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.




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.


Let Kids Be Kids!




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.


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.



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.


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.”


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.”


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.


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.






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.


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™:


[…] 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.


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!


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.


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.


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.



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.


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.



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.


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!


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


The Latest Children’s (Political Pawns) Leftist Crusade

Dave Griffey at Daffey Thoughts has some thoughts on the completely astroturfed, and absurd, student walkout against “gun violence” this week:

Avoiding self reflection in the wake of school shootings


Is just what youth are doing across our nation today, as students bravely skip school to serve the designs of the Gun Control movement.  The fact is, almost every school shooter was a student who was brutally and ruthlessly bullied.  You’d think someone in our media would bother to ask all these students if they could reflect on what part some of them might have played in bullying others.

We know that before the Parkland shooter was officially identified, students reported that they knew who did it.  And they knew why.  The kid was bullied.  Given the fact that we have elevated bullying to being the worst thing since the Holocaust, this should somehow have made the news.  Of course the myriad failures that led to the shooting have been all but ignored, so I suppose that’s grasping.

As Ashe Schow at The Federalist points out, this is ultimately just exploiting and using these convenient youth as ideological shields. After all, who dares question them?  They’re the victims, they’re the future and they’re the hope.  A common partisan tactic.

BTW, Jonah Goldberg posted a rather controversial, but sane, piece exposing the lunacy behind this notion that ‘the kids have spoken, so it must be.’  At least the kids that have spoken about gun control.  Kids who aren’t about gun control seem to be strangely silent.

Fact is, we know guns have nothing to do with the overall violence problems in America today.  People have killed with or without guns for ages.  Around the world, where guns are scarce, in violent societies, people will turn to other means of mass killing.  And guns were far more available decades ago when we didn’t have this phenomenon we casually refer to as ‘school shootings.’

In our country, the mass shootings – as horrible as they are – account for a small portion of deaths by gunfire. The solutions everyone is talking about might have reduced some of the casualties in a few of the mass shootings, but that is all.  Despite promises that gun control activists know there is more to do than lobby for gun restrictions, they never seem to get around to anything other than lobbying for gun restrictions.

When thinking about the violence, more likely than anything is the fact that we are a society that peddles hedonism and narcissism as the two cardinal virtues, and that might not be a healthy trend.  We are a society that thinks nothing of defining what is and isn’t a human being per our latest convenience, and that has to have a subconscious impact on people.   We are a nation that increasingly sees life as pointless unless we are able to indulge in creature comforts or even debauchery and decadence, and that must have devastating consequences for those who can’t keep up with the material world.  We are a country that has become divided, and spews hatred and contempt at those who don’t agree with us in a way that would shame most wartime propaganda, and we know what wartime propaganda is capable of inspiring.

These things and more are likely why we have school shootings, not guns.  The fact that our kids see adults acting like our nation just described, but without the cleverness and maturity of ‘adults’, has likely turned old time bullying into something truly wicked and evil.  And those who are in the cross hairs of that behavior, who have other problems to contend with, become the killers that are subsequently ignored by the forces who only see things like Parkland as validation for their agendas. 

If we cared about stopping the violence, instead of merely pushing an agenda, we might show up to the student protests and apologize for the nation we have built, and assure the kids it’s time for all of us to begin walking back from the problems we have made.  I won’t hold my breath.

Go here to comment.  Leftists by and large don’t have many, or any, kids, so they come after ours to serve as their foot soldiers in their ceaseless odyssey for political power and better living through State control.  The wisdom of the Founding Fathers, and their ceaseless suspicion of government, stands in stark contrast to the idiocy of the time in which we are fated to live.

The Children

“But who shall return us the children?”

Rudyard Kipling

The thirty-fourth in my on-going series on the poetry of Rudyard Kipling. The other posts in the series may be read here, here , here , here, here , here, here, here, here, here, here, here , here, here, here , here, here, here , here, here, here , here, here , here , here , here , herehere, here , here here here  and here.  Kipling wrote many poems during his career.  This poem is manifestly not one of them.  The poem is a lament by a man who lost his only son in the Great War.  From first to last Kipling believed that Germany was a menace and had to be beaten.  After the War he called for a harsh peace to make certain that German could not wage a world war again.  Up to his death in 1936 Kipling warned that Germany was still a danger to the world.  This should be clearly understood since there has been an attempt to misinterpret, willfully or not, some of Kipling’s war poems as a turn towards pacifism, an interpretation that Kipling would have rejected with a snort of contempt.  No, in his poems Kipling blamed British governments for allowing Germany to grow strong enough to bring about the Great War and that his son, and a million other British and Empire men, had to die to correct the folly of British statesmanship.  When I read this poem I think of future generations and the price they will pay for the fashionable lies and follies of our day.  The heartbreaking question of “But who shall return us the children?” should be remembered by all who aspire to rule nations.

(“The Honours of War”—A Diversity of Creatures)
These were our children who died for our lands: they were dear in our sight.
    We have only the memory left of their home-treasured sayings and laughter.
    The price of our loss shall be paid to our hands, not another’s hereafter.
Neither the Alien nor Priest shall decide on it.    That is our right.
        But who shall return us the children?
At the hour the Barbarian chose to disclose his pretences,
    And raged against Man, they engaged, on the breasts that they bared for us,
    The first felon-stroke of the sword he had long-time prepared for us—
Their bodies were all our defence while we wrought our defences.
They bought us anew with their blood, forbearing to blame us,
Those hours which we had not made good when the Judgment o’ercame us.
They believed us and perished for it.    Our statecraft, our learning
Delivered them bound to the Pit and alive to the burning
Whither they mirthfully hastened as jostling for honour—
Nor since her birth has our Earth seen such worth loosed upon her.
Nor was their agony brief, or once only imposed on them.
    The wounded, the war-spent, the sick received no exemption:
    Being cured they returned and endured and achieved our redemption,
Hopeless themselves of relief, till Death, marveling, closed on them.
That flesh we had nursed from the first in all cleanness was given
To corruption unveiled and assailed by the malice of Heaven—
By the heart-shaking jests of Decay where it lolled in the wires—
To be blanched or gay-painted by fumes— to be cindered by fires—
To be senselessly tossed and retossed in stale mutilation
From crater to crater.    For that we shall take expiation.
        But who shall return us our children?



PopeWatch: Deck Stacking

Edward Pentin at National Catholic Register gives us info about the deck stacking going on at the Vatican against celibacy in the pre-synodal council:


The Vatican announced today that Pope Francis has appointed members of a pre-synodal council who will collaborate with the secretariat of the Synod of Bishops in preparation for the Pan-Amazonian synod next year.

Also announced was the theme of the October 2019 synod: Amazonia: new pathways for the Church and for an integral ecology.

Of particular, though not unexpected, interest are the appointments of Cardinal Claudio Hummes and retired Bishop Erwin Kräutler to the council. Both have advocated a change in discipline to allow married clergy in the Latin rite, and the Pan Amazonian synod is expected to provide a forum to at least discuss the matter.

Although some exceptions already exist to allow married priests in the Catholic Church (the Eastern rites and the Ordinariate for former Anglicans for example), the Amazonian case could be used to allow for married clergy wherever priest shortages might exist, and therefore permit a far wider provision.

Bishop Kräutler, an Austrian who headed the Xingu diocese in Brazil from 1981-2015, has long argued for viri probati (ordination or married men of proven virtue) to make up for a shortage of priests in remote Amazonian regions.

A supporter of the ordination of women despite Pope Francis and his predecessors definitively ruling it out, Bishop Kräutler said in an interview last year that he thinks the Pan-Amazonian synod might consider the issue of viri probati, and disclosed that after meeting Pope Francis in 2014, the Holy Father had encouraged him to “courageously” explore the matter.

Francis reportedly wanted the issue discussed at the next synod this October, but the theme was voted down by the majority of members on the ordinary council of the Synod of Bishops, the body charged with drawing up the theme. Instead, they opted for a synod on “Young People, the Faith and the Discernment of Vocation.”

Cardinal Hummes, meanwhile, has made comments in the past advocating for a change in the discipline.


Go here to read the rest.  One of the things that PopeWatch most hates about the current pontificate is the smarmy, backstairs manner in which Catholic teaching is betrayed.  At least Luther stuck his blade of heresy into the front of Mother Church.





Silent Scream




Leah Torres, an abortionist out in Utah, likes to defend abortion on twitter.  This week she explained why her third trimester victims don’t scream:


Go here to read the rest.  In Hell Nazis are telling each other that they were just slightly ahead of the times.



PopeWatch: Liars

Anyone shocked by this?


The Vatican admitted Wednesday that it altered a photo sent to the media of a letter from retired Pope Benedict XVI about Pope Francis. The manipulation changed the meaning of the image in a way that violated photojournalist industry standards.

The Vatican’s communications office released the photo of the letter on Monday on the eve of Francis’ five-year anniversary. The letter was cited by Monsignor Dario Vigano, chief of communications, to rebut critics of Francis who question his theological and philosophical heft and say he represents a rupture from Benedict’s doctrine-minded papacy.

In the part of the letter that is legible in the photo, Benedict praised a new volume of books on the theology of Francis as evidence of the “foolish prejudice” of his critics. The book project, Benedict wrote, “helps to see the interior continuity between the two pontificates, with all the differences in style and temperament.”

The Vatican admitted to The Associated Press on Wednesday that it blurred the two final lines of the first page where Benedict begins to explain that he didn’t actually read the books in question. He wrote that he cannot contribute a theological assessment of Francis as requested by Vigano because he has other projects to do.

A Vatican spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity, didn’t explain why the Holy See blurred the lines other than to say it never intended for the full letter to be released. In fact, the entire second page of the letter is covered in the photo by a stack of books, with just Benedict’s tiny signature showing, to prove its authenticity.

The missing content significantly altered the meaning of the quotes the Vatican chose to highlight, which were widely picked up by the media. Those quotes suggested that Benedict had read the volume, agreed with it and given it his full endorsement and assessment. The doctoring of the photo is significant because news media rely on Vatican photographers for images of the pope at events that are otherwise closed to independent media.

Go here to read the rest.  Just when you think that the powers that be at the Vatican have hit rock bottom, they keep on digging to new low levels.  Way to pick a fight with the Pope Emeritus.


Ides of March: Julius Caesar

Fate has a way of picking unlikely material,
Greasy-haired second lieutenants of French artillery,
And bald-headed, dubious, Roman rake-politicians.

Stephen Vincent Benet


I think it would have amused the Romans of Caesar’s generation if they could have learned that the assassination of Julius Caesar would eventually receive immortality through a play written more than 16 centuries after the event by a barbarian playwright in the Tin Islands that Caesar had briefly invaded. It would have tickled their well developed concept of the ludicrous, judging from Roman comedy.

The shade of Caesar probably would have objected to his portrayal by Shakespeare.  Caesar comes off as a stuffy dodo, almost reduced to a plot device, his assassination setting the play in motion.  To his contemporaries Caesar was a prodigy of nature.  Coming from a largely impoverished aristocratic family of no special note, Caesar rose to the front rank of the Roman political scene largely due to his political daring and his mastery of the intricate Roman political machinations of his time.  His military genius, which so fascinates us, he was able to exercise because of his political ability and intrigues, his political career in no way resting upon his military career.  His military genius did allow him to seize power and to begin the funeral ceremonies for the Republic which had been manifestly dying since the time of the Gracchi brothers decades before the birth of Caesar.  Caesar was a great destroyer in historical terms, but it would be up to his nephew Octavian, who lacked all of Caesar’s military skill but who was a greater political genius, to erect on the ruins of the Republic the Principate, that would morph in time into the Roman Empire, all while Octavian/Augustus protested that he was a Republican and that he was merely restoring the Republic.

The Ides of March deserve to be carefully marked in our contemporary time, because it demonstrates how swiftly a political system of great antiquity could be swept away, and one-man rule installed.  Republics tend to be fragile things, and tend to die unless carefully tended and guarded.



Be patient till the last.
Romans, countrymen, and lovers! hear me for my
cause, and be silent, that you may hear: believe me
for mine honour, and have respect to mine honour, that
you may believe: censure me in your wisdom, and
awake your senses, that you may the better judge.
If there be any in this assembly, any dear friend of
Caesar’s, to him I say, that Brutus’ love to Caesar
was no less than his. If then that friend demand
why Brutus rose against Caesar, this is my answer:
–Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved
Rome more. Had you rather Caesar were living and
die all slaves, than that Caesar were dead, to live
all free men? As Caesar loved me, I weep for him;
as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he was
valiant, I honour him: but, as he was ambitious, I
slew him. There is tears for his love; joy for his
fortune; honour for his valour; and death for his
ambition. Who is here so base that would be a
bondman? If any, speak; for him have I offended.
Who is here so rude that would not be a Roman? If
any, speak; for him have I offended. Who is here so
vile that will not love his country? If any, speak;
for him have I offended. I pause for a reply.


None, Brutus, none.


Then none have I offended. I have done no more to
Caesar than you shall do to Brutus. The question of
his death is enrolled in the Capitol; his glory not
extenuated, wherein he was worthy, nor his offences
enforced, for which he suffered death.

William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Act III, Scene 2



Barking Mad




Some of the Left are completely bonkers:

The speaker you’ll see here is biology professor Heather Heying, wife of professor Bret Weinstein. Both Heying and Weinstein left Evergreen State College as part of a settlement deal last year. Heying was making a point about physiological differences between men and women. “Are men taller than women on average?” Heying asked rhetorically. She added, “Does anyone take offense at that fact?”

It seems someone in the audience did because Dr. Peter Boghossian (seated on the right) turned toward the back of the room and Professor Heying chuckled.

“So I would say you could be irritated by it,” Heying said. She continued, “You could be irritated by the fact that women have to be the ones that gestate and lactate. You could be irritated by a lot of truths but taking offense is a response that is a rejection of reality.”

But before she had even finished her statement, a group of students got up and walked out of the room. As Heying continued to talk about physiological differences between men and women, there was a loud commotion in the back of the room. One of the protesters apparently damaged the sound system on the way out.

At this point, a camera out in the lobby area shows a small group of protesters, one of whom (the girl with purple hair) is led to a seat by a police officer. There are some cuts in the video but she is clearly agitated and says at one point, “Even the women in there have been brainwashed.” She shouts “F**k the police” as she exits a few moments later.

Another protester in the lobby says, “You should not listen to fascism. It should not be tolerated in civil society. Nazis are not welcome in civil society.” I guess that explains the urge to wreck the sound system. The far left is all about silencing its opponents by any means necessary.

Go here to read the rest.  Calling someone stating elementary biological facts a Nazi is so detached from reality as to be breathtaking.  As Heinlein predicted long ago, we are living in the Crazy Years.



PopeWatch: Confused

Sandro Magister gives us some insight into the tangled words and thoughts of Pope Francis:


Yesterday, March 1, there was a presentation in Rome with great fanfare, at the curia of the Society of Jesus, of the book “A Pope Francis Lexicon,” published in the United States by Liturgical Press and edited by Joshua McElwee and Cindy Wooden, the latest in a substantial series of studies on the key words of Pope Francis, on his language, on his communication style, which are in fact extremely different from those of his predecessors.

Settimo Cielo as well, a few days ago, called attention back to the oratory of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, in particular to the highly uncommon way in which at the beginning of this Lent, speaking off the cuff to the priests of Rome, he reviewed his own life:

> How Bergoglio Is Rewriting His Life. The Years of the “Great Desolation”

In these autobiographical remarks of his, Francis confessed that from time to time he had experienced feelings of omnipotence and of desolation, of disorientation and of the desire for compensation, in a psychological equilibrium that was never resolved.

And his account also seemed to proceed in disorder, on a par with his thought. When Bergoglio speaks off the cuff he is never linear, concise, direct, unequivocal. He does the exact opposite. He says and does not say, restates, contradicts himself.

One glaring recent example of this tortuous expression of his was the inflight press conference on the trip back from Peru to Rome:

> “È stato un viaggio… non so come si dice in italiano, ma in spagnolo…”

But perhaps the unsurpassed example of his sibylline speech – yes, no, I don’t know, you figure it out – remains the response that he gave at the Lutheran church of Rome on November 15, 2015, to a Protestant woman who had asked him if she and her husband, a Catholic, could receive communion together:

> “Non è facile per me risponderle…” (with video with the English subtitles)

To what extent and in what sense does this manner of Bergoglio’s expressing himself reveal his personality?

The post from Settimo Cielo on the pope giving an account of himself has stimulated a series of comments in this regard.

First of all, the doubt has been removed that Bergoglio may speak in a disorderly way only in Italian but not in Spanish, the language that is most natural to him.

We have received messages from Argentina:

“Even in Spanish Francis is rather disorderly when he improvises, although perhaps a bit less than in Italian.

And from Spain:

“He is disorderly and confused even when he speaks in Spanish. Sometimes he does not finish his sentences. He uses many expressions typical of Argentina, excessively local and informal.”

Having established this, an Italian reader has gone to the heart of the matter like this:

“I believe that Bergoglio’s disorderly and sloppy improvisation is intentional. His jumping from tangent to tangent makes it difficult for the interlocutor to come to grips with anything. This is the case, for example, of the inflight interviews, which he constructs and measures with undoubted political and manipulative skill. A skill that however in the end turns out to be to be short-lived, at least when the journalist presses him.

“As for his recent autobiographical account, the fact that he describes as an age of ‘omnipotence’ the period in which he was a superior makes one think. It reveals an affective approach to power that turns out to be problematic to say the least. The periods that he calls ‘dark’ in his life are in practice those in which he has no position of authority.”

From Argentina we received this other analysis:

“In the first place, Bergoglio’s methodological-expository disorder begins with an idea or a concept, but then moves on to another, sometimes in forced forms.It is not a ‘scholastic’ exposition in the Thomist manner. As a Jesuit he was trained to use images and representations, rather than concepts.

“In other words, his exposition is similar to his way of thinking. Rather than reflecting in an orderly deductive way, he describes situations or moments that are useful to him in exposing or imposing an idea or an image, and he talks about them. This is why his way of expressing himself is ‘disorderly’ or ‘disorganized.’ It is also in part why he often does not arrive at a conclusive idea: it is the listener or the reader who must deduce it.

“At bottom, he is not a trained thinker, he is an intellectual with an acute ability to read the other person psychologically, he knows very well to whom he is speaking and what he has to say to this person. His way of formulating something is of strong impact, it startles, but it does not have behind it a substance that one could grasp to ‘fill the soul.’

“Personally, I have not been able to fully read ‘Amoris Laetitia.” I can not connect ideas or concepts, it does not have a common thread in its formulations. It does not measure up to the writings of St. John Paul II, let alone Benedict XVI.

“At bottom, his thought and way of reflection does not create a school, nor does he make disciples.The people around him are less than mediocre. Only he must shine, unlike the previous popes, who surrounded themselves with outstanding colleagues, apart from a few exceptions.”

Go here to read the rest.  One would think that speaking clearly and thinking clearly would be among the minimum job requirements for a pope.


Five Years Ago

Well, Francis was elected Pope five years ago.  Here was my initial take:


I go to bankruptcy court and they elect a Pope. It appears to be a good, solid choice. He is doctrinally orthodox. Appears to have opposed Liberation Theology. The fact that he is the first Jesuit Pope should have the conspiracy theorists howling at the moon tonight!

Third non-Italian Pope in a row and the first Pope from the Western Hemisphere.

Go here to view the TAC Post that gave us the news.  The sad and sorry truth is that most Catholics, including more than a few of the Cardinals who elected him, knew little about the new Pope.  In many important ways, that is still the case five years on.


Hillary Explains It All

A little bit of schadenfreude to start the day.  Hillary explains how she got the votes of the “good people”:


Sore loser and sour grapes does not begin to capture the shear fury that eats away at Clinton over her loss.  Looking in the mirror and realizing that she is gazing at the person who lost the election for her is completely beyond Clinton.  If Trump were attempting to devise a way to make Hillary suffer for 2016, he couldn’t have invented a more soul shattering reaction to her loss than Clinton has devised for herself.



PopeWatch: Vatican

The Lepanto Institute gives us a lesson in Vatican priorities:

In August of 2017, InfoVaticana, a small Catholic news portal based in Madrid, Spain, was surprised to receive a letter from Baker & McKenzie, the second largest law firm in the world, demanding that InfoVaticana transfer its domain (www.infovaticana.com) to the Vatican Secretariat of State.  The reason for the demand was that the Vatican alleges that it possesses exclusive property rights over the name of the physical center of the Catholic world.  The letter stated that InfoVaticana had seven days to comply with this order and that failing to do so would result in an exceedingly expensive lawsuit.

InfoVaticana, which was launched in May of 2013, says that it is “a free and independent media that has the vocation to serve the Catholic Church and society.”  It’s stated mission is to “deepen the denunciation of Christianophobia and the corruption that the Church uses, the rejection of the totalitarian impositions of the powerful LGBT lobby and the support of our brothers, the persecuted Christians.”

InfoVaticana has written articles critical of the homosexual influence in the Vatican, Pope Francis’s Amoris Laetitia, the Vatican’s scandalous handling of the Order of Malta, the provision of a medal to a radical pro-abortion politician, and many other concerns held by Catholics around the world.

In early 2017, InfoVaticana filed a trademark request for its name beside the Emblem of the Vatican State.  It wasn’t long before InfoVaticana discovered that it could not trademark a national emblem, and so on March 27, 2017, it withdrew its trademark application and opted to trademark its name along with a more generic pair of crossed keys instead.

Vatican Lawsuit 02The trouble began two months later, when on May 15, InfoVaticana received a letter from Baker & McKenzie on behalf of the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin.  The letter argued that the crossed keys “represent the symbolic emblem of the Christ Delivering Keys to St. Peter [and] are an integral part of the Emblem,” and when combined with the name “InfoVaticana,” the public may draw the “wrongful and misleading impression that the Website is officially linked or directly managed by the Holy See.”  As such, the letter requests that InfoVaticana withdraw its trademark application and cease using the Emblem of the Vatican State and the combined image of InfoVaticana with the crossed keys.

In August of 2017, InfoVaticana received a second letter from Baker & McKenzie, this time demanding that in addition to no longer using the crossed keys with the name InfoVaticana, InfoVaticana actually cease using the name “InfoVaticana” at all and turn the website domain over to the Secretary of State.  The letter argues that the crossed keys used in InfoVaticana’s application for its trademarked logo is a violation of the Vatican’s intellectual property in the form of “State Symbols.”  Such argumentation would imply that any portion of the formal symbols representing Vatican City (the Cross, the keys, a tassel, a gold and white flag) are prohibited from use by any entity without express permission from the Vatican.

If this is actually the case, then the Vatican would need to pursue lawsuits against the following as well:

The Society of the Crossed Keys

Vatican Lawsuit 03

Prime Real Estate of Florida

Vatican Lawsuit 04

Metro Local Locksmith

Vatican Lawsuit 05

Cross Keys Animal Hospital

Vatican Lawsuit 06

The Cross Keys Inn

Vatican Lawsuit 07

York Minster

Vatican Lawsuit 08

Cross Keys Bank

Vatican Lawsuit 09

But then the letter from Baker & McKenzie gets even more ridiculous.  In addition to demanding that InfoVaticana refrain from using the crossed keys as a symbol of the website, the letter demands:

4) Immediately transfer in favor of the Secretary of State (or in favor of whom it designates), the domain name www.infovaticana.com.

Why?  Because:

“the domain name infovaticana.com (the “Name of Infringing Domain”) incorporates the vocabulary “INFOVATICANA” that, as seen, induces the public to error about the nature and origin of the service offered by you.

In short, the described uses not authorized by the Secretary of State on the Website in the Name of the Infringing Domain and the way in which your Website and the business carried out by you are presented to the public constitute clear infractions of the State Symbols and other signs that designate the Vatican institution that the Secretary of State is not willing to tolerate.”

In other words, the argument is that (forgetting that InfoVaticana’s “about us” page clearly states that it is “a free and independent media” site) InfoVaticana gives the appearance that it is an officially sanctioned Vatican website (it does not) and so therefore must not only cease using any portion or imitation of official symbols of the Vatican State, but hand over the domain name as well.

This would be like the Federal Government of the United States telling USA Today that it must hand over its name and web domain to the US government because the use of “USA” is exclusive to the government.  Perhaps, then, the state of New York should demand that the New York Times hand over its name and domain for the same reason.  Same thing with America Magazine.

In response to the letter, InfoVaticana enlisted the aid of a legal team who provided a compromise to Baker & McKenzie, proposing that InfoVaticana cease to use the crossed keys in its logo, as well as any other image that may correspond to official emblems of the Holy See.  The proposal was not a concession of any wrong-doing, but an act of good faith and good will in a desire to avoid causing confusion or the impression that InfoVaticana was in any way involved with the Vatican State.

Baker & McKenzie’s response was an emphatic refusal to negotiate, reiterating the demand that the domain name must be transferred to the Vatican Secretary of State.

But that’s not even the worst of it.

The law firm Cardinal Parolin hired to handle the case, Baker & McKenzie, is well known for the promotion of homosexuality, and even represented the abortion giant, Planned Parenthood.


Go here to read the rest.  Anyone surprised by this?  Our Church dollars at work.



March 13, 1865: Confederate Congress Authorizes Black Troops




Perhaps a war winning measure if the year had been 1861, by 1865 the action of the Confederate Congress authorizing the enlistment of black troops could only be regarded as a just before midnight measure of a dying nation. The measure is interesting for two reasons:  the black troops were to be treated precisely the same as white troops in regard to pay and rations, and the measure explicitly did not provide for enlisted slaves to be granted their freedom.  A historical curiosity now, the whole issue of black troops might have been one of the few paths to victory for the Confederacy if it had been undertaken prior to Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.  However, if the leaders of the Confederacy had been willing to consider such a measure at the onset of the struggle, it is likely that secession would never have occurred, since the preservation of slavery was the core reason for the creation of the Confederacy.  Here is the text of the statute: Continue Reading


PopeWatch: Humanae Vitae War

Sandro Magister reminds us that the war over Humanae Vitae is well under way:


The siege on Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical “Humanae Vitae” has racked up two new assaults in recent days. But also an energetic counterattack.

The first and more authoritative assault bears the signature of Cardinal Walter Kasper. In a booklet released contemporaneously in German and in Italy he exalts the “paradigm shift” inaugurated by Pope Francis with the exhortation “Amoris Laetitia.” A paradigm shift – Kasper writes – that does not limit itself to allowing communion for the divorced and remarried, but “concerns moral theology in general and thus has effects on many analogous situations,” including none other than recourse to artificial methods of birth control.

Kasper does not find in “Amoris Laetitia” the passage – in effect nonexistent – that would explicitly legitimize the use of contraceptives. But he points out that Francis, when he cites the encyclical of Paul VI, “encourages the use of the method of observing the cycles of natural fertility, but does not say anything about other methods of family planning and avoids all casuistic definitions.” From which Kasper deduces that “in ‘Amoris Laetitia’ even that which is not said may say something,” meaning that it may give the go-ahead to contraceptives, entrusting the use of them to the “deliberate decision of conscience” of the individual.


The second assault is less noble and not authoritative at all. And it is the acrobatic review, given a full page in the Sunday, December 4 edition of the newspaper of the Italian episcopal conference, “Avvenire,” with the byline of its specialist on questions of family morality, Luciano Moia, of the following important book, just off the presses:

Pawel Stanislaw Galuszka, “Karol Wojtyla e ‘Humanae vitae’. Il contributo dell’Arcivescovo di Cracovia e del gruppo di teologi polacchi all’enciclica di Paolo VI,” Cantagalli, Siena, 2018, pp. 550, 28 euro.

Among the documents published for the first time in this book, Moia isolates a letter written by Karol Wojtyla to Paul VI in 1969, after numerous episcopal conferences had spoken out critically against “Humanae Vitae.” In that letter the archbishop of Krakow asked the pope to publish urgently an instruction against the “harmful opinions” that were circulating, reiterating even more forcefully the teaching of the encyclical.

Paul VI did not do what Wojtyla had asked him. It was enough for him to hold firm what he had written in “Humanae Vitae,” without retreating one step. But by capitalizing on this silence of his, Moia contrasts Wojtyla’s “rigidity” with the presumed “openness” of Paul VI to the objections of various episcopates, all of them “characterized” – according to Moia’s prose – “by respect, acceptance, and comprehension.”

In reality, the erudite book by Galuszka documents not only Wojtyla’s important contribution to the drafting of “Humanae Vitae,” but also the extraordinary expansion that he offered afterward, as pope, to the comprehension of that encyclical, both with the cycle of catechesis on the theology of the body from 1979 to 1984, and with the encyclical “Veritatis Splendor” of 1993.

An expansion, that offered by John Paul II, which Benedict XVI has also recognized in this sincere autobiographical note of his, in the book-length interview published after his resignation from the papacy:

“In my situation, in the context of the theological thought back then, ‘Humanae Vitae’ was a difficult text. It was clear that what it was saying was valid in substance, but the way in which it was presented to us, at the time, even for me, was not satisfactory. I was seeking a broader anthropological approach. And in effect, John Paul II afterward integrated the encyclical’s natural law style with a personalistic vision.”


And here we are at the counterattack in defense of “Humanae Vitae,” which has been expressed both with the publication of the book mentioned above and with the presentation of it that was made on Wednesday, March 7 at the Pontifical Lateran University by Cardinal Gerhard L. Müller, the Polish philosopher Stanislaw Grygiel, and the Italian theologian Livio Melina, in addition to the author of the book,  Pawel Stanislaw Galuszka of Poland.

Melina, formerly the dean of the pontifical John Paul II institute for studies on marriage and family, is also the author of the preface to the book. His contribution on March 7 is reproduced in its entirety on another page of Settimo Cielo.

And these are his parting shots, in which he immediately takes aim at both Kasper and Moia, after which he makes an interesting reference to the letter “Placuit Deo” published a few days ago by the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, with the approval of Pope Francis.



by Livio Melina

Today one hears ambiguous talk of an epochal “paradigm shift,” which it is alleged must be applied  to Catholic sexual morality. In order to impose it there is also underway a questionable attempt at historical reinterpretation, which contrasts the figures of Paul VI and John Paul II, seeing in the second an intransigent and rigid traditionalist who is thought to have compromised the open and flexible attitude of the former.

In reality, this crude and arbitrary falsification is made only to serve an ideological manipulation of the magisterium of Pope Paul VI. Putting between parentheses the teaching of Saint John Paul II on the theology of the body and on the foundations of morality, his catecheses and “Veritatis Splendor,” in the name of the new pastoral paradigm of “case by case” discernment, does not bring us a step forward, but only a step backward toward casuistry, with the disadvantage that at least that was sustained by a solid ecclesial and cultural context of Christian life, while today it could not help but result in the total subjectivization of morality.

Go here to read the rest.  Leftists within the Church have adopted the usual Leftist strategy.  When they lose they regard it as merely a temporary setback to be overturned at a later date.  When they win the matter is decided for all time, no matter the contrary history of twenty centuries, and those who impose the latest Leftist innovation are heretics to be cast into the outer darkness.



Lectio Divina Set to Music:
Brahms’ German Requiem

I have written elsewhere about music as another road to adoration, but in this post I’d like to focus on music as a way to illuminate Scripture.   My wife and I attended a performance of Brahms “Ein Deutsche Requiem” recently, done by a local choral group and a local collection of orchestral talent.   It was magnificent!  A few weeks earlier  I had happened to run into one of the members of the choral group, a member of our Church, and had talked about the forthcoming performance.  He had said thinking about it gave him “goose bumps”.    I got them too listening to the stirring Second Movement (the Youtube clip above is of a performance directed by von Karajan of that movement;  the quote at the heading, 1 Peter 1:25 is the text for that).

Reading through the program, I was struck by how much the Scripture texts from the Old and New Testaments were enhanced by the music;  perhaps one might think of it as “Lectio Divina” in a musical context.  And I’ll mention another movement from the Requiem that moved me greatly, looking forward as I am to my tenth decade.  Here is a video clip of this by the Newfoundland Symphony–I should know who the baritone is, I think I’ve seen him in one or two operas, but I can’t place the name; the text is Psalm 39:4-7:

One other thing struck me, looking at the audience: the Lutheran church where the concert was held was packed almost to capacity, but the median age of the audience was probably close to 60–very few young people. I remember way long ago when I attended elementary school (a public school out west) we had music sessions at least once a week–classical mostly (I remembered how all the kids started laughing when the William Tell Overture was played, the theme song for “The Lone Ranger”).

Alas, the younger generation (and here I give myself away–I’m thinking of those under 50) have no taste for classical music. Hence the decline of liturgical music and the use of hymns accompanied by drums and guitars, hymns that are the essence of banality.  Oh well, there will be heavenly choirs, and maybe even some in Purgatory for me to listen to.



Yeah, Trump has most definitely driven some people crazy, for example Jill Abrahamson, former New York Times executive editor:


It’s easy to look at what’s happening in Washington DC and despair. That’s why I carry a little plastic Obama doll in my purse. I pull him out every now and then to remind myself that the United States had a progressive, African American president until very recently. Some people find this strange, but you have to take comfort where you can find it in Donald Trump’s America.

Go here to read the rest.  We all have God sized holes in our souls, and if we do not worship God we attempt to fill the void within ourselves with idols.  Even understanding this, a plastic doll of Obama is pathetic beyond belief.




Angelo Codevilla, professor emeritus at Boston University, noted that “America is now ruled by a uniformly educated class of persons that occupies the commanding heights of the bureaucracy, of the judiciary, education, the media, and of large corporations, and that wields political power through the Democratic Party. Its control of access to prestige, power, privilege, and wealth exerts a gravitational pull that has made the Republican Party’s elites into its satellites.”

Indeed, rabidly anti-Trump Republicans shared Democrats’ disdain for Trump supporters. Kevin Williamson of National Review wrote, “The white American underclass is in thrall to a vicious, selfish culture whose main products are misery and used heroin needles. Donald Trump’s speeches make them feel good. So does OxyContin. What they need isn’t analgesics, literal or political. They need real opportunity, which means that they need real change, which means that they need U-Haul.”

From there, it was a short walk to Hillary’s Clinton’s description of half of Trump supporters as “deplorables.”

What you’re seeing now, played out every night on the news, is class warfare.

America’s privileged elites refuse to accept Trump as president and support any effort, no matter how absurd, to bring him down. (Impeach him! He’s a Russian spy!)

Trump may be a New York billionaire, but to the elites, he’s a man of Queens—the Queens of working-class history and Archie Bunker stereotype—rather than a sophisticated Manhattanite, who would be fit for the presidency.

Worse, he is a stand-in for his supporters. Too many of them are the kind of folks who work on farms or in factories or on construction projects. Too many are the sort who take showers after they get home from work rather than before they leave for work.

It’s a pattern repeated throughout history: Members of one group—say, the British aristocracy, or the Bourbon planter class in the South—come to dominate members of another group—the peasantry, or poor African-Americans and white farmers. In the minds of the elites, the advantages they experience must be the result of their innate superiority; they are more moral, more sophisticated, more intelligent than the lower classes. They’re just better.

Go here to read the rest.  Throughout my life I have been very good at taking written tests and getting top scores.  Probably due to my upbringing, I have never confused that ability with wisdom or that getting good grades was a substitute for the experience and knowledge that other people less adept at tests could bring to the table in all walks of life.  Too many people in government are only good at taking tests and mistake glibness for knowledge and saying something with doing something.



Continuing our Lenten look at great Encyclicals, we come to INIQUIS AFFLICTISQUE, the condemnation of the Mexican government of the Catholic Church issued by Pope Pius XI on November 18, 1926.  The ongoing persecution of the Church had led to the Cristeros Rebellion (1926-1929).

Enemies of freedom are usually also enemies of the Church.

The Virgin Mary is our protector and defender when there is to fear

She will vanquish all demons at the cry of “Long live Christ the King!”

Soldiers of Christ: Let’s follow the flag, for the cross points to the army of God!

Let’s follow the flag at the cry of “Long live Christ the King!”




In speaking to the Sacred College of Cardinals at the Consistory of last December, We pointed out that there existed no hope or possibility of relief from the sad and unjust conditions under which the Catholic religion exists today in Mexico except it be by a “special act of Divine Mercy.” You, Venerable Brothers, did not delay to make your own and approve Our convictions and Our wishes in this regard, made known to you on so many occasions, for by every means within your power you urged all the faithful committed to your pastoral care to implore by instant prayers the Divine Founder of the Church that He bring some relief from the heavy burden of these great evils.

2. We designedly use the words “the heavy burden of these great evils” for certain of Our children, deserters from the army of Jesus Christ and enemies of the Common Father of all, have ordered and are continuing up to the present hour a cruel persecution against their own brethren, Our most beloved children of Mexico. If in the first centuries of our era and at other periods in history Christians were treated in a more barbarous fashion than now, certainly in no place or at no time has it happened before that a small group of men has so outraged the rights of God and of the Church as they are now doing in Mexico, and this without the slightest regard for the past glories of their country, with no feelings of pity for their fellow-citizens. They have also done away with the liberties of the majority and in such a clever way that they have been able to clothe their lawless actions with the semblance of legality.

3. Naturally, We do not wish that either you or the faithful should fail to receive from Us a solemn testimonial of Our gratitude for the prayers which, according to Our intention were poured forth in private and at public functions. It is most important, too, that these prayers which have been so powerful an aid to Us should be continued, and even increased, with renewed fervor. It is assuredly not in the power of man to control the course of events or of history, nor can he direct them as he may desire to the welfare of society by changing either the minds or hearts of his fellow-men. Such action, however, is well within the power of God, for He without doubt can put an end, if He so desires, to persecutions of this kind. Nor must you conclude, Venerable Brothers, that all your prayers have been in vain simply because the Mexican Government, impelled by its fanatical hatred of religion, continued to enforce more harshly and violently from day to day its unjust laws. The truth is that the clergy and the great majority of the faithful have been so strengthened in their longsuffering resistance to these laws by such an abundant shower of divine grace that they have been enabled thereby to give a glorious example of heroism. They have justly merited, too, that We, in a solemn document executed by Our Apostolic authority, should make known this fortitude to the whole Catholic world.

4. Last month on the occasion of the beatification of many martyrs of the French Revolution, spontaneously the Catholics of Mexico came to Our thoughts, for they, like those martyrs, have remained firm in their resolution to resist in all patience the unreasonable behests and commands of their persecutors rather than cut themselves off from the unity of the Church or refuse obedience to this Apostolic See. Marvelous indeed is the glory of the Divine Spouse of Christ who, through the course of the centuries, can depend, without fail, upon a brave and generous offspring ever ready to suffer prisons, stripes, and even death itself for the holy liberty of the Church!

5. It is scarcely necessary, Venerable Brothers, to go back very far in order to narrate the sad calamities which have fallen upon the Church of Mexico. It is sufficient to recall that the frequent revolutions of modern times have ended in the majority of cases in trials for the Church and persecutions of religion. Both in 1914 and in 1915 men who seemed veritably inspired by the barbarism of former days persecuted the clergy, both secular and regular, and the sisters. They rose up against holy places and every object used in divine worship and so ferocious were they that no injury, no ignominy, no violence was too great to satisfy their persecuting mania.

6. Referring now to certain notorious facts concerning which We have already raised Our voice in solemn protest and which even the daily press recorded at great length, there is no need to take up much space in telling you of certain deplorable events which occurred even in the very recent past with reference to Our Apostolic Delegates to Mexico. Without the slightest regard for justice, for solemn promises given, or for humanity itself, one of these Apostolic Delegates was driven out of the country; another, who because of illness had left the Republic for a short time, was forbidden to return, and the third was also treated in a most unfriendly manner and forced to leave. Surely there is no one who cannot understand that such acts as these, committed against illustrious personages who were both ready and willing to bring about peace, must be construed as a great affront to their dignity as Archbishops, to the high office which they filled, and particularly to Our authority which they represented.

7. Unquestionably the events just cited are grave and deplorable. But the examples of despotic power which We will now pass in review, Venerable Brothers, are beyond all compare, contrary to the rights of the Church, and most injurious as well to the Catholics of Mexico.

8. In the first place, let us examine the law of 1917, known as the “Political Constitution” of the federated republic of Mexico. For our present purposes it is sufficient to point out that after declaring the separation of Church and State the Constitution refuses to recognize in the Church, as if she were an individual devoid of any civil status, all her existing rights and interdicts to her the ac quisition of any rights whatsoever in the future. The civil authority is given the right to interfere in matters of divine worship and in the external discipline of the Church. Priests are put on the level of professional men and of laborers but with this important difference, that they must be not only Mexicans by birth and cannot exceed a certain number specified by law, but are at the same time deprived of all civil and political rights. They are thus placed in the same class with criminals and the insane. Moreover, priests not only must inform the civil authorities but also a commission of ten citizens whenever they take possession of a church or are transferred to another mission. The vows of religious, religious orders, and religious congregations are outlawed in Mexico. Public divine worship is forbidden unless it take place within the confines of a church and is carried on under the watchful eye of the Government. All church buildings have been declared the property of the state. Episcopal residences, diocesan offices, seminaries, religious houses, hospitals, and all charitable institutions have been taken away from the Church and handed over to the state. As a matter of fact, the Church can no longer own property of any kind. Everything that it possessed at the period when this law was passed has now become the property of the state. Every citizen, moreover, has the right to denounce before the law any person whom he thinks is holding in his own name property for the Church. All that is required in order to make such action legal is a mere presumption of guilt. Priests are not allowed by law to inherit property of any kind except it be from persons closely related to them by blood. With reference to marriage, the power of the Church is not recognized. Every marriage between Catholics is considered valid if contracted validly according to the prescriptions of the civil code.

9. Education has been declared free, but with these important restrictions: both priests and religious are forbidden to open or to conduct elementary schools. It is not permitted to teach children their religion even in a private school. Diplomas or degrees conferred by private schools under control of the Church possess no legal value and are not recognized by the state. Certainly, Venerable Brothers, the men who originated, approved, and gave their sanction to such a law either are totally ignorant of what rights pertain jure divino to the Church as a perfect society, established as the ordinary means of salvation for mankind by Jesus Christ, Our Redeemer and King, to which He gave the full liberty of fulfilling her mission on earth (such ignorance seems incredible today after twenty centuries of Christianity and especially in a Catholic nation and among men who have been baptized, unless in their pride and foolishness they believe themselves able to undermine and destroy the “House of the Lord which has been solidly constructed and strongly built on the living rock”) or they have been motivated by an insane hatred to attempt anything within their power in order to harm the Church. How was it possible for the Archbishops and Bishops of Mexico to remain silent in the face of such odious laws?

10. Immediately after their publication the hierarchy of Mexico protested in kind but firm terms against these laws, protests which Our Immediate Predecessor ratified, which were approved as well by the whole hierarchies of other countries, as well as by a great majority of individual bishops from all over the world, and which finally were confimed even by Us in a letter of consolation of the date of the second of February, 1926, which We addressed to the Bishops of Mexico. The Bishops hoped that those in charge of the Government, after the first outburst of hatred, would have appreciated the damage and danger which would accrue to the vast majority of the people from the enforcement of those articles of the Constitution restrictive of the liberty of the Church and that, therefore, out of a desire to preserve peace they would not insist on enforcing these articles to the letter, or would enforce them only up to a certain point, thus leaving open the possibility of a modus vivendi, at least for the time being.

11. In spite of the extreme patience exhibited in these circumstances by both the clergy and laity, an attitude which was the result of the Bishops’ exhorting them to moderation in all things, every hope of a return to peace and tranquillity was dissipated, and this as a direct result of the law promulgated by the President of the Republic on the second of July, 1926, by virtue of which practically no liberty at all was left the Church. As a matter of fact, the Church was barely allowed to exist. The exercise of the sacred ministry was hedged about by the severest penalties as if it were a crime worthy of capital punishment. It is difficult, Venerable Brothers, to express in language how such perversion of civil authority grieves Us. For whosoever reveres, as all must, God the Creator and Our Beloved Redeemer, whosoever will obey the laws of Holy Mother Church, such a man, We repeat, such a man is looked on as a malefactor, as guilty of a crime; such a man is considered fit only to be deprived of all civil rights; such a man can be thrown into prison along with other criminals. With what justice can We apply to the authors of these enormities the words which Jesus Christ spoke to the leaders of the Jews: “This is your hour, and the power of darkness.” (Luke xxii, 53)

12. The most recent law which has been promulgated as merely an interpretation of the Constitution is as a matter of fact much worse than the original law itself and makes the enforcement of the Constitution much more severe, if not almost intolerable. The President of the Republic and the members of his ministry have insisted with such ferocity on the enforcement of these laws that they do not permit the governors of the different states of the Confederation, the civil authorities, or the military commanders to mitigate in the least the rigors of the persecution of the Catholic Church. Insult, too, is added to persecution. Wicked men have tried to place the Church in a bad light before the people; some, for example, uttering the most brazen lies in public assemblies. But when a Catholic tries to answer them, he is prevented from speaking by catcalls and personal insults hurled at his head. Others use hostile newspapers in order to obscure the truth and to malign “Catholic Action.”

13. If, at the beginning of the persecution, Catholics were able to make a defense of their religion in the public press by means of articles which made clear the truth and answered the lies and errors of their enemies, it is now no longer permitted these citizens, who love their country just as much as other citizens do, to raise their voices in protest. As a matter of fact, they are not even allowed to express their sorrow over the injuries done to the Faith of their fathers and to the liberty of divine worship. We, however, moved profoundly as We are by the consciousness of the duties imposed upon Us by our Apostolic office, will cry out to heaven, Venerable Brothers, so that the whole Catholic world may hear from the lips of the Common Father of all the story of the insane tyranny of the enemies of the Church, on the one hand, and on the other that of the heroic virtue and constancy of the bishops, priests, religious congregations, and laity ot Mexico.

14. All foreign priests and religious men have been expelled from the country. Schools for the religious education of boys and girls have been closed, either because they are known publicly under a religious name or because they happen to possess a statue or some other religious object. Many seminaries likewise, schools, insane asylums, convents, institutions connected with churches have been closed. In practically all the states of the Republic the number of priests who may exercise the sacred ministry has been limited and fixed at the barest minimum. Even these latter are not allowed to exercise their sacred office unless they have beforehand registered with the civil authorities and have obtained permission from them so to function. In certain sections of the country restrictions have been placed on the ministry of priests which, if they were not so sad, would be laughable in the extreme. For example, certain regulations demand that priests must be of an age fixed by law, that they must be civilly married, and they are not allowed to baptize except with flowing water. In one of the states of the Confederation it has been decreed that only one bishop is permitted to live within the territory of said state, by reason of which law two other bishops were constrained to exile themselves from their dioceses. Moreover, because of circumstances imposed upon them by law, some bishops have had to leave their diocese, others have been forced to appear before the courts, several were arrested, and practically all the others live from day to day in imminent danger of being arrested.

15. Again, every Mexican citizen who is engaged in the education of children or of youth, or holds any public office whatsoever, has been ordered to make known publicly whether he accepts the policies of the President and approves of the war which is now being waged on the Catholic Church. The majority of these same individuals were forced, under threat of losing their positions, to take part, together with the army and laboring men, in a parade sponsored by the Regional Confederation of the Workingmen of Mexico, a socialist organization. This parade took place in Mexico City and in other towns of the Republic on the same day. It was followed by impious speeches to the populace. The whole procedure was organized to obtain, by means of these public outcries and the applause of those who took part in it, and by heaping all kinds of abuse on the Church, popular approval of the acts of the President.

16. But the cruel exercise of arbitrary power on the part of the enemies of the Church has not stopped at these acts. Both men and women who defended the rights of the Church and the cause of religion, either in speeches or by distributing leaflets and pamphlets, were hurried before the courts and sent to prison. Again, whole colleges of canons were rushed off to jail, the aged being carried there in their beds. Priests and laymen have been cruelly put to death in the very streets or in the public squares which front the churches. May God grant that the responsible authors of so many grave crimes return soon to their better selves and throw themselves in sorrow and with true contrition on the divine mercy; We are convinced that this is the noble revenge on their murderers which Our children who have been so unjustly put to death are now asking from God.

17. We think it well at this point, Venerable Brothers, to review for you in a few words how the bishops, priests, and faithful of Mexico have organized resistance and “set up a wall for the House of Israel, to stand in battle.” (Ezech. xiii, 5)

18. There cannot be the slightest doubt of the fact that the Mexican hierarchy have unitedly used every means within their power to defend the liberty and good name of the Church. In the first place, they indited a joint pastoral letter to their people in which they proved beyond cavil that the clergy had always acted toward the rulers of the Republic motivated by a love for peace, with prudence and in all patience; that they had even suffered, in a spirit of almost too much tolerance, laws which were unjust; they admonished the faithful, outlining the divine constitution of the Church, that they, too, must always persevere in their religion, in such a way that they shall “obey God rather than men” (Acts v, 19) on every occasion when anyone tries to impose on them laws which are no less contrary to the very idea of law and do not merit the name of law, as they are inimical to the constitution and existence itself of the Church.

19. When the President of the Republic had promulgated his untimely and unjust decree of interpretation of the Constitution, by means of another joint pastoral letter the Bishops protested and pointed out that to accept such a law was nothing less than to desert the Church and hand her over a slave to the civil authorities. Even if this had been done, it was apparent to all that such an act would neither satisfy her persecutors nor stop them in the pursuit of their nefarious intentions. The Bishops in such circumstances preferred to put an end to public religious functions. Therefore, they ordered the complete suspension of every act of public worship which cannot take place without the presence of the clergy, in all the churches of their diocese, beginning the last day of July, on which day the law in question went into effect. Moreover, since the civil authorities had ordered that all the churches must be turned over to the care of laymen, chosen by the mayors of the different municipalities, and could not be held in any manner whatsoever by those who were named or designated for such an office by the bishops or priests, which act transferred the possessions of the churches from the ecclesiastical authority to that of the state, the Bishops practically everywhere interdicted the faithful from accepting a place on such committees bestowed on them by the Government and even from entering a church which was no longer under the control of the Church. In some dioceses, due to difference of time and place, other arrangements were made.

20. In spite of all this, do not think, Venerable Brothers, that the Mexican hierarchy lost any opportunity or occasion by means of which they might do their part in calming popular feelings and bringing about concord despite the fact that they distrusted, or it would be better perhaps to say despaired of, a happy outcome to all these troubles. It is sufficient to recall in this context that the Bishops of Mexico City, who act in the capacity of procurators for their colleagues, wrote a very courteous and respectful letter to the President of the Republic in the interests of the Bishops of Huejutla, who had been arrested in a most outrageous manner and with a great display of armed force, and had been ordered taken to the city of Pachuca. The President replied to this letter by means of a hateful angry screed, a fact now become notorious. Again, when it happened that certain personages, lovers of peace, had spontaneously intervened so as to bring about a conversation between the President and the Archbishop of Morelia and the Bishop of Tabasco, the parties in question talked together for a long time and on many subjects, but with no results. Again, the Bishops debated whether they should ask the House of Representatives for the abrogation of those laws which were against the rights of the Church or if they should continue, as before, their so-called passive resistance to these laws. As a matter of fact, there existed many good reasons which seemed to them to render useless the presentation of such a petition to Congress. However, they did present the petition, which was written by Catholics quite capable of doing so because of their knowledge of law, every word of which was, moreover, weighed by the Bishops themselves with the utmost care. To this petition of the hierarchy there was added, due to the zealous efforts of the members of the Federation for the Defense of Religious Liberty, about which organization We shall have something to say later on in this letter, a great number of signatures of citizens, both men and women.

21. The Bishops had not been wrong in their anticipations of what would take place. Congress rejected the proposed petition almost unanimously, only one voting in favor of it, and the reason they alleged for this act was that the Bishops had been deprived of juridical personality, since they had already appealed in this matter to the Pope and therefore they had proven themselves unwilling to acknowledge the laws of Mexico. Such being the facts, what remained for the Bishops to do if not to decide that, until these unjust laws had been repealed, neither they nor the faithful would change in the slightest the policy which they had adopted? The civil authorities of Mexico, abusing both their power and the really remarkable patience of the people, are now in a position to menace the clergy and the Mexican people with even more severe punishments than those already inflicted. But how are we to overcome and conquer men of this type who are committed to the use of every type of infamy, unless we are willing, as they insist, to conclude an agreement with them which cannot but injure the sacred cause of the liberty of the Church?

22. The clergy have imitated the truly wonderful example of constancy given them by the Bishops and have themselves in turn given no less brilliant an example of fortitude through all the tedious changes of the great conflict. This example of extraordinary virtue on their part has been a great comfort to Us. We have made it known to the whole Catholic world and We praise them because “they are worthy.” (Apoc. iii, 4) And in this special context, when We recall that every imaginable artifice was employed, that all the power and vexatious tactics of our adversaries had but one purpose, to alienate both the clergy and people from their allegiance to the hierarchy and to this Apostolic See, and that despite all this only one or two priests, from among the four thousand, betrayed in a shameful manner their holy office, it certainly seems to Us that there is nothing which We cannot hope for from the Mexican clergy.

23. As a matter of fact, We behold these priests standing shoulder to shoulder, obedient and respectful to the commands of their prelates despite the fact that to obey means in the majority of cases serious dangers for themselves, for they must live from their holy office, and since they are poor and do not themselves possess anything and the Church cannot support them, they are obliged to live bravely in poverty and in misery; they must say Mass in private; they must do all within their power to provide for the spiritual needs of their flocks, to keep alive and increase the flame of piety in those round about them; moreover, by their example, counsels and exhortations, they must lift the thoughts of their fellow citizens to the highest ideals and strengthen their wills so that they, too, will persevere in their passive resistance. Is it any wonder, then, that the wrath and blind hatred of our enemies are directed principally and before all else against the priesthood? The clergy, on their side, have not hesitated to go to prison when ordered, and even to face death itself with serenity and courage. We have heard recently of something which surpasses anything as yet perpetrated under the guise of these wicked laws, and which, as a matter of fact, sounds the very depths of wickedness, for We have learned that certain priests were suddenly set upon while celebrating Mass in their own homes or in the homes of friends, that the Blessed Eucharist was outraged in the basest manner, and the priests themselves carried off to prison.

24. Nor can We praise enough the courageous faithful of Mexico who have understood only too well how important it is for them that a Catholic nation in matters so serious and holy as the worship of God, the liberty of the Church, and the eternal salvation of souls should not depend upon the arbitrary will and audacious acts of a few men, but should be governed under the mercy of God only by laws which are just, which are conformable to natural, divine, and ecclesiastical law.

25. A word of very special praise is due those Catholic organizations, which during all these trying times have stood like soldiers side to side with the clergy. The members of these organiza tions, to the limit of their power, not only have made provisions to maintain and assist their clergy financially, they also watch over and take care of the churches, teach catechism to the children, and like sentinels stand guard to warn the clergy when their ministrations are needed so that no one may be deprived of the help of the priest. What We have just written is true of all these organizations. We wish, however, to say a word in particular about the principal organizations, so that each may know that it is highly ap proved and even praised by the Vicar of Jesus Christ.

26. First of all We mention the Knights of Columbus, an organization which is found in all the states of the Republic and which fortunately is made up of active and industrious members who, because of their practical lives and open profession of the Faith, as well as by their zeal in assisting the Church, have brought great honor upon themselves. This organization promotes two types of activites which are needed now more than ever. In the first place, the National Sodality of Fathers of Families, the program of which is to give a Catholic education to their own children, to protect the rights of Christian parents with regard to education, and in cases where children attend the public schools to provide for them a sound and complete training in their religion. Secondly, the Federation for the Defense of Religious Liberty, which was recently organized when it became clear as the noonday sun that the Church was menaced by a veritable ocean of troubles. This Federation soon spread to all parts of the Republic. Its members attempted, working in harmony and with assiduity, to organize and instruct Catholics so that they would be able to present a united invincible front to the enemy.

27. No less deserving of the Church and the fatherland as the Knights of Columbus have been and still are, We mention two other organizations, each of which has, following its own program, a special relation to what is known as “Catholic Social Action.” One is the Catholic Society of Mexican Youth, and the other, the Union of Catholic Women of Mexico. These two sodalities, over and above the work which is special to each of them, promote and do all they can to have others promote the activities of the above-mentioned Federation for the Defense of Religious Liberty. Without going into details about their work, with pleasure We desire to call to your attention, Venerable Brothers, but a single fact, namely, that all the members of these organizations, both men and women, are so brave that, instead of fleeing danger, they go out in search of it, and even rejoice when it falls to their share to suffer persecution from the enemies of the Church. What a beautiful spectacle this, that is thus given to the world, to angels, and to men! How worthy of eternal praise are such deeds! As a matter of fact, as We have pointed out above, many individuals, members either of the Knights of Columbus, or officers of the Federation, of the Union of Catholic Women of Mexico, or of the Society of Mexican Youth, have been taken to prison handcuffed, through the public streets, surrounded by armed soldiers, locked up in foul jails, harshly treated, and punished with prison sentences or fines. Moreover, Venerable Brothers, and in narrating this We can scarcely keep back Our tears, some of these young men and boys have gladly met death, the rosary in their hands and the name of Christ King on their lips. Young girls, too, who were imprisoned, were criminally outraged, and these acts were deliberately made public in order to intimidate other young women and to cause them the more easily to fail in their duty toward the Church.

28. No one, surely, Venerable Brothers, can hazard a prediction or foresee in imagination the hour when the good God will bring to an end such calamities. We do know this much: The day will come when the Church of Mexico will have respite from this veritable tempest of hatred, for the reason that, according to the words of God “there is no wisdom, there is no prudence, there is no counsel against the Lord” (Prov. xxi, 30) and “the gates of hell shall not prevail” (Matt. xvi, 18) against the Spotless Bride of Christ.

29. The Church which, from the day of Pentecost, has been destined here below to a never-ending life, which went forth from the upper chamber into the world endowed with the gifts and inspirations of the Holy Spirit, what has been her mission during the last twenty centuries and in every country of the world if not, after the example of her Divine Founder, “to go about doing good”? (Acts x, 38) Certainly this work of the Church should have gained for her the love of all men; unfortunately the very contrary has happend as her Divine Master Himself predicted (Matt. x, 17, 25) would be the case. At times the bark of Peter, favored by the winds, goes happily forward; at other times it appears to be swallowed up by the waves and on the point of being lost. Has not this ship always aboard the Divine Pilot who knows when to calm the angry waves and the winds? And who is it but Christ Himself Who alone is all-powerful, who brings it about that every persecution which is launched against the faithful should react to the lasting benefit of the Church? As St. Hilary writes, “it is a prerogative of the Church that she is the vanquisher when she is persecuted, that she captures our intellects when her doctrines are questioned, that she conquers all at the very moment when she is abandoned by all.” (St. Hilary of Poitiers De Trinitate, Bk. VII, No. 4)

30. If those men who now in Mexico persecute their brothers and fellowcitizens for no other reason than that these latter are guilty of keeping the laws of God, would only recall to memory and consider dispassionately the vicissitudes of their country as history reveals them to us, they must recognize and publicly confess that whatever there is of progress, of civilization, of the good and the beautiful, in their country is due solely to the Catholic Church. In fact every man knows that after the introduction of Christianity into Mexico, the priests and religious especially, who are now being persecuted with such cruelty by an ungrateful government, worked without rest and despite all the obstacles placed in their way, on the one hand by the colonists who were moved by greed for gold and on the other by the natives who were still barbarians, to promote greatly in those vast regions both the splendor of the worship of God and the benefits of the Catholic religion, works and institutions of charity, schools and colleges for the education of the people and their instruction in letters, the sciences, both sacred and profane, in the arts and the crafts.

31. One thing more remains for Us to do, Venerable Brothers, namely, to pray and implore Our Lady of Guadalupe, heavenly patroness of the Mexican people, that she pardon all these injuries and especially those which have been committed against her, that she ask of God that peace and concord may return to her people. And if, in the hidden designs of God that day which We so greatly desire is far distant, may she in the meantime console her faithful children of Mexico and strengthen them in their resolve to maintain their liberty by the profession of their Faith.

32. In the meanwhile, as an augury of the grace of God and as proof of Our fatherly love, We bestow from Our heart on you, Venerable Brothers, and especially on those bishops who rule the Church of Mexico, on all your clergy and your people, the Apostolic Blessing.

Given at Rome, at St. Peter’s, on the eighteenth day of November, in the year 1926, the fifth of Our Pontificate.



Daylight Savings Time A Century Ago

Daylight time, a monstrosity in timekeeping.

Harry Truman





As you “lose” an hour of sleep tomorrow, please recall the history of this bad idea.  Daylight Savings Time in the US was ushered in by Congress on March 19, 1918 with the Standard Time Act of 1918 as a temporary war measure, and, son of a gun, Daylight Savings Time was repealed by Congress in 1919, over the veto of President Wilson.  Daylight Savings Time came back with World War II.  From 1945-1966 local communities were left to determine whether to observe Daylight Savings Time which normally ran from April to September.  Congress in 1966 made Daylight Savings Time national with the Uniform Time Act, with Daylight Savings Time running from the last Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October.  In response to the Energy Crisis on 1973, Congress started Daylight Savings Time in 1974 on January 6 and in 1975 on February 23.  Parents were real thrilled with their kids walking to school in the dark, and the start and stop dates for Daylight Savings Time went back to April and September in 1976.  Congress in 2005 tinkered with Daylight Savings Time again, setting it from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November.

It is arguable that Daylight Savings Time has never made sense, but it certainly does not today in a global economy and e-commerce 24-7.  Time to do away with this annoying anachronism.


O God Beyond All Praising

Something for the weekend.  O God Beyond All Praising.  Written by Michael Perry in 1982, it served as the recessional hymn at the funeral of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on February 20, 2016.  The tune is Thaxted, the hymn tune written by Gustav Holst from the middle section of the Jupiter movement of Holst’s The Planets.



President Trump and the Art of the Deal

One of the bizarre features of much of the criticism of President Trump is how completely wrong-headed it is.   For example, most Leftist sites on the internet depict Trump as a maniac eager to start a war.  How they will deal with this should be amusing:


President Donald Trump agreed on Thursday to meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un by May after Kim pledged to refrain from further nuclear tests and move toward denuclearization, according to South Korean officials.

The surprise announcement was made by South Korean National Security Advisor Chung Eui-Yong in a short statement outside the White House. The White House later said no firm timetable was set.

Chung said that in recent talks with South Korea, Kim Jong Un “expressed eagerness to meet President Trump as soon as possible.”

A senior administration official said the sentiments from Kim were conveyed verbally to Trump during a briefing in the Oval Office at the White House on Thursday, denying the existence of a physical letter from the South Korean envoy to the president, which was reported earlier.

The White House confirmed that Trump would accept Kim’s invitation to meet, but a senior administration official told reporters on a call after the announcement that “at this point, we’re not even talking about negotiations.”

“What we’re talking about is an invitation by the leader of North Korea to meet face to face with the president of the United States,” the official said. “The president has accepted that invitation.”


Go here to read the rest.  One of the keys to understanding Trump is that he views himself as a master negotiator.  Virtually everything he does is an attempt to drive his adversaries to the negotiating table where he thinks he can prevail.  This really should be obvious, but the Left and the Media have had precious little inclination to examine Trump dispassionately, and that lack of such analysis has helped Trump throughout his career.  Much of what Trump does I suspect is an attempt to cause his adversaries to misunderstand him.  Trump fans believe that he is a genius always playing fifth dimensional chess.  I don’t believe that, but I do think he is sharper than most of his critics and adversaries, and that has worked to Trump’s advantage, time and time again over a very long career.



PopeWatch: Canonization Factory

And the modern canonization factory for popes continues apace:


Adding specificity to what was already known about the impending canonization of Blessed Paul VI in 2018, Italian Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the pope’s top deputy as the Vatican’s Secretary of State, said Tuesday that the sainthood rite will take place in late October at the close of a meeting of the Synod of Bishops, an institution Paul VI himself founded.Pope Francis in mid-February confirmed that Paul VI would be elevated to the ranks of the saints within the year during a Q&A session with priests and deacons from the Diocese of Rome, with the Vatican afterwards releasing an official transcript of the pontiff’s remarks.

When he made the announcement, Francis joked that he and former pontiff Benedict, who resigned in 2013 and is now 90 years old, “are on the waiting list.”

Go here to read the rest.  It appears that canonization is becoming the gold watch now given to former popes.  When Pius X was canonized in 1954 he was the first pope canonized in 250 years.  I doubt if the popes since that time were notably holier than the popes during the 250 year span when no popes were canonized.  Instead, we now have a canonization process that has gone berserk with saints being proclaimed with all the avidity, and predictability, of the latest line of cars each year.  Canonizing almost all of our recent popes demonstrates just how out of kilter the process has become.  John Paul II was a highly significant pope; Paul VI was a weak pope;  John XXIII, personally holy, unleashed the so far disastrous Vatican II era of the Church;  Pius XII was a heroic pope in perilous times for the Church.  None of them would seem to have any special claim to sainthood that would not be as applicable to tens of millions of pious Catholics.

Traditionally saint hood for non-martyrs has usually been accompanied by many real miracles, and not the law of average remission cures of illnesses that fill this role in the modern canonization machinery.  Compare and contrast with the beggar saint Benedict Labre who died on April 16, 1783:


 His death was followed by a multitude of unequivocal miracles attributed to his intercession. The life written by his confessor, Marconi, an English version of which bears the date of 1785, witnesses to 136 miraculous cures as having been certified to up to 6 July, 1783. So remarkable, indeed, was the character of the evidence for some of the miracles that they are said to have had no inconsiderable part in finally determining the conversion of the celebrated American convert, Father John Thayer, of Boston who was in Rome at the time of the saint’s death. Benedict was proclaimed Venerable by Pius IX in 1859 and canonized by Leo XIII 8 December, 1881. His feast is kept on the 16th of April, the day of his death.

Note, however, that even with so many miracles it still took over a century for the canonization process.

We live in a time where cheap grace is all in vogue, and celebrity is worshiped, and we have a canonization machine that reflects our time.


Seven Samurai

This is the nature of war. By protecting others, you save yourselves.

Kambei, leader of the Seven Samurai



Dave Griffey at Daffey Thoughts takes a look at Akira Kurosawa’s masterpiece, The Seven Samurai.


I finally did it.  My entire life, I’ve heard of the almost mythical movie The Seven Samurai.  Considered one of the greatest foreign language films by American critics and universally praised by critics around the world, I just never got around to watching it.  When I did look for it, it was difficult to find.  And when you could find it, it was always expensive.

Finally, this last Christmas, The Seven Samurai ended up under the tree.  Because of its length of 3 1/2 hours, we couldn’t find time to see it.  Since the two oldest have moved on with college, they’re not around to watch things like they used to, but they wanted to watch it with us for the first time.  So it wasn’t until Tuesday night that we could get everyone together for the first viewing.

It was worth the wait.  Long and short, it lived up to the hype and then some.  Everyone knows of its influence.  We all know The Magnificent Seven was just an American version of the film.  We know that from Guns of Navarone to A Bug’s Life, the movie has been considered one of the most influential and copied movies of all time.

Despite this high expectation, and I can’t put my finger on why, it lived up to all I had heard and more.  I think, when the dust settles, it was the interaction between the players.  Oddly, in the end (without giving away too much), the seven Samurai do little of the fighting, instead funneling the fight over to the village farmers and letting them do most of the heavy lifting.  The movie is mostly about the relationships between the villagers and the Samurai, and the Samurai (technically mostly Ronin) and each other. 

But here’s what dawned on me.  In America, there is this notion that only in America, and all because of that infamous ‘Code’ of the 1930s, our films were repressed and unable to express themselves openly.  We have this notion that the sex and drugs culture, with explicit and open and unrestrained sexuality and hedonism, accompanied by increasingly gory and bloody violence shown graphically in film and on television, were all just the logical result of the ‘Code’ finally crumbling and true artistic expression emerging.

Furthermore, we are now just getting back to how it always was, when sex and sex and graphic sex and gore and graphic violence were just the way it should have been or always was or both.  Without saying it directly, we have this notion that we’re finally getting things back to the rest of the world, where gay sex, group sex, graphic violence, drugs and all the explicit ‘invite the camera in the bedroom’ movies were common around the world.

Except, it wasn’t.  The Seven Samurai, a movie where hired guns come in to save a village from rampaging bandits, is violent.  There are dozens of deaths.  And yet, you never really see much.  No blood.  No gore.  No guts hanging out.  You see a few fights at the end.  You see some duels.  But no explicit violence.  You see a case where a village girl and a young Samurai get together in a barn, much to the father’s dismay.  Later, the head Samurai chuckles that they’ll expect more from the youngster now that he has ‘become a man.’  We all know what that means, just as I’m sure audiences did back then.  But they didn’t show it.  And all that restraint without the evil Hollywood Code, driven by the nefarious Catholic Church.

And that got me to thinking, as I am wont to do.  The fact is, there was no real ‘Hollywood Code’, at least any different than anywhere else in the world.  Oh, there was a code.  And it had its demands and its expectations from films, just like today.  If you think on it, there isn’t a lack of movies coming out of Hollywood that question homosexual normality, or challenge abortion rights, or reflect on the failures of the Civil Rights movement over the last quarter of a century, because there is nobody out there imagining these things.  They simply aren’t allowed.  If they were made, they would be boycotted, banned, attacked and even sued.  Codes have always been around.  I’m sure they always will be.

And not just in America.  Being a fan of old, silent movies, I’ve seen my share from around the world before there was this mythical Hollywood Code. Heck, a few predate Hollywood.  Sometimes you get a little more than you would in 1930s or 1940s Hollywood fare.  Sometimes you might catch a bit of skin in some old, silent Italian film, or see some more direct examples of innocents dying in an old Soviet propaganda film.  If there was any nudity at all, it came off as more artsy than anything sexual, and that’s stretching it since I don’t recall anything, but I’m willing to allow for the possibility.  Yes, you could get a little more nitty-gritty at times, like the original King Kong, but like 1954’s The Seven Samurai, there just isn’t a case of flagrant, porn like sex and graphic blood and gore violence that I have found.  There just isn’t.  Anywhere.  Around the world.

This is something that has arisen only over the last fifty years or so of film making and other visual entertainment.  Sure, the ‘themes’ were there.  Samurai was about the real, down in the trenches lives of these legendary warriors as much as it was anything.  It was taking the chivalrous knight down a notch, by showing warts and all.  But it didn’t show it with the camera.  It showed it with the dialogue and the mind of the viewers.

Somewhere, however, filmmakers in America, Europe and around the world began showing us, rather than pointing our minds to think it through.  By the fifties, violence was starting to creep into the explicit levels.  By the sixties, sex was getting more open as violence became more graphic.  No longer did a mixture of camera angles and convenient barricades mixed with clever dialogue point the audience to what happened.  Nope.  By the late sixties, the cameras were going into the bedroom or showing the gunshots and saying ‘here you go, this is what happened.’ 

It was about then that the same began happening around the world, to a greater or lesser extent. By the late seventies, everything was on the table.  Explicit sex (not counting the porn film industry that had been developing apace for a couple decades by then) and graphic violence were the name of the game.

And it was right around that time, if memory serves, that the mass killings began, at least as we  know them today.  And not just here in the old US of A.  Of course movies and entertainment around the world have become pretty graphic – including in Japan.  And it seems that mass killings are quite the global phenomenon.  Oh, not the shootings like we have.  But mass knifings, mass bombings, basically attempts to kill as many innocent people you might or might not know as possible.

Could it be connected?  Based on the film record, there simply was no culture at the dawn of the film industry that threw all manner of graphic sex, violence, gore and smut out there for public consumption.  Even outside of the Hollywood ‘Code’, there seemed to be pretty strict codes around the world.  But all of that changed by the mid to late 20th century.

Could there be a connection with this relatively new phenomenon of people seeking to slaughter as many innocents as possible for no other reason than to slaughter them, and the rather graphic level that entertainment has risen to?  We already elevate celebrity and entertainment to the place that religion and national identity enjoyed in ages past.  Could there be a connection?

It turns out that this whole ‘Code’ thing wasn’t reserved for America, just like this phenomenon of mass killing of innocents isn’t confined to America. Because the breakdown of barriers in cultural output, and the rise of mass killings through terrorism and personal crime seem linked in the timeline, could there be a connection worth examining?

Just curious and sort of thinking out loud after watching one fine romp of a film. 


Go here to comment.  In his capacity for endless violence Man reveals himself as lower than the beasts.  In his capacity for self-sacrificial violence in defense of others Man stands above the angels.  Once upon a time, film makers understood that central truth of the human condition.




What You Need to Know About Worse Than Murder Inc.

Another first rate video from Prager University.  Lila Rose of Live Action explains what we need to know about Planned Parenthood Worse Than Murder Inc:




The Prager videos are quite effective in conveying information on a whole host of topics.  In this age of the Internet, I have seen no more effective means of conservatives making their voices heard with intelligent, well-crafted and brief videos.  The Leftist elves at Youtube are alarmed as a result.  Watch the video below as Dennis Prager explains why he had to sue Youtube and Google:


I normally am as favorable to anti-trust suits as Satan is to Holy Water, but in this case it may be time for anti-trust action against the tech giants.  They are not content to sell products in the market place, but are increasingly using their monopoly position to attempt to crush views they will not tolerate.  When you are in the business of giving a platform to convey ideas for a fee, that is a mortal sin.



PopeWatch: Scandal



The heterodoxy of the current Pontificate is the main problem, but, like tax evasion and Al Capone, it may be scandal that ultimately is the downfall of Pope Francis:

A high spending auxiliary bishop in Honduras accused of “abusing seminarians, having a string of male lovers, and terrorizing those who cross him,” has been left in charge of the archdiocese of Tegucigalpa, while its cardinal archbishop, Oscar Andrés Rodriguez Maradiaga, undergoes prostate cancer treatment in Houston, Texas.

According to an investigation carried out by the National Catholic Register, the decision to leave auxiliary bishop Juan José Pineda Fasquelle in charge of the archdiocese since January was made despite a papal investigation that obtained “extremely grave testimonies” regarding Pineda’s alleged financial and sexual misconduct.

The decision is therefore raising questions about why Pope Francis and the Holy See have taken no action in response to the papal investigator’s report, which was reportedly hand-delivered to the Holy Father last May.

Go here to read the rest.  Cardinal Maradiaga has acted as an alter ego for the Pope.  Once again we see that when it comes to friends of the Pope the policy of the Vatican is most definitely to see no evil.



Mercy 3 of 3

Part 3 of 3

Guy McClung



In torment now, unable to resist, words came from Clement’s mouth, as if from a caged predator, “Pacabanab  . . . and legion.” The demonic words echoed around the room as if it was a canyon in hell.

Jerry continued. “By the living God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,” he made the Sign of the Cross continually toward Jessica Miriam Clement as he spoke, “I command you, serpent, and all you with it, to leave this woman and return to the everlasting fire prepared for you.”

Clement’s body slowly levitated from the chair and then was thrown violently around the room as she wailed and screamed.

While she was being tossed like a doll against the mirrored wall of the control room, Jerry quietly said: “I cast you out, Pacabanab and all you unclean spirits, along with every satanic power of the enemy, every spectre from hell, and all your evil companions; in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

He made the Sign of the Cross and continued to do so as he spoke. “Begone and stay far from this creature of God. For it is Jesus Christ who commands you, He who flung you headlong from the heights of heaven into the depths of hell. It is He who commands you, He who once stilled the sea and the wind and the storm. Hearken, therefore, and tremble in fear, you enemies of the faith, you foes of the human race, you begetters of death, you robbers of life, you corrupters of justice, you root of all evil and vice; seducers of men, betrayers of the nations, instigators of envy, fonts of avarice, fomentors of discord, authors of pain and sorrow. Why, then, do you stand and resist, knowing as you must that Jesus Christ the Lord brings your plans to nothing? Fear Him, and begone, then, in the name of the Father, and of Jesus Christ the Son,  and of the Holy  Spirit. Give place to the Holy Spirit by this sign of the holy cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever.”

Like a torrent of filth going down a storm sewer, the evil demons left her and flowed from the room. Her body was slumped over the table.  Her face covered with blood and filth, she sat up and stared at Jerry.

“Hello, Jessica Miriam Clement,” he said. “I am Father Jerry Christianson.” The stench was gone, the room was warm and quiet.

Then Jessica’s face and body became clean and fresh, even glowing. She looked at her hands and then looked up, glancing around the room as if at a place that was foreign to her. Two agents outside the room in the corridor had fallen unconscious as Jerry prayed, and the other woman in the control room, the decoy, who had begun vomiting and writhing on the floor, was now still.

Willoughby, who had been forced up against the control room wall, was released, but he could not hear what was going on. He punched and twisted buttons and switches, but there was no sound. He saw Jerry and Jessica  talking, but the door to the interrogation could not be opened.

Jessica  was confused. “What is happening?”

“Please hear me. I have a message for you, it is for you alone, from God.”

Jessica did not laugh, nor did she rise to leave.

Willoughby realized he could not hear what was going on. He left the control room and walked into the corridor. He could not open the door to the interrogation, nor could any of the other agents turn the doorknob.

Jerry looked at Jessica. “You will die in twelve days. You have seen what has happened. You know you are one of the most powerful persons still living, yet you are alive. You have turned God’s people from Him. God has sent you to me so I can tell you He loves you. You are to be given a chance to be truly sorry for all you have done, all of it, going back twenty four years, and you are being given this special grace from Him. It is your choice, as it was those years ago when you welcomed the first demon, and then the evil cohorts.”

Jessica thought back to that first demonic blood ritual to which she had been invited in Manhattan, with the politicians and the actors, the producers and the actresses, the criminals and the doctors and nurses, and the many that had followed in Washington D.C. and Los Angeles. “What ‘chance’ if I am to die?”

“God knows the earthly power you have, the power you exercise daily, and how you have subverted and abused that power. You now have the chance to use that power to speak and spread the truth so that the world will know the message He has sent me to proclaim. You are free to choose to be His loving instrument. You are also free to choose, even now, to beseech the demons to return. If you do, you will die, pitifully, and they will be with you, screaming, as they usher you into hell.”

“There is not enough mercy, not enough forgiveness.” She bowed her head and began to shake, and weep. She had not felt so free in many years.

“This is your choice. You are free to choose. But do not doubt, because Jesus died for you and your sins, do not think there is not enough mercy, not enough love, no forgiveness,” said Jerry.  “If you choose, if you repent, you will have eleven days. And you will be free of the evil that you welcomed and that then held you.”

“What am I to do?”

“You control the world’s information.”

She laughed. So few had known that or even suspected that Trip F existed. “But we could not stop you. Nothing worked. It was as if another power had taken over. Amazing”

“I do not mean to sound foolish or insane; but you must know that this is the power of God, God Almighty. What power you and your superiors thought you had was nothing, absolutely nothing. If you repent and if you agree, it is you who will have His message, which I will give you now, proclaimed to the ends of the earth, to all nations.”

She did not deny that she could do this. This is what FFF did every day.  “Message?”

“You have seen what He told me to say. It is true. I will be given more which I will tell you. It will bring hope to those who believe. It will be the power of the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.”

Jessica paused. Then she said, “I don’t know if I can say this, but I will try to do His will. His will be done.”

Jerry nodded and began to tell her what had now been revealed to him, what she would add to God’s message for the world.


The next morning, media around the world, radio, television, cellphone screens, screens in bars, in airports, in restaurants, in homes, in automobiles and ships, buses, trains, and planes, screens and radio in public places around the world instantaneously presented Jessica speaking in  a calm, confident, clear voice. Each heard in his or her own language.


“Thus says the Lord God, your heavenly Father, your Brother Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit that enlivens and enlightens the whole world,” she looked straight into the camera. Her speech was being broadcast in real time. “Repent and return to Me, My beloved children. For yet a little while now be still and trust in Me. Each of you is precious to me. I am. I am here. I am your loving God. Repent and return to Me. My love for you is unlimited. For this each of your was made in our likeness, and each of you is good. For this each of you can freely choose to make good and avoid evil. I am calling the hirelings and the wolves. They cannot resist me and they will be brought to Me by My archangels.  I will deal with them. They will no longer lead you astray. I will send you true shepherds to lead you in the way of goodness. Repent and return to me.”

Jessica then repeated the message that Jerry had already proclaimed. She ended, “Each of you, each of you one of My precious children, repent and return to Me.”

The next morning, Jerry awoke  and then his chains fell from him and onto the floor. He knelt in his cell and thanked God for another glorious day. No one outside the cell in the corridor moved, no one said a word, as he walked out. He turned a corner to see Jessica coming towards him.

Silently, for a few moments, she held his hands in hers. Then they spoke and prayed. For almost an hour, she told him her sins. Then he absolved her of all of them.

“And your Father wants you to know,” said Jerry, “since you have chosen, as your conscience, His voice, has spoken to  you, you will see your four children whom you have never held, touched or kissed on this earth.”


Within forty eight hours the world had changed.  People walked everywhere, happy, openly praising God. Churches overflowed round the clock. Governments came to a standstill. As those in power became more enraged, their orders to their supporters, servants, minions, and underlings became more and more frantic, useless words ignored both by the evil ones plotting to succeed them and by the good ones who simply walked out. Some, in humility, did repent and join the crowds seeking forgiveness; but many relied on their own inner evil, thinking that, as always, it would be their salvation, that the evil ones they served would protect them from God.


Ten days later, those unrepentant ones were stunned as they began to suffer and die. Those who had come to contrition suffered, but their agony was lessened. Videos of Jessica Miriam Clement, as she disintegrated, showed a woman who suffered almost not at all, and then she smiled as she died, her mouth moving with unheard words. She was joyous.


Willoughby was still there after the twenty-eighth day had passed. He knew some of the newly-dead, worked with several of them.  Some, including the pope, were no surprise to him; but so many were virtual unknowns outside the secret evil echelons of governments and of power around the world. He knew what he had had seen, what he had heard. He knew if not with those of the forty days, he most certainly would be with those on the fifty-fifth day. He stood up from his desk and walked down the corridors out of the building. Entering the sunlight, he looked up and said “Yes.”


At the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the lines for confession spilled out into the parking lots and along Michigan Avenue and the side streets. Willoughby walked up to the end of one of the the lines and took a rosary from his pocket.


Miles from El Paso, Father Jerry Christianson knelt in the grass outside his church and said a prayer for the repose of the soul of his bishop; then he looked up at the West Texas sky and said, Deo Gratias!”


Copyright GM 2017



The Scary AR-15

The MAC-10 submachine gun was practically designed for housewives.

Regina, Night of the Comet (1984)



Although I believe the Second Amendment is a bulwark against tyranny, I have never personally had much interest in firearms.  The last time I fired a weapon was the final time I was on the rifle range with my M-16 during my Army days, now, and how did that happen?, more than four decades ago in my rear view window.    Fortunately I live in a heavily armed, and peaceful, rural area, where my neighbors more than make up for my lack of interest, and make certain that the peace we enjoy is maintained.  However my co-blogger Darwin Catholic has a strong interest in firearms and at his eponymous blog gives us some information about the AR-15:


Reading some of the pieces coming out from major venues such as the NY Times and The Atlantic over the weeks since the Parkland school shooting, it’s struck me that we can see reporters at least trying to write factually accurate stories about the AR-15 type rifles which they clearly believe should be banned, yet not having the knowledge of the subject to allow them to put the facts they report into proper context.

For instance, a NY Times piece I saw the other day tries to make the case that AR-15 rifles are practically the same as the M-16 rifles and M-4 carbines used by the military. It provides the following image comparing an M-16 to models of AR-15 used in various mass shootings, one assumes in order to make the point that they look rather similar.

Then it admits the very significant feature which distinguishes military long arms from their civilian counterparts (selective fire: the existence of a mode in which the rifle can fire multiple shots while the trigger is held down) but argues that this feature is not very important:

The main functional difference between the military’s M16 and M4 rifles and a civilian AR-15 is the “burst” mode on many military models, which allow three rounds to be fired with one trigger pull. Some military versions of the rifles have a full automatic feature, which fires until the trigger is released or a magazine is empty of ammunition.

But in actual American combat these technical differences are less significant than they seem. For decades the American military has trained its conventional troops to fire their M4s and M16s in the semiautomatic mode — one bullet per trigger pull — instead of on “burst” or automatic in almost all shooting situations. The weapons are more accurate this way, and thus more lethal.

What all of this means is that the Parkland gunman, in practical terms, had the same rifle firepower as an American grunt using a standard infantry rifle in the standard way.

The article then attempts to lay out what the author believes are the important similarities between military rifles and AR-15 type civilian rifles:

Like the military’s M4s and M16s, civilian AR-15s are fed with box magazines — the standard magazine holds 30 rounds, or cartridges — that can be swapped out quickly, allowing a gunman to fire more than a hundred rounds in minutes. That is what the police described the Parkland gunman as having done. In many states, civilians can buy magazines that hold many more rounds, including 60- and 100-round versions.

The small-caliber, high-velocity rounds used in the military rifles are identical to those sold for the civilian weapons. They have been documented inflicting grievous bone and soft-tissue wounds. Both civilian and military models of the rifle are lightweight and have very little recoil.

Now, it’s true that both the AR-15 and military rifles have detachable box magazines. However, that’s a trait that AR-15 type rifles have in common with virtually all other semi-automatic rifles and even with a lot of bolt action rifles. Detachable magazines are hundred year old technology. It’s easier to load a magazine when it’s not attached to the rifle, and it’s also easier to make sure that a gun is absolutely safe if you can simply take the magazine out and then work the action to be sure that’s no round in the chamber.


Go here to read the rest.  Ignorance and public policy are always a poor mix, and when it comes to firearms the media and the gun grabbers, but I repeat myself, have little to offer but ignorance.




Shea v. Shea: George Soros

Dave Griffey at Daffey Thoughts gives us the latest installment of the ongoing debate between Mark Shea and Mark Shea:


Mark Shea defends and praises George Soros

Declaring criticisms of Soros by conservatives the stuff of lies and evil which, to Mark, the captain of the Calumny for Christ brigade, is all that exists  to the right of the political center.  I was going to go into some detail, trying to express my continued shock at the depth to which Mark is sinking into those things he once declared an affront to goodness, truth and the Gospel, but why bother?  Here is Mark, 2010, pinning Soros for what Soros is, not praising him, as Mark now does:

Speaking of the Soros payroll, you got your Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good disappearing without a trace now that their only real mission—snookering suckers into thinking that supporting a guy who favors sticking scissors in a baby’s brain is some glorious expression of Catholic social teaching—is accomplished. Being a wholly-owned subsidiary of George Soros, they were, in fact, as real a Catholic social teaching apostolate as a Potemkin Village is a real city.  Mark Shea, 2010.

Compare to yesterday:
Yeah, Soros is wrong about abortion like every other lefty. But then, he’s Jewish, not Catholic, and his tradition has never taught him to believe what the Church teaches. But with regard to the rest, he seems to be doing a reasonable job with his wealth, which is more than you can say for many billionaires. Mark Shea, 2018.

Yeah, abortion and all.  You know.  Stuff and things.  That’s it.  So abortion is now just one of those things, especially if you’re not Catholic.  Wrong maybe, but no big deal unless you’re Catholic?  The New Prolife Movement in action.

Go here to comment.  The crazy thing about Shea is that he very rarely acknowledges having written something that he wrote yesterday which completely contradicts what he wrote today.  Unfortunately for him, the internet is forever, at least until Soros and his ideological think-a-likes  get their mitts on it.  That Shea has a strange new respect for Soros under the current pontificate is no surprise.  Go here  and here to understand why.  When it comes to Soros, Mark is simply in the useful idiot category.  There are darker forces however working ceaselessly during this pontificate to transform the Bride of Christ into the Whore of the Left. 


PopeWatch: If Only the Tsar Knew

Cardinal Zen blames the surrender to the Chinese government on the Pope’s advisors and not on the Pope:


Chinese Cardinal Joseph Zen voiced more criticism about the forthcoming Vatican deal with China’s Communist government on the appointment of bishops, terming it “suicide” and an act of “shameless surrender.”

According to the Cardinal, the problem is not so much with Pope Francis, but with his papal advisors.

Pope Francis is “optimistic and full of love, and is eager to visit China,” Zen said, but his advisors are “obsessed” with an “Ostpolitik” answer to the problem of bishop appointments in China.

They want “compromise without limits,” the Cardinal said, “they are already willing to completely surrender.”

The Pope, Zen said, “has never had direct knowledge of the Chinese Communist Party and, moreover, is poorly informed by the people around him.”


Go here to read the rest.  Cardinal Zen is a true hero but he is wrong on this.  This policy has all the hallmarks of Pope Francis:  kowtowing to the Left, giving the back of the Papal hand to orthodox Catholics and an indifference to long term consequences.  That many of the Pope’s advisors are supportive of this policy PopeWatch does not doubt, but Pope Francis chose these men because they would back policies he supports.


Jordan Peterson on Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

“Ideologies are substitutes for true knowledge, and ideologues are always dangerous when they come to power, because a simple-minded I-know-it-all approach is no match for the complexity of existence.”

Jordan Peterson



Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.

Karl Marx, 1852