A pro-life activist who previously served as vice president for missions at the group Human Life International, West is an associate pastor at St. John’s Catholic Church in Orange, an ethnically diverse community in Essex County.
He declined to comment on his social media postings when approached by a reporter at the rectory last week, referring questions to Jim Goodness, a spokesman for the archdiocese.
In a statement to NJ Advance Media, Goodness said the archdiocese would move to curtail West’s political pronouncements.
“Certainly, a priest doesn’t give up his civil liberties when he is ordained, and he maintains the same right to freedom of expression as anyone else in the United States,” Goodness said. “That said, we are concerned about Father West’s comments and actions, and will be addressing them according to the protocols of the Church.”
The spokesman declined to elaborate or answer additional questions.
A minority of commenters on West’s Facebook page have denounced him as a “hatemonger” who promotes divisiveness, and at least one person complained about him to the archdiocese in December — a development announced by West himself on Facebook.
His response? A harangue against “leftist apparatchiks” and “Comrade Obama.”
Directly addressing the complainant, whom he did not name, West added: “You should be ashamed of yourself for supporting pro-abortion, anti-family politicians. If I get in trouble for denouncing them, so be it! But I won’t be scared off by a totalitarian jerk like yourself!”
The Rev. John J. Dietrich, the director of spiritual formation at the nation’s second largest seminary, Mount Saint Mary’s in Maryland, called West’s comments about politicians, Muslims and liberals “way over-the-top inappropriate behavior.”
“The thrust of his priesthood is not to be political. The thrust of his priesthood is supposed to be sacramental, preaching the Scripture,” Dietrich said, adding, “There’s a red line you don’t cross.”
“We discuss things like this in the seminary,” he said. “We would never countenance anything like this.”
Catholic leaders in recent decades have navigated the intersection of religious belief and politics carefully, stressing, for instance, the sanctity of life but rarely launching personal attacks against politicians who support abortion rights.
One modern exception to the tread-lightly rule has been Cardinal Raymond Burke, a former St. Louis archbishop who made headlines in 2004 when he said presidential candidate John Kerry, then a U.S. senator, should be denied Communion because of his pro-choice views. Francis demoted Burke, also a vocal Trump supporter who has criticized Islam, to a largely ceremonial Vatican position in 2014 amid several public disagreements.
A handful of other outspoken priests took public political stances in the 20th century, said David Campbell, who has written about religion and politics as chairman of the American Democracy Department at Notre Dame University.
Those priests include the brothers Daniel and Philip Berrigan, who led protests against the Vietnam War, and the Rev. Charles Coughlin, an early radio talk show host who challenged the policies of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1930s.
But politically hard-charging Catholic priests remain a rarity, said Boston College theology professor Stephen J. Pope, an expert on Catholic social teaching.
“Catholic priests are forbidden from using their office and their priesthood to promote partisan political positions,” Pope said. “A priest’s job is to be a bridge-builder, not a wall-builder.”
I was watching the movie Captains Courageous with my bride last night, the 1937 film based on Kipling’s novel of the same name. I was struck by the performance of Spencer Tracy as Manuel Fidello, for which he won an Oscar, the happy go lucky Portuguese fisherman who rescues a spoiled rich kid from the sea, Harvey Cheyne (Freddie Bartholomew), and who helps put his feet on the path to becoming a good man. Not a learned man, he has a deep faith as symbolized by the crucifix he wears around his neck and this bit of dialogue from the movie:
Harvey: Has your father been dead a long time?
Manuel: Six year, next month. Seem a long, long time.
Harvey: How did he die?
Manuel: He drown off Cape Sable in storm. Wave come at night and wash him overboard.
Harvey: Didn’t they find him?
Harvey: Oh, l’m sorry.
Manuel: What you sorry about?
Harvey: Well, l mean your father. They didn’t find him.
Manuel: What they need find him for? He all right.
Harvey: Well, but, drowning out in the ocean, all alone at night….
Manuel: Well, what’s trouble about that? That fine way. The Savior, he take my father up to fisherman’s heaven… up with all his old friends. Quick he take him up. Quick. Just like l pull up this 35-pound fish. The Savior, He see my father all tired and wet down there in the water. So he light the harbor buoy and he say: ”Come on up, old Manuel… ”l so happy you come up here to help us fish.” And my father, he say, ”Thank you. ”l very happy to come up, too. And maybe l show you something about fishing up here, huh?” And then they all laugh. And the Savior, He put his arm around my father… and He give him brand-new dory to fish in.
Harvey: You think they really fish in heaven?
Manuel: Why, sure they fish in heaven. What else they do? The Apostles, they all fishermen, l think. You remember that Simon, called Peter? Remember that time when… he don’t catch no fish in the sea of Galilee? And the Savior, He stand on the shore and He say: ”Simon, you throw your net on the right side.” And Simon, he throw his net on the right side… and he catch so many fish, his net, it almost break in two. l think the Savior, He the best fisherman. But my father, he come next. And not fishing like this. Oh, no, no. Fish bite all time. When no more fish, the Savior, He make more fish. He make more fish. He make more bread. He make more wine. And at night He stand watch all by Himself. He say: ”Good night, fishermen. You tired now. Go to your bunks. ”And no snorings, please. Good night, Manuel’s father.” Oh, that very nice place. Oh. Sometimes l think l go there right now. Then l say, ”Now, whoa, Manuel. ‘You gotta be better fisherman first. That Savior, He only give dories to first-class fishermen, like your father.” So l keep on fishing. l no hurry. l know my father keep place for me in his dory.
The film Birth of a Nation, D.W. Griffith’s masterpiece, was controversial at its release and remains so. At three hours the film was a pioneering effort using then cutting age technology to produce a movie that stunned viewers with its cinematic quality, something that no one had ever seen before. At the same time the film, based on the pro-Ku Klux Klan novel the Clansman by Thomas Dixon, a friend of President Woodrow Wilson, drew outrage from Grand Army of the Republic Union veterans and black groups with its depiction of the Klan as noble heroes attempting to fight against evil Unionists and its depiction of blacks as little better than beasts who walked erect. Race riots broke out in cities where the film was shown. President Wilson viewed the film in the White House and was reported to have said, “It is like writing history with lightning. And my only regret is that it is all so terribly true”. The White House denied the remark, and in the wake of continuing protests, Wilson eventually condemned the “unfortunate production”. The film used quotes from Wilson’s scholarly works to buttress its negative depiction of Reconstruction and its positive depiction of the Klan. Considering the fact that Wilson imposed segregation on the Civil Service it is difficult to discern what he found to be “unfortunate” about the film.
Just barely two weeks into his presidency, Donald Trump has managed, over the course of just one interview, to do much to vindicate the Never Trump movement. It was the Super Bowl interview with Bill O’Reilly where the following exchange took place:
O’REILLY: Putin’s a killer.
TRUMP: We’ve got a lot of killers. Boy, you think our country’s so innocent? You think our country’s so innocent?
O’REILLY: I don’t know of any government leaders that are killers.
TRUMP: Well, take a look at what we’ve done too. We’ve made a lot of mistakes. I’ve been against the war in Iraq from the beginning.
O’REILLY: Mistakes are different than –
TRUMP: A lot of mistakes, okay, but a lot of people were killed. So a lot of killers around, believe me.
What we have here is President Trump engaging in moral equivalence between the United States and present day Russia and Vladimir Putin and George W. Bush. Whatever one may think regarding the Iraq war, comparing President Bush’s decision to invade Iraq with the murderous thuggery of Vladimir Putin is beyond revolting. Over at the Daily Wire, Ben Shapiro pretty much nails it, so I don’t see the need to add much to what he says. But I would like to answer a question he poses:
“…will mainstream conservatives go silent on Trump no matter what he does? Has the halo effect of victory relieved Trump of any pressure to behave with even the most remote semblance of decency? Will Republicans go along with anything Trump says, lying for him like Pence, because they like his policy preferences?”
Well, from what I’ve seen, they (meaning mainstream conservatives) haven’t necessarily “gone silent”. In addition to Vice President Pence not only insulting any reasonably intellectually honest person’s intelligence, but impugning his own integrity, I just heard David Horowitz, of Front Page Magazine, on Tucker Carlson’s show on Fox deny that it was moral equivalence in much the same way Pence did.
To his credit, Sen. Marco Rubio, who I am not at all fond of, did denounce Trump in a Twitter post.
Not only do I believe the conservative commentariat needs to denounce President Trump’s moral equivalence in the strongest terms, conservatives serving in his administration should demand the President retract that statement, in the form of a “clarification” perhaps, failing which will result in mass resignations. They need to make clear to President Trump that they refuse to serve in an administration that actively engages in undermining our moral standing in the world.
Unfortunately, I don’t see either happening, at least in any meaningful way, particularly with those in the administration. Whatever one can say about Donald Trump, he has good instincts in choosing yes men to surround himself with. In the case of his choice for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, he picked another set of lips to plant on Putin’s backside.
Will we hold President Trump to at least the same standard we held President Obama to? Or will we, in exchange for some good SCOTUS picks and other sort of conservative policies, sacrifice our own principles?
I am afraid that the nomination of Donald Trump as its presidential candidate will be one of the darkest periods in GOP history. Perhaps its very darkest. I would like to be wrong. But its starting to look like I am right.
Background on the Knights of Malta debacle from Tim Hedges at The Commentator:
It is hard to know how Pope Francis gets himself into these scrapes. What should have been a quiet private matter, if it happened at all, was in every paper in the civilised world. For sheer, bull headed, foot-in-mouth belligerence Papa Bergoglio trumps Trump.
The Prince and Grand Master of the Order of Malta was Fra’ Robert Matthew Festing, Guards Officer and son of a Chief of the Imperial General Staff. You have to be a bit socially upmarket to get on in this company, the other bigwigs being a selection of the European Catholic aristocracy.
Anyway, Festing had sacked Albrecht, Freiherr von Boeselager, the Grand Chancellor, on the grounds that he, the Freiherr, had been involved in charitable works which distributed condoms. Now, the Catholic faith is against the use of condoms, so you might imagine that the Pope would have patted the blessed Festing on the back for ridding the order of a dangerous progressive.
It is of course Francis who is the progressive, dangerous or otherwise, but, being the Pope, he can’t say that condoms are OK. As with offering Holy Communion to divorcees, he can’t change the rules but doesn’t want them exercised too strictly. So he just sacked someone for doing the right thing.
Then came the posters. All over central Rome, they featured a grumpy looking Pope and, underneath, a philippic against the Holy Father, mentioning, amongst other sins, the Order of Malta fiasco. Where is your Mercy?, it asked, referring to the Pope’s Jubilee year of Mercy.
Strangely enough, the screed was written in the Roman dialect, putting it in the tradition of the denouncers and rumour mongers of old, who used to leave their handwritten defamations on various statues in the ancient city. But no one is fooled by this. They all think it comes from Cardinal Burke.
(I originally wrote this about eight years ago when the blog readership was much smaller. I last reran it in 2015. Now that Planned Parenthood is back in the news, and we may at last defund that murderous organization, I thought that current readers might wish to know why I refer to Planned Parenthood as Worse Than Murder, Inc.)
Lately, in severalposts, I have been in the habit of referring to Planned Parenthood as Murder, Inc. I apologize for doing so. It was unfair of me to draw this type of comparison.
In the late twenties of the last century, gangsters Charles “Lucky” Luciano and Meyer Lansky set up the National Crime Syndicate. Organized crime needed a mechanism to keep anarchy from breaking out within its ranks between various gangs and factions. Operating out of a 24 hour candy store in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn, Murder, Inc. ( the name was a newspaper invention) provided this mechanism. Louis “The Judge” “Lepke” Buchalter and Albert “The Mad Hatter” Anastasia were the leaders of Murder, Inc.
The Syndicate, by majority vote, would order the slaying of an unruly gangster and Murder, Inc would carry it out. The hitmen of Murder, Inc. operated under strict guidlines. No innocent bystanders were to be killed. No hits could be ordered against judges, police or prosecuting attorneys for fear of reprisals from law enforcement.
Over the years Murder, Inc. murdered some 800 fellow gangsters. In 1940 the downfall of the murder enterprise began when Murder, Inc. killer Abe ‘Kid Twist’ Reles, turned informant in order to save himself from the electric chair. Louis “The Judge” “Lepke” Buchalter died in the chair in Sing Sing in 1944, after the US Supreme Court rejected his appeal which raised, among other issues, the contention of Buchalter that lurid press coverage had tainted the jury. Other Murder, Inc. members swiftly followed “The Judge” down the last mile. Albert “The Madhatter” Anastasia would have followed in their footsteps but for the tragic “accidental” death of Abe ‘Kid Twist’ Reles when he fell from room 623 of the Half Moon Hotel on Coney Island. In the gang world he was ever after known as “The Canary that sung but couldn’t fly.” However, with the attention of law enforcement focused upon it, Murder, Inc. could no longer function and it ceased to exist except as a gangland legend.
Based upon this grim record I hope you can see why it is necessary for me to apologize—to Murder, Inc.
A chilling video in which Live Action pro-life heroine Lila Rose talks with former Planned Parenthood Worse Than Murder, Inc. managers of abortion clinics. They had quotas to make and they were under instructions to sell abortion as a solution to the desperate pregnant women who come to these death clinics. The banality of evil indeed. The deaths of innocents in order to meet a cash quota for a month. Imagine trying to explain that to God. Jesus wept.
PopeWatch wonders if the Pope had this all planned out when he assigned Cardinal Burke to the Knights of Malta?:
ROME-Pope Francis has appointed a personal delegate to the Sovereign Order of Malta to serve as the sole liaison between the embattled order and the Vatican, virtually replacing American Cardinal Raymond Burke.
The man tapped for the job is Archbishop Angelo Becciu, the Vatican’s deputy Secretariat of State (known as the “substitute”). The decision was announced by the Vatican on Saturday, through a letter from Francis to Becciu.
As “sole spokesperson in all matters relating to relations” between the Vatican and the order, the pope writes, Becciu will have “all the necessary powers to decide any issues that may arise concerning the implementation of the mandate entrusted to you.”
Becciu’s assignment as papal delegate will last until a new Grand Master for the order is elected, which could take place in April after the group’s Sovereign Council is summoned, according to what was announced by the Knights of Malta in a recent press conference.
Technically, Burke is the papal envoy to the order. He assumed that role in November 2014, after leaving the post of head of the Vatican’s Supreme Court.
Becciu will in the meantime work closely with Ludwing Hoffmann von Rumerstein, currently the Lieutenant ad interim of the order, appointed last Saturday, after former Grand Master Matthew Festing presented his resignation at the pope’s request.
Festing’s resignation marked the end of a power struggle between the Order of Malta and the Vatican, which began with the dismissal of Albrecht Boeselager from his position as Grand Chancellor in early December. The month-long spat included Francis’s creating a committee to examine the order’s situation, which the now former Grand Master had declared “legally irrelevant.”
“The great Gaels of Ireland are the men that God made mad, For all their wars are merry, and all their songs are sad.”
GK Chesterton, The Ballad of the White Horse
Today is my sixtieth birthday. As faithful readers of this blog know, I share a birthday with Ronald Wilson Reagan. I have long admired Reagan, the greatest President of my lifetime. Of Irish ancestry, Reagan had the Irish habit of smiling in a fight. A man of strong convictions, Reagan never forgot that his domestic adversaries were political opponents and not enemies. His humor was never mean spirited, and much of it was directed against himself. Completely comfortable in his own skin, he never took himself seriously while taking very seriously what he believed in and fought for. Happy birthday Mr. President, and may there be plenty of good humor in the life to come for you to add to.
More evidence that global warming is nothing but a scam:
The Mail on Sunday today reveals astonishing evidence that the organisation that is the world’s leading source of climate data rushed to publish a landmark paper that exaggerated global warming and was timed to influence the historic Paris Agreement on climate change.
A high-level whistleblower has told this newspaper that America’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) breached its own rules on scientific integrity when it published the sensational but flawed report, aimed at making the maximum possible impact on world leaders including Barack Obama and David Cameron at the UN climate conference in Paris in 2015.
The report claimed that the ‘pause’ or ‘slowdown’ in global warming in the period since 1998 – revealed by UN scientists in 2013 – never existed, and that world temperatures had been rising faster than scientists expected. Launched by NOAA with a public relations fanfare, it was splashed across the world’s media, and cited repeatedly by politicians and policy makers.
But the whistleblower, Dr John Bates, a top NOAA scientist with an impeccable reputation, has shown The Mail on Sunday irrefutable evidence that the paper was based on misleading, ‘unverified’ data.
It was never subjected to NOAA’s rigorous internal evaluation process – which Dr Bates devised.
His vehement objections to the publication of the faulty data were overridden by his NOAA superiors in what he describes as a ‘blatant attempt to intensify the impact’ of what became known as the Pausebuster paper.
His disclosures are likely to stiffen President Trump’s determination to enact his pledges to reverse his predecessor’s ‘green’ policies, and to withdraw from the Paris deal – so triggering an intense political row.
Rorate Caeli brings us this story about anti-Francis posters going up in Rome:
Rome woke up this Saturday with something quite new, and very old, in its streets: posters throughout the City (in the style of the old “pasquinate“) critical of the Pope.
In English, from the Romanesco-inspired Italian:
Ah Francis, you have intervened in Congregations, removed priests, decapitated the Order of Malta and the Franciscans of the Immaculate, ignored Cardinals… but where is your mercy?
These were common at the time of the Papal States (before the fall of Porta Pia and the full unification of Italy in 1870): not for religious reasons, but rather for political complaints, since the Popes were also the secular rulers of the Pontifical territories.
Since then, these public criticisms of Pontiffs mostly disappeared in the City, considering the new Italian authorities were now those responsible for the secular government of the old papal territories, and that the Pope remained responsible only for religious matters. They still show up all the time against Italian politicians.
When a Seattle Federal Judge, James Robart, imposed a nation wide injunction on portions of President Tump’s executive order, most of the media hastened to noted that he had been appointed by Bush 43. True, but misleading, as noted by Jerome Wohrle at Liberty Unyielding:
Judge Robart’s Friday order against Trump sheds little light on his thinking. But at an earlier hearing on Washington State’s motion for a temporary restraining order, he asked what rational basis the government had for restricting entry from the seven countries covered by Trump’s order: Iraq, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Yemen. As NPR notes, these seven countries were previously singled out by Congress for milder restrictions on visas. Congress did so after terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, in a 2015 law tightening up the Visa Waiver Program that was signed by President Obama. Critics argue that there was no rational basis for restricting travel from these countries but not other countries in the Middle East, such as Saudi Arabia. This argument is silly, since America has deep economic links and security ties with Saudi Arabia that it lacks with the seven countries subject to the 2015 law and Trump’s executive order. America need not antagonize a key ally when it takes steps to increase border security. Perhaps for this reason, Judge Robart’s order in State of Washington v. Trump does not even make this argument, simply suggesting that for some unexplained reason the executive order may violate the “Constitution.”
To cover up the embarrassing weakness of Judge Robart’s temporary restraining order, reporters at the Washington Post and elsewhere have trumpeted the fact that Robart was nominally appointed by President George W. Bush. They have done this to suggest that his ruling must have merit, because otherwise he would not have ruled against a President of the same party as the man who appointed him. But this is misleading, since Robart is a “staunchly liberal” judge whose appointment was “effectively forced on Bush” by liberal Senator Patty Murray in 2004, when Washington State had two liberal Senators.
The media ignores the fact that Robart’s appointment as a federal judge was championed by liberal Senators like Patty Murray (D-Wash.), who used Senatorial custom allowing senators to veto Presidential appointments of trial judges to obtain the appointment of liberal trial judges like Robart in Washington State. An April 13, 2005 press release by Murray touts Robart’s appointment as the “bipartisan” result of using a state commission to select federal trial judges in Washington, whose appointment Bush then rubberstamped. This Senatorial veto power, known as the “blue slip,” is an old tradition, dating back to at least 1917, that lets senators have a say on which trial judges are appointed to courts in their home state.
When Obama was president, the media did not do this. They would not cite the fact that Obama appointed a judge to suggest that the judge’s ruling against Obama had merit. When Judge James Boasberg ruled against the Obama IRS, few news stories mentioned the fact that he was a liberal Democrat appointed by Obama himself. When Judge Amos Mazzant issued an injunction against Obama’s overtime rule, most of the media either did not report the fact that Mazzant had been appointed by Obama; or if they did, they also suggested that he was a conservative judge, because Republican Senators in Texas used their “blue slip” privilege to block Obama from appointing liberal trial judges in Texas.
Even critics of Trump’s order have found Judge Robart’s order senseless. As one put it,
Judge Robart’s temporary restraining order … may make things even worse in the long run, and had no basis in law. The judge’s temporary restraining order is harmful — it bans giving priority in asylum claims to Yazidi and Christian applicants, even though they are the ones who face a high risk of being killed in Iraq and Syria. (It bans ‘proceeding with any action that prioritizes the refugee claims of certain religious minorities,’ see Order at pg. 5, paragraph 1). This ban is perverse, because under U.S. law and international treaties, asylum is SUPPOSED to be given to members of groups facing persecution based on religion, and the threat of genocide faces only certain religions. The judge provided NO REASONING AT ALL for his assertion that the constitution might be violated by the executive order, and lawyers like Scott Johnson have noted that the judge’s order had no real legal basis.
Judge Robart, the oddball judge who issued that TRO against the executive order, is the same guy who issued the bizarre college sexual assault ruling that Robbie Soave wrote about earlier at Reason Magazine.
He ruled a falsely-accused male student could not depose or obtain relevant documents from the female student who got him expelled because that would traumatize her (never mind that it was SHE who performed a sex act on him when he was blacked out, meaning that if anyone was guilty of sexual assault it was HER). Reason’s article about it can be found here.
…Robart also bellowed “Black Lives Matter” in open court, as the Daily Caller noted (in a context in which it made little sense).
Today we have the top sporting event of the years. I of course refer to Puppy Bowl! I believe there may be another minor athletic contest that may also occur today. However, in my house we will be turned to that unforgettable display of canine agility on Animal Planet!
Some issues are perennial in American history. A century ago Congress overwhelmingly passed the Immigration Act of 1917 over President Wilson’s veto. It established an Asiatic Barred Zone from which new immigrants were excluded. Chinese were already excluded under the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. Japanese immigration was limited under the Gentleman’s Agreement of 1907. The law required immigrants over 16 to be literate either in English or their native language. Among the categories of immigrants banned were”alcoholics”, “anarchists”, “contract laborers”, “criminals and convicts”, “epileptics”, “feebleminded persons”, “idiots”, “illiterates”, “imbeciles”, “insane persons”, “paupers”, “persons afflicted with contagious disease”, “persons being mentally or physically defective”, “persons with constitutional psychopathic inferiority”, “political radicals”, “polygamists”, “prostitutes” and “vagrants”.
If Pope Francis can spare time from global warming or cheer leading mass Islamic immigration to Europe, perhaps he could take a few minutes out of his schedule to address this:
Jesús Torrealba, the secretary general of Venezuela’s Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), tweeted this week that colectivos stormed into Caracas’s San Pedro Claver Church on January 23 mid-Mass. “The violent government supporters closed the door, prevented the parishioners from leaving, and forced them to listen to a political speech,” Torrealba denounced on Twitter. “The violent colectivos offended the Venezuelan Episcopal Conference and social leaders in the area in their speech.”
Torrealba concluded, noting that the incident ended after Monsignor Jesús González de Zárate, an official at the church, pleaded with the gangs to allow the Mass to continue.
Following reports of the event, the head of the Venezuelan Episcopal Conference issued a statement condemning the increasingly common attacks on the part of supporters of the socialist government against the Catholic Church. “These are not isolated occurrences but rather, one gets the impression that these are premeditated events meant to intimidate the Catholic Church,” Monsignor Diego Padrón, the head of the conference, said in remarks on an anti-government radio program. The Church, he added, is a target because it “has taken a very clear position before the government, noting its difficulties, problems, and the crisis the nation is currently in.”
Padrón also listed other events that made him believe these were not isolated incidents, including attacks on the homes of multiple clergy members who had openly objected to the socialist government.