28

Pope Francis Hates Libertarianism

 

 

In a message to the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, Pope Francis makes clear that what really makes his blood boil is libertarianism:

 

Finally, I cannot but speak of the serious risks associated with the invasion, at high levels of culture and education in both universities and in schools, of positions of libertarian individualism. A common feature of this fallacious paradigm is that it minimizes the common good, that is, “living well”, a “good life” in the community framework, and exalts the selfish ideal that deceptively proposes a “beautiful life”. If individualism affirms that it is only the individual who gives value to things and interpersonal relationships, and so it is only the individual who decides what is good and what is bad, then libertarianism, today in fashion, preaches that to establish freedom and individual responsibility, it is necessary to resort to the idea of “self-causation”. Thus libertarian individualism denies the validity of the common good because on the one hand it supposes that the very idea of “common” implies the constriction of at least some individuals, and the other that the notion of “good” deprives freedom of its essence.

The radicalization of individualism in libertarian and therefore anti-social terms leads to the conclusion that everyone has the “right” to expand as far as his power allows, even at the expense of the exclusion and marginalization of the most vulnerable majority. Bonds would have to be cut inasmuch as they would limit freedom. By mistakenly matching the concept of “bond” to that of “constraint”, one ends up confusing what may condition freedom – the constraints – with the essence of created freedom, that is, bonds or relations, family and interpersonal, with the excluded and marginalized, with the common good, and finally with God. Continue Reading

3

Imperial German Plans to Invade the US

 

Other than the diplomatic debacle of Germany attempting to tempt Mexico to engage in a hopeless war with the US if America and Germany went to war which led to the Zimmerman Telegram, Imperial Germany had no plans to invade the US, having more than it could handle in Europe and the Middle East.  However, plans had been drawn up to invade the US from 1897 to 1903 at the request of the Kaiser who was perturbed at the growing global influence of the US.

The first plan written by a German naval Lieutenant envisaged a naval war of the east coast of the US with raids against American east coast naval bases.

After American victory in the Spanish-American War, the plan was revised to include German troop landings and occupation of Boston and New York.

A third and final plan concentrated on bringing America to the negotiating table by seizing Puerto Rico and establishing a  naval base there and polished up the ideas of invading at Boston and New York.  The plan noted that none of this could be undertaken unless Germany enjoyed peace in Europe. Continue Reading

1

Barney Fife: The Law

 

Don Knotts was a comedy genius but he understood that his creation, the bumbling Deputy Barney Fife, needed depth to be an effective character.  Here he faces down two men, each far more physically powerful than himself, simply because his badge represents the Law and the people the Law represents.  It is an example of a character overcoming his fear and helps explain why Sheriff Taylor had Fife as his Deputy.  A bravura performance from the Silver Age of Television.

PopeWatch: Ad Orientem

 

 

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

 

After conducting his first symphony since being named Maestro of the New Mexico Philharmonic, Chinese-born Li Wei Chen has been under heavy scrutiny from longtime patrons for conducting Beethoven’s famous 9th Symphony while facing the orchestra.

Season subscriber Lance Humphrey told EOTT that he was offended that Chen did not conduct facing the audience like their old maestro.

“Look, I understand that the symphony is still the symphony no matter what, but I just think that turning his back toward us while conducting just takes us back to an archaic time.”

Many have reportedly labelled Chen a “Symphonic Rad Trad,” saying that he was out of touch with mainstream music.

New Mexico Symphony donor Cecilia Cotes told EOTT that it reminded her of times when she would be in music class and would be “whacked on the knuckles with a violin bow.”

“It’s completely outdated. What we want is Maestro Chen to turn and face us so that we can feel like we’re participating in the orchestral movements. Does that make sense?”

At press time, Chen has said that he would not turn to face the people, but would consider allowing a number patrons on stage to turn the pages of the sheet music during concerts. Continue Reading

13

Hogs of War

 

I love the irony:

 

Three Islamic State fighters were mauled to death by a pack of wild boar, reports U.K.’s  The Times. Another 5 militants were also injured in the attack.

The men were said to be taking cover in a field as they set up an ambush for local tribesmen, local leaders said.

“It is likely their movement disturbed a herd of wild pigs, which inhabit the area as well as the nearby cornfields,” Sheikh Anwar al-Assi, a chief of the local Ubaid tribe and supervisor of anti-ISIS forces, told the Times. “The area is dense with reeds, which are good for hiding in.”

The incident occurred after Islamic State fighters executed 25 people in the town of Hawija, one of three Islamic State complete-control strongholds in Iraq. The executions were ordered after several people tried to escape the town, according to local leaders.  Continue Reading

4

They Don’t Like the Bill of Rights

 

Last night I watched The FBI Story (1959) starring Jimmy Stewart as FBI agent Chip Hardesty.  Through the story of his career the history of the FBI was told.  A somewhat sanitized version to be sure but accurate as far as it went.  Go here to read some background on the film.  From an entertainment standpoint it is a great film, full of humor and drama, Jimmy Stewart and Vera Miles doing a good job of making you care about Chip Hardesty and his wife.  In one moving scene Hardesty and his wife learn that their only son was killed in the first assault wave on Iwo Jima.  As the black tide of grief washes over them as it does almost all parents who lose a child, Stewart seemed to be actually experiencing that sorrow.  A decorated Colonel in the Eighth Air Force who flew bomber missions during the War, I expect that Stewart while filming that scene was recalling the many young men he had known who had died in the units he commanded, and the letters he wrote to their parents and wives.  A good film, but that is not why I am writing this post.

 

In a clash with the Ku Klux Klan Hardesty describes it as follows:

The next day, Sam and I were sent down South with five other agents.  We were given simple instructions:  To check on a group of terrorists known as the Ku Klux Klan.  They had one minor complaint:  They didn’t like the Bill of Rights.  They said so in speeches.  They said so  in a lot of different ways.  They ransacked homes……and defiled ancient devotions.  It was a secret organization……that was so powerful it didn’t have to be secret.

This struck home to me because in this country we see the growing influence on the left of groups that also do not like the Bill of Rights.  To their credit some leftists are beginning to speak out against these groups, including Senators Warren and Sanders, Professor Cornell West and talk show host Bill Maher.  It is a frightening movement that bodes ill for civic peace.  Here is a current example of what these groups are accomplishing:

 

 

For years, the 82nd Avenue of the Roses parade has kicked off Portland’s annual Rose Festival and marked beginning of the Oregon city’s parade season.

But after a threatening email was sent to parade organizers – singling out members of the Multnomah County Republican Party (MCRP) who were planning to take part – officials have decided to cancel the family-friendly procession in an effort to avoid any clashes between protesters and marchers.

“This would have been the 11th year of the parade. This is culturally enriched community that has grown very diverse over the years,” Rick Jarvis, a spokesman for the Rose Festival Foundation, told Fox News. “The association has worked very hard to get everyone together in one common are and the parade helped served in that function.”

Local media reported that the email was sent from “[email protected],” and said that if members of the MCRP marched on Saturday they planned to have “two hundred or more people rush into the parade into the middle and drag and push them out.”

“You have seen how much power we have downtown and that the police cannot stop us from shutting down roads so please consider your decision wisely,” the anonymous email said, in reference to the violent riots that broke out in Portland after the 2016 presidential election, reported the Oregonian. “This is non-negotiable.” Continue Reading

5

PopeWatch: Egypt

 

The Pope faces a situation on the ground far different from the view of Islam as a religion of peace that he has repeated ad nauseum:

 

Pope Francis is facing a religious and diplomatic balancing act as he heads to Egypt this weekend, hoping to comfort its Christian community after a spate of Islamic attacks while seeking to improve relations with Egypt’s Muslim leaders.

Security has been tightened, with shops ordered closed and police conducting door-to-door checks in the upscale Cairo neighborhood where Francis will stay Friday night. His only public Mass is being held at a military-run stadium.

Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said Francis wasn’t overly concerned and wouldn’t use an armored car, as his predecessors did on foreign trips. Francis insisted on going ahead with the trip even after twin Palm Sunday church bombings killed at least 45 people and a subsequent attack at the famed St. Catherine’s monastery in Sinai.

“We’re in the world of ‘new normal,'” Burke said. “But we go forward with serenity.”

The highlight of the two-day trip will be Francis’ visit Friday to Al-Azhar, the revered 1,000-year-old seat of learning in Sunni Islam. There, he will meet privately with grand imam Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, and participate in an international peace conference.

Francis has insisted that Christian-Muslim dialogue is the only way to overcome Islamic extremism of the kind that has targeted Christians and driven them from their 2,000-year-old communities in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East. While condemning extremist attacks against Christians, he has said he is traveling to Egypt as a messenger of peace at a time when the world is “torn by blind violence.”

But his message of dialogue and tolerance has been rejected as naive by even some of his fellow Jesuits, for whom Islam remains “a religion of the sword” that has failed to modernize. Even ordinary Egyptian Christians see his visit as a nice gesture but one that ultimately won’t change their reality.

“He has been saying the same words for years, which is all about love and tolerance, but political Islam ruined the world and the most important change should come from Al-Azhar,” said John, a 24-year-old Coptic Christian student from Cairo who declined to give his last name because he feared reprisals. Continue Reading

7

Bear Growls: No Love From This Teddy

 

 

Our bruin friend at Saint Corbinian’s Bear does not think much of the Pope’s TED talk:

 

Everybody loves to hate TED talks. It is an official entry on the “Stuff White People Like” website. Comedian Sam Hyde was spot on when he gave a ridiculously self-congratulatory TED talk on “the 2070 Paradigm Shift” a few years ago, while dressed like a Greek hoplite.

With his “Neo-Earth Good Government League” he should have been the warm-up act for Francis’ TED talk.

 Among the gems (this is Sam Hyde):

What inspires me, is teaching African refugees how to program Javascript. What inspires me is finding out how to use MagLev trains to get resources to the moon. These are the challenges that tomorrow’s going to face.

It should be no surprise that Pope Francis popped up on a TED to talk about the “Future You.”
The Bear finds that phrase ominous, since, actuarially, the future Bear will shortly be fertilizing the daisy patch. But, of course, the future is full of hope for Pope Francis. But what kind of hope?
As the Bear read the bland comments, he recalled the brilliant po-mo generator that assembles jargon into academic essays that have fooled at least one journal. It would not be hard to create a “Francis Generator” that did a quick paste job using solidarity, refugees, migrants, youth, arms dealers, dialogue, and those evil northern bastards who stole everything from the south, etc.

This talk could have been generated by the Bear’s hypothetical program. And it is just as hard to write a sensible story about. You can skim it for yourself. It isn’t that long. It is devoid of any genuine Catholic insights. The theological virtue of Hope is reduced to an expectation for a better tomorrow – here on earth. Pope Francis actually calls for a revolution. A worldly revolution, of course, that would put in power progressives like himself.

It makes an uncomfortable read, because you realize that this is not someone who is all that interested in souls, or Heaven, or any of that stuff. Jorge Bergoglio was elected Pope to advance the agenda of the Prince of This World. His gospel is the anti-gospel of the Prince of This World.

Continue Reading

6

PopeWatch: Ted Talk

 

PopeWatch guesses this was inevitalbe:  The Pope gives a TED Talk.  TED Talks are videos by individuals with ideas that the TED media organization  (Technology, Entertainment, Design) deem worthy of being spread.  Started in 1984 in Silicon Valley, the first videos were technical in nature.  Now, most of the videos seem to convey ideas viewed as non-threatening by the global chattering classes.  Apparently the Pope is clearly in that category.  Here is the transcript of the Pope’s address: Continue Reading

16

Only in France

 

 

The French are in the process of electing a President.  The vagaries of French politics I usually find fairly bewildering, as one might expect from a nation that since 1789 has had a monarchy, three constitutional monarchies, two empires, a fascist state and five republics.  The French use a run off system by which the two top candidates, if no candidate gets above 50%, go up against each other.  The French finished the first round over the weekend.  The two candidates, drum roll, are:

 

Marine Le Pen of the National Front.  She has been compared to Joan of Arc.  Well perhaps, if one can imagine a pro-abort Joan of Arc who has been twice divorced and is shacked up with a significant other.  The National Front is sort of a Le Pen family business, started by her Daddy Jean-Marie LePen, probably a fascist, who she threw out of the party in 2015 when he made one of the thousands of controversial statements that litter his career.  She is widely assumed to be doomed in the run-off, and that is probably the case, although she does recognize that France is in a war with Jihadists, something that most other sectors of French political opinion do their best to ignore.

Emmanuel Macron is a renegade moderate socialist, if there is such an animal.  The French establishment has rallied around him to save them from dragon lady Le Pen who might, if elected, actually change the way France has done business since the days of the Sun King, whatever the French government of the day calls itself: heavily centralized rule from Paris, with the rest of France being, at best, a suburb of Paris.  He is 39 and his spouse is 64.  They met when he was 15 and she was his teacher at a private Jesuit school, married with three kids.  Private meetings between them ensued where they no doubt had interesting conversations in the Jesuit manner regarding marital fidelity.  They confessed their undying love for each other when he was 16.  When he turned 18 she dumped her husband, although in Gallic fashion they did not get married until 2007 after she finally divorced husband the first.  During the campaign Macron was accused of having a homosexual relationship with the head of Radio France.  He has denied this, and that denial may be correct, because as far as I can ascertain the head of Radio France did not teach at the Jesuit school while he was a student.

7

PopeWatch: Venezuela

 

The Pope has gone silent on Venezuela where a low level civil war is underway as desperate people take to the streets against their Castro wannabe government.  Father Raymond de Souza wonders why:

 

 

For a brief period, the Vatican was involved as a mediator in talks between the Maduro regime and the opposition. The government was happy for the Vatican role, for it believed that it gave them added legitimacy. The opposition trusted the Church because of the longstanding criticism of Chavismo by the Venezuelan bishops, led by Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino of Caracas.

The mediation role required the Vatican to maintain general neutrality its public diplomacy. However, the mediation talks were short-lived due to the Maduro regime failing to meet the conditions for the talks to continue, which included release of political prisoners and respect for democratic norms.

As the locus of activity has moved to the streets, the Venezuelan bishops have become pointedly critical of the Maduro regime and more clearly allied with the opposition, which has the people on its side against Maduro, who controls the courts and the military.

Maduro has thus unleashed government goons against the Church, entering parish churches to disrupt Masses. On Wednesday of Holy Week, Maduro’s men burst into the Chrism Mass of Cardinal Urosa, shouting threats and physically assaulting the cardinal.

It would therefore seem time for a thunderous denunciation from Francis against the Maduro regime. Certainly, the government has brought to Venezuela an “economy that kills,” with people dying for lack of food and medicine, to say nothing of protesters dying in the streets. The path of dialogue has long been abandoned by a regime that sends armed men into churches to intimidate the Church by threatening people at prayer.

So why has the Vatican gone quiet? Why no strong statement of solidarity with Cardinal Urosa, attacked in his own cathedral in Holy Week? Why no mention of the suffering people of Venezuela in this Easter’s Urbi et Orbi?

It may be a genuine uncertainty about the best path forward, though it is quite clear that Venezuela’s bishops have lost confidence in the Maduro regime. It may be thought that strong words from the Holy See might further inflame Maduro’s violence against the Church.

Or it may be that such a step would require Francis to direct criticism at a Latin American leftist, which he heretofore has not done. To the contrary, Latin American leftists have enjoyed favour under this pope, with both Raul Castro of Cuba and Evo Morales of Bolivia getting unusually warm receptions on visits to the Vatican.

The Holy Father has yet to visit his native Argentina, but chose Cuba and Bolivia for significant moments in his papal travels. To come out against the Maduro regime would require a break with Castro and Morales specifically, and the militant Latin American left more generally. Continue Reading

3

First Episode of Playhouse 90

 

The things you find on You tube!  The first episode of Playhouse 90, the hour and half long weekly series that aired on CBS from 1956-1960.  This episode, Forbidden Area, was written by Rod Serling and directed by John Frankenheimer.  Introduced by Jack Palance, this live Cold War espionage drama starred Charlton Heston and Vincent Price.  That television used to present such quality fare makes one weep for the current waste of airtime programming, usually filled with sniggering obscenity, mindless violence, and almost no thought, that makes up most television schedules.

10

Founder Lessons

 

I have a crowded day today.  The centerpiece is six bankruptcy first meetings of creditors that will extend from noon to two-thirty PM.  As is usually the case when I am in a hearing over the lunch hour, I will grab some fast food in my travels and eat in my car.  About 50% of the time the food comes from a McDonald’s, as will be the case today.  (No, having done this for thirty-five years I neither lose control of the car nor suffer from indigestion, although sometimes my ties end up the worse for wear.)

On Sunday my bride and I watched the Blu-ray of Founder (2017) the biopic starring Michael Keaton in the role of McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc.  The film is a dark comedy and Michael Keaton’s manic comedic drive is a good fit for the film.  The film tells a somewhat fictionalized tale of how Ray Kroc took the idea of the McDonald brothers for fast service of hamburgers, fries and pop and turned it into a globe-spanning corporation.

The film depicts Kroc as both hero and villain.  Without his endless energy and resourcefulness the McDonald’s concept of fast food would have remained in San Bernardino and a handful of southwest locations.  However, Kroc is also shown cheating the brothers and divorcing his wife of 39 years to pursue a younger woman.  The latter charge is correct.  It is even worse than the film depicts.  When the younger woman did not divorce her husband, Kroc married wife number two and dumped her and married the younger woman, Joan Kroc, in 1969 when she finally did divorce her first husband and became wife number three.  That tells you all you need to know about Ray Kroc as a human being.  However, the wheel always comes round.  Joan Kroc was a liberal airhead who gave away Kroc’s hard earned fortune after his death to such worthless causes as a million bucks to the Democrat party and 235 million to NPR.  Ray Kroc, who was a political conservative, was doubtless grinding his teeth in the world to come.  Hopefully he wasn’t outraged by the billion and a half she left on her death to the Salvation Army, a worthy cause.  The allegation that Kroc cheated the McDonald brothers by denying them royalties is an urban myth.  Kroc had to scramble to raise the 2.7 million they wanted as a buyout in 1961, the equivalent today, after taxes, of eight million apiece.  When Kroc suggested that they accept installment payments, the brothers said they might as well then continue getting their royalties of 0.5% per annum of the franchise profits.  It was understood that no royalties would be paid to the brothers after the sale.  Kroc was a rough business man, but an outright cheat, no. Continue Reading

Anzac Day 2017

[19] Wilt thou give strength to the horse, or clothe his neck with neighing? [20] Wilt thou lift him up like the locusts? the glory of his nostrils is terror.

[21] He breaketh up the earth with his hoof, he pranceth boldly, he goeth forward to meet armed men. [22] He despiseth fear, he turneth not his back to the sword, [23] Above him shall the quiver rattle, the spear and shield shall glitter. [24] Chasing and raging he swalloweth the ground, neither doth he make account when the noise of the trumpet soundeth. [25] When he heareth the trumpet he saith: Ha, ha: he smelleth the battle afar off, the encouraging of the captains, and the shouting of the army.

Job 39:  19-25

Today is Anzac Day, in Australia and New Zealand.   It commemorates the landing of the New Zealand and Australian troops at Gallipoli in World War I.  Although the effort to take the Dardanelles was ultimately unsuccessful, the Anzac troops demonstrated great courage and tenacity, and the ordeal the troops underwent in this campaign has a vast meaning to the peoples of New Zealand and Australia.

At the beginning of the war the New Zealand and Australian citizen armies, illustrating the robust humor of both nations,  engaged in self-mockery best illustrated by this poem:

We are the ANZAC Army

The A.N.Z.A.C.

We cannot shoot, we don’t salute

What bloody good are we ?

And when we get to Ber – Lin

The Kaiser, he will say

Hoch, Hoch, Mein Gott !

What a bloody odd lot

to get six bob a day.

By the end of World War I no one was laughing at the Anzacs.  At the end of the war a quarter of the military age male population of New Zealand had been killed or wounded and Australia paid a similarly high price.  Widely regarded as among the elite shock troops of the Allies, they had fought with distinction throughout the war, and added to their reputation during World War II.   American veterans I have spoken to who have fought beside Australian and New Zealand units have uniformly told me that they could choose no better troops to have on their flank in a battle.

A century ago in 1917 the Anzac troops were still fighting in the Great War.  They accomplished many remarkable feats of arms during that year, but perhaps the most remarkable was the charge of the 4th Australian Light Horse Brigade at Beersheba, a battle in which both Australian and New Zealand troops fought.  The long day of cavalry was almost over, but the mounted infantrymen of the 4th Light Horse, waving their bayonets in lieu of sabers, routed the entrenched Turks and only suffered light casualties themselves, a true military miracle.  The war horse, ridden by Anzacs, had his last moment of military glory.

 

Continue Reading

14

PopeWatch: Maradiaga

 

Carl Olsen at The Catholic World Report  demonstrates why Cardinal Maradiaga, who is very close to the Pope, is an insult to all sentient Catholics:

 

The three key remarks are as follows:
I think in the first place they [the four cardinals] have not read the Amoris Laetitia, because unfortunately this is the case! I know the four and I say they are already retired. How come they did not say anything in regard to those who manufacture weapons? Some are in countries that manufacture and sell weapons throughout the genocide that is happening in Syria, for example. Why? I would not want to put it – shall we say – too strongly; only God knows people’s consciences and inner motivations; but, from the outside it seems to me to be a new pharisaism. They are wrong; they should do something else. …

I think the car of the Church has no gear to go in reverse. It pulls itself forward because the Holy Spirit is not accustomed to go backwards. He always brings us forward. I am not afraid because I know it is not Francis, it is the Holy Spirit who guides the Church, and that, if He has allowed this Pontiff to come, it is for some reason, and we certainly ought to look to the future with hope because, more and more, the Church is God’s, it is not our own. We are only servants. …
Let us look above all at reality, because to see also if there aren’t many cases of those who are in a second union–we will not enter there because there are many reasons– but that they in a healthy conscience [feel] that their first marriage was not valid and that they have found a new family, they are living in conformity to the law of God, why throw stones? why? Instead of saying, “How are we doing with the new generation because they could prepare themselves better to have a good family. And this is Amoris Laetitia… It happens that so many times the methods that these four brothers [the four cardinals] only look at, who think that they are the bosses [or masters] of the doctrine of faith [pensano che sono i capi della dottrina della fede], they don’t look at the the very great majority of the faithful who are happy with Amoris Laetitia.” [translations courtesy of Andrew Guernsey]

 
Although relatively short, these remarks speak volumes. Some thoughts:
1) It is revealing, to put it mildly, how often those who criticize the four cardinals—Raymond Burke, Carlo Caffarra, Walter Brandmüller and Joachim Meisner—do so in such a personal, rude manner. This is to be expected of course in the woolly thickets of blogs and personal sites, but this is often the case coming from high-ranking prelates and others who are close to Pope Francis. That said, they may simply be emulating the Holy Father himself, who has a, well, colorful way of addressing those he disagrees with or thinks need to be put in their place. To say, as Cardinal Maradiaga does, that Cardinals Burke, Caffarra, Brandmüller and Meisner, have not actually read the controversial Apostolic Exhortation is the sort of low, embarrassing pot shot best suited for teenagers. That he says with such obvious disdain is bothersome, even scandalous.

 
2) It is a further example of how some of those close to Francis, and even the Holy Father himself, refuse to seriously address pressing, thoughtful, cogent, and important questions regarding marriage, morality, the sacraments, and a number of related matters. Put bluntly, it reveals either a sad superficiality or a dismissive disdain. Neither possibility engenders much trust or peace of mind.

 
3) The sorry attempt to change the subject by referring to the manufacturing of weapons (a popular theme with Francis, who in June 2015 denounced those who manufacture weapons and then criticized the Allies for not bombing trains during World War II) and the use of the tired—and rather ludicrous—descriptive “pharisaism” not only reveals disdain, but a consistent strategy: to isolate, label, and destroy. The focus (shrewdly, from that perspective) is on the alleged, if vague, faults of critics, who are routinely dismissed as pharisaical, rigid, dogmatic, and so forth.

 
4) If the four Cardinals are wrong, as Cardinal Maradiaga states, then simply show it. It’s starting to remind me of the kid in junior high who claims to have a football signed by Terry Bradshaw but never shows it to anyone because it’s in storage, it got lost, and so forth. But he keeps bragging about it. At some point you realize the football doesn’t exist.

 
5) The appeal to the Holy Spirit—also used in equally vague and sloppy ways by Cardinal Farrell back in October 2016—is a red herring; it is meant to suggest that nearly everything the Holy Father says and does is directly inspired by the Holy Spirit. In fact, Cardinal Farrell stated: “Do we believe that he didn’t inspire our Holy Father Pope Francis in writing this document?” In fact, speaking with some needed precision, papal and conciliar texts are not “inspired” by the Holy Spirit; rather, the Holy Spirit protects the Magisterium from formally teaching error in matters of faith and morals. The language of “inspiration”, strictly speaking, is almost always (if not always) confined to the deposit of faith; that is, divine revelation as transmitted through Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture. Which is why the fathers at Vatican II noted, in Dei Verbum, that “we now await no further new public revelation before the glorious manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ” (DV, 4). Insinuating that the Church can change teachings simply because Pope A or Pope B decides he wishes to is problematic, to say the least; this is especially the case when the matter at hand has to do with the very nature of the sacraments, the proper role of conscience, and the life of grace (as I’ve discussed elsewhere). Continue Reading

Trumpspeare

 

I can’t believe that I forgot that April 23 was Talk like Shakespeare Day.  Fortunately, Father Z did not:

 

Today, I suddenly realized, is…

TALK LIKE SHAKESPEARE DAY!

shakespeareYes, it is the birthday of the Bard.

In the past I have encouraged you to talk like Shakespeare.

To help you, I have offered videos and some suggestive words.  I hope you remember them.

I also, to enkindle in you a true zeal for this moment – which can spill over into tomorrow because, hey, why not? – I even posted a scene from a little known play called…

A Most Tragikal Hystory of Obama I

I found another little known piece (I dashed off) which might bring you to beg the Muse for … the… thing muses give.

The Trumping of the Shrew

Dramatis personae:
Chorus
Lord Trump: President of these USA
Lord Sean: Baron of Spicer – Secretary of Press
Lord Bannon: Earl of Breitbart – Counselor
CNN
New York Times
Lord Sessions – Attorney General
Hillary Clinton
MSNBC
Crowd – Outside

CHORUS:
O for a network pundit that would salve
the anxious outcome of elections tense,
a stage for wonk debates, senators to prate,
and congressmen to guide th’ electorate.
So has the ruddy Donald, hair swept up,
defied th’ establishment and, in his wake,
has claimants one by one discomfited,
brought down in vanquishment and loss.
But pardon, sponsors all, for we halt now
your pandering for sales with this stock gang
of mainsteam media elites, who press
in conference for POTUS now to hear.
List! List! O list if ever you
did county love and office high respect.
For Donald, hair in place, has enteréd
a statement now to make, with many quips
to batter newsies where they stand or sit,
because their daily coverage is for….

Continue Reading

9

Pro-life Democrats, Unicorns and Other Mythical Creatures

 

Just in case there are still delusional people out there who think it is possible to be both a Democrat and Pro-life:

“Every Democrat, like every American, should support a woman’s right to make her own choices about her body and her health,” Perez said in a statement. “That is not negotiable and should not change city by city or state by state.”

 

“At a time when women’s rights are under assault from the White House, the Republican Congress, and in states across the country,” he added, “we must speak up for this principle as loudly as ever and with one voice.”

Although the Democratic Party’s radically pro-abortion platform was galvanized in 1992, when the Party refused to allow the late Governor Robert P. Casey of Pennsylvania to give a speech against abortion at its National Convention, it has continued to harden into a fundamental pillar of the Party.

Yet in his address Friday, DNC leader Tom Perez became the first chairman of the party to demand absolute ideological purity on abortion rights, promising to only back Democratic candidates who embrace a woman’s right to choose. Continue Reading

8

PopeWatch: National Suicide

The Pope recently made two observations about the mass Islamic migration to Italy that he has cheered on.  One observation is getting all the attention but the second is much more significant:

Speaking in Italian he said: ‘I don’t know if he was able to get out of that concentration camp because the refugee camps – many – are concentration (camps) because they are crowded with so many people.

The American Jewish Committee soon after urged the pontiff to ‘reconsider his regrettable choice of words,’ Reuters reported.

AJC CEO David Harris said: ‘The conditions in which migrants are currently living in some European countries may well be difficult and deserve still greater international attention, but concentration camps they certainly are not.

**************************

Pope Francis also urged northern Italy to take more migrants and hoped that the generosity of the south of the country could ‘infect the north a bit.’

He added that Italy had one of the world’s lowest birth rates and said: ‘If we close the doors to migrants, this is called suicide.’  Continue Reading

6

The Case for Christ: A Review

My bride and I went to see The Case for Christ last Saturday.  I must admit to some trepidation on my part.  I have seen quite a few “Christian” films that had their hearts in the right place but were also simply bad, even laughably bad, films.  I was fearful this film would be more of the same.  I am pleased to report that The Case for Christ is a very good film, and a profound one.  I heartily endorse it for anyone who wishes to see a well-acted and well-made film that asks profound questions about the human condition.  My review is below the fold and the usual caveat about spoilers is in full force: Continue Reading

7

Quasimodo Sunday

(This post by contributor Jake Tawney from 2012 is a perennial favorite and thus I am rerunning it today.)

In the new Roman Missal, the name of the Second Sunday of Easter has been recast as “Sunday of Divine Mercy,” promulgated by the now Blessed Pope John Paul II.  A great feast it is indeed, yet “Sunday of Divine Mercy” is not the first name to have replaced the generic “Second Sunday of Easter.”  Before John Paul II promulgated Divine Mercy, the Second Sunday of Easter was known as “Quasimodo Sunday.”
Why?  Quite simply: for the same reason that Gaudete Sunday and Latarae Sunday are called so during their respective seasons of Advent and Lent.  Gaudete (Rejoice!) is the first word of the Introit (Opening) Chant for the third Sunday of Lent:  Gaudete in Domino semper (Rejoice in the Lord always).  We find a similar occurrence in the Introit for the Fourth Sunday of Lent: Laetare Ierusalem (Rejoice, O Jerusalem).  In the days when these Introits were sung (or in the rare parish where they are still sung today), the very first word of the Mass heard by the faithful would have been a resounding “Gaudete” (or in the case of Lent, “Laetare”), and the “name” of the day would be immediately obvious.
These chants are part of what the Church calls the “Proper” texts of the day.  They are written specifically for each celebration of the year, much like the Collects and other prayers of the day.  It is a shame that these texts have been ignored by virtually every parish for the last several decades, replaced with generic hymns that have little or no resemblance to the designed chant.  Monsignor Andrew Wadsworth, executive director of ICEL, stated in a speech last year:

Maybe the greatest challenge that lies before us is the invitation once again to sing the Mass rather than merely to sing at Mass. This echoes the injunctions of the Council Fathers in the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy and reflects our deeply held instinct that the majority of the texts contained in the Missal can and in many cases should be sung. This means not only the congregational acclamations of the Order of Mass, but also the orations, the chants in response to the readings, the Eucharistic prayer and the antiphons which accompany the Entrance, the Offertory, and the Communion processions. These proper texts are usually replaced by hymns or songs that have little relationship to the texts proposed by the Missal or the Graduale Romanum and as such a whole element of the liturgy of the day is lost or consigned to oblivion. For the most part, they exist only as spoken texts. We are much the poorer for this, as these texts (which are often either Scriptural or a gloss on the Biblical text) represent the Church’s own reading and meditation on the Scriptures. As chants, they are a sort of musical lectio divina pointing us towards the riches expressed in that day’s liturgy.

For this reason, I believe that it is seriously deficient to consider that planning music for the liturgy ever begins with a blank sheet: there are texts given for every Mass in the Missal and these texts are intended for singing.

With that brief digression behind us, let’s returns to the to the topic at hand: Quasimodo Sunday.  The name of the day comes form the first words of the Mass, the Introit Chant:  
Quasimodo geniti infantes, alleluia: rationabiles, sine dolo lac concupiscite, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
Lest people think these chants a lost reality to the “old rite,” a form of the text appears in the Novus Ordo as well for the Second Sunday of Easter (Sunday of Divine Mercy):
Quasi modo géniti infántes, rationábile, sine dolo lac concupíscite, ut in eo crescátis in salútem, allelúia.
In its new English translation, it appears in the current Roman Missal :
Like newborn infants, you must long for the pure, spiritual milk, that in him you may grow to salvation, alleluia.
The word quasimodo is a compound of two Latin words (split in the Missale Romanum), quasi and modo, meaning “almost” and “the standard of measure.”  Thus, the combination means “almost the standard of measure,” which in the new translation is reduced to “like.”
The quotation takes its cue from 1 Peter 2:2, which in the RSV reads, “Like newborn infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow into salvation.”  (Incidentally, the Latin in the Vulgate reads, “Sicut modo geniti infantes, rationale sine dolo lac concupiscite, ut in eo crescatis in salutem.”)
It is fitting for this time of year, as we have come to the joyous realization that our salvation has been won, but through an act of pure grace, not as something that we deserve.  We drink of this grace with the only posture fitting of a gift: that of humble and docile reception.  The imagery of a child’s dependent reception is reminiscent of Archbishop Schneider’s observation in his book/essay Dominus Est:
[T]he attitude of a child is the truest and most profound attitude of a Christian before his Savior, who nourishes him with his Body and Blood … The word of Christ, which invites us to receive the Kingdom of God like a child (see Luke 18:17), can find its illustration in that very beautiful and impressive manner of receiving the Eucharistic Bread directly into one’s mouth and on one’s knees. This ritual manifests in an opportune and felicitous way the interior attitude of a child who allows himself to be fed, united to the gesture of the centurion’s humility and to the gesture of ‘wonder and adoration’ (Schneider, 29).
Given the promulgation of the “Sunday of Divine Mercy,” the image of childlike reception becomes even more prominent.  Mercy can only be shown to him who is childlike enough to receive it.
However, when one hears the term quasimodo, I would imagine the first thing to come to mind is not the Second Sunday of Easter, but rather the Hunchback of Notre Dame, the 1831 novel by Vitor Hugo (or some later film variant).  The name Quasimodo is given to the abandoned and deformed baby found by Claude Frollo, the Archdeacon of Notre Dame, on the steps of the Cathedral.  Frollo bestows the name of the child because of the day on which he was found: the Second Sunday of Easter, none other than Quasimodo Sunday.
While a good literary reference is always appreciated, perhaps it is time to rescue the name quasimodo and restore to it its original liturgical significance: Quasimodo Sunday, Sunday of Divine Mercy.
To contribute but a small part to this effort, I give to you two versions of the Introit for today, the first using a male vocalization, and the second using a female one.

 

16

Chelsea Clinton: A Pro-Abort at Age Six

 

I missed this story last year.  The country really dodged a bullet when it kept the mother of this nutcase out of the White House last year:

 

In a new interview, Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of pro-abortion presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, says she left the Baptist Church at the age of 6 because it has a strongly pro-life position opposing abortions.

Clinton made the comment at a recent fundraiser for Hillary Clinton in an attempt to address evangelicals who question her mother’s faith in God. She said she was upset when teachers in a Sunday School class talked about the wrongness of abortion.

“I find it quite insulting sometimes when people say to my mom, my dad or me . . . that they question our faith,’ said Chelsea. “I was raised in a Methodist church and I left the Baptist church before my dad did, because I didn’t know why they were talking to me about abortion when I was 6 in Sunday school — that’s a true story.”

 

Go here to read the rest.  And to think that self-proclaimed pro-lifers like Mark Shea were supporting abortion-uber-alles Clinton in preference to Trump.

9

PopeWatch: Hopeful Shack Up

 

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

 

 

Local Catholic Becky Donaldson confirmed this week that she is absolutely confident that her live-in boyfriend of eight years, Kevin Reynolds,  will soon be proposing.

“I’m just so excited,” a teary-eyed Donaldson told some of her girlfriends gathered at a local restaurant last night. “We’ve been waiting until we’re in a financially comfortable situation. I mean, we were financially comfortable a few years ago, and then he bought the jet skis, so we’ve been working on getting financially comfortable again since then.”

Donaldson went on to say that after eight years of living with Kevin, not counting the other four years they were dating while living separately, she couldn’t wait for the wedding so that their life could finally begin.

“I imagine our lives are going to be totally different after we’re married. I mean, we’ve been living together for eight years and dating for four, and we bought this house together five years ago. We’re pretty much done having fun and I think we’re ready to settle down and start having children. I guess that’s why it’s been taking him so long to propose, you know? We just needed to live our lives before we had kids.”

Donaldson was heard later in the evening advising her younger, single friends to not get married and have children until they had done all their travelling and fun activities since “once you have children all fun stops and you die inside.”

“Not saying that living with him has all been fun and games, of course. He has annoying little quirks, but those will obviously be transformed by the magical powers of the sacrament. We don’t go to church, but I’ve heard about all the magic that the sacrament of matrimony does for a relationship, so I expect his snoring and his leaving the toilet seat up to stop soon after the wedding. Not to mention him leaving dirty dishes and empty beer bottles on the coffee table, putting his dirty clothes on the floor next to the hamper instead of inside the hamper, putting the toilet paper roll on the holder backwards, so that the tail end is against the wall and so on.”

At press time Kevin has been spotted sneaking out of the house to go shopping for jet ski trailers. Continue Reading

1

Quotes Suitable for Framing: Edmund Burke

 

 

“The temper and character which prevail in our Colonies are, I am afraid, unalterable by any human art. We can not, I fear, falsify the pedigree of this fierce people, and persuade them that they are not sprung from a nation in whose veins the blood of freedom circulates. The language in which they would hear you tell them this tale would detect the imposition. Your speech would betray you. An Englishman is the unfittest person on earth to argue another Englishman into slavery.”

Edmund Burke, On Conciliation With America, March 22, 1775

 

5

PopeWatch: The Meeting

 

 

 

It’s on:

 

 

Contrary to earlier reports, President Donald Trump will meet with Pope Francis when he travels to Italy next month for meetings with the G7 leaders, U.S. and Vatican officials said Wednesday.

When asked about a possible meeting, White House press spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters that officials would be contacting the Vatican to arrange a meeting between Trump and the Pope during the latter’s visit to Italy at the end of May

“Obviously, we’d be honored to have an audience with His Holiness,” he said.

 For his part, Archbishop Angelo Becciu, the Vatican equivalent of a deputy prime minister, confirmed to the Italian news agency ANSA that “Pope Francis is always ready to receive heads of state who request an audience.”

Continue Reading

3

Quotes Suitable for Framing: William Tecumseh Sherman

I will have the matter of Sturgis critically examined, and, if he be at fault, he shall have no mercy at my hands. I cannot but believe he had troops enough. I know I would have been willing to attempt the same task with that force; but Forrest is the very devil, and I think he has got some of our troops under cower. I have two officers at Memphis that will fight all the time—A. J. Smith and Mower. The latter is a young brigadier of fine promise, aud I commend him to your notice. I will order them to make up a force and go out and follow Forrest to the death, if it cost 10,000 lives and breaks the Treasury. There never will be peace in Tennessee till Forrest is dead.

William Tecumseh Sherman, telegram to Secretary of War Stanton-June15, 1864

Unbelievably, after the War Sherman and Forrest became friends, Sherman concluding that Forrest was the most remarkable man to arise on either side in the War.  Ironic but fitting that two of the most controversial figures of the War enjoyed personal amity after the greatest War in our history.

3

Bear Growls: Predictions

 

 

Our bruin friend at Saint Corbinian’s Bear gazes into his ursine crystal ball:

 

The Vatican may be a rhumba of rattlesnakes, but too few of them are motivated by aberrant ideology to risk a repeat of Sampson’s after-dinner show for the Philistines.

Bear predicts there will be the usual polite language when Bergoglio go-goes, but inside, most prelates are going to be saying, “Boy, did we elect the wrong guy. How could we have been so stupid? Let’s get back to normal ASAP before the Bear hops a tramp salmon freighter and cleans house, but good.”

The Bear does not think the institutional Church enjoys turmoil. Nor does it wish to court schism, however small the risk. And, who knows? Perhaps there are 10 righteous men in Sodom-on-the-Tiber.

The next pope will be a reliable Italian. This whole darts-at-a-map thing has not worked out very well. His job will be to settle the hens down after that fox Bergoglio is gone. The era of the magisterium of the sound byte will be over. Everybody has seen what a disaster it has been.

Nobody likes to be made fun of incessantly.

There will be the usual suspects agitating, but the Bear repeats, institutions do not enjoy chaos. The mainstream plus the faithful will out-vote the cardinals of questionable orthodoxy.

The Bear does not think Bergoglio was voted in over a desire to extend Holy Communion to divorced and remarried persons. The Bear thinks he was elected to be the outsider that would fix things. Perhaps he even ran for pope on that platform. “I’m from Argentina. And if there’s one thing that Argentina is known for it is fixing problems with institutions.”
Continue Reading

4

This is Alabama!

 

The Soros supported Red Fascist Anarchists ran into a little problem when they showed up in Auburn.  They forgot that Auburn is in the Sovereign State of Alabama.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The police rigorously enforced the anti-mask laws of the State.  Anti-mask statutes are common in this country and were originally passed to combat the Ku Klux Klan, the home grown role model for all American terrorist groups.

12

PopeWatch: O’Reilly

 

 

 

 

An interesting tidbit:

 

Embattled Fox News host Bill O’Reilly briefly met with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Wednesday, according to a New York Times report.

The report says O’Reilly, who was in a VIP section in St. Peter’s Square during the pontiff’s weekly general audience, shook hands with the religious leader as a Vatican newspaper photographer snapped a photo. 

The Times noted the “special section beside the stage holding the papal throne, where Mr. O’Reilly sat, is exclusive and entered only with special tickets distributed by the prefecture of the papal household, according to the Vatican press office.”

Tens of thousands of worshipers fill the square for the weekly event.

The Vatican had stated last week that no official audience with O’Reilly was scheduled.

Continue Reading

18

April 19, 1775: Lexington and Concord-Why They Fought

 

 

In 1843 twenty two year old Mellen Chamberlain, who would later be a legislator, a judge and chief librarian of Boston, interviewed 86 year old Captain Levi Preston, last surviving veteran of the battle of Concord:

Question:  “Captain Preston, what made you go  to the Concord fight?

Answer:  “What did I go for?”

Question:  “Yes, my histories tell me that you men of the Revolution took up arms against intolerable oppressions.  What were they?”

Answer:  “Oppressions?  I didn’t feel them.”

Question: “What, were you not oppressed by the Stamp Act?”

Answer:  No, I never saw one of those stamps, and always understood that Governor Bernard put them all in Castle William. I am certain I never paid a penny for one of them.

Question:  “Well, what about the tea tax?”

Answer: “Tea tax!  I never drank a drop of the stuff:   the boys threw it all overboard.”

Question: “I suppose you had been reading Harrington, Sidney, and Locke about the eternal principle of liberty?”

Answer:  “Never heard of ’em. The only books we had were the Bible, the Catechism, Watts’ Psalms, and Hymns and the Almanac.”

Question:  “Well, then, what was the matter?”

Answer:  “Young man, what we meant in going for those Redcoats was this: we always had governed ourselves, and we always meant to. They didn’t mean we should.” Continue Reading

10

PopeWatch: Global Tolerance Initiative

 

 

 

One aspect of this Pontificate is how many odd events have occurred during it.  A recent example:

 

 Just two months after Pope Francis faced intense backlash for his reforms when critical posters were plastered around Rome, a new set went up around the city over Easter, this time praising the pope for his commitment to mercy and inclusion.

“Thank you Pope Francis! For your true Christian engagement with love and mercy, as demanded by Jesus so often in our Holy Bible.”

This was the phrase written on some 300 posters that were hung April 14 around Rome’s city center and near the Vatican, which will remain until April 22.

RELATED: Rome wakes up to find city full of anti-Pope Francis posters

Sponsored by The Global Tolerance Initiative, the posters referred to a website called “Love is Tolerance,” which explained that Francis had been named by the organization as their “Global Champion of Tolerance Easter 2017.”

Written in both Italian and English, the posters call on all cardinals, priests and bishops to follow with love the “wise advice” of the pope, and to “read our Holy Bible with open eyes, hearts and minds.”

The posters conclude with an appeal for everyone to “pray for you and the Church with a ‘thinking heart and loving mind.’” Continue Reading

1

April 18, 1942: The Doolittle Raid

 

Seventy-five years ago 80 very brave Americans, led by Army Air Corps Lieutenant Colonel James H. Doolittle, brought the nation a badly needed morale boost.  The War in the Pacific was going badly as defeat followed defeat.  Navy Captain Francis Low hit upon a plan to send a message, not only to the American public, but also to Japan, that the United States was not beaten and that it would strike back and prevail.

16 Mitchell B-25B bombers were placed on the carrier USS Hornet.  In great secrecy the Hornet and its escorts steamed to within 650 nautical miles of Japan when the force was discovered by a Japanese picket boat which was sunk by gunfire from the USS Nashville.  Fearing discovery the Doolittle force launched immediately, some 10 hours earlier than planned, and 170 nautical miles further from Japan.

The raiders reached the Japanese Home Islands at around noon.  They had split up into groups ranging from two to four planes and struck targets in Tokyo, Yokohama, Yokosuka, Nagoya, Kobe and Osaka.  The raiders then planned to fly their planes into Nationalist controlled China and make their way back to the US.  Miraculously 69 of the raiders did just that.  Three of the raiders died and eight were captured.

Of the captured raiders, three were executed by the Japanese on October 15, 1942 following a show trial.

The remaining five POWs were placed on starvation rations, with one of them dying prior to liberation by the Allied forces at the end of the War.  Jacob DeShazer, one of the POWs, came back to Japan as a missionary in 1948 and worked there for 30 years spreading the Gospel. Continue Reading

3

PopeWatch: Frogs

 

 

I hope that the Pope is paying attention to what the Orthodox Metropolitan of Mosul is saying:

 

Security and the rule of law are what Christians most need in Iraq, but it seems no one wishes to offer them, says Metropolitan Nicodemus Dauod Matti Sharaf, the Orthodox Syriac Archbishop of Mosul.

Speaking to the Register last month in Erbil, Metropolitan Nicodemus, who was the last bishop to leave Mosul when ISIS invaded the city in 2014, had strong words for the West: he said, citing an example, that the developed world places the welfare of frogs ahead of Christians, that the West needs to wake up to the threat of Islamism, and blamed past U.S. leaders and their allies for ruining his country. He likes President Trump, saying: “Let’s try the crazy one because we tried the normal one, and he destroyed our lives.”  

The 40 year-old Orthodox prelate, who Britain banned in December despite being formally invited to meet Prince Charles, also shares his views on Islam and why he greatly values the example set by Hungary for the respect its leaders have shown for Christians. Continue Reading

11

Free Speech For Me, But Not For Thee

With respect to the advice given by the Author—to suspect the Man, who shall recommend moderate measures and longer forbearance—I spurn it—as every Man, who regards that liberty, & reveres that Justice for which we contend, undoubtedly must—for if Men are to be precluded from offering their sentiments on a matter, which may involve the most serious and alarming consequences, that can invite the consideration of Mankind; reason is of no use to us—the freedom of Speech may be taken away—and, dumb & silent we may be led, like sheep, to the Slaughter.

George Washington, March 15, 1783

 

 

 

The Red Fascists who run The Wellesley News at Wellesley College in Wellesley, Massachusetts, do not think much of freedom of speech.  Here is an editorial they wrote last week in which they attacked speech they disagree with:

 

Many members of our community, including students, alumnae and faculty, have criticized the Wellesley community for becoming an environment where free speech is not allowed or is a violated right. Many outside sources have painted us as a bunch of hot house flowers who cannot exist in the real world. However, we fundamentally disagree with that characterization, and we disagree with the idea that free speech is infringed upon at Wellesley. Rather, our Wellesley community will not stand for hate speech, and will call it out when possible.

Wellesley students are generally correct in their attempts to differentiate what is viable discourse from what is just hate speech. Wellesley is certainly not a place for racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, transphobia or any other type of discriminatory speech. Shutting down rhetoric that undermines the existence and rights of others is not a violation of free speech; it is hate speech. The founding fathers put free speech in the Constitution as a way to protect the disenfranchised and to protect individual citizens from the power of the government. The spirit of free speech is to protect the suppressed, not to protect a free-for-all where anything is acceptable, no matter how hateful and damaging. Continue Reading

5

PopeWatch: Jesuits

 

One feature of this pontificate that is striking is how the intellectual and spiritual decay that has infested the Jesuits for more than half a century has suddenly become the guiding force within the Church.  Sandro Magister gives us a recent example:

 

Among the priests born in the diocese of Carpi, that Pope Francis will visit on Sunday, April 2, there is one who is giving him a tough nut to crack.

His name is Roberto A. Maria Bertacchini. He was formed in the school of three Jesuits of the first rank: Frs. Heinrich Pfeiffer, an art historian and professor at the Gregorian, Francesco Tata, former provincial of the Society of Jesus in Italy, and Piersandro Vanzan, a prominent writer for “La Civiltà Cattolica.” A scholar of Augustine, he is the author of books and of essays in theology journals.

Last week Fr. Bertacchini sent to Francis and to Cardinal Gerhard L. Müller, prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, a six-page “memorandum” highly critical of the ideas presented in a recent interview with the new superior general of the Society of Jesus, the Venezuelan Arturo Sosa Abascal, who is very close to the pope.

They are ideas, writes Fr. Bertacchini, “of such gravity that they cannot be passed over in silence without becoming complicit in them,” because they threaten to “result in a Christianity without Christ.”

The complete text of the “memorandum” is on this other page of Settimo Cielo:

> Promemoria…

While an abridgment of it is presented below.

The interview with the general of the Jesuits criticized by Fr. Bertacchini is the one given to the Swiss vaticanista Giuseppe Rusconi and published on the blog Rossoporpora last February 18, after the interview subject himself reviewed it word by word.

Settimo Cielo gave an extensive account of it in several languages.

*

MEMORANDUM
On the interview with the general of the Jesuits on the reliability of the Gospels

by Roberto A. Maria Bertacchini

In February the general of the Jesuits gave an interview in which he insinuates that the words of Jesus on the indissolubility of marriage are not a point of theological stability, but rather a point of departure for doctrine, which must then be appropriately developed. This – taken to the extreme – could even lead to supporting the exact opposite, or the compatibility of divorce with Christian life. The initiative has in my view primed an explosive situation.

Of course, Arturo Sosa Abascal, SJ is very careful not to fall into outright heresy. And this, in a certain sense, is even more grave. It is therefore necessary to retrace the thread of his reasoning.

The question that he poses is whether the evangelists are reliable, and he says: it is necessary to discern. So it is not a given that they are [reliable]. Such a grave statement should be reasoned out at length and in depth, because it is indeed possible to admit error in a narrative detail; but to call into question the veracity of doctrinal teachings of Jesus is another matter.

However it may be, our Jesuit does not get involved, but – very deftly – appeals to the pope. And since Francis, in dealing with couples that are separated etcetera, up to the time of the interview had never cited passages in which Jesus referred to the indissolubility of marriage, the implicit message of our Jesuit was glaring: if the pope does not cite those passages, it means that he has done discernment and maintains that they are not of Jesus. So they would not be binding. But all the popes have taught the opposite! What does it matter? They must be wrong. Or they must have said and taught things that were correct for their time, but not for ours.

Let it be clear: the eminent Jesuit does not say this “apertis verbis,” but he insinuates it, he lets it be understood. And so he gives a key of interpretation for the pope’s pastoral approach to the family that departs from the traditional teaching. In fact, today “we know” that very probably, or rather almost certainly, Jesus never taught that marriage is indissoluble. It is the evangelists who misunderstood.

A Christianity without Christ?

The question is of such gravity that it cannot be passed over in silence without becoming complicit in it. The danger is that this could result in a Christianity reductive of the message of Jesus, or a Christianity without Christ.

In the Gospel for the Mass of last February 24 there was the passage from Mk 10:2-12 on repudiation. So is it acceptable to think that it is not known if Jesus uttered those words, and that they are not binding?

The “sensus fidei” tells us that the evangelists are reliable. However, our general of the Jesuits rejects this reliability, and in addition takes no interest in the fact that Saint Paul had also received this doctrine from the Church as being of Jesus, and handed it on as such to his communities: “To the husbands I order, not I but the Lord: the wife may not be separated from the husband, and if she separates, let her remain without remarrying or let her be reconciled with the husband, and the husband may not repudiate the wife” (1 Cor 7:10-11).

The consistency of this passage with the texts of the synoptic Gospels on repudiation and adultery is perfectly clear. And it would be absurd to imagine that these depend on Paul, and not on pre-Paschal traditions. Not only that. In Eph 5:22-33, Paul revisits the same teaching from Jesus and even reinforces it. He revisits it, because he cites the same passage of Genesis that is cited by Jesus; he reinforces it, because Christ loves the Church in an indissoluble way, to the point of giving his life, and beyond earthly life. And Paul makes this fidelity the model of conjugal fidelity.

Thus it is entirely clear that there is an evident continuity of teaching between pre-Paschal and post-Paschal preaching; and also clear is the discontinuity with Judaism, which instead kept the institution of repudiation. But if Saint Paul himself founds this discontinuity on Christ, does it make sense to bring the Gospels into question? From where comes that leap which inspired the practice of the ancient Church, if not from Christ?

It should be noted that divorce was also admitted in the Greco-Roman world, and in addition there existed the institution of concubinage, which could easily result in a subsequent conjugal union, as attested to for example by the experience of Saint Augustine. And in historiography the principle applies that cultural inertia does not change without cause. Therefore, the change being attested historically, what could be the cause if not Jesus? If this then was Christ, why doubt the reliability of the Gospels?

Finally, if Jesus did not speak those words, what is the source of the drastic comment from the disciples (“But then it is better not to marry!”) in Mt 19:10? Matthew was one of those disciples, and they do not come across well: they show themselves slow to understand and attached to the traditions that Jesus challenges. So from a historiographical point of view, the pericope of Mt 19:3-12 is entirely reliable: and as much for reasons of internal criticism as of external.

The dogmatic context

Moreover, to state that it is not known if Jesus actually uttered those words and that, in essence, they are not binding is “de facto” a heresy, because it is a denial of the inspiration of Scripture. 2 Tim 3 is very clear: “All Scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, convincing, correcting, and training in righteousness.”

“All” evidently also includes Mt 19:3-12. Otherwise it is attested that there is an “other” word that prevails over Scripture itself and over its inspiration. In fact, affirming the unreliability of some words of Jesus is like opening a fissure in the dam of “fides quae,” a fissure that would lead to the collapse of the entire dam. I illustrate:

a) If Jesus did not say those words, the evangelists are not reliable. And if they are not reliable, they are not truthful; but if they are not truthful, neither can they be inspired by the Holy Spirit.

b) If Jesus did not say those words, must he really have said all the others that we take as good? Someone who is unreliable on one innovative question can be likewise on others, like the resurrection. And if, to give the priesthood to women, “La Civiltà Cattolica” does not hesitate to bring into question a solemn magisterium invoked as infallible, will there not be chaos? To what biblical authority can one appeal, if the exegetes themselves are perennially and ever more divided? This is the sense in which the dam collapses.

And that is not the end, because in following the doubts of the Jesuit general it is not only Saint Paul who is trodden underfoot, but also Vatican II. In fact, this is what it states in “Sacrosasnctum Concilium” 7:

“Christ is always present in His Church [. . .] He is present in His word, since it is He Himself who speaks when the holy scriptures are read in the Church.”

Since the passages on the indissolubility of marriage are read at Mass, and to be precise: Mk 10:2-12 on the Friday of the 7th week of ordinary time and on the 27th Sunday of year B, Mt 19:3-12 on the Friday of the 19th week of ordinary time, and Mt 5:27-32 on the Friday of the 10th week, it follows that Vatican II in a certain way attributes those words to the authority of Jesus.

Thus those who follow the doubts of the Jesuit general not only disavow Vatican II, and moreover in a dogmatic constitution, they also doubt Tradition to the point of making abstract and unattainable the very authority of Jesus as teacher. So we are facing a genuine carpet bombing, before which the firmest of reactions is absolutely necessary. Continue Reading

4

He is Risen!

3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:

6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.

7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.

8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.

9 For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.

10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

11 Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.

12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?

13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:

14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.

15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.

16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:

17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.

18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.

19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.

22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.

24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.

25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.

26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

1 Corinthians 15: 3-26

A glorious Easter to all TAC contributors commenters and readers!

O Sacred Head

 

Something for the weekend.  O Sacred Head Surrounded.  The lyrics of this hymn derive from the latin poem Salve Mundi Salutare.  The authorship is open to doubt although I agree with those who attribute at least part of the poem to Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, based upon stylistic similarities with portions of his other writings.    The sanctity and eloquence of Saint Bernard alloyed with the musical genius of Johann Sebastian Bach makes a potent combination indeed.

On a personal note this hymn has always moved me as no other does.  I had it played at my son’s funeral and when I depart this Vale of Tears I have requested that it be played at mine.  It reminds me that God died for me, something I find absolutely stunning.  Love and sacrifice begin and end with God, who regards each man as if there were no other. Continue Reading

6

Report to the Emperor-First Draft

(I post this each year on Good Friday.  A holy and happy Easter to all contributors, commenters and readers of TAC.)

I thank you Marcus for taking on the onerous task of acting as my secretary, in addition to your regular duties as my aide, in regard to this portion of the report.  The Greek, Aristides, is competent, and like most Greek secretaries his Latin is quite graceful, but also like most Greek secretaries he does not know when to keep his mouth shut.  I want him kept away from this work, and I want you to observe the strictest security.  Caiaphas was playing a nefarious game, and I do not think we are out of the woods yet.  I do not want his spies finding out what I am telling the Imperator and Caiaphas altering the tales his agents are now, no doubt, spreading in Rome.  Let us take the Jew by surprise for once! Continue Reading

11

The Ten Commandments

All the good the Saviour gave to the world was communicated through this book. But for it we could not know right from wrong. All things most desirable for man’s welfare, here and hereafter, are to be found portrayed in it.

Abraham Lincoln, September 7, 1864

 

 

 

 

Holy Week and Passover coincide this year.  Dennis Prager in the above video imagines what a paradise the world would be if everyone obeyed the Ten Commandments.  Religion is not some extra element in Western Civilization, but at its very core.  Take it away and what is left is an alien and self-destructive force, not long for this world and with no hope of the next.

 

 

12

The Case for Christ

 

Anyone seen this movie yet?  I will be seeing it although not this weekend due to the fact my bride and will be having a total of ten teeth extracted by an oral surgeon on Good Friday.  (Yep, my family specializes in rotten teeth and expensive dental bills.)

I have Lee Strobel’s  books in my library although I confess that I have not read them yet.  (Too many books, too many things to do, too little time.)  His story is compelling:  an award winning atheist investigative journalist who embarked on a crusade to debunk Christianity after his wife, to his dismay, became a Christian and who ultimately, through his investigations, became a Christian.

In the spirit of Easter miracles, if you must faint do so into a soft area, I must point positively to a post by Mark Shea:

Bishop Barron on the stubbornly historical nature…

of the Christian faith:

Christianity is not fideist, that is to say, reliant upon a pure and uncritical act of faith on the part of its adherents. Rather, it happily embraces reason and welcomes critical questions. Secondly, and relatedly, Christianity is a stubbornly historical religion. It is not a philosophy (though it can employ philosophical language), nor is it a spirituality (though a spirituality can be distilled from it); rather, it is a relationship to an historical figure about whom an extraordinary historical claim has been made, namely, that he rose bodily from the dead.

Or as Paul bluntly put it:

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the Church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God which is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.

Now if Christ is preached as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised;* If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified of God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised. If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. (1 Co 15:3–17).

This is not a story set in Joseph Campbell realm of cloud cuckoo land myth and legend.  This presents itself, both consciously and even accidently as historiography.  When Mark pauses to mention that Simon of Cyrene was the father of Alexander and Rufus for the benefit of his Roman audience, it’s because he is telling a story that involves the father of two guys they know personally (Romans 16:13).  That’s why the other gospels don’t mention this detail. The shout out makes given Mark’s audience but not given the audiences of the other gospels.  Simon of Cyrene was a real guy who really helped Jesus–who was real–carry his cross down a particular street to a particular spot outside the walls of the actual city of Jerusalem, where he was really crucified just like Spartacus.  And he really rose from the dead in a tomb nearby that you can still go and see.  And when Paul was writing most of the people who saw this dead man after his resurrection were still alive and you could talk to them.  And they believed it so much that they went on to die gruesome deaths for it.

History.  Not myth. Not legend.

Continue Reading

5

Holy Thursday, Saint Justin Martyr and History

justinmartyr4

Now, Justin concludes, since Christianity is the historical and personal manifestation of the Logos in his totality, it follows that “whatever things were rightly said among all men are the property of us Christians” (Second Apology of St Justin Martyr, 13: 4).

Pope Benedict XVI, March 21, 2007

 

 

On Holy Thursday we commemorate the first Mass, the first miracle of the Eucharist.  None of us having been there, how do we know it occurred?  Faith of course, but faith buttressed by the knowledge that our Faith is supported by historical facts.  We know when Christ lived.  At each Mass we remember that He suffered under Pontius Pilate which allows us to date the Crucifixion and the Last Supper to plus or minus a few years.  We know when Caiaphas was High Priest.  Judaea, the province in which Christ lived, was not some make-believe land but a province of the Roman Empire and we know much about it at the time of Christ.  Above all, we have the Gospels and the Epistles of Saint Paul, documents written while those who saw and heard Christ still lived.

This of course was only the start of the historical record of Catholicism, the Universal Church.  Each generation produced new writers who give us precious facts of the journey through history of the Faith of Christ.  One of the most important of the early writers about the Church is Saint Justin Martyr.

Justin Martyr was born in Flavia Neapolis, ancient Shechem,  modern day Nablus, in Judaea circa 100 AD.  He was brought up a pagan.  Having enough money to pursue the study of philosophy, he encountered the teachings of Christ, after a long and methodical search for the true philosophy, and became a convert.  Having found the true philosophy, he traveled around the Roman Empire, spreading it, garbed in his philosopher’s gown.  Eventually he settled in Rome.  He wrote eight treatises defending Christianity.  His best known work is his First Apology which he addressed to the Roman Emperor Antonius Pius, one of the best of the emperors, who reigned from 138-161 AD.  This Apology was a plea for the Emperor to stop persecuting the Christians.  In this Apology he gives us many details as to how Catholics worshiped in Rome during the middle of the Second Century.   His description of the Eucharist is a treasure for all Catholics as we attend Holy Thursday Mass today. Continue Reading

17

Cast Out of the Friendly Skies

 

The above video doesn’t cover the truncheon training for the new stewardess.  I have rarely seen a business commit public suicide like United Airlines:

The CEO of United Airlines apologized again Tuesday amid a global uproar sparked when a passenger was dragged screaming from his seat on a flight that, it turns out, wasn’t even overbooked.

“I continue to be disturbed by what happened on this flight, and I deeply apologize to the customer forcibly removed and to all the customers aboard,” CEO Oscar Munoz said in a statement. “No one should ever be mistreated this way.”

United has been under siege since videos of Sunday night’s violent confrontation on the plane at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport went viral, drawing hundreds of millions of views around the world. Social media outrage rained down on the Chicago-based airline.

United spokesman Jonathan Guerin said Tuesday that all 70 seats on United Express Flight 3411 were filled, but the plane was not overbooked as the airline previously reported. Instead, United and regional affiliate Republic Airlines, which operated the flight, selected four passengers to be removed to accommodate crew members needed in Louisville the next day. The passengers were selected based on a combination of criteria spelled out in United’s contract of carriage, including frequent-flier status, fare type, check-in time and connecting flight implications, among others, according to United.

Three passengers went quietly. The fourth, who was literally pulled out of his seat and off the plane, was David Dao, a physician in Elizabethtown, Ky.

Late Tuesday, CNBC reported that a pair of Chicago attorneys, Stephen L. Golan and Thomas A. Demetrio, are representing Dao. A statement from Golan said Dao is undergoing treatment in a Chicago hospital for unspecified injuries.

Continue Reading

2

Screen Pilates: Arthur Kennedy

Continuing our series on screen portrayals of Pilate that I began in 2011 during Holy Week.    The posts on portrayals of Pilate by Rod Steiger, Richard Boone, Barry Dennen, Hristov Shopov, Telly Savalas, Frank Thring, Stephen Russell, Greg Hicks, Cyril Richard, Stephen Moyer, Dennis King, Brian Mitchell, Leif Erickson, Peter Firth, David Bowie, Lowell Gilmore,  Hurd Hatfield and Vincent Regan, may be viewed  here, here, here, here  here , here, here, here, here , here , here, here, here , here , here , here , here and here.

The film Barabbas (1961) starring Anthony Quinn, focuses on the murderer, (Zealot?) Barabbas who was freed by Pilate instead of Christ.  As I was sure was the case with the historical Barabbas, he commits new offenses and finds himself again before Pilate portrayed by Arthur Kennedy.  Largely forgotten today, Kennedy who passed away in 1990 was a notable actor of the forties, fifties and sixties, and was considered one of the best supporting actors of his day.  He plays Pilate as something of an intellectual as he engages Barabbas in an impromptu debate as to whether states are merely bandits like Barabbas writ large.  This debate echoes this passage in book IV of the City of God by Saint Augustine:

Justice being taken away, then, what are kingdoms but great robberies? For what are robberies themselves, but little kingdoms? The band itself is made up of men; it is ruled by the authority of a prince, it is knit together by the pact of the confederacy; the booty is divided by the law agreed on. If, by the admittance of abandoned men, this evil increases to such a degree that it holds places, fixes abodes, takes possession of cities, and subdues peoples, it assumes the more plainly the name of a kingdom, because the reality is now manifestly conferred on it, not by the removal of covetousness, but by the addition of impunity. Indeed, that was an apt and true reply which was given to Alexander the Great by a pirate who had been seized. For when that king had asked the man what he meant by keeping hostile possession of the sea, he answered with bold pride, “What thou meanest by seizing the whole earth; but because I do it with a petty ship, I am called a robber, whilst thou who dost it with a great fleet art styled emperor.” Continue Reading

9

Bear Growls: More of the Same

 

 

Our bruin friend at Saint Corbinian’s Bear points out that the Pope never misses an opportunity to disappoint:

 

The whole idea of blogging is that somebody does something and the blogger offers insightful commentary. But Pope Francis is so mind-numbingly stupid there’s just nothing to add.

Muslims mass-murder Christians in Egypt and the Pope says this:

We pray for the victims of the attack carried out unfortunately today, this morning, in Cairo, in a Coptic church. I am close to my dear Brother, His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, and to the Coptic Church and to all the dear Egyptian nation I express my profound condolence; I pray for the deceased and the wounded, I am close to the families and to the whole community. May the Lord convert the heart of all those persons that sow terror, violence and death, and also the heart of those that produce and traffic arms.

Sorry, Bear got nothing. Continue Reading