8

Synod as Ark

The Fire Next Time

 

Yet another bad sign for those who fear that the upcoming renewal of the Synod will spit in the face of Christ and approve reception of Holy Communion by Catholics in adulterous marriages:

ZENIT: How can the Synod on the Family be represented?

Archbishop Paglia: If I were to describe the Synod with an image, I would say that the Church gathers all families, the good ones and those that have problems, all of them, to say to the whole world that the family is the way of happiness for contemporary society in the third millennium, because globalization has become almost solely that of the market and, let me to say it: loneliness is being globalized.

ZENIT: Why is there fear sometimes to address these topics, even among more “observant” persons?

Archbishop Paglia: I would say that it is necessary to have more serenity and more confidence. Let me to answer with a biblical image: the deluge. At that moment, God created Noah’s ark. And the Church is a bit like Noah’s ark. We are all there, all types and tendencies. What is important is to be in the ark, and not to make holes in it or to open the windows.

The Church is called with all her variety – all are necessary. We cannot say that only “the head is important.” A Church that is only head would be monstrous. The little finger is also important. The knee is important. One can live without a hand, but it’s not the ideal. I would like to say to all Christians and to men of good will: at this moment the Church, with Pope Francis, wants to be like Noah’s ark to save all of them, all families. This is a wide objective as wide as God’s heart. A large ark where there is room for all, with one conviction: while we are together we will be happy. Continue Reading

7

The University of St. Thomas (St. Paul, MN) says, “Stick it in your ear!”

 

The folks over at The College Fix have done their homework, exposing how administrators at the University of St. Thomas (UST)—a “private Catholic liberal arts school” located in St. Paul, MN—are standing by their decision to let students to gain academic credit by serving as interns at a Minnesota-based National Organization for Women (NOW) chapter, even though the organization advocates for abortion on demand, LGBTQ rights, same-sex marriage, and its brand of so-called “racial justice.” UST’s Women’s Studies Department is sponsoring the internship opportunity.

This decision comes after the folks over at TFP Student Action also did their homework, organizing a successful petition drive garnering 10k+ signatures admonishing UST for offering internships at Planned Parenthood and Minnesota NARAL. Quickly after that email was forwarded to UST President Julie Sullivan, the listings were removed.

Now, that administrative fiat might satisfy some people.

However, what’s noteworthy about the NOW incident is not that diversity and inclusion means providing students opportunities to intern in organizations whose purpose contradicts official Church teaching. Nor is what’s noteworthy that academic administrators and professors sincerely believe that providing students those internships advances the institution’s mission as Catholic.

What’s noteworthy about this incident is that doing so provides additional evidence of a pattern of conduct on the part of academic administrators and professors at many of the nation’s Catholic universities and colleges. Namely, tacitly allowing opportunities like those internships at NOW to proceed. How? Perhaps through a “wink and a nod” or, even better yet, “Don’t inform me.” The idea is that if nobody finds out, all the better. And, if a crazy conservative Catholic does find out and complain, assert plausible deniability.

To wit:

…the links were published in error on the website of our College of Arts and Sciences, and they are being corrected. Student internships in the college are approved through the Office of the Dean. The Dean has not approved, nor would he approve, academic credit for internships at Planned Parenthood or abortion organizations.

  • The Director of UST’s Women’s Studies Program, Susan Meyers, claimed she was “completely unaware of any protests and petitions regarding Planned Parenthood internships at UST.”

What’s important is that other voices also be introduced into the discussion. In this way, the narrative can be change from one that focuses upon upholding Catholic identity to one of safeguarding academic freedom. To wit:

  • UST’s Vice President for University and Government Relations, Doug Hennes, said that UST administrators view the NOW as “an advocacy group on a wide variety of women’s issues, not specifically on abortion.” Yes, including: LGBTQ rights, same-sex marriage, and racial justice.
  • Catherine Cory, Director UST’s Murray Institute—an on-campus Catholic institute for dialogue with the Archdiocese—asked: “If some of Planned Parenthood’s work is morally wrong according to Catholic moral teaching, does that make everything they do wrong?” “Planned Parenthood does more than provide abortions and contraceptives,” Cory added.
  • A St. Thomas alumna, Chloe Lawyer, thinks “it is a shame that members of the St. Thomas community are not even allowed to view these opportunities.” Lawyer just happens to have completed one of those internships at Planned Parenthood and said that limiting internship opportunities disrupts freethinking, adding, “Freethinking does not always align with Catholic values.”

Yes, indeed. When caught with your finger in the cookie jar, claim plausible deniability. Then have all of your friends explain why it’s perfectly reasonably that your finger should be in the cookie jar.

What the NOW incident exposes is what may be a more radical approach emerging, namely, “Stick it in your ear.”

When will the nation’s Catholic bishops realize where this narrative is headed and set about righting the wrong?

 

 

 

To read The College Fix article, click on the following link:
http://www.thecollegefix.com/post/21062/

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

6

PopeWatch: Preventive Clarification

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

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

 

Speaking to journalists at his residence inside the Vatican this morning, Pope Emeritus Benedict answered journalists’ questions concerning the currently debated question of whether or not the use of preventive clarifications is acceptable for Papal interviews.

“It is important not to attribute simplistically the comments made by the Pope during many of his off-the-cuff interviews to error,” Benedict said. “That would be a great inaccuracy. It is true that the history of this Pope contains a tendency to say random things that seem to anger some traditional Catholic sensibilities, but the fact is that he has not gone against the traditions of his predecessors.”

A  journalists from EOTT pressed him, asking the former head of the Catholic Church if the Catechism of the Catholic Church permits “preventive clarifications” in exceptional cases.

“The concept of preventive clarification does not appear in the Catechism,” Benedict stated, adding in clarification, “We cannot simply say that the Catechism does not justify clarifications of what Francis is going to say, but it is true that the Catechism has developed a doctrine which on one hand does not deny that man does have free will, that the Pope is a man, and therefore he, as man, can say things without considering how quickly the media can and will jump on anything he says without a second thought. The problem that we face, of course, is that Francis does not stick to script, but rather, tends to trail off into a wide variety of topics, so that even if we can justify preventive clarifications, how could the Vatican know beforehand when it’s time to clarify a yet-to-be-said statement, or what it is exactly that they are about to clarify? These are many of the questions that must be discussed.” Continue Reading

January 31, 1865: Passage of the Thirteenth Amendment

Something for the weekend.  Battle Cry of Freedom.  After the fall elections in 1864 passage of the Thirteenth Amendment banning slavery was inevitable.  In 1864 the Thirteenth Amendment passed the Republican controlled Senate with an overwhelming majority of 38-6.  In the House the Amendment failed 93-65, thirteen votes shy of the two-thirds necessary for passage.  In November the Republicans in the House gained 46 seats and would have a majority of 134 when the new House was seated.  Nonetheless, the Lincoln administration was eager to undertake another vote in the House when the old Congress came into session after the election.  Lincoln made direct emotional appeals to several Democrats in favor of the Amendment.   Favors and appointments were offered to Democrats who switched their votes.  The Amendment passed 119-56.  Black spectators cheered after passage and several members of Congress openly wept.  Here is the text of the Amendment: Continue Reading

2

Prelude to Axanar

 Never attempt to force the pink skins onto thin ice!

Andorian maxim about Humans

 

Further proof that with Kickstarter, and other modes of alternative financing, and CGI technology being literally at our fingertips, we are rapidly reaching a world where the old Judy Garland-Mickey Rooney movies of the thirties, with complete amateurs somehow putting together a professional musical, can now be taken as prediction rather than fantasy.  The above video, Prelude to Axanar, is incredibly well done, a “retrospective” look by major participants in The Four Years War between the Klingons and the Federation.  It is in effect a Youtube advertisement for the forthcoming independent movie on the battle of Axanar, the decisive turning point in The Four Years War.  Trek fans rejoice.  Also rejoice those who are hungry for better quality entertainment than is slopped out by the networks, cable channels and the Hollywood studios.  Virtually any group now can put together entertainment of this quality.  Hey any Catholic group who wishes to put out quality movies on the saints.  A pathway now exists for you to do this.  O Brave New World!

3

Reagan on FDR

 

Today is my bride’s birthday, a birthday she shares with Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  On this day, I think the remarks of President Reagan on the centennial of FDR’s birth need to be recalled.  Reagan of course supported FDR when Reagan was a New Deal Democrat.  As a Republican he attempted to correct the mistakes of the New Deal, but he never lost his admiration for the leadership shown by Roosevelt, many aspects of which Reagan during his Presidency shared.  Here are an excerpt of Reagan’s remarks:

 

We’re all here today to mark the centennial of one of history’s truly monumental figures, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Historians still debate the details of his intentions, his policies and their impact. But all agree that, like the Founding Fathers before him, F. D. R. was an American giant, a leader who shaped, inspired, and led our people through perilous times. He meant many different things to many different people. He could reach out to men and women of diverse races and backgrounds and inspire them with new hope and new confidence in war and peace.

Franklin Roosevelt was the first President I ever saw. I remember the moment vividly. It was in 1936, a campaign parade in Des Moines, Iowa. What a wave of affection and pride swept through that crowd as he passed by in an open car—which we haven’t seen a President able to do for a long time—a familiar smile on his lips, jaunty and confident, drawing from us reservoirs of confidence and enthusiasm some of us had forgotten we had during those hard years. Maybe that was F. D. R.’s greatest gift to us. He really did convince us that the only thing we had to fear was fear itself. Continue Reading

32

Papal Contradiction?

Pope and Friend

 

 

Well, in the space of a week, we have Pope Francis saying no, again, to proselytism:

 

The woman of Sychar asks Jesus about the place where God is truly worshiped. Jesus does not side with the mountain or the temple, but goes deeper. He goes to the heart of the matter, breaking down every wall of division. He speaks instead of the meaning of true worship: “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth” (Jn 4:24). So many past controversies between Christians can be overcome when we put aside all polemical or apologetic approaches, and seek instead to grasp more fully what unites us, namely, our call to share in the mystery of the Father’s love revealed to us by the Son through the Holy Spirit. Christian unity – we are convinced – will not be the fruit of subtle theoretical discussions in which each party tries to convince the other of the soundness of their opinions. When the Son of Man comes, he will find us still discussing! We need to realize that, to plumb the depths of the mystery of God, we need one another, we need to encounter one another and to challenge one another under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, who harmonizes diversities, overcomes conflicts, reconciles differences.

Gradually the Samaritan woman comes to realize that the one who has asked her for a drink is able to slake her own thirst. Jesus in effect tells her that he is the source of living water which can satisfy her thirst for ever (cf. Jn 4:13-14). Our human existence is marked by boundless aspirations: we seek truth, we thirst for love, justice and freedom. These desires can only be partially satisfied, for from the depths of our being we are prompted to seek “something more”, something capable of fully quenching our thirst. The response to these aspirations is given by God in Jesus Christ, in his paschal mystery. From the pierced side of Jesus there flowed blood and water (cf. Jn 19:34). He is the brimming fount of the water of the Holy Spirit, “the love of God poured into our hearts (Rom 5:5) on the day of our baptism. By the working of the Holy Spirit, we have become one in Christ, sons in the Son, true worshipers of the Father. This mystery of love is the deepest ground of the unity which binds all Christians and is much greater than their historical divisions. To the extent that we humbly advance towards the Lord, then, we also draw nearer to one another.

Her encounter with Jesus made the Samaritan women a missionary. Having received a greater and more important gift than mere water from a well, she leaves her jar behind (cf. Jn 4:28) and runs back to tell her townspeople that she has met the Christ (cf. Jn 4:29). Her encounter with Jesus restored meaning and joy to her life, and she felt the desire to share this with others. Today there are so many men and women around us who are weary and thirsting, and who ask us Christians to give them something to drink. It is a request which we cannot evade. In the call to be evangelizers, all the Churches and Ecclesial Communities discover a privileged setting for closer cooperation. For this to be effective, we need to stop being self-enclosed, exclusive, and bent on imposing a uniformity based on merely human calculations (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 131). Our shared commitment to proclaiming the Gospel enables us to overcome proselytism and competition in all their forms. All of us are at the service of the one Gospel!

Then we have this:

They scorn the others, they stay away from the community as a whole, they stay away from the people of God, they have privatized salvation: salvation is for me and my small group, but not for all the people of God.  And this is a very serious mistake.  It’s what we see and call: ‘the ecclesial elites.’  When these small groups are created within the community of God’s people, these people believe they are being good Christians and also are acting in good faith maybe, but they are small groups who have privatized salvation.” Continue Reading

12

PopeWatch: If Only the Tsar Knew!

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Prior to the Bolshevik Revolution, Russians would often say “If only the Tsar knew!”, assuming that the “Little Father” couldn’t possibly have endorsed some terrible policy of the Russian Imperial government.  After the fall of the Tsars, Soviets during the Stalin period would sometimes say “If only Stalin knew!”, assuming once again that the man at the top couldn’t possibly be responsible for the appalling crimes of the Stalinist period.  Any Catholics seeking to use such a formula for Pope Francis really shouldn’t:

Why did the final Relatio published in the Lineamenta include the paragraphs on homosexuality, extra-marital cohabitation and Communion for the divorced-and-remarried  that failed to gain the approval of the Synod Fathers in October.  (Paragraphs 52,53,55 in the Italian; the English has a slightly different numbering system.) 

“It was the Pope’s decision to include the points that did not receive the two-thirds majority,” Cardinal Baldisseri responded. “The Pope said: ‘These three points received an absolute majority. They were therefore not rejected with a ‘no,’ as they received more than 50 percent approval. They are therefore issues that still need to be developed. We as a Church want a consensus. These texts can be modified, that’s clear. Once there has been further reflection, they can be modified.” Continue Reading

2

January 30, 1865: Sherman’s March Through South Carolina Begins

 

 

On this day Sherman began his march through the Carolinas, with his ultimate destination Lee’s army, trapping it between his army and Grant’s army.  Most Union troops had very little love for the Palmetto State, blaming it for starting the War, and Sherman’s boys were strictly on their worst behavior in South Carolina, as this diary entry by Lieutenant Colonel George Nichols, a Union staff officer, indicates:

January 30th-The actual invasion of South Carolina has begun. The 17th Corps and that portion of the 15th which came around by way of Thunderbolt Beaufort moved out this morning, on parallel roads, in the direction of McPhersonville. The 17th Corps took the road nearest the Salkahatchie River. We expect General Corse, with the 4th Division of the 15th Corps, to join us at a point higher up. The 14th and 20th Corps will take the road to Robertville, nearer the Savannah River. Since General Howard started with the 17th we have heard the sound of many guns in his direction. To-day is the first really fine weather we have had since starting, and the roads have improved. It was wise not to cut them up during the rains, for we can now move along comfortably. The well-known sight of columns of black smoke meets our gaze again; this time houses are burning, and South Carolina has commenced to pay an installment, long overdue, on her debt to justice and humanity. With the help of God, we will have principal and interest before we leave her borders. There is a terrible gladness in the realization of so many hopes and wishes. This cowardly traitor state, secure from harm, as she thought, in her central position, with hellish haste dragged her Southern sisters into the caldron of secession. Little did she dream that the hated flag would again wave over her soil; but this bright morning a thousand Union banners are floating in the breeze , and the ground trembles beneath the tramp of thousands of brave Northmen, who know their mission, and will perform it to the end.

8

Smedley Butler and the Plot Against FDR

 

In November 1934 Major General Smedley Butler made headlines by alleging that he had been in contact with businessmen since July 1, 1933 who wanted him to lead a coup attempt against FDR.  The allegations became known as the Business Plot.  Congressional hearings concluded that there might be some substance behind the allegations, but that they could not be confirmed.

 

 

Contemporary press accounts indicate a wide spread belief that Butler fabricated the whole thing. Butler was passed over as Commandant of the Marine Corp in 1931 because he publicly accused Mussolini, falsely, in a speech of having run over a child. He never got over it and he ran unsuccessfully for the Senate in 1932 as a Republican. He then turned hard left, attacking capitalism and the military as being gangsters for the capitalists. That is what makes his entire idea of a fascist plot against FDR so laughable. By 1934 he was known as an ardent supporter of FDR and yet shadowy plutocrats wanted him to command a coup against Roosevelt? FDR obviously thought it was rubbish as there were no criminal prosecutions by the Feds of anyone named by Butler. Butler was a very brave man as attested by his two Medals of Honor. He was also a fabulist, to put it politely, of the first order.

7

Belated Feast Day of the Angelic Doctor

As a highly Pagan poet said to me: “The Reformation happened because people hadn’t the brains to understand Aquinas.”

GK Chesterton

 

I can’t believe I forgot to post on the feast day yesterday of the Angelic Doctor!  (Too much work in the law mines was the culprit!)  I try to always remember his perfect synthesis of faith and intellect every January 28.  Too many people think these attributes are opposites which helps to explain why the world is in such a mess today.  I think what is appealing most to me about Aquinas is his optimism.  He lived in the thirteenth century, nicknamed the Glorious Century, a true turning point in history when Christendom began to assert traits that would lead to revolutions in so many fields.  Aquinas never doubted that the new knowledge about the World was no jeopardy to the Faith, and it has not been, so long as faith and reason work in alliance.  We go badly astray when these two essential components of a complete human are viewed as adversaries.

 

At the end of his life, the Angelic Doctor had a mystical experience before the Eucharist and stopped writing.  When asked about it, he said that what he had seen made all of his writings seem like mere straw in comparison.  His writings will endure as long as Man endures, a tribute to what the human mind, enlightened by Faith, can accomplish.  However, it is his sublime and victorious faith in Christ which is his real monument.

Continue Reading

5

The Left Eats Their Own

 

Well this is interesting.  Jonathan Chait, uberliberal, writes an article for New York Magazine decrying political correctness:

But it would be a mistake to categorize today’s p.c. culture as only an academic phenomenon. Political correctness is a style of politics in which the more radical members of the left attempt to regulate political discourse by defining opposing views as bigoted and illegitimate. Two decades ago, the only communities where the left could exert such hegemonic control lay within academia, which gave it an influence on intellectual life far out of proportion to its numeric size. Today’s political correctness flourishes most consequentially on social media, where it enjoys a frisson of cool and vast new cultural reach. And since social media is also now the milieu that hosts most political debate, the new p.c. has attained an influence over mainstream journalism and commentary beyond that of the old.

It also makes money. Every media company knows that stories about race and gender bias draw huge audiences, making identity politics a reliable profit center in a media industry beset by insecurity. A year ago, for instance, a photographer compiled images of Fordham students displaying signs recounting “an instance of racial microaggression they have faced.” The stories ranged from uncomfortable (“No, where are you really from?”) to relatively innocuous (“ ‘Can you read this?’ He showed me a Japanese character on his phone”). BuzzFeed published part of her project, and it has since received more than 2 million views. This is not an anomaly.

In a short period of time, the p.c. movement has assumed a towering presence in the psychic space of politically active people in general and the left in particular. “All over social media, there dwell armies of unpaid but widely read commentators, ready to launch hashtag campaigns and circulate Change.org petitions in response to the slightest of identity-politics missteps,” Rebecca Traister wrote recently in The New Republic.

Two and a half years ago, Hanna Rosin, a liberal journalist and longtime friend, wrote a book called The End of Men, which argued that a confluence of social and economic changes left women in a better position going forward than men, who were struggling to adapt to a new postindustrial order. Rosin, a self-identified feminist, has found herself unexpectedly assailed by feminist critics, who found her message of long-term female empowerment complacent and insufficiently concerned with the continuing reality of sexism. One Twitter hashtag, “#RIPpatriarchy,” became a label for critics to lampoon her thesis. Every new continuing demonstration of gender discrimination — a survey showing Americans still prefer male bosses; a person noticing a man on the subway occupying a seat and a half — would be tweeted out along with a mocking #RIPpatriarchy.

Her response since then has been to avoid committing a provocation, especially on Twitter. “If you tweet something straight­forwardly feminist, you immediately get a wave of love and favorites, but if you tweet something in a cranky feminist mode then the opposite happens,” she told me. “The price is too high; you feel like there might be banishment waiting for you.” Social media, where swarms of jeering critics can materialize in an instant, paradoxically creates this feeling of isolation. “You do immediately get the sense that it’s one against millions, even though it’s not.” Subjects of these massed attacks often describe an impulse to withdraw. Continue Reading

12

PopeWatch: Cardinal Maradiaga

 VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

 

Of all the men surrounding Pope Francis, PopeWatch finds Cardinal Maradiaga the most interesting.  (Perhaps it is because the tune of the Imperial  March from Star Wars seems to be a fitting accompaniment whenever he makes an appearance.)

 

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Father Z directs our attention to Father John Hunwicke’s observations on some recent statements by the Cardinal:

A post by the distinguished scholar Fr. John Hunwicke caught my eye. Here it is, in toto, but do check the comments over there as well.  My emphases:

Cardinal Rodriguez [That’s Oscar Card. Rodiguez Maradiaga… Archbp. of Tegucigalpa, sometimes referred to only by the second (matronymic?) of his parental, family names.]
I have tried to read carefully a paper by a Cardinal Rodriguez. [Not in Tegucigalpa, but in California at Santa Clara Univ, run by, who else, Jesuits.  Coincidently, around the same time, Card. Marx, speaking in California, did an interview with American Magazine, Jesuit run.  HERE] There are entire paragraphs that I actually don’t understand. Perhaps there are problems of translation; Fr Lombardi will know. But three points do strike me: (1) Christology. The Second Person of the Glorious and Undivided Trinity is referred to in phrases like “The God of Jesus” [I believe Card. Kasper has a book called “The God of Jesus Christ”.] and “God through Jesus”. I did not identify language clearly affirming that our Redeemer is God. [Odd.] (2) “Mercy” seems to be construed as being at the heart of theology. [I wonder if “mercy” can be entirely disconnected from justice and truth.] But any attempted reconstruction of Christianity which concentrates singlemindedly on one word or slogan (“Justification by Faith Alone”, for example, or “Sola Scriptura”) has tended, throughout history, to have disastrous effects. [A key phrase in the Cardinal’s talk: “The Pope wants to take this Church renovation to the point where it becomes irreversible. The wind that propels the sails of the Church towards the open sea of its deep and total renovation is Mercy.”] (3) The Roman Pontiff’s role is to protect the Tradition and to define and exclude heresy. [NB] This paper seems exclusively concerned to prepare the way for an agenda of radical but unspecified change centred upon the non-Magisterial utterances of just one pope during a ministry of less than two years. This is accompanied by a bizarrely curious suggestion that the Holy Father’s public style and personal gestures are his Magisterial Encyclicals.  [Have you noticed that on the Vatican website there is now a page dedicated to his non-Magisterial, off the cuff, fervorini at daily Mass? HERE]

Even during the pontificate of Pius XII and his canary, did papolatry go quite as far as this?

 

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24

PopeWatch: Meeting With Sinners

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Rorate Caeli brings us this little tidbit:

 

 

Spanish periodical Hoy reveals the private meeting in the Vatican of “Diego” Neria Lejárraga, a woman from Plasencia, Spain, and her “wife”[“fiancée”, see second Update.]
Excerpts:


[Hoy, in Spanish. Tip: reader. ]

[Update: information confirmed in Italian reports in Corriere della Sera, Repubblica, Il Giornale, etc.]

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7

Prisoner 16670

(Today is the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.  I am taking this opportunity to rerun this post from All Saints Day 2009.)

Today we celebrate all the saints who now dwell in perfect bliss before the Beatific Vision, seeing God face to face.  All the saints love God and love their neighbor, but other than that they have little in common.  We have saints who lived lives of quiet meditation, and there are saints who were ever in the midst of human tumult.  Some saints have easy paths to God;  others have gained their crowns at the last moment, an act of supreme love redeeming a wasted life.  Many saints have been heroic, a few have been timid.  We number among the saints some of the greatest intellects of mankind, while we also venerate saints who never learned to read.  We have saints with sunny dispositions, and some who were usually grouchy.  Saints who attained great renown in their lives and saints who were obscure in life and remain obscure after death, except to God.  Among such a panoply of humanity we can draw endless inspiration for our own attempts to serve God and our neighbors.  For me, one saint has always stood out as a man with a deep meaning for this period of history we inhabit:  Saint Maximilian Kolbe.  Why?

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PopeWatch: Peace Balloon

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Faithful readers of PopeWatch will no doubt recall this incident from January of last year:

Alfred W. Klieforth, US consul general at the Vatican, had a conversation with Pius XII soon after he became Pope in 1939.  He reported the conversation to his superiors, including this statement by the Pope:  ”He said that he opposed unalterably every compromise with National Socialism. He regarded Hitler not only as an untrustworthy scoundrel, but as a fundamentally wicked person. He did not believe Hitler capable of moderation.”  This type of clear eyed analysis is sometimes missing today in the Church which since World War II has often seemed to adopt a de facto pacifism.  A small symbolic event yesterday reminds us of why prayers for peace alone are often not sufficient in this Vale of Tears:

 

Two white doves that were released by children standing alongside Pope Francis as a peace gesture have been attacked by other birds.

As tens of thousands of people watched in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday, a seagull and a large black crow swept down on the doves right after they were set free from an open window of the Apostolic Palace.

One dove lost some feathers as it broke free from the gull. But the crow pecked repeatedly at the other dove.

It was not clear what happened to the doves as they flew off.

 

Always remember that Christ admonishes us both to be as innocent as doves and as wily as serpents. 

Go here to view the post.  That incident has caused a change in policy:

The doves were replaced by balloons on Sunday. Alongside Pope Francis, children released pink, purple, white and green balloons, including a hot-air balloon filled with messages promoting peace. “Here’s the balloons that mean ‘peace,’” Pope Francis said. He is the first pope to take the name belonging to Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals, according to news reports.

The Vatican did not mention last year’s dove debacle. Continue Reading

27

Pope Francis the Leftist?

Pope Francis the Leftist

 

 

 

Maureen Mullarkey is back!  You might recall her blog piece on the Pope in First Things that caused Mark Shea a conniption fit, and led the editor of First Things to disavow what she wrote.  Go here to read all about it.  Now, at The Federalist, she is making her case that Pope Francis is a Leftist:

 

Let us be honest. Conservatives are damned if they do, damned if they don’t. While deferential observers are measuring their tones, Francis drives ahead with a demagogic program which makes the state the guardian and enforcer all values. To suppress challenge to a pope’s political biases or erratic behavior is no favor to the Church. It is little more than a failure of nerve that will earn no reward in the press. Silence is a form of collusion.

Continue Reading

18

PopeWatch: Prediction

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Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa gives us a prediction as to what will occur when the Synod resumes:

 

 

 

ROME, January 23, 2015 – One year ago Pope Francis gathered the cardinals for two days behind closed doors, to tackle questions on the family. And they were a fiery couple of days.

Next month he will bring them together again, this time to discuss the reform of the curia, and here too there will be a battle.

Because many contrasting ideas of reform have sprung up, at least as many as the brains of the nine cardinals who advise the pope, and some of them are even unpresentable. Like that of placing under a yet-to-be constituted dicastery of justice the various institutions and levels of the Vatican judicial system, including the apostolic penitentiary, which judges in the internal forum. With a horrible violation, if it were implemented, of the division between the legislative, executive, and judicial powers that is the prerogative of modern states from Montesquieu onward.

In fact, Francis has taken his time. He has said that he will not put the wraps on reform before 2016. And meanwhile he is proceeding like a general of the Jesuits, deciding himself on what is most urgent for him, in spite of the acclaimed collegiality of his governance.

In presenting his Christmas greetings to the heads of the curia, he slapped them in the face with a catastrophic diagnosis of their “illnesses,” listing fifteen of them, each more abject than the one before. But if one then looks at the few removals and promotions that the pope has made so far, the results are stunning.

The most illustrious of the defenestrated is Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, a great canonist, whose competency and moral uprightness are recognized even by his adversaries.

While the most incredible of the promotions is that Monsignor Battista Ricca, called back to Rome years ago from the diplomatic service after he had caused scandal in three different nunciatures, the last in Montevideo where he had brought his lover, but who then experienced a miraculous career revival as director of the two Roman residences of Via della Scrofa and of Santa Marta, and above all as a friend of many cardinals and bishops accommodated there from around the world, including the one who today is pope and has made him prelate of the IOR, his trusted man at the Vatican bank.

So far there has not been the least follow-up to the proposal that Bergoglio had brought out in the spring before last: to overthrow in the curia that “gay lobby” which he had found living and thriving there.

But more than in the curia, it is with the synod of bishops that this pontificate is innovating.

Francis has made it an almost permanent structure, giving free rein to discussions that previous popes had closed, like that of communion for the divorced and remarried, and most notably on whether or not to admit second marriages.

The result has been a fiery battle between opposing sides, with the bishops of the “peripheries” above all, especially of Africa and Eastern Europe, as intransigent opponents both of divorce and of the recognition of homosexual unions.

But in the end, after the synodal session of next October, it will be the pope who decides, as an absolute monarch, and he has taken care to reiterate this by citing the code of canon law.

His clear sympathies are for the progressive wing, led by the German cardinals, and for the tolerant practice of the Orthodox Churches of the East, which already bless second marriages.

But Francis says he is also fascinated by Paul VI and continues to present as a model of prophetic courage the encyclical “Humanae Vitae,” with which that pope condemned contraception and approved only natural methods for the regulation of births.

He did so once again in Manila a few days ago, while remarking however that Paul VI also “expressed compassion for specific cases and he taught confessors to be particularly compassionate for particular cases.”

And this is what he will probably end up doing.

Francis will hold firm, in words, the Catholic doctrine of indissolubility, and at the same time will encourage bishops and the clergy to have “pastoral,” or practical, compassion and understanding for failed and remade marriages.

Paul VI, who was proclaimed blessed on the concluding day of the last synod, brought a flood of criticism upon himself with “Humanae Vitae,” from outside and inside the Church.

For Francis the opposite could occur, with his giving apparent satisfaction to both intransigents and innovators. Continue Reading

9

Can’t Truss It

We’re approximately a year away from the beginning of the presidential primary season, and the stars are already out in Iowa. I’ll have a bit more say about the presidential field in the coming days, but I’d just like to note this article from the Washington Post and Rand Paul and his, umm, daddy issues.

This weekend was a crucial one for Rand Paul, the Republican senator from Kentucky and un­declared candidate for the presidency. He was in California, trying to line up donors at an opulent retreat organized by the billionaire Koch brothers.

At the same time, his father — retired after 12 terms in Congress and three presidential runs — was in the ballroom of an airport hotel here, the final speaker at “a one-day seminar in breaking away from the central state.” He followed a series of speakers who said that the U.S. economy and political establishment were tottering and that the best response might be for states, counties or even individuals to break away.

“The America we thought we knew, ladies and gentlemen, is a mirage. It’s a memory. It’s a foreign country,” Jeff Deist, Ron Paul’s former press secretary and chief of staff, told the group. “And that’s precisely why we should take secession seriously.”

A former press secretary  of his dad’s. Not exactly a silver bullet to derail the Paul train. That said, the questions does remain: will his father be a millstone around his neck? Especially when his dad says things like this:

Chris Kyle’s death seems to confirm that “he who lives by the sword dies by the sword.” Treating PTSD at a firing range doesn’t make sense

But that’s just his father talking. It’s not fair to lay the sins of the father at the feet of the son. Rand Paul should stand on his own merits, and the company he keeps.

Paul_Sharpton

It’s going to be an interesting primary season.

*: I feel compelled to note that the title is not a typo. Probably not many Public Enemy fans on this site.

28

American Sniper: A Review

“I am a strong Christian. Not a perfect one—not close. But I strongly believe in God, Jesus, and the Bible. When I die, God is going to hold me accountable for everything I’ve done on earth. He may hold me back until last and run everybody else through the line, because it will take so long to go over all my sins. “Mr. Kyle, let’s go into the backroom. . . .” Honestly, I don’t know what will really happen on Judgment Day. But what I lean toward is that you know all of your sins, and God knows them all, and shame comes over you at the reality that He knows. I believe the fact that I’ve accepted Jesus as my savior will be my salvation. But in that backroom or whatever it is when God confronts me with my sins, I do not believe any of the kills I had during the war will be among them. Everyone I shot was evil. I had good cause on every shot. They all deserved to die.”
Chis Kyle
My wife and I, the kids are back in college and law school, saw American Sniper at a movie theater in Morris, Illinois on Saturday January 24.  It was the second performance of the day, beginning at 1:00 PM, and the theater still was almost full.  After seeing the movie, the one term that seems to me to apply is stunning, in every sense of the word.  Clint Eastwood has made a masterpiece, the finest of his movies as a director, a film biopic that perfectly captures the man Chris Kyle and his times.  It is not a film for kids due to intense combat scenes and frequent use of the f-bomb by troops.  My review is below and the usual caveat as to spoilers is in force.

Continue Reading

15

PopeWatch: Rabbits and Hares

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

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

Just a day after Pope Francis told Catholics that they should not feel like they have to breed “like rabbits” because of the Church’s ban on contraception, an American Imam today echoed the Pope’s words, urging Catholics to listen to their spiritual leader.

“Yes, that sounds like an excellent idea,” the Imam reportedly said this morning. “Having many Catholic children is such a burden, and the Catholic world is so overpopulated already. One Catholic child, maybe two, is plenty to bring into the world. Maybe none at all is best.”

The Imam, who has a meager 8 children himself, praised the progressive culture of Europe, where both marriage and child-bearing have reached an all-time low in most countries. “When it comes down to it, a Catholic is really being selfish when bringing more people to suffer in this world. Contraception, even abortion, is really the best option for Catholics.” The Imam concluded, “On the other hand, in a generation or so none of this will matter anyway.” Continue Reading

11

Churchill: The Indispensable Man

Gentlemen, you will never make peace with Napoleon! Napoleon cannot be master of the world until he has smashed us up, and believe me, gentlemen, he means to be master of the world! You cannot make peace with dictators. You have to destroy them, wipe them out!

Lord Horatio Nelson, That Hamilton Woman

 

 

Something for the weekend.  Heart of Oak from That Hamilton Woman (1941).  Sir Winston Churchill died 50 years ago today.  He loved that film, echoing as it did his own struggle against Hitler in the earlier stand of Great Britain against Napoleon, and would frequently show it to guests during the War.

 

When Churchill was born veterans of Trafalgar still lived, the same vintage as our current World War II veterans.  Churchill lived into the dawning of the Space Age.  He led a long and colorful life and he changed History.  The beginning of World War II seemed like the dawning of a new era:  the age of totalitarian empires.  The weak and disunited democracies seemed to be on their way out.  Churchill changed all this by keeping Britain fighting, even when victory seemed impossible, and gave his nation their finest hour.  Having reduced the Thousand Year Reich to rubble and ashes, he sounded the alarm against the Soviet Union in 1946.  Instead of the democracies ending up on the ash heap of history, it was the totalitarian empires who did so, ending like vanishing fever dreams at the dawn of a new day.  Churchill, although he battled depression his entire life, was ever an optimist about free peoples.  This was captured I think in his finest speech with this passage:

Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilisation. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be freed and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands.

 

Churchill was the indispensable man of the last century for all those who cherish freedom, and this is a good day to recall him and why it is up to us to continue the fight he waged and to recall his warning if we ever tire of the struggle:

 

But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new dark age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Continue Reading

17

Let’s Pretend

 

 

 

Science Fiction author John C. Wright, a convert from Atheism to Catholicism, asks an intriguing ongoing question about the March for Life:  the zero coverage it receives:

My question for the reader is this: why can the Morlocks not even admit the size and vehemence of the opposition here?

What is gained by pretending we do not exist?

Or, to ask a more precise question, would not striking the pose that they are opposing such a large and bold movement allow them to portray themselves as heroes, and gain them more?

They cower before the weather, and before the Koch Brothers, which do not threaten them at all, but these marches display the strength of a society that bids fair to abolish abortion in our lifetimes.

The young and highly motivated survivors of the antinatal holocaust are gathering, and they see the economic disaster overpopulation scaremongers have done them, they can see the demographic disaster of Europe.

Why do the Left pretend real threats to their hellish hegemony do not exist, but flaunt in comical excesses of emotion their pantomimes gestures of exaggerated opposition to utterly unreal and imaginary dangers? Continue Reading

26

Bad Week

 

 

Belying the great progress being made at the state level, the pro-life movement had a bad week on the national level.

The GOP leadership pulled a bill banning abortion after 20 weeks, a piece of legislation that has two-one support in polls, because some House members were nervous about the requirement of the rape exception that the rape be reported to the police.  (Really?  A woman twenty weeks pregnant who claims to be raped hasn’t yet reported the rape to the police?)  Bizarre and cowardly.  The House did pass a bill banning abortion funding and credits for abortion, with the usual regrettable exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother.

Then we have Catholic prelates attempting to turn the pro-life cause into a giant rally for the welfare state.  Frank Walker at Pewsitter has their number:

Here’s an idea. Let’s take the exclusively conservative movement against the uninterrupted slaughter of unborn children and plaster all kinds of leftist slogans to it. Then we can invite Catholic prelates to come advocate for bigger federal programs while they pretend to care about abortion. After all, what is the point of having a Church if isn’t to shepherd Catholics into amoral statist barns and hand power to the enemies of God and man? Isn’t everything about life?

Dead babies aren’t a constituency anyway. Why advocate for them? And if you care about poor people, this is a great way to make sure there’s a lot more of them.

For the pro-life movement to truly succeed, it must fight not only abortion, but also the broader “throwaway culture” wherever life is being discarded, said Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston at a national pro-life Mass.

“What must characterize the pro-life movement is a special love for the poor, the marginalized, the suffering, and especially human life that is in danger of being discarded,” Cardinal O’Malley said in his Jan. 21 homily at the Opening Mass of the National Prayer Vigil for Life.

The cardinal addressed an overflow crowd at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., the largest church in North America. More than 11,000 people were estimated to be in attendance.

Cardinal O’Malley, who heads the U.S. bishops’ pro-life committee, was chief celebrant at the Mass. Five additional cardinals, 44 bishops, and 343 priests concelebrated the Mass, according to a basilica spokesperson. Some 100 deacons and 530 seminarians also assisted.

Wednesday evening’s Mass kicked off an all-night prayer vigil at the basilica, which ends with a closing Mass Thursday morning. The prayer vigil precedes the annual March for Life, which marks the anniversary of the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that led to nationwide legal abortion. The march routinely draws hundreds of thousands from across the country to pray and witness in the heart of Washington, D.C.

Drawing from the Gospel of the day, the story of the Rich Young Man, Cardinal O’Malley cited Pope Francis to explain how one must not only keep the commandments but also love the poor.

Jesus advocates loving your neighbor and helping those in need. He certainly doesn’t teach legal confiscation of property, ruthless regulation of people’s lives, anti-family laws and pro-death policy all blanketed under the excuse ‘loving the poor’, then calling it pro-life.

In the Gospel story, the young man asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life. He “went away sad” when Jesus instructed him to go beyond following the commandments by giving all his possessions to the poor and following Christ.

Jesus was asking the man to take a vow of poverty; to become a disciple, not to give all his money to federally-funded Catholic Charities.

So which does Cardinal O’Malley want from the March for Life in Washington: ascetic lives of poverty, their tax money, their Democrat votes, or all three? Continue Reading

8

PopeWatch: Saint Raymond Nonnatus

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

 

It seems that whenever the Pope is on an airplane and reporters are present, disaster beckons.

 

Francis surprised reporters on the papal plane on Sunday by recounting an anecdote about how he had once asked a mother who had seven children by caesarian section and was pregnant with her eighth if she wanted to “leave behind seven young orphans”.

“She said, ‘I trust in God.’ But God gave us the means to be responsible,” Francis said. “Some think — and excuse the term — that to be good Catholics, they must be like rabbits.” Continue Reading

2

Prince With a Thousand Enemies

Dale and Mrs. Price

 

All the world will be your enemy, Prince with a Thousand Enemies, and whenever they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you, digger, listener, runner, prince with the swift warning. Be cunning and full of tricks and your people shall never be destroyed.”

Lord Frith, Watership Down

A picture of Dale and Mrs. Price enjoying some paintballing. Now, whatever could have inspired that!

7

PopeWatch: 213

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

 

Today, on the 42 anniversary of the monstrous Roe v. Wade decision, it is good to recall these words of Pope Francis in section 213 of Evangelii  Gaudium

213. Among the vulnerable for whom the Church wishes to care with particular love and concern are unborn children, the most defenceless and innocent among us. Nowadays efforts are made to deny them their human dignity and to do with them whatever one pleases, taking their lives and passing laws preventing anyone from standing in the way of this. Frequently, as a way of ridiculing the Church’s effort to defend their lives, attempts are made to present her position as ideological, obscurantist and conservative. Yet this defence of unborn life is closely linked to the defence of each and every other human right. It involves the conviction that a human being is always sacred and inviolable, in any situation and at every stage of development. Human beings are ends in themselves and never a means of resolving other problems. Once this conviction disappears, so do solid and lasting foundations for the defence of human rights, which would always be subject to the passing whims of the powers that be. Reason alone is sufficient to recognize the inviolable value of each single human life, but if we also look at the issue from the standpoint of faith, “every violation of the personal dignity of the human being cries out in vengeance to God and is an offence against the creator of the individual”.

Continue Reading

15

An Exercise in Raw Judicial Power

As we observe the sad forty-second anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that overturned all state laws banning abortions and effectively served as a judicial death warrant for tens of millions of innocents, I think it is appropriate to pay tribute to the two dissenting Justices, Byron White, a Democrat, and William Rehnquist, a Republican.  Here are the texts of their dissents:

MR. JUSTICE WHITE, with whom MR. JUSTICE REHNQUIST joins, dissenting.

At the heart of the controversy in these cases are those recurring pregnancies that pose no danger whatsoever to the life or health of the mother but are, nevertheless, unwanted for any one or more of a variety of reasons — convenience, family planning, economics, dislike of children, the embarrassment of illegitimacy, etc. The common claim before us is that, for any one of such reasons, or for no reason at all, and without asserting or claiming any threat to life or health, any woman is entitled to an abortion at her request if she is able to find a medical adviser willing to undertake the procedure.

The Court, for the most part, sustains this position: during the period prior to the time the fetus becomes viable, the Constitution of the United States values the convenience, whim, or caprice of the putative mother more than the life or potential life of the fetus; the Constitution, therefore, guarantees the right to an abortion as against any state law or policy seeking to protect the fetus from an abortion not prompted by more compelling reasons of the mother.

With all due respect, I dissent. I find nothing in the language or history of the Constitution to support the Court’s judgment. The Court simply fashions and announces a new constitutional right for pregnant mothers [410 U.S. 222] and, with scarcely any reason or authority for its action, invests that right with sufficient substance to override most existing state abortion statutes. The upshot is that the people and the legislatures of the 50 States are constitutionally dissentitled to weigh the relative importance of the continued existence and development of the fetus, on the one hand, against a spectrum of possible impacts on the mother, on the other hand. As an exercise of raw judicial power, the Court perhaps has authority to do what it does today; but, in my view, its judgment is an improvident and extravagant exercise of the power of judicial review that the Constitution extends to this Court.

Continue Reading

14

Je Suis Charles Martel

“A victorious line of march had been prolonged above a thousand miles from the rock of Gibraltar in Spain to the banks of the Loire in France; the repetition of an equal space would have carried the Saracens to the confines of Poland and the Highlands of Scotland; the Rhine is not more impassable than the Nile or Euphrates, and the Arabian Fleet might have sailed without a naval combat into the mouth of the River Thames. Perhaps the interpretation of the Qur’an would now be taught in the schools of Oxford, and her pulpits might demonstrate to a circumcised people the sanctity and truth of the revelation of Muhammed.”

Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

The slogan Je Suis Charles Martel is beginning to make its way around Saint Blogs.  Here is some information on the grandfather of Charlemagne who stopped the advance of Islam into what became France in 732 at the battle of Tours.

 

Charles Martel, “The Hammer”, led a life of conflict.  An illegitimate son of Pepin of Herstal, Mayor of the Palace and the true power behind the Merovingian puppet kings, after the death of his father he had to fight his father’s legitimate offspring who sought to deprive him of any share in his father’s inheritance.  Fortunately for Charles a streak of military genius ran through him, and he won battles against the odds, using force multiplying stratagems, including feigned retreats, and attacking in the middle of the day when armies of his time normally took a siesta.  By 717 he was in control of Neustria, showing mercy unusual for his day in letting his defeated adversaries live and treating them with kindness.

The 28 year old ruler now entered a round of endless wars with neighboring kingdoms, gradually extending his power, and building up a professional force of infantry to supplement the peasant levies that made up the vast bulk of most Frankish armies.

A friend and patron of Saint Boniface, he also began the alliance between the rulers of the Franks and the Popes.  He contributed much land to the Church, but roused ecclesiastical ire when he took some back to support his troops.  He might have been excommunicated if both Church and State had not suddenly confronted a common foe. Continue Reading

19

Chris Johnson Watched the State of the Union Speech So You Didn’t Have To

State of the Union Condensed

 

Chris Johnson, a non-Catholic who has taken up the cudgels so many times for the Church that I have named him Defender of the Faith, watched the State of the Union speech last night so you didn’t have to:

Got started a little earlier than I thought I would.

2:34 I just got back from Freddie’s Market to lay in booze, er, supplies for tonight’s festivities. The more I think about it, the more I believe that Stephen Green may have had the right idea all along.

7:55 Gettin’ on toward that time so I’d better get the first vodka thing going.

8:02 – Let’s rock and roll.

8:08 – Himself is on the way in.

8:13 “Our combat mission in Afghanistan is over”  Really?

8:15  “Growing economy?”  I don’t have a job, dumbass.

8:18  “We are a strong, tight-knit family who has made it through some very hard times.”  Of course that’s never happened before.

8:20 “America is number one in oil and gas.”  No thanks to your opposition to Keystone or fracking, thank you very much.

8:22 Dude’s just making crap up now.

8:23 My way or the highway, bitches.

8:25 Rebecca just isn’t asking for a handout.  Except that she wants “affordable child care” at someone else’s expense.

8:27 You’re not just going to be paying for Sandra Fluke’s birth control.  You’re going to be paying for Sandra Fluke’s birth control AND paid her affordable maternity leave.

8:29 “That’s why this Congress needs to make sure that women are paid the same as men.”  Since they basically are right now.

8:30  Strengthen unions.  Saw that one coming a million light years away.

8:32 Free community college.  ‘Kay.  Who’s paying for it, O?

8:34 Apprenticeships?  You mean like going back to reading law again?  Produced Lincoln, after all.

8:36 This is starting to sound something like a Nuremberg rally.

8:37 “Let’s set our sights higher than a pipeline.”  See you, Keystone.  And get used to paying $3.00 or more a gallon again.

8:40 “And where we too often run under the rocks is how we pay for all this”  Here we go.

8:43 The top one percent.  Saw that one coming a light year away.

8:44 He’s on to foreign policy now.

8:45 Barry thinks his “foreign policy” is making a difference.

8:47 America’s foreign policy has been forceful?  Obama wants a Congressional resolution authorizing force against the “Islamic” State.

8:52  G0 ahead and take “credit” for Cuba, O.  “Stands up for democratic values and extends the hands of friendship to Cuba?”  Care to reconcile those two mutually-exclusive ideas, Barry?

8:53  Computer hackers now?  This have something to do with the IRS scandal?

8:55 Climate change.  Last year was the warmest year of climate change of record, Barry.  Do you have any idea how old the universe is, dimwit?

8:56 Barry wants to go Luddite.

8:57 Dude had to work duh gaze in there.  Pretty much de riguer these days.

8:58 O wants to close Gitmo.

9:00 “I still believe that we are one people.”  Glad you do.

Sorry that things stopped early.  Some kind of technical problem; I’m not quite sure what happened there.  I’ll keep comments open a little while longer. Continue Reading

7

Chris Kyle and Alvin C. York

 

 

“I am a strong Christian. Not a perfect one—not close. But I strongly believe in God, Jesus, and the Bible. When I die, God is going to hold me accountable for everything I’ve done on earth. He may hold me back until last and run everybody else through the line, because it will take so long to go over all my sins. “Mr. Kyle, let’s go into the backroom. . . .” Honestly, I don’t know what will really happen on Judgment Day. But what I lean toward is that you know all of your sins, and God knows them all, and shame comes over you at the reality that He knows. I believe the fact that I’ve accepted Jesus as my savior will be my salvation. But in that backroom or whatever it is when God confronts me with my sins, I do not believe any of the kills I had during the war will be among them. Everyone I shot was evil. I had good cause on every shot. They all deserved to die.”
Chis Kyle

 

 

I hadn’t planned on seeing American Sniper, the story of the late Chris Kyle, but with it shattering box office records and driving the Left insane, something that director Clint Eastwood has been doing effortlessly for the past four decades, I will have to go see it this weekend and review it for TAC.  Awarded two Silver Stars and numerous other decorations, Navy Seal Kyle always stated that his motivation for being perhaps the deadliest sniper in American history was to protect his fellow troops.  This resonated with me since it was the same motivation for Corporal Alvin C. York in 1918 during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive to take out several German machine gun nests and to capture 132 German soldiers: Continue Reading

2

State of the Union Speech 1924

 

 

Although known as Silent Cal, Calvin Coolidge when he gave a speech made certain that each word he uttered was for a purpose.  In 1923 he gave the first State of the Union speech that was broadcast on radio.  His 1924 State of the Union hit hard what was for him a burning passion:  economy in government.  His views are so at variance to what passes for popular wisdom these days, that they deserve to be remembered.  Here is the portion of his speech dealing with controlling debt and the growth of government: Continue Reading

13

PopeWatch: Anthony Esolen

 

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

If the Pope is interested in increasing vocations to the priesthood, he could do worse than to read a post by Professor Anthony Esolen at Crisis Magazine in which he recites the methods by which dioceses can ensure that their priesthood ordinations will remain minute:

 

Dilute the faith. Fighters want something to fight for. Make sure there is nothing to fight for. Do not preach the full doctrine of the Church. Never speak about the terrible sins of our age. Be more sensitive about offending a couple of the people who still show up for Mass, than about offending God. Cut the sixth commandment out of the ten. While you are at it, cut out the second, the third, and the ninth too.

Equate Christian “charity” with rendering to Caesar what is Caesar’s, God’s, your own, your children’s, and your community’s. Assume that everybody who is not named Hitler is going to heaven, because some middling bit of natural pleasantness is enough to please the Almighty. “Be nice,” said Jesus, “even as your Uncle Ronnie was nice,” your divorced Uncle Ronnie who lived with his girl friend, but was good to dogs and small children that were not his to take care of. Lower the bar so that even a moral cripple could fall over it, and at the same time make it seem as if the cripple’s feat of acrobatics, rather than the grace of God, will earn him a place in heaven. Never suggest that the faith is a matter of eternal life or death.

Turn the Sacrament into snack time. Get rid of any remaining altar rails. Make sure that everybody takes the Sacrament into his hands, like a fortune cookie. Tell the people to stand afterwards. Go as far as you can to prevent people from kneeling during Mass. Make it as difficult as possible for people to receive the sacrament of confession. Treat it as insignificant. If somebody does want the sacrament, roll your eyes and make sure that the penitent knows how much it annoys you. Don’t take the penitent’s sin seriously. In fact, give the penitent the impression that he can go on and commit the same sin with impunity. In this way you will make it likelier that a moose will amble down Main Street than that a sin-burdened soul will seek you out, or that a healthy line of them will be making their way to the confessional. And, while you are at it, make sure there are no confessionals. Turn them into closets for brooms, mops, and bleach.

Strip the altars. Are there paintings in your church? Cover them with whitewash, or take them down. Is there an old high altar in the back of the sanctuary? Chop it up and use it for fuel. Better still, tear down two or three old churches and build a new one in the shape of a gymnasium. If you place the stations of the Cross on the side walls, make them so small and ambiguous that no one can tell what they are from more than ten feet away. Put the priest’s chair in the center, at the back wall. Get rid of any trace of genuine folk art, or of the great artistic heritage of the Church. Sing twaddle instead. Wet sloppy twaddle.

Shut down your schools. Give them away to the government to manage, as they have done in Canada. Hire secularists to teach there, or, better, Catholics who hate the Church. If you have an all-male high school, turn it into a co-ed school. If you have a boys’ basketball program, and you don’t have the money for a girls’ basketball program, shut it down. Put RCIA into the hands of laymen of dubious learning and piety. Do the same for religion classes in school. Try to make sure that your classes in history or English will be just like those taught anywhere else. Make Catholic education into public education with holy water—as a stalwart in the battle to restore Catholicity to Catholic schools has put it to me most trenchantly.

Be effeminate. Get rid of every single hymn that has anything to do with Christian soldiership. Castrate the rest of the hymns. Or, better, favor hymns that make Jesus into a kind of safe sweet Boyfriend, with whom you can make out on the couch now and in heaven later. Let the music be led by women, especially women who like to be seen and heard performing it. Put the hand-raising cantor up front, to upstage the priest and Christ. Let girls do silly dance routines up and down the aisles. If you can, have five or six girls do that, in the company of one boy whose mother has obviously compelled his attendance, and who stands there gritting his teeth and fuming. Favor any musical instrument except the organ. Let the piano player tickle the keys like a hired performer at a bar, so that the communicants can, as they return to their pews, slip a fiver into the hat, right next to the long-stemmed champagne glass. Use as many altar girls as possible. Discourage the boys from joining. Give them nothing important to do. Use as many women lectors as possible. In fact, once Mass has become too bland for girls themselves, use the old ladies as acolytes, busying about the altar as if they were laying out the tablecloth and silverware for a party.

Never suggest that the Church needs men for anything. Make “man” into an obscenity. Never suggest that fathers and mothers play complementary roles in the family. Never suggest that Jesus had something important in mind when He chose twelve men as his brothers. Suggest instead that to be a genuine Christian, a man has to stop being a man. Buy the silly feminist notion that Christian women have been “oppressed” for nearly two thousand years.

Continue Reading

2

The State of the Union Speech That Will Never Be Delivered

State of the Union Nap

 

 

 

(I originally wrote this back in 2010.  With only a few modifications, here it is again.)

 

 

Here is the State of the Union Speech that will never be delivered:

“Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, Distinguished Guests, my fellow Americans.  Each year it is a duty of the President to report on the State of the Union to the Congress.  Often these speeches have been mere feel good exercises, frequently containing little of substance.  Tonight is going to be different.  Tonight it is time for blunt truth.

America is a great and strong nation, but in many ways the State of our Union is troubled.  We have a lackluster economy.  There are signs of recovery, but that is cold comfort to those who are still unemployed or who have not had a wage increase in years.  I could attempt to assess some responsibility for this poor economy to my predecessor, but that would be pointless.  You, the American people, are not interested in blame.  What you are interested in is improving the economy, and so far, under my watch, that has not happened as much as hoped it would.  I, in good faith, attempted to stimulate the economy through a massive stimulus bill.  Thus far the results have been meager for the amount of money spent.  Time for a course correction.  Beginning tomorrow I am going to hold meetings with the Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress.  The economy is my number one priority, as it rightly is yours, and I am open to all ideas, from whatever source, to jumpstart the economy and return us to the path to prosperity.  If taxcuts and spending cuts are necessary to get the economy moving, so be it.  Whatever works is my watchword on this key issue.  To quote another President from Illinois, “The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the stormy present.”  I am a Democrat, by the standards of many Americans a Liberal Democrat.  I’m proud of this, but I will not allow my adherence to certain beliefs to stand in the way of improving the economy.  Time for us all, past time, Republicans, Democrats and Independents, to work together make our economy once again the most prosperous on Earth.    This is my chief concern and I will do whatever it takes to accomplish this task.

Continue Reading

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Endless Debates

 

 

The New York Times hilariously believes that by agreeing to take up the question of gay marriage, the Court will resolve the issue, the Times assuming, as I do, that the Court is likely to strike down all laws against gay marriage and impose it by judicial fiat.

Such judicial interventions in the governance of this country in regard to hotly contested questions tend to be the starting of debates and not the ending of them.  This week on January 22, we will be observing the 42 anniversary of the decision of Roe v. Wade which sought to resolved the abortion issue.  The fight about abortion continues unabated, the Court’s pro-abortion rulings notwithstanding.  In a democracy, attempts by nine unelected lawyers in black robes to resolve questions of great moment tend not to work in the absence of political power and consensus to support the decision.  Mollie Hemingway at The Federalist reminds us that the Court has a long history of inflaming, rather than ending, debates in this nation:

In “Abuse of Discretion,” Clark Forsythe’s comprehensive look at how Roe v. Wade came to be, he notes that advocates of legalized abortion polled a very general question about whether abortion “should be between a woman and her physician.” Four months before the first arguments in Roe v. Wade were made, such a question got 64 percent affirming it in a Gallup poll, perhaps because the wording was so vague. (This is a bit of an aside, but Forsythe notes that abortion is almost never between a woman and her physician. Fewer than 5 percent of abortions are performed by a woman’s regular OB-GYN and almost all are performed by a stranger.)

You’d have to be living in a New York Times bubble to think that Roe v. Wade was either a limited decision or would end debate. In many ways, that decision is what led to many more people thinking deeply about abortion for the first time. And when they did begin thinking deeply about the topic, it frequently benefited the pro-life movement.

In another abortion decision years later, some justices signed onto some serious wishful thinking about court decisions settling the question of whether there is a right to kill an unborn child. Scalia’s dissent in Casey speaks to this and offers yet another example when the court thought it was settling another contentious issue (and that one’s a doozie):

There comes vividly to mind a portrait by Emanuel Leutze that hangs in the Harvard Law School: Roger Brooke Taney, painted in 1859, the 82d year of his life, the 24th of his Chief Justiceship, the second after his opinion in Dred Scott. He is all in black, sitting in a shadowed red armchair, left hand resting upon a pad of paper in his lap, right hand hanging limply, almost lifelessly, beside the inner arm of the chair. He sits facing the viewer, and staring straight out. There seems to be on his face, and in his deep-set eyes, an expression of profound sadness and disillusionment. Perhaps he always looked that way, even when dwelling upon the happiest of thoughts. But those of us who know how the lustre of his great Chief Justiceship came to be eclipsed by Dred Scott cannot help believing that he had that case–its already apparent consequences for the Court, and its soon-to-be-played-out consequences for the Nation–burning on his mind. I expect that two years earlier he, too, had thought himself “call[ing] the contending sides of national controversy to end their national division by accepting a common mandate rooted in the Constitution.” It is no more realistic for us in this case, than it was for him in that, to think that an issue of the sort they both involved–an issue involving life and death, freedom and subjugation–can be “speedily and finally settled” by the Supreme Court, as President James Buchanan in his inaugural address said the issue of slavery in the territories would be. See Inaugural Addresses of the Presidents of the United States, S. Doc. No. 101-10, p. 126 (1989). Quite to the contrary, by foreclosing all democratic outlet for the deep passions this issue arouses, by banishing the issue from the political forum that gives all participants, even the losers, the satisfaction of a fair hearing and an honest fight, by continuing the imposition of a rigid national rule instead of allowing for regional differences, the Court merely prolongs and intensifies the anguish.

I’ll give the New York Times this much: Whatever the Supreme Court decides on same-sex marriage, I bet it will end the debate at least as much as Dred Scott ended the debate about slavery, Roe ended the debate about abortion, and Casey ended the debate about abortion. Continue Reading

12

PopeWatch: The Family

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

Here is the text of the speech of the Pope on the family delivered last Friday in the Philippines:

Dear Families,

Dear Friends in Christ,

I am grateful for your presence here this evening and for the witness of your love for Jesus and his Church.  I thank Bishop Reyes, Chairman of the Bishops’ Commission on Family and Life, for his words of welcome on your behalf.  And, in a special way, I thank those who have presented testimonies and have shared their life of faith with us.

The Scriptures seldom speak of Saint Joseph, but when they do, we often find him resting, as an angel reveals God’s will to him in his dreams.  In the Gospel passage we have just heard, we find Joseph resting not once, but twice.  This evening I would like to rest in the Lord with all of you, and to reflect with you on the gift of the family. 

It is important to dream in the family. All mothers and fathers dream of their sons and daughters in the womb for nine months. They dream of how they will be. It isn’t possible to have a family without such dreams. When you lose this capacity to dream you lose the capacity to love, the capacity to love is lost. I recommend that at night when you examine your consciences, ask yourself if you dreamed of the future of your sons and daughters. Did you dream of your husband or wife? Did you dream today of your parents, your grandparents who carried forward the family to me? It is so important to dream and especially to dream in the family. Please don’t lose the ability to dream in this way. How many solutions are found to family problems if we take time to reflect, if we think of a husband or wife, and we dream about the good qualities they have. Don’t ever lose the memory of when you were boyfriend or girlfriend. That is very important.

Joseph’s rest revealed God’s will to him.  In this moment of rest in the Lord, as we pause from our many daily obligations and activities, God is also speaking to us.  He speaks to us in the reading we have just heard, in our prayer and witness, and in the quiet of our hearts.  Let us reflect on what the Lord is saying to us, especially in this evening’s Gospel.  There are three aspects of this passage which I would ask you to consider: resting in the Lord, rising with Jesus and Mary, and being a prophetic voice.

Resting in the Lord.  Rest is so necessary for the health of our minds and bodies, and often so difficult to achieve due to the many demands placed on us.  But rest is also essential for our spiritual health, so that we can hear God’s voice and understand what he asks of us.  Joseph was chosen by God to be the foster father of Jesus and the husband of Mary.  As Christians, you too are called, like Joseph, to make a home for Jesus.  You make a home for him in your hearts, your families, your parishes and your communities.

To hear and accept God’s call, to make a home for Jesus, you must be able to rest in the Lord.  You must make time each day for prayer.  But you may say to me: Holy Father, I want to pray, but there is so much work to do!  I must care for my children; I have chores in the home; I am too tired even to sleep well.  This may be true, but if we do not pray, we will not know the most important thing of all: God’s will for us.  And for all our activity, our busy-ness, without prayer we will accomplish very little. 

Resting in prayer is especially important for families.  It is in the family that we first learn how to pray. And don’t forget when the family prays together, it remains together.  This is important.  There we come to know God, to grow into men and women of faith, to see ourselves as members of God’s greater family, the Church.  In the family we learn how to love, to forgive, to be generous and open, not closed and selfish.  We learn to move beyond our own needs, to encounter others and share our lives with them.  That is why it is so important to pray as a family!  That is why families are so important in God’s plan for the Church!

I would like to tell you something very personal. I like St Joseph very much. He is a strong man of silence. On my desk I have a statue of St Joseph sleeping. While sleeping he looks after the Church.  Yes, he can do it!  We know that. When I have a problem or a difficulty, I write on a piece of paper and I put it under his statue so he can dream about it. This means please pray to St Joseph for this problem.

Next, rising with Jesus and Mary.  Those precious moments of repose, of resting with the Lord in prayer, are moments we might wish to prolong.  But like Saint Joseph, once we have heard God’s voice, we must rise from our slumber; we must get up and act (cf. Rom 13:11).  Faith does not remove us from the world, but draws us more deeply into it.  Each of us, in fact, has a special role in preparing for the coming of God’s kingdom in our world.

Just as the gift of the Holy Family was entrusted to Saint Joseph, so the gift of the family and its place in God’s plan is entrusted to us so we can carry it forward. To each one of you and us because I too am the son of a family.

The angel of the Lord revealed to Joseph the dangers which threatened Jesus and Mary, forcing them to flee to Egypt and then to settle in Nazareth.  So too, in our time, God calls upon us to recognize the dangers threatening our own families and to protect them from harm.  We must be attentive to the new ideological colonization.

Beware of the new ideological colonization that tries to destroy the family. It’s not born of the dream that we have from God and prayer – it comes from outside and that’s why I call it a colonization. Let us not lose the freedom to take forward the mission God has given us, the mission of the family.  And just as our peoples were able to say in the past “No” to the period of colonization, as families we have to be very wise and strong to say “No” to any attempted ideological colonization that could destroy the family. And to ask the intercession of St Joseph to know when to say “Yes” and when to say “No”….

The pressures on family life today are many.  Here in the Philippines, countless families are still suffering from the effects of natural disasters.  The economic situation has caused families to be separated by migration and the search for employment, and financial problems strain many households.  While all too many people live in dire poverty, others are caught up in materialism and lifestyles which are destructive of family life and the most basic demands of Christian morality.  The family is also threatened by growing efforts on the part of some to redefine the very institution of marriage, by relativism, by the culture of the ephemeral, by a lack of openness to life. 

I think of Blessed Paul VI in the moment of that challenge of population growth, he had the strength to defend openness to life. He knew the difficulties families experience and that’s why in his encyclical (Humanae Vitae) he expressed compassion for specific cases and he taught professors to be particularly compassionate for particular cases. And he went further, he looked at the people on the earth and he saw that lack (of children) and the problem it could cause families in the future. Paul VI was courageous, a good pastor and he warned his sheep about the wolves that were approaching.  And from the heavens he blesses us today.

Our world needs good and strong families to overcome these threats!  The Philippines needs holy and loving families to protect the beauty and truth of the family in God’s plan and to be a support and example for other families.  Every threat to the family is a threat to society itself.  The future of humanity, as Saint John Paul II often said, passes through the family (cf. Familiaris Consortio, 85).  So protect your families!   See in them your country’s greatest treasure and nourish them always by prayer and the grace of the sacraments.  Families will always have their trials, but may you never add to them!  Instead, be living examples of love, forgiveness and care.  Be sanctuaries of respect for life, proclaiming the sacredness of every human life from conception to natural death.  What a gift this would be to society, if every Christian family lived fully its noble vocation!  So rise with Jesus and Mary, and set out on the path the Lord traces for each of you.

Finally, the Gospel we have heard reminds us of our Christian duty to be prophetic voices in the midst of our communities.  Joseph listened to the angel of the Lord and responded to God’s call to care for Jesus and Mary.  In this way he played his part in God’s plan, and became a blessing not only for the Holy Family, but a blessing for all of humanity.  With Mary, Joseph served as a model for the boy Jesus as he grew in wisdom, age and grace (cf. Lk 2:52).  When families bring children into the world, train them in faith and sound values, and teach them to contribute to society, they become a blessing in our world.  God’s love becomes present and active by the way we love and by the good works that we do.  We extend Christ’s kingdom in this world.  And in doing this, we prove faithful to the prophetic mission which we have received in baptism.

During this year which your bishops have set aside as the Year of the Poor, I would ask you, as families, to be especially mindful of our call to be missionary disciples of Jesus.  This means being ready to go beyond your homes and to care for our brothers and sisters who are most in need.  I ask you especially to show concern for those who do not have a family of their own, in particular those who are elderly and children without parents.  Never let them feel isolated, alone and abandoned, but help them to know that God has not forgotten them.

I was very moved after the Mass today when I visited that shelter for children with no parents. How many people in the Church work so that that house is a home, family? This is what it means to take forward, prophetically, the meaning of family.  You may be poor yourselves in material ways, but you have an abundance of gifts to offer when you offer Christ and the community of his Church.  Do not hide your faith, do not hide Jesus, but carry him into the world and offer the witness of your family life!

Dear friends in Christ, know that I pray for you always!  I pray that the Lord may continue to deepen your love for him, and that this love may manifest itself in your love for one another and for the Church.  Pray often and take the fruits of your prayer into the world, that all may know Jesus Christ and his merciful love.  Please pray also for me, for I truly need your prayers and will depend on them always! Continue Reading

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PopeWatch: Crux Crushed

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

During his trip to the Philippines, Pope Francis gave a ringing reaffirmation of Humanae Vitae:

Pope Francis took the opportunity during an address to families in the Philippines to praise Blessed Pope Paul VI’s encyclical opposing contraception and affirming Church teaching on sexuality and human life.

The Pope spoke Friday to families gathered at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila during his Jan. 15-19 visit to the Philippines.

After discussing various threats to the family, including “a lack of openness to life,” he deviated briefly from his prepared remarks, transitioning from English to his native Spanish in order to speak from the heart about the subject.

“I think of Blessed Paul VI,” he said. “In a moment of that challenge of the growth of populations, he had the strength to defend openness to life.”

In 1968, Pope Paul VI released the encyclical Humanae Vitae, which upheld Catholic teaching on sexuality and the immorality of artificial contraception, predicting the negative consequences that would result from a cultural acceptance of birth control.

“He knew the difficulties that families experience, and that’s why in his encyclical, he expressed compassion for particular cases. And he taught professors to be particularly compassionate with particular cases,” Pope Francis said.

“But he went further. He looked to the peoples beyond. He saw the lack and the problem that it could cause families in the future. Paul VI was courageous. He was a good pastor, and he warned his sheep about the wolves that were approaching, and from the heavens he blesses us today.”

Pope Francis’ comments come in the wake of Philippines president Benigno Aquino’s signing a highly controversial reproductive health bill in 2013 that drew strong protest from local bishops and members of the faith.

The legislation requires government-sanctioned sex education for adults, middle school and high school students, as well as a population control program that includes fully subsidized contraceptives under government health insurance. The nation’s bishops spoke out strongly against the measure.

 

Go here to read the rest.

Continue Reading

3

Frederick Douglass Speech on the Thirteenth Amendment

 

In May 1865 William Lloyd Garrison moved at its convention for the disbanding of the American Anti-Slavery Society on the grounds that the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment abolishing slavery by Congress in February 1865, and its certain ratification by a sufficient number of states, the abolition of slavery was now in sight and the goal of the organization reached.  Frederick Douglass, prophetically, in a response speech the next day said in effect, not so fast.  Here is a portion of his speech:

I do not wish to appear here in any fault-finding spirit, or as an impugner of the motives of those who believe that the time has come for this Society to disband. I am conscious of no suspicion of the purity and excellence of the motives that animate the President of this Society [William Lloyd Garrison], and other gentlemen who are in favor of its disbandment. I take this ground; whether this Constitutional Amendment [the thirteenth] is law or not, whether it has been ratified by a sufficient number of States to make it law or not, I hold that the work of Abolitionists is not done. Even if every State in the Union had ratified that Amendment, while the black man is confronted in the legislation of the South by the word “white,” our work as Abolitionists, as I conceive it, is not done. I took the ground, last night, that the South, by unfriendly legislation, could make our liberty, under that provision, a delusion, a mockery, and a snare, and I hold that ground now. What advantage is a provision like this Amendment to the black man, if the Legislature of any State can to-morrow declare that no black man’s testimony shall be received in a court of law? Where are we then? Any wretch may enter the house of a black man, and commit any violence he pleases; if he happens to do it only in the presence of black persons, he goes unwhipt of justice [“Hear, hear.”] And don’t tell me that those people down there have become so just and honest all at once that they will not pass laws denying to black men the right to testify against white men in the courts of law. Why, our Northern States have done it. Illinois, Indiana and Ohio have done it. Here, in the midst of institutions that have gone forth from old Plymouth Rock, the black, man has been excluded from testifying in the courts of law; and if the Legislature of every Southern State to-morrow pass a law, declaring that no Negro shall testify in any courts of law, they will not violate that provision of the Constitution. Such laws exist now at the South, and they might exist under this provision of the Constitution, that there shall be neither slavery not involuntary servitude in any State of the Union….

Slavery is not abolished until the black man has the ballot. While the Legislatures of the South retain the right to pass laws making any discrimination between black and white, slavery still lives there. [Applause.] As Edmund Quincy once said, “While the word ‘white’ is on the statute-book of Massachusetts, Massachusetts is a slave State. While a black man can be turned out of a car in Massachusetts, Massachusetts is a slave State. While a slave can be taken from old Massachusetts, Massachusetts is a slave State.” That is what I heard Edmund Quincy say twenty-three or twenty-four years ago. I never forget such a thing. Now, while the black man can be denied a vote, while the Legislatures of the South can take from him the right to keep and bear arms, as they can-they would not allow a Negro to walk with a cane where I came from, they would not allow five of them to assemble together the work of the Abolitionists is not finished. Notwithstanding the provision in the Constitution of the United States, that the right to keep and bear arms shall not be abridged, the black man has never had the right either to keep or bear arms; and the Legislatures of the States will still have the power to forbid it, under this Amendment. They can carry on a system of unfriendly legislation, and will they not do it? Have they not got prejudice there to do it with? Think you, that because they are for the moment in the talons and beak of our glorious eagle, instead of the slave being there, as formerly, that they are converted? I hear of the loyalty at Wilmington, the loyalty at South Carolina-what is it worth?

[“Not a straw.”]

Not a straw. I thank my friend for admitting it. Continue Reading

4

Memoriae Positum

(Reposted from 2013.)

 He leads for aye the advance,

 Hope’s forlorn-hopes that plant the desperate good

For nobler Earths and days of manlier mood;

James Russell Lowell

Memoriae Positum, memory laid down.  The Latin phrase is a good short hand description of  what History accomplishes.  In 1864 the poet James Russell Lowell wrote a poem entitled Memoriae Positum in tribute to Colonel Robert Gould Shaw who died heroically at age 25  leading the unsuccessful assault of the 54th Massachusetts, one of the first black Union regiments, on the Confederate stronghold of Fort Wagner at Charleston, South Carolina on July 18th, 1863.  The poem predicts that Shaw’s memory will live forever and feels sorrow only for those, unlike Shaw, who are unwilling or unable to risk all for their beliefs.  It is a poem completely out of step with the predominant sentiments of our day which seem to value physical survival and enjoyment above everything else.  Here is the text of the poem: Continue Reading

13

The Perfect Article for America

Jesuits Everywhere

America as in the Jesuit rag, not the nation.  The Jesuits can close up shop now at America.  There is no way they can surpass this article which perfectly symbolizes the adherence of most contemporary Jesuits to the Faith, and their intellectual acumen:

 

A New Theology of the Transgendered Body by Sidney Callahan

Bravo Jesuits, you cannot possibly top, or rather bottom, that!

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Cardinal Newman’s Rules for Blogging

Cardinal Newman Icon Tall Pic

Blogging can be rough amusement.  I will attempt to keep the Definition of a Gentleman written by Cardinal Newman in 1852 in mind as much as I can and still keep the readers of TAC informed and amused.  It is almost as if Newman could perceive blogging over a century and a third before it began, as  his Definition of a Gentleman is, in part, almost a code of behavior for bloggers.  Here are some rules for blogging I have distilled from it:

Bloggers would do well to keep the following in mind:

1.    His great concern being to make every one at their ease and at home. He has his eyes on all his company; he is tender towards the bashful, gentle towards the distant, and merciful towards the absurd.

2.    He never defends himself by a mere retort.

3.    He has no ears for slander or gossip.

4.    He is scrupulous in imputing motives to those who interfere with him, and interprets every thing for the best.

5.    He is never mean or little in his disputes, never takes unfair advantage, never mistakes personalities or sharp sayings for arguments, or insinuates evil which he dare not say out.

6.    From a long-sighted prudence, he observes the maxim of the ancient sage, that we should ever conduct ourselves towards our enemy as if he were one day to be our friend.

7.    He has too much good sense to be affronted at insults.

8.    He is too well employed to remember injuries, and too indolent to bear malice.

9.    He is patient, forbearing, and resigned, on philosophical principles.

10.   If he engages in controversy of any kind, his disciplined intellect preserves him from the blundering discourtesy of better, perhaps, but less educated minds; who, like blunt weapons, tear and hack instead of cutting clean, who mistake the point in argument, waste their strength on trifles, misconceive their adversary, and leave the question more involved than they find it. Continue Reading

January 18, 1865: Lincoln Note to Blair

Lincoln v. Davis

 

After Francis P. Blair returned to Washington from Richmond with a note from Jefferson Davis indicating a willingness to enter into negotiations, go here and here for background on Blair’s mission and his meeting with Davis, Lincoln had a decision to make.  Refuse to enter into negotiations and that would anger both moderate Republicans and Democrats.  Enter into negotiations, and both mainstream and radical Republicans would be dismayed.  Lincoln hit upon a shrewd response.  He would enter into negotiations, but he would couch his agreement in such terms as clearly to indicate no weakening in his resolve to preserve the Union: Continue Reading

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Quotes Suitable for Framing: Victor Davis Hanson

Multiculturalism

 

 

A multicultural approach to the conquest of Mexico usually does not investigate the tragedy of the collision between 16th-century imperial Spain and the Aztec Empire. More often it renders the conquest as melodrama between a mostly noble indigenous people slaughtered by a mostly toxic European Christian culture, acting true to its imperialistic and colonialist traditions and values.

In other words, there is little attention given to Aztec imperialism, colonialism, slavery, human sacrifice, and cannibalism, but rather a great deal of emphasis on Aztec sophisticated time-reckoning, monumental building skills, and social stratification. To explain the miraculous defeat of the huge Mexican empire by a few rag-tag, greedy conquistadors, discussion would not entail the innate savagery of the Aztecs that drove neighboring indigenous tribes to ally themselves with Cortés. Much less would multiculturalism dare ask why the Aztecs did not deploy an expeditionary force to Barcelona, or outfit their soldiers with metal breastplates, harquebuses, and steel swords, or at least equip their defenders with artillery, crossbows, and mines.

For the multiculturalist, the sins of the non-West are mostly ignored or attributed to Western influence, while those of the West are peculiar to Western civilization. In terms of the challenge of radical Islam, multiculturalism manifests itself in the abstract with the notion that Islamists are simply the fundamentalist counterparts to any other religion. Islamic extremists are no different from Christian extremists, as the isolated examples of David Koresh or the Rev. Jim Jones are cited ad nauseam as the morally and numerically equivalent bookends to thousands of radical Islamic terrorist acts that plague the world each month. We are not to assess other religions by any absolute standard, given that such judgmentalism would inevitably be prejudiced by endemic Western privilege. There is nothing in the Sermon on the Mount that differs much from what is found in the Koran. And on and on and on.

Victor Davis Hanson

8

PopeWatch: Clarification

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

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

En route to the Philippines from Sri Lanka yesterday, Pope Francis said that he was ready to “punch” anyone who insults his mother, showing that there are limits to freedom of expression.

“We have a duty to speak openly. To have this freedom, but without offending. It’s true that you cannot react with violence, but if my aide Doctor Gasbarri, who is a friend, badmouths my mother, a punch would be coming for him,” Francis said before holding up a finger and asking those present to hold on a second. “Hold on…let me take that back. I would not punch him in the face. At least not at first. First, I would kick him in the n–s. Then a knee in the face would be coming for him. After this, I would have many options. I could put him in a headlock, a figure-four leg lock, a vice grip, the Colossal Clutch, the Turantual, the Boston Crab…any of these maneuvers would help to rectify the wrong said about my mother.”

Francis went on to beg those seated around him to “try” him if they did not believe him, saying, “try me…say one thing, I beg you…pleeeeaase say something!” Continue Reading

2

Seven Cities of Gold

Something for the Weekend.  After hearing this week that Pope Francis plans to canonize Blessed Junipero Serra, the Apostle of California, while he is in this country later this year, the musical score to the heavily fictionalized account of the first missionary journey of Serra, Seven Cities of Gold (1955) seems appropriate.

In 1955 Hollywood told the story of the 1769 expedition to Alta California in the film Seven Cities of Gold.  Michael Rennie gave a very good performance as Father Serra and Anthony Quinn gave an equally fine performance as Governor Portolla.  Of course Hollywood could not remain completely faithful to history, and a fictional hunt for the Seven Cities of Cibola was given as the reason for the expedition.  A love story between an Indian girl and one of the Spanish officers was also grafted on to the story.  In spite of the usually Hollywood twisting of history, the film is accurate in its depiction of the goodness and charity of Father Serra and his zeal to spread the Gospel.  One scene from the movie has him denouncing the greed of the Spanish soldiers and their desire to exploit the Indians: Continue Reading

14

Cause the Media Tells Me So

 

Strong advisory in regard to the above video which shows the Jihadi murderers of ISIS publically executing an accused adulteress as she begs to see her children one last time.  Why does not the West treat the Jihadists around the globe with the only argument that seems to make any impression upon them:  superior fire power?  A commenter at Father Z’s blog gives us an answer:

Because I stay informed through the modern media and keep up on political commentary, I recognize that Muslims killing people for religious reasons is an extreme rarity, committed by isolated individuals or small extremist cells. I refuse to let this single incident cloud my impression of Islam.

The man in the picture no doubt fired the shot and then fled, as those around him must have been planning to apprehend him. Since Islam is the religion of peace, I know they were not supporters of his. Or perhaps he was merely defending himself from western oil profiteering, and he’s being unfairly portrayed as a terrorist.

In contrast, Catholics are constantly bombing abortion clinics, assassinating doctor’s, and forcing themselves into private citizens’ bedrooms to sabotage their contraception. Then again, is this any surprise in an organization who’s charitable contributions are less than $200 billion in most years?

In fact, over the last 30 years alone, more Catholic priests have been credibly accused of child sexual abuse in a country of merely 300 million people than the number of Muslims who have killed people northern Iraq and southern Syria combined going all the way back to last Thursday.

Similar statistics help re-assure us not to apply the self-righteous generalizations we direct at Catholics at Boko Haram in Nigeria; Hezbollah in Lebanon; Hamas in Palestine; Al Shabaab in Somalia, Etheopia, and Kenya; Abu Sayyaf, MILF, and others in the Philippines; the Taliban in Pakistan and Afghanistan; Jaish-e-Mohammed, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, and others in India, the Arab Mujahideen in Chechnya, and all the other peaceful groups I’m forgetting at the moment.

I apologize that my digression does not respect the gravity of the picture. It’s just that when I see the contrast between how the media treats Islam in the face of Islamist terrorism on one hand, and acts like excerpting casual remarks by the Pope about how it’s unwise to provoke crazy people in a way that makes it sound like he made an official declaration that the recent attacks in France were justified on the other hand, I get a bit touchy.

May this woman rest in peace, and God provide for her family. Continue Reading

53

Saint Pope John Paul II and President Reagan: Come Back and Make the Stupid Stop

Pope and Friend

 

From Ace of Spades:

I know this pope has been misread by ardent leftists hoping to claim his authority for their cause before. But it seems like the translation would be hard to screw up, given the context.

His “cannot make fun of religion” could easily be a “should not” more than a “must not,” and I suppose that would be expected from a Pope; it is his statement that a Blasphemer should “expect a punch” that bothers me.

This after 17 people were “punched” in Paris.

And he was specifically answering a question about the Charlie Hebdo murders. He wasn’t offering an abstract opinion on blasphemy against Islam as a general matter.

“One cannot provoke, one cannot insult other people’s faith, one cannot make fun of faith,” he said. “There is a limit. Every religion has its dignity … in freedom of expression there are limits.”

The right to liberty of expression comes with the “obligation” to speak for “the common good,” Pope Francis said, cautioning against provocation.

To illustrate his point, he joked about Vatican aide Alberto Gasparri who was standing nearby on the plane.

“It’s true that we can’t react violently, but, for example if Dr. Gasbarri here, a great friend of mine, says a curse word against my mother, then a punch awaits him,” the pontiff said.

Wonderful.

Our current crop of institution-controlling “elites” sure is hitting it out of the park lately. Continue Reading

3

Apostle of California

(Apparently Pope Francis is going to canonize Father Serra during his visit to the US this year.  Finally!  Time to repost this post that ran in 2011.)

 

 

By the 18th Century Spain’s glory days were in her past, and her time as a great power was rapidly coming to an end.  It is therefore somewhat unusual that at this period in her history, Spain added to her vast colonial empire.  It would never have occurred but for the drive of one Spanish governor and the burning desire of a saint to spread the Gospel of Christ.

Miquel Josep Serra i Ferrer was born on the island of Majorca, the largest of the Balearic islands, off the Mediterranean coast of Spain on November 24, 1713.  From his youth he had a desire to join the Franciscans and on September 14, 1730 he entered the Order of Friars Minor, and took the name of Junipero after Saint Junipero, one of the closest companions of Saint Francis.  He had a sharp mind, and before his ordination to the priesthood was appointed lector of philosophy.  He would go on to earn a doctorate in philosophy from Lullian University and went on to occupy the Duns Scotus chair of philosophy there.  A quiet life teaching philosophy was his for the asking.  Instead, he went off to be a missionary in the New World in 1749.

His first assignment was to teach in Mexico City, but that was not why he had left the Old World.  At his request he was assigned to the Sierra Gorda Indian missions in Central Mexico as a mission priest, a task which occupied him  for the next nine years.

In 1768 he was appointed the head of 15 Franciscans in Baja California who were taking over Jesuit missions to the Indians there, following the suppression of the Jesuit Order.  It was in Baja California that he met the Governor of that province, Gaspar de Portola.

Continue Reading

10

Pal Jesus Won’t Save You

Buddy Christ

“A God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross.”

H. Richard Nieburh

 

One of the more distressing aspects of the times in which we live is a widespread and fundamentally incorrect response to the eternal question first asked by Christ to His Apostles, “Who do you say that I am?”  The question of course contained the answer:  Christ is forever “I AM”, the creator of all that was, is and will ever be, our eternal Master and the source of all love and hope.

This Christ has been transformed into Pal Jesus, an instant forgiveness buddy, who wouldn’t dream of imposing commands on anyone, and who loves us just the way we are.  Pal Jesus always forgives us, whether we ask for it or not, whether we seek to amend our lives or not.  He never tells us to go and sin no more.  This Christ, who, to paraphrase Chesterton, wears a new face of goofiness, is in stark contrast to the Christ presented to us in the Gospels who bids us all each to take up our Cross and follow Him.  Father Richard Heilman at One Peter Five gets at the heart of  this modern variant of a very old heresy:

And yet isn’t that exactly what has become of us? Consider this sobering analysis of our present condition from columnist Jeffrey Kuhner at the Washington Times:

For the past 50 years, every major institution has been captured by the radical secular left. The media, Hollywood, TV, universities, public schools, theater, the arts, literature — they relentlessly promote the false gods of sexual hedonism and radical individualism. Conservatives have ceded the culture to the enemy. Tens of millions of unborn babies have been slaughtered; illegitimacy rates have soared; divorce has skyrocketed; pornography is rampant; drug use has exploded; sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS have killed millions; birth control is a way of life; sex outside of wedlock has become the norm; countless children have been permanently damaged — their innocence lost forever — because of the proliferation of broken homes; and sodomy and homosexuality are celebrated openly. America has become the new Babylon.

This cultural assessment is bleak. And I believe that underlying it all is a deeper evil, a more ancient and intractable error which gives rise to all the rest. Many have pointed to “Modernism” as the heresy of our times. Modernism, while it takes many forms, is basically a break or rejection of our past in favor of all things new. And, while it seems evident that our Church is fully infected with the heresy of Modernism, I believe that it, too, is a symptom of this more fundamental threat.

What am I referring to? Something that impacts the very nature of human existence and the opportunity for our salvation. Lacking an official name, I call this monster, “Stealth Arianism.” Students of history know that the Arian heresy – the worst crisis in the Church before our present age – was rooted in the belief that Jesus Christ was merely a created being, not equal to God the Father.  Stealth Arianism follows the same fatal error, but with a twist: while the Arians of the fourth century openly denied Christ’s divinity, today‘s Arians will profess Jesus as God, and yet through their actions deny it. In other words, they don’t even know they are heretics. Many even believe that they are doing God’s work in their attempts to elevate Christ’s humanity at the cost of His divinity.

You see, once we diminish the identity of Christ as the Son of God, we are left to view Him as simply a historical figure that was a nice guy, a respectable teacher and a good example for how we are to live. Religion is then reduced to a nice organization that does nice things for people as we seek a kind of psychotherapy for self-actualization. And this is not only not what He came to give us, but it’s something He made sure to leave no room for.

In his Christological examination, Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis makes the case plain:

I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: “I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.” That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.

Over the past 50 years, the Stealth Arians have done everything within their power to remove from our lived experience of Catholicism anything that would point to the divinity of Christ, and the supernatural quality of our faith. Everything has been stripped from our churches – sacred art, sacred architecture, sacred music, and the sacred elements of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass – and we are left in the barren desert of the banal. It is no wonder many Catholics think nothing of approaching the Most Holy Eucharist dressed in a t-shirt, shorts, and flip-flops, and grabbing the host like they’re reaching into a bag of chips. As Flannery O’Connor said, “If it’s a symbol, to hell with it.” It’s more surprising that these individuals even bother to attend Mass at all. Continue Reading

23

PopeWatch: Papal Opinions

 

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

Pope as radical environmentalist?:

 

 

In his strongest declaration yet about climate change, Pope Francis said Thursday he is convinced that global warming is “mostly” man-made.

He also said he has nearly finished writing an encyclical on climate change to be published in June that he hopes will encourage negotiators at a climate change meeting in Paris in December to make “courageous” decisions to protect God’s creation.

“I don’t know if it (human activity) is the only cause, but mostly, in great part, it is man who has slapped nature in the face,” Francis told reporters Thursday aboard the Papal plane en route from Sri Lanka to Manilla, Philippines. “We have in a sense taken over nature.”

“I think we have exploited nature too much,” he added, mentioning practices like deforestation and monoculture. “Thanks be to God that today there are voices, so many people who are speaking out about it.” Continue Reading