Donald R. McClarey

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

To Make Georgia Howl

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On October 9, 1864 Sherman was still in pursuit of Hood but he recognized the futility of such operations to protect his railroad supply lines, as he made clear in a telegram to Grant on that date:

 

It will be a physical impossibility to protect the roads, now that Hood, Forrest, Wheeler, and the whole batch of devils, are turned loose without home or habitation. I think Hood’s movements indicate a diversion to the end of the Selma & Talladega road, at Blue Mountain, about sixty miles southwest of Rome, from which he will threaten Kingston, Bridgeport, and Decatur, Alabama. I propose that we break up the railroad from Ohattanooga forward, and that we strike out with our wagons for Milledgeville, Millen, and Savannah. Until we can repopulate Georgia, it is useless for us to occupy it; but the utter destruction of its roads, houses, and people, will cripple their military resources. By attempting to hold the roads, we will lose a thousand men each month, and will gain no result. I can make this march, and make Georgia howl! We have on hand over eight thousand head of cattle and three million rations of bread, but no corn. We can find plenty of forage in the interior of the State. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

PopeWatch: Euphemisms

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Apparently in the Synod some of the participants are concerned about language:

Speaking at this afternoon’s Vatican press briefing on the Synod on the Family English-language spokesman for the Synod, Fr. Thomas Rosica noted there has been much discussion about language in the Synod’s deliberations.

Fr. Rosica explained what he believed to be “one of the salient interventions” of the day, noting that according to the presenter, “language such as ‘living in sin’, ‘intrinsically disordered’, or ‘contraceptive mentality’ are not necessarily words that invite people to draw closer to Christ and the Church.”

“There is a great desire that our language has to change in order to meet the concrete situations,” he added.

“Marriage is already seen by many as being filtered in harsh language in the Church. How do we make that language appealing, and loving and inviting. We’re not speaking about rules or laws we’re speaking about a person who is Jesus who is the source of our faith, the leader of our Church, he is the one who invites us into a mystery.” →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Buckley Was So Right

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I’d rather be governed by the first 2,000 names in the Boston telephone directory than by the faculty of Harvard.

William F. Buckley, Jr.

The Breakdown of Church Authority

Catholic Authority

 

Professor James Hitchcock has an interesting article over at The Catholic World Report on the breakdown of the authority of the Church:

 

The rejection of Humanae Vitae, and everything that followed, in a perverse way proved the success of the new religious education. In numerous ways—classroom instruction, sermons, retreats, publications—Catholics after Vatican II were told to follow their own inclinations on moral issues, that docility towards Church teaching was actually a betrayal of faith. In short, “reformers” discovered how easy it was to make water run down hill, to give the faithful permission to take the line of least resistance.

The reformist Catholic program now came simply to be equated with the secular liberal program. To Catholic liberals there remained two unresolved moral issues—war and poverty – but many Catholics remained “super-patriots” and bishops were condemned for not condemning the Vietnam War. Collectively the bishops supported the War on Poverty, but many lay Catholics started voting Republican.

Fidelity to Catholic social teaching required a synthesis of what came to be conflicting liberal and conservative positions—the welfare state on the on the hand and the pro-life and pro-family movements on the other. The Democratic Party, in which Catholics had for so long been a major force, was the natural agency for working out such a synthesis. Instead prominent Catholic Democrats, almost without exception, readily accepted the secular liberal agenda and pro-life, and pro-family Catholics gravitated towards the Republican Party, which had previously not attracted them.

Liberal Catholics emphasize the “lived experience” of the laity as a check on formal Catholic doctrine, a check that has, supposedly, demonstrated the rightness of contraception, homosexuality, and other things. Catholics today, it is claimed, are highly educated and can follow their own well-formed consciences.

But this is applied to sexual morality only. Businessmen who believe in the free market, for example, or soldiers who believe in the righteousness of the wars they fight, are accused of placing their own “lived experience” above the teachings of the Church. They are in effect guilty of heresy. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

The Modern World is Going to Hell: A Continuing Series: The Tattooed Vermin of the Apocalypse

(I am finally going to be completing this series of posts that I began in 2010.  In preparation for that, I am reposting these articles in their order of appearance.  They will appear once a week on Wednesdays.)

In this series of posts I intend to give rants against trends that have developed in society since the days of my youth, the halcyon days of the seventies, when leisure suits and disco were sure signs that society was ready to be engulfed in a tide of ignorance, bad taste and general buffoonery.

We will start off the series with a look at seven developments that I view as intensely annoying and proof that many people lack the sense that God granted a goose.  I like to refer to these as  The Seven Hamsters of the Apocalypse, minor evils that collectively illustrate a society that has entered a slough of extreme stupidity.  Each of the Seven Hamsters will have a separate post.  The first of the Hamsters is the Tattooed Vermin.

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PopeWatch: Ignore or Oppose it

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Well if this is a sample of the glop being served up at the Synod, God help us all:

 

One of the six couples chosen to participate in the Vatican’s Synod on the Family had some rather controversial advice for the gathered leaders of the Catholic Church. Ron and Mavis Pirola, co-directors of the Australian Catholic Marriage and Family Council, spoke this afternoon to the 191 synod fathers. The text of their address was released today by the Vatican press office.

The Pirolas suggested as an example of “upholding the truth while expressing compassion and mercy” the Church should follow the example of their friends.  “Take homosexuality as an example. Friends of ours were planning their Christmas family gathering when their gay son said he wanted to bring his partner home too,” they said.

“They fully believed in the Church’s teachings and they knew their grandchildren would see them welcome the son and his partner into the family,” added the Pirolas. “Their response could be summed up in three words, ‘He is our son’.”

The Pirolas concluded their instruction to the bishops regarding homosexuality, saying, “What a model of evangelization for parishes as they respond to similar situations in their neighbourhood! It is a practical example of what the Instrumentum laboris says concerning the Church’s teaching role and its main mission to let the world know of God’s love.” 

The example of the ready acceptance of a son and his homosexual lover to a gathering where the grandchildren would welcome them into the family is not an example of love or mercy at all. It is in fact a capitulation to sentiment at the expense of both the child and the grandchildren. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

The Movement the Left Fears Most

Homeschooling

The Left isn’t having kids, so they insist on stealing yours.

Dale Price

Kevin Williamson at National Review Online looks at the brazen attempt in Connecticut, go here to read my take on it, to use the Sandy Hook massacre to increase regulation of homeschooling.

Home-schoolers represent the only authentically radical social movement in the United States (Occupy Wall Street was a fashion statement) and so they must be suppressed, as a malevolent committee of leftist academics and union bosses under the direction of Governor Dannel Malloy is preparing to do in Connecticut, using the Sandy Hook massacre as a pretext. The ghouls invariably rush to the podium after every school massacre, issuing their insipid press releases before the bodies have even cooled, and normally they’re after your guns. But the Malloy gang is after your children.

Malloy’s committee on the Newtown shootings is recommending that Connecticut require home-schooling families to present their children to the local authorities periodically for inspection, to see to it that their psychological and social growth is proceeding in the desired direction. For anybody even passingly familiar with contemporary government schools, which are themselves a peerless source of social and emotional dysfunction, this development is bitterly ironic.

Adam Lanza was the product of madness, but he also was very much a product of the public schools and their allied institutions. He was briefly — very briefly — homeschooled after his parents had exhausted every other option. His mental troubles began long before he was home-schooled and were in fact well known to and documented by the various credentialed authorities under whose management he spent his youth, from his kindergarten therapists to the scholars at Yale’s Child Study Center. Far from being removed from the public system, Lanza was still attending student club meetings at Newtown’s high school just before the horrific events at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

As City Journal notes, the Malloy gang says that Lanza’s educational and medical records support its proposals, which is curious: Its members have no access to those records. But a government commission says that it is so, so it must be so.

If you have not followed the issue closely, it is probably impossible for you to understand how intensely the Left and the government-school monopoly hate, loathe, and distrust home-schooling and home-school families. Purportedly serious scholars such as Robin West of Georgetown denounce them as trailer trash living “on tarps in fields or parking lots” and write wistfully of the day when home-schooling was properly understood: “Parents who did so were criminals, and their kids were truants.” The implicit rationale for the heavy regulation of home-schooling — that your children are yours only at the sufferance of the state — is creepy enough; in fact, it is unambiguously totalitarian and reduces children to the status of chattel. That this is now being framed in mental-health terms, under the theory that Lanza might not have committed his crimes if he had had the benefit of the tender attentions of his local school authorities, is yet another reminder of the Left’s long and grotesque history of using corrupt psychiatry as a tool of politics.  

But take a moment to fully appreciate the absurdity of the Malloy gang’s assumption. Our public schools are dysfunctional, depressing, frequently dangerous places. Their architecture is generally penal, incorporating precisely the same sort of perimeter control as one sees in a low-security prison, with dogs, metal detectors, and the whole apparatus of control at hand. They are frequently run by nakedly corrupt, self-serving men and women who are not above rigging test scores to pad out their bonuses and who will fight to the end to keep pedophiles on the payroll if doing so serves their political interests, as in the case of California. They cannot even keep their teachers from raping their students, but they feel competent issuing orders that every family present its children for regular inspection in the name of the children’s “social and emotional learning needs.” →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

PopeWatch: Speak Boldly

 

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Pope Francis has given good counsel to the participants in the Synod:

 

 

 

Pope Francis has said Catholics must speak their minds and not be afraid to offend him, during his address to the opening session of the family synod at the Vatican this morning.

Speaking to the gathered bishops he said the faithful must not keep things back just because they might be worried “what will the Pope think”, according to Catholic News Service.

“Speak clearly. Don’t tell anyone, ‘you can’t say that’,” he added.

Pope Francis went on to say that “the spirit of collegiality is to speak boldly and to listen with humility” and he also welcomed the lay men and women present at the synod. “You enrich our spirit of synodality,” he told them. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Lepanto

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On October 7, 1571 the forces of the Holy League under Don Juan of Austria, illegitimate half brother of Philip II, in an ever-lasting tribute to Italian and Spanish courage and seamanship, smashed the Turkish fleet.  This was the turning point in the centuries-long struggle between the Christian West and the forces of the Ottoman Empire over the Mediterranean.  The Holy League had been the work of Pope Saint Pius V, who miraculously saw the victory in Rome on the day of the battle, and he proclaimed the feast day of Our Lady of Victory to whom he attributed the victory.

For a good overview of the battle of Lepanto read this review by Victor Davis Hanson here of  The Victory of the West: The Great Christian-Muslim Clash at the Battle of Lepanto by Niccolò Capponi.

Before the battle Don John of Austria went about the ships of his fleet and said this to his crews:  ‘My children, we are here to conquer or die. In death or in victory, you will win immortality.’  The chaplains of the fleet preached sermons on the theme:  “No Heaven For Cowards”.    Many of the men were clutching rosaries just before the battle.  Admiral Andrea Doria went into the fight with an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe aboard his ship.  Back in Europe countless Catholics were praying rosaries at the request of Saint Pope Pius V for the success of the Christian fleet.

At the hour of the battle, and this fact is very well attested, the Pope was talking to some cardinals in Rome.  He abruptly ceased the conversation, opened a window and looked heavenward.  He then turned to the cardinals and said:   “It is not now a time to talk any more upon business; but to give thanks to God for the victory he has granted to the arms of the Christians.”  So that Catholics would never forget Lepanto and the intercession of Mary, he instituted the feast of Our Lady of Victory.  To aid in this remembrance G. K. Chesterton in 1911 wrote his epic poem Lepanto:

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White founts falling in the courts of the sun,
And the Soldan of Byzantium is smiling as they run;
There is laughter like the fountains in that face of all men feared,
It stirs the forest darkness, the darkness of his beard,
It curls the blood-red crescent, the crescent of his lips,
For the inmost sea of all the earth is shaken with his ships.
They have dared the white republics up the capes of Italy,
They have dashed the Adriatic round the Lion of the Sea,
And the Pope has cast his arms abroad for agony and loss,
And called the kings of Christendom for swords about the Cross,
The cold queen of England is looking in the glass;
The shadow of the Valois is yawning at the Mass;
From evening isles fantastical rings faint the Spanish gun,
And the Lord upon the Golden Horn is laughing in the sun. ']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Ted Cruz on the Courts Mandating Gay Marriage

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At the same time, the candid citizen must confess that if the policy of the Government upon vital questions affecting the whole people is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court, the instant they are made in ordinary litigation between parties in personal actions the people will have ceased to be their own rulers, having to that extent practically resigned their Government into the hands of that eminent tribunal.

Abraham Lincoln, First Inaugural Address

 

 

God bless the Federal judiciary!  After having such a smashing success in “resolving” the abortion issue by legalizing it, they have “resolved” the gay marriage debate by mandating it.  Senator Ted Cruz (R.Tx.) is having none of it:

The Supreme Court’s decision to let rulings by lower court judges stand that redefine marriage is both tragic and indefensible. By refusing to rule if the States can define marriage, the Supreme Court is abdicating its duty to uphold the Constitution. The fact that the Supreme Court Justices, without providing any explanation whatsoever, have permitted lower courts to strike down so many state marriage laws is astonishing.

This is judicial activism at its worst. The Constitution entrusts state legislatures, elected by the People, to define marriage consistent with the values and mores of their citizens. Unelected judges should not be imposing their policy preferences to subvert the considered judgments of democratically elected legislatures.

The Supreme Court is, de facto, applying an extremely broad interpretation to the 14th Amendment without saying a word – an action that is likely to have far-reaching consequences. Because of the Court’s decision today, 11 States will likely now be forced to legalize same-sex marriage: Virginia, Indiana, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Utah, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, Kansas, Colorado, and Wyoming. And this action paves the way for laws prohibiting same-sex marriage to be overturned in any state.

It is beyond dispute that when the 14th Amendment was adopted 146 years ago, as a necessary post-Civil War era reform, it was not imagined to also mandate same-sex marriage, but that is what the Supreme Court is implying today. The Court is making the preposterous assumption that the People of the United States somehow silently redefined marriage in 1868 when they ratified the 14th Amendment.

Nothing in the text, logic, structure, or original understanding of the 14th Amendment or any other constitutional provision authorizes judges to redefine marriage for the Nation. It is for the elected representatives of the People to make the laws of marriage, acting on the basis of their own constitutional authority, and protecting it, if necessary, from usurpation by the courts.

Marriage is a question for the States. That is why I have introduced legislation, S. 2024, to protect the authority of state legislatures to define marriage. And that is why, when Congress returns to session, I will be introducing a constitutional amendment to prevent the federal government or the courts from attacking or striking down state marriage laws.

Traditional marriage is an institution whose integrity and vitality are critical to the health of any society. We should remain faithful to our moral heritage and never hesitate to defend it. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Devastating

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In regard to the colored people, there is always more that is benevolent, I perceive, than just, manifested towards us. What I ask for the negro is not benevolence, not pity, not sympathy, but simply justice. The American people have always been anxious to know what they shall do with us… I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are worm-eaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall! … And if the negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone! If you see him on his way to school, let him alone, don’t disturb him! If you see him going to the dinner table at a hotel, let him go! If you see him going to the ballot box, let him alone, don’t disturb him! If you see him going into a work-shop, just let him alone, — your interference is doing him positive injury.

 

January 26, 1865-Frederick Douglass, abolitionist and Republican –

 

 

I have had my eye on State Senator Elbert Lee Guillory (R.La) for a while now.  Go here to read an earlier post.  Now he has unleashed a devastating ad against Senator Mary Landrieu (D.La).  Robert Tracinski at The Federalist explains why this could have national significance:

This ad immediately needs to be given massive funding and run in a continuous loop on Louisiana television for the next month.

Guillory himself is exactly the kind of spokesman the Republican Party needs to recruit on the national level. He will be running for lieutenant governor of Louisiana next year, which should give him a good platform.

The power of Guillory’s message comes from a combination of the quiet dignity of his manner (he has an air of old-fashioned Southern formality), his roots in a down-at-heels black community, and the clear failure of the big promises made to blacks on behalf of the welfare state.

That’s the key issue. Since the launch of the Great Society, Democrats have thrown money into the welfare state, specifically promising that this would lift blacks out of poverty. Fifty years later, it is hard to claim that this has achieved any of what it claimed it was supposed to do.

The results are particularly bad in the big cities. I noted recently that the reason Democrats think income inequality is such a winning political issue is because the districts they control have been turned into two-tier class societies divided between a small enclave of upper-middle-class whites and vast blighted areas where poor black and Hispanic people live. Megan McArdle notes a similar way in which New York City has stratified itself by chasing the middle class into the suburbs while providing subsidies that keep the poor in the city without really ameliorating their condition.

So the federal welfare state and Democratic management of the big cities has not helped poor blacks; it has merely herded them onto vast urban reservations where their function is to serve as reliable political clients of the Democratic Party.

I have described this as the Southern Strategy in Reverse:

From the 1970s to the 1990s, the Republican Party flipped the votes of Southern whites—but they neglected and comprehensively lost the black vote. Now Democrats are hoping to hold onto their death-grip on minority voters, and they are counting on this vote to rise—but they are pursuing this strategy at the expense of throwing away the white vote. I’m not sure that this quite captures the awfulness of the whole “coalition of the ascendant” strategy. Because it hitches the Democratic Party’s future to voting based on racial and ethnic loyalties, it is basically a strategy that consists of playing the race card from now until the end of time.

As despicable as this strategy is, it is also contains the seeds of its own destruction. The more dependent Democrats become on the racial vote, the more vulnerable they are if they lose any of it. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

A Satire, Not an Instruction Manual

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Infant’s flesh will be in season throughout the year, but more plentiful in March, and a little before and after; for we are told by a grave author, an eminent French physician, that fish being a prolific diet, there are more children born in Roman Catholic countries about nine months after Lent than at any other season; therefore, reckoning a year after Lent, the markets will be more glutted than usual, because the number of popish infants is at least three to one in this kingdom: and therefore it will have one other collateral advantage, by lessening the number of papists among us.

Jonathan Swift, A Modest Proposal (1729)

To sell abortion, arguments about feminism, a woman’s right to choose, equality, freedom, etc., are used for the masses, but the forces that were behind the drive to legalize abortion tended to be clear, at least when talking among themselves, that eugenics was the prime motivation.  Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 81, remembers those days clearly, and, no doubt to the dismay of many contemporary liberals, tends to be fairly honest about that motivation.  Kevin Williamson at National Review Online examines how the eugenics motivation still is the driving force behind abortion:

 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, having decided for some inexplicable reason to do a long interview with a fashion magazine (maybe it is her celebrated collection of lace collars), reaffirmed the most important things we know about her: her partisanship, her elevation of politics over law, and her desire to see as many poor children killed as is feasibly possible.

Speaking about such modest restrictions on abortion as have been enacted over the past several years, Justice Ginsburg lamented that “the impact of all these restrictions is on poor women.” Then she added: “It makes no sense as a national policy to promote birth only among poor people.”

This is not her first time weighing in on the question of what by any intellectually honest standard must be described as eugenics. In an earlier interview, she described the Roe v. Wade decision as being intended to control population growth, “particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of.” She was correct in her assessment of Roe; the co-counsel in that case, Ron Weddington, would later advise President Bill Clinton: “You can start immediately to eliminate the barely educated, unhealthy, and poor segment of our country,” by making abortifacients cheap and universally available. “It’s what we all know is true, but we only whisper it.”

In 1980, the punk band the Dead Kennedys released a song called “Kill the Poor.” In it, singer Jello Biafra considers the many benefits to be had from the policy he is singing about: the elimination of “unsightly slums,” the lowering of welfare taxes, reduction of overcrowding, reduction in crime, etc. “The sun beams down on a brand new day,” he declares, “Jane Fonda on the screen today convinced the liberals it’s okay.” To be sure, Mr. Biafra wasn’t singing about abortion; his tongue-in-cheek proposal was for the relatively antiseptic measure of striking poor neighborhoods and housing projects with neutron bombs, eliminating the populations but preserving property values. A ghastly and satirical proposal, to be sure, but not really so different from the case that Justice Ginsburg and others of her ilk make for eliminating those “populations that we don’t want to have too many of.”

“We only whisper it.”

The economist Steven Levitt, for example, has argued that abortion helped to bring down crime rates; that probably isn’t true, but it has not stopped abortion enthusiasts from incorporating crime-reduction into their case for killing the poor. Abortion as a tool of population control remains very much in vogue, particularly with international organizations: “To avoid a world with deteriorating social, economic, and political stability, with the concomitant loss of personal and national security, we must ensure that safe abortion is made available,” writes the American population-control activist and academic Steven Mumford, who also advocates mass sterilizations. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

PopeWatch: Jesuitical

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Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa alerts us to a Jesuitical touch as the Synod on families opens:

ROME, October 4, 2014 – “La Civiltà Cattolica” has waited until the eve of the synod to break the silence that it had maintained until now on the most controversial question: whether or not to allow second weddings after a failed marriage.

And in taking the field it has fully espoused the cause of the innovators, with Cardinal Walter Kasper in the lead, who is cited from the very first lines as a beacon of reference.

“La Civiltà Cattolica” is not just any sort of magazine. Written exclusively by Jesuits, its drafts pass inspection by the Vatican authorities before publication. Pope Francis and the current director of the magazine, Fr. Antonio Spadaro – who has by now become the prince of his interviewers and interpreters – have the closest of working relationships.

In order to call the synod to “openness” on second marriages, “ La Civiltà Cattolica” has made a surprise move. It has dusted off the Council of Trent, precisely that Council which more strictly than any other reaffirmed the unity and indissolubility of the bond of marriage.

That same Council, however – as “La Civiltà Cattolica” recalls – abstained from formally condemning second marriages as practiced in the Eastern Churches, not only among the faithful of the Orthodox rite, but also – in some areas of mixed confession – among Catholics in union with Rome.

What induced the fathers of the Council of Trent to make this gesture that the magazine calls one of “ecumenism” ahead of its time was the case of Catholics living in the Greek islands of the Republic of Venice, who with the permission of their Latin bishops attended Orthodox churches and services. The Venetian ambassadors asked the council to allow these Catholics to maintain their “rites,” including the possibility of contracting second marriages in the case of adultery.

After an animated discussion, the council fathers approved the request with 97 votes against 80, and reformulated the canon that reaffirmed the indissolubility of marriage, avoiding any direct condemnation of the Eastern practice of second marriages.

The author of the article, Fr. Giancarlo Pani, a professor of Christian history at the University of Rome “La Sapienza,” reconstructs the debate that took place at the Council of Trent with a wealth of details and with all the references to the passages from the Gospels and from the Church Fathers made by the bishops and cardinals who spoke at the Council.

But when his turn comes to examine the practice of the undivided Church of the first centuries, Fr. Pani falls back entirely on the reconstruction made by Giovanni Cereti in the 1977 book “Divorce, new marriages, and penance in the primitive Church” – which was also the main, if not the only, source of reference used by Cardinal Kasper in his address to the consistory in February of 2014 – ignoring all of the subsequent studies conducted by illustrious patrologists like Henri Crouzel and Gilles Pelland, also Jesuits, who tore this reconstruction to shreds.

The thesis that emerges from this article of “La Civiltà Cattolica” is that Trent made a gesture of “evangelical mercy” that the synod that is about to open should adopt and reinforce, on behalf of “those Christians who suffer through a failed conjugal relationship.”

In reality, there was no beginning of “openness” to second marriages at Trent, but simply the decision not to enter into direct conflict on this point with the Orthodox Churches, with a prudence that was also exercised over the previous centuries and maintained afterward. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

The Truth About the Crusades

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Breitbart tells us about a new series on EWTN:

 

But in the Middle Ages, kings and knights of Christendom set forth to push back against the inroads of Islamic forces into majority Christian areas in the Holy Land and beyond. Once considered a noble, if ultimately failed, campaign to make sacred sites safe for Christian pilgrims, over the last century or so, the Crusades have gradually become recast as an imperialist surge against peaceful people.

Like many notions currently promulgated by academia and the media, it’s a near-reversal of what actually happened over the course of centuries. As with any great human endeavor, the Crusades had their share of stupidity, brutality, greed, and misadventure, but that is only a piece of the whole story.

And of all the people asked to comment on the Crusades–from scholars to reporters to filmmakers to novelists to activists–one group seldom allowed to have its say is the Catholic Church, whose history is inextricably linked with that of the Crusades.

From October 8-11, at 10 p.m. (ET) each night, EWTN presents The Crusades, a four-part series shot on location in seven countries (Turkey, Israel, France, Austria, England, Spain, and Slovakia). Described at the EWTN blog as “a well-rounded understanding of an important historical event,” each episode features original dramatizations, original music recorded in Europe, and commentary from historians specializing in the period.

These historians are Professor Jonathan Phillips, professor of Crusading History at Royal Holloway, University of London; Professor Jonathan Riley-Smith of Cambridge University, one of Britain’s leading experts on the Crusades; and Professor Thomas F. Madden, chair of the Department of History at St. Louis University, who not only focuses on the Crusades but on the larger issue of the Christian-Muslim conflict.

Preceding the premiere on Wednesday, October 8, airing at 8 p.m. ET is a special episode of EWTN Live, with EWTN staffer and Middle Eastern scholar Father Mitch Pacwa interviewing Stefano Mazzeo, writer, producer, and host of The Crusades, and Madden, author of A Concise History of the Crusades.

In advance of this, on Sunday, October 5, at 10 p.m. ET, EWTN airs Franciscan University Presents Myths About the Crusades, with commentary from Dr. Paul Crawford, professor of medieval history at California University of Pennsylvania (located in the Pennsylvania town of California, near Pittsburgh), along with host Michael Hernon and panelists Dr. Regis Martin, professor of theology at the Franciscan University of Steubenville (Ohio), and Catholic convert and theologian Dr. Scott Hahn. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Can We Call Them Pro-Aborts Now?

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The next time some pro-abort attempts to argue that no one is in favor of abortion, point them to this article by Sady Doyle at In These Times, her ending gives you the gist of what she is saying:

 

Most profoundly, Pollitt’s book is a call for us all to reclaim and speak out about the truths we know. Personally, I like abortion. I’ve never needed one. I’m still glad to have the option. I’m glad for the people I’ve known who got pregnant at the wrong time, with the wrong people, and didn’t have their lives ruined by it.

If Pollitt gets her way, more of us might feel free to admit that, hey: We like abortion.  →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Cali or Kali ?

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 “I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”

Quote from the Bhagavad Gita, where Vishnu transfoms himself into Kali, the Hindu goddess of death, that flashed through the mind of Robert J. Oppenheimer after witnessing the first atomic bomb test.

As faithful readers of this blog know, my dog Baby passed away at age 14 in May.  Go here to read about it.  Yesterday my bride and I adopted a Jack Russell terrier, Cali, from the McLean County Humane Society in Normal, Illinois.  The staff were friendly and efficient, and we were in and out in 40 minutes.  I regard it as propitious that we adopted Cali on the feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi.cali01a →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

October 5, 1864: Hold the Fort

Map of Allatoona

 

Few battles have inspired a hymn, but the successful defense by a Union garrison of Allatoona Pass, fought 150 years ago,  did.  At a meeting held in Rockford, Illinois, on April 28 through April 29, 1870 Daniel Webster Whittle, formerly a Major in Sherman’s army and now an evangelist and hymn writer, regaled an audience with the tale of how the garrison at Allatoona withstood the Confederate attack, with Union signal flags from Sherman signaling the defenders:  “Hold the Fort; I am coming!”.  In the audience was hymn writer Philip Paul Bliss who was inspired to write the hymn Hold the Fort: 

Ho, my comrades, see the signal,
Waving in the sky!
Reinforcements now appearing,
Victory is nigh.

“Hold the fort, for I am coming,”
Jesus signals still;
Wave the answer back to heaven,
By thy grace we will.”

See the mighty host advancing,
Satan leading on,
Mighty men around us falling,
Courage almost gone!

“Hold the fort, for I am coming,”
Jesus signals still;
Wave the answer back to heaven,
By thy grace we will.”

See the glorious banner waving,
Hear the trumpet blow!
In our Leader’s name we’ll triumph,
Over every foe.

“Hold the fort, for I am coming,”
Jesus signals still;
Wave the answer back to heaven,
By thy grace we will.”

Fierce and long the battle rages,
But our help is near,
Onward comes our great Commander,
Cheer, my comrades, cheer.

“Hold the fort, for I am coming,”
Jesus signals still;
Wave the answer back to heaven,
By thy grace we will.”

Although Major Whittle had almost all the facts right, Sherman, as Sherman noted in a letter in 1875, did not use the exact words hold the fort, although as he later wrote that was clearly the intent of his messages to the garrison.  What was actually singaled to the defenders was:  Sherman is moving in force; Hold Out!  General Sherman says Hold Fast. We are coming.

The hymn proved very popular and Whittle and Bliss toured the country, speaking to audiences and leading the singing of the hymn, including a memorable tour of the Allatoona battlefield in 1876, where they gave an emotional rendition of the hymn.  Here is the account of the battle by Sherman in his memoirs: →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

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