Donald R. McClarey
One of the more decisive decisions of the Occupation of Japan, that Japan would remain one state, was made early in the process by General MacArthur. The Soviets planned to occupy the northern island of Hokkaido and establish a puppet Soviet regime, identical to what was occurring in East Germany. If this had succeeded, Japan could have been divided into a Communist North Japan and a Democratic South Japan for the length of the Cold War. Appeasement of the Soviets was still very much in favor at the State Department, and it is possible that if the Soviets had simply begun landing in Hokkaido, that Washington may have capitulated on that point. After all, the Soviets were full members, with Great Britain, in the Allied commission to supervise and monitor the Supreme Commander in Tokyo. The Soviets also insisted upon a tri-partite division of Tokyo, similar to what was being done in Berlin. MacArthur would have none of it. Continue reading
Jonathan V. Last explains at The Weekly Standard why an ever increasing number of Catholics view this Pontificate as an unending train wreck:
Pope Francis has some interesting views about Catholic teachings, too. In January, he criticized Catholics who have what he considers too many children. “Some think, excuse me if I use the word, that in order to be good Catholics, we have to be like rabbits—but no,” he said. The push-back from within the Church was hard enough that the pope apologized a week later.
He has never apologized for criticizing Catholics whom he deems to be “obsessed” with abortion, contraception, and gay marriage:
“We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.
His message being . . . well, it’s not clear what, exactly. After all, in America, at least, the question of abortion seems somewhat important, since 55 million children have been killed in utero since 1973. And as for contraception and gay marriage, it is the U.S. government which is seeking to force its view of these regimes on the Catholic Church, and not the other way around. The pope’s position seems remarkably like blaming the victim.
As did his remarks following the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris. Francis held forth saying, “Every religion has its dignity. I cannot mock a religion that respects human life and the human person.” And then he went somewhat further:
“If my good friend Dr. Gasparri says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch,” Francis said, throwing a pretend punch his way. “It’s normal. You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others.” . . .
“There are so many people who speak badly about religions or other religions, who make fun of them, who make a game out of the religions of others,” he said. “They are provocateurs. And what happens to them is what would happen to Dr. Gasparri if he says a curse word against my mother. There is a limit.”
As you might expect, a week later the Vatican rushed yet another spokesman out to clarify the real meaning of the Holy Father’s words because he absolutely, positively, didn’t mean what he said. Or didn’t say what he meant.
Or something. Continue reading
Ar, it be about four score and seven years ago since our fathers made ye new nation, a liberty port for all hands from end to end, and dedicated t’ t’ truth that all swabs be created equal.
Now we be fightin’ a great ruckus, testin’ whether ye nation, or any nation so minted like it, can last through the long watch. We be met on a great boardin’ fight o’ that war. We have come t’ dedicate a spot o’ that field, as a final restin’ place for those who here swallowed the anchor forever that that nation might live. It be altogether fittin’ and proper that we be doin’ this.
But, truth be told, we can not set aside, we can not pray over, we can not hallow this ground. T’ brave swabs, livin’ and went t’ Davy Jones’ locker, who fit here, have blessed it, far over our poor power t’ add or swipe back. T’ world won’t writ what we say here, but it can never forget what those swabs did here. It be for us t’ livin’, rather, t’ be dedicated here t’ finishin’ t’ work which they who fit here have begun. It be rather for us t’ be here dedicated t’ t’ great chore remainin’ before us—that from these honored swabs we take increased love t’ what they died for—that we here Bible swear that these shipmates shall not have went t’ Davy Jones’ locker for nothin’—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth o’ freedom—and that government o’ t’ crew, by t’ crew, for t’ crew, shall not perish from t’ earth. Continue reading
From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:
VATICAN– Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI confirmed Monday that he will make his first visit to the Apostolic Palace in September to host and attend a raging kegger.
The news comes just hours after Pope Francis announced plans to attend a meeting on the family in Philadelphia, or as Benedict called it, “Snoozapalooza.”
In a statement made to friends gathered Monday, Benedict said, “I wish to confirm that in September of 2015, I will throw the most epic, off-the-chain party the Vatican has seen since the 15th century.”
Benedict has already traveled to South Beach, San Diego, Las Vegas, Brazil and elsewhere in the 20 months he has been retired, and his rager at the Apostolic Palace will come at a pivotal moment for the Roman Catholic Church.
“I believe that Benedict knows what a stressful time it has been for the faithful these past few months,” said an anonymous source. “With so many Catholics trying to explain to friends and co-workers, as well as themselves, what actually happened at the Synod on the Family, Benedict thinks it’s time to unwind with an ‘Irish Car Bomb’ or two, a couple games of ‘Whiskey Pong,’ and some ‘keg stands.’”
The source went on to remind everyone invited to keep the “bender” on the “D Lo” until “papa’s” gone. Continue reading
Something for the weekend: Jefferson and Liberty Too. The hotly contested election of 1800 brought to the nation many of the trappings of subsequent campaigns including campaign songs. The most popular was the tune Jefferson and Liberty Too, sung to the tune of Irish jig The Gobby O, which was quite popular in America during the colonial period and thereafter, familiar as a fiddle tune at virtually every ball:
The gloomy night before us flies,
The reign of terror now is o’er;
Its gags, inquisitors, and spies,
Its herds of harpies are no more!
Rejoice, Columbia’s sons, rejoice!
To tyrants never bend your knee,
But join with heart, and soul, and voice,
For Jefferson and Liberty!
No lordling here, with gorging jaws
Shall wring from industry the food;
Nor fiery bigot’s holy laws
Lay waste our fields and streets in blood!
Here strangers from a thousand shores
Compelled by tyranny to roam,
Shall find amidst abundant stores,
A nobler and happier home.
Here Art shall lift her laurelled head,
Wealth, Industry, and Peace, divine;
And where dark, pathless forests spread,
Rich fields and lofty cities shine.
From Europe’s wants and woes remote,
A friendly waste of waves between,
Here plenty cheers the humblest cot,
And smiles on every village green.
Here free as air, expanded space,
To every soul and sect shall be —
That sacred privilege of our race —
The worship of the Deity.
Let foes to freedom dread the name;
But should they touch the sacred tree,
Twice fifty thousands swords would flame
For Jefferson and liberty.
From Georgia to Lake Champlain,
From seas to Mississippi’s shore,
Ye sons of freedom loud proclaim —
“The reign of terror is no more.”
These gifts, great Liberty, are thine,
Then thousand more we owe to thee,
Immortal may their mem’ries shine,
Who fought and died for Liberty.
National Review Online’s Kevin Williamson cements his reputation as one of the more thought provoking writers on the net with this hilarious piece which takes apart a typical example of biased “reporting” from the New York Times:
[ED: Here at the end of the eighth paragraph in this story about a Jewish man being murdered for the crime of driving while Jewish, I’m wondering if we’re going to get a straightforward statement of the fact that this Jewish man was murdered for the crime of driving while Jewish.]
By now most of America knows about Ahmed Mohamed, the 14 year old teenager arrested at his school:
Irving’s police chief announced Wednesday that charges won’t be filed against Ahmed Mohamed, the MacArthur High School freshman arrested Monday after he brought what school officials and police described as a “hoax bomb” on campus.
At a joint press conference with Irving ISD, Chief Larry Boyd said the device — confiscated by an English teacher despite the teen’s insistence that it was a clock — was “certainly suspicious in nature.”
School officers questioned Ahmed about the device and why Ahmed had brought it to school. Boyd said Ahmed was then handcuffed “for his safety and for the safety of the officers” and taken to a juvenile detention center. He was later released to his parents, Boyd said.
“The follow-up investigation revealed the device apparently was a homemade experiment, and there’s no evidence to support the perception he intended to create alarm,” Boyd said, describing the incident as a “naive accident.”
Obama has invited the kid to the White House and he has become Exhibit A against American “Islamophobia”.
One problem with all this: it is possible that the entire incident was staged by the boy and his father.
First, Anthony at Art Voice has taken a very close look at this clock allegedly “invented” by Ahmed:
I found the highest resolution photograph of the clock I could. Instantly, I was disappointed. Somewhere in all of this – there has indeed been a hoax. Ahmed Mohamed didn’t invent his own alarm clock. He didn’t even build a clock. Now, before I go on and get accused of attacking a 14 year old kid who’s already been through enough, let me explain my purpose. I don’t want to just dissect the clock. I want to dissect our reaction as a society to the situation. Part of that is the knee-jerk responses we’re all so quick to make without facts. So, before you scroll down and leave me angry comments, please continue to the end (or not – prove my point, and miss the point, entirely!)
For starters, one glance at the printed circuit board in the photo, and I knew we were looking at mid-to-late 1970s vintage electronics. Surely you’ve seen a modern circuit board, with metallic traces leading all over to the various components like an electronic spider’s web. You’ll notice right away the highly accurate spacing, straightness of the lines, consistency of the patterns. That’s because we design things on computers nowadays, and computers assist in routing these lines. Take a look at the board in Ahmed’s clock. It almost looks hand-drawn, right? That’s because it probably was. Computer aided design was in its infancy in the 70s. This is how simple, low cost items (like an alarm clock) were designed. Today, even a budding beginner is going to get some computer aided assistance – in fact they’ll probably start there, learning by simulating designs before building them. You can even simulate or lay out a board with free apps on your phone or tablet. A modern hobbyist usually wouldn’t be bothered with the outdated design techniques. There’s also silk screening on the board. An “M” logo, “C-94” (probably, a part number – C might even stand for “clock”), and what looks like an American flag. More about that in a minute. Point for now being, a hobbyist wouldn’t silk screen logos and part numbers on their home made creation. It’s pretty safe to say already we’re looking at ’70s tech, mass produced in a factory.
So I turned to eBay, searching for vintage alarm clocks. It only took a minute to locate Ahmed’s clock. See this eBay listing, up at the time of this writing. Amhed’s clock was invented, and built, by Micronta, a Radio Shack subsidary. Catalog number 63 756.
The shape and design is a dead give away. The large screen. The buttons on the front laid out horizontally would have been on a separate board – a large snooze button, four control buttons, and two switches to turn the alarm on and off, and choose two brightness levels. A second board inside would have contained the actual “brains” of the unit. The clock features a 9v battery back-up, and a switch on the rear allows the owner to choose between 12 and 24 hour time. (Features like a battery back-up, and a 24 hour time selection seems awful superfluous for a hobby project, don’t you think?) Oh, and about that “M” logo on the circuit board mentioned above? Micronta.
For one last bit of confirmation, I located the pencil box Ahmed used for his project. During this video interview he again claims it was his “invention” and that he “made” the device – but the important thing at the moment, at 1:13, we see him showing the pencil box on his computer screen. Here it is on Amazon, where it’s clearly labeled as being 8.25 inches wide. Our eBay seller also conveniently took a photo of the clock next to a ruler to show it’s scale – about 8 inches wide. The dimensions all line up perfectly.
So there you have it folks, Ahmed Mohamad did not invent, nor build a clock. He took apart an existing clock, and transplanted the guts into a pencil box, and claimed it was his own creation. It all seems really fishy to me.
If we accept the story about “inventing” an alarm clock is made up, as I think I’ve made a pretty good case for, it’s fair to wonder what other parts of the story might be made up, not reported factually by the media, or at least, exaggerated.
I refer back again to this YouTube video interview with Ahmed. He explains that he closed up the box with a piece of cord because he didn’t want it to look suspicious. I’m curious, why would “looking suspicious” have even crossed his mind before this whole event unfolded, if he was truly showing off a hobby project, something so innocuous as an alarm clock. Why did he choose a pencil box, one that looks like a miniature briefcase no less, as an enclosure for a clock? It’s awful hard to see the clock with the case closed. On the other hand, with the case open, it’s awful dangerous to have an exposed power transformer sitting near the snooze button (unless, perhaps his invention was to stop serial-snooze-button pressers by giving them a dangerous electrical shock!)
How PopeWatch wishes it were possible to have an analysis of the current situation of the Church by Bishop Sheen! Hold it. Perhaps we do have one:
Nowhere in Sacred Scripture do we find warrant for the popular myth of the Devil as a buffoon who is dressed like the first “red.” Rather is he described as an angel fallen from heaven, as “the Prince of this world,” whose business it is to tell us that there is no other world. His logic is simple: if there is no heaven there is no hell; if there is no hell, then there is no sin; if there is no sin, then there is no judge, and if there is no judgment then evil is good and good is evil. But above all these descriptions, Our Lord tells us that he will be so much like Himself that he would deceive even the elect–and certainly no devil ever seen in picture books could deceive even the elect. How will he come in this new age to win followers to his religion?
The pre-Communist Russian belief is that he will come disguised as the Great Humanitarian; he will talk peace, prosperity and plenty not as means to lead us to God, but as ends in themselves. . . .
. . . The third temptation in which Satan asked Christ to adore him and all the kingdoms of the world would be His, will become the temptation to have a new religion without a Cross, a liturgy without a world to come, a religion to destroy a religion, or a politics which is a religion–one that renders unto Caesar even the things that are God’s.
In the midst of all his seeming love for humanity and his glib talk of freedom and equality, he will have one great secret which he will tell to no one: he will not believe in God. Because his religion will be brotherhood without the fatherhood of God, he will deceive even the elect. He will set up a counterchurch which will be the ape of the Church, because he, the Devil, is the ape of God. It will have all the notes and characteristics of the Church, but in reverse and emptied of its divine content. It will be a mystical body of the Antichrist that will in all externals resemble the mystical body of Christ. . . .
. . . But the twentieth century will join the counterchurch because it claims to be infallible when its visible head speaks ex cathedra from Moscow on the subject of economics and politics, and as chief shepherd of world communism.
Fulton J. Sheen, Communism and the Conscience of the West (1948)
Two of the five men who have held the rank of General of the Army, Dwight Eisenhower and Douglas MacArthur, could be quite acerbic in their assessments of each other. MacArthur in 1947 referred to Eisenhower as the best clerk he ever had, and Eisenhower was fond of saying that he studied dramatics under MacArthur. Both assessments had a fair amount of truth. Eisenhower was the consummate military manager, but he lacked almost all skill as a commander of forces in combat. His one taste of such command, in North Africa, produced distinctly lackluster results. As for MacArthur he was overly dramatic, a penchant that played well in the Victorian world in which he was born, but often seemed ludicrous by World War II.
It is intriguing to speculate about what sort of command team they would have made if they had served together in World War II. As Chief of Staff for MacArthur, Eisenhower would have been indispensable in making the most of the resources that MacArthur got at the tail end of a very long supply chain. His skill at diplomacy would have smoothed the ruffled feathers of Presidents, as well as the often stormy relations that MacArthur had with the Navy and the Australians. MacArthur would have contributed the streak of strategic and operational brilliance that Eisenhower sorely lacked. Continue reading
Breitbart tells us that our graceless President continues to be a leftist boor:
In a stunning show of political indecorum, Obama has invited a series of individuals who publicly flout Catholic teaching, including a pro-abortion religious sister, a transgender woman and the first openly gay Episcopal bishop, along with at least two Catholic gay activists.
One of the invitees, retired Episcopal bishop Gene Robinson, made history by becoming the first openly gay episcopal bishop in 2003 and subsequently the first to divorce his gay partner in 2014, after having previously separated from his wife of 14 years. He has attended a number of religious events with the Obama administration, offering a prayer at President Obama’s inauguration in 2009 and taking part in the 2014 National Prayer Breakfast.
Mateo Williamson, a cross-dressing woman and former co-chairman of the Transgender Caucus for Dignity USA, has also received an invitation to the White House for Pope Francis’ visit. Williamson says that though she now thinks of herself as a man, she continues to be attracted to males. “Today I identify as a gay man and before that was difficult to understand because I thought that in order to be transgender, in order to be a transgender male that I had to be attracted to females but I never have throughout my entire life.”
Though Pope Francis has said that he doesn’t believe in judging persons and is ready to welcome anyone in Christ’s name, he has also said that Catholics do not accept the modern mentality of transgenderism and once said that gay marriage is the devil’s “attempt to destroy God’s plan.”
“The acceptance of our bodies as God’s gift,” Francis wrote in his encyclical letter on the environment, “is vital for welcoming and accepting the entire world as a gift from the Father and our common home, whereas thinking that we enjoy absolute power over our own bodies turns, often subtly, into thinking that we enjoy absolute power over creation.”
In its response, the Vatican Doctrinal Congregation said that “transsexual behavior publicly reveals an attitude contrary to the moral imperative of resolving the problem of one’s sexual identity according to the truth of one’s sexuality.”
Another White House invitee for the Pope’s visit, Sister Simone Campbell, is the pro-abortion executive director of the social justice lobby NETWORK. Campbell fought against the U.S. bishops when Obama’s Affordable Care Act was originally being debated, in an attempt to undermine their abortion and conscience concerns. Continue reading
A film produced by the Army Signal Corps for troops who would serve on occupation duty in Japan. Written by Theodore Geisel, who would later achieve immortality as Dr. Seuss, the film explains why it was necessary to occupy Japan and convert the nation to the ways of peace and Democracy.
A still worse thing may happen. Novelty may fix our attention not even on the service but on the celebrant. You know what I mean. Try as one may to exclude it, the questions ‘What on earth is he up to now?’ will intrude. It lays one’s devotion waste. There is really some excuse for the man who said, ‘I wish they’d remember that the charge to Peter was Feed my sheep; not Try experiments on my rats, or even, Teach my performing dogs new tricks.’
I like to return to the subject of bad music in the Church periodically. I think it is a symptom of the post Vatican II “identity crisis” of the human portion of the Church. We no longer know who we are, what we should do or where we are going, and our music reflects this lost, aimless attitude by endlessly playing the most banal music in the history of the Church, as if to make certain that we receive no hint of inspiration to lead us out of our spiritual morass.
What is the Catholic hymn you hate the most? (I know, I know there are so many choices!) For me it is hands down Sing a New Song by ex-Jesuit Dan Schutte, a founding member of the Saint Louis Jesuits, the group responsible for writing more truly wretched music than any other organization in the history of Man. A miserable piece of doggerel that has been played to death at Masses since it fell from Schutte’s pen in 1972. Ah the seventies! One more crime for that kidney stone of a decade!
Why is Catholic music at Mass so bad when we have such a magnificent musical heritage?
If the Pope, remiss in his duties and neglectful of his and his neighbor’s salvation, gets caught up in idle business, and if moreover, by his silence (which actually does more harm to himself and everyone else), he nonetheless leads innumerable hoards of people away from the good with him, he will be beaten for eternity with many blows alongside that very first slave of hell [the Devil]. However, no person can presume to convict him of any transgressions in this matter, because, although the Pope can judge everyone else, no one may judge him, unless he, for whose perpetual stability all the faithful pray as earnestly as they call to mind the fact that, after God, their own salvation depends on his soundness, is found to have strayed from the faith.
Gratian, (Decretum, Part 1, Distinction 40, Chapter 6)
Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa explains how revolutionary the Pope’s changes in regard to the annulment process are:
ROME, September 15, 2015 – As the days go by it becomes ever clearer how revolutionary is the scope of the two motu prorio published by Pope Francis on September 8 – the second for the Eastern Rite Catholic Churches – on the reform of procedures for marital nullity cases:
It is the pope himself, in the opening of the document, who presents the reason for the reform:
“The enormous number of faithful who, despite wanting to look after their conscience, too often are turned aside by the juridical structures of the Church.”
In the official presentation of the motu proprio the president of the commission that elaborated the reform, Monsignor Pio Vito Pinto, dean of the Roman Rota, turned the reason into an objective:
“To move from the restricted number of a few thousand findings of nullity to the enormous number of unfortunates who could have a declaration of nullity but are left out by the existing system.”
Francis has been absolutely convinced for some time that at least half of the marriages celebrated in church all over the world are invalid. He said so in the press conference on July 28, 2013 on the return flight from Rio de Janeiro. He said it again to Cardinal Walter Kasper, as Kasper in turn said in an interview with “Commonweal” of May 7, 2014.
And therefore these faithful unheeded in their anticipation of having the nullity of their marriages recognized are also part, in the vision of Francis as presented by Pinto, of those “poor” who are at the center of his pontificate. Millions and millions of “unfortunates” waiting for the assistance that is due them.
The procedural reform backed by Jorge Mario Bergoglio aims precisely at this: to allow these endless crowds easy, fast, and free access to the recognition of the nullity of their marriages. The synod of last October (see paragraph 48 of the final “Relatio”) expressed generic support for improvements in the procedures. But a good number of fathers said they were against one or another of the reforms proposed by various sides. Which however are precisely the ones now found in the motu proprio.
THE ORDINARY PROCEDURE
The reform delineates two main types of marital procedures. There is the ordinary one and the one – entirely new – called “shorter.”
In the ordinary procedure the main innovation is the abolition of the obligatory double decree of nullity. Only one is needed, as previously permitted in experimental form between 1971 and 1983 in the ecclesiastical tribunals of the United States, a concession that was revoked after the flood of nullity decrees issued by the tribunals and the bad reputation of “Catholic divorce” that was the result.
A single decree, without appeal, reduces the duration of an ordinary procedure to about one year.
Ecclesiastical tribunals, moreover, will have to be set up in every diocese of the world, no matter how small or remote, an objective from which the Catholic Church is very far today mainly because of the shortage of churchmen and laity who are experts in canon law.
But there is another more substantial innovation, presented in the new canon 1678 § 1, which will replace the corresponding canon 1536 § 2 of the existing code of canon law.
While in the canon being scrapped “the force of full proof cannot be attributed” to the statements of the parties, unless “other elements are present which thoroughly corroborate them,” in the new canon “the statements of the parties can have the force of full proof,” to be considered as such by the judge “if there are no other elements to refute them.”
One discovers in this an exaltation of the subjectivity of the party bringing the case that matches up neatly with the official presentations of the two motu proprio by Monsignor Pinto and the secretary of the commission he heads, Monsignor Alejandro W. Bunge, with regard to the “principle motivation” that in their judgment drives many Catholics – in the future a “mass” – to apply to their marriage tribunals:
“Nullity is requested for reasons of conscience, for example to live the sacraments of the Church or to perfect a new stable and happy bond, unlike the first one.”
It is therefore easy to foresee that the longstanding controversy over communion for the divorced and remarried will fizzle out amid the facts, replaced by unlimited and practically unfailing recourse to the certification of nullity of the first marriage.
THE “SHORTER” PROCEDURE
The biggest innovation of the reform backed by Francis is however the procedure called “shorter.”
Very short, actually. According to the new canons it can begin and end in the span of just 45 days, with the local bishop as the sole and ultimate judge.
Recourse to the abbreviated procedure is allowed “in cases in which the alleged nullity of the marriage is supported by particularly evident arguments.”
But there’s more. Recourse to this kind of procedure is not only allowed but encouraged, seeing the superabundant illustration of supporting circumstances furnished by article 14 § 1 of the “Procedural rules” attached to the motu proprio.
The article says:
“Among the circumstances that can allow the handling of the marital nullity case by means of the shorter procedure […] there are for example:
– that lack of faith which can generate the simulation of consent or the error that determines the will,
– the brevity of conjugal cohabitation,
– abortion procured to prevent procreation,
– stubborn persistence in an extramarital relationship at the time of the wedding or immediately afterward,
– the malicious concealment of sterility or of a grave contagious disease, or of children born from a previous relationship, or of incarceration;
– the grounds of the marriage being entirely extraneous to conjugal life or consistent with the unexpected pregnancy of the woman,
– physical violence inflicted to extort consent,
– lack of the use of reason corroborated by medical documents, etc.”
The list is stunning in its disjointed variety. It includes circumstances, like physical violence inflicted to extort consent, that are actual grounds for the nullity of a marriage. But it includes others, like the brevity of conjugal cohabitation, that cannot in any way support a decree of invalidity. And it includes yet another, the lack of faith, that although difficult to evaluate is ever more frequently evoked as the new universal master key for nullity. And yet these circumstances are all listed on an equal footing, together with a final “etc.” that induces one to add other examples at will.
But in addition to being heterogeneous, the list appears to be misleading. In and of itself it lists circumstances that would simply allow one to access the “shorter” procedure. But it is very easy to interpret it as a list of cases that allow one to obtain the recognition of nullity. Many couples have experienced one of the circumstances illustrated – for example, pregnancy before the wedding – and it is therefore natural that the conviction should arise in them that, upon request, their marriage can be dissolved, seeing also the pressure that the Church exercises in suggesting – precisely in the presence of those circumstances – recourse to the procedure of nullity, and moreover to the quick one.
The Civil War was fought in 10,000 places, from Valverde, New Mexico, and Tullahoma, Tennessee, to St. Albans, Vermont, and Fernandina on the Florida coast. More than 3 million Americans fought in it, and over 600,000 men, 2 percent of the population, died in it.
American homes became headquarters, American churches and schoolhouses sheltered the dying, and huge foraging armies swept across American farms and burned American towns. Americans slaughtered one another wholesale, right here in America in their own cornfields and peach orchards, along familiar roads and by waters with old American names.
In two days at Shiloh, on the banks of the Tennessee River, more American men fell than in all the previous American wars combined. At Cold Harbor, some 7,000 Americans fell in twenty minutes. Men who had never strayed twenty miles from their own front doors now found themselves soldiers in great armies, fighting epic battles hundreds of miles from home. They knew they were making history, and it was the greatest adventure of their lives.
The Civil War has been given many names: the War Between the States, the War Against Northern Aggression, the Second American Revolution, the Lost Cause, the War of the Rebellion, the Brothers’ War, the Late Unpleasantness. Walt Whitman called it the War of Attempted Secession. Confederate General Joseph Johnston called it the War Against the States. By whatever name, it was unquestionably the most important event in the life of the nation. It saw the end of slavery and the downfall of a southern planter aristocracy. It was the watershed of a new political and economic order, and the beginning of big industry, big business, big government. It was the first modern war and, for Americans, the costliest, yielding the most American fatalities and the greatest domestic suffering, spiritually and physically. It was the most horrible, necessary, intimate, acrimonious, mean-spirited, and heroic conflict the nation has ever known.
Inevitably, we grasp the war through such hyperbole. In so doing, we tend to blur the fact that real people lived through it and were changed by the event. One hundred eighty-five thousand black Americans fought to free their people. Fishermen and storekeepers from Deer Isle, Maine, served bravely and died miserably in strange places like Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Fredericksburg, Virginia. There was scarcely a family in the South that did not lose a son or brother or father.
As with any civil strife, the war was marked by excruciating ironies. Robert E. Lee became a legend in the Confederate army only after turning down an offer to command the entire Union force. Four of Lincoln’s own brothers-in-law fought on the Confederate side, and one was killed. The little town of Winchester, Virginia, changed hands seventy-two times during the war, and the state of Missouri sent thirty-nine regiments to fight in the siege of Vicksburg: seventeen to the Confederacy and twenty-two to the Union.
Between 1861 and 1865, Americans made war on each other and killed each other in great numbers — if only to become the kind of country that could no longer conceive of how that was possible. What began as a bitter dispute over Union and States’ Rights, ended as a struggle over the meaning of freedom in America. At Gettysburg in 1863, Abraham Lincoln said perhaps more than he knew. The war was about a “new birth of freedom.”
Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa discusses how the Pope views Cuba and the United States, the two countries that he is about to visit:
ROME, September 11, 2015 – The United States and Cuba, or the devil and holy water. The journey that Pope Francis has scheduled from September 19 to 27 will take him to the two opposite poles of his geopolitical vision: to the temple of the “economy that kills” and just beforehand to the outpost of the peoples on the path of redemption.
In the island of the Caribbean and in the “Alianza Bolivariana” already established between Cuba and the populist regimes of Nicaragua, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Bolivia, the Argentine Jorge Mario Bergoglio in fact sees a preview of the “Great Homeland” that he longs for so much, the springtime of an integration of the Latin American continent in a Catholic and anti-capitalist vein.
He has already visited two of these countries, Ecuador and Bolivia, and will soon arrive in the third, Cuba. And he has always treated their rulers with great regard and even with cordiality, including when they have presented the greatest trials.
Against the totalitarian trend in the Venezuela of Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro he has never expended a single word, nor has he ever responded to the appeals of a population reduced to hunger. He has promoted the unworthy Bolivian president Evo Morales to de facto leader of those antagonistic “popular movements” that are for him, the pope, the future of the redeemed humanity. As for Cuba, here too what is startling about Francis is his silence.
Of course, once he has landed in Havana Francis will speak. But in skimming the program of the visit, it is striking how scanty it is. In other countries the pope has never failed to enter a prison or to meet with refugees and the homeless. In the United States it is already known where and when he will do this. But not in Cuba.
In Lampedusa he threw flowers into the ocean and cried out, “Shame!” but it is unlikely that he will do so from the Malecón in Havana, in front of the ocean strait that has swallowed up thousands of Cubans fleeing toward the coasts of Florida.
In a prison it would be difficult for him to encounter any of the hundreds of political detainees.
The Damas de Blanco, wives and mothers of dissidents in prison, who go to Mass every Sunday dressed in white and brave the insults and violence of the police, would have a hard time finding a place in the front row of the pope’s Masses.
As for the dissidents living in surveilled and intermittent freedom, many of them Catholic, the only hope is that the pope may be able to meet with one of them away from the spotlight and outside of the official program, as the regime benignly allowed American secretary of state John Kerry to do on the day of the inauguration of the restored United States embassy in Cuba.
There is a great deal of Realpolitik in the silence maintained by Pope Francis so far on the lack of freedom for the Cuban people. Vatican secretary of state Pietro Parolin and his substitute Angelo Becciu were raised in the school of Cardinal Agostino Casaroli, a great diplomat at the time of the Soviet empire, and were nuncios in Venezuela and Cuba respectively. They know the country profiles, and Francis seems to adhere diligently to their instructions.
What the pope adds of his own is his personal, confidential approach, almost as a confessor, with the despots he encounters. He has succeeded in touching the notoriously stony heart of Raül Castro, leading him to express, after a private conversation at the Vatican, intentions of returning to the practice of the Catholic religion. Fidel can be counted on for an encore. The wager is that during his three days on the island Francis may come up with something else unplanned, capable of giving a minimum of substance to the cry “Libertad” already raised in vain by the Cuban crowds during the visits of the two previous popes.
In the United States it will be a completely different tune. Continue reading
The task confronting MacArthur seventy years ago in Japan was absolutely staggering. As Supreme Commander Allied Powers, he found himself in charge of a devastated Japan. Most of its major cities were collections of rubble. The Japanese rail system was in shambles from Allied bombing. Most of the Japanese merchant fleet was now sailing the bottom of the Pacific. An immense famine was manifestly waiting in the wings. The Japanese shattered medical system was unable to cope with rampant disease. Finally, the Japanese economy was at a virtual standstill, awaiting the repatriation of millions of Japanese troops stationed overseas to add to the ranks of the unemployed. To top this off, MacArthur also had to fend off loud demands from politicians and ordinary American citizens that Japan be punished, anger at the unprovoked war still being raw in the United States. MacArthur, ever sensitive to public opinion, on September 14, 1945 released a statement to give some inkling to his fellow countrymen of the situation in Japan:
STATEMENT BY GENERAL MACARTHUR ON THE OCCUPATION OF JAPAN
September 14, 1945
New York Times.
I have noticed some impatience in the press, based upon the assumption of a so-called soft policy in Japan. This can only arise from an erroneous concept of what is occurring.
The first phase of the occupation must of necessity be based on military considerations which involved the deployment forward of our troops and the disarming and demobilization of the enemy. This is coupled with the paramount consideration of withdrawing our former prisoners of war and war internees from internment camps and evacuating them to their homes.
Safety and security require that all of the steps shall proceed with precision and completeness, lest calamity may be precipitated.
The military phase is proceeding in an entirely satisfactory way.
Over half of the enemy’s force in Japan proper is now demobilized and the entire program will be practically complete by the middle of October. During this interval of time, safety and complete security must be assured.
When the first phase is completed, other phases as provided in the surrender terms will infallibly follow. No one need have any doubt about the prompt, complete, entire fulfillment of the terms of surrender. The process, however, takes time. It is well understandable that in the face of atrocities committed by the enemy there should be impatience. This natural impulse, however, should be tempered by the fact that security and military expediency still require an exercise of some restraint. The surrender terms aren’t soft and they won’t be applied in kid-glove fashion.
Economically and industrially as well as militarily, Japan is completely exhausted and depleted. She is in a condition of utter collapse. Her governmental structure is controlled completely by occupation forces and is operating only to the extent necessary to insure such an orderly and controlled procedure as will prevent social chaos, disease and starvation. Continue reading