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.

June 23, 1865: Confederate General Stand Watie Surrenders

 

Confederate General, and Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, Stand Watie surrendered on June 23, 1865, the last Confederate general to surrender his brigade.  He and his men had fought throughout the Indian Territory and the Trans-Mississippi theater, participating in more battles than any other Confederate unit in the theater, and waging a guerrilla war against Union supply lines and outposts.  Here are the terms of the articles of surrender: Continue reading

June 22, 1865: Last Shot Fired in the American Civil War

 

The Confederate commerce raider CSS Shenandoah, a converted steam merchant ship, steamed out of London on October 8, 1864.  Her skipper was Commander James Iredell Waddell, a veteran of twenty years in the United States Navy prior to the Civil War, and a graduate of Annapolis.  Under Waddell, the Shenandoah would spend the next year at sea taking or sinking 38 ships, mostly New Bedford whaling ships, virtually destroying the American whaling fleet.  The last shot of the War was a blank fired on June 22, 1865 in the Bering Strait, to indicate to a Union whaling ship the wisdom of surrender.  Some of the captured Yankee seamen claimed the War was over, but Waddell assumed they were lying.

Waddell remained unconvinced that the War was over until he encountered a British ship on August 2, 1865.  Fearing imprisonment or worse for his men, Waddell then embarked on an epic three month voyage, pursued by the US Navy, to Liverpool where Waddell surrendered his ship and lowered the Confederate flag for the last time on November 6, 1865.  The Union wished to try Waddell and his men as pirates.  The British decided to parole Waddell and his men, as reported by The Liverpool Mercury on November 9, 1865: Continue reading

When is the Swiss Guard Going to Disarm?

 

SwissGuard

I assume the Pope will now be having the Swiss Guard disarmed, and foreswearing any and all protection by the Italian police and military:

 

People who manufacture weapons or invest in weapons industries are hypocrites if they call themselves Christian, Pope Francis said on Sunday.

Francis issued his toughest condemnation to date of the weapons industry at a rally of thousands of young people at the end of the first day of his trip to the Italian city of Turin.

“If you trust only men you have lost,” he told the young people in a long, rambling talk about war, trust and politics after putting aside his prepared address.

“It makes me think of … people, managers, businessmen who call themselves Christian and they manufacture weapons. That leads to a bit a distrust, doesn’t it?” he said to applause.

He also criticized those who invest in weapons industries, saying “duplicity is the currency of today … they say one thing and do another.” Continue reading

PopeWatch: Encyclical Translated: Part II

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

 

Continuing on with the translation by PopeWatch of the Green Encyclical.  Go here to read the first part.

 

51.Greedy gringo rich countries are responsible for economic disparities North and South and cause ecological damage in the South.  (The Pope really is clueless when it comes to economics, isn’t he?)

52.The greedy gringos of the North are responsible for people being poor in the South.  (Classic Peronism.)

53.Mama Earth has to be protected but we lack the political will and structures to do so.  New techno-economic power structures if not stopped will kill the environment and freedom and justice.  (One can imagine evil tycoons twirling their moustaches and chortling evilly.  The Pope’s view of the world is not much more sophisticated than that.)

54.Economic and technological special interests block ecological reform;  i.e. people who do not agree with the Pope have been successful in opposing the type of draconian ecological measures he favors.

55.Some countries are making ecological progress but those darn markets keep leading to more consumption which damages the environment.  (Back in Real World, the best environment tends to be in the most capitalistic countries.  The nations with the worst ecological records have all been Communist.)

56.More market bashing from the Pope.  Man, does he hate free enterprise.

57.Pope foresees wars over scarce resources caused by financial interests.  (Once again, the economic ignorance of the Pope is staggering.)

58.A break in the bleak for a brief acknowledgment that there has been ecological improvement in some countries.

59.Back to the bleak:  such minor improvements in the environment blind us to the overall gloom and doom of the environment and the measures that must be taken to solve this problem.

60.The Pope points to extreme views on how to meet ecological issues, positioning himself to be the sweet, moderate voice of reason. Continue reading

Fortnight For Freedom: Saint Thomas More and Saint John Fisher v. Henry VIII

 Fortnight For Freedom 2015

A spot of blood and grease on the pages of English history.

Charles Dickens, referring to King Henry VIII

For English speaking Catholics, June 22 is a bright day on the calendar of the Saints.  On this day we remember the two saints who stood against King Henry VIII, for the great principal that the State must never be allowed to control the Church.  Much that we Americans celebrate as freedom was born out of Church-State struggles down through the ages.  Sometimes those who stood against the State fell in the struggle, but the concept that the State is not absolute, that there are limits to its authority, is one of the great gifts of the Catholic Middle Ages to all of mankind.  It is only in modern times, since 1500, that the heresy that the State may exercise absolute authority has been a constant source of misery and strife in the history of the West.

When he ascended to the throne of England Henry VIII was popularly known as the Golden Hope of England.  His father Henry VII had never been loved by the people of England:  a miser and a distinctly unheroic figure no matter what Shakespeare would write in Richard III.  He had brought the end of the War of the Roses and peace to England, but that was about as much credit as his subjects would give the grasping, unlovable Henry Tudor.  His son by contrast looked like an Adonis when young, strong and athletic.  He had a sharp mind and had been well-educated, intended, ironically, for a career in the Church before the death of his elder brother Arthur.  He was reputed, correctly, to be pious.  He had considerable charism in his youth and knew how to make himself loved with a well timed laugh or smile, and loved he was, by the nobles, commons, his wife Katherine, and the Church.  Few reigns started more auspiciously than that of Henry, eighth of that name.

By the end of his reign he was widely despised by most his subjects.  Called a crowned monster behind his back, his reign had brought religious turmoil to England and domestic strife.  The best known symbols of his reign were the headman’s axe, the stake and the boiling pot in which he had some of the luckless individuals who roused his fury boiled to death.

It of course is small wonder for a Catholic to have little love for Henry VIII and his reign, but the distaste for Henry extends well beyond members of the Church.  Winston Churchill, the great English statesman and historian, in his magisterial History of the English Speaking Peoples has this to say about the executions of Saint Thomas More and Saint John Fisher:

The resistance of More and Fisher to the royal supremacy in Church government was a heroic stand.  They realised the defects of the existing Catholic system, but they hated and feared the aggressive nationalism which was destroying the unity of Christendom.  They saw that the break with Rome carried with it the risk of a despotism freed from every fetter.  More stood forth as the defender of all that was finest in the medieval outlook.  He represents to history its universality, its belief in spiritual values, and its instinctive sense of otherworldliness.  Henry VIII with cruel axe decapitated not only a wise and gifted counselor, but a system which, though it had failed to live up to its ideals in practice, had for long furnished mankind with its brightest dreams.” Continue reading

Great New Vatican Initiatives!

Pope Being Environmentally Conscious

 

Mundabor  celebrates these Vatican initiatives:

 

At this point you already all know about the latest, surprisingly coherent decisions in the Vatican. Lest it be told that I only speak of the man in order to criticise him, I would like to say a word or two of praise at least of the coherence involved.

1. The Vatican decision to shut down and destroy all air conditioners within the Vatican city (similar measures will be implemented in every Catholic diocese in time) is at least a sign of coherence. Granted, the one or other old prelate may die, at least indirectly, because of the heat that follows (it promises to be a very hot summer in Rome), but it is good to see that there is the willingness to put one’s sweat where one’s encyclical is. Note that the air conditioning appliances will be destroyed, not sold. It makes sense, as selling them would only encourage consumerism and shift the problem to other offices and households. 

2. The decision, also announced, to put an immediate end to every travelling of the Pope is likewise to be praised. In the age of the Internet and social media, the voice of the Pope can reach pretty much anyone without any need to cause huge Co2 emissions for himself, his entourage, the security, the journalists, and the rest of the circus. Twitter is so environmentally friendly…

3. Even more coherent is the decision to put an end to World Youth Days. Millions of people gathering every time. A stunningly expensive exercise in terms of not only money (which can be given to the poor), but emissions. One can agree or not with the ideology of Laudato Si, but here is one saying that at least they practice their bad preaching.

4. I find the decision to have the Vatican carbon-neutral within 2016, and every diocesan office within 2019, a tad extreme. It will obviously require not only to sweat in summer, but also to freeze in winter; and the Roman winters can be fairly punishing at times, at least if you never lived in Connecticut, or Minnesota. It will require to curb the use of electricity, gas, fuel, mobility, food, everything. It will be a mess. But it will also give a great contribution in introducing that kind of simple, poor, rural society in which the Pontiff clearly sees the solution to our problems. And it will be an example. A great, if stupid, example.  Continue reading

Why I Like Being a Dad

 

 

1.   Captive audience for my bad jokes.

2.   Relief from the strain of having too much money.

3.   Lots of practice in learning to count to ten.

4.   Lots of practice in asking, “What did your Mom say?”

5.   An ever growing appreciation for my old man. Continue reading

Fortnight For Freedom: Getting in Bed With Caesar

Fortnight For Freedom 2015

If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.

Sam Adams, August 1, 1776

The American Catholic is proud to participate in this year’s Fortnight For Freedom.  The Fortnights were started in 2012 by the bishops of this country in response to the unprecedented assault on religious liberty posed by the Obama administration, to remind Catholics of the preciousness of their inheritance of freedom as Americans and Catholics and the necessity of standing up to threats to it.  All well and good, and a very worthy cause indeed.  However, the leadership of the Church appears to be schizophrenic on this subject.  While Caesar seeks to limit the freedom of the Church, too many ecclesiastics respond by wanting to get into bed with Caesar.

The examples of this are legion.

It is the policy of the Church to aid the Obama administration in flouting the immigration laws of this country, acting as a virtual arm of the State in sheltering illegal aliens.

The Church was all in favor of Obamacare, until the Obama administration targeted the Church with the contraceptive mandate.

The Green Encyclical released this week is one long demand for Caesar to engage in an immense power grab, and regulate business and citizens to fight a mythical global warming threat.

The Church through the Catholic Campaign for Human Development funds hundreds of left wing pressure groups to call for ever bigger government, and, inevitably, further restrictions on freedom.

Welfare States require huge amounts of tax money and huge amounts of government power.  The default position of the Church today when confronting any need traditionally filled by private or Church charity, is to scream for Caesar to come fix things.  This bastardized parody of the social teachings of the Church inevitably comes back to bite the Church as Caesar will always exact a price for his favors and under the Obama administration that price is for the Church to bend the knee to contraception, abortion and gay marriage.  For all too many of our shepherds that is a small price to pay to keep the government largesse flowing.  There is a reason why Christ whipped the money changers from the Temple and why He uttered the phrase to render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.   These days the Church too often seems willing to bow the knee to Caesar, no matter what Caesar demands, so long as the funds from Caesar keep flowing. Continue reading

Jack Reagan

JackReaganfamily

 

On Fathers’ Day it is easy to recall and honor all the good fathers.  However, even a very flawed father can have a positive impact on a child.  Case in point Jack Reagan, the father of Ronald Reagan.

To be blunt, Jack Reagan was a drunk.  At eleven years old Ronald Reagan came home from school to find his father passed out on the porch,  dead drunk to the world.  In a small town the shame of that moment for a boy would be clear.  An alcoholic, one would think that the only impact that Jack could have on the life of his son was to be a negative example, but such was not the case.

Jack was gregarious and a born story teller, traits he passed on to his son.

He and his wife were always deeply in love, and his wife Nellie made sure that their sons knew that Jack was a good man in spite of his addiction to drink.

An Irish Catholic, he hated racial and religious bigotry.  He refused to allow his kids to see the film Birth of a Nation, because of its racist theme.  One cold winter night when he was on the road selling shoes, he slept in his car, rather than taking a room in a hotel that discriminated against Jews.

Reagan said of his father:

Among the things he passed on to me were the belief that all men and women, regardless of their color or religion, are created equal and that individuals determine their own destiny; that is, it’s largely their own ambition and hard work that determine their fate in life.

Continue reading

Fortnight For Freedom 2015

 Fortnight For Freedom 2015

As in years past, The American Catholic will take part in The Fortnight Freedom proclaimed by the USCCB:

 

 

The Fortnight for Freedom: Freedom to Bear Witness will take place from June 21 to July 4, 2015, a time when our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face of persecution by political power—St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher, St. John the Baptist, SS. Peter and Paul, and the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome. The theme of this year’s Fortnight will focus on the “freedom to bear witness” to the truth of the Gospel. Continue reading

PopeWatch: Reading the Green Encyclical

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

 

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

 

 

Catholic blogger Dermot McHenry, who wrote a scornful attack on Laudato Si yesterday, reported this morning that he was now about ready to consider actually reading the encyclical for himself.

“The thing is like 180 pages long or something like that,” McHenry told EOTT. “And since I’m not a big fan of Francis or the whole global warming thing, or reading long posts, I thought the best thing to do was to simply read what other commentators were saying and to eloquently regurgitate what I read, form a nice little narrative that would make my readers happy, and then to post it with a bunch of bold words everywhere.”

McHenry went on to say that after diligently and thoughtfully reading almost 88 comments on another post about Laudato Si, that he was “absolutely flabbergasted” at how utterly pathetic and pedestrian the idiotic encyclical was, and that he felt sorry that the Church was being headed by such a weak minded man.

At press time, McHenry is on track to successfully skimming the entire encyclical in under 15 minutes so. Continue reading

Pollution

 

Something for the weekend.  In honor of the Green Encyclical, a bit of Tom Lehrer.  Living through the Sixties when I was a kid was bad enough.  Little did I know that I would have the “joy” of reliving the Sixties in my fifties.  The only thing that Marx, Karl not Groucho, got right was that history frequently does repeat itself:  the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.

Bear Growls: Pope Francis the Angry

angry Pope Francis

A succinct, and, on the whole, accurate assessment of Pope Francis, at least so far, by Saint Corbinian’s Bear:

 

Pope Francis — this is his. There are no surprises to the man. We can all sit back and stop obsessing over everything he says and does. There’s nothing to figure out any more. He’s a Latin American bishop with naive, confused and passionate politics and a constricted view of the world. He idealizes the poor, not because they are needy, but because they are The Poor. The Catholic Church is being repurposed into something strange, vague. The tone of this Papacy is anger.

And pessimism.

PopeWatch: Encyclical Translated-Part I

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

One of the reactions of PopeWatch to the Green Encyclical is bloat.  The whole thing could have weighed in at 50 pages without any loss of content.  The committee who put this together needed a good editor.  As a public service, PopeWatch will now provide a slimmed down version of the Encyclical.

1.Saint Francis liked the environment and so should we.

2.The world is in a sad shape from pollution and it is our fault.

3.This encyclical is as important as Pacem in Terris that was released in 1963.

4.The Pope cites Pope Paul VI on the environment so that you won’t think he is a hippie Pope off on his own hook.

5.Ditto as to Pope John Paul II.

5.Ditto as to Pope Benedict.

6.The Pope cites Patriarch Bartholomew because he is an environmental alarmist like the Pope and because modern pontiffs never miss an opportunity to suck up to the Orthodox, even though they all tell us to take a hike eventually when it comes to reunification.

7.More Bartholomew.

8.More Bartholomew.

9.Let’s drag Saint Francis back in and ahistorically paint him as an enviro-nut.

10.More Saint Francis.

11.More Saint Francis.

12.More Saint Francis.

13.Man made harm to environment is a big problem and we all need to work together to solve it.

14.If you think this whole environmental doom and gloom is idiocy you are in denial and part of the problem. Continue reading

The Pretense of Knowledge

Hayek

 

I have been viewing with some mirth the joy of the Left in regard to the release of the Green Encyclical.  Prior to Pope Francis, most of those celebrating were intensely hostile to the papacy, viewing it as enemy number one on their path to the ever elusive socialist utopia.  Now they think they have a pope on their side.  Of course, in regard to the Green Encyclical we have Pope Francis being celebrated by the Left for doing something which was anathema to them before he came on the scene: a pope  judging science.  Leftist accusations aside, that is something the Church has rarely done, for sound reasons.  Most ecclesiastics lack the education to make sound judgments on science.  Plus, the conclusions of science are always being modified as new data is studied, and for an institution that exists to expound the Timeless Truths of Christ, it is dangerous to seek to mix in with those Truths opinions on science which are bound to be wrong in part in the fullness of time.  Thus the Pope is being celebrated by the Left for agreeing with them, although his manner of agreeing with them can just as easily be turned against them when a future pope has different opinions on science, if a future pope is foolish enough to wish to do what the Pope has just done.  It is one of the features of our time that the clergy, doing a lousy job by and large in expounding the Gospel, are eager to give their opinions on subjects they are frequently bone ignorant about, merely parroting, in the main, beliefs of the Zeitgeist popular among the chattering classes, and the clergy are always members in good standing of that group.

Father George Rutler at Crisis Magazine explains why having the Church sit in judgment on the conclusions of science is a very bad idea indeed:

Pope Francis’ encyclical on the ecology of the earth is adventurously laden with promise and peril. It can raise consciousness of humans as stewards of creation.  However, there is a double danger in using it as an economic text or scientific thesis. One of the pope’s close advisors, the hortatory Cardinal Maradiaga of Honduras said with ill-tempered diction: “The ideology surrounding environmental issues is too tied to a capitalism that doesn’t want to stop ruining the environment because they don’t want to give up their profits.” From the empirical side, to prevent the disdain of more informed scientists generations from now, papal teaching must be safeguarded from attempts to exploit it as an endorsement of one hypothesis over another concerning anthropogenic causes of climate change. It is not incumbent upon a Catholic to believe, like Rex Mottram in Brideshead Revisited, that a pope can perfectly predict the weather. As a layman in these matters, all I know about climate change is that I have to pay for heating a very big church with an unpredictable apparatus. This is God’s house, but he sends me the ConEd utility bills.

It is noteworthy that Pope Francis would have included in an encyclical, instead of lesser teaching forms such as an apostolic constitution or motu proprio, subjects that still pertain to unsettled science (and to speak of a “consensus” allows that there is not yet a defined absolute). The Second Vatican Council, as does Pope Francis, makes clear that there is no claim to infallibility in such teaching. The Council (Lumen Gentium, n.25) does say that even the “ordinary Magisterium” is worthy of a “religious submission of intellect and will” but such condign assent is not clearly defined.  It does not help when a prominent university professor of solid Catholic commitments says that in the encyclical “we are about to hear the voice of Peter.”  That voice may be better heard when, following the advice of the encyclical (n.55) people turn down their air conditioners.  One awaits the official Latin text to learn its neologism for “condizione d’aria.”  While the Holy Father has spoken eloquently about the present genocide of Christians in the Middle East, those who calculate priorities would have hoped for an encyclical about this fierce persecution, surpassing that of the emperor Decius.  Pictures of martyrs being beheaded, gingerly filed away by the media, give the impression that their last concern on earth was not climate fluctuations.

Saint Peter, from his fishing days, had enough hydrometeorology to know that he could not walk on water. Then the eternal Logos told him to do it, and he did, until he mixed up the sciences of heaven and earth and began to sink. As vicars of that Logos, popes speak infallibly only on faith and morals. They also have the prophetic duty to correct anyone who, for the propagation of their particular interests, imputes virtual infallibility to papal commentary on physical science while ignoring genuinely infallible teaching on contraception, abortion and marriage and the mysteries of the Lord of the Universe.  At this moment, we have the paradoxical situation in which an animated, and even frenzied, secular chorus hails papal teaching as infallible, almost as if it could divide the world, provided it does NOT involve faith or morals. Continue reading

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