Donald R. McClarey
From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:
“I said what?” Francis asked those gathered. “There’s no way I just said that. OK, that’s just weird. Seriously, what the heck is it with me? Am I trying to change doctrine or something? How am I gonna explain this to my secular friends? Oh boy, I can see their faces now. I bet they’re just itching to ask when I’m gonna start allowing divorced gay Catholics to receive communion. This is great…just great. I’m so freaking pissed right now I think I’m gonna go blog about it.” →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
Something for the weekend. A reminder from the late, great Johnny Cash that we all have so much to thank God for when we sit down with our families next Thursday. Perhaps we should also recall these words from Theodore Roosevelt in his final Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1908:
For the very reason that in material well-being we have thus abounded, we owe it to the Almighty to show equal progress in moral and spiritual things. With a nation, as with the individuals who make up a nation, material well-being is an indispensable foundation. But the foundation avails nothing by itself. That life is wasted, and worse than wasted, which is spent in piling, heap upon heap, those things which minister merely to the pleasure of the body and to the power that rests only on wealth. Upon material well-being as a foundation must be raised the structure of the lofty life of the spirit, if this Nation is properly to fulfil its great mission and to accomplish all that we so ardently hope and desire. The things of the body are good; the things of the intellect better; the best of all are the things of the soul; for, in the nation as in the individual, in the long run it is character that counts. Let us, therefore, as a people set our faces resolutely against evil, and with broad charity, with kindliness and good-will toward all men, but with unflinching determination to smite down wrong, strive with all the strength that is given us for righteousness in public and in private life.
I have been reading, and enjoying, Andrew Roberts’ new biography of Napoleon. Although I am not a fan of the Little Corporal, and Roberts clearly is, I appreciate the freshness he brings to a man who has been studied endlessly since his emergence from the maelstrom of the French Revolution. I am taking this opportunity to repost a post I wrote in 2008 on purported comments made by Napoleon about Christ:
Napoleon purportedly made some remarkable statements about Christ while he was imprisoned on Saint Helena. This one was supposedly made to General Bertrand:
” Such is the fate of great men ! So it was with Caesar and Alexander. And I, too, am forgotten. And the name of a conqueror and an emperor is a college theme! Our exploits are tasks given to pupils by their tutor, who sit in judgment upon us, awarding censure or praise. And mark what is soon to become of me! Assassinated by the English oligarchy, I die before my time ; and my dead body, too, must return to the earth, to become food for worms. Behold the destiny, near at hand, of him who has been called the great Napoleon! What an abyss between my deep misery and the eternal reign of Christ, which is proclaimed, loved, adored, and which is extending over all the earth! Is this to die? Is it not rather to live? The death of Christ! It is the death of God.”
For a moment the Emperor was silent. As General Bertrand made no reply, he solemnly added, ” If you do not perceive that Jesus Christ is God, very well, then I did wrong to make you a general.”
And this statement, also to General Bertrand:
“The conversation at St. Helena very frequently turned upon the subject of religion. One day Napoleon was speaking of the divinity of Christ. General Bertrand said,
” I can not conceive, sire, how a great man like you can believe that the Supreme Being ever exhibited himself to men under a human form, with a body, a face, mouth, and eyes. Let Jesus be whatever you please—the highest intelligence, the purest heart, the most profound legislator, and, in all respects, the most singular being who has ever existed—I grant it. Still he was simply a man, who taught his disciples, and deluded credulous people, as did Orpheus, Confucius, Brama. Jesus caused himself to be adored because his predecessors Isis and Osiris, Jupiter and Juno, had proudly made themselves objects of worship. The ascendancy of Jesus over his time was like the ascendancy of the gods and the heroes of fable. If Jesus has impassioned and attached to his chariot the multitude, if he has revolutionized the world, I see in that only the power of genius and the action of a commanding spirit, which vanquishes the world as so many conquerors have done— Alexander, Caesar, you, sire, and Mohammed—with a sword.”
Napoleon promptly replied,
” I know men, and I tell you that Jesus Christ is not a man. Superficial minds see a resemblance between Christ and the founders of empires, and the gods of other religions. That resemblance does not exist. There is between Christianity and whatever other religion the distance of infinity.”
I say these statements were purportedly made by Napoleon because controversy surrounds these and similar statements allegedly made by Napoleon about Christ on Saint Helena. Go here for some background on the difficulty of confirming these quotes. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
Well, this is interesting:
In Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s complete works, an article from 1972 by the young theologian Father Ratzinger, has been published minus a passage referring to the possibility of Communion for the divorced and remarried.
This deletion is interesting since that passage has been quoted frequently by Cardinal Walter Kasper, who, as was noted at the Synod, is a an enthusiastic advocate of the divorced and remarried being admitted to the Eucharist.
According to the Irish Times, Father Vincent Twomey (a theologian, who studied under Professor Ratzinger) is of the opinion that the editorial modification is important; the theologian suggests that Pope Emeritus does not want his ideas as a young theologian, never repeated as Prefect for the Congregation of Faith nor as Pope, being manipulated. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours, to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of Freedom.
Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,
It is a magnificent letter and repeats themes from the Gettysburg address and looks forward to the Second Inaugural. Alas, the letter demonstrates how frequently ill advised it is to rely on government records. Two of Mrs. Bixby’s sons died fighting for the Union, another died as either a deserter or a prisoner of war and another deserted and survived the war. The final son was honorably discharged from the Army. (This is not that unusual. One of my friends, when it came time for him to retire from the Marines, had quite a time convincing the Pentagon that he had not died fighting in Hue during the Tet Offensive in 1968.) Mrs. Bixby did not find the letter of comfort apparently. According to a granddaughter, Mrs. Bixby was secretly in sympathy with the Confederacy and had little good to say of Mr. Lincoln. She probably destroyed the letter soon after it was delivered to her on November 24, 1864, as the original letter, which was published at the time, promptly vanished from history.
Lincoln, although he signed the letter, may not have written it. Theodore Roosevelt had a copy of it in his office and greatly admired it. A witness indicated that at one point his Secretary of State John Hay, who had been one of Lincoln’s private secretaries, stated that he had written the letter, which would not have been an unusual procedure, although Lincoln wrote quite a bit of his own correspondence as President. The question remains open, although on balance I think the authorship of the letter by Hay, mimicking Lincoln’s thoughts and style, probably has the stronger case than Lincoln’s own authorship. Having said all of that, I assume that Lincoln’s heart did go out to Mrs. Bixby. He had seen two of his own sons die, and friends and relatives of his had fallen in the War. He was a frequent visitor to Union hospitals around Washington to visit the Union wounded and knew well the immense human cost of the War that now, mercifully, was drawing to a close. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
“Here is nothing new nor aught unproven,” say the Trumpets,
“Many feet have worn it and the road is old indeed.
“It is the King—the King we schooled aforetime !”
(Trumpets in the marshes—in the eyot at Runnymede!)
“Here is neither haste, nor hate, nor anger,” peal the Trumpets,
“Pardon for his penitence or pity for his fall.
“It is the King!”—inexorable Trumpets—
(Trumpets round the scaffold at the dawning by Whitehall!)
. . . . .
“He hath veiled the Crown and hid the Sceptre,” warn the Trumpets,
“He hath changed the fashion of the lies that cloak his will.
“Hard die the Kings—ah hard—dooms hard!” declare the Trumpets,
Trumpets at the gang-plank where the brawling troop-decks fill!
Ancient and Unteachable, abide—abide the Trumpets!
Once again the Trumpets, for the shuddering ground-swell brings
Clamour over ocean of the harsh, pursuing Trumpets—
Trumpets of the Vanguard that have sworn no truce with Kings!
All we have of freedom, all we use or know—
This our fathers bought for us long and long ago.
Ancient Right unnoticed as the breath we draw—
Leave to live by no man’s leave, underneath the Law.
Lance and torch and tumult, steel and grey-goose wing
Wrenched it, inch and ell and all, slowly from the King.
Till our fathers ‘stablished, after bloody years,
How our King is one with us, first among his peers.
So they bought us freedom—not at little cost
Wherefore must we watch the King, lest our gain be lost,
Over all things certain, this is sure indeed,
Suffer not the old King: for we know the breed. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
In Federalist 69 Alexander Hamilton responded to the criticism that the Presidency under the proposed Constitution established an elective monarchy which would be a perpetual threat to American liberties:
Hence it appears that, except as to the concurrent authority of the President in the article of treaties, it would be difficult to determine whether that magistrate would, in the aggregate, possess more or less power than the Governor of New York. And it appears yet more unequivocally, that there is no pretense for the parallel which has been attempted between him and the king of Great Britain. But to render the contrast in this respect still more striking, it may be of use to throw the principal circumstances of dissimilitude into a closer group.
The President of the United States would be an officer elected by the people for four years; the king of Great Britain is a perpetual and hereditary prince. The one would be amenable to personal punishment and disgrace; the person of the other is sacred and inviolable. The one would have a qualified negative upon the acts of the legislative body; the other has an absolute negative. The one would have a right to command the military and naval forces of the nation; the other, in addition to this right, possesses that of declaring war, and of raising and regulating fleets and armies by his own authority. The one would have a concurrent power with a branch of the legislature in the formation of treaties; the other is the sole possessor of the power of making treaties. The one would have a like concurrent authority in appointing to offices; the other is the sole author of all appointments. The one can confer no privileges whatever; the other can make denizens of aliens, noblemen of commoners; can erect corporations with all the rights incident to corporate bodies. The one can prescribe no rules concerning the commerce or currency of the nation; the other is in several respects the arbiter of commerce, and in this capacity can establish markets and fairs, can regulate weights and measures, can lay embargoes for a limited time, can coin money, can authorize or prohibit the circulation of foreign coin. The one has no particle of spiritual jurisdiction; the other is the supreme head and governor of the national church! What answer shall we give to those who would persuade us that things so unlike resemble each other? The same that ought to be given to those who tell us that a government, the whole power of which would be in the hands of the elective and periodical servants of the people, is an aristocracy, a monarchy, and a despotism.
One can only imagine what Mr. Hamilton and the other Founding Fathers would make of this:
According to a senior Democrat familiar with the plans, Obama will announce on Thursday that he is providing temporary protections to up to 5 million undocumented immigrants. His orders will make up to 4 million undocumented immigrants eligible for temporary protective status and provide relief to another 1 million through other means. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
During the Civil War, Theodore Roosevelt’s home was literally a house divided. His father was whole heartedly for the Union, while his mother backed the Confederacy with the same passion. Our of respect for his wife, Theodore Roosevelt, Sr, put aside his strong desire to enlist in the Union army and served in a civilian non-combatant capacity. Many of his mother’s relations fought for the Confederacy, and Roosevelt, Jr, was especially fond of two of his uncles who had served in the Confederate Navy:
“My mother’s two brothers, James Dunwoody Bulloch and Irvine Bulloch, came to visit us shortly after the close of the war. Both came under assumed names, as they were among the Confederates who were at that time exempted from the amnesty. “Uncle Jimmy” Bulloch was a dear old retired sea-captain, utterly unable to “get on” in the worldly sense of that phrase, as valiant and simple and upright a soul as ever lived, a veritable Colonel Newcome. He was a commander in the Confederate navy, and was the builder of the famous Confederate war vessel Alabama. My uncle Irvine Bulloch was a midshipman on the Alabama, and fired the last gun discharged from her batteries in the fight with the Kearsarge. Both of these uncles lived in Liverpool after the war. “
My uncle Jimmy Bulloch was forgiving and just in reference to the Union forces, and could discuss all phases of the Civil War with entire fairness and generosity. But in English politics he promptly became a Tory of the most ultra-conservative school. Lincoln and Grant he could admire, but he would not listen to anything in favor of Mr. Gladstone. The only occasions on which I ever shook his faith in me were when I would venture meekly to suggest that some of the manifestly preposterous falsehoods about Mr. Gladstone could not be true. My uncle was one of the best men I have ever known, and when I have sometimes been tempted to wonder how good people can believe of me the unjust and impossible things they do believe, I have consoled myself by thinking of Uncle Jimmy Bulloch’s perfectly sincere conviction that Gladstone was a man of quite exceptional and nameless infamy in both public and private life.” →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
Princeton Professor of Physics William Happer has long been skeptical of the climate change movement, viewing it as largely a religious, I would say substitute religious, cult. He set forth a summary of his views in an article in First Things in 2011:
There are many honest, hardworking climate scientists who are trying to understand the effects of CO2 on climate, but their work has fallen under suspicion because of the hockey-stick scandal and many other exaggerations about the dangers of increasing CO2. What has transformed climate science from a normal intellectual discipline to a matter of so much controversy?
A major problem has been the co-opting of climate science by politics, ambition, greed, and what seems to be a hereditary human need for a righteous cause. What better cause than saving the planet? Especially if one can get ample, secure funding at the same time? Huge amounts of money are available from governments and wealthy foundations for climate institutes and for climate-related research.
Funding for climate studies is second only to funding for biological sciences. Large academic empires, prizes, elections to honorary societies, fellowships, and other perquisites go to those researchers whose results may help “save the planet.” Every day we read about some real or contrived environmental or ecological effect “proven” to arise from global warming. The total of such claimed effects now runs in the hundreds, all the alleged result of an unexceptional century-long warming of less than 1 degree Celsius. Government subsidies, loan guarantees, and captive customers go to green companies. Carbon-tax revenues flow to governments. As the great Russian poet Pushkin said in his novella Dubrovsky , “If there happens to be a trough, there will be pigs.” Any doubt about apocalyptic climate scenarios could remove many troughs.
What about those who doubt the scientific basis of these claims, or who simply don’t like what is being done to the scientific method they were taught to apply and uphold? Publications of contrary research results in mainstream journals are rare. The occasional heretical article is the result of an inevitable, protracted battle with those who support the dogma and who have their hands on the scales of peer review. As mentioned above, we know from the Climategate emails that the team conspired to prevent contrary publications from seeing the light of day and even discussed getting rid of an editor who seemed to be inclined to admit such contentious material.
Skeptics’ motives are publicly impugned; denigrating names are used routinely in media reports and the blogosphere; and we now see attempts to use the same tactics that Big Brother applied to the skeptical hero, Winston Smith, in Orwell’s 1984 . In 2009 a conference of “ecopsychologists” was held at the University of West England to discuss the obvious psychological problems resident in those who do not adhere to the global warming dogma. The premise of these psychologists was that scientists and members of the general population who express objective doubt about the propagated view of global warming are suffering from a kind of mental illness. We know from the Soviet experience that a society can find it easy to consider dissidents to be mentally deranged and act accordingly. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
That we live in deeply silly times is confirmed unintentionally by Time Magazine:
“Children have a right to grow up in a family with a father and a mother,” said the Pope during a speech at the Complementarity of Man and Woman conference in Rome. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
The sixth in my series of posts in which I give rants against trends that have developed in society since the days of my youth, the halcyon days of the seventies, when leisure suits and disco were sure signs that society was ready to be engulfed in a tide of ignorance, bad taste and general buffoonery.
We have started off the series with a look at seven developments that I view as intensely annoying and proof that many people lack the sense that God granted a goose. I like to refer to these as The Seven Hamsters of the Apocalypse, minor evils that collectively illustrate a society that has entered a slough of extreme stupidity. Each of the Seven Hamsters will have a separate post. We have already discussed here the Tattooed Vermin, here the Pierced Vermin, here the F-Bomb Vermin, here the Texting Vermin, and here the Trashy Vermin. The sixth of the Hamsters is the Whatever Vermin.
In my family my mother was the main disciplinarian. My father was reserved for major transgressions and a word, literally, from him was sufficient to stop any misbehavior that I and my brother were up to. Looking back on my early life I truly think my mother would have made a superb trial attorney. She had a talent for ferreting out the truth that after 32 years at the bar I still envy. No amount of misdirection or obfuscation could deter her. Woe betide us if either my brother or I resorted to mendacity to conceal our misdemeanors. Mom had a special detestation for lies and whatever punishment she deemed fitting would be greatly intensified if she suspected we were less than truthful. Thus, we tended to respond to her questions, briefly and bluntly, come what may. I can only imagine how she would have reacted if we had ever uttered the word, “Whatever.” to her.
Kurt Cardinal Koch puts hoof in mouth:
The end of communist rule in Europe, which began 25 years ago this month, was not all positive for Christianity because it brought tensions between Rome and Russia back to the surface, a senior Vatican official said on Monday.
Cardinal Kurt Koch, the top Roman Catholic official for inter-church relations, said the re-emergence of Eastern Catholic churches in Ukraine and Romania after decades of suppression had created major tensions with the Russian Orthodox Church.
Russian Orthodox leaders have accused the Vatican-aligned Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church of trying to take back churches and woo away believers from the Moscow Orthodox Patriarchate. The Ukrainian church and the Vatican deny this.
Moscow prelates cite this as a hurdle to closer ties between the Orthodox and the Catholic Church, which for decades prayed for the conversion of the Soviet Union only to see the newly resurgent Russian Orthodox Church become a difficult partner.
“The changes in 1989 were not advantageous for ecumenical relations,” Koch told Vatican Radio. “The Eastern Catholic churches banned by Stalin re-emerged, especially in Ukraine and Romania, and from the Orthodox came the old accusation about Uniate churches and proselytism.” →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
Pat Archbold is on fire over at National Catholic Register:
But the common usage of ‘hermeneutic of continuity’ extends its use beyond as just an interpretive lens of the council. Today, it has become a crutch and a cudgel. It is a crutch in that the hierarchy of the Church no longer feels obligated to clarity in its communications, but regularly unitizes and embraces ambiguity out of laziness or even possibly sometimes with more nefarious motives. The bottom line is there is no understood obligation on the part of the magisterium to teach and communicate in the clearest and most unambiguous way possible.
Rather, too much communication in recent years has gone beyond mere ambiguity approaching clear contradiction, leaving it up to those few still concerned with continuity to develop a lens suitable to a proper catholic understanding. If you have to squint, turn your head left 45 degrees, and stand on one foot to view a modern church communication as Catholic, well then you had better do it bub. In this way, the ‘hermeneutic of continuity’ is a rhetorical cudgel used to beat anyone who dares to notice any discontinuity.
Why is it now our obligation to assume even the most contradictory utterances and writings are in conformity with immutable Catholic teaching but no longer their obligation to clearly demonstrate that continuity?
I know it may seem antediluvian to suggest this, but read Pascendi Dominici Gregis, or the encyclicals of Leo XII, read any of great encyclicals of the centuries prior to 1960, is any hermeneutic necessary to understand them? Are copious context and a rose-colored lens necessary to view them in continuity with all that came before? No, they are plainly and obviously Catholic with many references to Popes and documents before them to establish clearly in the mind of the reader that what is being taught has always and everywhere been taught.
But is unfortunately rare today that modern Church teaching and communications refer or quote, in any meaningful way, Church documents prior to 1960. It seems obvious to me that this is purposeful, as the clarity of those documents do not serve the resolute ambiguity now so desired.
The unconverted person looking in from the outside could be forgiven for assuming that a 2,000 yr. old Church that is afraid to quote itself beyond the last 50 years is either unworthy of belief or unworthy of its beliefs. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
The Pope is coming to the US in September:
“I wish to confirm according to the wishes of the Lord, that in September of 2015, I will go to Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families,” said Pope Francis. “Thank you for your prayers with which you accompany my service to the Church. Bless you from my heart.” →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
I always have believed that the South Side Messiah views himself as something like the Sun King, and we are finding out that the powers that be in the mainstream media had a similar view of him:
“When I was at CNBC, I pointed out to my viewers that the math of Obamacare simply didn’t work. Not the politics by the way, just the basic math. And when I did that, I was silenced. I said on the air, that you couldn’t add millions of people to the system and force insurance companies to cover their preexisting conditions without raising the price on everyone else. I pointed out that it couldn’t possibly be true that if you like your plan you can keep it. That was a lie, and in fact, millions of people had their insurance canceled. As a result of what I said at CNBC, I was called into management where I was told, that I was quote, ‘disrespecting the office of the president’ by telling, what turned out to be the absolute truth” she stated. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
The Pope spoke quite strongly against abortion, euthanasia and in vitro fertilization on Saturday to the Association of Italian Catholic doctors
The dominant thinking sometimes suggests a “false compassion”, that which believes that it is: helpful to women to promote abortion; an act of dignity to obtain euthanasia; a scientific breakthrough to “produce” a child and to consider it to be a right rather than a gift to welcome; or to use human lives as guinea pigs presumably to save others. Instead, the compassion of the Gospel is that which accompanies in times of need, that is, the compassion of the Good Samaritan, who “sees”, “has compassion”, approaches and provides concrete help (cf. Lk 10:33).
Your mission as doctors puts you in daily contact with many forms of suffering. I encourage you to take them on as “Good Samaritans”, caring in a special way for the elderly, the infirm and the disabled. Fidelity to the Gospel of life and respect for life as a gift from God sometimes require choices that are courageous and go against the current, which in particular circumstances, may become points of conscientious objection. And this fidelity entails many social consequences. We are living in a time of experimentation with life. But a bad experiment. Making children rather than accepting them as a gift, as I said.
Playing with life. Be careful, because this is a sin against the Creator: against God the Creator, who created things this way. When so many times in my life as a priest I have heard objections: “But tell me, why the Church is opposed to abortion, for example? Is it a religious problem?” No, no. It is not a religious problem. “Is it a philosophical problem?” No, it is not a philosophical problem.
It’s a scientific problem, because there is a human life there, and it is not lawful to take out a human life to solve a problem. “But no, modern thought…” But, listen, in ancient thought and modern thought, the word “kill” means the same thing. The same evaluation applies to euthanasia: we all know that with so many old people, in this culture of waste, there is this hidden euthanasia. But there is also the other. And this is to say to God, “No, I will accomplish the end of life, as I will.” A sin against God the Creator! Think hard about this. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading