3

PopeWatch: Stand Up, Stand Up For Jesus

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

 

Catholics parishioners across the U.S. protested during the Our Father Sunday in defiance of Pope Francis, who said that parishioners who kneel during the “Lord’s Prayer” should be denied communion.

Many parishioners sat, kneeled, or stayed inside restrooms during the recitation of the Our Father, with some pastors encouraging parishioners to express themselves.

Demonstrations began Sunday when nearly two dozen parishioners of Our Lady of Good Counsel parish took a knee. Other laymen who chose to remain standing locked arms, as opposed to holding hands.

Seattle parishioners announced they would not participate in the anthem as a city, saying, “We will no longer stand for the crappy catechesis in this country. Out of love for our Church, and in honor of Christ’s sacrifice made on our behalf, we unite to oppose those that would deny our most basic religious instructions. We remain committed in continuing to work towards better homilies and for better motu proprios.” Continue Reading

Give Me That Old Time Religion

Something for the weekend.  Give Me That Old Time Religion.  The origins of this hymn are unknown.  Probably a black spiritual, its roots may go back to English folk songs.  It was popularized in 1873 by Charles Tillman and has remained a popular hymn among Protestants ever since.  The scene above from Sergeant York (1941) conveys the raw power of the hymn.  The National University of Taiwan chorus gives a stirring rendition:

 

8

The Pope and the Archangel

 

 

 

In 1947 Father Domenico Pechenino related what he had witnessed over six decades before.

“I do not remember the exact year. One morning the great Pope Leo XIII had celebrated a Mass and, as usual, was attending a Mass of thanksgiving. Suddenly, we saw him raise his head and stare at something above the celebrant’s head. He was staring motionlessly, without batting an eye. His expression was one of horror and awe; the colour and look on his face changing rapidly. Something unusual and grave was happening in him.

“Finally, as though coming to his senses, he lightly but firmly tapped his hand and rose to his feet. He headed for his private office. His retinue followed anxiously and solicitously, whispering: ‘Holy Father, are you not feeling well? Do you need anything?’ He answered: ‘Nothing, nothing.’ About half an hour later, he called for the Secretary of the Congregation of Rites and, handing him a sheet of paper, requested that it be printed and sent to all the ordinaries around the world. What was that paper? It was the prayer that we recite with the people at the end of every Mass. It is the plea to Mary and the passionate request to the Prince of the heavenly host, (St. Michael: Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle) beseeching God to send Satan back to hell.”

Cardinal Giovanni Batista Nassalli Rocca di Corneiliano wrote in his Pastoral Letters on Lent“the sentence ‘The evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls’ has a historical explanation that was many times repeated by his private secretary, Monsignor Rinaldo Angeli. Leo XIII truly saw, in a vision, demonic spirits who were congregating on the Eternal City (Rome). The prayer that he asked all the Church to recite was the fruit of that experience. He would recite that prayer with strong, powerful voice: we heard it many a time in the Vatican Basilica. Leo XIII also personally wrote an exorcism that is included in the Roman Ritual. He recommended that bishops and priests read these exorcisms often in their dioceses and parishes. He himself would recite them often throughout the day.”

The Prayer written by the Pope is of course the famous prayer to Saint Michael:

Sancte Michael Archangele,
defende nos in proelio;
contra nequitiam et insidias diaboli esto praesidium.
Imperet illi Deus, supplices deprecamur:
tuque, Princeps militiae Caelestis,
satanam aliosque spiritus malignos,
qui ad perditionem animarum pervagantur in mundo,
divina virtute in infernum detrude.
Amen.
Continue Reading

10

PopeWatch: Fear

Father Z explains why more priests and clerics do not speak out about this mad pontificate:

 

My friend Fr. Ray Blake, PP of Brighton, has a stupendous post today about FEAR.   HERE  He was asked to sign the Correctio Filialis and he writes openly about his fear of reprisals if he does so.

He is right to be afraid.  The question is, how shall we move forward, intelligently, and do the right thing even though we are in peril?

Here is some of Fr. Blake’s piece with my usual additions.

To Sign or Not to Sign

I have been asked to sign the Filial Correction, I signed the letter of the 45 academics and pastors last year, and almost immediately found Cardinal Nichols’ tanks parked on my lawn to inform me of his displeasure, which was quite mild unlike other lay signatories, who were sacked from their jobs in Catholic institutions for their pains, Dr. Josef Seifertis being the most high profile. I admit it, I am afraid to sign and I know other priests who share my fear. Many of those who might have signed have in the last four years have a certain fear about their place in the Church.

Rome and those surrounding the Pontiff have certainly become more vicious in defending him, never ever engaging in intellectual arguments, merely attacking like ravenous wolves or child bullies those who pose questions. The climate is bad throughout the Church, in Rome it is positively toxic. [I can attest that this is true.  Rome is like… a WWI field full of trenches with creeping yellow gas.] Under Francis the Vatican has become a place of fear and arbitrary oppression, there was a public glimpse of that in the sacking of Cdl Mueller by the Pope, and earlier in the dismissal of a couple of priests from the CDF and amongst laymen of Libero Milone, former Auditor General and many others. It is not just in theology that 2+2=5, or whatever number the Pope chooses that day, it extends to morality and ordinary human decency, ultimately it is a serious attack on the rationality of the Catholic faith and intellectual rigour. [In the name of being “pastoral” and “compassionate”.]

The abusive attacks on any one who asks legitimate filial questions or even of people like Cardinal Burke and the other “Dubia Cardinas” or even Cdls Sarah or Mueller  by the likes Austen Ivereigh, Rosica or Spadaro [Wile E., Beans, etc.] merely echo the statements of the notoriously immoderate Cardinal Madriaga the senior member of the Pope’s Council of Nine or the shocking insults always aimed at faithful Catholics by the Pope himself. Let us not even go to the shenanigans and manipulation surrounding the Synod on the Family

The men who rule the Church are not even in the worldly sense good, as the former Prefect of the CDF has said “power has become more important than truth”. It would be easy to dwell on the gay chem-sex parties hosted in the Vatican City itself and the advancement of those with a gay agenda, which produces apparently no reaction, not even a dismissal. In the matter of financial mismanagement and corruption, there appears to be window dressing masking inaction, John Allen seems to think this is the big issue above others. In fact, maybe because Francis centralises and 2+2 = whatever he decides, many of those in Rome suggest things have never been worse, a ‘kingdom of brigands’ as one former Nuncio described it.

Dioceses are not Rome but they do reflect Rome, Cardinals and bishops intimidate clergy and others who are faithful, if Francis has done anything it is to highlight a deep rift in the Church, marked by the quite extraordinary rise of an Ultramontane/Liberal faction against those who are faithful. Many bishops, who are often chosen for not for fidelity to Christ nor depth of learning nor moral fibre, not even their pastoral abilities but for their admin skills are quite happy to side with that faction which has power at the moment, moving Vicar of Bray-like from convinced Wojtylaians to Ratzingerians to Bergoglianians.

[…]

Read the rest over there. Continue Reading

10

SCIENCE!! Says: Having Babies Is Bad!

Before we even dig into the reasons that allegedly support that headline, let’s talk about some category confusion. “Science” tells us what is, not what ought to be. Unless “worst” is qualified (e.g., the worst slope of a hill for achieving greater velocity when dropping a ball from the top), the phrase really has no meaning. Besides, the plain meaning of the reading is that it is “bad” for you.

Alright, let’s look at the reasons that SCIENCE says having children is bad for you. Here are the main points, distilled down.

You will have $13,000 less money per year, a total of over $220,000 by the time the child is 17.
You will sleep an average of 2.5 hours a night during the first two years of a baby’s life.
Your marriage will struggle during the first few years.
You will probably have less sex.
If you’re the mother, you’ll probably make less money.
Also, “Scientists predict that the world’s population will exceed 10.5 billion by 2050.” Which is obviously bad for you.

Point #1: if kids actually cost 13k a year, my parents would’ve been in debt, not putting away (slight) savings. POSSIBLY this can be explained by comparing DINKs (Double Income, No Kids, usually selected for high-power couples with tons of college debt and high demand jobs, no kids) to the “average” reproducing household (usually selecting for single parent households).
Sleep: baloney. Flat out, unadulterated bull based fertilizer. Look, I have five, and inherited one of those wrist band thingies that track sleep– my low point on nights is five hours. Including the “I am starving to death” baby. This might be possible, on some nights, if you have one of those highly irregular schedule jobs. MAYBE.
Marriage: Uh, nope, not unless you married without any idea of having kids.
Sex life: um. What part of five kids did you miss? The only time we have had less sex is when we’re states apart.
Less money: arguable. I could go make money, and then pay out 75-110% of it in child care and job related expenses, plus feeding us. (note: calculations based on Washington state, over five years ago, when my husband got annoyed at me being emo about not bringing in any money; I couldn’t disprove it, no matter how much I researched)
Population:

 

(EDIT: oops, removed the link when I was fixing the quote, forgot to put it back)

17

Pope Francis Responds (?) to Criticisms of Amoris Laetitia

In an interview from La Civilta Cattolica quoted in the blog Whispers in the Loggia, Pope Francis says, as I near as I understand, that we have to go beyond theology and Thomism–they’re not that useful nowadays.    He also says that the morality of Amoris Laetitia is Thomist.  (Is there a contradiction here?)   I don’t see that, but then I’m not a theologian nor a philosopher.   Here’s the quote–judge for yourself.

Fr. Vicente Durán Casas stands to ask another question: “Holy Father, again thank you for your visit. I teach philosophy and I would like to know, and I speak for my teaching colleagues in theology too, what do you expect from philosophical and theological reflection in a country such as ours and in the Church generally?”

[Pope:] To start, I’d say let’s not have laboratory reflection. We’ve seen what damage occurred when the great and brilliant Thomist scholastics deteriorated, falling down, down, down to a manualistic scholasticism without life, mere ideas that transformed into a casuistic pastoral approach. At least, in our day we were formed that way… I’d say it was quite ridiculous how, to explain metaphysical continuity, the philosopher Losada spoke of puncta inflata [Ed. “an inflated point”]… To demonstrate some ideas, things got ridiculous. He was a good philosopher, but decadent, he didn’t become famous…

So, philosophy not in a laboratory, but in life, in dialogue with reality. In dialogue with reality, philosophers will find the three transcendentals that constitute unity, but they will have a real name. Recall the words of our great writer Dostoyevsky. Like him we must reflect on which beauty will save us, on goodness, on truth. Benedict XVI spoke of truth as an encounter, that is to say no longer a classification, but a road. Always in dialogue with reality, for you cannot do philosophy with a logarithmic table. Besides, nobody uses them anymore.

The same is true for theology, but this does not mean to corrupt theology, depriving it of its purity. Quite the opposite. The theology of Jesus was the most real thing of all; it began with reality and rose up to the Father. It began with a seed, a parable, a fact… and explained them. Jesus wanted to make a deep theology and the great reality is the Lord. I like to repeat that to be a good theologian, together with study you have to be dedicated, awake and seize hold of reality; and you need to reflect on all of this on your knees.

A man who does not pray, a woman who does not pray, cannot be a theologian. They might be a living form of Denzinger, they might know every possible existing doctrine, but they’ll not be doing theology. They’ll be a compendium or a manual containing everything. But today it is a matter of how you express God, how you tell who God is, how you show the Spirit, the wounds of Christ, the mystery of Christ, starting with the Letter to the Philippians 2:7…. How you explain these mysteries and keep explaining them, and how you are teaching the encounter that is grace. As when you read Paul in the Letter to the Romans where there’s the entire mystery of grace and you want to explain it.

I’ll use this question to say something else that I believe should be said out of justice, and also out of charity. In fact I hear many comments – they are respectable for they come from children of God, but wrong – concerning the post-synod apostolic exhortation. To understand Amoris Laetitia you need to read it from the start to the end. Beginning with the first chapter, and to continue to the second and then on … and reflect. And read what was said in the Synod.

A second thing: some maintain that there is no Catholic morality underlying Amoris Laetitia, or at least, no sure morality. I want to repeat clearly that the morality of Amoris Laetitia is Thomist, the morality of the great Thomas. You can speak of it with a great theologian, one of the best today and one of the most mature, Cardinal Schönborn.

I want to say this so that you can help those who believe that morality is purely casuistic. Help them understand that the great Thomas possesses the greatest richness, which is still able to inspire us today. But on your knees, always on your knees….

11

Feral Cats and My Welfare State

Two years ago in a very harsh winter I set out food for three feral cats that hung around our garage across the road.  We set out a dish of dry food inside the garage and replenished it once a day during the winter.   It was a humanitarian act, I thought, and I figured that cats would earn their keep by keeping the area free from rodents.   Well, like many acts of kindness, there were unintended consequences.    The cats found a sheltered space underneath our porch which became their pied-a-terre ,  a nursery for kitten litters and an irritation for our terrier who knew something bad was happening there but couldn’t get in to get at that nasty cat smell.

And so,  as with most welfare programs, things progressed from a charitable act to a burdensome requirement.    When the first summer came I thought I would stop the handout and let the Darwinian ethos take over, the survival of the fittest.   Alas, there were kittens and my wife said “you can’t just let them starve”.    So we kept doling out dry food, the cheapest we could find in bulk.   Once when we were away for a three day holiday and hadn’t left enough food, we returned to find deep scratches on the car left behind and the garage torn up–amazing what tiny claws can do.

There are now (latest count) six adult cats of various hues and four kittens.   They are not friendly, but sit in front of the garage in the morning or across from the house, tormenting our terrier who can’t cross the invisible fence.  I believe we have drawn some immigrants from down the road who have got wind of the free lunch.    Now I know that we’re supposed to trap them and send them to the local animal shelter to be neutered and stop the feline population explosion.    Tell that to the cats who know a trap when they see it, however delightful the bait might be.    Moreover, my wife and I are in our 80’s and not in the best physical shape, so the act of trapping    possible in the ideal, is not feasible actually.

Any ideas?  Possibly this fall I will gird my moral loins and diminish the rations gradually.   Maybe they’ll go down to our neighbor, who keeps chickens.

19

De Mortuis Nihil Nisi Bonum: An Exception

Pornographer Hugh Hefner has died at 91.  His time had come and passed long ago.  Playboy magazine has been losing boatloads of money for some time, long ago superseded by ubiquitous internet porn.  It recently adopted the desperate tactic of losing nudity, before switching back to airbrushed nudes.  In his dotage Hefner came across as much more pathetic than evil, but evil he was.  Hefner produced pornography, and became wealthy doing it.  That is not unusual.  Pornography doubtless has been with us since a caveman scrawled a dirty picture on a cave wall.  No, Hefner’s contribution to evil was in mainstreaming it and making it appear respectable, thus being one of the fathers of the modern age in which sex, amputated from its procreative purpose, and stripped of romance, makes contemporary life akin to swimming in a cesspool.  This probably would have occurred without Hefner, but he rode the societal waves that produced it, championed it and took credit for it.  He thus earned his share of the blame for it.

Politically he was a completely conventional limousine  liberal and for decades inflicted his pretentious “Playboy philosophy”, which ranged from banal to jejune and back again, on the hapless fools who purchased his magazine for other purposes.    Hefner was a dullard who thought himself a genius and that always is too sad.  A wasted life, and that is a terrible crime indeed.

 

18

Communism: Next Time for Sure

 

“You will find that all the arguments in favor of king-craft were of this class; they always bestrode the necks of the people, not that they wanted to do it, but because the people were better off for being ridden. That is their argument, and this argument of the Judge is the same old serpent that says you work and I eat, you toil and I will enjoy the fruits of it.”

Abraham Lincoln, July 10, 1858

 

 

Dave Griffey at Daffey Thoughts takes a look at the eternal optimism of the Left when it comes to Communism:

 

A love letter to Chairman Mao from the Gray Lady

 

Yep.  The Left is Communism. I hope we’re straight on that now.  The Left, in its modern incarnation, has always been about Communism. From those blacklisted Hollywood advocates, like Dalton Trumbo, who were proud Communists, to the Communist driven anti-Americanism of the 50s and after, to the emerging pro-Marxist, neo-Communists of the post-liberal West, Communism is the goal.  The dream.  The end game.

Compare this, for instance, to racism.  There’s no end game to racism. Has anyone ever bothered to ask just when our country will officially be ‘over’ its racist past?  Just what is it America can do to stop being called a ‘racist nation’?  What is the end game?  Racist thinking outlawed?  White Americans exterminated?  All racist thinking punishable by death?  The complete eradication of America’s entire history?  What is the end game?  What will it look like when we finally say, “Truly, America is no longer a racist nation”?  When only 8% identify as racist?  2%?  3.82384%?  When we elect a Black president?  Find me an answer, and I’ll recant this entire post.

Let’s be honest, there is no end game where racism is concerned.  By now it should be obvious the point of stirring up racist divisions is merely a ploy to tear away at the fabric of America; to burn its foundations to the ground so out of the ashes it can be built upon by yet another Communist inspired, leftist state.  That’s why it’s gold.  That’s not to say there never was, or isn’t, racism.  But that’s not why it’s important to keep the racist embers burning.  It will always be there, and until the Communist end game is established, it will always be useful for sowing divisions and spreading discord between Americans.  Discord is crucial for revolutions, as I’m sure we’re all aware.

The New York Times does a little preemptive housecleaning in preparation.  One of the problems with Communism is, of course, it’s track record.  Oh, it’s not that there aren’t Leftists, including Catholics, more than happy to crunch the numbers and prove that America is the most evil, murderous country in history. 

Nonetheless, that still leaves us with the fact that, even if we concede the Satanic spawn that is America, Communist societies have done no better.  The body count is in the tens of millions.  An entire century of terror and tyranny, failed economies, nationwide cesspools of poverty and misery, aren’t easy to overcome.

Enter the NYT.  Oh, they still acknowledge there were a few rough spots in China’s Communist revolution.  But does that mean the good be overlooked?  For assistance:

For all its flaws, the Communist revolution taught Chinese women to dream big. When it came to advice for my mother, my grandmother applauded her daughter’s decision to go to graduate school and urged her to find a husband who would be supportive of her career. She still seems to think that the new market economy — with its meritocracy and freedom of choice — will finally allow women to be masters of their minds and actions.

Note that.  Sure there were some bad points.  Its “flaws.”  But let’s not overlook the good!  Try doing that with the Nazis (sure they had their ‘flaws’, but they did build a splendid highway system!).  Or heck, most recently, the Confederates.  Forget it.  They were evil, wretched, irredeemable.  Their existence needs eradicated from all public displays.

But Communist China?  Where people are still rounded up and executed, tortured and imprisoned for bucking the goverment?  Where people still live in squalor and oppression?  Where people still try to escape to other lands (like America)?  Let’s not be hasty.  There’s some good to be seen there.

I know, it sounds a little crazy Archie Bunker commie pinko conspiracy theory.  But let’s face it, knowing that those who want this won’t admit it, how else can you refute what I’ve written?  Step back and look at the big picture.  You might be surprised to see how far we’ve come.

Continue Reading

3

PopeWatch: Negative Stereotypes

The Pope is concerned that people simply do not want illegal aliens colonizing their homelands:

 

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis on Wednesday launched a two-year education campaign about the plight of migrants to counteract mounting anti-immigrant sentiment in the U.S. and Europe, urging the world: “Don’t be afraid!”

Francis posed for selfies, shook hands, kissed babies and hugged migrants at the end of his weekly general audience, teaching by example that “others” are not to be feared but embraced.

The campaign, spearheaded by the Vatican’s Caritas charity, encourages people to meet with migrants and listen to their stories, rather than treat them as statistics clouded by negative stereotypes. Continue Reading

11

Roy Moore Wins

West Point grad, Vietnam Vet, and former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, Roy Moore, decisively beat incumbent Luther Strange in the Republican primary and will now go to the general election in Alabama on December 12 against Democrat Doug Jones.  The Democrats haven’t won a Senate race in Alabama since 1992.

Trump endorsed Strange and campaigned for him, but Moore, an unconventional politician to say the least, seems more in the Trumpian mode of being outside of conventional politics.  Moore was heavily supported by Breitbart chief Steve Bannon, in a slap against his former boss.   As a trial judge in Alabama Moore successfully defended his right to keep a copy of the Ten Commandments on the wall of his courtroom.

He was elected Alabama Chief Justice in 2000 in an upset election.  Removed from office in 2003 due to clashes with Federal Judges, he was re-elected in 2012.  (In each of his elections Moore has been heavily outspent by his adversaries, usually five to six to one.  In the current election he just won he was outspent fifteen to one.)  In 2016 Moore defied the Supreme Court’s gay marriage ruling, and for his was suspended from office.  He resigned to run for  the Senate.

Moore has been a building political force in Alabama for decades, and I expect him to crush the Democrat in December.  The Senate will be a livelier place with him.

 

11

PopeWatch: Debate?

Some fanboys and girls of the Pope are taking the Filial Correction of the Pope as a joke.  It is not:

 

To resolve the impasse between Pope Francis and those who have grave reservations about his teaching, Cardinal Gerhard Müller has proposed that one solution to this “serious situation” could be for the Holy Father to appoint a group of cardinals that would begin a “theological disputation” with his critics.

In comments to the Register Sept. 26, the prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said such an initiative could be conducted with “some prominent representatives” of the dubia, as well as the filial correction which was made public on Sunday.

Cardinal Müller said a theological disputation, a formalized method of debate designed to uncover and establish truths in theology, would be specifically about “the different and sometimes controversial interpretations of some statements in Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia” — Francis’ apostolic exhortation on marriage and the family.

The Church needs “more dialogue and reciprocal confidence” rather than “polarization and polemics,” he continued, adding that the Successor of St. Peter “deserves full respect for his person and divine mandate, and on the other hand his honest critics deserve a convincing answer.”

“We must avoid a new schism and separations from the one Catholic Church, whose permanent principle and foundation of its unity and communion in Jesus Christ is the current pope, Francis, and all bishops in full communion with him,” he said. Continue Reading

19

PopeWatch: Why No Cardinals

Why did no cardinals sign the petition for filial correction of the Pope?  Apparently that was by design:

 

 

After the release of the historic ‘filial correction’ to the Pope on the weekend, many concerned Catholics have wondered why no Cardinals attached their name.

Cardinal Raymond Burke in particular has been very public about a coming “formal correction” from cardinals after Pope Francis failed to respond to their call to clarify Amoris Laetitia.

So why didn’t he or others sign this “filial correction”?

The basic answer is that the scholars and pastors behind the initiative chose not to ask any cardinals to join them.

“We wanted this to be an independent initiative,” spokesman Dr. Joseph Shaw told LifeSiteNews. “We made the decision not to include the Cardinals.”

Shaw wishes to squelch any rumours – he has seen some on social media – that there were prelates working behind the scenes. “We want to make it absolutely clear that Cardinal Burke is not behind this initiative,” he said.

The primary reason for not asking the cardinals to sign the document was prudence. “It’s not practical to expect any Cardinal to sign any document of this nature,” said Shaw, “because it comes too close to the person of the Pope.”

Shaw, a Fellow of St. Benet’s Hall, Oxford University, contrasted the 25-page Correction to the short dubia sent to Pope Francis by Cardinals Brandmüller, Burke, Caffara and Meisner in 2016. Shaw praised the dubia letter for its “simplicity” and expressions of fidelity to the Pope. He explained that a Cardinal would not readily sign off on a theological document as complex and serious as the Filial Correction written by anyone but himself.

“The more senior [churchmen] are, the more careful they will want to be with the wording,” said Shaw. “They will want brevity.”

READ MORE: Over 60 scholars correct Pope Francis for ‘propagating heresies’

In Shaw’s view, theologians and pastors have more freedom than prelates to lay out the arguments against Amoris Laetitia and its problems. Meanwhile, the way the Filial Correction is set out “should be helpful to a wide variety of Catholics.”

Of course, the document was originally meant for an audience of one. The Filial Correction was sent to Rome six weeks ago and, Shaw told LifeSiteNews, was handed to Pope Francis personally in Casa Santa Marta. The signers received no answer.

“If Pope Francis had responded, we would have entered into another kind of conversation,” said Shaw. “So now we are including the Catholic faithful.”

Shaw knows the media is interested in who signed and how many signed, but he says that the number of signers of the Fraternal Correction is not the point. The important issue is the arguments presented. That is why the signers are all scholars or pastors.

“The way the Church develops things is in accordance with [theological] arguments,” Shaw explained. “There is development because the leading arguments have prevailed.”  He pointed out that people argued over the dogma of the Immaculate Conception for centuries. “It’s very important that the arguments be made,” Shaw stressed.

The Filial Correction was written by a core group from among the signatories who showed it to other scholars and pastors for their comments and contributions. It was revised many times before it was signed and sent. Continue Reading

6

Stalin is Still Dead

Strong language advisory as to the below video:

 

 

I have long thought that there was a hilarious dark comedy waiting to be written about the power struggle that occurred in the Soviet Union after the death of Stalin.  His daughter described his dying which took several days:

“Father’s death was slow and difficult…. His face became dark and different… his features were becoming unrecognizable…. The death agony was terrible. It choked him slowly as we watched… At the last moment he suddenly opened his eyes. It was a horrible look — either mad, or angry and full of fear of death…. Suddenly he raised his left hand and sort of either pointed up somewhere, or shook his finger at us all… The next moment his soul, after one last effort, broke away from his body.”

The film is coming out on October 20, and judging from the trailer it looks rather historically accurate.  Stalin’s death began a long chain of events that ended with the fall of the Soviet Union.  A fitting “celebration” of the centennial of the October Revolution.

24

Who speaks for science?

“We should not have people in office who do not believe in facts and truths and modern science…”–Leonard DiCaprio, Address at Yale University.

I have a better idea.   Rather than actors (who didn’t graduate high school, but did get a GED) pontificate about science, let’s require tests in basic science– the history of science, philosophy of science, and what science is all about–for all celebrities and politicians who choose to speak about science.   If they don’t pass, they shut up.

What say you, dear reader?

17

The Left and Instapundit Remind Us of Why Trump is President

WALL STREET JOURNAL: The Politicization Of Everything.

Healthy democracies have ample room for politics but leave a larger space for civil society and culture that unites more than divides. With the politicization of the National Football League and the national anthem, the Divided States of America are exhibiting a very unhealthy level of polarization and mistrust.

The progressive forces of identity politics started this poisoning of America’s favorite spectator sport last year by making a hero of Colin Kaepernick for refusing to stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner” before games. They raised the stakes this year by turning him into a progressive martyr because no team had picked him up to play quarterback after he opted out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers.

The NFL is a meritocracy, and maybe coaches and general managers thought he wasn’t good enough for the divisions he might cause in a locker room or among fans. But the left said it was all about race and class.

All of this is cultural catnip for Donald Trump, who pounced on Friday night at a rally and on the weekend on Twitter with his familiar combination of gut political instinct, rhetorical excess, and ignorance. “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he’s fired. He’s fired,’” Mr. Trump said Friday.

No doubt most Americans agree with Mr. Trump that they don’t want their flag disrespected, especially by millionaire athletes. But Mr. Trump never stops at reasonable, and so he called for kneeling players to be fired or suspended, and if the league didn’t comply for fans to “boycott” the NFL.

Well, Trump’s got his opponents arguing against the National Anthem, so maybe he’s not as dumb as you think. But whenever you wonder why we’re in a situation where Trump’s driving this sort of narrative, remember that we got Trump because the respectable political class did such a sorry job that there was an opening for Trump.

 

Continue Reading

9

PopeWatch: Filial Correction

Edward Pentin at National Catholic Register brings us the latest development in this bizarre ponitificate:

 

 

A group of clergy and lay scholars from around the world have taken the very rare step of presenting Pope Francis with a formal filial correction, accusing him of propagating heresies concerning marriage, the moral life, and reception of the sacraments.

Entitled Correctio filialis de haeresibus propagatis, meaning ‘A Filial Correction Concerning the Propagation of Heresies,’ the 25 page letter was delivered to the Holy Father at his Santa Marta residence on Aug. 11.

The Pope has so far not responded to the initiative, whose 62 signatories include the German intellectual Martin Mosebach, former president of the Vatican Bank, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, and the superior general of the Society of St. Pius X, Bishop Bernard Fellay (he learned of the document only after it had been delivered to the Pope and signed it on behalf of the Society).

The letter begins by saying that with “profound grief but moved by fidelity to our Lord Jesus Christ, by love for the Church and for the papacy, and by filial devotion toward yourself” the signatories feel “compelled” to take this action “on account of the propagation of heresies.”

They cite in particular Francis’ apostolic exhortation on marriage and the family, Amoris Laetitia, and “other words, deeds and omissions.”

They accuse the Pope of upholding seven heretical positions about “marriage, the moral life, and the reception of the sacraments” which, they say, has “caused these heretical opinions to spread in the Catholic Church.”

The clergy and scholars “respectfully insist” that Pope Francis condemn the heresies that he has directly or indirectly upheld, and that he teach the truth of the Catholic faith in its integrity.

The filial correction, the first to be made of a reigning Pontiff since Pope John XXII was admonished in 1333, is divided into three main parts. Continue Reading

9

And At the Hour of Our Death

 

 

 

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner
who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard.
After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage,
he sent them into his vineyard.
Going out about nine o’clock,
the landowner saw others standing idle in the marketplace,
and he said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard,
and I will give you what is just.’
So they went off.
And he went out again around noon,
and around three o’clock, and did likewise.
Going out about five o’clock,
the landowner found others standing around, and said to them,
‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’
They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’
He said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard.’
When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman,
‘Summon the laborers and give them their pay,
beginning with the last and ending with the first.’
When those who had started about five o’clock came,
each received the usual daily wage.
So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more,
but each of them also got the usual wage.
And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, saying,
‘These last ones worked only one hour,
and you have made them equal to us,
who bore the day’s burden and the heat.’
He said to one of them in reply,
‘My friend, I am not cheating you.
Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage?
Take what is yours and go.
What if I wish to give this last one the same as you?
Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money?
Are you envious because I am generous?’
Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

Matthew 20: 1-16

 

Imagine the rage in Hell when a sinner escapes into the arms of God at the last moment.  He has laughed at God, ignored Him, perhaps even denied His existence, and then on his death bed he eagerly receives the Last Rites and repents with tears and a humble heart.  Being creatures of the everlasting now that is eternity, time must seem strange to the fallen angels we know as demons.  For us Men time is as natural to us as water to a fish, but to demons it must seem very strange indeed.  Even stranger is our ability while in time to change our minds.  The Fallen Angels gave their allegiance to Lucifer in eternity and for them there is no repentance, no changing of mind, just as unfallen angels would never waiver in their allegiance to God.

Being creatures of time and of limited intellects, with a brief mortal life, we are ever learning and changing, for good or ill.  The striking imagery of Christ mirrors the way in which the gift of Faith can come at us in so many different periods of our lives, with all receiving the sublime reward of eternal salvation.  The Good Thief, with his last moment faith in Christ, is striking evidence that while there is life there is ever hope from our merciful God.

It is my personal belief that God extends to us each a rope of salvation when our end is coming near, perhaps especially to those of us farthest from Him, if we only have the wit to grasp it.  May we all have a Happy Death and meet in the Kingdom of Love Eternal after our allotted time here below is done.  However let us not presume upon the mercy of God.  Let us go to confession, repent in humility and be ever prepared for our day in the vineyard of the Lord to come to a sudden close.  May we experience what CS Lewis so movingly depicts in the conclusion of his The Screwtape Letters:

 

The more one thinks about it, the worse it becomes. He got through so easily! No gradual misgivings, no doctor’s sentence, no nursing home, no operating theatre, no false hopes of life; sheer, instantaneous liberation. One moment it seemed to be all our world; the scream of bombs, the fall of houses, the stink and taste of high explosive on the lips and in the lungs, the feet burning with weariness, the heart cold with horrors, the brain reeling, the legs aching; next moment all this was gone, gone like a bad dream, never again to be of any account. Defeated, out-manœuvred fool! Did you mark how naturally—as if he’d been born for it—the earthborn vermin entered the new life? How all his doubts became, in the twinkling of an eye, ridiculous? I know what the creature was saying to itself! “Yes. Of course. It always was like this. All horrors have followed the same course, getting worse and worse and forcing you into a kind of bottle-neck till, at the very moment when you thought you must be crushed, behold! you were out of the narrows and all was suddenly well. The extraction hurt more and more and then the tooth was out. The dream became a nightmare and then you woke. You die and die and then you are beyond death. How could I ever have doubted it?

As he saw you, he also saw Them. I know how it was. You reeled back dizzy and blinded, more hurt by them than he had ever been by bombs. The degradation of it!—that this thing of earth and slime could stand upright and converse with spirits before whom you, a spirit, could only cower. Perhaps you had hoped that the awe and strangeness of it would dash his joy. But that is the cursed thing; the gods are strange to mortal eyes, and yet they are not strange. He had no faintest conception till that very hour of how they would look, and even doubted their existence. But when he saw them he knew that he had always known them and realised what part each one of them had played at many an hour in his life when he had supposed himself alone, so that now he could say to them, one by one, not “Who are you?” but “So it was you all the time”. All that they were and said at this meeting woke memories. The dim consciousness of friends about him which had haunted his solitudes from infancy was now at last explained; that central music in every pure experience which had always just evaded memory was now at last recovered. Recognition made him free of their company almost before the limbs of his corpse became quiet. Only you were left outside.

He saw not only Them; he saw Him. This animal, this thing begotten in a bed, could look on Him. What is blinding, suffocating fire to you, is now cool light to him, is clarity itself, and wears the form of a Man. You would like, if you could, to interpret the patient’s prostration in the Presence, his self-abhorrence and utter knowledge of his sins (yes, Wormwood, a clearer knowledge even than yours) on the analogy of your own choking and paralysing sensations when you encounter the deadly air that breathes from the heart of Heaven. But it’s all nonsense. Pains he may still have to encounter, but they embrace those pains. They would not barter them for any earthly pleasure. All the delights of sense, or heart, or intellect, with which you could once have tempted him, even the delights of virtue itself, now seem to him in comparison but as the half nauseous attractions of a raddled harlot would seem to a man who hears that his true beloved whom he has loved all his life and whom he had believed to be dead is alive and even now at his door. He is caught up into that world where pain and pleasure take on transfinite values and all our arithmetic is dismayed.

 

 

2

Mormon Long March

 

One of the oddest episodes in American military history occurred during the Mexican War.  In 1846 the Mormons were beginning their epic trek West which would end with their carving a Mormon Zion out of the wilderness in what is now Utah.  The Mormons, realizing they would need at least tacit Federal approval to accomplish this, sent representatives to Washington.  The Polk administration asked for a quid pro quo.  The Federal government would render assistance if a battalion of Mormons would enlist to fight in the Mexican War.  Brigham Young readily agreed, and a battalion was raised after much cajoling by Young, due to the suspicion of most Mormons of the Federal government as a result of Federal indifference to the persecution of Mormons in Illinois and Missouri.

 

 

Along with the approximately 500 men, the Battalion was accompanied by 30 Mormon women, 23 of whom served as laundresses, and 51 children.  The Mormons were mustered into the Army on July 16, 1846.  They were assigned to the Army of the West under General Kearney, a tough regular.  From Fort Leavenworth on August 30, 1846, the Mormon Battalion made the longest infantry march in US military history, 1900 miles to San Diego, California which they reached on January 29, 1847.  The Battalion captured Tuscon, Arizona on the way to California, but saw no fighting, although the harsh climate and terrain they marched through more than made up for the absence of human adversaries. Continue Reading

3

Abortion Ended Worldwide Forever – Loving People Teamed Up With God

 

by Guy McClung

 

 

That will be the headline someday. No discussion, no debate, no other possible outcome. God is Almighty, “Patrem Omnipotentem,” the unborn babies are His children, He never forsakes His own. It may be the most classic case of Texas Horse & Rabbit Stew [Recipe: 1 horse, 1 rabbit], but God + Us cannot be beaten. We plus God win; not “if,” but “when.”  That wished-for and prayed-for headline will someday be the truth.

 

A real headline  recently announced “PLANNED PARENTHOOD TEAMS UP WITH SATANISTS TO PROMOTE ABORTION IN MISSOURI.” Really? Well, finally, Planned Parenthood is publicly proclaiming what it has been all along. Now it admits and says it does not matter that this is a human child, and now it is refreshingly candid about abortion  – “Let’s-all-dance-and-celebrate-baby-killings” – so it is no surprise that Planned Parenthood has decided to also flaunt publicly its for-decades-deal with the devil. Don’t they know that the Father Of Lies never keeps a deal? Don’t they know what happens when the demons face off against Jesus and His Mom? I seem to remember something along the lines of “head crushing” and the opening up of a large can of good ole spiritual Texas whup butt.

 

When you calm down after reading the recent headline, you realize that each person – including each Planned Parenthood executive, nurse, doctor, technician, administrator, supporter, and employee – is made by God in His image, He wants each of them back with Him; and He will do everything in His almighty power ‘til they draw their last breaths to welcome them home with Him. So – once you get past the disgust, anger, and revulsion – there must be prayers for each and every one of these Planned Parenthood people. Otherwise, the Father of Lies and his demonic minions will rejoice over their suffering souls for all eternity.

 

John Newton, former slave ship captain, (1725-1807 A.D.) became an Anglican priest and wrote the hymn “Faith’s Review & Expectation,” which has come to be known by its first words, “Amazing Grace.” Newton, who was instrumental in the shipment and sale of what to him were once profitable subhuman blobs of living cells (not just parts, but whole living breathing human beings), had a conversion. The role of God’s grace in that conversion is the theme of his famous hymn.

 

That grace is the life of God Himself, and each unborn child has this Life. Thank you to John Newton for the inspiration for the song below about God’s creatures whom some regard as subhumans, not entitled to God’s love, or to His life. God plans all parenthood, and each of His unborn babies – sweet, unique, special, loved –  is our hope. Each of these children will live from now on forever, and each of them blesses all of us.

 

Unborn Grace

 

Unborn, unborn grace, how sweet this child,

A gift from God above.

A precious child since first conceived,

Bright shining star of love.

 

‘Twas grace made this tiny heart to sing,

And grace keeps it beating on.

Amazing child, unique in all of time,

Amazing, wondrous song.

 

The Lord has promised love to us,

This child that hope secures.

This child a blessing here for all of us,

As long as life endures.

 

Unborn, unborn grace, how sweet this child,

A gift from God above.

A precious child since first conceived,

Bright shining star of love.

 

© Copyright Guy McClung 2017

The author grants a royalty-free license to sing this song at abortion businesses, abortion clinics, abortion hospitals, Planned Parenthood abortion business locations,  at any offices and events of Planned Parenthood and of any abortion provider, and at any location where abortions have been or are being committed.

 

 

 

1

PopeWatch: That 70’s Show

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

 

 

USCCB spokesman, Bishop Roger Belvedere confirmed this week that any Catholic organization attempting to make themselves appear current will be suppressed, as “anything that appears technologically modern is directly contrary to the Holy Spirit.”

“Everything from websites to event flyers to marketing materials will be monitored and under careful scrutiny beginning this week,” Belvedere told the press. “In addition, we will soon begin the process of purging the world of the small amount of visually appealing Catholic publicity that already exists. We estimate that this process should take us no more than about half an hour to complete.”

Going on to give instructions for Catholic web designers and graphic artists, Belvedere said that the mandate will seek to make sure that all design work, whether in media or in print must have a distastefully low white-space-to-text ratio, a mandatory rosary border on all print materials, and a reversal of any design changes made after 1996.

“If we see a single Catholic logo that does not include the color navy blue, let that organization be anathema. Also, flowers—we need to see more flowers. Web designers, bonus points if flowers appear to fall from the top of a web page when opened.”

One Vatican insider told EOTT this morning that he was excited with the USCCB’s decision, and hoped that other countries would soon follow suit.

“To be honest, I’m relieved that they finally said something. Catholic organizations need to be better about distinguishing themselves from Protestants, who for the most part, have excelled in respect to design work. And since our Church has been around a lot longer than theirs, everything we do needs to look that much older.”

At press time, USCCB officials estimate that the new requirements are expected to affect less than one percent of Catholic groups. Continue Reading

How Ya Gonna Keep ’em Down On the Farm?

 

 

Something for the weekend.   How Ya Gonna Keep ’em Down On the Farm?  With music by Walter Donaldson and words by Joe Young and Sam M. Lewis, the humorous song became immensely popular in 1919, especially with troops awaiting demobilization.  The song reflected a real concern among parents and wives that their doughboys would come back changed men.  Well, they did, but most of them resumed their former lives with little fuss or bother. Continue Reading

3

Belated Speak Like a Pirate Day

 

To all pirates I have but one thing to say:  amateurs.

Donald R. McClarey

 

 

(Ah, me hearties, I am gob struck that I forgot that Tuesday twas International Speak Like a Pirate Day!  Me humble apologies!)

 

 

 

 

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Pirate Gettysburg Address

 

 

 

Ar, it be about four score and seven years ago since our fathers made ye new nation, a liberty port for all hands from end to end, and dedicated t’ t’ truth that all swabs be created equal.

Now we be fightin’ a great ruckus, testin’ whether ye nation, or any nation so minted like it, can last through the long watch. We be met on a great boardin’ fight o’ that war. We have come t’ dedicate a spot o’ that field, as a final restin’ place for those who here swallowed the anchor forever that that nation might live. It be altogether fittin’ and proper that we be doin’ this.

But, truth be told, we can not set aside, we can not pray over, we can not hallow this ground. T’ brave swabs, livin’ and went t’ Davy Jones’ locker, who fit here, have blessed it, far over our poor power t’ add or swipe back. T’ world won’t writ what we say here, but it can never forget what those swabs did here. It be for us t’ livin’, rather, t’ be dedicated here t’  finishin’ t’ work which they who fit here have begun.   It be rather for us t’ be here dedicated t’ t’ great chore remainin’ before us—that from these honored swabs we take increased love t’ what they died for—that we here Bible swear that these shipmates shall not have went t’ Davy Jones’ locker for nothin’—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth o’ freedom—and that government o’ t’ crew, by t’ crew, for t’ crew, shall not perish from t’ seven seas. Continue Reading

1

A Belated Shannah Tovah Umetukah (A Good and Sweet Year!)

I know, I’m a day and a half late.   So sue me!   Technically the Jewish New Year began Wednesday evening, 20th September at Sundown and ends Friday evening,  22nd September, at sundown.  (The custom is to have two days for each holiday since one isn’t really sure about the calendar.)

This is year 5778 since God created Adam and Eve, which is the beginning (we disregard the earlier 5 or 6 days).    And with that, Shannah Tovah Umetukah–have a good and sweet year!

19

PopeWatch: Lavender Mafia

Father Z reminds us that perhaps the most powerful element among the powers that be at the Vatican is the Lavender Mafia:

 

At the Jesuit-operated organ Amerika I saw on 18 September an op-ed by San Diego’s (Berkeley Jesuit trained) Bishop Robert McElroy:

Bishop McElroy: Attacks on Father James Martin expose a cancer within the U.S. Catholic Church

The “C” word.  No, that’s not dramatic. But, hey, he got your attention.

Let’s have a look at His Excellency’s piece with my usual emphases and comments.

Father James Martin is a distinguished Jesuit author who has spent his life building bridges within the Catholic Church and between the church and the wider world. He has been particularly effective in bringing the Gospel message to the millennial generation. When we survey the vast gulf that exists between young adults and the church in the United States, it is clear that there could be no more compelling missionary outreach for the future of Catholicism than the terrain that Father Martin has passionately and eloquently pursued over the past two decades. There are few evangelizers who have engaged that terrain with more heart and skill and devotion.  [We are not going to admit the premise that that there is a “vast gulf that exists between young adults and the church” in the traditional community. As one writer put it recently, tradition is for the young.  In one “old Mass” community after another, you find a predominance of young people, growing in numbers with new families. While some promote this sort of outreach, others promote outreach through defending homosexuality.]

Last year Father Martin undertook a particularly perilous project in this work of evangelization: building bridges between the church and the L.G.B.T. community in the United States. He entered it knowing that the theological issues pertaining to homosexuality constituted perhaps the most volatile element of ecclesial life in U.S. culture.  [To me, “evangelization” includes the content of our Catholic Faith.  If the bishop thinks that talking about homosexuality is perilous, I invite him to step into the shoes of those whom he is about to condemn and try the increasingly perilous activity of defending the Church’s doctrine on faith and morals.]

It was this very volatility that spurred Father Martin to write his new book Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the L.G.B.T. Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion and Sensitivity. Using a methodology that is fully consonant with Catholic teaching, [Is it? Is innuendo part of that methodology?  For example, when you look at the preview available through Amazon (they almost always provide a brief sample), after his dedication Martin has an “epigraph” citing Ps 139, “For it was you who formed my inner parts”.  This can be nothing other than the innuendo that people who have same-sex attraction are made that was by God, and, if they are made that way by God, then what they do is okay. In that “epitaph” Martin doesn’t say that, but his meaning is clear.] employing Scripture, the rich pastoral heritage of the church and an unadulterated realism [?] that makes clear both the difficulty and the imperative for establishing deeper dialogue, Father Martin opens a door for proclaiming that Jesus Christ and his church seek to embrace fully and immediately men and women in the L.G.B.T. community.

Building a Bridge is a serious book, [Janet Smith pointed out that it is pretty short, being “essentially an expanded talk”.  HERE] and any such work invites substantive criticism and dialogue. This is particularly true with a complex subject like the relationship of the L.G.B.T. community and the church. Many analyses of Father Martin’s arguments have pointed to important problems that do not have easy answers and to the reality that dialogue must always proceed both in respect and in truth.

But alongside this legitimate and substantive criticism of Father Martin’s book, there has arisen both in Catholic journals and on social media a campaign to vilify Father Martin, to distort his work, to label him heterodox, to assassinate his personal character and to annihilate both the ideas and the dialogue that he has initiated.  [Of course no one would want to do that.  No one would want to suggest that people who have different ideas are, for example, a disease involving abnormal cell growth.]

This campaign of distortion must be challenged and exposed for what it is—not primarily for Father Martin’s sake but because this cancer of vilification is seeping into the institutional life of the church. [Finally, we get to it.] Already, several major institutions have canceled Father Martin as a speaker. Faced with intense external pressures, these institutions have bought peace, but in doing so they have acceded to and reinforced a tactic and objectives that are deeply injurious to Catholic culture in the United States and to the church’s pastoral care for members of the L.G.B.T. communities. [We know that the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher begged off.  The national major seminary called Theological College at CUA begged off.  However, so did the Bishops of England and Wales, who found a way to beg off having Fr. Martin address Cafod.  These are not insignificant institutions.]

The concerted attack on Father Martin’s work has been driven by three impulses: homophobia, a distortion of fundamental Catholic moral theology and a veiled attack on Pope Francis and his campaign against judgmentalism in the church.

The attacks on Building a Bridge tap into long-standing bigotry within the church and U.S. culture against members of the L.G.B.T. community. The persons launching these attacks portray the reconciliation of the church and the L.G.B.T. community not as a worthy goal but as a grave cultural, religious and familial threat. Gay sexual activity is seen not as one sin among others but as uniquely debased to the point that L.G.B.T. persons are to be effectively excluded from the family of the church. Pejorative language and labels are deployed regularly and strategically. The complex issues of sexual orientation and its discernment in the life of the individual are dismissed and ridiculed.  [Go back through that and substitute the term “Tradition Loving Catholics” or “T.L.C.”, and make an appropriate adjustment.  That’s how the catholic Left treats the T.L.C. community.*  Also, while I think we all admit that we can all treat all people better, I must add that telling people that their sins are not sins is not a way to treat them well!]

The coordinated attack on Building a Bridge must be a wake-up call for the Catholic community to look inward and purge itself of bigotry against the L.G.B.T. community. [Interesting word choice: purge  What comes to mind immediately?  The German philosopher Paul de Lagarde wrote, “I have long been convinced that Jewry constitutes the cancer in all of our life; as Jews, they are strangers in any European state and as such they are nothing but spreaders of decay.” ] If we do not, we will build a gulf between the church and L.G.B.T. men and women and their families. Even more important, we will build an increasing gulf between the church and our God. [And if prelates of dioceses don’t embrace what St. John Paul II commanded by his Apostolic authority and show respect to traditional Catholics and give a wide and generous application of the legislation concerning traditional expressions of our liturgical worship, they are responsible for a widening gulf between the church and our God and will perhaps even contribute to real schism.]

[This is where I have some real concerns.] The second corrosive impulse of the campaign against Building a Bridge flows from a distortion of Catholic moral theology. The goal of the Catholic moral life is to pattern our lives after that of Jesus Christ. [Augustine reminds us that Christ, being perfect, isn’t the best model for us.  He recommended the lives of the saints.  But… let this pass.] We must model our interior and exterior selves on the virtues of faith, love, hope, mercy, compassion, integrity, sacrifice, prayerfulness, humility, prudence and more. One of these virtues is chastity. Chastity is a very important virtue of the Christian moral life. The disciple is obligated to confine genital sexual activity to marriage.

[You could hear this next word coming, right?] But chastity is not the central virtue in the Christian moral life. Our central call is to love the Lord our God with all our heart and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Many times, our discussions in the life of the church suggest that chastity has a singularly powerful role in determining our moral character or our relationship with God. It does not.  [Let’s be clear about this.  The Bishop just wrote that chastity, which “very important” does NOT have a “singularly powerful role” in determining our moral character or our relationship with God.]

This distortion of our faith [namely, that chastity has a “singularly powerful role”] cripples many of our discussions of sexuality in general and homosexuality in particular. [I think he means that we shouldn’t insist in our discussion that homosexuals abstain from same-sex acts.] The overwhelming prism [the things that project rainbows?] through which we should look at our moral lives is that we are all called to live out the virtues of Christ; [Okaaaaay.  Christ was chaste. Christ was not a homosexual.  Also, Christ’s exemplary display of virtue in Scripture did not exclude the flipping of tables and the whipping of people with cords.] we all succeed magnificently at some and fail at others. [I admit that I haven’t been good at whipping people with cords lately.] Those who emphasize the incompatibility of gay men or lesbian women living meaningfully within the church [WOAH!  Who says that?  That’s smacks of the proverbial straw man.] are ignoring the multidimensional nature of the Christian life of virtue or the sinfulness of us all or both.  [WOW.  There is a lot to unpack here.  As Janet Smith mentioned in her critic of James Martin’s “expanded talk”, it takes a lot of words to examine something that is briefly put.  I’ll comment further, below.]

The third impulse behind the campaign against Building a Bridge arises from a rejection of the pastoral theology that Pope Francis has brought into the heart of the church. Regarding the issue of homosexuality, in particular, many of those attacking Father Martin simply cannot forgive the Holy Father for uttering that historic phrase on the plane: “Who am I to judge?” The controversy over Building a Bridge is really a debate about whether we are willing to banish judgmentalism from the life of the church. Pope Francis continually reminds us that the Lord unceasingly called the disciples to reject the temptation to judge others, precisely because it is a sin so easy for us all to fall into and one so injurious to the life of the church. [I think we can dismiss this out of hand.  Criticisms of James Martin’s agenda have nothing to do with Pope Francis.  Gratis asseritur, gratis negatur.]

The gulf between the L.G.B.T. community and the church is not primarily based on orientation; it is a gulf created by judgmentalism on both sides. [No. We don’t accept this premise.  The gulf is not based on the orientation of homosexuals towards people of the same sex (which the CCC restates is “disordered”, and not just “different”.  The gulf is a matter of excusing or permitting or exalting homosexual acts.  And as far as both sides are concerned, I haven’t seen a lot of outreach from the other side.] That is the real starting point for a dialogue between the Catholic Church and the L.G.B.T. community in the United States today. Father Martin should be thanked for pointing to this reality, not shunned. [I don’t see how not being invited – or being dis-invited is “shunning”.  If that is the case, then I’ll be waiting for the Bishop’s article about how I’VE been treated recently by a certain important prelate with whom he is often grouped.]

 

Go here to read the rest.  Pope Francis embraces a wide range of Leftism, but it is striking how his appointees always have a common allegiance to normalizing relations with homosexual groups that have nothing but contempt for traditional Catholic sexual morality, and how nothing raises their ire more than those within the Church who do adhere to the traditional Church teaching regarding homosexual acts.  The same forces that produced predator priests and protective bishops have as their ultimate aim the Church embracing sexual perversion as normal and good.

 

 

3

Patton and the Tank: A Love Affair Begins

 

Through the mud and the blood to the green fields beyond.

Brigadier General Hugh Elles, Commander British Tank Corps, Battle of Cambrai

 

 

 

Captain George S. Patton was not a happy man.  A personal aide to General John J. Pershing, and in command of the Headquarters Company of the AEF, he lacked sufficient work for his vigorous mind and nature.  Writing to his wife he poured out his frustration:  “nothing but [a] hired flunky. I shall be glad to get back to the line again and will try to do so in the spring. These damn French are bothering us with a lot of details which have nothing to do with any- thing. I have a hard time keeping my patience.”  Pershing had promised him an eventual command in an infantry unit, but for a cavalry trooper like Patton that was a prospect he met with a decided lack of enthusiasm.

Tanks were a natural option, but surprisingly the tank initially aroused no enthusiasm in Patton.  “Tanks aren’t worth a damn” he had written in July 1917, and, indeed, the battlefield record of these primitive first steps in armored warfare were unimpressive.  Used in penny packets by commanders with no idea of how to utilize these newfangled gadget, manned by officers and men who did lack courage but did lack knowledge and skill, and suffering the birthing pangs of cutting edge technology in war, tanks had failed to make much impact thus far in the Great War.  In the months ahead that would all change at the Battle of Cambrai on November 20, 1917 when the massed use of 437 tanks led to an unprecedented advance on the Western Front and sent the church bells in Britain madly ringing.  The Germans counterattacked and took back most of the ground the British had gained before the battle sputtered out on December 7, 1917, but perceptive Germans saw that a new factor had entered into the conflict: Continue Reading

11

PopeWatch: His Answer

George Orwell would have found Pope Francis fascinating:

 

One year ago to this day, four Cardinals submitted five yes-or-no questions to Pope Francis asking him if his 2016 exhortation on marriage and the family — Amoris Laetitia — conforms to perennial Catholic teaching on marriage, moral absolutes, conscience, and the sacraments. 

The Pope has refused to answer their questions, despite the moral and pastoral chaos that ensued throughout the whole of Christendom as priests, bishops, and cardinals interpreted his teachings in completely contradictory ways. Some allowed civilly-divorced-and-remarried Catholics living in habitual adultery to receive Holy Communion. Some did not. 

Today, on the first anniversary of the dubia, has the Pope finally given his answer? It would seem so, though certainly not directly.

Let me explain. 

While the body of Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, one of the four dubia signers, has hardly been in the ground more than a week, the pope today announced he is abolishing the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family and replacing it with a new institute focused on implementing Amoris Laetitia.

Cardinal Caffarra was the founding president of the institute, overseeing it from its launch in 1981 until 1995. The institute was founded to be a center for scientific study in the fields of anthropology and Christocentric thought so as to address the crisis of marriage and the family within the Church. 

The institute has been faithful to perennial Catholic teaching. It even produced an excellent book titled Marriage: Theological and Pastoral Considerations in the lead-up to the recent Synods on the Family that faithfully and clearly put forward Catholic teaching on marriage and the sacraments.

Caffarra outlined what he called the “institute’s DNA” in a 2016 graduation address to the John Paul II Institute in Washington D.C. 

He said that the institute was founded to address a crisis where “the human person had lost awareness of himself, of the truth of his being a person, so that he no longer understood the truth of marriage; not only in the intellectual sense, but in the existential sense.”

“John Paul II establishes the relation between marriage and the human person by means of the philosophy and the theology of the body. This is the most precious heritage that he entrusted to the Institute. The Church lacked this theology and philosophy, and she still has not fully assimilated the wealth of insights contained in these teachings,” he said at the time. 

I was studying for a Ph.D at the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family in Australia a few years ago, before it was closed. I selected this school knowing that I would be formed in authentic Catholic teaching on all the hot-button issues of the day, including contraception, abortion, homosexuality, divorce, etc. My dissertation topic was on the morality behind using the naked human body in art and media. It was an intellectually rich time in my life for which I will be forever grateful. I, and many other faithful Catholics, have always viewed the institute as a lighthouse of orthodoxy. 

Caffarra outlined in his Washington D.C. talk how the institute was originally founded to especially reflect on the Church teaching against contraception as found in Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae. 

“The Apostolic Constitution Magnum matrimonii sacramentum, the document which founded the Institute canonically, assigns as a specific task of the Institute the reflection on this Encyclical. This is the great theme of the truth about human procreation,” he said. 

“The Institute’s DNA, if we can say that, is therefore as follows: to discover the truth about marriage and the family, on the basis of an adequate anthropology, in order to help the husband and the wife to live fully their conjugal vocation,” he said.

Caffarra has not been dead two weeks and Pope Francis has already issued a Motu Proprio (by his own command) that destroys the John Paul II Institute’s DNA and replaces it with a DNA foreign to the institute’s original aim. That foreign DNA can be precisely summed up in the dubia submitted to the Pope by Caffarra and the other three Cardinals. 

What I find especially disturbing in this matter is that the Pope has gutted the institute while essentially keeping the institute’s name the same. All I could think of was George Orwell’s novel 1984 in which institutes are set up with beautiful-sounding names like the ‘Ministry of Truth,’ but which are actually agents of the ever-changing politically correct propaganda of the day. 

Pope Francis, in his Motu Proprio, says the newly reformed “John Paul II Pontifical Theological Institute for Marriage and Family Sciences” will be used as a platform to implement his teachings in Amoris Laetitia.  Continue Reading

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How can I not be a Captive Audience?

TV everywhere, and not the TV of one’s choice!   Today I took my wife to a pain intervention clinic at our local medical center.  In the waiting room I was forced to listen to a tirade by Ellen deGeneris about Trump letting an 11 year old mow the White House lawn (plus much more liberal/left spouting).  I won’t mention all the other stupid things on the program–Megyn Kelly in a fat suit dancing through the audience.   There was no escape, nowhere to sit  where I didn’t have to look at her or listen to the audience wildly cheering every anti-Trump remark.  (Let me note:  By no means am I one of Trump’s biggest fans.)

I recalled another time, again when I was a captive audience, in a recovery room after a colonoscopy.   Appropriately enough for that occasion, I was forced to watch “The View”, and to listen to tirades by Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, and other shrill, adenoidal voices grinding  their liberal axe.

How can we escape this?  In the pain clinic waiting room, I had to stay with my wife until she was called.    In the recovery room, the nurse refused to change the station, saying it was hospital policy that this was the channel to be shown and no other.

Any suggestions, other than to throw stones at the screen?    Or perhaps, I should get one of those noise cancelling earphones–pricey as they are–and take those to my next Doctor’s appointment.   But why should we have to do this?   Why should we be a captive audience?  Why, in a public setting, should we have to partake of what the Cultural Elite considers appropriate fare for the masses?

 

1

September 20, 1860: Baron Renfrew Begins His Visit to the US

 

When my bride and I moved to Dwight, Illinois, in 1985 we purchased a house located only a few blocks from a 20 acre park, Renfrew Park.  This was good planning on our part.  When our kids made their appearance in the nineties, they loved playing in the park, and we have many fond family memories of fun there.  We quickly learned that the name of Renfrew Park commemorated the visit of British royalty to our little town in September 1860, just before the Civil War.

Prince Edward had been carefully brought up by his parents, perhaps too carefully.  Kept from free association with people outside of tutors and family, he viewed his trip to Canada and America in 1860 as a great adventure.  It was.  Edward was the first Prince of Wales to visit the United States.  He made a great impression with his affability and his gift for speaking to everyone, high and low, with friendly interest.  Officially traveling incognito as “Baron Renfrew”, one of the lesser titles of the Prince of Wales,  on the eve of the Civil War, he charmed almost all Americans he encountered, north and south, drawing huge crowds during his 2600 mile tour of the country from September 20, 1860-October 20, 1860.

One of his minor stops was the Village of Dwight at the beginning of his tour.  He visited a corn farm and then went prairie chicken hunting where Renfrew Park is now located.  The Prince enjoyed himself immensely and relished the rest he had from the huge crowds that came out to meet him in larger communities. Continue Reading

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PopeWatch: The Pope Luther Was Looking For?

America, the Jesuit rag, published a fan letter from a liberal Lutheran who loves Pope Francis:

 

Dear Pope Francis,

Maybe you have heard: 2017 is a big year for Lutherans. Many are giddy with excitement as we commemorate the audacity of a certain 16th-century Augustinian monk, who on Oct. 31, 1517, nailed his 95 theses to a church door in Wittenberg. Fingers flutter across keyboards feverishly extolling or disputing Martin Luther’s contributions and flaws. But I—one who has marinated in American Lutheranism most of her life—find myself writing to you, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church.

Perhaps it is an odd moment for Lutheran fan mail. Yet, ever since you became the Bishop of Rome in 2013, I have become increasingly convinced that you are the pope that Luther was looking for 500 years ago. Here are four reasons why.

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Trump UN Speech

 

President Trump was very undiplomatic in his speech at the UN:  he told the truth:

 

Mr. Secretary General, Mr. President, world leaders, and distinguished delegates, welcome to New York. It is a profound honor to stand here in my home city as a representative of the American people to address the people of the world. As millions of our citizens continue to suffer the effects of the devastating hurricanes that have struck our country, I want to begin by expressing my appreciation to every leader in this room who has offered assistance and aid. The American people are strong and resilient, and they will emerge from these hardships more determined than ever before.

Fortunately, the United States has done very well since Election Day last November 8. The stock market is at an all-time high, a record. Unemployment is at its lowest level in 16 years, and because of our regulatory and other reforms, we have more people working in the United States today than ever before. Companies are moving back, creating job growth, the likes of which our country has not seen in a very long time, and it has just been announced that we will be spending almost $700 billion on our military and defense. Our military will soon be the strongest it has ever been. For more than 70 years, in times of war and peace, the leaders of nations, movements, and religions have stood before this assembly.

Like them, I intend to address some of the very serious threats before us today, but also the enormous potential waiting to be unleashed. We live in a time of extraordinary opportunity. Breakthroughs in science, technology, and medicine are curing illnesses and solving problems that prior generations thought impossible to solve. But each day also brings news of growing dangers that threaten everything we cherish and value. Terrorists and extremists have gathered strength and spread to every region of the planet. Rogue regimes represented in this body not only support terror but threaten other nations and their own people with the most destructive weapons known to humanity.

Authority and authoritarian powers seek to collapse the values, the systems, and alliances, that prevented conflict and tilted the word toward freedom since World War II. International criminal networks traffic drugs, weapons, people, force dislocation and mass migration, threaten our borders and new forms of aggression exploit technology to menace our citizens. To put it simply, we meet at a time of both immense promise and great peril. It is entirely up to us whether we lift the world to new heights or let it fall into a valley of disrepair. We have it in our power, should we so choose, to lift millions from poverty, to help our citizens realize their dreams, and to ensure that new generations of children are raised free from violence, hatred, and fear.

This institution was founded in the aftermath of two world wars, to help shape this better future. It was based on the vision that diverse nations could cooperate to protect their sovereignty, preserve their security, and promote their prosperity. It was in the same period exactly 70 years ago that the United States developed the Marshall Plan to help restore Europe. Those these beautiful pillars, they are pillars of peace, sovereignty, security, and prosperity. The Marshall Plan was built on the noble idea that the whole world is safer when nations are strong, independent, and free. As president, Truman said in his message to Congress at that time, our support of European recovery is in full accord with our support of the United Nations.

The success of the United Nations depends upon the independent strength of its members. To overcome the perils of the present, and to achieve the promise of the future, we must begin with the wisdom of the past. Our success depends on a coalition of strong and independent nations that embrace their sovereignty, to promote security, prosperity, and peace, for themselves and for the world. We do not expect diverse countries to share the same cultures, traditions, or even systems of government, but we do expect all nations to uphold these two core sovereign duties, to respect the interests of their own people and the rights of every other sovereign nation.

This is the beautiful vision of this institution, and this is the foundation for cooperation and success. Strong sovereign nations let diverse countries with different values, different cultures, and different dreams not just coexist, but work side by side on the basis of mutual respect. Strong sovereign nations let their people take ownership of the future and control their own destiny. And strong sovereign nations allow individuals to flourish in the fullness of the life intended by God. In America, we do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to watch.

This week gives our country a special reason to take pride in that example. We are celebrating the 230th anniversary of our beloved Constitution, the oldest constitution still in use in the world today. This timeless document has been the foundation of peace, prosperity, and freedom for the Americans and for countless millions around the globe whose own countries have found inspiration in its respect for human nature, human dignity, and the rule of law. The greatest in the United States Constitution is its first three beautiful words. They are “We the people.” Generations of Americans have sacrificed to maintain the promise of those words, the promise of our country and of our great history.

In America, the people govern, the people rule, and the people are sovereign. I was elected not to take power, but to give power to the American people where it belongs. In foreign affairs, we are renewing this founding principle of sovereignty. Our government’s first duty is to its people, to our citizens, to serve their needs, to ensure their safety, to preserve their rights, and to defend their values. As president of the United States, I will always put America first. Just like you, as the leaders of your countries, will always and should always put your countries first.

All responsible leaders have an obligation to serve their own citizens, and the nation state remains the best vehicle for elevating the human condition. But making a better life for our people also requires us to with work together in close harmony and unity, to create a more safe and peaceful future for all people.

The United States will forever be a great friend to the world and especially to its allies. But we can no longer be taken advantage of or enter into a one-sided deal where the United States gets nothing in return. As long as I hold this office, I will defend America’s interests above all else, but in fulfilling our obligations to our nations, we also realize that it’s in everyone’s interests to seek the future where all nations can be sovereign, prosperous, and secure.

America does more than speak for the values expressed in the United Nations charter. Our citizens have paid the ultimate price to defend our freedom and the freedom of many nations represented in this great hall. America’s devotion is measured on the battlefields where our young men and women have fought and sacrificed alongside of our allies. From the beaches of Europe to the deserts of the Middle East to the jungles of Asia, it is an eternal credit to the American character that even after we and our allies emerge victorious from the bloodiest war in history, we did not seek territorial expansion or attempt to oppose and impose our way of life on others. Instead, we helped build institutions such as this one to defend the sovereignty, security, and prosperity for all. For the diverse nations of the world, this is our hope.

We want harmony and friendship, not conflict and strife. We are guided by outcomes, not ideologies. We have a policy of principled realism, rooted in shared goal, interests, and values. That realism forces us to confront the question facing every leader and nation in this room, it is a question we cannot escape or avoid. We will slide down the path of complacency, numb to the challenges, threats, and even wars that we face, or do we have enough strength and pride to confront those dangers today so that our citizens can enjoy peace and prosperity tomorrow.

If we desire to lift up our citizens, if we aspire to the approval of history, then we must fulfill our sovereign duties to the people we faithfully represent. We must protect our nations, their interests and their futures. We must reject threats to sovereignty from the Ukraine to the South China Sea. We must uphold respect for law, respect for borders, and respect for culture, and the peaceful engagement these allow.

And just as the founders of this body intended, we must work together and confront together those who threatens us with chaos, turmoil, and terror. The score of our planet today is small regimes that violate every principle that the United Nations is based. They respect neither their own citizens nor the sovereign rights of their countries. If the righteous many do not confront the wicked few, then evil will triumph. When decent people and nations become bystanders to history, the forces of destruction only gather power and strength.

No one has shown more contempt for other nations and for the well-being of their own people than the depraved regime in North Korea. It is responsible for the starvation deaths of millions of North Koreans. And for the imprisonment, torture, killing, and oppression of countless more. We were all witness to the regime’s deadly abuse when an innocent American college student, Otto Warmbier, was returned to America, only to die a few days later.

We saw it in the assassination of the dictator’s brother, using banned nerve agents in an international airport. We know it kidnapped a sweet 13-year-old Japanese girl from a beach in her own country, to enslave her as a language tutor for North Korea’s spies. If this is not twisted enough, now North Korea’s reckless pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles threatens the entire world with unthinkable loss of human life. It is an outrage that some nations would not only trade with such a regime, but would arm, supply, and financially support a country that imperils the world with nuclear conflict.

No nation on Earth has an interest in seeing this band of criminals arm itself with nuclear weapons and missiles. The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. The United States is ready, willing, and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary. That’s what the United Nations is all about. That’s what the United Nations is for. Let’s see how they do.

It is time for North Korea to realize that the denuclearization is its only acceptable future. The United Nations Security Council recently held two unanimous 15-0 votes adopting hard-hitting resolutions against North Korea, and I want to thank China and Russia for joining the vote to impose sanctions, along with all of the other members of the Security Council. Thank you to all involved. But we must do much more.

It is time for all nations to work together to isolate the Kim regime until it ceases its hostile behavior. We face this decision not only in North Korea; it is far past time for the nations of the world to confront another reckless regime, one that speaks openly of mass murder, vowing death to America, destruction to Israel, and ruin for many leaders and nations in this room.

The Iranian government masks a corrupt dictatorship behind the false guise of a democracy. It has turned a wealthy country, with a rich history and culture, into an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed, and chaos. The longest-suffering victims of Iran’s leaders are, in fact, its own people. Rather than use its resources to improve Iranian live, its oil profits go to fund Hezbollah and other terrorists that kill innocent Muslims and attack their peaceful Arab and Israeli neighbors.

This wealth, which rightly belongs to Iran’s people, also goes to shore up Bashar al-Assad’s dictatorship, fuel Yemen’s civil war, and undermine peace throughout the entire Middle East. We cannot let a murderous regime continue these destabilizing activities while building dangerous missiles, and we cannot abide by an agreement if it provides cover for the eventual construction of a nuclear program. The Iran deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into. Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States, and I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it. Believe me.

It is time for the entire world to join us in demanding that Iran’s government end its pursuit of death and destruction. It is time for the regime to free all Americans and citizens of other nations that they have unjustly detained. Above all, Iran’s government must stop supporting terrorists, begin serving its own people, and respect the sovereign rights of its neighbors. The entire world understands that the good people of Iran want change, and, other than the vast military power of the United States, that Iran’s people are what their leaders fear the most. This is what causes the regime to restrict internet access, tear down satellite dishes, shoot unarmed student protesters, and imprison political reformers.

Oppressive regimes cannot endure forever, and the day will come when the people will face a choice. Will they continue down the path of poverty, bloodshed, and terror, or will the Iranian people return to the nation’s proud roots as a center of civilization, culture, and wealth, where their people can be happy and prosperous once again? The Iranian regime’s support for terror is in stark contrast to the recent commitments of many of its neighbors to fight terrorism and halt its finance, and in Saudi Arabia early last year, I was greatly honored to address the leaders of more than 50 Arab and Muslim nations. We agreed that all responsible nations must work together to confront terrorists and the Islamic extremism that inspires them.

We will stop radical islamic terrorism because we cannot allow it to tear up our nation and, indeed, to tear up the entire world. We must deny the terrorists safe haven, transit, funding, and any form of support for their vile and sinister ideology. We must drive them out of our nation. It is time to expose and hold responsible those countries whose support and fi — who support and finance terror groups like al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, the Taliban, and others that slaughter innocent people.

The United States and our allies are working together throughout the Middle East to crush the loser terrorists and stop the reemergence of safe havens they use to launch attacks on all of our people. Last month I announced a new strategy for victory in the fight against this evil in Afghanistan. From now on, our security interests will dictate the length and scope of military operation, not arbitrary benchmarks and timetables set up by politicians. I have also totally changed the rules of engagement in our fight against the Taliban and other terrorist groups.

In Syria and Iraq, we have made big gains toward lasting defeat of ISIS. In fact, our country has achieved more against ISIS in the last eight months than it has in many, many years combined. We seek the deescalation of the Syrian conflict, and a political solution that honors the will of the Syrian people. The actions of the criminal regime of Bashar al-Assad, including the use of chemical weapons against his own citizens, even innocent children, shock the conscience of every decent person. No society could be safe if banned chemical weapons are allowed to spread. That is why the United States carried out a missile strike on the airbase that launched the attack.

We appreciate the efforts of the United Nations agencies that are providing vital humanitarian assistance in areas liberated from ISIS, and we especially thank Jordan, Turkey, and Lebanon for their role in hosting refugees from the Syrian conflict. The United States is a compassionate nation and has spent billions and billions of dollars in helping to support this effort. We seek an approach to refugee resettlement that is designed to help these horribly treated people and which enables their eventual return to their home countries to be part of the rebuilding process. For the cost of resettling one refugee in the United States, we can assist more than 10 in their home region.

Out of the goodness of our hearts, we offer financial assistance to hosting countries in the region and we support recent agreements of the G20 nations that will seek to host refugees as close to their home countries as possible. This is the safe, responsible, and humanitarian approach. For decades the United States has dealt with migration challenges here in the Western Hemisphere.

We have learned that over the long term, uncontrolled migration is deeply unfair to both the sending and the receiving countries. For the sending countries, it reduces domestic pressure to pursue needed political and economic reform and drains them of the human capital necessary to motivate and implement those reforms. For the receiving countries, the substantial costs of uncontrolled migration are born overwhelmingly by low-income citizens whose concerns are often ignored by both media and government.

I want to salute the work of the United Nations in seeking to address the problems that cause people to flee from their home. The United Nations and African Union led peacekeeping missions to have invaluable contributions in stabilizing conflict in Africa. The United States continues to lead the world in humanitarian assistance, including famine prevention and relief, in South Sudan, Somalia, and northern Nigeria and Yemen.

We have invested in better health and opportunity all over the world through programs like PEPFAR, which funds AIDS relief, the President’s Malaria Initiative, the Global Health Security Agenda, the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery, and the Women Entrepreneur’s Finance Initiative, part of our commitment to empowering women all across the globe.

We also thank — we also thank the secretary general for recognizing that the United Nations must reform if it is to be an effective partner in confronting threats to sovereignty, security, and prosperity. Too often the focus of this organization has not been on results, but on bureaucracy and process. In some cases, states that seek to subvert this institution’s noble end have hijacked the very systems that are supposed to advance them. For example, it is a massive source of embarrassment to the United Nations that some governments with egregious human rights records sit on the UN Human Rights Council.

The United States is one out of 193 countries in the United Nations, and yet we pay 22 percent of the entire budget and more. In fact, we pay far more than anybody realizes. The United States bears an unfair cost burden, but to be fair, if it could actually accomplish all of its stated goals, especially the goal of peace, this investment would easily be well worth it. Major portions of the world are in conflict, and some, in fact, are going to hell, but the powerful people in this room, under the guidance and auspices of the United Nations, can solve many of these vicious and complex problems. The American people hope that one day soon the United Nations can be a much more accountable and effective advocate for human dignity and freedom around the world.

In the meantime, we believe that no nation should have to bear a disproportionate share of the burden, militarily or financially. Nations of the world must take a greater role in promoting secure and prosperous societies in their own region. That is why in the Western Hemisphere the United States has stood against the corrupt, destabilizing regime in Cuba and embraced the enduring dream of the Cuban people to live in freedom.

My administration recently announced that we will not lift sanctions on the Cuban government until it makes fundamental reforms. We have also imposed tough calibrated sanctions on the socialist Maduro regime in Venezuela, which has brought a once thriving nation to the brink of total collapse. The socialist dictatorship of Nicolás Maduro has inflicted terrible pain and suffering on the good people of that country.

This corrupt regime destroyed a prosperous nation — prosperous nation, by imposing a failed ideology that has produced poverty and misery everywhere it has been tried. To make matters worse, Maduro has defied his own people, stealing power from their elected representatives, to preserve his disastrous rule. The Venezuelan people are starving, and their country is collapsing. Their democratic institutions are being destroyed. The situation is completely unacceptable, and we cannot stand by and watch.

As a responsible neighbor and friend, we and all others have a goal — that goal is to help them regain their freedom, recover their country, and restore their democracy. I would like to thank leaders in this room for condemning the regime and providing vital support to the Venezuelan people. The United States has taken important steps to hold the regime accountable. We are prepared to take further action if the government of Venezuela persists on its path to impose authoritarian rule on the Venezuelan people.

We are fortunate to have incredibly strong and healthy trade relationships with many of the Latin American countries gathered here today. Our economic bond forms a critical foundation for advancing peace and prosperity for all of our people and all of our neighbors. I ask every country represented here today to be prepared to do more to address this very real crisis. We call for the full restoration of democracy and political freedoms in Venezuela. The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented, but that socialism has been faithfully implemented.

From the Soviet Union to Cuba to Venezuela, wherever true socialism or communism has been adopted, it has delivered anguish and devastation and failure. Those who preach the tenets of these discredited ideologies only contribute to the continued suffering of the people who live under these cruel systems. America stands with every person living under a brutal regime. Our respect for sovereignty is also a call for action. All people deserve a government that cares for their safety, their interests, and their well-being, including their prosperity. In America, we seek stronger ties of business and trade with all nations of goodwill, but this trade must be fair and it must be reciprocal.

For too long the American people were told that mammoth, multinational trade deals, unaccountable international tribunals, and powerful global bureaucracies were the best way to promote their success. But as those promises flowed, millions of jobs vanished and thousands of factories disappeared. Others gamed the system and broke the rules, and our great middle class, once the bedrock of American prosperity, was forgotten and left behind, but they are forgotten no more and they will never be forgotten again.

While America will pursue cooperation and commerce with other nations, we are renewing our commitment to the first duty of every government, the duty of our citizens. This bond is the source of America’s strength and that of every responsible nation represented here today. If this organization is to have any hope of successfully confronting the challenges before us, it will depend, as President Truman said some 70 years ago, on the independent strength of its members.

If we are to embrace the opportunities of the future and overcome the present dangers together, there can be no substantive for strong, sovereign, and independent nations, nations that are rooted in the histories and invested in their destiny, nations that seek allies to befriend, not enemies to conquer, and most important of all, nations that are home to men and women who are willing to sacrifice for their countries, their fellow citizens, and for all that is best in the human spirit.

In remembering the great victory that led to this body’s founding, we must never forget that those heroes who fought against evil, also fought for the nations that they love. Patriotism led the Poles to die to save Poland, the French to fight for a free France, and the Brits to stand strong for Britain. Today, if we do not invest ourselves, our hearts, our minds, and our nations, if we will not build strong families, safe communities, and healthy societies for ourselves, no one can do it for us.

This is the ancient wish of every people and the deepest yearning that lives inside every sacred soul. So let this be our mission, and let this be our message to the world. We will fight together, sacrifice together, and stand together for peace, for freedom, for justice, for family, for humanity, and for the almighty God who made us all. Thank you, God bless you, God bless the nations of the world, and God bless the United States of America. Thank you very much.

 

4

The Death of Cassini

There’s a beautiful article by Paul Greenberg on the death of Cassini, the Saturn explorer–I can’t add much to it, other than these few thoughts on AI (artificial intelligence).   Despite the intelligent and benevolent (sometimes) robots and androids of science fiction (Asimov’s, HAL 9000, etc.), no artificial intelligence could have written that self-obituary.   It is man who celebrates Psalm 19A, “The Heavens declare the glory of God” and only man.

 

10

Abysmal

There are good political ads, bad political ads and this political ad by Dan Helmer, a carpet bagging Army veteran from New Jersey seeking to win the 10th District Virginia Congressional seat currently occupied by Republican Barbara Comstock.  The pro-abort Helmers may have a political future, but this ad is doing its best to make his political career still-born.

 

 

 

 

Quotes Suitable for Framing: Abraham Lincoln

Judge Douglas ought to remember when he is endeavoring to force this policy upon the American people that while he is put up in that way a good many are not. He ought to remember that there was once in this country a man by the name of  Thomas Jefferson, supposed to be a Democrat—a man whose principles and policy are not very prevalent amongst Democrats to-day, it is true; but that man did not take exactly this view of the insignificance of the element of slavery which our friend Judge Douglas does. In contemplation of this thing, we all know he was led to exclaim, “I tremble for my country when I remember that God is just!” We know how he looked upon it when he thus expressed himself. There was danger to this country—danger of the avenging justice of God in that little unimportant popular sovereignty question of Judge Douglas. He supposed there was a question of God’s eternal justice wrapped up in the enslaving of any race of men, or any man, and that those who did so braved the arm of Jehovah—that when a nation thus dared the Almighty every friend of that nation had cause to dread His wrath. Choose ye between Jefferson and Douglas as to what is the true view of this element among us.

Abraham Lincoln, September 16, 1859

 

7

PopeWatch: Rodolfo Kusch

Sandro Magister gives us one of the intellectual fathers of the Pope:

 

 

Halfway through the first chapter, Jorge Mario Bergoglio also gives for the first time the name of the anthropologist who inspired his conception of “people”:

“There is a thinker that you should read: Rodolfo Kusch, a German who lived in northwestern Argentina, an excellent philosopher and anthropologist. He made one thing clear: that the word ‘people’ is not a logical word. It is a mythical word. It is not possible to speak of people logically, because that would mean making only a description. In order to understand a people, to understand what are the values of this people, one must enter into the spirit, into the heart, into the work, into the history, and into the myth of its tradition. This point is truly at the basis of the theology called ‘of the people.’ That is to say, to go with the people, see how it expresses itself. This distinction is important. The people is not a logical category, it is a mythical category.”

And a few pages later, Francis comes back to the subject to scold “L’Osservatore Romano” for having distorted his thought:

“I have said and have repeated: the word ‘people’ is not a logical concept, it is a mythical concept. Not mystical, but mythical. [. . .] I once said ‘mythical’ and L’Osservatore Romano involuntarily erred in the translation, speaking of ‘mystical people’. And do you know why? Because they did not understand what mythical people means. They said to themselves: No it is the pope who made a mistake, let’s put ‘mystical’.”

In effect, that’s precisely what happened. On the way back from the journey to Mexico, during the usual in-flight press conference, on February 7, 2016 Francis said precisely – speaking in Italian – that “the word ‘people’ is not a logical category, it is a mythical category.”

The video of the press conference, which is still available, is irrefutable proof of this. At the 52:29 mark, the word that comes from the pope’s mouth is “mythical” and not “mystical.”

The next day, however, “L’Osservatore Romano” changed the word to “mystical.” And the same thing happened with the official transcription of the press conference in multiple languages, the one that can still be read today on the Vatican website.

Francis quickly found out about the word change. And in an interview the following July 6 with the trusty Antonio Spadaro, director of “La Civiltà Cattolica” – an interview that ended up in a volume with the homilies and discourses of Bergoglio from when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires, published that same summer – he did all he could to put things back into place:

“There is a word that is very mistreated: there is so much talk about populism, about populist politics, about populist platforms. But this is a mistake. People is not a logical category, nor is it a mystical category, if we understand it in the sense that everything the people does is good or in the sense that the people is an angelic category. No! It is a mythical category, if anything. I repeat: mythical. People is an historical and mythical category. The people is made in a process, with the sights set on a common objective and project. History is built by this process of generations that succeed each other within a people. It takes a myth to understand the people. When you explain what a people is, you use logical categories because you have to explain it: they are needed, of course. But you do not explain in this way the meaning of belonging to the people. The word people has something more that cannot be explained in a logical manner. Being part of the people is being part of a shared identity made of social and cultural bonds. And this is not an automatic thing, on the contrary: it is a slow, difficult process toward a shared project.”

Curiously, “L’Osservatore Romano” – on November 11, 2016, in presenting the book with the homilies and discourses of Bergoglio – reproduced this clarification in its entirety, perhaps without realizing that it had been the cause of it.

But even those who manage the official publication of the pope’s texts did not bat an eye, leaving the word “mystical” in place of “mythical.”

And this brings us up to the book-length interview of this year with Dominique Wolton, in which Bergoglio lets loose.

Once again without anyone correcting the error, in the official collection of the pope’s discourses.

In any case, this “qui pro quo” has brought one benefit. It has given Pope Francis an opportunity to clarify further the meaning and roots of his populism. Where between “myth” and “mystique” the difference is not so great, as has been understood for some time:

> Bergoglio, Politician. The Myth of the Chosen People

As for his inspiration, Rodolfo Kusch (1922-1979), it is interesting that the pope should have named him.

An author of both anthropological and theatrical works, Kusch took his inspiration from Heidegger’s philosophy to distinguish between “being” and “dwelling,” describing with the first category the rationalistic and domineering vision of Western man and with the second the vision of the indigenous Latin American peoples, in peace with nature and animated by none other than a “myth.”

For Kusch, the first of the two visions, the Eurocentric one, is intolerant and incapable of understanding the second, which he instead wanted to accentuate and to which he dedicated his most important studies. For this reason too he found himself at the margins of the culture of the dominant elites and instead found an admirer in Bergoglio. Continue Reading

1

September 18, 1895: Booker T. Washington Delivers the Atlanta Compromise Speech

 

 

 

What has become known as the Atlanta Compromise Speech, delivered to The Cotton States and International Exposition in Atlanta, Georgia is one of the most tantalizing, and saddest, might have beens in the history of the nation.  Black educator and writer Booker T. Washington, the voice of Black America in the eyes of the general public, to an enthusiastic and overwhelmingly white audience, expounded his vision of a New South where white and black working together could lead to an era of prosperity such as the South had never known:

Nearly sixteen millions of hands will aid you in pulling the load upward, or they will pull against you the load downward. We shall constitute one-third and more of the ignorance and crime of the South, or one-third [of] its intelligence and progress; we shall contribute one-third to the business and industrial prosperity of the South, or we shall prove a veritable body of death, stagnating, depressing, retarding every effort to advance the body politic.

It is one of the great tragedies of American history that Washington’s prediction went largely ignored after an initial warm reception.  The South paid for it with almost half a century of relative economic sluggish growth, and, in may ways, the nation is still paying for it.  Booker T. Washington September 18, 1895: Continue Reading

26

Mark Shea, the Angelic Doctor, Francis Bacon and Truth

Dave Griffey at Daffey Thoughts takes a look at Mark Shea’s ongoing debate with strawmen:

 

 

I must admit, one reason I left Patheos was so that I could keep better track of Mark Shea.  When I came on board Patheos, our editor asked me to leave Mark alone and cease and desist arguments with him.  I more or less behaved myself, usually confining any references to Mark to the praise and ‘well done’ category.

That didn’t stop Mark, however, from visiting my blog a few times and throwing out his usual preemptive accusations, and then leaving.  Since Mark banned me from his own sites, I couldn’t respond, and he never returned to dialogue with me.

That became frustrating to be sure.  I tried to behave on my part, and yet felt I was coming out on the short end.  Therefore one of many reasons to leave Patheos was so I could speak more openly about Mark’s descent into the deepest levels of the modern Left.

This post is a grand example.  First of all, there is nothing wrong with the substance of what Mark says about Church teaching.  The Church condemns racism.  If you only oppose immigration because you are a racist, then that is bad.  Likewise, our salvation does not rest in blood or soil or nation.  The Church is not America, nor is it Western Civilization.

But that’s not the problem. First, Mark used a rather poor example to illustrate the opposing side of the debate.  Assuming this all came to Mark as he indicates – and knowing how Mark falsely accused me of saying things about him, I must wonder – it is obviously a poorly written, poorly thought out piece.  There are other, better pieces explaining the problems with open borders and post-national Christianity.  The biggest problem is that whatever negative results occur, it won’t be us who pay the price.  It will be future generations.  A sort of martyrdom by proxy: By the degree to which future generations pay for our opinions have we declared our righteousness.

Mark doesn’t address those.  He takes something written by what could pass as a high school Facebook rant.  And he uses it to subtly suggest this is par for the course for those who don’t agree with the Church’s current approach to the subject.

He then does the really, super duper bad thing.  He ascribes only the most vile and evil motives to those who oppose open border immigration.  And then, to add salt to the wound, he takes it to the next level:

“…is (like all these Alt Right guys) obsessed with his sperm.  That’s why he bizarrely speaks of “cuckolds” as he insults celibate “Catholic leaders”.  It’s all about the weird fear these guys have that darkskins will inseminate “their” white women.  The sexual insecurity of these wretched bully boys just leaps off the page every time they write.”

Go here to read the rest.  Saint Thomas Aquinas would take arguments he rejected, make them stronger than their adherents did, and only then subject the arguments to his powerful analysis.  Of course the Angelic Doctor didn’t post on the internet and his goal was not to get hits from red meat fans.  His whole purpose was to arrive at the truth of any subject he wrote about, as best as he could.  Unfortunately the attitude of  most internet posters to truth is summed up in the beginning of Francis Bacon’s essay Of Truth:

“What is truth?” said jesting Pilate, and would not stay for an answer.

We can do better than that, and not just Mark Shea.  This is a duty especially for those of us who follow Truth Incarnate.

 

15

PopeWatch: Humanae Vitae

 

The next shoe to drop in this Pontificate?

 

Father George Woodall, who teaches moral theology at the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum in Rome, outlined what he called “grave” concerns about a papal commission recently set up by Pope Francis that will, he says, “re-examine Humanae vitae (HV) in the light of Amoris laetitia.” The article was published on the National Catholic Register September 12. 

Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae taught that “each and every marriage act must remain open to the transmission of human life,” calling the use of contraception (including the pill, condom, withdrawal, and other methods) “intrinsically wrong.” The encyclical celebrates its 50th anniversary next year. 

Woodall listed the “precise points of doctrine” in the encyclical that he suspects the commission will re-examine. These include: 

  • “The principle of the inseparability of the unitive and procreative meanings of the conjugal act (HV, n. 12), stated by Paul VI to be the basis for the condemnation of contraception (HV, n. 14).”
  • “The teaching that each and every conjugal act must remain open to procreation (HV, n. 11).”
  • “The condemnation of contraception as intrinsically morally disordered and hence incapable of being justified even for a good intention in pressing circumstances on the basis either that it might be the lesser evil or that it might partake of the goodness of those conjugal acts before and/ or after, during the whole of the married life, which had been or would be open to procreation, the reason being that what is intrinsically immoral may never be done even for a good intention (HV, n. 14).”
  • “The fact that this teaching, as the constant teaching of the Magisterium on this matter, is unchanged and unchangeable because the Magisterium has no power to decide what should be true, but only to proclaim what is true (HV, nn. 6, 18).”

Woodall predicted that if the commission were to use the moral principles and language found in Pope Francis 2016 Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, it would recommend that Humanae vitae “should be rejected or, more likely, should not be interpreted legalistically.”

The commission would likely say, he said, that the encyclical should not be “imposed as burdens on couples unable to bear them by those wishing to cast stones at people in difficulties, but should be presented to them as mere ‘ideals’, which married couples should seek to fulfill, but which they might not be able always to fulfill in pressing circumstances and which, for a good intention — and perhaps through discernment, assisted by a pastor in the light of their unique circumstances — they might violate, set aside, or interpret creatively,” he said. 

Just as the “pastoral approach” in Amoris Laetitia was used to suggest that the 6th commandment against adultery does not apply to some couples in “irregular” situations, so too in this case, said Woodall, a similar approach would be used to suggest that Humanae vitae does not “really apply to some couples because, in their circumstances they could not be expected to abide by them.” Continue Reading

34

The Lord’s Prayer–Sung, Chanted or Recited?

For the fifth Sunday in a row, the Lord’s Prayer at our Church’s Mass was sung, a version put out by the Notre Dame Folk Choir.   This cranky old physicist (with pretensions to musical and liturgical taste) finds the melody  banal, the whole song elevator music for liturgists,  and offputting from focused prayer.  I will dispute the argument that this is the sort of stuff that’s needed to bring young people into the Church.

The ICEL chant has beauty, dignity and supports a prayerful disposition.

And then of course there’s always the old standby, just praying the “Our Father”.

Maybe I am out of touch with what the modern liturgy should be, and should find a time machine to go back 60 years or so ago.   Let’s do a poll (even though the sampling for readers of this blog is not going to be unbiased).    Please comment on which version of the Lord’s Prayer you would prefer at Mass:

  1. the sung “Our Father” (Notre Dame Folk Choir version);
  2. the ICEL chant;
  3. spoken prayer

Thanks.

7

Saint Augustine and the Donatists

Peter approached Jesus and asked him,
“Lord, if my brother sins against me,
how often must I forgive?
As many as seven times?”
Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.
That is why the kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king
who decided to settle accounts with his servants.
When he began the accounting,
a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount.
Since he had no way of paying it back,
his master ordered him to be sold,
along with his wife, his children, and all his property,
in payment of the debt.
At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said,
‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.’
Moved with compassion the master of that servant
let him go and forgave him the loan.
When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants
who owed him a much smaller amount.
He seized him and started to choke him, demanding,
‘Pay back what you owe.’
Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him,
‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’
But he refused.
Instead, he had the fellow servant put in prison
until he paid back the debt.
Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened,
they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master
and reported the whole affair.
His master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant!
I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to.
Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant,
as I had pity on you?’
Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers
until he should pay back the whole debt.
So will my heavenly Father do to you,
unless each of you forgives your brother from your heart.”

Matthew 18:  21-35

Throughout the history of the Church there has always been a tension between mercy and justice.  This tension was very much at the fore during the time of Saint Augustine in the fourth and fifth centuries.  During the persecution of Diocletian in the third century, some bishops and priests, along with many ordinary Christians, apostatized in order to save their lives.  After the persecution these same individuals often asked for readmission to the Church.  The question arose as to what was to be done with these individuals.  The Catholic view was that after a period of penitence, often quite lengthy, these penitent sinners could be readmitted to the Church.  This generosity appalled not a few Catholics who had borne persecution and risked their lives for the Faith.  Bishop Donatus of Cathage, primate of North Africa, taught that those who had apostatized had to be re-baptized and then admitted back into the Catholic Church, and that the sacraments could not be administered by clergy who had fallen from the Faith.  The Church taught that the powers of the clergy were inherent in their office and that  their moral unworthiness did not affect the validity of the sacraments they administered.  A few minutes reflection convinces me of the necessity of this doctrine of the Church.  Otherwise we would have a continual concern with whether each priest or bishop is leading a holy life, something we usually have no way of knowing, and continual doubts about the validity of the sacraments we receive.

The teachings of Donatus were condemned by Pope Miltiades in 313.  The Donatists in response formed their own church, very strong in North Africa, and many cities and towns had both Catholic and Donatist churches, with the Donatists establishing their own hierarchy.

Saint Augustine battled the Donatists in his sermons and other writings.  In 411 a conference was held at Carthage attended by both Catholic and Arian bishops before an Imperial official, Marcellinus, a friend of Saint Augustine.  The Catholics, confident in their teaching and also confident of Imperial support, had instigated the idea of the conference.  The outcome of the conference was foreordained, with the Donatists being banned by the Empire, although it is also clear that the Donatist spokesmen were no match for Saint Augustine in debate.

Donatist bishop Petitilian stated during the conference:  “He who receives faith from the faithless receives not faith, but guilt, [and] everything consists of an origin and a root; and if it has not something for a head, it is nothing”

Saint Augustine responded:

“Wherefore, whether a man receive the sacrament of baptism from a faithful or a faithless minister, his whole hope is in Christ, that he fall not under the condemnation that ‘cursed is he that placeth his hope in man.’ Otherwise if each man is born again in spiritual grace of the same sort as he by whom he is baptized, and if when he who baptizes him is manifestly a good man, then he himself gives faith, he is himself the origin and root and head of him who is being born… when the baptizer is faithless without its being known, then the baptized person receives faith from Christ. …in that case all who are baptized should wish that they might have faithless baptizers.”

Sinful clerics are a scandal that have ever been with the Church beginning with Judas.  They often wreak much damage to the Faith.  However, even such unworthy vessels are channels of the grace of Christ per the power granted to Peter and the Church by Christ.  Human sinfulness can never withstand the power of God, or even obstruct it, if God intends otherwise.  The Donatists envisaged a Church presided over by Saints, a vision very different from that of Christ who saw His Church completing her mission in spite of human sin and folly, at all times using weak humans to bring the message of salvation and the grace of God.

 

 

 

3

Ty Cobb and Myths

Ty Cobb (1886-1961), the Georgia Peach. One of the greatest ball players who ever strapped on cleats, he has also been long regarded as a violent racist and a dirty player.  According to a recent biographer, he was neither:

 

 

History, is, or should be, a continuing search for the truth.  In regard to Ty Cobb it appears that the search for the truth about him is bearing fruit.  He was neither an angel nor a monster but a work in progress throughout his life, as we all are.

5

PopeWatch: Punched by the Holy Spirit

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

 

 

Days after the Pontiff sustained injuries after hitting his head in a popemobile accident in Colombia, Pope Francis has now condemned his own motu proprio, Magnum Principium, allowing bishops’ conferences control over the translation of liturgical texts.

Pope Francis had originally published the motu proprio, which shifted control over liturgical texts from Apostolic See to diocesan bishop, before hitting his head against a bar during the accident.

According to one adviser to the pope, Monsignor Alberto Pico, Pope Francis began acting “odd” not long after the accident.

“On the plane back to Rome, he was reading a copy of Magnum Principium and began calling it a bunch of crap, before opening the door to the plane and throwing it out. He wasn’t aware that he was the one who wrote it. When we told him that it was his own writing, he became extremely angry and would not believe us.”

Pico went on to say that moments after landing in Rome, Francis demanded to go to a chapel located just miles from the airport, where he began preparations to say the Latin Mass, saying, “Dammit, Pico, hand me my chasuble…now!”

“It was all quite surreal. After the Mass, he asked those close to him to begin the processes of reversing nearly everything he has said and done since his election, including demoting nearly all of the bishops and cardinals that he had created. In this way, His Holiness added, he would be able to retire in one year, and would be able leave the Church as it had been before his election.” Continue Reading

1

Come, Ye Thankful People, Come

Something for the weekend.  Come, Ye Thankful People, Come.  Written in 1844 by Henry Alford, a Church of England rector, it quickly became a favorite hymn throughout the English speaking world.

 

My village of Dwight, Illinois is having its annual Harvest Days festival this weekend.  It is a sight to behold, especially the basset waddle on Sunday.  Seeing hundreds of bassets waddling down the streets of Dwight is a sight that will remain with you for a very long time!

 

1. Come, ye thankful people, come,
Raise the song of harvest home!
All is safely gathered in,
Ere the winter storms begin;
God, our Maker, doth provide
For our wants to be supplied;
Come to God’s own temple, come;
Raise the song of harvest home!

2. We ourselves are God’s own field,
Fruit unto his praise to yield;
Wheat and tares together sown
Unto joy or sorrow grown;
First the blade and then the ear,
Then the full corn shall appear;
Grant, O harvest Lord, that we
Wholesome grain and pure may be.

3. For the Lord our God shall come,
And shall take the harvest home;
From His field shall in that day
All offences purge away,
Giving angels charge at last
In the fire the tares to cast;
But the fruitful ears to store
In the garner evermore.

4. Then, thou Church triumphant come,
Raise the song of harvest home!
All be safely gathered in,
Free from sorrow, free from sin,
There, forever purified,
In God’s garner to abide;
Come, ten thousand angels, come,
Raise the glorious harvest home!

 

3

Requiescat In Pace: Harry Dean Stanton

Veteran character actor Harry Dean Stanton has passed away at 91.  I will always recall him in this riveting scene from Red Dawn (1984).  A World War II veteran, he appeared in over 184 films and endless television shows.  Whatever political beliefs he had, he kept to himself, unlike many in his profession.  I will miss him.

 

18

Demographics and Destiny

John Judis is a man of the Left, but nonetheless an honest man.  He wrote a book fifteen years ago stating that demographics would create an enduring Democrat majority.  He now states that he was wrong:

Whiteness is not a genetic category, after all; it’s a social and political construct that relies on perception and prejudice. A century ago, Irish, Italians, and Jews were not seen as whites. “This town has 8,000,000 people,” a young Harry Truman wrote his cousin upon visiting New York City in 1918. “7,500,000 of ’em are of Israelish extraction. (400,000 wops and the rest are white people.)” But by the time Truman became president, all those immigrant groups were considered “white.” There’s no reason to imagine that Latinos and Asians won’t follow much the same pattern.

In fact, it’s already happening. In the 2010 Census, 53 percent of Latinos identified as “white,” as did more than half of Asian Americans of mixed parentage. In future generations, those percentages are almost certain to grow. According to a recent Pew study, more than one-quarter of Latinos and Asians marry non-Latinos and non-Asians, and that number will surely continue to climb over the generations.

Unless ethnic identification is defined in purely racial—and racist—terms, the census projections are straight-out wrong and profoundly misleading. So is the assumption that Asians and Latinos will continue to vote at an overwhelming clip for Democrats. This view, which underpins the whole idea of a “new American majority,” ignores the diversity that already prevails among voters lumped together as “Latino” or “Asian.” Cuban-Americans in Miami vote very differently from Mexican-Americans in Los Angeles; immigrants from Japan or Vietnam come from starkly different cultures than those from South Korea or China. While more than two-thirds of Asian voters went for Obama in 2012 and Clinton in 2016, they leaned the other way in the 2014 midterms: National exit polls showed them favoring Republicans by 50 to 49 percent.

Similarly, while Latinos form a strong Democratic bloc in California, in most states they don’t automatically punch the “D.” In Texas, Senator John Cornyn bested his Democratic opponent among Latinos in 2014 by a small margin, and Senator Richard Burr won 49 percent of the Latino vote in North Carolina last year over a strong liberal challenger. In Florida, Marco Rubio almost won the Latino vote in 2016. Those are not the kinds of numbers on which you can build a lasting majority. Continue Reading

10

Wise Words from Cardinal Sarah

Some may object that I am paying too much attention to the small details, to the minutiae, of the Sacred Liturgy. But as every husband and wife knows, in any loving relationship the smallest details are highly important, for it is in and through them that love is expressed and lived day after day. The ‘little things’ in a marriage express and protect the greater realities. So too in the liturgy: when its small rituals become routine and are no longer acts of worship which give expression to the realities of my heart and soul, when I no longer care to attend to its details, when I could do more to prepare and to celebrate the liturgy more worthily, more beautifully, but no longer want to, there is a grave danger that my love of Almighty God is growing cold. We must beware of this. Our small acts of love for God in carefully attending to the liturgy’s demands are very important. If we discount them, if we dismiss them as mere fussy details, we may well find, as sometimes very tragically happens in a marriage, that we have ‘grown apart’ from Christ—almost without noticing.–Cardinal Robert Sarah, Talk: “Silence and the Primacy of God in the Sacred Liturgy“, 14 September

Ipse Dixit.

15

PopeWatch: Fifty Shades of Gray

Pope Francis continues on his course of ensuring that traditional Catholic moral teachings is watered down into useless pap:

Pope Francis told a group of newly ordained bishops that “authentic discernment” cannot be reduced to repeating “rigid” moral formulas to persons whose situations “can’t be reduced to black and white.”Discernment, the pope said, “can’t be reduced to repeating formulas such as ‘high clouds send little rain’ to a concrete person, who’s often immersed in a reality that can’t be reduced to black and white.”

He cautioned bishops against being “imprisoned by nostalgia for being able to give just one answer to apply in all cases,” adding that discernment is an “antidote against rigidity, because the same solutions aren’t valid everywhere.” 

Pastors must have “the courage to ask themselves if yesterday’s proposals are still evangelically valid,” he said. 

Pope Francis’ made his comments Thursday morning to newly appointed bishops from around the world. They met at the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace as part of an annual training program offered by the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops. 

During the meeting, Pope Francis advised the bishops to consult three specific groups — his brother bishops, his own priests, and the lay faithful — when discerning. Continue Reading

2

Quotes Suitable for Framing: Frederick Douglass

Fellow Citizens, I am not wanting in respect for the fathers of this republic. The signers of the Declaration of Independence were brave men. They were great men, too-great enough to give frame to a great age. It does not often happen to a nation to raise, at one time, such a number of truly great men. The point from which I am compelled to view them is not, certainly, the most favorable; and yet I cannot contemplate their great deeds with less than admiration. They were statesmen, patriots and heroes, and for the good they did, and the principles they contended for, I will unite with you to honor their memory.

They loved their country better than their own private interests; and, though this is not the highest form of human excellence, all will concede that it is a rare virtue, and that when it is exhibited it ought to command respect. He who will, intelligently, lay down his life for his country is a man whom it is not in human nature to despise. Your fathers staked their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor, on the cause of their country. In their admiration of liberty, they lost sight of all other interests.

They were peace men; but they preferred revolution to peaceful submission to bondage. They were quiet men; but they did not shrink from agitating against oppression. They showed forbearance; but that they knew its limits. They believed in order; but not in the order of tyranny. With them, nothing was “settIed” that was not right. With them, justice, liberty and humanity were “final”; not slavery and oppression. You may well cherish the memory of such men. They were great in their day and generation. Their solid manhood stands out the more as we contrast it with these degenerate times.

Frederick Douglass, July 5, 1852, The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro