March 1918: The Coming Storm in the West

By March of 1918 most observers of the bloody stalemate on the Western Front realized that it was likely that 1918 would see a great change.

 

 

 

 

 

On March 3, 1918 Imperial Germany signed a treaty of peace with the Bolshevik government of Russia.  This granted Germany a huge part of European Russia and put to a victorious conclusion for the Central Powers the Great War in the East.  This was fortunate for Germany, because it was clearly coming to the end of its tether.  The Allied blockade was bringing the German civilian population to the brink of starvation.  Its ally, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, was completely fought out, unable to even maintain itself against Italy without strong German reinforcements, and its new Emperor was sending out peace feelers to President Wilson. The Ottoman Empire was in the process of losing its war against the Allies in the Middle East.  The German Army was still immensely formidable, but after almost four years of total war, its wiser commanders realized that victory had to come soon or, inevitably, the greater resources of the Allies would grind down the German Army into an increasingly impotent defensive force.

Thus the German high command, rolling the iron dice of war. was ready to launch a great offensive against the British, hoping to drive them from the Continent, defeat France and usher in an era of a German dominated Europe.  The German forces in the West were greatly reinforced by German forces from the no longer existing Eastern Front.  Special units of the German Army, trained in stosstruppen tactics of fire and movement, and avoiding Allied strongpoints, would lead breakthroughs of the Allied trenches, and bring to an end the stasis of the Western Front.

For the Allies, the loss of the Russian Front was terrifying, but they had reasons for optimism. The Allies were in position to perhaps knock out the Ottoman Empire from the war in 1918. The Americans were landing in France in ever greater numbers.  By the middle of 1918 the Americans would have more than a million combat troops ready to enter the line.  The tank had rapidly evolved from a battlefield curiosity into a potentially decisive means to break through the German trench lines.  Complete Allied control of the seas ensured that in the war of material the Allies had an insurmountable advantage against their Central European opponents.  However, the Allies understood that their civilian populations, with the exception of the Americans, were war weary.  The French Army had recovered from a bout of mutinies in 1917, but was still shaky.  The British were nearing the bottom of the barrel when it came to manpower, and found it increasingly difficult to replace infantry losses.

As winter began to end and spring to arrive along the Western Front in 1918, all were aware that decisive events were about to begin.

PopeWatch: Liturgical Strippers

From the most intentionally funny Catholic site on the net, Acts of the Apostasy:

 

Earlier in the week, I read one of the stranger headlines I’d seen in awhile: China Vows to Crack Down on Funeral Strippers.

My first thought was, um…what? My second thought was, I had no idea Hugh Hefner was buried in China!

From the article:

The culture ministry set up hotlines to offer monetary rewards for those who report “funeral misdeeds” in 19 cities in Henan, Anhui, Jiangsu and Hebei provinces.

Some rural communities in China believe hiring performers can increase attendance at funerals, with high attendance seen as a way of honouring the deceased.

In a bid to show off their disposable income and boost numbers, some households pay out more than their annual incomes for strippers, but also actors, singers and comedians, the Global Times reported. 

This takes “Dancing on one’s grave” to a whole new level. Or for a comedian to “die up on stage”. And nothing says “I love my recently deceased family member!” like a stripper tossing her clothes to the mourners and wrapping her body around a pole, amirite? 

Generally speaking, I don’t applaud the actions of the Chinese government, with them being communist and oppressive and all that. But in this case I’ll make an exception, and I’d like them to give the USCCB pointers on how to stamp out liturgical dancing. Please? As long as the Chinese are talking to the Vatican, have them chat up the USCCB, too. Granted, liturgical dance isn’t super prevalent, but it does happen. For instance, ever see footage from the LA Religious Education Congress liturgies? Eye bleach moments if ever there were some.

Sure, the USCCB can’t arrest people, or throw them in prison, or send them to secret workcamps. Heck, they don’t even excommunicate people. But there are things they can do: confiscate their taffeta and chiffon outfits; make them cry room monitors; force them to watch Kirk Cameron movies.

Liturgical dance dancing liturgy catholic humor

I know! Tell them there are job openings in China for “liturgical dancers”, IYKWIM.

 

Go here to comment.  PopeWatch was going to call the Vatican and ask if the banning of funeral strippers would have any impact on the Vatican’s negotiations with Red China, but decided that he was too afraid of the answer he might receive to make the call.

37

The Second Amendment and Race

Mark Shea, in his never ending effort to paint everyone who disagrees with him on the Second Amendment as racists and anti-semites, has a long screed on his blog that may be read here.  As usual when it comes to history, Mark is bone ignorant and merely parrots what his leftist sources say.  In regard to race and the Second Amendment Shea’s leftist sources gives us a reverse image look at the actual history:

 

Prior to the Civil War there were laws passed in many of the slave holding states attempting to restrict the right to keep and bear arms to whites.  Challenges to these laws by free blacks almost always asserted the Second Amendment.  A passage in the Dred Scott decision indicates what a preoccupation blacks carrying weapons was to slaveholders:

It would give to persons of the negro race, who were recognized as citizens in any one State of the Union, the right to enter every other State whenever they pleased, singly or in companies, without pass or passport, and without obstruction, to sojourn there as long as they pleased, to go where they pleased at every hour of the day or night without molestation, unless they committed some violation of law for which a white man would be punished; and it would give them the full liberty of speech in public and in private upon all subjects upon which its own citizens might speak; to hold public meetings upon political affairs, and to keep and carry arms wherever they went. And all of this would be done in the face of the subject race of the same color, both free and slaves, inevitably producing discontent and insubordination among them, and endangering the peace and safety of the State.

After the Civil War freed blacks set up Loyal League militias to defend their rights.  Eliminating these militias and taking away from blacks their Second Amendment rights was a key goal of the white supremacist “Redeemer” governments that came to power after Reconstruction.

In the case of Florida v. Stone, 4 So.2d 700 (Fla. 1941), the Florida Supreme Court overturned the conviction of a white man for violating a gun control statute on the grounds that the law violated the second amendment.  In his concurring opinion, Justice Rivers Buford explained that the law was never intended to apply to whites:

I know something of the history of this legislation. The original Act of 1893 was passed when there was a great influx of negro laborers in this State drawn here for the purpose of working in turpentine and lumber camps. The same condition existed when the Act was amended in 1901 and the Act was passed for the purpose of disarming the negro laborers and to thereby reduce the unlawful homicides that were prevalent in turpentine and saw-mill camps and to give the white citizens in sparsely settled areas a better feeling of security. The statute was never intended to be applied to the white population and in practice has never been so applied.

Malcolm X, back in the sixties understood that the Second Amendment provided blacks the right to purchase weapons for self defense:

 

So Mark is correct that race and the Second Amendment are linked in the history of this amendment.  Racists have ever been against blacks enjoying Second Amendment rights.  In his tirades against the Second Amendment Mark stands in evil company indeed.

 

A secondary argument of Mark’s rant, is the contention that the proposition that the Second Amendment is the last bulwark of the American people against tyranny is an illusion, and is a made up pretext by the NRA:

 We’ve heard it a million times.  The second amendment was ratified so that portly suburbanites in Lubbock and Butte could make war on Future Hitler when he takes over the government. It is therefore necessary to offer 35,000 real human sacrifices each year in order to prevent the imaginary slaughter that is come.  Never mind that this theory of gun rights was tested from 1861 to 1865 and the results were negative. Never mind that well-regulated militias do not slaughter children in the some 300  school shootings that have happened merely since Sandy Hook. It is a dogma (and therefore a lie) of the rock-headed Gun Cult:  the second amendment was created by the founders of Constitutional order so that disgruntled idiots could make war on the Constitutional order that gave them gun rights.
I can only assume, based upon the above, that Mark has never in his life read any of the Founding Fathers on the Second Amendment.

Many in the states were concerned that the proposed new federal government would have too much power, and Federalist 46 was written by James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, to help allay those concerns.

The only refuge left for those who prophesy the downfall of the State governments is the visionary supposition that the federal government may previously accumulate a military force for the projects of ambition.

Madison realized that this was a sensitive point.  The American Revolution had only ended five years before, and the attempt by Great Britain to rule through military force was a raw memory for all of his readers.  Madison tackles this fear head on by comparing the military force of a standing federal army to the militias of the states:

Let a regular army, fully equal to the resources of the country, be formed; and let it be entirely at the devotion of the federal government; still it would not be going too far to say, that the State governments, with the people on their side, would be able to repel the danger. The highest number to which, according to the best computation, a standing army can be carried in any country, does not exceed one hundredth part of the whole number of souls; or one twenty-fifth part of the number able to bear arms. This proportion would not yield, in the United States, an army of more than twenty-five or thirty thousand men. To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence. It may well be doubted, whether a militia thus circumstanced could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops. Those who are best acquainted with the last successful resistance of this country against the British arms, will be most inclined to deny the possibility of it.

Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of.

A British officer lamented at the beginning of the American Revolution that the Americans were “a people numerous and armed”.  Madison does not simply seize upon militias as an argument against fears of a tyrannical federal government, but he rather views the right of citizens to be armed as a fundamental protection for liberty.

Madison makes this clear in this passage:

Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms. And it is not certain, that with this aid alone they would not be able to shake off their yokes. But were the people to possess the additional advantages of local governments chosen by themselves, who could collect the national will and direct the national force, and of officers appointed out of the militia, by these governments, and attached both to them and to the militia, it may be affirmed with the greatest assurance, that the throne of every tyranny in Europe would be speedily overturned in spite of the legions which surround it. Let us not insult the free and gallant citizens of America with the suspicion, that they would be less able to defend the rights of which they would be in actual possession, than the debased subjects of arbitrary power would be to rescue theirs from the hands of their oppressors. Let us rather no longer insult them with the supposition that they can ever reduce themselves to the necessity of making the experiment, by a blind and tame submission to the long train of insidious measures which must precede and produce it.

Madison’s views were commonplace at the time.  Justice Story, appointed by James Madison to the US Supreme Court, wrote in 1833 in his Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States:

“The next amendment is: ‘A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.’ “

“The importance of this article will scarcely be doubted by any persons, who have duly reflected upon the subject. The militia is the natural defence of a free country against sudden foreign invasions, domestic insurrections, and domestic usurpations of power by rulers. It is against sound policy for a free people to keep up large military establishments and standing armies in time of peace, both from the enormous expenses, with which they are attended, and the facile means, which they afford to ambitious and unprincipled rulers, to subvert the government, or trample upon the rights of the people. The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.(1) And yet, though this truth would seem so clear, and the importance of a well regulated militia would seem so undeniable, it cannot be disguised, that among the American people there is a growing indifference to any system of militia discipline, and a strong disposition, from a sense of its burdens, to be rid.”

 

Mark, like many other leftists with no military experience, pooh-poohs the idea of the American people successfully defending their liberties against the regular forces of the Federal government.  The idea that an armed citizenry cannot be a powerful force against a regular Army  is belied by the American Revolution where the American militia gave invaluable aid to the comparatively miniscule Continental Army.  As for the Civil War, both sides depended upon citizen armies raised from the state militias as volunteer regiments from the states, the miniscule Federal regular army being a non-factor, other than providing a small fraction of the officers in the huge Union army.  The aftermath of the Civil War, Reconstruction, demonstrated how effective even low level civilian guerilla operations could be against an occupying regular force.

As Afghanistan and Iraq have amply demonstrated, insurgencies are difficult to combat even for the most advanced military on Earth.  A widespread insurgency in this country would pose the same problems for our military on a vastly larger scale.  We have a huge country inhabited by some 330,000,000 people.  An insurgency supported by 40% of the American people, with ten percent willing to take up arms, would produce a potential guerilla force in the tens of millions.  National Guard units and segments of the military would quickly line up with the insurgents in a rebellion supported by 40% of the people they are pledged to defend.

The State in which I live, Illinois, is 26th in size, with 102 counties and hundreds of cities, towns and villages. I can just imagine the military effort necessary to hold down just Illinois in a conflict where 40% of the population supported a war against the government.

Modern militaries have immense logistical tails supporting the fighting units, filled with soft targets, all tempting fruit for guerilla units.  The idea that an armed population would not be a check on a tyrannical government in this country badly misunderstands both the nature of modern warfare and the history of this nation.  Mr. Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence wrote of a right of revolution.  The Second Amendment guarantees that if that right ever must be exercised, the people will have the ability to do so.

The Founding Fathers, in all they did, struggled to pass on the blessings of liberty to their posterity.  Ensuring that the American people would remain, in the words of the aforementioned British officer during the Revolution, “a people numerous and armed”, was one part of the safeguards that they gave us against tyranny.  It is the last protection between the people and tyranny. This safeguard is just as effective today as it was in 1789.

 

“Let me tell you why I’m a defender of the Second Amendment.”

“I was a little girl growing up in Birmingham, Alabama, in the late fifties, early sixties.  There was no way that Bull Connor and the Birmingham Police were going to protect you.”

“And so when White Knight Riders would come through our neighborhood, my father and his friends would take their guns and they’d go to the head of the neighborhood, it’s a little cul-de-sac and they would fire in the air, if anybody came through.”

“I don’t think they actually ever hit anybody, but they protected the neighborhood. And I’m sure if Bull Connor had known where those guns were he would have rounded them up.”

Condoleezza Rice, March 1, 2018

 

2

March 2, 1864: Grant Confirmed as Lieutenant General

I can’t spare this man, he fights!

Lincoln’s response to calls for Grant’s removal from command after Shiloh.

Few men in American history have had a more meteoric rise than Ulysses S. Grant.  In March 1861 at age 38 he was a clerk in a tanning store owned by his father.  A former Army officer, he was a complete failure in trying to support his family, going from one unsuccessful business venture to the next.  He had a happy marriage, and that was fortunate, because that appeared to be the only success he was going to enjoy in this world.

A scant three years later he was general-in-chief of the vast Union armies, and on this day 154 years ago the Senate confirmed the nomination of Lincoln to make Grant Lieutenant General, a rank only held before Grant by two men:  George Washington and Winfield Scott.

Whatever 1864 would bring for the Union in regard to the Civil War was largely up to Grant and the plans and decisions he would make.  Skeptical men and officers of the Army of the Potomac, who assumed Grant would lead them in the upcoming campaign, remarked that only time would tell whether the first name of this latest commander would be Ulysses or Useless.  North and South, most Americans realized that 1864 would likely be the decisive year of the War.  At this pivot point in their history all Americans looked at the failure from Galena, Illinois, who now had the destiny of two nations in his hands, and wondered what he would do with this completely unexpected role on the stage of History that Fate, and Grant’s innate ability as a soldier, had bestowed upon him. Continue Reading

5

PopeWatch: Durbin

This pretty well sums up the current pontificate:

 

Tonight, Georgetown University will present pro-abortion Senator Dick Durbin, D-IL, whose bishop recently barred him from Holy Communion, with an award for devoting “his life to the core Jesuit value of service to others.”

Georgetown President John J. DeGioia will present Durbin with the Jesuit university’s “Timothy S. Healy, S.J. Award for exemplary public service.”

This award is “conferred upon Georgetown alumni who have rendered outstanding and exemplary service to his/her profession or community in support of humanitarian causes,” according to the University.

Go here to read the rest.

 

Originally elected to Congress from the congressional district including Springfield, Illinois, Durbin ran as a pro-lifer, defeating pro-abort Republican Congressman Paul Findley.  Realizing that a pro-life Democrat was going nowhere in Congress, he switched to being a pro-abort and now has a 100% rating from NARAL and a 0% rating from National Right to Life.  That he is a Catholic is of course of no consequence to him in regard to his politically expedient choice of embracing abortion uber alles.

He was of course in favor of gay marriage and the contraception mandate of the Obama administration.  He has grilled Trump administration nominees of the unforgivable crime of being faithful Catholics.

Such is the type of “Catholic” that is honored in the Age of Francis.

7

Jeanne Ives for Governor of Illinois

It demonstrates what a truly delusional State Illinois currently is, that the below completely factual attack ad against Bruce Rauner sent the chattering classes in Illinois into a collective tissy:

 

 

 

 

 

Jeanne Ives, an Illinois State Representative, is running against Bruce Rauner, the worst Republican Governor in the nation.  Rauner is basically a liberal Democrat who is somewhat less insane when it comes to the State finances than the Democrats who have a Gerrymandered grip on the General Assembly.  Ives, Catholic, mother of five, married to her one and only husband, a West Point grad and a down the line pro-life conservative is seeking to topple Rauner in the March 20 primary.

 

 

I think I will be tempted to commit ritual seppuku if the race is between Rauner and J.B. Pritzker, the world’s dumbest billionaire.  How dumb is Pritzker?  When the whole state of Illinois knew that Governor Blagojevich was almost certainly under Federal wiretap, Pritzker was calling him.

 

I think Ives could make mincemeat of Pritzker in the Fall if given a chance by the Republican voters in the primary.  Rauner is trying to bury Ives under an avalanche of money and spurious allegations.  Time to get off the mat in Illinois conservatives.

2

PopeWatch: Key

Edward Pentin at National Catholic Register has a fascinating article in which he contends that Evangelii Gaudium, published in the first year of the current pontificate, laid out a blue print for what was to come:

 

The association of the Holy Spirit with the changes laid out in Amoris Laetitia is foreshadowed in Evangelii Gaudium, when he says, quoting Pope St. John Paul II, that the Holy Spirit “can be said to possess an infinite creativity, proper to the divine mind, which knows how to loosen the knots of human affairs, even the most complex and inscrutable.”

He goes on to warn against being concerned “simply about falling into doctrinal error” and the need to remain “faithful to this light-filled path of life and wisdom.” For, he adds, “defenders of orthodoxy are sometimes accused of passivity, indulgence or culpable complicity regarding the intolerable situations of injustice and the political regimes which prolong them.”

Pope Francis’ famous wish for a Church “which is poor and for the poor” is mentioned in the document, as is his concern for migrants, for whom he, as the “pastor of a Church without frontiers,” is conscious of leading in a Church that “considers herself mother to all.” His concern for the environment in the face of a free market that has rejected God and ethics, a theme most clearly covered in his later encyclical Laudato Si (Care for Our Common Home), is touched upon when the Pope criticizes “the thirst for power and possessions” that “knows no limits,” so that “whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule.”

He also articulates his four specific foundational principles to guide people and society: “Time is greater than space,” meaning to “work slowly but surely, without being obsessed with immediate results”; “unity prevails over conflict”; “realities are more important than ideas,” meaning a rejection of what he sees as false ideologies; and “the whole is greater than the part.” The provenance of these principles has been traced back to some controversial historical Argentine figures and to his preference for la teologia del pueblo (“theology of the people”) that was developed in 1967 and is similar to liberation theology.

The Pope also underlines the importance of dialogue, which he says is enriching, and writes that whenever we enter the “reality of other people’s lives” our lives “become wonderfully complicated.”

His frequent recourse to the Holy Spirit as underpinning his actions is clear in Paragraph 280, in which he says “there is no greater freedom than that of allowing oneself to be guided by the Holy Spirit, renouncing the attempt to plan and control everything to the last detail, and instead letting him enlighten, guide and direct us, leading us wherever he wills.

“The Holy Spirit knows well what is needed in every time and place. This is what it means to be mysteriously fruitful!”

In summary, Evangelii Gaudium prefigures much of what has been witnessed over these past five years in terms of the themes Pope Francis has chosen to prioritize. In particular, it shows his skeptical view of the Church’s law and doctrine, which he sees as restricting its evangelizing mission and curtailing the work of the Holy Spirit. In so doing, the Holy Father proposes an idealistic, even revolutionary vision of the Church and human society, one that increasing numbers of faithful see as problematic.

Go here to read the rest.  One of the comments of PopeWatch in regard to Evangelii Gaudium at the time:

I would no more go to the Church for economic analysis than I would look to an economist for an explanation of the role of grace in salvation. When the Pope reminds us all to not forget the poor or to not make money an idol he has the force of his office behind him. The following goes well beyond it:

“In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and I the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting.”

This of course is a fairly tendentious translation of what the Pope originally wrote:

From Joe’s translation at Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam:

“54. In this context, some defend “spillover” theories which suppose that all economic growth, for which a free market is [most] favorable, by itself brings about greater equity and social inclusion in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve confidence in the generosity of those [people] who wield economic power and in the sacralized mechanisms of that ruling economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting.”

54 is rendered more acceptable to me by this new translation but still the Pope goes too far beyond his office.

First, it is clear from this document that the Pope and basic economic knowledge are not on the friendliest of terms, to put it charitably. 204 is a doozy along those lines:

“204. We can no longer trust in the unseen forces and the invisible hand of the market. Growth in justice requires more than economic growth, while presupposing such growth: it requires decisions, programmes, mechanisms and processes specifically geared to a better distribution of income, the creation of sources of employment and an integral promotion of the poor which goes beyond a simple welfare mentality. I am far from proposing an irresponsible populism, but the economy can no longer turn to remedies that are a new poison, such as attempting to increase profits by reducing the work force and thereby adding to the ranks of the excluded.”

The Pope seems to have no understanding that the types of mandates he proposes are, to use his term, “poison” for any economic growth. The Pope confuses the functioning of markets with the use of the fruits of the market, not an uncommon mistake by socialists or those who embrace socialist superstitions and try to make economies function according to government fiat.

Second, the Pope seems to have a very optimistic view of the ability of the State to fairly redress inequities in the marketplace. Perhaps the Pope has a “sacralized” view of those who wield the power of the State? If so, that would not be an unusual view for an Argentinian to hold in spite of the overwhelming evidence that State involvement in the Argentinian economy has produced disaster after disaster.

However, debates about economic systems and the proper role of government intervention in the economy are areas where wise Popes have usually tread lightly because they recognized that they had no special charism to render judgments in those areas. Pope Francis, judging from Evangelii Gaudium, might not be aware that his personal opinions in these areas must be, and will be, subject to the normal give and take, even from faithful Catholics, of argument that results whenever any one proffers an opinion about the economy and the role of the State in it. When the Pope seeks to give prescriptions for the proper functioning of the economy and of the State in it he is departing from the realm of religion and entering the realm of policy and that is always a subject for debate and not mere obedience.

 

6

PopeWatch: Melchior Cano Open Thread

Peter has no need of our lies or flattery. Those who blindly and indiscriminately defend every decision of the Supreme Pontiff are the very ones who do most to undermine the authority of the Holy See—they destroy instead of strengthening its foundations.

Melchior Cano O.P., Bishop and Theologian of the Council of Trent.

 

Time for a PopeWatch open thread.  The usual open thread rules apply:  be concise, be charitable and, above all, be amusing!

9

EMTS Kept Out

Well, not only did the Broward County Sheriff’s Department delay getting their own deputies into the building where the Florida school shooting occurred, they also kept out emts:

 

 

An anonymous first responder spoke to a WSVN-TV reporter about what he saw when he arrived to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14 — the day that 17 innocent people were murdered by a lone gunman.

The EMT, who was too scared to give his name, shared a jaw-dropping account that provides context to reports that have already established the botched response to the active shooter situation.

What did he say?

According to the first responder, everything about the response was completely botched.

“Everything I was trained on mass casualty events says they did the wrong thing,” he explained. “You don’t wait for the scene to be cleared. You go in immediately armed. Retrieve the victims. You can’t leave the victims laying there.”

“We were asking to go in. Asking the scene commander to go in. Why are we all standing around? Why are we not having patients to treat? Why are we not going into the building and retrieving these kids? The response every time was law enforcement did not clear the scene and would not allow medical personnel to go in,” he added.

The EMS worker believes that if he and other medical responders were allowed to enter the building as soon as they arrived, they could have saved more lives. He explained he was willing to risk his life to save the lives of others and was very frustrated over the situation.

The EMS worker stressed that he believes law enforcement made the decision they thought was best at the time, but emphasized that he believes it was the wrong one.

“They should have been more aggressive about getting the victims out,” he said.

What does law enforcement say?

With allegations that the Broward County sheriff’s department botched the response to the shooting — including its deputy stationed at the school, in addition to three other sheriff deputies, not engaging the shooter and only standing outside behind cover — law enforcement is in full damage-control mode.

The Broward County sheriff’s office released a statement on Saturday in an attempt to dispel some stories surrounding their department’s response to the shooting. The department also urged they haven’t confirmed many of the stories being widely reported.

 

Go here to read the rest and here to read the latest developments.  Near miracles can occur if emts can get to gun shot victims quickly.  How many of the 17 who died bled out and could have been saved but for the dithering of the Broward County Sheriff’s Department?  Once again we see why Sheriff Drop-The-Ball was eager to use the NRA for a scapegoat in an attempt to conceal the disastrous performance of the Keystone Kops he leads.  But for the 17 people who died, this would all be bleakly humorous.

 

Quotes Suitable for Framing: Theodore Roosevelt

The worst wrongs that capitalism can commit upon labor would sink into insignificance when compared with the hideous wrong done by those who would degrade labor by entailing upon it the rapid lowering of self-reliance. The Roman mob, living on the bread given them by the state and clamoring for excitement and amusement to be purveyed by the state, represent for all time the very nadir to which a free and self-respecting population of workers can sink if they grow habitually to rely upon others, and especially upon the state, either to furnish them, charity, or to permit them to plunder, as a means of livelihood.

Theodore Roosevelt, The Foes of Our Own Household, 1917

2

PopeWatch: Reformation II

Who needs Lutherans when we have the Catholic Church in Germany?  From Edward Pentin at National Catholic Register:

 

German bishops have voted “overwhelmingly” in favour of producing a “guide” for Protestant spouses on reception of Holy Communion under certain conditions.

At their spring conference in Ingolstadt, the German bishops’ conference agreed that a Protestant partner of a Catholic can receive the Eucharist after having made a “serious examination” of conscience with a priest or another person with pastoral responsibilities, “affirms the faith of the Catholic Church,” wishes to end “serious spiritual distress,” and has a “longing to satisfy a hunger for the Eucharist.” 

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, president of the German bishops’ conference, said Thursday that such a guide was a “positive step.” He said there had been an “intense debate” during which “serious concerns” had been raised, according to Katholisch.de, the website of the German bishops’ conference.

He added the bishops were not giving general approval but that the guide pertained to individual decisions. He said the bishops wanted to continue with this issue “in a high profile way,” but that the guide would merely be a “pastoral handout” and that “we don’t want to change any doctrine.”

The bishops believe the guidelines should help pastors to clarify whether such cases are of an exceptional kind, in line with the meaning of canon 844 § 4 which regulates when a non-Catholic may receive Holy Communion. 

The canon states:

“If the danger of death is present or if, in the judgment of the diocesan bishop or conference of bishops, some other grave necessity urges it, Catholic ministers administer these same sacraments licitly also to other Christians not having full communion with the Catholic Church, who cannot approach a minister of their own community and who seek such on their own accord, provided that they manifest Catholic faith in respect to these sacraments and are properly disposed.”

Cardinal Marx rejected the idea that such a step would amount to a path that would call Protestants to conversion, otherwise known as an “ecumenism of return or conversion.” In other words, he stressed that the document does not mention that Protestants may receive Holy Communion only if they convert. He also said much would be left to the discretion of the local bishop, and consequences he might draw from the guide. He said only the bishop himself may establish new laws in this area.

 

Go here to read the rest.  Will the last Catholic in Germany please turn out the lights?

18

Texas Bishops Excommunicate Texas Right to Life

In the age of Francis nothing surprises me any more.  From A Blog for Dallas Area Catholics:

I’ve written on this subject before, though it’s been some time – basically, there has long existed a marked division among the Texas pro-life movement, the uncompromising, total ban on abortion and other forms of murder position represented by Texas Right to Life, and the much more accommodating stand taken by Texas Alliance for Life.  There are many reasons to view Texas Alliance as weak on key issues, and indeed, most of the most dedicated, most successful pro-life advocates tend to support Texas Right to Life.  During the 2014 legislative session, some acrimonious division developed between Texas Right to Life and the Texas Catholic Conference (TCC), which is the bureaucratic arm of the state’s bishops (like a mini-USCCB).  Dominated by its lay staff and their preferences, including their relations with several prominent Texas lawmakers, TCC at various points supported end-of-life legislation that a number of pro-life advocates believed – I should say proved –  actually worsened the status quo in Texas, and put elderly, the sick, and their families even more at the mercy of doctors and hospitals in making end of life decisions.

So why has Texas Catholic Conference taken the very  unusual step of disavowing, or telling all Catholics in the state to disavow, this most effective pro-life group now?  In a word, politics.  Texas Right to Life, along with a number of other hardcore grass-roots conservatives groups like the Eagle Forum, Concerned Women for America, Texas homeschoolers, and others, have managed to fund a number of “insurgent” campaigns by true, hardcore conservatives against establishment candidates like Angela Paxton.  Early voting is underway for the party primaries, so feeling their establishment buddies under threat, major Texas politicians like Joe Straus – the Speaker of the House, who has done more than anyone to block effective pro-life legislation in this state and who saw Texas’ pro-life ranking drop from #4 to #12 in his 10 year tenure as speaker – are pulling out the stops to try to break the backs of the conservative groups supporting the insurgent candidacies.

We’ve seen this before in this state, where the establishment always favors its own, but not to this degree, and not with a public disavowal of a group whose only “sin”, even by Texas Catholic Conference’s own admission, is to be “too pro-life.”  In point of fact, the very minor pro-life “gains” we have seen in Texas are out of all proportion to the citizenry’s general abhorrence of abortion.  In one of the most conservative states of the union, Texas’ pro-life legislation falls further and further behind, because of the super slow boil establishment approach.

Many Texas Catholics are incensed by what they see as a betrayal of THE most effective, most dedicated pro-life group in the state (which also happens to have the support of the best bishop this state has seen in 50+ years, Bishop Emeritus Rene Gracida of Corpus Christi, who now offers the TLM more or less exclusively).

 

Go here to read the rest.  Yep, just after 14 Catholic Democrat Senators voted against a ban on the barely disguised infanticide that goes by the name of third trimester abortions, Texas Catholic bishops go to war against Texas Right to Life.  We are led by fools, knaves and worse.

 

February 26, 1941: Eddie Rickenbacker Cheats Death Again

Eddie Rickenbacker, America’s Ace of Aces in World War I, cheated death in aerial combat many times over France.  Between April 29, 1918 and October 30, 1918, with several weeks lost due to being grounded for an ear infection, he shot down 26 German planes and observation balloons and earned seven Distinguished Service Crosses, the French Croix de Guerre and the Medal of Honor.  Here is the Medal of Honor citation:

Edward V. Rickenbacker, Colonel, specialist reserve, then first lieutenant, 94th Aero Squadron, Air Service, American Expeditionary Forces. For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy near Billy, France, September 25, 1918. While on a voluntary patrol over the lines Lieutenant. Rickenbacker attacked seven enemy planes (five type Fokker protecting two type Halberstadt photographic planes). Disregarding the odds against him he dived on them and shot down one of the Fokkers out of control. He then attacked one of the Halberstadts and sent it down also.

One would have thought that with the ending of the War Rickenbacker could have said farewell to the Grim Reaper until his peaceful death in civilian life, but such was not the case with Rickenbacker.  He went on to an extremely successful business career, most notably as the head of Eastern Air Lines.

On February 26, 1941, Rickenbacker was on board a Douglas DC-3 that crashed outside of Atlanta, Georgia.  Rickenbacker suffered grave injuries and was trapped in the wreckage.  Despite his own predicament he did his best to keep up the spirits of the other survivors who were injured, and guided the ambulatory survivors to find help.  Rickenbacker’s death was erroneously reported in the press, and he spent ten days near death, an experience he reported as being one of overwhelming calm and pleasure. Continue Reading

3

Pensees

 

One acts decisively only in the conviction that all the angels are on one side and all the devils on the other.

Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals

 

Dave Griffey at Daffey Thoughts has some interesting thoughts about school shootings and the reaction to them:

 

These are just musings.  They are not based on science or studies.  Just me observing the nation in which I am raising my sons, and the current topic of guns and shootings and the desire to narrowly define the problem based on a single solution.

Did Roe v. Wade have an impact?  The essence of RvW: ‘that is your definition of human life, not mine.’   Could generations raised in a nation coming to that conclusion be impacted by it?  Especially after WWII?  The entire point of legal abortion is that America has officially allowed us to define a human when we feel like it.  I can’t help but think somehow it could be connected.

Divisions.  We are in what many are now calling a Cold Civil War.  Even the Cold War had hot casualties.  My son said that the kids at Parkland will be asked to surrender their freedoms for safety.  I said no, that’s wrong.  We are a divided country.  They will be asked to surrender someone else’s freedoms for their safety.  Increasingly we don’t love our neighbors, but we fear and hate them, just as we feared or even hated the Soviets back in the day.  We’re taught that they are the problem, and whatever happens to them?  Eh.  Being taught that our neighbors are our enemies must make an impact.

Rhetoric.  In following up on the divisions, I’m hearing and seeing chilling things from the Gun Control advocates.  Kill the NRA, exterminate the NRA, Wayne LaPierre is a seriel killer,  Ban guns, Gun owners are next.  And this is from the side ostensibly all bent out of shape by the violence and death at Parkland.  And what’s worse, it’s par for the course. That level of rhetoric exists on the highest levels down about any one of a million topics today.  It’s not just gun control activists of course, nor is such rhetoric new.  Just note the irony of where some of it is coming from and how that must say something bigger about where we are versus where we might think we are.

Mental health.  After Sandy Hook, I heard a fellow on the news (can’t remember the station) say something I’ve not forgotten. He said  that mental health went through a massive overhaul between the 1950s and the 1970s, and in the 1980s, the mass shootings began.  A connection?  I think that’s a bigger elephant in the room than we’re admitting.

Isolate events as universals.  Fact is, if you manipulate any data, you can arrive at different realities. Take the most dangerous cities in America off the burners, and America sounds much safer.  Likewise, many of these school, or mass, shootings were based on specific sets of circumstances that might unpack the stats.  Broward County looks to have dropped a dozen balls.  That would be the same county where educated adults were perplexed by the unsolvable mysteries of the paper ballot.  It could be connected.

American Craftsmanship a thing of the past. Speaking of dropping balls.  Parkland is the latest case where warning signs were missed and the official safeguards that should have been triggered weren’t.  There is a decline in quality in America overall, with everything from the latest household products to the Secret Service being plagued by incompetence and a general lack of care for quality.  Could these have long range connections to any efficacy where new laws or even existing laws are concerned?  If we’re becoming bumblers in making cabinets, will we do any better with laws?

Isolation through technology.  When news came that Amazon was going to have a people-less store, one of those interviewed in the story said he was glad.  A young fellow of likely college age, he was happy not to have to deal with people when he shops.  Several of the students at Parkland guessed who the shooter was before it was announced.  Could it be that we are becoming so isolated that all notions of human interaction are collapsing, and that is a problem?

Violence for fun.  Popular culture of mass violence everywhere. I mean, look at what kids are playing at the age of 5.  I know people who let 9 year olds play first person shooters, or watch rated R blood and guts movies.  I remember seeing old black and white movies when I was little where someone died a particularity gruesome death, and it impacted me.  What do kids today experience?  Also the not so subtle Hollywood meme that people who are really bad (like people who disagree with me) have it coming.

Post-Christian.  We were told America has no right to have a particular culture and moral basis, and so jettisoned it for whatever was nearby.  Could it be that when we say people can make up their own realities those realities aren’t always going to be good?

Fortress Educationa.  If we are talking about having to turn our schools into fortresses with armed teachers and guards, what is next?  Barbed wire fences?  Could it be we’ve turned a corner if this is what we have to do?  And do we think it will really work?

Brats and narcissists.  Kids are raised today to think that if someone disagrees with them, or doesn’t talk the way they want them to talk, or give them what they want, then that person is evil, hates them, and wants them dead, since the world exists to affirm them as gods of their own creation.  Might that make an impact?  Could kids raised in that manner develop unhealthy ways to react to a world that doesn’t treat them way the way they want?

R-E-S-P-E-C-T.  What would Aretha Franklin say?  Respect, like manners, common sense and common values, went out the window decades ago.  Yes ma’am and no sir are as rare as Cuneiform word processors.  We love it when all the cool people flip the middle one to all those not-cool types who aren’t like me.  Could it be a nation almost proud to not respect anything or anyone and yet told to respect everyone (sometimes) is facing an identity crisis where dealing with people is concerned?

I don’t want to grow up!  Rush Limbaugh once pointed out that the Baby Boomers were the first generation that never had to grow up.  Hearkening back to the point about television and Boomers, could it be a generation of adult children raising more adult children who then raise another batch of children bent on staying children is not a healthy way for a society to function?  Could kids surrounded by and raised by kids have unintended consequences?

It’s the Spirit stupid.  Assuming for a minute that the Christian Faith is actually true, can we expect much from a nation that goes out of its way to purposefully and officially expel it from all corners of our public domains?  That’s what the Soviets did, and look what happened there.

Radical individualism.  In piggybacking on the narcissism above, could it be we’re seeing in individual form what the nationalism of the 20th century saw on the battlefield?  As we allow people to think they are a nation unto themselves, that there is no ‘Our country’, and sure as hell not ‘their country’ (I call it the Kaepernick syndrome), could this be a logical extension of such a view – bad countries (people) warring with their neighbors?

As long as it doesn’t impact me.  Following decades of misusing the notion of being judgmental (mainly, you can’t judge me, or obviously you’re wrong), and convincing people not to care unless it impacts them, could it be that we’ve let this go because it doesn’t impact most of us?  After all, what is our approach to Islamic terrorism (only Islamic, not domestic) but ‘as long as terrorists kill other Americans, it’s the sacrifice I’m willing to make’?  That must say something about us, and perhaps why we’re not really shaken to our foundations and willing to look at the hard realities when these tragedies strike.

The world.  Let’s face it, the world is a violent place.  It always has been.  See the last century for an example.  In the end, gun violence might simply be the logical extension of everything we’ve been doing as the world continues to change.  Change it might, but many of the old characteristics – like sin – will remain and will find a way.  Like my son says, to paraphrase Ian Malcolm, destruction will find a way.

What of legalized drugs? If, in fact, liberals insist that laws against illegal drugs haven’t helped the drug problems of our country, can we believe that more gun laws will do anything about the illegal use of guns in our country?

Car laws. Keeping with that thinking, we hear some gun owners point out that cars kill more people than guns.  But we have laws regulating cars!, is the answer.  Yes we do, and yet cars still kill more people than guns.

A little learning.  A dangerous thing, according to Pope.  We wage ideological warfare and I’m not always convinced we’re as smart about all the topics we spew about as we think we are.  Armed with undergrad degrees and a semester of history 101, we suddenly become experts in every nook and cranny of human history – whenever convenient. I don’t think this causes a society of mass shootings, but could it be what hamstrings our ability to solve the problems?  Or  worse, makes us schmucks easily manipulated by those who see shootings as a step toward some political end?

All those careless gun owners.  Guns are dangerous, look at the accidental shootings! I hear that if there is a story of an accidental shooting.  Gun accidents are, given the tens of millions of gun owners, relatively few.  Accidents happen, and you get the careless ones.  But on the whole, those isolated YouTube videos that show someone doing something stupid with a gun don’t seem to fit the stats.

Wo ist Education?  Speaking of a little learning.  My wife was a teacher, and my undergrad was in secondary education.  I had three boys go through public schools. Let me tell you, it’s a hot mess.  And not just because of STEM scores.  Half of what they teach is rubbish, the rest is based on teaching hatred and contempt for the Christian West, America, the latest designated ethnic groups, traditional values, and common sense notions like sex and babies are related or one’s genitals have something to do with gender – but we can all make up our happy worlds where everyone affirms our self-affirming affirmation of our self affirming selves!  I wouldn’t let those working within the current train wreck of educational philosophy teach a dog, much less kids.  Has to mean something.

Can we stop using the 33,000 killed by guns.  There are so many parts to that stat, there are so many dimensions that don’t account for the numbers that are never mentioned.  Like saying ‘Four years and 40 million dollars’, it’s a meme, not a fact, and if we care about the problem of violence, we’ll never misuse it again.

The Gun Cult!  Please define.  From what I can tell, this radical bunch of gun nuts is typically not involved in most of the mass shootings.  Same with the dreaded militia (which is the cause of terrorism done in its name).  In fact, the worst killing attributed to the dread American militia movement used a bomb, not guns.

Gun Violence versus Violence.  Do we actually care?  As horrific as they are, mass shootings account for a barely measurable number of overall murders in our country. While murder rates have gone down, they are still far too high.  And yet not only do we hardly ever dwell on it, during the 2016 campaign, I heard the press insist things were getting hunky-dory.  Well, not to those murdered and killed.  Or do they not matter?

Stop comparing the US – to anyone.  We are a unique nation.  It does no good to pick out a dozen countries that help your case while ignoring other countries that don’t.  And why don’t gun control activists ever cite nations like Mexico, but only reference decidedly white European nations to compare America to?

Raising kids.  At the end of the day, it’s not just kids raising kids, but broken homes, fatherless boys, wacked out psychological theories and science that looks common sense parenting straight in the eyes then turns around wand walks the other way.  I have no time to list the connections between broken homes and crime.  Much less screwball theories of raising kids and crime.

Exploiting vs. Memorializing.  If we are using a tragedy to advance certain solutions, then we should at least be able to demonstrate how those solutions would have prevented the tragedy in question.  To me, that’s common sense.  If not common decency.

Sucks to your thoughts and prayers.  I just can’t help but think that when we’ve come to a point where a sizable chunk of our nation now insists prayer and God are only worth a dime if put second to a singular political policy, we’ve officially shuffled off this Christian coil.  That so many Christians appear to agree only makes it that much clearer.  See my point about the truth of the Spirit above.

Those are just thoughts I’ve had over the last couple days in no particular order and with no particular weight or purpose.  Musings only.  Just the idea that maybe the problem of school shooting, that didn’t happen when I was growing up, is beyond limiting a single type of gun.  We can do that, of course.  But I think it’s foolishness to think anything will ultimately change.  The carnage might end up different, but it won’t change until other things change.

Go here to comment.  The Florida shooting has illustrated how difficult to impossible it is to get authorities to do their phony-baloney jobs when a manifestly mentally ill person is involved.  Too often law enforcement looks the other way and hopes that the problem will go away or become the problem of someone else.  Then, in the rare case when one of these nutcases goes berserk, infinite effort is put into attempting to shift blame to some scapegoat like innocent gun owners and to concealing the malfeasance of law enforcement, which was precisely the mode of operation of the Broward County Sheriff’s Department under Sheriff Drop-the-Ball:

As to the reaction after the fact, well the Left never lets a crisis go to waste and demonization of their adversaries has become the standard mode of operation on the Left for over half a century.  It is difficult to come to a meeting of minds for effective responses to school shootings when one side is condemning the other as blood stained murderers.  Of course when the goal is political power, a meeting of minds is simply not important:

 

 
 
6

You Mean They Just Can’t Legislate the Pesky Second Amendment Away?

 

 

 

From Instapundit:

 

THEY CAN’T EVEN GET PEOPLE TO COMPLY IN CONNECTICUT: What Will Gun Controllers Do When Americans Ignore an ‘Assault Weapons’ Ban?

But since the point of gun control is to humiliate and grind down flyover people and demonstrate that the Ruling Class is ultimately the, well, Ruling Class — not to control crime — the appearance of submission is probably enough. Plus, a seldom enforced and often ignored law is ideal if you want to be able to target troublesome individuals later.

Go here to read the comments.  We have 330 million people occupying a huge, sprawling country.  If a substantial percentage of these people do not wish to obey a law, especially one regarded by large portion of the population as illegitimate, it is not going to be obeyed.  That gun confiscation control fanatics are unwilling to acknowledge this underlines what Glenn Reynolds is saying.

1

PopeWatch: Father Weinandy

Father Thomas Weinandy, who was canned by the USCCB for telling truth out of season about the current pontificate, go here to read about it, has given a speech at the University of Notre Dame in Sydney, detailing how the current pontificate is harming the Church:

 

 

Challenge to the Church’s Oneness

Much of Pope Francis’s pontificate is admirable and praiseworthy.  One only needs to observe, to note a few, his defense of the sanctity of life, his concern for the poor and the marginalized, and his encouragement to the young.  At times, nonetheless, it would appear that Pope Francis identifies himself not as the promoter of unity but as the agent of division.  His practical philosophy, if it is an intentional philosophy, seems to consist in the belief that a greater unifying good will emerge from the present bedlam of divergent opinions and the turmoil of the resulting divisions.  My concern here is that such approach, even if unintentional, strikes at very essence of the Petrine ministry as intended by Jesus and as continuously understood by the Church.  The successor of St. Peter, by the very nature of the office, is to be, literally, the personal embodiment and thus the consummate sign of the Church’s ecclesial communion, and so the principle defender and promoter of the Church’s ecclesial communion.  Thus, a manner of proceeding that allows and even encourages doctrinal and moral divergences undermines the whole of Vatican II’s teaching on ecclesial communion, as well as that of the entire magisterial and theological tradition going back to Ignatius.  By seeming to encourage doctrinal division and moral discord within the Church the present pontificate has transgressed the foundational mark of the Church – her oneness.  How, nonetheless, does this offense against the Church’s unity manifest itself?  It does so by destabilizing the other three marks of the Church.

Challenge to the Church’s Apostolicity

Firstly, the apostolic nature of the Church is being undermined.  As has often been noted by theologians and bishops, and most frequently by the laity (those who possess the sensus fidelium), the teaching of the present pontiff is not noted for its clarity (12).  As the one most responsible for the unity of the Church, the pope is the one who is most responsible for ensuring the bond of faith.  To be in full ecclesial communion with the apostolic Church, whether it is the pope or the newest convert, it is necessary to believe what the Apostles handed on and what the apostolic Church has consistently taught.  For Pope Francis, then, as seen in Amoris Laetitia, to re-conceive and newly express the previously clear apostolic faith and magisterial tradition in a seemingly ambiguous manner, so as to leave confusion and puzzlement within the ecclesial community, is to contradict his own duties as the successor of Peter and to transgress the trust of his fellow bishops, as well as that of priests and the entire faithful.  Ignatius would be dismayed at such a situation.  If, for him, heretical teaching espoused by those who are only loosely associated with the Church is destructive to the Church’s unity, how much more devastating is ambiguous teaching when authored by a bishop who is divinely charged to ensure ecclesial unity.  At least heresy is a clear denial of the apostolic faith and so can be clearly identified and as such properly addressed.  Ambiguous teaching, precisely because of its murkiness, cannot be clearly identified, and so is even more troublesome for it fosters uncertainty as to how it is to be understood and thus how it is to be clarified.

Moreover, for Pope Francis to then take sides in the ensuing debate, a debate for which he himself is responsible, concerning the proper interpretation of the uncertain teaching is disingenuous.  He has now allowed others to be the arbiter of what is true, when it is precisely the apostolic mandate of the pope to be the one who confirms the brethren, both episcopal and laity, in the truth.  Furthermore, to appear to sanction an interpretation of doctrine or morals that contravenes what has been the received apostolic teaching and magisterial tradition of the Church – as dogmatically defined by Councils and doctrinally taught by previous popes and the bishops in communion with him, as well as accepted and believed by the faithful, cannot then be proposed as magisterial teaching.  The magisterium simply cannot fundamentally contradict itself concerning matters of faith and morals.  While such teaching and confirmation may be enacted by a member of the magisterium, such as the Pope, such teaching and confirmation is not magisterial precisely because it is not in accord with previous magisterial teaching.  To act in such a manner, the pontiff, or a bishop for that manner, is acting in a manner that places himself outside the magisterial communion of previous pontiffs and bishops, and so is not a magisterial act.  To act in a magisterial manner one has to be, including the pope, in communion with the entire ever-living magisterial tradition.  In the matter of faith and morals the teaching of no living pope takes apostolic and magisterial precedence over the magisterial teaching of previous pontiffs or the established magisterial doctrinal tradition.  The magisterial and apostolic import of a present pontiff’s teaching lies precisely in its being in conformity with and so in living-communion with the abiding historical magisterial and apostolic tradition.  That Pope Francis’ ambiguous teaching at times appears to fall outside the magisterial teaching of the historic apostolic ecclesial community thus gives cause for concern, for it, as stated above, fosters division and disharmony rather than unity and peace within the one apostolic Church.  There appears to be, as a consequence, no assurance of faith.

Challenge to the Church’s Catholicity

Secondly, as we saw in examining the ecclesiology of Ignatius and especially Vatican II, all of the bishops throughout the world, who are in communion with the pope, are together responsible for the apostolic oneness of the Church.  The universality of the Church is visibly manifested in that all of the particular churches are bound together, through the college of bishops in communion with the pope, by professing the same apostolic faith and by preaching the one universal Gospel to all of humankind.  We saw this clearly expressed in Ignatius’ letters.  Traditionally, this catholic oneness is most clearly exercised within universal councils and extraordinary synods.  Moreover, as Lumen Gentium acknowledges, national bishops’ conferences, while attending to pastoral issues that pertain to their own culture and locale, also exercise this catholicity by safeguarding and promoting the universal doctrinal and moral teaching of the Church as well as insuring that the universal sacramental and liturgical disciplines of the Church are properly observed.  Thus, as exemplified in Ignatius and Vatican II, the entire visible hierarchical governance of the universal Church is structured precisely to maintain and promote ecclesial communion – a communion that embodies the one apostolic faith.  This mark of catholic oneness is also presently challenged.

Pope Francis’ espousal of synodality has been much touted – the allowance of local geographical churches more self-determinative freedom.  On one level this decentralization is welcomed for it encourages national bishops’ conferences and local ordinaries to take more governing responsibility. As envisioned, however, by Pope Francis and advocated by others, this notion of synodality, instead of ensuring the universal oneness of the Catholic Church, an ecclesial communion composed of multiple particular churches, is now employed to undermine and so sanction divisions within the Church.  This rupture is not simply on matters of local and national significance, but on issues that bear upon the doctrinal and moral integrity of the one Church of Christ.  We are presently witnessing the disintegration of the Church’s catholicity, for local churches, both on the diocesan and national level, are often interpreting doctrinal norms and moral precepts in various conflicting and contradictory ways.  Thus, what the faithful are instructed to believe and practice in one diocese or country is not in conformity with what the faithful are instructed to believe and practice in another diocese or country.  The Church’s mark of oneness, a unity that the pope is divinely mandated to protect and engender, is losing its integrity because her marks of catholicity and apostolicity have fallen into doctrinal and moral disarray, a theological anarchy that the pope himself, maybe unwittingly, has initiated by advocating a flawed conception of synodality.  To put this erroneous notion into practice, then, is to violate the catholicity of the Church herself.

Challenge to the Church’s Holiness

Thirdly, this brings us to the fourth mark of the Church – her holiness.  This mark is equally under siege, most especially, but not surprisingly, in relationship to the Eucharist.

For John Paul, Eucharistic communion “confirms the Church in her unity as the body of Christ” (ibid. 23; cf. 24).  Because “the Eucharist builds the Church and the Church makes the Eucharist, it follows that there is a profound relationship between the two, so much so that we can apply to the Eucharistic mystery the very words with which, in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, we profess the Church to be ‘one, holy, catholic and apostolic’” (ibid. 26).  Of all the sacraments, therefore, it is “the Most Holy Sacrament” (ibid.).  Likewise, it is apostolic for Jesus entrusted it to the Apostles and to their successors (cf. ibid. 27).  “The Eucharist thus appears as the culmination of all the sacraments in perfecting our communion with God the Father by identification with his only-begotten Son through the working of the Holy Spirit” (ibid. 34).  Since the Eucharist conveys and nurtures most fully the four marks of the Church, John Paul insists:

“The celebration of the Eucharist, however, cannot be the starting-point for communion; it presupposes that communion already exists, a communion which it seeks to consolidate and bring to perfection.  The sacrament is an expression of this bond of communion both in its invisible dimension, which, in Christ and through the working of the Holy Spirit, unites us to the Father and among ourselves, and in its visible dimension, which entails communion in the teaching of the Apostles, in the sacraments and in the Church’s hierarchical order.  The profound relationship between the invisible and visible elements of ecclesial communion is constitutive of the Church as a sacrament of salvation” (ibid. 35) (13).

In this proclamation, John Paul confirms, as seen above, the teaching of Vatican II, as well echoes, inadvertently, Ignatius’ Eucharistic ecclesiology.  To participate fully in the Church’s Eucharist, a liturgy that embodies and cultivates the four marks of the Church, one must also embody the four marks of the Church, for only in so doing is one in full communion with the Church so as to receive communion – the risen body and blood of Jesus, the source and culmination of one’s union with the Father in the Holy Spirit.  Quoting from a document promulgated by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, John Paul insists: “In fact, the community, in receiving the Eucharistic presence of the Lord, receives the entire gift of salvation and shows, even in its lasting visible form, that is the image and true presence of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church” (ibid. 39) (14).   In the light of this, John Paul proceeds to address those issues that contravene this doctrinal understanding of the Eucharist and the reception of Holy Communion.

The first issue John Paul addresses, and the one that concerns us here, pertains specifically to holiness (15).  While one must profess the Church’s one apostolic faith, faith itself is insufficient for receiving Christ in the Eucharist.  Referencing Vatican II, John Paul states that “we must persevere in sanctifying grace and love, remaining within the Church ‘bodily’ as well as ‘in our heart’” (ibid. 36) (16).  At the beginning of the Second Century, Ignatius, as we saw, made this same point – that one can only receive communion “in a state of grace” (Ad. Eph. 20).  Thus, in accordance with the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Council of Trent, John Paul confirms: “I therefore desire to reaffirm that in the Church there remains in force, now and in the future, the rule by which the Council of Trent gave concrete expression to the Apostle Paul’s stern warning when it affirmed that in order to receive the Eucharist in a worthy manner, ‘one must first confess one’s sins, when one is aware of mortal sin’” (Ecclesia de Eucharistia 36) (17).  In accordance with the doctrinal tradition of the Church, John Paul, therefore, insists that the sacrament of Penance is “necessary for full participation in the Eucharistic Sacrifice” when mortal sin is present (ibid. 37).  While he acknowledges that only the person can judge his or her state of grace, he asserts that “in cases of outward conduct which is seriously, clearly and steadfastly contrary to the moral norm, the Church, in her pastoral concern for the good order of the community and out of respect for the sacrament, cannot fail to feel directly involved” (ibid.).  John Paul intensifies his admonition by quoting Canon Law.  Where there is “a manifest lack of proper moral disposition,” that is, according to Canon Law, when persons “obstinately persist in manifest grave sin,” they are “not to be permitted to Eucharistic communion” (ibid.) (18).

Here we perceive the present challenge to the Church’s holiness and specifically the holiness of the Eucharist.  The question of whether divorced and remarried Catholic couples, who engage in marital acts, can receive communion revolves around the very issue of “outward conduct which is seriously, clearly and steadfastly contrary to the moral norm,” and, therefore, whether they possess “a manifest lack of proper moral disposition” for receiving communion.  Pope Francis rightly insists that such couples should be accompanied and so helped to form properly their consciences.  Granted that there are extraordinary marital cases where it can be rightfully discerned that a previous marriage was sacramentally invalid, even though evidence for an annulment is unobtainable, thus allowing a couple to receive communion.  Nonetheless, the ambiguous manner in which Pope Francis proposes this pastoral accompaniment permits a pastoral situation to evolve whereby the common practice will swiftly ensue that almost every divorced and remarried couple will judge themselves free to receive Holy Communion.  This pastoral situation will develop because moral negative commands, such as, “one shall not commit adultery,” are no longer recognized as absolute moral norms that can never be trespassed, but as moral ideals – goals that may be achieved over a period of time, or may never be realized in one’s lifetime (19).  In this indefinite interim people can continue, with the Church’s blessing, to strive, as best as they are able, to live “holy” lives, and so receive communion.  Such pastoral practice has multiple detrimental doctrinal and moral consequences.

First, to allow those who are objectively in manifest grave sin to receive communion is an overt public attack on the holiness of what John Paul terms “the Most Holy Sacrament.”  Grave sin, by its very nature, as Ignatius, Vatican II and John Paul attest, deprives one of holiness, for the Holy Spirit no longer abides within such a person, thus making the person unfit to receive holy communion.  For one to receive communion in such a, literally, disgraced state enacts a lie, for in receiving the sacrament one is asserting that one is in communion with Christ, when in actuality one is not.  Similarly, such a practice is also an offense against the holiness of the Church.  Yes, the Church is composed of saints and sinners, yet, those who do sin, which is everyone, must be repentant-sinners, specifically of grave sin, if they are to participate fully in the Eucharistic liturgy and so receive the most-holy risen body and blood of Jesus.  A person who is in grave sin may still be a member of the Church, but as a grave-sinner such a person no longer participates in the holiness of the Church as one of the holy faithful.  To receive communion in such an unholy state is, again, to enact a lie for in such a reception one is publicly attempting to testify that one is a graced and living member of the ecclesial community when one is not.

Second, and maybe more importantly, to allow those who persist in manifest grave sin to receive communion, seemingly as an act of mercy, is both to belittle the condemnatory evil of grave sin and to malign the magnitude and power of the Holy Spirit.  Such a pastoral practice is implicitly acknowledging that sin continues to govern humankind despite Jesus’ redeeming work and his anointing of the Holy Spirit upon all who believe and are baptized.  Jesus is actually not Savior and Lord, but rather Satan continues to reign.  Moreover, to sanction persons in grave sin is in no manner a benevolent or loving act, for one is endorsing a state wherein they could be eternally condemned, thus jeopardizing their salvation.  Likewise, in turn, one is also insulting such grave-sinners, for one is subtly telling them that they are so sinful that not even the Holy Spirit is powerful enough to help them change their sinful ways and make them holy.  They are inherently un-savable.  Actually, though, what is ultimately being tendered is the admission that the Church of Jesus Christ is not really holy and so is incapable of truly sanctifying her members.

Lastly, scandal is the public pastoral consequence of allowing persons in unrepentant manifest grave sin to receive Holy Communion.  It is not simply that the faithful members of the Eucharistic community will be dismayed and likely disgruntled, but, more importantly, they will be tempted to think that they too can sin gravely and continue in good standing with the Church.  Why attempt to live a holy life, even a heroic virtuous life, when the Church herself appears to demand neither such a life, or even to encourage such a life?  Here the Church becomes a mockery of herself and such a charade breeds nothing but scorn and disdain in the world, and derision and cynicism among the faithful, or at best, a hope against hope among the little ones.

Conclusion

My conclusion will be brief.  Much of what I have said, as you may have gathered, has been stated by others.  Some will dismiss it as excessive or even mean-spirited.  But that is not my intent or spirit at all.  As stated earlier there is much in the character of Pope Francis to admire, and we owe him our daily prayers for strength in facing the burdens of his ministry.  However, that cannot excuse us from speaking the truth in love.  Anyone experienced in religious life – or for that matter, in a marriage – will understand that sometimes the truth must be spoken bluntly – not out of bitterness, but out of fidelity to the persons involved and to safeguard the purpose they share.

What I have attempted to do, and I hope has been helpful, is place the contemporary crisis within the Church in its proper theological and doctrinal setting, that is, within the Church’s four defining marks.  Only when we grasp that the Church’s very oneness, holiness, catholicity, and apostolicity are at stake, what makes the Church truly herself, can we fully appreciate the degree and the consequence of the present crisis.  The Church’s very identity, our ecclesial communion, is being assailed, and because she is the Church of Christ, Jesus himself is being dishonored along with his saving work.  What is presently being offered in its place is an anemic Church, a Church where the Holy Spirit is enfeebled, and so a Church that is incapable of giving full glory to God the Father.

By attempting to manifest the perilous nature of the crisis, my goal was not simply to make this misfortune known, but to encourage all of us, bishops, priests and laity alike, to embark on an adequate response.  Such a response cannot be merely negative, a rebuttal of all the erroneous views and ambiguous arguments, though such is necessary, but rather it must also be a response that is robustly positive.  From the time of St. Ignatius of Antioch to the time of the Second Vatican Council and St. John Paul II the Church has continually proclaimed the good news of Jesus Christ and so the good news of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church, a Church he conceived through his death and resurrection and to which he gave birth to in his sending forth the Holy Spirit.  This constructive proclamation is what will renew the Church and so restore the fallen world to life in Christ.

Moreover, we must defend and promote a proper knowledge of and love for the Eucharist, for here, as we saw, the four marks of the Church are most fully expressed and abundantly nourished.  In the Eucharist above all the Church’s identity is most clearly enacted and made visible.  For in the Eucharist we are made one with Christ and one with one another as together we profess and joyfully acclaim our one apostolic and universal faith, a faith that is imbued with the holiness of the Spirit, and so as one ecclesial community we worship and glorify God the Father – the source and end of all.  Within the Eucharist, then, the Church’s four marks most beautifully shine.

*

(1) Within his seven letters, for example, Ignatius so argued against those who denied that the Son of God existed as an actual fleshly man but only appeared (docens) or seemed to do so, that is, the Docetists, so as to anticipate the doctrinal teaching of the Council of Chalcedon over three hundred years later (451 AD).  For Ignatius, Jesus is the one and the same person of Son of God who existed from all eternity as God and who came to exist truly as man in time.  Because of this incarnational reality all that pertains to the divine Son’s humanity – such as birth, suffering, and death, could rightly and properly be predicated of that one divine Son.

See T.G. Weinandy, “The Apostolic Christology of Ignatius of Antioch: The Road to Chacedon,” in Jesus: Essays in Christology (Sapientia Press: Ave Maria University, 2014), pp. 59-74.  This essay was first published in Trajectories through the New Testament and the Apostolic Fathers, ed. A. Gregory and C. Tuckett (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), pp. 71-84.

(2) All quotations from Ignatius’s letters are taken from Early Christian Writers, trans. M. Staniforth, (Penguin Books: Baltimore, 1968).

(3) For Ignatius, bishops, priests and deacons form an “Apostolic circle” or “council” and so only those who possess “these three orders” can rightly be named a “church” (Ad Tral. 3).  The Trallians must always be in unity “with Jesus Christ and your bishop and the Apostolic institutions” (ibid. 7).  Bishops, priests and deacons are ultimately “appointed” by Jesus Christ and “confirmed and ratified, according to his will, by his Holy Spirit” (Ad Phil, greeting).

(4) Ignatius is the first to employ the term “catholic.”  Here it refers to the universality of the Church.  Only around 200 AD did it become a title – “the Catholic Church,” which designated it as the universal Church and so distinct from localized heretical sects.

(5) Not without significance Ignatius makes reference to the other churches within his letters to the individual churches, especially at the conclusion of each of his letters.  This referencing of the other churches testifies to their being in communion with one another and so to their individually and communally possessing the defining ecclesial characteristics – that of being one, holy, catholic and apostolic.  Cf. Ad Eph. 21; Ad Mag. 15; Ad Tral. 12-13; Ad Rom. 9-10; Ad Phi. 10-11; Ad Smyrn. 11-13; Ad Poly. 7-8.

(6) All quotations are taken from Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, ed. Austin Flannery, (Scholarly Resources Inc.: Wilmington, 1975).

(7) The Constitution footnotes St. Cyprian, De Orat. Dom. 23; St. Augustine, Serm. 71, 20, 33; and St. John Damascene, Adv. Iconocl. 12.  In the above paragraph I have placed in italics those words and phrases that speak of the four marks of the Church, though not designating them as such.

(8) The Council does articulate an important aspect of the four marks of the Church that, while hidden in Ignatius’s theology, is never openly expressed, that is, the eschatological nature of these four ecclesial marks (cf. Ibid. 5).  The Church fully becomes the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church only when Christ returns in glory.  Then, his Body, the universal and apostolic Church, will be fully one with him in the Holy Spirit, thus sharing fully in his holiness.  Again, as the Council later states: “While she slowly grows and matures, the Church longs for the completed kingdom and, with all her strength, hopes and desires to be united in glory with her king” (ibid. 5).

(9) The Constitution footnotes St. Augustine, Bap. C. Donat. V. 28, 39: “Certe manifestum est, id quod dicitur, in Ecclesia intus et foris, non in corpore cogitandum.”

(10) For a more concise teaching on the four marks of the Church, see the Catechism of the Catholic Church, numbers 811-835.

(11) John Paul quotes Lumen Gentium, 26.

(12) Pope Francis consistently uses the term “doctrine” in a negative manner – as being bookish and lifeless, far removed from the pastoral concerns of daily ecclesial life.   This pitting doctrine and pastoral practice against one another is a false and dangerous dichotomy.  The truths of doctrine are the guides and guardians of wise pastoral practice.  Without doctrine, pastoral practice has no objective authentic anchor, and so is subject to sentimentality, pop-psychology, and the prejudices of contemporary culture.

(13) At times one gets the impression that Pope Francis, as with the notion of doctrine, perceives the visible Church in a negative light.  For the pope, the visible Church appears to assume the character of an impersonal governmental bureaucratic institution – created to make rigid rules and harsh regulations that often, again, have little bearing on the daily pastoral life of the Church – where the real Church exists in all its human tangled complexity.  This view also comprises a false dichotomy.  Yes, as with any big organization, there can be ecclesial bureaucratic red tape that is far from being constructive and helpful, and even pastoral, but the visible Church is, nonetheless, the sacramental sign and effective means by which, in which, and through which Jesus, through Holy Spirit, works his salvific wonders as Lord and Savior to the glory of God the Father.  For this, love of the visible Church is not simply obligatory but a cause for rejoicing.

(14) Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on Some Aspects of the Church Understood as Communion, Communionis Notio (May 28, 1992).

(15) He later addresses the issues of inter-communion with Protestant denominations, as well as the norms governing communion in relationship to the Eastern Orthodox Churches (cf. 43-46).

(16) John Paul is quoting Lumen Gentium, 14.

(17) John Paul is referencing the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1385 and the Council of Trent, DS 1647 and 1661.

(18) John Paul is quoting Canon 915.

(19) This understanding that negative moral norms are no longer absolute but goals to be achieved can be applied not only to those who commit adultery, but also to those who commit any other grave sin – fornication, homosexual acts, contraception, the molestation of children, stealing, etc. – and even murder.  As long as they are attempting to do their very best, they can obtain the Church’s blessing and receive Holy Communion.  Obviously such a pastoral practice is morally absurd.

Go here to read the rest.  A Pope has one overriding duty:  to defend the teachings of the Catholic faith.  Pope Francis has not only failed in that duty, he is actively, in some areas, seeking to undermine the teaching of the Church.  There can be no more damning verdict on any Pope.

Transfigure Thou Me

Jesus took Peter, James, and John
and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them,
and his clothes became dazzling white,
such as no fuller on earth could bleach them.
Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses,
and they were conversing with Jesus.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply,
“Rabbi, it is good that we are here!
Let us make three tents:
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified.
Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them;
from the cloud came a voice,
“This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.”
Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone
but Jesus alone with them.

As they were coming down from the mountain,
he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone,
except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
So they kept the matter to themselves,
questioning what rising from the dead meant.

Mark 9: 2-10

 

 

 

 

 

 

A striking feature of the Gospels in how faithfully the inspired authors set down what Christ said and did, whether they understood it or not.  The bewilderment of the Apostles to the Transfiguration I fully share in.  For a moment Christ dropped the flesh he was veiled in and stood revealed as the great I Am, the Second Person of the Trinity, and Peter, James and John reacted with sheer terror.  Our intellects, made dark here below by sin, cannot grasp such a thing, so Christ was perceived as a blinding white light.  No passage in the Gospels better illustrates the infinite gulf between Man and the God who made us.

Yet we are to become like Him if we win our battle against our sins, and grasp tight the lifeline of His grace.  One day, in the Beatific Vision, we will see God face to face, not as blinding light but as love incarnate.  However, to accomplish this we must be transfigured, shedding ourselves of our sins, our cowardice, our arrogance, our folly and the hardness of our hearts, making our souls as he made them, pure and undefiled.  In Purgatory the transfiguration is accomplished for those of us who die in a state of grace and are not ready for Heaven.

Dante described Purgatory as a place of joyous suffering where the penances match the sins, and where sinful Man is prepared for the Eternal Joy of Heaven.  May God grant to all of us the determination to begin our path of transfiguration today and not tomorrow, and to follow that path until we reach the mansion that God has prepared for us in the Kingdom of Love Eternal.

 

Batter my heart, three-person’d God, for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
John Donne
7

MIT BRENNENDER SORGE

Continuing our Lenten look ar great encyclicals of the past, we turn to MIT BRENNENDER SORGE issued by Pope Pius XI on Palm Sunday March 14, 1937.  The encyclical was a full throated attack in German against the Nazi regime.  In burning language Pius condemned the Nazi regime root and branch.  It should be noted that this was at the time when the West was in full appeasement mode, and only lonely voices like Winston Churchill were sounding the tocsin against the monstrous evil that had arisen in the heart of Europe.  This passage is ever relevant:

21. In your country, Venerable Brethren, voices are swelling into a chorus urging people to leave the Church, and among the leaders there is more than one whose official position is intended to create the impression that this infidelity to Christ the King constitutes a signal and meritorious act of loyalty to the modern State. Secret and open measures of intimidation, the threat of economic and civic disabilities, bear on the loyalty of certain classes of Catholic functionaries, a pressure which violates every human right and dignity. Our wholehearted paternal sympathy goes out to those who must pay so dearly for their loyalty to Christ and the Church; but directly the highest interests are at stake, with the alternative of spiritual loss, there is but one alternative left, that of heroism. If the oppressor offers one the Judas bargain of apostasy he can only, at the cost of every worldly sacrifice, answer with Our Lord: “Begone, Satan! For it is written: The Lord thy God shalt thou adore, and Him only shalt thou serve” (Matt. iv. 10). And turning to the Church, he shall say: “Thou, my mother since my infancy, the solace of my life and advocate at my death, may my tongue cleave to my palate if, yielding to worldly promises or threats, I betray the vows of my baptism.” As to those who imagine that they can reconcile exterior infidelity to one and the same Church, let them hear Our Lord’s warning: – “He that shall deny me before men shall be denied before the angels of God” (Luke xii. 9).

MIT BRENNENDER SORGE


ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PIUS XI
ON THE CHURCH AND THE GERMAN REICH
TO THE VENERABLE BRETHREN
THE ARCHBISHOPS AND BISHOPS OF GERMANY AND OTHER ORDINARIES
IN PEACE AND COMMUNION WITH THE APOSTOLIC SEE.

 

Venerable Brethren, Greetings, and Apostolic Blessing.

It is with deep anxiety and growing surprise that We have long been following the painful trials of the Church and the increasing vexations which afflict those who have remained loyal in heart and action in the midst of a people that once received from St. Boniface the bright message and the Gospel of Christ and God’s Kingdom.

2. And what the representatives of the venerable episcopate, who visited Us in Our sick room, had to tell Us, in truth and duty bound, has not modified Our feelings. To consoling and edifying information on the stand the Faithful are making for their Faith, they considered themselves bound, in spite of efforts to judge with moderation and in spite of their own patriotic love, to add reports of things hard and unpleasant. After hearing their account, We could, in grateful acknowledgment to God, exclaim with the Apostle of love: “I have no greater grace than this, to hear that my children walk in truth” (John iii. 4). But the frankness indifferent in Our Apostolic charge and the determination to place before the Christian world the truth in all its reality, prompt Us to add: “Our pastoral heart knows no deeper pain, no disappointment more bitter, than to learn that many are straying from the path of truth.”

3. When, in 1933, We consented, Venerable Brethren, to open negotiations for a concordat, which the Reich Government proposed on the basis of a scheme of several years’ standing; and when, to your unanimous satisfaction, We concluded the negotiations by a solemn treaty, We were prompted by the desire, as it behooved Us, to secure for Germany the freedom of the Church’s beneficent mission and the salvation of the souls in her care, as well as by the sincere wish to render the German people a service essential for its peaceful development and prosperity. Hence, despite many and grave misgivings, We then decided not to withhold Our consent for We wished to spare the Faithful of Germany, as far as it was humanly possible, the trials and difficulties they would have had to face, given the circumstances, had the negotiations fallen through. It was by acts that We wished to make it plain, Christ’s interests being Our sole object, that the pacific and maternal hand of the Church would be extended to anyone who did not actually refuse it.

4. If, then, the tree of peace, which we planted on German soil with the purest intention, has not brought forth the fruit, which in the interest of your people, We had fondly hoped, no one in the world who has eyes to see and ears to hear will be able to lay the blame on the Church and on her Head. The experiences of these last years have fixed responsibilities and laid bare intrigues, which from the outset only aimed at a war of extermination. In the furrows, where We tried to sow the seed of a sincere peace, other men – the “enemy” of Holy Scripture – oversowed the cockle of distrust, unrest, hatred, defamation, of a determined hostility overt or veiled, fed from many sources and wielding many tools, against Christ and His Church. They, and they alone with their accomplices, silent or vociferous, are today responsible, should the storm of religious war, instead of the rainbow of peace, blacken the German skies.

5. We have never ceased, Venerable Brethren, to represent to the responsible rulers of your country’s destiny, the consequences which would inevitably follow the protection and even the favor, extended to such a policy. We have done everything in Our power to defend the sacred pledge of the given word of honor against theories and practices, which it officially endorsed, would wreck every faith in treaties and make every signature worthless. Should the day ever come to place before the world the account of Our efforts, every honest mind will see on which side are to be found the promoters of peace, and on which side its disturbers. Whoever had left in his soul an atom of love for truth, and in his heart a shadow of a sense of justice, must admit that, in the course of these anxious and trying years following upon the conclusion of the concordat, every one of Our words, every one of Our acts, has been inspired by the binding law of treaties. At the same time, anyone must acknowledge, not without surprise and reprobation, how the other contracting party emasculated the terms of the treaty, distorted their meaning, and eventually considered its more or less official violation as a normal policy. The moderation We showed in spite of all this was not inspired by motives of worldly interest, still less by unwarranted weakness, but merely by Our anxiety not to draw out the wheat with the cockle; not to pronounce open judgment, before the public was ready to see its force; not to impeach other people’s honesty, before the evidence of events should have torn the mask off the systematic hostility leveled at the Church. Even now that a campaign against the confessional schools, which are guaranteed by the concordat, and the destruction of free election, where Catholics have a right to their children’s Catholic education, afford evidence, in a matter so essential to the life of the Church, of the extreme gravity of the situation and the anxiety of every Christian conscience; even now Our responsibility for Christian souls induces Us not to overlook the last possibilities, however slight, of a return to fidelity to treaties, and to any arrangement that may be acceptable to the episcopate. We shall continue without failing, to stand before the rulers of your people as the defender of violated rights, and in obedience to Our Conscience and Our pastoral mission, whether We be successful or not, to oppose the policy which seeks, by open or secret means, to strangle rights guaranteed by a treaty.

6. Different, however, Venerable Brethren, is the purpose of this letter. As you affectionately visited Us in Our illness, so also We turn to you, and through you, the German Catholics, who, like all suffering and afflicted children, are nearer to their Father’s heart. At a time when your faith, like gold, is being tested in the fire of tribulation and persecution, when your religious freedom is beset on all sides, when the lack of religious teaching and of normal defense is heavily weighing on you, you have every right to words of truth and spiritual comfort from him whose first predecessor heard these words from the Lord: “I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not: and thou being once converted, confirm thy brethren” (Luke xxii. 32).

7. Take care, Venerable Brethren, that above all, faith in God, the first and irreplaceable foundation of all religion, be preserved in Germany pure and unstained. The believer in God is not he who utters the name in his speech, but he for whom this sacred word stands for a true and worthy concept of the Divinity. Whoever identifies, by pantheistic confusion, God and the universe, by either lowering God to the dimensions of the world, or raising the world to the dimensions of God, is not a believer in God. Whoever follows that so-called pre-Christian Germanic conception of substituting a dark and impersonal destiny for the personal God, denies thereby the Wisdom and Providence of God who “Reacheth from end to end mightily, and ordereth all things sweetly” (Wisdom viii. 1). Neither is he a believer in God.

8. Whoever exalts race, or the people, or the State, or a particular form of State, or the depositories of power, or any other fundamental value of the human community – however necessary and honorable be their function in worldly things – whoever raises these notions above their standard value and divinizes them to an idolatrous level, distorts and perverts an order of the world planned and created by God; he is far from the true faith in God and from the concept of life which that faith upholds.

9. Beware, Venerable Brethren, of that growing abuse, in speech as in writing, of the name of God as though it were a meaningless label, to be affixed to any creation, more or less arbitrary, of human speculation. Use your influence on the Faithful, that they refuse to yield to this aberration. Our God is the Personal God, supernatural, omnipotent, infinitely perfect, one in the Trinity of Persons, tri-personal in the unity of divine essence, the Creator of all existence. Lord, King and ultimate Consummator of the history of the world, who will not, and cannot, tolerate a rival God by His side.

10. This God, this Sovereign Master, has issued commandments whose value is independent of time and space, country and race. As God’s sun shines on every human face so His law knows neither privilege nor exception. Rulers and subjects, crowned and uncrowned, rich and poor are equally subject to His word. From the fullness of the Creators’ right there naturally arises the fullness of His right to be obeyed by individuals and communities, whoever they are. This obedience permeates all branches of activity in which moral values claim harmony with the law of God, and pervades all integration of the ever-changing laws of man into the immutable laws of God.

11. None but superficial minds could stumble into concepts of a national God, of a national religion; or attempt to lock within the frontiers of a single people, within the narrow limits of a single race, God, the Creator of the universe, King and Legislator of all nations before whose immensity they are “as a drop of a bucket” (Isaiah xI, 15).

12. The Bishops of the Church of Christ, “ordained in the things that appertain to God (Heb. v, 1) must watch that pernicious errors of this sort, and consequent practices more pernicious still, shall not gain a footing among their flock. It is part of their sacred obligations to do whatever is in their power to enforce respect for, and obedience to, the commandments of God, as these are the necessary foundation of all private life and public morality; to see that the rights of His Divine Majesty, His name and His word be not profaned; to put a stop to the blasphemies, which, in words and pictures, are multiplying like the sands of the desert; to encounter the obstinacy and provocations of those who deny, despise and hate God, by the never-failing reparatory prayers of the Faithful, hourly rising like incense to the All-Highest and staying His vengeance.

13. We thank you, Venerable Brethren, your priests and Faithful, who have persisted in their Christian duty and in the defense of God’s rights in the teeth of an aggressive paganism. Our gratitude, warmer still and admiring, goes out to those who, in fulfillment of their duty, have been deemed worthy of sacrifice and suffering for the love of God.

14. No faith in God can for long survive pure and unalloyed without the support of faith in Christ. “No one knoweth who the Son is, but the Father: and who the Father is, but the Son and to whom the Son will reveal Him” (Luke x. 22). “Now this is eternal life: That they may know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou has sent” (John xvii. 3). Nobody, therefore, can say: “I believe in God, and that is enough religion for me,” for the Savior’s words brook no evasion: “Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father. He that confesseth the Son hath the Father also” (1 John ii. 23).

15. In Jesus Christ, Son of God made Man, there shone the plentitude of divine revelation. “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners, spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets last of all, in these days hath spoken to us by His Son” (Heb. i. 1). The sacred books of the Old Testament are exclusively the word of God, and constitute a substantial part of his revelation; they are penetrated by a subdued light, harmonizing with the slow development of revelation, the dawn of the bright day of the redemption. As should be expected in historical and didactic books, they reflect in many particulars the imperfection, the weakness and sinfulness of man. But side by side with innumerable touches of greatness and nobleness, they also record the story of the chosen people, bearers of the Revelation and the Promise, repeatedly straying from God and turning to the world. Eyes not blinded by prejudice or passion will see in this prevarication, as reported by the Biblical history, the luminous splendor of the divine light revealing the saving plan which finally triumphs over every fault and sin. It is precisely in the twilight of this background that one perceives the striking perspective of the divine tutorship of salvation, as it warms, admonishes, strikes, raises and beautifies its elect. Nothing but ignorance and pride could blind one to the treasures hoarded in the Old Testament.

16. Whoever wishes to see banished from church and school the Biblical history and the wise doctrines of the Old Testament, blasphemes the name of God, blasphemes the Almighty’s plan of salvation, and makes limited and narrow human thought the judge of God’s designs over the history of the world: he denies his faith in the true Christ, such as He appeared in the flesh, the Christ who took His human nature from a people that was to crucify Him; and he understands nothing of that universal tragedy of the Son of God who to His torturer’s sacrilege opposed the divine and priestly sacrifice of His redeeming death, and made the new alliance the goal of the old alliance, its realization and its crown.

17. The peak of the revelation as reached in the Gospel of Christ is final and permanent. It knows no retouches by human hand; it admits no substitutes or arbitrary alternatives such as certain leaders pretend to draw from the so-called myth of race and blood. Since Christ, the Lord’s Anointed, finished the task of Redemption, and by breaking up the reign of sin deserved for us the grace of being the children God, since that day no other name under heaven has been given to men, whereby we must be saved (Acts iv. 12). No man, were every science, power and worldly strength incarnated in him, can lay any other foundation but that which is laid: which is Christ Jesus (1 Cor. iii 11). Should any man dare, in sacrilegious disregard of the essential differences between God and His creature, between the God-man and the children of man, to place a mortal, were he the greatest of all times, by the side of, or over, or against, Christ, he would deserve to be called prophet of nothingness, to whom the terrifying words of Scripture would be applicable: “He that dwelleth in heaven shall laugh at them” (Psalms ii. 3).

18. Faith in Christ cannot maintain itself pure and unalloyed without the support of faith in the Church, “the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim. iii. 15); for Christ Himself, God eternally blessed, raised this pillar of the Faith. His command to hear the Church (Matt. xviii. 15), to welcome in the words and commands of the Church His own words and His own commands (Luke x. 16), is addressed to all men, of all times and of all countries. The Church founded by the Redeemer is one, the same for all races and all nations. Beneath her dome, as beneath the vault of heaven, there is but one country for all nations and tongues; there is room for the development of every quality, advantage, task and vocation which God the Creator and Savior has allotted to individuals as well as to ethnical communities. The Church’s maternal heart is big enough to see in the God-appointed development of individual characteristics and gifts, more than a mere danger of divergency. She rejoices at the spiritual superiorities among individuals and nations. In their successes she sees with maternal joy and pride fruits of education and progress, which she can only bless and encourage, whenever she can conscientiously do so. But she also knows that to this freedom limits have been set by the majesty of the divine command, which founded that Church one and indivisible. Whoever tampers with that unity and that indivisibility wrenches from the Spouse of Christ one of the diadems with which God Himself crowned her; he subjects a divine structure, which stands on eternal foundations, to criticism and transformation by architects whom the Father of Heaven never authorized to interfere.

19. The Church, whose work lies among men and operates through men, may see her divine mission obscured by human, too human, combination, persistently growing and developing like the cockle among the wheat of the Kingdom of God. Those who know the Savior’s words on scandal and the giver of scandals, know, too, the judgment which the Church and all her sons must pronounce on what was and what is sin. But if, besides these reprehensible discrepancies be between faith and life, acts and words, exterior conduct and interior feelings, however numerous they be, anyone overlooks the overwhelming sum of authentic virtues, of spirit of sacrifice, fraternal love, heroic efforts of sanctity, he gives evidence of deplorable blindness and injustice. If later he forgets to apply the standard of severity, by which he measures the Church he hates, to other organizations in which he happens to be interested, then his appeal to an offended sense of purity identifies him with those who, for seeing the mote in their brother’s eye, according to the Savior’s incisive words, cannot see the beam in their own. But however suspicious the intention of those who make it their task, nay their vile profession, to scrutinize what is human in the Church, and although the priestly powers conferred by God are independent of the priest’s human value, it yet remains true that at no moment of history, no individual, in no organization can dispense himself from the duty of loyally examining his conscience, of mercilessly purifying himself, and energetically renewing himself in spirit and in action. In Our Encyclical on the priesthood We have urged attention to the sacred duty of all those who belong to the Church, chiefly the members of the priestly and religious profession and of the lay apostolate, to square their faith and their conduct with the claims of the law of God and of the Church. And today we again repeat with all the insistency We can command: it is not enough to be a member of the Church of Christ, one needs to be a living member, in spirit and in truth, i.e., living in the state of grace and in the presence of God, either in innocence or in sincere repentance. If the Apostle of the nations, the vase of election, chastised his body and brought it into subjection: lest perhaps, when he had preached to others, he himself should become a castaway (1 Cor. ix. 27), could anybody responsible for the extension of the Kingdom of God claim any other method but personal sanctification? Only thus can we show to the present generation, and to the critics of the Church that “the salt of the earth,” the leaven of Christianity has not decayed, but is ready to give the men of today – prisoners of doubt and error, victims of indifference, tired of their Faith and straying from God – the spiritual renewal they so much need. A Christianity which keeps a grip on itself, refuses every compromise with the world, takes the commands of God and the Church seriously, preserves its love of God and of men in all its freshness, such a Christianity can be, and will be, a model and a guide to a world which is sick to death and clamors for directions, unless it be condemned to a catastrophe that would baffle the imagination.

20. Every true and lasting reform has ultimately sprung from the sanctity of men who were driven by the love of God and of men. Generous, ready to stand to attention to any call from God, yet confident in themselves because confident in their vocation, they grew to the size of beacons and reformers. On the other hand, any reformatory zeal, which instead of springing from personal purity, flashes out of passion, has produced unrest instead of light, destruction instead of construction, and more than once set up evils worse than those it was out to remedy. No doubt “the Spirit breatheth where he will” (John iii. 8): “of stones He is able to raise men to prepare the way to his designs” (Matt. iii. 9). He chooses the instruments of His will according to His own plans, not those of men. But the Founder of the Church, who breathed her into existence at Pentecost, cannot disown the foundations as He laid them. Whoever is moved by the spirit of God, spontaneously adopts both outwardly and inwardly, the true attitude toward the Church, this sacred fruit from the tree of the cross, this gift from the Spirit of God, bestowed on Pentecost day to an erratic world.

21. In your country, Venerable Brethren, voices are swelling into a chorus urging people to leave the Church, and among the leaders there is more than one whose official position is intended to create the impression that this infidelity to Christ the King constitutes a signal and meritorious act of loyalty to the modern State. Secret and open measures of intimidation, the threat of economic and civic disabilities, bear on the loyalty of certain classes of Catholic functionaries, a pressure which violates every human right and dignity. Our wholehearted paternal sympathy goes out to those who must pay so dearly for their loyalty to Christ and the Church; but directly the highest interests are at stake, with the alternative of spiritual loss, there is but one alternative left, that of heroism. If the oppressor offers one the Judas bargain of apostasy he can only, at the cost of every worldly sacrifice, answer with Our Lord: “Begone, Satan! For it is written: The Lord thy God shalt thou adore, and Him only shalt thou serve” (Matt. iv. 10). And turning to the Church, he shall say: “Thou, my mother since my infancy, the solace of my life and advocate at my death, may my tongue cleave to my palate if, yielding to worldly promises or threats, I betray the vows of my baptism.” As to those who imagine that they can reconcile exterior infidelity to one and the same Church, let them hear Our Lord’s warning: – “He that shall deny me before men shall be denied before the angels of God” (Luke xii. 9).

22. Faith in the Church cannot stand pure and true without the support of faith in the primacy of the Bishop of Rome. The same moment when Peter, in the presence of all the Apostles and disciples, confesses his faith in Christ, Son of the Living God, the answer he received in reward for his faith and his confession was the word that built the Church, the only Church of Christ, on the rock of Peter (Matt. xvi. 18). Thus was sealed the connection between the faith in Christ, the Church and the Primacy. True and lawful authority is invariably a bond of unity, a source of strength, a guarantee against division and ruin, a pledge for the future: and this is verified in the deepest and sublimest sense, when that authority, as in the case of the Church, and the Church alone, is sealed by the promise and the guidance of the Holy Ghost and His irresistible support. Should men, who are not even united by faith in Christ, come and offer you the seduction of a national German Church, be convinced that it is nothing but a denial of the one Church of Christ and the evident betrayal of that universal evangelical mission, for which a world Church alone is qualified and competent. The live history of other national churches with their paralysis, their domestication and subjection to worldly powers, is sufficient evidence of the sterility to which is condemned every branch that is severed from the trunk of the living Church. Whoever counters these erroneous developments with an uncompromising No from the very outset, not only serves the purity of his faith in Christ, but also the welfare and the vitality of his own people.

23. You will need to watch carefully, Venerable Brethren, that religious fundamental concepts be not emptied of their content and distorted to profane use. “Revelation” in its Christian sense, means the word of God addressed to man. The use of this word for the “suggestions” of race and blood, for the irradiations of a people’s history, is mere equivocation. False coins of this sort do not deserve Christian currency. “Faith” consists in holding as true what God has revealed and proposes through His Church to man’s acceptance. It is “the evidence of things that appear not” (Heb. ii. 1). The joyful and proud confidence in the future of one’s people, instinct in every heart, is quite a different thing from faith in a religious sense. To substitute the one for the other, and demand on the strength of this, to be numbered among the faithful followers of Christ, is a senseless play on words, if it does not conceal a confusion of concepts, or worse.

24. “Immortality” in a Christian sense means the survival of man after his terrestrial death, for the purpose of eternal reward or punishment. Whoever only means by the term, the collective survival here on earth of his people for an indefinite length of time, distorts one of the fundamental notions of the Christian Faith and tampers with the very foundations of the religious concept of the universe, which requires a moral order.

25. “Original sin” is the hereditary but impersonal fault of Adam’s descendants, who have sinned in him (Rom. v. 12). It is the loss of grace, and therefore of eternal life, together with a propensity to evil, which everybody must, with the assistance of grace, penance, resistance and moral effort, repress and conquer. The passion and death of the Son of God has redeemed the world from the hereditary curse of sin and death. Faith in these truths, which in your country are today the butt of the cheap derision of Christ’s enemies, belongs to the inalienable treasury of Christian revelation.

26. The cross of Christ, though it has become to many a stumbling block and foolishness (1 Cor. i. 23) remains for the believer the holy sign of his redemption, the emblem of moral strength and greatness. We live in its shadow and die in its embrace. It will stand on our grave as a pledge of our faith and our hope in the eternal light.

27. Humility in the spirit of the Gospel and prayer for the assistance of grace are perfectly compatible with self-confidence and heroism. The Church of Christ, which throughout the ages and to the present day numbers more confessors and voluntary martyrs than any other moral collectivity, needs lessons from no one in heroism of feeling and action. The odious pride of reformers only covers itself with ridicule when it rails at Christian humility as though it were but a cowardly pose of self-degradation.

28. “Grace,” in a wide sense, may stand for any of the Creator’s gifts to His creature; but in its Christian designation, it means all the supernatural tokens of God’s love; God’s intervention which raises man to that intimate communion of life with Himself, called by the Gospel “adoption of the children of God.” “Behold what manner of charity the Father hath bestowed on us, that we should be called and should be the sons of God” (1 John iii. 1). To discard this gratuitous and free elevation in the name of a so-called German type amounts to repudiating openly a fundamental truth of Christianity. It would be an abuse of our religious vocabulary to place on the same level supernatural grace and natural gifts. Pastors and guardians of the people of God will do well to resist this plunder of sacred things and this confusion of ideas.

29. It is on faith in God, preserved pure and stainless, that man’s morality is based. All efforts to remove from under morality and the moral order the granite foundation of faith and to substitute for it the shifting sands of human regulations, sooner or later lead these individuals or societies to moral degradation. The fool who has said in his heart “there is no God” goes straight to moral corruption (Psalms xiii. 1), and the number of these fools who today are out to sever morality from religion, is legion. They either do not see or refuse to see that the banishment of confessional Christianity, i.e., the clear and precise notion of Christianity, from teaching and education, from the organization of social and political life, spells spiritual spoliation and degradation. No coercive power of the State, no purely human ideal, however noble and lofty it be, will ever be able to make shift of the supreme and decisive impulses generated by faith in God and Christ. If the man, who is called to the hard sacrifice of his own ego to the common good, loses the support of the eternal and the divine, that comforting and consoling faith in a God who rewards all good and punishes all evil, then the result of the majority will be, not the acceptance, but the refusal of their duty. The conscientious observation of the ten commandments of God and the precepts of the Church (which are nothing but practical specifications of rules of the Gospels) is for every one an unrivaled school of personal discipline, moral education and formation of character, a school that is exacting, but not to excess. A merciful God, who as Legislator, says – Thou must! – also gives by His grace the power to will and to do. To let forces of moral formation of such efficacy lie fallow, or to exclude them positively from public education, would spell religious under-feeding of a nation. To hand over the moral law to man’s subjective opinion, which changes with the times, instead of anchoring it in the holy will of the eternal God and His commandments, is to open wide every door to the forces of destruction. The resulting dereliction of the eternal principles of an objective morality, which educates conscience and ennobles every department and organization of life, is a sin against the destiny of a nation, a sin whose bitter fruit will poison future generations.

30. Such is the rush of present-day life that it severs from the divine foundation of Revelation, not only morality, but also the theoretical and practical rights. We are especially referring to what is called the natural law, written by the Creator’s hand on the tablet of the heart (Rom. ii. 14) and which reason, not blinded by sin or passion, can easily read. It is in the light of the commands of this natural law, that all positive law, whoever be the lawgiver, can be gauged in its moral content, and hence, in the authority it wields over conscience. Human laws in flagrant contradiction with the natural law are vitiated with a taint which no force, no power can mend. In the light of this principle one must judge the axiom, that “right is common utility,” a proposition which may be given a correct significance, it means that what is morally indefensible, can never contribute to the good of the people. But ancient paganism acknowledged that the axiom, to be entirely true, must be reversed and be made to say: “Nothing can be useful, if it is not at the same time morally good” (Cicero, De Off. ii. 30). Emancipated from this oral rule, the principle would in international law carry a perpetual state of war between nations; for it ignores in national life, by confusion of right and utility, the basic fact that man as a person possesses rights he holds from God, and which any collectivity must protect against denial, suppression or neglect. To overlook this truth is to forget that the real common good ultimately takes its measure from man’s nature, which balances personal rights and social obligations, and from the purpose of society, established for the benefit of human nature. Society, was intended by the Creator for the full development of individual possibilities, and for the social benefits, which by a give and take process, every one can claim for his own sake and that of others. Higher and more general values, which collectivity alone can provide, also derive from the Creator for the good of man, and for the full development, natural and supernatural, and the realization of his perfection. To neglect this order is to shake the pillars on which society rests, and to compromise social tranquillity, security and existence.

31. The believer has an absolute right to profess his Faith and live according to its dictates. Laws which impede this profession and practice of Faith are against natural law.
Parents who are earnest and conscious of their educative duties, have a primary right to the education of the children God has given them in the spirit of their Faith, and according to its prescriptions. Laws and measures which in school questions fail to respect this freedom of the parents go against natural law, and are immoral. The Church, whose mission it is to preserve and explain the natural law, as it is divine in its origin, cannot but declare that the recent enrollment into schools organized without a semblance of freedom, is the result of unjust pressure, and is a violation of every common right.

32. As the Vicar of Him who said to the young man of the Gospel: “If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments” (Matt. xix. 17), We address a few paternal words to the young.

33. Thousands of voices ring into your ears a Gospel which has not been revealed by the Father of Heaven. Thousands of pens are wielded in the service of a Christianity, which is not of Christ. Press and wireless daily force on you productions hostile to the Faith and to the Church, impudently aggressive against whatever you should hold venerable and sacred. Many of you, clinging to your Faith and to your Church, as a result of your affiliation with religious associations guaranteed by the concordat, have often to face the tragic trial of seeing your loyalty to your country misunderstood, suspected, or even denied, and of being hurt in your professional and social life. We are well aware that there is many a humble soldier of Christ in your ranks, who with torn feelings, but a determined heart, accepts his fate, finding his one consolation in the thought of suffering insults for the name of Jesus (Acts v. 41). Today, as We see you threatened with new dangers and new molestations, We say to you: If any one should preach to you a Gospel other than the one you received on the knees of a pious mother, from the lips of a believing father, or through teaching faithful to God and His Church, “let him be anathema” (Gal. i. 9). If the State organizes a national youth, and makes this organization obligatory to all, then, without prejudice to rights of religious associations, it is the absolute right of youths as well as of parents to see to it that this organization is purged of all manifestations hostile to the Church and Christianity. These manifestations are even today placing Christian parents in a painful alternative, as they cannot give to the State what they owe to God alone.

34. No one would think of preventing young Germans establishing a true ethnical community in a noble love of freedom and loyalty to their country. What We object to is the voluntary and systematic antagonism raised between national education and religious duty. That is why we tell the young: Sing your hymns to freedom, but do not forget the freedom of the children of God. Do not drag the nobility of that freedom in the mud of sin and sensuality. He who sings hymns of loyalty to this terrestrial country should not, for that reason, become unfaithful to God and His Church, or a deserter and traitor to His heavenly country. You are often told about heroic greatness, in lying opposition to evangelical humility and patience. Why conceal the fact that there are heroisms in moral life? That the preservation of baptismal innocence is an act of heroism which deserves credit? You are often told about the human deficiencies which mar the history of the Church: why ignore the exploits which fill her history, the saints she begot, the blessing that came upon Western civilization from the union between that Church and your people? You are told about sports. Indulged in with moderation and within limits, physical education is a boon for youth. But so much time is now devoted to sporting activities, that the harmonious development of body and mind is disregarded, that duties to one’s family, and the observation of the Lord’s Day are neglected. With an indifference bordering on contempt the day of the Lord is divested of its sacred character, against the best of German traditions. But We expect the Catholic youth, in the more favorable organizations of the State, to uphold its right to a Christian sanctification of the Sunday, not to exercise the body at the expense of the immortal soul, not to be overcome by evil, but to aim at the triumph of good over evil (Rom. xii. 21) as its highest achievement will be the gaining of the crown in the stadium of eternal life (1 Cor. ix. 24).

35. We address a special word of congratulation, encouragement and exhortation to the priests of Germany, who, in difficult times and delicate situations, have, under the direction of their Bishops, to guide the flocks of Christ along the straight road, by word and example, by their daily devotion and apostolic patience. Beloved sons, who participate with Us in the sacred mysteries, never tire of exercising, after the Sovereign and eternal Priest, Jesus Christ, the charity and solicitude of the Good Samaritan. Let your daily conduct remain stainless before God and the incessant pursuit of your perfection and sanctification, in merciful charity towards all those who are confided to your care, especially those who are more exposed, who are weak and stumbling. Be the guides of the faithful, the support of those who fail, the doctors of the doubting, the consolers of the afflicted, the disinterested counselors and assistants of all. The trials and sufferings which your people have undergone in post-War days have not passed over its soul without leaving painful marks. They have left bitterness and anxiety which are slow to cure, except by charity. This charity is the apostle’s indispensable weapon, in a world torn by hatred. It will make you forget, or at least forgive, many an undeserved insult now more frequent than ever.

36. This charity, intelligent and sympathetic towards those even who offend you, does by no means imply a renunciation of the right of proclaiming, vindicating and defending the truth and its implications. The priest’s first loving gift to his neighbors is to serve truth and refute error in any of its forms. Failure on this score would be not only a betrayal of God and your vocation, but also an offense against the real welfare of your people and country. To all those who have kept their promised fidelity to their Bishops on the day of their ordination; to all those who in the exercise of their priestly function are called upon to suffer persecution; to all those imprisoned in jail and concentration camps, the Father of the Christian world sends his words of gratitude and commendation.

37. Our paternal gratitude also goes out to Religious and nuns, as well as Our sympathy for so many who, as a result of administrative measures hostile to Religious Orders, have been wrenched from the work of their vocation. If some have fallen and shown themselves unworthy of their vocation, their fault, which the Church punishes, in no way detracts from the merit of the immense majority, who, in voluntary abnegation and poverty, have tried to serve their God and their country. By their zeal, their fidelity, their virtue, their active charity, their devotion, the Orders devoted to the care of souls, the service of the sick and education, are greatly contributing to private and public welfare. No doubt better days will come to do them better justice than the present troublous times have done. We trust that the heads of religious communities will profit by their trials and difficulties tO renew their zeal, their spirit of prayer, the austerity of their lives and their perfect discipline, in order to draw down God’s blessing upon their difficult work.

38. We visualize the immense multitudes of Our faithful children, Our sons and daughters, for whom the sufferings of the Church in Germany and their own have left intact their devotion to the cause of God, their tender love for the Father of Christendom, their obedience to their pastors, their joyous resolution to remain ever faithful, happen what may, to the sacred inheritance of their ancestors. To all of them We send Our paternal greetings. And first to the members of those religious associations which, bravely and at the cost of untold sacrifices, have remained faithful to Christ, and have stood by the rights which a solemn treaty had guaranteed to the Church and to themselves according to the rules of loyalty and good faith.

39. We address Our special greetings to the Catholic parents. Their rights and duties as educators, conferred on them by God, are at present the stake of a campaign pregnant with consequences. The Church cannot wait to deplore the devastation of its altars, the destruction of its temples, if an education, hostile to Christ, is to profane the temple of the child’s soul consecrated by baptism, and extinguish the eternal light of the faith in Christ for the sake of counterfeit light alien to the Cross. Then the violation of temples is nigh, and it will be every one’s duty to sever his responsibility from the opposite camp, and free his conscience from guilty cooperation with such corruption. The more the enemies attempt to disguise their designs, the more a distrustful vigilance will be needed, in the light of bitter experience. Religious lessons maintained for the sake of appearances, controlled by unauthorized men, within the frame of an educational system which systematically works against religion, do not justify a vote in favor of non-confessional schools. We know, dear Catholic parents, that your vote was not free, for a free and secret vote would have meant the triumph of the Catholic schools. Therefore, we shall never cease frankly to represent to the responsible authorities the iniquity of the pressure brought to bear on you and the duty of respecting the freedom of education. Yet do not forget this: none can free you from the responsibility God has placed on you over your children. None of your oppressors, who pretend to relieve you of your duties can answer for you to the eternal Judge, when he will ask: “Where are those I confided to you?” May every one of you be able to answer: “Of them whom thou hast given me, I have not lost any one” (John xviii. 9).

40. Venerable Brethren, We are convinced that the words which in this solemn moment We address to you, and to the Catholics of the German Empire, will find in the hearts and in the acts of Our Faithful, the echo responding to the solicitude of the common Father. If there is one thing We implore the Lord to grant, it is this, that Our words may reach the ears and the hearts of those who have begun to yield to the threats and enticements of the enemies of Christ and His Church.

41. We have weighed every word of this letter in the balance of truth and love. We wished neither to be an accomplice to equivocation by an untimely silence, nor by excessive severity to harden the hearts of those who live under Our pastoral responsibility; for Our pastoral love pursues them none the less for all their infidelity. Should those who are trying to adapt their mentality to their new surroundings, have for the paternal home they have left and for the Father Himself, nothing but words of distrust, in gratitude or insult, should they even forget whatever they forsook, the day will come when their anguish will fall on the children they have lost, when nostalgia will bring them back to “God who was the joy of their youth,” to the Church whose paternal hand has directed them on the road that leads to the Father of Heaven.

42. Like other periods of the history of the Church, the present has ushered in a new ascension of interior purification, on the sole condition that the faithful show themselves proud enough in the confession of their faith in Christ, generous enough in suffering to face the oppressors of the Church with the strength of their faith and charity. May the holy time of Lent and Easter, which preaches interior renovation and penance, turn Christian eyes towards the Cross and the risen Christ; be for all of you the joyful occasion that will fill your souls with heroism, patience and victory. Then We are sure, the enemies of the Church, who think that their time has come, will see that their joy was premature, and that they may close the grave they had dug. The day will come when the Te Deum of liberation will succeed to the premature hymns of the enemies of Christ: Te Deum of triumph and joy and gratitude, as the German people return to religion, bend the knee before Christ, and arming themselves against the enemies of God, again resume the task God has laid upon them.

43. He who searches the hearts and reins (Psalm vii. 10) is Our witness that We have no greater desire than to see in Germany the restoration of a true peace between Church and State. But if, without any fault of Ours, this peace is not to come, then the Church of God will defend her rights and her freedom in the name of the Almighty whose arm has not shortened. Trusting in Him, “We cease not to pray and to beg” (Col. i. 9) for you, children of the Church, that the days of tribulation may end and that you may be found faithful in the day of judgment; for the persecutors and oppressors, that the Father of light and mercy may enlighten them as He enlightened Saul on the road of Damascus. With this prayer in Our heart and on Our lips We grant to you, as a pledge of Divine help, as a support in your difficult resolutions, as a comfort in the struggle, as a consolation in all trials, to You, Bishops and Pastors of the Faithful, priests, Religious, lay apostles of Catholic Action, to all your diocesans, and specially to the sick and the prisoners, in paternal love, Our Apostolic Benediction.

Given at the Vatican on Passion Sunday, March 14, 1937.

PIUS XI

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PopeWatch: Tide

From the most intentionally humorous Catholic site on the internet, Acts of the Apostasy:

 

(AoftheANews) – CINCINNATI – In an effort to increase attendance at their monthly LifeTeen Mass, Sts Proctor & Gamble in suburban Cincinnati will feature Tide Pod colored hosts, featuring the dark blue and orange swirl.

Director of Youth Outreach Dee Terjent explained the decision to AoftheA News. “We know it’s going to be controversial, but we want to juxtapose how ingesting actual Tide Pods is dangerous, while ingesting the Body of Christ brings you life. And cleans you up at the same time.”

Late in 2017, the “Tide Pod challenge” became the latest fad among teenagers, where they’re dared to bite into and even swallow the miniature laundry soap packets. Tide has worked diligently to increase awareness on the inherent dangers, while YouTube has been systematically removing videos from its service.

“We are in no way encouraging kids to partake of the challenge,” Terjent said. “Our goal is to tell them to think about the consequences, and don’t go along with the crowd. Kids are always going to do dumb things, but if the dumbest thing they ever do is attend a LifeTeen Mass, then I feel we’ve done our job.”

Fr. Ken Moore, pastor of Sts P&G, approved the idea. “I know I’ll get some blowback for this, but at the end of the day, I will have gotten kids to come to Church and hear a positive message. And frankly, I’m of the opinion that if more parents washed out their kids’ mouths with soap, they wouldn’t be daring one another to eat it.”

 

Go here to comment.  PopeWatch called the Vatican.  Since the Pope is no longer speaking to PopeWatch, he attempted to speak to anyone who would speak to him.  Thus he ended up talking to Sister Mundus Maria, who is in charge of the Vatican Laundry.  She indicated that she was familiar with Tide and that  in no circumstance  should it be ingested, no matter how delicious it smells.  As to Tide colored hosts, she thought that the Father proposing it obviously had too much starch in his collar.  PopeWatch thanked her for her time and Sister said that she was always happy to chat when she was waiting on loads of laundry to finish drying, but that she could under no circumstances reveal laundry secrets except that the Pope always wanted his clothes dried on the mercy cycle.  And with that, the conversation came to an end.

9

Just As I Am

Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.

Billy Graham

 

 

 

Something for the weekend.  On the week in which Billy Graham died there can only be one song:  Just As I Am.  In his crusades Graham used his hymn in his altar calls.  Written by Charlotte Elliott in 1836 the hymn powerfully conveys the humble dependence of all Christians on the power, grace and mercy of Christ:

 

Just as I am – without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee,
-O Lamb of God, I come!

Just as I am – and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot,
To Thee, whose blood can cleanse each spot,
-O Lamb of God, I come!

Just as I am – though toss’d about
With many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings and fears within, without,
-O Lamb of God, I come!

Just as I am – poor, wretched, blind;
Sight, riches, healing of the mind,
Yea, all I need, in Thee to find,
-O Lamb of God, I come!

Just as I am – Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because Thy promise I believe,
-O Lamb of God, I come!

Just as I am – Thy love unknown
Has broken every barrier down;
Now to be Thine, yea, Thine alone,
-O Lamb of God, I come!

Just as I am – of that free love
The breadth, length, depth, and height to prove,
Here for a season, then above,
-O Lamb of God, I come!

 

27

Don’t Worry: The State Will Protect You!

The main purpose behind the Second Amendment is to give the American people a last ditch defense of liberty against tyranny, but guns also come in handy for private defense.  As illustrated by the failure of the FBI, the local school, the Sheriff’s department, and various governmental agencies, to deal with the Florida shooter, who, for years, may as well have been wearing a sign stating: Warning: Ticking Time Bomb!, anyone who thinks government can defend them against this type of threat is an idiot.  Now we have this revelation from Sheriff Drop-the-Ball who has been loudly calling for gun control since the Florida shooting to cover the manifest malfeasance of his own office:

The armed officer stationed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., resigned Thursday after an internal review found he did not enter the school during last week’s deadly shooting.

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel announced Deputy Scot Peterson chose to resign after Israel suspended him without pay.

“Scot Peterson was absolutely on campus through this entire event. He was armed. He was in uniform,” Israel said at a press conference.

“After seeing video, witness statements and Scot Peterson’s very own statement, I decided this morning to suspend [him] without pay pending an internal investigation,” he continued.

Israel said Peterson chose to resign as he had met the necessary requirements for retirement. The sheriff noted that the investigation would continue.

“We’re not going to disclose the video at this time, and we may never disclose the video, depending on the prosecution and the criminal case,” Israel said. “But what I saw was a deputy arrive at the west side of building 12, take up a position — and he never went in.”

When asked by a reporter what Peterson should have done, Israel said the deputy should have “went in, addressed the killer, killed the killer.”

Go here to read the rest.  I have known a lot of cops during my 36 years at the bar for various reasons, and they come in all shapes and sizes, but none of them have been charged with cowardice, which is the likely explanation for the non-action of the Deputy.  Of course, it is possible that he may have only been carrying out departmental standard operating procedures in an active shooting situation, in which case he is being used as a scapegoat by Sheriff Drop-the-Ball, which wouldn’t surprise me in the least.  All will come out, no doubt, in the tsunami of lawsuits about to descend on Broward County.

What this underlines is what the cops I know have told me over and over again, echoed by judges at the hundreds of order of protection cases I have been involved in, people must provide for their own private security because the State cannot, at least not in a timely manner.  As the saying goes, when seconds count, the police are only minutes away.   The Second Amendment is all about defense, and this debacle demonstrates how badly it is needed.

 

 

 

 

Update:  This story keeps getting better and better.  Deputy Scot Peterson in a 2016 investigation of the home life of Cruz, the future shooter, refused to share information on Cruz with state agencies.  I doubt if he decided to do that on his own, and he was probably reflecting the policy of the Broward County Sheriff’s Department.  Yep, gun confiscation would be a cure for this type of government bungling.

Update 2:  Now we learn that the Broward County Sheriff’s department had four deputies on site and they did nothing until officers of the Coral Springs police department arrived and went into the school. Go here to read all about it.  It is now apparent that the aftermath of this debacle has been largely an attempt by Sheriff Drop-the-Ball to conceal how badly his office botched this before and during the shooting.

8

PopeWatch: Bishop Thomas Paprocki

Sometimes we forget that in the Age of Francis there are members of the clergy who are champions of  the Church.  I have only to look to Springfield in my own state to see a fine example:

 

Paprocki noted that Canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law says those “who obstinately persist in mani­fest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”

“In April 2004, Sen. Durbin’s pastor, then Msgr. Kevin Vann (now Bishop Kevin Vann of Orange, CA), said that he would be reticent to give Sen. Durbin Holy Communion because his pro-abortion position put him outside of communion or unity with the Church’s teachings on life,” Paprocki recalled.

“My predecessor, now Archbishop George Lucas of Omaha, said that he would support that decision,” he said. “I have continued that position.”

Paprocki explained, “Because [Durbin’s] voting record in support of abortion over many years constitutes ‘obstinate persistence in manifest grave sin,’ the determination continues that Sen. Durbin is not to be admitted to Holy Communion until he repents of this sin.”

“This provision is intended not to punish, but to bring about a change of heart,” said Paprocki. “Sen. Durbin was once pro-life. I sincerely pray that he will repent and return to being pro-life.”

The Catholic Church teaches that the Eucharist confected by the priest at Mass is the literal body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ. No Catholic who has committed a serious (mortal) sin is supposed to receive the Eucharist until he or she has repented of that sin and gone to Confession. Giving Holy Communion to a public figure whose sinful actions, votes, and statements prevent him from worthily receiving Holy Communion constitutes scandal in addition to sacrilege. Doing so can mislead and confuse the Catholic faithful. 

READ: Priest calls for excommunication of 14 Catholic senators who voted against late-term abortion ban

In addition to his ardent abortion advocacy, Durbin votes for and publicly advocates against other Catholic moral teachings. He is a strong supporter of same-sex “marriage”; the pro-gay Human Rights Campaign gives him 100% on their scorecard. He also earned a 100% from abortion lobby group NARAL.

Durbin has said anyone can be a Democrat as long as they support abortion – and that Democrats who “personally” oppose abortion need to keep that view to themselves.

He supports funding America’s largest abortion business, Planned Parenthood. In addition to aborting over 321,000 babies a year, Planned Parenthood prescribes hormone therapy for the gender-confused, dispenses contraception, and encourages sexual behavior that violates natural law – all of which are incompatible with Catholic moral teaching.

Ironically, Durbin was one of the senators who came under fire for asking a Trump judicial nominee questions that some scholars said violate the Constitution’s prohibition on a religious test for public officials.

 

Go here to read the rest.  Anyone can be a follow of Christ when it is easy.  The test is to follow Christ when it is difficult.  Bishop Thomas Paprocki is passing that test.

3

February 22, 2018: 286th Birthday of George Washington

This is the one hundred and tenth anniversary of the birthday of Washington. We are met to celebrate this day. Washington’s is the mightiest name of earth — long since mightiest in the cause of civil liberty; still mightiest in moral reformation. On that name no eulogy is expected. It cannot be. To add brightness to the sun, or glory to the name of Washington, is alike impossible. Let none attempt it. In solemn awe pronounce the name, and in its naked deathless splendor leave it shining on.

Abraham Lincoln, February 22, 1842

 

 

 

 

It won’t be that long, only fourteen years, until it will be three centuries since the birth of the Father of our Country.  Washington, as one might expect, paid little attention to his birthdays, not taking note of them in his diaries.  However, even during his lifetime the date was being observed with celebrations by the American people.  On his last birthday in 1799, when he turned 67,  the Washington family observed the marriage of his step granddaughter, Eleanor Parke, called Nellie, Custis.  After the death of her father, who died of camp fever contracted during the siege of Yorktown in 1781, she and her brother George Washington Parke Custis, with the consent of their mother who was raising the five other children she and her late husband had, lived with the Washingtons and were informally adopted by them.  Throughout her life she regarded herself as the custodian of her adopted father’s memory.  Much of what we know about the personal life of the Washingtons comes from her correspondence with biographers seeking information about Washington.

I suspect that the topic of mortality may have crossed Washington’s mind on his last birthday.  His father had lived only until 49 and Washington had a bout of his recurrent malaria in 1798 which had only tardily responded to quinine.  Washington had been enjoying his retirement from public life, but he was beginning to feel his years.  However, he had no fears of death and approached it with a sense of humor.  Martha Washington in 1797 in a letter to Elizabeth Willing Powel, made the following observation from her husband:  “I am now, by desire of the General to add a few words on his behalf; which he desires may be expressed in the terms following, that is to say, that despairing of hearing what may be said of him, if he should really go off in an Apoplectic, or any other fit, (for he thinks all fits that issue in death, are worse than a love fit, a fit of laughter, and many other kinds which he could name); he is glad to hear beforehand what will be said of him on that occasion; conceiving that nothing extra: will happen between this and then to make a change in his character for better, or for worse.”

1

PopeWatch: Mammon

It is good for the clergy to rail against Mammon, because that often seems to be their besetting sin:

 

 

Leaked documents obtained by LifeSiteNews connect the Pope himself to a new Vatican financial scandal and raise serious questions about his global reputation as the “pope for the poor.”

LifeSiteNews has obtained internal documents of the U.S.-based Papal Foundation, a charity with a stellar history of assisting the world’s poor, showing that last summer the Pope personally requested, and obtained in part, a $25 million grant to a corruption-plagued, Church-owned dermatological hospital in Rome accused of money laundering. Records from the financial police indicate the hospital has liabilities over one billion USD – an amount larger than the national debt of some 20 nations.

The grant has lay members of the Papal Foundation up in arms, and some tendering resignations. Responding to questions from LifeSiteNews, Papal Foundation staff sent a statement saying that it is not their practice to comment on individual requests.

Speaking of grants in general, the Papal Foundation said their mission has not changed. “The grants to help those in need around the world and of significance to the Holy Father are reviewed and approved through well-accepted philanthropic processes by the Board and its committees,” it said.

Lay membership or becoming a “steward” in the Papal Foundation involves the pledge “to give $1 million over the course of no more than ten years with a minimum donation of $100,000 per year.”  Those monies are invested in order to make a perpetual fund to assist the Church.

However, the majority of the board is composed of U.S. bishops, including every U.S. Cardinal living in America. The foundation customarily gives grants of $200,000 or less to organizations in the developing world (see a grant list for 2017 here) via the Holy See.

According to the internal documents, the Pope made the request for the massive grant, which is 100 times larger than its normal grants, through Papal Foundation board chairman Cardinal Donald Wuerl in the summer of 2017.

Despite opposition from the lay “stewards,” the bishops on the board voted in December to send an $8 million payment to the Holy See. In January, the documents reveal, lay members raised alarm about what they consider a gross misuse of their funds, but despite their protests another $5 million was sent with Cardinal Wuerl brooking no dissent.

 

Go here to read the rest.

“Entering the presence of Innocent IV., before whom a large sum of money was spread out, the Pope observed, “You see, Peter is no longer in that age in which he said, ‘Silver and gold have I none.’”—“True, holy father,” replied Saint Thomas Aquinas; “neither can Peter any longer say to the lame, ‘Rise up and walk!’”

 

8

CNN: Always the Party Line

Well CNN last night had a little show trial of Republicans and the NRA, disguised as a townhall, in regard to the Florida school shooting.  However, one of the true student heroes refused to participate:

 

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Colton Haab said he was approached by CNN to ask a question at Wednesday night’s town hall but decided not to after the network gave him a “scripted question,” quashing one he wrote himself. Haab, a member of the Junior ROTC shielded students while the school was under attack from the shooter, said he was going to ask about using veterans as armed security guards.

“CNN had originally asked me to write a speech and questions and it ended up being all scripted,” Haab told WPLG-TV.

CNN aired a town hall on the Florida school shooting with Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) that included NRA’s Dana Loesch and Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel that was moderated by Jake Tapper. Students and parents asked questions about gun control and school safety.

“I expected to be able to ask my questions and give my opinion on my questions,” Haab said.

“Colton Haab, a member of the Junior ROTC who shielded classmates in the midst of terror says he did not get to share his experience,” WPLG’s Janine Stanwood explained.

“Colton wrote questions about school safety, suggested using veterans as armed school security guards but claims CNN wanted him to ask a scripted question instead so he decided not to go,” Stanwood reported.

“CNN had originally asked me to write a speech and questions and it ended up being all scripted,” Haab said. “I don’t think that it’s going get anything accomplished. It’s not gonna ask the true questions that all the parents and teachers and students have.”

Go here to view the video.  CNN can always, always be depended upon to carry water for the Democrats.  Dishonest is a weak term when applied to these party hacks disguised as journalists.  If this country had honest news, the Democrats would be lucky to break forty percent in any election beyond inner city urban areas.

11

Requiescat in Pace: Billy Graham

Billy Graham has died at age 99.  My sainted mother, uber Catholic that she was, used to watch his crusades on TV in the Sixties.  In his prime, Graham was on a par with Ronald Reagan as a spell-binding orator, but more than that  he was a voice crying out for Christ in a dark world.  If only we, blessed with the True Faith, had a fraction of his passion for Christ.  I will miss him and may he now be enjoying the Beatific Vision.

 

12

Barnes and Noble Circling the Drain

Well, this comes as little surprise:

On Monday morning, every single Barnes & Noble location – that’s 781 stores – told their full-time employees to pack up and leave. The eliminated positions were as follows: the head cashiers (those are the people responsible for handling the money), the receiving managers (the people responsible for bringing in product and making sure it goes where it should), the digital leads (the people responsible for solving Nook problems), the newsstand leads (the people responsible for distributing the magazines), and the bargain leads (the people responsible for keeping up the massive discount sections). A few of the larger stores were able to spare their head cashiers and their receiving managers, but not many.

Just about everyone lost between 3 and 7 employees. The unofficial numbers put the total around 1,800 people.

 

Go here to read the rest.  This is the type of decision that a chain makes just before it goes under.  A mass firing of experienced full time people, and attempting to replace them with cheap part timers, is never a long term solution, but rather an attempt to prop up the corporate bottom line just before a corporation heads to the La Brea tarpits.  I knew that the chain was not long for this world last year when it stopped having new books in separate sections in each subject category.  This, of course, ticked off customers who would have to search for the new books among the old books.  For Barnes and Noble this served two purposes:  force the customers to take another look at the old books in hopes they will buy them,  and disguise the fact that the number of new books they were getting in was dwindling.  This is the type of cutting off your nose to spite your face move that a business makes only in extremis.

The idiots at the top of Barnes and Noble have been making bad decisions for a very long time, including losing out to Amazon Kindle, disastrous marketing of their Nook e-reader, filling their stores with cheap junk to cater to non-book readers, selling overpriced food and drink, and the list could go on and on.  I confess to some sadness over this.  Memories of going to the big box bookstores, remember Borders, with my bride and kids are quite pleasant, but sentiment and business are two separate things.  This is an opportunity for small chains like Half-Price Books, and no market niche remains unfilled for long in a capitalist system.  Amazon is going in for the kill with brick and mortar stores and we will see how many Barnes and Noble store locations they acquire after the inevitable bankruptcy.

 

 

20

PopeWatch: Morning’s Minion

Well this is amusing.  From Lifesite News:

 

 Papal confidante Father Antonio Spadaro retweeted a call for EWTN to be severely censured “until they get rid of Raymond Arroyo.”

The call for an “interdict” to be imposed on the Catholic media empire started by Mother Angelica came from Anthony Annett, Assistant to the Director at the International Monetary Fund’s Communications Department.

Image

An interdict is essentially one step short of excommunication. It bans a person or people from accessing most Church Sacraments.

“A person who uses physical force against the Roman Pontiff incurs a latae sententiae excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See; if he is a cleric, another penalty, not excluding dismissal from the clerical state, can be added according to the gravity of the delict,” according to the Code of Canon Law (Canon 1370). “A person who does this against a bishop incurs a latae sententiae interdict and, if he is a cleric, also a latae sententiae suspension.”

Catholic Culture’s dictionary explains that an interdict is

A censure forbidding the faithful, while still remaining in communion with the Church, the use of certain sacred privileges, such as Christian burial, some of the sacraments, and attendance at liturgical services. It does not exclude from Church membership, nor does it necessarily imply a personal fault of any individual affected by the interdict. When imposed for a fixed period, it is a vindictive penalty because of some grave act done against the common good of the Church by one or more parishes. Usual religious services are curtailed, but sacraments may be given to the dying, marriages celebrated, and Holy Communion administered if the interdict is general or local (not personal). A general interdict may be inflicted only by the Holy See. Parishes or persons may be interdicted only by the local ordinary.

Annett called for an interdict to be imposed on EWTN because of a February 15 World Over segment.

“Make no mistake,” tweeted Annett, the show’s discussion of a recent Spadaro speech and ultra-liberal Cardinal Blase Cupich “represent ‘total war’ on the papacy of Pope Francis.”

 

Arroyo was a close friend of Mother Angelica. He is the author of numerous books. As confusion has mounted during Pope Francis’ reign, his signature show, The World Over, has analyzed troubling developments in the Church. Arroyo often does this with the help of Father Gerald Murray and Robert Royal (the “papal posse”).

Spadaro, a Jesuit who is often called the pope’s “mouthpiece,” frequently criticizes critics of Amoris Laetitia’s ambiguity or the Francis pontificate. He is the editor-in-chief of La Civiltà Cattolica.

 

Go here to read the rest.  Tony Annett used to blog under the name of Morning’s Minion.  In the early days of the blog he commented frequently, and PopeWatch often crossed swords with him here and at his home blog Vox Nova and on various other blogs.  His politics would be to the left of the late Senator Kennedy, although he was not totally without a sense of humor.  Less funny was his constant carrying water for the Democrat Party.  That he is taken seriously by someone close to the Pope at the Vatican tells you all you need to know about the current state of the Church.

 

5

Wilson Speaks

A recording of Woodrow Wilson from the 2012 campaign.

 

 

 

Ah, how our technology changes our perceptions of public figures.  Until the internet this type of recording was not widely available.  My perception of how Woodrow Wilson sounded was shaped five decades ago by the portrayal by Alexander Knox of Woodrow Wilson in the film Wilson (1944).  Go here to view that movie.  Where it is so easy now, with the internet, to hear the actual historical figure since the advent of recordings, films will have less ability to shape the perception of a historical figure.  Of course when the original film was released 74 years ago, quite a few people in the audiences would have heard Wilson through recordings or in person.  Now those people are all gone while the film remains, a memorial to Wilson as film director Daryl F. Zanuck, a fan of Wilson, intended it to be, but perhaps less of a memorial as time, and technology, march on.

 

3

Alexander Solzhenitsyn Explains the Importance of the Second Amendment

 

 

 

(Whenever the usual suspects are in full cry for gun confiscation control, as they are now, I am going to repost this.)

 

 

 The amendment, like most other provisions in the Constitution, has a history.  It was adopted with some modification and enlargement from the English Bill of Rights of 1688, where it stood as a protest against arbitrary action of the overturned dynasty in disarming the people, and as a pledge of the new rulers that this tyrannical action should cease.  The right declared was meant to be a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers, and as a necessary and efficient means of regaining rights when temporarily overturned by usurpation.

Thomas Cooley, Principles of Constitutional Law (1898)

 

 

Hattip to Babalu Blog.

 

And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family?

Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?

After all, you knew ahead of time that those bluecaps were out at night for no good purpose. And you could be sure ahead of time that you’d be cracking the skull of a cutthroat. Or what about the Black Maria [Government limo] sitting out there on the street with one lonely chauffeur — what if it had been driven off or its tires spiked.

The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt!

–Alexander Solzhenitsyn, The GULAG Archipelago

8

A Warning From 2008

 

 

 

 

Dave Griffey at Daffey Thoughts gives us an on-target warning from 2008:

Why the Democrats should not be trusted

By Mark Shea, c. 2008.  Tell me what has changed for Mark to have become one of the Democratic Party’s loudest cheerleaders within Catholicism today. Interesting what a difference 10 years make. 

Go here to comment.  A debate between Shea 2008 and Shea 2018 would be amusing if not edifying.  Ah, Mark Shea today February 20, 2018:

Let the CDC do a scientific study of gun violence as they have sought to do for 20 year and been blocked by the GOP, just for starters.
Get rid of AR-15s, just for starters.
Get the insurance industry involved and force gun owners to have insurance for their gun just as they have to have it for their cars. Make the rates exorbitant. Just for starters. Indeed, treat guns like cars in every way. Just for starters.

Also, try this: http://www.usccb.org/issues…

But, of course, before anything can be done, the first practical action is: Destroy the GOP at the polls this fall. The do it again in 2020 and 2022. Nothing whatever will change till the Party of Obstruction is gone.

Charming.  Shea now longs for a one party Democrat State, which would no doubt persecute faithful Catholics as the Obama administration did, but this time with zero effective political opposition, and to the cheers of Vichy Catholics.  “Hey Lions, those vile Catholic Christianists are over there!”.  Yes, that debate between the Sheas separated by a decade would be amusing indeed.

 

3

Trump Is Not the Authoritarian

Tucker Carlson points out that the people acting like authoritarians have not been Trump and his supporters but the frenzied Resistance and their Deep State allies:

 

 

What Trump has revealed is that many people among those who consider themselves the ruling class in this country have nothing but contempt for elections if they threaten to shake up business as usual, and will do almost anything to negate the results of such an election.

3

PopeWatch: Back to the Seventies

Anyone else have the feeling that this pontificate is a greatest hits replay of the worst of the chaos following Vatican II in the sixties and the seventies?  Sandro Magister draws the connection:

“We can understand that in the enthusiasm of wanting an agreement between China and the Vatican, Chinese culture, Chinese people and Chinese mentality are exaggerated and exalted, as Pope Francis does. But presenting China as a model…”

It is a dumbfounded Fr. Bernardo Cervellera, director of the agency Asia News of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, who comments on the judgments of Argentine bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, just back from a trip to China.

Sánchez Sorondo is the chancellor of two pontifical academies, that of sciences and that of social sciences, as well as a diligent lackey of the court of Pope Francis. And in effect there has been astonishment over the he extravagant praises that he lavished on the regime of Beijing in an interview a few days ago for the Spanish-language section of Vatican Insider:

> “Chinos, quienes mejor realizan the social doctrine de la Iglesia”

Here are a few selections from them:

“At this time, those who are the best at putting the Church’s social doctrine into practice are the Chinese.”

“The economy does not dominate politics, as happens in the United States. Free-market thinking has obliterated the concept of the common good, it states that this is an empty idea, but the Chinese seek the common good, they subordinate things to the general good. I have been assured of this by Stefano Zamagni, a traditional economist respected for some time, by all the popes.”

“I encountered an extraordinary China. What people do not know is that the central Chinese principle is: work, work, work. This is nothing other, at bottom, than what St. Paul said: he who does not work should not eat.”

“There are no ‘villas miserias,’ no drugs, the young people do not take drugs. There is a positive national conscience. The Chinese have a moral quality that is not found anywhere else.”

“The pope loves the Chinese people, he loves their history. There are many points of contact right now. One cannot think that today’s China is that of the time of John Paul II or of Russia during the cold war.”

*

Needless to say, his trip to China has made Sánchez Sorondo an enthusiast. Such an enthusiast as to send the memory back a half century ago, to the travel diaries of the many famous intellectuals, writers, churchmen who went to China at the end of the Cultural Revolution, a terrifying, fanatical, bloody season which they nevertheless  admired and exalted as the birth of a virtuous new humanity.

What is presented below is a representative extract from that infatuated diarism of the early seventies. Its authors were two Italian Catholics of the highest caliber: Raniero La Valle (b. 1931), former director of the Catholic newspaper of Bologna, “L’Avvenire d’Italia,” as well as a celebrated chronicler of the Second Vatican Council, and Gianpaolo Meucci (1919-1986), a disciple of Fr. Lorenzo Milani and president of the juvenile justice court in Florence.

They made the journey that they recount in 1973, between the bloodiest phase of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1969) and the death of Mao Zedong (1976).

In re-reading this exaltation of Chinese society that they present, it is striking how similar it is to what Bishop Sánchez Sorondo is saying today.

Also with regard to the Chinese Church of yesterday and today, the judgments of the one and the other are not so different. What they dream of is a Church that is not “foreign” but “sinicized,” which is precisely what is wanted – in their own way – by the current leaders of Beijing: a Church submissive in everything to their power.

But before giving the floor to this diary of half a century ago, it is appropriate to make a clarification on Professor Zamagni, whom Sánchez Sorondo cites in his own support.

Nothing could be more wrong. Zamagni, a world-renowned economist, former dean of the faculty of economics at the University of Bologna, interviewed by the online newspaper of his city, Rimini, did not want to comment on the words of the bishop, but a couple of his quotes are enough to show how far at the polar opposite he places himself.

In 2015 he said in an interview with “Famiglia cristiana”: “China believed it could go against nature. This this is the Chinese evil. Beijing adopted the model of the capitalist market economy within a dictatorial communist system with a single Marxist-Maoist party. Even the most naive knows that this is a marriage not to be made.”

A year ago, in “Avvenire,” he denounced “the ever deeper separation between market capitalism and democracy.” And last November, in a conference at the Pontifical Gregorian University, he reiterated: “The capitalist market economy has always been seen as balanced by democracy, through the ‘welfare state.’ But the novelty of these times is that this connection has been broken: one can be capitalist without being democratic.” Both times he said: “The textbook example is that of China.”

It is urgent to get back to reality.

*

TRAVEL NOTES

by Gianpaolo Meucci and Raniero La Valle

[From “Incontro con la Cina”, Libreria Editrice Fiorentina, Florence, 1973, pp. 70-73]

Chinese society is full of vivacity, joy, serenity. During a month long stay in China there has never been even the most fleeting impression of the existence of a domineering police power. Even the guards at the government building, who try in every way to give themselves a martial air, appear almost ridiculous when compared with their counterparts in the West, such that in comparison with them our rookie soldiers guarding the barracks or monuments look like Nazis.

China is a country governed not by a law, but by adherence to a faith, under the guidance of a priestly structure that has not yet become estranged from the masses, a joyful and liberating faith that even includes a carnival, the days of the lunar new year, in which above all the peasants dig into their savings and spend considerable sums relative to the income that is kindly provided by the municipalities themselves.

This is why the Chinese experience leaves an indelible mark on every visitor who suddenly finds himself living in a world he has dreamed of, in a society of men committed to joyfully freeing man, driven by faith in man.

But we would like to add a few notes about the meeting we had with the Catholic Church in Beijing, to find a key of interpretation for the Chinese reality.

It was Sunday, and we asked to be put in a position to attend Mass at the Catholic church of Nam-Dang, which had been reopened for worship after a brief period of closure during the years of the Cultural Revolution.

What could have been an experience full of meaning and hope was in reality the most painful and mortifying of all the experiences of our long journey.

We all shared the same conclusive judgment: it is good, it is fitting that a Church of this kind should disappear, if the desire is that the proclamation of the Gospel message should some day reach the Chinese people and open it to another dimension.

The church of Nam-Dang is the monument of the colonialist mentality that for centuries has polluted the missionary action of the Church, accepted by most and challenged by few enlightened spirits.

Think of a church from the late baroque period of old Rome, transplanted to Beijing with its Sacred Heart, the usual statue of Our Lady on the high altar, a few saints, including a Saint Rita of the present-day devotion in Italy.

The priest who says Mass is old, just as the seven Chinese present are old. He mumbles the mass in Latin, facing the altar.

After Mass we talk to a younger priest, while we are not allowed to interview the bishop who, we are told, lives within the complex of that church.

We carefully avoid any question with political nuances, but we insist on questions relating to the religiosity of the Chinese people.

The priest, who is holding the “Pars aestiva” of the breviary, with the style of a Roman seminarian style of the 1920’s, does not respond to what he is asked. He is a stranger to his people, and is content to adhere formally to schemes that have been taught to him with a colonialist mentality and intentions.

We repeatedly, also on other occasions, tried to turn the conversation to the religiosity of the Chinese people and to religious freedom. We are convinced that it was not done to mask a real anti-religious attitude, that the answers were evaded. Christianity was the religion of the master and the of colonialist powers, and they fought it in the people of its ministers, citizens of the occupying countries; but the Chinese constitution admits religious freedom.

What Rome’s attitude toward the Chinese bishops may be in the future seems of little interest to us.

Go here to read the original.  Sorondo and his think-a-likes from four decades ago are religious enthusiasts.  However, the secular religion that they are enthusiastic about has bupkis to do with Catholicism.

18

PopeWatch: The Resistance

The Pope knows we are out here:

 

Pope Francis has acknowledged accusations of heresy and what he calls “doctrinal resistance” within the Church,  but has said he chooses to ignore it to protect his mental health.

“There is doctrinal resistance,” the Pope told a group of his fellow Jesuits at a meeting on Jan. 16, but “for the sake of mental health I do not read the websites of this so-called ‘resistance.’”

“I know who they are, I am familiar with the groups, but I do not read them, simply for my mental health. If there is something very serious, they inform me so that I know about it,” he said.

Pope Francis’ comments came in a private meeting with 90 Jesuits in Santiago de Chile, during his recent apostolic visit to South America. Their conversation was transcribed by Fr. Antonio Spadaro, editor of La Civilta Cattolicà, and was published in Italian with the Pope’s approval on their online site on Thursday morning.

During the question and answer exchange in Chile, a Jesuit from the Argentine-Uruguayan province asked the Holy Father what “resistance” he has encountered during this pontificate, and how he is handling it.

In response, the Pope said it is important to consider if there is a “grain of truth” in the push-back he receives, and that sometimes what at first glance seems to be “resistance” is actually “a reaction arising from a misunderstanding, from the fact that there are some things one needs to repeat and explain better.”

“But when I realize that there is real resistance, of course it displeases me,” he said. “Some people tell me that resistance is normal when someone wants to make changes. The famous ‘we’ve always done it this way’ reigns everywhere, it is a great temptation that we have all faced,” he added.

“I cannot deny that there is resistance. I see it and I am aware of it,” he told his fellow Jesuits.

Go here to read the rest.

3

Grant on Pierce

You have summoned me in my weakness. You must sustain me by your strength.

President Franklin Pierce, Inaugural Address, March 4, 1853

 

 

 

 

 

I have never liked Presidents’ Day.  Why celebrate all presidents when only a select few of them, like Washington and Lincoln, deserve to be celebrated?   Officially the date is still the commemoration of George Washington’s birthday, which actually won’t occur until February 22.  However, I will keep up my tradition of writing about presidents on this day.  Today we will look at a President who has vanished from popular memory.

Franklin Pierce was a doughface, the pejorative applied to Northern politicians prior to the Civil War who embraced the South’s view of slavery.  While personally opposed to slavery, where have we heard that formulation before, Pierce also opposed all efforts to restrict slavery, fearing that such efforts would merely antagonize the South and ultimately lead to civil war.  He was thrust into the Presidency as the darkest of dark horse candidates, nominated by the Democrats in 1852 on the 49th ballot, winning easily in the fall against his former Mexican War commander, Winfield Scott, the last presidential candidate of the dying Whig Party.

Historians, the few who have examined his term in office in detail, have been generally scathing about his service as President, as Pierce did nothing to halt the drift towards the civil war he so feared, with his steadfast determination to yield to the South in the face of growing Northern anger.  Perhaps fortunately for his historical reputation, Pierce ranks high on the list of forgotten presidents, his life largely going down the memory hole of the general public.  That process began during his lifetime, as the whirlwind of events that would lead to the Civil War passed him by.  Pierce perhaps sensed this himself, stating as he left office in 1857, that all he had left now to do was to get drunk.  To be fair to Pierce, few men had more to get drunk about, all three of his sons having died in childhood, his last son at eleven years of age after having been almost totally decapitated in a train accident in front of his shattered parents, just before Pierce assumed the office of President.  After his wife died in 1863, his drinking got completely out of hand and he died of cirrhosis of the liver on October 8, 1869.  President Grant, who had served with Pierce in the Mexican War made sure that the forgotten man received the honors in death that he warranted as a former President.  In his memoirs Grant went out his way to praise Pierce and we will let him have the last word on Pierce:

 

General Franklin Pierce had joined the army in Mexico, at Puebla, a short time before the advance upon the capital commenced. He had consequently not been in any of the engagements of the war up to the Battle of Contreras. By an unfortunate fall of his horse on the afternoon of the 19th he was painfully injured. The next day, when his brigade, with the other troops engaged on the same field, was ordered against the flank and rear of the enemy guarding the different points of the road from San Augustin Tlalplan to the city, General Pierce attempted to accompany them. He was not sufficiently recovered to do so, and fainted. This circumstance gave rise to exceedingly unfair and unjust criticisms of him when he became a candidate for the Presidency. Whatever General Pierce’s qualifications may have been for the Presidency, he was a gentleman and a man of courage. I was not a supporter of him politically, but I knew him more intimately than I did any other of the volunteer generals.

Grant reminds us that public service of a President can tell us only so much about the private man, and here endeth the lesson.

3

Divini Redemptoris

Our second encyclical for Lent is Divini Redemptoris, the condemnation of Communism issued by Pope Pius XI on March 19, 1937.  The Church has condemned Communism on numerous occasions, but under the current pontificate Communism, or at least Marxism seems to be in fashion at the Vatican, may God forgive the fools who mislead His Church currently.

DIVINI REDEMPTORIS


ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PIUS XI
ON ATHEISTIC COMMUNISM
TO THE PATRIARCHS, PRIMATES,
ARCHBISHOPS, BISHOPS, AND OTHER ORDINARIES
IN PEACE AND COMMUNION WITH THE APOSTOLIC SEE.

Venerable Brethren, Health and Apostolic Benediction.

The promise of a Redeemer brightens the first page of the history of mankind, and the confident hope aroused by this promise softened the keen regret for a paradise which had been lost. It was this hope that accompanied the human race on its weary journey, until in the fullness of time the expected Savior came to begin a new universal civilization, the Christian civilization, far superior even to that which up to this time had been laboriously achieved by certain more privileged nations.

2. Nevertheless, the struggle between good and evil remained in the world as a sad legacy of the original fall. Nor has the ancient tempter ever ceased to deceive mankind with false promises. It is on this account that one convulsion following upon another has marked the passage of the centuries, down to the revolution of our own days. This modern revolution, it may be said, has actually broken out or threatens everywhere, and it exceeds in amplitude and violence anything yet experienced in the preceding persecutions launched against the Church. Entire peoples find themselves in danger of falling back into a barbarism worse than that which oppressed the greater part of the world at the coming of the Redeemer.

3. This all too imminent danger, Venerable Brethren, as you have already surmised, is bolshevistic and atheistic Communism, which aims at upsetting the social order and at undermining the very foundations of Christian civilization .

4. In the face of such a threat, the Catholic Church could not and does not remain silent. This Apostolic See, above all, has not refrained from raising its voice, for it knows that its proper and social mission is to defend truth, justice and all those eternal values which Communism ignores or attacks. Ever since the days when groups of “intellectuals” were formed in an arrogant attempt to free civilization from the bonds of morality and religion, Our Predecessors overtly and explicitly drew the attention of the world to the consequences of the dechristianization of human society. With reference to Communism, Our Venerable Predecessor, Pius IX, of holy memory, as early as 1846 pronounced a solemn condemnation, which he confirmed in the words of the Syllabus directed against “that infamous doctrine of so-called Communism which is absolutely contrary to the natural law itself, and if once adopted would utterly destroy the rights, property and possessions of all men, and even society itself.”[1] Later on, another of Our predecessors, the immortal Leo XIII, in his Encyclical Quod Apostolici Muneris, defined Communism as “the fatal plague which insinuates itself into the very marrow of human society only to bring about its ruin.”[2] With clear intuition he pointed out that the atheistic movements existing among the masses of the Machine Age had their origin in that school of philosophy which for centuries had sought to divorce science from the life of the Faith and of the Church.

5. During Our Pontificate We too have frequently and with urgent insistence denounced the current trend to atheism which is alarmingly on the increase. In 1924 when Our relief-mission returned from the Soviet Union We condemned Communism in a special Allocution[3] which We addressed to the whole world. In our Encyclicals Miserentissimus Redemptor,[4] Quadragesimo Anno,[5] Caritate Christi,[6] Acerba Animi,[7] Dilectissima Nobis,[8] We raised a solemn protest against the persecutions unleashed in Russia, in Mexico and now in Spain. Our two Allocutions of last year, the first on the occasion of the opening of the International Catholic Press Exposition, and the second during Our audience to the Spanish refugees, along with Our message of last Christmas, have evoked a world-wide echo which is not yet spent. In fact, the most persistent enemies of the Church, who from Moscow are directing the struggle against Christian civilization, themselves bear witness, by their unceasing attacks in word and act, that even to this hour the Papacy has continued faithfully to protect the sanctuary of the Christian religion, and that it has called public attention to the perils of Communism more frequently and more effectively than any other public authority on earth.

6. To Our great satisfaction, Venerable Brethren, you have, by means of individual and even joint pastoral Letters, accurately transmitted and explained to the Faithful these admonitions. Yet despite Our frequent and paternal warning the peril only grows greater from day to day because of the pressure exerted by clever agitators. Therefore We believe it to be Our duty to raise Our voice once more, in a still more solemn missive, in accord with the tradition of this Apostolic See, the Teacher of Truth, and in accord with the desire of the whole Catholic world, which makes the appearance of such a document but natural. We trust that the echo of Our voice will reach every mind free from prejudice and every heart sincerely desirous of the good of mankind. We wish this the more because Our words are now receiving sorry confirmation from the spectacle of the bitter fruits of subversive ideas, which We foresaw and foretold, and which are in fact multiplying fearfully in the countries already stricken, or threatening every other country of the world.

7. Hence We wish to expose once more in a brief synthesis the principles of atheistic Communism as they are manifested chiefly in bolshevism. We wish also to indicate its method of action and to contrast with its false principles the clear doctrine of the Church, in order to inculcate anew and with greater insistence the means by which the Christian civilization, the true civitas humana, can be saved from the satanic scourge, and not merely saved, but better developed for the well-being of human society.

8. The Communism of today, more emphatically than similar movements in the past, conceals in itself a false messianic idea. A pseudo-ideal of justice, of equality and fraternity in labor impregnates all its doctrine and activity with a deceptive mysticism, which communicates a zealous and contagious enthusiasm to the multitudes entrapped by delusive promises. This is especially true in an age like ours, when unusual misery has resulted from the unequal distribution of the goods of this world. This pseudo-ideal is even boastfully advanced as if it were responsible for a certain economic progress. As a matter of fact, when such progress is at all real, its true causes are quite different, as for instance the intensification of industrialism in countries which were formerly almost without it, the exploitation of immense natural resources, and the use of the most brutal methods to insure the achievement of gigantic projects with a minimum of expense.

9. The doctrine of modern Communism, which is often concealed under the most seductive trappings, is in substance based on the principles of dialectical and historical materialism previously advocated by Marx, of which the theoricians of bolshevism claim to possess the only genuine interpretation. According to this doctrine there is in the world only one reality, matter, the blind forces of which evolve into plant, animal and man. Even human society is nothing but a phenomenon and form of matter, evolving in the same way. By a law of inexorable necessity and through a perpetual conflict of forces, matter moves towards the final synthesis of a classless society. In such a doctrine, as is evident, there is no room for the idea of God; there is no difference between matter and spirit, between soul and body; there is neither survival of the soul after death nor any hope in a future life. Insisting on the dialectical aspect of their materialism, the Communists claim that the conflict which carries the world towards its final synthesis can be accelerated by man. Hence they endeavor to sharpen the antagonisms which arise between the various classes of society. Thus the class struggle with its consequent violent hate and destruction takes on the aspects of a crusade for the progress of humanity. On the other hand, all other forces whatever, as long as they resist such systematic violence, must be annihilated as hostile to the human race.

10. Communism, moreover, strips man of his liberty, robs human personality of all its dignity, and removes all the moral restraints that check the eruptions of blind impulse. There is no recognition of any right of the individual in his relations to the collectivity; no natural right is accorded to human personality, which is a mere cog-wheel in the Communist system. In man’s relations with other individuals, besides, Communists hold the principle of absolute equality, rejecting all hierarchy and divinely-constituted authority, including the authority of parents. What men call authority and subordination is derived from the community as its first and only font. Nor is the individual granted any property rights over material goods or the means of production, for inasmuch as these are the source of further wealth, their possession would give one man power over another. Precisely on this score, all forms of private property must be eradicated, for they are at the origin of all economic enslavement .

11. Refusing to human life any sacred or spiritual character, such a doctrine logically makes of marriage and the family a purely artificial and civil institution, the outcome of a specific economic system. There exists no matrimonial bond of a juridico-moral nature that is not subject to the whim of the individual or of the collectivity. Naturally, therefore, the notion of an indissoluble marriage-tie is scouted. Communism is particularly characterized by the rejection of any link that binds woman to the family and the home, and her emancipation is proclaimed as a basic principle. She is withdrawn from the family and the care of her children, to be thrust instead into public life and collective production under the same conditions as man. The care of home and children then devolves upon the collectivity. Finally, the right of education is denied to parents, for it is conceived as the exclusive prerogative of the community, in whose name and by whose mandate alone parents may exercise this right.

12. What would be the condition of a human society based on such materialistic tenets? It would be a collectivity with no other hierarchy than that of the economic system. It would have only one mission: the production of material things by means of collective labor, so that the goods of this world might be enjoyed in a paradise where each would “give according to his powers” and would “receive according to his needs.” Communism recognizes in the collectivity the right, or rather, unlimited discretion, to draft individuals for the labor of the collectivity with no regard for their personal welfare; so that even violence could be legitimately exercised to dragoon the recalcitrant against their wills. In the Communistic commonwealth morality and law would be nothing but a derivation of the existing economic order, purely earthly in origin and unstable in character. In a word. the Communists claim to inaugurate a new era and a new civilization which is the result of blind evolutionary forces culminating in a humanity without God.

13. When all men have finally acquired the collectivist mentality in this Utopia of a really classless society, the political State, which is now conceived by Communists merely as the instrument by which the proletariat is oppressed by the capitalists, will have lost all reason for its existence and will “wither away.” However, until that happy consummation is realized, the State and the powers of the State furnish Communism with the most efficacious and most extensive means for the achievement of its goal.

14. Such, Venerable Brethren, is the new gospel which bolshevistic and atheistic Communism offers the world as the glad tidings of deliverance and salvation! It is a system full of errors and sophisms. It is in opposition both to reason and to Divine Revelation. It subverts the social order, because it means the destruction of its foundations; because it ignores the true origin and purpose of the State; because it denies the rights, dignity and liberty of human personality.

15. How is it possible that such a system, long since rejected scientifically and now proved erroneous by experience, how is it, We ask, that such a system could spread so rapidly in all parts of the world? The explanation lies in the fact that too few have been able to grasp the nature of Communism. The majority instead succumb to its deception, skillfully concealed by the most extravagant promises. By pretending to desire only the betterment of the condition of the working classes, by urging the removal of the very real abuses chargeable to the liberalistic economic order, and by demanding a more equitable distribution of this world’s goods (objectives entirely and undoubtedly legitimate), the Communist takes advantage of the present world-wide economic crisis to draw into the sphere of his influence even those sections of the populace which on principle reject all forms of materialism and terrorism. And as every error contains its element of truth, the partial truths to which We have referred are astutely presented according to the needs of time and place, to conceal, when convenient, the repulsive crudity and inhumanity of Communistic principles and tactics. Thus the Communist ideal wins over many of the better minded members of the community. These in turn become the apostles of the movement among the younger intelligentsia who are still too immature to recognize the intrinsic errors of the system. The preachers of Communism are also proficient in exploiting racial antagonisms and political divisions and oppositions. They take advantage of the lack of orientation characteristic of modern agnostic science in order to burrow into the universities, where they bolster up the principles of their doctrine with pseudo-scientific arguments.

16. If we would explain the blind acceptance of Communism by so many thousands of workmen, we must remember that the way had been already prepared for it by the religious and moral destitution in which wage-earners had been left by liberal economics. Even on Sundays and holy days, labor-shifts were given no time to attend to their essential religious duties. No one thought of building churches within convenient distance of factories, nor of facilitating the work of the priest. On the contrary, laicism was actively and persistently promoted, with the result that we are now reaping the fruits of the errors so often denounced by Our Predecessors and by Ourselves. It can surprise no one that the Communistic fallacy should be spreading in a world already to a large extent de-Christianized.

17. There is another explanation for the rapid diffusion of the Communistic ideas now seeping into every nation, great and small, advanced and backward, so that no corner of the earth is free from them. This explanation is to be found in a propaganda so truly diabolical that the world has perhaps never witnessed its like before. It is directed from one common center. It is shrewdly adapted to the varying conditions of diverse peoples. It has at its disposal great financial resources, gigantic organizations, international congresses, and countless trained workers. It makes use of pamphlets and reviews, of cinema, theater and radio, of schools and even universities. Little by little it penetrates into all classes of the people and even reaches the better-minded groups of the community, with the result that few are aware of the poison which increasingly pervades their minds and hearts.

18. A third powerful factor in the diffusion of Communism is the conspiracy of silence on the part of a large section of the non-Catholic press of the world. We say conspiracy, because it is impossible otherwise to explain how a press usually so eager to exploit even the little daily incidents of life has been able to remain silent for so long about the horrors perpetrated in Russia, in Mexico and even in a great part of Spain; and that it should have relatively so little to say concerning a world organization as vast as Russian Communism. This silence is due in part to shortsighted political policy, and is favored by various occult forces which for a long time have been working for the overthrow of the Christian Social Order.

19. Meanwhile the sorry effects of this propaganda are before our eyes. Where Communism has been able to assert its power – and here We are thinking with special affection of the people of Russia and Mexico – it has striven by every possible means, as its champions openly boast, to destroy Christian civilization and the Christian religion by banishing every remembrance of them from the hearts of men, especially of the young. Bishops and priests were exiled, condemned to forced labor, shot and done to death in inhuman fashion; laymen suspected of defending their religion were vexed, persecuted, dragged off to trial and thrown into prison.

20. Even where the scourge of Communism has not yet had time enough to exercise to the full its logical effects, as witness Our beloved Spain, it has, alas, found compensation in the fiercer violence of its attack. Not only this or that church or isolated monastery was sacked, but as far as possible every church and every monastery was destroyed. Every vestige of the Christian religion was eradicated, even though intimately linked with the rarest monuments of art and science. The fury of Communism has not confined itself to the indiscriminate slaughter of Bishops, of thousands of priests and religious of both sexes; it searches out above all those who have been devoting their lives to the welfare of the working classes and the poor. But the majority of its victims have been laymen of all conditions and classes. Even up to the present moment, masses of them are slain almost daily for no other offense than the fact that they are good Christians or at least opposed to atheistic Communism. And this fearful destruction has been carried out with a hatred and a savage barbarity one would not have believed possible in our age. No man of good sense, nor any statesman conscious of his responsibility can fail to shudder at the thought that what is happening today in Spain may perhaps be repeated tomorrow in other civilized countries.

21. Nor can it be said that these atrocities are a transitory phenomenon, the usual accompaniment of all great revolutions, the isolated excesses common to every war. No, they are the natural fruit of a system which lacks all inner restraint. Some restraint is necessary for man considered either as an individual or in society. Even the barbaric peoples had this inner check in the natural law written by God in the heart of every man. And where this natural law was held in higher esteem, ancient nations rose to a grandeur that still fascinates – more than it should – certain superficial students of human history. But tear the very idea of God from the hearts of men, and they are necessarily urged by their passions to the most atrocious barbarity.

22. This, unfortunately, is what we now behold. For the first time in history we are witnessing a struggle, cold-blooded in purpose and mapped out to the least detail, between man and “all that is called God.”[9] Communism is by its nature anti-religious. It considers religion as “the opiate of the people” because the principles of religion which speak of a life beyond the grave dissuade the proletariat from the dream of a Soviet paradise which is of this world.

23. But the law of nature and its Author cannot be flouted with impunity. Communism has not been able, and will not be able, to achieve its objectives even in the merely economic sphere. It is true that in Russia it has been a contributing factor in rousing men and materials from the inertia of centuries, and in obtaining by all manner of means, often without scruple, some measure of material success. Nevertheless We know from reliable and even very recent testimony that not even there, in spite of slavery imposed on millions of men, has Communism reached its promised goal. After all, even the sphere of economics needs some morality, some moral sense of responsibility, which can find no place in a system so thoroughly materialistic as Communism. Terrorism is the only possible substitute, and it is terrorism that reigns today in Russia, where former comrades in revolution are exterminating each other. Terrorism, having failed despite all to stem the tide of moral corruption, cannot even prevent the dissolution of society itself.

24. In making these observations it is no part of Our intention to condemn en masse the peoples of the Soviet Union. For them We cherish the warmest paternal affection. We are well aware that not a few of them groan beneath the yoke imposed on them by men who in very large part are strangers to the real interests of the country. We recognize that many others were deceived by fallacious hopes. We blame only the system, with its authors and abettors who considered Russia the best-prepared field for experimenting with a plan elaborated decades ago, and who from there continue to spread it from one end of the world to the other.

25. We have exposed the errors and the violent, deceptive tactics of bolshevistic and atheistic Communism. It is now time, Venerable Brethren, to contrast with it the true notion, already familiar to you, of the civitas humana or human society, as taught by reason and Revelation through the mouth of the Church, Magistra Gentium.

26. Above all other reality there exists one supreme Being: God, the omnipotent Creator of all things, the all-wise and just Judge of all men. This supreme reality, God, is the absolute condemnation of the impudent falsehoods of Communism. In truth, it is not because men believe in God that He exists; rather because He exists do all men whose eyes are not deliberately closed to the truth believe in Him and pray to Him.

27. In the Encyclical on Christian Education[10] We explained the fundamental doctrine concerning man as it may be gathered from reason and Faith. Man has a spiritual and immortal soul. He is a person, marvelously endowed by his Creator with gifts of body and mind. He is a true “microcosm,” as the ancients said, a world in miniature, with a value far surpassing that of the vast inanimate cosmos. God alone is his last end, in this life and the next. By sanctifying grace he is raised to the dignity of a son of God, and incorporated into the Kingdom of God in the Mystical Body of Christ. In consequence he has been endowed by God with many and varied prerogatives: the right to life, to bodily integrity, to the necessary means of existence; the right to tend toward his ultimate goal in the path marked out for him by God; the right of association and the right to possess and use property.

28. Just as matrimony and the right to its natural use are of divine origin, so likewise are the constitution and fundamental prerogatives of the family fixed and determined by the Creator. In the Encyclical on Christian Marriage[11] and in Our other Encyclical on Education, cited above, we have treated these topics at considerable length.

29. But God has likewise destined man for civil society according to the dictates of his very nature. In the plan of the Creator, society is a natural means which man can and must use to reach his destined end. Society is for man and not vice versa. This must not be understood in the sense of liberalistic individualism, which subordinates society to the selfish use of the individual; but only in the sense that by means of an organic union with society and by mutual collaboration the attainment of earthly happiness is placed within the reach of all. In a further sense, it is society which affords the opportunities for the development of all the individual and social gifts bestowed on human nature. These natural gifts have a value surpassing the immediate interests of the moment, for in society they reflect the divine perfection, which would not be true were man to live alone. But on final analysis, even in this latter function, society is made for man, that he may recognize this reflection of God’s perfection, and refer it in praise and adoration to the Creator. Only man, the human person, and not society in any form is endowed with reason and a morally free will.

30. Man cannot be exempted from his divinely-imposed obligations toward civil society, and the representatives of authority have the right to coerce him when he refuses without reason to do his duty. Society, on the other hand, cannot defraud man of his God-granted rights, the most important of which We have indicated above. Nor can society systematically void these rights by making their use impossible. It is therefore according to the dictates of reason that ultimately all material things should be ordained to man as a person, that through his mediation they may find their way to the Creator. In this wise we can apply to man, the human person, the words of the Apostle of the Gentiles, who writes to the Corinthians on the Christian economy of salvation: “All things are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.”[12] While Communism impoverishes human personality by inverting the terms of the relation of man to society, to what lofty heights is man not elevated by reason and Revelation!

31. The directive principles concerning the social-economic order have been expounded in the social Encyclical of Leo XIII on the question of labor.[13] Our own Encyclical on the Reconstruction of the Social Order[14] adapted these principles to present needs. Then, insisting anew on the age-old doctrine of the Church concerning the individual and social character of private property, We explained clearly the right and dignity of labor, the relations of mutual aid and collaboration which should exist between those who possess capital and those who work, the salary due in strict justice to the worker for himself and for his family.

32. In this same Encyclical of Ours We have shown that the means of saving the world of today from the lamentable ruin into which a moral liberalism has plunged us, are neither the class-struggle nor terror, nor yet the autocratic abuse of State power, but rather the infusion of social justice and the sentiment of Christian love into the social-economic order. We have indicated how a sound prosperity is to be restored according to the true principles of a sane corporative system which respects the proper hierarchic structure of society; and how all the occupational groups should be fused into a harmonious unity inspired by the principle of the common good. And the genuine and chief function of public and civil authority consists precisely in the efficacious furthering of this harmony and coordination of all social forces.

33. In view of this organized common effort towards peaceful living, Catholic doctrine vindicates to the State the dignity and authority of a vigilant and provident defender of those divine and human rights on which the Sacred Scriptures and the Fathers of the Church insist so often. It is not true that all have equal rights in civil society. It is not true that there exists no lawful social hierarchy. Let it suffice to refer to the Encyclicals of Leo XIII already cited, especially to that on State powers,[15] and to the other on the Christian Constitution of States.[16] In these documents the Catholic will find the principles of reason and the Faith clearly explained, and these principles will enable him to defend himself against the errors and perils of a Communistic conception of the State. The enslavement of man despoiled of his rights, the denial of the transcendental origin of the State and its authority, the horrible abuse of public power in the service of a collectivistic terrorism, are the very contrary of all that corresponds with natural ethics and the will of the Creator. Both man and civil society derive their origin from the Creator, Who has mutually ordained them one to the other. Hence neither can be exempted from their correlative obligations, nor deny or diminish each other’s rights. The Creator Himself has regulated this mutual relationship in its fundamental lines, and it is by an unjust usurpation that Communism arrogates to itself the right to enforce, in place of the divine law based on the immutable principles of truth and charity, a partisan political program which derives from the arbitrary human will and is replete with hate.

34. In teaching this enlightening doctrine the Church has no other intention than to realize the glad tidings sung by the Angels above the cave of Bethlehem at the Redeemer’s birth: “Glory to God . . . and . . . peace to men . . .,”[17] true peace and true happiness, even here below as far as is possible, in preparation for the happiness of heaven – but to men of good will. This doctrine is equally removed from all extremes of error and all exaggerations of parties or systems which stem from error. It maintains a constant equilibrium of truth and justice, which it vindicates in theory and applies and promotes in practice, bringing into harmony the rights and duties of all parties. Thus authority is reconciled with liberty, the dignity of the individual with that of the State, the human personality of the subject with the divine delegation of the superior; and in this way a balance is struck between the due dependence and well-ordered love of a man for himself, his family and country, and his love of other families and other peoples, founded on the love of God, the Father of all, their first principle and last end. The Church does not separate a proper regard for temporal welfare from solicitude for the eternal. If she subordinates the former to the latter according to the words of her divine Founder, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His justice, and all these things shall be added unto you,”[18] she is nevertheless so far from being unconcerned with human affairs, so far from hindering civil progress and material advancement, that she actually fosters and promotes them in the most sensible and efficacious manner. Thus even in the sphere of social-economics, although the Church has never proposed a definite technical system, since this is not her field, she has nevertheless clearly outlined the guiding principles which, while susceptible of varied concrete applications according to the diversified conditions of times and places and peoples, indicate the safe way of securing the happy progress of society.

35. The wisdom and supreme utility of this doctrine are admitted by all who really understand it. With good reason outstanding statesmen have asserted that, after a study of various social systems, they have found nothing sounder than the principles expounded in the Encyclicals Rerum Novarum and Quadragesimo Anno. In non-Catholic, even in non-Christian countries, men recognize the great value to society of the social doctrine of the Church. Thus, scarcely a month ago, an eminent political figure of the Far East, a non-Christian, did not hesitate to affirm publicly that the Church, with her doctrine of peace and Christian brotherhood, is rendering a signal contribution to the difficult task of establishing and maintaining peace among the nations. Finally, We know from reliable information that flows into this Center of Christendom from all parts of the world, that the Communists themselves, where they are not utterly depraved, recognize the superiority of the social doctrine of the Church, when once explained to them, over the doctrines of their leaders and their teachers. Only those blinded by passion and hatred close their eyes to the light of truth and obstinately struggle against it.

36. But the enemies of the Church, though forced to acknowledge the wisdom of her doctrine, accuse her of having failed to act in conformity with her principles, and from this conclude to the necessity of seeking other solutions. The utter falseness and injustice of this accusation is shown by the whole history of Christianity. To refer only to a single typical trait, it was Christianity that first affirmed the real and universal brotherhood of all men of whatever race and condition. This doctrine she proclaimed by a method, and with an amplitude andconviction, unknown to preceding centuries; and with it she potently contributed to the abolition of slavery. Not bloody revolution, but the inner force of her teaching made the proud Roman matron see in her slave a sister in Christ. It is Christianity that adores the Son of God, made Man for love of man, and become not only the “Son of a Carpenter” but Himself a “Carpenter.”[19] It was Christianity that raised manual labor to its true dignity, whereas it had hitherto been so despised that even the moderate Cicero did not hesitate to sum up the general opinion of his time in words of which any modern sociologist would be ashamed: “All artisans are engaged in sordid trades, for there can be nothing ennobling about a workshop.”[20]

37. Faithful to these principles, the Church has given new life to human society. Under her influence arose prodigious charitable organizations, great guilds of artisans and workingmen of every type. These guilds, ridiculed as “medieval” by the liberalism of the last century, are today claiming the admiration of our contemporaries in many countries who are endeavoring to revive them in some modern form. And when other systems hindered her work and raised obstacles to the salutary influence of the Church, she was never done warning them of their error. We need but recall with what constant firmness and energy Our Predecessor, Leo XIII, vindicated for the workingman the right to organize, which the dominant liberalism of the more powerful States relentlessly denied him. Even today the authority of this Church doctrine is greater than it seems; for the influence of ideas in the realm of facts, though invisible and not easily measured, is surely of predominant importance.

38. It may be said in all truth that the Church, like Christ, goes through the centuries doing good to all. There would be today neither Socialism nor Communism if the rulers of the nations had not scorned the teachings and maternal warnings of the Church. On the bases of liberalism and laicism they wished to build other social edifices which, powerful and imposing as they seemed at first, all too soon revealed the weakness of their foundations, and today are crumbling one after another before our eyes, as everything must crumble that is not grounded on the one corner stone which is Christ Jesus.

39. This, Venerable Brethren, is the doctrine of the Church, which alone in the social as in all other fields can offer real light and assure salvation in the face of Communistic ideology. But this doctrine must be consistently reduced to practice in every-day life, according to the admonition of St. .James the Apostle: “Be ye doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”[21] The most urgent need of the present day is therefore the energetic and timely application of remedies which will effectively ward off the catastrophe that daily grows more threatening. We cherish the firm hope that the fanaticism with which the sons of darkness work day and night at their materialistic and atheistic propaganda will at least serve the holy purpose of stimulating the sons of light to a like and even greater zeal for the honor of the Divine Majesty.

40. What then must be done, what remedies must be employed to defend Christ and Christian civilization from this pernicious enemy? As a father in the midst of his family, We should like to speak quite intimately of those duties which the great struggle of our day imposes on all the children of the Church; and We would address Our paternal admonition even to those sons who have strayed far from her.

41. As in all the stormy periods of the history of the Church, the fundamental remedy today lies in a sincere renewal of private and public life according to the principles of the Gospel by all those who belong to the Fold of Christ, that they may be in truth the salt of the earth to preserve human society from total corruption.

42. With heart deeply grateful to the Father of Light, from Whom descends “every best gift and every perfect gift,”[22] We see on all sides consoling signs of this spiritual renewal. We see it not only in so many singularly chosen souls who in these last years have been elevated to the sublime heights of sanctity, and in so many others who with generous hearts are making their way towards the same luminous goal, but also in the new flowering of a deep and practical piety in all classes of society even the most cultured, as We pointed out in Our recent Motu Proprio In multis solaciis of October 28 last, on the occasion of the reorganization of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.[23]

43. Nevertheless We cannot deny that there is still much to be done in the way of spiritual renovation. Even in Catholic countries there are still too many who are Catholics hardly more than in name. There are too many who fulfill more or less faithfully the more essential obligations of the religion they boast of professing, but have no desire of knowing it better, of deepening their inward conviction, and still less of bringing into conformity with the external gloss the inner splendor of a right and unsullied conscience, that recognizes and performs all its duties under the eye of God. We know how much Our Divine Savior detested this empty pharisaic show, He Who wished that all should adore the Father “in spirit and in truth.”[24] The Catholic who does not live really and sincerely according to the Faith he professes will not long be master of himself in these days when the winds of strife and persecution blow so fiercely, but will be swept away defenseless in this new deluge which threatens the world. And thus, while he is preparing his own ruin, he is exposing to ridicule the very name of Christian.

44. And here We wish, Venerable Brethren, to insist more particularly on two teachings of Our Lord which have a special bearing on the present condition of the human race: detachment from earthly goods and the precept of charity. “Blessed are the poor in spirit” were the first words that fell from the lips of the Divine Master in His sermon on the mount.[25] This lesson is more than ever necessary in these days of materialism athirst for the goods and pleasures of this earth. All Christians, rich or poor, must keep their eye fixed on heaven, remembering that “we have not here a lasting city, but we seek one that is to come.”[26] The rich should not place their happiness in things of earth nor spend their best efforts in the acquisition of them. Rather, considering themselves only as stewards of their earthly goods, let them be mindful of the account they must render of them to their Lord and Master, and value them as precious means that God has put into their hands for doing good; let them not fail, besides, to distribute of their abundance to the poor, according to the evangelical precept.[27] Otherwise there shall be verified of them and their riches the harsh condemnation of St. James the Apostle: “Go to now, ye rich men; weep and howl in your miseries which shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten; your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be for a testimony against you and shall eat your flesh like fire. You have stored up to yourselves wrath against the last days. . .”[28]

45. But the poor too, in their turn, while engaged, according to the laws of charity and justice, in acquiring the necessities of life and also in bettering their condition, should always remain “poor in spirit,”[29] and hold spiritual goods in higher esteem than earthly property and pleasures. Let them remember that the world will never be able to rid itself of misery, sorrow and tribulation, which are the portion even of those who seem most prosperous. Patience, therefore, is the need of all, that Christian patience which comforts the heart with the divine assurance of eternal happiness. “Be patient, therefore, brethren,” we repeat with St. .lames, “until the coming of the Lord. Behold the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, patiently bearing until he receive the early and the later rain. Be you therefore also patient and strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.”[30] Only thus will be fulfilled the consoling promise of the Lord: “Blessed are the poor!” These words are no vain consolation, a promise as empty as those of the Communists. They are the words of life, pregnant with a sovereign reality. They are fully verified here on earth, as well as in eternity. Indeed, how many of the poor, in anticipation of the Kingdom of Heaven already proclaimed their own: “for yours is the Kingdom of Heaven,”[31] find in these words a happiness which so many of the wealthy, uneasy with their riches and ever thirsting for more, look for in vain!

46. Still more important as a remedy for the evil we are considering, or certainly more directly calculated to cure it, is the precept of charity. We have in mind that Christian charity, “patient and kind,”[32] which avoids all semblance of demeaning paternalism, and all ostentation; that charity which from the very beginning of Christianity won to Christ the poorest of the poor, the slaves. And We are grateful to all those members of charitable associations, from the conferences of St. Vincent de Paul to the recent great relief organizations, which are perseveringly practicing the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. The more the working men and the poor realize what the spirit of love animated by the virtue of Christ is doing for them, the more readily will they abandon the false persuasion that Christianity has lost its efficacy and that the Church stands on the side of the exploiters of their labor.

47. But when on the one hand We see thousands of the needy, victims of real misery for various reasons beyond their control, and on the other so many round about them who spend huge sums of money on useless things and frivolous amusement, We cannot fail to remark with sorrow not only that justice is poorly observed, but that the precept of charity also is not sufficiently appreciated, is not a vital thing in daily life. We desire therefore, Venerable Brethren, that this divine precept, this precious mark of identification left by Christ to His true disciples, be ever more fully explained by pen and word of mouth; this precept which teaches us to see in those who suffer Christ Himself, and would have us love our brothers as Our Divine Savior has loved us, that is, even at the sacrifice of ourselves, and, if need be, of our very life. Let all then frequently meditate on those words of the final sentence, so consoling yet so terrifying, which the Supreme Judge will pronounce on the day of the Last Judgment: “Come, ye blessed of my Father . . . for I was hungry and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me to drink . . . Amen, I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren you did it to me.”[33] And the reverse: “Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire . . . for I was hungry and you gave me not to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me not to drink . . . Amen, I say to you, as long as you did it not to one of these least. neither did you do it to me.”[34]

48. To be sure of eternal life, therefore, and to be able to help the poor effectively, it is imperative to return to a more moderate way of life, to renounce the joys, often sinful, which the world today holds out in such abundance; to forget self for love of the neighbor. There is a divine regenerating force in this “new precept” (as Christ called it) of Christian charity.[35] Its faithful observance will pour into the heart an inner peace which the world knows not, and will finally cure the ills which oppress humanity.

49. But charity will never be true charity unless it takes justice into constant account. The Apostle teaches that “he that loveth his neighbor hath fulfilled the law” and he gives the reason: “For, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal . . . and if there be any other commandment, it is comprised in this word: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”[36] According to the Apostle, then, all the commandments, including those which are of strict justice, as those which forbid us to kill or to steal, may be reduced to the single precept of true charity. From this it follows that a “charity” which deprives the workingman of the salary to which he has a strict title in justice, is not charity at all, but only its empty name and hollow semblance. The wage-earner is not to receive as alms what is his due in justice. And let no one attempt with trifling charitable donations to exempt himself from the great duties imposed by justice. Both justice and charity often dictate obligations touching on the same subject-matter, but under different aspects; and the very dignity of the workingman makes him justly and acutely sensitive to the duties of others in his regard.

50. Therefore We turn again in a special way to you, Christian employers and industrialists, whose problem is often so difficult for the reason that you are saddled with the heavy heritage of an unjust economic regime whose ruinous influence has been felt through many generations. We bid you be mindful of your responsibility. It is unfortunately true that the manner of acting in certain Catholic circles has done much to shake the faith of the working-classes in the religion of Jesus Christ. These groups have refused to understand that Christian charity demands the recognition of certain rights due to the workingman, which the Church has explicitly acknowledged. What is to be thought of the action of those Catholic employers who in one place succeeded in preventing the reading of Our Encyclical Quadragesimo Anno in their local churches? Or of those Catholic industrialists who even to this day have shown themselves hostile to a labor movement that We Ourselves recommended? Is it not deplorable that the right of private property defended by the Church should so often have been used as a weapon to defraud the workingman of his just salary and his social rights?

51. In reality, besides commutative justice, there is also social justice with its own set obligations, from which neither employers nor workingmen can escape. Now it is of the very essence of social justice to demand for each individual all that is necessary for the common good. But just as in the living organism it is impossible to provide for the good of the whole unless each single part and each individual member is given what it needs for the exercise of its proper functions, so it is impossible to care for the social organism and the good of society as a unit unless each single part and each individual member – that is to say, each individual man in the dignity of his human personality – is supplied with all that is necessary for the exercise of his social functions. If social justice be satisfied, the result will be an intense activity in economic life as a whole, pursued in tranquillity and order. This activity will be proof of the health of the social body, just as the health of the human body is recognized in the undisturbed regularity and perfect efficiency of the whole organism.

52. But social justice cannot be said to have been satisfied as long as workingmen are denied a salary that will enable them to secure proper sustenance for themselves and for their families; as long as they are denied the opportunity of acquiring a modest fortune and forestalling the plague of universal pauperism; as long as they cannot make suitable provision through public or private insurance for old age, for periods of illness and unemployment. In a word, to repeat what has been said in Our Encyclical Quadragesimo Anno: “Then only will the economic and social order be soundly established and attain its ends, when it offers, to all and to each, all those goods which the wealth and resources of nature, technical science and the corporate organization of social affairs can give. These goods should be sufficient to supply all necessities and reasonable comforts, and to uplift men to that higher standard of life which, provided it be used with prudence, is not only not a hindrance but is of singular help to virtue.”[37]

53. It happens all too frequently, however, under the salary system, that individual employers are helpless to ensure justice unless, with a view to its practice, they organize institutions the object of which is to prevent competition incompatible with fair treatment for the workers. Where this is true, it is the duty of contractors and employers to support and promote such necessary organizations as normal instruments enabling them to fulfill their obligations of justice. But the laborers too must be mindful of their duty to love and deal fairly with their employers, and persuade themselves that there is no better means of safeguarding their own interests.

54. If, therefore, We consider the whole structure of economic life, as We have already pointed out in Our Encyclical Quadragesimo Anno, the reign of mutual collaboration between justice and charity in social-economic relations can only be achieved by a body of professional and inter professional organizations, built on solidly Christian foundations, working together to effect, under forms adapted to different places and circumstances, what has been called the Corporation .

55. To give to this social activity a greater efficacy, it is necessary to promote a wider study of social problems in the light of the doctrine of the Church and under the aegis of her constituted authority. If the manner of acting of some Catholics in the social-economic field has left much to be desired, this has often come about because they have not known and pondered sufficiently the teachings of the Sovereign Pontiffs on these questions. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance to foster in all classes of society an intensive program of social education adapted to the varying degrees of intellectual culture. It is necessary with all care and diligence to procure the widest possible diffusion of the teachings of the Church, even among the working-classes. The minds of men must be illuminated with the sure light of Catholic teaching, and their wills must be drawn to follow and apply it as the norm of right living in the conscientious fulfillment of their manifold social duties. Thus they will oppose that incoherence and discontinuity in Christian life which We have many times lamented. For there are some who, while exteriorly faithful to the practice of their religion, yet in the field of labor and industry, in the professions, trade and business, permit a deplorable cleavage in their conscience, and live a life too little in conformity with the clear principles of justice and Christian charity. Such lives are a scandal to the weak, and to the malicious a pretext to discredit the Church.

56. In this renewal the Catholic Press can play a prominent part. Its foremost duty is to foster in various attractive ways an ever better understanding of social doctrine. It should, too, supply accurate and complete information on the activity of the enemy and the means of resistance which have been found most effective in various quarters. It should offer useful suggestions and warn against the insidious deceits with which Communists endeavor, all too successfully, to attract even men of good faith.

57. On this point We have already insisted in Our Allocution of May 12th of last year, but We believe it to be a duty of special urgency, Venerable Brethren, to call your attention to it once again. In the beginning Communism showed itself for what it was in all its perversity; but very soon it realized that it was thus alienating the people. It has therefore changed its tactics, and strives to entice the multitudes by trickery of various forms, hiding its real designs behind ideas that in themselves are good and attractive. Thus, aware of the universal desire for peace, the leaders of Communism pretend to be the most zealous promoters and propagandists in the movement for world amity. Yet at the same time they stir up a class-warfare which causes rivers of blood to flow, and, realizing that their system offers no internal guarantee of peace, they have recourse to unlimited armaments. Under various names which do not suggest Communism, they establish organizations and periodicals with the sole purpose of carrying their ideas into quarters otherwise inaccessible. They try perfidiously to worm their way even into professedly Catholic and religious organizations. Again, without receding an inch from their subversive principles, they invite Catholics to collaborate with them in the realm of so-called humanitarianism and charity; and at times even make proposals that are in perfect harmony with the Christian spirit and the doctrine of the Church. Elsewhere they carry their hypocrisy so far as to encourage the belief that Communism, in countries where faith and culture are more strongly entrenched, will assume another and much milder form. It will not interfere with the practice of religion. It will respect liberty of conscience. There are some even who refer to certain changes recently introduced into soviet legislation as a proof that Communism is about to abandon its program of war against God.

58. See to it, Venerable Brethren, that the Faithful do not allow themselves to be deceived! Communism is intrinsically wrong, and no one who would save Christian civilization may collaborate with it in any undertaking whatsoever. Those who permit themselves to be deceived into lending their aid towards the triumph of Communism in their own country, will be the first to fall victims of their error. And the greater the antiquity and grandeur of the Christian civilization in the regions where Communism successfully penetrates, so much more devastating will be the hatred displayed by the godless.

59. But “unless the Lord keep the city, he watcheth in vain that keepeth it.”[38] And so, as a final and most efficacious remedy, We recommend, Venerable Brethren, that in your dioceses you use the most practical means to foster and intensify the spirit of prayer joined with Christian penance. When the Apostles asked the Savior why they had been unable to drive the evil spirit from a demoniac, Our Lord answered: “This kind is not cast out but by prayer and fasting.”[39] So, too, the evil which today torments humanity can be conquered only by a world-wide crusade of prayer and penance. We ask especially the Contemplative Orders, men and women, to redouble their prayers and sacrifices to obtain from heaven efficacious aid for the Church in the present struggle. Let them implore also the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Virgin who, having crushed the head of the serpent of old, remains the sure protectress and invincible “Help of Christians.”

60. To apply the remedies thus briefly indicated to the task of saving the world as We have traced it above, Jesus Christ, our Divine King, has chosen priests as the first-line ministers and messengers of His gospel. Theirs is the duty, assigned to them by a special vocation, under the direction of their Bishops and in filial obedience to the Vicar of Christ on earth, of keeping alight in the world the torch of Faith, and of filling the hearts of the Faithful with that supernatural trust which has aided the Church to fight and win so many other battles in the name of Christ: “This is the victory which overcometh the world, our Faith.”[40]

61. To priests in a special way We recommend anew the oft-repeated counsel of Our Predecessor, Leo XIII, to go to the workingman. We make this advice Our own, and faithful to the teachings of Jesus Christ and His Church, We thus complete it: “Go to the workingman, especially where he is poor; and in general, go to the poor.” The poor are obviously more exposed than others to the wiles of agitators who, taking advantage of their extreme need, kindle their hearts to envy of the rich and urge them to seize by force what fortune seems to have denied them unjustly. If the priest will not go to the workingman and to the poor, to warn them or to disabuse them of prejudice and false theory, they will become an easy prey for the apostles of Communism .

62. Indisputably much has been done in this direction, especially after the publication of the Encyclicals Rerum Novarum and Quadragesimo Anno. We are happy to voice Our paternal approval of the zealous pastoral activity manifested by so many Bishops and priests who have with due prudence and caution been planning and applying new methods of apostolate more adapted to modern needs. But for the solution of our present problem, all this effort is still inadequate. When our country is in danger, everything not strictly necessary, everything not bearing directly on the urgent matter of unified defense, takes second place. So we must act in today’s crisis. Every other enterprise, however attractive and helpful, must yield before the vital need of protecting the very foundation of the Faith and of Christian civilization. Let our parish priest, therefore, while providing of course for the normal needs of the Faithful, dedicate the better part of their endeavors and their zeal to winning back the laboring masses to Christ and to His Church. Let them work to infuse the Christian spirit into quarters where it is least at home. The willing response of the masses, and results far exceeding their expectations, will not fail to reward them for their strenuous pioneer labor. This has been and continues to be our experience in Rome and in other capitals, where zealous parish communities are being formed as new churches are built in the suburban districts, and real miracles are being worked in the conversion of people whose hostility to religion has been due solely to the fact that they did not know it.

63. But the most efficacious means of apostolate among the poor and lowly is the priest’s example, the practice of all those sacerdotal virtues which We have described in Our Encyclical Ad Catholici Sacerdotii.[41] Especially needful, however, for the present situation is the shining example of a life which is humble, poor and disinterested, in imitation of a Divine Master Who could say to the world with divine simplicity: “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air nests, but the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head.”[42] A priest who is really poor and disinterested in the Gospel sense may work among his flock marvels recalling a Saint Vincent de Paul, a Cure of Ars, a Cottolengo, a Don Bosco and so many others; while an avaricious and selfish priest, as We have noted in the above mentioned Encyclical, even though he should not plunge with Judas to the abyss of treason, will never be more than empty “sounding brass” and useless “tinkling cymbal.”[43] Too often, indeed, he will be a hindrance rather than an instrument of grace in the midst of his people. Furthermore, where a secular priest or religious is obliged by his office to administer temporal property, let him remember that he is not only to observe scrupulously all that charity and justice prescribe, but that he has a special obligation to conduct himself in very truth as a father of the poor.

64. After this appeal to the clergy, We extend Our paternal invitation to Our beloved sons among the laity who are doing battle in the ranks of Catholic Action. On another occasion[44] We have called this movement so dear to Our heart “a particularly providential assistance” in the work of the Church during these troublous times. Catholic Action is in effect a social apostolate also, inasmuch as its object is to spread the Kingdom of Jesus Christ not only among individuals, but also in families and in society. It must, therefore, make it a chief aim to train its members with special care and to prepare them to fight the battles of the Lord. This task of formation, now more urgent and indispensable than ever, which must always precede direct action in the field, will assuredly be served by study-circles, conferences, lecture-courses and the various other activities undertaken with a view to making known the Christian solution of the social problem.

65. The militant leaders of Catholic Action thus properly prepared and armed, will be the first and immediate apostles of their fellow workmen. They will be an invaluable aid to the priest in carrying the torch of truth, and in relieving grave spiritual and material suffering, in many sectors where inveterate anti-clerical prejudice or deplorable religious indifference has proved a constant obstacle to the pastoral activity of God’s ministers. In this way they will collaborate, under the direction of especially qualified priests, in that work of spiritual aid to the laboring classes on which We set so much store, because it is the means best calculated to save these, Our beloved children, from the snares of Communism.

66. In addition to this individual apostolate which, however useful and efficacious, often goes unheralded, Catholic Action must organize propaganda on a large scale to disseminate knowledge of the fundamental principles on which, according to the Pontifical documents, a Christian .Social Order must build.

67. Ranged with Catholic Action are the groups which We have been happy to call its auxiliary forces. With paternal affection We exhort these valuable organizations also tO dedicate themselves to the great mission of which We have been treating, a cause which today transcends all others in vital importance.

68. We are thinking likewise of those associations of workmen, farmers, technicians, doctors, employers, students and others of like character, groups of men and women who live in the same cultural atmosphere and share the same way of life. Precisely these groups and organizations are destined to introduce into society that order which We have envisaged in Our Encyclical Quadragesimo Anno, and thus to spread in the vast and various fields of culture and labor the recognition of the Kingdom of Christ.

69. Even where the State, because of changed social and economic conditions, has felt obliged to intervene directly in order to aid and regulate such organizations by special legislative enactments, supposing always the necessary respect for liberty and private initiative, Catholic Action may not urge the circumstance as an excuse for abandoning the field. Its members should contribute prudently and intelligently to the study of the problems of the hour in the light of Catholic doctrine. They should loyally and generously participate in the formation of the new institutions, bringing to them the Christian spirit which is the basic principle of order wherever men work together in fraternal harmony.

70. Here We should like to address a particularly affectionate word to Our Catholic workingmen, young and old. They have been given, perhaps as a reward for their often heroic fidelity in these trying days, a noble and an arduous mission. Under the guidance of their Bishops and priests, they are to bring back to the Church and to God those immense multitudes of their brother-workmen who, because they were not understood or treated with the respect to which they were entitled, in bitterness have strayed far from God. Let Catholic workingmen show these their wandering brethren by word and example that the Church is a tender Mother to all those who labor and suffer, and that she has never failed, and never will fail, in her sacred maternal duty of protecting her children. If this mission, which must be fulfilled in mines, in factories, in shops, wherever they may be laboring, should at times require great sacrifices, Our workmen will remember that the Savior of the world has given them an example not only of toil but of self immolation.

71. To all Our children, finally, of every social rank and every nation, to every religious and lay organization in the Church, We make another and more urgent appeal for union. Many times Our paternal heart has been saddened by the divergencies – often idle in their causes, always tragic in their consequences – which array in opposing camps the sons of the same Mother Church. Thus it is that the radicals, who are not so very numerous, profiting by this discord are able to make it more acute, and end by pitting Catholics one against the other. In view of the events of the past few months, Our warning must seem superfluous. We repeat it nevertheless once more, for those who have not understood, or perhaps do not desire to understand. Those who make a practice of spreading dissension among Catholics assume a terrible responsibility before God and the Church.

72. But in this battle joined by the powers of darkness against the very idea of Divinity, it is Our fond hope that, besides the host which glories in the name of Christ, all those – and they comprise the overwhelming majority of mankind, – who still believe in God and pay Him homage may take a decisive part. We therefore renew the invitation extended to them five years ago in Our Encyclical Caritate Christi, invoking their loyal and hearty collaboration “in order to ward off from mankind the great danger that threatens all alike.” Since, as We then said, “belief in God is the unshakable foundation of all social order and of all responsibility on earth, it follows that all those who do not want anarchy and terrorism ought to take energetic steps to prevent the enemies of religion from attaining the goal they have so brazenly proclaimed to the world.”[45]

73. Such is the positive task, embracing at once theory and practice, which the Church undertakes in virtue of the mission, confided to her by Christ, of constructing a Christian society, and, in our own times, of resisting unto victory the attacks of Communism. It is the duty of the Christian State to concur actively in this spiritual enterprise of the Church, aiding her with the means at its command, which although they be external devices, have nonetheless for their prime object the good of souls.

74. This means that all diligence should be exercised by States to prevent within their territories the ravages of an anti-God campaign which shakes society to its very foundations. For there can be no authority on earth unless the authority of the Divine Majesty be recognized; no oath will bind which is not sworn in the Name of the Living God. We repeat what We have said with frequent insistence in the past, especially in Our Encyclical Caritate Christi: “How can any contract be maintained, and what value can any treaty have, in which every guarantee of conscience is lacking? And how can there be talk of guarantees of conscience when all faith in God and all fear of God have vanished? Take away this basis, and with it all moral law falls, and there is no remedy left to stop the gradual but inevitable destruction of peoples, families, the State, civilization itself.”[46]

75. It must likewise be the special care of the State to create those material conditions of life without which an orderly society cannot exist. The State must take every measure necessary to supply employment, particularly for the heads of families and for the young. To achieve this end demanded by the pressing needs of the common welfare, the wealthy classes must be induced to assume those burdens without which human society cannot be saved nor they themselves remain secure. However, measures taken by the State with this end in view ought to be of such a nature that they will really affect those who actually possess more than their share of capital resources, and who continue to accumulate them to the grievous detriment of others.

76. The State itself, mindful of its responsibility before God and society, should be a model of prudence and sobriety in the administration of the commonwealth. Today more than ever the acute world crisis demands that those who dispose of immense funds, built up on the sweat and toil of millions, keep constantly and singly in mind the common good. State functionaries and all employees are obliged in conscience to perform their duties faithfully and unselfishly, imitating the brilliant example of distinguished men of the past and of our own day, who with unremitting labor sacrificed their all for the good of their country. In international trade-relations let all means be sedulously employed for the removal of those artificial barriers to economic life which are the effects of distrust and hatred. All must remember that the peoples of the earth form but one family in God.

77. At the same time the State must allow the Church full liberty to fulfill her divine and spiritual mission, and this in itself will be an effectual contribution to the rescue of nations from the dread torment of the present hour. Everywhere today there is an anxious appeal to moral and spiritual forces; and rightly so, for the evil we must combat is at its origin primarily an evil of the spiritual order. From this polluted source the monstrous emanations of the communistic system flow with satanic logic. Now, the Catholic Church is undoubtedly preeminent among the moral and religious forces of today. Therefore the very good of humanity demands that her work be allowed to proceed unhindered.

78. Those who act otherwise, and at the same time fondly pretend to attain their objective with purely political or economic means, are in the grip of a dangerous error. When religion is banished from the school, from education and from public life, when the representatives of Christianity and its sacred rites are held up to ridicule, are we not really fostering the materialism which is the fertile soil of Communism.? Neither force, however well organized it be, nor earthly ideals however lofty or noble, can control a movement whose roots lie in the excessive esteem for the goods of this world.

79. We trust that those rulers of nations, who are at all aware of the extreme danger threatening every people today, may be more and more convinced of their supreme duty not to hinder the Church in the fulfillment of her mission. This is the more imperative since, while this mission has in view man’s happiness in heaven, it cannot but promote his true felicity in time.

80. We cannot conclude this Encyclical Letter without addressing some words to those of Our children who are more or less tainted with the Communist plague. We earnestly exhort them to hear the voice of their loving Father. We pray the Lord to enlighten them that they may abandon the slippery path which will precipitate one and all to ruin and catastrophe, and that they recognize that Jesus Christ, Our Lord, is their only Savior: “For there is no other name under heaven given to man, whereby we must be saved.”[47]

81. To hasten the advent of that “peace of Christ in the kingdom of Christ”[48] so ardently desired by all, We place the vast campaign of the Church against world Communism under the standard of St. Joseph, her mighty Protector. He belongs to the working-class, and he bore the burdens of poverty for himself and the Holy Family, whose tender and vigilant head he was. To him was entrusted the Divine Child when Herod loosed his assassins against Him. In a life of faithful performance of everyday duties, he left an example for all those who must gain their bread by the toil of their hands. He won for himself the title of “The Just,” serving thus as a living model of that Christian justice which should reign in social life.

82. With eyes lifted on high, our Faith sees the new heavens and the new earth described by Our first Predecessor, St. Peter.[49] While the promises of the false prophets of this earth melt away in blood and tears, the great apocalyptic prophecy of the Redeemer shines forth in heavenly splendor: “Behold, I make all things new.”[50] Venerable Brethren, nothing remains but to raise Our paternal hands to call down upon you, upon your clergy and people, upon the whole Catholic family, the Apostolic Benediction.

Given at Rome, at St. Peter’s, on the feast of St. Joseph, patron of the universal Church, on the 19th of March, 1937, the 16th year of our Pontificate.

PIUS XI

 

16

Gun Confiscation: Go For It Liberals

 

Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom of Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any bands of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States.

Noah Webster, An Examination Into the Leading Principles of the Constitution (17 October 1787).

 

 

One does not have to read long on most Leftist sites before becoming aware of how popular the concept of disarming the American people is on the Left.  Charles C. W. Cooke at National Review Online has some practical suggestions for the implementation of this cherished Leftist goal:

 

Seriously, try it. Start the process. Stop whining about it on Twitter, and on HBO, and at the Daily Kos. Stop playing with some Thomas Jefferson quote you found on Google. Stop jumping on the news cycle and watching the retweets and viral shares rack up. Go out there and begin the movement in earnest. Don’t fall back on excuses. Don’t play cheap motte-and-bailey games. And don’t pretend that you’re okay with the Second Amendment in theory, but you’re just appalled by the Heller decision. You’re not. Heller recognized what was obvious to the amendment’s drafters, to the people who debated it, and to the jurists of their era and beyond: That “right of the people” means “right of the people,” as it does everywhere else in both the Bill of Rights and in the common law that preceded it. A Second Amendment without the supposedly pernicious Heller “interpretation” wouldn’t be any impediment to regulation at all. It would be a dead letter. It would be an effective repeal. It would be the end of the right itself. In other words, it would be exactly what you want! Man up. Put together a plan, and take those words out of the Constitution.

This will involve hard work, of course. You can’t just sit online and preen to those who already agree with you. No siree. Instead, you’ll have to go around the states — traveling and preaching until the soles of your shoes are thin as paper. You’ll have to lobby Congress, over and over and over again. You’ll have to make ads and shake hands and twist arms and cut deals and suffer all the slings and arrows that will be thrown in your direction. You’ll have to tell anybody who will listen to you that they need to support you; that if they disagree, they’re childish and beholden to the “gun lobby”; that they don’t care enough about children; that their reverence for the Founders is mistaken; that they have blood on their goddamn hands; that they want to own firearms only because their penises are small and they’re not “real men.” And remember, you can’t half-ass it this time. You’re not going out there to tell these people that you want “reform” or that “enough is enough.” You’re going there to solicit their support for removing one of the articles within the Bill of Rights. Make no mistake: It’ll be unpleasant strolling into Pittsburgh or Youngstown or Pueblo and telling blue-collar Democrat after blue-collar Democrat that he only has his guns because he’s not as well endowed as he’d like to be. It’ll be tough explaining to suburban families that their established conception of American liberty is wrong. You might even suffer at the polls because of it. But that’s what it’s going to take. So do it. Start now. Off you go.

And don’t stop there. No, no. There’ll still be a lot of work to be done. As anybody with a passing understanding of America’s constitutional system knows, repealing the Second Amendment won’t in and of itself lead to the end of gun ownership in America. Rather, it will merely free up the federal government to regulate the area, should it wish to do so. Next, you’ll need to craft the laws that bring about change — think of them as modern Volstead Acts — and you’ll need to get them past the opposition. And, if the federal government doesn’t immediately go the whole hog, you’ll need to replicate your efforts in the states, too, 45 of which have their own constitutional protections. Maybe New Jersey and California will go quietly. Maybe. But Idaho won’t. Louisiana won’t. Kentucky won’t. Maine won’t. You’ll need to persuade those sovereignties not to sue and drag their heels, but to do what’s right as defined by you. Unfortunately, that won’t involve vague talk of holding “national conversations” and “doing something” and “fighting back against the NRA.” It’ll mean going to all sorts of groups — unions, churches, PTAs, political meetings, bowling leagues — and telling them not that you want “common-sense reforms,” but that you want their guns, as in Australia or Britain or Japan. Obviously, the Republicans aren’t going to help in this, so you’ll need to commandeer the Democratic party to do it. That means you’ll need their presidential candidates on board. That means you’ll need to make full abolition the stated policy of the Senate and House caucuses. That means you’ll need the state parties to sign pledges promising not to back away if it gets tough. And if they won’t, you’ll need to start a third party and accept all that that entails.

And when you’ve done all that and your vision is inked onto parchment, you’ll need to enforce it. No, not in the namby-pamby, eh-we-don’t-really-want-to-fund-it way that Prohibition was enforced. I mean enforce it — with force. When Australia took its decision to Do Something, the Australian citizenry owned between 2 and 3 million guns. Despite the compliance of the people and the lack of an entrenched gun culture, the government got maybe three-quarters of a million of them — somewhere between a fifth and a third of the total. That wouldn’t be good enough here, of course. There are around 350 million privately owned guns in America, which means that if you picked up one in three, you’d only be returning the stock to where it was in 1994. Does that sound difficult? Sure! After all, this is a country of 330 million people spread out across 3.8 million square miles, and if we know one thing about the American people, it’s that they do not go quietly into the night. But the government has to have their guns. It has to. The Second Amendment has to go.

You’re going to need a plan. A state-by-state, county-by-county, street-by-street, door-to door plan. A detailed roadmap to abolition that involves the military and the police and a whole host of informants — and, probably, a hell of a lot of blood, too. Sure, the ACLU won’t like it, especially when you start going around poorer neighborhoods. Sure, there are probably between 20 and 30 million Americans who would rather fight a civil war than let you into their houses. Sure, there is no historical precedent in America for the mass confiscation of a commonly owned item — let alone one that was until recently constitutionally protected. Sure, it’s slightly odd that you think that we can’t deport 11 million people but we can search 123 million homes. But that’s just the price we have to pay. Times have changed. It has to be done: For the children; for America; for the future. Hey hey, ho ho, the Second Amendment has to go. Let’s do this thing.

Go here to read the rest.  Reality based community?  Sure!

 

 

 

4

Incredibles 2

Well, fourteen years is a long time to wait, but Incredibles 2 is coming out on June 15.

 

 

 

The original Incredibles was the most conservative movie to come out of the entertainment industry in many a moon.  Don’t believe me?  Go here to read the 2005 moans of a Leftist about the movie.  Politics aside, it was a grand movie, hilarious and heart warming, and the best family flick of 2004.  I am looking forward to this.

2

The Russians Were Coming! The Russians Were Coming!

The Mueller investigation has labored mightily lo these many months and brought forth indictments against 13 Russians, none of whom are in custody, and three Russian entities:

 

 

 

A federal grand jury has indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities for alleged illegal interference in the 2016 presidential elections, during which they strongly supported the candidacy of Donald Trump, special counsel Robert Mueller‘s office said Friday.

The indictment says that a Russian organization called the Internet Research Agency sought to wage “information warfare” against the United States and to “sow discord” in the American political system by using fictitious American personas and social media platforms and other Internet-based media.

Internet Research Agency, a so-called “troll farm” based in St. Petersburg, Russia,” was allegedly controlled by a defendant in the indictment named Yevgeny Progozhin, who is a wealthy associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The indictment said the Internet Research Agency was registered with the Russian government as a corporate entity in 2013, and by May 2014 the group’s strategy included interfering with the 2016 U.S. presidential election, with the stated goal of “spread[ing] distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general,” the indictment said.

The indictment details an extremely sophisticated conspiracy in which defendants traveled to the United States to conduct research, employed specialists to fine-tune social media posts to “ensure they appeared authentic,” and stole real people’s identities to purchase online ads.

By early to mid-2016 the defendants were “supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump … and disparaging Hillary Clinton,” the eight-count indictment charges.

The defendants also engaged in operations to “denigrate” Republican primary opponents of Trump such as senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Florida’s Marco Rubio, the indictment said.

“Some Defendants, posing at U.S. persons and without revealing their Russian association, communicated with unwitting individuals associated with the Trump Campaign and with other political activists to seek to coordinate political activities,” the indictment claims.

Foreigners are barred from spending money to try to influence the outcome of a federal election.

As part of their efforts, the defendants also allegedly encouraged minority groups to either not vote for in the election or to vote for a third-party candidate.

Both actions would have hurt Clinton, who received significant support from minority voters.

And after the election of Trump as president in November 2016, the defendants used fake personas to organize and coordinate political rallies in support of Trump, while also doing the same to create rallies “protesting the results” of the election, the indictment said.

Go here to read the rest.  That the Russians, and the Soviets before them, have long sought to meddle in our elections I have no doubt.  The American Communist Party was the Communist party outside of the Soviet Union most slavish to the interests of Moscow, for example, and they long had a substantial impact on the left wing of the Democrat Party.  However, that such meddling has ever influenced the outcome of a Presidential election I see no evidence of, especially in 2016 when the raw incompetence of the Clinton campaign, “Let’s call half the nation deplorables!”  “We don’t need to campaign in Wisconsin or Michigan!”, is sufficient to explain how she lost to a first time candidate she outspent two to one, and who was dragging a laundry list of baggage that would have sunk any other candidate.  The operation has the feel of a Russian junket:  “Da Mr. President, we are having a huge impact on the Americanski election.  I just need to go to Miami Beach three more times.  Could I have another Americanski $200,000.00 to blow, I mean spend, on the operation while I am there?  During Spring Break I can contact Americanski youth and foster their disenchantment with the Americanski political system!”.  The Russians clearly did not get value for their money, unlike for example the bribes they paid the Clintons in the  Uranium One scandal.

However, thanks to the hysterical refusal of the Left in this country to accept the election results in 2016, spurred on by Hillary Clinton’s adamant refusal to take responsibility for being the worst major party candidate for President in US history, Putin reaped the bonanza of seeing this country, at least in the mainstream media, being consumed with the non-story of Russian influence on the 2016 Presidential Election for more than a year.  This all warrants the pen of a Mark Twain to write the ludicrous chronicle of this farce.

 

Hail to the Chief

Something for the weekend.  Hail to the Chief.

 

 

 

 

The Presidential anthem, it was written by James Sanderson in 1812 and became associated with the Presidency in 1815 to honor George Washington and the ending of the War of 1812.  Andrew Jackson was the first living president for which the song was played.  During the Civil War it was played for both Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis.  Chester A. Arthur did not like the song and had John Philip Sousa write a replacement, the Presidential Polonaise. The song is preceded by four ruffles and flourishes, the highest of musical honors, for the President.   After Arthur’s term of office the Marine Corps Band went right back to playing Hail to the Chief to announce the President.  Here are the almost never sung, thank goodness, lyrics:

Hail to the Chief we have chosen for the nation,
Hail to the Chief! We salute him, one and all.
Hail to the Chief, as we pledge cooperation
In proud fulfillment of a great, noble call.

Yours is the aim to make this grand country grander,
This you will do, that’s our strong, firm belief.
Hail to the one we selected as commander,
Hail to the President! Hail to the Chief! Continue Reading

3

PopeWatch: Lenten Calculations

 

 

 

From Acts of the Apostasy, the most intentionally funny Catholic site on the net:

 

(AoftheANews) – DUNDEE – Police were called to Our Lady of Just Desserts on Sunday, February 11, in response to an altercation among a group of parishioners following the 10 AM Mass. What had begun as a disagreement between two mothers turned into a near riot, resulting in the entire Dundee police force descending en masse to restore peace.

“It happened in the Social Hall,” said Dundee Police Chief Ed Cruller. “Two moms were arguing over the proper way to calculate the 40 Days of Lent, and from there it escalated out of control. Fortunately, no one was hurt during the altercation, though a platter of donut holes suffered significant damage, and could not be salvaged. Believe me, we tried.”

The women involved, May de Fource and Bea Whitchu, spoke separately with AoftheA News via telephone.

“I still don’t know what happened,” May said. “I said to Bea, it’s going to be tough coming to coffee hour when you’ve given up sweets for Lent. Bea replied with ‘but Sundays don’t count in Lent’, and we went back and forth. Next thing I know, she’s calling me ‘holier than thou’ and ‘righteous zealot’, and I think I might have thrown a chair.”

“Sunday’s don’t count,” Bea said. “That’s how you get to 40 days. Otherwise Lent is 46 days, which makes no sense. She got in my face about being a slacker, so once I finished my glazed chocolate donut holes, I might have shoved her or something. Frankly, I think May’s suffering from sugar withdrawal, because normally she’s just passive aggressive, not regular aggressive, you know?”

“We’re still taking statements, getting details,” Chief Cruller said. “From most accounts, their husbands became involved, then their kids, and then half the hall. We arrived, restored peace, and escorted parishioners off the premises. Both women have agreed to not press charges. We also confiscated the donut holes as evidence.”

The pastor, Fr Tim Bitz, told AoftheA News he appreciated the police’s quick response and restoring order. “This could have been as bad – if not worse – than Lent 2012, when I filled the holy water fonts with sand. Talk about a riot!”

Go here to comment.  PopeWatch called the Vatican but was advised by the nun running the Vatican switchboard that the Pope had left a message for PopeWatch:  “Tell the gringo I have given up talking to him for Lent!”.

3

Quotes Suitable for Framing: Tucker Carlson

“The calls we are hearing today for gun control have nothing to do with protecting Americans from violence. What you’re witnessing is a kind of class war. The left hates rural America, red America, gun-owning America, the America that elected Donald Trump. They hate them. Progressives are still in charge of most of the major institutions in this country and they despise the autonomy of an armed population. They want collective punishment for the sins of a few. They seek to obliterate our core constitutional right rather than trying to mitigate its downsides. They call it gun control, but it’s not. It’s people control. For the left, voters who can’t be controlled, can’t be trusted.”

Tucker Carlson, February 15, 2018

 

17

Ghouls, the Slaying of Innocents and Prayer

If your first impulse upon hearing that 17 kids have been murdered is to seek to make political capital of it, you are a ghoul.  Dave Griffey at Daffey Thoughts gives us the details:

When Christians mock prayer

 

A Case Study.

Note to Mark Shea: Thoughts and prayers are not garbage because one disagrees with your politics.  God is bigger than that.  And your politics and the Gospel of Jesus Christ are not one and the same.  Jesus Christ is bigger than that.  And the policies of the Democratic Party are not the way, the truth, and the life and the only potential path to salvation through Jesus. The working of the Holy Spirit is bigger than one party.

In short, one can be a good Christian, can love Jesus, can be obedient to God, can sincerely pray and conclude that perhaps the policies of the Democrats would not help in stopping this or similar tragedies.  It’s what liberal Christians used to say to the Religious Right.  It’s now what New Prolife Christians need to hear.

From Mark’s post on the shooting: his appraisal of prayer’s efficacy if not linked to Mark’s political opinions

It’s bad enough that our political leaders and others in our nation have decided to blaspheme God by subverting prayer for the sake of politics.  But that Christian leaders or apologists do the same in fealty to a political agenda makes me sick. I will not address this blasphemy again.  I only did it to warn those who seek to petition God through prayers and charity not to be misled into such heresy. What should be done with a professional representative of the Faith who advocates such things I’ll leave to others to work out.

Now it’s back to what Christians and all people of goodwill should be doing, and that’s weeping with the dead and those who are suffering, and lifting up our hearts and minds to God, through Jesus Christ if believers we are.  There will be time to look for solutions, and possibly even look at the heart and soul of a nation that has come this far.  But not now.

Go here to comment.  To have 17 young lives snuffed out because a misfit decided to commit mass murder is an evil that is difficult to fathom.  I have long thought that such acts of evil are inspired by Satan as a form of spiritual terrorism to make us despair.  Fortunately Our Savior warned us about the grim fates that could await us in this Vale of Tears and taught us to pray in response.  A Memorare for the repose of the souls of the young people slain in the dawn of life and for their poor parents, other relatives and friends:
REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.

10

PopeWatch: Rist

It is impossible to overestimate how intellectually vacant most defenses of the current pontificate are.  Cardinal Cupich, under questioning, gave an example of this:

 

A respected Catholic historian and philosopher challenged Cardinal Blase Cupich during a lecture last week about Pope’ Francis so-called “revolution of mercy” that has caused what many are defending as a “paradigm shift” in Catholic practice.

Professor John Rist, after listening to a February 9 lecture at Cambridge University in which Cardinal Cupich praised Pope Francis’ “paradigm shift” in Catholic practice, asked the Cardinal at the end of the lecture why Pope Francis “mercilessly” insults and eliminates his doctrinal opponents.

Rist asked the Cardinal: 

Your Eminence, In view of your account of the sunny, caring and holistic features of Pope Francis’ revolution of mercy – described disturbingly by the leaflet for this meeting and by your Eminence as a ‘paradigm shift’ in the presentation of Catholicism – and of the Pope’s call for free and frank discussion of his challenging proposals and policies, I would like to ask why Pope Francis acts so mercilessly in insulting and eliminating doctrinal opponents:  

  • Cardinal Burke removed from the leadership of the Roman Rota;  
  • Three loyal priests from the CDF dismissed without explanation, followed by the abrupt termination of Cardinal Mueller himself;
  • The denial of a Cardinal’s hat to the much loved champion of the unborn, Archbishop Chaput;
  • The removal of most of the original members of the Academy for Life;
  • The apparent selling-down the river of Cardinal Pell, who may have been framed;
  • And more recently the banishment from Rome of the Professor of Patristics at the Lateran and editor of the challenging book Remaining in the Truth of Christ; 

The list goes on and on, but I stop there  to ask again whether harsh actions of this sort — combined with the well-documented rigging of the Synod on the Family — indicate that the Pope’s ‘paradigm shift’ should be recognized as an attempt — under cover of offering solutions to genuine social problems in Western society — to impose on the Church radical changes of doctrine, developed not by laity but largely in Germany by a group of relativist Hegelian theologians? 

Cupich deviated from the question, replying that those who have such concerns should ask themselves: “Do we really believe that the Spirit is no longer guiding the Church?” reported the Catholic Herald. 

The professor said after the event that if he had been given the chance to reply, he would have told the Cardinal that “the Church is indeed guided by the Holy Spirit, via good Catholic souls such as Cardinal Burke and many others.”

Rist is a Professor of Classics Emeritus at the University of Toronto and now holds a Chair in Philosophy at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. A native of the United Kingdom, Rist is a life member of Clare Hall, Cambridge University. He is also a convert to Catholicism from agnosticism, thanks to his study of Plato, the Gospels and other ancient texts. 

Rist, whose career as a philosopher and a classicist spans fifty years and three continents, has written 16 scholarly books and over a hundred journal articles on ancient and Christian philosophy or the Gospels. He also contributed to Remaining in the Truth of Christ, the defense of Catholic teaching that was “intercepted” at the Synod on the Family

Rist told LifeSiteNews that he regards the Francis papacy as a “disaster.” 

“I regard this papacy as a disaster and Bergoglio as possibly — because of his tampering with established doctrine — as possibly the worst pope we have ever had,” he said. 

Go here to read the rest.  Note that under Pope Francis cherished teachings of the Church are so much paper kindling that may be tossed into the flames any moment. However, when challenged the Francis fans attempt to raise an ultramontane shield to all criticism.  Thus the only Catholic teachings that are are sacrosanct in this pontificate are those that render the Pope above criticism.

6

Vincible Ignorance

It is a feature of our time that people who are bone ignorant on complicated subjects feel free to pontificate upon them.  Few subjects are more complex than the Bible and how the many books that it consists of were written by the inspired authors over more than a thousand years.  In order to comment intelligently on that topic immense knowledge of the relevant ancient history is needed, a good command of the languages involved at the time of composition is a must, along with a strong familiarity as to the modes of composition in antiquity among the Jews and the Greeks and how they changed down through many centuries, and a thorough knowledge of the translations made of the original texts is absolutely crucial.  These, and dozens of other academic disciplines, all come into play.  However, none of this is necessary for moderns with electronic bully pulpits at their hands, ignorance in their heads and folly in their hearts.  Dave Griffey at Daffey Thoughts gives us a prime example:

Salon contributor does the dumb thing

 

And reveals one of the creeping evils of the emergent Left.  Of course we all know that Salon is akin to a supermarket tabloid, but without the charm.  It’s a Left wing rag used to promote whatever Leftist trends happen to be all the rage while spewing hatred based on whatever religion, ethnicity or nationality is in vogue.  Like most leftist rags.

Anyway, so one of its little elves tweeted this piece of fine scholarship and deep learning:

The whole was justified by this bit of stellar academic insight:

Yep.  That Bible doesn’t make sense, it’s so not like the fine literary output of the 21st century.  The best comeback comes from our own Nate Winchester:

That made me laugh.  I mean, it’s so obviously true.  Another language(s), on the other side of the world more than 2000 years ago.  I won’t waste my time on that screed of incomprehensible ignorance about, well, almost anything to do with the subject at hand.  The fact that the individual equates Evangelicals to Fundamentalists is all I need to know that we’re dealing with a person who is, purposefully or otherwise, as dumb as a hay rake about the topic they’re addressing. The rest of the post confirms that assessment.

The same thing the Salon contributor said, of course, could be applied to almost any literature not of the last few generations and not written in the English language.  Pick a work from someone who lived thousands of years ago: Herodotus, Sophocles, Plutarch, why the list is endless.  Pick the Quran.  Pick the Bhagavad Gita.  There is no end to literature, old and ancient, secular or religious, that doesn’t conform to the standards of today (which is a point in their favor in most cases).

Of course comedy ensues in the comments because almost anyone with an IQ higher than a fruit fly’s can see the obvious problem with such a stupid, vacant, brain dead analysis.  Remember when liberalism promised a world of enlightenment and tolerance and curiosity about all the peoples from all of the world throughout all of the ages?  Liberal broken promise #401,793,824,708,931,824,709.

But seriously, it speaks to a creeping, disturbing trend of unremitting evil emerging in our millennial age, especially among those to the Left of center.

That trend is the growing tendency for up and coming millennial-agers to have nothing but contempt and disdain for anything not produced since 1992.  It involves a hatred of anyone and everything to do with anything not Now. This, mixed with the hatred of the Christian West and its bastard child America that is taught in our schools and popular culture, is producing a growing desire to see eradicated almost anything and anyone to do with that cultural heritage.

I’d like to think we will stop it in time.  If not, then I at least hope that the enablers of this movement of death and destruction, of nihilism and ignorance, will realize what part they played in allowing it to happen.

Consider that scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade where Elsa, the female antagonist, is at a Nazi rally in Berlin.  Bad girl that she is, she still has a legitimate love for history, archaeology and the gift of learning.  So it kills her to see the madness, to see the Nazis in the torchlight processional throwing precious books onto a blazing bonfire.  A tear streams down her cheek as she realizes just who and what she has aligned with.  I hope the enablers of this modern Leftist movement will have the same tears on their cheeks as one author, one artist, one composer, one thinker and one hero after another is burned to ashes from the Left’s increasing hatred of anything not Now.

Go here to comment.  I would fear the Left more, but for their sheer unremitting ignorance.  Ultimately they often repel the more  intelligent among their ranks.  However, never underestimate the damage that fanatical fools can do.  Fortunately their triumphs, although ghastly, tend to be short lived.  In the long run, never bet against truth.