Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 26 years. Small town lawyer. President of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center.

PopeWatch: Trump Nightmare

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Alright, PopeWatch is  ready to wake up from this absurd nightmare featuring a left wing Pope and Donald Trump as a Presidential candidate:

 

Donald Trump ripped into Pope Francis as a “very political person” for visiting areas close to the United States’ border of Mexico during an upcoming trip and for lacking an understanding of the U.S.’ immigration situation.

“So I think that the pope is a very political person. I think that he doesn’t understand the problems our country has. I don’t think he understands the danger of the open border that we have with Mexico,” Trump said in a telephone interview with Fox Business’ “Varney & Company” on Thursday, adding, “Mexico got him to do it because Mexico wants to keep the border just the way it is because they’re making a fortune and we’re losing.” Continue reading

Lincoln Our Contemporary

Lincoln, six feet one in his stocking feet,

The lank man, knotty and tough as a hickory rail,

Whose hands were always too big for white-kid gloves’

Whose wit was a coonskin sack of dry, tall tales,

Whose weathered face was homely as a plowed field-

Abraham Lincoln, who padded up and down

The sacred White House in nightshirt and carpet-slippers,

And yet could strike young hero-worshipping Hay

As dignified past any neat, balanced, fine

Plutarchan sentences carved in Latin bronze;

The low clown out of the prairies, the ape-buffoon,

The small-town lawyer, the crude small-time politician,

State-character but comparative failure at forty

In spite of ambition enough for twenty Caesars,

Honesty rare as a man without self-pity,

Kindness as large and plain as a prairie wind,

And a self-confidence like an iron-bar:

This Lincoln, President now by the grace of luck,

Disunion, politics, Douglas and a few speeches

Which make the monumental booming of Webster

Sound empty as the belly of a burst drum.

Stephen Vincent Benet, John Brown’s Body

Today is the 207th birthday of Abraham Lincoln.  Faithful readers of this blog know that I am an admirer of our sixteenth president.  My admiration is not a matter of mere historical antiquarianism.  I believe that many of the issues of Lincoln’s day are with us in our time under different guises.

  1.  Are all men created equal, or may we treat part of the “great family of man”, as Lincoln called humanity, as sub-humans, mere disposable property?
  2. Who should decide the great issues of our day:  the Supreme Court or the voters at the ballot box?
  3. What are the proper roles of the state governments and the federal union?
  4. Does God punish nations for sins?
  5. Are the Founding Fathers merely men of the past, or did they establish a movement that we should adhere to today?
  6. What is the meaning of freedom?
  7. Is this nation worth dying and killing for?
  8. Should the Constitution be amended to address the problems confronting us today?
  9. Are their evils like slavery that must be confronted no matter what the cost?
  10. Is a Republic a viable form of government long term?

When pondering these issues, I think Lincoln has much to teach us. Continue reading

Bear Growls: Mortality

Christ Defeating Death

He had been to touch the great death, and found that, after all, it was but the great death.

Stephen Crane, The Red Badge of Courage

 

 

Our bruin friend at Saint Corbinian’s Bear had a recent reminder that bears do not live forever:

 

 

The evening before last, the Bear was lounging in front of his computer screen, when suddenly moderately severe chest pains struck. He waited for two minutes (having read somewhere that you should act on any chest pains that last longer than two minutes). Then he got up on his hind legs and announced to his driver, bodyguard and factotum, Red Death that we were going to the Veteran’s Administration Hospital ER right now.

 
After what might have been a sketch from the Three Stooges, with a special appearance by Buster, the Yorkie, who insisted on accompanying his master, Red Death and the Bear’s son managed to get the stricken Bear into the car.
 
During the thirty minute drive from the goat pastures of Zoar to the VA hospital, the Bear had to face the possibility it might be a one-way trip.
 
He pulled out his rosary and prayed it.
 
He contemplated his sins.
 
He was sorry.
 
He didn’t feel confident about judgment.
 
He regretted the drama of it all, as he imagined a medical team swarming all over his furry body, his family disrupted and grieving.
 
He told Red Death that he was open to massive employment of morphine if it came to it, short of hastening his death. (The Bear is a chicken, and Bears never turn down opiates.)
 
At the ER, they did an ECG. They drew blood. They put a line in. They hooked him up to a monitor. They gave him four baby aspirin to chew. The Bear asked for some diazepam. (Due to being frequently tranquilized by humans, the Bear has developed an appreciation for benzos.) His request was granted.
 
The Bear amused himself by making his blood pressure go up by picturing the Pope, and then making it go down by not. Seriously. He considered that the Pope might be hazardous to his health. He was, in fact, writing an ephemeris article about the Pope when he was afflicted.
 
He was ignored for an hour and a half, then they came in and took some more blood. The Bear was encouraged that otherwise they seemed have have forgotten about him.
 
Finally, a nurse came in and said everything was perfectly normal, and the Bear had not had a heart attack, and could leave. It was anticlimactic. Follow-up appointments were made with Cardiology.
 
This was a good way to start off Lent. Dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return. Who really plans for their death? It seems to the Bear that making it up as he went along was not the best way of preparing himself. Perhaps the Bear will develop this issue.

Continue reading

Daffey Thoughts: Granite State

 

Dave Griffey at Daffey Thoughts gives us his take on New Hampshire:

 

While for some inexplicable reason Conservatives and Christians still support Trump, much of his support comes from moderate to non-Republican primary voters.  Not enough.  But his appeal to the non-conservative, non-religious vote is noteworthy. Despite that, he continues to wobble around the 1/3 mark in the GOP.  It’s unlikely he will get much higher.  Most Republicans and Conservatives, desperate for change and honesty and promises kept aren’t willing to drop that low.  Just the fact that he picked as his national spokesperson an outspoken hater of Conservatives and Christians should speak volumes.  That’s not counting his stances on various issues that are supposed to be near and dear to conservative hearts.

As a disclaimer, I very much like John Kasich.  I’m not sold on the idea of him being presidential material, but I like and respect the man very much.  He would be a formidable obstacle for Democrats and liberals in a general election.  Kasich was one of the Republicans in the 90s that liberals trotted out against the Gingrich Republicans to say ‘Why can’t you be awesome like Mr. Kasich?’.  That alone is tough to overcome if you’re a Democrat.

Rubio is a good man, and I think down the road presidential material.  But I’m a little gun-shy about electing a young senator with no real executive experience.  Look what happened last time we did that.  Sure, that’s a tough attack for the Democrats, who would have to concede that things didn’t work too well under Obama.  But it is a valid complaint.

Cruz, as I said here, is that guy who seems able to piss everyone off for all the wrong reasons.   He’s abrasive.  He’s that guy who starts a war with our own allies because of the way he is.  Unless he can change on a dime, he is far from the type of person we need in our divided and struggling nation.  He would be divisive in a way that shames Obama.  And just because he might be divisive for issues I care about, doesn’t mean it would end up any better.  In fact, it would likely set up a 2020 Democrat who would then have sympathy for any causes Cruz was against.

Bush?  I’ve never seen a man who seems less interested in running for President than Bush.  I’m still not sure what he stands for except to make it clear he would be better for the pro-choice crowd than staunch anti-abortion Marco Rubio.  I don’t even know if he wants to be there.  I think of that scene in Citizen Kane where Susan pleads with Kane to let her quit singing.  She’s no good, and she knows it.  But Kane has the billions, and he’s able to build whatever opera house she needs to perform in, no matter what the critics say and how much they laugh.  Despite her pleading, he forces her to go on.  I see Bush in a back room with his establishment, billionaire donors doing the same thing.

The rest of the GOP is done and should drop out ASAP.  Christie did the right thing and dropped out, but mainly because of his dismal showing in New Hampshire, where the press had treated him like a major contender.  He torpedoed Rubio fine and good, but pretty much shot himself in the process; a political murder suicide.  And that’s Christie, the bully who holds low income earners to a standard he tries to avoid himself, who supports Obama when convenient, and is willing to jump on board with the radical left at his choosing.  He couldn’t have left the race fast enough.   All that’s left now that Christie and Fiorina have dropped out is the good Dr. Carson. 

The two Democrats aren’t worth discussing.  I certainly would consider a Blue Dog (that’s socially conservative, pro-life) if that person was capable and not off the scale loony.  But I will not vote for candidates who enthusiastically support abortion unfettered and look to Dying socialist, secular, culture-of-death, heretical Europe as their end goal.  If it came to nothing better than that, I wouldn’t vote. 

So there you go.  My disclaimer and opinions.  We’ll wait and see what happens.

 

Continue reading

PopeWatch: Too Argentinian

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Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa has the first part of an examination of Laudato Si by an Australian priest and theologian:

What’s wrong with “Laudato si'”?

by Paul Anthony McGavin

I generally pay attention to in-flight interviews by the Holy Father, because I’m interested to notice a text with lesser editing and without the voice of a “ghost writer”, as occurs with papal encyclicals. The conversations are often cursory, and sometimes tendentious. One paragraph in “Africa surprises us” text in “L’Osservatore Romano” of 4 december 2015 stood out for me. The pope was asked about the recent regime change in Argentina, and replied:

“I have heard some opinions, but really this geopolitical question at this time, I just don’t know what to say, really. I just don’t know. Because there are problems in many countries along these lines, but I really do not know why or how it began, I do not know why. Really, there are many Latin American countries in these changing situations, this is true, but I am not really able to explain it”.

I impute tendentiousness here, because the relationship of Jorge Mario Bergoglio with the Kirchner regime seems to have been conflictual, while the rise of a Macri regime is unlikely to accord with Bergoglio’s clearly left-of-centre worldview. The worldview of the pope and of his ghost writer(s) is played-out in “Laudato si'”, with the writers seemingly unaware of the dysfunctionality of their positions for their declared agenda. If only the pope had sustained an “I really do not know” line, “Laudato si'” may have been a more credible document.

“Laudato si'” clearly has a Bergoglio hand (for example, the most cited non-ecclesial text is “The End of the Modern World” by Romano Guardini, on whose writings Bergoglio commenced doctoral studies) but evidence of lack of integration suggests more than one ghost writer. What quite stands out in the document is its Latin American culture – reading the nations of Central and South Americas that arose from Iberian Catholic imperialism as “Latin America”. Broadly speaking, Latin America is notable internationally for economic backwardness and opportunistic behaviours that prevail under weak governance regimes.

The pope and his ghostwriters (and hereafter I shall simply say “the pope”) would not like to hear such a description of his cultural milieu, but sadly it is so. At the time of federation of the six self-governing British colonies that formed Australia in 1901, per person incomes in Argentina exceeded those of Australia. IMF international parity data for 2014 show Argentinian average incomes at 48% of those in Australia. The latest World Bank estimates of the skew in income distribution (the Gini coefficient) show for Argentina a skew in favour of higher incomes that is 39% greater than the estimate for Australia – that is, in relative terms “the poor” are more than a third worse-off in Argentina than in Australia. Taking the homicide rate per 100,000 persons, the latest UN data show the murder rate in Argentina to be 5 times the rate in Australia – that is, Argentina is a far more violent society.

In citing these data, my purpose is not to promote Australia (although I believe that our British-style governance model performs better than the alternatives), nor to disparage Argentina. My purpose is to show that the pope, in adopting of a prevalent Latin American ideological position, aligns himself in a way that inhibits a rational appreciation of instrumentality in addressing the issues for which these data act as surrogates – the human and environmental ecology and issues such as poverty, equality, and justice. Continue reading

The Free State of Jones?

The film The Free State of Jones, is being released in May.  Surprisingly, it is the second Hollywood film to depict alleged events in Jones County Mississippi during the Civil War, the first being the forgotten film Tap Roots (1948) which was based on the novel Tap Roots (1942) by James Street.

James Street noted that his novel was a heavily fictionalized account of local legends in Jones County of events that occurred in the Civil War.  That of course is the usual problem when Hollywood attempts to depict history:  legends and myths come to the forefront with history being a rear guard.

In regard to the events in Jones County in Mississippi during the Civil War, history is handicapped by the fact that the events were regarded as fairly minor at the time, and thus contemporary documentation is light.  No adequate scholarly examination of the history of Jones County during the War has yet been undertaken, although in the past few decades some pioneering studies have been undertaken. Continue reading

Larry and Ash Wednesday

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(I will be reposting this each Ash Wednesday.)

My late son Larry always seemed to enjoy Ash Wednesday.  Three years ago in 2013 I went up with him to receive ashes.  He heard the traditional admonition:  “Remember man thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return.” and had the ashes placed on his forehead.  He then did the normal circle turn that he did after receiving Communion, and we went back to our pew.

Little did we know that this would be Larry’s last Ash Wednesday.  He died in the wee hours of Pentecost in 2013 of a seizure.  (On that dreadful date I said to my wife that one of the greatest gifts God has given us in this life is our inability to see the future.)  Now Larry’s physical body is well on its way back to dust, awaiting the Resurrection when it will be reunited with his soul.

Larry is now in the land which knows not Ash Wednesday, but only Eternal Easter, and we are left to experience this Ash Wednesday without him.  I have always found Ash Wednesday to be a bleak day and it will be much bleaker yet without my son.  However, Ash Wednesday, like death, is not the end, but merely a beginning.  As Ash Wednesday is the portal to Easter, death is the portal to eternal life.  Continue reading

PopeWatch: Angela Merkel

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Interesting information that Pope Francis has disclosed:

 

 

Pope Francis has revealed that he received an angry phone call from Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany after he compared Europe to a “barren woman”.

In a speech to the European parliament in November 2014 the pope delivered a withering attack on a “haggard” Europe which he said was “now a grandmother, no longer fertile and vibrant.”

In an interview with Italy’s Corriere della Sera published on Monday, Francis said he had received an angry phone call from Merkel afterwards.

“She was a bit angry because I had compared Europe to a barren woman, incapable of producing children,” Francis said.

“She asked me if I really thought Europe could no longer make children.

“I told her yes it can, and many, because Europe has strong and deep roots,” he said, adding that “in the darkest moments it has always shown itself to have unexpected resources”. Continue reading

Granite State Follies

 

 

New Hampshire gave victories to Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, both winning by double digit margins, Trump by 20 points and Sanders by 22 points.

 

Clinton knew going  in that she was going to lose but hoped to make it close and she did not.  If Sanders can win outside of a state next door to his, and if he can show drawing power among blacks and Hispanics, watch other Democrats jump in, as the Democrat establishment goes into melt down mode.

On the GOP side the chief loser, besides common sense, was Rubio who came in fifth, Jeb Bush’ dying campaign edging him for fourth.  Ted Cruz came in third, with Kasich resurrecting his campaign from the grave to come in second.  Trump won with the votes of non-Republicans, an astonishing 45% of the voters in the GOP primary calling themselves independents and breaking heavily for Trump.  The good news for Trump is that he won last night.  The bad news is that 35% is probably his ceiling in a GOP primary, at least if that is the best he can do in a favorable state like New Hampshire.  How Trump does in the remaining 48 contests will depend on how long multiple candidates stay in the race before it becomes a one on one contest.  I think it still is a Trump, Rubio and Cruz race, but Kasich is definitely in the race now through Super Tuesday and that is good news for Trump.

Liberalism as Power Grab

John-Stuart-Mill

 

David Griffey at Daffey Thoughts gets to the essence of contemporary liberalism:

That aging feminists are invoking the fires of hell and old sexist stereotypes in order to corral the phallic-challenged among us into the Hillary pens?  This is liberalism.  The same that promised open mindedness and live and let live regarding gay rights, that last year had to assure us Kim Davis is the only person who will ever go to jail over gay rights.  Trust them.  It will never, ever happen again.

This is the same liberalism that equated record stores that wouldn’t play Madonna albums with McCarthyism and kristallnacht.    The same that now sides with bans against Chick fil A over its founder’s beliefs about gay marriage.  Even if it means elected officials using the legislature to ban the restaurants from their cities.

This is the same liberalism that venerated George Carlin and his pleas for a completely open society where anyone can say anything, no matter how offensive to established values.  The same that now considers it hateful and offensive to point out that men can’t have babies and seeks to eradicate offensive speech from the public forum.

This is the same liberalism that insisted women should never be attacked when they courageously come forward in sexual harassment cases.  The same liberals and feminists who stood silently by as Bill Clinton’s White House attacked and destroyed every woman who came forward and accused him of sexual harassment. 

This is the same liberalism that stood by as Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman, Joe Liebermann and Herman Cain were on the receiving end of words and phrases that the same liberals once would have decried as sexist, anti-Semitic, and racist.  Why then, oh why, is everyone running around shocked that hyper liberal feminist activists like Gloria Steinem or former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright would use phrases and arguments that sound suspiciously tike the sexism and fundamentalism that have been the very thing from which liberalism promises to rescue us?

By now we should realize there is no liberalism.  There never has been.  There is not even a movement that particularly cares about sexism, racism, anti-Semitism, censorship, intolerance or open mindedness.  There is merely a new revolutionary world order that seeks to impose itself on society, and will use any trick at the moment to achieve its ends.  Those who have long believed that this movement is the only one that cares might want to wake up and smell the latte. Continue reading

PopeWatch: Contradictions

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PopeWatch is old enough to recall when Popes were all about Christ rather than all about the environment.  The above video contains some interesting contradictions.  The Pope claims to be concerned about the environment and poverty.  He ignores that when it comes to fighting poverty and taking care of the environment, no system has been as successful as Capitalism, hands down.  The Pope wishes us to turn away from consumerism.  Globally, of course, one of the major problems is too little consumerism for about two-thirds of the human race.  Additionally, the Pope seems to have the mistaken belief that people being able to have a wide choice of products in the West, somehow causes people in the Third World to be poor.  The Pope, by all external evidence, does not seem to have a clue as to how economies function, and how masses of people rise from poverty.  In short, the Pope holds the economic and environmental beliefs that one would expect of  a member of the contemporary Jesuit order.  Pope Francis of course is not the first pope to have beliefs that were factually challenged.  Few popes, however, have made such beliefs the centerpiece of their pontificate.

Burke v. Paine

 

The things one finds on the internet!  A debate between Edmund Burke, the foremost critic of the French Revolution, and Thomas Paine, an ardent defender of the French Revolution.  Filmed in 1974, the setting of this imaginary debate is a dinner party of playwright Richard Sheridan.  The arguments largely are taken from Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790) and Paine’s answering pamphlet, The Rights of Man (1791).  Ironically Paine later would narrowly miss being executed by French Revolutionaries.  Elected to the National Convention he argued against the execution of the King stating instead that he should be exiled to the United States.  His moderate politics, at least moderate in the context of the French Revolution, made Paine a marked man by the radical Jacobins.  Arrested in December 1793 he narrowly missed execution, saved by the fall of Robespierre.

PopeWatch: Method

 

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at Monday Vatican gives us some observations to explain the method of Pope Francis:

 

 

This point of view was rejected by Fr. Piero Gheddo, a longstanding missionary. Fr. Gheddo did not directly oppose the Pope. He made his arguments when he commented on the shutting down of the only missionary magazine in Italian. That shutdown – he explained – is an outcome of the crisis of the missions. And the crisis of the vocations to missions – he went on – came from a lack of identity. Missionaries were not preaching the Gospel; they mostly dealt with social issues, leaving the announcement of the faith to the sidelines. This generated a fall in vocations to the missions and in the interest to go on mission.

A vision is likely missing now. In the end, Pope Francis gives the impression of acting in a hurry. He listens to many advisors, but then he makes decisions by himself. In some cases, Pope Francis’ choices seemed to be in continuity with those of his predecessors and with the line the Church had always followed. In other cases, there is an evident discontinuity.

In fact, one of Pope Francis’ characteristics is this swinging between two poles. For example, he appointed Cardinal Robert Sarah as Prefect for the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Discipline of Sacraments. And Cardinal Sarah certainly has a traditional sensitivity to liturgy, though he is not an expert. But before Sarah’s appointment, the Congregation was stripped of the officials in it that represented continuity in liturgy. Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, the former Prefect, was appointed Archbishop of Valencia. And before that, with an impromptu and unexpected decision, the two under-secretaries of the Congregation, Anthony Ward and Juan-Miguel Ferrer Grenesche were dismissed. They were replaced by a single under-secretary, Corrado Maggioni, who is mostly in the (progressive) liturgical line of Archbishop Piero Marini, once St. John Paul II’s Master of Ceremonies.

Another example is given by Pope Francis’ choices at the last consistory, held in 2015. The red hat went to many bishops who in their homeland – but especially at the 2014 Synod where Pope Francis got to know them – distinguished themselves for taking a soft line on doctrinal issues, and who showed themselves to be open to innovation. Will this line be followed for the next consistory, now expected to be held in November?

Pope Francis also demonstrates a keen nose for politics. He knows when he has to wait. He is “smart,” as he admitted in his first interview that he granted to the Jesuit-run bi-monthly “La Civiltà Cattolica.” For example, Archbishop Blaise Cupich, promoted to archbishop of Chicago against all expectations, still has not received the red hat. Probably, the Pope is waiting for conditions in the American hierarchy to become more ready to accept Cupich as a cardinal. He demonstrates this same kind of waiting in the cases of other bishops. Step by step, he is carrying forward his real reform, that of the profile of bishops and cardinals.

Important indications about how Pope Francis will close the post-Synod discussion may be given by the upcoming trip to Mexico. Pope Francis will also visit Chiapas, a Mexican state characterized by the strong presence of deacons, all married. There are hundreds of them, ordained for the diocese of San Cristobal de Las Casas, while the priests are just a few dozen.

The ordination of these deacons took place from 1959 to 2000, and was the work of then bishop Samuel Ruiz Garcia. When he resigned due to age limit, ordinations were suspended following a request from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The fact that the Pope is going to visit the area might be used to show that he approves the ordination to the priesthood of ‘viri probati’, that is, men of acknowledged faith who could replace priests in some of their tasks due to the lack of priests. The practice of ordaining ‘viri probati’ was widely discussed in the past, since it is a possible opening to the married priesthood. This opening would lead to the collapse of the obligation of priestly celibacy in the Latin Rite. Continue reading

“Climate Change” and the Pentagon

 

Just in case you didn’t think we are currently being governed by lunatics:

The Pentagon is ordering the top brass to incorporate climate change into virtually everything they do, from testing weapons to training troops to war planning to joint exercises with allies.

A new directive’s theme: The U.S. Armed Forces must show “resilience” and beat back the threat based on “actionable science.”

It says the military will not be able to maintain effectiveness unless the directive is followed. It orders the establishment of a new layer of bureaucracy — a wide array of “climate change boards, councils and working groups” to infuse climate change into “programs, plans and policies.”

The Pentagon defines resilience to climate change as: “Ability to anticipate, prepare for, and adapt to changing conditions and withstand, respond to, and recover rapidly from disruptions.”

To four-star generals and admirals, among them the regional combatant commanders who plan and fight the nation’s wars, the directive tells them: “Incorporate climate change impacts into plans and operations and integrate DoD guidance and analysis in Combatant Command planning to address climate change-related risks and opportunities across the full range of military operations, including steady-state campaign planning and operations and contingency planning.”

The directive, “Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience,” is in line with President Obama’s view that global warming is the country’s foremost national security threat, or close to it. Mr. Obama says there is no debate on the existence of man-made global warming and its ensuing climate change. Supporters of this viewpoint label as “deniers” any scientists who disagree.

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Dakota Wood, a retired Marine Corps officer and U.S. Central Command planner, said the Pentagon is introducing climate change, right down to military tactics level.

“By equating tactical actions of immediate or short-term utility with large-scale, strategic-level issues of profound importance, the issue of climate change and its potential impact on national security interests is undermined,” he said. “People tend to dismiss the whole, what might be truly important, because of all the little silly distractions that are included along the way.”

He said climate change is typically measured in long stretches of time.

“The climate does change over great periods of time, typically measured in millennia, though sometimes in centuries,” he said. “But the document mentions accounting for such down to the level of changes in ‘tactics, techniques and procedures’ as if reviewing how a squad conducts a patrol should be accorded the same level of importance and attention as determining whether the naval base at Norfolk, Virginia, might have to be relocated as sea levels rise over the next 100 years.”

Multipoint strategy

The directive originated in the office of Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics. Final approval came from Deputy Defense Secretary Robert O. Work.

The directive is loaded with orders to civilian leaders and officers on specifically how counter-climate change strategy is to permeate planning. Continue reading

But We Have Forgotten God

As we approach Lent in this Year of Mercy it is striking to me how most who call themselves Christians have lost any sense of sin.  Christ seems to be perceived as a divine Pal, with a dog like eagerness to embrace us just the way we are.  Such a deity would seem to resemble Barney the Dinosaur more than the God of the Bible.  Forgotten is the need for sorrow for sins, repentance for sins and amendment of life.  Our ancestors tended to think much differently.  Consider Proclamation 97 of Abraham Lincoln calling for a national day of prayer and humiliation to pray for forgiveness of national sins.  Here is the text of the proclamation:

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

Whereas, the Senate of the United States, devoutly recognizing the Supreme Authority and just Government of Almighty God, in all the affairs of men and of nations, has, by a resolution, requested the President to designate and set apart a day for National prayer and humiliation.

And whereas it is the duty of nations as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions, in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.

And, insomuch as we know that, by His divine law, nations like individuals are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war, which now desolates the land, may be but a punishment, inflicted upon us, for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole People? We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!

It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.

Now, therefore, in compliance with the request, and fully concurring in the views of the Senate, I do, by this my proclamation, designate and set apart Thursday, the 30th. day of April, 1863, as a day of national humiliation, fasting and prayer. And I do hereby request all the People to abstain, on that day, from their ordinary secular pursuits, and to unite, at their several places of public worship and their respective homes, in keeping the day holy to the Lord, and devoted to the humble discharge of the religious duties proper to that solemn occasion.

All this being done, in sincerity and truth, let us then rest humbly in the hope authorized by the Divine teachings, that the united cry of the Nation will be heard on high, and answered with blessings, no less than the pardon of our national sins, and the restoration of our now divided and suffering Country, to its former happy condition of unity and peace.

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

Done at the City of Washington, this thirtieth day of March, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty seventh.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln
William H. Seward, Secretary of State.

 

Continue reading

Ronald Reagan: January 28, 1986: The Future Doesn’t Belong to the Faint Hearted

And I want to say something to the schoolchildren of America who were watching the live coverage of the shuttle’s takeoff. I know it is hard to understand, but sometimes painful things like this happen. It’s all part of the process of exploration and discovery. It’s all part of taking a chance and expanding man’s horizons. The future doesn’t belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave. The Challenger crew was pulling us into the future, and we’ll continue to follow them.

                                              President Ronald Reagan, January 28, 1986

 

 

 

As regular readers of this blog know, I am honored to share my birthday, February 6, with the greatest president of my lifetime:  Ronald Wilson Reagan.  Today is my 59th birthday and the one hundred and fifth for President Reagan.  One aspect of his Presidency was the power of his oratory:  Mr. Reagan being a master of giving voice to sentiments with verbal images that could move and inspire his listeners.  One of the best short samples of his skill, is the speech that he gave on the day of the Challenger disaster.  Reagan, obviously filled with grief himself, did not allow his speech to be a mere lament.  While honoring the dead he pointed to the future, and told the hard truth that loss and disaster are the inevitable price to be paid for exploration and new frontiers.  Here is the text of his speech: Continue reading

PopeWatch: Hollywood Bear

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

 

The bear that played the role of the vicious bear in the movie “The Revenant” met with Pope Francis at the Vatican Thursday, discussing their concern over the environment.

“Your Holiness, thank you for granting me this private audience with you,” the bear growled in Italian as he arrived at the Apostolic Palace before leaning over to eat the pope’s ring and finger as is tradition.

The bear offered Francis a book of works by the early 20th-century writer of Winnie-the Pooh, A.A. Milne, and showed him the reproduction of Michael Bond’s famous portrait of Paddington Bear that had hung over his bear den as a cub.

The bear said he thought the book also represented Francis’ environmental concerns.

An assistant then handed Francis a jar and explained it was filled with honey to help feed hungry bears around the world.

The bear, snubbed for a Golden Globe for his moving portrayal of a bear trying to feed his hungry family in the unsettled wilderness of the northern Louisiana Purchase in the 1800’s,  is a longtime environmental campaigner who in 1998 launched his Yogi Bear Foundation to support initiatives aimed at helping bears learn how to maul people before they get shot in the face.

Francis gave the bear a leather-bound copy of Laudato Si, which was quickly and graciously devoured. Continue reading

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