States of Discontent

Wednesday, April 30, AD 2014

Longtime readers of TAC are familiar with many of the problems confronting the State of Illinois, mainly due to the diligent postings of fellow Sucker State resident Don McClarey. However, I have to admit I was taken aback by the results of a recent Gallup Poll finding that, when it comes to discontent among its residents, Illinois is literally in a class by itself:

The phrase “if you don’t like it, then you can leave” might be a dangerous thing to say in Illinois.

According to a recent Gallup poll, the state would lose a quarter of its population if every resident who didn’t like it decided to leave it. The poll asked survey-takers to rate their state as a place to live, and Illinois had the highest percentage of people who said it is the worst place to live, at 25 percent.

Illinois was followed by Connecticut and Rhode Island, 17 percent of whose residents rated their states as the worst place to live.

The states with the highest rates in the “best possible state to live in” category were Texas (28 percent), Alaska (27 percent), Hawaii (25 percent) and Montana (24 percent). Only 3 percent of Illinoisans put their state in the same category.

A follow-up story on the poll published today reveals even worse news for the powers that be in Illinois: half of Illinois residents polled say they would leave the state if they could, and nearly one in five Illinois respondents (19%) said they intended to move out within the following 12 months. Connecticut and Maryland placed second and third (49% and 47%, respectively) in the percentages of residents expressing a desire to leave, while only Nevada edged out Illinois in the percentage of residents stating that they planned to move in the coming year (20%). States with the most contented residents included Montana, Hawaii and Maine, where only 23% of each state’s residents expressed any desire to leave.

Links to the full stories and poll results can be found here and here. The poll was conducted between July and December of 2013 with at least 600 residents being polled in each state.

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27 Responses to States of Discontent

  • Bravo Elaine! I often share with my clients my observation that if I were a young attorney I would leave Illinois, and that I could not recommend to a young man or woman that they stay in the state. I have never had any client, and they come from all walks of life, disagree with me, and usually they are more vociferous than I am about current conditions in the Land of Lincoln.

  • There’s actually much to be said for New York. It’s political class is unedifying, of course. I think just about everyone not on it’s payroll despises the state legislature.

    Sorry to be a bore on this subject, but Illinois has a problem in common with New York and Maryland and a number of other states: the evolution of settlement has been such as to leave it an amalgam of incongruous parts. Downstate Illinois functions as a tributary of metropolitan Chicago. That is neither necessary nor advisable. I’ll wager you have a few other problems: 1. that modes of conducting elections largely eliminate competition and 2. that modes of public finance leave the question of who is responsible for what policy completely muddled and 3. modes of recruitment, compensation, and discipline in the civil service render it ineffectual if not crooked. Reconstituting the state as a confederation of two components (with an adjustable boundary in between) and amending your electoral statutes, civil service law, and public finance trails might help in repairing your political life, which in turn would have knock on effects on your economic life.

  • “1. that modes of conducting elections largely eliminate competition”

    You can say that as many times as you wish in regard to Illinois Art!

  • I too live in one of these sovereign cesspools, and the main reasons I have not voted with my feet (or rather with the car accelerator pressed to the floor) are that I know too many good people to leave behind and too many good and beautiful places to enjoy. Yes, such people and places are everywhere, but I love my friends and familiarities. If I had a purely utilitarian mindset I would have left long ago.

  • My first thought is that nobody lives in Maryland or Connecticut because they want to, only because they commute to DC / NYC. New Jersey and Massachusetts are high on the list as well. If my theory is right, then it’s kind of sad that Illinoisans only live there for the commute to Chicago, because that’s in Illinois.

    I assume that Michigan would have been higher in the number of people planning to leave, but the pollsters couldn’t find anyone there.

  • Speaking as a proud Marylander, I have to say that I hope to stay here the rest of my life. This state has it all: good roads and drivers, low humidity, low taxes, great schools, and above all a state government that really cares about people. There’s no state better. Oh, I’m sorry, I saw that today was the first, and my wall calendar still says April, so I just figured…never mind. I hate it here.

  • My first thought is that nobody lives in Maryland or Connecticut because they want to, only because they commute to DC / NYC. New Jersey and Massachusetts are high on the list as well. If my theory is right, then it’s kind of sad that Illinoisans only live there for the commute to Chicago, because that’s in Illinois.

    North of a third of the population of Maryland lives in greater Baltimore, a city with its own distinct personality. Every once in a while you’d meet someone there who was commuting to DC or had a pied a terre there but lived in Baltimore (or vice versa). Another third of the population lives in the small cities, small towns, and rural zones. Some commute to Washington or Baltimore, most do not; strange as it may seem, there is retail trade and wholesale trade and farming and factory work and government work outside of major cities. With regard to the peri-urban population, Harford and Cecil counties are oriented toward Philadelphia, not Washington.

    There are several substantial cities in Connecticut, with populations between 400,000 and 800,000. The Bridgeport-Stamford combine is the only one close enough for practical commuting. Nearly half the state’s population is rural and small town. The discontent with Connecticut is a surprise; its just about the most affluent state in the country and has been for some time. It’s on the coast – milder climate than inland. Crime rates are below the national mean…

  • Pinky: “There’s no state better. Oh, I’m sorry, I saw that today was the first, and my wall calendar still says April, so I just figured…never mind. I hate it here.”
    You would hate it even more if Maryland had passed into law a bill legalizing euthanasia.Thanks to Maryland Right to Life, euthanasia remains against the law, but the barbarians are at the gates.

  • Pinky, I knew just where you were going when I saw “low humidity”! Good job.

  • Art, Connecticut is still up and running, but it is running on fumes. The state government acts as if it is a wealthy state, but most of the wealth from financial services that are tied to New York City, and are a legacy of when the state had no income tax and was thus a haven for fed-up New Yorkers. Once these move away the state is a financial gonner.

    Like half of the other states on the list they regulate anything that moves, since regulations are good, ya know? A few years ago they passed a law requiring all businesses with state contracts to post the home phone numbers of their executives on their web sites, and then they couldn’t understand why businesses seeking state contracts dropped by 90% in one year. I mean, what’s wrong with these selfish businessmen and their evil corporations anyway? Can’t stand a little transparency?

    Also, most of the truly rural areas are underrepresented compared to the suburbs, which along with the cities call the shots in the state. A few of these rural towns can be downright reactionary, but they simply cannot beat the powers in Hartford. For all practical purposes Connecticut is a one party state.

  • Art, another story: a friend of mine has a small business which for liability reasons had to be incorporated. It didn’t make a lot of money, but it was profitable and fun and he paid his taxes. Then the state passed a $500 minimum annual corporation tax. He shut it down right away.

    Of course that may have been the intention all along. It is a lot easier for the state to monitor 5,000 corporations than 500,000, so why not just get the numbers down? Perhaps the loss of tax income is OK with these people as long as they increase their illusion of control.

  • In Maryland, it’s not just the heat, it’s the heat, humidity, terrible drivers, awful government…

  • The state government acts as if it is a wealthy state, but most of the wealth from financial services that are tied to New York City, and are a legacy of when the state had no income tax and was thus a haven for fed-up New Yorkers. Once these move away the state is a financial gonner.

    About 16% of the state’s domestic product is attributable to finance and insurance. I think the national mean is around 7.5%. That sector is abnormally large in Connecticut, but most of the wealth is tied up in other sectors, as it is everywhere.

    I cannot figure why they wanted corporation executives to post their home phone numbers. That having been said, a story. In 1957, people of my acquaintance purchased a house the previous owner of which had been an attorney. There was a general house line and a second line which rang only in the den which the attorney had used for confidential calls when he was working at home. For a mess of reasons, they never had the second line pulled out. If that particular attorney had been an executive at Eastman Kodak facing this problem, he could have ordered a second line which rang only on an extension kept in a cupboard in his basement pantry. I take it the state business is for those companies worth less than the cost of a phone line.

    I think if a three digit processing fee is inducing businesses to go under, I would wager that nearly all were cottage enterprises that had lapsed into inactivity. Just a guess.

    Federal court decisions ca. 1963 required equipopulous districts. This causes all kinds of problems, about which more on another occasion. It does not cause rural areas to be ‘under represented’ in a mechanical sense.

  • I lived in Baltimore for several years. It is hot at summertime peaks, but no place has an agreeable climate year-round; the street crime is much more anxiety provoking than the heat.

    A resident of Central New York of my acquaintance returned from Georgia after a number of years down South. His comment on climate problems: “I figure you can always put stuff on”. Not everybody sees it that way, which is one reason there’s been such a drain from the Rustbelt.

  • Yes Art, the business in question was a cottage industry (with travel obligations out of the cottage). No it wasn’t lapsed – not that being lapsed had anything to do with the issue, since a lapsed business doesn’t go under due to a new tax. By definition lapsed businesses don’t pay taxes. And so what? Is the cost of a number of lapsed businesses greater than the advantages (economic and other) to society by successful cottage businesses? I’d say no. It is still a sign of the regulatory state triumphing over all else.

    “I cannot figure why they wanted corporation executives to post their home phone numbers.”
    I basically gave the answer already: a slavish adherence to ‘good government’ ideals, such as ‘transparency’. Look, I would agree that state governments have the power to enact such a requirement, but when a state does something that reduces bidding by 90% it is drastically reducing another ingredient of good government. It’s just stupid. It’s like a married couple agreeing to never go to bed angry and then never going to bed at all because they must fulfill their agreement.

  • One can find something disagreeable in almost any state.

    I have no experience living in Illinois. I worked in DC for almost six years. I lived in both Maryland and Virginia. Northern Virginia, more aptly named Suburban Virginia, even 25 years ago, had nothing in common with the rest of Virginia. Inadequate roads, townhouse after townhouse, sales taxes on food and clothing and property taxes on cars. Yeech. Maryland assessed a tax on every car brought into the state and Maryland, thanks to Baltimore City and the DC suburbs of Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, gives the Dhimmicrats a hammerlock on political control. People move to York County, PA and commute to the Baltimore area to escape Maryland taxes. Maryland/DC/VA summers have the heat and humidity of Florida in the summer and dank, rainy winters. Snow flurries cause panic.

    I worked in Cleveland twice. Ohio gives cities the power to assess an income tax on commuting workers – something DC has been screaming for for decades. Still, Cleveland is broke and depressing.

    I was born in Western Pennsylvania and returned when I was 32. Pittsburgh is in many places a beautiful city and I consider the quality of life here to be good. Pennsylvania politics are corrupt, wretched and obnoxious. Almost everyone outside of the five county Southeastern Pennsylvania area loathe Philadelphia. Every presidential election beings about massive voter fraud in Philly. Harrisburg is a little city that is almost a Philly ‘burb and the state government is no better than the Philadelphia government. Pittsburgh hasn’t elected a Republican to any city office since before FDR.

    If Houston, Texas had a National Hockey League team, I would likely be in the Houston suburbs now.

  • Again, my suspicion is that the disappearing businesses were formal dissolutions of companies not actually doing any business. Just a guess.

    I had a land line for a year I scarcely used (but on which I received quite a few robocalls as well as people looking for the previous holder of the number in question). I am not understanding why, if these people want state business, they do not just post the number of a landline attached to an answering machine which plays the message after one ring.

  • I live in the state Where Young People Go To Retire. It gets a 61% favorable rating… We moved from Kansas to California to here. We tried to get out once, ten years ago, to Colorado, but had to return for my husband’s job.

    I rate it “as good as any to live in” because my husband has a job that he likes. We are very lucky.

    To have more family nearby would be much better. I plan to encourage my kids to locate in the region, because I have lived through what it’s like to be so far away from family when your children are growing up. Better to have grandparents nearby, and aunts and uncles and cousins.

    But, hey midwesterners, read it and weep: we have no chiggers.

  • “I am not understanding why, if these people want state business, they do not just post the number of a landline attached to an answering machine which plays the message after one ring.”
    Art, sorry, I was unclear as to your concern. The home address was also required info on the company web site. It wasn’t just the risk of telephone harassment that caused the concern, but the risk of physical harassment and worse. My mind focused on the possibility of telephone harassment since I see that as more likely problem.

  • “it’s kind of sad that Illinoisans live there only for the commute to Chicago”

    Well, if residents of Springfield, Peoria, Champaign, Carbondale and other town south of I-80 or even I-70 are living there for the commute to Chicago they are going to have an awfully long commute 🙂

    I note that Illinois is geographically much larger than some of the other “hated” states — nearly 400 miles from top (Rockford) to bottom (Cairo) and about 200 miles across at its widest point (Quincy to Danville). Some parts of extreme southern Illinois are closer to Memphis than they are to Chicago, while extreme western Illinois around Quincy is closer to Kansas City (about 220 miles) than Chicago (290 miles). That said, about 2/3 or maybe more of the state’s population lives within 100 miles of Chicago and the suburbs are the fastest growing area of the state; the city has been losing population and so are many downstate areas.

  • Things could be worse in Illinois.

    Low cost, pollution-free, safe and secure nuclear energy provides 48.9% of the electricity in Illinois with 47.6% from coal, 2.8% from natural gas, and the rest from useless renewable energy. If it were not for nuclear, then residents would not be able to afford their already high electric bills because it costs real money to refuel a coal fired 1000 MW power plant with 22 rail road cars of coal every two weeks (not to mention that all that mega tonnage of carbon ends up being discharged into the air everyone breathes) whereas a nuke gets refueled (just 1/3rd of the core) every 2 years (real cheap, which is why the govt strangles the industry with unnecessary regulation – collusion between fossil corporate executives and politicians).

    Here is a list of Illinois nukes that you can thank that things are not worse:

    Braidwood Nuclear Generating Station

    Byron Nuclear Generating Station

    Clinton Nuclear Generating Station

    Dresden Nuclear Power Plant

    LaSalle County Nuclear Generating Station

    Quad Cities Nuclear Generating Station

  • I know the Constitution makes it tough if not inpossible, but at what point do the extra-urban populations of Illinois, NY State, Maryland, Washington State and Pennsylvania say “ENOUGH!” and sever the ties that bind?
    Big-city tax dollars are addictive to state controllers, and the majorities in the urban centers would be huge impediments; the sway in Congress would be overwhelmingly Republican as rural populations were freed from the urban hordes, but it’s sure fun to imagine . . .

  • There have been exactly two instances under the current Constitution in which one part of an existing state broke off and formed a new state: Maine separated from Massachusetts in 1820, and West Virginia broke off from Virginia in 1863. In both instances, the “seceding” areas were remote rural areas that were physically alienated from the state’s central cities (Maine was and is separated from Mass. by a small strip of New Hampshire; WV is divided from VA by the Appalachian Mts.). Also in both instances, the catalyst for Congress to permit formation of these new states was a national crisis: Maine statehood was part of the Missouri Compromise (a new free state to balance out MO as a slave state) while West Virginia was admitted as a new Union state during the Civil War.

    To this day, both states are economically less prosperous than their “mother” states; rural poverty and unemployment have long been chronic problems for both. Yet, Maine ranks among the states whose residents are LEAST inclined to want to leave, and W. Va. also gets surprisingly high marks from its residents as one of the “best” states. An argument could be made that both states would have been economically better off had they never seceded, but I doubt very much that any Down Easter or Mountaineer would ever favor reunification — because ultimately, it was never about taxation or economics, it was about culture.

    I suspect a similar process would occur were downstate IL or upstate NY ever to form their own states. They would probably struggle economically at least in the short term, say, for the first 20 years or so of statehood, as they would be cut off from the main economic “engines” of their current states. (The commonly voiced belief among downstate IL residents that Chicago as a whole drains state money and resources away from them is a myth; if anything, it’s the other way around, as much of downstate is too sparsely populated to support its own road system and other infrastructure without the fuel taxes and other reciepts collected in the Chicago metro area.) Longer term, perhaps, the new states could catch up as they welcomed businesses driven out of the older states by excessive taxation and regulation, but it would not happen overnight.

  • TomD, It’s not updated more than annually and often runs a year or two behind, but if you want to locate someone, particularly someone who’s not transient, you can usually find their address in the Polk Directory at the public library. Having the home address on the website reduces shoe-leather costs (and that may be important if your harasser is of the utmost impetuousness), but an established local resident is usually easy to locate.

  • I was not suggesting secession, but reconstitution into confederation. You’d have some thin filaments connecting the two components (joint commissions), and adjustable boundary between them, and a shared pair of U.S. Senators. Otherwise, the two components would have separate law codes, separate central governments, and lead separate lives.

    You have north of 4 million people in Downstate Illinois, with about 7% in a fragment of greater St. Louis, about 25% in one of ten small cities and the remainder in small towns and country townships. Personal income per capita outside the 7 counties around Chicago averages to about 90% of national means. They can afford to maintain their road system.

    You’d have some frictional costs as a second state capital was set up somewhere around Chicago, as a new superordinate apparat was erected for state employees stationed around Chicago, and as the state’s prison cells were divvied up between the components. I suspect the biggest challenge would be re-working Medicaid re-imbursements, re-working state support for higher education, and distributing responsibility for maintaining the extant state pension system in an actuarially sound condition. You’d have to grandfather the current employees in and then create separate systems going forward.

  • Sounds great to me Art. I do suspect that dividing states may be a coming cause as gigantic urban centers and the rest of states become ever more alien and hostile to each other. If done in a politically neutral manner, I can imagine that the formal division into separate states of California, Illinois, Texas, etc. might eventually attract bipartisan support.

  • Texas apparently retains the right to split itself apart into five or seven states.

    I would welcome a split in Pennsylvania. Philadelphia and its surrounding counties of Chester. Montgomery, Bucks and Delaware should go their own way or join New Jersey. The remainder of Pennsylvania then becomes a red state, Allegheny County notwithstanding. If Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William, Arlington and Alexandria went their own way, the rest of Virginia goes red. The rest of New York State would be better off without NYC and Westchester.

Stephanie Neiman

Wednesday, April 30, AD 2014

Stephanie Neiman

The power of life and death is permitted to certain civil magistrates because theirs is the responsibility under law to punish the guilty and protect the innocent. Far from being guilty of breaking this commandment [Thou shall not kill], such an execution of justice is precisely an act of obedience to it. For the purpose of the law is to protect and foster human life. This purpose is fulfilled when the legitimate authority of the State is exercised by taking the guilty lives of those who have taken innocent lives.

Catechism of the Council of Trent



Stephanie Neiman was murdered just shy of 15 years ago.  She had just graduated from high school.  She was an only child, beloved of her parents.  By all accounts she was hard working and fearless.  She was a Vacation Bible School volunteer so I assume she was religious.  This is how she died:



Stephanie Neiman was proud of her shiny new Chevy truck with the Tasmanian Devil sticker on it and a matching “Tazz” license plate.

Her parents had taught the teenager to stand up for “what was her right and for what she believed in.”

Neiman was dropping off a friend at a Perry residence on June 3, 1999, the same evening Clayton Lockett and two accomplices decided to pull a home invasion robbery there. Neiman fought Lockett when he tried to take the keys to her truck.

The men beat her and used duct tape to bind her hands and cover her mouth. Even after being kidnapped and driven to a dusty country road, Neiman didn’t back down when Lockett asked if she planned to contact police.

The men had also beaten and kidnapped Neiman’s friend along with Bobby Bornt, who lived in the residence, and Bornt’s 9-month-old baby.

“Right is right and wrong is wrong. Maybe that’s what Clayton was so scared of, because Stephanie did stand up for her rights,” her parents later wrote to jurors in an impact statement. “She did not blink an eye at him. We raised her to work hard for what she got.”

Steve and Susie Neiman asked jurors to give Lockett the death penalty for taking the life of their only child, who had graduated from Perry High School two weeks before her death.

Lockett later told police “he decided to kill Stephanie because she would not agree to keep quiet,” court records state.

Neiman was forced to watch as Lockett’s accomplice, Shawn Mathis, spent 20 minutes digging a shallow grave in a ditch beside the road. Her friends saw Neiman standing in the ditch and heard a single shot.

Lockett returned to the truck because the gun had jammed. He later said he could hear Neiman pleading, “Oh God, please, please” as he fixed the shotgun.

The men could be heard “laughing about how tough Stephanie was” before Lockett shot Neiman a second time.

“He ordered Mathis to bury her, despite the fact that Mathis informed him Stephanie was still alive.”

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49 Responses to Stephanie Neiman

  • Thank you for putting l’outrage du jour in context Donald.

  • God can forgive them, if He so chooses.

    We must put these murderers to death. And much quicker than we do now.

  • I have come to oppose the death penalty, but my opposition is for one reason, and one reason only: I believe that we should oppose the death penalty as part of an overall culture of life – to create a culture where NO life is unworthy of living and worth taking, even the life of the most hardened criminal.

    (Actually, I would add a second reason: the real possibility of executing an innocent person, alone, is reason enough to abolish the death penalty.)


    I do NOT believe that the death penalty is cruel and unusual.

    I do NOT believe that the death penalty is immoral.

    I do NOT believe that one MUST oppose the death penalty to be a good Catholic, and I utterly reject the spewings of certain neo-ultramontanist arbiters of all things “Catholic” (ahem, Mark Shea) who insist otherwise.

    And, finally, whenever these discussions come up, I like to remind folks to be mindful of and merciful toward the sufferings of the murderer’s victims and their families, and to temper their outrage over the death penalty accordingly. Somewhere, someone is still grieving over the loss of a loved one or loved ones, and is wondering why people seem more outraged over the death of their loved one’s murderer than they are over the suffering inflicted by that murderer.

  • As a culture of life, we must execute those who take life.

  • I’m appalled that some people are more concerned about Lockett’s execution and it’s botching than they are about the brutal murder of this young girl. To me, people like Mark Shea are totally heartless toward the victims and their loved ones. A commentator over at Shea’s site called him out on it, and what was his reply? “I have a cousin who came within seconds of being murdered by Ted Bundy. Take your mind reading elsewhere.”

  • “I have a cousin who came within seconds of being murdered by Ted Bundy.”

    Sufficient murder victim empathy. Check.

    I suppose? What does his comment even mean? Is that anything like Beaver punching Larry Mondello in the stomach “right where [he] almost had [his] operation”?

  • My only regret is that Mr. Lockett had only one life to take for his crimes.

    Hmmm… now there’s a story idea. One where a society has a killer executed for each person they’ve killed by resuscitation after the execution. So if you’ve killed 3 people, they’ll execute you once by some method, then revive you to do it again, then once more. Wonder what I could do with that…

    “I have a cousin who came within seconds of being murdered by Ted Bundy. Take your mind reading elsewhere.”

    If I was a far less charitable man, I’d ask Shea how he’d feel if the adorable Lucy had been Lockett’s victim.

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  • St. Pope John Paul II calling the death penalty “cruel” in 1999 in St. Louis was the leader of 1.2 billion Catholics calling something cruel which Cardinal Dulles noted God mandated over 34 times in the Bible. It’s the drift away from scripture in this case by Popes. It was first done also on wifely obedience which is absent in Vatican II and in the catechism though 6 times referenced in the NT. Next was the death penalty. Subconsciously Rome needed two bones to throw to non religious elites in Europe and Manhattan in order for them to listen to us on abortion. They took the bones and gave nothing in return.
    Romans 13:4 is never mentioned in Evangelium Vitae…at all…and it was pivotal for Aquinas and requires that states be ministers to God’s wrath not ours with the sword, the machaira, which same machaira is used in Acts 12:2 when Herod executes James by it. Romans 13:4 was written in the context of the Roman empire which had inescapable life sentences ad metalla…in the mines…so the current claim that inescapable life sentences are spanking new and change things are ludicrous apologetics at work. Between 1796 and 1865, six Popes executed 516 criminals in the then large papal states via this papal executioner:

    What? They couldn’t find locked rooms for life for them for life. St. Pope John Paul II used in Evangelium Vitae the case of Cain being protected by God from revenge by others as iconic for us. But that same God mandates a bit later ( unmentioned in Evangelium Vitae) the death penalty for murder in Gen.9:6 when that same God is about to bring about the first government by Nimrod in Gen.10:8. Sorry folks. Our Popes don’t memorize scripture like Aquinas did. God then protected Cain from vigilantes in the abscence of government but then that same God instituted executions once He brought about government. Gen.9:6 is addressed to Jews and Gentiles and then is reechoed in Romans 13:4 at the end of the Bible.
    Christ referred to Gen.9:6’s death penalty when Pilate said he had power of life and death over Christ….to which Christ replied, ” You would have no power over me at all had it not been given you from above.”
    Drugs work against deterrence. Execution should be painful like a firing squad. For great deterrence studies, see link below….our new policy will get human victims killed every year if this lady at the Michigan Law Review is correct:

  • Ezekiel 18:23 “Do I find pleasure in the death of the wicked—oracle of the Lord GOD? Do I not rejoice when they turn from their evil way and live?”

  • Mark Harden,
    Ezekiel 20:38
    “And I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against me”. God had the earth swallow Dathan and Abiram, God killed Uzzah for touching the ark, God killed the sons of Heli for misusing the priesthood, God killed 72 descendants of Jeconiah for not greeting the ark….the list is long and extends into God killing Herod in Acts 12 and Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5.
    Aquinas called such passages as Ezekiel 18:23 the antecedent willing of God as opposed to his consequent willing. You can see His consequent willing when He kills through the Romans kills 1.1 million people ( Josephus) in Jerusalem in 70 AD….after Christ noted that it would happen because Jerusalem had not known the hour of its visitation. Christ gave instructions how to escape that herem and He gave those instructions 37 years to circulate in Jerusalem.

  • Proverbs 11:21: “Be sure of this: The wicked will not go unpunished, but those who are righteous will go free.”

  • It is entirely possible you have never heard of (Stephanie) Neiman, but you have probably heard of the botched execution of her murderer Clayton Lockett…
    –Donald R. McClarey

    I haven’t heard of Miss Neiman in any of the soundbites from bishops who threw a pity-party for her murderer. And in this case I am willing to believe the omission is not due to the media massaging, snipping, and twisting what our bishops said.

  • No devout Catholic can endorse the death penalty.

  • “What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost oned until he finds it?
    And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy
    and, upon his arrival home, he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’
    I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.”

    When we execute one of those lost sheep, do you think Jesus is pleased to find him…dead?

  • Mark Harden,
    You’re using one part of scripture against another part of scripture and that itself is a sin since Dei Verbum in Vatican II noted that ” both testaments with all their parts have God as their Author”. So for you to use a parable about sinners (NOT CRIMINALS) against Romans 13:4 ( about criminals) is non rational and Benedict at Regensburg said faith and rationality travel together.

  • LWC: Wrong. And I say that as as someone who does not support the death penalty. It is simple ignorance to imply being Catholic necessitates opposition to the death penalty.

  • And Paul, you are correct. The Catechism of the Catholic Church indeed ‘acknowledges’ the legitimate right and duty of public authority to impose the death penalty in cases of extreme gravity. However, If bloodless means are sufficient to defend human lives against an aggressor and to protect public order and the safety of persons, public authority must limit itself to such means, because they better correspond to the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person. (2266)

    If such person is incarcerated they have addressed and neutralized the danger, thus negating the need for execution.

    As an aside, do you therefore consider Christ to have been executed or murdered?

  • And Paul, one more thing. Christ himself was quoted as saying in John 8:7, “Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone.” How much further clarification do you need?

  • LWC: is that why Christ permitted the two thieves to get down off their crosses and serve lifetime sentences? Oh wait…

  • Nate, no more than he pulled himself off the cross.

  • Because He was there as a sacrifice, the other two could have been spared. You asked “what more clarification” Paul needed – well how about a legion or two of angels stopping a just execution?

  • LWC,
    The catechism writer never thought of deterrence …lol. The catechism article only concerns protection from a murderer you have caught. It never even adverts to deterring other murderers. God gave over 34 death penalties partly to deter people from doing the act He was proscribing. Article 2267 drops all interest in God’s wrath of Rom.13:4 and switches to protecting us but ONLY from caught murderers which vary wildly within countries; and in the US is about 2/3 of murderers but in Guatemala is 1/20th of murderers who have killed.
    The catechism via life sentences has the country protecting you from caught murderers only. In Catholic Guatemala, the arrest rate for murder is c.5%. That means the catechism application in Catholic Guatemala is protecting you from 5% of murderers. 95% of murderers there feel that odds are they can kill you and not get caught. Their murder rate is 38 per 100,000 which puts them in the top 25 worst countries where six other Catholic countries are. We are almost a third of the worst countries on earth and only one of those has an death penalty (that is not used). The others are prison only and your family is multiples safer in Shinto Japan.
    The two largest Catholic populations are non death penalty Mexico and Brazil and the Mexican prisons are 60% controlled by the cartels according to one of their Justice officials…cartels who in one case left the prison…did a murder and returned to the prison. Go to youtube and enter Mexican prison murder and you’ll see cartel people in another case, enter a prison, murder inmates and leave. Both countries have murder rates 50 times higher than death penalty China which also has many poor people. The catechism article is describing Euro safe country prisons with very middleclass dominant populations….irrelevant to the two largest Catholic populations on earth which are crime basket cases. Two Decembers ago, 1200 Brazilian prisoners left prison on Christmas leave and never returned. Brazil had a man rape a woman on a bus as he pointed a pistol at other passengers. Whoever wrote the catechism article was trying to please St. Pope John Paul II who was not great at protecting anyone from criminals….even after he was informed about them. He just wasn’t.

  • Having made such compelling arguments in favor of the State’s right to execute, could any of you bring yourself to participate in an execution?

  • And likewise what compounded this execution (beyond the horrendous competence of the phlebotomist) is that an actual physician is described as having participated–in direct contravention of his oath as physician (let alone if he was Catholic).

  • If such person is incarcerated they have addressed and neutralized the danger, thus negating the need for execution.

    I suggest you Google/Bing “Ron Johnson and Eric Robert” and then Google/Bing “Lynette Johsnon.”

  • “Having made such compelling arguments in favor of the State’s right to execute, could any of you bring yourself to participate in an execution?”

    In this case most certainly. I would also have had no trouble at all prosecuting him and seeking the death penalty.

  • “No devout Catholic can endorse the death penalty.”

    Catholic opponents of the death penalty often display an astonishing ignorance of the fact that their position is in direct contradiction to the teaching of the Church until the day before yesterday in terms of the history of the Church. For example, here is Pius XII on the death penalty on September 14, 1952:

    “Even in the case of the death penalty the State does not dispose of the individual’s right to life. Rather public authority limits itself to depriving the offender of the good of life in expiation for his guilt, after he, through his crime, deprived himself of his own right to life.”

    The Vatican had the death penalty until 1969. The official papal executioner under Pius IX had 562 executions to his credit. The idea that devout Catholics cannot be in favor of the death penalty is absurd on its face from the history of the Church.

  • LWC,
    Participate in an execution? I sleep next to a tactical shotgun because a thug from the ghetto area broke in two years ago in a mixed income town on the NY harbor and I beat him in a fight to within an inch of his life but he promised to return with a pistol for me. The house is now wired for soun by me. A security company rang my bell shortly after and tried to sell me their monthly plan. I responded, “If he returns, he’s dead.”. They both smiled and continued their sales talk….”you could get arrested if you kill him”. I responded, ” I know N.J.’s legal protocol on killing him after one verbal warning….he’s dead.” “But with our plan…” “He’s dead”, I interjected. They both left laughing.
    I pray for the man monthly as to God predestinating him and saving him from darkness as God did me long ago when I was dangerous myself…but I will kill him if he ignores one verbal warning or if he already is moving a pistol up horizontal. Survival from his pistol shots is around 80%…survival from a 3″ shotgun shell at close range is much lower. He may not return even after prison because he knows I’m at home in fighting and very quick on tactical decisions.

  • “Do unto others as you would be done unto.” Lockett ought to have been raped, shot twice and buried alive. It is an education into what his actions have done to an innocent person. Sheep are innocent, murderers, even when incarcerated for life are a constant threat to the warden, guards, doctors and other inmates in the prison. (rogue animals are put to death) It is double jeopardy of life inflicted by the state when the murderer is allowed to live. The first jeopardy occurred when the murderer committed his first homicide, the second jeopardy occurs when the murderer is not put to death. From The Preamble, the purpose of the state and our written Constitution, the state is constituted to “secure the Blessing of Liberty to ourselves and our (constitutional) posterity” (all future generations) who will not be brought into our world if their ancestors are victims of homicide.
    Every condemned murderer ought to have done unto him/her as they have done to their innocent victim. Six feet under with rigor mortis is not better than life in prison. The murderer has deprived his victim of his civil rights to relate to God in thought, word and deed, freedom to peaceably assemble. Why ought a condemned murderer be allowed to live, when the death penalty might be the only venue he has for conversion? A condemned murderer expires with grief over his crime. A living murderer, retaining his life, is proof of his impenitence.
    Yes, Jesus Christ suffered capital one punishment for blasphemy as Israel is a theocracy. “Let the innocent man cast the first stone.” God is the final judge of blasphemy. Every man who has hated his neighbor dies when a capital one murderer is put to death. Only cowards and liars refuse their just punishments. All mankind deserves to die as Jesus died…if we are lucky.
    “My kingdom is not of this world.” Priests promise to pray constantly and minister to the Word of God. Priests’ lives belong to God in a consecrated way and priests must busy themselves praying for the souls of both victims and perpetrators. Priests can ask for leniency for condemned murderers. The state does not have to respond in an affirmative way. Obviously, the priests failed to save the victim’s life. Therefore, the state must do its duty to deliver Justice, bringing the murderer to Justice. If the murderer does not get his just deserts here on earth, he will in eternity. Here, there is still time for repentance before capital punishment. The murderer does not get to call the shots to the state. The state calls the shots to the murderer. “…and may almighty God have mercy on your immortal soul.”
    Atheists need not apply.

  • And Paul, one more thing. Christ himself was quoted as saying in John 8:7, “Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone.” How much further clarification do you need?

    Others have already adequately explained why your catechical understanding is defective, but I had to chuckle at this comment. Based on your “logic” not only is the death penalty wrong, but basically so is all imprisonment.

  • Well Paul, please enlighten me with your superior intellect and clarify my flawed logic as to how imprisonment exceeds the confines of 2266. And though my playground is generally in the realm of cardiac physiology and yours theology, please charitably attend to an obviously poorly catechized Catholic.

  • LWC,
    The original death penalty for adultery was mandated to the Jews by the three Persons of the Trinity…including the Son.
    Leviticus 20:1 ” The Lord spoke to Moses saying….verse 10….If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbor, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.”

    Christ’s ” let him who is without sin, cast the first stone” was not a comment on the law which Christ mandated as Son. It was a comment on how these particular men were oblivious to their own sinfulness and thus were seeing the woman as wholly other than themselves. It is very possible that Christ who was writing in the dirt in the incident was writing their own sins in the dirt with their names in a coded private manner because they leave one by one in perfect order of descending age….” they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones”.
    Jeremiah may have partly predicted this moment in Jer.17:13….” they that depart from thee, shall be written in the earth.”
    Christ brought those private sin death penalties to an end by bringing grace and by reducing the power of satan for all men. But prior to Christ men needed great physical threats from God just to avoid adultery.

  • [br] I see LWC’s “Proclamation of Righteousness Tour” has reached it’s next stop. [br]

    It would be nice, LWC, if for once you *didn’t* open with your usual posture of belligerent denunciation of arguments you don’t like. Just a thought.

  • Dale, I’ll give it consideration. Thank you.

  • And beyond finding whatever rationale allows you to sleep a night, I’d consider a reasonable test would be if you could, yourself, participate in an execution.

  • Because your prevailing logic would suggest participation in an execution would be no different than jury duty or serving in public office.

  • I would sleep perhaps uneasily. But so I would if I shot someone in self-defence or in a just war. And the next morning I would go to Communion because I would not have committed a sin. This, because the Church has always taught that self-defense is licit. It continues to do so in the Catechism in regards to the death penalty – the Church teaches it is licit for defense.

    That is, in the second edition of the Catechism. In the first edition there was the traditional teaching that others refer to. Has the Church declared definitively that the older arguments are invalid (a development of doctrine.) Of this I am not sure. But what I am sure of is that, at least in regards to the matter of the defence of the community, the death penalty is licit under proper circumstances. So I could participate in it.

    This relates immediately to the principle of double effect. I won’t go through it now but you can find good summaries of it on any internet search.

  • Execution should be safeswift, legal and rare.

    As to participation, I could bust out my St. Augustine, but why bother?

  • Wherein a James Woods “tweet” remembers the murder victim amid faux furor over a botched execution in OK.

    “Beaten with a shotgun, shot twice, then buried alive. Her name was Stephanie Neiman. Remember HER.”

    Not the two-legged rat (filthy animal) that vilely killed her 15 years ago.

    Genesis, “Who spills amn’s blood by man shal his blood be spilt. For man is made in God’s image.

    All you saintly people looking down your sanctimonious noses on me can . . .

    LWC: I’d particpate in the rat’s extermination. Only condition: let me use my K-Bar knife.

  • Thank you to whomever cleaned up by sloppy HTML tags.

  • Provided I can maintain plausible deniability, I’m cool with it.

  • To be more polite:

    T. Shaw, Provided I can maintain plausible deniability, I’m cool with it.

  • It wasn’t a botched execution if the guy died in the process. He may not have gone off into that good night according to plan, but the execution was successful.

    Jay, I am glad to hear that you do not ascribe lack of orthodoxy to those of us who support the death penalty, ala Mark Shea et al. I also understand your reason for opposing it, (i.e.the building of a culture of life). While that is a laudable sentiment, it does not square with the facts on the ground when you consider that the overwhelming majority of the anti-death penalty movement is rabidly pro-abortion and the striking correlation between the embrace of the Culture of Death vz abortion and euthanasia and the reluctance to administer capital punishment on the part of civil authorities western countries.

    Donald, if you are saying or implying that opposition to the death penalty stands contrary to the teaching of the pre VCII Church, that is not true. Church teaching has always allowed for opposition to the death penalty as much as it allowed support for it. The quote you cite from Pius XII is from a medical allocution he gave regarding research on issues dealing with the nervous system.

    If you read it in its entirety, it is clear that he is not attempting any magisterial pronouncement on the issue of capital punishment, but mentions it in passing as means to distinguish between unjust killing even for scientific purposes and the death penalty. I think those on our side of the death penalty issue make a mistake in citing that quote in that they make too much of it. After Pius XII himself unsuccessfully pleaded for clemency on behalf of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.

    Although I support the death penalty, I do not think we should relish the idea of it. I support it because I think it is needed to protect the common good. I have the same sentiments regarding the waging of war.

    Seeing as how complaining about Pope Francis is the rage du jour here at TAC ever since he gave that first interview to Civileta Cattolica, I think it would be apropo to point out the thing I found most problematic (the only thing I really found problematic in that interview) . And has direct bearing on the subject at hand:

    “The pope comments: “St. Vincent of Lerins makes a comparison between the biological development of man and the transmission from one era to another of the deposit of faith, which grows and is strengthened with time. Here, human self-understanding changes with time and so also human consciousness deepens. Let us think of when slavery was accepted or the death penalty was allowed without any problem. So we grow in the understanding of the truth. ”

    Thing is, out of all the bitching and moaning about this interview and Pope Francis in general, I can’t find anyone who has said anything about this line, which is by far the most problematic thing he said that we know of. It leads me to believe that those who complain about Pope Francis are no more concerned about the truth than those who mindlessly shill for him are. But they are more about stirring the pot for its own sake than anything else.

  • “Church teaching has always allowed for opposition to the death penalty as much as it allowed support for it.”

    If you mean that Catholics could call for mercy for the condemned that is correct, as Catholics have been free to call for mercy in regard to lesser sentences. If you mean that Catholics could teach that the Church forbid the use of the death penalty that is incorrect, since the Church did not. Now the Church, with a wink and a nod so that the prior history of the teaching of the Church in this area is not quite directly contradicted, does call for the de facto abolition of the death penalty.

    The late Cardinal Dulles wrote an excellent review of Church teaching on the death penalty.

  • “But they are more about stirring the pot for its own sake than anything else.”

    Incorrect. Pope Francis is coming under criticism because he has a habit of making loose statements that seem to be unorthodox. That of course is why he is also getting rave reviews from much of the secular media. We will see if the fears of orthodox Catholics are without foundation and if the hopes of the secular media are unfounded.

  • LWC: “And beyond finding whatever rationale allows you to sleep a night, I’d consider a reasonable test would be if you could, yourself, participate in an execution.”
    The executioner in any capital punishment execution operates “in power of attorney of the condemned criminal” who is to be executed by the Justice the criminal rejected.
    Some have ten executioners and no one really knows who shoots the criminal to death.
    The innocent children, raped, strangled and buried alive cry out to God for vengeance. Polly Klass, Megan Kanka, Divina Genao, Amanda Wengert, 19 of John Wayne Gacy’s victims…
    How do you sleep at night?

  • “The Catholic magisterium in recent years has become increasingly vocal in opposing the practice of capital punishment. Pope John Paul II in Evangelium Vitae declared that “as a result of steady improvements in the organization of the penal system,” cases in which the execution of the offender would be absolutely necessary “are very rare, if not practically nonexistent.” Again at St. Louis in January 1999 the Pope appealed for a consensus to end the death penalty on the ground that it was “both cruel and unnecessary.” The bishops of many countries have spoken to the same effect.”
    from First Things and Avery Cardinal Dulles. “both cruel and unnecessary” emasculates capital punishment. The victim is dead.
    Both St. John Paul II and Cardinal Dulles cannot live another person’s life for them, nor can they run surety for a capital one murderer and guarantee safety for society. Therefore, both St. John Paul II and Cardinal Dulles cannot remove the protection guaranteed by capital punishment. The duplicity in their argument is not from God.

  • UPDATED to correct typo in first line
    This article leaves out many of the details.
    After the trial was completed in August 2000, the Associated Press reported that “Lockett was found guilty of conspiracy, first-degree burglary, three counts of assault with a dangerous weapon, three counts of forcible oral sodomy, four counts of first-degree rape, four counts of kidnapping and two counts of robbery by force and fear. The charges were after former convictions of two or more felonies, according to the court clerk’s office.”
    For those of you wimps who still feel sorry for this vermin, if you run into someone silar, do not look for me to help you.
    Help yourself. – See more at:

Benghazi Betrayal

Wednesday, April 30, AD 2014



Sharryl Attkisson, who left CBS News because of their unwillingness to report on news harmful to the Obama administration, reports on the attempt by the Obama administration to intentionally lie to the American people about the Benghazi attack:


Newly-released documents reveal direct White House involvement in steering the public narrative about the September 11, 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya, toward that of a spontaneous protest that never happened.

One of the operative documents, which the government had withheld from
​Congress and reporters for a year and a half, is an internal September 14,
​2012 email to White House press officials from Ben Rhodes, President Obama’s
​Assistant and Deputy National Security Advisor. (Disclosure:Ben Rhodes
​is the brother of David Rhodes, the President of CBS News, where I
was employed until March.)

In the email, Ben Rhodes lists as a “goal” the White House desire “To
​underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a
broader failure or policy.”

The email is entitled, “RE: PREP CALL with Susan, Saturday at 4:00 pm ET”
and refers to White House involvement in preparing then-U.S.Ambassador
to the U.N. Susan Rice for her upcoming appearance on Sunday television
​ network political talk shows.

The Rhodes email states that another “goal” is “To reinforce the President and Administration’s strength and steadiness in dealing with difficult challenges.”

A court compelled the release of the documents, which were heavily-redacted, to the conservative watchdog group JudicialWatch, which has sued the government over its failed Freedom of Information responses. I have also requested Benghazi-related documents under Freedom of Information law, but the government has only produced a few pages to date.

Today, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) called the Rhodes email the “smoking gun” showing the “political manipulation by the White House” after the attacks.

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8 Responses to Benghazi Betrayal

  • We never merited this much contempt and mendacity before either.

  • I disagree Ernst. The only people who deserve this administration are the misguided fools who voted for it.

  • The fools have us outnumbered Donald. Our guilt lies in the fact we let that happen.

    Anyway, it was meant more as an allusion to Franklin, seeing as we’ve just about reached the point “when the People shall become so corrupt as to need Despotic Government, being incapable of any other[.]”

  • “Our guilt lies in the fact we let that happen.”

    The wise voters being outvoted by the foolish is an occupational hazard of Democracy! 🙂

    I would be more disturbed by this administration currently if Obama’s job approval ratings were not now sinking to new depths.

  • I think his approval ratings were slightly lower in the fall of 2011 during one of the Euro-convulsions. The man is an indicator of loss of seriousness among the political class and populace alike, so sinking approval ratings are to be welcomed as one might falling temperature during a fever.

  • Disturbing to know that this man was voted in mostly because of his skin color and not about the content of his character, which is a mile wide and an inch deep.

  • Obama’s always struck me as both narrow and shallow. But I’ll concede he can fake an appearance of broadness, whatever we mean by that.
    And letting our Republic devolve into, and remain, a democracy is exactly where our collective guilt resides.

  • “And letting our Republic devolve into, and remain, a democracy is exactly where our collective guilt resides.”

    Most of the Founding Fathers were complaining about the ignorance of the voters throughout the Revolutionary War and the early years of the Republic. Such complaints are a constant feature of American life.


Wednesday, April 30, AD 2014

I rarely read Hot Air much these days, though it is fortunate that I decided to take a look this afternoon or else I would have missed this insightful post from Ed Morrissey, as he absolutely nails it on two distinct issues.

First off, Morrissey calls out the Democrats for their attempt to amend the first amendment. Senator Tom Udall from New Mexico has introduced an amendment inspired by recent Supreme Court decisions that curtailed certain campaign finance restrictions. Morrissey notes that not only does this amendment not have a prayer of getting anywhere near the two-thirds vote required, it’s simply not something that very many Americans are clamoring for.

If Democrats think this will allow them to ride a wave of Occupy Wall Street populism, they’d better look again at the polling this week. Despite spending weeks on the Senate Floor ranting about the Koch Brothers, Harry Reid’s McCarthyite campaign of Kochsteria has resulted in … almost nothing. In the NBC/WSJ poll linked earlier, only 31% had an opinion about the Koch Brothers at all, and only 21% thought of them negatively in a poll where 43% of the respondents admit to voting for Obama in 2012. Michael Bloomberg, one of the left’s multibillionaire activists, got a 26% negative score, and the Democratic Party got a 37% negative score. (The GOP got 44%.) Nearly twice as many respondents think of Barack Obama negatively than they do the Koch Brothers, despite weeks of hard-sell demonization from top Democratic Party leaders.

Well, the Democrats are trying just about everything to prevent the electoral thumping that they will undoubtedly receive this Fall, and this is just one more act of desperation that will have absolutely no impact whatsoever. But at least it lets us know the truth about what they think of the first amendment.

But I’m even more impressed with Morrissey’s final paragraph, as he brings up a Supreme Court case that I’ve long contended was the impetus for all of the craziness that the federal government has spewed forth over the past seven decades.

If Democrats (and Republicans) want to act seriously to take billionaires out of the political game, they’re aiming at the wrong Supreme Court decision. They should pass an amendment repealing Wickard v Filburn‘s impact on the interstate commerce clause. That decision shifted massive political power from the states to Washington DC by defining practically everything as interstate commerce — including non-commerce. Killing Wickard would shift most regulatory power back to the states, and take the corruption out of Washington DC as the stakes would become too small for billionaire investment. Don’t expect Senate Democrats to do anything meaningful on crony capitalism, though … or anything meaningful at all, if this stunt is all they have.

Other than Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood, Wickard stands out as the absolute worst decision in the history of the Court. As Ed points out, it essentially allowed the federal government to intervene in every nook and cranny of our lives under the justification of “interstate commerce,” even where the action under consideration was neither interstate or commerce.

Ed’s also correct in noting that this expansion of the federal government is the prime reason that so much money is being pumped into federal elections, lobbying, and other activities. Last week I heard Russell Simmons spouting about how all of the evils of our world are due to the corrupting influence of money, and that’s why he supported Occupy Wall Street. Yet Simmons and his ilk are the very ones seeking to augment the powers of the federal government. They don’t see the inherent contradiction in this approach. As the federal government grows and grows and grows, it only increases the avenues for monied interests to wield their influence. It is the massive expansion of the federal government that has inspired this massive spending by outside groups. Of course interested stakeholders are going to want to influence the federal government in areas that affect them. The solution to diminishing their influence is not in curtailing the first amendment, but in restoring the balance of power between the states and the federal government. The Koch brothers (and George Soros for that matter) will immediately lose interest in spreading their wealth around to hammer away at the federal government if the federal government would simply get out of everyone’s business.

Like that will ever happen.

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2 Responses to Bingo!

  • Protesting against crony capitalism as the Occupy Wall Street flea baggers do while crying for more and more centralized government in Washington, DC to provide bread and circuses to the undeserving only increases moneyed interests while raping the middle class of its wealth producing ability. It is Democrats and their RINO cousins who benefit from such corporate socialism, as the peepul laud their godless, wicked messiah, Barack Hussein Obama, man of idolatry, perverted filth and murderous intent, no different in substance from his predecessor King Mannaseh of Judah.

  • Paul Zummo–I caught that post on HA. The notion of constitutionally limiting speech, particularly targeting political speech, is worrisome simply in its articulation. And, while it now seems remote, Congress has in the past and will continue to work toward limiting political speech as it serves comgress’ self interest. Remember–liberty is the constituent of no politician.

    Paul Primavera–I enjoy the passion manifest in your colorful language. It reminds me to not be so timid about God’s love and His gift of freedom to us all.

Keeping Kids Faithless

Wednesday, April 30, AD 2014


Hilarious.  Apparently Atheist parents have difficulty in having their kids follow their no god views as adults.

Do kids raised without religion actively seek it out and convert all that often? As it turns out, yes. The most recent data on this that I’ve come across comes from Pew’s 2008 Religious Landscape Survey, which finds that only 46 percent of people who are raised religiously unaffiliated (which includes atheists, agnostics, and those who say they’re “nothing in particular”) remain unaffiliated as adults. By contrast, 68 percent of Catholics and 52 percent of Protestant stay with their childhood religion, and only 14 percent and 13 percent (respectively) stop subscribing to any religion at all:

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3 Responses to Keeping Kids Faithless

  • Thank you, for this opportunity to speak, Donald McClarey. We, the people and our constitutional posterity, all future generations, are the visible and invisible, (rather best said, yet to be visible) individual substances of a rational nature. (St. Thomas Aquinas’ definition of the person.) Roe v. Wade said no “person” (of our posterity) was in the Constitution. “We, the people”, are persons visible and our Constitutional posterity are the persons invisible, those of us with a visible presence and an invisible destiny and those of us with a visible destiny to become a visible presence.
    The atheist must be tolerated. The atheist’s unbelief in the Supreme Sovereign Being, the Person of the True God and the True Man, Jesus Christ’s Real Presence in the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist, in the metaphysical beings of the human soul, angels and demons. The atheist’s non-belief annihilates every vestige of hope and trust in ourselves and in God.
    Atheism is unconstitutional because atheism denies the eternal truth about the human soul, all persons still to be conceived, our future generations, the creation of mankind in equal Justice and unalienable civil rights by an infinite Creator, and the creation of the state by the sovereign personhood of the citizen.
    The devil is evil personified, but the devil is no atheist.

  • Atheists offer no hope and deny all personal responsibility and accountability, saying that the unthinking forces or pure materialism – atoms in motion – determine the actions and reactions of each of us. They offer nothing substantively different than the exact opposite extreme – the Calvinists who say certain people were damned from all of creation and others predestined for heaven.

  • Paul W Primavera: “Atheists offer no hope and deny all personal responsibility and accountability, saying that the unthinking forces or pure materialism – atoms in motion – determine the actions and reactions of each of us. They offer nothing substantively different than the exact opposite extreme – the Calvinists who say certain people were damned from all of creation and others predestined for heaven.”
    Thank you, Paul:
    Atheists do not speak for me or any other person. I believe in God and so ought the atheist. When atheists remove the virtue of God’s perfect Justice, they ought not appeal to the personification of God’s Justice in our Court, as victims (of their own treachery).
    Jesus Christ went to hell to free the patriarchs, but while in hell, Jesus gave the devils hell, annihilation. The devils are legion, persons, who live eternal annihilation.
    Predestination and the atheists’ denial of personal responsibility are two sides of the same coin, as you have pointed out, Paul.

Be of Good Cheer!

Wednesday, April 30, AD 2014

21 Responses to Be of Good Cheer!

  • Very timely, thank you for posting!

  • The Church will survive but will it thrive?

    Maybe. Speculations and what if coming;

    A.) A significant amount of fall away’s return to Church, and end up receiving the graces to attend adult formation and become Catholics in good standing.

    B.) Good traditional Catholics gain the virtue of patience while Pope F. moves about the cabin.

    C.) Bishops who live in 5,000 sq. ft. residences see themselves in different light. Humility and service to the less fortunate return, and the Sheppard seeks the lost sheep.

    Wishful thinking? Yes.
    I hope and pray that Pope Francis will lead to Defend the faith, not ruin it.

  • I have often pondered this question. Will I live long enough to see the Church fully transmogrified into syncretistic modernized mess it seems hellbent on becoming or will the Church be rescued by the Lord.

    As I said, I have often wondered what it must have felt like. I don’t wonder that anymore, I know now. The only thing I wonder now is when God will choose to act and rescue us, His Church, from us, His Church.

    One wonders how God might choose to act. Of late I’ve been curious to study how much Catholics mirror the nation of Israel’s history. Once Solomon went too far astray, and God reacted by dividing the nation (in the repeat case, the Protestant Reformation). Now the Protestants are being scattered and shifted (like the northern kingdom) with some fading away, some growing stronger. So where are we in the southern kingdom? Is this like the Assyrian siege where Jerusalem is saved at the last moment? Or will it be the Babylonian exile?

    On this, I make no predictions.

  • Can’t say I share your optimism, Don. But, what a wonderful picture of such a TRUE saint! And, I was 14 when he left us physically. I have never seen that particular picture before. An amazing character he is, Francesco Forgione.

  • Pingback: 10 Facts You Never Knew about St. John Paul II -
  • If I had a dime for every time I’ve explained “who am I to judge” I’d be a rich man. But maybe that’s the point.

  • “Now it is quite possible, perhaps probable, that Pope Francis will exceed the normal allotment of Papal pratfalls by a goodly margin, but if he does the Church will survive and, as is usually the case, correct his errors in subsequent papacies.” –

    It is not just the Pope’s “pratfalls” which are of concern, but too the many Bishops, the USCCB, and others whose polemics are sources of much of our wayward thinking. But I join you in Hope and appreciate that you applied historical reason to our belief in what lies ahead. I’ll leave you with this palate cleanser:
    “Indeed, the true friends of the people are neither revolutionaries, nor innovators: they are traditionalists.” Pope St. Pius X

  • Two things come to mind: First, the Church survived Pope Alexander VI (Rodrigo Borgia – did I get that right?) and he committed great evil. So the Church will survive lavender flower power, social justice, liberal progressive Pope Francis. At least we can say he is not a philanderer, a fornicator or a thief of the Church treasury. But he loves the public acclaim that comes from all the left wing media on how pious and concerned for the poor and open minded and tolerant and inclusive and nice he is.

    Second, the Church has been in trouble before in history. Revelation 3:14-22 tells us:

    14 “And to the angel of the church in La-odice′a write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation.

    15 “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing; not knowing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 Therefore I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, that you may be rich, and white garments to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nakedness from being seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and chasten; so be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. 21 He who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I myself conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”

  • Nate, I hope it is not the Maccabees.

  • A few things.

    I am not actually gloomy. I know that the Church will triumph, I just don’t know when or how bad it will get before She does.

    My post is not about the Pope per se, rather about the state and direction of the Church.

    In the Garden, Christ feared what came next to the point of sweating blood even though He knew the rest of the story, but we wouldn’t call him gloomy would we?

  • “,but too the many Bishops, the USCCB, and others whose polemics are sources of much of our wayward thinking.”

    And thus it has ever been: “The floor of hell is covered with the skulls of bishops.” Saint Athanasius 325 AD.

  • More than a year after the beginning of the disastrous “Francesco” papacy, I’m still waiting for an apology from our allegedly “humble pope” for his numerous, totally uncharitable and completely uncalled for slights against conservative Catholics.
    This, followed by Sunday’s politically calculated, dual canonization of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II. And now today, the pope’s personal teaching on the Gift of Understanding – as if the Holy Spirit was actually directing his bumbling last twelve months, for the greater good.
    Holy Father, many conservative Catholics have long ago learned to rightly utilize the gifts of the Holy Spirit. We see and comprehend what you are doing, and in response can only pray and respectfully protest, since the Church of faith and reason, which used to be infallibly guided by the Holy Paraclete, appears to have been successfully hijacked by the likes of you and yours – and there’s no telling where that might eventually lead.

  • “And thus it has ever been: “The floor of hell is covered with the skulls of bishops.” Saint Athanasius 325 AD
    Exactly right Don. The tendencies toward a “syncretistic modernized mess” never went away when John Paul II was elected Pope. It just went largely underground. Yes, the number of public statements by bishops, priests, and theologians supporting syncretism declined, but the private conversations certainly continued. Yes, laity who were not particularly active in the church outside of Mass would be less likely to meet these opinions, but those in lay ministries and in Catholic colleges were still subjected to these influences. I’ve seen it myself during those years.

    The real question is, once syncretism is no longer underground, is the mission of the Church compromised? Are more people led astray? I’m not sure that the number of people who are led astray by open syncretism is significantly higher than the number led astray by underground syncretism. I think that you would need two back-to-back syncretistic papacies with the longevity of John Paul II’s to really damage the church. My experience is that people really don’t change their views on this matter once they form them, and so the only threat of real change is multigenerational change.

    And in any case, Pope Francis has never given full support to syncretism anyway. Far from it. It doesn’t bother me that I have to “explain” comments like “who am I to judge” because it gives me an opening to support the other statements that he makes that modern libertines can’t love.

    No, the real threats to the church still come from outside, Internet pornography being perhaps the greatest in our country. Yes, our defense of the church is weakened by syncretism, and so we have to fight that battle also so that we don’t lose our effectiveness against the outside threats. The two arenas are not entirely separate. I just think we need a sense of proportion, and perhaps “The floor of hell is covered with the skulls of bishops” is a good place to start, as is a quote of a Jesuit cousin of my wife’s: “The church was born in scandal. On the night of its founding one of the first twelve bishops betrayed the Founder to his death. You can’t get any more scandalous than that”. And thus it has ever been.

  • I think one of the problems that everyone (including people with SJ after their names) is that there is a difference between syncretism and inculturation, and that difference is particularly difficult to maintain in a culture that has been Christian but which is abandoning Christianity. When a missionary walks into a country he can see what is congruent with Christianity and what is not; he is an outsider who can be more objective in making such assessments (assuming, of course, that he is not a victim of syncretism himself). But this for us is difficult: we live in our culture and so we are biased to see our Christian heritage at work within it. The sands are shifting, and the culture is changing, and the most perceptive amongst us see the hell where this will lead, but we assume that the culture is still healthy enough that evangelization will work with inculturation. ‘The culture is still mostly Christian, so we still have a solid base from which we can evangelize’ is still our working assumption.

    Perhaps this is where Pope Francis is missing the mark. The other night the television was on in my house, and there was some show in which the parents found out that their daughter was planning on surrendering her virginity on the night of high school prom. The plot followed all of the libertine tropes: the oh-so-logical daughter defending her ‘rights’ the family conference, the conflicted but sympathetic mom (who you could just imagine being supportive at the abortion clinic), and of course the uptight dad who goes overboard in his defense of virtue. I couldn’t help it, I kept spouting off about “brainwashing” and said “in another 20 years will we have a show with a family conference about dad getting a mistress?” which got my wife laughing at the grim humor of it (of course I was wrong, our social engineers will first make a show about mom getting her same sex mistress). Here we have the advancement of pagan ideals in our society, and blind inculturation of the Christian message in such an environment will lead to syncretism. We cannot be blind.

    My example also shows what I meant in my first post on this tread: here again our television writers and producers and performers are the drivers of syncretism. They want the church to be open to accepting their views, in their minds we are the ones who need to change. The push for syncretism is still mainly from the outside.

  • I would like to know if anyone really has personal stories about people so enthralled with PF that they are coming back to the Church? Other than what I read hear and what the media promote, PF really isn’t much of a conversation starter. There is this kind of general media driven impression that he is more open and liberal, but not much else. The only few mentions I have heard are few and from people who have no intention of becoming Catholic or returning. Even among my daily mass going friends there’s little mention of PF. May be it is just that my diocese is an even bigger dud that I realized.
    And to the subject of this post, I certainly worry about the many relatives and people I know ensnared by our culture gone astray, Tom D had some particular good insight, but Christ did prevail so will the Church. Sadly, that does not mean everyone will be on board.

  • “Every pope, unless they had a very brief reign like John Paul I, has made bone headed statements and engaged in foolish actions, every one.”
    My favorite is in the Acts of the Apostles, when Peter attempted to refute their critics at Pentecost: “Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning”. As if later at night is different? This proves that even the visible and direct influence of the Holy Spirit is not a guard against the mangled sound bite. Perhaps the line was remembered in Acts as just such a warning to us.

  • Beyond the media hype concerning PF and the anxiety expressed by some traditionalist Catholics, most Catholics are waiting, taking in all that they see and hear of Pope Francis. What I hear could be summarized as: a general good impression but he has been pope only a year, let’s see where this really goes and what will really be his legacy (pro or con). No pope gets a 100% pro rating, not even Saint Pope John Paul whom I along with many consider not only a saint but “Great”

    As for the Church and her future. It is indeed helpful to look to the history of the People of God in the Old Testament [something St Paul encouraged in his Letters] to see in those stories words of warning and encouragement concerning the Church and our own conversion/call to holiness. One striking truth stands out from those pages for me: those who separated themselves from both the Sacrifice (in the Temple)[now read: Eucharist] and the God-given leadership (king) [now read Petrine ministry] in Jerusalem [the Church]-eventually ceased to exist. They literally just disappeared in history.

    However, there is one drawback to this. The Old Covenant has been surpassed by the New Covenant in the Blood of Christ. The guarantees given to Peter and the Church are actually based on the very nature of the New Covenant which in fact is unbreakable. Individuals can be and are separated from it, portions of the Church may disappear but the New Covenant in the Blood of Christ remains as true today as it was in the original Triduum. It is not us who have changed, We are not all that different at all from the People of God in the Old Covenant, it is Christ and the New Covenant that have changed everything. Therefore Paul speaks of boasting of Christ, and the Wisdom of the Cross. That is our boast.

    If you want to take a look at the interpretive key for Church history until the every end, take up the Book of Revelations. The state of the Church in that age was not all that different than our own [see the Letters to the Seven Churches] Note well their strengths and their weaknesses and sins, the promises and the threats. Each ends with with an exhortation to listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. While some might not want to hear this, the Second Vatican Council as an authoritative Ecumenical Council was indeed the Spirit speaking to the churches. The problems was in the hearing and receiving of what the Spirit has been saying. The Spirit does not contradict what God has revealed nor what the Spirit has said before in other Councils-therefore the hermeneutic of continuity (tradition) is a necessary way of hearing and receiving the Council. The Council called the whole Church-at every level to ongoing conversion, ever deeper faith, hope and love, to fuller and deeper communion-to holiness.

    Revelations tells us what will always plague the Church:
    1) those seeking to and encouraging others to compromise the truth with ‘the world’ [with false teaching-heresy]: separate truth from love
    2)those whose charity has grown cold and go into schism: separating love from truth
    3) persecution from political powers
    4) persecution from false prophets and religion

    Solution, according to Revelations?

    Remain faithful, endure the trials and persecutions, keep truth and charity together in the communion of the Church of Jesus Christ founded on the Rock of Peter

  • “I would like to know if anyone really has personal stories about people so enthralled with PF that they are coming back to the Church?”

    Yes, my father’s Church attendance has been better since the Pope was appointed. And he loves the Popes simplicity with materialism. And he acknowledges and is receptive to his messages of love, because he seems to understand this Popes style better.

    I wander Pat, if you ever pondered the fact that Christ didn’t give the Keys to John the Apostle, whom He entrusted the care of his precious Mother, and who was loyal to the end, never faltering. He gave them to the man that denied Him whilst He was being tortured and put to death. By golly Pat, you miss the obvious!

    And so Our Lord has the last laugh- that His so-called ardent defenders like the supreme Pat, who unlike you Don, I don’t really rate, are bemoaning His appointed leader, because Pope Francis is dragging down the very ones who like the pharisees, always thought they were are a cut above the rest. I hope Pope Francis keeps rubbing your snooty nose in the mud. And I will keep smiling with utter satisfaction. And rejoicing that people like my Father, love this Pope and are embracing his words and becoming more closer to the Church, and consequently God.

  • Thanks Ez, I don’t think I’ve seen such a perfect embodiment of Luke 18:11 as that comment. Now have a nice life.

  • The problem with some scholars is that they sometimes leave no prisoners behind in their quest for perfection. Jesus spoke in metaphors because he wanted to reach everyone at every level. Without the use of metaphors, how could he have discussed complex topics with ancient Jews. This pope is trying to bring the Mary Magdalenes of our time back into the fold of our church. Most of us are lost sheeps. We need the soothing words of mercy to stop trembling and realize that the church is not a wolf. That the church is where we can come in and heal our wounds and start the process of repair. Acting like you are way too intelligent for this Pope is superficial and borders one of the greatest sins, pride. You need to take yourself a couple of notches down to a place where most of us duel and struggle with life’s stones that are being thrown at us from every angle.

PopeWatch: Tradition

Wednesday, April 30, AD 2014



Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa notes that Pope Francis is leaving no doubt as to who is in charge:

With Francis the papacy has ended up in a pool of shadow. The light is all for him, the pope. Not the institution, but the person.

He feels himself free from the canonical norms. In just one year he has already suspended six times the ironclad rule that demands a new miracle before a blessed may be proclaimed a saint. John XXIII is the last of the six. Francis wanted at all costs that John Paul II should be canonized not on his own but balanced by another pope with a different profile, less combative, more merciful.

And so it will be on Sunday, April 27. The congregation for the causes of saints has bowed to his will and has offered the pretense of asking Francis for the dispensation, benevolently granted right away.

In addition Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, who still figures as president of the Italian episcopal conference, has asked Francis that it be he, the pope, who delivers the inaugural discourse to the plenary assembly of the bishops to be held in May, something no pontiff has ever done.

The cardinal’s request, the official statement reads, “met with the ready willingness of the Holy Father, who confided that he had the same intention in mind.” Indeed. It had been known for at least for a month that Francis had made this decision.

Since he has been pope the CEI has been virtually annihilated. Francis has asked the Italian bishops to tell him how they would like the appointment of their president and secretary to take place, whether by the pope as has always been done in Italy or by independent voting as is done in all the other countries. Taking the hint, the intention of almost all the bishops is to leave the appointment to the pope. And if he himself wants there to be a consultative vote beforehand, this will take place, but in secret and with no examination of the ballots. They will be delivered to the pope still closed, and he will do want he wants with them.

The CEI is the living refutation of the intentions of decentralizing and “democratizing” the Church attributed to Jorge Mario Bergoglio.

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13 Responses to PopeWatch: Tradition

  • “History is long and,,,,” something about this papacy makes me wonder if history is not going to be be much longer!

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  • This “contemporary Church” of which you speak is much more dead than the Syllabus of Errors — precisely because it is busy being contemporary.

  • “Two of his predecessors made saints instead of only one. The Italian episcopal conference annihilated. The men of the old guard still at the helm of the IOR. All as Francis commands” Sandro Magister

    I don’t know what to make of all this. The article starts out talking about pope bergolio aggrandizing power, the light being for him, not for the Church; and goes on to show him managing appearances of collegiality with a firm hand, and further about siding with the 4 bad guys instead of the one good guy, and then ends by saying the course of the pope is still uncharted. Don’t we get the drift? He’s going thataway.

  • This Pope in his love of Democracy and Equality is such a dictator. True, a kindler, softer, gentler, dictator. Pink. Lavender. Tolerant. Inclusive. Non-divisive. Nice.

    It is consistent that the dictatorship of an Autocrat be one with the dictatorship of Democracy – majority rules and the individual must surrender his rights.

    We need a Monarch and a people answerable to God. Indeed, we all shall answer to God. I fear that day because I know what I deserve. Nevertheless:

    Vox populi NON est vox Dei. Vox huius Pontificis NON est vox Dei. Vox Iesus Christi EST vox Dei – vox Traditionis Sacrae et Scripturae Sacrae.

  • “Pope Thataway” 🙂

  • To be perfectly clear: Not all the Church thinks the Syllabus of Errors is nonsense. Only the part of the Church thinks the Syllabus is nonsense. That part of the Church does not deserve attention, whether or not Donald R. McClarey belongs to that part. Perhaps at some later point he will share his evaluation of whether “history” has judged the deuterocanonical books of the Old Testament in a positive light.

    Let’s hope he doesn’t.

  • “Not all the Church thinks the Syllabus of Errors is nonsense.”

    No, Howard, I am sure that most Catholics haven’t read it so they certainly wouldn’t think it is nonsense because they do not know it exists. Of those who do, I doubt if several of the propositions would find many fans among Catholics, especially those contradicted by more recent, well-known Church stances. For example current Church teaching on religious liberty basically embodies error 15 condemned by Pio Nono:

    “15. Every man is free to embrace and profess that religion which, guided by the light of reason, he shall consider true. — Allocution “Maxima quidem,” June 9, 1862; Damnatio “Multiplices inter,” June 10, 1851.”

    The Church is changing all the time, but the Tradition of the Church mutes and absorbs the changes over time. Pio Nono wished to freeze the Church to a certain point of history. As great a Pope as he was, and he was very great indeed, he failed miserably in that effort.

    As for my opinion on deuterocanonical books I accept them as scripture, although what that has to do with my post is beyond me. History of course cannot make a determination as to whether the deuterocanonical books are scripture since that determination is not based upon the history of these books but rather by the Church.

  • Francis’s two,predecessors were great men,something Francis so far has not shown himself to be. But neither had great administrative or managerial skills–and, or at least one is told, they left the Church bureaucracy in a mess. Despite his persona, my impression is that Pope Bergoglio is not really all that much a Nice Guy. He comes across, rather, as a tough, mean, cold little bastard: and maybe, on balance, that is what the Church needs at this point.

  • “as a tough, mean, cold little bastard:”

    I do not necessarily agree with that characterization PRM, but if the Pope has been cold and mean it has been with orthodox Catholics, while enemies of the faith have often received soft words and embraces from Pope Francis.

  • The awful transience of power! Thanks Mr. McClarey. I went back and read the Kipling poem per your ref. Ninevah and Tyre

    God of our fathers, known of old—
    Lord of our far-flung battle line—
    Beneath whose awful hand we hold
    Dominion over palm and pine—
    Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
    Lest we forget—lest we forget!

    The tumult and the shouting dies—
    The Captains and the Kings depart—
    Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
    An humble and a contrite heart.
    Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
    Lest we forget—lest we forget!

    Far-called our navies melt away—
    On dune and headland sinks the fire—
    Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
    Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
    Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
    Lest we forget—lest we forget!

    If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
    Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe—
    Such boastings as the Gentiles use,
    Or lesser breeds without the Law—
    Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
    Lest we forget—lest we forget!

    For heathen heart that puts her trust
    In reeking tube and iron shard—
    All valiant dust that builds on dust,
    And guarding calls not Thee to guard.
    For frantic boast and foolish word,
    Thy Mercy on Thy People, Lord!

    My thoughts: How quickly the present becomes past. Though Tyre reminds of faded glory, Ninevah reminds me of the willingness of a pagan people, when warned, to repent.
    The Syllabus also warns us- read carefully there is food for thought there!
    (I’ll make the claim here that I am NOT an idiot ).
    Newman wrote:
    “What does the word “Syllabus” mean? A collection; the French translation calls it a “Resumé;”—a Collection of what? I have already said, of propositions,—propositions which the Pope in his various Allocutions, Encyclicals, and like documents, since he has been Pope, has pronounced to be Errors.”
    The value of the Syllabus can be in that it leads us to deeper reading on issues still important today.
    There has even been a call for a new listing of errors and misrepresentations since Vatican II:

    In that article Oddie defends the Syllabus.

Of Sarah Palin, Waterboarding and Baptism

Tuesday, April 29, AD 2014

Sarah Palin and the torture debate?  Red Meat for bloggers for sure!  Sarah Palin at the NRA convention said about captured terrorists and interrogation:

“Oh, but you can’t offend them, can’t make them feel uncomfortable, not even a smidgen. Well, if I were in charge, they would know that waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists.”

The remark has received predictable criticism from the Left.  Mark Shea, who is not a Leftist whatever else he is,  chimes in with the usual quiet reason that has ever reflected his comments during the torture debate:

Well done also to Joe Carter for giving this vile filth no quarter.  There is nothing left to discuss or negotiate.  “Prolife” Christians who cheer for torture and, worse, cheer for sacrilegiously likening it to baptize have only one option: repent and seek forgiveness.  Those who make excuses for it or refuse to repent ought to be as radioactive as Catholics for a Free Choice.

Here is a link to the Joe Carter post mentioned by Mark.

Father Z believes that the remark requires an apology.

Ed Peters who Father Z quotes is very condemnatory:

Open contempt for faith and things of religion is broadly associated with the left in America. I well recall pro-aborts smirking under a placard that claimed “If men could become pregnant abortion would be a sacrament.” Now Palin has given sociology professors an incontestable example of contempt for religion on the American right.

May my readers join me in offering a short Pater in reparation for both.

In the face of all this, Sarah Palin is unrepentant:

Actions to stop terrorists who’d utterly annihilate America and delight in massacring our innocent children? Darn right I’d do whatever it takes to foil their murderous jihadist plots – including waterboarding. Whatever one thinks of my one…-liner at the NRA rally about treating evil terrorists the way they deserve to be treated to prevent the death of innocent people, it’s utterly absurd for MSNBC to suggest that I could put our beloved troops in harm’s way, but we’ve come to expect the absurd from that failing network. If you want to talk about what really harms our troops, let’s talk about politicians who gut our military’s budgets, or a president whose skewed budgetary priorities slash military benefits, or an administration that puts our vets on endless waiting lists for care that comes too late to help those who’ve paid the price for our freedom, or those who break bread with those who think it makes no difference how our military heroes died in Benghazi or anywhere else trying to protect America. Those actions are a heck of a lot more harmful than declaring an appropriate message our enemies should receive. If some overly sensitive wusses took offense, remember the First Amendment doesn’t give you a right not to be offended. Perhaps hypocritical folks who only want Freedom of Speech to apply to those who agree with their liberal agenda might want to consider that the evil terrorists who were the brunt of my one-liner would be the first to strip away ALL our rights if given the chance. That’s why we do whatever we can to prevent them from killing innocent people. And for that, we should NEVER apologize. Good Lord, critics… buck up or stay in the truck. And if you love freedom, thank our troops! Thank our vets! And thank those who have the brains to support them and the guts to defend what they have earned!
– Sarah Palin
My own thoughts?
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35 Responses to Of Sarah Palin, Waterboarding and Baptism

  • Didn’t some prominent blogger actually pooh pooh the desecration of the Holy Mass by saying it doesn’t happen often. Actually, my understanding is that sacrilegious celebrations of the Mass have occurred far more frequently than waterboarding by Sarah Palin.

  • Mark Shea is a democratic ideologue. He showed his true apparatchik colors through his many comments to his bloggers in the 2012 election cycle. He would vote for hitler or stalin if they ran as democrats. His caustic and bombastic remarks to his followers are legend. Took him off my daily reading years ago.

  • “2. Since waterboarding is physical torture I am against it as a matter of policy. I also would be eternally grateful to someone who did it and prevented Chicago, for example, going up in a nuclear blast.”

    Torture for the sake of inflicting pain and ultimate power over another human being is sick. Torture to extract information to save innocent human life may not be a sacrament, but it is close to it. Question: Can the word “baptism” be used outside the context of the Sacrament of Baptism?

  • Wait, THAT’S what she said? I was skimming around and didn’t see the quote but… really? It’s an action movie one-liner. The equivalent of “the one finger salute” (and nobody thinks the person saying that is denigrating saluting) or saying “baptismal by fire”. OMG! Setting people on fire is totally torture! And you’re equating it with baptism! They must be stopped who used that phrase!

    I dunno, maybe I’ve been too desensitized by things from the internet and public nowadays (seriously, going around town I’ve seen the graffiti “God is Gay”) this just doesn’t even register (and I’m of a Protestant branch that takes baptism VERY seriously – like, we don’t accept sprinkling seriously). Part of me wonders how long we can last when we as a nation can’t even “talk tough” any more. How long until even the act of fighting back for our survival is seen as “torturing” the other side and a big no no?

    Mark Shea, who is not a Leftist whatever else he is,

    How do you mean? If you mean “leftist” as “the particular species of idealogue who behaves in such and such way” I’ll agree that he’s only 78% leftist, not 100%. If you mean it by “one who resides on the left side of the spectrum” then I’ll quite disagree.

    And note: I’m using the spectrum of totalitarianism on the left, anarchy on the right. (none of that communist/fascist loop crap)

  • “How do you mean? If you mean “leftist” as “the particular species of idealogue who behaves in such and such way” I’ll agree that he’s only 78% leftist, not 100%.”

    Shea’s views on abortion and gays would make him permanent persona non grata on the Left. He used to be a paleocon and I think he has been trending Left on many issues, especially economic, but there are clear differences between him and the Left on major issues. He is also not a conservative, despite his occasional claims to be a true conservative.

  • It is astonishing that Palin can raise such emotion six years after a failed campaign for Veep! Most politicians are eminently forgettable characters,

    Less astonishing if you consider that political discussion has for many decayed into a self-aggrandizing exercise of ‘I’m better than you”; palaeoconservative and post-1998 liberals are alike in that these sentiments seem to dominant strain in what they have to say. It’s a reasonable wager that Gov. Palin is a fixation for people harboring a mess of free-floating aggression (Shea) or social anxiety (Dreher). Something about her. She’s very adept at revealing the asses in our midst (Prof. Charles Fried being the most prominent example).

  • It’s a repellent comment for which she should apologize. Beyond that, there’s no point in hyperventilating. I don’t–and can’t–go to maximum outrage for every affront to Christianity. It would be a soul-killing exercise.

    I already know things are bad enough for Christians with respect to the decay of the right, and the slow morphing of the business world into an anti-Christian force. The Chamber of Commerce and the business wing of the GOP do more damage to the faith than flip comments from Mrs. Palin.

  • “It’s a repellent comment for which she should apologize.” “terrorists” is what, or more correctly, “who” is repellent. “waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists”
    Didn’t Pope Urban II “baptize” that infidel drink arabic bean coffee?

  • Shea’s views on abortion and gays would make him permanent persona non grata on the Left.

    Yeah but that’s why I try to look at the total view of someone and not just 1 or 2 things. You may as well say someone like Ron Paul isn’t conservative because he believes in drug legalization or reducing overseas operations. On the whole weight of things… well it’s funny how much of this Shea ends up matching (as well as other measures of leftism).

    He used to be a paleocon and I think he has been trending Left on many issues, especially economic, but there are clear differences between him and the Left on major issues. He is also not a conservative, despite his occasional claims to be a true conservative.

    Well just to nitpick whenever you take a a large group of people united and come up with an average or mean statement of their views, I think every individual of said group is going to have clear differences between them and the group. (well if they’re honest)

    There’s a saying (or if it isn’t, maybe it should be): “Just because there’s someone more evil than you, doesn’t mean you’re not evil yourself.” To amend it: Just because you can point to someone yet further left, doesn’t mean that makes you (or any person in particular) center. knowwhatimean?

  • I still like Sarah Palin. I applaud her public acceptance of baptism by pouring as well as by immersion. The more time passes, the closer to the Catholic heart of Christian truth the evangelicals come. The dear Governor Palin is even adopting the Pope’s habit of the faux pas (though she’s no way as frequent in its performance as he).

  • I have no problems with Sarah Palin’s comments. The Left can….well, I won’t say it here.

    Our pinhead of a president has shown himself to be a shrinking violet in the face of radical Islam and of Putin. Bumbling Barry sacked the missile program destined for Poland and the Czech Re[public. Bumbling Barry wants to destroy the Air Marshal program. Putin starts a land grab from Ukraine.

    Good for Palin to slap MSNBC upside the head. It is a failing network.

    I waste none of my precious time on Mark Shea. Shea wouldn’t know what a conservative is if one drove over him with a truck.

  • I wish I had been there.

    You and I sleep at night because rough men do rough things to allow us to sleep safely.

  • Shea is sometimes more offensive to me than Sarah Palin has ever been. As a matter of fact, I don’t think she has offended me yet.
    Her turn of phrase is tough, and in an oblique way it refers to the fact that this is about a religious war.
    We are Christians, people who are baptised and who evangelize and baptize, which brings people together in faith in the family of God.
    We are under attack by terrorists who see us as without faith.. They do not evangelize us, they sneak and surprise and terrorize and murder innocent people, not concerned about sharing faith or bringing us together, but just killing us. Waterboarding is not maim or murder, and waterboarding may save innocent lives.

    It is unlikely that a terrorist in fear of losing his life by waterboarding, will experience a ‘come to Jesus” moment. but he is not killed by the experience. Unlike the victims of the surprise attacks and random bombings, he will survive and still have the time re-consider his religion.

  • I love Sarah Palin. If I had heard her statement in person, I would have applauded because terrorists deserve to be treated as what they are and she being a Pentecostal had no intent to denigrate baptism. As for Mark Shea, I give him all the attention he deserves – none. I cannot be bothered hyperventilating over bombastic sanctimonious blogging.

  • I found her original comment to be offensive, but that follow-up Facebook comment enrages me. Does she really think that the only person who could be offended by her comment must also hate the troops and our freedoms? I get it, she was treated unfairly by the press. I remember. That doesn’t mean that every criticism she gets is unfair. Conservatives don’t get a free pass. When Reagan messed up, the movement called him on it. And Reagan did a lot more for the conservative movement than Palin has.

    If we want to declare that someone is hands-off just because of the enemies they’ve made, how are we better than the cult-of-personality left?

    I read something recently, that I haven’t had a chance to follow up on yet, about the Obama White House. It was a discussion of a strategy that they consciously use, that whichever advisor it was admitted to, that when they put an issue before the press, they deliberately overstate it, because they know that’ll get a rise out of the Republicans, and the whole back-and-forth rebuttal will keep the issue alive in the press even longer. There’s a lot to chew on there. For one thing, it’s a tacit recognition that the press and the Democrats’ supporters won’t make them pay for lies. But what I keep thinking about is: they’re trolls. They’re just common, run of the mill trolls. The concerns of governance mean nothing to these people, as long as they’re eliciting the responses from their opponents that keep them in the driver’s seat. When I look at statements like this from Palin, I’m telling you, I don’t see anything better.

    The shortage of adults is costing us a lot, and it’s only going to get more expensive from here.

  • “If we want to declare that someone is hands-off just because of the enemies they’ve made, how are we better than the cult-of-personality left?”

    Who said that Palin was above criticism?

    “When I look at statements like this from Palin, I’m telling you, I don’t see anything better.”

    Palin is not in government now. She was appealing to a partisan audience with a throw away line. The amusing thing to me is how someone who hasn’t been in government for almost half a decade can be still be such a lightning rod for controversy.

  • Torture for the purpose of degrading another person is obviously sinful. Whether it licit in the service of justice is an entirely different matter. According to St. Thomas Aquinas, it is licit for lawful authority to maim another in the service of justice. He then indicates that the infliction of pain to correct someone under one’s authority is also licit if done in the service of good. Therefore, it seems probable that waterboarding is not necessarily wrong if done to serve justice by extracting information to prevent an attack. If done to simply break someone’s will, which is done by dictators, then it is sinful. It is nothing more than the use of physical force to compel or restrain an action.

    The CCC on the other hand, says that torture is wrong even by legitimate authority is wrong, stating “In recent times it has become evident that these cruel practices were neither necessary for public order, nor in conformity with the legitimate rights of the human person. On the contrary, these practices led to ones even more degrading. It is necessary to work for their abolition. We must pray for the victims and their tormentors.”

    Whether the use of the term ‘baptism’ to describe is sacrilegious, I would argue that it is only venially so.

  • What would you expect from an ex-Catholic.

  • “Who said that Palin was above criticism?”

    It seems like she set up a false dilemma between her freedom and liberal hypocrisy. I mean, I was aware that the Constitution doesn’t give me the right to not be offended.

    “The amusing thing to me is how someone who hasn’t been in government for almost half a decade can be still be such a lightning rod for controversy.”

    Agreed. Even so, I guess I’m burnt out on trolling, even when it’s surprisingly effective.

  • I agree with Pinky.

    I have been a big Sarah Palin fan since 2008. That said, her original comment I found to be repugnant and blasphemous. But I still liked her afterward. Her follow-up comment caused me to stop being a fan altogether.

  • I know that Shea has a tendency to overstate his case on many issues, but one of his latest posts raises a good point: how is comparing waterboarding to baptism any less offensive than a far left Catholic for Choice using an image of the Last Supper or the Eucharist and the phrase “This is MY BODY” to promote abortion on demand?

  • Because abortion and torture are two different issues. The Popes used torture in judicial proceedings until the dissolution of the papal states in 1871. The Church has opposed abortion since the Crucifixion. As far as Shea is concerned the Church prior to 1965 might as well not exist.

    In regard to Palin she simply did not have an intent to blaspheme, which to my mind is the important fact in this attempt by some to transform this molehill into a mountain.

  • “…how is comparing waterboarding to baptism any less offensive than a far left Catholic for Choice using an image of the Last Supper or the Eucharist and the phrase “This is MY BODY” to promote abortion on demand?”

    “And that 99.99999998536% of all Masses celebrated were not clown Masses. Call me a heretic but If Pope Benedict could manage to live with the knowledge that a “clown Mass” of some form has taken place somewhere in the world – without despairing of God or the Church, I can live with that…Yep”

    Distinction? I might say for Shea it is hypocrisy.

  • Tito, I’ll have to disagree with you on the “ex-Catholic” label. I read several biographies of Mrs. Palin during and after the ’08 campaign. Yes, she was baptized Catholic and yes, her parents (basically her mom — Mr. Heath just went along with Mrs. Heath’s wishes) sent her to CCD classes, and she probably made her First Communion while her parents were still (more or less) practicing Catholics. However, apparently Mrs. Heath’s faith was shaken by a Protestant Bible study or some such she’d been invited to by her friends, and the local priest (who doubtless had a large, far-flung flock to tend to up there in Alaska) wasn’t able to answer her concerns to her satisfaction — so she took herself, Mr. Heath, and the kids out of the Church, and they all became fundamentalist Protestants. Quite likely Mr. & Mrs. Heath were poorly-catechized, weak Catholics, whose faith wasn’t able to withstand the doubts raised by their Protestant neighbors. So Sarah Palin’s parents certainly qualify as ex-Catholics — but Sarah Palin herself should not be blamed for a change of religion made when she was a child and unable to easily defy her parents by choosing to remain Catholic.

  • Here we go Don… 😉

    Let’s see, today Mark posted…
    the US is an oligarchy
    get rid of the death penalty

    Ok… and who would be major ideological allies in rectifying these two burrs under Shea’s saddle?

    LIBERTARIANS! Those he… throws under the bus at least once a week. Hm. And what’s Shea’s proposed solutions? “Think differently” and “think like the church”. Huh, empty platitudes that tell us nothing about a real, workable solution. “Yes we can” anyone?

    As the saying goes: “The left designs government assuming they are in charge of it. The right designs government assuming their enemies are in charge of it.” That and other instances of rank hypocrisy (notice how he likes to bring up “those in need of insensitivity training” while being fast on the ban button himself? or being sensitive to things like… Sarah Palin’s words?) shove him pretty far left. That and given his cultish attitude towards the pope, as the latter drifts left, watch Shea keep going that way as well.

  • “watch Shea keep going that way as well.”

    Most assuredly. I have observed before that if a pope ordered that each Catholic paint their bottom yellow, Mark’s only question would be “What shade?”.

  • You’d go nuts if you heard some of the talk (now that’s blasphemy!) I heard.

    Shea got his bloomers in a bunch, again! He waxes hysterical over a sound-bite. Why the histrionics? Why do Imam Shayz gots out the fatwa on Sarah?

    He’s a liberal. Scratch a liberal and you find a fascist, every time.

    Liberals’ hatred is based on their abject fear of her mere existence. They over-react at every opportunity because she has the potential to do them in. The Left controls the mainstream media. The Left hates Sarah Palin. The mainstream media constructed a caricature in the minds of many ignorant, liberal (I repeat myself) people. They wanted her to go away. But she is still standing, still smiling, still speaking, unbowed and “undefeated.” Not only have they failed to destroy her, by attempting and failing to do so, they have raised her stock. She is my hero because by breathing she seriously annoys lib nitwits.

  • oh my gosh
    how is comparing waterboarding to baptism any less offensive than a far left Catholic for Choice using an image of the Last Supper or the Eucharist and the phrase “This is MY BODY” to promote abortion on demand?
    oh wow that whole thing is so obtuse it makes my stomach hurt! NOT remotely apt!
    Baptism is given to us to do, to administer in the Name of God.
    The sacrament of Jesus’ body is given to us to receive from Him — “given for you”.
    Christ gave his own real personal body in total generosity.
    If the pregnant woman were to try to imitate Christ, she might say to her unborn child: ” This is my body and I give it to you for your good.”
    Instead the pro aborts say in effect: This is my body and I am NOT giving it to you.
    Christ’s phrase “This Is My Body” predicates a generous gift… the Choice people’s use of the phrase “This is My Body” indicates selfish denial of love to a most innocent dependent, taking life from one who is of the mother’s own flesh and blood

  • It is surprising to me that this evoked so much comment. I am also surprised the assumed acceptance of waterboarding as torture. I am certainly not qualified to define torture, but I think Alphatron made some good points. Also, waterboarding does not do physical harm or lasting damage, although it does induce temporary fear and anguish. But since we waterboard some soldiers for training, I can’t see how it is necessarily torture. Just as in killing intent and circumstance distinguish it from murder, so too, I think waterboarding. So in my limited understanding I do not accede to waterboarding as torture. In a real sense, the person who refuses to divulge something and endures even torture is making that choice, which may or may not be heroic. Tell me this or I am going to scare the heck out of you….not physically harm you or emotionally damage you forever, but scare you badly if you choose not to cooperate in saving lives… does not seem morally wrong to me. If it is, then we would have to let Chicago blow up as someone else mentioned.

  • Catherine,

    Almost Ex-Catholic just doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.


  • SPOT ON Ray!!! Cudo’s – and thanks for the sanity check on this- it was a red meat throw away line with no thought re; blasphemy blah blah – i too am impressed that Sarah can evoke such reaction so many years later- she is a lighting rod cause the darkness hates the light …. mark shea is a pile ……… and just slightly off……

  • Kevin – Me too. As I remember it, there was a lot of debate over whether waterboarding was torture. This may be one of the finer points of the debate that’s gotten lost over time, but I don’t think the “science is settled”.

  • Anzlyne: “Christ’s phrase “This Is My Body” predicates a generous gift… the Choice people’s use of the phrase “This is My Body” indicates selfish denial of love to a most innocent dependent, taking life from one who is of the mother’s own flesh and blood”
    And the father’s own flesh and blood. Science has learned that some of the unborn child’s cells enter the bloodstream of his mother making the mother one with the father. (Married) No link, sorry. Had to say.
    I love Sarah Palin. It is the duty of the citizen to keep his /her mouth open. Sarah Palin fulfills the definition of Citizen.

  • I don’t know if anyone will notice a comment on this ol’ thread, but I just read this article at First Things and had to link to it.

Science Fiction and Tolerance

Tuesday, April 29, AD 2014

Nothing is so unworthy of a civilised nation as allowing itself to be governed without opposition by an irresponsible clique that has yielded to base instinct.

From a White Rose resistance pamphlet (1942)



I am happy that Dale Price is back to blogging on a fairly regular basis since it gives me a renewed opportunity to steal borrow blogging ideas from him.  He turns his attention at his blog Dyspeptic Mutterings to the insane purge going on within science fiction fandom of anyone who has political beliefs that do not coincide with the politically correct bromides du jour:

Orwellian group-think comes to real-world science fiction writing.

A little recondite, but instructive: the Hugo Awards and SFWA are the latest (if minor) institutions to have succumbed to the left’s jackbooted tolerance enforcers. The issues have risen to the attention of USA Today, so it’s newsworthy instead of merely nerdworthy.
Larry “Monster Hunter” Correia explains part of the problem (the Hugos) in a link within the USA Today column.
Finally, Sarah Hoyt (not exactly a charter member of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy herself) and John C. Wright both lower the boom.
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3 Responses to Science Fiction and Tolerance

Thanks, God, We’ll Take It From Here

Tuesday, April 29, AD 2014

Have you ever heard of some fellows who first came over to this country? You know what they found? They found a howling wilderness, with summers too hot and winters freezing, and they also found some unpleasant little characters who painted their faces. Do you think these pioneers filled out form number X6277 and sent in a report saying the Indians were a little unreasonable? Did they have insurance for their old age, for their crops, for their homes? They did not! They looked at the land, and the forest, and the rivers. They looked at their wives, their kids and their houses, and then they looked up at the sky and they said, “Thanks, God, we’ll take it from here.”

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2 Responses to Thanks, God, We’ll Take It From Here

  • Our southern neighbors are the only ones taking this statement to heart these days.

  • I wonder if Kitt Madden was supposed to be an anti-Ayn Rand, who was shopping her novels around Hollywood at the time.
    –Donald R. McClarey

    I doubt it. It’s a bit like supposing one and only one plantation could have been the model of Tara. Hollywood was thick with novels being shopped around. Still is. Plus the dream of After The War, A New World was the spirit of the times (in Britain, the dreamers unseated Winnie for Clement Atlee). There were many women writing novels and manifestos of a new world to model Kitt Madden on at the time. They had their fan clubs too.

11 Responses to PopeWatch: Inequality

  • “True equality means that we stand equal before the law, just as we are all assuredly equal before the eyes of God. To vest in a government the power to go beyond that is to create a new master for all, rather than to create absolute equality for all.”
    Well said. It is the duty of man to live according to the law to attain Justice for himself and for all.

  • Pope Francis would also deny Catholic Social Teaching if he posits a society without any inequalities. From that foundational document Rerum Novarum

    “34. But although all citizens, without exception, can and ought to contribute to that common good in which individuals share so advantageously to themselves, yet it should not be supposed that all can contribute in the like way and to the same extent. No matter what changes may occur in forms of government, there will ever be differences and inequalities of condition in the State. Society cannot exist or be conceived of without them.

  • Good point Phillip
    We wiil always have the poor with us. We can’t perfect a system that will create heaven on earth.

  • 1st Timothy 6:10

    For the love of money is the root of all evils; it is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced their hearts with many pangs.

    Note that the Apostle Paul did NOT say inequality. Further, I would submit that the love of world-wide acclaim that comes with being noticed in all the news media as ever so pious and concerned about inequality is little different from the love of money. The first is love of self (how much recognition and praise can I get for myself), and the second is, well, love of self (how much money can I get for myself). Narcissism is as disgusting as greed. Actually, they are intimately tied together.

    I am disgusted. We got Mr “I fight against inequality” Obama and Pope “I fight against inequality” Francis. Whatever happened to saving souls from sin, death and hell?

  • Paul:


    I’d faint if he tweeted on the glory of God or the salvation of souls.

    He is infallible in matters of faith and morals; not in matters of social evil or centralized, statist misallocations of economic/financial resources.

    The problem isn’t unequal distributions of material goods. The crisis is in the equal, universal distributions of sin.

    Post modern pope? Is the answer to all evil class, gender, race, or sexual orientation?

    The Pope is from Argentina where “capitalism” means “state-enabled vampire cronyism.” So, he mistakes that for free markets.

  • you mean you’d faint if he sent a tweet like: “Each encounter with Jesus fills us with joy, with that deep joy which only God can give.” or “Christ is risen, Alleluia!”
    2 things here folks…
    1.If we’re going to talk about reading this in context let’s consider it was likely not first written in English, but possibly Italian, Spanish or …Latin which Iniquitas radix malorum could translate to “injustice (or inequity) is the root of evil”
    2. Let’s look at the whole of body of papal tweets

    This idea of Pope Francis the oblivious pseudo liberal is just silly. That is not who he is.

  • jmalc: ““injustice (or inequity) is the root of evil”” It is not injustice to keep what one has earned to support the survival of one’s own family and share with others through the virtue of voluntary charity. Involuntary charity, is not the imposition of virtue. It is extortion.
    “Inequality (or injustice) is the root of all social evil.” You left out the word : “social” to describe evil. The United Socialist States of America comes to mind.

  • I wish he would tweet, “Pray the Rosary.”

    A comment like that is just what wealth redistributionists like the Democrat Party love to hear.

    Pope Francis should not have a twitter account or a phone for that matter.

  • That tweet of his doesn’t surprise me at all, unfortunately. This is coming from the man that said that the greatest evils in our day are youth unemployment and the loneliness of the elderly. Speechless.

  • For historical reasons, equality has been regarded very differently by the Latin and the Teutonic nations of Europe and one would assume by their descendents in the New World

    The great Catholic historian, Lord Acton expresses this rather well. “The Cæsarean system gave an unprecedented freedom to the dependencies, and raised them to a civil equality which put an end to the dominion of race over race and of class over class. The monarchy was hailed as a refuge from the pride and cupidity of the Roman people; and the love of equality, the hatred of nobility, and the tolerance of despotism implanted by Rome became, at least in Gaul, the chief feature of the national character.” Speaking of the Revolution, he notes, “The hatred of royalty was less than the hatred of aristocracy; privileges were more detested than tyranny; and the king perished because of the origin of his authority rather than because of its abuse. Monarchy unconnected with aristocracy became popular in France, even when most uncontrolled; whilst the attempt to reconstitute the throne, and to limit and fence it with its peers, broke down, because the old Teutonic elements on which it relied – hereditary nobility, primogeniture, and privilege — were no longer tolerated. The substance of the ideas of 1789 is not the limitation of the sovereign power, but the abrogation of intermediate powers.”
    Hilaire Belloc grasped this, too. “The scorn which was in those days universally felt for that pride which associates itself with things not inherent to a man (notably and most absurdly with capricious differences of wealth) never ran higher; and the passionate sense of justice which springs from this profound and fundamental social dogma of equality, as it moved France during the Revolution to frenzy, so also moved it to creation. Those who ask how it was that a group of men sustaining all the weight of civil conflict within and of universal war without, yet made time enough in twenty years to frame the codes which govern modern Europe, to lay down the foundations of universal education, of a strictly impersonal scheme of administration, and even in detail to remodel the material face of society—in a word, to make modern Europe—must be content for their reply to learn that the republican energy had for its flame and excitant this vision: a sense almost physical of the equality of man.”
    Now, the Holy Father is a Latin of the Latins.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour: The two superb quotes (especially the one from Hilaire Belloc) crystallizes why Pope Francis tweeted what he did. BUT: how are we, non-Latins, especially living in Obama’s America with Obama’s notion of inequality, to deal with the approving hooting and hollering of the know-nothing liberals?

PopeWatch: Canonizations

Monday, April 28, AD 2014



The canonization sermon by Pope Francis in regard to Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII with commentary by Father Z:

At the heart of this Sunday, which concludes the Octave of Easter and which John Paul II wished to dedicate to Divine Mercy, are the glorious wounds of the risen Jesus.

He had already shown those wounds when he first appeared to the Apostles on the very evening of that day following the Sabbath, the day of the resurrection. But Thomas was not there that evening, and when the others told him that they had seen the Lord, he replied that unless he himself saw and touched those wounds, he would not believe. A week later, Jesus appeared once more to the disciples gathered in the Upper Room, and Thomas was present; Jesus turned to him and told him to touch his wounds. Whereupon that man, so straightforward and accustomed to testing everything personally, knelt before Jesus with the words: “My Lord and my God!” (Jn 20:28).

The wounds of Jesus are a scandal, a stumbling block for faith, yet they are also the test of faith. [May I add also that there are hard teachings which we must accept if we are to remain Christians?  I have in mind, among others, the Lord’s teaching about marriage, to which the Church has] That is why on the body of the risen Christ the wounds never pass away: they remain, for those wounds are the enduring sign of God’s love for us. They are essential for believing in God. Not for believing that God exists, but for believing that God is love, mercy and faithfulness. Saint Peter, quoting Isaiah, writes to Christians: “by his wounds you have been healed” (1 Pet2:24, cf. Is 53:5). [It is a great mystery that, even through Christ conquered death definitively, once for all time, we still have to die.]

John XXIII and John Paul II were not afraid to look upon the wounds of Jesus, to touch his torn hands and his pierced side. [As Christ said and John Paul famously repeated, “Do not be afraid.”] They were not ashamed of the flesh of Christ, they were not scandalized by him, by his cross; they did not despise the flesh of their brother (cf. Is 58:7), because they saw Jesus in every person who suffers and struggles. These were two men of courage, filled with the parrhesia of the Holy Spirit, and they bore witness before the Church and the world to God’s goodness and mercy.

They were priests, bishops and popes of the twentieth century. [Let us not forget the indignities and sufferings they experienced as children, lay men!] They lived through the tragic events of that century, but they were not overwhelmed by them. For them, God was more powerful; faith was more powerful – faith in Jesus Christ the Redeemer of man and the Lord of history; the mercy of God, shown by those five wounds, was more powerful; and more powerful too was the closeness of Mary our Mother.

In these two men, who looked upon the wounds of Christ and bore witness to his mercy, there dwelt a living hope and an indescribable and glorious joy (1 Pet 1:3,8). The hope and the joy which the risen Christ bestows on his disciples, the hope and the joy which nothing and no one can take from them. The hope and joy of Easter, forged in the crucible of self-denial, self-emptying, utter identification with sinners, even to the point of disgust at the bitterness of that chalice. Such were the hope and the joy which these two holy popes had received as a gift from the risen Lord and which they in turn bestowed in abundance upon the People of God, meriting our eternal gratitude.

This hope and this joy were palpable in the earliest community of believers, in Jerusalem, as we read in the Acts of the Apostles (cf. 2:42-47). It was a community which lived the heart of the Gospel, love and mercy, in simplicity and fraternity.

This is also the image of the Church which the Second Vatican Council set before us. John XXIII and John Paul II cooperated with the Holy Spirit in renewing and updating the Church in keeping with her pristine features, those features which the saints have given her throughout the centuries. Let us not forget that it is the saints who give direction and growth to the Church. In convening the Council, John XXIII showed an exquisite openness to the Holy Spirit. He let himself be led and he was for the Church a pastor, a servant-leader. This was his great service to the Church; he was the pope of openness to the Spirit. [Since last July I have been saying that this canonization of the two Popes is also the canonization of the Second Vatican Council.]

In his own service to the People of God, John Paul II was the pope of the family. He himself once said that he wanted to be remembered as the pope of the family. I am particularly happy to point this out as we are in the process of journeying with families towards the Synod on the family. It is surely a journey which, from his place in heaven, he guides and sustains. [All of you should note that reference to the Synod.  I know that the Cardinals and Bishops present heard that.]

May these two new saints and shepherds of God’s people intercede for the Church, so that during this two-year journey toward the Synod she may be open to the Holy Spirit in pastoral service to the family. May both of them teach us not to be scandalized by the wounds of Christ and to enter ever more deeply into the mystery of divine mercy, [NB!] which always hopes and always forgives, because it always loves.

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United Socialist States of America

Monday, April 28, AD 2014

An exercise in alternate history.

The path to the creation of the United Socialist States of America began with the death of President Franklin Roosevelt on  April 12, 1944 and the accession to the Presidency by Vice-President Henry Wallace.  Personally favorable to the Soviet Union, the new President surrounded himself with fellow travelers and security risks.

In the Presidential election of 1944 Thomas E. Dewey, the Republican nominee, denounced Wallace as “soft on Communism”, a charge that Wallace vigorously denied. Wallace was elected in a close contest with Senator Glen Taylor (D.Id) as his Vice-President.

Following the conclusion of World War II, Wallace followed a policy of rapid demobilization which was quite popular, leaving only three divisions in Europe for occupation duties. General Eisenhower denounced this as being an inadequate force and resigned from the Army.  Wallace turned a blind eye to the Soviet imposition of Communist governments in Eastern Europe, with his inaction being denounced vociferously by the Republicans and by many Democrats, most notably Senator Harry Truman (D.Mo.).

Which member of the Wallace administration secretly provided the Soviets with the blue prints to build atomic bombs in 1945 remains unclear, but suspicion has usually focused on Secretary of State Alger Hiss.  Hiss was certainly instrumental in turning Werner von Braun and his associates over to the Soviets in 1945.  By 1948 Communist parties dominated all of Eastern Europe and Italy.

Wallace was defeated for re-election in 1948, running on the Progressive Party ticket after being denied the Democrat nomination which went to Harry Truman.  Thomas E. Dewey, the Republican standard bearer,  won in the fall with Truman a close second and Wallace a humiliating third with 2.4% of the votes.

The Wallace administration was history, but it left behind in the government bureaucracies many individuals who served as agents for the Soviet Union out of ideological conviction.  Steps to remove them were only partially successful, and throughout the ensuing Cold War they provided steady intelligence to the Soviet Union which allowed it to maintain a technological parity with the United States as the years passed.  Rising to senior positions in the various government bureaucracies they sheltered younger agents who joined them over the years.

With the defeat of US forces in Vietnam, the Henry Wallace wing of the Democrat party became dominant, with George McGovern narrowly defeating Ronald Reagan in 1976.  Embarking on a policy of a 37% reduction in military spending, which represented in practice a policy of unilateral disarmament, McGovern was not a knowing agent of the Soviet Union, although it is difficult to see what difference  it would have made in his policies if he had been.  He steadfastly ignored the toppling of governments of Central America by communist insurrections and the swarms of Soviet advisors that helped prop up the new regimes.  The beginning of a Communist insurrection in Mexico in 1978 alarmed many in the United States, but McGovern stuck to his policy of “Come Home America” and continued his policy of non-involvement in military struggles abroad.

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7 Responses to United Socialist States of America

  • Obama is creating a USSA albeit in today’s alternate history.

  • I don’t know. The water gets that hot that quickly, the frog’s gonna jump. For this scenario to work, I think you’ve got to tell the story about Hollywood, the intelligentsia, the New York Times, et cetera, demonstrating to America that the Marxist model is perfectly viable, just an alternative approach to governance. In fact, it’s the next wave of development, and the US is falling behind. Would the US have even gotten tied up in the Vietnamese people’s great experiment in self-determination? Would we have looked to Mexico with anything but envy? Wouldn’t we have celebrated when England finally got rid of its parliamentary monarchy?

  • I see a few variations also

    1) If there was no Truman doctrine then not only Italy but Greece and even France may have fallen to their leftist parties and joined in some way with the USSR.

    2) It is doubtful that Truman would have been the 1948 nominee for President. Wallace may have held onto the nomination ala Jimmy Carter in 1980. In any case Truman was more likely if Wallace was on the way out to have been a kingmaker in 1948, supporting another candidate and perhaps ending up as the VP candidate.

    3) The real question is, what would Wallace have done if the Soviet Union were not attacked by Germany in 1941? Imagine an alternative where the German military, fearful of a repeat of Napoleon’s debacle, overthrow the Nazis and installs a leader more like Franco or Dolfuss. The American Left would have had no threatened USSR to save and would have continued to support the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. Had Hitler’s alternative successor not declared war on the U.S. after Pearl Harbor, people like Wallace may have prevented the U.S. from seriously aiding Britain even if Roosevelt still lived. Franco might then have spurned British bribes and jumped in on the German-Italian side, and the Churchill government may have then fallen.

    It makes you wonder how God judges politicians (aren’t we all in some small way?). Aside from his leftist alliances and his dabblings in theosophy, Wallace was basically a good guy. He exhibited no sign of personal bigotry and spoke out against racism when it really mattered. He foresaw the agricultural ‘Green Revolution’ that would later save the lives of billions and helped create the institutions needed to support scientists like Norman Borlaug. Yes, we had a near brush with political disaster with him, but the world is unarguably a better place today because of his non-political work (Herbert Hoover comes to mind as a more conservative counterpart here).

  • “1) If there was no Truman doctrine then not only Italy but Greece and even France may have fallen to their leftist parties and joined in some way with the USSR.”

    Agree as to Greece. The French Army and DeGaulle would never have let France go Communist.

    “It is doubtful that Truman would have been the 1948 nominee for President.”

    FDR had been President so long that there was a real vacuum at the top for the Democrats. I chose Truman because I think he would have been leading the charge against Wallace.

    “Aside from his leftist alliances and his dabblings in theosophy, Wallace was basically a good guy. He exhibited no sign of personal bigotry and spoke out against racism when it really mattered. He foresaw the agricultural ‘Green Revolution’ that would later save the lives of billions and helped create the institutions needed to support scientists like Norman Borlaug.”

    Agreed. Wallace also supported American intervention in Korea, breaking with his Progressive Party, and published a book in 1952, Where I Was Wrong, stating that he was an now an anti-Communist and that he had misjudged Stalin and the Soviet Union. Wallace was a good man at heart but he allowed himself to be fooled by very unsavory characters who rallied around him in 48.

  • “The French Army and DeGaulle would never have let France go Communist.” Agreed. That’s why I used qualifications such as “even” France and “joined in some way” with the USSR. The question is how far could the leftists gotten before they provoked DeGaulle, and there is always the possibility that he could have been assassinated.

    The reasons I didn’t pick Truman as THE anti-Wallace leader in alternate 1948 is because a) he didn’t turn against Wallace until after he was president for a year or so and b) because he didn’t promote himself for VP in 1944 despite knowing about FDR’s declining health. Truman was a true servant of a republic and was not driven by personal ambition.

    “FDR had been President so long that there was a real vacuum at the top for the Democrats”. Agreed. The Democrats of those years certainly had competent men for the presidency such as Truman and Jimmy Byrnes (Truman’s favorite to succeed both FDR and himself), but both men had political baggage (the Pendergast machine and leaving the Catholic Church, respectively) that would probably have doomed a presidential run in 1948 had Truman or Byrnes not been the incumbent. That’s probably true even without a Wallace third party run to split the Democratic vote.

  • Don, I also agree with your assessment that Dewey would have become president in 1948. It would be interesting to explore the ramifications of that event.

    The most pivotal event of the 1950’s was Eisenhower’s election to the presidency. Had Dewey been president in 1950 the Korean War would probably have run out much the same as it did under Truman. The question is, would Eisenhower have run a challenge to Dewey in 1952?

    Had Eisenhower not been elected president in 1952 the later history of the Cold War would have been much different. Since he was a military professional he was able to see past some of the more extreme proposals for defense procurements. Eisenhower’s constant concern was to ensure that the buildup necessary to face down the Soviets did not wreck the U.S. economy in the process. The Fifty-Year War, one of the best books on the Cold War, amply documents this (it also documents JFK’s odd behavior, although his drug use was not public knowledge when it was written). See

    Eisenhower was the right man at the right time. Later American history could have been poorer and bloodier.

  • “The question is, would Eisenhower have run a challenge to Dewey in 1952?”

    Would Eisenhower have run as a Democrat? He had expressed disdain for the Democrat party and declined chances to run as a Democrat so I doubt he would have done so in 52. Ironically Dewey helped Eisenhower defeat Taft to gain the Republican nomination in 1952. If he had challenged Dewey for the Republican nomination in 52 he might have gotten it if Dewey had been as unpopular as Truman because of Korea. Of course then we have the question of whether Dewey would have fired MacArthur or would he have asked Ike to command the UN forces in Korea? Alternate history opens up endless vistas!

Blessed John Paul II: First Pope of the Catholic Resurgence

Sunday, April 27, AD 2014

(Today Pope John Paul II is being canonized, so I am rerunning this assessment of his papacy from 2011.)

Sometimes a great historical figure is not as recognized as such during his lifetime.  Other historical figures are recognized as monumentally important even while they live.  John Paul II, who was beatified yesterday, was definitely in the latter category.  He was the most important Pope of the last century, and the first pope I think of what will be viewed by future historians as a great Catholic resurgence.  It will take centuries for historians to fully assess his almost 27 year long papacy, but here are some of the factors that I think they will note.

1.  He largely stopped the post Vatican II chaos-After Vatican II the impulse to transform the Church into an institution fully reflecting the current views of cultural elites in the West wreaked much havoc.  Paul VI, a good and holy man, drew a line in the sand with Humanae Vitae, but he lacked the stomach and the will to fight it out with those who would have transformed the Catholic Church into what the Anglican Church is now:  a dying institution, adrift from any allegiance to traditional Christianity, and fully in accord with the mores and beliefs of the secular elite of the West.  Many were rubbing their hands with glee after the death of Pope Paul, in confident assurance that a new liberal pope would complete the transformation of the Church into something akin to Unitarianism with fancy dress.  Instead they got John Paul II, a Polish fighter who had stood toe to toe with the atheist rulers of Poland and was not the least frightened or impressed by the forces that sought to neuter Christ’s Church.  The chaos and low morale of the Church could not be completely reversed in one papacy, but John Paul II began the process and made a huge amount of progress.

2.  Presiding at the Funeral of Communism-During World War II, both the Nazis and the Communists slaughtered a huge number of Polish priests, viewing them as deadly enemies.  How very right they were!  The Polish Church, in the midst of one of the worst persecutions sustained by the Catholic Church in the last century, never lost faith that the Church and Poland would both ultimately outlast the totalitarian regimes and emerge triumphant.  John Paul II was the embodiment of this robust confidence that Communism, like Nazism, was merely a brief historical abberation that could and would be defeated.  The rise of Solidarity was completely predictable to him, and his embrace of it made a crackdown by the Polish Communist regime, and its Kremlin puppet masters, impossible.  John Paul II and Ronald Reagan in the Eighties brought about the largely peaceful collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe and laid the groundwork for its collapse in the former Soviet Union.  The heirs of Joseph Stalin learned to their sorrow that the type of power wielded by a skillful and determined pope cannot be counted in divisions but rather in human hearts.

3.  Culture of Life-In the teeth of an overwhelming movement among Western elites to jettison the belief that human life is sacred, John Paul II rededicated the Church to that proposition and waged a long uphill struggle throughout his papacy against abortion and euthanasia.  Like Moses, John Paul II did not live to see the victory in this fight, but ultimately we will win, and his brave stand at a crucial moment in history will be one of the reasons why.

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12 Responses to Blessed John Paul II: First Pope of the Catholic Resurgence

  • I miss Pope John Paul II. Thank you, Mr. McClarey, for so positively restating the accomplishments of this holy man.

    As many here may have inferred, I lean to the Traditionalist side of Catholic worship and life – which makes me no less a sinner than anyone else. Certain “rad Trads” with an ax to grin blame Pope John Paul II (and John XXVIII) for the priest abuse scandal, and the appointment of the likes of Cardinal Mahony, and the sad Father Maicel situation. Certain of these people are perpetually angry – angry because of the Assisi conference when John Paul II kissed a Koran, anfry because Archbishop Lefebvre (SIC) was excommunicated (he ordained Bishop Williamson).

    We should remember that there has never been a time when things were perfect in the Church and they never will be perfect in this world. Wojtyla dealt with the death of his family, the invasion of Poland by Hitler and Stalin, the murder of millons of Polish citizens, the abandonment of his homeland to the Communist occupiers and the subsequent repression of his people. He persevered through it all. I would like for his most outspoken critics to walk in his shoes and then talk.

  • Obamacare is our Nova Huta, the workers’ paradise. Heaven without God…is called hell.

  • Great post Donald! I agree 100% with all the points. It is hard to place any of these in a hierarchy but I would say three things ‘stick out’ in my mind concerning Saint Pope John Paul:

    1) stopping the chaos that taken over the Church after the closing of the Second Vatican Council by:
    a) calling for the Extraordinary Synod of 1985 which gave us:
    i. 6 principles by which we can properly interpret Vatican II
    ii began the process of real ‘reception’ of Vatican II within the Church
    iii.Calling for a new Catechism to put forth the teachings of the Church with an
    emphasis on interpreting the Council within the greater Catholic Tradition
    b) held synods and in turn wrote apostolic exhortations on every major area and grouping
    within the Catholic Church

    c) began (granted on a limited scale) the reintegration of TLM within the Church, responding to both the genuine pastoral need as well as the richness of the tradition found in TLM. This began the process by which TLM was no longer a bone of contention which it should never have been [An important note here. For those who do not know me well, I am a regular participant in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite]

    2) Brought forward for all to see the vision of Jesus Christ, God made flesh, true God and true man [Council of Chalcedon 451 AD] through the prism of Vatican II’s four foundational Constitutions and revealed: The Redeemer of Man: that Christianity is not simply a humanism it is really the ultimate humanism, since in Christ, each human being discovers their identity, dignity, worth and meaning of life. Saint JPII showed that the Council and the Catholic Church is not ‘anthropocentric’ (man-centered) versus God-centered, but Christ-centered.
    a)In turn, Christ becomes the foundation of an ultimate interpreter of ‘culture’. It is culture and not economics (a la marx) or politics, or technology that makes this world run. Some theologians have put forward this thought: the Council of Trent wrestled with and put forward the Church’s teaching on grace and human nature; Vatican II wrestled with and put forward the Church’s teaching on grace and culture.
    b)in turn Christ is the Lord of history, The Church has wrestled with and accepted historical consciousness [not the exact same as ‘historical criticism’], Saint JPII saw all of the present moment of the CHurch moving toward the turn of the Millenium in 2000 AD and proceeding from that great moment [can anyone deny we are living in a very different ‘age’?] Since Christ is the Lord of History we need not be afraid: “Be not afraid!”

    3) revolutionized Catholic moral theology giving us the first encyclical on the foundations of moral theology: “throwing out” the various theologies being put forth in the chaos after the Council supposedly in the ‘spirit of VII”. He did thisnot by ‘fiat’ (an edict) but by showing that they have been ‘seen, judged, and found wanting’.

    a) This gave the foundation for his piggy back encyclical: the Gospel of Life on the foundations and applications of the Dignity of Life

    b)also put forward his Theology of the Body which is a phenomenal teaching which only now is beginning to be received into the Church
    c) social doctrine of Centissimus Annus [I have to be honest, the fuller implications of this encyclical got by me for years. So I can say with Saint Augustine, “Late have I loved thee” lol but it’s understanding of human freedom etc within the economic sphere is phenomena

    4) Because of his ‘vision of Christ’ he had a profound (deep) view of man as ‘religious’. He saw the Lord Jesus [Iesus Domine] as the unique Lord and Savior, through Whom all who are to be saved, are saved.
    a) He was passionate about ecumenical relations all attempting to encourage and assist the process toward which all Christians would be one as the Father and Christ are one, in the Spirit-most especially with the Orthodox seeing the Church must breathe out of both lungs (East as well as West)
    b) Nonetheless, he saw the Catholic Church’s responsibility to build dialogue and communications with all world religions (most especially Judaism with which we have unique ties) Freedom of religion, mutual respect, growth in communications and understanding must mark ‘religious man’s’ journey through history. After 9/11 Saint JPII added that no one, absolutely no one can claim to kill in the Name of God.

    I am sure I have forgotten some things here. These were off the top of my head. BTW I was on pilgrimage to Rome in 1978, saw Pope John Paul I at his last audience, and was there for some of his funeral rites. As things turned out, I was the very last ‘public person’ in the Sistine Chapel before Saint JPII was elected pope. I treasure that memory

  • Our Pope! He touched us deeply with his love his sincerity and his wit.

    One more to add Mr. McClarey; The Catechism of the Catholic Church. His oversight and vision in having a clear teaching tool to reinforce the truths of our faith should be mentioned. Santos JP II !!!

  • I remember Pope Saint John Paul II because he was an instrumental part of that triad – himself, Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher – who engineered the defeat and dissolution of the Iron Curtain. Without a doubt God’s hand was upon him.

  • PS, I wonder if all three – JPII, Reagan and Thatcher – are now in Heaven together, and I wonder what they are saying as they look upon the State of the Church and Western civilization. We do a grave disservice to their memory.

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  • I have two photos of him with my son, when my son was not yet in the seminary and one later during an ad lumina visit with our bishop when son was studying at gregorian
    I say my son is a third class relic!
    My friends, praying for my son to come back to the Church! Ask St John Paul for him. When my son met him the pope called him Grande (sp). My son is 6’7″. He was there during last days of JP and first of B16. Please pray for my son.

  • He (John Paul II) largely stopped the post Vatican II chaos…
    –Donald R. McClarey

    Unfortunately, he didn’t reverse it much. Pope Benedict XVI began to reverse the chaos, then came Pope Francis. Chaos thrives when foot-in-mouth disease strikes.

  • Anzlyne.

    Holy hour coming up!
    Your son is in my prayers.
    God bless your family and St.Pope JPII will be busy….very busy! Peace.

  • Anzlyne: My prayers for your son walking about in the desert. What a wonderful priest he will be.

  • Thank you Philip and Mary god has blessed you with generous hearts. Mary I hope that is a prophecy from God.

Pope John XXIII: The Traditionalist of Change

Sunday, April 27, AD 2014



The Conclave of 1958 lasted four days and 11 ballots before the election of Angelo Roncalli,  Patriarch of Venice, was elected as a compromise candidate.  No one was more surprised than the 77 year old Roncalli at his election.  He had purchased a round trip ticket and hoped that the Conclave would be a short one so that he could get home quickly.  He decided to reign as Pope John XXIII.

Roncalli was born in 1881 to a family of peasants,  the fourth child and first son, in a family that would grow to 13 kids.  He was ordained a priest in 1904.  In 1905 he became secretary to the Bishop of Bergamo, working in that capacity until 1915 while lecturing at the local seminary.  He served in the Italian Army during World War I as a sergeant, assigned as a stretcher bearer and a chaplain.    Of his experiences during the War he wrote:    “I thank God that I served as a sergeant and army  chaplain in the First World War. How much I learned about the human  heart during this time, how much experience I gained, what grace I  received.”

After the War he was appointed spiritual director of the seminary in Bergamo.  In 1921 Pope Benedict named him the director of the Italian society for the propagation of the faith.  In 1925 Pope Pius XI made him Apostolic Visitor for Bulgaria where he served for a decade.  His perpetual sunny demeanor behind which a very shrewd mind lurked made him a natural diplomat.  In 1935 he was made Apostolic Delegate to Greece and Turkey.  During the war he saved thousands of lives of those, especially Jews, under threat from the Nazis.  One of his tactics was to issue “baptismal certificates of convenience” to priests to fill out to falsely assert that Jews were actually baptized Catholics.  When he was praised for his activity after the War he said that all praise should be directed towards Pope Pius XII who made it clear that the lives of innocents suffering persecution were to be saved.  For his activities alone during the War I think the canonization of Roncalli today is fully justified.

In 1953 the Pope made him cardinal and Patriarch of Venice.  No doubt at his age Cardinal Roncalli assumed that he had reached the pinnacle of his career and only retirement awaited.

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9 Responses to Pope John XXIII: The Traditionalist of Change

  • Pope Pius XII appointed Archbishop Roncalli (as he then was) Nuncio to France in December 1944. The Vatican website records that he “helped to normalize the ecclesiastical organization of France”; a beautiful example of litotes.

    When he was created a Cardinal in 1953, he received the biretta from the President of the Republic, M. Vincent Auriol. Whilst customary for French cardinals, it was unusual for a diplomat and arose from the President’s deep personal regard.

  • Saint John XXIII knew Church history, the Church’s Tradition and the Church’s richness in Liturgy. When apostolic delegate in Turkey he came in contact with the Orthodox Church. These theological experiences plus his deep human experience as a chaplain, etc brought him to the Spirit inspired decision to call for a Council of the Church. Sadly, he did not live to see the Council to its end or implementation. We should not confuse the Council with the chaos that followed with the supposed ‘spirit of Vatican II”

  • I love Mater et Magistra

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  • Amid the paeans of glorification of John XXIII, a question: Do we yet know with any certainty why he called an “ecumenical” council, at a point in time where the Church was flourishing and there was no popular demand for massive liturgical change?

  • Steve poses a very good question,was it the turmoil in the American Church ?

  • I think Steve has a point, and I’ll go even further. Every day, I think to myself that the Church in particular, and the world in general would have been better off if there had been no Vatican II. If for no other reason, it would have kept the dissident clerics in their holes for perhaps a few more decades!

  • Actually, I disagree that all was well or even most was well within the Church of 1960. From the outside it seemed to be flourishing, but within the seeds of dissension (and liberalism) were long past rooting and we, the Church, were headed for the fall-out that followed Vatican II. Not because of it, but by then inevitable. I believe the Holy Spirit inspired Vatican II – and consequently perverted as much as possible by Satan – to help right the ship. There is a reason why JxxIII and JPII are proclaimed saints on the same day.

  • The Jewish Virtual LIbrary:

    I pray for the peace of Jerusalem, as I know many Catholics and other Christians do.
    I imagine John XXIII is watching over the whole traditional area of palestine from heaven. He is known as a real diplomat and righteous man He could help this situation today.

The Cross at our Crossroads

Sunday, April 27, AD 2014


23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;

24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

1 Corinthians: 1:23,24



On Tuesday and Wednesday of last week my bride and I went down with our son to SIU Carbondale where he will be attending law school in the fall.  (He graduated in 3.5 years from the University of Illinois with a degree in History, and he has been following me around since January to learn what not to do as an attorney.)  We were taking him down for an awards ceremony where he received a full tuition scholarship.  (Fortunately he gets his brains from my bride rather than from me.)

Carbondale is a 268 mile jaunt from Dwight, most of it on I-57.  As we came to the intersection of I-57 and I-70 at Effingham we saw The Cross at the Crossroads.  198 feet tall, it is the largest free standing cross in the world.  Seeing the Cross brightened what was a lengthy drive and reminded us that while we all go about our lives the Cross of Christ is irrevocably at the center of our existence.

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8 Responses to The Cross at our Crossroads

  • If we could somehow look upon our personal Crosses in our life as great value to us, instead of burdensome, we would ask the good God for more!
    How we treat them and offer them is the key to happiness on this long trail of tears.

    You and your hard work Mr. McClarey have helped more than your family.
    Your devotion to TAC is refreshment for weary travelers. Thanks for the cup of clean water.

  • PS-

    Full ride! Congratulations! 🙂
    Great young Men. Present tense intentional.

  • “But unto them which are called” But unto them WHO are called. It is my absolute intent to correct every demeaning term used against the human person and otherwise bad translation of the Bible. It is this respect for the human person, we call love.
    Have you asked your son about his vocation to the priesthood?

  • In Scotland, most of our ancient merket crosses suffered at the hands of the Reformers.

    In some cases, only the broken stump remains, as at Old Aberdeen

    In Aberdeen itself, the demolished cross has been replaced with the Scottish Unicorn. The balcony was for the reading of proclamations, citations, Letters of Horning &c

    Also at Cullen, otherwise a beautiful example of vernacular mediaeval stonework. An important port in the middle ages, it is now a rather insignificant hamlet.

    The only survival of the cross I know of is at Banff. It also depicts the BVM and St John. The rather garish colouring (to modern tastes) is authentic, based on microscopic traces of pigment, detected in the sandstone

    A Special Providence must have ensured its survival.

  • Mary de Voe

    But “Our Father, which art in heaven…” was used by Catholics and Protestants alike, until the 18th century

  • I am happy for your son- and for all of you. Plus a road trip together. Some of our family’s great memories are from time spent together in the car. Good conversation good songs
    And I hope your young man enjoys the next 3 years!
    I enjoyed the video. We have customers in central and southern Illinois -Good people.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour: “But “Our Father, which art in heaven…” was used by Catholics and Protestants alike, until the 18th century”

    The Trinity of God is three distinct Persons, God, the Father, God, the Son and God, the Holy Ghost. In referring to the Blessed Trinity using “that” or “which”, one neglects to acknowledge the Persons of God, WHO are one God, the Supreme Sovereign Being.
    Can you refer to yourself using “that” or “which”? You are singularly one person, a sovereign person, Michael Paterson-Seymour, made in the image of God. Without personhood acknowledged as “WHO”, you are addressed as a thing, a thing with no personhood or attachment to God. Soulless, defined and redefined by the state, instead of by belief in God.
    Religion is the exercise of or response to the gift of Faith from God. Things do not respond to the gift of Faith from God. Only other sovereign persons respond to the gift of Faith from God.
    If man is a sovereign person, made in the image of God, then God is a Trinity of sovereign Persons.
    God gives His Name to Moses as : “I AM WHO I AM”. Three Persons of the Blessed Trinity.

  • “Seeing the Cross brightened what was a lengthy drive and reminded us of that while we all go about our lives the Cross of Christ is irrevocably at the center of our existence.”
    I remember when a lighted cross brought my life into focus. Thank God.

April 27, 1864: Jacob Thompson

Sunday, April 27, AD 2014


Jacob Thompson of North Carolina was Secretary of the Interior under James Buchanan.  Resigning his cabinet post to follow the Confederacy, he joined the Confederate Army and rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, fighting in several battles in the West.

On April 27, 1864 he met with Jefferson Davis who appointed him to lead a delegation of “special commissioners” to Canada.  In effect, he was the head of the Confederate Secret Service in Canada.  During 1864 he would concoct plots to free Confederate prisoners in Union POW camps with the help of copperheads.  He met with disaffected Northern politicians to plot the formation of a Northern Confederacy.  He was behind a plot to burn New York City in revenge of the burning of Atlanta.  He was accused of meeting with John Wilkes Booth, although this has not been proven, and after the War Thompson vigorously denied any involvement with the assassination of Lincoln.

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