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.

PopeWatch: Commie Kitsch

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Father Z quotes from Vatican Insider how Pope Francis disposed of the Hammer and Sickle crucifixes given to him by Evo Morales, the odious president of Bolivia:

 

From Vatican Insider:

This morning Francis lay the two presidential honours he received Wednesday from President Evo Morales in La Paz, at the feet of Our Lady of Copacabana. One of these featured the hammer and anvil with a carving of a crucifix

Before leaving Bolivia, Francis placed two gifts he received on Wednesday from President Evo Morales at the foot of a statue of Mary. One of these, a chain with a chunky medallion, had the figure of the crucified Christ carved into a wooden hammer and anvil. This image had been drawn by Fr. Luis Espinal, the Jesuit priest who was assassinated in Bolivia in March 1980. [So, it is the chain and medallion with the image of commie-crux that the Pope left?  Along with the Bolivian honor?]

“This morning,” reads a statement issued by Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi, “Pope Francis celebrated Holy Mass in the chapel of the private residence of the Archbishop Emeritus of Santa Cruz de la Sierra. At the end of the Eucharistic celebration, the Holy Father presented two decorative honours that were conferred onto him by Bolivian president Evo Morales during his courtesy visit to the Presidential palace in La Paz , to a statue of the Our Lady of Copacabana, patron saint of Bolivia.[So… something doesn’t go back to Rome.  The wooden commie-crux?  However, didn’t Fr. Lombardi say that it wasn’t going to go into a church? ““Certainly, though, it will not be put in a church,” he said.” HERE This Pope is full is surprises.]

Francis accompanied this gesture with the following words: “The President of the nation was kind enough to offer me two decorative honours on behalf of the Bolivian people. I thank the Bolivian people for their affection and the President for this courteous gesture. I would like to dedicate these two decorations to the patron saint of Bolivia, the Mother of this noble nation, so that she may always remember her people and from Bolivia, from the shrine where I would like them to be, that she may remember the Successor of Peter and the whole Church and look after them from Bolivia.”

“Mother of the Saviour and our Mother,” Francis prayed, “You, Queen of Bolivia, who from the height of your Shrine in Copacabana attend to the prayers and needs of your children, especially the most poor and abandoned, and protect them: Receive as a gift from the heart of Bolivia and my filial affection the symbols of affection and closeness that – in the name of the Bolivian people – Mr. President Evo Morales Ayma has bestowed on me with cordial and generous affection, [uh huh] on the occasion of this Apostolic Journey, which I entrusted to your solicitous intercession.”

Francis concluded his prayer by saying: “I ask that these honours, which I leave here in Bolivia at your feet, and which recall the nobility of the flight of the Condor in the skies of the Andes and the commemorated sacrifice of Father Luis Espinal, S.J., may be emblems of the everlasting love and persevering gratitude of the Bolivian people for your solicitous and intense tenderness. At this moment, Mother, I place in your heart my prayers for all the many petitions of your children, which I have received in these days: I beg you to hear them; give them your encouragement and protection, and manifest to the whole of Bolivia your tenderness as woman and Mother of God, who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.” [I’m pretty sure he means that God lives and reigns forever and ever, although Mary now lives forever and she is Queen of Heaven forever.]

So, I hope the contraption isn’t returning to Rome. Continue reading

Father Thomas Michael Conway: Last US Chaplain to Die in World War II

Father Thomas Michael Conway

 (Much of the information contained in this post was taken from a post on Father Conway written by Bill Millhome.  Go here to read his post.)

Early this year the Navy rejected efforts to have Father Thomas Michael Conway awarded the Navy Cross.  I would be angrier at this injustice if I was not certain that the Chaplain had not been awarded the ultimate blessing of sainthood and the Beatific Vision immediately after his heroic death in shark infested waters at the tail end of World War II.

Born on April 5, 1908 in Waterbury, Connecticut, he was the oldest of three children of his Irish immigrant parents.  Ordained a priest in 1934 he served as a priest in various parishes in Buffalo, New York.  His main leisure activities was sailing a boat on Lake Erie.  On September 17, 1942 he enlisted in the Navy and was commissioned as a chaplain.

On August 25, 1944 he was assigned to the cruiser USS Indianapolis as a chaplain.

July 29, 1945 was a Sunday, and the Chaplain had said Mass for the Catholic sailors, and conducted a service for the Protestant sailors.  Fourteen minutes past midnight two torpedoes fired by the Japanese sub I-58 ripped into the starboard bow of the Indianapolis.  The ship sank in twelve minutes, taking 300 men to the bottom with it.  Nine hundred sailors, including the chaplain, were adrift in the pitch black shark infested waters.

Frank J. Centazzo, one of the 317 survivors of this ordeal, recalled what the Chaplain did, as he swam from group to group, tending the wounded, leading the men in prayer and giving the  Last Rites to sailors beyond all human aid:

“Father Conway was in every way a messenger of our Lord. He loved his work no matter what the challenge. He was respected and loved by all his shipmates. I was in the group with Father Conway. … I saw him go from one small group to another. Getting the shipmates to join in prayer and asking them not to give up hope of being rescued. He kept working until he was exhausted. I remember on the third day late in the afternoon when he approached me and Paul McGiness. He was thrashing the water and Paul and I held him so he could rest a few hours. Later, he managed to get away from us and we never saw him again. Father Conway was successful in his mission to provide spiritual strength to all of us. He made us believe that we would be rescued. He gave us hope and the will to endure. His work was exhausting and he finally succumbed in the evening of the third day. He will be remembered by all of the survivors for all of his work while on board the ‘Indy’ and especially three days in the ocean.” Continue reading

Pope of the Left

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Pope Francis during his visit to South America, his home ground, gave vent to all those beliefs that  should send a shiver down the back of anyone who believes in free enterprise and views the State with extreme skepticism.  Andrew Stuttaford at National Review Online gives a good summary:

Even by the standards of this pontiff, Pope Francis’s speech yesterday in Bolivia to a crowd that included the country’s president wearing a jacket emblazoned with the face of a mass-murderer (Che Guevara, in case you needed to ask: we can at least be sure that Speaker Boehner won’t do that when he introduces Francis to a joint session of Congress), was a doozy.
The Guardian exults (of course it does), quoting this amongst other delights:
“The new colonialism takes on different faces. At times it appears as the anonymous influence of mammon: corporations, loan agencies, certain ‘free trade’ treaties, and the imposition of measures of ‘austerity’ which always tighten the belt of workers and the poor.”
Not for the first time with Pope Francis, we see traces of conspiracism (a demagogic standard, I’m afraid to say) in his use of the phrase ‘anonymous influence’ and the suggestion of dark works by ‘corporations’ and ‘loan agencies’. The distaste for ‘free trade’, complete with scare quotes of course, harks back to the Peronist preference for economic autarchy that marked the Argentina of his youth.
And so does another extract from the same speech in which the Pope seems to call what he refers to as a “truly communitarian” economy, often a buzz word for those, such as Perón, who claimed or claim to be looking for a ‘third way’ between communism and capitalism, a third way that, in Argentina’s case, ultimately led to disaster.
Turn now to a 2013 blog post from Jacob Lederman reacting to posters that appeared across Buenos Aires after Francis’s election, posters that read, “Francisco I, Argentino y Peronista”:
The fall of the first peronist government is said to have been precipitated by Peron’s break with the church but in fact I have always thought that the two shared many common attributes: top down structures, a measure of paternalism which can be discursively rendered a form of communitarianism, and a strong inclination toward the mystical.
Look at the speech, and we see that Francis has no time for what he refers to as “the bondage of individualism”.
And he seems unimpressed by the remarkable (and, of course, incomplete) achievements of the free market (however approximate, however imperfect) in not only coping with a vastly expanded global population (ahem) but in pulling so many out of poverty across the world. All that appears to count for little with a figure who, economically and politically speaking, appears to view much of the modern world through the lens of the exhausted ideologies of the mid-20th Century.
Let us say NO to an economy of exclusion and inequality, where money rules, rather than service. That economy kills. That economy excludes. That economy destroys Mother Earth.
To him this is the system (“a subtle dictatorship”, apparently, a description which left me wondering how he would describe Cuba) that has “irresponsibly” (an interesting word to use, in this context: some sort of central planning, I suppose, is to decide what is or is not “responsible”) accelerated “the pace of production, while using industrial and agricultural methods which damage Mother Earth in the name of “productivity”….
The Green Revolution was bad?

Continue reading

Our New “Friends”

Naomi Klein

 

 

One of the more interesting feature of the current pontificate is how often the Pope extends the hand of friendship to enemies of the Church while giving the back of his hand to faithful Catholics.  In a rather gloating piece in The New Yorker, one of the Popes new best buds, environmental and anti-capitalist activist Naomi Klein, is on target about what a radical shift this all is:

This point is made forcefully by the Irish Catholic priest and theologian Seán McDonagh, who was part of the drafting process for the encyclical. His voice booming from the audience, he urges us not to hide from the fact that the love of nature embedded in the encyclical represents a profound and radical shift from traditional Catholicism. “We are moving to a new theology,” he declares.

To prove it, he translates a Latin prayer that was once commonly recited after communion during the season of advent. “Teach us to despise the things of the earth and to love the things of heaven.” Overcoming centuries of loathing the corporeal world is no small task, and, McDonagh argues, it serves little purpose to downplay the work ahead.

It’s thrilling to witness such radical theological challenges being batted around inside the curved wooden walls of an auditorium named after St. Augustine, the theologian whose skepticism of things bodily and material so profoundly shaped the Church. But I would imagine that for the conspicuously silent men in black robes in the front row, who study and teach in this building, it is also a little terrifying.

This evening’s dinner is much more informal: a sidewalk trattoria with a handful of Franciscans from Brazil and the U.S., as well as McDonagh, who is treated by the others as an honorary member of the order.

My dinner companions have been some of biggest troublemakers within the Church for years, the ones taking Christ’s proto-socialist teachings seriously. Patrick Carolan, the Washington, D.C.-based executive director of the Franciscan Action Network, is one of them. Smiling broadly, he tells me that, at the end of his life, Vladimir Lenin supposedly said that what the Russian Revolution had really needed was not more Bolsheviks but ten St. Francises of Assisi.

Now, all of a sudden, these outsiders share many of their views with the most powerful Catholic in the world, the leader of a flock of 1.2 billion people. Not only did this Pope surprise everyone by calling himself Francis, as no Pope ever had before him, but he appears to be determined to revive the most radical Franciscan teachings. Moema de Miranda, a powerful Brazilian social leader, who was wearing a wooden Franciscan cross, says that it feels “as if we are finally being heard.”

For McDonagh, the changes at the Vatican are even more striking. “The last time I had a Papal audience was 1963,” he tells me over spaghetti vongole. “I let three Popes go by.” And yet here he is, back in Rome, having helped draft the most talked-about encyclical anyone can remember.

McDonagh points out that it’s not just Latin Americans who figured out how to reconcile a Christian God with a mystical Earth. The Irish Celtic tradition also managed to maintain a sense of “divine in the natural world. Water sources had a divinity about them. Trees had a divinity to them.” But, in much of the rest of the Catholic world, all of this was wiped out. “We are presenting things as if there is continuity, but there wasn’t continuity. That theology was functionally lost.” (It’s a sleight of hand that many conservatives are noticing. “Pope Francis, The Earth Is Not My Sister,” reads a recent headline in The Federalist, a right-wing Web magazine.)

As for McDonagh, he is thrilled with the encyclical, although he wishes it had gone even further in challenging the idea that the earth was created as a gift to humans. How could that be so, when we know it was here billions of years before we arrived?

I ask how the Bible could survive this many fundamental challenges—doesn’t it all fall apart at some point? He shrugs, telling me that scripture is ever evolving, and should be interpreted in historical context. If Genesis needs a prequel, that’s not such a big deal. Indeed, I get the distinct sense that he’d be happy to be part of the drafting committee.
Continue reading

PopeWatch: Sodom and Gomorrah

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

 

Just hours after ruling that all Americans, no matter their sexual orientation, can now legally marry the people they love, the U.S. Supreme Court went forward with plans to demand that God apologize and make amends for His actions at Sodom and Gomorrah.

Many are calling the decision to hold God liable for the destruction of the impenitent cities as a victory for gay rights activists who have fought for centuries to see God brought to justice.

The justices found that, under the 14th Amendment, states must issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and recognize same-sex unions that have been performed in other states, and that the Divine judgment of God that was passed upon Sodom and Gomorrah was unjust. Justice Anthony Kennedy delivered the majority opinion and was joined by Justices Ginsburg, Kagan, Breyer and Sotomayor in calling God to step down from his post immediately. Continue reading

Internationale

 

Something for the weekend.  The Internationale being sung in Spanish in Havana.  This is dedicated to Cardinal Jaime Ortega, and the Babalu Blog, the go to blog for all activities in Castro’s island gulag, tells us why:

Diplomacy does not seem to be Cardinal Jaime Ortega’s strongpoint. The archbishop of Havana behaved badly to a group of anti-Castro activists who were distributing a statement on a proposed amnesty law for political prisoners to diplomats attending 4th of July ceremonies at the home of Jeffrey DeLaurentis, head of the US Interests Section in Havana.

The cardinal’s harsh comments came shortly after a musical group — clad in colorful Prussian blue uniforms with white caps — had finished playing the last notes of the national anthems of Cuba and the United States on their wind instruments and after a brief welcome by Mr. DeLaurentis.

Relaxed officials and accredited diplomats working in Havana were chatting with dissidents, musicians and Cuban intellectuals — they had been invited to Independence Day celebrations — as waiters served red wine, beer, fruit juice and canapés.

Activists Egberto Escobedo and Jose Diaz Silva approached Ortega, who was chatting with a group of bishops, to hand him a list of fifty-one political prisoners whose release the Forum for Rights and Liberties — a group led by Antonio Rodiles, Angel Moya and Berta Soler — had been requesting every Sunday for twelve weeks in the face of intense harassment by police.

“I don’t want you handing me another list. Send it to the ’worms’* broadcasting on the radio from Miami. If you keep bothering me, I’ll have them call the police,” responded Ortega angrily.

Diplomats, guests and foreign journalists were taken aback. His outburst was the talk of the evening.

“He seemed more like a Stalinist commissar than a compassionate agent of the Lord. We assumed the Catholic church was supposed to welcome all of us. But for some time now there has been a faction of the Cuban church that has not only turned its back on dissidents but has attacked us nearly as forcefully as the government,” said Victor Manuel Dominguez, a poet and freelance journalist.

An official from a western embassy, speaking on condition of anonymity, expressed the opinion of his mission that “all that is being asked of Ortega is that he at least listen to a person’s demands, even if he does not agree with them.”

The Cuban archbishop’s verbal hostility stems from statements he made on June 5 to Cadena Ser, a Spanish radio station, in which he said that there are no longer political prisoners in Cuba.

This statement provoked a harsh response from activist Jose Luis Garcia Perez, known as Antunez. Antunez and other activists — including Rodiles, Guillermo Fariñas, Angel Moya and Berta Soler — were present during the cardinal’s tantrum.

“This is what one would expect from a society in which religious institutions that supposedly welcome all believers turns its back on dissidents. But this is what is happening. Intellectuals and a certain segment of the clergy remain suspiciously silent in the face of Sunday assaults on activists and the Ladies in White,” said Rodiles. Continue reading

PopeWatch: Hammer and Sickle

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Lie down with dogs and get up with fleas was the reaction of PopeWatch to Bolivian President Evo Morales, Hugo Chavez wannabe, giving to the Pope a hammer and sickle upon which Christ is crucified:

 

Hammer and Sickle

 

 

Vatican officials appear to have been flummoxed after Pope Francis was presented with a communist crucifix depicting Jesus nailed to a hammer and sickle by Bolivia’s president Evo Morales.

The gift from the leftwing leader caused an immediate stir among conservative Catholics who said the pontiff was being manipulated for ideological reasons.

The response of the pope was less clear. After being handed the wooden crucifix during a formal ceremony, he examined it for a few seconds before returning it to a Bolivian presidential aide.

His comments were largely drowned out by a flurry of camera clicks, prompting a flood of speculation. While some have claimed he expressed irritation, muttering the words “eso no está bien” (“this is not right”), Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said the pope was more likely to have uttered “eso no sabía bien” (“I didn’t know that”) in bemusement at the origins of the present.

The Bolivian government insisted there was no political motive behind the gift. Communications minister Marianela Paco said Morales had thought the “pope of the poor” would appreciate the gesture.

“That was the intention of this gift, and it was not any sort of maneuver … It was really from great affection” she told the Patria Nueva radio station. Continue reading

When a Kiss Is Not Just a Kiss

lesbians_(1)Hattip to commenter Phillip. Further proof that there are some very sick puppies among the powers that be currently at the Vatican:

In a bizarre sequence of events, the German edition of Vatican Radio published a cover photo of two lesbians kissing, with the caption: “Church’s sexual morality is in motion,” only to be removed, then reposted, then removed again.

Veteran Vatican reporter Edward Pentin, who spotted the picture, tweeted that Vatican Radio had opted for a “remarkable choice of photo” in posting the two women kissing.

The Canadian Voxcantoris site, a conservative Catholic blog that follows Church abuses, managed to capture a screen shot of the image before it was taken down, and noted that a year ago a German Bishop, Stephen Ackermann, made comments on Vatican Radio that were similarly accompanied by a photo of two homosexual men kissing in front of a rainbow flag.

The German edition of Vatican Radio is reputed to be among the more heterodox of the language editions, following the trends among the German episcopal hierarchy. Continue reading

Returning Soldiers: It’s Your America

The Army during World War II had training films for everything including demobilization.  This one, Returning Soldiers: It’s Your America, stars actor Arthur Kennedy who spent his war making training films for the Army Air Corps.  This film told the returning troops an essential truth:  they were coming back different men.  It also reminded them why they had gone through this life changing experience:  America.  Unusually well done for a training film, and I appreciated the device of using a Lincoln penny to convey the meaning of America to the soldier in the film.

At the end of his harrowing combat memoir, aptly entitled To Hell and Back, Audie Murphy, the most decorated US soldier in World War II, I think spoke for a lot of combat veterans when he ended with these lines (They are made more poignant because Murphy would continue to have nightmares about the War for the rest of his life.): Continue reading

PopeWatch: Luis Espinal

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The Pope, after arriving in Bolivia, stopped to pray at the death site of Luis Espinal, a Jesuit murdered by Bolivian paramilitary forces in 1980.  Espinal is being painted in press reports as a reformer who stood against the military dictatorship in Bolivia.  However, PopeWatch came across this little tidbit:

 

 

Father Albo showed a reporter a published photo of a crucified Christ attached to a homemade hammer and sickle, instead of a cross, that Father Espinal kept by his bed.

“He was of the left. This is certain. But he never belonged to any party or pretended to be part of one,” said Father Albo, who said he hopes to present a replica of the hammer and sickle crucifix to the pope.

Father Espinal “gave a lot of importance to the dialogue between Marxists and Christians,” he explained. “It was not pro-Soviet … (it was) the need for the church to be close to the popular sectors. Some understand this, others don’t. To me it is very clear.” Continue reading

Scandalous Priest and Glorious Martyr

 Martyrs-of-Gorkum 2015

 

(I repeat this post every July 9th.  All of us can be saints, even if our sins be as scarlet, if we have faith, love and courage.)

 

When July 9 rolls around each year I am always reminded of my personal belief that before our end, perhaps especially for those of us sunk deep in sin, God gives us an opportunity to atone and turn aside from the downward path.

In Sixteenth Century Holland one of the longest wars in history began between Spain and Dutch rebels.  The war was waged on both sides with sickening atrocities.  Among the most violent were the Sea Beggars, Dutch patriots or pirates depending upon one’s point of view.  In June of 1572 the Sea Beggars took the Dutch town of Gorkum, and captured nine Franciscan priests, Nicholas Pieck, Hieronymus of Weert, Theodorus van der Eem, Nicasius Janssen, Willehad of Denmark, Godefried of Mervel, Antonius of Weert, Antonius of Hoornaer, and Franciscus de Roye, of Brussels.  Two Franciscan lay brothers were also captured:   Petrus of Assche and Cornelius of Wyk.

The Sea Beggars also captured the parish priest of Gorkum, Leonardus Vechel of Boi-le-Duc, and his assistant, Nicolaas Janssen.  Also imprisoned were Father Godefried van Duynsen and Joannes Lenartz of Oisterwijk, director of the convent of Augustinian nuns in Gorkum.  Later imprisoned was a Domincan priest Joannes van Hoornaer who bravely came to Gorkum to minister to his imprisoned colleagues and joined them in their captivity,  Jacobus Lacops of Oudenaar, a priest of Monster, Holland, Adrianus Janssen of Brielle, and last, and no doubt he would say least, the subject of this post, Andreas Wouters of Heynoord.

To be blunt, Andreas Wouters had been a lousy priest.  A drunkard and notorious womanizer,  he had fathered several children.  Suspended from his duties  he was living in disgrace when the Sea Beggars captured Gorkum.  This was his cue to run as far away as possible, based on his past history.  Instead, perhaps understanding that God was giving him maybe his last chance to redeem himself, he volunteered to join the captive priests and brothers. Continue reading

Jesuitical 19: Fordham and Gay Marriage

 

 

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Part 19 of my ongoing survey of the follies of many modern day Jesuits.  Jesuit university Fordham disabuses Catholics deluded enough to believe that liberal Catholics have not, by and large, fully embraced the zeitgeist of the secular left:

The New York Times, which wrote up a glowing report of the couple’s marriage, described Hornbeck, as “the chairman of the theology department and an associate professor of medieval and reformation history at Fordham University.”

The article somehow failed to mention that the only course he actually taught last semester was titled “Christianity & Sexual Diversity.”

One wonders how Fordham expects its Catholic theology to be “taught in a manner faithful to Scripture, Tradition, and the Church’s Magisterium,” as required by Catholic discipline, when the head of the department stands in open opposition to the Church’s teaching on marriage.

The wedding ceremony took place just days before the Episcopal Church in America voted to allow same-sex marriage rites in its churches, effectively sacramentalizing sodomy.

Fordham in turn has defended Hornbeck’s “constitutional right to marriage,” saying that his lifestyle choice is irrelevant to his role as a teacher of Catholic Theology.

“While Catholic teachings do not support same-sex marriage, we wish Professor Hornbeck and his spouse a rich life filled with many blessings on the occasion of their wedding in the Episcopal Church,” said Bob Howe, Fordham’s senior director of communications.

“Professor Hornbeck is a member of the Fordham community, and like all University employees, students and alumni, is entitled to human dignity without regard to race, creed, gender, and sexual orientation,” he said.

Howe stressed that same-sex unions are “now the law of the land, and Professor Hornbeck has the same constitutional right to marriage as all Americans.” Continue reading

Jimmy Carter and the Mind of Christ

Hattip to Allahpundit at Hot Air.  Well, in addition to being an anti-Catholic bigot, the worst President not named James Buchanan or Barak Obama has now indicated that Christ would approve homosexual marriage.

 

“I don’t have any verse and scripture” to back that up, he allows, but he’s got a good feeling about it. And why not? “Jesus” is really just a stand-in in this question for morality writ large, right? If you support SSM you think the practice is moral (I should hope), and if you’re a Christian who believes something is moral, almost by definition you need to believe Jesus thinks so too. There’s nothing doctrinal about this, by Carter’s own admission. It’s just “I feel strongly this is right, ergo God must as well.” Continue reading

PopeWatch: Scandalous

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A signal of what to expect from the Synod?

 

Even if a pastoral proposal for helping a Catholic family with problems seems scandalous at first, it is possible God could use that proposal to bring healing and holiness, Pope Francis said.

Encouraging and celebrating family life during a Mass July 6 in Guayaquil, Pope Francis asked people to pray for the October Synod of Bishops on the family, and he tied the synod to the Jubilee of Mercy, a yearlong celebration that will begin in December.

The synod will be a time for the church to “deepen her spiritual discernment and consider concrete solutions to the many difficult and significant challenges facing families in our time,” the pope said.

Celebrating Mass with as many as 1 million people gathered under the hot sun in Los Samanes Park, Pope Francis asked them “to pray fervently for this intention, so that Christ can take even what might seem to us impure, scandalous or threatening, and turn it — by making it part of his ‘hour’ — into a miracle. Families today need this miracle!”

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, told reporters Pope Francis was not referring to any specific proposal discussed in anticipation of the synod; one of the most common — and most debated pastoral suggestions — was to develop a process or “penitential path” for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics who want to receive Communion but have not received an annulment.

The pope, Father Lombardi said, hopes the synod “will find a way to help people move from a situation of sin to a situation of grace.” Continue reading

Bingo

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Co-blogger Darwin has a remarkably clear sighted post at his blog which lays out just how the Church will come under attack in the wake of the Supreme Court decision mandating gay marriage:

 

There’s a group out there which is very, very determined to win cultural and moral legitimacy for homosexual relationships, and to punish those who do not share those beliefs. Currently that group is at the cultural helm. In time, it will crumble and lose its ascendancy simply because it is not compatible with the realities of human nature. However, until that happens, the marriage equality group will not be satisfied by seeing Catholic priests stop signing civil marriage licenses, while continuing to celebrate religious marriage ceremonies only for opposite sex couples.  They’re not stupid, and it’s recognition they want, not getting priests to stop signing a form for straight couples.  Nor would “separating” civil and religious marriage be coherent from a Catholic point of view. Indeed, a non-Catholic couple who get married in front of a city clerk are (absent obstacles such as already being married to someone else or being of the same sex) viewed by the Church as being married, since the Church does not recognize there as being two levels of marriage.  So the idea of “getting out of the civil marriage business” fails to protect us from the looming threat, while at the same time abandoning our Catholic principles as to the nature of marriage.  There is no reason to do it. Continue reading

PopeWatch: Dictators

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 The Pope thanked President Rafael Correa for the “congruity” of his thoughts with his own. In his speech, he recalled the steps the country has taken towards renewal, quoting the Apostolic Exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium” and the “Laudato Si’” encyclical, speaking about “Latin America’s great social sin, which is that of injustice”. He also stated that “the fair distribution of wealth must be demanded”. The Pope congratulated Correa “on the accomplishment” of his mission. A mission which is by no means easy for a left-wing head of state who has criticised the gender ideology, is proposing the establishment of an international body for environmental justice and is implementing social inclusion policies. And who aims to introduce two laws on capital gains tax and inheritance, a sort of “property tax” that is contested both by rich property owners and by the middle class which fears it will lose properties purchased for their children. Correa’s opponents are launching demonstrations all around the country but have stated that they do not intend to disturb the papal visit. 

From Vatican Insider by Andrea Tornielli

 

 

The Pope is in Ecuador, part of his eight day swing through Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay, what Pope Francis calls forgotten countries.  Both Ecuador and Bolivia have left wing presidents who model themselves after the late Hugo Chavez of Venezuela:   Rafael Correa of Ecuador  and Evo Morales of Bolivia.    The statist policies they embrace seem quite similar to what the Pope endorses in the Green Encyclical.  They both have deserved reputations for using the power of the state against critics, as noted in a story in the Wall Street Journal:

 

Pope Francis’ journey to Ecuador, which kicks off on Monday, “is to cultivate the virtues of the people and not to politicize his presence,” Quito Archbishop Fausto Trávez said late last week in public remarks.

Good luck with that. President Rafael Correa has spent weeks appropriating the pope as his government’s very own 21st century socialist icon. So unless the Holy Father finds a way to signal Ecuadoreans otherwise, the visit is likely to leave the impression that the church is in solidarity with the repressive Correa machine.

That would be bad. But it could get even worse, depending upon what transpires during the pope’s visit to Cuba in September.

In early June, Havana Cardinal Jaime Ortega declared that there are no political prisoners on the island. That offended Cuba’s human-rights community, which estimates that the regime holds some 70 prisoners of conscience. The church doesn’t seem to want to know about them.

Last week, in yet another sign that the church wants to distance itself from the Cuban struggle for justice, a Catholic priest banned the women’s human-rights group known as the Ladies in White from attending Mass at his Cienfuegos parish dressed in white on the grounds that other parishioners object.

These events came in the same month that Francis hosted Raúl Castro at the Vatican. Castro used the photo op, which went viral, to claim legitimacy for the bloody 55-year-old dictatorship.

Now the Holy Father is walking into a political mine field in Ecuador—the first stop on a nine-day tour that includes Bolivia and Paraguay. In Ecuador he will celebrate open-air Masses in Guayaquil and Quito, have lunch with a Jesuit community, visit the Catholic University, and make a private visit to a historic Jesuit church.

The pope will also meet with Mr. Correa, who undoubtedly will have plenty of photographers on hand. In a republic that protected civil liberties, the meeting would be seen as nothing more than standard protocol. But in Correa’s Ecuador, where the government rules through intimidation and is increasingly unpopular, the meeting will be used for politics. This means that it is likely to overshadow the rest of the visit, possibly damaging not only the pope but also the church.

As Archbishop Trávez indicated, the trip has been framed by the Vatican as part of its mission of evangelization. Most South Americans are nominally Roman Catholic but the number who practice is much lower than it once was. “The joy of the church is to go out to seek the sheep that are lost,” Pope Francis said in a homily in Rome in December.

But this pope is very political and his politics, if we take him at his word, favor statist solutions to poverty. In terms of appearances that puts him on the same side of many policy debates as the region’s socialist tyrants. Continue reading

July 7, 1865: Hanging of the Lincoln Conspirators

The four Lincoln conspirators sentenced to death were executed one hundred and fifty years ago.  By far the most controversial execution was that of Mary Surratt, the only woman ever to be executed by the Federal government.  Although I have no doubt that she was involved in the conspiracy, her involvement was peripheral in nature and she should not have been executed.  Three days before his death, Andrew Johnson, in an account that should be read with a grain of salt, purportedly gave his opinion of the execution of Mrs. Surratt (The spelling errors are in the original account):

“While Mr. McElwee, explained that he was not attempting to quote the exact words of Mr. Johnson, he gives the substance of the political conversation.

‘The execution of Mrs. Surrat [sic] was a crime of passion without justice or reason. She knew no more about the intentions of Booth and his associates than any other preson [sic] who chanced to know Booth or Asterot. They had simply boarded as others had done, at her boarding house. She was entitled to trial in open court and the record of that trial preserved, but her executioners knew the records would condemn them if they kept till passion had subsided and they were estroyed’ [sic].

‘Is there no record of the condemnation and execution of Mrs. Surratt?’

‘No Sir, the records were immediately destroyed. They were not even kept until John was arrested and tried.’

‘If she was not guilty, why did you not interpose executive clemency?’

‘If I had interfered with the execution it would have meant my death and a riot that would have probably ended in war.’

‘Was there any appeal made to you for mitigating the sentence as reported after the execution.’

‘No appeal reached me. Her daughter forwarded one, but it was suppressed by Secretary Stanton. I heard of it afterward but never saw it. It was murder founded on perjury and executed to gratif pyassion [sic]. The chief witness afterwards confessed to his perjury.'” Continue reading

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