12

Mark Shea and the Christianists

Dave Griffey at Daffey Thoughts takes a look at Mark Shea’s response to the sexual harassment avalanche:

 

Off the rails lunacy

 

Over at Catholic and Enjoying It.  Like many, Mark jumped on the Roy Moore accusations, not just to demand Moore’s head, but to use the scandal to attack Trump, Trump supporters, conservatives and American conservative Christians.  Like many, Mark said it was time to put aside the need for evidence, proof or due process.  When those icky types are accused, it’s enough that they’re icky types, and it’s time to hie to the gallows.

Like the overwhelming majority of modern punditry, both right and left, Mark has also been stunningly silent about the myriad accusations against liberal pundits, politicians, activists, entertainers, and high profile personnel.  Like so many who were quick to link Moore to entire swaths of American conservative culture, Mark has said nothing about these accusations against liberals and what it means about American liberalism.  The most Mark did was link to a rather nondescript article that talked of the rock era tendency to sex after teenage girls.  But nothing about rock and liberalism, liberal culture or the ideological similarities in the laundry list of recent accusations.

And that’s fine.  I’m OK with this.  I think this says something about our culture as a whole.  Both the accusations, and the fact that we have no clear understanding of what is right or wrong behavior on any given day, or a desire to even sort it out before we destroy lives.  All of those, to me, are symptomatic of a nation that long ago put punditry over principle.  So I have no problem if people aren’t saying the list of liberals accused proves X about liberalism.

My problem is that they did just that against conservatives and evangelicals.  Conservatives and liberals alike, never-Trumpers and left wing activists, all were happy to draw a straight line from Roy Moore to anyone and everything Right of center, guilty as accused.

Mark demonstrates this partisanship and, quite frankly, lunacy in spades.  Not only has he avoided anything at all about the multiple accusations post-Moore, including his own folk hero Garrison Keillor, but he has continued to funnel all wrath and hatred at Moore, Trump, Trump supporters, conservatives and American conservative Christians, as if nobody else has been accused. 

Pre-posting update:  Jonah Goldberg, hardly sympathetic to Trump and the gang, nonetheless noticed the same trend.

Go here to comment.  Here is a sample of what Dave was talking about:

A few weeks ago, the Federalist ran an incredible piece by the Lutheran Satire guy which was, alas, not satire.  In it, he tried to argue that the slaughter in Sutherland was an awesome answer to the prayers of the victims and that anybody appalled and outraged by that slaughter loved government and not God.

One could hardly have asked for a more chemically pure expression of Christianism: the false gospel that cloaks the right wing culture of death in Christian imagery to battle for such things as (in that case) arms industry profits over human life.

Yet, not to be outdone, the Federalist again publishes an article oozing great slimy lies to the effect that you should support a child molester (excuse me, “morally questionable” person) like Roy Moore because God can use such people.

What is the urgent thing that Christianists need him for?  Well, given that Planned Parenthood is already fully funded, the Party of Trump can’t really sell the “We’ll be magicking abortion away Real Soon Now” lie, so we have to just face the fact that Moore is important to help fund the Tax Budget Only a Child Molester Could Love.

It is, in essence, the greatest act of theft in American history, robbing the poor and the middle class to engorge the rich, according to the communists at Fortune.

Go here to read the rest.  Besides telling us that Shea has apparently lost the ability to read, judging from his misinterpretations of the two Federalist articles that he references, his use of the term Christianist is deeply revealing.  It is a term of abuse for Christians that Leftists hurl at Christians who have the temerity to disagree with them.  Once upon a time, long, long ago, Mark Shea was a Catholic apologist.  Now he is simply an apologist, and a very angry one, for an increasingly deranged Left.  He has chosen poorly.

4

Where the Women are Robust

 

We should be careful, though, not to make the world so fine and good that you and I can’t enjoy living in it.  A world in which there is no sexual harassment at all is a world in which there will not be any flirtation.

Garrison Keillor, Address to National Press Club, April 7, 1994

 

 

 

 

Miss Tweeden knew what the game was and played her role and on the flight home, in a spirit of low comedy, Al ogled her and pretended to grab her and a picture was taken. Eleven years later, a talk show host in L.A., she goes public with her embarrassment, and there is talk of resignation. This is pure absurdity and the atrocity it leads to is a code of public deadliness. No kidding.

Garrison Keillor in an Op Ed in the Washington Post, November 29, 2017, entitled Al Franken Should Resign?  That’s Absurd.

 

4

PopeWatch: Bishop Athanasius Schneider

Bishop Schneider channels Bishop Melchior Cano:

 

 

Bishop Athanasius Schneider, auxiliary bishop of Astana in Kazakhstan, said in an interview with Michael Matt of The Remnant newspaper that “the true friends of the Pope” are those cardinals bishops and laymen “who express their public concern about these very important issues, about the state of confusion in the Church. They are really the friends of the Pope.”

He called the concerns and calls for clarity, “an act of charity towards the Pope.” He added that he was convinced that when the Pope faces his judgment before God, “he will be thankful to those” cardinals, bishops and lay people who called on him to offer clarity.

Archbishop Schneider said that those who perform “adulation of the Pope” and “deny the evidence” that ambiguity in the Pope’s teachings is causing confusion are not helping the Pope nor themselves when they will face their final judgment. 

Regarding those who tell the Pope, “It’s all okay,” despite the “disastrous situation,” the archbishop warned that at their judgment God will ask them “what have you done when there was confusion, why have you not raised your voice to defend the truth?”

 

Go here to read it rest.  Almost 500 years ago Melchior Cano, a theologian at the Council of Trent, said it all:

“Peter has no need of our lies or flattery. Those who blindly and indiscriminately defend every decision of the Supreme Pontiff are the very ones who do most to undermine the authority of the Holy See—they destroy instead of strengthening its foundations.” 

 

29

Garrison Keillor Does the Perv Walk

The man who raised leftist sanctimony to an art form is out at Minnesota Peoples Public Radio:

 

Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) is terminating its contracts with Garrison Keillor and his private media companies after recently learning of allegations of his inappropriate behavior with an individual who worked with him.

Last month, MPR was notified of the allegations which relate to Mr. Keillor’s conduct while he was responsible for the production of A Prairie Home Companion (APHC). MPR President Jon McTaggart immediately informed the MPR Board Chair, and a special Board committee was appointed to provide oversight and ongoing counsel. In addition, MPR retained an outside law firm to conduct an independent investigation of the allegations. Based on what we currently know, there are no similar allegations involving other staff. The attorney leading the independent investigation has been conducting interviews and reviewing documents, and the investigation is still ongoing. We encourage anyone with additional information to call our confidential hotline 1-877-767-7781..

 

Go here to read the rest.  Men with octopus hands, as my bride has designated such behavior, are of course not restricted to the left, but it is intriguing how many leftist icons are falling before the wrath of allegedly abused women.  It is almost as if their paeans to the rights of women were so much hokum they dispensed to gullible stooges for years, not reflecting in the slightest how they led their lives.

15

On Climate Change

In light of a recent post of mine, I wanted to share something from my old blog on the topic of Climate Change, which is fast becoming a religion of sorts. Any denial of it and man’s direct responsibility for it is blasphemy and/or heresy for one side of the aisle. Any agreement with it is just as sacrilegious to the other side.

Because of this quandary, I took some time to look at Climate Change through the lens of the problem solving & decision making methodology we use where I work. Whatever you think about Climate Change, you might agree that people tend to first form a conclusion and then look for data to support it…and, of course, explain away or ignore any data that doesn’t support it. Why is that? Politically speaking, if we can definitively tie Climate Change to human activity (CO2 emissions), it’s a perfect opportunity for a power grab—to control a whole lot of human activity. On the other hand, refuting the aforementioned has the opposite effect if one wants to limit government involvement in human activity.

Before we can even being to address any concerns about Climate Change the situation must be made clear. Before a situation can be made clear any ambiguities and over-generalizations must be dealt with. Beginning at the beginning, we can see that the term “Climate Change” is ambiguous because both “climate” and “change” can mean too many different things to too many different people, so I went to a NASA website for clarification on what is changing and how. I found these:

  • See levels are rising
  • Ice sheets are shrinking
  • Arctic sea ice is declining
  • Glaciers are retreating
  • Snow cover is decreasing
  • Oceans are acidifying
  • Extreme weather events are increasing
  • The Earth and oceans are warming (Global Warming)

Whatta mess!!!

Next is to look at one thing at a time and tackle the most serious concern first. Which concern above would have the biggest current and future impact? I’ll go forward with the premise that Global Warming is the highest priority concern on the list above because it could conceivably be causing most of the other things on the list.

If my superiors at work were to ask our group to look into the Global Warming situation, we would look at something called “The Should” and also something called “The Actual”. For this case, “The Actual” would be the current average global temperature assuming we can get a reliable measurement. “The Should” would be the Earth’s normal average temperature range…the way it should be. What would be the upper limit of that normal range and what would be the lower limit? I can tell you that a huge difficulty we’d run into right away is defining “The Should”. This is very problematic because you cannot truly understand a problem—in terms of an abnormality—if you do not understand what is normal.

But why not just look at the rise in CO2 since that is the presumed main cause of the warming? We could, but we’d invariably be back to the same questions about the Earth’s temperature. What “Should” is good? At work we’ll define “The Should” for a product or system based on historical manufacturing records and control limits and/or established industry standards among other things. There are no such standards for the Earth’s average temperature range that I know of, but we can look at history.

Let’s suppose we have about 200 years of accurate global temperature data. My guess is that it is much less than 200 years because of the many years with no satellite temperature data from space, but we’ll go with it. Also, the Earth is about 4.5 billion years old, but I’d say the climate 4.5 billion years ago is irrelevant data for humans living today. Let’s go back an amount of time in which the first mammals were happily living on Earth, breathing clean air and drinking clean water. Mammals go back about 200 million years. Keep in mind that 200 million years is only 4% of the Earth’s lifetime, so it’s a relatively short period of time to look at, but we’ll go with it. So, 200 years of temperature data in 200 million years of history would represent .0001% of the time.

To put this in context of something we can grasp, the Dow Jones Industrial average (DJIA) has been around for about 120 years. .0001% of 120 years is about 63 minutes. Suppose that tomorrow the DJIA were to dive 1000 points from 1:00PM to 2:03PM. At 2:04PM, should we conclude a long term financial disaster and an urgent need for more industry regulation? For even more context, consider that 0001% of ten years is about 5.3 minutes. Suppose you walk into a ten year old home for the very first time with a family inside going about their business and you begin measuring the temperature. You note a warming trend of about 1°C after about 5.3 minutes and announce a domestic warming crisis and begin to regulate the families’ activity. Seems like hysteria to me without more data.

Chart taken from MarketWatch

In either the case of the family home or the DJIA, if you were to declare a crisis and an urgent need for regulation you’d likely be on the receiving end of some blank stares. This does not mean there should be no concern for Global Warming. In my profession I would need to report that there is not enough information to define “The Should”, so we would likely move this issue away from a problem analysis and into a decision analysis. Problem analysis focuses on the question “Why did it happen?” while decision analysis focuses on the question “What should we do?”

A good decision in this arena is above my pay grade, but whatever the decision, let’s be aware of two opposing extremes…

#1 Nature Worship

The view that nature is “perfect” just the way it is acts as a kind of secular “dogma”. With this as a base premise, we can see the logic that concludes the following…any unnatural interference or manipulation of nature for the benefit of man is a deprivation of nature’s perfection, and a good definition of evil is just that—a deprivation of perfection.1 Therefore, defending anything in nature against man is intrinsically “good” and promoting man’s industrialization and expansion is intrinsically “evil”.

#2 Nature’s Neglect

Beware of any ideology that says man can and should interfere and manipulate nature anyway we see fit. God wants us to take care of the temporary dwelling place he gave us. “The Lord God then took the man and settled him in the Garden of Eden, to cultivate and care for it.” (Gen 2:15) So if we are to be good stewards of all the gifts God gives us, including the Earth, should we not be trustworthy stewards? Of course we should. “Now it is of course required of stewards that they be found trustworthy.” (1 Cor 4:2)

 

  1. St. Thomas Aquinas, Aquinas’s Shorter Summa (Manchester: Sophia Institute Press, 2002), p. 125.
3

Lies, Mark Shea and Cardinal Newman

 

 

 

Dave Griffey at Daffey Thoughts joins Mark Shea’s noble anti-lying crusade:

 

It’s time the Church take a bold stand against illegal immigration.  After all, what is one major way people here illegally are able to carry on in life, have jobs, send their kids to Harvard, and make a living for them and their relatives back home?  Fraudulent documentation.  That is, in other words, fake or false documents – lies you might say.

Mark Shea builds a strong case for why the Church should say enough is enough.  Not that we shouldn’t reform our immigration system.  Something like that should always be reformed, since situations and conditions always change.  But the idea that just because the system is broken, people are free to be fraudulent, lie, present false documentation and any other form of deception.

Lying is a sin, as Mark boldly proclaims.  It’s time for the Church and faithful Catholics to stop justifying, excusing and tolerating a culture of lies that justifies law breaking and fraud, even if it’s one celebrated and advocated by the modern Left.

 

Go here to comment.  Gander, here is some of that goose sauce you have been eyeing.

 

 

In case some of you suspect, gasp, that perhaps Mark might be mangling Church teaching a wee bit, here is Blessed Cardinal Newman on lying and equivocation:

 

This is from Note G of Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman’s Apologia Pro Vita Sua.  It is a typical tour de force by Newman where he demonstrates his knowledge of the history, reasoning and practical application of a Church teaching on morality.  Here is the note:

ALMOST all authors, Catholic and Protestant, admit, that when a just cause is present, there is some kind or other of verbal misleading, which is not sin. Even silence is in certain cases virtually such a misleading, according to the Proverb, “Silence gives consent.” Again, silence is absolutely forbidden to a Catholic, as a mortal sin, under certain circumstances, e.g. to keep silence, when it is a duty to make a profession of faith.

Another mode of verbal misleading, and the most direct, is actually saying the thing that is not; and it is defended on the principle that such words are not a lie, when there is a “justa causa,” as killing is not murder in the case of an executioner.

Another ground of certain authors for saying that an untruth is not a lie where there is a just cause, is, that veracity is a kind of justice, and therefore, when we have no duty of justice to tell truth to another, it is no sin not to do so. Hence we may say the thing that is not, to children, to madmen, to men who ask impertinent questions, to those whom we hope to benefit by misleading.

Another ground, taken in defending certain untruths, ex justâ causâ, as if not lies, is, that veracity is for the sake of society, and that, if in no case whatever we might lawfully mislead others, we should actually be doing society great harm.

Another mode of verbal misleading is equivocation or a play upon words; and it is defended on the theory that to lie is to use words in a sense which they will not bear. But an equivocator uses them in a received sense, though there is another received sense, and therefore, according to this definition, he does not lie.

Others say that all equivocations are, after all, a kind of lying,—faint lies or awkward lies, but still lies; and some of these disputants infer, that therefore we must not equivocate, and others that equivocation is but a half-measure, and that it is better to say at once that in certain cases untruths are not lies.

Others will try to distinguish between evasions and equivocations; but though there are evasions which are clearly not equivocations, yet it is very difficult scientifically to draw the line between the one and the other.

To these must be added the unscientific way of dealing with lies,—viz. that on a great or cruel occasion a man cannot help telling a lie, and he would not be a man, did he not tell it, but still it is very wrong, and he ought not to do it, and he must trust that the sin will be forgiven him, though he goes about to commit it ever so deliberately, and is sure to commit it again under similar circumstances. It is a necessary frailty, and had better not be thought about before it is incurred, and not thought of again, after it is well over. This view cannot for a moment be defended, but, I suppose, it is very common.
I think the historical course of thought upon the matter has been this: the Greek Fathers thought that, when there was a justa causa, an untruth need not be a lie. St. Augustine took another view, though with great misgiving; and, whether he is rightly interpreted or not, is the doctor of the great and common view that all untruths are lies, and that there can be no just cause of untruth. In these later times, this doctrine has been found difficult to work, and it has been largely taught that, though all untruths are lies, yet that certain equivocations, when there is a just cause, are not untruths. Continue Reading

3

November 29, 1864: Sand Creek Massacre

 

 

 

On Novmber 29, 1864, in a stain on American honor, 700 men of the 1st Colorado Cavalry, 3rd Colorado Cavalry and a company of the 1st New Mexico Volunteer Cavalry, under the command of Colonel John M. Chivington, a Methodist minister turned soldier, attacked and slaughtered an encampment of peaceful Indians.  I cannot improve on the report of this massacre issued by the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War on January 10, 1865:

 

The Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War submit the following report:

In the summer of 1864 Governor Evans, of Colorado Territory, as acting superintendent of Indian affairs, sent notice to the various bands and tribes of Indians within his jurisdiction that such as desired to be considered friendly to the whites should at once repair to the nearest military post in order to be protected from the soldiers who were to take the field against the hostile Indians.

About the close of the summer, some Cheyenne Indians, in the neighborhood of the Smoke Hills, sent word to Major Wynkoop, the commandant of the post of Fort Lyon, that they had in their possession, and were willing to deliver up, some white captives they had purchased of other Indians. Major Wynkoop, with a force of over 100 men, visited those Indians and received the white captives. On his return he was accompanied by a number of the chiefs and leading men of the Indians, whom he had invited to visit Denver for the purpose of conferring with the authorities there in regard to keeping peace. Among them were Black Kettle and White Antelope of the Cheyennes, and some chiefs of the Arapahoes. The council was held, and these chiefs stated that they were friendly to the whites, and always had been, and that they desired peace. Governor Evans and Colonel Chivington, the commander of that military district, advised them to repair to Fort Lyon and submit to whatever terms the military commander there should impose. This was done by the Indians, who were treated somewhat as prisoners of war, receiving rations, and being obliged to remain within certain bounds.

 

All the testimony goes to show that the Indians, under the immediate control of Black Kettle and White Antelope of the Cheyennes, and Left Hand of the Arapahoes, were and had been friendly to the whites, and had not been guilty of any acts of hostility or depredation. The Indian agents, the Indian interpreter and others examined by your committee, all testify to the good character of those Indians. Even Governor Evans and Major Anthony, though evidently willing to convey to your committee a false impression of the character of those Indians, were forced, in spite of their prevarication, to admit that they knew of nothing they had done which rendered them deserving of punishment. Continue Reading

6

PopeWatch: Proclaiming Jesus

Sandro Magister brings us up to date on the Pope’s trip to Burma:

 

There was only one moment in which Jesus was named and his Gospel proclaimed, in the speeches on the first day of Pope Francis’s visit to Myanmar.

Only that the one who spoke these words was not the pope, but the Burmese state counsellor and foreign minister Aung San Su Kyi, who is of the Buddhist faith:

“Jesus himself offers a ‘manual’ for this strategy of peacemaking in the Sermon on the Mount. The eight Beatitudes (cf. Mt 5:3-10) provide a portrait of the person we could describe as blessed, good and authentic. Blessed are the meek, Jesus tells us, the merciful and the peacemakers, those who are pure in heart, and those who hunger and thirst for justice.

“This is also a programme and a challenge for political and religious leaders, the heads of international institutions, and business and media executives: to apply the Beatitudes in the exercise of their respective responsibilities. It is a challenge to build up society, communities and businesses by acting as peacemakers. It is to show mercy by refusing to discard people, harm the environment, or seek to win at any cost.”

It is true that San Su Kyi took these words from the message of Francis for the world day of peace on January 1, 2017. But it is striking that the only one to mention the name of Jesus and to make his Gospel resonate should have been she, and not the pope.

The complete text of the speech by the Nobel peace laureate, delivered at the beginning of the meeting between Francis and the authorities and representatives of civil society, can be read on this other page Settimo Cielo:

> “Jesus himself in the Sermon on the Mount…”

While this is the speech delivered immediately afterward by Pope Francis, a speech that instead was completely “secular,” except for the final invocation upon those present of “the divine blessings of wisdom, strength and peace”:

“A peace based on respect for each ethnic group and its identity”

 

Go here to read the rest.

5

A Clean Slate For Christmas

My bride, our son and I went to Confession today.  As always, I felt after Confession as if a ton of weight had just been taken off my shoulders,

Here is the formula that I have followed for Confessions since childhood:

Bless me Father for I have sinned, it has been ____________ since my last Confession and these are my sins.

I then recite my sins.  I follow the rule of three B’s in Confession:

Be Blunt

Be Brief

Be Gone

I say my sins, with no attempts to minimize or justify, no matter how much it shames me to do so, and often I do feel great shame, which I suspect is a good sign.  I end my recital with the statement that these are all the sins I can recall but that I am truly sorry for those I cannot recall.

After the priest absolves me, and what a wonderful word absolve truly is, I say an Act of Contrition:

O my God I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest of all my sins because I dread the loss of Heaven and the Pains of Hell, but most of all because I have offended Thee my God who art all good and deserving of all my love.  And I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to confess my sins, to do penance and to amend my life, amen.

If any of you who read this have been away from Confession, please go before Christmas.  Welcome Christ this year with a clean slate.

 

13

Rachel Weeping

Demetrius:  You talked to Peter, didn’t you?
What did you tell him about me?
Glycon:  I don’t discuss your affairs with anyone, sir.
You freed me and I am grateful.
Demetrius:  You must have told him something.
Glycon:  I asked him if one who’d killed
30 men in the arena, as I have,…
…could ever hope to sleep at night.

Demetrius and the Gladiators (1954)

 

 

Ally Bowin, national programs coordinator of Students for Life of America writes about her grief over her own abortion at the Washington Examiner:

 

 

This denial continues after an abortion is completed. Denial of grief because she doesn’t want to admit to herself there was actually a life lost. Post-abortive women will bury those thoughts with whatever they can. Data on post-abortive women demonstrate that substance abuse, depression, suicide, and a host of other problems often follow an abortion.

Due in part to well-funded marketing campaigns such as #AbortionPositive, it is common for post-abortive women to be silenced when heavy emotions arise or to have their pain covered with platitudes. I recall the nurses reassuring me with phrases like, “It’s only a 10-minute procedure,” and, “This will not affect your ability to have children later.” I remember telling myself: “Now I can be successful,” “Now I can finish college,” “Now I won’t have the burden of another life to look after.”

I fought my emotions with these platitudes for a long time. I would immediately stop myself from crying anytime memories of that day would creep in, telling myself it’s not something to cry over; I’m better off. But I couldn’t cover it up for long. My fuse was short and I was quick to anger and that anger went to rage. I remember having a couple of panic attacks one weekend because I couldn’t find any friends to go out to the Dallas nightlife and drink with me. I couldn’t handle being alone; it left room for me to think, to feel, to remember.

When I first sought counseling, it was not as helpful as it could have been, because we never once dove into my abortion being the cause of my anxiety, anger, or depression. Yet Post Abortion Stress Syndrome, like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, is a common problem among post-abortive women. I had vivid flashbacks, memories of the day of my abortion replayed for years, at any given moment. Still to this day, six years later, I can tell you the color of the wallpaper in the clinic, the color of the chairs, even the color of the nurse’s scrubs.

Last year, I had the gift of receiving loving, compassionate post-abortive healing. Post-abortive healing was probably the hardest 12 weeks I’ve had to endure in my 27 years. But, compared to a lifetime of suppressed grief and heartache, I would go through it many, many more times. I learned that feeling intense pain post-abortion is normal, feeling regret is normal. And that there is hope past that regret; there is love on the other side of that pain.

To the people who want to deny the pain and trauma of abortion for women, I ask: Why is it acceptable for women to grieve a miscarriage, but not an abortion? Wouldn’t the primal grief of losing a child be all the more devastating if the woman played a role in her loss? The facts certainly seem to suggest that many women feel unbearable grief after their abortion. If it truly had no effect psychologically, why does the suicide rate increase for women after they’ve had an abortion?

Even after going through post-abortive recovery more than a year ago, I still fight the demons of guilt and regret daily. Yet finding post-abortion recovery changed me for the better — giving me peace and the chance to feel pure joy again.

To post-abortive women, I say this: Don’t feel pressured to see your abortion as positive. There are people out there to listen to your story. There are people out there to hear about your grief. Let them in and let them help.

 

Go here to read the rest.  A funny thing about good and evil is that we can expend quite a bit of energy to claim that something evil is really good.  The one person we usually are unable to convince by such mendacity is ourselves.

6

PopeWatch: Cardinal Muller

An interesting statement from Cardinal Muller in an interview last week:

 

“There  is a front of traditionalist groups, just as there is with the progressivists, that would like to see me as head of a movement against the Pope. But I will never do this. I have served the Church with love for 40 years as a priest, 16 years as a university professor of dogmatic theology and 10 years as a diocesan bishop. I believe in the unity of the Church and I will not allow anyone to exploit my negative experiences of recent months.  Church authorities, on the other hand, need to listen to those who have serious questions or justified complaints; not ignoring them, or worse, humiliating them. Otherwise, unwittingly, the risk of a slow separation that might lead to a schism may increase, from a disorientated and disillusioned part of the Catholic world.  The history of Martin Luther’s  Protestant Schism of 500 years ago, should teach us, above all, what errors to avoid.”

“The Pope confided to me: ‘Some have told me anonymously that you are my enemy’ without explaining in what way” he recounts unhappily. “ After 40 years at the service of the Church, I had to hear this: an absurdity set up by prattlers who instead of instilling worry in the Pope they would do better visiting a “shrink”.  A Catholic bishop and cardinal of the Holy Roman Church is by nature with the Holy Father. But, I believe, as Melchoir Cano, the 16th century theologian said, that the true friends are not those who flatter the Pope, but those who help him with the truth and theological, human competence.” In all the organizations of the world, delatores of this type serve only themselves.”

 

Go here to Rorate Caeli to read the rest.

10

With Terror and Slaughter Return

But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come

That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

Rudyard Kipling, The Gods of the Copybook Headings

 

 

 

 

Dave Griffey at Daffey Thoughts responds to the attack by the ghouls of ISIS on a Sufi Mosque in  the northern Sinai that left 305 worshipers murdered:

 

Horrible.  Animals and savages to be sure.  God grant peace and strength to those impacted by this, whose lives were lost, who remain behind and are left with the hurt and the pain.  God also soften the hearts of those who embrace this senseless slaughter as a means of righteousness.  Help the nations of the world find a way to eliminate this and no longer tolerate an apathy based on accepting this as some new normal. 

 

Go here to comment.  My fear is that our elites want us to accept this as the new normal.  Tut tutting about it by all the usual suspects and then nothing effective is done.  Repeat for the next one, ad infinitum.  Neo pacifism is strong among elites, our Pope being a typical example.  The murderers of ISIS give the lie to such pacifism.  They will not stop until they are stopped permanently by superior fire power.  The prophet Rudyard Kipling predicted this long ago:

 

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “Stick to the Devil you know.”

Later in the same poem he details where the policies of the fools who currently lead the West are headed:

 

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;
And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

 

10

PopeWatch: Open Borders

The Pope is doubling down on his policy of putting the Catholic Church on those in the West advocating open borders:

 

Many destination countries have seen the spread of rhetoric decrying the risks posed to national security or the high cost of welcoming new arrivals, and thus demeaning the human dignity due to all as sons and daughters of God. Those who, for what may be political reasons, foment fear of migrants instead of building peace are sowing violence, racial discrimination and xenophobia, which are matters of great concern for all those concerned for the safety of every human being.[8]

All indicators available to the international community suggest that global migration will continue for the future. Some consider this a threat. For my part, I ask you to view it with confidence as an opportunity to build peace.

3. With a contemplative gaze

The wisdom of faith fosters a contemplative gaze that recognizes that all of us “belong to one family, migrants and the local populations that welcome them, and all have the same right to enjoy the goods of the earth, whose destination is universal, as the social doctrine of the Church teaches. It is here that solidarity and sharing are founded.”[9] These words evoke the biblical image of the new Jerusalem. The book of the prophet Isaiah (chapter 60) and that of Revelation (chapter 21) describe the city with its gates always open to people of every nation, who marvel at it and fill it with riches. Peace is the sovereign that guides it and justice the principle that governs coexistence within it.

We must also turn this contemplative gaze to the cities where we live, “a gaze of faith which sees God dwelling in their houses, in their streets and squares, […] fostering solidarity, fraternity, and the desire for goodness, truth and justice”[10] – in other words, fulfilling the promise of peace.

When we turn that gaze to migrants and refugees, we discover that they do not arrive empty-handed. They bring their courage, skills, energy and aspirations, as well as the treasures of their own cultures; and in this way, they enrich the lives of the nations that receive them. We also come to see the creativity, tenacity and spirit of sacrifice of the countless individuals, families and communities around the world who open their doors and hearts to migrants and refugees, even where resources are scarce.

A contemplative gaze should also guide the discernment of those responsible for the public good, and encourage them to pursue policies of welcome, “within the limits allowed by a correct understanding of the common good”[11] – bearing in mind, that is, the needs of all members of the human family and the welfare of each.

Those who see things in this way will be able to recognize the seeds of peace that are already sprouting and nurture their growth. Our cities, often divided and polarized by conflicts regarding the presence of migrants and refugees, will thus turn into workshops of peace.

4. Four mileposts for action

Offering asylum seekers, refugees, migrants and victims of human trafficking an opportunity to find the peace they seek requires a strategy combining four actions: welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating.[12]

“Welcoming” calls for expanding legal pathways for entry and no longer pushing migrants and displaced people towards countries where they face persecution and violence. It also demands balancing our concerns about national security with concern for fundamental human rights. Scripture reminds us: “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”[13]

“Protecting” has to do with our duty to recognize and defend the inviolable dignity of those who flee real dangers in search of asylum and security, and to prevent their being exploited. I think in particular of women and children who find themselves in situations that expose them to risks and abuses that can even amount to enslavement. God does not discriminate: “The Lord watches over the foreigner and sustains the orphan and the widow.”[14]

“Promoting” entails supporting the integral human development of migrants and refugees. Among many possible means of doing so, I would stress the importance of ensuring access to all levels of education for children and young people. This will enable them not only to cultivate and realize their potential, but also better equip them to encounter others and to foster a spirit of dialogue rather than rejection or confrontation. The Bible teaches that God “loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.”[15]

“Integrating”, lastly, means allowing refugees and migrants to participate fully in the life of the society that welcomes them, as part of a process of mutual enrichment and fruitful cooperation in service of the integral human development of the local community. Saint Paul expresses it in these words: “You are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people.”[16] 

 

Go here to read the rest.  In this debate the Pope enters the political field, as there is nothing in Church doctrine that mandates that governments allow illegal aliens to enter their country.  The traditional teaching of the Church is actually quite the reverse.  Like a partisan politician, he refuses to acknowledge the manifest problems that have been created by massive illegal immigration from the Islamic world, especially in Italy, and demonizes those who have spoken out about such problems.  Catholics have a right to expect better from their Pope.

God and the Father of Our Country

Today is the feast day of Christ the King in the Catholic Liturgical Calendar, signaling the ending of the Church year.  On this date my thoughts turn to April 30, 1789 when President George Washington commenced the government of the United States under its new Constitution with the first inaugural address.  Below is the address.  Pay special attention to the second paragraph where Washington acknowledges the role of God in bringing about the American Republic, and notes that God is ruler of the Universe, and his final paragraph where he states that America depends upon God’s continued blessing:  so His divine blessing may be equally conspicuous in the enlarged views, the temperate consultations, and the wise measures on which the success of this Government must depend.

 

 

Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and of the House of Representatives:

AMONG the vicissitudes incident to life no event could have filled me with greater anxieties than that of which the notification was transmitted by your order, and received on the 14th day of the present month. On the one hand, I was summoned by my country, whose voice I can never hear but with veneration and love, from a retreat which I had chosen with the fondest predilection, and, in my flattering hopes, with an immutable decision, as the asylum of my declining years—a retreat which was rendered every day more necessary as well as more dear to me by the addition of habit to inclination, and of frequent interruptions in my health to the gradual waste committed on it by time. On the other hand, the magnitude and difficulty of the trust to which the voice of my country called me, being sufficient to awaken in the wisest and most experienced of her citizens a distrustful scrutiny into his qualifications, could not but overwhelm with despondence one who (inheriting inferior endowments from nature and unpracticed in the duties of civil administration) ought to be peculiarly conscious of his own deficiencies. In this conflict of emotions all I dare aver is that it has been my faithful study to collect my duty from a just appreciation of every circumstance by which it might be affected. All I dare hope is that if, in executing this task, I have been too much swayed by a grateful remembrance of former instances, or by an affectionate sensibility to this transcendent proof of the confidence of my fellow-citizens, and have thence too little consulted my incapacity as well as disinclination for the weighty and untried cares before me, my error will be palliated by the motives which mislead me, and its consequences be judged by my country with some share of the partiality in which they originated.

 

 

Such being the impressions under which I have, in obedience to the public summons, repaired to the present station, it would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official act my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the universe, who presides in the councils of nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that His benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the people of the United States a Government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes, and may enable every instrument employed in its administration to execute with success the functions allotted to his charge. In tendering this homage to the Great Author of every public and private good, I assure myself that it expresses your sentiments not less than my own, nor those of my fellow-citizens at large less than either. No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than those of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency; and in the important revolution just accomplished in the system of their united government the tranquil deliberations and voluntary consent of so many distinct communities from which the event has resulted can not be compared with the means by which most governments have been established without some return of pious gratitude, along with an humble anticipation of the future blessings which the past seem to presage. These reflections, arising out of the present crisis, have forced themselves too strongly on my mind to be suppressed. You will join with me, I trust, in thinking that there are none under the influence of which the proceedings of a new and free government can more auspiciously commence. Continue Reading

1

Christ the True King

Jesus said to his disciples:
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory,
and all the angels with him,
he will sit upon his glorious throne,
and all the nations will be assembled before him.
And he will separate them one from another,
as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Then the king will say to those on his right,
‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father.
Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
For I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
a stranger and you welcomed me,
naked and you clothed me,
ill and you cared for me,
in prison and you visited me.’
Then the righteous will answer him and say,
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you,
or thirsty and give you drink?
When did we see you a stranger and welcome you,
or naked and clothe you?
When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’
And the king will say to them in reply,
‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did
for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me.’
Then he will say to those on his left,
‘Depart from me, you accursed,
into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
For I was hungry and you gave me no food,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
a stranger and you gave me no welcome,
naked and you gave me no clothing,
ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’
Then they will answer and say,
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty
or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison,
and not minister to your needs?’
He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you,
what you did not do for one of these least ones,
you did not do for me.’
And these will go off to eternal punishment,
but the righteous to eternal life.”

Matthew 25:  31-46

 

 

 

And so our liturgical year comes to a close with the feast of Christ the King.   Just after the beginning of World War II the hero pope Pius XII wrote the encyclical  Summi Pontificatus in which he reminded all of humanity that in the final analysis Christ, not Man, is King.

 

To consider the State as something ultimate to which everything else should be subordinated and directed, cannot fail to harm the true and lasting prosperity of nations. This can happen either when unrestricted dominion comes to be conferred on the State as having a mandate from the nation, people, or even a social order, or when the State arrogates such dominion to itself as absolute master, despotically, without any mandate whatsoever. If, in fact, the State lays claim to and directs private enterprises, these, ruled as they are by delicate and complicated internal principles which guarantee and assure the realization of their special aims, may be damaged to the detriment of the public good, by being wrenched from their natural surroundings, that is, from responsible private action.

 

In today’s reading we are reminded that the God who marks the sparrow’s fall also recalls our acts of charity, mercy and love, as well as our sins.  How many have escaped damnation due to some forgotten kind act that redeems all in the eyes of God who sees us so infinitely better than we see ourselves?  When Christ sits in judgment of us, we will rightly tremble, but Justice incarnate will treat us better than we merit, because He sees us with the eyes of infinite love.  So much of the evil in our world is caused by our simple failure to ignore the love of God and to supplant His role as the ruler of our hearts with false Gods of our own creation.  Man made rulers are necessary in this world, but our actions in this world are mere stepping stones to our citizenship in the next, where Christ’s Kingdom, that He spoke of so often during His time on Earth, will be an everlasting reality.

Rudyard Kipling wrote long ago words that I always recall on this feast:

 

The tumult and the shouting dies;
   The Captains and the Kings depart:
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
   An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!
4

I Vow to Thee My Country

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

Horatius at the Bridge

Thomas Babington, Lord Macaulay

 

 

 

Something for the weekend.  I Vow to Thee My Country.  This seems to be appropriate for a weekend after Thanksgiving.  A pity it is a British Hymn as it sums up perfectly how I view my patriotism and my religious faith.  The song is a poem written Sir Cecil Spring Rice, a friend of Theodore Roosevelt, and British ambassador to the US during World War I.  The poem started life in 1912 under the title City of God and was rewritten in 1918 shortly before Rice returned to Great Britain.  The Great Composer Gustav Holst supplied the music and the song was published in 1925 as  a hymn.

 

 

 

I vow to thee, my country, all earthly things above,
Entire and whole and perfect, the service of my love;
The love that asks no question, the love that stands the test,
That lays upon the altar the dearest and the best;
The love that never falters, the love that pays the price,
The love that makes undaunted the final sacrifice.

And there’s another country, I’ve heard of long ago,
Most dear to them that love her, most great to them that know;
We may not count her armies, we may not see her King;
Her fortress is a faithful heart, her pride is suffering;
And soul by soul and silently her shining bounds increase,
And her ways are ways of gentleness, and all her paths are peace.

2

Trump Pardon

 

 

 

 

A presidential tradition since Ronald Reagan, the presidential pardon of a Thanksgiving Turkey is part of the daffiness that makes this country a joy to live in.  Presidents have received formal Thanksgiving turkeys since Harry Truman.  Both Truman and Eisenhower, practical men who had known poverty growing up,  ate the Turkeys given to them.  (I assume the idea of turning away gift food would have struck them as blasphemous.)  Kennedy spared one Turkey in 1963 and Nixon let a few escape the oven.  It is appropriate that Reagan, tender hearted and a born showman, began the presidential pardon of our delicious native bird in 1987.

1

A Thanksgiving Thought From John Wayne

Have you ever heard of some fellows who first came over to this country? You know what they found? They found a howling wilderness, with summers too hot and winters freezing, and they also found some unpleasant little characters who painted their faces. Do you think these pioneers filled out form number X6277 and sent in a report saying the Indians were a little unreasonable? Did they have insurance for their old age, for their crops, for their homes? They did not! They looked at the land, and the forest, and the rivers. They looked at their wives, their kids and their houses, and then they looked up at the sky and they said, “Thanks, God, we’ll take it from here.”

John Wayne, Without Reservations

 

An early example of the political philosophy of John Wayne from the movie Without Reservations (1946).  A light-hearted romp, Claudette Colbert portrays the author, Kitt Madden, of a best selling novel  Here Is Tomorrow which features a hero who bears a striking physical resemblance to Marine Corps Captain “Rusty” Thomas, portrayed by John Wayne.  On her way to Hollywood for the making of a movie on the novel, Madden learns to her dismay that Cary Grant has turned down the role of the hero of her novel.  When she meets “Rusty” Thomas she decides that he should star in the picture.  One problem:  Thomas hates the book!  The film is very funny and an interesting satire on both novelists and Hollywood.  (I wonder if Kitt Madden was supposed to be an anti-Ayn Rand, who was shopping her novels around Hollywood at the time.)    Wayne and Colbert have magnificent chemistry in the film in spite of their different world views.  (Ironically in real life both Wayne and Colbert were conservatives and staunch Republicans.)  At the end of the film when Madden and Thomas admit their love for each other, Madden looks heavenward and modifies the line first uttered by Thomas, “Thanks, God, I’ll take it from here!”.

7

Thanksgiving 1952: Red Skelton

Red Skelton rose from poverty to become one of the most popular comedians of his day.  A comedic genius, he created a gallery of comedic personas:  Clem Kaddidlehopper, the Mean Little Kid, San Fernando Red, Freddie the Freeloader  and others, which allowed him not only to amuse but also to engage in wry commentary about some of the foibles of his time. Skelton the man was fairly simple:  he liked to make people laugh, and he loved God, Country and Kids.  The love of God and his dying son I have written about in the post The Pope, the Clown and the Cross.  Skelton’s love of God and Country shines through in his rendition of the Pledge of Allegiance which I have written about here.

 

 

His love of kids was no mere entertainer’s pose as the following anecdote illustrates:

“Funny how you can go to a doctor’s offices and find magazines that are years old in the lobby. I had to go to a dentist two week ago and found a Golf magazine from the 80’s. I also found a magazine that told me the following story:

Decades ago, a young American was flying across the mountain ranges of Europe on his way to London. Accompanying his friend, a Catholic priest, the two were scheduled to have a meeting with the Pope in England. As the priest talked, the plane suddenly rocked. Then rocked again.  Something told the priest the plane was not destined to ever touch land again.

The passengers, busy in their individual conversations, failed to notice, the priest observed, until a flight attendant made an announcement of impending doom. The plane was over a mountain range and losing altitude.

As expected, panic set in. Continue Reading

13

As God is My Witness, I Thought Turkeys Could Fly

Well actually some Turkeys can.  Wild Turkeys can fly, albeit clumsily and not more than about 100 yards at a time.  Domestic Turkeys, bred for the table, cannot fly, largely due to their overdeveloped chests, home to all that prized white breast meat.  I don’t know if the publicity stunt would have fared much better with terrified flying wild Turkeys landing near onlookers.  Some things man simply was not meant to meddle with, and that includes dropping Turkeys from great heights.

 

1

1917 Thanksgiving Day Proclamation

By the President of the United States of America
A ProclamationIt has long been the honored custom of our people to turn in the fruitful autumn of the year in praise and thanksgiving to Almighty God for His many blessings and mercies to us as a nation. That custom we can follow now even in the midst of the tragedy of a world shaken by war and immeasurable disaster, in the midst of sorrow and great peril, because even amidst the darkness that has gathered about us we can see the great blessings God has bestowed upon us, blessings that are better than mere peace of mind and prosperity of enterprise.

We have been given the opportunity to serve mankind as we once served ourselves in the great day of our Declaration of Independence, by taking up arms against a tyranny that threatened to master and debase men everywhere and joining with other free peoples in demanding for all the nations of the Worworld what we then demanded and obtained for ourselves. In this day of the revelation of our duty not only to defend our own rights as nation but to defend also the rights of free men throughout the world, there has been vouchsafed us in full and inspiring measure the resolution and spirit of united action. We have been brought to one mind and purpose. A new vigor of common counsel and common action has been revealed in us. We should especially thank God that in such circumstances, in the midst of the greatest enterprise the spirits of men have ever entered upon, we have, if we but observe a reasonable and practicable economy, abundance with which to supply the needs of those associated with us as well as our own. A new light shines about us. The great duties of a new day awaken a new and greater national spirit in us. We shall never again be divided or wonder what stuff we are made of.

And while we render thanks for these things let us pray Almighty God that in all humbleness of spirit we may look always to Him for guidance; that we may be kept constant in the spirit and purpose of service; that by His grace our minds may be directed and our hands strengthened; and that in His good time liberty and security and peace and the comradeship of a common justice may be vouchsafed all the nations of the earth.

Wherefore, I, Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States of America, do hereby designate Thursday, the twenty-ninth day of November next as a day of thanksgiving and prayer, and invite the people throughout the land to cease upon that day from their ordinary occupations and in their several homes and places of worship to render thanks to God, the great ruler of nations.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done in the District of Columbia this 7th day of November in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and seventeen and of the independence of the United States of America the one hundred and forty-second.

 

23

The Golden Thread

Dave Griffey at Daffey Thoughts gives us Mark Shea’s predictable take on the Roy Moore controversy:

 

 

 

Both in and out of the courts.  A case study, by Mark Shea. 

Knowing Mark’s own political loyalties, is wasn’t difficult to believe that Mark would do what he did, and that’s join with all of Roy Moore’s political opponents and adversaries on both sides of the aisle and demand Moore be removed from his senate race.  Most, like Mark, made this call long before more women were produced from the same part of the town where Moore was living forty years ago, and before Moore made some of his own questionable statements.  Many, like Mark, did it within a day of the WP piece that initially broke the story.

Mark, like Steven Greydanus, has made it clear that Moore’s guilt is all but obvious.  There is no room for debate.  If you don’t immediately condemn Moore and want him punished, then you support child molesters.  Sort of like what people used to say about the Catholic Church, but I’m sure that’s different.  After all, Mark asks why women would make false accusations for no reason?

Which brings us to this little tidbit that came my way.  In it, we have a cry for justice against a vile women who has made an innocent man’s life a nightmare with endless false accusations and stalkings.  And who is that man?  It would be Mark Shea’s nephew

Personally, I have no more vested interest in the case against Mark’s nephew than I do the case against Roy Moore.  My thing would be to wait to demand punishment until the cases were heard in an official capacity.  Was Mark’s nephew lying to protect himself, or was the woman lying?   I might have my own opinions, but I certainly wouldn’t want anyone punished until official inquiries and investigations were conducted that included examining the evidence.

Same with Moore.  But yet, whereas Mark found it easy to accuse a woman who had falsely accused his own nephew, Mark finds it just as easy now to believe every woman accusing Moore and immediately call for Moore, the child molester per Mark, to be punished, no physical evidence or corroborating documentation needed.

And that, kiddies, is why we have the rule of law.  It’s to protect us from people who can’t quite see the fact that they appear to be playing fast and loose with consistent application of standards, and who seem to be guided more by emotionalism and raw personal bias and prejudice, than an actual quest for truth and justice.

 

Go here to comment.  When I am tempted to rush to judgment I try to recall the golden thread that runs through American law, the presumption of innocence.  Rumpole of the Bailey stated it well:

 

 

When factual allegations are made, I try to remind myself that the burden of proof is on the accuser, inside or outside of the courtroom.

15

Finding Truth For a Living

Proof can be a big topic which can easily have you lost in the weeds whether talking about truth with a little “t” or Truth with a big “T”. Whenever I hear skeptics talk about no proof for the existence of God I’m intrigued, and often frustrated, because of what I do for a living.

I’m a technical manager for a very large multinational imaging company and we have a formal process for solving complex problems and making decisions. I’m trained and certified to both use the process and teach it to our techs and engineers. This was the impetus of a book I wrote called Faith with Good Reason, and believe it or not, it all relates back to the human soul.

We have an intellect and a will; we think and then we do. What we think relates to what we believe and what we believe relates to what we do. When our company is faced with a complex technical problem with a particular product or system our superiors are not really interested in our feelings about it, or debating theories or conducting thought experiments. They have two fundamental questions for us…”Why did it happen!?” and “What should we do!?” In other words…they want the truth and once clear about the truth, they want to act in accordance with that truth.

Lacking Evidence:

And so it happens that when trying to solve a problem, we face situations where empirical evidence we would very much like to have is either lacking or impossible to obtain. In fact, I don’t remember a single instance when we had all the evidence we wanted that could answer all the questions we had. Regardless, people still expect us to find the truth. I cannot say we are always 100% successful, but we never report back to our superiors that the root cause of a problem is “nothing,” or “random chance,” or just a “brute fact”. We also never say “Sorry, no way to know.” These kinds of answers are not answers at all and they are unacceptable to explain any observed effect, including the existence of the universe or our own being.

Instead, we have a way to move toward what is more reasonable and step away from what is less reasonable given the available data. This is not done via experimentation or trial and error because these kinds of activities tend to waste company resources. It’s done “on paper” at first to get buy-in that the company should spend the time and money to pursue our conclusion or next course of action.

People generally accept our conclusions. Why? Because accepting some things without complete proof is rational and responsible solely based on the reasoning. We have some skeptical engineers, techs and sales/marketing people at our company. If a technical person were to keep repeating, “I reject your conclusion because there is no proof that it is actually true and I will continue to work as if it were not,” he or she would not be employed with us for long (note that sales/marketing people will normally receive general absolution for this sin).

Of course, the most probable cause of a problem is ultimately proved-out to see if it is in fact the true cause. A decision will also prove itself out over time as a good or bad choice. In the spiritual life this “proving-out” or “moment of truth” relates to the end of our earthly life where the theological virtues of Faith and Hope are no longer needed for a soul in the presence of God. All that will remain is Love (see 1 Corinthians 13:13).

Data Rejection:

I get this same sense of “data rejection” as described above when conversing with skeptics about the existence of God. For example, click HERE for 20 arguments for the existence of God by the fabulous Dr. Peter Kreeft. I would say none of the 20 is absolute proof, but it is all “data” that points in a certain direction. If there are 20 arrows pointing a certain way, a skeptic will find a flaw with each one. This arrow is curved and therefore invalid; this one is bent and this one points in a slightly different direction. This one is so thick that we can’t say it is really an arrow and this one is too thin, and so on. Therefore, the skeptic will reject the conclusion because there is no proof that it is actually true and will continue to live as if it were not.

Incidentally, it can be the same type of thing conversing with non-Catholic Christians. No matter how many roads lead to Rome, a doubter will find ruts in each one, while at the same time ignoring the dead ends when they trace back their own faith tradition.

The following story may help illustrate the frustration when debating a skeptic…

A man and a skeptic are headed to a friend’s house on a dark and stormy night. Their friend is away on vacation and she needs someone to take care of her dog. As they enter the house the man flips the hallway light switch, but there is no light.

      Man:   The hallway lightbulb must be burnt-out.

Skeptic:   No, the storm has caused a power outage in the neighborhood. There is no power.

 

    Man:   Did you not notice the homes in the neighborhood with lights on inside as we drove up?

Skeptic:   Have you not heard of backup generators? That explains why their lights are on.

 

      Man:   But the digital clock on the microwave oven in the kitchen is lit with the correct time as usual.

Skeptic:   Modern clocks have backup batteries.

 

      Man:   I’ve never heard of a microwave clock with a backup battery.

Skeptic:   Well, there is obviously an alternate power supply for the microwave of some kind.

 

      Man:   I just opened the garage door to let the dog out. That needs power too.

Skeptic:   This house must have a backup generator like the neighbors do. This would also explain the clock working on the microwave. Maybe the generator company offered a neighborhood discount for group installations.

 

    Man:   If this house is running on a backup generator, why wouldn’t the hallway light turn on when we first came in?

Skeptic: The hallway lightbulb must be burnt-out.

 

      Man:   ?????!!!!!

Forest vs. Trees:

Note that in the story there is no absolute proof about what the truth really is. There are several things that can keep a light from lighting other than a burnt-out bulb or a power outage, but in my experience committed skeptics are ready and willing to study in great detail and pick apart any given tree, but not so ready or willing to see the forest. It’s almost as if some choose to get lost in the arcane details and want others to follow. The story also ends with the same hypothesis in which it beings. Many skeptics may conclude that certain things are undeniably true as Catholics do (like racism being wrong), but the source of that Truth must come from an internal system like the human mind (internal generator) and not an outside system like God (external generator).

Some very intelligent people think themselves into a corner that says “Everything comes from nothing for the purpose of nothing”. Strong objections to that statement then follow…“Not ‘nothing’, we just don’t know or there is no way to know” and/or “We make our own purpose!” Then I’ll add two words to the statement about intelligence. “Everything comes from nothing intelligent for no intended purpose.” At this, the honest atheist will often reluctantly agree as he sits in his intellectual corner, hugging his purposeless tree, blind to the surround forest.

 

“For if they so far succeeded in knowledge that they could speculate about the world how did they not more quickly find its Lord?” (Wisdom 13:9)

20

Charles Manson Dead

A reminder of evil times past:

 

The man who masterminded one of the most heinous murder sprees in American history — is dead  … this according to the sister of his famous victim.

Debra Tate tells TMZ she received a call from the prison telling her Manson died 8:13 PM Sunday.

We’re told the prison is contacting all of the victims’ families.

Manson was recently wheeled into Bakersfield hospital and escorted by 5 uniformed cops. Our sources had said at the time, “It’s just a matter of time.” He was covered in blankets and looked ashen in the gurney.

TMZ broke the story … Manson was taken from Corcoran State Prison to the hospital back in January where he was being treated for intestinal bleeding.

As we reported … Manson was supposed to undergo surgery but it was deemed too risky.

Manson has been locked up since his arrest in December 1969 for the Tate-LaBianca murders. He was convicted of conspiracy to commit the slayings, which occurred one day after the next in August 1969.

 

Go here to read the rest. Charles Miles Maddox, known as Charles Miles Manson, founded a muderous cult known as the Manson Family.  A petty criminal, Manson spent his life in and out of state and federal prisons, being released in 1967.  Manson for years was fixated on starting a race war in which he would play the role in the apocalyptic aftermath of Jesus Christ.  That summary does too much credit for the ravings of Manson who clearly was mentally ill.  One of his followers Catherine Share stated how Manson’s fixation on the Beatles helped initiate what Manson called the Helter Skelter scenario:

“When the Beatles’ White Album came out, Charlie listened to it over and over and over and over again. He was quite certain that the Beatles had tapped in to his spirit, the truth—that everything was gonna come down and the black man was going to rise. It wasn’t that Charlie listened to the White Album and started following what he thought the Beatles were saying. It was the other way around. He thought that the Beatles were talking about what he had been expounding for years. Every single song on the White Album, he felt that they were singing about us. The song ‘Helter Skelter’—he was interpreting that to mean the blacks were gonna go up and the whites were gonna go down.”

It says much for just how bizarre the late sixties were in the 1960s, and how many lost souls were running around, especially in California, that Manson had no problem, although clearly crazy and dangerous, in assembling a following eager to do his bidding.

As a result of this lunacy a total of seven people would be murdered in the Tate-LaBianca murders, on August 9 and August 10, 1969, with Manson and his followers attempting to leave clues that would convince the police that Black militants had performed the slayings.

Being a bunch of drug-besotten losers, the plan quickly backfired with Manson and his loons being arrested and placed on trial.  Manson was sentenced to death with his death sentence being commuted to life imprisonment, following the California Supreme Court ruling that the death penalty was unconstitutional in 1972.  As a result of this, the relatives of the victims had to relive the crimes each time that Manson came up for parole, he would appeal before the parole board twelve times, and they testified that he should never breathe free air again. The board on his last appearance noted that Manson had never given any sign of remorse for his crimes.  His next parole hearing would have been when he had attained the age of 92.  He was 83 at the time of his death.

It is chilling to recall that a portion of the hard left regarded Manson as a hero back in 1969:

The charismatic Bernardine Dohrn, later a friend of Barack and Michelle Obama, feverishly told Weatherman followers: “Dig it: first they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them, then they even shoved a fork into the victim’s stomach. Wild!”

When I asked Weatherman Mark Rudd why his otherwise intelligent friends paid homage to Manson, he told me: “We wanted to be bad.”

Like Dohrn, Rolling Stone later went on to enjoy mainstream respectability despite publishing bizarre views on one of the twentieth century’s most notorious serial killers. Whereas Manson looked every bit the madman on the cover of Life, he appeared as a visionary on the front page of Rolling Stone. Therein, the magazine depicted Manson’s refusal to offer an insanity plea as a principled stand and characterized his criticism of the legal system as “obviously accurate in many ways.” In calling him Charlie, a first-name-basis intimacy later reserved for Madonna, Prince, Bruce, and other singing celebrities, the magazine actively sought to humanize the man who dehumanized so many.

Other underground newspapers went further. The Los Angeles-based Tuesday’s Child proclaimed, “Manson: Man of the Year” on one cover and depicted Manson as Jesus Christ dying on the cross under the tag “Hippie” on another. The Los Angeles Free Press ran a weekly column penned by Manson. The Other, playing off controversial remarks made by the president, headlined an issue “Manson Declares Nixon Guilty.” Upon the release of an album of Manson’s music, several underground newspapers provided advertising for it gratis.

Go here to read the rest.

One of his followers, Lynette Alice, “Squeaky”, Fromme attempted to assassinate President Ford on September 5, 1975.  Sentenced to life imprisonment, she was paroled in 2009.

Looking back on the evil, wasted life of Charles Manson we see the end to which the misuse of free will can drive a person, and the mystery of why Christ died for even such as Charles Manson, but God can love even when Man can’t.

 

2

John Adams and Benjamin Franklin Debate National Symbols

After the American Revolution, former American officers in that struggle created a fraternal organization called the Society of Cinncinatus, named after the Roman consul and dictator, a constitutional office of the Roman Republic in emergencies, who saved Rome through his efforts in the fifth century BC and then retired to his humble farm.  The Society selected as its symbol a bald eagle.  In a letter to his daughter Sally Bache on January 26, 1784, no doubt with his tongue placed firmly in his cheek, Dr. Franklin indicated that he thought another bird would have been a better choice.

 

 

 

 

Others object to the Bald Eagle, as looking too much like a Dindon, or Turkey. For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen as the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly. You may have seen him perch’d on some dead Tree near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk; and when that diligent Bird has at length taken a Fish, and is bearing it to his Nest for the Support of his Mate and young Ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from him. With all this Injustice, he is never in good Case but like those among Men who live by Sharping and Robbing he is generally poor and often very lousy. Besides he is a rank Coward: The little King Bird not bigger than a Sparrow attacks him boldly and drives him out of the District. He is therefore by no means a proper Emblem for the brave and honest Cincinnati of America who have driven all the King birds from our Country, tho’ exactly fit for that Order of Knights which the French call Chevaliers d’Industrie. I am on this account not displeas’d that the Figure is not known as a Bald Eagle, but looks more like a Turkey. For in Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America. Eagles have been found in all Countries, but the Turkey was peculiar to ours, the first of the Species seen in Europe being brought to France by the Jesuits from Canada, and serv’d up at the Wedding Table of Charles the ninth. He is besides, tho’ a little vain and silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on.

 

 

2

St. Augustine (Hippo) says Jesus is a God of Mercy

I thought this discourse on the Psalms, taken from St. Augustine of Hippo as the Second Reading of the Office of Readings might be pertinent…I’ll quote most of the whole thing–go to the link for the rest.

“All the trees of the forest will exult before the face of the Lord, for he has come, he has come to judge the earth. He has come the first time, and he will come again. At his first coming, his own voice declared in the gospel: Hereafter you shall see the Son of Man coming upon the clouds. What does he mean by hereafter? Does he not mean that the Lord will come at a future time when all the nations of the earth will be striking their breasts in grief ? Previously he came through his preachers, and he filled the whole world. Let us not resist his first coming, so that we may not dread the second.

 

….

 

All the trees of the forest will exult. He has come the first time, and he will come again to judge the earth; he will find those rejoicing who believed in his first coming, for he has come.

 

He will judge the world with equity and the peoples in his truth. What are equity and truth? He will gather together with him for the judgment his chosen ones, but the others he will set apart; for he will place some on his right, others on his left. What is more equitable, what more true than that they should not themselves expect mercy from the judge, who themselves were unwilling to show mercy before the judge’s coming. Those, however, who were willing to show mercy will be judged with mercy. For it will be said to those placed on his right: Come, blessed of my Father, take possession of the kingdom which has been prepared for you from the beginning of the world. And he reckons to their account their works of mercy: For I was hungry and you gave me food to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me drink.

 

What is imputed to those placed on his left side? That they refused to show mercy. And where will they go? Depart into the everlasting fire. The hearing of this condemnation will cause much wailing. But what has another psalm said? The just man will be held in everlasting remembrance; he will not fear the evil report. What is the evil report? Depart into the everlasting fire, which was prepared for the devil and his angels. Whoever rejoices to hear the good report will not fear the bad. This is equity, this is truth.

 

Or do you, because you are unjust, expect the judge not to be just? Or because you are a liar, will the truthful one not be true? Rather, if you wish to receive mercy, be merciful before he comes; forgive whatever has been done against you; give of your abundance. Of whose possessions do you give, if not from his? If you were to give of your own, it would be largess; but since you give of his, it is restitution. For what do you have, that you have not received?These are the sacrifices most pleasing to God: mercy, humility, praise, peace, charity. Such as these, then, let us bring and, free from fear, we shall await the coming of the judge who will judge the world in equity and the peoples in his truth.”  

-St. Augustine of Hippo, Discourse on the Psalms, taken from Office of Readings for 19 Nov. 2017

15

Pal Jesus is a Myth

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“A man going on a journey
called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them.
To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one–
to each according to his ability.
Then he went away.
Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them,
and made another five.
Likewise, the one who received two made another two.
But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground
and buried his master’s money.

After a long time
the master of those servants came back
and settled accounts with them.
The one who had received five talents came forward
bringing the additional five.
He said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents.
See, I have made five more.’
His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master’s joy.’
Then the one who had received two talents also came forward and said,
‘Master, you gave me two talents.
See, I have made two more.’
His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master’s joy.’
Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said,
‘Master, I knew you were a demanding person,
harvesting where you did not plant
and gathering where you did not scatter;
so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground.
Here it is back.’
His master said to him in reply, ‘You wicked, lazy servant!
So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant
and gather where I did not scatter?
Should you not then have put my money in the bank
so that I could have got it back with interest on my return?
Now then! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten.
For to everyone who has,
more will be given and he will grow rich;
but from the one who has not,
even what he has will be taken away.
And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.'”

Matthew 25:  14-30

One of the more appalling aspects of Christianity in the past half century is the growth of viewing Jesus as some sort of insipid forgiveness machine, a pal Jesus who will ever give us a thumbs up, no matter how wretched our behavior.  The Gospels give us a very different portrait of Jesus.  The above reading is typical:  a Jesus who expects much of us and who will punish those of us who fail to match His expectations.  In many ways the above is a terrifying passage because it is so at odds as to common perceptions of Jesus.  The prime mission of the Church is to convey the Truth of Christ, and if popular perceptions of the Second Person is any guide, the Church is failing appallingly, currently, at that task.

We must also recall the love of Christ of course which rescues us from the sin of despair.  However, like any love worthy of the name it requires much of us.  Christ calls us to take up our cross and follow Him.  It is almost a trite statement today.  In his time it was shocking, fully as shocking as a priest telling us that we must take up our electric chairs, or gas chambers, and follow Christ.  The early disciples of Christ knew how demanding, and sometimes dangerous, it was to follow Christ, and yet they did so.  May we have a fraction of their wisdom, faith and raw courage.

2

November 19, 1794: Jay Treaty is Signed

 

 

 

In retrospect it is difficult to see why the Jay Treaty was so controversial.  The US got the removal of various forts in the north and the northwest that the British had refused to relinquish, secured most favored nation status, and received the then enormous sum of eleven million dollars from the British for damage to American merchant shipping.  Of course the British obtained some of their goals, but on the whole the Treaty was a win for America.  President Washington vigorously endorsed it.  However Jefferson, clearly seeing the hand of Hamilton behind it, raised a ferocious opposition to the Treaty that was not quelled by its ratification by the Senate in 1795, the vote being 20-10.  (Contrary to the video below Adams did not cast a tie-breaking vote, treaties needing a two-thirds vote in any case to be ratified.)  Instead, anti-Treaty forces became the nucleus of Jefferson’s Republican party in opposition to the pro-Treaty forces, the new Federalist party.  Thus was born the First Party System and the origin of the two party system that has become such an enduring feature of American government.  Here is the text of the treaty:

Treaty of Amity Commerce and Navigation, between His Britannick Majesty; and The United States of America, by Their President, with the advice and consent of Their Senate.

His Britannick Majesty and the United States of America, being desirous by a Treaty of Amity, Commerce and Navigation to terminate their Differences in such a manner, as without reference to the Merits of Their respective Complaints and Pretensions, may be the best calculated to produce mutual satisfaction and good understanding: And also to regulate the Commerce and Navigation between Their respective Countries, Territories and People, in such a manner as to render the same reciprocally beneficial and satisfactory; They have respectively named their Plenipotentiaries, and given them Full powers to treat of, and conclude, the said Treaty, that is to say; His Brittanick Majesty has named for His Plenipotentiary, The Right Honourable William Wyndham Baron Grenville of Wotton, One of His Majesty’s Privy Council, and His Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs; and The President of the said United States, by and with the advice and Consent of the Senate thereof, hath appointed for Their Plenipotentiary The Honourable John Jay, Chief Justice of the said United States and Their Envoy Extraordinary to His Majesty, who have agreed on, and concluded the following Articles

ARTICLE 1.

There shall be a firm inviolable and universal Peace, and a true and sincere Friendship between His Britannick Majesty, His Heirs and Successors, and the United States of America; and between their respective Countries, Territories, Cities, Towns and People of every Degree, without Exception of Persons or Places.

ARTICLE 2.

His Majesty will withdraw all His Troops and Garrisons from all Posts and Places within the Boundary Lines assigned by the Treaty of Peace to the United States. This Evacuation shall take place on or before the first Day of June One thousand seven hundred and ninety six, and all the proper Measures shall in the interval be taken by concert between the Government of the United States, and His Majesty’s Governor General in America, for settling the previous arrangements which may be necessary respecting the delivery of the said Posts: The United States in the mean Time at Their discretion extending their settlements to any part within the said boundary line, except within the precincts or Jurisdiction of any of the said Posts. All Settlers and Traders, within the Precincts or Jurisdiction of the said Posts, shall continue to enjoy, unmolested, all their property of every kind, and shall be protected therein. They shall be at full liberty to remain there, or to remove with all or any part of their Effects; and it shall also be free to them to sell their Lands, Houses, or Effects, or to retain the property thereof, at their discretion; such of them as shall continue to reside within the said Boundary Lines shall not be compelled to become Citizens of the United States, or to take any Oath of allegiance to the Government thereof, but they shall be at full liberty so to do, if they think proper, and they shall make and declare their Election within one year after the Evacuation aforesaid. And all persons who shall continue there after the expiration of the said year, without having declared their intention of remaining Subjects of His Britannick Majesty, shall be considered as having elected to become Citizens of the United States.

ARTICLE 3.

It is agreed that it shall at all Times be free to His Majesty’s Subjects, and to the Citizens of the United States, and also to the Indians dwelling on either side of the said Boundary Line freely to pass and repass by Land, or Inland Navigation, into the respective Territories and Countries of the Two Parties on the Continent of America (the Country within the Limits of the Hudson’s Bay Company only excepted) and to navigate all the Lakes, Rivers, and waters thereof, and freely to carry on trade and commerce with each other. But it is understood, that this Article does not extend to the admission of Vessels of the United States into the Sea Ports, Harbours, Bays, or Creeks of His Majesty’s said Territories; nor into such parts of the Rivers in His Majesty’s said Territories as are between the mouth thereof, and the highest Port of Entry from the Sea, except in small vessels trading bona fide between Montreal and Quebec, under such regulations as shall be established to prevent the possibility of any Frauds in this respect. Nor to the admission of British vessels from the Sea into the Rivers of the United States, beyond the highest Ports of Entry for Foreign Vessels from the Sea. The River Mississippi, shall however, according to the Treaty of Peace be entirely open to both Parties; And it is further agreed, That all the ports and places on its Eastern side, to whichsoever of the parties belonging, may freely be resorted to, and used by both parties, in as ample a manner as any of the Atlantic Ports or Places of the United States, or any of the Ports or Places of His Majesty in Great Britain.

All Goods and Merchandize whose Importation into His Majesty’s said Territories in America, shall not be entirely prohibited, may freely, for the purposes of Commerce, be carried into the same in the manner aforesaid, by the Citizens of the United States, and such Goods and Merchandize shall be subject to no higher or other Duties than would be payable by His Majesty’s Subjects on the Importation of the same from Europe into the said Territories. And in like manner, all Goods and Merchandize whose Importation into the United States shall not be wholly prohibited, may freely, for the purposes of Commerce, be carried into the same, in the manner aforesaid, by His Majesty’s Subjects, and such Goods and Merchandize shall be subject to no higher or other Duties than would be payable by the Citizens of the United States on the Importation of the same in American Vessels into the Atlantic Ports of the said States. And all Goods not prohibited to be exported from the said Territories respectively, may in like manner be carried out of the same by the Two Parties respectively, paying Duty as aforesaid

No Duty of Entry shall ever be levied by either Party on Peltries brought by Land, or Inland Navigation into the said Territories respectively, nor shall the Indians passing or repassing with their own proper Goods and Effects of whatever nature, pay for the same any Impost or Duty whatever. But Goods in Bales, or other large Packages unusual among Indians shall not be considered as Goods belonging bona fide to Indians. No higher or other Tolls or Rates of Ferriage than what are, or shall be payable by Natives, shall be demanded on either side; And no Duties shall be payable on any Goods which shall merely be carried over any of the Portages, or carrying Places on either side, for the purpose of being immediately reimbarked, and carried to some other Place or Places. But as by this Stipulation it is only meant to secure to each Party a free passage across the Portages on both sides, it is agreed, that this Exemption from Duty shall extend only to such Goods as are carried in the usual and direct Road across the Portage, and are not attempted to be in any manner sold or exchanged during their passage across the same, and proper Regulations may be established to prevent the possibility of any Frauds in this respect.

As this Article is intended to render in a great Degree the local advantages of each Party common to both, and thereby to promote a disposition favourable to Friendship and good neighbourhood, It is agreed, that the respective Governments will mutually promote this amicable Intercourse, by causing speedy and impartial Justice to be done, and necessary protection to be extended, to all who may be concerned therein.

ARTICLE 4.

Whereas it is uncertain whether the River Mississippi extends so far to the Northward as to be intersected by a Line to be drawn due West from the Lake of the woods in the manner mentioned in the Treaty of Peace between His Majesty and the United States, it is agreed, that measures shall be taken in Concert between His Majesty’s Government in America, and the Government of the United States, for making a joint Survey of the said River, from one Degree of Latitude below the falls of St Anthony to the principal Source or Sources of the said River, and also of the parts adjacent thereto, And that if on the result of such Survey it should appear that the said River would not be intersected by such a Line as is above mentioned; The two Parties will thereupon proceed by amicable negotiation to regulate the Boundary Line in that quarter as well as all other Points to be adjusted between the said Parties, according to Justice and mutual Convenience, and in Conformity, to the Intent of the said Treaty.

ARTICLE 5.

Whereas doubts have arisen what River was truly intended under the name of the River st Croix mentioned in the said Treaty of Peace and forming a part of the boundary therein described, that question shall be referred to the final Decision of Commissioners to be appointed in the following Manner-Viz-

One Commissioner shall be named by His Majesty, and one by the President of the United States, by and with the advice and Consent of the Senate thereof, and the said two Commissioners shall agree on the choice of a third, or, if they cannot so agree, They shall each propose one Person, and of the two names so proposed one shall be drawn by Lot, in the presence of the two original Commissioners. And the three Commissioners so appointed shall be Sworn impartially to examine and decide the said question according to such Evidence as shall respectively be laid before Them on the part of the British Government and of the United States. The said Commissioners shall meet at Halifax and shall have power to adjourn to such other place or places as they shall think fit. They shall have power to appoint a Secretary, and to employ such Surveyors or other Persons as they shall judge necessary. The said Commissioners shall by a Declaration under their Hands and Seals, decide what River is the River St Croix intended by the Treaty.

The said Declaration shall contain a description of the said River, and shall particularize the Latitude and Longitude of its mouth and of its Source. Duplicates of this Declaration ant of the State meets of their Accounts, and of the Journal of their proceedings, shall be delivered by them to the Agent of His Majesty, and to the Agent of the United States, who may be respectively appointed and authorized to manage the business on behalf of the respective Governments. And both parties agree to consider such decision as final and conclusive, so as that the same shall never thereafter be called into question, or made the subject of dispute or difference between them.

ARTICLE 6.

Whereas it is alledged by divers British Merchants and others His Majesty’s Subjects, that Debts to a considerable amount which were bona fide contracted before the Peace, still remain owing to them by Citizens or Inhabitants of the United States, and that by the operation of various lawful Impediments since the Peace, not only the full recovery of the said Debts has been delayed, but also the Value and Security thereof, have been in several instances impaired and lessened, so that by the ordinary course of Judicial proceedings the British Creditors, cannot now obtain and actually have and receive full and adequate Compensation for the losses and damages which they have thereby sustained: It is agreed that in all such Cases where full Compensation for such losses and damages cannot, for whatever reason, be actually obtained had and received by the said Creditors in the ordinary course of Justice, The United States will make full and complete Compensation for the same to the said Creditors; But it is distinctly understood, that this provision is to extend to such losses only, as have been occasioned by the lawful impediments aforesaid, and is not to extend to losses occasioned by such Insolvency of the Debtors or other Causes as would equally have operated to produce such loss, if the said impediments had not existed, nor to such losses or damages as have been occasioned by the manifest delay or negligence, or wilful omission of the Claimant.

For the purpose of ascertaining the amount of any such losses and damages, Five Commissioners shall be appointed and authorized to meet and act in manner following-viz- Two of them shall be appointed by His Majesty, Two of them by the President of the United States by and with the advice and consent of the Senate thereof, and the fifth, by the unanimous voice of the other Four; and if they should not agree in such Choice, then the Commissioners named by the two parties shall respectively propose one person, and of the two names so proposed, one shall be drawn by Lot in the presence of the Four Original Commissioners. When the Five Commissioners thus appointed shall first meet, they shall before they proceed to act respectively, take the following Oath or Affirmation in the presence of each other, which Oath or Affirmation, being so taken, and duly attested, shall be entered on the Record of their Proceedings, -viz.- I. A: B: One of the Commissioners appointed in pursuance of the 6th Article of the Treaty of Amity, Commerce and Navigation between His Britannick Majesty and The United States of America, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will honestly, diligently, impartially, and carefully examine, and to the best of my Judgement, according to Justice and Equity decide all such Complaints, as under the said Article shall be preferred to the said Commissioners: and that I will forbear to act as a Commissioner in any Case in which I may be personally interested.

Three of the said Commissioners shall constitute a Board, and shall have power to do any act appertaining to the said Commission, provided that one of the Commissioners named on each side, and the Fifth Commissioner shall be present, and all decisions shall be made by the Majority of the Voices of the Commissioners then present. Eighteen Months from the Day on which the said Commissioners shall form a Board, and be ready to proceed to Business are assigned for receiving Complaints and applications, but they are nevertheless authorized in any particular Cases in which it shall appear to them to be reasonable and just to extend the said Term of Eighteen Months, for any term not exceeding Six Months after the expiration thereof. The said Commissioners shall first meet at Philadelphia, but they shall have power to adjourn from Place to Place as they shall see Cause.

The said Commissioners in examining the Complaints and applications so preferred to them, are impowered and required in pursuance of the true intent and meaning of this article to take into their Consideration all claims whether of principal or interest, or balances of principal and interest, and to determine the same respectively according to the merits of the several Cases, due regard being had to all the Circumstances thereof, and as Equity and Justice shall appear to them to require. And the said Commissioners shall have power to examine all such Persons as shall come before them on Oath or Affirmation touching the premises; and also to receive in Evidence according as they may think most consistent with Equity and Justice all written positions, or Books or Papers, or Copies or Extracts thereof. Every such Deposition, Book or Paper or Copy or Extract being duly authenticated either according to the legal Forms now respectively existing in the two Countries, or in such other manner as the said Commissioners shall see cause to require or allow.

The award of the said Commissioners or of any three of them as aforesaid shall in all Cases be final and conclusive both as to the Justice of the Claim, and to the amount of the Sum to be paid to the Creditor or Claimant. And the United States undertake to cause the Sum so awarded to be paid in Specie to such Creditor or Claimant without deduction; and at such Time or Times, and at such Place or Places, as shall be awarded by the said Commissioners, and on Condition of such Releases or assignments to be given by the Creditor or Claimant as by the said Commissioners may be directed; Provided always that no such payment shall be fixed by the said Commissioners to take place sooner then twelve months from the Day of the Exchange of the Ratifications of this Treaty.

ARTICLE 7.

Whereas Complaints have been made by divers Merchants and others, Citizens of the United States, that during the course of the War in which His Majesty is now engaged they have sustained considerable losses and damage by reason of irregular or illegal Captures or Condemnations of their vessels and other property under Colour of authority or Commissions from His Majesty, and that from various Circumstances belonging to the said Cases adequate Compensation for the losses and damages so sustained cannot now be actually obtained, had and received by the ordinary Course of Judicial proceedings; It is agreed that in all such Cases where adequate Compensation cannot for whatever reason be now actually obtained, had and received by the said Merchants and others in the ordinary course of Justice, full and Complete Compensation for the same will be made by the British Government to the said Complainants. But it is distinctly understood, that this provision is not to extend to such losses or damages as have been occasioned by the manifest delay or negligence, or wilful omission of the Claimant. That for the purpose of ascertaining the amount of any such losses and damages Five Commissioners shall be appointed and authorized to act in London exactly in the manner directed with respect to those mentioned in the preceding Article, and after having taken the same Oath or Affirmation (mutatis mutandis). The same term of Eighteen Months is also assigned for the reception of Claims, and they are in like manner authorised to extend the same in particular Cases. They shall receive Testimony, Books, Papers and Evidence in the same latitude, and exercise the like discretion, and powers respecting that subject, and shall decide the Claims in question, according to the merits of the several Cases, and to Justice Equity and the Laws of Nations. The award of the said Commissioners or any such three of them as aforesaid, shall in all Cases be final and conclusive both as to the Justice of the Claim and the amount of the Sum to be paid to the Claimant; and His Britannick Majesty undertakes to cause the same to be paid to such Claimant in Specie, without any Deduction, at such place or places, and at such Time or Times as shall be awarded by the said Commissioners and on Condition of such releases or assignments to be given by the Claimant, as by the said Commissioners may be directed. And whereas certain merchants and others, His Majesty’s Subjects, complain that in the course of the war they have sustained Loss and Damage by reason of the Capture of their Vessels and Merchandize taken within the Limits and Jurisdiction of the States, and brought into the Ports of the same, or taken by Vessels originally armed in Ports of the said States:

It is agreed that in all such cases where Restitution shall not have been made agreeably to the tenor of the letter from Mr. Jefferson to Mr. Hammond dated at Philadelphia September 5th 1793. A Copy of which is annexed to this Treaty, the Complaints of the parties shall be, and hereby are referred to the Commissioners to be appointed by virtue of this article, who are hereby authorized and required to proceed in the like manner relative to these as to the other Cases committed to them, and the United States undertake to pay to the Complainants or Claimants in specie without deduction the amount of such Sums as shall be awarded to them respectively by the said Commissioners and at the times and places which in such awards shall be specified, and on Condition of such Releases or assignments to be given by the Claimants as in the said awards may be directed: And it is further agreed that not only to be now existing Cases of both descriptions, but also all such as shall exist at the Time, of exchanging the Ratifications of this Treaty shall be considered as being within the provisions intent and meaning of this article.

ARTICLE 8.

It is further agreed that the Commissioners mentioned in this and in the two preceding articles shall be respectively paid in such manner, as shall be agreed between the two parties, such agreement being to be settled at the Time of the exchange of the Ratifications of this Treaty. And all other Expences attending the said Commissions shall be defrayed jointly by the Two Parties, the same being previously ascertained and allowed by the Majority of the Commissioners. And in the case of Death, Sickness or necessary absence, the place of every such Commissioner respectively, shall be supplied in the same manner as such Commissioner was first appointed, and the new Commissioners shall take the same Oath, or Affirmation, and do the same Duties.

ARTICLE 9.

It is agreed, that British Subjects who now hold Lands in the Territories of the United States, and American Citizens who now hold Lands in the Dominions of His Majesty, shall continue to hold them according to the nature and Tenure of their respective Estates and Titles therein, and may grant Sell or Devise the same to whom they please, in like manner as if they were Natives; and that neither they nor their Heirs or assigns shall, so far as may respect the said Lands, be and the legal remedies incident thereto, be regarded as Aliens.

ARTICLE 10.

Neither the Debts due from Individuals of the one Nation, to Individuals of the other, nor shares nor monies, which they may have in the public Funds, or in the public or private Banks shall ever, in any Event of war, or national differences, be sequestered, or confiscated, it being unjust and impolitick that Debts and Engagements contracted and made by Individuals having confidence in each other, and in their respective Governments, should ever be destroyed or impaired by national authority, on account of national Differences and Discontents.

ARTICLE 11.

It is agreed between His Majesty and the United States of America, that there shall be a reciprocal and entirely perfect Liberty of Navigation and Commerce, between their respective People, in the manner, under the Limitations, and on the Conditions specified in the following Articles.

ARTICLE 12.

His Majesty Consents that it shall and may be lawful, during the time hereinafter Limited, for the Citizens of the United States, to carry to any of His Majesty’s Islands and Ports in the West Indies from the United States in their own Vessels, not being above the burthen of Seventy Tons, any Goods or Merchandizes, being of the Growth, Manufacture, or Produce of the said States, which it is, or may be lawful to carry to the said Islands or Ports from the said States in British Vessels, and that the said American Vessels shall be subject there to no other or higher Tonnage Duties or Charges, than shall be payable by British Vessels, in the Ports of the United States; and that the Cargoes of the said American Vessels, shall be subject there to no other or higher Duties or Charges, than shall be payable on the like Articles, if imported there from the said States in British vessels. And His Majesty also consents that it shall be lawful for the said American Citizens to purchase, load and carry away, in their said vessels to the United States from the said Islands and Ports, all such articles being of the Growth, Manufacture or Produce of the said Islands, as may now by Law be carried from thence to the said States in British Vessels, and subject only to the same Duties and Charges on Exportation to which British Vessels and their Cargoes are or shall be subject in similar circumstances.

Provided always that the said American vessels do carry and land their Cargoes in the United States only, it being expressly agreed and declared that during the Continuance of this article, the United States will prohibit and restrain the carrying any Melasses, Sugar, Coffee, Cocoa or Cotton in American vessels, either from His Majesty’s Islands or from the United States, to any part of the World, except the United States, reasonable Sea Stores excepted. Provided also, that it shall and may be lawful during the same period for British vessels to import from the said Islands into the United States, and to export from the United States to the said Islands, all Articles whatever being of the Growth, Produce or Manufacture of the said Islands, or of the United States respectively, which now may, by the Laws of the said States, be so imported and exported. And that the Cargoes of the said British vessels, shall be subject to no other or higher Duties or Charges, than shall be payable on the same articles if so imported or exported in American Vessels.

It is agreed that this Article, and every Matter and Thing therein contained, shall continue to be in Force, during the Continuance of the war in which His Majesty is now engaged; and also for Two years from and after the Day of the signature of the Preliminary or other Articles of Peace by which the same may be terminated

And it is further agreed that at the expiration of the said Term, the Two Contracting Parties will endeavour further to regulate their Commerce in this respect, according to the situation in which His Majesty may then find Himself with respect to the West Indies, and with a view to such Arrangements, as may best conduce to the mutual advantage and extension of Commerce. And the said Parties will then also renew their discussions, and endeavour to agree, whether in any and what cases Neutral Vessels shall protect Enemy’s property; and in what cases provisions and other articles not generally Contraband may become such. But in the mean time their Conduct towards each other in these respects, shall be regulated by the articles hereinafter inserted on those subjects.

ARTICLE 13.

His Majesty consents that the Vessels belonging to the Citizens of the United States of America, shall be admitted and Hospitably received in all the Sea Ports and Harbours of the British Territories in the East Indies: and that the Citizens of the said United States, may freely carry on a Trade between the said Territories and the said United States, in all articles of which the Importation or Exportation respectively to or from the said Territories, shall not be entirely prohibited; Provided only, that it shall not be lawful for them in any time of War between the British Government, and any other Power or State whatever, to export from the said Territories without the special Permission of the British Government there, any Military Stores, or Naval Stores, or Rice. The Citizens of the United States shall pay for their Vessels when admitted into the said Ports, no other or higher Tonnage Duty than shall be payable on British Vessels when admitted into the Ports of the United States. And they shall pay no other or higher Duties or Charges on the importation or exportation of the Cargoes of the said Vessels, than shall be payable on the same articles when imported or exported in British Vessels. But it is expressly agreed, that the Vessels of the United States shall not carry any of the articles exported by them from the said British Territories to any Port or Place, except to some Port or Place in America, where the same shall be unladen, and such Regulations shall be adopted by both Parties, as shall from time to time be found necessary to enforce the due and faithful! observance of this Stipulation: It is also understood that the permission granted by this article is not to extend to allow the Vessels of the United States to carry on any part of the Coasting Trade of the said British Territories, but Vessels going with their original Cargoes, or part thereof, from one port of discharge to another, are not to be considered as carrying on the Coasting Trade. Neither is this Article to be construed to allow the Citizens of the said States to settle or reside within the said Territories, or to go into the interior parts thereof, without the permission of the British Government established there; and if any transgression should be attempted against the Regulations of the British Government in this respect, the observance of the same shall and may be enforced against the Citizens of America in the same manner as against British Subjects, or others transgressing the same rule. And the Citizens of the United States, whenever they arrive in any Port or Harbour in the said Territories, or if they should be permitted in manner aforesaid, to go to any other place therein, shall always be subject to the Laws, Government and Jurisdiction, of what nature, established in such Harbour, Port or Place according as the same may be: The Citizens of the United States, may also touch for refreshment, at the Island of st Helena, but subject in all respects to such regulations, as the British Government may from time to time establish there.

ARTICLE 14.

There shall be between all the Dominions of His Majesty in Europe, and the Territories of the United States, a reciprocal and perfect liberty of Commerce and Navigation. The people and Inhabitants of the Two Countries respectively, shall have liberty, freely and securely, and without hindrance and molestation, to come with their Ships and Cargoes to the Lands, Countries, Cities, Ports Places and Rivers within the Dominions and Territories aforesaid, to enter into the same, to resort there, and to remain and reside there, without any limitation of Time: also to hire and possess, Houses and ware houses for the purposes of their Commerce; and generally the Merchants and Traders on each side, shall enjoy the most complete protection and Security for their Commerce; but subject always, as to what respects this article, to the Laws and Statutes of the Two Countries respectively.

ARTICLE 15.

It is agreed, that no other or higher Duties shall be paid by the Ships or Merchandize of the one Party in the Ports of the other, than such as are paid by the like vessels or Merchandize of all other Nations. Nor shall any other or higher Duty be imposed in one Country on the importation of any articles, the growth, produce, or manufacture of the other, than are or shall be payable on the importation of the like articles being of the growth, produce or manufacture of any other Foreign Country. Nor shall any prohibition be imposed, on the exportation or importation of any articles to or from the Territories of the Two Parties respectively which shall not equally extend to all other Nations.

But the British Government reserves to itself the right of imposing on American Vessels entering into the British Ports in Europe a Tonnage Duty, equal to that which shall be payable by British Vessels in the Ports of America: And also such Duty as may be adequate to countervail the difference of Duty now payable on the importation of European and Asiatic Goods when imported into the United States in British or in American Vessels.

The Two Parties agree to treat for the more exact equalization of the Duties on the respective Navigation of their Subjects and People in such manner as may be most beneficial to the two Countries. The arrangements for this purpose shall be made at the same time with those mentioned at the Conclusion of the 12th Article of this Treaty, and are to be considered as a part thereof. In the interval it is agreed, that the United States will not impose any new or additional Tonnage Duties on British Vessels, nor increase the now subsisting difference between the Duties payable on the importation of any articles in British or in American Vessels.

ARTICLE 16.

It shall be free for the Two Contracting Parties respectively, to appoint Consuls for the protection of Trade, to reside in the Dominions and Territories aforesaid; and the said Consuls shall enjoy those Liberties and Rights which belong to them by reason of their Function. But before any Consul shall act as such, he shall be in the usual forms approved and admitted by the party to whom he is sent, and it is hereby declared to be lawful and proper, that in case of illegal or improper Conduct towards the Laws or Government, a Consul may either be punished according to Law, if the Laws will reach the Case, or be dismissed or even sent back, the offended Government assigning to the other, Their reasons for the same.

Either of the Parties may except from the residence of Consuls such particular Places, as such party shall judge proper to be so excepted.

ARTICLE 17.

It is agreed that, in all Cases where Vessels shall be captured or detained on just suspicion of having on board Enemy’s property or of carrying to the Enemy, any of the articles which are Contraband of war; The said Vessel shall be brought to the nearest or most convenient Port, and if any property of an Enemy, should be found on board such Vessel, that part only which belongs to the Enemy shall be made prize, and the Vessel shall be at liberty to proceed with the remainder without any Impediment. And it is agreed that all proper measures shall be taken to prevent delay, in deciding the Cases of Ships or Cargoes so brought in for adjudication, and in the payment or recovery of any Indemnification adjudged or agreed to be paid to the masters or owners of such Ships.

ARTICLE 18.

In order to regulate what is in future to be esteemed Contraband of war, it is agreed that under the said Denomination shall be comprized all Arms and Implements serving for the purposes of war by Land or Sea; such as Cannon, Muskets, Mortars, Petards, Bombs, Grenades Carcasses, Saucisses, Carriages for Cannon, Musket rests, Bandoliers, Gunpowder, Match, Saltpetre, Ball, Pikes, Swords, Headpieces Cuirasses Halberts Lances Javelins, Horsefurniture, Holsters, Belts and, generally all other Implements of war, as also Timber for Ship building, Tar or Rosin, Copper in Sheets, Sails, Hemp, and Cordage, and generally whatever may serve directly to the equipment of Vessels, unwrought Iron and Fir planks only excepted, and all the above articles are hereby declared to be just objects of Confiscation, whenever they are attempted to be carried to an Enemy.

And Whereas the difficulty of agreeing on the precise Cases in which alone Provisions and other articles not generally contraband may be regarded as such, renders it expedient to provide against the inconveniences and misunderstandings which might thence arise: It is further agreed that whenever any such articles so becoming Contraband according to the existing Laws of Nations, shall for that reason be seized, the same shall not be confiscated, but the owners thereof shall be speedily and completely indemnified; and the Captors, or in their default the Government under whose authority they act, shall pay to the Masters or Owners of such Vessels the full value of all such Articles, with a reasonable mercantile Profit thereon, together with the Freight, and also the Demurrage incident to such Detension.

And Whereas it frequently happens that vessels sail for a Port or Place belonging to an Enemy, without knowing that the same is either besieged, blockaded or invested; It is agreed, that every Vessel so circumstanced may be turned away from such Port or Place, but she shall not be detained, nor her Cargo, if not Contraband, be confiscated; unless after notice she shall again attempt to enter; but She shall be permitted to go to any other Port or Place She may think proper: Nor shall any vessel or Goods of either party, that may have entered into such Port or Place before the same was besieged, block aced or invested by the other, and be found therein after the reduction or surrender of such place, be liable to confiscation, but shall be restored to the Owners or proprietors thereof.

ARTICLE 19.

And that more abundant Care may be taken for the security of the respective Subjects and Citizens of the Contracting Parties, and to prevent their suffering Injuries by the Men of war, or Privateers of either Party, all Commanders of Ships of war and Privateers and all others the said Subjects and Citizens shall forbear doing any Damage to those of the other party, or committing any Outrage against them, and if they act to the contrary, they shall be punished, and shall also be bound in their Persons and Estates to make satisfaction and reparation for all Damages, and the interest thereof, of whatever nature the said Damages may be.

For this cause all Commanders of Privateers before they receive their Commissions shall hereafter be obliged to give before a Competent Judge, sufficient security by at least Two responsible Sureties, who have no interest in the said Privateer, each of whom, together with the said Commander, shall be jointly and severally bound in the Sum of Fifteen hundred pounds Sterling, or if such Ships be provided with above One hundred and fifty Seamen or Soldiers, in the Sum of Three thousand pounds sterling, to satisfy all Damages and Injuries, which the said Privateer or her Officers or Men, or any of them may do or commit during their Cruize contrary to the tenor of this Treaty, or to the Laws and Instructions for regulating their Conduct; and further that in all Cases of Aggressions the said Commissions shall be revoked and annulled.

It is also agreed that whenever a Judge of a Court of Admiralty of either of the Parties, shall pronounce sentence against any Vessel or Goods or Property belonging to the Subjects or Citizens of the other Party a formal and duly authenticated Copy of all the proceedings in the Cause, and of the said Sentence, shall if required be delivered to the Commander of the said Vessel, without the smallest delay, he paying all legal Fees and Demands for the same.

ARTICLE 20.

It is further agreed that both the said Contracting Parties, shall not only refuse to receive any Pirates into any of their Ports, Havens, or Towns, or permit any of their Inhabitants to receive, protect, harbour conceal or assist them in any manner, but will bring to condign punishment all such Inhabitants as shall be guilty of such Acts or offences.

And all their Ships with the Goods or Merchandizes taken by them and brought into the port of either of the said Parties, shall be seized, as far as they can be discovered and shall be restored to the owners or their Factors or Agents duly deputed and authorized in writing by them (proper Evidence being first given in the Court of Admiralty for proving the property,) even in case such effects should have passed into other hands by Sale, if it be proved that the Buyers knew or had good reason to believe, or suspect that they had been piratically taken.

ARTICLE 21.

It is likewise agreed that the Subjects and Citizens of the Two Nations, shall not do any acts of Hostility or Violence against each other, nor accept Commissions or Instructions so to act from any Foreign Prince or State, Enemies to the other party, nor shall the Enemies of one of the parties be permitted to invite or endeavour to enlist in their military service any of the Subjects or Citizens of the other party; and the Laws against all such Offences and Aggressions shall be punctually executed. And if any Subject or Citizen of the said Parties respectively shall accept any Foreign Commission or Letters of Marque for Arming any Vessel to act as a Privateer against the other party, and be taken by the other party, it is hereby declared to be lawful for the said party to treat and punish the said Subject or Citizen, having such Commission or Letters of Marque as a Pirate.

ARTICLE 22.

It is expressly stipulated that neither of the said Contracting Parties will order or Authorize any Acts of Reprisal against the other on Complaints of Injuries or Damages until the said party shall first have presented to the other a Statement thereof, verified by competent proof and Evidence, and demanded Justice and Satisfaction, and the same shall either have been refused or unreasonably delayed.

ARTICLE 23.

The Ships of war of each of the Contracting Parties, shall at all times be hospitably received in the Ports of the other, their Officers and Crews paying due respect to the Laws and Government of the Country. The officers shall be treated with that respect, which is due to the Commissions which they bear. And if any Insult should be offered to them by any of the Inhabitants, all offenders in this respect shall be punished as Disturbers of the Peace and Amity between the Two Countries.

And His Majesty consents, that in case an American Vessel should by stress of weather, Danger from Enemies, or other misfortune be reduced to the necessity of seeking Shelter in any of His Majesty’s Ports, into which such Vessel could not in ordinary cases claim to be admitted; She shall on manifesting that necessity to the satisfaction of the Government of the place, be hospitably received, and be permitted to refit, and to purchase at the market price, such necessaries as she may stand in need of, conformably to such Orders and regulations as the Government of the place, having respect to the circumstances of each case shall prescribe. She shall not be allowed to break bulk or unload her Cargo, unless the same shall be bona fide necessary to her being refitted. Nor shall be permitted to sell any part of her Cargo, unless so much only as may be necessary to defray her expences, and then not without the express permission of the Government of the place. Nor shall she be obliged to pay any Duties whatever, except only on such Articles, as she may be permitted to sell for the purpose aforesaid.

ARTICLE 24.

It shall not be lawful for any Foreign Privateers (not being Subjects or Citizens of either of the said Parties) who have Commissions from any other Prince or State in Enmity with either Nation, to arm their Ships in the Ports of either of the said Parties, nor to sell what they have taken, nor in any other manner to exchange the same, nor shall they be allowed to purchase more provisions than shall be necessary for their going to the nearest Port of that Prince or State from whom they obtained their Commissions.

ARTICLE 25.

It shall be lawful for the Ships of war and Privateers belonging to the said Parties respectively to carry whithersoever they please the Ships and Goods taken from their Enemies without being obliged to pay any Fee to the Officers of the Admiralty, or to any Judges what ever; nor shall the said Prizes when they arrive at, and enter the Ports of the said Parties be detained or seized, neither shall the Searchers or other Officers of those Places visit such Prizes (except for the purpose of preventing the Carrying of any part of the Cargo thereof on Shore in any manner contrary to the established Laws of Revenue, Navigation or Commerce) nor shall such Officers take Cognizance of the Validity of such Prizes; but they shall be at liberty to hoist Sail, and depart as speedily as may be, and carry their said Prizes to the place mentioned in their Commissions or Patents, which the Commanders of the said Ships of war or Privateers shall be obliged to shew. No Shelter or Refuge shall be given in their Ports to such as have made a Prize upon the Subjects or Citizens of either of the said Parties; but if forced by stress of weather or the Dangers of the Sea, to enter therein, particular care shall be taken to hasten their departure, and to cause them to retire as soon as possible. Nothing in this Treaty contained shall however be construed or operate contrary to former and existing Public Treaties with other Sovereigns or States. But the Two parties agree, that while they continue in amity neither of them will in future make any Treaty that shall be inconsistent with this or the preceding article.

Neither of the said parties shall permit the Ships or Goods belonging to the Subjects or Citizens of the other to be taken within Cannon Shot of the Coast, nor in any of the Bays, Ports or Rivers of their Territories by Ships of war, or others having Commission from any Prince, Republic or State whatever. But in case it should so happen, the party whose Territorial Rights shall thus have been violated, shall use his utmost endeavours to obtain from the offending Party, full and ample satisfaction for the Vessel or Vessels so taken, whether the same be Vessels of war or Merchant Vessels.

ARTICLE 26.

If at any Time a Rupture should take place (which God forbid) between His Majesty and the United States, the Merchants and others of each of the Two Nations, residing in the Dominions of the other, shall have the privilege of remaining and continuing their Trade so long as they behave peaceably and commit no offence against the Laws, and in case their Conduct should render them suspected, and the respective Governments should think proper to order them to remove, the term of Twelve Months from the publication of the order shall be allowed them for that purpose to remove with their Families, Effects and Property, but this Favor shall not be extended to those who shall act contrary to the established Laws, and for greater certainty it is declared that such Rupture shall not be deemed to exist while negotiations for accommodating Differences shall be depending nor until the respective Ambassadors or Ministers, if such there shall be, shall be recalled, or sent home on account of such differences, and not on account of personal misconduct according to the nature and degrees of which both parties retain their Rights, either to request the recall or immediately to send home the Ambassador or Minister of the other; and that without prejudice to their mutual Friendship and good understanding.

ARTICLE 27.

It is further agreed that His Majesty and the United States on mutual Requisitions by them respectively or by their respective Ministers or Officers authorized to make the same will deliver up to Justice, all Persons who being charged with Murder or Forgery committed within the Jurisdiction of either, shall seek an Asylum within any of the Countries of the other, Provided that this shall only be done on such Evidence of Criminality as according to the Laws of the Place, where the Fugitive or Person so charged shall be found, would justify his apprehension and commitment for Tryal, if the offence had there been committed. The Expence of such apprehension and Delivery shall be borne and defrayed by those who make the Requisition and receive the Fugitive.

ARTICLE 28.

It is agreed that the first Ten Articles of this Treaty shall be permanent and that the subsequent Articles except the Twelfth shall be limited in their duration to Twelve years to be computed from the Day on which the Ratifications of this Treaty shall be exchanged, but subject to this Condition that whereas the said Twelfth Article will expire by the Limitation therein contained at the End of two years from the signing of the Preliminary or other Articles of Peace, which shall terminate the present War, in which His Majesty is engaged; It is agreed that proper Measures shall by Concert be taken for bringing the subject of that article into amicable Treaty and Discussion so early before the Expiration of the said Term, as that new Arrangements on that head may by that Time be perfected and ready to take place. But if it should unfortunately happen that His Majesty and the United States should not be able to agree on such new Arrangements, in that case, all the Articles of this Treaty except the first Ten shall then cease and expire together.

Lastly. This Treaty when the same shall have been ratified by His Majesty, and by The President of the United States, by and with the advice and Consent of Their Senate, and the respective Ratifications mutually exchanged, shall be binding and obligatory on His Majesty and on the said States, and shall be by Them respectively executed and observed with punctuality, and the most sincere regard to good Faith. And Whereas it will be expedient in order the better to facilitate Intercourse and obviate Difficulties that other Articles be proposed and added to this Treaty, which Articles from want of time and other circumstances cannot now be perfected; It is agreed that the said Parties will from Time to Time readily treat of and concerning such Articles, and will sincerely endeavour so to form them, as that they may conduce to mutual convenience, and tend to promote mutual Satisfaction and Friendship; and that the said Articles after having been duly ratified, shall be added to, and make a part of this Treaty.

In Faith whereof We the Undersigned, Ministers Plenipotentiary of His Majesty The King of Great Britain; and the United States of America, have signed this present Treaty, and have caused to be affixed thereto, the Seal of Our Arms.

Done at London, this Nineteenth Day of November, One thousand seven hundred and ninety Four.

GRENVILLE [Seal) JOHN JAY [Seal]

 

Bonus:  One of the rules of American history:  Don’t mess with George:

 

 

2

PopeWatch: Twitter and Beep

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

 

 

Pope Francis took to Twitter on Wednesday afternoon to chastise some in the priesthood and the laity who use their cell phones to take pictures during Masses, saying they should focus on God instead.

“The priest does not say ‘lift up your cell phones to take pictures’ during the Mass,” Francis tweeted to almost 15 million Twitter followers just before he consecrated the Body and Blood of Christ. “He says ‘lift up your hearts.’”

A short time later, Pope Francis could visibly be seen regularly checking his post to see how many likes and retweets he was receiving, with an assistant holding his phone to show him as he distributed communion.

“It makes me very sad when I celebrate Mass here in the piazza or in the basilica and I see so many cell phones held up. The Mass is not a show. I know it sometimes seems like one with all the guitars and balloons and other crap we allow, but it’s not. so remember, no cell phones!”

Francis later went on to take a minute during the announcements to tweet, “Zzzzzzzzzzzzz…”

 

Go here to read the comments.  PopeWatch called the Vatican to ask the Pope for comment.  PopeWatch was put on hold, but the Pope never picked up.  Instead PopeWatch received this text:  Gringo, stop bothering me!  Il Papa.

PopeWatch will not go away forever Holiness, but will be on Thanksgiving hiatus until November 27, 2017.

3

Turkey in the Straw

“I have lately made an Experiment in Electricity that I desire never to repeat. Two nights ago being about to kill a Turkey by the Shock from two large Glass Jarrs containing as much electrical fire as forty common Phials, I inadvertently took the whole thro’ my own Arms and Body.”

Benjamin Franklin, December 25, 1750

 

 

Something for the weekend.  Turkey in the Straw seems appropriate for the weekend before Thanksgiving.  The spirited rendition above is by the Skillet Lickers, a Georgia band of the twenties and thirties of the last century. Part time musicians, they made up in enthusiasm and faithfulness to the traditional music they played, what they may have lacked in technical skill.

7

Countess Von Zeppelin Accuses Theodore Roosevelt

 

Countess Isabella Von Zeppelin through her attorney and medium Gloria “no spectral ambulance should go unchased” Allred, today accused former President Theodore Roosevelt of groping her.  Through unearthly sobs, the spirt of the Countess wailed, “It was while he was a student in Germany.  He asked me if I wanted to see his collection of stuffed animals.  Always having an interest in taxidermy I followed him into his room.  While I was admiring a stuffed owl, the American swine had the effrontery of tapping me on the shoulder to direct my attention to a stuffed raven.  I off course fled the room in tears.  I have remained silent for well over a century with this shame and I now had to speak out.”

Ms. Allred then challenged Congress to conduct a séance to bring President Roosevelt back from the dead to face ex post facto impeachment.  Repeated requests for comment from the former President have gone unanswered.

8

Moore and Kennedy

Yeah, yeah I know, Tu quoque, and I don’t care a red cent.  Kennedy was regaled as the Lion of the Senate.  At his death he received a virtual canonization mass:

 

 

My favorite sendoff for Kennedy, to highlight the difference in treatment of Moore and Kennedy, came with this piece of bilge written by Melissa Lasky at Huffington Post:

 

Mary Jo wasn’t a right-wing talking point or a negative campaign slogan. She was a dedicated civil rights activist and political talent with a bright future — granted, whenever someone dies young, people sermonize about how he had a “bright future” ahead of him — but she actually did. She wasn’t afraid to defy convention (28 and unmarried, oh the horror!) or create her own career path based on her talents. She lived in Georgetown (where I grew up) and loved the Red Sox (we’ll forgive her for that). Then she got in a car driven by a 36-year-old senator with an alcohol problem and a cauldron full of demons, and wound up a controversial footnote in a dynasty.

We don’t know how much Kennedy was affected by her death, or what she’d have thought about arguably being a catalyst for the most successful Senate career in history. What we don’t know, as always, could fill a Metrodome.

Still, ignorance doesn’t preclude a right to wonder. So it doesn’t automatically make someone (aka, me) a Limbaugh-loving, aerial-wolf-hunting NRA troll for asking what Mary Jo Kopechne would have had to say about Ted’s death, and what she’d have thought of the life and career that are being (rightfully) heralded.

Who knows — maybe she’d feel it was worth it.

When liberals attempt to assert the moral high ground in regard to Moore, please always recall that for most of them such maneuvers are merely tactical in nature.

13

November 17, 1973: I Am Not A Crook

The Nixon tragedy: A man of unsurpassed courage and outstanding intelligence but without vision. An opportunist who missed his greatest opportunity.

Eric Hoffer

 

 

 

 

Hard to believe that it is forty-four years since the infamous “I am not a crook” news conference of President Nixon.  The video clip gives a taste of the surreal quality of those times.  For the sake of attempting to cover up a politically inspired burglary in a presidential election that the Democrats were busily throwing away, Nixon in 1972 embarked on a cover-up that eventually destroyed his Presidency, with his resignation in disgrace coming in August of 1974.

Greek tragedy is too mild a term to apply when discussing the presidency of Nixon.  Dealt a bad hand in Vietnam, he extricated the country from Vietnam while building up the South Vietnamese military to the extent that they could hold their own against the North Vietnamese, as long as supplies kept flowing from the US and their ground forces were supported by American air power.  His diplomatic opening to Red China was a masterful, if fairly obvious, strategic win over the Soviets.  Talks with the Soviets helped lower the temperature of the Cold War.  Domestically Nixon was the liberal Republican he always was, with wage and price controls and an expansion of the Federal government.  Continue Reading

6

PopeWatch: Arms Race

It is always distressing to see how factually challenged the Pope tends to be.  For example:

 

Indeed, the escalation of the arms race continues unabated and the price of modernizing and developing weaponry, not only nuclear weapons, represents a considerable expense for nations. As a result, the real priorities facing our human family, such as the fight against poverty, the promotion of peace, the undertaking of educational, ecological and healthcare projects, and the development of human rights, are relegated to second place.

 

Go here to read the rest.  There is no arms race.  In the US the money spent on arms is dwarfed by social spending.  European nations spend next to nothing on their military compared to social spending.  As is often the case the Pope is shadow boxing with phantoms that exist only in his mind.

18

“By Man Shall His Blood be Shed, A Catholic Defense of Capital Punishment” : A Review

A guest post by commenter Greg Mockeridge:

 

To say that confusion about what the Church really teaches about the death penalty is a real problem in Catholic circles today is an understatement of biblical proportions. This confusion has been fostered by the oft-repeated opposition of the US. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) as a whole, individual bishops and, to a lesser extent, Pope St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. Pope Francis has compounded the problem even further with some of his recent statements.

The recently published book, “By Man Shall His Blood be Shed, A Catholic Defense of Capital Punishment” by Dr. Ed Feser and Joseph Bessette makes a significant contribution in the much-needed effort to dispel this confusion.

Dr Edward Feser is Associate Professor of philosophy at Pasadena College in Pasadena, CA. Joseph Bessette is the Alice Tweed Tuohy Professor of Government and Ethics at Claremont College Prior to that he worked for nine years in criminal justice, on the staff of Cook County, Ill. State Attorney Richard M. Daley (1981-1984) and then as Deputy Director and Acting Director of the Bureau of Justice Statistics in the U.S. Department of Justice (1985-1990).

As the credentials of the two authors seem to imply, this book approaches the issue of capital punishment from both the perspective of Catholic teaching and secular jurisprudence and makes what I believe is an airtight case on both grounds. In the interest of full disclosure, I am coming to this with a decidedly pro-death penalty viewpoint. But if my judgment is clouded as a result of that, it should be plain to any objective observer. However, I, like the authors, believe it is legitimate for a Catholic to oppose capital punishment as a matter of policy, but not in principle.

Among those who give words of praise to the book are well-known Catholic figures like Frs. James Schall, Gerald Murray, and Robert Sirico, as well as canonist Dr. Ed Peters. Not one bishop is included amongst the names. Gee, why am I not surprised?

The introduction on page 12 states: “Yet traditional natural law reasoning is simply not widely understood today even among most Catholics. Moral thinking about capital punishment, even among Catholics, is often guided instead by what amounts to little more than platitudes lacking any clear content or rational foundation or by ethical theories that are incompatible with Catholic teaching.” In my experience, not only is this true, but it understates the problem. For example, about two years ago, I had a brief e-mail exchange with a priest friend of mine on capital punishment. This priest has formal training in Rome in moral theology, but yet he exhibited the same platitude-laden thinking devoid of both rational foundation and understanding of traditional Catholic teaching decried by the aforementioned quote. When someone like myself, who barely graduated high school in the Detroit public school system, displays a better grasp of how both the natural law and traditional Catholic morality approaches this issue than a priest educated in Rome, we have a serious problem!

In this light, it is only proper that the first chapter deals with the natural law. While I personally think the chapter could have been shorter and its language simplified, it is well worth the somewhat laborious read. In this chapter, the authors go to significant lengths to criticize the so-called New Natural Law Theory (NNLT) whose proponents include Drs. Germain Grisez, William May, E. Christian Brugger, Robert P. George, and others. In general, they posit, per the authors, that capital punishment not only shouldn’t be administered in practice, but that it is not even morally permissible in principle. This view puts them at odds with what the Church has traditionally taught regarding the death penalty. And yet these men all have established reputations for Catholic orthodoxy! Strange orthodoxy!

In the following chapter,”Church Teaching and Capital Punishment” they continue their criticisms of the NNLT. On page 143, they state: “Indeed, in our view it is surprising that the new natural law position on capital punishment has not generated more vigorous opposition among Catholics concerned with faithfulness to tradition and to the Magisterium.” While I would wholeheartedly agree that lack of opposition to this on the part of faithful Catholics is a problem, it is not at all surprising when you consider that the NNLT proponents are feted by many American bishops. This includes bishops who are considered heroes by many orthodox Catholics like, for example, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia. Chaput endorses Dr. Brugger’s work. Brugger also was Cardinal Francis J. Stafford Chair of Moral Theology at St John Vianney Seminary in Denver from 2008 (while Archbishop Chaput was still the Ordinary in Denver) to around 2016. I would not be surprised if Chaput was instrumental in Brugger’s hiring at SJV. What I find surprising is that the authors are unaware of this. This is a significant problem I have with this book. The authors downplay the scandalous conduct of the bishops (although such accusations can be deduced from their treatment of the bishops’ position) on this issue. I will have more to say about this later. But I have to wonder if this is the decision of the authors or the powers-that-be at Ignatius Press.

The chapter does do an excellent job at decoding what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says regarding capital punishment. I say decoding because it mixes the prudential judgment of the Church hierarchy with doctrinal imperatives in such a way that can be difficult to distinguish. I have personal experience with this very thing in trying to explain to fellow Catholics what the Church actually teaches on the subject. It is a necessary task fraught with frustration.

One of the claims made by anti-death penalty activists is that it devalues human life. On the surface, this claim sounds plausible. And it would be true if the death penalty were carried out in an unjust or in a careless way. But such is certainly not the case in the U.S. On page 65, the authors give a brilliant response:

The opponent of capital punishment might acknowledge that the murderer has forfeited his right to life but argue that even if murderers deserve to die, we only perpetuate the “cycle of violence” if we kill them. Once again, though, if this were a good objection to capital punishment, it would be a good objection to any other punishment. It is like saying that imprisoning kidnappers further erodes respect for human freedom, or that fining thieves perpetuates the cycle of theft. Of course, no one speaks of a “cycle of theft” or a “cycle of kidnapping”, precisely because everyone knows there is a crucial moral difference between the innocent and the guilty, and thus a crucial moral difference between the way criminals treat the innocent and the way public authorities treat the guilty. When we punish, we simply are not, from a moral point of view, doing the same thing to offenders that they did to their victims and thus are not furthering any morally problematic “cycle”. But this is as true of the penalty of death as it is of any other punishment. Talk of a “cycle of violence” papers over the crucial moral difference between the innocent and the guilty and thereby falsely insinuates that execution is morally on a par with murder. In fact, just as incarcerating kidnappers affirms the value of human freedom and fining thieves affirms the value of property rights, so too does executing murderers affirm the value of human life.

As far as the “cycle of violence” claim goes, Archbishop Chaput makes this claim in language that is suggestive of moral equivalence “What the death penalty does achieve is closure through bloodletting and violence against violence—which is not really closure at all, because murder will continue as long as humans sin, and capital punishment can never, by its nature, strike at murder’s root. Only love can do that.”

 
In fact, stronger arguments can be brought forth that opposition to the death penalty has often been motivated by a devaluing of innocent human life. Most opponents of the death penalty are pro-abortion and have effectively used that issue to drive a wedge between pro-lifers. On page 206, the authors quote the late Cardinal Avery Dulles: “The mounting opposition to the death penalty in Europe since the Enlightenment has gone hand in hand with a decline of faith in eternal life.” And there is no greater attack on human life than the attack on faith in life eternal.
 

No book written making a Catholic defense of the death penalty by American authors would be complete without an extensive treatment of the opposition to it by the USCCB. Chapter 4 is entitled “The American Bishops Campaign Against the Death Penalty”. The authors point out how markedly different the U.S. bishops position nowadays is from that of what American Catholics were taught less than sixty years ago. It is also different from what many American bishops held less than two generations ago. On page 284 the book points out:

The American bishops first addressed the subject in a general meeting in 1974. Philosopher-theologian Germain Grisez (the founder of new natural law theory and a prominent Catholic opponent of the death penalty) was commissioned to write a background study. He submitted a fifty-one-page document, from which a committee produced a seven-page brief against the death penalty, including scriptural, theological, and practical arguments for its abolition. The statement proved to be highly controversial. Some bishops objected that it “implied rejection of the teaching of the church regarding the limited right of the state to take life”. Others objected to the interpretation of scriptural passages. A cardinal questioned “whether the reference to capital punishment being discriminatory was sufficiently compelling” and “whether there was sufficient evidence to say that capital punishment was not being applied in an even-handed application”. The next day, after the document was revised, the same cardinal “noted that the reference to deterrence in the statement ignored the legitimate vindictive aspect of punishment”.

On Page 285: “As Archbishop Francis Furey of San Antonio, Texas, an outspoken proponent of the death penalty, wrote in 1977: ‘It is a divisive issue in the Church in this country. Perhaps that is as it should be. There are arguments on both sides. However, to say that the U.S. hierarchy, as such, is opposed to capital punishment, is just a plain lie.'” It would be unimaginable today for an American bishop to speak the way Archbishop Furey did a mere forty years ago.

It would be practically impossible for any honest reader to read this chapter as well as what the bishops say about capital punishment that the bishops’ statements are an affront to the traditional teaching of the Church. For instance, on page 310-311 we read: 


Consider these passages, quoted above, from the USCCB’s Responsibility, Rehabilitation, and Restoration: A Catholic Perspective on Crime and Criminal Justice (2000), the bishops’ most extensive treatment of criminal 
justice in the United States:

We seek justice, not vengeance. We believe punishment must have clear purposes: protecting society and rehabilitating those who violate the law. . . . [Jesus] rejected punishment for its own sake, noting that we are all sinners (Jn 8). Jesus also rejected revenge and retaliation and was ever hopeful that offenders would transform their lives and turn to be embraced by God’s love. . . Punishment for its own sake is not a Christian response to crime. Punishment must have a purpose. It must be coupled with treatment and, when possible, restitution. . . . We ask all Catholics—pastors, catechists, educators, and parishioners—to join us in rethinking this difficult issue and committing ourselves to pursuing justice without vengeance.


Apart from the unjustified inference that Christ’s refusal to countenance the stoning of the adulteress (Jn 8:1-11) was a biblical teaching about punishment (see our earlier discussion), what does it mean to say that Christ rejected “punishment for its own sake” or that “punishment for its own sake is not a Christian response to crime” because “punishment must have a purpose”? What kind of punishment, exactly, was Christ supposedly rejecting in the 

bishops’ view?

Apparently, he was, in their view, rejecting purposeless punishment, which Christians should always reject. When the bishops formally address the matter (most fully in their first systematic treatment of the death penalty in 1980), they identify three key justifications for punishment: “retribution, deterrence, and reform”.63 These are the purposes that punishment is meant to serve, all of which the bishops accept as legitimate. What, then, counts as punishment without a purpose, and who has ever urged that criminals be punished for no purpose? Who today calls for punishing criminals—whether with the death penalty, prison, or fines—for no reason at all? Surely, those in ancient Israel who wished to stone adulterers had a very specific purpose in mind: to discourage adultery. Perhaps the key to understanding the force of the bishops’ point is the sentence that follows “Punishment must have a purpose” in the document we cite: “It must be coupled with treatment and, when possible, restitution.” Retribution has seemingly disappeared from view, even though, as we have seen, the bishops themselves elsewhere acknowledge retribution as one of the legitimate purposes of punishment, and, as we showed in earlier chapters, it is in the Catholic tradition the chief purpose.

 

The current Catechism of the Catholic Church reaffirms this traditional view: those responsible for “safeguarding the common good” have “the right and the duty to inflict punishment proportionate to the gravity of the offense. Punishment has the primary aim of redressing the disorder introduced by the offense” (CCC 2266). We should not be surprised if most readers interpret the bishops’ phrase “punishment for its own sake” as code for retributive punishment. Unfortunately, then, the bishops’ statements strongly imply that Christ was simply opposed to retributive punishment, a position quite contrary to traditional Catholic teaching.

Absolutely correct, but the authors follow that up with this: “We hasten to emphasize that we do not believe that the bishops intend in statements like this to contradict the Church’s traditional teaching. Rather, we think that, in their zeal to rally others to the abolitionist cause, they have too frequently resorted to making statements that have rhetorical and emotional force, but that are theologically highly imprecise and misleading.” (emphasis in original.)

Well, I would say the authors are being hasty themselves in the above statement. These are Catholic bishops. How can they not know that at the very least the upshot of their statements run afoul of Church teaching? And the USCCB statement they cite above is far from the only statement from the bishops conference as a whole as well as individual bishops that, practically speaking, is contrary to Church teaching. For instance, Archbishop Chaput, while acknowledging that capital punishment is not intrinsically evil, uses phrases like “Church teaching against the death penalty”  . Archbishop Chaput said this about the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s position on the death penalty: “Second, if we say we’re Catholic, we need to act like it. When Catholic Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia publicly disputes Church teaching on the death penalty, the message he sends is not so very different from Frances Kissling (of “Catholics for a Free Choice” fame) disputing what the Church teaches about abortion. I don’t mean that abortion and the death penalty are equivalent issues. They’re not. They clearly do not have equal moral gravity. But the impulse to pick and choose what we accept in Church teaching is exactly the same kind of “cafeteria Catholicism ‘in both cases.'”

Now, it would have been one thing if he took issue with the way the late Justice Scalia portrayed St. Pope John Paul II’s statements in the encyclical Evangelium Vitae as an attempt on the pope’s part to change traditional Church teaching, as Cardinal Dulles did.  But to paint Scalia as dissenter from Church teaching in the way he did by comparing him to Francis Kissling of the hideous Catholics for Free Choice is both calumnious and mean spirited.

As far as John Paul II’s stated opposition to the death penalty is concerned, while I think he didn’t go nearly as far as many American bishops as he didn’t smear the pro-death penalty viewpoint like the bishops have and still do, it was rather irresponsible considering the kind of confusion it caused. Based upon what the authors say about JPII and the death penalty, they couldn’t credibly take issue with me on that. I have often wondered if Cardinal Ratzinger’s explicit inclusion of there being “legitimate diversity of opinion” with regard to the death penalty in the 2004 official CDF letter to Cardinal McCarrick on the Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion wasn’t an attempt at damage control.

During the Nov. 2016 election cycle, there were two ballot measures having to do with the death penalty in California, Prop. 62, which would have put a moratorium on the death penalty and Prop. 66 which called for a speeding up of the process between sentencing and execution. Thankfully, the former failed and the latter passed. To whip up support for Prop. 62, Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, another darling of the “orthodox” Catholic establishment, made a video where he claims that the Church teaches the death penalty is no longer acceptable. The Church teaches no such thing and Archbishop Gomez knows it. It is much more plausible in light of what the authors themselves say that “zeal for the abolitionist cause” is more important to the bishops than clearly conveying what the Church teaches on this matter. And the authors do their cause no favors by sugar coating the culpability of the bishops on this issue. Again, is this their idea or that of the powers-that-be at Ignatius Press? Certainly the latter is very plausible particularly in the case of Archbishop Chaput. Catholic World Report, which is published by Ignatius, ran a disgusting puff piece on Chaput penned by George Weigel. Weigel somehow forgot to mention how those orthodox Catholics who take a pro-death penalty and/or anti-illegal immigration view, both legitimately Catholic, are treated by the Archbishop.

Another startling, but all too common, act of episcopal malfeasance is the dutiful parroting of the fraudulent claims put forth by anti-death penalty activist groups like the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC) and the ACLU, and several others. They often make the claim that the death penalty does not deter, is used in a racist manner against minorities, and that it is used unjustly toward the poor. For starters, all these claims should a least be met with enough skepticism to merit further investigation. But if you were to read only the claims repeated by the USCCB, you would be misled into believing that there are no valid arguments being made to the contrary. First of all, the prospect of the more extreme punishment is going to have a deterrent effect at least in general is just human nature. And you don’t get much more extreme than death. And the authors cite several peer reviewed studies that seem to support this idea. Surprisingly, there are two studies the authors do not mention, the 2005 AEI/Brookings Institute Study and one conducted by the University of Colorado in 2007. In the latter study, Naci Mocan, a participant in the study and death penalty opponent makes a key admission:

” ‘Science does really draw a conclusion. It did. There is no question about it,’ said Naci Mocan, an economics professor at the University of Colorado at Denver. ‘The conclusion is there is a deterrent effect.’A 2003 study he co-authored, and a 2006 study that re-examined the data, found that each execution results in five fewer homicides, and commuting a death sentence means five more homicides. ‘The results are robust, they don’t really go away,’ he said. ‘I oppose the death penalty. But my results show that the death penalty (deters) — what am I going to do, hide them?’ “

However the authors (Feser and Besette) do acknowledge that  “As this brief review demonstrates, from the perspective of quantitative social science, the deterrent effect of the death penalty is very much an open question.” (page 320) Given the very truncated application of how the death penalty is carried out, it would seem to me that the social science means of determining its deterrent effect is extremely limited.

Next is the race card. Given that we live a in a culture that is minority-sensetive to a fault, this claim ought to be viewed with suspicion barring solid evidence. Columnist and token conservative at the Boston Globe, Jeff Jacoby once described this claim thus,  “The anti-black ‘racism’ of the US death penalty system is like the Abominable Snowman: ugly, alarming, widely believed in, and nonexistent.” Again, the numbers support that quip. Although, as the authors point out, whites are more likely to commit capital crimes at higher per capita rates, blacks commit these crimes at a rate disproportionately higher than their representation in the population. One would think if the bishops were really motivated by a genuine pastoral concern, they would be lamentingly asking why is this so. They might posit the fact that the breakdown of the black family is such that it lays the groundwork for dangerous criminal activity. And they would thus be able to credibly link family breakdown, which in large part is fueled by sexual promiscuity, with the culture of death that murder, not the just imposition of the death penalty, inflicts on black society. But they don’t. And that’s because, once again, their zeal for the abolitionist cause is more important to them than upholding the teaching of the Church on this matter. On pages 354 to 367, the book goes into great detail demonstrating both the racial breakdown of how the death penalty is meted out and how to interpret what the numbers mean. But this pretty much sums up their case “One can read widely in the literature on race and the death penalty and never learn that a federal judge, after extensive review, had found that the most famous of the studies purporting to demonstrate racism in the post-Furman era had not even made a ‘prima facie case of discrimination’.” (page 363)

The accusation that the death penalty discriminates against the poor is one that can, on its face, seem plausible. After all, wealthier people can afford more talented legal representation than those less wealthy. But this overlooks a basic truth as well, namely that this fact in itself doesn’t mean the poor are unjustly treated in capital cases. The truth is the exact opposite. It would be like saying the huge disparity between someone making ten million dollars a year and someone making five hundred thousand dollars a year is an injustice. But that is basically what someone claiming the death penalty unjustly discriminates against the poor would have to say if he were to be consistent. Again we should start out asking what are the causes and conditions of why the poor, like blacks, are disproportionately represented on death row. The authors ask and answer this crucial question thus:

“So, one wonders what kind of unfairness is demonstrated by the mere fact that death row inmates, like prisoners generally, are more likely to be poor than is the nation’s population. If males disproportionately commit more murders than females, we would expect them to be disproportionately represented on death row. Similarly, if the poor disproportionately commit more murders than the nonpoor, we would expect them also to be disproportionately represented on death row. We should not be surprised that violent criminals, and especially the worst among them, do not have stellar work histories. Many have been in and out of prison for much of their adult lives, have been deeply involved in the drug subculture, have drifted in and out of the job market, or have otherwise lived on the fringe of society. They tend to lack the very character traits that have moved tens of millions of Americans from modest beginnings into a solid middle-class life. Thus, it is not that poverty has driven these offenders to crime; rather, the same bad character traits that have led them to crime have also led them into poverty.” (page 368) And the numbers back this up.

Like with the sad fact that blacks are disproportionately represented on death row, the bishops could credibly posit that the breakdown of the family has consequences that pose grave danger to society. But no, they act like loyal leftist ideologues on the issue of capital punishment.

There is more that can be said about this book than I have covered here. The book, “By Man Shall His Blood be Shed” is a must read for anyone who earnestly desires to understand both Catholic teaching on the subject of capital punishment and the wider societal ramifications. But its failure to explicitly call out the bishops conference, as well as individual bishops who have reputations for orthodoxy like Chaput, Gomez, and Wenski by name, for episcopal malfeasance as opposed to being merely misguided significantly undermines the credibility a book of this caliber should have.

23

Six Impossible Liturgical Things before Breakfast

Inspired by Pope Francis’s latest pronouncements on proper conduct at Holy Mass, I’ve thought of  some other things that we might wish to happen.

  1. No hymns written after 1905 will be sung at Mass.
  2. There will be no drums, wind instruments, or guitars accompanying the choir for hymns or other liturgical music.
  3. The “Our Father” prayer will be recited or chanted;  anyone who sings the “Notre Dame Folk Choir”  “Our Father” will be required to do penance.
  4. All children under three will sleep through Mass.
  5. No one will arrive at Mass after  the opening prayer;   no one will leave until the second verse of the recessional hymn is sung.
  6. As Pope Francis requested, all cell phones will be off and conversations will be held outside the church.

I have many more, so look for another edition of this.  And feel free to add your own.

19

The Case of Judge Roy Moore and the Divorcee

 

 

Some interesting facts came out yesterday in regard to Moore and his accuser of sexual assault Beverly Young Nelson.  Apparently Judge Moore, when he was a local trial judge, presided over Ms. Nelson’s divorce case in 1999, a factoid that Ms. Nelson did not mention in her tearjerker appearance with Gloria “no ambulance should go unchased” Allred.  Based on my experience of 35 years in the law mines that, alone, is enough to torpedo her accusation.  First, because if it were true her attorney would immediately have filed a motion for substitution of judge.  Second, because it gives her a motive to lie.  Judges rarely make friends when presiding over a divorce case, and they often make lifelong enemies from one of the participants who believe they got the raw end of the stick.  This was a simple fact to find out, and it says all you need to know about the lynch mob media that none of them bothered to even do a cursory investigation of Beverly Young Nelson.

Moore’s attorney, in the above video, also notes that Judge Moore’s signature on the divorce dismissal, had DA stamped after it, the initials of his then administrative assistant.  Here is his signature in that case:

 

 

Moore’s attorney also called for the year book to be placed in neutral hands to be examined by experts in handwriting and ink.  Here is the spluttering reaction of  Gloria “no ambulance should go unchased” Allred to all that.

 

 

Friends, on the question of whether Judge Moore ever assaulted anyone this is a railroad job pure and simple.  Did Moore seek dates with legal teenagers, yeah, I believe that.  Did he ever sexually assault anyone?  Not from the evidence I have thus far seen.

5

PopeWatch: Shhh!

Wow, twice in a week where PopeWatch agrees with the Pope:

 

On Wednesday, Pope Francis called out the common habit of chatting with people around you before Mass, stressing that this is a time for silent prayer, when we prepare our hearts for an encounter with the Lord.

“When we go to Mass, maybe we arrive five minutes before, and we start to chit-chat with those in front of us,” the Pope said Nov. 15. However, “it is not a moment for chit-chat.”

“It is a moment of silence for preparing ourselves for dialogue, a time for the heart to collect itself in order to prepare for the encounter with Jesus,” he said, adding that “silence is so important.”

 

Go here to read the rest.  Silence is usually golden, but at Mass it is priceless

4

November 16, 1940: Mad Bomber of New York Plants First Bomb

George Metesky, the most disgruntled of all disgruntled workers, planted his first bomb at a Consolidated Edison power plant on Manhattan.  A former Marine, Metesky had worked for Consolidated Edison and been injured at a work place accident in 1931.  Consolidated Edison successfully defeated his legal attempt to obtain compensation, his last appeal occurring in 1936.  (He waited too long in order to file a claim under workers compensation.)  He developed a strong hatred for the company, and decided to use homemade bombs to get his vengeance.  His first bomb was a crude one, a brass pipe filled with gunpowder, with an ignition mechanism consisting of batteries and sugar.  The bomb was discovered before it could go off.  It was wrapped in a note signed F.P. stating :  CON EDISON CROOKS – THIS IS FOR YOU.

 

 

 

In September 1941 the police found a similar bomb, this time a dud, without a note, laying in the street, five blocks from Consolidated Edison headquarters.

Shortly after Pearl Harbor, Metesky sent a note to the police stating:  I WILL MAKE NO MORE BOMB UNITS FOR THE DURATION OF THE WAR – MY PATRIOTIC FEELINGS HAVE MADE ME DECIDE THIS – LATER I WILL BRING THE CON EDISON TO JUSTICE – THEY WILL PAY FOR THEIR DASTARDLY DEEDS… F.P.

He kept his word, and took a ten year hiatus from planting bombs.  Between 1951-1956 he planted at least 31 bombs in New York City, twenty-two of which exploded.  Mercifully no one was killed, but fifteen people were injured.

The public was getting hysterical due to the police inability of stopping the bombings, the New York City police being surrounded by blind leads and a wave of false confessions.  They turned to criminologist James Brussels who worked out a profile of the bomber that was published in newspapers by the police:

Male, as historically most bombers were male. Well proportioned and of average build, based on studies of hospitalized mental patients. Forty to fifty years old, as paranoia develops slowly. Precise, neat and tidy, based on his letters and the workmanship of his bombs. An exemplary employee, on time and well-behaved. A Slav, because bombs were favored in Middle Europe. A Catholic, because most Slavs were Catholic. Courteous but not friendly.

Has a good education but probably not college. Foreign-born or living in a community of the foreign-born – the formal tone and old-fashioned phrasing of the letters sounded to Brussel as if they had been written or thought out in a foreign language and then translated into English. Based on the rounded letter “w’s” of the handwriting, believed to represent breasts, and the slashing and stuffing of theater seats, Brussel thought something about sex was troubling the bomber, possible an oedipus complex – loving his mother and hating his father and other authority figures.

A loner, no friends, little interest in women, possibly a virgin. Unmarried, perhaps living with an older female relative. Probably lives in Connecticut, as Connecticut has high concentrations of Slavs, and many of the bomber’s letters were posted in Westchester County, midway between Connecticut and New York City.

Pleased by all the publicity, Metesky entered into a taunting correspondence with the police by sending letters to the New York Journal American.  A Consolidated Edison clerk, Alice Kelly finally broke the case.  She had been assigned to examine files in which injured workers had made explicit or implicit threats.  She noticed that some of the phrases used in Metesky’s letters to Consolidated Edison matched the correspondence  sent by F.P. to the New York Journal American.  Police arrested Metesky on January 21, 1957.  He made a complete confession and told the officers that F.P.  stood for Fair Play.  Found to be insane, Metesky spent 25 years in a mental hospital before being released, having been unresponsive to therapy but otherwise a model inmate.  He died twenty years later in 1994, age 90.

2

Vices of the Articles of Confederation

On November 15, 1777, two hundred and forty years ago, the Congress approved the Article of Confederation and sends them to the States.  The Articles would not go into effect until March 1, 1781, after being ratified by all of the 13 States.  It is interesting to note, and a truly remarkable fact, that the American Revolution was almost entirely fought with the government of the Union, what little there was of it, being the temporary expedient of the Second Continental Congress.

 

 

In April 1787 James Madison wrote a very interesting document outlining the vices of the political system of the United States under the Articles of Confederation.  It is fascinating to read in light of the Constitutional Convention later that year, and also in light of our experience with the Constitution for over two centuries: Continue Reading