4

February 28, 2017: Trump Address to Congress

 

It has been fascinating watching Trump develop as an orator.  A year ago I thought the only positive thing to say about him as a public speaker was his raw energy.  Tonight he delivered the best address to Congress since Reagan rode off into the sunset.  As to substance it was a mixed bag of good ideas and bad but a more coherent overall policy than I was expecting.  More analysis after Ash Wednesday.

8

Father Dan and the Three Days of Darkness

 

 

 

Father Z gives us further evidence, if any were needed, that leftist clerics are flourishing under this pontificate:

The priest involved is one Daniel P Horan, OFM whom the Fishwrap (aka National Schismatic Reporter) coos over: “Daniel Horan is one of those hip young priests that the new evangelization dreams of”.

Look… I’m all for prudent and reverent stewardship of the “environment”, although I insist that we human beings are part of that “environment” even as we are at its pinacle. Heck, I can echo the Ancient Mariner and say:

Farewell, farewell! but this I tell
To thee, thou Wedding-Guest!
He prayeth well, who loveth well
Both man and bird and beast.

He prayeth best, who loveth best
All things both great and small;
For the dear God who loveth us,
He made and loveth all.

But that slop in that video borders on impious sentimental omphaloskepsis.

As for Horan, in a video wherein he sets out his version of Amoris laetitia he uses this image as an introduction:

17_02_27_Horan_01 Continue Reading

8

Saint Thomas Aquinas on the Devil, Temptation and Sin

 

 

I answer that, The temptation which comes from the enemy takes the form of a suggestion, as Gregory says (Hom. xvi in Evang.). Now a suggestion cannot be made to everybody in the same way; it must arise from those things towards which each one has an inclination. Consequently the devil does not straight away tempt the spiritual man to grave sins, but he begins with lighter sins, so as gradually to lead him to those of greater magnitude. Wherefore Gregory (Moral. xxxi), expounding Job 39:25, “He smelleth the battle afar off, the encouraging of the captains and the shouting of the army,” says: “The captains are fittingly described as encouraging, and the army as shouting. Because vices begin by insinuating themselves into the mind under some specious pretext: then they come on the mind in such numbers as to drag it into all sorts of folly, deafening it with their bestial clamor.”

Thus, too, did the devil set about the temptation of the first man. For at first he enticed his mind to consent to the eating of the forbidden fruit, saying (Genesis 3:1): “Why hath God commanded you that you should not eat of every tree of paradise?” Secondly [he tempted him] to vainglory by saying: “Your eyes shall be opened.” Thirdly, he led the temptation to the extreme height of pride, saying: “You shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” This same order did he observe in tempting Christ. For at first he tempted Him to that which men desire, however spiritual they may be–namely, the support of the corporeal nature by food. Secondly, he advanced to that matter in which spiritual men are sometimes found wanting, inasmuch as they do certain things for show, which pertains to vainglory. Thirdly, he led the temptation on to that in which no spiritual men, but only carnal men, have a part–namely, to desire worldly riches and fame, to the extent of holding God in contempt. And so in the first two temptations he said: “If Thou be the Son of God”; but not in the third, which is inapplicable to spiritual men, who are sons of God by adoption, whereas it does apply to the two preceding temptations.

And Christ resisted these temptations by quoting the authority of the Law, not by enforcing His power, “so as to give more honor to His human nature and a greater punishment to His adversary, since the foe of the human race was vanquished, not as by God, but as by man”; as Pope Leo says (Serm. 1, De Quadrag. 3).

7

PopeWatch: Malta

 

 

 

Tolerance for me but not for thee seems to be the order of the day for the heterodox in the Church who now think they hold the whiphand.  Malta is a prime example according to Edward Pentin at The National Catholic Register:

 

The Archbishop of Malta has confirmed to the Register that he told the country’s seminarians earlier this month that if any of them do not agree with Pope Francis, “the seminary gate is open,” implying they are free to leave.
Archbishop Charles Scicluna’s remarks are the latest in what Church sources in Malta say is a heavy-handed crackdown on any ecclesiastic unwilling to subscribe to the Maltese bishops’ interpretation of the apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia — an interpretation the bishops say is identical to the Holy Father’s.
Last month, Archbishop Scicluna and Bishop Mario Grech of Gozo — the episcopate’s only two bishops — released “Criteria” on interpreting Chapter 8 of the Pope’s apostolic exhortation on the family in which they appeared to assert the primacy of conscience over the objective moral truth.
The guidelines allowed some remarried divorcees to receive Holy Communion after a period of discernment, with an informed and enlightened conscience, and if they are “at peace with God.”
Their interpretation caused an international outcry among theologians, canonists and others who argued that it contradicted previous papal teaching, as well as breached canon law and the catechism. Archbishop Scicluna has defended the guidelines, saying they “adhered to Amoris Laetitia” and also “followed the interpretation that the Pope approved.”
Since the Criteria were published Jan. 13, a number of clergy sources in Malta have contacted the Register alleging the bishops won’t tolerate any clergy having a different interpretation of Amoris Laetitia than the one presented in the Criteria among the clergy.
According to the sources, three priests are allegedly intimidating anyone who does not agree with the Criteria. The three had been opponents of the previous bishop, Archbishop Paul Cremona, but have now become the present bishops’ allies. One of them reputedly attacks any priest who shares critical stories on the Internet.
“This group of priests, with a few others, have been hogging the conversation for decades,” said a Maltese priest on condition of anonymity. “No one else seems to be allowed to contribute to the debate and they have done untold damage to bridge-building since they brook no opposition.”
Continue Reading

9

Quick! Someone Get Warren Beatty Up Here!

 

LarryD at Acts of the Apostasy gives us a timely lesson in alternate Church history:

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(AoftheANews) – CARTHAGE, 397 AD – Confusion reigned for several moments last night during the closing ceremonies of the Council of Carthage, as presenters of the Inspired Scripture: Gospels category accidentally announced the Gospel of Thomas, along with Matthew, Luke, and John, as having won.

Members of the Gnostic community were already on stage to receive the award, when a flurry of activity behind the scenes caused confusion and delay.

“As soon as I saw acolytes and presbyters scurrying around, passing scrolls to one another, with panicked looks on their faces, I knew something was amiss,” one Gnostic said. “I had this feeling they were keeping secret knowledge from us, and I became concerned.”

Moments later, amidst cries of “Heresy!” and “Anathema sit!” from the stunned crowd, a council official announced that the Gospel of Thomas was mistakenly announced as being inspired and canonical, saying that the winner was the Gospel of Mark. The news was greeted with thunderous applause and cheers.

The Gnostic community was understandably upset. “Sure, Mark’s been a de facto Gospel for a couple centuries, but we thought we had a legit shot at this council. Yeah, we fell short in 251, 256, and 345, but we felt really confident. Maybe 411 will be our year.”

 

Continue Reading

14

More on Sweden

 

 

The outrage over Trump telling the truth over Sweden continues to reverberate:

 

 

 

A Swedish detective who has triggered a row by blaming violent crime on migrants has gone one step further and accused politicians of turning a blind eye to the problem because of ‘political correctness’.Earlier this month Peter Springare, who has spent more than 40 years in the police, aired his anger on social media when he was told not to record the ethnicity of violent crime suspects.Springare, 61, who is based in the central city of Orebro, wrote: ‘Countries representing the weekly crimes: Iraq, Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, Somalia, Syria again, Somalia, unknown, unknown country, Sweden.  ‘Half of the suspects, we can’t be sure because they don’t have any valid papers. Which in itself usually means that they’re lying about your nationality and identity.’  Prosecutors launched an inquiry, suggesting he had incited racial hatred, but later dropped the charges.

 

Now Springare has told The Sunday Times: ‘The highest and most extreme violence – rapes and shooting – is dominated by criminal immigrants.  This is a different criminality that is tougher and rawer. It is not what we would call ordinary Swedish crime. This is a different animal.’  In his Facebook post Springare wrote: ‘I’m so f***ing tired. What I will write here below, is not politically correct. But I don’t care. What I’m going to promote you all taxpayers is prohibited to peddle for us state employees.’  He wrote: ‘Here we go; this I’ve handled Monday-Friday this week: rape, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, rape-assault and rape, extortion, blackmail, off of, assault, violence against police, threats to police, drug crime, drugs, crime, felony, attempted murder, Rape again, extortion again and ill-treatment.  ‘Suspected perpetrators; Ali Mohammed, mahmod, Mohammed, Mohammed Ali, again, again, again Christopher… what is it true. Yes a Swedish name snuck on the outskirts of a drug crime, Mohammed, Mahmod Ali, again and again.’  Springare said he was due to retire soon and therefore no longer feared the disciplinary proceedings which might be brought against a younger officer for disobeying their superiors and raising the issue. Continue Reading

12

Hollywood In Action

 

For an institution which constantly harps on how the rest of us should vote, live and think, Hollywood often demonstrates shocking incompetence in its own business.  A minor point is last night when Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty announced that La La Land won best picture.  Nope, it was Moonlight.  Glad they had acting professionals up there reading off cards.  Wags suggested that La La Land should have campaigned more in swing states.

4

PopeWatch: Justice

 

 

 

 

The Pope’s emphasis on mercy uber alles is coming back to bite him:

 

 

Pope Francis has quietly reduced sanctions against a handful of pedophile priests, applying his vision of a merciful church even to its worst offenders in ways that survivors of abuse and the pope’s own advisers question.

One case has come back to haunt him: An Italian priest who received the pope’s clemency was later convicted by an Italian criminal court for his sex crimes against children as young as 12. The Rev. Mauro Inzoli is now facing a second church trial after new evidence emerged against him, The Associated Press has learned.

 

The Inzoli case is one of several in which Francis overruled the advice of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and reduced a sentence that called for the priest to be defrocked, two canon lawyers and a church official told AP. Instead, the priests were sentenced to penalties including a lifetime of penance and prayer and removal from public ministry.

In some cases, the priests or their high-ranking friends appealed to Francis for clemency by citing the pope’s own words about mercy in their petitions, the church official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the proceedings are confidential. Continue Reading

Collision Course

 

The things that you find on the internet.  I recently found on You Tube a television movie from 1976, Collision Course, which deals with the conflict between Douglas MacArthur and Harry Truman over Korean War policy.  I had seen the movie when it was first broadcast, and was delighted to watch it again.  Go here to watch the entire movie.  The late Henry Fonda stars as MacArthur and the late E.G. Marshall portrays Truman.  The Truman MacArthur conflict is often seen as a vindication of the right of the President to call the shots when it comes to foreign policy and waging war, but the conflict was actually caused by an abdication of presidential responsibility.  Truman viewed Korea as a potentially dangerous annoyance, and he wanted this “police action” wrapped up as soon as possible.  No planning was made about what to do if the Chinese intervened.  A sensible policy would have been to order MacArthur to form a defensive line north of Pyongyang and across to Wonsan.  The Korean peninsula narrows to a hundred miles at this point and would have been quite defensible with American firepower in the event of Chinese intervention.  Instead MacArthur, who was convinced that the Chinese would not intervene, was left free to conduct a helter-skelter advance to the Yalu, secure in his misguided belief that the Chinese would not intervene, and that if they did, he could easily defeat them.  MacArthur was guilty of military malpractice and Truman was guilty of presidential nonfeasance.

Requiescat In Pace: Judge Joseph Wapner

 

 

Judge Joseph Wapner, the frequently testy judge of The People’s Court, has died at age 97.  A trial judge for 20 years in California, after his retirement he became the first television judge.  Unlike many of the “judges” who followed him, Wapner based his rulings on sound legal principles.  He also had a real judge’s usual testiness with ill prepared litigants.  Married for 70 years to his wife, he was an Army combat veteran of the Pacific in World War II where he served as a Lieutenant and earned a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart.  May the Great Judge give him a merciful ruling.

 

 

14

Fulton Sheen on the Signs of Our Time

 

 

Lent is a good time for confronting evil, both inside of ourselves and the evil of the World.  In 1947 then Monsignor Fulton Sheen gave a very important radio address.  He could discern that humanity was at a turning point and he issued an alarm and a warning.  His words are more relevant today than they were seven decades ago.  Below is the text of his speech:

‘Signs of Our Times’

sermon delivered on January 26, 1947

God Love You!

I want those to be my first words of greeting to you as they will be the concluding words of each broadcast. They embody three ideas: God is love; God loves you; and since love is reciprocal may you love God in return.

 

 

This is the 17th year I have had the privilege of addressing you on the Catholic Hour and it is probably safe to say that at no time in those years-not even during the war when we saw victory ahead-have the souls of men been more in the dark about the future, less insecure about the present. We are living in the twilight of a civilization, and for that reason, we have entitled this series Light Your Lamps. Under this title we will discuss in eleven broadcasts a subject which we were unable to discuss the last few years, and it will be that which is contained in the Papal Encyclical Divini Redemptoris:  the all important subject of Communism.

 

 

It is very difficult to do justice to any phase of this encyclical in the sixteen minutes allotted to me, so this year I shall write a much fuller treatment of each broadcast which will be put into pamphlet form and which the National Council of Catholic Men will send to you free each week if you make your request known to them.

 

 

Why is it that so few realize the seriousness of our present crisis? Partly because men do not want to believe their own times are wicked, partly because it involves too much selfaccusation and principally because they have no standards outside of themselves by which to measure their times.  If there is no fixed concept of justice how shall men know it is violated? Only those who live by faith really know what is happening in the world. The great masses without faith are unconscious of the destructive processes going on.The tragedy is not that the hairs of our civilization are gray; it is rather our failure to see that they are. The very day Sodom was destroyed, Scripture describes the sun as bright; Balthasar’s realm came to an end in darkness; people saw Noah preparing for the flood one hundred and twenty years before it came, but men would not believe. In the midst of seeming prosperity, world-unity, the decree to the angels goes forth but the masses go on their sordid routines. As our Lord said: “For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, even till that day in which Noah entered into the ark, and they knew not till the flood came, and took them all away; so also shall the coming of the Son of man be.” (Matthew 24:38, 39) Well may Our Saviour say to us what He said to the Saducees and Pharisees in His time:  “When it is evening, you say: It will be fair weather, for the sky is red. And in the morning: Today there will be a storm, for the sky is red and lowering. You know then how to discern the face of the sky: and can you not know the signs of the times?” (Matthew 16:2, 3) Continue Reading

2

PopeWatch: Que?

 

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

 

 

Claiming that she was almost certain she had comprehend a word the new visiting Nigerian priest used during the homily, longtime parishioner Abby Longworth excitedly turned to friends and fellow parishioners today to inform them of the good news.

“I wouldn’t put my life on it, but I think he said ‘magisterium,’” Longworth whispered to parishioners, adding that she thinks he may have also used the word “obedient,” which, if her assumption was correct, meant the priest was delivering a homily about being faithful Catholics who adhere to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church.

“If my theory is correct, and I pray it is, that would mean that this really is a kick-butt homily. He is Nigerian after all, and Nigerian priests are typically pretty solid, which only strengthens my theory that much more.”

While Longworth is excited to believe that she might’ve just heard a wonderful homily, she is now reportedly bracing herself for next week, when another visiting priest, Fr. Batongbacal Estrella, visits from the Philippines. Continue Reading

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Now That Everyone Cares About Pederasty …

From Crisis Magazine, Mr. Ruse makes a point I’ve been trying to make– but, of course, does it better:

In the current controversy, it is important to make a distinction that even Milo failed to make, a distinction that homosexuals and the media, including the conservative media, refuse to make, too. What Milo described was not pedophilia, which is sexual contact with pre-pubescent children. What he described was pederasty, which is an ancient and current practice among homosexuals where an older man will teach a young boy about the world and also sodomize him. Pedophila is always against the law. Pederasty is, too, but only when it involves a boy under the age of consent; 16 in the United States but, shockingly, 14 or 15 in most of the European Union.

The left wants you to know that what Milo describes was pedophilia because it lets them off the hook for what it is, pederasty, which is common among them and also disgusting.

The whole thing is worth reading.  It’s Crisis, of course it’s worth reading….

18

Potty Wars-2017

 

Last year the Obama administration attempted to coerce public schools into allowing mentally ill people who believe they are, or should be, the opposite sex from what their DNA says that they are, to use the bathrooms of the opposite sex.   The Trump administration reversed this yesterday leaving it to local and state governments to decide.  From the way this was reported in the mainstream media one might have thought that the world was coming to an end.  Of all the very mad policies embraced by the left none are madder than the belief that sex is an artificial construct and that people, at their whim, may adopt the sex that they prefer, biology be hanged.  This absurdity has become a core article of faith for the left, and that explains the fury with which common sense is met in this area by those on the port side of our politics.  This has little to do with that sad handful of the population who are mislabeled “transgender” and everything to do with the leftist war against reality.

 

7

PopeWatch: Image

 

An interesting communique from the Vatican:

 

The Secretariat of State includes among its responsibilities the protection of the image of the Holy Father, so that his message may reach the faithful intact, and so that his person is not exploited.

For the same reasons, the Secretariat of State safeguards all symbols and official coats of arms of the Holy See via the appropriate regulatory instruments at international level.

To render this protection increasingly effective for the aforementioned purposes and to stop any illegal situations that may arise, the Secretariat of State carries out systematic surveillance activities to monitor the ways in which the image of the Holy Father and the coats of arms of the Holy See are used, taking appropriate action where necessary.

 

Continue Reading

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Bitter Harvest

 

 

 

On one side, millions of starving peasants, their bodies often swollen from lack of food; on the other, soldiers, members of the GPU carrying out the instructions of the dictatorship of the proletariat. They had gone over the country like a swarm of locusts and taken away everything edible; they had shot or exiled thousands of peasants, sometimes whole villages; they had reduced some of the most fertile land in the world to a melancholy desert.

Malcolm Muggeridge – British foreign correspondent, War on the Peasants, Fortnightly Review, 1 May, 1933 

Eighty-five years too late, a movie on the Great Famine of 1932-1933 in the Soviet Union is being released tomorrow.  Some six million people were murdered by starvation in Stalin’s man made famine, and almost all of these people died in the most agriculturally fertile areas of the Soviet Union, especially the Ukraine.  This was Stalin’s way of imposing collectivization on the recalcitrant farmers of his empire, while eliminating the opposition to Communist rule in the countryside.  For Stalin the mass deaths were a feature not a bug.  While all this was going on most Western journalists in the Soviet Union actively attempted to conceal the existence of the famine.  Only a few brave journalists like Malcolm Muggeridge, then a partisan of the left, had the courage to speak out and tell honestly what they had seen with their own eyes.  Walter Duranty, who was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 1932 for his reports from the Soviet Union,  of the New York Times denounced journalists who reported on the famine.  “Fake news” has a long pedigree on the left in this country.

11

Historical Rubbish

 

 

I used to belong to the Society for Military History.  I withdrew my membership yesterday when I was informed by the Society that it had signed on to the following resolution by the American Historical Association.  Below is that resolution with my commentary:

The American Historical Association strongly condemns the executive order issued by President Donald J. Trump on January 27 purportedly “protecting the nation from foreign terrorist entry into the United States.” Historians look first to evidence: deaths from terrorism in the United States in the last fifteen years have come at the hands of native-born citizens and people from countries other than the seven singled out for exclusion in the order. Attention to evidence raises the question as to whether the order actually speaks to the dangers of foreign terrorism.

The resolution starts out with a sophistical piece of verbal sleight of hand.  Note the use of 15 years as the relevant time scale.  Why?  Why not 20 years or 25 years?  Because if a time scale longer than 15 years were used, 9-11 would be included, and the initial statement would be rendered false.  As an attorney, and familiar with weasel worded arguments, I have nothing but contempt for this type of lie of omission.

It is more clear that the order will have a significant and detrimental impact on thousands of innocent people, whether inhabitants of refugee camps across the world who have waited months or even years for interviews scheduled in the coming month (now canceled), travelers en route to the United States with valid visas or other documentation, or other categories of residents of the United States, including many of our students and colleagues.

Actually the Administration acted swiftly to fix the Executive Order for green card holders.  As for refugees, this was intended to be a temporary ban until proper vetting procedures could be put into place.  Last year the Director of the FBI testified before Congress that then current vetting procedures were inadequate.

The AHA urges the policy community to learn from our nation’s history. Formulating or analyzing policy by historical analogy admittedly can be dangerous; context matters. But the past does provide warnings, especially given advantages of hindsight. What we have seen before can help us understand possible implications of the executive order. The most striking example of American refusal to admit refugees was during the 1930s, when Jews and others fled Nazi Germany. A combination of hostility toward a particular religious group combined with suspicions of disloyalty and potential subversion by supposed radicals anxious to undermine our democracy contributed to exclusionist administrative procedures that slammed shut the doors on millions of refugees. Many were subsequently systematically murdered as part of the German “final solution to the Jewish question.” Ironically, President Trump issued his executive order on Holocaust Remembrance Day.

An organization that purports to represent American historians should do a better job with history.  As of 1939 the US had admitted 95,000 German Jewish refugees.  This was out of a total of 282,000 German Jewish refugees, and 117,000 Austrian Jewish refugees, who had emigrated from Nazi Germany, including Austria, up to 1939.

 

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1

Zachary Taylor and His Son-in-Law

Jefferson Davis was the son-in-law of Zachary Taylor.  Marrying the daughter, Sarah Knox Taylor, of General Zachary Taylor, who opposed the marriage, he resigned his commission in the Army in 1835.  Tragically the new bride died three months after her marriage of malaria.  She was 21.  Taylor blamed Davis for bringing his daughter to the malarial infested region in which his plantation was located in Mississippi.  War would end the enmity of the two men who loved Sarah Knox Taylor.

Although he had resigned from the Army, however, Davis never ceased to be a military man, always retaining a fascination for all things martial. Thus it was only natural that Davis, a Congressman from Mississippi at the beginning of the Mexican War, resigned from Congress and raised a volunteer regiment, the Mississippi Rifles, which he led as colonel.

On July 21, 1846, the regiment sailed from New Orleans to join the army of Zachary Taylor in northern Mexico.

Davis had armed his regiment with 1841 percussion rifles, the latest technology, with much more reliable percussion caps substituted for flint locks. Davis’ men during the war would use the rifles with such deadly skill that ever afterwords the rifles became known as 1841 Mississippi percussion rifles.

Davis and his men participated in the siege of Monterrey in September of 1846. The war in northern Mexico then entered a quiet phrase which was shattered in February of 1847 by a Mexican offensive. Continue Reading

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PopeWatch: Jesuits

 

PopeWatch has long thought that much that afflicts the Church can be summed up in one word:  Jesuits.  Sandro Magister gives us a case in point:

 

Incredible but true. In the eighth chapter of “Amoris Laetitia,” the most heated and controversial, the one in which Pope Francis seems to “open up” to remarriage while the previous spouse is still alive, there is no citation at all of the words of Jesus on marriage and divorce, presented primarily in chapter 19 of the Gospel according to Matthew:

«Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one’? So they are no longer two but one. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.” They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?” He said to them, “For your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another, commits adultery; and he who marries a divorced woman, commits adultery.”»

It is an astonishing omission. Also striking are two other moments of silence from Francis, on the same question.

The first took place on October 4, 2015. It was the Sunday of the beginning of the second and final session of the synod on the family. And on that very day, in all the Catholic churches of the Latin rite, at Mass, the Gospel passage read was from Mark (10:2-9), parallel to the one in Matthew 19:2-12.

At the Angelus, the pope avoided any reference to that passage of the Gospel, in spite of its extraordinary pertinence to the questions discussed at the synod.

And the same thing happened last February 12, with another similar passage from the Gospel of Matthew (5:11-12) read at Mass in all the churches. This time as well, at the Angelus, Francis avoided citing and commenting on it.

Why such adamant silence from the pope on words of Jesus that are so unequivocal?

One clue toward a response is in the interview that the new superior general of the Society of Jesus, the Venezuelan Arturo Sosa Abascal, very close to Jorge Mario Bergoglio, has given to the Swiss vaticanista Giuseppe Rusconi for the blog Rossoporpora and for the “Giornale del Popolo” of Lugano.

Here are the passages most relevant to the case. Any commentary would be superfluous.

*

Q: Cardinal Gerhard L. Műller, prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, has said with regard to marriage that the words of Jesus are very clear and “no power in heaven and on earth, neither an angel nor the pope, neither a council nor a law of the bishops has the faculty to modify them.”

A: So then, there would have to be a lot of reflection on what Jesus really said. At that time, no one had a recorder to take down his words. What is known is that the words of Jesus must be contextualized, they are expressed in a language, in a specific setting, they are addressed to someone in particular.

Q: But if all the worlds of Jesus must be examined and brought back to their historical context, they do not have an absolute value.

A: Over the last century in the Church there has been a great blossoming of studies that seek to understand exactly what Jesus meant to say… That is not relativism, but attests that the word is relative, the Gospel is written by human beings, it is accepted by the Church which is made up of human persons… So it is true that no one can change the word of Jesus, but one must know what it was!

Q: Is it also possible to question the statement in Matthew 19:3-6: “What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder”?

A: I go along with what Pope Francis says. One does not bring into doubt, one brings into discernment. . .

Q: But discernment is evaluation, it is choosing among different options. There is no longer an obligation to follow just one interpretation. . .

A: No, the obligation is still there, but to follow the result of discernment.

Q: However, the final decision is based on a judgment relative to different hypotheses. So it also takes into consideration the hypothesis that the phrase “let man not put asunder…” is not exactly as it appears. In short, it brings the word of Jesus into doubt.

A: Not the word of Jesus, but the word of Jesus as we have interpreted it. Discernment does not select among different hypotheses but listens to the Holy Spirit, who – as Jesus has promised – helps us to understand the signs of God’s presence in human history.

Q: But discern how?

A: Pope Francis does discernment following St. Ignatius, like the whole Society of Jesus: one has to seek and find, St. Ignatius said, the will of God. It is not a frivolous search. Discernment leads to a decision: one must not only evaluate, but decide.

Q: And who must decide?

A: The Church has always reiterated the priority of personal conscience.

Q: So if conscience, after discernment, tells me that I can receive communion even if the norm does not provide for it…

A: The Church has developed over the centuries, it is not a piece of reinforced concrete. It was born, it has learned, it has changed. This is why the ecumenical councils are held, to try to bring developments of doctrine into focus. Doctrine is a word that I don’t like very much, it brings with it the image of the hardness of stone. Instead the human reality is much more nuanced, it is never black or white, it is in continual development.

Q: I seem to understand that for you there is a priority for the practice of the discernment of doctrine.

A: Yes, but doctrine is part of discernment. True discernment cannot dispense with doctrine.

Q: But it can reach conclusions different from doctrine.

A: That is so, because doctrine does not replace discernment, nor does it the Holy Spirit. Continue Reading

4

Was Zachary Taylor Murdered?

 

I find it comforting that conspiracy theorists have always been with us, and that they are not only a feature of our times.  On July 4, 1850 Taylor had a busy day attending several Independence Day celebrations and a fund raising event for the Washington Monument.  The day was hot and Taylor drank a lot of ice milk and ate a great deal of raw fruit.  Unsurprisingly he came down with a gastric ailment thereafter.  Physicians treated him with the best medicine of the time, which often weakened or finished off the poor patients subject to it:  Taylor was dosed with ipecac, calomel, opium, and quinine at 40 grains per dose (approximately 2.6 grams), and bled and blistered.  Several of Taylor’s cabinet members came down with similar symptoms.  The 65 year old Taylor died on July 9, 1850.

In hindsight an analysis of Taylor’s death is pretty straightforward.  The White House had a tainted water supply with raw sewage running into it.  This probably killed three presidents:  Harrison, Polk (who died shortly after his term in office) and Taylor.  Cholera was the big killer in 19th century urban centers until sewers were installed, and Taylor likely died of some variant of that bacterial infection.

Taylor had opposed what became known as the Compromise of 1850, wanting to keep slavery out of the territories won from Mexico.  Some abolitionists claimed, without any evidence, that pro-slavery advocates had poisoned the president.  Although rumors abounded, no official investigation ever took place. Continue Reading

5

PopeWatch: And Stay off my Lawn!

 

 

It will be interesting to see how the younger fans of the Pope react to this:

 

Pope Francis wants youngsters to BRB from their cellphones at the dinner table, warning that the lack of face-to-face communication with adults could result in “war.”

“When we’re at the table, when we are speaking to others on our telephones, it’s the start of war because there is no dialogue,” the 80-year-old pontiff told students last week at Roma Tre in Rome.

The pope also chided today’s youths for their lack of manners, saying that instead of a friendly “good morning,” they opt for an “anonymous ‘ciao, ciao.’”

“We need to lower the tone a bit, speak less and listen more,” he said. Continue Reading

8

Sweden and Trump

 

Oh this is too hilarious. Just twenty-four hours after Trump was ripped by the left in this country and the Swedish government for clumsily pointing out the problems that mass Islamic immigration has caused to Sweden, this happens:

 

 

As we reported last night, just days after the media mocked Trump for his allegations of major problems with Swedish migrant policies, the president was vindicated after a violent riot broke out in the borough of Rinkeby, also known as “little Mogadishu.” Now that the incident is over, in their “post-mortem” Swedish officials confirm that riots erupted in the “heavily immigrant Stockholm suburb” Monday night, as masked looters set cars ablaze and threw rocks at cops, injuring one police officer, Swedish officials said.

The violence erupted just days after President Trump was ridiculed during a Saturday campaign rally for mentioning Sweden alongside a list of European targets of terror. Trump later said his “You look at what’s happening last night in Sweden” remark was in response to a Fox News report on the country’s refugee crime crisis that aired on Friday evening.

“Sweden. They took in large numbers [of refugees],” Trump added at the Florida rally. “They’re having problems like they never thought possible.”

Sweden’s official Twitter account – which is operated by a different user each week – tweeted at Trump on Monday morning: “Hey Don, this is @Sweden speaking! It’s nice of you to care, really, but don’t fall for the hype. Facts: We’re OK!” Continue Reading

16

PopeWatch: Pontiff as Party Leader

 

 

The Pope in a letter has given a  gathering of leftist groups in California their marching orders:

 

The following is the message sent by Pope Francis to the participants in the Meeting of Popular Movements taking place in Modesto, California, United States of America, from 16 to 19 February.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

First of all, I would like to congratulate you for your effort in replicating on a national level the work being developed in the World Meetings of Popular Movements. By way of this letter, I want to encourage and strengthen each one of you, your organisations, and all who strive with you for “Land, Work and Housing,” the three T’s in Spanish: Tierra, Trabajo y Techo. I congratulate you for all that you are doing.

I would like to thank the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, its chairman Bishop David Talley, and the host Bishops Stephen Blaire, Armando Ochoa and Jaime Soto, for the wholehearted support they have offered to this meeting. Thank you, Cardinal Peter Turkson, for your continued support of popular movements from the new Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development. It makes me very happy to see you working together towards social justice! How I wish that such constructive energy would spread to all dioceses, because it builds bridges between peoples and individuals. These are bridges that can overcome the walls of exclusion, indifference, racism, and intolerance.

I would also like to highlight the work done by the PICO National Network and the organizations promoting this meeting. I learned that PICO stands for “People Improving Communities through Organising”. What a great synthesis of the mission of popular movements: to work locally, side by side with your neighbours, organising among yourselves, to make your communities thrive.

A few months ago in Rome, we talked at the third World Meeting of Popular Movements about walls and fear, about bridges and love.[1] Without wanting to repeat myself, these issues do challenge our deepest values.

We know that none of these ills began yesterday. For some time, the crisis of the prevailing paradigm has confronted us. I am speaking of a system that causes enormous suffering to the human family, simultaneously assaulting people’s dignity and our Common Home in order to sustain the invisible tyranny of money that only guarantees the privileges of a few. “In our time humanity is experiencing a turning-point in its history.”[2]

As Christians and all people of good will, it is for us to live and act at this moment. It is “a grave responsibility, since certain present realities, unless effectively dealt with, are capable of setting off processes of dehumanisation which would then be hard to reverse.”[3] These are signs of the times that we need to recognise in order to act. We have lost valuable time: time when we did not pay enough attention to these processes, time when we did not resolve these destructive realities. Thus the processes of dehumanisation accelerate. The direction taken beyond this historic turning-point—the ways in which this worsening crisis gets resolved—will depend on people’s involvement and participation and, largely, on yourselves, the popular movements.

We should be neither paralysed by fear nor shackled within the conflict. We have to acknowledge the danger but also the opportunity that every crisis brings in order to advance to a successful synthesis. In the Chinese language, which expresses the ancestral wisdom of that great people, the word “crisis” is comprised of two ideograms: Wēi, which represents “danger”, and Jī, which represents “opportunity”.

The grave danger is to disown our neighbours. When we do so, we deny their humanity and our own humanity without realising it; we deny ourselves, and we deny the most important Commandments of Jesus. Herein lies the danger, dehumanisation. But here we also find an opportunity: that the light of the love of neighbour may illuminate the Earth with its stunning brightness like a lightning bolt in the dark; that it may wake us up and let true humanity burst through with authentic resistance, resilience and persistence.

The question that the lawyer asked Jesus in the Gospel of Luke (10:25-37) echoes in our ears today: “Who is my neighbour?” Who is that other whom we are to love as we love ourselves? Maybe the questioner expects a comfortable response in order to carry on with his life: “My relatives? My compatriots? My co-religionists? …” Maybe he wants Jesus to excuse us from the obligation of loving pagans or foreigners who at that time were considered unclean. This man wants a clear rule that allows him to classify others as “neighbour” and “non-neighbour”, as those who can become neighbours and those who cannot become neighbours.[4]

Jesus responds with a parable which features two figures belonging to the elite of the day and a third figure, considered a foreigner, a pagan and unclean: the Samaritan. On the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, the priest and the Levite come upon a dying man, whom robbers have attacked, stripped and abandoned. In such situations the Law of the Lord imposes the duty to offer assistance, but both pass by without stopping. They were in a hurry. However, unlike these elite figures, the Samaritan stopped. Why him? As a Samaritan he was looked down upon, no one would have counted on him, and in any case he would have had his own commitments and things to do—yet when he saw the injured man, he did not pass by like the other two who were linked to the Temple, but “he saw him and had compassion on him” (v. 33). The Samaritan acts with true mercy: he binds up the man’s wounds, transports him to an inn, personally takes care of him, and provides for his upkeep. All this teaches us that compassion, love, is not a vague sentiment, but rather means taking care of the other to the point of personally paying for him. It means committing oneself to take all the necessary steps so as to “draw near to” the other to the point of identifying with him: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” This is the Lord’s Commandment.[5]

The economic system that has the god of money at its centre, and that sometimes acts with the brutality of the robbers in the parable, inflicts injuries that to a criminal degree have remained neglected. Globalised society frequently looks the other way with the pretence of innocence. Under the guise of what is politically correct or ideologically fashionable, one looks at those who suffer without touching them. But they are televised live; they are talked about in euphemisms and with apparent tolerance, but nothing is done systematically to heal the social wounds or to confront the structures that leave so many brothers and sisters by the wayside. This hypocritical attitude, so different from that of the Samaritan, manifests an absence of true commitment to humanity.

Sooner or later, the moral blindness of this indifference comes to light, like when a mirage dissipates. The wounds are there, they are a reality. The unemployment is real, the violence is real, the corruption is real, the identity crisis is real, the gutting of democracies is real. The system’s gangrene cannot be whitewashed forever because sooner or later the stench becomes too strong; and when it can no longer be denied, the same power that spawned this state of affairs sets about manipulating fear, insecurity, quarrels, and even people’s justified indignation, in order to shift the responsibility for all these ills onto a “non-neighbour”. I am not speaking of anyone in particular, I am speaking of a social and political process that flourishes in many parts of the world and poses a grave danger for humanity.

Jesus teaches us a different path. Do not classify others in order to see who is a neighbour and who is not. You can become neighbour to whomever you meet in need, and you will do so if you have compassion in your heart. That is to say, if you have that capacity to suffer with someone else. You must become a Samaritan. And then also become like the innkeeper at the end of the parable to whom the Samaritan entrusts the person who is suffering. Who is this innkeeper? It is the Church, the Christian community, people of compassion and solidarity, social organisations. It is us, it is you, to whom the Lord Jesus daily entrusts those who are afflicted in body and spirit, so that we can continue pouring out all of his immeasurable mercy and salvation upon them. Here are the roots of the authentic humanity that resists the dehumanisation that wears the livery of indifference, hypocrisy, or intolerance.

I know that you have committed yourselves to fight for social justice, to defend our Sister Mother Earth and to stand alongside migrants. I want to reaffirm your choice and share two reflections in this regard.

First, the ecological crisis is real. “A very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system.”[6] Science is not the only form of knowledge, it is true. It is also true that science is not necessarily “neutral”—many times it conceals ideological views or economic interests. However, we also know what happens when we deny science and disregard the voice of Nature. I make my own everything that concerns us as Catholics. Let us not fall into denial. Time is running out. Let us act. I ask you again—all of you, people of all backgrounds including native people, pastors, political leaders—to defend Creation.

The other is a reflection that I shared at our most recent World Meeting of Popular Movements, and I feel is important to say it again: no people is criminal and no religion is terrorist. Christian terrorism does not exist, Jewish terrorism does not exist, and Muslim terrorism does not exist. They do not exist. No people is criminal or drug-trafficking or violent. “The poor and the poorer peoples are accused of violence yet, without equal opportunities, the different forms of aggression and conflict will find a fertile terrain for growth and will eventually explode.”[7] There are fundamentalist and violent individuals in all peoples and religions—and with intolerant generalisations they become stronger because they feed on hate and xenophobia. By confronting terror with love, we work for peace.

I ask you for meekness and resolve to defend these principles. I ask you not to barter them lightly or apply them superficially. Like St. Francis of Assisi, let us give everything of ourselves: where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, let us sow pardon; where there is discord, let us sow unity; where there is error, let us sow truth.[8]

Please know that I pray for you, that I pray with you, and I ask God our Father to accompany and bless you. May He shower you with his love and protect you. I ask you to please pray for me too, and to carry on.

Vatican City, 10 February 2017

 

[1] Address to the 3rd World Meeting of Popular Movements, Paul VI Audience Hall, 5 November 2016. http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/speeches/2016/november/documents/papa-francesco_20161105_movimenti-popolari.html

[2] Evangelii Gaudium §52

[3] Ibid. §51

[4] Cf. General Audience, 27 April 2016. http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/audiences/2016/documents/papa-francesco_20160427_udienza-generale.html

[5] Ibid.

[6] Laudato Si’ §23

[7] Evangelii Gaudium §59

[8] Cf. St Francis of Assisi, Peace Prayer. Continue Reading

1

Comments on Lincoln’s Eulogy of Zachary Taylor

Yesterday I ran a post containing Abraham Lincoln’s eulogy on Zachary Taylor.  Go here to read it.  It is an interesting eulogy and deserves some comment.  It should be noted that Lincoln was disappointed that the Taylor administration did not offer him a post that he had been seeking.  As one of the leaders of the Whig party in Illinois, he felt that this was a slight not only to him but to Illinois Whigs.  Outwardly he remained supportive of the Taylor administration, but privately he regarded Taylor as a weak leader and an immense disappointment.  Thus his eulogy was delivered more out of duty than out of any fondness for a man who turned out to be the last Whig elected president.  On to the eulogy. Continue Reading

12

PopeWatch: LarryD

 

LarryD at Acts of the Apostasy has given the benefit of every possible doubt to Pope Francis through this purgatory of a Pontificate.  PopeWatch was thus struck by this post:

 

I’ve read some reviews, synopses, and commentaries of Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio’s recently published booklet, “The Eighth Chapter of the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia,” and I gotta tell you, I never knew Episcopalians had cardinals. I knew they had bishops, but not cardinals.

Here’s the pertinent pernicious paragraph:

“The divorced and remarried, de facto couples, those cohabiting, are certainly not models of unions in sync with Catholic Doctrine, but the Church cannot look the other way. Therefore, the sacraments of Reconciliation and of Communion must be given even to those so-called wounded families and to however many who, despite living in situations not in line with traditional matrimonial canons, express the sincere desire to approach the sacraments after an appropriate period of discernment… Yes, therefore, to admission to the sacraments for those who, despite living in irregular situations, sincerely ask for admission into the fullness of ecclesial life, it is a gesture of openness and profound mercy on the part of Mother Church, who does not leave behind any of her children, aware that absolute perfection is a precious gift, but one which cannot be reached by everyone.” 

In other words, R.I.P. heroic virtue. Take the wide road. Don’t rely on God’s power to sanctify you each day – through prayer, through courageously bearing one’s cross, through sacrifice, through baptismal graces, through reception of the graces one receives worshiping at Mass – because gosh darn it, God doesn’t want you to be unhappy. God doesn’t want you to feel left out because you haz sincere desires. You can even be a cohabiting couple – simply express a sincere desire to approach the sacraments, and the Church won’t look the other way.

Imagine parents treating their children this way, giving them what they wanted because they felt they deserved it, and didn’t want to feel left out.

Oh…wait. Bad example.

That excerpt is more appropriate for inspirational posters one sees hanging in corporate meeting rooms and business corridors. This is Holy Mother Church we’re talking about, though, not Google headquarters.

The Church, though, doesn’t demand absolute perfection. She helps us become perfected and ultimately reach heaven, not hand out the Eucharist like it’s a participation trophy. None of us deserve the Eucharist – it’s an incredible gift from Jesus Christ of himself. All of us must meet requirements to be worthy of reception – one of which is to be in a state of grace. Remember the parable of the marriage feast in Mt 22?

“And those servants went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good; so the wedding hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who has no wedding garment; and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding a garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.”

This is serious business. What the cardinal is recommending, is that one can do evil in order to bring about a good. Since when, in all the history of the Catholic Church? Continue Reading

Lincoln on Taylor

I have never liked Presidents’ Day.  Why celebrate all presidents when only a select few of them, like Washington and Lincoln, deserve to be celebrated?   Officially the date is still the commemoration of George Washington’s birthday, which actually won’t occur until February 22.  However, I will keep up my tradition of writing about presidents on this day.

American presidents all fit into two broad categories:  those who had political careers and held political offices prior to their presidency and those who did not.  Only five presidents held no political office prior to being elected President:  Zachary Taylor, Ulysses S. Grant, Herbert Hoover, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Donald Trump.  Zachary Taylor, the first non-politician to become president, is now an obscure figure to most Americans, his fame in the Mexican War almost entirely forgotten by the oblivion that has largely swallowed that conflict, and his relatively brief time in office ensuring that his administration would be one of the forgotten ones in popular memory.  Ironically, one of our two most famous Presidents, Abraham Lincoln, deliver a eulogy on the death of Taylor.  Tomorrow I will comment on the obituary.  Today, I want us to focus on Lincoln’s words, as we use the eulogy as a springboard to look at “Old Rough and Ready” throughout this week.  Here is Lincoln’s eulogy:

EULOGY PRONOUNCED
BY HON. A. LINCOLN,
ON THE LIFE AND SERVICES OF THE LATE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES,
At Chicago, July 25th, 1850

GENERAL ZACHARY TAYLOR, the eleventh elected President of the United States, is dead. He was born Nov. 2nd, [2] 1784, in Orange county, Virginia; and died July the 9th 1850, in the sixty-sixth year of his age, at the White House in Washington City. He was the second [3] son of Richard Taylor, a Colonel in the army of the Revolution. His youth was passed among the pioneers of Kentucky, whither his parents emigrated soon after his birth; and where his taste for military life, probably inherited, was greatly stimulated. Near the commencement of our last war with Great Britain, he was appointed by President Jefferson, a lieutenant in the 7th regiment of Infantry. During the war, he served under Gen. Harrison in his North Western campaign against the Indians; and, having been promoted to a captaincy, was intrusted with the defence of Fort Harrison, with fifty men, half of them unfit for duty. A strong party of Indians, under the Prophet, brother of Tecumseh, made a midnight attack on the Fort; but Taylor, though weak in his force, and without preparation, was resolute, and on the alert; and, after a battle, which lasted till after daylight, completely repulsed them. Soon after, he took a prominent part in the expedition under Major Gen. Hopkins against the Prophet’s town; and, on his return, found a letter from President Madison, who had succeeded Mr. Jefferson, conferring on him a major’s brevet for his gallant defence of Fort Harrison. Continue Reading

23

Melania Trump Opens Trump Rally With Pater Noster

Fate has a way of picking unlikely material,
Greasy-haired second lieutenants of French artillery,
And bald-headed, dubious, Roman rake-politicians.

Stephen Vincent Benet, John Brown’s Body

And thrice married billionaires and their nude model wives?  I have long thought that God has a well developed sense of humor.  Wouldn’t it be beyond the absurd for Him to hand victory to almost defeated Christians on issues such as abortion and religious freedom by such unlikely material?  From everything I have read about her, Melania Trump is a devoted mother, religious and attempts to stay out of the lime light as much as possible.  May she be a positive influence on her husband, and may she grow in faith and love.

 

17

Problem Solved

 

 

The Pope has solved the problem of Islamic terrorism by defining it out of existence:

 

“Christian terrorism does not exist, Jewish terrorism does not exist, and Muslim terrorism does not exist. They do not exist,” Francis said in his speech to a world meeting of populist movements.

What he apparently meant is that not all Christians are terrorists and not all Muslims are terrorists—a fact evident to all—yet his words also seemed to suggest that no specifically Islamic form of terrorism exists in the world, an assertion that stands in stark contradiction to established fact.

“No people is criminal or drug-trafficking or violent,” Francis said, while also suggesting—as he has on other occasions—that terrorism is primarily a result of economic inequalities rather than religious beliefs. “The poor and the poorer peoples are accused of violence yet, without equal opportunities, the different forms of aggression and conflict will find a fertile terrain for growth and will eventually explode.”

The Pope also reiterated his conviction that all religions promote peace and that the danger of violent radicalization exists equally in all religions.

“There are fundamentalist and violent individuals in all peoples and religions—and with intolerant generalizations they become stronger because they feed on hate and xenophobia,” he said. Continue Reading

13

Resquiescat in Pace: Michael Novak

 

 

A giant of our Faith has passed:

Michael Novak, a Catholic philosopher who helped carve a space for religion in modern politics, diplomacy and economics, arguing that capitalism is the economic system most likely to achieve the spiritual goods of defeating poverty and encouraging human creativity, died Feb. 17 at his home in Washington. He was 83.

The cause was complications from colon cancer, said his daughter Jana Novak.

Mr. Novak, who spent his formative years in the seminary, was widely recognized as one of the most influential Catholic theologians of his generation. He was the 1994 recipient of the Templeton Prize, which honors makers of an “exceptional contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension” and is accompanied by a monetary award exceeding that of the Nobel Prize.

In a measure of Mr. Novak’s influence within the Catholic Church, he was received and consulted by Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI. He was at times a professor, a columnist, chief U.S. delegate to the U.N. Human Rights Commission and, for several decades, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, the conservative think tank in Washington.

Mr. Novak was among several scholars who “brought serious religious thought to Washington in a way that it had not been present before,” George Weigel, a distinguished senior fellow at the Washington-based Ethics and Public Policy Center, said in an interview.

 

He credited Mr. Novak with demonstrating to an “audience of insiders” a “way of thinking that was not merely statistical or ideological but was perhaps more deeply reflective of enduring human questions and problems.”

Mr. Novak wrote a shelf full of books on topics ranging from nuclear weapons to atheism to social justice to sports. But he was best known for his economic writings, particularly the book “The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism” (1982).

“Democratic capitalism,” he wrote, is “neither the Kingdom of God nor without sin. Yet all other known systems of political economy are worse. Such hope as we have for alleviating poverty and for removing oppressive tyranny — perhaps our last, best hope — lies in this much despised system.”

 

 

 

 

Continue Reading

1

PopeWatch: Chant Grammy

 

 

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

 

 

Saint Gregory the Great was awarded the Grammy for Best Chant last night at the 59th annual Grammy Awards.

Accepting his award for ‘Salve’ the Roman artist paid tribute to Jesus Christ, whom he said he loved “like a father.”

“I can’t possibly accept this award,” a clearly emotional Gregory said in his acceptance speech. “I’m very humble and I’m grateful and gracious, but the music of my life is Corsican, and the ‘Miserere’ album was just so monumental…people of Corsica, it was so monumental.”

Gregory later went on to apologize for swearing during an earlier performance dedicated to Jesus, saying that “Christ meant so much to me that I could not give a poor performance.”

Gregory becomes the first pope to win a Grammy twice. Continue Reading

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

 

Something for the weekend.  The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance sung by Gene Pitney.  Originally scheduled to be the theme song for the movie The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, the song was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David.  For some reason the song was cut from the film.  It rose to Number four.  Some viewers of the film erroneously recall it being the theme song for the film.

3

Video Clips Worth Watching: Wayne v. Marvin

 

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), perhaps the greatest of Westerns, contains this gem of a scene with John Wayne, Lee Marvin, Jimmy Stewart, Strother Marvin, Lee Van Cleef and Woody Strode.  Marvin as Liberty Valance is the archetypal mercenary gunslinger, his days, and the days of his kind, about to come to an end.  Wayne as Tom Doniphon, rancher, is the obverse of Marvin, a man just as tough as Valance, if not tougher, but no bully.  However, his time is also closing.  Their destroyer?   The almost clown like figure of Ransom Stoddard, portrayed by Jimmy Stewart.  He knows nothing about guns, but he knows a lot about law, and law and civilization are fast coming to the range.  This is John Ford’s eulogy to the Old West, and to this type of Western. Continue Reading

1

Quotes Suitable for Framing: Henry Adams

 

 

 

Power when wielded by abnormal energy is the most serious of facts, and all Roosevelt’s friends know that his restless and combative energy was more than abnormal. Roosevelt, more than any other man living within the range of notoriety, showed the singular primitive quality that belongs to ultimate matter,—the quality that mediæval theology assigned to God,—he was pure act.

Henry Adams, The Education of Henry Adams (1918)

4

PopeWatch: Burke to Guam

 

 

 

 

Just when you thought that things couldn’t get much weirder at the Vatican:

 

Cardinal Raymond Burke has traveled to Guam, to take testimony in the canonical trial of Archbishop Anthony Apuron of Agana.

Archbishop Apuron, who has been accused of molesting a number of young men, was relieved of his pastoral responsibilities in the Guam archdiocese last June. He has insisted on his innocence and refused to resign. However, in October the Vatican named an American prelate, Archbishop Michael Byrnes, as coadjutor with “special faculties” to take over leadership of the archdiocese.

At his installation, Archbishop Byrnes revealed that the Vatican had begun a canonical trial of Archbishop Apuron on the sex-abuse charges. The Vatican press office has now confirmed this, and disclosed that Cardinal Burke was named as the presiding judge in the case. Continue Reading

26

The Great Anti-Trump Crusade of 2017

I believe Trump to be the single greatest domestic threat this nation has ever faced. Why?  Because as bad as the Civil War was, Bobby Lee did not have the power to eradicate human life on earth. Trump literally has the power to end civilization.  And it is not at all out of the realm of possibility that he could do it because he is not a normal person.  He is crazy and unstable and  a liar even to himself.  And he has demoted the Chair of the Joint Chiefs and the Director of National Intelligence and placed a racist, conspiratorial kook who has said he has “no doubt” we will be at war with nuclear colossus China–one-fifth of the world’s population–in a couple of years.  More than that, his seduction of Christians is a grave peril to eternal souls and to the peace of the Church.

Mark Shea

 

 

 

Dave Griffey at Daffey Thoughts directs our attention to a superb post in reference to the anti-Trump hysteria that has possessed the left:

Or Deus Vult for you sticklers out there.  To read some anti-Trump Catholics, you’d think opposition to Trump is all one needs for salvation.  Embrace evil, teach heresy, endorse blasphemy, it matters not.  Just go on crusade against Trump and you are in the good graces of, well, people who think a lot about their political opinions.

Thank goodness there are saner minds out there, like that of Michael Flynn.  No, not that Michael Flynn.  This Michael Flynn, who looked at the Big Ban controversy and discovered there really is a problem in our current state of affairs. And it isn’t always ‘them’.

Read on, and you’ll discover a crack in the foundation that is growing, and growing, and growing.   Trump will last four years or less.  But the threats to our nation’s future that are rising in the current melee – courtesy of both sides – will last.

 

 

 

Go here to comment.  Since Dave posts at Patheos, that home of the unhinged left, the left wing comments are often a hoot.  Go here to read the TOF post:  The Rule of Law:

 

A slow-motion Contitutional crisis is brewing. The Permanent Bureaucracy is in revolt.

While many federal workers have begun to consider avenues of dissent only since the inauguration, others had been preparing for weeks. In the last days of Obama’s tenure, several departments catalogued data and reports and got them into the hands of allies outside the government.

That ought to seem dangerous to anyone who loves democracy. But then, the Enlightened regard the American people as irredeemably stoopid.

the federal employees have been “in regular consultation with recently departed Obama-era political appointees about what they can do to push back against the new president’s initiatives. Some federal employees have set up social media accounts to anonymously leak word of changes that Trump appointees are trying to make.”

Continue Reading

8

PopeWatch: Taking It

 

 

For a Pope who dishes out insults readily to those who have the temerity to differ from him, Pope Francis seems remarkably sensitive to insults aimed at him:

 

Pope Francis on Sunday criticised the everyday use of “insults”, an apparent reference to anonymous attacks he has faced over the last week in Rome.

In his weekly Angelus address, Francis highlighted Jesus’ commandment, “Thou shalt not kill,” saying the edict applied not only to actual homicide, “but also to those behaviours which offend the dignity of the human person, including insulting words.”

“Certainly, these injurious words do not have the same gravity and do not lead to the same verdict of guilt as homicide, but they are placed on the same level because they are the premise of more serious acts and reveal the same malevolence,” he said.

Francis may have been referring to criticism he has received this past week, as well as tensions over the manoeuvring of conservatives opposed to his reforms of Church teaching and governance.

“We are used to insults,” he said. “It is like saying, ‘Good morning’.”

But “who insults his brother kills that brother in his heart,” the pontiff added. Continue Reading

5

PopeWatch: Cardinal Coccopalmerio

 

 

Father Z brings us the details on Cardinal Coccopalmerio’s official or unofficial, response or nonresponse to the five dubia of the Four Cardinals:

 

 

In the shallow, liberal, Italian Catholic weekly Panorama we are informed about a booklet now out over the name of Card. Coccopalmerio, Prefect of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts.  It is ballyhooed as “the response” to the Five Dubia of the Four “intransigent” Cardinals, who are dissenters because they are defending doctrine.

Of course it can’t be that, can it?  The response to the Dubia should come from the Holy Father (to whom they were submitted) or from the CDF (whose Prefect has spoken unofficially about the issues but who hasn’t issued anything official).

Beware. When you read Panorama your IQ is likely to drop.  The use of verbs would help their writers come off as less smarmy.  But I digress.

Here is some of the piece in my fast translation.  My emphases  and comments.

In a little book on the reasons why the Church can’t turn back in the face of those who “are not in tune with Catholic doctrine”.

“Divorced and remarried, unmarried couples living together, are certainly not models of unions in harmony with Catholic doctrine, but the Church cannot look the other way. For which reason the sacraments of reconciliation and of communion ought to be given also to so-called wounded families[a euphemism intended to arouse emotion rather than thought, empathy rather than clarity] and to those who even though living in situations not in line with the traditional canons on matrimony, express a sincere desire to draw closer to the sacraments after an adequate period of discernment.” [Not just “canons”.  They are not in line with Christ’s teaching either, or the perennial doctrine of the Church.

This is the pointed, calm and precise response that Pope Francis gives [Noooo…. Pope Francis didn’t give it.  The Cardinal did.  But this is what they want you to accept.] to those especially within the church and even in the College of Cardinals, who continue to express doubts about the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia in which, for the first time, there is foreseen the possibility of admitting to the sacraments those who contract a second marriage, unmarried couples living together and those people who live together in deformity with ecclesial directions in the matter of nuptial unions.

An indirect response, in any event, [See the slight of hand?] but [BUT!] the fruit of a deep canonical and ecclesiological study made, at the request of the same Pontiff, by one of the closest and most trusted collaborators, Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts (the “ministry” of justice of the Holy See).

The text – a booklet of only 30 pages entitled, “The 8th chapter of the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia” – was printed by the Vatican Press and on Wednesday 8 February arrived in religious bookstores which surround the Vatican.

The Doubts of the Four Cardinals

An initiative, they [the famous “they”] explained in the Vatican, that aims to “clarify” all the “doubts” raised by the most traditionalist elements bound with a vengeance [How mean!  How merciless!  How … mean!] to the defense of ecclesial doctrine in the matter of matrimonial life and of access to the sacraments.  [What sort of surreal, Dali-esque landscape has the Church become if those who defend doctrine are suddenly the dissenters?  Clocks are melting off the sides of tables.]

[…]

To all appearances, like a “normal” request for canonical clarifications, [This is more slight of hand: the Dubia ask for doctrinal clarifications, not just canonical.  So, the respose from an official of a canonical office isn’t going to take care of the doubts.] in reality a gesture of clear though polite disobedience on the part of four members of the College of Cardinals the organism which by its very nature is called to back up the reigning Pope in the governance of the Church.  [“Those dirty rotten mean old cardinals!  They are mean old meanies!”  (That’s the general level of the reader of Panorama, by the way.)]

It is normal that if a Cardinal feels the need to have clarifications on certain matters he can ask for them calmly – they assure us across the Tiber – in the course of personal audiences with the Pope. It is another thing to publish an open letter and bring up doubts and discontents in public opinion. A clearly offensive gesture toward the Pope almost completely like those which are used in interviews. As, for example, the German Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, did in recent days, who, in a newspaper, openly criticized admission to the sacraments of couples living together and the divorced and remarried because, he admonished, Doctrine “is to be left alone” (la Dottrina “non si tocca”).  [Do you see what they did?  They smear Müller in order to raise Coccopalmerio above him as an authority.  Thus the Doctrinal Cardinal is out and the Canonical Cardinal is in.]

[…]

This is another confusing puzzle piece to deal with.  It is confusing because it has the appearance of official approval (it was published by the Vatican Press), but it remains a non-response response to the Five Dubia.  That’s probably why the ad hominem attacks lace the Panorama piece.

In any event, we still – prayerfully and patiently – await greater clarity from some with the true authority to issue what are manifest and actual responses to the Dubia.  Or else… we await a statement that they are not going to be answered.

Clocks melting off the edges of tables.  Elephants on stilts.  This situation is getting really strange.

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20

Bill Kristol Reveals Who Is the Fascist

I was going to pen a response to Bill Kristol, but Sam Adams said it better:

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

Samuel Adams, August 1, 1776

13

PopeWatch: Bannon

 

 

Further evidence that the Catholic left are busily attempting to depict the thrice-divorced Steve Bannon as a radical Catholic traditionalist.  From Breitbart, of which Bannon was formerly editor:

On the far-left MSNBC cable television channel Sunday, Father James Martin said that Steve Bannon is a “radical traditionalist” opposing Pope Francis’s reforms and pining “for a time when the Church was purer.”

In a segment titled “Steve Bannon vs. the Pope,” Martin suggested that Bannon uses Church teaching to promote “racist, misogynistic, homophobic, xenophobic sentiments.”

Apparently, in Father Martin’s version of the gospel, it is wrong to oppose radical Islamists, but it is fine to bear false witness against a fellow Christian, running him down with baseless slanders and slurs.

Bannon is not only an anti-Pope Francis, Martin alleged, “I would also say he is an anti-Pope Benedict and an anti-Pope John Paul.”

“All these people were about economic justice,” Martin said, implying that Steve Bannon is not.

 

Father Martin also made the astonishing claim that Jesus Christ does not share Steve Bannon’s view of Catholicism as the “Church militant,” which he said is a synonym of “radical traditionalists.”

“I don’t think it was Jesus’ point of view either,” he said.

What Father Martin fails to mention is that his religious order—the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits)—was approved in 1540 by Pope Paul III with the papal bull titled “To the Government of the Church Militant” and the Jesuits were commonly referred to as the pope’s “shock troops.”

Moreover, as literate Catholics know, the “Church militant” is a common expression employed by countless Catholic saints including Pope John Paul II to distinguish the members of the church on earth still doing battle with evil from those who have already died.

In his most famous text, The Spiritual Exercises, Saint Ignatius Loyola—the founder of the Jesuits—wrote out a series of rules that should be followed “to foster the true attitude of mind we ought to have in the church militant.” Continue Reading

2

February 14, 1929: Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre

Ironies abound in the Saint Valentine’s Day massacre by which Chicago gangster Al Capone sought to destroy his competitor gangster Adelard Cunin, known to infamy as George “Bugs” Moran.  Moran had made a failed attempt on Capone’s life, which led to Capone, leading the Italian dominated South Side Gang, to target Moran and Moran’s Irish dominated North Side Gang.  Capone had a false call made to Moran on February 13, 1929 tempting him with a truck load of liquor from Detroit that he could have at a bargain price.  Moran ordered that the truck deliver the liquor the next morning at 10:30 AM at the garage of the S.M.C. Cartage Company on North Clark Street where Moran kept his bootlegging trucks.  Instead, two of Capone’s men, disguised as cops, appeared at the garage and ordered the seven men present to line up against a wall.  Two professional killers then entered the garage with tommy-guns and, with the aid of the two fake cops, murdered the men, only gangster Frank Gusenberg survived long enough to make it to the hospital and honor the gangland code of silence prior to his death, refusing to say anything about who was responsible.  Ironies to take note of in this example of gangland savagery:

  1.  If Moran hadn’t slept in that morning he would have been among the dead.  Albert Weinshank, one of the dead, looked like Moran and probably when he was seen entering the garage caused Capone’s hit squad to go into action.
  2. Two of the seven men killed had the abysmal bad luck to simply be in the wrong place at the wrong time. One was optician Reinhardt Schwimmer who liked to gamble and palled around with members of the gang.  The other was mechanic John May who was working on a car.
  3. Moran was not put out of business by the murders, but kept control of his territory through the end of prohibition.  He would die in prison in 1957.
  4. The two probable Capone hit men involved in the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre did not live to see another Valentine’s day.  The bodies of John Scalise and Albert Anselmi were found in the wee hours of the morning on May 8, 1929 on a lonely road near Hammond, Indiana.  They were joined in death by gangster Joseph Giunta.  The three men had been severely beaten and then shot to death.  It is likely that they had been involved in a plot against Capone.  Capone, ever a fanatic baseball fan, had worked them over with a bat before having his gunmen finish the task.
  5. Public revulsion against the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre was so intense that the Federal government made a maximum effort to get Capone.  Capone’s tactical victory in the Massacre led directly to his eventual downfall for income tax evasion.
  6. Both Al Capone and Bugs Moran repented their sins before their deaths and may have stolen Heaven in the tradition established by Saint Dismas.
  7. I sat next to one of the last survivors of Al Capone’s gang back in the eighties during a Chamber of Commerce dinner.  Now a kindly great grandfather, he had gotten out of Chicago decades before and invested in farmland in Livingston County.  I resisted the temptation to ask him if any gangster bodies were buried in said farmland.

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3

Vote Fraud? What Vote Fraud?

 

 

Democrats simultaneously deny that there is any vote fraud, and fight all measures to guarantee the security of the ballot from fraud.  Powerline gives us the latest development in a very old game:

 

Democrats hotly deny there is any vote fraud taking place in American elections. Funny that only Democrats seem sensitive about this charge. The asymmetry of outrage suggests something, I think. Once upon a time, Chicago Democrats justified their shenanigans by charging that downstate Illinois Republicans stole votes, too. And maybe they did.

Consider this note from our friend Roger Beckett, executive director of the Ashbrook Center at Ashland University in Ohio:

I received the letter below from the Department of Elections in the State of Delaware. After a couple phone calls to them, I learned that someone registered me to vote (with my correct Date of Birth and Social Security number) on July 12, 2016 in Wilmington, Delaware. As a Democrat. I have never registered to vote in Delaware. I have only ever registered to vote where I live, in Ohio. I checked my credit report, and this is not full-fledged identity theft. It appears to be just some new-fangled election fraud. 

I was asked by the good people in the Delaware Election Commissioner’s office to send a letter to them that they could forward to the Delaware’s Attorney General, which I will do.

Here is the letter, with Roger’s Social Security suffix and address blocked out (by me):

Beckett Registration

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27

The Trump Melt Down and the Catholic Church

 

 

In my six decades I have never seen anything like, in American history, the meltdown and rabid hysteria that has seized the left since Donald Trump won the last Presidential election.  It is as if leftists awoke from a beautiful dream in which their political adversaries were forever vanquished to the, in their eyes, brutal reality of Donald Trump.  We are now seeing this same type of hysterical hatred being aimed against orthodox Catholics.  Carl Olsen, who I now designate the truthful chronicler for American Catholics of our bizarre age, at The Catholic World Report, gives us the details:

 

A couple of weeks ago I came across the following, written by Oscar Wilde some 125 years or so ago:

In old days men had the rack. Now they have the press. That is an improvement certainly. But still it is very bad, and wrong, and demoralising. Somebody – was it Burke? – called journalism the fourth estate. That was true at the time, no doubt. But at the present moment it really is the only estate. It has eaten up the other three. The Lords Temporal say nothing, the Lords Spiritual have nothing to say, and the House of Commons has nothing to say and says it. We are dominated by Journalism. In America the President reigns for four years, and Journalism governs for ever and ever. Fortunately, in America journalism has carried its authority to the grossest and most brutal extreme. As a natural consequence it has begun to create a spirit of revolt. People are amused by it, or disgusted by it, according to their temperaments. But it is no longer the real force it was.

It’s worth pondering in light of nearly any and all journalism, news (or “news”), and punditry today, even if Wilde didn’t happen to be a perfect prophet. After all, news itself has become news; in a certain way, for better or worse, much of “news” is simply discussion and debate about “news”, to the point that journalism and opinion don’t just overlap but become uneasy mates. In some cases, the opinion turns upon its mate, leaving only faint traces of journalistic remains scattered among the dense underbrush of innuendo, suggestion, implication, and overt subjective assertion.

A case in point is a February 7th New York Times’ article titled “Steve Bannon Carries Battles to Another Influential Hub: The Vatican”. Bannon, of course, has become the focal point of those on the left who are intent on branding President Trump a “fascist”, which is (along with “communist”) the word used by lazy, unlearned people who wish to silence or even destroy their political enemies (an online search for “Bannon” and “fascism” turns up endless examples). The piece opens with this:

When Stephen K. Bannon was still heading Breitbart News, he went to the Vatican to cover the canonization of John Paul II and make some friends. High on his list of people to meet was an archconservative American cardinal, Raymond Burke, who had openly clashed with Pope Francis.

In one of the cardinal’s antechambers, amid religious statues and book-lined walls, Cardinal Burke and Mr. Bannon — who is now President Trump’s anti-establishment eminence — bonded over their shared worldview. They saw Islam as threatening to overrun a prostrate West weakened by the erosion of traditional Christian values, and viewed themselves as unjustly ostracized by out-of-touch political elites.

“When you recognize someone who has sacrificed in order to remain true to his principles and who is fighting the same kind of battles in the cultural arena, in a different section of the battlefield, I’m not surprised there is a meeting of hearts,” said Benjamin Harnwell, a confidant of Cardinal Burke who arranged the 2014 meeting.

First, what is an “archconservative” cardinal? The term is political, of course, because the Times, like almost all big media outlets, simply cannot think or exist outside of political categories. Cardinal Burke, by any sane and knowledgeable measure, is a thoroughly orthodox Catholic when it comes to Church belief and practice. (Note also that the piece refers to Cardinal Burke twice as “Mr. Burke”. Strange.)

Secondly, is it really so outrageous to believe that Islam—mindful even of all the different divisions and groups within Islam—desires to conquer the West, especially given old history, new history, and the statements that come from a wide range of Islamic groups and leaders?

Thirdly, lest ancient history be too easily forgotten, Cardinal Burke was named prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura in July 2008 by Pope Benedict XVI (the same pope whose first encyclical melted minds over at the Times). He was removed from that post in September 2014 by Pope Francis, in a surprising move that took place shortly before the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops met in the fall of that same year. The chronology is notable because the recent Times piece, as quoted above, suggests that a Cardinal Burke-Bannon conspiracy was underway in April 2014, quite some time before Cardinal Burke was suddenly demoted. As Terry Mattingly states in a helpful piece at Get Religion:

The timing of the meeting is fascinating and, for journalists, a bit problematic. They key is that Bannon is in Rome to attend the canonization rites for Pope John Paul II (who for some reason loses his papal title in the lede) – which took place on April 27, 2014.

Meanwhile, the much-discussed public clashes between Cardinal Burke and Pope Francis began the following October, during the Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. The red-flag on that whole affair was a Times piece – “Pope Demotes U.S. Cardinal Critical of His Reform Agenda” – that ran on Nov. 8, 2014.

So in what sense was Cardinal Burke already “openly” clashing with Pope Francis at the time of the St. John Paul II rites, months before the conservative cardinals public actions at the synod?

Perhaps unwittingly, the piece lets the front paws of the cat out of the bag when it states, “Until now, Francis has marginalized or demoted the traditionalists, notably Cardinal Burke, carrying out an inclusive agenda on migration, climate change and poverty that has made the pope a figure of unmatched global popularity, especially among liberals.” Put another way, the problem with Cardinal Burke, in the eyes of the Times and Co. is not that he’s a heretic (since he isn’t) or a schismatic (because he isn’t), but because he’s not in tune politically with an overtly political pontificate that has increasingly shown itself friendly to a wide range of left-wing, secular perspectives and assumptions.

Thus: “Yet in a newly turbulent world, Francis is suddenly a lonelier figure. Where once Francis had a powerful ally in the White House in Barack Obama, now there is Mr. Trump and Mr. Bannon, this new president’s ideological guru.” (As I recently remarked to a friend, I sometimes think Francis acts more like a politician than a pope, while President Obama, during his two terms in office, acted more like a pope—that is, a religious figure leading a religious movement—than a politician.)

Mattingly points out that the piece provides no real sourcing or quotes to back up its central assertion about Cardinal Burke and Bannon (and Trump) working to undermine and battle Pope Francis. “At this point, it is clear that the Times needs to provide information proving that these Roman Rad Trans exist and that they have had extensive contacts with Trump, through Bannon. We are not talking about journalists and chattering-class folks. We are talking about actual source inside church structures. Right?

As bad as the Times piece is, it is a Valentine’s card compared to an op-ed in yesterday’s Washington Post by Emma-Kate Symons, titled, “How Pope Francis can cleanse the far-right rot from the Catholic Church”. Even accounting for it being an opinion piece, it is one of the most vile, slanderous pieces of trash I’ve ever read in a mainstream news publication, which is saying something. Continue Reading

7

PopeWatch: Zeitgeist

 

 

PopeWatch has long believed that the key to understanding the Pope is the way in which his native Argentina impacted his thought.  Over the weekend PopeWatch was reading a fascinating article published in 2015 that looked at the Pope’s intellectual background based on the dominant intellectual trends in Argentina during his formative years.  The author, Claudio I. Remeseira, summarizes the main aspects of his thought that explains much of his papacy:

Francis’ mindset straddles this divide. One Anti-Modern trait of his thinking is his mistrust of Liberalism. Despite his constant appeals to political tolerance, Francis’ political thought is rooted in a pre-modern, organicist view of the community as foundation of social and political life. Liberal democracy and the modern doctrine of human rights are the antithesis of that view. In Evangelii gaudium, the word “people” appears 164 times; the word “democracy”, not once.

Another trait is his hostility toward capitalism. Far for being inspired in any left-wing or Marxist philosophy, Francis’ anti-capitalism comes down from the European right-wing writers of the early 20th century, who in turn found their source of inspiration in the Middle Ages. At the final stage of the Cold War, John Paul II made a timid move towards accepting the market as an autonomous social force. In the age of the anti-globalization movement, Francis would have none of it. His critique of capitalism seems to go even further than the objections traditionally made by Catholic Social Teaching since Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum. It is when indicting the world’s economic woes that Francis strikes his most prophetic tone (which, by the way, is another characteristic of Argentinian theology). The encyclical Laudato si, his great jeremiad against the evils of capitalism, has established Francis as one of the world’s foremost critics of Neoliberalism.

But, did the old adversary of Liberation Theology really turn into a radical leftist, as some critics on the right say? A quarter of a century after the demise of the Soviet Union and when the other world-Communist power, China, has morphed into its own kind of State-steered Capitalism, there is more room for the Pope to openly condemn social injustice without raising the suspicion of being a revolutionary. In any case, what Francis probably has in mind is not a socialist but some sort of populist economic system — something, perhaps, closer to a 21st-century update of the Peronist social-welfare state. Some of his initiatives, such as the World Encounter of Popular Movements, seemed to have been conceived with the intention of becoming the Solidarność of a post-Industrial era.

That era, already unfolding before us, has in Francis’ view one preeminent protagonist: the masses of the poor and the excluded, the disenfranchised of the world. They are the Peoples of God, the pilgrims of the Trinitarian God’s journey on this planet. To Francis, the mission of the Church is indistinguishable from them — it must be a Church of poverty and for the poor. Herein lies his true radicalism: an uncompromising identification between the suffering of the poor and Christ, and his determination to persuade the world to join in that mission.

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Jesuitical 20: Georgetown Prof on Slavery and Rape

 

 

Part 20 of my ongoing survey of the follies of many modern day Jesuits. A Georgetown Professor assures us that slavery and rape isn’t so bad as long as the slavers and rapists follow the religion of peace.  Rod Dreher gives us the details:

 

An academic reader writes:

This news item stands out if only because — at last! — reality beats Houellebecq. Who’d a thunk? Or maybe Houellebecq was prophetical in his novel, “Soumission”.

What’s he talking about? News that Jonathan Brown, a tenured Georgetown professor and holder of the Al-Waleed bin Talal Chair in Islamic Civilization at Georgetown University, has delivered a lecture defending slavery and rape non-consensual sex. Umar Lee, a Muslim who heard the lecture and was offended by it, posted about it here. He wrote:

While the lecture was supposed to be about slavery in Islam Brown spent the majority of the lecture talking about slavery in the United States, the United Kingdom and China. When discussing slavery in these societies Brown painted slavery as brutal and violent (which it certainly was). When the conversation would briefly flip to historic slavery in the Arab and Turkish would slavery was described by Brown in glowing terms. Indeed, according to Brown, slaves in the Muslim World lived a pretty good life.

I thought the Muslim community was done with this dishonest North Korean style of propaganda. Obviously not. Brown went on to discuss the injustices of prison labor in America and a myriad of other social-ills. Absent from his talk (until challenged) was any recognition of the rampant abuse of workers in the Gulf, the thousands of workers in the Gulf dying on construction sites, the South Asian child camel-jockeys imported into the United Arab Emirates to race camels under harsh conditions, or the horrific conditions of prisoners in the Muslim World (the latest news being 13,000 prisoners executed in Syria).

Brown constructs a world where the wrongs of the West excuse any wrongs (if he believes there are any) in the Muslim World.

“Slavery wasn’t racialized” in Muslim societies, Brown stated. That would be believable if it weren’t well-known black people in the Arab World and African-Americans in this country weren’t constantly referred to as abeed (slaves) simply because the color of the skin.

Brown described slavery in the Muslim World as kinder and gentler. The Arab poet who wrote “before you buy the slave buy the stick… for he is nejas (impure)” is perhaps a better description of Arab slavery than what Brown offered.
“Slaves were protected by shariah (Islamic Law)” Brown stated with no recognition of the idealized legal version of slavery and slavery as it was practiced. In this version of slavery there is an omission of kidnappings, harems, armies of eunuchs, and other atrocities.

Read the whole thing. Umar Lee is furious. Continue Reading

3

Quotes Suitable for Framing: Abraham Lincoln

The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise — with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.

Abraham Lincoln, Annual Message to Congress, December 1, 1862