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.

Gone With the Wind and Proud Contemporary Ignorance

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Apparently some of the young, in addition to not reading, can’t even be bothered to watch a classic film, even when they purport to have an interest in films.  John Nolte at Breitbart gives us the grim details:

 

 

Monday we learned that a 25 year-old taking graduate-level journalism classes at New York University had no idea what an editorial was. Today we learn that “most” of the students taking a film class at Georgetown University have never seen “Gone with the Wind.”

[W]hen I asked 13 students in a Georgetown University film class if they’d seen it, most either hadn’t seen the film or had seen only parts of it. These students are serious about movies. But a lot of them sided with Mike Minahan, 20, who said when it comes to Gone with the Wind — frankly, he doesn’t give a damn.

“Everything I’ve seen about it says it, like, glorifies the slave era … and I dunno, what’s the point of that? I don’t see that as a good time in history … like, oh, sweet, a love story of people who own slaves.”

The students had two issues with Gone with the Wind: race and rape.

What a relief it is to know that the next generation of film reviewers, writers, and makers will be politically correct, uneducated, narrow-minded provincials completely out of touch with the real world. You know, just like the current crop of film reviewers, writers and makers.

A poll released Monday shows that 73% of Americans consider “Gone with the Wind” one of the best movies ever.

Not only are these close-minded students missing one of the grandest pieces of entertainment ever released in any medium, but a piece of cinema history that will live on long past any of us. In 1939, GWTW was an epic technical achievement. Seventy-five years later, in this age of CGI, producer David O. Selznick’s masterpiece is even more impressive.

Moreover, the idea that GWTW glorifies rape is laughable. Leftists are supposed to be Captains of Nuance and yet they seem incapable of understanding that this so-called rape is in reality the end result of a complicated dance of seduction between Rhett and Scarlett. As far as the film’s backwards portrayal of slaves and blacks, if you’re going to discount and dismiss any art based on current mores and values, you’re nothing more than a modern day Production Code. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Context Is For The Weak!

 

 

 

Blogging Evolution

A guest post from commenter Nate Winchester:

For those who don’t know, my title comes from a common internet joke whereby somebody posts a segment from a piece of media that ranges from offensive to outright bizarre with the accompanying punchline (golden and silver age comics are a VERY popular choice for this).  Now as I said, the emphasis on this is as a joke with the humor coming from the reader’s mind trying to figure out what the context is.  Sadly, we seem to live in an age where such has become the standard method for delivering news and informing others (exhibit A: The Daily Show).  In these cases context seems to be for the weak-minded who might think thoughts that aren’t allowed.

Enter Mark Shea who, while rightly arguing for grasping context when it comes to religious and older writers, apparently finds it to be too much trouble to grant modern authors.  Disclosure: I read Shea for awhile based upon recommendations by John C Wright and David Griffey, at least until Shea started going a bit loopy and ban-happy towards conservatives on his blog.  Now I just check it now and then to see if he’s taken another step towards sanity or craziness.

In his post nro-writer-hang-women-who-have-had-abortions,  from Sept 29th, Shea claims that “this is why people hate [conservatives]“ while linking to… a leftist hit piece at the Addicting Info blog.  (One wonders how he would react if someone wrote, “Dear Catholics, this is why people hate you” with a link to a piece by a ranting atheist; oh wait.)  He then doubles down on it in the comments with several like:

Williamson is one of the best things to happen to Planned Parenthood in years.

Now let’s look at the original article and compare it with what was actually said.

“Recently, conservative writer Kevin D. Williamson penned a piece for the National Review which argued, among other things, that liberals and 20-somethings (who stubbornly tend to lean to the left) are “too dumb to vote.”

The source?

The real action in deciding what happens to the fate of a nation occurs not at the ballot box, but with political involvement (or lack thereof) by the citizenry at much lower grassroots (and non-political) levels of culture and family life.  That’s not to say voting is meaningless.  Far from it.  It is intensely meaningful.  But *what* it means is not primarily about how my puny vote will affect the outcome of an election involving millions of other people.  It is, rather, how my puny vote will change me.”

Wait, I’m sorry.   That was Mark Shea:  mark-shea/a-reader-asks-about-the-act-of-voting‘.  Here’s what Kevin actually said: →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

PopeWatch: Cupich

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Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa, gives his assessment of the Cupich appointment:

September 30, 2014 – While still reeling from the news of the imminent removal of Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, the more conservative and traditional Catholicism of the United States – and historically the more “papist” – has been dealt another blow with the appointment of the new archbishop of Chicago.

Francis’ selection of Blase J. Cupich ( in the photo) as the new pastor of the third-ranking diocese in the U.S. has plunged this particularly dynamic component of American Catholicism into a profound depression, almost to the edge of a nervous breakdown. It is enough to scan the reactions of the websites and bloggers of this area to grasp the embarrassment and disappointment over the appointment.

On the contrary, the more progressive segment of American Catholicism, historically hypercritical of the recent pontificates, has celebrated with enthusiasm the arrival of Cupich, called a “moderate” by the secular press, a description typically used in the United States to indicate a “liberal” who may not be radicalized, but is still a “liberal.”

Cupich’s predecessor, Cardinal Francis E. George, had written not long ago in a column for the diocesan newspaper:

“I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the Church has done so often in human history.”

George has always been highly critical of the secular tendency in the legislative field established under the presidency of Barack Obama, whom he has known well since he was a senator for Illinois. But it is difficult to imagine that his prophecy will come true, at least for his immediate successor.

In order to understand this, it is enough to peruse even briefly the ecclesiastical career of the new archbishop of Chicago.

Cupich, 65, is not originally from Chicago, like George, but from Omaha, in the outlying rural state of Nebraska.

His first episcopal see was Rapid City, where he succeeded the conservative Charles J. Chaput. And it was in this tiny diocese of South Dakota that in 2002 he became noteworthy for prohibiting a traditionalist Catholic community from celebrating the Easter Triduum according to the ancient Roman rite, which was later liberalized in 2007 by Benedict XVI with the motu proprio “Summorum Pontificum.”

Conservative Catholics also remember that during the clash between the bishops of the United States and the White House over health care reform, Cupich was one of the very few prelates, fewer than a dozen, who said not even one word against it, even though the criticism of Obamacare was not a position of some “extremist” bishops or “culture warriors,” as they are often called in a disparaging sense, but the official position of the episcopate.

After being made bishop of Spokane in 2010, the following year Cupich prohibited his priests and deacons from taking part in prayers in front of abortion clinics. A ban in stark contrast with the “mainstream” of the Church in the United States. The Rosary is in fact recited in front of these clinics in almost all the dioceses of the United States. And dozens of bishops participate in them, including, for example, the “moderate” cardinal of Washington, Donald Wuerl, and the current president of the episcopal conference, Louisville archbishop Joseph Kurtz.

Cupich’s voice – as noted both by conservative Catholics, with distress, and by progressives, with satisfaction – always rings out loud and clear when the talk is of immigration or the death penalty, but he seems to get laryngitis every time there is a discussion of abortion, euthanasia, and religious freedom, or criticism of the Obama administration over health care reform.

Significant in this regard is the fact that Cupich decided to expand the scope of the “Respect Life” office in the diocese of Spokane, to give the fight against the death penalty the same weight as the fight against abortion.

So Cupich seems to be bringing Chicago back to the heyday of Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, George’s predecessor, a champion of “liberal” Catholicism in the United States and the creator of the mountainous bureaucratic machine of the episcopal conference, of which he was president from 1974 to 1977 and “dominus” until his death in 1996.

And the Bernardin era seems to be coming back thanks to a move of Pope Francis, who has taken by surprise and wrongfooted an episcopate, like that of the United States, today widely characterized by appointments made by John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

That it was a surprise can be noted from the fact that a few days before the appointment the newspaper “Our Sunday Visitor,” the most official of the American Catholic periodicals – its president is the journalist Greg Erlandson, a member of the commission for the reorganization of the Vatican media that met in Rome for the first time last week – in listing eight names of possible successors to Cardinal George did not present the one selected by pope Jorge Mario Bergoglio, that of Cupich.

The fact that the appointment wrongfooted the U.S. episcopate is evident from the results of the elections of the current president and vice-president of the episcopal conference that were held less than a year ago, in November of 2013.

At that electoral cycle, in fact, the ten candidates included Cupich. And his was considered by his colleagues the most distinctly “progressive,” ecclesiasticaly speaking, of the candidacies presented.

So then, at the first round of voting, which saw the immediate election as president of the outgoing vice-president, Archbishop Kurtz, with 125 votes out of 236, Cupich was back in seventh place with only 10 votes.

More ballots went to Houston cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo (25), Philadelphia archbishop Chaput (20), archbishop of Los Angeles José H. Gomez and of Baltimore William E. Lori (15 votes each), and New Orleans archbishop Gregory M Aymond (14).

In the two rounds of voting for the vice-presidency, Cupich was far from being elected, coming in fifth (out of nine) both at the first round, with 24 votes out of 236, and at the second, with 17 votes out of 235.

For Chicago, then, Pope Francis did not take the outlook of the local episcopate into account, unlike for example what he did in Spain, where in Madrid he promoted Carlos Osoro Sierra, who as archbishop of Valencia was elected vice-president of the episcopal conference in the first round last March, with 46 votes out of 79.

Nor does it seem that the pope took account of the recommendations of Cardinal George, who is believed to have asked for a priest of his diocese as coadjutor. Unlike what happened in Sydney, where instead on September 18 Francis appointed the Dominican Anthony Colin Fisher, the protégé of the outgoing archbishop, conservative cardinal George Pell, whom the pope has called to Rome as the “czar” of the Vatican economic-financial apparatus. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Democrats and the Race Card

 

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Civil Rights

We condemn bigots who inject class, racial and religious prejudice into public and political matters. Bigotry is un-American and a danger to the Republic.

We deplore the duplicity and insincerity of the Party in power in racial and religious matters. Although they have been in office as a Majority Party for many years, they have not kept nor do they intend to keep their promises.

The Republican Party will not mislead, exploit or attempt to confuse minority groups for political purposes. All American citizens are entitled to full, impartial enforcement of Federal laws relating to their civil rights.

We believe that it is the primary responsibility of each State to order and control its own domestic institutions, and this power, reserved to the states, is essential to the maintenance of our Federal Republic. However, we believe that the Federal Government should take supplemental action within its constitutional jurisdiction to oppose discrimination against race, religion or national origin.

We will prove our good faith by:

Appointing qualified persons, without distinction of race, religion or national origin, to responsible positions in the Government.

Federal action toward the elimination of lynching.

Federal action toward the elimination of poll taxes as a prerequisite to voting.

Appropriate action to end segregation in the District of Columbia.

Enacting Federal legislation to further just and equitable treatment in the area of discriminatory employment practices. Federal action should not duplicate state efforts to end such practices; should not set up another huge bureaucracy.

Republican Party Platform on Civil Rights, 1952, when Eisenhower cracked the Solid South

 

 

 

 

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.  The latest 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. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

PopeWatch: Jesuits

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Popewatch has always believed that one of the keys to understanding Pope Francis is that he is a Jesuit.  Here is his speech commemorating the 200th anniversary of the restoration of the Jesuits in 1814:

 

 

Dear brothers and friends in the Lord,

The Society under the name of Jesus has lived difficult times of persecution. During the leadership of Fr Lorenzo Ricci, “enemies of the Church succeeded in obtaining the suppression of the Society” (John Paul II, Message to Fr Kolvenbach, July 31, 1990) by my predecessor Clement XIV. Today, remembering its restoration, we are called to recover our memory, calling to mind the benefits received and the particular gifts (cf. Spiritual Exercises, 234). Today, I want to do that here with you.

In times of trial and tribulation, dust clouds of doubt and suffering are always raised and it is not easy to move forward, to continue the journey. Many temptations come, especially in difficult times and in crises: to stop to discuss ideas, to allow oneself to be carried away by the desolation, to focus on the fact of being persecuted, and not to see the other. Reading the letters of Fr Ricci, one thing struck me: his ability to avoid being harnessed by these temptations and to propose to the Jesuits, in a time of trouble, a vision of the things that rooted them even more in the spirituality of the Society.

Father General Ricci, who wrote to the Jesuits at the time, watching the clouds thickening on the horizon, strengthened them in their membership in the body of the Society and its mission. Here it is: in a time of confusion and turmoil he discerned. He did not waste time discussing ideas and complaining, but he took on the charge of the vocation of the Society.

And this attitude led the Jesuits to experience the death and resurrection of the Lord. Faced with the loss of everything, even of their public identity, they did not resist the will of God, they did not resist the conflict, trying to save themselves. The Society – and this is beautiful – lived the conflict to the end, without minimizing it. It lived humiliation along with the  humiliated Christ; it obeyed. You never save yourself from conflict with cunning and with strategies of resistance. In the confusion and humiliation, the Society preferred to live the discernment of God’s will, without seeking a way out of the conflict in a seemingly quiet manner. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

The Great Beefsteak Raid

Great Beefsteak Raid

One of the more colorful episodes in the siege of Petersburg, the Great Beefsteak Raid of September 14-17 helped cement Major General Wade Hampton III as a worthy successor to Jeb Stuart in command of the Army of Northern Virginia.  Learning that a large herd of cattle were being grazed by the Union at Edmund Ruffin’s plantation on Coggin’s Point on the James River, Hampton decided to launch a raid behind enemy lines with 3,000 troopers, capture the cattle and drive them back into Confederate lines to feed the Army of Northern Virginia that was on starvation rations.

Hampton and his men seized the herd on September 16, and got 2,468 of them back into Confederate lines on September 17.  Along with the cattle he brought back 304 Union prisoners, having suffered 61 Confederate casualties during the course of the raid.  President Lincoln referred to it as “the slickest piece of cattle stealing” he had ever heard of.  An exasperated Grant, when a reporter after the raid asked him when he expected to defeat Lee, snapped, “Never, if our armies continue to supply him with beef cattle.”

In 1966 a heavily fictionalized film on the beefsteak raid, Alavarez Kelly, was released.  Here is Hampton’s report on the raid: →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Pope Leo and Saint Michael the Archangel

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(I originally posted this in 2010.  I think I will begin posting it on each September 29, the feast of the Archangels.)

In 1947 Father Domenico Pechenino related what he had witnessed over six decades before.

“I do not remember the exact year. One morning the great Pope Leo XIII had celebrated a Mass and, as usual, was attending a Mass of thanksgiving. Suddenly, we saw him raise his head and stare at something above the celebrant’s head. He was staring motionlessly, without batting an eye. His expression was one of horror and awe; the colour and look on his face changing rapidly. Something unusual and grave was happening in him.

“Finally, as though coming to his senses, he lightly but firmly tapped his hand and rose to his feet. He headed for his private office. His retinue followed anxiously and solicitously, whispering: ‘Holy Father, are you not feeling well? Do you need anything?’ He answered: ‘Nothing, nothing.’ About half an hour later, he called for the Secretary of the Congregation of Rites and, handing him a sheet of paper, requested that it be printed and sent to all the ordinaries around the world. What was that paper? It was the prayer that we recite with the people at the end of every Mass. It is the plea to Mary and the passionate request to the Prince of the heavenly host, (St. Michael: Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle) beseeching God to send Satan back to hell.”

Cardinal Giovanni Batista Nassalli Rocca di Corneiliano wrote in his Pastoral Letters on Lent“the sentence ‘The evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls’ has a historical explanation that was many times repeated by his private secretary, Monsignor Rinaldo Angeli. Leo XIII truly saw, in a vision, demonic spirits who were congregating on the Eternal City (Rome). The prayer that he asked all the Church to recite was the fruit of that experience. He would recite that prayer with strong, powerful voice: we heard it many a time in the Vatican Basilica. Leo XIII also personally wrote an exorcism that is included in the Roman Ritual. He recommended that bishops and priests read these exorcisms often in their dioceses and parishes. He himself would recite them often throughout the day.”

The Prayer written by the Pope is of course the famous prayer to Saint Michael:

Sancte Michael Archangele,
defende nos in proelio;
contra nequitiam et insidias diaboli esto praesidium.
Imperet illi Deus, supplices deprecamur:
tuque, Princeps militiae Caelestis,
satanam aliosque spiritus malignos,
qui ad perditionem animarum pervagantur in mundo,
divina virtute in infernum detrude.
Amen.
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Sandy Hook Blame Game

 Government Blame Game

Government fails in its elementary duty to protect kids at a government school where it forbade its citizens from possessing weapons for self defense.  Kids are slaughtered.  The government solution:  regulate home schoolers!

 

Under a new law proposed this week by Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy’s Sandy Hook Advisory Commission, every homeschooling parent with a child who has been labeled with a behavioral or emotional problem would be forced to submit to a host of strict, burdensome regulations.

The scheme put forth in the commission’s draft recommendations on mental health would require homeschooling parents to submit individual education plans regularly to a local education bureaucrat.

School officials could then decree whether parents may continue to educate their own children, reports the Connecticut Post. Administrators could pull the plug on any parents’ homeschooling by declaring that the child failed to make “adequate progress.” →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Government as Tiresome, Expensive Nag

Nanny State

 

Have you noticed that as government becomes more of a ponzi scheme where it takes in huge amounts of money and doles out some of it to a large number of recipients in the body politic it has taken on the hectoring privileges of a parent paying out allowances to wayward brats?  The late Kenneth Minogue did.  From 2010:

 

My concern with democracy is highly specific. It begins in observing the remarkable fact that, while democracy means a government accountable to the electorate, our rulers now make us accountable to them. Most Western governments hate me smoking, or eating the wrong kind of food, or hunting foxes, or drinking too much, and these are merely the surface disapprovals, the ones that provoke legislation or public campaigns. We also borrow too much money for our personal pleasures, and many of us are very bad parents. Ministers of state have been known to instruct us in elementary matters, such as the importance of reading stories to our children. Again, many of us have unsound views about people of other races, cultures, or religions, and the distribution of our friends does not always correspond, as governments think that it ought, to the cultural diversity of our society. We must face up to the grim fact that the rulers we elect are losing patience with us.

No philosopher can contemplate this interesting situation without beginning to reflect on what it can mean. The gap between political realities and their public face is so great that the term “paradox” tends to crop up from sentence to sentence. Our rulers are theoretically “our” representatives, but they are busy turning us into the instruments of the projects they keep dreaming up. The business of governments, one might think, is to supply the framework of law within which we may pursue happiness on our own account. Instead, we are constantly being summoned to reform ourselves. Debt, intemperance, and incompetence in rearing our children are no doubt regrettable, but they are vices, and left alone, they will soon lead to the pain that corrects. Life is a better teacher of virtue than politicians, and most sensible governments in the past left moral faults to the churches. But democratic citizenship in the twenty-first century means receiving a stream of improving “messages” from politicians. Some may forgive these intrusions because they are so well intentioned. Who would defend prejudice, debt, or excessive drinking? The point, however, is that our rulers have no business telling us how to live. They are tiresome enough in their exercise of authority—they are intolerable when they mount the pulpit. Nor should we be in any doubt that nationalizing the moral life is the first step towards totalitarianism.

We might perhaps be more tolerant of rulers turning preachers if they were moral giants. But what citizen looks at the government today thinking how wise and virtuous it is? Public respect for politicians has long been declining, even as the population at large has been seduced into demanding political solutions to social problems. To demand help from officials we rather despise argues for a notable lack of logic in the demos. The statesmen of eras past have been replaced by a set of barely competent social workers eager to take over the risks of our everyday life. The electorates of earlier times would have responded to politicians seeking to bribe us with such promises with derision. Today, the demos votes for them. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

PopeWatch: Peronism

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An interesting post over at Father Z’s regarding the Pope’s political views:

 

I saw in interesting interview at Real Clear Religion with Rocco Buttiglione, who played a role in the economic views of St. John Paul II.

[...]

RCR: Does Pope Francis have the same kind of philosophical heft that Wojty?a had?

RB: No. He is a different man.

RCR: Is that problematic for the Church?

RB: I don’t think so. We have had a pope who was a great philosopher, we had a pope who was a great theologian, and now we have a pope who has a great pastoral spirit. The Church needs all. I dare say that after those two popes we surely need a pope like Francis because the Curia is a mess and you need someone who has the capacity of clearing that mess.

RCR: You’re often credited for bringing Wojty?a to free market ideas, especially in the context of Centesimus Annus. How did you seem to persuade him?

RB: I would not put it that way, but I was a friend. As Don Ricci had done with me, I talked to Wojtyla about my friends and the things I saw in the world. Sometimes he asked me to do this or that for him, and that’s all.

RCR: Do you think Pope Francis needs a similar education on economics?

RB: Well, you had a pope from Poland who came to understand and love North America much more than anybody could imagine. Now you have a pope who comes from Latin America and in dialogue with him, we must try to explain other things. He is a pope that cannot be only Latin American, but he has to enlarge his horizons. How will he do that?

One of the first things John Paul II did when he became pope was go to Latin America. There he gave a series of homilies, which are a kind of regional encyclical. This encyclical is not against liberation theology, but it is an encyclical that says: We want a theology that is from the point of view from Latin American people. Fine. We want a theology that is written from the point of view of the Latin American poor. Even better! You think that you can produce this theology by using Marxism? That’s wrong. You need a different instrument to approach socio-economic realities from a point of view of a true liberation theology.

I remember one day Don Ricci and I were in Lima, Peru and we were talking with a group of liberation theologians. It was the day of the feast of Señor de los Milagros, and all the people were in the streets. I told the theologians: You talk about the people? Please open the door and look on the streets. They are the people! They are people who are not Marx’s proletariat; they are a people of culture and religion.

Then we started working in Latin America to create groups that wanted to make a true liberation theology. Some wanted to condemn all liberation theology, and there was the first instruction from the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, which was very harsh.

I went around visiting different countries and when I came back, John Paul II invited me to one of his “working dinners.” In the end, he asked me: There is the theoretical side, but how is Gustavo Gutiérrez as a man? Does he say Mass? Does he pray the Rosary? Does he confess people? Yes? Then we must find another solution.

After that came the second instruction on liberation theology, which made a distinction between true liberation theology and Marxist liberation theology.

RCR: Which liberation theology is Francis influenced by?

RB: He is not a Marxist. Politically, he is a Justicialista. Westerners might call it populist. Justicialismo in Argentina has been a tremendous movement, giving for the first time to the people the idea that they have dignity. They are anti-capitalist and anti-Marxist. There is an Anglo-Saxon model of capitalism, which is the “self-made man.” That’s American. But that’s not capitalism in Argentina. Capitalism there is where a few people use the contracts given by the state without taking the risk of the market make an enormous amount of money and oppress other people. It is a capitalism created by the State.

If I could suggest to Pope Francis the reading of a book, I would suggest he read Friedrich Hayek’s The Counter-Revolution of Science: Studies on the Abuse of Reason. This might help him.

[...]

Justicialismo…  good grief.  Who of us up here in the North can grasp what on earth has gone on in Argentina?  The more I read about the place, and its modern history, the less I understand.  Do you have be Argentinian to get it?  Does anyone understand Perónism, with all its layers and bands along the ideological spectrum?  I’d be pretty skeptical were someone to make that claim.  Take a look on Google for something on Justicialismo.  There is nearly nothing useful in English.  I read Spanish, but… sheesh… this has been entirely ignored.

 

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September 28, 1864: Hood Launches His Tennessee Campaign

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After the fall of Altlanta, General John Bell Hood, commander of the Army of Tennessee, faced a quandry.  He confronted an army led by Sherman that heavily outnumbered his force.  Confederate manpower reserves were used up, and he could look for no further substantial reinforcements, while Sherman could rely upon an apparently inexhaustible flow of supplies and men from the North.  If Hood remained on the defensive the initiative remained with Sherman who was clearly readying his army to plunge into the heart of the Confederacy.

In these dire circumstances Hood hit upon the plan of heading north and forcing Sherman to follow him to protect his supply lines.  This would perhaps forestall a futher advance by Sherman into the deep South and with luck allow the Confederates to retake Atlanta and other occupied territory.

It was a desperate throw of the dice.  Moving north Hood moved ever closer to areas that the Union held in strength, and risked his Army being caught in a vice between Sherman and the forces that the Union could quickly amass due to their control of the rail net and the rivers of Tennessee.  However, it was probably the best of the very bad options confronting Hood.  Here are his comments on the start of his Tennessee campaign which appeared in Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, condensed from his memoirs, Advance and Retreat: →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Quotes Suitable For Framing Saint Augustine

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“Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion.”

Saint Augustine, De Genesi ad Litteram Libri Duodecim →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

PopeWatch: He’s Back

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

 

VATICAN–According to reports today, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is seeking the chair of his pontificate months after his resignation. The news has sent shock waves around the world.

Vatican spokesman Fr. Vitateli Devitiamani told EOTT that, “He came for a dinner as scheduled and then proceeded to return to his old living quarters. That wouldn’t be a problem, since His Holiness Pope Francis chose to live elsewhere, the room is open. However, once we asked him where he was going, he simply said, ‘I’m back,’ then proceeded to put his sunglasses on even though we were inside.”

Sources say that the next morning, he walked down the hall asking for his valet and his red Prada shoes, and was overheard asking an adviser to “get Burke on the line.”

This comes 19 months after his official resignation from the Holy See. EOTT had the chance to sit down with the Pope Emeritus to discuss the ordeal.

“You have to understand that, months ago, I received a call from Word of Fire Catholic Ministries. It was Fr. Steve Grunow on the phone along with his colleague Jared Zimmerer. They’re both serious about the care of the body and the mind, and offered to help me regain some strength in both. I gratefully accepted. So, after months of training, I’ve lost weight, regained my muscle mass and strength of mind. I’ve never felt better. And to tell you the truth, I never actually filed the paperwork to officially exit my office,” Benedict said just outside the Bernini Columns where he proceeded to flick a lit cigarette into a full barrel of gasoline and walk away as the barrel exploded.

At press time, Benedict still hasn’t looked back at the massive explosion. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Autumn

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Something for the weekend.  Autumn from the Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi.   Composed in 1725, like all of Vivaldi’s music it scampered into obscurity after his death, only to be surprisingly revived in the rediscovery of Vivaldi in the last century.

Fall has always been my favorite season.  Gone is the heat of summer and I find the cooler weather bracing.  The leaves in all their glorious colors, as they move from life to death, have always struck me as a symbol of a life well spent.  A time for action and meditation, at least in my practice for some reason.

September 26, 1907: Dominion of Newfoundland

 

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Ye brave Newfoundlanders who plough the salt sea,
With hearts like the eagle so bold and so free,
The time is at hand when we’ll have to say
If Confederation will carry the day.

Men, hurrah for our own native Isle, Newfoundland,
Not a stranger shall hold one inch of its strand;
Her face turns to Britain, her back to the Gulf,
Come near at your peril, Canadian Wolf!

Cheap tea and molasses they say they will give,
All taxes taken off that the poor man may live;
Cheap nails and cheap lumber, our coffins to make,
And homespun to mend our old clothes when they break.

If they take off all taxes, how then will they meet
The heavy expenses on army and fleet?
Just give them the chance to get into the scrap,
They’ll show you the trick with pen, ink and red tape.

Would you barter the right that your fathers have won?
Your freedom transmitted from father to son?
For a few thousand dollars Canadian gold
Don’t let it be said that our birthright was sold.

Newfoundland Anti-Confederation folk song (1869)

 

 

 

Faithful readers of this blog know that my sainted mother was from Newfoundland.  My mother and my father after my birth in Paris, Illinois, due to my 21 year old Mom being deeply homesick, lived in Newfoundland from 1957-1961.  My brother was born there in 1958.  Newfoundland never being an easy place to make a living, for all its stark beauty, my family returned to Paris, Illinois in 1961 so that my father could obtain employment, and that is where my parents lived for the remainder of their lives, and where my brother and I were raised.

Newfoundland was granted dominion status on this day in 1907.  During World War I, Newfoundland had a proud war record, its regiment in France being granted the signal honor of being designated the Royal Newfoundland regiment.  Alas war debts, the Great Depression and corrupt politicians bankrupted the nation and Newfoundland, with its legislature suspended, and a governor appointed by Great Britain, became a colony, in all but name, again in 1934.

In 1948 a referendum was held to determine the future of Newfoundland, with three options:  restoration of dominion status, confederation with Canada, and a continuation of being a colony of Great Britain.  The Brits made it quite clear that they could no longer afford to subsidize Newfoundland.  There was some sentiment among Newfoundlanders to ask the US Congress for statehood, but supporters of that idea were unable to get it on the ballot.  In the first referendum held, a narrow plurality of voters chose dominion status, with confederation with Canada coming in a close second.  In the second referendum the option for continued colonial status was dropped.  Confederation supporters, some of them, prior to the second referendum, appealed to religious bigotry by arguing that Catholic bishops were telling Catholics to support dominion status, which an overwhelming number of Catholics did support.  In the second referendum 52% of the votes were cast for confederation, so Newfoundland joined what prior generations of Newfoundlanders had often referred to as the Canadian wolf!  It was still a topic of some controversy in the Sixties among my Mom’s relatives! →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Who Still Supports Obama?

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The worst President, alright Mr. Buchanan, I see your hand, maybe he is only tied with you, plumbs new depths of approval for him:

 

Barack Obama’s approval rating slid into dangerous territory this week, with the latest Reuters-Ipsos poll showing just 35 percent of Americans approve of the president’s job performance even as he leads the nation into a war against Islamic fundamentalism in the Middle East.

Fifty-eight percent of Americans expressed disapproval of the White House’s current occupant — 37 percent of them “strongly.” Just 17 percent strongly approved of Obama’s current performance. The poll is based on a five-day rolling average.  →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

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