PopeWatch: PapaLove266

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

 

 

Sources confirmed Thursday that Pope Francis was found crawled up in a little ball weeping in the men’s restroom in the Vatican after learning that a number of Catholic bloggers had given his document Amoris Laetitia bad reviews.

“I know that they say you can’t please everyone, but sometimes I just feel like I can’t please anyone,” a depressed and sniffling Francis said as he wrapped his arms around his knees and rocked back and forth on the restroom floor. “Just to think, a guy named Kevin from New Jersey tweeted that I was a heretic. He got 5 likes and two shares. Imagine what’ll happen to my reputation if those two people get shares of their own? It’ll all snowball and people will find out who I really am. They’ll find out that I’m not really a Catholic…that I’m an imposter set upon the destruction of the Church. I’ll be the laughingstock of all my Freemason friends.”

After close to an hour in the restroom, Francis blew his nose and emerged with several Cardinals consoling him.

“He’s so sensitive, poor guy,” one Vatican official told EOTT. “He just wants to be liked. He needs to feel appreciated. Don’t get me wrong, his number one priority is his relationship with Christ, but being accepted by bloggers and Catholics on social media is a very close second.”

At press time, Francis has found new confidence after a pep talk by close friends, and is now furiously commenting on all negative Amoris Laetitia comments on Facebook under the handle, PapaLove266. Continue Reading

9

Stupid Moments in Catholic Education: A Continuing Series

When it comes to political correctness, no one can out PC most Catholic “citadels of higher education”:

 

DePaul University will no longer allow students to chalk political messages on the sidewalks of its campus because of the “offensive, hurtful, and divisive” nature of pro-Trump chalking found on campus last week.

“While these chalk messages are part of national agendas in a heated political battle, they appeared on campus at a time of significant racial tension in our country and on college campuses. DePaul is no exception,” Depaul’s vice president for student affairs Eugene Zdziarski wrote in a campus-wide email obtained by Campus Reform. “The university has been addressing campus climate issues in an effort to provide an inclusive and supportive educational environment. In this context, many students, faculty and staff found the chalk messages offensive, hurtful and divisive.”

Consequently, Zdziarski explained that DePaul’s status as a 501(c)3 tax-exempt non-profit organization prohibits students from participating in any political activity that could be interpreted as a reflection of the university’s “views or opinions.” Political chalking on Depaul’s grounds, Zdziarski argued, fits this description.

“However, as a 501(c)3 tax-exempt non-profit organization, the university is significantly limited in the types of political activities it can promote or support,” he wrote. “In accordance with federal regulations, DePaul may not engage in any activity in support of or opposition to any candidate for public office, federal, state or local. In practice, this means no partisan political advertising may be conducted on campus that could in any way be attributed to DePaul University.”

 

Last week, Depaul’s College Republicans organized a chalking 

campaign on campus, during which phrases such as “Make DePaul great again,” “Blue Lives Matter,” and “Trump Train 2016” were scrawled on the sidewalks.

The campus grounds crew removed the chalkings the following morning but cited routine maintenance as one of the reasons for their removal.

“After some investigation, it turns out this happened for two reasons,” the university wrote in a statement. “First, the crew regularly cleans up chalk messages on our sidewalks. This is a part of their duties. Secondly, some among the crew considered the messages inflammatory. The crew has agreed to consult about such matters in the future.”

Although the grounds crew “regularly cleans up chalk messages,” meaning DePaul students regularly chalk their campus’ sidewalks, this appears to be the first time university officials have expressly addressed their chalking policies. Zdziarski noted, after the Trump chalkings appeared, that students are not even allowed to chalk on sidewalks at all.

“Students or student organizations may not post partisan political flyers, posters, signs or images on University bulletin board, buildings, electronic message boards, forums or sidewalks. This includes chalking on campus property,” he said. Continue Reading

4

PopeWatch: Amoris Laetitia-the Lean Version-Part 5

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Part 5 of our stripped down look at Amoris Laetitia with some commentary by PopeWatch:

121.  Marriage is the icon of God’s love for us.

122.  Married couples do not have to reproduce perfectly the relationship of Christ and His Church.  (Whew!  That’s a relief!)

123.  Conjugal love is the greatest form of friendship.  (Too weak a term for what exists between spouses in a happy lengthy marriage.)

124.  A love that is weak cannot sustain the commitment that marriage requires.  (Basing a marriage all on love is always a mistake.  PopeWatch has seen some marriages survive rough patches simply because both parties were fundamentally decent people, and adhered to what some would consider bromides such as “A deal’s a deal.”)

125.  Marriage involves constant mutual respect.

126.  The joy of love needs to be cultivated in marriage.

127.  Tenderness is a sign of a love free of possessiveness.

128.  Pope writes about lover’s gaze in marriage.  (Parts of this Exhortation read like an old Dear Abby column from the Fifties.) Continue Reading

6

Fox Escorted From Chicken Coop

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The editor-in-chief and director of the U.S. bishops’ official news service resigned Wednesday at the request of the U.S. Bishops’ Conference general secretary.

Tony Spence, who had worked for Catholic News Service since 2004, had publicly criticized religious freedom and bathroom privacy legislation on his Twitter feed.

The news comes mere days after the Lepanto Institute issued a report highlighting Spence’s controversial tweets, wherein he had called religious freedom laws “pro-discrimination” and “stupid.” LifeSiteNews ran an article on the report Tuesday.

“The far right blogsphere and their troops started coming after me again, and it was too much for the USCCB,” Spence told the National Catholic Reporter Thursday.  “The secretary general [of the U.S. bishops’ conference] asked for my resignation, because the conference had lost confidence in my ability to lead CNS.” 

NCR’s Dennis Coday writes:

Bloggers from websites of The Lepanto Institute, The Church Militant and LifeSiteNews.com posted stories in the last week that accused Spence of issuing “public statements decrying proposed legislation in several states that would protect religious freedom and deny men pretending to be women the ‘right’ to enter women’s bathrooms.”

According to the newspaper, following a meeting with Msgr. J. Brian Bransfield, the general secretary of the bishops’ conference, “Spence was escorted from the conference office building without being allowed to speak to his newsroom staff.” Continue Reading

8

Trump the Theologian

2012-05-14

 

Is there a favorite Bible verse or Bible story that has informed your thinking or your character through life, sir?” asked host Bob Lonsberry on WHAM 1180 AM.
Trump responded, “Well, I think many. I mean, when we get into the Bible, I think many, so many. And some people, look, an eye for an eye, you can almost say that. That’s not a particularly nice thing. But you know, if you look at what’s happening to our country, I mean, when you see what’s going on with our country, how people are taking advantage of us, and how they scoff at us and laugh at us. And they laugh at our face, and they’re taking our jobs, they’re taking our money, they’re taking the health of our country. And we have to be firm and have to be very strong. And we can learn a lot from the Bible, that I can tell you.

 

Indeed we can learn a lot from the Bible:

 

[38] You have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. [39] But I say to you not to resist evil: but if one strike thee on thy right cheek, turn to him also the other: [40] And if a man will contend with thee in judgment, and take away thy coat, let go thy cloak also unto him.

Matthew 5:  38-40.

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Quotes Suitable for Framing: Quark

 

 “Don’t push the pinkskins to the thin ice.”

Andorian maxim

Let me tell you something about Hew-mons, Nephew. They’re a wonderful, friendly people, as long as their bellies are full and their holosuites are working. But take away their creature comforts, deprive them of food, sleep, sonic showers, put their lives in jeopardy over an extended period of time and those same friendly, intelligent, wonderful people… will become as nasty and as violent as the most bloodthirsty Klingon. You don’t believe me? Look at those faces. Look in their eyes.

Quark

5

PopeWatch: Amoris Laetitia-the Lean Version-Part 4

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Part 4 of our stripped down look at Amoris Laetitia with some commentary by PopeWatch:

91.  Love is patient.

92.  Patience takes root when we accept the right of people to live in the world just as they are.

93.  Love is kind.

94.  Love is shown more by deeds than by words.

95.  Love is not jealous.

96.  Love rejects covetousness, unless, apparently, the covetousness is in service of the welfare state to reduce inequality.  (Another example of the Pope attempting to use Biblical texts to support his leftist political agenda.) Continue Reading

5

What Might Have Been

One of the great tragedies of American history is that Abraham Lincoln was assassinated before he could implement his post war reconstruction policy.  In a letter in January 1864 to Major General James Wadsworth, a wealthy New York politician and philanthropist who helped found the Free Soil Party, Lincoln set forth his basic policy:

You desire to know, in the event of our complete success in the field, the same being followed by a loyal and cheerful submission on the part of the South, if universal amnesty should not be accompanied with universal suffrage.

Now, since you know my private inclinations as to what terms should be granted to the South in the contingency mentioned, I will here add, that if our success should thus be realized, followed by such desired results, I cannot see, if universal amnesty is granted, how, under the circumstances, I can avoid exacting in return universal suffrage, or, at least, suffrage on the basis of intelligence and military service.

How to better the condition of the colored race has long been a study which has attracted my serious and careful attention; hence I think I am clear and decided as to what course I shall pursue in the premises, regarding it a religious duty, as the nation’s guardian of these people, who have so heroically vindicated their manhood on the battle-field, where, in assisting to save the life of the Republic, they have demonstrated in blood their right to the ballot, which is but the humane protection of the flag they have so fearlessly defended.The restoration of the Rebel States to the Union must rest upon the principle of civil and political equality of the both races; and it must be sealed by general amnesty. Continue Reading

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Amoris Laetitia and Lets Pretend

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In regard to Amoris Laetitia most Catholic commentators have been playing a huge game of Lets Pretend.  What has sparked this game is the fact that Amoris Laetitia is a stark departure by Pope Francis from what was previously taught by the Church.  Afraid of admitting this obvious fact, most Catholic analysts have been bending themselves into pretzels pretending that nothing has changed, for fear of the unsettling implications that looking at reality head on will raise.  I am unable to join in this game of Lets Pretend.  Facts are facts and it is always harmful, and untruthful, to attempt to ignore them or wish them away.  Father Brian Harrison also is refusing to join in the game of Lets Pretend:

 

 

In allowing exceptions to the ‘no-Communion’ law for those in invalid marriages, Pope Francis is acting against the clear and constant bimillennial teaching confirmed by Pope St. John Paul II in Familiaris Consortio #84, and reaffirmed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (nos. 1650 and 2390, last sentence). Also under St. John Paul II, the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, in its Declaration of June 24, 2000, has asserted unequivocally that the exclusion of such Catholics from the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist flows from divine law, so that no human ecclesiastical law can change it, since it’s irrelevant whether the subjective imputability of remarried divorcees might in some instances be diminished. Why is this irrelevant? Because, says the Declaration, the admission to Communion of those who are publicly living in a situation which Jesus himself calls adultery will send a clear message that the Church doesn’t really take too seriously this teaching of our Lord about the indissolubility of marriage. And this will inevitably cause scandal (in the theological sense of leading others into sin). Pope Francis briefly mentions this document; but only by uncritically using the selective and deceptive citation found in the 2015 Synod Relatio (#85). Thus, both the Relatio and Amoris Laetitia omit altogether the main point of the 2000 Declaration, which is that the obligation of priests and other ministers to refuse Communion to civilly remarried divorcees “is by its nature derived from divine law and transcends the domain of positive ecclesiastical laws: the latter cannot introduce legislative changes which would oppose the doctrine of the Church” (section 1).

Also, this Declaration points out that logically, a concession to some remarried divorcees on the grounds that their subjective conscience may not be gravely guilty will open the way for further concessions, on the same grounds, to many who are living publicly in other objectively immoral situations. For instance, now that some civilly remarried divorcees are to be admitted to sacramental absolution and Communion, will not at least some same-sex couples have to be admitted these two sacraments on the same grounds (i.e., ‘diminished imputability’)? 

Are we now supposed to believe that Pope Francis alone is right on this issue, and that all his predecessors, including the still living Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, and the Catechism promulgated by St. John Paul II, have been wrong and ‘unmerciful’ in allowing no exceptions in this area? If so, why should we believe that? Doesn’t it seem more likely that just one pope is wrong, and that all the other hundreds of popes have been right? Continue Reading

12

The Present Persecution

 

 

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David Griffey at Daffey Thoughts explains why the treatment of  believing Christians in this country deserves the term persecution:

 

Without the need for Gulags or Gas Chambers.  Pope Francis says so over here.  All too often, when Christians object to the clear and obvious assault on the right to not be liberal, advocates of the new tyranny resort to denial if not downright mockery.

Stop whining, we’re told.  There is no persecution. I’ve always wondered what their standard for persecution happens to be.  This is a movement, after all, that used to declare Fascism! and McCarthyism! when a record store wouldn’t carry a Madonna song.  So I’m not sure how they reconcile Christians saying they don’t want to be forced by the government to take part in a ceremony against their religious convictions as whining.

After all, as far as I know, the various cases that have arisen where a photographer here, or a bakery there, have been legally assaulted have had to do with actual gay marriage ceremonies.  It’s not that the businesses in question refused to serve gay people.  At least two of the owners I’ve seen interviewed said they don’t mind serving anyone.  They just don’t want to be part of something that specifically cuts against the exercise of their religious conscience.

And yet, against that, all hell has broken lose.  And when Christians have objected to being financially punished, to being hit with exorbitant financial penalties because of this, advocates of the Left simply shrug, wink, giggle, and act as if Christians have no reason to complain.  Why not?  Again, go back to the 70s and 80s and see what liberals said when religious groups tried to get a show pulled from television or a radio station wouldn’t play The Rolling Stones.  It was nothing less than Big Brother all the way!

That includes Catholics and other Christians, BTW.  Not just those who have embraced the gospel of liberalism, but others who want to come off as voices of reason.  Perhaps afraid of looking too conservative, or afraid of being laughed at by those who want to do the persecuting, they often step forward and say, “Now let’s not be hasty.  There’s really no persecution.  We don’t even know what that means.  Look at Syria or Iraq.”  Sure.  Those are cases of one extreme form of persecution.  Often, it’s the final stage of persecution.

But as Pope Francis says, there are other stages, and we’re seeing those play out now.  I wish he would speak more bluntly as to just who and what is behind this.  When it comes to things like the historic sins of the Western Democracies or Capitalism, he has no problem dropping names.  I wish he would drop names here. That would leave no wiggle room.  It would leave no doubt as to just who he’s talking about.  It would also keep people from trying to twist it around and say he’s really talking about those traditionalists who want to impose their values on others by committing the mortal sin of failing to embrace the true religion of the Left.

By the way, speaking of principalities and powers.  The battles we fight are ultimately spiritual battles beyond the visible.  But in keeping with the usual Satanic promises, have you noticed the essence of this entire religious liberty battle?  The fight is over businesses who don’t mind serving anyone, gay or otherwise.  They just don’t want to be forced to take part in a religious observance that is against their fundamental beliefs.  Like making a Kosher deli cater a pig roast for Easter services. They aren’t even attacking gays.  They simply say, in this particular case, they would prefer not to be part of the event.  And yet it’s nothing less than Nazi flavored hatred and bigotry.

And how do those who want to impose their values on these business owners fight back?  Why, with nuclear retribution.  They come in and punish entire states.  They do things that could hurt everyone in the state, allies and opponents alike.  They pull out and hurt the entire flock of people: gay, straight, religious, non-religious, LGBTQ supporters, gay marriage opponents, friend, foe.  They essentially carpet bomb the opposition, hurting anyone and everyone in the process.

An observation of warning.  We’ve come to believe that a Christian business owner, willing to serve anyone, but asking not to be forced to take part in a morally pronounced religious ceremony fundamentally opposed to their own beliefs, is the essence of hate and intolerance.  And those institutions and organizations and individuals who wield tremendous power and have billions at their disposal, who are willing to do nothing less than extortion in order to mandate conformity, and do so by harming anyone in their target range – friend and foe alike – are the champions of tolerance and inclusion.  How we got there has to be a tale of unprecedented dumb. But given our cultural and educational standards over the last few decades, I’m not shocked.  Not in the least.
Continue Reading

8

Vatican Did Not Invite “The Bern”

I am delighted to have been invited by the Vatican to a meeting on restoring social justice and environmental sustainability to the world economy,” Sanders said in the release.

“Pope Francis has made clear that we must overcome ‘the globalization of indifference’ in order to reduce economic inequalities, stop financial corruption and protect the natural environment. That is our challenge in the United States and in the world.”
In an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Friday morning, Sanders praised the pope when he was asked about the invitation.
That was as of the 8th.
Big update as of yesterday and today, though:

But the invitation was actually made by Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, the chancellor of the pontifical academy, an autonomous institution that receives some funding from the Holy See but is not officially part of it.

In a March 30 letter inviting Sanders to the event, Sánchez Sorondo wrote, “On behalf of the President, Professor Margaret Archer, the Organizers, and as Chancellor, I am very happy to invite you to attend the meeting on ‘Centesimus Annus: 25 Years Later.’ The meeting, which is humanitarian in its objects, will be held at the Casina Pio IV, the headquarters of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, from 15 to 16 April 2016.”

But Archer, an English academic, appears not to have known about the invitation. On Friday, she accused Sanders of “monumental discourtesy” for not contacting her, telling Bloomberg that he was the one who had made the first move regarding the meeting — and “for obvious reasons.”

“I think in a sense he may be going for the Catholic vote, but this is not the Catholic vote and he should remember that and act accordingly — not that he will,” Archer said. Sanders’ use of the meeting is “clearly a pretext,” she added. “There are just 20 academics and there will be nothing of policy relevance.”

It was not clear why Archer’s account differed from Sánchez Sorondo’s letter, and requests for comment to her office were not returned.

9

Just Us?

 

 

Because we’re here lad.  Nobody else.  Just us.

Colour Sergeant Frank Bourne, Zulu (1964)

At the battle of Rorke’s Drift on January 22-23, 1879, some 141 men of B Company, 2 Warwickshire (24th Regiment of Foot) beat off an attack by a Zulu impi, around 4,000 men.  At the time it was considered a military miracle.  The officers in command had nothing in their careers before or after the battle to mark them out as in any way superior.  They were typical run of the mill officers and almost all the men under their command were typical troops.  The most unusual was Colour Sergeant Frank Bourne who at the battle was twenty-four years old.  Two years previously he had attained the rank of Colour Sergeant, making him the youngest Colour Sergeant, the highest NCO rank in the British Army.  He would rise to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel during World War I, and die at 91, last survivor among the defenders of Rorke’s Drift, on V-E Day, appropriately enough, May 8, 1945.  For a secular purpose the defenders of Rorke’s Drift were willing to fight with all their being, and they won against apparently overwhelming odds.

This little excursion into military history is caused by this quotation from Father Z:

I’ve had a tough few days.  How ’bout you?

Conversations with friends and priests suggest that the Devil is working really hard right now to demoralize the Team.

And there is Amoris laetitia with its Infamous Footnote 351 (et al.) and the fallout which is on going.   So many people are frustrated, confused, beaten down.

This morning for Mass I read again the prayer for the 2nd Sunday after Easter in the traditional Roman Rite, a very ancient prayer:

Deus, qui Filii tui humilitate iacentem mundum erexisti: fidelibus tuis sanctam concede laetitiam; ut, quos perpetuae mortis eripuisti casibus, gaudiis facias perfrui sempiternis.

Namely…

O God, who raised up a fallen world by the abasement of Your Son, grant holy joy to Your faithful; so that You may cause those whom You snatched from the misfortunes of perpetual death, to enjoy delights unending.

The great L&S indicates that erigo, giving us erexisti, means “to raise up, set up, erect” and, analogously, “to arouse, excite” and “cheer up, encourage.” The verb iaceo (in the L&S find this under jaceo) has many meanings, such as “to lie” as in “lie sick or dead, fallen” and also “to be cast down, fixed on the ground” and “to be overcome, despised, idle, neglected, unemployed.” Humilitas is “lowness”. In Blaise/Dumas, humilitas has a more theological meaning in the “abasement” of the God Incarnate who took the form of a “slave” (cf. Philippians 2:7). Blaise/Dumas cites this Collect in the entry for humilitas.

Our Collect views us, views material creation, as an enervated body, wounded, weakened by sin, lying near death in the dust whence it came.

Beaten down.  Demoralized.  Confused.  Frustrated.

Because of the Fall, the whole cosmos was put under the bondage of the Enemy, the “prince of this world” (cf. John 10:31 and 14:30). This is why when we bless certain things, and baptize people, there was an exorcism first, to rip the object or person from the grip of the world’s “prince” and give it to the King. God is liberator. He rouses us up from being prone upon the ground. He grasps us, pulling us upward out of sin and death. He directs us again toward the joys possible in this world, first, and then definitively in the next.

We must get back to our feet: rise again. Continue Reading

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PopeWatch: Amoris Laetitia-the Lean Version-Part 3

 

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Part 3 of our stripped down look at Amoris Laetitia with some commentary by PopeWatch:

61.  Marriage is a gift from God.

62.  Jesus mandated that marriage be indissoluble as a gift to Man.

63.  Jesus restored marriage to its original form.

64.  The love that Jesus demonstrated in his earthly ministry is an example to the Church.

65.  Jesus becoming a member of a human family changed the world.

66.  By emulating the holy family of Nazareth, any family can become a light in the darkness.

67.  Cites Gaudium et Spes on the family.

68.  Cites Humanae Vitae on conjugal love and procreation.

69.  Cites Saint John Paul II on the family.

70.  Cites the Pope Emeritus on the family.

71.  The Trinity is represented in the family.

72.  Marriage is a sacrament and a vocation. Continue Reading

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Pastoral: What Crimes Are Committed In Thy Name

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Dale Price at Dyspeptic Mutterings calls upon Orwell to explain this Orwellian time in the history of the Church:

 

 

“If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.”

Just a slight edit.

‘You are a slow learner, Winston,’ said O’Brien gently.
‘How can I help it?’ he blubbered. ‘How can I help seeing what is in front of my eyes? Two and two are four.’
‘Sometimes, Winston. Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once. You must try harder. It is not easy to become pastoral.’
Continue Reading

His Childhood Home He Saw Again

All of his life Abraham Lincoln enjoyed poetry and would occasionally compose poetry.  In the fall of 1844 he was campaigning for Henry Clay in Clay’s unsuccessful run for the Presidency in southern Indiana and visited the region where he lived as a boy.  He told a friend that the terrain was the most unpoetic imaginable, but moved by nostalgia he set pen to paper:

I

My childhood’s home I see again,
And sadden with the view;
And still, as memory crowds my brain,
There’s pleasure in it too.

O Memory! thou midway world
‘Twixt earth and paradise,
Where things decayed and loved ones lost
In dreamy shadows rise,

And, freed from all that’s earthly vile,
Seem hallowed, pure, and bright,
Like scenes in some enchanted isle
All bathed in liquid light.

As dusky mountains please the eye
When twilight chases day;
As bugle-tones that, passing by,
In distance die away;

As leaving some grand waterfall,
We, lingering, list its roar–
So memory will hallow all
We’ve known, but know no more.

Near twenty years have passed away
Since here I bid farewell
To woods and fields, and scenes of play,
And playmates loved so well.

Where many were, but few remain
Of old familiar things;
But seeing them, to mind again
The lost and absent brings.

The friends I left that parting day,
How changed, as time has sped!
Young childhood grown, strong manhood gray,
And half of all are dead.

I hear the loved survivors tell
How nought from death could save,
Till every sound appears a knell,
And every spot a grave.

I range the fields with pensive tread,
And pace the hollow rooms,
And feel (companion of the dead)
I’m living in the tombs. Continue Reading

16

Sympathy for Judas

A powerful presentation in the movie The Robe (1953), by the late great Michael Ansara, of a repentant Judas sunk in the sin of despair.  Pope Francis touched upon the theme of a repentant Judas with bizarre results.  Oakes Spaulding at Mahound’s Paradise surveys the damage:

 

Then Francis presented a novel theory on Judas and the high priests.

 
Yes, all sorts of people, including Gnostics and Germans have argued that Judas was not such a bad guy, that he was really doing Jesus and/or us a favor in carrying out the prophecy, or making it possible for Jesus to die on the cross (and thus redeem us) or whatever. But this new theory goes beyond that. As far as I know, no one ever in the history of the world has ever blamed the Jewish high priests for Judas’ suicide:

Pope Francis said: “It hurts when I read that small passage from the Gospel of Matthew, when Judas, who has repented, goes to the priests and says: ‘I have sinned’ and wants to give … and gives them the coins. ‘Who cares! – they say to him: it’s none of our business!’ They closed their hearts before this poor, repentant man, who did not know what to do. And he went and hanged himself. 

And what did they do when Judas hanged himself? They spoke amongst themselves and said: ‘Is he a poor man? No! These coins are the price of blood, they must not enter the temple… and they referred to this rule and to that… The doctors of the letter. “ 

The life of a person did not matter to them, the Pope observed, they did not care about Judas’ repentance. 

The Gospel, he continued, says that Judas came back repentant. But all that mattered to them “were the laws, so many words and things they had built”.

So Judas went to confess to the Jewish high priests. But they were bad confessors and rejected him since they (I guess) had no mercy.
 
It is tedious to observe that:
  1. The Jewish high priests (being Jewish high priests) had no power to forgive sins in that sense.
  2. Neither Judas nor the high priests believed they had such a power.
  3. In any case, while looking down at Judas for being sort of a rat, the priests obviously wouldn’t think that acting against Jesus was per se a sin.
  4. Judas’ repentance was belied by the fact of his subsequent suicide, as well as (according to most Biblical commentators) the peculiar Greek word used for “repentance” in this passage but not in other passages.
  5. The common understanding is that his repentance was more akin to “stupid move” than “I’m truly sorry that I betrayed my Master and friend.” (Again, see suicide and Greek word used.)
  6. This is reinforced by the fact that Judas did not try to save Jesus or go back to the other apostles and apologize, etc. Rather, he pulled a “poor me.”
So Francis believes in what some have called the “blood libel.”
 
But concerning Judas not Jesus.
 
Interestingly, in today’s homily, Bergoglio then went on to repeat a sort of anti-Catholic blood libel–that the Church has a long history of burning dissidents and so on:

“History tells us of many people who were judged and killed, although they were innocent: judged according to the Word of God, against the Word of God. Let’s think of witch hunts or of St. Joan of Arc, and of many others who were burnt to death, condemned because according to the judges they were not in line with the Word of God” he said.

This isn’t Catholic. It’s anti-Catholic.

Enough.


Who will be the first bishop to stand up to this?

Continue Reading

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PopeWatch: Amoris Laetitia-the Lean Version-Part 2

 

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Part 2 of our stripped down look at Amoris Laetitia with some commentary by PopeWatch:

Chapter Two: The Experiences and Challenges of Families

31. In this chapter the Pope will look at families.

32. Pope really likes the word anthropological.

33. Extreme individualism threatens families.

34. More on that theme.

35. Christians cannot abandon the concept of families.

36. Church has had too much focus on family as a means of procreation. (Yep, the Pope really did mean his breeding like rabbits comments. The Pope claims to be a loyal son of the Church. That he may be. He certainly is a loyal son of the Sixties.)

37. Some psycho-babble about marriage as a means of personal development. Church is called to form consciences not to replace them. (This theme is one of the major ones in this dog’s breakfast of an exhortation: conscience is everything, which completely ignores the fact that many people have no difficulty in giving a thumbs up to any wretched, self-serving piece of evil they wish to undertake.)

38. Most people value families that have permanence and mutual respect. Church has wasted effort on denouncing a decadent world instead of being like Jesus with his compassion to the woman caught in adultery or the Samaritan woman at the well. (In neither case of course did Christ give the slightest sign that he condoned their sins. Quite the contrary.)

39. The culture of the ephemeral and narcissism are threats to families.

40. We need to find the right language to encourage young people to take up the challenge to form families. Continue Reading

Sinews of War

An excellent look at economic power in World War II by the Extra Credit group on YouTube.  This was produced as part of the ramp up to the release by Paradox Games  of the latest version of their strategic World War II game, Hearts of Iron IV, to be released on June 6, 2016. (Hurrah, during my June vacation week!):

8

Amoris Laetitia and Cowardice

Fundamentalism

The most disheartening feature of Amoris Laetitia is not the text itself.  It really hardly comes as a surprise.  Pope Francis since assuming the papacy has given ample evidence that he is anything but orthodox.  What is truly disheartening is the attempts by orthodox Catholics to pretend that all is well, or that Amoris Laetitia is a rejection of the heterodox who now believe they have a Pope on their side.  Michael Dougherty at The Week explains why such attempts are folly and cowardice:

Finally, although the pope rejects a formal institution of the Kasper proposal as a general rule, he strongly encourages the readmission of people in “objectively” adulterous unions to holy communion. He doesn’t trumpet this, of course. He buries it in the 351st footnote. For a man showing such great audacity before God, Francis certainly isn’t bold before men.

Many conservatives are revealing themselves as cowards, too. They hope that because the pope’s document seems so confused and self-contradictory, because it hides its innovations under a ton of verbiage, and buried within footnotes, and because it is merely an exhortation and not a more lofty encyclical, that they can embrace what is good in the document, and pass over the rest. “It could have been worse,” they are telling themselves. “It cites the Church’s teaching against contraception, at least.” I would remind them that their forebears said the same thing about the Vatican II’s document on the liturgy. “Oh, it says Latin shall be retained, it promotes Gregorian chant,” they comforted themselves. As now, the betrayal of the institution was too unthinkable, and they willfully overlooked the footnotes that contained within them a mandate to destroy high altars, tabernacles, altar rails, and institute folk music in a synthetic vernacular liturgy. So too, many conservatives will try to find the good parts, an easy feat in a document so prolix.

But progressives are not so timid. In the talking points handed out to bishops and other spokesmen ahead of the document, the intention was made clear, but plausibly deniable. “Pastors need to do everything possible to help people in these situations to be included in the life of the community.” Words like “possible” and “inclusion” are left to be interpreted broadly, from the footnotes. Cardinal Kasper described the document glowingly as a “definite opening.” Cardinal Schonborn boldly papered over differences between Pope Francis and Pope John Paul II by describing the work of Francis in Amoris Laetitia as the development of doctrine.

 

Traditionalist critics of the modern Church have a kind of slogan: Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi, the law of prayer is the law of belief. It’s hard not to see how the already incoherent prayer of the Church is leading to incoherent doctrine and practice. The Church officially teaches that confession is necessary to be restored to holy communion after committing a mortal sin, and that receiving communion in a state of sin is itself sacrilege. Yet rare is the pastor who seems troubled by the long lines for communion and the near disappearance of the sacrament of confession among the people in his parish. Everyone just sort of knows the Church doesn’t really mean what it says.

The Church’s blasé attitude here has a pedagogical effect, teaching people that there is no need to have a holy respect or fear when approaching the altar. Naturally, this attitude has worked its way up the chain to a papal pronouncement. Pope Francis’ document justifies people receiving communion in a public state of sin by saying that the Eucharist is “not a prize” for good behavior. That is true. But instead the Church has turned it into a participation trophy, something so perfunctory and ultimately meaningless that it seems just too cruel to deny it to anyone.

Perhaps worse than Pope Francis’ official invitation to sacrilege is the document’s cowardice, cynicism, and pessimism. The Church can no longer even bring itself to condemn respectable sins such as civilly approved adultery. It can barely bring itself to address a man or woman as if they had a moral conscience that could be roused by words like “sin.” Instead, it merely proposes ideals; ideals cannot be wounded by your failure to realize them. And it promises to help you out of your “irregular” situation.

This supposed paean to love is something much sadder. A Church so anxious to include and accept you that it must deny the faith that transforms and renews you. It admits that God’s commands are not just beyond our reach, but possibly destructive to follow.

Pope Francis is trying to be more merciful than God himself. He ends up being more miserly and condescending instead. Continue Reading

15

Gasp! Bill Clinton Tells Truth!

 

 

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Shocking I know coming from perhaps the most mendacious man to be President, but he certainly did last week.  Whether it was tactical, a la his Sister Souljah comment during the 1992 campaign, go here to read about it, or merely out of anger and exasperation, you be the judge:

 

 

At first, Clinton responded by touting the Democratic feel-good elements of the 1994 bill: a ban on assault weapons, funding for after-school programs in inner cities, and money for more cops “so that the police could look like the people they police.” It was then-Senator Joe Biden, Clinton said, who persuaded him to support the tougher sentencing measures in order to get the bill through a Republican Congress. But then, in the first of his inconvenient infusions of truth, Clinton added that it wasn’t just Republican lawmakers who wanted a tougher response to crime—it was also “African-American communities.” They urged him to sign the bill, he said, because their “kids were shot in the street by gangs.” Thirteen-year-olds were planning their funerals, according to Clinton. The result of the bill’s passage? “A 25-year low in crime, a 33-year low in the murder rate—and listen to this,” he said, “because of that and the background-check law, a 46-year low in the deaths of people from gun violence. And who do you think those lives were, that mattered? Whose lives were saved, that mattered?”

The hecklers weren’t placated. As chants continued to disrupt his speech, Clinton broke out in obvious exasperation: “I don’t know how you would characterize the gang leaders who got 13-year-old kids hopped up on crack and sent them out on the street to murder other African-American children,” Clinton said heatedly. “Maybe you thought they were good citizens, [Hillary] didn’t. You are defending the people who killed the people whose lives you say matter! Tell the truth. You are defending the people who caused young people to go out and take guns.”

Clinton also defended the historic 1996 welfare reform bill, currently the subject of a rearguard left-wing assault. If it increased poverty as its critics charge, he asked, “Why then did we have the largest drop in African-American poverty in history?”

Clinton’s equation of today’s virulent anti-cop protests with the enabling of criminals is about as visceral and daring a response to the Black Lives Matter movement as one could imagine. It also happens to be accurate. Data-driven, accountable policing and lengthened sentences for violent criminals have saved thousands of black lives since 1994. And now, as cops back off from proactive policing under the relentless charge that they’re racist for enforcing the law in minority neighborhoods, black lives—including children’s lives—are once again being lost at elevated rates, prompting no outcry or protests from Black Lives Matter. Clinton understands at a gut level the need for vigilant, strong law enforcement. He also knows that the people most hurt by crime are blacks. Continue Reading

6

PopeWatch: Amoris Laetitia-the Lean Version-Part I

 

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As the Pope himself acknowledges Amoris Laetitia is a loooong read.  PopeWatch believes that the meat of the 264 pages is footnote 351, go here to read about it, but PopeWatch would be derelict in his duty without providing to the readers of TAC a version of the Exhortation, sans bloat, and with some commentary by him.  PopeWatch will do about 30 paragraphs today, and since AL is 325 paragraphs, this will take awhile.  So, without further ado, we begin:

Introduction

1.   Joy of families is the joy of the Church.

2.   Synod revealed complex issues regarding families.  Pope positions himself between those who desire too much change of Church rules regarding families and those who want no change.  (See, I am between the extremes, the sweet voice of moderation!)

3.   Pope doesn’t have to settle all the issues, wielding the Magisterium.  Let a thousand regional and cultural flowers bloom, all guided by the Holy Spirit of course.

4.   Synod process was illuminating and impressive.  Now I am going to show where the Synod Fathers botched things.

5.   Mercy Uber Alles in this Year of Mercy.

6.   Brief outline of how the Exhortation is structured.

7.   The Synod dealt with a lot of questions and that is why this Exhortation is 264, count ’em, 264 pages in length.  The Pope warns against rushed reading, although he then suggests that lay readers may wish to read only the portions of interest to them.  (Whew that is a relief.  PopeWatch can just imagine Catholic life coming to a halt due to a vast number of Catholics putting their lives on hold to read every word of this document that is longer than the combined Gospels and 50% longer than Laudato Si.  At this rate, if Pope Francis is Pope for a few more years, his closing documents might rival War and Peace in length.)

Chapter I-In the Light of the Word

8.   Bible has a lot of incidents involving families.  Lets take a look at a typical Biblical family.  (Take out your curlers, Sarah!  David, put on a clean shirt! Company calling!)

9.    In the house we find a mother and father united in love.

10.  Genesis tells us that God created humanity male and female.

11.  A loving family is a reflection of the Trinity.

12.  Christ referred to the second chapter of Genesis to the first family of Adam and Eve.

13.  Christ referred to the passage in Genesis where the two became one flesh.  (The Pope emphasizes romantic love, although the Bible often has a more pragmatic view of marriage.)

14.  Various passages are cited from the Old Testament to emphasize how blessed are families who have kids.

15.  Families as domestic churches. Continue Reading

1

The Better Angels: A Review

“You are the only man of all men that I would wish to surpass me in all things.”

Saint Augustine in a letter to his son Adeodatus who died at age 19.

 

 

 

The Better Angels (2014) is one of the most beautiful films I have even seen.  My review is below the fold and the usual caveat as to spoilers is in full force. Continue Reading

11

Mary Sue Stole the Death Star Plans

The trailer for Star Wars:  Rogue One, due out this Christmas, which tells how the Rebels stole the plans for the original Death Star.  The first of the Star Wars Anthology spin off films, and chronologically just before A New Hope, the first Star Wars film.  At the end of the trailer there  is  the beginning of an unintentionally hilarious  interview with a completely non-reactive Mark Hamill. Continue Reading

9

PopeWatch: Fear the Dogs of God!

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

 

Just a day after students at Indiana University mistook a Dominican for a member of the Ku Klux Klan, students and members of the faculty have been placed on high alert, with fears that the person in question could possibly be a devout Catholic praying on campus.

According to reports, Student Body President Allen Cheung wrote a post on Facebook saying, “There has been a person reported walking around campus in a Dominican outfit holding a rosary. Because the person is protected under first amendment rights, IUPD cannot remove this zealot from campus unless an act of violence is committed, like trying to convince students about the objective truths of Catholicism.”

“Please, PLEASE, PLEASE be careful out there tonight,” Cheung continued. “Always be with someone, and if you have no dire reason to be out of the building, I would recommend staying indoors lest you be indoctrinated.”

Other students also posted their own warnings on social media telling their roommates to keep safe and to remember that priests don’t approve of premarital sex or contraception, because of the “extreme hatred they have for anything fun or liberating.”

Indiana University officials put out a statement early this morning warning students to take proper precautions when going outdoors.

“We advise that students do not walk alone,” the statement read. “If you are confronted by the Dominican zealot, do not look him in the eyes, as this dangerous individual may attempt to convince you that you are a sinner, or worse, make you believe that not everything is acceptable just because it makes you feel good. Furthermore, should you run into this medieval time traveler, please remember atrocities he committed during the Spanish Inquisition, and that he has been trained in the art of manipulation and torture. If you are accused of being a witch or a Jew, admit nothing, and run to the nearest safe-space and call for help.” Continue Reading

2

Merle Haggard: Requiescat in Pace

Something for the weekend.  The Fightin’ Side of Me.

When I was growing up in the late Sixties and early Seventies, the radio station in Paris, Illinois, WPRS, “1400 on the AM dial”, my generation often referred to it as World’s Poorest Radio Station, had a country and western format.  As a result, I often woke up to the strains, from the radio in the kitchen where my parents were having breakfast, of Merle Haggard.

A son of the great Okie diaspora to California during the Great Depression, Haggard was born in Bakersfield, California in 1937.  Life for his family was a struggle after his father died in 1945.  Growing up he was constantly in trouble, and by his 21rst birthday he was a convicted felon for having attempted to rob a roadhouse, and was serving time in San Quentin.  A concert by Johnny Cash inspired him to join the prison band.  He was released on parole in 1960.  (Governor Reagan granted him a full pardon in 1972.)  He began performing as a guitarist and fiddle player, quickly becoming a fixture of what became known as the Bakersfield Sound, performers in and around Bakersfield, California producing a fusion of country music and rock.  Haggard first came to prominence performing songs written by Liz Anderson, mother of country and western singer Lynn Anderson.

In 1969 Haggard suddenly found himself the voice of what President Nixon called the Silent Majority.  A fairly apolitical man, Haggard was disturbed by the counterculture, and his Okie From Muskogee, an idealized look at an Oklahoma life that he had never experienced, became a giant hit.

His song The Fightin’ Side of Me (1970) caused conservatives to regard him as on their side.  This was incorrect.  Haggard did not follow politics closely, and his own views could be described very,very roughly as libertarian/populist, although that probably gives him too much credit for consistency.

He always had, however, a great respect for our military as demonstrated in his song, I Wonder If They Ever Think of Me (1972):

In 1989 after the Supreme Court ruled that flag burning was constitutionally protected, he angrily wrote the song Only Me and Crippled Soldiers Give a Damn:

 

Continue Reading

52

The Devil Usually Lurks in the Footnotes: Footnote 351

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One thing I have learned in 34 years in the law mines is that the most important passages of documents are often carefully concealed in footnotes.

 

All you need to know about Amoris Laetitia:

 

 

Footnote 351:

In certain cases, this can include the help of the sacraments. Hence, “I want to remind priests that the confessional must not be a torture chamber, but rather an encounter with the Lord’s mercy” (Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium  [24 November 2013], 44: AAS 105 [2013],  1038). I would also point out that the Eucharist “is not a prize for the perfect, but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak” (ibid., 47: 1039). Continue Reading

13

Life in Blue State America

I recall a movie that I watched back in the Seventies in which the late, great Art Carney was confronting a cop seeking to gain admission to his house without a search warrant.  When the cop told him that Carney had to let him in, Carney responded, “Not unless I made a mistake last night and woke up in Russia instead of America!”

That scene came to mind when I read this:

Harris has been investigating Daleiden for months, after his video exposé of Planned Parenthood’s alleged baby-parts scheme. His videos allegedly showed Planned Parenthood personnel actively negotiating the sale of the livers, lungs, hearts and other organs of aborted unborn children.

Daleiden released the following statement this afternoon:

Today, the California Attorney General’s office of Kamala Harris, who was elected with tens of thousands of dollars from taxpayer-funded Planned Parenthood, seized all video footage showing Planned Parenthood’s criminal trade in aborted baby parts, in addition to my personal information. Ironically, while seizing my First Amendment work product, they ignored documents showing the illicit scheme between StemExpress and Planned Parenthood. This is no surprise–Planned Parenthood’s bought-and-paid-for AG has steadfastly refused to enforce the law against the baby body parts traffickers in our state, or even investigate them–while at the same time doing their bidding to harass and intimidate citizen journalists. We will pursue all remedies to vindicate our First Amendment rights.

Matt Heffron, a former federal prosecutor from Arizona and currently a legal adviser to Daleiden, said, “To storm into a private citizen’s home with a search warrant is outrageously out of proportion for the type of crime alleged.  It’s a discredit to law enforcement, an oppressive abuse of government power.” Continue Reading

9

PopeWatch: Amoris Lætitia

 

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Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa, gives us an advance view of Amoris Lætitia from the two cardinals who are to be the official interpreters of the exhortation:

 

 

 

ROME, April 7, 2016 – “Doctrinal unity in pastoral plurality.” This is the “authentic spirit” of the post-synodal apostolic exhortation “Amoris Lætitia” that will be made public tomorrow, according to the preview from the newspaper of the Italian episcopal conference, “Avvenire.”

The formula is very elastic. And it will be curious to see how it will be embodied in the 325 paragraphs of the rambling document and above all in the multiform practice that will result from it in the whole of the Church worldwide.

To provide the official key of interpretation for the exhortation, Pope Francis has chosen two cardinals: the secretary general of the synod, Lorenzo Baldisseri, and the archbishop of Vienna, Christoph Schönborn (in the photo), both of them supporters of a new pastoral praxis on the most controversial points, in particular on communion for the divorced and remarried.

*

Baldisseri talked up this change of course in the letter that he sent in recent days to the bishops of the whole world, a two-page letter published almost in its entirety by ACI Stampa on April 2 in Rome, and then by National Catholic Reporter:

> Vatican guide says Francis’ family document puts doctrine “at service of pastoral mission”

In it he writes among other things:

“The problem is not that of changing doctrine, but of inculturating the general principles so that they may be understood and practiced. Our language must encourage and strengthen every step of every real family.”

And again:

“It is necessary to recontextualize doctrine in service of the Church’s pastoral mission. Doctrine must be interpreted in relation to the heart of the Christian kerygma and in the light of the pastoral context in which it will be applied, always remembering that the ‘suprema lex’ must be the ‘salus animarum’.”

This is the renewal – Baldisseri explains in the letter – that Francis incessantly urges when he insists on on the need for “Ignatian discernment,” for a “dialogical mentality,” for a thinking left intentionally “incomplete” in order to make room for the other.

*

Cardinal Schönborn, however, has remained silent in the run-up to the publication of “Amoris Lætitia.” But his thinking is well-known, and he expressed it a number of times over the duration of the synod.

The most elaborate and “licensed” exposition is in the interview with the cardinal in “La Civiltà Cattolica” of September 26, 2015, conducted by Fr. Antonio Spadaro, director of the magazine and a close associate of Pope Francis.

The complete text of the interview is among the few articles that “La Civiltà Cattolica” has allowed to be read online even by non-subscribers, a sign of the leading role that it attributes to it:

> Matrimonio e conversione pastorale. Intervista al cardinale Schönborn

Reproduced and translated below in multiple languages is the passage in which Schönborn addresses the question of communion for the divorced and remarried.

His argumentation in support of a change in pastoral practice is extensive and detailed. Schönborn, who belongs to the Dominican order, relies not only on his theological competence but also on his experience as the son of divorced and remarried parents.

He too insists on safeguarding doctrine. But without excluding pastoral decisions that would admit to communion those who have been prevented until now.

At a certain point he says, in fact:

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

Further ahead in the interview Schönborn backs a new approach on the question of homosexuality as well, saying among other things with regard to cohabitation between persons of the same sex:

“The judgment on homosexual acts as such is necessary, but the Church must not look into the bedroom first, but into the dining room! What is needed is accompaniment.”

But let’s get back to the divorced and remarried. As of tomorrow everyone will be able to verify to what extent these positions of the cardinal are found in the exhortation of Pope Francis.

_________

“There are situations in which the priest can come to the point of saying…”

by Christoph Schönborn

[…] Q: On the one hand it is necessary and just to have objective criteria, we need them, but on the other hand such criteria do not exhaust all of reality…

A: I will give a very simple example concerning a man and a woman. Their first marriage was civil, because he was already divorced, and so they married civilly. This marriage was a failure, and they separated. The woman is in a second marriage. In this case, the husband had not been married religiously and she had been married only civilly. They were therefore able to celebrate a sacramental marriage. Objectively this is justifiable, it is correct. But what would happen if the first husband of the woman had not been divorced? If the first marriage, which ended up in failure for various reasons and finally led to a second union, had been religious, this would be irregular.

This must make us docile to the objective order, but also attentive to the complexity of life. There are cases in which it is only in a second or even in a third union that persons truly discover the faith. I know a person who entered into a first religious marriage very young, apparently without faith. This was a failure, followed by a second and even a third civil marriage. Only then, for the first time, this person discovered the faith and became a believer. So it is not a matter of setting aside the objective criteria, but in accompaniment I must stand beside the person on his journey.

Q: So what is to be done in these circumstances?

A: The objective criteria clearly tell us that a certain person still bound by a sacramental marriage cannot fully participate in the sacramental life of the Church. Subjectively he lives this situation as a conversion, as a true discovery in his own life, to the point that it could be said, in a certain way – in a different way, but analogous to the “Pauline privilege” – that for the good of the faith one could go a step beyond what the rule would say objectively. I think that we find ourselves facing an element that will have a great deal of importance during the next synod. I do not conceal, in this regard, that I am shocked by how a purely formalistic way of arguing brandishes the ax of the “intrinsece malum,” the act that is considered morally evil always, independently of the intentions and circumstances.

Q: You are touching upon a very important point. Could you expound upon it? What is the problem connected to what is called the “intrinsece malum”?

A: In practice there is the exclusion of every reference to the argument of convenience that, for Saint Thomas, is always a way of expressing prudence. It is neither utilitarianism, nor a facile pragmatism, but a way of expressing a sense of rightness, of convenience, of harmony. On the question of divorce, this argumentative figure has been systematically excluded by our intransigent moralists. If understood poorly, the “intrinsece malum” suppresses the discussion of the circumstances and situations of life, which are complex by definition.

A human act is never simple, and the risk is of “jury-rigging” the articulation between object, circumstances, and finality, which should instead be read in the light of freedom and of the attraction to the good. The free act is reduced to the physical act in such a way that the limpidity of logic suppresses every moral discussion and every circumstance. The paradox is that in focusing on the “intrinsece malum” one loses all the richness, I would even say almost the beauty of a moral articulation, which inevitably ends up being annihilated by it. Not only is the moral analysis of situations made unequivocal, but one is also cut off from a comprehensive view of the dramatic consequences of divorce: the financial effects, educational, psychological, etc.

This is true of all that touches upon the issues of marriage and family. The obsession with the “intrinsece malum” has so impoverished the discussion that we are devoid of a wide range of argumentations in favor of unicity, of indissolubility, of openness to life, of the human foundation of Church doctrine. We have lost the taste for a discourse on these human realities. One of the key elements of the synod is the reality of the Christian family, not from an exclusive point of view, but from an inclusive one. The Christian family is a grace, a gift of God. It is a mission, and by its nature – if lived in a Christian way – it is something to be welcomed.

I remember a proposed pilgrimage for families in which the organizers wanted to invite exclusively those who practiced natural birth control. During a meeting with the episcopal conference we asked them how they would do it: “You select only those who practice it 100 percent, right down to the decimal point? How do you do that?” From these somewhat caricaturish expressions one realizes that, if the Christian family is lived from this perspective, it inevitably becomes sectarian. A world apart. If one seeks guarantees one is not Christian, one is centered only on oneself!

Q: Some want to have objective criteria in order to permit persons living in an irregular union to participate regularly in the sacramental life of the Church. Some synod fathers instead made reference to the need for pastoral discernment. There has also been talk of a penitential practice in relation to divorced and remarried couples who are asking for access to the sacraments…

A: If there has been a valid sacramental marriage, a second union remains an irregular union. However, there is the whole dimension of spiritual and pastoral accompaniment of persons making their way in a situation of irregularity, where it will be necessary to discern between all and nothing. An irregular situation cannot be turned into a regular one, but there are also paths of healing, of exploration, paths in which the law is lived step by step.

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

Q: How can arbitrary situations be avoided?

A: The problem already exists, because various pastors make these decisions lightly. But laissez-faire has never been a criterion for rejecting a good pastoral accompaniment. It will always be the duty of the pastor to find a way that corresponds to the truth and life of the persons he accompanies, perhaps without being able to explain to all why they should make one decision rather than another. The Church is sacrament of salvation. There are many paths and many dimensions to be explored for the sake of the “salus animarum.”

Q: So this is a matter of welcoming and accompaniment. . .

A: Pope Francis has told us Austrian bishops what he has also said to many others: “Accompany, accompany.” I have proposed to our diocese a way of accompaniment for persons who are in irregular marital situations, in order to escape from this quandary spread by the mass media that has become a sort of test for the pontificate of Pope Francis: “Will he ultimately be merciful toward those who live in irregular situations?” General solutions are expected, while the attitude of the good shepherd is first of all that of accompanying persons who are living with a divorce and a new marriage in their personal situations.

The first point on which I would like to dwell is the wounds and suffering. First of all one must observe before judging. But above all, when one speaks of mercy, I always recall that the first mercy to be asked is not that of the Church, it is mercy from our own children. I always formulate these first questions: “Have you had a failed marriage? Have you laid the burden of this failure, the weight of your conflict on the shoulders of your children? Have your children been taken hostage by your conflict? Because if you say that the Church is without mercy for new unions, one must first ask what has become of your mercy for your own children. Very often it is the children who bear the burden of your conflict and of your failure for the rest of their lives.” Continue Reading

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Quotes Suitable for Framing: Pius VII

“The American commander, with a small force, and in a short space of time, has done more for the cause of Christianity than the most powerful nations of Christendom have done for ages”.

The above comment of Pius VII was in regard to Commodore Edward Preble, commander of the American naval squadron that humbled the power of the Barbary States that had for centuries sent forth pirates to prey upon Christian commerce in the Mediterranean, the white captives being held for ransom, or sold at a handsome profit in the slave marts of the Arab world.  The first of two wars fought by America against these pirate principalities, the First Barbary War, 1801-1805, established that the United States Navy, although tiny by European standards, was highly professional, with an officer corps filled with “Salamanders”, men who were quite willing to seek out hot enemy fire to accomplish their missions.  The Marine Corps Hymn recalls “the shores of Tripoli”, where eight Marines, after a 600 mile forced march, led 500 mercenaries to victory in an all out attack, seizing the key city of Derna in Cyrenaica, an astounding, near miraculous victory. Continue Reading

April 7, 1776: Lexington Takes Edward

On March 14, 1776, that sea going Catholic son of Ireland John Barry, received his commission as a Captain in the Continental Navy from the Continental Congress.  It was signed by John Hancock, President of the Congress.  Barry wasted no time making his mark.

Barry was placed in command of the USS Lexington, 14 guns, on December 7, 1775.  Captain Barry took the Lexington on its maiden voyage on March 26, 1776.  On April 7, 1776, Barry had his initial victory of the war, taking H.M.S. sloop Edward after a short but fierce engagement.  This was the first naval victory of the new Continental Navy and the first British warship captured by the Americans. Barry had begun his victorious military career and started to earn the proud title of Father of the American Navy.

4

Badger State Battle

 

My bride’s state, Wisconsin, handed Ted Cruz a win on Tuesday this week, giving him 48.2% to 35.1% for Trump and 14.1 % for Kasich.  Cruz walked away with 36 delegates to 3 for Trump.  More significant is that Cruz is succeeding in state after state in having his supporters named as delegates to the convention.  This is happening because the Cruz campaign is well organized in each state while the Trump organization is virtually non-existent on the state and local level.  Many Trump delegates will be Cruz supporters, bound to vote for Trump on the first ballot, but not on subsequent votes.  If Trump can’t win on the first ballot, his campaign will probably be defeated on the second.

2

Indiana University Idiots

 

 

Some students went into melt down mode at Indiana University this week when a Domincan Priest was mistaken for a member of the Klan and social media went into hysterics.  Ignorant drama queening is a poor way to go through life.

 

 

For the benefit of the special ignorant snowflakes at Indiana University, these are Dominican Priests:

 

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These are Klansmen:

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Any questions?

6

PopeWatch: Christian Socialism

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On Tuesday the Pope blasted money as a master instead of God, and from the reading regarding Ananias and Sapphira, noted how early Christians shared their goods in common as a result of an outpouring of grace through the Holy Spirit:

The Pope draws from the day’s reading the virtuous example of Barnabas who sells his field and gives the proceeds to the Apostles. And in contrast, Francis cites another passage from Acts: that of Ananias and Sapphira, a couple who sell their field and pretend to give the entire proceeds to the Apostles but who in fact, keep part of the money for themselves.  That lie costs them dearly; both die on the spot. 

God and money are two “irreconcilable” masters, Francis stresses. And, he warns against confusing “harmony” with “tranquility:”

“A community can be very tranquil…things are fine … But it is not harmonious. I once heard a wise thing from a bishop: ‘There is tranquility in the diocese. But if you touch on a certain problem – this problem or that problem – war breaks out.’  This is negotiated harmony, and this is not of the Spirit. Let’s say that it’s a hypocritical harmony like that of Ananias and Saphira and what they did.”

Francis concludes, encouraging a re-reading of the Acts of the Apostles and their portrayal of the first Christians and their life together. “We will do well,” he says, to understand the importance of their fraternal generosity and how to bear witness to such a lifestyle in our daily lives.

“The harmony of the Holy Spirit grants us the generosity to possess nothing as our own, while there is someone in need.” Continue Reading

21

Lincoln on Mercy

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I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.

Abraham Lincoln

Running down the origin of this quote was a lot of fun.  It sounded like something that Abraham Lincoln would have said, but I had difficulty finding a source for it.  It is cited all over the internet, but no reference is given other than a speech in 1865, and such a lack of citation is often the sign of a spurious quote.  After some searching I found it.  It is sourced in a conversation that Joseph Gillespie had with Abraham Lincoln.  Gillespie was a fellow member with Lincoln of the Illinois General Assembly.  With Lincoln he helped found the Republican party in Illinois.  Elected a circuit court judge in 1861, he helped set up the Illinois Appellate Court.

During a visit to Washington in Spring of 1864, Gillespie met with Lincoln and,  among other subjects they discussed, Lincoln mentioned the problem of captured paroled Confederate troops who were found in arms before they had properly been exchanged:

These men are liable to be put to death when recaptured for breach of parole.  If we do not do something of that sort, this outrage will be repeated on every occasion…It is indeed a serious question, and I have been more sorely tried by it than any other that has occurred during the war.  It will be an act of great injustice to our soldiers to allow the paroled rebels to be put into the field without exchange.  Such a practice would demoralize almost any army in the world if played off upon them.  It would be nearly impossible to induce them to spare the lives of prisoners they might capture.  On the other hand, these men were no doubt told by their superiors that they had been exchanged and it would be hard to put them to death under any circumstances.  On the whole, my impression is that mercy bears richer fruits than any other attribute. Continue Reading

9

PopeWatch: Bear Growls: Interview

 

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Hmmm, so the Pope has given an interview to our bruin friend at Saint Corbinian’s Bear.  Perhaps PopeWatch should dress up in a bear suit and beg for an interview?  Here is some of the Pope’s interview with the bear:

 

At 7 a.m. yesterday, the Bear was just starting to eat his morning oatmeal when he got the biggest surprise of his life. His cell phone rang, and he answered it. On the other end a voice said this: “Please stand by for his Holiness.”

You can imagine what the Bear thought as his heart started to beat faster. Was it a prank? Why the Bear? Was he about to get chewed out by the Pope? Then the same voice said in the background, “Sua Santità, il Orso.”

“Parla italiano?” asked a familiar voice.

“Si,” the Bear answered. What followed was an incredible opportunity for the Bear to speak freely for 30 minutes with Pope Francis.

Pope Francis: “Good morning, Mr. Bear.” [The Bear could detect a trace of humor in his voice.] “I have seen your blog and it is very creative. And please, go right on ahead being hard on me. It is the voice of a segment of our Church, and it helps me. Besides,” [again the humor] “your Pope has a sense of humor, too.”

Pope Video 1 and Universalism

Bear: [Pope Francis said he wanted to dispense with formalities and time was limited, so the Bear spent little time on pleasantries.] “Your Holiness, the first thing that comes to mind is your monthly intention videos, or ‘Pope Videos.’ This Bear found the first quite disturbing. It appeared to promote Universalism. The video, not the intention. At the end it had people holding symbols of their different religions together as if they were equal. What are we to make of that? Do you believe Christianity is simply one religion among many?”

 

End of Pope Video 1

Pope Francis: “No. Of course not. I am a son of the Church, and believe that people are saved through Christ. But the reality is that we share our world with other religions. Does it not make sense to try to emphasize what we share, rather than our differences?”

Bear: “Actually, with all due respect, no. Those other religions are defined by their error, and their similarities to Christianity are overstated. Buddhism, one of the religions in the video, doesn’t even believe in God. How can they be saved outside of the Church? Why does the Church foster error?”

Pope Francis: “I must insist that each one of these religions does share things with Christianity. Where there is a lack, God’s mercy fills it. [Imagine a shrug in his voice.] A good person of any religion, or no religion, may be saved through Christ. You must remember that we, too, lack in mercy, in charity, in the care we show for the refugee, the poor, the planet. Everyone falls short. Even me, if your blog is to be believed! [Laughs.] It is not that other religions are just as true, it is that wherever they fall short, God generously makes up for it.”

Bear: “So people do not have to accept Christ and be baptized to be saved?”

Pope Francis: “They must accept him in those in need they see around them. All salvation is through Christ. All saved are members of the Church. But we must get used to not focusing on human formalities. Christ is bigger than we can comprehend. The Church is not a bus, that you are either on or off. The Church is the bus stop, too. It is the sidewalk along the bus route, where people are walking, some in one direction, and some in the other. The Church accompanies them, walking with them. The Church is not just one tiny, cramped bus!”

Bear: “Were missionaries like St. Francis Xavier and, for that matter, St. Corbinian, misguided then?”

Pope Francis: “We have a different emphasis now. We accompany people in Christ. We have come to understand that to proselytize is to do violence to a person, a culture.”

 

Pope Video 3 and Contraception

Bear: “The Bear noticed in Pope Video 3 that there are nearly no examples of families with more than two children. You have previously remarked that Catholics must be responsible and not breed like rabbits. Was the size of families in the videos a subtle message? Do you believe there is a problem with overpopulation? Do you encourage Catholics to have large families?”
Pope Francis: [laughs] “I did not even notice how big the families were in the video. That was not the focus. Of course there is a problem with overpopulation. Our planet can only support so many people, and we are at that limit now. Climate change and overpopulation together pose a serious threat today. It was not so in the past. In agricultural societies, it made sense to have large families. But today, do we need families with seven children? Four children? On the whole, no. What right does a couple have to claim so many more resources than their neighbors? This is selfish. To me? I say this as my personal opinion: two children seems responsible. But it is up to each individual family, of course.”
Bear: “How are Catholics to regulate the size of their families?”
Pope Francis: “The Church’s teaching is very clear on this, of course. But the role of conscience and pastoral advice also must play a part, as with any important decision. As with most things, it is not black and white. There are competing factors. The danger to our planet. Allocation of resources. Sometimes one must decide the less damaging course where no decision seems perfect.”
Bear: “Will you rule out contraception?”
Pope Francis: “As I said, the Church’s teaching is very clear.”

Continue Reading

15

If Nations Were American States


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A fascinating look at how nations rank in per capita gross domestic product against American states:

 

The table above compares the GDP per capita of America’s 50 states in 2014 (BEA data here) to the GDP per capita of selected countries in Europe and Asia on a Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) basis, based on data from the World Bank. As explained by the World Bank:

PPP GDP is Gross Domestic Product (GDP) converted to international dollars using purchasing power parity rates. An international dollar has the same purchasing power over GDP as the U.S. dollar has in the United States.

Adjusting for PPP allows us to make a more accurate “apples to apples” comparison of GDP per capita among countries around the world by adjusting for the differences in prices in each country. For example, the UK’s unadjusted GDP per capita was $45,729 in 2014, but because prices there are higher on average than in the US (for food, clothing, energy, transportation, etc.), the PPP adjustment lowers per capita GDP in the UK to below $40,000. On the hand, consumer prices in South Korea are generally lower than in the US, so that increases its GDP per capita from below $28,000 on an unadjusted basis to above $34,000 on a PPP basis.

As the chart demonstrates, most European countries (including Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Belgium) if they joined the US, would rank among the poorest one-third of US states on a per-capita GDP basis, and the UK, France, Japan and New Zealand would all rank among America’s very poorest states, below No. 47 West Virginia, and not too far above No. 50 Mississippi. Countries like Italy, S. Korea, Spain, Portugal and Greece would each rank below Mississippi as the poorest states in the country. Continue Reading

17

PopeWatch: Surprise!

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The Pope gives us yet another example of how he is a man who acts on impulse:

 

Pope Francis has made a surprise announcement to dioceses around the world, on the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday.

Addressing faithful in St. Peter’s Square at a Saturday evening prayer vigil for the Jubilee of Divine Mercy — 11 years to the day after the death of St. John Paul II — the pope announced his wish that, in every diocese, “a hospital, a home for the elderly, for abandoned children, a school where none exists, a home for the recovery of addicts,” or some similar structure be established as “a living memory” of the Year of Mercy.

The Pope said the idea came to him recently during a meeting with directors of a charitable agency. But he thought to himself: “I will share it in the square on Saturday.”

“There are so many things that could be done,” he said. “It would be very good for each diocese to consider: what can we leave as a living memory, as a work of living mercy, as a wound of the living Jesus for this Year of Mercy? Let us reflect on this and speak to the bishops about it.” Continue Reading

8

So Many Books

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I assume that all readers of this blog are probably book lovers.  Here are my answers to a favorite book meme that has been floating around the internet for years:

1. One book that changed your life: A Canticle for Leibowitz. An extended meditation on History and the role of the Church in History disguised as a first rate science fiction novel.

2. One book that you’ve read more than once: Thucydides’ The Peloponnesian War.

3. One book you’d want on a desert island: Lord of the Flies.

4. One Book that Made You Laugh: Lest Darkness Fall by L. Sprague DeCamp. A hilarious time travel novel where the protagonist seeks to stop the conquest of Italy by Belisarius in the Sixth century. Continue Reading

14

April 2, 2005: Death of John Paul II

 

 

Hard to believe that it has been eleven years since the death of Saint John Paul II.  On the date of his death Amy Welborn at her blog Open Book had a post dedicated to memories of the Pope.  Here was my contribution:

When the Pope was in Nicaragua and a Sandinista organized group was attempting to shout the Pope down while he was giving a sermon during a vast outdoor mass. The Pope lost his temper finally and yelled out “Silencio!”, followed by applause from the vast majority of the worshipers.

The Pope was a man’s man of unusual physical courage. Nothing fazed him: Nazis, Communists of all stripes, an almost successful assassination attempt, parkinson’s, etc. This is certainly not the most important feature of the Pope, but I personally found it one of the most inspiring aspects of this great man. Continue Reading

1

April 3, 1776: Continental Congress Authorizes Privateers

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Congress on April 3, 1776 formally authorized American privateers to raid British merchant ships.  In this Congress was merely recognizing what was already well under way, the patriot governments of the various colonies having issued letters of marque and reprisal since the beginning of hostilities.   The British parliament would authorize privateers against American merchant ships in December 1776.

Privateers were a traditional part of European naval war which fitted in well with the American national character.  Private operations, a common seamen on board a privateer after a successful cruise of capturing several British ships, could come back home with a small fortune in his pocket, often enough to purchase a small farm, or an inn, or set himself up in trade.  Privateers led by more daring commanders would even make prizes of several smaller ships of the Royal Navy.  Of course the risks were commensurate with the rewards, with death by sinking, or the slow death of rotting away in a British prison hulk if a crew was captured, ever a possibility.  Most American sailors were eager to take the risk, so many that the Continental Navy often found it difficult to man its ships. Continue Reading

18

Trump the Liar

From a post by me on February 28, 2016:

 

Trump is a man of boundless vanity and ambition. He has decided to become President and has chosen to use the Republican Party as his vehicle to get to the White House. His day before yesterday public stances indicate that he is neither a conservative nor a Republican, but rather a fairly typical New York liberal Democrat. Republican rank and file outrage over the the Republican establishment’s treachery on several issues, most notably illegal immigration, has caused about a third of the party to support Trump. Independents and Democrats, eager to follow a populist demagogue, have given Trump the additional strength necessary to dominate the primary field against a fragmented opposition. If Trump gets the nomination, he will quickly race to the center, or what he perceives to be the center which will probably be the left of center, in order to beat Clinton, who he had long supported prior to the present contest. If he is elected, whatever else can be guessed at from the likely ensuing chaos, one thing is certain: conservative beliefs would play no role in it, because Trump has no conservative beliefs.

 

 

 

 

Trump on abortion on, appropriately, April Fools’ Day: Continue Reading

14

PopeWatch: Holes and Pegs

 

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

 

 

WASHINGTON––In an interview with CNN’s Erin Burnett, former President Jimmy Carter talked about his letter to mathematicians. In it, Carter called on leading mathematicians to support efforts to fit square pegs in round holes.

“I asked them to join with me in doing some of these things to prevent inequality, and to prevent segregation between figures, and to prevent unnecessary discrimination between different types of shapes, and to prevent things of that kind,” Carter said.

The former president went on to say that there was a movement towards equality in the geometric community, but that mathematicians had done much to support discrimination by ‘ordaining’ that squares were not equal to circles:

“This has been done and still is done by the mathematic community ever since the dawn of geometry, when mathematicians ordained that a circle cannot fit into a square, for instance, but another square can. A circle can fit into a circle, but it can’t fit into a square. This is wrong, I think.”

The geometric community has come out in defense of only squares fitting into square holes saying that the former president “grossly misunderstands” geometry.

“Carter’s comments about the role of squares shows a gross misunderstanding of geometry,” a spokesman for the mathematic community Ashley Thompson told EOTT this morning. “As math teachers across the globe continue to remind us, a square is a plane figure with four equal straight sides and four right angles. They have a very important role in geometry. But their role is not to be a circle or even to attempt to fit into a circle.” Continue Reading

Hooray for Bill McKinley!

Something for the weekend:  Hooray for Bill McKinley!  The above video is the first film ever taken of an American President.  It shows William McKinley conducting his Front Porch Campaign during the 1896 presidential campaign.  While his opponent, William Jennings Bryan, barnstormed the nation, giving speech after speech, McKinley conducted a quiet campaign from his house, while his campaign, utilizing cutting edge technology, film and phones,  and outspending the Democrats five to one, pioneered modern campaign tactics and capitalized on the bad economy under Democrat Grover Cleveland.  The turnout at the polls was immense, almost eighty percent, with McKinley winning 271 electoral votes to 176 votes for Bryan.  This election ushered in a period of Republican dominance that would last until the election of 1932.

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PopeWatch: Resignation

Pope Francis Resigns

 

 

The Vatican announced today that Pope Francis will resign on April 1, 2017.

At a hastily called news conference, Vatican press spokesman Father Federico Lombardi announced that the Pope had decided to resign a year hence.  Asked why, Father Lombardi indicated that he was uncertain, although recently the Pope had been heard to mutter darkly “Papa Guarda!  Papa Guarda!” under his breath after browsing the internet.  Asked for the reaction of the Pope Emeritus, Father Lombardi responded that he had been advised that the Pope Emeritus wished his successor well and promised to reserve a place at his future beer parties for Pope Francis in his retirement. Continue Reading

11

A Roosevelt Peace?

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“The people here hate the French more than they do the British. They much prefer the Americans as troops of occupation. Since the Americans have arrived the German people have learned to like them.”

—Karl Felder of Bieder Breisig

As we approach the one hundredth anniversary of the conclusion of the Great War and the commencement of the so-called Roosevelt Peace, an old question must be addressed:  was President Theodore Roosevelt’s role in the Great War an essential one?

Of course, how one addresses this question is largely determined by whether one views history as largely the impact of impersonal forces, economic, cultural, scientific, etc, upon humanity, or whether one holds to the Great Man school, by which the path of Man through history is largely the result of some unique individual altering the flow of events.  To a large extent this debate is unanswerable, as history is history and so-called alternate history is the domain of dreamers and writers of fiction.  However, in regard to Theodore Roosevelt, elected President in 1912 following the collapse of the Republican ticket, after the assassination of President Taft in Milwaukee by John Schrank, it is hard to see how any American President would have implemented policies much different than he did.

1. Entry into the War-From the outset of the War, President Roosevelt left little doubt that his sympathies lay with the Allies and he had only disgust for Prussian militarism.  However, he maintained a testy neutrality until the sinking of RMS Lusitania.  With the loss of 128 American lives, it is difficult to believe that any American President could have withstood the rush to War.  Roosevelt demanded that the German crew be handed over to America to answer charges of murder and that no further attacks be made on passenger liners.  The Kaiser’s statement that he was willing to agree to the latter but not the former, was angrily rejected by Roosevelt, who received a thunderous standing ovation from Congress when he called for a declaration of war.

2.  Building of the Army-Utilizing the Civil War method of the states initially raising the regiments to serve drew criticism, but Roosevelt responded that a huge military had to be built overnight and that the Civil War had demonstrated that this was a tried and true method.  The regiments then reported to training camps where officers and men were trained in their duties, uniformed and equipped.  Many career officers complained that the officers of the regiments were often incompetent or well-meaning amateurs.  Roosevelt quashed much of this criticism by giving the Army full power to relieve officers who proved unsuitable.  As it turned out, about twenty percent of officers were relieved and another ten percent resigned.  General Pershing in his memoirs indicated that he would have preferred to eliminate the state role, but admitted that the state regiments had a cohesion and high morale that would have been lacking if men had not been serving with other men they knew.

3.  Tanks-Although Roosevelt was traditional in how he raised the American Expeditionary Force, many regular Army officers found him frighteningly radical in his embrace of new technology.  Tanks were seized upon by Roosevelt as an essential replacement for horse cavalry and he made certain that the American force would be motorized to an extent that astonished the European armies.  Roosevelt made certain that American troops would go into battle with double the machine guns, mortars and supporting artillery allotted to units of their German foes.  Air power was to be an essential component of each American division, along with a tank regiment.  It was perhaps inevitable that the tankers became known as Roosevelt’s Rough Riders.  American love of new technology probably would have ensured that any American president would have followed a similar policy, albeit perhaps not with quite the “Bully, Bully!” enthusiasm of Roosevelt. Continue Reading

2

National Atheist Day 2016

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Nobody talks so constantly about God as those who insist that there is no God.

Heywood Broun

Ah, April begins, and once again we have National Atheist Day, when we light-heartedly celebrate that herd of brave independent thinkers who assert that all of Creation exists without a Creator, and that they will soon explain, perhaps by next Tuesday, how matter and energy can arise ex nihilo.  This National Atheist Day we will look at the extreme bitterness that many atheists appear to harbor against the God they say does not exist.

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I submit that this rage is usually grounded in fear, a fear that God does in fact exist.  One of the more interesting contemporary atheists, Doctor Thomas Nagel, Professor of Philosophy at NYU gets I think to the heart of the matter:

In speaking of the fear of religion, I don’t mean to refer to the entirely reasonable hostility toward certain established religions and religious institutions, in virtue of their objectionable moral doctrines, social policies, and political influence. Nor am I referring to the association of many religious beliefs with superstition and the acceptance of evident empirical falsehoods. I am talking about something much deeper–namely, the fear of religion itself. I speak from experience, being strongly subject to this fear myself: I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers.

It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that. Continue Reading