Donald R. McClarey

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

Bear Growls: Father Rosica

 

Our bruin friend at Saint Corbinian’s Bear sets his sights upon the recent charitable musings of Father Tom Rosica.  Go here and here to read about this credit to the priesthood.  Here are the comments of our bruin friend:

 

Fr. Rosica: Jesus Brand Out, Francis Brand In

The frightening and unusually meaty face of Fr. Rosica
Catholic Bloggers Holy Executioners Strewing Corpses All Around

The Pope’s PR flack and head of Salt and Light Media Foundation has excoriated Catholic ephemerists. On May 17, Fr. Rosica had these charitable words for the Bear and other Catholic ephemerists who are having none of Pope Francis’ Kool-Aid. The Bear would just point out that the beginning of the first sentence unwittingly states the problem. This from the ever-reliable CRUX.

Although Pope Francis has succeeded in rebranding the public profile of the Church, according to a Vatican PR aide, his positive tone isn’t always reflected when Catholics themselves take to the use of social media. 

On the contrary, to hear Father Thomas Rosica tell it, sometimes Catholic conversation on-line is more “culture of death” than “culture of life.” 

“Many of my non-Christian and non-believing friends have remarked to me that we ‘Catholics’ have turned the Internet into a cesspool of hatred, venom and vitriol, all in the name of defending the faith!” he said. 

“The character assassination on the Internet by those claiming to be Catholic and Christian has turned it into a graveyard of corpses strewn all around,” said Rosica, who assists the Vatican Press Office with English-speaking media, on May 11 as he delivered the keynote address at the Brooklyn Diocese’s observance of World Communications Day. 

“Often times the obsessed, scrupulous, self-appointed, nostalgia-hankering virtual guardians of faith or of liturgical practices are very disturbed, broken and angry individuals, who never found a platform or pulpit in real life and so resort to the Internet and become trolling pontiffs and holy executioners!” Rosica said. 

“In reality they are deeply troubled, sad and angry people,” he said. “We must pray for them, for their healing and conversion!”

Mixing humor and invective can be done. The Bear does it nearly every day. But, Fr. Rosica, the humor should be intentional. Sadly, for Fr. Rosica, the Bear is laughing at him, not with him. Not the best thing for a liar-for-hire. “Trolling pontiffs and holy executioners?” “Corpses strewn all around?” A bit purple, don’t you think?

Even funnier is absolutely ripping the heart out of Catholic ephemerists then faux-piously saying, “In reality they are deeply troubled, sad and angry people. We must pray for them, for their healing and conversion!” A good PR flack should stay on message and avoid blatant insincerity.

This “disturbed, broken and angry” (alright, disturbed and angry) Bear for one takes comfort in the fact that someone filled with such contempt for him nevertheless manages to pray for this unworthy Bear’s healing and conversion. However, the Bear thinks Fr. Rosica is mainly going after traddies here. The Bear merely wants Pope Francis to go away and never come back.

The Infamously Litigious Fr. Rosica

Now, the Bear realizes that he is taking a big risk criticizing this pompous asshat. [Note: edit out “asshat” before pub] Fr. Rosica doesn’t always just pray for erring ephemerists. Sometimes he sues them. Or possibly, he both prays for them and sues them; the Bear does not know.

Fr. Rosica sued one-man ephemeris Vox Cantoris. If Fr. Rosica wishes to sue the Bear, the Bear would be delighted to match his public relations instincts with Fr. Rosica’s, which appear to be nil. “Pope’s PR Priest Sues Disabled Veteran Blogger for Calling Him ‘Asshat.'” [Note: sub. “asshat” before pub.] “Rosica Strikes Again: Sues Adorable Bear Who Hurt His Feelings.”

“[Francis] Has Rebranded Catholicism and the Papacy”

Fr. Rosica gained infamy during the Synod on the Family. He also promoted Pope Francis to “Prince of Peace.” Now, that’s the kind of publicity you can only buy. Here’s what Fr. Rosica had to say about his client, Pope Francis. The occasion: Fr. Rosica received some award in Brooklyn, covered by his very own media outlet! 

“After three years at the helm of the Church, we must ask ourselves: What is the most important achievement of Pope Francis? He has rebranded Catholicism and the papacy.” [Emphasis in original.]

He also said this:

Many of my colleagues in the “secular” media industry have said that Francis has made it fun to be a religion reporter and journalist again. He has changed the image of the church so much that prestigious graduate schools of business and management are now using him as a case study in rebranding. 

Note that Fr. Rosica and the Bear agree with all this rebranding of the Catholic Church and the Papacy. It’s just that Fr. Rosica thinks this is a good thing. Why wouldn’t he? As long as the reporters are having fun. Heck, the Bear would have fun in the back of the plane, too. No doubt Fr. Rosica, as PR flack, enjoys having a hand in this rebranding. And it’s comforting to know that big corporations, maybe Target, who get themselves into trouble are using Pope Francis as a model to “rebrand” themselves. What kind of dope uses “rebrand” in a religious context, anyway?

The Bear has one question for Fr. Rosica. What was wrong with the Jesus brand?

Any way, nice to know we humble ephemerists, the francs-tireur of this war for the soul of the Church, are getting to people like Fr. Rosica, and, it may be assumed, image-conscious Pope Francis.

Continue reading

I am Shocked! Shocked! Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Engaging in Vote Fraud in Primaries!

 

Who could possibly have thought, even in his wildest imaginings, that Hillary Clinton, of all people, married to that paragon of rectitude Bill Clinton, would have engaged in vote fraud?

Most infuriating is the Nevada primary, where Hillary Clinton won by only 700 votes. Among the issues reported there were shortages of ballots as well as ballots already pre-printed with Hillary Clinton’s logo. Also, several Clinton supporters were shown on video walking past poll workers while wearing Clinton T-shirts, which is illegal. One of the voters was heard to say that they weren’t registered, but would do so after they voted, which is also not allowed.

Which brings us to Kentucky, where the Attorney General’s office fielded 76 calls to the election fraud hotline. Fox 19 states that the calls came from 31 different counties and included issues with voting machines, illegal electioneering, buying and selling votes, and poll disruption as well as voter registration issues and procedural and legal questions.

Even more concerning are the discrepancies between the exit polls and the actual results of the elections. According to Money Morning, Edison Reporting is responsible for conducting the exit polls, and they are considered to be incredibly accurate as they are conducted at polling stations on the day of the election. This year, the results have been far beyond the expected margin of error in 17 primaries. Of those, nine had a margin of error of greater than 7 percent. In each case, the margin of error was in Clinton’s favor, and the cases with the highest margin were also the cases where the voting machines were over 10-years-old and therefore susceptible to hacking and other forms of tampering.

One should be able to expect his or her commander-in-chief to act within the bounds of the law and with respect to their constituents. Should Hillary win the presidency, if the primaries are any indication, this will not be the case.

Continue reading

PopeWatch: Confusion Uber Alles

 

PopeWatch2-199x300-199x300

 

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

 

Pope Francis said today that he would set up a commission to study whether or not he can find more ways to confuse and frustrate the living crap out of people, revealing an openness to re-examining the church’s long-held insistence on not speaking off-the-cuff.

His move was hailed as a breakthrough by those in the media who have clamored for years to be given more stuff to speculate on, and who cite research showing that a pope whose speeches were scripted and thought out produced nothing for the media to report on, and therefore, pointless.

But the idea will face stiff resistance from some who believe that finding out whether he can indeed find more ways to confuse people is the first step toward drinking during a General Audience, which recent popes have ruled out.

 

During a discussion at the Vatican on Thursday, which at one point touched on the fact that just saying that a completely absurd idea is a possibility just because you’re put on the spot is in itself absurd, Francis was asked about the possibility of an official commission to study the issue. His response was, in essence, “Why not?”

“Constituting an official commission that might study the question of how I can make the lives of Catholics defending the Church from misinformed Catholics annoying?” Pope Francis said out loud. “I believe yes. It would do good for the Church to clarify this point.”

“I accept,” the pope said later. “It seems useful to me to have a commission that would clarify whether all of my successors should also be obliged to speak without regard to already resolved matters.” Continue reading

Stalin Wasn’t Stallin’

 

Something for the weekend.  Stalin Wasn’t Stallin’.  A historical curiosity of 1943.  The only gospel song that I am aware of that praises Joseph Stalin, it was inspired by this remark in a speech by FDR:

The world has never seen greater devotion, determination, and self sacrifice, that have been displayed by the Russian people and their armies under the leadership of Marshall Joseph Stalin.  The song was performed a cappella by the gospel group Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet.  The song was a moderate success in 1943 and has mercifully been largely forgotten since that.  A tribute to war time tunnel vision and the delusional view of Stalin firmly embraced by President Roosevelt and many other liberal Americans, inside and outside of his administration, at the time.

PopeWatch: Never Mind

PopeWatch2-199x300-199x300

 

Father Z wonders how the Pope might cure the problems with Amoris Laetitia:

 

I am trying to think back through the Church’s long history for an instance in which a Pope has withdrawn one of his own teaching documents, on faith and morals.

Of course Popes have superseded previous documents by issuing their own.

But has a Pope ever withdrawn one?  How would that work?  In my mind’s eye I see a Pope giving a presser on an airplane (which in the future may become the Roman Pontiff’s official cathedra):

POPE WITH MICROPHONE: Okay, everyone, listen up!  That document I issued a while back… you know the one… okay, that’s all over now.  No more document, okay?  It’s gone. I’m withdrawing it.  It’s like… like an annulment, a rendering of something that was something into nothing, right?  Got it?  It’s not going to be on the website anymore.  We are not going to twitter about… tweet?… tweet about it.  We are asking everyone to just, like, throw it away.  If you love Vatican II, just stop talking about it.  Okay?  Thanks in advance everyone.

PRESS SECRETARY: Okay, folks, that’s it for today. Continue reading

Mark Shea and Donald Trump: Two of a Kind

nbc-fires-donald-trump-after-he-calls-mexicans-rapists-and-drug-runners

Festung Shea

 

Oh, not in regard to having orange hair or in possessing several billion dollars, but rather in their mode of operation in matters of controversy.  Dave Griffey at his blog Daffey Thoughts nailed this back in March, and now that Shea has given his blessing to votes for the pro-abort Cruella de Ville Hillary Clinton in pursuit of his crusade against the Trumpster, I thought the readers of TAC would be interested in Griffey’s sharp observations on the subject:

 

Donald Trump, Mark Shea and the Facebook Generation

 

By that, I don’t mean Mark supports or likes Donald Trump. Quite the contrary.  Mark routinely takes on Trump and Trump’s supporters the way Mark does most things: in the same manner as Donald Trump.  In fact, that’s my point.  If you want to be brutally honest, you’ll admit that Mark Shea is simply a Catholic Internet version of Donald Trump.  If you visit Facebook or similar Social Media sites, you’ll see that Mark is far from the glaring exception.  Go onto most Internet sites, including major media outlets, read the comments and you’ll see Donald Trump all over.  And in some cases, such as Daily Kos or Salon.com or even such esteemed sites as the Huffington Post, you might find published editorials that aren’t much different.

I hate to say it, but my boys are correct.  Donald Trump is the candidate that the Facebook generation deserves.  And it isn’t because of a few radical exceptions to the rule.  It is the rule.  We are the generation that liberal society has been striving for over the decades.  From the 50s through the 60s and 70s and beyond, Trump is what we’ve been aiming at.

Just look at Mark Shea as an obvious example. Mark is familiar to most Catholics on the Internet and is highly regarded by many. And yet, not only does he resemble Trump in his approach to topics and interaction on his various sites, he does so as a representative of the Catholic Church.  At least Trump just represents politics.  And yet Mark is quite the hero for many Catholics.  For many non-Catholics, too.  Including those who are quick to attack and bemoan the Trump phenomenon.

How can I be so heartless and judgmental to compare Mark to Trump?  Or compare others on Social Media to Trump?  Easy.  I read.  I listen to Trump and what people criticize him for, and then visit various Facebook pages, including Mark’s, and I see no difference.   Trump, beyond the policies he advocates – when we can figure them out – is brash, crude, rude, vulgar, sinful, mean spirited, ill-informed and simply a lousy person because of how he interacts with others and treats others who dare disagree with him.

So how is that different than Mark, or even Mark’s own followers?  Or the followers on any one of a million sites?  For instance, Mark’s own lack of substance and knowledge of topics he comments on outside of Catholicism is legendary.  Even those who support him and agree with him have hung their heads over his approach to such topics as the Death Penalty or Gun Control.  The same is a common complaint about Trump.  Mark thinks nothing of using the same language Trump is condemned for using.  Mark attacks through name calling and condescension and scorn any who dare disagree, unless Mark happens to be friends with the violators.  Mark isn’t even above making false and slanderous accusations against people, even to the point of libel.

But Trump says horrible things!  He mocks people for things they can’t help.  He made fun of Carly Fiorina’s looks.  He talks about killing people.  He talks about destroying other countries.  So does Mark.  One of his Facebook followers recently said that things would be better off if America was burned to ashes.  Mark only disagreed because he said Americans, being the murderous barbarians that we are, would take millions of innocent lives with us.  Mark justified his view of America by reminding us of the millions of Indians and Slaves who fell to our murderous, barbaric ancestors.  Imagine if Trump or a Trump supporter produced the same dialogue about another country, like Mexico or China.  Imagine the outrage and anger.

And Mark not only uses death and suffering to advance his opinions, he even has begun to mock people murdered by guns – if those same people were hard right wing activists.  That might seem understandable to some.  But remember, Mark and many others were shocked at how many celebrated the death of Osama bin Ladin or Hugo Chavez, saying that the only appropriate Christian response was to pray for their souls.  Yet many of those same Catholics are rightly shocked when Trump appears so callous and cruel to other people in the world.  Notice a trend?   What about making fun of others like Trump does?  Last election cycle Mark was forced by his own readers to remove a post he had submitted that made fun of Michelle Bachmann’s eyes and facial features.  Sound familiar? Continue reading

In Praise of Carl E. Olson

Carl E. Olson

 

 

I have never met Carl E. Olson, but if I did I would be happy to shake his hand.  Under the current Pontificate too many Catholic commenters either ignore the frequently baffling things that Pope Francis says, or make excuses for him.  Olson does not.  He deals with the situation straight on.  A prime example of this is his examination of the La Croix interview this week with the Pope:

 

4) Here is the most controversial section of the interview:

– The fear of accepting migrants is partly based on a fear of Islam. In your view, is the fear that this religion sparks in Europe justified?

Pope Francis: Today, I don’t think that there is a fear of Islam as such but of ISIS and its war of conquest, which is partly drawn from Islam. It is true that the idea of conquest is inherent in the soul of Islam. However, it is also possible to interpret the objective in Matthew’s Gospel, where Jesus sends his disciples to all nations, in terms of the same idea of conquest.

I find it refreshing that Francis admits that “the idea of conquest is inherent in the soul of Islam” because he has previously insisted that true Islam has nothing to do with violence. But, in fact, many people in the West are fearful of Islam, in part because they recognize that while the majority of Muslims are not terrorists, the vast majority of terrorists claim to be truly Muslim and—this is essential—there is no basis on which their claim can be denied. Secondly, the “well, Christians do bad stuff too!” argument is not only facile, it is insulting. Of course Christians have done bad things. But saying that the Great Commission—”Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matt 28:19-20)—to jihad  and the consistent record of violent and coercive expansion by Islam is simply ludicrous. No, it is not the same idea of conquest, and that sort of evasive equivalence is a disservice to the historical record and to the truth about Christianity.

Unfortunately, Francis has often taken this sort of straw man approach to this topic, as when he said in November 2014, “And I sincerely believe that we cannot say all Muslims are terrorists, just as we cannot say that all Christians are fundamentalists – we also have fundamentalists among us, all religions have these small groups.” That is equally facile, because no serious person is making such expansive claims; rather, the issue is the inherent vision and logic of a particular religion, combined with the means by which it regulates itself and interprets its doctrines, combined with the structures by which it controls and directs its actions. That said, I think he is correct in noting the implications of trying to plant some sort of democratic structure in certain countries; it simply doesn’t work and it often has very bad consequences. But that still is separate from the inner dynamism and goals of Islam, which is not only fractures, but quite theologically schizophrenic and disfunctional..

5) Finally, Francis says, “States must be secular. Confessional states end badly. That goes against the grain of History.” My initial response is: “And non-confessional states end well?” Let’s be honest: the end of any nation is almost always bad; nations rise and fall for a variety of reasons, but the falls are rarely pleasant or enjoyable. The Soviet Union is a good case in point. On the other hand, this insistence that confessional states are simply bad is dubious, to put it mildly. The Byzantine Empire lasted for—wait for it—a thousand years, and it was, on the whole, an impressive and great culture. (Of course, no one knows anything about it, so it’s a moot point, right?) Oh, and it was conquered by, yes, Muslims. And as a recent and important book explains, the Andalusian Paradise was not, in fact, paradise. And, please, can be stop invoking “History” and the “grain of History”? It’s both lazy and meaningless; history is what men have done, using their free will, for good or ill. Invoking vaguely Hegelian concepts only confuses matters.

Francis is right, of course, to defend religious freedom; he says many good things. But, at the end of day, those who wish to understand the place, purpose, and possible future of Europe will be better served in seeking out the writings of Joseph Ratzinger. Continue reading

PopeWatch: The Church Deserves Better

PopeWatch2-199x300-199x300

Magisterium as guessing game, that is the essence of the papacy of Pope Francis.  Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa gives us examples:

Yes, No, I Don’t Know, You Figure It Out. The Fluid Magisterium of Pope Francis

ROME, May 13, 2016 – How the magisterium of Pope Francis works was explained a few days ago by one of his pupils, Archbishop Bruno Forte. He recounted that during the synod on the family, for which he was special secretary, the pope said to him:

“If we talk explicitly about communion for the divorced and remarried, you have no idea what a mess these guys will make for us. So let’s not talk about it directly, you get the premises in place and then I will draw the conclusions.”

And so, thanks to this “wise” advice – Forte continued – matters came to “fruition” and the papal exhortation “Amoris Laetitia” arrived. In which the reformers have found what they wanted.

Forte’s is not a confidence snatched by betrayal. He said it from the stage of the theater in the city of Vasto, of which he is archbishop, in front of a packed crowd. “Typical of a Jesuit,” he commented afterward with a smile.

Because that’s just what Francis does. He never says everything that he has in mind. He just leaves it to guesswork. And he lets the interpretations run, even the most disparate, over what he says and writes.

That this approach should be used in private conversations is understandable. But Jorge Mario Bergoglio exercises it in systematically in public, in his official acts of magisterium, even when everyone is expecting him to add it all up and give a clear and definitive response.

With respect to the magisterium of previous popes, carved in stone, polished word by word, unmistakeble, that of Francis is an epochal transformation.

“Amoris Laetitia” is glaring proof of this. In reading it, the German cardinal and theologian Walter Kasper, who for decades has been the most combative proponent of communion for the divorced and remarried, had no doubts: reformers like him, he declared exultantly, now have “the wind at our backs to resolve such situations in a humane way.”

But another cardinal theologian and fellow countryman, Gerhard Müller, has read the contrary in it. He has said that there is nothing in “Amoris Laetitia” that clearly overturns the magisterium of the perennial Church, which forbids that communion. And Müller is not just anyone, he is the prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, the supreme court in the supervision of doctrine.

But anyone who believes that at this point Francis should clearly say where he stands is sure to be disappointed. Because meanwhile the pope has promoted a third cardinal, the Austrian Christoph Schönborn, as his most trusted interpreter of the post-synodal exhortation. A role that Schönborn is playing to perfection, with explanations also in the style of Bergoglio, all to be interpreted anew, on the ambiguous border between doctrine presented as unchanged and pastoral applications that must be new and changing.

No to barred gates, no to revolutions. But the third way conceived by Francis is anything but unyielding. Just the opposite.

By bringing back into discussion what appeared definitive before him, he has opened a process that gives equal citizenship to the most irreconcilable opinions, and therefore also to the most fiery reformers.

The unparalleled example of this inventiveness of Bergoglio’s may have come last February, when he went to visit the Lutheran Church in Rome (see photo).

A Protestant married to a Catholic asked him if she too could receive communion, together with her husband. And he replied to her with such a roundabout yes, no, and I don’t know as to give no understanding, in the end, what conclusion to draw, if not this: “It is a problem to which everyone must respond.”

It was to no use that Cardinal Müller, in the subsequent days, exerted himself to reiterate that the doctrine of the Church on this point had not changed. Because what was certain was that the pope had made it a matter of opinion, he in the first place, with his statements, denials, and contradictions.

They have their work cut out for them, the bishops and cardinals of Africa, or of Eastern Europe, or of the school of Wojtyla and Ratzinger. Cardinal Kasper has understood very well how things stand: “There is freedom for all. In Germany that can be permitted which in Africa is prohibited.”

With Pope Bergoglio a new model of Church is advancing, fluid, multicultural. Continue reading

Lawrence Charles McClarey: In Memoriam

Larry McClarey

Lawrence Charles McClarey

Birth:  September 5, 1991

(Feast day of Saint Lawrence Justinian)

Death:  May 19, 2013

(Pentecost)

12 Now if Christ be preached, that he arose again from the dead, how do some among you say, that there is no resurrection of the dead?  13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen again. 14 And if Christ be not risen again, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.  15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God: because we have given testimony against God, that he hath raised up Christ; whom he hath not raised up, if the dead rise not again.  16 For if the dead rise not again, neither is Christ risen again. 17 And if Christ be not risen again, your faith is vain, for you are yet in your sins.   18 Then they also that are fallen asleep in Christ, are perished.  19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

20 But now Christ is risen from the dead, the firstfruits of them that sleep :  21 For by a man came death, and by a man the resurrection of the dead.  22 And as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive.  23 But every one in his own order: the firstfruits Christ, then they that are of Christ, who have believed in his coming.  24 Afterwards the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God and the Father, when he shall have brought to nought all principality, and power, and virtue.  25 For he must reign, until he hath put all his enemies under his feet.  26 And the enemy death shall be destroyed last.

1 Corinthians:  12-26 Continue reading

May 19, 1780: New England’s Dark Day

dd05171780

 

May 19, 1780 was a memorable one in the history of New England.  Darkness descended for several hours in New England and parts of New York.  The cause of the darkness has been blamed on everything from volcanoes to dust storms.  The most commonly accepted explanation today is that the darkness was caused by forest fires.  An excellent overview of the Dark Day and its possible causes is presented by John Horrigan here.

Darkness in the middle of the day of course caused quite a bit of alarm, with more than a few people thinking that the Day of Judgment had arrived.  In the Connecticut legislature a motion to adjourn was proposed and passed.  Members of the Council of Safety of the legislature wanted to go to their homes.  Senator Abraham Davenport would have none of it.  “The day of judgment is either approaching, or it is not. If it is not, there is no cause of an adjournment: if it is, I choose to be found doing my duty. I wish therefore that candles may be brought.”  John Greenleaf Whittier immortalized this archetypal stubborn Yankee with this poem:

Continue reading

Mark Shea Hearts Hillary Clinton

 

Well, Mark Shea has restarted his old blog and is giving a big thumbs up to Catholics who want to vote for the complete pro-abort Hillary Clinton in order to stop Donald Trump:

 

you do not have to say a word in praise of Hillary’s evil policies.  You can bash them all you like (and I do).  Her support for abortion is evil (just like Trump’s).  Her cynical ease with lying is repellent (just like Trump’s).  Her bellicose ease with violence and war is wicked (just like Trump’s).  Her shady  associations are creepy (just like Trump’s).

But if you support Trump, you also are supporting evil she does not advocate such as torture, racism, misogyny, mockery of the disabled, mockery of POWs, and fiscal fantasism.  You have to, like Mike Huckabee, say stuff like “We’re electing a President, not a pope” and chuck overboard your claims to be thinking with the mind of Christ in order to pretend that Trump has “grown in virtue” and “evolved” on abortion when the reality is that he has not changed a bit.  You need to back him on *his* “non-negotiables” while abandoning your own.

I will be voting third party since Hillary won’t need my help to win Washington and the goal is to stop Trump, not help Hillary.  But I will not fault any Catholic who takes Benedict XVI’s permission and votes to lessen the clearly greater evil posed by Trump.

The greatest of those evils is the fact that every single “prolife” Christian who supports him will invariably find that they must immediately abandon the fight against abortion and devote all their *real* energies to *his* non-negotiables of racism, misogyny, Mammon-worship, violence, and grinding the faces of the poor.

 

Go here to read the comments.  Now as faithful readers of this blog know I am not going to be voting for Trump because I view him as a liberal Democrat in Republican disguise.  However, I can understand people who decide to support Trump in order to stop an unprincipled crook like Clinton from running the nation, especially due to the fact that while I am dubious about Trump’s conversion to the pro-life cause, I have no doubt that Clinton is an ardent pro-abort.  However, it is truly laughable for an ostensible pro-lifer like Shea to champion Clinton.  His arguments in her behalf are delusional.  She revels in anti-white racism in order to whip up the black vote;   she supports partial birth abortion which is torture as well as murder;   in regard to misogyny, anything Trump has done on that score pales in comparison to her rapist hubbie Bill, who she has assiduously shielded from such charges;   she supports abortion for unwanted disabled kids;   she was partially responsible for our men in Benghazi being left to die and then lied to their parents about it;   and as for fiscal fantasism, I guess Shea has been asleep for the last eight years in regard to the administration that Clinton was a proud part of.  Shea’s arguments are rubbish and he is intelligent enough I trust to realize they are rubbish.  The simple truth is that Shea has gone hard left, and on that score, and only on that score, Clinton would be preferable to Trump.

 

Back in 2009 Shea referred to the Catholic leftists of Vox Nova as the debate club at Auschwitz, because of their downplaying of the fight against abortion in order to support Obama.  Go here to read that post.  Well boys and girls, welcome the newest member of the Catholics Who Don’t Really Give a Damn About Abortion Club.  Give a big hand for Mark Shea!

Marxism: The Most Destructive Superstition

 

 

As we watch yet another Marxist nation, Venezuela, near complete economic collapse, it is a good time to recall that this is all occurring because so many intellectuals around the globe, including our current Pope, embrace, in part or in full, the nineteenth century superstition dreamed up by Karl Marx.  Presented ostensibly as a description of how economics and history works, Marxism in practice served as an excuse for tyrants and would be tyrants to create regimes that would impose regimes of slavery on populations that would put to shame every other form of tyranny dreamed up in the lamentable chronicles of human crime and folly.  Richard Fernandez in a brilliant post at PJ Media takes a look at the destructive power of Marxism:

 

A German friend once remarked that Hitler was only the second most destructive thing his country had unleashed upon the world.  Worse by far, he said, were the ideas of Karl Marx. The notion  an idea could be more destructive than fleets of bombers and Panzer divisions is a large claim but there is evidence in support of it.  John Walters says that in sheer destructiveness Hitler beats Marx only if you add the Kaiser’s war.  If you add famine into the equation, Marx beats Hitler, Tojo and the Kaiser put together.

According to a disturbingly pleasant graphic from Information is Beautiful entitled simply 20th Century Death, communism was the leading ideological cause of death between 1900 and 2000. The 94 million that perished in China, the Soviet Union, North Korea, Afghanistan, and Eastern Europe easily (and tragically) trump the 28 million that died under fascist regimes during the same period.During the century measured, more people died as a result of communism than from homicide (58 million) and genocide (30 million) put together. The combined death tolls of WWI (37 million) and WWII (66 million) exceed communism’s total by only 9 million.

It gets worse when you look at the … Natural World … famine (101 million). Curiously, all of the world’s worst famines during the 20th century were in communist countries: China (twice!), the Soviet Union, and North Korea.

Yet despite this unparalleled record of destructiveness Walters notes that Communism retains enormously good press. “According to a 2011 Rasmussen poll, 11% of Americans think that communism would better serve this country’s needs than our current system.” Its core ideas are popular with Bernie Sanders’ followers. Only 3 years ago Jeremy Corbyn, the current leader of Britain’s Labor Party, expressed satisfaction with the program of the Venezuelan Bolivarian revolutionists. He tweeted “thanks Hugo Chavez for showing that the poor matter and wealth can be shared. He made massive contributions to Venezuela & a very wide world.” David Sirota writing in Salon at almost the same time as Corbyn’s tweet fulsomely praised “Hugo Chavez’s economic miracle.”

Miracle: for there was no other word for it.
according to data compiled by the UK Guardian, Chavez’s first decade in office saw Venezuelan GDP more than double and both infant mortality and unemployment almost halved. Then there is a remarkable graph from the World Bank that shows that under Chavez’s brand of socialism, poverty in Venezuela plummeted (the Guardian reports that its “extreme poverty” rate fell from 23.4 percent in 1999 to 8.5 percent just a decade later). In all, that left the country with the third lowest poverty rate in Latin America. Additionally, as Weisbrot points out, “college enrollment has more than doubled, millions of people have access to health care for the first time and the number of people eligible for public pensions has quadrupled.”

How this “miracle” crashed down into ruin is something yet to be explained. Suffice it so say there is unexpectedly no food, no electricity, nor even gasoline in this oil-rich nation. In the ultimate irony “gasoline-making fluid catalytic cracking units … are currently down … with critics blaming shortages of spare parts, lack of maintenance, and a shaky electrical grid for outages and unplanned stoppages.” Looting is epidemic. Trucks are being swarmed by mobs on the highway. Army troops — crucial for regime survival — have been reduced to foraging to make up a meal. The Atlantic, hardly a right-wing publication, writes “Venezuela is falling apart”.

Continue reading

PopeWatch: La Croix

PopeWatch2-199x300-199x300

 

The Pope has given an interview to the French paper La Croix.  In that interview he sounds themes familiar to PopeWatch readers:

 

– In your speeches in Europe, you refer to the “roots” of the continent without ever describing them as Christian. Rather, you define “European identity” as “dynamic and multicultural.” In your view, is the expression “Christian roots” inappropriate for Europe ?

Pope Francis : We need to speak of roots in the plural because there are so many. In this sense, when I hear talk of the Christian roots of Europe, I sometimes dread the tone, which can seem triumphalist or even vengeful. It then takes on colonialist overtones. John Paul II, however, spoke about it in a tranquil manner.

Yes, Europe has Christian roots and it is Christianity’s responsibility to water those roots. But this must be done in a spirit of service as in the washing of the feet. Christianity’s duty to Europe is one of service. As Erich Przywara, the great master of Romano Guardini and Hans Urs von Balthasar, teaches us, Christianity’s contribution to a culture is that of Christ in the washing of the feet. In other words, service and the gift of life. It must not become a colonial enterprise.

 

 

On April 16, you made a powerful gesture by bringing back the refugees from Lesbos to Rome. However, does Europe have the capacity to accept so many migrants ?

Pope Francis : That is a fair and responsible question because one cannot open the gates wide unreasonably. However, the deeper question is why there are so many migrants now. When I went to Lampedusa three years ago, this phenomenon had already started.

The initial problems are the wars in the Middle East and in Africa as well as the underdevelopment of the African continent, which causes hunger. If there are wars, it is because there exist arms manufacturers – which can be justified for defensive purposes – and above all arms traffickers. If there is so much unemployment, it is because of a lack of investment capable of providing employment, of which Africa has such a great need.

More generally, this raises the question of a world economic system that has descended into the idolatry of money. The great majority of humanity’s wealth has fallen into the hands of a minority of the population.

A completely free market does not work. Markets in themselves are good but they also require a fulcrum, a third party, or a state to monitor and balance them. In other words, [what is needed is] a social market economy.

Coming back to the migrant issue, the worst form of welcome is to ‘ghettoize’them. On the contrary, it’s necessary to integrate them. In Brussels, the terrorists were Belgians, children of migrants, but they grew up in a ghetto. In London, the new mayor (Editor: Sadiq Khan, the son of Muslim Pakistanis) took his oath of office in a cathedral and will undoubtedly meet the queen. This illustrates the need for Europe to rediscover its capacity to integrate.

I am thinking here of Pope Gregory the Great (Editor: Pope from 590 – 604), who negotiated with the people known as barbarians, who were subsequently integrated. This integration is all the more necessary today since, as a result of a selfish search for well-being, Europe is experiencing the grave problem of a declining birth rate. A demographic emptiness is developing. In France, at least, this trend is less marked because of family-oriented policies.

– The fear of accepting migrants is partly based on a fear of Islam. In your view, is the fear that this religion sparks in Europe justified?

Pope Francis: Today, I don’t think that there is a fear of Islam as such but of ISIS and its war of conquest, which is partly drawn from Islam. It is true that the idea of conquest is inherent in the soul of Islam. However, it is also possible to interpret the objective in Matthew’s Gospel, where Jesus sends his disciples to all nations, in terms of the same idea of conquest.

In the face of Islamic terrorism, it would therefore be better to question ourselves about the way in an overly Western model of democracy has been exported to countries such as Iraq, where a strong government previously existed. Or in Libya, where a tribal structure exists. We cannot advance without taking these cultures into account. As a Libyan said recently, “We used to have one Gaddafi, now we have fifty.”

Ultimately, co-existence between Christians and Muslims is still possible. I come from a country where they co-habit on good terms. Muslims come to venerate the Virgin Mary and St George. Similarly, they tell me that for the Jubilee Year Muslims in one African country formed a long queue at the cathedral to enter through the holy door and pray to the Virgin Mary. In Central Africa, before the war, Christians and Muslims used to live together and must learn to do so again. Lebanon also shows that this is possible. Continue reading

Trump, the Anti-Reagan

 

 

In all my voting life there is only one candidate I have voted for, rather than as the lesser of two evils:  Ronald Wilson Reagan.  Reagan biographer Paul Kengor explains why Trump is the anti-Reagan:

I have published six major books on Reagan, several of them bestsellers, ranging from (the first) God and Ronald Reagan (HarperCollins, 2004) to Reagan’s Legacy in a World Transformed (Harvard University Press, 2015). Some of those in between include The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism (2006) and 11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative (2014). Two of these books are the basis for the Reagan/film bio-pic, Reagan: The Movie. That film, like my books, are positive affirmations of Reagan. I am and have long been a Reagan conservative. I am hardly an “establishment RINO.” In fact, I literally wrote the book on Reagan conservatism. And my next book, scheduled for release next spring, is a 1,000-page-plus Cold War work on Reagan.

I have done thousands of articles, speeches, and radio and TV and print interviews on Ronald Reagan. I have personally interviewed hundreds of people who lived with or knew or worked with the man and I’ve spent endless days in the Reagan Library, at the Reagan Ranch, at Reagan’s Eureka College, in his hometown, at the river where he lifeguarded, in nursing homes talking to elderly women who were baptized with Reagan in the summer of 1922, etc., etc., etc. I have read countless letters written by Reagan, and still far more pages of words scribbled by others. It’s quite possible that I’ve read more by or about Ronald Reagan than any living person on the planet. I assure you I’m in the top 10.

This is very much a short list (two paragraphs) of my (embarrassing) amount of life activities dedicated to illuminating the person, life, and mind of Ronald Reagan.

My point in presenting this isn’t to toot my own horn. (Quite the contrary — all of this Reagan focus makes me seem rather strange, I think.) The point is that this is what I study. I have some credibility on the matter of Ronald Reagan. If someone wants to try to compare Donald Trump to Ronald Reagan, my opinion ought to have at least some degree of informed merit.

So, with that said, let me state unequivocally and undeniably that not only is Donald Trump not the “next Reagan,” but he is the anti-Reagan. Really, I find not only that the two men have preciously little in common, from their policies to their person, but I think there may be no two men more glaringly different. Donald Trump is a polar opposite of Ronald Reagan. Continue reading

PopeWatch: Pope Francis and the Poor

PopeWatch2-199x300-199x300

 

Maureen Mullarkey takes a look at Pope Francis and his attitude towards the poor:

 

 

The English language press is ill-equipped to grasp this distortion. But the irrationality of the papal love affair with the poor has not been lost on Loris Zanatta, an eminent Argentine historian at the University of Bologna. His study “The Catholic Nation: Church and Dictatorship in the Argentina of Bergoglio” was published in Italy last year.

Zanetta’s recent essay, “The Chosen People” appears in the April issue of Italy’s prestigious Il Mulino. It was excerpted April 20 by Sandro Magister, leading Vaticanist and journalist with L’Espresso. The essay takes an informed look at the angle of this pontificate’s hold on reality. His essay confirms existing insights into the nature of Bergoglio’s pontificate. These are intuitions outside the ken of mainstream media, and ones Catholics themselves would like to wish away.

Pope Francis Means Poorer Is Holier

Is Bergoglio a Peronist? Zanatta answers: “Absolutely he is.” And not solely because of the air he breathed in his youth. Add his conviction that Personism embodies an alliance between a people and a nation that defends “a temporal order based on Christian values and immune from that . . . Protestant liberalism whose ethos projects itself as a colonial shadow over the Catholic identity of Latin America.” The statist bond will restore to the Catholic Church its lost stature.

By “Protestant liberalism,” Zanatta refers to the antinomian individualism that challenges the ecclesial authority which, in papal eyes, is the heart of Latin American identity. Is Bergolio, then, also a populist? Again, absolutely. Zanatta looks to the pope’s language to understand the tonal quality of his populism:

On his great journeys of 2015—Ecuador, Bolivia, Paraguay, Cuba, the United States, Kenya, Uganda, Central Africa—Francis used the word ‘pueblo’ 356 times. . . . He said ‘democracy’ only 10 times, ‘individual’ 14 times, mostly with a negative connotation. {These numbers] confirm for us what could also be guessed: that the notion of ‘pueblo’ is the keystone of his social consciousness.

Populism inhabits the pope’s vocabulary and shapes his politics. In his lexicon, “pueblo” means la gente común y humilde. Francis extols the piety of “the poor and simple.” Popular piety—“the memory of a people”—contains that germ of conversion with which the humilidades will evangelize the non-poor. (“Evangelii Gaudium”: “We need to let ourselves be evangelized by them.”) Zanatta explains:

His pueblo is good, virtuous, and poverty confers an innate moral superiority upon it. It is in the popular neighborhood, the pope says, that wisdom, solidarity, values of the Gospel are preserved. It is there that Christian society is found . . . .

Moreover, that ‘pueblo’ is not for him a sum of individuals, but a community that transcends them, a living organism animated by an ancient, natural faith, where the individual is dissolved in the whole. As such, that ‘pueblo’ is the chosen people that safeguards an identity in peril. It is . . . an eternal identity impervious to the unfolding of history, on which the ‘pueblo’ has a monopoly. [This is] an identity to which every human institution or constitution must bend in order not to lose the legitimacy conferred on it by the ‘pueblo.’

Populism, in the form of an idealized people, simplifies the complexity of the world:

The border between good and evil will then appear so diaphanous as to unleash the enormous power inherent in every Manichaean cosmology. This is how the pope contrasts the good ‘people’ with a predatory and egotistical oligarchy. A transfigured oligarchy, devoid of face and name, [becomes] the essence of evil, the pagan devotee of the god money: consumption is consumerism, the individual is selfish, attention to money is soulless worship.

Concern for the poor is as old as the church itself. What is new in this mystique of the pueblo is its other-worldly intoxication with poverty, as if material deprivation conferred holiness. An unacknowledged strain of cruelty runs through it. The poor are revered insofar as they play the role of the People, actors in a paternalistic drama directed by marxisant superiors inclined to interpret affluence as a signal of moral defect. Added, then, to the burdens of the poor is the servitude of personifying the sufferings of Christ.

Continue reading

Civilization VI Optimism

 

 

As faithful readers of this blog know, I like to play historically based computer strategy games.  One of my favorite series has been the Civilization games by Sid Meier.  The first one reached my house on Christmas Eve 1991, the first Christmas of my twin sons, and my bride and I quickly became entranced by it.   In between playing with our infants and introducing them to the joys of Christmas, we took turns charting the courses of society through 6,000 years of history.  For a young married couple fascinated by history, it was the ideal Christmas present.

Over the past quarter century we have purchased each new version of it.  I was struck by the optimism of the announcement trailer.  It is a historical optimism I share and it is splendidly set forth in Daniel Webster’s closing argument to the jury of the damned in The Devil and Daniel Webster by Stephen Vincent Benet: Continue reading

Little Sisters of the Poor: 1 – Obama Administration: 0

517064502_0

 

 

In a per curiam (unanimous) decision today in the consolidated case of Zubik v. Burwell,  the United States Supreme Court reversed lower court orders finding the Little Sisters of the Poor and other organizations to be in violation of the Contraceptive Mandate, and sent the cases back to the lower courts.  The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, the attorneys for the Little Sisters, explains the ramifications of this decision:

 

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. –Today the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the government cannot fine the Little Sisters of the Poor.  The Supreme Court vacated the lower court rulings against the Little Sisters, accepting the government’s admission that it could meet its goals of providing the free services to women without involving the Little Sisters or using their plan.  The Court also ordered the lower Courts to help the government choose an alternative method of providing the services that does not require the participation of the Little Sisters. (see Sister Constance’s reaction here)

“All we have ever wanted to do is serve the neediest among us as if they were Christ himself,” said Sister Loraine Marie Maguire, mother provincial for the Little Sisters of the Poor. “We look forward to serving the elderly poor for another 175 years to come.”

“This is a game-changer.  This unanimous decision is a huge win for the Little Sisters, religious liberty, and all Americans,” said Mark Rienzi, senior counsel at The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. “The Court has accepted the government’s concession that it could deliver these services without the Little Sisters. The Court has eliminated all of the wrong decisions from the lower courts and protected the Little Sisters from government fines.”

Less than a week after the Supreme Court heard the case of the Little Sisters of the Poor in March, the Court made an unprecedented move asking both sides to provide additional arguments about whether the government could find ways to distribute contraceptives without the involvement of religious non-profits and their health plans. The religious non-profits responded to the Supreme Court: “Yes.”

The government’s lower court argument was that it would deliver the services without using the Little Sisters’ plan and that there was no way to deliver these services except for the path laid out in the mandate.  But before the Supreme Court, the government admitted 1) that its current scheme was impossible without the Little Sisters’ plan and participation, and 2) that the government did have other ways to deliver the services without using the Little Sister’s plan or forcing them to participate.  These admissions changed the decision before the Court from deciding whether the Little Sisters’ religious beliefs should trump government interests to simply requiring the government to truly remove the Little Sisters from the process and protect their religious liberty by meeting government goals through one of the many options it now admitted were possible.

The government exempts 1 in 3 Americans from the HHS mandate. It also exempts large corporations such as Exxon, Visa and even the government’s own military family plan. A total of 100 million Americans are exempt from this regulation and could be eligible for coverage under the new solution chosen by the government.

“The Little Sisters won, but what this unanimous ruling shows is that there was never a need for anyone to lose,” said Rienzi. “The government will still be able to meet its goal of providing these free services to women who want them—not just for those with religious plans—but for the tens of millions in exempted corporate and government plans.”

The Little Sisters’ win was also a win for other Becket clients, including Christian Brothers Services, Christian Brothers Employee Benefit Trust, Houston Baptist and East Texas Baptist Universities, Reaching Souls International, Truett-McConnell College, and GuideStone Financial Services of the Southern Baptist Convention. Other parties in this case include Geneva College, Southern Nazarene University, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Washington, and the Most Reverend David A. Zubik. All of these clients also had the adverse decisions in their cases vacated and sent back to the lower courts. Continue reading

Follow The American Catholic
Bookmark and Share
Subscribe by eMail

Enter your email:

Recent Comments
Archives
Our Visitors. . .
Our Subscribers. . .