Victims of Communism Day: Divini Redemptoris

DIVINI REDEMPTORIS


ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PIUS XI
ON ATHEISTIC COMMUNISM
TO THE PATRIARCHS, PRIMATES,
ARCHBISHOPS, BISHOPS, AND OTHER ORDINARIES
IN PEACE AND COMMUNION WITH THE APOSTOLIC SEE.

Venerable Brethren, Health and Apostolic Benediction.

The promise of a Redeemer brightens the first page of the history of mankind, and the confident hope aroused by this promise softened the keen regret for a paradise which had been lost. It was this hope that accompanied the human race on its weary journey, until in the fullness of time the expected Savior came to begin a new universal civilization, the Christian civilization, far superior even to that which up to this time had been laboriously achieved by certain more privileged nations.

2. Nevertheless, the struggle between good and evil remained in the world as a sad legacy of the original fall. Nor has the ancient tempter ever ceased to deceive mankind with false promises. It is on this account that one convulsion following upon another has marked the passage of the centuries, down to the revolution of our own days. This modern revolution, it may be said, has actually broken out or threatens everywhere, and it exceeds in amplitude and violence anything yet experienced in the preceding persecutions launched against the Church. Entire peoples find themselves in danger of falling back into a barbarism worse than that which oppressed the greater part of the world at the coming of the Redeemer.

3. This all too imminent danger, Venerable Brethren, as you have already surmised, is bolshevistic and atheistic Communism, which aims at upsetting the social order and at undermining the very foundations of Christian civilization .

4. In the face of such a threat, the Catholic Church could not and does not remain silent. This Apostolic See, above all, has not refrained from raising its voice, for it knows that its proper and social mission is to defend truth, justice and all those eternal values which Communism ignores or attacks. Ever since the days when groups of “intellectuals” were formed in an arrogant attempt to free civilization from the bonds of morality and religion, Our Predecessors overtly and explicitly drew the attention of the world to the consequences of the dechristianization of human society. With reference to Communism, Our Venerable Predecessor, Pius IX, of holy memory, as early as 1846 pronounced a solemn condemnation, which he confirmed in the words of the Syllabus directed against “that infamous doctrine of so-called Communism which is absolutely contrary to the natural law itself, and if once adopted would utterly destroy the rights, property and possessions of all men, and even society itself.”[1] Later on, another of Our predecessors, the immortal Leo XIII, in his Encyclical Quod Apostolici Muneris, defined Communism as “the fatal plague which insinuates itself into the very marrow of human society only to bring about its ruin.”[2] With clear intuition he pointed out that the atheistic movements existing among the masses of the Machine Age had their origin in that school of philosophy which for centuries had sought to divorce science from the life of the Faith and of the Church. Continue Reading

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PopeWatch: Professor Claudio Pierantoni

Edward Pentin at National Catholic Register has the reflections of Professor Claudio Pierantoni on the Papal exhortation  Gaudete et Exsultate (Rejoice and Be Glad);

 

Pierantoni says the document has “beautiful and useful pages about holiness,” but on the passages that equate abortion with other social justice issues such as the suffering of migrants, he reminds readers that abortion is an “intrinsically evil action, monstrously justified” by legalization, whereas issues such as immigration are matters of “prudential judgment.”

On the section on Gnosticism and Pelagianism, he considers this to be “central” to the exhortation and its “weakest and most dangerous” part. He sees it as directed at those who adhere to “orthodox doctrine and commandments” — a “counterattack” against the cardinals who issued the dubia (a requested clarification of parts of Amoris Laetitia) and against those who issued the filial correction last year, accusing the Pope of spreading heresy, especially through Amoris Laetitia and its interpretations.

Pierantoni says such attacks on defenders of orthodoxy serve to “support the error of situational ethics,” which denies the existence of intrinsically evil acts — something he believes is the “principal heresy of our times.”

According to reliable sources, Gaudete et Exsultate was shown to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith only a very short time before it was published, so the dicastery was unable to provide few if any recommendations or amendments to the text. 

Pope Francis says:

“Our defense of the innocent unborn needs to be clear, firm and passionate, for at stake is the dignity of a human life, which is always sacred and demands love for each person, regardless of his or her stage of development. Equally sacred, however, are the lives of the poor, those already born, the destitute, the abandoned and the underprivileged, etc.” (101) 

There is seemingly no theological error in affirming that the life of the unborn is equally sacred as the lives of the poor, the destitute, etc. But the problem I see here is that, when we speak of the unborn, we are referring to a specific action, that is the killing of an innocent human being, i.e., assassination. That is an intrinsically evil action, monstrously justified by the law of so many “civilized” countries. On the contrary, social injustice is something we must certainly strive to overcome, but the positive political actions that really favor the overcoming of poverty are a matter of discussion among different schools of thought. 

In general, positive duties are different from negative ones (i.e. prohibitions), because they are the object of prudential judgment, and there is no positive specific action that absolutely has to be carried out in this regard. For example, it is true that we must be generous towards immigrants, but it is a matter of prudential judgment how many immigrants a country can reasonably receive in a given period of time and under which rules. Now, it is utterly disquieting that, on the one hand, the Pope has been “flexible” on matters that, according to Catholic doctrine, are the object of a specific and absolute prohibition, saying for example that “we must not insist too much on such issues [of abortion]”, or speaking favorably and even inviting hardline pro-abortion personalities such as Emma Bonino while, on the other hand, supporting in an absolute and rigid manner political decisions about immigration, that are clearly the object of a prudential judgement. In this sense, he gives the strong impression that he uses his papal influence to promote his own political ideas rather than affirming Catholic doctrine, as would be his duty. 

 

How would you say this is seen in Gaudete et Exsultate? 

In no. 101 of this exhortation, he laments that a “harmful ideological error is found in those who find suspect the social engagement of others, seeing it as superficial, worldly, secular, materialist, communist or populist.”

Now, it is true that on some occasions there can be an unjustified suspicion that social action is, per se, “materialist or communist, etc.”. But the fact is that an important school of thought during the last 50 years, especially in Latin America, has been Liberation Theology which has effectively supported an alliance between Catholic social doctrine and Marxism. Therefore, that such a suspicion may also quite correctly arise is more than reasonable. Bergoglio himself had opposed this tendency as archbishop in Argentina. But, as Pope, his criticisms have constantly been aimed against the dangers of capitalism and never against the dangers of Marxism. He has never criticized Marxist regimes like Maduro’s in Venezuela, and recently a stunning and quite scandalous statement was given by Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, head of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, who said the Chinese communist regime is good at applying Catholic social doctrine. His comments went uncorrected by the Pope. Of course, also in the past, some aspects of the capitalistic system had been strongly criticized by Popes, e.g. by John Paul II. But then they were balanced by an equal critique to Communism. So, once again, the Pope is giving the impression of promoting his personal ideologically left-leaning agenda rather than affirming a balanced presentation of Catholic social doctrine. He therefore laments a suspicion that he himself has given very good reason to strengthen. 

 

What fruit have you seen as a result of his wish to criticize those who rigidly adhere to doctrine and the commandments? What do you say to the view that this strategy is aimed at moving away from making “idols” of doctrine, the law and some doctrinal formulations, (an argument of some advocates of Pope Francis’ approach) and a way to “transform the consciousness” of people to become more merciful?

I shall take into consideration these two questions together, because they are two aspects of the same problem.

I think that this is the weakest and most dangerous point in the document. It is important to note that it is not an incidental part of the document, but a central one. Practically the whole of Chapter II — more than 20 paragraphs — is dedicated to denouncing two “subtle enemies of holiness”: Gnosticism and Pelagianism. Now, what is striking in these pages is that all the visible characteristics attributed to people that are supposed to be guilty of these heresies are precisely adherence to orthodox doctrine and commandments (and liturgy), that is, the same characteristics which identify people who have strongly opposed the Pope in recent controversies and which he always calls “rigidity” or “pharisaic” attitude. So, the novelty here is that this supposedly “rigid” attitude is identified with precise heretical doctrines. It looks very much like a counterattack on the part of the Pope against those people who have suggested that he is a heretic or at least have said he has promoted or contributed to spreading heresy (especially through Amoris Laetitia and its interpretations), as did the authors of the Correctio Filialis de Haeresibus Propagatis (Filial Correction of the Pope issued last year) or, in another way, the cardinal authors of the dubia or the authors of other letters and statements, like those of Prof. Seifert, Bishop Schneider, and others, conservative journalists and bloggers, etc. 

Now, it is not the mere fact that he attacks particular persons that is most worrying: still much more preoccupying is the fact that these insults are functional to giving once more support to the error of situation ethics (the doctrine that denies the existence of intrinsically evil actions, not justifiable in any situation) which he has favored, specifically, in the field of rules related to marriage and bioethics. In fact, various passages clearly point to this. For example, in no. 173 the Pope on the one hand correctly states: 

“Naturally, this attitude of listening entails obedience to the Gospel as the ultimate standard, but also to the Magisterium that guards it, as we seek to find in the treasury of the Church whatever is most fruitful for the “today” of salvation.”

But then he goes on: 

“It is nota matter of applying rules or repeating what was done in the past, since the same solutions are not valid in all circumstancesand what was useful in one context may not prove so in another. The discernment of spirits liberates us from rigidity, which has no place before the perennial “today” of the risen Lord. The Spirit alone can penetrate what is obscure and hidden in every situation, and grasp its every nuance, so that the newness of the Gospel can emerge in another light.” (173)

In the abstract, and taken out of context, one could interpret these sentences in an orthodox way: but in practice, bearing in mind the context of the controversies during the present pontificate, especially around the two Synods on Family and AL, it is difficult to deny that a statement like this, under a thin veil, in fact strongly supports the undermining of VS and HV and all the changes, both in praxis and presented as “development of doctrine”, proposed by Card. Kasper, Schönborn, Marx, Fr. Chiodi, Fr. Martin, Mgr. Paglia, and others.

So now the promoters of these changes and errors, that sound heretical and shocking to so many faithful Catholics, are not only reassured of being right, but are now endowed with an aura of fighting a holy battle for orthodoxy against dangerous heretics. 

This is, then, the profound meaning of the Pope’s novel transforming his critics from just “rigid Pharisees” into “sinister Gnostics” and Pelagians.

 

How accurate are these labels of Gnosticism and Pelagianism? 

It is easy to observe that the rationale for such an identification between defenders of orthodoxy and the Commandments on one side, and Gnostics or Pelagians on the other, is very weak, not to say preposterous.

In fact, the “Gnostic” person whom the Pope illustrates has none of the specific characteristics of truly Gnostic doctrine, but has all the defects the Pope supposes to exist in his theological adversaries. For example, he (or they) has a “doctrinal and disciplinary security” (35), “analyses and classifies others, and instead of opening the door to grace, exhausts his or her energies in inspecting and verifying.” (35, cit. from EG 94), “absolutize their own theories and force others to submit to their way of thinking” (39), “claim to say where God is not, because God is mysteriously present in the life of every person, in a way that he himself chooses, and we cannot exclude this by our presumed certainties” (42), “claim that our way of understanding this truth authorizes us to exercise a strict supervision over others’ lives”. (43), “long for a monolithic body of doctrine guarded by all and leaving no room for nuance” (43, cit. of EG 40), etc.  

These are, of course, all the characteristics the Pope gratuitously attributes to those who oppose situation ethics, who insist that there are intrinsically evil acts and Divine Commandments that cannot be changed. Now, to attribute to all of them such a violent and inquisitorial attitude, a “narcissistic superiority” and so on, is one more insulting and offensive aggression against so many thousands of serious and sincere Catholics whose only concern is to put Jesus’ words faithfully into practice. This is not to deny that, of course someof them will have such defects or sins. Some will have other defects or sins, but to deduce generally such terrible defects or mortal sins from the mere fact that they are followers of Catholic moral tradition and supporters of Veritatis Splendor is, on the part of the Roman Pontiff, not only gratuitous, but ungenerous and gravely counterproductive. So Pope Francis — feeling himself to be the victim of the (quite reasonable) accusation of supporting situation ethics, and having refused to answer the dubia and many other questions and observations — now formulates the ludicrous accusation that such faithful Catholics would be, for some obscure reason, also “Gnostics.” That means he sees them not just as heretics, but “adherents to one of the most sinister ideologies” (40), without giving one single characteristic that is specific of true Gnosticism, and limiting himself to mentioning some general attitude of “being superior”, or “rationalist”, or “knowing more than the others” —that is, nothing specific at all. It could be just as well, or better, be applied to the learned theologian who supports situation ethics.

Last but not least, it is to be observed that throughout the document the Ten Commandments are never even mentioned, as if their observance were not the essential basis for Christian holiness — except in a cursory passage where he rebukes people who in Catholic media uphold the Commandments, because they supposedly violate the 8th, calumniating others, (no. 115). Now of course there are people that pass the limits of moderation and decency in the internet. But, with this attitude, the Pope does no justice to all those Catholics that sincerely, and with no violence, uphold the Commandments, and reinforces the already strong suspicion that for him they are not so important, especially in the case of the 6th. And this is, by the way, a symptom of truly Gnostic doctrine.

Go here to read the rest.  One way of looking at this Papacy is to think of it as a five year college bull session where you are trapped in a dorm room with a none too bright Sophomore who has endless opinions, is very inarticulate and who tends to converse in jargon that he/she has not a clue how to use properly.

 

 

May 1, 1959: First Loyalty Day

One of the more obscure annual observances in the US, and its obscurity is to be lamented, began 59 years ago:

 

By the President of the United States of America
A ProclamationWhereas loyalty to the United States of America, its democratic traditions and institutions, and the liberties embodied in our Constitution is essential to the preservation of our freedoms in a world threatened by totalitarianism; and

Whereas it is fitting and proper that we reaffirm by special observance our loyalty to our country and our gratitude for the precious heritage of freedom and liberty under law; and

Whereas the Congress, by a joint resolution of July 18, 1958 (72 Stat. 369), has designated May 1 of each year as Loyalty Day, and has requested the President to issue annually a proclamation calling upon the people of the United States to observe that day with appropriate ceremonies:

Now, Therefore, I, Dwight D. Eisenhower, President of the United States of America, do hereby call upon the people of the United States, and upon all patriotic, civic, educational, and other interested organizations, to observe Friday, May 1, 1959, as Loyalty Day, in schools and other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies in which all of our people may join in the reaffirmation of their loyalty to the United States and the renewal of their dedication to the concepts of the freedom and dignity of man.

I also direct the appropriate officials of the Government to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on that day.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States of America to be affixed.

DONE at the City of Washington this eighteenth day of April in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and fifty-nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and eighty-third.


DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER

By the President:
ROBERT MURPHY,
Acting Secretary of State

Presidents still issue Loyalty Day Proclamations, although that seems to be the only noteworthy observation of the day.  I wish we had the loyalty to this country that most of the men who fought in the Crusade in Europe, as Eisenhower called it, had.

 

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The Truth Tends to Be Offensive

Jordan Peterson and Bill Maher discuss the fact that debating important ideas always involves offense, or the potential of offense.  Language advisory as to the below video.  One of the more pernicious taboos of our time is that ideas should be suppressed due to their offensive nature to some.  Politeness is important but it pales in comparison to freedom of speech.  Of course social justice warriors have mastered the art of the cry-bullying:  suppressing other viewpoints over alleged offense, while being immensely offensive.  Time, past time, to end this congealed nonsense.

 

 

 

 

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PopeWatch: Twitter Magisterium

Yesterday the Pope tweeted this gem:

 

Do we really want peace? Then let’s ban all weapons so we don’t have to live in fear of war.

 

PopeWatch will take the Pope seriously on this:

  1.  Weapons are not the causes of wars but rather the means by which they are carried out.
  2.  What about the admonition of Christ to his Disciples to buy swords?
  3.  How would cops enforce the law against armed criminals?
  4.  Presumably the Pope will now disarm the Swiss Guard.
  5.  Would this include knives?
  6.  Wouldn’t banning all weapons put physically weaker individuals at a grave disadvantage?
  7.  How would the ban be implemented?
  8.  Why didn’t Christ call for such a ban?
  9. Will the Pope next call for banning free will, since PopeWatch assumes that is the only way to avoid any wars in the future?
  10.  Remember when we used to elect only grownups as Popes?

 

Operation Georgette Comes to a Halt

On April 29, 1918 the German offensive code named Operation Georgette ground to a halt.  It had come tantalizingly close, fifteen miles, of the Channel ports of Boulogne, Dunkirk and Calais.  The situation became so critical that on April 11 Field Marshal Douglas Haig issued his famous Backs to the Wall order:

 

Three weeks ago to-day the enemy began his terrific attacks against us on a fifty-mile front. His objects are to separate us from the French, to take the Channel Ports and destroy the British Army.

In spite of throwing already 106 Divisions into the battle and enduring the most reckless sacrifice of human life, he has as yet made little progress towards his goals.

We owe this to the determined fighting and self-sacrifice of our troops. Words fail me to express the admiration which I feel for the splendid resistance offered by all ranks of our Army under the most trying circumstances.

Many amongst us now are tired. To those I would say that Victory will belong to the side which holds out the longest. The French Army is moving rapidly and in great force to our support.

There is no other course open to us but to fight it out. Every position must be held to the last man: there must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall and believing in the justice of our cause each one of us must fight on to the end. The safety of our homes and the Freedom of mankind alike depend upon the conduct of each one of us at this critical moment.

(Signed) D. Haig F.M.
Commander-in-Chief
British Armies in France

General Headquarters
Tuesday, April 11th, 1918

 

The British were saved by logistical problems that plagued the German offensive, and heavy counter-attacks by British, Anzac and French troops.  The Germans had more offensives in 1918, but they had just lost their best chance for victory, and, each day, thousands of American troops were landing in France.

 

 

Saint Augustine on Christ the Vine

1. This passage of the Gospel, brethren, where the Lord calls Himself the vine, and His disciples the branches, declares in so many words that the Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 1 Timothy 2:5 is the head of the Church, and that we are His members. For as the vine and its branches are of one nature, therefore, His own nature as God being different from ours, He became man, that in Him human nature might be the vine, and we who also are men might become branches thereof. What mean, then, the words, I am the true vine? Was it to the literal vine, from which that metaphor was drawn, that He intended to point them by the addition of true? For it is by similitude, and not by any personal propriety, that He is thus called a vine; just as He is also termed a sheep, a lamb, a lion, a rock, a corner-stone, and other names of a like kind, which are themselves rather the true ones, from which these are drawn as similitudes, not as realities. But when He says, I am the true vine, it is to distinguish Himself, doubtless, from that to which the words are addressed: How are you turned into sourness, as a strange vine? Jeremiah 2:21 For how could that be a true vine which was expected to bring forth grapes and brought forth thorns? Isaiah 5:4

2. I am, He says, the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that bears not fruit, He takes away; and every one that bears fruit, He purges it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Are, then, the husbandman and the vine one? Christ is the vine in the same sense as when He said, The Father is greater than I; but in that sense wherein He said, I and my Father are one, He is also the husbandman. And yet not such a one as those, whose whole service is confined to external labor; but such, that He also supplies the increase from within. For neither is he that plants anything, neither he that waters; but God that gives the increase. But Christ is certainly God, for the Word was God; and so He and the Father are one: and if the Word was made flesh — that which He was not before — He nevertheless still remains what He was. And still more, after saying of the Father, as of the husbandman, that He takes away the fruitless branches, and prunes the fruitful, that they may bring forth more fruit, He straightway points to Himself as also the purger of the branches, when He says, Now you are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Here, you see, He is also the pruner of the branches — a work which belongs to the husbandman, and not to the vine; and more than that, He makes the branches His workmen. For although they give not the increase, they afford some help; but not of themselves: For without me, He says, ye can do nothing. And listen, also, to their own confession: What, then, is Apollos, and what is Paul? But ministers by whom you believed, even as the Lord gave to every man. I have planted, Apollos watered. And this, too, as the Lord gave to every man; and so not of themselves. In that, however, which follows, but God gave the increase, 1 Corinthians 3:5-7 He works not by them, but by Himself; for work like that exceeds the lowly capacity of man, transcends the lofty powers of angels, and rests solely and entirely in the hands of the Triune Husbandman. Now you are clean, that is, clean, and yet still further to be cleansed. For, had they not been clean, they could not have borne fruit; and yet every one that bears fruit is purged by the husbandman, that he may bring forth more fruit. He bears fruit because he is clean; and to bear more, he is cleansed still further. For who in this life is so clean as not to be in need of still further and further cleansing? Seeing that, if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us; but if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness; to cleanse in very deed the clean, that is, the fruitful, that they may be so much the more fruitful, as they have been made the cleaner.

3. Now you are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Why does He not say, You are clean through the baptism wherewith you have been washed, but through the word which I have spoken unto you, save only that in the water also it is the word that cleanses? Take away the word, and the water is neither more nor less than water. The word is added to the element, and there results the Sacrament, as if itself also a kind of visible word. For He had said also to the same effect, when washing the disciples’ feet, He that is washed needs not, save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit. And whence has water so great an efficacy, as in touching the body to cleanse the soul, save by the operation of the word; and that not because it is uttered, but because it is believed? For even in the word itself the passing sound is one thing, the abiding efficacy another. This is the word of faith which we preach, says the apostle, that if you shall confess with your mouth that Jesus is the Lord, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. For with the heart man believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Romans 10:10 Accordingly, we read in the Acts of the Apostles, Purifying their hearts by faith; Acts 15:9 and, says the blessed Peter in his epistle, Even as baptism does also now save us, not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience. This is the word of faith which we preach, whereby baptism, doubtless, is also consecrated, in order to its possession of the power to cleanse. For Christ, who is the vine with us, and the husbandman with the Father, loved the Church, and gave Himself for it. And then read the apostle, and see what he adds: That He might sanctify it, cleansing it with the washing of water by the word. Ephesians 5:25-26 The cleansing, therefore, would on no account be attributed to the fleeting and perishable element, were it not for that which is added, by the word. This word of faith possesses such virtue in the Church of God, that through the medium of him who in faith presents, and blesses, and sprinkles it, He cleanses even the tiny infant, although itself unable as yet with the heart to believe unto righteousness, and to make confession with the mouth unto salvation. All this is done by means of the word, whereof the Lord says, Now you are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.

 

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Our Obscene Age

In regard to President Trump, as faithful readers of this blog know, when he ran in 2016 I long refused to support him.  It was only in September of 2016 that I reluctantly supported him after his pledge to pro-life organizations to be a pro-life President.  I have generally been, much to my surprise, pleased with his performance as President.  However, there remains much to legitimately criticize about him:  including that he has been a serial adulterer, a complete pig around women in general, and that he is rude and crude.  These are factors that his critics often cite, usually the same people who supported Hillary Clinton, who has spent much of her life protecting her husband Bill from well founded allegations of sexual assault, up to, and including, rape, and who carried on an affair with an intern in the Oval Office.  In his personal behavior, sadly, President Trump is reflective of our obscene age.  Evidence of this was on full display at the White House Correspondents’ dinner last night, a function which President Trump wisely, breaking with tradition, does not attend.  At that dinner a featured speaker was “comedienne” Michelle Wolf of The Daily Show.  Go here to read about her “performance”.  Strong, strong language advisory as to the video below:

 

The next time we have people clutching their pearls about some crudity of the President, recall the above video of congealed partisan hate, vulgarity and obscenity.  If they are the same people who would have loved the above video, hypocrisy is the least of the charges that can be laid at their doors.

15

Requiescat In Pace: Alfie Evans

Alfie Evans has gone to join the Holy Innocents in Eternity.  Prayers for him and his bereaved family.  I will have much commentary on this in the days to come, but this is not the time for it.  Please restrict your comments to wishes for his eternal repose.

 

Dearest Jesus, who wept at the death of your friend
and taught that they who mourn shall be comforted,
grant us the comfort of your presence in our loss.
Send Your Holy Spirit to direct us
lest we make hasty or foolish decisions.
Send Your Spirit to give us courage
lest through fear we recoil from living.
Send Your Spirit to bring us your peace
lest bitterness, false guilt, or regret take root in our hearts.

The Lord has given.
The Lord has taken away.
Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Amen.

O sweet mother Mary,
who knew the sadness of mourning those your heart loved most,
Jesus, your Son,
and Joseph, your devoted spouse,

pray for us in our time of loss.

Amen.

 

4

PopeWatch: Cats

News that PopeWatch missed, courtesy of The Babylon Bee:

 

VATICAN CITY—In a sweeping statement Tuesday, Pope Francis announced his belief that all cats across the world are Christians. Although pundits frequently acknowledge the Pope’s progressive policies, Catholic scholars are calling this a “truly unprecedented” move.

 

“A Pope hasn’t made a declaration like this since Pope Alexander VI issued a Papal Bull against Llamas in 1493,” noted one high-ranking official at the Vatican, who chose to remain anonymous. “One thing is certain: this will change the conversation on whether an individual can truly ‘own’ a cat.”

Several years ago, scholars universally acknowledged that all dogs go to heaven. It is unclear whether or not today’s announcement jeopardizes this previous belief. When asked about any possible conflict, the Vatican’s media specialist responded: “That was a predominantly Protestant perspective. I think it originated with Karl Barkh’s Dog-matic theology.”

 

Go here to read the rest.  PopeWatch would say something pungent, but Cats purportedly have long memories:

 

General Benjamin Butler

 

 

Something for the weekend.  General Butler sung by Bobby Horton who wages a one man crusade to bring authentic Civil War music to modern audiences.  Butler was cordially hated by the South due to his tenure as military governor of New Orleans during which time he issued his infamous “Woman Order”:

 

DQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF

New Orleans, May 15, 1862.
As the officers and soldiers of the United States have been subject to repeated insults from the women (calling themselves ladies) of New Orleans in return for the most scrupulous non-interference and courtesy on our part, it is ordered that hereafter when any female shall by word, gesture, or movement insult or show contempt for any officer or soldier of the United States she shall be regarded and held liable to be treated as a woman of the town plying her avocation.
By command of Major-General Butler:
GEO. C. STRONG,
Assistant Adjutant-General and Chief of Staff.

 

Jefferson Davis ordered that if he were ever captured Butler was to be executed as a common enemy of mankind.  This was ironic because at the 1860 Democrat Convention Butler voted 57 times to nominate Davis for President of the United States.  Without a doubt, however, Butler was the most hated Union general in the South.

However, due to Butler’s military incompetence, Union soldiers who had the misfortune to be under his command also had good reason to curse his name.

 

 

 

There are of course several generals in the running for the title of most incompetent Union general:  Ambrose Burnside, Don Carlos Buell, John Pope, Henry Halleck, Nathaniel Banks and the list could go on for some length.  However, for me the most incompetent general clearly is Benjamin Butler.  A political general appointed by Lincoln to rally War Democrats for the war effort, Butler in command was a defeat waiting to happen for any Union force cursed to be under him.  Butler during the Bermuda Hundred campaign in 1864 threw away chance after chance to take Richmond, with a timidity that rose to astonishing levels and an ineptitude at leading his forces that defies belief.  Grant summed up Butler’s generalship well in his Personal Memoirs when he recalled a conversation with his Chief of Engineers:

He said that the general occupied a place between the James and Appomattox rivers which was of great strength, and where with an inferior force he could hold it for an indefinite length of time against a superior; but that he could do nothing offensively. I then asked him why Butler could not move out from his lines and push across the Richmond and Petersburg Railroad to the rear and on the south side of Richmond. He replied that it was impracticable, because the enemy had substantially the same line across the neck of land that General Butler had. He then took out his pencil and drew a sketch of the locality, remarking that the position was like a bottle and that Butler’s line of intrenchments across the neck represented the cork; that the enemy had built an equally strong line immediately in front of him across the neck; and it was therefore as if Butler was in a bottle. He was perfectly safe against an attack; but, as Barnard expressed it, the enemy had corked the bottle and with a small force could hold the cork in its place. Continue Reading

20

The New Pro Life Movement and Alfie Evans

Unsurprisingly, the fake New Pro Life Movement is missing in action in regard to Alfie Evans.  Go here to read their non-statement  statement.  Now all of this makes sense when one understands why the fake New Pro-life Movement exists.  First, it serves as a platform for Catholic Leftists to attack the real Pro Life Movement.  Second, it allows them to argue that you are not really pro-life unless you sign on to their laundry list of Leftist causes.  Third, it allows them to decry any legislative attempt to restrict abortion.

If they took a stand against the slow motion judicial murder of Alfie Evans, it would lose them friends and allies on the Left, and, like most Leftists, their motto may as well be no enemy on the Left.  Dave Griffey at Daffey Thoughts brings us the news that Mark Shea, surprise!, is all on board with this farce:

 

John C. Wright takes up the Alfie Evans case.  No wondering where Mr. Wright stands.  He attacks those preventing the parents from seeking treatment.  He mentions Pope Francis stepping in and pleading for the sake of the child.  He also uses this issue to suggest this is indicative of the type of Socialism that so many today seem to want.  He then offers a requested prayer on behalf of the child in this situation.

Mark Shea, well, doesn’t really speak of the issue.  He says he knows nothing about it and doesn’t want to comment out of ignorance.  He then gives us his take on a conversation he had with someone he says represents prolife individuals.  There is no link, so we have to take Mark’s word that it went down exactly as he reports.  Given how Mark misrepresented what I wrote over the years, that’s a tough one. 

Mark then goes on to use the conversation to attack prolifers, explain why he rejects prolifers, and went further by insisting that they don’t really care about Alfie Evans at all, but merely exploit him as a club to beat up people like Mark.  No further comment on the actual Alfie Evans case. 

That is an interesting contrast, at least IMHO.  If I were actually a person who considers myself prolife, which of these would I fall behind?  Or is there another angle worth looking at.

Update: On a second reading, it’s unlikely that Mark’s appraisal of the conversation can be taken at face value.  After all, do we really believe anyone would actually write:

“Reader: But don’t you think the doctors are all evil?

Perhaps the reader said just that, but I find it difficult to believe.  As I said, I’ve seen how Mark framed my statements in the past, and that tends to make me skeptical at best.

Plus, Mark suddenly leans on the Pope’s lack of expertise in a particular area in order to justify not merely following the Pope’s lead, as opposed to his usual feelings relative to subjects like the economy.  That’s an interesting turn of events, and one that suggests inconsistency in applied standards to say the least.

 

Go here to comment.  Back before he became a Leftist Mark had this to say on the fifth anniversary of the judicial murder of Terri Schiavo in 2010:

 

Five years since she was murdered for failure to be appealing to the Pepsi Generation.

God rest her soul.

Being pro-life is anathema on the Left, so those who claim to be pro-life and identify with the Left, with certain honorable exceptions, will  find a way to redefine being pro-life so it is acceptable to their Leftist comrades.  May God forgive them.

 

 

2

April 27, 1865: Sultana: Death on the Mississippi

After the massive bloodletting of the Civil War, one would have hoped that Death would have taken at least a brief holiday in the US.  Such was not the case.  On April 27th 1865, the SS Sultana, a Mississipi paddlewheeler steamer, constructed in 1863 for the cotton trade, was serving as a transport.  Its cargo was appoximately 2500 Union soldiers, many of them former POWS, some of them survivors of Andersonville.  The Union soldiers boarded at Vicksburg.  The Sultana while in port at Vicksburg had a patch put on its steam boiler.  The repair was clearly inadequate, a new  boiler being needed.

 

 

 

 

Continue Reading

2

PopeWatch: Alfie Evans

Sandro Magister notes the weasel words and worse used by some high clerics in regard to Alfie Evans:

 

At the Vatican and in the Catholic hierarchy, however, the voices are not unanimous. Pope Francis has spoken out in clear words in defense of Alfie’s life, especially after the audience granted to his father on the morning of Wednesday, April 18. But his protege Vincenzo Paglia, president of the pontifical academy for life – already the author last March 9 of an interview in which he completely agreed with Judge Hayden – issued on Sunday April 22, at the height of the struggle between the child’s parents and the British judicial and medical institutions, a highly ambiguous statement in which the search for consensus, whatever may be the solution adopted, is made to prevail over the truth and justice of the solution itself:

“Considering all the difficulties and possible solutions being considered as circumstances progress, we believe it is very important that everyone work together in the most collaborative way possible. Only by seeking agreement between all parties – a loving alliance of parents, relatives, and medical team – will it be possible to reach the best solution for helping baby Alfie in this dramatic moment of his life.”

Not to mention the holing up of the archdiocese of Liverpool, and – something even more serious – the Pilatesque statement of April 18 from the episcopal conference of England and Wales, headed by Cardinal Vincent Nichols, which simultaneously agrees with everyone and no one:

“We affirm our conviction that all those who are and have been taking the agonising decisions regarding the care of Alfie Evans act with integrity and for Alfie’s good as they see it.”

On Tuesday, April 25, Alfie’s parents presented yet another appeal, this time against the ban issued the day before by Judge Hayden against transferring the child to another hospital. The hearing took place in London, in the afternoon, in front of three judges presided over by the new head of the Family Division of the high court of England and Wales, Andrew McFarland.

In the evening, the court rejected both the appeal of Tom Evans against the ban on transferring Alfie to Italy and the appeal of Kate James for the freedom of movement guaranteed by the European convention on human rights, and confirmed that Alder Hey Children’s Hospital can proceed according to what was decided in the previous rulings:

> L’alleanza tra giudici e medici per far morire Alfie

Meanwhile, “little warrior” Alfie is breathing, he is alive. He has been baptized and anointed. His life and his future, Pope Francis has said, are in the hands of God, not of those who want to replace him. It is the Easter season, and for this child the tomb is empty. Like that of Jesus.

 

Go here to read the rest.  Any Catholic who is not on the side of the parents in their struggle to keep the State from killing their child, needs to take a very long, hard look in the mirror.

3

Alfie Evans and the American Revolutionary Spirit

Americans, at least those who are worthy of that proud title, have been appalled as the Alfie Evans tale has played out in Britain, with the State attempting to administer a kinder and gentler death penalty to the 23 month old, and forcing his aghast parents to stand by helplessly.  David French at National Review, a Never Trumper and as far from a bomb thrower as it is possible for a conservative to be, gets what is at stake:

 

Consider what’s happened in Britain. Rather than defending a right to life, the state has decided to define which lives are worth living. Rather than protecting the rights of the child only when the parents have manifestly failed, the state has decided that it is the greater, better parent.

The long-term threat to the American experiment isn’t found in any given policy, but rather in a lost philosophy. Americans are shedding a belief in God at an alarming rate. In elite circles, fundamental liberties like free speech and due process are scorned and mocked as tools of white supremacy or oppressive patriarchies. Federalism has been reduced to a tactic of political opposition, not a bipartisan principle of self-governance.

If you don’t want America to become Britain — if you don’t want to wake up one morning to find the American state defying loving and prudent parents to declare that death is in a child’s “best interests” — I would suggest that you not wait until America is secularized, centralized, and authoritarian. I’d suggest that you not wait until the moment when the state has seized the power to act like Britain, and you’re reduced to arguing, “I know the government can do this, but it shouldn’t.”

Because if you wait until then, you’ve already lost.

Across Twitter, I’ve seen conservatives talk about Alfie’s case and discuss “Second Amendment remedies.” Something about that case has unlocked the revolutionary spirit in some American hearts. And rightfully so. Because if our nation reaches the point where it treats children and families the way Britain has treated Alfie and his parents, then the promise of American liberty will be broken. Is Britain’s present a preview of America’s future? It should grieve us greatly to know that the answer to that question is in serious doubt.

Go here to read the rest.  My late son Larry was profoundly autistic.  Anyone who doesn’t think that Alfie Evans, and others like him, would merely be the first among many of “useless eaters” the State would eventually put to death is a fool.

16

Do You Know Who I Am?

My advice to clients when involved in a traffic stop.  Be polite and professional.  Do not argue with the cop.  Answer questions as briefly as possible.  Concentrate on what the cop is saying.  Keep track of how long the stop lasts.  Politely decline to take any tests or to allow any searches of your vehicle.  Get to me as soon as possible after the stop to tell me exactly what was said and done.  Any argument about the stop will be done by me in Court, where it matters.

 

Caren Turner, ex Ethics Commissioner for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey gives us a great example of how not to handle a traffic stop (strong language advisory):

 

Way to go Caren for turning a meaningless traffic stop into a life altering calamity for yourself!  Give her a hand ladies and gentlemen for giving us all an example to avoid!

3

Requiescat In Pace: Bob Dorough

Bob Dorough, one of the driving creative forces behind Schoolhouse Rock has died, too young, at 94.  Dave Griffey at Daffey Thoughts gives us the details:

 

 

Who?  This is who:

and
Among others.  Those two, of course, are the most famous of his creations.  Yes, he was the talent behind those snappy tunes that were as educational as anything the American education system has produced.  
Let’s face it, how many of us learned more about how our government works from that bill on the steps of Capital Hill than anything from civics class?  And in a pinch trying to remember conjunctions?  I dare anyone to keep that tune out of their minds for long. 
Naturally Schoolhouse Rock, like all things, has fallen under scrutiny over the years, especially the category dealing with American history, which I’ve seen called racist propaganda, raw nationalistic preaching and simplistic sentimentality devoid of the harsh truths about our history (read: focusing exclusively on the negatives).  
But for those who get it and feel it’s the height of foolishness not to learn about the greatness of our country, along with grammar, math and science, there were few better instructional paths into our living rooms than the Rock.  And Mr. Dorough was one of the creative geniuses behind it all. 
We thank him for a generation taught the basics, taught that learning can be enjoyable, and taught that there is a way to learn outside of the confines of a classroom.  He and the talents he possessed will be missed, even if his creations live on. 
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. 
Go here to comment.  Of course it is impossible for me to mention Schoolhouse Rock without playing my favorite:

For a cartoon, The Shot Heard Round the World does a fairly good job of conveying information about the Revolution in a very short span of time:  it manages to include the opening battles of the war, Washington as the central figure of the war, the role of the militia, the endurance of the Continentals, the battle of Trenton, Valley Forge, the frequent defeats of the Americans, the importance of diplomacy and foreign intervention, the role of raids and the decisive victory at Yorktown.   Rest in peace Mr. Dorough, you gave me and hundreds of millions of other kids education sweetened with entertainment, and that is not a bad legacy.

7

PopeWatch: Lipstick on a Pig

As the disastrous current Pontificate careens onward we increasingly see its “fruits”:

 

The total number of potential ordinands for the class of 2018, 430, is a lower number from 590 in 2017.

Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, CSsR, of Newark, Chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, found that the data gives reason for hope as well as provides areas for future growth.

“Although the overall number of ordinations to the Priesthood is lower this year, the information gathered from this survey and the generosity of those to be ordained continues to inform the important work of vocations ministry for the future. It is essential that we continue to make the conscious effort to encourage young men to be open to hearing God’s call in their life and assist them in the discernment process.”

 

Go here to read the rest.  Stick to wishing Baby nighty-night Cardinal Tobin.  As the Romans said long ago, all the perfume in the world won’t sweeten a piece of dung.

 

 

20

Shut up, They Explained

A 23 month old is being starved to death, but British cops are on the job:

 

LIVERPOOL, England, April 25, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Liverpool police are warning that social media posts about “Alder Hey Hospital and the ongoing situation involving Alfie Evans” are “being monitored” and what they deem as “malicious communications” will be investigated.

“Merseyside Police has been made aware of a number of social media posts which have been made with reference to Alder Hey Hospital and the ongoing situation involving Alfie Evans,” Merseyside Police Chief Inspector Chris Gibson said. “I would like to make people aware that these posts are being monitored and remind social media users that any offences including malicious communications and threatening behaviour will be investigated and where necessary will be acted upon.”

Image

23-month-old Alfie Evans is in Alder Hey children’s hospital in Liverpool. A court order had him removed from his ventilator on April 23 just after 9:00 PM. Alfie defied everyone’s expectations by breathing on his own. Parents Tom and Kate have fought every step of the way since this time to secure oxygen, water, and food for their son. The toddlers’ doctors say that Alfie has an undiagnosed neurological condition that has resulted in serious and irreparable brain damage. 

Britain and its government have found themselves in the news a lot this week, as an elderly man named Timothy Hill was sentenced to eight months in prison for making a rude hand gesture at a traffic camera while using a laser jammer to conceal his speed.

A number of Twitter users responded to Merseyside Police’s tweet about its surveillance of Alfie’s supporters by sending the precinct the now-famous photo of Hill raising his middle finger.

“What kind of dictatorship are you running there?” Red State’s Brandon Morse asked.

Social media has been united the world around Alfie Evans, and his parents have documented their struggle to save their son in the “Alfie’s Army” Facebook group, which now has nearly half a million members.

Go here to read the rest.  Once again, for perhaps the thousandth time in my life I say “Thank God for 1776!”  Hey inaptly named Merseyside Cops, I hope that everyone involved in murdering Alfie Evans repents because if they do not they will likely burn in Hell for all eternity.  If you wish to make an issue of it, you may find me at my law office in Dwight, Illinois.

10

We Own You People

Babylon Bee nails it:

 

LONDON—Upon the news of a high court ordering life support removed from 2-year-old Alfie Evans, English Prime Minister Theresa May issued a brief, friendly reminder to citizens of the U.K. that the all-powerful state actually owns their children.

 

In a video circulated online, May informed parents who were “getting a little too attached” to their children that they need to keep in mind that the United Kingdom is the actual legal parent, and the kids are simply on loan to them until the State decides it’s time for them to die.

“Yes, we’re gracious enough to allow your kids to reside with you and for you to make lots of the decisions in their day-to-day lives, but when the rubber meets the road, we just want you to remember that the Almighty State straight-up owns your kids and will do with them as we will,” she said. “We make all the big decisions, and you have pretty much zero say when it comes right down to it. Just keep that in mind and stay in your place.”

Go here to read the rest.  Satirical sites like the Babylon Bee have a hard time keeping up with our mad, mad reality.  Alfie Evans reveals that the proud boast that “Britons never, never, never will be slaves” is merely a line from an old song that has no relevance to the current rights of the subjects of the Crown.

 

 

7

ANZAC DAY 1918

Today is Anzac Day, in Australia and New Zealand.   It commemorates the landing of the New Zealand and Australian troops at Gallipoli in World War I.  Although the effort to take the Dardanelles was ultimately unsuccessful, the Anzac troops demonstrated great courage and tenacity, and the ordeal the troops underwent in this campaign has a vast meaning to the peoples of New Zealand and Australia.

At the beginning of the war the New Zealand and Australian citizen armies, illustrating the robust humor of both nations,  engaged in self-mockery best illustrated by this poem:

We are the ANZAC Army

The A.N.Z.A.C.

We cannot shoot, we don’t salute

What bloody good are we ?

And when we get to Ber – Lin

The Kaiser, he will say

Hoch, Hoch, Mein Gott !

What a bloody odd lot

to get six bob a day.

By the end of World War I no one was laughing at the Anzacs.  At the end of the war a quarter of the military age male population of New Zealand had been killed or wounded and Australia paid a similarly high price.  Widely regarded as among the elite shock troops of the Allies, they had fought with distinction throughout the war, and added to their reputation during World War II.   American veterans I have spoken to who have fought beside Australian and New Zealand units have uniformly told me that they could choose no better troops to have on their flank in a battle.

 

 

In 1918 four Australian divisions and the New Zealand division were locked in battle on the Western Front, grinding down the initial German offensives and then helping to lead the way in the battles of the Hundred Days that resulted in Allied victory.  In the Middle East two Australian mounted divisions and a New Zealand mounted brigade performed prodigies in the battles that ended the Ottoman Empire.  In 1919 Field Marshal Allenby praised the New Zealand troops who fought under his command:

 

“Nothing daunted these intrepid fighters: to them nothing was impossible.”

 

 

Let that stand as a tribute to all the Citizen soldiers of the Anzacs who fought in the Great War.

 

 

11

PopeWatch: Alfie Evans

 

 

PopeWatch has usually been highly critical of Pope Francis, but the Pope is deserving of nothing but praise for his efforts on behalf of Alfie Evans:

 

For the time being, Alfie remains at Alder Hey hospital in Liverpool. Doctors removed his ventilator just after 9:00 yesterday evening. Instead of dying, the baby started to breathe on his own. He was eventually given oxygen as well as hydration. Parents Tom and Kate would like to take their son to a hospital in Italy, but the hospital has refused to comply with their wishes.

It remains unclear how many days Alfie may be expected to live. So far, he has defied expectations of the medical profession.

During the hearing, Mr Justice Hayden criticized Alfie’s parents’ friends, saying they had been giving the young couple false hope. “It’s profoundly depressing to say the least,” he said. He called one of their entourage a “fanatical and deluded young man.”

The judge also “slapped down” Paul Diamond, the family’s lawyer,  “for highly-charged  language” Hayden called “ridiculous emotive nonsense,” according to Josh Halliday of the Guardian.

An Alder Hey doctor told the court of colleagues’ “genuine fear” in the “hostile atmosphere” around the hospital. She claimed it was “heartbreaking we’re here again arguing when all we want to do is the best for Alfie’s family.”

But a friend close to the family tweeted that such a comment lost sight of what is really at stake in the case, namely, Alfie’s life.

“Translation: Heartbreaking that his parents are pleading for his life when we’ve tried to end it and not been successful. Remember what Alder Hey consider the best for this family is: the death of their son,” tweeted Caroline Farrow.

A member of staff, appearing in scrubs, said that moving patients home “does not happen overnight” and only after extensive consideration and discussion.

Alfie’s parents, Thomas Evans, 21, and Kate James, 20, have fought tirelessly for Alfie to receive treatment from a hospital other than Alder Hey, first in the British courts system, then before the European Court of Human Rights, which finally ruled against their desire to have Alfie treated in Italy.

After Hayden set a date for Alfie to be removed from life-support, the couple began another battle, arguing that their parental rights were being violated and that Alfie was being unlawfully detained. The parents were defeated in the UK Court of Appeal, denied a hearing by the UK Supreme Court and then denied a hearing by the European Commission.

Despite the support of Pope Francis for Alfie and his parents, and the eleventh-hour gift of Italian citizenship upon Alfie by the Italian government, Hayden ruled last night that Alfie’s life support should be removed.

But then Alfie began to breathe on his own. He has now survived without a ventilator since 9:17 BST (British Summer Time) last night. After his parents’ entreaties, the hospital allowed the child oxygen and water. It remains unclear if he is receiving adequate nutrition and hydration. 

Go here to read the rest.  So in the United Kingdom a child may be put to death, and his parents attempting to save his life are insulted by an idiot Judge, with all the power of the State arrayed to make certain that the parents can do nothing.  We can therefore assume that children in the United Kingdom are solely the property of the State, that in the final analysis parents have no rights to act to save their child, and that it is preferable to put an ill or disabled child to death rather than allowing parents to seek alternative means to save the child’s life.  Madness, sheer madness.

 

 

18

Ban the Van

I assume that all of you have heard about the tragic van attack in Toronto that took ten innocent lives and injured fifteen.  Politicians around the world have offered the usual thoughts and prayers.  My friends that is simply not enough.  These attacks will not end until we ban the van.

These behemoths of the road are always potential engines of mass destruction, whether used deliberately for that purpose or accidentally. Please do not respond in opposition to a common sense ban on vans by citing some mythical right to use the mode of transportation of our choice.   Our ancestors rode on carriages powered by a horse. Two at most. They did not intend for us to use fully automatic transmission with engines capable of making cars go 120 mph. NOBODY, AND I MEAN NOBODY, in a civilized society needs to have a vehicle with a 10 speed automatic transmission or even a 7 speed automatic transmission.

In cities around the globe bollards are being placed along streets to prevent rogue vans from suddenly mowing down pedestrians.  How much more rational to simply ban the van.

Please don’t give me the sophistical argument that vans serve a useful purpose.  We have alternative means of transportation, including shank’s mare, and if just one life is saved, a ban on vans is completely justified.  In 2016 there were over five million automobile collisions in the US, many involving vans, with a stunning 37,000 fatalities, with the maimed and injured numbering in the hundreds of thousands.  It is time for this carnage to cease, now!

I can hear the counterargument that if we outlaw vans only outlaws will have vans.  Precisely!  Easier for law authorities to confiscate them and imprison the malefactors.  It is time to take a stand for our lives, and the lives of our children!  Vote out of office all van loving politicians, in thrall to the money from the merchants of death, the manufacturers of these blood stained vans.

 

Ban the Van!  Ban the Van!  Ban the Van!

 

19

PopeWatch: Incomprehensible

One of the keys to understanding Pope Francis is to grasp that much of what he says and writes is incomprehensible.  Case in point from a recent homily:

 

Closeness, dear brothers, is crucial for an evangelizer because it is a key attitude in the Gospel (the Lord uses it to describe his Kingdom). We can be certain that closeness is the key to mercy, for mercy would not be mercy unless, like a Good Samaritan, it finds ways to shorten distances. But I also think we need to realize even more that closeness is also the key to truth; not just the key to mercy, but the key to truth. Can distances really be shortened where truth is concerned? Yes, they can. Because truth is not only the definition of situations and things from a certain distance, by abstract and logical reasoning. It is more than that. Truth is also fidelity (émeth). It makes you name people with their real name, as the Lord names them, before categorizing them or defining “their situation”. There is a distasteful habit, is there not, of following a “culture of the adjective”: this is so, this is such and such, this is like… No! This is a child of God. Then come the virtues or defects, but [first] the faithful truth of the person and not the adjective regarded as the substance.

We must be careful not to fall into the temptation of making idols of certain abstract truths. They can be comfortable idols, always within easy reach; they offer a certain prestige and power and are difficult to discern. Because the “truth-idol” imitates, it dresses itself up in the words of the Gospel, but does not let those words touch the heart. Much worse, it distances ordinary people from the healing closeness of the word and of the sacraments of Jesus.

Go here to read the rest.  A besetting sin of many clerics is a lack of clarity.  With the Pope this besetting sin is constant and produces some of the most muddled and opaque prose to ever emanate from the Vatican, and that is saying something.

5

April 24, 1945: Death of Father Cyclone

Father Larry Lynch

 

Larry Lynch was born, the first of 12 kids in his family, in the City Line neighborhood of Brooklyn on October 17, 1906.  He grew up on some pretty tough streets while also serving as an altar boy at Saint Sylvester’s.   He came to greatly admire the Redemptorists, an order of missionary priests founded by Saint Alphonsus Liguori in 1732.  In America the order had distinguished itself by its work in some of the roughest slums in the country and thus it was small wonder that a tough street kid would be attracted to them.  Larry Lynch was ordained a priest in the Redemptorist Order in 1932.

His initial assignment was as a missionary priest in Brazil, in the parishes of Miranda and Aquidauana in the State of Mato Grosso, quite a change from Brooklyn!  In 1937 he served at Old Saint Mary’s in Buffalo, New York with mission assignments to Orangeburg, North Carolina and Ephrata, Pa.

Prior to Pearl Harbor, in September 1941, Father Lynch enlisted in the Army as a chaplain.  He served at Camp Wheeler, Georgia, Fort Polk, Lousiana, and in the Mojave Desert in California with the 31rst regiment of the 7th Armored Division.  In December 1943 he was sent overseas to New Caledonia in the Southwest Pacific.

Assigned initially to the 42nd Quarter Master Battalion in Noumea, Captain Lynch quickly began making himself unforgettable.  The commander of the outfit was Lieutenant Colonel Julius Klein, a remarkable man in his own right who had served as an American spy in Germany during World War I.  Klein, to his astonishment, found himself agreeing that he and all the staff officers in the battalion would be at Christmas Mass that evening, although he wondered what a Jew like him would be doing at a  Catholic Mass!  Father Lynch had that type of effect on people, his enthusiasm tended to overwhelm all opposition.  He decided that the chapel was too small for the Mass and it was held in the base amphitheater.  The amphitheater filled to capacity, the Christmas carols at the Mass were led by a soldier named  Goldstein, a great tenor, who Father Lynch had met on the troop transport.  Father Lynch explained the priest’s vestments prior to beginning for the benefit of the non-Catholics present:

“Father Stearns of the Navy will celebrate the Mass.   Before he begins, there’s a lot even Catholics should know and I’ll bet a nickel there are some right here who couldn’t explain why a priest wears all those vestments, for example.  Well, it’s time we all knew why and it won’t hurt you non-Catholics to know either.”

“Father Stearns will begin to put on his vestments, and while he does, well talk about them a little. First, as to the why. Every one of them is a symbol, a symbol of service to God.”

He picked up the amice and held it high. “This, for example. It’s just a piece of linen, and it is called an amice: A-M-I-C-E. Jesus was blindfolded, and the amice represents that blindfold. Okay, Father.”

He extended the amice to Father Stearns who put it on.

“Herod placed a garment on Jesus to make a fool of Him. You remember that.  This white robe white to signify purity is an alb: A-L-B, and the alb is symbolic of that garment.  Incidentally there are six colors used by the church and each one of them is significant: white for purity and joy, red for blood and fire, green is the symbol of hope, violet for penance. . . .”

The Mass had a huge impact on everyone present, and Colonel Klein announced that he was glad he came. Continue Reading

1

Dragon Slayers Unite!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For as the Latin scholar uttered his invocation he felt something between a shudder and an electric shock pass through his body. The roar of the battle died down in his ears to a gentle murmur; instead of it, he says, he heard a great voice and a shout louder than a thunder-peal crying, “Array, array, array!”

His heart grew hot as a burning coal, it grew cold as ice within him, as it seemed to him that a tumult of voices answered to his summons. He heard, or seemed to hear, thousands shouting: “St. George! St. George!”

“Ha! Messire, ha! sweet Saint, grant us good deliverance!”

“St. George for merry England!”

“Harow! Harow! Monseigneur St. George, succor us!”

“Ha! St. George! Ha! St. George! a long bow and a strong bow.”

“Heaven’s Knight, aid us!”

And as the soldier heard these voices he saw before him, beyond the trench, a long line of shapes, with a shining about them. They were like men who drew the bow, and with another shout, their cloud of arrows flew singing and tingling through the air towards the German hosts.

The other men in the trench were firing all the while. They had no hope; but they aimed just as if they had been shooting at Bisley.

Suddenly one of them lifted up his voice in the plainest English.

“Gawd help us!” he bellowed to the man next to him, “but we’re blooming marvels! Look at those gray … gentlemen, look at them! D’ye see them? They’re not going down in dozens nor in ‘undreds; it’s thousands, it is. Look! look! there’s a regiment gone while I’m talking to ye.”

“Shut it!” the other soldier bellowed, taking aim, “what are ye gassing about?”

But he gulped with astonishment even as he spoke, for, indeed, the gray men were falling by the thousands. The English could hear the guttural scream of the German officers, the crackle of their revolvers as they shot the reluctant; and still line after line crashed to the earth.

All the while the Latin-bred soldier heard the cry:

“Harow! Harow! Monseigneur, dear Saint, quick to our aid! St. George help us!”

“High Chevalier, defend us!”

The singing arrows fled so swift and thick that they darkened the air, the heathen horde melted from before them.

“More machine guns!” Bill yelled to Tom.

“Don’t hear them,” Tom yelled back.

“But, thank God, anyway; they’ve got it in the neck.”

In fact, there were ten thousand dead German soldiers left before that salient of the English army, and consequently there was no Sedan. In Germany, a country ruled by scientific principles, the Great General Staff decided that the contemptible English must have employed shells containing an unknown gas of a poisonous nature, as no wounds were discernible on the bodies of the dead German soldiers. But the man who knew what nuts tasted like when they called themselves steak knew also that St. George had brought his Agincourt Bowmen to help the English.

Arthur Machen, The Bowmen, 1914

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Faithful servant of God and invincible martyr, Saint George;
favored by God with the gift of faith, and inflamed with an ardent love of Christ, thou didst fight valiantly against the dragon of pride, falsehood, and deceit. Neither pain nor torture, sword nor death could part thee from the love of Christ. I fervently implore thee for the sake of this love to help me by thy intercession to overcome the temptations that surround me, and to bear bravely the trials that oppress me, so that I may patiently carry the cross which is placed upon me; and let neither distress nor difficulties separate me from the love of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Valiant champion of the Faith, assist me in the combat against evil, that I may win the crown promised to them that persevere unto the end.

3

Candace Owens on White Guilt

 

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

 

 

 

 

If you haven’t heard yet about internet sensation, and  conservative, Candace Owens, you will.

 

 

 

 

 

5

PopeWatch: Twilight of Catholicism

Sandro Magister has posted a fascinating article that PopeWatch believes is a real help in understanding the current Pontificate:

Much has been written in sketching an appraisal of the first five years of the pontificate of Francis and of his real or imaginary “revolution.”

But rarely, if ever, with the acuteness and extensive scope of the analysis published below.

The author, Roberto Pertici, 66, is a professor of contemporary history at the university of Bergamo and has focused his studies on Italian culture in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with particular attention to relations between Church and state.

His essay is being issued for the very first time on Settimo Cielo.

*

THE END OF “ROMAN CATHOLICISM?”

by Roberto Pertici

1. At this point in the pontificate of Francis, I believe it can be reasonably maintained that this marks the twilight of that imposing historical reality which can be defined as “Roman Catholicism.”

This does not mean, properly understood, that the Catholic Church is coming to an end, but that what is fading is the way in which it has historically structured and represented itself in recent centuries.

It seems evident to me, in fact, that this is the plan being deliberately pursued by the “brain trust” that has clustered around Francis: a plan understood both as an extreme response to the crisis in relations between the Church and the modern world, and as a precondition for a renewed ecumenical course together with the other Christian confessions, especially the Protestant.

*

2. By “Roman Catholicism” I mean that grand historical, theological, and juridical construction which has its origin in the Hellenization (in terms of the philosophical aspect” and Romanization (in terms of the political-juridical aspect) of primitive Christianity and is based on the primacy of the successors of Peter, as emerges from the crisis of the late ancient world and from the theoretical systematization of the Gregorian age (“Dictatus Papae”).

Over the subsequent centuries, the Church also established its own internal legal system, canon law, looking to Roman law as its model. And this juridical element contributed to gradually shaping a complex hierarchical organization with precise internal norms that regulate the life both of the “bureaucracy of celibates” (an expression of Carl Schmitt) that manages it and of the laity who are part of it.

The other decisive moment of formation of “Roman Catholicism” is, finally, the ecclesiology elaborated by the council of Trent, which reiterates the centrality of ecclesiastical mediation in view of salvation, in contrast with the Lutheran theses of the “universal priesthood,” and therefore establishes the hierarchical, united, and centralized character of the Church; its right to supervise and, if need be, to condemn positions that are in contrast with the orthodox formulation of the truths of faith; its role in the administration of the sacraments.

This ecclesiology finds its seal in the dogma of pontifical infallibility proclaimed by Vatican Council I, put to the test eighty years later in the dogmatic affirmation of the Assumption of Mary into heaven (1950), which together with the previous dogmatic proclamation of her Immaculate Conception (1854) also reiterates the centrality of Marian devotion.

It would be reductive, however, if we were to limit ourselves to what has been said so far. Because there also exists – or better, existed – a widespread “Catholic mindset,” made up of the following:

– a cultural attitude based on a realism with regard to human nature that is sometimes disenchanted and willing to “understand all” as a precondition for “forgiving all”;
– a non-ascetic spirituality that is understanding toward certain material aspects of life, and not inclined to disdain them;
– engagement in everyday charity toward the humble and needy, without the need to idealize them or almost make new idols of them;
– a willingness also to represent itself in its own magnificence, and therefore not deaf to the evidence of beauty and of the arts, as testimony to a supreme Beauty toward which the Christian must tend;
– a subtle examination of the most inward movements of the heart, of the interior struggle between good and evil, of the dialectic between “temptations” and the response of conscience.

It could therefore be said that in what I call “Roman Catholicism” there are interwoven three aspects, obviously in addition to that of religion: the aesthetical, the juridical, the political. This is a matter of a rational vision of the world that makes itself a visible and solid institution and fatally enters into conflict with the idea of representation that emerged in modernity, based on individualism and on a conception of power that, rising from the bottom up, ends up bringing into question the principle of authority.

*

3. This conflict has been considered in different ways, often opposing, by those who have analyzed it. Carl Schmitt looked with admiration to the “resistance” of “Roman Catholicism,” considered the last force capable of reining in the dissipatory forces of modernity. Others have made tough criticisms of him: in this struggle, the Catholic Church is seen as having ruinously emphasized its juridical-hierarchical, authoritarian, external traits.

Beyond these opposing evaluations, it is certain that in recent centuries “Roman Catholicism” has been pushed onto the defensive. What has gradually brought its social presence into question has been above all the birth of industrial society and the consequent process of modernization, which has opened a series of anthropological mutations that are still underway. Almost as if “Roman Catholicism” were “organic” (to say it the old Marxist way) to a society that is agrarian, hierarchical, static, based on penury and fear and instead could not find relevance in a society that is “affluent,” dynamic, characterized by social mobility.

A first response to this situation of crisis was given by the ecumenical council Vatican II (1962-1965), which according to the intentions of Pope John XXIII, who had convened it, was to effect a “pastoral updating,” looking with new optimism at the modern world, which meant finally letting the guard down: no longer carrying on with an age-old duel, but opening a dialogue and effecting an encounter.

The world was swept up during those years in extraordinary changes and in an unprecedented economic development: probably the most sensational, rapid, and profound revolution in the human condition of which there is any trace in history (Eric J. Hobsbawm). The event of the council contributed to this mutation, but was in its turn engulfed by it: the rhythm of the “updatings” – fostered also by the dizzying transformations in the surroundings and by the general conviction, sung by Bob Dylan, that “the times they are a-changin’” – got out of hand for the hierarchy, or at least for that part of it which wanted to effect a reform, not a revolution.

Thus between 1967 and 1968 one witnessed the “watershed” of Paul VI, which expressed itself in the preoccupied analysis of the turbulence of ’68 and then of the “sexual revolution” contained in the encyclical “Humanae Vitae” of July 1968. So great was the pessimism to which that great pontiff came in the 1970’s that, conversing with the philosopher Jean Guitton, he wondered to himself and asked him, echoing a disquieting passage from the Gospel of Luke: “When the Son of Man returns, will he still find faith upon the earth?” And he added: “What strikes me, when I consider the Catholic world, is that within Catholicism there sometimes seems to predominate a type of thinking that is not Catholic, and it could happen that this non-Catholic thinking within Catholicism could tomorrow become the stronger one.”

 

Go here to read the rest.  One of the striking features of Pope Francis is his frequent outbursts against aspects of traditional Catholicism.  Recall this for example from 2013:

 

I share with you two concerns. One is the Pelagian current that there is in the Church at this moment. There are some restorationist groups. I know some, it fell upon me to receive them in Buenos Aires. And one feels as if one goes back 60 years! Before the Council… One feels in 1940… An anecdote, just to illustrate this, it is not to laugh at it, I took it with respect, but it concerns me; when I was elected, I received a letter from one of these groups, and they said: “Your Holiness, we offer you this spiritual treasure: 3,525 rosaries.” Why don’t they say, ‘we pray for you, we ask…’, but this thing of counting… And these groups return to practices and to disciplines that I lived through – not you, because you are not old – to disciplines, to things that in that moment took place, but not now, they do not exist today…

Go here to read the rest.  One of the most perilous events that can befall any institution is when a person is in charge who clearly has little fondness for the institution.  Perhaps the easiest way to understand the strong desire of Pope Francis for changing the Church is to understand that traditional Catholicism has little appeal for him.  It has been truly said that no man is a patriot who loves his country only on the condition that it be completely transformed.  Likewise, loving some future hypothetical Church of the future is small substitute for feeling hostility to the Church today.

 

 

11

Ah, If T’were Only True

From Ace of Spades:

 

Last Saturday afternoon in Washington, D.C. an aide to Nancy Pelosi visited the Bishop of the Catholic Cathedral in D.C. He told the Cardinal that Nancy Pelosi would be attending the next day’s Mass, and asked if the Cardinal would kindly point out Pelosi to the congregation and say a few words that would include calling Pelosi a saint.

The Cardinal replied, “No. I don’t really like the woman, and there are issues of conflict with the Catholic Church over some of Pelosi’s views.” Pelosi’s aide then said, “Look, I’ll write a check here and now for a donation of $100,000 to you if you’ll just tell the congregation you see Pelosi as a saint.”

The Cardinal thought about it and said, “Well, the Church can use the money, so I’ll work your request into tomorrow’s sermon.” As Pelosi’s aide promised, Nancy Pelosi appeared for the Sunday worship and seated herself prominently at the forward left side of the center aisle. As promised, at the start of his sermon, the Cardinal pointed out that Ms. Pelosi was present.

The Cardinal went on to explain to the congregation, “While Ms. Pelosi’s presence is probably an honor to some, the woman is not numbered among my personal favorite personages. Some of her most egregious views are contrary to tenets of the Church, and she tends to flip-flop on many other issues. Nancy Pelosi is a petty, self-absorbed hypocrite, a thumb sucker, and a nit-wit. Nancy Pelosi is also a serial liar, a cheat, and a thief. I must say, Nancy Pelosi is the worst example of a Catholic I have ever personally witnessed. She married for money and is using her wealth to lie to the American people. She also has a reputation for shirking her Representative obligations both in Washington and in California . The woman is simply not to be trusted.”

The Cardinal concluded. “But, when compared with Hillary Clinton, Ms. Pelosi is a saint.”

Dictator Pope

National Catholic Register has published an interview with the author of Dictator Pope, Henry Sire:

 

 

Edward Pentin gives us the details:

 

Henry Sire says he wrote the book The Dictator Pope because he felt it necessary to uncover the “gap” between what he says is the media “facade” of Pope Francis and the “reality as it is known in the Vatican.”

In a March 26 interview with the Register (see video below), Sire says that Francis is essentially a “politician who relies on public relations,” a “maverick pope” who manipulates the media and falls short of acting in a collegial manner with bishops.  

Pope Francis doesn’t deal with bishops “in a collegial spirit at all,” Sire says, despite the Holy Father’s often stated wish to make the Church more collegial and decentralized.

“They were treated much more collegially under Benedict XVI. No, as I say, Pope France is a dictator,” explains the historian, who is half Spanish and traveled to Buenos Aires to research the book.

 

Go here to read the rest.

6

The Sherman Tank

 “A Tiger can destroy 10 Sherman tanks, but the Americans have 11.”

Field Marshal Erwin Rommel

 

 

 

A military maxim proclaims that quantity has a quality all its own.  Some 50,000 M4 Sherman tanks were manufactured by the US during the World War II.  A speedy and maneuverable medium tank, the M4 was designed to be shipped easily by sea and rail.  As an infantry support platform it was much loved by GI’s.  The only problem was that the Sherman was totally outgunned by  German Tigers and Panthers.  One dismayed tanker recalled seeing a Tiger fire through two buildings and still take out a Sherman.  The Sherman 75 gun could not penetrate the front armor of a Tiger.  Tiger and Panther shells had little problem penetrating the Sherman’s armor, causing American tankers to sometimes refer to their tanks as Ronsons, after a popular lighter of the period.  However, the Americans usually heavily outnumbered the enemy armor they confronted and almost always could call on air support to knock out enemy tanks.  Enemy armor also had to confront endless American infantry with anti-tank weapons and mortars, backed up by plentiful artillery and abundant tank destroyers, which made most German armored offensives against American positions risky propositions for them.

 

Most losses of the Sherman were not caused by German armor.  However, the fact that the Shermans were clearly inferior to the top classes of German armor was demoralizing for American tankers.  Variants on the Sherman saw service during the campaigns in France and Germany with heavier frontal armor and  mounting heavier guns partially alleviating the problem.

5

Three Cheers for the Lex Talionis

23 And Lamech said unto his wives, Adah and Zillah, Hear my voice; ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech: for I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt.24 If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold.

Genesis 4: 23-24

 

Dennis Prager reminds us that, in the words of Bernard of Chartres, we are pygmies standing on the shoulders of giants.

 

 

 

 

 

As Saint Augustine noted, the Lex Talionis did not foster vengeance but served to check it.  This was a giant step away from blood feuds that could decimate families and entire communities.  Christ admonished that we pray for our enemies and turn the other cheek, but also acknowledged the punishment of evildoers by the State.  The idea of the Law standing in for private vengeance is an initial huge step for any civilization, and it is unsurprising that where States have gone to war against Christianity, the law swiftly becomes merely a tool to punish enemies of the State.

After Lenin toppled the Kerensky government in 1917, the Bolsheviks were briefly in coalition with other left wing parties, and Isaac Steinberg, an Anarchist, was Commissar of Justice.  When he protested the summary executions ordered by Lenin, Lenin waved off his objections that these were unjust:

He resented my opposition in the name of revolutionary justice.  So I called out in exasperation:  “Then why do we bother with a Commissariat of Justice?  Let’s call it frankly the Commissariat for Social Extermination and be done with it.”  Lenin’s face suddenly brightened and he replied, “Well put…that’s exactly what it should be…but we can’t say that.”

 

7

PopeWatch: Pro-lifers

John-Henry Western at Lifesite News gives a few reasons why pro-lifers have small reason to love this Pope:

 

 

1) From the outset of the papacy has come an overt shift in focus on pro-life to other concerns. (“We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods… I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.”)

2) The sentiment has remained consistent throughout the papacy and has gone from merely interviews into official Church teaching in the latest apostolic exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate. In that document, he equated issues such as immigration and poverty with abortion in contrast to statements from previous Popes.

3) The approach explains the seemingly incomprehensible praise that Pope Francis lavished on Italy’s most prominent promoter of abortion, whom he called one of the nation’s “forgotten greats” for her work on immigration. Even though unrepentant and an abortion pusher making Cecile Richards look tame, the Pope’s praise for her has led to her speaking at various Catholic churches despite protests from pro-lifers.

4) Since shortly after the election of Pope Francis there has been a steady stream of population control advocates speaking at the Vatican. These include: Paul Ehrlich, the father of the population control movement; John Bongaarts, vice president of the pro-abortion Population Council; pro-abortion U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon; pro-abortion UN advisor Jeffrey Sachs; and Prof. John Schellnhuber. The head of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Sciences, Bishop Marcelo Sorondo, who ran most of those conferences, is himself a population control advocate. Sorondo said on camera at one such Vatican conference that limiting births was an obligation of the Church – something he wouldn’t have dared under previous popes.

5) There have been numerous appointments and elevations of bishops and cardinals who are hostile to pro-life, alongside a demotion of strongly pro-life churchmen. Examples include Blase Cupich as Archbishop of Chicago and Cardinal despite his reputation for telling priests not to join 40 Days for Life; Belgium’s Cardinal Danneels; Germany’s Cardinal Kasper; and Belgium’s Josef de Kesel. Demotions and removals of strongly pro-life bishops and Cardinals include Cardinals Burke and Muller, Bishop Finn, and Bishop Nienstedt.

6) He removed the pro-life pledge from the Pontifical Academy for Life. And now appoints pro-abortion members, one of whom recently said the Bible calls for abortion in some cases.

7) Pope Francis pushed for the passage of the Sustainable Development Goals and praised its passage without reservation. Pro-life groups at the UN, including the Holy See Mission, have fought the SDGs for years because Target 3.7 explicitly calls for “universal access to sexual and reproductive health care services.” The UN defined these terms at the 1994 Cairo conference to mean providing women with “modern contraception” for “family planning” and with “safe abortion” where it is legal.

Go here to read the rest.  Oh, the Pope occasionally makes a verbal condemnation of abortion, and then goes back to giving every indication that the fight against abortion is of little to no consequence to him.  It is no mystery why some of the biggest fans of the Pope have been touting the fake “New Pro-life Movement” since it is quite clear that the Pope is no friend of the Real Pro-Life Movement.

15

Enoch Powell: Rivers of Blood

As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding. Like the Roman, I seem to see “the River Tiber foaming with much blood”. That tragic and intractable phenomenon which we watch with horror on the other side of the Atlantic but which there is interwoven with the history and existence of the States itself, is coming upon us here by our own volition and our own neglect. Indeed, it has all but come. In numerical terms, it will be of American proportions long before the end of the century. Only resolute and urgent action will avert it even now. Whether there will be the public will to demand and obtain that action, I do not know. All I know is that to see, and not to speak, would be the great betrayal.

 

 

Fifty years ago on April 20, 1968 Member of Parliament Enoch Powell, a unique figure from a middle class family who was a Professor of Ancient Greek at 25, rose from Private to Brigadier General in his early thirties during World War II, and who had held Cabinet positions in Conservative governments in Britain,  signed his own political death warrant by giving his rivers of blood speech, warning of the impact of third world immigration on Europe.  The speech was widely condemned as racist.  Parts of it certainly were.  It was also prophetic, at least in the long term, as most of Europe is finding out now with the violence and terrorism that mass immigration from the muslim world has brought.  “Respectable” parties in Europe are doing their best to ignore this, and even punishing those who seek to accurately report on what is going on.  The Pope has repeatedly condemned those who point out any of the problems with such mass immigration.  Well, let me play the prophet for a moment.  In democracies when “respectable” parties ignore a problem long enough, the mass of voters will ultimately find other leaders or parties, for good or ill, to carry out their wishes.

 

1

Unmanifest Destiny

 

 

TO what new fates, my country, far
And unforeseen of foe or friend,
Beneath what unexpected star
Compelled to what unchosen end.

Across the sea that knows no beach,
The Admiral of Nations guides
Thy blind obedient keels to reach
The harbor where thy future rides!

The guns that spoke at Lexington
Knew not that God was planning then
The trumpet word of Jefferson
To bugle forth the rights of men.

To them that wept and cursed Bull Run,
What was it but despair and shame?
Who saw behind the cloud the sun?
Who knew that God was in the flame?

Had not defeat upon defeat,
Disaster on disaster come,
The slave’s emancipated feet
Had never marched behind the drum.

There is a Hand that bends our deeds
To mightier issues than we planned;
Each son that triumphs, each that bleeds,
My country, serves It’s dark command.

I do not know beneath what sky
Nor on what seas shall be thy fate;
I only know it shall he high,
I only know it shall be great.

Richard Hovey

 

25

PopeWatch: Raymond Arroyo

Raymond Arroyo understands that pretending to hear no evil and see no evil does not make good Catholics.

 

 

When Robert Royal told EWTN’s The World Over host, Raymond Arroyo, that he perhaps regretted writing a column about Gaudete et Exsultate last week because of the visceral responses it elicited from his readers, Arroyo chimed in:  “You must’ve been looking in my mailbox!  I get this every week.”  

Holding up his hands, as if there were a gun pointed at him, Arroyo said, “Don’t shoot the messenger…all we do is cover this [news].”

“We all love the Holy Father, and the viewers of this program do,” said Arroyo.  “It is up to us to respect him enough to take [his] words and evaluate them in the context of the times, and of the moment.”

“And if we look the other way for portions, or pretend we’re not seeing it, we’re letting the audience down and we’re not being, to my mind, good Catholics,” added the EWTN host. (See the exchange on this between Arroyo and Royal in the video below from 9:27 to 11:22.)

Royal, president of the Faith & Reason Institute in Washington, DC, had said that “One set of people read [my column] one way, and one set read it another.”

“Two of my readers wrote to me and said, ‘you’re the one exacerbating all these differences in the Church,’ as if somehow we created this large-scale international controversy.”

“On the other hand, other people are writing in saying ‘you were perhaps too charitable’”  to the Pope, said Royal, because he had noted that there were “good things” in the papal document.

Shooting at the Papal Posse ‘Messengers’ 

“Papal Posse” members Robert Royal, Fr. Gerald Murray, and Raymond Arroyo are now accustomed to dodging bullets from fellow Catholics who are critical of the show’s fair and balanced approach to reporting on the Vatican. 

Patheos writer Mark Shea, who calls Arroyo the “Pied Piper of EWTN,” says Arroyo’s balanced reporting “leads the sheep away from the teaching of the Church and toward the sundry Right Wing Culture Warriors and liars at war with Pope Francis and the Magisterium.” 

Another Catholic blogger, Mike Lewis, unhappy with the ‘papal posse’s’ reporting and discussions, tweeted, “Does EWTN host Raymond Arroyo place politics ahead of the Catholic Church’s teachings and fidelity to @Pontifex?” 

 

 

Go here to read the rest.  In Heaven I suspect Mother Angelica is giving a thumbs up.

3

Complex Situations

From Oakes Spalding at Mahound’s Paradise.  I doubt if this would have been a parody if Pope Francis had been Pope during World War II, when Argentinian Dictator Juan Peron was playing footsie with the Third Reich:

 

 

Today, Pope Francis was asked about the pending murders of millions of additional people in the many extermination camps operated by the Nazis across Central and Eastern Europe:

I entrust to your prayer the members of those peoples and nations, living, sometimes for a long period, in situations of restricted movement, involuntary captivity or other potentially fatal circumstances due to the requirements of the war. By these I chiefly mean the Jews, but also Gypsies, homosexuals, Polish professionals and others, and of course Catholics. These are delicate and complex situations. We pray that every group and race is always respected in its dignity and treated in a way adapted to its condition, with the agreement of the relevant parties including local authorities and political and military professionals.

A week earlier, the Pope had “tweeted” his support for those being transferred to Auschwitz-Birkenau and destined for its gas chambers:

It is my sincere hope that everything necessary may be done in order to continue compassionately accompanying the Jews and others on their difficult journey made necessary by the current situation, and that the deep suffering of those affected by these measures may be heard. I am praying for the Jews, as well as for Germany and all others that may be involved.


*If you think this parody is unfair, tell that to Alfie Evans.

 

Go here to comment.

8

Strange Times

You know that you are living in strange times when an active homosexual is a better defender of the Faith than many paid to do so.  Milo Yiannopoulos was sent a series of questions by America, the Jesuit rag.  He answered them but they declined to print his answers.  He has now printed the questions and the answers:

Although you grew up Catholic, you now say and do many shocking things in your public career which seem to be at odds with your childhood faith. In what sense do you still consider yourself a Catholic? 
 
Plenty of saints were shocking, to say nothing of our Lord, who got in a spot of trouble for His shocking claims, as you might recall. I am certainly no saint, but I don’t think “shocking” is a helpful way of approaching the question of Catholics in public life. It doesn’t settle much to say that the current Pope is shocking to many Catholics, including me. Or to note that I’m shocked by supposedly Catholic politicians who make laws in flat contradiction to the natural law, which you need no faith to grasp.
 
In my case, do you mean it’s shocking that a Catholic like me is loudly worried about Islam, which has waged war on Holy Mother Church for more than a millennium? 
 
Or that I say Planned Parenthood’s abortion crusade amounts to black genocide? 
 
Or that I’ve supported Pope Paul VI’s criticism of artificial contraception so strongly that Hillary Clinton attacked me for it in her presidential campaign? 
 
Frankly, what’s really shocking is that a poor sinner like me has spoken out more on contraception than 99% of our bishops, who seem too preoccupied with diversity and climate change to talk about God. 
 
Maybe you mean it’s shocking that I’m always joking about my lack of chastity and my fondness for black dudes, but I still call myself Catholic. And I don’t see what’s so shocking about that, either. One of the most famous saints of all time, sixteen centuries ago, prayed, “Lord, make me chaste, but not yet.” 
 
Anyone who grows up in Catholic cities like New Orleans and Rome emerges pretty unshockable — and certainly wouldn’t be alarmed by me.
 
I think it was a visit to New Orleans that inspired Evelyn Waugh to make an observation I often quote:  Protestants seem to think, I’m good, therefore I go to church, whereas Catholics think, I’m very bad, therefore I go to church. Waugh also said, when people asked how he could call himself a Catholic: You have no idea how bad I’d be if I weren’t.
 
Sins of the flesh, let us remember, are at the bottom of the scale. The Church says self-righteousness is at the top. Therefore, I’m in a lot better shape than some of my feminist and establishment Republican enemies. To say nothing of Islam! 
 
In life, I believe in aspiration. If you’re a poor kid, aspire to rise economically. If you’re shy, aspire to confidence, so you can defend your views in public. And if you’re a wretched sinner like me, aspire to end up better than you are now. Miracles do happen! 
 
 
Where do you experience tensions with Catholicism in your life?
 
Who says any Catholic should lack tension stoked by his weaknesses? We Catholics are better at clothes, food, and parties. Why shouldn’t we be better at guilt, too?
 
You don’t see me disputing the Church’s teachings on homosexuality. There’s no intellectual tension, because I wouldn’t dream of demanding that the Church throw away her hard truths just to lie to me in hopes I’ll feel better about myself. I love the truth, not lies, and I know no one’s feelings are the basis of truth. 
 
That’s why I don’t understand those Catholics — such as, if you’ll forgive my horrid impertinence, this magazine’s editor at large, Fr. Martin — who imply that if people don’t like what the Church says, maybe the Church is wrong or should apologize. The Church was founded on a rock and a cross, not on a hug.
 
Still, if you insist I talk about feelings, I’ve said before that I feel there’s something wrong with the fact that my lovemaking can’t produce the mini-Milo’s I’d like to have. How’s that for a subjective confirmation of the Church teaching that same-sex attraction is “objectively disordered” because it can’t lead to procreation?
 
Bottom line:  The Church says I’m not culpable for my temptations, but I shouldn’t sin. She’s right. And her founder said He came to heal those who knew they were sick, so I don’t despair.

Continue Reading

The American’s Creed

Written by William Tyler Page, it was adopted by the Federal House of Representative’s by resolution on April 3, 1918:

 

 

I believe in the United States of America as a government of the people, by the people, for the people; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a republic; a sovereign Nation of many sovereign States; a perfect union, one and inseparable; established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes.

I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it, to support its Constitution, to obey its laws, to respect its flag, and to defend it against all enemies.

 

It is often used in naturalization ceremonies for new Americans.

6

PopeWatch: Fraternity of the Holy Apostles of Brussels

Marco Tossati at One Peter Five gives us yet another example of the fact that orthodox orders have a target on their backs in this Pontificate:

 

The Pope signs the decree of dissolution of the Fraternity of the Holy Apostles of Brussels, which had been providing a considerable number of priests and seminarians in the ecclesial desert of Belgium. A blow carried out without waiting for the ecclesiastical process to follow its natural course in responding to the recourse presented by parishioners.

Remember the case of the Priestly Fraternity of the Holy Apostles of Brussels? In the disastrous panorama of the Belgian Church, and of the European capital that is perhaps the most de-Christianized of all, the then-Archbishop of Malines-Brussels, André Léonard, had created a priestly fraternity in 2013 inspired by the charism of the French priest Michel-Marie Zanotti-Sorkine. It had grown to include 23 seminarians and 6 priests, an extraordinary development in a national Church which last year did not have even one new seminarian in the French-speaking dioceses. The fraternity was given pastoral care of a parish in the center of Brussels, Saint Catherine, and their presence signaled a new flowering of faith and activity.

Then-Archbishop André Léonard was a man of faith, and for his defense of the values of the Church he underwent many attacks (including physical assault) and humiliations, among which were the fact that he did not receive, as would have been logical, the red hat of a Cardinal, but rather as soon as he turned 75 he was rapidly dismissed by the reigning Pontiff. His post was taken by Archbishop De Kesel, great protégé of the widely-discussed Cardinal Danneels, who was involved in a troubling inquest regarding abuses in his role in protecting an abusing bishop. De Kesel naturally was made a cardinal, and one of his first actions was his decision to no longer welcome the Fraternity, which had taken on care of another parish in addition to Saint Catherine. The officially-stated reason for the decision was that many of the seminarians were French, and thus it was said to be better that they would return to their respective dioceses in France, for reasons of “episcopal solidarity.”

Naturally, the parishioners in Brussels did not believe this vacuous excuse for a moment, and they requested a meeting with the Archbishop in order to express their objections: “Archbishop De Kesel does not want to welcome the Fraternity any longer on the pretext that it includes too many French members. Is he really the bishop of the capital of Europe in the 21st century? The principle of solidarity with the French bishops invoked in the communication of the Archbishop explaining the reason for not continuing the work started by Archbishop Léonard, despite all of the successes of the Fraternity recognized by the same communication, does not make any sense. In effect, out of 80 seminarians in formation in Namur (at the Belgian national seminary), only 25 are Belgian. Will they all be sent back to their home countries? Will all of the African and Polish priests who have come here to help us carry the message of Christ to Belgium also be sent home? Is the Catholic Church no longer universal? Does it no longer transcend national borders?”

 

Go here to read the rest.  PopeWatch does not believe that Pope Francis is an anti-Pope, but if he were an anti-Pope, what would he be doing differently?

2

Requiescat In Pace: Harry Anderson

Dan: How did you get appointed to the bench?
Harry: You know Dan, that’s a funny story. It was the mayor’s last day in office and it was a Sunday and my name was at the bottom of the list of a 1,000 candidates. So they start calling folks starting at the top of the list. You see it’s Sunday and no one’s home. So they keep calling down the list, name by name. No one answers. Finally they get down to the bottom of the list and voila.
Lana: You mean you were appointed a judge because…
Harry: I was home.
Night Court, First Season, First Episode

 

 

 

 

As a young lawyer back in the Eighties I loved the zany antics of Night Court.  Harry Anderson as Judge Harry Stone reminded me of a kind-hearted Judge I appeared in front of on a regular basis, and, occasionally, real life court has resembled the chaos of Night Court. Harry Anderson has passed away, too young, at the age of 65.  Dave Griffey at Daffey Thoughts gives us the details:

 

Wow, two figures from my youth, that were seemingly everywhere back in the day, have passed. 

Harry Anderson, the magician who spent more than a few years acting, passed away at the age of 65.
R. Lee Ermey, old gunny and possibly the most famous on screen drill sergeant in movie history, also passed away.  Donald McClarey has a fine tribute here.

Both were iconic images for my generation.  Ermey, a marine vet in real life, came to embody that gruff, grizzly soldier wading into whatever problem he encountered with a club in hand and a sparkle in his eye.

Anderson was everyone’s cool conman.  A magician by trade (and, some suggest, a conman to boot), he stumbled into acting and soon came to demonstrate that level of slick, sleight of hand with a warm heart that anyone might envy.

The funny thing about them both?  Nether were actors by first profession.  They had excelled in other arenas first.  They were not necessarily actors even when they were acting, but were other types who simply played variations of themselves, to a point.

They both stepped out of those confines.  For instance, Anderson played in the TV miniseries based on Stephen King’s IT, and Ermey had a wonderful turn in the movie Dead Man Walking.

But usually they were variations of themselves.  In the hit and critically acclaimed series Night Court (a strange brew of a show to be sure), Anderson basically was Anderson, including his magic and his love of Mel Torme.

Because of that, you can’t help but feel you got to know them more than most actors who play a variety of parts.  You feel you knew them.  And because they both made such a big impact on the pop culture of the day, it’s like losing a couple of old friends.

Rest in peace friends, and my the perpetual light shine upon you both.

Go here to comment.  Enjoy a well earned recess Judge Stone.

 

1

If Only My Enemy Would Write a Book

 Oh that one would hear me! behold, my desire is, that the Almighty would answer me, and that mine adversary had written a book.

Job 31: 35

 

 

The buffoonish James Comey, former FBI Director, has written a book, A Higher Loyalty, and has given a lengthy five hour interview to former Clinton henchman George Stephanopoulos.  One of the features about political hit books is that they tend to tell a lot more about the author than the author ever intended.  In the interview and in his book, Comey stands revealed as a very weak man, quite willing to play ball with the Clinton political machine in order to protect his future, assuming that Clinton got elected, which Comey viewed as a dead bang certainty.  (I have long thought that God gets endless mirth from the human trait to assume that we can guess, on important matters, even the short term future with any degree of confidence.)  Go here to read a transcript of that marathon interview.

In the interview Comey states that Donald Trump is morally unfit to be President:

A person who sees moral equivalence in Charlottesville, who talks about and treats women like they’re pieces of meat, who lies constantly about matters big and small and insists the American people believe it, that person’s not fit to be president of the United States, on moral grounds.

Let’s unpack that shall we?  First, Trump did not draw a moral equivalence in the Charlottesville deadly melodrama, in which both the extreme right and the extreme left were engaging in violent street political theater, but let us say that he had, is that worse than Clinton during the campaign calling around 25% of the American people “deplorables”, completely beyond the pale?  In regard to Trump treating women like pieces of meat, Trump is a pig when it comes to women.  In that he is reminiscent of Bill Clinton, except that Trump, unlike Clinton, has not been credibly accused of rape.  Mrs. Clinton of course has spent much of her time in public life defending her swinish husband from “bimbo eruptions” and assassinating the characters of the women who have had the temerity to tell the truth about their often forced interactions with her mate.  In regard to lies, yep Trump lies a lot, as opposed to Clinton who has been completely truthful about everything, from her brilliant success as a commodities trader, to her sterling performance in Whitewater, to the machinations with foreign powers of the Clinton Foundation, to her statements to the FBI about her e-mails.  Why, if you view her in a certain light, Clinton is a paragon of truthfulness, the female reincarnation of George Washington!  (Sarcasm off.)

 

 

Comey’s wife and kids were fanatical supporters of the Clinton public thief, and that clearly had an impact on Comey.  His last-minute investigation in October 2016 into the e-mails on the hard-drive of Anthony Weiner’s spouse was to help Clinton long-term, as he states in his book:

“It is entirely possible that, because I was making decisions in an environment where Hillary Clinton was sure to be the next president, my concern about making her an illegitimate president by concealing the restarted investigation bore greater weight than it would have if the election appeared closer or if Donald Trump were ahead in all polls.”

That is an entirely damning statement.  Such concerns were not part of his job, yet he allowed partisan concerns to guide every step of how he conducted the investigation into Clinton’s emails.  Comey, when everything is boiled down, was basically a corrupt cop who wanted above everything else to keep his powerful job.  He bet on the wrong horse politically and now, suddenly, moral considerations he was deaf and blind to when Clinton was involved, become the center of his universe in regard to Trump.  Comey is six foot eight.  J. Edgar Hoover was five foot seven.  Comey in comparison to Hoover couldn’t reach the top of his predecessor’s shoes.