6

Terri Schiavo: March 31, 2005

Terri Schiavo’s brother remembers his sister, judicially murdered 11 years ago today:

Continue Reading

Heartwarming News From My Village

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Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward them for what they have done.

Proverbs: 19:17

 

I am proud to say that the two young men were members of my daughter’s graduating class:

 

Luke Arnold and Ryan Kodat were enjoying a snow day off from school in 2013 when they saw Herter out in the cold. A few hours later, they saw Herter again and approached him, learning that he was trying to make his way to Springfield, Illinois, to see his ailing father.

The two friends went back to Kodat’s house to get extra clothes for Herter and brought along Kodat’s father, who bought Herter a train ticket to Springfield, about 90 miles away.

“They got him on the train and that was it,” Kaiser said. “They’d just done something nice for him, not knowing it was a true story or not.”

No one but Kodat and Arnold’s family and close circle of friends knew about the good deed until Herter’s letter and check arrived at the high school last month.

While Kodat and Arnold, now both 21, went on to college and technical school, Herter discovered a surprise in his own life. According to his letter, he came into an inheritance of more than $1 million from his father.

He is now living in California, working as a stand-up comedian and writer, according to his Facebook page.

“He said to do whatever we wanted with the money, but it had to be in memory of his father and in honor of the two boys who helped him,” Kaiser said.

Kaiser and the district’s superintendent, Dr. Richard Jancek, decided to create two $500 scholarships for Dwight seniors to be awarded each year for the next 10 years. The award recipients will be selected after submitting an essay on a random act of kindness they’ve done. Continue Reading

17

PopeWatch: Mother Angelica

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Pope Francis made a comment that I think the readers of TAC would enthusiastically endorse:

 

Pope Francis on Wednesday offered a special blessing for Mother Angelica following her death on Easter Sunday, expressing his confidence that she is already in heaven.

“She’s in heaven.” The Pope pointed to the sky as he spoke these words to members of EWTN’s Rome bureau, who brought an image of the late Poor Clare nun to his March 30 general audience as a sign of affection and remembrance.

Francis saw the framed photo in the crowd, and blessed it when asked by EWTN’s Executive TV Producer in Rome, Martha Calderon, for a blessing for Mother Angelica’s soul. Continue Reading

1

Practical Joker of the Founding Fathers

 

 

 

Throughout his life Benjamin Franklin enjoyed practical jokes and literary hoaxes.  Here from 1730 is a report, almost certainly written by him, about a completely illusory witch trial.  Franklin was 26 when he wrote this, only 38 years after the all too real Salem Witch Trials:

Burlington, Oct. 12. Saturday last at Mount-Holly, about 8 Miles from this Place, near 300 People were gathered together to see an Experiment or two tried on some Persons accused of Witchcraft. It seems the Accused had been charged with making their Neighbours Sheep dance in an uncommon Manner, and with causing Hogs to speak, and sing Psalms, &c. to the great Terror and Amazement of the King’s good and peaceable Subjects in this Province; and the Accusers being very positive that if the Accused were weighed in Scales against a Bible, the Bible would prove too heavy for them; or that, if they were bound and put into the River, they would swim; the said Accused desirous to make their Innocence appear, voluntarily offered to undergo the said Trials, if 2 of the most violent of their Accusers would be tried with them.

Accordingly the Time and Place was agreed on, and advertised about the Country; The Accusers were 1 Man and 1 Woman; and the Accused the same. The Parties being met, and the People got together, a grand Consultation was held, before they proceeded to Trial; in which it was agreed to use the Scales first; and a Committee of Men were appointed to search the Men, and a Committee of Women to search the Women, to see if they had any Thing of Weight about them, particularly Pins. After the Scrutiny was over, a huge great Bible belonging to the Justice of the Place was provided, and a Lane through the Populace was made from the Justices House to the Scales, which were fixed on a Gallows erected for that Purpose opposite to the House, that the Justice’s Wife and the rest of the Ladies might see the Trial, without coming amongst the Mob; and after the Manner of Moorfields, a large Ring was also made. Then came out of the House a grave tall Man carrying the Holy Writ before the supposed Wizard, &c. (as solemnly as the Sword-bearer of London before the Lord Mayor) the Wizard was first put in the Scale, and over him was read a Chapter out of the Books of Moses, and then the Bible was put in the other Scale, (which being kept down before) was immediately let go; but to the great Surprize of the Spectators, Flesh and Bones came down plump, and outweighed that great good Book by abundance. After the same Manner, the others were served, and their Lumps of Mortality severally were too heavy for Moses and all the Prophets and Apostles. Continue Reading

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Day by Day?

Recently at a library book sale I purchased two volumes Lincoln 1840-1846 (1939) and Lincoln 1809-1839 (1941).  Both volumes were written by Harry E. Pratt and published by the Abraham Lincoln Association of Springfield, Illinois.  These two volumes attempted to relate the events of Lincoln’s life day by day.  They joined two earlier volumes that accomplished the same task for the years 1847-1861.

The Abraham Lincoln Association still exists.  Go here to view their website.  The Association did pioneer work in the last century in studies about the Sixteenth President, particularly in assembling documents written by Lincoln and publishing them.  The publication of the eight volume work of the writings of Lincoln bankrupted the Association for a time.

The volumes about the day to day activities of Lincoln often focused upon legal documents filed with courts by Lincoln, and proved an effective weapon against the cottage industry of the forging of Lincoln legal documents.  I find the volumes make fascinating reading, perhaps because I am not only a Lincoln student, but also a lawyer. I have nothing but admiration for the hard work that went into compiling them and everyone who studies Lincoln is in the debt of Mr. Pratt and the two other authors of the series. Continue Reading

2

Quotes Suitable for Framing: Elihu Root

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About half the practice of a decent lawyer consists in telling would-be clients that they are damned fools and should stop.

Elihu Root

Secretary of War and Secretary of State under Theodore Roosevelt, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, US Senator from New York, founder of the Council on Foreign Relations, the life of Elihu Root is a demonstration of the fickleness of fame in history.  For all his numerous accomplishments, he is remembered today for a throw away quote he made about the practice of law in the 1880s.

5

PopeWatch: Exhortation

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Roberto de Mattei at Rorate Caeli predicts grim results from the forthcoming exhortation:
Roberto de Mattei
Corrispondenza Romana
March 23, 2016
In this Holy Week of 2016, the sentiments and pain of Christ’s Passion being renewed is mingled with deep apprehension about the distressing situation the Church is in. The greatest worries regard the impending Apostolic Post-Synod Exhortation Pope Francis signed on March 19th and which will be published just after Easter. According to the Vatican journalist Luigi Accattoli “rumors foresee a text of no striking doctrinal or juridical affirmations, but rather will include many innovative practical choices regarding marriage preparation and couples in irregular situations: not only for the divorced and remarried but also for cohabiters, marriages with a believer and non-believer and for those only civilly-married.” (Corriere della Sera, March 20th 2016)

 

What will these “innovative practices” be? The document’s key word is “integration”. Those who are in an irregular situation will be “integrated” into the community: they could become catechists, liturgical animators, godparents for Baptism and Confirmation, best men/bridesmaids at weddings and so on; all activities the traditional praxis of the Church to this day has forbidden them owing to their state of public sin. Yet, Alberto Melloni writes in “La Repubblica”, March 19th “on Communion for the divorced and remarried no novelties are expected. Seeing as the problem is to legitimize a praxis (…), not establish it theologically”. The document does not anticipate a “general rule” of access to the Eucharist, but would allow confessors and individual bishops to permit admission to the Sacraments “case by case”. The novelty, Melloni explains, is based on facts not on words, “by giving responsibility and restoring effective powers to bishops, marking, as Cardinal Kasper said, a real “revolution”.
Let’s imagine someone said: morality exists, but let’s act as if it didn’t. Morality being the norm of human conduct, this would be an invitation to a society without rules: a veritable Far-West morality, in which everything is allowed, as long as it not theorized. Jesus said, “Whoever loves me keeps my commandments” (John 14,21). In a case like this, in the name of a false, merciful love, God’s commandments would be violated and we would make a mockery of Him. And yet this is exactly the “legitimatizing of praxis” scenario that Melloni hopes for.
If the rumours are true, those who are in a situation of public and permanent sin, could rise to the role of witnesses, guides and educators in the Christian community. This would evidently mean not only for the divorced and remarried but for public cohabiters of every kind, heterosexual or homosexual, indiscriminately. Will it be possible to apply “the hermeneutic of continuity” to a document of this type, meant as an attempt to retain every act or word from the ecclesiastic hierarchy conformable with Tradition, whatever they are? For there to be continuity with the past it is not enough to reaffirm the indissolubility of matrimony. The continuity of doctrine is demonstrated through facts not words. Confronted with these novelties in praxis, how can it be said nothing will change? And how can the hermeneutic of continuity be proposed when it has already failed as far as the Vatican II documents are concerned?

Continue Reading

6

Ten Commandments: Favorite Scene

David Griffey at Daffey Thoughts rejoices that after sixty years Cecil B. Demille’s masterpiece, The Ten Commandments, is still immensely popular:

The Ten Commandments still popular

 
I wish we could have seen it on the big screen!

Good to see.  All hope isn’t lost.  I already wrote about how much I enjoy and appreciate the film.
 Last night, when we watched it on Easter on Blueray (quite a jolt of cinematic awesomeness let me tell you), we noticed just how many subtle nods to a Scriptural vocabulary are sprinkled through the movie.  We focus on the fictional love story and sexed-up elements meant to drag people away from the new invention of television.

But throughout the movie there are little statements here, or little scenes there, that all point to a Scriptural worldview that the 1950s audience would no doubt recognize faster than most post-moderns today.  A scene where the Hebrews break into temple granaries reminds one of David doing the same.  A scene in which a Hebrew slave dies in a mud pit, lamenting that he didn’t get to see the Deliverer when Heston (Moses – the Deliverer) is holding him in his arms makes you think of Simeon.

So while there is plenty of pageantry and Hollywood embellishments, there are no more than modern Hollywood takes.  And many of the additions are for more noble ideas of freedom and equality than the millennial caterwauling that dominates today’s ventures.

And you have the parting of the Red Sea.  What more can you want!

Continue Reading

18

Time For Our Game Face

Father Z says it all in his post on the crucifixion of Father Thomas Uzhunnalil:

 

 

It seems fairly clear that this priest was killed by adherents of the Religion of Peace for hatred of the Christian Faith. He is more than likely a true martyr, through red, bloody, martyrdom. And he died in the manner of Our Lord.

From The Right Perspective:

ISIS CRUCIFIES CATHOLIC PRIEST ON GOOD FRIDAY

Isis crucified a Catholic priest on Good Friday, the latest atrocity committed by the radical Islamist terror group.

The Rev. Thomas Uzhunnalil was kidnapped in Yemen in during a March 4 raid on a nursing home run by Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity. 16 nuns and nurses were killed in the attack. Pope Francis already had honored the slain nuns as martyrs.

His execution, using the same grisly method the Romans used on Jesus Christ and commemorated by Christians around the world every Good Friday, was confirmed at the Easter Vigil Mass by Cardinal Christoph Schonborn of Vienna.

Rev. Uzhunnalil was a Salesian, an order founded in 1859 by St. John “Don” Bosco. It is the second-largest order in the Catholic Church, with more than 28,000 Priests, Brothers, Sisters and novices working across the globe to help poor children.

We had better get our game face on soon.

Sts. Nunilo and Alodia, pray for us.
St. Lawrence of Brindisi, pray for us.
St. Pius V, pray for us. Continue Reading

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PopeWatch: Merchants of Death Yet Again

 

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The Pope knows who is really responsible for the massacre in Brussels:

 

 

“Three days ago an act of war and destruction in a European city was carried out by people who do not want to live in peace – but behind that act as behind Judas there were others…the arms manufacturers and traffickers who want blood not peace, war not brotherhood”. Francis went on to explain the significance of his act of washing the feet of asylum seekers as Jesus washed his disciples’ feet.” Continue Reading

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Mother Angelica Has Died

I don’t know if anybody else here knew that she’d been fading, but she finally lost her struggle for life.

Here’s CNA’s article, which has a schedule of events and a good picture for her.

And here is Father Pacwa’s facebook page announcement with reactions from various Catholic leaders.

Me, I’m already asking her to pray for us.  She was ornery as all get-go, and that’s something to want on someone that’s on your side.

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New York Skyline Easter 1956

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3/29/1956 New York – Huge crosses, formed by lighted windows blaze above New York’s skyline as part of an Easter display in Manhattan’s financial district. This scene photographed from the roof of the Municipal Building features 150-foot-high crosses in the following buildings (L-R) the City Services Co.; City Bank – Farmers Trust Co.; and the Forty Wall Street Corp.  (United Press Telephoto)

Hattip to Instapundit.  This was the Easter in the year before my birth.  How quickly a culture can change.  Such a reflection can be a reason for pessimism or optimism depending on how we act today and in the days to come.  The future is ever constructed by those who take action in the present.

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Easter Sunday, March 25, 1951: POW Servant of God Brings the Light of Christ to his Men

 

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, March 3, 1863, has awarded in the name of Congress the Medal of Honor to

Chaplain (Captain) Emil J. Kapaun
United States Army

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:

Chaplain Emil J. Kapaun distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the 3d Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division during combat operations against an armed enemy at Unsan, Korea, from November 1-2, 1950. On November 1, as Chinese Communist Forces viciously attacked friendly elements, Chaplain Kapaun calmly walked through withering enemy fire in order to provide comfort and medical aid to his comrades and rescue friendly wounded from no-man’s land. Though the Americans successfully repelled the assault, they found themselves surrounded by the enemy. Facing annihilation, the able-bodied men were ordered to evacuate. However, Chaplain Kapaun, fully aware of his certain capture, elected to stay behind with the wounded. After the enemy succeeded in breaking through the defense in the early morning hours of November 2, Chaplain Kapaun continually made rounds, as hand-to-hand combat ensued. As Chinese Communist Forces approached the American position, Chaplain Kapaun noticed an injured Chinese officer amongst the wounded and convinced him to negotiate the safe surrender of the American Forces. Shortly after his capture, Chaplain Kapaun, with complete disregard for his personal safety and unwavering resolve, bravely pushed aside an enemy soldier preparing to execute Sergeant First Class Herbert A. Miller. Not only did Chaplain Kapaun’s gallantry save the life of Sergeant Miller, but also his unparalleled courage and leadership inspired all those present, including those who might have otherwise fled in panic, to remain and fight the enemy until captured. Chaplain Kapaun’s extraordinary heroism and selflessness, above and beyond the call of duty, are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the 3d Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, the 1st Cavalry Division, and the United States Army.

On Easter Sunday March 25, 1951, Father Emil Kapaun, go here to read more about him. was drawing near to his death, his body wracked by dysentery, weakened by starvation, an ulcer growing on one of his legs and the initial stages of pneumonia developing in his lungs. However, none of that was of any consequence to him: he was a priest in a Chinese POW camp, it was Easter, and his fellow soldiers needed him and nothing else mattered. Somehow he had convinced their guards to allow him to hold a service in a bombed out Church on a rise near the camp. At sunrise he and 80 other soldiers climbed up to the wrecked church. He had no bread or wine so he could not say Mass. Instead he led them in the stations of the cross, saying the Rosary while doing so, a Rosary he made out of barbed wire. Men who had been beaten and starved wept as Father Kapaun told them how Christ had been beaten and died for them. They said the glorious mysteries. He preached a sermon on forgiveness. They sang the Lord’s Prayer loudly at the end so that the enlisted men back at the camp, kept segregated from the officers by their Chinese captors, could hear the prayer. Continue Reading

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O Sacred Head

Something for the weekend.  O Sacred Head Surrounded.  The lyrics of this hymn derive from the latin poem Salve Mundi Salutare.  The authorship is open to doubt although I agree with those who attribute at least part of the poem to Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, based upon stylistic similarities with portions of his other writings.    The sanctity and eloquence of Saint Bernard alloyed with the musical genius of Johann Sebastian Bach makes a potent combination indeed.

On a personal note this hymn has always moved me as no other does.  I had it played at my son’s funeral and when I depart this Vale of Tears I have requested that it be played at mine.  It reminds me that God died for me, something I find absolutely stunning.  Love and sacrifice begin and end with God, who regards each man as if there were no other. Continue Reading

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Report to the Emperor-First Draft

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(I post this each year on Good Friday at The American Catholic.  Have a blessed Good Friday and Easter.)

I thank you Marcus for taking on the onerous task of acting as my secretary, in addition to your regular duties as my aide, in regard to this portion of the report.  The Greek, Aristides, is competent, and like most Greek secretaries his Latin is quite graceful, but also like most Greek secretaries he does not know when to keep his mouth shut.  I want him kept away from this work, and I want you to observe the strictest security.  Caiaphas was playing a nefarious game, and I do not think we are out of the woods yet.  I do not want his spies finding out what I am telling the Imperator and Caiaphas altering the tales his agents are now, no doubt, spreading in Rome.  Let us take the Jew by surprise for once! Continue Reading

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Screen Pilates: Lowell Gilmore

 

Continuing our series on screen portrayals of Pilate that I began in 2011 during Holy Week.    The posts on portrayals of Pilate by Rod Steiger, Richard Boone, Barry Dennen, Hristov Shopov, Telly Savalas, Frank Thring, Stephen Russell, Greg Hicks, Cyril Richard, Stephen Moyer, Dennis King, Brian Mitchell, Leif Erickson, Peter Firth and David Bowie may be viewed  here, here, here, here  here , here, here, here, here , here , here, here, here , here and here.

Actor Lowell Gilmore had the distinction of portraying Pilate three times:  The Living Christ twelve part series (1951). I Beheld His Glory (1952) and Day of Triumph (1954). Continue Reading

23

How Old Am I?

 

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I am so old that I can recall when the feet washed at Mass on a Holy Thursday belonged to Catholics!

 

Pope Francis will wash the feet of young refugees during an Easter Week ritual in a gesture high in symbolism inside the Catholic Church and beyond.

The Vatican didn’t say Tuesday if non-Catholics would be among the 12 refugees participating in the Holy Thursday rite at an asylum center in Castelnuovo di Porto, north of Rome. But women will almost certainly be involved, and a Vatican official, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, noted that most of the center’s residents are non-Catholic.

The ritual is meant to be a gesture of service, and re-enacts a rite Jesus performed on his apostles before being crucified.

Within weeks of becoming pope, Francis stunned conservatives by washing the feet of women, Orthodox Christians and Muslims at a juvenile detention facility. In subsequent years, he has washed the feet of other Muslims and even a Brazilian Catholic transsexual at Rome’s main prison.

Vatican rules had long called for only men to participate, and popes past and many priests traditionally performed the ritual on 12 Catholic men, recalling Jesus’ 12 apostles and further cementing the doctrine of an all-male priesthood.

But Francis in January changed the regulations to explicitly allow women and girls to participate.

The new norms said anyone from the “people of God” could be chosen. While the phrase “people of God” refers to baptized Christians, the decree also said that pastors should instruct “both the chosen faithful and others so that they may participate in the rite consciously, actively and fruitfully,” suggesting that the rite could be open to non-Catholics as well.

Fisichella, who is spearheading Francis’ Holy Year of Mercy initiative, said the choice of the refugee center was highly symbolic given the current migration crises. Continue Reading

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Special Snow Flakes Afraid of Democracy

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I really wish this was take from Eye of the Tiber:

 

Students protested yesterday at the Emory Administration Building following a series of overnight, apparent pro-Donald Trump for president chalkings throughout campus.

Roughly 40 students gathered shortly after 4:30 p.m. in the outdoors space between the Administration Building and Goodrich C. White Hall; many students carried signs featuring slogans such as “Stop Trump” or “Stop Hate” and an antiphonal chant addressed to University administration, led by College sophomore Jonathan Peraza, resounded “You are not listening! Come speak to us, we are in pain!” throughout the Quad. Peraza opened the door to the Administration Building and students moved forward towards the door, shouting “It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.”

After approximately ten minutes outside from the start of the demonstration, the gathered students were ushered into the Quad-facing entrance to the Administration Building and quickly filled a staircase to continue their demonstration. Pausing in the staircase, a few students shared their initial, personal reactions to the chalkings.

“I’m supposed to feel comfortable and safe [here],” one student said. “But this man is being supported by students on our campus and our administration shows that they, by their silence, support it as well … I don’t deserve to feel afraid at my school,” she added.

A short time later, students moved into the Henry L. Bowden Board Room, surrounding the long table that dominates its center, the students themselves surrounded by portraits of Emory University’s former presidents.

“What are we feeling?” Peraza asked those assembled. Responses of “frustration” and “fear” came from around the room, but individual students soon began to offer more detailed, personal reactions to feelings of racial tension that Trump and his ideology bring to the fore.

“How can you not [disavow Trump] when Trump’s platform and his values undermine Emory’s values that I believe are diversity and inclusivity when they are obviously not [something that Trump supports]” one student said tearfully. “Banning Muslims? How is that something Emory supports?” asked yet another. Continue Reading

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Screen Pilates: David Bowie

Continuing our series on screen portrayals of Pilate that I began in 2011 during Holy Week.    The posts on portrayals of Pilate by Rod Steiger, Richard Boone, Barry Dennen, Hristov Shopov, Telly Savalas, Frank Thring, Stephen Russell, Greg Hicks, Cyril Richard, Stephen Moyer, Dennis King, Brian Mitchell, Leif Erickson and Peter Firth may be viewed  here, here, here, here  here , here, here, here, here , here , here, here, here and here.

Perhaps the oddest portrayal of Pilate is by David Bowie, who passed away recently, in the enormously controversial film, The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), which was based on the 1957 novel of the same name by Greek novelist Nikos Kazantzakis.  I have a hard time being offended by either the novel or the film because Kazantzakis’ take on Christ is so bizarre, and so contrary to the historical record, that it occurred to me that the novel was not really about Christ, but a totally fictional construct by Kazantzakis in which only the name of Jesus remains the same.  The scene at the top of the post where “Pilate” interrogates “Christ” (Willem Dafoe),  is typical:  the dialogue is completely made up and is conducted listlessly by both “Pilate” and “Christ”, rather as if they were participants in a college bull session that had gone on too late into the wee hours of the morning.  One expects one of them to say, “We better turn in, or we will never get up for class.” Continue Reading

If It’s Tuesday There Must Be Primaries

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1:13 AM  CST-Trump wins Arizona decisively.  With 59% of the vote counted he is at 47%, Cruz follows at 23% and Kasich is at 10%.  (It should be noted that Arizona has had early voting going on for a month.)  Clinton also wins Arizona decisively with 59% to Sanders 38%.  In Utah Trump is in third place with Cruz thus far at 65%, Kasich at 20% and Trump at 14%.  Sanders thumps Clinton with 75% to her 25%.  Media outlets have called Utah for both Cruz and Sanders, but the percentages given are based upon fairly small numbers of the votes thus far reported from the caucuses.

Update:  4:18  AM CST:   With 84% counted, Cruz is at 69%, Kasich is at 17% and Trump is at 14%, and Cruz gets all 40 delegates.  Sanders is at 80% while Clinton is at 20%, but somehow she gets 5 delegates to his 18 under the Democrats proportional rules.

 

By taking Arizona, a winner take all state for the Republicans, Trump is 18 delegates ahead in tonight’s haul over Cruz.

 

 

 

26

Pope Condemns “Blind Violence”

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But be true shepherds, with your crooks always in your hands. Do not go to sleep, but guard on all sides the flock committed to you. For if through your carelessness or negligence a wolf carries away one of your sheep, you will surely lose the reward laid up for you with God. And after you have been bitterly scourged with remorse for your faults, you will be fiercely overwhelmed in hell, the abode of death.

Pope Urban II, Speech at Council of Clermont, 1095

 

The latest atrocity by ISIS brought a predictable response from the Pope:

 

 

 

Pope Francis, he said, “again condemns the blind violence which has caused so much suffering, and he implores God for the gift of peace, invoking upon the grieving families and on all Belgians the benefit of divine blessings.”

The Pope’s prayers come after at least 34 people were killed and 170 more injured in March 22 attacks at Brussels Zaventem international airport and a city metro station near buildings belonging to the E.U.

Twin blasts hit the airport around 8 a.m. local time, tearing through the departure section. The BBC reports that a Belgian prosecutor said the blasts were likely caused by “a suicide bomber.”

According to reports, shots and shouts in Arabic could be heard before the blasts, and an undetonated suicide belt was found after the attacks. Continue Reading

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Screen Pilates: Peter Firth

Continuing our series on screen portrayals of Pilate that I began in 2011 during Holy Week.    The posts on portrayals of Pilate by Rod Steiger, Richard Boone, Barry Dennen, Hristov Shopov, Telly Savalas, Frank Thring, Stephen Russell, Greg Hicks, Cyril Richard, Stephen Moyer, Dennis King, Brian Mitchell and Leif Erickson may be viewed  here, here, here, here  here , here, here, here, here , here , here, here and here.

Veteran actor Peter Firth portrays Pilate as a worried man in the currently released movie Risen (2016), afraid that if the body of Christ cannot be found unrest from His followers will occur on the eve of a visit to Judaea by the Emperor Tiberius.  The visit of Emperor Tiberius is a fictional device to heighten the drama I assume.  At the time of the execution of Christ, Tiberius was in decadent retirement on the island of Capri.  The historical Pilate had good reason to fear the wrath of Tiberius, as he was a protégé of Roman strongman Sejanus, who Tiberius had executed on October 18, 31 AD, a year of two, likely, before Christ was put to death.  The Jewish philosopher Philo, an older contemporary of Christ born in 25 BC and who would live to 50 AD, noted that Sejanus had helped foster anti-Semitic policies throughout the Empire, and that Tiberius had repudiated these policies upon the fall of Sejanus, and commanded that good relations with the Jewish communities throughout the Roman Empire be the policy of the Roman government.  This of course would have put Pilate on the spot, since he had a generally bad relationship with the Jews.  Much that is obscure about Pilate’s attitude toward Christ is made clear if Philo is accurate in his statement.  Why the screenwriters of Risen did not use these facts, rather than inventing a fictional visit of Tiberius, is beyond me. Continue Reading

17

The Philosopher Millennial

Justin Bieber Church Christian Taco Bell Millennial Philosopher

Update Below

“You don’t need to go to church to be a Christian.

If you go to Taco Bell, that doesn’t make you a taco.”

– Justin Bieber

This is probably the quote of the year, from a Millennial no less.

(Hat Tip: Taylor Marshall at Maccabee Society)

Update: A few developments that have come up through reliable sources:

  1.  Justin Bieber does attend both Sunday service and Wednesday night Bible study weekly.
  2.  This may be an old Protestant meme with no relation to Justin Bieber.
  3.  If the graphics on the pic above are correct, I recognize the CNN Headline News logo and it may well be anti-Christian propaganda.
  4.  For the record, I do not dislike Justin Bieber, I just found the quote quite funny, but with these recent developments, please keep in mind that this could be another smear against professed Christians.
3

Prison Cuba

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A reminder that as our President makes nice with the jailers who run it, Cuba is a vast island prison:

 

 

Pérez was among more than 200 arrested yesterday, according to Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) leader José Daniel Ferrer, who attested to the arrest of 209 members of his group in Oriente, the eastern end of Cuba. In contrast, the Cuban government arrested about 250 dissidents throughout the entirety of Pope Francis’ visit in September.

In addition to those taken to jail, at least one is being held under house arrest without charge. The man: Zaqueo Báez, who made international headlines in September for daring to approach Pope Francis’ vehicle in Havana and say the word “freedom” within earshot of the pontiff. Báez was beaten severely in front of the pope and taken to prison, facing criminal charges for disturbing the peace. Pope Francis later denied any knowledge of the incident despite his proximity to it.

The Cuban dissident community has loudly opposed President Obama’s visit, arguing that his presence on the island would embolden the Cuban government to act more violently against pro-democracy activists. “These sorts of visits bring a lot of collateral damage,” dissident Marta Beatriz Roque said in February.

Studies of Castro regime behavior following President Obama’s announcement in December 2017 that he would be establishing diplomatic ties with the Castro dictatorship show that Havana has become more oppressive and violent against those who demand to live in a democratic society. “There has been no substantial improvement in regard to human rights and individual freedoms on the island… [The Cuban government] has adapted its repressive methods in order to make them invisible to the scrutinizing, judgmental eyes of the international community, but it has not reduced the level of pressure or control over the opposition,” a report by the Czech NGO People in Need concluded in December. Continue Reading

3

Monday of Holy Week Seventy-Nine Years Ago

In your country, Venerable Brethren, voices are swelling into a chorus urging people to leave the Church, and among the leaders there is more than one whose official position is intended to create the impression that this infidelity to Christ the King constitutes a signal and meritorious act of loyalty to the modern State. Secret and open measures of intimidation, the threat of economic and civic disabilities, bear on the loyalty of certain classes of Catholic functionaries, a pressure which violates every human right and dignity. Our wholehearted paternal sympathy goes out to those who must pay so dearly for their loyalty to Christ and the Church; but directly the highest interests are at stake, with the alternative of spiritual loss, there is but one alternative left, that of heroism. If the oppressor offers one the Judas bargain of apostasy he can only, at the cost of every worldly sacrifice, answer with Our Lord: “Begone, Satan! For it is written: The Lord thy God shalt thou adore, and Him only shalt thou serve” (Matt. iv. 10). And turning to the Church, he shall say: “Thou, my mother since my infancy, the solace of my life and advocate at my death, may my tongue cleave to my palate if, yielding to worldly promises or threats, I betray the vows of my baptism.” As to those who imagine that they can reconcile exterior infidelity to one and the same Church, let them hear Our Lord’s warning: – “He that shall deny me before men shall be denied before the angels of God” (Luke xii. 9).

Pius XI, MIT BRENNENDER SORGE

Fathers Z and Hunwicke remind us why courage is never an optional virtue for Catholics:

Fr. John Hunwicke, at his fine blog Mutual Enrichment, reminds us all that on this liturgical day, Monday of Holy Week, in 1937

… the Gestapo raided diocesan offices and presbyteries all over Germany. The previous day, Palm Sunday, when the churches were packed, priests all over Germany had read publicly the Encyclical Mit Brennender Sorge [=With Burning Sorrow – Anxiety – Concern] of the Holy Father Pope Pius XI…. It had been smuggled into Germany in the Nuncio’s Diplomatic Bag and secretly printed …; secretly distributed by special couriers and proclaimed in every pulpit. And nobody leaked it; at least, not in time for the government to intervene. It burst upon the Fuehrer and his admirers as the most wonderful surprise. Not many people in the state apparatus will have had much sabbath rest that Sunday, as arrangements were frantically made to secure all copies for destruction.

Mit brennender Sorge is amazing.  The letter is a masterpiece of rhetoric, aimed at building the resolve and courage of the whole Church which was experiencing ever greater persecution, ever greater restriction of and violation of religious freedom in direct violation of the concordat, the treaty that the State had legally ratified with the Church. Pius describes the problems that people were enduring and seeks to harden their resolve and console them in their suffering.

His word to young people are to be prized especially in our own day.

Indeed, this letter seems as if it could be aimed at our own decade.

And since letters of this kind are lacking today, when we need them, Mit brenneder Sorge is that much more precious a gift from our forebears!

Every once in a while, I read for you old encyclicals, with the hope that they will come alive for you who have never experienced their content and, especially, their style.

They don’t write them like this anymore!

As you listen, I’ll ask you to imagine yourself in a church in Germany on Palm Sunday 1937.

The horrors of the first world war and the poverty of economic devastation are still raw. The German Riech and National Socialist party is in the ascension. People are being rounded up and disappeared. Schools are being hijacked. Young people are being indoctrinated in evil disciplines. A nationalist paganism is being blended into everything the State does as it represses any rival. Huge numbers of your neighbors are caving or are being swept up by the trends. Society is on the ede of a knife. Hitler and his thugs are driving the Catholic presence from the public square. There had been a treaty a concordat signed between the German Reich and the Church, to guarantee the Church’s freedoms, but it is being systematically and blatantly ignored.

You are afraid… for yourselves, your children, your Church, your nation.

And so, Pius XI issued his encyclical, which had material from several contributers including Eugenio Card. Pacelli, former nuncio to German and future Pope Pius XII along with German Cardinal Michael Faulhaber and von Galen.

Imaginging yourself in the church on that Sunday, listen now to Pius XI’s words, read by the priest from the pulpit of your parish church… Continue Reading

2

Separated at Birth

 

With all due respect to Mr. Klavan, the public figure that Bernie Sanders most reminds me of is Pope Francis:

1.Both are socialists with very little work experience in the private sector.

2.Both are popular on college campuses with kids who have very little experience of life.

3.Both are in favor of extremist environmental policies while decrying the lack of job opportunities.

4.Both seem to believe that governments can endlessly conjure wealth out of thin air.

5.Both enjoy great press at The National Catholic Reporter. Continue Reading

4

Screen Pilates: Leif Erickson

Continuing our series on screen portrayals of Pilate that I began in 2011 during Holy Week.    The posts on portrayals of Pilate by Rod Steiger, Richard Boone, Barry Dennen, Hristov Shopov, Telly Savalas, Frank Thring, Stephen Russell, Greg Hicks, Cyril Richard, Stephen Moyer, Dennis King and Brian Mitchell may be viewed  here, here, here, here  here , here, here, here, here , here , here and here.

Hill Number One (1951) was a well-done film of Family Theater Productions, a company founded by the late Father Francis Peyton, the famed Rosary Priest, who led Rosary Crusades around the globe.  Family Theater Productions produced some 700 films and television programs.  Hill Number One has a chaplain telling some GIs during the Korean War, when battles for hills were common, how Jesus took Hill Number One, Calvary, by Himself.  Leif Erickson, who later starred in the Western television series The High Chaparral (1967-71), portrays Pilate as a harsh soldier/administrator, completely baffled by the mystery of Christ.  A forgotten minor classic, this video makes excellent Holy Week viewing.  Watch for an early screen appearance by James Dean as the Apostle John.

2

Quotes Suitable for Framing: CS Lewis

 

CS-Lewis

 

Early in 1926 the hardest boiled of all the atheists I ever knew sat in my room on the other side of the fire and remarked that the evidence for the historicity of the Gospels was really surprisingly good. “Rum thing,” he went on. “All that stuff of Frazer’s about the Dying God. Rum thing. It almost looks as if it had really happened once.” To understand the shattering impact of it, you would need to know the man (who has certainly never since shown any interest in Christianity). If he, the cynic of cynics, the toughest of the toughs, were not-as I would still have put it — “safe,” where could I turn? Was there then no escape?

CS Lewis, Surprised by Joy

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Triumph of the Cross

In Hoc Signo Vinces

(This is my regular post for Palm Sunday which I repost each year.  Have a happy and blessed Palm Sunday and Holy Week.)

9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Sion, shout for joy, O daughter of Jerusalem: BEHOLD THY KING will come to thee, the just and saviour: he is poor, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. 10 And I will destroy the chariot out of Ephraim, and the horse out of Jerusalem, and the bow for war shall be broken: and he shall speak peace to the Gentiles, and his power shall be from sea to sea, and from the rivers even to the end of the earth.

Thus did the prophet Zechariah, writing half a millennium before, predict the entry of Christ into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.  How many such glorious entrances into cities have there been over the ages?  Every civilization I am aware of has such ceremonies, either parades in peace time or entrances of conquest or liberation in war time.  The Romans turned this into an art form with their triumphs, with the reminder of the slave to the imperator of  fleeting human mortality: “Respice post te, hominem memento te”.

Few such triumphs have turned into utter disaster as quickly as that of Jesus:  Jerusalem at His feet on Sunday, and Christ dead on a Roman Cross before the sun had set on Friday.  Small wonder that no contemporary historian or chronicler at the time took note.  However some sort of official report probably was filed after the crucifixion.  Writing circa 116 AD, and relying heavily on official records for his history, in regard to the great fire at Rome under Emperor Nero Tacitus states:

“15.44.2. But, despite kindly influence, despite the leader’s generous handouts, despite appeasing the gods, the scandal did not subside, rather the blaze came to be believed to be an official act. So, in order to quash the rumour, Nero blamed it on, and applied the cruelest punishments to, those sinners, whom ordinary people call Christians, hating them for their shameful behaviour. 15.44.3. The originator of this name, Christ, was sentenced to torture by Procurator Pontius Pilate, during the reign of Tiberius, but although checked for a moment, the deadly cult erupted again, not just in Judaea, the source of its evil, but even in Rome, where all the sins and scandals of the world gather and are glorified.”

Tacitus, clearly hostile to the Christians, points his finger at one of the great mysteries of history.  In human terms the Jesus movement was nipped in the bud at its inception.  Yet in less than three centuries the Roman emperor bowed before the cross.  The triumph of Palm Sunday led only to disaster, and the humiliation and death of the cross led to triumph in eternity and here on Earth.

For we Catholics, and for all other Christians, no explanation of this paradoxical outcome is needed.  However there is much here to ponder for non-believers and non-Christians.  In purely human terms the followers of Christ had no chance to accomplish anything:  no powerful supporters, no homeland embracing their faith, cultures, both Jewish and Gentile, which were hostile to the preaching of the Gospels, other religions which were well-established, the list of disadvantages could go on at considerable length.  We take the victory of Christianity for granted because it happened.  We forget how very improbable such a victory was. Even more improbable is that what began on Palm Sunday, the triumph of Jesus, has continued till today in spite of all challenges that two thousand years of human folly could cast up.  How very peculiar in mortal terms!

Let us give the last word to the patron saint of paradox G. K. Chesterton: Continue Reading

3

Palm Sunday 151 Years Ago

 

 

It is poor business measuring the mouldered ramparts and counting the silent guns, marking the deserted battlefields and decorating the grassy graves, unless we can learn from it some nobler lesson than to destroy.  Men write of this, as of other wars, as if the only thing necessary to be impressed upon the rising generation were the virtue of physical courage and contempt of death.  It seems to me that is the last thing we need to teach;  for since the days of John Smith in Virginia and the men of the Mayflower in Massachusetts, no generation of Americans has shown any lack of it.  From Louisburg to Petersburg-a hundred and twenty years, the full span of four generations-they have stood to their guns and been shot down in greater comparative numbers than any other race on earth.  In the war of secession there was not a State, not a county, probably not a town, between the great lakes and the gulf, that was not represented on fields where all that men could do with powder and steel was done and valor exhibited at its highest pitch…There is not the slightest necessity for lauding American bravery or impressing it upon American youth.  But there is the gravest necessity for teaching them respect for law, and reverence for human life, and regard for the rights of their fellow country-men, and all that is significant in the history of our country…These are simple lessons, yet they are not taught in a day, and some who we call educated go through life without mastering them at all.

Rossiter Johnson, Campfire and Battlefield, 1884

 

 

 

I have always thought it appropriate that the national nightmare we call the Civil War ended during Holy Week 1865.  Two remarkably decent men, Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant, began the process of healing so desperately needed for America on Palm Sunday, April 9, 1865 at Appomattox.  We take their decency for granted, but it is the exception and not the rule for the aftermath of civil wars in history.  The usual course would have been unremitting vengeance by the victors, and sullen rage by the defeated, perhaps eventually breaking out in guerilla war.  The end of the Civil War could so very easily have been the beginning of a cycle of unending war between north and south.  Instead, both Grant and Lee acted to make certain as far as they could that the fratricidal war that had just concluded would not be repeated.  All Americans owe those two men a large debt for their actions at Appomattox.

Grant in his memoirs wrote, “When Lee and I separated he went back to his lines and I returned to the house of Mr. McLean. Here the officers of both armies came in great numbers, and seemed to enjoy the meeting as much as though they had been friends separated for a long time while fighting battles under the same flag.”

Lee so appreciated the generosity of the terms of surrender given by Grant, that for the remainder of his life he would never allow a word of denigration about Grant to be spoken in his presence.

Continue Reading

13

Irish History, the Short Version

 

Hattip to Dale Price.  Of course it is unfair to characterize Irish history as mere drunkenness.  My sainted Mother had me listen to quite a bit of Irish music as I grew up,  and I still enjoy it, and Irish ballads also feature these elements of the Irish careening through this Vale of Tears:

 

1.   Be maniacally happy.

2.   Be maniacally sad.

3.   Blame the English for everything bad that has happened to the Irish.

4.   Celebrate an Irishman who left Ireland as soon as he was able.

5.   A celebration of the charms of rural Ireland written by someone who would have sooner died than leave Dublin.

6.   Mention the IRA, without mentioning that during the 60’s many Irish said the letters actually stood for I Ran Away.

7.   Be about the death of a beloved pet or child.

8.   Idolize near alcoholism.

9.   Mention Saint Patrick or a leprechaun.

10. Throw in a few Irish gaelic phrases for the singer to mispronounce. Continue Reading

11

PopeWatch: The National Remnant Reporter

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

The Remnant Newspaper and The National Catholic Reporter announced yesterday that they have entered into a merger agreement to create a new entity called The National Remnant Reporter.

The organization will become the third-largest Catholic reporting organization in North America and the sixth-largest in the world.

As part of the agreement, former Reporter employees will no longer be permitted to write articles that contain more than 95 percent garbage, while Remnant employees will be asked to sign a form acknowledging that Pope Francis is not the Beast as foretold in the Book of Revelation. The USCCB will add an additional $1,000,000 into the new company to make sure the merger goes through.

“We really don’t have the money to spare, but this is a priority and an opportunity we cannot miss,” said USCCB representative Alex Puente. “I mean, how awesome would it be to witness the chaos if this thing actually goes through. That would be the best money we’ve spent in decades.”

Puentes later said in a press release, “By bringing together these two newspapers through this transaction, we are hoping to create a strong platform for Catholic humor for years to come. The combined brands will increase the level of madness in the Church. We have the utmost respect for both companies, and greatly look forward to taking, what has up till now been freaking hilarious combox feuds, to a more face-to-face and personal level, with everything recorded and posted on youtube for everyone’s viewing pleasure.” Continue Reading

All Glory, Laud and Honor

Something for the weekend.  Always a favorite on Palm Sunday, All Glory, Laud and Honor has a long history.  Theodulf was Bishop of Orleans under Charlemagne.  Running afoul of his son Louis, he was thrown into prison.   Theodulf wrote the hymn in 820 while incarcerated.  Released the same year, he died in 821 on his way to resume his ecclesiastical duties in Orleans.  The tune to which the hymn is sung was composed by Melchior Teschner in 1603.  The commonly used English translation was written by John Neale in 1851.

8

C&C: Poor, Ignorant Jesus

Jesus was a first century Jew living in Palestine who was poor and uneducated; so were his followers. Money and education came later, when the movement got big enough to attract both. Really, he was more of a community organizer, trying to get his people to resist the Romans, and that is why they executed him. That’s the historical Jesus.

According to the most recent “it’s almost Easter, let’s draft Jesus to our cause” version that I’ve run into this year, anyways. As a couple of wags have pointed out, some folks are awful eager to draft a first century Jewish carpenter to their cause, for a bunch of (at best) agnostics in support of a secular cause. Continue Reading

PopeWatch: Christus Vincit, Christus Regnat, Christus Imperat

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A bust of Pope Francis was unveiled in the capital of Albania:

 

Albanian agency ATA is reporting that the unveiling ceremony was attended by state and religious dignitaries and citizens.

Albanian President Bujar Nishani said he was “happy to be at such a solemn ceremony, at the unveiling of the bust of the Holy Father.” Continue Reading

8

Delusional or Mendacious

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Timothy Cardinal Dolan:

While everyone is invited to march in the parade and all are welcome, no one is permitted to use it for causes that are extrinsic to its origins.

 

Life Site News:

Organizers of New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade have stopped two pro-life groups from participating in the traditionally Catholic celebration, while allowing two groups that oppose Catholic teachings to participate.

The  parade committee has banned pro-life groups for decades and “their exclusion has been used as the primary ‘justification’ for also keeping LGBT organizations out.” This year, however, at least two gay rights groups were approved to participate in the parade, while pro-life groups appear to still be shut out, according to the report.

 

27

PopeWatch: Benedict Speaks

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The Pope Emeritus has given an interesting interview:

 

Pope Benedict reminds us of the formerly indispensable Catholic conviction of the possibility of the loss of eternal salvation, or that people go to hell:

The missionaries of the 16th century were convinced that the unbaptized person is lost forever. After the [Second Vatican] Council, this conviction was definitely abandoned. The result was a two-sided, deep crisis. Without this attentiveness to the salvation, the Faith loses its foundation.

He also speaks of a “profound evolution of Dogma” with respect to the Dogma that there is no salvation outside the Church. This purported change of dogma has led, in the pope’s eyes, to a loss of the missionary zeal in the Church – “any motivation for a future missionary commitment was removed.”

Pope Benedict asks the piercing question that arose after this palpable change of attitude of the Church: “Why should you try to convince the people to accept the Christian faith when they can be saved even without it?”

As to the other consequences of this new attitude in the Church, Catholics themselves, in Benedict’s eyes, are less attached to their Faith: If there are those who can save their souls with other means, “why should the Christian be bound to the necessity of the Christian Faith and its morality?” asked the pope. And he concludes: “But if Faith and Salvation are not any more interdependent, even Faith becomes less motivating.”

Pope Benedict also refutes both the idea of the “anonymous Christian” as developed by Karl Rahner, as well as the indifferentist idea that all religions are equally valuable and helpful to attain eternal life.

“Even less acceptable is the solution proposed by the pluralistic theories of religion, for which all religions, each in its own way, would be ways of salvation and, in this sense, must be considered equivalent  in their effects,” he said. In this context, he also touches upon the exploratory  ideas of the now-deceased Jesuit Cardinal, Henri de Lubac, about Christ’s putatively “vicarious substitutions” which have to be now again “further reflected upon.” 

With regard to man’s relation to technology and to love, Pope Benedict reminds us of the importance of human affection, saying that man still yearns in his heart “that the Good Samaritan come to his aid.”

He continues: “In the harshness of the world of technology – in which feelings do not count anymore – the hope for a saving love grows, a love which would be given freely and generously.” Continue Reading

1

George Washington Parke Custis, God Bless Him!

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George Washington Parke Custis is chiefly remembered as being the adopted son of George Washington and the father in law of Robert E. Lee, and that is rather a shame.  In many ways he was a fascinating individual and deserves to be remembered in his own right.  A grandson of Martha Washington, he was adopted by George Washington after his father, John Parke Custis, died at the age of 26 from “camp fever”, probably typhus, shortly after the siege of Yorktown in 1781.  George and Martha took the infant George Washington Parke Custis and his sister Eleanor, to be raised as their own children.  In the eyes of George Washington Parke Custis, his adoptive father was also his hero, and he did his best to emulate him his entire life.  Perhaps that helps explain why throughout his life, he, like George Washington, was an ardent advocate of Irish independence.

In the 1820’s he was outspoken for his support for Catholic emancipation in Ireland.  He was the chief patron of the Washington Benevolent Society that aided Irish immigrants in America.  Like his celebrated adoptive father, he became a member of the Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick.  In 1848, a year of revolutions in Europe, he spoke before a mass audience of Irish immigrants in Washington DC on Saint Patrick’s Day and demanded independence for Ireland. Continue Reading

2

George Washington Celebrates Saint Patrick’s Day

Throughout his life George Washington had a great deal of sympathy for the struggles of the Irish against their English rulers, seeing in those struggles a mirror for the American fight for independence.  Irish immigrants to America, Protestant and Catholic, were enthusiastic in their embrace of the American cause, and during the Revolutionary War many of the soldiers who served in the Continental Army were Irish or of Irish descent.  Therefore when General Washington heard in March 1780 that the Irish Parliament had passed free trade legislation, he issued the following general order to the Army on March 16, 1780:

The general congratulates the army on the very interesting proceedings of the parliament of Ireland and the inhabitants of that country which have been lately communicated;  not only as they appear calculated to remove those heavy and tyrannical oppressions on their trade but to restore to a brave and generous people their ancient rights and freedom and by their operations to promote the cause of America. Continue Reading

60

Trumpism: Riots

Trump

 

 

 I think we’ll win before getting to the convention, but I can tell you, if we didn’t and if we’re 20 votes short or if we’re, you know, 100 short and we’re at 1,100 and somebody else is at 500 or 400, because we’re way ahead of everybody, I don’t think you can say that we don’t get it automatically. I think you would have riots. I think you would have riots.

… I think you would see problems like you’ve never seen before. I think bad things would happen. I really do. I wouldn’t lead it, but I think bad things would happen.

Donald Trump, March 16, 2016

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The Solid South Goes for Trump

Donald Trump’s clean sweep of southeastern states has taken many pundits by surprise, but it shouldn’t have. Trump’s performance in the south among evangelical voters is actually quite in keeping with the strain of evangelical conservatism prevalent in the bible belt.

Many moons ago in a prior blogging life I wrote a multi-part series detailing the different strands of American conservatism, and reading it now I may have forecasted the rise of Trump. First, I noted a type of conservatism (cranky conservatism) that seems to typify the Trump voter.

On the other end of the spectrum, the paleo-conservatives and crankycons seem to hate everything.  And yet they are most comfortable with populist schemes that betray the Framers’ original plans.  Their anti-elitism runs so deep that they would bequeath to the masses enormous power.  Their enemies are the ghouls in the academies with their fancy ideas.  But while they would have you believe that they are the true inheritors of the conservative mantle, their philosophy is a deep betrayal of the republican tradition.  Their ultimate designs are no less radical than the hated neocons they so regularly disparage.

Sounds like a typical Trump supporter to me.

As related to religion and conservatism, this is what I wrote back in 2005 (please ignore the horrible misspelling of hear as “here”):

Traditional conservatism is generally less concerned about the temporal world.  This strain of conservatism dates to Augustine, who saw utopian schemes for the foolishness that they were.  Thus, it should come as no surprise that the intellectual impetus behind this brand usually comes from the Roman Catholic Church, or its near neighbors in the Episcopalian version.  Buckley, Kirk, Ponnuru, Reagan: all thinkers who are Catholic or whose religion was close to that of Roman Catholicism.  This is no mere coincidence.

We here a lot about religion and the conservative movement, and indeed religion has played a crucial role in all conservative parties throughout the world.  But what many fail to understand, principally because they fail to understand Christianity is that there are crucial differences in the religious outlook of Evangelicals and Catholics, and these differences play out in the political world.  The steadfast pessimism of the Catholic faith is mirrored in the political outlook of most conservative Catholics.  They see this as a fallen world.  And while we should strive to make this world as good as we can, our expectations for the temporal world should not be so high.  Consequently, we should not put much stock in government and its ability to change the world.

I am not as well-versed in Evangelical religion to speak authoritatively, but it seems to me that the Evangelicals are much more optimistic about reshaping this earthly realm.  Their fervor for conversion seeps into their political consciousness, thus they have grander visions for reform than does the Catholic conservative.

It would be easy to simply paint as the essential demarcation in conservative thought as the interplay between Catholic and Evangelical theology.  It would be easy because it is essentially correct.  We share many of the same values, but at some point there is a rift in our fundamental vision of the government because there is a fundamental rift in our theological outlook.  That is not to say that all Catholics are all of a particular political stripe, and all Evangelicals of another.  But if one wants to understand the divergence in American conservative thought, there would be worse starting points than this examination of the difference between Catholicism and Evangelical religion.

None of the developments of the previous decade has changed my thinking on these matters. To be sure, not all Evangelicals are utopian, nor are all Catholic conservatives necessarily fierce opponents of “big government.” Indeed the lone remaining standard bearer of traditional conservatism is Ted Cruz, a fervent Evangelical himself. Yet the populist appeal of Trump in the south indicates there is something to this distinction. Meanwhile Cruz has done better in the southwest and midwest, areas of the country that have a more libertarian hue and better represent the traditional strain of conservatism.

Contrary to the narrative, this primary is far from over. Trump is likely to be the nominee, but Cruz still has a fighting chance. This is the ultimate showdown of the two types of conservatism I detailed many years ago. Regardless of who wins, I believe we’re just seeing the beginnings of a much fiercer war for the heart of conservatism.

11

Knights of Columbus and Crux

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Lefty Catholic news and opinion site Crux was recently dumped by the Boston Globe because it wasn’t making them any money.  Now, riding to the rescue of Crux, is The Knights of Columbus?

 

The Knights of Columbus and Crux are pleased to announce that they plan to enter into a partnership in which Crux will remain an independent news outlet headed by John Allen and Inés San Martín.

The project is designed to make one of the world’s best-known Catholic news platforms even stronger. The partnership will combine the Knights’ resources and spirit of service with the journalistic experience and commitment of Crux.

As part of the project, Catholic Pulse, a news and commentary website operated by the Knights of Columbus, will merge with Crux, adding its resources to Crux’s blend of staff-generated reporting and analysis with pieces by respected guest contributors. The Crux website will feature the tagline: “Keeping its finger on the Catholic Pulse.”

Reporting and analysis by John Allen and Inés San Martín will continue to focus primarily on the Vatican, the Church and Catholic issues generally, and international religious freedom. The aim is to ensure that informed, responsible, and fair journalism helps to set the tone for discussion of Catholic affairs in the United States and around the world. Over time, plans call for additional contributors to be identified to add their commentary to the lineup.

The Knights will respect the editorial freedom of Crux, trusting it to present news and commentary in a way that serves the good of the Church.

“We are very pleased to have the opportunity to join together in this important venture and look forward to this partnership with Crux, and with its principals, John Allen and Inés San Martín, as they continue to build on their record of thoughtful and intelligent journalism and commentary,” said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. “Crux is an important voice and key source of news for Catholics and about Catholic issues, and we are very pleased to be able to keep this important voice speaking to the Church and to the world.” Continue Reading

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PopeWatch: 20%

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The sordid trial of Vallejo Balda, Francesca Chaouqui, Nicola Maio, and journalists Gianluigi Nuzzi and Emiliano Fittipaldi  continues:

 

Vatican City (AFP) – A Spanish priest at the centre of a controversial Vatican leaks trial admitted Monday to passing classified documents to the press but insisted he had acted under emotional blackmail from a female colleague with whom he was romantically entangled.

“Yes, I sent documents to journalists, I handed over a list of five pages with 87 passwords,” Monsignor Lucio Vallejo Balda told a Holy See court.

The Spanish Vatican official said he had not been “fully lucid” when he leaked the documents and had since been treated by a psychiatrist for depression and stress.

Vallejo Balda described his former colleague, Italian PR consultant Francesca Chaouqui, as a dangerous and manipulative woman who had coerced him into leaking the documents by threatening to reveal an intense relationship between them.

“I was certain that there were illegitimate interests behind Chaouqui,” he told the court, revealing that he believed his colleague and her husband to have been working for the Italian secret services.

Listening to her estranged former colleague give evidence, Chaouqui, who is pregnant, appeared highly agitated, repeatedly whispering to her lawyer from her seat on the accused bench. Continue Reading

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Howling Dogs Primaries Live Blog

 

Hattip to Father Z for the video which accurately reflects my opinion of the primaries thus far this year.  Tonight we have primaries in Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Illinois and Missouri.  If Trump takes both Florida and Ohio, both winner take all states, it is hard to see how he does not end up being the nominee.  If  he loses one, and if Cruz does well in North Carolina, Illinois and Missouri, we have a dog fight for the nomination.  We’ll see soon enough.

 

Update 7:03  PM  CST-Fox calls Florida for Trump.  Rubio a lagging second.  Bye, bye Rubio.  Fox also calls Florida for Clinton.

Update  7:12  PM  CST-Rubio speaking.  Congratulates Trump for his victory in Florida.  America is in the middle of a political storm.  People are frustrated and angry.  Left behind in the economy.  People told they are bigots if they are against immigration.  People are tired of being talked down to and looked down upon.  (If he had been speaking with this type of passion throughout his campaign this might have been a very different night for him.)  New economy offers opportunities but the transition is difficult.  American can’t turn its back on the world or a dangerous chaos will result.  The politics of resentment can only lead to a fractured nation.  Nothing changed despite the voters giving Congress to the Republicans.  Blames a political establishment that looks down on conservatives.  A political establishment that confuses cronyism and capitalism.  The nation needs a strong conservative movement, one that is based on ideas and principals and not upon anger and frustration.  This was not the year for a hopeful and optimistic message.  Parents of Rubio never became rich and famous but they realized the American dream through hard work and determination.  Rubio announces suspension of his campaign.  Rubio is out.  (I predict we will hear more from Rubio in the future.)  Rubio thanks God.  God has a plan for all of our lives.  Recites a prayer of King David.

Update  7:40  PM  CST-Senior Rubio advisor just tweeted that it is now time for all conservatives to rally around Cruz.

Update  7:45  PM  CST-Fox calls Ohio for Kasich.  Fox calls Ohio for Clinton.  Big defeat for Sanders.  Trump probably loses his chance to come into the convention with enough delegates to win on the first ballot.

Update  8:00  PM CST-I will have mercy on you and not summarize Hillary’s victory screech speech.

Update  8:20  PM CST-Kasich is speaking.  Touts his performance as governor.  Not leaving anyone behind.  Great American legacy that our kids will be better than we are.  People counted him out.  (Sheesh, John, you’ve won one, count ’em one, primary.)  On to Pennsylvania.  Conservative principals work.  (I think that there is a good chance that Kasich will be the Veep no matter who the nominee is.  Ohio is absolutely essential for the Republicans in the fall.

Update  8:35  PM  CST-Fox calls North Carolina for Trump with Cruz a close second.  North Carolina is a proportional state in the awarding of delegates.

Update  8:43  PM  CST-Boo!  Fox calls Illinois for Trump.  Doesn’t mean the delegates might not end up being closely divided between Cruz and Trump as awarding delegates is done largely by who wins each congressional district.

And with that I will be turning in.  More updates in the wee hours tomorrow.  Two events of significance thus far:  Rubio is out and Trump did not win Ohio.

Update 4:47 AM CST-With 99% of the votes counted, Trump leads in the Missouri primary by less than 2000 votes.  In Illinois Cruz came in eight points behind Trump.  Trump probably owes his victory in Illinois to the idiot leftists who caused the cancellation of his Chicago rally and which received mammoth publicity here.  In North Carolina less than four points separated Cruz and Trump.