O Sacred Head

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

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

5

Worse Than Murder Inc and the Princess

 

 

A minion of Planned Parenthood Worse Than Murder Inc tweeted that the world needs a Disney Princess who has had an abortion.  Been there, done that:

 

After a backlash from Twitter users, Planned Parenthood pulled the tweet. Melissa Reed, Planned Parenthood’s president and CEO said the abortion giant wanted to make a point about “the importance of telling stories that challenge stigma and championing stories that too often don’t get told.” She added, “Upon reflection, we decided that the seriousness of the point we were trying to make was not appropriate for the subject matter or context, and we removed the tweet.”

After hearing about the tweet from a friend, a former Disney World princess posted a response on Facebook and Medium. In her post titled, “I Was a Disney Princess and I Had an Abortion,” Deanna Falchook wrote that she worked as a singing and dancing princess at Disney World. She’d sing “Some Day My Prince Will Come” and “When You Wish Upon a Star.” At 18 years old she became pregnant and had an abortion to keep her job. “There was no pressure from the company or management to abort my baby,” she wrote. “I didn’t tell them. But I made a decision on my own that I quickly lived to regret.”

Falchook “struggled deeply” and “wanted to die.” Although she continued to sing about “dreams coming true,” she couldn’t come to terms with what she’d done. She quit her job. Eventually, she said she found healing. “It was an arduous struggle to navigate my personal grief. But by the grace of God, I am living an amazing life.”

 

She married her “prince,” had two biological children and adopted five children from Ethiopia, Guatamala and Ukraine. Her family is “a Disney family beautifully woven together by God’s grace.” Continue Reading

6

See The Film

I shut down the law mines every Good Friday.  My bride and I and our son went to see Paul:  Apostle of Christ.  A review will appear in the next few days, but I wanted to advise our readers to see this film.  It is the most powerful film I have seen since the Passion of the Christ and it reminded me of why I am a Catholic.  It makes a grand spiritual meditation for the Triduum.  See the film, you will not regret it.

 

6

Professor Ratzinger on Hell

Since there is some talk this Triduum of what Pope Francis may or may not have said about Hell, I wanted to re-post an old post of mine that deals with the article of faith “He descended into hell” (Good Friday/Holy Saturday), being without God and the pain in the verse “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” It’s probably the best description of hell I’ve ever heard, not that I’ve heard many speak of it in detail.

Warning: This post is somewhat “dark”, but remember…darkness can be a kind of light if it helps you to see.

Briefly summarizing several pages from Joseph Ratzinger’s book (now Pope Emeritus) “Introduction to Christianity”, in Part II, The Development of Faith in Christ in the Christological Articles of the Creed:

Loneliness is a region of fear, which is rooted in the exposure of a being that must exist, but is pushed out into a situation with which it is impossible for him to deal. In the experience of utter loneliness, a fear arises peculiar to man which is not fear of anything particular, but simply fear in itself. Man cannot overcome this kind of fear by way of reason.

Example 1:

A child walking alone in the dark woods is frightened even if convincingly shown that there is nothing to be afraid of. The child will lose this fear the moment there is a loving hand to take him and he experiences the fellowship of “Another”.

Example 2:

Someone keeping watch over a corpse will feel somehow “eerie” even when he knows perfectly well the dead body can do him no harm. In fact, there would be more possibility of danger if the person was alive, but logic is of no help. This fear will also recede like the child’s if he experiences the loving nearness of a “You”.

Man cannot stand alone; he needs closeness; he needs unity. If man (and this is the true nature of sin) refuses to recognize his own limits and tries to “be like God”, standing alone on his own two feet, then precisely by adopting this attitude he delivers himself up to death. Scripture about the connection between sin and death is to be understood from this angle. Small wonder the devil wants us prideful. Pride naturally leads to isolation from God (and others), which will lead to a torment of anxiety. It’s the exact opposite of the life of the Trinity.

If a state of isolation were to arise that was so deep that no “You” could reach into it anymore, then we should have a total and terrifying loneliness; this is what theology calls “Hell”….. a loneliness which is as inescapable as it is dreadful!

Report to the Emperor-First Draft

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

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

11

Five Years of Lent

The Pope has said that there is no Hell and that the souls of the damned are simply annihilated.  The Vatican denies that he said it:

 

.- On Thursday the Holy See stated that a reported interview between Pope Francis and an Italian journalist, which claims the Pope denied the existence of hell, should not be considered an accurate depiction of Francis’ words, but the author’s own “reconstruction.”

A recent meeting between Pope Francis and Italian journalist Eugenio Scalfari, 93, was a “private meeting for the occasion of Easter, however without giving him any interview,” the March 29 communique stated.

“What is reported by the author in today’s article is the result of his reconstruction, in which the literal words pronounced by the Pope are not quoted. No quotation of the aforementioned article must therefore be considered as a faithful transcription of the words of the Holy Father.”

Scalfari, a self-proclaimed atheist, is the founder and former editor of Italian leftist newspaper La Repubblica. In an article published on the site March 29, Scalfari claims that Pope Francis told him, “hell doesn’t exist, the disappearance of the souls of sinners exists.”

Go here to read the rest.  Who to believe?  Well Patrick Henry once noted that “I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience.”

The same thing was reported by the same elderly Italian atheist journalist three years ago.  Go here to read about it.  The Vatican has often claimed this same journalist routinely misquotes the Pope in his reports of the interviews he has with the Pope.  Riddle me this:  If the Pope is misquoted, why does he keep coming back for additional interviews?  This entire Pontificate has been five years of Lent for faithful Catholics.

5

Judas Explains It All

Judas:  – Because men are weak
Because they are cursed with envy and cowardice
Because they can dream of truth, but cannot live with it, they doubt
They doubt, the fools
Why must men betray themselves with doubts?
– Tell them, the others, find them and tell them not to doubt
Even now not to doubt
Tell them to keep their faith
They must keep faith
Demetrius:  – Wait, tell who?
Who are you?
Judas:  – My name is Judas

Screenplay The Robe (1953)

Michael Ansara at the beginning of his long career gives an absolutely unforgettable rendition of Judas in The Robe (1953).  Never has complete despair been more powerfully conveyed.  Yet, out of the bottomless pit he has fallen into, Judas pleads that the other Apostles must keep the Faith.

 

5

Saint Peter and the Last Supper

“Erravi cum Petro, sed non flevi cum Petro”, “Like Peter I have erred, unlike Peter I have not wept.”

Bishop Stephen Gardiner on his deathbed after hearing the portion of the Passion where Peter denies Christ.

 

I have always been fascinated by the figure of Saint Peter, our first Pope.  He was such an unlikely choice!  God could have chosen a priest, a very wise teacher, a prophet, a ruler, even, Heaven help us, a lawyer.   Someone who, to most superficial human eyes, would have been vastly more suited to be the first head of His Church on Earth. Instead he chose a humble fisherman.  Why?  Any number of reasons, I suppose, many of them still known only to God.  Perhaps one of the major factors was the love that Peter bore for Christ.  We see this after their first meeting when Peter urges Christ to go from him because Peter is a sinful man.  I think that at that point Peter desperately wanted to follow Christ, but he thought he was unworthy to because of his sins.  He was willing to have Christ depart from him in order to protect Christ from Peter’s sinful nature.

 

 

Peter is heartbroken when Christ reveals that he must die on the Cross.  Peter tells Christ that this must not happen, only to be rebuked by Christ for acting as a Satan attempting to tempt His human weakness.  This was said shortly after Christ, no doubt to Peter’s immense shock, advised him that He was going to build His Church on him, and committed to him the keys of the kingdom of Heaven.  How strange it must have all seemed to the Fisherman from Galilee!  However, his love for Christ kept him at the side of Jesus.

At the Last Supper when Christ reveals the Eucharist, He has this dialogue with Peter:

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.”

And he (Peter) said unto him, “Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death.”

And he (Jesus) said, “I tell thee Peter, the cock show not crow on this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.”

After seeing the great miracle of the Last Supper, Peter did precisely that, deserting Christ in His hour of need, denying him three times.  Continue Reading

5

The Answer

A Rose, in tatters on the garden path,

Cried out to God and murmured ‘gainst His Wrath,

Because a sudden wind at twilight’s hush

Had snapped her stem alone of all the bush.

And God, Who hears both sun-dried dust and sun,

Had pity, whispering to that luckless one,

“Sister, in that thou sayest We did not well —

What voices heardst thou when thy petals fell?”

And the Rose answered, “In that evil hour

A voice said, `Father, wherefore falls the flower?

For lo, the very gossamers are still.’

And a voice answered, `Son, by Allah’s will!’”

  Then softly as a rain-mist on the sward,

Came to the Rose the Answer of the Lord:

“Sister, before We smote the Dark in twain,

Ere yet the stars saw one another plain,

Time, Tide, and Space, We bound unto the task

That thou shouldst fall, and such an one should ask.”

Whereat the withered flower, all content,

Died as they die whose days are innocent;

While he who questioned why the flower fell

Caught hold of God and saved his soul from Hell.

Rudyard Kipling

5

Screen Pilates: Pilou Asbæk

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

 

 

In Asbaek’s portrayal of Pilate we encounter a hirsute and ruthless Pilate.  In his ruthlessness, the portrayal of Pilate reflects that of the Jewish historian Josephus who lived in the latter half of the first century.  That portrayal has always been at odds with the more nuanced picture of Pilate contained in the Gospels.  I have never viewed these different portraits of the man as necessarily in conflict.  Depending upon events, a man might act quite differently than one might expect based upon their past.  Pilate had two jobs from the Emperor:  keep the peace and keep taxes flowing.  Pilate was inclined to be merciful to Christ until Caiaphas skillfully convinced Pilate that he would accuse him of falling down on both his jobs if Christ were not crucified.

 

As to Pilate having a beard, most Roman aristocrats were clean shaven at the time, and had been since the end of the Second Punic War, a beard usually being considered a Greek affectation.  It is unlikely that Pilate would have had a beard, especially considering the hot and humid climate of Judaea, but some Romans did have beards, usually as a sign of fashionable youthful rebellion or as a sign of mourning.

17

Repealing the Bill of Rights

The majority falls prey to the delusion, popular in some circles, that ordinary people are too careless and stupid to own guns, and we would be far better off leaving all weapons in the hands of professionals on the government payroll. But the simple truth, born of experience, is that tyranny thrives best where government need not fear the wrath of an armed people… A revolt by Nat Turner and a few dozen other armed blacks could be put down without much difficulty; one by four million armed blacks would have meant big trouble. All too many of the other great tragedies of history, Stalin’s atrocities, the killing fields of Cambodia, the Holocaust, to name but a few, were perpetrated by armed troops against unarmed populations. Many could well have been avoided or mitigated, had the perpetrators known their intended victims were equipped with a rifle and twenty bullets apiece, as the Militia Act required here. … If a few hundred Jewish fighters in the Warsaw Ghetto could hold off the Wehrmacht for almost a month with only a handful of weapons, six million Jews armed with rifles could not so easily have been herded into cattle cars.

Alex Kozinski, Federal Circuit Judge

 

What constitutes the bulwark of our own liberty and independence? It is not our frowning battlements, our bristling sea coasts, the guns of our war steamers, or the strength of our gallant and disciplined army. These are not our reliance against a resumption of tyranny in our fair land. All of them may be turned against our liberties, without making us stronger or weaker for the struggle. Our reliance is in the love of liberty which God has planted in our bosoms. Our defense is in the preservation of the spirit which prizes liberty as the heritage of all men, in all lands, every where. Destroy this spirit, and you have planted the seeds of despotism around your own doors. Familiarize yourselves with the chains of bondage, and you are preparing your own limbs to wear them. Accustomed to trample on the rights of those around you, you have lost the genius of your own independence, and become the fit subjects of the first cunning tyrant who rises.

Abraham Lincoln, September 11, 1858

 

 

 

Well, on the Left in this country, everyone from former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens to Mark Shea, are calling for repealing the Second Amendment.  Now, there is no chance that is going to happen.  Go here to read about such an attempt would entail.  However, think about what the mere calling for this means.  Americans throughout our history have treasured our liberties.  Now, a large portion of the American people are willing to take an axe to the Bill of Rights in order to reach a political end.  The people doing so, I suspect, do not treasure the right to bear arms, and thus their liberty is not at risk, but merely a liberty prized by people they obviously despise.

Dale Price has a good response to this:

The First Amendment’s free speech protections are the relic of a backward 18th Century elite’s preoccupations with protecting the intellectual output of a now-extinct leisure class of slaveowning Deists.

In an age where hate and harassment can be transmitted across the globe with the click of a button and the children of vulnerable groups are being bullied into suicide every day, it is time to repeal the First Amendment.

However, I would caution Dale that many on the Left have no love of freedom of speech for those who disagree with them.  Those with the temerity to disagree with the Left are regarded as purveyors of hate speech and must be shouted down.  It is not fearmongering to assume they will eventually wish to amend the First Amendment.  Perhaps it would read as follows:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, except when a religion discriminates; or abridging the freedom of speech, except when speech is hateful or discriminatory or of the press, except when false news is being purveyed; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, except for those assembling to promote racism and discrimination, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances, unless they are petitioning in support of racism or discrimination.

For radical egalitarians, the Left seems to long for a very stratified society where Platonic Guardians will rule over the common people in a progressive utopia  where freedom will be as absent as religion.  This all calls to mind the quote of CS Lewis:

 

5

The Ever Unconvincing Left

Internet sensation Jordan Peterson, and the over the top hate directed against him by the Left, brings to mind one of the unspoken features of contemporary life:  Leftism is completely unconvincing.

 

Think about it.  Leftism tends to only flourish in locations where they can howl down contrary speakers, a prime example is academia, where they have a captive audience, public schools, or where they can blacklist opponents, ironically the entertainment industry.  Leftists have largely forgotten how to argue and how to debate ideas.  Their only “arguments” these day are an oblivious assumption that all “good” people share Leftist views, and some form of force.  And that is not enough for the long term.  Evidence of this?  When Leftists have to compete head to head with non-Leftists, they tend to come a cropper.  Examples of this in this country are Politics and Religion.  In politics Leftists increasingly turn to the courts, because they are usually unable to enact their agendas by the ballot box.  In religion, a church embracing Leftism is a death warrant since such an embrace is swiftly followed by ever increasing empty pews.

 

Peterson represents to the Left their inability to argue successfully and thus they respond with brownshirt tactics.  Like their ideological forebears, a fist is their only true response to reason.  A movement that rests almost entirely on force is a movement that is doomed in the long run.

Screen Pilates: Ian Holm

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

 

Bilbo Baggins as Pilate.  Actor Ian Holm voice acted Pilate in the claymation version of the life of Christ in The Miracle Maker (2000).  British actors have a long history of being cast in roles as Roman aristocrats.  However Ian Holm does the role of Pilate without a trace of a British accent.  He portrays Pilate as quite stern but not unsympathetic to Jesus who he finds completely puzzling.  When Caiaphas states that Pilate is no friend of Caesar if he spares Jesus, Pilate gives up in disgust, washes his hands and orders the crucifixion of Jesus.

10

Music Loving Bishop Bans Concert

Father Z gives us this good news:

 

 

 

The National Sodomitical Reporter (aka Fishwrap) threw an editorial tantrum today about the decision of the Bishop of Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph (where Fishwrap’s offices are located), Most Rev. James Johnston not to allow at a diocesan parish a concert by former Jesuit Dan Schutte.

Schutte was one of the “St. Louis Jesuits” whose music tormented congregations for years.

Schutte was once on the Fishwrap’s board.

I wouldn’t bring this up, but the NSR dragged me into it by name in reference to the infamous Jesuit homosexualist activist James Martin.

BTW…NSR earns it’s middle term, “sodomotical” because they never lose an opportunity to promote a homosexualist agenda.

NSR aimed their editorial against Bp. Johnston.  They want him to conform.  I suspect that they will pick on him, as they did Bp. Finn.

They want Johnston to denounce Church Militant for spreading “fake news” about Schutte and allow the event to take place.

I have a counter suggestion.

Fishwrap should remove the word “Catholic” from their masthead, as they were directed to do by Johnston’s predecessor Bp. Helmsing in 1968.  Maybe then Johnston would be open to discussions of Schutte’s performance.

Either that, or finally become Catholic.

NSR defied Bp. Helmsing, openly attacked Finn, and has now started in on Johnston.

 

Go here to read the rest.  Now the Bishop needs to ban all Saint Louis Jesuit songs for a period in his diocese, for the next century or so.  Bad Music has been one of the banes of the Church for the past half century and it is time for it to end.  Ban the crap from the sixties and the seventies and let us free our Church from its musical Babylonian Captivity.

 

7

Screen Pilates: Gary Oldman

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

Gary Oldman, who won an Oscar for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour (2017), assumed the role of Pilate in the 1999 CBS miniseries Jesus.  I cannot find a clip of his performance on the internet, but we do have an interview in which he discusses Pilate and the role of Pilate:

 

Oldman says that in this version the Romans are to blame for the execution of Jesus with  Pilate the consummate politician leading the plot against Jesus.  Certainly almost nothing in Scripture to support this viewpoint, but it certainly is one that has been frequently raised.

1

A Palm Sunday One Hundred and Fifty-Three Years Ago

 

 

It is poor business measuring the mouldered ramparts and counting the silent guns, marking the deserted battlefields and decorating the grassy graves, unless we can learn from it some nobler lesson than to destroy.  Men write of this, as of other wars, as if the only thing necessary to be impressed upon the rising generation were the virtue of physical courage and contempt of death.  It seems to me that is the last thing we need to teach;  for since the days of John Smith in Virginia and the men of the Mayflower in Massachusetts, no generation of Americans has shown any lack of it.  From Louisburg to Petersburg-a hundred and twenty years, the full span of four generations-they have stood to their guns and been shot down in greater comparative numbers than any other race on earth.  In the war of secession there was not a State, not a county, probably not a town, between the great lakes and the gulf, that was not represented on fields where all that men could do with powder and steel was done and valor exhibited at its highest pitch…There is not the slightest necessity for lauding American bravery or impressing it upon American youth.  But there is the gravest necessity for teaching them respect for law, and reverence for human life, and regard for the rights of their fellow country-men, and all that is significant in the history of our country…These are simple lessons, yet they are not taught in a day, and some who we call educated go through life without mastering them at all.

Rossiter Johnson, Campfire and Battlefield, 1884

 

 

 

I have always thought it appropriate that the national nightmare we call the Civil War ended during Holy Week 1865.  Two remarkably decent men, Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant, began the process of healing so desperately needed for America on Palm Sunday, April 9, 1865 at Appomattox.  We take their decency for granted, but it is the exception and not the rule for the aftermath of civil wars in history.  The usual course would have been unremitting vengeance by the victors, and sullen rage by the defeated, perhaps eventually breaking out in guerilla war.  The end of the Civil War could so very easily have been the beginning of a cycle of unending war between north and south.  Instead, both Grant and Lee acted to make certain as far as they could that the fratricidal war that had just concluded would not be repeated.  All Americans owe those two men a large debt for their actions at Appomattox.

Grant recalled the surrender:

APPOMATTOX C. H., VA.,
Ap l 19th, 1865.

GEN. R. E. LEE,
Comd’g C. S. A.
GEN: In accordance with the substance of my letter to you of the 8th inst., I propose to receive the surrender of the Army of N. Va. on the following terms, to wit: Rolls of all the officers and men to be made in duplicate. One copy to be given to an officer designated by me, the other to be retained by such officer or officers as you may designate. The officers to give their individual paroles not to take up arms against the Government of the United States until properly exchanged, and each company or regimental commander sign a like parole for the men of their commands. The arms, artillery and public property to be parked and stacked, and turned over to the officer appointed by me to receive them. This will not embrace the side-arms of the officers, nor their private horses or baggage. This done, each officer and man will be allowed to return to their homes, not to be disturbed by United States authority so long as they observe their paroles and the laws in force where they may reside.
Very respectfully,
U. S. GRANT,
Lt. Gen.

When I put my pen to the paper I did not know the first word that I should make use of in writing the terms. I only knew what was in my mind, and I wished to express it clearly, so that there could be no mistaking it. As I wrote on, the thought occurred to me that the officers had their own private horses and effects, which were important to them, but of no value to us; also that it would be an unnecessary humiliation to call upon them to deliver their side arms.

No conversation, not one word, passed between General Lee and myself, either about private property, side arms, or kindred subjects. He appeared to have no objections to the terms first proposed; or if he had a point to make against them he wished to wait until they were in writing to make it. When he read over that part of the terms about side arms, horses and private property of the officers, he remarked, with some feeling, I thought, that this would have a happy effect upon his army.

Then, after a little further conversation, General Lee remarked to me again that their army was organized a little differently from the army of the United States (still maintaining by implication that we were two countries); that in their army the cavalrymen and artillerists owned their own horses; and he asked if he was to understand that the men who so owned their horses were to be permitted to retain them. I told him that as the terms were written they would not; that only the officers were permitted to take their private property. He then, after reading over the terms a second time, remarked that that was clear.

I then said to him that I thought this would be about the last battle of the war—I sincerely hoped so; and I said further I took it that most of the men in the ranks were small farmers. The whole country had been so raided by the two armies that it was doubtful whether they would be able to put in a crop to carry themselves and their families through the next winter without the aid of the horses they were then riding. The United States did not want them and I would, therefore, instruct the officers I left behind to receive the paroles of his troops to let every man of the Confederate army who claimed to own a horse or mule take the animal to his home. Lee remarked again that this would have a happy effect.

He then sat down and wrote out the following letter:
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
April 9, 1865.

GENERAL:—I received your letter of this date containing the terms of the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia as proposed by you. As they are substantially the same as those expressed in your letter of the 8th inst., they are accepted. I will proceed to designate the proper officers to carry the stipulations into effect.
R. E. LEE, General.

LIEUT.-GENERAL U. S. GRANT.

While duplicates of the two letters were being made, the Union generals present were severally present to General Lee.

The much talked of surrendering of Lee’s sword and my handing it back, this and much more that has been said about it is the purest romance. The word sword or side arms was not mentioned by either of us until I wrote it in the terms. There was no premeditation, and it did not occur to me until the moment I wrote it down. If I had happened to omit it, and General Lee had called my attention to it, I should have put it in the terms precisely as I acceded to the provision about the soldiers retaining their horses.

General Lee, after all was completed and before taking his leave, remarked that his army was in a very bad condition for want of food, and that they were without forage; that his men had been living for some days on parched corn exclusively, and that he would have to ask me for rations and forage. I told him “certainly,” and asked for how many men he wanted rations. His answer was “about twenty-five thousand;” and I authorized him to send his own commissary and quartermaster to Appomattox Station, two or three miles away, where he could have, out of the trains we had stopped, all the provisions wanted. As for forage, we had ourselves depended almost entirely upon the country for that.

 

Grant in his memoirs wrote, “When Lee and I separated he went back to his lines and I returned to the house of Mr. McLean. Here the officers of both armies came in great numbers, and seemed to enjoy the meeting as much as though they had been friends separated for a long time while fighting battles under the same flag.”

Lee so appreciated the generosity of the terms of surrender given by Grant, that for the remainder of his life he would never allow a word of denigration about Grant to be spoken in his presence.

 

(Grant) rode on toward his headquarters tent, which had been found at last, along with his baggage, and pitched nearby. He had not gone far before someone asked if he did not consider the news of Lee’s surrender worth passing on to the War Department. Reining his horse in, he dismounted and sat on a large stone by the roadside to compose the telegram Lincoln would receive that night. By the time he remounted to ride on, salutes were beginning to roar from Union batteries roundabout, and he sent word to have them stopped, not only because he feared the warlike racket might cause trouble between the victors and the vanquished, both of them still with weapons in their hands, but also because he considered it unfitting. “The war is over,” he told his staff. “The rebels are our countrymen again.”

Shelby Foote, The Civil War:  A Narrative, volume III

 

 

 

Continue Reading

Triumph of the Cross

(This is my regular post for Palm Sunday which I repost each year.  Have a happy and blessed Palm Sunday and Holy Week.)

9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Sion, shout for joy, O daughter of Jerusalem: BEHOLD THY KING will come to thee, the just and saviour: he is poor, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. 10 And I will destroy the chariot out of Ephraim, and the horse out of Jerusalem, and the bow for war shall be broken: and he shall speak peace to the Gentiles, and his power shall be from sea to sea, and from the rivers even to the end of the earth.

Thus did the prophet Zechariah, writing half a millennium before, predict the entry of Christ into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.  How many such glorious entrances into cities have there been over the ages?  Every civilization I am aware of has such ceremonies, either parades in peace time or entrances of conquest or liberation in war time.  The Romans turned this into an art form with their triumphs, with the reminder of the slave to the imperator of  fleeting human mortality: “Respice post te, hominem memento te”.

Few such triumphs have turned into utter disaster as quickly as that of Jesus:  Jerusalem at His feet on Sunday, and Christ dead on a Roman Cross before the sun had set on Friday.  Small wonder that no contemporary historian or chronicler at the time took note.  However some sort of official report probably was filed after the crucifixion.  Writing circa 116 AD, and relying heavily on official records for his history, in regard to the great fire at Rome under Emperor Nero Tacitus states:

“15.44.2. But, despite kindly influence, despite the leader’s generous handouts, despite appeasing the gods, the scandal did not subside, rather the blaze came to be believed to be an official act. So, in order to quash the rumour, Nero blamed it on, and applied the cruelest punishments to, those sinners, whom ordinary people call Christians, hating them for their shameful behaviour. 15.44.3. The originator of this name, Christ, was sentenced to torture by Procurator Pontius Pilate, during the reign of Tiberius, but although checked for a moment, the deadly cult erupted again, not just in Judaea, the source of its evil, but even in Rome, where all the sins and scandals of the world gather and are glorified.”

Tacitus, clearly hostile to the Christians, points his finger at one of the great mysteries of history.  In human terms the Jesus movement was nipped in the bud at its inception.  Yet in less than three centuries the Roman emperor bowed before the cross.  The triumph of Palm Sunday led only to disaster, and the humiliation and death of the cross led to triumph in eternity and here on Earth.

For we Catholics, and for all other Christians, no explanation of this paradoxical outcome is needed.  However there is much here to ponder for non-believers and non-Christians.  In purely human terms the followers of Christ had no chance to accomplish anything:  no powerful supporters, no homeland embracing their faith, cultures, both Jewish and Gentile, which were hostile to the preaching of the Gospels, other religions which were well-established, the list of disadvantages could go on at considerable length.  We take the victory of Christianity for granted because it happened.  We forget how very improbable such a victory was. Even more improbable is that what began on Palm Sunday, the triumph of Jesus, has continued till today in spite of all challenges that two thousand years of human folly could cast up.  How very peculiar in mortal terms!

Let us give the last word to the patron saint of paradox G. K. Chesterton: Continue Reading

4

Requiescat In Pace: Arnaud Beltrame

A hero to remember.  Dave Griffey at Daffey Thoughts gives us the details:

 

And sadly, he has passed away.  Col. Arnaud Beltrame broke from our modern trends and sacrificed himself for those he never knew.  As an ISIS soldier attempted to keep the slaughter alive by taking hostages in a neighborhood store, Col. Beltrame and the French police surrounded the location and began working to keep the hostages alive.  Eventually, Col. Beltrame offered to trade himself in for a hostage, and went into the jaws of death that others might live.

Leaving his phone on so that the police could track the ISIS terrorist, the resulting firefight unfortunately included Col Beltrame receiving fatal wounds.  He passed away this morning.  God bless that hero and his family who gave the last full measure.

As we watch forces dedicated to oppression and control exploit youth willing to march for the proposition that it’s time for others to sacrifice so I can be safe, Col. Beltrame lives as a stark reminder of what kind of attitudes we seem to be working so hard to eliminate.  He didn’t ask that others give what they can so he could remain safe.  He sacrificed everything so that others would have more days and years in which to live.

You choose.  Which would you prefer?  A world in which Col. Beltrame represents the basic philosophies of the day, or one in which a generation is taught that it’s not what we can do for others we should be asking, but how much others must surrender so that we can have what we want out of life?  I know I have my answer.  And I’m thankful that one of my sons, looking past his peers’ aligning with the majority marching today against others’ rights, has chosen to follow the same path  as Col. Beltrame so that someday he might be able to help – others.

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15.13

 

Go here to comment.  A Catholic, he and his fiancee, Marielle, had received 30 hours of pre-marital preparation from the Church and were planning a June wedding.   They met during a tour of an abbey. They were married at his death bed.  A monk from the abbey administered to him the Last Rites.  God rest his courageous soul and may he now be enjoying the Beatific Vision.

2

PopeWatch: Pope Resigns!

In a shocking development Pope Francis has announced his resignation effective Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018.  The Vatican statement is as follows:

 

“His Holiness has announced his resignation which will be immediately after Easter Mass.  Noting that he has accomplished much of what he set out to accomplish, he has said that it was time for a younger man to take on the blessed burden of Mother Church.   He plans to retire to Argentina and to spend his time praying, in good works and blogging.  He assures the faithful that no doubt the Holy Spirit will be as efficacious in the choice of his successor as the Holy Spirit was when he was chosen.  He has enjoyed his time as Pope except for the cruel attacks by some American Catholic bloggers.”

The Pope Emeritus has announced his fond farewell to Pope Francis and has mentioned that in the unlikely event the Conclave were to choose him, he would reluctantly agree to serve.

PopeWatch has been unable to  confirm the rumor that a rainbow out of a clear sky suddenly appeared over Saint Peters at the time  of the announcement of the resignation.

 

Then PopeWatch woke up, and with that PopeWatch will be on Easter hiatus until April 2, 2018.

9

Three Cheers for Sister Jean and the Loyola Chicago Ramblers!

I’m not much of a sports fan, but I do love basketball and follow the NCAA tournaments religiously–let’s change that–with great devotion–whoops, wrong again. Anyhow, it’s a game I understand, even though my own basketball experience was limited to two on three half-court at the local playground.

Which is to say my bracket has been broken in several place by the Ramblers, Loyola University at Chicago. And I’m captivated by their assistant coach and scout, Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt, 98 years old, who played basketball (ladies) herself in San Francisco in the 30’s.
Here’s a great interview and commentary about her.

Question:  Why is it that Catholic Colleges (and universities)–I think of Georgetown, Xavier, Gonzaga–are so great at basketball?  Second thought:  they’re all Jesuit institutions, hmmm….

 

8

You Are a Thief and a Murderer

I don’t travel to a lot of different parishes, but I’d imagine you’d come across plenty of “Happy Talk” in most of them with an emphasis on things like peace, love, joy and tolerance; where the spiritual battleground seems more like a spiritual playground. Perhaps we’ve forgotten that in the past few decades we have lost about half our priests, two thirds of our nuns, Mass attendance is way down and the confession lines are now strikingly shorter than the communion lines.

Catholic families are being destroyed at about the rate as non-Catholic families. They abort, contracept, sodomize, fornicate and divorce at about the same rate as everyone else, but some say all this is “progressive”. I’d argue that calling someone who supports these things “progressive” is like calling a cannibal a chef.

Now don’t get me wrong; a Christian clearly has good reason to be joyful. “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.”(John 15:11), but next week (Holy Week) is perhaps the best time to reflect on our sins and the sins of the world, go to confession and do penance.

The following is based on a reflection I happened across from St. Bernard of Clairvaux; a doctor of the Church, which convinced me that I was a thief and a murderer—in a spiritual sense. See if it persuades you.

As is often the case, we need to start with some basics. Our souls consist of a will and an intellect. To love God is the highest act of the will and to know God is the highest act of the intellect. In this life, we can choose to move our will and intellect either toward God or toward “self”. Are we really thieves? How so? Since we were made by God and for God, we do not own ourselves. Therefore, when we commit acts of selfishness we are thieves who try to steal ourselves away from God. The only things we can truly claim ownership to are our sins and our vices.

How can we be murderers? Well, think about what murderers do. They kill a person and try to conceal the crime, perhaps by burying the victim in the ground. Likewise we too are murders, since we kill our souls via sin, which is of far more value than our body. What do we do once we kill our souls? We try to hide the crime by burying our souls under mounds of filth. Gluttony, greed, addictions and perversions of every sort hide the fact that we are dead. Even everyday “innocent” distractions like texting, gaming and social media can prevent us from seeing the crime that has happened.

So here are some questions to Catholics that never go to confession or maybe go once per year because they really don’t do anything bad. To those that firmly believe “I’m okay and you’re okay”……

  • Have you committed any selfish acts? Yes?
    • You are a thief! Go to confession.
  • Have you committed the kind of sin that kills the soul? Yes?
    • You are a murderer! Go to confession.
  • Have you injured your soul with any type of sin at all? Yes?
    • That is assault; you are an assailant! Go to confession.

Just go to confession, because I’m not okay and you’re not okay. You’re not likely to hear these things in a typical Sunday homily because they are unpleasant realities; but I’m a realist, and there is a rather blunt phrase we use where I work to remind us of harsh realities and their consequences. When someone does something they should not have, and the consequence is finally actualized, the phrase we use is…. “You’ll have that”. And any “Happy Talk” can wait until the reality is dealt with.

Have a good Holy Week.

5

PopeWatch: Petty

One of the hallmarks of the current pontificate is its essential pettiness:

The Knights of Malta say they have suspended historian Henry Sire for allegedly breaching their constitution, following revelations that he is the mysterious author of The Dictator Pope. However, Sire himself maintains the suspension is null and illegal under the Order’s rules.

According to the Order, Sire was notified of the alleged suspension on Wednesday.

Sire’s identity as the author of The Dictator Pope was confirmed on Monday, when Regnery Press posted his name and background on an online description of the book. Sire originally self-published the book under the pseudonym Marcantonio Colonna, a historical figure best remembered for his service as admiral of the papal fleet in the Battle of Lepanto.

On Monday, Sire tweeted from his official Marcantonio Colonna account: “As the French say, l’heure est arrivée. Sometimes a surprise coming-out party is best.”

“I tip my hat to the great Admiral Colonna, whose name I’ve tried to honor,” he added.

Sire released a statement today disputing the Order’s claim to have suspended him. “The proceeding against me (of which I was notified yesterday) is wholly illegal. It has been initiated by the Grand Chancellor, with the consent of the Lieutenant of the Order. The laws of the Order stipulate that such a proceeding has to be initiated by my superior, who is the Grand Commander, and he has not been involved. Moreover, the superior has to initiate the process without communicating with the Grand Chancellor. These requirements have been comprehensively ignored.”

“It is also ironical that these illegalities have been committed by the Grand Chancellor, who ousted the Grand Master a year ago by protesting at the supposed illegalities of his own suspension.”

Go here to read the rest.

 

7

The Big Jew Weather Machine

 

One thing I have noted about antisemitism over the years is that it almost invariably is useful as an idiot detector:

 

Trayon White, who is currently in his first term on the council, posted a video to his Facebook account on Friday of a snowy sky. White can be heard narrating in the background about the cold weather.

“It just started snowing out of nowhere this morning, man. Y’all better pay attention to this climate control, man, this climate manipulation,” White says in the video, which was first reported on by the Washington Post on March 18. “That’s a model based off the Rothschilds, controlling the climate to create natural disasters they can pay for to own the cities, man. Be careful.”

Go here to read the rest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The best comment on all this was a tweet purportedly from the Mossad noting irately that everyone knows the Rothschilds haven’t controlled the weather machine in four decades.  Personally I suspect that it is now controlled by Elvis and the Cattle Mutilators in league with the Calvinist Illuminati.

1

March 23, 1775: Liberty or Death

A fine video on the great “Give Me Liberty, or Give Me Death Speech” of Patrick Henry delivered in the Virginia House of Burgesses on March 23, 1775.  It is a remarkable speech, made even more remarkable when we consider that Patrick Henry was in deep mourning for his beloved wife Sarah who, after years of fighting a losing battle with mental illness, had died in February of 1775.   ( Henry refused to have her committed, against the advice of his physician, to the appalling insane asylums of his day, one he inspected would have had his wife chained to a wall, and Henry cared for her at home, bathing her, dressing her and keeping her from harming herself.)

 

 

Henry was perhaps the greatest American orator in a time of great American oratory.  It was said of him that cold print did not do justice to the passions he roused in his listeners with his speeches.  American school children used to memorize passages from this speech, a custom I hope is revived, because his speech goes to the core of what it means to be an American.  Here is the text of his speech, as it has been reconstructed, as no manuscript of it survives and our text is based on the recollections of men who heard it: Continue Reading

20

1.3 Trillion Monstrosity

I thought the Republicans controlled Congress and the Executive but I must have been mistaken.  Surely no Republican Congress could have passed a spending bill that, in the words of Senator Ted Cruz (R. TX):

“The disastrous elements of this bill are almost too numerous to list.

“It continues to fund Planned Parenthood, a corrupt organization whose horrifying abortion practices should preclude it from receiving taxpayer dollars.

“It continues to fund sanctuary cities, which are defying the law and making Americans less safe. Instead of rewarding sanctuary cities, we should be passing legislation like Kate’s Law, a bill I introduced that would put criminal illegal aliens in jail so they cannot prey on innocent Americans.

“It fails to provide sufficient funds to properly secure our border, let alone build the wall that is necessary.

“It tells federal agencies that they can spend taxpayer dollars to study the ‘causes’ of gun violence, a mandate that – make no mistake – will be abused by future liberal administrations to manufacture evidence to try to violate law-abiding citizens’ Second Amendment rights.

“It funds the Ex-Im Bank, a classic example of corporate welfare that has doled out over $100 billion in taxpayer-guaranteed loans, primarily to a handful of giant and well-connected corporations.

“It fails to reduce funding for the EPA, which under Obama administration zealots, killed thousands of jobs and dramatically strayed from its core mission of ensuring clean air and water.

“All of these measures amount to piling even greater debt onto the backs of our kids and grandkids, all because we are incapable of living within our means.

This terrible bill passed Congress yesterday.  The President, who I thought was Donald Trump but who obviously must be someone else, announced that he would reluctantly sign the bill.  Representative Nancy Pelosi (D.CA) and Senator Chuck Schumer (D.NY) have announced themselves as gleeful over the bill, and well they should be.

 

1

Pershing Speaks!

 

The things you find on the internet.  An address by General “Black Jack” Pershing from France during World War I.  His voice was more sonorous than I expected, perhaps I anticipated a more clipped and prosaic pronunciation from his many years in the Army.  Pershing declined to run for President in 1920 but said he would serve if the people wanted him.  Pershing was a Republican, but party leaders thought he was too closely associated with Wilson’s policies.  An interesting what if as to how history would have been impacted if Pershing, who lived until 1948, had been elected President in 1920.

 

 

4

PopeWatch: Scapegoat

 

 

A victim has been found to be sacrificed for Lettergate:

 

Msgr. Vigano read selected passages from the letter at a presentation on 12 March. Then journalists received a doctored image of the letter, which blurred out the lines where Pope Benedict explained he would not be reading the books.

In his letter of resignation (in Italian), Msgr. Vigano told Pope Francis that although it was not intentional, his actions had “destabilised the complex and great work of reform”.

“I think that for me stepping aside would be a fruitful occasion for renewal,” he said.

The Vatican press office has not explained why the picture of the letter was doctored. It told the Associated Press that it was never intended for full publication.

 

Go here to read the rest.  To complete the farce, the Pope in accepting the resignation then promptly appointed Vigano as second in command of the organization he just resigned as head of in ostensible disgace.  The safe course in regard to this Vatican is to assume that everything said or written by them is a lie until proven otherwise.

31

Let Kids Be Kids!

Bravo!

 

 

When I was a kid back before Dinosaurs ruled the Earth, the norm was for parents to throw kids out of the houses on weekdays during the summer, with the offspring only coming back for meals.  The rest of the time we played with the neighborhood kids.  It was not necessarily idyllic.  Bullies and bores are not an invention of contemporary times.  On the whole though it worked, with kids learning to deal with people outside of their families, engaging in sports and games, riding bikes, reading books, swimming, refighting the battles of World War II, etc., all without adult supervision.  Most of my initial lessons in self-reliance, standing up for myself and others and learning how to entertain myself, I drew from those endless summer days.  It wasn’t a bad time to be a kid.  Parents, by and large, did not hover over us.  Over-scheduling of kids with activities was not usually an issue.  Overwhelmingly families had both a Mom and a Dad.  Kids were given space and time to be kids, and, usually, not treated as a disease to be cured, little princes and princesses or mini-adults.  I am glad I went through my childhood a half century ago and that I did not have to experience the childhood that so many kids I encounter in the law mines today have to endure.

3

PopeWatch: Cartoon Pope

Left wing loon, cartoonist Ted Rall, finally has found a Pope he likes:

Written from a far-left political perspective, the book calls Pope Francis a refreshing new leader but argues that he isn’t liberal enough.

While entertainingly drawn and sharply written, ultimately the book is too tendentious in its political bias.

Rall, an atheist and Pulitzer Prize finalist, advocates for same-sex marriage, contraception, married priests, female priests and abortion. Acknowledging the unlikelihood of the Catholic Church ever changing its stance on these core issues — the pontiff himself has no power to revise dogma, though the celibacy of the clergy is a matter of practice, not technically doctrine — Rall instead celebrates Francis as the harbinger of a “new tone” in the church.

Go here to read the rest.  By your fan base shall we know ye.

 

4

March 21, 1918: Operation Michael Begins

And then, exactly as a pianist runs his hands across the keyboard from treble to bass, there rose in less than one minute the most tremendous cannonade I shall ever hear…It swept round us in a wide curve of red leaping flame stretching to the north far along the front of the Third Army, as well as of the Fifth Army on the south, and quite unending in either direction…the enormous explosions of the shells upon our trenches seemed almost to touch each other, with hardly an interval in space or time…The weight and intensity of the bombardment surpassed anything which anyone had ever known before.

Winston Churchill, who was present at the front when Operation Michael began.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 1918 German Spring Offensive, known to history as the Kaiserschlacht (Kaiser’s Battle), got underway on March 21, 1918.  Three German Armies struck the British Fifth Army and the right wing of the British Third Army.  The British Fifth Army held the juncture with the French forces in the south.  If the British could be driven away from the French, hopefully being driven into the North Sea, the Germans thought that they could then defeat the French.  This large scale test of the German stosstruppen tactics seemed initially to be a great success.  Rolling artillery barrages protected the German stormtroops as they avoided Allied strongpoints and punched holes in the British trench lines, restoring a mobility to the Western Front warfare that had been absent after 1914.

 

By the time the offensive came to an end on April 5, 1918 the Germans had put a scare into the Allied High Command and made huge, up to 65 miles, almost unbelievable, in the context of the Western Front, gains against the British.  However, there were worrisome factors for the Germans to contemplate.  Each side during the offensive lost a quarter of a million men, but the German losses were mostly among their highly trained, and irreplaceable, stormtroops.  The Germans enjoyed huge tactical successes, but General Ludendorff, perhaps the most overrated commander of the Great War, was unable to use these successes to gain the strategic goal of separating the British from the French.  The Germans had great difficulty in keeping their assault troops supplied over the torn up terrain they were advancing over.  The Germans captured 75,000 British troops, and 1300 pieces of artillery, but they were no closer to ultimate victory than they had been when Operation Michael was launched.

1

Jorge Bergoglio Must Welcome and Extend His Infinite Mercy To All Who Call Him A Heretic

 

Jorge Bergoglio’s new teaching in the papal exhortation Amoris Laetitia, (“AL”), is explicitly directed to unrependant adulterers, still living in adultery, who can, according to the new morality of AL, be doing the will of God, as they continue in sin. From this it follows that they can receive the sacraments. The teaching then goes further:  they should be integrated into the daily public life of the Church, joyfully.

The New Bergoglian Morality Applies To All Sins

AL’s new (im)morality does not stop at adultery-as-virtue.  It goes further:

“No one can be condemned for ever, because that is not the logic of the Gospel! Here I am not speaking of the divorced and remarried, but of everyone in whatever situation they find themselves. (AL, 297)“

This annihilation of hellish condemnation includes those who unrepentantly will continue in what Holy Mother Church teaches are “intrinsic evils,” those actions that are sinful no matter what the circumstances. Since this covers abortion, racism, and torture, it must certainly cover those who accuse a man wearing papal white of heresy.

This Is How Sinners Must Be Treated

Section 299  of AL provides for the “integration” in the life of the Church of  those continuing in sin, unrepentant:

“ I am in agreement with the many Synod Fathers who observed that “the baptized who are divorced and civilly remarried need to be more fully integrated into Christian communities in the variety of ways possible, while avoiding any occasion of scandal.

The logic of integration is the key to their pastoral care, a care which would allow them not only to realize that they belong to the Church as the body of Christ, but also to know that they can have a joyful and fruitful experience in it.  . . . Their participation can be expressed in different ecclesial services, which necessarily requires discerning which of the various forms of exclusion currently practiced in the liturgical, pastoral, educational and institutional framework, can be surmounted. Such persons need to feel not as excommunicated members of the Church, but instead as living members, able to live and grow in the Church and experience her as a mother who welcomes them always, who takes care of them with affection and encourages them along the path of life and the Gospel.”

Pastoral Accompaniment for Those Who Call Jorge Bergoglio A Heretic

If the alleged principles of Amoris Laetitia are just that – principles for moral action – they must apply across the board to all actions. This is why AL says that its new teachings apply in “all situations.” Without such universal scope, there is no moral principle.

Many, including this writer, have said that Amoris Laetitia, without further explanation, proclaims heresy; that its author, Jorge Bergoglio, is a heretic; and those, including lay people, theologians,  pastors, bishops, and cardinals who echo it to the faithful are also heretics.

Argentine Bishops Show The Way To Accompany Heretic Accusers

According to Amoris Laetitia itself, how are these heretic accusers to be treated by the Church? The answer – assuming AL does put forth universal principles for all actions, many of which previously were sins –  is to be found in the published Guidelines of the Argentine bishops for their implementation of the new morality.  Jorge Bergoglio said this about those Guidelines:  “The document is very good and completely explains the meaning of Chapter VIII of Amoris Laetitia,”  and  “There are no other intepretations.” (link to Argentine Guidelines:  https://cvcomment.org/2016/09/18/buenos-aires-bishops-guidelines-on-amoris-laetitia-full-text/   )

What follows is the application of those Guidelines  to those who say Jorge Bergoglio is a heretic.

1) Firstly, we should remember that it is not right to speak of giving “permission” for access to the sacraments to those who call Jorge Bergoglio a heretic (“Jorge’s heretic accusers”), but rather of a discernment  process under the guidance of a pastor. This is a “personal and pastoral discernment.”

2) In this journey, the pastor should emphasize the fundamental proclamation, the kerygma, so as to foster or renew a personal encounter between the living Christ and each Jorge heretic accuser.

3) This via caritatis is an invitation to follow “the way of Jesus, the way of mercy and integration”  and calls for the pastoral charity of the priest who welcomes the Jorge heretic accusers, listens to them attentively and shows them the maternal face of the Church, at the same time accepting the righteous intentions and goodwill of the Jorge heretic accusers.

4) The goal is further integration of the Jorge heretic accusers into the life of the Church: a more active presence in the community, participation in prayer or reflection groups, or giving time to church activities etc.  Even in difficult cases, pastors should be patient companions, looking for ways of integrating the Jorge heretic accusers.

5) It may be right for Jorge heretic accusers to have eventual access to sacraments privately. But at the same time, we have to accompany our communities in their growing understanding and welcome of the Jorge heretic accusers, without this creating confusion about the Bergoglian teachings of the Church. The community is an instrument of mercy, which is “unmerited, unconditional and gratuitous” and this mercy is also for Jorge heretic accusers.

6) Above all, in dealing with Jorge heretic accusers, pastors should rejoice in the following words of Jorge Bergoglio and apply them to the Jorge heretic accusers: “I also encourage the Church’s pastors to listen with sensitivity and serenity, with a sincere desire to understand their plight and their point of view, in order to help them live better lives and to recognize their proper place in the Church.”

Conclusion

Sadly, many in the Church have not only shunned, but have publicly condemned the Jorge heretic accusers.  Some have unjustly lost their positions and their jobs. They have not been showered with the joyful love of Amoris Laetitia as  have been public adulterers and fornicators.  Rather than saying  that they are not condemned forever, or “Come, ye, blessed  . . ,” Jorge Bergoglio himself has let it be known, “I know who they are.”

2

Paul: Apostle of Christ

[22] For both the Jews require signs, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: [23] But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews indeed a stumblingblock, and unto the Gentiles foolishness: [24] But unto them that are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. [25] For the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

1 Corinthians 1: 22-25

 

 

This looks interesting.  Review to follow after I see it.

1

PopeWatch: Dictator Pope

When The Dictator Pope was first published the Vatican purportedly was engaging in a frantic search to learn the identity of the author.  Yesterday the author has revealed his identity, courtesy of his publisher, Regnery Publishing:

 

About the author

Marcantonio Colonna is the pen name of Henry Sire (H. J. A. Sire), an author and historian. Sire was born in 1949 in Barcelona to a family of French ancestry. He was educated in England at the Jesuits’ centuries-old Stonyhurst College and at Exeter College, Oxford, where he gained an honors degree in Modern History. He is the author of six books on Catholic history and biography, including one on the famous English Jesuit, writer, and philosopher Father Martin D’Arcy, SJ. The Dictator Pope is the fruit of Henry Sire’s four-year residence in Rome from 2013 to 2017. During that time he became personally acquainted with many figures in the Vatican, including Cardinals and Curial officials, together with journalists specializing in Vatican affairs.
This is a reflection of the ignorance of PopeWatch, but his reaction on learning this is similar to the reaction of Lex Luthor who, while occupying the body of The Flash, decided to unmask him:

 

Jeanne Ives For Governor of Illinois: Updated

The Illinois primary is tomorrow and I repeat my endorsement of Jeanne Ives for Governor.  Go here to read my endorsement.  Governor Bruce Rauner is a Republican in name only and has richly earned the title that The National Review has bestowed upon him:  worst Republican governor in the nation.

 

 

 

Update:

 

She came heart-breakingly close: 48.5-51.5.  An impressive performance against an incumbent governor, and after being outspent ten to one and starting a campaign four months ago with almost zero name recognition.   I think we will hear more in the future from Jeanne Ives.

 

Now it is Billionaire Governor against the World’s Dumbest Billionaire.  Rauner is considered dead meat according to the conventional wisdom.  I wouldn’t be so sure.  Although I will sit this one out, plenty of Illinoisans will not want to put the Democrats back in complete control, Pritzker is an idiot given to perpetually placing both feet in his mouth and Rauner is as ruthless as he is amoral.  Of course, no matter which of these rich Crassus wanna-bes win, Illinois, as always, will lose.

9

PopeWatch: Lettergate

Father Z brings us the word that Lettergate just got a lot worse for the fools running the Vatican:

 

There is an Italian saying that the Devil makes great saucepans, but doesn’t provide lids for them.  Eventually, people will see what’s cooking: the truth will come out.

Just when you may have thought we had gotten to the bottom of The Letter™, or Lettergate, as Ed Pentin called it, more floats by, like a body face down in a slow moving river.

I have several updates about Lettergate – HERE – but this deserves a separate post.  It seems to me that this whole mess needs to be understood and remembered.  Hence, posts.

First it was revealed that the head of the Vatican’s office for communications (not the Holy See Press Office  – a separate but now subordinated entity) doctored a photo of alleged letter of Benedict XVI about a series of booklets about the theology of Pope Francis in order to avoid the embarrassing revelation that Benedict neither read them nor intended to read them.

I said “alleged” letter.  Now we learn that there was even more in Benedict’s original letter that was redacted out of the version that was read to the press during the presentation of the booklet series.  And again Sandro Magister has the story.  HERE

[…]

Between the paragraph omitted in the press release and the valediction there were, in fact, other lines.

And this much could be guessed just by observing the photo of the letter (see above).

In fact, between the first two lines that were made illegible in the photo, at the bottom of the first page of the letter, and the valediction and signature of Benedict XVI on the second half of the second page, there is a space too big to be occupied only by the last part of the paragraph omitted in the press release.

And what else was written there, that Viganò was careful not to read in public and took such pains to cover up in the photo with the eleven booklets on the theology of Pope Francis?

[NB] There was the explanation of the reason why Benedict XVI had not read those eleven booklets nor intended to read them in the future, and therefore why he had declined to write “a brief and dense theological page” of presentation and appreciation for the same, as Viganò had requested of him.

The reason adopted by Benedict XVI in the final lines of his letter – we are told by an incontrovertible source – is the presence among the authors of those eleven booklets of the German theologian Peter Hünermann, who was an implacable critic both of John Paul II and of Joseph Ratzinger himself as theologian and as pope.

About Hünermann, a professor at the university of Tubingen, it may be recalled that he is the author of, among other things, a commentary on Vatican Council II that is the polar opposite of the Ratzingerian interpretation.

It is therefore clear that, given what Benedict XVI writes in the second half of his letter, the first half also takes on a new significance, entirely different from the one that Viganò wanted to attribute to it in his mangled and biased press release.

[…]

Here’s the English rendering of what Benedict wrote in the last part of The Letter™:

Translated:

[…] all the more so in that I am under other obligations to which I have already agreed. [That’s where it seemed to end, before this new part came out.]

Just as a side note, I would like to mention my surprise at the fact that the authors also include Professor Hünermann, who during my pontificate put himself in the spotlight by heading anti-papal initiatives. He participated to a significant extent in the promulgation of the “Kölner Erklärung,” which, in relation to the encyclical “Veritatis Splendor,” attacked in a virulent manner the magisterial authority of the pope especially on questions of moral theology. The Europäische Theologengesellschaft, which he founded, also was initially designed by him as an organization in opposition to the papal magisterium. Afterward, the ecclesial sentiment of many theologians blocked this tendency, making that organization a normal instrument of encounter among theologians.

I am certain that you will have understanding for my declination, and I cordially greet you.

Yours,

Benedict XVI

Go here to read the rest.  Oh this is so rich.  The Vatican could simply have ignored the letter of the Pope Emeritus.  Instead they tried fraud, and now have to reveal that the Pope Emeritus points out that one of the pet theologians of Pope Francis is a virulent critic of the magisterial authority of popes on moral questions, at least popes prior to the present one.  Way to make a bad story into a complete disaster.  I doubt it was accidental that the Pope Emeritus signed as Benedict XVI, perhaps a reminder to the powers that be that he is reaching the breaking point of his silence?  Pass the popcorn!

22

Right and Wrong

“It isn’t fair, it isn’t right,” Mrs. Hutchinson screamed, and then they were upon her.”

Shirley Jackson, The Lottery, 1948

 

 

A professor is appalled that students are unwilling to say that human sacrifice, as set forth in the short story The Lottery, is wrong:

 

 

“The story always impressed the class with the insight that I felt the author had intended: the danger of just ‘going along’ with something habitually, without examining its rationale and value. In spite of the changes that I had witnessed over the years in anthologies and in students’ writing, Jackson’s message about blind conformity always spoke to my students’ sense of right and wrong.”

Then in the 1990s, something started to change dramatically in how her students responded to the sobering tale. Rather than being horrified by it, some claimed they were bored by it, while others thought the ending was “neat.”

When Ms. Haugaard pressed them for more of their thoughts, she was appalled to discover that not one student in the class was willing to say the practice of human sacrifice was morally wrong! She describes one interaction with a student, whom she calls Beth:

“‘Are you asking me if I believe in human sacrifice?’ Beth responded thoughtfully, as though seriously considering all aspects of the question. ‘Well, yes,’ I managed to say. ‘Do you think that the author approved or disapproved of this ritual?’

“I was stunned: This was the [young] woman who wrote so passionately of saving the whales, of concern for the rain forests, of her rescue and tender care of a stray dog. ‘I really don’t know,’ said Beth; ‘If it was a religion of long standing, [who are we to judge]?’”

“For a moment, I couldn’t even respond,” reports Ms. Haugaard. “This woman actually couldn’t seem to bring herself to say plainly that she was against human sacrifice. My classes of a few years before would have burst into nervous giggles at the suggestion. This class was calmly considering it.”

At one point, a student explained she had been taught not to judge, and if this practice worked for them, who was she to argue differently.

Appalled by the student’s moral indifference, Ms. Haugaard concludes, “Today, for the first time in my thirty years of teaching, I looked my students in the eye and not one of them in my class could tell me that this society, this cultural behavior was a bad thing.”

 

Go here to read the rest.  Well, none of this is surprising.  In my 61 years society has gone from condemning abortion as a serious crime to celebrating it as a constitutional right.  Ditto as to homosexual conduct.  If a society can turn on a dime as to such fundamental moral issues, why should we expect our young to have any firm notions of right and wrong?  Indeed, for large sections of our society “right” and “wrong” are now understood in the ever shifting political categories of the Left.  Thus if you believe that only females should use female bathrooms, you are a hopeless bigot.  If you object to your kids receiving homosexual indoctrination in their schools, likewise.  Once again you are a bigot if you believe that there are only two sexes and that all lives matter.  Moral indifference is not a sign of decay in our young, but rather that they have been paying attention.

3

A Speaker for Stephen Hawking (1942-2018)

De mortuis nil nisi bonum dicendum est
(Say nothing about the dead unless good)

 

I take the positivist viewpoint that a physical theory is just a mathematical model and that it is meaningless to ask whether it corresponds to reality. All that one can ask is that its predictions should be in agreement with observation.
–Stephen Hawking, The Nature of Space and Time (1994)

Praise for a First-Rate Scientist, a Fighter against a Crippling Handicap

I learned about Stephen Hawking’s death Tuesday, 14th March, reading my favorite news digest, “The Drudge Report”, which cited this Daily Mail article. The comments after the article were uniformly laudatory, endowing him with the status of  “the Einstein of our generation,” a great philosopher, a fighter against a crippling handicap, a man of humor and kindness.  The first and second of those appraisals I regard as excessive, the third I agree with, and the fourth–I don’t know.

What I will attempt in this post is to be a “Speaker for the Dead”, emulating Ender Wiggins, the hero of Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game Quintet.  Wiggins travelled the galaxy giving not eulogies, but honest appraisals of people who had died, appraisals that both honored the dead more than a conventional eulogy and ultimately were more comforting to those who grieved for the departed.

I’ll discuss Hawking’s popular works on science, his principal scientific works (and how his viewpoint seems to have changed in his later years), and his views on religion (which also seem to have changed in his later years).  I won’t discuss his private life, other than to say that if you read the Daily Mail article carefully, you might have a plot for a good TV show–oh wait, that has been made–see, “The Theory of Everything.

Writing something that might be regarded as even mildly critical of Hawking (particularly of his scientific work) puts me im the position of a Lilliputian shooting arrows at Gulliver.   Nevertheless, even though some of the math in Hawking’s work is above my pay-grade, I’m familiar enough with most of the math and with the subject  to evaluate (I’ve read related works by Penrose and Ellis); moreover, I have a background as a physicist (non-theoretical) and from readings in the philosophy of  science sufficient to apply the comment Hawking gave in the opening quote.

“A Short History of Time” and Other Popular Works

Let’s turn to Hawking’s  popular works on science, written for the non-scientist.   The most famous of these is “A Short History of Time,” a best seller (over 10 million purchased).   Some wag (whose name I don’t recall) said about this book “that next to the Bible, it’s been purchased by more people who’ve never finished reading it than any other.”   I did finish reading it (“A Short History of Time,” as well as the Bible);  it’s a fine book; Hawking does  a great job  explaining the science basic to cosmology.   I particularly like a quote at the end of the book on why the Universe exists:

“If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason—for then we would know the mind of God”\
–Stephen Hawking, “A Short History  of Time”

I’ll comment on this quote below, in the discussion of Hawking’s religious and political views.

Other popular works by Hawking have sold well, although not as well as “A Short History of Time:”

“The Universe in a Nutshell,” a sequel to “A Short History…,” which discussed new developments in theoretical physics occurring after the publication of that work;

“On the Shoulders of Giants,” a collection of original papers and essays on ground-breaking scientists: Copernicus, Galileo, Newton and Einstein;

“God Created the Integers,” a collection of original works by famous mathematicians: Euclid, Archimedes, Diophantus, Descartes, Newton, Euler, Laplace, Fourier, Gauss, Cauchy, Lobachevsky, Bolyai, Galois, Boole, Riemann, Wierstrass, Dedekind, Cantor, Lebesgue, Gödel, and Turing, and commentary;

“The Grand Design,” co-authored with Leonard Mlodinow, a work of evangelical atheism that proposed gravity as the creator of the universe (I’ll comment more about this book below),

If you read negative reviews on Amazon.com of the second and third of those listed, you’ll find criticisms not of what Hawking wrote, but of typographical errors in the selected papers.  I should note that he also wrote an autobiography and several science-fiction books for children, coauthored with his daughter, Lucy Hawking.

Stephen Hawking’s Science: 1) Singularities and Black Holes

The featured image is an artist’s depiction of a black hole, with gravitational lensing rings surrounding it.   This phenomenon is what the public associates with Hawking, although the term “black hole” was in fact coined by the American theoretical physicist, John Wheeler.  Black Holes are thought to represent “singularities” in space-time, caused by collapse of giant stars.   Such singularities are found in solutions of Einstein’s field equations (partial differential equations) for general relativity.   In a naive and simple way, one can think of a singularity as a region where a solution blows up to infinity: for example, if in a solution, 1/r, r  were equal to zero and 1/r would be infinite.

Hawking’s publication list shows that his research, from the time he received his Ph.D from Cambridge University until his later years, focused on cosmological singularities, black holes and the formation of the universe.  The major opus resulting from this research was the Hawking-Penrose Singularity Theorem, published in 1970.   This followed the first general treatment of singularities from a topological approach, given by Roger Penrose in 1965.

Why are singularities more than just a mathematical curiosity?   They show how (in the framework of general relativity) gravitation produces singularities.   And these singularities are the wrinkles in space-time that give rise to black holes, and again, in the framework of general relativity, the creation of the universe, “The Big Bang.”    The black hole singularity comes about when gravity is so strong that matter is compressed to a single point;  the hole is black because the speed of light is slowed down by gravity so much that it cannot escape the boundaries of the black hole (“the event horizon”).

Stephen Hawking’s Science: 2) The Entropy of Black Holes

Anything with mass (say the space ship Enterprise) has entropy.   If the Enterprise were to fall into a black hole, its entropy would disappear and  the entropy of the universe would decrease, thereby violating the Second Law of Thermodynamics, unless….the entropy of the black hole were to increase by an amount equal to or greater than that of the spaceship’s entropy.   Thus, that most rock solid of all scientific laws, the Second Law of Thermodynamics, requires that black holes have entropy.

In 1973 the Israeli-American physicist Bekenstein gave a formula for this entropy in terms of fundamental constants and A, the area encompassing the event horizon of the black hole.

S=(πAc³)/(2hG)

where S is the entropy of the black hole, A the area bounded by the event horizon, c the speed of light, h Planck’s constant and G, the gravitational constant.

In 1974 and 1975 Hawking published work in which he combined quantum mechanics and general relativity to show that black holes could radiate energy like a black body, and that they did indeed, as Bekenstein had argued, have an entropy proportional to the area covered by the event horizon.   This prediction of “Hawking radiation” from black holes is regarded as possibly Hawking’s greatest work.  The equation above, in different forms, has become known as the BHE equation for entropy, where BHE may be taken to stand Bekenstein-Hawking Entropy or Black Hole Entropy.   I’ve read (can’t recall the reference) that Hawking wanted that formula on his tombstone, possibly emulating Stefan Boltzman who had his formula for entropy, S=klnW, relating the molecular and macrosopic world, engraved on his tombstone.

There have been controversies and seeming paradoxes about information as it’s related to black hole entropy.  However, perhaps the most interesting point is that there has never been an experimental confirmation of theoretical thermodynamics of black holes:

“The robustness of these thermodynamic properties of black holes under various theoretical considerations thus inspires a great deal of confidence in them. Yet none of these properties has ever been empirically confirmed. So given this lack of direct observations of Hawking radiation or of any other empirical signatures of the thermodynamics of black holes…”
–Christian Wuthrich, “Are Black Holes about Information”

Hawking’s Science: 3) A Universe with No Big Bang

Theoretical physicists who don’t believe in God don’t dislike singularities in general (witness the interest in black holes), but they do dislike the singularity at the beginning, “The Big Bang”, because it is consistent with belief in a Creator (uppercase C).   Accordingly, these atheists propose all sorts of unverifiable schemes–“baby universes,” eternal inflation, a multiuniverse, etc…–that do away with The Big Bang as a creation event.

Another way to dispense with the Big Bang was put forth by Hartle and Hawking in their no boundaries universe paper.  Hawkings had argued that general relativity could not be applied to a hypothetical t=0 (or near then) state of the universe because distances were so small that quantum mechanics had to be used–macroscopic dynamics, General Relativity, would not apply at distances corresponding to the size of particles and subatomic particles.  Accordingly, Hartle and Hawkings applied the DeWitt-Wheeler formulation for the wave-function of the universe with a very important change:  the time variable was changed from a real variable (real in the mathematical sense) to an imaginary variable–“new” time t = i x”old” time t;  here “i” = √-1.   The consequence of this change of time variable is that an initial condition, t=0, is no longer required for a solution to the Schrodinger equation from which the universe wave-function is to be derived;  hence, the “no boundary” universe (no time boundary); time becomes a space-like variable.

I have two criticisms to make of this proposal: first, it is not science, it is what I would term “mathematical metaphysics.”   There is no way to verify it (or falsify it) empirically; second, at some point the imaginary variable,  “t√-1,” has to change to a real variable t;  when, how and why would this occur?

Hawking Becomes an Evangelical Atheist

Hawking’s quote about “knowing the mind of God” was cited above, as was the title of his book about the history of mathematics, “God Made the Integers.”   Also reported (sorry, I can’t locate the source) was his attendance at a  Pasadena Episcopal Church during his stay at Caltech in the 1970’s.  At any rate, Hawking later said that his quote from “A Short History of Time” was only a figure of speech and made his position as an atheist quite clear:

“There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, and science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win because it works. [emphasis added] Stephen Hawking. ABC Interview, 2010.

In his book “The Grand Design,” co-authored with Leonard Mlodinow,  Hawkings argued that God was not necessary as an agent to create the universe out of nothing;  rather gravity did that.  He also proposed that M-theory (another form of string theory) explained the workings of the universe, that it was “The Theory of Everything.”   I won’t here try to refute these propositions;  criticisms by famous scientists are given in the linked article; for an exhausting critique of the philosophical and theological fallacies of the work, see these videos by Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J. and Bishop Robert Barron.

The advocacy of string theory and the doing away with General Relativity at t=0, marks a decided change from Hawking’s position expressed in 1994:

“It [General Relativity] may require modifications on the Planck scale but I don’t think that will affect many of the predictions that can be obtained from it. It may be only a low energy approximation to some more fundemental theory, like string theory, but I think string theory has been over sold…My second reason for not discussing string theory is that it has not made any testable predictions. [emphasis added] By contrast, the straight forward application of quantum theory to general relativity, which I will be talking about, has already made two testable predictions. …Neither of these predictions will be changed even if string theory is the ultimate theory of nature. But string theory, at least at its current state of development, is quite incapable of making these predictions except by appealing to general relativity as the low energy effective theory. I suspect this may always be the case and that there may not be any observable predictions of string theory that can not also be predicted from general relativity or supergravity. If this is true it raises the question of whether string theory is a genuine scientific theory. Is mathematical beauty and completeness enough in the absence of distinctive observationally tested predictions. Not that string theory in its present form is either beautiful or complete. [emphasis added]
Stephen Hawking, “The Nature of Space and Time”

And please look again at the opening quote from this work by Hawking, in which he states the need for empirical confirmation of a scientific theory.

Final Remarks

This review of Hawking’s work (not his life) is perhaps biased by my opposition to his later position as an evangelical atheist.  It is also biased by my opposition to his political stance as an advocate of left-wing causes:  as a post from Washington Free Beacon, would have it

“But no amount of scientific greatness can excuse his political crusading—far left, viciously anti-Israel, and contemptuous of the culture and values that sustain western societies.” 
Noah Pollak, “Stephen Hawking wrote a popular book about physics and spent the rest of his life crusading for awful causes” The Washington Free Beacon,  March 15, 2018.

I believe the title of that article is extreme; Hawking did much fine work after the publication of “A Short History…”

I’m not going to comment on the disease, ALS, that severely limited Hawking’s mobility and speech. A good analysis is given by Dr. Leo McCluskey, University of Pennsylvania Medical School of how it might be that Hawking escaped the usual fate of those suffering  from ALS, an early death. One might wonder (and I don’t know the answer) whether ALS hindered or in fact enhanced Hawking’s career and reputation.

I will say finally that he was a brilliant, imaginative physicist.  Unfortunately most of the work he did and the theories he proposed, even the most famous–Hawking radiation–have not been, and perhaps never will be, subject to empirical verification or falsification.  He ranks in the forefront of contemporary theoretical physicists, but he was not of the stature of Einstein or those brilliant minds that  founded quantum theory.   As the Wikipedia article on “The Grand Design” suggests, his stature among the lay public is perhaps higher than that among the cohort of theoretical physicists, even though–as the comments after his death show–he was personally and professionally esteemed.

 

1

Jordan Peterson, Bishop Barron and Mark Shea

In the video below Jordan Peterson speaks on the threat to free speech in Canada.  The constant attempts by Red Fascists to interrupt his speech of course underlined what he was saying.

 

 

Dave Griffey at Daffey Thoughts notes the quandary for Mark Shea that Jordan Peterson presents.  Being a Leftist now Shea realizes he should hate Peterson.  However Bishop Barron poses a problem for Mark:

 

Mark Shea ponders Jordan Peterson

 

Hilarity ensues.  Mark’s hatred of everything to the right of center, mixed with his slavish devotion to almost every narrative and doctrine of the political Left, should have put Peterson in the cross hairs months ago. With the exception of “gay marriage”, which Mark barely mentions anymore, and abortion, which he blames almost exclusively on capitalism and sexist men, there are few significant differences between Mark and Daily Kos, or MSNBS, or Vox, or any other radical secular Left wing rag.

The problem?  Bishop Robert Barron has spoken and written somewhat extensively on the positive contributions that Peterson brings to the modern table. Of course Bishop Barron points out that Peterson is not a priest expounding the complete Gospel message.  And he, like most I know who value Peterson, can tell where Peterson is in line with the Christian tradition and where he isn’t.

Nonetheless, Bishop Barron, who has not bowed before the Leftist juggernaut, obviously sees much value in Peterson and in the timing of Peterson’s ascension.  This makes it tough for Mark.  Mark has long praised Bishop Barron as a shining light in modern Catholicism.  And rightly so.  Bishop Barron brings much to the modern debate.  And what’s more, he says the same thing about Peterson that most Christians I know say about Peterson. So Mark does what he can. I was going to write a lengthy piece unpacking Mark’s humorous attempts to twist and turn and desperately avoid the obvious points Bishop Barron makes, but I figured I’d do what he did to Barron’s review of Peterson – post a link. Read away.  Especially read the comments, since they help explain why so many see value in Peterson, given the appeal to arrogance behind many of his critics.  Not just arrogance aimed at Peterson but, as usual, aimed at any who don’t fall in line behind the Left (which one reader seems to think doesn’t really exist).  There are exceptions of course. (NOTE: as of now, the comment explaining identity politics/Marxist influences has been removed, though it could be a glitch since there is no note saying it was removed – having been on Patheos, I know it’s a different animal to actually erase a comment than merely deleting one..  Perhaps check back later) 

Go here to read the rest.  The Left of course, at least in its contemporary incarnation, with a few honorable exceptions, simply does not believe in freedom of speech.  When speech is free, and ideas are argued rationally, the Left tends not to do too well.  Thus free speech is condemned as racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. to shut up anyone who stands against the Left, or, for that matter, to silence dissenters on the Left. This stance is nothing new.  The ideological forebears of the current Leftist would be censors, have always hated freedom of speech, and freedom in general.  Time for all friends of freedom to stand up, and stand together.
SAY not the struggle naught availeth,
The labour and the wounds are vain,
The enemy faints not, nor faileth,
And as things have been they remain.

If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars;
It may be, in yon smoke conceal’d,
Your comrades chase e’en now the fliers,
And, but for you, possess the field.

For while the tired waves, vainly breaking,
Seem here no painful inch to gain,
Far back, through creeks and inlets making,
Comes silent, flooding in, the main.

And not by eastern windows only,
When daylight comes, comes in the light;
In front the sun climbs slow, how slowly!
But westward, look, the land is bright!

Arthur Hugh Clough

In Supremo Apostolatus

Continuing our Lenten look at great encyclicals, we come to In Surpemo Apostalus issued by Pope Gregory XVI in 1839.  Pope Gregory in the Encyclical took pains that condemnation of the trade in slaves, or of slavery, was not an innovation of his, but rather reflected a longstanding policy of his predecessors:

Placed at the summit of the Apostolic power and, although lacking in merits, holding the place of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Who, being made Man through utmost Charity, deigned to die for the Redemption of the World, We have judged that it belonged to Our pastoral solicitude to exert Ourselves to turn away the Faithful from the inhuman slave trade in Negroes and all other men. Assuredly, since there was spread abroad, first of all amongst the Christians, the light of the Gospel, these miserable people, who in such great numbers, and chiefly through the effects of wars, fell into very cruel slavery, experienced an alleviation of their lot. Inspired in fact by the Divine Spirit, the Apostles, it is true, exhorted the slaves themselves to obey their masters, according to the flesh, as though obeying Christ, and sincerely to accomplish the Will of God; but they ordered the masters to act well towards slaves, to give them what was just and equitable, and to abstain from menaces, knowing that the common Master both of themselves and of the slaves is in Heaven, and that with Him there is no distinction of persons.

But as the law of the Gospel universally and earnestly enjoined a sincere charity towards all, and considering that Our Lord Jesus Christ had declared that He considered as done or refused to Himself everything kind and merciful done or refused to the small and needy, it naturally follows, not only that Christians should regard as their brothers their slaves and, above all, their Christian slaves, but that they should be more inclined to set free those who merited it; which it was the custom to do chiefly upon the occasion of the Easter Feast as Gregory of Nyssa tells us. There were not lacking Christians, who, moved by an ardent charity ‘cast themselves into bondage in order to redeem others,’ many instances of which our predecessor, Clement I, of very holy memory, declares to have come to his knowledge. In the process of time, the fog of pagan superstition being more completely dissipated and the manners of barbarous people having been softened, thanks to Faith operating by Charity, it at last comes about that, since several centuries, there are no more slaves in the greater number of Christian nations. But – We say with profound sorrow – there were to be found afterwards among the Faithful men who, shamefully blinded by the desire of sordid gain, in lonely and distant countries, did not hesitate to reduce to slavery Indians, negroes and other wretched peoples, or else, by instituting or developing the trade in those who had been made slaves by others, to favour their unworthy practice. Certainly many Roman Pontiffs of glorious memory, Our Predecessors, did not fail, according to the duties of their charge, to blame severely this way of acting as dangerous for the spiritual welfare of those engaged in the traffic and a shame to the Christian name; they foresaw that as a result of this, the infidel peoples would be more and more strengthened in their hatred of the true Religion.

It is at these practices that are aimed the Letter Apostolic of Paul III, given on May 29, 1537, under the seal of the Fisherman, and addressed to the Cardinal Archbishop of Toledo, and afterwards another Letter, more detailed, addressed by Urban VIII on April 22, 1639 to the Collector Jurium of the Apostolic Chamber of Portugal. In the latter are severely and particularly condemned those who should dare ‘to reduce to slavery the Indians of the Eastern and Southern Indies,’ to sell them, buy them, exchange them or give them, separate them from their wives and children, despoil them of their goods and properties, conduct or transport them into other regions, or deprive them of liberty in any way whatsoever, retain them in servitude, or lend counsel, succour, favour and co-operation to those so acting, under no matter what pretext or excuse, or who proclaim and teach that this way of acting is allowable and co-operate in any manner whatever in the practices indicated.

Benedict XIV confirmed and renewed the penalties of the Popes above mentioned in a new Apostolic Letter addressed on December 20, 1741, to the Bishops of Brazil and some other regions, in which he stimulated, to the same end, the solicitude of the Governors themselves. Another of Our Predecessors, anterior to Benedict XIV, Pius II, as during his life the power of the Portuguese was extending itself over New Guinea, sent on October 7, 1462, to a Bishop who was leaving for that country, a Letter in which he not only gives the Bishop himself the means of exercising there the sacred ministry with more fruit, but on the same occasion, addresses grave warnings with regard to Christians who should reduce neophytes to slavery.

In our time Pius VII, moved by the same religious and charitable spirit as his Predecessors, intervened zealously with those in possession of power to secure that the slave trade should at least cease amongst the Christians. The penalties imposed and the care given by Our Predecessors contributed in no small measure, with the help of God, to protect the Indians and the other people mentioned against the cruelty of the invaders or the cupidity of Christian merchants, without however carrying success to such a point that the Holy See could rejoice over the complete success of its efforts in this direction; for the slave trade, although it has diminished in more than one district, is still practiced by numerous Christians. This is why, desiring to remove such a shame from all the Christian nations, having fully reflected over the whole question and having taken the advice of many of Our Venerable Brothers the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, and walking in the footsteps of Our Predecessors, We warn and adjure earnestly in the Lord faithful Christians of every condition that no one in the future dare to vex anyone, despoil him of his possessions, reduce to servitude, or lend aid and favour to those who give themselves up to these practices, or exercise that inhuman traffic by which the Blacks, as if they were not men but rather animals, having been brought into servitude, in no matter what way, are, without any distinction, in contempt of the rights of justice and humanity, bought, sold, and devoted sometimes to the hardest labour. Further, in the hope of gain, propositions of purchase being made to the first owners of the Blacks, dissensions and almost perpetual conflicts are aroused in these regions.

We reprove, then, by virtue of Our Apostolic Authority, all the practices abovementioned as absolutely unworthy of the Christian name. By the same Authority We prohibit and strictly forbid any Ecclesiastic or lay person from presuming to defend as permissible this traffic in Blacks under no matter what pretext or excuse, or from publishing or teaching in any manner whatsoever, in public or privately, opinions contrary to what We have set forth in this Apostolic Letter.

 
 
14

Iceland and Genocide

 

It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.

Luke 17: 2

 

 

 

 

George Will calls a spade a spade:

 

Iceland must be pleased that it is close to success in its program of genocide, but before congratulating that nation on its final solution to the Down syndrome problem, perhaps it might answer a question: What is this problem? To help understand why some people might ask this question, meet two children. One is Agusta, age 8, a citizen of Iceland. The other is Lucas, age 1, an American citizen in Dalton, Ga., who recently was selected to be 2018 “Spokesbaby” for the Gerber baby food company. They are two examples of the problem.

Now, before Iceland becomes snippy about the description of what it is doing, let us all try to think calmly about genocide, without getting judgmental about it. It is simply the deliberate, systematic attempt to erase a category of people. So, what one thinks about a genocide depends on what one thinks about the category involved. In Iceland’s case, the category is people with Down syndrome.

This is a congenital condition resulting from a chromosomal abnormality. It involves varying degrees of mental retardation (although probably not larger variances than exist between the mental capabilities of many people who are chromosomally normal — say, Isaac Newton and some people you know). It also involves some physical abnormalities (including low muscle tone, small stature, flatness of the back of the head, an upward slant to the eyes) and some increased health risks (of heart defects, childhood leukemia and Alzheimer’s disease). Average life expectancy is now around 60 years, up from around 25 years four decades ago, when many Down syndrome people were institutionalized or otherwise isolated, denied education and other stimulation, and generally not treated as people.

Go here to read the rest.  “Better” living through mass murder is always a bad policy.

 

6

PopeWatch: Mystery

 

 

Investigators are today pouring over the Vatican attempting to locate Pope Francis and approximately three quarters of the clerics who either work in the Vatican or who were visiting there.  Italian police were summoned to the Vatican in the early morning hours of March 17, 2017 by Cardinal Sarah who reported that he was reading his breviary when he suddenly heard Irish music, smelled the odor of corned beef and cabbage and heard what sounded like someone yelling in a deep voice Et serpentium!  When he left his apartment to check he quickly realized that something was amiss due to the immense quiet and what the Cardinal described as a sense of sacred tranquility that had suddenly descended upon the Vatican.

Police have found no items stolen and nothing out of place, except an abundance of shamrocks and the missing clergy.  People with information as to the vanished clergy are urged to contact Interpol.  It is rumored that members of the Irish Republican Army are being questioned.

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The Birthday of Saint Patrick

 

In a vision of the night, I saw a man whose name was Victoricus coming as it from Ireland with innumerable letters, and he gave me one of them, and I read the beginning of the letter: “The Voice of the Irish”, and as I was reading the beginning of the letter I seemed at that moment to hear the voice of those who were beside the forest of Foclut which is near the western sea, and the were crying as if with one voice: “‘We beg you, holy youth, that you shall come and shall walk again among us.” And I was stung intensely in my heart so that I could read no more, and thus I awoke. Thanks be to God, because after so many ears the Lord bestowed on them according to their cry.

Saint Patrick

 

 

 

Something for the weekend.  The Birthday of Saint Patrick.  The Irish have a talent of joking about those things most dear to them, including Ireland’s greatest Saint.  My family belongs to Saint Pat’s Parish in Dwight.  After 5:00 PM Mass my family will be joining the rest of the parish for an Irish dinner, no it will not be an Irish seven course meal of a six pack and a potato, and some Irish music.  It is a grand day to be Irish!

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George Washington Celebrates Saint Patrick’s Day

Throughout his life George Washington had a great deal of sympathy for the struggles of the Irish against their English rulers, seeing in those struggles a mirror for the American fight for independence.  Irish immigrants to America, Protestant and Catholic, were enthusiastic in their embrace of the American cause, and during the Revolutionary War many of the soldiers who served in the Continental Army were Irish or of Irish descent.  Therefore when General Washington heard in March 1780 that the Irish Parliament had passed free trade legislation, he issued the following general order to the Army on March 16, 1780:

The general congratulates the army on the very interesting proceedings of the parliament of Ireland and the inhabitants of that country which have been lately communicated;  not only as they appear calculated to remove those heavy and tyrannical oppressions on their trade but to restore to a brave and generous people their ancient rights and freedom and by their operations to promote the cause of America. Continue Reading