Lincoln, the Constitution and Catholics

Monday, February 9, AD 2009

bishop-francis-patricks-response-to-the-may-riot-in-1844-in-philadelphia

In the 1840s America was beset by a wave of anti-Catholic riots.  An especially violent one occurred in Philadelphia on May 6-8.  These riots laid the seeds for a powerful anti-Catholic movement which became embodied in the years to come in the aptly named Know-Nothing movement.  To many American politicians Catholic-bashing seemed the path to electoral success.

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9 Responses to Lincoln, the Constitution and Catholics

  • When I was visiting the Mission of San Juan de Capistrano in California, I learned that it had been seized from the Church by the Mexican government but was returned by President Abraham Lincoln.

  • This is one of the reasons why I don’t understand certain Catholic efforts to paint Lincoln as the villain of the Civil War.

  • Reconcile:

    Lincoln’s enthusiastic embrace of “Total War” against not simply armies but against civilian, non-combatant populations, see, e.g., an account of Sherman’s wasting entire regions of the south with the specific intent of causing civilian suffering (http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/entry.php?rec=551)

    with:

    The Church greatly respects those who have dedicated their lives to the defense of their nation. “If they carry out their duty honorably, they truly contribute to the common good of the nation and the maintenance of peace. [Cf. Gaudium et spes 79, 5]” However, she cautions combatants that not everything is licit in war. Actions which are forbidden, and which constitute morally unlawful orders that may not be followed, include:

    – attacks against, and mistreatment of, non-combatants, wounded soldiers, and prisoners;

    – genocide, whether of a people, nation or ethnic minorities;

    – indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants.

    (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2313-2314).

    Hux, perhaps some Catholics don’t simply swallow an Americanist-tinged view of our history. There is nothing inherent in Catholicism that lends support to the centralizing, revolutionary nature of what Lincoln did, much less to his warm embrace of modern notions of warfare which are nothing but war crimes.

  • Um, I dunno that Lincoln embraced “total war” in the sense you describe. If you read Slate magazine’s recent article on Lincoln and the “laws” of war, you find that he more or less set the standards that we follow to this day for what is considered legitimate warfare and what isn’t.

    It’s true he took fighting beyond the strict limits of 18th-century warfare, where elaborately uniformed soldiers marched in straight lines to shoot at one another. However, he did also set limits that kept Sherman’s march to the sea and other offensives from degenerating into the kind of take-no-prisoners, rape-and-pillage campaigns that, for example, the Soviets and Japanese practiced during World War II.

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2 Responses to Bigotry and the "Stimulus" Bill

  • It’s a small thing, I suppose, but it’s symbolic. Does anyone really think there is a pressing danger of too much money being directed towards religious facilities on college campuses? If so, they must have spent time at very different public universities. While many Congressional Democrats would be loathe to admit hostility towards religion publicly, these type of petty efforts to exclude religious Americans suggest such hostility is fairly pervasive in the current Democratic party.

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Money Meets Rathole

Saturday, February 7, AD 2009

moneyrathole

The Bankrupt the Nation Act of 2009, sometimes called the “Stimulus” bill, looks like it might pass the Senate.  The amount of money we are about to saddle upon our grandchildren, if not our great-grandchildren, to attempt to pay back, may be as little as $780,000,000,000.  For the sake of comparison,  here is a list of how much other monumental undertakings in our nation’s history cost, adjusted for inflation.  Between the Bankrupt the Nation Act of 2009 and the Great Bailout Swindle of 2008, our government will be allocating funds in less than six months that represent one-third the inflation adjusted cost of the US expenditures in WW2 over three years and eight months.  This is fiscal lunacy on a cosmic scale and future generations will wonder at our abysmal folly.

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Battle Cries of Freedom

Saturday, February 7, AD 2009

Something for the weekend.  The Battle Cry of Freedom was a popular song North and South during the Civil War.  Of course, they sang different lyrics to the song.  The Union version was such a favorite among the Union troops, that President Lincoln, in a letter to George F. Root, the composer, wrote:  “You have done more than a hundred generals and a thousand  orators. If you could not shoulder a musket in defense of your country, you certainly have served her through your songs.”

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Your Tax Dollars at Work

Friday, February 6, AD 2009

Hattip to Patrick Madrid and A Catholic Mom in Hawaii.  The above piece of blasphemy and raw anti-Catholic bigotry was partially paid for with your tax dollars.  As long as Catholics sit on their hands and do nothing this type of appalling rubbish will continue to be subsidized by the government.  Here is the home page to Link TV for any of our readers who might wish to give them an e-mail full of constructive criticism.

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5 Responses to What Did the Pope Say?

25 Responses to Much Noted And Long Remembered

  • The speech is a masterpiece of rhetoric and composition.

    The content is malarkey.

    First, note he only praises the Union dead and their devotion to their cause. He does not even recognizing the good will of the Confederates, the significance of their sacrifice, or the nobility of their cause. I disagree that his remarks could reasonably be read to apply to the southern soldiers… the whole tenor of the address is the rightness of the union cause.

    Next, he cleverly shifts the founding philosophy of this nation from the limited and modest purposes laid out in the Constitution (federalism, limited national government) and takes one phrase not from the Constitution (our founding document) but from the Declaration of Independence, to assert that our nation was founded on the equality principle with respect to race, an entirely false statement that he uses to rationalize what everybody acknowledges was a revolutionary shift his war brought about in the way this nation is governed.

    The framers of the Declaration certainly would spin in their graves at the suggestion that this statement would be used as a jusitification for armed invasion of sovereign states in order to abolish a practice the stronger states disapproved of but which was entirely permissible constitutionally.

    But most significantly, one wonders that Lincoln’s phony appeal to democracy and liberty did not cause lightning to strike.

    His decision to forcibly invade states which had not taken up arms against the federal government (Maryland, Virginia) was a gross violation of the democratic will of those states.

    Underlying his statements is the false premise that one can rationally speak of a “union” where half the states are forcibly compelled to submit to federal rule against their wishes and against the will of their people, by invasion, by armed occupation, and by forced (and unconstitutional) dismemberment of their state (in the case of Virginia).

    Last, Lincoln’s cynical resort to slavery (as evidenced by his statement that he would keep slavery to save the union if that’s what it took; his Emancipation Proclamation; his efforts to ship off liberated blacks to Africa) as a moral cloak for his invasion of the southern states, his disregard of habeas corpus, his disdain for free speech, all make this beautiful piece of rhetoric unfortunately an empty and hollow exercize.

  • I still prefer the Second Inaugural address over this, but as I said to Jay, it’s like choosing between prime rib and porterhouse.

    The funny part about the Gettysburg Address is that that Lincoln wasn’t even the featured speaker. Edward (?) Everett had given a two-hour long speech that, at the time, got all the attention. In two minutes Lincoln said what it took Everett two hours to say, and Everett said as much in a latter to Lincoln.

    The GA fits in with Lincoln’s conception of the DoI as the “apple of gold,” and the Constitution is the “picture of silver” designed to adorn it. Even as a Lincoln admirer I have some philosophical difficulties with this conception. But I don’t think he’s too far of the mark. If we take the DoI as a basic expression of certain fundamental principles, it is not a stretch to view the Constitution as the Framers way of trying to make those principles a reality.

  • BTW, Don, I don’t want to pull you off-topic, but I was wondering if you’ll be talking about the Lincoln-Douglas debates at some point. I just read them for the first time in a few years, and I was actually a little disappointed in Douglas. I had remembered being impressed by him, if not agreeing with what he said, but he basically just kept repeating himself for 7 debates. At least Lincoln brought up different topics.

  • Ah, Tom, spoken like a true Virginian.

    😉

    Don’s piece had me wanting to break out in a chorus of Battle Cry of Freedom: “The Union forever, hurrah, boys hurrah! … O we’ll rally round the flag, boys, we’ll rally once again. Shouting the battle cry of freedom!”

    Now, your comment has me in the mood for The Bonnie Blue Flag: “Hurrah, hurrah, for Southern rights, hurrah! Hurrah for the Bonnie Blue Flag that bears a single star!”

    Divided loyalties, so to speak.

  • “BTW, Don, I don’t want to pull you off-topic, but I was wondering if you’ll be talking about the Lincoln-Douglas debates at some point.”

    If not before February 12, soon thereafter.

  • “His decision to forcibly invade states which had not taken up arms against the federal government (Maryland, Virginia) was a gross violation of the democratic will of those states.”

    Rubbish. Baltimore mobs attacked Union troops on the way to Washington and the troops defended themselves. Maryland was divided like most border states, although far more Maryland men fought for the Union than for the Confederacy. After Lincoln’s call for 75,000 volunteers to preserve the Union Virginia seceeded and joined the Confederacy. As for Democratic will of those states, I wonder how many of the black slaves would have been in favor of secession in defense of slavery? Of course western Virginia was predominantly opposed to secession, and until protected by Union troops found themselves attacked as traitors, ironically, by Confederates in rebellion against the federal government. Most states in the Confedacy had regions where Union sentiment predominated as in Eastern Tennessee for example. The Civil War was more than just a war between north and south, but also between supporters and opponents within the Confederacy.

    “to assert that our nation was founded on the equality principle with respect to race, an entirely false statement”

    Mr. Jefferson placed no racial limitation on his statement in the Declaration of Indepence which created our nation. Most of the Founding Fathers, including the slaveholders, regarded slavery as an evil which would die out in the relatively near future. The restriction of slavery from the territories in the Northwest Ordinance in 1787, the abolition of the slave trade commencing in 1808 in the Constitution, and other acts of the founding fathers all evinced a negative attitude towards slavery.

  • “The framers of the Declaration certainly would spin in their graves at the suggestion that this statement would be used as a jusitification for armed invasion of sovereign states in order to abolish a practice the stronger states disapproved of but which was entirely permissible constitutionally.”

    Actually Lincoln only wished to restrict slavery from the territories. He hated slavery but realized he had no warrant from the Constitution to act against it in the slave states. The Confederates signed the death knell of slavery by secession, which allowed the abolition of slavery as a war measure, followed by the Thirteenth Amendment.

  • “Underlying his statements is the false premise that one can rationally speak of a “union” where half the states are forcibly compelled to submit to federal rule against their wishes and against the will of their people, by invasion, by armed occupation, and by forced (and unconstitutional) dismemberment of their state (in the case of Virginia).”

    Only if one believes that the Union is one of states and not of the American people. Your argument also conveniently overlooks the wishes of black slaves. Even without taking them into consideration, a clear majority of the American people did not wish the Union to be destroyed. Of course time has confirmed the wisdom of Lincoln. We have one united country, free of slavery, and not two or more squabbling countries, in one of which holding people as chattels, or treating them as fifth class citizens, might very well still occur.

  • Seeing where this thread may be going, can someone please, FOR ONCE, explain to me the long train of abuses that justified confederate secession from the Union. I’m not even getting into the legality of secession itself. I’d like to know what Lincoln and the Republicans managed to accomplish between November 8, 1860 and March 4, 1861, that justified seven states withdrawing from the Union, especially when the man had not even taken the oath of office.

    Can secession be justified merely because you don’t like who won an election? Isn’t that a pretty weak justification for rebellion?

    Lincoln’s platform, repeated ad nauseum, is that he had no desire to interfere with slavery in the states – he opposed territorial extension of slavery. It’s as though the confederates bought, hook, line and sinker, the demagoguery of Stephen A. Douglas, even if they voted against him in the 1860 election.

  • Ah, the War Between the States still divides us I see. Here we have 4 people commenting on this post who probably see eye-to-eye 98% of the time, but who will never accept one another’s take on the great sectional rivalry.

    For what it’s worth – and Don, I’m actually surprised that an astute constitutional historian like yourself seems to take the opposite view, it does seem fairly clear from both a historical and constitutional perspective that this country was formed as a union of states and not as some sort of super-democracy based on popular sovereignty.

  • Well, Lincoln himself re-framed the war as a crusade to abolish slavery, bowing to pressure from his party’s radical wing. His expansion of federal power is what gave us the leviathan we suffer under today. His destruction of the original federalist framework has given us such gems as Roe v. Wade, federalization of education, and restriction of states’ voting practices.

    Look, that a moral evil exists in a state is not a justification for invasion, or do you think that if we could get enough pro-life states together, we could invade NY or CA?

    No, the slavery thing was a cynical device. So there was no democracy in the south because of the lack of a black franchise? And since the black franchise was not universal in the North, does that mean that their decision to wage war was not truly democratic? Or that because women could not vote, neither side could claim democratic purity?

    I find it amusing that federalists get all tender about Lincoln vindicating civil rights for blacks, while that tenderness did not extend to non-occupied territory or even to states remaining in the union.

    Look, if Lincoln wanted to have a beef with SC about Ft. Sumter, that’s one thing. Invading Virginia, which committed no agression against the North prior to Northern agression, was sheer despotism. You’re obviously kidding about rioters in Baltimore, which was a police problem, not a justification for federal occupation, disbanding of the state legislature, and imprisoning of confederate sympathizers without trial.

  • Ah, the War Between the States still divides us I see.

    That’s why I kind of ignored Tom (sorry), because we’ve been down this road so many times before. In fact, wasn’t there a 50+ comment thread here not even two weeks ago? But I do wish someone would address the question I raised. I’ve heard all the complaints about Lincoln before. I disagree with them, but I understand what they are. And I understand – though disagree with – the arguments for the legality of secession. But I’ve never heard anyone adequately explain the “long train of abuses” that justified secession.

    And yes I know what DiLorenzo says. Anyone else have any real reasons?

  • Well, Lincoln himself re-framed the war as a crusade to abolish slavery,

    In a sense, correct.

    bowing to pressure from his party’s radical wing.

    No. Lincoln, in fact, continued to incur the wrath of the abolitionists because of his refusal to issue general emancipation, and for doing things like countermanding the orders of General Fremont which had freed slaves in certain Union-occupied confederate territory. Lincoln did become convinced that emancipation was a useful wartime measure. Sure, it doesn’t sound romantic, but the Emancipation Proclamation changed the nature of the war. But Lincoln’s first concern was restoration of the Union, and he believed that emancipation served that purpose.

    His expansion of federal power is what gave us the leviathan we suffer under today.

    No, no, and no. Point to me one thing that Lincoln did that prefigured the rise of the leviathan state. Between 1865 and 1932, states continued to have significant power. It was not until FDR and the New Deal that the federal leviathan state truly came into existence. As for as Roe v Wade and the like, it’s interesting to read the Lincoln-Douglas debates especially as they relate to the Dred Scott case. It’s Lincoln who maintained that Supreme Court decisions were not the final word, and it was Douglas – like modern Democrats – who insisted on blind obedience to the Court.

    that a moral evil exists in a state is not a justification for invasion,

    That’s true. Had Lincoln invaded the confederate states because they held slaves, he would not have been justified in his action. But that’s not what happened, so you are arguing a strawman.

    No, the slavery thing was a cynical device.

    You can’t seem to make up your mind. Either Lincoln was some idealist seeking to impose his morality on all the states, or he was a cynical tyant who invaded the south because . . . ?

  • As for Jay’s point, isn’t it possible that the the original Union was one of states, and that the Constitution changed the nature of the Union to a union of people? After all, that’s why John Henry and the anti-Federalists got into a huff over that whole “We the People” phraseology.

    On the other hand, we could not have gained independence separately. It’s not as though it were possible for Virginia and South Carolina to gain their independence while the rest of the states were subjugated once again. It seems that the war effort indicated a unity of purpose that, while recognizing the relative independence of the states, also implied a firmer Union. I’m not sure, just throwing it out there.

    Either way, I think by 1788 any idea the secession or nullification were valid devices had kind of flown out the window.

  • I’m not saying anything else on the subject beyond this. I am a great fan of Mr. Lincoln, I believe the Gettysburg Address to be the finest piece of political rhetoric ever crafted, and am merely a hobbyist and a historian when it comes to The Lost Cause. I have no truck with secession, and agree that the alleged long train of abuses that led to the break are rather spurious.

    That said, I am a Southerner by birth and by temperment (if no longer by residency), and so, like General Lee, despite grave doubts as to the justness of the Cause, I throw in my lot with my fellow “countrymen”.

    😉

  • I’m not saying anything else on the subject beyond this.

    I’d say, “Ditto,” but I cannot tell a lie. 🙂

  • Paul Zummo: Let me recommend an excellent book, “The Cause Lost: Myths and Realities of the Confederacy” by William C. Davis. Davis, a descendent of Rebel soldiers, would not be very welcome at any Sons of the Confederacy gathering, as he effectively debunks Confederate justifications for the war.

    Davis notes that Southern politicans had been in fact pretty indifferent to the whole business of state rights in any context in which slavery was not involved. Ironically, in 1814 when New England state representatives convened to protest the War of 1812 and federal interference with their militias, the South united in opposing the New Englanders for raising the issue of state rights. John C. Calhoun joined with Henry Clay in the 1820’s in pushing for a program that used federal money to build roads and canals and harbors. The only other regional matter that really irritated Southern leaders was the tariff, which they believed discriminated against the South, and yet they never managed to organize even a unified protest against the government on that issue. They never would have seceded or gone to war over the tariff.

    State rights basically boiled down to the issue of slavery and not so much the right to own slaves as the right for a slaveholder to take slaves into federal property. Slaveholders argued (and they had a strong point) that those lands prior to admission to statehood had belonged to all of the people of the US and so excluding slavery from them constituted a de facto exclusion of slaveholders. Eventually, they realized that the free states would outnumber the slave states and the slaveholders would have an ever-shrinking voice in Washington. In the end, they would have no way out should Congress decide to abolish slavery in areas where it existed. In 1860, one-third of the South’s population were slaves. Southern leaders simply could not envision an economic and social system without slavery and yes, that was the straw that broke the camel’s back for them.

    Davis notes it is impossible to point to any other issue but slavery and say that Southerners would have seceded and fought over it. Howver, he writes, slavery was not “the reason 1 million Southern men subsequently fought. Probably 90 percent of the men who wore the gray had never owned a slave and had no personal interest at all either in slavery or in the shadow issue of state rights. The widespread Northern myth that the Confederates went to the battlefields to perpetuate slavery is just that, a myth. Their letters and diaries, in the tens of thousands, reveal again and again that they fought and died because their Southern homeland was invaded and their natural instinct was to protect home and hearth.”

    I’m a Northerner whose own ancestors were still in Europe when the Civil War was fought. I admire the valor and courage of both Billy Yank and Johnny Reb. I am very glad Johnny Reb lost.

    (An old flame of mine was a Virginian and there was no talking to him on this particular subject. He once bought me flowers by way of apology for calling me a ‘Damn Yankee’ and after that, we never discussed the War Between the States ever again 🙂

  • Can secession be justified merely because you don’t like who won an election? Isn’t that a pretty weak justification for rebellion?

    Yes, it is. But since last Nov. 4, I’ve had my moments,…,

    😉

  • Jay, in my estimation George Washington is the finest man in secular history, and Robert E. Lee is not far from him in my regard. As a matter of fact I am planning on doing a tribute to Lee in the near future. The Civil War is one of my historical passions, and I free admit that my heart belongs to the Union in that struggle. However, I also regard the brave men who died under the Confederate battleflag as no less my countrymen than I do the Union men who died under the Old Flag. For me the great lesson of the Late Unpleasantness is that we are one people: Union, Confederate, black slave. When I read the history of the Confederacy, and I have passages of Douglas Southall Freeman memorized by heart, I am reading the history of my countrymen. I agree with the late Shelby Foote as to the Great Compromise when viewing the Civil War that I think all Americans should embrace: It was a good thing that the Union was preserved and slavery ended, and that the Confederates fought with great honor and courage for what they believed was right. Whatever else I say on the Civil War in posts and comboxes, this is my core belief in regard to that conflict.

  • Donald, I never thought I’d encounter someone more passionate about the Civil War than me, so kudos.

    I might check this thread out later, but I might be busy reading “Battle Cry of Freedom” and watching the Ken Burns documentary tonight to get on-line much. 😉

  • “Jay, in my estimation George Washington is the finest man in secular history, and Robert E. Lee is not far from him in my regard.”

    I’m in complete whole-hearted agreement with you there (of course, I’m usually in complete agreement with you, regardless of the topic). I also count Mr. Lincoln among their number.

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2 Responses to Lincoln on Film

  • Not to be a pedant here, but shouldn’t it be ‘Lincoln in Film’? It’s not like the guy was a movie critic, after all.

  • Since I make a fair amount of my living BAIV by drawing rather fine distinctions, being a pedant is no vice in my book. The title was deliberately chosen because of the age of the films. I wanted to emphasize Lincoln’s image physically on the celluloid.

7 Responses to Hope

  • It would be so simple. In an official Presidential Address, perferrably in prime-time- the President announces all legal elements will be utilized to overturn Roe v. Wade. Would snap GOP like a twig. Would propel him into second term. And let us not wail and gnash teeth, Planned Parenthood, et al. Many of you were among the aging feminists abandoned by party- when Hillary left at the train station- to move the Obama Express last year. The anonymous but very astute Spengler made suggestion at Asia Times. Just as GWB had tension between his Inner Gipper and his Inner Poppy, so O will have to figure out if Inner Clinton takes advantage over Inner Carter. Ideology will have to go. Sarah awaits on the horizon.

  • The President is not “first and foremost, a political animal.” He is, first and foremost, pro-abortion. And that’s why he won’t reinstate the Mexico City Policy, and why he’ll continue to fight to protect Roe, and advance abortion by every means at his disposal, even when he abandons the liberal position on every other issue.

  • Respectfully disagree Paul. Popularity is everything to this man. If abortion needs to go “under the bus” to maintain his political fortunes it will. This man can be rolled, and I think it is important to remember that. Pro-lifers need to be noisy in their opposition to every pro-abort move of this administration, and make it clear as glass that there is a polticial price to be paid.

  • I’d like you to be right, Donald, and I agree with your prescription, but as I see it, the Dems would rather lose elections than give up abortion, Obama more than anyone. Gerald is right; if the Democratic Party embraced the pro-life position, the GOP would be in the wilderness for decades (just as if the GOP were to abandon the pro-life position).

  • I don’t think you even need to be pro-life to not like the idea of your tax dollars supporting abortion overseas.

    Not shocked that this isn’t popular, but I don’t think people will make that big a deal over it either.

  • Very interesting poll numbers. I need to chew on these for a few moments. I like the fact that the American people seem to be trending towards more of a pro-life position than a pro-abortion position.

  • Politician or pro-abortion extremist? It’s an interesting question. Though I think the jury’s still out, I’d be inclined to bet on Obama’s being a pro-abortion extremist. Still, he has been backtracking lately in some areas where I wouldn’t have expected it…

    I have the idea (unsubstatiated by anything except for the fact that she once wrote a fundraising letter to fight the partial-birth abortion ban) that Michelle Obama has pretty extreme views on this issue. It will be interesting to see just how much sway (if any) she has over his decision-making.

3 Responses to The Coming Persecution?

  • The astute Mr. Bork raises these likely issues. But consider how wounded the administration has already become. Last week, GOP Congresspersons voted to a person against the Porkapalooza Bill. Mitch McConnell promises similar thumping in Senate. Now howling about HHS Secretary Designate Tom Daschle who failed to pay income taxes on limo travel. Well what’s a guy supposed to do take the Metro like the office drones and military non-coms? Now GOP certainly on watch to make sure that FOCA, Fairness Doctrine, other horrors not baked into future Porkapalooza cakes. Then again, there are some of our esteemed bishops who are bound and determined to close Catholic medical facilities in their sees rather than open them for abortions. The number of those facilities closed, along with the willingness for these shepherds to be cuffed and booked, and repeated showings of videos for these acts, will determine survival of this administration. Unlike Mr. Bork, I am always in faith that when our lib brethren achieve too much power, they will find ways to f—- it up big time. As bishops said before Benedict, we always have hope.

  • It would help keep matters clear were we to put “government” in quotation marks. There is no thing or person out there which is the “government”. It is officials, and officials who must be kept conscious of their actions.

    Is there a difficulty in referring to Mr. Obama, and Mrs. Pelosi, and Mr. Biden, et hoc genus omne as baby-killers?

  • What happened to Bork’s righteous beard?

8 Responses to God, Lincoln and the Second Inaugural Address

  • Something for Mr. Obama to consider following his Abe-O-Rama inaugural. Note the somberness and sobriety, not to mention economy, of Mr. Lincoln’s address. Reminded me of nothing less than Dr. King’s final speech in Memphis, the night before his assassination. Trusting in God’s Will, proclaiming that it didn’t matter his fate, having ascended to the mountaintop. Still not sure that Mr. Obama approaches his office with the grave responsbility as these two great Americans. Too much of the air of Bill Clinton’s Party Presidency about him. We pray he will get far more serious.

  • Donald, I think you underrate this. This was not just the greatest inaugural address over, I believe this was the greatest political speech in American history.

  • “I believe this was the greatest political speech in American history”

    I’m not sure the Gettysburg Address doesn’t merit that honor. Or King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

  • I’ve always preferred this to the Gettysburg Address, though, really, it’s like choosing between prime rib and porterhouse.

  • Since we’re on the subject of great speeches in American history, I have to say that the Virginian in me is also somewhat partial to Mr. Henry’s speech at St. John’s Church in Richmond.

  • I intend to do a fisking of the Gettysburg address prior to February 12. As for Patrick Henry, I have always regarded him as the greatest American orator of the Eighteenth Century. People who heard Henry speak reported that the cold text of the speeches failed to give any indication of the enormous impact he had upon his listeners.

  • One hesitates to deprecate so [rhetorically] fine an address but there are a few flaws. Thus: “One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it”.

    While slavery was generally localized in the rebellious Southern states, there were slaves in the Union border states. And there were slaves in New England and the North. The last auction of slaves in New Jersey was held in 1846.

    As slavery persisted until the 1960s [v. Douglas Blackmon’s SLAVERY BY ANOTHER NAME], there is little to congratulate ourselves upon. Roger Taney has been vilified for the Dred Scott decision. But all he did was to point out the truth: blacks were not recognized as full U.S. citizens in no state.

    Samuel Johnson sneered at the DECLARATION: “Virginia slavers preaching equality”.

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One Response to Melancholy and Faith

  • Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844–89).

    ‘My own heart let me have more have pity on; let’

    MY own heart let me have more have pity on; let
    Me live to my sad self hereafter kind,
    Charitable; not live this tormented mind
    With this tormented mind tormenting yet.
    I cast for comfort I can no more get
    By groping round my comfortless, than blind
    Eyes in their dark can day or thirst can find
    Thirst ’s all-in-all in all a world of wet.

    Soul, self; come, poor Jackself, I do advise
    You, jaded, let be; call off thoughts awhile
    Elsewhere; leave comfort root-room; let joy size
    At God knows when to God knows what; whose smile
    ’s not wrung, see you; unforeseen times rather—as skies
    Betweenpie mountains—lights a lovely mile.

Now This Is An Archbishop!

Friday, January 30, AD 2009

archbishop-burke

Hattip to our commenter Phillip.  When Raymond Burke was Archbishop of Saint Louis he was a tireless advocate of the unborn and also tireless in taking to task those who supported abortion.  His elevation to be head of the Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signature in Rome has not diminshed his zeal for the pro-life cause.  In an interview in October of last year he stated that the Democrat party risked transforming itself into the party of death.

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36 Responses to Now This Is An Archbishop!

  • Huzzahs to Archbishop Burke!

    We really need to rid ourselves of such documents like Faithful Citizenship and the Seamless Garment. They do nothing for particular bishops that choose to hide themselves behind official-looking USCCB documents and not stand up for the Truth. They want to remain popular amongst their worldly friends. Other bishops simply disdain the pro-life position altogether because it doesn’t sync up with their favorite party, ie, the Democratic Party (or as Archbishop Burke calls them, the future party of death).

    Too many times has the USCCB and many of their documents been used as a parallel magesterium to justify their liberal agenda’s. It’s gotten to the point where the word “pastoral” is turning a dirty word. A code word for, “the hell am I going to tow the line of the teachings of Jesus, I have compassion! I dare not teach the Truth!”

    In the end, the bishops of each diocese need(s) to step up to the bat and get away from the USCCB.

  • The USCCB- now an inefficient entity in the manner of GM, Citi, too many city and state governments. GIGO here- garbage in, garbage out. Years of blah blah blah statements by the entity clearly contributed to the Catholic majority who voted for the Presidential candidate with the clear, unyielding pro-abortion bias. USCCB was useful during the post-JFK years- the ascending of ethnic Catholics into Americano Mainstream. It incorporated the Don’t Make Waves sentiment of most Americano Catlicks- get along go along don’t be too bold about speaking out. Thus the blah many of our priests deliver posing as Sunday homilies. Thus a culture deprived of the clear, solid teaching that the Church provides on these and other matters. Thus the rhetorical dancing of Cardinal McCarrick, retired D.C. archbishop, surrounding Liveshot Kerry’s fitness to receive Holy Communion. Nuanced beyond anyone’s ability to deduce, as it turns out. The conference is largely a welfare state of career laypeople moving the bishops into moderate-lib standings. I work for the welfare state in PA. I cannot tell you clearly if my position will be intact six months hence. Perhaps we should provide this kind of not so gentle persuasion to the USCCB and its support team. In tough economic times, the USCCB may be a luxury that the Church in the U.S. of A. cannot afford.

  • Gerard E.,

    Amen brother. Amen.

  • Gerard E.,

    How about puting up a pic on your ID. You comment enough to decorate our sidebar.

    Maybe a saint.

  • T- can I use the template for Huckleberry Hound, my childhood idol?

  • Gerard E.,

    You can use whatever you want, just as long as small kids can view it.

  • “But they’re not. The economic situation, or opposition to the war in Iraq, or whatever it may be, those things don’t rise to the same level as something that is always and everywhere evil, namely the killing of innocent and defenceless human life.””

    Some guy in another thread asked my opinion on Archbishop Burke’s statement on Faithful Citizenship. As a Catholic who wholeheartedly agrees with the Seamless Garment vision of what “pro-life” means, I actually agree with the basic idea that Burke expresses. He is right: not all “social justice” issues are of equal weight. He is right that the killing of innocent and defenseless human life is a unique category. The problem comes in when he and other Catholics assume that the unborn are the only innocent and defenseless persons being killed in the world today. Some would extend that to the elderly and the dying, of course. When Burke excludes, for example, “the war in Iraq,” does it not occur to him that 1) innocent and defenseless people are dying by the hundreds of thousands in the war and 2) if the war is unjust, as the Church declared over and over, then the killing involved necessarily involves “innocent persons,” persons who are innocent of whatever the claims are that lead to the war. Even economic matters involve the killing of innocent people; not, perhaps, in the direct, fast way that abortion or bombings do, but the slow death of hunger and poverty. These persons, too, are innocent and defenseless.

    So I agree with Burke, but only to the extent that his argument is not used to exclude painfully obvious cases of the killing of innocent persons for which american Catholics are responsible.

    We really need to rid ourselves of such documents like Faithful Citizenship and the Seamless Garment.

    You obviously have already done the individualist Catholic thing and have rid yourself of those documents, because you have repeatedly expressed your hatred of them. Respectfully, please leave the rest of us who take seriously the Church’s teaching on these matters alone.

    Too many times has the USCCB and many of their documents been used as a parallel magesterium to justify their liberal agenda’s. (sic)

    As I have pointed out to you before, the statements of the USCCB are part of the teaching exercise of the Church, and are thus part of the Magisterium, albeit with a particular kind of authority. You cannot simply dismiss them by charging that they are used as a “parallel Magisterium.”

    You can use whatever you want, just as long as small kids can view it.

    God forbid children read this blog!

  • Michael I.,

    The USCCB is not a parallel magisterium and nowhere do we as Catholics have to be adherents. Only to Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture and the Magisterium are Catholics obliged to taking instruction from, not some episcopal national conference.

    God forbid children read this blog!

    You read this blog don’t you? 😉

  • Michael,

    He is right that the killing of innocent and defenseless human life is a unique category. The problem comes in when he and other Catholics assume that the unborn are the only innocent and defenseless persons being killed in the world today. Some would extend that to the elderly and the dying, of course. When Burke excludes, for example, “the war in Iraq,” does it not occur to him that 1) innocent and defenseless people are dying by the hundreds of thousands in the war and 2) if the war is unjust, as the Church declared over and over, then the killing involved necessarily involves “innocent persons,” persons who are innocent of whatever the claims are that lead to the war. Even economic matters involve the killing of innocent people; not, perhaps, in the direct, fast way that abortion or bombings do, but the slow death of hunger and poverty. These persons, too, are innocent and defenseless.

    This is were you and the rest of your social justice liberal friends are off base, and being misled by a false notion of the “Seamless Garment”. Abp. Burke, and the Church are very clear that it is “deliberate” killing of innocent life which is intrinsically evil and can never be defended, and that it is especially heinous in the case of abortion and euthanasia.

    YOU know that the documents bear this out, yet you continue, to obstinately reject these teachings and repeat disseminate your error among the faithful.

    Matt 5:19 He therefore that shall break one of these least commandments, and shall so teach men, shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven.

  • The USCCB is not a parallel magisterium and nowhere do we as Catholics have to be adherents.

    Of course they are not a parallel magisterium. They are part of the Magisterium. I set you straight on this some time ago, citing JPII on the matter. Did JPII not sink in? Is JPII a parallel magisterium too? Have you “rid yourself” of everything JPII said that you don’t like?

  • Abp. Burke, and the Church are very clear that it is “deliberate” killing of innocent life which is intrinsically evil and can never be defended, and that it is especially heinous in the case of abortion and euthanasia.

    The Church does not limit the deliberate killing of innocent human life to abortion and euthanasia alone.

    YOU know that the documents bear this out, yet you continue, to obstinately reject these teachings and repeat disseminate your error among the faithful.

    I know the documents well and I do not reject anything about them.

  • Michael I.,

    I highly doubt that the USCCB is part of the Magisterium and the way you interpret I don’t find that wording anywhere.

  • Did you read what I posted some time ago in our discussion on this very blog on this topic?

  • Michael I.,

    If I did I forgot about it.

    Post me the link to your comments or just tell me the document that you are referencing by JP2. Or just post it here in its entirety.

  • Michael J. Iafrate,

    Matt: Abp. Burke, and the Church are very clear that it is “deliberate” killing of innocent life which is intrinsically evil and can never be defended, and that it is especially heinous in the case of abortion and euthanasia.

    The Church does not limit the deliberate killing of innocent human life to abortion and euthanasia alone.

    Ummm… why are you throwing out red herrings? I said it was especially heinous.

    YOU know that the documents bear this out, yet you continue, to obstinately reject these teachings and repeat disseminate your error among the faithful.

    I know the documents well and I do not reject anything about them.

    SO you acknowledge that:
    1. The deliberate killing of innocent life is intrinsically evil, however the unintentional killing, or policies which may result indirectly in loss of life is not.

    2. Abortion and euthanasia are the most serious forms of killing because they attack they target the most innocent and defenseless?

    3. Economics and other prudential matters as to how best to deal with poverty, hunger, maintaining peace, are subject to a variety of opinion as to how best to deal with them.

    If you do, please stop disregarding these teachings in order to try and further your personal inclinations.

    Finally the USCCB is not endowed with doctrinal authority in matters of faith and morals, so it is not magisterial as such. The college of bishops in communion with the Holy See constitute the magisterium.

    This document may help you to conform your understanding of the place of the national councils of bishops in the Church.

    http://benedettoxvi.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/motu_proprio/documents/hf_jp-ii_motu-proprio_22071998_apostolos-suos_en.html

  • Michael I.,

    What Matt “Mark” McDonald said.

  • I believe I posted excerpts from Apostolos Suos. You, and others, are absolutely right to recognize the limited nature of the authority of statements by Episcopal Conferences. But you are wrong to imply that we should “rid ourselves” of them. The authority of a particular document varies depending on a number of criteria. If the document expresses the position of the universal magisterium (as opposed to a local expression of the magisterium) then its authority obviously has more weight. From the passages below, it seems that the acknowledgment of the “limited” nature of the authority of local magisterial teaching is not meant to give the faithful in that area an “out,” so to speak, but to prevent one local church’s teaching from simply being transferred to another, i.e. from saying that the teaching of the u.s. bishops has authority for the church in France, for example.

    It is important to distinguish between different parts and levels of magisterial teaching, and I don’t think you are doing so. It sounds to me like you are using “magisterium” to refer only to papal teaching, when in fact 1) “magisterium” refers to the teaching office of the pope and the bishops 2) there is “universal” magisterial teaching as well as localized expressions of magisterial teaching.

    As far as Faithful Citizenship goes, if you are intending to “rid yourself” of its teaching authority, it seems to me the burden of proof is on YOU to show how its exercise of the teaching office (magisterium) is in disharmony with that of the universal magisterium.

    Some relevant passages:

    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/motu_proprio/documents/hf_jp-ii_motu-proprio_22071998_apostolos-suos_en.html

    21. The joint exercise of the episcopal ministry also involves the teaching office. The Code of Canon Law establishes the fundamental norm in this regard: “Although they do not enjoy infallible teaching authority, the Bishops in communion with the head and members of the college, whether as individuals or gathered in Conferences of Bishops or in particular councils, are authentic teachers and instructors of the faith for the faithful entrusted to their care; the faithful must adhere to the authentic teaching of their own Bishops with a sense of religious respect (religioso animi obsequio)”.(79) Apart from this general norm the Code also establishes, more concretely, some areas of doctrinal competence of the Conferences of Bishops, such as providing “that catechisms are issued for its own territory if such seems useful, with the prior approval of the Apostolic See”,(80) and the approval of editions of the books of Sacred Scripture and their translations.(81)

    The concerted voice of the Bishops of a determined territory, when, in communion with the Roman Pontiff, they jointly proclaim the catholic truth in matters of faith and morals, can reach their people more effectively and can make it easier for their faithful to adhere to the magisterium with a sense of religious respect. In faithfully exercising their teaching office, the Bishops serve the word of God, to which their teaching is subject, they listen to it devoutly, guard it scrupulously and explain it faithfully in such a way that the faithful receive it in the best manner possible.(82) Since the doctrine of the faith is a common good of the whole Church and a bond of her communion, the Bishops, assembled in Episcopal Conference, must take special care to follow the magisterium of the universal Church and to communicate it opportunely to the people entrusted to them.

    22. In dealing with new questions and in acting so that the message of Christ enlightens and guides people’s consciences in resolving new problems arising from changes in society, the Bishops assembled in the Episcopal Conference and jointly exercizing their teaching office are well aware of the limits of their pronouncements. While being official and authentic and in communion with the Apostolic See, these pronouncements do not have the characteristics of a universal magisterium. For this reason the Bishops are to be careful to avoid interfering with the doctrinal work of the Bishops of other territories, bearing in mind the wider, even world-wide, resonance which the means of social communication give to the events of a particular region.

    Taking into account that the authentic magisterium of the Bishops, namely what they teach insofar as they are invested with the authority of Christ, must always be in communion with the Head of the College and its members,(83) when the doctrinal declarations of Episcopal Conferences are approved unanimously, they may certainly be issued in the name of the Conferences themselves, and the faithful are obliged to adhere with a sense of religious respect to that authentic magisterium of their own Bishops. However, if this unanimity is lacking, a majority alone of the Bishops of a Conference cannot issue a declaration as authentic teaching of the Conference to which all the faithful of the territory would have to adhere, unless it obtains the recognitio of the Apostolic See, which will not give it if the majority requesting it is not substantial. The intervention of the Apostolic See is analogous to that required by the law in order for the Episcopal Conference to issue general decrees.(84) The recognitio of the Holy See serves furthermore to guarantee that, in dealing with new questions posed by the accelerated social and cultural changes characteristic of present times, the doctrinal response will favour communion and not harm it, and will rather prepare an eventual intervention of the universal magisterium.

  • Michael I.,

    The national episcopal conferences are disciplinary organizations and not defined doctrinally or dogmatically.

    I’m completely entitled to my opinion that they should be severely limited in scope, not part of the Magisterium, and possibly even eliminated.

  • Michael I,

    You, and others, are absolutely right to recognize the limited nature of the authority of statements by Episcopal Conferences. But you are wrong to imply that we should “rid ourselves” of them.

    We are completely within our rights as Catholics to judge that the USCCB is not a good organization, and it’s fruits have shown this. There is no doctrine or dogma that prevents us from opposing it’s continued existence.

  • SO you acknowledge that:
    1. The deliberate killing of innocent life is intrinsically evil, however the unintentional killing, or policies which may result indirectly in loss of life is not.

    Yes, I agree with this, but you are talking about two abstract categories. It is far from clear where to draw the line in many cases. Of course abortion is deliberate. Accidentally hitting someone with your car when you slide on ice is unintentional. The massive amounts of “collateral damage” involved in the u.s. bombing of Iraq involves both intentional and unintentional killing. Even those cases where the killing is claimed to be “unintentional” by the u.s. govt’ is often bogus because care is not taken to prevent preventable killing from occurring, and in such cases responsibility is greater. If I have a gun in my home and I am careless with how I handle the gun and recklessly use it without regard for who will be hurt, I am responsible even if I could somehow claim that shooting someone was “unintentional.”

    In short, the intentional/unintentional distinction is sometimes obvious. Most of the time it is not obvious.

    2. Abortion and euthanasia are the most serious forms of killing because they attack they target the most innocent and defenseless?

    Abortion is certainly a special category and is in some sense the most grave form of killing, absolutely. I’m not sure about the categories “most innocent” and “most defenseless.” When it comes to killing, the Church thinks about “innocence” in terms of whether or not there is some justification for killing the person (i.e. self-defense), not in terms of the person’s general moral state. Bombing an entire city, for example, IS killing innocent people in the sense of killing people when there is no justification for doing so, not in the sense that everyone in the city is sinless. It sounds to me like you are using “innocent” in the latter sense.

    3. Economics and other prudential matters as to how best to deal with poverty, hunger, maintaining peace, are subject to a variety of opinion as to how best to deal with them.

    Of course I agree with this.

    If you do, please stop disregarding these teachings in order to try and further your personal inclinations.

    I’m not disregarding any of it. The seriousness with which the Church takes the killing of human beings is deep and complex. It is much deeper and more complex than you are willing to admit.

  • I’m completely entitled to my opinion that they should be severely limited in scope, not part of the Magisterium, and possibly even eliminated.

    You are in disagreement with JPII and Paul VI.

  • I’m completely entitled to my opinion that they should be severely limited in scope, not part of the Magisterium, and possibly even eliminated.

    You are in disagreement with JPII and Paul VI.,

    While JPII and Paul VI, at least publicly have not called for the elimination of or severe limitation on the episcopal conferences…. they most definitely have suggested that to believe such is contrary to the teaching of the Church.

  • “not suggested” that is.

  • Michael I.,

    What Matt “Mark” McDonald said.

    I sincerely enjoyed the conversation and you certainly got me thinking (hard). Unfortunately I need to leave for confessions and Mass at the beautiful Holy Rosary Church (5:15pm on 3617 Milam St, Houston, TX 77002 — for those that are near and want to receive Jesus).

    Have a great weekend!

    In Jesus, Mary, & Joseph,

    Tito

  • May I point out the use of the word “unanimous” with reference to the statements of such as USCCB. There is no single authority – no pope – in the USCCB.

    And I have heard-tell that many of the statements are drawn up by the employees of the conference. They are a kind of committee agreement. [NB: the committee color is mud].

    The teaching authority of the bishops – of each bishop – is limited to his diocese.

  • And I have heard-tell that many of the statements are drawn up by the employees of the conference.

    This is the same with many papal statements.

  • But papal statements must be approved by one authoritative person: the pope.

  • Mr. Iafrate, you wrote:
    if the war is unjust, as the Church declared over and over, then the killing involved necessarily involves “innocent persons,” persons who are innocent of whatever the claims are that lead to the war.

    Uh, no. As the CCC n.2309 notes, after explaining the conditions for a just war: “The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good.” In other words, while the conditions are absolute, there is some leeway in their application, which moreover is the task of those in government. IOW, the Church doesn’t get to make the call.

    Also, you claim people are dying by the hundreds of thousands in the war

    Iraq Body Count lists just under 100,000 civilian deaths for the nearly 6-year period of the war, working out to approx 17,000 per year. Even assuming that all these were deliberate — certainly not true — more infants are murdered by abortionists, in the US alone, in a single week than the civilians killed in the Iraq war in a year.

    And that’s not taking into account the particular conditions that Pope John Paul says makes abortion especially grave.

    The reversal of the Mexico City Policy means that US Aid money will be funneled into abortion-promoting organizations, with the certain result that more babies than ever will be killed abroad.

  • In other words, while the conditions are absolute, there is some leeway in their application, which moreover is the task of those in government. IOW, the Church doesn’t get to make the call.

    The Church reserves the right to “make the call” on EVERYTHING. We do NOT give that kind of authority to the state.

    Funny, how in another thread you were saying to leave certain things to the Church and not the state because the state shouldn’t have that power. Here you are arguing just the opposite.

    Christ and his Church are the only authority for Catholics. Not the state.

    Even assuming that all these were deliberate — certainly not true — more infants are murdered by abortionists, in the US alone, in a single week than the civilians killed in the Iraq war in a year.

    So what? Does this make the deaths of human beings due to an UNJUST WAR less serious? Of course not.

  • Michael,

    necessarily involves “innocent persons,” persons who are innocent of whatever the claims are that lead to the war.

    this is not true at all. An unjust war could involve only the killing of men involved with serious evil, their deaths may be unjust, but that doesn’t make them innocent. The justness of a war does not prevent innocent’s from being killed at all. Even enemy soldiers may be innocent of any sin, and yet they are justly killed if that is the only possible means of neutralizing them as a threat.

    The Church reserves the right to “make the call” on EVERYTHING. We do NOT give that kind of authority to the state.

    This may be true, but she did not take this step in this case, the comments by the Holy Father and various bishops are not in any way given as absolute and definitive. They would never do so without knowing what the president knows.

    Funny, how in another thread you were saying to leave certain things to the Church and not the state because the state shouldn’t have that power. Here you are arguing just the opposite.

    Now you’re arguing with the Church??
    “The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good.”

  • Michael,

    one more thing, a question. Do you believe that the Iraq war is a moral equivalent to the holocaust of abortion?

    The reason I ask, is that every time the subject of abortion comes up, you bring up the Iraq war… every time.

  • An unjust war could involve only the killing of men involved with serious evil, their deaths may be unjust, but that doesn’t make them innocent. The justness of a war does not prevent innocent’s from being killed at all. Even enemy soldiers may be innocent of any sin, and yet they are justly killed if that is the only possible means of neutralizing them as a threat.

    You are completely missing my point regarding what it means when the Church talks about killing innocent persons.

    Killing “enemy” soldiers in a war that does not meet just war requirements is still MURDER even if it is justified by the state as a “means of neutralizing them as a threat.” What part of the Church’s authoritative just war teaching do you not understand, or rather, REJECT?

    Do you believe that the Iraq war is a moral equivalent to the holocaust of abortion?

    I agree with the judgment of the Vatican and the USCCB (and the rest of the worldwide Catholic communion, apart from nationalistic american Catholics) that the Iraq War did not meet just war requirements. Thus, the killing taking place in that war is unjustified and, thus, murder. I believe that the killing involved in the holocaust of abortion is also, obviously unjustified, and thus, murder. So yes, because I stand with the Church’s judgment on the Iraq War, I think they are equivalent in the sense that they are both murder. They are not equivalent in a technical sense because they involve different types of killing and different types of political options which contribute to them.

    The reason I ask, is that every time the subject of abortion comes up, you bring up the Iraq war… every time.

    I didn’t bring it up. Burke did. I was referring to his statement.

  • Michael J. Iafrate,
    An unjust war could involve only the killing of men involved with serious evil, their deaths may be unjust, but that doesn’t make them innocent. The justness of a war does not prevent innocent’s from being killed at all. Even enemy soldiers may be innocent of any sin, and yet they are justly killed if that is the only possible means of neutralizing them as a threat.

    You are completely missing my point regarding what it means when the Church talks about killing innocent persons.

    Killing “enemy” soldiers in a war that does not meet just war requirements is still MURDER even if it is justified by the state as a “means of neutralizing them as a threat.” What part of the Church’s authoritative just war teaching do you not understand, or rather, REJECT?

    Nothing in your response contradicts what I said, nor does anything in my statement contradict Church teaching. It was your original statement that the justness of a war affects the innocence of any particular casualties, which it does not.

    Do you believe that the Iraq war is a moral equivalent to the holocaust of abortion?

    I agree with the judgment of the Vatican and the USCCB (and the rest of the worldwide Catholic communion, apart from nationalistic american Catholics) that the Iraq War did not meet just war requirements. Thus, the killing taking place in that war is unjustified and, thus, murder. I believe that the killing involved in the holocaust of abortion is also, obviously unjustified, and thus, murder. So yes, because I stand with the Church’s judgment on the Iraq War, I think they are equivalent in the sense that they are both murder. They are not equivalent in a technical sense because they involve different types of killing and different types of political options which contribute to them.

    Ok, I’m sorry if you didn’t understand the question. Let me define what I mean by “moral equivalence”. I don’t mean that they are the same thing in a technical sense, it is that they are the morally equivalent, meaning neither is more or less morally evil. Let me use an example that might help. 6 million jews were killed in the shoah, merely for the fact they were jewish. I believe that is far worse than say, when North Korea invaded South Korea, where hundreds of thousands died, it is less evil in that it’s intentions where not sppecifically to cause those deaths, that most of the deaths were armed military personnel, and the easiest one, it was a small percentage of those who were killed in the shoah. I believe it would be morally repugnant to minimize the shoah by comparing it to a relatively lesser evil.

    So, do you consider the holocaust of abortion (40 Million worldwide annually) to be morally equivalent to the Iraq war (WHICH IS BY THE WAY…. OVER)?

  • Again, you are completely missing my point regarding what it means when the Church talks about killing innocent persons.

    I don’t mean that they are the same thing in a technical sense, it is that they are the morally equivalent, meaning neither is more or less morally evil.

    So, do you consider the holocaust of abortion (40 Million worldwide annually) to be morally equivalent to the Iraq war (WHICH IS BY THE WAY…. OVER)?

    Yes, they are morally equivalent. Numbers do not enter into it on the level of moral equivalence. Perhaps it might on the level of practical political action, but that is another question. I would also point out that the Shoah is also over, so even if the Iraq War were “over” (and it’s obviously not — what the hell are you smoking?) I’m not sure what the point is. When something is “over,” that means we should take it less seriously? Obviously not, or you would not invoke the Shoah as part of your argument.

  • Michael,

    Yes, they are morally equivalent.

    That’s what I figured you’d say.

    Iraq War were “over” (and it’s obviously not — what the hell are you smoking?)

    What have YOU been smoking? It’s over. Iraq has had several election cycles, they are largely responsible for security, the US has started to withdraw to bases in order to complete the transition and leave the country.

    When something is “over,” that means we should take it less seriously?

    No, but those babies are still being murdered daily, and we ought to take it more urgently (even if you believe it’s somehow no more heinous than the Iraq war, in contradiction to the words of Abp. Burke and the Holy Father).

244-188

Thursday, January 29, AD 2009

broke-uncle-sam1

Bravo to the 177 Republicans, every member of the GOP in the house, and the 11 brave Democrats, who voted against the 819 billion Bankrupt the Nation Act of 2009.  This pork laden monstrosity may well serve as an example for future historians, along with the Bailout Swindle of 2008, as the culminating acts of fiscal madness that led to the decline, at least temporarily, of the US as an economic power.  This also sends a message to the Public: ” You wanted change?  This is the change you are getting.”  This policy is now owned lock and stock by the Democrat party.  If it works, something I think unlikely in the extreme, they will be in power for a generation.  If it does not, 2010 and 2012 might be very good years for the Grand Old Party.  In either case, the public is going to be given a clear choice next time around.

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17 Responses to 244-188

  • Well, I think the economy will control the electoral outcomes either way (barring a major international event). It’s not clear to me that most of the programs included in the bill (e.g. infrastructure spending, unemployment insurance, health insurance, education) are broadly unpopular. I think the next couple of years were going to come down to economic performance either way. In the long-term, the effects of the additional debt could be significant; but I don’t think that this will have much affect on shorter-term electoral prospects.

  • Mister, we could use some men like Herbert Hoover again…

  • Ah, Mr. DeFrancisis, Norman Lear, and his ilk of social liberals, helped lead the Democrats into a political wilderness that began with Reagan and ended in 2006. Obama is your great hope. If he and his plans to transform the US come a cropper, then it is back to the wilderness for your party. As for the Hoover reference, what Obama is trying now is much like FDR’s New Deal, except that FDR went on his spending binge with a nation that was relatively debt free, and that FDR focused on policies that were tailored to give an immediate shot in the arm to the economy, unlike much of the misnamed stimulus package. We of course also know with hindsight that the New Deal did not work, and that the economy remained ailing, until WW2 rescued both it and FDR’s historical reputation.

  • The G.E. Master Plan is working. My deep-seated theory that when everything comes out of the washer, Mr. Obama will be the Dems’ worst nightmare. He has united the dispirited GOP troops in the House into a fighting, with the assistance of a dozen Blue Dog Dems. Now onto the Senate, where the most capable and imaginative Mitch McConnell can marshall his own lads- and possibly lasses like nearly lib Susan Collins. When the package fails- and mark my words dear brethren it will- the Pubs will be well out of the range of the shrapnel. Perhaps real hope and change in ’10 and ’12. We will not even get into the electronic spitting contest that the Obamaites are now engaging in against Prof. Dr. Limbaugh. The esteemed Mark Twain observed that it was not wise to engage in a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel. Same with one who has access to a dozen 50kw blowtorch stations- WABC, KFI, WLS, KMOX, WPHT, WHO. Cold fun in the wintertime.

  • Contrary to popular imagination, Hoover didn’t just sit back and do nothing after the stock market collapse. Hoover engaged in the very sort of economic engineering that FDR would enact and Obama is attempting right now. In fact, FDR ran to Hoover’s right on certain economic matters. Hoover and FDR both failed to stimulate the economy to recovery through their efforts at intervention.

  • That is, House Pubs united as a ‘fighting force.’ Of course, of course.

  • Gerard, you are on target as usual.

    Paul, you are quite right. Hoover was quite the interventionist in regard to the economy while in the White House, although he grew more conservative after he got booted out. I have always liked Coolidge’s line about Hoover: “For six years that man has given me unsolicited advice—all of it bad.”

  • nearly lib Susan Collins.

    Nearly? heheh…

    Henry,

    you’re quite right, a lot of this spending is “popular”, the old adage goes: “when you rob Peter to pay Paul, it’s likely to win the support of paul”.

    Given the current circumstances though, Peter is the employer of Andrew, James and John who will lose their jobs because Peter has no money to pay them… I suspect the policy will be less than popular with the other apostles…

  • “Mister, we could use some men like Herbert Hoover again…”

    Barney Frank? Chris Dodd?

  • …And where were all those united no votes when the Republicans actually had power? Oh yeah, they were calling Ron Paul a crank.

    Further proof that Republicans only stick to their values when conveniently not in charge.

    For the G.O.P. I doubt this is about economic principle and more about denying Obama any claim to a bipartisan effort.

    If it “works” Americans will come out of it poorer, more dependent on the state and with a dollar better used as toilet paper.

    If it doesn’t then actual political change will have to occur.

    Either way… it won’t be boring!

  • The problem is, if the business cycle corrects as it usually does, we’ll never be able to tease out the causality behind the recovery, and the stimulus plan will look like it worked regardless of its actual impact.

  • J.,

    if the business cycle corrects itself in the next two years despite the “stimulus” package I will be very surprised, such a result could cause more harm than good in the long run with such an expansion.

  • Heh, here’s another piece that tackles the myth of Hoover’s do-nothingism,

  • Anthony — you are spot on. If I were in Congress, I would have thrown my vote to sink this bill.

  • Anthony & Eric,

    I couldn’t agree more. The GOP spent to high-hog heaven when they were in power. They got what they deserved.

    But Obama’s ‘New New Deal’ is scary to say the least. Throwing money at a problem never seems to work when done at the governmental level.

  • Nice weblog my friend, good job 🙂

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10 Responses to 50 Years

  • Stuff happens. Hard to build a house in the center of a hurricane. Hard to implement the good fruits of the Council during the howling and raging of the GoGo 60s. As many of our folk with alleged vocations went buck wild, bowing to the weird trends of a weird era. Out of that ferment emerged our beloved Johannes Paulus may he get the Big Halo soon. Who dedicated his pontificate to the proper implementation of V2. Possibly did far more. Meanwhile a good time to remember fondly our beloved Blessed Pope John and pray for his intercession in our hard cold world. With fewer geetar Masses, please.

  • Donald,

    excellent post. Here’s a little known item on Bl. John XXIII. He is lying in St. Peter’s Basilica in a glass sarcophagus, looking as well as he did they day he died. He was embalmed, so he will never be declared incorruptible, but it is quite amazing how well preserved he is considering he’s been dead so long.

  • Hard to build a house in the center of a hurricane.

    The lesson may be… don’t try to do a lot of home renovations during a hurricane…. 🙂

  • The lesson may be… don’t try to do a lot of home renovations during a hurricane

    Indeed.

    Though in that regard, I can’t helping thinking that Vatican II would have been safely and better carried out in the 20s or 30s rather than the 60s.

    And, of course, I think it would have helped if some of the visual changes were much more incremental. (For instance, I imagine there would have been much less split over the mass if it had been required that all of the Novus Ordo except the readings be said in Latin, and greater use of the vernacular only very gradually introduced.)

    Either way, all traditional religions took a beating in the 60s and 70s — the Orthodox and conservatives Jews no less so than Catholicism. Perhaps it was just a bad time.

  • DarwinCatholic,

    I quite agree. In many ways VII’s reforms perhaps should have been part of VI which was interrupted before it had run it’s course due to wars.

    if it had been required that all of the Novus Ordo except the readings be said in Latin

    It was according to Sacrosanctum Concillium and a number of exhortations from Paul VI. Only the propers were to be in vernacular and only on a limited basis.

    and greater use of the vernacular only very gradually introduced.

    of course this was never called for by V-II, or Paul VI. By the time JP II it was a ‘fait accompit’. Benedict has been attempting to reverse this course along with all of the other excesses, with some notable success, but much work to complete.

  • It normally takes a generation or two after a council for the Church to settle and right its course.

    We need to continue to pray and be witnesses to our faith to get through these times.

  • JPII and B16 were and are major advocates of the Council. That’s good enough for me. 🙂

    More substantially, recall that many of the problems came not in 1965, but after 1968, i.e. after the dissent regarding Humane Vitae and after the “cultural revolutions” in Europe and the US. I agree with those who argue that the Church might well have been *worse* off in facing the post-’68 world without the Council, and I concur with Tito that upheaval after a Council is the historical norm.

    Incidentally, both JPII and B16 argue/d that the Council had yet to be fully implemented, and I concur with that as wel… we did the “easy” stuff (and in some cases [liturgy] did so poorly), but the more substantial renewal remains unaccomplished.

  • When the secular world was going through a period of chaotic change in the sixties, it was inopportune, to say the least, that Vatican II gave the impression to quite a few Catholics that suddenly everything was up for grabs. Small wonder that Humanae Vitae came as a shock to many Catholics, since so many earthshaking changes had come so swiftly that they could be excused for thinking that yet another change from tradition was in the offing.

    Two questions that I would throw out for analysis: What has the Church, if anything, gained by Vatican II that was lacking in the Church prior to Vatican II? What, if anything, is the Church post Vatican II lacking that the Church prior to Vatican II possessed?

  • Donald, to your first paragraph I’d reiterate what I noted above: the cultural turmoil didn’t occur for years *after* the Council. John didn’t call the Council in the midst of turmoil, nor did the Council convene in the midst of turmoil. Rather, it all happened some years later.

    I’m not sure what to make of your two questions… I think they could be posed to virtually any Council, given that the Deposit of Faith is one and the same throughout time.

  • Differ with you as a matter of historical fact Chris. Sixty-eight was a high point of the turmoil in the US, but the entire sixties was a period of rapid and chaotic change throughout most of the world. Sixty-eight was merely a display case for trends already well under way. That this was thought so at the time is demonstrated by many contemporary documents available on the net. I would direct your attention to Time January 4, 1963 in the issue where Pope John XXIII was declared Man of the Year:

    “By launching a reform whose goal is to make the Catholic Church sine macula et ruga (without spot or wrinkle), John set out to adapt his church’s whole life and stance to the revolutionary changes in science, economics, morals and politics that have swept the modern world: to make it, in short, more Catholic and less Roman.”

    http://www.time.com/time/subscriber/personoftheyear/archive/stories/1962.html

    This statement I find hilarious from the Time article in light of the experience of the last 45 years: “The great majority of Protestant and Catholic clergymen and theologians—as well as many non-Christians—agree that Christianity is much stronger today than it was when World War II ended. Their reason is not the postwar “religious revival” (which many of them distrust as superficial) or the numerical strength of Christianity. It is that the Christian Church has finally recognized and faced the problems that have cut off much of its communication with the modern world. Says Notre Dame’s President Theodore Hesburgh: “We better understand the job that is before us. The challenge is to make religion relevant to real life.””

    As for my two questions, the Deposit of the Faith is the same always for the Church as a sacred institution in eternity. Here on earth, and in time, the Church as an earthly institution has differed greatly in what it has emphasized and what it has not over time and also with the success it has met with. For example, the somewhat moribund Church of the Avignon Papacy had precisely the same Deposit of the Faith as the dynamic Church of the Counter Reformation, yet the Church in these time periods differed greatly on many points, and also as to the success with which the gospel of Christ was presented to the world during these two ages. I have always thought that an examination of how the Church has functioned in different ages as an earthly institution can be useful in helping to understand the problems and successes of the Church in current times.

8 Responses to The Angelic Doctor

The Great Divide

Wednesday, January 28, AD 2009

Some people think that the most important division is between those who believe in God and those who do not.  Others say the true dividing line is between conservatives and liberals.  Yet more regard humanity’s separation into men and women to be all important.  Rubbish!!!

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3 Responses to The Great Divide