4 Responses to Obama Funemployment-Take 2

  • Reminds me of the crisis during the Reagan years, you know, the homeless. Every night on the news, all the news specials, stories about how unconscionable that there were homeless people living on the street. Apparently all those homeless people got homes when Clinton came in office. Well, all except for those who were still homeless and had to be rounded up and put in abandoned and condemned buildings whenever the Democratic Convention or major sporting events came to town. Now I suppose we’ll hear about how liberating it is to be free from a mortgage, cuz the Obama years are all about hope, change, and freedom.

  • Rick, when a Democrat is in the White House, for most members of the media it is always “morning in America”.

  • In my town, NPR ran a stories about how the stimulus was working three days in a row. The bad news was that it was about the same road project. Just told it three different ways. Also didn’t mention that the project was slated to last 90 days and the people employed would be out of work again at the end of that time.

  • Pingback: Noveau Poor « The American Catholic

McBrien to Eucharistic Adoration: Step Backward

Tuesday, September 8, AD 2009

Father Richard McBrien, Professor of Theology at Notre Dame, boy that comes as a shock doesn’t it, doesn’t think much of eucharistic adoration.  McBrien of course has been a fierce defender of the secular zeitgeist for decades, and has done his very best to wean generations of Catholics from anything in the Faith that would not pass muster at fashionable parties in academia. 

For myself I love eucharistic adoration.  I never have done it without feeling much closer to God.  Since John Paul II also approved of it in his letter DOMINICAE CENAE, I guess I will just have to bear up under the strain of being thought backward by Professor McBrien.  Father Z gives McBrien his patented fisking here

You know, tenured dissenters like McBrien have a real problem on their hands in the age of the internet.  It is very easy now for ordinary Catholics to have access to church teaching by a few clicks and read what John Paul II wrote:

“Adoration of Christ in this sacrament of love must also find expression in various forms of eucharistic devotion: personal prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, Hours of Adoration, periods of exposition-short, prolonged and annual (Forty Hours)-eucharistic benediction, eucharistic processions, eucharistic congresses.”

Of course Pope Benedict’s views are well known and are set forth here.  When we have such easy access to the words of Peter, it is much harder for Catholics to be bamboozled by flim-flam artists like McBrien seeking to distort the teaching of the Church in service of their personal agendas.  The modern world provides many challenges to the Church, but I think in the long run the internet may become a great advantage to the magisterium of Holy Mother Church.

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47 Responses to McBrien to Eucharistic Adoration: Step Backward

  • From the McBrien article:

    Notwithstanding Pope Benedict XVI’s personal endorsement of eucharistic adoration and the sporadic restoration of the practice in the archdiocese of Boston and elsewhere, it is difficult to speak favorably about the devotion today.

    Now that most Catholics are literate and even well-educated, the Mass is in the language of the people (i.e, the vernacular), and its rituals are relatively easy to understand and follow, there is little or no need for extraneous eucharistic devotions. The Mass itself provides all that a Catholic needs sacramentally and spiritually.

    Eucharistic adoration, perpetual or not, is a doctrinal, theological, and spiritual step backward, not forward.

    “Could you not stay awake with me one hour?”

    Apparently that would be entirely extraneous. I guess I’ll just have to remain an ignorant layman encrusted with medieval devotions.

  • “It is difficult to speak favorably about the devotion today.”

    Well, I suppose all the members of parishes that have grown and thrived after instituting Eucharistic adoration, all the priests and religious whose vocations have been discerned after taking up “the devotion”, and all the laity whose prayers have been answered and who have grown closer to God as a result of this “step backward,” would beg to differ.

  • McBrien and fashionable parties in academia in the same sentence? Amusing.

    But seriously, can you not even take Fr. McBrien’s arguments seriously, at face value, without ridiculing them? All this post says is, “Well, I like it, and the Pope likes it, therefore McBrien is wrong.”

    Interesting, too, that I have seen many of you criticize others on the web for not using proper titles, like “Father” and “Bishop.” I have never seen a right-wing Catholic blog refer to McBrien as “Father McBrien.” Donatism dies hard.

  • “I have never seen a right-wing Catholic blog refer to McBrien as “Father McBrien.” Donatism dies hard.”

    Then you haven’t been looking very hard.

    “But seriously, can you not even take Fr. McBrien’s arguments seriously, at face value, without ridiculing them?”

    Fr. McBrien made a serious argument? His inane commentary is nothing but dissident chic. He is basically saying “Never mind what that quaint little old man in Rome says, adoration of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament is for suckers.”

  • McBrien doesn’t make an argument. He makes a sneer. His sneer is set forth in verbiage, but a sneer it remains. His comment about well-educated Catholics was especially risible since recent polls indicate how large a portion of Catholics do not believe in the Real Presence. His sneer is, in essence, that really bright Catholics like him are ashamed of eucharistic devotion and that only simpletons, like John Paul II and Saint Thomas Aquinas I assume, would have any use for it.

    As to Donatism, the Donatists defied the Popes and persisted in their schism. One can observe throughout McBrien’s career a careful determination not to follow Papal teaching when it deviated from his.

  • But seriously, can you not even take Fr. McBrien’s arguments seriously, at face value, without ridiculing them?

    I guess I’m having trouble seeing what exactly is an “argument” to be taken seriously. I don’t see how the point that the mass is in our own language and we’re well educated means that the mass itself provides the only sacramental and spiritual sustenance that any Catholic should possibly need. It’s not an argument, in that the one statement in no way follows from the other, and even as an assertion it seems a bit nonsensical. Why should the fact that the mass is well understood (to an extent) mean that no other devotions have any place in the Catholic life — particularly one with such a long and rich tradition, and so consistently followed and encouraged by the Church and her leaders.

    Do you see any actual argument to even engage with there?

    Interesting, too, that I have seen many of you criticize others on the web for not using proper titles, like “Father” and “Bishop.” I have never seen a right-wing Catholic blog refer to McBrien as “Father McBrien.” Donatism dies hard.

    Actually, I’m not aware of any of us having criticized others for this, and I’m sure that I’ve referred to Fr. Neuhaus simply as Neuhaus when I’m talking about him as a writer, despite the fact I have great respect for the late father. But no, I have no particular objection to calling Fr. McBrien by his honorific, and indeed, if you’ll look at the text of the post the very first words of it are “Father Richard McBrien”.

  • Beat me to it Donald in posting this.

    This is simply incredible.

    He does sneer at us with his comments and it smacks nothing more than treating us as less than smart.


  • Look, I like Eucharistic adoration. I don’t agree with Fr. McBrien all the time. But he is right to point out the disproportionate interest in adoration in our history, as well as the centrality of the Mass. You need to be willing to read for insights and to appreciate the truth of what he says even if you don’t go as far as he does.

    Fr. McBrien is right to “sneer” at certain tendencies in the Church.

    He does sneer at us with his comments and it smacks nothing more than treating us as less than smart.

    Some of you are “less than smart.”

  • Imprimatur,

    No one has said one iota about not attending Mass and replacing it with the Eucharist.

    You sound a lot like the Catholic Anarchist.

  • I can’t believe such offensive and patronizing drivel was written by a Catholic priest.

    Of course it is “difficult” to say anything good about a practice that is ridiculed as the province of illiterate bumpkins. This equivocation of a serious faith with academic learning may be convenient for the smug hypocrites of academia, but I for one am glad that the practice is still alive and well.

    Some people wouldn’t understand spirituality if it smashed them repeatedly in the face. This Catholic, with three university degrees, is more than happy to participate in Eucharistic adoration.

    Long live the Latin Mass, and long live Eucharistic adoration. And good riddance to the spoiled, self-important boomer generation that tried its best to destroy authentic spirituality within the Church.

  • No one has said one iota about not attending Mass and replacing it with the Eucharist.

    Well here you go. That whole “less than smart” thing. Good example.

    It doesn’t surprise me that you think I sound like a Catholic anarchist considering the way you paint everyone you think is a “dissenter” with the same brush. I haven’t met too many anarchists who pray the rosary and the divine office or who, as I said, like Eucharistic adoration.

    My point is that you need to be able to actually hear what a person is saying. A better response to his article would have been, “Here is here he is right, pointing out incorrect emphases, etc.” and “Here is where he is wrong, and here is why Eucharistic adoration is a valuable practice and WHY IT FITS WITH THE “NEW” MASS and does not oppose it.” All we have here is “McBrien is a fool,” followed by Joe’s comment of “long live the old way, the ‘true’ spirituality, and good riddance to the new, the inauthentic.”

    The result is that you all look very imbalanced, purely dismissive, unable to appreciate catholicity (small ‘c,’ referring to unity in diversity), and very very foolish.

  • That said, I think McBrien also displays a lack of catholicity in the sense that I described it above. He goes to far. But the core critique that he presents has some validity.

  • Oh please.

    In whose eyes, exactly, do we look “foolish”? Those already inclined to look upon those who actually do take tradition seriously as foolish. Who are these fence-sitters that would love everything we have to say, if only we would smile politely when a McBrien ridicules us? They don’t exist.

    I would gladly remain a fool for tradition before I would take seriously these hollow and meaningless attacks upon it.

    We heard exactly what he said – that Eucharistic adoration is a “step backward”. What are we supposed to say to that, exactly? Who is this man to declare what Catholics “need”? Who is he to declare what we don’t “need”? That level of arrogance and presumption is highly offensive, not to mention “foolish”.

  • Joe >>>

    In whose eyes, exactly, do we look “foolish”?

    Catholics who attempt to be moderate, you know, to be catholic.

    Those already inclined to look upon those who actually do take tradition seriously as foolish.

    There is not one single “tradition.” Our church is catholic. You are not the only one who takes “tradition” seriously. You take one set of Catholic traditions seriously. McBrien takes another set of traditions seriously. This “we’re the only ones who take tradition seriously” crap is silly. You’re a thoughtful guy. I read your stuff. I expect better from you, unlike some of your co-bloggers.

    We heard exactly what he said – that Eucharistic adoration is a “step backward”. What are we supposed to say to that, exactly?

    Try to understand WHY he is saying that, think about it, and then critique it while trying to appreciate what might be true about it.

    Who is this man to declare what Catholics “need”?

    Who are YOU to do the same? Who are YOU to declare that he is “attacking” tradition, that the traditions that he values are not authentic, that the ones YOU value are the only ones that are authentic?

    That level of arrogance and presumption is highly offensive, not to mention “foolish”.

    You are the one who sounds arrogant when you say: “Some people wouldn’t understand spirituality if it smashed them repeatedly in the face” and “And good riddance to the spoiled, self-important boomer generation that tried its best to destroy authentic spirituality within the Church.”

    If McBrien is being arrogant, then so are you.

  • For some curious reason, Father McBrien calls to mind the first several chapters of Thomas a Kempis’ Imitation of Christ.

    A proposal — let’s say a prayer for Father McBrien next time we find ourselves before the Blessed Sacrament.

  • Imp,

    First of all, what is this set of traditions that McBrien takes seriously? He is clearly a ‘progressive’ who believes that the march of technological progress (which in the final instance is what enables widespread literacy and education) necessitates the transformation of the liturgy and spiritual practices. How is that adherence to a tradition? How is that not a crude historicism that reduces spiritual and liturgical practices to products of their historical-material circumstances as opposed to inspired by God?

    I know exactly “why” his kind argues as they do; they believe in progress at the expense of tradition. They don’t wish to look foolish in the eyes of the secular world, which has never properly or accurately understood spiritual practice to begin with. The holy sacrifice of the Mass must be reduced to a ‘community meal’ and Scripture reading, while practices such as Eucharistic adoration are dismissed are holdovers of a medieval past. They find Catholic spirituality embarrassing in the modern world.

    I don’t tell Catholics what they need – there are certain things I believe are poisonous to the soul, but that argument could never be made about Eucharistic adoration. McBrien doesn’t reject it because it is objectively bad for Catholics, but because it makes him and his friends feel foolish. It is a shameful argument.

  • A stopped clock is right twice a day, and there is one nugget of truth in what Fr. McBrien said: “The Mass itself provides all that a Catholic needs sacramentally and spiritually.”

    It is true that actually RECIEVING the Eucharist is a sacrament, while adoring the Eucharist (wonderful though it is) is not, and that the actual Mass is obligatory for Catholics while Eucharistic adoration is not. A parish must offer Mass regularly but does not have to have perpetual or regular Eucharistic adoration. One could attend Mass faithfully, but never attend adoration, and still be a good Catholic.

    That being said, the fact that Eucharistic adoration doesn’t replace the Mass and that an observant Catholic can get by without it doesn’t mean it’s bad, or backward, or wrong. Devotion to particular saints, the rosary, novenas, etc. also aren’t strictly “necessary” for Catholics but that doesn’t make them bad.

    The fact that Fr. McBrien would say something like this doesn’t surprise me at all because he’s always been a “usual suspect” among the progressive/liberal wing of the Church.

  • The McBrien column recalls the story of a newly minted priest who was walking through a cathedral with his Bishop. The Bishop had decided to send the priest to Rome to study towards a doctorate because the young man was very bright and showed great promise. He was also afraid the young man suffered from intellectual vanity. He pointed out to the priest a Mrs. McGinnis who earned her daily bread by scrubbing floors and who was kneeling, saying a rosary silently as she gazed at the eucharist. Out of earshot of the woman he told the priest, “Do you know that she couldn’t tell you precisely who the Doctors of the Church are to save her soul?” The priest responded that such ignorance was terrible if not surprising. “Yet Father,” the Bishop continued, “since each morning she is here before she commences her daily toil to adore our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, I have no doubt she understands in her heart what each of the Doctors of the Church meant.”

  • Imprimatur if you are the Catholic Anarchist, Michael Iafrate, you will kindly stop posting in this thread since, as you know, I have banned you forever from posting on my threads. If you are not Iafrate, my apologies for raising the issue.

  • And good riddance to the spoiled, self-important boomer generation that tried its best to destroy authentic spirituality within the Church.

    Large segments of the Baby Boomer generation have done a lot of harm. I’ve always thought of that generation as having endured a civil war with itself….let’s hope those determined to bend the country to their infantile will continue to discredit themselves in the eyes of their children – the “sexual revolution” and divorce in particular have been terribly destructive.

  • No, there is nothing to engage here: McBrien doesn’t discuss anything anymore, he simply issues declarations larded with ipse dixits.

    Preconciliar BAD! Pope Benedict BAD! are the two arrows in his quiver, and both the tattered missiles are launched here.

    Where in this tossed-off essay is the slightest hint that he has seriously engaged with the topic? Instead, we have the following:

    1. A selective and deliberately incomplete reading of history;

    2. Well-poisoning (pointing to ridiculous excesses to discredit the entire practice);

    3. Universalizing certain contemporary progressive American Catholic experiences as normative for the entire Church;

    4. Preening self-regard (the “most educated laity” trope);

    5. Pitting pre-conciliar Church experience against certain post-conciliar practices (always to the detriment of the former);

    6. A gratuitous dig at the Pope (quelle suprise);


    7. A gratuitous shot at the sacrament of reconciliation, another McBrien bete noire (“the Mass itself provides all that a Catholic needs sacramentally”–a titanic lie).

    “You’re hopelessly backward” is not an invitation to discussion. He deserves each and every brickbat tossed at him.

  • BTW, Elaine: please note that the “titanic lie” line wasn’t directed at you–I hadn’t even read your comment before posting. Fr. McBrien’s consistent dismissal of the sacrament of reconciliation sets my teeth on edge.

    But I do suggest that the Mass does not provide all that we need, and is not intended to, by design.

  • First of all, what is this set of traditions that McBrien takes seriously?

    He takes Vatican II and that initial set of reforms of the liturgy seriously.

    He is clearly a ‘progressive’ who believes that the march of technological progress (which in the final instance is what enables widespread literacy and education) necessitates the transformation of the liturgy and spiritual practices.

    There is nothing in his writing that suggests a belief in “technological progress” in relation to liturgy.

    How is that adherence to a tradition?

    There is no traditionless thinking of belief.

    How is that not a crude historicism that reduces spiritual and liturgical practices to products of their historical-material circumstances as opposed to inspired by God?

    Again, nothing suggests that a belief in change and/or reform entails a belief in “crude historicism” or a reduction of liturgy to “products.” Vatican II itself talked about continual reform as part of the nature of the church.

    I know exactly “why” his kind argues as they do; they believe in progress at the expense of tradition.

    Again, “tradition” is not one thing. Tradition is a process not specific content. Vatican II reforms, as you know, entailed a going back to the sources. The reforms that came out of VII are precisely all about tradition. With reference to Eucharistic adoration, the Church wanted to place a renewed emphasis on the centrality of the Mass to curb the way in which some devotional practices can distort the meaning of the Eucharist. Whether you agree with it or not, that is still a problem in the Church today. I have worked in parishes and saw it day in and day out. McBrien is right to remind us of the possibility of sacramental distortion.

    YOU on the other hand want to preserve, in cold cement, ONE PARTICULAR tradition which is ITSELF a product of history and not simply “given by God.” Liturgy, in its various forms and in the very process of its reform, is indeed inspired by God but not apart from history and not apart from persons and the community of the Church discerning the action of the Spirit. The tradition you prefer is NOT eternal, but a snapshot of a particular point in time. It’s fine for you to prefer that, but you need to know that your preferences tend to amount to a radical denial of the activity of God in within the Church. And God does not stand still. Hang on to your preferences — the one, true, authentic Tradition — but do not complain when the rest of the Church is moved somewhere else.

  • And it goes without saying that whether you like it or not, the Church did change its liturgy at Vatican II and it changed its very liturgical mindset at VII.

  • Michael/Imprimatur,

    With reference to Eucharistic adoration, the Church wanted to place a renewed emphasis on the centrality of the Mass to curb the way in which some devotional practices can distort the meaning of the Eucharist. Whether you agree with it or not, that is still a problem in the Church today. I have worked in parishes and saw it day in and day out. McBrien is right to remind us of the possibility of sacramental distortion.

    I’m not aware of any sense in which the Church actually expressed a desire to curb Eucharistic adoration as a devotional practice because of a fear that it distorted the meaning of the Eucharist.

    The Church did seek to institute liturgical reforms that would make the mass more easily understandable and to introduce elements of catechesis into the mass — and certain devotional practices which amounted to doing something else during mass (say, saying the rosary during mass rather than following the mass itself) have certainly been discouraged, but it is by no means apparent how Eucharistic adoration is in conflict with a proper understanding of the mass.

    If Fr. McBrien is aware of some way in which this is a problem, he certainly goes to no effort to mention it in his piece, which instead is primarily just a sneer of “we’ve moved beyond these embarrassing practices” combined with vague hints that the urge to participate in adoration is rooted in an overly physical understanding of the nature of transubstantiation.

  • You people are so narrow minded. Don’t you realize that you’re ***c***atholics? There is no single tradition. Me myself, I just yesterday participated in a solemn caterwauling liturgy of the vegan transgendered Ethiopian rite. They’ve been around since way before Trent, you unwashed fools. They don’t do Eucharistic adoration, by the way. They know *better*. Plus they make me look cool when I take them to meet my dissertation chair at the faculty club.

  • Darwin, how did you know my name is Michael? That’s a little creepy…

    I’m not aware of any sense in which the Church actually expressed a desire to curb Eucharistic adoration as a devotional practice because of a fear that it distorted the meaning of the Eucharist.

    What I actually said was that the church was trying to curb the distortions, not the practice of adoration.

    but it is by no means apparent how Eucharistic adoration is in conflict with a proper understanding of the mass.

    You’re right. And I said above that I like Eucharistic adoration and that I don’t think it conflicts with the Mass. What conflicts with the Mass is the distortion that can occur in some ways of understanding Eucharistic adoration.

    If Fr. McBrien is aware of some way in which this is a problem, he certainly goes to no effort to mention it in his piece, which instead is primarily just a sneer of “we’ve moved beyond these embarrassing practices”

    I also said above that I have some problems with McBrien’s article. I think he goes too far. He lacks catholicity. But so do you when you read him (and me, apparently) with no desire to understand him or to be challenged by what IS true in his thinking. You commit the same sin, sneering at McBrien instead of hearing him out.

    …combined with vague hints that the urge to participate in adoration is rooted in an overly physical understanding of the nature of transubstantiation.

    Catholics don’t believe Christ is physically present in the Eucharist, but that he is really, sacramentally present. If McBrien does imply that in his article (I’d have to read it again to see, and I don’t want to), then is is accurately reflecting Catholic teaching on the Eucharist.

  • Darwin, how did you know my name is Michael? That’s a little creepy…

    Because I’d previously put you on moderation for bad behavior both by email address and by IP address. Since you’re using the same computer as before, even though using a different email and handle, WordPress tells me who you are. (And surely you can see how it’s a bit dishonest to blog under several different names, while denying the connection between them, in the same venue.)

    On the topic — I guess the basic breakdown here is that it seems to me that what little of value might be taken of McBrien’s article is stuff which is at best implied or hinted at. I can’t really see that there’s anything of what’s actually there that’s of value. And so, while I can see the value of reading things charitably, I just can’t see that there’s any worth to what he wrote. Maybe if one is deeply familiar with the McBrien oeuvre there’s some background insight that shines through, but just reading this piece in isolation the few things he says that are true are so obviously so that one hardly needs to put up with the other flaws in the piece to recognize such truths.

  • Imprimatur\Catholic Anarchist, I assume you are Iafrate and thus any further comments by you will be deleted from this thread and any other threads in any of my other posts.

  • Imprimatur writes: “Catholics don’t believe Christ is physically present in the Eucharist.”

    Do Catholics not believe that the “body, blood, soul and divinity” of Christ is actually present in the Holy Eucharist?

  • e.
    Actual or Real Presence transcends carnal or physical presence. They are not the same. Impramatur is right on that. He is wrong on most everything else, as is McBrien.

  • Catholic Anarchist,

    Donald is probably sleeping now, but I’m around, so don’t bother going on the campus computer to get around your ban.

  • Thank you Tito!

    “We few, we happy few, we band of bloggers,” as my wife observed after reading the above comment by you!

  • non-Imprimatur,

    Catholics who attempt to be moderate, you know, to be catholic.

    to that the Lord replies:

    Apocalypse 3:16 But because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold, not hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth

  • ps. nice to see some solidarity on this blog!

  • Of course McBrien would think adoration is a step backward – he’s facing the wrong direction.

  • As an Eastern Catholic, we do not do adoration; nor do the Orthodox. I have no problems with people doing so, and think it is a good devotion, but many people forget other devotions because of it (like icons) and also forget the primary purpose of the eucharist (communion). It’s a complicated issue, but the Orthodox world do have questions about the practice and find it strange — all without being liberal. On the other hand, I don’t think McBrien’s reasons are based upon the Orthodox response, since I think he would probably question iconographic devotion, too.

  • The way it has been explained to me AFAIK is the substance of Christ’s Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity (hence, transubstantiation) is truly present under the accidents of bread and wine. Can’t really explain more beyond that.

  • Its a weak comparison, but imagine that by some processing method they could make tofu look, feel, taste and smell like and in all other respects act like certified angus beef. The substance would be tofu, but it would have the accidents of real beef.

  • HK,

    many people forget other devotions because of it (like icons) and also forget the primary purpose of the eucharist (communion).

    that’s absurd. You’re suggesting that one can over do the WORSHIP OUR BLESSED LORD before HIS REAL PRESENCE as opposed to worshiping Him before a likeness???

    If the Lord came to your parish in his entire Glorified Body and sat in the adoration chapel for you to go and Worship and speak with Him, would you caution against overdoing it???? Excuse me Lord, I must go and pray before a picture of you, I don’t want to “over do” this face to face stuff.

  • What I find hilarious in all of this is that Pope Benedict, in his wisdom (God bless and keep him), is now proposing a “reform of the reform” designed to increase reverence for God and the Mass.

    It is now absolutely undeniable that some of the changes, if not most of the changes, made at “VII” have had a harmful effect – whether we look at what the average Catholic now believes theologically or even worse, morally or politically, or the child molestation scandals, the declining membership, the declining priesthood, etc, etc.

    Tradition can absolutely be added to, but there is a difference between adding to tradition and subtracting from it, distorting it, and throwing it away for some new innovation based upon what is popular in the secular world. Motivation here counts for a great deal – why were the changes made? In what spirit?

    Looking back now, the Papacy has come to realize that the essence of tradition, the reverence and devotion that Catholics once had for Christ through the Mass, has been slipping away – and is taking steps to do something about it. The Catholic ‘Anarchists’ and Father McBriens are on the way out, and not a moment too soon (and hopefully not too late).

  • Matt

    Icons present to us the real presence of Christ as well. The image is always related to and bring to us the presence of the prototype, and it is real. Read St John of Damascus and St Theodore the Studite on Icons. Then read Orthodox commentary about worship — they point out that communion was not reserved or meant to be reserved, but is for the sake of participation, eating — that is what it is for.

    “If the Lord came to your parish in his entire Glorified Body” would you grab a knife? Your second point is therefore inappropriate. The whole point is you have his presence, his glorified presence, in the icon. That’s why St Thomas Aquinas said,

    “Consequently the same reverence should be shown to Christ’s image as to Christ Himself. Since, therefore, Christ is adored with the adoration of ‘latria,’ it follows that His image should be adored with the adoration of ‘latria.'”

    ST III-XXV.3

  • HK,

    what your missing the point here entirely. Christ is present everywhere, even in us, but not in the same sense as he is present in the Eucharist… Body, Soul, and Divinity – in substance. It IS Him. Not a “prototype”, not in the same way as He is present whenever 2 or more are gathered, but really, truly and physically present, as He would be sitting in the Chapel.

    Yes of course, the body is to be consumed and that is the principle purpose of the Eucharistic Miracle, however, it is not a question of quantity. You would not see greater graces from receiving every hour of every day. There are graces from spending time in His presence for every additional second.

    This really is fairly basic, I’m not sure why you’re having so much difficulty.

    Finally, you completely neglected to address the point that you have created a straw man. Nobody does what you suggest, excessive adoration at the expense of worshiping at the Sacrifice and receiving Him in Holy Communion. Nobody.

  • Matt

    You are the one who is missing the point. I would highly recommend Schmemann’s “The Eucharist,” and leave it at that.

  • Matt says: “[Christ] is present in the Eucharist… Body, Soul and Divinity…[He] is really, truly an physically present [in the Eucharist].”

    I thought likewise (i.e., Body, Blood, Soul & Divinity; and, therefore, really & *physically* present); however, didn’t Mike Petrik suggest this is not actually the case?

  • Dale — thanks. Likewise, I hadn’t read the full McBrien article, so I didn’t realize his comment about the Mass being “all that a Catholic needs sacramentally” implied that the sacrament of penance isn’t necessary.

    Now I have heard SOME interpretations of canon law which claim that the obligation to go to confession once a year strictly applies only if you have mortal sins that need confessing. So according to this interpretation (which I would imagine McBrien subscribes to), if one manages to avoid mortal sin, the sacrament of penance is never “necessary.”

    However, in practice, I doubt very much that many Catholics who don’t bother going to confession even once a year successfully avoid serious sin for the duration. Even liberals admit that “once a year only in case of mortal sin” is merely a bare minimum legal requirement, not a recipe for a fruitful spiritual life.

Spending Spree

Tuesday, September 8, AD 2009

Broke Uncle Sam


Hattip to Instapundit.  John Steele Gordon has a first rate article here detailing how we landed in the debt morass our nation is now bogged down in.    His last sentence is a completely accurate assessment of our options: ” Only necessity will force Congress to control long-term spending on its own.  And unless the body politic forces the needed changes, that necessity in the form of overwhelming debt is inescapable.”

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Anteaters? Who Cares?

Tuesday, September 8, AD 2009

From the only reliable source of news on the net, the Onion.  How terrible to devote one’s life to a study only to end up completely bored by it.  Lawyers of course never have that problem.  Well, at least he made the talk show host look foolish so he did not live in vain!   For those considering anteaters as pets, this article does a good job of putting some lipstick on the ant chow hounds.

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2 Responses to Anteaters? Who Cares?

3 Responses to Bipartisan Hope

  • I don’t get the second one… is it an age joke? (Serious, here– the zombie one is easy, but I think I lack the background for the reincarnation one.)

    (FWIW, my favorite political zinger is the “I’m not part of any organized political party, I’m a Democrat!” from Will Rogers, although it seems to have flipped around a bit these days.)

  • The second one was a tribute to the electoral weakness of the Republicans under FDR. Shortly after FDR’s third election as President, in one of the Road pictures, Bob Hope and Bing Cosby are sentenced to jail. When Hope asks for how long he is told, “Until the Republicans get back into the White House!”, to which Hope shrieks, “Oh, no! Life!”.

  • Not to be doing, what people in our church sometimes do, playing the “hero” but

    “….but, above all, he was a comedian,”

    And perhaps above all in this vein, he was an American.

Saint Isidore the Laborer

Monday, September 7, AD 2009

Saint Isidore the Laborer

On this day on which we celebrate the workers of America, it is good to recall a simple day laborer who became one of Spain’s most beloved saints.  Also known as Saint Isidore the farmer,  he was born around 1170 and lived his entire life in the vicinity of Madrid, in service as a farm laborer to the family of Juan de Vargas.  Some of his fellow workers complained to Vargas that Saint Isidore was late for work due to his habit of attending Mass each day.  Checking up on his worker, he found Saint Isidore praying while an angel was doing the plowing!  Eventually Vargas made Saint Isidore bailiff of his entire estate.  Tales of miracles surround Saint Isidore.  One relates how he brought the daughter of his employer back to life.  Another tells how he found water during a time of drought.  He was noted for his charity to the poor and to animals.

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Prayer to Saint Joseph the Workman

Sunday, September 6, AD 2009

Saint Joseph and Jesus

O Glorious St. Joseph, model of all those who are devoted to labor, obtain for me the grace to work conscientiously, putting the call of duty above my natural inclinations, to work with gratitude and joy, in a spirit of penance for the remission of my sins, considering it an honor to employ and develop by means of labor the gifts received from God, to work with order, peace, moderation and patience, without ever shrinking from weariness and difficulties, to work above all with purity of intention and detachment from self, having always death before my eyes and the account that I must render of time lost, of talents wasted, of good omitted, of vain complacency in success, so fatal to the work of God. All for Jesus, all through Mary, all after thine example, O Patriarch, St. Joseph. Such shall be my watch-word in life and in death.

Pope Saint Pius X

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2 Responses to Prayer to Saint Joseph the Workman

Cardinal O'Malley: Apologia Pro Sua Teddy

Friday, September 4, AD 2009

Cardinal O'Malley

Cardinal O’Malley of Boston defends his participation at the funeral Mass for Ted Kennedy here.  Erin Manning at her blog and sometimes tea, gives his remarks a fisking to be remembered here.  The master of the fisk, Father Z, also puts the Cardinal’s remarks through his patented fisk machine here.

The simple truth of the matter of course is that Ted Kennedy, in so many ways, was a disgrace to the Catholic Church in this country.  As a Catholic who received the Last Rites, it was right to give him a funeral Mass.  It was wrong to allow that Mass to be transformed into a “Tribute for Teddy” and a Democrat Party infomercial.  Archbishop O’Malley sat there and allowed this to take place and now he has the audacity to defend his nonfeasance.  One would have thought that silence would have been a wiser course rather than attempting to defend the indefensible.

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9 Responses to Cardinal O'Malley: Apologia Pro Sua Teddy

  • I was surprised at Card. O’Malley defending the indefensible. Just as many defended awarding high honors to Obama at a Catholic University.Obama not only promotes relentlessly his pro abortion agenda but he also fought against the born alive infants act..he did not want to give a baby who had survived an abortion attempt any comfort or care. Kennedy fought publicly for abortion, including late term abortion, for embryonic stem cell research, for gay marriage…and yet he stated that he tried to follow the teachings of the Church. What folly! But I don’t blame Kennedy and I don’t blame Obama. I blame the Cardinals and Bishops who won’t stand up to them, who won’t guide their people clearly and consistently on life issues. I believe it’s time for the Vatican to speak out clearly and strongly on the matter of giving radically and publicly pro abortion ‘Catholic’ politicians the Eucharist. Tony Blair was received into the Catholic Church despite the fact that he never renounced his support for abortion and continues to this day to go against the teachings of the Church, as does his ‘Catholic’ wife…there is something wrong in the hierarchy of the Church which is spilling down into the flock…and those Shepherds will have to answer for the damage they are doing, and for the millions and millions of human babies being exterminated because they are afraid to confront this horrendous evil! Shame!

  • I propose that there’s plenty of blame to go around… sometimes solid Catholic laity act as if they are powerless to transform the culture, as if they need the blessing of their priests & bishops to proceed.


    It’s obviously best when one has the public & fervent support of one’s ordinary in advancing the civilization of love, but it’s hardly necessary. I propose that we stop trying to figure out who screwed up and get to work doing what we can to fix things. That’s all that we are called to do, after all.

  • Did the Cardinal or any of the priests ministering to Senator Kennedy in his last days urge or even insist that he issue a public repudiation of his very public sins? I don’t see how issuing even a public demand for such an act of repentance would have been inappropriate in this case. As has been pointed out by others, Senator Kennedy didn’t merely fail to uphold Church teaching on abortion, he vigorously promoted the contrary position and emboldened many, more timid politicians to do the same by his example. The damage resulting from his efforts is incalculable.

  • I remember reading a few years ago that Daniel Patrick Moynihan, shortly before his death, was ready to unequivocally condemn the Democratic party’s support for abortion. Unfortunately he allowed himself to be dissuaded from the course of action by a party hack who convinced him that it would hurt the Democrats in ensuing elections. I wonder if he regrets that decision now.

  • Chris,

    I wholeheartedly agree.

    If the ordinaries are incapable of leading, we can be led by the Holy Spirit and do the right thing.

  • RE: Moynihan…unfortunately, it isn’t only pro abortion politicians who try to convince Democrats who are pro life to switch their position…Ted Kennedy, I heard, was convinced by Jesuit Fr. Drinan and some ‘Catholic’ theologians to go pro choice..so,unless the high prelates of the Church unite and take a strong and consistent stand for life and refuse Holy Communion to those who publicly promote anit life positions, then the laity are not going to see and understand the grave moral evil of abortion. Lay people can, and do, stand together for life but since over 50% of Catholics voted for Obama, stating that they felt they had the approval of their Bishops, we aren’t going to convince them of how evil abortion is until the Bishops show them by telling them not to receive Communion. And doing this could also be a point of conversion for some…Archbishop Burke, who is not in Rome, has consistently proven that the Canon Law of the Church MANDATES that those who publicly support and promote abortion should not present themselves for Communion and if they do, they should be denied the Sacrament. This is not going to happen any time soon, so we, the laity, need to just keep on fighting for the life of the unborn child and its mother…for our society and our culture, in every way possible and encourage others to do so..and try to engage our Priests and write to our Bishops..and to Rome!!!

  • Amen.

    Those Jesuits are dastardly fellows.

  • I met Cardinal O’Malley 38 years ago. He appeared to be a decent man, but not a good moral church leader. His attitude of acceptance with respect to a non -repentant Ted Kennedy makes this manifest; it, also shows why it was so breathtakingly easy for English faithful to allow Henry 8 to continue sinning and break away from the Holy Church, which led thousands of English into serious mortal sin and lose their souls. The majority of clerics and men followed the earthly power of Henry the 8, then. Sadly, there were and are few men who like St. Thomas More,or Bishop John Fisher, preferred earthly death, to following the earthly tyrant in sin, and certain loss of the kingdom of heaven. The majority of churchmen 400 years ago and modern Catholic leaders are the hollow men, who like O’Malley, allow unrepentant evil men like Ted Kennedy who objected to prayer in the schools, approved of homosexual marriage, and touted late term abortion to be given a Christian burial.This politician led thousands to sin, and caused many Catholic women to kill their babies. At least in Massachusets the Catholic lite brand of Catholicism, not Roman Catholicism is practiced.How many abortions was Kennedy responsible for, perhaps millions. I recall Cardinal that in the war of Christians versus secular progressives-or Christ versus extremist liberals- I never saw any Kennedy -specially Ted- ever raise his voice, swimming prowess, or sword to defend Christ publicly. You prelates will have much to answer for. Is it any wonder Catholic Churches today are only 40 percent full on Sundays. Is it any wonder that many Catholics seek the moral teachings of Pius 12.

  • DoctorOrlando,

    I second what you said.

    The analogy of those Henry VIII Catholics that succumbed to the world and today’s politicians such as Ted Kennedy and Cardinal O’Malley is apropos.

    Let us pray for both of these fallen men.

Obama and the Kiddies

Thursday, September 3, AD 2009

Obama on September 8 is going to have a large audience for one of his speeches.  This in itself is unusual in view of the declining TV ratings of his speeches.  Even more unusual is the audience: most of the elementary public school kids in the nation.  Why is he doing this?  The US Department of Education has  thoughtfully prepared a study guide for teachers here.  It is untrue that it comes bound in a little red book.

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40 Responses to Obama and the Kiddies

  • Reason 455,543,154 to home school.

  • I think a lot depends here on the content of the speech. If it’s about how you should stay in school, do your homework, etc., then I don’t see the problem (indeed it could be beneficial). If it’s about how kids should be good Democrats, then that would be an issue. Given that these kids won’t be of age to vote for Obama ever, it’s not implausible that the speech will be of the former type.

  • I think the worry is that the message will be it is right and moral to support x, y, and z. (all of which are Democratic party ideals). Therefore, our dear and illustrious leader and his cohorts like Pelosi and Reid become champions of morality and good governance and those who oppose them are the immoral enemies of all that is good.

    Indoctrination is alive and well in the public schools, and it’s nothing new. It’s been more direct the last 20 years, but as Chesterton pointed out nearly a hundred years ago in England, you can impart an ideology just by the selection of books you have a child read.

  • Parents send their kids to public schools to be educated not to receive drippy messages from every fool politician who happens to occupy the oval office. I talked to the superintendant of the school system my kids attend, and he told me they will probably just burn the videos of his Obamaness on to DVDs and any kids who want to can have access to the DVDs. I think this is the proper response rather than to waste valuable class time hearing, at best, a rah, rah speech from the President.

  • Indoctrination is alive and well in the public schools, and it’s nothing new.

    Indoctrination is just a pejorative word for education, so I would hope there was some of it going on in the public schools.

    When the 9/11 attacks happened President Bush was reading a book to school children (My Pet Goat, I believe). He was criticized for a lot of things, but I don’t think anyone criticized him for being there in the first place. Had he been reading Heather Has Two Mommies, it would have been a different story. As I said before, it all depends on the content of the speech.

  • Yeah, I’m not too worked up about this, especially if the purpose of the speech is a generic encouragement of kids towards service.

    It becomes problematic if the message becomes one of encouraging kids towards a particular policy preference or outcome. But – and perhaps I’m giving the Obama team too much credit here – surely they’re not so hamfisted as to do something that stupid.

    All in all, I really have no objection, per se, to schoolchildren hearing a message from the President of the United States.

  • Blackadder,

    I’d disagree that indoctrination is *just* a pejorative word for education. It may be used as such, but if the idea of education is to impart knowledge in an attempt to foster and enhance understanding, thinking, and reason, then indoctrination may be something entirely different. Still we’re not in much disagreement, since I cited with approval what Chesterton said about the matter.

  • Jay and BA

    I am glad you are at least waiting to see what is said before judging the action. So many people think they know and pre-judge — but the problem is, I do remember in my youth being put in front of the tv for Ronald Reagan, so it is not a new thing per se, and Presidents can say much which is good for kids, if appropriate things are said. Encouragement is good. As long as it remains non-political (or controversial politics at least).

  • Actually, there may have been more than “school is good” in the speech:

    “The Obama administration is rethinking its course recommendations for students ahead of President Obama’s address to the the nation’s schoolchildren next week, rewriting its suggestions to teachers for student assignments on how to “help the president.”

    White House aides said the language was supposed to be an inspirational, pro-education message to America’s youths, but its unintended consequences were evident.

    Among the activities initially suggested for pre-K to 6th grade students was to “write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president.”

    Another assignment for students after hearing the speech was to discuss what “the president wants us to do.”

    The suggestion about writing letters has since been changed to: “Write letters to themselves about how they can achieve their short-term and long-term education goals. These would be collected and redistributed at an appropriate later date by the teacher to make students accountable to their goals.”

    White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said the changes to the language are intended to make the lesson plans clearer. He added that the speech is not a policy speech, but is intended to encourage kids to work hard and commit to school.

    The speech is “about the value of education and the importance of staying in school as part of his effort to dramatically cut the dropout rate,” Vietor said.

    The Washington Times was first to report. Thursday that the plan was being reconsidered. Presidential aides also acknowledged to the newspaper that they helped the U.S. Education Department write the suggested assignments, which stirred criticism by many who say Obama is trying to indoctrinate the education system.”

  • in?doc?tri?nate
    –verb (used with object), -nat?ed, -nat?ing.
    1. to instruct in a doctrine, principle, ideology, etc., esp. to imbue with a specific partisan or biased belief or point of view.
    2. to teach or inculcate.
    3. to imbue with learning.
    1620–30; in- 2 + ML doctr?n?tus ptp. of doctr?n?re to teach; see doctrine, -ate 1

  • As noted above, perhaps definition 1 was in the mind of the White House.

  • I fail to see how the posted definition of indoctrinate differs from what I said.

  • Wow, who writes some of these articles.

    It is one thing to be properly skeptical about politicians, but this is so obviously a politically slanted take on the matter. Every president who gets out in front of the camera often walks a very fine line between being communicative and being overbearing. President Bush, in my opinion, was too secretive and rarely gave press conferences and almost all of his speeches were at the WH or on military bases.

    Obama can be criticized for being too much in the media, but that is the 24-hour news cycle and the Twitter-filled world we live in. He has been about as out spoken as he can be against lazy parenting and dead beat dads in the African American community and yet there are some who only seem to imagine the worst.

    Again it is necessary to be skeptical of politicians, but Erin Manning’s blog is just dismissive and sophomoric, not “cogent.” Did she criticize Bush’s private school education the way she criticizes Obama’s?

    Anyone who assumes that President Obama is going to be ideological seems to be fishing for controversy and has basically ignored the fact that his speeches tend to be overly down the middle and pragmatic. Portraying Obama as Hitler/Stalin/Mao (“little red book”) is simply snarky propaganda and indoctrination at its worst.

    I am heartened that others here remember that other presidents have talked to school kids without destroying the fabric of civilization, so maybe Rick, you can wait before you judge. If Obama tries to turn Sally and Johnny into soldiers of liberalism by describing the differences between supply-side and demand-side economic theory and that they should all marry within their same gender, then I’d be the first to voice my outrage!

  • That’s fine, but given the state of most public schools, its not beyond the pale to believe that the class assignment on “how to help the President” could easily become a partisan assignment. Even the White House recognized it was vague. Thus they changed it.
    Though its unclear why the White House is writing lesson plans for the speech to begin with.

  • MacGregor,

    Please read my initial post carefully, you will see that I made no judgment and that I was stating what I believe the fear of critics to be. Personally, I think the speech will be fairly innocuous. Though I do find the initial proposed exercises inappropriate. I also stated that I thought the degree of indoctrination (in the partisan sense) has been more direct the last 20 years. That encompasses all the Bush years too, dontcha know.

    Even at that, I didn’t have in mind presidential visits in mind. I was thinking more along the lines of sex education, “different” lifestyle choices, environmental doom-and-gloom hysteria, etc.

  • Ah yes, it was a bit intemperate.

  • Phillip: The White House isn’t writing lesson plans for the speech, the Dept. of Education did or at least may have. Not a lot of real facts yet. The Dept. of Ed. does that sort of thing, then schools and teachers decide if they want to use the curriculum. The schools are run by local districts who are in no way obligated to do anything. That’s how schools work.

    Rick: I am glad you didn’t jump to the conspiracy theories that others have. I agree that the first PROPOSED SUGGESTION for a paper was reworded. As a teacher and a curriculum developer you write things many way and test things out before actually doing a lesson – whether in a private, public or home-school situation (and I’ve taught in all three!). So one draft lesson plan from a Dept. of Education curriculum writer is hardly a vast liberal agenda against the minds of America’s youth.

    Your description of “champions of morality and good governance and those who oppose them are the immoral enemies of all that is good” is one that fits the previous administration far more than the current one.

    It is my reading of history however I’m not sure what you mean by indoctrination being more “direct” in the last 20 years. I think schools did a very direct job of indoctrinating kids in the 1920’s in the South regarding the separateness of African Americans and in the 1950’s regarding the communist threat. Indoctrination, socialization, citizenship, education – these all have been a part of creating a national sense of identity and a regional/cultural sense of identity and with private Catholic schools, a religious/sacred sense of identity.

    Read John Dewey to find out how important a strong, public educational system was important for a democracy the size of the United States.

    It is important to make sure there is a healthy blend of national/regional/familial identity in any educational system. Unfortunately some of the most aberrant sociopathic situations occur in private, secretive, cultish situations.

  • Actually the Dept of Education admits that the White House had a hand in writing the lesson plans with them.

  • I’d pull my kids out simply because it is Obama speaking. He has nothing worthy to offer my kids (if I had any).

    No matter how some say the speech is not being indoctrination, it’s reason # 455,543,154 enough to home school.

    I agree with Rick Lugari.

  • MacGregor,

    So one draft lesson plan from a Dept. of Education curriculum writer is hardly a vast liberal agenda against the minds of America’s youth.

    Read John Dewey to find out how important a strong, public educational system was important for a democracy the size of the United States.

    You just proved my point. Dewey was a leading proponent of the vast liberal agenda you are espousing here.

  • All things considered, I find this alarming…..

    There is a WORLD of difference between doing the classic “go in and read a cute little story to the kids” involvement with school and pushing a political agenda into the curriculum. I know it’s highly popular in some zones, but it’s a really bad idea… not just because folks don’t learn how to think, just what.

  • Even if the speech is a completely innocuous pep talk or call to service, it’s going to be less than beneficial. The last thing most kids need cluttering up their school day is another pep talk or lecture on how nice it is to do things for others. What they need is to be actually learning in class (or maybe rendering actual service.) Other than that, I’m not getting my undies in a rumple about it. Some kids will doubtless be impressed that the prez is talking to them, and will go home to parents who are equally impressed. Others will come from households where the prez is not worshipped as a minor diety, and will not be especially interested. It’s unlikely one more lackluster speech is going to win over the previously unwon youth of America even if that was the ploy, and if it does most of them won’t be voting age when he runs again anyway.

    Somebody up there mentioned seeing Reagan on TV in school. I remember seeing a moon landing or two in school, but no presidents (of course, we didn’t have TVs in every classroom back then.) I also don’t recall any previous president organizing a stunt involving a direct address to a large segment of the nation’s schoolchildren. It’s really not in the presidential job description: it’s a timewaster and serves no useful purpose. That underlies the suspicion that’s been generated.

  • A minor point, but this address is a Webcast, NOT a televised speech. I think a lot of parents picture TV sets being rolled into the classrooms and everyone watching it at an appointed hour with rapt attention like we did in our youth with space missions, presidential inaugurations, etc. That does not seem to be what is happening here. Anything broadcast online can be saved or downloaded for viewing when and if one chooses. Apparently many teachers are going to do just that — save it for later in case anyone WANTS to see it.

    The suggested activities are also nothing new either; if I remember correctly, NASA prepared similar materials for the ill-fated Challenger mission that included Christa McAuliffe, the first teacher in space. It is up to each teacher or school to decide what to do with them.

  • MacGregor,
    this blog is actually the Republican American Catholic. They are very suspicious
    of everything Obama does. No love for him here. I was not a fan of George Bush,
    but I never once told my kids that he wasn’t to be respected. I think kids should be encouraged to respect authority of all stripes: parents,teachers, policemen,
    priests, and yes, even the president.

  • Anything broadcast online can be saved or downloaded for viewing when and if one chooses.

    Depends if it’s streamed viewing or downloaded. (Yes, I know you can technically capture a stream, but they are generally designed to be watched without being designed to be easily stored for later use.)

    Also depends on if they officially allow the speech to be saved and redistributed– it’ll happen if they will it or no, but their reaction is going to be important.

    The suggested activities are also nothing new either; if I remember correctly, NASA prepared similar materials for the ill-fated Challenger mission that included Christa McAuliffe, the first teacher in space.

    There’s a world of difference between “send a teacher to space so kiddies learn about Space Stuff, here’s what we’ll be doing” and “the leader of the executive branch wants direct access to children in public education for a speech, here’s a lesson plan.”
    (I still want to know what tin-eared idiot wrote the instruction for kids to write about how they can help Obama.)

  • It’s interesting to me, that the same liberals who find that anything the government at any level (or even students in government schools) does to endorse religion, or limit abortion is “coercive” but on the other hand this action is somehow innocuous.

  • master c-
    Exactly where are we telling kids to disrespect the office of the President?

    Same way that just because I respect cops doesn’t mean I am going to give a flying fig about their choices in fabric for home decorating, if an authority figure steps outside of their area of authority they are not to be treated as an authority in the new area.

    Obama is the head of one of three branches of gov’t; he is not a teacher, and injecting politics into school is both far too common and a bad thing.

  • Foxfier, what politics is being injected into schools?!?!? Where? The text of the speech will be released on Monday so that you and parents and teachers and school boards can review it first. If there is any politics in the speech, I would agree with you and condemn the idea. My understanding is that it is about staying in school, yadda yadda.

    Pretty innocuous as Rick now admits. However if you are from a minority group in which education is seen as a luxury or as as waste of time, this may be pretty impactful for you. I think most on this forum don’t remember how important this election and presidency has been. I certainly remember hearing about how important John Kennedy’s election was to Catholic Americans and I know that he was on TV’s in many Catholic schools several times.

    Again, I don’t think many in this forum even have a clue with how schools work. Teachers, schools and entire school districts are not required to do anything, show anything. You may like to believe that we live in a dictatorship to make you feel better about disliking the current president, but it isn’t accurate. As a teacher at all levels, I can tell you just keeping kids on task for a few minutes can be challenging – no amount of TV speeches would be tolerated or in the least bit effective in indoctrinating anyone. Maybe some of you need a reality check. It takes years of religious classes for many of us in Catholic schools to be ready for confirmation and even then I suspect not everyone fully was on board when we all received the sacrament. That’s just reality.

    Matt, you have some serious issues to think that Dewey was particularly radical. Maybe take a class or something because you’ve sufficiently proven your ignorance. Before Dewey schools in America were largely medieval institutions and run like the factories that were dominating the nations economic landscape. Dewey reasoned that a democracy could only be effective if people had the knowledge to vote intelligently and wisely and that meant critical thinking and philosophy and all of the things you don’t seem to be expressing yourself. By the way I have no problem with students having religious clubs and expressing their opinions to limit abortion and in fact in the real world, plenty of schools allow exactly that. There is a BIG difference between a school endorsing a religion and Obama saying to kids who may look up to him, “school is important.” One goes against the establishment clause in the Constitution, the other does not, can you guess which one?

    Tito, the fact that you would pull your hypothetical kids out of school because of a 5-minute speech by the president shows a few things:

    1. You think your own statement is more important than anything your hypothetical kids might learn that day. Fine, but then you have wasted more time for learning than the speech would waste and you’ve lost the opportunity to actually talk to your kids about what they thought. That is the point of education beyond simply learning facts, education and school is about giving your kids the experience of talking among themselves and with adults about ideas and important issues in a safe way so that when they are adults they have the tools to discuss and make choices. That is what a liberal education is (see John Dewey above), not about liberal political views. Thus most small Catholic colleges are intentionally called “liberal arts” universities.

    2. You obviously distrust ANYTHING to do with public education and that is up to you as well of course, but it seem to me to be a very narrow viewpoint and it is when people hold on to narrow-minded points of view that democracy has it most difficult times. I have many friends who homeschool and they do very well, but they don’t have to demonize public schools.

    Phillip, yes I agree that the WH had a hand in suggestions for the Dept. of Education and I agree that the first wording was problematic and I actually also agree that it might reveal an over-enthusiasm on the part of WH staff to put the President in too prominent a position. But again, it was a draft and I doubt Obama would have known about it and it looks like they changed it early on anyway, so guess what kids, the system works.

    At some point if you are anti-Obama for philosophical or political reasons, I certainly have no problem with that. I don’t agree with everything he says or does and I also had an initial skeptical response to an address to students, but my Catholic education did a good job in instilling intellectual honesty and critical thinking skills before jumping to judgement too quickly.

    Fear, anger, ignorance and hubris are the four worst mental states for honest discussions and for making good choices. I see these demonstrated on the far left and the far right and at times on this blog. Why not use this debate and the President’s speech to teach our kids and each other what democracy is all about?

  • MacGregor –
    From the lesson plans put out– two different forms, now– it’s pretty clear he is not giving a nice little PSA to “stay in school, kids!”

    You may want to do a bit of research before talking about others being ignorant, by the way. (ditto on the hubris part)
    It is not a “5-minute speech by the president”– it is a 15 to 20 minute lecture by the president, with lesson plans (written by Obama’s folks) before and after, and by looking at the adjusted lesson plans we know the topics are going to be “citizenship, personal responsibility, and civic duty.”

    All this is given a few days before the 11th.

    Without parents being there, even if they are now going to release the text ahead of time.

    Oh, and they had to adjust the prior lesson plans, because “write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president” was a bit too openly creepy.

  • foxfier, it would have been helpful if you had shown your sources for the lesson plans but since you are more interested in being snarky than being helpful, I’ll put them out there. I’ll even give FOXNews props for making the the links to the lesson plans easily available, though I can’t tell if this is the final version or the first version. Here they are:


    First, I can see that using the president’s name is kind of creepy from the point of view that he has already been criticized as having a cult of personality. I admit if Reagan had done the same thing (which he kind of did, but lesson plans were not made as quickly now and the internet was not up and running to get stuff out there) I would be skeptical about this.

    However I know that especially with young kids you can’t just use abstract words like the “president” or the “principal” – it is customary to use proper names so kids can identify with the person. That’s why you learn about President Washington, etc.

    The phrase “Are we able to do what President Obama is asking of us?” is an example of a question that makes sense to ask a kindergartener, but not so much for a 6th grader, in my opinion. It can seem creepy in some contexts, but pretty unremarkable in others.

    This goes to what I feel is just not well written lesson plans rather than from an indoctrination program. As a matter of fact, these are really suggestions for teacher who may not have used speeches as a context in class before and are not really much of a lesson plan as such.

    The suggestions for 7th grade and above to me seem to be centered about critical thinking and learning techniques like concept webs for analyzing and interpreting how a person speaks to a topic. This should encourage teachers and students to be critical of the speech with both negative and positive analysis. That is what a good teacher would get from this. That is the point of especially high school education – students learning skills and practicing being adults. The lesson plan ideas also seem to encourage teachers to talk about the speeches of other presidents and I would hope they get videos with Bush, Clinton and Reagan as well. This part of curriculum development, though, you’ll never see on CNN or FOX, but this is what teachers spend most of their time doing, if they are worth their salt.

    Nowhere is ANYONE required to see or show the president and no teacher is forced to do anything from the lesson plan suggestions.

    For those of you who don’t really know how schools work nowadays and how basically impossible it is for any president to infect students with any ideology, this article may be a reality check: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-obama-schoolkids5-2009sep05,0,2023699.story
    Even a republican school board trustee isn’t too worried about it.

    So, foxfier, many you got me. The speech is more than 5 minutes long and it isn’t just a lame “stay in school, kids” PSA. It actually will have some content to it. Now tell me what problem you have with students studying “citizenship, personal responsibility and civic duty.” As a science teacher they were not always a part of my lesson plans, but after 9/11 all teachers were encouraged to add these to their curriculum and Bush’s speeches were made available for this.

    I’m a little more creeped out that you find it creepy that this is happening so close to 9/11. This is the beginning of the school year and schools do many activities regarding recent history and civics on the anniversary of the attacks. For high schoolers this goes to the current wars and conflicts with terrorists. Again, how is this suddenly so weird for you. Did you not know this happens in schools every year since 2001?

    You also think students need parents there to learn about and discuss citizenship? Wow, first you would need to be in school with your kids on a weekly basis to make sure you control everything you kids discuss. Second, older students (not to mention teachers) wouldn’t get anything done if they knew their parents would be in the room every time they were asked controversial questions. They need to be able to express themselves at some point.

    For those of you who homeschool, you can of course ignore it or use it in what ever way you like (I repeat that I like homeschooling and have helped with it many times), however eventually your kids need to deal with others and need to learn how to discuss things with people that don’t agree with them, so this might be a good example to do this.

    It is good to be skeptical of this speech, but I think it is ignorant to go over the top in thinking that a 15-minute speech on citizenship is really overstepping the bounds of government or even good taste – even if it was G. W. Bush doing it.

  • MacGregor –
    There is someone here interested in “snark” and personal attacks, but it’s not me.

    Perhaps if you bothered to read the objections here, and respond in good faith, you’d know that.

  • I think each of us should think about this:

    If this were President McCain talking about citizenship in a post 9/11 world would we have the same opinion about it being seen in schools? Would we think it government intrusion?

    If you say “yes” then I admire your consistency, but I might question your view of how students get introduced civics in anyway that is not from a boring book.

    If you say “no” then you might be biased in your views – and that would go for liberals as well as conservatives.

    And just to get back to the original article that started this thread, why does the author have such a giddy view of Karl Rove? I guess the politics of lies (just ask McCain) and deception fit in with this persons view of Catholic morality.

  • foxfier, I have responded in good faith and I have given you what I feel are the issues and facts as I see them. You used the terms “ignorant” and “hubris” pretty much aimed at me. I only used them in very general terms and definitely and obviously not at you.

    I find Tito and Matt particularly obvious in their disdain for anyone who does not agree with them, but I didn’t say that about you.

    I have read your objections and I believe respectfully answered them. If you would give me specifics I would appreciate it. I know I ramble in my posts, but usually people here ignore the dozen or so most important issues and pick one little thing to pick on, like you did as to the whether the speech was going to be 5 or 15 minutes.

  • By the way, CNN (yeah, I know CNN is run by godless communists) just showed clips of Reagan, George H. Bush and George W. Bush, all three speaking on camera to students in classrooms.

    Just trying to find facts amid the rhetoric.

  • “why does the author have such a giddy view of Karl Rove? I guess the politics of lies (just ask McCain) and deception fit in with this persons view of Catholic morality.”

    One warning MacGregor. Engage in a personal attack against me again and you will be banned from posting on my threads. Anyone reading my post will realize that I mentioned a Rove mole because I view this nation-wide address to students to be such a foolish move on the part of the Obama administration.

  • “and George W. Bush, all three speaking on camera to students in classrooms. Just trying to find facts amid the rhetoric. ”

    I saw the same report, and it was a masterpiece of rhetorical misdirection. As to the 43rd President, Bush II was simply filmed while speaking to students in a particular class room. He never made a speech to all students generally, like the current President is proposing.

    Oh, and it was the 9/11 reading to the elementary students footage, which is apropos of nothing, except to take a cheap shot at Bush II.

    That said, I don’t have any problem with what President Obama is proposing, so long as there is no politicking whatsoever.

  • You used the terms “ignorant” and “hubris” pretty much aimed at me.

    Hm, why would I have done that…. oh, because of this:
    Fear, anger, ignorance and hubris are the four worst mental states for honest discussions and for making good choices. I see these demonstrated on … this blog.

    Perhaps you should not so readily demonstrate the things you criticize if you are going to throw stones.

  • Donald, thanks for clarifying your purpose in using Rove as an example of the level of “foolishness” that you feel the characterizes the entire speech idea. I guess the imagery and phraseology of Hitler Youth and “little red books” might have clouded my view of your intent.

    Thank you also for standing up for your thread. It is difficult for me to tell who authors which threads on this site since there are no attributions. It seems sort of like the editorial page of a newspaper. My attack was snarky and meant to cause a reaction, but was not directed toward anyone as a personal attack because I didn’t see anyone in particular as the author. I am sorry. As usual such statements simply take focus away from real issues.

    Dale, I was not referring to the CNN report on “My Pet Goat.” That was not a televised address to students, just a televised photo op on a very bad day. I was referring to the fact that the Bush’s speech after 9/11 was shown to many schools (mostly high schools because the speech was too graphic and abstract for younger children) and it was given with curriculum ideas that were emailed from the Dept. of Ed. Obviously these were not pre-planned at the time, and I don’t have copies of them anymore, but a list of curricula and lesson plans based upon 9/11 and asking students to discuss issues and what they feel they can do to help can be found on this site:


    It is current education theory to always ask students to brainstorm things that they can do as a means of empowering themselves so as not to feel they are powerless. This may seem weird, but apathy is seen as one result of students not being asked to engage and express a respected opinion.

    The Bush 41 clip that I remembered was simultcasted on a semi-national education network and back then depended upon dedicated hardware at the school building level. I don’t know if the CNN piece that you saw got into that much detail.

    foxfier, I guess you admit you aimed those terms at me, but still I didn’t throw stones at you. I do not have fear or anger in my posts and I admit to ignorance when I am corrected and I try to give the facts and resources as I see them. As for hubris, that is a difficult nuance to filter or discern on a blog thread, but I think I have indicated that I don’t know everything, that I believe in being skeptical and thanked others for showing my mistakes.

    I still believe that those are four difficult mental states to overcome and that the video clip at embedded in the article (I don’t know if you produced it Donald) seems to take a black humor (an effective and admirable technique of propaganda) to impart fear and anger in its viewers. Am I wrong? It takes relatively benign questions from the lesson plans and contorts them into commands “dictated by our president.” Turning ideas about “sticky notes” and videos on the importance of education are then juxtaposed to a mesmerizing pattern on a screen with the word “obey” on it. Funny to be sure, but of course it is an example of the exact kind of propaganda that it pretends to be against. A common enough technique – “Let me show you how manipulative Mr. A is by manipulating you even more!”

    If you would like to add to the discussion by actually bringing up a particular fact or issue that either I made or that you have, that would be great. Dale actually took a topic and enlightened me on an example pertaining to something brought up in this discussion and he did so very well – not that he needs or wants my approval.

    For example do you think parents should be in the classroom when they see a speech by or discuss the words of any president?

    Do you think asking students to write about the importance of education is a liberal-biased topic? I don’t think they are being asked to say public education is best or necessary and I’m sure few teachers will bring up John Dewey.

    Would you have the same concerns with a President McCain or Bush? As I indicated Obama definitely has to be more careful about coming across as a cult of personality figure, so that is an appropriate issue.

    Is this really about Obama or is this as much about the immediacy of the Twitter age and perhaps students seeing the first president who actually used to text message as much as they do might be one who could relate to them about basic things like civics and responsibility?

    Is it really a step toward fascism or is it mostly a politically dumb thing to do as Donald wrote?

  • I’ve posted way too much the last few days, but I thought this was an interesting exchange.


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Dueling ObamaCare Videos!

Wednesday, September 2, AD 2009

Hattip to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air.    Youtube videos for political arguments is one of the more fascinating developments of the internet age.  At little cost anyone can become a participant in a political debate, post a you tube video and have it seen by potentially millions of viewers.  I like it!  It interjects citizen particpation in what had been a big money game.  The pro-ObamaCare video is from “Engio”.  The video response is from “How the World Works”.

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Churchill-Finest Hour

Tuesday, September 1, AD 2009

On the anniversary of the beginning of World War II, I recall this speech of Churchill, and his presentation, before the beginning of the Battle of Britain in 1940, of alternative futures for mankind based upon how the war came out.  For all our problems since the Allied victory in that war, the mind recoils from what the world would have been like after an Axis victory.

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20 Responses to Churchill-Finest Hour

  • This is but one of many eloquent speeches delivered by Churchill.

    Quite telling that the isolationists back then relied on George Washington as their advocate to refrain from those impending events (the same from which the United States itself would historically supplant Britain as World Power), especially as concerning foreign alliances; while those who were interventionists adopted Churchill as theirs.

    It is recalled that when the Japanese attacked us at Pearl Harbor, the man actually proclaimed an automatic victory for the side of the Allies.

  • Choosing Washington’s admonition against “entangling alliances” as the rallying cry of the isolationists was especially ironic e since Washington and the other Founding Fathers won our victory in our Revolution by successfully converting a local American conflict into an Eighteenth Century World War, with fighting taking place between America and her allies and the British in all the then known Continents by the end of the war. Washington had no problem with foreign alliances as long as they served the interests of America.

  • I cannot overstate enough how annoyed I get when ‘Old Right’ and libertarian conservatives are branded as ‘isolationists’ simply because they see greater consequences by military intervention.

  • Washington had no problem with foreign alliances as long as they served the interests of America

    I’m confused – you say this as though it were a bad thing?

  • Which I think is Anthony’s point – as far as I can gather, paleo and libertarian conservatives are not necessarily against all foreign alliances, but only those that serve no legitimate American interest.

  • “Washington had no problem with foreign alliances as long as they served the interests of America”

    “I’m confused – you say this as though it were a bad thing?”

    No, I say this in approval. That is why I think the America Firsters prior to World War II were blind fools as it clearly was in America’s interest to stop Nazi Germany as quickly as possible.

  • “No, I say this in approval. That is why I think the America Firsters prior to World War II were blind fools as it clearly was in America’s interest to stop Nazi Germany as quickly as possible.”

    While it might very well have been in America’s interest to stop Nazi Germany, I would say that America sure could use some more ‘America First’ attitudes today. One of the detrimental after effects of the WWII intervention, in my opinion, was the rise of a philosophical tendency to see the United States as being responsible for global security— the ‘policeman of the world’ as it is referred. That would seem to me a perpetual ‘foreign entanglement’ without real benefit.

  • The advantage of the US being involved abroad Anthony is thus far we have avoided a World War III. I think a large reason why is the network of alliances and mutual security agreements we built up during the Cold War and which helped us gain ultimate victory in that decades long struggle by containing the Soviet Union. Foreign involvement is neither automatically good nor bad. Like many things in life it depends upon the circumstances.

  • “… I would say that America sure could use some more ‘America First’ attitudes today.”

    No doubt, a person who once himself joined in the ‘America First’ rallies of yester years.

    What’s next?

    Those from Socialist Party, U.S.A.?

    (Incidentally, might Joe Hargrave been a former member thereof?)

  • “The advantage of the US being involved abroad Anthony is thus far we have avoid a World War III.”

    Of course, we can really never know if that is true. Both World Wars occurred thanks more to deficiencies in European politics and economics than to U.S. non-interference. American intervention in WWI for example, tipped the scales in favor of France and Britain preventing them from ever having to properly work out their stalemate with Germany. If we want to talk about things that could theoretically have been avoided, Germany’s humiliation and thus WWII was quite avoidable.

    Guys like Lincoln, Churchill and Roosevelt are always heralded as heroes, but its seemed to me they were interested more in maintaining or increasing their nation’s superior place in the world over peace for the sake of…well…peace. To the former end, exacerbating and maneuvering crises is the proper strategy. The latter goal would result in political accusations of cowardice, and of course, that is not an acceptable risk.

  • “…more interested in maintaining or increasing their nation’s superior place in the world…”

    Might I introduce you to the notion of Manifest Destiny?

  • “Might I introduce you to the notion of Manifest Destiny?”

    What’s your point?

  • “Of course, we can really never know if that is true. Both World Wars occurred thanks more to deficiencies in European politics and economics than to U.S. non-interference.”

    Do you have any doubt that those deficiencies in European politics and economics would not have continued after World War II and led to another grand blood letting into which the US would have been drawn? Without a strong US backing up the West Europeans, I have no doubt that all of continental Europe would quickly have been under the sway of Stalin. Our proactive involvement in the world after World War II, God bless you Harry Truman!, avoided such a result and the inevitable conflict with the US and Britain which would have resulted.

    In regard to World War I, neither Germany nor the Allies had any intention of ending that war short of victory. I think the US was correct in its assumption that the world was better off with the western allies victorious in that war than Imperial Germany. I do not agree that German humiliation after World War I led to Hitler. The Allies made the mistake of leaving Germany powerful and unoccupied. Hitler thrived on the “Stabbed in the back myth” which was a useful fable for the Germans to latch on to and to pretend that they had not been beaten by their opponents but rather betrayed by traitors at home. After World War II no German outside of an insane asylum could pretend that Germany had not been completely defeated.

  • Our nation initially consisted a mere 12 colonies.

    Do you really insist on casting as un-heroic historical figures in history simply due to their having had interest in maintaining/increasing the nation’s superiority?

    If so, you might find a vast number of suspects in our American history, not only Lincoln and Roosevelt.

  • corrigenda: obviously, “13”; not 12.

    That’s what I get for doing too many things at the same time. Apologies.

  • Don, as much as you and I agree on fundamental matters we part ways severely on foreign affairs. You have much more of I guess what I would phrase as a ‘triumphalist’ view of American history— you admire the strong, particularly the ones willing to flex military might. If I’m incorrect in that assessment I apologize.

    I find it difficult to admire Truman, for example, a man who dropped the atomic bomb, not once but twice on the Japanese people. I do not find that fact a source of proud distinction for the United States. To me, its sad that ‘neutrality’ is not as respectable a policy position as it once was.

    “Do you really insist on casting as un-heroic historical figures in history simply due to their having had interest in maintaining/increasing the nation’s superiority?”

    I insist on having both eyes open. I wonder at times, if the people who love to love America love her accumulated power and prestige over her more humble and mundane virtues. Can it be heroic to have an interest in lifting a nation to greater accomplishments? Sure. But its not particularly heroic if that effort involves stepping over the requisite dead bodies to get there. (the Native Americans, the Southern people, the Japanese, the passengers of the Lusitania… take your controversial pick).

    So yes, I have a dimmer view of American history, and politics and power in general, that stretch further than Lincoln and Roosevelt. (I’m not a huge fan of guys like Woodrow Wilson, TR or LBJ for example) If I were to compare myself to Don, knowing what I’ve read of his posts in the past- he lives in Lincoln and Roosevelt’s America whereas my sympathies are more with the Jeffersonian line of thinking that is generally thought of as ‘fringe’ in our modern political dialogue.

  • “corrigenda: obviously, “13?; not 12.

    That’s what I get for doing too many things at the same time. Apologies.”

    so on some forum somewhere is a reference to ’13 apostles’? 🙂

  • I do not think I have a triumphalist view of American history. I appreciate those times when action was taken to preserve the freedom that I and my family enjoy. I believe the US did a wonderful thing in the last century in defeating those two monuments to the infinite capacity of Man for evil, fascism and communism. The US would have left the world a much darker place if it had attempted to stand on the sidelines.

    In regard to Mr. Truman I believe he was a very great President who brought one War to a swift conclusion and then laid the foundations for victory in the Cold War. The bombs, as appalling as they were, avoided an invasion of the Home Islands of Japan that would have involved many Okinawas in regard to American and Japanese casualties. Perhaps my opinion is colored by the fact that I had two uncles slated for the invasion and who believed till their dying days that the use of the bomb by Truman at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was the only reason they came home alive. Of course I know I will be told that this is consequentalist reasoning, but I still am very glad that my uncles came home in one piece as did hundreds of thousands Americans who were also slated for Operation Olympic, and that millions of Japanese also did not die in a futile effort to defeat the invasion, or as a result of starvation or continued bombing of their cities in the event that the invasion was postponed or cancelled and a “starve them out and bomb them out” strategy was used instead.

    Historian Richard Frank published a cogent article in 2005 as to why Truman used the bombs.


World of GeekCraft

Tuesday, September 1, AD 2009

From the only reliable source of news on the net, the Onion.  I have never gotten into the Massively Multiplayer Online scene, no doubt due to being too cheap and lacking time.  I prefer sensible games like War in the Pacific-Admiral’s Edition, where, if you are lucky, you can complete a game in a little less time than the war took.  Ah, we computer gamers are a wild and crazy breed, with the emphasis on the last part of the equation.

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20 Responses to World of GeekCraft

  • Funny! Fairly new to gaming (excluding the days of Space Invaders, etc,) and only play FSP. War in the Pacific looks like one helluva strategy game though. A 330 page manual! LOL – too much!

  • A 330 page manual. You are a geek! 🙂

  • And proud of it!

  • At 40 nautical miles per hex, I think WitP would take a little longer than the war–on average.

    Sounds like Campaign for North Africa for the computer-minded.

  • Precisely Dale! Richard Berg would be proud! Gary Grigsby is readying a second game on the East Front.
    Grognard’s paradise!


  • So, all the billable hours and the weighty responsibilities of a prestigious barrister has somehow reduced Donald to such trivialities as a game that requires reading of a 330 page manual???

    Prayers needed here, please, for our dear friend.

  • e., I played these type of games long before I became an attorney. My first game was the venerable Panzer Blitz from Avalon Hill purchased by me for Christmas by my parents in 1971.


  • Avalon Hill–may she rest in peace. PanzerBlitz, Panzer Leader, Squad Leader, Britannia…to name but four that provided much comradeship and boasting opportunities during my adolescence.

    Talk about a run of unbeatable classic games. I think my favorite part was that AH owned its own printing press, which is why all its game maps were hard-backed. I still appreciate that to this day.

    Say, did you ever come across the Panzer Leader 1940 variant published in the General? Absolutely fantastic–if a little daunting for the Allied player.

  • Oh yes. I never punched it out though. Sold it on e-bay for a good price last year. The General was a fantastic magazine. When Avalon Hill went under in the last decade, seeing the General end was the bitterest part of it for me.

  • Yes, Panzer Blitz is still in my house. Has been for over 30 years now. Still pull it out now and then for an afternoon of enjoyment. I am also somewhat partial to the original Tobruk.

  • Sounds like I missed out on some good gameboarding. A lot of fond memories of all-night Axis & Allies games though.

  • Rick:

    Oh, those are fun, too. But don’t deprive yourself–heed the siren sound of eBay…

  • Unfortunately, I’m a Civilization addict: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civilization_IV

    And when not playing Civ4 (what the latest version is called), I still like playing a game of the old-fashioned board variety- Risk: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Risk_%28game%29

    What memories!

  • Ah, Sid Meier’s Civilization series. We Civ IV all the time in my family, especially my wife.

  • You have a keeper Donald!

    I have only McDonald here who plays Civ4 and he quits the moment my tanks roll over his horsemen.

  • The next big invention will be Third Life, in which participants create avatars who sit at their computers playing Second Life 🙂

    On a somewhat related note, a new study has revealed that internet traffic in the United States tends to spike at precisely 8 p.m. Eastern Time… a phenomenon some attribute to that being a common time for people to get together online to start playing WoW.

    The study also found that the “prime time” traffic hours on the internet are 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. Eastern time — most likely due to people staying up late to watch You Tube and other videos (including, of course, the kind they don’t want spouse or kids watching) and to set straight everyone who’s wrong on the internet 🙂

  • Speaking of complicated tabletop war games, has anyone ever tried Confrontation? My husband bought a starter set for this, but the rules (at least to me) are really hard to figure out…. I personally have an easier time interpreting pollution control and Medicaid regulations 🙂

  • By 11:00 PM I have usually been in bed for an hour. Of course I also get up at 4:30 AM.

  • Elaine,

    That would explain why you were able to read the entire 1,000+ House bill on ObamaCare!


  • You flatter me, Tito, because I didn’t read the whole thing… maybe about 5 pages 🙂

    Some other features that I think would have to be part of Third Life (based on stuff I’ve read about Second Life) would be:

    Avatars with the ability to eat, drink, and relieve themselves while sitting at the computer;
    Avatars with the ability to age, get wrinkles, gain weight, lose their hair, run up huge credit card balances, and take up boring professions like accounting and insurance sales;
    Built-in spouse/significant other avatars who argue with your avatar about how much time your TL avatar is spending on SL, and whether marrying or having virtual sex with a total stranger’s SL avatar constitutes cheating on them;
    The ability to post You Tube videos of your TL avatar’s lavish SL wedding or the birth of their virtual SL baby.

Father and Daughter Reunited

Monday, August 31, AD 2009

Robert Schindler,Sr., the father of Terri Schiavo has died.  National Right to Life has released this letter:


WASHINGTON – The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the nation’s largest pro-life group, today joined with pro-lifers nationwide in mourning the passing of our dear friend Robert Schindler, Sr., the father of Terri Schindler Schiavo. Mr. Schindler died this morning in St. Petersburg, Florida.

“Bob Schindler was an extraordinary father, husband and friend,” said Wanda Franz, Ph.D., National Right to Life President. “His death is a profound loss for all of us in the pro-life movement. Today, our thoughts and prayers are with his loving wife, Mary and their children, Bobby and Suzanne.”

Despite facing legal setbacks at virtually every turn, the Schindlers, with their children at their side, fought unceasingly to defend the right of their daughter, Terri Schindler Schiavo, to receive food and fluids. Their brave struggle ended on March 31, 2005, when Terri died from a court-ordered withdrawal of nutrition and hydration.

Following Terri’s death, the family began advocating for other medically dependent and disabled patients facing similar circumstances through the Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation.

In 2007, the National Right to Life Educational Trust Fund honored the Schindler family with the Proudly Pro-Life Award for their dedication and public witness to the cause of life.

“In life, Bob, and his wife Mary, never sought the spotlight. They only wished to care for their beloved daughter, Terri. Through their selfless dedication to Terri, they showed the nation and the world what it means when someone says they are ‘pro-life’,” added David N. O’Steen, Ph.D., National Right to Life Executive Director.

The National Right to Life Committee, the nation’s largest pro-life group is a federation of affiliates in all 50 states and 3,000 local chapters nationwide. National Right to Life works through legislation and education to protect those threatened by abortion, infanticide, euthanasia and assisted suicide.”


Terri Schiavo of course was judicially murdered by the State of Florida in 2005 at the behest of her “loving husband”, Michael Schiavo.  A few comments about that judicial travesty:

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21 Responses to Father and Daughter Reunited

  • I believe the Schiavo case showed me how much Jeb and GW were involved with the rhetoric for life, but did nothing which they could have done was done by their own authority to save one life (many options were available). Obviously many others were complicit here, but, we must recognize the failure of the Bushes here especially, since they were given many opportunities but appeared to be more interested in politics than life.

  • And the man sitting in the White House deeply regretted his vote in the Senate to attempt to save the life of Schiavo.


    I applaud the Bushes for their efforts to save Terri. Short of doing so at gunpoint there was nothing more they could have done after Judge Greer decreed her death and his ruling was upheld numerous times by the appellate courts.

  • The culture of death can always rely on Obama.

  • Donald

    Wrong, there was much which could have been done – that is the issue; there were all kinds of solutions given to them (I know this first hand), and only after she died, the one who gave the advice was told, “You were right, we could have done that.” They only played lipped service to the case, nothing else. This way they can look as if they were doing something, while doing nothing and not risk their political career.

  • “lip service” sheesh for the typo.

  • Karlson you are completely mistaken. Once the court made its ruling and it was upheld on appeal the only way out was to have an appellate court reverse Judge Greer. Jeb Bush attempted to do it by Terri’s Law which was ruled unconstitutional:


    George Bush attempted to do this by the legislation passed by Congress, but the federal courts refused to reverse the trial court.


    How about you telling us precisely what else could have been done and I’ll explain to you why it would have been unsuccessful unless Jeb and George Bush were willing to overrule Greer at gunpoint.

  • I’m completely mistaken? How close were you to the family and the legal situation as it was going on? Sorry, the problem – and the Schiavos themselves know this (hence the book I suggested you look into ) — the Bush team did lip service, but behind the scenes, well, it wasn’t so pretty.

  • The reason I have to be vague should be clear, if you looked into the book and see the reference. I heard things and know things, but some things are, well, you can guess, private things.

  • I saw the reference to a Professor Karlson who I assume is a relative of yours. Considering that the case is over I can see no legal reasons for you not to freely discuss what other legal means could have been undertaken to save the life of Terri, especially since you would not be bound by attorney client confidentiality in any case.

    A good discussion of the legal difficulties confronting those attempting to save Terri is linked below:


    I have been a constant critic of Judge Greer in this case. I believe his rulings were one-sided and that he showed clear bias throughout the case. However, the appellate courts consistently upheld him on appeals and once that is done in a law case there is very little that can be done in the face of a judgment of a court.

  • The reference sort of indicates the direction which could have been taken (the Justice Department admitted they could have done it and it would have been legal); it would have involved opening a new case where Terri would have been called as a witness (and given witness protection); in that time then some outside sources could have done real investigation while she was in governmental protection. The legal aspects of it, I know, was worked out and again, verified it could have worked — that was had to be done, something new, a side way — to deal with the issue. But the rest again, there are things I know and still feel out of bounds to speak upon.

    And yes, that is family, my father; hence the same name. And he’s quite active in many situations and issues (even was involved with the Vatican and its work on the the sexual abuse issue in the US).

  • Karlson such an attempt to protect Terri would have been voided by Judge Greer immediately and he would have been upheld on appeal. Any stay for Terri pending the appeal would have to have been granted by either Greer or the appellate court neither of which would have granted it.

  • As a side note, I remember my father in much talk with Rick Santorum during this time; while I am critical of him in other places, I think he was one of the few who was really trying to work this out beyond the political show.

  • No, this was outside of his jurisdiction, Donald, which is why he could not void it. That was the issue. The Justice Department itself admitted that what was suggested would have worked. You are still thinking of this as one case, when it would have been a new case, outside of his authority.

  • No it was not outside of his jurisdiction. Greer would have rejected this as a transparent attempt to overturn his ruling and he would have been upheld on appeal either in the state or federal systems.

  • Donald,

    Since you were not involved with the suggestions, and do not know all the legal precedents and statutes used to justify the action, you cannot say “it was not outside of his jurisdiction.” I have only given what I could without stating too much, while again, pointing out, again, when examined over, it was proper and would have worked and this was admitted. You are thinking of the situation within the box, this was about changing the box.

  • I do litigation each day to earn my bread and butter and I have been doing so for 27 years. The strategy you suggested would have been doomed from the outset in the courts.

  • Donald

    Once again, you are looking within a box; the problem is many who do litigation think within the box. My father was quite involved in all of this and knew what he was doing — again, it was verified it would work. That’s the problem. It would have worked! Admitted!

  • Karlson, I would have rejoiced if a legal strategy could have been devised to save Terri. Emotionally I wanted Jeb Bush to save her by sending in the National Guard or George Bush to send in federal troops. Unfortunately, I could also predict what the courts would have done instantly thereafter. Greer had ruled. His ruling was res judicata in that case. He had been upheld throughout several appeals by the reviewing courts. There was no way around this unless Greer changed his mind or he was reversed.

  • The idea of filing a new case and calling Teri as a witness in order to grant her witness protection priviliges was hardly some secret strategy, it was being discussed on the National Review blogs at the time. As I recall, the consensus there too was that it wouldn’t work — though of course it has a cheekiness that’s appealing.

  • Again, this was a new way of dealing with it – which got out of Greer’s jurisdiction. That is the point. There were ways, the problem is many were going about it the wrong way! And as I have said, the JUSTICE DEPARTMENT admitted what was put on the table WOULD HAVE WORKED. The consensus was based upon an incomplete understanding of the legal statutes which were being employed in this situation. Again, the whole point is this would have moved OUT of Greer’s court — read a bit more closely from the book, and you will see _where_ the foundation lay (though again, the legal aspect is more in depth).

Doug Kmiec on the Death of Kennedy

Sunday, August 30, AD 2009

Doug Kmiec, betrayer of the pro-life cause, future ambassador to Malta and spiritual descendant of Richard Rich,  the subject of few posts on this blog, see here, has taken the opportunity of the death of Ted Kennedy to engage in some predictable spaniel like fawning over Obama and ObamaCare.  The ever cogent Erin Manning at her ever readable blog and sometimes tea, fisks the resulting mess here, so you don’t have to.

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10 Responses to Doug Kmiec on the Death of Kennedy

  • I see Cardinal McCarrick has even shared with the world the late senator’s deathbed letter to Pope Benedict–the one that begins with a tribute to Obama’s “deep faith” and ends with a pitch for government health care. The cardinal describes this bit of self-serving political propaganda as “deeply moving.” Richard Rich had almost all the bishops of England on his side; I suspect Doug Kmiec may have the majority of our bishops with him.

  • Ambassador Kmiec is a deeply confused man with the ability to do either great good or great harm to the Church and its values by virtue of his God-given intellect. It’s terribly sad that he has chosen, of late, to turn that intellect against crystal clear teachings related to social issues ranging from abortion to same-sex marriage. We must pray for his re-conversion and may he publicly refute his errors and the damage they have caused to this nation and most especially to the souls of those he has helped lead astray.

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  • Cardinal McCarrick brings to mind one of the most intriguing quotes from the Council of Nicaea when debating the Arian heresy.

    Saint Athanasius was quoted as saying, “The floor of hell is paved with the skulls of bishops.”

  • This scene from ‘A Man For All Seasons’ is one of my most favorite.

    It’s interesting that Richard Rich doesn’t blink an eye when Sir Thomas quotes the Bible in reference to his Medal-of-Office.

  • I actually thought he seemed rather hesitant throughout the scene Tito. Note that the bailiff had to remind him “So help you God, Sir Richard”. I thought John Hurt played well the role of a man who has subdued his conscience, but still feels faint pangs of shame.

  • I agree that he played the role very well. He could’ve have been grappling within himself and only later realized the gravity of what he had done.

  • I hope both you gentlemen are well aware of the fact that hagiography was not really the intention of the Scriptwriter; indeed, the man himself was actually an atheist.

    I admit that the movie remains top on my list of favourite films; yet, I’d place more historical accuracy in Roper’s own account of More’s life than this, however poetically it depicts More.

  • Actually e, Bolt was an agnostic. He wrote plays and screenplays about characters in conflict with their society. Although he did not share the Faith of More, he obviously greatly admired him and that shines through the play.

The Kennedy Funeral

Sunday, August 30, AD 2009


Canon Lawyer Ed Peters has some thoughts here on the Ted Kennedy funeral.  Distressingly the funeral had on full display the tendency of modern Catholic funerals to have eulogies that “canonize” the deceased.  I prefer the traditional Catholic practice of banning eulogies and merely requesting prayers for the soul of the deceased.  There are other venues to praise the deceased.  The funeral Mass is not for praise, but rather for the sacrifice of the Mass and for prayers.  A good post on the subject is here.

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5 Responses to The Kennedy Funeral

  • I watched the funeral on Fox and was shocked and saddened that the intercessory prayers would be used by the Kennedy’s for political purposes. I wanted to watch the funeral as a Catholic in respect for the family and Senator Kennedy’s service to our country. I grieve with them for their family loss and wanted to offer up prayers for their family. But I was very disappointed as a Catholic that the focus wasn’t on the Sacrifice of the Mass in commeration of Jesus’ Sacrifice for us and prayers for Senator Kennedy, the deceased as he journeys home to his heavenly Father. The Mass for deceased is beautiful and unites us here on earth with the deceased and the hope one day we will all be together with our heavenly Father.
    May Senator Kennedy rest in peace.

  • It’s an all too common abuse of the purpose of funerals — and I think a particularly unfortunate one in that when people assure themselves prematurely the deceased is “in heaven now”, I can only assume that far fewer prayers are actually offered for the soul of the deceased.

    One of my father’s absolute directives was that there be no eulogies at his funeral and no presumption that he was already in heaven. (He’d wanted to hold out for black vestments too, but there were none to be had.)

  • Was it a funeral or a beatification?

    Watching Sunday’s edition of Meet the Press, I couldn’t help but notice that, at least in the eyes of Kathleen Kennedy Townshend, yesterday’s proceedings have transformed an understandable hope into a concrete certainty:

    MR. GREGORY: […] Kathleen, the imperfect part of his being was something that was very public, from Chappaquiddick to the incident in Florida in 1991 to other struggles.
    MS. TOWNSEND: Right.
    MR. GREGORY: How did he make–take stock of that in the end?
    MS. TOWNSEND: Well, that’s what–I mean, I have to say, I think that’s one of the great, important parts of the Catholic faith. We used to joke we were the church of sinners rather than the church of saints, and therefore you–we’re all sinners. And you can pray to God and say, “I–are you going to believe that I can make, make something better of my life?” rather than if you sin, you can never come back. And that is really what I think the Catholic faith is. And you saw that yesterday when the, the cardinals were there, the priests were there. There–they were saying, “This man is going to heaven, because he was there for the least among us.”

  • And you saw that yesterday when the, the cardinals were there, the priests were there. There–they were saying, “This man is going to heaven, because he was there for the least among us.

    Wow, just wow. I agree with the Ed Peters post that Donald cited earlier. But what a case this makes for denying Kennedy a Catholic funeral, or at least limiting the clergy to the celebrating priest. I’m afraid that KKT is not alone in her false connections and assumptions and that these actually serve to cause scandal. How many sensible and decent people of other faiths watching that broadcast walked away with a false sense of Catholic theology and may never consider the Truths of the faith because of that? It seems to reinforce the misconception of many Protestants about the Catholic faith concerning sin and forgiveness and the role of clergy.

    Mark Shea says sin makes you stupid, apparently leftist ideology makes you blind to sin and stupidity.

  • If I remember correctly, Archbishop John J. Myers of Newark in 2003 issued an edict explicitly banning eulogies at funeral Masses — save for one relative or friend who can speak for no more than 5 minutes. The ban was prompted by clergy complaints that eulogies were getting “out of control,” including incidents such as impromptu piano performances and Osama bin Laden jokes. I know people want to share memories of the deceased, but isn’t that what the wake is for?

    As Rick points out, if Kathleen Kennedy Townsend’s remarks don’t provide proof positive that public scandal was indeed caused by the way this funeral was conducted, I don’t know what would. Perhaps people have forgotten what “scandal” really means — it doesn’t mean causing people to be shocked or outraged; rather, it means giving them the impression that something is morally acceptable when it really isn’t.

    Could the archdiocese in this instance have limited the number of clergy involved, or forbidden or severely limited media coverage of the funeral itself? There’s nothing stopping the Kennedys from having a big public memorial event or tribute on some other occasion.

Frances Kissling Mourns Ted Kennedy

Saturday, August 29, AD 2009

Catholics for a free choice

Frances Kissling, former head of pro-abort Catholics For a Free Choice, mourns the passing of abortion champion Ted Kennedy here.

“On the right to choose abortion, he was fully pro-choice. He supported the right of women who got their medical care from the government whether they were federal employees, in the military or on Medicaid to the same right of conscience that women with their own money or private insurance have.  And, on every other issue related to reproductive health and rights, he voted for women.

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9 Responses to Frances Kissling Mourns Ted Kennedy

  • At the risk of being repetitive, the third paragraph needs emphasis:

    Of course, the Kennedys had access to the best theological insights of the times and they used it. I remember the late Giles Milhaven, a former Jesuit priest and theologian who served on the Catholics for Choice board, describing some days in 1970 he spent at the Kennedy compound discussing abortion with members of the family. The theologians at the meeting included Joseph Fuchs, who had served on the Papal Commission on Birth Control and chaired the committee’s majority report; Richard McCormick, who is recognized as one of the founders of modern bio-ethics, then Catholic University star Charles Curran. Albert Jonsen, a then Jesuit bioethicist, and Father Drinan, who was Dean of Boston College Law School, rounded out the team. According to Giles, the moral theologians and priests met together for a while and then were joined by the Kennedys and Shrivers who asked questions. Ted Kennedy had the good fortune to engage in discourse about abortion and Catholicism before the papacy of John Paul II virtually closed the window on the lively debate that was going on among theologians about abortion.

    Truly, this is one of the most disgraceful incident in the history of Catholicism in America — as the supposed best and brightest minds in Catholic academia gathered the plot the slaughter of millions. It takes a truly Dante-an sense to describe the evil of the gathering described above — and of someone who is prepared to celebrate it or its members.

  • The first issue was whether federal Medicaid funds could be used for abortion, and the Senator was always in favor of such funding. Perhaps he understood the preferential option for the poor to be determinant; perhaps he simply saw the tragedy that surrounded very poor and very young women forced to have children they did not want.

    This is certainly a problem we face in the battle for life and within the broader disagreements within the church. There are a fair number of Catholics who may not be like Kissling or agree with her vehement pro-abortion stance, but they still try to divorce the killing of innocents from matters of justice and charity. All the talk of a seamless garment usually comes down to justifying the rending of the garment at the expense of the most helpless. It goes without saying that we’ll never convince everyone that the unborn have the same dignity we do and that their lives should be protected under the law. But maybe it’s time we come to the conclusion that we’ll never convince a large number of the secular minded Catholics.

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  • Darwin, while I agree that the all-star team of Catholic dissidents described by Kissling is indeed a black spot in American Catholic history — on a par with the infamous Land O’Lakes conference — to say that they met to “plot the slaughter of millions” is IMHO an exaggeration. Abortion was ALREADY legal in some states by 1970 and was openly being practiced even in places where it wasn’t legal, so the “slaughter” was already underway.

    The issue facing Kennedy and Co. at the time was whether to fight it or go along with it, and they of course chose the latter for reasons of political expediency. However, to say they “plotted the slaughter” implies that legalized abortion didn’t exist at the time and it was all their idea.

    I suspect their main concern was how to provide some kind of Catholic faith-based justification for going along with what appeared to be an inevitable change in society (the spread of the sexual revolution and abortion on demand) rather than risk their political and academic futures by appearing to be “reactionary.” Certainly nothing to be proud of, by any means.

  • Donald,

    To mourn is simply to grieve or lament for the dead. I’m saddened that Senator Kennedy held an intellectually flawed view and that he had not the opportunity to resolve it — because of the gravity of it — in this life. I am saddened that it is even amongst the list of sins he must account for. I have hope in his reception of the last Rites and in the mercy of God — for there is where his salvation lies.

    There is no honor nor anything won, justice or otherwise, in listing alitany of a man’s sins after he has died. One might judge the legacy or lack thereof left behind, but that should not render any ultimate judgment on the person.

    A true, pious Catholic would mourn his death in my view. Otherwise, we are presupposing he is incapable of salvation and being saved — and that is a judgment.

    Kissling mourns Kennedy as a champion for “reproductive rights.” Her mourning is misplaced. Her ideological committment is unjust as it opposes the absolute right to life of the unborn. Nothing justifies what she and Kennedy in his life advocated.

    But I do extend the benefit of the doubt, perhaps too kindly. I have not always been pro-life in the Catholic sense. And when I believed things contrary to what is asked of us by the Magisterium, I did not actually — as some would say — really know the Truth explicitly and just reject it anyway. On the contrary, I literally believed what I thought reflected reality and I didn’t advocate just “opinions.” Every relativist is an absolutist trying to undermine their opponent’s argument by taking away the absolute while not applying the standard to their own position.

    I think the tragedy of the pro-choice position is that one literally convinces one’s self to not believe the most obvious reality — the humanity of the unborn. I have once denied this reality. Even when I first became Catholic, it took a while for me to come around. But it was patience — real patience — not relativism that persuaded me.

    I feel sometimes this does not happen because of the abrasive way — though I understand the frustration — we go after those who fool themselves on this issue.

    If anything, if Kennedy has not won union with God — and I sincerely with every fiber of my being pray that he has — then I think it is a sadness worth mourning. For a creature, a beautiful creature — as is all humanity — who has been offered a gift, the Lord Himself and union with Him, to be adopted as His Sons, and offered the Eucharist, a gift not even endowed unto angels — ultimately would be found guilty of rejecting that gift and will suffer the unmentionable reality that such fallen creatures will endure for eternity.

    That’s my two cents. Pray for him.

  • I have already stated that I pray for his soul Eric. I hope he had a glimmer of true repentance before he departed this life. I seek not to judge his soul but rather what is of public record as to his life. As for his life, I mourn the great evil that he did, the children who are not alive because of his championing of abortion and the Catholics led astray on abortion and other matters by his abysmal example.

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  • This untouching tribute is certainly more realistic than the blather from the funeral that is now enshrined on YouTube and linked on Vox Nova.

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