0

Mark Shea Hardest Hit

 

Trump is in fine physical and mental health.  The media’s obsession about Trump’s health stands in stark contrast to their complete indifference about Hillary’s health during the 2016 campaign.  What makes this quite bizarre is that Trump continually had a schedule during the campaign, often doing five rallies a day, that would have exhausted men half his age, and never appeared tired.  Whatever problems Trump has, ill health is not one of them.    Of course if the media didn’t have a double standard which always protects the left, they would have no standards at all.

 

0

PopeWatch: Argentina on the Tiber

It is remarkable that Pope Francis has been Pope for almost half a decade and has not had a visit to Argentina.  Sandro Magister helps explain why this is the case:

 

For almost five years now Jorge Mario Bergoglio has been pope. But he has yet to set foot again in his homeland, Argentina, although he has already visited seven Latin American countries and in the upcoming days will also visit Chile and Peru.

On Monday, January 15, while flying to Santiago, Chile, he will limit himself to looking at Argentina from above. And from the sky he will send the telegram with which he almost always greets the presidents of the countries over which he flies, in this case Mauricio Macri.

The fact that the Peronist Bergoglio does not love the center-right Macri is no mystery. And to a large extent it is precisely this disagreement, multiplied in incessant and heated disputes among the Argentines, disputes that are much more political than religious, that has dissuaded Francis from returning to his native country and igniting further discord.

But if he wants to keep himself out of the mix, the same is not true of some of his Argentine friends who are labeled, and not always unjustly, as the pope’s mouthpieces. Very outspoken, and combative.

It is against these loose cannons that two days ago, a few days before Francis’s journey to Chile and Peru, the Argentine episcopal conference issued a tough reprimand:

> Francisco, el Papa de todos

The “fatwa” of the bishops is written in coded language. It is hard for non-Argentines to understand who the target is. And this is even less clear from the Italian translation that the paravatican website “Il Sismografo,” directed by the ultra-Bergoglian Luis Badilla of Chile, quickly posted online from Rome, but after scrubbing it of a couple of its most explicit lines, the last of this paragraph, which are underlined here:

“Accompanying the popular movements in their struggle for land, housing, and jobs is a task that the Church has always performed and that the Pope himself openly promotes, inviting us to lend our voices to the causes of the weakest and the most excluded. That does not imply in any way that he should be saddled with their positions and actions, whether these be correct or erroneous.”

What led the Argentine bishops to take a position was, most recently, the statements made to the newspaper “Página 12” by Juan Grabois (in the photo), a figure so close to Bergoglio as to make one think that his every word in effect reflects the pope’s real political thought.

Grabois, 34, son of an historic Peronist leader, founded the Movimiento de Trabajadores Excluidos, now directs the Confederación de Trabajadores de la Economía Popular, and has been very close to Bergoglio since 2005, when the then-archbishop of Buenos Aires was at the head of the Argentine episcopal conference. After he became pope, Francis appointed him as a consultant to the pontifical council for justice and peace, which is now incorporated in the new dicastery for promoting integral human development. And Grabois is also the one who pulls the strings at the spectacular assemblies around the pope of the “popular movements,” a network of a hundred-plus combative anti-capitalist and anti-globalization social groups, from all over the world but most of them from Latin America.

It therefore comes as no surprise that in the popular opposition to the free-market measures of President Macri, as also at the roadblocks, the picket lines at the factories, the squatters’ protests, Grabois should be one of the “lideres piqueteros” most in view. In the interview with “Página 12” he slammed Macri with the charge that “his vice is violence” and, alluding to his role as a businessman, disqualified him with words of disdain: “He is not one who did it himself, but an heir of the fortune of his father, who was a beneficiary of the corruption of the state.”

Go here to read the rest. Argentina is a beautiful country with messed up politics.  Since the time of Juan and Eva Peron the best description for Argentine politics is self-destructive.  The biggest legacy of Pope Francis may be his bringing dysfunctional Argentinian politics into the Vatican and his attempt to make them into Church teaching.  The years that the Argentinian locusts ate may be the fondest recollection possible of the Francis years.

 

4

PopeWatch: Protests

The Pope will be facing protests during his visit to Chile:

 

Parishioners in Osorno, a small city 800 kilometers (497 miles) south of the Chilean capital, say Vatican representatives denied their requests to meet with Francis. They plan to protest every day of the Pope’s Jan. 15 – 18 stay in Chile.

Pope Francis, who hails from neighboring Argentina and once briefly lived in Chile, has defended Osorno Bishop Juan Barros and says allegations that he covered up abuses by one of Chile’s most notorious sexual predators were unfounded.

Planned demonstrations in Chile, a staunchly Catholic country, have rekindled accusations Francis has not done enough to root out sexual abuse in the Church, especially holding bishops accountable for covering up or mishandling sexual abuse.

“We believe the victims of sexual abuse have been marginalized (by the Church),” said Juan Carlos Claret, a spokesman for Osorno parishioners. “It’s a reality that we in Osorno have been living with for almost four years and we plan to keep the issue alive.”

 

Go here to read the rest.  Go here for background.  This appointment was controversial in 2015 and the passage of three years has not dimmed the controversy.

3

The Long Ride of Colonel Young

“Get a good life insurance policy, with your family as beneficiary. Bring your Bible and yourself.”

Advice of Charles Davis Young to a friend joining the Tenth Cavalry

 

The first black colonel in the United States Army, Charles Davis Young, was born in 1864 in Tennessee, the son of slaves.  His father escaped from slavery in January 1865 and served in the Fifth Regiment Heavy Artillery, United States Colored Troops.  Settling in Ripley, Ohio after the War, Young’s father had saved enough from his military pay to buy land and build a house.  Charles Young attend an otherwise all white school in Ripley and graduated at the top of his class.  Young greatly admired his father, and decided to follow in his footsteps and embark on a military career.  In 1883 he earned appointment to West Point by coming in second on the competitive examination in his Congressional District.  When the first place candidate decided not to go, Young was admitted.

Young’s years at West Point were trying.  He roomed for three years with John Hanks Alexander, the only black cadet at West Point.   The attitude of the rest of his class to him can be gauged by the nickname he was tagged with:  ” the load of of coal”.  As many cadets before and since, he struggled with mathematics and had to repeat his first year as a result.  However, he discovered a hitherto unknown facility for foreign languages and learned several.    The disdainful attitude of most of his fellow cadets was constant, but his endurance and good humor throughout ultimately led to friendships with some white cadets that lasted the remainder of his life.  Young graduated last in his class in 1889.  He was the third black to graduate from West Point and would be the last until 1936.

His service with the Army was largely with the segregated “Buffalo” black cavalry regiments of the Ninth and the Tenth which had earned reputations for valor and professionalism.  On duty Young developed a reputation as all Army, a stern disciplinarian and stickler for regulations.  Off duty he was a kind and cultured man who took an interest in the professional development of his subordinates.  One of those subordinates in 1900 was Sergeant Major Benjamin O. Davis.  Young encouraged him to take the Officer Candidates’ test and tutored him for the test.  Davis passed and was ultimately commissioned.  In 1940 he was promoted to Brigadier General, the first black to attain that rank in US military history.

During the Spanish-American war Young was promoted to the temporary rank of Major of Volunteers and commanded the 9th Ohio, a black volunteer regiment, Young thus becoming the first black to command a regiment in American military history.  Due to the brevity of the War, the 9th Ohio did not see service overseas, a fate common to most of the volunteer regiments raised in that War.  Young did serve in combat in the Philippines, commanding a troop of the Ninth Cavalry in the fight against Insurrectos on Samar.  His courage and leadership caused his men to give him the nickname “Follow me”.

Interspersed with command duties with troops, Young had the usual variety of assignments that were common for Army officers during this time period.  He served as superintendent of two national parks and was assigned as military attache in Haiti and Liberia.  In 1912 he wrote The Military Morale of Nations and Races, which postulated that with good training, and good leadership and fair treatment, the members of any race could make good soldiers.  He dedicated the book to Theodore Roosevelt, a personal friend who had taken an interest in Young’s career.  During the Punitive Expedition in 1916 into Mexico, Major Young attained notoriety due to successful cavalry charges against Mexican bandits while commanding a squadron of the Tenth Cavalry.  Young was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and assigned to command Fort Huachuca in Arizona.

With the US heading to War in Europe it was assumed that Young might become the first black general in the US Army.  That prospect came to an end when Young failed a medical exam in early 1917 due to high blood pressure and damage to his kidneys, a legacy from his service in Liberia.  Young was retired, a retirement that Young protested.  It is likely that racism played a large factor in his retirement, more than a few white officers reacting with dismay to the prospect of serving under a black general.   Writing to Theodore Roosevelt for help in gaining reinstatement, Roosevelt immediately offered him command of one of the two black regiments Roosevelt planned to serve in the Rough Riders that Roosevelt had received Congressional approval to raise for service in World War I. Roosevelt said Young would have carte blanche in choosing the officers of his regiment.  Alas, President Wilson refused to authorize the raising of the Rough Riders.

In June 1918, to show he was physically fit for service, Young rode horseback the 500 miles from Xenia, Ohio to Washington DC.  The trip to Washington took 16 days.  Young experienced both racism and respect from the various Whites he encountered.  In a town with a bad reputation for racism against blacks, Young’s attempt to gain reinstatement was met with sympathy by local whites who asked what they could do to help.  Young responded that there was nothing they could do for him, but he would be grateful if black troops traveling through the town would receive a kind welcome.

Young met with Secretary of War Baker who promised to look into the situation.  On November 6, 1918 Young was placed back on active duty and promoted to Colonel.  He remained on active duty until his death in 1922 when he died of nephritis.  He is buried, appropriately, in Arlington.  When he was buried, an estimated 100,000 people lined his funeral procession.

6

Follow Him No Matter What

Samuel was sleeping in the temple of the LORD
where the ark of God was.
The LORD called to Samuel, who answered, “Here I am.”
Samuel ran to Eli and said, “Here I am. You called me.”
“I did not call you, ” Eli said. “Go back to sleep.”
So he went back to sleep.
Again the LORD called Samuel, who rose and went to Eli.
“Here I am, ” he said. “You called me.”
But Eli answered, “I did not call you, my son. Go back to sleep.”

At that time Samuel was not familiar with the LORD,
because the LORD had not revealed anything to him as yet.
The LORD called Samuel again, for the third time.
Getting up and going to Eli, he said, “Here I am. You called me.”
Then Eli understood that the LORD was calling the youth.
So he said to Samuel, “Go to sleep, and if you are called, reply,
Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.”
When Samuel went to sleep in his place,
the LORD came and revealed his presence,
calling out as before, “Samuel, Samuel!”
Samuel answered, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

Samuel grew up, and the LORD was with him,
not permitting any word of his to be without effect.

1 Samuel: 3: 3-10

 

The Old Testament reading today ends too soon.  The most impressive part is just after this passage where the Lord tells Samuel what He is about to do, which is to doom the House of Eli because Eli knew his sons were blaspheming God by their actions and he did not reprove them.  Samuel tells Eli this bleak prophecy.  Eli has served God all his life and now he learns that his family will be blotted out by God.  Rather than rage against God and accuse Him of injustice, Eli says:

“It is the LORD. What is pleasing in the LORD’s sight, the LORD will do.”

We are ever ready to accept blessings from the Hand of God and ever ready to avoid the chastisements He might send us.  This of course is a very human reaction and it is also a very wrong reaction.  God is All Just, just as He is All Good and All Loving.  From His hands we receive only good, no matter how bitter that good may be in mortal terms.  Here below in this fallen world we discern God dimly, our wits befuddled by sin.  In the next world perhaps all may be made plain.  Perhaps not.  Perhaps God will give the same answer to our queries as He did long ago to a question in Judaea:  “What is that to Thee?  Follow thou Me!”.  Our duty is to follow Him, not to follow our own doubts and folly.

 

 

8

PopeWatch: Reverence, Where Art Thou?

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

 

Sierra Nevada–More than five dozen searchers scoured the Sierra Nevada foothills for the missing reverence at a Mass at the Church of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque yesterday.

Reverence was due to appear promptly for the 9am Mass, but two hours after the Mass had concluded, a search began with helicopters, including a National Guard Blackhawk, looking for any signs of reverence.

Using thermal infrared technology, searchers have still not been able to locate any clues to the whereabouts of the reverence expected at Mass, but a spokeswoman for the Church of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, Dana Whitmore, told EOTT today that several parishioners were being investigated after being seen walking out of Mass wearing shorts and flip flops.

“We cannot release the names of those being questioned at this moment,” Whitmore told the press. “But we can say that officials from the diocese have spoken to St. Margaret Mary’s pastor Fr. Neville Mayfield about why his altar boys and altar girls were allowed to chew gum while staring out into space during the Consecration.”

Nine ground search teams made up of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter were later dispatched to find reverence. They focused on the areas in and around the pews as well as on the Sanctuary.

Reverence was not the only thing being sought. In another part of the Sierra Nevada, a search was underway near St. Matthew Catholic Church to find solemnity and piety.

 

Go here to read the comments.  PopeWatch has been unable to confirm that the missing Reverence has been sighted at the Vatican shaking its head.

0

Glory Music

We bide our chance,
Unhappy, and make terms with Fate
A little more to let us wait;
He leads for aye the advance,
Hope’s forlorn-hopes that plant the desperate good
For nobler Earths and days of manlier mood;

James Russell Lowell, Memoriae Positum

 

 

 

Something for the weekend.  Closing song from the movie Glory (1989), the story of the 54th Massachusetts, one of the first Union black regiments, forever remembered for their valiant assault against Fort Wagner on July 18,  1863.  A prime example of how historical movies should be made, Glory performs the epic feat of bringing to life again the days of the Civil War when the fate of the nation was decided.

37

Third World Hellholes and Other Truths

Much mock outrage is being generated over  observations that President Trump purportedly made yesterday complaining why the US had so many illegal aliens from s—hole nations rather than immigrants from nations like Norway.  (Trump had met with the Prime Minister of Norway on Wednesday.)

President Trump grew frustrated with lawmakers Thursday in the Oval Office when they discussed protecting immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries as part of a bipartisan immigration deal, according to several people briefed on the meeting.

“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump said, according to these people, referring to countries mentioned by the lawmakers.

Trump then suggested that the United States should instead bring more people from countries such as Norway, whose prime minister he met with Wednesday. The president, according to a White House official, also suggested he would be open to more immigrants from Asian countries because he felt they help the United States economically.

In addition, the president singled out Haiti, telling lawmakers that immigrants from that country must be left out of any deal, these people said.

“Why do we need more Haitians?” Trump said, according to people familiar with the meeting. “Take them out.”

 

Go here to read the rest.

His observations, assuming that he is being reported accurately, are being called terrible, racist and everything under the sun except what they are:  completely correct.  Since 1965 the US has in fact given preference to immigrants from Third World nations rather than from First World nations and our illegal alien problem is overwhelmingly from troubled Third World nations.  Was Trump wrong to disparage these countries?  Well it certainly wasn’t diplomatic, but it also certainly was true.  People from those countries flock to ours because they view the conditions in their home nations as being bad, often appallingly so.  The  shills for illegal aliens in this nation continually wax eloquent over how bad the conditions are in those nations as the main reason why the hordes of illegal aliens we have in this nation cannot be sent back.  The whole DACA charade is based on how terrible it would be to send those illegal aliens back to, shudder, mainly Mexico.

None of this is surprising however.  When it comes to our illegal alien problem mendacity has ever been king.  Illegal aliens serve two powerful constituencies:  many businesses which want to import cheap labor, and the Democrat Party which wants to replace the native populations in many areas in our land with new populations which will vote reliably Democrat for a generation or three.  Since the flaunting of our immigration laws is unpopular with most Americans, the policy of amnestying these illegal aliens every generation or so has to be shielded with lies.  Trump, crude as he is, broke with this policy of lies, and the mainstream media, and the political establishments, are in a tizzy.   Good.

1

Life Everlasting

[18] And there came to him the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection; and they asked him, saying: [19] Master, Moses wrote unto us, that if any man’s brother die, and leave his wife behind him, and leave no children, his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed to his brother. [20] Now there were seven brethren; and the first took a wife, and died leaving no issue.

[21] And the second took her, and died: and neither did he leave any issue. And the third in like manner. [22] And the seven all took her in like manner; and did not leave issue. Last of all the woman also died. [23] In the resurrection therefore, when they shall rise again, whose wife shall she be of them? for the seven had her to wife. [24] And Jesus answering, saith to them: Do ye not therefore err, because you know not the scriptures, nor the power of God? [25] For when they shall rise again from the dead, they shall neither marry, nor be married, but are as the angels in heaven.

[26] And as concerning the dead that they rise again, have you not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spoke to him, saying: I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? [27] He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You therefore do greatly err.

Matthew 12:  18-27

 

 

 

 

 

After my son Larry died, in a few months to be five years past, I wrote this:

 

Without God my dead son would be nothing, I would be nothing and all that I love would be nothing.  With God, this brief life is a mere doorway into splendor unimaginable and a love that surpasses understanding.  In the grief I experience now I truly understand, with my heart, as I always have with my mind, my utter and absolute dependence upon the grace, mercy and love of God.  Throughout my life God has given me a fairly easy path.  Now a harder path beckons, and my family and I must walk it with the same faith in God that we walked the easier path.  However hard the path I know the joy that await for those who walk it in faith, the same indescribable joy my Larry is now experiencing.

 

God did not make us only for our brief mortal lives, but to share eternity with him.  In that eternity we will receive the Justice that so often eludes us here below.  As Saint Paul noted, if our hope in Christ was limited to this life, Christians would be the most pitiable of all.  But our hope is not so limited.  God’s love for us is stronger than mortal death, and our hopes are mere faint reflections of the glory that await the Just in Heaven.

The more one thinks about it, the worse it becomes. He got through so easily! No gradual misgivings, no doctor’s sentence, no nursing home, no operating theatre, no false hopes of life: sheer, instantaneous liberation. One moment it seemed to be all our world; the scream of bombs, the fall of houses, the stink and taste of high explosive on the lips and in the lungs, the feet burning with weariness, the heart cold with horrors, the brain reeling, the legs aching; next moment all this was gone, gone like a bad dream, never again to be of any account. Defeated, outmaneuvered fool! Did you mark how naturally-as if he’d been born for it-the Earth-born vermin entered the new life? How all his doubts became, in the twinkling of an eye, ridiculous? I know what the creature was saying to itself! “Yes. Of course. It always was like this. All horrors have followed the same course, getting worse and worse and forcing you into a kind of bottleneck till, at the very moment when you thought you must be crushed, behold! you were out of the narrows and all was suddenly well. The extraction hurt more and more and then the tooth was out. The dream became a nightmare and then you woke. You die and die and then you are beyond death. How could I ever have doubted it?”

The Screwtape Letters

 

12

PopeWatch: Heresy Has Come to Eden

 

 

 

PopeWatch thinks the Pontifical Academy needs a new name:

 

Responsible parenthood can obligate a married couple to use artificial birth control, a recently appointed member of the Pontifical Academy for Life has argued, basing his theory on Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation on the family, Amoris Laetitia.

Italian moral theologian Father Maurizio Chiodi said at a December 14 public lecture at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome that there are “circumstances — I refer to Amoris Laetitia, Chapter 8 — that precisely for the sake of responsibility, require contraception.”

Chapter 8 of the Pope’s 2016 document on the family has drawn controversy because of its differing interpretations on the issue of admitting some divorced and civilly “remarried” couples to Holy Communion.

When “natural methods are impossible or unfeasible, other forms of responsibility need to be found,” argued Fr. Chiodi in his lecture entitled: Re-reading Humanae Vitae (1968) in light of Amoris Laetitia (2016).

In such circumstances, he said, “an artificial method for the regulation of births could be recognized as an act of responsibility that is carried out, not in order to radically reject the gift of a child, but because in those situations responsibility calls the couple and the family to other forms of welcome and hospitality.”

The Italian professor’s comments come as the Church this year marks the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae, which reaffirmed the Church’s ban on contraception. In his encyclical, Paul VI called artificial contraception “intrinsically wrong,” approved natural family planning, and upheld the Church’s teaching on conjugal love and responsible parenthood.

 

Go here to read the rest.  PopeWatch, when viewing this papacy, has the same reaction that Vasco Rodrigues had to Pilot Major Blackthorne after he attempted to kill him:

 

Yes, it’s true…
and I don’t ask for forgiveness… not anymore.
With thee, heresy has come to Eden.

3

PopeWatch: Diplomacy

The Pope delivered his annual address to the ambassadors to the Vatican on January 8, 2018.  Here is the text of the speech:

 

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Our meeting today is a welcome tradition that allows me, in the enduring joy of the Christmas season, to offer you my personal best wishes for the New Year just begun, and to express my closeness and affection to the peoples you represent. I thank the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, His Excellency Armindo Fernandes do Espírito Santo Vieira, Ambassador of Angola, for his respectful greeting on behalf of the entire Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See. I offer a particular welcome to the non-resident Ambassadors, whose numbers have increased following the establishment last May of diplomatic relations with the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. I likewise greet the growing number of Ambassadors resident in Rome, which now includes the Ambassador of the Republic of South Africa. I would like in a special way to remember the late Ambassador of Colombia, Guillermo León Escobar-Herrán, who passed away just a few days before Christmas. I thank all of you for your continuing helpful contacts with the Secretariat of State and the other Dicasteries of the Roman Curia, which testify to the interest of the international community in the Holy See’s mission and the work of the Catholic Church in your respective countries. This is also the context for the Holy See’s pactional activities, which last year saw the signing, in February, of the Framework Agreement with the Republic of the Congo, and, in August, of the Agreement between the Secretariat of State and the Government of the Russian Federation enabling the holders of diplomatic passports to travel without a visa.

In its relations with civil authorities, the Holy See seeks only to promote the spiritual and material well-being of the human person and to pursue the common good. The Apostolic Journeys that I made during the course of the past year to Egypt, Portugal, Colombia, Myanmar and Bangladesh were expressions of this concern. I travelled as a pilgrim to Portugal on the centenary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima, to celebrate the canonization of the shepherd children Jacinta and Francisco Marto. There I witnessed the enthusiastic and joyful faith that the Virgin Mary roused in the many pilgrims assembled for the occasion. In Egypt, Myanmar and Bangladesh too, I was able to meet the local Christian communities that, though small in number, are appreciated for their contribution to development and fraternal coexistence in those countries. Naturally, I also had meetings with representatives of other religions, as a sign that our differences are not an obstacle to dialogue, but rather a vital source of encouragement in our common desire to know the truth and to practise justice. Finally, in Colombia I wished to bless the efforts and the courage of that beloved people, marked by a lively desire for peace after more than half a century of internal conflict.

Dear Ambassadors,

This year marks the centenary of the end of the First World War, a conflict that reconfigured the face of Europe and the entire world with the emergence of new states in place of ancient empires. From the ashes of the Great War, we can learn two lessons that, sad to say, humanity did not immediately grasp, leading within the space of twenty years to a new and even more devastating conflict. The first lesson is that victory never means humiliating a defeated foe. Peace is not built by vaunting the power of the victor over the vanquished. Future acts of aggression are not deterred by the law of fear, but rather by the power of calm reason that encourages dialogue and mutual understanding as a means of resolving differences.[1] This leads to a second lesson: peace is consolidated when nations can discuss matters on equal terms. This was grasped a hundred years ago – on this very date – by the then President of the United States, Woodrow Wilson, who proposed the establishment of a general league of nations with the aim of promoting for all states, great and small alike, mutual guarantees of independence and territorial integrity. This laid the theoretical basis for that multilateral diplomacy, which has gradually acquired over time an increased role and influence in the international community as a whole.

Relations between nations, like all human relationships, “must likewise be harmonized in accordance with the dictates of truth, justice, willing cooperation, and freedom”.[2] This entails “the principle that all states are by nature equal in dignity”,[3] as well as the acknowledgment of one another’s rights and the fulfilment of their respective duties.[4] The basic premise of this approach is the recognition of the dignity of the human person, since disregard and contempt for that dignity resulted in barbarous acts that have outraged the conscience of mankind.[5] Indeed, as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms, “recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world”.[6]

I would like to devote our meeting today to this important document, seventy years after its adoption on 10 December 1948 by the General Assembly of the United Nations. For the Holy See, to speak of human rights means above all to restate the centrality of the human person, willed and created by God in his image and likeness. The Lord Jesus himself, by healing the leper, restoring sight to the blind man, speaking with the publican, saving the life of the woman caught in adultery and demanding that the injured wayfarer be cared for, makes us understand that every human being, independent of his or her physical, spiritual or social condition, is worthy of respect and consideration. From a Christian perspective, there is a significant relation between the Gospel message and the recognition of human rights in the spirit of those who drafted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Those rights are premised on the nature objectively shared by the human race. They were proclaimed in order to remove the barriers that divide the human family and to favour what the Church’s social doctrine calls integral human development, since it entails fostering “the development of each man and of the whole man… and humanity as a whole”.[7] A reductive vision of the human person, on the other hand, opens the way to the growth of injustice, social inequality and corruption.

It should be noted, however, that over the years, particularly in the wake of the social upheaval of the 1960’s, the interpretation of some rights has progressively changed, with the inclusion of a number of “new rights” that not infrequently conflict with one another. This has not always helped the promotion of friendly relations between nations,[8] since debatable notions of human rights have been advanced that are at odds with the culture of many countries; the latter feel that they are not respected in their social and cultural traditions, and instead neglected with regard to the real needs they have to face. Somewhat paradoxically, there is a risk that, in the very name of human rights, we will see the rise of modern forms of ideological colonization by the stronger and the wealthier, to the detriment of the poorer and the most vulnerable. At the same time, it should be recalled that the traditions of individual peoples cannot be invoked as a pretext for disregarding the due respect for the fundamental rights proclaimed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

At a distance of seventy years, it is painful to see how many fundamental rights continue to be violated today. First among all of these is the right of every human person to life, liberty and personal security.[9] It is not only war or violence that infringes these rights. In our day, there are more subtle means: I think primarily of innocent children discarded even before they are born, unwanted at times simply because they are ill or malformed, or as a result of the selfishness of adults. I think of the elderly, who are often cast aside, especially when infirm and viewed as a burden. I think of women who repeatedly suffer from violence and oppression, even within their own families. I think too of the victims of human trafficking, which violates the prohibition of every form of slavery. How many persons, especially those fleeing from poverty and war, have fallen prey to such commerce perpetrated by unscrupulous individuals?

Defending the right to life and physical integrity also means safeguarding the right to health on the part of individuals and their families. Today this right has assumed implications beyond the original intentions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which sought to affirm the right of every individual to receive medical care and necessary social services.[10] In this regard, it is my hope that efforts will be made within the appropriate international forums to facilitate, in the first place, ready access to medical care and treatment on the part of all. It is important to join forces in order to implement policies that ensure, at affordable costs, the provision of medicines essential for the survival of those in need, without neglecting the area of research and the development of treatments that, albeit not financially profitable, are essential for saving human lives.

Defending the right to life also entails actively striving for peace, universally recognized as one of the supreme values to be sought and defended. Yet serious local conflicts continue to flare up in various parts of the world. The collective efforts of the international community, the humanitarian activities of international organizations and the constant pleas for peace rising from lands rent by violence seem to be less and less effective in the face of war’s perverse logic. This scenario cannot be allowed to diminish our desire and our efforts for peace. For without peace, integral human development becomes unattainable.

Integral disarmament and integral development are intertwined. Indeed, the quest for peace as a precondition for development requires battling injustice and eliminating, in a non-violent way, the causes of discord that lead to wars. The proliferation of weapons clearly aggravates situations of conflict and entails enormous human and material costs that undermine development and the search for lasting peace. The historic result achieved last year with the adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons at the conclusion of the United Nations Conference for negotiating a legally binding instrument to ban nuclear arms, shows how lively the desire for peace continues to be. The promotion of a culture of peace for integral development calls for unremitting efforts in favour of disarmament and the reduction of recourse to the use of armed force in the handling of international affairs. I would therefore like to encourage a serene and wide-ranging debate on the subject, one that avoids polarizing the international community on such a sensitive issue. Every effort in this direction, however modest, represents an important step for mankind.

For its part, the Holy See signed and ratified, also in the name of and on behalf of Vatican City State, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. It did so in the belief, expressed by Saint John XXIII in Pacem in Terris, that “justice, right reason, and the recognition of man’s dignity cry out insistently for a cessation to the arms race. The stockpiles of armaments which have been built up in various countries must be reduced all round and simultaneously by the parties concerned. Nuclear weapons must be banned”.[11] Indeed, even if “it is difficult to believe that anyone would dare to assume responsibility for initiating the appalling slaughter and destruction that war would bring in its wake, there is no denying that the conflagration could be started by some chance and unforeseen circumstance”.[12]

The Holy See therefore reiterates the firm conviction “that any disputes which may arise between nations must be resolved by negotiation and agreement, not by recourse to arms”.[13] The constant production of ever more advanced and “refined” weaponry, and dragging on of numerous conflicts – what I have referred to as “a third world war fought piecemeal” – lead us to reaffirm Pope John’s statement that “in this age which boasts of its atomic power, it no longer makes sense to maintain that war is a fit instrument with which to repair the violation of justice… Nevertheless, we are hopeful that, by establishing contact with one another and by a policy of negotiation, nations will come to a better recognition of the natural ties that bind them together as men. We are hopeful, too, that they will come to a fairer realization of one of the cardinal duties deriving from our common nature: namely, that love, not fear, must dominate the relationships between individuals and between nations. It is principally characteristic of love that it draws men together in all sorts of ways, sincerely united in the bonds of mind and matter; and this is a union from which countless blessings can flow”.[14]

In this regard, it is of paramount importance to support every effort at dialogue on the Korean peninsula, in order to find new ways of overcoming the current disputes, increasing mutual trust and ensuring a peaceful future for the Korean people and the entire world.

It is also important for the various peace initiatives aimed at helping Syria to continue, in a constructive climate of growing trust between the parties, so that the lengthy conflict that has caused such immense suffering can finally come to an end. Our shared hope is that, after so much destruction, the time for rebuilding has now come. Yet even more than rebuilding material structures, it is necessary to rebuild hearts, to re-establish the fabric of mutual trust, which is the essential prerequisite for the flourishing of any society. There is a need, then, to promote the legal, political and security conditions that restore a social life where every citizen, regardless of ethnic and religious affiliation, can take part in the development of the country. In this regard, it is vital that religious minorities be protected, including Christians, who for centuries have made an active contribution to Syria’s history.

It is likewise important that the many refugees who have found shelter and refuge in neighbouring countries, especially in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, be able to return home. The commitment and efforts made by these countries in this difficult situation deserve the appreciation and support of the entire international community, which is also called upon to create the conditions for the repatriation of Syrian refugees. This effort must concretely start with Lebanon, so that that beloved country can continue to be a “message” of respect and coexistence, and a model to imitate, for the whole region and for the entire world.

The desire for dialogue is also necessary in beloved Iraq, to enable its various ethnic and religious groups to rediscover the path of reconciliation and peaceful coexistence and cooperation. Such is the case too in Yemen and other parts of the region, and in Afghanistan.

I think in particular of Israelis and Palestinians, in the wake of the tensions of recent weeks. The Holy See, while expressing sorrow for the loss of life in recent clashes, renews its pressing appeal that every initiative be carefully weighed so as to avoid exacerbating hostilities, and calls for a common commitment to respect, in conformity with the relevant United Nations Resolutions, the status quo of Jerusalem, a city sacred to Christians, Jews and Muslims. Seventy years of confrontation make more urgent than ever the need for a political solution that allows the presence in the region of two independent states within internationally recognized borders. Despite the difficulties, a willingness to engage in dialogue and to resume negotiations remains the clearest way to achieving at last a peaceful coexistence between the two peoples.

In national contexts, too, openness and availability to encounter are essential. I think especially of Venezuela, which is experiencing an increasingly dramatic and unprecedented political and humanitarian crisis. The Holy See, while urging an immediate response to the primary needs of the population, expresses the hope that conditions will be created so that the elections scheduled for this year can resolve the existing conflicts, and enable people to look to the future with newfound serenity.

Nor can the international community overlook the suffering of many parts of the African continent, especially in South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Nigeria and the Central African Republic, where the right to life is threatened by the indiscriminate exploitation of resources, terrorism, the proliferation of armed groups and protracted conflicts. It is not enough to be appalled at such violence. Rather, everyone, in his or her own situation, should work actively to eliminate the causes of misery and build bridges of fraternity, the fundamental premise for authentic human development.

A shared commitment to rebuilding bridges is also urgent in Ukraine. The year just ended reaped new victims in the conflict that afflicts the country, continuing to bring great suffering to the population, particularly to families who live in areas affected by the war and have lost their loved ones, not infrequently the elderly and children.

I would like to devote a special thought to families. The right to form a family, as a “natural and fundamental group unit of society… is entitled to protection by society and the state”,[15] and is recognized by the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Unfortunately, it is a fact that, especially in the West, the family is considered an obsolete institution. Today fleeting relationships are preferred to the stability of a definitive life project. But a house built on the sand of frail and fickle relationships cannot stand. What is needed instead is a rock on which to build solid foundations. And this rock is precisely that faithful and indissoluble communion of love that joins man and woman, a communion that has an austere and simple beauty, a sacred and inviolable character and a natural role in the social order.[16] I consider it urgent, then, that genuine policies be adopted to support the family, on which the future and the development of states depend. Without this, it is not possible to create societies capable of meeting the challenges of the future. Disregard for families has another dramatic effect – particularly present in some parts of the world – namely, a decline in the birth rate. We are experiencing a true demographic winter! This is a sign of societies that struggle to face the challenges of the present, and thus become ever more fearful of the future, with the result that they close in on themselves.

At the same time, we cannot forget the situation of families torn apart by poverty, war and migration. All too often, we see with our own eyes the tragedy of children who, unaccompanied, cross the borders between the south and the north of our world, and often fall victim to human trafficking.

Today there is much talk about migrants and migration, at times only for the sake of stirring up primal fears. It must not be forgotten that migration has always existed. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, the history of salvation is essentially a history of migration. Nor should we forget that freedom of movement, for example, the ability to leave one’s own country and to return there, is a fundamental human right.[17] There is a need, then, to abandon the familiar rhetoric and start from the essential consideration that we are dealing, above all, with persons.

This is what I sought to reiterate in my Message for the World Day of Peace celebrated on 1 January last, whose theme this year is: “Migrants and Refugees: Men and Women in Search of Peace”. While acknowledging that not everyone is always guided by the best of intentions, we must not forget that the majority of migrants would prefer to remain in their homeland. Instead, they find themselves “forced by discrimination, persecution, poverty and environmental degradation” to leave it behind… “Welcoming others requires concrete commitment, a network of assistance and good will, vigilant and sympathetic attention, the responsible management of new and complex situations that at times compound numerous existing problems, to say nothing of resources, which are always limited. By practising the virtue of prudence, government leaders should take practical measures to welcome, promote, protect, integrate and, ‘within the limits allowed by a correct understanding of the common good, to permit [them] to become part of a new society’ (Pacem in Terris, 57). Leaders have a clear responsibility towards their own communities, whose legitimate rights and harmonious development they must ensure, lest they become like the rash builder who miscalculated and failed to complete the tower he had begun to construct” (cf. Lk 14:28-30).[18]

I would like once more to thank the authorities of those states who have spared no effort in recent years to assist the many migrants arriving at their borders. I think above all of the efforts made by more than a few countries in Asia, Africa and the Americas that welcome and assist numerous persons. I cherish vivid memories of my meeting in Dhaka with some members of the Rohingya people, and I renew my sentiments of gratitude to the Bangladeshi authorities for the assistance provided to them on their own territory.

I would also like to express particular gratitude to Italy, which in these years has shown an open and generous heart and offered positive examples of integration. It is my hope that the difficulties that the country has experienced in these years, and whose effects are still felt, will not lead to forms of refusal and obstruction, but instead to a rediscovery of those roots and traditions that have nourished the rich history of the nation and constitute a priceless treasure offered to the whole world. I likewise express my appreciation for the efforts made by other European states, particularly Greece and Germany. Nor must it be forgotten that many refugees and migrants seek to reach Europe because they know that there they will find peace and security, which for that matter are the fruit of a lengthy process born of the ideals of the Founding Fathers of the European project in the aftermath of the Second World War. Europe should be proud of this legacy, grounded on certain principles and a vision of man rooted in its millenary history, inspired by the Christian conception of the human person. The arrival of migrants should spur Europe to recover its cultural and religious heritage, so that, with a renewed consciousness of the values on which the continent was built, it can keep alive her own tradition while continuing to be a place of welcome, a herald of peace and of development.

In the past year, governments, international organizations and civil society have engaged in discussions about the basic principles, priorities and most suitable means for responding to movements of migration and the enduring situations involving refugees. The United Nations, following the 2016 New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, has initiated important preparations for the adoption of the two Global Compacts for refugees and for safe, orderly and regular migration respectively.

The Holy See trusts that these efforts, with the negotiations soon to begin, will lead to results worthy of a world community growing ever more independent and grounded in the principles of solidarity and mutual assistance. In the current international situation, ways and means are not lacking to ensure that every man and every woman on earth can enjoy living conditions worthy of the human person.

In the Message for this year’s World Day of Peace, I suggested four “mileposts” for action: welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating.[19] I would like to dwell particularly on the last of these, which has given rise to various opposed positions in the light of varying evaluations, experiences, concerns and convictions. Integration is a “two-way process”, entailing reciprocal rights and duties. Those who welcome are called to promote integral human development, while those who are welcomed must necessarily conform to the rules of the country offering them hospitality, with respect for its identity and values. Processes of integration must always keep the protection and advancement of persons, especially those in situations of vulnerability, at the centre of the rules governing various aspects of political and social life.

The Holy See has no intention of interfering in decisions that fall to states, which, in the light of their respective political, social and economic situations, and their capacities and possibilities for receiving and integrating, have the primary responsibility for accepting newcomers. Nonetheless, the Holy See does consider it its role to appeal to the principles of humanity and fraternity at the basis of every cohesive and harmonious society. In this regard, its interaction with religious communities, on the level of institutions and associations, should not be forgotten, since these can play a valuable supportive role in assisting and protecting, in social and cultural mediation, and in pacification and integration.

Among the human rights that I would also like to mention today is the right to freedom of thought, conscience and of religion, including the freedom to change religion.[20] Sad to say, it is well-known that the right to religious freedom is often disregarded, and not infrequently religion becomes either an occasion for the ideological justification of new forms of extremism or a pretext for the social marginalization of believers, if not their downright persecution. The condition for building inclusive societies is the integral comprehension of the human person, who can feel himself or herself truly accepted when recognized and accepted in all the dimensions that constitute his or her identity, including the religious dimension.

Finally, I wish to recall the importance of the right to employment. There can be no peace or development if individuals are not given the chance to contribute personally by their own labour to the growth of the common good. Regrettably, in many parts of the world, employment is scarcely available. At times, few opportunities exist, especially for young people, to find work. Often it is easily lost not only due to the effects of alternating economic cycles, but to the increasing use of ever more perfect and precise technologies and tools that can replace human beings. On the one hand, we note an inequitable distribution of the work opportunities, while on the other, a tendency to demand of labourers an ever more pressing pace. The demands of profit, dictated by globalization, have led to a progressive reduction of times and days of rest, with the result that a fundamental dimension of life has been lost – that of rest – which serves to regenerate persons not only physically but also spiritually. God himself rested on the seventh day; he blessed and consecrated that day “because on it he rested from all the work that he had done in creation” (Gen 2:3). In the alternation of exertion and repose, human beings share in the “sanctification of time” laid down by God and ennoble their work, saving it from constant repetition and dull daily routine.

A cause for particular concern are the data recently published by the International Labour Organization regarding the increase of child labourers and victims of the new forms of slavery. The scourge of juvenile employment continues to compromise gravely the physical and psychological development of young people, depriving them of the joys of childhood and reaping innocent victims. We cannot think of planning a better future, or hope to build more inclusive societies, if we continue to maintain economic models directed to profit alone and the exploitation of those who are most vulnerable, such as children. Eliminating the structural causes of this scourge should be a priority of governments and international organizations, which are called to intensify efforts to adopt integrated strategies and coordinated policies aimed at putting an end to child labour in all its forms.

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

In recalling some of the rights contained in the 1948 Universal Declaration, I do not mean to overlook one of its important aspects, namely, the recognition that every individual also has duties towards the community, for the sake of “meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society”.[21] The just appeal to the rights of each human being must take into account the fact that every individual is part of a greater body. Our societies too, like every human body, enjoy good health if each member makes his or her own contribution in the awareness that it is at the service of the common good.

Among today’s particularly pressing duties is that of caring for our earth. We know that nature can itself be cruel, even apart from human responsibility. We saw this in the past year with the earthquakes that struck different parts of our world, especially those of recent months in Mexico and in Iran, with their high toll of victims, and with the powerful hurricanes that struck different countries of the Caribbean, also reaching the coast of the United States, and, more recently, the Philippines. Even so, one must not downplay the importance of our own responsibility in interaction with nature. Climate changes, with the global rise in temperatures and their devastating effects, are also a consequence of human activity. Hence there is a need to take up, in a united effort, the responsibility of leaving to coming generations a more beautiful and livable world, and to work, in the light of the commitments agreed upon in Paris in 2015, for the reduction of gas emissions that harm the atmosphere and human health.

The spirit that must guide individuals and nations in this effort can be compared to that of the builders of the medieval cathedrals that dot the landscape of Europe. These impressive buildings show the importance of each individual taking part in a work that transcends the limits of time. The builders of the cathedrals knew that they would not see the completion of their work. Yet they worked diligently, in the knowledge that they were part of a project that would be left to their children to enjoy. These, in turn, would embellish and expand it for their own children. Each man and woman in this world – particularly those with governmental responsibilities – is called to cultivate the same spirit of service and intergenerational solidarity, and in this way to be a sign of hope for our troubled world.

With these thoughts, I renew to each of you, to your families and to your peoples, my prayerful good wishes for a year filled with joy, hope and peace. Thank you.

_____________

[1] Cf. JOHN XXIII, Encyclical Letter Pacem in Terris, 11 April 1963, 90.

[2] Ibid., 80.

[3] Ibid., 86.

[4] Ibid., 91.

[5] Cf. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 10 December 1948.

[6] Ibid. Preamble.

[7] PAUL VI, Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio, 26 March 1967, 14.

[8] Cf. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Preamble.

[9] Cf. ibid., Art.3.

[10] Cf. ibid., Art. 25.

[11] Pacem in Terris, 112.

[12] Ibid., 111.

[13] Ibid., 126.

[14] Ibid., 127 and 129.

[15] Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Art. 16.

[16] Cf. PAUL VI, Address in the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth, 5 January 1964.

[17] Cf. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Art. 13.

[18] FRANCIS, Message for the 2018 World Day of Peace, 13 November 2017, 1.

[19] Ibid., 4.

[20] Cf. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Art. 18.

[21] Ibid., Art. 29.

 

Personally PopeWatch would like a Pope who would address certain ambassadors as Pope Julius II in the Agony and the Ecstasy addressed the French Ambassador:

 

Julius II:  You may tell your master,
the King of France...
that I have looked up the Cardinal
Clermont in Sant'Angelo...
because he is no
better than a spy.
I know where the loyalty
of you French cardinals lie!
You belong with you King,
not with your church.
Don't tempt me to provide
you both with similar lodgings.
French Ambassador:  My master will be
deeply distressed...
when I report Your Holiness's
words to him.
Julius II: Remind your master
that I am at war...
and I will remain at war until
I have recovered the Papal States...
for the Church!
Every city, every village,
every foot of ground.
And I will stand no interference
from your master, or anyone else.
French Ambassador:  The King of France wishes
Your Holiness every success...
...in your enterprise.
Julius II:  - Yes, and spies on me...
in my own court, stirs up my
enemies throughout Italy...
and even boasts in private
that he will put a Frenchman...
on the throne of Peter and before
long make me his chaplain!
French Ambassador:  But His Majesty entertains nothing
but veneration for Your Holiness.
Julius II:  His Majesty called
me anti-Christ...
that only a stick on my back
would keep me in order.
Let him learn that
I too carry a stick.
Let him learn that I am the Pope!
The audience is over.


 

5

Google is Evil

James Damore, an engineer who was fired by Google after challenging the reigning political orthodoxy of Google, has filed a class action lawsuit against Google, alleging that it discriminates against conservatives and white males.

This suit is filed in California where political discrimination against workers is illegal.  This could get very interesting very fast.  Go here to read the 161 pages of the Complaint.  The Complaint paints a picture of a N.I.C.E. corporation.  CS Lewis was a prophet.  From the lawsuit:

 

“For instance, an employee who sexually identifies as ‘a yellow-scaled wingless dragonkin’ and ‘an expansive ornate building’ presented a talk entitled ‘Living as a Plural Being’ at an internal company event.”

11

Margaret Sanger Is Smiling

Birth Control is not contraception indiscriminately and thoughtlessly practiced. It means the release and cultivation of the better racial elements in our society, and the gradual suppression, elimination and eventual extirpation of defective stocks — those human weeds which threaten the blooming of the finest flowers of American civilization.

Margaret Sanger, April 8, 1923, New York Times

Hattip to co-blogger Paul Zummo.  Planned Parenthood Worse Than Murder Inc. has a long history of targeting blacks.  And the beat goes on in the blood money industry:

 

Leading Ohio abortion provider Preterm launched a new campaign this week “invit[ing] our community to reflect on the powerful role that abortion plays in people’s lives.” According to their “My Abortion, My Life” website, they asked themselves:

“What does abortion really mean to people? What is abortion?” But we couldn’t choose just one answer.

Preterm’s 16 “answers” to the “What is abortion?” question are featured on billboards supposedly “throughout Cleveland.”

Good medicine? For whom??

Necessary??

Preterm says each billboard:

“highlight[s] the variety of ways abortion is important to our lives. Abortion may be many things, but one thing it isn’t is one size fits all. Abortion is all of the above!”

But to whom is abortion important? To whom is it necessary and good medicine? An article in Cleveland.com says the purpose of the campaign is to “shift the public conversation on abortion away from the black-and-white political rhetoric.”

 

 

According to local talk radio host Darvio Morrow and others, the billboards are placed almost exclusively in black neighborhoods.

“They are outright targeting black people and trying to put a happy face on abortion. I am appalled by this.”

One resident called Preterm out, saying, “you do NOT see this in Moreland Hills, Beechwood, Solon, or other well-to-do areas. Sometimes I hate the area that I live in but I despise the agenda behind what’s advertised here even more.”

 

 

Go here to read the rest.  Abortion never strays far from its eugenist roots.

 

3

PopeWatch: Kolvenbach

Sandro Magister delves into the Pope’s life in Argentina:

 

One of the passages of “The Dictator Pope” that has raised the biggest uproar is the one in which the author lifts the veil on the judgment on Bergoglio written in 1991 by the superior general of the Society of Jesus, Peter Hans Kolvenbach (1928-2016) of the Netherlands, in the course of the secret consultations for and against the appointment of Bergoglio as auxiliary bishop of Buenos Aires.

The pseudonymous Marcantonio Colonna writes:

“The text of the report has never been made public, but the following account is given by a priest who had access to it before it disappeared from the Jesuit archive: Father Kolvenbach accused Bergoglio of a series of defects, ranging from habitual use of vulgar language to deviousness, disobedience concealed under a mask of humility, and lack of psychological balance; with a view to his suitability as a future bishop, the report pointed out that he had been a divisive figure as Provincial of his own order.”

Too little and too vague. Beyond doubt, however, is the existence of a judgment on Bergoglio that the Vatican authorities requested from Kolvenbach in view of his appointment as bishop.

Just as beyond doubt is the severe friction that existed between the ordinary Jesuit at the time and his superiors of the Society of Jesus, both in Argentina and in Rome.

Abundant, solid, and concurrent information on this friction is provided by other biographies of Bergoglio, not suspect of preconceived hostilities, because they were written by authors very close to him or were even reviewed by him in the course of their composition.

This latter is the case, in particular, with the volume “Aquel Francisco,” written by the Argentines Javier Cámara and Sebastián Pfaffen with the pope’s supervision, dedicated precisely to the years of Bergoglio’s greatest isolation within the society of Jesus.

It does not cover up the fact that Jesuits who were opposed to him went so far as to circulate the rumor that Bergoglio had been sent into exile in Córdoba “because he was sick, crazy.”

But it is completely silent on the judgment against his appointment as bishop written by Jesuit general Kolvenbach, whose name does not appear even once in the more than 300 pages of the book.

 

Go here to read the rest.  An odd feature of this very odd papacy, is how little exploration there has been of the biography of the man who has been pontiff for almost five years.  Basic facts of his biography remain either unknown or uncertain.  This lack of curiosity is unprecedented for a modern pope.

3

Darkest Hour: A Review

Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and if, which I do not for a moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.

Winston Churchill, June 4, 1940

 

 

My bride and I and our son saw Darkest Hour on December 23, 2017.  It is a very good film, perhaps a great one.  My review is below the fold.  The usual caveat as to spoilers is in full effect. Continue Reading

9

October 30, 1918: Theodore Roosevelt Responds to the Fourteen Points

 

 

As the War was nearing its close, Theodore Roosevelt responded in the Kansas City Star with a blistering assessment of  the Fourteen Points that President Wilson was seeking to make the basis of the peace:

 

THE European nations have been told that the fourteen points enumerated in President Wilson’s message of January last are to be the basis of peace. It is, therefore, possible that Americans may like to know what they are. It is even possible that they may like to guess what they mean, although I am not certain that such guessing is permitted by the Postmaster-General and the Attorney-General under the new theory of making democracy safe for all kinds of peoples abroad who have never heard of it by interpreting democracy at home as meaning that it is unlawful for the people to express any except favorable opinions of the way in which the public servants of the people transact the public business. The first point forbids ” all private international understandings of any kind,” and says there must be ” open covenants of peace, openly arrived at,” and announces that ” diplomacy shall always proceed frankly in the public view.” The President has recently waged war on Haiti and San Domingo and rendered democracy within these two small former republics and has kept all that he has done in the matter absolutely secret. If he means what he says, he will at once announce what open covenant of peace he has openly arrived at with these two little republics, which he has deprived of their right of self-determination. He will also announce what public international understanding, if any, he now has with these two republics, whose soil he is at present occupying with the armed forces of the United States and hundreds of whose citizens have been killed by these armed forces. If he has no such public understanding, he will tell us why, and whether he has any private international understanding, or whether he invaded and conquered them and deprived them of the right of self- determination without any attempt to reach any understanding, either private or public.

Moreover, he has just sent abroad on a diplomatic mission Mr. House, of Texas. Mr. House is not in the public service of the Nation, but he is in the private service of Mr. Wilson. He is usually
called Colonel House. In his official or semi-official biography, published in an ardently admiring New York paper, it is explained that he was once appointed colonel on a governor s staff, but carried his dislike of military ostentation to the point of giving his uniform to a negro servant to wear on social occasions. This attitude of respect for the uniform makes the President feel that he is peculiarly fit to negotiate on behalf of our fighting men abroad for whom the uniform is sacred. Associated with him is an editor of the New York World, which paper has recently been busy in denouncing as foolish the demand made by so many Americans for unconditional surrender by Germany.

I do not doubt that these two gentlemen possess charming social attributes and much private worth, but as they are sent over on a diplomatic mission, presumably vitally affecting the whole country, and as their instructions and purposes are shrouded in
profound mystery, it seems permissible to ask President Wilson why in this particular instance diplomacy does not ” proceed frankly in the public view ” ?

This first one of the fourteen points offers such an illuminating opportunity to test promise as to the future by performance in the present that I have considered it at some length. The other thirteen points and the subsequent points laid down as further requirements for peace I shall briefly take up in another article. Continue Reading

3

Quotes Suitable For Framing: Petronius

To Nero, Emperor of Rome, Master of the World, Divine Pontiff. I know that my death will be a disappointment to you, since you wished to render me this service yourself. To be born in your reign is a miscalculation; but to die in it is a joy. I can forgive you for murdering your wife and your mother, for burning our beloved Rome, for befouling our fair country with the stench of your crimes. But one thing I cannot forgive – the boredom of having to listen to your verses, your second-rate songs, your mediocre performances. Adhere to your special gifts, Nero – murder and arson, betrayal and terror. Mutilate your subjects if you must; but with my last breath I beg you – do not mutilate the arts. Fare well, but compose no more music. Brutalize the people, but do not bore them, as you have bored to death your friend, the late Gaius Petronius.

Fictional farewell letter from Petronius, the arbiter of taste, to Nero as set forth in the novel Quo Vadis.  Petronius did send a scathing farewell letter to Nero before his suicide, brought on by his alleged involvement in plot to assassinate Nero, but the contents are lost to history, alas.

6

PopeWatch: Obvious

Phil Lawler, who has a book out about Pope Francis next month, has a telling anecdote that he relates at Catholic Culture:

 

 

How popular is Pope Francis? With the public? With bishops and priests? With young seminarians? Ask different people, and you’ll get different answers. It’s hard to gain an accurate reading.

But here’s a remarkably revealing clue, nearly hidden in a feel-good story about an American seminarian, Nick Sentovich, who is a 3rd-year student at the North American College in Rome, “and like all third-year seminarians, he was given the opportunity to assist during the papal Mass on Christmas Eve.”

Usually, a lottery decides who will serve during the Christmas Eve Mass, but there weren’t enough students who expressed interest this year, Sentovich said, so everyone who applied was accepted.

Emphasis added, obviously. But that’s not the only thing that should be obvious. Continue Reading

2

January 8, 1918: Wilson’s Fourteen Points Speech

Without a doubt the most consequential speech he ever delivered, Wilson’s Fourteen Point Speech has been carefully analyzed and debated since it was given a century ago.  Delivered to a joint session of Congress, the speech clearly laid out the war aims of the US.  The Fourteen Points quickly caught the imagination of most of the American people and proved highly popular among the populations in Allied nations.  Ultimately Imperial Germany in November 1918, looking at looming military defeat, sued for peace on the basis of the Fourteen Points.  Bearing more than a passing resemblance to the peace plan proposed by Pope Benedict XV, go here to read about it, in 1917, practical statesman, like Theodore Roosevelt, Lloyd George, and Georges Clemenceau, would privately doubt the possibility of the application of all of the Fourteen Points in this fallen world, but neither they, nor any of the critics of the Fourteen Points, then or since, could doubt the impact of the Fourteen Points as that year of destiny, 1918, unfolded.  Here is the text of Wilson’s speech:

 

 

 

Gentlemen of the Congress:

Once more, as repeatedly before, the spokesmen of the Central Empires have indicated their desire to discuss the objects of the war and the possible bases of a general peace. Parleys have been in progress at Brest-Litovsk between Russian representatives and representatives of the Central Powers to which the attention of all the belligerents has been invited for the purpose of ascertaining whether it may be possible to extend these parleys into a general conference with regard to terms of peace and settlement. The Russian representatives presented not only a perfectly definite statement of the principles upon which they would be willing to conclude peace but also an equally definite program of the concrete application of those principles. The representatives of the Central Powers, on their part, presented an outline of settlement which, if much less definite, seemed susceptible of liberal interpretation until their specific program of practical terms was added. That program proposed no concessions at all either to the sovereignty of Russia or to the preferences of the populations with whose fortunes it dealt, but meant, in a word, that the Central Empires were to keep every foot of territory their armed forces had occupied,—every province, every city, every point of vantage,—as a permanent addition to their territories and their power. It is a reasonable conjecture that the general principles of settlement which they at first suggested originated with the more liberal statesmen of Germany and Austria, the men who have begun to feel the force of their own peoples’ thought and purpose, while the concrete terms of actual settlement came from the military leaders who have no thought but to keep what they have got. The negotiations have been broken off. The Russian representatives were sincere and in earnest. They cannot entertain such proposals of conquest and domination.

The whole incident is full of significance. It is also full of perplexity. With whom are the Russian representatives dealing? For whom are the representatives of the Central Empires speaking? Are they speaking for the majorities of their respective parliaments or for the minority parties, that military and imperialistic minority which has so far dominated their whole policy and controlled the affairs of Turkey and of the Balkan states which have felt obliged to become their associates in this war? The Russian representatives have insisted, very justly, very wisely, and in the true spirit of modern democracy, that the conferences they have been holding with the Teutonic and Turkish statesmen should be held within open, not closed, doors, and all the world has been audience, as was desired. To whom have we been listening, then? To those who speak the spirit and intention of the Resolutions of the German Reichstag of the ninth of July last, the spirit and intention of the liberal leaders and parties of Germany, or to those who resist and defy that spirit and intention and insist upon conquest and subjugation? Or are we listening, in fact, to both, unreconciled and in open and hopeless contradiction? These are very serious and pregnant questions. Upon the answer to them depends the peace of the world.

But, whatever the results of the parleys at Brest-Litovsk, whatever the confusions of counsel and of purpose in the utterances of the spokesmen of the Central Empires, they have again attempted to acquaint the world with their objects in the war and have again challenged their adversaries to say what their objects are and what sort of settlement they would deem just and satisfactory. There is no good reason why that challenge should not be responded to, and responded to with the utmost candor. We did not wait for it. Not once, but again and again, we have laid our whole thought and purpose before the world, not in general terms only, but each time with sufficient definition to make it clear what sort of definitive terms of settlement must necessarily spring out of them. Within the last week Mr. Lloyd George has spoken with admirable candor and in admirable spirit for the people and Government of Great Britain. There is no confusion of counsel among the adversaries of the Central Powers, no uncertainty of principle, no vagueness of detail. The only secrecy of counsel, the only lack of fearless frankness, the only failure to make definite statement of the objects of the war, lies with Germany and her Allies. The issues of life and death hang upon these definitions. No statesman who has the least conception of his responsibility ought for a moment to permit himself to continue this tragical and appalling outpouring of blood and treasure unless he is sure beyond a peradventure that the objects of the vital sacrifice are part and parcel of the very life of society and that the people for whom he speaks think them right and imperative as he does.

There is, moreover, a voice calling for these definitions of principle and of purpose which is, it seems to me, more thrilling and more compelling than any of the many moving voices with which the troubled air of the world is filled. It is the voice of the Russian people. They are prostrate and all but helpless, it would seem, before the grim power of Germany, which has hitherto known no relenting and no pity. Their power, apparently, is shattered. And yet their soul is not subservient. They will not yield either in principle or in action. Their conception of what is right, of what it is humane and honorable for them to accept, has been stated with a frankness, a largeness of view, a generosity of spirit, and a universal human sympathy which must challenge the admiration of every friend of mankind; and they have refused to compound their ideals or desert others that they themselves may be safe. They call to us to say what it is that we desire, in what, if in anything, our purpose and our spirit differ from theirs; and I believe that the people of the United States would wish me to respond, with utter simplicity and frankness. Whether their present leaders believe it or not, it is our heartfelt desire and hope that some way may be opened whereby we may be privileged to assist the people of Russia to attain their utmost hope of liberty and ordered peace.

It will be our wish and purpose that the processes of peace, when they are begun, shall be absolutely open and that they shall involve and permit henceforth no secret understandings of any kind. The day of conquest and aggrandizement is gone by; so is also the day of secret covenants entered into in the interest of particular governments and likely at some unlooked-for moment to upset the peace of the world. It is this happy fact, now clear to the view of every public man whose thoughts do not still linger in an age that is dead and gone, which makes it possible for every nation whose purposes are consistent with justice and the peace of the world to avow now or at any other time the objects it has in view.

We entered this war because violations of right had occurred which touched us to the quick and made the life of our own people impossible unless they were corrected and the world secured once for all against their recurrence. What we demand in this war, therefore, is nothing peculiar to ourselves. It is that the world be made fit and safe to live in; and particularly that it be made safe for every peace-loving nation which, like our own, wishes to live its own life, determine its own institutions, be assured of justice and fair dealing by the other peoples of the world as against force and selfish aggression. All the peoples of the world are in effect partners in this interest, and for our own part we see very clearly that unless justice be done to others it will not be done to us. The program of the world’s peace, therefore, is our program; and that program, the only possible program, as we see it, is this:

I. Open covenants of peace, openly arrived at, after which there shall be no private international understandings of any kind, but diplomacy shall proceed always frankly and in the public view.

II. Absolute freedom of navigation upon the seas, outside territorial waters, alike in peace and in war, except as the seas may be closed in whole or in part by international action for the enforcement of international covenants.

III. The removal, so far as possible, of all economic barriers and the establishment of an equality of trade conditions among all the nations consenting to the peace and associating themselves for its maintenance.

IV. Adequate guarantees given and taken that national armaments will be reduced to the lowest point consistent with domestic safety.

V. A free, open-minded, and absolutely impartial adjustment of all colonial claims, based upon a strict observance of the principle that in determining all such questions of sovereignty the interests of the populations concerned must have equal weight with the equitable claims of the government whose title is to be determined.

VI. The evacuation of all Russian territory and such a settlement of all questions affecting Russia as will secure the best and freest coцperation of the other nations of the world in obtaining for her an unhampered and unembarrassed opportunity for the independent determination of her own political development and national policy and assure her of a sincere welcome into the society of free nations under institutions of her own choosing; and, more than a welcome, assistance also of every kind that she may need and may herself desire. The treatment accorded Russia by her sister nations in the months to come will be the acid test of their good will, of their comprehension of her needs as distinguished from their own interests, and of their intelligent and unselfish sympathy.

VII. Belgium, the whole world will agree, must be evacuated and restored, without any attempt to limit the sovereignty which she enjoys in common with all other free nations. No other single act will serve as this will serve to restore confidence among the nations in the laws which they have themselves set and determined for the government of their relations with one another. Without this healing act the whole structure and validity of international law is forever impaired.

VIII. All French territory should be freed and the invaded portions restored, and the wrong done to France by Prussia in 1871 in the matter of Alsace-Lorraine, which has unsettled the peace of the world for nearly fifty years, should be righted, in order that peace may once more be made secure in the interest of all.

IX. A readjustment of the frontiers of Italy should be effected along clearly recognizable lines of nationality.

X. The peoples of Austria-Hungary, whose place among the nations we wish to see safeguarded and assured, should be accorded the freest opportunity of autonomous development.

XI. Rumania, Serbia, and Montenegro should be evacuated; occupied territories restored; Serbia accorded free and secure access to the sea; and the relations of the several Balkan states to one another determined by friendly counsel along historically established lines of allegiance and nationality; and international guarantees of the political and economic independence and territorial integrity of the several Balkan states should be entered into.

XII. The Turkish portions of the present Ottoman Empire should be assured a secure sovereignty, but the other nationalities which are now under Turkish rule should be assured an undoubted security of life and an absolutely unmolested opportunity of autonomous development and the Dardanelles should be permanently opened as a free passage to the ships and commerce of all nations under international guarantees.

XIII. An independent Polish state should be erected which should include the territories inhabited by indisputably Polish populations, which should be assured a free and secure access to the sea, and whose political and economic independence and territorial integrity should be guaranteed by international covenant.

XIV. A general association of nations must be formed under specific covenants for the purpose of affording mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small states alike.

In regard to these essential rectifications of wrong and assertions of right we feel ourselves to be intimate partners of all the governments and peoples associated together against the Imperialists. We cannot be separated in interest or divided in purpose. We stand together until the end.

For such arrangements and covenants we are willing to fight and to continue to fight until they are achieved; but only because we wish the right to prevail and desire a just and stable peace such as can be secured only by removing the chief provocations to war, which this program does remove. We have no jealousy of German greatness, and there is nothing in this program that impairs it. We grudge her no achievement or distinction of learning or of pacific enterprise such as have made her record very bright and very enviable. We do not wish to injure her or to block in any way her legitimate influence or power. We do not wish to fight her either with arms or with hostile arrangements of trade if she is willing to associate herself with us and the other peace-loving nations of the world in covenants of justice and law and fair dealing. We wish her only to accept a place of equality among the peoples of the world,—the new world in which we now live,—instead of a place of mastery.

Neither do we presume to suggest to her any alteration or modification of her institutions. But it is necessary, we must frankly say, and necessary as a preliminary to any intelligent dealings with her on our part, that we should know whom her spokesmen speak for when they speak to us, whether for the Reichstag majority or for the military party and the men whose creed is imperial domination.

We have spoken now, surely, in terms too concrete to admit of any further doubt or question. An evident principle runs through the whole program I have outlined. It is the principle of justice to all peoples and nationalities, and their right to live on equal terms of liberty and safety with one another, whether they be strong or weak. Unless this principle be made its foundation no part of the structure of international justice can stand. The people of the United States could act upon no other principle; and to the vindication of this principle they are ready to devote their lives, their honor, and everything that they possess. The moral climax of this the culminating and final war for human liberty has come, and they are ready to put their own strength, their own highest purpose, their own integrity and devotion to the test.

 

1

Epiphany: Culmination of Prophecies

[1] At the first time the land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephtali was lightly touched: and at the last the way of the sea beyond the Jordan of the Galilee of the Gentiles was heavily loaded. [2] The people that walked in darkness, have seen a great light: to them that dwelt in the region of the shadow of death, light is risen. [3] Thou hast multiplied the nation, and hast not increased the joy. They shall rejoice before thee, as they that rejoice in the harvest, as conquerors rejoice after taking a prey, when they divide the spoils. [4] For the yoke of their burden, and the rod of their shoulder, and the sceptre of their oppressor thou hast overcome, as in the day of Median. [5] For every violent taking of spoils, with tumult, and garment mingled with blood, shall be burnt, and be fuel for the fire.

[6] For a CHILD IS BORN to us, and a son is given to us, and the government is upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called, Wonderful, Counsellor, God the Mighty, the Father of the world to come, the Prince of Peace. [7] His empire shall be multiplied, and there shall be no end of peace: he shall sit upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom; to establish it and strengthen it with judgment and with justice, from henceforth and for ever: the zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

Isaiah 9:  1-7

 

 

Epiphany is a great feast for any number of reasons, but one reason is not often remarked upon as often as it should be in my opinion.  The Three Wise Men were the first gentiles to worship Christ.  Throughout the Old Testament there were statements that when the Messiah came, He would be bringing salvation not only for the Jews but for all people.  From His birth Christ was the light for the Gentiles predicted by Isaiah.

At Epiphany in 412 AD, Saint Augustine hit this point home:

“Therefore, the whole Church of the Gentiles has adopted this day as a feast worthy of most devout celebration, for who were the Magi but the first-fruits of the Gentiles? The shepherds were Israelites; the Magi, Gentiles. The one group came from nearby; the other, from afar. Both, however, were united in [Christ] the cornerstone.”
Prior to the coming of Christ there were signs of what was to come.   in the decades prior to the coming of Christ Gentiles often gathered outside of synagogues to here the teachings about God.  Virgil in his Fourth Eclogue, written in the half century before Christ wrote:
Muses of Sicily, essay we now
A somewhat loftier task! Not all men love
Coppice or lowly tamarisk: sing we woods,
Woods worthy of a Consul let them be.
Now the last age by Cumae’s Sibyl sung
Has come and gone, and the majestic roll
Of circling centuries begins anew:
Justice returns, returns old Saturn’s reign,
With a new breed of men sent down from heaven.
Only do thou, at the boy’s birth in whom
The iron shall cease, the golden race arise,
Befriend him, chaste Lucina; ’tis thine own
Apollo reigns. And in thy consulate,
This glorious age, O Pollio, shall begin,
And the months enter on their mighty march.
Under thy guidance, whatso tracks remain
Of our old wickedness, once done away,
Shall free the earth from never-ceasing fear.
He shall receive the life of gods, and see
Heroes with gods commingling, and himself
Be seen of them, and with his father’s worth
Reign o’er a world at peace.
There was  a generalized belief among the Gentiles just prior to the birth of Christ that a great King was about to born in the East to rule the world.  Suetonius who lived  circa 70AD-130AD refers to this belief in his Life of the Twelve Caesars:
An ancient superstition was current in the East, that out of Judea would come the rulers of the world. The prediction, as it later proved, referred to two Roman Emperors, Vespasian and his son Titus; but the rebellious Jews, who read it as referring to themselves, murdered their Procurator, routed the Governor-general of Syria when he came down to restore order, and captured an Eagle. To crush this uprising the Romans needed a strong army under an energetic commander, who could be trusted not to abuse his plenary powers. The choice fell on Vespasian.
The worship of the Magi was the beginning of the salvation of the Gentiles that had so long been predicted.  What the Prophets had seen as in a glass and darkly was brought to glorious light at the Epiphany.
4

Black Unemployment Lowest on Record

Black unemployment in this country fell to 6.8% in the last quarter of last year.  That is the lowest black unemployment rate since records began to be kept on that subject 45 years ago.  If you haven’t heard about this anyplace else, Dave Griffey at Daffey Thoughts explains why:

The reason the Wolff book is so important

 
Is this.  Yep, the unemployment rate for African Americans is now lower than it has been since tracking began.  The press has under reported this*, and if pushed, I’m sure it will rely on giving credit to Barrack Obama.   Just like the press continued to blame anything wrong during the previous eight years on George Bush. 

Nonetheless, the headline ‘Unemployment lowest ever for African Americans’ is bad optics.  So focusing on Wolff’s book is important.  It must keep our eyes off the ball, off of what is happening, and in the trenches of personal attack and character assassination.

Of course the book is really nothing new. It’s nothing other than an author saying trust him, he talked to people who say what the press, pundits and Trump critics insist people have said for the last year.  And insisting he had access to Trump for around three hours over the course of months of campaigning (do the math).

And it’s nothing we haven’t heard before Donald Trump.  Senility, moron, mentally incapable, unfit for office – I heard in in the 80s with Reagan and Dan Quayle.  I heard it again in the 00s during the Bush administration.  In fact, come to think of it, I notice a trend.  When the Left doesn’t get the person it wants, it uses the press and other surrogates to attack and destroy the individuals who have thwarted their designs.  As this book is supposed to do.

I don’t think Trump is the best type of person we could have by a long shot.  Unfortunately, the best type of people we have produced have become part of the problem, as this old piece observes.  A world with a growing elitist class that cares for itself, and nothing else.  If Trump doesn’t care either, he’s at least shaking things up and, so far, doing things that could help that growing demographic of non-elites that had so woefully fallen behind over the last few decades.

*Except for USA Today, the linked to article, and a handful of local or marginal publications, I’ve not found major outlets running this story.  Those few I found that did address the news were like this WaPo piece, which obviously was trying to downplay and deflect, and keep divides alive.

Go here to comment.  This reminds me that Reagan knew that his economic policies were working when the mainstream media stopped referring to them as Reaganomics.  The mainstream media often bears the same relationship to reality as spam bears to filet mignon.
3

PopeWatch: Recreational Heresy

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

 

 

Roman Catholic dioceses in California began allowing recreational heresy Monday in what has been seen as a milestone in the mainstreaming of dissent.

Lines formed outside churches licensed to allow heresy hours before Mass and CCD times, and RCIA teachers said they had stocked up in expectation of huge demand for new types of heresy.

“There’re bigger crowds here than I saw at all the Christmas masses put together this year,”  said pastor of St. Basil Catholic Church, Matthew Dreyer, whose Legalize Dissent campaign has garnered thousands of followers on social media. “We’ve had dissent for decades now, but we’ve been marginalized to more liberal parishes. Now we can finally come out of the shadows and into the rad trad parishes.”

At one Catholic church in San Diego, hundreds lined up for hours to have a chance to be among the first to teach heresy at an RCIA or CCD class at a liturgically orthodox parish.

“There’s really nothing that the priests can do now to stop it,” said California native, Connie Schick. “The USCCB gave us a voice—they gave us a vote and we did it. Finally, we did it!”

Speaking with EOTT, Dreyer said he expected a 25% bump in dissent overnight, but that it could be as high as 50%.

California is the sixth state to allow the use of recreational heresy, and as one of the largest concentrations of Catholics in the United States, it has been widely seen as the corner stone on which legalization of mainstream heterodoxy will be built in the country.

Go here to read the comments.  PopeWatch managed to get the Pope on the phone for a comment:

“Gringo, I have warned you to stop calling me!  Of course California has embraced recreational heresy.  They are all loons out there, especially the bishops I have appointed.  In the 2005 Conclave I told Mahony that if he didn’t stop chattering I would have to use my rosary as a garotte.  No, you may not quote me!”.  With that, the Holy Father brought the call to an end.

33

Mark Shea Pro-Abort

 

 

At least that is what Shea’s position amounts to:

 

The Nihilist Freak Show of the GOP holds all the cards and runs everything. The only answer their excusers give is “But Democrats!” Nope. I refuse to play this moral equivalence game. Christianists have been seduced by the GOP, not Dems. It’s to them that this false secular messianic cult is enslaved, not to Pelosi or Clinton. And the reality is that prolifers *lie* for them that Roe is just about to be overturned. It is not going to be overturned. But since the prolife movement is blindly committed to the lie that it is, it keep pursuing the same braindead strategy of outlawing abortion instead of asking “Since that will not ever happen, how can we look to other ways of saving the unborn?” And since they stupiidly and wilfully refuse to think, they back an Administration with policies calculated to kill more children. You guys deserve no pity. You deserve a sound thrashing until you wake up and realize that you are the problem, you are the ones now poised to increase abortion. Wake up.

 

Shea hates the GOP so much that he has made his peace with a million abortions a year in this country.  If he had his way, the Democrats would completely control the government, no doubt mandating public funding for all abortions, persecuting pro-lifers and persecuting pro-life churches. So long as the GOP is exterminated, Shea is fine with all of that.   For God’s sake Mark, take a hard look in the mirror, and see what you have become.  Take to heart his statement by one of your readers:

 

What reputable website, let alone a “spiritual” one, would allow the bilious screeds and rantings that emanate from this author? He is feverish and incoherent with hate, bile, vitriol, hysteria and prejudice. He name calls, slanders, lies, demeans and libels anyone who doesn’t agree with him. He calls Christians by the word used by atheists and Islamists (note: I did not say “fellow Christians” because I can find zero evidence that he is a Christian). The first time I read anything he had written, he was hoping Dick Cheney would die in some fashion or another. I was shocked to see this is on a ‘catholic’ site. Yet, he is still here. Why?

His positions, if he has any, are opaque, interlaced in a tangled ball of contempt, inchoate rage and revulsion and his attempts at settling scores (real or imaginary, who can tell). I have never seen this kind of behavior outside comment boxes and yet he is given a platform to spread this muck on Patheos. Patheos allows its site to be corrupted by the click-bait money it receives from allowing this kind of desperate, degenerate one-man freak show. How can they justify this; this man’s words reflect no spirituality at all. Just hate, megatons of never-ending hate. It would be apparent to a 2nd-grader that this man is not “Enjoying” anything, let alone being a Catholic. He debases and discredits the word, “Catholic”. Also, the man obviously needs some very serious help. And prayers.

 

 

11

The Feds Give Us Another Reason Not To Trust Them

I have always looked askance at black helicopters paranoia regarding the Federal government.  Then minions of that government work overtime to make such critics seem reasonable and sane:

The Justice Department was caught in another high-profile travesty last month that continues to reverberate through the western states. On Dec. 20, federal judge Gloria Navarro declared a mistrial in the case against Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and others after prosecutors were caught withholding massive amounts of evidence undermining federal charges. This is the latest in a long series of federal law enforcement debacles that have spurred vast distrust of Washington.

Bundy, a 71-year old Nevadan rancher, and his sons and supporters were involved in an armed standoff with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) beginning in 2014 stemming from decades of unpaid cattle grazing fees and restrictions. The Bundys have long claimed the feds were on a vendetta against them, and 3,300 pages of documents the Justice Department wrongfully concealed from their lawyers provides smoking guns that buttress their case.

A whistleblowing memo by BLM chief investigator Larry Wooten charges that BLM chose “the most intrusive, oppressive, large scale and militaristic trespass cattle (seizure) possible” against Bundy. He also cited a “widespread pattern of bad judgment, lack of discipline, incredible bias, unprofessionalism and misconduct, as well as likely policy, ethical and legal violations” by BLM officials in the case. BLM agents even “bragged about roughing up Dave Bundy, grinding his face into the ground and Dave Bundy having little bits of gravel stuck in his face” while he was videotaping federal agents. Wooten also stated that anti-Mormon prejudice pervaded BLM’s crackdown.

 

Go here to read the appalling rest.  Such conduct by the Feds makes a joke of government of the people, by the people and for the people.  Those involved in this criminal conspiracy need to be prosecuted and the federal prosecutors who hid these documents need to lose their law licenses.

9

January 5, 1781: Benedict Arnold Takes Richmond

Benedict Arnold:  “What will the Americans do with me if they catch me?”

American Officer:  “They will cut off the leg which was wounded when you were fighting so gloriously for the cause of liberty, and bury it with the honors of war, and hang the rest of your body on a gibbet.”

Response of a captured American officer during Arnold’s Virginia campaign in January 1781 to a query by General Arnold

 

 

 

 

One of the more humiliating events in the American Revolution for the patriots was the seizure of Richmond, Virginia on January 5, 1781 by a largely Loyalist raiding party under American turncoat and traitor Benedict Arnold:

In pursuance of the orders which he had received, General Arnold sailed from Sandy Hook on the nineteenth of December, 1780[5], with the Eigtheenth or Edinburg regiment, under Lieutnant-colonel Dundas; the Queen’s Rangers, under Lieutenant-colonel Simcoe; a detachment from the New York Volunteers, under Captain Althause; and about two hundred men, whom the General had enlisted into his own corps, in New York, [6], the whole force embracing a force of sixteen hundred men.[7]. The troops were among the best in the service, and General Arnold might reasonably have felt proud of his command, had not the commander-in-chief, with commendable caution, manifested his distrust of the traitor, not only by the strictness of his orders, but by the appointment of “two officers of tried ability and experience, and possessing the entire confidence of their commander”–Colonel Dundas and Lieutenant Colonel Simcoe, –to accompany him, and to share, with him, the honors and responsibilities of the command. A violent gale, which occurred on the twenty-sixth and twenty-seventh, separated the fleet, but the scattered vessels, except three transports, on board of which were four hundred men, and one armed vessel, rejoined it off the Capes of the Chesapeake, and entered Hampton Roads on the thirtieth.

On the thirty-first, without waiting for the arrival of the transports, which were still at sea, the troops–about twelve hundred in number–were transferred to small vessels and boats, adapted to the navigation and proceeded up the James River under convoy of the Hope and Swift, two small armed vessels. Late in the evening of the third of January, 1781, the expedition came near Hood’s Point, on which a small party of fifty men had been stationed with three eighteen-pounders, one twenty-four pounder, and one brass eight-inch howitzer. When the vessels approached the Point this little force gallantly opened a heavy fire on them; and, as it was quite dark, the enemy had no means of knowing the strength or position of his opponents, he cast anchor until the next morning. While it was still dark, General Arnold ordered Lieutenant- colonel Simcoe to land with one hundred and thirty of the Queen’s Rangers, the light-infantry, and the grenadiers of the Eightieth regiment, and to attack the battery. With the greatest possible secrecy a landing was effected at about a mile from the Point, and, by a circuitous route, the troops were led to the attack; but the little garrison having heard the movement had retired, and the Rangers and their commander found no laurels in their victory. After spiking the guns, Lieutenant-Colonel Simcoe returned to the vessels, carrying with him the brass howizter, and the expedition moved up the river. On the next day (Jan. 4th) it anchored at Westover, about twenty- five miles below Richmond, where the troops were landed; and at two o’clock in the afternoon, the line of march to the latter place was taken up.

This descent of the enemy appears to have been entirely unexpected, and no provision had been made to guard against the contingency. When the fleet arrived, the State had no immediate means of defense, and the people appear to have been comparatively helpless. It is true that Governor Jefferson sent General Nelson to “the lower country” as soon as the presence of the fleet had become known, and had vested in him full “powers to call on the militia in that quarter, or act otherwise, as exigencies would require;” and it is no less true that General Steuben, supposing the stores at Petersburg were the objects of attack, employed about two hundred Continental troops, which he had under his command, to remove them beyond the reach of the invader. It is equally true, however,–and it was the source of evident mortification to the patriotic leaders in Virginia,–that the enemy moved into the heart of the country, accomplished his work, and retired with, comparatively no opposition, while every foot of his progress was susceptible of an obstinate and successful defence. The causes which have been assigned–the numerous impassable rivers which intersect “the lower country,” and the thinness of the population–in fact, furnish reasons against the surprise and disgrace with which she was then overtaken, and Virginia can never wholly excuse the apathy which was apparent throughout the entire extent of her central and lower counties.

The march of the enemy from Westover to Richmond was entirely unopposed,–the few militia who had responded to the orders which had been issued, being too weak to offer any effectual resistance, having fled as he approached,–and at one in the afternoon of the fifth of January, he entered the town.

About two hundred men had assembled, under Colonel John Nicholas, on the heights of Richmond Hill, near the venerable meeting-house of St. John’s Church; and Lieutenant-colonel Simcoe was ordered to dislodge them, but, without firing a shot, they fled in confusion when he reached the summit of the hill. A small body of cavalry, near the site of the capitol, on Shockoe Hill, who had been watching the movements of Colonel Dundas, also fled when they were approached.

Without halting at Richmond, after the dispersion of the militia, Lieutenant-colonel Simcoe, with his Rangers and the flank companies of the Eightieth regiment, pushed forward to Westham, six miles above, where were a fine foundry, laboratory, and workshops; while General Arnold and the main body remained at Richmond. As no resistance was offered, the expedition was perfectly successful, and, after destroying the greater part of the papers of the auditor’s office, and the books and papers of the council office–which had been removed thither for safety– together with five or six tons of gunpowder, the boring mill, workshops, public store, and foundry; knocking off the trunnions of some iron field pieces; and carrying off a few muskets, and some other articles, it returned to Richmond, where it arrived the same night.

In the mean time the main body, at Richmond had not been idle. With characteristic impudence the enemy had sent two citizens to Governor Jefferson, with an offer that he would not burn the city, provided the British vessels were allowed to come up the river and remove the tobacco from the warehouses without molestation. This proposition was instantly rejected; and, on the morning of the sixth, the public property and large quantities of private property, together with some buildings, both public and private, were destroyed.

The public loss was much less than has been generally supposed. Besides the destruction of the roof of the foundry, –the furnaces and chimneys of which remained uninjuried, — the magazine, boring-mill, four workshops, the public store, and quartermaster’s store, the public loss appears to have been confined to the books and papers of the council, the papers of the auditor’s office; five brass field pieces; one hundred and fifty stand of arms, from the loft of the capitol; the same number taken in a wagon; a small quantity of linen, cloth, &c.; some quartermasters’ stores, including one hundred and twenty sides of leather; the tools in the workshops; and three wagons. The loss to private individuals was much greater.

About noon, on the sixth of January, the enemy retired from the city, and the next day he reached Westover, without the loss of a man.

 

Chapter LXXX of Henry B. Dawson’s Battles of the United States, Volume I, New York, 1858, pp. 641-644.

Washington was so enraged by this event that he placed a 5,000 Guinea reward on the head of Arnold;  he ordered the Marquis de Lafayette, commanding American forces in Virginia, to immediately hang Arnold if he was captured; and  he had targets in the shape of Arnold distributed to the Continental troops on which to sharpen their marksmanship.

 

5

PopeWatch: Wow

Wow:

 

Profession of the Immutable Truths About Sacramental Marriage

After the publication of the Apostolic Exhortation “Amoris laetitia” (2016) various bishops issued at local, regional, and national levels applicable norms regarding the sacramental discipline of those faithful, called “divorced and remarried,” who having still a living spouse to whom they are united with a valid sacramental matrimonial bond, have nevertheless begun a stable cohabitation more uxorio with a person who is not their legitimate spouse.

The aforementioned rules provide inter alia that in individual cases the persons, called “divorced and remarried,” may receive the sacrament of Penance and Holy Communion, while continuing to live habitually and intentionally more uxorio with a person who is not their legitimate spouse. These pastoral norms have received approval from various hierarchical authorities. Some of these norms have received approval even from the supreme authority of the Church.

The spread of these ecclesiastically approved pastoral norms has caused a considerable and ever increasing confusion among the faithful and the clergy, a confusion that touches the central manifestations of the life of the Church, such as sacramental marriage with the family, the domestic church, and the sacrament of the Most Holy Eucharist.

According to the doctrine of the Church, only the sacramental matrimonial bond constitutes a domestic church (see Second Vatican Council, Lumen Gentium, 11). The admission of so-called “divorced and remarried” faithful to Holy Communion, which is the highest expression of the unity of Christ the Spouse with His Church, means in practice a way of approving or legitimizing divorce, and in this meaning a kind of introduction of divorce in the life of the Church.

The mentioned pastoral norms are revealed in practice and in time as a means of spreading the “plague of divorce” (an expression used by the Second Vatican Council, see Gaudium et spes, 47). It is a matter of spreading the “plague of divorce” even in the life of the Church, when the Church, instead, because of her unconditional fidelity to the doctrine of Christ, should be a bulwark and an unmistakable sign of contradiction against the plague of divorce which is every day more rampant in civil society.

Unequivocally and without admitting any exception Our Lord and Redeemer Jesus Christ solemnly reaffirmed God’s will regarding the absolute prohibition of divorce. An approval or legitimation of the violation of the sacredness of the marriage bond, even indirectly through the mentioned new sacramental discipline, seriously contradicts God’s express will and His commandment. This practice therefore represents a substantial alteration of the two thousand-year-old sacramental discipline of the Church. Furthermore, a substantially altered discipline will eventually lead to an alteration in the corresponding doctrine.

The constant Magisterium of the Church, beginning with the teachings of the Apostles and of all the Supreme Pontiffs, has preserved and faithfully transmitted both in the doctrine (in theory) and in the sacramental discipline (in practice) in an unequivocal way, without any shadow of doubt and always in the same sense and in the same meaning (eodem sensu eademque sententia), the crystalline teaching of Christ concerning the indissolubility of marriage.

Because of its Divinely established nature, the discipline of the sacraments must never contradict the revealed word of God and the faith of the Church in the absolute indissolubility of a ratified and consummated marriage. “The sacraments not only presuppose faith, but by words and objects they also nourish, strengthen, and express it; that is why they are called “sacraments of faith.” (Second Vatican Council, Sacrosanctum Concilium, 59). “Even the supreme authority in the Church may not change the liturgy arbitrarily, but only in the obedience of faith and with religious respect for the mystery of the liturgy” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1125).

The Catholic faith by its nature excludes a formal contradiction between the faith professed on the one hand and the life and practice of the sacraments on the other. In this sense we can also understand the following affirmation of the Magisterium: “This split between the faith which many profess and their daily lives deserves to be counted among the more serious errors of our age.” (Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et Spes, 43) and “Accordingly, the concrete pedagogy of the Church must always remain linked with her doctrine and never be separated from it” (John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, 33).

In view of the vital importance that the doctrine and discipline of marriage and the Eucharist constitute, the Church is obliged to speak with the same voice. The pastoral norms regarding the indissolubility of marriage must not, therefore, be contradicted between one diocese and another, between one country and another. Since the time of the Apostles, the Church has observed this principle as St. Irenaeus of Lyons testifies: “The Church, though spread throughout the world to the ends of the earth, having received the faith from the Apostles and their disciples, preserves this preaching and this faith with care and, as if she inhabits a single house, believes in the same identical way, as if she had only one soul and only one heart, and preaches the truth of the faith, teaches it and transmits it in a unanimous voice, as if she had only one mouth”(Adversus haereses, I, 10, 2). Saint Thomas Aquinas transmits to us the same perennial principle of the life of the Church: “There is one and the same faith of the ancients and the moderns, otherwise there would not be one and the same Church” (Questiones Disputatae de Veritate, q. 14, a. 12c).

The following warning from Pope John Paul II remains current and valid: “The confusion, created in the conscience of many faithful by the differences of opinions and teachings in theology, in preaching, in catechesis, in spiritual direction, about serious and delicate questions of Christian morals, ends up by diminishing the true sense of sin almost to the point of eliminating it” (Apostolic Exhortation Reconciliatio et Paenitenia, 18).

The meaning of the following statements of the Magisterium of the Church is fully applicable to the doctrine and sacramental discipline concerning the indissolubility of a ratified and consummated marriage:

  • “For the Church of Christ, watchful guardian that she is, and defender of the dogmas deposited with her, never changes anything, never diminishes anything, never adds anything to them; but with all diligence she treats the ancient doctrines faithfully and wisely, which the faith of the Fathers has transmitted. She strives to investigate and explain them in such a way that the ancient dogmas of heavenly doctrine will be made evident and clear, but will retain their full, integral, and proper nature, and will grow only within their own genus — that is, within the same dogma, in the same sense and the same meaning” (Pius IX, Dogmatic Bull Ineffabilis Deus)
  • “With regard to the very substance of truth, the Church has before God and men the sacred duty to announce it, to teach it without any attenuation, as Christ revealed it, and there is no condition of time that can reduce the rigor of this obligation. It binds in conscience every priest who is entrusted with the care of teaching, admonishing, and guiding the faithful “(Pius XII, Discourse to parish priests and Lenten preachers, March 23, 1949).
  • “The Church does not historicize, does not relativize to the metamorphoses of profane culture the nature of the Church that is always equal and faithful to itself, as Christ wanted it and authentic tradition perfected it” (Paul VI, Homily from October 28, 1965).
  • “Now it is an outstanding manifestation of charity toward souls to omit nothing from the saving doctrine of Christ” (Paul VI, Encyclical Humanae Vitae, 29).
  • “Any conjugal difficulties are resolved without ever falsifying and compromising the truth” (John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, 33).
  • “The Church is in no way the author or the arbiter of this norm [of the Divine moral law]. In obedience to the truth which is Christ, whose image is reflected in the nature and dignity of the human person, the Church interprets the moral norm and proposes it to all people of good will, without concealing its demands of radicalness and perfection” (John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, 33).
  • “The other principle is that of truth and consistency, whereby the church does not agree to call good evil and evil good. Basing herself on these two complementary principles, the church can only invite her children who find themselves in these painful situations to approach the divine mercy by other ways, not however through the sacraments of penance and the eucharist until such time as they have attained the required dispositions” (John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, 34).
  • “The Church’s firmness in defending the universal and unchanging moral norms is not demeaning at all. Its only purpose is to serve man’s true freedom. Because there can be no freedom apart from or in opposition to the truth”(John Paul II, Encyclical Veritatis Splendor, 96).
  • “When it is a matter of the moral norms prohibiting intrinsic evil, there are no privileges or exceptions for anyone. It makes no difference whether one is the master of the world or the “poorest of the poor” on the face of the earth. Before the demands of morality we are all absolutely equal” (emphasis in original) (John Paul II, Encyclical Veritatis Splendor, 96).
  • “The obligation of reiterating this impossibility of admission to the Eucharist is required for genuine pastoral care and for an authentic concern for the well-being of these faithful and of the whole Church, as it indicates the conditions necessary for the fullness of that conversion to which all are always invited by the Lord“ (Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, Declaration on the admissibility to the Holy Communion of the divorced and remarried, 24 June 2000, n. 5).As Catholic bishops, who – according to the teaching of the Second Vatican Council – must defend the unity of faith and the common discipline of the Church, and take care that the light of the full truth should arise for all men (see Lumen Gentium, 23 ) we are forced in conscience to profess in the face of the current rampant confusion the unchanging truth and the equally immutable sacramental discipline regarding the indissolubility of marriage according to the bimillennial and unaltered teaching of the Magisterium of the Church. In this spirit we reiterate:
  • Sexual relationships between people who are not in the bond to one another of a valid marriage – which occurs in the case of the so-called “divorced and remarried” – are always contrary to God’s will and constitute a grave offense against God.
  • No circumstance or finality, not even a possible imputability or diminished guilt, can make such sexual relations a positive moral reality and pleasing to God. The same applies to the other negative precepts of the Ten Commandments of God. Since “there exist acts which, per se and in themselves, independently of circumstances, are always seriously wrong by reason of their object” (John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, 17).
  • The Church does not possess the infallible charism of judging the internal state of grace of a member of the faithful (see Council of Trent, session 24, chapter 1). The non-admission to Holy Communion of the so-called “divorced and remarried” does not therefore mean a judgment on their state of grace before God, but a judgment on the visible, public, and objective character of their situation. Because of the visible nature of the sacraments and of the Church herself, the reception of the sacraments necessarily depends on the corresponding visible and objective situation of the faithful.
  • It is not morally licit to engage in sexual relations with a person who is not one’s legitimate spouse supposedly to avoid another sin. Since the Word of God teaches us, it is not lawful “to do evil so that good may come” (Romans 3, 8).
  • The admission of such persons to Holy Communion may be permitted only when they with the help of God’s grace and a patient and individual pastoral accompaniment make a sincere intention to cease from now on the habit of such sexual relations and to avoid scandal. It is in this way that true discernment and authentic pastoral accompaniment were always expressed in the Church.
  • People who have habitual non-marital sexual relations violate their indissoluble sacramental nuptial bond with their life style in relation to their legitimate spouse. For this reason they are not able to participate “in Spirit and in Truth” (see John 4, 23) at the Eucharistic wedding supper of Christ, also taking into account the words of the rite of Holy Communion: “Blessed are the guests at the wedding supper of the Lamb!” (Revelation 19, 9).
  • The fulfillment of God’s will, revealed in His Ten Commandments and in His explicit and absolute prohibition of divorce, constitutes the true spiritual good of the people here on earth and will lead them to the true joy of love in the salvation of eternal life.

Being bishops in the pastoral office, who promote the Catholic and Apostolic faith (“cultores catholicae et apostolicae fidei”, see Missale Romanum, Canon Romanus), we are aware of this grave responsibility and our duty before the faithful who await from us a public and unequivocal profession of the truth and the immutable discipline of the Church regarding the indissolubility of marriage. For this reason we are not allowed to be silent.

We affirm therefore in the spirit of St. John the Baptist, of St. John Fisher, of St. Thomas More, of Blessed Laura Vicuña and of numerous known and unknown confessors and martyrs of the indissolubility of marriage:

It is not licit (non licet) to justify, approve, or legitimize either directly or indirectly divorce and a non-conjugal stable sexual relationship through the sacramental discipline of the admission of so-called “divorced and remarried” to Holy Communion, in this case a discipline alien to the entire Tradition of the Catholic and Apostolic faith.

By making this public profession before our conscience and before God who will judge us, we are sincerely convinced that we have provided a service of charity in truth to the Church of our day and to the Supreme Pontiff, Successor of Saint Peter and Vicar of Christ on earth .

31 December 2017, the Feast of the Holy Family, in the year of the centenary of the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima.

 

+ Tomash Peta, Archbishop Metropolitan of the Archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana

+ Jan Pawel Lenga, Archbishop-Bishop of Karaganda

+ Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana

 

I hope that a barrel of whatever these bishops of Kazakhstan are drinking is sent to all the bishops of the Church.

18

Patriotism, Mark Shea and Ezra Klein

Then none was for a party—
Then all were for the state;
Then the great man helped the poor,
And the poor man loved the great;
Then lands were fairly portioned!
Then spoils were fairly sold:
The Romans were like brothers
In the brave days of old.

Now Roman is to Roman
More hateful than a foe,
And the tribunes beard the high,
And the fathers grind the low.
As we wax hot in faction,
In battle we wax cold;
Wherefore men fight not as they fought
In the brave days of old.

Horatius at the Bridge, Thomas Babington, Lord Macaulay

 

 

Dave Griffey at Daffey Thoughts has an interesting post on Ezra Klein, a man upon whom Mark Shea bestows the title of patriot:

 

According to Mark Shea, Ezra Klein.  Why?  Because Klein is a leading voice in the call for Trump’s impeachment.  He is a an activist not at all shy about donning his PhD and MD in psychiatry and declaring Trump to be mentally unstable.  He supports the contraceptive mandate of Obamacare.  He supports abortion rights.  He supports gay marriage.  In short, Klein is a hard left activists who represents many of the radical Leftist extremes that got us Trump in the first place.
And Mark Shea gushes with love and adoration over this folk hero of American patriotism.  Why?  Because, again, Klein is against conservatives and Trump.  Apparently, that is the litmus test.  Support abortion rights, gay marriage, the eradication of religious liberty, Leftist politics – it matters not.  Oppose the Right and Trump at all costs, and that alone is worthy of praise and adoration.  Oh, and that abortion thing?  We just blame it on sexist men and capitalists who give women no other choice but to have an abortion.  
Remember when Mark joined other Catholics in saying support for abortion rights was bad, or that the HHS mandate was a threat to freedom?  Yeah, so do I.   But then I can hardly blame Mark for excusing what the Church once so loudly opposed when the Church no longer seems to loudly oppose them. 
Note: None of this is to take issue with Klein’s interpretation of Trump’s interview, or tendency to gloss over the similar foibles that have plagued the media over the last few years.  It’s just to notice the term ‘patriot’, which has alternately been used as a compliment, an insult, and a joke in my life, is applied by Mark in such a way.
Go here to comment.  Those of us with good memories will recall that Klein founded Journ-O-list.  This was a secret cabal of left wing journalists that was uncovered in 2010.  I guess for them the mainstream media was too right wing.  Klein, of course, is not a patriot.  He is what the Founding Fathers would have called a factionalist.  He seeks not the good of his country, but rather the triumph of his political faction.  I have no doubt that if queried he would protest that the policies of his faction would be good for the nation, and he might well be sincere in that statement, but there is little doubt that he views the nation through the prism of his factional loyalties and that America is only to be loved insomuch as it embraces his faction.  This all brings to mind a brilliant scene from True Grit:

LaBeouf: The force of law? This man is a notorious thumper. He rode by the light of the moon with Quantrill. – Bloody Bill Anderson.

Cogburn:- Them men were patriots, Texas trash.

LaBeouf: They murdered women and children in Lawrence, Kansas.

Cogburn: That’s a God damn lie!

Politics have often been heated in the US.  The trouble is that on two occasions in our history heated politics led to outright war:  the American Revolution, which might also be rightfully called the First American Civil War, and the Civil War.  Great issues were involved in both those conflicts and perhaps they were unavoidable.  But when politics reaches  a stage where we bestow the title of patriot upon those who agree with us politically, and condemn those who oppose us traitors, we would do well to remind ourselves that such talk has before led this country down the path to open war.  Something that Mark Shea, and all of us, might wish to consider,

 

 

8

PopeWatch: Creche

Sandro Magister brings us the news that few things seem to be sacred to the powers that be at the Vatican:

 

But as if that were not enough, here comes the third own goal, centered on the nativity scene set up this year in Saint Peter’s Square (see photo).

There is neither ox nor ass, neither sheep nor shepherds. Jesus, Joseph, and Mary can be spotted with some effort, against the backdrop of a dome of Saint Peter’s in ruins. It is a nativity scene without grace and without poetry, the intention of which is rather to depict one by one the seven corporal works of mercy.

The offer of such a nativity scene to the pope was made by the abbey shrine of Montevergine, which stands on a mountain above Avellino, not far from Naples. At the governorate of Vatican City they say that the project, realized afterward by the Neapolitan artisan Antonio Cantone, was submitted beforehand to the judgment of the secretary of state and of Pope Francis, receiving their approval.

But even more enthusiastic was the approval of Arcigay of Naples and of its president, Antonello Sannino, who told the American journalist Diane Montagna of LifeSite News: “The presence of the Vatican Nativity Scene for us is a reason to be even happier this year,. For the homosexual and transsexual community in Naples, it is an important symbol of inclusion and integration.”

The shrine of Montevergine, in fact, hosts an image of the Blessed Mother – reproduced in the nativity scene of Saint Peter’s Square – that was adopted some time ago as patroness by a vast LGBT community (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transexual), which once a year, on February 2, the feast of the presentation of Jesus at the temple, popularly called “Candlemas,” makes a festive climb of the sanctuary by foot, called “juta dei femminielli,” the climb of the effeminates.

It is a “mix of the sacred and profane,” a sort of “ancestral gay pride,” Sannino explained. In 2002 the  abbot of Montevergine at the time, Tarcisio Nazzaro, protested against the political spin being given to that the pilgrimage, which was joined this year by the transexual parliamentarian Vladimir Luxuria.

But at the “Candlemas” of 2014 Luxuria appeared at the shrine reading a letter that he had written to Pope Francis in the name of the LGBT community.

In 2017 an LGBT group, again with Luxuria, met with new abbot Riccardo Luca Guariglia, who – they later reported – gave them his blessing in an “atmosphere of dialogue.”

The town of Ospedaletto d’Alpinolo, from which the climb to the shrine departs, this year gave honorary citizenship to a married couple of homosexuals, inaugurated for the “femminielli” a “no gender” bathroom and put up a sign at the entrance to the town saying: “Ospedaletto d’Alpinolo is against homotransphobia and gender violence.”

It comes as no surprise, therefore, that Sannino should say he is convinced that a greater openness of the Church on the subject of homosexuality also depends on “how conscious” Vatican officials are of the connection between the nativity scene in Saint Peter’s Square and the LGBT community. “The Church is extremely slow in its transformations,” he added. “But we hope that the Church will finally develop a real sense of openness in the wake of the pope’s words: ‘Who am I to judge?’”.

Meanwhile, in this Christmas season, pilgrims and tourists who have come to Rome from all over the world are looking with visible bewilderment at the nativity scene set up in the middle of Bernini’s colonnade, and especially its chiseled “nude” who seems to be longing after something other than being dressed mercifully.

Like every year, on the evening of December 31, after the “Te Deum” Pope Francis will also appear before the nativity scene in Saint Peter’s Square, although it is not known “how conscious” he will be of the mess he has gotten himself into. And the LGBT community will certainly be very attentive to scrutinizing and interpreting every one of his gestures and expressions.

For a complete reconstruction of the incident, here is a link to the article by Diane Montagna:

Vatican’s “sexually suggestive” nativity has troubling ties to Italy’s LGBT activists

Go here to read the rest.  Here is a picture of part of the creche:

 

 

Remember when the query “is the Pope Catholic” was not meant to be a real question?

8

American Gothic and Ma and Pa Kent

 

 

(I originally posted this back in 2013.  I am reposting it for the fun of it.)

 

 

 

A first-rate video on Grant Wood’s American Gothic (1930).  One of the more famous pictures at the Art Institute in Chicago, I have long admired it.  Endlessly interpreted, the  picture lends itself to a Rorschach  type of test where what the viewer says about the painting says more about the interpreter than it does about the painting.

Whenever I look at it, I have always thought of Jonathan and Martha Kent, the fictional foster parents of Superman.  The date of the painting would have been when the future Superman would have been around 11 based on his original chronology.  The Kents would have been desperate to keep their beloved son, just beginning the mastery of his awesome powers, away from the notice of the World.  The figures in the painting seem to me to be keeping a great secret.  They look suspiciously at the viewer.  The shades on their house are drawn.  The averageness of the couple is belied by their desire to keep prying eyes away from that house.  At the same time there is nothing that gives any hint of evil about the man and woman.  They simply have something great that has been placed into their care and they wish to protect it from outsiders.

The association of the painting with the Superman saga is not original to me.  In Superman The Animated Series Mr. Mxyzptlk, the imp from another dimension who periodically torments Superman, turns Ma and Pa Kent into a facsimile of the painting.

One can imagine the encounter that led to the painting.

From the diary of Jonathan Kent: Continue Reading

4

PopeWatch: Fake News

Well this is interesting:

 

Pope Francis plans to highlight the importance of truth and the fight against “fake news” in a message to be released Jan. 24, the Catholic News Service reports.

A spokesman for the Vatican told the news service that Francis will speak out against false information that leads to the “polarization” of public opinion in modern societies.

Go here to read the rest.  This seems fitting to PopeWatch.  Considering how factually challenged many of the statements of the Pope have been, go here to read a typical example, he would seem to have a certain expertise when it comes to fake news.

5

Theodore Roosevelt on 50-50 Loyalty

 

 

 

During World War I Theodore Roosevelt contributed what we would call op ed pieces to The Kansas City Star.  They make fascinating reading.  It is interesting how many of the issues he discusses remain hot topics today.  On March 2, 1918 he wrote about what he called 50-50 loyalty.  It should be noted that as a teenager Roosevelt had lived and studied in Germany and was fluent in German.  Here is the text of his piece: Continue Reading

3

God Help Iran

Iranian demonstrators are posing the biggest challenge to the regime of the mullahs since 2009.  One fact that should never be forgotten about Iran is that the regime of the mullahs has never been very popular.  They seized power in 1979 largely due to the unpopularity of the Shah’s regime.  During almost four decades they have delivered little but repression, war and economic stagnation to the people of Iran.  2009 demonstrated that the mullahs are quite willing to drown protests in blood.  In Iran you have the regular military forces and a parallel military, most notably the Revolutionary Guards, that are a political army for the mullahs.  One fine day some Iranian general is going to decide that it is time for the mullahs to go, and lead his men in support of the demonstrators.  That is the nightmare of the mullahs.  It may not occur this time, but some day it will occur and the squalid Iranian police state will fall.  May God in His mercy hasten that day.

22

Fifteen Below Zero

 

 

 

Well, the new year has dawned in Central Illinois with the temperature a balmy fifteen degrees below zero.  For those in Celsius lands, that is about negative 26 Celsius.  The temperature here is thirteen degrees colder than the South Pole and only seven degrees warmer than the North Pole.

It reminds me of a story about Abraham Lincoln, before he could afford a horse, trudging down a frozen country road toward a county seat in Central Illinois.  A man with a wagon passed by, and Lincoln asked him if he could take his coat to the county seat.  Sure, the man replied, but how will you get it back?  Easily, Lincoln responded, since I will be in it!

Keep warm my friends, and have a Happy New Year!

1

Mary Our Contemporary

"Mother of God," the wanderer said,
          "I am but a common king,
          Nor will I ask what saints may ask,
          To see a secret thing.

          "The gates of heaven are fearful gates
          Worse than the gates of hell;
          Not I would break the splendours barred
          Or seek to know the thing they guard,
          Which is too good to tell.

          "But for this earth most pitiful,
          This little land I know,
          If that which is for ever is,
          Or if our hearts shall break with bliss,
          Seeing the stranger go?

          "When our last bow is broken, Queen,
          And our last javelin cast,
          Under some sad, green evening sky,
          Holding a ruined cross on high,
          Under warm westland grass to lie,
          Shall we come home at last?"

          And a voice came human but high up,
          Like a cottage climbed among
          The clouds; or a serf of hut and croft
          That sits by his hovel fire as oft,
          But hears on his old bare roof aloft
          A belfry burst in song.

          "The gates of heaven are lightly locked,
          We do not guard our gain,
          The heaviest hind may easily
          Come silently and suddenly
          Upon me in a lane.

          "And any little maid that walks
          In good thoughts apart,
          May break the guard of the Three Kings
          And see the dear and dreadful things
          I hid within my heart.

          "The meanest man in grey fields gone
          Behind the set of sun,
          Heareth between star and other star,
          Through the door of the darkness fallen ajar,
          The council, eldest of things that are,
          The talk of the Three in One.

          "The gates of heaven are lightly locked,
          We do not guard our gold,
          Men may uproot where worlds begin,
          Or read the name of the nameless sin;
          But if he fail or if he win
          To no good man is told.

          "The men of the East may spell the stars,
          And times and triumphs mark,
          But the men signed of the cross of Christ
          Go gaily in the dark.

          "The men of the East may search the scrolls
          For sure fates and fame,
          But the men that drink the blood of God
          Go singing to their shame.

          "The wise men know what wicked things
          Are written on the sky,
          They trim sad lamps, they touch sad strings,
          Hearing the heavy purple wings,
          Where the forgotten seraph kings
          Still plot how God shall die.

          "The wise men know all evil things
          Under the twisted trees,
          Where the perverse in pleasure pine
          And men are weary of green wine
          And sick of crimson seas.

          "But you and all the kind of Christ
          Are ignorant and brave,
          And you have wars you hardly win
          And souls you hardly save.

          "I tell you naught for your comfort,
          Yea, naught for your desire,
          Save that the sky grows darker yet
          And the sea rises higher.

          "Night shall be thrice night over you,
          And heaven an iron cope.
          Do you have joy without a cause,
          Yea, faith without a hope?"

          Even as she spoke she was not,
          Nor any word said he,
          He only heard, still as he stood
          Under the old night's nodding hood,
          The sea-folk breaking down the wood
          Like a high tide from sea.

          He only heard the heathen men,
          Whose eyes are blue and bleak,
          Singing about some cruel thing
          Done by a great and smiling king
          In daylight on a deck.

          He only heard the heathen men,
          Whose eyes are blue and blind,
          Singing what shameful things are done
          Between the sunlit sea and the sun
          When the land is left behind.

GK Chesterton, The Ballad of the White Horse

10

Dune Open Thread

Clan McClarey, as usual, spent New Year’s Eve watching Dune (1984), a film so bad that it has become a cult classic.

 

Prior to watching the film we watched the 2000 miniseries on Dune.  It is far superior to the film, although neither will be confused with Hamlet, or even one of the better Star Trek episodes.

The usual Open Thread rules apply:  be concise, be charitable and, above all, be amusing.

4

Make the Sign of the Cross, and Go In!

 

My avatar when I blog and when I comment on blogs is Major General William Rosecrans.

Outside of his family, General William S. Rosecrans had three great passions in his life:  His religion, Roman Catholicism, to which he had converted as a cadet at West Point, the Army and the Union.  In the Civil War all three passions coincided.  Rising to the rank of Major General and achieving command of the Army of the Cumberland, until he was removed in the aftermath of the Union defeat at Chickamauga, Rosecrans conducted himself in the field as if he were a Crusader knight of old.

Raised a Methodist, Rosecrans’ conversion was a life long turning point for him.  He wrote to his family with such zeal for his new-found faith that his brother Sylvester began to take instruction in the Faith.  Sylvester would convert, become a priest, and eventually be the first bishop of Columbus, Ohio.

His most precious possession was his Rosary and he said the Rosary at least once each day. In battle the Rosary would usually be in his hand as he gave commands.  He had a personal chaplain, Father Patrick Treacy, who said Mass for him each morning and would busy himself the rest of the day saying masses for the troops and helping with the wounded.  In battle he exposed himself to enemy fire ceaselessly as he rode behind the General.   Rosecrans, after military matters were taken care of, delighted in debating theology with his staff officers late into the evening.

As a general Rosecrans was in the forefront of Union commanders until his defeat at Chickamauga.  His removal from command following the battle was controversial at the time and has remained controversial, some historians seeing in it a continuation by Grant, who was placed in charge of Chattanooga following Chickamauga, of his long-standing feud with Rosecrans.  Certainly Rosecrans had already drafted the plan followed by Grant to reopen the lines of supply to the Union forces in Chickamauga.  Go here to read a spirited defense of General Rosecrans which appeared in issue 401 of The Catholic World in 1898. Continue Reading

10

Saint Saruman

Dave Griffey at Daffey Thoughts has been on fire lately:

Court upholds colossal fine against Christian bakers for refusing to cater a gay wedding.  Of course homosexuality is the club the left long searched for in order to bludgeon all resistance.  The growing number of Christians willing to explicitly, or implicitly, align themselves with this movement by following the St. Saruman principle of cozying with whatever power is rising in the East, own what happened to this small business owner.  Not that they care.  But it’s worth noting they are responsible. 

Go here to read the rest.  That this was in explicit violation of the First Amendment to the US Constitution bothered the Oregon appellate court panel not at all.  Nullification and soon secession are the latest tools that so many leftists are eager to embrace to build their squalid little politically correct police states.  Christians signing on for this are either idiots or CINOs.

 

1

Auld Lang Syne

Something for the weekend.  Auld Lang Syne.  Written by the immortal Scots poet Bobby Burns in 1788, his poem captured perfectly the grandeur of human memory as it ponders the cherished past.  It is very appropriate that it has become an essential part of New Year’s Eve celebrations.  Here is his original version:

 

 

 

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

and never brought to mind ?

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

and auld lang syne ?

For auld lang syne, my jo (or my dear),

for auld lang syne,

we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness

for auld lang syne.

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp !

and surely I’ll be mine !

And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,

for auld lang syne.

We twa hae run about the braes,

and pu’d the gowans fine ;

But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit,

sin auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidl’d i’ the burn,

frae morning sun till dine;

But seas between us braid hae roar’d

sin auld lang syne.

And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere!

and gie’s a hand o’ thine !

And we’ll tak a right gude-willy waught,

for auld lang syne.

Translated into Sassenach: Continue Reading

9

Keep Christ in Christmas

So said Pope Francis:

 

“In our times, especially in Europe, we’re seeing a ‘distortion’ of Christmas,” the pope said in his final General Audience of 2017.

“In the name of a false respect for non-Christians, which often hides a desire to marginalize the faith, every reference to the birth of Christ is being eliminated from the holiday,” Francis said. “But in reality, this event is the one true Christmas!”

“Without Jesus, there is no Christmas,” the pope said, drawing strong applause from a crowd gathered Wednesday morning in the Vatican’s Paul VI Audience Hall.

“If he’s at the center, then everything around him, that is, the lights, the songs, the various local traditions, including the characteristic foods, all comes together to create the atmosphere of a real festival,” he said.

“But if we take [Christ] away, the lights go off and everything becomes fake, mere appearances,” the pope said.

Go here to read the rest.  Dave Griffey at Daffey Thoughts gives us the American context for these remarks:

 

Yep.  You heard that right.  For years, post-Conservatives have proudly joined the secular, non-Christian Left in mocking the whole ‘war on Christmas’ and ‘culture wars.’  This laughable notion that we should care that our society demanded the Christian element of the Christmas holiday be eliminated from public acknowledgement was condemned by those wishing to separate themselves from those defending the traditions of the Christian West.

From Mark Shea to Southern Baptist ethics leader Russel Moore, open contempt for those bothered by this push to silence the Christian elements of Christmas has become almost a confession of the post-traditional Faith.  It was a way to say “we’re not like those non-liberal types over there.”

And now, suddenly, Pope Francis has jumped in an echoed – what those bemoaning the secularization and elimination of Christ from Christmas have been lamenting.  He’s not alone.  I’ve met several over the years from other countries who were shocked that American Christians  seem to easily accept being pushed around and out the door of public discourse and celebration. 

Will this become a wake up call for the Christians who have been fighting the Long Retreat over the years?  Those who figure the Left has won, the West is dead, and it’s best to cozy up to the new power as best we can, and that might include avoiding the C-Word in Christmas settings on the off chance we offend someone who matters?  We’ll see.  I’ve noticed that for a pope who is adored and loved by the majority, there seems to be about 1/2 of what he says that drops through the storm drains. 

Go here to comment.  Societies sometimes become one-trick ponies and find themselves in a dead end.  China with its exam system eventually produced government officials who were mainly good at passing exams and nothing else.  Assyria was hell on wheels for military conquest until it aroused endless domestic civil wars, with its matchless army turned upon itself, and foreign coalitions that eventually made Assyria a half forgotten memory.  The deep South depended so entirely on slavery that it would destroy the Union to protect it, and ended up destroying its economic system as a result.  Secularization in the West is in a similar blind end.  Christ reminded Satan that man does not live by bread alone, and the pursuit of materialism solely produces societies with an inherent death wish, as man needs some better reason to exist than to satisfy physical needs and desires that have ever been a means and not an end in themselves.  We all have a God-sized hole in our souls, and attempts to ignore that fundamental fact of human existence are either bleakly humorous or bleakly tragic depending upon the mood of the observer.

5

Saint Thomas Becket, Sin and Contrition

Henry II:  Hear me!
People of Canterbury
and citizens of England,
as I have submitted myself to the lash,
so have I petitioned the Pope.
And this day,
I have received his answer.
Thomas Becket,
former Archbishop of Canterbury
and martyr to the cause
of God and his church,
shall henceforth be honored
and prayed to in this kingdom
as a saint.
(crowd cheering)
Henry II:  (sotto voce) Is the honor of God
washed clean enough?
Are you satisfied now, Thomas?

Becket(1964)



 

 

 

 

 

Today is the feast day of my confirmation saint, Saint Thomas Becket, the holy, blessed martyr.  His story tells us how foreign to our time the Middle Ages are.  Becket was a worldly cleric who had risen to be chancellor of England for Henry II.  Henry seized the opportunity to place his man, Becket, on the throne of Canterbury as Primate of England.  Becket had a sudden and complete religious conversion and fought Henry for the liberty of the Church for which Becket suffered exile and, ultimately, murder.  In penance for Becket’s murder Henry had himself beaten by the monks at Canterbury before the tomb of his former friend who, two years after his death, was canonized by the Pope.  For over three centuries his tomb became one of the major pilgrimage sites in Europe and inspired the immortal Canterbury Tales.

The Middle Ages were fully as immersed in sin as our own time, although with different mixtures of evil, but the sins of the Middle Ages were often followed by great penances and acts of contrition that brightened and inspired countless lives down through the centuries.  This we have lost and this we must regain.  G.K. Chesterton put what we lack in high relief when he wrote about Saint Thomas:

At the grave of the dead man broke forth what can only be called an epidemic of healing. For miracles so narrated there is the same evidence as for half of the facts of history; and any one denying them must deny them upon a dogma. But something followed which would seem to modern civilization even more monstrous than a miracle. If the reader can imagine Mr. Cecil Rhodes submitting to be horsewhipped by a Boer in St. Paul’s Cathedral, as an apology for some indefensible death incidental to the Jameson Raid, he will form but a faint idea of what was meant when Henry II was beaten by monks at the tomb of his vassal and enemy. The modern parallel called up is comic, but the truth is that mediaeval actualities have a violence that does seem comic to our conventions. The Catholics of that age were driven by two dominant thoughts: the all-importance of penitence as an answer to sin, and the all-importance of vivid and evident external acts as a proof of penitence. Extravagant humiliation after extravagant pride for them restored the balance of sanity. The point is worth stressing, because without it moderns make neither head nor tail of the period. Green gravely suggests, for instance, of Henry’s ancestor Fulk of Anjou, that his tyrannies and frauds were further blackened by “low superstition,” which led him to be dragged in a halter round a shrine, scourged and screaming for the mercy of God. Mediaevals would simply have said that such a man might well scream for it, but his scream was the only logical comment he could make. But they would have quite refused to see why the scream should be added to the sins and not subtracted from them. They would have thought it simply muddle-headed to have the same horror at a man being horribly sinful and for being horribly sorry.

Bishop Stephen Gardiner who helped Henry VIII destroy the Catholic Church in England so long under the protection of Saint Thomas Becket, Henry plundering and destroying the tomb of Saint Thomas as a symbol of the Catholicism he hated, later repented and sought to restore the Catholic Church in England under Queen Mary.  He died before Queen Mary and therefore he did not live to see the failure of the attempted restoration as a result of Mary’s death and the accession of Bloody Elizabeth.  As he lay dying he purportedly said something in his grief that I think gets at the heart of what sickens the modern world:  Erravi cum Petro, sed non flevi cum Petro.  (Like Peter I have erred, unlike Peter I have not wept.)  Sin remains sin, no matter what the world in its folly calls it.  Sin without repentance leads to damnation in eternity and endless evil in this world, something the Middle Ages knew well and our Modern World has almost completely forgotten.

 

3

Holy Innocents

A voice in Rama was heard, lamentation and great mourning; Rachel bewailing her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not. 

Matthew 2:18

Herod’s murder of the Holy Innocents is remembered on this feast day of the Holy Innocents.  The video below is a moving depiction of this horrendous crime from the film Jesus of Nazareth

Herod ordered this massacre in a futile attempt to stop the Light of the World from completing His mission of salvation.  In our day Holy Innocents are slaughtered each and every day in an ultimately futile attempt to deny what Christ taught:  that we are all brothers and sisters and that we must love God and love one another.  Some day this modern Herod emulation that goes by the name of legal abortion will cease, and the feast day of the Holy Innocents is a very good day for us to resolve to work unceasingly to bring that day closer. Continue Reading

1

Quotes Suitable For Framing: Theodore Roosevelt

“There are those who believe that a new modernity demands a new morality. What they fail to consider is the harsh reality that there is no such thing as a new morality. There is only one morality. All else is immorality. There is only true Christian ethics over against which stands the whole of paganism. If we are to fulfill our great destiny as a people, then we must return to the old morality, the sole morality.”

Theodore Roosevelt, State of the Union Address, 1905

13

Where Angels Fear to Tread

 

 

Time for my annual attempt to gaze into a crystal ball and give predictions for the forthcoming year:

 

 

 

  1.  Defying current polls the Republicans will hold onto the House and gain five seats in the Senate.
  2.  The sex abuse scandal will claim the scalps of at least 3 more Senators and 10 members of the House.
  3.   Pope Francis will have a health crisis.
  4.   There will be an announcement by the Federal government regarding extraterrestrial life.
  5.   A major terrorist attack involving poison gas will occur in Europe.
  6.   Jeff Sessions will be fired as Attorney General.
  7.   The anti-Trump movement will grow increasingly hysterical as election day approaches next November.
  8.   Mark Shea will issue at least three mea culpas.
  9.   Economic growth will hit five percent in the third quarter of next year.
  10.   McClarey will be wrong on some of his predictions.

 

8

Predictions of Times Past

Time for me to look at my predictions for this year and to dine on a bit of crow:

1. President Trump will issue a pardon to Hillary Clinton.

Nope.  She may well wish he had by the time all the current investigations are done.

2. Isis will be eliminated from Iraq.

Yep.  A great victory.  Go here to read about it.

3. There will be more than one assassination attempt against President Trump, each unsuccessful.

No assassination attempts as President, although a huge number of death threats have been made.

4. Pope Francis will attempt to excommunicate one or more of the Cardinals who oppose him.

Not so far.

5. There will be a major confrontation between Trump and Putin, and Putin will back down.

No, Trump and Putin have found themselves opposed to each other on any number of flashpoints, but no major confrontation yet.

Continue Reading

2

On Caesar

 

Caesar was and is not lovable. His generosity to defeated opponents, magnanimous though it was, did not win their affection. He won his soldiers’ devotion by the victories that his intellectual ability, applied to warfare, brought them. Yet, though not lovable, Caesar was and is attractive, indeed fascinating. His political achievement required ability, in effect amounting to genius, in several different fields, including administration and generalship, besides the minor arts of wire pulling and propaganda. In all these, Caesar was a supreme virtuoso.

Arnold Toynbee

Among the gifts my bride gave me at Christmas was a copy of The Landmark Julius Caesar, a new translation of Caesar’s Gallic War and Civil War, along with The Alexandrine War, The African War and The Spanish War, authored by unknown contemporaries of Caesar, and which rounded out the tale of Caesar’s campaigns during the Civil War.  Go here to download 334 pages of essays on Caesar that accompany this volume.

 

Of all the “bold, bad men” that infest the pages of human history, Caesar has always had a special fascination for me.  He completed the suicide of the Roman Republic, that had been initiated a third of a century before he was born.  A man of genius, and so recognized by his contemporaries, he had not a scintilla of sentiment for the political forms that had governed Rome for perhaps five centuries and clearly had lived beyond their time.  It is beyond ironic that he did not live to create the new state that his life was clearly dedicated to bringing into being.  That task was left to his great nephew, the colorless Octavius, aka Augustus Caesar, who was devoid of military talent, but who knew how to make good use of men of genius in all spheres, and who, while creating permanent one-man rule in Rome, constantly proclaimed himself a Republican, and actually at one point proclaimed that he had restored the Republic.  (He had learned the lesson well of his great uncle’s assassination, that one man rule in Rome needed to be disguised and not flaunted, even if everyone could see through the fig leaf.)   Elite opinion in Rome was intensely Republican during his life, but almost all realized that a return to the Republic meant a return to endless Civil War.  Thus Octavian gave to Rome a century of civil peace, and banished from the ancient world the concepts of liberty that inspired  “the Glory that was Greece and the Grandeur that was Rome.”  Men like Caesar remind us how swiftly that political freedom can die an unmourned death.

 

SCOTT: I must confess, gentlemen. I’ve always held a sneaking admiration for this one.
KIRK: He was the best of the tyrants and the most dangerous. They were supermen, in a sense. Stronger, braver, certainly more ambitious, more daring.
SPOCK: Gentlemen, this romanticism about a ruthless dictator is
KIRK: Mister Spock, we humans have a streak of barbarism in us. Appalling, but there, nevertheless.
SCOTT: There were no massacres under his rule.
SPOCK: And as little freedom.
MCCOY: No wars until he was attacked.
SPOCK: Gentlemen.
KIRK: Mister Spock, you misunderstand us. We can be against him and admire him all at the same time.
SPOCK: Illogical.
KIRK: Totally. This is the Captain. Put a twenty four hour security on Mister Khan’s quarters, effective immediately.

Star Trek, Space Seed