“When giving treats to friends or children, give them what they like, emphatically not what is good for them.”
A cute PSA from ASPCA; it features The Purring (1980), The Texas Chainpaw Meowsacre (1974), Psycat(1960) and Cattie (1976). (Only possibly nasty part is the paper cutout of the mask for the second one– my preschooler didn’t have an issue with any of it, so probably only disturbing if you know what it’s supposed to be.)
From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:
A source close to Pope Francis this week reported to the media that His Holiness met privately in Washington last week with Tom Brady, the quarterback in New England who defied an NFL order to not deflate balls and cheat during games.
Mr. Brady, the star quarterback in Foxborough, Massachusetts, has been at the center of a nationwide controversy over whether quarterbacks of private football franchises have a legal right to deflate footballs used during NFL games.
On Tuesday night, Brady’s lawyer, Benjamin D. Alexander, said that Mr. Brady was sneaked into the Vatican Embassy by car on Thursday afternoon. Francis gave Brady his rosary and told him to “stay strong,” the lawyer said. Brady met for about 15 minutes with the pope, who was accompanied by security guards and aides.
“I put my hand out and he reached and grabbed the football I was spinning in my hand, and I hugged him and he hugged me,” Brady said Wednesday in an interview with EOTT. “He thanked me for my courage, then began to deflate the football. We both started laughing and we high-fived.”
“I had tears coming out of my eyes,” Brady went on to say. “I’m kind of a big deal, so it was really humbling for him to think I would want to meet or know him. It made me feel good to do something like that for somebody who’s not as good looking as I am.”
For the most part, Francis avoided any inflammatory talk about NFL controversies during his U.S. trip, and early in his papacy even signaled a tolerant attitude about cheaters with his now famous comment, “Who am I to deflate?” In his final Mass in Philadelphia just hours before his departure back to Rome, Francis said that God is revealed through the “covenant of one man and one ball.” Continue Reading
Something for a Halloween weekend. Hey there Cthulhu. A minor vice of mine is a love for old pulp science fiction and fantasy. One of the authors I treasure is H.P. Lovecraft, best known for his cycle of horror science fiction\fantasy stories centering around the Old Ones, evil supernatural entities that lurk in dark dimensions, waiting to unleash unspeakable horror on unsuspecting humanity. The best known of these demonic creatures is Cthulhu. I have always found these stories gut-bustingly funny due to the fact that Lovecraft, in these stories, has to be the worst writer of fiction, at least fiction that does not contain phrases like “Love’s Savage Unending Fury”, “The Davinci Code”, “Based On A True Story”, and “Stephen King”, since Bulwer-Lytton shuffled off to the world beyond. Some things are so spectactularly bad that I find myself liking them due to how hair-raisingly inept they are.
One of my favorite stops at the Abraham Lincoln Museum in Springfield.
The Thirty-third Infantry Illinois Volunteers was organized at Camp Butler, Illinois, in the month of September, 1861, by Colonel Chas. E. Hovey, and mustered into the United States service by Captain T. G. Pitcher, U. S. A. Continue Reading
The usual open thread rules apply: be brief, be charitable and, above all, be amusing.
Colleagues, it is time for us to take a stand. It has come to our attention that some of our members have come under attack from a group of right-wing Catholics who have no academic credentials: not a theological degree among them. As far as we can tell, none of them are even college graduates. They are all white (of course) and all male (of course). Some of them have produced texts that have been used against our fellow Catholic academics, often resulting in cries of heresy being raised by people who share their narrow, blinkered view of Catholicism. This is intolerable in the twenty-first century for brilliant scholars to be held to account by ignorant yahoos. We therefore ask you to append your names to the attached open letter and e-mail it back to us for future publication. United, we can prevail over this assault of anti-intellectualism masquerading as Catholicism! Continue Reading
Alas, I must part company with our bruin friend in his most recent tongue-in-bear-cheek post at Saint Corbinian’s Bear:
Blogs are essential to the well-informed and motivated Catholic. Therefore, it is important to know which blogs are edifying, while avoiding the gimcrack offerings of slipshod shysters. To this end, the Bear offers the following qualifications you should demand from anyone who seeks your valuable time and attention. If you follow the Bear’s advice, you will avoid bloggers who are just sensationalistic click-prostitutes out to make a buck.
The kind of blogger you want must combine the following education and experience.
A blogger must be able to persuade people to follow the right course of action. Someone equally skilled in forensic debating and arguing before regular folks is required. To give an example of someone who should not be in Catholic media is a journalist. Journalists strive to maintain a detached objectivity. Is that who we’re looking for in these dark days? No. We need advocates!
A good blogger should be able to sort out competing claims using a well-developed instinct. He should be able to employ relentless questioning to wring the truth out of unwilling witnesses. He must have a razor sharp intellect.
A good blogger, it goes without saying, should be more than a pretty face. In fact, good looks are definitely not a requirement, because, after all, this is not television! He should be capable of writing his own material, employing all the tools of the wordsmith: interview, narrative, analysis, and even humor and irony. He must be persuasive, even as he remains fair and accurate.
A good blogger is capable of doing his own tireless research. He must be able to put together the jigsaw puzzle of complicated situations, and determining the means, motives and opportunities of the various actors.
If you look at these qualifications, you’ll see that there is really only one profession that should be allowed to blog:
The blogger must have a JD. Lawyers are even licensed, so you know they’re legit. Are journalists licensed? No. Anybody can call himself a journalist and scribble for whoever will hire him.
But, still, something is missing. Not just any lawyer will do. Not even a good one. He must have an appeal that combines scary and cute.
When necessary, he should have the talent to employ the Old Razzle Dazzle. This requires extensive experience in secular show business:
It’s all show business kid,
These trials, the whole world, show business.
But kid, you’re workin’ with a star, the biggest!
So, unless your blogger combines all of these qualifications, he’s just in it for the money and should be avoided at all costs. Continue Reading
George Neumayr at The American Spectator holds nothing back in regard to his assessment of Pope Francis:
All the tortured throat-clearing from pundits about the “nuances” of Pope Francis is very unconvincing. He is not nuanced at all. He is an open left-wing Catholic, perfectly comfortable with the de facto heretics within his own order and inside his special cabinet of cardinals. Cardinal Walter Kasper, whom Pope Francis has identified as one of his “favorite” theologians, and Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Germany, who is one of his closest advisers, stand to the left of Martin Luther.
Well, say the pope’s desperate propagandists, Francis may not possess a deep mind but at least he has a big heart. If so, it seems to bleed for everyone but orthodox Catholics, whose fidelity to the faith under secularism’s ceaseless encroachments is treated with contempt.
Like many modern Jesuits, Francis often sounds like he loves every religion except his own. Could anyone imagine him every talking about imams, rabbis, or even a feminist witch, in the same caustic style that he disparages Catholic traditionalists? If he did, he would have an “ecumenical” crisis on his hands.
Early in his pontificate, video footage captured him teasing a blameless altar boy for holding his hands together piously. Were they “stuck” together? the Pope asked the bewildered boy. That is what passes for humor in the liberal Jesuit order. Visit almost any Jesuit college or school and you will soon encounter similar instances of anti-Catholic gibes presented as “reform.”
In his final remarks at the synod, Francis ripped into the orthodox and praised the heterodox, identifying the latter as the “true defenders of doctrine” for preferring “people” to “ideas,” for “overcoming the recurring temptations of the elder brother (cf. Lk 15:25-32) and the jealous labourers (cf. Mt 20:1-16).”
If future popes are to take these cheap polemics seriously, they will have to rewrite the parable of the prodigal son, excising any condemnations of him for cavorting with prostitutes. It turns out that sex outside of indissoluble marriage is no big deal. The story could be retitled the parable of the progressive son, who stands as a forerunner of the “Christian Newness” that granting Communion to those in a state of adultery promises. In the parable of the progressive son, the sin-obsessed father would cry at his own rigidity and FedEx the fatted calf to the son’s brothel. Continue Reading
It’s a little late, but there have been several rather good blog-articles about Halloween not being evil and nasty and a thing unsuited for polite company this year.
SuburbanBanshee did a Christian Halloween FAQ that I found very amusing, focusing on variations on the pagan issue.
Father Augustine Thompson did one with a really nice focus on the early years called The Catholic Origins of Halloween, which is more history-aimed. (names, dates, that kind of thing)
Mrs. Hull did a more heavy, serious one on the Catholic Origins of Halloween, which is more tradition-aimed.
Bridget Jones did a nice, light one called Don’t Be Spooked, it’s Catholic.
I did a rather scattershot one that includes debunking claims about black cats being killed on the Pope’s orders.
And now I need to go finish my kids’ costumes. They’re all embodying virtues… in the form of pop culture characters they love.
(Kindness, generosity and bravery.)
Father James Martin, SJ, is concerned about a lack of civility in discourse among Catholics, judging from a post in America, the Jesuit rag not the country:
I’m disgusted with malicious slandering that passes itself off as thoughtful theology. I’m disgusted with mean-spirited personal attacks that pass themselves off as Christian discourse. I’m disgusted with the facile use of words like “heresy” and “schism” and “apostate,” passing itself off as defenses of the faith. Basically, I’m disgusted with hate being passed off as charity. Needless to say, this is not entirely Mr. Douthat’s doing, or Mr. Reno’s doing, or Mr. Dreher’s doing. And I know that they are good and loyal Catholics (and in Mr. Dreher’s case, formerly-Catholic, now Orthodox). Obviously. But they and others–who are far more culpable–have engaged in enough of that kind of uncharitable behavior to have fostered an atmosphere of hatred and mistrust in our church. Instead of Thomas Merton’s famous “Mercy within mercy within mercy” we get “Hate piled on hate piled on hate.”
That is not theology, and it does not flow from the love of Jesus Christ. It is a malicious desire to wound people and to score points. To “win.” And if you think it’s amusing, then you’re missing Jesus’s point about not calling people names and praying for our “enemies.” And by the way, if you take Jesus as your model, and feel the need to judge people, and call them names as he did, like “hypocrite,” feel free to do so when you are the sinless Son of God. We risk being so Catholic that we forget to be Christian.
So I wholeheartedly support fully anyone’s right to write whatever he or she wants, including Ross Douthat, whom I respect. And, as an educated and faithful Catholic layperson, much of what he writes is thoughtful, insightful and deserving of our full attention. But be sure that whenever you’re reading ad hominem comments, thinly veiled attacks on people’s fidelity to the faith, snide insinuations and malicious twisting of words, you are not reading theology.
Bravo! He needs though to have a good talk with Father James Martin, SJ, at least judging from this post last year by Father Z:
Just in case you were wondering what sort of people were on the other side of the issue, this is a Twitter exchange between the Jesuit James Martin and Massimo Faggioli, a liberal academic in St. Paul:
Our bruin friend over at Saint Corbinian’s Bear has been on a roll lately:
Michael Voris is once again under the Bear’s scrutiny, because once again he has done something noteworthy. Since the Bear is not a Professional Broadcaster, he will go with an easy-to-understand, lawyerly chronological outline at the risk of burying the lede.
Voris’ premise is that the bad guys are playing a game of pointing fingers of blame at conservatives when conservatives criticize Pope Francis. This is a welcome clarification of his recent “Failed Papacy?” Vortex, which the Bear found impossible to understand. Voris’ premise depends upon the idea that ordinary folks follow ecclesiastical politics and care. Voris gave three examples of how this has been tried.
First: “The Letter.” The letter circulated by some prelates was spun into an attack on the Pope. Some of them who had supposedly signed it, denied signing it. Voris apparently supposes this had traction with the man on the street.
Second: “The Tumor.” There was some speculation that the story released by an Italian newspaper was planted by evil conservatives to undermine Pope Francis’ papacy, although there were never any names suggested to the Bear’s knowledge. Again, Voris imagines that people follow this sort of “inside baseball.”
Third: “The Pope’s Enemies.” Cardinal Wuerl speculates about the Pope’s enemies. Once again, people are supposed to hear this, know who Cardinal Wuerl is, and agree with him. Thus we, the good guys, take heavy damage, according to Voris.
Liberals and Modernists use these tactics because they know they work, Voris says. In secular politics, criticize President Obama and liberals will call you a racist. Similarly, criticize the Pope and Modernists will say you, well, criticized the Pope. (A quibble: America has a built-in race factor bubbling under the surface that liberals can tap into in a way Cardinal Wuerl can’t in ecclesiastical politics.)
Now the reason we should not attack the Pope is because it is a bad tactic. For this reason, according to Voris, we should attack the evil men around the Pope.
This is where it gets interesting. It reminds the Bear of the scene in Ghostbusters where Venkman tells the guy at the library, “Back off, man. I’m a scientist.” Except now it’s “Back off, man. I’m a Professional Journalist.”
First, you have to have a real theological education to detect “subtleties and nuances.”
Second, you have to have professional, secular media experience.
Why, what do you know! We’re in luck! Michael Voris has both of these qualifications. In case you have failed to connect the dots, Voris actually states Church Militant TV has these ingredients. And they’re no fly-by-night blogs sensationalizing things for a few extra clicks.
And then he immediately asks for money: to buy a Premium Membership.
So do you get this? Don’t bother with a bunch of amateurs who will hose it all up. Stick with professionals, like, why, me! It’s like the famous 1975 Daily News headline, “FORD TO CITY: DROP DEAD.” Except this time it’s “VORIS TO BLOGGERS: DROP DEAD.”
Having liberal media figures moderating presidential debates is insane from the perspective of anyone supporting the GOP, or simply interested in basic fairness. Why Republicans put up with it every four years is beyond me. Last night Senator Ted Cruz (R. TX) blew that game apart. The “journalist” Ted Cruz was ripping into is John Harwood. He is a pathetically transparent liberal hack, always in the tank for the Democrat Party. Mollie Hemingway at The Federalist wonders what Harwood was doing there:
Wednesday night’s debate will be hosted by CNBC at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado. It will be moderated by Harwood along with CNBC’s Carl Quintanilla and Becky Quick and is supposed to focus on economic issues, though previous CNBC debates have strayed far from that topic.
Harwood frequently angers conservatives for his partisan takes on the news. I mostly laugh off his predictably liberal views because I don’t take him that seriously. But that only leads us back to figuring out why he’s moderating this Wednesday’s debate. Let’s just look at a few examples of how he covers news.
Edward Pentin, who is rapidly establishing himself as the standard by which all Catholic journalists should measure themselves, has an interesting Q and A with Cardinal Pell about the Synod at the National Catholic Register:
Your Eminence, what was your overall assessment of the synod?
I’ve been to seven synods, I think this was certainly the most interesting and also was very hard work. I think the final document is immensely better than the instrumentum laboris, in every way. It’s elegantly written, it’s more clearly structured, the level of argumentation is not embarrassingly low, and it’s a consensus document. There was massive consensus on 92 of the 94 paragraphs and there is nothing in the set of paragraphs that is heretical or opposed to current Church practice.
Paragraphs 84-86 on divorce and remarriage only just got enough votes and have drawn criticism for being ambiguous. Is this a problem?
No it’s not ambiguous, it’s insufficient. There’s really no ambiguity in the text. If you closely examine the text in 85, it’s very clear. The basis for all the discernment must be the “insegnamento complessivo”* – complete teaching – of John Paul II. Then it goes on to repeat that the basis of discernment is the teaching of the Church.
A lot of the fathers would have liked it spelled out a bit more explicitly but there is no mention anywhere of Communion for the divorced and remarried. It’s not one of the possibilities that was floated. The document is cleverly written to get consensus. Some people would say it’s insufficient. It’s not ambiguous.
The headlines in some Italian newspapers, and an Irish website, implied the Church was now allowing all remarried divorcees to receive Holy Communion on a case-by-case basis. What’s your view of this?
That is completely unjustified. There is nothing in the document to justify that, and the Polish bishops came out today I believe to say very explicitly that such an understanding is not justified by the text. Now you might like the text or dislike it. You might think it’s good, bad or indifferent, but at least let us read it accurately and justly, and judge it on its own terms. So those headlines are inaccurate and misleading. They’ve probably been fed a line. I’m not sure there was or is an official English text so there’s some excuse for them misunderstanding it, but such headlines are not justified. People should go to those paragraphs and judge for themselves.
Some were critical that Familiaris consortio was cherry picked, and its clear position on not admitting remarried divorcees omitted, thereby diminishing the integrity of the apostolic letter. How do you respond to that?
Well the full text is not quoted, but they did add the word “complessivo” – it’s the entire teaching of John Paul II which is the basis, not the incomplete citation that was given.
What’s your view on other parts of the document, such as the fact that the same-sex issue that was left off?
It wasn’t left off, it was emphatically rejected that there was any comparison between homosexual marriage and same-sex unions. There was explicit rejection of the theory of graduality of the law. There’s a reaffirmation of the teaching of Humanae Vitae, there’s an adequate presentation of the teaching on conscience. All these things are significant reinforcements of the present doctrine of the Church.
What do you hope the Holy Father will do with this report. Do you think there will be a post-synodal apostolic exhortation?
I don’t know. That would be a normal expectation but we don’t know.
Do you think that more clarity is needed, if not now then after the Jubilee Year of Mercy perhaps?
I don’t know — the Holy Father’s business is his business. What we do want, and this is one of the great benefits of the papacy, is not to have years of struggle as there was in the Anglican Communion over the ordination of women. There will be another synod, another theme, so it’ll be good to move on from this. [It’s] quite clear that the synod has not broken with essential Catholic tradition in either doctrine or practice.
At last year’s synod, there was manipulation and clearly an agenda being pushed. Are you more content with what has happened at this year’s meeting?
Yes, we voted paragraph by paragraph and, in most ways, the document did represent what was discussed in the groups whereas the interim relatio last time bore little relationship with the discussion in most groups. The Holy Father said there would be no manipulation and so we were substantially reassured on that.
You had this year 45 papal-appointed delegates who appeared to swing the vote. It’s said those controversial paragraphs on divorce and remarriage probably wouldn’t have passed without those papal appointees.
That’s very possible.
Do you think that’s a problem?
It’s a fact. Continue Reading
“The election of Cardinal Pacelli is not accepted with favor in Germany because he was always opposed to Nazism and practically determined the policies of the Vatican under his predecessor.”
Berlin Morgenpost, March 3, 1939
Of all the historical controversies that I have examined over the years, the one over Pius XII has to be the most mendacious. Everyone, the Nazis, the Allies and the Jews, knew where Pope Pius XII stood during the War. Pope Pius was regarded as a hero by all who opposed the Nazis and the Nazis regarded him as a bitter enemy. The controversy arose after his death, instigated by playwright Rolf Hochhuth and his historically worthless anti-Catholic diatribe The Deputy (1963), a play which sought to cast Pius XII as coldly indifferent to the fate of the Jews, a reverse mirror image of the actual historical record. Haters of the Church eagerly seized upon this thesis as a club to belabor the Church for her stances in current controversies. There has never been any historical validity to the thesis: zilch, zero, none. Its persistence has much to do with anti-Catholicism and nothing to do with History.
It’s always nice when you are set to write on a topic but find yourself with a lack of time to discover that somebody else has already covered the issue. So, thank you C.C. Pecknold for doing the heavy lifting so that I don’t have to. Writing about the troublesome paragraphs of the final report of the synod on the family, Pecknold observes:
Jesuits, in fact, have a reputation for just this kind of casuistry that is so apparent in the ambiguous paragraphs. All signs point to Pope Francis’s interpreting them in the way progressives hope. But I’m on record as being a hopeful conservative with regard to this pope, often reading him against the liberal narrative rather than with it. I am obedient to the Office of Saint Peter, and I love this pope. I pray for him as I pray for my own father. And I trust that the Holy Spirit will guard and protect the pope insofar as God uses him as an instrument of the Church’s unity, as a guardian of the deposit of faith, and as our chief evangelist. But as Saint Paul reminds us, our obedience must be rational (Rom. 12.1–2). And thus far rational obedience impels me to ask the Holy Father questions.
What sort of legalism does the pope have in mind? When the pope condemns the Pharisees, does he realize that they were the ones who were casuistical and loosely legalist in allowing for divorce? Does he know that Christ responded to the Pharisees’ legalism with a radical gospel challenge that renewed the creation of man in grace, and the indissolubility of marriage? Does he see that Kasper’s proposal is itself at one with the Pharisees? Does he really think conservatives are teachers of the law rather than of virtue and truth? Does he really think that progressives wanting to accommodate the Church to liberal values, or comply with secular mores, are the vital source of newness for the Church?
Even if Pecknold’s hopefulness with regards to the Pontiff is a tad naive, the observation about Phariseeism is spot on. Heterodox, dissenting Catholics are the quickest to use the term “Pharisee,” mainly because that’s about the only argument their poor brains can muster. When applied to the issue of civilly divorced and remarried Catholics receiving Communion, this label is horribly misapplied. Jesus was highly critical of the Pharisees not merely because they were legalistic, but because their legalism in essence became their religion, and they missed the forest for the trees in their approach to faith. If Catholics were in the habit of suggesting that people could not receive Communion if their shirts were not buttoned up to at least the penultimate button, that would be a more apt description of Phariseeism. Insisting that we adhere to the strict words of Jesus quoted in the Gospels with respect to Catholic couples cohabitating in a state of sin is most certainly not a form of Phariseeism. The true Pharisees will be the ones who use the language of the final synod report to permit couples living in this state of sin to receive the Eucharist absent true repentance. Get ready to see just how many camels they will be trying to fit through the eye of the needle.
Oakes Spalding over at Mahound’s Paradise has some harsh words for some of the pillars of the New Church:
And of course they know that.
Do you think Archbishop Cupich believes in the Real Presence? Yeah, sure he does. Eucharistic Adoration? In the seminaries that trained Cupich and his like they called it “cookie worship”. Indeed, if you try to kneel to Christ’s body and blood, as you would if you honestly believed it was really Christ’s body and blood, then Cupich will bitterly snap at you. He becomes an old woman. Even if you’re a teenage girl.
Archbishop Cupich believes in midnight basketball and gun control.
Cardinal Kasper doesn’t give one golden bauble about the words of Paul the Apostle.
James Martin SJ doesn’t believe in mortal sin. Come on, seriously. Does anyone here believe that he does? Anyone? Mortal sin is for the haters. Martin’s thing is hating the haters. Martin is obsessed by hate. Consumed by it. And don’t say he loves gays or any of that claptrap. If the Zeitgeist were homophobic, as it often has been and no doubt will be again, Martin would be hanging gays from lampposts and then smirking about how merciful he was. You know he would.
And what of the Pope? Honestly I don’t really know what he does or does not believe. Tragically, I’m not sure he does either.
“Quos Deus vult perdere, prius dementat“
My favorite living historian Victor Davis Hanson has a brilliant post on the rot that infects the West:
Sanctuary cities illustrate how progressive doctrine can by itself nullify the rule of law. In the new West, breaking statutes is backed or ignored by the state if it is branded with race, class, or gender advocacy. By that I mean that if a solitary U.S. citizen seeks to leave and then reenter America without a passport, he will likely be either arrested or turned back, whereas if an illegal alien manages to cross our border, he is unlikely to be sent back as long as he has claims on victimhood of the type that are sanctioned by the Western liberal state. Do we really enjoy free speech in the West any more? If you think we do, try to use vocabulary that is precise and not pejorative, but does not serve the current engine of social advocacy — terms such as “Islamic terrorist,” “illegal alien,” or “transvestite.” I doubt that a writer for a major newspaper or a politician could use those terms, which were common currency just four or five years ago, without incurring, privately or publicly, the sort of censure that we might associate with the thought police of the former Soviet Union.
Ross Douthat of the New York Times weighs in on the win loss scoreboard of the Synod:
Nobody, of course, because there weren’t two “sides” or camps or (heaven help us) factions or anything so nasty as all that. It was all a dialogue, a moment of encounter and discernment, an opening to the Holy Spirit that set the Roman Catholic Church free to be church in a new way for the third millennium. It was a beginning, an overture, the first chapter in a neverending story, the first step on a permanent journey, because we are all sojourners together. So nobody won, because really everybody won.
As Saint Athanasius would say, LOL. No, look, what actually happened is that conservatives won what was probably the closest thing to victory that they could have hoped for, given that 1) the pope was against them, and 2) the pope stacked the governing and writing committees and the voting ranks, and did I mention that 3) the pope was against them. (People who still argue that Pope Francis was studiously neutral, that he just wanted dialogue, or that his views are unknowable, need to sit down and read the tongue-lashing he gave to conservatives in his closing address — and contrast it with the much more evenhanded way he closed last fall’s synod, when conservative resistance to the synod’s intended direction was much more disorganized.) Which is to say they produced a document that used unfashionable words like “indissoluble” to talk about marriage, that mostly avoided the subject of homosexuality, and that offered a few dense, occasionally-ambiguous, slightly-impenetrable paragraphs on welcoming and accompanying divorced and remarried Catholics without offering either a path to communion absent an annulment or proposing to devolve that question to national bishops conferences, as the German bishops and the rest of the progressive caucus at the synod clearly wished.
So the journalists covering the synod document as a setback for the innovators (and, because he elevated them, the pontiff) are mostly correct, given their ambitions going in. But so, in a certain way, are the journalists covering it as a kind of cracked-door to innovation, because the conservatives didn’t have the votes or the power to keep every ambiguity at bay. The most straightforward reading of the synod text supports the first interpretation, for the reasons that (among others) George Weigel and Robert Royal lay out: There is no abrogation of the ancient ban on communion for the remarried, and plenty of phrasings that indicate that ban is still in force. But at the same time, as Royal also notes, the text is not as plain as the document it quotes, John Paul II’s Familiaris Consortio, and it spends so much time talking about discernment and individual cases that it seems to sometimes come “right up to the edge” of communion for the remarried, as Royal puts it, without “crossing over into it in so many words.” Continue Reading
Edward Pentin at National Catholic Register has the opinion of Cardinal Burke in regard to paragraphs 84-86 of the final report of the Synod:
“The entire document requires a careful study, in order to understand exactly what counsel it is offering to the Roman Pontiff, in accord with the nature of the Synod of Bishops, “in the preservation and growth of faith and morals and in the observance and strengthening of ecclesiastical discipline” (can. 342). The section entitled “Discernment and Integration” (paragraphs 84-86) is, however, of immediate concern, because of its lack of clarity in a fundamental matter of the faith: the indissolubility of the marriage bond which both reason and faith teach all men.
First of all, the term, integration, is a mundane term which is theologically ambiguous. I do not see how it can be “the key of pastoral accompaniment of those in irregular matrimonial unions.” The interpretative key of their pastoral care must be the communion founded on the truth of marriage in Christ which must be honored and practiced, even if one of parties of the marriage has been abandoned through the sin of the other party. The grace of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony strengthens the abandoned spouse to live faithfully the marriage bond, continuing to seek the salvation of the partner who has abandoned the marriage union. I have known, since my childhood, and continue to meet faithful Catholics whose marriages have, in some way, been broken, but who, believing in the grace of the Sacrament, continue to live in fidelity to their marriage. They look to the Church for that accompaniment which helps them to remain faithful to the truth of Christ in their lives.
Second, the quotation from no. 84 of Familaris Consortio is misleading. At the time of the 1980 Synod of Bishops on the Family, as throughout the history of the Church, there has always been pressure to admit divorce because of the painful situations of those in irregular unions, that is, those whose lives are not in accord with the truth of Christ on marriage, as He clearly announced it in the Gospels (Mt 19, 3-12; Mk 10, 2-12). While, in no. 84, Pope Saint John Paul II acknowledges the different situations of those who are living in an irregular union and urges pastors and the whole community to help them as true brothers and sisters in Christ by virtue of Baptism, he concludes: “However, the Church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon Sacred Scripture, of not admitting to Eucharistic Communion divorced persons who have remarried.” He then recalls the reason for the practice: “the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified and effected by the Eucharist.” He also rightly notes that a different practice would lead the faithful “into error and confusion regarding the Church’s teaching about the indissolubility of marriage.”
Thirdly, the citation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (no. 1735) regarding imputability must be interpreted in terms of the freedom “which makes man responsible for his acts to the extent that they are voluntary” (CCC, no. 1734). The exclusion of those in irregular matrimonial unions from the Sacraments does not constitute a judgment about their responsibility for the breakdown of the matrimonial bond to which they are bound. It is rather the objective recognition of the bond. The Declaration of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts of June 24, 2000, which is also cited is in complete accord with the constant teaching and practice of the Church in the matter, citing no. 84 of Familiaris Consortio. That Declaration also makes clear the finality of the conversation with a priest in the internal forum, that is, in the words of Pope Saint John Paul II, “a way of life that is no longer in contradiction to the indissolubility of marriage” (Familiaris Consortio, no. 84). The Church’s discipline provides ongoing pastoral assistance for those in irregular unions who “for serious reasons such as for example the children’s upbringing, …cannot satisfy the obligation to separate,” so that they may live chastely in fidelity to the truth of Christ (Familiaris Consortio, no. 84).” Continue Reading
I had not intended this for publication but a recent attempt by criminals to subject one of my computers to ransomware has caused me to publish this to give it “internet immortality”. These are facts about my son Larry that I wrote down in the days, weeks and months after his death on May 19, 2013 as an aid to my memory as the years rolled by. The list is given as written with no attempts to edit, especially in regard to facts which may be repeated.
Not for publication, but to preserve in Don’s memory facts about his son Larry.
Facts about Larry McClarey:
1. He cried when he was baptized which Father Iserman advised his parents indicated, according to the Poles, that he would have a long life. (The crying was probably because he had a poopie diaper.)
2. Larry was the first of the boys to get out of the crib, by leaning over the top of the crib and doing a slow motion fall.
3. Before he could walk Larry would “porpoise” on his back across the floor.
4. The first word Larry spoke was “Ozmobile” in reference to our green focus wagon. The first phrase he spoke was “Great Dinosaur Atlas” one of his favorite books.
5. Larry loved the book Animals in Winter to be read to him as a toddler.
6. The first book Larry read by himself by sounding out words was a story in the phonics book, A Pig Can Jig, Wag the Dog. Larry was tickled by Wag. that bad dog.
7. Larry was a slow talker due to his autism, and learning to read actually helped Larry become a more voluble speaker.
8. Larry as a youngster had a lovely singing voice and could sing more clearly, and readily, than he could talk. The desire to sing deserted him as he entered puberty.
9. Larry would kick off his shoes on the stairs leading down to the basement, allowing them to fall where they would. His Dad constantly had him pick up his shoes. His Dad wishes, with all his heart, that he could hear the clattering of Larry’s shoes just one more time.
10. Larry early appreciated music, especially anything with a strong rhythm. He loved the score of Evita, a favorite of his parents, his entire life. He was terrified of the bowflex commercial as a youngster, perhaps because of the deep voice of the announcer. Larry was scared of the deep voice of Darth Vader as a youngster. Continue Reading
I had not intended this for publication, but a recent attempt by criminals to subject one of my computers to ransomware has caused me to give this internet “immortality” by publishing it here. Those who wish to may conclude that these “sightings” are the product of the mind of a Father crushed by grief. Faithful readers of this blog, who know how I attempt to adhere to facts when writing about History and the Law, may decide that I am being truthful when I state that what is written below is a purely factual account. I will update this in the future as necessary.
1. Toilet paper on floor next to toilet bowl in upstairs bathroom on May 21, 2013. (Larry in life was in the habit of constantly putting a length of toilet paper on the floor at the right side of the toilet bowl in the upstairs bathroom, where the lengths of toilet paper have been found since his death. Each time one has been found since the date of his death on May 19, 2013, the other members of the family have denied putting it there.)
2. Larry’s grandmother reported unexplained chimes at night in her house beginning the evening of May 18-19, 2013.
3. A glove that looked like one of Larry’s was found in the new car of his Grandmother on May 26, 2013 right before she was returning to Kenosha. Larry had never been in the car.
4. Toilet paper on floor next to toilet bowl in upstairs bathroom on June 1, 2013. Continue Reading
It is your duty to to fix the lines (of doctrine) clearly in your minds: and if you wish to go beyond them you must change your profession. This is your duty not specially as Christians or as priests but as honest men. There is a danger here of the clergy developing a special professional conscience which obscures the very plain moral issue. Men who have passed beyond these boundary lines in either direction are apt to protest that they have come by their unorthodox opinions honestly. In defense of those opinions they are prepared to suffer obloquy and to forfeit professional advancement. They thus come to feel like martyrs. But this simply misses the point which so gravely scandalizes the layman. We never doubted that the unorthodox opinions were honestly held: what we complain of is your continuing in your ministry after you have come to hold them. We always knew that a man who makes his living as a paid agent of the Conservative Party may honestly change his views and honestly become a Communist. What we deny is that he can honestly continue to be a Conservative agent and to receive money from one party while he supports the policy of the other.
CS Lewis, Easter 1945
At The Stream John Zmirak has a complaint lodged against CS Lewis:
I have a bone to pick with C.S. Lewis. Yes, of course the man was a fine writer and his work has taught countless readers how to love God better. But as an author, he proved a little careless in completing his novels. Instead of sealing them up tight when he was finished with them so we could safely enjoy them without side-effects, Lewis apparently left the bolts unscrewed, and now the characters are escaping into the real world.
I am sure Lewis never intended this, but it is happening, and something must be done, if only to avoid poisoning interfaith relations. I’m not speaking of The Screwtape Letters; the devils we have had always with us. No, I’m talking about the third book in his space trilogy, That Hideous Strength.
The first escapee was Lewis’s liberation theologian, Reverend Straik — whom readers will recall for his stark, this-worldly, radical creed. Straik denounced the historic, really-existing Christian church as the subterfuge by which the World, the organization and body of Death, has sidetracked and emasculated the teaching of Jesus, and turned into priestcraft and mysticism the plain demand of the Lord for righteousness and judgment here and now.
The Kingdom of God is to be realized here — in this world. And it will be. At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow. In that name I dissociate myself completely from all the organized religion that has yet been seen in the world.
It is the saints who are going to inherit the earth — here in England, perhaps in the next twelve months — the saints and no one else. Know you not that we shall judge angels? . . . The real resurrection is even now taking place. The real life everlasting. Here in this world. You will see it.
I was sobered to learn that Reverend Straik had eluded Lewis’s safeguards, slipped into the real world, and taken up residence in Honduras, under the nom de guerre “Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga.” In his prominent role as one of nine cardinals chosen to reform the Catholic church, Maradiaga has been increasingly outspoken about the need to reject that Church’s historical legacy and start again from scratch. As he said in a famous address in Dallas: “With the New Evangelization we restart (start anew) from the beginning: we once more become the Church as proclaimer, servant, and Samaritan.” Continue Reading
PopeWatch is used to looking for loopholes. A source for Father Z looks at what was wrought by the Synod and is concerned that the Kasper proposal to give communion to Catholics in adulterous marriages has been enacted by the backdoor:j
Here we go…
>First, my source supplies his own (accurate) rendering into English of the controversial paragraphs of the Final Report. Here it is:
Synod of Bishops, Final Report, 24 October 2015
84 The baptized who are civilly divorced and remarried should be more integrated into Christian communities in different possible ways, avoiding thereby every occasion of scandal. The logic of integration is the key to their pastoral accompaniment, so that they not only know that they belong to the Body of Christ, which is the Church, but they can also have a joyous and fruitful experience of it. They are baptized, they are brothers and sister, the Holy Spirit bestows upon them gifts and charisms for the good of all. Their participation can be expressed in different ecclesial services: it is therefore necessary to discern which forms of exclusion that are currently in practice in the areas of liturgical, pastoral, educative, and official responsibilities can be eliminated. These individuals not only must not feel themselves to be excommunicated, they should be able to live and grow as living members of the Church, feeling Her as a mother who accompanies them always, who cares for them with affection and encourages them along the way of life and the Gospel. This integration is necessary also for the care and Christian education of their children who should be considered the most important of all. For the Christian community, taking care of these individuals is not a weakening of their faith and of the witness of the indissolubility of marriage; rather, the Church expresses its charity in just this care.
85. St John Paul II offered a comprehensive criterion that remains the basis for the assessment (valutazione) of these situations [civilly divorced and remarried Catholics]. “Pastors must know that, for the sake of truth, they are obliged to exercise careful discernment of situations. There is in fact a difference between those who have sincerely tried to save their first marriage and have been unjustly abandoned, and those who through their own grave fault have destroyed a canonically valid marriage. Finally, there are those who have entered into a second union for the sake of the children’s upbringing, and who are sometimes subjectively certain in conscience that their previous and irreparably destroyed marriage had never been valid.” (Familiaris Consortio, 84). It is therefore the responsibility of priests to accompany such persons on the way of discernment according to the teaching of the Church and the directives (orientamenti) of the Bishop. In this process it will be useful to make an examination of conscience through moments of reflection and repentance. The divorced and remarried should ask themselves how they behaved toward their children when their marriage entered a crisis; if there have been efforts at reconciliation; what is the situation of the abandoned partner; what are the consequences of the new relationship on the rest of the family and on the community of the faithful; what example this new relationship offers the young persons who must prepare for matrimony. A sincere reflection can strengthen confidence in the mercy of God that is not denied to anyone.
Furthermore, it cannot be denied that in certain circumstances “the imputability and responsibility of an action can be diminished or nullified” (CCC 1735) on account of diverse constraints (condizionamenti). As a consequence, the judgment about an objective situation must not be carried over to a judgment about “subjective imputability” (Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, Declaration of 24 June 2000, n. 2a). In defined circumstances people experience great difficulty in acting in a different way. For this reason, in addition to upholding a general norm, it is necessary to recognize that the responsibility with respect to certain defined actions or decisions is not the same in all cases. Pastoral discernment, in addition to taking into account the rightly formed conscience of individuals, must also take these situations into account. Moreover, the consequences of actions carried out are not necessarily the same in all cases.
86. The pathway of accompaniment and discernment leads these faithful to conscientiously reflect on their situation before God. A conversation with a priest, in the internal forum, leads to the formation of correct judgment concerning that which bars the possibility of a fuller participation in the life of the Church and on those steps that may favor it and enable it to grow. Given that there is no graduality in the law (cf. Familiaris Consortio 34), this discernment can never be detached from the exigencies of truth and the charity of the Gospel proposed by the Church. In order that this may happen, the necessary conditions of humility, confidentiality, love for the Church and its teachings must be guaranteed in the sincere search for the will of God and in the desire to arrive at a more perfect response to it.
That’s my source’s translation of the controversial paragraphs. Anything wrong? See anything?
Now for some of his edited analysis (which right now I can’t much improve on, but I can add emphases and comments):
The Synod Final Report was approved in its entirely by a “qualified majority” (2/3 of the voting members of the Synod).
I have translated into English Sections 84-86 which concern the pastoral care of the civilly divorced and remarried. A little while ago, Edward Pentin tweeted that these sections just squeaked by with the necessary two-thirds majority. [NB] Pentin added that without the 45 members of the Synod personally appointed by the Pope these sections would not have received the qualified majority. This means that it was the Pope’s personal appointees who secured the necessary margin of victory.
When you look at my translation (done quickly), you will see that I have highlighted certain words and sentences in yellow. [I made those GREEN to be legible.] These are the words and phrases that in my view the German-led liberals wanted. The terms and phrases highlighted in blue represent those terms that I think represent the conservatives. So you’ll see just how much of these sections I think came from the Germans and their allies.
If you look at #85 you will see a block quotation from84 that states that not every party in a divorce is as guilty for it as are other parties may be. This quote suggests that pastors should make distinctions concerning the relative culpability of the civilly divorced and remarried. [NB] HOWEVER, this section left out that part of FC 84 which stated that those who are civilly divorced and remarried must practice sexual continence in order to be admitted to the sacraments of penance and Holy Communion. Again, that part of FC 84 was excluded from #85 of the Final Report.
EWTN reported that the Americans argued that the omitted section should be included, but it wasn’t added in the end.
[IF] If the Pope decides to publish this section of the Final Report in whatever document he issues, and if he, too, leaves out that section of FC 84 that bars civilly divorced and remarried from Communion, then this section will become magisterial teaching. [Get it?] Will that mean that the civilly divorced and remarried can be admitted to Holy Communion without promising to live “as brother and sister”? In my view, …without the benefit of much time for reflection, it could very well mean that. IN OTHER WORDS the Kasper Proposal has come into the Final Report through the back door.
Thus endeth the analysis. Continue Reading
Joan was a being so uplifted from the ordinary run of mankind that she finds no equal in a thousand years. She embodied the natural goodness and valour of the human race in unexampled perfection. Unconquerable courage, infinite compassion, the virtue of the simple, the wisdom of the just, shone forth in her. She glorifies as she freed the soil from which she sprang.
Sir Winston Churchill
By the death of King Henry V in 1422 it seemed as if the English had succeeded in conquering France. Then God chose otherwise. Three years old at the time of Agincourt, by the time of the end of her short life on May 30, 1431, Joan of Arc had set in motion forces that would result in the utter defeat of the English. She transformed a squalid dynastic squabble into a crusade for the French. One of the examples of the direct intervention of God in human affairs, the brief history altering life of Saint Joan of Arc has attracted the admiration of the most unlikely of men, including the Protestant Sir Winston Churchill, and the agnostic Mark Twain who called his book on Joan of Arc the finest thing he ever wrote. She was not canonized until 1920, but almost all of her contemporaries who met her had no doubt that she was a saint sent by God. Some of the English who were present as she was burned at the stake cried out that they were all damned because she was a saint. Jean Tressard, the Treasurer of Henry VI, King of England, wrote the following soon after the execution of Joan: ”We are all lost for it is a good and holy woman that has been burned. I believe her soul is in the hands of God, and I believe damned all who joined in her condemnation”. With Saint Joan humanity came into contact with a messenger from God, and the result to her was as predictable as it was lamentable. However, the outcome of her mission was exactly as she had predicted. The weak Dauphin that she had crowned would reign as Charles VII and end the Hundred Years War in victory for France, something that none of his contemporaries thought remotely possible before Joan embarked on her mission. With courage and faith she altered the course of the history of France and of all the world.
On January 26, 2011 Pope Benedict spoke of Saint Joan: Continue Reading
Hung be the heavens with black, yield day to night!
Comets, importing change of times and states,
Brandish your crystal tresses in the sky,
And with them scourge the bad revolting stars
That have consented unto Henry’s death!
King Henry the Fifth, too famous to live long!
England ne’er lost a king of so much worth.
John Lancaster, Duke of Bedford, Henry VI, Act 1, Scene 1
Henry was too famous to live long? In any event, he did not. At the age of 35, during his siege of Meaux, he contracted dysentery, always the greatest killer of soldiers before the last century. He lingered for three weeks before dying in the small hours before dawn of September 1, 1422. By the standards of his devout age he was judged quite pious in his observation of the Faith. He was liberal in his alms to the poor and ever gave an attentive ear to the cries for justice of the weak.
He had suppressed Lollardy, his age doubtless viewing the concept of freedom of religion as strange as we would someone asserting a freedom to sell tainted milk or moldy bread. The overwhelming majority of people in Western Europe were Catholic, which they were certain was the True Faith. Anyone trying to promulgate another version of Christianity was regarded by those same people as a dangerous purveyor of false and dangerous beliefs that would lead people to Hell.
On his deathbed he expressed only one regret, that he had not achieved his life’s goal of leading a Crusade to redeem Jerusalem. Continue Reading
The Saint Crispin’s speech gets most of the attention in Henry V, but I also always admired the “unto the breach” speech. The performance of it by Jamie Parker, love his interaction with the audience, is the way the speech should be delivered: a full throated rallying cry:
Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead!
In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man,
As modest stillness and humility;
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger:
Stiffen the sinews, conjure up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favoured rage:
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let it pry through the portage of the head,
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o’erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O’erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill’d with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide;
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
To his full height. On, on, you noblest English,
Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof!
Fathers that, like so many Alexanders,
Have in these parts from morn till even fought,
And sheathed their swords for lack of argument.
Dishonour not your mothers: now attest,
That those whom you call’d fathers did beget you.
Be copy now to men of grosser blood,
And teach them how to war. And you, good yeoman,
Whose limbs were made in England, show us here
The mettle of your pasture: let us swear
That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not;
For there is none of you so mean and base,
That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game’s afoot:
Follow your spirit; and upon this charge,
Cry ‘God for Harry! England! and Saint George!’
When she was fifteen Jane Austen wrote a satirical history of England. Here is her passage on Henry V and his son:
This Prince after he succeeded to the throne grew quite reformed and amiable, forsaking all his dissipated Companions, & never thrashing Sir William again. During his reign, Lord Cobham was burnt alive, but I forget what for. His Majesty then turned his thoughts to France, where he went & fought the famous Battle of Agincourt. He afterwards married the King’s daughter Catherine, a very agreeable Woman by Shakespear’s account. Inspite of all this however, he died, and was succeeded by his son Henry.
I cannot say much for this Monarch’s sense. Nor would I if I could, for he was a Lancastrian. I suppose you know all about the Wars between him & the Duke of York who was of the right side; if you do not, you had better read some other History, for I shall not be very diffuse in this, meaning by it only to vent my Spleen against, & shew my Hatred to all those people whose parties or principles do not suit with mine, & not to give information. This King married Margaret of Anjou, a Woman whose distresses & misfortunes were so great as almost to make me who hate her, pity her. It was in this reign that Joan of Arc lived & made such a row among the English. They should not have burnt her – but they did. Continue Reading
Go here to take a quiz about the Hundred Years War. I am ashamed to say that I only got seven out of ten right. (Don hangs his head.) My bride got 8 out of 10. Back to the books for me!
After six centuries one would think that nothing about the Agincourt campaign could still be “news”, but a discovery just this month demonstrates that this assumption would be erroneous:
The wreck of Henry V’s warship the Holigost has been found buried deep in the mud of a Hampshire river after being lost for hundreds of years.
The flagship of the Duke of Bedford was the second of four ‘great ships’ built for Henry’s campaign against the French in the Hundred Years War, and joined the fleet just a month after the Battle of Agincourt in 1415.
It was spotted by historian Dr Ian Friel while studying aerial pictures of a medieval breaker’s yard at Burseldon on the River Hamble where Henry’s own flagship The Grace Dieu had been found in the 1930s. A subsequent search through records from the time revealed that the Holigost had indeed been laid up at the site.
Now Historic England is to launch a large scale archaeological investigation into the warship which played a crucial role in two battles which broke French naval power and enabled Henry to conquer France in the early 15th century.
Five hundred years ago Henry V and his army won an amazing victory over a French army that heavily outnumbered his. Shakespeare in deathless language has ensured that this victory will be indeed remembered until the ending of the world. It was a brilliant victory, but was it won in a just cause?
In answering the question we must first examine how the formulation of the Just War doctrine has changed from the time of Henry V to our time.
Over the centuries the precise content of the just war doctrine has varied. The classic definition of it by Saint Thomas Aquinas is set forth in Part II, Question 40 of his Summa Theologica:
“I answer that, In order for a war to be just, three things are necessary. First, the authority of the sovereign by whose command the war is to be waged. For it is not the business of a private individual to declare war, because he can seek for redress of his rights from the tribunal of his superior. Moreover it is not the business of a private individual to summon together the people, which has to be done in wartime. And as the care of the common weal is committed to those who are in authority, it is their business to watch over the common weal of the city, kingdom or province subject to them. And just as it is lawful for them to have recourse to the sword in defending that common weal against internal disturbances, when they punish evil-doers, according to the words of the Apostle (Rm. 13:4): “He beareth not the sword in vain: for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath upon him that doth evil”; so too, it is their business to have recourse to the sword of war in defending the common weal against external enemies. Hence it is said to those who are in authority (Ps. 81:4): “Rescue the poor: and deliver the needy out of the hand of the sinner”; and for this reason Augustine says (Contra Faust. xxii, 75): “The natural order conducive to peace among mortals demands that the power to declare and counsel war should be in the hands of those who hold the supreme authority.”
Thirdly, it is necessary that the belligerents should have a rightful intention, so that they intend the advancement of good, or the avoidance of evil. Hence Augustine says (De Verb. Dom. [*The words quoted are to be found not in St. Augustine’s works, but Can. Apud. Caus. xxiii, qu. 1]): “True religion looks upon as peaceful those wars that are waged not for motives of aggrandizement, or cruelty, but with the object of securing peace, of punishing evil-doers, and of uplifting the good.” For it may happen that the war is declared by the legitimate authority, and for a just cause, and yet be rendered unlawful through a wicked intention. Hence Augustine says (Contra Faust. xxii, 74): “The passion for inflicting harm, the cruel thirst for vengeance, an unpacific and relentless spirit, the fever of revolt, the lust of power, and such like things, all these are rightly condemned in war.” Continue Reading
Courage, memory and love are powerful motivators, and this speech is a reminder of just how powerful:
It has been quite some time since the Church has had a pope as small-minded, vindictive and vengeful as the “Pope of mercy”, Pope Francis. In his closing address to the Synod he took several swipes at those who fought his rigging of the process:
It was also about laying closed hearts, which bare the closed hearts which frequently hide even behind the Church’s teachings or good intentions, in order to sit in the chair of Moses and judge, sometimes with superiority and superficiality, difficult cases and wounded families.
It was about making clear that the Church is a Church of the poor in spirit and of sinners seeking forgiveness, not simply of the righteous and the holy, but rather of those who are righteous and holy precisely when they feel themselves poor sinners.
It was about trying to open up broader horizons, rising above conspiracy theories and blinkered viewpoints, so as to defend and spread the freedom of the children of God, and to transmit the beauty of Christian Newness, at times encrusted in a language which is archaic or simply incomprehensible.
In the course of this Synod, the different opinions which were freely expressed – and at times, unfortunately, not in entirely well-meaning ways – certainly led to a rich and lively dialogue; they offered a vivid image of a Church which does not simply “rubberstamp”, but draws from the sources of her faith living waters to refresh parched hearts. Continue Reading
From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:
Just days after Pope Francis called for a “healthy decentralization” of power in the Catholic Church, Bishops at the Synod have now announced that they are calling for a “healthy decentralization” of power in their dioceses, giving more decision-making authority for local pastors.
Cardinal Walter Kasper told those gathered that the type of collegiality envisioned by the Second Vatican Council still had not been achieved, and that it was not too late for pastors themselves to decentralize their own authority, and to give more decision-making authority to their parishioners.
“Pastors and even parishioners should have more authority to make decisions affecting themselves rather than always looking to the Catechism of the Catholic Church or Canon Law for a centralized decision that has to fit all,” he said.
“I feel the need to move ahead with a healthy decentralization of our parish and to allow every parishioner his or her own authority to make decisions so you don’t always have to look to me for an answer,” Hayes wrote on the parish website. “Do what you will, knowing in full confidence that your own conscience is your Vatican. I hereby elect every one of you Pope. Habemus A Lot Of Papam, or whatever the plural is for papam.”
As the synod enters its final days, bishops will produce a final paper that the pope may use to write his own authoritative document on the issues, wherein Francis will reportedly remind bishops that they can ignore the letter altogether if they wish because of the decentralization of authority. Continue Reading
Something for the weekend. Agincourt Carol. Tomorrow is the 600th anniversary of the battle of Agincourt. You can always tell what is important to the population of a pre-literate society such as England in the 15th century by their songs. Henry V and his underdog victory against the French were immensely popular with the balladeers of the day and they were instrumental in keeping that victory as a valued part of English history as the years rolled by. Continue Reading
No Catholic blogger writes better on the traditional teaching of the Church regarding the death penalty than Tom McKenna, my worthy adversary on this blog on many a joust over the Confederacy. In a post on October 22, 2015 he masterfully addresses Mark Shea who has become hysterical, (what a surprise !), in his anti-death penalty rantings:
On Shea’s blog, another attack on Sacred Tradition and a confusing conflation of arguments. The first thing bothering Shea this time is that death penalty proponents supposedly place too much weight on the words of Dismas, the Good Thief, related in this passage from Luke 23:
And one of those robbers who were hanged, blasphemed him, saying: If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering, rebuked him, saying: Neither dost thou fear God, seeing thou art condemned under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this man hath done no evil. And he said to Jesus: Lord, remember me when thou shalt come into thy kingdom. And Jesus said to him: Amen I say to thee, this day thou shalt be with me in paradise.
Now, I don’t know anyone who hangs their hat on this passage alone, or even as a mainstay of the obvious and overwhelming approval of the death penalty in Scripture. It is, however, one more place in Sacred Scripture where the death penalty is either merely assumed to be moral or expressly stated to be so.
It’s significant, if not decisive, that St. Luke added this detail, and did not record any rebuke of Our Lord to the Thief’s claim that the two criminals were being justly executed. In fact, the Lord right after the Thief’s statement assures him of Paradise.
And after all, when God Himself says in Genesis,
Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for God made man in his own image
it’s pretty clear that He approves of the death penalty precisely because of the inherent dignity of man (almost the direct opposite conclusion drawn by our contemporary clerical class, which argues, against Scripture, that the dignity of man means that the death penalty is immoral).
And while Shea smears those who cite this passage of Scripture in Genesis as “quot[ing] Scripture like a fundamentalist,” he may not realize that he is smearing folks like Cardinal Avery Dulles, not a noted fundamentalist as far as I know, and a man whose education, erudition, and judgment I certainly find more convincing than Shea’s. Continue Reading
From the latest report of Edward Pentin at the National Catholic Register about the Synod:
The report was published as Cardinal Kasper’s proposal appeared to be dead in the water among the majority of the synod fathers. Most of the small groups either were clearly unfavorable towards it or did not mention it.
Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki, president of the Polish bishops’ conference, said there was “not one word” about the issue in his small group. The French Catholic newspaper La Croix reported that only one in four of the synod fathers were now in favor.
The draft relatio finalis will be presented later today to the synod fathers who will be able to request amendments tomorrow. The synod secretariat will present the final text in Italian on Saturday morning (with an interpreter giving a live translation), and it will be voted upon, paragraph by paragraph, on Saturday afternoon, with all paragraphs requiring a two-thirds vote of approval from the synod fathers.
I think we can whip them in Alabama and it may be Georgia, but the Devils seem to have a determination that cannot but be admired. No amount of poverty or adversity seems to shake their faith. Slaves gone, wealth & luxury gone, money worthless, starvation in view within a period of two or three years, are Causes enough to make the bravest tremble, yet I see no signs of let up. Some few deserters are plenty tired of war, but the masses determined to fight it out.
Sherman pays a tribute to the Confederates in a letter dated to his wife March 12, 1864
Something that has been bothering me long before the current Pontificate is what I call Loose Leaf Binder Catholicism. This form of Catholicism consists of giving ready assent to everything that the current Pope says or does even if it conflicts with traditional teaching. If such is pointed out, advocates of Loose Leaf Binder Catholicism usually pretend that there is no change. Down the memory hole could be a chant for Loose Leaf Binder Catholicism as its acolytes feign amnesia to the fact that the Church has a 2000 year history and a magisterium that consists of more than the thoughts of the current Pope. Catholicism prior to the present does not seem to matter to the adherents of Loose Leaf Binder Catholicism. When a new Pope with new views takes office and has positions that conflict with his immediate predecessor, Loose Leaf Binder Catholics simply tear out the old pages of Loose Leaf Binder Catholic teaching and insert new pages, all the while pretending that nothing has changed. Father John Hunwicke gives a suitable response to Loose Leaf Binder Catholicism at his blog:
Some Cardinal called Wuerl has said “There are always people who are unhappy about what is going on in the Church, but the touchstone of authentic Catholicism is adherence to the teaching of the Pope”. Sounds good; sounds obvious. But ….
Note that he says, not popes, but pope. So he must mean just the Pope, the present Pope, the pope-for-the-time-being. And note that he can’t just mean “the ex cathedra teaching of the Pope”, because in that case his words would mean nothing since Bergoglio has defined nothing and it is questionable, to put it mildly, whether Evangelii gaudium and Laudato si are in any sense Magisterial.
So, when a pontificate follows a pontificate, this strange man clears his mind of the teaching of all the previous popes (except possibly when ex cathedra), so as to have a tabula rasa upon which to inscribe whatever idiosyncrasies and obiter opinions the new pope turns out to possess. And this is what he is recommending to the rest of us. Have I got that right?
I find myself wondering how these rabid ultra-extreme fundamentalist papalists imagine their pronouncements must sound to non-Catholics. Do they seriously imagine that Lutherans, Anglicans, Orthodox are likely to be attracted to the idea of a Papacy in which every whimsy of the current occupant of the See of S Peter has to be swallowed without question, otherwise one has abandoned the ‘touchstone’ of ‘authentic’ doctrine? Furthermore: one of the Anglophone circuli reported that ‘one bishop’ claimed that “the pope can, in effect, twist the hands of God”. Oh yeah? Have you tried that crazy idea out on your local Presbyterians and Baptists? And are you absolutely sure you would still believe it yourself if some future ultra-regressive pope started ‘binding’ all sorts of things you yourself didn’t think ought to be bound?
Do these dubious papal extremists have no respect for the Scriptures, the Fathers, the Creeds, the Councils, the Tradition, the (plural) Popes? Are they completely indifferent to our partners in ecumenical dialogue?
Would it be cynical to suspect that the Wuerl Dogma is a convenient and plausible mantra to shout from the rooftops so as to shut other people up when one agrees with a pope, but a principle one quietly buries if one doesn’t? Continue Reading
Does the Pope have a brain tumor?
VATICAN CITY — The Vatican on Wednesday categorically denied a report in an Italian newspaper that Pope Francis has a small, curable brain tumor, saying he is in good health and that his head is “absolutely perfect.”
The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said the report Wednesday in the National Daily was “completely unfounded and seriously irresponsible and not worthy of attention.”
Citing unnamed nursing sources, the National Daily said the 78-year-old pope had traveled by helicopter to the San Rossore di Barbaricina clinic near Pisa in recent months to see a Japanese brain cancer specialist, Dr. Takanori Fukishima. The newspaper said the doctor determined that the small dark spot on Francis’ brain could be treated without surgery.
In subsequent versions, the paper reported that Fukishima had instead come to the Vatican to see the pope in a Vatican helicopter. The ANSA news agency, citing unnamed sources in Pisa, said the trip was in January and that Fukishima had traveled by helicopter to the Vatican to diagnose the pope.
Lombardi categorically denied the reports to reporters Wednesday, and said he was doing so after having spoken to the pope himself about them. He said no Japanese doctor had visited the pope, no tests of the type described in the paper had been performed and that no helicopters had landed in the Vatican from the outside.
“I can confirm that the pope is in good health,” Lombardi said. “If you were in the piazza this morning you would have seen that as well. And if you go on the trips with him, you know he has a small problem with his legs, but his head is absolutely perfect.”
The newspaper’s editor, Andrea Cangini, said it stood by its story. Subsequent versions of the report said Fukushima had traveled to the Vatican by helicopter and was seen returning to the Pisa clinic in the Vatican’s chopper.
The hospital’s director didn’t respond immediately to a request for comment. Continue Reading
“Some of you laugh to scorn the idea of bloodshed as the result of secession, but let me tell you what is coming….Your fathers and husbands, your sons and brothers, will be herded at the point of the bayonet….You may after the sacrifice of countless millions of treasure and hundreds of thousands of lives, as a bare possibility, win Southern independence…but I doubt it. I tell you that, while I believe with you in the doctrine of state rights, the North is determined to preserve this Union. They are not a fiery, impulsive people as you are, for they live in colder climates. But when they begin to move in a given direction…they move with the steady momentum and perseverance of a mighty avalanche; and what I fear is, they will overwhelm the South. “
Sam Houston, 1861
One hundred and seventy-nine years ago Sam Houston was inaugurated as the first President of the Republic of Texas. This was only one of many roles Houston assumed during his tempestuous life: husband, father, soldier, lawyer, Congressman from Tennessee, Governor of Tennessee, drunk, adopted Cherokee, Major General of the Texas Army, President of the Republic of Texas, Texas Representative, Senator from Texas, but perhaps his greatest role was at the end as Governor of Texas in 1859-1861. As secession fever built in Texas at the end of 1860 he stumped the state vigorously, although he knew it was hopeless, arguing against secession which he viewed as an unmitigated disaster for Texas and the nation.
“To secede from the Union and set up another government would cause war. If you go to war with the United States, you will never conquer her, as she has the money and the men. If she does not whip you by guns, powder, and steel, she will starve you to death. It will take the flower of the country-the young men.” Continue Reading
“When the stock market crashed, Franklin Roosevelt got on the television and didn’t just talk about the, you know, the princes of greed. He said, ‘Look, here’s what happened.’”
Joe Biden, September 22, 2008
Beloved National Clown and Veep has announced that he is not running for President:
Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver asks a very pertinent question in regard to the Synod in an article which appears in the National Catholic Register:
The idea that Catholics should be allowed to remarry and receive communion did not begin with the letter signed by Cardinal Kasper and other members of the German episcopate in 1993. Another country’s episcopate – England’s – pioneered this experiment in Christian doctrine nearly 500 years ago. At stake then was not just whether any Catholic could remarry, but whether the king could, since his wife had not borne him a son.
As with those who advocate for communion for the civilly remarried, the English bishops were uncomfortable with embracing divorce and remarriage outright. Instead, they chose to bend the law to the individual circumstances of the case with which they were confronted, and King Henry VIII was granted an “annulment” — on a fraudulent basis and without the sanction of Rome.
If “heroism is not for the average Christian,” as the German Cardinal Walter Kasper has put it, it certainly wasn’t for the King of England. Instead, issues of personal happiness and the well-being of a country made a strong utilitarian argument for Henry’s divorce. And the King could hardly be bothered to skip communion as the result of an irregular marriage.
England’s Cardinal Wolsey and all the country’s bishops, with the exception of Bishop John Fisher of Rochester, supported the king’s attempt to undo his first – and legitimate – marriage. Like Fisher, Thomas More a layman and the king’s chancellor, also withheld his support. Both were martyred – and later canonized.
In publicly advocating that the king’s marriage was indissoluble, Fisher argued that “this marriage of the king and queen can be dissolved by no power, human or Divine.” For this principle, he said, he was willing to give his life. He continued by noting that John the Baptist saw no way to “die more gloriously than in the cause of marriage,” despite the fact that marriage then “was not so holy at that time as it has now become by the shedding of Christ’s Blood.”
Like Thomas More and John the Baptist, Fisher was beheaded, and like them, he is called “saint.”
At the Synod on the Family taking place right now in Rome, some of the German bishops and their supporters are pushing for the Church to allow those who are both divorced and remarried to receive communion, while other bishops from around the world are insisting that the Church cannot change Christ’s teaching. And this begs a question: Do the German bishops believe that Sts. Thomas More and John Fischer sacrificed their lives in vain? Continue Reading
One of the great fiascos in American military history, the Penobscot Expedition of 1779 has faded into almost complete obscurity.
The British had long wished to form a new colony for displaced Loyalists. What is now the State of Maine seemed perfect for the proposed colony of New Ireland. The forests of the new colony would supply ample naval stores for the Royal Navy, and due to its location it could also serve as a base for raids on New England.
In June of 1779 the British constructed Fort George on a small peninsula jutting into Penobscot Bay. The garrison consisted of 700 regulars: 50 men of the Royal Artillery and Engineers, 450 of the 74th Regiment of (Highland) Foot and 200 of the 82nd (Duke of Hamilton’s) Regiment, all under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Francis McLean.
Massachusetts reacted promptly to this invasion of territory the Bay State claimed. An expedition of 44 ships and 1000 troops, Continental Marines and Massachusetts militia, was rapidly gathered. Lieutenant Colonel Paul Revere commanded the artillery. The expedition arrived at Penobscot Bay on July 25, 1779.
On July 28, 1779 an assault by land was made against Fort George. The Americans incurred casualties of approximately one hundred men but took the heights near the Fort. The high casualties of this day seemed to dampen the enthusiasm of the leaders of the expedition. Brigadier General Solomon Lovell contented himself with besieging the fort, while Commodore Dudley Saltonstall, who would be cashiered from the Continental Navy for his performance during this expedition, refused to close with and destroy the small British fleet off Fort George, despite frequent requests from Lovell that this be done and for Saltonstall to bombard Fort George. Continue Reading
After the uprising of the 17th of June
The Secretary of the Writers’ Union
Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee
Stating that the people
Had forfeited the confidence of the government
And could win it back only
By redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier
In that case for the government
To dissolve the people
And elect another?
Bertolt Brecht’s wry poem The Solution in regard to the suppression by the East German government of the uprising on June 16 and June 17, 1953. In regard to the last two lines, I rather suspect that the powers that be in the Vatican think that is what should be done to Orthodox Catholics, to be replaced by Francis New Catholics.
I only realize what a poor excuse for a Catholic I truly am, when I read about giants of the Faith like Bishop Cosmas Shi Enxiang:
A 94-year-old Chinese bishop who had been imprisoned since Good Friday 2001 has reportedly died, triggering renewed criticism of the Communist Party’s draconian curtailment of religious freedoms.
Relations of Cosmas Shi Enxiang, the underground bishop of Yixian in northeast China, were informed last Friday that he had passed away, according to UCA News, a news agency covering Catholic issues in Asia. No cause was given. He had not been seen in public since he was detained 14 years ago.
“My parents and the bishop’s other siblings are particularly sad,” Shi Chunyan, the bishop’s great niece, told the agency.
“They had been unsuccessfully trying to discover his whereabouts for many years. Now the answer to their questions is that he is dead.”
Bishop Shi, who was originally from Hebei province, was arrested in April 2001 at the Beijing home of his niece and had been held ever since in a “secret location”, according to the report.
The bishop spent around half of his long life in prison or labour camps, the Catholic news agency added.
Instapundit believes this is a parody and I certainly hope so. I am 58 and last went trick or treating in 1969. My mother had a great ghost costume sewn up for me, and my friends and I tromped all over town, having a whale of a good time. In retrospect I look upon it as my fond farewell to my childhood. Continue Reading
“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
Most Catholics are familiar with the what if the Pope does x, y or z game. That game is when a non-Catholic asks a Catholic, “So, the Pope is infallible? What if the Pope does”, and names a hypothetical which is against the teaching of the Church. The usual reaction of a Catholic is to say that couldn’t happen. Based upon the track record of the Church that was a safe, and reassuring, answer. Only a handful of Popes have come close to heresy, and the Church has quickly corrected the situation. Thus most Catholics have not been unduly disturbed by the what if the Pope game. I certainly was not, until the current Pontificate brought that silly anti-Catholic game into terrible reality.
Bad enough that Pope Francis set up a rigged Synod to spit in the face of Christ regarding His teaching as to the indissolubility of marriage. Now, in order to accomplish this by the back door, he has proposed a direct attack on the office of the Pope itself, by allowing various segments of the Church to adopt their own solution to “problems” they confront. How this proposal will play out in practice has been elaborated upon by his boy in Chicago, Archbishop Blasé Cupich, who is eager to allow Catholics in adulterous marriages and unrepentant “partnered” homosexuals to receive the Eucharist, all in the name of the primacy of personal conscience, no matter how ill formed. Under this procedure the concept of sin flies right out the window along with 2000 years of the Church preaching the Gospel of Christ. Thus the Catholic Church becomes the modern Episcopal Church with worse music and less ceremony.
The Laity have a duty, not a right but a duty, to stand up for Catholic orthodoxy when the Clergy fail to do so. Friends, it is time to stand.
Damian Thompson at The Spectator grasps the gravity of the situation and thinks Francis will fail in his effort to reshape the Church: Continue Reading