12

The Military Coup Against Donald Trump

 

 

Kurt Schlichter, columnist, attorney and retired Army Colonel, has written the first part of a fictional account of a military coup against President Trump in 2018:

 

But how would one pull off a coup d’etat in the United States? Most of the political hacks had no idea, while the military experts understood the massive challenge. Some answers were obvious – in the Third World, the first thing the plotters take control of are the radio and TV stations and the newspapers. In America, the media was already in the bag. Hell, they would cheerlead a coup. But the actual seizure of power? That was more complicated.

“You just send in some soldiers and take over everything,” said the younger and, astonishingly, stupider California senator. “You know, with guns. How hard can this Army stuff be?”

Retired – actually, fired by Trump – General Leonard Smith, who had been promoted by Obama after failing to win in Iraq and Afghanistan, but who successfully spearheaded the transsexuals in foxholes initiative, tried to explain.

“Look, it’s a matter of numbers. We take all our land forces in CONUS…”

“What’s CONUS?” asked a former Clinton Deputy Assistant Undersecretary of Defense.

“The continental United States,” the general replied, annoyed. “We have maybe 45 brigade combat teams total available, counting everything active and reserve, Marine and Army. Less than one per state. And a city takes a brigade to control – at least. New York would take ten. And that’s assuming they were all loyal to us. There’s police and federal law enforcement too, but we also have 100 million armed Americans who might object.”

“Ridiculous,” sniffed the senator. “How can a bunch of citizens armed with their deer rifles stop a modern army?” Continue Reading

11

PopeWatch: Humor?

 

 

Father Z has an interesting anecdote about the Pope:

 

It seems that the site Messa in latino picked up on an anecdote recounted by a French site Benoit etmoi.  Here’s my translation from the French, which seems to be the original of the anecdote.  I’m cutting out the first part, just to get at the core of the anecdote itself.   Mind you, we are dealing with something that happened recently, after this spring or early summers traditional round of diocesan ordinations to the priesthood.  However, we are also dealing with something that it second hand at best.

A group of young priests from the same diocese, who were just ordained, made a pilgrimage together to Rome. They were not traditionalists, but young priests of today, white shirt with discreet collar, [in some European countries you will see during the summer priests in a white clerical shirt with “tab” collar] classic, pious, normal, very happy with the gift of Christ they had just received. Naturally, they asked and obtained (the chance) to have dinner at Santa Marta and to be presented to the Pope, and also to concelebrate with him at Mass the next day.

They arrived at Santa Marta at the designated time, and went to the place indicated. A secretary pointed them out to the Pope who was approaching. The Pope: “Where are you from?” They, proudly: “Of the Diocese of X”.  And he, with a sour expression [avec la mine des mauvais jours]: “Ah, X, there are still many priests there. That means that there is a problem, a problem of discernment.” And he continues his journey.

The young priests, dismayed, looked at each other, conferred, and left without eating.  And the next day, they spared themselves the concelebration at Santa Marta.

Okay… what to do with this.  And, mind you, I’m doing this here because I’ve had a lot of requests.

It could be that these young men mistook the Pope’s expression.  Some people’s default face isn’t always cheerful looking.

It could be that these young men mistook the Pope’s words.  There could be a language difference.

However, since there were a few of them, they probably were not all mistaken in their interpretation and it drove them to leave and not come back.

Popes kid around with seminarians and priests.  John Paul II sure did.  Here is one of my own anecdotes with John Paul.  I’ve never told this one here before.

Since my seminary in Rome was named after JPII, we seminarians were often called to serve his Masses.  Hence, I had quite a few opportunities as a seminarian and as a deacon.  I was a deacon often enough that the Holy Father got to know me.  One day, as deacon, I brought the thurible into the small sacristy tucked away near the altar of the Pietà (they laid our our dalmatics, etc., on the altar beneath the Pietà – that wasn’t cool or anything…) for the Pope, as celebrant, to “charge”.  As I approached he said in Italian, “You again!”  As I held it up he said, “Which seminary are you from?”  Of course he knew.  He asked every time.  “The John Paul the Second International Seminary, Your Holiness.”  With clearly mock dismay, he almost bellowed, “Terribile! Terribile!”  Everyone was amused, including myself.  Then he became very grave.  Leaning in almost nose to nose, he repeatedly pounded me hard on the chest with his finger and said, punctuating every word, “Tu… deve essere serio.  You… have to be serious.”  “Serio” means “serious”, but also “focused, earnest”.

That experience was a little frightening, to be frank.  First, that was the POPE.  Also, that was Pope Wojtyla.  It is a bit cliché to speak of what it felt like when he came into a room, but I guarantee you he was like no one else I’ve seen.  Seeing him come in or meeting him briefly is one thing.  Having him pound you repeatedly on the chest nose to nose is another.

Clearly the saint was trying in an extremely personal moment to inspire a man to something more than mediocrity.  After all, my seminary had his name.  Ergo, we reflected him, in a way.  We had to live up to that.

Let’s just say that I have not forgotten that moment.

It could be that Pope Francis was trying to do something similar with these young priests, but missed the mark. Continue Reading

7

PopeWatch: Debt

 

 

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

 

Total catechism student loan debt in the U.S. has officially topped $1.8 hundred dollars.

In March, the Francis administration announced a series of changes to the Free Application For Federal Catechism Aid (FAFCA), the form for prospective catechists applying for church financial aid.

This measure was taken in the hopes of making the burden of learning the fundamentals of Catholicism more manageable. EOTT has found in a recent study that cradle Catholics ages 30 to 55 owe nearly as much money on past catechism classes as do converts to Catholicism even after years of payments, and that loan payments have become a major portion of their monthly expenses, crippling many households.

Head RCIA financial aid expert Devin Bolero recently told EOTT that more than 37% of borrowers are graduating with debt that can take them days if not weeks to pay off, significantly impacting their lives.

“I found that new Catholics who graduate with catechism debt are about 17% more likely to wait an extra week to pay off their debt before getting married and having kids,” Bolero said. “It’s an issue the USCCB seriously needs to look into.”

Bolero estimates that America’s catechism student loan debt is growing at a rapid rate, rising nearly $2 every week. Continue Reading

13

Resquiescat in Pace: Charlie Gard

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

CS Lewis

 

 

Charlie Gard has died.  He was dealt a very rough deck of cards, but he also had two parents who loved him and fought an uphill battle for him and in that he was indeed fortunate.  His brief life heightened the new barbarism to which we are descending in which the all powerful State wields the power of death against the completely innocent.  The final indignity was that his parents were not permitted to have him die at home:

 

His parents and Great Ormond Street Hospital have been in a months-long legal battle over his treatment. Their final request to a judge this week was to be allowed to take Charlie home to die.

On Thursday, a judge ruled that Charlie will be moved to hospice and his life support will be removed at a time not publicly disclosed. He will not be allowed to go home, as his parents wished. Continue Reading

9

PopeWatch: Memory Lane

 

Father Z takes a trip down Memory Lane:

 

Here is something to ponder.  HERE

On this day in 2013 I posted:

Over at First Things I saw a piece called Five Myths About Pope Francis by William Doino Jr.

What are those myths?

1. “Francis is the anti-Benedict.”
2. “Francis is Not a Cultural Warrior.”
3. “Francis is a ‘Social Justice’ Pope.”
4. “Francis Will Be More Charitable Toward Dissenters.”
5. “Francis Loves the World.”

I think it would be interesting to reread the article in question and see how things are going now…. with some perspective. Continue Reading

16

PopeWatch: Summorum Pontificum

 

Summorum Pontificum bye bye?

 

 Sources inside the Vatican suggest that Pope Francis aims to end Pope Benedict XVI’s universal permission for priests to say the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM), also known as the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. While the course of action would be in tune with Pope Francis’ repeatedly expressed disdain for the TLM especially among young people, there has been no open discussion of it to date.

Sources in Rome told LifeSite last week that liberal prelates inside the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith were overheard discussing a plan ascribed to the Pope to do away with Pope Benedict’s famous document that gave priests freedom to offer the ancient rite of the Mass.

Catholic traditionalists have just celebrated the tenth anniversary of the document, Summorum Pontificum. Pope Benedict XVI issued it in 2007, giving all Latin Rite priests permission to offer the TLM without seeking permission of their bishops, undoing a restriction placed on priests after the Second Vatican Council.

The motu proprio outraged liberal bishops as it stripped them of the power to forbid the TLM, as many did. Previously priests needed their bishop’s permission to offer the TLM. Continue Reading

2

The Choice

 

The thirty-third in my on-going series on the poetry of Rudyard Kipling. The other posts in the series may be read here, here , here , here, here , here, here, here, here, here, here, here , here, here, here , here, here, here , here, here, here , here, here , here , here , here , herehere, here , here here and here.  Like most Brits of his generation, Kipling had ambivalent feelings towards the United States.  He had married an American and had lived with her in Vermont from 1892 to 1896 when the family moved to England.  He found much to admire in the Great Republic and much to criticize.  It could be said that Kipling, the quintessential Englishman, adopted an American attitude of both love, and the freedom to speak his mind about what he perceived to be wrong, as to America.  In any case there was nothing ambivalent about the poem he published in April of 1917 after the US entered the Great War on the side of The Allies:

THE AMERICAN SPIRIT SPEAKS:

  To the Judge of Right and Wrong
With Whom fulfillment lies
Our purpose and our power belong,
 Our faith and sacrifice.
  Let Freedom’s land rejoice!
 Our ancient bonds are riven;
Once more to us the eternal choice
Of good or ill is given.
Not at a little cost,
 Hardly by prayer or tears,
Shall we recover the road we lost
In the drugged and doubting years.
  But after the fires and the wrath,
 But after searching and pain,
His Mercy opens us a path
To live with ourselves again.
  In the Gates of Death rejoice!
 We see and hold the good—
Bear witness, Earth, we have made our choice
For Freedom’s brotherhood.
  Then praise the Lord Most High
Whose Strength hath saved us whole,
Who bade us choose that the Flesh should die
And not the living Soul!

Continue Reading

28

Resolved: Mentally Ill People Should Not Serve in the Military

Image result for section 8 discharge

 

Corporal Klinger was born too soon.  A furor has erupted due to President Trump’s reversal of the one year old allowance of the Obama administration enabling so-called “transgenders” to serve in the military.  The Army this month was warning soldiers that they might encounter “transgenders” in showers who appeared to be the opposite sex and that they should go along with this exercise in make believe.  Go here to read about it.  All people not mentally ill owe a vote of thanks to President Trump for the simple common-sense conclusion that people so mentally twisted that they believe that their DNA does not establish their sex have no business serving in the military.  Next up, fire burns and water is wet.

9

Quotes Suitable for Framing: Glenn Reynolds

 

Trump, as I keep saying, is a symptom of how rottenly dysfunctional our sorry political class is. Take away Trump and they’re just as awful and destructive. He just brings their awfulness to the fore, where it’s no longer ignorable. Now they’re willing to play with fire, risking the future of the polity over little more than hurt feelings, in a way that would have been unthinkable not long ago.

Glenn Reynolds, Instapundit

5

July 26, 1945: USS Indianapolis Delivers Hiroshima Bomb to Tinian

 

The delivery of the Hiroshima bomb by the crew of the USS Indianapolis to Tinian on July 26, 1945 received screen immortality in Quint’s (Robert Shaw) speech in the movie Jaws (1975).  Although historically inaccurate on several points, the scene has an understated power that makes it a gem of the filmmaker’s art:

 

“Japanese submarine slammed two torpedoes into her side, Chief. We was comin’ back from the island of Tinian to Leyte. We’d just delivered the bomb. The Hiroshima bomb. Eleven hundred men went into the water. Vessel went down in 12 minutes.

Didn’t see the first shark for about a half-hour. Tiger. 13-footer. You know how you know that in the water, Chief? You can tell by lookin’ from the dorsal to the tail. What we didn’t know, was that our bomb mission was so secret, no distress signal had been sent. They didn’t even list us overdue for a week. Very first light, Chief, sharks come cruisin’ by, so we formed ourselves into tight groups. It was sorta like you see in the calendars, you know the infantry squares in the old calendars like the Battle of Waterloo and the idea was the shark come to the nearest man, that man he starts poundin’ and hollerin’ and sometimes that shark he go away… but sometimes he wouldn’t go away.

Sometimes that shark looks right at ya. Right into your eyes. And the thing about a shark is he’s got lifeless eyes. Black eyes. Like a doll’s eyes. When he comes at ya, he doesn’t even seem to be livin’… ’til he bites ya, and those black eyes roll over white and then… ah then you hear that terrible high-pitched screamin’. The ocean turns red, and despite all your poundin’ and your hollerin’ those sharks come in and… they rip you to pieces.

You know by the end of that first dawn, lost a hundred men. I don’t know how many sharks there were, maybe a thousand. I do know how many men, they averaged six an hour. Thursday mornin’, Chief, I bumped into a friend of mine, Herbie Robinson from Cleveland. Baseball player. Boson’s mate. I thought he was asleep. I reached over to wake him up. He bobbed up, down in the water, he was like a kinda top. Upended. Well, he’d been bitten in half below the waist.

At noon on the fifth day, a Lockheed Ventura swung in low and he spotted us, a young pilot, lot younger than Mr. Hooper here, anyway he spotted us and a few hours later a big ol’ fat PBY come down and started to pick us up. You know that was the time I was most frightened. Waitin’ for my turn. I’ll never put on a lifejacket again. So, eleven hundred men went into the water. 316 men come out, the sharks took the rest, June the 29th, 1945.

Anyway, we delivered the bomb.”

5

PopeWatch: An Authoritative Churchman

 

Sandro Magister publishes this from a source he describes as “an authoritative Churchman”:

 

 

*

EVERYONE IS RESPONDING TO THE “DUBIA” EXCEPT FOR THE POPE. THIS TIME IT WAS SCHÖNBORN’S TURN

by ***

On July 13, 2017 Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, archbishop of Vienna, spoke for four hours in two conferences and a question-and-answer session at Mary Immaculate College in Limerick, Ireland.

The Austrian cardinal spoke in the context of the event “Let’s Talk Family: Let’s Be Family,” which is part of a series of assemblies organized in preparation for the world meeting of families (1), under the direction of the dicastery for the laity, family, and life, which will be held in Dublin from August 21 to 28, 2018.

After reading the reporting on the event offered by the main specialized media outlets (2), I cannot help but note that when it comes to the “dubia” submitted to the pope by four cardinals, everyone is answering them except for him; and that in this way to the chaotic chorus of the most disparate comments and interpretations of “Amoris Laetitia” – which do anything but clarify for the faithful and confessors the problems raised by the document – there has been added a new voice, or better, a new fog.

This because the arguments offered by the archbishop of Vienna – at least according to how they have been reported by the most reliable media – are anything but convincing. Let’s take a look at the main ones. Continue Reading

5

The Man Who Helped Convert General Rosecrans

 

As faithful readers of this blog know, I have often written about General William Rosecrans, Union general and zealous Catholic convert.  One of the men who helped in the conversion process was Julius Garesché, who would serve under Rosecrans in the Civil War.

Rosecrans was fighting a huge battle at Stones River, go here to read about it, in Tennessee that would last from December 31, 1862-January 3, 1863. He succeeded in defeating Bragg’s Confederate Army of Tennessee and drove him from central Tennessee. It was an important victory, a needed shot in the arm for the Union after the disaster of Fredericksburg. Lincoln wrote to Rosecrans:

“You gave us a hard-earned victory, which had there been a defeat instead, the nation could scarcely have lived over.”

During that battle he was a man on fire, constantly charging to points of danger, heedless of risks to himself, rallying his men, inspiring them and beating off Confederate charge after Confederate charge. Rosecrans was in the maelstrom of particularly vicious fighting when his Chief of Staff, Lieutenant Colonel Julius  Garesché , a fellow Catholic who had been made a Knight of Saint Sylvester by Pope Pius IX, warned him about risking himself to enemy fire. “Never mind me, my boy, but make the sign of the cross and go in!” A moment later, a cannon shell careened into the general’s entourage, beheading Garesche and spraying his brains all over Rosecrans’ overcoat. Rosecrans’ mourned his friend, as he mourned all his brave men who died in that fight, but that didn’t stop him an instant from leading his army to victory.

I was going to do a blog post on Garesché, but I decided that I could not improve on the one done by Pat McNamara at his blog.  Go here to read it.

According to an article written by the late Dr. Homer Pittard, his death at Stones River had been prophesied by his priest brother: Continue Reading

8

PopeWatch: Hostility

 

Good news:

 

On the heels of one controversial Vatican article alleging an “ecumenism of hate” between conservative Evangelicals and Catholics in America, another potential eyebrow-raiser emerged Saturday claiming that the “main obstacle” to implementing Pope Francis’s vision is “closure, if not hostility” from “a good part of the clergy, at levels both high and low.”

The term “high and low” suggests the author had in mind clergy ranging from senior bishops to ordinary parish priests.

“The clergy is holding the people back, who should instead be accompanied in this extraordinary moment,” said the article by Italian Father Giulio Cirignano, a native of Florence and a longtime Scripture scholar at the Theological Faculty of Central Italy.

The piece appeared in the weekend edition of L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, under the headline of “The Conversion Asked by Pope Francis: Habit is not Fidelity.”

It comes a little over a week after the publication of an essay by Italian Jesuit Fr. Antonio Spadaro and Argentine Protestant Marcelo Figueroa, two close friends of Pope Francis, in the Jesuit-edited journal La Civilità Cattolica. In it, Spadaro and Figueroa described what they see was a “Manichean vision” underlying growing closeness in America between Evangelicals and “Catholic Integralists.”

Cirignano’s piece didn’t focus on the United States, and appeared to be more concerned with Italian realities, though he didn’t specify which country or region he was addressing.

“The main obstacle that stands in the way of the conversion that Pope Francis wants to bring to the Church is constituted, in some measure, by the attitude of a good part of the clergy, at levels high and low … an attitude, at times, of closure if not hostility,” Cirignano wrote. Continue Reading

3

Army Vietnam Studies

 

“The internet has changed everything” is a trite saying, but in regard to historical research it is also true.  Travel and expense were often the lot of historians as they chased documents.  Now, so much is available free with a few mouse clicks.  Case in point is the Army series Vietnam Studies, twenty-six volumes that examine the Army’s role in Vietnam.  A feast for historians or those who simply want a detailed look, for example, at Army air mobile operations in Vietnam.  Each volume is now available free in PDF downloads.  Go here to access them.

8

PopeWatch: Down Argentine Way

 

 

 

 

Pope Francis is still popular in Argentina, but not quite as popular as he used to be:

 

More than four years since his election, although most Argentinians, Catholic and non-Catholic, still celebrate Pope Francis’ style and message as a blessing, enthusiasm has dimmed in some sectors of the population. A poll published in the mass-circulation Clarin newspaper in March last year suggested that his popularity had dipped to its lowest point, of 75 per cent. A recent poll taken in Buenos Aires and its province lifted the figure to 82 per cent. However, this was still lower than the approval ratings of well over 90 per cent that he enjoyed in the first months after his election.

The fact that a global spiritual leader is a fellow countryman was always bound to be a refreshing experience, as well as a source of genuine pride, for a country that previously counted football stars – Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi – as its most popular international exports.

Francis’ many admirers see a reassuring familiarity in the humility that characterised Jorge Bergoglio’s years as their archbishop and his devotion to the poor and those on the “peripheries”. They have warmed to his readiness to reform the Church and to open up the discussion of controversial issues. However, he also faces criticism.

Politically conservative and traditionalist Argentinian Catholics see him as too radical and as unsound in theology. Over dinner in fashionable restaurants, they whisper about his reliance on instinct and charisma, like his childhood political idols, General Juan Perón and his wife, Evita. Social media is sometimes excoriating.

More measured doubts are aired in conservative parishes or in informal conversations at which government officials or business executives are present. Occasionally, a sceptical journalist or politician gingerly advances their views in public, as did Elisa Carrio, a conservative Catholic ally of the current centre-Right government of President Mauricio Macri.

After Milagro Sala, an indigenous community activist in northern Argentina, was arrested last year on charges of fraud, extortion and illicit association, Carrio described Francis’ gift of a rosary to her as a “grave error of judgement”. As Jose Maria Poirier, editor of the Catholic magazine Criterio, commented: “The waters are rather divided. There seems to be two perceptions of the Pope Francis: an international, and a national one – and they are very different.”

Concern that Pope Francis is being unwittingly drawn into Argentina’s politics as the nation gears up for mid-term congressional elections in October recently led Jorge Lugones, Jesuit bishop of the densely populated Buenos Aires diocese of Lomas de Zamora, to lament that Francis “was so valued and loved around the world yet so questioned in his own country”. Continue Reading

5

The Lion’s Brood

 

Theodore Roosevelt had advocated American entry into World War I, and wanted to fight himself.  Being denied that privilege by President Wilson, he took solace in the fact that each of his sons volunteered for the War.

His son Archie would be a decorated, and wounded, veteran, serving as an officer with the 16th and 26th Infantry.   He would serve in combat in the Pacific during World War II.  He would have the distinction of being determined to be 100% disabled from war wounds in both World Wars.

Theodore Jr, who would attain general rank in World War II and earn a Medal of Honor, also served as an officer in the 26th and would be gassed and wounded.

Son Kermit served as a Captain in the British Army, serving in combat in Mesopotamia (Iraq), and then transferred to the US Army serving as a Captain of artillery during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive.  In World War II he would serve again in both the British and American armies.

Son Quentin, age nineteen, the baby of the family, sailed for France on July 23, 1917 with the 95th Aero Squadron.  His parents and his fiance saw him off.

Not only the Roosevelt brothers saw service in the War.  Sister Ether was the first to see service in the War, as a nurse in the Ambulance Americane  Hospital where her husband served as a surgeon.

 

Continue Reading

3

Life in a Time of Tares

Related image

Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:

But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.

But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.

So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?

He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?

But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.
Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

Matthew 13: 24-30

 

 

In any farming community, farmers being human, feuds will sometimes grow up between farmers and their families.  The Romans understood this, and so they had a law forbidding anyone from sowing tares, darnel, in a wheat field.  A ryegrass, darnel is indistinguishable from wheat in the early stages of development and only when they are both mature can wheat be readily distinguishable from tares.  It takes little imagination to see Jesus as a boy, working in the carpenter shop of Saint Joseph, and hearing one of the farming clients of Joseph ranting about how an unknown enemy of his had ruined his wheat field by planting darnel in it.

Christ has shaped out of this unpleasant example of rural life, a parable which says much about the human condition.  It would save time if we all wore signs saying “good”, “evil”, “both”, “making up my mind”, but we do not.  Until revealed by deeds, the side chosen by each of us each day remains a deep secret, often to the person making the daily choice, sense the capacity of man to deceive himself is bottomless.  But God knows, and ultimately we each reap the harvest of our deeds.  So with us individually, so our societies, our political institutions, our churches and all the other manifold ways in which we humans gather together.  Enough wrong choices and the tares are in charge, lording it over the wheat.  Saint Augustine noted this long ago: Continue Reading

2

Our Under Studied Civil War

 

 

It seems shockingly counter-intuitive to suggest that the Civil War is under studied.  Beginning while the War was being waged, and continuing to the present day, there have been an avalanche of books about that conflict.  However, certain aspects of the War have been understudied.  With the advent of almost cost free e-publishing, the legions of amateur Civil War scholars can help rectify this situation.  I expect to retire in approximately a decade.  If God grants me a long life and good health after retirement I will attempt to aid in shedding light and analysis on facets of the War which have received comparatively little scholarship.  Here are ten such areas.  I would note that the inclusion of an area for further work does not mean that books and articles have not been written on the subject, but that they are comparatively sparse, especially in reference to topics that receive endless treatment.

  1. The Trans Mississippi– Both the Union and the Confederacy frequently used the conflict beyond the Mississippi as a dumping ground for failed and/or troublesome generals and that perceived taint has apparently descended down the years to make this the most ignored theater of the War.  This has helped give a false impression of the War overall.  In the far West the War was fought to the knife and the knife to the hilt, engendering hatreds that lingered for generations after the last shot was fired.  The conflict was important with the Union dedicating manpower and resources against local Confederate forces that could have been better spent elsewhere.  If the Union had lost the War, the conflict in the Trans Mississippi might well have been blamed for being a drain on Union military and naval resources.
  2. Jefferson Davis-Unsurprisingly, the scholarship on Davis is infinitesimal when compared to the mountain of studies on Lincoln.  That imbalance will never be addressed, nor should it be.  However, the day to day activities of Jefferson as commander in chief do need a serious and comprehensive study.
  3. United States Colored Troops-Some 180,000 blacks fought for the Union, most in the United States Colored Troops.  The scholarship  on this organization is limited, weak and much of it dated.
  4. Regimental histories-In the decades immediately following the Civil War, many regimental histories were written, most by former members of the regiments.  Although there is valuable history contained in these tomes, the scholarship usually ranged from non-existent to shoddy.  Modern regimental histories, in the mode of the pioneering history of the 20th Maine, are needed.  Here, especially, amateur scholars could be quite helpful.
  5. Alcohol and the Civil WarAlcohol tends to be mentioned in most Civil War histories only in reference to General Grant.  It was a hard-drinking time and drunkenness was a common problem among officers and men.  Alcohol and its impact on the Civil War awaits good, and detailed, studies.
  6. Artillery-Compared to the infantry and cavalry, books on Civil War artillery have been relatively few in numbers.  The men who served the king of battle deserve better.
  7. Logistics-Serious consideration of logistics and its impact on Civil War operations tends to be scarce in most histories.  A logistical history of the Civil War needs to be written.
  8. Foreign Volunteers-For decades after the Civil War Heroes von Borcke proudly flew the Stars and Bars from the battlements of his Prussian estate, a memento of his service under Jeb Stuart.  Considering how many of them there were, the foreign volunteers who fought for the Union and the Confederacy have received little attention in most histories.
  9. Staff work-Ah, the Remfs, always unloved by the frontline soldiers in every conflict.  Nonetheless, staff work often determines the success or failure of most military operations, and the scholarship devoted to this important topic is minuscule.
  10. War Governors-Considering the key role they played, the war governors, Union and Confederate, have received, the majority of them, relatively little scholarly attention.

In regard to America’s greatest war, much work remains to be done.  Scholars, to your key boards!

15

Quotes Suitable for Framing: Anthony Esolen

 

The colleges are thus committed to a moral inversion. High and noble virtues, especially those that require moral courage, are mocked: gallantry in wartime, sexual purity, scrupulous honesty and plain dealing, piety, and the willingness to subject your thoughts, experiences, and most treasured beliefs to the searching scrutiny of reason. What is valued then? Debauchery, perversion, contempt for your supposedly benighted ancestors, lazy agnosticism, easy and costless pacifism, political maneuvering, and an enforcement of a new orthodoxy that in denying rational analysis seeks to render itself immune to criticism. You sink yourself in debt to discover that your sons and daughters have been severed from their faith, their morals, and their reason. Whorehouses and mental wards would be much cheaper. They might well be healthier, too.

Professor Anthony Esolen, Out of the Ashes

Hattip to John C. Wright.

PopeWatch: Let God Sort ‘Em Out

 

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

 

VATICAN––The Vatican this morning is announcing that every pope that has ever lived, including ones still living, is to be canonized by the end of the year, sources are confirming.

The news comes just a week after John XXIII and John Paul II were canonized, and a day after it was announced that Paul VI was to be beatified later this year.

A Vatican insider told EOTT today that Pope Francis awoke earlier this morning shouting, “Canonize them all! Canonize them all!”

“He woke up in hysterics, telling everyone he passed that he wanted to canonize all the popes who came before him,” the insider said. “He said that by knocking out all the popes at once, that it would give him time to focus all his energy on the Church Militant.”

Speaking from his grave this morning, Pope Alexander VI, known by many historians to be the worst pope of all time, said that he couldn’t believe the news when he heard it. “Get the hell out of here! Oops, sorry about that. But seriously?”

Although the date of the canonizations has yet to be announced, Vatican officials said that since the requirement for miracles had been waived, they hope to canonize everyone by November. Continue Reading

5

Jews Praying At The Temple Mount

It’s a little complicated, and they’re not SUPPOSED to be allowed to, but…they are.

Israeli police were still ordered to stop non-Muslim prayer, but many Jews took advantage of the opportunity to pray; Rabbi Jeremy Gimpel, co-founder of the Land of Israel Network, emulated Jews of 2,000 years ago and prostrated himself on the stones; the Israeli police removed him from the site.

He told Breaking Israel News, “Bowing down on the stones is a Torah commandment, precisely like in Temple times, and in a way we aren’t able to do when the Waqf guards are here. I couldn’t resist. I felt like every prayer, every mitzvah (Torah commandment) done at the Temple Mount opened the door to geula just a little more.”

I’m sure I’m supposed to be horribly upset or something.

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PopeWatch: Dictatorship of the Zeitgeist

 

There has been a lot written about the message sent by the Pope Emeritus in regard to the funeral of Cardinal Meissner.  Archbishop Georg Gänswein, former personal secretary of the Pope Emeritus, has denied that the statement was in way aimed at Pope Francis.  Here is a translation of the entire statement.  You be the judge:

 

In this hour, when the Church of Cologne and believers further afield take their leave of Cardinal Joachim Meissner, I am with them in my heart and thoughts and am pleased to accede to Cardinal Woelki’s wish and address a word of reflection to them.

When I heard last Wednesday by telephone of the death of Cardinal Meissner, I could not believe it at first. We had spoken to each other the previous day. From the way he spoke he was grateful to be on holiday now, after he had taken part the Sunday before (25th June) in the beatification of Bishop Teofilius Maturlionis in Vilnius. His love for the neighbouring Churches in the East, which had suffered persecution under Communism, as well as gratitude for endurance in suffering during that time left a lifelong mark on him. So it was certainly no accident that the last visit of his life was made to a confessor of the faith.

What struck me particularly in the last conversations with the Cardinal, now gone home, was the natural cheerfulness, the inner peace and the assurance he had found. We know that it was hard for him, the passionate shepherd and pastor of souls, to leave his office, and this precisely at a time when the Church had a pressing need for shepherds who would oppose the dictatorship of the zeitgeist, fully resolved to act and think from a faith standpoint. Yet I have been all the more impressed that in this last period of his life he learned to let go, and live increasingly from the conviction that the Lord does not leave his Church, even if at times the ship is almost filled to the point of shipwreck.

There were two things which in this final period allowed him to be increasingly happy and assured:

– The first was that he often related to me that what filled him with deep joy was to experience, in the Sacrament of Penance, how young people, above all young men, came to experience the mercy of forgiveness, the gift, in effect to have found life, which only God can give them.

– The second, which again and again touched and made him happy, was the perceptible increase in Eucharistic adoration. This was the central theme for him at World Youth Day in Cologne – that there was adoration, a silence, in which the Lord alone speaks to hearts. Some pastoral and liturgical authorities were of the opinion that such a silence in contemplation of the Lord with such a huge number of people could achieve nothing. A few were also of the opinion that Eucharistic adoration as such has been overtaken, because the Lord wanted to be received in the Eucharistic bread and not be looked at. Yet the fact that a person cannot eat this bread as just some sort of nourishment, and that to “receive” the Lord in the Eucharistic Sacrament includes all the dimensions of our existence – that receiving has to be worship, something which has in the meantime become increasingly clearer. So the period of Eucharistic adoration at the Cologne World Youth Day became an interior event that has remained unforgettable, and not only to the Cardinal. This moment for him was subsequently always present internally and a great light for him.

When on the last morning Cardinal Meissner did not appear for Mass, he was found dead in his room. The breviary had slipped from his hands: he died while praying, his face on the Lord, in conversation with the Lord. The art of dying, which was given to him, again demonstrated how he had lived: with his face towards the Lord and in conversation with him. So we may confidently entrust his soul to the goodness of God.

Lord, we thank you for the witness of this your servant, Joachim. Let him now intercede for the Church of Cologne and for the whole world.

Requiescat in pace!

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July 21, 1861: Battle of Bull Run-Lessons to Learn

 

The First Battle of Bull Run, or First Manassas, was the first major battle of the Civil War.  A Confederate victory, it gave lessons to those paying attention:

1.    It amply demonstrated the hazards of sending half-trained troops into combat.  Both the Union and Confederate armies were green, and it showed in clumsy battlefield maneuvers and  an inability to coordinate attacks.

2.   An early indication that it was much easier to defend and counter-attack than to launch an initial attack in the Civil War.

3.    Rifled muskets were going to make this an exceptionally bloody war.  5,000 Union and Confederate casualties resulted from this battle, just slightly below the total American killed and wounded for either the entire War of 1812 or the entire Mexican War.

4.    One able general, Stonewall Jackson in the case of Bull Run, could seize the initiative and turn the tide of a battle. Continue Reading

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Mark Shea and Charlie Gard

 

 

Hattip to commenter Nate Winchester.  An example of how far down the dark path Mark Shea has gone:

With supreme cynicism, the anti-abortion-but-not-prolife Congress of Trump takes a step to grant Charlie residency for a sketchy experiment that holds extremely little promise of hope–by attaching it to a bill funding Trump’s idiotic border wall designed to maximize waste for the taxpayer and cruelty to refugees:

The amendment has been added to a controversial bill that includes money for US President Donald Trump’s border wall and enhanced immigration enforcement, which could take a significant amount of time to be voted into law, if it is at all.

In other news, a hard-working taxpayer and father of four who has committed no crime other than being brown is being deported to Mexico to the orgasmic cheers of Christians for Cruelty, aka, Trump Defenders.  His name is actually “Jesus” and still these Pharisees applaud without irony.  Convinced that petty rule-keeping is their real savior, they hide behind paperwork while families are viciously destroyed and admire their righteousness in punishing the least of these.  And they dare to call themselves “prolife”.

 

So, let’s see:  efforts to help Charlie Gard’s parents defy the edicts of courts in Europe that they cannot give their son treatment, and that he must die, are futile and efforts to enforce our immigration laws, laws that every nation on Earth have, are racist.  Right. Continue Reading

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Dunkirk

 

The film is getting magnificent reviews and I will be seeing it on the last Friday of the month with a full review to follow.  Operation Dynamo, the transport of British and French troops from surrounded Dunkirk, was a military miracle, aided by Hitler’s agreement with his generals for a temporary pause in operations, for rest and reorganization, from May 24-May 26 of the German Fourth Army around Dunkirk.  Initially it was thought that only some 45,000 men could be rescued, but instead 338,000 men were saved to fight many other days.  But for Dunkirk, the British would have had few trained troops to confront a Nazi invasion, if Hitler had attempted to roll the iron dice of war and risk Operation Sea Lion.

Today we recall the civilian craft of all types that voluntarily came out to rescue the British soldiers.  It was a demonstration that although the British military had suffered a stunning loss in France, along with their French allies, the spirit of the British people was far from broken.  Churchill summed up the Dunkirk Miracle well:

When, a week ago today, I asked the house to fix this afternoon as the occasion for a statement, I feared it would be my hard lot to announce the greatest military disaster in our long history. I thought – and some good judges agreed with me – that perhaps 20,000 or 30,000 men might be re-embarked. But it certainly seemed that the whole of the French First Army and the whole of the British Expeditionary Force north of the Amiens-Abbeville gap would be broken up in the open field or else would have to capitulate for lack of food and ammunition. These were the hard and heavy tidings for which I called upon the house and the nation to prepare themselves a week ago. The whole root and core and brain of the British Army, on which and around which we were to build, and are to build, the great British armies in the later years of the war, seemed about to perish upon the field or to be led into an ignominious and starving captivity.

After having described the Dunkirk evacuation Churchill said this and here he donned the mantle of a prophet: Continue Reading

16

What Are Six Million Italian Unborn Between Immigration Allies?

 

 

A sign of just how bizarre this Pontificate truly is:

 

Emma Bonino, a former abortionist once praised by Pope Francis as “a great Italian,” will appear in a Catholic church to present the pro-migrant campaign “ERO STRANIERO: La humanità che fa bene” (“I was a stranger: Humanity that does good”)

As an abortion rights activist and an abortionist herself, Bonino is directly or indirectly responsible for the deaths of approximately six million Italian babies between 1968 and today.

Bonino’s appearance in the Church of San Defendente, Ronco di Cassato, on July 26 will be one of several events celebrating World Refugee Day 2017. The moderator of Bonino’s talk will be parish priest Don Mario Marchiori.  

On his blog “Stilum Curae,” Vatican-based journalist Marco Tosatti remarked dryly that “One assumes that now, after having helped deprive this country of an enormous number of human beings, [Bonino] will be able — in church — to push for a nice ethnic replacement program in Italy.”   Continue Reading

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PopeWatch: Sorondo

“Yesterday I asked him whether Our Lord had more than one nature. He said: ‘Just as many as you say, Father.’ Then again I asked him: ‘Supposing the Pope looked up and saw a cloud and said ‘It’s going to rain’, would that be bound to happen?’ ‘Oh, yes, Father.’ ‘But supposing it didn’t?’ He thought a moment and said, “I suppose it would be sort of raining spiritually, only we were too sinful to see it.’”

Rex Mottram on Papal Infallibilty

 

 

 

Well, according to the head of the Pontifical Academy of Science there is no human activity that is not subject to the Pope:

 

 

– The head of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences has again inferred that denial of the controversial concept of manmade climate change equates to flat earth mentality.

“From the scientific point of view, the sentence that the earth is warmed by human activity is as true as the sentence: The earth is round!” said Archbishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo.

The archbishop has been a consistent and zealous promoter of manmade climate change as a non-negotiable Church issue, despite the status of care for the environment as a prudential matter.  

Climate change ideology continues to be contested as a ploy perpetrated with manipulated data by the left to enact environmental regulations and taxes.

Even so, Archbishop Sorondo dismissed deniers of climate change in a recent Vatican Radio interview as “a small, negligible minority.”

The interview conducted in German contained the headline: “Vatican: ‘Climate change is a fact,’” and centered on reception of Pope Francis’ eco-encyclical Laudato Si’ two years after its release.

Archbishop Sorondo went on in the interview to say that human-affected climate change was considered science. He added that the pope not only has the right but also the duty to rely on science in addition to doctrine and philosophy in seeking out truth.

If the pope expresses himself on such a subject, then this was not arbitrary, he said, as the pope’s words are not restricted to the area of ​​”doctrine of faith and morals.” 

The pope makes use of the truths of science or philosophy to not only explain to man how to get to heaven, said the archbishop, but also what he must do on earth. 

All human activities have to do with ethics, the Argentinean archbishop said, so they are already within the jurisdiction of the pope.

Archbishop Sorondo is a close adviser to Pope Francis and the Chancellor of both the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. He has repeatedly welcomed pro-abortion and population control advocates to the Vatican for conferences under the pretext of the climate issue.

Last month, just before President Donald Trump announced the U.S. would pull out of the controversial Paris Climate Agreement, the archbishop likened climate ideology skeptics to flat-earthers as well.

Withdrawal from the Paris accord “would not only be a disaster but completely unscientific,” he said.

“Saying that we need to rely on coal and oil is like saying that the earth is not round,” Archbishop Sorondo stated. “It is an absurdity dictated by the need to make money.”

He has also repeatedly made the claim that those who don’t subscribe to the manmade climate change theory are in some way subsidized by the oil industry. He did so again in the Vatican Radio interview. Continue Reading

17

Mary Jo Would be Seventy-Six

google_quiddick2014

 

 

Yesterday was the forty-eighth anniversary of the Chappaquiddick incident, where Ted Kennedy left Mary Jo  Kopechne to die a slow death of asphyxiation in his submerged vehicle.

Here is Ted Kennedy’s non-mea culpa, notable for how little of the details of the incident he could recall, and an example of how to appear to take responsibility while not taking responsibility.

Any other American who failed to report a lethal accident such as this for such a lengthy period would probably have served some jail time, county or prison.  Any other politician would have had his career destroyed.  When Kennedy died he was referred to as “The Lion of the Senate” and Cardinal O’Malley presided over his canonization funeral mass.  I hope Ms. Kopechne received justice in the next world because she certainly received none in this.  I make the same statement in regard to Mr. Kennedy, who in later years liked to joke about Chappaquiddick.  I trust that in the world beyond he no longer finds those jokes quite as funny.

 

Continue Reading

5

PopeWatch: Dan Brown

 

Carl Olsen at The Catholic World Report gives his look at the Spadaro and Figueroa diatribe which appeared in La Civilta Cattolica :

 

My good friend Sandra Miesel, with whom I co-authored The Da Vinci Hoax years ago, was fond of starting out her talks about the mega-selling novel The Da Vinci Code by saying: “Dan Brown does get some things right: London is in England, Paris is in France, and Leonardo da Vinci was an Italian painter.” That quote came to mind over the weekend, while I was Facebooking with Dr. Chad C. Pecknold, who teaches systematic theology at Catholic University of America, about the recent essay “Evangelical Fundamentalism and Catholic Integralism in the USA: A Surprising Ecumenism” by Fr. Antonio Spadaro, S.J., and Marcelo Figueroa. Spadaro, who is editor of La Civiltà Cattolica (which published the piece) and is a close confidant and advisor to Pope Francis; Figueroa is “a Protestant and a close friend of Pope Francis” and editor of the Argentinian edition of the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.

Dr. Pecknold flatly stated that the two authors “have written an incendiary diatribe against an almost Dan-Brown-level caricature of the kind of politics they disdain.” And he is, I think, quite correct in that assessment. Recall how Brown’s novel was not and is not famous because of great writing or fascinating, current-day characters but because of audacious claims, clumsy but appealing conspiracy theories, and a veneer of sophistication. (For much more on that, see my March 2005 article “The ‘It’s Just Fiction” Doctrine’”.) Spadaro/Figueroa’s essay isn’t fiction, of course—which only makes its errors, dubious claims, hyperbolic criticisms, and hypocritical double standards all the more appalling. While several other authors—including Dr. Samuel Gregg here at CWR—have written some excellent responses, I want to highlight a few points I think are notable and worthy of consideration.

Spadaro/Figueroa’s essay seeks to impress with an air of learnedness, but sloppiness undermines it from the start. For example:

The term “evangelical fundamentalist” can today be assimilated to the “evangelical right” or “theoconservatism” and has its origins in the years 1910-1915. In that period a South Californian millionaire, Lyman Stewart, published the 12-volume work The Fundamentals. The author wanted to respond to the threat of modernist ideas of the time. He summarized the thought of authors whose doctrinal support he appreciated. He exemplified the moral, social, collective and individual aspects of the evangelical faith. His admirers include many politicians and even two recent presidents: Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.

No, Stewart did not “summarize” the thoughts of authors; he didn’t even edit the 12-volume sets of books. They were edited by A. C. Dixon and Reuben Archer Torrey, and consisted of 90 essays written by 64 authors from across a fairly wide spectrum of Protestantism—Calvinist, Methodist, Baptist, Anglican, etc.— including scholars who taught at Ivy League schools. The term “fundamentalist” was coined a few years later, and the break between what we now call “Fundamentalism” and “Evangelicalism” was both protracted and complicated, eluding broad strokes or simple explanations. What is important here, however, is that the “fundamentals” in question consisted of the following: the inerrancy of Scripture, the Virgin birth of Christ, substitutional atonement, the bodily resurrection of Christ, the authenticity of miracles, and the second coming of Christ. There were also essays against Catholicism, socialism, Mormonism, evolutionism, and other belief systems.

The essays marked a significant line in the cultural and religious sands of the time, which were characterized by a combination of progressive politics, technocratic aspiration, bureaucratic growth, eugenics, racism (not only against blacks, but also Catholic immigrants), the social gospel, forms of Darwinism, and, in the realm of theology, the flood of historical-critical methodologies (mostly coming from Germany). It’s important to note that most of the radical politics and racial eugenics of that time flowed from liberal Protestants or former Protestants; put another way, the “social gospel” of the time reflected a use of religion for a very “this world” type of political project. All this to say that Spadaro/Figueroa don’t seem to understand that politics in the U.S. have always, in many and often bewildering ways, been shot through with forms of Christian rhetoric and appeal, and that seeking to isolate any one form and make it the Rosetta Stone for understanding American politics is doomed to be simplistic and sophistic. Continue Reading

15

PopeWatch: A Telling Incident

 

PopeWatch finds this incident from 2013 absolutely chilling:

 

The first step of Müller’s Calvary was a disconcerting episode in the middle of 2013. The cardinal was celebrating Mass in the church attached to the congregation palace, for a group of German students and scholars. His secretary joined him at the altar: “The pope wants to speak to you.” “Did you tell him I am celebrating Mass?” asked Müller. “Yes,” said the secretary, “but he says he does not mind—he wants to talk to you all the same.” The cardinal went to the sacristy. The pope, in a very bad mood, gave him some orders and a dossier concerning one of his friends, a cardinal. (This is a very delicate matter. I have sought an explanation of this incident from the official channels. Until the explanation comes, if it ever comes, I cannot give further details.) Obviously, Mūller was flabbergasted. Continue Reading

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Surreal

I saw a rather silly ad from Reebok, in the sadly very popular style of lecturing about what you are “allowed” to do.

Sadly, I saw it because it was a cause of scandal via gossip– I’m a known Catholic among friends and family, so I’m expected to defend…pretty much everything any Catholic does, up to and including Hitler. (…you haven’t run into that one?  Lucky you.)  If there is no response, then the gossip is perfectly fine.

Funny thing?  I was so busy being annoyed at visiting Patheos that I didn’t notice it was on Shea’s blog until a charmingly psycho response showed up.

Continue Reading

Remember General Trimble!

The battle was over and we had won it handsomely. General Ewell moved about uneasily, a good deal excited, and seemed to me to be undecided what to do next. I approached him and said: “Well, General, we have had a grand success; are you not going to follow it up and push our advantage?”

He replied that General Lee had instructed him not to bring on a general engagement without orders, and that he would wait for them.

I said, “That hardly applies to the present state of things, as we have fought a hard battle already, and should secure the advantage gained”. He made no rejoinder, but was far from composure. I was deeply impressed with the conviction that it was a critical moment for us and made a remark to that effect.

As no movement seemed immediate, I rode off to our left, north of the town, to reconnoitre, and noticed conspicuously the wooded hill northeast of Gettysburg (Culp’s), and a half mile distant, and of an elevation to command the country for miles each way, and overlooking Cemetery Hill above the town. Returning to see General Ewell, who was still under much embarrassment, I said, “General, There,” pointing to Culp’s Hill, “is an eminence of commanding position, and not now occupied, as it ought to be by us or the enemy soon. I advise you to send a brigade and hold it if we are to remain here.” He said: “Are you sure it commands the town?” [I replied,] “Certainly it does, as you can see, and it ought to be held by us at once.” General Ewell made some impatient reply, and the conversation dropped.

Major General Isaac R. Trimble

There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves
Or lose our ventures.
Brutus, Julius Caesar, Act 4, Scene 3
7

Requiescat In Pace: Martin Landau

Actor Martin Landau is dead at age 89.  I became familiar with his work as a child sitting through endless Mission: Impossible episodes.  A very good character actor, he had the talent of drawing attention to the role he was playing rather than to himself.  Unlike many in his profession, he kept whatever private political views he had private.  The above video has my favorite of his many, many roles.

2

July, Lincoln and Springfield

 

 

Last Friday my family and I made our annual pilgrimage to Springfield to attend the Lincoln Museum and go to the Lincoln Tomb.  As we made our way though the Museum we encountered, for the second year in a row, a large number of Amish touring the Museum, the women wearing long dresses and poke bonnets that made them look as if they stepped from the 1860s.  The Amish were obviously fascinated by what they were seeing and talked among themselves in “Pennsylvania Dutch”.   Illinois has had a large colony of Amish in the Arthur, Illinois area, about 72 miles from Springfield, since the 19th century.  (Although the Amish are as theologically as far from the Church as it is possible for Christians to be, I should note that I have a huge amount of respect for them.  They take care of their own, and ask nothing from the larger society in which they live, except to be left alone, a sentiment which resonates with me.)

After the museum, as usual we had a first rate lunch at the nearby The Feed Store.  (Nothing shouts Midwest more than eating in a restaurant with a name like that.)  (I highly recommend their barley soup, their tuna fish salad sandwich, and any of their many variants of cheesecake.)

We finished our day at Lincoln’s tomb praying for the repose of his soul and the souls of his wife and kids.)  Once again I thought to myself how nice it was that the first or second greatest President in our history, has his tomb in a cemetery open to all, where there are no guards, no charges for admission, not even for parking.  You simply pull up to the small parking area next to the tomb, go in and make your way through the tomb.  We owe Mary Todd Lincoln for that.  After Lincoln’s murder, there was an attempt to have Lincoln buried in Washington with a grand mausoleum being erected thereafter over his remains.  Mary Lincoln would have none of it.  She took her dead husband, and had the remains of her dead son Willie exhumed, and traveled with them both back to Springfield for burial.  She wanted nothing more from Washington except to get out of there as quickly as she could, a city where she had suffered grief that makes her such a poignant figure in American history.  (An exhibit in the Museum shows her framed by a rain stained window, sitting forlornly, mourning the loss of Willie.  My bride and I, sadly, having lost a son know precisely how she feels.)  We made sure to rub the nose of the nose of the huge bust of Lincoln outside of the tomb.  Most noses of Lincoln on metal statues and busts in Illinois are shiny due to the Illinois superstition that rubbing the nose of a bust or a statue of Lincoln brings good luck.  With my son taking the Illinois bar at the end of July, it can’t hurt.

It wouldn’t be a McClarey expedition if we didn’t buy books.  We bought books yesterday at the Museum and the Prairie Archives bookstore in Springfield which boasts a collection of a quarter of a million books. Most of the books were about Lincoln or the Civil War (surprise!) and here are those books:

Lincoln the President:  The Last Full Measure, J. G. Ballard and Richard N. Current (1955).  This is the fourth and final volume in Ballard’s study of Lincoln.  At the time of his death in 1953 he had written only eight chapters.  In his will he suggested either historian Allan Nevins or Richard N. Current to finish his work if he could not.  Current took up the challenge, even though he had never written about Lincoln before, and completed the volume in 1955.  He later became one of the great Lincoln scholars of his day, writing numerous books on Lincoln and dying in 2012 at age 100.  Now I have the complete set.  I think I will read it backwards like witches are said to say their prayers. Continue Reading

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PopeWatch: Pope Emeritus

 

It appears that the Pope Emeritus has sent out a commentary regarding the disastrous course of his successor:

 

Given his inability to travel, the usually silent retired Pope delivered the message in writing, and had it read aloud in the Cologne Cathedral by his personal secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, who also serves as Prefect of the Papal Household for Pope Francis.

In the text, Benedict said that Cardinal Meisner “found it difficult to leave his post, especially at a time in which the Church stands in particularly pressing need of convincing shepherds who can resist the dictatorship of the spirit of the age and who live and think the faith with determination.”

What moved me all the more, Benedict said, was that, “in this last period of his life, he learned to let go and to live out of a deep conviction that the Lord does not abandon His Church, even when the boat has taken on so much water as to be on the verge of capsizing.”

Notably, Cardinal Meisner was one of the four cardinals who presented a series of questions, or “dubia,” to Pope Francis last September, asking him to clarify five serious doctrinal doubts proceeding from his 2016 apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love) concerning Holy Communion for the divorced and remarried, the indissolubility of marriage, and the proper role of conscience.

The other three prelates who submitted the questions to the Pope were Cardinal Raymond Burke, patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta; Carlo Caffarra, archbishop emeritus of Bologna; and Walter Brandmüller, president emeritus of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences.

When Pope Francis failed to respond to the dubia, the four cardinals published their questions publicly last November. Continue Reading

5

Robert E. Lee’s Greatest Victory

 

He was a foe without hate; a friend without treachery; a soldier without cruelty; a victor without oppression; and a victim without murmuring. He was a public officer without vices; a private citizen without wrong; a neighbor without reproach; a Christian without hypocrisy and a man without guile. He was a Caesar without his ambition; Frederick without his tyranny; Napoleon without his selfishness; and Washington without his reward.

Benjamin H. Hill on Robert E. Lee

 

 

“It’s a warm spring Sunday at Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church in Richmond. As the minister is about to present Holy Communion, a tall well-dressed black man sitting in the section reserved for African Americans unexpectedly advances to the communion rail; unexpectedly because this has never happened here before.

The congregation freezes. Those who have been ready to go forward and kneel at the communion rail remain fixed in their pews. The minister stands in his place stunned and motionless. The black man slowly lowers his body, kneeling at the communion rail.

After what seems an interminable amount of time, an older white man rises. His hair snowy white, head up, and eyes proud, he walks quietly up the isle to the chancel rail.

So with silent dignity and self-possession, the white man kneels down to take communion along the same rail with the black man.

Lee has said that he has rejoiced that slavery is dead. But this action indicates that those were not idle words meant to placate a Northern audience. Here among his people, he leads wordlessly through example. The other communicants slowly move forward to the altar with a mixture of reluctance and fear, hope and awkward expectation. In the end, America would defy the cruel chain of history besetting nations torn apart by Civil War.”

From “April 1865:  the Month that Saved AmericaContinue Reading

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Quotes Suitable for Framing: Abraham Lincoln

And, after that, the chunky man from the West,
Stranger to you, not one of the men you loved
As you loved McClellan, a rider with a hard bit,
Takes you and uses you as you could be used,
Wasting you grimly but breaking the hurdle down.
You are never to worship him as you did McClellan,
But at the last you can trust him.  He slaughters you
But he sees that you are fed.  After sullen Cold Harbor
They call him a butcher and want him out of the saddle,
But you have had other butchers who did not win
And this man wins in the end.

Stephen Vincent Benet, John Brown’s Body

 

“I appealed to Lincoln for his own sake to remove Grant at once, and, in giving my reasons for it, I simply voiced the admittedly overwhelming protest from the loyal people of the land against Grant’s continuance in command. I could form no judgment during the conversation as to what effect my arguments had upon him beyond the fact that he was greatly distressed at this new complication. When I had said everything that could be said from my standpoint, we lapsed into silence. Lincoln remained silent for what seemed a very long time. He then gathered himself up in his chair and said in a tone of earnestness that I shall never forget: ‘I can’t spare this man; he fights.‘”

Alexander McClure recalling a meeting with President Lincoln shortly after the Battle of Shiloh Continue Reading

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July 16, 1769: Saint Junipero Serra Founds First Mission in California

 

By the 18th Century Spain’s glory days were in her past, and her time as a great power was rapidly coming to an end.  It is therefore somewhat unusual that at this period in her history, Spain added to her vast colonial empire.  It would never have occurred but for the drive of one Spanish governor and the burning desire of a saint to spread the Gospel of Christ.

Miquel Josep Serra i Ferrer was born on the island of Majorca, the largest of the Balearic islands, off the Mediterranean coast of Spain on November 24, 1713.  From his youth he had a desire to join the Franciscans and on September 14, 1730 he entered the Order of Friars Minor, and took the name of Junipero after Saint Junipero, one of the closest companions of Saint Francis.  He had a sharp mind, and before his ordination to the priesthood was appointed lector of philosophy.  He would go on to earn a doctorate in philosophy from Lullian University and went on to occupy the Duns Scotus chair of philosophy there.  A quiet life teaching philosophy was his for the asking.  Instead, he went off to be a missionary in the New World in 1749.

His first assignment was to teach in Mexico City, but that was not why he had left the Old World.  At his request he was assigned to the Sierra Gorda Indian missions in Central Mexico as a mission priest, a task which occupied him  for the next nine years.

In 1768 he was appointed the head of 15 Franciscans in Baja California who were taking over Jesuit missions to the Indians there, following the suppression of the Jesuit Order.  It was in Baja California that he met the Governor of that province, Gaspar de Portola. Continue Reading

17

The Pope Hates US

 

 

Lots of reaction to that anti-American article in La Civilta Cattolica article.  Go here to read about it.  First, from Phil Lawler at Catholic Culture:

 

With a harsh denunciation of American conservatism, published in the semi-official Jesuit journal Civilta Cattolica, the Vatican has plunged headlong into a partisan debate in a society that it clearly does not understand, potentially alienating (or should I say, further alienating) the Americans most inclined to favor the influence of the Church.

 

Why? Why this bitter attack on the natural allies of traditional Catholic teachings? Is it because the most influential figures at the Vatican today actually want to move away from those traditional teachings, and form a new alliance with modernity?

The authors of the essay claim to embrace ecumenism, but they have nothing but disdain for the coalition formed by Catholics and Evangelical Protestants in the United States. They scold American conservatives for seeing world events as a struggle of good against evil, yet they clearly convey the impression that they see American conservativism as an evil influence that must be defeated.

While they are quick to pronounce judgment on American politicians, the two authors betray an appalling ignorance of the American scene. The authors toss Presidents Nixon (a Quaker), Reagan, Bush, and Trump into the same religious classification, suggesting that they were all motivated by “fundamentalist” principles. An ordinary American, reading this account, would be surprised to see the authors’ preoccupation with the late Rev. Rousas Rushdoony and the Church Militant web site: hardly major figures in the formation of American public opinion. The essay is written from the perspective of people who draw their information about America from left-wing journals rather than from practical experience.

Go here to read the rest.   Samuel Gregg at Catholic World Report gives his opinion on the piece:

This brings me to a very odd article that recently appeared in La Civiltà Cattolica: the Italian Jesuit periodical published twice a month and which enjoys a quasi-official status inasmuch as the Vatican’s Secretariat of State exercises oversight over the articles it publishes. Entitled “Evangelical Fundamentalism and Catholic Integralism in the USA: A Surprising Ecumenism,” its authors Father Antonio Spadaro SJ (Civiltà Cattolica’s Editor-in-chief) and Rev. Marcelo Figueroa (a Presbyterian pastor who is Editor-in-chief of L’Osservatore Romano’s Argentinean edition), make various assertions about specific political and religious trends in the United States: claims which are, at best, tenuous and certainly badly informed.

Consider, for instance, the authors’ analogy between the theological outlook of particular strands of American Evangelicalism and ISIS. As far as I am aware, American self-described fundamentalists are not destroying 2000 year-old architectural treasures, decapitating Muslims, crucifying Middle Eastern Christians, promoting vile anti-Semitic literature, or slaughtering octogenarian French priests. Another questionable contention made in the article is that the Holy Roman Empire was constituted as an effort to realize the Kingdom of God on earth. This particular analysis will come as news to serious historians of that complicated political entity which became, as the saying goes, neither Holy nor Roman nor an Empire.

Various links are also made between climate change skepticism, the faith of white southern Christians (comments which, if applied to other racial groups, would be denounced by some as verging on bigotry), and apocalyptic thinking among some American Evangelicals. Taken together, it is claimed, these things reflect and help fuel a Manichean view of the world on the United States’ part. Then there is the article’s peculiar association of the heresy of the Prosperity Gospel with recent efforts to protect religious liberty in America.

No doubt, Evangelical scholars and others will highlight the many problems characterizing the article’s grasp of the history of Evangelical Christianity and fundamentalism in America. One agnostic friend of mine who happens to be a leading historian of American Evangelicalism at a prestigious secular university described the article’s take on this subject to me as “laughably ignorant.” I also suspect Rev. Figueroa and Father Spadaro are oblivious, for instance, to many Evangelicals’ embrace of natural law thinking in recent decades: something that, by definition, immunizes any serious Christian from fideist tendencies. But two particular claims made by the authors require a more detailed response.

Go here to read the rest.  Next, Father Z:

 

By now you may have seen the attack on Americans – conservative Americans and traditional Catholic Americans – in what some people consider a semi-official publication of the Holy See Civiltà Cattolica (now aka Inciviltà cattolica).  The title in English: “Evangelical Fundamentalism and Catholic Integralism in the USA: A surprising ecumenism”

“Integralism” is perhaps not used as much in these USA as it is in Europe.  This term is a dog whistle.  In somewhat broad terms, it can be used generically for the position that one’s religious beliefs should dictate their politics and social involvement.  However, “integralism” developed in a specific context of conflict between Catholicism and modernity in Europe.  In France and Italy, the haters of Catholic tradition often refer to anyone who wants traditional worship as being “intégriste”.  It is flung like an insult.  For a quick and fascinating lesson on “integralism”, and what Spadaro is calling conservative Americans, head over to the Wikipedia article.  HERE Wiki is perfect as a source, but it gives you a rapid entry point.

The Holy See’s newspaper, the increasingly irrelevant L’Osservatore Romano, reprinted the anti-American attack with the title: “Ecumenism of Hate”

Again, this term “integralism” is a dog whistle: the troops are being called up to launch their own campaign of intolerant repression of anyone who might stand in the way of their agenda.

The vicious attack piece is penned by Fr Antonio Spadaro, the Jesuit editor of Inciviltà cattolica.  Fr. Spadaro is so interested in the life and works of Pier Vittorio Tondelli that he created his own website about him (HERE).

The co-author of the article, with the Jesuit who is dedicated to the study of Tondelli, is Marcelo Figueroa, a Presbyterian pastor, who is the editor of the Argentinian edition of L’Osservatore Romano.  He once had a TV show in Argentina with the future-Pope Francis and a rabbi. Continue Reading

2

PopeWatch: Deadbeat

 

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

 

The mother of local deadbeat Anthony Green confirmed to friends and family today that the sweet, pretty girl that sits behind her at Mass on Sundays would be “just perfect” for her son.

Tamara Green, mother of four, excitedly told those gathered at their weekly bingo night that the “adorable thing” is just what her son needed to get his life on track.

“When I first saw her, I definitely thought she could be the one I’ve been praying for to whip him into shape,” Tamara Green said as she mumbled a quick prayer to St. Raphael. “He’s been out sowing his wild oats—such a typical boy—but I’d like it if he would settle down and raise a nice little Catholic family. When I spotted her volunteering at the St. Vincent de Paul Village on Tuesday, I just knew she was his match made in heaven. My son never volunteers, so she’d be a great influence on him. I just have to devise a creative little meetup since I know I would never be able to get him to go to Mass and see for himself.”

Tamara Green also said that she was hopeful that God was calling the “precious little angel” to work tirelessly for the rest of her life tending to Anthony, and in doing so, giving up her dreams of possibly becoming a nun or marrying an honest and respectable man of God.

“The thing is, God calls all of us to carry our cross, and I truly believe that Anthony is the cross this girl might need. He’ll give her the opportunity to strengthen her patience, just as she’ll sanctify him by getting him to stop playing video games, to get a job, start attending Mass, and getting him to stop leaving crumbs all over his bedroom.”

At press time, family and friends are concerned for the well-being of the girl in question, and are quietly saying a prayer to St. Raphael to not let Tamara Green’s prayers be answered.

Continue Reading

1

Bastille Day and Les Sammes

Uncle Sam shaking hands with the Marquis de Lafayette, French poster-1917

On Bastille Day 1917, General John J. Pershing reviewed French troops and pinned the Croix de Guerre on men who had earned the award by their valor.  The Star Spangled Banner and the Marseillaise were played and many of the civilian observers wept with joy and emotion that American help was on the way.  Today the French are honoring Les Sammes, as they are all year, who came to France in World War I to fight to keep France free.  US Marines will march down the Champs-Elysees with French troops in Paris, a symbol of the good relations that have usually existed between the old Allies. Continue Reading

21

PopeWatch: Bizarre

 

Two of the Pope’s allies, Antonio Spadaro S.J., Editor-in-chief of La Civiltà Cattolica and Marcelo Figueroa, Presbyterian pastor, Editor-in-chief of the Argentinean edition of L’Osservatore Romano, have launched a bizarre, spittle-flecked attack in the Vatican organ  La Civiltà Cattolica  on everyone to the right of Barack Obama in the United States:

 

Appealing to the values of fundamentalism, a strange form of surprising ecumenism is developing between Evangelical fundamentalists and Catholic Integralists brought together by the same desire for religious influence in the political sphere.

Some who profess themselves to be Catholic express themselves in ways that until recently were unknown in their tradition and using tones much closer to Evangelicals. They are defined as value voters as far as attracting electoral mass support is concerned. There is a well-defined world of ecumenical convergence between sectors that are paradoxically competitors when it comes to confessional belonging. This meeting over shared objectives happens around such themes as abortion, same-sex marriage, religious education in schools and other matters generally considered moral or tied to values. Both Evangelical and Catholic Integralists condemn traditional ecumenism and yet promote an ecumenism of conflict that unites them in the nostalgic dream of a theocratic type of state.

However, the most dangerous prospect for this strange ecumenism is attributable to its xenophobic and Islamophobic vision that wants walls and purifying deportations. The word “ecumenism” transforms into a paradox, into an “ecumenism of hate.” Intolerance is a celestial mark of purism. Reductionism is the exegetical methodology. Ultra-literalism is its hermeneutical key.

Clearly there is an enormous difference between these concepts and the ecumenism employed by Pope Francis with various Christian bodies and other religious confessions. His is an ecumenism that moves under the urge of inclusion, peace, encounter and bridges. This presence of opposing ecumenisms – and their contrasting perceptions of the faith and visions of the world where religions have irreconcilable roles – is perhaps the least known and most dramatic aspect of the spread of Integralist fundamentalism. Here we can understand why the pontiff is so committed to working against “walls” and any kind of “war of religion.” Continue Reading

22

PopeWatch: Melinda Gates

 

Melinda Gates and her husband Bill Gates are rabidly pro-contraception.  Melinda Gates, raised as a Catholic, believes that Pope Francis will change the teaching of the Church on contraception.  With this Pope nothing would surprise PopeWatch.  What is interesting in regard to Gates is the attitude of the Order of nuns who taught her as a child:

However, what interests me here about Mrs Gates’s campaign, launched at a recent conference in Berlin, is that she appears to be supported by the nuns of the Ursuline Academy of Dallas where she received her education. It seems the nuns contacted her after her conference speech by a phone call to her hotel room to say: “We’re all for you. We know this is a difficult issue to speak on, but we absolutely believe that you’re living under Catholic values.” Mrs Gates found this support “just so heartening”.

A formal statement was then issued by the president of the Ursuline Academy, Sister Margaret Ann Moser, which said that the nuns “are proud of Melinda French Gates, her dedication to social justice, her compassion for the undeserved and the great work of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.” The president added that “Melinda Gates leads from her conscience and acts on her beliefs as a concerned citizen of our world”. She emphasised that “the mission of the Ursuline Academy of Dallas is to educate young women for such leadership.”

Sister Moser also said that the Ursuline order is committed “to the social and doctrinal teachings of the Catholic Church”. While recognising that “Melinda’s beliefs on birth control are different from those of the Catholic Church”, the Sisters “respect her right to speak from her research and experience of the world we live in”. Continue Reading

15

Oregon Hearts Abortion

 

Oregon hearts abortion:

 

 

Oregon’s legislature wants to cement the state’s status as the most abortion-friendly in the US — and its governor is champing at the bit to finalize it. Last week, lawmakers passed a bill that would require insurers to pay 100% of all abortion-on-demand costs no matter how late-term they may be, and regardless of motive. It would also require insurers to pay $10 million into a fund for public funding of abortions in what is clearly a gift to Planned Parenthood:

Insurance companies in Oregon would be required to cover abortions and other reproductive services at no cost to the patient regardless of income, citizenship status or gender identity under a measure approved Wednesday by lawmakers.

Oregon already has some of the most liberal abortion laws in the U.S., leaving out otherwise common requirements for waiting periods or spending limits on taxpayer funds. …

In some states such as New York, abortions are cost-free if they’re deemed medically necessary. The Oregon bill is unique, however, in that patients would have access to the procedure for virtually any reason, at any time, including sex-selective and late-term abortions.

The bill would also allocate almost $500,000 over the next two years to expand cost-free reproductive health coverage, including abortions, to immigrants who are otherwise ineligible under the Oregon Health Plan — the state’s Medicaid program that currently spends nearly $2 million a year to pay for roughly 3,500 abortions statewide.

Governor Kate Brown, who previously worked as a lobbyist for the abortion industry, cheered on these government mandates for abortion at all times for any reason: Continue Reading