10

Breaking: Hobby Lobby Wins

The Supreme Court has voted in favor of Hobby Lobby in a decision just handed down this morning. Justice Alito wrote the majority opinion. The ruling appears to be a very narrow one, holding that closely held corporations cannot be compelled to provide contraception coverage. It doesn’t apply to other mandated coverage. More on the content of the ruling when the decision is released.

By the way, I have to relate something Kathryn Jean Lopez just tweeted. Evidently the protesters on the anti-Hobby Lobby side are chanting “Out of our bedroom!” You know, the people who want US to pay for THEIR contraceptive coverage.

11

Holy Innocents and Tolerance

 

Holy Innocents in New York City is the only Church that offers a daily traditional Mass.  It heads the list of parishes facing closure by the Archdiocese of New York.   This Church played an instrumental role in the conversion to Catholicism of Joyce Kilmer:

 

“Of course you understand my conversion. I am beginning to understand it. I believed in the Catholic position, the Catholic view of ethics and aesthetics, for a long time. But I wanted something not intellectual, some conviction not mental – in fact I wanted Faith. Just off Broadway, on the way from the Hudson Tube Station to the Times Building, there is a Church, called the Church of the Holy Innocents. Since it is in the heart of the Tenderloin, this name is strangely appropriate – for there surely is need of youth and innocence. Well, every morning for months I stopped on my way to the office and prayed in this Church for faith. When faith did come, it came, I think, by way of my little paralyzed daughter. Her lifeless hands led me; I think her tiny feet know beautiful paths. You understand this and it gives me a selfish pleasure to write it down.”

 

 

Father Z gives us the details on the possible closure:

 

 

 

Many media outlets (e.g. NYT, NRO, Rod Dreher), are noticing the plight of the people of Holy Innocents Church in midtown Manhattan’s reviving Garment District.

There is now a good article at the National Catholic Register about Holy Innocents, though I strongly disagree with the first line:

NEW YORK — Every weekday, several [?] traditional Catholics in New York City gather for a 6pm Traditional Latin Mass at the Church of the Holy Innocents, a Gothic Revival structure in Manhattan’s Garment District.

“Several”?  Several dozens!  And they are of every color and shape and economic level.

Masses are celebrated every day at the ideally situated Holy Innocents Church in both the Ordinary Form and, more importantly, in the Extraordinary Form.

The attendance at the Extraordinary Form evening Mass, well-timed for people getting off work, has been steadily growing.  For Low Masses on Monday and Thursdays there is an average of 55 people.  For Sung Masses – every Wednesday – about 75.  On Fridays the number climbs to over 100.  On Saturday morning, it varies between 80-100.  On Sundays the average has been 170 and that number is climbing to around 200 these days. There are about 40 men who are in the server corps and about 20 in the choir rotation.  Lay people gather and at least one cleric on Sunday afternoons to sing Vespers (as the Second Vatican Council asked) and have Benediction.  There aren’t Sung Vespers at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, but there are at Holy Innocents.  More people are at Sunday Vespers than at the Novus Ordo Mass at 12:30.

I don’t usually go for the “empower” buzz word stuff, but it is the lay people who are seriously empowered here.  A liberal’s dream, right?  Lay people have, with the benign nod of the pastor, turned this place around in 5 years.

Since the now infamous sermon given by Fr. Wylie and the way Holy Innocents has been in the news, I am told that there are many new faces in the congregation.  I was told, “there are so many new faces for the coffee hour that we are running out of food extremely quickly.”  They have coffee and doughnuts after the Sunday Extraordinary Form Mass and quite a few people hang out, as is typical of the traditional Mass goers whom I have seen around these USA and abroad.

Traditional Catholics tend to form a close and warm community.  That’s also what is at stake.  These are people, not numbers.

But speaking of numbers, last year the parish exceeded the quota for the “Cardinal’s Annual Appeal”.

Holy Innocents is on 37th between Broadway and 7th, near Herald Square, not far from Penn Station, so it is ideally situated near many public transportation options.  The Garment District is experiencing a revival.  The New York Post wrote that it is becoming another Silicon Valley.  Even now, there is a steady stream of people all day long in an out of the church. People come to light candles, to pray briefly, and then go on their way. There is a thrift clothing store in the basement which is a help to low income people.  I wrote about watching people during the day HERE.

If you are in New York sometime, and go to nearby Times Square or Macy’s, stop in at Holy Innocents even if you can’t be there for Mass. Say a prayer, and then watch the people come and go.  It is amazing. Continue Reading

13

Top Ten Civil War Movies for the Fourth

Any understanding of this nation has to be based, and I mean really based, on an understanding of the Civil War. I believe that firmly. It defined us. The Revolution did what it did. Our involvement in European wars, beginning with the First World War, did what it did. But the Civil War defined us as what we are and it opened us to being what we became, good and bad things. And it is very necessary, if you are going to understand the American character in the twentieth century, to learn about this enormous catastrophe of the mid-nineteenth century. It was the crossroads of our being, and it was a hell of a crossroads.

 

Shelby Foote

 

I agree with historian Shelby Foote that it is impossible to understand the United States without understanding the Civil War, and it is “therefore fitting and proper” that over the Fourth Civil War movies come to mind.  This is a repeat of a post I originally did in 2011, with changes to some of the video clips.

 

10.   Ruggles of Red Gap (1935)-We begin with a non-Civil War movie with the video clip at the beginning of this post.  In 1908 English Bulter Charles Ruggles, well played by actor Charles Laughton, comes to work in the American West.  It is a hilarious fish out of water comedy, as Ruggles, with his culture and British reserve comes face to face with the Wild West.  While living in America, Ruggles becomes interested in American history, and becomes a great admirer of Abraham Lincoln.  When he recites the Gettysburg Address, the impact on his listeners is obvious, and reminds us that for Americans the Civil War will never be a matter simply relegated to books or memory, but is something that still has a vast impact on us to this day.

 

 

9.    Friendly Persuasion (1956)-Starring Gary Cooper as Jess Birdwell, the head of a Quaker family in southern Indiana during the Civil War, the film is a superb mix of drama and comedy as the Quakers have to determine whether to continue to embrace their pacifist beliefs or to take up arms against General John Hunt Morgan’s Confederate cavalry during his Great Raid of the North in June-July of 1863.  When the oldest son of the Birdwell family, portrayed by Anthony Perkins in his pre-Psycho days, takes up arms, his mother, played by Dorothy McGuire is aghast, but Cooper, as Jess Birdwell, defends him.  Although he remains true to his pacifist convictions, Birdwell understands that his son is acting in obedience to his conscience, and, as he tells his wife, ” A man’s life ain’t worth a hill of beans except he lives up to his own conscience.”

 

 

8.    Major Dundee (1965)-Sam Pekinpah’s flawed, unfinished masterpiece, the film tells the fictional account of a mixed force of Union soldiers and Confederate prisoners who join forces to hunt and ultimately defeat an Apache raider, Sierra Charriba, in 1864-65.  Charlton Heston gives an outstanding performance as Major Amos Dundee, a man battling his own personal demons of a failed military career, as he commands this Union-Confederate force through northern Mexico on the trail of the Apache, with fighting often threatening to break out between the Union and Confederate soldiers.  Use of Confederate prisoners as Union soldiers in the West was not uncommon.  Six Union infantry regiments of Confederate prisoners, called “Galvanized Yankees”, served in the West.   The final section of the film involving a battle between Major Dundee’s force and French Lancers, the French occupying Mexico at the time, has always struck me as one of the best filmed combat sequences in any movie.

 

 

7.    The Horse Soldiers (1959)-In 1959 John Ford and John Wayne, in the last of their “cavalry collaborations”, made The Horse Soldiers, a film based on Harold Sinclair’s novel of the same name published in 1956, which is a wonderful fictionalized account of Grierson’s Raid. Perhaps the most daring and successful Union cavaly raid of the war, Colonel Benjamin Grierson, a former music teacher and band leader from Jacksonville, Illinois, who, after being bitten by a horse at a young age, hated horses, led from April 17-May 2, 1863 1700 Illinois and Iowa troopers through 600 miles of Confederate territory from southern Tennessee to the Union held Baton Rouge in Louisiana.  Grierson and his men ripped up railroads, burned Confederate supplies and tied down many times their number of Confederate troops and succeeded in giving Grant a valuable diversion as he began his movement against Vicksburg. John Wayne gives a fine, if surly, performance as Colonel Marlowe, the leader of the Union cavalry brigade.  William Holden as a Union surgeon serves as a foil for Wayne.  Constance Towers, as a captured Southern belle, supplies the obligatory Hollywood love interest. Overall the film isn’t a bad treatment of the raid, and the period.  I especially appreciated two scenes.  John Wayne refers to his pre-war activities as “Before this present insanity” and Constance Towers gives the following impassioned speech: Well, you Yankees and your holy principle about savin’ the Union. You’re plunderin’ pirates that’s what. Well, you think there’s no Confederate army where you’re goin’. You think our boys are asleep down here. Well, they’ll catch up to you and they’ll cut you to pieces you, you nameless, fatherless scum. I wish I could be there to see it. Continue Reading

18

PopeWatch: Communists

 

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded – here and there, now and then – are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty. This is known as “bad luck.”

Robert Heinlein

Well, the Pope has given another interview, this time to the Roman paper Il Messaggero :

 

“I can only say that the communists have stolen our flag,” said the Pope, who returned to the public eye today with Mass for the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul after lying low with an apparent cold. “The flag of the poor is Christian. Poverty is at the center of the Gospel.”
He said this citing Biblical passages about the need to help the poor, the sick and the needy.
“Communists say that all this is communism. Sure, 20 centuries later. So when they speak, one can say to them: ‘but then you are Christian,’” he said, laughing. Continue Reading

Fortnight For Freedom: A Just War

Fortnight For Freedom 2014

As we approach the Fourth of July we celebrate American independence and the liberties we enjoy.  Independence was won on the battlefield.  Was the American Revolution a just war is therefore a question that should be asked and answered.

Based on the just war doctrine first enunciated by Saint Augustine, I believe the American Revolution was a just war.

 

Over the centuries the precise content of the just war doctrine has varied.  The classic definition of it by Saint Thomas Aquinas is set forth in Part II, Question 40 of his Summa Theologica:

“I answer that, In order for a war to be just, three things are necessary. First, the authority of the sovereign by whose command the war is to be waged. For it is not the business of a private individual to declare war, because he can seek for redress of his rights from the tribunal of his superior. Moreover it is not the business of a private individual to summon together the people, which has to be done in wartime. And as the care of the common weal is committed to those who are in authority, it is their business to watch over the common weal of the city, kingdom or province subject to them. And just as it is lawful for them to have recourse to the sword in defending that common weal against internal disturbances, when they punish evil-doers, according to the words of the Apostle (Rm. 13:4): “He beareth not the sword in vain: for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath upon him that doth evil”; so too, it is their business to have recourse to the sword of war in defending the common weal against external enemies. Hence it is said to those who are in authority (Ps. 81:4): “Rescue the poor: and deliver the needy out of the hand of the sinner”; and for this reason Augustine says (Contra Faust. xxii, 75): “The natural order conducive to peace among mortals demands that the power to declare and counsel war should be in the hands of those who hold the supreme authority.”

Secondly, a just cause is required, namely that those who are attacked, should be attacked because they deserve it on account of some fault. Wherefore Augustine says (Questions. in Hept., qu. x, super Jos.): “A just war is wont to be described as one that avenges wrongs, when a nation or state has to be punished, for refusing to make amends for the wrongs inflicted by its subjects, or to restore what it has seized unjustly.”

Thirdly, it is necessary that the belligerents should have a rightful intention, so that they intend the advancement of good, or the avoidance of evil. Hence Augustine says (De Verb. Dom. [*The words quoted are to be found not in St. Augustine’s works, but Can. Apud. Caus. xxiii, qu. 1]): “True religion looks upon as peaceful those wars that are waged not for motives of aggrandizement, or cruelty, but with the object of securing peace, of punishing evil-doers, and of uplifting the good.” For it may happen that the war is declared by the legitimate authority, and for a just cause, and yet be rendered unlawful through a wicked intention. Hence Augustine says (Contra Faust. xxii, 74): “The passion for inflicting harm, the cruel thirst for vengeance, an unpacific and relentless spirit, the fever of revolt, the lust of power, and such like things, all these are rightly condemned in war.”

The most recent formulation of the Just War doctrine for the Church is set forth in the Catechism at 2309: Continue Reading

8

Unlikely Apostles

 

To: Jesus, Son of Joseph
Woodcrafter’s Carpenter Shop
Nazareth 25922

From: Jordan Management Consultants

Dear Sir:

Thank you for submitting the resumes of the twelve men you have picked for managerial positions in your new organization. All of them have now taken our battery of tests; and we have not only run the results through our computer, but also arranged personal interviews for each of them with our psychologist and vocational aptitude consultant.

The profiles of all tests are included, and you will want to study each of them carefully.

As part of our service, we make some general comments for your guidance, much as an auditor will include some general statements. This is given as a result of staff consultation, and comes without any additional fee.

It is the staff opinion that most of your nominees are lacking in background, education and vocational aptitude for the type of enterprise you are undertaking. They do not have the team concept. We would recommend that you continue your search for persons of experience in managerial ability and proven capability.

Simon Peter is emotionally unstable and given to fits of temper. Andrew has absolutely no qualities of leadership. The two brothers, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, place personal interest above company loyalty. Thomas demonstrates a questioning attitude that would tend to undermine morale. We feel that it is our duty to tell you that Matthew had been blacklisted by the Greater Jerusalem Better Business Bureau; James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus definitely have radical leanings, and they both registered a high score on the manic-depressive scale.

One of the candidates, however, shows great potential. He is a man of ability and resourcefulness, meets people well, has a keen business mind, and has contacts in high places. He is highly motivated, ambitious, and responsible. We recommend Judas Iscariot as your controller and right-hand man. All of the other profiles are self-explanatory.

We wish you every success in your new venture.

Sincerely,

Jordan Management Consultants

I have long thought that God has a very well developed sense of humor, and nowhere is that attribute of God more in evidence than in His selection of the human instruments He chooses to work His Will.  Saint Peter was a fisherman and God chose him to be the first Pope.  I assume that almost everyone, including Peter, thought that Christ had made a great mistake in doing this, since other than having a big heart, Peter had no other qualities to the casual observer that would explain why Christ chose him.  Such doubts were underlined when Peter, as predicted by Christ, denied Him three times after the arrest of Christ.  Yet Peter, after the Resurrection, would be transformed into a heroic leader, fearlessly preaching the message of Christ, leading the Church from a small band in Judea into a religion spanning the Mediterranean and beyond.  The big fisherman had been a good choice after all.

No such initial doubts would have concerned the worthiness of Saul of Tarsus for some important office.  He was a keen scholar of the Scriptures, a riveting speaker and utterly fearless.  He was also on the other side, a persecutor of Christianity as a hideous blasphemy against I AM.  In less than the twinkling of an eye God seizes upon His enemy and transforms him into a zealous champion of the New Way, a man who from being afraid of the transformation of Judaism by the teachings of Christ, into the Apostle of Christ to the Gentiles. Continue Reading

1

Fortnight For Freedom: Why Do We Celebrate the Fourth of July?

Fortnight For Freedom 2014

 

 

 

 

During the Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858, both Lincoln and Douglas, in addition to their joint appearances at the debates, gave many separate speeches.  On the evening of July 10, 1858, Lincoln gave a speech in the evening in Chicago.  During the course of that speech he touched upon why we celebrate the Fourth of July.

Now, it happens that we meet together once every year, sometime about the 4th of July, for some reason or other. These 4th of July gatherings I suppose have their uses. If you will indulge me, I will state what I suppose to be some of them.

We are now a mighty nation, we are thirty—or about thirty millions of people, and we own and inhabit about one-fifteenth part of the dry land of the whole earth. We run our memory back over the pages of history for about eighty-two years and we discover that we were then a very small people in point of numbers, vastly inferior to what we are now, with a vastly less extent of country,—with vastly less of everything we deem desirable among men,—we look upon the change as exceedingly advantageous to us and to our posterity, and we fix upon something that happened away back, as in some way or other being connected with this rise of prosperity. We find a race of men living in that day whom we claim as our fathers and grandfathers; they were iron men, they fought for the principle that they were contending for; and we understood that by what they then did it has followed that the degree of prosperity that we now enjoy has come to us. We hold this annual celebration to remind ourselves of all the good done in this process of time of how it was done and who did it, and how we are historically connected with it; and we go from these meetings in better humor with ourselves—we feel more attached the one to the other, and more firmly bound to the country we inhabit. In every way we are better men in the age, and race, and country in which we live for these celebrations. But after we have done all this we have not yet reached the whole. There is something else connected with it. We have besides these men—descended by blood from our ancestors—among us perhaps half our people who are not descendants at all of these men, they are men who have come from Europe—German, Irish, French and Scandinavian—men that have come from Europe themselves, or whose ancestors have come hither and settled here, finding themselves our equals in all things. If they look back through this history to trace their connection with those days by blood, they find they have none, they cannot carry themselves back into that glorious epoch and make themselves feel that they are part of us, but when they look through that old Declaration of Independence they find that those old men say that “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,” and then they feel that that moral sentiment taught in that day evidences their relation to those men, that it is the father of all moral principle in them, and that they have  a right to claim it as though they were blood of the blood, and flesh of the flesh of the men who wrote that Declaration, (loud and long continued applause) and so they are. That is the electric cord in that Declaration that links the hearts of patriotic and liberty-loving men together, that will link those patriotic hearts as long as the love of freedom exists in the minds of men throughout the world. [Applause.] Continue Reading

1

PopeWatch: Nutmail

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

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

Boonville, NC–Writing under the pen name “Nerocious,” 67-year-old Max Kroeger of Boonville, North Carolina sent an irate letter to the Vatican this week denouncing what he called the “abuse and corruption” inside the Vatican. Kroeger reported this morning that the 12,000 word letter addressed to “TO WHOM IT MUST CONCERN” was the fruit of a vigorous and ferocious one hour writing session he had had the prior evening after finishing the book Hitler’s Pope. Father Roberto Abate, who had the privilege of opening the letter, told Eye of the Tiber that he had never seen such a well crafted letter in all his years. “It was outstanding,” Abate said, still in tears by the fervor that seemed to pour forth from the passionately written letter. “I was moved even before I read its contents. The entire thing was written in caps, which automatically caught my attention and alerted me to the fact this was a serious matter, and that this man, whoever he was, was extremely furious about the state of the Church.” Abate went on to say that the masterfully executed letter, with its flawless use of all caps, as well a large number of just perfectly positioned bold ones that helped to emphasize certain aspects Kroeger believed the Church was lacking, could very well make it to the Holy Father’s desk. “This is what the Pope likes to see. It is not enough to write a letter. You must mean it…you must make it stand out. After all, without capitalized words, bold words, underlined words, and perhaps even highlighted words pointing out phrases that you don’t want the reader to overlook, how can you expect anyone to know that you’re frustrated?” Continue Reading

24

Foolish Thing in the Balkans

 

Europe today is a powder keg and the leaders are like men smoking in an arsenal … A single spark will set off an explosion that will consume us all … I cannot tell you when that explosion will occur, but I can tell you where … Some damned foolish thing in the Balkans will set it off.

Otto von Bismarck,  said during the Congress of Berlin in 1878

One hundred years ago the Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated, setting off a chain of events leading to World War I, the rise of Bolshevism in Russia, the reshaping of the map of Europe, ultimately to the rise of Nazism and World War II.  The deadliest bullets fired in the course of history were those fired by Gavrilo Princip.

Looking back, one is struck by how slow contemporaries were to grasp where events were heading.  The general feeling was that this crisis would be ultimately resolved and that war would be avoided, perhaps by a meeting of the great powers.  Alas such was not to be.  Austria used the assassination as a pretext to militarily settle accounts with Serbia.  Kaiser Wilhelm, against the advice of wiser heads among his advisors, gave Austria a blank check.  Russia would inevitably enter the war on the side of Serbia, which would bring in her ally France.  Germany would quickly be fighting a two front war.  The German invasion plan of France required an invasion of Belgium which would bring Britain into the war.  All of these domino actions were clear enough at the time, but the powers that be in each of the Great Powers assumed that their adversaries would back down rather than risk a general war.  Such was not the case.

Winston Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty at the time, was preoccupied, as was the rest of the British cabinet, with the issue of Irish Home Rule, which threatened to lead to violent clashes in Ireland and a possible revolt by segments of the British Army in Ireland against Home Rule.  This was a major crisis and it was not until July 25, 1914 that Churchill grasped what was coming on the Continent.  After a long discussion on the issue of Home Rule in Ireland. the Foreign Secretary read to the cabinet the Austrian ultimatum to Serbia:

“We were all very tired, but gradually as the sentences and phrases followed one another, impressions of a wholly different character began to form in my mind.  As the reading proceeded it seemed absolutely impossible that any State in the world could accept it, or that any acceptance, however abject, would satisfy the aggressor.  The parishes of Fermanagh and Tyrone faded into the mists and squalls of Ireland, and a strange light began immediately, but by perceptible gradations, to fall and grow upon the map of Europe.” Continue Reading

1

Fortnight For Freedom: Revolution, Independence and Schoolhouse Rock

Fortnight For Freedom 2014

 

Something for the weekend.  I loved these schoolhouse rock videos when they were first broadcast back in the Seventies right before the bicentennial.  Among a fair number of kids I knew they sparked an interest in history.  Of the videos, I believe No More Kings has the catchiest tune.  For a cartoon, The Shot Heard Round the World does a fairly good job of conveying information about the Revolution in a very short span of time:  it manages to include the opening battles of the war, Washington as the central figure of the war, the role of the militia, the endurance of the Continentals, the battle of Trenton, Valley Forge, the frequent defeats of the Americans, the importance of diplomacy and foreign intervention, and the decisive victory at Yorktown.  Fireworks is a nice opening view of the Declaration for kids.  If readers have kids, or if, like me, part of them has never really grown up, watching these cartoons can be a good way to get into the Fourth of July spirit! Continue Reading

16

PopeWatch: Who Do You Say That I Am?

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

The most important question in all of history is the simple one posed by Jesus:  “Who do you say that I am?”  In his homily on Thursday the Pope posed a partial answer to the eternal question.

 

These, the Pope said, “were the voices that reached the people, and none of these voices had the power to warm the hearts of the people – But Jesus did! The crowds were amazed: They heard Jesus and their hearts were warmed. The message of Jesus reached to the heart.” Jesus, Pope Francis said, “approached to the people,” He “healed the heart of the people,” He “understood their difficulties.” Jesus, he continued, “was not ashamed to speak with sinners, He went out to find them,” Jesus “felt joy, He was happy to be with His people.” And this is why Jesus is “the Good Shepherd,” the sheep hear His voice and follow Him:

“And this is why the people followed Jesus, because He was the Good Shepherd. He wasn’t a moralistic, quibbling Pharisee, or a Sadducee who made political deals with the powerful, or a guerrilla who sought the political liberation of his people, or a contemplative in a monastery. He was a pastor! A pastor who spoke the language of His people, Who understood, Who spoke the truth, the things of God: He never trafficked in the things of God! But He spoke in such a way that the people loved the things of God. That’s why they followed Him.”

Jesus, the Pope said, “was never far from the people, was never far from His Father.” Jesus “was so joined to the Father, He was one with the Father!” and so was “so very close to the people.” He “had this authority, and this is why the people followed Him.” Contemplating Jesus, the Good Shepherd, the Pope said, it would be good for us to think about who we like to follow: Continue Reading

6

Fortnight For Freedom: The Father of Our Country

Fortnight For Freedom 2014

 

America has been blessed by God in many ways but I suspect no blessing has been greater than His granting us George Washington to lead us in our struggle for independence and to be our first President.  Catholics have perhaps more reason than other Americans to keep the memory of Washington alive in our hearts.  In a time of strong prejudice against Catholics in many parts of the colonies he was free from religious bigotry as he demonstrated on November 5, 1775 when he banned the anti-Catholic Guy Fawkes celebrations.

“As the Commander in Chief has been apprized of a design form’d for the observance of that ridiculous and childish custom of burning the Effigy of the pope – He cannot help expressing his surprise that there should be Officers and Soldiers in this army so void of common sense, as not to see the impropriety of such a step at this Juncture; at a Time when we are solliciting, and have really obtain’d, the friendship and alliance of the people of Canada, whom we ought to consider as Brethren embarked in the same Cause. The defence of the general Liberty of America: At such a juncture, and in such Circumstances, to be insulting their Religion, is so monstrous, as not to be suffered or excused; indeed instead of offering the most remote insult, it is our duty to address public thanks to these our Brethren, as to them we are so much indebted for every late happy Success over the common Enemy in Canada.”

Order in Quarters, November 5, 1775

– George Washington

This stand against anti-Catholicism was not unusual for Washington.  Throughout his life Washington had Catholic friends, including John Carroll, the first Catholic bishop in the US.  He would sometimes attend Mass, as he did during the Constitutional Convention when he led a delegation of the Convention to attend Mass in Philadelphia as he had attended Protestant churches in that town during the Covention.  This sent a powerful signal that under the Constitution Catholics would be just as good Americans as Protestant Americans.

Washington underlined this point in response to a letter from prominent Catholics, including Charles and John Carroll, congratulating him on being elected President: Continue Reading

June 27, 1864: Battle of Kennesaw Mountain

Kennesaw_Mountain

I have heard men say that if they ever killed a Yankee during the war

they were not aware of it. I am satisfied that on this memorable day,
every man in our regiment killed from one score to four score, yea,
five score men. I mean from twenty to one hundred each. All that was
necessary was to load and shoot. In fact, I will ever think that the
reason they did not capture our works was the impossibility of their
living men passing over the bodies of their dead. The ground was piled
up with one solid mass of dead and wounded Yankees. I learned afterwards
from the burying squad that in some places they were piled up like cord
wood, twelve deep.
Private Sam Watkins, Company H, First Tennessee Infantry

Throughout his maneuvers to slow Sherman’s drive on Atlanta, General Joseph Johnston often occupied strong positions that he hoped Sherman would assault.  At Kennesaw Mountain on June 27, 1864 he got his wish.

Following the battle of Pickett’s Mill on May 27,1864, go here to read about it, the Union and Confederate armies would spend June with Sherman attempting to find some way to outflank or make his way through the defensive lines constructed by Johnston to defend Marietta, Georgia, and his rail supply line.

 

atlanta_campaign_17-27

Sherman having successfully turned his initial line, Johnston fell back on a previously prepared fortified line astride Kennesaw Mountain, an immensely strong position, on June 18-19.  Sherman’s attempt to turn the left of Johnston’s position came to a halt at the Battle of Kolb’s Farm on June 22.  Here Hood, in a foreshadowing of dark days to come for the Confederate Army of Tennessee, had his corps attack without adequate reconnaissance and incurred heavy losses of 1500 to 250 Union.  Nonetheless, Sherman’s flanking movement was stopped.

Growing impatient, on June 27 Sherman launched the last frontal assault of his career.  Assuming that Johnston had stretched his line too thin, Sherman attacked the Confederate center.  The attack began with a furious cannonade at 8:00 AM involving 200 cannon.  The Union attack went in and was bloodily repulsed with 3000 Union casualties to 1000 Confederates.  The fighting was over by 10:45 AM.  Sherman twice urged General Thomas to renew the assault.  Thomas flatly refused, saying “One or two more such assaults would use up this army.” 

The aftermath of the battle was anti-climactic.  The armies stood facing each other for five days, until July 2, 1864 when Sherman again attempted to outflank Johnston’s left, this time with success, Johnston retreating to prepared lines at Smyrna.  Here is Sherman’s account of the battle in his memoirs: Continue Reading

13

Massachusetts Abortion Clinic Bubble Zone Law Struck Down

 

 

Today a unanimous Supreme Court, in MCCULLEN ET AL. v. COAKLEY, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF MASSACHUSETTS, struck down the Massachusetts “Bubble Zone” law, keeping pro-life protestors  35 feet away from abortion clinics, as a violation of the First Amendment.  That is a good thing.  The bad thing is that it was authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, and I will let Justice Scalia explain what a limited victory for the pro-life cause this is, and what a disappointment it is that the Chief Justice wrote it.

 

JUSTICE SCALIA, with whom JUSTICE KENNEDY and JUSTICE THOMAS join, concurring in the judgment.

Today’s opinion carries forward this Court’s practice of giving abortion-rights advocates a pass when it comes to suppressing the free-speech rights of their opponents. There is an entirely separate, abridged edition of the First Amendment applicable to speech against abortion. See, e.g., Hill v. Colorado, 530 U.S. 703 (2000); Madsen v. Women’s Health Center, Inc., 512 U.S. 753 (1994).

The second half of the Court’s analysis today, invalidating the law at issue because of inadequate “tailoring,” is certainly attractive to those of us who oppose an abortion-speech edition of the First Amendment . But think again. This is an opinion that has Something for Everyone, and the more significant portion continues the onward march of abortion-speech-only jurisprudence. That is the first half of the Court’s analysis, which concludes that a statute of this sort is not content based and hence not subject to so-called strict scrutiny. The Court reaches out to decide that question unnecessarily-or at least unnecessarily insofar as legal analysis is concerned.

I disagree with the Court’s dicta (Part III) and hence see no reason to opine on its holding (Part IV). Continue Reading

7

PopeWatch: Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

The Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate and the Pope had a meeting on June 10.  Father Z gives us the details:

 

Oddly, we didn’t hear about this meeting before.  It happened on 10 June.  Usually the Pope’s meetings are listed in public sources, such as the Bolletino.

From Vatican Insider with my emphases:

The Pope speaks with the young Franciscans of the Immaculate

The meeting, which lasted an hour and a half, took place on Tuesday 10 June in the chapel of Santa Marta. On the Council, Francis endorsed the hermeneutic proposed by Benedict XVI

ANDREA TORNIELLI
VATICAN CITY

The meeting was held on Tuesday 10 June in the chapel of the Santa Marta Residence in the Vatican, despite the fact the Pope had been feeling under the weather and cancelled some appointments the previous day. For an hour and a half, Francis entertained around sixty Franciscans of the Immaculate, the order founded by father Stefano Manelli that last year the Holy See put under temporary receivership to resolve internal differences regarding the government, administration, relationship with the female branch and the use of the by new exclusive [sic] old missal and the interpretations of the last Council. Around forty seminarists, novitiates, and theology and philosophy students were present, along with their teachers and the pontifical commissioner, [aka Commisar] father Fidenzio Volpi.

The Franciscan Friars sang the Ave Maria di Fatima and renewed in the hands of the Pope their vows of total consecration to the Immaculate. Questions were then put to Francis on the most contested themes regarding the internal operations of the institution. Pope Bergoglio proved to be well informed on all issues, following the matter closely, and several times showed his appreciation for father Volpi, quelling rumours that the actions of the government of the commissioner and his collaborators were undertaken without the Pope’s knowledge. [So, the Pope knew what was going on.]

Following the assignment of commissioners and restrictions applied to the use of the old missal, which, as opposed to what happens under motu proprio “Summorum Pontificum”, in the case of the Franciscans of the Immaculate it can be used without prior authorisation from superiors, there were defections in the friars and the seminarists. Of 400 members in the world, around 40 have requested to be released from their vows, and around half of these are seminarists and therefor still students who had only made temporary vows.

[NB] On the motu proprio, [Summorum Pontificum] Pope Francis said he did not want to deviate from the line of Benedict XVI, and reiterated that the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate remained free to celebrate the old mass, even if for the moment, [?] in light of the controversies surrounding the exclusive right to use that missal – an element that did not constitute part of the founding charisma of the institution – they required “a discernment” with the superior and with the bishop if it concerned celebrations in parish churches, sanctuaries and teaching houses. [Excuse me, but… why?] The Pope explained that there must be freedom, both for those who wish to celebrate with the old rite, and those who wish to celebrate with the new rite, without the rite becoming an ideological banner. [And clearly it had.  But, now that this trip to the woodshed (fairly or unfairly) has been prosecuted, why not just let them get on with life?  Also, if Pope Francis is okay with the juridical changes made by Benedict, then why is the group getting hammered?  Is this a way of testing them?  Is this something that a former Jesuit provincial would do?  Force the group to make choices and test them?]

One question concerned the interpretation of the II Vatican Council. Francis once again expressed his appreciation for the work of Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, defining it as “the best hermeneutic” of the Council. [DI YOU HEAR THAT, FISHWRAP?  Remember what Pope Francis wrote to Marchetto?  HERE] He then responded to the objection according to which the II Vatican would only be a castoral [sic… I don’t think “beaver-like” but rather “pastoral”] council, which has damaged the church. The Pope said that although it is has been pastoral, it contains doctrinal elements and is a Catholic council, reaffirming the line of the hermeneutics of reform in the continuity of the one-subject church, presented by Benedict XVI in his speech to the Roman Curia in December 2005. He then reminded them that all councils have provoked uproar and reactions, because the demon “does not want the church to become strong”. [“the demon… il demonio”, which is The Devil.] He also said that we must move forwards with a theological and not ideological hermeneutic of the II Vatican.

Francis also said that he had wanted the closure of the theological institute within the Franciscans of the Immaculate (STIM), so that the seminarists would study in the pontifical theology faculties of Rome. He then explained that the Church guarantees orthodoxy through the Pope. [His Holiness, if he thinks that, should pay closer attention to his old colleagues at the Gregorian.]

[…]

Meanwhile, the fact of this meeting makes me scratch my head a little.  What I have been hearing is that some of the men want to leave the FFIs, maybe to form something else, perhaps under the aegis of the PCED.  So, it could be that some people are getting nervous.  Could it be that the powers that be have become aware of how many people are watching the situation of the FFIs?  Could this be damage control?  It’s pretty ugly, after all. Continue Reading

10

Fortnight For Freedom: Charles Carroll of Carrollton-Faith and Freedom

Fortnight For Freedom 2014

charles-carroll-of-carrollton

And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

George Washington, Farewell Address

Charles Carroll of Carrollton, as he signed his name when he added his signature to the Declaration of Independence, was the only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence.  When he died at the age of 95, he was the last of the Signers to depart this vale of tears.

The scion of perhaps the richest family in the colonies, Charles Carroll was initially uninterested in politics and, in any case, was debarred by his religion from participating in politics in his native Maryland by his religion.  However, in his thirties he became a passionate advocate of American independence from Great Britain and quickly became one of the chief leaders of the Patriot cause in his home colony.  It was only natural as a result that he was sent to Congress, in spite of his religion, where he was one of the chief spokesmen for independence and happily placed his signature on the Declaration even though by doing so he risked not only his fortune but his life if the British had prevailed.

Two stories are told about him signing the document.  Supposedly he initially signed as Charles Carroll.  A member of Congress, who disliked Carroll because of his Catholicism, sneered, saying how would the British know which Charles Carroll had signed, this being a common name.  Carroll then angrily took up his quill pen and appended “of Carrollton” to his signature.  I love this story, but alas it is unlikely.  Charles Carroll had been adding  “of Carrollton” to his signature for years prior to the Revolution, a reference to his Manor known as Carrollton.  Additionally, as one of the richest men in the colonies,  it is unlikely that the British government would have had any confusion as to which Charles Carroll had signed his name.

The second story is much more likely to be true, as fond of gallows humor as the Founding Fathers tended to be.  When he signed his name one of the other members of Congress said, “There goes several millions!”.

By the end of 1776 the revolutionary government of Maryland had issued an act of religious freedom, and Carroll and his fellow Catholics in Maryland enjoyed the same civil rights as Protestants.

In 1778 he returned to Maryland and helped draft the state constitution and in setting up the new state government, serving in the State Senate until 1800, and briefly in the United States Senate.

A slaveholder, throughout his career Carroll spoke and wrote of slavery as an evil that must come to an end as soon as possible.  He attempted, but failed, to have Maryland implement a plan of gradual emancipation.  At the age of 91 he took on the task of being president of the Auxiliary State Colonization Society of Maryland, part of  a national movement to have free blacks voluntarily colonize what would become Liberia in Africa.

Something of a Renaissance man, he had a strong interest in science and in his nineties helped set up the B&O Railroad, lending his prestige to this new technology in his native Maryland.

Throughout his life his two main passions were the American Revolution and his Faith.   Like most of the Founding Fathers he regarded the idea of political liberty divorced from sound morality, derived from religion, as an absurdity.  He set forth his ideas on this subject in a letter to Secretary of War James McHenry in 1800 in which he lamented the then current American political scene:

These events will be hastened by the pretended philosophy of France; divine revelation has been scoffed at by the Philosophers of the present day, the immortality of the soul treated as the dreams of fools, or the invention of knaves, & death has been declared by public authority an eternal sleep; these opinions are gaining ground amongst us & silently saping the foundations of religion & encouragement of good, the terror of evildoers and the consolation of the poor, the miserable, and the distressed. Remove the hope & dread of future reward & punishment, the most powerful restraint on wicked action, & ye strongest inducement to virtuous ones is done away. Virtue, it may be said, is its own reward; I believe it to be so, and even in this life the only source of happiness, and this intimate & necessary connection between virtue & happiness here, & between vice & misery, is to my mind one of the surest pledge of happiness or misery in a future state of existence. But how few practice virtue merely for its own reward? Some of happy dispositon & temperament, calm reflecting men, exempt in a great degree from the turbulance of passions may be virtuous for vitrtue’s sake. Small however is the number who are guided by reason alone, & who can always subject their passions to its dictates. He can thust act may be said to be virtuous, but reason is often inlisted on the side of the passions, or at best, when most wanted, is weakest. Hence the necessity of a superior motive for acting virtuously; Now, what motive can be stronger than ye belief, founded on revelation, that a virtuous life will be rewarded by a happy immortality? Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore, who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime & pure, which denounces against the wicked eternal misery, & insures to the good eternal happiness are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free government. Continue Reading

5

Everything You Need to Know About ISIL in Iraq

 

 

Media coverage of events in Iraq is by and large pretty poor, reporting day to day events without giving much needed context.  Strategy Page performs a public service by giving briefings that provide a fantastic overview of just what is going on.  In their latest briefing they explain who the Sunni terrorists are who have grabbed so much of Iraq:

 

 

ISIL began as ISI (Islamic State in Iraq) after 2004 and was one of many Sunni Islamic terrorist groups operating in Iraq back then. By 2010 ISI was almost destroyed due to U.S. efforts, especially getting many Sunni tribes to turn against the Islamic terrorist groups. But after U.S. forces left in 2011 the Iraqi government failed to follow U.S. advice to take good care of the Sunni tribes, if only to keep the tribes from again supporting the Islamic terrorist groups. Instead the Shia led government turned against the Sunni population and stopped providing government jobs and regular pay for many of the Sunni tribal militias. Naturally many Sunni Arabs went back to supporting terror groups, especially very violent ones like ISI.

After 2011, as the Iraqi Shia were turning on the Sunni Arab minority, there was a rebellion against a minority Shia government in Syria, led by the Sunni Arab majority there. The Sunni tribes of western Iraq were linked by culture and sometimes family links with the Sunni tribes of eastern Syria. The rebellion in Syria got ISI thinking about forming a new Islamic Sunni state out of eastern Syria, western Iraq, Baghdad (historically the seat of Sunni power in the area, despite it now being half Shia) and Mosul. Actually this also includes Lebanon and all of Iraq, but this was kept quiet initially. This decision had ISI spending a lot more time and effort recruiting in western Iraq after 2011. ISIL was created in 2013 when ISI sought to become the dominant rebel group in Syria by persuading men, especially foreigners, from other Islamic terrorist groups fighting in Syria to join a new, united Islamic terrorist group called ISIL. This caused problems because of the harsh way ISIL treated civilians and anyone who opposed them. ISIL relished the publicity their atrocities received. But al Qaeda knew from bitter experience (in Iraq from 2006-2008) that the atrocities simply turned the Islamic world against you. The bad relations between ISIL and all the other Islamic radicals in Syria reached a low point in June 2013 when the head of al Qaeda (bin Laden successor Ayman al Zawahiri) declared the recent merger of the new (since January 2013) Syrian Jabhat al Nusra (JN) with ISIL unacceptable and ordered the two groups to remain separate. That was because the merger was announced by ISI/ISIL without the prior agreement of JN leadership. Many JN members then left their JN faction to join ISIL. JN leaders saw this as a power grab by ISI/ISIL and most of the JN men who left to join ISIL were non-Syrians. Many of these men had worked with ISI before and thought they were joining a more powerful group. A month later al Qaeda declared ISIL outcasts and sanctioned the war against them. By January 2014 this had turned into all-out war between ISIL and the other rebel groups in Syria.

That was not the first time al Qaeda has had to slap down misbehaving Iraqi Islamic terror groups and won’t be the last. But it’s not a problem unique to Iraq. It is a problem for Saudi Arabia because the Saudis finance al Nusra and some of the other Islamic terrorist rebels in Syria that are now at war with ISIL. To the Saudis such support is the lesser of two evils as ISIL is crippling rebel efforts to overthrow the Assad government. This is also part of the ideological war the Saudis (and most other Sunni Moslems) are fighting with Shia Iran (and its Shia allies the Assads and the Hezbollah militia in Lebanon). Meanwhile the Saudis continue crushing the Sunni Islamic terrorists that try to attack them at home. This includes local members of ISIL. All this sounds somewhat bizarre, with Saudi Arabia funding missionaries that create Islamic terrorists who become uncontrollable and seem to overthrow the rulers of Saudi Arabia. Absurd it may be, but it is a familiar pattern in this part of the world where religion and politics have long been intertwined in absurd and tragic ways.

The Saudis have been dealing with Islamic terrorism within their borders since the kingdom was formed in the 1920s and were able to quickly defeat the 2003 al Qaeda offensive. At first al Qaeda terrorists appeared capable of doing some serious damage in Saudi Arabia. In 2003-4, they made four major attacks. These killed 68 people, including twelve Americans. But most of the dead were Saudis, and this turned the population against the terrorists. All the planned terror attacks since then have been aborted by security forces, usually via tips from Saudi civilians. Most Islamic terrorists have now fled the kingdom. Despite this a large minority of Saudis still support al Qaeda, but it’s the majority who do not and that makes it nearly impossible for the terrorists to operate in their “homeland.” Killing civilians will do that, and al Qaeda has not been able to figure out how to fight without shedding the blood of innocents. So the innocents are taking their revenge. Meanwhile there is still support for groups like ISIL inside Saudi Arabia and ISIL has been recruiting for Saudi men to go fight in Syria and Iraq.

Taking Mosul was crucial to the ISIL plan for regional and world conquest. Mosul was part of Turkey until 1918, when the victorious Allies took Mosul province, and its oil, away from Turkey (to prevent the Turks from financing an effort to rebuild their empire) and gave it to the newly created Iraq. In the 1980s Saddam Hussein, again feuding with the Kurdish majority in northern Iraq, killed or drove Kurds out of Mosul and invited poor Sunnis from the south to move in and take over. After 2003 the Kurds came back seeking to regain their stolen property and control of Mosul. The Sunni Arabs there did not want to give up their new homes as they would be destitute if they did so. So the fighting was vicious and the Mosul Sunnis were glad to get help from ISIL and other Sunni terror groups. But now most Mosul residents are feeling the impact of the ISIL take over as new lifestyle rules have been issued forbidding many things Westernized Iraqis take for granted. Continue Reading

3

Sister Blandina on the Path to Sainthood

sister-blandina-segale

 

 

One of the pioneer nuns of the Old West is on the path to sainthood, Sister Blandina Segale:

 

 

The Archdiocese of Santa Fe announced Wednesday it is exploring sainthood for an Italian-born nun who challenged Billy the Kid, calmed angry mobs and helped open New Mexico territory hospitals and schools.

Archbishop Michael Sheehan said he has received permission from the Vatican to open the “Sainthood Cause” for Sister Blandina Segale, an educator and social worker who worked in Ohio, Colorado and New Mexico.

It’s the first time in New Mexico’s 400-year history with the Roman Catholic Church that a decree opening the cause of beatification and canonization has been declared, church officials said.

Go here to read the rest at The Sacramento Bee.

 

I heartily support this cause!  Here is a post on Sister Blandina that I wrote back in 2012:

Rose Marie Segale was born on January 23, 1850 in the small village of Cicagna in Italy.  When she was four she and her family moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, part of the initial wave of immigration from Italy to America.  From her earliest childhood she was determined to be a sister and frequently told her father that she wanted to join the  Sisters of Charity as soon as she was old enough.  She began her novitiate at the age of 16.  When she professed her vows she took the name of Blandina Segale.  She taught at Steubenville and Dayton, and in 1872 she was ordered to Trinidad for missionary work.  Initially she thought that she was being sent to the island and was thrilled.  Instead, she was sent to Trinidad, Colorado in the western part of that state.

What she found when she got there, was a town that was frequently visited by outlaws and where lynchings were common.  A fairly rugged environment for a 22-year-old sister!

Nothing daunted, she began to teach.  Soon after she got there she stopped a lynching by convincing a dying man to forgive his assailant, the father of one of her pupils.  Sister Blandina and the sheriff brought the accused killer from the jail where he was being held to the bed of the dying man, through the midst of an angry lynch mob.  The dying man, very generously I think, forgave the man, the lynch mob dispersed, and the man’s fate was determined by the court and not the mob.

One of the many outlaws who terrorized the area was Arthur Pond aka William LeRoy, sometimes known as Billy the Kid, and who was celebrated as the King of American Highwaymen by the “penny dreadful” novelist  Richard K. Fox who released a heavily fictionalized biography of him immediately after his death, conflating his exploits with those of the more famous Billy the Kid.  (Sister Blandina in later life confused LeRoy with William H. Bonney, the more famous Billy the Kid, who operated in New Mexico a few years later.  Sister Blandina had known the outlaw only by his nickname and didn’t realize that there were two Billy the Kids, who died within months of each other in 1881.)  A member of his gang had been accidentally  shot by another member of his gang and left to die in an adobe hut in Trinidad.  Learning this from one of her students, Sister Blandina went to the outlaw and nursed him back to health, answering his questions about God and religion.   When Billy the Kid showed up in Trinidad one day, intent on scalping the four doctors who refused to treat the man Sister Blandina had been caring for, he thanked Sister Blandina and at her request reluctantly spared the physicians. Continue Reading

16

Human trafficking in the USA: Where’s the Catholic left’s outrage?

 

Judging solely from the amount of time international organizations—like the United Nations and the Holy See—have been devoting to it, human trafficking appears to be an another example of the old observation “their hearts in the right place, but their minds are in the wrong place.”

Consider the United Nations. Recently, it declared the moral equivalent of a global war against human trafficking. Yet, this is nothing new, despite the mainstream media’s interest in promoting it:

Even the Holy See appears to be smitten with this misguided notion. For example, the Holy Father met with the Archbishop of Canterbury a couple of weeks back. According to the Independent, the two agreed to:

  • a joint project that will utilize the global reach of their churches to combat the global trade in human trafficking;
  • pressure 50 top multinational companies to free their supply chains of forced labor by 2020; and,
  • “slavery proof” investments as well as the purchases of churches.

With more than one century’s worth of white papers, jetting here and there to convene high-level conferences, international agreement after international agreement, the question is: What’s there to show for the effort? The evil has grown into a $150B+ global industry that Kevin Bales in his 2004 book, Disposable People, estimated to involve 27M human slaves. Today, some believe it’s 35M.

So much for caring. It doesn’t win global wars.

Given these facts, when it comes to global trafficking in human beings, the left’s outrage de jour and #hashtag diplomacy isn’t just mindless. It’s also insincere. Sincere people would have been marching on the White House as far back as 2012 when President Obama bypassed Congress and stopped the certain deportation of illegal aliens. Instead, the President granted work permits to ~800k younger illegal aliens.

That policy opened the floodgates for an unprecedented number of illegal alien children to be imported into the United States. The facts:

  • In FY 2013, Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement (HHS-ORR) served ~24.7k children, almost double the ~13.63k from the previous year.
  • In FY 2014, ~60k children are expected to come to the United States. Most will be from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. That’s a 243% increase!

This iteration of the global war on human trafficking is doomed to failure. Fueled by their hearts and not by their minds, the very people who decry human trafficking can’t seem to figure out whose policies sent an open invitation for human traffickers to practice their trade in the left’s own front yard…at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

 

 

 

To read the Independent article, click on the following link:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/could-the-archbishop-and-the-pope-really-reunify-the-church-9552879.html

To read the International Labour Office’s 2014 statistics “Profits and Poverty,” click on the following link:
http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/—ed_norm/—declaration/documents/publication/wcms_243391.pdf

To read the Boston Globe article about President Obama’s policy, click on the following link:
http://www.boston.com/politicalintelligence/2012/06/15/president-obama-let-children-illegal-immigrants-avoid-deportation/andhGTWZtcf35T21dzq0nI/story.html

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

 

PopeWatch: The Pope and the Angel

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

PopeWatch has often expessed doubts about what the Pope says or writes, but PopeWatch has never doubted the goodness of the Pope’s heart, as he demonstrated over the weekend.

 

The Holy See and his entourage were travelling on a road near the home of the Catholic family, when he noticed the family holding banners reading:  ‘Please Pope stop here to see an angel who has been waiting for you’, and ‘Please come and bless little Roberta’, the Catholic News Agency reported.

A video uploaded by the family on Facebook shows the Pope step out from his car as Roberta, who is lying in a stretcher, is taken by her family to meet him.

The pontiff then kisses Roberta, who needs a machine to enable her to breathe, according to news.va. Continue Reading

9

Fortnight For Freedom: Catholics in the American Revolution

Fortnight For Freedom 2014

 

 

Nor, perchance did the fact which We now recall take place without some design of divine Providence. Precisely at the epoch when the American colonies, having, with Catholic aid, achieved liberty and independence, coalesced into a constitutional Republic the ecclesiastical hierarchy was happily established amongst you; and at the very time when the popular suffrage placed the great Washington at the helm of the Republic, the first bishop was set by apostolic authority over the American Church. The well-known friendship and familiar intercourse which subsisted between these two men seems to be an evidence that the United States ought to be conjoined in concord and amity with the Catholic Church. And not without cause; for without morality the State cannot endure-a truth which that illustrious citizen of yours, whom We have just mentioned, with a keenness of insight worthy of his genius and statesmanship perceived and proclaimed. But the best and strongest support of morality is religion.

Pope Leo XIII

From the foundation of this nation, Catholics have fought and died in defense of American liberties.  American Catholics, a very small percentage of the population of the 13 colonies, 1.6 percent, were overwhelmingly patriots and played a role in the American Revolution out of all proportion to the small fragment of the American people they represented.  Among the Catholics who assumed leadership roles in the fight for our liberty were:

General Stephen Moylan  a noted cavalry commander and the first Muster Master-General of the Continental Army.

Captains Joshua Barney and John Barry,  two of the most successful naval commanders in the American Revolution.

Colonel John Fitzgerald was a trusted aide and private secretary to General George Washington.

Father Pierre Gibault, Vicar General of Illinois, whose aid was instrumental in the conquest of the Northwest for America by George Rogers Clark.

Thomas Fitzsimons served as a Pennsylvania militia company commander during the Trenton campaign.  Later in the War he helped found the Pennsylvania state navy.  After the War he was one of the two Catholic signers of the U.S. Constitution in 1787

Colonel Thomas Moore led a Philadelphia regiment in the War.

Major John Doyle led a group of elite riflemen during the War. Continue Reading

2

Yankee Ingenuity in Normandy

 

There was a little sergeant. His name was Culin, and he had an idea. And his idea was that we could fasten knives, great big steel knives in front of these tanks, and as they came along they would cut off these banks right at ground level—they would go through on the level keel—would carry with themselves a little bit of camouflage for a while. And this idea was brought to the captain, to the major, to the colonel, and it got high enough that somebody did something about it—and that was General Bradley—and he did it very quickly. Because this seemed like a crazy idea, they did not even go to the engineers very fast, because they were afraid of the technical advice, and then someone did have a big questions, “Where are you going to find the steel for all this thing?” Well now, happily the Germans tried to keep us from going on the beaches with great steel “chevaux de frise”—big crosses, there were all big bars of steel down on the beach where the Germans left it. And he got it—got these things sharpened up—and it worked fine. The biggest and happiest group I suppose in all the Allied Armies that night were those that knew that this thing worked. And it worked beautifully.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower, January 10, 1961

Curtis Grubb Culin III, a native of New Jersey, was a Sergeant with the 102nd Cavalry Recon Squadron in the 2nd Armored Division during the Normandy Campaign.  He, like most Allied troops fighting in Normandy, was frustrated by hedgerows, those tangled messes of bushes and shrub trees that delineated boundaries between fields in the Normandy countryside and served as ready made fortifications for German machine guns and snipers.  Culin mentioned that one day he was discussing the problem that the hedgerows presented for their tanks when a “hillbilly”, Culin’s phrase, suggested putting teeth on the tanks.

That is just what Culin did, welding tusk like blades to the front of a tank that allowed it to cleave its way through the densest of hedgerows.  Ultimately demonstrated to General Bradley, he put the idea into mass production, using the metal crosses that littered the beach defenses installed by the Germans to make the blades on some of the tanks.  By the launch of Operation Cobra, the breakout from Normandy on July 25, 60% of First Army tanks had been teethed. Continue Reading

32

Weaponized IRS

The incredibly arrogant IRS Commissioner John A. Koskinen , a partisan Democrat, has explained to him by Congressman Trey Gowdy (R.SC), a former Federal prosecutor, what the phrase “spoliation of evidence” means.  In the attempt by this administration to hide the obvious, that they turned the IRS into a weapon to wield against those who opposed them, the IRS has engaged in wholesale destruction of relevant evidence.  This is absolutely chilling.  No arm of the Federal government has more day to day involvement with each American than the IRS.  The IRS has the power to inspect the financial records of each American and to punish with fines and penalties those who do not maintain those records.  For any administration to turn this agency into a political weapon, and then to attempt to destroy evidence of their wrongdoing, is to seek to transform government from servant into master.   Enough of this and more and more American’s will recall this phrase from President Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address:

This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing Government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it.

Very dangerous games are being played by this administration in their arrogance and contempt for those Americans who oppose them and I hope that the Obama administration will not be recalled by historians as the beginning of a calamitous period for this nation.

15

PopeWatch: Drugs

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

 

Pope Francis last week came out strongly against the trend to legalize some recreational drugs:

 

 

“With evil, there can be no yielding or compromise,” said the Pope, condemning attempts to legalize so-called “recreational drugs.”  “To think that harm can be reduced by permitting drug addicts to use narcotics,” he said, “in no way resolves the problem.”  Substitute drugs, he affirmed, “are not an adequate therapy but rather a veiled means of surrendering to the problem…no to every type of drug use!”

He deplored the commerce “which transcends national and continental borders,” leading to the “inexorable” spread of drug use and applauded the work of anti-drug agencies to stop it.  The Pope encouraged them to effectively coordinate anti-narcotics policies and strategies aimed at fighting the drug trade.

To say “no” to drugs, Pope Francis pointed out, one has to say “yes” to life, love, others, education and greater job opportunities.  “If we say ‘yes’ to all these things,” he said, “there will be no room for illicit drugs, for alcohol abuse, for other forms of addiction.” Continue Reading

Fortnight For Freedom: Top Ten Movies for the Fourth of July

Fortnight For Freedom 2014

 

 

Posterity! You will never know how much it cost the present Generation to preserve your Freedom! I hope you will make good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven, that I ever took half the Pains to preserve it.

John Adams

 

 

 

This is a repeat from a post last year, with some very slight modifications, but I think the logic behind the post still holds true.  As we are embroiled now in a struggle to preserve our religious liberty, I think the Fourth of July is a good time to recall the price paid to establish our liberties.  It is trite to say that freedom is not free, but it is also true.  A people who forget this eternal lesson will not remain free for long.

 

 

A number of feature films and miniseries have been made about the events of the American Revolution.  Here are my top ten choices for Fourth of July viewing:

10.  Ben and Me (1953)- Something for the younger patriots.  Disney put to film the novel of Robert Lawson, Ben and Me, which related how many of Ben Franklin’s bright ideas came from his mouse Amos.  Quite a bit of fun.   Not a classic but certainly an overlooked gem.

9.  The Crossing (2000)-A retelling of Washington’s brilliant crossing of the Delaware on Christmas 1776 and the battle of Trenton.  This film would rank much higher on my list but for Jeff Daniels’ portrayal of Washington as sullen and out of sorts throughout the movie.  Washington had a temper, and he could give vent to it if provoked, although he usually kept it under control, but the peevish Washington portrayed here is simply ahistoric and mars an otherwise good recreation of the turning point of the Revolution.

8.  John Paul Jones (1959)  Robert Stack, just before he rose to fame in the Untouchables, is grand in the role of the archetypal American sea hero.  Bette Davis is absolutely unforgettable as Catherine the Great.  The climactic sea battle with the Serapis is well done, especially for those pre-CGI days.  The only problem with the film is that many of the details are wrong.  This is forgivable to a certain extent since scholarship on Jones was badly skewed by Augustus Buell in a two-volume “scholarly biography” which appeared in 1900.  Buell was a charlatan who made up many incidents about Jones and then invented sources to support his fabrications.  Buell was not completely exposed until Samuel Eliot Morison, Harvard professor of history, and an Admiral in the Navy, wrote his definitive biography of Jones. Here is a list of the fabrications of Buell compiled by Morison.  Morison’s book appeared after the movie, which is to be regretted.

7.  The Patriot (2000) Finally, a film which depicts the unsung contribution of Australians to victory in the American Revolution!  Actually not too bad of a film overall.  Heath Ledger is quite good as Gibson’s oldest son who joins the Continentals at the beginning of the war against his father’s wishes.  Jason Isaacs is snarlingly good as the evil Colonel Tavington, very loosely based on Banastre Tarleton, commander of Tarleton’s Raiders during the Southern Campaign.  The film of course allows Gibson to carry on his over-the-top vendetta against all things English.  No, the British did not lock up American civilians in churches and burn them alive.  However, the ferocity of the partisan fighting in the South is well depicted, and Banastre Tarleton  at the Waxhaw Massacre earned a reputation for slaughtering men attempting to surrender.  The final battle of the film is based on the battle of Cowpens where General Daniel Morgan decisively defeated Tarleton.

6.  Drums Along the Mohawk (1939)-A John Ford classic starring Henry Fonda and Claudette Colbert.  Through the eyes of a young newlywed couple, Fonda and Colbert, the American Revolution on the frontier is depicted in the strategic Mohawk Valley.  Full of the usual Ford touches of heroism, humor and ordinary life. Continue Reading

2

June 23, 1314: Bannockburn

Seven hundred years ago the Scots regained their independence in a two day fight at Bannockburn.  The Scots led by Robert the Bruce were heavily outnumbered by the English under Edward II, perhaps as badly as 2-1 or more.  The English cavalry outnumbered the Scottish cavalry four to one, usually the decisive factor in battles at this time.  The Scottish infantry formed in schiltrons,  defensive circles bristling with pikes.
On the first day in hard fighting the Scots forced the English across Bannock Burn, the stream that flowed through the battle field.  The English recrossed the stream during the night and took up position in the plain beyond.  Robert the Bruce, learning from Alexander Seton, a Scottish knight serving with the English army who deserted to the Scots, that morale was low among the English, decided to attack.  The English and Welsh longbowmen should have made Swiss cheese of the Scots as they charged, but a daring and skillful charge of the 500 Scottish cavalry dispersed the archers.  An English counter charge by the Earl of Gloucester was defeated by the Scots, few of the English cavalry choosing to follow the Earl.  The Scottish infantry closed in on the English infantry and cavalry, the English cavalry now being hemmed in and unable to maneuver.  Edward fled with his personal guard, English morale collapsed on the flight of the King, and a defeat promptly turned into a rout.  The Scots had scored one of the greatest upset victories in the Middle Ages.
Let’s give Bobbie Burns the last word:

Continue Reading

31

Churches Should Cease Pro-Immigration Push

BurningFlagWikimedia

This was originally published on June 17 by The Blaze, and is reprinted with that site’s kind permission. John Zmirak will be on the Laura Ingraham Show on June 24 to talk about it with Ms. Ingraham.

Steve Weatherbe recently reported in the global Catholic news portal Aleteia that America’s Catholic bishops are upping the pressure on Congress to offer an amnesty deal for illegal immigrants before the fall elections — which they and everyone else expect will yield a more conservative Congress.

Evangelical leaders who have hopped on the immigration bandwagon are also trying to move their more skeptical co-religionists into line with the Catholics and Democrats on this issue. It might seem ironic that social conservatives are trying to rush into law a major reform on a profoundly important national issue, lest the voters speak their minds and elect a more conservative Congress.

Is immigration an issue where Christians are morally obliged to part ways with their longtime conservative allies, because the obligations of the Gospel demand that we set aside national selfishness, and possibly even covert racist sentiments?

That is how some religious writers are casting the question. Prominent among them is Virginia Republican Party Executive Director, Shaun Kenney, ally of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who was recently crushed by Dave Brat in that state’s Republican primary, largely because of Cantor’s support for passing an amnesty deal with the support of congressional Democrats.

In the buildup to that primary, Kenney penned an astonishing article in which he demonized opponents of amnesty as “know-nothings,” “nativists” and “clowns.” Citing none of the rational opponents of amnesty, but instead a collection of anonymous xenophobic rants, Kenney portrayed Brat supporters as hateful and dangerous heirs to the Ku Klux Klan, and called for Republicans to “drive them out” of the party.

Kenney’s piece is itself one of the more hateful, violent instances of political rhetoric I have seen in many years. With supporters like Kenney backing him, no wonder Virginia’s Republican voters decided instead to drive out Cantor instead.

Do a little more digging on Mr. Kenney, and you see exactly why he regards American patriotism as suspect: He is a politicized Catholic supremacist, who suggests that his co-religionists (I am one of them) ought to abandon any concern for the well-being of our fellow-Americans, and cast our political loyalty with our church, instead of our country.

We must work for a “Catholic restoration,” and shed “worldly ideologies” such as American democratic capitalism. We should “stop being… conservative[s],” and form our political views according to whatever statements, at whatever level of authority, come out of the Vatican. When the Vatican changes its policy on an issue, we must change our minds too — like loyal Communists following the Moscow party line. (How fitting that the site where Kenney published his Catholic supremacist screed has also tried to rehabilitate Karl Marx.)

Now, I have spent almost 40 years defending the Church’s authoritative teachings on moral issues — beginning at age 11, collecting signatures for New York City’s right-to-life candidate for mayor. But as a well-informed Catholic, I know that the Church makes no idolatrous claims that the pope is a gateway into the mind of God, bubbling up like an 8-Ball with the answers to every policy question that comes along.

Our recent popes have largely been prudent and holy men, whose advice on the technical implementation of Christian ethics has often been wise. But the Church admits that popes are merely human, and that 99.99999999999 percent of statements by popes are completely fallible, subject to correction and even respectful disagreement.

For instance, consider assertions by several popes that any lending at interest is a sin against nature, akin to sodomy. (Now the Vatican runs its very own bank.) Or statements by popes endorsing slavery and the persecution of Protestants — two practices the Church now teaches are intrinsically, always and everywhere evil.

More recently, Pope Paul VI wrote in an encyclical (Populorum Progressio) that Third World poverty could be solved by raising taxes in the rich countries, and sending billions in foreign aid to foreign governments. Forty years of waste and corruption have shown that such government-to-government foreign aid was typically useless or even disastrous, much of it ending up in the Swiss bank accounts of vicious dictators.

So pardon me if I don’t expect the Vatican to write America’s immigration laws, or draw up its federal budget. That’s not part of its job description.

The Church depends on laymen to make the tough, prudential decisions about how to apply Christian principles to practical situations — indeed, Pope Leo XIII and Pope John Paul II each denied that their papal office gave them any special insight into how such principles ought to be put into practice. They were good and humble men, and did not crave the magical status of oracles that some ideologues try to attribute to them.

When the pope speaks about moral principles, we Catholics have to listen – and non-Catholics ought to as well, since these are highly educated, deeply prayerful men. But no pope, and no pastor, has a monopoly on rational thought. Christians can and should differ on how to resolve America’s immigration problems.

If the reader is interested, I have tried to defend the conservative position, drawing on Christian principles and the demands of the common good for my fellow American citizens. But I could be wrong. I’m not infallible — and on issues this specific, nobody is.

My good friend Jason Jones thinks that an amnesty plan could work — provided that it was accompanied by rock-solid guarantees of renewed border security. I fear that the Democrats and the cheap labor lobby will always find ways to wriggle out of enforcing any real border control, which means that conservatives will have surrendered on the deeply symbolic issue of illegal immigration and gotten nothing in return — except an amnesty that invites another wave of illegal influxes.

I also worry about accepting millions more future Democratic voters, whose allegiance will tend (like Boston’s Irish) to follow which ever politician promises the most generous government programs.

Whatever your position, it is clear that immigration reform is utterly unlike abortion, slavery, genocide, or other profound moral issues where Christians were solemnly called to defend the dictates of a transcendent moral order. It’s an issue we can argue about, as patriotic citizens of good will, without demonizing each other or trying to “drive out” people who differ with us. I’m astonished that the Republican Party of the Commonwealth of Virginia is led by someone who doesn’t accept that fact.

John Zmirak is co-author of the upcoming book, “The Race to Save Our Century.” His columns are archived at www.badcatholics.com.

2

Fortnight for Freedom: Pius XII

Fortnight For Freedom 2014

 

 

Hattip to Father Z. From the speech of Pope Pius XII to seminarians on the opening of the North American College in Rome on October 14, 1953:

 

 

We belong to the Church militant ; and she is militant because on earth the powers of darkness are ever restless to encompass her destruction. Not only in the far-off centuries of the early Church, but down through the ages and in this our day, the enemies of God and Christian civilization make bold to attack the Creator’s supreme dominion and sacrosanct human rights. No rank of the clergy is spared ; and the faithful—their number is legion—inspired by the valiant endurance of their shepherds and fathers in Christ, stand firm, ready to suffer and die, as the martyrs of old, for the one true Faith taught by Jesus Christ. Into that militia you seek to be admitted as leaders.

Imprisonment and martyrdom, We know, do not loom on the horizon that spreads before your eyes. In an atmosphere of untrammeled freedom, where «the word of God is not bound», the Church in your country has grown in numbers, in influence, in strength of leadership in all that makes for the good of the commonwealth. The college on the via dell’Umiltà has seen your priests increase from twenty-fìve hundred to forty-fìve thousand and more-proud and glorious tribute to the unselfìsh, clear-visioned Catholic family life that prevails among you; a mission country become a seminary of apostles for foreign fìelds. But the Church militant is «one body, with one Spirit … with the same Lord, the same faith, the same baptism».(Eph 4, 4 ff.) And that Spirit calls for more than a dash of heroism in every priest who would be worthy of the name, whatever the external circumstances of time and place.

The spirit of the martyrs breathes in every priestly soul, who in the daily round of pastoral duties and in his cheerful, unrelenting efforts to increase in wisdom and in grace, gives witness to the Prince of shepherds, who endured the cross, despised the shame «when He gave Himself up on our behalf, a sacrifice breathing out fragrance as He offered it to God». (Eph 5, 2.)

We raise a fervent prayer to Mary Immaculate, under whose patronage you have placed your country, to Mary gloriously assumed into heaven, whom you have wished to honour in your chapel here, that she would always show a mother’s loving care of the clergy of America, and guide you, beloved seminarians, bearers of such high hopes, along the way that leads to that holiness which will bring her to recognize in you a greater and greater resemblance to her own divine Son. Continue Reading

6

PopeWatch: Mafia

In his vigil mass for the feast of Corpus Christi, Pope Francis had strong words indeed for the murderous gangsters of the Mafia:

 

When adoration of the Lord is substituted by adoration of money, the road to sin opens to personal interest … When one does not adore the Lord, one becomes an adorer of evil, like those who live by dishonesty and violence. Your land, which so beautiful, knows the signs of the consequences of this sin. The ‘ndrangheta (Calabrian mafia) is this: adoration of evil and contempt of the common good. This evil must be fought, must be expelled. It must be told no. The Church, which is so committed to educating consciences, must always expend itself even more so that good can prevail. Our children ask this of us. Our young people ask this of us, they, who need hope. To be able to respond to this demands, faith can help us. Those who in their lives have taken this evil road, this road of evil, such as the mobsters, they are not in communion with God, they are excommunicated. Continue Reading

5

My Wife, Pope Urban IV, Saint Thomas Aquinas and Saint Justin Martyr

When Corpus Christi rolls around I always think of Saint Thomas Aquinas and his great eucharistic hymn Pange Lingua Gloriosi Corporis Mysterium written by Saint Thomas at the command of Pope Urban IV to celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi instituted by the Pope in 1263.   It says something vastly significant about the Church that perhaps the greatest intellect of all time, Saint Thomas Aquinas, was not only a Doctor of the Church, but also capable of writing this magnificent hymn. 

The last portion of the hymn, Tantum Ergo, has vast significance for my family.  My wife, who is a far better Catholic in my estimation than I am, is a convert.  A Methodist when we married, she converted to the Church a few years later.  She had questions regarding the real presence, and this line from Tantum Ergo resolved them:  Faith tells us that Christ is present,  When our human senses fail.  When our kids came along she would whisper at the Consecration to them:  First it’s bread, now it’s Jesus.  First it’s wine, now it’s Jesus. 

I also think on Corpus Christi of Saint Justin Martyr:

Justin Martyr was born in Flavia Neapolis, ancient Shechem,  modern day Nablus, in Judaea circa 100 AD.  He was brought up a pagan.  Having enough money to pursue the study of philosophy, he encountered the teachings of Christ, after a long and methodical search for the true philosophy, and became a convert.  Having found the true philosophy, he traveled around the Roman Empire, spreading it, garbed in his philosopher’s gown.  Eventually he settled in Rome.  He wrote eight treatises defending Christianity.  His best known work is his First Apology which he addressed to the Roman Emperor Antonius Pius, one of the best of the emperors, who reigned from 138-161 AD.  This Apology was a plea for the Emperor to stop persecuting the Christians.  In this Apology he gives us many details as to how Catholics worshiped in Rome during the middle of the Second Century.   His description of the Eucharist is a treasure for all Catholics on Corpus Christi: Continue Reading

124

Rebecca Frech Schools Mark Shea on Guns

Mark Shea has a habit of saying that unless people do x, x always being a policy he endorses, they really are not pro-life.  This of course is simply an attempt, at least among pro-lifers, to stop debate on x and says nothing about the merits of x as a policy.  His latest attempt to do so is on the issue of smart guns, technology that purports to prevent a firearm from being fired, unless the owner is the one pulling the trigger.  Go here to read one of his posts on the subject.  Blogger Rebecca Frech, at her blog Shoved to Them, relates an incident to describe why Shea is wrong as a practical matter:

The argument seems to center around smart gun technology. Shea reasons that if gun owners were truly pro-life then we would support all efforts to create guns which would only fire for their owners, and then the world would be a better place. People who don’t support such legislation and research, even if they support the protection of life from conception to natural death, are not truly pro-life because they participate in a culture which accepts the possibility of death by gun shot (Mark and his readers haven’t mentioned how they aim to prevent people from being bludgeoned with a rifle butt or pistol whipped with a handgun).

*********************

Continue Reading

2

Fortnight For Freedom: More and Fisher, Martyrs For the Catholic Church and Freedom

 

Fortnight For Freedom 2014

 

Forasmuch, my lord, as this indictment is grounded upon an act of Parliament directly oppugnant to the laws of God and his holy church, the supreme government of which, or of any part thereof, may no temporal prince presume by any law to take upon him, as rightfully belonging to the See of Rome, a spiritual preeminence by the mouth of our Savior himself, personally present upon the earth, to Saint Peter and his successors, bishops of the same see, by special prerogative granted; it is therefore in law amongst Christian men, insufficient to charge any Christian man….

Saint Thomas More, 1535

It is glorious that two men who were friends in life, who died within weeks of each other, executed by the State for upholding the freedom of the Catholic Church, share the feast day of June 22.  More and Fisher were martyrs for the freedom of the Catholic Church and also for the great truth that there are aspects of our lives that Caesar must no be allowed to control.

Saint Thomas More was considered an unworldly fool by many of the Machiavellian operators in the England of his time. They were right to a large extent. With ruthlessness and supple consciences they prevailed and Saint Thomas died a traitor’s death. And yet, almost five centuries later, the memory and example of Saint Thomas is honored the world over, and his foes are largely forgotten except by history nerds like me. Their creation, the Anglican Church, is on its way to the dustbin of history while the Catholic faith for which Saint Thomas went to the axe waxes ever greater on the global stage. Saint Thomas was superbly eloquent in life, and he has proven even more eloquent in death.

John Cardinal Fisher was made a Cardinal by Pope Paul III in May of 1535, King Henry stopped the cardinal’s hat from being brought into England, bellowing that he would send Fisher’s head to the Pope.  Tried by a kangaroo court and convicted, the only testimony brought against him was by Richard Rich, a specialist in lying men to the headman’s block.  Fisher was condemned to be hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn. Continue Reading

9

Associated Press: Remember That Story About Nuns Stuffing Kids’ Bodies in a Septic Tank? Never Mind.

AssociatedPressAbsolutePropaganda

 

Remember the cock and bull story about the bodies of kids being stuffed into a septic tank by nuns who ran a home for unwed mothers in Tuam, Ireland?  If you do, the Associated Press really wishes you would forget all about it.

 

 

DUBLIN (AP) — In stories published June 3 and June 8 about young children buried in unmarked graves after dying at a former Irish orphanage for the children of unwed mothers, The Associated Press incorrectly reported that the children had not received Roman Catholic baptisms; documents show that many children at the orphanage were baptized. The AP also incorrectly reported that Catholic teaching at the time was to deny baptism and Christian burial to the children of unwed mothers; although that may have occurred in practice at times it was not church teaching. In addition, in the June 3 story, the AP quoted a researcher who said she believed that most of the remains of children who died there were interred in a disused septic tank; the researcher has since clarified that without excavation and forensic analysis it is impossible to know how many sets of remains the tank contains, if any. The June 3 story also contained an incorrect reference to the year that the orphanage opened; it was 1925, not 1926. Continue Reading

4

PopeWatch: Excommunication

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

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

 

 

Washington, DC––In an astonishing move today, Minority Leader of the House of Representatives and Mouthpiece of God in the United States Nancy Pelosi has excommunicated San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone.

The move comes just a day after Pelosi sent Cordileone a letter asking him not to attend the National Organization for Marriage march in Washington D.C., calling the event “venom masquerading as virtue.” In response to the letter, Cordileone issued a response saying that the March for Marriage “is not anti-LGBT, but rather, it is a pro-marriage march.”

The letter of excommunication begins with Pelosi regretfully informing the San Francisco bishop that, due to actions displaying disdain and hate towards LGBT persons, “I, Nancy Pelosi, Mouthpiece of God Almighty, Secretary of Defense Against Bigotry, Director of the Office of Tolerance, and Ambassador to the Alpha and the Omega, hereby impose a ferendae sententiae, excommunicating you from my Catholic Church. I ask you to ‘evolve’ and to mend your bigot ways.”

“We separate him, together with his accomplices and abettors, from the precious Body and Blood of the Lord and from the society of all Christian people,” Pelosi told EOTT as she stroked the point of her long red tail. “We exclude him from our Holy Mother the Church in Heaven and on earth; we declare him excommunicate and anathema; we judge him damned, with the Devil and his angels, to eternal fire until he shall recover himself from the toils of the Devil and return to amendment and to penitence. So be it!”

At press time, Pelosi’s uncle, Screwtape, is very proud of her. Continue Reading

4

The Dog Ate My Tax Receipts Act

 

 

The latest twist in the IRS scandal is the IRS claim that Lois Lerner’s hard drive failed and thus her e-mails for the time span during which the IRS was targeting conservative groups can’t be supplied to Congress.  The crash allegedly conveniently occurred ten days after the House Ways and Means Committee Chairman made his initial inquiry about allegations that the IRS was targeting conservatives.  Then the IRS revealed that the hard drives of six other IRS officials also failed and thus their e-mails also can’t be turned over to Congress.  When Congress subpoenaed the hard drives, since the recovery of data on crashed hard drives is a mundane tech task done countless times each day  in this country, the IRS revealed that the hard drives had been destroyed as part of the recycling program of the IRS.  I have been an attorney now for 32 years, and little shocks me as a result, but the bald faced and brazen lying of the IRS, combined with probable destruction of evidence, does.  This of course from the agency that requires that all the rest of us maintain meticulous records of our financial lives for years on end, and woe unto us if we do not do so.  Thus I heartily endorse this proposed piece of legislation:

WASHINGTON — Taxpayers who do not produce documents for the Internal Revenue Service will be able to offer a variety of dubious excuses under legislation introduced by Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX 36) a week after the IRS offered an incredibly dubious excuse for its failure to turn documents over to House investigators.

“The United States was founded on the belief government is subservient and accountable to the people.  Taxpayers shouldn’t be expected to follow laws the Obama administration refuses to follow themselves,” said Stockman.  “Taxpayers should be allowed to offer the same flimsy, obviously made-up excuses the Obama administration uses.”

Under Stockman’s bill, “The Dog Ate My Tax Receipts Act,” taxpayers who do not provide documents requested by the IRS can claim one of the following reasons:

1.         The dog ate my tax receipts
2.         Convenient, unexplained, miscellaneous computer malfunction
3.         Traded documents for five terrorists
4.         Burned for warmth while lost in the Yukon
5.         Left on table in Hillary’s Book Room
6.         Received water damage in the trunk of Ted Kennedy’s car
7.         Forgot in gun case sold to Mexican drug lords
8.         Forced to recycle by municipal Green Czar
9.         Was short on toilet paper while camping
10.       At this point, what difference does it make? Continue Reading

4

To Hell and Back

“I never liked being called the ‘most decorated’ soldier. There were so many guys who should have gotten medals and never did–
guys who were killed.”

Audie Murphy

 

Today would be the 88th birthday of Audie Murphy if he had not died in a plane crash, fittingly enough on Memorial Day weekend, forty-three years ago.

In the Fifties actor Audie Murphy achieved stardom, mainly in Westerns.  Murphy looked like a typical Hollywood “pretty boy” but he was anything but.  From a family of 12 in Texas, he was the sixth child, Murphy had dropped out of school in the fifth grade to help support his dirt poor family after his worthless father ran off.    His mother died in 1941.  In 1942 he enlisted in the Army at 16, lying about his birthday, partially to help support his younger brothers and sister and partially because he dreamed of a military career.  He served with the Third Infantry Division in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, France and Germany.  By the end of the War, just before  his 19th birthday, he was a First Lieutenant and had earned, in hellish combat, a Medal of Honor, a Distinguished Service Cross, two Silver Stars, a Legion of Merit, a French Legion of Honor, a French Croix de Guerre, a Belgian Croix de Guerre, two Bronze Stars and three Purple Hearts.  He was the most decorated soldier of the US Army in World War 2.  Here is his Medal of Honor Citation  which helps explain why Murphy entitled his war memoir  To Hell and Back:

Second Lt. Murphy commanded Company B, which was attacked by six tanks and waves of infantry. 2d Lt. Murphy ordered his men to withdraw to a prepared position in a woods, while he remained forward at his command post and continued to give fire directions to the artillery by telephone. Behind him, to his right, one of our tank destroyers received a direct hit and began to burn. Its crew withdrew to the woods. 2d Lt. Murphy continued to direct artillery fire, which killed large numbers of the advancing enemy infantry. With the enemy tanks abreast of his position, 2d Lt. Murphy climbed on the burning tank destroyer, which was in danger of blowing up at any moment, and employed its .50 caliber machine gun against the enemy. He was alone and exposed to German fire from three sides, but his deadly fire killed dozens of Germans and caused their infantry attack to waver. The enemy tanks, losing infantry support, began to fall back. For an hour the Germans tried every available weapon to eliminate 2d Lt. Murphy, but he continued to hold his position and wiped out a squad that was trying to creep up unnoticed on his right flank. Germans reached as close as 10 yards, only to be mowed down by his fire. He received a leg wound, but ignored it and continued his single-handed fight until his ammunition was exhausted. He then made his way back to his company, refused medical attention, and organized the company in a counterattack, which forced the Germans to withdraw. His directing of artillery fire wiped out many of the enemy; he killed or wounded about 50. 2d Lt. Murphy’s indomitable courage and his refusal to give an inch of ground saved his company from possible encirclement and destruction, and enabled it to hold the woods which had been the enemy’s objective. Continue Reading

27

PopeWatch: La Vanguardia Interview-Pius XII

Continuing on with our examination of the La Vanguardia interview, we look at the words of Pope Francis in defense of Pius XII.

 

 

One of your projects is to open the Vatican archives on the Holocaust.

They will bring a lot of light.   

Does it worry you something could be discovered?

What worries me regarding this subject is the figure of Pius XII, the Pope that led the Church during World War II. They have said all sorts of things about poor Pius XII. But we need to remember that before he was seen as the great defender of the Jews. He hid many in convents in Rome and in other Italian cities, and also in the residence of Castel Gandolfo. Forty-two babies, children of Jews and other persecuted who sought refuge there were born there, in the Pope’s room, in his own bed. I don’t want to say that Pius XII did not make any mistakes – I myself make many – but one needs to see his role in the context of the time. For example, was it better for him not to speak so that more Jews would not be killed or for him to speak? I also want to say that sometimes I get “existential hives” when I see that everyone takes it out against the Church and Pius XII, and they forget the great powers. Did you know that they knew the rail network of the Nazis perfectly well to take the Jews to concentration camps? They had the pictures. But they did not bomb those railroad tracks. Why? It would be best if we spoke a bit about everything. Continue Reading

2

Fortnight For Freedom 2014

The American Catholic will again be participation in the Fortnight For Freedom-June 21-July 4 with special blog posts on the subject of freedom.

Here is the announcement of the Fortnight from the USCCB:

WASHINGTON—Catholic dioceses and parishes across the United States are once again encouraged to raise awareness for domestic and international religious freedom concerns during the third annual Fortnight for Freedom, June 21-July 4. The two-week celebration will focus on the theme, “Freedom to Serve,” emphasizing the link between religious liberty and service to the poor and vulnerable.

“During the Fortnight, our liturgical calendar celebrates great martyrs who remained faithful in the face of persecution by political power—St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More, John the Baptist, Peter and Paul and the first martyrs of the Church of Rome,” said Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). “This is a time when Catholics can unite themselves in prayer to the men and women throughout history who spread the Gospel and lived out Jesus’ call to serve the ‘least of these’ in even the direst of circumstances.”

Two nationally televised Masses will bookend the Fortnight. Archbishop Lori will celebrate Mass at the Baltimore Basilica on June 21, at 5:30 p.m. EDT. Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington will celebrate Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington on July 4, at noon EDT. USCCB President Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, will be the homilist at the July 4 Mass.

USCCB has prepared materials to help dioceses and parishes participate in the Fortnight, including templates and guides for special prayer services, a list of frequently asked questions about religious liberty, one-page fact sheets on current threats to religious freedom in the U.S. and around the world, and a study guide on Dignitatis Humanae, the Second Vatican Council’s Declaration on Religious Freedom. Continue Reading

4

Quartered Safe Back Then

 

Quartered Safe Out Here

Bookworm of Bookworm Room has a first rate post in which she notes the decline in American appreciation of heroism from World War II to today.  She quotes this passage from the superb memoir of the novelist George MacDonald Fraser, Quartered Safe Out Here, about his experiences fighting as a British soldier in Burma during World War II, to describe the change that has come over the West in the past seventy years:

 

An outsider might have thought, mistakenly, that the section was unmoved by the deaths of Gale and Little. There was no outward show of sorrow, no reminiscences or eulogies, no Hollywood heart-searchings or phony philosophy. Forster asked “W’ee’s on foorst stag?”; Grandarse said “Not me, any roads; Ah’s aboot knackered”, and rolled up in his blanket; Nick cleaned Tich’s rifle; I washed and dried his pialla; the new section commander – that young corporal who earlier in the day had earned the Military Medal — told off the stag roster; we went to sleep. And that was that. It was not callousness or indifference or lack of feeling for two comrades who had been alive that morning and were now names for the war memorial; it was just that there was nothing to be said.

It was part of war; men died, more would die, that was past, and what mattered now was the business in hand; those who lived would get on with it. Whatever sorrow was felt, there was no point in talking or brooding about it, much less in making, for form’s sake, a parade of it. Better and healthier to forget it, and look to tomorrow.

The celebrated British stiff upper lip, the resolve to conceal emotion which is not only embarrassing and useless, but harmful, is just plain common sense.

But that was half a century ago. Things are different now, when the media seem to feel they have a duty to dwell on emotion, the more harrowing the better, and to encourage its indulgence. The cameras close on stricken families at funerals, interviewers probe relentlessly to uncover grief, pain, fear, and shock, know no reticence or even decency in their eagerness to make the viewers’ flesh creep, and wallow in the sentimental cliché (victims are always “innocent”, relatives must be “loved ones”). And the obscene intrusion is justified as “caring” and “compassionate” when it is the exact opposite.

The pity is that the public shapes its behaviour to the media’s demands. The bereaved feel obliged to weep and lament for the cameras (and feel a flattering importance at their attention). Even young soldiers, on the eye of action in the Gulf, confessed, under a nauseating inquisition designed to uncover their fears, to being frightened — of course they were frightened, just as we were, but no interviewer in our time was so shameless, cruel, or unpatriotic as to badger us into admitting our human weakness for public consumption, and thereby undermining public morale, and our own. In such a climate, it is not to be wondered at that a general should agonise publicly about the fears and soul-searchings of command — Slim and Montgomery and MacArthur had them, too, but they would rather have been shot than admit it. They knew the value of the stiff upper lip.

The damage that fashionable attitudes, reflected (and created) by television, have done to the public spirit, is incalculable. It has been weakened to the point where it is taken for granted that anyone who has suffered loss and hardship must be in need of “counselling”; that soldiers will suffer from “post-battle traumatic stress” and need psychiatric help. One wonders how Londoners survived the Blitz without the interference of unqualified, jargonmumbling “counsellors”, or how an overwhelming number of 1940s servicemen returned successfully to civilian life without benefit of brain-washing. Certainly, a small minority needed help; war can leave terrible mental scars — but the numbers will increase, and the scars enlarge, in proportion to society’s insistence on raising spectres which would be better left alone. Tell people they should feel something, and they’ll not only feel it, they’ll regard themselves as entitled and obliged to feel it. Continue Reading

32

PopeWatch: La Vanguardia Interview-Fundamentalists

Pope Francis does not like fundamentalists.  That is very clear from the La Vanguardia interview.

 

Violence in the name of God dominates the Middle East.  

It’s a contradiction. Violence in the name of God does not correspond with our time. It’s something ancient. With historical perspective, one has to say that Christians, at times, have practiced it. When I think of the Thirty Years War, there was violence in the name of God. Today it is unimaginable, right? We arrive, sometimes, by way of religion to very serious, very grave contradictions. Fundamentalism, for example. The three religions, we have our fundamentalist groups, small in relation to all the rest.

And, what do you think about fundamentalism?

A fundamentalist group, although it may not kill anyone, although it may not strike anyone, is violent. The mental structure of fundamentalists is violence in the name of God. Continue Reading

5

June 19, 1864: Sinking of the Alabama

The greatest of the Confederate commerce raiders that wreaked havoc on the Union merchant fleet, the CSS Alabama in her two year career took 65 prizes.  That career came to a screeching halt when she was sunk by the USS Kearsarge in a dramatic battle off the coast of Cherbourg on June 19, 1864.  Here is the account of Captain John Winslow, Captain of the Kearsarge, of the engagement:

U. S. S. KEARSARGE,
English Channel, July 30, 1864

 SIR:   In obedience to the instructions of the Department I have the honor to make the following supplementary report of the action between the Kearsarge and the Alabama: On the morning of the 19th ultimo, the day being fine, with a hazy atmosphere, wind moderate from the westward, with little sea, the position of the Kearsarge at 10 o’clock was near the buoy which marks the line of shoals to the eastward of Cherbourg, and distant about 3 miles from the eastern entrance, which bore to the southward and westward. At 10:20 o’clock the Alabama was descried coming out of the western entrance, accompanied by the Couronne (ironclad). I had, in an interview with the admiral at Cherbourg, assured him that in the event of an action occurring with the Alabama the position of the ships should be so far offshore that no question could be advanced about the line of jurisdiction. Accordingly, to perfect this object, and with the double purpose of drawing the Alabama so far offshore that if disabled she could not return, I directed the ship’s head seaward, and cleared for action with the battery pivoted to starboard. Having attained a point about 7 miles from the shore, the head of the Kearsarge was turned short round and the ship steered directly for the Alabama, my purpose being to run her down, or if circumstances did not warrant it, to close in with her. Hardly had the Kearsarge come round before the Alabama sheered, presented her starboard battery, and slowed her engines. On approaching her, at long range of about a mile, she opened her full broadside, the shot cutting some of our rigging and going over and alongside of us. Immediately I ordered more speed, but in two minutes the Alabama had loaded and again fired another broadside, and following it with a third, without damaging us except in rigging. We had now arrived within about 900 yards of her, and I was apprehensive that another broadside, nearly raking us as it was, would prove disastrous. Accordingly, I ordered the Kearsarge sheered, and opened on the Alabama. The position of the vessels was now broadside and broadside, but it was soon apparent that Captain Semmes did not seek close action. I became then fearful, lest after some fighting he would again make for the shore. To defeat this, I determined to keep full speed on, and with a port helm to run under the stern of the Alabama and rake, if he did not prevent it by sheering and keeping his broadside to us. He adopted this mode as a preventive, and as a consequence the Alabama was forced with a full head of steam into a circular track during the engagement. Continue Reading

15

Give Them That Old Time Religion: Socialism

 

“In recent years the range of such intervention has vastly expanded, to the point of creating a new type of state, the so-called ‘Welfare State.’ This has happened in some countries in order to respond better to many needs and demands by remedying forms of poverty and deprivation unworthy of the human person. However, excesses and abuses, especially in recent years, have provoke very harsh criticisms of the Welfare State, dubbed the ‘Social Assistance State.’ Malfunctions and defects in the Social Assistance State are the result of an inadequate understanding of the tasks proper to the State. Here again the principle of subsidiarity must be respected: a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help to coordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good. “By intervening directly and depriving society of its responsibility, the Social Assistance State leads to a loss of human energies and an inordinate increase of public agencies, which are dominated more by bureaucratic thinking than by concern for serving their clients, and which are accompanied by an enormous increase in spending, In fact, it would appear that needs are best understood and satisfied by people who are closest to them who act as neighbors to those in need. It should be added that certain kinds of demands often call for a response which is not simply material but which is capable of perceiving the deeper human need.”

Saint John Paul II, Centissimus Annus

 

 

 

 

Timothy Cardinal Dolan wrote a mainstream defense of the free market which appeared in the Wall Street Journal on May 22.  Go here to read it.  His word set off some “Catholic theologians” who believe that the current Pope will allow the Church to go full frontal socialist.  Matt Archbold at Creative Minority Report gives us the details:

A number of theologians took aim at Timothy Cardinal Dolan’s defense of free markets and his warning about the dangers of collectivism’s inherent violation of human rights.

Cdl. Dolan wrote, “the answer to problems with the free market is not to reject economic liberty in favor of government control. The church has consistently rejected coercive systems of socialism and collectivism, because they violate inherent human rights to economic freedom and private property. When properly regulated, a free market can certainly foster greater productivity and prosperity.”

Charles J. Reid, Jr., Professor of Law at the University of St. Thomas responded in the Huffington Post that Cardinal Timothy Dolan “misunderstands Church teaching on both economics and the role of the state.”

Reid labeled the free market a “sociopathic economy” and said that only “a reinvigorated state would bring to bear in the regulation of the marketplace a set of humane values” and “rebalance the marketplace so as to fairly serve the interests not of capital alone, but of all employees and all interested human beings. “

Joseph A. McCartin, director of the Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor at Georgetown University reportedly criticized Cdl. Dolan, saying “It is a shame that the Cardinal seems more interested in making Pope Francis’ statements seem less threatening to free-market-celebrating Americans than he is in applying the Pope’s critique to the American scene as it really exists.”

In the same piece in the National Catholic Reporter, Fr. Drew Christiansen S.J., professor of ethics and global human development at Georgetown University, also had some pointed remarks aimed at Cdl. Dolan. “Cardinal Dolan misses what Pope Francis sees so clearly,” he reportedly said. “The growth of inequality everywhere including the U.S. is a result of American-style capitalism and the financialization of the economy.”

He added pointedly that he believed, “too many well-to-do Catholics prefer getting their economic ethics from the Acton Institute rather than the Vatican.”

John Gehring, Catholic program director at Faith in Public Life, reportedly said Dolan’s arguments “provide moral cover to free-market fundamentalists and anti-government zealots who preach a gospel of radical individualism that Catholic teaching rejects. Furthermore, he said “the cardinal veers close to echoing GOP talking points.”

Professor Mark Allman, chair of Religious & Theological Studies Department at Merrimack College, reportedly said Dolan’s piece “reflects a heavily individualistic understanding of morality.” He bemoaned that “there’s no mention of the need for structural change.”

And you wonder why so many kids come out of Catholic colleges as progressives. Continue Reading

9

PopeWatch: La Vanguardia Interview-Secession

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

Often times Popes are asked questions they would be wiser to decline to answer simply because the answer has nothing to do with the Faith, and their response would be a personal opinion rather than one that pertains to their office.  A perfect example is this question and response in the La Vanguardia interview:

 

 

Does the conflict between Catalunya and Spain worry you?

All division worries me. There is independence by emancipation and independence by secession. The independences by emancipation, for example, are American, that they were emancipated from the European States. The independences of nations by secession is a dismemberment, sometimes it’s very obvious. Let’s think of the former Yugoslavia. Obviously, there are nations with cultures so different that couldn’t even be stuck together with glue. The Yugoslavian case is very clear, but I ask myself if it is so clear in other cases. Scotland, Padania, Catalunya. There will be cases that will be just and cases that will not be just, but the secession of a nation without an antecedent of mandatory unity, one has to take it with a lot of grains of salt and analyze it case by case.   Continue Reading

9

Top Ten Movie Battle Speeches

Not a bad list, although I would have had Patton at number one and I would not have included The Great Dictator.  Shakespeare of course has set the standard for all pre-battle speeches:

WESTMORELAND. O that we now had here
But one ten thousand of those men in England
That do no work to-day!

KING. What’s he that wishes so?
My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin;
If we are mark’d to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God’s will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires.
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England.
God’s peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more methinks would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
We would not die in that man’s company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is call’d the feast of Crispian.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam’d,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say “To-morrow is Saint Crispian.”
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say “These wounds I had on Crispian’s day.”
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words-
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb’red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day. Continue Reading

62

PopeWatch: La Vanguardia Interview-Anti-Semitism

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

Continuing on with our look at the La Vanguardia interview we examine the musings of the Pope on anti-Semitism:

 

 

You told me a year ago that “within every Christian there is a Jew.”

Perhaps it would be more correct to say “you cannot live your Christianity, you cannot be a real Christian, if you do not recognize your Jewish roots.” I don’t speak of Jewish in the sense of the Semitic race but rather in the religious sense. I think that inter-religious dialogue needs to deepen in this, in Christianity’s Jewish root and in the Christian flowering of Judaism. I understand it is a challenge, a hot potato, but it can be done as brothers. I pray every day the divine office every day with the Psalms of David. We do the 150 psalms in one week. My prayer is Jewish and I have the Eucharist, which is Christian.  

How do you see anti-Semitism?

I cannot explain why it happens, but I think it is very linked, in general, and without it being a fixed rule, to the right wing.  Antisemitism usually nests better in right-wing political tendencies that in the left, right? And it still continues (like this). We even have those who deny the holocaust, which is crazy. Continue Reading

24

Archbishop Cordileone Responds

Archbishop of San Francisco Salvatore Cordileone has responded to calls by Nancy Pelosi and other California Democrat politicians that he not join the June 19th March for Marriage, and he is not backing down:

 

 

Dear Fellow Citizens,

 

Your letter sharing with me your thoughts on the upcoming “March for Marriage” in Washington, D.C., was forwarded to me while I was attending meetings out of town, and I have reflected on what you have to say.  I appreciate your affirmation of my Church’s teaching—not unique to our religion, but a truth accessible to anyone of good will—on the intrinsic human dignity of all people, irrespective of their stage and condition in life.  That principle requires us to respect and protect each and every member of the human family, from the precious child in the womb to the frail elderly person nearing death.  It also requires me, as a bishop, to proclaim the truth—the whole truth—about the human person and God’s will for our flourishing.  I must do that in season and out of season, even when truths that it is my duty to uphold and teach are unpopular, including especially the truth about marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife.  That is what will be doing on June 19th

 

With regard to your request that I not attend the March, and the reasons you give for this request, allow me to explain the following points. 

 

The March for Marriage is not “anti-LGBT” (as some have described it); it is not anti-anyone or  anti-anything.  Rather, it is a pro-marriage March.  The latter does not imply the former.  Rather, it affirms the great good of bringing the two halves of humanity together so that a man and a woman may bond with each other and with any children who come from their union.  This is precisely the vision promoted by Pope Francis, who recently said, “We must reaffirm the right of children to grow up in a family with a father and mother.” Rest assured that if the point of this event were to single out a group of individuals and target them for hatred, I most certainly would not be there. 

While I cannot go into all of the details here of your allegations against the sponsors of this event and scheduled speakers, I do know that at least some of what you say is based on misinterpretation or is simply factually incorrect.  For example, it is not true that the National Organization for Marriage connects homosexuality with pedophilia and incest.  What is true is that three years ago a conference was sponsored in Baltimore by the group B4U-ACT for the purpose of finding ways to encourage tolerance for pedophilia.  A statement on NOM’s blogpost objecting to this conference affirmed that this is something that would outrage people in the gay community as well.  Unfortunately, many conclusions are being drawn about those involved in the March for Marriage based on false impressions. 

It gives me assurance that we share a common disdain for harsh and hateful rhetoric.  It must be pointed out, though, that there is plenty of offensive rhetoric which flows in the opposite direction.  In fact, for those who support the conjugal understanding of marriage, the attacks have not stopped at rhetoric.  Simply for taking a stand for marriage as it has been understood in every human society for millennia, people have lost their jobs, lost their livelihoods, and have suffered other types of retribution, including physical violence.  It is true that historically in our society violence has been perpetrated against persons who experience attraction to members of the same sex, and this is to be deplored and eradicated.  Sadly, though, we are now beginning to see examples, although thankfully not widespread, of even physical violence against those who hold to the conjugal view of marriage (such as, most notably, the attempted gunning down of those who work in the offices of the Family Research Council).  While it is true that free speech can be used to offend others, it is not so much people exercising their right to free speech that drives us further apart than people punished precisely for doing so that does.  Continue Reading

June 16, 1864: Lincoln’s Speech at the Great Sanitary Fair

The United States Sanitary Commission was a private organization established in 1861 to aid sick and wounded Union soldiers.  During the War it raised 25 million dollars in private contributions, and sent thousands of volunteers, many of them women, to work in camps as nurses and cooks, and to administer hospitals and hospital ships and to establish rest homes and soldier’s homes for Union troops.  The Sanitary Commission was quite successful in improving the health and living condition of the common soldiers and was much appreciated by them.  Fairs were held by the Sanitary Commission in Northern cities to raise funds and Lincoln spoke at such a fair in Philadelphia on June 16, 1864.  Lincoln was a highly unusual politician and we see this in the speech.  He does not sugarcoat the horrors of war and while acknowledging that everyone is anxious for the ending of the War, that he, and he assumes the nation, are willing to fight on if it takes three more years to attain the goals for which the War was initially begun.  Here is the text of Lincoln’s speech: Continue Reading

17

Manufacturing Data: School Shootings

Someone I slightly know wrote on Facebook the other day with the comment, “Every day my husband has to go teach high school, I worry all day. Teaching is becoming the most dangerous job in America.”

This comment was inspired by a map that’s been making it around social media which purports to show “the 74 school shootings since Sandy Hook”. The map is based on a running list compiled from news reports by Everytown for Gun Saftey, a Michael Bloomberg affiliated “grassroots” advocacy group for gun control.

The interesting thing about these kinds of data manufacturing efforts by advocacy groups is that at times when there is no other “data” available about some topic which catches the public imagination, such informal efforts at statistics can catch on with media venues and become received wisdom. And yet, the criteria for putting together such a list is often highly influenced by the fact it’s an advocacy organization doing the compilation work. In the case of the “74 school shootings” list, the criteria listed are:

Incidents were classified as school shootings when a firearm was discharged inside a school building or on school or campus grounds, as documented in publicly reported news accounts. This includes assaults, homicides, suicides, and accidental shootings…. Incidents were identified through media reports, so this is likely an undercount of the true total.

Part of what makes this kind of advocacy work is that people have an idea of a “school shooting” is: Some disaffected student decides to go out in a blaze of media glory and blazing guns, or else some insane adult decides to go to a school and slaughter as many innocents as possible before turning his gun on himself. There are a few famous incidents (Columbine, Sandy Hook) which fit this model very nicely, and the “74 school shootings” claim gives the idea that there are many other similar incidents which just haven’t received as much news coverage.

However, when someone goes through the list of school shootings and starts to look up the news stories, a much wider range of events starts to emerge.

For instance, #10 on the Everytown list is a shooting at Hillside Elementary in San Leandro, CA. The actual news report says:

Investigators in the East Bay say they have leads, but no suspects, yet in the murder of a 19-year-old Laney College student. Travion Foster was shot and killed just before 9 p.m. Wednesday in the field behind Hillside Elementary School…. Foster was shot and killed Wednesday night in the field behind San Leandro’s Hillside School. The Alameda County Sheriff’s Department say it appears Foster was involved in a game of dice with several others, when gunfire erupted.

Continue Reading

32

PopeWatch: La Vanguardia Interview-Merchants of Death

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

Ah, the Pope has given another interview!  This interview is with the Barcelona newspaper La Vanguardia.  The Pope makes several comments in the interview, and PopeWatch will be dealing with them this week.  First up is the musings of the Pope that what undergirds the international economic system is war:

 

The rate of unemployment is very worrisome to me, which in some countries is over 50%. Someone told me that 75 million young Europeans under 25 years of age are unemployed. That is an atrocity. But we are discarding an entire generation to maintain an economic system that can’t hold up anymore, a system that to survive must make war, as the great empires have always done. But as a Third World War can’t be done, they make zonal wars. What does this mean? That they produce and sell weapons, and with this the balance sheets of the idolatrous economies, the great world economies that sacrifice man at the feet of the idol of money, obviously they are sorted. Continue Reading

35

Pelosi, the Bishops and Tekel

 

 

For years faithful Catholics have been urging the excommunication of the Lying Worthless Political Hack, aka Nancy Pelosi House Minority Leader.  Such pleas have fallen on deaf ears.  Now the Lying Worthless Political Hack believes that she can bully the Archbishop of her city, San Francisco, and she quotes Pope Francis while doing so.  Father Z gives us the details:

 

 

Nancy Pelosi urges S.F. archbishop to exit marriage march

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi took the lead this week in a high-profile lobbying effort to pressure San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone not to attend the controversial March for Marriage event, which she characterized as “venom masquerading as virtue.”

Pelosi, who is one of the country’s most powerful [pro-abortion absolutist] Catholic politicians, made a passionate appeal to the archbishop in a letter obtained by The Chronicle not to participate in the National Organization for Marriage’s June 19 march on the Supreme Court in Washington.

Cordileone, who is one of the featured speakers at the event, was a leader in the campaign for Proposition 8, the 2008 California anti-gay-marriage initiative.

“We share our love of the Catholic faith and our city of San Francisco,” Pelosi wrote to Cordileone, who, as head of the 560,000-member Archdiocese of San Francisco, has become the Catholic bishops’ point man against gay marriage. She urged him to abandon an event in which some of the participants show “disdain and hate towards LGBT persons.”  [If that’s what Pelosi says, you can be sure the event is exactly the opposite.]

Invoking the words of Pope Francis with regard to gays and lesbians, she wrote, “If someone is gay and is searching for the Lord and has good will, then who am I to judge him?” [?!?…. and?]

The goal of the second annual March for Marriage is to draw thousands of supporters of what they call “traditional marriage” [you can almost hear the sneer…. “what they call…”] to walk from the U.S Capitol to the Supreme Court. Conservative former presidential candidates Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, as well as Cordileone, are being billed as the star speakers.

[…]

Is there some initiative out there in support of Archbp. Cordileone? I am itching to create an ACTION ITEM.

Can. 915 needs to be applied to this scandalous wreck of a Catholic. Continue Reading