Cardinal Raymond Burke: Not one to back down when it comes to Church teaching…

Friday, October 31, AD 2014

The soon-to-be “former Prefect of the Sacred Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura,” Cardinal Raymond Burke, isn’t letting his alleged “demotion” to head the Knights of Malta get in the way of his speaking out about the scandal caused by the first round of the Synod on the Family. No, it seems that the Cardinal is speaking out even more forcibly.

In his most recent interview posted at, Cardinal Burke speaks about the “very serious responsibility to try to correct as quickly and as effectively as possible the scandal caused by the midterm report.”

And that wasn’t all Cardinal Burke had to say. About Church teaching regarding marriage, he said:

We have to recognize that if we don’t get it right about marriage–in other words, if we’re not faithful to the word of Christ, to the truth which Christ announced to us about marriage–in the Church, I don’t know how people can trust us with regard to teaching the truth of the faith in any other matter.

We’re talking here about the very foundation of the life of the church, the first cell of our life, in the marital union and the formation of the family and if we don’t uphold the sanctity of the marital bond we have really not only abandoned the Catholic faith but really abandoned the Christian faith in the sense that we are abandoning the natural law itself.

Crucial in the Cardinal’s understanding of the Church is its essentially conservative nature. Popes and bishops cannot “invent” or “change” Church teaching because it is divinely revealed, coming from Scripture and Tradition. Instead, Popes and bishops must fearlessly proclaim Church teaching–in this regard, concerning marriage and sexuality–by relying upon what the Church has already produced to explain its teaching rather than abandoning it for new, untested theories like that of “gradualism.” Cardinal Burke said:

The Church must now in this period hold up the beauty, the splendor, of this teaching for the sake of her own members that they not be confused about the truth but also for the sake of our world and the church’s call to serve the world by proclaiming the truth and by giving witness to it.

And, so, I’m praying very fervently that this coming year that this confusion will stop and instead that there will begin to be a strong emphasis on the beauty of the truth of the Church’s teaching on marriage and on human life and human sexuality.

If there was any scandal, it wasn’t generated by the Synod’s final midterm report but the mainstream media’s manipulation of the contents of the discussions transpiring within the Synod and the first midterm report which contained statements that were well-suited to advance the mainstream media’s agenda. However, with those statements deleted from the final midterm document, the mainstream media couldn’t but relish the opportunity they were provided to pit one midterm report against the other, painting the former as more sensitive, inclusive, and understanding of and merciful to humanity while identifying their bogey-man as Cardinal Raymond Burke.

If the members of the mainstream media think Cardinal Burke is one who is easily going to back down when the issue concerns Church teaching, his recent interviews suggest they’re barking up the wrong tree.

Hopefully, this most recent interview portends more of what’s to come if the scandal generated by the mainstream media isn’t stopped dead in its tracks.




To read the interview transcript, click on the following link:

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

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18 Responses to Cardinal Raymond Burke: Not one to back down when it comes to Church teaching…

  • When Cardinals Pell and Burke removed themselves from the Magisterium, they unintentionally took with them “infallibility” from Pope Francis, the speaking from ex-cathedra in conformity with the bishops of the church.
    Pope Francis will have to come over to Cardinals Burke and Pell to again achieve his infallibility. Without infallibility, Pope Francis speaks his mind, not the mind of God.

  • “…Pope Francis speaks his mind, not the mind of God”

    That pretty much sums up this Papacy.

  • Fortunately Cardinal Burke’s being sent to Malta cannot be a life sentence since life sentences are no longer life sentences. That’s the upside to the new thinking. The downside is that catechism may need another revision in ccc 2267 to note that bloodless means of protecting society have an expiration date.
    We need the Amish to speak next year at the family synod. They have the divorce rate now that we had for centuries but they have it in a no fault milieu. And they make great potato salad sold at Walmarts. Obama said a month ago about the Russians…” they don’t make anything”. Well the Amish make great potato salad and noodle salad and have about 1% divorce rate…maybe. They could speak at the synod to Cardinal Kasper about permanence ( ” love is not love which alters when it alteration finds or bends with the remover to remove”) and to Archbishop Forte about their gifts of potato salad which they bring to Rome.

  • The Pope’s and the liberal prelates gang’s inventions/opinions are not Truth.

    Plato had it correct. “Opinion is not Truth.”

  • Edit: Change “liberal prelates” to “progressive prelates.”

  • Bill Bannon wrote, “They have the divorce rate now that we had for centuries but they have it in a no fault milieu”
    No-fault divorce caused not so much as a blip in the inexorable rise in the divorce rate throughout the 20th century.

    Taking the figures for my own country, Scotland, in 1930, there were 469 decrees. A generation earlier, in 1890, there had been 87. That is a five-fold increase. There were 890 decrees in 1939, but in 1949, there were 2,447, an increase of 175% over 10 years.

    In the 1950s, the annual average was 2,071; in the 1930s, the annual average had been 597, representing a 250% increase on the 1930s average. So much for the family-friendly ’50s

    There were only 1,828 decrees in 1960, but in 1965, there were 2,691 and in 1969, there were 4,246.

    In 1970, there were 4,618 decrees and in 1974, the last full year before no-fault divorce, there were 7,221, a 168% increase on the 1965 figure. In 1976, the first full year of no-fault divorce, there were 8,692.

    In the 1980s, the annual average was 11,824, a 64% increase on the 1974 figure and in the 1990s, it was 12,381. In 2011, there were 9,862.

  • Michael PS,
    That’s a lot of work ( but narrowly oriented) to contradict me….but….Is Scotland revelatory of all countries worldwide? You have those scotch terriers that keep families together over there.

  • “We have to recognize that if we don’t get it right about marriage–in other words, if we’re not faithful to the word of Christ, to the truth which Christ announced to us about marriage–in the Church, I don’t know how people can trust us with regard to teaching the truth of the faith in any other matter.” – Card. Burke
    It cannot be summarized any more clearly than that.

  • MPS, I would imagine that your figures have to be normalized for number of decrees out of the total population of married. In other words, it is not a question of how many people got decrees, but how many people out of the total number of married people. Then plot that line in percent on a graph in Excel and see what you have. Saying there were a few score of decrees in the 1800s and thousands in the late 1900s may mean nothing because we don’t know from the figures you supplied what the total number of married people is – did that number stay the same, go up (as seems likely with population increase in general) or go down?

  • Bill Bannon wrote, “ That’s a lot of work ( but narrowly oriented) to contradict me…”

    It is a topic that has long interested me. The figures were easy to discover in a country where there was only one court (Court of Session) hearing consistorial cases. The only significant legislative change was that cruelty was added as a ground of divorce in 1938, in addition to adultery (since 1560) and four years’ desertion (since 1573).

    Paul W Primavera wrote, “ we don’t know from the figures you supplied what the total number of married people is…”

    The marriage rate is difficult to estimate in a country where marriage required no notice, no formality and no record of any kind. However, there is nothing to suggest that marriage rates varied significantly between 1891 (87 decrees) and 1952 (2,737 decrees) or 3,046%, a period in which the population rose from 4,025,647 to 5,095,969 or 27%. No one suggests there was a thirtyfold increase in the number of married couples!

    The population of Scotland showed a 28% increase between 1891 and 1961: 4,025,647 in 1891, 4,842,989 in 1931 and 5,179,000 in 1961. It shrank to 5,062,000 in 2001.


    Michael PS,
    The above link is a study of studies of the US and no fault divorce…the USA which contains many nationalities. Page 4, col. 1 finds that one study out of 24 found an 80% increase in divorce from no fault…other studies found 5% to 30% increase….with 17 studies finding increase….7 not.
    Scotland contains one nationality generally that in the case of one island off Scotland lived off the Atlantic Puffin for many generations. People who can eat puffin every day and decorate with puffin beaks can endure any marriage. And I knew a Scot who endured a very chilling marriage til death and one wherein the Church would have recommended separation and therapy.

  • Pope Francis is the Vicar of Christ. Christ came to do the will of His Father in heaven.
    “My food and My drink is to do the will of My Father in heaven.” If Pope Francis, as the Vicar of Christ, does the will of God in heaven, Divine Providence will care for the poor.

  • Divine Justice: Joseph Stalin died of an asthma attack two weeks after he executed his personal physician. The American Indians were put on barren reservations under which billion of gallons of oil were detected…

  • Cardinal Burke[‘s] recent interviews suggest they’re barking up the wrong tree. I don’t think they can tree Burke.

  • Bill Bannon

    What the Scottish statistics show is a rapidly accelerating divorce rate throughout the 20th century.

    Yes, there was a 64% increase in the 1980s, following the introduction of no-fault divorce, but compare that with the 175% increase between 1939 and 1949, or the five-fold increase over forty years between 1890 and 1930.

    That is why I say that no-fault divorce appears to have little or no impact on an existing trend.

  • Francis, the humble, is using Cardinal Burke’s very public and lengthy demotion
    to persuade other rigid clergymen from opposing and criticizing Francis’
    fundamental transformation of the Catholic Church.

    I wonder how many clergymen faithful to Christ’s teachings will participate in
    the next synod. None, I should imagine. I, also, wonder if Francis has accepted
    Dostoevsky’s Grand Inquisitor’s argument that men are burdened by free
    will to choose what is good and are too weak to be faithful to Christ’s teachings.

    Men, instead, should seek happiness in the fulfillment of their desires.
    Contemporary culture has informed society that the teachings of
    Christianity opposes human nature. Sex is no longer an act of procreation,
    but a fundamental human impulse that Christianity represses. So if one
    wishes to be true to one’s nature and truly free, one will have to reject
    the repressive teachings of Christ on sex, marriage and the nature of
    homosexuality. I wonder if Francis has embraced such contemporary
    ideas. After all God is open to new ideas.

  • “After all God is open to new ideas.” Yes – He like surprises.
    I like your term “Francis the Humble” How about “Raymond the Stalwart”

  • Franco’s comments 11/1/14 (“, also, wonder if Francis has accepted Dostoevsky’s Grand Inquisitor’s argument that men are burdened by free will to choose what is good and are too weak to be faithful to Christ’s teachings. Men, instead, should seek happiness in the fulfillment of their desires…” et al..

    Scorchingly honest, Franco. The Janus-like Pope Francis (smiling to the the liberal, mostly non-Catholic world, dictatorially repressive to “traditionalists”) appears exactly so. It is just “too hard” to repress one’s impulses today: let us rejoice and be glad.

Should Catholics Be Concerned? Yep!

Friday, October 31, AD 2014


Here is Christopher Johnson’s take on the unusual, yeah that would be the kindest word, pontificate of Pope Francis.  Please recall that Christopher Johnson is a non-Catholic who has taken up the cudgels so frequently for the Church that I have named him Defender of the Faith:

Pope Francis’ Synod on the Family is about halfway over.  Although that “bombshell” document which thrilled liberals just a few weeks ago turned out to be a dud, at least for now, many on the left still think that Roman Catholicism is definitely trending their way as this Guardian leader indicates:

Three things in particular need to change. They are all connected by a particular interpretation of natural law, a phrase in Catholic moral theology that means “Nature doesn’t work like that”. The first is the theory that sexual intercourse is only really an expression of love when efficient contraception is not involved. This, codified in the 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae, has been entirely rejected by the Catholic couples at whom it was aimed. Then there is the claim that homosexuality is an “objective moral disorder” – since gay desire does not aim at making babies, or rely on the rhythm method to avoid them. Finally, there is the belief that marriage can only be once and for life, so that all subsequent arrangements are more or less sinful.

Essentially, church doctrine should be whatever the majority of the laity decides it should be.  For some reason, that concept sounds vaguely familiar.

Over the past 50 years, the language in which these things are condemned has gradually softened, from one of disgust and condemnation of “perversion” and “living in sin”, to the ostensibly neutral and objective claims of “moral disorder”. Pope Francis has opened the door to a language that would be much more welcoming still – one that might suggest that there is nothing uniquely dreadful about sexual sins, nor uniquely morally significant about sexual acts. This is a long way from the claim that nothing consenting adults agree to can be morally wrong: no Christian church could agree with that. But it is perhaps still further from the position of Catholic traditionalists today.

In other words, I actually didn’t say what I clearly just got done saying because shut up.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, who heads the church in England and Wales, has said that he did not vote for the tepid language on gay people because he felt it did not go far enough, and that even an earlier draft, referring to the special gifts they can bring to the church, did not, in his opinion, offer an appropriate welcome. He would never have said this even five years ago, under the previous pope.

Quick reminder: James Pike wasn’t convicted of heresy because he wasn’t a heretic.  James Pike wasn’t convicted of heresy because the bishops of the Episcopal Organization at the time thought that convicting anyone of….shudder…heresy in this day and age was a perfectly horrid idea.

But this does not mean the Vatican has been entirely captured by the Guardian’s view of the world. As Francis said, the first duty of the pope is to maintain unity. That sets clear boundaries to how far he can go and probably clear boundaries to how far he would want to go. Even if he dreamed of a move in a wholly liberal direction, he could not without risking a schism, and it would be impolitic even to shuffle in that direction without issuing fierce denunciations of liberal errors – as indeed he has done.

The problem is that these proposals suggest, to this outsider anyway, that if they are accepted as is, a de facto (but most definitely not de jure) schism may begin to happen whether Francis wants it to or not.  Why do I think that?  Three reasons.

The first is language.  Control the language and you’ve basically won the cultural war.  And the simple fact of the matter is that the left now controls the language.

Consider what words “welcome” and “love” now mean.  “Welcome” used to mean that, while you and I may disagree on things, that doesn’t mean we can’t be friends.  And “love” used to mean that I want the best for you which may mean that from time to time, I’m going to tell you the truth, however personally unpleasant you may occasionally find what I have to tell you.

These days, “love” and “welcome” are now basically synonyms for, “I and I alone am the single determining factor in deciding whether or not you are loving and welcoming.  And in order to be loving and welcoming to me, you must immediately renounce any views you have on any issue which differ from my own.

“Failure to do so will personally offend me, which is not obviously not a loving or a welcoming act on your part.”  To a very great extent, too many people in the Church have absorbed these ideas.

The second reason I have for thinking a de facto Catholic split is not off the table is that I was an Episcopalian for 48 years and I know that the Christian left doesn’t think in months or in years but in decades.  They think long-term, they’re patient and they take their time.  Austen Ivereigh thinks Francis’ revolution is already over.

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10 Responses to Should Catholics Be Concerned? Yep!

  • However, that is no excuse for orthodox Catholics to think they can simply put their heads down, pray their rosaries and all will be well.

    Amen to that.

  • Here is an example, though provincial, of why there should be concern. Considering the immediate suppression of things Latin and ‘traditional’ on the one hand and the indulgence of pastoral activities on the other, the example rises in Boston, where the precursor to Catholic college began at Boston Latin High School from which great minds went on to waste their heritage because ‘it’s all good!”.

  • The pastoral is the doctrinal, for the Church Triumphant will not change for these happy souls behold the Face of God. Why should the Church Triumphant change? Not on your soul. The Church Militant here, shooting itself in the foot, cannot change lest the Church Militant lose its brotherhood with the Church Triumphant and lose its doctrine. And the individuals members souls. The pastor is to preach salvation to the members of his Church. The Church Suffering in Purgatory are remembering the doctrines of the Church which they have discarded and of which they now must reeducate themselves before entering into the Beatific Vision, the Face of God.
    The Real Presence of Jesus Christ on the altar lays waste any idea that the physical nature of the human being takes precedence over the spiritual being of the human away from the wholeness of man, created body and soul. That man’s body requires “special” consideration that is detriment to his spiritual soul.
    The principle of separation of church and state requires that the doctrinal is forever doctrinal; that the pastoral, or priesthood of the laity, is forever bound to the doctrinal through the call from God, the vocation.
    Without a call from God, a vocation, our good deeds are useless. Without the ordained priest in Jesus Christ, there is no Catholic Church, no priesthood of the laity, no Real Presence. I guess it all comes down to wanting to save one’s own soul.
    I was once told in the confessional that whatever I did with my husband was OK. It is not OK. I am a human being with dignity deserving of respect and not being respected as a human being leaves one destitute.
    This army of people enslaved by sex (and blaming God) will find that their enslavement to sex is all they will have in eternal life. Enslavement to anything is boring, really dumb, did I say stupid? Stupid.
    If Pope Francis tries to incorporate STUPID into Church doctrine, he very well may lose his soul.

  • “I was once told in the confessional that whatever I did with my husband was OK. It is not OK. I am a human being with dignity deserving of respect and not being respected as a human being leaves one destitute.”
    I agree with Mary De Voe. Any act in marriage or outside of marriage which debases the dignity of oneself or that of another human being is intrinsically wrong. The act need not be sexual in nature to be debasing. The act always leads to destitution of the human himself or herself.

  • Yes Mary. The pastoral and the doctrinal are inextricable. They cannot really be separated. They each would lose their meaning. The Church has been very careful with her doctrinal expression, so careful that pastoral expression has not become a matter of dogma. Pastoral expression has to fit within the “strike zone” of doctrine. (thinking of Chief Justice Roberts umpire analogy of his court)

  • I recently re-read parts of our Pastoral Constitution. Such a kind and hopeful document. There was a lot of talk about the dignity of man, the dignity of marriage, community etc. In the years and events that have passed, man seems to have lost his dignity.
    In 2014 we are not dealing on the same presuppositions even about human nature we held as we held in 1965 — “Male and female he created them” ? How in the world are we supposed to be wise and pastoral when we can even agree anymore on the most basic human identity.
    The new morality of this years synod is sometimes called “situational ethics” -at the same time very protestant and also jesuitical. “Pastoral” care is not to be situational ethics. Real love is honest- tough, and honest.

  • “However, that is no excuse for orthodox Catholics to think they can simply put their heads down, pray their rosaries and all will be well. Amen to that.”
    Praying the Rosary is not an escape, but the engagement of Divine Providence and the Communion of Saints to “deliver us from evil, now, and at the hour of our death.” Amen. Remember Lepanto.

  • Yep, rosaries came in handy that day, along with hard fighting, inspired leadership and superb seamanship.

  • I hope that we are all writing to our bishops to express our concerns. I have written to my bishop already, and I am in the process of writing to the local archbishop as well. Next on my list is the U.S. papal nuncio, and then perhaps Cardinal Dolan, Cardinal Wuerl, Cardinal Burke, and Cardinal Pell.

PopeWatch: Shocker

Friday, October 31, AD 2014




Little shocks PopeWatch but this did:  a sensible story in Time Magazine about media coverage of Pope Francis:


It is official: the media has gone bananas in its coverage of Pope Francis.
The OMG-Pope-Francis-Supports-Evolution story of the past two days is just the latest example. Almost every news outlet, major and minor, has plastered Pope Francis’ name across the interwebs and proclaimed he has finally planted the Catholic Church in the evolution camp of the creation-evolution debate. The only problem? Almost every outlet has got the story wrong, proving once again that the mainstream media has nearly no understanding of the Church. And that madness shows no signs of stopping.

Pope Francis’ real role in this evolution hubbub was small. He spoke, as Popes do, to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on Monday, which had gathered to discuss “Evolving Topics of Nature,” and he affirmedwhat Catholic teaching has been for decades. “God is not a divine being or a magician, but the Creator who brought everything to life,” he said. “Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve.”

Anyone who knows anything about Catholic history knows that a statement like this is nothing new. Pope Pius XII wrote an encyclical “Humani Generis” in 1950 affirming that there was no conflict between evolution and Catholic faith. Pope John Paul II reaffirmed that, stressing that evolution was more than a hypothesis, in 1996. Pope Benedict XVI hosted a conference on the nuances of creation and evolution in 2006. There’s an official book on the event for anyone who wants to know more. Pope Francis’ comments Monday even came as he was unveiling a new statue of Pope Benedict XVI, honoring him for his leadership.

None of that seems to matter to the media; the internet exploded all the same. Site after site after site ramped up the Pope’s words and took them out of context. Headlines like these added drama: NPR: “Pope Says God Not ‘A Magician, With A Magic Wand.’” Salon: “Pope Francis schools creationists.” U.S. News and World Report: “Pope Francis Backs the Big Bang Theory, Evolution” (with a subhed: “Also, the pontiff says he’s not a communist”). Huffington Post. Sydney Morning Herald. Telegraph. USA Today. New York Post. The list goes on and on. Only Slate did its homework.

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4 Responses to PopeWatch: Shocker

  • “God is not a divine being…” Please stop talking.

  • “UPDATE: A few eyebrows have been raised over the translation and the remark that “God is not a divine being.” A reader writes:

    “The original Italian re: ““God is not a divine being or a magician, but the Creator who brought everything to life,”” is “E così la creazione è andata avanti per secoli e secoli, millenni e millenni finché è diventata quella che conosciamo oggi, proprio perché Dio non è un demiurgo o un mago, ma il Creatore che dà l’essere a tutti gli enti.”

    What is translated “divine being” is “demiurge,” a Platonic notion explaining the existence of the world. The pope is distinguishing orthodox (small “o”) Christian understandings from Platonic and Gnostic notions.”

  • “…proprio perché Dio non è un demiurgo o un mago, ma il Creatore che dà l’essere a tutti gli enti.” Yes, one can see that it appears that PF was mistranslated—really he was—here.
    But most of us who have been trained in logic and rhetoric were taught to define our belief or position in terms of what that belief or position positively IS, not negatively by saying what it is NOT. This is a common method of PF. Saying “God is not a magician” tells us really nothing about what God really is—if that is the point, and that should be the task of the Supreme Teacher of the Faith. Again, PF’s weak skills in this area, an area that should be his strength— over and over, the miscommunication, the confused speech, the lack of attention to alternative interpretations of his words—it also shows to me that he is unable to engage theological minds like those of the Kaspers, the Reinhold Marxs, and the Danneels etc on an equal footing. I wonder how he even got a licentiate in philosophy at all (a fairly basic degree as it is) in the 1960’s at San Miguel in Buenos Aires). Sorry, I just dont find this man to be a “great mind”.

  • There is a good article on Demiurge at the New Advent Encyclopedia:
    But I agree with Steve Phoenix.

One Response to Bob Hope Present For Halloween and the Election

  • In a movie with some great one, two, and three liners, that line is probably my favorite. The Ghost Breakers and The Paleface were my two favorite Bob Hope movies.

Lincoln In a Glass Darkly

Friday, October 31, AD 2014

 Mirror Mirror

There is rather good historical evidence that Abraham Lincoln had premonitions of his death.  John Hay, one of Lincoln’s two personal secretaries, wrote about one such premonition in the July 1865 issue of Harper’s Magazine, as related to him by Lincoln which occurred the morning after his election in 1860:

Looking in that glass, I saw myself reflected, nearly at full length; but my face, I noticed, had two separate and distinct images, the tip of the nose of one being about three inches from the tip of the other. I was a little bothered, perhaps startled, and got up and looked in the glass, but the illusion vanished.

On lying down again, I saw it a second time — plainer, if possible, than before; and then I noticed that one of the faces was a little paler, say five shades, than the other. I got up and the thing melted away, and I went off and, in the excitement of the hour, forgot all about it — nearly, but not quite, for the thing would once in a while come up, and give me a little pang, as though something uncomfortable had happened.

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6 Responses to Lincoln In a Glass Darkly

  • The appearance of Lincoln in the glass, two halves of the same face, do not resemble Lincoln and do not convey Lincoln’s character.

  • The illustration is not from the incident discussed Mary.

  • Donald McClarey: “When Lincoln told his wife Mary of the vision, her reaction was prescient: “She thought it was ‘a sign,’” Lincoln said, “that I was to be elected to a second term of office, and that the paleness of one of the faces was an omen that I should not see life through the last term.””
    I do appreciate that Abraham Lincoln had a confidant in his wife, Mary. Mary Lincoln sympathized with Abraham’s vision. Visions are a gift from God.

  • I wonder what is God’s purpose in allowing people the premonitions that some have. I wonder if there is any evidence that concern for an omen indicating his possible death in his second term precipitated any change in his policies, behaviors or public statements?

  • Only one I can think of. When he was urged to abandon emancipation to try to make peace with the Confederacy Lincoln responded that he would be damned in time and eternity if he did that. I suspect that Lincoln believed that he would probably die before he ceased to be President and what his eternal destination would be was on his mind.

On the Moral Duty to Vaccinate Your Children

Thursday, October 30, AD 2014

There is nothing quite as soul crushing as reading a thread on Facebook or social media regarding vaccinations, especially when well-intentioned but seriously misinformed Catholic parents express their outright refusal to vaccinate their children. This anti-vaccination fervor has been sparked by long-discredited studies as well as well as celebrities of shall we say less than dubious credentials.

Not all opposition to vaccination is based on groundless fears about autism or other health issues. Some Catholics also have concerns about the nature of vaccine research and the possibility that vaccines contain aborted fetal tissues. The Rational Catholic discussed this topic, and puts to rest some of the myths surrounding this line of attack, and he quotes from the National Catholic Bioethics Center:

Parents may vaccinate their children because by doing so, they are not involved in any illicit form of cooperation with the original abortion. Many Catholic experts concur that cooperation today is not really possible in an event that was over and done with many years ago. Because the abortion occurred long ago, and for reasons completely unrelated to vaccines, it is untenable to conclude that vaccine recipients today somehow cooperate in the original abortive event. Moreover, there is no ongoing use of recently aborted material for vaccine preparation; the lines obtained 30 or 40 years ago are the only abortion-derived lines being used currently for vaccine production. In sum, then, by vaccinating their children, parents do not illicitly cooperate in evil, nor otherwise engage in wrongdoing. If pharmaceutical companies or other agencies derive fetal cell lines from elective abortions, those companies or agencies, not the parents, are guilty of immoral cooperation in the evil of abortion.

The Rational Catholic has another pair of posts that delve deeper into vaccines, and goes so far as to argue that not can Catholic parents vaccinate their children, they have a moral obligation to do so. Again, quoting from the Catholic Bioethics Center:

Focusing in on your central question, there is indeed a moral duty to immunize one’s child and so help preserve the public good through the use of scientifically established and clearly beneficial programs of vaccination. The chickenpox vaccine may be an exception to this rule, as the risks resulting from this disease are not great. As for the rest, for example, measles, mumps, and rubella, these are important childhood vaccinations and parents have a special duty to care for and love their children. Children cannot make these decisions for themselves and so depend upon the prudential judgments of others.

Unfounded fears about possible adverse effects do not overcome the objective duty to make use of immunizations. To make a sound moral judgment, the individual Catholic must properly inform his or her conscience. That means that one must seek to determine whether fears are based in reason and fact, or they are instead merely — if I may put it this way — superstitions. A correctly formed conscience will come to the conclusion that immunization is a moral obligation.

For those who remain “invincibly ignorant,” and who refuse to acknowledge facts, they must follow their conscience even though it is ill formed.

Of course not everyone will be convinced on this issue, no matter what evidence is out before them. But hopefully all parents – Catholic or no – will at least mediate on the potential harm they are doing to their children and other people’s children by refusing to vaccinate them.

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28 Responses to On the Moral Duty to Vaccinate Your Children

  • “A correctly formed conscience will come to the conclusion that immunization is a moral obligation.”

    WOW! What a meddling do-gooder stretch of the gospel. Exactly how far do you take that? Because the gov’t says we need to get a shot, we are sinning if we don’t?

    “Moreover, there is no ongoing use of recently aborted material for vaccine preparation; the lines obtained 30 or 40 years ago are the only abortion-derived lines being used currently for vaccine production.”

    Who exactly is taking the responsibility of proving this unprovable, very politically correct statement? And what are the limitations on it? Only here in the US? Only in their state? Anywhere in the world? If the companies using those lines from 30-40 year old abortions could not make a profit from it–they would cease using them. I want the names of the companies that are using 30-40 year old abortion materials and the names of the inoculations that are being made from them, and where they are currently being distributed/given. If this is so morally acceptable, there should be no problem with us being given that information.

    “Not all opposition to vaccination is based on groundless fears about autism or other health issues.”

    There is a huge difference between saying something has not been proven and that it is unprovable (i.e. groundless.) They are not the same.

    ” That means that one must seek to determine whether fears are based in reason and fact, or they are instead merely — if I may put it this way — superstitions.”

    Well, my best friend’s 1 year old granddaughter’s doctor said that an inoculation she recently received is the cause of the horrible, disabling, incurable juvenile arthritis the child has developed. That is a fact.

  • “The chickenpox vaccine may be an exception to this rule, as the risks resulting from this disease are not great.”

    Even this is an incorrect value laden judgement. Try having a debilitating outbreak of shingles for an extended period of time like I and friends of mine have had!! My extended family out to the 4th cousins had the measles and mumps as children and have had no lasting effects from those diseases. Please note: I have a large family.

    Another point of contention for me & my well developed conscience is the giving of Hepatitis B inoculations to newborns in their 1st 24 hours of life when they do not have their full immunity. Are their studies that show this is good for the barely born babies? I don’t know about your neighborhood, but I have never lived in a place where there was an ongoing rampant outbreak of Hepatitis B–although I did work in a neighborhood several years back which was experiencing a large number of Hepatitis B cases in adults who lived immoral lives–however I was in my late 30s at the time (hardly a new born and was never exposed directly to my knowledge.)

    The folks who make and market these inoculations nor the developmental stages at which the government administers them to children are run past God for His approval. It is the FDA that approves them. An incompetent, behemoth of an unaccountable politicized federal bureaucracy.

  • “Because the abortion occurred long ago, and for reasons completely unrelated to vaccines, it is untenable to conclude that vaccine recipients today somehow cooperate in the original abortive event.”

  • “Because the abortion occurred long ago, and for reasons completely unrelated to vaccines, it is untenable to conclude that vaccine recipients today somehow cooperate in the original abortive event.”

    . . . but that was in another country,
    And besides, the wench is dead.

  • Spare me.
    And yes, my kids did eventually get vaccinated. Vaccines, like any other drug, have side effects. For most people, minor, but not for all. My grandmother’s death was hastened by a bad reaction to a vaccine (granted, that was many moons ago.)
    If vaccines work as well as they are purported to work, then the vaccinated should have NO fear of the un-vaccinated.

  • Isn’t his one of those prudential decisions that a Parent must make?

  • If vaccines work as well as they are purported to work, then the vaccinated should have NO fear of the un-vaccinated.

    Gonna repost this link from the main body of the article.

    Isn’t his one of those prudential decisions that a Parent must make?

    I suppose in the same way that deciding whether to feed and shelter your child is a prudential decision.

  • You are a braver man than me Paul! I only write about relatively non-controversial topics like the use of the atomic bomb!
    I am all in favor of vaccination and my bride and I paid meticulous attention to having our kids vaccinated. My paternal grandmother passed on to me grim family history of the conditions that existed in the days before widespread vaccinations for common diseases.

  • I don’t blog as often as I used to Don, so I gotta make it count.

    By the way, despite my admittedly sarcastic (and for that I apologize) reply to Anzlyne, I am willing to concede that vaccinating your kids is not exactly a magisterial must on the order of Baptism. There is some room for debate on the theological imperatives, and in a sense I regret that the post may have over-emphasized that aspect of the issue. That being said, I do not view this as something akin to natural child birth, breastfeeding, cry it out, and other parenting issues that are matters of judgment and circumstance. The decision to not vaccinate one’s children is something based on junk science and fear mongering, perpetuated by celebrity dullards who have done untold damage by spreading their ignorance and stupidity.

  • Yes, this is one of those cases in which parents must make prudential decisions.

    The Vatican has said that parents must avoid tainted vaccines with ethical alternatives. They have also said that to use tainted vaccines is “very remote mediate material cooperation” with evil.

    Furthermore they said one must weigh the risk of cooperating with evil and violating ones conscience versus the well-being of ones children and the population at large.

    They consider the lack of ethical alternatives to be moral coercion.

    Please read the Vatican’s statement before jumping to the conclusion that vaccination is a moral imperative.

  • A critical part of the the Vatican document states:

    As regards the diseases against which there are no alternative vaccines which
    are available and ethically acceptable, it is right to abstain from using these vaccines if it can be done without causing children, and indirectly the population as a whole, to undergo significant risks to their health. However, if the latter are exposed to
    considerable dangers to their health, vaccines with moral problems pertaining to them may also be used on a temporary basis. The moral reason is that the duty to avoid passive material cooperation is not obligatory if there is grave inconvenience.
    Moreover, we find, in such a case, a proportional reason, in order to accept the use of these vaccines in the presence of the danger of favouring the spread of the pathological agent, due to the lack of vaccination of children. This is particularly true
    in the case of vaccination against German measles.

    In other words, if there are no alternatives, and withholding vaccination will cause potential harm to the population, then it is morally licit to vaccinate, and in fact would almost appear to be a moral necessity.

    Parents who do not immunize their children against rubella would be responsible for the malformations and subsequent abortions of malformed fetuses that might result from a pregnant women being infected by the unvaccinated child, both the study and Msgr. Suaudeau said.

    In this case, the parent would be in “much more proximate cooperation with evil” than if he had accepted a morally questionable vaccine to begin with, he said.

  • Interesting, from the CDC:

    “Nearly everyone in the U.S. got measles before there was a vaccine, and hundreds died from it each year. Today, most doctors have never seen a case of measles.

    More than 15,000 Americans died from diphtheria in 1921, before there was a vaccine. Only one case of diphtheria has been reported to CDC since 2004.

    An epidemic of rubella (German measles) in 1964-65 infected 12½ million Americans, killed 2,000 babies, and caused 11,000 miscarriages. In 2012, 9 cases of rubella were reported to CDC.”

    Except measles has begun to make a comeback, with multiple communities around the U.S. suffering outbreaks in 2014.

  • Well, if vaccines are going to be mandated for “health and safety” reasons, then so should breastfeeding. No, breast is not best. Breast is standard. Formula feeding is substandard feeding, although certainly better than starvation. Breast-milk has many antibodies and nutrients that formula does not have and will never have. Formula fed babies have more ear infections, allergies, more prone to obesity, and the list goes on. See more at
    Mothers who breastfeed have lower rates of breast and uterine cancers. (I really ought to say that exclusively formula feeding mothers have higher rates of those cancers, since the human female body was designed to nurse the infant, not use a bottle.)

  • Oh, yes, let us not forget handwashing. It is a moral duty to wash your hands with soap and water.
    I remember reading an article many, many years back written by some “virus hunters” who remarked that a lot of epidemics could be stopped by soap, water, and bleach.
    Soap, water, and bleach brings us to the “proper” sanitation angle. I don’t doubt vaccines have been helpful in stopping things like polio and small pox, maybe chicken pox as well (from which people do die, so I am not sure why it would not be morally required to get the chicken pox vaccine if others are required.) Better sanitation methods (especially the clean water we take for granted in the West) are very much a part of stopping diseases.

  • Well said, Paul.

    It was interesting hearing my mother in law’s opinion on vaccination:

    “My sister *died* of diphtheria.”

    Bonus: her father crawled into a bottle for thirty years after watching his baby girl die.

    Yeah, we vaccinate. There’s something to be said for listening to the painfully-earned wisdom of your elders.

  • Dr. Salk’s original polio vaccine used a live virus –children were deliberately infected with a weakened strain so that their immune system could develop the antibodies necessary to fight off a full-blown polio infection. There was a real chance of contracting full-blown polio. I don’t know how many, but it’s a fact that children were crippled as a result of taking the vaccine.
    And yet, fully aware of the risks, and in spite of them, parents lined up to get their kids vaccinated. Because they knew what polio was. Today, we have to invent our own anxieties.
    Normally we don’t bother with flu shots. This year, between that entero-virus going around, and idiot health care workers traipsing about after sojourns in the hot zone, I got my kids vaccinated. Because if there are flu-like symptoms in my house, I don’t want to be thinking “it’s just the flu.”

  • Donald R McClarey wrote, “My paternal grandmother passed on to me grim family history of the conditions that existed in the days before widespread vaccinations for common diseases.”

    I am not yet seventy and I was vaccinated for smallpox, a legal requirement under the Vaccination Acts. I believe the last outbreak in the UK was in Bradford in 1962, originating from a child recently arrived from Karachi. Twelve people died. The French authorities took it seriously enough to require everyone entering the country from the UK to produce a vaccination certificate.

  • A little more than 14 years ago, before my 1st child was born, and my doctor told me that I needed to stop eating turkey sandwiches for lunch because I was pregnant, I researched vaccines. I made the informed decision to delay, and spread out the (and, oh the horror, decide to not get certain) vaccines that my children had to have. Every day, I praised the Lord that there were no adverse reactions. In 2011, we were looking at doing foster care. The state required the hepatitis B vaccine for our children (not the adults for some reason), and against my better judgment, I let my kids get the vaccine. My oldest son’s hair fell out (alopecia areata). I used “alternative” medicine and essential oils to help his hair grow back. I praise the Lord everyday that the adverse reaction wasn’t worse, and that his hair grew back. Have you done any research on the vaccine craze for the Gardisil Vaccine? “Over my dead body” would be my only answer to my children’s pediatrician on that one. Go to the VAERS website, choose 2014 and look at the 18,000 reported vaccine injuries. And look at the Died? column. It’s not empty. if your family hasn’t been adversely affected by a vaccine, you should be praising the Lord in Heaven.

  • Missy wrote, “look at the 18,000 reported vaccine injuries. And look at the Died? column. It’s not empty.”
    Granted, but in 2012, there were some 528,000 cases of cervical cancer and 266,000 deaths.
    Where does the balance of risk lie?

  • Gardasil does not protect against cervical cancer; it helps stop the spread of a couple of different strains of HPV that contribute to its cause. It does not stop all cases of HPV.
    Abstinence before marriage and being faithful to one’s spouse would also stop the spread of HPV, and do a far better job of it.

  • I wonder how many parents that are concerned with their moral duty and frog march their children to every vaccination and flu shot available, recognize how this behavior compares in importance to family outings once per month to the Sacrament of Penance. Which activity matters most? Which activity is most frequently carried out?

  • Non-sequitur. One can be pious and still take care of basic health care needs of kids.

  • But how many practice health care for their eternal life. Our Lord said that the way to heaven is narrow and few go there. Since this is a catholic forum, it begs the question, how many follow our Lord’s advice for an eternal reward. Does an immunization or flu shot rank higher. It is not a “non-sequitur” at all. A poor choice indeed to inject a red-herring. Nice try.

  • “Abstinence before marriage and being faithful to one’s spouse would also stop the spread of HPV, and do a far better job of it.”
    True, but no woman can totally exclude the possibilities of her husband’s infidelity or of rape. The same can be said for an HIV vaccine should one be developed, or any other vaccine for STDs.

  • No, it is very much a non sequitur, Rick. A parent must safeguard both the physical and spiritual well-being of their children. It is not an either/or proposition. If some people ignore the latter, that is not an excuse for others to ignore the former.

  • No one addressed WHY a newborn baby must begin Hepatitis B inoculation before they are 48 hours old and have relativey small immunity to anything in this new world they entered. Let me encourage you to look into the connections between inoculations and non-Autism cognitve disabilities.

    I took the flue shot or 10 years and developed a version of the flu from the shot and then got a 2nd version of the flu as well for the majority of the same years. Yes, I know that the nurses have told me that there was no live virus being injected into my body. So how come my arm swelled for days, and I ended up with fever within 24-72 hours everytime?

    re: “I made the informed decision to delay, and spread out the (and, oh the horror, decide to not get certain) vaccines that my children had to have. Every day, I praised the Lord that there were no adverse reactions. In 2011, we were looking at doing foster care. The state required the hepatitis B vaccine for our children (not the adults for some reason), and against my better judgment, I let my kids get the vaccine. My oldest son’s hair fell out (alopecia areata).”I am all for spacing inoculations out and waiting until children are older and have some immunity to this world they come into before illiciting such immune responses from their new little systems. The rush to innoculate them has more to do with gov’t funded day care from 6 weeks of age than it does the welfare of the child in this nation.

    Re: “By the way, despite my admittedly sarcastic (and for that I apologize) reply to Anzlyne, I am willing to concede that vaccinating your kids is not exactly a magisterial must on the order of Baptism. There is some room for debate on the theological imperatives, and in a sense I regret that the post may have over-emphasized that aspect of the issue.” The article says that it is a moral imperative and that a properly formed soul would make that decision. Again, the gov’t is propogating these things-not God.

  • I do not agree with annual flu shots or most of the vaccinations offered. I hope some parents do the research and discover how ineffective some of these injections are and the real negative side effects. Just consider the HPV vaccination and why it was developed and how little it works. Each parent should pray this has no long lasting impact on their children. We will know in about 25 years.

  • And I pray that most parents aren’t as ignorant and misinformed as you, Rick, at least for their children’s sake.

Quotes Suitable For Framing: Pope Leo XIII

Thursday, October 30, AD 2014

Rerum Novarum


Those who rule the commonwealths should avail themselves of the laws and institutions of the country; masters and wealthy owners must be mindful of their duty; the working class, whose interests are at stake, should make every lawful and proper effort; and since religion alone, as We said at the beginning, can avail to destroy the evil at its root, all men should rest persuaded that main thing needful is to re-establish Christian morals, apart from which all the plans and devices of the wisest will prove of little avail.

Pope Leo XIII, Rerum Novarum-Paragraph 62





The problem with papal encyclicals when they delve into economic and political issues is that they tend to be long and fairly complex. They are also bound by the historical events surrounding them at the time when they are promulgated. People with axes to grind will usually pick and choose rather than reading the entire encyclical in its historical context.


Rerum Novarum was written in 1891 at a time of huge worker unrest and when both anarchism and communism were beginning to take root. The living conditions of workers were often appalling. Pope Leo, while making a full throated defense of property, also wanted to indicate sympathy for the workers and their often legitimate complaints.


In regard to paragraph 36 of Rerum Novarum Pope Leo in his final sentence indicates a concern that the State not take more action than is necessary to remedy an evil: “The limits must be determined by the nature of the occasion which calls for the law’s interference – the principle being that the law must not undertake more, nor proceed further, than is required for the remedy of the evil or the removal of the mischief.”

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6 Responses to Quotes Suitable For Framing: Pope Leo XIII

  • “Those who rule the commonwealths should avail themselves of the laws and institutions of the country;”
    Politicians must avail themselves of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, the law of the land.

  • Let us not forget Pope Leo XIII’s condemnation of socialism in Quod Apostoloci Muneris:

  • “the rights of workers to form unions was often denied”

    In England, they were prosecuted as conspiracies in restraint of trade. In Scotland, however, this was held not to be a point of dittay, although a charge of “Conspiring to raise wages, or to concuss workmen, or to effect any similar object by violent and forcible means, or by criminal threats” was held relevent to infer the pains of law. [In Scots, “to concuss” = to coerce – ” Where there has been such a degree of force used to concuss a person to grant a deed…”]

    During the Revolution, the Le Chapelier Law (Law of 14 June 1791) provided, “It is contrary to the principles of liberty and the Constitution for citizens with the same professions, arts, or trades to deliberate or make agreements among themselves designed to set prices for their industry or their labour. .”
    Had it been seen as a way of protecting the rich against the poor, or the propertied against the property-less, it would have met with strenuous opposition by one of the Assembly’s defenders of the poor. But the law was passed without opposition because it seemed evidence to the entire National Assembly that the reconstitution of corporations in any form was a fundamental threat to the nation and its free constitution. The law made it clear that no intermediary body could stand between the individual – now armed with his natural rights – and the nation – now the guarantor of those rights.”

  • Such brilliant, fecund and saint Pope, why are you not yet sanctified by the Church, while Pope John XXIII and Pope Paul VI are?

    Let’s pray for that.

  • Great point Pedro Erik!

  • I feel the same way Pedro and Anzlyne. I have a news clipping here from 1994 with an interview of now Cardinal Burke on the “plight” of the nations dairy famers. He has a lot of Pope Leo in him. He was a champion of family farmers in our Diocese of Lacrosse. Somehow what he preached did not in the least seem to be liberal but a true friend and a true understanding of what Leo XIII was getting at.

PopeWatch: Calling the Pope a Communist

Thursday, October 30, AD 2014




The Pope addressed a gathering of so-called Popular Movements (in PopeWatch’s experience precious few groups call themselves Unpopular) meeting in Rome:



“This meeting of Popular Movements is a sign, a great sign,” Pope Francis told his audience. “You came to be in the presence of God, of the church… [to speak about] a reality that is often silenced. The poor not only suffer from injustice, but they also fight against it.”

The Holy Father also emphasized that it is not sufficient to be content with “illusory promises,” and that anesthetizing or taming problems at hand does not solve them. He called for solidarity amidst trying times. “Solidarity is a word that…means more than some generous, sporadic acts. It is to think and act in terms of the community…It is also to fight against the structural causes of poverty, inequality, unemployment, and [loss of] land, housing, and social and labour rights. It is to confront the destructive effects of the ‘Empire of Money:’ forcible displacements and migrations, human and drug trafficking, war, violence, and all of these realities that many of you suffer and that we all are called to address and transform. Solidarity, understood in its most profound sense, is a way of making history, and that is what the Popular Movements movement is doing,” he said.

Pope Francis spoke about the monopolization of land, deforestation, appropriation of water, and inadequate agrochemicals, which have deprived many farmers of sufficient land. He pointed out that in rural communities, land is ingrained in lifestyle and culture. For these afflicted farmers, separation from land is not purely physical, it is also “existential and spiritual,” he said. Additionally, the Pope said the need for agricultural reform is ingrained in the Church’s social doctrine. “Please,” he urged, “continue to fight for the dignity of rural families, for water, for life and for all that can benefit from the fruits of land.”

Also on the agenda were the problems of housing and employment. Insisting that every family has a right to a home, the Pope said, “Today there are many families without housing, either because they never had it or because they lost it for various reasons.” The Holy Father stressed that this was unacceptable; that in neighbourhoods families grow and plant their foundations. It is a shame, he said, that in large cities there is an abundance of neglect in regards to housing “millions of our brothers and neighbours, including children.”

The Pope went on to renounce the use of euphemisms to soften the harsh realities that plague society today. Specifically, he referred to the use of the term, “street situation,” which is used to describe the homeless. “We live in cities that build towers, malls, and businesses, but abandon the parts where the marginalized reside – the peripheries.”

Lastly, the Pope spoke about the growing problem of unemployment in Europe and around the world. “Today, the phenomenon of exploitation and oppression has taken on a new dimension,” he said. “The centre of our whole social and economic system needs to be about the person, the image of God, created for the universe.” Instead, we live in a world that is largely infatuated with the attainment of wealth, and that the economy is prioritized over the human person. He pointed out that the unemployment of the youth in Italy has reached 40%; and that in some parts of Europe, that number is even higher. “We need to change this,” he said. “We need to return to making human dignity the centre [of society]… and we need to create the alternative societal structures that we need.”

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25 Responses to PopeWatch: Calling the Pope a Communist

  • This Pope has no excuse to be this ignorant about economics. The book, “The Mystery of Capital” by Hernando De Soto, a well known South American economist, has been available for years. The Pope would learn in a week why capitalism hasn’t worked in Argentina; it hasn’t been allowed to work! BTW, when is someone at TAC going to review this book? I’ve been suggesting it for months now.

  • Meanwhile, in the socialist paradise of Venezuela, the government is taking great care that everybody gets his or her fair share of food.

  • ““Solidarity is a word that…means more than some generous, sporadic acts. It is to think and act in terms of the community… “…communism
    Solidarity is to think and act in terms of the individual sovereign person…, giving to each his freedom as handed down by God…to establish equal Justice to the community. To establish equal Justice to the community means to establish the state. Solidarity means that each and every person is acknowledged and their God-given human rights are respected and fulfilled. There can be no anarchy while people are building up the law and loving his neighbor. To allow the state to impose itself over the neighbor is communism.
    Pope Francis said two things which are diametrically opposed. The first is to support The Popular Movements and giving them the means to enslave the poor.
    Next, Pope Francis said that the poor must be treated with dignity.
    “Francis said the poor need land, a roof over their head and work, and said he knew well that “If I talk about this, some will think that the pope is communist.””
    Not in proclaiming the Gospel, but in handing over the poor to the Popular Movements, Pope Francis may be called a “communist”.
    When Eva Person and/or Imelda Marcos, of the three thousand pair of shoes, had crossed the line and their greed began to show, they would hand out packets of powered milk to the poor. Is there any more powdered milk left in Argentina? There seems to be none left in Venezuela.
    When Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves, the slaves were offered 40 acres of land and a mule, each. Any country that wants to improve its status and give humanitarian aid to the poor is wealthy enough to share the land with its citizens. Free powdered milk is not going to save Argentina.

  • Just look at the case of Bishop Miguel Esteban Hesayne of the Diocese of Viedma. In 2001 he threatened to excommunicate President Fernando de la Rua for supporting ‘neoliberal’ policies, and in a later letter to the president wrote “Is it licit for a Christian to receive the Communion if in fact he assumes the neoliberal ideology that engenders death for millions…death of children just after birth, accelerated death for the elderly and slow death to generations of young ones?…All the actions of your government have been in favor of the markets, and against the people”.
    Note that there is no perception that markets serve people, or that the even reflect reality.

  • One wonders if it’s time for the pope (and other fans of liberalism) to go stay in Detroit for awhile.

  • John chapter 12:
    Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Laz′arus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 There they made him a supper; Martha served, and Laz′arus was one of those at table with him. 3 Mary took a pound of costly ointment of pure nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the ointment. 4 But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was to betray him), said, 5 “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” 6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box he used to take what was put into it. 7 Jesus said, “Let her alone, let her keep it for the day of my burial. 8 The poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.”
    Pope Pius XI in Divini Redemptoris against Communism:
    I trust no one who tells me I must be taxed to give to the poor.

  • Is this really new?
    In Populorum Progressio, Bl Pope Paul VI wrote, “However, certain concepts have somehow arisen out of these new conditions and insinuated themselves into the fabric of human society. These concepts present profit as the chief spur to economic progress, free competition as the guiding norm of economics, and private ownership of the means of production as an absolute right, having no limits nor concomitant social obligations. This unbridled liberalism paves the way for a particular type of tyranny, rightly condemned by Our predecessor Pius XI, for it results in the “international imperialism of money.””

    He also carefully defined the complimentary rôles of the public authorities and of private individuals: “It is for the public authorities to establish and lay down the desired goals, the plans to be followed, and the methods to be used in fulfilling them; and it is also their task to stimulate the efforts of those involved in this common activity. But they must also see to it that private initiative and intermediary organizations are involved in this work. In this way they will avoid total collectivization and the dangers of a planned economy which might threaten human liberty and obstruct the exercise of man’s basic human rights.”

    Nor did he neglect the international dimension: “As We told the United Nations General Assembly in New York: “Your vocation is to bring not just some peoples but all peoples together as brothers. . . Who can fail to see the need and importance of thus gradually coming to the establishment of a world authority capable of taking effective action on the juridical and political planes?””

  • “Is this really new?”

    In the way Pope Francis engages in slashing, and ignorant, attacks against free markets? Absolutely.

  • “These concepts present profit as the chief spur to economic progress, free competition as the guiding norm of economics, and private ownership of the means of production as an absolute right, having no limits nor concomitant social obligations.”
    What has happened in Western Europe and North America is NOT an assurance that the free market will meet its concomitant social obligations, but a strangulation and emasculation of the free market, preventing it from meeting its social obligations.
    Should the Government regulate to ensure public health and safety? Absolutely! And for my small industry – nuclear power – that is done in the US by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, in Canada by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, and in MPS’s United Kingdom by the Health and Safety Executive’s Office of Nuclear Regulation. But when regulators over-reach, then the public is at a disservice. This happened (for example) with the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station recently when the NRC delayed and delayed on restart authorization, resulting in permanent shutdown of safe, clean 2000+ megawatts of electricity, all out of unreasoning fear over a miniscule primary to secondary leak that had been stopped and corrected. Yes, Mitsubishi and SONGS screwed up with the steam generator replacement project, but they fixed their screw up. However, the omniscient government Regulator continued to analyze right into paralysis.The free market – because of this intrusive and precautionary principle government Regulator – did the cost effective thing and went back to relying on polluting fossil fuel because that was the only thing it could do to keep the electric grid up.
    But according to Pope Francis and his supporters, it’s all the free market’s fault. Yup, the leak was Mitsubishi’s fault. But the removal of safe, clean energy from the electric grid, the resulting air pollution, and the higher electric prices that impoverish the poor families that Pope Francis says he is trying to help lies (in a very real if only indirect way) at the doorstep of the Pope, the President, and all who are like them. Since when is government to be trusted more than big business. Aren’t both made of the same fallible men? Why doesn’t Pope Francis understand this?
    I am sick and tired of people – particularly US liberals and Europeans – saying we need government to regulate. What we need is to reign in government and allow the free market to actually work for a change.

  • Bl Pope Paul VI had some harsh things to say about free trade. “Market prices that are freely agreed upon can turn out to be most unfair. It must be avowed openly that, in this case, the fundamental tenet of liberalism (as it is called), as the norm for market dealings, is open to serious question… Free trade can be called just only when it conforms to the demands of social justice.”
    Likewise, “Now if the earth truly was created to provide man with the necessities of life and the tools for his own progress, it follows that every man has the right to glean what he needs from the earth. The recent Council reiterated this truth: “God intended the earth and everything in it for the use of all human beings and peoples. Thus, under the leadership of justice and in the company of charity, created goods should flow fairly to all.” All other rights, whatever they may be, including the rights of property and free trade, are to be subordinated to this principle.”
    It is not that rights of property and free trade are to be rejected, but that they are qualified by other, overriding principles.

  • MPS, who decides how to distribute good fairly? You? The Government? A Democratic majority? Since when does any one person get to take from another what he has rightfully earned by the sweat of his brow? “…it follows that every man has the right to glean what he needs from the earth.” I earn what I have gleaned and I object to this nonsense European attitude of relying on nanny government composed of corrupt politicians deciding how much I shall be taxed and how my money will be redistributed.
    I have used this example before. Some months ago before my Filipina wife and I married, I housed in my apartment free of charge two poor Filipina immigrants. I used my own money. I don’t need godless government telling me what to do. But if we do what you want, then I will be taxed into bankruptcy with no ability to help anyone else out, and then I myself will need help. And what’s worse? The collusion between corrupt business men and corrupt politicians will continue. Corporate socialism! You don’t think of the real world consequences of your socialist nonsense.
    Regulate only for public health and safety, and level the regulatory playing field so no one industry is favored over another. Then let the market be free. Anything else is incentive for the gospel of envy, and the poor will forever remain poor so long as they don’t have to stand on their own two feet. But that is exactly what politicians want so that they can cull more votes from an ignorant and docile sheep herd.

  • Pope John Paul II was a much more nuanced thinker than Pope Francis as this statement from Centisimus Annus indicates:

    “In the struggle against such a system, what is being proposed as an alternative is not the socialist system, which in fact turns out to be State capitalism, but rather a society of free work, of enterprise and of participation. Such a society is not directed against the market, but demands that the market be appropriately controlled by the forces of society and by the State, so as to guarantee that the basic needs of the whole of society are satisfied.”

    I think John Paul II had an imperfect understanding of how free markets function, but he was obviously not clueless on the subject as Pope Francis manifestly is. Also, Pope John Paul II was keenly aware of the dangers posed by the State, something Pope Francis seems oblivious to.

  • MP-S,
    FWIW, profit is the chief spur to economic progress, free competition is and must be the guiding norm of economics, and private ownership of the means of production is indeed a right, but none of these facts are absolute or exclusive and only a small handful of crackpots claim otherwise.

  • Jonah Goldberg has multiple times mentioned that Big Government favors Big Business for a very obvious reason: it’s much easier to reign in and control a single large animal (like an ox) than to a plethora of smaller ones (like herding cats).

    For better or worse, I wonder how much this plays into some catholics’ attitudes, particularly some popes. From a clergy perspective, it would be much easier to have large, powerful government, so you only have to worry about converting a small handful of people – making saints out of a dozen, maybe fifty people – than to try and convert the mass of society – to make a saint out of everyone.

    Thus, if you seek to make a “just society” (however that might define) and whatever else is the goal of this year’s Catholics, then it would be a far easier effort to sway the powerful few than the dispersed many. Sloth is a far deadlier sin than I think a lot of us realize at times.

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  • This bugs me. I wish we could spend more energy worrying about those people who need to repent and get in line with Christ. Who need to be Evangelized or Newly-Evangelized. Poor or rich, sick or healthy, good times or bad (like a marriage) the important thing is your relationship with God. So many people today sing that communist song about pie in the sky when we die! They are looking for a political economic messiah just like Judas did, and like liberation theologians are still doing.

  • Paul W Primavera asks, “Who decides how to distribute good fairly?”
    Well, St Thomas says, ““Community of goods is ascribed to the natural law, not that the natural law dictates that all things should be possessed in common and that nothing should be possessed as one’s own: but because the division of possessions is not according to the natural law, but rather arose from human agreement which belongs to positive law, as stated above (57, 2,3). Hence the ownership of possessions is not contrary to the natural law, but an addition thereto devised by human reason.” [ST IIa IIae Q66, II,obj 1]
    Possession is a fact; ownership is a right and thus, necessarily, the creation of law. The great classical scholar, Charles Rollin (1661-1741), explains, “Theft was permitted in Sparta. It was severely punished among the Scythians. The reason for this difference is obvious: the law, which alone determines the right to property and the use of goods, granted a private individual no right, among the Scythians, to the goods of another person, whereas in Sparta the contrary was the case.”
    You can see this principle everywhere enunciated in the French Revolution. Take Mirabeau (a moderate) “Property is a social creation. The laws not only protect and maintain property; they bring it into being; they determine its scope and the extent that it occupies in the rights of the citizens” So, too, Robespierre (not a moderate) “In defining liberty, the first of man’s needs, the most sacred of his natural rights, we have said, quite correctly, that its limit is to be found in the rights of others. Why have you not applied this principle to property, which is a social institution, as if natural laws were less inviolable than human conventions?”

  • MPS,

    There is no greater admirer of Aquinas on this blog than I. However, he did get some things wrong. For example, he denied the Immaculate Conception. That is fine, it was not definitively set forth by the Church until the 19th Century.

    As for private property, the Church too has further defined this as as a basic right of the person derived from a proper understanding of natural law. It exists apart from the State and is not merely as some social construct resulting from human legislation.

  • Much worse than that, Pope Francis said the center of Gospels is love for the poor and not “first look to the kingdom of God”.

    Oh my God.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour: So it all comes down to: Does the citizen care for his neighbor’s property and the law that protects his neighbor’s right to own property, or does the citizen take property that is not “nailed down” because the owner neglected to, or failed to, or was too incapacitated to protect his own right to own his own property? Who is the neighbor in the Gospel? The Good Samaritan.

  • Well all, I think this is what just about every war on every continent has been over.
    Who’s is who’s, what is who’s? What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine. You Indians, you don’t need all this land, we have much smarter people who can show you what to do with this land and if you don’t do what we tell you we will take all the land and give you lot’s of free stuff. You farmers, you aren’t very smart with your small farms and many children, and we will just take you off that land through regulation and price fixing and give it to someone who is much smarter and “progressive” in their agragarian skills and send millions of you to town to take the jobs and pay those “progressive” farmers with YOUR taxes and it goes on and on. There is a very fine line between political agenda’s. It has been debated for all of time and here we sit. Oba dee oba dah. Who control’s the land controls the people. Who controls the people deems who lives and who dies. Communism, socialism, fascism any other ism’s and the ability to rationalize all of our arguments. “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord”

  • Phillip:
    There is no greater admirer of Aquinas on this blog than I. However, he did get some things wrong. For example, he denied the Immaculate Conception. That is fine, it was not definitively set forth by the Church until the 19th Century.”
    Saint Thomas Aquinas said the Mass, the Nicene Creed, and was familiar with the prophecies in the Old Testament of The Savior being born of a Virgin. Aquinas held with ensoulment, and at that time, Aquinas held with ensoulment when the baby begins to move inside the womb, at about five months. Thomas Aquinas taught that the soul is the form of the body. If the soul is the form of the body, than how did the human body get to ensoulment, unless there is a soul present from the very first moment of existence?
    Science has since proved through DNA that a new human being comes into existence at fertilization. Not too long ago, in the 1800s, people believed that the sperm contained a microscopic human being. And that the whole child was placed in the womb by the father. The mother contributed nourishment and nurturing. Perhaps since science has proved the mother contributes the egg to be fertilized by the father, men may feel less important while women have let it go to their heads. And the poor child has no father or mother, but he does.
    At the Incarnation, Jesus took on human nature, and a physical body through a human person who had and kept her personal relationship with all Three Persons of the Blessed Trinity at all times. The woman is called Mary, the Immaculate Conception. From the very first moment of her existence, Mary, chose in her free will and intellect to remain in co-operation with God, in the Blessed Trinity. The Blessed Trinity lived and still lives in Mary’s soul. Each and every person is created in perfect moral and legal innocence. The Blessed Trinity waits in this person’s soul to be acknowledged. If the newly begotten rejects his Creator, the individual sins. In the Jewish tradition, the people believed that a child could sin while in the womb. The child can sin from the very first moment of existence by an act of the free will. Mary chose to remain in God’s good graces, for God and Jesus Christ, for herself and for us, all mankind. Jesus proclaimed this from the cross saying “Son, behold your Mother.”
    Mary is the model and prototype of all mankind. Each and every one of us, human beings, can and must choose to love God eternally from the very first moment of existence.

    If that clump of cells, that human person, newly begotten can consent to love God, through his God-given free will and intellect, his is a rational act. Rational means correct. Too many individuals, especially scientists, choose to believe that “rational” means license to do as one pleases, not accounting for the harm done to society and the human race by one individual’s act, God forbid, to choose to hate God. This free will act to choose to hate God is the implementation of concupiscence and original sin.
    In the Sacrament of Penance, the soul chooses “to avoid the near occasion of sin.”
    Mary cannot be called Co-Redemptrix because Mary remained an innocent virgin for God. That the human race was spared because of Mary’s love for God is incidental, like the sun rises because the sun cannot do otherwise. Mary put herself into God’s hands and God redeemed mankind through His Son, Jesus Christ.

  • Jeanne Rohl: You have said it. Divine Providence has a way of providing poetic Justice.

  • The Roman Pontiff has seen great poverty in his life. Typically, he takes the usual Latin American view of the supposed causes and the supposed cures for it.

    Latin America has produced NONE of the world’s great innovations over the past 300 years. The steam engine, the telegraph, the telephone, the radio, electric light, the automobile, nuclear fission, space exploration, astronomical discoveries – none of these things has come from Latin America. Latin America has produced poverty, political corruption, wars, cocaine, some literature, some really bad books written by Ugarte and Galeano, more poverty, caudillos, a haven for Nazis (our Holy father’s home country) and some damned good coffee and beef (Colombia and Argentina, respectively).

    Latin America played no role in World War I or World War II, except to provide escaping Nazis some safe haven. Cuba and Nicaragua were parts of the Cold War.

    Only Africa has had it worse than Latin America, but Africa has good reasons for its messes, most notably European occupations.

    The number one reason for Latin American poverty is Latin American governments. They do not safeguard or protect the rights of all of their citizens. Their economies are strangled with regulations. Property rights are not respected or enforced. Education systems are lousy. Infrastructure is poorly designed, built and maintained. There is a lack of opportunity despite the good weather most of Latin America enjoys and the vast natural resources most Latin American nations possess.

    The Roman Pontiff does not believe that opportunity, hard work and personal responsibility are the ways out of poverty because almost nobody in Latin America believes this. It is a plane of thinking that is beyond the Roman Pontiff.

    The West suffers from relativism. It is a poverty of the soul. Christianity has been under attack in Europe since the 18th century. This secularism is also endemic in the US and Canada. Endlessly-fracturing Protestant churches and Catholic hierarchies who are more interested in going along with the world than confronting it have eroded faith. The Roman Pontiff high-fiving it with Evangelicals reinforces the view that there is no difference in religions and churches and why bother?

    The Roman Pontiff is just as responsible for the poverty of the soul in the West as the hierarchy there. Material poverty will always be with us. Bashing and trashing those who are aware of the corrosive poverty of the soul in the West will do the Roman Pontiff no good. Just because he would rather talk about material poverty than spiritual poverty does not diminish the significance of spiritual poverty.

  • Stick to salvation, Francesco.

Abraham Lincoln’s Ghost Walks at Midnight

Thursday, October 30, AD 2014

Tragic is the only word to describe the life of Vachel Lindsay.  Perhaps the greatest of the poets of Illinois, he deserves his appellation the Prairie Troubador, his life was haunted by mental instability and money woes.  He committed suicide at age 52 in 1931 by drinking a bottle of Lysol.  His last words indicated the paranoia that beset him at the end:  “They tried to get me; I got them first!”

A sad life, but a great talent.  In 1914, anguished by the outbreak of World War I, he wrote this haunting homage to Lincoln:

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5 Responses to Abraham Lincoln’s Ghost Walks at Midnight

  • Vachel Lindsay: Had he truly followed Abraham Lincoln.

  • Perhaps the following thoughts of Donald Hankey, an English soldier, written from the trenches on June 1, 1915, would be an antidote to the pathos of Vachel Lindsay:

    “I have seen with the eyes of God. I have seen the naked souls of men, stripped of circumstance. Rank and reputation, wealth and poverty, knowledge and ignorance, manners and uncouthness, these I saw not. I saw the naked souls of men. I saw who were slaves and who were free; who were beasts and who were men; who were contemptible and who honourable. I have seen with the eyes of God. I have seen the vanity of the temporal and the glory of the eternal. I have despised comfort and honoured pain. I have understood the victory of the Cross. O Death, where is thy sting?”

    Donald Hankey was killed in action on October 26, 1916.

  • “If you are wounded, ‘Blighty’; if killed, the Resurrection!”

    What a fascinating man Hanky was Ginny!

  • Indeed, in the state immediately to the east of Our President’s Adopted Home (“Indiana, the Gateway to Illinois”) once walked and recited The Bard of Alamo (not The Alamo, but the town of Alamo, Indiana) James Buchanan Elmore.
    His ode to that purest of Midwestern flora, “Sassafras,” is ensconced on the hearts of all who once strode the halls of Wabash College:
    “In the spring of the year,
    When the blood is too thick,
    There is nothing so rare
    As the sassafras stick.
    It cleans up the liver,
    It strengthens the heart,
    And to the whole system
    New life doth impart.
    Sassafras, oh, sassafras!
    Thou art the stuff for me!
    And in the spring I love to sing,
    Sweetest sassafras, of thee.”
    In the event of over-erudition, Mr. Elmore’s compositions are a sure cure. Here are his assembled works:

  • Who couldn’t love a poet who wrote this line, taken from his obituary:

    “Few older people in western Indiana have not repeated to their children and grandchildren passages from “The Monon Wreck” with its climatic “Cut, Oh Cut My Leg Away!””

Frankenstein’s Monster, Then and Now

Wednesday, October 29, AD 2014

An opening note: Yes, I know that in the book, the Doctor was Frankenstein, and the Monster was to be “a new Adam.” In popular culture, Frankenstein’s Monster became shortened to Frankenstein, and sometimes to Frank. I’m going with “Frankenstein” or just “the monster” from here on out.

The basic story is well worn from use– brilliant scientist tries to create a perfect creature and things go badly. It’s been used in every variation from the original human corpses to clones to robots to vampires. (one of the Blade movies) I could make an argument that the Island of Doctor Moreau is a Frankenstein variation, as is the legend of the Golem and thus the Wizard’s Apprentice.  A fairly new movie has the monster fighting demons in modern times, or something. Frankenstein even harassed multiple comedy teams in old movies!

The story-line of “make a better person and/or create a new life artificially and horrible things happen” is so well established that it would be easier to try to list all the examples of times it goes right in movies or others stories, and the iconic caricature of The Monster is recognizable even when he’s bright pink and apparently steam powered.

And yet, somehow, there’s something in the way people are that drives us to the same goal as Doctor Frankenstein; we want to make life, because when we make it we’ll do a better job. We manufacture humans in a lab, test, select and implant some portion rather routinely; at the other end of the spectrum, the Anglicans and Catholics in the United Kingdom actually joined together to protest plans to manufacture cloned humans in animal eggs. (Animal Human Hybrids.) In a modern echo of the original story, we use the genetic material in a human egg, put it in another egg, and then fertilize the resulting cell. This makes the “three parent children” you may have heard about.

Focusing on the human-animal combinations, I’ll just quote the Daily Mail:

This legalised the creation of a variety of hybrids, including an animal egg fertilised by a human sperm; ‘cybrids’, in which a human nucleus is implanted into an animal cell; and ‘chimeras’, in which human cells are mixed with animal embryos.

If you’re not familiar with the process, cloning is done by taking an egg, removing the nucleus and inserting a cell, then tricking it into growing. When it does start to grow, it’s the same as an embryo formed in the traditional manner. Almost all of the resulting organism’s DNA comes from the nucleus, but things like mitochondrial DNA come from the egg’s shell. This means that a human cloned in a cow’s egg and not killed for research, if they managed to reach adulthood, would most likely look and act like a naturally formed human. They would probably have health issues, since there are mitochondrial genetic diseases, but being ill health is hardly restricted to clones. God makes the soul.

This is a really long work-up to saying, as best we can tell, a human clone formed in a cow’s egg would be just as human as a child from IVF, or rape, or adultery, or any of a wide range of offenses to human dignity.

Obviously, a cow with a few human genes inserted (‘spliced’) is clearly not human. Drawing a line– “if more than 27.9835% of identified genes are human, you shouldn’t do it” is rather difficult. I would use a rule of thumb that if the goal of creating the organism is to kill it for human parts or to evade rules against killing humans for parts, you’re doing it wrong. Contrast with, say, gene splicing a pig so that a protein that makes a human body reject a pig heart is replaced by a protein that’s recognized as human by a human body.

Another way of looking at it is along the lines of therapy vs enhancement. To go to my pig example, altering the pig with the goal of fixing an existing problem is one thing; altering the pig to get as close to a human as you can get while avoiding non-moral problems (Why animal eggs? Human eggs are expensive and dangerous to get.)

The old question of “what makes a man” is quite popular, so I’ll end with a very long quote that a writer was kind enough to share, taken from The City of God, Chap. 16, Book 8.

Whether Certain Monstrous Races of Men are Derived from the Stock of Adam or Noah’s Sons.

It is also asked whether we are to believe that certain monstrous races of men, spoken of in secular history, have sprung from Noah’s sons, or rather, I should say, from that one man from whom they themselves were descended. For it is reported that some have one eye in the middle of the forehead; some, feet turned backwards from the heel; some, a double sex, the right breast like a man, the left like a woman, and that they alternately beget and bring forth: others are said to have no mouth, and to breathe only through the nostrils; others are but a cubit high, and are therefore called by the Greeks Pigmies: they say that in some places the woman conceive in their fifth year, and do not live beyond their eighth. So, too, they tell of a race who have two feet but only one leg, and are of marvelous swiftness, though they do not bend the knee: they are called Skiopodes, because in the hot weather they lie down on their backs and shade themselves with their feet. Others are said to have no head, and their eyes in their shoulders; and other human or quasi-human races are depicted in mosaic in the harbor esplanade of Carthage, on the faith of histories of rarities. What shall I say of the Cynocephali, whose dog-like head and barking proclaim them beasts rather than men? But we are not bound to believe all we hear of these monstrosities. But whoever is anywhere born a man, that is, a rational, mortal animal, no matter what unusual appearance he presents in color, movement, sound, nor how peculiar he is in some power, part, or quality of his nature, no Christian can doubt that he springs from that one protoplast. We can distinguish the common human nature from that which is peculiar, and therefore wonderful.

For Halloween, I’m cross-posting slightly edited versions of my C&C monster series from Catholic Stand, one a week. Hope that you folks enjoy them.

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15 Responses to Frankenstein’s Monster, Then and Now

  • Foxfier.

    Scary stuff!

    I’m wondering if one Halloween night the doorbell rings and I’m looking into the face of Pan. What should I do?
    Ask it to play it’s flute for some candy?
    Or would it rather like some cabbage and carrots?

    The world is getting to complicated.

  • When society discards tradition and the sacred it can be unsettling and a little scary. Mary Shelly lived in the wake of the French revolution and I believe this inspired her to write the story – Frankenstein. Today, we are still suffering from the impact of enlightenment and the revolution that essentially rejects God. The popularity of horror films today is noteworthy.

  • I’m wondering if one Halloween night the doorbell rings and I’m looking into the face of Pan. What should I do?
    Give him candy, just like anyone else! Basic politeness doesn’t hurt. *grin*
    When society discards tradition and the sacred it can be unsettling and a little scary.
    More importantly, you find out what horrors those “silly” traditions were holding back, and discover that it’s just been a shift in what folks exercise their religious impulses on.
    Scary, I can handle. Destroying peoples’ lives, though?
    That said, yeah, I can’t stand horror and it sure seems like it’s getting ever worse. My husband isn’t so squeamish, and he’s stopped watching most of it because it’s so hopeless and pointless. For a guy who’s a fan of Warhammer and all that grimdark is saying something.
    That Grimdark is even a thing– it’s a meme referring to the habit of making things “more adult” by making them deadly, sad and violent, which is frequently parodied by taking it so far that the horror just becomes ludicrous– is kinda depressing. Laughing at things is a traditional defense, but I really would prefer if people could have better empathy instead of laughing hysterically at realistic, bloody slaughter. It’s sad to read really old stories and realize that the soldiers who are doing gallows humor type stuff I recognize in normal people were being used to illustrate how broken they were from the horror they’d seen.

  • Have you ever seen the 1910 version of Frankenstein made by Edison? Or the 1920 film “The Golem, How He Came Into The World?” Imo, The Golem was the inspiration for the novel Frankenstein. The story of Rabbi Loew’s cabbalistic creature was well known in the occult tinged circles that Mary Shelly traveled in. Interestingly enough, when Universal made their classic version of Frankenstein, they studied The Golem for hints on how to make their film. If you compare the two films, you will see a lot of similarities.

  • I don’t think I’ve seen the movie, but I’m familiar with the legend of the Golem because an English teacher used it for a root of The Magician’s Apprentice, plus Terry Pratchett’s awesome treatment. (Feet Of Clay for starters.)

  • “Laughing at things is a traditional defense…”

    I agree with the full comment Foxfier.
    I wonder if this learned behavior is a desensitizing of a persons character or core. When children fantasize of killing bad guy’s on computer games, are some enticed into acting that behavior out for real? Has that ever been proven?

  • Foxfier. I am so please that you put forward the cloning and abuse of the human being, body and soul. Most people do not have any idea of what these mad scientists are doing with us, and to us. When these anomalies become rampant in the human species, without our given and informed consent,”We, the people” will become enslaved by them… and all at the citizens’ taxes. Time for rakes and shovels. Wonderful insight and proper presentation… but I am no teacher or critic, or even a lawyer.
    Percy Shelley was unhappily married to Harriet Westbrook, who, pregnant and holding the hand of her two year old son, jumped off a bridge and drowned herself and her children when Mary Shelley took up with Percy.
    Frankenstein was the image of Mary Shelley’s soul, the living dead without grace. It is said that The Monster went about searching for his soul. How did Frankenstein know to know that he was supposed to have a soul, and whose soul would Frankenstein have? Frankenstein could only have the soul of his creator. So, keep a brick handy.
    Happy Halloween.

  • Philip– the instinctive reaction to violence period has been recorded, and of course those who have violent urges who play games are more likely to play bloody games.
    That said, those who wish to fight evil are also more likely to play video games that involve killing bad guys.

  • The Scottish Catholic philosopher, John Haldane, is rather good on this
    “in antiquity, people were animistic in their inclinations. They thought that the difference between a living thing and a non-living thing consisted in the fact that the living thing has something that the non-living thing lacks, a principle of life. Now, a principle of life is an activating organisation.
    Matter is taken up in a way that is not reducible to that matter. Aristotle in his famous work the De Anima (On the Soul) identifies a vegetative soul, that is, a principle of life which a plant has, and which gives it powers of nutrition, growth and generation. But there is, he says, another kind of living thing, which is possessed of a different set of powers, powers of perception, appetite and locomotion. Still other kinds of living things have powers of memory, will and intellect. Now these different beings constitute a hierarchy because the third kind has all the properties of the second, and the second of the first, but not vice versa. A plant, for instance, is capable of nutrition, growth and generation, but in addition, a rabbit, say, is capable of locomotion, appetite and perception, while a human being is capable of nutrition, growth and generation and locomotion, appetite and perception and memory, will and intellect.
    If we are to understand what it is to be a person, there is much to be said for returning to this older, Aristotelian, picture, according to which things are organised at progressively higher levels of activity. Things are the kinds of things they are in virtue of the kinds of powers they have, and activities at one level are not reducible to activities at a lower level. Just as locomotion cannot be reduced to nutrition, or perception to generation, so intellection, volition or memory cannot be reduced to perception, appetite, or locomotion. These are genuinely emergent higher-level powers and capacities.”

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour: “If we are to understand what it is to be a person, there is much to be said for returning to this older, Aristotelian, picture, according to which things are organised at progressively higher levels of activity. Things are the kinds of things they are in virtue of the kinds of powers they have, and activities at one level are not reducible to activities at a lower level.
    Thomas Aquinas was in agreement with Aristotle. The human soul is immortal, created in the image of the Creator, by the Creator, in free will and intellect.
    Frankenstein had no soul, no personhood, nor identity other than the soul, personhood and identity given him by his inventor, Mary Shelley.

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  • Leviticus 19:19 provides grounds for questioning the direct genetic manipulation of organisms, even if no human materials are a part of that manipulation.

  • Foxfier.

    Thank you..
    Your answer makes sense.
    Happy Halloween.
    btw…the traditional eve for Mexicans is beautiful. They go to the grave site of their loved one with dishes they prepared beforehand. Meals the deceased liked prior to death.
    Then they have a celebration of sorts.
    They do this tonight.
    All hollowed’s evening.
    I was privy to one in Wisconsin years ago. Included music and dancing.
    One of the best Halloween’s in my life.

  • Howard-
    not really. It could be read as “don’t cross a Jersey with an Angus” or even “don’t try to breed your cows with animals they cannot breed with,” but 1) it’s one of the go-to examples of ceremonial law, and 2) in context, it’s about mixing unlike things– if you want to try to argue from that verse, you’ll have to go after the producers of mixed hay (or any other agriculture that involves planting two different plants in the same field at the same time) and blended fabrics first, as they’re much more common; otherwise it’s like publicly opposing human experimentation but not abortion or murder.

  • On further research, it seems that the prevailing theory is that the Israeli’s nasty pagan neighbors did a lot of sympathetic magic of that sort– put a strong horse in with the cows and all the calves will be strong because it rubs off type stuff, definitely not applied technique. Superstition.

Star Trek Continues

Wednesday, October 29, AD 2014

Time to renew my Chief Geek of the blog creds.  As faithful readers of this blog know, I am a Star Trek fan.  (No, I do not own a Star Fleet uniform, let alone worn one to court!)  Over the weekend I watched the three episodes thus far produced by Star Trek Continues, go here to their website, an unpaid volunteer group making episodes to complete the final two years of the original Star Trek five year mission.  Other Star Trek “tribute” episodes have been produced by other groups, but I have seen nothing that comes as close as Star Trek Continues in capturing the feel, and the fun, of the original series.  Judge for yourselves.  The video above is the third episode produced:  Fairest of Them All, which is a continuation of my second favorite Star Trek episode, Mirror Mirror, which introduced the alternate “bearded Spock” universe where the Federation is an aggressive interstellar empire.  Long may Star Trek Continue continue!

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11 Responses to Star Trek Continues

  • 🙂 Galaxy Quest (the movie) has ruined
    my joy for Star Trek………forever!

  • Galaxy Quest is one of the best satires of show business I have ever seen:

    “Sir Alexander Dane: I played Richard III.

    Fred Kwan: Five curtain calls…

    Sir Alexander Dane: There were five curtain calls. I was an actor once, damn it. Now look at me. Look at me! I won’t go out there and say that stupid line one more time.”

  • We love it also!
    Great writing great fun.

  • I love Galaxy Quest– it’s such a great skewering, but unlike, say, that book “Redshirts” it oozed love for the show. Heck, some of the jokes are ones that I have made! (In spite of that, it’s good.)

    Really need to make time to watch this.

  • I made the mistake of buying Redshirts. Scalzi is not only a left wing nut, he is a poor writer.

  • Is this the independent Star Trek series that has an actual relative of James Doohan (maybe his nephew?) playing Scotty?

  • Yep, Chris Doohan, one of his sons, and he does a fine job.

  • I watched the beginning, and this is the one I was thinking of. I saw part of the first episode a while back, I think. And I see that the opening credits show Chris Doohan as Mr. Scott. Evidently he is James Doohan’s son, not his nephew, according to Wikipedia.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing this video. The people who put this together did an excellent job, based on the part I have watched so far.

  • I watched the whole episode, and it was good! I was very, very impressed with how they captured the look and feel of the original series almost perfectly, from the sets to the music to the costumes — even the acting was pretty close for most of the characters (though it was hard to judge from this episode, since it took place in the mirror universe, where most of the characters have somewhat different personalities).

    One thing I didn’t like was Spock’s voice — it needed to be deeper. But the actor did a good job with Spock’s mannerisms. Also Uhura seemed to be a bit too whiny and lacking in self-confidence, but maybe that was just because she was mirror-universe Uhura?

    Chris Doohan was great as Scotty, as you said. And I like the actor who plays Kirk, who apparently is also the main creative talent behind the series. I especially loved his scream of “Spooooooooock!!!!!!!!” at the end. Classic!

  • Another interesting thing I just noticed: The video appears to be 4:3 aspect ratio, instead of the modern TV standard of 16:9. I guess that makes sense, as they are keeping the same aspect ratio as the original series.

  • I am looking forward to further episodes Paul. If it could be a commercial product I think it would be a smash.

How Many Elections Will the Democrats Steal Next Week?

Wednesday, October 29, AD 2014


Steven Hayward over at Power Line reminds us of why Democrats fight voter ID tooth and nail:  because they benefit from vote fraud:



How extensive is voter-fraud, especially among non-citizens? Just bring up the question, or suggest we need to have voter-ID at the polls like every other advanced democracy, and the answer will be instantly supplied: You’re a racist. But as Dan McLaughlin points out over at The Federalist, Democrats seem to win a suspiciously high number of close elections, well beyond what a random statistical trial would suggest.

There’s a bombshell academic study out on this issue right now that the media is mostly ignoring (the only exception being the Washington Post’s very fine wonky MonkeyCage blog), in part because it appears in an obscure academic journal, Electoral Studies, that is behind an expensive subscription paywall, and in part because any reporter who does a story about it will be called a racist. Since I’m an academic these days, I’ve got access to the article, “Do Non-Citizens Vote in U.S. Elections?”, by Jesse T. Richman and Gulshan A. Chattha of Old Dominion University and David C. Earnest of George Mason University.

The conclusion of the abstract alone ought to set off alarm bells:

We find that some non-citizens participate in U.S. elections, and that this participation has been large enough to change meaningful election outcomes including Electoral College votes, and Congressional elections. Non-citizen votes likely gave Senate Democrats the pivotal 60th vote needed to overcome filibusters in order to pass health care reform and other Obama administration priorities in the 111th Congress.

Using data from the Cooperate Congressional Election Study, which sampled 32,000 voters in 2008 and over 50,000 voters in 2010, the authors conclude that as many as 14 percent of non-citizens—potentially as high as 2.8 million—are registered to vote. The authors conclude that a mid-point estimate of 1.2 million non-citizens cast votes in 2008:

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17 Responses to How Many Elections Will the Democrats Steal Next Week?

  • Their voting machines notably in Wi and MD are “set” to count GOP votes as Dem votes. And, some dem voters are 125 years old.

    You know the “fix is in” in WI when Obama showes up to push the commie candidate against Governor Walker. FYI 99% of the voters in that precinct voted for the zero in 2012.

    Poor, black people have voted Dem for at least 50 years. They are poorer for it.

    It’s the dawn of the idiotocracy: Scientific detachment and the free exchange of ideas are dead.

    “A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.” – George Bernard Shaw

    At some point, these and other (judicuial overreach, exec orders, regulations, politicized government agnecies, etc.) deprivations/overrides of Constitutional mechanisms will lead to . . . Of course, cynicism. Conspiracies? Rebellion? I think it’s why they are intent on confiscating the people’s (Second Amendment) arms.

  • What if the Dems remain in control of the Senate and take the House next week? What if the game is already so rigged that nothing can stop it except the very thing none of us want? Personally, being a pessimist, I think the game is already rigged. And we’ll see Hillary in 2016. God have mercy!

  • Paul Primavera said: “Personally being a pessimist, I think the game is already rigged.”

    Isn’t that what “they” want?
    …why even vote then?
    I was having dinner with my eldest brother Sunday evening. He said exactly the same thing as Mr. Primavera.

    Never give up, or better yet never cave into defeatism. If the Liar’s Party gets their bitch into office it might be due to good people throwing their hands up and saying “game over.”

    T. Shaw said in earlier posts days ago; “Stock up on ammo…”

    If it was said in sarcasm or not, the reality is the future of a free America is slipping away. I for one will not sit idle as the traitor’s work feverishly to erode our Constitutional rights.

    Never give up. Never.

  • Philip,

    Just don’t let anybody know you have them.

    I have a sufficient number of .223 cal and 5.56 mm FMJ cartridges to commence a minor insurrection.

    And, it is not merely for a fight for liberty. When the economy and government simultaneously collapse, it will be valuable for both for protection and for barter.

  • I’m currently packing my gear for deer camp. Nov. 15th opener. Many associates have been making it difficult for the consumer to purchase ammo.
    They are hording bricks of ammo.
    It’s not difficult to understand when Homeland Security (oxymoron) has purchased millions of rounds for..wink wink nod nod “target practice.”

    Many Americans are hoping for the best yet preparing for the worse.

    Concealed weapons licenced Americans may be putting the fear of God into liberal traitors…so be it.

  • philip!

    Small world.

    We go into Adirondack deer camp the morning after Election Day! Northern zone NY is way earlier than southern zone big game opener, November 15.

    The great escape!

  • There is a different standard of morality operating now for liberal ideologues… the ends justify the means, and if someone in their party gets a little twinge of conscience, he can be brought to his senses knowing that this (questionable) action is not about him but about the ultimate greater good for Humanity. After all they are fighting the Big Evils of the world- defending the helpless: women and (other different genders) all the races, and all the poor and even Mother Earth against the evil conservatives. Truth in elections can be expendable.

  • T. Shaw.

    Good Luck & Good Hunting!

    I live on a peninsula where my great great grand parents made a new home, persecuted by religious indifference. How time is ever changing ever the same.
    Anyway, it’s been a tradition in our clan to gather the boys, young & old, and learn the beauty of silence / woods / hunting. My great grandfather who help to build the first Catholic Church with his dad in the area, St. Josephs, tells the story of walking through the woods on the way to Mass carrying guns to bag a deer for subsistence. They would be successful on the way back home….how providential.

  • We can’t place our ultimate trust in politics or particular people.

    But we still ought to fight like hell to keep Dems. and Rinos OUT.

  • T. Shaw and Philip, you might be interested in the story of how Cornell University tried to solve their deer problem?
    “Bambi is a rat with long legs and good P.R.”

  • Either “as many as they can get away with” or “Enough.” Perhaps both even.

  • Tamsin-
    I wouldn’t of believed it, but then again it is 2014. The age of sophisticated politically correct hooligans waisting money.
    I’m shocked that they didn’t try to fit condoms on bucks or transport the doe’s to Planned Parenthood for a free abortion.

    The story in your link should of been out of the Onion…unfortunately it’s not.

    Thanks for the laugh.

  • …btw; free abortion because of Obambicare.

  • Voter fraud is a direct attack on the American way, and on me as an American citizen. Those who commit such crimes should be stripped of their United States citizenship, be deported, and never be allowed back into the United States again.

  • “suggest we need to have voter-ID at the polls like every other advanced democracy…”

    Not in the UK, where we rely on the Electoral Register, compiled annually.

  • James,
    Far too much “red tape.”


    With apologies to Shakespeare, First thing we do is kill all the liberals.

  • If memory serves me correctly, the first time Osama won the office of president, there was an almost state wide late mailing of military absentee ballots to military personnel from Virginia. The county clerks (most of whom were Democrats) of that state did not follow time requirements in the law–thereby making it impossible for military personnel to complete & return the ballots to VA for proper counting. Basically, their votes were simply not counted b/c of arriving to late to their home precincts to be counted. It was in the news at the time & was never addressed in any proper or legal manner. IMHO the county clerks should have been criminally charged –however WE KNOW prosecutors would not do that. Then folks were amazed that Osama won the state of VA. Well, duh! Osama would not have won that race without states like VA. And the state was stolen.

    There have been so many different types of election fraud in my home state that I could write a book about it.

PopeWatch: Bastardization

Wednesday, October 29, AD 2014



Father Z reports on comments made by Pope Francis regarding families:


In an audience with members of an international Marian movement, Pope Francis warned that the sacrament of marriage has been reduced to a mere association, and urged participants to be witnesses in a secular world.

“The family is being hit, the family is being struck and the family is being bastardized,” the Pope told those in attendance at the Oct. 25 audience.

He warned against the common view in society that “you can call everything family, right?[ZAP!]

“What is being proposed is not marriage, it’s an association. But it’s not marriage! It’s necessary to say these things very clearly and we have to say it!” Pope Francis stressed. [Okay!  Let’s say it!  And will the secular MSM pick it up?  Will they report that their darling Pope Francis, the first Pope who ever smiled, the first Pope who ever kissed a baby, the most wonderfullest fluffiest Pope ehvur, made it clear that attempts to confuse the concept of family and marriage must be resisted?  NEWS FLASH: Pope Francis seems not to think that homosexual unions, even with adopted children, are “marriages” and “families”.  Will the catholic media report on this? I just went over to the site of the Fishwrap and did a search on the keyword “Schoenstaat”.  Zip.]

He lamented that there are so many “new forms” of unions which are “totally destructive and limiting the greatness of the love of marriage.” [“‘new forms’ of unions”… hmmm… what ever could be mean?]

Noting that there are many who cohabitate, or are separated or divorced, he explained that the “key” to helping is a pastoral care of “close combat” that assists and patiently accompanies the couple.

Pope Francis offered his words in a question-and-answer format during his audience with members of the Schoenstatt movement, held in celebration of the 100th anniversary of its founding in Germany.

Roughly 7,500 members of the international Marian and apostolic organization, both lay and clerics from dozens of nations around the world, were present in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall for the audience.

In his answers to questions regarding marriage, Pope Francis explained that contemporary society has “devalued” the sacrament by turning it into a social rite, removing the most essential element, which is union with God. [If it is a social rite, then I suppose three or four or more can all “marry”, including Spot, the family pet.]

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10 Responses to PopeWatch: Bastardization

  • Among the “new forms of union,” it is remarkable how popular civil unions (PACS) have proved with opposite-sex couples.

    In France, in 2000, before their introduction, there were about 350,000 marriages; in 2010, there were 250,000 marriages and 200,000 PACSs. Other European countries show a similar pattern.

    There are significant differences. A « pacte civil de solidarité » creates a strictly personal relationship. For example, there is nothing corresponding to Article 206 that imposes a duty of mutual financial support between parents-in-law and children-in-law and between remoter ascendants and descendant. This obligation is based on marriage as a union of families and its linking of the generations. This is clear from the fact that, if my daughter dies, my obligation to support her husband (or his obligation to support me) ceases, unless there is living issue of the marriage, in which case it continues.

    The parties are obliged to contribute to the joint living expenses, but here is no automatic obligation of support; the parties are free to agree to such financial arrangements they choose,

    Likewise, a PACS confers no right of inheritance and each partner retains the right to dispose of his or her own property by will, subject to the reserved shares of certain blood relatives and to the special rules governing inherited property (biens de famille). There is nothing corresponding to the quarta Falicidia (automatic quarter-share of a surviving spouse.)

    A PACS does not establish filiation. If one partner acknowledges the child of the other as his, then, of course, filiation is established. The great Revolutionary principle of consent (through marriage or acknowledgment) as the foundation of paternity is preserved. « l’importance donnée par le droit révolutionnaire à la volonté comme fondement de la filiation » as Prof Dekeuwer-Défossez has called it. Hence, there is no duty of sexual fidelity between PACS partners.

    Because a PACS is terminable at will, they annot jointly adopt a child.

  • I think the pope was dissembling with these words. Seeds of confusion.

  • Anzlyne: I believe you are correct. In fact, Pope Francis had not counted on so many Catholics to understand to defend the truth of the Gospel, to the point of schism. Pope Francis’ legacy might be schism.

  • I think the Church has in fact been in schism for quite some time. It may well be that this causes a formal break, such as we saw when the Eastern Church (now the various branches of Orthodox) left, Martin Luther left, the Anglicans, etc.
    I wonder what the new schism group will be called?

  • The Blessed Trinity is the perfect family…the Father Who loves the Son perfectly and the Son who loves the Father perfectly and the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, the Holy Spirit, Who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
    Designed in the image of God is the Holy Family of Nazareth…The Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph and their Holy Child, Jesus Christ.
    When the state redesigns God and redefines the Holy Family, it is truly the bastardization of the family, made in the image and design of the state.

  • Was Pope Francis Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina before he was promoted Pope?

    If so, during the Conclave, recent poll results apparently were not available to the Holy Spirit.

    Survey Question: Is homosexulality Unacceptable; Acceptable; or Not A Moral Issue.

    Russia: 72% Unacceptable; 9% Acceptable
    El Salvador: 70% Unacceptable; 18% Acceptable
    China: 61% Unacceptable; 13% Acceptable
    Argentina: 27% Unacceptable; 49% Acceptable.

    The Czech Republic, Germany and Spain only had higher “Acceptable” percentages.

    Not hard to see that Pope Francis simply is bringing Church morality to the Argentine level . . . Love, Peace, Justice!

  • Second @Mary De Voe on @Anzlyne’s insightful comment.

    “Noting that there are many who cohabitate, or are separated or divorced, he explained that the “key” to helping is a pastoral care of “close combat” that assists and patiently accompanies the couple.” – What does this even mean?!

    The drumbeat continues …

  • After all this planting, as Anzlyne points out, what are seeds of confusion, it is to wonder about the seed package gifted by the US President to the Pope.

  • @FMShyanguya: “close combat” would require pastoral reiteration of divinely inspired doctrine. A free for all is the way to hell.

  • Bishop Fellay SSPX on the Synod:

    There is nothing to expect. There is no need to wait. The direction has been given, and it is clear. We must simply say: it is clear. It is obvious that they wish to trivialize the situation of those who live in adultery, truly in a state of sin. They wish to trivialize it, and that is very, very, very serious. When we play with morality, we are playing with God’s commandments. To have dared, for two weeks, to leave up to opinion questions that leave no room for opinion! It is God’s word. All we have to say is “Amen.” We must, of course, think about how to help these people; we must always think about that. But we certainly do not help them by telling them there is an open door when there is none. The door that is being opened is a door to hell! These prelates who have received the power of the keys, that is, of opening the gates of Heaven, are closing them, and opening the gates of hell. It is unbelievable! It is crazy! Absolutely crazy! And as I said, the direction has been laid out. It is true that this synod was not supposed to make a decision; it was supposed to be a first step, but the first steps have been taken, the direction has been laid out, and it is not hard to guess what the following synod will do. Unless there is a much stronger reaction than the one we see today, and unfortunately, I doubt that there will be. Alas, there will not be!

The Modern World is Going to Hell: A Continuing Series: The Texting Vermin of the Apocalypse

Wednesday, October 29, AD 2014

The  fourth in my series of posts in which I give rants against trends that have developed in society since the days of my youth, the halcyon days of the seventies, when leisure suits and disco were sure signs that society was ready to be engulfed in a tide of ignorance, bad taste and general buffoonery.

We have started off the series with a look at seven developments that I view as intensely annoying and proof that many people lack the sense that God granted a goose.  I like to refer to these as  The Seven Hamsters of the Apocalypse, minor evils that collectively illustrate a society that has entered a slough of extreme stupidity.  Each of the Seven Hamsters will have a separate post.  We have already discussed here the Tattooed Vermin,  here the Pierced Vermin and here the F-Bomb Vermin.  The fourth of the Hamsters is the Texting Vermin.

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8 Responses to The Modern World is Going to Hell: A Continuing Series: The Texting Vermin of the Apocalypse

  • 1. Grocery shopping became a form of social withdrawal when, after turning to acknowledge many instances of perceived greetings, I was eye to eye with someone having a private conversation not with me.

    2. Before cell phones, one did not ever appear to be talking to oneself. Ever.

    3. The world was a bigger, more interesting and, ripe for learning place during the period of telephone company phones when exchanges were named rather that numbered. We were JE for Jefferson, and grandparents ten miles south were RE for Republic. Manners and awareness of other people abounded. The phone book was like an encyclopedia of how locales and government offices were organized.

    4. Vermin, who hate certain religions or are indifferent or are unaware, are now commonly heard what I call ‘praying’ the OMG. He is called out by all when the ‘awesomeness’ of something needs another ‘word’.

    5. Back at the grocery aisles, a chance meeting of an acquaintance is usually joined by someone in the acquaintance’s left hand and is a cue to continue down the aisle with a wave exchanged.

    6. Then, the dashboard screens keeping the driver connected to wireless technology lead me to wonder .

    7. Solitary thought must be about how in heck to work all the technological possibilities available and stay with the pack of acronym speakers.

  • In a way, texting is a mercy.
    After the rise of cell phones I was often treated to the most intimate details of others’ private lives while on the bus or at work. Now everyone texts, silently.

  • We are one solar “burp” away from this mechanical form of communication to cease. The burp would have to be of National Lampoon’s Animal House variety….a massive cosmic belch.
    Let’s hope not…but some days you almost wish it would happen. Example; Cell phone went off during Mass. Then the ding-a-ling answers it!! Oh boy.
    btw…great shot of the elusive texting vermin. 🙂

  • Being familiar with how the numbers of “alcohol related” accidents are calculated (example: you hit a beer bottle? Alcohol related accident! Base gets three days of lectures!), I am prone to taking the claims of texting related accidents with a whole brick of salt.
    People just drive like idiots, apparently thinking themselves immortal.
    A theory my husband and I have cooked up is that people learn to drive in the little tin cans, which are able to zip around and weigh nothing so they can stop quickly– and they don’t drive much in bad conditions– so when they’re in something that doesn’t drive like that, they try to keep doing so. Result: the two ton pickup that apparently can’t see a bright red minivan that is a foot behind the driver’s side window. The simi that speeds up to keep someone from merging, even when that means they become illegally close to the car in front of them. The various wagon-esqe vehicles that don’t touch their breaks until five feet from the stop line, and then glare at you as you walk around their car, which is now blocking the entire crosswalk.
    I also tend to snarl at the “SEE motorcycles!” bumper stickers with something to the effect of how it’s hard not to do so, since they keep cutting me off and generally driving like idiots. (It’s to the point where we cheer, honk, and wave if there’s one that follows the law. Ditto bicycles, of which I’ve seen exactly one follow the law, and that was on the opposite side of the state.)

  • Oh, and I love texting. It means I almost never have to actually call people on the phone– I can send them a quick picture and a line or two, and they can send a line or two when they have time.

  • This phenomenon began with a Digital Mobile phone from a company in NYC called OMNIPOINT.This concept did not take off until AT&T Wireless went into offering text packages.
    Now we have Computers as Mobile Phones.

  • Now we have Computers as Mobile Phones.
    Love it!

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Colonies of Heaven

Tuesday, October 28, AD 2014

Colony of Heaven

This is not a bivouac of the dead. It is a colony of heaven. And some part of us all is buried here.

   Chaplain Paul Redmond, Dominican Priest, at the Dedication of the Sixth Marine Division cemetery on Okinawa

My co-blogger Darwin Catholic has a fascinating post on cemeteries at his blog:

I like cemeteries and I hadn’t had a chance to wander this one much, even though we’ve lived here for four years now. It’s been the parish cemetery 125 years, but the was an older cemetery on part of the land which the parish cemetery has since swallowed up. That old section has headstones engraved in cursive script dated from the 1830s through the 1850s.

One of the things I like about our town is that it hasn’t outgrown its history. The downtown isn’t much bigger than it was in 1910, though the outlying areas have grown a good bit. This cemetery is much different from the more modern ones I grew up with in California, with the land all flat and the headstones flush with the ground so that big riding mowers could move through the whole area easily. Here the grounds rolls in little depressions and rises and nearly all the stones are upright. This has the feel of a place which has quietly seen a lot of people come and go, not an open space that has been tamed for the purpose of conducting burials efficiently.

Walking the cemetery is also a good time to focus your perspective a bit. MrsDarwin found a woman who was born almost exactly a century before she was.

“I like to find people born a century before me and see what year they died,” she told me.

“How’d it go?”


“Well, thirty-four more years. That’s not a bad run…”

I suppose sixty-nine counts as an early death these days, but nonetheless I’d feel a certain relief if I knew that I’d have at least thirty-four more years to be with my loved ones and to get things done.

Other sources of perspective are more sobering. We say a headstone from 1910 for a baby who died at 10 months and 19 days. Our youngest, who I was carrying with me, is 10 months and 3 days old. Momento mori. I wrapped him tighter in his blanket against the evening breeze.

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4 Responses to Colonies of Heaven

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  • Near us we have a small cemetery called Red Bank, not much more than 100 plots … yet I enjoy the visit and fact that we can find 4 known revolutionary war soldiers buried there. Quite a ratio given that small area. They of course did not die in the war.

  • Just east of the LIRR, Jamaica RR station on the south side of the tracks is an old, abandoned (the proximite Church – not Cathiolic – has been reinvented to some other use) cemetery. There are full sized trees among the head stones.

    Each evening as I ride past I say, “May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace, amen.” Lest we forget.

    I need to start to go with my sister to visit our parents’ grave in the national cemetery. She always has a nice thing to say about the visits. Daily, I visit with them in my prayers.

  • My brother recently wandered into the tiny, overgrown, untended graveyard across the road from our place in upstate NY, and discovered headstones with birthdates in the 1700s; at least one gent laid to rest there was already pretty old at the time of the Revolutionary War. Pray for the souls of the forgotten dead and your friends in Heaven will multiply, social networking between life and afterlife, I love being a Catholic!!

Angels, Fools and Predictions

Tuesday, October 28, AD 2014


A week from now the midterm elections will occur, and, as usual, The American Catholic will be hosting live blog reports and analysis.  After my less than stellar predictions of 2012, I am somewhat reluctant to make a forecast, but never fearing to rush in where all sensible angels fear to tread, here are my predictions.


In the House, the Republicans will gain 15-20 seats.

In the Senate the Republicans will gain 7 seats and capture control of the Senate.

In Governorships there will be no net change.

In legislative seats held the Republicans will equal their net number high mark reached in 2010.


What are your predictions?

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5 Responses to Angels, Fools and Predictions

  • I’ll just transmit what you can derive from Rothenberg (state legislatures not reported):

    3 Seat gain in the House of Representatives (they’d have to win 60% of the contestable seats to gain 10, per Rothenberg).
    6 Seat gain in the Senate
    1 loss in Governor’s chairs.

    If they do not blow it, or you do not have a Franken/Gregoire scenario where all sorts of ‘uncounted’ ballots start showing up in the weeks after the election. The unions, elements of the bar, and Democratic politicos have pulled out every stop in their efforts to get Gov. Walker in Wisconsin. The smart money says that’s the race to attend to most closely re ballot security.

    If they do take Congress, I hope McConnell will have the sense to dispose of what’s left of the filibuster and pepper BO with reform legislation (or what reforms he can get past Susan Collins and other abrasions). It’ll be amusing to watch BO’s reaction if he does not have dirty Harry’s skirts to hide behind; sulk turns into frenzy?

  • God willing the Sun will rise tomorrow morning.

  • Rothenberg today:

    “Not only are there more Republican opportunities, but new ones are popping up in unexpected places.

    Three Democratic open seats — in Utah, North Carolina and upstate New York — are sure to flip, and another seat in Illinois looks ready to fall. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg, and the question is how much of the iceberg isn’t yet visible.

    Until recently, I was skeptical about former Rep. Nan Hayworth’s chances of regaining her New York seat and Republican prospects in Bruce Braley’s Iowa open seat. But both districts are very much in play as Election Day approaches.

    Democratic Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick of Arizona, Ami Bera of California, Brad Schneider of Illinois, Nick J. Rahall II of West Virginia and Rick Nolan of Minnesota are all in serious trouble.

    The big question is whether Republican gains will reach into second- or third-tier races. If that happens, GOP net House gains could grow from the middle- or high-single digits to the double digits, or even into the teens.

    All of the talk about the number of tossup races is correct. The outcome is not yet clear. But that should not obscure the GOP’s advantages or hide the distinct possibility that Republicans will have a remarkably good year in House and Senate races.”

  • Donald I remembered that Thomas More is the patron of politicians, but I wondered who we might pray to for a fair election process. So I looked up “patron saint of elections” Guess who… Chad.
    remembering all the counting in Florida a couple of cycles ago, that made me laugh.
    Chad of Mercer, pray for us and help us in this upcoming election.

  • Saint Chad was “proclaimed” the patron saint of elections by people unknown after Florida in 2000. A good saint to request intercession for honest elections might be Saint Matthias who was chosen by the other Apostles to take the place of Judas.

PopeWatch: Schism

Tuesday, October 28, AD 2014



Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa describes the role of the Pope at the Synod.  PopeWatch would very much prefer that Magister’s assessment was incorrect, but fears that it is all too correct:

ROME, October 24, 2014 – It is not true that Francis was silent during the two weeks of the synod. In the morning homilies at Saint Martha’s, he hammered away every day at the zealots of tradition, those who load unbearable burdens onto men, those who have only certainties and no doubts, the same against whom he lashed out in the farewell address with the synod fathers.

He is anything but impartial, this pope. He wanted the synod to orient the Catholic hierarchy toward a new vision of divorce and homosexuality, and he has succeeded, in spite of the scanty number of votes in favor of the change of course, after two weeks of fiery discussion.

In any case, he will be the one who ultimately decides, he reminded the cardinals and bishops who may have had any doubts. In order to refresh their memory on his “supreme, full, immediate, and universal” power, he brought to the field not a handful of refined passages from “Lumen Gentium,” but the rock-solid canons of the code of canon law.

On communion for the divorced and remarried, it is already known how the pope thinks. As archbishop of Buenos Aires, he authorized the “curas villeros,” the priests sent to the peripheries, to give communion to all, although four fifths of the couples were not even married. And as pope, by telephone or letter he is not afraid of encouraging some of the faithful who have remarried to receive communion without worrying about it, right away, even without those “penitential paths under the guidance of the diocesan bishop” projected by some at the synod, and without issuing any denials when the news of his actions comes out.

This is one of the ways in which Jorge Mario Bergoglio exercises his absolute powers as head of the Church. And when he pushes the whole of the Catholic hierarchy to follow him on this road, he knows very well that communion for the divorced and remarried, numerically insignificant, is the loophole for a much more generalized and radical sea change, toward that “second possibility of marriage,” with the consequent dissolution of the first, which is admitted in the Eastern Orthodox Churches and which he, Francis, just shortly after his election as pope said “must be studied” in the Catholic Church as well, “in the context of pastoral care for marriage.”

It was in July of 2013 that the pope made these intentions public. But in that same interview on the plane back from Brazil he opened a construction site on the terrain of homosexuality as well, with that memorable “who am I to judge?” universally interpreted as an absolution of actions that have always been condemned by the Church but no longer are, if they are committed by someone who is “seeking the Lord and has good will.”

A turning point on this matter did not have an easy time at the synod. It was invoked in the assembly by no more than three fathers: by Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, by the Jesuit Antonio Spadaro, director of “La Civiltà Cattolica,” and by the Malaysian archbishop John Ha Tiong Hock.

Hock supported himself with a parallel drawn by Pope Francis between the Church’s judgment on slavery and that on the conception that the man of today has of himself, to say that just as the first changed so also the second judgment can mutate.

While Fr. Spadaro brought up the pope’s example of a girl adopted by two women to maintain that these situations must be treated in a new and positive way.

Then, for having inserted into the mid-discussion working document three paragraphs encouraging the “affective growth” between two men or two women “integrating the sexual dimension,” Archbishop Bruno Forte, brought in as special secretary of the synod at the pope’s behest, was publicly disowned by the cardinal relator, the Hungarian Péter Erdõ. And the subsequent discussion among the synod fathers ripped the three paragraphs to shreds, which in the final “Relatio” were reduced to just one without anything new in it, not even reaching a quorum of approval.

But here as well Francis and his lieutenants, from Forte to Spadaro to Argentine archbishop Víctor Manuel Fernández, have hit their target of getting this explosive issue onto the agenda of the Catholic Church, at the highest levels. The result remains to be seen.

Because this is how Bergoglio’s revolution proceeds, “long-term, without obsession over immediate results.” Because “the important thing is to initiate processes rather than possess spaces.” Words from “Evangelii Gaudium,” the program of his pontificate.

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23 Responses to PopeWatch: Schism

  • By his fruit you will know him.

  • Did Pope Alexander VI ever attempt to change Catholic doctrine in such a fundamental way?

  • Please allow this into your fear; “Throughout history, Church leaders have had there failings. Many apologist note that the fact the Catholic Church still exists is proof that God leads the Church, for no institution with our failings and weaknesses could stand if God was not holding it up. (Acts 5:38-39). Therefore, rejoice that you, a living stone for Jesus are called to be fitted into the Church. Rejoice that you are resting upon the shoulders of the apostles and the bishops, the successors of the apostles. Because there are many great leaders in the Church, when a leader fails and leaves a hole in the structure upon which we are built, we will not crumble, for we are built into the Church “in” Jesus.” Commentary from One Bread, One Body Tues.Oct.28th 2014.

    PopeWatch is a watchtower.
    The king of the Universe will not support an overthrow of His kingdom, for He is Always in control! The breach in the wall will be filled with stronger reinforcement! The King will see to it!

  • btw. Who does the King want in His Kingdom? Sinners? Legalist? Both! All!
    Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand!

  • No, the King will never lose His Kingdom. But He never promised that big chunks of it wouldn’t calve off.

  • As follow up to what Dale price wrote, St. Paul says in Romans 11 the following:
    17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, a wild olive shoot, were grafted in their place to share the richness of the olive tree, 18 do not boast over the branches. If you do boast, remember it is not you that support the root, but the root that supports you. 19 You will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20 That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast only through faith. So do not become proud, but stand in awe. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. 22 Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness; otherwise you too will be cut off. 23 And even the others, if they do not persist in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. 24 For if you have been cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these natural branches be grafted back into their own olive tree.

  • Thank you Paul Primavera.

    Those words are applicable to a sinner, prodigal as I am. Are they applicable to say…a Pope of Rome? Natural branches coming back to their place after having been self-severed?

  • “The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it. Ignorance may deride it. But in the end, there it is.” Winston Churchill.

    J. Christian Adams: “The chaos umpire sits, and by decision more imbroils the fray by which he reigns.”

    Orwell: “Reflections on Gandhi”

    “Man is the measure of all things and that our job is to make life worth living.”

    “But it is not necessary here to argue whether the other-worldly or the humanistic ideal is ‘higher.’ The point is that they are incompatible. One must choose between God and Man, and all ‘radicals’ and ‘progressives’ from the mildest liberal . . . have in effect chosen Man.”

    “We shall go before a higher tribunal – a tribunal where a Judge of infinite goodness, as well as infinite justice, will preside, and where many of the judgments of this world will be reversed.” Thomas Meagher

  • “….does the Pope understand that a schism may result from all this?” My gut feeling is that he thinks so much of his own theology and popularity that an actual schism isn’t in the realm of possibilities.

    “Does the Pope care?” I think all he cares about is changing the Church to the church of Francis, period.

  • It appears that Papa-Peron is leaving some of us only one option (other than disobey Our Lord’s own specific commands) and he is precious little concerned about it. It always has appeared it would come down to this (“In the Third Secret it is predicted, among other things, that the great apostasy in the Church will begin at the top.” – Card. Mario Luigi Ciappi, speaking of what he had read in the 3rd Secret of Fatima). So it is.

    … “Jesus suffered outside the camp: So, let us go also out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach. For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come.” (Heb: 13:13-14)

  • Beautiful, Paul, thank you.

  • I’m not over the no life sentences for murderers…..Jackson Browne is apropos

    Looking out at the road rushing under my wheels
    I don’t know how to tell you all just how crazy this life feels
    I look around for the friends that I used to turn to to pull me through
    Looking into their eyes I see them running too

  • God forbid that more Christians be tempted into schism. Isn’t there already enough of it?

  • Papa Francesco is a caudillo. Look at the treatment of Cardinal Burke, the FFI, Cardinal Muller’s impending transfer to Siberia, the pro traditionalist bishop of Italy and the excommunication of the FSSPX. Look at the ramblings of Cardinal Kasper and Papa Francesco’s allies such as Cardinal Wuerl and Cardinal Dolan.

    Reward your allies, punish your enemies.

  • I have no idea how I came to land on this website:

    but I did land on it 🙂 and invite you to also read.
    The article about power and paradox brings pope Francis’ response to suddenly being very powerful and popular to mind.

  • DJ Hesselius, I’m going to make a comment that might sound sardonic, but I mean it in an allegorical sense.

    The human brain has two hemispheres, and certain activities are dominant in one hemisphere or the other. For example, one is logical and so arguably would be the locus of theology, while the other is less so and arguably would be the locus of pastoral care.
    There is a nerve bundle called the corpus callosum that connects the two hemispheres so that they can be coordinated. In some extreme cases surgeons cut the corpus callosum. When this happens the two hemispheres become almost totally independent. Some functions that require coordination are lost, but most people would not notice any loss in most day-to-day activities.

  • Pope Francis wants to make legal what is already largely the practice. All his actions tend to encourage the practice of forbidden sexual morality. My guess is that he will not change the moral law officially as he is already accomplishing his purpose. God can’t be very happy about all this. Let us pray for Pope Francis and ourselves.

  • . . . in spite of the scanty number of votes in favor of the change of course, after two weeks of fiery discussion.

    I am a bit confused about the voting. IIUC, it took 2/3rds vote to have the questionable paragraphs included in the final document. Those paragraphs garnered more than 50%, but less than the 2/3rds needed. How is >50% a scanty number? Or was the vote different on those paragraphs?

  • “In the Third Secret it is predicted, among other things, that the great apostasy in the Church will begin at the top.” – Card. Mario Luigi Ciappi Not “near the top”, but “at the top” were the very clear words he used in the letter to Dr. Baumgartner, ca. 1980’s.
    Cardinal Silvio Oddi:
    “[T]he Third Secret – which John XXIII and his successors thought inopportune to reveal – is not about a supposed conversion of Russia, still far from becoming a reality, but regards the ‘revolution’ in the Catholic Church. ”
    (Silvio Oddi, Il Tenero Mastino di Dio, Rome: Progetto Museali Editore, 1995, p. 217-218).

  • An interesting parallel of the revolutionary tendencies of Papa Bergoglio’s pontificate is to compare it to that of the retired Anglican Archbp. of Canterbury Dr. Rowan D. Williams’ stormy and schism-generating tenure.

    Both early on chose to re-define moral positions on marriage and homosexuality; both expressed disdain against traditional belief and its adherents; both railed against free-market economics and wealth; and both often displayed the flat of their sabre against “traditionalists” and “orthodox” believers who threatened to split in response to their own authoritarianism. Papa-Peron is very closely following the trajectory of Abp. “Rowin’-Alone” Williams.

  • I guess the pope has his own pen and phone! we have been warned

  • Tom D:
    I am aware of the two hemisphere nature of the brain, the corpus callosum, etc.; however, I think there may be another explanation for the Pope’s behavior. He’s a politician, saying one thing to one group, and another thing to another. I think one tends to see this more among socialist leaning politicians rather than small government/free market types.