28

Last Survivor of the Enola Gay Crew Dies

 

Under the same circumstances — and the key words are ‘the same circumstances’ — yes, I would do it again. We were in a war for five years. We were fighting an enemy that had a reputation for never surrendering, never accepting defeat. It’s really hard to talk about morality and war in the same sentence. In a war, there are so many questionable things done. Where was the morality in the bombing of Coventry, or the bombing of Dresden, or the Bataan death march, or the Rape of Nanking, or the bombing of Pearl Harbor? I believe that when you’re in a war, a nation must have the courage to do what it must to win the war with a minimum loss of lives.

Theodore Van Kirk, 1995 interview

Well, the last surviving member of the Enola Gay, the bomber that dropped the bomb on Hiroshima 69 years ago, has died at 93.  Theodore Van Kirk was 24 when he served as navigator on that mission, and already a seasoned combat veteran, having flown 58 bombing missions in Europe.  He attained the rank of major in the Army Air Corps and was decorated for valor with the Silver Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross and 15 Air Medals.

After the war he led a happy life with his wife and kids and earned a BS and an MS in Chemical Engineering, working for many years at DuPont.

He never had any doubts about the mission he flew:

Whether the United States should have used the atomic bomb has been debated endlessly. VanKirk told the AP he thought it was necessary because it shortened the war and eliminated the need for an Allied land invasion that could have cost more lives on both sides.

“I honestly believe the use of the atomic bomb saved lives in the long run. There were a lot of lives saved. Most of the lives saved were Japanese,” VanKirk said.

But it also made him wary of war.

“The whole World War II experience shows that wars don’t settle anything. And atomic weapons don’t settle anything,” he said. “I personally think there shouldn’t be any atomic bombs in the world — I’d like to see them all abolished.

“But if anyone has one,” he added, “I want to have one more than my enemy.” Continue Reading

5

PopeWatch: No End

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Well that didn’t take long:

 

A Buddhist group accused of recent attacks on Muslims in Sri Lanka says Pope Francis must apologize to Buddhists for atrocities allegedly committed by Christian colonial rulers of the South Asian island nation when he visits next year.

Rev. Galagoda Atte Gnanasara, a leader of Bodu Bala Sena or Buddhist Power Force, said Tuesday they “are waiting till the Pope comes to see what he is going to say about the crimes here.”

Portugal, Holland and Britain established colonies in Sri Lanka one after another from 1505 to 1948.

The monks leading Bodu Bala Sena have amassed a significant following in recent years, drawing thousands of followers.

The hardline group has been accused of behind recent attacks on Muslims in Sri Lanka, leaving several people dead and businesses torched. Continue Reading

2

Quotes Suitable For Framing: Walter M. Miller, Jr.

 

 

 

“The closer men came to perfecting for themselves a paradise, the more impatient they became with it, and with themselves as well. They made a garden of pleasure, and became progressively more miserable with it as it grew in richness and power and beauty; for then, perhaps, it was easier to see something was missing in the garden, some tree or shrub that would not grow. When the world was in darkness and wretchedness, it could believe in perfection and yearn for it. But when the world became bright with reason and riches, it began to sense the narrowness of the needle’s eye, and that rankled for a world no longer willing to believe or yearn.”

Walter M. Miller, Jr., A Canticle for Leibowitz

A writer can be considered a grand success if he manages to write something that will endure long after he is gone.  In that case the poor, tortured Walter M. Miller, Jr., who ended his life by suicide, was a successful writer.  After participating as an air crew member in the bombing of the abbey at Monte Cassino during the Italian campaign, Miller converted to Catholicism.  During the fifties he wrote science fiction short stories.  In 1955, 1956 and 1957 he wrote three novellas which were combined into the novel A Canticle for Leibowitz which was published in 1959.  He won the Hugo award for this novel.  He never published another novel or story in his life after this novel, as he descended into mental illness and left the Faith.  Towards the end of his life he worked with Terry Bisson on a dreadful novel, Saint Leibowitz and the Wild Horse Woman, published after his death and which is best forgotten.

Spoilers warning for those who have not read A Canticle for Leibowitz: Continue Reading

10

Hey, Who Did Win the Vietnam War Anyway?

 

Vietnam Today

 

History is full of ironies and none more so than the development of Vietnam in the aftermath of the Vietnam War.  Independent journalist Michael Totten, who specializes in covering wars and desperately poor, ill governed countries, gives us refreshing news about Vietnam:

 

The ruling Communist Party knows better than just about anyone that communist economics are a disaster. Vietnam’s economy has been growing at light speed for a while now. I knew that in advance, and yet it still stunned me. The city trembles with industriousness and entrepreneurship. Small and large businesses are everywhere. Half the residents seem to be in business for themselves. Anything and everything you can possibly imagine is for sale, though it’s not all high-end yet. I saw a Louis Vuitton outlet next to a bootleg CD store, an elegant Western-style café next to low-end bar with hard chairs and no air-conditioning, a Body Shop next to a used clothing store with cast-off second-hand T-shirts from the West, and an art gallery next to a store selling old pots and pans.

Market economies are uneven, no doubt, but they sure as hell beat the alternative. I could hardly believe it, but when I was a kid the Vietnamese stood in long lines on the street to exchange ration coupons for handfuls of rice. Today the country is one of the world’s largest exporters of rice.

Japan and South Korea: watch out. If the economy keeps growing and the political system breaks open, Vietnam will be a country to reckon with. Continue Reading

6

The Old World in its Sunset Was Fair to See

 

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Like many others, I often summon up in my memory the impression of those July days.  The world on the verge of its catastrophe was very brilliant.  Nations and Empires crowned with princes and potentates rose majestically on every side, lapped in the accumulated treasures of the long peace.  All were fitted and fastened—it seemed securely—into an immense cantilever.  The two mighty Europeans systems faced each other glittering and clanking in their panoply, but with a tranquil gaze.  A polite, discreet, pacific, and on the whole sincere diplomacy spread its web of connections over both.  A sentence in a dispatch, an observation by an ambassador, a cryptic phrase in a Parliament seemed sufficient to adjust from day to day the balance of the prodigious structure.  Words counted, and even whispers.  A nod could be made to tell.  Were we after all to achieve world security and universal peace by a marvelous system of combinations in equipoise and of armaments in equation, of checks and counter-checks on violent action ever more complex and more delicate?  Would Europe this marshaled, thus grouped, thus related, unite into one universal and glorious organism capable of receiving and enjoying in undreamed of abundance the bounty which nature and science stood hand in hand to give?  The old world in its sunset was fair to see.

Winston Churchill, The World Crisis

How quickly worlds can be shattered.  In this year of grace 2014 let us hope that future historians will not be putting down similar words about out age.  I doubt, in part, if they will, because the optimism that characterized Europe prior to the Great War is completely foreign to our time.  However, future historians dwelling upon the blindness of current leaders as we slide into another Great War, well, that would not surprise me at all.  Let us pray that my fears do not come to fruition.

18

Can She Afford to Pay For Her Own Birth Control Now?

 

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Sandra Fluke, the Goddess of the entitlement mentality, is running for a state senate seat out in California.

 

Fluke donated $12,000 to her campaign and $4,826.27 in non-monetary contributions. While $16,826.27 may not sound like a lot, Fluke also loaned her campaign $100,000.

Where does a 2012 law school grad working as a social justice attorney get a loan that size? Her campaign never responded to a Washington Examiner inquiry, so we’re left to speculate.

Perhaps the loan was in part secured by the family of Fluke’s husband, Adam Mutterperl. In 2012, Fluke married Mutterperl, an amateur stand-up comic and son of big-time Democratic donor William Mutterperl. Continue Reading

21

PopeWatch: Fracking

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Pope Francis has given yet another interview, this time to Viva in Argentina.

 

 

The Pope also spoke about environmental issues and how mankind continues to waste the bounty given by God. He also appeared to voice his opposition to extracting wealth from the earth at the expense of the environment. This has been taken by many to imply fracking — a controversial method of extracting gas that opponents say risks contaminating water supplies.

“When, for example, you want to make use of a mining method that extracts more than other methods, but it contaminates the water, it doesn’t matter,” he said, according to Vatican Radio’s report on the interview. “And so they go on contaminating nature. I think it’s a question that we are not facing: Humanity, in its indiscriminate use of and tyranny over nature, is it committing suicide?” Continue Reading

4

July 30, 1864: Debacle at the Crater

battle-of-the-crater-

When looking at the battle of the Crater, it is a study in contrasts.  The digging of the tunnel and the explosion of the mine at dawn on July 30, 1864, go here to read about the tunnel construction, was a tribute to the ingenuity and sheer compentence of Lieutenant Colonel Henry Pleasants and his men of the 48th Pennsylvania, who, with almost no help from the rest of the army, gave the Army of the Potomac a golden opportunity to take Petersburg and bring the War to a rapid conclusion.  That this opportunity was missed was largely attributable to criminal incompetence on the part of the generals involved.

Here are the generals who contributed to the debacle:

1.  Grant and Meade-Burnside, the commander of the IX corps making the assault, had trained a division of United States Colored Troops to lead the advance after the explosion of the mine.  The day before the battle Meade, concerned that the attack would fail and that their would be political repercussions if black troops incurred heavy casualties as a result, ordered Burnside to assign a white division to lead the attack.  Burnside protested this decision, but Grant backed Meade up.

2.  Burnside-Burnside had the white division chosen by lot rather than picking the best division.  Burnside made no effort to make certain that his attacking divisions had access ways cleared of debris and fortifications so they could rapidly advance after the explosion.  He made no effort to inform the new white division leading the assault that it was to go around any crater created by the explosion instead of going down into it, which is precisely what the attacking divisions did, making themselves sitting ducks at the bottom of a large hole when the Confederate counter-attack began.  Rather than calling off the attack after it became obvious that no breakthrough was possible, Burnside kept feeding troops into the Crater with the only effect being to lengthen the list of Union dead and wounded.

3.  James H. Ledlie-Brigadier General James H. Ledlie earned a notable distiction during the battle.  It was not unusual for Civil War generals to make bad decisions, and to not infrequently show a distinct lack of common sense, however almost all of them were very brave men.  Ledlie was not.  In addition to being a very bad commander as indicated by his failure to inform his division of what was expected of them after his division was chosen by lot to lead the assault, he spent the battle drunk and well behind the lines, safe and secure as his men went into the meat grinder.  He richly earned his dismissal from the Army after the battle.

4.  Edward Ferrero-Brigadier General Edward Ferrero was the foremost dance instructor in the country prior to the War.  He should have stuck to that trade.  The commander of the black division involved in the battle of the Crater, he spent the battle in the same bomb proof dugout behind the line as Ledlie, and he shared Ledlie’s bottle with him.  Ferrero’s behavior is somwhat incomprehensible as he had shown extreme valor in other battles.  Astonishingly he was not cashiered from the service, and in December of 1864 he received a brevet promotion to Major General of Volunteers for “bravery and meritorious services”.

With this type of leadership it is no wonder that the attack failed.  The initial mine explosion killed 278 Confederates and wounded hundreds of others.  For 15 minutes the stunned Confederates did not fire at the attacking Union units.  Union troops went down into the Crater and within an hour were receiving heavy fire from Confederate troops at the top of the side of the Crater facing Petersburg.  Confederate Brigadier General William Mahone, in charge of the Confederate counterattack, called it a turkey shoot.  Instead of calling off the attack  when it became clear that the Confederates had sealed the breach caused by the explosion, Burnside kept sending divisions, including the black division, down into the Crater where they were quickly slaughtered.  Some Confederate troops murdered black troops who were trying to surrender.  When General Lee heard of this he supposedly sent a message to General Mahone telling him to put a stop to this or he would be removed from command.

Union casualties were 4000 to 1500 for the Confederates.  The whole debacle was the subject of a lengthy investigation by the Congressional Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War.

Here is Grant’s assessment of the fiasco from his Personal Memoirs: Continue Reading

7

Dark Lamps

A friend came to see me on one of the evenings of the last week — he thinks it was on Monday, August 3rd. We were standing at a window of my room in the Foreign Office. It was getting dusk, and the lamps were being lit in the space below on which we were looking. My friend recalls that I remarked on this with the words: “The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our life-time.”

Sir Edward Grey, British Foreign Secretary in 1914

13

PopeWatch: Apologies-R-Us

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Pope Francis yesterday apologized for persecutions suffered by Pentecostals under Fascist Italy.

 

 

The pope made his second visit in as many days to the Mafia stronghold near Naples, this time to meet evangelical pastor Giovanni Traettino, whom he befriended while he was archbishop of Buenos Aires.

During the visit, Francis apologized for the persecution suffered by Pentecostals under Italy’s fascist regime in the 1920s and 1930s and urged Christians to celebrate their diversity and unity.

“Catholics were among those who persecuted and denounced the Pentecostals, almost as if they were crazy,” Francis said.

“I am the shepherd of the Catholics and I ask you to forgive my Catholic brothers and sisters who did not understand and were tempted by the devil.” Continue Reading

2

Digging of The Tunnel at Petersburg

By far the most unusual event during the siege of Petersburg was the attempt by Grant to take Petersburg by a huge mining operation.

The idea of the tunnel was devised by Lieutenant Colonel Henry Pleasants, the 33 year old commanding officer of the 48th Pennsylvania.  Pleasants was a mining engineer in civilian life and many of his men were coal miners.  He became convinced that his men could dig a tunnel under the Confederate fort known as Elliot’s Salient, then fill a mine under the fort sufficient to blow it to kingdom come, along with nearby Confederate trenches.  Pleasants took the idea to his corps commander Major General Ambrose Burnside.  He and his men had received permission, but he received virtually no assistance from the rest of the Army in the digging of the tunnel, he and his men having to improvise everything they used.  Engineering officers told Pleasants that he was crazy and at 511 feet the tunnel would be too long and his men would die of asphyxiation digging the tunnel long before it could be completed.

Petersburg Tunnel

The tunnel was elevated as it advanced toward the Confederate fort to prevent moisture clogging it up.   Fresh air was pumped in by air-exchange mechanism near the entrance. Pleasants had constructed a ventilation shaft located well behind Union lines, and connected it to the mine with canvas. At the shaft’s base, a fire was kept continuously burning. A wooden duct ran the entire length of the tunnel which protruded into the outside air. The fire heated stale air inside of the tunnel, forcing it up the ventilation shaft and out of the mine. The resulting vacuum then sucked fresh air in from the mine entrance via the wooden duct which transported the fresh air to the digging miners. 

The took took a bit over two weeks to dig and the mine fifty feet under the Confederate fort took almost another two weeks to construct.  It was filled with four tons of gunpowder.  The Confederates attempted some desultory countermining operations, but the Union tunnel troops went about their work undiscovered.  By July 28, 1864 the mine was ready to explode whenever the high command gave the word.  That word would be given on July 30, 1864.

Here is a portion of an article on the tunneling operation that led up to the Battle of the Crater, written by Major William H. Powell, United States Army, which appeared in volume 4 of Battles and Leaders of the Civil War. Continue Reading

10

Is The Left Anti-Semitic?

The essence of Judaism and the root of the Jewish soul is expediency and self-interest; the God of Israel is Mammon, who expresses himself in the lust for money. Judaism is the embodiment of anti-social attitudes.

Karl Marx

 

 

Much of it, well yes.  Next question?  Brendan O’Neill gives us a bit more detail:

This is a recurring theme in anti-Israel sentiment today: the idea that a powerful, sinister lobby of Israel lovers has warped our otherwise respectable leaders here in the West, basically winning control of Western foreign policy. You see it in cartoons depicting Israeli leaders as the puppet masters of politicians like William Hague and Tony Blair. You can hear it in Alexi Sayle’s much-tweeted claim that the “Western powers” kowtow to Israel because they are “frightened of it… frightened of the power that it wields”. You can see it in the arguments of John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt in their popular book The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy, which holds an apparently super-powerful pro-Israel lobby in the heart of Washington responsible for the Iraq War and all other kinds of disasters. The claim is often made that Israel has corrupted Western officials, commanding them to carry out its dirty work.

Sound familiar? Yes, this has terrible echoes of the old racist idea that Jewish groups controlled Western politics and frequently propelled the world into chaos – an idea that was especially popular in the early to mid-20th-century Europe. Very often, anti-Israel protesters treat Israel not just as a nation at war – like Britain, America or France, which also frequently launch wars that kill huge numbers of civilians – but also as the warper of policy and morality in the West, as a source of poison in global affairs, as the architect of instability across the globe. Indeed, a few years ago a poll of Europeans found that a majority of them view Israel as “the biggest threat to world peace”. So Israel is undoubtedly singled out by Leftists and others, and even more significantly it is singled out in a way that the Jews used to be singled out – that is, as a sinister, self-serving corrupter of nations and causer of chaos. Continue Reading

2

Hold the Applause

 

 

I hate applause in Church and I never join in applause.  Father Z quotes two popes to explain why this is my rule:

 

Joseph Card. Ratzinger – now Benedict XVI – wrote in his Spirit of the Liturgy:

“Wherever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence of liturgy has totally disappeared and been replaced by a kind of religious entertainment. ” (Spirit of the Liturgy p. 198)

I spotted this today at NLM from my friend Greg DiPippo.

His translation of the Italian in the video, below:

The fourth Sunday of Lent, John XXIII was once again among the crowd, at Ostia. (about 15 miles to the south-west of Rome.) Thousands of people were waiting for him along the street, in the piazza, in the church. They wanted to see him, to applaud him. They did not know that afterwards, he would rebuke them, in a good-natured way, in his simple , spontaneous, familiar way of speaking.

“I am very glad to have come here. But if I must express a wish, it is that in church you not shout out, that you not clap your hands, and that you not greet even the Pope, because ‘templum Dei, templum Dei.’ (‘The temple of God is the temple of God.’)

Now, if you are pleased to be in this beautiful church, you must know that the Pope is also pleased to see his children. But as soon as he sees his good children, he certainly does not clap his hands in their faces. And the one who stands before you is the Successor of St. Peter.”

 

Continue Reading

9

It’s all Israel’s fault, isn’t it?

 

Over at the National Catholic Reporter (NCR) the first of a new series of sociopolitical blog posts on issues related to the Middle East begins:

More than 500 people have died in Gaza as of Monday morning. The latest tragedy came with the killing of over 60 Palestinian civilians in a Gaza neighborhood destroyed by Israeli shelling. Add to that 3,000 injured, vital infrastructure and apartment buildings destroyed, and 1.8 million Palestinians trapped in an area the size of Manhattan with nowhere to run from the death raining on them from the skies. On the Israeli side, the death toll stands at 20.

Every innocent death, Israeli or Palestinian, is one too many. All the same, the world has gotten inured to Israeli tactics of massive and disproportionate response to acts of violence. The stubborn, feckless resistance of Hamas gives the Israelis apparent cause for their indiscriminate strikes. Palestinian suffering has become routine. As a result, the international community heaves a collective shrug when they hear about Palestinian deaths. The world is no longer moved to learn of Palestinian affliction.

The blog post continues:

Insidious racism colors perceptions of the conflict and reactions to it. If we had 400 Israeli deaths instead, the world would have been in an uproar, as it should. Giving Palestinian civilians a couple minutes’ warning to evacuate a civilian building where a Hamas member lives or had been a few minutes before when there is nowhere to run is a mere fig leaf disguising ingrained Israeli indifference to Palestinian life.

And, then, it states:

The Arab enemy is necessary to keep the world from looking too closely at Israel’s record of illegitimate acts.

Is there any question about where this particular blog post (or perhaps this series) is headed?

Yes, it’s all about those racist Israelis—the puppets of the Great Satan—and the most vile of them, the Likud Party, before which the world cowers. Due simply to racism, the Israelis will do anything—using brutal force that includes sophisticated weaponry—to smote and eventually drive the Palestinian people into the Mediterranean Sea. Seizing upon the world’s collective guilt in the years following World War II, those racist Israelis commandeered the Palestinian homeland.

Yes, indeed. Those racist Israelis. Absolutely no provocation. Those unjustly besieged Palestinians whose homeland was stolen from under their feet.

Before making a judgment, watch David Prager’s summary of how the conflict came to be what it is today:

Not one word of any of this in the NCR blog post.

Seems the NCR story has it backwards, doesn’t it. Who is really racist? Who has been the provocateur? Who seeks the death of the other?

For a moment, let’s consider one item: The tunnels Hamas has constructed as they are described in an article published by the Journal of Palestinian Studies (JPS).

In 2004, Israel leveled the territory separating Gaza from Egypt to create what was supposed to be a barren corridor. One decade later, the corridor is buzzing with all sorts of activity above and beneath the surface. What happened? The territory’s governing body—the Palestinian Islamist movement, Hamas—has built and operates a tunnel complex that feeds Gaza’s economy and, through the taxes collected, Hamas’ coffers for its war against Israel.

Pretty good, huh? As one Hamas Gaza leader, Mahmud Zahar, explained, “No electricity, no water, no food came from outside. That’s why we had to build the tunnels.”  The tunnels rapidly turned into what one trader described as “the lungs through which Gaza breathes.”

Sounds like the stuff of ancient mythology: “Out of the ashes, the Phoenix rises.”

Perhaps it is. But not quite the way one might think, that is, if one listens only to the supporters of Hamas.

The tunnels Hamas built to keep taxes flowing into its coffers were constructed by teams consisting of 6 laborers whose members worked in 2, 12-hour shifts to dig 10 to 15 meters/day.

Guess who manned those teams?

According to the JPS article, child laborers who “much as in Victorian coal mines, they are prized for their nimble bodies.” While Hamas officials admit that at least 160 children have been killed in the tunnels, public outrage indicates that more children died while constructing those tunnels.

Nowhere in the NCR blog post is there even a hint that Hamas has engaged in internationally proscribed conduct. For example, Article 3 (d) of International Labour Organization Convention concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour, 1999 (No. 182) defines hazardous child labor as “(d) work which, by its nature or the circumstances in which it is carried out, is likely to harm the health, safety or morals of children.”

If that’s not good enough, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church states:

Child labour, in its intolerable forms, constitutes a kind of violence that is less obvious than others but it is not for this reason any less terrible….The Church’s social doctrine condemns the increase in “the exploitation of children in the workplace in conditions of veritable slavery.”  This exploitation represents a serious violation of human dignity, with which every person, “no matter how small or how seemingly unimportant in utilitarian terms.” (#296)

Exploiting children violates their human dignity no matter how small or insignificant they may seem to Hamas and its larger political goal of eliminating Israel. To fuel achieving that end, Hamas has used the means of depriving Palestinian children of their childhood years by forcing them to labor in a corrupt and dangerous environment.

What a great way to treat God’s children!

This exploitation of children is both unjust and unfair, defying international covenants as well as Church teaching. But, not one word of this either in the NCR blog post.

But, then, should anyone expect “fair and balanced” in NCR’s reportage and blog posts?

 

 

 

To read the International Labour Organization’s definition and examples of child exploitation across the globe, click on the following link:
http://www.ilo.org/ipec/facts/WorstFormsofChildLabour/Hazardouschildlabour/lang–en/index.htm

To read the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, click on the following link:
http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/justpeace/documents/rc_pc_justpeace_doc_20060526_compendio-dott-soc_en.html

To read the Journal of Palestinian Studies article, click on the following link:
http://www.palestine-studies.org/journals.aspx?id=11424&jid=1&href=fulltext

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

15

The Past: Through A Contemporary Glass Darkly

 

When I was down in Springfield last week, go here to read about my family’s annual pilgrimage to the Lincoln sites this year, I purchased several books at The Prairie Archives.  That bookstore is a treasure trove for those interested in the Civil War and/or Lincoln.  Two of the books were written by James G. Randall, the first volume of his four volume study of Lincoln as President and his Constitutional Problems under Lincoln.  Randall, who died in 1953, was a history professor at my alma mater, the University of Illinois, for three decades.  The foremost Lincoln scholar of his day, his body of work on Lincoln demonstrates how historians are influenced by the contemporary history they live through, and how the march of history after they are dead can make their interpretations obsolete, at least until history shifts again.

The formative event in Randall’s life was World War I.  He viewed the immense carnage as a huge waste, a war fought over issues that were unimportant compared to the huge loss of life involved.  World War II confirmed his belief in the futility of war, as he interpreted that conflict as being brought on by fanatics, this time Fascists, who caused millions of deaths in a completely unnecessary conflict.

In regard to the Civil War, Randall saw it too as an unneccessary conflict brought on by fanatics, fire eating secessionists in the South and, especially, abolitionists in the North.  Randall viewed the abolitionists as earning most of the blame for bringing on the War, turning political differences over slavery to be settled by compromise, into a crusade that could only be resolved by rivers of blood.

Randall summed up his argument in a paper entitled The Blundering Generation delivered to the Mississippi Valley Historical Society on May 2, 1940 at a conference in Omaha, Nebraska.  Randall’s thesis was that the War largely came about over a controversy over slavery that was merely a phantom.  There was never a question that the Western territories were going to be free territories due to the greater numbers heading for the West from the North, and the unwillingness of slave holders in the South to risk their slaves in the West on land not suitable for large scale plantation crops such as cotton and where they would be without the legal protections afforded by slave states to slaves as a species of property.

Randall’s argument found considerable support during his lifetime, but now is rarely presented as a viewpoint held by contemporary historians.  Why? Continue Reading

7

Calling Flannery O’Connor

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“I’m a member and preacher to that church where the blind don’t see and the lame don’t walk and what’s dead stays that way.”

Flannery O’Connor, Wise Blood

I have always been vastly amused by atheists who seek to ape Christian services.  These throw the substance out and keep the often banal trappings.  If I were an atheist I would sleep in on Sunday mornings, or work, or do something fun.  However, some atheists believe, if I may use that term, otherwise:

“The Sunday Assembly model is more like an Evangelical Christian church but without God. Music and clapping, active participation, short talks, humour and pop music.”

The service or the “show” (no-one is quite sure what to call it) fairly fizzes along, although there is a long moment’s silence, at which the congregation is invited to “turn down their inner volume knob” and, in a little dig at the idea that only God can bring meaning, “be grateful to this impersonal universe that you have a place, and people in it that love you”.

But mostly the emphasis is upbeat and life-affirming. At one point members of the congregation are literally dancing in the aisles as the band plays a cover of Jesus Jones’s Right Here, Right Now before speakers step up to “share” on a range of topics around the theme of “balance”.

One member talks about coping with depression; then a life-coach talks about the importance of self-knowledge that isn’t narcissism while a third – it being Mother’s Day – talks movingly about his mother’s battle with an abusive husband and his decision to respect, rather than to mock, her Christian faith.

It all ends with a quotation from Albert Einstein – “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving” – before coffee and doughnuts are served, followed by lunch at a local Southern Barbecue restaurant.

Soon the hall is filled with running children, suddenly released from the discipline of having to sit through the service, a joyous cacophony which also points to one unavoidable similarity between going to Sunday Assembly and going to church.

“The kids still moan about it,” admits Craig Mueller, a lapsed Catholic who has four children under 10 and comes to the service because he enjoys the sense of community. “I tell my nine-year-old son, it’s time to go to Sunday Assembly and he’s like ‘Argh, no, boring!’” Continue Reading

3

PopeWatch: Ecumenicalism

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

Pope Francis has spent quite a bit of effort and energy in an outreach to evangelicals.  To what purpose this is being done is confusing to PopeWatch since the Pope has disclaimed any interest in converting these groups to Catholicism.  Italian evangelicalss have indicated in a recent statement that if the Pope believes he is accomplishing anything by this outreach for Catholicism, he may wish to reassess that belief:

 

ITALIAN EVANGELICALS ON CONTEMPORARY CATHOLICISM

 

Following a round table promoted by the Italian Evangelical Alliance, the Federation of Pentecostal Churches, the Assemblies of God in Italy, the Apostolic Church and the Pentecostal Congregations held in Aversa on July 19, 2014, at the Pentecostal Faculty of Religious Sciences, on the theme: “Contemporary Catholicism: an evangelical perspective” the above cited organizations, following the evangelical opening on the part of evangelical circles and international and national Pentecostals, with regard to the Catholic Church and her present Pontiff, without expressing judgment on the faith of the individual faithful, remain incompatible with the teaching of Scripture a Church that proclaims herself  to be the mediatrix of salvation and presents other figures as mediators of grace, given that the grace of God comes only through faith in Christ Jesus without works (Ephesians 2:8) and without the intervention of other mediators (1 Timothy 2:5).

Moreover, they remain incompatible with the teaching of Scripture a Church that assumes the responsibility of adding dogmas (like the Marian ones) to the faith once and forever transmitted to the saints (Jude 3; Apocalypse 22:18).

Finally they remain incompatible with the teaching of Scripture a Church that has its heart in a political state, a legacy of an “imperial” Church from which it assumed titles and prerogatives. Christian churches must be careful about imitating the “princes of nations” and follow the example of Jesus Who came to serve and not to be served (Mark 10:42 – 45).

Therefore, they maintain that the apparent similarities with the evangelical faith and spirituality from sectors in Catholicism are not, in themselves, reasons to hope for a true change. Considering that irreconcilable and absolutely divergent theological and ethical differences still persist, they maintain they are unable to start and follow-up any initiative or ecumenical opening with regard to the Roman Catholic Church, inviting all evangelicals at the national and international level to exercise sound biblical discernment (1 John 4:1) without giving way to unionist anxieties contrary to Scripture, but rather renewing the commitment to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all the world.

Aversa (Caserta), July 19, 2014 Continue Reading

7

Indoctrination Not Education

 

 

One of the more ironic developments during the past half century has been the transformation of most colleges and universities from places of learning into citadels of indoctrination.  Examples abound.  Here is a recent one:

An Ohio State University (OSU) class has apparently determined another fundamental difference between Christians and atheists: their IQ points.

An online quiz from the school’s Psychology 1100 class, provided to Campus Reform via tip, asked students to pick which scenario they found most likely given that “Theo has an IQ of 100 and Aine has an IQ of 125.”

The correct answer? “Aine is an atheist, while Theo is a Christian.” Continue Reading

July 27, 1864: First Battle of Deep Bottom Begins

Deep_Bottom_July

Unbeknownst to the Confederates, on July 27, 1864 the Union forces around Petersburg were putting the finishing touches on a huge mine under a fort in the Confederate defenses known as Elliot’s Salient.  To divert Confederate attention from this sector of the line, Grant ordered Hancock and Sheridan to cross the James River at Deep Bottom and make a lunge towards Richmond.  Grant assumed this would cause a weakening in the Confederate defenses around Petersburg and he was correct in that assumption.  Lee in response to Grant’s move pulled some 16,500 men out of the Petersburg lines and into the Richmond fortifications.

In fighting on the 27th and 28th which resulted in 488 Union casualties to 679 Confederate, Hancock and Sheridan’s drive toward Richmond was stopped, but Grant had achieved his goal of drawing Lee’s men to the north side of the James, as Grant noted in his Memoirs: Continue Reading

6

Lee Harvey Oswald Was a Commie! Live With It!

 

 

 

There exists a cottage industry among leftists to attempt to blame the assassination of JFK on “right wing hate”.  The latest, and I would say most delusional, example of this historical revisionism run amok is a Salon piece by Heather Digby Parton in which she never gets around to mentioning the fact that Kennedy was gunned down by self-proclaimed Communist Lee Harvey Oswald:

Three weeks before the assassination of John F. Kennedy, a concerned citizen from Dallas named Mrs. Nelle M. Doyle wrote a letter to White House press secretary Pierre Salinger. She was worried about the president’s visit. This is what she wrote:

Although I do not consider myself an ‘alarmist’, I do fervently hope that President kennedy can be dissuaded from appearing in the city of Dallas, Texas as much as I would enjoy hearing and seeing him.

This ‘hoodlum mob’ in Dallas is frenzied and infuriated that their attack on Ambassador Adlai Stephenson on the 24th, backfired on them. I have heard that some of them have said they “have just started.”

No number of policemen, plainclothes men or militia can control the “air” Mr Salinger — it is a dreadful thought but all remember the fate of President McKinley.

These people are crazy, or crazed, and I’m sure that we must realize that their actions in the future are unpredictable.

Unfortunately, her prediction wasn’t alarmist enough as it turned out.

The right-wing hatred for John F. Kennedy was in some ways as extreme as the hatred for Barack Obama and nowhere was it more energized than Dallas in 1963. Three years earlier, right-wingers in the city had signaled their anti-Kennedy zeal by turning on its native son, Lyndon Johnson, after he accepted the nomination for vice president. He and his wife, Lady Bird, were accosted by a shrieking mob of conservative women in front of their hotel armed with signs saying he’d sold out to “Yankee Socialists.” It was downhill from there. Over the next three years the simmer burst into a full boil as various luminaries of the John Birch Society such as millionaire oil man H.L. Hunt and the anti-communist fanatic Gen. Edwin Walker, a zealot so far to the right that he even believed Eisenhower was a communist, fanned the flames of anti-Kennedy hatred. Continue Reading

2

PopeWatch: Middle Earth Ecumenicalism

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

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

 

MORDOR––Sister Florence Deacon announced today that the upcoming annual assembly for the Leadership Conference of Women Religious would be taking place at the smoldering base of Mount Doom in Mordor, and would be led by the Dark Lord Sauron. The announcement came in a joint statement between LCWR leaders and numerous well know officials from the lands surrounding Mordor including Azog the Defiler, Uruk-hai Scout Captain Ugluk, Orc Captain of the Warg Rider Sharku, and President of LCWR Carol Zinn. LCWR and Mordor leaders would not comment on the specifics of the upcoming conference except to say that they were eagerly anticipating the conference, which would focus on the ongoing situation with the Vatican. “We shall soon celebrate the dawn of a new era!” Zinn shouted to tens of thousands of cheering Orcs and LCWR nuns as they all furiously, mindlessly slammed their spears against their shields in unison, over and over again. Zinn went on to conclude her rousing speech, shouting, “One conference to rule us all! No habits to bind us! No veil to blind us! And with liberation at our helm shall they be defied!” Continue Reading

53

Beware of government mammon: It always comes with strings attached…

 

A Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice report indicates that converting private Catholic schools into charter schools can significantly increase school enrollment, reversing enrollment declines even after several decades. The primary reasons cited for these declines?

  • The rising cost of Catholic education that’s attributable to the shift in from religious/clergy teachers to lay educators.
  • The increase in the number of charter schools.

Confronting these issues, 3 of the nation’s archdioceses—Indianapolis, Miami, and Washington, DC—have allowed some schools to reopen as independently managed, public charter schools rather than close them. (Philadelphia has done similarly.)

Overall, this transformation has increased enrollments and students seem to be achieving well. In addition, the archdioceses no longer are pouring money into moribund schools, enabling these archdioceses to support other operations, provide additional $$$s to support schools that remain in operation, and provide tuition assistance to qualifying students.

Sounds like “all’s well that ends well” story, no? Everyone’s a winner!

Well, perhaps not.

The decision to accept state funds to run schools carries with it some foreseeable consequences. In retrospect, these consequences may make today’s “solution” appear foolhardy.

Consider the example of the Archdiocese of Vancouver (Canada) where the state fully funds Catholic schools. For more than two centuries, many U.S. Catholics have understandably advocated for a similar policy.

According to an article published by Straight.com, an 11-year-old student attending Delta’s Sacred Heart Elementary School, Tracey Wilson, was diagnosed during the past year with gender dysphoria and wanted to be treated as a girl. The school’s administrators refused, citing the Catholic Independent Schools of the Vancouver Archdiocese (CISVA) policy regarding gender expression and gender dysphoria.

In response, Tracey Wilson filed a human rights complaint, causing CIVSA to resolve rather than contest the complaint. The terms of the resolution included apologizing to Tracey and her family “for not being in a position to meet her needs” as well as paying the Wilson family an undisclosed amount of $$$s.

The CISVA policy is similar to the policy the Vancouver Public School Board approved  one month earlier. However, the resolution in this case makes CISVA the first school district in Canada to have a policy accommodating gender expression and gender dysphoria among students.

Of the policy, CISVA Superintendent Doug Lauson said:

We expect that this policy will be a practical basis for accommodating students with gender dysphoria, or who express their gender in ways that are different from prevailing stereotypes. This policy will ensure that Catholic schools are a safe and accepting place for all students.

“Free” government money always comes “with strings attached.” In this instance, the mammon that’s raining down from the state upon Catholic schools (charter or otherwise) may very well end up forcing district superintendents to compromise the Catholic identity of those schools in order to keep the rain pouring down.
 

 

To read the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice report, click on the following link:
http://www.edchoice.org/CMSModules/EdChoice/FileLibrary/1048/Sector-Switchers-Why-Catholic-Schools-Convert-to-Charters-and-What-Happens-Next.pdf

To read the CISVA policy, click on the following link:
http://www.cisva.bc.ca/policy_manual/CISVA_Gender_Dysphoria_Policy.pdf

To read about the CISVA case and resolution, click on the following link:
http://www.straight.com/news/687496/vancouver-catholic-schools-introduce-transgender-policy-after-human-rights-complaint

To read the Vancouver Public School Board policy, click on the following link:
http://www.straight.com/life/652381/vancouver-school-boards-lgbtq-policy-sparks-debate

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

8

Patton Unleashed

Today seventy years ago Operation Cobra began, the breakout of First United States Army from the Normandy Peninsula.  By the end of July the First Army had shattered the German forces before them and broken out of Normandy.  The stage was set for Patton and his Third Army, which became operational on August 1, 1944.  My favorite living historian Victor Davis Hanson describes the military masterpiece that followed:

When Patton’s Third Army finally became operational seven weeks after D-Day, it was supposed to play only a secondary role — guarding the southern flank of the armies of General Bradley and British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery while securing the Atlantic ports.

Despite having the longest route to the German border, Patton headed east. The Third Army took off in a type of American blitzkrieg not seen since Union General William Tecumseh Sherman’s rapid marches through Georgia and the Carolinas during the Civil War.

Throughout August 1944, Patton won back over the press. He was foul-mouthed, loud, and uncouth, and he led from the front in flamboyant style with a polished helmet and ivory-handled pistols.

In fact, his theatrics masked a deeply learned and analytical military mind. Patton sought to avoid casualties by encircling German armies. In innovative fashion, he partnered with American tactical air forces to cover his flanks as his armored columns raced around static German formations.

Naturally rambunctious American GIs fought best, Patton insisted, when “rolling” forward, especially in summertime. Only then, for a brief moment, might the clear skies facilitate overwhelming American air support. In August his soldiers could camp outside, while his speeding tanks still had dry roads.

In just 30 days, Patton finished his sweep across France and neared Germany. The Third Army had exhausted its fuel supplies and ground to a halt near the border in early September.

Allied supplies had been redirected northward for the normally cautious General Montgomery’s reckless Market Garden gambit. That proved a harebrained scheme to leapfrog over the bridges of the Rhine River; it devoured Allied blood and treasure, and accomplished almost nothing in return.

Meanwhile, the cutoff of Patton’s supplies would prove disastrous. Scattered and fleeing German forces regrouped. Their resistance stiffened as the weather grew worse and as shortened supply lines began to favor the defense.

Historians still argue over Patton’s August miracle. Could a racing Third Army really have burst into Germany so far ahead of Allied lines? Could the Allies ever have adequately supplied Patton’s charging columns given the growing distance from the Normandy ports? How could a supreme commander like Eisenhower handle Patton, who at any given moment could — and would — let loose with politically incorrect bombast?

We do not know the answers to all those questions. Nor will we ever quite know the full price that America paid for having a profane Patton stewing in exile for nearly a year rather than exercising his leadership in Italy or Normandy. Continue Reading

9

Science Fiction as Politicized Drek

Science Fiction Leftism

They began by controlling books of cartoons and then detective books and, of course, films, one way or another, one group or another, political bias, religious prejudice, union pressures; there was always a minority afraid of something, and a great majority afraid of the dark, afraid of the future, afraid of the past, afraid of the present, afraid of themselves and shadows of themselves.

Ray Bradbury, Usher II (1950)

 

John C. Wright, Science Fiction author and a convert to Catholicism, laments the ruin wreaked on Science Fiction by leftist ideologies and pathologies:

Establishment SF is Politically Correct SF, in that it pays slavish homage to all the tired tropes and foolish dogmas of Political Correctness. With its emphasis on collective rights, victimology, and radical egalitarianism, there is no place in the PC SF universe for things like heroes, adventures, inventors, exotic locations, space princesses, or technology portrayed as beneficial.

Politically Correct SF is astonishingly parochial, because it is always assumed that the society of the future will be caught in the grip of the selfsame political controversies as the Victorian Age, which is the age when this worldview was first formulated by Marx. Hence, for all other SF stories, the future differs from the present. For PC SF, the future is just like the past, and nothing changes.

In other words, the stories of PC SF promote the opposite of SF.

SF is about a sense of wonder. PC is about a sense of despair. The two are opposite. Hence, PC SF is a contradiction in terms. What it produces is simply not science fiction. Continue Reading

9

Thomas the Right Wing Tank Engine

thomasthetanken1432699c-1

Christopher Johnson, a non-Catholic who has taken up the cudgels so frequently in defense of the Church that I have named him Defender of the Faith, brings us the latest news from Leftist Crazyland:

 

 

 

Ladies and gentlemen, give it up for Tracy Van Slyke, authoress of the SINGLE dumbest thing ever written:

Thomas [the Tank Engine] and those friends are trains that toil away endlessly on the Isle of Sodor – which seems to be forever caught in British colonial times – and, on its surface, the show seems to impart good moral lessons about hard work and friendship. But if you look through the steam rising up from the coal-powered train stacks, you realize that the pretty puffs of smoke are concealing some pretty twisted, anachronistic messages.

ANNNNNNNNND we’re off.  What kinds of “pretty twisted, anachronistic messages” can be worked into a kid’s TV show, Tracy?

For one, these trains perform tasks dictated by their imperious, little white boss, Sir Topham Hatt (also known as The Fat Controller), whose attire of a top hat, tuxedo and big round belly is just a little too obvious. Basically, he’s the Monopoly dictator of their funky little island. Hatt orders the trains to do everything from hauling freight to carrying passengers to running whatever random errand he wants done, whenever he wants it done – regardless of their pre-existing schedules.

Because he’s a human being and they’re…talking machines?

Inevitably, the trains get in a fight with or pick on one another (or generally mess up whatever job they are supposed to be doing) until Hatt has to scold one of them about being a “really useful engine”, because their sole utility in life is their ability to satisfy his whims. Yeah, because I want to teach my kid to admire a controlling autocrat.

Trace?  Sweetie?  You do know that Sir Topham Hatt isn’t the central focus of that show, don’t you?  And that sentient trains don’t actually exist?

But there was one particular episode that caused me to put the brakes on Thomas for good. It revolved around James, a red engine who is described in the opening credits as “vain but lots of fun.” (Wait, it’s OK to be vain if you can show others a good time occasionally? Great – that’s going in my Parenting 101 book.) In the episode “Tickled Pink”, poor vain James, is ordered by Topham Hat to get a new coat of paint. But while James has only had an undercoat of pink slathered on, Topham Hatt interrupts and demands that James go pick up Hatt’s granddaughter and deliver her and her friends to a birthday party right now.

You all know what pink means.

James is mortified that he has to travel while pink and proceeds to hide from all the other trains along the way. When he’s caught, the other trains – including Thomas – viciously laugh and mock him.

Thomas the Tank Engine.  Gay basher.

“What are you doing James? You’re a big pink steamie,” says Diesel, the bad-boy engine. (For the record, all the “villains” on Thomas and Friends are the dirty diesel engines. I’d like to think there was a good environmental message in there, but when the good engines pump out white smoke and the bad engines pump out black smoke – and they are all pumping out smoke – it’s not hard to make the leap into the race territory.)

Check that.  Thomas the Tank Engine.  Racist gay basher.

But once James gets back on the rails and picks up Granddaughter Hatt and her friends, all seemingly ends well because the girls love pink.

Well guess what? It’s not OK. You think a little boy watching Thomas is going to file away the lesson that pink is OK for boys? No, what kids remember is that James was laughed at, cruelly, over and over again, because he looked different and was clad in a “girly” pink color.

Whatever, kid.  Trace?  You’re right to be concerned.  If you play any given version of a British Thomas episode backward, do you know what you’ll hear?  Campaign commercials for the UK Independence Party (play an American version backward and you’ll hear a whole lot of people explaining why Barack Obama is the single worst president in the history of the United States of America).

Get help, Tracy. Continue Reading

37

PopeWatch: Not Interested?

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

 

Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa puts his finger on what PopeWatch views as the single most dispiriting aspect of the papacy of Pope Francis:

 

 

Three days later, on June 4, the pope had a long meeting at his residence of Santa Marta with some “Evangelical” leaders of the United States, including the famous televangelist Joel Osteen, California pastor Tim Timmons, and the president of the Evangelical Westmont College, Gayle D. Beebe.

On June 24, another meeting. This time with Texas televangelists James Robinson and Kenneth Copeland, with Bishop Anthony Palmer of the Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches, with John and Carol Arnott of Toronto, and with other prominent leaders. There were also Geoff Tunnicliffe and Brian C. Stiller, respectively the secretary general and “ambassador” of the World Evangelical Alliance. The meeting lasted for three hours and continued through lunch, in the refectory of Santa Marta, where the pope, amid loud laughter, gave Pastor Robinson a high five (see photo).

Copeland and Osteen are proponents of “prosperity theology,” according to which the more faith grows the more wealth grows. They themselves are very wealthy and live an extravagant lifestyle. But Francis spared them the sermon on poverty.

Instead – according to what “ambassador” Stiller reported – the pope assured them: “I’m not interested in converting Evangelicals to Catholicism. There are so many doctrines we will never agree on. Let’s be about showing the love of Jesus.” Continue Reading

1

Lincoln and Summer

 

 

Yesterday my family and I made our annual pilgrimage down to Springfield to visit the Lincoln Museum and go to the Lincoln Tomb to say prayers for the repose of the souls of Lincoln and his family.  A few observations:

1.  Weather:  Illinois has been experiencing one of the coolest Julys on record.  Yesterday the high was 80 degrees Fahrenheit, which is about 15 degrees below what we often experience at this time of year.  Very pleasant weather for walking about downtown Springfield.

2. Officiousness-My family and I renewed our membership in the Lincoln Museum Association for $70.00.  That is pricier than if we had to pay for tickets but I like to encourage the Museum with funds, especially as I view the enjoyment of the kids who come there to see the Lincoln exhibits.  Right after we did that a guard stopped us as we were entering the main part of the museum and asked to examine my wife’s purse.  He saw that she had gum and mints and told us she would have to put the gum and mints in a locker before we could enter since no food and drink could be brought in.  We have been coming to the museum since 2006, after it opened in 2005, and this had never happened to us before.  It was obvious to me that the young man was taking a reasonable rule and making it absurd.  We complied, although the lawyer part of me wanted to make an issue of it.  However, I did not want to get the young guard into trouble, which I assume will happen swiftly enough if this is how he is treating all female patrons.   I decided to let it be by someone else’s hand and I was not going to mar our day with a confrontation.

3.  Decisions-The museum was wonderful as always.  The standout for me, as usual, was Lincoln standing behind his desk, looking at the draft of the Emancipation Proclamation, as shadows behind him gave him conflicting advice about whether to emancipate the slaves.  Great decisions are always easy unless you are the one making them.

Lincoln Ponders the Emancipation Proclamation

Continue Reading

18

When Congress Makes a Joke, It’s A Law

So when all the yielding and objections is over, the other Senator said, “I object to the remarks of a professional joker being put into the Congressional Record.” Taking a dig at me, see? They didn’t want any outside fellow contributing. Well, he had me wrong. Compared to them I’m an amateur, and the thing about my jokes is that they don’t hurt anybody. You can say they’re not funny or they’re terrible or they’re good or whatever it is, but they don’t do no harm. But with Congress — every time they make a joke it’s a law. And every time they make a law it’s a joke.

Will Rogers

After 32 years at the bar I have reached some conclusions about legislation and the law.  First, legislation tends to be a sloppy process.  In the hurly-burly of the legislative process, and the hacking and re-writing of proposed legislation, not infrequently the finished product contains parts that do not mesh well with pre-existing laws, portions that make no sense at all or sections that simply are logically inconsistent with other sections.  As these laws go into force, most of the time they eventually are challenged by attorneys in law suits and the attorneys wrapped in black, i.e. judges, have to figure out what to do next.  Second, a big problem that exists in this area is the doctrine of separation of powers.  The courts are not supposed to rewrite legislation passed by a legislature.  A whole body of law exists to aid a judge in this thicket called statutory construction.  In a few states there are actual statutes governing how a court is to interpret a statute, and some laws actually have sections telling a court, for example, that if it finds that one section of a statute is unconstitutional, then the remainder of the statute will still be in full force and effect.  However, most of the time, in both the states and federal judicial systems, the courts rely on prior cases ruling on how courts are to interpret statutes.

One of these rules of construction is that courts will usually not rewrite a statute which is clear in order to produce a new statute that matches legislative intent rather than what is actually written in a statute.  Here is a hypothetical example:  A state passes legislation that states that all lawyers will appear in court dressed in clown garb.  Now in every section of the statute the term “clown garb” is used, except in one section where the term used is “garb”.  A court might view this as a simple mistake and say that reading the statute all together, it is clear that attorneys are required to wear clown garb.  However, let us say that a preamble to the legislation states that this is being done in order to underline the fact that most attorneys are bozos and therefore should be dressed as Bozo the Clown when they appear in court, but in the body of the statute only the term “clown garb” is used.  In that case a court would likely rule that although the legislative intent is clear the court cannot rewrite the legislation and attorneys, as long as they are dressed like any sort of clown and not just as Bozo, may appear in court.

Well, something similar just occurred in regard to that Frankenstein of the legislative process, the Affordable Care Act, i.e. ObamaCare.

When ObamaCare was passed it had 381,517 words in it.  It was a poorly crafted piece of legislation with many parts that mesh poorly with other parts, and with existing statutes, and many parts that do not make sense.  However, where it has come a cropper is in a section that is clearly written.  In Halbig v. Burwell the question was litigated about whether taxpayer subsidies for health insurance were available in the 36 states where the Federal government set up the healthcare exchanges and not the individual State governments.  A three judge panel of the Federal DC Circuit Court of Appeals voted three to one that such subsidies were not available because the act as passed by Congress restricted those subsidies to health care insurance purchased through health care exchanges established by the States: Continue Reading

2

PopeWatch: Diplomacy

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

An interesting look at the diplomatic style of Pope Francis by Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa:

 

Francis has placed back at the head of the secretariat of state a thoroughbred diplomat, Cardinal Pietro Parolin. But with him as pope, the face of Vatican geopolitics has changed.

The war of the worlds fought and won by a giant like John Paul II is now a distant memory. In an age of personalized conflicts, of despots, of armed factions, of fractured and failed states, even diplomacy is becoming personalized, becoming “artisanal,” as Pope Francis himself likes to put it. His Argentina is not Poland, where the dictatorship was opposed by a Church of the people, solid and faithful. Under the heel of the military rulers the Argentine Church was confused and divided. The young Jesuit Jorge Mario Bergoglio acted according to his own judgment, in secret and sovereign solitude.

Today he does everything in public. But still with highly personal gestures that seem alien to the old-school diplomats. Like inviting under the dome of St. Peter’s, to pray, the presidents of Israel and Palestine.

“Here in the Vatican 99 percent said that we would never succeed,” Pope Francis himself candidly revealed afterward. But what asserted itself in the end was precisely that stubborn one percent which he personifies.

Even in the complicated preparations for the summit the pope did everything himself. He left the career diplomats with only the crumbs. He preferred the help of a Franciscan friar, custodian of the Holy Land Terra Santa Pierbattista Pizzaballa, and of an Israeli journalist who works as a correspondent for “La Vanguardia” of Barcelona, Henrique Cymerman.

Where diplomacy fails, Pope Francis takes the field his own way.

With silence, as in the unscheduled stop in front of the wall of separation in Bethlehem.

With prayer and fasting, as for Syria last September 7, when he recited the rosary in St. Peter’s Square on his knees in front of an icon of the Blessed Mother. Continue Reading

1

Emily Hoffman and Her Yankee General

Death of McPherson

 

The Civil War was filled with endless personal tragedies and one of them played out in the aftermath of the death of General James Birdseye McPherson at the Battle of Atlanta.  McPherson was engaged to marry Emily Hoffman of Baltimore.  Having gotten leave for the first time in three years, he had been on his way to Baltimore to marry her, when Sherman had called him back to take command of the Army of the Tennessee in the drive on Atlanta.  Sherman wrote to Miss Hoffman to explain the necessity of this:

Head-Quarters
Military Division of the Mississippi
Acworth, Ga.
June 9, 1864
My Dear Young Lady,
I hardly feel that I should apologize for intrusion, for I can claim an old acquaintance with your Brother and Sister in California, and feel almost that I know you through them, and others of your honored family. It has come to my knowledge that you are affianced to another close friend and associate of mine Maj General McPherson, and I fear that weighing mighty matters of State but lightly in the Realm of Love, you feel that he gives too much of his time to his Country and too little to you.

His rise in his profession has been rapid, steady and well earned. Not a link unbroken. Not a thing omitted. Each step in his progress however has imposed on him fresh duties that as a man and a soldier, and still more as a Patriot, he could not avoid.

I did hope as he returned from Meridian, when his Corps the 17th was entitled to go home on furlough, that he too could steal a month to obey the promptings of his heart, to hasten to Baltimore and I so instructed, but by the changes incident to General Grant’s elevation, McPherson succeeded to the Command of a separate Army and Department, and could not leave.

There is no rest for us in this war till you and all can look about you and feel there is Reason and Safety in the Land. God purifies the atmosphere with tempests and storms which fall alike upon the just and unjust, and in like manner he appeases the jarring elements of political discord by wars and famine. Heretofore as a nation we have escaped his wrath, but now with the vehemence of anhundred years accumulation we are in the storm, and would you have us shrink?

But I will not discuss so plain a point with one who bears the honored name of Hoffman, rather tell you of him whose every action I know fills your waking and sleeping thoughts, him so young but so prominent, whose cause is among the gallant and brave, who fight not for oppression and wrong but that the Government bequeathed to us by your ancestors shall not perish in ignominy and insult: but which shall survive in honor and glory, with a power to protect the weak and shelter the helpless from the terrible disasters of a fratricidal war.

I know McPherson well, as a young man, handsome and noble soldier, activated by motives as pure as those of Washington, and I know that in making my testimony to his high and noble character, I will not offend the Girl he loves.

Be patient and I know that when the happy day comes for him to stand by your side as one Being identical in heart and human existence you will regard him with a high respect and honor that will convert simple love into something sublime and beautiful.

Yours with respect
W. T. Sherman

Her father was a rich Baltimore merchant, strongly pro-Confederate in his sympathies, as was his mother who organized sewing bees to produce garments for Confederate soldiers.  A son was fighting in the Army of Northern Virginia.  The Hoffman family strongly disapproved of Emily’s engagement with a Union general.

 

Emily learned of the death of McPherson on July 23.  Stricken with unbearable grief she immediately went to her room and spent the next year there in seclusion.  Sherman wrote to her a second time. Continue Reading

20

Jews Today, Christians Tomorrow

PropagandaNaziStabsBible

 

The heaviest blow that ever struck humanity was the coming of Christianity.

Adolph Hitler, Table Talk

 

 

 

Hattip to Instapundit.  One thing I have learned from a close study of history is that when anti-semites attack Jews, often there are going to be massacres of Christians by the same anti-semitic forces eventually.  This report from Paris is therefore ominous on two grounds:

 

This sounds like a headline from Tzarist Russia in 1910, but in fact it was last week in Paris. A group of anti-Israel demonstrators tried to storm a synagogue, but Jews had their own undercover agents at the protests so they could raise the alarm if any of the protestors started to engage in violence.  They did so, and the rioters were beaten back by a combination of “right-wing” Jewish youth groups and communal security. Unlike is Tzarist Russia,  the authorities aren’t on the side of the attackers, and they eventually arrived in sufficient numbers to disperse the attackers. Continue Reading

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PopeWatch: Celibacy

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This is interesting.  Walter Cardinal Brandmuller writes to correct the record regarding the statement of the Pope that celibacy was instituted as a discipline of the Church circa 900 AD.  Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa has the English text of what the Cardinal wrote:

WE PRIESTS, CELIBATE LIKE CHRIST

by Walter Brandmüller

Dear Mr. Scalfari,

Although I have not enjoyed the privilege of meeting you in person, I would like to revisit your statements concerning celibacy contained in the account of your conversation with Pope Francis, published on July 13, 2014 and immediately disputed in their authenticity by the director of the Vatican press office. As an “old professor” who for thirty years taught Church history at the university, I would like to bring to your attention the current state of the research in this field.

In particular, it must be emphasized in the first place that celibacy by no means dates back to a law invented 900 years after the death of Christ. It is instead the Gospels according to Matthew, Mark, and Luke that report the words of Jesus in this regard.

Matthew writes (19:29): “And every one who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.”

What Mark writes (10:29) is very similar: “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold.”

Luke (18:29ff.) is even more precise: “Truly, I say to you, there is no man who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive manifold more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.”

Jesus does not address these words to the masses, but rather to those whom he sends out to spread his Gospel and proclaim the coming of the kingdom of God. Continue Reading

July 22, 1864: Battle of Atlanta

After the battle of Peachtree Creek Hood ordered his army to withdraw to Atlanta, hoping that an opportunity would present itself to destroy a portion of the Union army as Sherman advanced on Atlanta.

 

 

 

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While Stewart’s corps held the fortifications north of Atlanta, Hood planned to attack McPhersons Army of the Tennessee which was approaching from the east.  Cheatham’ corps would attack from the eastern fortifications of Atlanta, while Hardee’s corps would attack from the south, with Wheeler’s cavalry launching assaults on the supply lines of the Army of the Tennessee.

Hardee’s corps took much longer to get into position for the attack than Hood anticipated, and McPherson reinforced his left to meet this anticipated attack.  The attack of Hardee when it went in caused the Union line to waver and begin to retreat before it was repulsed.  It was during this attack that McPherson was slain.  Major General John “Blackjack” Logan, the most able of the Union political generals, took temporary command of the Union army and successfully led it during the remainder of the battle.

Cheatham’s corps attacked from the Atlanta entrenchments.  Here most of the fighting centered on Baldy Hill, with that conflict going on to nightfall.  Two miles to the north Cheatham’s corps made a breakthrough of the Union lines, that was only repulsed after much hard fighting, spearheaded by Logan’s corps supported by a heavy Union artillery bombardment.

At the end of the day, Union casualties were 3,000 to Confederate casualties of 5,000.  Hood was unable to repulse the Union forces and the battle of Atlanta now became the siege of Atlanta.

 

 

The essential tragedy of the Civil War is that it was “a war without an enemy” in which Americans were fighting each other.  This sad fact is epitomized by this tribute penned by Hood in regard to his classmate and roommate James Birdseye McPherson:

I will record the death of my classmate and boyhood friend, General James B. McPherson, the announcement of which caused me sincere sorrow. Since we had graduated in 1853, and had each been ordered off on duty in different directions, it has not been our fortune to meet. Neither the years nor the difference of sentiment that had led us to range ourselves on opposite sides in the war had lessened my friendship; indeed the attachment formed in early youth was strengthened by my admiration and gratitude for his conduct toward our people in the vicinity of Vicksburg. His considerate and kind treatment of them stood in bright contrast to the course pursued by many Federal officers.

 

 

Here is Sherman’s report of the battle: Continue Reading

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72 Year Old Buzz Aldrin Punches Out Lunar Truther

Ah, it does my heart good whenever I see this video.  Buzz Aldrin, who the loonie lunar truther was calling a coward, flew 65 combat missions during the Korean War and shot down two MIG-15s.  The police refused to arrest Aldrin, stating that he had been clearly provoked.  Aldrin has done many things worthy of medals in his long life, and socking that obnoxious creep was one of them!

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PopeWatch: Meditation

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Prior to cardinals deliberating on who to elect as Pope, they read this meditation by  Prosper Cardinal Grech.  At 87 he was too old to vote, which perhaps indicates why he was tasked to write the meditation.  He left the Conclave before the voting began.  Reading the meditation in the light of what has transpired thus far in the current papacy is an interesting experience.  Here is the text of the meditation:

At the venerable age of 87 I am one of the eldest in the College of Cardinals, though as regards the appointment I am still a newborn; and since my life has always been dedicated to study, my knowledge of the affairs and work of the Curia does not surpass the third grade. Continue Reading

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Lip Service

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Sean Patrick Cardinal O’Malley, who presided over the canonization funeral mass of Ted Kennedy, read about it here, continues to disappoint.  Boston Catholic Insider gives us the details:

 

 

Cardinal Sean O’Malley appeared with liberal Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick on Friday to voice support for Patrick’s proposal to house illegal immigrants and offer Catholic social service assistance for illegals, while the Cardinal said nothing all week about a heinous law advancing in the Mass legislature to penalize those who try to prevent women from aborting their children. In our opinion, the Cardinal is yet more clearly showing his stripes as being a tool of the liberal Democratic pro-abortion establishment, and a hypocrite when it comes to protection of life.

On June 27,  Cardinal O’Malley came out in support of the Supreme Court decision that unanimously struck down the previous Massachusetts abortion clinic buffer zone law as unconstitutional. Never had Cardinal O’Malley been seen praying in front of an abortion clinic, but still, his statement was welcome and appreciated when he said that pro-life Americans who “peacefully pray for and offer alternatives to pregnant women approaching abortion clinics” have the same constitutional protections as anyone else  “This discriminatory law barred these citizens from gathering on nearby public sidewalks, while exempting ‘clinic escorts’ trained to expedite women into (abortion clinics),” he said. “Clearly this was an attack on pro-life Americans’ freedom of speech, and we welcome the Court’s decision to overturn the law.”

That was June 27.  Then this week, the Mass Legislature introduced legislation that is far worse for pro-lifers than the previous law struck down by the Supreme Court. Details of the legislation are posted here by MassResistance:

  1. Creates a new “buffer zone.” The bill creates a 25-foot buffer zone substantially similar to the one which the US Supreme Court recently struck down.
  2. Has a “Dispersal” clause. The bill allows police to define any two or more people standing near an abortion clinic as a “gathering.” Any law enforcement official may arbitrarily decide that this “gathering” is in some way impeding access, and may order them to “disperse” and to stay outside of the buffer zone for at least eight hours. This can be done with no legal hearing or due process, threatening them with unusually severe penalties of arrest, prosecution, criminal fines, and jail time for not complying. In addition, a court can later impose civil fines, large punitive damages, attorney’s fees and “expert witness fees”. [First time who “impede a person’s access to or departure from a reproductive health care facility with the intent to interfere with that person’s ability to provide, support the provision of or obtain services at the reproductive health care facility” face a fine of $1,000 or six months in jail]
  3. Harsher punishments for one group over another. The bill places unusually high punishments for anyone threatening, intimidating, assaulting, blocking, or otherwise impeding people entering or leaving abortion clinics. But these high punishments do not apply to people entering or leaving the clinics (or anyone else) who are perpetrators of assaults of intimidation against pro-life advocates.

A hearing was held on Wednesday, and the measure quickly passed the Mass Senate. What did Cardinal O’Malley say or do about this publicly? Nothing. On short notice, Mass Citizens for Life had erected billboards and asked people to call legislators and to attend and speak at the hearing. Other organizations including FRC and MassResistance rallied pro-lifers.  What did O’Malley, the Mass Catholic Conference and Massachusetts bishops do? Nothing. Nada. Zero. Zip. The last legislative alert sent out by the do-nothing MCC was six months ago. It is truly pathetic.  It is clear that the Cardinal’s rhetoric of June 27 was empty, and Cardinal O’Malley simply does not care about this issue–or whether pro-lifers wanting to help prevent women from taking the lives of their unborn children are fine, arrested or jailed. Continue Reading

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July 20, 1864: Battle of Peachtree Creek

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Sherman was closing in on Atlanta.  General Joseph Johnston had delayed the advance of Sherman but he had not been able to stop him.  On July 8 Sherman crossed the Chattahoochie River, the last major physical obstacle between him and Atlanta.  Johnston withdrew across Peachtree Creek north of Atlanta, planning to attack Sherman’s army as it crossed the creek.  As he made his preparations, Johnston was suddenly removed from his command by Davis.  Davis and Johnston were old enemies, but Davis removing Johnston was more an act of desperation than anything else.  If Atlanta fell, the Confederate heartland was open for an invasion by Sherman, and Johnston’s strategy of maneuver and retreat convinced Davis that Johnston would not fight for Atlanta.  Rolling the dice, Davis promoted one of Johnston’s corps commanders to the temporary rank of full general and John Bell Hood found himself in command of the Army of Tennessee.

Thirty-three years old and a West Point graduate, Hood had earned a reputation as an aggressive and successful division commander in the Army of Northern Virginia.  At Gettysburg he was severely wounded and lost the use of his left arm.  At Chickamauga he led the assault that cracked the Union army, and was again wounded losing his right leg.  Equipped now with a wooden leg, Hood had lost none of his aggression and self-confidence.  Under him retreat was to be a thing of the past, as he swiftly readied his army to take aggressive action to save Atlanta.

On July 19, Hood learned that Sherman was dividing his army, following his usual course of having the Army of the Cumberland under Thomas cross Peachtree Creek for a direct advance on Atlanta, while the Army of the Tennessee under McPherson and the Army of the Ohio under Schofield maneuvered to the East, to outflank the Confederates and to cut rail lines and the Confederate supply lines.  For a commander as fond of attack as Hood this was a golden opportunity to launch an assault on Thomas. Continue Reading

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July 20, 1969: Americans Set Foot on the Moon

Back on July 20, 1969, astonishingly to me  forty-five years ago, I remember staying up to watch this with my father.  Here is a NASA Contractor Report on the flag raising.  My father was not the most talkative man in the world, but I could tell he was quite proud when the flag was raised.  So was I.

The flag raising has been seized upon by conspiracy theorists who claim that the moon landings were government hoaxes.  How could a flag wave without an atmosphere?  This has been answered numerous times. Continue Reading

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“Mr. President, when did the Democratic Party declare war on the Catholic Church?”

Hattip to Darleen at Protein Wisdom.  Senator Ted Cruz (R.Tx) is a Southern Baptist.  If all Catholic members of Congress had a tenth the willingness to do battle for the Church and the First Amendment as Cruz does, I would have no concern for the future of the Church in this country, at least from assaults by Caesar.

What Wondrous Love

Something for the weekend.  A moving rendition of the hymn What Wondrous Love Is This by Bobby Horton, who has waged a one man crusade to bring Civil War era music to modern audiences.  The lyrics were first published in 1811 during the Second Great Awakening, a huge religious revival that swept  the nation.  The hymn was written either by that most prolific song writer Anonymous or by Alexander Means, the historical record is unclear.  The tune comes from that hit of 1701,The Ballad of Captain Kidd.

Few hymns are better than this one in powerfully, and simply, conveying the eternal truth of Christianity:  God, the great I AM, became one of us, walked and taught among us, and died for us.

Here is another rendition I have always liked, combining the hymn with another work of art that wordlessly conveys the core of Christianity, the Pieta: Continue Reading

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PopeWatch: Abdication

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

 

BRAZIL––The German National Team today stunned soccer fans across the globe with their announcement that they would abdicate the World Cup title, effective today. FIFA, the international governing body of association football, said today it has voted the largely unknown Argentinian National Team to assume the title of champions of the soccer world.

In a statement issued today, the German National Team wrote: “…in today’s game, subject to so many rapid changes on the pitch and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the beautiful game, in order to govern the bark of the World Cup and proclaim the goodness of futbal, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few quarters of play, has deteriorated in us to the extent that we have had to recognize our incapacity to adequately fulfill the duties necessary to being World Cup champions.”

The Argentinean Nation Team takes over title as FIFA is embroiled in a storm of controversy after accepting Qatar’s bid to host the 2022 World Cup. Moments after news broke that Argentina would be taking over as World Cup champions, soccer fans from the across the globe were enthusiastic about the news. One American soccer fan, Timothy Clark, told EOTT that it was a time for a change.

“The old champions were not a good fit for today’s game. They didn’t allow soccer to evolve from the antiquated way it used to be played. It seemed like they wanted to take game back to the early days of soccer. But the Argentinian team appears to be a champion for the people. They seem open to changes. I really think they will open the door to female players in the near future.”

At press time, the Argentinian National team has told the press that “If a player wants to slap another player on the butt after a goal, who are we to judge.”    Continue Reading

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Are You Middle Aged or Ancient?

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Courtesy of Father Z.  I don’t know, I think my kids would say I am ancient.  Let’s take that test:

1.  Are your veteran benefits paid in sesterces for your valiant service in the Social War?

2.  Is your reaction when people say, “We can’t be fired, slaves have to be sold!”, well, duh!

3.  Do you view the tribunes as a radical destabilizing force in the Republic?

4.  Do you think those illegal aliens from Magna Graecia should be shipped back south, especially if they won’t learn Latin?

5.  Do you think the Dionysian mystery cult is leading the younger generation astray? Continue Reading

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Mary Jo Would Be Seventy-Three Now

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Today is the forty-fifth anniversary of the Chappaquiddick incident, where Ted Kennedy left Mary Jo  Kopechne to die a slow death of asphyxiation in his submerged vehicle.

Here is Ted Kennedy’s non-mea culpa, notable for how little of the details of the incident he could recall, and an example of how to appear to take responsibility while not taking responsibility.

Any other American who failed to report a lethal accident such as this for such a lengthy period would probably have served some jail time, county or prison.  Any other politician would have had his career destroyed.  When Kennedy died he was referred to as “The Lion of the Senate” and Cardinal O’Malley presided over his canonization funeral mass.  I hope Ms. Kopechne received justice in the next world because she certainly received none in this.  I make the same statement in regard to Mr. Kennedy, who in later years liked to joke about Chappaquiddick.  I trust that in the world beyond he no longer finds those jokes quite as funny.

 

Continue Reading

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Vatican Lavender Mafia in Charge

 

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Pat Archbold at Creative Minority Report gives us the news that the Lavender Mafia is alive and well at the Vatican:

 

 

Number one. From Radio Vaticana. “The Bishop of Trier, Stephan Ackermann, criticizes offers to “heal” homosexuality. There is no official church support for such initiatives, Ackermann said on Wednesday evening in Saarbrücken….Ackermann expressed at the Lesbian and Gay Association (LSVD) Saar organized public discussion, attended by around 100 people took part. The two-hour meeting was the first of its kind in Germany.”

A Bishop saying that the Church does not believe in ‘healing’ those who suffer from an intrinsic disorder which can be so destructive in the lives of people, seems at odds with Catholicism. That is not to say that all methods are created equally and that quackery should not be avoided, but if we love them we must help to heal them.

Number two. As if this wasn’t bad enough, Radio Vaticana in their report on the Bishop’s statement used this picture on the Vatican website..

Yes, this picture on the Vatican website.
Continue Reading

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PopeWatch: Unintentional Irony

 

 

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PopeWatch has long been a fan of unintentional irony and he does appreciate this section of a report on a two day conference by the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace on the economic ideas of Pope Francis:

 

 

The monsignor explained that the conference, called “The Global Common Good: Towards a more inclusive economy”, was held behind closed doors because much of the content was in need of refinement and integration. He said requests to participate were high, reflecting a keen interest in the Pope’s thoughts on social justice, given the current and grave issues in the world. Continue Reading

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Back When We Had A Real President

When the Soviets downed KAL Flight 007 on September 1, 1983 it felt to most Americans that the world was spinning out of control and that we might well be headed towards war.  With the above speech the nation was reassured that President Reagan was in charge of the situation and would make certain that the Soviet government would not escape the blame for this atrocity.

Yesterday in the wake of the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over the Ukraine we had this:

President Barack Obama provoked fury in the U.S. on Thursday by casually devoting less than a minute to the deaths of 295 people aboard a Malaysian airliner, as he began an often jokey 16-minute speech about the need to expand America’s transportation infrastructure.

There are no confirmed American dead and the White House issued a statement on Thursday evening which said they were still seeking any ‘information to determine whether there were any American citizens on board’.

An earlier Reuters report claimed that it was feared that as many as 23 U.S. citizens had perished.

Obama declared in Wilmington, Delaware that ‘it looks like it may be a terrible tragedy,’ but not before enthusiastically declaring that ‘it is wonderful to be back in Delaware.’ Continue Reading

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The “Removal of Existing Protections and Safety Measures for Women Undergoing Abortion Act”

 

For Roman Catholics, the defense of life is a sine qua non, one that’s sadly missing form many politicians who self-identify as “Catholics.” To wit: Nancy Pelosi (C-CA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Vice President Joe Biden.

So, it’s refreshing when a politician defends life, especially at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing where the proposed bill—the “Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) (S.1696)—would block all restrictions on abortion. WHPA includes sweeping federal authority to preempt “any provision enacted by a state or subdivision.” Of course, the bill is a legislative response to the recent Hobby Lobby decision.

U.S. Representative Marsha Wentworth Blackburn (R-TN)

U.S. Representative Marsha Wentworth Blackburn (R-TN)

According to CNSNews.com, Congresswoman  Marsha Wentworth Blackburn (R-TN) stated in her comments: “Our Constitution does not put a qualifier on life.” Blackburn then held up a large, 3-D ultrasound image of her grandson. She continued:

And I have to tell you how exciting it was for me to see this ultrasound. I was thrilled. I could tell…three months before he was born, he had my eyes and nose. Now, for a grandmother, that’s a really big deal. I could see his hands. I could see his arms. And I could see him peacefully resting in his mother’s womb. That’s the wonder of science. That is life!

Our Constitution does not put a qualifier on life. The pursuit of life, liberty–pursuit of happiness. Those protections–the right to life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, (exist) even in the mother’s womb.

I urge the committee to reconsider this legislation.

As for the bill’s title, Blackburn said it’s misleading:

I find it so curious that this legislation is termed “The Women’s Health Protection Act.”  In my opinion it would be more accurately titled the “Removal of Existing Protections and Safety Measures for Women Undergoing Abortion Act.”

Kind of refreshing, isn’t it, to see an elected representative bringing the battle for life right into the Chambers? Would that every Roman Catholic member of Congress courageously promoted the cause of life, as does this member of the Presbyterian Church in America.

Pro-Life kudos to U.S. Representative Marsha Wedgeworth Blackburn!

 

 

 

To read the CNSnews.com article, click on the following link:
http://cnsnews.com/news/article/penny-starr/rep-blackburn-constitution-does-not-put-qualifier-life

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

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PopeWatch: First Scalfari Interview

 

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Hmmm.  In the same week in which Father Lombardi, Vatican Press Flack, has warned us that in the current Scalfari interview we must not assume that the Pope is being correctly quoted, the first Scalfari interview from last fall is back up on the Vatican website.  Go here to view it.  It had been taken down last fall when questions arose as to its accuracy.  Since it is back up, Popewatch assumes that it must therefore have accurately reflected what the Pope said at the time, or it is truly bizarre for the Vatican to be re-posting it, especially when the veracity of the second interview is being questioned.  If the readers of PopeWatch are confused by all of this, PopeWatch welcomes their company. Continue Reading