25 Responses to New Year Open Thread

  • Bliadhna Mhath Ùr dhuibh uile! as they say in the Western Isles – A happy New Year to all!

  • Best wishes to all for a grace-filled, healthy, joyful, peaceful year.
    I’m old (66 going on 16!) enough to remember the feast day for New Years Day was The Circumcision.
    I do not make resolutions.
    Each day I meditate on the pertinent Mysteries of the Holy Rosary. Tomorrow, in addition to the Glorious Mysteries, I will think of the Fourth Joyful Mystery, The Presentation, and ponder the Blessed Virgin Mary’s obedience to the law of God and desire a spirit of sacrifice.

    God bless you one and all.

  • Today’s Epistle Reading for the 7th Day in the Octave of Christmas is 1st John 2:18-21. Nothing more need be said:
    Children, it is the last hour;
    and just as you heard that the antichrist was coming,
    so now many antichrists have appeared.
    Thus we know this is the last hour.
    They went out from us, but they were not really of our number;
    if they had been, they would have remained with us.
    Their desertion shows that none of them was of our number.
    But you have the anointing that comes from the Holy One,
    and you all have knowledge.
    I write to you not because you do not know the truth
    but because you do, and because every lie is alien to the truth.

  • To Don the Kiwi.

    Happy 2017!

    Your always living in the future compared to us Yanks.

    To all TAC.
    Blessings for a remarkable 2017 to come.
    Peace to each of your households.
    Love from God rest gentle in your souls.

  • btw… CNN & Westworld bit….Too close to call. Life imatate’s art?…Hummm. In this case, absolutely.

  • There was a rather sour note on which our household has had to end the year. I really can’t say anymore about it.

    Let’s hope the New Year turns out better than 2016. It isn’t that all of 2016 has been bad. Hillary lost. Pennsylvania made it happen. The Penguins won the Stanley Cup. My oldest son made his First Communion. Yet, it’s time to turn the page.
    Happy New Year, everyone. Sto Lat!

  • IS Westworld the thing we’re all supposed to be talking about now? I guess it’s not Game of Thrones any more. Or did Hamilton count?

  • Overall, 2016 was a Happy Year: Republican sweep, more folks began to see Pope Francis for what he is and is not.

    Hopefully, 2017 will fulfill the promises of 2016.

    Happy New Year and Happy 100th Anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima. Maybe she will arrange a little help for our Pope situation.

  • May God bless y’all and keep y’all in 2017 and always hold you and those you cherish safe in the palm of His hand. Guy McClung, San Antonio TX

    T-Shaw-there you go again! a la the democrat/totalitarian principle of nonnon-contradiction, a thing can at the same time be and not be. You have created the “resolution paradox,” not unlike the liar paradox: My resolution it not to make any resolutions. My resolution: I resolve not to tell anyone my resolutions.

  • “My resolution: I resolve not to tell anyone my resolutions.”

    That might not be a paradox. You could just be terrible at not telling resolutions. Sounds like the kind of person who should make a resolution to not tell resolutions.

  • Reaching back into the past, thank you Philip for your kind thought (you may be surprised at what other things NZ leads the world 😉 – I’ll publish a list some day )
    To all at TAC I wish you all a happy, successful and blessed new year.
    2016 wasn’t so bad – Trump won Hillary lost, Obama is almost gone, Trump won, All Blacks continued their reign as the world’s greatest rugby team, Ireland beat the All Blacks in Chigago at Soldiers Field, for the first time in 109 years (didn’t mind though – something special about the Irish) ISIS is on the run thanks to Vlad the oppressor, and Obama’s going – and did I mention Trump won? 🙂 Oh – and God bless Cdl. Bourke and his supporters, and all pray for the conversion of Pope Francis.
    God bless all, Dcn. Don Beckett.

  • “To all at TAC I wish you all a happy, successful and blessed new year.”

    I share that wish Don for all our contributors, commenters and readers! I will miss 2016. It was a unique experience living through the year when the improbable so frequently became the probable.

  • Re: Our Lady of Fatima…my wife’s dad, who was 14 years old in 1917, saw the Miracle of the Sun from his residence on Madiera Island (a Portugese possession in the Atlantic off the African coast). We have a small plaque in Portugese commemorating the apparition.

  • PF

    I’ve shared this book, Meet the Witnesses by John M. Haffert, and have had tremendous response from the sceptical that have considered Fatima high fiction.

    Have you read this one?
    Originally published in the year of my birth, 1961.

  • Did he write an account PF? If he did, I would like to run it on TAC.

  • I will ask the missus what she remembers of what her father told her. Senhor DeAndrade was just 14 years old in 1917. His view of the Miracle was from Madiera, which is hundreds of miles from mainland Portugal. I have not read the book Meet the Witnesses.

    For reasons I shall not disclose, I have good reason to belive fully in the approved apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

  • Peace on earth to men of good will. Peace on earth and good will to men. One is a heavenly blessing. One is a wish for good will, probably to men who have none. “…and all the faithful here assembled…” is another one of those blessings that excludes the unfaithful and those individuals lacking good will.

  • PF

    No explanation necessary.
    I didn’t think for a moment you doubted.

    I’ve shared the story throughout the years and mostly with Protestant Co-workers.
    The book always catches them.
    Planting seeds….Not weeds. 🙂

  • THE CONSTITUTION for the United States, the supreme Law of the Land is one of our Founding Principles, the other being The UNANIMOUS DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Both THE CONSTITUTION and THE UNANIMOUS DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE acknowledge divine Providence and God as our “Creator”. Both Founding Principles are integral cornerstones of freedom, indispensable and inviolable.
    Atheism denies both the sovereign person endowed by “their Creator” and the Constitution’s First Amendment freedom acknowledging the citizen’s innate human right to relate to God in a private and personal relationship with his “Creator” in thought, word, deed and peaceable assembly. (When we speak of peaceable assembly we speak of a person’s civil right to defend himself against addiction to sodomy. The angels sing of Peace on earth to men of good will. The absence of good will for the common good is a sure sign of tyranny and abuse of power) The violation of the sovereign person’s civil right to engage in a personal relationship with God is a violation of the Law of the Land and of our Founding Principles. A violation of our Founding Principles violates the sovereign personhood of the human being and his sovereignty to institute sovereign government.
    Our Founding Principles acknowledge God and the sovereign Persons of God by invoking the protection of divine providence and guarding the innate sovereignty of the citizen endowed by their “Creator”. This is the secular function of all government.
    Atheism eradicates all First Amendment freedom for the citizen. The atheist as a death bed convert must be tolerated because of his unrealized sovereign personhood.
    Why does Roe v. Wade enshrine the lowly human being elected to public office as public servant by his peers to rule as lord and master of life? The public servant has no authentic authority over life and death except as informed by The Founding Principles. How does Roe v. Wade, the abortion decision of January 22, 1973, violate against our Founding Principles? The newly begotten human being is legally and morally innocent. Perfect innocence is the standard of Justice for our government. Since the sovereignty of the newly begotten human person institutes the state from the very first moment of his existence, the newly begotten person has a claim on the government to guard and protect his life.
    When the innocent human being is threatened with death and annihilation by Roe v. Wade and abortion, the person becomes a ward of the court to have his innate human right to life guarded for him until he may guard himself.
    How does Roe v. Wade redefine our government? Roe v. Wade redefines our government by indiscriminately relegating authority to destroy human life in the womb to a civilian by abolishing the guardianship of the government to protect the sovereign person and that sovereign person’s civil rights.
    Roe v. Wade is a decision handed down to every citizen legalizing the termination of human life in the womb. The abortion decision abolished the authentic authority of the government in the Supreme Court to guard and protect the human being as a ward of the court. Roe v. Wade never ascertained nor demanded that the burden of proof that the newly conceived human being in the womb was not a sovereign person. The decision to allow the slaughter of innocent unborn people in the womb is a miscarriage of Justice that cries to heaven for vengeance. It is a violation that abrogates our Founding Principles and damns the nation to a demographic winter, to a people not replacing themselves.
    All human life begins as a single cell animated by a created rational, immortal, human soul. All human life, the human being of one cell, begins life with free will, intellect and sovereign personhood. The newly begotten sovereign person freely wills to survive from the very first moment of his existence. Death or a spontaneous abortion occurs when the soul can no longer abide in the human body. The intentional destruction of a single human person is homicide. The eradication of generations of our constitutional Posterity, all future generations, is genocide. Genocide perpetrated by another person is treason.
    “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness….That to secure these rights Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” The UNANIMOUS DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE ratified by every state, specifically states that all men are created equal and endowed with certain unalienable human rights by their Creator. Roe v. Wade states that the sovereign person is not created equal. The abortion decision states that the human being is born equal and is endowed with unalienable human rights by the government. Roe v. Wade refuses to accept our Founding Principles, refuses to defend the unborn sovereign person as a ward of the Court, refuses to admit to the innate human right to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness, and further denies “their Creator” in a gasp of atheism being spewed upon the citizens.
    The Supreme Court’s denial of “their Creator” in Roe v. Wade is a violation of our Founding Principles. The Court’s denial of “their Creator” in Roe v. Wade is seized upon by government agencies, most of which are comprised of unelected officials, who use Roe v. Wade to further their political careers and abuse the taxpayers. Unelected officials and the Supreme Court through the abortion decision of 1973 have fostered genocide against our Constitutional Posterity. There cannot be peace on earth unless men have good will.
    Thank you…The Freelance Philosopher

  • “The decision to allow the slaughter of innocent unborn people in the womb is a miscarriage of Justice that cries to heaven for vengeance.”

    Mary De Voe.
    You are spot on, agian.
    All of it.

    A Nation chosen by God. A Blessed Nation.
    A Nation that was…Was the light on the hill.

    Ashes and sackcloth might not be enough.

  • Thank you, Philip. I got my hair shirt on now.

  • Mortifications Mary.
    Hair shirt on Tuesday and Thursday, bed of glass on Saturday and self flagellation on Monday Wednesday and Friday.

    Sunday? Well..

    After Mass, you must watch an hour of CNN.
    That might be too much punishment…The CNN part.

  • On a serious note, the following piece is from a imprisoned priest that I’ve been following for a number of years. Fr. Gordon. Today’s publication, in my opinion, is note worthy and I hope you don’t mind if I share the link.


    Thank you.

  • Philip: Thank you for the link. Walls do not a prison make. Prayers for Father Gordon Macrae

  • Thanks Mary.
    He has a devotion to Mary through St. Maximilian Kolbe. Please use this information when praying on his behalf.
    Peace sister.

How the West Was Won

Saturday, December 31, AD 2016

Western Wagons

They went with axe and rifle, when the trail was still to blaze,
They went with wife and children, in the prairie-schooner days,
With banjo and with frying pan—Susanna, don’t you cry!
For I’m off to California to get rich out there or die!

We’ve broken land and cleared it, but we’re tired of where we are.
They say that wild Nebraska is a better place by far.
There’s gold in far Wyoming, there’s black earth in Ioway,
So pack up the kids and blankets, for we’re moving out today!

The cowards never started and the weak died on the road,
And all across the continent the endless campfires glowed.
We’d taken land and settled but a traveler passed by—
And we’re going West tomorrow—Lordy , never ask us why!

We’re going West tomorrow, where the promises can’t fail.
O’er the hills in legions, boys, and crowd the dusty trail!
We shall starve and freeze and suffer. We shall die, and tame the lands.
But we’re going West tomorrow, with our fortune in our hands.

Stephen Vincent Benet

Something for a New  Year weekend.  The theme  song from the movie How the West Was Won (1962).  The death of Debbie Reynolds drew my attention to this film, which featured her in a starring role.  The film itself is an uneven work, but it has a magnificent score which captures something of the spirit of the pioneers.    The settlement of the West, from the Appalachians to the Pacific, is perhaps the defining event in the history of our nation and it receives too little historical comment.  Thomas Jefferson thought it would take one hundred generations to settle the land beyond the Mississippi.  Instead, from the ending of the American Revolution to the census of 1890 which proclaimed that the frontier no longer existed, barely five generations had passed, and there were a handful of Americans at the end still living who had lived through almost all of it.  This epic tale is perhaps too large for the historians and thus today I have picked out two poems written by Stephen Vincent Benet that convey a small fragment of the passion, grandeur, tragedy and wonder  of it all.

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8 Responses to How the West Was Won

Silence, Faith and Courage

Friday, December 30, AD 2016

“Like my Master, I shall die upon the cross. Like him, a lance will pierce my heart so that my blood and my love can flow out upon the land and sanctify it to his name.”

Saint Paul Miki, statement before his martyrdom in 1597 in Japan


Bishop Barron has a good hard look at  Martin Scorsese’s movie Silence, based on the 1966 novel of the same name by Shūsaku Endo about two Jesuit missionaries who apostatized in Seventeenth century Japan:

The next day, in the presence of Christians being horrifically tortured, hung upside down inside a pit filled with excrement, he is given the opportunity, once more, to step on a depiction of the face of Christ. At the height of his anguish, resisting from the depth of his heart, Rodrigues hears what he takes to be the voice of Jesus himself, finally breaking the divine silence, telling him to trample on the image. When he does so, a cock crows in the distance. In the wake of his apostasy, he follows in the footsteps of Ferreira, becoming a ward of the state, a well-fed, well-provided for philosopher, regularly called upon to step on a Christian image and formally renounce his Christian faith. He takes a Japanese name and a Japanese wife and lives out many long years in Japan before his death at the age of 64 and his burial in a Buddhist ceremony.

What in the world do we make of this strange and disturbing story? Like any great film or novel, Silence obviously resists a univocal or one-sided interpretation. In fact, almost all of the commentaries that I have read, especially from religious people, emphasize how Silence beautifully brings forward the complex, layered, ambiguous nature of faith. Fully acknowledging the profound psychological and spiritual truth of that claim, I wonder whether I might add a somewhat dissenting voice to the conversation? I would like to propose a comparison, altogether warranted by the instincts of a one-time soldier named Ignatius of Loyola, who founded the Jesuit order to which all the Silence missionaries belonged. Suppose a small team of highly-trained American special ops was smuggled behind enemy lines for a dangerous mission. Suppose furthermore that they were aided by loyal civilians on the ground, who were eventually captured and proved willing to die rather than betray the mission. Suppose finally that the troops themselves were eventually detained and, under torture, renounced their loyalty to the United States, joined their opponents and lived comfortable lives under the aegis of their former enemies. Would anyone be eager to celebrate the layered complexity and rich ambiguity of their patriotism? Wouldn’t we see them rather straightforwardly as cowards and traitors? 

My worry is that all of the stress on complexity and multivalence and ambiguity is in service of the cultural elite today, which is not that different from the Japanese cultural elite depicted in the film. What I mean is that the secular establishment always prefers Christians who are vacillating, unsure, divided, and altogether eager to privatize their religion. And it is all too willing to dismiss passionately religious people as dangerous, violent, and let’s face it, not that bright. Revisit Ferreira’s speech to Rodrigues about the supposedly simplistic Christianity of the Japanese laity if you doubt me on this score. I wonder whether Shusaku Endo (and perhaps Scorsese) was actually inviting us to look away from the priests and toward that wonderful group of courageous, pious, dedicated, long-suffering lay people who kept the Christian faith alive under the most inhospitable conditions imaginable and who, at the decisive moment, witnessed to Christ with their lives. Whereas the specially trained Ferreira and Rodrigues became paid lackeys of a tyrannical government, those simple folk remained a thorn in the side of the tyranny. 

I know, I know, Scorsese shows the corpse of Rodrigues inside his coffin clutching a small crucifix, which proves, I suppose, that the priest remained in some sense Christian. But again, that’s just the kind of Christianity the regnant culture likes: utterly privatized, hidden away, harmless.  So okay, perhaps a half-cheer for Rodrigues, but a full-throated three cheers for the martyrs, crucified by the seaside.

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16 Responses to Silence, Faith and Courage

  • This movie feeds right into the narrative of the liberal progressive left: we must give up any public expression of our Faith in order to save lives. Jesus however said in Luke chapter 14:
    25 Now great multitudes accompanied him; and he turned and said to them, 26 “If any one comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build, and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and take counsel whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends an embassy and asks terms of peace. 33 So therefore, whoever of you does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.
    I hate it that liberals do this – twist mercy into a caricature that demands renunciation of the Lord. I see evil tyrants torturing Christians and am told that I can stop it if I renounce the Faith, and if I don’t, then I am responsible for the death of those being tortured. What a lie. That never stops the torture in the long run. And I am not the one doing the killing. The evil tyrants are.
    What did Saints like Ignatius of Antioch do? His Epistle to the Romans tells us. We all know the story. But it is heroism like his that liberalism wants to trample on and make seem unmerciful. I hate liberalism. It’s the ISM – I, Self and Me. “I won’t feel bad or guilty if I just renounce Christ to save those being tortured. I have to stop feeling badly. I have to stop my pain at seeing them tortured. I – I – I.”
    Com’on, folks. See the liberal lie in that film! It ain’t mercy. It’s selfishness.

  • The Spec Op analogy is excellent and apt.

  • The good news!

    A platform for apologetic discussion.

    I would use Saint Maximilian Kolbe’s venture into Japan and subsequent Garden of the Immaculate aka Mugenzai no Sono.
    The providential site of this convent located on the back side of Mt. Hikosan in Nagasaki became a make shift hospital in 1945 since it was protected from the blast of the bomb.

    More importantly, the discernment of listening and hearing our Lord comes to mind. Kolbe faced horrific scenarios yet his conversation within himself and Christ lead to self sacrifice, not self preservation. Rodrigues listened. Who was speaking is not clear.

  • Stories of the saints inspire, uplift, challenge. I’ve already got too much in common with apostates, and zero time for dwelling on their failures. Upstate NY happens to be soaked in the blood of martyrs—just going for a walk outdoors is a humbling reminder of Catholic sacrifice.

    As an aside, I beg your prayers tonight for my mother, currently being driven 45 miles to the ER on a bad snowy night. Thank you and bless you all.

  • Divorced and remarried 5 times and he makes a movie that suggests maybe faithless action can be the right thing to do.
    My Long Island aunt used to call him “Marty”. Sometimes New Yorkers seems to lean to an almost small town affinity for each other. Maybe that’s why the Cardinal of New York will speak at New Yorker Trumps inauguration.

  • Excellent review by Bishop Barron. ‘Silence’ is a movie the devil and those who follow him would appreciate.

    And let us say a prayer for Suz’s mother and those who care for her.

  • “As an aside, I beg your prayers tonight for my mother, currently being driven 45 miles to the ER on a bad snowy night. Thank you and bless you all.”

    Prayers on the way Suz!

  • Prayers coming in this morning Suz.
    God be with her.

  • Here is a podcast about the book Silence and the history of Catholic missionaries in Japan by Fr. Seraphim Beshoner, TOR:

  • Don,
    The Wife and I pray together for others. Your Mother will be on our list tonite. Tim & Mary
    Timothy R.

  • Thank you so much for your prayers; God provided immediate relief by clearing both the weather and the emergency room, and my mother is home again, safe and well. God bless you all. Some pure souls around this blog for certain 🙂

  • One day, a famous knot maker was presented before Alexander the Great, with a knot that no one could untie. It was fiendishly complex . And none of the strongmen in the Court could untie it. Alexander walked up to it, and slashed it open with one stroke of his sword !
    Faith is like the sword. It cuts through all of the politically correct and corrupt regulations that the Fiend and his cohorts can devise. And best of all, Faith is free ! It is freely given by God.
    Ask and you shall receive.
    Timothy R.

  • Wonderful news, Suz.

    I pray that our faith will never be tested like the Japanese martyrs or the recent martyrs in Africa, and the Near and Middle Easts. I wonder how I would hold up.

    Regarding the movie, Isn’t the story of the Jesuits missionaries who travelled so far from Europe and their converts who kept the faith alive underground for several centuries more interesting than the story of an apostate? Every time I visit my son in San Francisco I pass by pagoda shaped St. Francis Xavier Church on the edge of Japan town. Inside the Holy Family is depicted in bronze looking like statues in an Asian shrine.

  • This silence is called mental reserve and it was rejected by Saint Thomas More. The silence would have been real if those involved refused to accept the honorarium and feasting bestowed upon them. Stepping on a picture of the face of Christ is blasphemy while stepping on a picture of any sovereign person is a mark of the devil.

  • Read the book.

Installation Scene From Becket

Thursday, December 29, AD 2016


If we who are called bishops desire to understand the meaning of our calling and to be worthy of it, we must strive to keep our eyes on him whom God appointed high priest for ever, and to follow in his footsteps. For our sake he offered himself to the Father upon the altar of the cross. He now looks down from heaven on our actions and secret thoughts, and one day he will give each of us the reward his deeds deserve.

Saint Thomas Becket


In honor of the feast day of Saint Thomas Becket, a reminder of the history of Catholic England, when Catholics were willing to stand against the State if need be to protect the Honor of God.   Becket (1964), although inheriting the historical howlers that existed in the play, and were known by the playwright Jean Anouilh who wisely preferred a poetic story to prosaic fact,  (Becket was Norman not Saxon, Henry II was not a crowned juvenile delinquent, the armor, as is usual in medieval epics, is all wrong for the period, etc.), this classic film helped awaken in me a desire to learn about the history of the Church.  With masterful performances by Richard Burton as “the holy blessed martyr” and Peter O’Toole as Henry II, the film brought alive to me as a child the high Middle Ages.  The installation sequence brought home to me the important role of ceremony, tradition and symbolism in our Faith, a lesson I have never forgotten.

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3 Responses to Installation Scene From Becket

  • I remember going to see the movie “Becket” as if it was yesterday. Actually, it was nearly 50 years ago. I had been discharged from the U.S. Air Force that Fall and was attending College on the G.I. Bill. I was lonely because everyone I knew in High School had married and/or moved to parts unknown. I had been gone for four years.
    To my great delight, I discovered that there was this one girl, whom I had always had my eye on, but never could get up the moxie to ask out, a beautiful and poised young lady, that was still available and unattached ! I asked her out, and she said “yes” !
    Well sir, I cleaned up the eight year old Impala that I had saved for to attend College with. And she sparked and shined. All except the one frayed patch on the passenger seat. I couldn’t afford new seat covers.
    We attended the movie “Becket”, the one with Burton and O’Toole. And the acting was great. I felt great. And I hoped that Virginia was as impressed with me, as I was with her !
    When we arrived back at her place, I noticed that she seemed kind of angry. I was trying to suggest that we go elsewhere for a bite. But she said no.
    Actually, as I helped her out of the car, she shouted, “Don;t ever pick me up again in that piece of crap !” And she gestured towards the Impala.
    Yessir, the movie was great. I never saw her again.
    Timothy R.

  • That Impala saved you from a lot of pain Tim!

  • In high school we were encouraged to see Becket and a Man For All Seasons which encouraged my interest in English saints. Two thomases martyred by the two Henrys. Having attended St. Thomas More grade school and with a birthday of December 29th I was already partial to these great saints who refused to compromise their faith by acquiescing to the Crown. Years later while on leave in England another WAVE and I caught the last train to Canterbury. We arrived just in time for Vespers/Evensong. It was an awesome experience to listen to the choir near the site of Thomas a Becket’s martyrdom.

Predictions 2017

Thursday, December 29, AD 2016



Well, here I stroll once again in where angels fear to tread and make my predictions for 2017:

1. President Trump will issue a pardon to Hillary Clinton.

2. Isis will be eliminated from Iraq.

3. There will be more than one assassination attempt against President Trump, each unsuccessful.

4. Pope Francis will attempt to excommunicate one or more of the Cardinals who oppose him.

5. There will be a major confrontation between Trump and Putin, and Putin will back down.

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30 Responses to Predictions 2017

  • I’ll go along with you on number ten….
    I’ll have to give you credit for the clearly specific and difficult predictions. Timidity is not your calling card with this stuff.
    I would be more inclined to predict;
    1.At least one celebrity will criticize Trump.
    2. There will be lots of shootings in Chicago
    3.Hillary will announce something.
    4. John McCain and Lindsey Graham will agree on something.
    5.The Dow will reach 20,000
    6. A new study will prove an old study wrong.
    7. A hip hop singer will sing something I can’t understand.
    8 The Media will actually do their job and finally criticize the president.
    9. There will be a large controversy in the Vatican.
    10. Inner-city poverty and crime will continue.

  • As we all know, 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of Fatima. “Something(s)” will happen I’m sure. Whether it’s something(s) I would like to see remains to be seen. What would I like to see ? Vindication for the good in a constructive and positive sense. — For example a universal return to public morals without it being occasioned by some horrible tragedy or suffering.

  • “Two Democrat US Senators will switch to the Republican party.”
    Do you have an idea of which two?

  • Probably Manchin of West Virginia and either Heitkamp of North Dakota or Joe Donnelly of Indiana.

  • 4. Pope Francis will attempt to excommunicate one or more of the Cardinals who oppose him.

    Nah, if he really is the progressive every makes him out to be, then direct excommunication is simply too on the nose and confrontational. Instead, you will see lots of passive-aggressive death-by-a-thousand-cuts.

  • 1) The truth will remain the truth.

    I’ve got no others. I don’t think I’ve ever been this unsure of the future on the world stage. So many of the big players are opportunists, and they can sense change. I wouldn’t want to be a Yemeni or bet against the Cowboys this year. Otherwise, we’ll see what happens.

  • Well Don, so far you can already claim 1 out of 10 correct, and the year hasn’t even started.

  • 1. The idiots that screamed they’d flee (I thought about typing “flea”) America when Trump won will one, stay in the USA and two, continue to give evidence that they are vociferous imbeciles.

  • The trend for 2017 – compass-neutral directions, to avoid giving offense:
    “Drive Sorth until Exit 5 – Turn Ut – Continue 1.5 miles Est”

  • Don

    I’m all for number NINE

    I. Obama may do it first. In any case I hope it comes with an obligation for her to testify against all her accomplices.

    4. I don’t think it will be an excomation but his holiness will try to force the issue somehow, it will probably back fire to no short term benefit for the Church.

    8 in the next three four years. Also the chance of a China Philippines clash is just as likley

  • I see you have potentially created the Liar’s Paradox with your last prediction! If all of your other predictions are correct, then your last one is wrong. But if it’s wrong, it’s correct. But if it’s correct, it’s wrong…. Let’s hope Trump doesn’t pardon Clinton, both because she doesn’t deserve a pardon, and to monkey wrench the paradox created by prediction 10.

  • Very good and very reasonable Don. My expectation is for something much more dramatic than you have outlined. My guess is some kind of divine intervention tied in with the 100th anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima, e.g., Pope Francis repents or dies and we get a conservative Pope, Vatican is demolished by earthquake or meteor, a dozen Cardinals join SSPX, etc.

  • My fear, and God forbid, is that an attempt on Trump will be successful.

  • And an unsuccessful attempt at his life could bring Trump into being more dictatorial than Obama already is.

  • I’m joining the disagreement with #4. It’s just too…formal. It takes strict actions that seem out of character.
    LQC- thankfully, we’re protected from that by Trump not having the “whatcha gonna do, STOP me?” power that Obama has from being a Democrat and good at playing the grievance games.

  • Are the two democrats Graham and McCain ?
    Timothy R.

  • Are the two democrats Graham and McCain ?

    The American Conservative Union reports that Mr. McCain has voted their way 82% of the time over the 34 years he’s been in Congress and that Mr. Graham has voted their way 86% of the time over the 20 years he’s been in Congress. McCain’s voting record had a phase-change around 1997 and his means have been around 77% of all votes logged since that time. There’s no secular trend in his voting record. Mr. Graham’s record does appear to have growb less starboard over the last 8 years. (There was no trend prior to 2009, when he voted to the right about 90% of the time). His median score post-2008 is still 75%.

  • I’d have to know what the ACU supports before I’d be sure that someone voting with them means they’re actually conservative– sort of like when I hear some “pro-life group” announcing that so-and-so has an awesome score with them, while someone else does not…and when you dig in, it’s because so-and-so is “pro life” in the welfare, ban guns, remove the death penalty and nanny state way, rather than the “don’t kill babies” way.
    Now, according to the ACU’s website, their ratings are on secretly chosen legislation where they don’t tell anybody ahead of time that they’re going to record it for comparison. I would guess that they’d protect their brand by choosing uncontroversial conservative issues where there isn’t broad agreement between the parties.
    Here’s McCain’s chart:
    You’ll note the 67% for last year, and that before ’98, it bounced all around above 70; since the, it just bounces all around. This is a pattern you’d expect of, say, a Zell Miller.
    Here’s Graham’s:
    that “trend” would be better described as “dropping like a rock.”
    Lifetime ratings are rather misleading when we’re talking about career guys.

  • #11. A Naval Ship to be named after you…The Deplorables. The petition is circulating. 🙂


    What a great way to remember the failure of the beast.

  • I was thinking of the remarks I’ve heard, and the attitudes coming from, the Book Ends.
    Where’s Captain Katzenjammer with his belt when we need him ?
    Timothy R.

  • Jesus appeared to a bishop, proffered a sword (the rosary) and said repeatedly “Boko Haram is gone”. Now there are reports that the military leaders in Nigeria are talking about having defeated Boko Haram.
    I think there have been dire predictions for 2017, and probably true, but- where sin abounds, Grace does more so. So I think 2017 will be a great occasion for grace and many surprising good things will happen.
    Nigeria Boko Haram: Militants ‘technically defeated …

  • Ok. I’ll explain. The “Book Ends” ARE the Katzenjammer Twins. The “Captain” might turn out to be Trump. As Arnold liked to say, “Vee shall see”.
    Timothy R.

  • I’d have to know what the ACU supports before I’d be sure that someone voting

    The specific votes they make use of to produce their indices are indicated on the annual ratings. In contrast to the situation 40 years ago, the Democratic and Republican caucuses separate into distinct piles. This has been so since about 1995. There’s only one Democrat in Congress who has a lifetime rating over 30, and only about 10 with a score higher than 20. No Republicans have scores lower than 30. Among the Republican caucus, McCain’s scores are around the 35th percentile and Graham’s scores are around the 48th percentile.

    The Democratic caucus was more variegated when Zell Miller was in Congress and about 14% of the caucus at that time had lifetime scores above 30% (of whom about 2/3 were Southerners). Zell Miller was only in Congress for about 4 years and he had the highest score logged by any Democratic legislator in that time, so I’m not sure how he’s supposed to be indicative of much of anything.

    I think those trading in the RINO discourse would be more concise if they’d just say Ted Cruz is the only authentic Republican in the Senate. Does seem a tad sectarian, though…

  • Strawmen do frequently seem a bit “off,” especially when you’re trying to defend what amounts to C students in classes that should be an easy A.

  • Strawmen do frequently seem a bit “off,” especially when you’re trying to defend what amounts to C students in classes that should be an easy A.

    I’m not sure what this is supposed to mean. If you fancy that 35% of the Congressional Republican caucus or 48% of the Congressional Republican caucus are crypto-Democrats, you are welcome to try to make that case.

    Again, 86% of the ballots in the 2008 Republican presidential donnybrook were won by John McCain, Mitt Romney, or Mike Huckabee. In 2012, Mitt Romney won 52% of the ballots. In 2016, Donald Trump and John Kasich won 58% of the ballots between them. In 2000, George W Bush and John McCain won over 90% of the ballots. In 1996, Robert Dole won 57% of the ballots. In 1988, George Bush and Robert Dole won over 80% of the ballots. The people pushing the RINO blather might ask themselves why so many of the bearers of authentic Republicanism seem to assiduously avoid voting.

  • I’m not sure what this is supposed to mean. If you fancy that 35% of the Congressional Republican caucus or 48% of the Congressional Republican caucus are crypto-Democrats, you are welcome to try to make that case.
    Why on earth would I defend yet another of your strawmen, especially when you choose to ignore a really simple and flat statement in favor of building a new one and then charging off after a new windmill?

  • Why on earth would I defend yet another of your strawmen, especially when you choose to ignore a really simple and flat statement in favor of building a new one and then charging off after a new windmill?

    The term ‘strawman’ does not mean what you fancy it means.

  • You vigorously attack arguments that only you’ve advanced, while ignoring the arguments that are being made.
    Pretty much textbook.

  • In his opening remarks on an episode of his long-running TV show Wall Street Week Louis Rukeyser said that people who make their living by crystal-ball predictions have to eat a lot of crushed glass.

  • I see you have potentially created the Liar’s Paradox with your last prediction! If all of your other predictions are correct, then your last one is wrong.
    –Alphatron Shinyskullus

    Mr. McClarey’s Chicago Cubs will keep the universe intact by preventing such a paradox.

17 Responses to Debbie Reynolds: Requiescat In Pace

Exeunt Thomas Sowell

Wednesday, December 28, AD 2016

Intellectuals may like to think of themselves as people who “speak truth to power” but too often they are people who speak lies to gain power.

Thomas Sowell



Economist Thomas Sowell has decided to call it a day as a columnist at age 86. An understandable decision but a regrettable one. In a time when lunacy was often regarded as sound policy, Doctor Sowell has been a voice of consistent reason.

Tyler O’Neil at PJ Media has assembled 14 quotes from Sowell as a bitter sweet tribute to what we have enjoyed and to what we will be missing:
1. “It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance.”

2. “Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it.”

3. “Much of the social history of the Western world, over the past three decades, has been a history of replacing what worked with what sounded good.”

4. “Each new generation born is in effect an invasion of civilization by little barbarians, who must be civilized before it is too late.”

5. “Some of the biggest cases of mistaken identity are among intellectuals who have trouble remembering that they are not God.”

6. “The problem isn’t that Johnny can’t read. The problem isn’t even that Johnny can’t think. The problem is that Johnny doesn’t know what thinking is: he confuses it with feeling.”

7. “Despite a voluminous and often fervent literature on ‘income distribution,’ the cold fact is that most income is not distributed: It is earned.”

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7 Responses to Exeunt Thomas Sowell

  • The gift of men of great wisdom is that even when they are gone from daily discourse, their words remain with us.
    These are gems.

  • Dr. Sowell is an American treasure. I wish him a long and happy retirement.
    He has more than earned it.

  • He’ll be missed. I do wonder if he’s giving up just topical commentary or if he’ll be taking emeritus status at Hoover as well.

    Most of us are a number of years deceased on the 86th anniversary of our birth, and nearly a quarter century retired. He’s impressive in everything he does.

  • Saw that headline and for a minute their I feared he was completing the Michael-Fisher-Trilogy.

    Although, lately they’ve been dying in pairs.

  • I think he is an enlightenment man in conflict with the vast Orwellian conspiracy.
    A Dr. Sowell quote seen at “The Daily Gouge” blog: “The real minimum wage is zero.”

  • #1 is painfully true.
    One of the less fun blessings of the internet is figuring out how very many things there are where you don’t even know enough to identify if something is good information, bad information or the only thing correct thing it has is the grammar.

  • Was assigned as an economics major to read his “Knowledge and Decisions” at the Univ. of Dallas (Irving, TX) in the 1980’s.

Predictions of Times Past

Wednesday, December 28, AD 2016


Time for me to look at my predictions for this year and to dine on a bit of crow:

1. The GOP national ticket will consist of Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, but I am uncertain as to which of them will be the nominee for President.

The correct answer of course was neither.

2. By the time of the conventions Donald Trump will be a spent force.  He will run third party in the fall with a Democrat in the second slot.  He will draw about seven percent of the vote, and his votes will come from both parties.

That is certainly a large piece of crow to consume!

3. Clinton will win the Democrat nomination, unless health problems force her to retire from the race.  Bernie Sanders will bolt the convention and run third party, drawing about two percent of the vote.

Not too shabby, especially concerning the health issue.  Bernie Sanders was a good soldier for the Democrats, but the Green candidate did take about 1% of the vote right out of Clinton’s hide.

4. The Republicans will win the presidential race.


5. The Republicans will retain control of both Houses of Congress.

On target.

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16 Responses to Predictions of Times Past

  • Half the time your right.
    One could say that your glass of Jameson’s is half full.
    Not bad.
    Slainte. 🙂

  • Mr. McClarey, I cannot imagine anyone could have predicted how this year’s
    presidential race unfolded. There is no shame in not seeing this one coming.

  • Partial credit on #2, since P-E Trump certainly did earn votes from both sides.
    As far as Trump making the ticket, only 2 people seemed to think that possible in early days—Ann Coulter, and Donald Trump.
    Excellent job overall. Criswell would be envious! I can’t wait for your 2017 predictions—wild times in store?

  • 8. There will be a naval clash between Japan and China.

    Why do you think this is so? Because China will be the aggressor?

  • Don, I told you The Don would win after Cruz got eliminated.

  • “8. There will be a naval clash between Japan and China.”

    China has been flexing its muscles in the South China Sea and making belligerent noises against Japan. This is being done largely as a distraction from domestic problems that the Chinese regime is ill-advised to deal with. China’s leaders face a nightmare of civil war and rebellions if the situation gets much worse, and traditionally playing up a foreign threat is the main way Chinese governments in trouble have traditionally reacted to such challenges. Vietnam sees war coming and is allying itself with the West.

  • You did indeed Don, and ultimately I agreed with you!

  • I hope the future will reveal a President Rubio in store for us.
    Timothy R.

  • Like suz I give partial credit on # 2. As she said, T. drew votes from both parties. Also, he didn’t quite create or run a third party, but he is certainly an unconventional Republican to say the least. He won the GOP nomination as much in spite of some of its members as because of them. He could qualify as quasi-third party.

    As far as predicting a Cruz/Rubio ticket — two hispanics (Cuban Americans) on the same Pres. /VP ballot ? And neither one a good Catholic. Cruz is more like an evangelical preacher. My impression of Rubio is that he is an on-again-off-gain lukewarm Catholic. I think he has called himself an evangelical Catholic, which I believe is how now protestant ex-Catholic Pence refers to himself. I don’t think they would have gotten a big uptick in the hispanic vote — older generation Cuban immigrants already vote Republican and I don’t think it would have appealed to the Mexicans unless they offered a good amnesty package. Of course a lot of people in Texas were behind Cruz, and Rubio probably would’ve won Florida. So — was it the electoral college votes of those two states that would have made them a “hot ticket” ? I voted Trump in the primary.

  • I just looked back on my predictions on this site, and I didn’t get much right at all. I saw Cruz winning. I did predict that Clinton would complain about “he’s bullying a girl” and it’d backfire, so I’ll count that as an insight, and I predicted that the inner-city murder rate would become a campaign issue. Otherwise, no gold in the pan.

  • China’s leaders face a nightmare of civil war and rebellions if the situation gets much worse, and traditionally playing up a foreign threat is the main way Chinese governments in trouble have traditionally reacted to such challenges. Vietnam sees war coming and is allying itself with the West.


    I know that ever once in a while, a group of Chinese folks go nuts because they simply cannot take it any more and promptly get slaughtered. What groups in China would have the ability to start an actual civil war & under what cause?

  • Elements of the army. A return to the warlordism of the twenties and the thirties of the last century is the nightmare of the current Chinese government. China really isn’t a country as we understand the term. China has a coastal crust that is rapidly modernizing and a huge interior where there is ever growing anger about living conditions.

  • I enjoy trying to predict just as much as anyone else. However, the Christian side of me encourages me to shed some of the logic, or, at least try to keep it in it’s place.
    Because of this, I am going to postulate that the Lord does not endow us with the ability to always see into the future, because He wants us to experience Hope.
    If a loved one is sick, we Hope that they will pull through. And Hope can be a form of prayer.
    Timothy R.

  • playing up a foreign threat is the main way Chinese governments in trouble have traditionally reacted to such challenges.

    To be fair, it seems to be the way most governments deflect attention from domestic problems.

  • China’s leaders face a nightmare of civil war and rebellions if the situation gets much worse, and traditionally playing up a foreign threat is the main way Chinese governments in trouble have traditionally reacted to such challenges.

    The “it belongs to China because it says ‘China Sea’ right there in the name” shtick is also a really good resource grab, and a chance to insult the “international community”– triple advantage.

Cold Winter of Unbelief

Wednesday, December 28, AD 2016

Today, dearest brethren, we celebrate the birthday of those children who were slaughtered, as the Gospel tells us, by that exceedingly cruel king, Herod. Let the earth, therefore, rejoice and the Church exult — she, the fruitful mother of so many heavenly champions and of such glorious virtues. Never, in fact, would that impious tyrant have been able to benefit these children by the sweetest kindness as much as he has done by his hatred. For as today’s feast reveals, in the measure with which malice in all its fury was poured out upon the holy children, did heaven’s blessing stream down upon them.

“Blessed are you, Bethlehem in the land of Judah! You suffered the inhumanity of King Herod in the murder of your babes and thereby have become worthy to offer to the Lord a pure host of infants. In full right do we celebrate the heavenly birthday of these children whom the world caused to be born unto an eternally blessed life rather than that from their mothers’ womb, for they attained the grace of everlasting life before the enjoyment of the present. The precious death of any martyr deserves high praise because of his heroic confession; the death of these children is precious in the sight of God because of the beatitude they gained so quickly. For already at the beginning of their lives they pass on. The end of the present life is for them the beginning of glory. These then, whom Herod’s cruelty tore as sucklings from their mothers’ bosom, are justly hailed as “infant martyr flowers”; they were the Church’s first blossoms, matured by the frost of persecution during the cold winter of unbelief.

 St. Augustine

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5 Responses to Cold Winter of Unbelief

  • Thank you for the reminder.
    We will mention this memorial tonight at the empty manger gathering.

    When we picked this date it wasn’t based on the Holy Innocents feast day…But now in clearer light, it couldn’t be a better date.

    To the END of the slaughter we pray and sing…Peace on Earth and Mercy mild, God and sinner reconciled…

  • I’ve been able to attend daily Mass during my Christmas vacation. Here is what I recall of my priest’s homily for today:
    PS, Donald, I used your last two posts on King Wencelaus and St Stephen, and on St John for my family Bible reading at night the past two days. After we read the Scripture readings for the day, I read your post as the meditation. As always, keep up the good work.

  • Abortion would be seen as more horrific if the government mandated that babies must be born before they are slaughtered. I would like to see someone propose such a bill in Congress in order create another focus on today’s form of child murder.

  • Michael Dowd.

    To your proposal add this: that the birth mother must be the executioner of said order.
    She can not use poisoning as a method of termination.
    She must spend a minimum of thirty minutes alone with the corpse after her wishes are carried out.

    A deterrent to abortion?

4 Responses to Carrie Fisher: Resquiescat in Pace

  • Carrie Fisher was a cocaine addict and abused prescription medication. I am an alcoholic and a drug addict. There wasn’t a “med” I would not have abused given the chance. She had relations with partners, spouses and boyfriends in her youth – addicts are like that. I, having been the typical submarine sailor, had relations with prostitutes indiscriminately. Sex addiction was no different than alcoholism – it’s all “I, Self and Me.” She was afflicted with bipolar illness, one thing which God in His mercy spared me from having.
    I use the comparison lest anyone think he may sit in judgment of Carrie. She was a flawed human being. And I am very sorry at her passing. What I like most about her is her advocacy for people with mental health issues. Yes, she did say that she was an “enthusiastic agnostic who would be happy to be shown that there is a God.” I hope she now sees God and is at peace. I really do. Alcoholism and addiction are horrible diseases. Not everyone is as fortunate as me – to get a tough Catholic sponsor in AA and a tough Catholic priest to help him get sober. Carrie went through electro-convulsive therapy and the whole nine yards that goes with that. Not me. I had it easy in comparison. All I had to do was go to Meetings, go to Confession & Mass, and not drink or drug. We should pray for the repose of her soul, that God sees the hell she already went through and has mercy. You never know, folks, how easy we got it when compared to some others.

  • In her 2008 memoir; Wishful Drinking, she wrote her own obit…”Carrie Fisher dies at 60, drowned in moonlight, strangled by her own bra.”

    I liked her in City Slickers. Jack Palance’s character, Curly, spoke of “one thing only,” that is the secret to Life. I pray Carrie found that One thing before today.
    I’ll put her in prayer tonight.

  • Her mother is still alive and well enough to still be working now and again. I wonder if the experience of having to bury your children has grown more common as the fairly disciplined and (in comparison to their own parents) healthy Depression-era cohorts have entered the time in life when their children are shuffling into old age. My uncle and two of my aunts outlived one of their shirt-tails, and it would not be surprising if my uncle outlived at least one other. My uncle is 89. His contemporaries smoked cigarettes, but were otherwise moderate in their habits. There was almost no one in my parents’ circle of friends with a weight problem of much consequence and the alcoholics among them usually got off the bottle by their early 50s.

  • Very interesting and astute observations in the comments above. We are seldom privy to the faith journey of others. Our hope always rests ultimately in God’s mercy on His endlessly wayward children. He alone knows the intricacies of the human soul.
    RIP, Princess, you brought joy to many to many children (I was one), and no doubt will for a long time to come.

Feast Day of Saint John the Apostle

Tuesday, December 27, AD 2016

 Saint John the Apostle

[1] In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. [2] The same was in the beginning with God. [3] All things were made by him: and without him was made nothing that was made. [4] In him was life, and the life was the light of men. [5] And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

John 1: 1-5

Saint John, the Apostle whom Christ loved, was the youngest of the Apostles.  Born perhaps around 6-15 AD he and his brother James, sons of Zebedee and Salome, were fishermen on the Sea of Galilee.  Called by Christ to follow Him, they were nicknamed by Him Boanerges, sons of thunder, perhaps because of their asking Christ to call down lightning on those who did not follow Him, or perhaps a playful jab at the disposition of old Zebedee.

The two brothers were ambitious, asking Christ to allow them to sit by His side.  He promised them only that they would drink from the cup He drank and be baptized in His Baptism.  John’s brother James became the first of the Apostles to die a martyr’s death.

John far outlived all the other apostles, dying in exile on Patmos circa 100 AD.  He witnessed the small defeated movement of the followers of Jesus after the Crucifixion swell into a mighty Church sweeping into every corner of the Roman Empire and beyond.  He was the last living link to Christ and he set down what he remembered in that theological masterpiece, the Gospel of John.  The other three Gospels give us Christ in unforgettable prose, the Gospel of John gives us Christ in lambent almost poetry, that has illuminated the humanity and the divinity of Christ  for countless Christians down through the long ages.  Through disciples like Saint Ignatius and Saint Polycarp he passed on to Christians who had never heard Christ the pure teaching of Christ that he had heard, and the love of Christ that burned within him.

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13 Responses to Feast Day of Saint John the Apostle

  • John 19:26,27 ; “When Jesus therefore had seen his mother and the disciple standing whom he loved, he saith to his mother; Woman, behold thy son. After that he saith to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour the disciple took her to his own.” Douay-Rheims version.

    To be suffering the cruelty of the crucifixion and lungs now filling with fluids, our Lord gives us a Great Gift…His mother. Saint John takes her as his own. We too are presented with the same offering. Will we take her as our own? Jesus is suffocating and struggling to breathe, and his offering to give us his own mother is in part, his last will and testament.

    The greatest Gift, giving us himself in the Eucharist, is connected to his mother. For he clothed himself in the very flesh and blood of his virginal mother. This connection and Saint John’s opening his heart to accept Mary as his own, is the beginning of the holy phrase and truth: Ad Jesum per Mariam.
    (To Jesus through Mary)

    May our gracious acceptance of Christ’s offering lead us to be like Saint John.
    A beloved disciple.

  • I’m interested in religious symbolism in art, but I don’t know too much. That picture (specifically, the object above the chalice) was new to me, so I looked it up. It refers to a legend of St. John, that the Emperor Diocletian tried to kill him by putting poison into his cup. St. John blessed it before drinking, and the poison emerged as a serpent.

    The picture is by El Greco. He painted several variations on it.

  • To be at the foot of the Cross is to be united in Truth. Only one of the twelve had the moxie, the agape love, to be at the bleeding feet of Christ during his crucifixion, of course along with Our Lady and Mary Magdalene.

    Saint John is “the man,” of humility and courage.


    Thanks for your curiosity and inquiry. I enjoyed your addition.
    Diocletian was Satan personified.
    I love the look El Greco convey’s to the beholder of the work. To me, it’s as if he is saying to Satan; Take your best shot. You’ll never conquer.

  • According to the legend, the Emperor with the poisoned cup was Domitian.

  • “To me, it’s as if he is saying to Satan; Take your best shot. You’ll never conquer.”

    El Greco was a true master. That is what is conveyed to me in the expression of Saint John and his stance. It is almost as if he is saying, “That is the best you’ve got?”

  • Condescending!

    A great look for one of Christ’s own towards one of Lucifer’s losers.

  • The Catholic Faith in New Zealand takes its Apostolic succession from St. John.
    St. Polycarp who was instructed by John, instructed St. Irenaeus who was then appointed as Bishop of Lyons. The bishop who was sent to bring the faith to NZ in 1838 was a Bishop Pompallier who was a bishop from Lyons, hence our Apostolic succession is from John.
    My parish of St. Thomas Aquinas here in Tauranga was the first parish established in NZ by Bp. Pompallier in 1840 when he sailed down the coast from Russell ( Kororareka) in the Bay of Islands to the Bay of Plenty after the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi which established British sovereignty over NZ, sailed into the Tauranga Harbour and set up a mission on the shore of Otumoetai – a beachfront suburb of Tauranga near where I live and said the first Mass on the Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas in 1840.

  • But Don, I clicked on random articles on the internet and copied what I thought I remembered from them! Surely you’re not questioning me, are you?

    Sigh. There is so much to be learned from the legends of the faith, and so little of it I know. On the one hand, I can understand the impulse that has sought to trim away the unverifiable in the pursuit of accurate Church history. I even applaud it. But on the other hand, that shouldn’t have been read as a license to throw the legends away, rather than pass them down to the next generation of the faithful.

    People need legends. We know that Superman isn’t real, but we share stories about him because he’s a cultural benchmark. They say what we’re supposed to be, in an intellectually lively way. As Catholics, we have stories of the saints to inspire us, stories with the added value of being true. But was there such harm in having anecdotes and fictions as well? Did the Golden Legend and Dante’s Divine Comedy really do so much damage to society? Are we better off with academics arguing about the correct date of St. Dominic’s birth, while we leave children to ponder the nature of evil while watching Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees?

  • “But Don, I clicked on random articles on the internet and copied what I thought I remembered from them! Surely you’re not questioning me, are you?”


    There is a good book waiting to be written on the Apostle John, legends and all. In the midst of all the scholarship on Saint Paul, there is a relative paucity on Saint John, and a good argument can be made that in regard to early Christianity Saint John’s influence looms larger.

  • http://usccb.us8.list-manage.com/track/click?u=b927174dbe854683d4b527f98&id=7a38e70735&e=5711bef68f

    Perfection found in eye witness accounts.

    Have a great feast day.
    St. John, pray for us.

  • I believe earlier discussion centered around whether, or not, one should pray for the unrepentant who continue to commit serious sin. John said that he will not advise us to pray for these, whom he termed “enemies of the Cross”.
    Timothy R.

  • What a saint! He spent between 55 and 60 years faithfully serving Jesus after the Ascension and is still praying for us from Heaven. According to the testimonies of 15 witnesses to the Knock Apparition (Ireland August 1879) St. John appeared along with Mary and Joseph, with angels hovering over the altar, on which stood the Lamb (Jesus Christ) John was wearing a bishop’s hat, holding a book…

  • I believe it was Luis Palau who said, “On your way to seek Christ, do not stop to praise any man.”
    Timothy R.

Good King Wenceslas, Saint Stephen and Martyrdom

Monday, December 26, AD 2016

But his deeds I think you know better than I could tell you; for, as is read in his Passion, no one doubts that, rising every night from his noble bed, with bare feet and only one chamberlain, he went around to God’s churches and gave alms generously to widows, orphans, those in prison and afflicted by every difficulty, so much so that he was considered, not a prince, but the father of all the wretched.

              Cosmas of Prague, writing in 1119 about Saint King Wenceslaus

It has always seemed appropriate to me that the hymn Good King Wenceslas, written in 1853, ties together Saint Stephen and Saint King Wenceslas.  Saint Stephen is the original martyr of Christ, the first of that glorious line of Christians who have testified to their Faith in the God who died for them by surrendering their own lives for Him.  The Apostles had cut poor figures indeed on the night when Christ was betrayed, and Saint Stephen heroically and unforgettably demonstrated a better example, that would be followed by the Apostles themselves who later died as martyrs.  Bravery in the face of a martyr’s death takes a great deal of courage and faith, and we Catholics have ever honored our martyrs.


Wenceslas was born in 907 into a turbulent time and place.  The eldest son of Duke Vratislaus I of Bohemia, Bohemia was a country that was only beginning to convert to Christianity and was riven by conflicts between pagans and Christians, Germans and Czechs.  His mother Drahomira was the daughter of a pagan tribal leader and had only converted at the time of her marriage.  His father’s father was a Christian convert.   

At the death of his father, in battle, in 921, his paternal grandmother, Ludmilla, briefly held the regency.  His mother, Drahomira, who was a real piece of work, remained a pagan at heart, and had Ludmilla strangled. (Ludmilla, who had always been noted for her charity and her strong Christian faith, was canonized shortly after her death.)  Wenceslas was now under the control of his murderous mother.  In 924 or 925 Wenceslas began to rule and exiled his mother, understandably enough. 

During his reign he was noted for his charity and the strong impetus he gave to the evangelization of Bohemia.  He placed great reliance on Catholic missionary priests from Germany and this stirred resentment not only among his pagan subjects, but among some Czechs.  Taking advantage of this opposition, his brother Boleslav had Wenceslas murdered as he was walking to mass in 935.  From the instant of his death, Wenceslas was hailed as a martyr, popular devotion to him spurred by miracles that began at his funeral, and swiftly became the patron saint of Bohemia.  Holy Roman Emperor Otto I, bestowed the title of king upon him, posthumously.  His brother, who would reign for almost four decades, now remorseful, helped spread Christianity throughout his kingdom during his reign and venerated the man he had murdered as a saint.  His feast day on September 28 is celebrated as a national holiday in the Czech Republic.


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5 Responses to Good King Wenceslas, Saint Stephen and Martyrdom

Video Clips That Bring Tears to My Eyes: Churchill and the Pilot

Monday, December 26, AD 2016



But the Consul’s brow was sad,
And the Consul’s speech was low,
And darkly looked he at the wall,
And darkly at the foe;
“Their van will be upon us
Before the bridge goes down;
And if they once may win the bridge,
What hope to save the town?”

Then out spake brave Horatius,
The Captain of the gate:
“To every man upon this earth
Death cometh soon or late.
And how can man die better
Than facing fearful odds
For the ashes of his fathers
And the temples of his gods,

“And for the tender mother
Who dandled him to rest,
And for the wife who nurses
His baby at her breast,
And for the holy maidens
Who feed the eternal flame,—
To save them from false Sextus
That wrought the deed of shame?

“Hew down the bridge, Sir Consul,
With all the speed ye may;
I, with two more to help me,
Will hold the foe in play.
In yon strait path a thousand
May well be stopped by three:
Now who will stand on either hand,
And keep the bridge with me?”

Horatius at the Bridge
Thomas Babington, Lord Macaulay

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One Response to Video Clips That Bring Tears to My Eyes: Churchill and the Pilot

December 26, 1776: Washington Saves the American Revolution

Monday, December 26, AD 2016



Washington crossing the Delaware is ingrained in the American psyche, and well it should be.  Without Washington’s brilliant attack at Trenton against the Hessian garrison stationed there on December 26, 1776, his subsequent maneuver around the reacting British force under General Cornwallis, and his victory at Princeton on January 3, 1777, it is likely that the American Revolution would have died during the winter of 1776-1777, Washington’s army dissolving in the gloom and pessimism brought on by the string of American defeats of 1776.  Instead, Washington’s victories brought out fresh levies of patriot militia from New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware, strengthening Washington’s army and causing the British to retreat from New Jersey.  In the span of a week, Washington and his men altered the likely outcome of the American Revolution, and all subsequent history.  Here is Washington’s report to the Continental Congress on the victory at Trenton:



Sir: I have the pleasure of Congratulating you upon the success of an enterprize which I had formed against a Detachment of the Enemy lying in Trenton, and which was executed yesterday Morning. The Evening of the 25th I ordered the Troops intended for this Service [which were about 2400] to parade back of McKonkey’s Ferry, that they might begin to pass as soon as it grew dark, imagining we should be able to throw them all over, with the necessary Artillery, by 12 O’Clock, and that we might easily arrive at Trenton by five in the Morning, the distance being about nine Miles. But the Quantity of Ice, made that Night, impeded the passage of the Boats so much, that it was three O’Clock before the Artillery could all get over, and near four, before the Troops took up their line of march.

This made me despair of surprising the Town, as I well knew we could not reach it before the day was fairly broke, but as I was certain there was no making a Retreat without being discovered, and harassed on repassing the River, I determined to push on at all Events. I form’d my detachments into two divisions one to March by the lower or River Road, the other by the upper or Pennington Road. As the Divisions had nearly the same distance to March, I ordered each of them, immediately upon forcing the out Guards, to push directly into the Town, that they might charge the Enemy before they had time to form. The upper Division arrived at the Enemys advanced post, exactly at Eight O’Clock, and in three Minutes after, I found, from the fire on the lower Road that, that Division had also got up. The out Guards made but small Opposition, tho’ for their Numbers, they behaved very well, keeping up a constant retreating fire from behind Houses. We presently saw their main Body formed, but from their Motions, they seemed undetermined how to act. Being hard pressed by our Troops, who had already got possession of part of their Artillery, they attempted to file off by a road on their right leading to Princetown, but perceiving their Intention, I threw a body of Troops in their Way which immediately checked them. Finding from our disposition that they were surrounded, and that they must inevitably be cut to pieces if they made any further Resistance, they agreed to lay down their Arms. The Number, that submitted in this manner, was 23 Officers and 886 Men. Col Rall. the commanding Officer with seven others were found wounded in the Town. I dont exactly know how many they had killed, but I fancy not above twenty or thirty, as they never made any regular Stand. Our loss is very trifling indeed, only two Officers and one or two privates wounded. I find, that the Detachment of the Enemy consisted of the three Hessian Regiments of Lanspatch, Kniphausen and Rohl amounting to about 1500 Men, and a Troop of British Light Horse, but immediately upon the begining of the Attack, all those who were, not killed or taken, pushed directly down the Road towards Bordentown. These would likewise have fallen into our hands, could my plan have been compleatly carried into Execution. Genl. Ewing was to have crossed before day at Trenton Ferry, and taken possession of the Bridge leading out of Town, but the Quantity of Ice was so great, that tho’ he did every thing in his power to effect it, he could not get over.

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One Solitary Life

Sunday, December 25, AD 2016

All the armies that have ever marched All the navies that have ever sailed All the parliaments that have ever sat All the kings that ever reigned put together Have not affected the life of mankind on earth As powerfully as that one solitary life

From One Solitary Life

I am an historian, I am not a believer, but I must confess as a historian that this penniless preacher from Nazareth is irrevocably the very center of history. Jesus Christ is easily the most dominant figure in all history.

H. G. Wells

O felix culpa quae talem et tantum meruit habere redemptorem

Exsultet, Easter Vigil

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One Response to One Solitary Life

  • For the many years that I was a sworn Police Officer, on the Evansville, Indiana Police Department, ( finally retired as a Sergeant ) I often witnessed things that either tested my Faith, or confirmed it.
    I belonged to a Gym called “The Pit”. And The Pit was owned and run by a devoutly Christian gentleman named Dick Connors. Connors was himself a sworn Police Officer and he did not allow any “swearing” or otherwise bawdy talk or activity in his Gym. He had signs on a couple of walls that displayed Biblical quotes in an effort to encourage a following of his wishes. But he continued to have occasional problems, UNTIL he put up a sign that quoted the anonymous “One Solitary Life”.
    After he put up that sign, things got a lot calmer, PEACEFUL !
    Timothy R

A Proclamation

Sunday, December 25, AD 2016


The twenty-fifth day of December.

In the five thousand one hundred and ninety-ninth year of the creation of the world from the time when God in the beginning created the heavens and the earth;

the two thousand nine hundred and fifty-seventh year after the flood;

the two thousand and fifteenth year from the birth of Abraham;

the one thousand five hundred and tenth year from Moses and the going forth of the people of Israel from Egypt;

the one thousand and thirty-second year from David’s being anointed king;

in the sixty-fifth week according to the prophecy of Daniel;

in the one hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad;

the seven hundred and fifty-second year from the foundation of the city of Rome;

the forty second year of the reign of Octavian Augustus;

the whole world being at peace,

in the sixth age of the world,

Jesus Christ the eternal God and Son of the eternal Father,

desiring to sanctify the world by his most merciful coming,

being conceived by the Holy Spirit, and nine months having passed since his conception,

was born in Bethlehem of Judea of the Virgin Mary, being made flesh.

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5 Responses to A Proclamation

3 Responses to December 24, 1968: In the Beginning