6

John Wayne Films For the Fourth of July

 

This Fourth of July long weekend is made for a trip down American history courtesy of John Wayne films.  Wayne was an American original.  Thirty seven years after his death, in the annual Harris poll of favorite actors, he ranks number four overall, and number one among men voting.  In his day he was never shy about declaring his love of country, and he did so when patriotism was fashionable and when it was unfashionable.  An American icon, the deathbed convert to the Catholic Church is a symbol of this nation, instantly recognizable around the globe.  Here are some of his films set in the history of this land.

 

 

 

 

  1. Allegheny Uprising (1939)-The film tells the true story of the Black Boys Rebellion against the British in 1765, with Wayne portraying James Smith the leader of this proto-American Revolution.

 

 

 

2.  The Fighting Kentuckian (1949)-John Wayne costars with Oliver Hardy, yeah, that Oliver Hardy, in a tale of veterans of the War of 1812 helping French settlers battle land swindlers in Alabama.   Very loosely based on actual events.  In one scene Wayne explains that his family never had money due to his father’s health being ruined after he spent a winter at a place called Valley Forge.

 

 

 

 

 

3.  The Alamo (1960)-The epic story of the battle for Texan Independence.  Wayne’s love note to America and freedom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.  The Barbarian and the Geisha (1958)-One of the more successful American diplomats of the Nineteenth Century, Townsend Harris, a native of New York City, became wealthy in the China trade in the early part of the century.  He then turned to public service, serving as the President of the New York City Board of Education from 1846-1848.  He founded the Free Academy of the City of New York, later renamed as the City College of New York, in order to provide college educations to low income people in New York.

In July 1856, Franklin Pierce named him the first American consul general to the Empire of Japan.  He opened the first American consulate in Japan in the city of Shimoda.  Overcoming enormous difficulties, in two years he negotiated what has become known as the Harris Treaty, which established full diplomatic and trade relations between Japan and the US.

On the hundredth anniversary of the treaty in 1958, John Wayne, in one of the oddest films of his career, starred as Townsend Harris in the film The Barbarian and the Geisha.  Few men could have been more unlike John Wayne than Harris, and Wayne appears uncomfortable in the role of the diplomat to me.  The film played up an alleged romance between Harris and Okichi, a 17 year old housekeeper, which has long been a tale told in Japan.  Unfortunately, this aspect of the story is untrue.  Harris fired Okichi after she worked for him for three days due to the fact that he considered her to be an incompetent housekeeper.  However, the look of the film is splendid, even if the film is the usual Hollywood mix of lies and half-truths.

 

 

 

5.  The Horse Soldiers (1959)-In 1959 John Ford and John Wayne, in the last of their “cavalry collaborations”, made The Horse Soldiers, a film based on Harold Sinclair’s novel of the same name published in 1956, which is a wonderful fictionalized account of Grierson’s Raid.

Perhaps the most daring and successful Union cavaly raid of the war, Colonel Benjamin Grierson, a former music teacher and band leader from Jacksonville, Illinois, who, after being bitten by a horse at a young age, hated horses, led from April 17-May 2, 1863 1700 Illinois and Iowa troopers through 600 miles of Confederate territory from southern Tennessee to the Union held Baton Rouge in Louisiana.  Grierson and his men ripped up railroads, burned Confederate supplies and tied down many times their number of Confederate troops and succeeded in giving Grant a valuable diversion as he began his movement against Vicksburg.

John Wayne gives a fine, if surly, performance as Colonel Marlowe, the leader of the Union cavalry brigade.  William Holden as a Union surgeon serves as a foil for Wayne.  Constance Towers, as a captured Southern belle, supplies the obligatory Hollywood love interest.

Overall the film isn’t a bad treatment of the raid, and the period.  I especially appreciated two scenes.  John Wayne refers to his pre-war activities as “Before this present insanity” and Constance Towers gives the following impassioned speech:

Well, you Yankees and your holy principle about savin’ the Union. You’re plunderin’ pirates that’s what. Well, you think there’s no Confederate army where you’re goin’. You think our boys are asleep down here. Well, they’ll catch up to you and they’ll cut you to pieces you, you nameless, fatherless scum. I wish I could be there to see it.

Both scenes ring home with authenticity.  Not a bad effort from the usual history manglers of Hollywood.(Although there are still errors enough, including Union soldiers worrying about being captured and sent to Andersonville prior to the POW camp being constructed by the Confederates in 1864.)

 

 

 

6.  The Searchers (1956)-Set in Reconstruction Texas, John Wayne gives the performance of his career as embittered Confederate veteran Ethan Edwards and his vengeance ride against Comanches who slaughtered his family.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7.  True Grit (1969)-Set in Reconstruction Arkansas, True Grit is the only film for which Wayne won an Oscar.  An accomplished actor, Wayne throughout his career made it all look so easy that he was always badly underestimated.  In this film, a skillful mixture of comedy and drama, Wayne was able to give life to Rooster Cogburn, one of the great literary creations of the last century.

 

 

 

 

 

 

8.  Rio Grande (1950)-The final installment in Ford and Wayne’s cavalry trilogy was picked for inclusion due to the above rendition of Down by the Glenside.  The song of course would not be written until 1916, but any viewer with a drop of Irish blood will forgive the historical anachronism. Continue Reading

3

Clinton E-Mail Depositions: Bryan Pagliano

 

When it comes to the Clintons the normal rules that apply to the rest of us apparently do not apply to them.  For example, in a FOIA act lawsuit brought over the Clinton e-mails by Judicial Watch, a conservative group, Hillary Clinton’s chief of state Cheryl Mills was deposed and her deposition was videotaped.  Prior to Mills’ deposition, her lawyers requested that it not be released to the public, so it could not be used against Clinton for partisan political purposes.  In a bizarre ruling, Judge Emmet Sullivan agreed that the video of the depositions could not be released to the public, but that transcripts of the depositions could be released.  He then, sua sponte ( by the court’s unilateral action) made this decision applicable to all depositions taken in the case.

Legal suits, in most cases, are public matters.  The public normally has a right to access to the materials of such a lawsuit, absent matters that a court finds to be subject to some sort of legal privilege.  There is no legal privilege protecting materials in a lawsuit from being used for political purposes.

Fortunately Phelim McAleer, an independent filmmaker, is dramatizing the depositions.  Only the text of the depositions is used in the films.  McAleer is used to telling the stories the news media tries to ignore for political reasons.  He has just finished filming on a movie about abortionist Kermit Gosnell, who he describes as the most prolific serial killer in American history.  He is kickstarting his project to dramatize the Clinton e-mail depositons.  Go here if you wish to contribute.  I did.

The above video is the deposition of Bryan Pagliano, Clinton’s tech guru at the State Department who set up Clinton’s private e-mail server.  During his 80 minute deposition he took the Fifth Amendment 312 times. Go here to view the video of the deposition of Chery Mills. Go here to view the deposition of Stephen Mull.

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PopeWatch: One Pope

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The Pope gave another inflight interview on his flight back from Armenia, and it is a doozy.  We will be examining it piece by piece this week.  Go here to read the text of the interview.

 

Today we look at the Pope’s response to the question of whether there is two popes:

 

 

 

Elisbetta Piqué, La Nacion: Congratulations for the trip, first of all. We wanted to ask you: we know that you are the Pope and Pope Benedict, the Pope Emeritus, is also there, but lately some statements from the prefect of the pontifical household, Monsignor Georg Gaenswein, have come down, who suggested that there is a shared Petrine ministry, if I’m not mistaken, with one active Pope and one contemplative Pope. Are there two Popes?

Pope Francis: There was a time in the Church when there were three! (laughs) I didn’t read those declarations because I didn’t have time to see those things. Benedict is a Pope Emeritus, he said it clearly that February 11th when he was giving his resignation as of February 28th when he would retire and help the Church with prayer.

And, Benedict is in the monastery praying. I went to see him so many times… or by telephone. The other day he wrote me a little little letter. He still signs with his signature, wishing me well for this trip, and once, not once but many times, I’ve said that it’s a grace to have a wise grandfather at home. I’ve also told him to his face and he laughs, but for me he is the Pope Emeritus. He is the wise grandfather. He is the man that protects my shoulders and back with his prayer.

I never forget that speech he made to us cardinals on February 28th, “among you I’m sure that there is my successor. I promise obedience.” And he’s done it. But, then I’ve heard, but I don’t know if it’s true, this, eh – I underscore, I heard this, maybe they’re just rumors but they fit with his character – that some have gone there (to him) to complain because of this new Pope… and he chased them away, eh, with the best Bavarian style, educated, but he chased them away. I don’t know if it’s true. It’s welcome because this man is like that. He’s a man of his word, an upstanding, upstanding, upstanding man.

He is the Pope Emeritus. Then, I don’t know if you remember that I thanked him publicly. I don’t know when but I think it was on a flight, Benedict, for having opened the door to Popes emeriti. But, 70 years ago bishops emeriti didn’t exist. Today, we have them… but with this lengthening of life, but can you run a Church at this age, with aches and pains or not? And he, courageously, and with prayer and with science, with theology decided to open this door and I believe that this is good for the Church.

But there is one single Pope, and the other… maybe they will be like the bishops emeriti, I’m not saying many but possibly there could be two or three. They will be emeriti… They are emeriti.

The day after tomorrow, the 65th anniversary of his episcopal (Fr. Lombardi says something to the Pope), sorry, priestly ordination will be celebrated. His brother Georg will be there because they were both ordained together. There will be a little event with the dicastery heads and few people because he prefers a … he accepted, but very modestly, and also I will be there and I will say something to this great man of prayer, of courage that is the Pope Emeritus, not the second Pope, who is faithful to his word and a great man of God, is very intelligent, and for me he is the wise grandfather at home. Continue Reading

3

Fortnight For Freedom: Archbishop John Ireland on Patriotism

 

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Like most veterans of the Civil War, go here to read about his service, Archbishop John Ireland had a deep love of this nation.  The following is a speech on patriotism that he delivered to the New York Commandery of the Loyal League on April 4, 1894.  His speech is completely out of step with the popular sentiments of our day that tend to view patriotism, at best, with suspicion and that take for granted freedom hard won by the blood of prior generations.  I find myself much closer to agreement with the Archbishop than I do with the zeitgeist in which we find ourselves.

 

 

Patriotism is love of country, and loyalty to its life and weal—love tender and strong, tender as the love of son for mother, strong as the pillars of death; loyalty generous and disinterested, shrinking from no sacrifice, seeking no reward save country’s honor and country’s triumph.

  Patriotism! There is magic in the word. It is bliss to repeat it. Through ages the human race burnt the incense of admiration and reverence at the shrines of patriotism. The most beautiful pages of history are those which recount its deeds. Fireside tales, the outpourings of the memories of peoples, borrow from it their warmest glow.
Poets are sweetest when they re-echo its whisperings; orators are most potent when they thrill its chords to music.

Pagan nations were wrong when they made gods of their noblest patriots. But the error was the excess of a great truth, that heaven unites with earth in approving and blessing patriotism; that patriotism is one of earth’s highest virtues, worthy to have come down from the atmosphere of the skies.

  The exalted patriotism of the exiled Hebrew exhaled itself in a canticle of religion which Jehovah inspired, and which has been transmitted, as the inheritance of God’s people to the Christian Church:

“Upon the rivers of Babylon there we sat and wept, when we remembered Sion.—If I forget thee, 0 Jerusalem, let my right hand be forgotten. Let my tongue cleave to my jaws, if I do not remember thee, if I do not make Jerusalem the beginning of my joy.”

The human race pays homage to patriotism because of its supreme value. The value of patriotism to a people is above gold and precious stones, above commerce and industry, above citadels and warships. Patriotism is the vital spark of national honor; it is the fount of the nation’s prosperity, the shield of the nation’s safety. Take patriotism away, the nation’s soul has fled, bloom and beauty have vanished from the nation’s countenance.

The human race pays homage to patriotism because of its supreme loveliness. Patriotism goes out to what is among earth’s possessions the most precious, the first and best and dearest—country—and its effusion is the fragrant flowering of the purest and noblest sentiments of the heart.

Patriotism is innate in all men; the absence of it betokens a perversion of human nature; but it grows its full growth only where thoughts are elevated and heart-beatings are generous.

Next to God is country, and next to religion is patriotism. No praise goes beyond its deserts. It is sublime in its heroic oblation upon the field of battle. “Oh glorious is he,” exclaims in Homer the Trojan warrior, “who for his country falls!” It is sublime in the oft-repeated toil of dutiful citizenship. “Of all human doings,” writes Cicero, “none is more honorable and more estimable than to merit well of the commonwealth.”

Countries are of divine appointment. The Most High “divided the nations, separated the sons of Adam, and appointed the bounds of peoples.” The physical and moral necessities of God’s creatures are revelations of his will and laws. Man is born a social being. A condition of his existence and of his growth of mature age is the family. Nor does the family suffice to itself. A larger social organism is needed, into which families gather, so as to obtain from one another security to life and property and aid in the development of the faculties and powers with which nature has endowed the children of men.

The whole human race is too extensive and too diversified in interests to serve those ends: hence its subdivisions into countries or peoples. Countries have their providential limits—the waters of a sea, a mountain range, the lines of similarity of requirements or of methods of living. The limits widen in space according to the measure of the destinies which the great Ruler allots to peoples, and the importance of their parts in the mighty work of the cycles of years, the ever-advancing tide of humanity’s evolution.

The Lord is the God of nations because he is the God of men. No nation is born into life or vanishes back into nothingness without his bidding. I believe in the providence of God over countries as I believe in his wisdom and his love, and my patriotism to my country rises within my soul invested with the halo of my religion to my God.

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6

Bill Clinton Meets the Attorney General in Private Meeting

 

 

Well isn’t this sweet?

 

A source tipped off the local ABC affiliate about the brief meeting, which reportedly lasted about 30 minutes, at the Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport.

President Clinton reportedly learned Lynch was arriving soon and waited to meet with her.

According to ABC 15, the meeting occurred hours before the House Select Committee on Benghazi released its final report to the public.

The private meeting comes as Lynch’s Justice Department is investigating presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal, private email server during her time as Secretary of State.

“Lynch said the private meeting on the tarmac did not involve these topics,” ABC 15 reports.

“I did see President Clinton at the Phoenix airport as he was leaving and spoke to myself and my husband on the plane,” Lynch stated, confirming the meeting. “Our conversation was a great deal about grandchildren, it was primarily social about our travels and he mentioned golf he played in Phoenix.” Continue Reading

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Trump v. Clinton: Pass the Popcorn

 

 

My favorite living historian Victor Davis Hanson has some predictions about what is to come in the presidential election campaign this summer.  As I do, he understands that the normal political rules simply do not apply this year:

 


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PopeWatch: Lying About Luther

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The Pope gave another inflight interview on his flight back from Armenia, and it is a doozy.  We will be examining it piece by piece this week.  Go here to read the text of the interview.

Today we are looking at the comments of the Pope about Martin Luther:

I think that the intentions of Martin Luther were not mistaken. He was a reformer. Perhaps some methods were not correct. But in that time, if we read the story of the Pastor, a German Lutheran who then converted when he saw reality – he became Catholic – in that time, the Church was not exactly a model to imitate. There was corruption in the Church, there was worldliness, attachment to money, to power…and this he protested. Then he was intelligent and took some steps forward justifying, and because he did this. And today Lutherans and Catholics, Protestants, all of us agree on the doctrine of justification. On this point, which is very important, he did not err. He made a medicine for the Church, but then this medicine consolidated into a state of things, into a state of a discipline, into a way of believing, into a way of doing, into a liturgical way and he wasn’t alone; there was Zwingli, there was Calvin, each one of them different, and behind them were who? Principals! We must put ourselves in the story of that time. It’s a story that’s not easy to understand, not easy. Then things went forward, and today the dialogue is very good. Continue Reading

1

Benghazi Report Released

 

 

The House Select Committee on Benghazi have released their 800 page report.  Go here to links for the sections of the report.  Working in the law mines all day, I have not yet had an opportunity to read the report.  Here are the key findings from people who have read it:

  1.  The State Department under Hillary Clinton continually ignored requests for beefed up security for our diplomats in Libya.
  2.  There was no attempt, no attempt, to send any military assets to our men fighting in Benghazi.  They were left on their own.  This, at best, was criminal negligence.
  3. In the four years since the attack, only one of the hundreds of terrorists involved has been brought to justice.  Obama’s pledge that he would seek out and punish the terrorists was empty hot air.
  4. Subsequent to the attack the administration engaged in a conspiracy to mislead the American public by portraying this carefully coordinated terrorist attack as a riot over some anti-Islamic film by an obscure filmmaker.
  5. The Administration has stonewalled the investigation since it commenced.

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Man Isn’t Meat

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Kevin Williamson, who was adopted as a newborn just prior to Roe being decided in 1973, has the best commentary I have seen yet on the Supreme Court decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt striking down the key portions of the Texas abortion law:

 

There is a great deal of dishonesty in the abortion debate, which is necessary: Otherwise, we’d be obliged to think about the horror of what we perpetrate and what we endure, and that would be very difficult. Instead, we hear a great deal about extraordinarily rare catastrophes of pregnancy, which are heart-hurting but which also are, in the vast majority of cases, entirely beside the point: These cases are as a statistical matter nearly nonexistent. Even the usual hedge offered by office-seeking pro-life Republicans — the exemption for children conceived through rape or incest — approaches statistical insignificance. (Never mind the moral insignificance, as though we could murder a four-year-old, or a 38-year-old, because he was conceived via rape.) We hear dark warnings about a new Torquemada and a rising theocracy, as though an atheist such as my good friend Charles C. W. Cooke doesn’t know a baby when he sees one, as though the world were not full of agnostics and outright heathens who still have enough civilization in them to know better than to accept butchering unborn children as normal.

 

A culture that treats pregnancy as a horrible disease and classifies its children as liabilities rather than assets is a culture that is, strangely enough, childish. For most of our history, we marked adulthood from the moment of sexual maturity, i.e., from the age of fertility in women and the roughly corresponding age of men. Granted, these were young, inexperienced, ignorant adults — but we knew that they were at the age of responsibility, if only barely. We eventually learned to tell ourselves a different set of stories about that, and in anno Domini 2016 we have men in their late 20s, perhaps with a grey hair or two in their beards, perhaps with their hair showing the first signs of starting to thin, worried about being kicked off Mommy’s insurance policy. “I didn’t think I was ready,” I’ve heard any number of women say, sometimes with regret that could absolutely waylay you. No doubt there are men thinking the same thing, though you don’t hear them talk about it very often. The women always say the same thing: “They lied to us.”

Of course they lied. You cannot foist a philosophy of man-as-meat on civilized people without a great quantity of lies, some of which will be published in the form of Supreme Court opinions. That is why those who oppose the philosophy of man-as-meat are denied political recourse, and why the authorities in backward places such as Ohio have tried to quash their First Amendment rights, too. Man isn’t meat, and the political model built on insisting that man is meat cannot withstand much scrutiny or debate. It must rely on brute force, which sometimes comes disguised as a Supreme Court ruling. How many people throughout the ages have been convinced of the most indefensible nonsense by similar figures in black ceremonial robes? Think on that the next time you feel inclined to snigger at Iran’s Guardian Council. But when the hysteria subsides and the blood dries up, reality is still there, and we’re still putting millions of unborn children to death because Caitlyn doesn’t want her prom ruined and because Rachel is living out some third-rate HBO fantasy in Brooklyn, or some place she wishes were Brooklyn. Harry Blackmun didn’t imagine that, but it is his legacy — and our indictment.

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Richard Posner: Ignore the Constitution

In short, let’s not let the dead bury the living.

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A Pope For The Lavender Mafia

 

 

Dave Griffey at Daffey Thoughts ponders the Pope’s call for Catholics to apologize to gays.

 

And it is us.  Not that there is anything wrong with the occasional sermon that looks out on the congregation and proclaims ‘thou art the man!’  You can’t spend your life pointing out the window and condemning all those sinners out there.  The problem is, again, you have Pope Francis echoing that modern Catholic tendency of wanting to embrace almost everything to do with the modern, post-Christian secular progressive world view … but with Jesus.

The idea that Christians are the mischief when it comes to homosexuals is well known, and almost universally embraced, by the modern Left.  Just look at Orlando and who our popular culture ended up blaming.  And once again, Pope Francis steps in and echoes that same narrative, despite the fact that ten years after becoming Catholic, I have yet to hear a homily that even mentioned homosexuality.  He doesn’t seem to differentiate.  He simply says we Catholics must apologize.

True, he doesn’t condone homosexuality.  He already has made it clear that technically the Church still teaches that homosexuality is at least not compatible with God’s vision for marriage.  But apart from that, his take on the subject and the take I hear from Dr. Drew are about the same.  It’s certainly nothing I won’t hear on MSNBC, CNN, or the Huffington Post; several of which were cheering and celebrating the Pope’s words this morning.  I also understand that he included other groups in there as well.  But let’s face it, what will the modern world focus on, thanks to his choice of words? 

I realize that Jesus reached out to prostitutes and sinners.  I realize that he went after the Pharisees and Scribes.  I get that.  I understand that Christians are never perfect and can do with the occasional kick in the pants.  But Pope Francis is not Jesus.  The Catholic Church is not the Sanhedrin and Catholics are not just a bunch of Scribes and Pharisees.  And the forces arrayed against the Church today, using all powers and abilities to assault the Church, lead astray its followers, and assail the fundamental truths of the Gospel, are not the woman caught in adultery.  

If Jesus praised the Roman Centurion’s faith, at no point did he stand alongside the Roman legions, look out among his imperfect disciples, and say to the Romans, “Let’s get’em!”  Perhaps the reason was that to do so might have given the Romans a flawed understanding of the Kingdom.  It might have presented an idea that, as long as I’m not like those sinful Jew disciples over there, I must be pretty awesome where I stand, in the pagan empire, venerating Caesar, indulging in the Roman lust for conquest.  I don’t know.  Just speculation on my part.  I simply know there’s something off kilter about Pope Francis’ continued railing against the Church in a manner almost in lockstep with perhaps the greatest heresy to challenge the Faith since Arianism, even if technically there’s nothing wrong with what he’s saying.

As an aside.  My boys asked, when they heard this, if Pope Francis was calling on Gays to forgive Catholics.  I don’t know.  I’ve not heard.  Perhaps he has.  If so, the press hasn’t reported it.  If not, then I wonder why.  

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PopeWatch: Yet Another In Flight Interview

 

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The Pope gave another inflight interview on his flight back from Armenia, and it is a doozy.  We will be examining it piece by piece this week.  Go here to read the text of the interview.  First up apologizing to gays:

Cindy Wooden, CNS: Holiness, within the past few days Cardinal Marx, the German, speaking at a large conference in Dublin which is very important on the Church in the modern world, said that the Catholic Church must ask forgiveness to the gay community for having marginalized these people. In the days following the shooting in Orlando, many have said that the Christian community had something to do with this hate toward these people. What do you think?

Pope Francis: I will repeat what I said on my first trip. I repeat what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says: that they must not be discriminated against, that they must be respected and accompanied pastorally. One can condemn, but not for theological reasons, but for reasons of political behavior…Certain manifestations are a bit too offensive for others, no? … But these are things that have nothing to do with the problem. The problem is a person that has a condition, that has good will and who seeks God, who are we to judge? And we must accompany them well…this is what the catechism says, a clear catechism. Then there are traditions in some countries, in some cultures that have a different mentality on this problem. I think that the Church must not only ask forgiveness – like that “Marxist Cardinal” said (laughs) – must not only ask forgiveness to the gay person who is offended. But she must ask forgiveness to the poor too, to women who are exploited, to children who are exploited for labor. She must ask forgiveness for having blessed so many weapons. Continue Reading

Fortnight For Freedom: Abraham Lincoln on the Supreme Court

 

 

 

 

 

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(This is a repeat from last year.  In light of the Supreme Court’s decision yesterday, go here to read about it, in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt striking down two key sections in the Texas abortion law, it seemed more relevant than ever.  The Supreme Court is growing ever more high handed in its rulings, and what it is engaged in when it comes to favored made up court created rights like “abortion” and “gay marriage” has nothing to do with the law or the constitution.  In his blistering dissent in Hellerstedt, Justice Clarence Thomas nailed it:


 

Some quotes from Abraham Lincoln in how to react to illegitimate Supreme Court decisions.  An illegitimate decision is one in which the Court arrogates to itself the power of a legislature under the mendacious guise of merely interpreting the Constitution:

1.  I do not forget the position assumed by some, that constitutional questions are to be decided by the Supreme Court; nor do I deny that such decisions must be binding in any case, upon the parties to a suit; as to the object of that suit, while they are also entitled to very high respect and consideration in all parallel cases by all other departments of the government.

2.  Judicial decisions have two uses-first, to absolutely determine the case decided, and secondly, to indicate to the public how other similar cases will be decided when they arise. For the latter use, they are called “precedents” and “authorities.”

3.  We think its (the Supreme Court) decisions on Constitutional questions, when fully settled, should control, not only the particular cases decided, but the general policy of the country, subject to be disturbed only by amendments of the Constitution as provided in that instrument itself. More than this would be revolution.

4.  At the same time, the candid citizen must confess that if the policy of the government upon vital questions, affecting the whole people, is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court, the instant they are made, in ordinary litigation between parties, in personal actions, the people will have ceased to be their own rulers, having to that extent practically resigned their government into the hands of that eminent tribunal.

5.  Judicial decisions are of greater or less authority as precedents, according to circumstances. That this should be so, accords both with common sense, and the customary understanding of the legal profession. Continue Reading

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Supreme Court Strikes Down Key Provisions of Texas Abortion Law

 

 

The Supreme Court remains guardians  of the right of women to slay their offspring:

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 27, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The Supreme Court has reversed a landmark Texas pro-life law requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges and abortion facilities to meet more stringent health standards.

An eight-justice Supreme Court has reversed the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt (formerly Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole), 5-3.

The case was brought by the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of independent abortion facilities in Texas.

The case involves Texas’ H.B. 2, a pro-life law that, aside from restricting abortion to the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, required abortionists to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their offices and abortion facilities to meet the same health standards as other ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs).

Those regulations caused the number of abortion facilities to drop from 41 to eight according to Planned Parenthood, closing 13 abortion facilities in one day.

The decision, written by Justice Stephen Breyer, says that both requirement place a substantial burden on women’s right to exercise their reproductive rights, including the right to obtain an abortion. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote her own concurring opinion, writing that “complications from an abortion are both rare and rarely dangerous.” Continue Reading

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Twit

 

 

Christopher Johnson at Midwest Conservative Journal brings us this sad Brexit tale:

 

Tom Whyman, a lecturer in philosophy at the University of Essex, explains the British departure from the European Union in The New York Times.  It was all those Neanderthals with whom he’s forced to live:

Alresford is my personal hell.

We are not used to thinking that a place like this — a pleasant town with a pretty center — might actually be hell. There is almost no poverty and only the occasional act of violence. There are good schools, a range of shops, a heritage railway. In fact, it’s somewhere that a lot of people, apparently, actively want to live: Houses in the center easily sell for upward of a million pounds. (What they will cost once the vote to leave the European Union makes the economy crater remains to be seen.)

But dig below the surface, and you will find the demons crawling. You can see them in the looks that residents give you when they pass; sneering snobs glaring down their noses with entitlement; small-minded townies, bullying you with eyes that you recognize from the primary school lunchroom; the old people, 80 and above, wearing blank stares. You can hear it in their bothered tutting at the bus stop (especially if they ever hear a visitor mispronouncing the name of the town), the shots that constantly ring out from across the countryside as they set about murdering as many of the local pheasants as they can.

Since my late teens, every effort I have ever exerted has been with the intention of escaping Alresford. And yet, I am an early-career academic and so I am forced to move back, every summer, to live with my parents because I cannot afford to pay rent elsewhere after my temporary teaching contract ends. Then, sometimes, I think: What if I’m actually secretly comfortable here? What if I have chosen the security of death in Alresford over the risks of life elsewhere? What if I am in fact fully in the clutches of Alresfordism?

Even if I’d managed to cast my vote, it would have been pointless. The Remain campaign didn’t just lose by my vote, we lost by more than a million. Britons wanted to make our world smaller. They wanted to make it more like Alresford. As far as I can tell, they are going to get exactly what they wanted.

All I can do is look out at the nature from the window of my room in Alresford. I’m from here, so I can’t be sure whether or not this is just another type of nihilism, but I think: Well, if all this nature is bigger than us, then I want it be get even bigger. I want it to become so big that it will consume all of our smallnesses, invalidate them, smother them out. Not just Alresford. I want a demented, throbbing, fecund nature to overrun this whole country, to overturn the wretched consequences of the laws that we have, in our stupidity, set for ourselves.

And there it is.  People who love their country, despite its faults and sins, and respect and revere its national traditions are xenophobic, exclusionary racists.

Or whatever the next invented leftist epithet turns out to be. Continue Reading

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PopeWatch: Prophecy of Malachy

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Well, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, the personal secretary of the Pope Emeritus, is either the most guileless cleric alive, or he knows how to set bonfires:

During the interview, Paul Badde referenced an old alleged prophecy that has recently gained traction in some clerical discussions: The “Prophesy of the Popes.” Also known as the “Prophesy of Malachy,” the prediction is attributed to Saint Philipp Neri – according to which, Pope Francis may be considered to be the last pope.

“Indeed, when looking at the prophecy, and considering how there was always a sound reference to popes mentioned in its history – that gives me the shivers,” Archbishop Gänswein admitted.

Although Catholics aren’t required to accept the prophecy, “speaking from historical experience, one has to say: Yes, it is a wake-up call.” Continue Reading

Fortnight For Freedom: Benjamin Franklin

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During the Constitutional Convention, on June 28, 1787, Benjamin Franklin, dismayed by the lack of progress since the convention convened on May 25, 1787, and alarmed at the acrimony of the debates, rose and delivered a memorable address:

 

Mr. President

The small progress we have made after 4 or five weeks close attendance & continual reasonings with each other,”our different sentiments on almost every question, several of the last producing as many noes and ays, is methinks a melancholy proof of the imperfection of the Human Understanding. We indeed seem to feel our own want of political wisdom, some we have been running about in search of it. We have gone back to ancient history for models of Government, and examined the different forms of those Republics which having been formed with the seeds of their own dissolution now no longer exist. And we have viewed Modern States all round Europe, but find none of their Constitutions suitable to our circumstances.

In this situation of this Assembly, groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the Contest with G. Britain, when we were sensible of danger we had daily prayer in this room for the divine protection. ”Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a Superintending providence in our favor. To that kind providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth- that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that “except the Lord build the House they labour in vain that build it.” I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing Governments by Human Wisdom and leave it to chance, war and conquest.

I therefore beg leave to move, that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the Clergy of the City be requested to officiate in that service. Continue Reading

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Pope Liberator

“My Communist colleagues decided that the Bishops ahead of Karol Wojtyla on the list of candidates were not good for the state, so they pushed Karol Wojtyla. The Holy Spirit works in mysterious ways.”

General Wojciech Witold Jaruzelski, last ruler of Communist Poland

 

 

 

In the era of Pope Francis, it is easy to become dispirited as the Church is misled by a man who often gives new depth to the word incoherent.  However, I firmly believe that Pope Francis and all his works are a mere blip in the history of the Church.  Future historians will recognize that the most important pope of this era was Saint John Paul II.  A new look at his role in the unraveling of European Communism is above.  It will be shown on various PBS stations in the weeks to come.  Go here to purchase it.

 

When we badly needed a great Pope, God granted us one.  Was he perfect?  No.  I regard his effort to do away with the death penalty as wrong-headed.  He was much too friendly with Islam.  His flirting with pacifism in the latter portion of his papacy was a great mistake.  However, he was the greatest Pope of my lifetime, a charismatic and strong champion of Christ.

(I have posted this list of his accomplishments before, but I think they need to be remembered as the years roll by.)

Here is a list of just a few of his accomplishments, although it will take centuries for historians to fully assess his almost 27 year-long papacy, but here are some of the events that I think they will note.

1.  He largely stopped the post Vatican II chaos-After Vatican II the impulse to transform the Church into an institution fully reflecting the current views of cultural elites in the West wreaked much havoc.  Paul VI, a good and holy man, drew a line in the sand with Humanae Vitae, but he lacked the stomach and the will to fight it out with those who would have transformed the Catholic Church into what the Anglican Church is now:  a dying institution, adrift from any allegiance to traditional Christianity, and fully in accord with the mores and beliefs of the secular elite of the West.  Many were rubbing their hands with glee after the death of Pope Paul, in confident assurance that a new liberal pope would complete the transformation of the Church into something akin to Unitarianism with fancy dress.  Instead they got John Paul II, a Polish fighter who had stood toe to toe with the atheist rulers of Poland and was not the least frightened or impressed by the forces that sought to neuter Christ’s Church.  The chaos and low morale of the Church could not be completely reversed in one papacy, but John Paul II began the process and made a huge amount of progress.

2.  Presiding at the Funeral of Communism-During World War II, both the Nazis and the Communists slaughtered a huge number of Polish priests, viewing them as deadly enemies.  How very right they were!  The Polish Church, in the midst of one of the worst persecutions sustained by the Catholic Church in the last century, never lost faith that the Church and Poland would both ultimately outlast the totalitarian regimes and emerge triumphant.  John Paul II was the embodiment of this robust confidence that Communism, like Nazism, was merely a brief historical aberration that could and would be defeated.  The rise of Solidarity was completely predictable to him, and his embrace of it made a crackdown by the Polish Communist regime, and its Kremlin puppet masters, impossible.  John Paul II and Ronald Reagan in the Eighties brought about the largely peaceful collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe and laid the groundwork for its collapse in the former Soviet Union.  The heirs of Joseph Stalin learned to their sorrow that the type of power wielded by a skillful and determined pope cannot be counted in divisions but rather in human hearts.

3.  Culture of Life-In the teeth of an overwhelming movement among Western elites to jettison the belief that human life is sacred, John Paul II rededicated the Church to that proposition and waged a long uphill struggle throughout his papacy against abortion and euthanasia.  Like Moses, John Paul II did not live to see the victory in this fight, but ultimately we will win, and his brave stand at a crucial moment in history will be one of the reasons why.

4.  Pope of the people-With modern means of transportation, a vigorous Pope can treat the whole world as his diocese by globe-trotting and that is precisely what John Paul II did.  In the Nineteenth Century, modern means of communication, the telegraph, photography and newspapers, were skillfully used by Pius IX to forge a personal contact between the Pope and average Catholics.  Pope John Paul II took this a step farther by bringing the Pope to the average Catholic.  A masterful stroke and superbly executed. Continue Reading

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Orwellian Obama and the Jesuit

 

 

One of the more bleakly humorous aspects of this administration is just how Orwellian it is.  The most recent demonstration of this is the appointment of Jesuit Father Thomas Reese to head the US Commission on International Religious Freedom.  Obama appointed him as a member of the Commission two years ago.

 

Reese resigned as editor of the Jesuit rag America in 2005.  At the time he was under fire from the Vatican due to his heterodox opinions.  He holds the usual leftist political positions of most modern Jesuit, which explains his appointment.  What sort of head will he make of the Commission?  A bad one judging from this incident:

 

After Saudi Arabia sentenced blogger Raif Badawi to public flogging, seven of the nine members of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) stepped forward to ask the Saudis to commute his sentence or, if not, to whip them instead.

The only two members of the Commission who refused to sign the letter were James Zogby, the founder and president of the Arab American Institute, and Jesuit Father Thomas Reese of the National Catholic Reporter. Zogby’s abstention is understandable. As the author of Arab Voices, the co-founder of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, and an advocate of Saudi interests, it isn’t hard to guess where his allegiance lies. With dozens of Jesuit martyrs in his order’s history, however, and some of these to radical Islam, Reese’s case is more complex.
Reese, a vocal critic of the 1992 Catechism of the Catholic Church, is the former editor of the Jesuit Magazine America, who was pressured to step down by the Vatican in 2005 for misrepresenting Catholic teaching on a number of issues, including same-sex marriage, homosexual priests, priestly celibacy, women’s ordination and offering Holy Communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians.

 

Go here to read the rest.  Reese praised the administration in regard to the Contraceptive Mandate:

 

“HHS and the Administration have gone out of their way to resolve the concerns of religious institutions that object to covering contraceptives in their insurance programs. They have found creative ways to provide contraceptives to the employees of religious colleges and hospitals without the involvement of these institutions.”

In the hands of Father Reese, religious liberty is as safe and secure as would be the chastity of a maiden spending an evening with Bill Clinton at the No-Tell Motel.  As always in regard to this administration, I am reminded of this historical vignette:

Continue Reading

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Fortnight For Freedom: Great God Our King

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America has  always been my  favorite patriotic song.  Written by a Baptist minister, Samuel Francis, and set to the tune, ironically, of God Save the Queen, the song was first performed on July 4, 1831 at Park Street Church in Boston.  Near the end of his life, Francis was proposed by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr, for an honorary degree from Harvard.  Harvard turned this proposal down on the grounds that Smith had not written the tune.  The reply of Holmes was memorable and prophetic:  His song will be sung centuries from now, when most of us and our pipings are forgotten.

 

 

The rendition above is by Marian Anderson, perhaps the most gifted songstress of her generation.  A devout Christian, this granddaughter of slaves was denied the opportunity by the Daughters of the American Revolution to sing at Constitution Hall in 1939.  In 1939 the District of Columbia was controlled by committees of Congress.  Democrat segregationists rigidly enforced rules of segregation in the District.  Blacks were rightly upset that during a performance by Miss Anderson, if it had been held at Constitution Hall, they would have been required to sit in the back of the hall.  The District of Columbia Board of Education, controlled by Democrats, declined to allow Marian Anderson to perform in the auditorium of a white school.  To her credit, Eleanor Roosevelt and her husband arranged for Anderson to give her unforgettable performance at the Lincoln Memorial on April 9, 1939, Easter Sunday.

During the war years, Miss Anderson spent a large part of her time entertaining troops.  In 1943, at the invitation of the Daughters of the American Revolution, she sang before an integrated audience for a Red Cross benefit.  The always gracious Miss Anderson remembered the event:  When I finally walked onto the stage of Constitution Hall, I felt no different than I had in other halls. There was no sense of triumph. I felt that it was a beautiful concert hall and I was very happy to sing there.” Continue Reading

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Brexit the Movie

 

A movie made by the now victorious Brexit proponents in Britain.  It is interesting how largely uniform the elite reaction around the world has been to Brexit:  dismayed disbelief that such a thing could have come to pass.  A transnational elite has been developing for the last fifty years that have little loyalty to their purported nations.  Their loyalty is to one another and to producing a world where people like them pull the strings and the rest of us dance to their tunes.  To say that such an arrangement is anti-democratic is to understate the case.  They envision a world where concepts like democracy and national sovereignty have no meaning.  Anything that advances their agenda of ever increasing centralization and control is good.  Thus the hysteria over global warming is good because it fosters transnational authorities and the removal of power from elected officials in nations to faceless international bureaucrats, subject to no laws except the edicts regulations they wish to impose.

The ever prescient CS Lewis saw this coming when he explained his vision of Hell:

“I live in the Managerial Age, in a world of “Admin.” The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid “dens of crime” that Dickens loved to paint. It is not done even in concentration camps and labour camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voices. Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the office of a thoroughly nasty business concern.”

As we approach July 4, I dedicate myself to fighting against this ominous trend in the world, that is antithetical to everything that the Founding Fathers stood for and fought for.  Brexit was a victory in a war that most of us did not realize was going on.  We do now.

 

PopeWatch: Pope Eternal

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

 

Pope Francis announced Sunday that he has no plans to retire from his position as the leader of the Catholic Church, or to die.

The pontiff responded to a question from a young man at the Vatican, assuring Catholics and supporters that the thought of retirement or death has not even occurred to him.

“I never thought of quitting being pope, or of leaving because of the many responsibilities,” Pope Francis told reporters. “And to those who earnestly pray that God calls me home soon, I say, neither have I thought of dying, not only because of the many responsibilities, but, more importantly, to annoy you.”

The Pontiff joked in 2014 that his papacy would only last two or three more years until he goes “off to the Father’s house,” but later told the press he was only joking, and that he planned to remain pope for the next two to three centuries.

 

Pope Francis went on to add that, although he had no intentions of “being dead” anytime in the foreseeable future, he planned to use the plenty of time he had left on this earth excommunicating one randomly selected person a day until he finally got his lifelong wish of seeing flying cars and hover boards “like you see in the movies” on the streets.

He also told the press that he planned to use some of the abundant amount of time he had left accomplishing some of the things on his bucket list.

“I would like to end world hunger, of course, but mainly, I will be working on designing a Hover Pope Mobile so that once the whole flying car thing gets going, I won’t have to wait long. They promised us that there would be flying cars in the year 2000, but they are still not here. What is the hold up? I also plan on setting a record in the Guinness Book of World Records for longest stretch of ad-lib monologue with reporters. I will be shooting for thirty-six straight hours of unscripted and uninterrupted verbal bedlam. I have been practicing for this for some time, and I’m confident I can do it.”

Continue Reading

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Fortnight For Freedom: Cynical About Cynicism

 

 

 

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My favorite scene from Frank Capra’s classic Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.  It is easy to give way to weary cynicism when one contemplates all the evil in the world.  However, history is replete with examples of men and women who fought the good fight and won.  Even those who fought and were defeated ennobled all of us by their stand.  Let us ever be cynical about cynicism and let us ever be ready to pick up the gauntlet, no matter the odds, so that, in the ringing phrase of Lincoln, truth, and justice, and mercy, and all the humane and Christian virtues might not be extinguished from the land.

Laura Secord

 

Completely unknown to the public at large in the US, Laura Secord, ironically a daughter of a man who fought on the patriot side in the Revolution, is a national heroine in Canada. In 1813 during the War of 1812, American troops were quartered in Secord’s home.  Learning of a plan to attack the British installation at Beaver Dams, she walked from Queenstown twenty miles to warn the British.

Forewarned, the British with 400 Indians and 50 regulars surrounded the American force of some 600 regulars as it advanced on Beavers Dam on June 24, 1813.  After some fighting the British commander, Lieutenant James FitzGibbon,  convinced the American commander, Colonel Charles Boerstler, that he was vastly outnumbered and that unless he immediately surrendered, FitzGibbon would not be able to control the Indians.  The gullible Boerstler surrendered.

Secord’s role in all this remained virtually unknown until she sought a pension for her poverty stricken family after the War.  The Canadian public did not pay much attention until the visiting Prince of Wales in 1860 heard of her long ago heroics, and sent the 85 year old Secord one hundred pounds.

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Bear Growls: Game of Popes

 

OK, this is simply too brilliant.  From our bruin friend at Saint Corbinian’s Bear:

 

King John Paul Arryn, Second of His Name
The death of the Mad King occurred some time after the Council, and a war for the possession of the Iron Throne ensued. The fearless and noble Benedict Stark led a large army from the far north, and fought House Lannister in the final battle for King’s Landing. The Lannisters were defeated by the unexpected arrival of a large cavalry force led by John Paul Arryn, Lord of the Vale, a province to the east.

The victors agreed upon the dashing and proven John Paul Arryn, Second of His Name, as King of Westeros. Benedict Stark was named Hand of the King. As Hand, Benedict had authority second only to the King. Benedict Stark had sided with the Sparrow faction at the Great Council, but repented of his error after The Red Wedding and following abuses.

During Benedict’s long term as Hand, he discovered much corruption in the capital. He carefully compiled evidence of grave misconduct by certain Lords of Westeros and their confederates, especially the powerful but sinister Lannisters. The Sparrows were up to their necks in it. King John Paul, however, believed that moving against the corruption would be a distraction from his chief business, which was to improve the political landscape, roll back the influence of the Sparrows, and restore reason to the maesters.

King Benedict Stark, First of His Name

King John Paul had a long and popular reign. It is said that he ruled Westeros without a single sword being drawn from its sheath. But some thought he did not do enough to correct the Great Council and suppress the Sparrows. Upon his death, his faithful Hand, Benedict Stark, Lord of Winterfell, was named king by acclamation, John Paul leaving no heir.

King Benedict, unlike King John Paul, was not universally loved. The Sparrows despised him, especially his “reform of the reform,” which included an option for the ancient rite of the Seven. He was mocked by many, and his efforts were largely ineffectual where they were not simply blocked outright. He never felt he had the strength to go after the corruption he had uncovered as a younger man, while King John Paul’s Hand.

When he grew very old, he was given an ultimatum by the Lannisters. He would abdicate the Iron Throne, while retaining some ambiguous royal prerogatives as “King Emeritus.” From Dorn, the uttermost south, an unknown Lannister would be installed upon the Iron Throne before anyone could do anything about it. [Dorn? You don’t remember Dorn? Neither does anyone else.]

King Francis Lannister, First of His Name

The smallfolk of King’s Landing literally woke up one day to find that Benedict Stark was no longer king, and their new king was Francis Lannister, First of His Name. He was young, and had the blond Lannister hair, just like his aunt Cersei and uncle Jaime, as well as a streak of sadism. He named Lord Kasper Frey as his Hand. Some, those not familiar with the rules of the Game of Popes, were shocked, given Frey’s connection with the Red Wedding. Others were simply confirmed in their suspicions: Francis Lannister and the Sparrows had not just blown in through the window together by chance.

Initially, nearly everyone was charmed by King Francis’ simplicity. It was said he slept naked in a pile of dung spread over iron spikes beneath the stars, no matter the season. He ate nothing but sawdust wetted with vegetable broth, while servants beat him with canes. These, at any rate, were such stories as he enjoyed hearing about himself. He did not wear shoes, famously saying, “carnival is over,” and so was rumored to be a Sparrow. Continue Reading

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PopeWatch: Que?

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Dave Griffey at Daffey Thoughts takes on the arduous task of attempting to make sense of the Pope’s recent remarks on marriage:

I’m somewhat confused.  People who hate Pope Francis, like people who all but worship the man even if they deny it, will be of no value.  Much of what he says is rooted in his own experiences in Latin America.  As such, they don’t apply here in my cultural context.  Some of what he seems to be saying is that people are living  in what used to be called sin, not because they are living in sin, but because they are ignorant of the Sacrament of Marriage.  As such, he continues, people live in all ways outside of the Church’s understanding of a Sacramental Marriage even if they think they aren’t.  I’ll leave others to hammer out the implication of most marriages being invalid.

Here’s the part that caught my eye, and it could be a matter of translation, but he seems to be saying something about cohabitation and civil marriages that I can’t grasp.  According to the article, he first says:

“They prefer to cohabitate, and this is a challenge, a task.  Not to ask ‘why don’t you marry?’  No, to accompany, to wait, and to help them to mature, help fidelity to mature.”

If they weren’t confused about the Sacrament of Marriage before that sentence, they could be forgiven for being confused now.  I know I am.  Is he saying that it doesn’t matter if they are married as long as we foster fidelity?  I’ll assume he means that we need to help them to mature, and their fidelity to mature, meaning that it finally turns into marriage of a Sacramental nature.

He then goes on:

He said that in Argentina’s northeast countryside, couples have a child and live together. They have a civil wedding when the child goes to school, and when they become grandparents they “get married religiously.”  

OK, this is paraphrasing what Pope Francis says.  Note the only quotes are at the end.  But again, it is a strong reference steeped heavily in his own cultural context.  It doesn’t really apply to the US, or from what I know, most European Catholic countries, though I could be wrong about the latter.  But this section is important, because it sets up the most confusing part of the article:

“It’s a superstition, because marriage frightens the husband.  It’s a superstition we have to overcome,” the Pope said.  “I’ve seen a lot of fidelity in these cohabitation, and I am sure that this is a real marriage, they have the grace of a real marriage because of their fidelity, but there are local superstitions, etc.” 

OK.  First, note this is now a quote.  Translated to be sure, but quote nonetheless.  I have no clue what to do with the part about the it being a superstition because of the husband’s fear, so we’ll move on to the second part.  There are different ways to read this, if you get right down to it.  And in some ways, that is the biggest problem with Pope Francis.  While sometimes he leaves no room for debate, at other times we’re left trying to scramble for an authoritative interpretation of what he is talking about. Continue Reading

Fortnight For Freedom: National Suicide

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Prophetic words of warning for us today from a young Mr. Lincoln:

 

We find ourselves in the peaceful possession, of the fairest portion of the earth, as regards extent of territory, fertility of soil, and salubrity of climate. We find ourselves under the government of a system of political institutions, conducing more essentially to the ends of civil and religious liberty, than any of which the history of former times tells us. We, when mounting the stage of existence, found ourselves the legal inheritors of these fundamental blessings. We toiled not in the acquirement or establishment of them–they are a legacy bequeathed us, by a once hardy, brave, and patriotic, but now lamented and departed race of ancestors. Their’s was the task (and nobly they performed it) to possess themselves, and through themselves, us, of this goodly land; and to uprear upon its hills and its valleys, a political edifice of liberty and equal rights; ’tis ours only, to transmit these, the former, unprofaned by the foot of an invader; the latter, undecayed by the lapse of time and untorn by usurpation, to the latest generation that fate shall permit the world to know. This task of gratitude to our fathers, justice to ourselves, duty to posterity, and love for our species in general, all imperatively require us faithfully to perform.

How then shall we perform it?–At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it?– Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never!–All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Buonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years.

At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.

Abraham Lincoln, January 27, 1838

 

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Brexit Wins!

 

‘We have our own dream and our own task. We are with Europe, but not of it. We are linked, but not comprised. We are interested and associated, but not absorbed.’

Winston Churchill, May 9, 1938

 

 

 

 

Well, this will send shock waves around the globe.  The voters of Great Britain have voted narrowly to leave the European Union:

 

Britain has voted to leave the European Union, with the Leave campaign securing around 51.8 per cent of the vote.

David Cameron, who will address the nation shortly, is now facing calls to resign as Prime Minister.

While England voted overwhelmingly for Brexit, Scotland and Northern Ireland backed Remain. Statements are expected to be made by Sinn Fein and the SNP later today calling for a breakaway from the Union. London backed Remain but the turnout was lower than expected because of bad weather.

The pound crashed to the lowest level since 1985 as sterling fell below $1.35. Complacency about a Brexit outcome will come clear this morning, as out of hours trading suggests that the FTSE 100 will drop by 8.8pc, or by some 560 points. The fall would be the third worst in history if stocks ended the day down as sharply.

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PopeWatch: Electing a New Laity

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Canon Lawyer Edward Peters at his blog In The Light of the Law explains how Pope Francis views marriage:

 

And what direction is that?

This one: Pope Francis really—and I think, sincerely—believes:

(A) most marriages (at least, most Christian marriages) really aren’t, deep-down, marriages (and so the annulment process has to be sped up to dispatch of what are, after all, probably null marriages anyway, and the consequences of post-divorce marriages need to be softened because most people in those second marriages probably weren’t in true marriages the first time, and so on); and,

(B) lots of things that aren’t marriages (like cohabitation and civil-only weddings between Catholics) really are, deep-down, marriages (so we need to affirm them and assure them that they enjoy the same graces as married people, and so on).

That this is pope’s view can, I suggest, be directly determined from his own words (expunged and otherwise) and, if I am right, would explain many things, from his favoring Cdl. Kasper and side-lining Cdl. Burke, rolling out several problematic tribunal “reforms” in Mitis Iudex, and leaving ambiguous several crucial points that sorely needed clarity in Amoris laetitia. The irreducibly objective, ‘either/or’, nature of marriage would not sit well with someone who prefers subjective, flexible approaches that allow for ‘this and that’ responses, but, whatever problems the principle of non-contradiction poses here, a conviction that most marriages are not marriage but lots of non-marriages are marriage, would explain a lot. Continue Reading

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Fortnight For Freedom: Major Andrew McClary

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I occasionally encounter people who claim that freedom is an abstraction, and that they would never die for an abstraction.  That has never been the case in my family.  McClareys have fought in all the nation’s wars down to the present, and we have attempted to remember them beginning with the first, Andrew McClary, a man who has fascinated me since my father told me about him so long ago.

He is memorialized in the  above section of a painting  by John Trumbull and depicting, with artistic license, “The Death of General John Warren.”  The Major is shown raising his musket to brain a British soldier attempting to bayonet the dying Warren, a warlike action quite in character for him, and one which warms the cockles of my heart.  My wife has noted over the years how much I resemble Major Andrew, and it is intriguing how his facial features have been passed down through the generations of my family.

Born  in 1730 in Ireland, at an early age he emigrated to New Hampshire with his family.  He grew to six feet, a giant of a man for his time, jovial in disposition but always ready to fight if need be to defend his rights or the rights of those he loved.    The colonies were fortunate that quite a few men, like George Washington, who had served in the French and Indian War, were still in the prime of life and constituted a potential officer corps with, in many cases, combat experience, at the time when the Revolution began.  Major Andrew McClary was typical of these men.  After serving as an officer in Rogers’ Rangers during the French and Indian War, and singlehandedly throwing six British officers out of a tavern window during a loud “discussion” on a memorable evening, he had settled down as a farmer outside of Epsom, serving as a selectman of that town,  a member of the New Hampshire legislature, and, always, as an officer of the New Hampshire militia.  When news of Lexington and Concord reached him, he abandoned his plow, told his young family he was off to fight the British, and immediately marched off with a company of 80 militiamen to the siege lines around Boston. There he met up with his old friend from Rogers’ Rangers Colonel John Stark, who made McClary a major in his regiment of New Hampshire militia.

At the battle of Bunker Hill, Major McClary led the regiment onto Breed’s Hill, where the battle was fought on June 17, 1775.  The advance of the regiment was momentarily blocked by a gaggle of Massachusetts militia standing about on the road doing nothing.  That obstruction was removed when McClary yelled out that New Hampshire would like to borrow the road, if Massachusetts was not using it. Continue Reading

8

Donald Trump: The Speech

 

If Donald Trump becomes President of these United States, the speech he gave yesterday, flaying Hillary Clinton, I predict will be remembered as The Speech, much as Ronald Reagan’s speech for Barry Goldwater in 1964, which launched Reagan’s political career, is recalled in Reagan lore as The Speech.  We saw a new Trump yesterday, one on message, disciplined, using a teleprompter and oh so effective as he depicted Hillary Clinton as the transparent crook she truly is, and as the personification of the status quo.  This is not partisan analysis.  Here is a quote from Michele Goldberg at uber liberal Slate:

 

Donald Trump’s Wednesday morning speech about Hillary Clinton’s record is probably the most unnervingly effective one he has ever given. In a momentary display of discipline, he read from a teleprompter with virtually no ad-libbing, avoiding digs at Bill Clinton’s infidelity or conspiracy theories about Vince Foster’s suicide. Standing in a low-ceilinged conference room bedecked with square chandeliers in the Trump SoHo, a lawsuit-plagued hotel and condo development, Trump spoke for 40 minutes without saying anything overtly sexist. Instead, he aimed straight at Clinton’s most-serious weaknesses, describing her as a venal tool of the establishment. “Hillary Clinton gave China millions of our best jobs and effectively let China completely rebuild itself,” he said. “In return, Hillary Clinton got rich!” He added, “She gets rich making you poor,” and called her possibly “the most corrupt person ever to seek the presidency.” Continue Reading

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Heard About the Attempt to Assassinate Trump?

If a similar attempt had been made to assassinate Hillary Clinton, you would be hearing about little else:

 

Did the left-wing “climate of hate,” which has been plaguing Donald Trump and his supporters for many months, incite an autistic British man to take extreme measures to “stop” him?  If Sarah Palin and the tea party could be blamed for the assassination attempt on Gabrielle Giffords in 2011, then it’s fair to question if Donald Trump’s critics can be blamed for the attempt on his life.

A few days ago, 20-year-old Michael Steven Sandford attempted to kill the Republican presumptive nominee at a rally at the Treasure Island Casino. Sandford tried to take a gun from a Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officer in order to assassinate Trump but failed in his attempt, according to court documents filed in U.S. District Court in Nevada.

The British national, who was living in the United States illegally on an expired visa, now faces up to ten years in prison after apparently making a confession to a Secret Service agent. Media coverage of what should be a major story has been somewhat less than wall-to-wall. Would the media be this curiously disinterested if the assassination attempt had been on Hillary Clinton? Continue Reading

8

PopeWatch: Crisis of Faith

 

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Well, this explains a lot:

 

Pope Francis admits he often faces crises of faith

Pope Francis has admitted he often faces crises of faith, in which he has ”questioned Jesus and even doubted”.

In an impromptu question and answer session with an audience of students in Rome on Saturday, widely reported on Catholic news sites in Europe, the Pope said he often wondered: “Is this really the truth? Is it a dream?’’

This happened, he said, when he was “a boy, a seminarian, a religious, a priest, a bishop and even now (as Pope)’’. Christians had had not experienced a crisis of faith he said, were “missing something”.

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4

Fortnight For Freedom: Saint Thomas More and Saint John Fisher

 

A spot of blood and grease on the pages of English history.

Charles Dickens, referring to King Henry VIII

For English speaking Catholics, June 22 is a bright day on the calendar of the Saints.  It is appropriate that in the northern hemisphere it is also one of the longest days, when it is not the longest day, of the year, since no amount of sunshine is too much to celebrate the merits of Saint Thomas More and Saint John Fisher.  On this day we remember the two saints who stood against King Henry VIII, for the great principal that the State must never be allowed to control the Church.  Much that we Americans celebrate as freedom was born out of Church-State struggles down through the ages.  Sometimes those who stood against the State fell in the struggle, but the concept that the State is not absolute, that there are limits to its authority, is one of the great gifts of the Catholic Middle Ages to all of mankind.  It is only in modern times, since 1500, that the heresy that the State may exercise absolute authority has been a constant source of misery and strife in the history of the West.

When he ascended to the throne of England Henry VIII was popularly known as the Golden Hope of England.  His father Henry VII had never been loved by the people of England:  a miser and a distinctly unheroic figure no matter what Shakespeare would write in Richard III.  He had brought the end of the War of the Roses and peace to England, but that was about as much credit as his subjects would give the grasping, unlovable Henry Tudor.  His son by contrast looked like an Adonis when young, strong and athletic.  He had a sharp mind and had been well-educated, intended, ironically, for a career in the Church before the death of his elder brother Arthur.  He was reputed, correctly, to be pious.  He had considerable charisma in his youth and knew how to make himself loved with a well timed laugh or smile, and loved he was, by the nobles, commons, his wife Katherine, and the Church.  Few reigns started more auspiciously than that of Henry, eighth of that name.

By the end of his reign he was widely despised by most his subjects.  Called a crowned monster behind his back, his reign had brought religious turmoil to England and domestic strife.  The best known symbols of his reign were the headman’s axe, the stake and the boiling pot in which he had some of the luckless individuals who roused his fury boiled to death.

It of course is small wonder for a Catholic to have little love for Henry VIII and his reign, but the distaste for Henry extends well beyond members of the Church.  Winston Churchill, the great English statesman and historian, in his magisterial History of the English Speaking Peoples, has this to say about the executions of Saint Thomas More and Saint John Fisher:

The resistance of More and Fisher to the royal supremacy in Church government was a heroic stand.  They realised the defects of the existing Catholic system, but they hated and feared the aggressive nationalism which was destroying the unity of Christendom.  They saw that the break with Rome carried with it the risk of a despotism freed from every fetter.  More stood forth as the defender of all that was finest in the medieval outlook.  He represents to history its universality, its belief in spiritual values, and its instinctive sense of otherworldliness.  Henry VIII with cruel axe decapitated not only a wise and gifted counselor, but a system which, though it had failed to live up to its ideals in practice, had for long furnished mankind with its brightest dreams.”

 

Churchill himself was not noted for being a churchgoer.  When asked if he was a pillar of the Church of England, he quipped that perhaps he could be considered to be a flying butress of the Church, supporting it from outside.  Perhaps this helped give him a certain objectivity regarding Henry VIII.  Here is part of his summing up of Henry’s reign:

“Henry’s rule saw many advances in the growth and the character of the English state, but it is a hideous blot upon his record that the reign should be widely remembered for its executions.  Two Queens, two of the King’s chief Ministers, a saintly bishop, numerous abbots, monks and many ordinary folk who dared to resist the royal will were put to death.  Almost every member of the nobility in whom royal blood ran perished on the scaffold at Henry’s command.  Roman Catholic and Calvinist alike were burnt for heresy and religious treason.  These persecutions, inflicted in solemn manner by officers of the law, perhaps in the presence of the Council or even the King himself, form a brutal seqeul to the bright promise of the Renaissance.  The sufferings of devout men and women among the faggots, the use of torture, and the savage penalties imposed for even paltry crimes, stand in repellant contrast to the enlightened principles of humanism.” 

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3

Hath Melted Like Snow in the Glance of the Lord

 

“Therefore, thus says the LORD concerning the king of Assyria:
‘He shall not reach this city, nor shoot an arrow at it,
nor come before it with a shield,
nor cast up siege-works against it.
He shall return by the same way he came,
without entering the city, says the LORD.
I will shield and save this city for my own sake,
and for the sake of my servant David.’”

That night the angel of the LORD went forth and struck down
one hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp.
So Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, broke camp,
and went back home to Nineveh.

Old Testament Reading-June 21, 2016

The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold,
And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold;
And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea,
When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee.

Like the leaves of the forest when Summer is green,
That host with their banners at sunset were seen:
Like the leaves of the forest when Autumn hath blown,
That host on the morrow lay withered and strown.

For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast,
And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed;
And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill,
And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!

And there lay the steed with his nostril all wide,
But through it there rolled not the breath of his pride;
And the foam of his gasping lay white on the turf,
And cold as the spray of the rock-beating surf.

And there lay the rider distorted and pale,
With the dew on his brow, and the rust on his mail:
And the tents were all silent, the banners alone,
The lances unlifted, the trumpet unblown.

And the widows of Ashur are loud in their wail,
And the idols are broke in the temple of Baal;
And the might of the Gentile, unsmote by the sword,
Hath melted like snow in the glance of the Lord.

Lord Byron, The Destruction of Sennacherib (1815)

23

Gag

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Please read this letter and then in the comboxes give me a guesstimate  of the percentage of people at the Vatican who actually believe that Catholicism is the True Faith:

 

Christians and Muslims: 

Beneficiaries and Instruments of Divine Mercy

Dear Muslim brothers and sisters,

1. The month of Ramadan and ‘Id al-Fitr is an important religious event for Muslims around the world, focused on fasting, prayer and good deeds, and is esteemed by Christians, your friends and neighbours. On behalf of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and Christians all over the world, we extend best wishes for a spiritually rewarding fast, supported by good deeds, and for a joyful feast.

As is our cherished custom, we wish to share with you on this occasion some reflections in the hope of strengthening the spiritual bonds we share.

2. A theme that is close to the hearts of Muslims and Christians alike is mercy.

We know that Christianity and Islam both believe in a merciful God, who shows his mercy and compassion towards all his creatures, in particular the human family. He created us out of an immense love. He is merciful in caring for each of us, bestowing upon us the gifts we need for our daily life, such as food, shelter and security. God’s mercy is manifested in a particular way, however, through the pardon of our faults; hence he is the one who pardons (al-Ghâfir), but the one who pardons much and always (al-Ghafour).

3. To underscore the importance of mercy, His Holiness Pope Francis declared a Jubilee Year of Mercy to be celebrated from 8 December 2015 to 20 November 2016. In this regard he said: “Here… is the reason for the Jubilee: because this is the time for mercy. It is the favorable time to heal wounds, a time not to be weary of meeting all those who are waiting to see and to touch with their hands the signs of the closeness of God, a time to offer everyone, everyone, the way of forgiveness and reconciliation” (“Homily”, 11 April 2015).

Your pilgrimage (hajj) to the Holy places, mainly Mecca and Medina, is surely a special time for you to experience God’s mercy. In fact, among the well-known aspirations addressed to Muslim pilgrims is: “I wish you a blessed pilgrimage, praiseworthy efforts and the pardon of your sins”. Making a pilgrimage to obtain God’s pardon for sins, both for the living and dead, is truly a salient custom practice among believers.

4. We, Christians and Muslims, are called to do our best to imitate God. He, the Merciful, asks us to be merciful and compassionate towards others, especially those who are in any kind of need. So too he calls us to be forgiving of one another.

When we gaze upon humanity today, we are saddened to see so many victims of conflicts and violence – here we think in particular of the elderly, and children and women, especially those who fall prey to human trafficking and the many people who suffer from poverty, illness, natural disasters and unemployment.

5. We cannot close our eyes to these realities, or turn away from these sufferings. It is true that situation are often very complex and that their solution exceeds our capacities. It is vital, therefore, that all work together in assisting those in need. It is a source of great hope when we experience or hear of Muslims and Christians joining hands to help the needy. When we do join hands, we heed an important command in our respective religions and show forth God’s mercy, thus offering a more credible witness, individually and communally, to our beliefs.

May the Merciful and Almighty God help us to walk always along the path of goodness and compassion!

6. We join our prayerful good wishes to those of Pope Francis for abundant blessings during Ramadan and for a lasting joy of ‘Id al-Fitr.

Happy Feast to you all!

From the Vatican, 10 June 2016

Jean-Louis Cardinal Tauran

President

Bishop Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, M.C.C.I.

Secretary

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8

Clinton E-Mail Depositions: Stephen Mull

When it comes to the Clintons the normal rules that apply to the rest of us apparently do not apply to them.  For example, in a FOIA act lawsuit brought over the Clinton e-mails by Judicial Watch, a conservative group, Hillary Clinton’s chief of state Cheryl Mills was deposed and her deposition was videotaped.  Prior to Mills’ deposition, her lawyers requested that it not be released to the public, so it could not be used against Clinton for partisan political purposes.  In a bizarre ruling, Judge Emmet Sullivan agreed that the video of the depositions could not be released to the public, but that transcripts of the depositions could be released.  He then, sua sponte ( by the court’s unilateral action) made this decision applicable to all depositions taken in the case.

Legal suits, in most cases, are public matters.  The public normally has a right to access to the materials of such a lawsuit, absent matters that a court finds to be subject to some sort of legal privilege.  There is no legal privilege protecting materials in a lawsuit from being used for political purposes.

Fortunately Phelim McAleer, an independent filmmaker, is dramatizing the depositions.  Only the text of the depositions is used in the films.  McAleer is used to telling the stories the news media tries to ignore for political reasons.  He has just finished filming on a movie about abortionist Kermit Gosnell, who he describes as the most prolific serial killer in American history.  He is kickstarting his project to dramatize the Clinton e-mail depositons.  Go here if you wish to contribute.  I did.

The above video is the deposition of Stephen Mull, Executive Secretary of the State Department under Clinton.  As you can see from the video, he apparently has either a very lousy memory, or a very convenient one.  Go here to view the video of the deposition of Chery Mills.

4

PopeWatch: Better Days

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The Pope’s statement that the great majority of sacramental marriages are invalid, and the retreat from what the Pope said, is continuing to reverberate. Michael Brendan Dougherty at The Week has advice for Catholics about what to do when a Pope is given to making statements that are contra to the Faith or simply bizarre:

The pope’s statement openly contradicts the constant teaching and practice of the Church, which put great faith in the ability of humans to marry one another, and in the sacraments of the Church to be effective. The pope may be right that we live in a culture marred by impermanence. Previous cultures that the Church stepped into were marred by tribalism, or even local prejudice and tradition. Special pleading is not new to the world with modernity. The presumption of validity still applied to marriage bonds made inside or outside of the Church.

The Church has always held that valid marriage occurs whenever a single man and a single woman freely vow to marry one another, and intend to live faithful to that union for the rest of their lives. They don’t even have to be Catholics. The Church confidently strode into pagan Europe and affirmed the marriage bonds of non-Christians, who had never had a chance to be “catechized” or who married under greater social and familial pressures than any modern Westerner.

It is telling that the Vatican even “corrected” the transcripts of what the pope said, inserting “some” where he really said “vast majority.” That may reflect Francis wishing to step back from what he said, or it may just be an act of charity by Vatican staff to “cover his nakedness,” so to speak.

A pope’s off-the-cuff statements and personal opinions are not, and never have been, infallible guides. This presents no existential crisis for Catholicism.

So, what to do? The best advice, informed by centuries of history, is to just ignore or laugh at the pope when he says something so stupid. Popes in the past have expressed novel and erroneous views on matters of faith before. Pope John XXII argued for erring views on the afterlife. Pope John XII, who raped female pilgrims to Rome, was credibly rumored to have openly professed paganism.

In these cases and others, the “vast majority” of Christians held on to their faith, as best as they understood it, with no reference to their pope’s day-to-day controversies. Now that the meticulously careful theologian Josef Ratzinger is neither the pope, nor the pope’s ghostwriter, we’re likely to deal with many popes expressing themselves in spectacularly unhelpful or stupid ways. Forgive them, and move on. Continue Reading

2

Fortnight For Freedom: Getting in Bed With Caesar

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If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.

Sam Adams, August 1, 1776

(This is a repeat from last year.  I can’t improve upon it, except for minor changes that I have made.)

The American Catholic is proud to participate in this year’s Fortnight For Freedom.  The Fortnights were started in 2012 by the bishops of this country in response to the unprecedented assault on religious liberty posed by the Obama administration, to remind Catholics of the preciousness of their inheritance of freedom as Americans and Catholics and the necessity of standing up to threats to it.  All well and good, and a very worthy cause indeed.  However, the leadership of the Church appears to be schizophrenic on this subject.  While Caesar seeks to limit the freedom of the Church, too many ecclesiastics respond by wanting to get into bed with Caesar.

The examples of this are legion.

It is the policy of the Church to aid the Obama administration in flouting the immigration laws of this country, acting as a virtual arm of the State in sheltering illegal aliens.

The Church was all in favor of Obamacare, until the Obama administration targeted the Church with the contraceptive mandate.

The Green Encyclical, Laudato Si, released last year, is one long demand for Caesar to engage in an immense power grab, and regulate business and citizens to fight a mythical global warming threat.

The Vatican is supportive of UN activities that spell a mortal danger to economic freedom in the West.

The Church through the Catholic Campaign for Human Development funds hundreds of left wing pressure groups to call for ever bigger government, and, inevitably, further restrictions on freedom.

Welfare States require huge amounts of tax money and huge amounts of government power.  The default position of the Church today when confronting any need traditionally filled by private or Church charity, is to scream for Caesar to come fix things.  This bastardized parody of the social teachings of the Church inevitably comes back to bite the Church as Caesar will always exact a price for his favors and under the Obama administration that price is for the Church to bend the knee to contraception, abortion and gay marriage.  For all too many of our shepherds that is a small price to pay to keep the government largesse flowing.  There is a reason why Christ whipped the money changers from the Temple and why He uttered the phrase to render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.   These days the Church too often seems willing to bow the knee to Caesar, no matter what Caesar demands, so long as the funds from Caesar keep flowing. Continue Reading

7

Your Tax Dollars at Play

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The Department of Homeland Security is fully on board with the policy of the Obama administration of let’s pretend that Islamic terrorism does not exist:

 

 

A new Department of Homeland Security report urges rejecting use of Islamic terms such as “jihad” and “sharia” in programs aimed at countering terrorist radicalization among American youth.

The Homeland Security Advisory Council report recommends that the department focus on American milliennials by allocating up to $100 million in new funding. It also urges greater private sector cooperation, including with Muslim communities, to counter what is described as a “new generation of threats to the Homeland related to the threat of violent extremism.”

The funds would be used for hiring experts and new social media programs and technology to influence young people not to join terror groups.

“The department’s CVE efforts are an attempt to protect our nation’s young people from extremists who prey upon the Millennial generation,” the report says.

“The department must reframe the conversation to reflect this reality and design a robust program around the protection of our youth, which must include predator awareness and an understanding of radicalization. In doing so, our citizens will be better equipped for this threat.”

Under the section on terminology, the report calls for rejecting use of an “us versus them” mentality by shunning Islamic language in “Countering Violent Extremism” programs, or CVE, the Obama administration’s euphemism that seeks to avoid references to Islam.

Under a section on recommended actions on terminology, the report says DHS should “reject religiously-charged terminology and problematic positioning by using plain meaning American English.”

Government agencies should employ “American English instead of religious, legal and cultural terms like ‘jihad,’ ‘sharia,’ ‘takfir’ or ‘umma,’” states the June 2016 report by the Council’s countering violent extremism subcommittee. Continue Reading

9

Attorney General Lynch and Let’s Pretend

 

 

Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced yesterday that only redacted versions of Omar Mateen’s three 911 calls will be released to the public.

However, Mateen’s pledge of allegiance to ISIS and support for the Boston bombers will not be released as not to ‘re-victimize’ those who lived through the attack.

‘We’ll be releasing a partial transcript of the calls between the killer and the hostage negotiators so people can, in fact, see the type of interaction that was had there,’ Lynch told ABC News

I say partial because we’re not going to be, for example, broadcasting his pledges of allegiance. We are trying not to re-victimize those who went through that horror,’ she added.

FBI Director James Comey said the shooter was involved in precisely three calls to a 911 dispatcher at approximately 2.30am on June 12.

Go here to read the rest.  Come again?  The transcripts would re-victimize those who went through that horror?  Those poor souls are dead.  After that, it is hard to re-victimize them.  In any case, how can the transcripts that indicate that Mateen’s motivation was Jihad re-victimize anyone?

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PopeWatch: George Soros

 

 

 

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The minions of leftist billionaire George Soros are active on the Catholic front this election year:

While the IRS revoked the non-profit status of the George Soros-subsidized Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good (CACG) in October 2013 for failing to file a form 990 for three consecutive years, the organization recently re-emerged with a progressive voter guide for the November presidential elections. For A Revolution of Tenderness: A 2016 Election Pope Francis Voter Guide, CACG collaborated with other progressive groups—including the Soros-supported Faith in Public Life Catholic Program, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, Pax Christi International, and others—to produce a voter guide that claims to “show how we apply the teachings of our Church to the problems of our day with a heart of mercy.”

Like the organization’s previous presidential voting guides, the new guide provides encouragement to Catholics wishing to support candidates who promote progressive positions—sometimes at the expense of the non-negotiable teachings of the Church on life and marriage. Claiming that their long list of social ills are “all related,” the 2016 guide, like the 2012 guide before it, stacks the deck in favor of pro-choice politicians who promise to protect the poor, the environment, and LGBT rights—but not the rights on the unborn or of the family.

Abortion is included as one among several threats to the dignity of the human being:

 

In this new place of mercy, the last are first, the poor are blessed, and enemies are loved. Black lives matter here. LGBTQ lives matter here; and so too do the lives of refugees, the imprisoned, the unborn, and anyone else who suffers dehumanization, exclusion, and injustice…. Today, human dignity and life is degraded by racism, violence, abortion, war, the death penalty, euthanasia, human trafficking, torture, environmental damage, and poverty. 

Still, there is one major difference in the 2016 guide. Rather than calling it a “Catholic” voter guide, this new version is called a “Pope Francis Voter Guide.” In fact, on page one, in an apparent attempt to avert criticism from anyone in the Church hierarchy or the laity, the Pope Francis voter guide celebrates the fact that “…a new community with new rules is established…hierarchies are subverted, concentrated power is decentralized, and prodigal children are welcomed home.” Continue Reading

Fortnight For Freedom 2016

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As in years past, The American Catholic will take part in The Fortnight Freedom proclaimed by the USCCB:

Each year dioceses around the country arrange special events to highlight the importance of defending religious freedom. The Fortnight for Freedom is from June 21—the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More—to July 4, Independence Day.

 

 

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