14

A Few Quick Hits

A few noteworthy news items:

– One of the key opposition leaders in Russia was assassinated randomly killed.

A leading Russian opposition politician, former Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov, has been shot dead in Moscow, Russian officials say.

An unidentified attacker in a car shot Mr Nemtsov four times in the back as he crossed a bridge in view of the Kremlin, police say.

He died hours after appealing for support for a march on Sunday in Moscow against the war in Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has condemned the murder, the Kremlin says.

President Putin has assumed “personal control” of the investigation into the killing, said his spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

Undoubtedly this will be the most thorough murder investigation since O.J. Simpson hunted down Nicole Brown Simpson’s murderer.

– Scott Walker is already living rent free in the heads of the far left. Now they’re just throwing whatever they can at the wall to see what sticks. Unfortunately for them there’s been this invention called Google that exposes their misinformation attempts. RS McCain explains.

Jezebel’s “senior political reporter” Natasha Vargas-Cooper gotBreitbarted, exposed as a dishonest and corrupt partisan hack, by a guy who did 20 seconds of Googling. Darleen Click:

Here’s Darleen’s post.

Long story short, Vargas-Cooper posted a story about how Governor Walker had allowed Wisconsin universities not to report sexual assaults. What she failed to mention that this was a request from the universities, who already have federal filing requirements to comply with.

Naturally when Vargas-Cooper was confronted with all of the facts she retracted the story and apologized.

Ha ha ha. I slay me. No, she doubled down and basically said that facts don’t matter. Because narrative.

– Here’s a local story about how Montgomery County, Maryland is investigating the pros and cons of getting out of the booze business. County Executive Ike Leggett is having none of it.

The News4 I-Team reached out to County Executive Ike Leggett for comment. His spokesman pointed us to the Chief Administrative Officer’s official response in the report on page 107, stating, “In our opinion, local liquor control has served Montgomery County well. We have lower alcohol consumption and higher revenue for public purposes than other jurisdictions. There are not liquor stores on every corner.”

I highlight this because it demonstrates something that has been manifest for some time to anyone paying attention: the real social scolds are on the left. While the popular narrative is that social conservatives are the ones looking to run everyone else’s life, time and again, story after story, we see examples of left-wing busybodies seeking to interfere with private behavior. Now Leggett might actually have a good argument in defending the liquor stores on these grounds*, but make no mistake, the man is making social policy motivated at least in part in a desire to control behavior.

*: Though as my wife points out, Leggett’s shot at liquor stores is misplaced. I’ll take places like Speck’s in Houston over the dreary state-run stores in Maryland any day.

– This is a few weeks old, but as relevant as ever: fat is good for you. No really, eat your eggs and butter.

New research claims that official warnings against the consumption of saturated fats should never have been introduced

The article in BMJ’s Open Heart journal argues that the advice was based on flawed data and “very limited evidence”.

The warning, adopted by British authorities in the early 1980s, was based on research that focused only on unhealthy men, with the reports authors arguing: “it seems incomprehensible that dietary advice was introduced for 220 million Americans and 56 million UK citizens.

“Dietary advice does not merely need a review; it should not have been introduced.”

Yeah, so pretty much most nutrition advice over the past five decades or so was based on seriously flawed research, and the dietary guidelines have been counter-productive. And yet people still insist on low-fat diets. Whatever. More bacon and eggs for me.

 

30

I Might As Well Turn Myself In Now

WantedThese Right-Wing Extremists

 

Back during the eighties, Time-Life used to advertise their series on the Civil War with an advertisement showing a Civil War soldier with his rifle pointed at the viewer.  The caption of the picture was stark and true:  If the battle of Gettysburg were fought today, you would be the enemy.

I found that slightly chilling in a historical nerd way.  Much more chilling is that documents are in circulation by our government that designate many of us as enemies of the state.  Go here to Doug Ross @ Journal to read the below article by Michael Snyder who has done yeoman service in compiling the list linked to documents in which government officials give the tell tale signs of those Americans engaging in unpermitted free speech: Continue Reading

3

PopeWatch: ISIS

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

 

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

Ahead of a planned assault on Italy by the Islamic State, members of ISIS met with leaders in the Italian gay community for a one day summit/pizza party in Pisa, Italy today.

Officials from both sides held a press conference earlier this morning, telling reporters that they were meeting in regards to ISIS plans to throw homosexuals off the Leaning Tower of “Pizza.”  Members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria admitted to reporters after hours negotiations over cheese pizza at the Italian restaurant Chuck E. Formaggio, that the homosexuals were actually a pretty fun crowd to be around.

“We came to the summit to strike fear in their hearts,” one ISIS member told the press. “We were really looking forward to throwing them off the ‘Tower of Pizza,’ but once they started talking, it was like, we still disagree with their lifestyle choices, but they’re really sweet. A couple of the homosexuals were telling us about how to make the perfect quiche and how to drape ISIS flags around our shoulders without wrinkling them, and we all kinda just looked at each other. We knew right then that no one was getting thrown off the Tower.”

The ISIS member went on to explain how, after a few pizza’s, they all went out to a night club and “danced the night away,” and calling them “a real sassy bunch.”

At press time, ISIS officials plan to meet with the largest gay community in Rome tomorrow when they visit with members of the Roman Curia. Continue Reading

2

The Church’s One Foundation

Something for the weekend, The Church’s One Foundation.  This is a repost from last year since it seems like a good hymn for Lent.  Written by Church of England minister Samuel J. Stone, it is sung to the tune Aurelia by Samuel S.Wesley.  I have always enjoyed this hymn and I have cherished the memory of Stone for it, and for this poem The Soliloquy of a Rationalistic Chicken: Continue Reading

11

Leonard Nimoy: Requiescat in Pace

 

A sad day.  Leonard Nimoy has departed this Vale of Tears.

Leonard Nimoy, the legendary actor who played Mr Spock in Star Trek, has died at the age of 83.

The star, who was first cast in the science-fiction series in the mid-1960s, suffered from COPD – chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – and was rushed to the UCLA Medical Center after a 911 call on February 19.

His wife Susan Bay Nimoy and son Adam confirmed he passed away at his Bel Air, Los Angeles, home on Friday morning.

Nimoy’s final tweet from his hospital bed urged fans to ‘live long and prosper’.  Continue Reading

10

James Forrestal and his Prophecy

Flag Raising Iwo Jima

 

The last cabinet level Secretary of the Navy, and the first Secretary of Defense, James Forrestal was not content to remain in Washington.  As Secretary of the Navy during World War II he often visited the sites of active combat operations.  Thus it was that he was present on Iwo Jima when the flag was raised on Mount Suribachi.  What he said then has entered the lore of the Marine Corps:

The raising of that flag on Suribachi means a Marine Corps for the next five hundred years.

Appointed the first Secretary of Defense in 1947, Forrestal fought against budget cuts proposed by President Truman that he thought endangered the nation’s security.  He also opposed the proposal to unify the services which would gut the Navy and eliminate the Marine Corps.  On March 31, 1949, Harry Truman, angered over Forrestal’s opposition to his policies, fired him.  Tragically, Forrestal, who had worked non-stop on Defense issues since he joined the Roosevelt administration in 1940, had a nervous breakdown.  While undergoing psychiatric treatment he committed suicide by jumping from the 16th floor of the National Naval Medical Center.  He left behind a note with a quotation from Sophocles’ Ajax:

Fair Salamis, the billows’ roar,

Wander around thee yet,

And sailors gaze upon thy shore

Firm in the Ocean set.

Thy son is in a foreign clime

Where Ida feeds her countless flocks,

Far from thy dear, remembered rocks,

Worn by the waste of time–

Comfortless, nameless, hopeless save

In the dark prospect of the yawning grave….

Woe to the mother in her close of day,

Woe to her desolate heart and temples gray,

When she shall hear

Her loved one’s story whispered in her ear!

“Woe, woe!’ will be the cry–

No quiet murmur like the tremulous wail

Of the lone bird, the querulous nightingale– Continue Reading

22

50 Shades of the Vatican

 

Pont-cul

  Father Z brings us the news that some men at the Vatican have apparently lost their marbles:

 

I have sometimes offered that, were I Pope, I would create two new dicasteries (while axing a bunch of others).  Firstly, there would be a Sacred Congregation for the Dusting of the Holy Doors.  After all, the major basilicas all have Holy Doors, to be opened in Jubilee years.  They get dusty.  This would be a great role for prelates from around the world who have proven their worth in their previous posts.  Secondly, We would create a Sacred Congregation for Thinking Stuff Through Before Doing It.  The brief of this SCTSTBD is pretty straight forward. You will remember the guffaw inducing filmette that the Pontifical Council for Culture put out a while back?  That strange video about women?  It stirred a lot of controversy.  HERE You would have thought that they had learned something from that episode. But no. And now we see this on page of the Pontifical Council for Culture…. (See image at beginning of post) Continue Reading

10

Quotes Suitable for Framing: William Manchester

 

He was a thundering paradox of a man, noble and ignoble, inspiring and outrageous, arrogant and shy, the best of men and the worst of men, the most protean, most ridiculous, and most sublime. No more baffling, exasperating soldier ever wore a uniform. Flamboyant, imperious, and apocalyptic, he carried the plumage of a flamingo, could not acknowledge errors, and tried to cover up his mistakes with sly, childish tricks. Yet he was also endowed with great personal charm, a will of iron, and a soaring intellect. Unquestionably he was the most gifted man-at arms- this nation has produced.

William Manchester in a great one paragraph description of Douglas MacArthur, American Caesar

One sure way to get a fight started among American students of military history is to mention Douglas MacArthur.  About 40% will regard him as a vastly overrated egotistical incompetent, and another 40% will regard him as perhaps America’s greatest general.  Twenty percent will try to say that both sides have their points, just before a heated debate begins.  My own perspective is that we are still too close to MacArthur’s stormy time to render a judicious verdict on his career.  MacArthur is both the hero and villain of his biography and it will take generations to sort him out.

9

A decades’ long struggle: Catholic identity and the University of Notre Dame…

 

One of the first, unspoken rules of assuming the presidency of an institution of higher education is “Remake the board in your image.”

That rule contains a lot of wisdom. The president may have only had a slim majority to be elected. And, as the stormy petrels will surely be stirring up all sorts of challenges to one’s leadership from all sides, to garner a significant base of support and win re-election, the challenge confronting any first-term president is to ensure that trustworthy and erstwhile allies are appointed to seats on the board. That requires working very closely with the board’s membership committee and selecting candidates who share the president’s vision of what it means to be a university and here, a Catholic university.

In that regard, the President of the University of Notre Dame (UND), the Reverend John Jenkins, CSC, has done extremely well. Recently re-electing him to UND’s presidency, UND’s Board praised Fr. Jenkins’ “unfailing commitment to the University’s Catholic character.”

Juxtapose that effusive praise to a recently-published opinion piece concerning the morality of UND’s conduct under Fr. Jenkins’ leadership in extending spousal benefits to those recognized as married by civil law (e.g., health insurance and student housing to same-sex employees and students).

The authors of that opinion piece—Gerard V. Bradley, Professor of Law; John Finnis, Professor of Law and Legal Philosophy Emeritus in the University of Oxford and Professor of Law at UND; and, Daniel Philpott, Professor of Political Science and Peace Studies and Director of UND’s Center for Civil and Human Rights—concluded that the extension of those benefits by an institution like UND is “morally indefensible” and will have “far-reaching and very damaging” consequences.

How so? Citing the Catholic moral principle concerning cooperation with evil, they state:

Where homosexual unions have been legally recognized, one must refrain from any kind of formal cooperation in the application of such gravely unjust laws and, as far as possible, from material cooperation.

Furthermore:

The benefits extension undeniably has the direct effect of encouraging same-sex couples to make or persist in an immoral commitment. It constitutes an endorsement of this commitment, promotes it with direct benefits, and cooperates in it in a way that, on widely used theological conceptions, constitutes formal cooperation with wrongdoing.

Since UND is not compelled by law to implement this policy, the authors observe that doing so constitutes “a morally corrupting scandal, needlessly given,” to persons tempted to enter into, or already in, a same-sex “marriage,” as well as to all others, who “can readily infer that the university actually does not regard any kind of sex acts between adults as grave matter.”

Their conclusion? UND’s policy “imperils the souls and the earthly fulfillment of those whom it has undertaken to support in a Christian life.”

In light of this policy, UND’s Board of Trustees’ ringing endorsement of Fr. Jenkins’ leadership provides an object lesson in what is mortally wrong with much of U.S. Catholic higher education today. Many, if not most of those who hold in “sacred trust” the institutional mission—the members of the board of trustees—apparently are not adequately prepared for the trust which they hold, as this evidences itself in the continuous, creeping secularization of the nation’s institutions of Catholic higher education since the 1960s and 1970s when most of those institutions were turned over to lay boards.

It was the presidents of those institutions who successfully built their boards of trustees in their image and likeness. This is how U.S. Catholic higher education came to the precarious state in which it finds itself today where its universities and colleges implement policies that might be acceptable in secular institutions, but not Catholic institutions.

All of this was quite conscious and deliberate, as those presidents sought to have their institutions emulate their secular peers while retaining a patina of Catholic to please the folks and donors that they’re still Catholic institutions of higher education.

And so it is today at UND. As the authors of that opinion piece note:

[Implementing this policy] violates the institution’s duty of love for same-sex couples, who will inevitably be confirmed and encouraged to continue in their wrongful commitment; it also violates the University’s duty of love for everyone in the campus community, many of whom will be misled about the meaning of marriage and the truth about sexual morality, as well as about how a Christian community rightly responds in love to persons living out a public commitment to an immoral relationship.

If that’s not enough, by “build[ing] into the bricks a norm that leads members of the community directly away from a life lived in friendship with Christ,” UND creates a “structure of sin” that “will be difficult to contain.” How so? It will be increasingly difficult to bar from academic administration those who live openly in immoral relationships.

Does this not present a proximate threat not only to the institution’s Catholic identity but also to the freedom in a Catholic university or college to uphold Catholic teaching?

Nearly two decades ago, a UND professor of history, George M. Marsden, narrated the same story as it pertained to Protestant higher education in the United States. Marsden wrote:

In the context of all these forces, we can understand the residual formal role left for religion in universities. Clearly, despite the presence of many religion departments and a few university divinity schools, religion has moved from near the center a century or so ago to far on the incidental periphery. Aside from voluntary student religious groups, religion in most universities is about as important as the baseball team. Not only has religion become peripheral, there is a definite bias against any perceptible religiously informed perspectives getting a hearing in university classrooms. Despite the claims of contemporary universities to stand above all for openness, tolerance, academic freedom, and equal rights, viewpoints based on discernibly religious concepts (for instance, that there is a created moral order or that divine truths might be revealed in a sacred Scripture), are often informally or explicitly excluded from classrooms.

 

 

 

To read the UND’s Board of Trustees’ letter, click on the following link:
http://news.nd.edu/news/55564-notre-dame-trustees-elect-father-jenkins-to-third-term/

To read the opinion piece concerning UND’s policy, click on the following link:
http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2015/02/14522/

To read Marsden’s article, click on the following link:
http://www.firstthings.com/article/1991/01/005-the-soul-of-the-american-university

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

 

15

PopeWatch: Mexicanization

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

Time for another round of the popular game, “I’m Offended!!!”:

 

The Vatican said Wednesday that Pope Francis “absolutely did not intend to offend the Mexican people” when he appeared to express concern that drug trafficking was making his native Argentina resemble Mexico.

Over the weekend, the Pope wrote in an email to Argentine lawmaker and friend Gustavo Vera, “Hopefully we are in time to avoid Mexicanization,” referring to the country’s drug trade, the Associated Press reports. After Vera published the email on the website for his organization, the Alameda Foundation, Mexico formally complained that the Pope was unnecessarily “stigmatizing Mexico” despite the country’s efforts to battle drug cartels there. Continue Reading

16

Gangsters

Cardinal Baldisseri

 

 

Among the powers that be at the Vatican there are apparently some using gangster tactics.  Father Z brings us the news:

 

Remember the Five Cardinals Book™? Remaining in the Truth of Christ: Marriage and Communion in the Catholic Church helped to turn the tide – in a good way – during last October’s Synod of Bishops.  It was simultaneously released in English, Italian, French, German and Spanish.  It is going to be issued in: Polish, Portuguese, Hungarian, Croatian, Slovak, and Czech. It contains essays of five cardinals, of the archbishop secretary of the Vatican congregation for the Oriental Churches, and of three scholars direct at the notions suggested by Walter Card. Kasper in the opening discourse of the consistory in February 2014.  It blew the Kasper proposals and arguments out of the water.

You will also remember that Synod members were up in arms because of the manipulations and machinations of the staff of the Synod office.  Remember all the controversies about whether texts of speeches would be released?  About what could be reported?  About how the mid-term report was produced?  About certain strange paragraphs that didn’t reflect the discussions of the Synod?

There’s more.

Here is something of the story that you don’t know, because at the time it couldn’t be told.

The people who crafted the Five Cardinals Book™ wanted to make sure that Synod members had copies, at least in English or Italian, as the Synod was starting up.  Therefore, they sent copies to every member of the Synod (quite a few) through the Italian post to each member’s personal mailbox near the Synod Hall which was set up individually by the Vatican Post.  Remember, Vatican Post is the postal service of a sovereign nation that has laws.  The Book was sent in individually addressed and franked envelopes.  They weren’t just envelopes with someone’s name on them shoved into the slots by whomever.  They were properly sent postal items.

When the organizers of the Synod realized what had been sent to the members of the Synod, someone removed all the envelopes from the members’ mail boxes!

That’s called theft.   That’s called illegal.   They stole people’s mail.  Please correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t that a crime in, I think, every country?   The Vatican City State… that’s a country… isn’t it.

That’s how frightening the Book is to those who want to overturn the Church’s practice and, therefore, teaching.

The Kathnet piece, by  Manfred Ferrari, indicates that the heist was ordered by Card. Baldisseri, who is the head of the office of the Synod of Bishops.

At the end of the piece, Ferrari adds:

[…]

“This episode took place in the Vatican and not in the Kremlin. As I told it to a friend who, in those days, traveled back to Africa, he smiled at me mildly and said, “Manfred, what’s bothering you. Here in South Sudan things aren’t any better … “

There were inquiries made about what happened to the Book.  Only a few of the Synod participants out of the some 200 received their copies… before they were boosted.  The Governor of the Vatican City State would have a legal obligation to look into the situation.  No?

I cannot underscore enough how important the Five Cardinals Book™ was during the Synod.  It is still important.  It is still under attack.  

The Five Cardinals Book™ addressed the foundations of the odd proposals made about Communion for the divorced and remarried, and it demolished them.  Since then, pretty much everything that has come out in favor of the Kasper proposal has not actually dealt with the arguments in the Book.

Instead, they just repeat the same ol’ same ol’ and then suggest that anyone who doesn’t agree is the enemy of mercy and of Pope Francis.  [CUE DIABOLICAL SURPRISE MUSIC HERE] Continue Reading

16

A Threat to the Social Order

Old regimes die hard and no greater threat exists to the way things are done in this country than Scott Walker.  Elected as a Republican governor twice in a formerly blue state, and the victor in a recall attempt, Walker broke the cash nexus between public employee unions and the Democrat party.  By making membership in most public employee unions voluntary, he has sent membership figures and dues through the floor and dried up one of the main cash cows for the Democrat party in Wisconsin, and broken the stranglehold the public employees had on the state budget.  For this revolutionary act he is enemy number one for the Democrats who view a possible successful run for the Presidency by Walker with the same enthusiasm that vampires have for garlic.  The latest non-issue that Democrats have sought to pillory him for, is that he dropped out of college a few credits shy of his BA degree to take a job.

Most Americans of course lack a four year college degree, but it is unusual these days for a high profile politician not to have one. I doubt if it is a political disadvantage since most people I think can distinguish between the wisdom a person possesses, or does not possess, as opposed to the credentials they have.  However, Robert Tracinski at The Federalist explains why this non-issue has been seized upon by the Democrats:

 

 

There are no real class divisions in America except one: the college-educated versus the non-college educated. It helps to think of this in terms borrowed from the world of a Jane Austen novel: graduating from college is what makes you a “gentleman.” (A degree from an Ivy League school makes you part of the aristocracy.) It qualifies you to marry the right people and hold the right kind of positions. It makes you respectable. And even if you don’t achieve much in the world of work and business, even if you’re still working as a barista ten years later, you still retain that special status. It’s a modern form of “genteel poverty,” which is considered superior to the regular kind of poverty.

If you don’t have a college degree, by contrast, you are looked down upon as a vulgar commoner who is presumptuously attempting to rise above his station. Which is pretty much what they’re saying about Scott Walker. This prejudice is particularly strong when applied to anyone from the right, whose retrograde views are easily attributed to his lack of attendance at the gentleman’s finishing school that is the university.

That brings us to the heart of the matter. I have observed before that left-leaning politics has become “part of the cultural class identity of college-educated people,” a prejudice that lingers long after they have graduated. You can see how this goes the other way, too. If to be college-educated is to have left-leaning views—then to have the “correct” political values, one must be college-educated.

You can see now what is fueling the reaction on the left. If Scott Walker can run for president, he is challenging the basic cultural class identity of the mainstream left. He is more than a threat to the Democrats’ hold on political power. He is a threat to the existing social order. Continue Reading

10

PopeWatch: The Vicar of Christ

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

 

Michael Potemra at National Review reminds us of a novel that in some ways is prophetic of the current pontificate:

 

When Cardinal Bergoglio was elected pope on March 13, 2013, and took the name of Francis (in Italian, “Francesco”), I thought immediately of Pope Francesco I, the fictional radical pope created by Walter P. Murphy in his epic 1979 novel The Vicar of Christ. But of course I put the parallel out of my mind immediately, because the new real-life pope was an elderly Argentinean with a sad, shy facial expression and a conservative reputation, not a radical who would turn the Catholic Church upside down.
Here’s a sample of the fictional Pope Francis, responding to some conservative cardinals who ask him why he has written a document that undermines the historic 1968 anti-contraception encyclical Humanae Vitae:
We have written a pastoral document, not a theological one. You theologians may spin your spidery webs but our task is to lead souls to Christ. Humanae Vitae was wrong. It must be discarded.
The real-life Pope Francis of today has said publicly — and quite recently, at that — that he endorses Humanae Vitae. But otherwise the fictional Francis sounds a lot like the real one. Note the contrast between “pastoral” and “theological” — if you want to give heartburn to conservative Catholics, a good shortcut is to make much of that distinction. And note also the contrast between the “spidery webs” of the “theologians,” and his simple concern for people’s souls; this rhetorical populism (e.g., the declared preference for “the smell of the sheep”) is a hallmark of the current pontificate.
And here’s the fictional Francis, contrasting the traditional view — that the pope and the Church “must speak with the clarity and the force of lightning . . . with absolute authority and absolute certainty and absolute finality” – with his own view of papal authority:
As St. Paul wrote to the Philippians, “Christ emptied Himself” of His right to Godness while He was on earth . . . then the Church may stumble and grope toward the truth, not fully comprehending the fire of ultimate truth that burns within it. It can err in the sense of failing to achieve ultimate truth.
I think the real-life Pope Francis is trying to combine this sort of papal humility — expressed in a much greater emphasis on “mercy,” dialogue, and outreach than on reassertions of dogma — with a desire not to flatly contradict any official doctrines. 

Continue Reading

2

February 25, 1865: Lee Will Not Give Up the Texas Brigade

 

..”Attention Texas Brigade” was rung upon the morning air, by Gen. Gregg, “the eyes of General Lee are upon you, forward, march.” Scarce had we moved a step, when Gen. Lee, in front of the whole command, raised himself in his stirrups, uncovered his grey hairs, and with an earnest, yet anxious voice, exclaimed above the din and confusion of the hour, “Texans always move them.”
…never before in my lifetime or since, did I ever witness such a scene as was enacted when Lee pronounced these words, with the appealing look that he gave. A yell rent the air that must have been heard for miles around, and but few eyes in that old brigade of veterans and heroes of many a bloody field was undimmed by honest, heart-felt tears. Leonard Gee, a courier to Gen. Gregg, and riding  by my side, with tears coursing down his cheeks and yells issuing from his throat exclaimed, “I would charge hell itself for that old man.”

 

Private Robert Campell, 5th Texas Infantry

The fighting erupted early on the second day of the Battle of the Wilderness.  Grant assumed that Hill’s corps had been fought out on the first day and could be overrun with a strong attack.  At 5:00 AM Hancock attacked with three divisions, with two in support.  By 6:00 AM Hill’s corps was in full retreat and disaster loomed for Lee.  At that time the 800 man Texas Brigade, perhaps the elite fighting unit in the Army of Northern Virginia, the vanguard of Longstreet’s corps arrived and saved the day.  Longstreet launched a two division counterattack up the Orange Plank Road, with the Texans, who suffered 650 casualties, leading the attack on the north side of the Road.

This action by the Texan Brigade, and similar actions on many other fields, caused Lee to treasure the unit as his shock troops.  This caused Lee to deny a request by the Governor of Texas in February of 1865.  The request and the denial are contained in this letter from Jefferson Davis to the Governor of  Texas: Continue Reading

8

1968: Back to the Future

images475Y127V

 

 

1968 is on the line and it wants its chaos back:

 

There is a whole world of expectations behind Pope Francis. It’s as if the Church of 1968 has broken out again. With one difference. The Church’s ’68 was characterized by the publication of the controversial Dutch catechism and by post-Vatican II theological drifts. Paul VI responded to this crisis by issuing the encyclical “Humanae Vitae” and by proclaiming the Year of Faith that culminated with the Creed of the People of God. This time Pope Francis began his pontificate with the Year of Faith and in the end faces the typical hot button issues of the post-conciliar period that are now in vogue again.

And so outdated topics of debate have returned to center stage in the Church. The need for the Church to be less centralized formed the agenda of many progressive theologians after the Second Vatican Council. Decades later a dossier with the reforms needed to achieve this goal was compiled by the Bologna School, a group of scholars that interprets the Second Vatican Council as a rupture with the Church’s tradition, and this file was sent on at least three occasions to the Cardinals before they gathered for the conclave that elected Francis.

Other current topics that can be traced back to the debates immediately following Vatican II include the need for a more merciful opening to homosexual couples and a more compassionate application of the doctrine of marriage.

These – and many other – doctrinal leaps forward were halted by Blessed Paul VI. St. John Paul II blocked them with the enthusiasm of one who loved the Church’s teachings but who, at the same time, was able to be close to people. Benedict XVI elevated doctrine to a higher level, with the energy of one who loves the truth and thinks that the greatest mercy possible is to equip people with the truth.

Three Popes were not enough to shelve a whole generation of post-conciliar theology intended to foster a non-Roman Church – despite the fact that it bears the title of the Apostolic Roman Catholic Church. Continue Reading

14

PopeWatch: Candida Moss

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

Professor of Theology Candida Moss at Notre Dame is disappointed with Pope Francis:

News emerged last week that Pope Francis has strongly criticized modern theories of gender, comparing them to the educational policies of Hitler and the destructive possibilities of the nuclear arms race.

In an interview included in a new book by Andrea Tornielli and Giacomo Galeazzi, Pope Francis: This Economy Kills, and released in part in the Italian daily La Stampa, Francis compared gender theory to nuclear arms: “Let’s think of the nuclear arms, of the possibility to annihilate in a few instants a very high number of human beings. … Let’s think also of genetic manipulation, of the manipulation of life, or of the gender theory, that does not recognize the order of creation.”

In using the term “gender theory,” Francis is denouncing the academic perspective that sees gender identities as a spectrum rather than as binaries. Gender theorists argue that the way people identify themselves is the result of social and cultural constructions of gender.

This has important ramifications for how we think about biology and sexuality. While the point may seem academic, its ramifications are not. The recognition that gender exists on a spectrum has provided part of the intellectual foundations for both LGBTQIA advocacy and women’s rights.

In the interview, Francis recalled how a public education minister was given funding for new schools for the poor only on the condition that school textbooks taught gender theory. Francis described this as “ideological colonization” and added that “the same was done by the dictators of the last century. … think of Hitler Youth.”

In his comments on gender and creation, Francis was alluding to the Catholic notion of natural law: that moral and theological principles are encoded in the created world, there to be seen and studied and learned: “The design of the Creator is written in nature.”

But in invoking creation, Francis unavoidably invokes the first chapters of Genesis, where the Bible lays out “the order of creation.” This is where the confluence of tradition, biblical text, and gender runs into some difficulty.

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

Moss ends her post with this:

 

But whether he means to or not, when it comes to placating conservative elements in the Church, Pope Francis consistently sells women down the river. For Francis, the go-to issues for establishing his conservative bona fides are his opposition to women priests, contraception, and his scathing judgment of childless families. He may just be rehearsing traditional Catholic perspectives, but when you add to this his tendency to use negative and mildly chauvinistic imagery to describe women a pattern emerges. Even if Francis were a closet liberal, he’s a liberal who ranks women’s interests at the bottom of his list of priorities. And if we take Francis’s position on gender theory and the “natural order” seriously, then we give up certain kinds of gender equality, as well as the possibility of creating a fully welcoming environment for same-sex couples or trans-individuals.

Francis’s interests in poverty and the environment are welcome, exciting, and sorely needed. His comments on women are not. And at the end of the day it’s possible to recycle cardboard without recycling centuries of misogyny. Continue Reading

59

PopeWatch: Betrayal

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

A sad feature of Catholic history in the contemporary world is the selling out of Catholics by the Vatican in the name of ecumenism and/or diplomacy.  Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa, gives us a current example:

 

 

ROME, February 20, 2015 – He had a lot to be sorry about, Pope Francis, with the bishops of Ukraine who recently arrived in Rome for their periodic “ad limina” visit.

To these bishops and to their priests and faithful, when two weeks ago Jorge Mario Bergoglio had denounced to the world the war that is devastating their country, the words he had used had sounded terrible. “Fratricidal violence,” the pope had called it, putting everyone on a par, aggressors and victims.

And it had been even worse when Francis had looked up from the text and added on his own: “When I hear the words ‘victory’ or ‘defeat’ I feel a great pain, a great sadness in my heart. Those are not the right word; the only right word is ‘peace.’ Think about it, this is a war among Christians! All of you have the same baptism. You are fighting among Christians. Think about this scandal.”

The fact that Bergoglio has a soft spot for Russia had already been seen with the outbreak of war in Syria, when he called for a day of prayer and fasting to oppose the armed intervention of the United States and France against the regime of Damascus, and Vladimir Putin publicly praised him.

Then there is the influence of the ecumenical factor: of the 200 million Orthodox Christians in the world, 150 million belong to the patriarchate of Moscow and “of all Rus’,” and it is therefore with Moscow above all that the pope wants to cultivate good relations.

But the fact that the aggression of Russia against Ukraine, the armed occupation of its eastern border, the annexation of Crimea should have left the pope indifferent to “victory” or “defeat,” was intolerable for the sentiments of Ukrainian Catholics. All the more so in that these words of Pope Francis promptly brought the applause of Moscow, this time not from Putin but from Orthodox patriarch Kirill, who also has jurisdiction over the Orthodox of Ukraine.

Memories of the persecution of Ukrainian Catholics on the part of the Soviet regime are too fresh. Their Church, after the second world war, was literally annihilated, with countless martyrs killed in the most atrocious ways, crucified, walled up alive, drowned in boiling water.

It was the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 that brought this Church out of the catacombs. But its efforts to regain breathing space have been difficult and are still incomplete, with churches and homes in the hands of Orthodox bishops and priests.

Today the almost five million Ukrainian Catholics know very well that they are the true obstacle to the encounter between the pope of Rome and the patriarch of Moscow. But they will not agree to be sacrificed on the altar of this ecumenical dream.

Ukrainian Catholics are resisting in the western part of the country, in Galicia, in Lviv. But in occupied Crimea and the Donbas, the repression has taken another ruthless turn.

The Vatican nuncio in Kiev, American archbishop Thomas E. Gullickson, appointed by Benedict XVI in 2011, has compared it to that of the Soviets in 1946, “with the complicity of the Orthodox brethren and the blessing of Moscow.” He even evoked “the lessons of ISIS and the so-called caliphate in Iraq and Syria,” to say that “such a tragedy” could also happen elsewhere.

The reports that the nuncio is sending to Rome are detailed and alarming. And Ukrainian Catholics have been furious to see how none of this has appeared in the words of Pope Francis. It is their conviction that in the Roman curia as well, as in Ukraine, the pro-Russian party has free rein and is influencing the pope.

On February 10 the secretariat of state responded to the protests of Ukrainian Catholics with a note, to “clarify that the pope has always intended to address all the interested parties, trusting in the sincere effort of each one to apply the agreements reached by common accord and recalling the principle of international law.”

But this slight reference to legality was certainly not enough to worry Moscow, certain by now that its annexation of Crimea has in fact been accepted by all, including the Vatican, and that for the Donbas, Russianized and with no more Catholics, the same thing could happen. Continue Reading

7

February 23, 1945: The Mass on Mount Suribachi

mass-on-mount-suribachi1

 

 

 

Seventy years ago today the Marines raised the flag over Mount Suribachi during the battle of Iwo Jima and a mass was said at the summit.  Iwo Jima probably has the sad distinction of being the most expensive piece of worthless real estate in the history of the globe.  Expensive not in something as minor as money, but costly in something as all important as human lives.  In 1943 the island had a civilian population of 1018 who scratched a precarious living from sulfur mining, some sugar cane farming and fishing.  All rice and consumer goods had to be imported from the Home Islands of Japan.  Economic prospects for the island were dismal.  Eight square miles, almost all flat and sandy, the dominant feature is Mount Suribachi on the southern tip of the island, 546 feet high, the caldera of the dormant volcano that created the island.  Iwo Jima prior to World War II truly was “of the world forgetting, and by the world forgot”.

The advent of World War II changed all of that.  A cursory look at a map shows that Iwo Jima is located 660 miles south of Tokyo, well within the range of American bombers and fighter escorts, a fact obvious to both the militaries of the US and Imperial Japan.  The Japanese forcibly evacuated the civilian population of Iwo Jima in July of 1944.  Awaiting the invading Marines was a garrison of approximately 23,000 Japanese troops, skillfully deployed by General Tadamichi Kuribayashi  in hidden fortified positions throughout the island, connected in many cases by 11 miles of tunnels.  The Japanese commander was under no illusions that the island could be held, but he was determined to make the Americans pay a high cost in blood for Iwo.

Tasked with the mission of seizing the island was the V Marine Amphibious Corp, under the command of General Holland “Howlin’ Mad” Smith, consisting of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Divisions.

On February 18th, 1945 Navy Lieutenant, (the Marine Corps, although Marines are often loathe to admit it, is a component of the Department of the Navy, and the Navy supplies all the chaplains that serve with it) Charles Suver, Society of Jesus, was part of the 5th Marine Division and anxiously awaiting the end of the bombardment and the beginning of the invasion the next day.  Chaplain Suver was one of 19 Catholic priests participating in the invasion as a chaplain.

Father Suver had been born in Ellensburg, Washington in 1907.    Graduating from Seattle College in 1924, he was ordained as a priest in 1937, having taught at Gonzaga University in Spokane.   Prior to the war, while teaching at Seattle Prep, he rigorously enforced the no running rules in the hall, even going so far as to tackle one errant student!  Father Suver was remembered as a strict disciplinarian but also a fine teacher. Shortly after Pearl Harbor, he joined the Navy as a chaplain.

On February 18th, 1945, Chaplain Suver was discussing the upcoming invasion with other Marine officers.  A lieutenant told him that he intended to take an American flag onto the top of Mount Suribachi.  Suver responded that if he did that, he would say mass under it.

At 5:30 AM the next morning Father Suver said mass for the Marines aboard his ship, LST 684. (The official meaning of LST was Landing Ship, Tank;  the troops designated them Large Slow Target.)  After mass, nervous Marines, more than a few of whom had not much longer to live, bombarded the chaplain with questions, especially questions about courage.  He responded, ” A courageous man goes on fulfilling his duty despite the fear gnawing away inside.  Many men are fearless, for many different reasons, but fewer are courageous.”  Continue Reading

20

Now America Is Against Dissent

imagesR7UMJHGC

 

100% pro-abort Senator Richard Durbin (D.Il.) celebrates his Jesuit education

My irony meter just broke.  America, the Jesuit rag and not the country, is now against dissent:

It is a curious view of leadership, to say the least, for bishops who do not like what Pope Francis has said to head off to reporters who share a common political ilk to complain.  

Thankfully, Cardinal Wuerl spoke out. Bishops have to be the ones who criticize bishops to garner any attention in the upper echelons. We need their gravitas to address any bishop taking on the pope, the source of unity in our church.

Others might complain of the stupidity of criticizing the church leader who is reaching the public as no one in recent years has done. Still others also can recognize the importance of defending a leader of what can seem like a hidebound institution that needs change to keep the institution vibrant and ready for years to come. Still others can appreciate the paternal, pastoral leader needed by billions of people and the need to support him.

However, it is the bishops themselves who must speak out when dissent comes from within the highest level of the church. This is worthy of their calling to leadership as bishops. Bravo, Cardinal Wuerl. Continue Reading

3

The Temptations of Christ: Part One

[1] Then Jesus was led by the spirit into the desert, to be tempted by the devil. [2] And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterwards he was hungry. [3] And the tempter coming said to him: If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. [4] Who answered and said: It is written, Not in bread alone doth man live, but in every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God. [5] Then the devil took him up into the holy city, and set him upon the pinnacle of the temple,

[6] And said to him: If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down, for it is written: That he hath given his angels charge over thee, and in their hands shall they bear thee up, lest perhaps thou dash thy foot against a stone. [7] Jesus said to him: It is written again: Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. [8] Again the devil took him up into a very high mountain, and shewed him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them, [9] And said to him: All these will I give thee, if falling down thou wilt adore me. [10] Then Jesus saith to him: Begone, Satan: for it is written, The Lord thy God shalt thou adore, and him only shalt thou serve.

Matthew 4: 1-10

 

Lent is a time for confronting evil, both within and without us.  During Lent we recall Christ’s temptation by Satan, the culmination of his forty days and nights in the desert.  This passage has always struck me as mysterious.  Why would God allow Satan to tempt Him to sin?  Why would Satan attempt to do so?

The answer to the  first question is that God became one of us.  Like us in our humanity He was subject to the lure of sin.  The Incarnation is filled with mysteries but few are deeper than this.  God allowed Himself to feel the same attraction to sin, the revolt against the Divine Will, that we, in our Fallen humanity, feel.  He exposed Himself to every weakness that we experience and allowed Satan the opportunity to see if he could tempt God, too, to Fall.  And that was the attraction for Satan.  Eternally in revolt from the love of God, his only hope for victory in this doomed rebellion was to convince God to reject His own love.  God deciding to make himself Man must have struck Satan as madness, and perhaps CS Lewis is correct, even inspired Satan’s revolt:

 When the creation of man was first mooted and when, even at that stage, the Enemy freely confessed that he foresaw a certain episode about a cross, Our Father very naturally sought an interview and asked for an explanation. The Enemy gave no reply except to produce the cock-and-bull story about disinterested love which He has been circulating ever since. This Our Father naturally could not accept. He implored the Enemy to lay His cards on the table, and gave Him every opportunity. He admitted that he felt a real anxiety to know the secret; the Enemy replied “I wish with all my heart that you did”. It was, I imagine, at this stage in the interview that Our Father’s disgust at such an unprovoked lack of confidence caused him to remove himself an infinite distance from the Presence with a suddenness which has given rise to the ridiculous enemy story that he was forcibly thrown out of Heaven. Continue Reading

2

Iwo Jima: Valor Was a Common Virtue

 

 

Seventy years ago the battle of Iwo Jima was under way.  The ferocity of the fighting can be gauged by this stark fact:  there were 82 Medals of Honor earned by Marines during the entire war in the Pacific, 22 of them were awarded for heroism on Iwo.  Here, chosen at random, is the citation for the Medal of Honor earned by Sergeant Darrell Cole.  Prior to serving on Iwo he had fought on Guadalcanal, Kwajalein, Tinian and Saipan.  At twenty-four, his entire adult life had been spent fighting in the Pacific.  Here is his citation:

 

 

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as Leader of a Machine-gun Section of Company B, First Battalion, Twenty-Third Marines, Fourth Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces during the assault on Iwo Jima in the Volcano Islands, 19 February 1945. Assailed by a tremendous volume of small-arms, mortar and artillery fire as he advanced with one squad of his section in the initial assault wave, Sergeant Cole boldly led his men up the sloping beach toward Airfield Number One despite the blanketing curtain of flying shrapnel and, personally destroying with hand grenades two hostile emplacements which menaced the progress of his unit, continued to move forward until a merciless barrage of fire emanating from three Japanese pillboxes halted the advance. Instantly placing his one remaining machine gun in action, he delivered a shattering fusillade and succeeded in silencing the nearest and most threatening emplacement before his weapon jammed and the enemy, reopening fire with knee mortars and grenades, pinned down his unit for the second time. Shrewdly gauging the tactical situation and evolving a daring plan of counterattack, Sergeant Cole, armed solely with a pistol and one grenade, coolly advanced alone to the hostile pillboxes. Hurling his one grenade at the enemy in sudden, swift attack, he quickly withdrew, returned to his own lines for additional grenades and again advanced, attacked, and withdrew. With enemy guns still active, he ran the gauntlet of slashing fire a third time to complete the total destruction of the Japanese strong point and the annihilation of the defending garrison in this final assault. Although instantly killed by an enemy grenade as he returned to his squad, Sergeant Cole had eliminated a formidable Japanese position, thereby enabling his company to storm the remaining fortifications, continue the advance and seize the objective. By his dauntless initiative, unfaltering courage and indomitable determination during a critical period of action, Sergeant Cole served as an inspiration to his comrades, and his stouthearted leadership in the face of almost certain death sustained and enhanced the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country. Continue Reading

25

The Obama Administration Knows Who The Real Terrorists Are

Terrorists

 

 

Since its inception, the Obama administration, the same administration unable to say the phrase, “Islamic Terrorism”, has desperately wanted to turn the focus onto domestic “right-wing” terrorism.  The problem of course is that as organized groups such terrorism is about as rare as unicorn sightings in this country.  Not a problem.  In a just released report, the Department of Homeland Security, and what a truly Orwellian waste of money that huge bureaucracy has become, raises the bogey-man sovereign citizen movement which basically consists of cranks on the internet who appeal to other cranks and losers off the internet, into an alleged country spanning terrorist organization:
Washington (CNN)They’re carrying out sporadic terror attacks on police, have threatened attacks on government buildings and reject government authority.

A new intelligence assessment, circulated by the Department of Homeland Security this month and reviewed by CNN, focuses on the domestic terror threat from right-wing sovereign citizen extremists and comes as the Obama administration holds a White House conference to focus efforts to fight violent extremism.

Some federal and local law enforcement groups view the domestic terror threat from sovereign citizen groups as equal to — and in some cases greater than — the threat from foreign Islamic terror groups, such as ISIS, that garner more public attention.​
The Homeland Security report, produced in coordination with the FBI, counts 24 violent sovereign citizen-related attacks across the U.S. since 2010.

Go here to read the rest at CNN.  JihadWatch gives this bilge the response it deserves:

In the middle of this story on the CNN page was a link to another CNN story that shows just how ridiculous this is: “ISIS burned up to 40 people alive in Iraq, official says.” Have “right-wing sovereign citizen extremists” burned anyone alive? Have these “right-wingers” kidnapped large numbers of left-wing women and pressed them into sex slavery? Boasted that they would conquer the United States and ultimately the world, and that they had sleeper cells in place in the U.K. ready to start killing? Have they actually killed anyone beyond the two officers mentioned in this report? Do “sovereign citizens” give children weapons training and severed heads to play with? Do they burn musical instruments, murder left-wingers for the sole crime of being left-wingers, crucify people as children watch, chop off women’s hands for using cell phones, and behead people for smoking cigarettes?

 

Continue Reading

24

Vox Cantoris Is Not Alone

 

 

Something for Father Tom Rosica and his legal beagles to contemplate:

 

Vox Cantoris posts links to the blogger articles that have rallied to his support:

Blog post collections

http://www.wopular.com/comment/reply/29712047
http://www.novusordowatch.org/wire/blog-of-war-rosica-domet.htm
http://thyselfolord.blogspot.ca/2015/02/porta-vox-do-vaticano-processa-blogger.html
http://biblefalseprophet.com/2015/02/19/must-watch-vatican-threatening-vox-cantoris-blog-for-commenting-on-synod/
http://throwthebumsoutin2010.blogspot.ca/2015/02/pope-francis-spokesperson-fr-rosica.html
http://pewsitter.com/view_news_id_196707.php
http://thyselfolord.blogspot.ca/2015/02/porta-vox-do-vaticano-processa-blogger.html
http://theradicalcatholic.blogspot.ca/2015/02/fr-thomas-rosica-threatens-catholic.html
http://www.foicatholique.com/2015/02/pere-thomas-rosica-un-tolerant.html#more
http://edinburghhousewife.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/davids-trouble.html
http://www.anglicansamizdat.net/wordpress/tag/fr-thomas-rosica/
http://kreuzknappe.blogspot.de/2015/02/aufregung-in-bloggerkreisen-geht-der.html
http://callmejorgebergoglio.blogspot.ca/2015/02/cardinal-carlo-maria-martini-sj.html
http://www.katholieknieuwsblad.nl/nieuws/7026-woordvoerder-vaticaan-dreigt-blogger-met-advocaat
http://the-american-catholic.com/2015/02/20/patheos-crickets-chirp/
http://www.sacerdotus.com/2015/02/fr-rosica-sues-blogger-vox-cantoris.html
http://kavlaanderen.blogspot.be/2015/02/de-canadese-fr-thomas-rosica-van-het.html
http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2015/02/20/vatican-spokesman-threatens-to-sue-catholic-blogger/
http://everydayforlifecanada.blogspot.ca/2015/02/wheres-humility-mercy-and-forgiveness.html
http://the-american-catholic.com/2015/02/20/patheos-crickets-chirp/
http://www.fightingirishthomas.com/2015/02/voris-vox-cantoris-and-vatican-suit-for.html?spref=tw
https://mundabor.wordpress.com/2015/02/20/self-castration-to-spite-the-wife-reflections-on-father-rosica-and-the-blogosphere-m/
https://sacerdotus.wordpress.com/tag/vox-cantoris/
http://catholicanuck.blogspot.ca/2015/02/this-little-bit-of-weirdness-crossed-my.html
http://www.suscipedomine.com/forum/index.php?PHPSESSID=1dfbb9924b26f26c8d73384cb250589d&topic=10401.15
http://www.gloria.tv/media/Qp2hCDB9hNB
http://restore-dc-catholicism.blogspot.ca/2015/02/more-on-father-rosica-spouting.html
http://trilobitedisidente.blogspot.com.ar/2015/02/miserere-mei-deus-allegri-kings-college.html
http://eponymousflower.blogspot.ca/2015/02/vatican-suing-bloggers.html
https://mundabor.wordpress.com/2015/02/21/pray-for-david-domet-vox-cantoris/
http://www.lepantoinstitute.org/uncategorized/fr-rosicas-ironic-lawsuit/
http://trilobitedisidente.blogspot.com.ar/2015/02/miserere-mei-deus-allegri-kings-college.html
https://exmagnasilentium.wordpress.com/2015/02/19/vox-cantoris-is-right-about-father-rosica-fathers-take-on-the-temptation-of-jesus/
https://mundabor.wordpress.com/2015/02/21/rosicagate-look-at-the-waves/
https://exmagnasilentium.wordpress.com/2015/02/18/vatican-spokesman-father-rosica-threatens-to-sue-vox-cantoris-blog/
https://mundabor.wordpress.com/tag/father-rosica/
http://throwthebumsoutin2010.blogspot.ca/2015/02/pope-francis-spokesperson-fr-rosica.html?spref=tw
http://restore-dc-catholicism.blogspot.ca/2015/02/more-on-father-rosica-spouting.html
http://theradicalcatholic.blogspot.ca/2015/02/fr-thomas-rosica-threatens-catholic.html
http://trilobitedisidente.blogspot.com.ar/2015/02/miserere-mei-deus-allegri-kings-college.html
http://www.anglicansamizdat.net/wordpress/blogging/vatican-priest-threatens-to-sue-catholic-blogger/
http://restore-dc-catholicism.blogspot.ca/search/label/Father%20Rosica
http://www.canadiancatechist.com/?p=556
https://mundabor.wordpress.com/2015/02/21/pray-for-david-domet-vox-cantoris/
http://catholictruthblog.com/2015/02/19/vatican-priest-threat-to-sue-blogger/#comment-26061
http://wdtprs.com/blog/tag/vox-cantoris/
https://mundabor.wordpress.com/2015/02/19/rosicology-exploring-irregular-couples-and-other-snippets/
http://catholictruthblog.com/2015/02/19/vatican-priest-threat-to-sue-blogger/#comment-26061
http://canadiancatholicbloggers.blogspot.ca/2015/02/editorial.html
http://www.canadiancatechist.com/?p=556
http://lesfemmes-thetruth.blogspot.ca/2015/02/unbelievable-fr-thomas-rosica-threatens.html
http://eponymousflower.blogspot.ca/2015/02/vatican-suing-bloggers.html
https://veneremurcernui.wordpress.com/2015/02/19/vatican-spokesman-fr-tom-rosica-calls-cardinal-burke-a-dissenter/
http://pblosser.blogspot.ca/2015/02/fr-rosica-brings-lawsuit-against.html
http://www.fisheaters.com/forums/index.php?topic=3467479.0

Rosicagate: Comedy Gold, And Even More Nonsense, From The Mouth Of The Man Himself!
The Radical Catholic: Fr. Thomas Rosica Threatens Catholic Blogger
Everyday for Life: Careful what you say about the clergy: you may get sued
Jonah in the Heart of Nineveh: Rosica’s Conflicts of Interest, and Other Problems (Video from ChurchMilitant.TV)
An Editorial from SCCB, totally siding with Father Rosica (wink wink).
Anglican Samizdat: Vatican priest threatens to sue Catholic blogger
CATHOLICANUCK
Kitchener Waterloo Traditional Catholic: Really, Rev. Rosica?
Mundabor: Father Rosica Tries To Silence A Catholic Blogger
The American Catholic: Sue ’em!
Ex Magna: Vatican Spokesman Father Rosica Threatens To Sue Vox Cantoris Blog

Continue Reading

20

A Disgrace to the Forces of Evil

 

 

Cardinal Newman once opined that to be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant.  Most atheists I have encountered lend support to this adage by their shocking ignorance of the most basic facts of History.  Unlike the atheists of yesteryear, some of whom could be quite challenging with their knowledge of History, most contemporary atheists are so ignorant of History that debating them is to engage in instruction rather than debate.  John C. Wright, a science fiction author and convert from atheism to Catholicism, encounters one of the new breed of ignorant atheists:

 

 

Hmph. I just came across another antieducated sophophobe who declared there to be a war between science and faith, especially the Roman Catholic Church.

I asked him to name the Papal Bull or Encyclical, or any other official document of the Church prohibiting or condemning the practice of scientific inquiry. He did not know what a ‘bull’ was.

I asked him if he knew anything about science and the history of science, and he said yes. I asked him for the evidence of any Catholic interference, or even lack of enthusiastic support, for any scientific inquiry of any kind, in any time or place?

He mentioned Galileo. I asked him if he knew the circumstances of Galileo’s trial, or what Galileo was accused of? He said no. I asked him if he knew who Cardinal Bellarmine was. He said no.

I asked him if he had read Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences? He did not even know what the book was, much less who the characters in it were, or what positions in the contemporary debates they represented.

(Do I need to mention that I read this book in school? I went to a good school, where the education is what mathematicians call a ‘positive sum game’ that is, I ended up more educated than when I went in. His school left him with less education than when he went in.)

I did not bother to ask him if he knew what, precisely, Galileo had discovered, or what proofs he gave to support his various theories.

I did not ask him to tell me what the Galilean satellites were, much less name them (off the top of my head: Io, Europa, Callisto, Ganymede. If I am wrong, and Amalthea is one of them, shame on me. If got them in order, more to my glory.)

Calibrating my questions to the level of someone without a Saint John’s College level of education,  I asked him if he knew who Abertus Magnus, William of Ockham, Roger Bacon, Nicholas Steno were. He said no.

I asked him who invented the mechanical escapement used in clockwork. Or when. He did not know what mechanical escapement was. (Villard de Honnecourt circa 1237, in case you are wondering.)

Recalibrating my question to the high school level, I asked him if he knew who Pascal was, Copernicus, Descartes. He said no. Mendel. No. Still no.

He then told me that all the European inventions in mathematics and medicine came from the Muslim world. I asked him if he knew where Andalusia was, or when the Reconquista happened. Did not recognize those terms. I asked him what religion the people were in the lands conquered by the Muslims in the Seven, Eighth, and Ninth Centuries, et cetera? He guessed that they were some sort of pagans.

I did not bother to ask him if he knew who Abu Hamid al-Ghazali was.

He did not even know enough to raise and throw into my face the old, tired, and oft- efuted slander about Hypatia the neoplatonic philosopher (always described as a female scientist) being flayed to death by a Christian mob wielding sharpened clamshells.

In other words, I could have argued in favor of the War between Science and the Church better than he. He had not even memorized his side’s own talking points.

He was a disgrace to the forces of evil. Continue Reading

1

PopeWatch: Fifth Chances

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

 

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

VATICAN––It was reported earlier this week that an outgoing Argentinian born man, whose every single word is misconstrued and misrepresented by friends in the media, has for some reason, resolved to give them an additional 12,000 more words to have fun with. “If you think about it, what’s the worst that could happen?” said the man as he neglected to write down even just a handful of key statements that he could use during the interview so as to avoid the chance that someone misunderstand what he trying to say. “Sure, up till now every single, solitary word or sentence I’ve said, be it from the pulpit or plane, has allowed those who hate the Church to twist the meaning of what I actually meant…but you know, I believe in fifth chances.” At press time, the man has agreed upon an upcoming Mad Libs type interview with MSNBC, in which he would send the media outlet a dozen thousand word statement about Catholic moral teaching, with select words and sentences removed to allow easier room to misrepresent. Continue Reading

John Wayne and the Sands of Iwo Jima

 

 They told me to get you into shape so you can handle a piece of this war.

That’s what I’m gonna do and that means I’m gonna tell you what to do every day,

how to button your buttons and when to blow your noses.

If you do something I don’t like I’m gonna jump and when I land it’ll hurt.

I’ll ride you until you can’t stand up. When you do, you’ll be marines.

John Wayne as  Sgt. John M. Stryker, Sands of Iwo Jima

Something for the weekend.  The Marines’ Hymn.  Seventy years ago the battle of Iwo Jima was underway as the Marines took a giant step forward towards Tokyo.  The film  Sands of Iwo Jima (1949) earned John Wayne his first Oscar nomination as best actor.  (Broderick Crawford would win for his stunning performance in All The King’s Men.)   Wayne was initially reluctant to take the role, partly because he had not fought in World War II, and partly because he saw script problems and didn’t like the character of Sergeant Styker as initially written in the screen play.  (There is evidence that Wayne, 34 at the time of Pearl Harbor, and with 3 kids, did attempt to volunteer in 1943 for the Marine Corps with assignment to John Ford’s OSS Field Photographic Unit, but was turned down.) 

Wayne was convinced to take the role because the film had the enthusiastic backing of the Marine Corps, which viewed it as a fitting tribute to the Marines who fought in the Pacific, and to help combat a move in Congress to abolish the Corps.  Marine Commandant Clifton B. Cates went to see Wayne to request that he take the role and Wayne immediately agreed.  (Thus began a long association of John Wayne with the Marine Corps, including Wayne narrating a tribute to Marine Lieutenant General Chesty Puller.)

Appearing in the film were several Marine veterans of the Pacific, including Colonel David Shoup, who earned a Medal of Honor for his heroism at Tarawa, and who would later serve as a Commandant of the Corps, and Lieutenant Colonel Henry Crow who led a Marine battalion at Tarawa.  The Marines’ Hymn is sung in the film after the death of Wayne’s character, one of ten films in which a Wayne character died, and as the raising of the flag is recreated.

Taking part in the flag raising were Rene Gagnon, Ira Hayes and John Bradley, the three survivors of the six flag raisers.  (The three men who raised the flag and subsequently died in the battle were Franklin Sousely, Harlon Block and Michael Strank.)  (First Lieutenant Harold Schrier, who led the flag raising party that raised the first, smaller, flag on Mount Suribachi, and who was awarded a Navy Cross and a Silver Star for his heroism on Iwo Jima, also appeared in the film.)  The flag on top of Mount Suribachi could be seen across the island, and was greeted with cheers by the Marines and blaring horns by the ships of the Navy.  A mass was said on Mount Suribachi at the time of the flag raising and I have written about that here. Continue Reading

20

Marie Harf: State Department Airhead Talking Head

 

When Chris Matthews is the voice of reason you know you are in trouble.  Marie Harf, that walking testament to the fact that it is often difficult to tell the Obama administration from a Saturday Night Live skit, has apparently lost a promotion due to her concern for the “root causes” of the Islamic death cult ISIS:

Not so fast! The Daily Mail reports that Harf’s “jobs for jihadis” campaign has made her such a laughingstock that she will be passed over:

Marie Harf, the embattled State Department deputy spokeswoman who insisted this week that helping ISIS jihadis find gainful employment was a better strategy than killing them, is not in line for a promotion when her boss moves to the White House on April 1, a State Department official said Thursday.

Harf said Monday night on MSNBC that “lack of opportunity for jobs” in the Middle East should be America’s focus in the war against the ISIS terror army. She refused to back down Tuesday night on CNN, insisting that the Obama administration should “get at the root causes” of terrorism. “It might be too nuanced an argument for some,” she sniped at her legions of critics.

Those mockworthy moments, a State Department official said Thursday, “are going to keep her from the top job.”

“Jen’s move to the White House isn’t something that happened overnight,” the official said, “and Marie’s TV appearances were an audition of sorts, a test run, and she failed spectacularly.”

We can’t argue with that. Still, Psaki set a low bar, and if the administration was looking for someone to follow in her footsteps, it is hard to see why Harf wasn’t the perfect choice.

 

untitled

 

 

Continue Reading

17

Gator’s Back on the Menu

 

 

 

Father Z advises us of this taste treat for our Lenten repasts:

 

:

I have posted on this in the past, but repetita iuvant as we say in Latin.

ORIGINAL:

Someone sent me a copy of a letter written by the Archbishop of New Orleans to a member of his flock about eating alligator during Lent.  The answer is “yes”.  You may eat alligator during Lent.

This is old news to readers of this blog, of course.  Last year I posted this, which ought to have settled the whole thing:

QUAERITUR: Abstinentia de carne lacertina aut crocodrillina

Ex lectoris e-pistulis extractum:

Reverendo patro Ioanni Zuhlsdorfo discipulus C. salutem et commemorationem in precibus suis. Gratias meas, sivis, ob opum tuam tibi agere volo. [Acceptae.] Mihi, catholico iuveni et discipulo in collegio liberalum artis et liberalum (aut impudicarum) mentum, scripturae tuae magnam auxilium fuerunt. Mox Ludovicianam meabo. Quaeritur: Sineturne corpus alligatoris feria VI in Quadregesima sine violando abstinentiam Quadragesimae edere?

Ossificatus manualista impoenitens respondeo de paginis Compendii Theologiae Moralis (Sabetti-Barrett) n. 331, :

Nomine carnis veniunt omnia animalia in terra viventia ac respirantia, ut communiter admittunt theologi ex regula tradita a S. Thoma vel, ut S. Alphonsus innuit, n. 1011, animalia quae sanguinem habent calidum; vel illud quod consuetudo regionis ut carnem habet; vel, si nec consuetudo praesto sit, dubium solvi potest considerando mentem Ecclesiae in sanciendo delectu ciborum, ut comprimendae ac minuendae carnis concupiscentiae per salutarem abstinetiam consuleret; examinetur, an huiusmodi animal simile sit aut dissimile iis quorum esus interdictus est et an illius carnes humano corpori validius nutriendo et roborando idoneae dignoscantur; et si ita appareat, ista caro inter vetitas est ponenda. Benedict XIV., De syn. dioec., lib.11, c. 5, n. 12. Haec quatuor multum deservient omni dubitationi solvendae.

Ergo, crocodrilli et lacertae inter reptilia sunt et amphibia.

Edi ergo possunt feriis sextis et tempore Quadragesimae

Omnibus tamen diebus ab eis edimur!

So, there you have it.

You can eat alligator and crocodile on Fridays of Lent.

Continue Reading

24

Are You Now, Or Have You Ever Been, A Libertarian?

 

Libertarians

 

As faithful readers of this blog know, I have absolutely no use for the late Ayn Rand, a  puerile novelist who got rich on the formula of writing didactic libertarian novels like Atlas Shrugged, and filling them with smut at a time when smutty mainstream novels were still a rarity.  I also have little use for libertarians, the perfect political philosophy for fifteen year old nerds.  However, , at The Stream, is quite correct about a new form of “red baiting” going on in Saint Blog’s today:

 

Today Catholic circles are seeing the exact same tactic, except that now the use of guilt-by-association and false implication is serving the cause of big-government statists. The targets are conservative Catholics who distrust the modern secular state, and the smear-word is not “Communist” but “libertarian,” which is then connected with the thought of Ayn Rand. Welcome to the age of the Rand-baiters.

An entire conference held last summer at Catholic University of America was devoted to such Rand-baiting, to speeches that said, implicitly or explicitly, that Catholics who oppose the expansion of government and the large-scale redistribution of wealth are “dissenters” from Catholic Social Teaching. Listening to them speak one would imagine that opposing the leviathan state was a heterodoxy on par with supporting partial-birth abortion and euthanasia. Austin Ruse wrote a fine response to this conference, which provoked a sneering answer from Matthew Boudway at Commonweal.

Go here to read the rest.  Can we supply an example of this Rand Baiting?  Can we?  (Mark, you are missing your cue!)

I am similarly dubious. When I hear Ryan a) ceasing to pretend that he was never an acolyte of Rand and b) doing more than paying lip service to Thomas and citing more than the word “subsidiarity” to give his rhetoric a veneer of Catholic respectability, I will take his Sister Souljah Moment with regard to Rand seriously. Till then, I’m not buyin’ Ryan. He seems to me to be a particularly odious epigone of the Randian Class Warrior against the weak, dressing his class warfare with a few rags from Catholic social teaching to make it look nice. When the Randian jargon goes and is replaced with actual Catholic social teaching beyond the bare repetition of the sacred word “subsidiarity” (interpreted to mean “individualism and hostility to the state”) I’ll start to trust that he is serious. Continue Reading

7

Patheos: Crickets Chirp

 

 

The American Catholic would like to take this opportunity to salute the extensive coverage given by Catholic bloggers on Patheos of the decision of Vatican official Father Thomas Rosica to threaten a defamation suit against blogger Vox Cantoris.  Go here to read about it.  What follows is that coverage:

 

“Crickets chirp.”

 

Way to go Patheos Catholic bloggers!  When something big happens in the Church, it is always news to you!

24

PopeWatch: Married Priests

 

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

 

I thought that Pope Saint John Paul II had resolved the issue of married priests?  Apparently not, judging from a remark the Pope made on February 10:

 

 

 

Continue Reading

Robert Todd Lincoln Goes to War

 

Robert Todd Lincoln

 

A recent biography of Robert Todd Lincoln is entitled Giant in the Shadows and that is an accurate description of him.  One of the foremost attorneys of his day, a noted philanthropist, Secretary of War and Ambassador to the Court of Saint James, he lived a life of accomplishment, and from the election of his father as President, he knew that nothing that he did mattered to History and he would always be remembered for being the son of Abraham Lincoln.  It is hard being the son of a great man, and it is to his credit that Robert did not allow his accident of birth to overwhelm him.  Throughout his life he never ran away from his father and his memory, a man and a memory that he loved.  However, he was intent on being his own man, and his first major action demonstrating this was his desire to enlist in the Union Army.  His father was sympathetic to his desire to fight for his country but was fearful that his wife would lose what often seemed to be a tenuous grasp on sanity if harm should come to Robert and he be added to the ranks of the two Lincoln sons who had already died.  Nevertheless, he sided with Robert and told Mary on several occasions that many families had lost all their sons in the War and that Robert had to obey his conscience and join the Army.  Mary Todd Lincoln knew that it was a “noble and manly” impulse, as she called it, that led her oldest son to want to join the Army, but allowed her fears to long cause her to battle against his desire to serve.  It didn’t help that many of her relatives had already died serving in both the Confederate and Union Armies.

Abraham Lincoln, ever a born compromiser, found a solution which he set forth in a letter to Grant.

 

Lieut. General Grant:

Please read and answer this letter as though I was not President, but only a friend.  My son, now in his twenty second year, having graduated at Harvard, wishes to see something of the war before it ends.  I do not wish to put him in the ranks, nor yet to give him a commission, to which those who have already served long, are better entitled, and better qualified to hold.  Could he, without embarrassment to you, or detriment to the service, go into your Military family with some nominal rank, I, and not the public, furnishing his necessary means?  If no, say so without the least hesitation, because I am as anxious, and as deeply interested, that you shall not be encumbered as you can be yourself.

Yours truly

A. LINCOLN

Grant assured Lincoln that his son would be welcome as an officer on his staff.  On February 11, 1865, Robert joined the Army as an adjutant on Grant’s staff with the rank of Captain.  By all accounts he was a hardworking officer, and well-liked by his fellow staff officers.  He would have preferred a combat assignment, but by that time of the War he was probably more useful where he was.  The Union army had no shortage by the end of the War of seasoned combat officers, and with his Harvard education Robert was probably more useful as a staff officer than as a green officer in a combat command. Continue Reading

22

If It Isn’t The Catholic Church It Isn’t A Problem

apple with worm

 

 

SO I GUESS “RAPE CULTURE” IS REAL AFTER ALL, IT’S JUST HAPPENING IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS: AP: 2,500 teachers punished in 5 years for sexual misconduct. Of course, since it’s not the Catholic church this doesn’t represent any kind of a systemic problem.

Instapundit

Now if only school teachers didn’t have to be celibate and could get married.

50

Sue ’em!

 

 

Hmm, Father Tom Rosica, the English language assistant to the Holy See Press Office at the Vatican, is threatening to sue blogger Vox Cantoris.  Go here to read the letter from Rosica’s attorneys threatening such action.  Well, I wonder if this will be the way in future that the current powers that be at the Vatican deal with criticism?  Perhaps they have a new translation of Matthew 5: 11 that goes something like this:

Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for my sake: because then ye can lawyer up and sueth the pants off the bastards.

Not Christian and not smart.  The Vatican has just started a brawl with all Catholic bloggers other than the most sycophantic.

9

PopeWatch: On Guard

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

 

The Swiss Guard is apparently taking the threat from ISIS quite seriously:

Rome, February 18 – The commander of Vatican City’s 110-man Swiss Guard said his forces are ready to defend Pope Francis from the terrorist militants of Islamic State (ISIS), in an interview with Italian daily Il Giornale on Wednesday.
    “Following the terrorists’ threats, we’re asking the guards to be more attentive and observe peoples’ movements closely. We can’t do more than that. If something happens we’re ready, as are the men of the Gendarmerie,” Colonel Christoph Graf said.
    Graf was recently promoted from the number-two spot under Colonel Daniel Rudolf Anrig, who left the top post on January 31 after eight years when Pope Francis sacked him in December amidst reports of Anrig being “overly dictatorial”.
    The Pontifical Swiss Guard has been providing protection for the pope since the 15th century and is Vatican City’s de facto military force, while the Gendarmerie Corps are the Vatican City’s police and security force.
    In a ISIS video released on Sunday showing the killings of 21 Egyptian Christian workers, an executioner said, “We will conquer Rome, by Allah’s permission”.
    Security at the Vatican remains “very high”, Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said Tuesday after bilateral talks with the Holy See including discussion of security. Continue Reading

3

A Litany For Our Times

Saint Lawrence of Brindisi

 

 

Saint Lawrence was born in Brindisi in 1559.  God was doubtless chuckling when at the baptismal font he was given the name Julius Caesar by his parents. In 1575 he joined the Capuchins.  Due to his sharp mind and wonderful memory he excelled in his philosophical studies.  It was said of him that he knew  not only all the languages of Europe but most of those of the Near East.  He could quote from the entire Bible purely by memory.  He became a celebrated preacher, noted for making converts of non-Christians and the most obdurate of sinners.  He opened houses of his Order in France and Germany.  In 1602 he was made Vicar General of the Capuchins.  Made chaplain of the Imperial armies in 1601, in the attacks on Albe-Royal in Hungary where 18,000 Christians confronted 80,000 Turks, he placed himself ever in the forefront of the army in the midst of the fighting, armed only with a crucifix:  “Forward!” he cried, showing them the crucifix, “Victory is ours.” The army and its general ascribed the victory to God and to Father Lawrence.  Sent to evangelize Germany he converted many Protestants with his great learning, kindliness and the miracles that ever attended him throughout his life.  He was beatified in 1783, coincidentally the year of victory for the Americans in their Revolution.  In 1959 Pope John proclaimed him the thirtieth Doctor of the Church.

 

Here is a litany for Saint Lawrence written in 1919.  It speaks strongly to our time. Continue Reading

2

For Old, Unhappy, Far-Off Things, and Battles Long

Will no one tell me what she sings?—
Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
For old, unhappy, far-off things,
And battles long ago:
Or is it some more humble lay,
Familiar matter of to-day?
Some natural sorrow, loss, or pain,
That has been, and may be again?

William Wordsworth, The Solitary Reaper

 

 

An interesting collection in the video above of photos of Civil War generals during and after the War.  As the Civil War was drawing to a close one hundred and fifty years ago, the hundreds of thousands of photographs taken during the War ensured that it would not be remembered as other conflicts had been remembered.  Unlike, say, the American Revolution, the reality of the War would not be sweetened by a few score paintings that would fix the War visually in historical memory.    Unthinkable in 1865, even when the millions of men who had fought in the War were all dust, the photographs would remain to show a small part of what they saw.  John Adams, who feared that the true history of the American Revolution was lost forever and that posterity was being given myths instead of truths regarding the great times he lived through, would have hailed the advent of photography as helping to preserve some of the reality of the stubborn facts of history. Continue Reading

19

Creepy Joe

Creepy Joe

Our beloved National Clown and Veep Joe Biden can’t keep his paws off the ladies.   The picture above is from the swearing in ceremony of the Secretary of Defense.  His poor wife looks visibly uncomfortable.  Biden apparently does this to every female he encounters.  I agree with a commenter at Hot Air as to how I would react to this.

 

 

 

Even without any violence, after seeing the shots made while he was giving his acceptance speech, if it were me I’d talk to my wife and find out what she thought the deal was… and if there was any indication at all that it was what it looked like, at the very least if I were him I would very publicly and loudly resign, and give my reasons why.

No, I’m not waiting for my successor to be sworn in. I’d make it known that the Secret Service is the only thing that keep me from showing up at his door with a baseball bat. And I’d make sure the media got to hear the same line from me again and again:

“My integrity is not for sale, Mr. Vice President, and neither is my wife.”

I’d suddenly have the support of every conservative in the country, probably all the moderates, probably even a fair number of feminists, and every male in the US who had any self-respect and any affection for his significant other regardless of their politics…including a fair number of his Secret Service detail, although they wouldn’t be allowed to say or do anything to indicate it. Continue Reading

22

PopeWatch: Merchants of Death

 

 

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

In a Mass for the Copts martyred by ISIS, Pope Francis took the opportunity to miss the point again:

 

As he prepared to begin Mass in the Santa Marta Chapel, the Pope invited the congregation to join him in prayer for ‘our brother Copts, whose throats were slit for the sole reason of being Christian, that the Lord welcome them as martyrs, for their families, for my brother Tawadros, who is suffering greatly’.

He then prayed: “Be my protector, O God, a mighty stronghold to save me. For you are my rock, my stronghold! Lead me; guide me, for the sake of your name”.

Monday evening the Pope had made a personal phone call to Patriarch Tawadros, who is the Coptic Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria, to express his sorrow at the brutal murder.

During his homily the Pope spoke of man’s capability for evil and destruction and condemned what he termed ‘merchants of death’, business people who sell arms to those at war, furthering a cycle of hate, fratricide and violence.  Continue Reading

9

Larry and Ash Wednesday

ash_wednesday

(I will be reposting this each Ash Wednesday.)

My late son Larry always seemed to enjoy Ash Wednesday.  Two years ago in 2013 I went up with him to receive ashes.  He heard the traditional admonition:  “Remember man thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return.” and had the ashes placed on his forehead.  He then did the normal circle turn that he did after receiving Communion, and we went back to our pew.

Little did we know that this would be Larry’s last Ash Wednesday.  He died in the wee hours of Pentecost in 2013 of a seizure.  (On that dreadful date I said to my wife that one of the greatest gifts God has given us in this life is our inability to see the future.)  Now Larry’s physical body is well on its way back to dust, awaiting the Resurrection when it will be reunited with his soul.

Larry is now in the land which knows not Ash Wednesday, but only Eternal Easter, and we are left to experience this Ash Wednesday without him.  I have always found Ash Wednesday to be a bleak day and it will be much bleaker yet without my son.  However, Ash Wednesday, like death, is not the end, but merely a beginning.  As Ash Wednesday is the portal to Easter, death is the portal to eternal life. 

Saint Paul noted almost 2000 years ago that if our hope in Christ was limited to this life only that Christians were the most pitiable of men, and that those who slept in Christ would then be the deadest of the dead.  Our hope, however, is not limited to this brief sojourn through this Vale of Tears.  Christ taught us to call God Father to remind us all that we are children of a loving God.  His resurrection revealed to us that God’s mercy and love is not limited to this world, but is for all eternity to those who love God and our neighbor. Continue Reading

February 18, 1865: Charleston is Taken

The Civil War began with the firing on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor.  The Confederates had tenaciously held onto Charleston in the face of repeated assaults by sea and land during the course of the War.  The fall of the city was anti-climactic, with General Beauregard evacuating the Confederate garrison on February 15, and the mayor of Charleston surrendering the town to the Union forces.  The North went wild in celebration with the news, although by this point in the War Charleston had little military significance in the face of the overwhelming tide of Union victory.

8

Good Summary Of ISIS

Right before I hit “send” on an email sharing the following, my husband sent me a text mentioning that there was finally a mainstream article that had a clue about ISIS.

Suburban Banshee has 14 points, but I think the first five are enough to make the point, and you can always go read the rest at her blog.  It is very much worth the time.

1. The leader of ISIS is a member of Mohammed’s Quraysh tribe, and thus is potentially eligible for being a legit caliph.

2. A legit candidate having declared himself caliph, all Muslims are supposed to declare their allegiance to him. If they support anybody else, they can be considered apostate and killed. (Of course, Shia Muslims and Ahmadi Muslims are pretty used to that.)

3. There’s a lot more Sharia law for individual Muslims and the state to follow, when under an caliphate.

4. Under a caliph all Muslims are supposed to live off the state, and all People of the Book and slaves are supposed to do the paying and the working. So other than fighting, ISIS supporters don’t plan on doing anything with their lives; and they must keep conquering and oppressing, or the whole structure collapses under its own weight.

5. If the caliph neglects anything in Sharia law and doesn’t respond to criticism from his followers, they can declare him apostate and kill him. Another member of the Quraysh tribe can then take over as emir, and later, caliph.

They’re not crazy, and they’re not suicidal– they have a radically different world view.  Well, maybe they are crazy, but if so it’s a very human sort of crazy– one which Himself spent a lot of time and effort forming a culture, a world-view, that could accept what His Son had to tell us about the different way.  Their idea of strength doesn’t allow for mercy, for starters… I’m not good at explaining it, but if you keep studying, you can find it.

It’s sad, but it can deepen your appreciation of what an amazing gift we’ve been given.

47

Conquering Rome: Well Why Not?

Christians Beheaded

Ho hum, ISIS beheads 21 Christians for their faith and says that they are going to conquer Rome.  The response of the West?  You guessed it!  Words! Ed Morrissey of Hot Air brings us the details:

 

 

 

Call this a contrast of leadership. In a meeting today with a delegation from the Church of Scotland, who traveled to the Vatican on an ecumenical visit, Pope Francis decried the slaughter of 21 Coptic Christians from Egypt by Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).  Speaking in his native Spanish, the pontiff  used the ecumenical audience of Presbyterians to declare that the Copts were martyred for their faith — the faith of all Christians. They died “only because they confessed Christ,” Pope Francis emphasized, and their “testimony cries out to be heard”:

I would now like to turn to my native tongue to express feelings of profound sorrow. Today I read about the execution of those twenty-one or twenty-two Coptic Christians. Their only words were: “Jesus, help me!”. They were killed simply for the fact that they were Christians. You, my brother, in your words referred to what is happening in the land of Jesus. The blood of our Christian brothers and sisters is a testimony which cries out to be heard. It makes no difference whether they be Catholics, Orthodox, Copts or Protestants. They are Christians! Their blood is one and the same. Their blood confesses Christ. As we recall these brothers and sisters who died only because they confessed Christ, I ask that we encourage each another to go forward with this ecumenism which is giving us strength, the ecumenism of blood. The martyrs belong to all Christians.

Now, the point that the 21 men were beheaded for their faith isn’t exactly a subtlety in the ISIS propaganda video. The video title calls it “A Message Signed with Blood to the Nation of the Cross.” After beheading the Coptic Christian hostages, the Islamist terror leader threatens to “conquer Rome”:

After the ISIS leader finishes speaking, his fellow terrorists then commence the beheading of the 21 Egyptian Christians. “And we will conquer Rome, by Allah’s permission, the promise of our Prophet, peace be upon him,” The militant leader says after his comrades slaughter the Christian hostages.

Get the point? Most did, but not so much the White House. In the statement released yesterday after the video emerged, the Obama administration declared its outrage over the murder of … “Egyptian citizens” (via Charlie Spiering and Jeryl Bier, emphases mine): Continue Reading

33

PopeWatch: Contradictions

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

Rorate Caeli has a fascinating interview of Sandro Magister on Pope Francis which took place on November 14, last year

 

This year Sandro Magister celebrates 40 years as a Vatican journalist. His first articles in  L’Espresso in fact, date back to 1974.  And today, from those columns and also from the site of the weekly magazine, he still continues to report Vatican and Church news, everything very well-documented without bowing down to anyone.

Born in 1943, a native of Busto Arsizio, with degrees in Philosophy and Theology from the “Cattolica”, Magister has followed many Roman pontiffs. His articles regarding the present Pontiff, Pope Francis, are distinct from the mainstream Vatican journalists, unhesitatingly noting contradictions.  
*****
Question: Magister, Pope Bergoglio, has been basking in worldwide success these past months, but some of his decisions have given pause for thought. For example, he has presented himself as Bishop of Rome but at the Synod for the Family, he evoked the Codes of Canon Law confirming Petrine power.
R: It’s true. He did that in his closing speech.
Q: He outlined a shared and open vision in the governing Church, yet he appointed an outside commissioner with rather tough methods to the Franciscans of the Immaculate and also de facto put a bridle on the bishops conferences.
R: Some, like the Italian one, have effectively been destroyed.

[CONTRADICTIONS ARE INHERENT TO BERGOGLIO’S CHARACTER]


Q: When speaking to the popular movements he seemed to echo some of Tony Negri’s analyses on work, as you wrote on the blog Settimo Cielo. But then he accepted the “layoff” of 500 workers, among them, calligraphers, painters and printers of which the Office of Papal Charities decided it had no more use for.

R: In fact that incident is a bit jarring…
Q: …as jarring as his harsh ultra-libertarian positions on justice and prisons by having the ex-nuncio to the Dominican Republic jailed in advance of judgment on accusations of pedophilia.
R: That’s right.
Q: So, you have been a vaticanist for a long time, what do you think of all this?
R: That there are contradictions inherent in the character of Jorge Bergoglio. This is based on observations of valid evidence over many months.
Q: What conclusions have you come to?
R: Throughout his life he has been a person  who has acted on different fronts contemporarily and does the same thing now as Pontiff;  he leaves passages open, and on first reading, there are many contradictions. Anyway, those you mentioned are not the only ones.
 
[VERY TALKATIVE, BUT SILENT WHEN IT COULD MATTER]

Q: Tell us about some others…

R: He is a very talkative Pope and  has  telephoned and approached all different kinds of people both near and far, but has been silent about the Asia Bibi case.
Q: The Pakistani lady who has been in prison a long time, condemned to death for apostasy…
R: Exactly. Pope Francis has not uttered a word about her. The same goes for the kidnapped Nigerian girls and that unbelievable act of a few days ago in Pakistan when a Christian married couple were burnt to death in a furnace.

 
[POPE ORGANIZED THE SYNOD FROM START TO FINISH]
Q: These are stories connected to relations with Islam, which we’ll return to later. Some are beginning to define these contradictions as “Jesuitism” in the sense of a ‘multi-way of thinking’.
R: This is a disparaging and unacceptable estimation, even if it’s true that Jesuit spirituality historically has shown itself able to adapt to the most diverse situations, at times even contradictory among themselves.

Q: …as the organization of the recent Synod appeared contradictory…
R: An organization precisely calculated by the Pope, not left to chance as was lead to believe; there were other contradictory elements as well.

 
[POPE’S DEBATE ON COMMUNION FOR REMARRIED TOUCHES VERY FOUNDATION OF THE CHURCH]
Q: For example?
R: Bergoglio has said repeatedly that he didn’t want to make compromises with doctrine, that he was with the tradition of the Church. But then, he opened discussions, like the ones on Communion for the divorced and remarried, which effectively touch the very foundations of the Church.
Q: Why?
R: Because it is inevitable that Communion for  the divorced and  remarried will result in the acceptance of second-marriages, and so to the dissolution of the sacramental bond of matrimony.

 
[BEWILDERMENT WITH BERGOGLIO NOT LIMITED TO TRADITIONALISTS]
Q: I’m not a vaticanist, but the sense from the outside is that bewilderment is growing and not only from the hierarchy. What’s more, also in sectors you would certainly not define as traditionalist…
R: This is undeniable. We have leaders in prominent positions, not Lefebvrians, who are making this clear, even if they don’t express it in drastic and antagonistic terms. Not even Cardinal Burke, recently removed from his position as  the ex-Prefect of the Apostolic Segnatura, did so, because there isn’t a prejudicially hostile tendency against the Pontiff. Certainly there are evident manifestations of uneasiness.

 
[THE UNDERMINING OF BISHOPS IN AMERICA AND ITALY]
Q: What about an example?
R: Take for example the Episcopate in the United States, that is, the bishops of one of the most numerous Catholic populations in the world. In recent years, that Episcopal Conference expressed a coherent and combative line in the public arena, even regarding certain decisions by Barack Obama on ethical issues. A line shared by many prominent prelates. A collective, more than the sum of singles, a management team, we could say…
Q: And so the Americans?
R: They are somewhat uneasy. The Cardinals and Archbishops, like Timothy Dolan from New York, Patrick O’ Malley from Boston, José Gomez from Los Angeles or Charles Chaput from Philadelphia, are all uneasy. This is the episcopate that Burke himself comes from and is certainly not restricted to the marginal traditional circuits, but continues to be part of one of the most solid national Churches.
Q: And also the Italian Episcopal Conference as you said before, appears to be a bit in difficulty.
R: Yes, there are many difficulties in trying to keep up with this Pope. The President, Angelo Bagnasco seems to be the one in most difficulty.
Q: Also since his successor Archbishop of Perugia, Gualtiero Bassetti has already been indicated. He was made a Cardinal by Bergoglio.
R: But, as far I know also Bassetti is among the Italian bishops who are uneasy.

 
 
[IT WAS THE POPE’S DECISION TO USE KASPER TO OPEN HOSTILITIES]
Q: Among the Italians, the most explicit were perhaps the Milanese, Angelo Scola and the Bolognese, Carlo Caffarra.

R: Yes, they were with their  interventions before and during the Synod. But it was all inevitable considering the Pope’s decision to assign the opening of the discussions to Cardinal Walter Kasper, and so this basically was the start of the hostilities .
Q: Why?
R: Because Kasper is proposing again today exactly the same theses defeated in 1993 by John Paul II and Joseph Ratzinger, the latter being the Prefect of the Holy Office at the time.


 
[POPE ACTUALLY SCOLDS CONSERVATIVES, NOT PROGRESSIVES]
Q: Yes, the Pope launched Kasper, he made Abp. Bruno Forte special Secretary to the Synod and who  carried weight during the work itself, so much so as to provoke reactions from some Synod fathers. But then, finally, Francis intervened scolding both sides – almost like an old Christian Democrat against opposite extremisms.

R: It’s another recurring practice of this Pontificate: reprimands to one side and the other. However, if we want to make an inventory, the scoldings aimed at the traditionalists, the legalists and the rigid defenders of doctrine appear to be much more numerous. On the other hand, whenever he has something to say to the progressives you never understand who he is really referring to.
Go here to read the rest.  The main take away from the interview is that if you are confused by the Pope join the club.  1 Corinthians 14:8 comes to mind:  For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle ?   At best the confusion caused by the Pope is unintentional.  At worst, the Pope intends the confusion he sows as a feature, not a bug.

Continue Reading

7

The University of Scranton: Reclaiming its Catholic and Jesuit heritage…

 

The University of Scranton’s President, the Reverend Kevin P. Quinn, S.J., has announced plans to terminate the institution’s health insurance coverage of all abortions.

Since the 1990s, the University’s healthcare policy allowed for abortion in cases of rape, incest, and when the life of the mother was endangered by a pregnancy. This policy was implemented so as to comply with the limits of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania law for traditional insurance plans.

However, that was then and this is now.

letter-header

In his letter to the campus, Fr. Quinn  stated that the coverage of any abortion is inconsistent with the University’s Roman Catholic faith:

…the moral teaching of the Church on abortion is unequivocal. Circumstances, “however serious or tragic, can never justify the deliberate killing of an innocent human being,” and “[n]o one more absolutely innocent could be imagined” than the unborn child. (Evangelium Vitae, no. 58)

Why the dramatic change in policy?

The University of Scranton is now self-insured, meaning  that “we can, and therefore must, offer insurance plans that are free of all abortion coverage,” according to Fr. Quinn.

Aware of the problems this change in healthcare policy will likely provoke–in particular, with the faculty union because the University’s contract with the union will need to be adjusted–Fr. Quinn wrote an eloquent, proactive defense:

…fidelity to our mission as a Catholic and Jesuit institution is the abiding theme of our history, regardless of the times and trials.

Remaining faithful to our identity as a Catholic institution calls us to serve the world in unique and inspiring ways. It has also, over the years, led the University to adapt its institutional practices to ensure harmony with the moral teachings of the Catholic Church….

Would that all of the presidents of the nation’s Catholic universities and colleges experienced a similar conversion or, at least, learned that it is possible to overcome their timidity, defend Church teaching at their institutions, and tred where angels fear!

Fr. Quinn’s defense of Church teaching raises substantive questions:

  1. Should not what is unique about a Catholic institution of higher education–its “value added”–be its role in integrating faith and reason, first, by propagating the Catholic faith and its values and, second, building upon that foundation? After all, shouldn’t one know what one is critiquing before critiquing it?
  2. Why ever would anyone pay tuition to attend a Catholic university or college in order to be strategically de-Catholicized? Aren’t there already enough officially secular-humanist institutions of public higher education available in the United States?

Kudos to Fr. Quinn and the University of Scranton! May his leadership inspire his colleagues in U.S. Catholic higher education to tred where they’d rather not…by becoming self-insured and, then, ending all abortion coverage as part of their healthcare policies.

 

 

To read Fr. Quinn’s letter, click on the following link:
http://www.scranton.edu/about/presidents-office/emails/letters/2015/our-mission-healthcare.html

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

49

PopeWatch: Rude Shepherd

 

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

An interesting and completely wrongheaded article in Catholic Herald by Father Raymond de Souza:

 

What was more striking was the Holy Father’s denunciation of a particular woman who was expecting her eighth child, having had seven caesarian deliveries previously. Twice in the press conference Pope Francis said that, upon meeting her at a Roman parish, he had rebuked her for being irresponsible. He gave enough information that it would be easy to discover her identity. Her family and fellow parishioners certainly all know that she has been denounced by the Holy Father as irresponsible for conceiving her eighth child. The child, too, will grow up knowing what Pope Francis said.

Why would the Holy Father go out of his way to denounce a particular woman? It is not the first time he has done so. Last February, at his meeting with the priests of Rome, he criticised a specific priest in the Holy See’s diplomatic service, then at the nunciature to Italy. In April, an Argentine woman in an invalid marriage said that the Holy Father told her to ignore the instructions of her parish priest in regard to not receiving Holy Communion. As the woman’s name was known, everyone in the parish knew that their pastor had been corrected by the Pope.

Francis may be giving an answer to a question I have had since I was ordained more than a decade ago. I have often asked brother priests where in our pastoral ministry we imitate the denunciations – “brood of vipers”, “whited sepulchres”, “blind guides” and “hypocrites” – that the Lord Jesus used. Where do we obey His command to shake the dust off our feet at those who refuse to accept the Gospel?

In my own ministry, it would be very difficult to provide examples of how I have done what Jesus did, or commanded His Apostles to do. Jesus gives us different models of pastoral ministry. The dominant one would be that of the good shepherd who goes out in search of the lost, the friend to the afflicted and ostracised, the healer of the sick and the absolver of sins.

Yet that is not the only model given to us. It is just the only one that seminarians are trained to provide, and the only one that priests – myself included – tend to offer. Very few of us imitate the fullness of what Jesus did, and what the Apostles did in imitation of Him. Pope Francis is not like that. Rare is the daily homily in which he does not offer a pointed criticism of how some Christians are failing to live authentic lives of discipleship. In his principal magisterial document to date, Evangelii Gaudium, the denunciations were so numerous that commentators began to compile lists of them.

The Holy Father did the same in his Christmas greetings to his colleagues in the Roman Curia last December, composing a catalogue of their spiritual diseases and failings. Many of those in the room found it rude. Perhaps so, but no more rude than how Jesus spoke to the “curial officials” of His day, the Pharisees and scribes.

Is Pope Francis offering us a new model of how to be pastors, only slightly less quick with a lambasting word than with a loving one? Perhaps. It seems to me that the Holy Father is able to speak so harshly and so often precisely because he so transparently lives out the dominant model of Christian pastoral ministry, that of the good shepherd, the binder of wounds. Continue Reading

1

Theodore Roosevelt: A Force of Nature

Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those timid spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.

Theodore Roosevelt

 

I have never liked Presidents’ Day.  Why celebrate all presidents when only a select few of them, like Washington and Lincoln, deserve to be celebrated?   Officially the date is still the commemoration of George Washington’s birthday, which actually won’t occur until February 22.  One of the few presidents worthy to be mentioned in the same breath as Washington and Lincoln is Theodore Roosevelt, and today we will look at his truly remarkable life.

I love Roosevelt as a man. He was always optimistic and led life at the charge. Whatever he did, he did with explosive energy. He was never half-hearted about anything. He was a good family man and a good husband. He loved God, his country and his family, and genuinely seemed to like most people who came into contact with him. As one of his enemies said, “Someone would have to hate him a lot, not to like him a little.”

In this look at his life we will list some of TR’s accomplishments, but I do not think that gets to the heart of the matter. Most presidents are smaller than their great office. A precious few, Washington and Lincoln for example, loom larger than the office. TR was in this class. The phrase bully-pulpit came about to describe how TR used the presidency as a giant mega-phone to get his views across to the American people and persuade them. He had a deep patriotism and a belief in the greatness of this country that resonated with the country. Some presidents debase us and some ennoble us, and none were better at ennobling us than TR. He understood that life is a grand adventure. Sometimes it is a hard adventure and sometimes a joyous adventure, but always an adventure. TR imparted this sense of wonder and grandeur to many of his contemporaries.

The complexity of TR makes writing even  a brief biography of him a challenge: scholar, historian, writer, naturalist, legislator, rancher, cowboy, hunter,  civil service commissioner, police commissioner, soldier, governor, vice-president, president, daredevil, adventurer, explorer, etc. He combined about a dozen lives into sixty brief years. Continue Reading

9

Lego Luther

Leggo Luther

 

I don’t know who is more horrified by this,  Martin Luther or I:

Playmobil has found a new best-selling figurine in the unlikely character of the 16th century Protestant reformer Martin Luther.

Continue Reading

31

Bear Growls: Michael Voris

 

corbiniansbearscouts2

 

Initiating a new series.  I have been greatly enjoying the commentary at Saint Corbinan’s Bear.  Whenever I relay to the readers of TAC some of these, I will do so under the rubric Bear Growls.  The Bear has turned his attention to Michael Voris and his hear no evil, see no evil and speak no evil policy in regard to Pope Francis:

Here it is in a nutshell: Michael  Voris will expose, criticize and ridicule any bishop of the Catholic Church who fails to adhere to his own conservative sensibilities. That is mostly what his flagship program, The Vortex, does, day after day. Michael Voris cannot stand the “Church of Nice,” (i.e. ordinary Novus Ordo parishes) nor the weak, compliant and corrupt bishops who lead them. However, one thing Michael Voris can’t stand is laying any mistake or misdeed at the feet of the Pope.

Hence we have Christine Niles of CMTV saying at least some forms of criticism of the Pope were “just unacceptable.” Michael Voris interjects an “amen.”

Michael Voris is the furthermost right of legitimate Catholicism. Everyone to the left is despised as the “Church of Nice,” and everyone to the right is dismissed as reactionaries.

It is very narrow spectrum of opinion, if you think about it!

Now, Michael Voris and the rest at CMTV know the problems with Pope Francis as well as anyone. They admit (albeit in a sort of hypothetical way) all the problems we talk about concretely here at SCB. So it isn’t that they are fans of Francis (as far as the Bear can tell), or do not cringe at his mistakes.

The ostensible reason for Michael Voris and his people to ignore Pope Francis is that if media powerhouses like CMTV, or The Remnant, start pecking at the Pope, in no time people will desert the Church for more appealing havens, such as SSPX, whom they dismiss as “schismatic.”

Mr. Voris also characterized the Catholic blogosphere by putting both hands by his head and making rapid “talking gestures” while babbling — apparently suggesting ill-informed chatter by hysterical malcontents.

Mr. Voris was quick to point out that the Pope could never err in doctrinal matters, other people do not understand infallibility, and the Pope can entertain and even express wrong ideas on a human level.

Fair enough. But the answer to that is: Mr. Voris, with all due respect, where have you been the last fifty years? Has it been changes in doctrine that have all but destroyed the Church? Or has it been everything but doctrine that has undermined our worship, polluted Catholic culture, and confused the faithful? The Pope does not have to infallibly change doctrine to do mischief! Indeed, why would he, when he can use “gradualism,” and “compassion” to change the implications of existing doctrine until the same words mean the opposite?

The Bear isn’t sure where Mr. Voris is coming from with regard to the Pope. The risk of driving people to SSPX seems small to the Bear.

But to pretend that the Pope cannot harm the Church so long as he does not exercise his infallibility is ludicrous. If adulterers are welcomed to the communion line, one may be sure it will not have been because any doctrine has been changed. Indeed, the Church will take pains to explain that nothing has really changed, but our times demand an enlargement of compassion, not following the letter of the law in some picky way that doesn’t meet human needs.

One supposes Michael Voris and Church Militant TV will pass over all that in silence, unless they can blame the Bishop of Poughkeepsie, instead of the Bishop of Rome.

The irony of what you are reading right now is that the Bear isn’t what you would call a “traditionalist,” not in the way traditionalists would recognize, anyway. He doesn’t think Francis is not really the Pope, and can personally take or leave the Latin Mass. He tells everyone at least once a week to “nail your foot to the floor in front of your favorite pew and die there.”

But to adopt a policy of ignoring Pope Francis short of him infallibly declaring the Moon to be made of green cheese is unsupportable in a Western institution. If God wanted robots blindly obeying the big cheese in every tiny detail, no matter how ridiculous or harmful, He would have not a pope in Rome, but an imam, and there would be a great big mosque where St. Peter’s sits, around which we would all deliriously orbit. Continue Reading

2

The Caine Mutiny: A Review

(I originally posted this in 2009 when the blog readership was much smaller.  I posted this again in 2013, but the scene after the court-martial was not online.  That pivotal scene is now available, so I am reposting this with the scene include in the review.  The Caine Mutiny has always been one of my favorite films in that it examines two themes, the law and military service, that have ever fascinated me.)

For my sins, perhaps, I have spent my career as an attorney.  Over the past 33 years I’ve done a fair number of trials, both bench and jury, and I am always on the lookout for good depictions of trials in films, and one of the best is The Caine Mutiny.  Based on the novel of the same name by Herman Wouk,  who served in the Navy as an officer in the Pacific during World War II, the movie addresses the question of what should, and should not, be done in a military organization when the man at the top of the chain of command is no longer in his right mind.

 

The cast is top notch.  Humphrey Bogart, an enlisted man in the Navy during WWI and a member of the Naval Reserve, he tried to enlist again in the Navy after Pearl Harbor but was turned down because of his age, gives the performance of his career as Lieutenant Commander Philip Francis Queeg, the captain of the Caine.  In the hands of a lesser actor Queeg could easily have become merely a two-dimensional madman.  Bogart instead infuses Queeg with pathos and demonstrates to the audience that this is a good man who sadly is no longer responsible mentally for his actions.  Van Johnson delivers his usual workmanlike job as Lieutenant Stephen Maryk, the “exec” of the Caine, a career officer who does his best to remain loyal to an obviously disturbed CO, while also attempting to protect the crew of the Caine  from Queeg’s increasingly erratic behavior.  Robert Francis, as Ensign Willis Seward Keith, is the viewpoint character, too young and inexperienced to make his own judgment he relies on Maryk and Lieutenant Keefer.  Fred MacMurray is slime incarnate as Lieutenant Thomas Keefer, a reservist who hates the Navy, spends all his time writing a novel, and eggs Maryk on to take command away from Queeg.  Finally, in a typhoon, reluctantly and only, as he perceives it, to save the ship, Maryk, with the support of Keith, relieves Queeg from command.

In the ensuing court-martial of Maryk and Keith, lawyer Lieutenant Barney Greenwald,  portrayed with panache by Jose Ferrer, reluctantly agrees to defend them. Continue Reading