Theodore Roosevelt had two heroes: his father and Abraham Lincoln. In 1905 he wrote this introduction to a collection of the writings of Lincoln:
Immediately after Lincoln’s re-election to the Presidency, in an off-hand speech, delivered in response to a serenade by some of his admirers on the evening of November 10, 1864, he spoke as follows:
“It has long been a grave question whether any government not too strong for the liberties of its people can be strong enough to maintain its existence in great emergencies. On this point, the present rebellion brought our republic to a severe test, and the Presidential election, occurring in regular course during the rebellion, added not a little to the strain…. The strife of the election is but human nature practically applied to the facts in the case. What has occurred in this case must ever occur in similar cases. Human nature will not change. In any future great national trial, compared with the men of this, we shall have as weak and as strong, as silly and as wise, as bad and as good. Let us therefore study the incidents in this as philosophy to learn wisdom from and none of them as wrongs to be avenged…. Now that the election is over, may not all having a common interest reunite in a common fort to save our common country? For my own part, I have striven and shall strive to avoid placing any obstacle in the way. So long as I have been here, I have not willingly planted a thorn in any man’s bosom. While I am deeply sensible to the high compliment of a re-election and duly grateful, as I trust, to Almighty God for having directed my countrymen to a right conclusion, as I think for their own good, it adds nothing to my satisfaction that any other man may be disappointed or pained by the result.”
This speech has not attracted much general attention, yet it is in a peculiar degree both illustrative and typical of the great statesman who made it, alike in its strong common-sense and in its lofty standard of morality. Lincoln’s life, Lincoln’s deeds and words, are not only of consuming interest to the historian, but should be intimately known to every man engaged in the hard practical work of American political life. It is difficult to overstate how much it means to a nation to have as the two foremost figures in its history men like Washington and Lincoln. It is good for every man in any way concerned in public life to feel that the highest ambition any American can possibly have will be gratified just in proportion as he raises himself toward the standards set by these two men.
It is a very poor thing, whether for nations or individuals, to advance the history of great deeds done in the past as an excuse for doing poorly in the present; but it is an excellent thing to study the history of the great deeds of the past, and of the great men who did them, with an earnest desire to profit thereby so as to render better service in the present. In their essentials, the men of the present day are much like the men of the past, and the live issues of the present can be faced to better advantage by men who have in good faith studied how the leaders of the nation faced the dead issues of the past. Such a study of Lincoln’s life will enable us to avoid the twin gulfs of immorality and inefficiency—the gulfs which always lie one on each side of the careers alike of man and of nation. It helps nothing to have avoided one if shipwreck is encountered in the other. The fanatic, the well-meaning moralist of unbalanced mind, the parlor critic who condemns others but has no power himself to do good and but little power to do ill—all these were as alien to Lincoln as the vicious and unpatriotic themselves. His life teaches our people that they must act with wisdom, because otherwise adherence to right will be mere sound and fury without substance; and that they must also act high-mindedly, or else what seems to be wisdom will in the end turn out to be the most destructive kind of folly.
Throughout his entire life, and especially after he rose to leadership in his party, Lincoln was stirred to his depths by the sense of fealty to a lofty ideal; but throughout his entire life, he also accepted human nature as it is, and worked with keen, practical good sense to achieve results with the instruments at hand. It is impossible to conceive of a man farther removed from baseness, farther removed from corruption, from mere self-seeking; but it is also impossible to conceive of a man of more sane and healthy mind—a man less under the influence of that fantastic and diseased morality (so fantastic and diseased as to be in reality profoundly immoral) which makes a man in this work-a-day world refuse to do what is possible because he cannot accomplish the impossible.
PopeWatch has long thought that the alleged amity between the Pope Emeritus and his successor is basically a sham. The flap over Cardinal Sarah’s book might be evidence of this:
“The arrogance, the violence of language, the disrespect and the inhuman contempt for Benedict XVI are diabolical and cover the Church with a mantle of sadness and shame,” Cardinal Sarah said.
“These people demolish the Church and its profound nature,” he added.
Critics of Benedict XVI have complained that the former Pontiff meddled in Church affairs by contributing the afterword to the German edition of the book, in which Benedict praises Cardinal Sarah and thanks Pope Francis for appointing the African prelate to his current post as prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship.
In his afterword to Cardinal Sarah’s book, The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise, Benedict XVI wrote that the liturgy is in “good hands” with the Guinean cardinal, while also praising Sarah for his prayer life.
Sarah, Benedict writes, speaks “out of the depths of silence with the Lord, out of his interior union with him, and thus really has something to say to each one of us.”
“We should be grateful to Pope Francis for appointing such a spiritual teacher as head of the congregation that is responsible for the celebration of the liturgy in the Church,” Benedict writes.
The last line of the afterword reads, “With Cardinal Sarah, a master of silence and of interior prayer, the liturgy is in good hands.”
Critics were quick to accuse the former pope of interfering in Church politics and trying to undermine Pope Francis.
One, the Italian liturgist Andrea Grillo, a longtime detractor of Pope Benedict, claims that the former pope has behaved in a “scandalous way” by writing the afterword in praise of Cardinal Sarah and his book, accusing him of “clericalism” and “hypocrisy.”
“It’s as if Ratzinger suddenly renounced his renunciation and wishes to influence the decisions of his successor,” Grillo declared.
The young recruit is silly — ‘e thinks o’ suicide. ‘E’s lost ‘is gutter-devil; ‘e ‘asn’t got ‘is pride; But day by day they kicks ‘im, which ‘elps ‘im on a bit, Till ‘e finds ‘isself one mornin’ with a full an’ proper kit.
Rudyard Kipling, The ‘eathen
Ah, the first difficult day of military service. You suddenly realize that military recruiters had better hope that lying is not a go to Hell sin. Pride comes later. Decades after the experience you realize, as the saying goes, that you would not repeat the experience for a million dollars, but you also would not take a million dollars and have the episode subtracted from your life.
“The meanest man in grey fields gone
Behind the set of sun,
Heareth between star and other star,
Through the door of the darkness fallen ajar,
The council, eldest of things that are,
The talk of the Three in One.
There is nothing in the least liberal or akin to reform in the substitution of pure monotheism for the Trinity. The complex God of the Athanasian Creed may be an enigma for the intellect; but He is far less likely to gather the mystery and cruelty of a Sultan than the lonely god of Omar or Muhammad. The god who is a mere awful unity is not only a king but an Eastern king. The heart of humanity, especially of European humanity, is certainly much more satisfied by the strange hints and symbols that gather round the Trinitarian idea, the image of a council at which mercy pleads as well as justice, the conception of a sort of liberty and variety existing even in the inmost chamber of the world. For Western religion has always felt keenly the idea ‘it is not well for man to be alone.’ The social instinct asserted itself everywhere as when the Eastern idea of hermits was practically expelled by the Western idea of monks. So even asceticism became brotherly; and the Trappists were sociable even when they were silent. If this love of a living complexity be our test, it is certainly healthier to have the Trinitarian religion than the Unitarian. For to us Trinitarians (if I may say it with reverence) – to us God Himself is a society. It is indeed a fathomless mystery of theology, and even if I were theologian enough to deal with it directly, it would not be relevant to do so here. Suffice it to say here that this triple enigma is as comforting as wine and open as an English fireside; that this thing that bewilders the intellect utterly quiets the heart: but out of the desert, from the dry places and, the dreadful suns, come the cruel children of the lonely God; the real Unitarians who with scimitar in hand have laid waste the world. For it is not well for God to be alone.
William West Anderson, better known by his stage name of Adam West, has passed away at age 88. As a kid I did not like the Batman show in which he starred in the sixties. Too campy and too silly for even my childish tastes. The show was a long term disaster for Adam West, typecasting him with a vengeance and largely destroying his acting career. After a self destructive period involving lots of alcohol, he bore his ill fortune with grace and good will, directing a large amount of self deprecating humor at himself. Eventually he established a respectable niche for himself in the entertainment industry. Atque vale Mr. Wayne.
From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:
After several public failed relationships and an embarrassing 8-months without a boyfriend, award winning singer-songwriter Taylor Swift announced today via Twitter that she was leaving the music industry to become a nun.
“With some prayer, and lots of thinking about boys, I’ve decided to become a nun,” she wrote on Twitter.
Swift’s agent Rod Steelman confirmed this morning that she has been accepted into the Monastery of Our Lady of Perpetual Disappointment, a convent exclusively for women who respond to a calling immediately after experiencing a devastating breakup.
“She told me a few months ago that she had discerned entering a convent every time she had ever had a breakup, but that this last breakup was different,” Steelman told EOTT. “She said that she was thinking about how Jesus seemed like the only man that wouldn’t ever break up with her, and how she would never have to write a song about him like she did other men in her life. That’s when it dawned on her to get herself to the nunnery.”
Swift has won several awards, including ten Grammy Awards, one Emmy Award, and 21 Billboard Music Awards. Forbes recently named her in their annual 100 Most Powerful Women.
Something for the weekend. Pop Goes the Weasel. Watching Congressional testimony this week, this song came to mind. First published in 1853 this song is a very old English folk tune whose origins is lost in the mists of time. Endless lyrics have been attached to it. With apologies to all weasels, four footed and two footed:
Played on an infinite loop the above video might be an effective means of interrogation.
Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders really needs to brush up on the Constitution, and he might start with this passage in Article Six:
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.
Pope Francis again sparked calls for clarification today as he stated before the crowds in St. Peter’s Square: “God cannot be God without man.”
The pope was speaking from a written text at his Wednesday general audience.
According to theologians who spoke with LifeSite, there is a danger the phrase by itself could be taken in an erroneous way.
In context, the Pope said:
Dear brothers and sisters, we are never alone. We can be far, hostile; we can even say we are ‘without God.’ But Jesus Christ’s Gospel reveals to us that God cannot be without us: He will never be a God ‘without man’; it is He who cannot be without us, and this is a great mystery! God cannot be God without man: this is a great mystery!
John Paul Meenan, professor of theology at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom, a Catholic college in Eastern Ontario, told LifeSiteNews that while the second phrase (God cannot be God without man) is open to misinterpretation, the Pope’s first wording (He will never be a God ‘without man’) is less problematic since it is in the future tense, “since God is now in an eternal covenant with man.” Professor Meenan said it is not true that ‘God cannot be God without man’ in a universal sense.
The Comey testimony was the best farce I have ever viewed on live television. My take:
Comey came across as a cowardly lion, constantly trembling in fear of the White House.
He admitted that Loretta Lynch, former Attorney General, told him to call the criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton a “matter” rather than a criminal investigation and that this disturbed him greatly.
That he leaked material which may expose him to criminal indictment. Comey stated that he did so in order to spur the appointment of a special prosecutor.
That he was most outraged by the Trump administration stating the obvious truths that Comey had been a poor Director of the FBI and that the Bureau was in disarray under his leadership.
He refused to state whether he thought that Trump was trying to obstruct the Russia investigation by asking him if the investigation of Mike Flynn could be dropped. If Comey did think that Trump was trying to obstruct an investigation he was required to immediately report it, and failure to do so would constitute a possible criminal offense.
Comey confirmed that he told Trump on three occasions that he was not the subject of an investigation. He had no good explanation as to why he refused Trump’s request to announce this publicly.
I kept imagining how J.Edgar Hoover would have handled this. I picture Hoover telling a President trying to pressure him that an FBI Director led an arduous life with many duties. That one of his duties was to restrain overzealous FBI agents gathering huge amounts of embarrassing material about lots of politicians, and that as Director he was continuously engaged in making sure such shocking material did not end up being revealed, ending careers and unduly alarming and disturbing the American people. Hoover was quite a few things, but a simpering, impotent non-entity like Comey, placed in a job well above his capacity, he never was.
You can always tell when a Republican is in the White House because the arts and crafts crowd begins to fantasize about murdering him. A tradition that goes back to John Wilkes Booth and the first Republican President, we see that this proclivity is alive and well today. This is why I tend to roll my eyes when reading any leftist bemoaning the loss of civility. Lack of civility for most leftists means a conservative who actually has the temerity to answer them back.
“There are two kinds of people who are staying on this beach: those who are dead and those who are going to die. Now let’s get the hell out of here.”
Colonel George A. Taylor, said as he rallied the men of the 16th Regiment to attack inland on Omaha Beach, June 6, 1944.
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Colonel (Infantry) George A. Taylor (ASN: 0-14922), United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving as Commanding Officer of the 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, in action against enemy forces on 6 June 1944, in France. Colonel Taylor landed during the most crucial and threatening period of the invasion operation. Thousands of men lay huddled on a narrow beachhead, their organizations and leaders cut down by the disastrous enemy fire. Without hesitation, unmindful of the sniper and machine gun fire which was sweeping the beach, Colonel Taylor began to reorganize the units. While continuously exposed to this murderous fire, Colonel Taylor never slackened in his efforts in directing and coordinating the attack. By his initiative and leadership, he was able to clear an exit from the beach and begin moving groups of men from the crowded beachhead. This was the only exit opened in the early part of the assault and subsequent events proved it to be one of the most vital points contributing to the success of this operation. The high professional skill and outstanding courage exhibited by Colonel Taylor exemplify the highest traditions of the military forces of the United States and reflect great credit upon himself, the 1st Infantry Division, and the United States Army.
Jesus saith to him: I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but by me.
Our bruin friend at Saint Corbinian’s Bear is in an ironic mood:
We will probably never know what Pilate meant when he asked Christ, “What is truth?” Sarcasm? The world-weary cynicism of a Roman official with one of the most difficult jobs of Rome? Or perhaps the echo of a genuine question from a decent young man long ago ground down by his responsibilities to a brutal empire?
In any case, it is the wrong question for our time and is causing Catholics far too much anguish and contention.
The question is not “what is truth,” and we betray our naïveté when we ask and our disloyalty to the Church when we complain. The legitimate question is “what does the Church now say the truth is?” In fact, the second question always answers the first, because of the inerrant truth-knowing feature built into the Church as an institution and the Pope in his office.
“Truth” is nothing more or less than what the Church, through its many channels, but in our day, primarily the Pope, says it is. We now understand that truth is a construct that is contingent upon the matrix in which we live. This matrix is comprised of our evolving language; our behavior; and the changing moral consensus of our culture as expressed in many different ways, ranging from our laws to popular entertainment. The truth is to be found in the current teachings of the Church.
The Church reflects the culture, and perhaps has done so for most of its existence, although we can only speak certainly of our own time.
It is irrelevant whether Church teachings are formal or not. Indeed, the less formal teachings of the Pope with a microphone in his hand loom larger in both the culture and the minds of individual Catholics. It is the informal teachings which are seized by the news gatekeepers, massaged, and then proclaimed in partnership with the Church – not merely reported, it is important to note.
“What is truth?” is not some great mystery. One of the main purposes of the Church is to be the authority that tells us what the truth is for our generation. The power of the keys means that the truth is whatever the Church – ultimately Peter – says it is. The Church is trusted with not just proclaiming the truth, but creating it.
It must be so.
The Bible is understood by all but the most conservative Protestant scholars as a collection of tales edited long after the events it relates by men who wished to promote different and sometimes conflicting agendas. It is certainly not historically reliable, according to the very best scholarship. Read the notes to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishop’s Bible, the New American Bible, Revised Edition if you have any doubts. They will quickly disabuse you of any lingering Protestant tendency toward bibliolatry.
Only a fundamentalist would today hold up the Bible as containing “the truth.”
Only the most naive traditionalist would look to the teachings of the brutal, superstitious and exclusivist past of the Church to find the truth for today’s world.
Neither Holy Scripture nor poking around in the Museum of Church History can be the source of truth today. No, the truth is what the Church says it is, most immediately and importantly through the Pope when he utters his oracles to the interpretive priestly class of reporters.
Let go of the irrelevant past and embrace the truth as it has evolved right up to this second and is proclaimed by the Pope: Peter, upon whom the Church was built and to whom the Keys of Binding and Loosing were given in perpetuity. Yesterday’s Catholics owed the same duty to yesterday’s Church. Why would some of you, today, presume to be less faithful and arrogate to yourselves the authority to decide “what is truth?”
Do you imagine for an instant that the Pope himself could (if he would even think of such a crime, which he could not, protected from error as he is) weave a carpet of lies to spread beneath the Bride of Christ without an army of brave and faithful bishops rising up to challenge him? The teachings of the Pope are confirmed by the agreement of the clergy, the acceptance of the people, and his personal popularity with the entire world. You may trust him without question and to question him is to place oneself outside the Church.
Leftwing students, often acting like a violent mob, have tossed Evergreen State College into chaos the past few weeks. Go hereto read about it. A handful of Evergreen students are fed up and are brave enough to sign an open letter:
To the world with their eyes towards Evergreen, We will open this message by stating that we are not attempting to discard or discredit legitimate concerns of racism throughout society, however attention to rectifying these issues has been detracted from due to the events at Evergreen during the last two weeks. These events have not only damaged the credibility of those who want to address racial issues, but have also put a greater portion of the student body, staff and faculty at risk of bodily injury. Addressing the real issues has been made much more difficult due to a tendency for those disagreeing with the protesters or their methods to be labeled as being racist, which stifles expression and dissent while diluting and perverting the meaning of the term. Through abundant use or threat of the racism label, and an unwillingness of various individuals to contest such claims, the protesting group has held a stranglehold on the administration, which the protesters have used in an attempt to avoid responsibility and enact their agenda.