10

Things that Bring Tears to My Eyes: A Continuing Series

Remembering my son Larry, this choked me up:

Michelle Malkin tweeted this story out earlier and I have to say it really is the best thing I’ve read all day. Maybe you’ve seen the photo already but what’s important is the story behind it.

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Florida State University football players visited a Middle School today. During lunch, wide receiver Travis Rudolph noticed one student, Bo Paske, who was sitting off on his own and decided to ask if he could join him. When a picture of the two sharing lunch made it back to Bo’s mother, Leah Paske, she posted it on Facebook and explained why it was such an emotional moment:

Several times lately I have tried to remember my time in middle school, did I like all my teachers, do I even remember them? Did I have many friends? Did I sit with anyone at lunch? Just how mean were kids really? I remember one kid on the bus called me “Tammy Fay Baker” bc I started awkwardly wearing eye liner in the sixth grade, I remember being tough and calling him a silly name back, but when he couldn’t see me anymore I cried. I do remember middle school being scary, and hard. Now that I have a child starting middle school, I have feelings of anxiety for him, and they can be overwhelming if I let them. Sometimes I’m grateful for his autism. That may sound like a terrible thing to say, but in some ways I think, I hope, it shields him. He doesn’t seem to notice when people stare at him when he flaps his hands. He doesn’t seem to notice that he doesn’t get invited to birthday parties anymore. And he doesn’t seem to mind if he eats lunch alone. It’s one of my daily questions for him. Was there a time today you felt sad? Who did you eat lunch with today? Sometimes the answer is a classmate, but most days it’s nobody. Those are the days I feel sad for him, but he doesn’t seem to mind. He is a super sweet child, who always has a smile and hug for everyone he meets. A friend of mine sent this beautiful picture to me today and when I saw it with the caption “Travis Rudolph is eating lunch with your son” I replied “who is that?” He said “FSU football player”, then I had tears streaming down my face. Travis Rudolph, a wide receiver at Florida State, and several other FSU players visited my sons school today. I’m not sure what exactly made this incredibly kind man share a lunch table with my son, but I’m happy to say that it will not soon be forgotten. This is one day I didn’t have to worry if my sweet boy ate lunch alone, because he sat across from someone who is a hero in many eyes. Travis Rudolph thank you so much, you made this momma exceedingly happy, and have made us fans for life! #travisrudolph #autismmom #fansforlife

I’ve read this three times now and it still gets me. Continue Reading

15

State of the Race

 

 

Going into the Labor Day weekend, Clinton is slightly ahead with Trump gaining ground.  The Los Angeles Times daily tracker shows Trump with a lead today of three points.  Go here to view it.  The topline result in August presidential polls isn’t important but the direction can be, and the direction for Trump is good news.  Almost all polls now show that he has at least halved the bounce that Clinton got from her convention.  As a candidate Trump seems to be learning his new trade of politician.  Clinton is bedeviled by her ongoing e-mail scandals that demonstrate that as Secretary of State she was selling access.  The New York Times published an editorial yesterday urging Clinton to cut all ties with the Clinton Foundation.  Clinton is a candidate under constant ethical fire who seems to be attempting to sit upon a shrinking lead with few public appearances for a candidate for President, while Trump ceaselessly barnstorms up and down the country.  This is political malpractice on the part of the Clinton campaign. Continue Reading

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PopeWatch: Signs and Portents

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The Pope Emeritus on the lightning strike on Saint Peter’s that occurred on the day of his announcement of his resignation:

 

Guerriero then turned to the subject of the famous picture of lightning striking St. Peter’s basilica on the day of his resignation announcement. Benedict knew of the photograph and said “I should have really worried had I not been convinced, as I said at the beginning of my pontificate, to be a simple and humble worker in the vineyard of the Lord.

“From the start I was aware of my limitations,” he continued, “and I accepted them, as I have always tried to do in my life, in a spirit of obedience.” Continue Reading

6

Clinton E-Mail Depositions: Huma Abedin

 

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 is the dramatization of the deposition of Huma Abedin.  Abedin is the right hand gal of Hillary Clinton.  Clinton has referred to her as a second daughter.  I think she is the closest thing that Hillary Clinton has to a friend on this planet.  Abedin is up to her neck in scandals involving influence peddling via the Clinton Foundation while Clinton was Secretary of State.  In e-mails she has noted that Clinton is often confused and needs naps.  Continue Reading

10

Larry the Lobster Assumes Room Temperature

 

It would take a heart of stone not to laugh at this:

 

The 2016 Larry was saved from the stockpot, too. He was destined for dinner when several concerned citizens worked with a group called iRescue Wildlife, Inc., to intervene, the Miami Herald reports.

Larry had been reserved for one family’s dinner when the activists offered to buy him and send him to freedom, ABC News reports.

“They really opened up my eyes and it got me a little emotional,” Melluso told ABC. “We went ahead and donated the lobster to them.”

The Larry-savers made plans to ship him to the Maine State Aquarium, which said it would accept him, quarantine him and then decide what to do with him after that. There was a swift response from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

They called on the aquarium to let Larry loose.

“Lobsters are smart, unique individuals who feel pain and suffer in captivity,” PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman said in a statement. “PETA is calling on the Maine State Aquarium to let this elderly crustacean live out his golden years in freedom and peace.”

Alas, Larry’s golden years were never to be.

He arrived at the Maine Aquarium … less than alive.

Jeff Nichols, communications director for the Maine Department of Marine Resources, says that there’s always a challenge in shipping a live animal.

“Maine lobster dealers do it all the time … they ship live lobsters all over the world, but it’s something that is part of their business practice and their area of expertise,” he told NPR. “This was a situation where, you know, it was somebody trying to figure it out.”

The first attempt to ship Larry was scuttled when FedEx sent him back. And unfortunately, he spent some time on freshwater ice, Nichols says, which isn’t ideal for a marine animal.

The Florida activists repackaged him, with some coaching from the Maine State Aquarium’s staff, and sent him again, the Portland Press Herald reported on Wednesday:

“Larry was packed in a Styrofoam clamshell with seaweed and frozen gel packs intended to keep him cold. The Styrofoam package was then put in another box, providing extra cushioning and protection from leakage. iRescue did not respond to questions about the shipping cost.

“The packaging method has worked in the past for others who have shipped live lobsters to the aquarium, Nichols said. But when staffers opened the box Wednesday around noon, they found a motionless crustacean and broken gel packs.

“Unsure whether Larry was dead or alive, a staffer touched the lobster’s eye, but found it dry and unresponsive.”

Larry hadn’t made it. Continue Reading

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PopeWatch: Pope Emeritus

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Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa notes criticism of the concept of Pope Emeritus:

 

 

In his retreat on the Vatican hill, Joseph Ratzinger just won’t keep quiet. Neither in the written nor in the spoken word.

In the anticipation of the early autumn release of his book-length interview with Peter Seewald, a new monumental biography will arrive in bookstores tomorrow, written by his friend the theologian Elio Guerriero, introduced with a preface by Pope Francis and ending with an interview of the ex-pope conducted by the author, previewed on August 25 by the newspaper “la Repubblica”:

> Ratzinger confessa: “Troppo stanco, così ho lasciato il ministero petrino

In the interview, Ratzinger once again explains that the only reason for his resignation of the papacy was his loss of energy. Thereby contradicting his successor Francis, who in an interview last July 3 with “La Nación” asserted that the abdication of Benedict XVI “had nothing to do with anything personal.”

But there is one point, among others, one which the two latest successors of Peter agree. Both of them give credence to the figure of the “pope emeritus,” a figure that however has no precedent, whether historical, theological, or juridical.

Francis writes in this regard, in the preface to the book previewed on August 24 by the newspaper “Avvenire”:

“For the Church, the presence of a pope emeritus in addition to the one in office is an innovation. [. . .] It expresses in a particularly evident manner the continuity of the Petrine ministry, without interruption, like the links of a selfsame chain joined together by love.”

Not only that. It is known that the prefect of the pontifical household, Georg Gänswein – who as Ratzinger’s personal secretary before, during, and after his pontificate is certainly the person closest to him – has pressed much further in setting forth this contemporaneous presence of the two popes, according to him almost “an expanded ministry,” “in common,” with “a collegial and synodal dimension’:

> Not One Pope But Two, One “Active” and One “Contemplative” (17.6.2016)

But it is not known to what extent Ratzinger may share the reckless ideas asserted in public by his secretary. What is ever more certain, however, is that some of the most competent and authoritative figures of the circle closest to the ex-pope are absolutely opposed to them.

One of these is Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, an illustrious Church historian, who last July spoke out in tough critical terms not only against the figure of the “pope emeritus,” but also against the goodness of Ratzinger’s abdication itself:

> Brandmüller: “The Resignation of the Pope Is Possible, But May It Never Happen Again” (18.7.2016)

Another is Bishop Giuseppe Sciacca, a luminary of canon law and secretary of the supreme tribunal of the apostolic signatura, who in an interview with Andrea Tornielli for “Vatican Insider” on August 25 ripped to pieces the juridical and theological sustainability of the title “pope emeritus” being applied to one who has abdicated the papacy:

> Sciacca: “Non può esistere un papato condiviso”

Sciacca is bound to Ratzinger by a longstanding and solid friendship, which still lives on after his abdication. And this friendship lends that much more power to his criticism against the title of “pope emeritus,” which Ratzinger was the first to attribute to himself.

In the body of the interview, Sciacca demolishes the ideas of those who maintain that by abdicating Benedict XVI has renounced only the active exercise of the papal “ministry,” but has kept its “munus.”

But it is at the end – reproduced below – that the canonist’s criticisms are aimed against the figure of the “pope emeritus,” of which he spares practically nothing. And Sciacca also advances reservations on the abdication of the papacy in general.

It will be interesting to unearth, in the future spoken and written forays of ex-pope Ratzinger, some indication of his judgment on this double barrage of friendly fire aimed right at him by the unimpeachable Sciacca and Brandmüller.

___________

Pope emeritus? An aberration

From the interview with Giuseppe Sciacca on “Vatican Insider,” August 15, 2016

Q: What do you think of the designation of “pope emeritus.”

A: The expression “pope emeritus” or “pontiff emeritus” would seem to denote a sort of pontifical authority distinct from a further type of exercise of it. An exercise not identified, never defined in any doctrinal document, and impossible to comprehend, that is taken to have been the object of resignation. Arguing in this way, part of the pontifical authority would remain with the emeritus, even if, as is said, the exercise of it is prohibited. But the prohibition of the exercise of that which by its nature is essentially free in its exercise (potestas) is nonsense. The irrationality of this idea and the possible interpretive errors that stem from it therefore appear evident.

Q: You would have preferred the title of “bishop emeritus of Rome” for the pope who resigns?

A: No, I maintain that this solution would be just as problematic, even though some authoritative canonists may have upheld it: pope, pontiff, or bishop of Rome are in fact substantially synonymous. The problem is not the substantive, “pope” or “bishop of Rome,” but the adjective “emeritus,” which bears a sort of duplication of the papal image.

Q: What hypothesis would you have preferred or would you like to suggest?

A: First of all I would like to preface: I am not among those who hope that the resignation of the papacy may become a custom. On the contrary! Purely as a working hypothesis, if we should wish to sketch out for the resigning pontiff a possible legislative forecast for the future, the most congruous solution would seem to me that of the conferral of the title of “former supreme pontiff.” Or that of stipulating the reinsertion of the resigner in the college of cardinals, in the order of bishops, by the new pope. And to emphasize the “singularity” of the new officeholder, in the hypothesis in which all the  suburbicarian sees should be occupied, to insert him – ad personam – among the Eastern patriarchs who are members of the college of cardinals. “Salvo meliori iudicio,” as we are always accustomed to conclude the views that we advisors give to the dicasteries.

Continue Reading

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PopeWatch: Bear Growls: Worlds Thinnest Books

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Our bruin friend at Saint Corbinian’s Bear has compiled a list of the worlds thinnest books:

  1. Muslim Contributions to Western Civilization
  2. Pope Francis’ Guide to Actual Church Teachings
  3. Archbishop Blase Cupich’s Qualifications as Telepathic Psychologist
  4. Church Growth Since Vatican 2
  5. Hillary Clinton’s Guide to Computer Security
  6. The Rescue Mission in the Benghazi Attack
  7. Reasons Why We Should Invade Syria and Aid Terrorists
  8. Ways Barack Obama is Superior to Vladimir Putin
  9. Other Religions Cardinal Koch Has Not Sucked Up To
  10. Elements Within the Church George Soros has not Put a Tentacle Into

Continue Reading

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August 29, 1786: Shays’ Rebellion Begins

 

 

In the aftermath of American victory in the Revolutionary War, times were tough in the new nation.  In Massachusetts farmers faced financial ruin as merchants, concerned with the inflation, were demanding repayment of debts in hard currency which was in short supply.  Governor John Hancock attempted to set an example by not demanding that his debtors pay him in hard currency, and he refused to authorize prosecution of those who failed to pay their taxes to the State.  This was to no avail as more farmers began to lose their farms through foreclosure.  That most of these farmers had fought in the Revolution made their plight more poignant, and also suggested that they would not stand idle as they were reduced to poverty.

Violence broke out after James Bowdoin, champion of the merchants, was elected Governor of the Bay State.  On August 29, 1786 a rebellion broke out when a well organized force prevented the court from sitting in Northampton.  Daniel Shays who had served in the Continental Army as a Captain, and who had receive a sword of honor from Lafayette that he had to sell to help pay his debts, participated in the Northampton action.  His name became attached to the Rebellion, but he staunchly denied that he was one of the leaders of the movement.

The Massachusetts government now confronted the quandary of attempting to assert its authority when the only armed force at its disposal were militia levies and much of the militia sympathized with the rebels.   The Federal government of the Articles of Confederation was deaf to appeals for aid, having no armed forces in any case to aid Massachusetts in putting down the Rebellion.

The solution was  a 3000 man militia force under former Continental Major General Benjamin Lincoln.  The force was paid for by 125 merchants who contributed 6000 pounds.  With this force, Lincoln crushed the Rebellion in February 1787.  Casualties were minor, five killed, a few dozen wounded, but the impact of the Rebellion was profound in convincing many of the leaders in the United States of the necessity of revising the weak Articles of Confederation and forming a stronger Federal government.  Shays Rebellion had given rise to outbursts throughout New England, and although they had been quickly quashed, the alarm they raised reached Mount Vernon.

On October 31, 1786 in a letter to Henry Lee, George Washington demonstrated how deeply Shays’ Rebellion disturbed him:

Continue Reading

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Feast Day of the Beheading of John the Baptist

August 29 is the feast day of the beheading of John the Baptist, the herald of Christ.  Charlton Heston, in the video clip above, gave a powerful portrayal of the Baptist in The Greatest Story Ever Told, capturing the raw courage and energy that animated John the Baptist as a result of the blazing faith he had in God.  Like Elijah, John came out of the wilderness to fearlessly proclaim the word of God, but what Elijah and the other prophets could only glimpse darkly, the coming of the Messiah, John saw with his own eyes.  The last and greatest of the prophets, John fulfilled the role of Elijah as proclaimed by the prophet Malachi:

Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. Continue Reading

12

The Barque of Peter Sails Through History

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There is not, and there never was on this earth, a work of human policy so well deserving of examination as the Roman Catholic Church. The history of that Church joins together the two great ages of human civilisation. No other institution is left standing which carries the mind back to the times when the smoke of sacrifice rose from the Pantheon, and when camelopards and tigers bounded in the Flavian amphitheatre.

The proudest royal houses are but of yesterday when compared with the line of the Supreme Pontiffs. That line we trace back in an unbroken series, from the Pope who crowned Napoleon in the nineteenth century to the Pope who crowned Pepin in the eighth; and far beyond the time of Pepin the august dynasty extends, till it is lost in the twilight of fable. The republic of Venice came next in antiquity. But the republic of Venice was modern when compared with the Papacy; and the republic of Venice is gone, and the Papacy remains. The Papacy remains, not in decay, not a mere antique, but full of life and youthful vigour.

The Catholic Church is still sending forth to the farthest ends of the world missionaries as zealous as those who landed in Kent with Augustin, and still confronting hostile kings with the same spirit with which she confronted Attila. The number of her children is greater than in any former age. Her acquisitions in the New World have more than compensated for what she has lost in the Old. Her spiritual ascendency extends over the vast countries which lie between the plains of the Missouri and Cape Horn, countries which a century hence, may not improbably contain a population as large as that which now inhabits Europe.

The members of her communion are certainly not fewer than a hundred and fifty millions; and it will be difficult to show that all other Christian sects united amount to a hundred and twenty millions. Nor do we see any sign which indicates that the term of her long dominion is approaching. She saw the commencement of all the governments and of all the ecclesiastical establishments that now exist in the world; and we feel no assurance that she is not destined to see the end of them all.

She was great and respected before the Saxon had set foot on Britain, before the Frank had passed the Rhine, when Grecian eloquence still flourished at Antioch, when idols were still worshipped in the temple of Mecca. And she may still exist in undiminished vigour when some traveller from New Zealand shall, in the midst of a vast solitude, take his stand on a broken arch of London Bridge to sketch the ruins of St. Paul’s.

 

Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay, in his review of Von Ranke’s The Ecclesiastical and political History of the Popes of Rome, during the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries. (1840)

 

 

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Sermon of Father Mapple

John Huston’s film Moby Dick (1956) is a true work of genius.  The only film version worthy of the novel, the screenplay was written by Ray Bradbury who in 10,000 words  got to the essence of the 206,052 word novel.  (Bradbury confessed when he was approached by Huston to do the screenplay that he had never been able to get through the novel.)  A deeply religious film that asks questions about God and the human condition that still  jar us, the most striking scene is the sermon on Jonah by Father Mapple, portrayed unforgettably by Orson Welles.  Enoch Mudge who served as the chaplain of the Seaman’s Bethel in New Bedford and Father E.T. Taylor who served as the chaplain of the Seaman Bethel in Boston, served as the real life models for the fictional Mapple. (At the time of Melville any clergyman of age or authority was often accorded the title “Father” by his parishioners in Protestant churches, a distinction retained today only by Catholics, the Orthodox and a few Protestant churches.)

Welles suffered from a bad case of stage fright just prior to the scene and John Huston produced a bottle to help Welles fortify himself.  Welles then did the scene letter perfect in one take.  Here is the text of the sermon as written by Bradbury for the film:

And God prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. Shipmates, the sin of Jonah was in his disobedience of the command of God. He found it a hard command, and it was, for all the things that God would have us do are hard. If we would obey God, we must disobey ourselves.
But Jonah still further flouts at God by seeking to flee from him. Jonah thinks that a ship made by men will carry him into countries where God does not reign. He prowls among the shipping like a vile burglar, hastening to cross the seas, and as he comes aboard the sailors mark him.
The ship puts out, but soon the sea rebels. It will not bear the wicked burden. A dreadful storm comes up. The ship is like to break. The bo’s’n calls all hands to lighten her. Boxes, bales and jars are clattering overboard, the wind is shrieking, the men are yelling. “I fear the Lord!” cries Jonah, “the God of Heaven who has made the sea and the dry land!”
Again, the sailors mark him. And wretched Jonah cries out to them to cast him overboard, for he knew that for his sake this great tempest was upon them.
Now behold Jonah, taken up as an anchor and dropped into the sea, into the dreadful jaws awaiting him. And the great whale shoots to all his ivory teeth, like so many white bolts, upon his prison.
And Jonah cries unto the Lord, out of the fish’s belly. But observe his prayer, shipmates. He doesn’t weep and wail, he feels his punishment is just. He leaves deliverance to God. And even out of the belly of Hell, grounded upon the ocean’s utmost bones, God heard him when he cried. And God spake unto the whale, and from the shuddering cold and blackness of the deep, the whale breached into the sun and vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.
And Jonah, bruised and beaten, his ears like two seashells still multitudinously murmuring of the ocean … Jonah did the Almighty’s bidding, and what was that, shipmates? To preach the truth in the face of falsehood! 
Now, shipmates, woe to him who seeks to pour oil on the troubled water when God has brewed them into a gale. Yeah, woe to him who, as the pilot Paul has it, while preaching to others is himself a castaway! But delight is to him who against the proud gods and commodores of this Earth, stands forth his own inexorable self, who destroys all sin, though we pluck it out from under the robes of senators, and judges. And eternal delight shall be his who, coming to lay him down, can say “Oh father, mortal or immortal, here I die. I have striven to be thine, more than to be this world’s or mine own, yet this is nothing. I leave eternity to thee, for what is man that he should live out the lifetime of his God?

 

Here is the much, much lengthier version from the novel  (Too bad that time prevented Ray Bradbury from serving as Melville’s editor!) Continue Reading

9

Huffington Post Thinks Their Readers Are Really, Really Stupid

 

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A current post at leftist Huffington Post brings their readership the bad news that in one week the Reuters Ipsos poll has shown Clinton’s lead tumble to five points from twelve points, and in a poll listing all four candidates, including the Libertarians and the Greens, Clinton’s lead drops to three points.  (A Gravis Marketing Poll released yesterday shows Clinton’s lead dropping from five points to one point in a two way race.)

The hilarious thing with the Huffington Post piece is the edit at the end which includes this for their readers:

Editor’s Note:  Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims-1.6 billion members of an entire religion from entering the US.

Go here to read it.  The Huffington Post editors obviously think their readers are so stupid they will be unable to sort the white hats from the black hats without help.

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PopeWatch: Shea and Fisher

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Eye of the Tiber’s take on the Shea, Fisher firings by National Catholic Register:

Two National Catholic Register staff writers have been fired and are now facing possible public flogging after they allegedly had opinions and were outspoken about them.

The National Catholic Register on Monday terminated Mark Shea and Simcha Fisher from their positions as staff writers from the EWTN-owned newspaper. Reports from several bloggers say that they were fired for allegedly saying stuff that kinda pissed some Catholics off, but made other Catholics happy.

According to officials at the National Catholic Register, comments from Shea and Fisher on Facebook did not conform to EWTN social media standards that require articles be “within the safe confines of the Catholic bubble from which no debate or critical thinking may be had.” 

An anonymous National Catholic Register official reported this morning that a phone call from EWTN chairman of the board and chief executive officer Michael Warsaw was made to the newspaper, asking, “Will no one rid me of these troublesome writers?”

Shea and Fisher were subsequently censured, and all Catholics who owned books by the accused were asked to burn them “effective immediately.” 

“When it came down to it, it was tone,” said the anonymous National Catholic Register official who was being closely watched by an armed EWTN agent. “As everyone knows, EWTN’s audience is mainly comprised of dinosaurs, and dinosaurs don’t like loud noises. One of EWTN’s younger readers who was born in the Cretaceous Era complained that the tone of former staff writers Mr. Shea and Mrs. Fisher was loud. She said that the tone rattled her like a ‘Triceratops hearing the roar of a Tyrannosaurus Rex.’ It had nothing to do with their positions on certain topics, which have not only conformed with the vision of our newspaper, but which have also been celebrated by us for many years.”

“Our EWTN readers,” he went on to say, “are not good with handling people with tempers. St. Jerome, for instance, was known for his temper, which is why those at EWTN, praise be their name, have opened a commission with the Vatican to investigate the possibility of de-canonizing St. Jerome.” Continue Reading

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Company Way or Timeless Magisterium?

 

 

Oh good!  Dale Price at Dyspeptic Mutterings has posted a blog article for me to steal borrow:

 

One of the staples of Catholic apologetics is that the Catholic magisterium safeguards the truth and ensures a unity and clarity that Protestantism lacks.

I would not be so sure of that. In fact, I would say (and have said before) that the current pontiff is demonstrating that the magisterium is little more than the mouthpiece of the reigning pope and only safeguards whatever iteration of whichever truth he wishes to utter. In short, the magisterium is sola papam currentis.

Why no, I am not a Latinist? How could you tell?

This thought was driven home by a recent piece at the estimable One Peter Five: Amoris Laetitia and John Paul II by Josh Kusch.

In short, Kusch spells out with undeniable clarity that Amoris Laetitia expressly contradicts the magisterial statements of Francis’ predecessor, and does so in a particularly unsavory fashion–by either partial quoting or choosing to ignore prior statements altogether. For the latter, Kusch points out how the encyclical Veritatis Splendor flatly contradicts what Francis wants to say–so Francis ignored it. To wit:

The negative precepts of the natural law are universally valid.  They oblige each and every individual, always and in every circumstance. It is a matter of prohibitions which forbid a given action semper et pro semper, without exception.  (VS 52)

The negative moral precepts, those prohibiting certain concrete actions or kinds of behavior as intrinsically evil, do not allow for any legitimate exception. They do not leave room, in any morally acceptable way, for the “creativity” of any contrary determination whatsoever. (VS 67) 

When it is a matter of the moral norms prohibiting intrinsic evil, there are no privileges or exceptions for anyone. It makes no difference whether one is the master of the world or the “poorest of the poor” on the face of the earth.  (VS 96)

It would be a very serious error … to conclude that the Church’s teaching is essentially only an “ideal” which must then be adapted, proportioned, graduated to the so-called concrete possibilities of man. (VS 103)  

It is in the saving Cross of Jesus, in the gift of the Holy Spirit, in the Sacraments which flow forth from the pierced side of the Redeemer, that believers find the grace and the strength always to keep God’s holy law, even amid the gravest of hardships.  (VS 103)

As Kusch ably demonstrates, each contradicts certain central assumptions in the later text.

And yet, the Vatican’s official newspaper is at pains to assert that the later text is, in fact, authoritative.


So Veritatis Splendor–with its forceful restatement of Catholic moral teaching–has been round-filed after less than a quarter of a century?

Anyone else see the problem here?

What I have not been able to suss out is precisely why I should salute Francis’ newest flag when he burnt John Paul II’s. His actions completely undercut his claimed “authority.”

Rather than call Amoris Laetitia “authoritative,” isn’t the honest answer “wait at least a couple of popes and then see?” 

Of course, progs are brandishing it like new holy writ. To be expected, yes, but wholly dishonest if one is following McCormick’s contemptuous course. But I don’t see any honest reason why I should regard it similarly. 

If this is Catholicism, then I never really understood it. And if the magisterium is just the press office of the current officeholder, then cue Flannery O’Connor. Continue Reading

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PopeWatch: Soros

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If you sometimes wonder why clerics sometimes do things that seem bizarre, always follow the money:

 

Leftist Billionaire George Soros donated $650,000 to groups lobbying American bishops in favor of “progressive” domestic policies, according to emails made public by Wikileaks. Soros used his Open Society Foundation and Faith in Public Life, two liberal organizations, to use the September 2015 visit of Pope Francis to the US to “shift national paradigms and priorities in the run-up to the 2016 presidential campaign.”

The group DC Leaks has released more than 2,000 documents from groups associated with Soros.

The money was donated in April 2015 and a report on the effort says successful achievements included “buy-in of individual bishops to more publicly voice support of economic and racial justice messages in order to begin to create a critical mass of bishops who are aligned with the Pope.”

“In order to seize this moment, we will support PICO’s organizing activities to engage the Pope on economic and racial justice issues, including using the influence of Cardinal Rodriguez, the Pope’s senior advisor, and sending a delegation to visit the Vatican in the spring or summer to allow him to hear directly from low-income Catholics in America,” another document states. Continue Reading

3

Trust in God and Keep Your Hand Grenades Primed

Then did he raise on high the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch, saying, “Bless this, O Lord, that with it thou mayst blow thine enemies to tiny bits, in thy mercy.” And the people did rejoice and did feast upon the lambs and toads and tree-sloths and fruit-bats and orangutans and breakfast cereals … Now did the Lord say, “First thou pullest the Holy Pin. Then thou must count to three. Three shall be the number of the counting and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither shalt thou count two, excepting that thou then proceedeth to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the number of the counting, be reached, then lobbest thou the Holy Hand Grenade in the direction of thine foe, who, being naughty in my sight, shall snuff it.”

A Reading from the Book of Armaments, Chapter 4, Verses 16 to 20

Ah, history is ever so much stranger than fiction:

A centuries-old hand grenade that may date back to the time of the crusaders is among a host of treasures retrieved from the sea in Israel.

The metal artifacts, some of which are more than 3,500 years old, were found over a period of years by the late Marcel Mazliah, a worker at the Hadera power plant in northern Israel.

Mazliah’s family recently presented the treasures to the Israel Antiquities Authority. Experts, who were surprised by the haul, think that the objects probably fell overboard from a medieval metal merchant’s ship.

The hand grenade was a common weapon in Israel during the Crusader era, which began in the 11th century and lasted until the 13th century, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority. Grenades were also used 12th and 13th century Ayyubid period and the Mamluk era, which ran from the 13th to the 16th century, experts say.

Haaretz reports that early grenades were often used to disperse burning flammable liquid. However, some experts believe that so-called ancient grenades were actually used to contain perfume. Continue Reading

5

Quotes Suitable for Framing: George Washington

 

 

If Historiographers should be hardy enough to fill the page of History with the advantages that have been gained with unequal numbers (on the part of America) in the course of this contest, and attempt to relate the distressing circumstances under which they have been obtained, it is more than probable that Posterity will bestow on their labors the epithet and marks of fiction; for it will not be believed that such a force as Great Britain has employed for eight years in this Country could be baffled in their plan of Subjugating it by numbers infinitely less, composed of Men oftentimes half starved; always in Rags, without pay, and experiencing, at times, every species of distress which human nature is capable of undergoing.

George Washington, letter to Major General Nathaniel Greene, February 6, 1783

6

PopeWatch: Cardinal Newman

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As this Pontificate has proceeded, PopeWatch has found much comfort in the writings of Cardinal Newman.  As the Pope seeks to place the Church behind various leftist crusades, this passage from the letter of Newman to the Duke of Norfolk on December 27, 1874 seems almost to have a prophetic quality to it:

 

Thus, if the Pope told the English bishops to order their priests to stir themselves energetically in favour of teetotalism, and a particular priest was fully persuaded that abstinence from wine, etc., was practically a Gnostic error, and therefore felt he could not so exert himself without sin; or suppose there was a Papal order to hold lotteries in each mission for some religious object, and a priest could say in God’s sight that he believed lotteries to be morally wrong, that priest in either of these cases would commit a sin hic et nunc if he obeyed the Pope, whether he was right or wrong in his opinion, and, if wrong, although he had not taken proper pains to get at the truth of the matter. Continue Reading

20

Hilary White and Maureen Mullarkey Send Their Profound Condolences

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A little trip down memory lane.  Go here to see Mark Shea gloating over the axing of Maureen Mullarkey by First Things.  Then we have Simcha Fisher’s reaction, go here to see Paul Zummo’s report on that tempest, to Hilary White reporting accurately on Pope Francis at Lifesite News.  The wheel doesn’t always come round, but when it does it is hilarious.

4

PopeWatch: The Middle Kingdom

 

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Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa notes the surrender of the Pope to the gerontocracy clinging to power in Peking:

 

In China, among the one hundred and nine Catholic bishops there are eight who have been consecrated at the behest of the communist authorities and who have never received the pope’s approval, thereby incurring excommunication, a couple of them with children and lovers.

But for none other than these eight, by the end of this summer or at the latest before the end of the jubilee Francis is ready to perform a spectacular gesture: a pardon.

Francis missed another stunning gesture by just a hair’s breadth last September 26, during his journey to Cuba and the United States.

That day, his touchdown in New York on his way to Philadelphia coincided with the landing of Chinese president Xi Jinping, who was expected at the United Nations. Everything had been calculated for the two to cross paths “accidentally” at the airport and exchange a greeting. Xi was aware of this ardent desire of the pope, but in the end he let it drop and the meeting did not take place.

From that moment on, however, the secret contacts between the Vatican and Beijing underwent an acceleration. In October and then in January a delegation of six representatives of the Holy See went to the Chinese capital. And in April of this year, the two sides set up a joint working group that now seems to have come to an understanding over a point that the Vatican takes very seriously: the appointment of bishops.

Since it has been in power, in fact, the Chinese communist party has wanted to equip itself with a submissive Church separate from Rome, with bishops of its own appointment ordained without the pope’s approval, beholden to a Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association that Benedict XVI called “irreconcilable” with Catholic doctrine.

A Church of the regime, therefore, on the verge of schism with its eight excommunicated bishops, contrasted with an “underground” Church with about thirty bishops earnestly faithful to the pope, which however pays all the costs of clandestinity – oppression, surveillance, arrest, abduction.

And in the middle the vast gray zone of the remaining dozens of bishops who were ordained illegitimately but then were more or less reconciled with Rome, or were ordained with the parallel recognition of Rome and Beijing but must still remain under the iron control of the communist authorities.

The bishop of Shanghai, Thaddeus Ma Daqin, ordained in 2007 with the twofold approval of the pope and the government, has been under house arrest for four years for the simple offense of having resigned from the Patriotic Association. Two months ago he retracted, but he is still deprived of his liberty. The eighty-five-year-old Joseph Zen Zekiun (in the photo), who has more freedom of speech in Hong Kong, has called “inevitable” the suspicion that this retraction was also desired by the Vatican, just to reach an agreement at any price.

That an agreement has already been reached was confirmed in recent days by Zen’s successor in the diocese of Hong Kong, Cardinal John Tong, with an open letter released in Chinese, English, and Italian that bears all the marks of wanting to prepare the faithful to make the best of a bad lot:

> Card. Tong: Communion of the Church in China with the Universal Church

Because the solution at which Tong hints is one of those against which Cardinal Zen has already raised covering fire to the point of threatening conscientious objection:

> Card. Zen: My concerns over China-Holy See dialogue and repercussions on Chinese Church

The example that is brought up most often is that of Vietnam, where the candidate for bishop is proposed by the Vatican but the government can veto him, and then on to other candidates until the government approves one of them.

But for China, the solution of which Cardinal Tong appears to have knowledge sees the roles reversed. The candidate will be selected and proposed to the Vatican by the Chinese episcopal conference. Only that this conference is a creature of the communist party, completely at the beck and call the regime, devoid of “underground” bishops and with one of the excommunicated eight as its president.

“Let us dare to believe that Pope Francis will accept nothing that could endanger the communion of the Church in China with the universal Church,” Tong wrote.

But the pope’s pardon of the eight illegitimate bishops will certainly not suffice to reassure him, Zen, and most Chinese Catholics.

____________

This commentary was published in “L’Espresso” no. 33 of 2016, on newsstands August 14, on the opinion page entitled “Settimo cielo” entrusted to Sandro Magister.

Here is the index of all the previous commentaries:

> “L’Espresso” in seventh heaven

__________

One indispensable point of reference for a detailed reconstruction of the negotiations underway between the Vatican and China is the analysis published on July 14 by the international news agency Reuters:

> After decades of mistrust, Pope pushes for diplomatic breakthrough with China

__________

Among the eight Chinese bishops ordained without papal mandate and the authors of illicit ordinations in their turn, who because of this have automatically incurred excommunication according to canon 1382 of the code of canon law, three have also been excommunicated in explicit form by the Holy See:

– Lei Shiyin, bishop of Leshan (Sichuan), ordained June 29, 2011;
– Huang Bingzhang, bishop of Shantou (Guangdong), ordained July 14, 2011;
– Yue Fusheng of Harbin (Heilongjiang), ordained July 6, 2012.

For the other illegitimate bishops, the agency “Asia News” of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions has furnished the following names:

– Zhan Silu, bishop of Mindong (Fujian), ordained in 2000, installed on May 14, 2006:
– Ma Yinglin, bishop of Kunming (Yunnan), ordained April 30, 2006;
– Liu Xinhong, bishop of Wuhu (Anhui), ordained May 3, 2006;
– Guo Jincai, bishop of Chengde (Hebei), ordained November 20, 2010.

One of these, Ma Yinglin, is also president of the council of Chinese bishops, the pseudo episcopal conference controlled by the communist regime.

___________

In the statement cited above in the body of the article, Cardinal Zen harshly criticizes the abolition of the advisory committee for China that had a de facto role at the Vatican already at the time when the prefect of Propaganda Fide – the dicastery with jurisdiction over missionary territories, including China – was Cardinal Jozef Tomko (1985-2001), sidelined during the prefecture of Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe (2001-2006) but then reactivated during the prefecture of Cardinal Ivan Dias (2006-2011) and of his successor Fernando Filoni.

The committee, made up of bishops, missionaries, and experts including Zen himself, was repeatedly convened and consulted all throughout the pontificate of Benedict XVI, author of the 2007 letter to Chinese Catholics that is the most significant pontifical document on the subject in the last few decades:

> Letter…

According to Cardinal Zen, one of the last effects of the guidelines from the committee was the courageous July 7, 2012 resignation of newly ordained bishop Thaddeus Ma Daqin from the Patriotic Association, which came at the cost of house arrest:

> Shanghai, a Strong and Hard-pressed Diocese

But since then, and for the whole pontificate of Pope Francis, the committee has not been convened again, without anything having been said about its fate. With Cardinal Zen now commenting as follows:

“No death certificate, no obituary. Extreme disrespect to the members of the commission and to the one who set it up in the first place! Extreme deviation even from the tradition of formal politeness of the Roman curia! The fact is that one of the two living Chinese cardinals [meaning him, Zen – editor’s note] is barred from knowing anything about how [in the secretariat of state] they are negotiating the affair of the Church in China. There is still a Chinese in Rome, but he must be a nuisance, he was exiled to Guam.”

The “exile” to whom Zen alludes is his fellow countryman bishop and friend Savio Hon Taifai  – he too a Salesian like the cardinal – called by Benedict XVI from Hong Kong to Rome in 2011 as secretary of the congregation for the evangelization of peoples, but now dispatched by Francis to an island of the Pacific Ocean, as apostolic administrator of Guam, with an unexpected appointment last June 6.

Continue Reading

4

Weasel Words and Theodore Roosevelt

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The more I study Theodore Roosevelt, the more I appreciate the impact he had on this nation, both in large and small ways.  He brought several phrases, for example, into common usage in this country.  One of these is “weasel words”.  Roosevelt did not invent the phrase, he noted that he first heard it used in conversation in 1879, but when he used it the phrase quickly entered American popular usage.  Roosevelt’s most famous use of the phrase was on May 31, 1916 in a speech entitled Mr. Wilson’s Weasel Words in which he attacked Wilson’s call for “voluntary universal military training”, Roosevelt viewing such a plan as inadequate and calling for a draft. Continue Reading

14

Hillary For Sale

 The level of corruption on display in the State Department e-mails just revealed through the litigation brought by conservative group Judicial Watch, is too great for even the mainstream media to ignore:

WASHINGTON (AP) — More than half the people outside the government who met with Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state gave money — either personally or through companies or groups — to the Clinton Foundation. It’s an extraordinary proportion indicating her possible ethics challenges if elected president.

At least 85 of 154 people from private interests who met or had phone conversations scheduled with Clinton while she led the State Department donated to her family charity or pledged commitments to its international programs, according to a review of State Department calendars released so far to The Associated Press. Combined, the 85 donors contributed as much as $156 million. At least 40 donated more than $100,000 each, and 20 gave more than $1 million.

Donors who were granted time with Clinton included an internationally known economist who asked for her help as the Bangladesh government pressured him to resign from a nonprofit bank he ran; a Wall Street executive who sought Clinton’s help with a visa problem; and Estee Lauder executives who were listed as meeting with Clinton while her department worked with the firm’s corporate charity to counter gender-based violence in South Africa.

The meetings between the Democratic presidential nominee and foundation donors do not appear to violate legal agreements Clinton and former president Bill Clinton signed before she joined the State Department in 2009. But the frequency of the overlaps shows the intermingling of access and donations, and fuels perceptions that giving the foundation money was a price of admission for face time with Clinton. Her calendars and emails released as recently as this week describe scores of contacts she and her top aides had with foundation donors.

The AP’s findings represent the first systematic effort to calculate the scope of the intersecting interests of Clinton foundation donors and people who met personally with Clinton or spoke to her by phone about their needs.

.

Continue Reading

67

Mark Shea Demonstrates Once Again That He Does Not Read What He Writes

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Socrates opined that the unexamined life is a tragedy.  The same goes for blog writing.  Let’s take a look at the lament by Mark Shea over the canning of Simcha Fisher:

 

 

Msgr. Charles Pope, has a piece warning us to prepare for persecution.

Prophetic considering that a very good Catholic woman named Simcha Fisher, faithful to the Catholic Church, a mother of *ten* children who has worked tirelessly as a witness to the greatness and goodness of our Holy Catholic Faith, a fine writer who could be making a million bucks somewhere but who is spending her prodigious gifts in the service of the gospel, has been kicked out of her job to the salacious screams of a mob, all for using the English equivalent of “skubala” (Philippians 3:8) now and then and for making a couple of bawdy dick jokes on her private FB page (you know, like when St. Paul remarks to the Galatians that he wishes the circumcision enthusiasts would castrate themselves).

Look, I *get* that I’m abrasive and I get the rejoicing over my losing a job.  Fair enough.  But don’t hand me a load of bushwah about how Simcha Fisher had this coming.  Somehow or other, the anti-abortion-but-not-prolife movement has mutated into a thing that eats its young and imagines that the unborn are being served by punishing a mother of 10 children with loss of her livelihood.

This. Was. Wrong.

Simcha Fisher is an ornament of the Church.  She has been such a gift to so many and I will be grateful to God for her till the day I die.  Punishing a mother of 10 with loss of income over something this utterly trivial is a judgment, not on her, but on the mob of bullies across St. Blog’s rejoicing over her humiliation.  She does none harm. She says none harm. She thinks none harm. Nevertheless, it is not for the bawdy jokes that this mob have sought her blood, but because she would not bend to the marriage of the Faith with a fraudulent disgrace like Donald Trump.

If you value her witness, check out her book and think about hiring this funny, earthy, humble, godly and orthodox woman to come and speak at your parish.

Let’s parse this out shall we?

1. Shea starts out by comparing the persecution of the Church with a writer losing a writing gig.

2.  He goes on to say that Fisher could be making a million bucks somewhere unnamed.  (I guess then that losing a minor writing job is not an immense tragedy for her?)

3.  Shea is unable to see why a Catholic publication would find it problematic to have a writer who makes “dick jokes” on her Facebook page.

4.   Shea utilizes the old pro-abort technique of condemning people who oppose abortion as not being pro-life.

5.  With no evidence other than his assertion he proclaims Fisher an “ornament of the Church”.

6.  Once again he laments the loss of what I assume was a fairly modest income to someone who could earn a million bucks elsewhere.

7.  Shea concludes by comparing Fisher to Saint Thomas More and Donald Trump to Henry VIII. Continue Reading

2

PopeWatch: Petition

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At this point in the current papacy, PopeWatch is not surprised by this:

 

 

LifeSiteNews and American Life League (ALL) have jointly launched an online petition asking for the withdrawal of the controversial sex education project released by the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Family last month. 

The petition, hosted on LifeSiteNews’ LifePetitions platform, is addressed to Pope Francis as well as Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family.

Sign the petition here.

Judie Brown, president of American Life League, stated, “It’s bad enough when Planned Parenthood pushes perverse forms of sex education into our schools. For the Vatican to jump on that bandwagon is a nightmare scenario. Someone must be asleep at the wheel, and it’s high time for them to wake up!”

The petition states (view here):

To: His Holiness Pope Francis and Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family

We, the undersigned, are scandalized and disheartened by the Pontifical Council for the Family’s new project known as The Meeting Point: Project for Affective and Sexual Formation.

This project has many dangerous flaws. For example:

  • It fails to state in clear language that parents are the primary educators of their children.
  • It never mentions Christ’s teaching on marriage.
  • It never names or denounces sexual behaviors such as fornication, masturbation, and homosexual activity.
  • It fails to provide any instruction on the Commandments, sin, and the sacraments.
  • It uses pictures of life-size naked sculptures to point out the physical differences (including genitals) between a man and a woman in a mixed classroom setting.
  • It shows suggestive and provocative images.
  • It recommends sexually explicit movies as catalysts to discussion.

Holy Father and Archbishop Paglia, we humbly beg you to protect and guide your flock by retracting this project and restating the Church’s perennial teachings on both the primacy of parents as the educators of their children and the proper approach of extreme caution to this task as explained in Familiaris Consortio.

The sex-ed program was officially launched by the Pontifical Council for the Family during World Youth Day in Poland at the end of July. 

Sign the petition here. Continue Reading

4

Pay for Play at the State Department

 

 

Judicial Watch, the conservative group that has forced, through litigation, the release of e-mails from Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State, has a press release today that builds a damning case that “pay for play” was standard operating procedure at the Clinton State Department:

 

 

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch today released 725 pages of new State Department documents, including previously unreleased email exchanges in which former Hillary Clinton’s top aide Huma Abedin provided influential Clinton Foundation donors special, expedited access to the secretary of state. In many instances, the preferential treatment provided to donors was at the specific request of Clinton Foundation executive Douglas Band.

The new documents included 20 Hillary Clinton email exchanges not previously turned over to the State Department, bringing the known total to date to 191 of new Clinton emails (not part of the 55,000 pages of emails that Clinton turned over to the State Department).  These records further appear to contradict statements by Clinton that, “as far as she knew,” all of her government emails were turned over to the State Department.

The Abedin emails reveal that the longtime Clinton aide apparently served as a conduit between Clinton Foundation donors and Hillary Clinton while Clinton served as secretary of state. In more than a dozen email exchanges, Abedin provided expedited, direct access to Clinton for donors who had contributed from $25,000 to $10 million to the Clinton Foundation. In many instances, Clinton Foundation top executive Doug Band, who worked with the Foundation throughout Hillary Clinton’s tenure at State, coordinated closely with Abedin. In Abedin’s June deposition to Judicial Watch, she conceded that part of her job at the State Department was taking care of “Clinton family matters.”

Included among the Abedin-Band emails is an exchange revealing that when Crown Prince Salman of Bahrain requested a meeting with Secretary of State Clinton, he was forced to go through the Clinton Foundation for an appointment. Abedin advised Band that when she went through “normal channels” at State, Clinton declined to meet. After Band intervened, however, the meeting was set up within forty-eight hours. According to the Clinton Foundation website, in 2005, Salman committed to establishing the Crown Prince’s International Scholarship Program (CPISP) for the Clinton Global Initiative. And by 2010, it had contributed $32 million to CGI. The Kingdom of Bahrain reportedly gave between $50,000 and $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation. And Bahrain Petroleum also gave an additional $25,000 to $50,000.

Continue Reading

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Reports That Mark Shea Has Been Fired By National Catholic Register.

Festung Shea

 

Various sites are reporting that Mark Shea has been fired from National Catholic Register.  Go here to read the first site, Eponymous Flower, that I believe reported it.  I have not yet seen anything from National Catholic Register, although Shea no longer appears among their bloggers.

Last month Stephen Herreid at The Stream demonstrated why no Catholic publication, except for the National Catholic Reporter, should wish to continue to publish the writings of Mark Shea:

Last month, blogger John Paul Shimek published a piece at the National Catholic Register in which he roundly insulted and dismissed conservative Catholics. The piece was removed* and replaced with a note telling readers the blog had bypassed editorial review and “did not reflect the Register’s editorial views.”

I was glad the Register took Shimek’s piece down, but Shimek isn’t the only Register writer who seems to lack impulse control when it comes to insulting pro-lifers and conservative Catholics. This is perplexing precisely because the Register is one of the more reliably orthodox Catholic publications.

Consider the views of Mark Shea and Simcha Fisher, two of the Register’s most prominent writers. Shea and Fisher are very active on Facebook and Twitter, where they share their work and interact publicly with their readers. All of the quotations below are taken either from their blogs on Catholic websites, or from their public social media feeds.

Calumny

Shea is hostile to conservatives, but especially to pro-lifers. Lately he has found a new way to insult them: lumping them in with the most unscrupulous supporters of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump:

A man who will not answer the question of whether he paid for abortions for his sexual conquests. An adulterer with credible rape charges against him, including one from a thirteen year old girl. That is what the prolife movement now stands for and is committed to defend. [emphasis added]

Of course there are countless godly men and women still working tirelessly within the GOP, and many of them are stern critics of Mr. Trump themselves. But Shea is no mere Trump critic. Consider what he writes about pro-life conservatives in general:

  • What the GOP — and above all conservative “prolife” Christians both Protestant and Catholics — still orgasmically [sic] support. They *love* torture! Love it! And they wonder why the prolife movement is dying in the US.”
  • And once again, we see the continuous message of American Movement Conservatism: Poor people are scum. Nothing is more important here than that poor people be punished. Nothing. *This* is one of the *real* core values of the right. And if the families they long to throw out of their jobs are thereby placed under intense pressure to abort their children by the poverty the “prolife” conservative *longs* to afflict them with, well too bad. Money, not unborn human life, is the *real* treasure.”
  • The popularity of Ted Cruz is Reason #92943792837 I call for the surgical removal of the parasite called American Conservatism that has attached itself like a lamprey to a large percentage of American Catholicism.”
  • Very rarely do I encounter conservative prolife Christians who actually believe that human life is sacred from conception to natural death. The overwhelming majority support unjust war, torture, maintenance of our gun violence regime, the death penalty (and fighting the Church to maintain even though it guarantees that innocents will be executed), xenophobia, apologetics for the nuking of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (which the Church calls a “crime against man and God”), grinding the faces of the poor, denial of health care to the poor, and (as the popularity of Donald Trump illustrates) overt racism. The habit of “prolife” people is to battle the Church on some or all of these issues and to appeal to abortion as the rationale for doing so. “We should be focusing on abortion!” they say. But in reality, they spend all their time and energy fighting the Church, not focusing on abortion.” (Emphasis added)

Hatred

Shea even relishes the prospect of Donald Trump destroying conservatism and discrediting the pro-life movement altogether.

  • It will be exquisite if the prolife movement succeed in electing the first president to have personally paid for an abortion for one of his mistresses. Crowning glory for the Wrong About Everything Party.”
  • My Republican chum here in Washington is already declaring it the end of the GOP.”
  • May [Trump] destroy the whole party and leave it in smoldering ruin.”

On a near-daily basis, Shea campaigns for gun control by sharing stories about black shooting-victims and adding: “Today’s human sacrifice to the gun cult.”

He recently went so far as to express anger that while blacks die at the hands of police, some “crazy gun-toting white ‘patriots’ are still breathing despite posing an obvious menace.” This was in the main body of a blog post addressed to Shea’s colleague Simcha Fisher. As seen below, Shea and Fisher seem to bring out the worst in each other.

Childish Bullying, Revolting Language

On Facebook, Fisher recently joked about the design of a Trump campaign logo: “It’s like, half swastika, half b*** j**.” (Asterisks added.)

When a reader took issue with Fisher’s language, she replied, “What the h**l are you even doing on my wall….? If you don’t like this kind of joke, fine. Move along.” She later accused her critics of only “pretending” to be upset that she “said b*** j**….” The real reason they were upset was “because they like Trump” or because they were in “a tizzy about Hillary.” (Asterisks added.)

For his part, Mark Shea simply replied with another childish gag. “Oh Simcha, live forever. Thank you for your penetrating analysis.” He then shared a slightly censored version of Fisher’s joke on his blog: “Most Freudian/Nietzschean Campaign Logo Evah! … Half Swastika/Half Love That Dare Not Speak its Name.” Continue Reading

Theodore Roosevelt and Civilization VI

Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in that grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.

Theodore Roosevelt

As faithful readers of this blog know, I like to play computer strategy games, almost always historical simulations.  I have written before, here and here, about the game Civilization VI which is being release on October 21 and  which I eagerly anticipate.    As in past incarnations of Civilization, each of the nations will have a leader.  Past leaders of the US in Civilization games have been George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.  This time it is Theodore Roosevelt.  As a fan of Colonel Roosevelt I like the choice, but what have they done to Teddy! His girth is more reminiscent of his successor Taft instead of Roosevelt!  Continue Reading

PopeWatch: Bear Growls: Theology

 

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With apologies to Andrew Lloyd Webber.  Our bruin friend at Saint Corbinian’s Bear gives us Theology, the Art of the Possible:

PRELATES
One has no rules
Is not precise
One rarely acts
The same way twice
One spurns no device
Practicing the art of the possible One always picks
The easy fight
One praises fools
One smothers light
one shifts left to right
It’s part of the art of the possible

THE BEAR (on the air)
I’m only a blogger, in fact I’m a Bear
But as a pewsitter I wanted to share
We are tired of
the decline of
Our Church
with no sign of
A Vatican able to give us the things we deserve

PRELATES
One always claims
Mistakes were planned
When risk is slight
One takes one’s stand
With much sleight of hand
Theology–the art of the possible

One has no rules
Is not precise
One rarely acts
The same way twice
One spurns no device
Theology–the art of the possible

Continue Reading

21

Hillary, Stop Measuring the Oval Office Drapes Quite Yet

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The Los Angeles Times daily Presidential Tracking Poll today shows Trump two points in the lead.  All other polls show Clinton still ahead but with a closing gap between her and Trump.  Remember, in August the horserace numbers tend to be unimportant, but the direction can be significant.  The Clinton campaign and the mainstream media have been selling the narrative that Trump is a maniac who is a terrible candidate and this race is over.  It clearly isn’t, and they had better come up with a new line of attack because this one has passed its sell by date. Continue Reading

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Pope Saint Pius X: PASCENDI DOMINICI GREGIS

 

 

To the Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, Bishops
and other Local Ordinaries in Peace
and Communion with the Apostolic See.

Venerable Brethren, Health and Apostolic Benediction.

The office divinely committed to Us of feeding the Lord’s flock has especially this duty assigned to it by Christ, namely, to guard with the greatest vigilance the deposit of the faith delivered to the saints, rejecting the profane novelties of words and oppositions of knowledge falsely so called. There has never been a time when this watchfulness of the supreme pastor was not necessary to the Catholic body; for, owing to the efforts of the enemy of the human race, there have never been lacking “men speaking perverse things” (Acts xx. 30), “vain talkers and seducers” (Tit. i. 10), “erring and driving into error” (2 Tim. iii. 13). Still it must be confessed that the number of the enemies of the cross of Christ has in these last days increased exceedingly, who are striving, by arts, entirely new and full of subtlety, to destroy the vital energy of the Church, and, if they can, to overthrow utterly Christ’s kingdom itself. Wherefore We may no longer be silent, lest We should seem to fail in Our most sacred duty, and lest the kindness that, in the hope of wiser counsels, We have hitherto shown them, should be attributed to forgetfulness of Our office.

Gravity of the Situation

2. That We make no delay in this matter is rendered necessary especially by the fact that the partisans of error are to be sought not only among the Church’s open enemies; they lie hid, a thing to be deeply deplored and feared, in her very bosom and heart, and are the more mischievous, the less conspicuously they appear. We allude, Venerable Brethren, to many who belong to the Catholic laity, nay, and this is far more lamentable, to the ranks of the priesthood itself, who, feigning a love for the Church, lacking the firm protection of philosophy and theology, nay more, thoroughly imbued with the poisonous doctrines taught by the enemies of the Church, and lost to all sense of modesty, vaunt themselves as reformers of the Church; and, forming more boldly into line of attack, assail all that is most sacred in the work of Christ, not sparing even the person of the Divine Redeemer, whom, with sacrilegious daring, they reduce to a simple, mere man.

3. Though they express astonishment themselves, no one can justly be surprised that We number such men among the enemies of the Church, if, leaving out of consideration the internal disposition of soul, of which God alone is the judge, he is acquainted with their tenets, their manner of speech, their conduct. Nor indeed will he err in accounting them the most pernicious of all the adversaries of the Church. For as We have said, they put their designs for her ruin into operation not from without but from within; hence, the danger is present almost in the very veins and heart of the Church, whose injury is the more certain, the more intimate is their knowledge of her. Moreover they lay the axe not to the branches and shoots, but to the very root, that is, to the faith and its deepest fires. And having struck at this root of immortality, they proceed to disseminate poison through the whole tree, so that there is no part of Catholic truth from which they hold their hand, none that they do not strive to corrupt. Further, none is more skilful, none more astute than they, in the employment of a thousand noxious arts; for they double the parts of rationalist and Catholic, and this so craftily that they easily lead the unwary into error; and since audacity is their chief characteristic, there is no conclusion of any kind from which they shrink or which they do not thrust forward with pertinacity and assurance. To this must be added the fact, which indeed is well calculated to deceive souls, that they lead a life of the greatest activity, of assiduous and ardent application to every branch of learning, and that they possess, as a rule, a reputation for the strictest morality. Finally, and this almost destroys all hope of cure, their very doctrines have given such a bent to their minds, that they disdain all authority and brook no restraint; and relying upon a false conscience, they attempt to ascribe to a love of truth that which is in reality the result of pride and obstinacy.

Once indeed We had hopes of recalling them to a better sense, and to this end we first of all showed them kindness as Our children, then we treated them with severity, and at last We have had recourse, though with great reluctance, to public reproof. But you know, Venerable Brethren, how fruitless has been Our action. They bowed their head for a moment, but it was soon uplifted more arrogantly than ever. If it were a matter which concerned them alone, We might perhaps have overlooked it: but the security of the Catholic name is at stake. Wherefore, as to maintain it longer would be a crime, We must now break silence, in order to expose before the whole Church in their true colours those men who have assumed this bad disguise.

Division of the Encyclical

4. But since the Modernists (as they are commonly and rightly called) employ a very clever artifice, namely, to present their doctrines without order and systematic arrangement into one whole, scattered and disjointed one from another, so as to appear to be in doubt and uncertainty, while they are in reality firm and steadfast, it will be of advantage, Venerable Brethren, to bring their teachings together here into one group, and to point out the connexion between them, and thus to pass to an examination of the sources of the errors, and to prescribe remedies for averting the evil. Continue Reading

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Trump to Louisiana

 

Acting in lieu of our golfing President,  Trump and Pence visited flood ravaged Louisiana Friday and dispensed relief supplies filling an 18 wheeler donated by Trump.  Critics will of course say that he is motivated by politics in doing this and they are correct.  It is good politics and Trump seemed genuinely moved by the positive reaction from the people he met who were grateful that someone nationally known cared enough to come down to see them.  Hillary has taken the weekend off to rest up.  While she is snoozing Trump has put himself back into this race. Continue Reading

PopeWatch: Manicheans

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

 

Nashville, TN–Police officials reported that their investigation following last week’s tragic bombing of St. Augustine Academy for Boys has led them to three possible suspects, members of an underground Manichean ring of terrorists in the Nashville area. “After the bombing, in which 6 boys and 1 Augustinian priest were injured,” said the Commissioner, “there was a flood of speculation about who would have the heart to commit such an awful act, and who would be holding a grudge this ugly against the Augustinians.” After doing their research, which included browsing through the “Augustinians” page on the old Catholic Encyclopedia found on Newadvent.org, the team of investigators began to consider the possibility that this was more than a random act of violence, but could indeed be the result of a centuries-old feud. “St. Augustine converted from the Manichean religion, and attacked many of its teachings in his subsequent writings,” continued the Commissioner. “It is not impossible that this bombing was an act of revenge.” At press time, Manichean groups were protesting at the courthouse, carrying signs reading, “We are a religion of peace.”

 

 

 

Continue Reading

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Funeral March of a Marionette

 

Something for the weekend.  Funeral March of a Marionette.  Written in 1872 by Charles Gounod, it will be familiar to Americans of my vintage who can recall it as the theme song of Alfred Hitchcock Presents which ran from 1955-1965.  (In its last three seasons the half hour show was expanded to an hour and renamed The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.)

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Greater Love

 

Heroism and self sacrifice such as this is why dogs will always be the best friend of Man:

 

The girl’s mother, Erika Poremski, told WBAL-TV that she’d stepped out of her house for a few moments on Sunday evening when the fire broke out. Her young daughter, Viviana, was stuck on the second floor of the house.

“I just heard her crying and I couldn’t get to her,” Poremski said. “I tried really hard, everyone in the neighborhood tried. They were kicking the doors in and kicking the windows out. I couldn’t (get her out). Nobody could.”

Firefighters from Baltimore City Fire Department arrived on the scene to find fire and smoke billowing from the house. They entered the burning building and found Viviana in her room – where Polo the dog was covering the infant with his body.  Continue Reading

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Trump Speech In North Carolina: 8/18/16

 

 

Trump is improving as a speaker.   Probably his best delivered speech yet.  He will never be a great orator but he is becoming an effective speaker.

Over my 34 years at the bar I have noticed that the most successful business men and women have an ability to adapt to changing market conditions swiftly.  I think we are seeing some of that quality in the Trump campaign this week.  What he was doing wasn’t working so he now has changed personnel and has had the best week of his campaign since the convention.  I confess that I am surprised that he has put this together so swiftly.  I wasn’t expect to see this until the first week in September.  Here is the text of Trump’s speech:

 

Thank you. It’s great to be here in Charlotte. I just met with our many amazing employees right up the road at our property.

 

I’d like to take a moment to talk about the heartbreak and devastation in Louisiana, a state that is very special to me.

 

We are one nation. When one state hurts, we all hurt – and we must all work together to lift each other up. Working, building, restoring together.

 

Our prayers are with the families who have lost loved ones, and we send them our deepest condolences. Though words cannot express the sadness one feels at times like this, I hope everyone in Louisiana knows that our country is praying for them and standing with them to help them in these difficult hours.

 

We are one country, one people, and we will have together one great future.

 

Tonight, I’d like to talk about the New American Future we are going to create together.

 

Last week, I laid out my plan to bring jobs back to our country.

 

On Monday, I laid out my plan to defeat Radical Islamic Terrorism.

 

On Tuesday, in Wisconsin, I talked about how we are going to restore law and order to this country.

 

Let me take this opportunity to extend our thanks and our gratitude to the police and law enforcement officers in this country who have sacrificed so greatly in these difficult times.

 

The chaos and violence on our streets, and the assaults on law enforcement, are an attack against all peaceful citizens. If I am elected President, this chaos and violence will end – and it will end very quickly.

 

Every single citizen in our land has a right to live in safety.

 

To be one united nation, we must protect all of our people. But we must also provide opportunities for all of our people.

 

We cannot make America Great Again if we leave any community behind. Continue Reading

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Florence Foster Jenkins

 

One of the more curious cultural artifacts in the history of this country is the very odd musical career of Florence Foster Jenkins.  A rich heiress, she loved music.  She was a talented pianist in her youth but stopped taking lessons when she married in 1885 at age 18 Dr. Frank Thornton Jenkins.  The marriage was a rocky one, characterized by her contracting syphilis from him.  They parted after three years.  He passed away in 1917, but she retained her married name for the remainder of her life.  Moving to New York with her mother in 1900, she founded the Verdi Club in 1917, to share her love of music.  It was through this venue that she embarked upon her career as a singer, giving recitals to small groups of fans, with musical critics carefully excluded.  Jenkins was convinced she was a great singer.  In truth she was an an appallingly bad singer, with virtually no sense of rhythm or pitch.  She was a generous patron of various causes, most of them musical, and her audiences treated her with kindness, any titters being drowned by applause.

She would be forgotten today but for a memorable concert she gave for charity at Carnegie Hall on October 25, 1944.  The tickets for the event sold out immediately and about 2000 people were turned away the night of the performance.  Ticket prices were $20.00, the equivalent of $274.00 today.  (Privates in the US Army, with combat pay, earned $50.00 per month in 1944.)  Many celebrities attended.  As in her past outings, her fans covered over laughter during her performance with applause.  Alas music critics were among the crowd and their reviews were scathing.  She passed away a month and a day later of a heart attack.  She had been crushed by the bad reviews but, considering that she was in the tertiary stages of syphilis her death may well have had nothing to do with her reaction to the reviews.

Remarkably, in the past two years there have been two films about Jenkins, one in French and the other in English, Florence Foster Jenkins, starring Meryl Streep in the title role.  I saw this film last Saturday with my family and the Godmother of my children and my review is below the fold.  The usual caveat as to spoilers is in full effect. Continue Reading

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PopeWatch: Separated at Birth

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PopeWatch is glad that he is not the only one who has noticed similarities between The Donald and The Pope:

 

From one of the Maureen Mullarkey’s correspondents:

 

Catholics should be quite at home in a Trump administration. We’ve been living under the same style of communication during this entire pontificate — absurd unscripted remark, inevitable walk back by the press office hacks, and a contradiction by the public figure the following week. Continue Reading

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PopeWatch: Pizza and a Swim

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Ah, but are they getting anchovies on their pizza?

 

This summer, Pope Francis is treating dozens of homeless people to a day at the beach and dinner in a local pizzeria on the way back.

The Vatican Almoner, or the Pope’s almsgiver, Polish archbishop Konrad Krajewski, told La Stampa daily that, with the help of the Swiss Guards, Apb. Krajewski drives a van with 10 people to a beach near Rome for a dip in the sea, sunbathing and then pizza. Continue Reading

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Cajun Navy

 

The national news media seems strangely indifferent to the current Louisiana flooding in comparison to their non-stop coverage of Katrina during the Bush administration.  Be that as it may, a great many people are in a great deal of need in the Pelican State.  In the comboxes please link to worthwhile relief organizations through which funds may be contributed to help out.  While we send material aid lets also remember them in our prayers:

 
REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.
Holy Mother we ask that you pray to God to strengthen our brothers and sisters afflicted by the floods in Louisiana.  May He grant them grace, lighten their burdens and gladden their hearts.  May He inspire Christians to lend a helping hand to His children in Louisiana in their distress.  Our Lady of Prompt Succor, let the World see why we look to you as our Mother, Guide and Protectress.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.  Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.  Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.  Amen

 

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Evil Weevils

 

The choices this year are appalling for President, but this election is fascinating.  The LA Times Tracking Poll which showed Clinton breaking away now has Clinton leading by one point.  Go here to view it.  You see the cycles in this race clearly enough from their chart of the race.  I hypothesize that when one candidate starts to rise they reach a point where the public begins to be alarmed and then the other candidate goes back up.  Lesser of two evils is a cliché, but it is very much the choice in this year of grace.

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PopeWatch: Signs and Portents

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A Marian appearance in the Pope’s native Argentina has been approved:

 

Motta began seeing the apparitions after she saw rosaries glowing in homes throughout San Nicolas de los Arroyos. She began to pray to the Virgin Mary, who subsequently appeared to her carrying the infant Jesus and wearing a blue gown and veil.

Since 1983, Motta says she has received more than 1,800 visitations from Mary and another 68 from Jesus. Miraculous healings and glowing rosaries have been attributed to them.

In May, the bishop of San Nicolas, Bishop Hector Cardelli, declared that Motta’s visions were of a “supernatural character” and he said he believed the messages had been sent by God.

That was a possible first step toward elevating Our Lady of the Rosary of San Nicolas to a major place of pilgrimage on a par with famous Marian shrines like Lourdes in France, Fatima in Portugal or Guadalupe in Mexico.

“So we have an apparition where we have a living visionary, who’s approved as authentic by the bishops,” Michael O’Neil, who runs the website MiracleHunter.com,told Catholic News Agency. “Usually they wait until the messages end or the visionary dies, but in this particular case they decided to go ahead with the approval.”

In an interview in the sacristy of the shrine, Cardelli, who became bishop in 2004, said the confirmation that Motta’s visions were worthy of belief was arrived at after psychiatric tests that ensured that she was of sound mind, as well as extensive research and consultations with other clergy and experts.

“The quality, richness of and exquisite content of the messages, and what they produced in terms of conversions, life changes, and healings cannot be the result of mere human action,” Cardelli told RNS.

Cardelli said he spoke about the apparitions with Pope Francis back when the Argentine pontiff was still Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, archbishop of Buenos Aires, and the future pope approved of his confirming them.

Aside from wanting a shrine built to her in San Nicolas, the Virgin Mother’s messages – according to Motta – urged renewed faith and frequently lamented the current state of the world.

In another sign that the church accepts Motta’s visions, the diocese last year began publishing messages including many that hadn’t been made public previously.

“This mother continues to endure pain,” says one of the messages. “Pain because humanity is headed for ruin; pain from seeing so much hatred in the world; pain from so much war; pain from such great atheism, pain because men are not allowed to bring the Lord into their hearts.”

Continue Reading

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Trump Speech in Wisconsin: Law and Order

 

 

Continuing on with my task of doing what the mainstream media is failing to do this year, allowing the message of both candidates to reach the voters, Trump gave a speech last night in Wisconsin with his focus on law and order, and how the status quo fails inner city blacks.  Here is the text of his speech:

 

We are at a decisive moment in this election.

Last week, I laid out my plan to bring jobs back to our country. Yesterday, I laid out my plan to defeat Radical Islamic Terrorism. Tonight, I am going to talk about how to make our communities safe again from crime and lawlessness.

Let me begin by thanking the law enforcement officers here in this city, and across this country, for their service and sacrifice in difficult times.

The violence, riots and destruction that have taken place in Milwaukee is an assault on the right of all citizens to live in security and peace.

The main victims of these riots are law-abiding African-American citizens living in these neighborhoods. It is their jobs, their homes, their schools and communities which will suffer as a result.

There is no compassion in tolerating lawless conduct. Crime and violence is an attack on the poor, and will never be accepted in a Trump Administration.

The narrative that has been pushed aggressively for years now by our current Administration, and pushed by my opponent Hillary Clinton, is a false one. The problem in our poorest communities is not that there are too many police, the problem is that there are not enough police.

More law enforcement, more community engagement, more effective policing is what our country needs.

Just like Hillary Clinton is against the miners, she is against the police. You know it, and I know it. Continue Reading

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Welcome Canon 212!

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Canon 212

§1. Conscious of their own responsibility, the Christian faithful are bound to follow with Christian obedience those things which the sacred pastors, inasmuch as they represent Christ, declare as teachers of the faith or establish as rulers of the Church.

2. The Christian faithful are free to make known to the pastors of the Church their needs, especially spiritual ones, and their desires.

3. According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, they have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.

 

There is a new Catholic Aggregator site in Saint Blog’s and I like the cut of their jib.  Go here to take a look at the site.  I have added it to my favorites and I would encourage you to do the same.

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Trump Foreign Policy Speech

Since most of the media has decided to view Donald Trump as a public enemy rather than as a candidate for President, I have decided to post his foreign policy speech from yesterday so our readers can have access to his address.  Below is the text of the speech.  As readers of this blog know, I do not support Trump, but the attitude of the media towards him, as opposed to their attitude towards Hillary Clinton, I find nauseating.  Trump deserves to have the substance of his remarks conveyed to the American people so they can make up their own minds, and that is simply not happening in this election where the media is acting as unpaid press agents for Clinton.  The media has always been biased against Republicans during my lifetime, but in this election no attempt is being made to even conceal it.  The people deserve better.  Here is the text of Trump’s remarks. Continue Reading