The usual open thread rules apply: be concise, be charitable and, above all, be amusing.
Something for the weekend. Spring from Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons. Until Thursday of this week I had been complaining to my wife and secretary that this was the most November looking April I could recall. Then glorious Spring burst out in Central Illinois and all was well.
23 And Lamech said unto his wives, Adah and Zillah, Hear my voice; ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech: for I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt.24 If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold.
Genesis 4: 23-24
Dennis Prager reminds us that, in the words of Bernard of Chartres, we are pygmies standing on the shoulders of giants.
As Saint Augustine noted, the Lex Talionis did not foster vengeance but served to check it. This was a giant step away from blood feuds that could decimate families and entire communities. Christ admonished that we pray for our enemies and turn the other cheek, but also acknowledged the punishment of evildoers by the State. The idea of the Law standing in for private vengeance is an initial huge step for any civilization, and it is unsurprising that where States have gone to war against Christianity, the law swiftly becomes merely a tool to punish enemies of the State.
After Lenin toppled the Kerensky government in 1917, the Bolsheviks were briefly in coalition with other left wing parties, and Isaac Steinberg, an Anarchist, was Commissar of Justice. When he protested the summary executions ordered by Lenin, Lenin waved off his objections that these were unjust:
He resented my opposition in the name of revolutionary justice. So I called out in exasperation: “Then why do we bother with a Commissariat of Justice? Let’s call it frankly the Commissariat for Social Extermination and be done with it.” Lenin’s face suddenly brightened and he replied, “Well put…that’s exactly what it should be…but we can’t say that.”
John-Henry Western at Lifesite News gives a few reasons why pro-lifers have small reason to love this Pope:
1) From the outset of the papacy has come an overt shift in focus on pro-life to other concerns. (“We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods… I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.”)
2) The sentiment has remained consistent throughout the papacy and has gone from merely interviews into official Church teaching in the latest apostolic exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate. In that document, he equated issues such as immigration and poverty with abortion in contrast to statements from previous Popes.
3) The approach explains the seemingly incomprehensible praise that Pope Francis lavished on Italy’s most prominent promoter of abortion, whom he called one of the nation’s “forgotten greats” for her work on immigration. Even though unrepentant and an abortion pusher making Cecile Richards look tame, the Pope’s praise for her has led to her speaking at various Catholic churches despite protests from pro-lifers.
4) Since shortly after the election of Pope Francis there has been a steady stream of population control advocates speaking at the Vatican. These include: Paul Ehrlich, the father of the population control movement; John Bongaarts, vice president of the pro-abortion Population Council; pro-abortion U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon; pro-abortion UN advisor Jeffrey Sachs; and Prof. John Schellnhuber. The head of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Sciences, Bishop Marcelo Sorondo, who ran most of those conferences, is himself a population control advocate. Sorondo said on camera at one such Vatican conference that limiting births was an obligation of the Church – something he wouldn’t have dared under previous popes.
5) There have been numerous appointments and elevations of bishops and cardinals who are hostile to pro-life, alongside a demotion of strongly pro-life churchmen. Examples include Blase Cupich as Archbishop of Chicago and Cardinal despite his reputation for telling priests not to join 40 Days for Life; Belgium’s Cardinal Danneels; Germany’s Cardinal Kasper; and Belgium’s Josef de Kesel. Demotions and removals of strongly pro-life bishops and Cardinals include Cardinals Burke and Muller, Bishop Finn, and Bishop Nienstedt.
7) Pope Francis pushed for the passage of the Sustainable Development Goals and praised its passage without reservation. Pro-life groups at the UN, including the Holy See Mission, have fought the SDGs for years because Target 3.7 explicitly calls for “universal access to sexual and reproductive health care services.” The UN defined these terms at the 1994 Cairo conference to mean providing women with “modern contraception” for “family planning” and with “safe abortion” where it is legal.
Go here to read the rest. Oh, the Pope occasionally makes a verbal condemnation of abortion, and then goes back to giving every indication that the fight against abortion is of little to no consequence to him. It is no mystery why some of the biggest fans of the Pope have been touting the fake “New Pro-life Movement” since it is quite clear that the Pope is no friend of the Real Pro-Life Movement.
As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding. Like the Roman, I seem to see “the River Tiber foaming with much blood”. That tragic and intractable phenomenon which we watch with horror on the other side of the Atlantic but which there is interwoven with the history and existence of the States itself, is coming upon us here by our own volition and our own neglect. Indeed, it has all but come. In numerical terms, it will be of American proportions long before the end of the century. Only resolute and urgent action will avert it even now. Whether there will be the public will to demand and obtain that action, I do not know. All I know is that to see, and not to speak, would be the great betrayal.
Fifty years ago on April 20, 1968 Member of Parliament Enoch Powell, a unique figure from a middle class family who was a Professor of Ancient Greek at 25, rose from Private to Brigadier General in his early thirties during World War II, and who had held Cabinet positions in Conservative governments in Britain, signed his own political death warrant by giving his rivers of blood speech, warning of the impact of third world immigration on Europe. The speech was widely condemned as racist. Parts of it certainly were. It was also prophetic, at least in the long term, as most of Europe is finding out now with the violence and terrorism that mass immigration from the muslim world has brought. “Respectable” parties in Europe are doing their best to ignore this, and even punishing those who seek to accurately report on what is going on. The Pope has repeatedly condemned those who point out any of the problems with such mass immigration. Well, let me play the prophet for a moment. In democracies when “respectable” parties ignore a problem long enough, the mass of voters will ultimately find other leaders or parties, for good or ill, to carry out their wishes.
Hillary: Bill, you’ve been using non-virgin blood in your baths again, haven’t you!
TO what new fates, my country, far
And unforeseen of foe or friend,
Beneath what unexpected star
Compelled to what unchosen end.
Across the sea that knows no beach,
The Admiral of Nations guides
Thy blind obedient keels to reach
The harbor where thy future rides!
The guns that spoke at Lexington
Knew not that God was planning then
The trumpet word of Jefferson
To bugle forth the rights of men.
To them that wept and cursed Bull Run,
What was it but despair and shame?
Who saw behind the cloud the sun?
Who knew that God was in the flame?
Had not defeat upon defeat,
Disaster on disaster come,
The slave’s emancipated feet
Had never marched behind the drum.
There is a Hand that bends our deeds
To mightier issues than we planned;
Each son that triumphs, each that bleeds,
My country, serves It’s dark command.
I do not know beneath what sky
Nor on what seas shall be thy fate;
I only know it shall he high,
I only know it shall be great.
Raymond Arroyo understands that pretending to hear no evil and see no evil does not make good Catholics.
When Robert Royal told EWTN’s The World Over host, Raymond Arroyo, that he perhaps regretted writing a column about Gaudete et Exsultate last week because of the visceral responses it elicited from his readers, Arroyo chimed in: “You must’ve been looking in my mailbox! I get this every week.”
Holding up his hands, as if there were a gun pointed at him, Arroyo said, “Don’t shoot the messenger…all we do is cover this [news].”
“We all love the Holy Father, and the viewers of this program do,” said Arroyo. “It is up to us to respect him enough to take [his] words and evaluate them in the context of the times, and of the moment.”
“And if we look the other way for portions, or pretend we’re not seeing it, we’re letting the audience down and we’re not being, to my mind, good Catholics,” added the EWTN host. (See the exchange on this between Arroyo and Royal in the video below from 9:27 to 11:22.)
Royal, president of the Faith & Reason Institute in Washington, DC, had said that “One set of people read [my column] one way, and one set read it another.”
“Two of my readers wrote to me and said, ‘you’re the one exacerbating all these differences in the Church,’ as if somehow we created this large-scale international controversy.”
“On the other hand, other people are writing in saying ‘you were perhaps too charitable’” to the Pope, said Royal, because he had noted that there were “good things” in the papal document.
Shooting at the Papal Posse ‘Messengers’
“Papal Posse” members Robert Royal, Fr. Gerald Murray, and Raymond Arroyo are now accustomed to dodging bullets from fellow Catholics who are critical of the show’s fair and balanced approach to reporting on the Vatican.
Patheos writer Mark Shea, who calls Arroyo the “Pied Piper of EWTN,” says Arroyo’s balanced reporting “leads the sheep away from the teaching of the Church and toward the sundry Right Wing Culture Warriors and liars at war with Pope Francis and the Magisterium.”
Another Catholic blogger, Mike Lewis, unhappy with the ‘papal posse’s’ reporting and discussions, tweeted, “Does EWTN host Raymond Arroyo place politics ahead of the Catholic Church’s teachings and fidelity to @Pontifex?”
Go here to read the rest. In Heaven I suspect Mother Angelica is giving a thumbs up.
You can always depend on TAC for cutting edge coverage of the latest trend. Frankly, baby goats prancing around is the only way I would ever do yoga!
From Oakes Spalding at Mahound’s Paradise. I doubt if this would have been a parody if Pope Francis had been Pope during World War II, when Argentinian Dictator Juan Peron was playing footsie with the Third Reich:
Today, Pope Francis was asked about the pending murders of millions of additional people in the many extermination camps operated by the Nazis across Central and Eastern Europe:
I entrust to your prayer the members of those peoples and nations, living, sometimes for a long period, in situations of restricted movement, involuntary captivity or other potentially fatal circumstances due to the requirements of the war. By these I chiefly mean the Jews, but also Gypsies, homosexuals, Polish professionals and others, and of course Catholics. These are delicate and complex situations. We pray that every group and race is always respected in its dignity and treated in a way adapted to its condition, with the agreement of the relevant parties including local authorities and political and military professionals.
A week earlier, the Pope had “tweeted” his support for those being transferred to Auschwitz-Birkenau and destined for its gas chambers:
It is my sincere hope that everything necessary may be done in order to continue compassionately accompanying the Jews and others on their difficult journey made necessary by the current situation, and that the deep suffering of those affected by these measures may be heard. I am praying for the Jews, as well as for Germany and all others that may be involved.
*If you think this parody is unfair, tell that to Alfie Evans.
Go here to comment.
You know that you are living in strange times when an active homosexual is a better defender of the Faith than many paid to do so. Milo Yiannopoulos was sent a series of questions by America, the Jesuit rag. He answered them but they declined to print his answers. He has now printed the questions and the answers:
The fox knows many things; the hedgehog one big thing.
Archilochus, Greek Poet, Fragment, (680BC-645BC)
Written by William Tyler Page, it was adopted by the Federal House of Representative’s by resolution on April 3, 1918:
I believe in the United States of America as a government of the people, by the people, for the people; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a republic; a sovereign Nation of many sovereign States; a perfect union, one and inseparable; established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes.
I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it, to support its Constitution, to obey its laws, to respect its flag, and to defend it against all enemies.
It is often used in naturalization ceremonies for new Americans.
Marco Tossati at One Peter Five gives us yet another example of the fact that orthodox orders have a target on their backs in this Pontificate:
The Pope signs the decree of dissolution of the Fraternity of the Holy Apostles of Brussels, which had been providing a considerable number of priests and seminarians in the ecclesial desert of Belgium. A blow carried out without waiting for the ecclesiastical process to follow its natural course in responding to the recourse presented by parishioners.
Remember the case of the Priestly Fraternity of the Holy Apostles of Brussels? In the disastrous panorama of the Belgian Church, and of the European capital that is perhaps the most de-Christianized of all, the then-Archbishop of Malines-Brussels, André Léonard, had created a priestly fraternity in 2013 inspired by the charism of the French priest Michel-Marie Zanotti-Sorkine. It had grown to include 23 seminarians and 6 priests, an extraordinary development in a national Church which last year did not have even one new seminarian in the French-speaking dioceses. The fraternity was given pastoral care of a parish in the center of Brussels, Saint Catherine, and their presence signaled a new flowering of faith and activity.
Then-Archbishop André Léonard was a man of faith, and for his defense of the values of the Church he underwent many attacks (including physical assault) and humiliations, among which were the fact that he did not receive, as would have been logical, the red hat of a Cardinal, but rather as soon as he turned 75 he was rapidly dismissed by the reigning Pontiff. His post was taken by Archbishop De Kesel, great protégé of the widely-discussed Cardinal Danneels, who was involved in a troubling inquest regarding abuses in his role in protecting an abusing bishop. De Kesel naturally was made a cardinal, and one of his first actions was his decision to no longer welcome the Fraternity, which had taken on care of another parish in addition to Saint Catherine. The officially-stated reason for the decision was that many of the seminarians were French, and thus it was said to be better that they would return to their respective dioceses in France, for reasons of “episcopal solidarity.”
Naturally, the parishioners in Brussels did not believe this vacuous excuse for a moment, and they requested a meeting with the Archbishop in order to express their objections: “Archbishop De Kesel does not want to welcome the Fraternity any longer on the pretext that it includes too many French members. Is he really the bishop of the capital of Europe in the 21st century? The principle of solidarity with the French bishops invoked in the communication of the Archbishop explaining the reason for not continuing the work started by Archbishop Léonard, despite all of the successes of the Fraternity recognized by the same communication, does not make any sense. In effect, out of 80 seminarians in formation in Namur (at the Belgian national seminary), only 25 are Belgian. Will they all be sent back to their home countries? Will all of the African and Polish priests who have come here to help us carry the message of Christ to Belgium also be sent home? Is the Catholic Church no longer universal? Does it no longer transcend national borders?”
Go here to read the rest. PopeWatch does not believe that Pope Francis is an anti-Pope, but if he were an anti-Pope, what would he be doing differently?
- Dan: How did you get appointed to the bench?
- Harry: You know Dan, that’s a funny story. It was the mayor’s last day in office and it was a Sunday and my name was at the bottom of the list of a 1,000 candidates. So they start calling folks starting at the top of the list. You see it’s Sunday and no one’s home. So they keep calling down the list, name by name. No one answers. Finally they get down to the bottom of the list and voila.
- Lana: You mean you were appointed a judge because…
- Harry: I was home.
- Night Court, First Season, First Episode
As a young lawyer back in the Eighties I loved the zany antics of Night Court. Harry Anderson as Judge Harry Stone reminded me of a kind-hearted Judge I appeared in front of on a regular basis, and, occasionally, real life court has resembled the chaos of Night Court. Harry Anderson has passed away, too young, at the age of 65. Dave Griffey at Daffey Thoughts gives us the details:
Wow, two figures from my youth, that were seemingly everywhere back in the day, have passed.
Harry Anderson, the magician who spent more than a few years acting, passed away at the age of 65.
R. Lee Ermey, old gunny and possibly the most famous on screen drill sergeant in movie history, also passed away. Donald McClarey has a fine tribute here.
Both were iconic images for my generation. Ermey, a marine vet in real life, came to embody that gruff, grizzly soldier wading into whatever problem he encountered with a club in hand and a sparkle in his eye.
Anderson was everyone’s cool conman. A magician by trade (and, some suggest, a conman to boot), he stumbled into acting and soon came to demonstrate that level of slick, sleight of hand with a warm heart that anyone might envy.
The funny thing about them both? Nether were actors by first profession. They had excelled in other arenas first. They were not necessarily actors even when they were acting, but were other types who simply played variations of themselves, to a point.
They both stepped out of those confines. For instance, Anderson played in the TV miniseries based on Stephen King’s IT, and Ermey had a wonderful turn in the movie Dead Man Walking.
But usually they were variations of themselves. In the hit and critically acclaimed series Night Court (a strange brew of a show to be sure), Anderson basically was Anderson, including his magic and his love of Mel Torme.
Because of that, you can’t help but feel you got to know them more than most actors who play a variety of parts. You feel you knew them. And because they both made such a big impact on the pop culture of the day, it’s like losing a couple of old friends.
Rest in peace friends, and my the perpetual light shine upon you both.
Go here to comment. Enjoy a well earned recess Judge Stone.
“One of the painful signs of years of dumbed-down education is how many people are unable to make a coherent argument. They can vent their emotions, question other people’s motives, make bold assertions, repeat slogans—anything except reason.”
My sentiments precisely Larry. (Play the video starting at 3:48.)
Oh that one would hear me! behold, my desire is, that the Almighty would answer me, and that mine adversary had written a book.
Job 31: 35
The buffoonish James Comey, former FBI Director, has written a book, A Higher Loyalty, and has given a lengthy five hour interview to former Clinton henchman George Stephanopoulos. One of the features about political hit books is that they tend to tell a lot more about the author than the author ever intended. In the interview and in his book, Comey stands revealed as a very weak man, quite willing to play ball with the Clinton political machine in order to protect his future, assuming that Clinton got elected, which Comey viewed as a dead bang certainty. (I have long thought that God gets endless mirth from the human trait to assume that we can guess, on important matters, even the short term future with any degree of confidence.) Go here to read a transcript of that marathon interview.
In the interview Comey states that Donald Trump is morally unfit to be President:
A person who sees moral equivalence in Charlottesville, who talks about and treats women like they’re pieces of meat, who lies constantly about matters big and small and insists the American people believe it, that person’s not fit to be president of the United States, on moral grounds.
Let’s unpack that shall we? First, Trump did not draw a moral equivalence in the Charlottesville deadly melodrama, in which both the extreme right and the extreme left were engaging in violent street political theater, but let us say that he had, is that worse than Clinton during the campaign calling around 25% of the American people “deplorables”, completely beyond the pale? In regard to Trump treating women like pieces of meat, Trump is a pig when it comes to women. In that he is reminiscent of Bill Clinton, except that Trump, unlike Clinton, has not been credibly accused of rape. Mrs. Clinton of course has spent much of her time in public life defending her swinish husband from “bimbo eruptions” and assassinating the characters of the women who have had the temerity to tell the truth about their often forced interactions with her mate. In regard to lies, yep Trump lies a lot, as opposed to Clinton who has been completely truthful about everything, from her brilliant success as a commodities trader, to her sterling performance in Whitewater, to the machinations with foreign powers of the Clinton Foundation, to her statements to the FBI about her e-mails. Why, if you view her in a certain light, Clinton is a paragon of truthfulness, the female reincarnation of George Washington! (Sarcasm off.)
Comey’s wife and kids were fanatical supporters of the Clinton public thief, and that clearly had an impact on Comey. His last-minute investigation in October 2016 into the e-mails on the hard-drive of Anthony Weiner’s spouse was to help Clinton long-term, as he states in his book:
“It is entirely possible that, because I was making decisions in an environment where Hillary Clinton was sure to be the next president, my concern about making her an illegitimate president by concealing the restarted investigation bore greater weight than it would have if the election appeared closer or if Donald Trump were ahead in all polls.”
That is an entirely damning statement. Such concerns were not part of his job, yet he allowed partisan concerns to guide every step of how he conducted the investigation into Clinton’s emails. Comey, when everything is boiled down, was basically a corrupt cop who wanted above everything else to keep his powerful job. He bet on the wrong horse politically and now, suddenly, moral considerations he was deaf and blind to when Clinton was involved, become the center of his universe in regard to Trump. Comey is six foot eight. J. Edgar Hoover was five foot seven. Comey in comparison to Hoover couldn’t reach the top of his predecessor’s shoes.
“This too shall pass.” As Lincoln noted, that phrase is a comforting thought during periods of trial and tribulation. How will the current pontificate be recalled in the history of the Church?
Ross Douthat, author of a book just released critical of the Francis Papacy, has an idea in an interview in The National Catholic Register:
Do you think it more likely that Pope Francis will be remembered as a “heroic revolutionary” or as an “ambitious pope who overreached”?
The latter, I’m afraid. But what I’m sure of is that he’s put himself in a position where those are increasingly the only two plausible legacies. The Church will either have to tacitly repudiate his innovations in order to restore consistency and continuity, or else follow them further to where they seem to lead, in which case his impact will be genuinely revolutionary. At this point, it’s hard to see a middle ground (unless he changes course dramatically); I may be wrong about the wisdom of his vision, but I’m sure I’m right that the Catholics of the future will remember this pontificate as an exceptionally significant one, for good or ill.
Go here to read the rest. PopeWatch thinks that the Francis papacy will be either viewed as a big disaster or a little disaster. If a little disaster is the consensus it will be because his pontificate is followed by a swift reversal. A big disaster will be if Francis is followed by think-a-like successors who take the Church down the pathway carved out by many mainline Protestant churches that substitute transient current Leftism for Christianity. Such churches radically shrink in numbers and swiftly become irrelevant. Ultimately the hard core of Orthodox Catholics would regain control a century or so hence and begin the mission of the Church anew, and Francis would be regarded as a second Judas.
George Washington was one of the first global celebrities who was not a monarch. How tiresome this was to him he revealed in a letter:
Your letter of the 20th Ulto was presented to me yesterday by Mr Williams—who as a professional man—may, or may not be for ought I know, a luminary of the first magnitude. But to be frank, and I hope you will not be displeased with me for being so—I am so heartily tired of the attendance which from one cause or another has been given ⟨to⟩ these kind of people, that it is now more than two years since I have resolved to sit no more for any of them and have adhered to it, except in instances where it has been requested by public bodies, or for a particular purpose (not of the Painters) and could not, without offence be refused.
I have been led to make this resolution for another reason besides the irksomeness of sitting, and the time I loose by it—which is, that these productions have in my estimation, been made use of as a sort of tax on individuals by being engraved (and that badly) and hawked about or advertised for Sale. With very great esteem & regard I am Dear Sir Yr most Obt & Affe Servt
Two years later in 1794 Washington did sit for the painter at the request of Masonic Lodge 22. Washington is wearing Masonic regalia and looks quite unhappy:
“I would say that the Spirit does not exactly take control of the affair, but rather like a good educator…leaves us much space, much freedom, without entirely abandoning us…. Probably the only assurance he offers is that the thing cannot be totally ruined. There are too many contrary instances of popes the Holy Spirit would obviously not have picked.”
Cardinal Ratzinger, 1997
It is sometimes asked why compensated emancipation wasn’t attempted instead of fighting a Civil War, as if that had been the choice. Although Lincoln was in favor of compensated emancipation, neither the slave states nor the border states, in spite of Lincoln’s vigorous efforts, were interested. There was one area, however, where Congress had the power to impose compensated emancipation, and that was in the District of Columbia which was under the direct control of Congress. On April 16, 1862 President Lincoln signed the District of Columbia Compensated Emanipation Act. Under the Act some 3,185 slaves were emancipated with the owners receiving approximately a million dollars in compensation. The Civil War cost about two and a half million dollars a day for the Union. In purchasing power a million Civil War era Union dollars has the spending power of about 27 million dollars today.
Well this is interesting. From Oakes Spalding at Mahound’s Paradise:
In the Spring of 2014, the Catholic publisher Ignatius Press featured nine books by or about Pope Francis in their catalog, from The Way of Humility: Corruption and Sin & On Self-Accusation by Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio (Pope Francis) to Francis: Pope of a New World by Andrea Tornielli. Ignatius also advertised a “Pope Francis Portrait,” the “Pope Francis Rosary” and the DVD, Who is Pope Francis: The Life and Message of Pope Francis. Here is the full list:
The Way of Humility: Corruption and Sin & On Self-Accusation by Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio (Pope Francis)
Education for Choosing Life: Proposals for Difficult Times by Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio (Pope Francis)
Pope Francis: A short bio of the Holy Father
Pope Francis: Our Brother, Our Friend: Personal Recollections about the Man Who Became Pope, edited by Alejandro Bermudez
The Light of Faith (Lumen Fidei) by Pope Francis
Francis: Pope of a New World by Andrea Tornielli
Pope Francis: His Life in His Own Words: Conversations with Jorge Bergoglio by Francesca Ambrogietti and Sergio Rubin
On Heaven and Earth: Pope Francis on Faith, Family, and the Church in the Twenty-First Century by Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio & Abraham Skorka
In Him Alone Is Our Hope: The Church According to the Heart of Pope Francis by Jorge Mario Bergoglio (Pope Francis)
Pope Francis Portrait
As Francis was, of course, then, the Pope, this was par for the course for one of the major Catholic publishers. The first catalog to be created after Francis’ election, Fall 2013, featured many items relating to the new pope. And similar large selections of works by or about Francis continued to be featured in successive catalogs up until recently.
From a distance, Kennedy has long seemed like a man playing a role: the role his staff expected him to play, the role his public expected him to play, the role his brothers and their retainers expected him to play, the role his father expected him to play. “Ted Kennedy, Liberal Icon” was performance art which dragged on for decades. One of his more vigorous opponents over the years, Raymond Shamie, pointed out that his signature issue was ‘national health insurance’, but that his proposal had never got out of subcommittee, and he was chairman of the subcommittee. Maybe all along what he really cared about was making waitress sandwiches.
Art Deco, commenter, The American Catholic, April 7, 2018
My son and I saw the movie Chappaquiddick on Saturday. It is a superb evocation of time and place and a damning indictment of the cowardice of Ted Kennedy that led to the death of Mary Jo Kopechne. My review is below the fold, and the usual caveat as to spoilers is in full force. Continue Reading
It’s my firm conviction that when Uncle Sam calls, by God we go, and we do the best that we can.
Sad news that R. Lee Ermey has passed away at age 74. A Staff Sergeant in the Marine Corps, he was both a drill instructor and a Vietnam Veteran. He retired due to service injuries in 1972. He served as a technical advisor on a few war flicks and then achieved fame for his role as, what else, a drill instructor in Full Metal Jacket (1987). He stayed steadily employed thereafter, usually playing military hard cases, but often with a flair for humor. He was a conservative in a liberal industry. He and his one and only wife had four kids. I will miss him. First and last he was a Marine and never tired in retirement of supporting the Marines, visiting injured Marines in hospitals and taking part in Toys for Tots. Fare thee well Marine, and may your next duty post involve guarding the streets of the Heavenly Kingdom.
“If God does not exist, everything is permitted.”
Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
A civilization where belief in God is on the wane, is a civilization where people are merely objects and will be treated as such. The greatest thinkers of the human race have understood this. Benjamin Franklin, who was far from being an orthodox Christian, saw what the world would be like without religion in a letter dated December 13, 1757:
I have read your manuscript with some attention. By the argument it contains against a particular Providence, though you allow a general Providence, you strike at the foundations of all religion. For, without the belief of a Providence that takes cognisance of, guards, and guides, and may favor particular persons, there is no motive to worship a Deity, to fear his displeasure, or to pray for his protection. I will not enter into any discussion of your principles, though you seem to desire it. At present I shall only give you my opinion that, though your reasons are subtle, and may prevail with some readers, you will not succeed so as to change the general sentiments of mankind on that subject, and the consequence of printing this piece will be, a great deal of odium drawn upon yourself, mischief to you, and no benefit to others. He that spits against the wind spits in his own face.
But were you to succeed, do you imagine any good would be done by it? You yourself may find it easy to live a virtuous life, without the assistance afforded by religion; you having a clear perception of the advantage of virtue, and the disadvantages of vice, and possessing a strength of resolution sufficient to enable you to resist common temptations. But think how great a portion of mankind consists of weak and ignorant men and women, and of inexperienced, inconsiderate youth of both sexes, who have need of the motives of religion to restrain them from vice, to support their virtue, and retain them in the practice of it till it becomes habitual, which is the great point for its security. And perhaps you are indebted to her originally, that is to your religious education, for the habits of virtue upon which you now justly value yourself. You might easily display your excellent talents of reasoning upon a less hazardous subject, and thereby obtain a rank with our most distinguished authors. For among us it is not necessary, as among the Hottentots, that a youth, to be raised into the company of men, should prove his manhood by beating his mother.
I would advise you, therefore, not to attempt unchaining the tiger, but to burn this piece before it is seen by any other person, whereby you will save yourself a great deal of mortification by the enemies it may raise against you, and perhaps a great deal of regret and repentance. If men are so wicked with religion, what would they be if without it?
We found out in the last bloody century the answer to that question. When we believe in God a dignity is conferred on each man and woman as a fellow child of a loving God. Abraham Lincoln saw this clearly:
These communities, by their representatives in old Independence Hall, said to the whole world of men: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” This was their majestic interpretation of the economy of the Universe. This was their lofty, and wise, and noble understanding of the justice of the Creator to His creatures. [Applause.] Yes, gentlemen, to all His creatures, to the whole great family of man. In their enlightened belief, nothing stamped with the Divine image and likeness was sent into the world to be trodden on, and degraded, and imbruted by its fellows. They grasped not only the whole race of man then living, but they reached forward and seized upon the farthest posterity. They erected a beacon to guide their children and their children’s children, and the countless myriads who should inhabit the earth in other ages. Wise statesmen as they were, they knew the tendency of prosperity to breed tyrants, and so they established these great self-evident truths, that when in the distant future some man, some faction, some interest, should set up the doctrine that none but rich men, or none but white men, were entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, their posterity might look up again to the Declaration of Independence and take courage to renew the battle which their fathers began — so that truth, and justice, and mercy, and all the humane and Christian virtues might not be extinguished from the land; so that no man would hereafter dare to limit and circumscribe the great principles on which the temple of liberty was being built.
Abraham Lincoln, August 17, 1858
If men are fellow children of a loving God, then our worth is infinite. If we are merely animals with pretensions, our lives of no more significance than those of gnats, we should not be surprised that men who believe this rubbish will act as if their lives, and the lives of their fellow men, are very cheap, and very meaningless, indeed.
I have reported what I saw and heard, but only part of it. For most of it, I have no words.
Edward R. Murrow at Buchenwald, April 15, 1945
When Buchenwald death camp was liberated, General Patton was so outraged that he ordered military police to go to Weimar, the nearest town, and bring 1000 German civilians back to tour the camp to see what their leaders had done. The MPs were just as outraged, and brought back 2000. Edward R. Murrow did a radio broadcast from Buchenwald on April 15, 1945 that is absolutely unforgettable. Evil can grow so strong in this world that it has to be stopped, no matter the cost. Here is the transcript of Murrow’s broadcast: Continue Reading
The desire of Government employees for fair and adequate pay, reasonable hours of work, safe and suitable working conditions, development of opportunities for advancement, facilities for fair and impartial consideration and review of grievances, and other objectives of a proper employee relations policy, is basically no different from that of employees in private industry. Organization on their part to present their views on such matters is both natural and logical, but meticulous attention should be paid to the special relationships and obligations of public servants to the public itself and to the Government.
All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management. The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations. The employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives in Congress. Accordingly, administrative officials and employees alike are governed and guided, and in many instances restricted, by laws which establish policies, procedures, or rules in personnel matters.
Particularly, I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place in the functions of any organization of Government employees. Upon employees in the Federal service rests the obligation to serve the whole people, whose interests and welfare require orderliness and continuity in the conduct of Government activities. This obligation is paramount. Since their own services have to do with the functioning of the Government, a strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government until their demands are satisfied. Such action, looking toward the paralysis of Government by those who have sworn to support it, is unthinkable and intolerable.
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, August 16, 1937
When it comes to protecting the consciences of Catholic workers or the political power of public employee unions, always on the political left, for our hapless bishops it is no contest:
One of the highly watched cases of the Supreme Court’s current session, Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31, has sparked such passion that some 73 interested parties have filed amicus briefs in the matter. Among the most unusual is a brief by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops urging the court to rule against Mark Janus, an Illinois state employee who claims that a law requiring him to pay AFSCME an “agency” fee violates his rights. In an unusual move, a prominent bishop, Thomas John Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois, has publicly disavowed the conference’s position, arguing that no consensus exists among Catholics regarding an issue “on which reasonable people can disagree.” Several Catholic scholars have also contested the bishops’ arguments, especially the prelates’ startling suggestion that a ruling for Janus would “marginalize” the church’s voice on public-policy debates in the same way that the Court’s decisions on abortion and same-sex marriage have done. The Court heard arguments in Janus on February 26 and will issue a ruling before the end of its term in June.
A social worker, Janus has sued to overturn a state law requiring him to pay AFSCME a fee to represent him, even though he had declined to join the union. He has asked the court to reverse a 1977 decision, Abood v. Detroit Federation of Teachers, which upheld state laws that give government unions the right to collect fees from nonmembers in a workplace where collective bargaining is in place. Janus contends that the activities of a government union, including collective bargaining, are political by their very nature, and that the union fee compels him to finance ideas with which he disagrees. If Janus prevails, it would likely mean the institution of right-to-work laws—prohibiting labor unions and employers from making union membership a condition of employment—across the public sector in the United States.
The bishops’ brief begins by citing the Catholic Church’s longstanding “commitment to protect both the poor and vulnerable from exploitation.” Unions, the brief observes, accomplish those aims by defending worker rights. In America, the church has a long history of supporting private labor unions, especially those composed of immigrant Catholic workers, such as the nineteenth-century Knights of Labor. At a time when many within the Church feared unions as “secret societies,” Baltimore Cardinal James Gibbons, a staunch supporter of the Knights, is thought to have persuaded the Vatican that unions could be instrumental in Church efforts to help the poor. Pope Leo XIII subsequently defended unions in his 1891 encyclical Rerum Novarum. “To enter into a ‘society’ of this kind is the natural right of man,” he maintained.
The Janus case, however, applies only to public-sector unions. Janus’s fundamental argument is that, unlike dues paid by a worker to a private union to support bargaining between laborers and an employer, the fees that he must pay “subsidize AFSCME’s efforts to compel the State of Illinois to bend to the union’s will.” That makes the act of collective bargaining political in nature, as Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito observed in Knox v. SEIU: “[A] public-sector union takes many positions during collective bargaining that have powerful political and civic consequences.”
The bishops justify their interest in Janus by contending that the lawsuit is somehow meant to “lay the foundation” for extending right-to-work nationally to private-sector unions—a dubious claim for which the brief offers no legal rationale. Bradley Lewis, a political philosopher at the Catholic University of America, observes that while the bishops’ brief “cites many passages in classic [social] encyclicals . . . none of them refer to public-sector unions nor do they concern mandatory agency fees.”
Go here to read the rest. The public employee unions and the Democrats have had a scam going on for decades, since John F. Kennedy legalized them at the Federal level with executive order 10988 on January 17, 1962. The unions provide the money to elect Democrats. The Democrats pay back the unions by enacting sweetheart contracts with the unions regarding pensions and health benefits that can only end in bankruptcy for the states. However that would be down the road. Now we are down that road and the unions and the Democrats wish this madness to continue and our bishops are fully on board, even though the Unions place in power politicians completely opposed to Church teaching on abortion and gay marriage, things that the Bishops are supposed to care about. Like many of the laity, most of the bishops are Democrats first and Catholics second.
PopeWatch was working in his office when he received a phone call. His secretary reported, “Heavy Hispanic accent, doesn’t sound Mexican.” PopeWatch took the call.
“Are you the gringo who writes for The American Catholic?”
PopeWatch hesitantly acknowledged that he was.
“This is the Pope.”
“I recognize your voice now Holiness. I thought from our last conversation that you wanted me not to call you again.”
“Si, es verdad, but I said nothing about me calling you.”
“I understand, but why are you calling me?”
“I will explain that in my next call in a few days. Stay healthy gringo.”
The line went dead. The secretary of PopeWatch observed that the calls get nuttier by the day.
Something for the weekend. Theme songs from Lost in Space. As a kid I loved the show, even though even at the age of eight I realized the show was science fantasy rather than science fiction. The 1998 Lost in Space movie left me cold as it was too dark for my tastes and did not fit the lighter tone of most of the episodes of what was often an especially silly show.
A new Netflix take on the show debuted yesterday. The episodes I have thus far watched aren’t bad.
Since the below Onion video came out the national debt has doubled to 19.8 trillion dollars. We are on target to have annual trillion dollar budget deficits for as far as the eye can see, and this is assuming no wars or no major recessions. One can only assume that the fiscal policy of this nation is code-named mene mene tekel upharsin.
Mass attendance in the US is on the decline:
An average of 39 percent of U.S. Catholics attended church weekly during the heart of the Francis papacy, from 2014 to 2017, Gallup found in a survey released April 9, which represents a significant drop from the 45 percent of Catholics who attended weekly Mass from 2005 to 2008, in the early years of the Benedict pontificate.
Go here to read the rest. So much for the Francis Effect of luring people back to the pews. However the thought occurs that for the Pope the decline in Mass attendance may well be a feature of his pontificate and not a bug.
My favorite internet atheist Pat Condell explains why progressivism is to freedom as cardboard is to fine cuisine:
One of the iron rules of life is that if Leftists are placed in charge of any institution, the idea of respectful disagreement is taken out and shot. Case in point from Father Z:
Did you read the Catholic Herald story? It seems that the Sovereign
Military Merciless Order of Malta (SMOM) has commanded its members not to say or write anything “offensive” about Pope Francis.
Also, and this is a little creepy, members are instructed to grass on, rat out, any member who does say or write something “offensive” about the Pope.
It isn’t entirely clear what might constitute “offensive”. But then again, during the Cultural Revolution in China it wasn’t entirely clear what was “offensive” about Mao.
I don’t remember them doing this about John Paul II or Benedict XVI. Then again, they were under different ownership at the time, weren’t they.
Is saying something like, “The Pope made a mistake about how he handled the situation of the Chilean bishop” offensive?
Is saying something like, “I think the Pope should wear the traditional papal vestments for the Urbi et Orbi blessing” offensive?
Is saying something like, “What the Pope said about women being ‘strawberries on the cake’ was offensive to women!”, offensive?
Do you suppose this is retroactive? Are Knights of SMOM suppose to tattle on anyone who wrote something “offensive” about Benedict XVI?
Go here to read the rest. Always remember Iowahawk’s accurate description of the mode of operation of the Left:
1. Target a respected institution 2. Kill & clean it 3. Wear it as a skin suit, while demanding respect
Well, it is a start in regard to acknowledging grave errors:
In an extraordinary letter published on Wednesday, Francis also summoned all of Chile’s bishops to the Vatican for an emergency summit in the coming weeks to discuss the scandal, which has badly tarnished his reputation and that of the Chilean church.
The Vatican orders up such emergency visits only on rare occasions, when Vatican intervention is urgently required, such as when the clerical sex abuse scandal exploded in the United States in 2002.
Francis said the meeting, which comes just a year after the Chilean bishops were last in Rome on a regular visit, would have as its objective “repairing scandal where possible and re-establishing justice”.
Francis blamed a lack of “truthful and balanced information” in his missteps in judging the case of Bishop Juan Barros, a protege of Chile’s most notorious predator priest, the Rev Fernando Karadima. Francis had strongly defended Barros during his January visit to Chile, despite accusations by victims that he witnessed and ignored their abuse.
In Chile and during an airborne press conference returning to Rome, Francis had accused the victims of “slander” for pressing their case against Barros, demanded they present “proof” of their claims, revealed he had twice rejected Barros’s resignation and insisted: “I am convinced he is innocent.”
After his remarks caused an outcry, Francis sent the Vatican’s most respected sex abuse investigator, Archbishop Charles Scicluna to Chile.
Go here to read the rest. I hope the Papal dentist can deal with the teeth grinding that Pope Francis is no doubt engaging in. A very proud man, Pope Francis has rarely admitted to error, unless it is an error decades in his past. Does anyone believe that the Pope knows more about the sex abuse situation in Chile than he did when he made his initial comments. No, it is not additional knowledge that causes this confession of error, but because Pope Francis received negative coverage from the media that usually lauds him to the stars. Pope Francis cares not a whit what Orthodox Catholic media, or conservative media says about him, but if he is criticized by liberal or leftist media, he will come crawling on his knees to seek forgiveness. PopeWatch is glad that the Pope admitted error in regard to Chile. Would to heaven he was willing to do do for reasons better than fearing criticism from the Left.
Retired Professor Carol Swain, currently running to be Mayor of Nashville, gives us some basic history about the Republican Party which will come as an immense revelation to too many Americans brought up in a country where almost all of academia, entertainment and the media play the game of protect the Democrat Party uber alles.
One political party for over a century and a half has routinely used appeals based on race to win elections. The other party, throughout its history, has stood for civil rights for all Americans and denied that government policy should be based on racial discrimination. The first party is the Democrat Party and the second party is the Republican party. To get around this simple fact of American political history, some Democrats, especially in election years when the polls are against them, routinely attempt to portray Republicans as racists, in an Alice in Wonderland inversion of the truth. A hilarious example of this mendacious and bold faced attempt to rewrite history is on display at Politico in an article entitled Race and the Modern GOP. This recycles the claim of an evil Republican strategy to appeal to white racists in the South who switched en masse to become Republicans.
The problem with this is that it is a liberal fable. It didn’t happen that way. The first breach in the solid South was by Eisenhower who ran on a platform of vigorous support for Civil Rights for blacks. Segregationists retained complete control of the Democrat parties in the South and enjoyed electoral success throughout the period in question. The South changing to Republican had to do with the rise of the cultural issues, an influx of northern Republicans following wide spread use of air conditioning and the rapid economic development of the South, and the anti-military hysteria and isolationism that seized control of the Democrats in the wake of Vietnam.
My co-blogger Paul Zummo had an excellent post on this subject :
Along these same lines, Trende postulates that if any real realignment occurred, it took place during the Eisenhower administration. The Eisenhower coalition, as he puts it, pushed the GOP to decisive victories in seven of nine presidential elections. Moreover, the solid Democratic south began shifting towards the Republican party at this point. In fact the south’s gradual shift towards the GOP had begun as early as the 1920s, but the Depression halted Republican advances here. Once the New Deal had ramped up, the Republicans again began making inroads. Republicans began being truly competitive in presidential elections during the 1950s, then started making inroads in Congressional races in the 1970s and 80s, and are finally now the dominant party on the local level.
Trende’s thesis effectively destroys the notion that Republicans only began being competitive in the south once Nixon deployed the “southern strategy” to woo racist southerners after the Civil Rights Act. As already mentioned, the GOP vote share in the south had been incrementally creeping up in the 1930s, with GOP vote shares moving out of the 15-20% range and inching up towards parity slowly and surely. In fact the GOP vote share in the south did not noticeably increase during the 1960s, but instead crept up in the same incremental 1-2% annual range. Where Republicans really started making dents were with younger southern voters, as older southerners continued to cling to the Democratic party even though the national party’s values no longer matched their own. Considering that younger voters tended to have much more liberal racial views, the transformation of the south into a Republican stronghold has to be explained by something other than racial matters.
Even though Trende doesn’t come right out and say this, if anything the changing electoral map can just as easily be explained by the Democrats pursuing a northern strategy. As the Democrats began appealing to elite northern voters by pushing a more liberal agenda, this drove southerners and midwesterners away from the party. This trend would continue until Bill Clinton pursued a much different strategy, crafting his agenda to appeal to suburbanites and middle income whites. Clinton and the New Democrats were able to rip into Republican strongholds by advancing a more moderate platform. The end of the Cold War, as well as the rise of the Evangelical right, fractured the Eisenhower coalition, allowing the Democrats to win presidential elections. Continue Reading
And the fruits of the current Pontificate keep coming:
Pope Francis’ new apostolic exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate “blurs lines and causes confusion” about the gravity of abortion, the leader of a pro-life group that majorly influences U.S. politics said today.
Pope Francis wrote that migration shouldn’t be seen as a “secondary” or “lesser” issue to “‘grave’ bioethical questions” and that helping “victims” of “every form of rejection” is just as important as defending the pre-born.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, President of the Susan B. Anthony (SBA) List, said it’s “impossible” to give any other social justice issue the same moral weight as abortion. SBA List and its partner super PAC, Women Speak Out, spent more than $18 million in the 2016 election cycle. The group focuses on electing pro-life candidates, especially pro-life women.
“It is impossible to equate the moral weight of abortion – the direct killing of innocent unborn children occurring on a daily massive scale, here in America and abroad – with any other social justice issue,” said Dannenfelser. “The right to live predates or precludes every other right. It is simple logic. Without the fundamental right to life, no debate can even begin on the rights that follow.”
“The Catholic Church has long taught that abortion is an intrinsic evil that must always be opposed,” she continued. “Today’s statement by Pope Francis confirms this when he says ‘Our defence of the innocent unborn, for example, needs to be clear, firm and passionate, for at stake is the dignity of a human life, which is always sacred and demands love for each person, regardless of his or her stage of development.’ We all affirm the absolute dignity of the migrants and those suffering from poverty. How we solve these issues are matters of prudential judgment on which Catholics can disagree. Today’s exhortation blurs lines and causes confusion.”
Go here to read the rest. One of the keys to understanding this Pontificate is to pay zero attention to what the Pope says and to focus on what he does. The Pope regularly verbally condemns abortion, but his actions are completely the reverse. From kneecapping the Pontical Academy for Life, to celebrating pro-abort politicians and giving papal awards to them to having pro-aborts speak at papal conferences, the Pope has routinely given the impression that he could care less about the fight against abortion. For the ordinary Catholic pro-lifer the best they can hope from this Vatican is malign indifference.
Today when Americans hear the term filibuster, they think of an attempt by senators to block legislation in the Senate by taking a bill to death. The term comes from filibustero meaning pirate or buccaneer in spanish. In the 19th century the term filibuster was applied to individuals who sought to take over various nations in Latin America through military force, usually involving a revolution or a coup. Usually the foreign filibusters would have the help of some native disgruntled faction within the target nation. The 1850’s were the heighday of filibustering in the United States, propelled by the strong desire of pro-slavery advocates in the South to conquer new territory to form new slave Republics that would eventually be annexed by the United States as states. Generally the filibusterers were hailed as heroes in the South and denounced as brigands in the South. The most famous, and successful, of the filibusterers was William Walker, who admirers referred to as the Grey Eyed Man of Destiny.
Born on May 8, 1824 in Nashville, Walker was something of a child prodigy, graduating summa cum laude from the University of Nashville at the age of 14. He went on to study medicine at the Universities of Edinburgh, Paris, Heidelberg and Gottingen. The violence and romance of the revolutions of 1848 while he was studying in Europe had an immense impact on him as he witnessed how relatively small revolutionary movements could topple governments. Eventually he earned a medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He practiced in Philadelphia briefly before moving to New Orleans to study law. From law he leaped to journalism, becoming part owner of the New Orleans Crescent. A restless spirit, he moved to San Francisco in 1849 where he worked as a journalist and fought three duels.
It was here that he decided his life’s work was to help carve out slave states in Latin America. In 1853 he seized with 45 men the sparsely populated capital of Baja California and proclaimed the Republic of Lower California, and promulgated the laws of the state of Louisiana for the new republic, legalizing slavery in the process. After attempts to conquer Sonora failed, Walker, running low on supplies retreated to California. He was put on trial under the Neutrality Act of 1794 for waging an illegal war. Walker was considered a hero in the South and the West, and the jury took all of eight minutes to acquit him.
An opportunity now dropped in Walker’s lap. A civil war was raging in Nicaragua between the Conservative party based in Granada and the Liberal party based in Leon. Democrat President Franciso Castellon worked out an agreement for Walker to brin 300 mercenaries to Nicaragua under the guise of being settlers. Walker landed in Nicaragua in May of 1855 with only 60 men, but 170 locals and 100 Americans quickly flocked to serve under him. On September 4, he and his small force defeated the Conservative army at the battle of La Virgen. On October 13, 1855 he conquered the Conservative capital of Granda and was in effective control of the country.
Walker initially ruled the country through a puppet president Patricio Rivas. President Franklin Pierce, ever eager to serve the demands of Southern fire brands, recognized the Walker regime on May 20, 1856.
Walker was riding high, but he made the fatal error of crossing Cornelius Vanderbilt. In cahoots with C.K. Garrison and Charles Morgan, agents of Vanderbilt, who supplied logistical and monetary support to his government, Walker seized the assets of Vanderbilt’s Accessory Transit Company and turned them over to Garrison and Morgan. Outraged at this treachery, Vanderbilt dispatched two agents to Costa Rica to give the Costa Ricans assistance in ousting Walker. The Costa Ricans had become alarmed by Walker’s talk of conquering all of Central America and declared war on him. Continue Reading
My former law partner Frederick E. Strufe passed away last week at age 70. Fred retired from the law mines on April 30, 2010. Fred was something of a character, which was just as well as I am something of a character and he and I were partners for two decades. Below is a video that he appeared in last year talking about the old Strufe/Arrow Motel that he and his parents ran in Dwight. Good fortune Fred, and may you never be late for whatever courts the Kingdom of God may possess.
Joao Baptista DeValles was born in 1879 in Saint Miquel in the Azores. At the age of 2 his family moved to New Bedford, Massachusetts. His first name anglicized to John, he quickly proved himself a brilliant student, eventually being fluent in six languages. Ordained a priest in 1906 he served at Falls River at Espirito Santo Church, founding the first Portuguese language parochial school in the United States while he was there. He later served at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in New Bedford and was pastor at Saint John the Baptist Church, also in New Bedford.
After the entry of the US into World War I, he joined the Army as a chaplain, serving with the 104th regiment, a Massachusetts National Guard outfit, part of the Yankee (26th) Division, made up of National Guard units from New England. The Yankee Division arrived in France in September 1917, the second American division to arrive “Over There”.
The 104th was a hard fighting outfit, serving in all of the major campaigns of the American Expeditionary Force. For heroic fighting at Bois Brule in April, 1918 the French government awarded the regiment a collective Croix de Guerre, an unprecedented honor for an American military unit. There were quite a few very brave men in the 104th, and among the bravest of the brave was Chaplain DeValles. For his heroism in rescuing wounded, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the second highest decoration for valor in the United States Army. Here is the text of the citation:
104th Infantry Regiment, 26th Division, A.E.F.
Date of Action: April 10 – 13, 1918
The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to John B. De Valles, Chaplain, U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action near
Apremont, Toul sector, France, April 10 to 13, 1918. Chaplain De Valles repeatedly exposed himself to heavy artillery and machine-gun fire in order to assist in the removal of the wounded from exposed points in advance of the lines. He worked for long periods of time with stretcher bearers in carrying wounded men to safety. Chaplain De Valles previously rendered gallant service in the Chemin des Dames sector, March 11, 1918, by remaining with a group of wounded during a heavy enemy bombardment.
General Orders No. No. 35, W.D., 1920 Continue Reading
Pope Francis resurrects the moth eaten seamless garment:
Pope Francis’ remarks on the issue appear in paragraphs 101-102 of the exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate reproduced in full below:
101. The other harmful ideological error is found in those who find suspect the social engagement of others, seeing it as superficial, worldly, secular, materialist, communist or populist. Or they relativize it, as if there are other more important matters, or the only thing that counts is one particular ethical issue or cause that they themselves defend. Our defence of the innocent unborn, for example, needs to be clear, firm and passionate, for at stake is the dignity of a human life, which is always sacred and demands love for each person, regardless of his or her stage of development. Equally sacred, however, are the lives of the poor, those already born, the destitute, the abandoned and the underprivileged, the vulnerable infirm and elderly exposed to covert euthanasia, the victims of human trafficking, new forms of slavery, and every form of rejection. We cannot uphold an ideal of holiness that would ignore injustice in a world where some revel, spend with abandon and live only for the latest consumer goods, even as others look on from afar, living their entire lives in abject poverty.
102. We often hear it said that, with respect to relativism and the flaws of our present world, the situation of migrants, for example, is a lesser issue. Some Catholics consider it a secondary issue compared to the “grave” bioethical questions. That a politician looking for votes might say such a thing is understandable, but not a Christian, for whom the only proper attitude is to stand in the shoes of those brothers and sisters of ours who risk their lives to offer a future to their children. Can we not realize that this is exactly what Jesus demands of us, when he tells us that in welcoming the stranger we welcome him (cf. Mt 25:35)? Saint Benedict did so readily, and though it might have “complicated” the life of his monks, he ordered that all guests who knocked at the monastery door be welcomed “like Christ”, with a gesture of veneration; the poor and pilgrims were to be met with “the greatest care and solicitude”.
Go here to read the rest. The Pope thus gives political coverage to his Leftist pro-abort buddies and neuters the fight of the Church against abortion. May Christ forgive him.
I finally saw The Death of Stalin (2017) with my wife and bride last Saturday. Most films that I have high expectations for often leave me at least slightly disappointed. This film exceeded my expectations. It is a superb evocation of the power struggles that ensued in the wake of the death of Stalin in 1953. The blackest of black comedies, it is also hilarious, albeit with quite a bit of very rough language. The language however in this context works. The men of the Politburo were gangsters, murderers. We would no more expect them to use decent language than we would expect the demons to do so in Dante’s Inferno. However, if there are gradations in Hell, the worst was Stalin’s Himmler, Lavrentiy Beria. A Georgian like Stalin, and head of the NKVD for the latter part of Stalin’s rule, Beria had the blood of millions on his hands. However, his colleagues were little better than him. None of them had the courage not to go along with Stalin’s paranoia that executed millions and send millions of others to living deaths, and often simply deaths, in the Gulag. All of them had to sign off on execution lists and imprisonment lists of people they knew to be completely innocent.
Beria is the villain of the film, as the film depicts, albeit in truncated fashion, his rise and fall post Stalin. The film’s comedic tone leaves it right at the very end when during his “trial” Beria is denounced for his habit of taking advantage of his position to rape women at will, to have women prostitute themselves to him in usually futile efforts to save themselves or their men and children and Beria’s involvement in pedophilia. Only then do we see moral outrage from his colleagues, because here, for the first and only time in the film, they are talking about crimes they did not engage in themselves.
Communism is back in vogue on the Left, and thus this film appears at an opportune time to remind us of the gruesome reality of Communism in practice.
Maybe somebody just forgot what it was like.
Lt. Col. Andrew Tanner in Red Dawn attempting to explain why the Third World War broke out.
As faithful readers of this blog know, I write a lot about the Civil War. One thing that has struck me over the years is just how terrible it was. The amount of human suffering during that War is something that future generations have found difficult to fathom. Typical is the uncertainty as to how many men died in the War. For almost a century the accepted figure was around 620,000. In the last few years good arguments have been made for 750,000. Who knows? There were so many unrecorded skirmishes, so much combat in poorly reported theaters of war, for example the Indian Territory and the Far West, so many men who died of disease, so many records lost, especially on the Confederate side. You could tell me that the figure was a million and I wouldn’t blink an eye, and all of this was out of a total population of thirty million. Then we have the maimed from that War, who became a common feature in American society for decades, as did myriads of widows raising kids, side by side with the many young women who never married due to so many young men being lost in the War. That the South was economically devastated for decades is well known; less well known is that it would be over a half century for the debt incurred by the Union to be repaid. I think the cost in lives and treasure was worth it, but the phrase a dreadful price accurately sums up what occurred.
Thus I find it infuriating when idiots talk blithely of a Civil War II. Attorney and retired Colonel Kurt Schlichter takes a look at a recent sample of this:
Tech titan Jack Dorsey of San Francisco-based social media platform Twitter applauded an article in something called Medium in which some other hipster CEO described how liberals intend to crush Normal Americans into serfdom in a bloodless “civil war.”
Here it is.
It will just sort of happen. Why? Because. Americans will simply decide to be like California because of reasons and phew, no more troublesome conservatives and Gaia is saved!
So basically, wishing.
Well, that’s a kind of war plan. Perhaps by unleashing the power of hoping so they can utterly subjugate the half of America that voted against Felonia Milhous von Pantsuit and drive the people who actually operate and defend this country into silent obedience.
Now, I know what you’re saying. You’re saying, “Why do a bunch of San Francisco dorks think that 150 million Americans with 300 million guns are just going to give up their rights and their say in their own governance and submit to the commands of people who eat kale by choice?” That’s a fair question, and they have an answer.
Because you just are.
I didn’t say it was a good answer.
Recently I wrote a long column here describing the ugly realities of an actual Second Civil War – realities that are much uglier for the anti-freedom liberal side in terms of terrain, combat power, and morale. Naturally, this cry for sanity, which was only the latest in my long history of pleas to liberals to avoid the kind of civil strife I witnessed the consequences of overseas, was greeted by a torrent of outright lies. “You are advocating a civil war blah blah blah blah.” All liberal bull Schiff, including some by shameful collaborationist Fredocons who should know better, but not at all unexpected. The modern liberals’ rhetorical toolbox is filled exclusively with lies, which has the effect of making actual reasoned discussion impossible. Of course, that is their goal – they don’t want to defeat your argument. They want you bullied into silence. Tellingly, no one even bothered to try and counter the indisputable facts I offered many times showing why liberals will fail if they choose violence – instead, they tried to shut me up.
Go here to read the rest. If we ever have a Civil War II it will be because, like the first Civil War, too many people on all sides swallowed their own Kool-Aide, and believed their propaganda that the other side would not fight or would be easy to defeat. In a Civil War in a nation of 330 million people, stretching across a continent, our death toll in the first Civil War would likely be considered an historical footnote compared to the carnage that would quickly ensue in such a fight. Otto von Bismarck once predicted that if a Great War happened it would be over some damn fool thing in the Balkans. If Civil War II ever happens in this nation it will be because we simply have too many damn fools period.
“I will wipe up all the blood shed with a handkerchief of mine.”
A. W. Venable, North Carolina secessionist, predicting how much blood would be shed prior to the start of the first Civil War.
Pope Francis, the Pope of the Great Schism of the Twenty-First Century, may be how he is remembered:
The recent proposal by Germany’s bishops to allow some Protestant spouses of Catholics to receive Holy Communion under certain conditions is meeting serious resistance in Germany, as well as opposition from some Church leaders elsewhere.
On April 4, the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger newspaper reported that seven German bishops — including Cardinal Rainer Woelki of Cologne — have written an urgent appeal to the Vatican in protest against the proposal.
According to German media, the seven bishops said in their letter that they believe the proposal contradicts Catholic doctrine, undermines Church unity and exceeds the competence of the bishops’ conference. The letter, leaked to the media April 4, was sent last month to both the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising, the president of the German bishops’ conference, sent a letter to Germany’s bishops Wednesday, written and released immediately after the seven bishops’ letter was leaked. In it, the cardinal defended the bishops’ conference’s decision, saying it was consistent with theological and ecumenical texts and canon law.
Cardinal Marx, who according to a prelate invariably invokes the Pope to justify his positions, also said it was the result of “the encouragement of Pope Francis to take further steps in ecumenism.”
At their spring conference in February, Germany’s bishops voted in favor of producing a guide, or pastoral handout, to allow some Protestant spouses to receive Holy Communion under certain circumstances.
They voted overwhelmingly to offer guidelines allowing a Protestant partner of a Catholic to receive the Eucharist if, after having made a “serious examination” of conscience with a priest or another person with pastoral responsibilities, the partner “affirms the faith of the Catholic Church,” wishes to end “serious spiritual distress,” and has a “longing to satisfy a hunger for the Eucharist.”
At the time, Cardinal Marx said the guide would only be a “pastoral handout” and that the intention is not to “change any doctrine.” He said the proposal rejects any path for Protestant spouses to conversion, otherwise known as an “ecumenism of return.” It also leaves much discretion of the local bishop who may establish new laws in this area, he said.
Go here to read the rest. A Pope has two main duties: to defend the teachings of the Church and to maintain the unity of the Church. Pope Francis has been a grade one disaster as to both/
The rendition at the bottom of this post is by Marian Anderson, perhaps the most gifted songstress of her generation. A devout Christian, this granddaughter of slaves was denied the opportunity by the Daughters of the American Revolution to sing at Constitution Hall in 1939. In 1939 the District of Columbia was controlled by committees of Congress. Democrat segregationists rigidly enforced rules of segregation in the District. Blacks were rightly upset that during a performance by Miss Anderson, if it had been held at Constitution Hall, they would have been required to sit in the back of the hall. The District of Columbia Board of Education, controlled by Democrats, declined to allow Marian Anderson to perform in the auditorium of a white school. To her credit, Eleanor Roosevelt and her husband arranged for Anderson to give her unforgettable performance at the Lincoln Memorial on April 9, 1939, Easter Sunday.
During the war years, Miss Anderson spent a large part of her time entertaining troops. In 1943, at the invitation of the Daughters of the American Revolution, she sang before an integrated audience for a Red Cross benefit at Constitution Hall. The always gracious Miss Anderson remembered the event: When I finally walked onto the stage of Constitution Hall, I felt no different than I had in other halls. There was no sense of triumph. I felt that it was a beautiful concert hall and I was very happy to sing there.
I wager the media will give little coverage to this hero of the Florida school shooting:
A student who was gravely wounded after being shot five times while shielding classmates during the Florida high school shooting in February criticized the county sheriff and school superintendent Friday saying they failed the victims by not arresting the shooter before the massacre.
Anthony Borges, 15, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., was hailed a hero after he used his body to protect the lives of 20 others students after accused gunman Nikolas Cruz opened fire at the school on Feb. 14, 2018, killing 17 people.
He was released from the hospital Wednesday after suffering wounds to the lungs, abdomen and legs.
Borges’ attorney read a statement from the teen during a news conference criticizing Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel and Superintendent Robert Runcie for the massacre. Borges, too weak to talk, sat silently in a wheelchair with his right leg propped up. His statement specifically attacked the Promise program, a school district and sheriff office initiative that allows students who commit minor crimes on campus to avoid arrest if they complete rehabilitation. Runcie has said Cruz, a former Stoneman Douglas student, was never in the program, but Borges and his attorney, Alex Arreaza, said school and sheriff’s officials knew Cruz was dangerous.
Go here to read the rest. In the case of the Florida school shooting the hue and cry for gun control has largely served the purpose of detracting attention from the dreadful malfeasance and nonfeasance of the Broward County Sheriff’s office that ignored the manifest threat posed by the shooter, allowed 17 people to be murdered during the shooting by going deer in the headlights during the shooting and did their worst to cover up the truth after the shooting. The moral of this story is that if you rely upon government to protect you from domestic shooters, you are a complete fool.
We haven’t had an open thread in a while. The usual open thread rules apply. Be concise, be charitable, and, above all, be amusing!
Ah, you can always predict The New York Times; from covering up the crimes of Stalin, courtesy of their Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Walter Duranty, their goal is to ever protect the left. Thus, it is unsurprising that they published a hit piece on the movie Chappaquiddick (2018) by Kennedy biographer Neil Gabler:
The film, by the same name, opened Friday and retells the story of an accident in July 1969, on the titular Massachusetts island near Martha’s Vineyard, in which Mr. Kennedy drove off a bridge, killing his passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne, a campaign worker for his late brother Robert. It has been heavily promoted by conservative media outlets, and reviewers across the political spectrum have praised what they deem its damning but factual approach. Damning it is; factual it is not.
Let’s set aside the fact that, despite the film’s advertisements claiming to tell the “untold true story” of a “cover-up,” the story has been told plenty, and no one but the most lunatic conspiracy theorists see this as anything but a tragic accident in which nothing much was covered up. Let’s also put aside the skein of conjecture and outright fabrication that the film unspools — in one scene Joe Kennedy, the family patriarch, murmurs “alibi” to his son, like a Mafia don, when in fact he was so debilitated by a stroke that he could only babble incoherently. Setting all this aside, the movie nevertheless raises a serious issue.
Go here to read the rest. I was heartened that even in The New York Times this was too much for some of their readers:
What a moving, convincing piece. We should turn aside from the “fake history” of holding the powerful accountable for those they kill in their youth. Some of them might eventually turn out to do good things! Don’t worry about a cover up, there’s no way to prove it happened. The fact that Ted Kennedy never faced legal consequences for his actions doesn’t mean anything.
This attempt to apologize for what is unquestionably the most disgusting and disgraceful transgression in the sordid pantheon of Kennedy clan transgressions is embarrassing and the NYTimes should have declined to run it.
I saw the movie. I though it was a little slow. Whatever liberties the movie takes, it is a fact Ted Kennedy walked away from the crime scene, did not call for help, no doubt seeking counsel or a type of cover-up. Perhaps, his hope was that the truth would go away in the confusion. Not until it became self-evident that it would not go away, did Ted report it. If Ted had called for real help right after the accident that night, perhaps she would have been saved. It’s possible she struggled for life for hours before drowning.
I mean, really.
Bill Gates arguably has contributed far more to our society as well as to global prosperity than Ted Kennedy ever did — and he didn’t even need to help his father steal the 1960 election for his brother from Richard Nixon.
But if Bill Gates had negligently driven a young woman with whom he was having an extramarital affair off a bridge while drunk into a tidal channel, then fled the scene to save himself while she drowned, emerging only hours later once he’d realized he couldn’t avoid public blame … then Gates might still be in prison, and certainly would have an asterisk next to his name for all of history to compare to all the stupendous and positive things he’d accomplished.
Teddy’s actions were reprehensible, and the movie is no “distraction”.
Can a person be both good and bad? Can a person ever atone for an outrageous act? Yes, and yes.
Disappearing for 10 hours after a fatal accident: a jury would have concluded he was sobering up to void a DUI which would be automatic manslaughter charges. He was not unconscious; he was gong back and forth meeting with everyone except the police/ambulance. That he was and remained an alcoholic supports this. That there were 6 unmarried young men with 6 married men (but one) supports more cover-up. Viewing his confession in which he avoids eye contact with the camera as he describes it all supports this.
Atonement? Yes he had a marvelous career and sobered up at the end of his life but if he never told the truth there can be no atonement of forgiveness. He killed a person and got away with it.
Democrats are just as able as Republicans to “see” what they want to see, and to spin this story politically is one more hallmark of a shallow and divided nation.
The significance of Chappaquiddick goes way beyond the fact that Ted Kennedy committed crimes 49 years ago, that would have landed virtually anyone else in prison, and got away with them. The importance of it really is that he was not shunned afterwards. True, he never became President, but that was largely due to the fact that he was a lousy, and not infrequently incoherent, candidate on the national stage, who couldn’t even beat in the primaries Carter in 1980, who by that time was as popular as advanced leprosy. If he had defeated Carter, Reagan would have eviscerated him in the general election. In Massachusetts, however, he was treated like a hero and re-elected to the Senate seven times. In the Senate he was very popular among almost all his fellow Senators, including Republicans. When he died, the “Lion of the Senate” received a virtual canonization Mass. Cardinal O’Malley, who gives pusillanimous weaklings a bad name, sat by and did bupkis during the Mass, and only uttered a few words of mild criticism after outraged commentary forced him to do so.
No, the true and damning feature of the Chappaquiddick crimes is the unflattering mirror they hold up to a society which clearly values celebrity and politics far above justice and common decency.
In a little noted meeting with media on April 1, 2018, Pope Francis proclaimed his papacy the April Fools Pontificate:
We are all, or should be, fools for Christ. And in the Spirit of Our Savior who smiled and laughed while He walked among us here on Earth, I have striven to present to the Faithful a minuscule fraction of the mirth that God experiences from watching the pratfalls of mankind as we wend our way through History. It pains me that many Catholics have failed to get the joke, and have taken many of my humorous asides seriously. Now, really, who could possibly think, for example, that the Vicar of Christ would ever talk about Catholics breeding like rabbits, except as a joke? My laugh riot “encyclicals” have been mistakenly moved out of the papal joke category and have been taken, incredibly, as actual encyclicals by too many humor impaired of the Faithful. It is rightly said that when a comic has to explain a joke, the joke is ruined. To simplify matters, I do here proclaim that in future if I make a statement dressed as Bobo the Papal Clown, the Faithful may assume that I am speaking gravely and seriously. On all other occasions I am only being my customary Pontiff Fun and jesting with you. I hope this statement has been an adequate clarification and that the nasty American Catholic blogs will now cease to pursue me as if I were actually serious as to the buffoonish statements and writings that have made my pontificate, I trust, truly memorable, and a source of laughter for intelligent orthodox Catholics.
The Pope then had members of his Swiss Guard spray the members of the Fourth Estate present with seltzer water, and the audience was at an end.
Something for the weekend. The Jester Song from the Danny Kaye flick The Court Jester (1955). In an age of truly unfunny comics it is a pleasure to watch a true comedic genius at work.
Of course I have to mention the vessel with the pestle:
While almost all our hapless Cardinals sit mute, Cardinal Burke calls a spade a spade. Edward Pentin at National Catholic Register gives us the news:
Cardinal Raymond Burke has said Pope Francis is not only “refusing to clarify” the Church’s doctrine and discipline but also “increasing the confusion” on the “most fundamental and important issues.”
In an interview Thursday with the Italian Catholic daily La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana, the patron of the Order of Malta said the “confusion and division” in the Church on such important issues as marriage and the family, the sacraments, intrinsically evil acts, eternal life and the Last Things “are becoming more and more widespread.”
In spite of this, he said the Pope “not only refuses to clarify things by proclaiming the constant doctrine and sound discipline of the Church, a responsibility inherent in his ministry as the Successor of St. Peter, but he is also increasing the confusion.”
Asked if he was referring to statements coming from some of those who have spoken or met with the Pope (recently an Argentine sister said the Pope told her contraception is permissible in some cases, and a French priest said Francis condoned the blessing of homosexual couples), Cardinal Burke referred in particular to alleged comments the Pope made to the Italian atheist Eugenio Scalfari over Easter. Scalfari replorted in the La Repubblica newspaper that the Pope told him he doesn’t believe in the existence of hell, but that unrepentant sinners simply disappear.
That episode “went beyond what is tolerable,” Cardinal Burke said, adding that to have a well-known atheist speaking on behalf of the Pope in “denying the immortality of the human soul and the existence of hell, has been a source of profound scandal not only for many Catholics but also for many people in the secular world who have respect for the Catholic Church and its teachings, even if they do not share them.”
He also decried the fact that the story came out on Holy Thursday, “one of the holiest days of the year,” and that the Holy See’s response was “highly inadequate.”
“Instead of clearly reasserting the truth about the immortality of the human soul and hell, the denial only states that some of the words quoted are not the Pope’s,” he said. “It does not say that the erroneous and even heretical ideas expressed by these words are not shared by the Pope, and that the Pope repudiates these ideas as contrary to the Catholic Faith.”
“This playing around with faith and doctrine, at the highest level of the Church, rightly leaves pastors and faithful scandalized,” Cardinal Burke added.
He went on to say the current situation is “further aggravated” by the silence of bishops and cardinals, and that ”the faithful who understand the gravity of the situation” are left feeling “lost” while those who don’t understand the crisis are left “in confusion and possibly victims of errors that are harmful to their souls.”
He also said those who have chosen to come into the Church “suffer intensely” from the situation as they perceive the Church is going down the same road of Protestant ecclesial communities and “abandoning the faith.”
Cardinal Burke alluded to an “apostasy from the faith” taking place within the Church and that in such a situation, bishops and cardinals “have the duty to proclaim true doctrine” and the College of Cardinals in particular must act as a “check against papal error.”
Go here to read the rest. Never forget that when the clergy refuse to stand up for Catholic orthodoxy, the laity have a duty, not a right but a duty, to do so. God forgive those Cardinals who by their silence deny Christ just as much as Peter did.