26

Neo-Pacifism and the Catholic Church

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One of the many maladies afflicting the Church since Vatican II has been neo-pacifism.  Violence is denounced as if it is the problem rather than a manifestation of conflicts that arise from many different causes.  That is why while Jihadis compile an impressive body toll, the reaction of the leaders of the Catholic Church is to cluck non-violence at all and sundry as if that is a reaction that solves anything.  Traditionally the Church has often taken a much more robust attitude towards combating evil, not shying away from armed force when necessary.  That tradition in the Church is as dead as full pews at Mass and full confessionals prior to Mass.  Oakes Spalding at Mahound’s Paradise takes Bishop Barron to task for his embrace of non-violence in the wake of the Paris Massacres:

Now, anyone familiar with Catholic history or Biblical exegesis would realize that Barron’s description of the traditional Christian response to violence and war–while superficially plausible to those with, say, a Cliff Notes exposure to the Bible–is false. The tradition is not pacifist or even “non-violent” when it comes to resisting aggression. In a sense Barron is sketching out a new interpretation of Christian tradition (after 2,000 years)–some sort of out of context melding of the thoughts of the quasi-Baptist Martin Luther King and the quasi-Hindu Mahatma Gandhi (as Mullarkey earlier suggested). In addition casually interchanging the concepts of sin, violence and “dysfunction” (whatever that is) is dangerously misleading, even (dare I say it) heretical.

But let’s leave those precise considerations aside and instead ask these questions: are Bishop Barron’s views on Christianity and violence attractive? Are they persuasive? Do they make, say, a non-Catholic want to become a Catholic? After all, presumably we want to reverse that 6.5:1 statistic. Don’t we?


Bishop Barron wants to be liked by the secular world. Indeed, I would say that is the driving force behind his own apparent intellectual dysfunctions. And if you put it to him politely, I think he might even sort of agree. “But that’s how you evangelize,” you can imagine him saying. “Talk to them on their own terms, without finger wagging.”


Of course, many non-Catholics will applaud. Finally (so goes the response of the applauders), here’s a Catholic who admits it’s all a bit too much to fight for the Catholic faith (or even to non-physically defend it). See, in doing so, he’s admitting what we have said all along, that much of what the Catholic Church has stood for and done over the last 2,000 years has been wrong.


They will applaud. But they won’t become converts. They will patronize Bishop Barron as they would the dim Anglican vicar. But in the end they won’t take him seriously.


If this is evangelism, it’s for those who have an IQ below 80.


Christ took on violence and swallowed it up with his mercy.


If that’s the best argument for Christianity, then Christianity is obviously false. There’s at least as much violence in the world now as there was 2,000 years ago. Christ didn’t vanquish it. Unless the Bishop means, metaphorically or whatever or, you know, in some deeper sense. If that’s the case, then applause. Finally (according to the applauders) Catholicism has been denuded into just another silly and harmless religious affectation.


(Correct answer: Christ vanquished sin, or at least the eternal consequences of sin for those who honestly repent and ask Him to forgive them.)


Respond to violence with non-violence. Violence tends not to work.


Now, again, this is calculated to get applause. But it is also imbecilic. And as much as some will say they believe it, almost no one actually does. Tell it, by the way, to the Holocaust survivors who were liberated by troops and tanks, not Buddhist floral arrangements.  I suppose it might get some of the New Age crowd. Then again, why should the New Age crowd become Catholic when they’re already getting their oatmeal somewhere else?
Continue Reading

6

Bear Growls: What Can a Few Refugees Hurt?

 

 

Our bruin friend at Saint Corbinian’s Bear has unearthed an obscure historical document:

Scene: Canaanite Hebrew Refugee Welcoming Commission Headquarters.
Dramatis Personae: Bazar, a minor functionary; Tukal-Baal, vice chairman.

Bazar — Vice Chairmen Tukal-Baal, there’s something I feel I should bring to your attention.

Tukal-Baal — Will it take long? We have hundreds of thousands of Hebrew refugees on the way. Did you hear that they crossed the Red Sea? Probably thousands lost on over-crowded papyrus rafts. That kind of determination to seek a better life moves me to tears.

Bazar — But there’s a problem, sir.

Tukal-Baal — Problem? What kind of problem?

Bazar — A copy of their holy books fell into our hands. It’s not good.

Tukal-Baal — Not good? Their god will fit in with ours, I’m sure. It’s good that we have their holy books. It will help with our interfaith efforts.

Bazar — Sir, their holy books say they intend to wipe us out, man, woman, child, and livestock. Even our pets.

Tukal-Baal — Wipe us out? That’s ridiculous. I’m sure you’re misreading it. Perhaps there is a symbolic interpretation. They’re refugees for Baal’s sake. All they want is a better life. We owe them that!

Bazar — Listen to this, right from their holy books: When the Lord your God brings you into the land which you are entering to take possession of it, and clears away many nations before you — I’ll skip the list of our neighbors, but include “the Canaanites” — and when the Lord your God gives them over to you, and you defeat them; then you must utterly destroy them; you shall make no covenant with them, and show no mercy to them.” That’s what it says. And may I respectfully again invite your attention to the mention of “Canaanites?” And look, sir. “Utterly destroy them,” right here, and “show no mercy to them,” there. That’s why I said it’s not good. I mean, you can read it right there in their holy books!

Tukal-Baal — And you think a bunch of four-year-old refugees looking for a better life are going to pay any attention to that? Seriously? Our civilization is destined for immortality! They’ll just be assimilated like everyone else.

Bazar — These are the same determined people who broke free of Egyptian slavery, crossed the Red Sea, and spent forty years in the desert, sir. And I’m not so sure they used papyrus boats to get across the Red Sea. It is suspected they used nuclear weapons in the devastating attacks on Sodom and Gomorra centuries ago. These people don’t fool around.

Tukal-Baal — You really believe they’re going to bother chasing down Buster after they’ve slaughtered me and my whole family?

Bazar — They take orders from a reclusive cleric named Moses. Moses has a military lieutenant named Joshua. We know their spies have scouted out our defenses. At best this has terrorism written all over it, if not outright conquest. They are as numerous as the sand of the sea.

Tukal-Baal — That many? Well, all the more reason to stop this nonsense and redouble our welcome efforts! Next you’ll be saying they’ll stamp out Baal worship and impose their god over everyone! [Laughs.] Maybe build a temple in Jerusalem! And why not a king, as well? [Laughs uproariously.] You can’t take these things seriously, Bazar. They’re just pitiful refugees. Put those Hebrew holy books away and attend to your regular duties.

Bazar — Yes, sir. I’m sure you’re right. Continue Reading

6

PopeWatch: Peronists Out

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For the first time since 1999 Argentina has a non-Peronist President:

 

Argentina’s election on Sunday represented the starkest choice the country has faced since the authoritarian era of Juan and Evita Peron began in the 1940s. The seven-point victory of center-right candidate Mauricio Macri may herald a real shift towards more sensible economics and less anti-U.S. policies in Latin America.

 

Defeated Peronist candidate Daniel Scioli was a hand-picked defender of the interventionist economics of his party’s retiring President Christina Fernandez de Kirchner.

 

 

In a recent TV interview, Scioli summed up the differences between him and Macri simply: “I defend the role of the state and he defends the role of the market.” He accused Macri, a leading businessman and mayor of Buenos Aires, of representing policies of “savage capitalism” that would devastate the poor.

 

Argentina’s voters have often fallen for such rhetoric, but not this year. The record of Kirchner and her Peronist party was a disaster and not easily ignored. As The Economist magazine put it:

 

 

Fernández has hoarded power and suppressed dissent. She has bent the central bank to her will, muzzled the government’s statistics institute and bullied the media. She has tried, less successfully, to suborn the independence of the judiciary. . . . The country is in danger of running out of reserves; the budget deficit this year is likely to be 6% of GDP; inflation is estimated at 25%; and growth is absent. Continue Reading

6

Video Clips Worth Watching: Shane v. Jack Wilson

Shane: Yeah, you’ve lived too long. Your kind of days are over.

Ryker: My days! What about yours, gunfighter?

Shane: The difference is I know it.

Ryker: All right. So we’ll all turn in our six-guns to the bartender. We’ll all start hoeing spuds. Is that it?

Shane: Not quite yet. [to Wilson] We haven’t heard from your friend here.

Wilson: I wouldn’t push too far if I were you. Our fight ain’t with you.

Shane: It ain’t with me, Wilson?

Wilson: No it ain’t, Shane.

Ryker: I wouldn’t pull on Wilson, Shane. [to Will Atkey} Will, you’re a witness to this.

Shane: So you’re Jack Wilson.

Wilson: What’s that mean to you, Shane?

Shane: I’ve heard about you.

Wilson: And what’ve you heard, Shane?

Shane: I’ve heard that you’re a low-down Yankee liar.

Shane, 1953

Perhaps the greatest Western ever made, Shane is a snapshot of the West as the old West of cattle barons and gunfighters is coming to an end.  Alan Ladd as the gunfighter Shane realizes his day is done, even as he comes to understand that his attempt to change his life is futile, just as his adversary, cattle baron Rufus Ryker, does not:

 Right? You in the right! Look, Starrett. When I come to this country, you weren’t much older than your boy there. We had rough times, me and other men that are mostly dead now. I got a bad shoulder yet from a Cheyenne arrowhead. We made this country. Found it and we made it. We worked with blood and empty bellies. The cattle we brought in were hazed off by Indians and rustlers. They don’t bother you much anymore because we handled ’em. We made a safe range out of this. Some of us died doin’ it but we made it. And then people move in who’ve never had to rawhide it through the old days. They fence off my range, and fence me off from water. Some of ’em like you plow ditches, take out irrigation water. And so the creek runs dry sometimes and I’ve got to move my stock because of it. And you say we have no right to the range. The men that did the work and ran the risks have no rights? I take you for a fair man, Starrett.

Clashes of right and wrong are morally simple, while clashes of competing rights are more morally complex and Shane does a good job showing this, just as it illustrates that we can do a lot with time in this Vale of Tears, but we can’t freeze it.

Jack Palance as hired killer Jack Wilson had his breakthrough role in this film which was populated with flawless performances, many of the actors and actresses involved giving the best work of their careers to this masterpiece.  If you haven’t seen this film, please remedy this omission as soon as possible. Continue Reading

7

Jesus as the Greatest of Black Swan Events

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The completely unexpected in history has always fascinated me.  Nassim Nicholas Taleb, in his 2007 book The Black Swan, took a look at the impact of events in history for which our prior experiences give us no inkling.  Taleb states three requirements for a Black Swan Event:

First, it is an outlier, as it lies outside the realm of regular expectations, because nothing in the past can convincingly point to its possibility. Second, it carries an extreme ‘impact’. Third, in spite of its outlier status, human nature makes us concoct explanations for its occurrence after the fact, making it explainable and predictable.

Unlike Mr. Taleb I think true Black Swan events, based upon the criteria he sets forth, are rather rare in the history of mankind.  Normally they fall down on the first element.  Taleb, for example, views the fall of the Soviet empire as a Black Swan occurrence.  I disagree in that the dissolution of the great colonial empires of the West had been a salient feature of the post World War II world.  Totalitarian controls allowed the Soviet Union to delay the process, but once the reins were loosened, and the threat of mass violence was no longer on the table, the dissolution came rapidly.

The Coming of Christ into this world is the greatest example of a Black Swan Event that I can think of, and over the remainder of this Advent we will see how looking at the Incarnation through this mental prism can give us a new appreciation of how unlikely, and startling, the impact of Christ on History has been.

Before we do this, let us take a moment to recall to mind the world into which Christ was born. Continue Reading

8

Requiem Mass in D Minor

 

Something for the weekend, Mozart’s Requiem Mass in D Minor, left unfinished by his untimely death. No, composer Antonio Salieri, had no hand in his death, Amadeus being entertainment and not history, although I suspect that both Mozart and Salieri would have agreed that the theme would have made a grand comedic opera: Continue Reading

2

Bob Hope on Thanksgiving: 1950

 

Bob Hope spent many holidays away from his home entertaining the troops, and in this 1950 Thanksgiving message he reminds us of those who stand guard over our nation and often eat their Thanksgiving turkey far from home as a result.  God bless and keep them and their families.

Hope had already been to Korea to entertain the troops, even beating the Marines ashore at Wonsan on the east coast of North Korea!  He would be back to entertain the troops again, continuing his tradition of service that would stretch a half century from World War II to Desert Storm.  Hope was a comedic genius, in his prime perhaps the greatest American stand up comedian.  However, what I remember him for is the true patriotism that caused him, whether a war was popular or unpopular, to endure discomfort and danger to bring a smile to Americans far from home serving their country.  He was born in England, but he might as well have been born in the heart of America on the Fourth of July. Continue Reading

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General Wainwright’s Thanksgiving Prayer

After General Douglas MacArthur, over his fiery objections, was ordered to leave Bataan during the Japanese conquest of the Philippines, Lieutenant General Jonathan Wainwright was left in command, putting up a heroic fight until forced to surrender his starving, diseased ridden force.  Wainwright was the only American general to be captured by the Japanese and he endured the hell on earth that was Japanese prison camps, where some 37% of Allied prisoners died of starvation and the brutality of their captors.  Wainwright insisted on sharing the privation of his men, and risked his life many times to intervene on behalf of his fellow prisoners with their captors.

After he was liberated, he was a walking skeleton.  Douglas MacArthur gave him the signal honor  of featuring prominently in the surrender ceremony by which Imperial Japan capitulated.

After he returned home he was promoted to four star rank and retired to a successful business career.  He received the Medal of Honor as a tribute to the heroic leadership he displayed during the battle for Bataan.  In the fall of 1945 he wrote the following Thanksgiving Prayer: Continue Reading

3

Ben Franklin and the Turkey

After the American Revolution, former American officers in that struggle created a fraternal organization called the Society of Cinncinatus, named after the Roman consul and dictator, a constitutional office of the Roman Republic in emergencies, who saved Rome through his efforts in the fifth century BC and then retired to his humble farm.  The Society selected as its symbol a bald eagle.  In a letter to his daughter Sally Bache on January 26, 1784, no doubt with his tongue placed firmly in his cheek, Dr. Franklin indicated that he thought another bird would have been a better choice.

Others object to the Bald Eagle, as looking too much like a Dindon, or Turkey. For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen as the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly. You may have seen him perch’d on some dead Tree near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk; and when that diligent Bird has at length taken a Fish, and is bearing it to his Nest for the Support of his Mate and young Ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from him. With all this Injustice, he is never in good Case but like those among Men who live by Sharping and Robbing he is generally poor and often very lousy. Besides he is a rank Coward: The little King Bird not bigger than a Sparrow attacks him boldly and drives him out of the District. He is therefore by no means a proper Emblem for the brave and honest Cincinnati of America who have driven all the King birds from our Country, tho’ exactly fit for that Order of Knights which the French call Chevaliers d’Industrie. I am on this account not displeas’d that the Figure is not known as a Bald Eagle, but looks more like a Turkey. For in Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America. Eagles have been found in all Countries, but the Turkey was peculiar to ours, the first of the Species seen in Europe being brought to France by the Jesuits from Canada, and serv’d up at the Wedding Table of Charles the ninth. He is besides, tho’ a little vain and silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on. Continue Reading

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Red Skelton: Thanksgiving 1952

A Thanksgiving thought in 1952 from master comedian Red Skelton.  Born into deep poverty, his father dying two months before his birth, he went to work at the age of 7 to help his family.  Life dealt Skelton some tough cards at the beginning of his life, and the worst thing that could happen to any parent, the death of a child, lay in his future.  Yet throughout his life Skelton retained a deep faith in God and an abiding love for his country.  He approached life with optimism and a thankful heart, a good message for any Thanksgiving.  Below is his classic Pledge of Allegiance skit. Continue Reading

3

Abbott and Costello, Charles Laughton and the Gettysburg Address

 

Last Thursday, the same day of the week that Lincoln originally gave the speech, marked the 152nd anniversary of the Gettysburg Address.  On April 6, 1952, comedy titans Abbott and Costello were hosting the Colgate Comedy Hour.  They had as their guest star Charles Laughton, one of the greatest English actors of the first half of the last century.  Amazingly enough the comedy duo and Laughton were co-starring at the time in the forgettable Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd.

This was back in the days of live television, and the sheer spontaneity made this brief period of television magic.  As was the case when Laughton, who had given a stunning rendition of the Gettysburg Address in the movie Ruggles of Red Gap (1935), recites the Address before a visibly moved Abbott and Costello.  Both Abbott and Costello were patriots.  Too old, Abbott was 44 at the time of Pearl Harbor, and sick, heart problems and epilepsy afflicted Costello, for military service in World War II, they threw themselves into war bond drives and sold more bonds than any other entertainers.  In one heartbreaking incident they performed at a bond drive immediately after the death of Costello’s infant son, the shattered Costello giving the huge audience no hint of the tragedy that had just befallen him and his wife.   They had done their bit to ensure “that government of the people, by the people and for the people would not perish from the Earth” and for them the Address was no mere artifact from long ago but a magnificent expression of what this country means.  Continue Reading

38

Notre Shame

 

 

Parents thinking of coughing up big money to get their offspring a Catholic higher education at Notre Dame might wish to save their money.  Matt Archbold at Creative Minority Report tells us why:

 

Earlier this month, the great Sycamore Trust created a website called NDCatholic.com which would assist Notre Dame students in finding those professors and courses on campus that could be counted on to deliver an “authentic Catholic education.”

Great idea, right?

On top of that, they had the great Fr. Wilson D. Miscamble, C.S.C., making his very well informed recommendations to students on the website.

Great idea, right? In fact, so many students thought it was a great idea that the website reportedly crashed on the first day.

Well, it seems to me the university’s administration didn’t like the idea.

The Sycamore Trust sadly sent out an email yesterday saying that Fr. Miscamble “is no longer associated with the website NDCatholic.com.”

“I regret that I can say only that I am required to end my involvement with the NDCatholic site and am not at liberty to say why,” Fr. Miscamble told The Sycamore Trust.

Now, to be clear, he doesn’t say the administration got to him but it would appear that’s what occurred. (I could be wrong but who else would be against such a website?)

The Sycamore Trust reports:

On November 9, 2015, we unveiled the NDCatholic.com website, which is designed to assist students seeking a Catholic education at Notre Dame. They need this sort of help because of the alarming reduction over recent decades in Catholic representation on the faculty. The faculty no longer comes close to meeting the University’s own Mission Statement test of Catholic identity: a majority of committed Catholics on the faculty. Perhaps 25% to 30% of the faculty fit this description, as we will show again in a coming bulletin using the most recent data available.

The consequences of this steep decline in Catholic faculty have been described in concrete terms by Professor Emeritus Walter Nicgorski, who retired recently after more than forty years as one of Notre Dame’s most highly regarded teachers and scholars:

It is increasingly the case today that a young person going through the critical and formative years of a Catholic education at Notre Dame might not encounter a practicing Catholic informed and engaged by the Catholic intellectual tradition.

The Trust will continue the work of the website and vows to build on their success.

So much for free speech on campus, right? Continue Reading

2

December 7, 1865: Thanksgiving

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Andrew Johnson kept up the precedent of his predecessor in making a Thanksgiving Proclamation.  However for some reason he set the date on December 7, the only time Thanksgiving has been celebrated on that date.  His other Thanksgiving Proclamations were for the last Thursday in November and the tradition held until the Great Depression when FDR altered it to the fourth Thursday in November.  If Johnson had established a new tradition in 1865, then seventy-six years later Americans would have had another reason to be enraged by the Japanese sneak attack.  Here is the text of the Proclamation: Continue Reading

25

Quotes Suitable for Framing: Adolph Hitler

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We are Socialists, we are enemies of today’s capitalistic economic system for the exploitation of the economically weak, with its unfair salaries, with its unseemly evaluation of a human being according to wealth and property instead of responsibility and performance, and we are all determined to destroy this system under all conditions. In the future there must be no ranks or classes, and you must not let them begin to grow in you!

Adolph Hitler, May 1, 1927, Berlin May Day Speech

32

Free Speech for Me But Not For Thee

 

My favorite liberal, Nat Hentoff, takes aim at the campus brownshirts seeking to eradicate free speech:

Hostility to the exercise of free speech on American college campuses is nothing new. But what happened at Yale University, the University of Missouri and other colleges over the past two weeks is something new and frightening. The suppression of speech in academia has begun to spiral out of control.

Nicholas Christakis is a professor at Yale who lives with his wife in a student residence hall on campus. An internationally renowned physician and sociologist, Dr. Christakis was surrounded by dozens of angry students who showered him with curses and threats. Dr. Christakis’ offense? He refused to publicly apologize for his wife’s email that defended free speech and urged tolerance of offensive Halloween costumes.

Greg Lukianoff, the President of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), was on the Yale campus to attend a free speech symposium and witnessed the incident. In the video Lukianoff posted on FIRE’s website, Christakis appears on the verge of being physically assaulted.

“Nicholas addressed the crowd for more than an hour, even after it became clear that nothing short of begging for forgiveness would satisfy them,” Lukianoff wrote in The Washington Post. “I’ve witnessed some intense campus disputes during my 14 years fighting for free speech, but nothing like this.”

The next evening — at a William F. Buckley, Jr. Program conference on free speech that had been planned months in advance — Greg Lukianoff’s speech was interrupted by a student who rushed the podium, shouting, before he was dragged out of the building by campus police. Attendees then braved a gauntlet of angry Yale students who cursed and ridiculed them. The Yale Daily News reported that “several attendees were spat on as they left.”

At the University of Missouri, a student photographer freelancing for ESPN was confronted by a mob of angry anti-racism protesters who tried to eject him from the public commons area where they had gathered. After he refused to leave, the students begin a coordinated effort to both psychologically and physically intimidate the reporter into leaving.

The protesters subjected him to intense ridicule, sometimes chanting in unison, as they gradually forced him backwards. They then began to falsely accuse the reporter of the very conduct that they themselves were directing against him.

MU’s student body vice president later tried to justify the students’ self-imposed restrictions on the press during an interview on MSNBC. She suggested that the First Amendment “creates a hostile and unsafe learning environment.” Continue Reading

3

King Jesus

At the ending of the liturgical year our thoughts turn to the End Times.  The feast of Christ the King was proclaimed by Pope Pius XI in 1925 in response to the growth both of nationalism and secularism.  Pope Paul VI moved it to the last Sunday in Ordinary Time, the better to remind all of mankind that the time will come when Christ will return and reign as King forever.

Christ Pantocrator is one of the more popular images by which Christians pictured, after the edict of Milan, Christ, the Lord of all.  This representation ties in nicely with the traditional American cry of “We have no King but Jesus!” which became popular during the American Revolution.  At the battle of Lexington the phrase “We recognize no Sovereign but God and no King but Jesus!”, was flung back at Major Pitcairn after he had ordered the militia to disperse.    Christ the King and We have no King but Jesus remind Christians that the nations of the world and the manner in which they are ruled, and mis-ruled, while very important to us during our mortal lives, are of little importance in the next.   They also instruct us that the State can never be an ultimate end in itself, can never override the first allegiance of Christians and that the rulers of the Earth will be judged as we all will be.  Although my Irish Catholic ancestors will shudder, and my Protestant Irish and Scot ancestors may smile, there is much truth in the inscription supposedly written on the sarcophagus, destroyed or lost after the Restoration, of that “bold, bad man”, Oliver Cromwell, “Christ, not Man, is King.”

Seventy years ago the ashes of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan attested to the great mistake of making worldly power the excuse for any crime.  How different it seemed in 1941 when both Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan seemed well on their way to global domination. In that year Father Martin B. Hellriegel, a German-American pastor in Saint Louis, wrote the magnificent hymn To Jesus Christ Our Sovereign King as a direct response to the pretensions of the Third Reich and to remind people who actually reigns eternally: Continue Reading

9

The Church in the World

During the debates leading up to the 1983 pastoral letter of the bishops of the United States on nuclear weapons, “The Challenge of Peace,” the great churchman Archbishop Philip Hannan of New Orleans said that many of the bishops were uninformed. I paraphrase, because the archbishop himself used much more colorful language, honed by years of working with the 82nd Airborne Division during World War II.

The Plot to Kill Hitler and the Vindication of Pius XII, Crisis Magazine

The article gets better from there.
Continue Reading

10

PopeWatch: Satire?

 

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

 

Facing financial ruin due to the high cost of trying to provide their son with a good Catholic education, sources confirmed Thursday that parents of high school freshman Johnny Irving, Tom and Lisa, are quite impressed with their son’s growing knowledge of every tenet of every religion, but Catholicism.

According to the freshman’s parents, Irving has gained an immense amount of knowledge about the Koran, The Analects of Confucius, and the Book of Mormon in his class Fundamentals of Catholic Doctrine 101.

“It’s breathtaking the amount of non-Catholic knowledge he’s learning in his Catholic Doctrine class,” Lisa Irving told EOTT. “We’re about a paycheck or two away from filing for bankruptcy just so Johnny can learn about everything but Catholicism at a Catholic school, but it’s so worth it. He always comes home telling us interesting things about Catholic teaching like how according to the Church the most important doctrine is coexistence. And how the Church teaches that it’s pointless to evangelize since a person’s own consciousness, being infused by a higher spirit, stirs within him or her at birth and sanctifies every belief, whim, or desire that person has. I didn’t know that. Probably because I went to Catholic school when classrooms had crucifixes and whatnot in them.”

Lisa went on to say that, though her son still has never heard of the Nicene Creed, that he had memorized several verses from the Koran that incidentally mention Jesus, and that through Buddhist teachings, he has come to learn about Christ the bodhisattva.

“Listen, some people might think $40,000 for a four-year high school education seems absurd, ” Lisa Irving went on to say. “But tell that to me when my son graduates summa cum laude, which of course he will graduate with since every student in that fine scholastic institution graduates with that honor.”

At press time, Johnny is studying for his midterms in one of the school’s mandatory classes, Advanced Being Nice. Continue Reading

32

The Trumpeteers’ New Emmanuel Goldstein

Trying to keep Trump supporter logic straight is a harrowing ordeal. When confronted with the reality of Trump’s many, many, many (did I say many?) deviations from conservative orthodoxy, Trumps fans respond with an “argument” that employs “GOPe” “Jeb Bush” and “RINO” in some form. The irony of calling any other candidate a Republican in Name Only while supporting the one candidate who is – based on his actual voting and ideological history – quite literally a Republican in Name Only is often lost on these individuals.

Throughout the campaign the big bad for most Trump supporters was Jeb Bush. Jeb Bush was held up as the Establishment darling, and as such the symbol of all that was wrong with the GOP (e). This is perhaps the one time the Trump supporters were largely right. For reasons that defy explanation the GOP Establishment, such as it is, has propped up Jeb Bush. Despite being arguably the absolute worse type of nominee the party could hope for to run against Hillary, the big donors flocked to him. As such, any attempt to criticize Trump has been met with accusations that one must therefore support Jeb Bush. Again, this ignored the fact that at one time 15 (now 12) other candidates were in the race, and the combined polling support for those other candidates has hovered around 60-70 percent, which would seem to indicate to anyone with either a sense of logic or ability to do math that Republicans had other choices in the primary.

Now that Jeb’s star has faded he has been replaced with a new Emmanuel Goldstein. It’s not Ben Carson. Though Trump has personally attacked Carson (and quite maliciously), the real subject of his supporters’ vitriol is Marco Rubio. Just as Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia, and never Eurasia, evidently the real enemy has been Marco Rubio all along.

You can see it in comments sections of right-leaning blogs all the time. Marco Rubio is the clear GOPe darling (not Jeb Bush – it’s never been Jeb Bush), and the man to be feared. Now as Bush fades in the polls it’s quite possible that that hefty six percent or so of the electorate currently supporting Jeb will swing Marco’s way, and that indeed the big bad Establishment might see Rubio as their new savior. But the almost delusional antipathy to Rubio is only starting to peak, as can be seen in this bizarre rant where Ace of Spades lays the blame of Donald Trump’s inability to answer a question in a coherent manner at the blame of Rubio’s followers. Yeah, it’s the GOPe that rendered Trump incapable of clearly and convincingly saying no to a reporter who asked if we should just round up all of the Muslims in the USA and force them to register in some kind of database.

Sadly this is all too representative of the basic gist of Trump support, which is entirely grounded in some kind of hate towards the “other”: other candidates, other cultures, other ways of communicating that are more sophisticated than grunting. It also highlights how the Trump phenomenon is built on a foundation of sand. Even though Jeb Bush never reached particularly high in the polls, we were repeatedly told that if you didn’t hop aboard Team Trump then we were cruising towards a Bush coronation. Now Marco Rubio is the new scarecrow and symbol of all things to be feared.

And now that Ted Cruz is climbing higher in the polls, undoubtedly we will soon come to learn that the true Establishment darling all along has been the man that seems to be the most despised figure among this same so-called Establishment. In fact one Trump supporter has already assured me that “[m]any of us had Cruz pegged as a stalking horse before Trump even announced.” Scooby and Shaggy will soon unmask Ted Cruz only to see Mitt Romney in disguise, I suppose.  We’re not going to want the GOPe to get their man, they’ll say, and there’s no one that the GOPe loves more than Ted Cruz. Ted Cruz has always been their dream candidate, and never Marco Rubio. Or Bush. Or Romney.

And so it goes.

5

Video Clips Worth Watching: Ernst Janning Testifies

Ernst Janning: Judge Haywood… the reason I asked you to come: Those people, those millions of people… I never knew it would come to that. You must believe it, you must believe it!

Judge Dan Haywood: Herr Janning, it “came to that” the first time you sentenced a man to death you knew to be innocent.

Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)

Start of a new series.  Burt Lancaster as German Judge Ernst Janning, Judgment at Nuremberg (1961), explains how going along with the Nazis made his life “excrement”.

30

PopeWatch: Merchants of Death Redux

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For a man who condemns ideologues, one of the salient features of the current Pontificate is how ideological Pope Francis is.  He is completely impervious to factual evidence when it comes to what he believes.  A prime example is his contention that arms merchants, merchants of death, are the causative factor in regard to wars:

Pope Francis went on to recall the recent commemorations of the Second World War, the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, his visit to Redipuglia last year on the anniversary of the Great War: “Useless slaughters,” he called them, repeating the words of Pope Benedict XV. “Everywhere there is war today, there is hatred,” he said. Then he asked, “What shall remain in the wake of this war, in the midst of which we are living now?”:

“What shall remain? Ruins, thousands of children without education, so many innocent victims: and lots of money in the pockets of arms dealers. Jesus once said: ‘You can not serve two masters:  either God or riches.’ War is the right choice for him, who would serve wealth: ‘Let us build weapons, so that the economy will right itself somewhat, and let us go forward in pursuit of our interests. There is an ugly word the Lord spoke: ‘Cursed!’ Because He said: ‘Blessed are the peacemakers!.’ The men who work war, who make war, are cursed, they are criminals. A war can be justified – so to speak – with many, many reasons, but when all the world as it is today, at war – piecemeal though that war may be – a little here, a little there, and everywhere – there is no justification – and God weeps. Jesus weeps.” Continue Reading

November 20, 1945: Nuremberg Trials Get Underway

“But the most interesting — although horrible — sight that I encountered during the trip was a visit to a German internment camp near Gotha. The things I saw beggar description. While I was touring the camp I encountered three men who had been inmates and by one ruse or another had made their escape. I interviewed them through an interpreter. The visual evidence and the verbal testimony of starvation, cruelty and bestiality were so overpowering as to leave me a bit sick. In one room, where they [there] were piled up twenty or thirty naked men, killed by starvation, George Patton would not even enter. He said he would get sick if he did so. I made the visit deliberately, in order to be in position to give first-hand evidence of these things if ever, in the future, there develops a tendency to charge these allegations merely to ‘propaganda’.”

General Eisenhower letter to General George Marshall 4/15/45

The Nuremberg Trials got under way seventy years ago today.  One may cavil at some of the procedures used during the trials and the presence of Soviet judges and prosecutors at the trial, but no decent human being can ever claim that the crimes committed by the leaders of the Third Reich, in Eisenhower’s phrase, beggar description.  The video at the beginning of this post consists of film shot by the Army Signal Corps, at Eisenhower’s order, of the Nazi death camps and was admitted into evidence at the Nuremberg trial.  It makes for grim viewing, but the reality it reflected must never be forgotten.

9

Decline and Fall of the European Project?

Volkwanderung

 

“A people who still remembered that their ancestors had been the masters of the world would have applauded, with conscious pride, the representation of ancient freedom, if they had not long since been accustomed to prefer the solid assurance of bread to the unsubstantial visions of liberty and greatness.”

Edward Gibbon

Historian Niall Ferguson sees ominous parallels between the situations of modern Europe and the Roman Empire in the early Fifth Century:

 

Let us be clear about what is happening. Like the Roman Empire in the early fifth century, Europe has allowed its defenses to crumble. As its wealth has grown, so its military prowess has shrunk, along with its self-belief. It has grown decadent in its shopping malls and sports stadiums. At the same time, it has opened its gates to outsiders who have coveted its wealth without renouncing their ancestral faith.

The distant shock to this weakened edifice has been the Syrian civil war, though it has been a catalyst as much as a direct cause for the great Völkerwanderung of 2015. As before, they have come from all over the imperial periphery — from North Africa, from the Levant, from South Asia — but this time they have come in their millions.

To be sure, most have come hoping only for a better life. Things in their own countries have become just good enough economically for them to afford to leave and just bad enough politically for them to risk leaving. But they cannot stream northward and westward without some of that political malaise coming along with them. As Gibbon saw, convinced monotheists pose a grave threat to a secular empire.

It is conventional to say that the overwhelming majority of Muslims in Europe are not violent, and that is doubtless true. But it is also true that the majority of Muslims in Europe hold views that are not easily reconciled with the principles of our modern liberal democracies, including those novel notions we have about equality between the sexes and tolerance not merely of religious diversity but of nearly all sexual proclivities. And it is thus remarkably easy for a violent minority to acquire their weapons and prepare their assaults on civilization within these avowedly peace-loving communities. Continue Reading

23

Vetting Syrian Refugees

 

 

One of the talking points of the Obama administration and Mark Shea, judging from some hysterical rantings on his blog, is that Syrian refugees are thoroughly vetted before they would arrive in this nation.  Aside from the customary incompetence of the Obama administration, ObamaCare ring a bell?, just what does this vetting process accomplish in ensuring that the refugees we admit are not dangerous?  Not much apparently.

 

The director of Homeland Security had no answer when asked if the “vetting” process amounted to anything more than asking refugees to fill out an application, asking them a few questions in a verbal interview, and assuming they answer honestly. The best Director Jeh Johnson could offer were vague assurances that the “tight-knit, supportive communities” they settle into would “embrace” these refugees.

FBI Director James Comey famously admitted last month that the U.S. government has no real way to conduct background checks on refugees. “We can only query against that which we have collected. And so if someone has never made a ripple in the pond in Syria in a way that would get their identity or their interest reflected in our database, we can query our database until the cows come home, but there will be nothing show up because we have no record of them,” Comey explained, quite sensibly.

He contrasted this lack of solid information with the screening of Iraqi refugees after the war: “With respect with Iraqi databases, we had far more because of our country’s work there for a decade. This is a different situation.”

It should be noted, however, that even the vastly superior security situation for Iraqi refugees was not sufficient to prevent some hair-raising mistakes. In 2013, for example, ABC News reported on several dozen suspected terrorist bomb-makers admitted to the United States as refugees, including a pair of Iraqi al-Qaeda insurgents living in Kentucky who admitted attacking American soldiers in Iraq.

What was the Obama Administration’s response to the discovery of those bombers living in Kentucky? The State Department stopped processing Iraqi refugees for six months… the very same measure Obama now insults skeptics for recommending with respect to the Syrians. One Iraqi who assisted American troops during the war was assassinated while awaiting delayed approval of his refugee application. Continue Reading

7

Quotes Suitable for Framing: Saint Corbinian’s Bear

 

 

This is what the sheep are fed in the “unsettled Church” Pope Francis wants. Sheep don’t like to be unsettled, though. They like to be safe and at peace. That’s the whole idea of the Good Shepherd. Or any shepherd. Our Lord told Peter, “feed my sheep.” Not tie balloons to their tails and watch them chase around in panic and confusion.

Saint Corbinian’s Bear

31

PopeWatch: Liberal Catholics

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We often hear that conservative and liberal have no meaning in the Catholic Church.  You wouldn’t know that from the fighting over the voter’s guide:

 

 

BALTIMORE — The nation’s Catholic bishops on Tuesday (Nov. 17) passed an updated guide for Catholic voters ahead of next year’s elections, but only after airing unusually sharp disagreements on how much they can, and should, adjust their priorities to match those of Pope Francis.

More than any other item on the agenda of the bishops’ annual meeting here, the debate over the lengthy voter guide, called “Faithful Citizenship,” revealed deep divides among the bishops and provided a snapshot of the extent of the “Francis effect” on the U.S. hierarchy.

In the most impassioned objection to the voter guide, San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy took the floor to argue that the document — which was a reworking of an 84-page treatise first written in 2007 — should be scrapped because it did not reflect the way that Francis has elevated the battle against poverty and for the environment as central concerns for the Catholic Church since his election in 2013.

“I believe that this document is gravely hobbled,” said McElroy, who was an outspoken advocate for the church’s social justice teachings even before Francis named him to the large and growing Southern California diocese earlier this year.

“Specifically, I think the pope is telling us that alongside the issues of abortion and euthanasia — which are central aspects of our commitment to transform this world — poverty and the degradation of the Earth are also central,” McElroy said. “But this document keeps to the structure of the worldview of 2007. It does not put those there.”

 

Instead, he said, the voter guide “tilts in favor of abortion and euthanasia and excludes poverty and the environment.”

Apparently referring to political conservatives who argue that Catholics cannot vote for candidates who support abortion rights or gay marriage, McElroy said the new draft still “provides a warrant for those who will misuse this document outside this room to exclude poverty and exclude the environment as key issues and say they are secondary, and cite this document as they have done for the last two election cycles.”

McElroy’s position was supported by a number of other bishops, some of whom were also dismayed by the number of times the draft mentioned same-sex marriage, even though the U.S. Supreme Court effectively settled the issue by legalizing gay marriage last June.

“I think we need a new document,” said Tuscon Bishop Gerald Kicanas. “I think it was a mistake to try to revise a document from 2007 when so much has happened since then.” He called Faithful Citizenship “very complex and not helpful.”

Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockon, Calif., agreed that “the times have dramatically changed” and said the “cumbersome” new draft needed to be scrapped.

But members of the committee that spent nearly a year-and-a-half reworking the voter guide rejected the pushback.

“We still think it’s effective,” a clearly irritated Houston Cardinal Daniel DiNardo — chairman of the drafting committee and vice president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops — told Blaire and the other critics.

 

DiNardo also told the 240 bishops that the committee was only fulfilling the mandate it was given by the USCCB and said the panel had done its best to update the guide with references from Francis — although, he added in a spiky rejoinder to McElroy, “perhaps not to your satisfaction, and to the rhetorical flourishes which you bring.”

Another member of the drafting committee, Hartford Archbishop Leonard Blair, also rejected the critiques, and he echoed comments by other conservatives who were disturbed by the idea that Francis has ushered in a “revolution” in Catholicism that their documents needed to reflect.

“There is kind of a rhetoric of regime change that is going on in the church” in the wake of the election of Francis in 2013, said Blair. “I think we have to be very, very wary of that.” Continue Reading

5

In re Yamashita

As I said in the Manila Supreme Court that I have done with my all capacity, so I don’t ashame in front of the gods for what I have done when I have died. But if you say to me ‘you do not have any ability to command the Japanese Army’ I should say nothing for it, because it is my own nature. Now, our war criminal trial going under your kindness and right. I know that all your American and American military affairs always has tolerant and rightful judgment. When I have been investigated in Manila court I have had a good treatment, kindful attitude from your good natured officers who protected me all the time. I never forget for what they have done for me even if I had died. I don’t blame my executioner. I’ll pray the gods bless them. Please send my thankful word to Col. Clarke and Lt. Col. Feldhaus, Lt. Col. Hendrix, Maj. Guy, Capt. Sandburg, Capt. Reel, at Manila court, and Col. Arnard. I thank you.

Yamashita’ s last statement, through a translator, on the gallows.  February 23, 1946

General Tomoyuki Yamashita won early fame in World War II by leading the conquest of Malaya.  With inferior forces he decisively defeated the British and earned the popular title of Tiger of Malaya.  Troops under his command did engage in massacres and looting, but Yamashita, unlike most Japanese commanders, severely punished the troops involved, up to and including execution of the guilty.  His humane attitude towards prisoners placed him at odds with the Japanese government, and he spent much of the war in virtual exile in Manchukuo commanding the First Area Army.  Worsening Japanese military fortunes caused him to be placed in command of the Philippines, ten days before MacArthur and his army returned.  Yamashita conducted a skillful defense of the Philippines, marred by massive atrocities against civilians in Manila.  It must be noted that Rear Admiral Sanji Iwabuchi commanded the forces defending in Manila.  Yamashita had ordered the evacuation of Manila which Iwabuchi disobeyed, just as his men disobeyed Yamashita’s standing orders against ill treatment of civilians.

Yamashita was put on trial for war crimes in Manila from October 29, 1945-December 7, 1945 by an American military tribunal.  The principal accusation was that he had failed to keep his troops in the Philippines under control and that as a result he was responsible for their crimes.  This was a novel theory of criminal responsibility either under American military or civilian jurisprudence as his military defense counsel pointed out time and again.  Yamashita was impressed by the dedication and zeal of his defense counsel and stated several times that his respect for the United States had been reaffirmed by their efforts.

Behind the scenes MacArthur expressed impatience at the length of the trial, clearly wanting a quick guilty verdict.  When Yamashita was found guilty and sentenced to death, he swiftly affirmed the verdict and sentence when it was appealed to him.  Yamashita’s defense team then appealed to the US Supreme Court. The Supreme Court, In re Yamashita, 327 US 1, rejected the petitions for habeas corpus and writ of prohibition ruling:

It thus appears that the order convening the commission was a lawful order, that the commission was lawfully constituted, that petitioner was charged with violation of the law of war, and that the commission had authority to proceed with the trial, and, in doing so, did not violate any military, statutory, or constitutional command. We have considered, but find it unnecessary to discuss, other contentions which we find to be without merit. We therefore conclude that the detention of petitioner for trial and his detention upon his conviction, subject to the prescribed review by the military authorities, were lawful, and that the petition for certiorari, and leave to file in this Court petitions for writs of habeas corpus and prohibition should be, and they are

Denied.

Justices Murphy and Rutledge wrote memorable dissents: Continue Reading

13

Catholicism is Not a Suicide Pact

dhimmitude

 

Maureen Mullarkey continues calling a spade a bloody shovel as she rips into the humbug that surrounds the Vatican and the Islamic world:

One thing for which we can be grateful to Pope Francis: His pontificate puts paid to the superstition that our popes are chosen by the Holy Spirit. That could only be believable if we are willing to say that the Spirit operates like a one-eyed Odin, setting his dogs loose at conclaves.

On Rorate Caeli this morning is a pronunciamento by the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin. It had appeared in La Repubblica on November 16, after the atrocity in Paris. Headline: Parolin, The Jubilee: “The Holy Year will be open to Muslims.”

The message out of Vatican City is an injunction to “respond with mercy and hospitality to violence.” It is hard to decide which is more disreputable, the moral vanity at work here or the absurdity of the instruction. Hospitality implies welcome. We are to welcome those who would slaughter us? Whose goal is the subjection of the West to the universal caliphate? In this context, the word hospitality is an obscenity.

Do we hear the Islamic world asking for mercy? Where are the Muslim voices of repentance? Last I looked, there was rejoicing in the Middle East over the grand success of the heroic action of eight true sons of Allah.

Parolin’s comments stink of Vatican lust for dhimmitude:

Mercy is also the most beautiful name of God for Muslims, who can also be involved in the Holy Year, as this is what the Pope wants.”

Mercy is drained of meaning by this pontificate. To distribute it freely to those who do not want it devalues the substance of it. Dispensing it unasked to those who would spit on it or turn it against their sentimental benefactors, makes a laughingstock of Christianity. And it further endangers what is left of the Christian world.

Preening quislings in the Vatican are free to lay mercy on their own killers if they choose. But not on mine. And not on the murderers of my children. They have no warrant to do it. Only the dead have standing to forgive their killers. The living cannot extend mercy—exoneration from consequence—in the name of the dead. We, the living, are obliged to protect our own. And, for their sake as well, ourselves. Continue Reading

22

Housing of Muslim Refugees

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Dale Price at Dyspeptic Mutterings has an interesting take on the housing of Muslim refugees:

 

Senior Obama officials have warned of challenges in screening refugees from Syria.

FBI Director James Comey added in congressional testimony last month that “a number of people who were of serious concern” slipped through the screening of Iraq War refugees, including two arrested on terrorism-related charges. “There’s no doubt that was the product of a less than excellent vetting,” he said.

Although Comey said the process has since “improved dramatically,” Syrian refugees will be even harder to check because, unlike in Iraq, U.S. soldiers have not been on the ground collecting information on the local population. “If we don’t know much about somebody, there won’t be anything in our data,” he said. “I can’t sit here and offer anybody an absolute assurance that there’s no risk associated with this.”

According to DHS, Section 212(d)(3)(B) of the INA allows either the secretary of state or DHS secretary in consultation with each other and with the U.S. Attorney General “to determine that certain terrorism bars of the INA do not apply.”

While Vaughan conceded that there are a number of immigrants seeking protection who have been denied due to unintentional contact with terrorists, she sees the exemptions as likely another opportunity for people to get around the system. 

“If the recent past is any guide, those evaluating these cases will be ordered to ignore red flags in the applications, especially if the applicant is supported by one of the many advocacy groups that have the ear of senior DHS staff,” she explained. “The administration already approves of the admission of gang members as asylees and criminals in the DACA program and grants of prosecutorial discretion, so I don’t expect them to be troubled by the admission of terrorists and garden variety fraudsters in our refugee program.  This is how we end up with families like the Tsarnaev brothers [the Boston marathon bombers], who were originally admitted for political asylum.”

All that said, I’d like to be able to offer help to people who are genuine refugees, regardless of religion. But it’s clear that this whole process is more about making a statement than addressing the genuine security concerns of the American people. If you can convince me that you are making the latter the top priority, then I’m open.
Still, I’m willing to compromise. If we really want to help, let’s take them all in, and place them where they can have the best chance to thrive–America’s wealthiest suburbs. Why should they be sent to some aging suburb with strained finances like Dearborn or into the decayed inner cities in hopes of revitalizing them? Nope–let’s help them hit the ground running.
 
This looks like a promising set of neighborhoods with the resources–especially schools–necessary to get a leg up life. And in many cases, it would sure help with the mosaic of diversity for some of these startlingly-pale enclaves.
 
Let me throw in a few other names–Silver Springs, Chevy Chase, Orange County, the Upper East Side, Arlington, Oakland County, Ann Arbor, the bedroom communities of Philadelphia and Boston…I’m sure you can come up more.
 
And why stop with mere zip codes? Surely, our enlightened private high schools and colleges can set aside blocks of scholarships (Sidwell Friends, answer the call!), residential housing and the like. Why put the burden entirely on local governments and aid groups? Nope. If we’re going to make sacrifices, that includes the privileged and portfolioed in bi-coastal gated communities.
 
If they are not willing to make such sacrifices, that tells you all you need to know about this process.

Continue Reading

4

Edge of Darkness

 

My bride and I spent an enjoyable evening watching Edge of Darkness, a 1943 flick starring Errol Flynn, Ann Sheridan and Walter Huston, about a small Norwegian fishing village that revolts against its Nazi occupiers.  The film was quite a bit above the usual wartime potboilers and filled with striking images, including scenes of the villagers in their church debating whether they should revolt.  When the villagers began singing the Norwegian national anthem my bride joined in, although she told me that she was glad they didn’t go on to the second stanza as she had never learned that.  The film conveyed an anti-Nazi message so effectively that it was banned in Buenos Aires by the pro-Axis government of the time.  The film was the only war film among the top five requested by troops in the US Army for viewing during 1943.  Well worth watching.

14

Ten Ways in Which Obama is Just Like Lincoln!

Obama-vs-Lincoln

 

The New York Post has a story entitled “Did Obama Actually Follow in Lincoln’s Footsteps?” After I stopped choking with laughter, I decided to write a post about how Obama is just like the Great Emancipator:

1. They both resided in Illinois prior to election as president.

2. They both were attorneys.

3. They both served in the Illinois legislature.

4. They both left the Democrat party in shambles after their terms in office.

5. They both amassed more debt than any president prior to them.

6. They both had Veeps who acted drunk in public. Continue Reading

1

Lutherans and the Eucharist

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Father Z explains the differences between how Lutherans and Catholics perceive the Eucharist.  Father Z should know, since he was a Lutheran prior to his conversion to the Faith:

As far as the Eucharist is concerned, Catholics believe that, with the consecration by a validly ordained priest (Lutherans do not believe in sacramental ordination that confers an ontological character – rather, every man is his own priest), bread and wine are changed in their substance into the Body and Blood of Christ even though the outward appearance and characteristic accidents of bread and wine remain for our human senses. After this change of substance, trans-substantiation, Christ is truly present in the Eucharistic species, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. So long as the outward accidents remain and the species are recognizable as, in their accidents, being bread and wine, they are still the Eucharist and Christ is truly present in them, even in very small quantities of the Eucharistic Body and Blood. When the Eucharistic species are destroyed or significantly altered in their outward accidents, they cease being the Eucharist and Christ is no longer present in them. Furthermore, we Catholic believe that the celebration of the Eucharist represents and renews and makes present again both the Last Supper of the Lord during His Passion as well as the Sacrifice of Cross on Calvary. The celebration of the Eucharist is Christ’s atoning, propitiatory Sacrifice, which, though it occurred at one fixed point in time, is renewed and made present again through the actions of the priest, who acts as alter Christus. Mass is the true, real, renewal of the Sacrifice in an unbloody way that once took place in a bloody way, historically, on Calvary. This is done through the actions and words of the ordained priest.

Lutherans believe that anyone can celebrate the “Lord’s Supper” (some few Lutherans call it “Mass”) though some are called by the community to preside in the central role. The Lord’s Supper is not the Sacrifice renewed. Lutherans do not believe that the substance of bread and wine change, transubstantiation. They think that Christ is present together with the bread and wine for as long as Christ is needed to be there, a kind of “consubstantiation”. (Some Lutherans don’t like that term, but I’m not getting into that fight.) That is to say, that for Christ to be present, there must be institution, distribution and reception.  If it is not received, Christ isn’t present.  Once no longer needed there for reception, Christ is no longer present and there is left merely bread and wine. They believe Christ is truly present, when required for reception, but not in an enduring way. Luther used the image an iron that is heated and then it cools again: the iron and the heat are there together and then only the iron is there.  However, some Lutheran churches are starting to reserve their eucharistic species and even to adore what they reserve, even kneeling outside their eucharistic communion services.  An interesting development as they become more “sacramental”.  Furthermore, the Lord’s Supper is a memorial merely. It does not renew the Sacrifice of Calvary or the Last Supper, but rather commemorates them. Lutherans believe in a priesthood of all believers. There is no sacramental priesthood or consecration of the Eucharist or sacramental absolution of sins or conferral of confirmation. Matrimony is not a sacrament, nor is anointing. Lutherans have two sacraments, Baptism and “Eucharist”. Their baptism is valid because water is poured on the skin while the Trinitarian form is pronounced. Their “Eucharist” is not the Eucharist. They do not believe it is a sacrament in the sense we do and there is no valid priesthood to confect it, etc. They do not believe, as Catholics do, that sacraments are outward signs instituted by Christ Himself that confer grace. For Lutherans, they are outward signs of realities that are taking place.

Also, I recall when I was younger that, at the Luther Northwestern Seminary in my native place, they would annually have their Lutheran form of “Mass” in Latin.  Yes, there are/were such things.

Lutherans, in a way, look on their confession of sins as a sacrament. Luther referred to “penance” as a sacrament in the Large Catechism. Some Lutheran prayerbooks have a rite for penance. But they do not believe that the action and words of the one who hears that confession and pronounces words of forgiveness are sacramentally effective, as when the Catholic priest gives absolution.

This isn’t everything that can be said about differences between Catholic and Lutheran beliefs.  Books are written about each aspect I touched on.  But this is a start for those who know very little about them.

However, if you are a true Lutheran, you don’t believe what the Catholic Church believes about Eucharist and Priesthood.  Not believing what we believe, you cannot receive Communion in the Catholic Church.  If you believe what the Catholic Church teaches… then you had better become a Catholic in order to be true to yourself.

I would also say, if you are Catholic but you don’t adhere to Catholic teaching, you are in serious trouble, particularly if you have been properly instructed and you choose against Catholic teachings.

The Second Vatican Council issued a spiritual warning in Lumen gentium 14.  Here it is via the Catechism of the Catholic Church when addressing the issue of salvation outside the Church (846ff):

How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers? Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:

Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it(LG 14).

I quoted LG 14 via the CCC to show that what LG 14 contains isn’t obsolete.

If you are not Catholic, but you have come to believe what the Catholic Church teaches, and you refuse to enter the Church by your own will (not because you are afraid, etc.), you are in serious peril for your eternal soul.

If you are Catholic, but you pick and choose what to believe among those teaches that you are bound to accept, you are in serious peril for your eternal soul. Continue Reading

11

Quotes Suitable For Framing: George Will

Liberal-Tolerance

If you believe, as progressives do, that human nature is not fixed, and hence is not a basis for understanding natural rights. And if you believe, as progressives do, that human beings are soft wax who receive their shape from the society that government shapes. And if you believe, as progressives do, that people receive their rights from the shaping government. And if you believe, as progressives do, that people are the sum of the social promptings they experience. Then it will seem sensible for government, including a university’s administration, to guarantee not freedom of speech but freedom from speech. From, that is, speech that might prompt its hearers to develop ideas inimical to progress, and that might violate the universal entitlement to perpetual serenity.

George Will

11

Pope Benedict Was Right

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A piece by Thomas D. Williams at Breitbart looks back at some of the comments of Pope Benedict regarding religions and the roles they play in the World:

 

 

In that talk, Benedict cited the 14th-century Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus regarding the relationship between religion and violence. “Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached,” the quote read.

Pope Benedict XVI, a scholar who wrote extensively about religious freedom as well as the proper relationship between church and state, always insisted on speaking about religions (plural) rather than religion (singular). He based his reflections not only on a solid philosophical footing, but also on impartial observation of what religions actually propose and the sort of societies they create.

In his 2009 encyclical letter Caritas in Veritate, Benedict made the case that not all religions contribute equally to the development of individuals and societies. Some, in fact, may obstruct it. “Religious freedom does not mean religious indifferentism,” he wrote, “nor does it imply that all religions are equal.”

Benedict also proposed that in order to safeguard and promote the common good, political authority must in some way discern among different religions. “Discernment is needed regarding the contribution of cultures and religions,” Benedict stated, “especially on the part of those who wield political power.”

The Pope noted that certain religions “teach brotherhood and peace and are therefore of enormous importance to integral human development,” yet other traditions “do not fully embrace the principle of love and truth and therefore end up retarding or even obstructing authentic human development.”

Even before becoming pope, Joseph Ratzinger wrote on the differences between religions, noting that “anyone who sees in the religions of the world only reprehensible superstition is wrong” but also “anyone who wants only to give a positive evaluation of all religions… is equally wrong.”

In his own critical considerations of religions, Ratzinger wrote with brutal honesty, observing that there are “deviant, esoteric forms of religion on offer” as well as “pathological” forms of religion. He wrote of religions that are “obviously sick” and religions that are “destructive for man.” He asserted, moreover, that with the detachment of religion from reason, “pathological forms of religion are constantly increasing.” Continue Reading

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PopeWatch: Rules

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PopeWatch: HippieSpeak

 

 

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An interesting comment by Hilary White at Damian Thompson’s blog at The Spectator:

 

A good deal of the problem with Francis, that so far no one is talking about, is his Jesuit intellectual training. He talks as he thinks, and this is very much how Jesuits and their students of his time period spoke and thought (if you could call it thinking). This is precisely how the hippie radicals of that period spoke. I remember it very well from my childhood in the hippie 70s; I was surrounded by it.

If you read the full texts of his speeches and homilies or watch him on Youtube, and you can follow the Italian, you will see that he does not talk in complete sentences, does not use any sort of rational rhetorical system presenting a coherent idea and building on it. He emotes and gestures, he jumps from idea to disconnected idea, uses sentence fragments and phrases and half-delivered jokes. Vatican employees tasked with translating him into language, any language, that is comprehensible to readers, are faced with a very difficult task of simply making any sense out of him. It is why you mostly see paraphrases and summaries online where they have picked out the most coherent bits and pieces.

There’s no there there. This is why it is so absurd to see all these well-intentioned Catholics (and less well intentioned) trying so very, very hard to make even a modicum of coherent sense out of his weird blitherings, let alone gain any kind of useful Catholic information for their faith lives. He is probably best compared to the Delphic oracle. He just opens his mouth and blithers, and his little group of priests of Apollo tell us all what he meant.

 

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Screw the Candlelight Vigil

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I fully endorse these sentiments of Mark Steyn.  Until the West gets serious about the threat posed by Islamic radicalism, nothing will change:

 

As I write, Paris is under curfew for the first time since the German occupation, and the death toll from the multiple attacks stands at 158, the vast majority of them slaughtered during a concert at the Bataclan theatre, a delightful bit of 19th century Chinoiserie on the boulevard Voltaire. The last time I was there, if memory serves, was to see Julie Pietri. I’m so bloody sick of these savages shooting and bombing and killing and blowing up everything I like – whether it’s the small Quebec town where my little girl’s favorite fondue restaurant is or my favorite hotel in Amman or the brave freespeecher who hosted me in Copenhagen …or a music hall where I liked to go to hear a little jazz and pop and get away from the cares of the world for a couple of hours. But look at the photographs from Paris: there’s nowhere to get away from it; the barbarians who yell “Allahu Akbar!” are there waiting for you …when you go to a soccer match, you go to a concert, you go for a drink on a Friday night. They’re there on the train… at the magazine office… in the Kosher supermarket… at the museum in Brussels… outside the barracks in Woolwich…

Twenty-four hours ago, I said on the radio apropos the latest campus “safe space” nonsense:

This is what we’re going to be talking about when the mullahs nuke us.

Almost. When the Allahu Akbar boys opened fire, Paris was talking about the climate-change conference due to start later this month, when the world’s leaders will fly in to “solve” a “problem” that doesn’t exist rather than to address the one that does. But don’t worry: we already have a hashtag (#PrayForParis) and doubtless there’ll be another candlelight vigil of weepy tilty-headed wankers. Because as long as we all advertise how sad and sorrowful we are, who needs to do anything?

 

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He ends this cri de coeur piece with this:

To repeat what I said a few days ago, I’m Islamed out. I’m tired of Islam 24/7, at Colorado colleges, Marseilles synagogues, Sydney coffee shops, day after day after day. The west cannot win this thing with a schizophrenic strategy of targeting things and people but not targeting the ideology, of intervening ineffectually overseas and not intervening at all when it comes to the remorseless Islamization and self-segregation of large segments of their own countries.

So I say again: What’s the happy ending here? Because if M Hollande isn’t prepared to end mass Muslim immigration to France and Europe, then his “pitiless war” isn’t serious. And, if they’re still willing to tolerate Mutti Merkel’s mad plan to reverse Germany’s demographic death spiral through fast-track Islamization, then Europeans aren’t serious. In the end, the decadence of Merkel, Hollande, Cameron and the rest of the fin de civilisation western leadership will cost you your world and everything you love.

So screw the candlelight vigil. Continue Reading

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Saint Louis of France, Defend France!

“The King was so liberal an almsgiver, that wherever he went throughout his kingdom, he made gifts to poor churches, to lazar-houses, to alms-houses, to asylums, and to poor gentlemen an gentlewomen. 
 From his childhood up, he was compassionate towards the poor and the suffering ; and it was the custom that, wherever he went, six score poor should always be replenished in his house with bread and wine, and meat or fish every day. In Lent and Advent, the number was increased, and many a time the King would wait on them, and place their meat before them, and would carve their meat before them, and with his own hand would give them money when they went away. 
Likewise on the high vigils of solemn feasts, he would serve the poor with all these things, before he either ate or drank.”

“Besides all this, he had every day old broken-down men to dine and sup with him, and had them served with the same food that he himself was eating. And when they had feasted, they took away with them a certain sum of silver. Over and above all these things, the King used every day to give large and liberal alms to poor men of religion, to poor asylums, to the sick poor, and all sorts of poor colleges, to poor gentlemen and married women and spinsters, to fallen women, to poor widows, and to women in child-bed, and to such poor as by reason of old age or sickness were unable to labour or pursue their trade – in number past all telling.”

Jean, Sire de Joinville, Memoirs of King Louis IX

 

 

 

 

 

 

How hard it is for a ruler to also be a saint, but Saint Louis IX of France managed that difficult feat.  Pious, charitable, just, a warrior for the Faith, Saint Louis is a model of what Catholic rulers should strive to be, due allowance being made for the differences between his time and ours.  In his two crusades Saint Louis was notably unsuccessful and died of disease on his second.  Yet the people of France cherished his memory, which was confirmed by the Church by his canonization only 27 years after his death in 1270.  A Christian life is not sanctified by success, but rather by constant striving to follow in the footsteps of Christ, and in that all important effort Saint Louis was quite successful indeed.

The spirit of the man shines forth quite clearly in this advice that he left to his oldest son, written in his own hand:

“Fair son, the first thing I would teach thee is to set thine heart to love God; for unless he love God none can be saved. Keep thyself from doing aught that is displeasing to God, that is to say, from mortal sin. Contrariwise thou shouldst suffer every manner of torment rather than commit a mortal sin.

“If God send thee adversity, receive it in patience and give thanks to our Saviour and bethink thee that thou hast deserved it, and that He will make it turn to thine advantage. If He send thee prosperity, then thank Him humbly, so that thou becomest not worse from pride or any other cause, when thou oughtest to be better. For we should not fight against God with his own gifts.

“Confess thyself often and choose for thy confessor a right worthy man who knows how to teach thee what to do, and what not to do; and bear thyself in such sort that thy confessor and thy friends shall dare to reprove thee for thy misdoings. Listen to the services of Holy Church devoutly, and without chattering; and pray to God with thy heart and with thy lips, and especially at Mass when the consecration takes place. Let thy heart be tender and full of pity toward those who are poor, miserable, and afflicted, and comfort and help them to the utmost of thy power.

“Maintain the good customs of thy realm and abolish the bad. Be not covetous against thy people and do not burden them with taxes and imposts save when thou art in great need. Continue Reading

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Socrates Was a Stone Mason

Mike Rowe, the star of Dirty Jobs, has been a champion of training for teenagers to take on jobs that do not require a college degree.  He weighs in on Rubio’s observation that we need more welders than philosophers:

 

“Rubio gave a nice shout out to welders on the debate last night (that may or may not have made Socrates roll over in his grave). We all know you support welders and their hard work, but should we go so far as to say, “We need more welders and less philosophers?”

Hi Liz. Great question. Across the interwebs today, people are rushing to point out that the mean wage of a welder is actually lower than the mean wage of a philosopher – $40,000 vs. $71,000.

There’s an article on Vox that “debunks” Rubio’s claim. http://www.vox.com/…/…/9709948/marco-rubio-philosophy-welder.

Here’s another from CBS that “fact-checks” his statement. http://www.cbsnews.com/…/republican-debate-fact-check-was-…/

Based on these “revelations,” Rubio’s assertion that “welders make more than philosophers” is being dismissed out of hand.

Interestingly, no one has pointed out that last year, philosophers earned a combined total 1.6 billion dollars, whereas welders earned a combined total of $34 billion. Nor have I heard anyone explore the differences between mean wage vs. median wage, and the vastly different number such a calculation would yield, given the disparate size of each group, and the impact of high-earning outliers, particularly among the philosopher cohort. I suppose I could do all that here, but really, what’s the point? Numbers can always be twisted and turned to make whatever case the speaker wishes to drive home.

Personally, I’m convinced that more and greater opportunity exits in welding than philosophy. But I would not encourage one at the expense of another. That’s precisely how we’ve wound up with a workforce that’s both over-educated and under-trained. Never mind obscenely indebted. Also – it’s dangerous to conclude that one profession is superior to another simply because it pays more. Those kind of generalizations are fun but meaningless.

Having said that, I’m glad Rubio said what he said, because I know for a fact that employers are clamoring for welders. And I also know with certainty that a talented welder who is willing to go where the work is has an excellent chance to earn a six-figure salary. I have no idea if the same is true for a philosophy major, but I can assure you of this: an excellent welding program will cost a lot less than a Philosophy Degree from an excellent university. I can also tell you that the classified section of today’s paper is conspicuously void of openings for “Experienced Philosophers.” “Experienced Welders” on the other hand, appear to be in high demand everywhere.

Anyway Liz, to answer your question, I don’t think we need fewer philosophers – I think we need more philosophers who can weld. Or better yet, more welders who can philosophize. Welding and Philosophy are not opposites – they’re two sides of the same coin. Likewise blue and white collar. Labor and Capitol. Employer and Employee. Continue Reading

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PopeWatch: Sheep Dip

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

A new terrorist video put out today by Starbucks shows the latest batch of Christmas killers being trained by the terror group called “Barista.”

The 9-minute propaganda video released by Starbucks shows masked trainees wielding non-festive red cups and making inflammatory remarks such as “Happy Holidays” in an unknown location in Seattle, Washington.

The chilling video of green-clad barista terrorists standing behind a counter serving paying hostages moments before serving them Gingerbread Lattes in red cups with no mention of Christmas on them is being called one of the most terrifying images of our times.

In the video, the barista terrorists are seen smiling as they clearly undermine the saving power of Christ. The paying hostages are forced to pay for lattes and frappuccinos as a tattooed barista announces, “Thank you…have a great day,” without once mentioning Christmas. The paying hostages, who apparently chose to become hostages, are then given a chilling smile before each is forced to wait for their drink to arrive. The 9 minute-long propaganda video goes on to show terrified hostages receiving their drinks in little red cups that neither mention Christmas or Holidays.

In another part of the video, a barista is heard asking whether the hostage would like a receipt, instead of reciting the Nativity narrative from the Bible word-for-word to the hostage as is done in more civilized parts of the world.

“This is perhaps one of the most sickening videos I’ve ever seen,” said Christian pastor Thomas Hayes who was once a hostage himself. “I believe these barista terrorists are trying to send a clear message: “If you’re going to enjoy a warm latte on a cold winter evening, you’re going to have to convert to corporate paganism.” Continue Reading

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Southern Soldier

Something for the weekend.  A rousing rendition of Southern Soldier by the 2nd South Carolina String Band, a group dedicated to bringing to modern audiences Civil War music played on period instruments.  Southern Soldier was immensely popular among Confederate troops during the latter part of the War and was one of their favorite marching tunes. Continue Reading

Quotes Suitable for Framing: Winston Churchill and the Maccabees

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Today is Trin­ity Sun­day. Cen­turies ago words were writ­ten to be a call and a spur to the faith­ful ser­vants of Truth and Jus­tice: “Arm your­selves, and be ye men of val­our, and be in readi­ness for the con­flict; for it is bet­ter for us to per­ish in bat­tle than to look upon the Out­rage of our nation and our altar. As the Will of God is in Heaven, even so let it be.

Winston Churchill, Radio Address, June 19, 1940.  Churchill was quoting, slightly altered by him, I Maccabees 3: 58-60

58. And Judas said, Arm your­selves, and be valiant men, and see that ye be in readi­ness against the morn­ing, that ye may fight with these nations, that are assem­bled together against us to destroy us and our sanc­tu­ary: 59. For it is bet­ter for us to die in bat­tle, than to behold the calami­ties of our peo­ple and our sanc­tu­ary. 60. Nev­er­the­less, as the will of God is in heaven, so let him do.

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Charles Martel Aid Us!

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

Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

(In light of the attacks in Paris this evening I am re-running this post.  Charles Martel has never been canonized, but surely saving Europe from Islam must have counted much in his favor when he stood before God for his judgment.  In any case, we will need much of his spirit to survive the coming years and much less of the pacifist bilge that has turned the Church Militant too often into the Church Delusional.)

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

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

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

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

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Paris Terror Attacks

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At least three terrorists took more than 100 people hostage in a hall where a music concert was being held, before they began randomly killing innocent people. They had time to reload their weapons at least three times during the attack. Five explosions were heard when police stormed the venue. The Prefecture of Paris said the attackers were wearing explosive vests and detonated them during a police assault on the venue. Three terrorists were killed, as police took control of the hall.

Shooting has also been reported in les Halles in the centre of Paris, and in a restaurant by Bastille in rue de Charonne, with “many dead”, including children, according to eyewitnesses. Further incidents have been reported at Le Pompidou and Louvre.

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PopeWatch: Who Are the Pharisees Today?

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Rorate Caeli has a fascinating piece by Roberto de Mattei which answers the questions:  who are the Pharisees today?

 

Criticizing the “Pharisees” is recurrent in Pope Francis’ words. In numerous discourses, between 2013 and 2015, he has spoken of “the sickness of the Pharisees” (7th November 2013), “who rebuke Jesus for not respecting the Sabbath” (1st April 2014), of “the temptation of self-sufficiency and of clericalism, that codification of the faith in rules and regulations, as the scribes, the Pharisees, the doctors of the law did at the time of Jesus” (September 19th 2014). In the Angelus of August 30th 2015 he said that just as it was for the Pharisees it is “dangerous too for us to consider ourselves acceptable, or even worse, better than others simply for observing the rules, customs, even though we do not love our neighbor, we are hard of heart, we are arrogant and proud.” On November 8th 2015, he contrasted the behavior of the Scribes and Pharisees based on “exclusion” and Jesus’ behavior based on “inclusion”.

The reference to the Pharisees is evident, ultimately, in the Pope’s concluding discourse last October 24th, at the end of the XIV Ordinary Synod on the Family. In effect, who are 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” if not “the Pharisees who were making religion […] a [never-ending] chain of commandments”? (June 26th 2014). A Pharisee seems to be anyone who defends, with stubborn pride, the existence of commandments, laws and the absolute, mandatory rules of the Church.
 
Yet, who were the Pharisees exactly? When Jesus began His preaching, the Jewish world was divided in various currents, which the Gospels mention, and also historians like Flavio Giuseppe [Josephus] (37-100 A.D.) in his works Jewish Antiquities and The Jewish War. The main sects were the Pharisees and the Sadducees. The Pharisees observed the religious prescriptions in great detail, but had lost the spirit of Truth. They were proud men, who falsified the prophecies relating to the Messiah and interpreted the Divine law according to their own opinions. The Sadducees taught even graver errors, by placing in doubt the immortality of the soul and rejecting most of the Sacred Books. Both disputed the power of the Sanhedrin, which was lead by the Sadducees at the time Jesus was condemned. 
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Who are the Pharisees and Sadducees of our time? We can say it in all certainty. They are  those who, before, during and after the Synod tried to (and will try to) modify the practice of the Church, and, through practice, Her doctrine on marriage and the family.

 
Jesus proclaimed the indissolubility of marriage, basing it on the restoration of the natural law the Jews had departed from, and He reinforced it by elevating the marriage bond to [the level of] a Sacrament. The Pharisees and the Sadducees rejected this teaching, denying the Divine words of Jesus, to which they substituted their own opinion. They falsely referred to Moses, just like the innovators of our times refer to a supposed tradition of the first centuries, falsifying history and the doctrine of the Church. 
 
For this a valiant Bishop, defender of the orthodox faith, Monsignor Athanasius Schneider speaks of a “Neo-Mosaic practice” (see here) which re-emerges: “The new disciples of Moses and the new Pharisees during the last two Assemblies of the Synod (2014 and 2015) masked their practical denial of the indissolubility of marriage and of a suspension of the Sixth Commandment on a case-by-case basis under the guise of the concept of mercy, using expressions such as: “way of discernment,” “accompaniment”, “orientations of the bishop,” “dialogue with the priest,” “forum internum,” “a more fuller integration into the life of the Church,” a possible suppression of imputability regarding the cohabitation in irregular unions (cf. Final Report, nn. 84-86).” (The Final Report, nn. 84-86).
 
The Sadducees are the innovators that state openly the abandonment of the doctrine and practice of the Church; the Pharisees are those that proclaim the indissolubility of marriage with their lips, but deny it hypocritically in facts, proposing the “case by case” transgression of the moral law. The true followers of Jesus Christ belong neither to the neo-Pharisees party nor to the neo-Sadducee party, both modernists, but belong instead to the School of St. John the Baptist, who preached in the spiritual wastelands of his time. The Baptist, when he stigmatized the Pharisees and Sadducees as a “race of vipers” (Matthew 2, 7) and when he admonished Herod Antipas for his adultery, was not hard of heart, but was moved by love for God and souls. The hypocrites and the hard of heart were Herod’s advisors who claimed to reconcile his condition as an impenitent sinner with the teaching of the Scripture. Herod killed The Baptist to suffocate the voice of truth, yet the voice of the Precursor still resounds after twenty centuries.
 
Those who defend good doctrine, do not follow the example of the Pharisees and Sadducees, but the example of St. John the Baptist and Our Lord. 

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November 13, 1775: Montgomery takes Montreal

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Of all the former British officers who fought on the patriot side in the American Revolution, the most militarily talented was Richard Montgomery.  Born near Swords in County Dublin in 1738, he was a member of an Ulster Scots family notable for supplying officers to the British Army.  After studying at Trinity College he joined the 17th Foot in 1756, his father purchasing an ensign’s commission for him.  During the siege of Louisburg in 1758 his courage and initiative earned him promotion to Lieutenant.  In 1759 he participated in the siege of Fort Carillon and in 1760 was made adjutant of the regiment, a singular honor for an officer so young.  During subsequent fighting in the West Indies he was promoted to Captain.  After participating in the suppression of Pontiac’s Rebellion, Montgomery returned to Britain to recover his health, exhausted and ill from years of campaigning.

In Britain he became friends with Whig members of the British Parliament, including Edmund Burke and began to question British policies in America.  He sold his commission in 1772 for 1500 pounds, intent on retiring to America and becoming a gentleman farmer.

In America he married Janet Livingston, sister of future Founding Father Robert Livingston in 1773.  It was a love match marred by a dream in which Janet saw Montgomery being killed in a duel with his brother.  Montgomery responded stoically,  I have always told you that my happiness is not lasting…Let us enjoy it as long as we may and leave the rest to God.

Associated with a strong New York patriot family, additionally politically powerful, Montgomery gradually became a firm patriot, convince that the British government was acting tyrannically against the Americans.  On June 22, 1775 he was appointed a Brigadier General in the newly formed Continental Army and made deputy to Major General Philip Schuyler who commander the Continental forces in the north, charged with the invasion of, or, as the Americans saw it, the liberation of Canada.  Schuyler’s health failing him, Montgomery took command of the invasion force. Continue Reading