5

Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom!

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Hattip to commenter Murray who advises us of this mercy filled rant from Saint Blog’s answer to Robespierre:

“Likewise, sane conservative Catholics need to stop coddling those twisting themselves in pretzels of hatred and defiance for a pope who has done and said nothing heterodox, all in defiance of the Church’s social doctrine need to repent or they need to be repudiated by Catholics of good will. It would be a nice bonus if sane conservatives beyond FT also pressured the nuts to repent smearing a good man as an accomplice to murder (which is what “Che Guevara’s Pope” means) in their zeal to declare their non serviam to the gospel. But the person of Francis is less crucial than the office of Peter and it doesn’t do to ask too much of hard hearts all at once. But the bottom line is, the enemies of Peter need to take responsibility for their actions, repent, and believe the good news–and those who have hitherto enabled them should take responsibility for the fact that they did not spring up like topsies overnight but have been cultivated for a good long time. That cultivation must end.”

For Mark Shea it is always let a thousand flowers bloom so long as they all smell like him.

22

R.R. Reno’s Tirade: The Fisk

No More Tirades

 

As my friend and co-blogger Paul Zummo has noted here, First Things has given the ax to Maureen Mullarkey’s blog due to her outspoken criticism of Pope Francis. They have every right to do this if they wish.  However, I have every right to fisk the editor of First Things’, R.R. Reno, statement announcing this, hilariously entitled No More Tirades, if I found the statement fatuous, which I did.  Herewith the fisk:

First Things stands for something.

That is a relief.

 

 

Many things, actually.

Considering the heterodox leanings of many people after working at First Things (I am looking at you Damon Linker and you Jody Bottum), I would say that is an understatement.

 

 

 

One of them is a commitment to reality-based conservatism, both in matters of faith and of public life. I mention this, because I’ve decided to end our hosting of Maureen Mullarkey’s blog.

“Reality -based conservatism.”  Way to borrow the charming habit of the left of calling their adversaries delusional.

Maureen has a sharp pen and pungent style. Her postings about Pope Francis indicate she’s very angry about this papacy, which she seems to view as (alternately) fascism and socialism disguised as Catholicism. This morning she put up a post that opens with the accusation that the Vatican is conspiring with the Obama administration to destroy the foundations of freedom and hobble the developed world. I’ve had my staff take it down.

I do not ascribe to the view that Catholics should not criticize the papacy.

Unless, apparently, the criticism is barbed and attracts attention.

When Catholicism was derided by an ascendant Protestant elite, it made sense to close ranks.

Actually, as a matter of historical fact, Catholics in this country have always fought like cats and dogs.

Today we’re very much a part of the elite.

Only if we sneer at our religion.  For those who don’t and who achieve high office, they are under continual assault.  Google Antonin Scalia for a good example of this.

 

When Francis spoke to Congress, he shook the hands of a Catholic Secretary of State.

The pro-abort John Kerry is about as Catholic as his late senior senator Ted Kennedy.

 

When he spoke he was flanked by a Catholic Vice President and a Catholic Speaker of the House (who had succeeded a Catholic Speaker).

Pro-abort Joe Biden is on a par with Kerry.  Boehner’s last major action as Speaker is brokering a deal for the continued funding of Planned Parenthood.

 

In the front row sat Supreme Courts Justices, the majority of whom are Catholic.

This after the Court just mandated gay marriage throughout the nation, with two of the “Catholics” happily signing on.

 

There’s no cultural need today for Catholics to maintain an artificial united front.

Only if Catholics are concerned about the Faith rather than using Catholicism as some sort of ethnic identifier.

I’ve criticized Pope Francis and his encyclical, Laudato Si. However, Maureen’s commentary on Francis goes well beyond measured criticism.

Measured criticism, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

 

She consistently treats him as an ideological propagandist, accusing him of reducing the faith to secular political categories.

A sadly accurate assessment in many areas.

 

This is her way of reducing him to the political terms she favors.

Actually, the Pope by his language and actions has done that.  His speech to Congress, in which he gave a big air kiss to most issues embraced by the left, is a prime example.

And those terms are the ones used by radio talk-show hosts to entertain the public with mock-battles against various Empires of Evil.

You don’t listen to many radio talk shows do you?  Of course when bashing someone on the basis of stereotypes, it does not do to engage in accuracy.

I don’t want First Things to play that game.

Your call, just as it is our call whether we read First Things.  Mullarkey has brought more attention and readers to First Things than any other writer for you in many a moon.

More is at stake here than decorum.

One would hope.

I’m much more favorable to free markets than Francis seems to be.

That is a pretty low bar. Continue Reading

8

My Irony Meter Has Exploded

After reading these two items, it might be irreparably destroyed.

Item the first:

A Montgomery County man has filed a unique class action lawsuit in the wake of the Ashley Madison hacking scandal.

Christopher Russell, who is listed in court files only as a county resident, filed a complaint in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt Sept. 11 claiming that the site fraudulently represented its female users as actual women, but in fact most were automated bots designed to entice male users to spend money.

Russell spent $100 on the site to purchase credits that allowed him to message other users who he believed were real women, according to the complaint, but they may have actually been bots or workers paid by the site. The site is set up to allow married men and women to secretly coordinate affairs.

 

So you might say he is filing suit because a party with which he entered into a contract did not live up to the terms of said contract. Uh huh.

Item the second has to do with First Thing’s excommunication of Maureen Mullarkey from their blog. For those who missed the sordid affair, here is RR Reno’s post on the matter. For point of reference, here is Maureen’s blog, republished at One Peter Five. You can discern for yourselves if the post in question merited banishment.

One person who is not satisfied with First Thing’s actions: Mark Shea.

Mr. Reno:  Though I applaud your decision to give Maureen Mullarkey’s pope-hating blog the well-deserved ax, I think it is important to note that the level of sheer malice and [email protected]#$% [edited by PZ] crazy in the comboxes announcing he ouster at First Things is, like the popularity of Donald Trump among the wreckage of what was once conservatism, an indictment of the catechesis that conservatives have been getting from their manufacturers of thought and opinion over the last decade.

First Things–like the editors of National Review and the talking hairdos at FOX who have spent all summer trying to figure out how to team the Trumpkin Frankenstein base–have nobody to blame but themselves for the creation of that demographic. That Mullarkeys and similar lunatics have been given a forum and treated as voices to be taken seriously at all in conservative media is what has helped foster the subculture that is now roaring and frothing in that combox, as well as banging at the doors ofNational Review like zombies assaulting a shopping mall.  The sheer atavistic nuttiness on display among the Francis-haters in that First Things combox and elsewhere is the fruit of an Americanized fake gospel that FT and other conservative media has worked hard to promote.

Yes, in a post in which Shea describes others as [email protected]#$% crazy, lunatics, and zombies, and on a blog that is not exactly known for its decorum and lack of virulence, Mark Shea thinks that FT and its ilk are only to blame for sparking the development of an atmosphere that encourages the nuttiness that he claims is on display in the comments section of its blog.

Self-awareness, thy name is not Mark Shea.

7

The Lamest Defense of Planned Parenthood Ever

Have you ever gotten to the last line of an editorial where the author’s biographical information is posted and just shuddered? That happened to me today as I read this lame attack on Congress by David S. Cohen, who is somehow a law professor at Drexel in Philadelphia. Cohen argues that the House bill which would strip Planned Parenthood of funding violates the constitutional prohibition against bills of attainder. No, really, check this out:

The first day of teaching constitutional law, I inevitably find myself asking the question: “Does anyone know what a bill of attainder is?”

When one reads the rest of the article, one wonders if Professor Cohen know what a bill of attainder is.

A bill of attainder is a law that inflicts punishment upon a particular individual without a judicial trial. In other words, a bill of attainder is, as the Supreme Court has termed it, a “trial by legislature” rather than by court.

Ladies and gentlemen, you have just read the one factually correct line in the entire article.

Though no one is talking about it, this most recent dust-up over federal funding for Planned Parenthood is very clearly an example of an unconstitutional bill of attainder: Congress is singling out Planned Parenthood and punishing the organization for allegedly improper and illegal actions.

So just having factually and accurately defined a bill of attainder, Professor (shudder) Cohen now stretches the meaning beyond all recognition to imply that the attempt to not fund a private organization is the same thing as Congress punishing a person for treason without trial.

I have a high opinion of the readers of this particular blog. Based on the comments most of you have displayed a good grasp of logic and basic reading comprehension. Sadly, Professor (weeps) Cohen does not have such a high grasp of logic and reasoning. It takes quite a feat of mental gymnastics to categorize a Congressional attempt to not fund an organization as a bill of attainder. Planned Parenthood is not being “punished.” Cecile Richards (unfortunately) is not about to face either jail time or the gallows. The organization that she runs, which still manages to rake in millions of dollars from clients and from donors, might – like thousands of other similar organizations – have to live without receiving grants from the federal government. Somehow I don’t think that when James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, Rufus King, and the other men who gathered together in Philadelphia during the summer of 1787 crafted the language in the Constitution about bills of attainder that this is what they had on their minds.

More fundamentally, Congress can make spending decisions based on whatever criteria it deems appropriate. Planned Parenthood is not entitled to federal money, and thus is not being deprived of essential liberty in the way that a person found guilty without trial would be. Therefore the linkage here is incredibly dubious, at best.

Professor (sobs uncontrollably) Cohen continues:

First, removing Planned Parenthood’s federal funding, over half a billion dollars that help it provide cancer screenings, gynecological care, contraceptive counseling, and more, is a clear instance of punishment. (emphasis mine)

Hmmmm, something seems to be missing from this list. Whatever could that “more” be?

Professor (what is wrong with this country) Cohen really gives the way over the course of his next two sentences:

The Republican-controlled House voted to remove the funding based on deceptive videos from the Center for Medical Progress that purport to show that Planned Parenthood sells aborted fetal body parts and alters abortion procedures to facilitate those sales.

Putting aside the fact that the videos show nothing of the sort,

So Cohen is going to go with the LIE that the videos are in any way deceptive, and then he is going to wishcast away all the parts of the video do indeed show that Planned Parenthood is engaging in all of the practices it has been accused of. I don’t think we really need to read any more of Professor (don’t send your kids to law school) Cohen constitutional “analysis.” He has just outed himself as a silly partisan hack who will bend constitutional law to mean what he wants it to mean.

Sleep well Americans – this is the man who gets to teach our next generation of lawyers about constitutional law. Clearly they are in excellent hands.

54

Pope Francis Meets With Kim Davis

Pope Francis and Kim Davis

Just when I think I have Pope Francis figured out, I am back at square one.  Inside Vatican is reporting that Pope Francis met secretly with Kim Davis:

On Thursday, September 24, in the afternoon after his historic address to Congress, just a few minutes before flying to New York City, Pope Francis received, spoke with, and embraced Kim Davis — the Kentucky County Clerk who was jailed in early September for refusing to sign the marriage licenses of homosexual couples who wished to have their civil marriages certified by the state of Kentucky.

Also present was Kim’s husband, Joe Davis.

Kim and her husband had come to Washington for another purpose — Kim was to receive a “Cost of Discipleship” award on Friday, September 25, from The Family Research Council at the Omni Shoreham Hotel.

Pope Francis entered the room.

Kim greeted him, and the two embraced.

There is no recording of this conversation, or photographs, as far as I know. But “there is not any thing secret that shall not be made manifest, nor hidden, that shall not be known and come to light.” (Luke 8:17)

Kim Davis gave me this account of the meeting shortly after it took place.

“The Pope spoke in English,” she told me. “There was no interpreter. ‘Thank you for your courage,’ Pope Francis said to me. I said, ‘Thank you, Holy Father.’ I had asked a monsignor earlier what was the proper way to greet the Pope, and whether it would be appropriate for me to embrace him, and I had been told it would be okay to hug him. So I hugged him, and he hugged me back. It was an extraordinary moment. ‘Stay strong,’ he said to me. Then he gave me a rosary as a gift, and he gave one also to my husband, Joe. I broke into tears. I was deeply moved.

“Then he said to me, ‘Please pray for me.’ And I said to him, ‘Please pray for me also, Holy Father.’ And he assured me that he would pray for me.”

Joe told Kim that he would give his rosary to her mother, who is a Catholic. And Kim then said that she would give her rosary to her father, who is also a Catholic.

Vatican sources have confirmed to me that this meeting did occur; the occurrence of this meeting is not in doubt. Continue Reading

PopeWatch: His Decision

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Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa tells us that the Synod will all come down to what Pope Francis decides:

 

 

 

ROME, September 28, 2015 – Back in Rome after his journey to Cuba and the United States, culminating with the world meeting of families in Philadelphia, Pope Francis is now facing the much more exacting challenge of the synod that will open on October 4, the Sunday of the liturgical year on which – as if by a jest of providence – Catholic churches all around the world will resound with these words of Jesus: “Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate.”

The synod will last for three weeks, and the procedures that will be adopted have not yet been made known, despite having a big influence on the outcome of the work.

What is certain is that there will not be a final message, no commission having been set up to write one.

Another definite feature, preannounced by Pope Francis, is that “each week there will be a discussion of one chapter” of the three into which the preparatory document is subdivided:

> Instrumentum laboris

So this time there will be no “Relatio post disceptationem” halfway through the work, after a first phase of free discussion on everything, as at the synod of October 2014. The discussion will be broken up right away into narrow linguistic groups, each of which will sum up its perspectives in reports destined to remain confidential. At the end of the three weeks there will be a vote on a final “Relatio,” and the pope will give the concluding talk.

Also unlike in the past it is not expected that after a few months there will be a postsynodal apostolic exhortation to cap everything off. The discussion will remain open to future developments. The only embodiment of the provisory conclusions will be the pope’s talk at the end of the work, which will as a matter of course overtop and obscure all the other voices.

In spite of the much-heralded emphasis on collegiality, in fact, the next round of the synod will also see at work in Francis a monocratic exercise of papal authority, as in last year’s session, at the end of which the pope kept alive propositions that had not obtained the votes necessary for approval. And they were precisely the ones on the most controversial points, divorce and homosexuality.

*

One undisputed sign of this monocratic exercise of papal authority was the publication, last September 8, of the two motu proprio with which Francis reformed annulment procedures:

> Forbidden To Call It Divorce. But It Sure Looks Like It

A reform of marital cases had been expected for some time. But Francis set it in motion while keeping out the family-centered synod, which he knew was not inclined to approve what he had in mind. He set up the preparatory commission in August of 2014, before the convocation of the first session of the synod. And he signed the motu proprio last August 15, before the second session, scheduling its implementation for next December 8.

The most substantial innovation of the new procedures is that in order to obtain a declaration of nullity, the mere word of the applicant will have the “force of full proof,” without the need for other evidence, and the presumed “lack of faith” will act as a universal master key not just for thousands but for millions of marriages to be declared null, with an ultra-fast procedure and with the local bishop as the sole judge.

On this the synod fathers therefore find themselves facing a fait accompli. But it is hard to imagine that they are not discussing it. Church historian Roberto de Mattei has even hypothesized that some synod fathers may ask for the abrogation of this act of governance on the part of Pope Francis, “up to now his most revolutionary.” And he has cited the historical precedent of the retraction made in 1813 by Pius VII – imprisoned by Napoleon Bonaparte – of his act of subjection of the Holy See to the sovereignty of the emperor: a retraction invoked publicly by Cardinal Bartolomeo Pacca, pro-secretary of state, and by other “zealous” cardinals, as well as by the great spiritual master Pio Brunone Lanteri, a future venerable:

> Si possono discutere gli atti di governo del papa?

*

Meanwhile, an appeal has been issued in the American magazine “First Things” by a hefty number of theologians, philosophers, and scholars from various countries, asking the synod fathers to reject paragraph 137 of the preparatory document, judged as contrary to the magisterium of the Church and a portent of confusion among the faithful:

> An Appeal Recalling the Teaching of “Humanae Vitae”

The appeal concerns the teaching of Paul VI’s encyclical “Humanae Vitae” on birth control – an encyclical that Pope Francis himself has called “prophetic” – and numbers among its authors and signatories a good number of professors from the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family: Stephan Kampowski, Livio Melina, Jaroslav Merecki, José Noriega, Juan José Pérez-Soba, Mary Shivanandan, Luigi Zucaro, as well as luminaries like the German philosopher Robert Spaemann and the Swiss ethicist Martin Rhonheimer.

In the judgment of the signatories of the appeal, paragraph 137 of the preparatory document assigns absolute primacy to the individual conscience in the selection of the means of birth control, even against the teaching of the Church’s magisterium, with the added risk that such primacy could also be extended to other areas, like abortion and euthanasia.

In effect, it is precisely on the primacy of the individual conscience “beyond what the rule might say objectively” that the supporters of communion for the divorced and remarried rely, as one of these, cardinal of Vienna Christoph Schönborn explained in an interview with “La Civiltà Cattolica” of September 26:

“There are situations in which the priest, the guide, who knows the persons, can come to the point of saying: ‘Your situation is such that, in conscience, in your and in my conscience as a pastor, I see your place in the sacramental life of the Church.’”

The split between the individual conscience and the magisterium of the Church is analogous to that which separates pastoral practice from doctrine: a danger that in the judgment of many looms over the synod and has been the object of very strong words from Cardinal Gerhard Müller, prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, in a lecture given on September 1 in Regensburg on the occasion of the release of the German edition of Cardinal Robert Sarah’s book “God or Nothing”:

> Liturgy, Grace, Marriage, and the New Danger of Schism

According to Müller, “the separation of teaching and practice of the faith” was precisely that which in the 16th century led to the schism in the Western Church. With the deceptive practice of indulgences, the Church of Rome was in fact ignoring doctrine and “the original protest of Luther himself against the negligence of the shepherds of the Church was justified, because one may not play with the salvation of souls, even if the purpose of the deception would be to bring about a good deed.”

And today – the cardinal continued – the question is the same: “We may not deceive the people, when it comes to the sacramentality of marriage, its indissolubility, its openness toward the child, and the fundamental complementarity of the two sexes. Pastoral care must keep in view the eternal salvation, and it should not try to be superficially pleasing according to the wishes of the people.”

*

As can be seen, the proponents of “openness” are very active, but the stances of those who oppose it are also numerous and strong.

On September 29 there will be a repeat presentation in Rome, backed up with 800,000 signatures including those of 202 cardinals and bishops, of the “Filial Appeal” to Pope Francis that he pronounce “a word of clarification” against the “widespread confusion arising from the possibility that a breach has been opened within the Church that would accept adultery—by permitting divorced and then civilly remarried Catholics to receive Holy Communion—and would virtually accept even homosexual unions.”

This appeal to the pope is not far from what was said by Cardinal Angelo Scola, archbishop of Milan and a father at the next synod, in an interview with “Corriere della Sera” of Sunday, September 27:

“The urgent priority, for me, is that the synod would suggest to the Holy Father a magisterial statement that would unify by simplifying the doctrine on marriage. A statement aimed at demonstrating the relationship between the experience of faith and the sacramental nature of marriage.”

The complete text of the interview:

> Scola: “I miei timori sulla famiglia. Ci si sta pensando poco”

On September 30, at the Angelicum University, cardinals Carlo Caffarra and Raymond Leo Burke, two of the five cardinals who on the verge of the synod of 2014 took a stance against their colleague Walter Kasper with the book “Remaining in the Truth of Christ,” will reassert their ideas together with Archbishop Cyril Vasil, secretary of the congregation for the Oriental Churches and also a coauthor of the book.

And two more books with the same perspective are about to come out, written by not just five cardinals but seventeen, from Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas, six of whom will take part in the synod either by reason of office, like the Guinean Robert Sarah, or because they were appointed by the pope himself, like the Italian Caffarra:

> First Five, Now Seventeen Anti-Kasper Cardinals

The synod is around the corner and the battle is in full swing. And Pope Francis will have the last word. Continue Reading

2

Buckley and Big Sister

William F. Buckley on Ayn Rand.  During his lifetime Buckley functioned as a gatekeeper for the conservative movement.  Get on the wrong side of Buckley and a group on the right could quickly find itself relegated to the fringes of American life.  So it was with Ayn Rand and her Objectivists, a movement whose main tenet seems to have been to say “Yes Ma’am!” to anything that came from her mouth or pen.  Rand made her reputation and fortune by writing two novels:  The Fountainhead (1943) and Atlas Shrugged (1957).  The poorly written novels, with stick figure characters, were immense financial successes, combining Rand’s anti-collectivist libertarianism with heaping helpings of, for the time, explicit sex, her heroines, always Rand think-a-likes, having multiple lovers.  Between the sex Rand specialized in long, bloviating, didactic speeches:

“Did you want to see it used by whining rotters who never rouse themselves to any effort, who do not possess the ability of a filing clerk, but demand the income of a company president, who drift from failure to failure and expect you to pay their bills, who hold their wishing as an equivalent of your work and their need as a higher claim to reward than your effort, who demand that you serve them, who demand that it be the aim of your life to serve them, who demand that your strength be the voiceless, rightless, unpaid, unrewarded slave of their impotence, who proclaim that you are born to serfdom by reason of your genius, while they are born to rule by the grace of incompetence, that yours is only to give, but theirs only to take, that yours is to produce, but theirs to consume, that you are not to be paid, neither in matter nor in spirit, neither by wealth nor by recognition nor by respect nor by gratitude—so that they would ride on your rail and sneer at you and curse you, since they owe you nothing, not even the effort of taking off their hats which you paid for? Would this be what you wanted? Would you feel proud of it?”

Atlas Shrugged, page 453

Buckley assigned Whittaker Chambers to review Atlas Shrugged.  His review, entitled Big Sister is Watching You, appeared in the December 28, 1957 issue of National Review.

Several years ago, Miss Ayn Rand wrote The Fountainhead. Despite a generally poor press, it is said to have sold some four hundred thousand copies. Thus, it became a wonder of the book trade of a kind that publishers dream about after taxes. So Atlas Shrugged had a first printing of one hundred thousand copies. It appears to be slowly climbing the best-seller lists. Continue Reading

34

Worse Than Murder Inc. and Choice

 

Sarah Owens at The Federalist details her experience at Planned Parenthood Worse Than Murder Inc. five years ago:

 

Two years into college, I found myself late—yes, that kind of late. Now, I knew it was probably nothing, but I wasn’t sure, and I wanted to be. Like a lot of college students, I drank on weekends and if I were pregnant I didn’t want to harm the child. Again, due to embarrassment, I didn’t go to the doctor I knew. I was afraid, even at 20 years old, that a pregnancy test would somehow show up on a bill that went to my parents. If I wasn’t pregnant I didn’t want the test to ever come to light. So, again I trekked to Planned Parenthood, this one located right off campus.

I left the office and cried. Maybe it was relief, but I mostly felt hurt and manipulated. What if I had been pregnant—would she have been able to sway me? How many others have passed through those doors and were swayed to terminate, who felt the strain—financial, physical, or mental—that parenting might cause so decided it would be easier to just “fix the problem”?

Go here to read the rest.  Sarah’s story helps underline the lie behind the pro-abort claim to be “pro-choice”.  First, you cannot be “pro-choice” without being a pro-abort.  (I would never own a slave, but I would never impose my morality on slave-holders.  I would never gas a Jew but who am I to judge the Nazis?  I would never kill my toddler, but that child murderer probably had her reasons.)  A choice between two alternatives is only morally acceptable if both of the choices are at least morally neutral.  Slaying an unborn child never is.

Second, pro-aborts fight tooth and nail against any effort to provide information to a pregnant woman that may persuade her against abortion.  They are “pro-choice” only if the right choice is made:  abortion.

Third, the “pro-choice” mantra is especially risible coming from Planned Parenthood Worse Than Murder, Inc.:  their blood money empire is based on dead fetuses.  They make no money from a woman not having an abortion.

Abby Johnson, pro-life crusader who was the director of a Planned Parenthood Worse Than Murder Inc. clinic, recalls how abortion was pushed:

Continue Reading

6

PopeWatch: Junipero Serra

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Bigots at work:

While in Washington, Pope Francis canonized a Spanish missionary buried at a mission in California. Over the weekend, a statue of the new saint was vandalized.

Staff at the Carmel Mission Basilica found the courtyard statue of St. Junipero Serra toppled and splattered with paint. Police are investigating, the basilica said on its Facebook page.

“Apparently a person or persons broke in, splattered paint and toppled down the courtyard statue of St. Serra and other historic statues on display,” the post said.

Go here to read the rest.   PopeWatch wishes those bigots were in front of him right now.  He would sit them down and tell them about Saint Serra: Continue Reading

14

Priorities

“Concelebration, whereby the unity of the priesthood is appropriately manifested, has remained in use to this day in the Church both in the east and in the west. For this reason it has seemed good to the Council to extend permission for concelebration…”
Sacrosanctum Concilium, 57
The above from Rorate Caeli.  If I were forced to pick one picture that summed up the Church in this pontificate, I could not do better than pointing to the above.
18

PopeWatch: Plots

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Back just prior to the Protestant Reformation a Jewish merchant in Florence was friends with a Catholic merchant.  The Jewish merchant expressed a desire to convert, but decided to go to Rome to observe the workings of the leadership of the Church.  The Catholic merchant was dismayed, assuming the corruption at Rome would convince his friend to have nothing to do with Catholicism.  To the contrary!  A month later the Jewish merchant was back in Florence and told his Catholic friend that he was going to be baptized next Easter.  When his friend cautiously inquired about what he had seen in Rome, his Jewish friend said that what he saw there convinced him to convert.  If he ran his business the way the Church in Rome operated he would be bankrupt and in jail in a week.  Yet the Church had survived for 15 centuries with such villainy at the top!  It must be from God!

Little has apparently changed in 500 years:

 

 

The authorized biography of Cardinal Godfried Danneels, out next week, is even more of a bombshell than expected. Not only do the two authors, Jürgen Mettepenningen and Karim Schelkens, reveal that the Cardinal was a regular member of a secret pressure group of Churchmen that met in the Swiss town of Sankt-Gallen, but the Cardinal himself has publicly and good-humoredly admitted the fact.

Danneels even said that what was officially but discreetly labeled “the Sankt-Gallen group” was referred to by its members as “the Mafia”. Its self-imposed aim was to counter the growing influence of Cardinal Ratzinger under the pontificate of Saint John Paul II, serving as a sort of outlet where handpicked cardinals and bishops could express their impatience at the traditional mindset of the Pope and his closest counsellor.

The Belgian press doesn’t hesitate to say that one of the group’s primary goals was the promotion of Cardinal Bergoglio (now Pope Francis) in view of John Paul II’s nearing death – something the book itself, which is not yet available in bookstores, perhaps clarifies. The Sankt-Gallen group certainly aimed to promote the ideas and preferences for which they had found a champion in Pope Francis.

Said Schelkens in an interview this week: “The election of Bergoglio was prepared in Sankt-Gallen, without doubt. And the main lines of the program the Pope is carrying out are those that Danneels and Co were starting to discuss more than ten years ago.”

“They wanted Church reform, they wanted to bring the Church closer to the hearts of people; they moved forward by stages,” commented Mettepenningen. “At the beginning of the year 2000, when John Paul II’s end was becoming more foreseeable, they thought more strategically about what was going to happen to the Church after John Paul II. When Cardinal Silvestrini joined the group it took on a more tactical and strategic character.” Continue Reading

4

Benjamin Franklin on Chess

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Benjamin Franklin had ceaseless energy to match his brilliant mind.  In 1779 while our ambassador to France, and involved in ceaseless negotiations to make sure that the new found alliance did not founder, he found time to write a brief monograph on chess, perhaps his favorite game:

The game of Chess is not merely an idle amusement. Several very valuable qualities of the mind, useful in the course of human life, are to be acquired or strengthened by it, so as to become habits, ready on all occasions.

1. Foresight, which looks a little into futurity, and considers the consequences that may attend an action; for it is continually occuring to the player, ‘If I move this piece, what will be the advantages or disadvantages of my new situation? What use can my adversary make of it to annoy me? What other moves can I make to support it, and to defend myself from his attacks?

2. Circumspection, which surveys the whole chessboard, or scene of action; the relations of the several pieces and situations, the dangers they are respectively exposed to, the several possibilities of their aiding each other, the probabilities that the adversary may make this or that move, and attack this or the other piece, and what different means can be used to avoid his stroke, or turn its consequences against him.

3. Caution, not to make our moves too hastily. This habit is best acquired, by observing strictly the laws of the game; such as, If you touch a piece, you must move it somewhere; if you set it down, you must let it stand. And it is therefore best that these rules should be observed, as the game becomes thereby more the image of human life, and particularly of war . . .

And lastly, we learn by Chess the habit of not being discouraged by present appearances in the state of our affairs, the habit of hoping for a favourable change, and that of persevering in the search of resources. The game is so full of events, there is such a variety of turns in it, the fortune of it is so subject to sudden vicissitudes, and one so frequently, after long contemplation, discovers the means of extricating one’s self from a supposed insurmountable difficulty, that one is encouraged to continue the contest to the last, in hopes of victory from our own skill, or at least of getting a stalemate from the negligence of our adversary . . .

If your adversary is long in playing, you ought not to hurry him, or express any uneasiness at his delay. You should not sing, nor whistle, nor look at your watch, not take up a book to read, nor make a tapping with your feet on the floor, or with your fingers on the table, nor do anything that may disturb his attention. For all these things displease; and they do not show your skill in playing, but your craftiness or your rudeness.

You ought not to endeavour to amuse and deceive your adversary, by pretending to have made bad moves, and saying that you have now lost the game, in order to make him secure and careless, and inattentive to your schemes: for this is fraud and deceit, not skill in the game. Continue Reading

4

Parodies

17 These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.

18 For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.

19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.

20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.

21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.

22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

2 Peter 2:  17-22

 

 

Both the videos should be parodies, but sadly only the one below from those brilliantly twisted folks at The Lutheran Satire is an intentional one:

 

13

More Mush From Pope Wimp

You know it is bad when even CNN notices it:

Francis paid historical homage to those values, citing, for example, the Quakers who founded this city. But there were no explicit references to any of the U.S. Catholic bishops’ recent battles over religious rights.

There was no mention, for example, of the Little Sisters of the Poor’s lawsuit against the contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act. (On Wednesday, though Francis did meet with the nuns in Washington — a “show of support,” according to a Vatican spokesman.)

Francis never mentioned the Catholic adoption agencies that have closed rather than place children with gay couples. Nor did he explicitly allude to the “Fortnight for Freedom” that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have held to rally support against “current threats to religious liberty.” Continue Reading

7

The First Papal Visit to America–Sort Of

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To one who turns the pages of your history and reflects upon the causes of what has been accomplished it is apparent that the triumphal progress of Divine religion has contributed in no small degree to the glory and prosperity which your country now enjoys. It is indeed true that religion has its laws and institutions for eternal happiness but It is also undeniable that it dowers life here below with so many benefits that it could do no more even if the principal reason for its existence were to make men happy during the brief span of their earthly life.

Pius XII, SERTUM LAETITIAE   (1939)

The first papal visit to the United States is usually thought to be that of Pope Paul VI in 1965.  However, Cardinal Pacelli, the future Pius XII, visited the United States in October-November 1936, becoming the first man who served as pope to set foot in the land of the free and the home of the brave.  As Papal Secretary of State, foreign travel came as part of the job, but the purpose behind his visit is still something of a mystery.  Some historians have claimed that he struck a deal with FDR by which the United States would establish diplomatic relations with the Vatican in exchange for the Church silencing radio priest Father Coughlin, initially a supporter of FDR but by 1936 a fierce critic.

It was usual for Pacelli to take an annual vacation and he changed plans to visit Switzerland for the United States on short notice.  He met with FDR on November 5, the day after his re-election.  He did secure a promise that he would appoint a personal representative from him to the Vatican, although this promise was not fulfilled until 1939, after Pacelli was elected Pope.

Pacelli never met with Father Coughlin.  During his tour of the US, Pacelli  brushed aside questions about Coughlin from newspaper reporters, although he made it clear that the Vatican did not agree with his criticisms of Roosevelt.

After the election Coughlin did cease broadcasting briefly, although he returned to the radio in 1937.  As for Pacelli, he came away with a keen perception of both the strengths and weaknesses of the Church in the US.  His comments in Sertum Laetitiae, issued in 1939 on the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of the US hierarchy, now seem prophetic:

12. Among the associations of the laity – the list is too long to allow of a complete enumeration – there are those which have won for themselves laurels of unfading glory – Catholic Action, the Marian Congregation, the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; their fruits are the cause of joy and they bear the promise of still more joyful harvest in the future. Likewise the Holy Name Society, an excellent leader in the promotion of Christian worship and piety.

13. Over a manifold activity of the laity, carried on in various localities according to the needs of the times, is placed the National Catholic Welfare Conference, an organization which supplies a ready and well-adapted instrument for your Episcopal ministry.

14. The more important of these institutions We were able to view briefly during the month of October, 1936, when We journeyed across the ocean and had the joy of knowing personally you and the field of your activities. The memory of what We then admired with Our own eyes will always remain indelible and a source of joy in Our heart.

15. It is proper then that, with sentiments of adoration, We offer with you thanks to God and that We raise to Him a canticle of thanksgiving: “Give glory to the God of heaven; for his mercy endureth for ever” (Psalms cxxxv: 26). The Lord Whose goodness knows no limits, having filled your land with the bounty of His gifts, has likewise granted to your churches energy and power and has brought to fruition the results of their tireless labors. Having paid the tribute of Our gratitude to God, from Whom every good thing takes its origin, We recognize, dearly beloved, that this rich harvest which We joyfully admire with you today is due also to the spirit of initiative and to the persistent activity of the pastors and of the faithful; We recognize that it is due also to your clergy who are inclined to decisive action and who execute your orders with zeal; to the members of all the religious Orders and congregations of men who, distinguished in virtue, vie with each other in cultivating the vineyard of the Lord: to the innumerable religious women who, often in silence and unknown to men, consecrate themselves with exemplary devotion to the cause of the Gospel, veritable lilies in the Garden of Christ and delight of the Saints.

16. We desire, however, that this Our praise be salutary. The consideration of the good which has been done must not lead to slackening which might degenerate into sluggishness; it must not issue in a vainglorious pleasure which flatters the mind; it should stimulate renewed energies so that evils may be avoided and those enterprises which are useful, prudent and worthy of praise may more surely and more solidly mature. The Christian, if he does honor to the name he bears, is always an apostle; it is not permitted to the Soldier of Christ that he quit the battlefield, because only death puts an end to his military service.

17. You well know where it is necessary that you exercise a more discerning vigilance and what program of action should be marked out for priests and faithful in order that the religion of Christ may overcome the obstacles in its path and be a luminous guide to the minds of men, govern their morals and, for the sole purpose of salvation, permeate the marrow and the arteries of human society. The progress of exterior and material possessions, even though it is to be considered of no little account, because of the manifold and appreciable utility which it gives to life, is nonetheless not enough for man who is born for higher and brighter destinies. Created indeed to the image and likeness of God, he seeks God with a yearning that will not be repressed and always groans and weeps if he places the object of his love where Supreme Truth and the Infinite Good cannot be found.

18. Not with the conquest of material space does one approach to God, separation from Whom is death, conversion to Whom is life, to be established in Whom is glory; but under the guidance of Christ with the fullness of sincere faith, with unsullied conscience and upright will, with holy works, with the achievement and the employment of that genuine liberty whose sacred rules are found proclaimed in the Gospel. If, instead, the Commandments of God are spurned, not only is it impossible to attain that happiness which has place beyond the brief span of time which is allotted to earthly existence, but the very basis upon which rests true civilization is shaken and naught is to be expected but ruins over which belated tears must be shed. How, in fact, can the public weal and the glory of civilized life have any guarantee of stability when right is subverted and virtue despised and decried? Is not God the Source and the Giver of law? Is He not the inspiration and the reward of virtue with none like unto Him among lawgivers (Cf. Job XXXVI:22)? This, according to the admission of all reasonable men, is everywhere the bitter and prolific root of evils: the refusal to recognize the Divine Majesty, the neglect of the moral law, the origin of which is from Heaven, or that regrettable inconstancy which makes its victims waver between the lawful and the forbidden, between justice and iniquity. Continue Reading

1

September 27, 1945: Hirohito Comes to MacArthur

Emperor and Shogun

When MacArthur took up his command as Supreme Commander Allied Powers it was suggested by aides that he summon Hirohito to appear before him.  MacArthur rejected that suggestion, stating that it was important that Hirohito come to him voluntarily.  That he did on September 27, 1945, the first of eight meetings between the Emperor and the American Shogun.  The meeting lasted only a few minutes with Hirohito taking complete responsibility for the War and requesting that any punishment for the War fall on him.  MacArthur said that the War was over and that he wished to work with the Emperor for the betterment of Japan.  Continue Reading

26

Pro-Abort Ultramontanists?

Robert Brady

 

A telling symbol for this pontificate:

As Congress members rushed to touch Pope Francis after Thursday’s historic address on the House floor, Rep. Bob Brady reportedly made a beeline for the podium to swipe the Holy Father’s discarded water glass.

The Pennsylvania congressman immediately took a sip out of the glass and brought it back to his office, ABC News reported.

“The congressman is a Catholic and has immense respect for the Holy Father,” Rep. Brady’s Chief of Staff Stan White told ABC.

His office confirmed that Mr. Brady drank from the water and shared it with members of his staff and his wife, Debra Brady.

Rep. Brady “was immensely moved by the speech. He thought the Holy Father spoke to issues he cared deeply about … especially caring about the poor and the Holy Father’s concern about our environment,” Mr. White told ABC.

The congressman kept the remainder of the water and plans to sprinkle it on his grandchildren, Mr. White said. Continue Reading

6

PopeWatch: Environtion

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

 

In a strategic attempt to speak about abortion at the White House without being “lambasted” by the media Wednesday, Pope Francis spent the majority of his time substituting the words “environment” and “climate change” for the actual subject of his address: abortion.

“It seems clear to me that abortion, I mean climate change, is a problem which can no longer be left to a future generation,” Francis said, catching his gaffe, the first of many, during the talk. “Mr. President, I find it encouraging that you are proposing an initiative for reducing abortions, excuse me…that is, air pollution,” Francis said. “Accepting the urgency, it seems clear to me also that killing babies in the womb, sorry, I had a long flight…I meant climate change is a problem which can no longer be left to a future generation.”

Francis twice quoted his own encyclical on the environment, which many believe was actually an encyclical on abortion.

“When it comes to the care of our ‘common home’, which is not unlike that of a womb if you kinda think about it, not that I’m talking about abortion right now, of course, we are living at a critical moment of history,” he said. “We still have time to make the changes needed to bring about an end to this genocide…excuse me, did I say genocide? Weird. By genocide, I meant, a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change. Such change demands on our part a serious and responsible recognition of the kind of world we may be leaving to our children. Children that are procreated from the love of a man and a woman, and that are defenseless inside their mother wombs and should be protected from abor…climate change.” Continue Reading

8

Rising of the Moon

 

Something for the weekend.  I am in a disgusted mood at the papal events of this week, and when I am in such a mood it is time for a little Irish rebel music, and nothing fits the bill better than The Rising of the Moon.  The song, written around 1865, celebrates the Irish rising of 1798, when Protestant and Catholic Irishmen, with the help of a small French invasion force, launched a rebellion, probably the largest and most hard fought revolt against English rule in the history of Ireland.  Like all such Irish revolts, except for the last one, it was defeated and drowned in blood.  However, the Irish have ever celebrated their defeats even more than their victories, and The Rising of the Moon is a fitting tribute.

Oh! then tell me, Shawn O’Ferrall, Tell me why you hurry so?”

 “Hush ma bouchal, hush and listen”, And his cheeks were all a-glow.

“I bear ordhers from the captain, Get you ready quick and soon,

For the pikes must be together At the risin’ of the moon”.

At the risin’ of the moon, at the risin’ of the moon,

For the pikes must be together at the risin’ of the moon.

“Oh! then tell me, Shawn O’Ferrall, Where the gatherin’ is to be?”

“In the ould spot by the river, Right well known to you and me.

 One word more—for signal token Whistle up the marchin’ tune,

 With your pike upon your shoulder, By the risin’ of the moon”.

 By the risin’ of the moon, by the risin’ of the moon,

With your pike upon your shoulder, by the risin’ of the moon.

Out from many a mudwall cabin Eyes were watching thro’ that night,

 Many a manly chest was throbbing For the blessed warning light.

 Murmurs passed along the valleys Like the banshee’s lonely croon,

 And a thousand blades were flashing At the risin’ of the moon.

At the risin’ of the moon, at the risin’ of the moon,

And a thousand blades were flashing at the risin’ of the moon.

There beside the singing river That dark mass of men was seen,

Far above the shining weapons Hung their own beloved green.

 “Death to ev’ry foe and traitor! Forward! strike the marchin’ tune,

 And hurrah, my boys, for freedom! ‘T is the risin’ of the moon”.

 ‘T is the risin’ of the moon, ‘t is the risin’ of the moon,

 And hurrah my boys for freedom! ‘t is the risin’ of the moon.

Well they fought for poor old Ireland, And full bitter was their fate

(Oh! what glorious pride and sorrow Fill the name of Ninety-Eight).

Yet, thank God, e’en still are beating Hearts in manhood’s burning noon,

Who would follow in their footsteps, At the risin’ of the moon!

 At the rising of the moon, at the risin’ of the moon,

Who would follow in their footsteps, at the risin’ of the moon. Continue Reading

36

Well What Do You Know, I Guess Shea Does Read The American Catholic

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It has long been a pretense of Mark Shea that he does not read The American Catholic.  That pretense slipped today:

 

So the Pope spoke to Congress yesterday and the righties of St. Blogs are going mad because, just like Benedict XVI addressing European Parliamentarians, he never mentioned the word abortion.  But, of course, since he’s Francis and not Benedict, we are to conclude that this makes him (I am not making this up) the worst Pope since Alexander VI as well as Che Guevara’s Pope according to the not-at-all-unhinged assessment of the Rightwingosphere.  Moral:  If you say, ““The Golden Rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development” nobody will understand that the Church still opposes abortion.

And so the Rightwingsophere is awash with outrage today because the Pope, in the ear of the Right “failed to mention abortion”.

Yet strangely, the ears on the Left had no difficulty hearing his mention of abortion and are under no illusion that he has somehow changed the Church’s teaching on the matter.  Indeed, some on the Left are still furious at him for saying that there is any sin to forgive at all.

So why is it that Francis, doing the same thing Benedict did, is The Worst Pope Since Alexander VI?

Go here to read the rest.  Well, I’ll tell you why Mark.  Because Pope Benedict made this statement:

“protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death;” while Pope Francis, in the middle of giving a big air kiss to every piece of the leftist  agenda before Congress, immediately segued into a rant against the death penalty:

The Golden Rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.

This conviction has led me, from the beginning of my ministry, to advocate at different levels for the global abolition of the death penalty. I am convinced that this way is the best, since every life is sacred, every human person is endowed with an inalienable dignity, and society can only benefit from the rehabilitation of those convicted of crimes. Recently my brother bishops here in the United States renewed their call for the abolition of the death penalty. Not only do I support them, but I also offer encouragement to all those who are convinced that a just and necessary punishment must never exclude the dimension of hope and the goal of rehabilitation.”

He could not expend even some hot air in defense of the unborn for fear it would offend his Democrat allies on issues obviously much more important to him than the defense of the weakest among us.  Imagine if he had called for the defunding of Planned Parenthood!  Pope Francis is the perfect leftist Catholic:  a man who cares deeply for leftist initiatives and will not even pay lip service when it counted, and when he had a national audience, on behalf of the unborn.  He is either a coward or he simply doesn’t give a damn about the unborn, at least in comparison to such monumental Catholic moral issues like global warming.   That is where his heart is and he will prostitute his papacy to advance the leftist agenda he so fiercely embraces. Bend yourself into a pretzel Mark in defense of Pope Francis all you wish, and I suspect that you will have far more contortions to do  before this pontificate is concluded.

 

2

Boehner Resigns

 

Facing a revolt among House conservatives that would likely have toppled him, House Speaker John Boehner has announced his resignation:

 

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement:

“My mission every day is to fight for a smaller, less costly, and more accountable government.  Over the last five years, our majority has advanced conservative reforms that will help our children and their children.  I am proud of what we have accomplished.

“The first job of any Speaker is to protect this institution that we all love.  It was my plan to only serve as Speaker until the end of last year, but I stayed on to provide continuity to the Republican Conference and the House.  It is my view, however, that prolonged leadership turmoil would do irreparable damage to the institution.  To that end, I will resign the Speakership and my seat in Congress on October 30.

“Today, my heart is full with gratitude for my family, my colleagues, and the people of Ohio’s Eighth District.  God bless this great country that has given me – the son of a bar owner from Cincinnati – the chance to serve.”

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5

Be Not Afraid

And we ask all you who suffer to support us. We ask precisely you who are weak to become a source of strength for the Church and humanity. In the terrible battle between the forces of good and evil, revealed to our eyes by our modern world, may your suffering in union with the Cross of Christ be victorious!

John Paul II, SALVIFICI DOLORIS

 

 

 

“Be Not Afraid”, the words of a very great Pope.  Something to remember during these days under a very bad Pope.  In 1993 John Paul II said the following with a tight lipped Bill Clinton standing uneasily by his side:

“America has a strong tradition of respect for the individual, for human
dignity and human rights. I gladly acknowledged this during my previous
visit to the United States in 1987 and I would like to repeat today the
hope I expressed on that occasion: “America, you are beautiful and blessed
in so many ways … But your best beauty and your richest blessing is
found in the human person: in each man, woman and child, in every
immigrant, in every native born son and daughter … The ultimate test of
your greatness is the way you treat every human being, but especially the
weakest and most defenseless ones. The best traditions of your land
presume respect for those who cannot defend themselves. If you want equal
justice for all, and true freedom and lasting peace, then, America, defend
life! All the great causes that are yours today will have meaning only to
the extent that you guarantee the right to life and protect the human
person.”‘

In the cant phrase of the left that was “speaking truth to Power.”  That is the power of Catholicism under a Pope who is not seeking to emulate the worst of the secular left, but rather to remind the world of the timeless message of Christ.

 

13

PopeWatch: Papal Priorities

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In 2012 there were 1.05 million abortions in the United States.  In that same year there were 42 executions of convicted murderers in the United Sates.  From the speech of Pope Francis to Congress yesterday:

 

“This Rule points us in a clear direction. Let us treat others with the same passion and compassion with which we want to be treated. Let us seek for others the same possibilities which we seek for ourselves. Let us help others to grow, as we would like to be helped ourselves. In a word, if we want security, let us give security; if we want life, let us give life; if we want opportunities, let us provide opportunities. The yardstick we use for others will be the yardstick which time will use for us. The Golden Rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.

This conviction has led me, from the beginning of my ministry, to advocate at different levels for the global abolition of the death penalty. I am convinced that this way is the best, since every life is sacred, every human person is endowed with an inalienable dignity, and society can only benefit from the rehabilitation of those convicted of crimes. Recently my brother bishops here in the United States renewed their call for the abolition of the death penalty. Not only do I support them, but I also offer encouragement to all those who are convinced that a just and necessary punishment must never exclude the dimension of hope and the goal of rehabilitation.” Continue Reading

74

Worst Pope Since Alexander VI

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Pope Yammers Full Paragraphs About Immigration, Dialogue with Cuba, and Global Warming; Mentions Protecting the Unborn in a Single Sentence

For some time, I’ve heard conservative Catholics defend the Pope by saying that the left amplifies and celebrates the Pope’s left-leaning cant, but ignores the things that appeal to traditionalists.

The problem with that is that while he does occasionally say things that appeal to traditionalists, he rarely says them, as if he’s obligated to say such things as the cost of getting to talk about what he really wants to talk about, which is Income Inequality and Global Warming.

Today’s performance is further evidence of that.

Yes, he made an allusion to abortion, not daring to speak it by name, and similarly made the vaguest allusion to gay marriage (not actually even taking a stance on it).

Then he yammered for long stretches about Nancy Pelosi’s agenda.

I’ve tried to not speak much about the Pope due to 1, respect for my Catholic readers, 2, my complete lack of knowledge of the sorts of things Popes typically say, and 3, generally not caring, but it seems impossible at this point to continue to indulge the optimistic wishcasting of right-leaning Catholics that Francis is merely “complex” and sometimes “misunderstood.”

I think we understand him just fine.

The left media is not just hallucinating this, or presenting a biased version of the Pope as they wish he were. He is in fact on the left on every single position he’s liturgically permitted to be on the left on.

Posted by: Ace at 02:18 PM

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21

The Pope’s Speech to Congress: The Fisk

Here is my fisk of the Pope’s address to Congress:

Mr. Vice-President,

Mr. Speaker,

Honorable Members of Congress,

Dear Friends,

I am most grateful for your invitation to address this Joint Session of Congress in “the land of the free and the home of the brave”. I would like to think that the reason for this is that I too am a son of this great continent, from which we have all received so much and toward which we share a common responsibility.

You would be wrong on that score Your Holiness.  You have bonehead Boehner to thank for this invitation.

Each son or daughter of a given country has a mission, a personal and social responsibility. Your own responsibility as members of Congress is to enable this country, by your legislative activity, to grow as a nation. You are the face of its people, their representatives. You are called to defend and preserve the dignity of your fellow citizens in the tireless and demanding pursuit of the common good, for this is the chief aim of all politics. A political society endures when it seeks, as a vocation, to satisfy common needs by stimulating the growth of all its members, especially those in situations of greater vulnerability or risk. Legislative activity is always based on care for the people. To this you have been invited, called and convened by those who elected you.

Yours is a work which makes me reflect in two ways on the figure of Moses. On the one hand, the patriarch and lawgiver of the people of Israel symbolizes the need of peoples to keep alive their sense of unity by means of just legislation. On the other, the figure of Moses leads us directly to God and thus to the transcendent dignity of the human being. Moses provides us with a good synthesis of your work: you are asked to protect, by means of the law, the image and likeness fashioned by God on every human face.

I can think of few figures who have less in common than Moses and the average Congress Critter.

Today I would like not only to address you, but through you the entire people of the United States. Here, together with their representatives, I would like to take this opportunity to dialogue with the many thousands of men and women who strive each day to do an honest day’s work, to bring home their daily bread, to save money and –one step at a time — to build a better life for their families. These are men and women who are not concerned simply with paying their taxes, but in their own quiet way sustain the life of society. They generate solidarity by their actions, and they create organizations which offer a helping hand to those most in need.

I would also like to enter into dialogue with the many elderly persons who are a storehouse of wisdom forged by experience, and who seek in many ways, especially through volunteer work, to share their stories and their insights. I know that many of them are retired, but still active; they keep working to build up this land. I also want to dialogue with all those young people who are working to realize their great and noble aspirations, who are not led astray by facile proposals, and who face difficult situations, often as a result of immaturity on the part of many adults. I wish to dialogue with all of you, and I would like to do so through the historical memory of your people.

My visit takes place at a time when men and women of good will are marking the anniversaries of several great Americans. The complexities of history and the reality of human weakness notwithstanding, these men and women, for all their many differences and limitations, were able by hard work and self-sacrifice — some at the cost of their lives — to build a better future. They shaped fundamental values which will endure forever in the spirit of the American people. A people with this spirit can live through many crises, tensions and conflicts, while always finding the resources to move forward, and to do so with dignity. These men and women offer us a way of seeing and interpreting reality. In honoring their memory, we are inspired, even amid conflicts, and in the here and now of each day, to draw upon our deepest cultural reserves.

I would like to mention four of these Americans: Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton.

An odd assortment.

This year marks the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, the guardian of liberty, who labored tirelessly that “this nation, under God, [might] have a new birth of freedom”. Building a future of freedom requires love of the common good and cooperation in a spirit of subsidiarity and solidarity.

It also meant fighting the bloodiest war in our history, using the weapons that the Pope decries.

All of us are quite aware of, and deeply worried by, the disturbing social and political situation of the world today. Our world is increasingly a place of violent conflict, hatred and brutal atrocities, committed even in the name of God and of religion. We know that no religion is immune from forms of individual delusion or ideological extremism. This means that we must be especially attentive to every type of fundamentalism, whether religious or of any other kind. A delicate balance is required to combat violence perpetrated in the name of a religion, an ideology or an economic system, while also safeguarding religious freedom, intellectual freedom and individual freedoms. But there is another temptation which we must especially guard against: the simplistic reductionism which sees only good or evil; or, if you will, the righteous and sinners. The contemporary world, with its open wounds which affect so many of our brothers and sisters, demands that we confront every form of polarization which would divide it into these two camps. We know that in the attempt to be freed of the enemy without, we can be tempted to feed the enemy within. To imitate the hatred and violence of tyrants and murderers is the best way to take their place. That is something which you, as a people, reject.

The Pope definitely has a bug about “fundamentalists”.  I doubt if a major problem in the world is dividing the world into good and evil, rather the problem is that too many people have lost the ability to distinguish between the two. Continue Reading

3

PopeWatch: Letter to the Pope

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Live Action, the Green Berets of the pro-life movement, President Lila Rose has written an open letter to the Pope:

Your Holiness:

Americans of all faiths are excited about your historic visit to the United States.  We have watched as your spiritual leadership has helped bring millions all over the world closer to God.

Live Action is a nonprofit organization committed to fighting for the rights of the most vulnerable among us — especially women in crisis and preborn children.  We truly appreciate the Catholic Church’s unwavering teaching on the sacredness of life, the dignity of every person, and the rights of the preborn, as well as your recent declaration meant to further ease the way for priests to absolve women seeking forgiveness for their abortions.

As you likely know, the U.S. Congress is now debating whether to fund the largest abortion corporation in America with a half billion dollars in taxpayer funding.  By its own admission, Planned Parenthood kills over 327,000 children a year in America, leaving behind their deeply wounded mothers and fathers. This is the same abortion chain where recent and horrific undercover videos have shown its employees harvesting and negotiating the sale of the body parts of aborted children for profit.

While many pro-abortion members of Congress have made excuses for Planned Parenthood’s illegal activities and say they will vote to continue its taxpayer funding, we hope that your visit with them this week will inspire a change in their hearts.

Likewise, President Obama has vowed to veto any legislation that does not fund Planned Parenthood, as well as vetoing legislation that criminalizes the act of killing a child after it has been born alive in an abortion facility.  It is frightening to think that our leaders are so committed to the genocide of the preborn that they are also unwilling to put abortionists in jail who murder children who have made it outside of the womb.

In a recent interview, you said you hoped Americans would pray for you. Your Holiness, Americans of all faiths are praying for you, and we ask that you continue pray for us and speak out for a culture that truly respects life.

Thank you again for committing your life so wholly to God and his Church.

God bless you,

Lila Rose

Founder and President Continue Reading

Quotes Suitable for Framing: Calvin Coolidge

The immigrant who comes to us from a life of oppression must be made to realize that he assumes an obligation; otherwise, he is not wanted. Either he must live with us in the light of the highest citizenship, or else society will impose upon him the very restrictions he has sought to escape by coming here. It is the wolf in sheep’s clothing who has cast a slur on immigration. There are many who land here who really never get to America. They become Americanized in everything but in heart. To teach the foreigner English is a necessary step; but it is not an end in itself; it is merely one of the implements of Americanization. This may hold divers peoples together for a while, just as economic opportunity and financial reward may cover their isolation. But unless, in their living—rather than in then livelihood—they daily exercise the principles on which the Republic rests, we have among us a shell of citizenship liable to explode at the least upsetting of economic balance, rather than the vital spirit which is at the basis of American life.

Calvin Coolidge

20

Priorities

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Steve Skojec at One Peter Five reminds us that the Pope has his priorities and that the unborn are apparently far down on his list:

 

Did you see Pope Francis’s remarks about the protection of the unborn at the White House this morning?

Mr. President, I want to take this opportunity to encourage you to foster a culture of life in this great nation.  Accepting the urgency, it seems clear to me also that this unconscionable taking of innocent human life is a problem which can no longer be left to a future generation.  When it comes to the care of our own children, we are living at a critical moment of history.  We still have time to make the changes needed, but we must act. We must understand — as we’ve been forced to confront in a recent series of investigative videos seen around the world — that those involved in the abortion industry “justify even infanticide, following the same arguments used to justify the right to abortion. In this way, we revert to a state of barbarism which one hoped had been left behind forever.” (Evangelium Vitae, 14).  Such change demands on our part a serious and responsible recognition not only of the kind of world we have created where we can so cruelly destroy our own children, but also of the millions of people who have already fallen victim to this barbarism.  Our common humanity should motivate us to end, once and for all, the legalized eradication of this voiceless group which suffers the most brutal form of exclusion, and in so suffering cries out to heaven, the results of which today powerfully strikes our homes, our cities and our societies.  To use a telling phrase of the Reverend Martin Luther King, we cannot win if we are willing to sacrifice the futures of our children for immediate personal comfort and safety. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

We know by faith that our Creator has said, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you…” (Jer. 1:5).  As Christians inspired by this certainty, we wish to commit ourselves to the conscious and responsible care and protection of our most vulnerable, our future generations.

You didn’t? Me neither. The answer to the question posed by the title of this post is, unfortunately: nothing. He didn’t make any comments about the unborn at the White House. What you just read is what I wished was in his speech instead of what I found there.

This is what he really said in that section:

Mr. President, I find it encouraging that you are proposing an initiative for reducing air pollution.  Accepting the urgency, it seems clear to me also that climate change is a problem which can no longer be left to a future generation.  When it comes to the care of our “common home”, we are living at a critical moment of history.  We still have time to make the changes needed to bring about “a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change” (Laudato Si’, 13).  Such change demands on our part a serious and responsible recognition not only of the kind of world we may be leaving to our children, but also to the millions of people living under a system which has overlooked them.  Our common home has been part of this group of the excluded which cries out to heaven and which today powerfully strikes our homes, our cities and our societies.  To use a telling phrase of the Reverend Martin Luther King, we can say that we have defaulted on a promissory note and now is the time to honor it.

We know by faith that “the Creator does not abandon us; he never forsakes his loving plan or repents of having created us.  Humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home” (Laudato Si’, 13).  As Christians inspired by this certainty, we wish to commit ourselves to the conscious and responsible care of our common home.

There was also something about being “committed to building a society which is truly tolerant and inclusive, to safeguarding the rights of individuals and communities, and to rejecting every form of unjust discrimination”. A brief mention of religious liberty made it in, too. But a statement about protecting the unborn in the presence of the most pro-abortion president in US history — especially as Congress is attempting to defund Planned Parenthood — didn’t make the cut. Continue Reading

14

PopeWatch: The Anti-Catholic Party

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Pope Francis has never set foot in this nation before, so PopeWatch would not be surprised if he is ignorant in regard to the subject of American politics.  For his benefit:

 

When the Tokugawa shogunate was stamping out Christianity in Japan, it made use of Fumi-e (stepping on pictures).  Regime officials would place pictures of Jesus or Mary before suspected Christians and order them to step on them.  Refusal to do so, if persisted in, would end in execution.  In our own country we are seeing the growth of a movement just as antithetical in theory to Catholicism and traditional Christianity as the Tokugawa shogunate, and it finds its home in the Democrat party. 

What we have seen over the past few decades is the evolution of the Democrat party into an overtly anti-Catholic party.  The Obama administration is the culmination of this trend.  This of course is deeply ironic, because the Democrat party is a major party in this country with the help of the votes of tens of millions of purported Catholics.

In the past four decades the Democrats, with honorable exceptions, have championed abortion which is anathema to the teachings of the Church.  The embrace of homosexuality followed, which has caused governments around the nation to drive the Church out of adoptions because the Church refuses to arrange adoptions by homosexual couples.  In California, a state wholly controlled by the Democrat party, homosexual indoctrination, masquerading as education, is now mandated in public schools.  For cynical political purposes the Obama administration in 2012 proposed that Catholic institutions, and individual Catholic employers, be required to provide “free” contraceptive coverage, and is quite willing to run roughshod over the First Amendment to accomplish this goal.  These changes in society are the modern Fumi-e by which believing Catholics and traditional Christians are made to renounce, in effect, the teachings of Christ step by step. Continue Reading

2

September 23, 1952: Checkers Speech

The  “Checkers Speech” given by Richard Nixon which allowed him to stay on the ticket as Vice-President on September 23, 1952.  The speech got its name from Nixon’s use of the pet dog given to his daughters, Checkers, to gain sympathy by stating that the girls had gotten fond of the dog and he would not return it.  The speech was classic Nixon:  go on the offensive, self-pitying, maudlin and oh so effective.  Nixon was never a great orator, but until Watergate he never lost the touch of appealing to the average American.  His high brow, usually left wing, critics savaged him, but Nixon never forgot that the purpose of a political speech is  persuasion.

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A classic anti-Nixon poster asked if you would buy a used car from him.  For most of his career, Nixon could have sold a car with a shot transmission and four bald tires to a substantial segment of the American population and they would have thanked him for it.  Whence this power?  I think Nixon early tapped into the resentment that a growing number of average Americans had toward the chattering classes that were rapidly losing touch with them, and looked down on them.  That Nixon privately shared many of the views of the chattering classes that despised him as the ultimate enemy is one of the greater ironies of American political life during Nixon’s career.

The “Checkers Speech” will always be remembered for this peroration:

One other thing I probably should tell you because if we don’t they’ll probably be saying this about me too, we did get something—a gift—after the election. A man down in Texas heard Pat on the radio mention the fact that our two youngsters would like to have a dog. And, believe it or not, the day before we left on this campaign trip we got a message from Union Station in Baltimore saying they had a package for us. We went down to get it. You know what it was? It was a little cocker spaniel dog in a crate that he’d sent all the way from Texas. Black and white spotted. And our little girl—Tricia, the 6-year-old—named it Checkers. And you know, the kids, like all kids, love the dog and I just want to say this right now, that regardless of what they say about it, we’re gonna keep it.

The whole scandal arose because of accusations that Nixon had a private slush fund provided by donors.  It is amusing to contemplate considering his future, but Nixon was absolutely innocent of wrong-doing.  Having private donors pay for campaign expenses, including travel costs and postage, was completely legal at the time.  Continue Reading

16

The Patheos Party

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      [13] And one of the multitude said to him: Master, speak to my brother that he divide the inheritance with me. [14] But he said to him: Man, who hath appointed me judge, or divider, over you?

Luke 12: 13-14

 

I long have thought that it as much a mistake to make one’s religion one’s politics as it is to make one’s politics one’s religion.  Religion and politics often deal with different spheres of human activity and the tactics that work in one frequently do not work in the other.  For example, compromise in matters of religious principle is completely unacceptable to most believers, while compromise is ever bread and meat in politics.  My Catholicism informs my politics but does not provide me a political platform, something that Catholicism is simply not meant to do.  Traditionally the Church has left almost all political issues up to the wisdom of lay Catholics, being content to enunciate very broad principles to guide human societies.

Some people differ and think that it would be great if this nation had a Catholic political party.  I think such a development would be an unmitigated disaster for both the Church and America.  Father Longenecker at his Patheos blog has described what a Truly Catholic Political party would stand for. Here are his comments and my fisk:

The TCP would be pro life and pro family. Economic, educational and social policies would be formulated to support children and the traditional family because that is the best environment in which children can flourish. The TCP would always be in favor of small government, local solutions and small property holders.

Virtually every political movement in this country has claimed that what they are proposing will benefit kids and families.  Hope springs eternal, but I don’t see how one could be simultaneously in favor of educational and social policies to support children and the traditional family and yet also support small government, let alone local solutions and small property holders, whoever they are.  Government is a blunt interest and it is rarely wielded with rapier precision, especially when a laundry list of contradictory policies are embraced as highest priorities.

The TCP would support the poor and the workers against big business, big banks and big government, but the TCP would also support the small business owner and entrepreneur from the tyranny of big unions.

I am certainly no fan of big anything, including, increasingly, Big Religion, but I wonder why the poor and “workers”, I personally know very few adults who do not work, need special protection against Big Businesses.  Big Unions certainly are not on my “heart” list, but they rarely are a factor with most small businesses, and entrepreneurs usually are smart enough to start new enterprises in “right to work” states.

The TCP would support a living wage rather than a minimum wage. Banks and credit card companies would be limited in the amount they can loan to families. For low earners the living wage would be subsidized by a heavier tax on those in very high income brackets.

Leaving aside the definition of  a living wage, who would pay it?  Assuming that government is going to coerce businesses to pay it, how does that accord with this party being in favor of small government?  As for limiting the amount that families can borrow, why?  I do quite a bit of bankruptcy, and it is only a small minority of American families that can’t handle the debts they incur through borrowing.  Shouldn’t we let them decide such questions for themselves?

Ah, the living wage would be subsidized by soak the rich taxes, a funding technique that has never worked in the long and lamentable chronicle of human folly.  The rich tend to be clever, or rather can hire very clever people, and they will find a way to get around such taxes, as the Kennedys, for example, did, leaving aside the negative impact on economic growth of such taxes. Continue Reading

5

The Gift of Life

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Are you afraid of death?
Well, I can’t say that I have
any great affection for it.
Look below you, my friend.
For 70 years,
I’ve watched the seasons change.
I’ve seen the vibrant life of summer,
the brilliant death of fall…
the silent grave of winter.
And then, I’ve seen
the resurrection of spring
the glorious birth of new life.
And my father and my father’s father
have seen it before me.
Nothing ever dies, my friend.

Prince of Foxes Screenplay, 1949

 

 

My twins’ godmother wrote this to Donnie my surviving son this week:

 

Happy baptism anniversary!  I’ve been thinking lately about how precious the gift of life is.  I wrote an article on it for the parish newsletter.  I was thinking about Larry when I wrote about people with different abilities.  I had a chance to stop by his grave on my way back from a workshop on Saturday.  So I thought I’d share part of the article with you:

 

The Gift of Life

 

God loves you.  God just loves you. And the best evidence that God loves you is that he created you.  God can create anyone that he wishes to and he can see how each person will grow and develop, so he’d be nuts to create someone that he didn’t love.  But he’s not nuts.  He has chosen to love you.  His love is the spark of life in your soul, the beat of your heart, and the breath in your lungs.  When we “die,” his life in us changes, but does not end.  We continue to live as his creation, deeply, deeply loved by him forever.

The gift of life is the evidence that God loves us, not just you, but each of us.  Perhaps this is why we value life so much.  The love and respect that we have for every person is an expression of the love and respect that we have for God.  Emergency workers, for example, often risk their own lives to save others.  What we share with others God counts as having been shared with himself.  Parents, for example, give more than they thought possible to care for their children.

God’s love for us does not depend on our age or abilities.  It begins when he begins to knit us together in our mother’s womb and continues forever.  Before our bodies are formed, before we think our first thought, before our talents are known, before our parents know of our existence, God has chosen to create us because he loves us.

As we grow through life, all of us are loved by God.  Whether we’re athletically gifted or klutzy, whether conventionally beautiful or unattractive, whether we find it easy to love and trust others or not, whether intelligent or simple, whatever our gifts and talents, we are loved by God.  Even if we are hurt by abuse, or trauma, or addiction, or accident, God loves us.  We know that he loves us because of his gift of life.  And the loving care that we have for others, regardless of their gifts, shows that we are learning to love as God loves.

No matter how we leave this life, God’s gift of life continues.  If you die in an accident, if you are struck down suddenly by disease, if you linger for many years as dependent as a child, if you die gently in old age, no matter what, God loves you and his gift of life continues forever.  The respect and care that we have for those nearing the end of this life shows that we get it, that we understand how precious is God’s gift of life.

Life never ends and God’s love never ends.  They continue in the next life.  It may be that the only way we can continue to express our love for those who have passed on is by our prayers.  And this, too, shows that we have learned from God how to value his gift of life.

October is Respect for Life month, but respect for life is an everyday thing.  We constantly express it in the way we love and care for others, regardless of their age and abilities, but simply because God loves them, as he loves us.  But it’s good to recognize everyday things and to appreciate their value. 

Continue Reading

18

PopeWatch: Too Soft on Communism?

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Well this is interesting.  CNN (!) has a piece that asks the question of whether Pope Francis is too soft on Communism.

 

On Sunday, at a huge Mass in Havana’s Revolution Square, Francis told 200,000 Cubans to serve people, not ideas, which again was seen as a “subtle critique” of Cuba’s socialist revolution.

But for the most part, the Pope has steered clear of overt political statements — much more so than his predecessors, says veteran Vatican-watcher John Thavis. And some conservatives are accusing Francis of going soft on communism.

During his trip to Cuba in 1998, St. John Paul II called for “great change” and urged greater respect for religious and other human rights, Thavis said. Pope Benedict XVI echoed that call in 2012.

Aboard the papal airplane on the way to Cuba, Benedict said, “It is obvious that the Marxist ideology as it was conceived no longer corresponds to reality: it is no longer possible to respond to or to build up a society in this way. New models must be found, patiently and constructively.”

 

Despite his frequent critiques of capitalism, Pope Francis says he is no Marxist. “Marxist ideology is wrong,” he told an Italian newspaper in 2013.

Thavis notes that the Pope could be critiquing communism behind the scenes in Cuba, in his meetings with Raul Castro.

But it will be interesting to watch, in his remaining hours in Cuba, whether Francis — who is rarely shy about sharing his political opinions — will say anything to the Cuban people about the system they’ve endured since 1959. Continue Reading

4

September 22, 1776: Nathan Hale’s Only Regret

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How beautiful is death, when earn’d by virtue!
Who would not be that youth? What pity is it
That we can die but once to serve our country.

Joseph Addison, Cato (1712)

Death at 21 is always a tragedy, but Nathan Hale’s heroic death 239 years ago today ensured him Earthly immortality.  A schoolmaster before the Revolution, he was a Captain in the 7th Connecticut when he volunteered to take on the immensely dangerous task of being a spy, at the request of General Washington, behind enemy lines in New York City.  He was soon captured by the British, perhaps betrayed by his Tory cousin Samuel Hale.  Interviewed by General Howe, his fate was a foregone conclusion:  spies were always to be executed.

The night before he died he requested a Bible and a member of the clergy.  Both requests were denied.  According to British officer Frederick MacKensie, who was present, Hale met his death with great fortitude:

He behaved with great composure and resolution, saying he thought it the duty of every good Officer, to obey any orders given him by his Commander-in-Chief; and desired the Spectators to be at all times prepared to meet death in whatever shape it might appear.

At the foot of the gallows, before he entered eternity, he uttered the comment that has ensured that his memory will be cherished as long as their is a United States of America.  British Captain John Montresor, who was present, told under a flag of truce to American Captain William Hull the next day:

“On the morning of his execution, my station was near the fatal spot, and I requested the Provost Marshal to permit the prisoner to sit in my marquee, while he was making the necessary preparations. Captain Hale entered: he was calm, and bore himself with gentle dignity, in the consciousness of rectitude and high intentions. He asked for writing materials, which I furnished him: he wrote two letters, one to his mother and one to a brother officer. He was shortly after summoned to the gallows. But a few persons were around him, yet his characteristic dying words were remembered. He said, “I only regret, that I have but one life to lose for my country.”” Continue Reading

2

A Refugee Crisis For Pope Francis

 

Mahound’s Paradise highlights a refugee crisis that Pope Francis could use some of his patented compassion and mercy by highlighting:

 

At least 80,000 people have died in open water, attempting to flee Castro’s Cuba. Or at least that number is probable. Presumably most drowned, though undoubtedly many died of thirst or exposure, were eaten by sharks or were directly murdered by the Cuban border police or coast guard. Estimated figures for the number of lost were discussed in a 2004 paper by Maria Werlau, the Executive Director of the Cuba Archive:

Armando Lago, Ph.D., has derived an estimate of 77,814 such victims from data obtained in studies by the Oceanographic Institute of the University of Miami and the University of Havana. (Telephone interview of October 2003 with Armando Lago, Ph.D., Project Director of the Truth Recovery Archive on Cuba, www.CubaArchive.org. This data is from his upcoming book The Human Cost of So- cial Revolution: The Black Book of Cuban Communism.) Another study, using available estimates of survival rates, estimated in 1995 that over 100,000 may have perished from 1959 to 1994. (Holly Ackerman and Juan Clark, “The Cuban Balseros: Voyage of Uncertainty,” Miami: Cuban American National Council, 1995.) Francisco Chaviano, who attempted to collect this information inside Cuba, was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 1995. There are many media and anecdotal reports of deaths, but the identity of victims is rarely es- tablished and a systematic recording of bodies found at sea does not exist. (See, for example, P. Abusleme Hoffman, “Mueren dos mujeres en travesía de Cuba a la Florida,” El Nuevo Herald, 24 de febrero de 2001.) The exact number of victims, or even an accurate estimate, is simply impossible to know under the current circumstances and, in fact, may never be known precisely.

Unlike the current situation in the Mediterranean, where despite some well-reported cases, the vast majority of migrants successfully completed the crossing, the success rate for Cuban “rafters” is far worse. Almost certainly, over 50% of Cuban rafters failed in their attempt–though failure would not necessarily mean death but rather the more “benign” fate of being thwarted by Cuban police or the U.S. Coast Guard (which, tragically, since 1994 has followed a policy of forcibly repatriating intercepted refugees).

But at most times the death rate has probably been 25% or higher of those making the attempt. The total figure for deaths is close to 1% of the Island’s population.

Here are a few other interesting facts:

  • In 1994 Fidel Castro made a bizarre threat. He told the United States he would stop shooting people (or boarding or ramming their boats, etc.) who were trying to leave. Instead of thanking God and running up the welcome flags for escapees from communism, the Clinton Administration got Castro to go back on the threat by agreeing to empower the U.S. Coast Guard to send virtually all intercepted escapees back to Cuba.
  • Because leaving Cuba is illegal, the homemade boats and rafts come in all shapes, colors and sizes. See the end of this post for one that features the body of a truck.
  • If you see an empty raft in the Straits, chances are that represents human beings who didn’t make it. After picking up rafters, the U.S. Coast Guard usually destroys rafts it intercepts as a hazard to shipping.
  • The crossing usually takes three to five days. Sometimes rafters make it to the Dog Rocks, a set of uninhabited islands off the Bahamas (see below).
  • Latin American leftists (and their friends in the United States) call the refugees “worms”.

Pope Francis has called the refusal to aid Mediterranean refugees in distress an “act of war”. I do not believe he has ever spoken of the Cuban refugee situation. Nor am I aware of any previous Vatican comments on the matter (though that doesn’t mean there haven’t been any). Perhaps the Pope will bring it up in the next few days.

Continue Reading

Planet Money: How the University of Notre Dame ranks…

 

At the sametime academic administrators at the University of Notre Dame (UND) formed a faculty committee to consider reducing UND’s Theology requirement to one course, National Public Radio’s Planet Money team created an interesting ranking of 4-year undergraduate programs.

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Here’s how UND ranks:

  • It’s not one of the nation’s top 15 “schools for making money,” which measures income 10 years after graduation (50%), on-time graduation rates (25%) and net price (25%). (Hoyas have no fear: Georgetown is #7!)
  • It’s #8 for “schools that make financial sense,” which measures share of students who receive Pell Grants (16%), net price for families making <$48k (16%), share of students who are first-generation college students (16%), default rates (16%), on-time graduation rates (16%) and average income 10 years after graduation (16%). (Once again, Hoyas have no fear, Georgetown in #4!)
  • It’s not one of the nation’s top 15 “schools that emphasize upward mobility,” which measures on-time graduation rate (50%), default rate (16%), share of students receiving federal loans (16%), average income six years after graduation (16%). (Have no fear, Fightin’ Irish, neither is Georgetown!)

Clearly, Georgetown is the better choice for parents whose primary interest are that doing so makes financial sense and their children are likely to earn more $$$s following graduation. Isn’t that what most interests many parents today?

The data suggest to parents that they shouldn’t send their children to UND so they’ll make more $$$s and/or be more upwardly mobile. However, correlating the curriculum review with these findings, does it make greater financial sense for parents to send their children to UND for a distinctively Catholic undergraduate education?

 

 

 

To read UND’s curriculum review document, click on the following like:
http://curriculumreview.nd.edu/

To Planet Money’s rankings, click on the following link:
http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2015/09/21/441417608/the-new-college-scorecard-npr-does-some-math

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

2

PopeWatch: Cuban Dissidents

 

 

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From the Babalu Blog, the go to blog for the latest news from Castro’s Gulag:

 

Continue Reading

4

Japan Remains One Country

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One of the more decisive decisions of the Occupation of Japan, that Japan would remain one state, was made early in the process by General MacArthur.  The Soviets planned to occupy the northern island of Hokkaido and establish a puppet Soviet regime, identical to what was occurring in East Germany.  If this had succeeded, Japan could have been divided into a Communist North Japan and a Democratic South Japan for the length of the Cold War.  Appeasement of the Soviets was still very much in favor at the State Department, and it is possible that if the Soviets had simply begun landing in Hokkaido, that Washington may have capitulated on that point.  After all, the Soviets were full members, with Great Britain, in the Allied commission to supervise and monitor the Supreme Commander in Tokyo.  The Soviets also insisted upon a tri-partite division of Tokyo, similar to what was being done in Berlin.  MacArthur would have none of it. Continue Reading

71

Pope Francis: Menace or Farce

 

Jonathan V. Last explains at The Weekly Standard why an ever increasing  number of Catholics view this Pontificate as an unending train wreck:

 

Pope Francis has some interesting views about Catholic teachings, too. In January, he criticized Catholics who have what he considers too many children. “Some think, excuse me if I use the word, that in order to be good Catholics, we have to be like rabbits—but no,” he said. The push-back from within the Church was hard enough that the pope apologized a week later.

He has never apologized for criticizing Catholics whom he deems to be “obsessed” with abortion, contraception, and gay marriage:

“We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.

His message being . . . well, it’s not clear what, exactly. After all, in America, at least, the question of abortion seems somewhat important, since 55 million children have been killed in utero since 1973. And as for contraception and gay marriage, it is the U.S. government which is seeking to force its view of these regimes on the Catholic Church, and not the other way around. The pope’s position seems remarkably like blaming the victim.

As did his remarks following the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris. Francis held forth saying, “Every religion has its dignity. I cannot mock a religion that respects human life and the human person.” And then he went somewhat further:

“If my good friend Dr. Gasparri says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch,” Francis said, throwing a pretend punch his way. “It’s normal. You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others.” . . .

“There are so many people who speak badly about religions or other religions, who make fun of them, who make a game out of the religions of others,” he said. “They are provocateurs. And what happens to them is what would happen to Dr. Gasparri if he says a curse word against my mother. There is a limit.”

As you might expect, a week later the Vatican rushed yet another spokesman out to clarify the real meaning of the Holy Father’s words because he absolutely, positively, didn’t mean what he said. Or didn’t say what he meant.

Or something. Continue Reading

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September 19: International Speak Like A Pirate Day

 

 

Ar, it be about four score and seven years ago since our fathers made ye new nation, a liberty port for all hands from end to end, and dedicated t’ t’ truth that all swabs be created equal.

Now we be fightin’ a great ruckus, testin’ whether ye nation, or any nation so minted like it, can last through the long watch. We be met on a great boardin’ fight o’ that war. We have come t’ dedicate a spot o’ that field, as a final restin’ place for those who here swallowed the anchor forever that that nation might live. It be altogether fittin’ and proper that we be doin’ this.

But, truth be told, we can not set aside, we can not pray over, we can not hallow this ground. T’ brave swabs, livin’ and went t’ Davy Jones’ locker, who fit here, have blessed it, far over our poor power t’ add or swipe back. T’ world won’t writ what we say here, but it can never forget what those swabs did here. It be for us t’ livin’, rather, t’ be dedicated here t’  finishin’ t’ work which they who fit here have begun.   It be rather for us t’ be here dedicated t’ t’ great chore remainin’ before us—that from these honored swabs we take increased love t’ what they died for—that we here Bible swear that these shipmates shall not have went t’ Davy Jones’ locker for nothin’—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth o’ freedom—and that government o’ t’ crew, by t’ crew, for t’ crew, shall not perish from t’ earth. Continue Reading

2

PopeWatch: While the Pope’s Away…

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

 

 

VATICAN– Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI confirmed Monday that he will make his first visit to the Apostolic Palace in September to host and attend a raging kegger.

The news comes just hours after Pope Francis announced plans to attend a meeting on the family in Philadelphia, or as Benedict called it, “Snoozapalooza.”

In a statement made to friends gathered Monday, Benedict said, “I wish to confirm that in September of 2015, I will throw the most epic, off-the-chain party the Vatican has seen since the 15th century.”

Benedict has already traveled to South Beach, San Diego, Las Vegas, Brazil and elsewhere in the 20 months he has been retired, and his rager at the Apostolic Palace will come at a pivotal moment for the Roman Catholic Church.

“I believe that Benedict knows what a stressful time it has been for the faithful these past few months,” said an anonymous source. “With so many Catholics trying to explain to friends and co-workers, as well as themselves, what actually happened at the Synod on the Family, Benedict thinks it’s time to unwind with an ‘Irish Car Bomb’ or two, a couple games of ‘Whiskey Pong,’ and some ‘keg stands.’”

The source went on to remind everyone invited to keep the “bender” on the “D Lo” until “papa’s” gone. Continue Reading

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Jefferson and Liberty Too

Something for the weekend:  Jefferson and Liberty Too.  The hotly contested election of 1800 brought to the nation many of the trappings of subsequent campaigns including campaign songs.   The most popular was the tune Jefferson and Liberty Too, sung to the tune of Irish jig The Gobby O, which was quite popular in America during the colonial period and thereafter, familiar as a fiddle tune at virtually every ball:

Anonymous


The gloomy night before us flies,

The reign of terror now is o’er;
Its gags, inquisitors, and spies,
Its herds of harpies are no more!

Chorus
Rejoice, Columbia’s sons, rejoice!

To tyrants never bend your knee,
But join with heart, and soul, and voice,
For Jefferson and Liberty!

No lordling here, with gorging jaws

Shall wring from industry the food;
Nor fiery bigot’s holy laws
Lay waste our fields and streets in blood!

Here strangers from a thousand shores

Compelled by tyranny to roam,
Shall find amidst abundant stores,
A nobler and happier home.

Here Art shall lift her laurelled head,

Wealth, Industry, and Peace, divine;
And where dark, pathless forests spread,
Rich fields and lofty cities shine.

From Europe’s wants and woes remote,

A friendly waste of waves between,
Here plenty cheers the humblest cot,
And smiles on every village green.

Here free as air, expanded space,

To every soul and sect shall be —
That sacred privilege of our race —
The worship of the Deity.

Let foes to freedom dread the name;

But should they touch the sacred tree,
Twice fifty thousands swords would flame
For Jefferson and liberty.

From Georgia to Lake Champlain,

From seas to Mississippi’s shore,
Ye sons of freedom loud proclaim —
“The reign of terror is no more.”

These gifts, great Liberty, are thine,
Then thousand more we owe to thee,
Immortal may their mem’ries shine,
Who fought and died for Liberty.

5

If the New York Times Had Real Editors

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National Review Online’s Kevin Williamson cements his reputation as one of the more thought provoking writers on the net with this hilarious piece which takes apart a typical example of biased “reporting” from the New York Times:

 

 

 

MEMO FROM: Copy desk
TO: New York Times Foreign desk
RE: Diaa Hadid for AM international; mark-up attached
HEAD: Jewish Man Dies as Rocks Pelt His Car in East Jerusalem [ED: “As rocks pelt his car”? How exactly did the rocks go about doing this? Are these special angry Palestinian rocks that get up off the ground and hurl themselves at Jews? Unless we’re talking about The Rock, in which case he’s going by “Dwayne Johnson” these days, I don’t think a rock is capable of committing an act of violence on its own.]
BYLINE: Diaa Hadid
DATELINE: Ramallah, West Bank, 14 September 2015
COPY: A Jewish man died [ED: “was killed.”] early Monday morning after attackers pelted the road [ED: “pelted the road”? They were aiming at the pavement? Please clarify.] he was driving on with rocks as he was returning home from a dinner celebrating Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, the Israeli authorities said. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called an emergency meeting to discuss rock-throwing, mostly [ED: “mostly”? Which other rock-throwers were discussed at the emergency meeting?] by Palestinian youths.
The man was identified in local news reports as Alexander Levlovich, 64. His death was reported as the police and Palestinian youths clashed [ED: Is it the case that the police and the Palestinian youths “clashed,” or is it the case that the police tried to stop violent crimes from being committed? Do the police “clash” with bank-robbers or muggers?] for a second day at Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, amid tensions [Who is tense about this? Are Jews experiencing “tension” over being allowed to move about freely for the purposes of having dinner?] over increased visits by Jews for Rosh Hashana. The two-day holiday began at sundown on Sunday.
A statement from the Israeli police said the assailants were throwing stones [ED: At . . . ?] on Sunday night on a road that runs between a Palestinian and Jewish neighborhood in East Jerusalem. The police said the stone-throwing “led to a self-inflicted accident,” [ED: This is a quote, sure, albeit one without specific sourcing, but are we really going to pretend this was “self-inflicted”?] as the man lost control of the car [ED: “was driven off the road”] and smashed into a pole.
Palestinians scuffled [ED: At what point does a “scuffle” with “riot police” become, you know, rioting?] with the Israeli riot police after security forces blocked a road leading to the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City on Monday.
Luba Samri, a police spokeswoman, said the rock-throwing appeared to have caused the accident but that “nothing is 100 percent sure.” The police, with a court’s permission, said no more details about the case could be published while an investigation was continuing.
On Monday, Mr. Netanyahu said he would call a special meeting after Rosh Hashana ends Tuesday evening to discuss “harsher punishments and strict enforcement” and other means to combat rock-throwing.
The government had already said, on Sept. 2, that it was considering harsher measures against Palestinian stone-throwers [ED: “harsher measures against Palestinian stone-throwers,” or against, as above, mostly Palestinian stone-throwers?], including more use of live ammunition and tougher minimum sentences.
Israeli security forces have increasingly grappled with rock-throwing, particularly along a highway in the occupied West Bank that is mostly used by Jewish settlers and on roads leading to Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem. [ED: Hmm: Jewish settlers, Jewish neighborhoods: Does a trend seem to suggest itself to you?]

[ED: Here at the end of the eighth paragraph in this story about a Jewish man being murdered for the crime of driving while Jewish, I’m wondering if we’re going to get a straightforward statement of the fact that this Jewish man was murdered for the crime of driving while Jewish.]

 

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9

Ahmed Mohamed Hoax?

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By now most of America knows about Ahmed Mohamed, the 14 year old teenager arrested at his school:

 

Irving’s police chief announced Wednesday that charges won’t be filed against Ahmed Mohamed, the MacArthur High School freshman arrested Monday after he brought what school officials and police described as a “hoax bomb” on campus.

At a joint press conference with Irving ISD, Chief Larry Boyd said the device — confiscated by an English teacher despite the teen’s insistence that it was a clock — was “certainly suspicious in nature.”

School officers questioned Ahmed about the device and why Ahmed had brought it to school. Boyd said Ahmed was then handcuffed “for his safety and for the safety of the officers” and taken to a juvenile detention center. He was later released to his parents, Boyd said.

“The follow-up investigation revealed the device apparently was a homemade experiment, and there’s no evidence to support the perception he intended to create alarm,” Boyd said, describing the incident as a “naive accident.”

Asked if the teen’s religious beliefs factored into his arrest, Boyd said the reaction “would have been the same” under any circumstances.

“We live in an age where you can’t take things like that to school,” he said. “Of course we’ve seen across our country horrific things happen, so we have to err on the side of caution.”

 

Obama has invited the kid to the White House and he has become Exhibit A against American “Islamophobia”.

One problem with all this:  it is possible that the entire incident was staged by the boy and his father.

First, Anthony at Art Voice has taken a very close look at this clock allegedly “invented” by Ahmed:

I found the highest resolution photograph of the clock I could. Instantly, I was disappointed. Somewhere in all of this – there has indeed been a hoax. Ahmed Mohamed didn’t invent his own alarm clock. He didn’t even build a clock. Now, before I go on and get accused of attacking a 14 year old kid who’s already been through enough, let me explain my purpose. I don’t want to just dissect the clock. I want to dissect our reaction as a society to the situation. Part of that is the knee-jerk responses we’re all so quick to make without facts. So, before you scroll down and leave me angry comments, please continue to the end (or not – prove my point, and miss the point, entirely!)

For starters, one glance at the printed circuit board in the photo, and I knew we were looking at mid-to-late 1970s vintage electronics. Surely you’ve seen a modern circuit board, with metallic traces leading all over to the various components like an electronic spider’s web. You’ll notice right away the highly accurate spacing, straightness of the lines, consistency of the patterns. That’s because we design things on computers nowadays, and computers assist in routing these lines. Take a look at the board in Ahmed’s clock. It almost looks hand-drawn, right? That’s because it probably was. Computer aided design was in its infancy in the 70s. This is how simple, low cost items (like an alarm clock) were designed. Today, even a budding beginner is going to get some computer aided assistance – in fact they’ll probably start there, learning by simulating designs before building them. You can even simulate or lay out a board with free apps on your phone or tablet. A modern hobbyist usually wouldn’t be bothered with the outdated design techniques. There’s also silk screening on the board. An “M” logo, “C-94” (probably, a part number – C might even stand for “clock”), and what looks like an American flag. More about that in a minute. Point for now being, a hobbyist wouldn’t silk screen logos and part numbers on their home made creation. It’s pretty safe to say already we’re looking at ’70s tech, mass produced in a factory.

So I turned to eBay, searching for vintage alarm clocks. It only took a minute to locate Ahmed’s clock. See this eBay listing, up at the time of this writing. Amhed’s clock was invented, and built, by Micronta, a Radio Shack subsidary. Catalog number 63 756.

The shape and design is a dead give away. The large screen. The buttons on the front laid out horizontally would have been on a separate board – a large snooze button, four control buttons, and two switches to turn the alarm on and off, and choose two brightness levels. A second board inside would have contained the actual “brains” of the unit. The clock features a 9v battery back-up, and a switch on the rear allows the owner to choose between 12 and 24 hour time. (Features like a battery back-up, and a 24 hour time selection seems awful superfluous for a hobby project, don’t you think?) Oh, and about that “M” logo on the circuit board mentioned above? Micronta.

For one last bit of confirmation, I located the pencil box Ahmed used for his project. During this video interview he again claims it was his “invention” and that he “made” the device – but the important thing at the moment, at 1:13, we see him showing the pencil box on his computer screen. Here it is on Amazon, where it’s clearly labeled as being 8.25 inches wide. Our eBay seller also conveniently took a photo of the clock next to a ruler to show it’s scale – about 8 inches wide. The dimensions all line up perfectly.

So there you have it folks, Ahmed Mohamad did not invent, nor build a clock. He took apart an existing clock, and transplanted the guts into a pencil box, and claimed it was his own creation. It all seems really fishy to me.

If we accept the story about “inventing” an alarm clock is made up, as I think I’ve made a pretty good case for, it’s fair to wonder what other parts of the story might be made up, not reported factually by the media, or at least, exaggerated.

I refer back again to this YouTube video interview with Ahmed. He explains that he closed up the box with a piece of cord because he didn’t want it to look suspicious. I’m curious, why would “looking suspicious” have even crossed his mind before this whole event unfolded, if he was truly showing off a hobby project, something so innocuous as an alarm clock. Why did he choose a pencil box, one that looks like a miniature briefcase no less, as an enclosure for a clock? It’s awful hard to see the clock with the case closed. On the other hand, with the case open, it’s awful dangerous to have an exposed power transformer sitting near the snooze button (unless, perhaps his invention was to stop serial-snooze-button pressers by giving them a dangerous electrical shock!)

Go here to read the rest.  Why go through all this for a fake alleged invention?  Ahmed’s dad might be a clue: Continue Reading

10

PopeWatch: Bishop Sheen

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How PopeWatch wishes it were possible to have an analysis of the current situation of the Church by Bishop Sheen!  Hold it.  Perhaps we do have one:

 

Nowhere in Sacred Scripture do we find warrant for the popular myth of the Devil as a buffoon who is dressed like the first “red.” Rather is he described as an angel fallen from heaven, as “the Prince of this world,” whose business it is to tell us that there is no other world. His logic is simple: if there is no heaven there is no hell; if there is no hell, then there is no sin; if there is no sin, then there is no judge, and if there is no judgment then evil is good and good is evil. But above all these descriptions, Our Lord tells us that he will be so much like Himself that he would deceive even the elect–and certainly no devil ever seen in picture books could deceive even the elect. How will he come in this new age to win followers to his religion?

 

 
 The pre-Communist Russian belief is that he will come disguised as the Great Humanitarian; he will talk peace, prosperity and plenty not as means to lead us to God, but as ends in themselves. . . .

 

 

 

 . . . The third temptation in which Satan asked Christ to adore him and all the kingdoms of the world would be His, will become the temptation to have a new religion without a Cross, a liturgy without a world to come, a religion to destroy a religion, or a politics which is a religion–one that renders unto Caesar even the things that are God’s.

 

 

 

 In the midst of all his seeming love for humanity and his glib talk of freedom and equality, he will have one great secret which he will tell to no one: he will not believe in God. Because his religion will be brotherhood without the fatherhood of God, he will deceive even the elect. He will set up a counterchurch which will be the ape of the Church, because he, the Devil, is the ape of God. It will have all the notes and characteristics of the Church, but in reverse and emptied of its divine content. It will be a mystical body of the Antichrist that will in all externals resemble the mystical body of Christ. . . .

 

 

 

. . . But the twentieth century will join the counterchurch because it claims to be infallible when its visible head speaks ex cathedra from Moscow on the subject of economics and politics, and as chief shepherd of world communism.
Fulton J. Sheen, Communism and the Conscience of the West (1948)

 

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Eisenhower and MacArthur-The Command Team That Never Was

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Two of the five men who have held the rank of General of the Army, Dwight Eisenhower and Douglas MacArthur, could be quite acerbic in their assessments of each other.  MacArthur in 1947 referred to Eisenhower as the best clerk he ever had, and Eisenhower was fond of saying that he studied dramatics under MacArthur.  Both assessments had a fair amount of truth.  Eisenhower was the consummate military manager, but he lacked almost all skill as a commander of forces in combat.  His one taste of such command, in North Africa, produced distinctly lackluster results.  As for MacArthur he was overly dramatic, a penchant that played well in the Victorian world in which he was born, but often seemed ludicrous by World War II.

It is intriguing to speculate about what sort of command team they would have made if they had served together in World War II.  As Chief of Staff for MacArthur, Eisenhower would have been indispensable in making the most of the resources that MacArthur got at the tail end of a very long supply chain.  His skill at diplomacy would have smoothed the ruffled feathers of Presidents, as well as the often stormy relations that MacArthur had with the Navy and the Australians.  MacArthur would have contributed the streak of strategic and operational brilliance that Eisenhower sorely lacked. Continue Reading

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PopeWatch: Slap in the Face?

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Breitbart tells us that our graceless President continues to be a leftist boor:

 

In a stunning show of political indecorum, Obama has invited a series of individuals who publicly flout Catholic teaching, including a pro-abortion religious sister, a transgender woman and the first openly gay Episcopal bishop, along with at least two Catholic gay activists.

The White House was illuminated in gay pride colors on June 26, 2015, after the Supreme Court legalized gay same-sex marriage.

One of the invitees, retired Episcopal bishop Gene Robinson, made history by becoming the first openly gay episcopal bishop in 2003 and subsequently the first to divorce his gay partner in 2014, after having previously separated from his wife of 14 years. He has attended a number of religious events with the Obama administration, offering a prayer at President Obama’s inauguration in 2009 and taking part in the 2014 National Prayer Breakfast.

Mateo Williamson, a cross-dressing woman and former co-chairman of the Transgender Caucus for Dignity USA, has also received an invitation to the White House for Pope Francis’ visit. Williamson says that though she now thinks of herself as a man, she continues to be attracted to males. “Today I identify as a gay man and before that was difficult to understand because I thought that in order to be transgender, in order to be a transgender male that I had to be attracted to females but I never have throughout my entire life.”

Though Pope Francis has said that he doesn’t believe in judging persons and is ready to welcome anyone in Christ’s name, he has also said that Catholics do not accept the modern mentality of transgenderism and once said that gay marriage is the devil’s “attempt to destroy God’s plan.”

“The acceptance of our bodies as God’s gift,” Francis wrote in his encyclical letter on the environment, “is vital for welcoming and accepting the entire world as a gift from the Father and our common home, whereas thinking that we enjoy absolute power over our own bodies turns, often subtly, into thinking that we enjoy absolute power over creation.”

Earlier this month, the Vatican officially prohibited transgender persons from being baptismal godparents posing as the opposite sex from which they were born.

In its response, the Vatican Doctrinal Congregation said that “transsexual behavior publicly reveals an attitude contrary to the moral imperative of resolving the problem of one’s sexual identity according to the truth of one’s sexuality.”

Another White House invitee for the Pope’s visit, Sister Simone Campbell, is the pro-abortion executive director of the social justice lobby NETWORK. Campbell fought against the U.S. bishops when Obama’s Affordable Care Act was originally being debated, in an attempt to undermine their abortion and conscience concerns. Continue Reading

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Quotes Suitable for Framing: CS Lewis

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A still worse thing may happen. Novelty may fix our attention not even on the service but on the celebrant. You know what I mean. Try as one may to exclude it, the questions ‘What on earth is he up to now?’ will intrude. It lays one’s devotion waste. There is really some excuse for the man who said, ‘I wish they’d remember that the charge to Peter was Feed my sheep; not Try experiments on my rats, or even, Teach my performing dogs new tricks.’

CS Lewis

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Sing a Lost Song

I like to return to the subject of bad music in the Church periodically.  I think it is a symptom of the post Vatican II “identity crisis” of the human portion of the Church.  We no longer know who we are, what we should do or where we are going, and our music reflects this lost, aimless attitude by endlessly playing the most banal music in the history of the Church, as if to make certain that we receive no hint of inspiration to lead us out of our spiritual morass.

What is the Catholic hymn you hate the most?  (I know, I know there are so many choices!)  For me it is hands down Sing a New Song by ex-Jesuit Dan Schutte, a founding member of the Saint Louis Jesuits, the group responsible for writing more truly wretched music than any other organization in the history of Man.  A miserable piece of doggerel that has been played to death at Masses since it fell from Schutte’s pen in 1972.  Ah the seventies!  One more crime for that kidney stone of a decade!

Why is Catholic music at Mass so bad when we have such a magnificent musical heritage?

 

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PopeWatch: Catholic Divorce

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If the Pope, remiss in his duties and neglectful of his and his neighbor’s salvation, gets caught up in idle business, and if moreover, by his silence (which actually does more harm to himself and everyone else), he nonetheless leads innumerable hoards of people away from the good with him, he will be beaten for eternity with many blows alongside that very first slave of hell [the Devil]. However, no person can presume to convict him of any transgressions in this matter, because, although the Pope can judge everyone else, no one may judge him, unless he, for whose perpetual stability all the faithful pray as earnestly as they call to mind the fact that, after God, their own salvation depends on his soundness, is found to have strayed from the faith.

Gratian, (Decretum, Part 1, Distinction 40, Chapter 6)

Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa explains how revolutionary the Pope’s changes in regard to the annulment process are:

ROME, September 15, 2015 – As the days go by it becomes ever clearer how revolutionary is the scope of the two motu prorio published by Pope Francis on September 8 – the second for the Eastern Rite Catholic Churches – on the reform of procedures for marital nullity cases:

> Lettera apostolica “Mitis Iudex Dominus Iesus”

> Lettera apostolica “Mitis et Misericors Iesus”

It is the pope himself, in the opening of the document, who presents the reason for the reform:

“The enormous number of faithful who, despite wanting to look after their conscience, too often are turned aside by the juridical structures of the Church.”

In the official presentation of the motu proprio the president of the commission that elaborated the reform, Monsignor Pio Vito Pinto, dean of the Roman Rota, turned the reason into an objective:

“To move from the restricted number of a few thousand findings of nullity to the enormous number of unfortunates who could have a declaration of nullity but are left out by the existing system.”

Francis has been absolutely convinced for some time that at least half of the marriages celebrated in church all over the world are invalid. He said so in the press conference on July 28, 2013 on the return flight from Rio de Janeiro. He said it again to Cardinal Walter Kasper, as Kasper in turn said in an interview with “Commonweal” of May 7, 2014.

And therefore these faithful unheeded in their anticipation of having the nullity of their marriages recognized are also part, in the vision of Francis as presented by Pinto, of those “poor” who are at the center of his pontificate. Millions and millions of “unfortunates” waiting for the assistance that is due them.

The procedural reform backed by Jorge Mario Bergoglio aims precisely at this: to allow these endless crowds easy, fast, and free access to the recognition of the nullity of their marriages. The synod of last October (see paragraph 48 of the final “Relatio”) expressed generic support for improvements in the procedures. But a good number of fathers said they were against one or another of the reforms proposed by various sides. Which however are precisely the ones now found in the motu proprio.

THE ORDINARY PROCEDURE

The reform delineates two main types of marital procedures. There is the ordinary one and the one – entirely new – called “shorter.”

In the ordinary procedure the main innovation is the abolition of the obligatory double decree of nullity. Only one is needed, as previously permitted in experimental form between 1971 and 1983 in the ecclesiastical tribunals of the United States, a concession that was revoked after the flood of nullity decrees issued by the tribunals and the bad reputation of “Catholic divorce” that was the result.

A single decree, without appeal, reduces the duration of an ordinary procedure to about one year.

Ecclesiastical tribunals, moreover, will have to be set up in every diocese of the world, no matter how small or remote, an objective from which the Catholic Church is very far today mainly because of the shortage of churchmen and laity who are experts in canon law.

But there is another more substantial innovation, presented in the new canon 1678 § 1, which will replace the corresponding canon 1536 § 2 of the existing code of canon law.

While in the canon being scrapped “the force of full proof cannot be attributed” to the statements of the parties, unless “other elements are present which thoroughly corroborate them,” in the new canon “the statements of the parties can have the force of full proof,” to be considered as such by the judge “if there are no other elements to refute them.”

One discovers in this an exaltation of the subjectivity of the party bringing the case that matches up neatly with the official presentations of the two motu proprio by Monsignor Pinto and the secretary of the commission he heads, Monsignor Alejandro W. Bunge, with regard to the “principle motivation” that in their judgment drives many Catholics – in the future a “mass” – to apply to their marriage tribunals:

“Nullity is requested for reasons of conscience, for example to live the sacraments of the Church or to perfect a new stable and happy bond, unlike the first one.”

It is therefore easy to foresee that the longstanding controversy over communion for the divorced and remarried will fizzle out amid the facts, replaced by unlimited and practically unfailing recourse to the certification of nullity of the first marriage.

THE “SHORTER” PROCEDURE

The biggest innovation of the reform backed by Francis is however the procedure called “shorter.”

Very short, actually. According to the new canons it can begin and end in the span of just 45 days, with the local bishop as the sole and ultimate judge.

Recourse to the abbreviated procedure is allowed “in cases in which the alleged nullity of the marriage is supported by particularly evident arguments.”

But there’s more. Recourse to this kind of procedure is not only allowed but encouraged, seeing the superabundant illustration of supporting circumstances furnished by article 14 § 1 of the “Procedural rules” attached to the motu proprio.

The article says:

“Among the circumstances that can allow the handling of the marital nullity case by means of the shorter procedure […] there are for example:
– that lack of faith which can generate the simulation of consent or the error that determines the will,
– the brevity of conjugal cohabitation,
– abortion procured to prevent procreation,
– stubborn persistence in an extramarital relationship at the time of the wedding or immediately afterward,
– the malicious concealment of sterility or of a grave contagious disease, or of children born from a previous relationship, or of incarceration;
– the grounds of the marriage being entirely extraneous to conjugal life or consistent with the unexpected pregnancy of the woman,
– physical violence inflicted to extort consent,
– lack of the use of reason corroborated by medical documents, etc.”

The list is stunning in its disjointed variety. It includes circumstances, like physical violence inflicted to extort consent, that are actual grounds for the nullity of a marriage. But it includes others, like the brevity of conjugal cohabitation, that cannot in any way support a decree of invalidity. And it includes yet another, the lack of faith, that although difficult to evaluate is ever more frequently evoked as the new universal master key for nullity. And yet these circumstances are all listed on an equal footing, together with a final “etc.” that induces one to add other examples at will.

But in addition to being heterogeneous, the list appears to be misleading. In and of itself it lists circumstances that would simply allow one to access the “shorter” procedure. But it is very easy to interpret it as a list of cases that allow one to obtain the recognition of nullity. Many couples have experienced one of the circumstances illustrated – for example, pregnancy before the wedding – and it is therefore natural that the conviction should arise in them that, upon request, their marriage can be dissolved, seeing also the pressure that the Church exercises in suggesting – precisely in the presence of those circumstances – recourse to the procedure of nullity, and moreover to the quick one.

 

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