may not enforce a part of President Barack Obama’s healthcare law that requires employers to provide insurance covering contraception against an order of nuns and one other Roman Catholic Church-affiliated group.

The court said, however, that the groups in question must first notify the Department of Health and Human Services in writing that they object to the so-called contraception mandate.

The Washington Post has the full order, which is brief enough. Note the caveat:

The Court issues this order based on all of the circumstances of the case, and this order should not be construed as an expression of the Court’s views on the merits.

However, in order for a court to issue a stay, there generally has to be two measures met. First, the applicant has to have a real chance at winning the argument, and there has to be demonstrable and significant damage resulting from a denial of a stay. If the court agrees that the Little Sisters and the Christian Brothers (the other plaintiff) both have a real chance of prevailing on the merits and will suffer damage without injunctive relief, then it seems that the Supreme Court is at least open to their case. Continue Reading

28

Doug Kmiec Jumps Shark

For Wales.

 

 

Richard Rich Doug Kmiec, who betrayed the pro-life cause in 2008 by endorsing the most pro-abort President in our nation’s history, is back in the news.  Following his resignation from his Malta ambassadorship, his 30 pieces of silver from Obama for his support in 2008, after being criticized in a State Department report for spending his time on private writing instead of his ambassadorial duties, Doug has apparently taken leave of his senses.  The Weekly Standard gives us the details:

Last week, Kmiec took to his Facebook page (where all the old folks go on the Internet these days) and announced that he’s running for Congress. Kmiec has targeted California’s 26th district, where freshman Democrat Julia Brownley won a reasonably narrow victory in 2012. The district had been represented by David Dreier for the preceeding decade, so it’s not crazy for Kmiec to think a Republican might have a shot to unseat her. But Kmiec isn’t running as a Republican. He’s running as an independent. Still, not entirely crazy. This is California, after all. Stranger things have happened.

No, the crazy comes when Kmiec explained to the Pepperdine student newspaper exactly why he’s running. He was inspired to run, he said, by Pope Francis. But don’t worry, his candidacy won’t make him some kind of congressional holy roller. Because, as he further explained, he merely sees the House of Representatives as a stepping stone to, well, let’s let Kmiec explain:

Kmiec said that if he wins the election, he would hope to be considered as an option to become the vice-president in Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. “I see it as an outside possibility. .  .  . The idea of running for Congress is to put myself in a position where I’m able to both lead in the interim while she’s running for president and be ready for greater responsibility should that be God’s blessing and his wisdom,” he said. Kmiec’s blog further explains how the U.S., in his opinion, is “Ready for Hillary.”

4

PopeWatch: Internet a Gift From God?

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Well, doubtless Al Gore will be miffed by this statement from Pope Francis:

The internet, in particular, offers immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity.  This is something truly good, a gift from God.

In a message for the 48th World Communications Day (who knew?) Pope Francis celebrates communication on the net while pointing to problems:

In a world like this, media can help us to feel closer to one another, creating a sense of the unity of the human family which can in turn inspire solidarity and serious efforts to ensure a more dignified life for all.  Good communication helps us to grow closer, to know one another better, and ultimately, to grow in unity.  The walls which divide us can be broken down only if we are prepared to listen and learn from one another.  We need to resolve our differences through forms of dialogue which help us grow in understanding and mutual respect.  A culture of encounter demands that we be ready not only to give, but also to receive.  Media can help us greatly in this, especially nowadays, when the networks of human communication have made unprecedented advances.  The internet, in particular, offers immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity.  This is something truly good, a gift from God.

This is not to say that certain problems do not exist.  The speed with which information is communicated exceeds our capacity for reflection and judgement, and this does not make for more balanced and proper forms of self-expression.  The variety of opinions being aired can be seen as helpful, but it also enables people to barricade themselves behind sources of information which only confirm their own wishes and ideas, or political and economic interests.  The world of communications can help us either to expand our knowledge or to lose our bearings.  The desire for digital connectivity can have the effect of isolating us from our neighbours, from those closest to us.  We should not overlook the fact that those who for whatever reason lack access to social media run the risk of being left behind. Continue Reading

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PopeWatch: A Suggested Topic for Conversation

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PopeWatch looks forward to the meeting between Pope Francis and President Obama in March.  If PopeWatch may be so bold, PopeWatch suggests abortion as a topic of conversation.  Yesterday the Pope tweeted:

I join the March for Life in Washington with my prayers. May God help us respect all life, especially the most vulnerable.

President Obama observed the forty-first anniversary of Roe somewhat differently:

Today, as we reflect on the 41st anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, we recommit ourselves to the decision’s guiding principle: that every woman should be able to make her own choices about her body and her health.  We reaffirm our steadfast commitment to protecting a woman’s access to safe, affordable health care and her constitutional right to privacy, including the right to reproductive freedom.  And we resolve to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies, support maternal and child health, and continue to build safe and healthy communities for all our children.  Because this is a country where everyone deserves the same freedom and opportunities to fulfill their dreams. Continue Reading

11

Bobbie The Weather Girl

Any American stationed in Vietnam in 1967-1969 will recall Bobbie the Weather Girl, going away the most popular feature of American Forces Vietnam Network broadcasts.  Bobbie Keith was an army brat, the daughter of an Army intelligence officer in Vietnam.  Twenty years old in 67 she was a clerk for the Agency for International Development in Vietnam.  Chosen almost at random to be the Weathergirl, her good looks and a flare for comedy made her an instant hit.  A patriot, in her spare time on weekends she would visit combat units her fans invited her to, often coming under enemy fire.  To homesick grunts she was the epitome of the girl next door and was cheered wherever she went.  From an interview in 2009:

Clearly you were you a sex symbol, right?

I never thought of myself as being a sex symbol. I was treated more like the girl the guys left behind. I wore White Shoulders perfume back in those days, and the guys would say, “Oh my girlfriend wears that… that reminds me of my girlfriend.”  I was reminding the guys of their loved ones they left behind. I don’t think anyone ever treated me as a sex symbol. No. Even when they did the pin-ups. I wasn’t a movie star. I wasn’t Raquel Welch. I wasn’t Hollywood. I didn’t have any talents. I was just there, an American girl. It could have been anybody. There’s a way to conduct yourself and a way not to. And I think because I was on military bases as a brat growing up I could recognize and deal with this very chauvinistic organization full of testosterone.

Did you ever feel exploited or used?

No, never. The guys at the TV station treated me with a lot of respect. They were so cute. I think of all of those people as my big brothers. They took good care of me. When you treat people the way they want to be treated, if you treat somebody in that environment like “okay you’re my big brother,” then they act like your big brother, they become your big brother. They become your siblings. I never had a problem.

Were you ever criticized for doing the show?

Well, yeah, there were a couple of occasions, like when they painted the temperatures on my body. I don’t think any of us thought of it as being sexist, as even being cheeky. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was a take-off of Goldie Hawn on the TV show Laugh-In. Somebody—I think in Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker’s office—took offense, so they put an end to that. Maybe if I had seen the show on TV I would have thought so too, but we didn’t think of it that way.

 

Continue Reading

15

Brit Hume on Abortion

Brit Hume has long had my respect as one of the best journalists who has ever covered Washington.  With this unsparing commentary on abortion, one of the best I have ever heard from anyone, he stands in the ranks of men and women throughout the ages who have gallantly attacked the entrenched evils of their time and ushered in better days.  Bravo, Mr. Hume!

This is the 41st anniversary of the day the Supreme Court found that a generalized right to privacy it had basically invented, meant that a woman has a constitutional right to snuff out an unborn life, a human being with a beating heart. That’s what a fetus as young as six weeks is.

Small wonder these protesters still come every year to register their continuing objections. Some estimates are that as many as 55 million abortions — 55 million — have occurred since the Court acted. In that time, science has given us an ever clearer picture of just how much of a baby a fetus is. At 20 weeks, we now know, these tiny creatures can hear, even recognize a mother’s voice. Their toenails are growing and their hearts beat loud enough to be heard by a stethoscope.

The moral case for allowing such beings to be killed grows ever weaker and its advocates resort to ever more absurd euphemisms to describe what they support. They’re not really pro-abortion, they’ve long said, they’re pro-choice. This isn’t about killing unborn babies. it’s about reproductive health. And the biggest chain of abortion clinics in the country refers to itself as Planned Parenthood.

In 2012, this organization says it carried out — quote — “abortion procedures” 329,445 times. Whatever that number represents, it’s not parenthood. These protesters here today understand that there is something deeply false and wrong about all this. They come each year to remind the rest of us.

20

Defending the Indefensible

 

Harry Blackmun

 

 

My old legal ethics (Yeah, I know, attorneys are taught ethics?) professor, Ron Rotunda, has a fascinating opinion piece in the Chicago Tribune recalling a time in 1994 when he was in a small group that heard the late Justice Harry Blackmun defend his decision in Roe v. Wade:

 

 

Blackmun said Justice Byron White wrote a bitter dissent, referring to “raw judicial power.”  With a strong emphasis in his voice, Blackmun quipped: “I made Byron eat those words later in other cases.”  When White announced his dissent, “White was emotional.”  Blackmun asked rhetorically: “Why was White so strong against my view?  His upbringing in modest circumstances?  Or his wife’s influence?” 

It did not occur to Blackmun that White based his dissent on the court’s precedent.  Blackmun said, “We tried to decide the case on a constitutional basis, not a moral basis.”  Blackmun did not give that presumption to White.

Another Blackmun disclosure: “To date, I’ve gotten almost 70,000 letters on Roe. I have read almost all of them.” He said many letters are “abusive”  and he was amazed that many people objected to his decision. “Shortly after I spoke in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, I was picketed. I was surprised.”

He objected that “academic opinion was generally adverse” to Roe as not grounded in law and said that he thought it was unconstitutional for the government to fail to fund abortions for poor people.

The Constitution gives federal judges lifetime appointments, so that they don’t feel compelled to follow public opinion in deciding cases. Blackmun, however, apparently did follow it. He was pleased that a “New York Times editorial was in favor,” but noted that letters to the editor “were divided.”

Roe “protected the woman’s right, with the physician, to get an abortion.” Blackmun emphasized the italicized phrase with his voice.  He spoke of the case as a doctor’s rights case, not a woman’s right case.  In Roe, Blackmun said, for the first trimester, “the attending physician, in consultation with his patient, is free to determine, without regulation by the state, that, in his medical judgment, the patient’s pregnancy should be terminated.” Note that the right was the right of the physician, whom Blackmun assumed was male.

Blackmun explicitly rejected the argument that “one has an unlimited right to do with one’s body as one pleases.”  Instead, in Roe, Blackmun cited, with approval, Buck v. Bell, a 1927 case that approved of compulsory sterilization. Continue Reading

6

PopeWatch: March for Life

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If the Pope were here in the US, PopeWatch assumes he would be participating in the March for Life.  How can PopeWatch be certain of that?  Based upon this incident from last May:

Pope Francis surprised about 40,000 Italian and international participants in today’s Marcia per la Vita (March for Life) Internazionale in Rome this morning, when he left the Apostolic Palace to greet them personally from his popemobile in the street where they were lined up.

Monsignore Ignacio Barreiro, the head of the Rome office of Human Life International, told LifeSiteNews.com that for the pope to have effectively joined the March for Life was highly unusual.

Since his election, the pope has gained a reputation for making spontaneous gestures that have sometimes taxed his security staff, beginning with taking the bus back to his temporary residence with the other cardinals the night of his election, instead of the car reserved for the pope.

In this case, however, the Vatican appeared to have prepared the event ahead of time. Monsignore Barreiro noted they had prepared crowd control barriers to guide the popemobile out of St. Peter’s square and across the adjacent piazza and down the wide Via della Conciliazione that leads up the Basilica.

But if organizers knew about a planned appearance by the pope at the march, they made no mention of it before the event, leaving participants delighted by the unexpected arrival of the pontiff.   
“The March for Life brought 40 thousand people to Rome today,” organizers announced after the event. “The Pope greeted the march at the Regina Coeli and then met the parade on the Popemobile in the Via Concilazione.” Continue Reading

8

Generations

For the Lord is sweet, his mercy endureth for ever, and his truth to generation and generation.

Psalm 99:  5

 

At the heart of the controversy in these cases are those recurring pregnancies that pose no danger whatsoever to the life or health of the mother but are, nevertheless, unwanted for any one or more of a variety of reasons — convenience, family planning, economics, dislike of children, the embarrassment of illegitimacy, etc. The common claim before us is that, for any one of such reasons, or for no reason at all, and without asserting or claiming any threat to life or health, any woman is entitled to an abortion at her request if she is able to find a medical advisor willing to undertake the procedure.

The Court, for the most part, sustains this position: during the period prior to the time the fetus becomes viable, the Constitution of the United States values the convenience, whim, or caprice of the putative mother more than the life or potential life of the fetus; the Constitution, therefore, guarantees the right to an abortion as against any state law or policy seeking to protect the fetus from an abortion not prompted by more compelling reasons of the mother.

With all due respect, I dissent. I find nothing in the language or history of the Constitution to support the Court’s judgment. The Court simply fashions and announces a new constitutional right for pregnant mothers [410 U.S. 222] and, with scarcely any reason or authority for its action, invests that right with sufficient substance to override most existing state abortion statutes. The upshot is that the people and the legislatures of the 50 States are constitutionally dissentitled to weigh the relative importance of the continued existence and development of the fetus, on the one hand, against a spectrum of possible impacts on the mother, on the other hand. As an exercise of raw judicial power, the Court perhaps has authority to do what it does today; but, in my view, its judgment is an improvident and extravagant exercise of the power of judicial review that the Constitution extends to this Court.

The Court apparently values the convenience of the pregnant mother more than the continued existence and development of the life or potential life that she carries. Whether or not I might agree with that marshaling of values, I can in no event join the Court’s judgment because I find no constitutional warrant for imposing such an order of priorities on the people and legislatures of the States. In a sensitive area such as this, involving as it does issues over which reasonable men may easily and heatedly differ, I cannot accept the Court’s exercise of its clear power of choice by interposing a constitutional barrier to state efforts to protect human life and by investing mothers and doctors with the constitutionally protected right to exterminate it. This issue, for the most part, should be left with the people and to the political processes the people have devised to govern their affairs.

Justice Byron White, from his dissent in Roe v. Wade

4

Stamped With the Divine Image

March for Life

 

 

These communities, by their representatives in old  Independence Hall, said to the whole world of men: “We  hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are  created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with  certain unalienable rights; that among these are life,  liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” This was their majestic  interpretation of the economy of the Universe. This was their  lofty, and wise, and noble understanding of the justice of  the Creator to His creatures. [Applause.] Yes, gentlemen, to  all His creatures, to the whole great family of man. In their  enlightened belief, nothing stamped with the Divine image and  likeness was sent into the world to be trodden on, and degraded,  and imbruted by its fellows. They grasped not only the whole  race of man then living, but they reached forward and seized  upon the farthest posterity. They erected a beacon to guide  their children and their children’s children, and the countless  myriads who should inhabit the earth in other ages. Wise  statesmen as they were, they knew the tendency of prosperity  to breed tyrants, and so they established these great  self-evident truths, that when in the distant future some man,  some faction, some interest, should set up the doctrine that  none but rich men, or none but white men, were entitled to life,  liberty and the pursuit of happiness, their posterity might look  up again to the Declaration of Independence and take courage to  renew the battle which their fathers began — so that truth,  and justice, and mercy, and all the humane and Christian virtues  might not be extinguished from the land; so that no man would  hereafter dare to limit and circumscribe the great principles  on which the temple of liberty was being built.

Abraham Lincoln, August 17, 1858

81

Religious Liberty: Necessity or Virtue?

Hello again TAC! It has been nearly a year since I posted here, and it is good to be back. I have a long one for you this time, but I think you will find it interesting and my hope is that it will contribute to an ongoing discussion about an important topic.

In December of last year John Zmirak, a Catholic author I know and respect, wrote a piece for Aleteia.org titled “Illiberal Catholicism.” In it, Zmirak takes to task a growing tendency among both Catholic traditionalists (bear in mind I consider myself a traditionalist) and various leftists to denigrate liberalism in general and America’s classical liberal heritage in particular. The piece rubbed quite a few people the wrong way, as several hundred Facebook posts I skimmed would attest. There were lengthier responses from some corners of the Catholic blogosphere as well. If I had to offer the thesis statement of the piece, it would be this:

 [T]here is something very serious going on in Catholic intellectual and educational circles, which — if it goes on unchecked — will threaten the pro-life cause, the Church’s influence in society, and the safety and freedom of individual Catholics in America.  The growth of illiberal Catholicism will strengthen the power of the intolerant secular left, revive (and fully justify) the old anti-Catholicism that long pervaded America, and make Catholics in the United States as laughably marginal as they now are in countries like Spain and France…

From there, Zmirak provides us with an overview of the lack of tolerance in Church history that was bound to rankle traditionalists, as well as an endorsement of political and economic liberty that anti-capitalist traditionalists and leftists could not but despise. He also explicitly identified with “Tea Party” Catholicism – what could be more philistine for the enlightened anti-capitalist crowd, traddie or leftie?

Continue Reading

14

Lavender Mafia Alive and Well at Vatican

Lavender Mafia

 

 

A story in The Guardian indicates that the Lavender Mafia is alive and well in the Vatican:

 

Elmar Mäder, who was commandant of the Guard from 2002 until 2008, said his time at the heart of the Vatican had given him an insight into certain aspects of life there. “I cannot refute the claim that there is a network of homosexuals. My experiences would indicate the existence of such a thing,” he told the Swiss newspaper Schweiz am Sonntag.

Famed for their striking uniforms of blue, red and orange, recruits to the Guard swear to protect the pope and his successors with their lives.

Mäder, 50, from the canton of St Gallen, refused to comment on speculation that he had warned guardsmen about the behaviour of certain priests.

Earlier this month, the same newspaper reported the claims of a former, unnamed member of the Guard that he had been the target of more than 20 “unambiguous sexual requests” from clergy while serving in the force.

Recounting a dinner in a Rome restaurant, the man was quoted as saying: “As the spinach and steak were served, the priest said to me: ‘And you are the dessert’.”

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A working environment in which the great majority of men are unmarried is per se a draw for homosexuals, whether they consciously seek it out or unconsciously follow an urge,” he said.

“The Roman Curia [the Vatican’s bureaucracy] is exactly this kind of environment.”

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Mäder said: “I also learned that many homosexuals are inclined to be more loyal to each other than to other people or institutions,” he said.

“If this loyalty were to go as far as to become a network or even a kind of secret society, I would not tolerate it in my sphere of decision making. Key people in the Vatican now seem to think similarly.”

The comments appeared to be referring to a remark made by Pope Francis on the flight home from Brazil last summer. “They say there are some gay people here. I think that when we encounter a gay person, we must make the distinction between the fact of a person being gay and the fact of a lobby, because lobbies are not good,” the pontiff told journalists, while at the same time joking that, while there was a lot of talk about a gay lobby, he had never seen it stamped on a Vatican identity card. Continue Reading

3

PopeWatch: Cash Cow

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Sandro Magister at Chiesa draws attention to the enlistment by Pope Francis of some rather expensive firms in his efforts to revamp Vatican operations:

It may be “poor and for the poor,” the Church dreamed of by Pope Francis. Meanwhile, however, the Vatican is becoming the cash cow of the most exclusive and expensive firms in the world of management and financial systems.

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Another big name recruited by the Vatican is Promontory Financial Group, based in Washington. Since May, a dozen of its analysts have been set up in the offices of the IOR sifting through the accounts of the institute one by one, hunting for illicit operations. And they are doing the same with the accounts of the APSA, the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See.

Not only that. Top-level managers of Promontory have become part of the permanent leadership of the IOR. One former Promontory officer is Rodolfo Marranci, the new director general of the Vatican “bank.” And the senior advisers of the IOR include Elizabeth McCaul and Raffaele Cosimo, who at Promontory were respectively the heads of the New York and European branches. Also coming from across the Atlantic is Antonio Montaresi, called in to manage the risk office, a role that did not exist at the IOR before.

A similar multiplication of roles and personnel at the Vatican also concerns the Financial Information Authority, created at the end of 2010 by Benedict XVI, today directed by the Swiss René Brülhart, an expensive international star in this area who will soon be doubling his staff.

The balance sheets of the IOR are certified by Ernst & Young, to which the Vatican has also entrusted the verification and modernization of the finance and management practices of the governorate of the tiny state.

And another renowned multinational, KPMG, has been called to bring up to international standards the accounting practices of all the institutes and offices based in Vatican City.

In spite of the boasts of transparency, no information is coming out about the costs of this recourse to external contractors, costs that are presumed to be enormous, particularly those charged to the IOR.

As if this were not enough, the Vatican “bank” has had to spend 3.6 million euro to cover part of the debt of 28.3 million, calculated by Ernst & Young, for the world youth day in Rio de Janeiro.

And it has had to use roughly ten million euro to cover half of the chasm left in the diocese of Terni by its former bishop Vincenzo Paglia, the current president of the pontifical council for the family. Continue Reading

19

Abortion Barbie is a Fake

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Wendy Davis, a\k\a Abortion Barbie, the Texas State Senator who won her Senate seat running as a pro-abort with the help of Ralph McCloud who was and is the head of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, and who is campaigning for governor of the Lone Star State on the strength of her ultimately futile filibuster against restrictions on abortion passed by the Texas legislature, has presented herself as an up by her bootstraps feminist icon, going from being a teenage “single” Mom to Harvard Law School grad due solely to her own awesomeness.  The facts behind the fable, that she relied upon a man she later dumped, are a good deal less flattering.  Emily Zannoti at Naked DC gives us the golddigger behind the myth:

 

 

By “some facts,” the Dallas Morning News actually means, “basically everything.” The bones of the story are still intact, but when considering how to portray them to the media, Wendy glosses over some important details. A few highlights:

  • Wendy was actually 21, not 19, when she got a divorce from her first husband and had to move back into her parent’s trailer park home, where she lived only a few months before finding an apartment of her own for herself and her daughter. Now that might not seem like a big deal, but Wendy testified under oath, in a federal lawsuit regarding redistricting, that she was 19 when she got divorced. She’s lucky that wasn’t material to the case at hand, but she might want to think twice about volunteering incorrect information after she’s sworn to uphold the truth.
  • Jeff Davis, Wendy’s second husband, paid her way through Texas Christian University and then through Harvard Law School and cared for her first daughter and a second daughter they had shortly after they were married. He took out loans and cashed in his 401(K) to pay her way through school. They divorced in 2005, literally the day after Jeff Davis wrote his final check paying off her student loan:

Jeff Davis said that was right around the time the final payment on their Harvard Law School loan was due. “It was ironic,” he said. “I made the last payment, and it was the next day she left.

  • When she and Davis got a divorce (the court documents cite adultery on Wendy’s part but the final divorce decree makes no mention of any infidelity), she handed full custody of their daughter to her now ex-husband, stating that he was a “nurturing father” and that it was just “not a good time” for her. Because when you have shared children, the very first thing you think about when deciding on their future, is whether they fit in to your busy schedule. A future colleague would put Wendy’s priorities in perspective to the DMN:

“Wendy is tremendously ambitious,” he said, speaking only on condition of anonymity in order to give what he called an honest assessment. “She’s not going to let family or raising children or anything else get in her way.”

Basically, every country music song that’s ever come out of Texas was written about Wendy Davis. Continue Reading

8

PopeWatch: Disposable Objects

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Each year the Pope gives an address to the approximately 180 ambassadors to the Vatican.  The speech for 2014 was given by Pope Francis last week.  It has many passages of interest for those seeking to determine the priorities of Pope Francis.  PopeWatch was struck by this passage:

Peace is also threatened by every denial of human dignity, firstly the lack of access to adequate nutrition. We cannot be indifferent to those suffering from hunger, especially children, when we think of how much food is wasted every day in many parts of the world immersed in what I have often termed “the throwaway culture”. Unfortunately, what is thrown away is not only food and dispensable objects, but often human beings themselves, who are discarded as “unnecessary”. For example, it is frightful even to think there are children, victims of abortion, who will never see the light of day; children being used as soldiers, abused and killed in armed conflicts; and children being bought and sold in that terrible form of modern slavery which is human trafficking, which is a crime against humanity. Nor can we be unmoved by the tragedies which have forced so many people to flee from famine, violence and oppression, particularly in the Horn of Africa and in the Great Lakes Region. Many of these are living as fugitives or refugees in camps where they are no longer seen as persons but as nameless statistics. Others, in the hope of a better life, have undertaken perilous journeys which not infrequently end in tragedy. I think in particular of the many migrants from Latin America bound for the United States, but above all of all those from Africa and the Middle East who seek refuge in Europe. Continue Reading

3

Benjamin O. Davis, Jr.: American Eagle

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Benjamin O Davis, Jr, a 1936 graduate of West Point, probably did not have any premonition when he graduated that he and his father were destined to write an interesting chapter in American military history.  At the time of his graduation from West Point, the Army had a total of two black line officers, Davis and his father.  Benjamin O. Davis, Sr. would be the first black general in the United States Army and Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. would be the first black general in the United States Air Force.  They both earned their stars through sheer ability at a time when prejudice against blacks was official policy within the US military.

The grandson of a slave, Davis senior was born in 1880.  He enlisted in the black 8th volunteer infantry during the Spanish-American War, serving as a temporary first lieutenant.  After the war he enlisted in the regular Army as a private, serving in the 9th United States cavalry, one of the Buffalo Soldier regiments.  A promising young soldier, he shot up in rank to squadron sergeant major.  He came to the notice of the commander of his unit, Lieutenant Charles Young, then the only black officer in the Army.  With Young’s encouragement and tutoring, he took the officer’s test at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant on February 2, 1901.  For the next 39 years he served in various postings, including military attaché to Liberia and professor of military science at Tuskegee.  It took persistence to stay in an Army where blacks served only in segregated units and where he was often the only black officer in the entire Army, but on October 25, 1940 Davis became the first black in American military history to earn a general’s star.

His son found the going just as tough initially.  At West Point Davis Junior was officially shunned by almost all of the other cadets, who would only speak to him in the line of duty.  He ate his meals alone and had no room mate during his four years.  However, his hard work and ability earned grudging respect judging from this inscription in the West Point year book for 1936:

The courage, tenacity, and intelligence with which he conquered a problem incomparably more difficult than plebe year won for him the sincere admiration of his classmates, and his single-minded determination to continue in his chosen career cannot fail to inspire respect wherever fortune may lead him.

Such respect did not change the fact that he was black in an Army that had no love for black officers.  His application to the Army Air Corps was summarily rejected because the Army Air Corps did not accept blacks.  He found himself serving as a professor of military science at Tuskegee just as his father had years before.

With the advent of World War II the military was still segregated, and opposition to blacks serving as pilots was intense.   However, the Army Air Corps could not ignore that blacks had passed the tests to qualify as aviation cadets.   To his delight, Captain Davis was assigned to the first training class for black fighter pilots.  He was the first black to solo in the Army Air Corps and got his wings in March 1942.

Trained at Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Alabama, the 99th Pursuit squadron was activated in 1941 and sent overseas to North Africa in April 1943.  Now a Lieutenant Colonel, Davis Junior was in command.  In September he was called back to the States to help form the all black 332 fighter group.  After he arrived back, an attempt to kill the project was made by senior Army Air Corps officers alleging deficiencies in the record of the 99th.  Furious, Davis held a news conference at the Pentagon, with his father, to defend his men, and challenged the accuracy of the charges.  Further investigations determined that the 99th had performed as well as similar white units. Continue Reading

34

The Great I Am

GK Chesterton once opined that “When men choose not to believe in God, they do not thereafter believe in nothing, they then become capable of believing in anything.”  Christopher Johnson, a non-Catholic who has taken up the cudgels so frequently for the Church that I have named him Defender of the Faith, gives us a perfect example:

The other day, Bob Wright, Georgia’s Episcopal pointy hat, opened a speech before some “interfaith” complete waste of time or other in this fashion:

Good afternoon. Greetings to you in the name of Yahweh the Almighty, in the name of Allah the beneficent and merciful. Greetings to you in the name of the Eternal One who gave the Buddha his great enlightenment, and in the name of the Hindus’ Supreme Being that orders the cosmos.

I guess I could thoroughly document all the ways that that’s not only wrong but actually kind of insulting to many more people than Christians.  But do you know how to tell when you’re just about finished with the Episcopalians?  When you read something like that and the only reaction you can come up with is to say to yourself, “Whatever, Bob.  And why do you hate Zoroastrians, bigot?”

Go here to read the comments.  The mindset of Mr. Wright infests many who call themselves Christians today, even within the Church.  It is hard for me to convey not only how mistaken this is, but how truly evil it is.  Christ and the Jews who did not follow Him gave us an example of what I mean:

[57] The Jews therefore said to him: Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? [58] Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say to you, before Abraham was made, I am. [59] They took up stones therefore to cast at him. But Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple.

John 8: 57-59

Jesus in this passage stated that He is God, the great I AM that revealed Himself to Moses.  The Jews who did not believe Him were ready to stone Him for this blasphemy. Continue Reading

8

Lee’s Greatest Victory

He was a foe without hate; a friend without treachery; a soldier without cruelty; a victor without oppression; and a victim without murmuring. He was a public officer without vices; a private citizen without wrong; a neighbor without reproach; a Christian without hypocrisy and a man without guile. He was a Caesar without his ambition; Frederick without his tyranny; Napoleon without his selfishness; and Washington without his reward.

Benjamin H. Hill on Robert E. Lee

 

 

“It’s a warm spring Sunday at Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church in Richmond. As the minister is about to present Holy Communion, a tall well-dressed black man sitting in the section reserved for African Americans unexpectedly advances to the communion rail; unexpectedly because this has never happened here before.

The congregation freezes. Those who have been ready to go forward and kneel at the communion rail remain fixed in their pews. The minister stands in his place stunned and motionless. The black man slowly lowers his body, kneeling at the communion rail.

After what seems an interminable amount of time, an older white man rises. His hair snowy white, head up, and eyes proud, he walks quietly up the isle to the chancel rail.

So with silent dignity and self-possession, the white man kneels down to take communion along the same rail with the black man.

Lee has said that he has rejoiced that slavery is dead. But this action indicates that those were not idle words meant to placate a Northern audience. Here among his people, he leads wordlessly through example. The other communicants slowly move forward to the altar with a mixture of reluctance and fear, hope and awkward expectation. In the end, America would defy the cruel chain of history besetting nations torn apart by Civil War.”

From “April 1865:  the Month that Saved America” Continue Reading

11

Evolution

The high priest asked whether the charges were true. To this Stephen replied: “My brothers! Fathers! Listen to me. Our fathers in the desert had the meeting tent as God prescribed it when he spoke to Moses, ordering him to make it according to the pattern he had seen. The next generation of our fathers inherited it. Under Joshua, they brought it into the land during the conquest of those peoples whom God drove out to make room for our fathers. So it was until the time of David, who found favor with God and begged that he might find a dwelling place for the house of Jacob. It was Solomon, however, who constructed the building for that house. Yet the Most High does not dwell in buildings made by human hands, for as the prophet says:

The heavens are my throne, the earth is my footstool;
What kind of house can you build me? asks the Lord.
What is my resting-place to be like? Did not my hand make all these things?’

“You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you are always opposing the Holy Spirit just as your fathers did before you. Was there ever any prophet whom your fathers did not persecute? In their day, they put to death those who foretold the coming of the Just One; now you in your turn have become his betrayers and murderers. You who received the law through the ministry of angels have not observed it.”

Those who listened to his words were stung to the heart; they ground their teeth in anger at him. Stephen meanwhile, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked to the sky above and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at God’s right hand. “Look!” he exclaimed, “I see an opening in the sky, and the Son of Man standing at God’s right hand.” The onlookers were shouting aloud, holding their hands over their ears as they did so. Then they rushed at him as one man, dragged him out of the city, and began to stone him. The witnesses meanwhile were piling their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Saul.

As Stephen was being stoned he could be heard praying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” He fell to his knees and cried out in a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And with that he died. Saul, for his part, concurred in the act of killing.

 

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Are they these extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay? Is that who they are? Because if that’s who they are and they’re the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are.

I don’t expect Cardinal Dolan and other prelates to walk into the lion’s den. But perhaps the current “live and let live” strategy isn’t working as effectively as they think.

But then again, who am I to judge?

53

Cuomo to Pro-lifers: Get Out of New York

Andrew Cuomo

Andrew Cuomo, the “Catholic” shacked up, pro-abort Governor of New York, doesn’t believe that pro-lifers have any place in the state of New York.  Mary Katharine Ham at Hot Air gives us the details:

 

Forty-eight percent of Americans and all priests and nuns are no longer welcome in the Empire State, according to its governor. Delivering a monologue on Republicans with all the hyperbole of an MSNBC anchor and none of the charm, Cuomo offered this:

You have a schism within the Republican Party. … They’re searching to define their soul, that’s what’s going on. Is the Republican party in this state a moderate party or is it an extreme conservative party? That’s what they’re trying to figure out. It’s a mirror of what’s going on in Washington. The gridlock in Washington is less about Democrats and Republicans. It’s more about extreme Republicans versus moderate Republicans.

… You’re seeing that play out in New York. … The Republican Party candidates are running against the SAFE Act — it was voted for by moderate Republicans who run the Senate! Their problem is not me and the Democrats; their problem is themselves. Who are they? Are they these extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay? Is that who they are? Because if that’s who they are and they’re the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are.

    If they’re moderate Republicans like in the Senate right now, who control the Senate — moderate Republicans have a place in their state. George Pataki was governor of this state as a moderate Republican; but not what you’re hearing from them on the far right.”

He at least uses the liberal pejoratives for those who are pro-2nd Amendment and oppose gay marriage. “Right to life” he uses as if it’s offensive on its face. As Life News notes, he leans heavily on the President Barack tactic to simply declare everyone who disagrees with your positions in the slightest “extreme,” even if many of those people are your constituents. But how extreme is the pro-life position, even in a blue state like New York? Unlike, say, gay marriage, the polling on abortion restrictions, particularly second and third trimesters, regularly and overwhelmingly favors the more conservative position. Continue Reading

2

The Fighting Lady

A great wartime propaganda film from 1944, The Fighting Lady.  The film was made aboard the USS Yorktown, but for wartime security considerations it was designated The Fighting Lady in the film.  Hollywood star Robert Taylor, then serving in the Navy as a flight instructor, supplied the narration.  I do not mean to disparage the film when I call it propaganda:  it is also grittily realistic.  At the end the film pays tribute to the men who appeared in the film who have died in combat.

14

PopeWatch: Priestless

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From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:

VATICAN––Days after abolishing the title of “monsignor,” Pope Francis has now reportedly eliminated the practice of granting seminarians the title of ”priest,” a Vatican insider told EOTT this morning from Rome. According to a report Sunday by the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, only single laymen over the age of 65 will from now on be eligible to receive the title of priest. “The title of priest is primarily honorific, and should normally only be granted to laymen as a reward for service to the church, such as having been an usher for more than four decades,” Apostolic Nuncio to the United States Giovanni Martinelli told EOTT. “Or it should be given as a sign of a unique function a layman has performed in the church, such as being the guy who selects which family will walk the gifts up to the altar.” The title was once granted by a bishop on the recommendation of God. But many have criticized the practice, saying that ordination naturally leads to an “air of careerism in the church.” According to Martinelli, every nuncio across the globe has been asked to write to bishops within their territories to inform them of the pope’s decision and to say that those who have already been given the title of priest can keep it; for now. Continue Reading

For Bales

Something for the weekend.  For Bales.  A Confederate song mocking the defeat of the Union forces under Major General Nathaniel Banks, one of the more inept political generals, in 1864.  The Red River campaign had as its objective the capture of Shreveport, Louisiana, in northwestern Louisiana, the largest city still under the control of the Confederates in the Pelican state, and the capture of hundreds of thousands of bales of cotton on plantations along the Red River.  The bales of cotton were eagerly eyed by Union speculators and the entire campaign had an unsavory plundering feel to it.  In any case the campaign ended in disaster for the Union, with the Union forces being beaten decisively at the battles of Mansfield and Pleasant Hill.  Major General Richard Taylor, the only son of President Zachary Taylor, who commanded the Confederate forces in both engagements, was hailed as a hero of the Confederacy and promoted to Lieutenant General.

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Here is a video of an extensive presentation  by Dale Phillips on the Red River campaign:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPb5LR1goio Continue Reading

58

Gatekeeping Baptism

Duly vested, Don Camillo approached the font.’What do you wish to name this child?’ he asked Peppone’s wife.

‘Lenin Libero Antonio,’ she replied.

‘Then go and get him baptized in Russia,’ said Camillo calmly, replacing the cover on the font.

The priest’s hands were as large as shovels and the three left the church without protest. But as Don Camillo was attempting to slip into the sacristy he was arrested by the voice of the Lord.

‘Don Camillo, you have done a very wicked thing. Go at once and bring those people back and baptize their child.’

‘But Lord,’ protested Don Camillo, ‘You really must bear in mind that baptism is not a jest. Baptism is a sacred matter. Baptism is…’

‘Don Camillo, the Lord interrupted him, ‘Are attempting to teach me the nature of baptism? Did I not invent it? I tell you that you have been guilty of gross presumption, because, suppose that child were to die at this moment, it would be your fault if it failed to attain Paradise !’

‘Lord, do not let us be melodramatic,’ retorted Don Camillo. ‘Why in the name of Heaven should it die? It’s as pink and white as a rose !’

‘Which means exactly nothing!’ the Lord admonished him. ‘What if a tile should fall on its head or it should suddenly have convulsions? It was your duty to baptize it.’

Don Camillo raised protesting arms: ‘But Lord, just think it over. If it were certain that the child would go to Hell, we might stretch a point; but seeing that despite being the son of that nasty piece of work he might very easily manage to slip into Paradise, how can You ask me to risk anyone going there with such a name as Lenin? I’m thinking of the reputation of Paradise.’

‘The reputation of Paradise is my business,’ the Lord shouted angrily. ‘What matters to me is that a man should be a decent fellow and I care less than nothing whether his name be Lenin or Button. At the very most, you should have pointed out to those people that saddling children with fantastic names may involve them in annoyances when they grow up.’

‘Very well,’ replied Don Camillo. ‘I am always in the wrong. I must see what I can do about it.’
from “The Baptism”, The Little World of Don Camillo by Giovanni Guareschi

I was a bit surprised to read Dr. Ed Peters’ posts on the set of baptisms at which Pope Francis recently officiated, in which one of the babies baptized was the child of two parents who are not married in the Church. Peters is cautious about the precedent being set. In his first post on the topic he wrote: Continue Reading

14

Internet: Brain Augmenter?

 

 

An interesting article by Tim Wu in The New Yorker:

A well-educated time traveller from 1914 enters a room divided in half by a curtain. A scientist tells him that his task is to ascertain the intelligence of whoever is on the other side of the curtain by asking whatever questions he pleases.

The traveller’s queries are answered by a voice with an accent that he does not recognize (twenty-first-century American English). The woman on the other side of the curtain has an extraordinary memory. She can, without much delay, recite any passage from the Bible or Shakespeare. Her arithmetic skills are astonishing—difficult problems are solved in seconds. She is also able to speak many foreign languages, though her pronunciation is odd. Most impressive, perhaps, is her ability to describe almost any part of the Earth in great detail, as though she is viewing it from the sky. She is also proficient at connecting seemingly random concepts, and when the traveller asks her a question like “How can God be both good and omnipotent?” she can provide complex theoretical answers.

Based on this modified Turing test, our time traveller would conclude that, in the past century, the human race achieved a new level of superintelligence. Using lingo unavailable in 1914, (it was coined later by John von Neumann) he might conclude that the human race had reached a “singularity”—a point where it had gained an intelligence beyond the understanding of the 1914 mind.

The woman behind the curtain, is, of course, just one of us. That is to say, she is a regular human who has augmented her brain using two tools: her mobile phone and a connection to the Internet and, thus, to Web sites like Wikipedia, Google Maps, and Quora. To us, she is unremarkable, but to the man she is astonishing. With our machines, we are augmented humans and prosthetic gods, though we’re remarkably blasé about that fact, like anything we’re used to. Take away our tools, the argument goes, and we’re likely stupider than our friend from the early twentieth century, who has a longer attention span, may read and write Latin, and does arithmetic faster. Continue Reading

4

PopeWatch: Bye, Bye Harley

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Pope Francis is auctioning off the Harley-Davidson and leather jacket given him by Catholic bikers:

It may come as a surprise to learn that Pope Francis owns a Harley-Davidson.

He was presented with the bike after blessing hundreds of Harley fans (and their bikes) in St. Peter’s Square.

The Pope has now announced plans to auction the bike off to raise money for charity.

Proceeds from the sale will reportedly go to organisations supporting the homeless – a cause close to his heart. Continue Reading

42

If We Only Had a King

I guess leftists were right – we truly lived under a tyranny during the presidency of George Bush. After all, just look at how contemptuously he treated the legislative branch of government. In his first cabinet meeting after the Democrats took control of the House, Bush told his top deputies that his “agenda will move forward whether Congress votes for it or not.” Then he added:

“One of the things I’ll be emphasizing in this meeting,” he said, “is the fact that we are not just going to be waiting for legislation in order to make sure that we’re providing Americans the kind of help that they need.”

“I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone,” the president asserted, “and I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions that move the ball forward in helping to make sure our kids are getting the best education possible, making sure that our businesses are getting the kind of support and help they need to grow and advance, to make sure that people are getting the skills that they need to get those jobs that our businesses are creating.”

“And I’ve got a phone,” he continued, “that allows me to convene Americans from every walk of life — nonprofits, businesses, the private sector, universities — to try to bring more and more Americans together around what I think is a unifying theme, making sure that this is a country where if you work hard, you can make it.”

It was a common lament during the Bush presidency that we were living under something resembling an imperial presidency. We were told that Bush’s advocacy of a unitary executive, as well as his penchant for issuing signing statements that added his gloss to duly enacted legislation, as well as his mere existence on planet Earth all signaled the end of democracy as we know it. Never mind that the executive branch was specifically designed to be unitary in nature, the Framers having decided against all alternative arrangements. And never mind that the signing statements were nothing more than inocuous expressions of how the executive bureaucracy would carry out legislation passed by Congress. No, we were truly living in Stalin’s Russia.

Thankfully Americans came to their senses and elected the wise and beneficent Barack Obama. Truly he was the change we were looking for. He promised us all a return to a more open administration that didn’t keep secrets, would restore competency to the White House, would be completely honest, and most importantly, wouldn’t disregard the other branches of government.

Alas, if wishes were trees, the trees would be falling.

You see, the above of course was not spoken by George W. Bush, but rather by President Obama on Tuesday.

Checks? Balances? Looks like the constitutional scholar residing in the White House is unfamiliar with such terms.

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PopeWatch: Vatican Bank

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

       And the lord commended the unjust steward, forasmuch as he had done wisely: for the children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light.

Luke 16:8

The Church has had trouble managing money since Judas was treasurer and helped himself to the contents of the purse. The Institute for the Works of Religion, universally known as the Vatican Bank, was founded in June of 1942 by Pope Pius XII.  Since 1968 “scandal” and “Vatican Bank” have gone together like bread and butter.  Pope Francis is trying to change that:

Pope Francis shook up the scandal-plagued Vatican bank on Wednesday, removing four of five cardinals from an oversight body in a break with the clerical financial establishment he inherited from his predecessor.

It was his latest move to get to grips with an institution that has often been an embarrassment for the Holy See and which he has vowed to either reform or close. The four cardinals were removed just 11 months into their five-year terms as commissioners, which began under former Pope Benedict, who resigned last February.

The changes came as Francis approached the first anniversary of a pontificate marked by austerity and sobriety, underlined by his decision to give up the papal apartments in favour of a modest suite.

The new team includes two cardinals – Toronto’s Christopher Collins and Vienna’s Christoph Schoenborn – from relatively rich dioceses who have had extensive dealings with financial affairs. The others are Archbishop Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s new secretary of state, who will be elevated to the rank of cardinal next month, and Santos Abril y Castillo, a Spaniard who is based in Rome and is a close friend of the pope’s.

The one holdover was French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran. The four who were not re-confirmed included the former secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. Commentators and some church officials blamed him for lax oversight that led to a spate of scandals during Benedict’s pontificate, including the leaking of some of the pope’s personal documents by Benedict’s butler.

Bertone has defended his record saying he was the victim of “anonymous accusations and rumour mongering”. Cardinal Domenico Calcagno, head of another Vatican financial department that Italian magistrates suspect of financial irregularities and which the Vatican has asked an outside firm to audit, was also removed. Continue Reading

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Patrick Cleburne and Emancipation

In January of 1864 the Confederate Army of Tennessee high command was roiled by a proposal of its best divisional commander Major General Patrick Cleburne, an Irish immigrant, that Southern slaves be freed, and that black men be enlisted in the Confederate Army.  This was not the first time that a Confederate officer had made such a proposal, General Richard Ewell had advised Jefferson Davis to free the slaves after First Bull Run for example, but this was the most elaborate, well thought out proposal yet made on the subject of emancipation by a Confederate officer.  The plan met with considerable opposition among the officers of the Army of Tennessee that learned of it, and on instructions from Richmond it was quietly shelved.  Cleburne would die leading a charge at the battle of Franklin on November 30, 1864.  By this time Confederate plans to enlist slaves were being discussed publicly.  A bill allowing the enlistment of blacks in the Confederate Army was passed on March 13, 1865 by the Confederate Congress, far too late to aid the Confederacy.  Even that Act did not stipulate freedom for slaves who served.  A different positive reception to Cleburne’s proposal is one of the more tantalizing what ifs of Civil War history.  Here is the text of the letter in which Cleburne set forth his plan: Continue Reading