18

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

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 CNSNews.com, 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 CNSNews.com interview transcript, click on the following link:
http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/terence-p-jeffrey/cardinal-burke-i-m-praying-very-fervently-coming-year-confusion-will

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

10

Should Catholics Be Concerned? Yep!

 

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. Continue Reading

4

PopeWatch: Shocker

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

 

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. Continue Reading

6

Lincoln In a Glass Darkly

 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. Continue Reading

28

On the Moral Duty to Vaccinate Your Children

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.

6

Quotes Suitable For Framing: Pope Leo XIII

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.” Continue Reading

25

PopeWatch: Calling the Pope a Communist

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

 

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.” Continue Reading

5

Abraham Lincoln’s Ghost Walks at Midnight

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: Continue Reading

15

Frankenstein’s Monster, Then and Now

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.

11

Star Trek Continues

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!

17

How Many Elections Will the Democrats Steal Next Week?

 

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: Continue Reading

10

PopeWatch: Bastardization

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

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.] Continue Reading

8

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

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.

Continue Reading

4

Colonies of Heaven

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?”

“1948.”

“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. Continue Reading

5

Angels, Fools and Predictions

 

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?

23

PopeWatch: Schism

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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. Continue Reading

2

October 27, 1864: Battle of Boydton Plank Road

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The last significant military operation at Petersburg in 1864, the battle of Boydton Plank Road, was  part of the efforts of the Army of the Potomac to cut the Confederate South Side Railroad that supplied Petersburg and Richmond from the west. This was no small operation, consisting of Winfield Scott’s corps, reinforced by infantry divisions from other corps and a cavalry division.

On October 27, 1864 Hancock crossed Hatcher’s Run creek and moved around the Confederate right flank heading for Burgess Mill.  General Henry Heth, commanding A.P. Hill’s corps due to the illness of Hill, interposed two divisions to stop Hancock.  Hancock made good progress when Meade ordered a hault to the offensive, concerned about a five mile gap developing between the Union left and Hancock.

Hancock retreated to Hatcher’s Run, only to find the ford now being held by Confederate cavalry.  Heth now went on the offensive, hoping to bag Hancock’s corps, isolated as it now was from the rest of the Union army.

Hancock kept calm, beat off the Confederate attacks and retreated across Hatcher’s Run during the night.  Union casualties were 1700 to 1300 Confederate.  Grant in his memoirs summed up this action and the closing down of operations around Petersburg for the remainder of the year: Continue Reading

13

PopeWatch: Corruption

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Fighting against corruption is a major theme of Pope Francis, he even considers it a greater evil than sin.  “Corruptionis a greater evil than sin”, and more than “be forgiven, must be cured”.  Father Ray Blake, however, wonders about the example of the Vatican when it comes to fighting corruption:

 

It has been put forward that there has been clamp-down on corruption, some notable dismissals like the ‘Bishop of Bling’, Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst. Yes, but the expenditure of Cdl Reinhard Marx has gone unnoted, there has been no investigation but he is spending 51 million euros for the beautification of the Archdiocesan Campus and not an eyebrow is raised in the Holy See. In Italy the reputation of the Bishop Albenga-Imperia, Bishop Mario Oliveri is being trashed. In part it appears he has welcomed some FFIs and also because some of his priests have been ‘moon-lighting as barmen, stealing parish funds and getting tattooed’. I don’t know if his response might be, ‘Who am I to judge’ but their behaviour seems no worst than members of the Papal circle, lifts and Swiss army officers come to mind or some of the clergy of the diocese of Rome who reputed spend time in cities gay enclaves. Indeed, who will investigate Rome where so much seems to be swept under the carpet. Remember the ‘Vatileaks’, what has happened to that? What about the diocese of Linz or the Archdiocese of Vienna where according to reports from We are the Church type groups, a considerable number of the clergy are living in either homosexual or heterosexual relationships.

 

The impression that is given is that Justice in the Church is itself corrupted, indeed, that it is actually about settling scores and has nothing to do with truthfulness which was once considered a Christian virtue. Rather than being consoled by accounts of these investigations I become increasingly alarmed, it seems as if some religious orders or diocese that seem to produce fruit and are orthodox are subject to investigation whilst others which are barren and often highly unorthodox carry on in their own sweet way, especially if the have powerful or wealthy friends at court. The problem is that Justice appears to used as a robber baron or some New World dictator might use it, as a means of intimidation and threat, not to bring the Salvific Light of Christ to bear on dark and hidden corners. It is as if some are above the Law and others crushed by it. Continue Reading

7

October 27, 1964: A Time For Choosing

I became a conservative by watching this speech on television a half century ago in 1964 at the age of seven.  Barry Goldwater’s campaign was doomed ab initio, but this speech of Reagan on behalf of Goldwater launched Reagan’s meteoric political career that would see him elected President sixteen years later.  What he said in that speech still defines American conservatism for me, and, I think, the vast majority of conservatives in this country.  As the intellectual godfather of the modern conservative movement in America, Russell Kirk said:

Ronald Reagan will be remembered as the President who gave hope to the American people — even great expectations. Old sureties that the ritualistic liberal had mocked were unshaken in Ronald Reagan’s mind; and President Reagan’s reaffirmation of those ancient convictions began to arouse the nation from the discouragement of twenty years or more.

Contrary to some truly misguided individuals, conservatives do not “worship” Reagan.  Reagan was simply a man, who made mistakes and had his share of human foibles and flaws.  However, he has never been surpassed for his ability to articulate conservatism to the American people and to convince vast swathes of the American people to embrace conservatism.  Reagan was the greatest conservative statesman in American history, and I pray that I will see a leader as great as him again in my lifetime, although I do not expect that I, or the country, will be that fortunate.  Here is the text of what has become known as The Speech: Continue Reading

3

October 26, 1864: Bloody Bill Anderson Killed

LeBoeuf: The force of law! This man is a notorious thumper! He rode by the light of the moon with Quantrill and Bloody Bill Anderson!
Rooster Cogburn: That men was patriots, Texas trash!
LeBoeuf: They murdered women and children in Lawrence, Kansas.
Rooster Cogburn: That’s a G-d d—-d lie! What army was you in, mister?
LeBoeuf: I was at Shreveport first with Kirby-Smith, then…
Rooster Cogburn: Yeah? What side was you on?
LeBoeuf: I was in the army of Northern Virginia, Cogburn, and I don’t have to hang my head when I say it!
Rooster Cogburn: If you had served with Captain Quantrill…
LeBoeuf: Captain? Captain Quantrill indeed!
Rooster Cogburn: Best let this go, LeBoeuf!
LeBoeuf: Captain of what?
Rooster Cogburn: Good, then! There are not sufficient dollars in the state of Texas to make it worth my while to listen to your opinions. Our agreement is nullified.
LeBoeuf: That suits me!

Charles Portis, True Grit

 

 

Our Civil War was a relatively clean war in that the mass murder  of civilian populations that are often a feature of civil wars was mercifully absent from that conflict.  However, some atrocities did occur, and many of them were in the ferocious fighting that raged in Kansas and along the Kansas-Missouri border.  There the Civil War had begun in 1854, with a brief truce in 1859-60.

Anderson, born in 1839, came from a family of horse thieves.  Residing in Agnes, Kansas in March 1862, his father was shot by a local Judge in regard to a stolen horse.  Bloody Bill and his brother Jim took revenge by shooting to death the Judge and his brother-in-law.   Bloody Bill left Agnes, Kansas with his family and moved to Western Missouri.

By the spring of 1863 Bloody Bill and Jim had joined up with William Quantrill and his Confederate guerillas.

Union General Thomas Ewing, Jr., the commander of the military district which comprised Kansas and Western Missouri, ordered the arrest of relatives of the members of Quantrill’s band.  12 women among those arrested were housed in a three story house in Kansas City, Missouri.  The house collapsed on August 14, 1863, killing four of the women.  Anderson’s sister Josephine was killed in the collapse and his sister Mary was rendered a permanent cripple.

Anderson went crazy with grief and rage when he heard the news.   In retaliation, Quantrill raided Lawrence, Kansas on August 21.  200 men and boys were murdered by Quantrill’s men, with Bloody Bill living up to the nickname by which he is known to history. Continue Reading

12

Coming soon to a college near you: Men’s studies programs…

 

Somewhere beneath the radar screen, college-age American men as a group aren’t doing so well, especially when compared to today’s college women and  men of the halcyon era of U.S. higher education long past, according to Rocco L. Capraro, who wrote an essay published in What Works: A Book About Raising Boys, Engaging Guys, and Educating Men.

As compared to college women and previous generations of college men, the sad facts:

  • they read less;
  • graduating from high school, they are not prepared for college;
  • many are simply not attending college; and,
  • those who matriculate aren’t graduating in large numbers.

These sad facts translate into the reality that if college admissions were gender-blind, then the majority of students at the nation’s most selective colleges would be women.

Of those men who do attend college today:

  • they are less engaged in studies and student life;
  • they receive lower grades and fewer academic honors (men in STEM courses–i.e., science, technology, engineering, and math–being the exception);
  • they exhibit higher rates of alcohol and substance abuse and commit more social conduct violations; and,
  • they use fewer student services and are more reluctant to seek help and attend support programs.

In sum, men are getting less out of their college experience, and they are not taking it upon themselves to do something about it.

So, what’s to be done? Capraro’s answer: “Men’s studies” that will enable college men:

  • To get at the underlying causes of the lack of success of college men, what’s needed is to take a cue from feminist, critical race, and other explanatory systems to understand differentials in power to explain to college men the experience of college men, why they are struggling, and what they can do about it.
  • To understand men’s experience, identity, and development throughout the life course—understanding men as men, not as generic human beings—will assist college men to know who they are (the social reality), what they think (stereotypes) and what they would like to be (the gender ideal). In short, to study “masculinities” so as to be able to discuss male students as males.

Capraro is optimistic, writing:

At bottom, what men’s studies teaches us, and where it can play a role in improving the lives of college men, is the fundamental insight that the totality of men’s experience cannot be explained by men’s power alone. True, objectively speaking, men as a group may still have power over women as a group; however, subjectively, individual men do not necessarily feel powerful, or behave as if they were in control.  That is because many men engage in harmful, self-destructive behaviors linked to messages about manhood, or feel they do not measure up to the gender ideal, or are burdened by harmful stereotypes of what it means to be a man.

They are also socialized not to express their feelings, report symptoms, reveal their vulnerability, or otherwise deal in healthy ways with their emotions. And when it comes to learning, they learn at an early age that “school is for girls.” Masculinity leaves men feeling shamed and disempowered, suffering the negative consequences of their own notions of manhood and their own aversion to female identified values and attributes.

Worse yet, after steering men in the wrong direction, masculinity—insidiously and tragically—interferes with help-seeking behavior. No wonder so many men struggle in college. On campus, college women more likely to be sober and involved and men are drinking more—and more often—and are more distracted. College women in distress are more likely to seek out counseling centers or are referred by a friend, while college men become silent or act out. Informed by men’s studies, we can better design programs and services for college men, with men in mind.

If Capraro is to be believed, teachers and administrators in the nation’s K-12 schools are causing boys to become confused about what it means to be men so that, by the time high school graduation rolls around, they have absolutely no sense about their identity as males. Today, college men are “victims” who need to attend college to learn what who they are not only as men but also be educated in the various forms of “masculinities.” All of this will empower college men to be men, in the same way that college age women have been empowered through K-12 schools to seize upon their college experience to be equal and, it seems, surpass all of those poor, confused college men.

“Male studies.” The panacea for confused college men?

Good grief.

 

 

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

5

PopeWatch: 1965

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

 

Los Angeles, CA–A Loyola Marymount professor Wednesday found what he is considering undeniable evidence of his theory that the Mass was founded in 1965, as opposed to the year 33 as has been formerly thought.

“It was primarily at the Second Vatican Council that the Holy Spirit descended upon the council fathers and thereby founded the Church,” said 68-year-old Church historian Marty Jenkins. “From documents that we’ve found, the Lord came to the council fathers, and when he had given thanks, he broke the bread, and said, ‘This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ It was here that Christ founded the Mass…not at the Last Supper. The Last Supper was just a trial run.”

Jenkins went on to say that up until then, no Mass was ever valid, going on to compare pre-conciliar Catholics with Jews during the exodus. “You see, the Jews did not have to wander the desert for 40 years. If was only because of the hardness of their hearts that God prolonged their wandering. So then is the case of the pre-conciliar Church. God allowed them to spiritually wander the desert of ignorance and hatred until they were enlightened in the 60’s. Only then were they allowed into the promise land of the Mass.”

When asked what evidence he had found to prove his theory, Jenkins responded, “I’m a tenured professor of Church History at Loyola Marymount University…what else needs to be said?” Continue Reading

5

Elections

Something for the weekend.  The score to the movie Lincoln (2012).  Go here to read my review of this masterpiece.  One hundred and fifty years ago there was little doubt now that Lincoln was going to be re-elected and the Union was going to win the War.  The Civil War had just a little over six months to go, as did Lincoln’s life.

After he was re-elected, Lincoln on November 10, 1864 responded to a serenade outside the White House with this brief speech:

It has long been a grave question whether any government, not too strong for the liberties of its people, can be strong enough to maintain its own existence, in great emergencies.
 
On this point the present rebellion brought our republic to a severe test; and a presidential election occurring in regular course during the rebellion added not a little to the strain. If the loyal people, united, were put to the utmost of their strength by the rebellion, must they not fail when divided, and partially paralized, by a political war among themselves?  But the election was a necessity.
 
We can not have free government without elections; and if the rebellion could force us to forego, or postpone a national election, it might fairly claim to have already conquered and ruined us. The strife of the election is but human-nature practically applied to the facts of the case. What has occurred in this case, must ever recur in similar cases. Human-nature will not change. In any future great national trial, compared with the men of this, we shall have as weak, and as strong; as silly and as wise; as bad and good. Let us, therefore, study the incidents of this, as philosophy to learn wisdom from, and none of them as wrongs to be revenged.
 
But the election, along with its incidental, and undesirable strife, has done good too. It has demonstrated that a people’s government can sustain a national election, in the midst of a great civil war. Until now it has not been known to the world that this was a possibility. It shows also how sound, and how strong we still are. It shows that, even among candidates of the same party, he who is most devoted to the Union, and most opposed to treason, can receive most of the people’s votes. It shows also, to the extent yet known, that we have more men now, than we had when the war began. Gold is good in its place; but living, brave, patriotic men, are better than gold.
 
But the rebellion continues; and now that the election is over, may not all, having a common interest, re-unite in a common effort, to save our common country? For my own part I have striven, and shall strive to avoid placing any obstacle in the way. So long as I have been here I have not willingly planted a thorn in any man’s bosom.
 
While I am deeply sensible to the high compliment of a re-election; and duly grateful, as I trust, to Almighty God for having directed my countrymen to a right conclusion, as I think, for their own good, it adds nothing to my satisfaction that any other man may be disappointed or pained by the result.
 
May I ask those who have not differed with me, to join with me, in this same spirit towards those who have?
 
And now, let me close by asking three hearty cheers for our brave soldiers and seamen and their gallant and skilful commanders.

Continue Reading

68

PopeWatch: Life Sentence

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Pope Francis is not only against the death penalty, he is also against life sentences:

 

“All Christians and people of goodwill are called today to fight not only for the abolition of the death penalty be it legal or illegal, in all of its forms, but also for the improvement of prison conditions in the respect of the human dignity of those who have been deprived of freedom. I link this to the death sentence. In the Penal Code of the Vatican, the sanction of life sentence is no more. A life sentence is a death sentence which is concealed”. Continue Reading

20

Love Makes All the Difference

Larry McClarey

Approximately 92% of mothers who learn they are carrying children with Down’s Syndrome abort their child.  The Daily Mail has an article by a deeply evil woman who bemoans the fact that she didn’t have that option:

Questions I couldn’t answer raced through my mind: Had I caused his disability? How terrible would his life be? What impact would it have on his brother Andrew, then only two? How on earth would Roy and I cope?

That was the day normal life ended for Roy, Andrew and me.

Perhaps you’d expect me to say that, over time, I grew to accept my son’s disability. That now, looking back on that day 47 years later, none of us could imagine life without him, and that I’m grateful I was never given the option to abort.

However, you’d be wrong. Because, while I do love my son, and am fiercely protective of him, I know our lives would have been happier and far less complicated if he had never been born. I do wish I’d had an abortion. I wish it every day.

If he had not been born, I’d have probably gone on to have another baby, we would have had a normal family life and Andrew would have the comfort, rather than the responsibility, of a sibling, after we’re gone. Continue Reading

42

Michael Voris, Say Hi to Saint Paul

Hilarious.  Michael Voris apologizes for a story:

 

Hello everyone. Michael Voris coming to you from Rome with a clarification. This past weekend we aired a breaking news report about Cardinal Raymond Burke having granted an interview to a secular outfit in which he publicly revealed for the first time he was going to be transferred AND, in his estimation the pope not speaking out openly about the crazy ideas floating around the synod was harming the church. We decided to go with the story for two main reasons.

One – the tone of discourse had not risen to that level prior – that harm was being done to the Church and that he had now CONFIRMD he was going to be transferred.

Secondly – unlike much of the “inside the Catholic world” news reports that had been published before – THIS one had been released by the secular media – it had broken out of the Catholic media bubble and into the mainstream.

We approached the story and its details strictly from a journalistic point of view. In hindsight, that was a mistake because ANOTHER unintended impression was generated – that we were criticizing the Pope.

I could give a number of reasons why we didn’t forsee this – being close to the story here on the ground, being tired etc., but they aren’t sufficient to offset the unintended impression.

Given that some people may think we were criticizing the Pope, it was wrong to air the story. I alone made the decision so the responsibility is entirely mine. Again, I was approaching this from a journalism aspect, and not enough, or at all, from an apostolate standpoint. Other media outlets who cover Catholic things can run with the story as a newsworthy story, but this apostolate has an additional filter. What we do at Church Militant.tv is use the tools of the new media to further the cause of the Church. Period. We don’t use them as an end in themselves. On this occasion, I unthinkingly inverted those priorities and ran with it. For that I offer you my deepest apologies and ask your forgiveness.

I have dedicated the remainder of my life to serving the Church and to have to consider that I did something that brought some harm to Her makes me heart sick. On a personal note, to show you how bothered in spirit I am by my actions, I chose not to receive Holy Communion on Sunday, and have gone to confession over this entire matter.

Now .. shifting to the harm to the Church question, again, the harm has come in that some individuals have interpreted this report as being a criticism of the Pope, and by extension the Papacy, and by further extension the Church. Continue Reading

17

PopeWatch: Mission Accomplished

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Bishop Tobin of the Providence diocese has some interesting random thoughts on the Synod;

 

It’s an enormous challenge to maintain pristine doctrinal purity while at the same time respond to the experiential, personal, and difficult needs of married couples and families. Behind every arcane discussion of gradualism and natural law there are parents and children awaiting God’s grace.

— In trying to accommodate the needs of the age, as Pope Francis suggests, the Church risks the danger of losing its courageous, counter-cultural, prophetic voice, a voice that the world needs to hear.

— The concept of having a representative body of the Church voting on doctrinal applications and pastoral solutions strikes me as being rather Protestant.

— In addressing contemporary issues of marriage and the family, the path forward will probably be found somewhere between the positions of Fr. Z and the National Catholic Reporter.

— Have we learned that it’s probably not a good idea to publish half-baked minutes of candid discussions about sensitive topics, especially when we know that the secular media will hijack the preliminary discussions for their own agendas?

— I wonder what the Second Vatican Council would have looked like and what it would have produced if the social media had existed at that time.

— Pope Francis encouraged fearless and candid discussion and transparency during the Synod. I wonder if the American Bishops will adopt the same protocol during their meeting next month in Baltimore.

— Wherever he serves, Cardinal Burke will be a principled, articulate and fearless spokesman for the teachings of the Church.

— Pope Francis is fond of “creating a mess.” Mission accomplished.

— Relax. God’s still in charge. Continue Reading

7

Demons

It’s a staple of horror movies– there is some invisible thing that will get you, destroy your life, take over your loved ones and drag you to hell.  A demon haunts this house!

First, we should probably back up a little– demon and devil are frequently used interchangeably with devil more frequently used for specifically religious or silly uses, and demon for “scary and kind of hopeless to resist.” Religiously, the devil is the chief of the demons, (Diabolus enim et alii daemones, kept popping up while I was trying to find any decent information on this topic) and it’s usually capitalized to indicate the Devil. Originally, demon was more like “supernatural being”– think kami, for those who are into anime and manga, or various location-gods and demigods for those who know their classic mythology. If you’d like to see how you get from δαίμων to “demon,” Dictionary.com is your friend, especially in special uses for various spellings. I’m going to save any further “other powers” geekery for a later article– on to demons!

So, when we talk about a demon, what are we talking about? Besides being the Devil’s henchmen, demons are fallen angels; this means that they are definitely not metaphors, symbols, impulses, or any other way of saying “there are not really demons.” They also are not a synonym for mental illness– any good exorcist is going to check for mental illness as a first step; it doesn’t do anyone any good to avoid treatment in hopes that a ritual will help someone, rather than trying to accurately identify the problem. (I have no idea how frequently mentally ill people are also afflicted by demons–especially when there are so many ways to qualify demonic involvement.) Here’s a longish quote from the Catechism to explain how that works:

II. THE FALL OF THE ANGELS

391 Behind the disobedient choice of our first parents lurks a seductive voice, opposed to God, which makes them fall into death out of envy. Scripture and the Church’s Tradition see in this being a fallen angel, called “Satan” or the “devil”. The Church teaches that Satan was at first a good angel, made by God: “The devil and the other demons were indeed created naturally good by God, but they became evil by their own doing.”

392 Scripture speaks of a sin of these angels. This “fall” consists in the free choice of these created spirits, who radically and irrevocably rejected God and his reign. We find a reflection of that rebellion in the tempter’s words to our first parents: “You will be like God.” The devil “has sinned from the beginning”; he is “a liar and the father of lies”.

393 It is the irrevocable character of their choice, and not a defect in the infinite divine mercy, that makes the angels’ sin unforgivable. “There is no repentance for the angels after their fall, just as there is no repentance for men after death.”

So, demons are definitionally evil, having chosen to throw in against God, and they cannot change now. That throws out a pretty good chunk of the more dramatic “can the fallen angel un-fall” type movies– now for the horror.  I am going to draw heavily from this interview with Fr. Gary Thomas.

 What can demons do?

Infestation:

Think like Paranormal Activity or any other “house has a demon” story. No, you don’t try to fix it by putting a video camera in your bedroom and taunting it, nor do you call “Ghost Hunters,” you see about getting your house blessed; talk to your local parish. Get some holy water. See about getting your hands on a book of prayers, linked below. My mind keeps giving me the image of demonic fleas, but it’s not really funny–here is a quote of signs, from  The Rite:

The various kinds of phenomena that can occur in this situation are vast and include unexplained sounds or noises like mysterious footsteps, loud bangs, laughter, screams; the temperature of a room dropping or the feelings of a cold wind with no discernible source; objects disappearing suddenly and materializing in other parts of the house; strange presences felt’ the presence of offensive odors’ interruption of the electric current or the malfunction of electronic devices; pictures that mysteriously bang or fall off the wall; doors and windows that open and close on their own; dishes or other objects levitating and flying about the room.

This cursed activity can be caused by something horrible having happened on the site– crimes, suicides, satanic rituals (yes, including wicca-of-the-month, and probably turn-of-last-century seances, too– it’s a bad idea to invite in unGodly powers, go figure)– or because an infested object is there, or because the demon is there with a human.

Oppression or Obsession:

Two sides of a coin, the former pushed down and the latter wound up; your thoughts are warped in a bad direction; this is when an individual is being attacked by a demon. You can imagine why an exorcist would need to know a lot about psychology– it would be hard to tell mental or emotional attacks by an being with no physical form from a mental disorder. You might think of this as the demon version of a monkey on your back, or maybe being stalked.  Instead of a house being “haunted,” it’s you. I don’t want to belittle this– having a demon attack you is obviously bad, even if it’s not as cinematically iconic as the final type of demonic assault, possession.

Possession:

When a demon can move the victim’s body against their will. (Willingly accepting a demonic possession is integration.) Their soul isn’t controlled by the demon, but everything else…. This is when the exorcist goes to work, although this is incredibly rare and unlikely to involve green pea soup. Some exorcists have reported physical changes that are not scientifically possible. (A note on the limit of science– you’ve got to be there and set up to get really good data, and somehow I don’t think demons would be willing to cooperate.)

So, should we all go hide?  Nah.  Don’t invite demons in, either actively or by sin, and try to soak your life in spiritually suited everything because that’s a general good idea, but don’t forget that our Boss is massively more powerful.  They’re scary but they will not win.

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.

4

Surprise! The Democrat Party Plays the Race Card!

 

 

 

“Garrisonian theories may do for village lyceums, and he-woman and she-man abstractionists, but the people of Illinois—the white men of the prairie state—who deal in facts, and take the world as it is, will never submit to the amalgamation theories which the black republican aspirant for senator bases upon his construction of the declaration of independence—that the negro is the white man’s equal—that he is entitled to political privileges equal with the white man.”

Illinois Register editorial attacking Abraham Lincoln during the 1858 Senate Race in Illinois

Throughout its history the Democrat Party has always used racist appeals and appeals to racial paranoia to gin up votes, especially when it looks as if the election may be close.  Therefore it is absolutely no surprise that in the closing weeks of the 2014 campaign Democrat political strategists reach for the race card from the bottom of the deck.  John Hinderaker at the Powerline Blog gives us the details:

Faced with major electoral losses this year, the Democratic Party is pulling out all the stops. For them, that means descending, again, into racism. As Glenn Reynolds says:

Democrats used to use racial fearmongering to get white voters to turn out. Now they use racial fearmongering to get black voters to turn out. Not much else has changed….

The Democratic Party is trying to use the shooting of Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri to stimulate black turnout. There is zero reason to believe that the Brown incident had anything to do with race. Is there any evidence that Wilson, if attacked by a 6′ 4″, 292 pound white man, would not have shot him? No. Wilson may or may not have overreacted; we may never know for sure. But connecting the incident to race is sheer political opportunism by the Democrats.

In Georgia, the Democratic Party is circulating a despicable flyer, which doesn’t refer to any particular campaign but likely was intended to stimulate turnout on behalf of Michelle Nunn:

demflyer1

demflyer2

demflyer3

Meanwhile, in Ferguson, a cadre of professional protesters continues to stir the pot in order to keep the Michael Brown story in the news. I wrote here about Ferguson protesters who disrupted a performance of the St. Louis Symphony, where they got a predictably genteel reception. I said I would respect them more if they demonstrated at a St. Louis Cardinals game. Which they did, not long thereafter, with not very happy results.

 

Continue Reading

4

PopeWatch: Suffering Paul VI

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It is always fascinating when a Pope comments on a predecessor.  The comment will almost always be laudatory in nature, but it can also be revealing.  Such was the case when Pope Francis made this comment in his homily at the beatification mass of Paul VI at the close of the Synod on the Family:

 

In his personal notes, the great helmsman of the Council wrote, at the conclusion of its final session: “Perhaps the Lord has called me and preserved me for this service not because I am particularly fit for it, or so that I can govern and rescue the Church from her present difficulties, but so that I can suffer something for the Church, and in that way it will be clear that he, and no other, is her guide and saviour” (P. Macchi, Paolo VI nella sua parola, Brescia, 2001, pp. 120-121).  Continue Reading

2

Saint Albans Raid

images4RMQ9OGM

When one thinks of the Civil War, bucolic Vermont usually does not come to mind, except for the troops from Vermont who fought for the Union.  However, on October 19, 1864 the Civil War came to Saint Albans, Vermont.

21 Confederate raiders from Canada disguised as civilians, the border being only 15 miles from the town, entered Saint Albans beginning October 10, two or three arriving each day so as not to attract attention.  At 3:00 PM they staged three simultaneous bank robberies.  Several armed citizens of Saint Albans resisted the raiders, with one of the civilians killed and one wounded.  Infuriated by the resistance, the raiders attempted to burn the town but succeeded only in burning a shed.  Escaping with $208,000.00 the raiders, under pursuit, escaped to Canada.

The raid caused an enormous furor in Canada which wanted no part of the Civil War.  The raiders were arrested and $88,000 returned to the banks in Saint Albans, all that could be recovered by the Canadian authorities.  A Canadian court however ruled that the Confederates, because they were members of the Confederate Army, were not criminals and could not be extradited to the Union.  No further raids were stage from Canada.

The leader of the raid, Lieutenant Bennett Young, was excluded from President Andrew Johnson’s amnesty and spent several years abroad, studying law and literature in Ireland and Scotland.  Being permitted to return to the US in 1868, he became a prominent attorny in Louisville, Kentucky.  His charitable works were legion, including founding the first black orphanage in Louisville and a school for the blind, along with quite a bit of pro bono legal work for the poor.  He served as national commander of the United Confederate Veterans. Continue Reading

9

The Modern World is Going to Hell: A Continuing Series: The F-Bomb Vermin of the Apocalypse

The  third 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 and here the Pierced Vermin.  The third of the Hamsters is the F-Bomb Vermin. Continue Reading

51

First They Came For the Bakers, And Then the Photographers, And Then the Ministers and Next….

Liberal Tolerance 2

Poor silly man, d’you think they‘ll leave you here to learn to fish?

Lady Alice to Sir Thomas More, A Man For All Seasons

Contrary to the popular idea that the success that the gay rights movement has had through the imposition of gay marriage by judicial fiat means the ending of a culture war, this is actually the beginning of a much greater one, as Robert Tracinski, a secularist, at The Federalist is wise enough to understand:

 

On Friday, city officials in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, informed Donald and Evelyn Knapp, ordained ministers and proprietors of the Hitching Post Wedding Chapel, that they would be required to perform gay weddings or face fines or possibly jail time under the city’s “public accommodations” statute. Their religious views are expected to adjust to the edicts of the state.

So it’s official: a new religious orthodoxy is sweeping across the nation, imposed by government and backed by force. It’s a religious orthodoxy required by secular authorities for a secular purpose, but no matter. Heretics will be found out and forced to recant.

No one ever expects the Secular Inquisition.

Except that we actually did expect it. In fact, it’s inherent in the fundamental basis of the left’s arguments for gay marriage.

I’m speaking here of the argument for gay marriage. It may be hard to remember now, but not very long ago there were compromise proposals for same-sex “civil unions” that were legally equivalent to marriage but under a different name. Gay rights activists consciously rejected these unions in order to specifically demand the use of the term “marriage,” insisting that the state legally recognize and enforce the equality of these marriages with old-fashioned, outmoded heterosexual ones.

Personally, I have no problem with gay people getting hitched, having weddings, and saying that they are “married.” I don’t have any religious objection, on account of not being religious, nor do I think gay marriages, given their very small numbers, will have any particular impact on the state of marriage as an important social institution. (Which, alas, has all sorts of problems of its own.)

But the test of liberty isn’t what happens to people who agree with the intent of a particular edict. The test is what happens to people who disagree.

That brings us to the reason why gay rights advocates insisted on the government granting same-sex unions the title of “marriage.” The theory behind this was that homosexuals suffer from a lack of social acceptance, and gay marriage would put the government’s imprimatur on their status as social equals—along with the promise that this equality is to be backed by government force. Continue Reading

15

PopeWatch: Coordination

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

Sandro Magister on his blog Chiesa indicates the amount of coordination by the forces at the recently concluded Synod on the family who wish to radically transform the moral teaching of the Church:

ROME, October 17, 2014 – “The spirit of the Council is blowing again,” Filipino Cardinal Luis Antonio G. Tagle has said, a rising star of the worldwide episcopate as well as being a historian of Vatican II. And it is true. At the synod that is about to conclude there are many elements in common with what happened at that great event.

The most visible similarity is the distance between the real synod and the virtual synod driven by the media.

But there is an even more substantial resemblance. Both at Vatican Council II and at this synod the changes of paradigm are the product of careful coordination. A protagonist of Vatican II like Fr. Giuseppe Dossetti – the consummate strategist of the four cardinal moderators who were at the controls of the conciliar machine – asserted this with pride. He said that he had “transformed the fate of the Council” thanks to his capacity to pilot the assembly, which he had learned in his previous political experience as the leader of the foremost Italian party.

The same thing has happened at this synod. Both the openness to communion for the civilly divorced and remarried – and therefore the admission of remarriage on the part of the Church – and the startling change of paradigm on the issue of homosexuality that found its way into the “Relatio post disceptationem” would not have been possible without a series of skillfully calculated steps on the part of those who had and have control of the procedures.

In order to understand this, it is enough to review the stages that led to this result, even if the provisory finale of the synod – as will be seen – has not met the expectations of its directors.

The star of the first act is Pope Francis himself. On July 28, 2013, at the press conference held on board the plane taking him back to Rome after his voyage in Brazil, he issued two signals that had a powerful and lasting impact on public opinion.

The first on the treatment of homosexuals:

“If a person is gay and is seeking the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”

The second on the admission of remarriage:

“Also – a parenthesis – the Orthodox have a different practice. They follow the theology of what they call oikonomia, and they give a second chance [of marriage], they allow it. But I believe that this problem – and here I close the parenthesis – must be studied within the context of the pastoral care of marriage.”

There followed in October of 2013 the convening of a synod on the family, the first in a series of two synods on the same issue in the span of a year, with decisions postponed until after the second. As secretary general of this sort of permanent and prolonged synod the pope appointed a new cardinal with no experience in this regard, but very close to him, Lorenzo Baldisseri. Beside whom he placed, as special secretary, the bishop and theologian Bruno Forte, already a leading proponent of the theological and pastoral approach that had its guiding light in the Jesuit cardinal Carlo Maria Martini and its major adversaries first in John Paul II and then in Benedict XVI: an approach explicitly open to a change of Church teaching in the area of sexuality.

The proclamation of the synod was associated with the issuing of a questionnaire throughout the whole world with specific questions on the most controversial questions, including communion for the divorced and homosexual unions.

Thanks in part to this questionnaire – which would be followed by the intentional publication of the answers on the part of some German-speaking episcopates – public opinion would be given the idea that these were questions to be considered “open” not only in theory but also in practice.

Proof of this breaking ahead of the pack came, for example, from the archdiocese of Freiburg in Germany, headed by president of the German episcopal conference Robert Zollitsch, who in a document from one of his pastoral offices encouraged access to communion for the divorced and remarried on the simple basis of “a decision of conscience.”

From Rome, the prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, Cardinal Gerhard L. Müller, reacted by republishing on October 23, 2013 in “L’Osservatore Romano” a note he had already issued four months earlier in Germany reconfirming and explaining the ban on communion.

But his call to have the archdiocese of Freiburg withdraw that document came to nothing. On the contrary, both German cardinal Reinhard Marx, and in more blunt terms Honduran cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga criticized Müller for his “presumption” of cutting off discussion on this matter. Both Marx and Maradiaga are part of the council of eight cardinals called by Pope Francis to assist him in the governance of the universal Church. The pope did not speak out in support of Müller.

On February 20 and 21, 2014, the cardinals met in Rome in consistory. Pope Francis asked them to discuss the family and delegated the introductory talk to Cardinal Walter Kasper, already in the early 1990’s a combative supporter of dropping the ban on communion for the remarried, but defeated at the time by John Paul II and by Joseph Ratzinger.

At the consistory, held behind closed doors, Kasper revived all of his ideas. Many cardinals opposed him, but Francis approved him with the highest praise. Afterward, Kasper would say that he had “coordinated” with the pope on his proposals. Continue Reading

5

Bouncers Hardest Hit

Church Bouncer

 

 50.        Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community: are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a fraternal space in our communities? Often they wish to encounter a Church that offers them a welcoming home. Are our communities capable of providing that, accepting and valuing their sexual orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony?

Language from the Relatio rejected by the Synod.

 

Over at the blog That the Bones You Have Crushed May Thrill, that is a mouthful, brings news of this latest development:

 

London’s Catholic Churches are already undergoing a revolutionary change in the life of the Church in the era of Pope Francis. The long awaited message of mercy has filtered from Rome down to the pews.

Anti-gay security guards – a hitherto common sight outside Catholic Churches in London have today been told that their services will no longer be needed, as the Church in England and Wales takes on the new message of ‘welcoming’ and accepting people with same-sex attraction.

For the past two thousand years, anti-gay security guards have been employed by the Church in order to filter out from congregations anyone who may have homosexual tendencies or inclinations. In a revolutionary move, today Cardinal Vincent Nichols and Archbishop Peter Smith made it known that henceforth, the security guards will be placed inside the Churches in order to defend homosexuals from the lethal and unpredictable stoning and/or beating that has often taken place against homosexuals during Mass and times of quiet prayer and reflection. Continue Reading

13

October 20, 1944: MacArthur Returns to the Philippines

Mine eyes have seen MacArthur
With a Bible on his knee,
He is pounding out communiqués
For guys like you and me,
And while possibly a rumor now,
Someday ’twill be a fact,
That the Lord will hear a deep voice
Say, “Move over God, it’s Mac!”

Anonymous Marine on Corregidor (1942)

 

The most controversial of American commanders in World War II, MacArthur has always roused strong emotion.  Reviled by some as a supreme egotist and an overrated general, and hailed by others as the greatest general in American history, MacArthur will be fought over in history books from now until Doomsday, a fate which I think would not have displeased him.  However, I suspect critics and admirers alike can agree on one thing.  Seventy years ago MacArthur had the supreme moment of his life:

 

 

TO THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES:

I have returned. By the grace of Almighty God our forces stand again on Philippine soil — soil consecrated in the blood of our two peoples. We have come, dedicated and committed, to the task of destroying every vestige of enemy control over your daily lives, and of restoring, upon a foundation of indestructible, strength, the liberties of your people.

At my side is your President, Sergio Osmena, worthy successor of that great patriot, Manuel Quezon, with members of his cabinet. The seat of your government is now therefore firmly re- established on Philippine soil.

The hour of your redemption is here. Your patriots have demonstrated an unswerving and resolute devotion to the principles of freedom that challenges the best that is written on the pages of human history. I now call upon your supreme effort that the enemy may know from the temper of an aroused and outraged people within that he has a force there to contend with no less violent than is the force committed from without.

Rally to me. Let the indomitable spirit of Bataan and Corregidor lead on. As the lines of battle roll forward to bring you within the zone of operations, rise and strike. Strike at every favorable opportunity. For your homes and hearths, strike! For future generations of your sons and daughters, strike! In the name of your sacred dead, strike! Let no heart be faint. Let every arm be steeled. The guidance of divine God points the way. Follow in His Name to the Holy Grail of righteous victory!

Douglas MacArthur

9

PopeWatch: Hounds and Foxes

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

Father Z gives us the closing speech of the Pope at the Synod along with his comments:

 

I can happily say that – with a spirit of collegiality and of synodality [Q: How are they different?] – we have truly lived the experience of “Synod,” a path of solidarity, a “journey together.”

And it has been “a journey” – and like every journey there were moments of running fast, as if wanting to conquer time and reach the goal as soon as possible; other moments of fatigue, as if wanting to say “enough”; other moments of enthusiasm and ardour. There were moments of profound consolation listening to the testimony of true pastors, who wisely carry in their hearts the joys and the tears of their faithful people. Moments of consolation and grace and comfort hearing the testimonies of the families who have participated in the Synod and have shared with us the beauty and the joy of their married life. A journey where the stronger feel compelled to help the less strong, where the more experienced are led to serve others, even through confrontations. And since it is a journey of human beings, with the consolations there were also moments of desolation, of tensions and temptations, of which a few possibilities could be mentioned: [Not that we want to dwell on them…]

– One, a temptation to hostile inflexibility, that is, wanting to close oneself within the written word, (the letter) and not allowing oneself to be surprised by God, by the God of surprises, (the spirit); within the law, within the certitude of what we know and not of what we still need to learn and to achieve. From the time of Christ, it is the temptation of the zealous, of the scrupulous, of the solicitous and of the so-called – today – “traditionalists” and also of the intellectuals.  [“traditionalist” “intellectualisti”.  Really?] 

– The temptation to a destructive tendency to goodness [it. buonismo] [This also means a “going along to get along”, not to make waves.], that in the name of a deceptive mercy binds the wounds without first curing them and treating them; that treats the symptoms and not the causes and the roots. It is the temptation of the “do-gooders,” of the fearful, and also of the so-called “progressives and liberals.[Because liberals are “do-gooders” and the traditionalists … aren’t?]

– The temptation to transform stones into bread to break the long, heavy, and painful fast (cf. Lk 4:1-4); and also to transform the bread into a stone and cast it against the sinners, the weak, and the sick (cf Jn 8:7), that is, to transform it into unbearable burdens (Lk 11:46).

– The temptation to come down off the Cross, to please the people, and not stay there, in order to fulfil the will of the Father; to bow down to a worldly spirit instead of purifying it and bending it to the Spirit of God.

– The temptation to neglect the “depositum fidei” [the deposit of faith], not thinking of themselves as guardians but as owners or masters [of it]; [I am not sure I get that part.  How can you both “neglect” the depositum fidei and then think you are its “owner”.] or, on the other hand, the temptation to neglect reality, making use of meticulous language and a language of smoothing to say so many things and to say nothing! They call them “byzantinisms,” I think, these things… [?  I didn’t get that part, either.  Who neglects reality?]

Dear brothers and sisters, the temptations must not frighten or disconcert us, or even discourage us, because no disciple is greater than his master; so if Jesus Himself was tempted – and even called Beelzebul (cf. Mt 12:24) – His disciples should not expect better treatment.

Personally I would be very worried and saddened if it were not for these temptations and these animated discussions; this movement of the spirits, as St Ignatius called it (Spiritual Exercises, 6), if all were in a state of agreement, or silent in a false and quietist peace. Instead, I have seen and I have heard – with joy and appreciation – speeches and interventions full of faith, of pastoral and doctrinal zeal, of wisdom, of frankness and of courage: and of parresia. And I have felt that what was set before our eyes was the good of the Church, of families, and the “supreme law,” the “good of souls” (cf. Can. 1752). And this always – we have said it here, in the Hall – without ever putting into question the fundamental truths of the Sacrament of marriage: the indissolubility, the unity, the faithfulness, the fruitfulness, that openness to life (cf. Cann. 1055, 1056; and Gaudium et spes, 48).

And this is the Church, the vineyard of the Lord, the fertile Mother and the caring Teacher, who is not afraid to roll up her sleeves to pour oil and wine on people’s wound; who doesn’t see humanity as a house of glass to judge or categorize people. This is the Church, One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic and composed of sinners, needful of God’s mercy. This is the Church, the true bride of Christ, who seeks to be faithful to her spouse and to her doctrine. It is the Church that is not afraid to eat and drink with prostitutes and publicans. The Church that has the doors wide open to receive the needy, the penitent, and not only the just or those who believe they are perfect! The Church that is not ashamed of the fallen brother and pretends not to see him, but on the contrary feels involved and almost obliged to lift him up and to encourage him to take up the journey again and accompany him toward a definitive encounter with her Spouse, in the heavenly Jerusalem.

The is the Church, our Mother! And when the Church, in the variety of her charisms, expresses herself in communion, she cannot err: it is the beauty and the strength of the sensus fidei, of that supernatural sense of the faith which is bestowed by the Holy Spirit so that, together, we can all enter into the heart of the Gospel and learn to follow Jesus in our life. And this should never be seen as a source of confusion and discord.

Many commentators, or people who talk, have imagined that they see a disputatious Church where one part is against the other, doubting even the Holy Spirit, the true promoter and guarantor of the unity and harmony of the Church – the Holy Spirit who throughout history has always guided the barque, through her Ministers, even when the sea was rough and choppy, and the ministers unfaithful and sinners.

And, as I have dared to tell you , [as] I told you from the beginning of the Synod, it was necessary to live through all this with tranquillity, and with interior peace, so that the Synod would take place cum Petro and sub Petro (with Peter and under Peter), and the presence of the Pope is the guarantee of it all.  [I don’t think the mere presence of the Pope that guarantees anything.  The Pope also has to act and speak.  No?]

We will speak a little bit about the Pope, now, in relation to the Bishops [laughing]. So, the duty of the Pope is that of guaranteeing the unity of the Church; it is that of reminding the faithful of  their duty to faithfully follow the Gospel of Christ; it is that of reminding the pastors that their first duty is to nourish the flock – to nourish the flock – that the Lord has entrusted to them, and to seek to welcome – with fatherly care and mercy, and without false fears – the lost sheep. I made a mistake here. I said welcome: [rather] to go out and find them.  [Interesting!]

His duty is to remind everyone that authority in the Church is a service, as Pope Benedict XVI clearly explained, with words I cite verbatim: “The Church is called and commits herself to exercise this kind of authority which is service and exercises it not in her own name, but in the name of Jesus Christ… through the Pastors of the Church, in fact: it is he who guides, protects and corrects them, because he loves them deeply. [Because he loves them, he corrects them.] But the Lord Jesus, the supreme Shepherd of our souls, has willed that the Apostolic College, today the Bishops, in communion with the Successor of Peter… to participate in his mission of taking care of God’s People, of educating them in the faith and of guiding, inspiring and sustaining the Christian community, or, as the Council puts it, ‘to see to it… that each member of the faithful shall be led in the Holy Spirit to the full development of his own vocation in accordance with Gospel preaching, and to sincere and active charity’ and to exercise that liberty with which Christ has set us free (cf. Presbyterorum Ordinis, 6)… and it is through us,” Pope Benedict continues, “that the Lord reaches souls, instructs, guards and guides them. St Augustine, in his Commentary on the Gospel of St John, says: ‘let it therefore be a commitment of love to feed the flock of the Lord’ (cf. 123, 5); this is the supreme rule of conduct for the ministers of God, an unconditional love, like that of the Good Shepherd, full of joy, given to all, attentive to those close to us and solicitous for those who are distant (cf. St Augustine, Discourse [Sermon] 340, 1; Discourse 46, 15), gentle towards the weakest, the little ones, the simple, the sinners, to manifest the infinite mercy of God with the reassuring words of hope (cf. ibid., Epistle, 95, 1).”

So, the Church is Christ’s – she is His bride – and all the bishops, in communion with the Successor of Peter, have the task and the duty of guarding her and serving her, not as masters but as servants. The Pope, in this context, is not the supreme lord but rather the supreme servant – the “servant of the servants of God”; the guarantor of the obedience and the conformity of the Church to the will of God, to the Gospel of Christ, and to the Tradition of the Church, putting aside every personal whim, despite being – by the will of Christ Himself – the “supreme Pastor and Teacher of all the faithful” (Can. 749) and despite enjoying “supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church” (cf. Cann. 331-334).

Dear brothers and sisters, now we still have one year to mature, with true spiritual discernment, the proposed ideas and to find concrete solutions to so many difficulties and innumerable challenges that families must confront; to give answers to the many discouragements that surround and suffocate families.

One year to work on the “Synodal Relatio” which is the faithful and clear summary of everything that has been said and discussed in this hall and in the small groups. It is presented to the Episcopal Conferences as “lineamenta” [guidelines].

May the Lord accompany us, and guide us in this journey for the glory of His Name, with the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of Saint Joseph. And please, do not forget to pray for me! Thank you!

[The hymn Te Deum was sung, and Benediction given.] Continue Reading

And Sheridan Twenty Miles Away

Thomas Buchanan Read was an artist and poet who served as a staff officer in the Civil War.  Inspired by Sheridan’s decisive victory at Cedar Creek on October 19, 1864, Read dashed off the poem, Sheridan’s Ride in an hour.  The poem was a sensation throughout the North.  To a war weary population, Cedar Creek was welcome proof that the seemingly endless War would soon end in Union victory.  Public performances were held throughout the North.   Republican rallies for the upcoming election featured readings of the poem with coconut shells used to mimic the sound of the horse’s hooves on the road.  The Cedar Creek sensation helped to re-elect Lincoln.

Here is a newspaper interview of Phil Sheridan on the poem which originally appeared in the Philadelphia Press:

“Boys, those of you who are not cowards follow me; for I’ll sleep in that camp tonight or I’ll sleep in Hell!”
That was the “terrible oath” the author of  “Sheridan’s Ride” referred to and it had the effect intended. The soldiers knew that “Little Phil” was frightfully in earnest, and there wasn’t a man in all the shattered army who wouldn’t share his bed. I asked General Sheridan the other day if he knew the author of the poem. 

“Yes” he replied, “I knew him well. I first met Mr. Read at the headquarters of Gen. Rosecrans, just before the battle of Stone River. He was a guest of the General, and remained in camp quite a while, so that we all got to know him.” 

“Do you know how he came to write the poem?”

 “Yes” said the General, “I have heard him tell about it several times. There has been a number of stories published about the origin of the poem, but I will tell you the true one, just as Mr. Read told it to me. Did you know that James E. Murdock suggested the idea?” 

“Murdock the elocutionist?”

 “The very man. He was an actor at one of the Cincinnati theaters at the time, where I had known him. Murdock has always been a great friend of mine, and I am glad to know the old man keeps so well. I see that he was able to appear at the memorial services in honor of Chief Justice Chase the other day. Murdock lost a son at the battle of Missionary Ridge – the boy was in my command and the old man came down to get the body, don’t you know? The enemy occupied the place where the boy was buried, and Mr. Murdock remained a guest at my headquarters until we recovered the ground. He used to ride the lines with me every day, and always used my black horse ‘Rienzi’ – the one that was afterward called ‘Winchester’ and the same that I had under me on that twenty mile canter. No man ever straddled a better animal, and old Murdock became very fond of him. He was a horse that it was an honor to mount, you see, and in that poem Read gave him a good sendoff.  

“Well” continued Sheridan, “things were very exciting down around Chattanooga those days, and Mr. Murdock saw a good deal of war. On Sundays he always used to recite poems to the troops around headquarters, and there was one of Browning’s that the boys never missed a chance to call for. It was a great favorite with me, don’t you know, just as it was with the soldiers, and we never let the old man off without reading it. It was the story of the ride from Ghent to Aix – you remember it.  

“Well, you see, after the battle of Cedar Creek, there was published in Harper’s Weekly a story of my ride from Winchester and a picture of me on the back of old Rienzi. Murdock had agreed to recite a poem at the Sanitary Fair that was being held at Cincinnati at that time, and Read had promised to write something new and appropriate for him. But when Murdock called on him for the manuscript the afternoon he was to recite, he hadn’t touched a pen to the paper – said he didn’t know what to write about. Well, Murdock had just seen a man who was in the battle, and was full of the story, being a friend of mine, you see; so he pulled the copy of Harper’s Weekly from his pocket, and repeated to Read all the officer had told him. Read jumped up, locked himself in his room, wrote the poem off-handed in an hour, got his wife to make a copy, and had it over to Murdock’s before dark. The latter was delighted with it, and read it at the Sanitary Fair that night.” 

“Where did you first see it?” 

The first I ever saw of it was in the newspapers. One of my officers brought it to my tent one morning in the camp down in the Shenandoah Valley.” 

“It is said that you have the original manuscript.” 

“I wish I had, but I have never seen it. I don’t suppose it is in existence. As I understand, it was originally written in pencil, and Mrs. Read copied it for Mr. Murdock.”

 “How did Read come to paint the picture of Sheridan’s Ride?”

 “Well, the poem made a great sensation, you know, and Read, being a painter as well as a poet, got a commission from the Union League Club of Philadelphia for the picture. They sent him down to New Orleans, where I was stationed, and I sat for him there. He was going to Rome that fall and did not finish it, but made some sketches and then completed the picture in Italy. I have never had a copy of the picture, but he afterward gave me the sketches, which I still have at my house.” 

“Who were with you on that ride?” 

“Sandy Forsythe, who is down in New Mexico with the Fourth Cavalry, and Colonel O’Keefe. The latter was killed at the battle of Five Forks.” Continue Reading

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Pope Paul VI and the Smoke of Satan

 

(The day of the beatification of Pope Paul VI seems like a good day to repost this post.)

I have long heard about Pope Paul VI having referred to the “smoke of Satan” having entered the Church.  Usually most references to it do not mention when it was said and in what context.  The quote apparently was said on June 29, 1972 by Pope Paul VI on the ninth anniversary of his coronation during a homily given at a mass for the solemnity of Saint Peter and Saint Paul.  The Italian text is here.  As far as I know there is no official translation.  On November 13, 2006 Jimmy Atkin posted at his blog  a translation done of the homily by Father Stephanos Pedrano.  Please note that the text that is translated is a summary of what the Pope said and not a word for word transcript of what the Pope said.  Father Pedrano’s translation is as follows (I have placed in red the portion of the text that refers to Satan): Continue Reading

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Rebuilding After the Earthquake

Synod

 

 

In pastoral terms, the document published today by the Synod of Bishops represents an earthquake, the “big one” that hit after months of smaller tremors.

John Thavis, A Pastoral Earthquake at the Synod

 

A guest post by commenter John of Any Other Name:

I’m not sure rebuilding is entirely necessary.  It is clear that there are challenges facing the Church, notably from the inside.  However, I stumbled across Dave Armstrong’s thoughts on the Synod (prior to the actual beginning of it) and the media controversy surrounding Cardinal Kasper and other topics.  Dave writes at length, but I find these excerpts as a good summary for my point:

Cardinal Kasper seems to have some liberal views. I agree. All theological errors come from Germany and England and The Netherlands (+ the US). No surprise there. It was the same at Vatican II with Dollinger (who denied papal infallibility and was excommunicated). Ho hum. ZZZzzzz (-_-) .

One day all the chronic worriers and complainers will have to stop worrying about the pope and the Church: stop acting like they have no faith that God guides and protects her.

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

What I’m saying are these things:

    1. There have always been serious problems in the Church. It’s nothing new, and is as old as Judas, the ancient Corinthians, Galatians, and seven churches of Revelation.

    2. Anyone (whatever one bishop or a hundred say) who seeks will find, and it’s now easier than ever (with the Internet) to locate orthodox Catholic teaching. Somehow in the 4th century, laypeople by the millions knew what was orthodox teaching, despite the widespread heresy of Arianism taught by many bishops. Most of them couldn’t even read.

    3. One overcomes the darkness by lighting a candle (by teaching, by prayer, by example, etc.), not merely complaining about the darkness.

    4. Thus, if someone (like you) is worried about souls, then go out and take action (and this action includes prayer) to help those souls. I do it by teaching and apologetics. I’m doing something about it. People come into the Church and become more confident, informed Catholics as a result of my work. I show my concern by what I do with my life, by what I do for a living as my vocation. What are you and others who are so concerned, doing about it?

http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2014/10/on-ultimate-folly-and-futility-of.html

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October 19, 1864: Battle of Cedar Creek

Battle-of-Cedar-Creek

The last major battle fought in the Shenandoah Valley in the Civil War, it was fitting that the topsy turvy nature of the battle of Cedar Creek reflected the see-saw fights waged by the Union and the Confederacy for control of the Valley since the start of the War.

After his victories in the Shenandoah Valley in September, and his destruction of the most valuable agricultural regions in the Valley, Sheridan assumed that the War was at an end in the Valley for the winter, at least as far as major battles were concerned.  Delploying his 31,000 Army of the Shenandoah along Cedar Creek northeast of Strasburg, Viriginia, Sheridan felt secure enough, even with Early’s 21,000 Army of the Valley in the vicinity, to attend a conference with Grant in Washington on October 18.  On the evening of October 18 he slept at Winchester, twelve miles from his army.

Sheridan of course did not know that Early had received a letter from General Lee on October 12 urging him to attack.  Examing the Union position carefully, Early decided that an attack on the Union left, which relied for its security on natural obstacles might succeed, Early assuming correctly that the Union commanders would be more concerned about an attack from the west which was free of such obstacles.

The Confederates on the evening of October 18 in three columns made a night march against the Union left.  By 3:30 AM they were in position to laucher their attack.  The attack began at 5:00 AM in darkness and a thick fog.  Surprise was complete and the division sized Union Army of West Virginia which was at the far left of the Union force was quickly overwhelmed.  By 10:00 AM, Early had driven the seven Union divisions from the field, captured 1300 prisoners, taken 24 cannon, and his famished troops were feeding off Union supplies in the abandoned Union camps.  His troops seemed to have won an against the odds victory.  Then Sheridan arrived at the battlefield and changed everything.

At 6:00 AM pickets at Winchester reported that they heard the faint sound of artillery.  Not expecting an attack Sheridan thought nothing of it.  However he ordered his horse Rienzi to be saddled and after a quick breakfast he began at 9:00 AM to ride towards Cedar Creek.  The sounds of fighting became louder the closer approached and Sheridan realized a fight was in progress.  Sheridan was cheered by stragglers from the fight as he approached Cedar Creek.  Sheridan ordered the stragglers to follow him which most of them did, convinced that little Phil would bring them victory again.  Sheridan arrived at the battlefield at 10:30 AM.

Sheridan immediately began planning his counterattack.  Early had effectively lost control of his army due to the plundering of the Union supplies, and Sheridan had plenty of time to perfect his plan before he launched his attack at 4:00 PM.  The smaller Confederate force resisted for about an hour when its left began to crumble and the Confederates routed from the field.

Union casualties were 5,665 to 3000 Confederate.   Among the Confederate dead was Major General Stephen Dodson Ramseur, who died the day after the battle in spite of the best medical care his Union captors could provide.  The day before the battle he had learned that his wife had borne him a daughter.  His last words were   “Bear this message to my precious wife—I die a Christian and hope to meet her in heaven.”  He was 27 years old.

The battle was decisive and Early’s army was no longer a threat to Union control of the Shenandoah.  The victory provided a great boost to the re-election campaign of Lincoln during the closing weeks of the campaign leading up to election day November 8.

Here is Sheridan’s account of the battle in his memoirs: Continue Reading

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PopeWatch: Second Synod

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

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

 

VATICAN–It was announced today that a second synod, tentatively scheduled for mid-January, will solely focus on learning the fundamental teachings of the Catholic Church.

The news comes just days after Pope Francis asked synod participants to “speak clearly,” encouraging them to speak openly.  “Let no one say, ‘This can’t be said, they will think this or that about me.’ Everything we feel must be said, without fear,” Francis said. After reading the badly translated, and what many have called “severely flawed” report called Relatio Post Disceptationem, Francis has since regretted the decision to ask the synod fathers to speak openly, supposedly overestimating their intelligence.

An adviser to Pope Francis has since suggested that before moving on with another synod on the family, that the synod fathers learn some of the basics of Catholicism.

“The synod  will be headed by 16-year-old African Catholic Zyana Ndiaye and is expected to cover such subjects such as Jesus, the Church, as well as sin. Every synod father, except for those from Africa, will remain quiet and will be ignored if they attempt to offer an opinion.”

At press time, Pope Francis has issued a statement to those who will be participating in future synods, saying, “Let everyone say, ‘This can’t be said, they will think this or that about me.’ Everything we feel must be kept quiet, with fear, especially if you are going to make a Kaspar out of yourself.”

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Picture on the Wall

Something for the weekend.  Picture on the Wall.  Written in 1864 by Henry Clay Work, it captures the overwhelming tragedy of each of the 650-800,000 deaths in our Civil War.  One victory that can be claimed by each of the fallen, North and South, is that after the terrible trial of the Civil War our nation has never repeated that fratricidal struggle.  Perhaps the lessons that Rossiter Johnson hoped would be learned from the War were learned: Continue Reading

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Blunt Truth From Down Under

There’s only one way to stop this. Cardinal Pell, it’s rumored today, stood up during the proceedings on Thursday when the Synod leaders seemed to have decided on their own authority not to publish the reports of the small groups, presumably because they were uniformly tough on what’s been too soft. He slammed his hand on the table and said, “You must stop manipulating this Synod.” That forced a general vote – and the reports were published.

Robert Royal, The Catholic Thing

 

 

 

 

Hattip to Father Z.  One of the heroes emerging from the Synod is George Cardinal Pell.  It is a pleasure to hear the blunt spoken Aussie in the above video.

 

Cardinal George Pell said working-group reports from the Synod of Bishops on the family finally give a true picture of the assembly’s views, counteracting what he characterized as a misleading midterm report.

We wanted the Catholic people around the world to know actually what was going on in talking about marriage and the family and, by and large, I think people will be immensely reassured,” Cardinal Pell, prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, told Catholic News Service Oct. 16, the day the reports were published.

“We’re not giving in to the secular agenda; we’re not collapsing in a heap. We’ve got no intention of following those radical elements in all the Christian churches, according to the Catholic churches in one or two countries, and going out of business,” he said.

In a surprise move, synod members voted Oct. 16 to publish summaries of comments by 10 small groups into which they had divided to discuss an Oct. 13 midterm report by Hungarian Cardinal Peter Erdo of Esztergom-Budapest. As the assembly’s relator, Cardinal Erdo has the task of guiding the discussion and synthesizing its results.

Cardinal Erdo’s report stirred controversy inside and outside the synod hall with its strikingly conciliatory language toward people with ways of life contrary to church teaching, including divorced and civilly remarried Catholics, cohabitating couples and those in same-sex unions.

The midterm report was “tendentious, skewed; it didn’t represent accurately the feelings of the synod fathers,” said Cardinal Pell. “In the immediate reaction to it, when there was an hour, an hour-and-a-half of discussion, three-quarters of those who spoke had some problems with the document.”

“A major absence was Scriptural teaching,” he said. “A major absence was a treatment of the church tradition,” including teaching on the family by Pope Paul VI, St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.

“The secret for all Catholic vitality is fidelity to the teachings of Christ and to the tradition of the church,” said the cardinal, who sits on the nine-member Council of Cardinals advising Pope Francis on church governance.

Cardinal Pell said only three of the synod’s 10 small groups had supported a controversial proposal by German Cardinal Walter Kasper to make it easier for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to receive Communion, even without an annulment of their first, sacramental marriages.

“Communion for the divorced and remarried is for some — very few, certainly not the majority of synod fathers — it’s only the tip of the iceberg, it’s a stalking horse. They want wider changes, recognition of civil unions, recognition of homosexual unions,” Cardinal Pell said. “The church cannot go in that direction. It would be a capitulation from the beauties and strengths of the Catholic tradition, where people sacrificed themselves for hundreds, for thousands of years to do this.” Continue Reading

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Sin and Eternity

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Father Peter Stravinkas at One Peter Five has some invaluable insights into the Synod:

There was apparently significant concern raised that we should not employ “offensive” or harsh-sounding language to describe certain life-styles. While there is no need to go out of one’s way to be hurtful in discussing morally problematic matters – and it can even be counter-productive to do so – one cannot resort to sugar-coating behaviors which have eternal consequences (presuming we believe that). There is no easy, palatable way for an oncologist to inform a patient that he has a malignant tumor and what the remediation process involves. Similarly, people who engage in sexual intercourse outside the bounds of marriage – and especially those who do so habitually (whether heterosexual or homosexual) – face the prospect of eternal punishment, so say Jesus and Saint Paul and the entire Christian Tradition. The fact that there is no “nice” way to issue the wake-up call is proof positive of the seriousness of it all. The stark language is, as a matter of fact, an act of charity, saying, “I love you so much that I don’t want you to spend eternity in Hell.” The physician who would refrain from offering an honest and forthright diagnosis would be deemed a bad physician, derelict in his duty. No faithful believer – and surely no loving one – can stand by and watch those he loves head toward damnation. Continue Reading

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PopeWatch: Revolt

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

Father Z reports on the latest occurences at the Synod.  I do not think revolt is too strong a term to use:

 

Apparently the bishops at the Synod are tired of being manipulated.

They created a little lío of their own.

In full view of the Pope, they rose up pretty much as a body and rebelled against the way Card. Baldisseri, who seems to be the chief architect of what may have been a pre-determined agenda, has been handling them.

I am reading Marco Tosatti’s piece at La Stampa.

My translation:

Synod, more censorship, protests

The General Secretary of the Synod [Card. Balidsseri] announced the decision not to publish the reports of the Circuli Minores [subcommittees by language groups, tasked with contributing elements to the final report]. The announcement provoked the protest of Card. Erdo [the president or chairman for this Synod], and numerous other Synodal Fathers. The Pope, silent and very serious. At last, Fr. Lombardi announced that the reports of the commissions would be made public.

[…]

Erdo took the floor, implicitly distancing himself from the report that bore his name, and saying that if that “disceptatio” had been made public, then the others of the Circulo Minores ought to be made public.

His speech was followed by an avalanche from many others along the same line, underscored by thunderous applause.

The Secretary of the Synod, Card. Balidisseri, was watching the Pope, as if in search of advice and lights, and the Pope remained silent and very serious.

Silent also were the Under-secretaries of the Synod, Fabene, Forte, Schoenborn and Maradiaga. [What a list.]

Kasper wasn’t there.

Finally, Fr. Lombardi announced that the reports of the Commission would be made public.

This is a big deal because the bishops didn’t simply roll over and let the appointees running the Synod run them over.

This Synod has been characterized by an unusual amount of information control.  There has been little transparency about the workings of the Synod.  Instead, the outside world was “informed” about what was being discussed through summaries.  Sure, the leadership of the Synod said that the participants could talk to the press on their own, but that’s not the same thing as knowing what went on the Synod hall.   Then, what one might be able to imagine was a pre-positioned midpoint report was sprung on everyone, with weird and disturbing paragraphs that didn’t seem to reflect the workings of the Synod over all.  That caused Card. Erdo, who had signed it, openly during a presser to give up Archbp. Forte as the perp.

Then Card. Balidisseri determines that the reports of the subcommittees wouldn’t be published.  That was a bridge too far.

This in full view of the Pope, who seems not to have shown his hand, but also who seems not to have been pleased at what was going on.

Meanwhile, Nicole Winfield of AP, who seems never to tire of calling Card. Burke a “hardliner” or something like, has a piece about the origin of the language in the infamous midpoint Relatio about homosexuals:

Erdo has already named the official who wrote the section on gays, Monsignor [Archbp.] Bruno Forte, appointed by Pope Francis as the special secretary to the synod. Forte is an Italian theologian known for pushing the pastoral envelope [that’s one way to put it] on dealing with people in “irregular” unions while staying true to Catholic doctrine. [Oh?]

Technically speaking, Forte and all the members of the drafting committee had access to far more material than the bishops themselves since they had the lengthy written speeches each synod “father” submitted prior to the meeting. Those written speeches factored into the draft report, even if the bishops didn’t utter them during the four minutes each was allowed to speak. [Or see them at any point.  This was another procedural point that some expressed concern about before the Synod.  Everyone was to submit their speeches to Card. Baldisseri ahead of time.  Who knows what happened to them then?]

In fact, the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said he recalled only one speech out of about 265 about gays during the debate.

So it’s not surprising that bishops didn’t recognize everything in the draft report since these written submissions weren’t made public or distributed to the bishops themselves, and the oral presentations only reflected a summary or particular point that a bishop wanted to make. But at the same time, there is no real way to know which bishop or bishops had proposed such ground-breaking language or whether it was more a reflection of Forte’s view. [The controversial language was “ground-breaking” but Card. Burke is a “hardliner”.  Just so we’re clear.]

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Field of Lost Shoes

Field of Lost Shoes, a film on the role played by cadets of the Virginia Military Institute at the battle of New Market on May 15, 1864, is in limited release now.  If I cannot see it in a theater, I will certainly buy it on dvd when it comes out.  Here is my post on the battle of New Market that I ran earlier this year.

“And New Market’s young cadets.”

Southern Birthright, Bobby Horton

New_Market_svg

John C. Breckinridge, fourteenth Vice-President of the United States and current Confederate Major General, had a big problem.  His task was to hold the Shenandoah Valley, the bread basket of the Army of Northern Virginia, for the Confederacy, and he was confronted with two Union columns seeking to rendezvous at Staunton, Virginia and place the Valley under Union control.  One column under George Crook was coming from the West Virginia.  The second column under Franz Sigel was coming down the Valley.  Sigel had twice the men that Breckinridge could muster, 9,000 to 4000, but Breckinridge saw no alternative but to march north and engage Sigel before the two Union columns could join against him.

 

The Confederacy by this time was robbing the cradle and the grave to fill out its ranks.  In the cradle contingent with Breckinridge were 257 cadets of the Virginia Military Institute, who ranged in age from 15-24.

 

Breckinridge brought Sigel to battle at mid-morning on May 15, 1864 south of New Market.  With detachments Sigel’s force was down to 6,000 men.  However, 2 to 3 was still very poor odds for an attacking army. Continue Reading

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PopeWatch: Sheer Jaw-Dropping Ineptness

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

Robert Royal of The Catholic Thing gives us more details from the fallout at the Vatican over the Relatio:

 

I’ve  said here that Monday, the day the document officially known as the Relatio post disceptationem (Synod interim report) was issued, was the strangest day I’ve ever spent in Rome. I take it back. Yesterday, the daily Synod press briefing essentially retracted much that was said Monday and by implication parts of the document, while stopping just short of admitting as much. It was a 180-degree turn such as may never have been seen in so short a radius on Vatican soil. Ever. Throughout the ages.

And as details emerged Tuesday, the rollout of the relatio looked to rival the rollout of Obamacare for sheer jaw-dropping ineptness.

South African Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier was perhaps the most candid participant. Like all the others, he pushed the line that the relatio presented Monday was wrongly seen as a set of conclusions, when it is in fact a work in progress merely intended to guide further discussion. More on that below. But he also admitted that a message went out that was not the right message. And even ventured that, though the final document will doubtless be better balanced and much better worded, the misimpressions fostered in the press by the document and already given wide dissemination have put the Synod in  a position that may very well be “irredeemable.” (His term.)

I myself look forward to hearing more from Cardinal Napier. But it seem wrong – for once – to blame the media for misunderstanding what the Church is doing. The media emphasized the troubling parts of the text, of course, but for the most part understood quite well what the text and the way it was issued had done. It would have been quite easy for Vatican spokesmen – or the text itself – to have made clear that the relatio was only a series of points the bishops had in fact discussed. That was not made clear. And in Tuesday’s indirect recantation, it was hard to determine, despite persistent questions by journalists, how this sorry mess ever saw the light of day.

Before things even got started at yesterday’s briefing, Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., director of the Holy See Press Office and panel discussion leader announced that he had been asked to issue a declaration and “clarification” by the General Secretary of the Synod, Cardinal Baldisseri. According to official sources, at least forty-one bishops who are involved in the Synod were quite surprised – and quite “agitated” – at the appearance of the document Monday.
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