Donald R. McClarey
Four Cardinals wrote a letter to the Pope on September 19, 2016 asking for clarification in regard to portions of Amoris Laetitia. Having received no response, the four Cardinals have gone public. Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa gives us the details:
ROME, November 14, 2016 – The letter and the five questions presented in their entirety further below have no need of much explanation. It is enough to read them. What is new is that the four cardinals who had them delivered to Francis last September 19, without receiving a reply, have decided to make them public with the encouragement of this very silence on the part of the pope, in order to “continue the reflection and the discussion” with “the whole people of God.”
They explain this in the foreword to the publication of the complete text. And one thinks right away of Matthew 18:16-17: “If your brother will not listen to you, take with you two or three witnesses. If then he will not listen even to them, tell it to the assembly.”
The “witness” in this case was Cardinal Gerhard L. Müller, prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith. Because he too, in addition to the pope, had been a recipient of the letter and the questions.
The five questions are in fact formulated as in the classic submissions to the congregation for the doctrine of the faith. Formulated, that is, in such a way that they can be responded to with a simple yes or no.
As a rule, the responses given by the congregation explicitly mention the approval of the pope. And in the routine audiences that Francis gave to the cardinal prefect after the delivery of the letter and the questions, it is a sure bet that the two talked about them.
But in point of fact the appeal from the four cardinals received no reply, neither from Cardinal Müller nor from the pope, evidently at the behest of the latter.
The four cardinals who signed this letter and are now making it public are not among those who a year ago, at the beginning of the second session of the synod on the family, delivered to Francis the famous letter “of the thirteen cardinals”:
The thirteen were all members of the synod and in full service in their respective dioceses. Or they held important positions in the curia, like cardinals Robert Sarah, George Pell, and Müller himself.
These four, however, while all are recognized for their authoritativeness, have no operational roles, either for reasons of age or because they have been dismissed.
And that makes them more free. It is no mystery, in fact, that their appeal has been and is shared by not a few other cardinals who are still fully active, as well as high-ranking bishops and archbishops of West and East, who however precisely because of this have decided to remain in the shadows.
In a few days, on November 19 and 20, the whole college of cardinals will meet in Rome, for the consistory convoked by Pope Francis. And inevitably the appeal of the four cardinals will become the subject of animated discussion among them.
The ebb and flow of history. It was at the consistory of February 2014 that Francis gave the go-ahead for the long trek that resulted in the exhortation “Amoris Laetitia,” when he entrusted to Cardinal Walter Kasper the opening talk, in support of communion for the divorced and remarried.
Right away at that consistory the controversy broke out with the greatest intensity. And it is the same one that divides the Church even more today, including at the highest levels, seeing how the unclear suggestions of “Amoris Laetitia” are being contradictorily interpreted and applied.
Kasper is German and, curiously, two of the cardinals who – on the side opposite his – have published the present appeal are also German, not to mention Cardinal Müller, who signed the letter “of the thirteen” and now has received this other no less explosive letter.
The division in the Church is there. And it conspicuously runs through precisely that Church of Germany which represents for many the most advanced point of change.
And Pope Francis remains silent. Perhaps because he thinks that “oppositions help,” as he explained to his Jesuit confrere Antonio Spadaro in giving over for publication the anthology of his discourses as archbishop of Buenos Aires, which have been in bookstores for a few days.
“Human life is structured in oppositional form. And that is also what is happening now in the Church. Tensions need not necessarily be resolved and regulated. They are not like contradictions.”
But that’s just the point. Here it is a matter of contradictions. Yes or no. These and no others are the fitting answers to the five questions of the four cardinals, on the crucial points of Church doctrine and life brought into question by “Amoris Laetitia.”
Now it’s their turn.
In addition to Italian, English, French, and Spanish, the whole document is also available in Portuguese and German translations:
One hundred years ago the United States went through a presidential election that was hard fought and narrowly decided. Woodrow Wilson, the only Democrat elected President since the Civil War, except for the two terms of Grover Cleveland, largely owed his election in 1912 to the Republican schism that caused Theodore Roosevelt to run as the candidate of the Progressive (Bull Moose) Party, winning more votes than the Republican candidate President William Howard Taft, and ensuring victory for the Democrats.
The Republican Party standard bearer, Charles Evans Hughes, resigned from the Supreme Court to run. A moderate, Hughes mollified and unified the Republican Party conservative and progressive factions. This was underlined when Theodore Roosevelt declined the nomination of the Progressive Party, announcing his support for Hughes. Wilson now faced a united Republican party.
The Democrats, ironically in light of subsequent developments centered their campaign around the slogan, “He kept us out of war.” Hughes barnstormed the nation, as did Theodore Roosevelt who tirelessly campaigned for Hughes. Hughes attacked increasing business regulation by the Wilson administration as an infringement on traditional American freedom.
Ultimately Wilson won on November 7, 1916, with a popular vote margin of 600,000 out of 17 and a half million votes cast, and an electoral vote count of 277-254. 266 electoral college votes were needed to win and the election was decided by California’s 13 electoral votes, which took several days to count, keeping the nation in suspense. Less than four thousand votes, out of almost a million cast, constituted Wilson’s victory margin over Hughes. Continue reading
One Peter Five brings us the latest dropping from our Red Pope:
In yet another interview with Eugenio Scalfari (see our standard rebuttal to “you can’t trust Scalfari!” here), this exchange was reported to have taken place:
You told me some time ago that the precept, “Love your neighbour as thyself” had to change, given the dark times that we are going through, and become “more than thyself.” So you yearn for a society where equality dominates. This, as you know, is the programme of Marxist socialism and then of communism. Are you therefore thinking of a Marxist type of society?
“It it has been said many times and my response has always been that, if anything, it is the communists who think like Christians. Christ spoke of a society where the poor, the weak and the marginalized have the right to decide. Not demagogues, not Barabbas, but the people, the poor, whether they have faith in a transcendent God or not. It is they who must help to achieve equality and freedom”. [emphasis added]
One of the most hotly contested criticism of Pope Francis is that he is ideologically aligned with Marxists. We’ve covered some of the connections before, so I won’t rehash them here. What seems fair to say is that this is the most direct admission yet that Francis identifies his program of social justice as something compatible with Communism – itself an intrinsic evil. Continue reading
Language advisory as to the above video due to foul mouthed liberals.
Philosopher Edward Feser takes a look at schadenfreude:
Bill Vallicella asks: Is there a righteous form of schadenfreude? The Angelic Doctor appears to answer in the affirmative. Speaking of the knowledge that the blessed in heaven have of the damned, Aquinas famously says:
It is written (Psalm 57:11): “The just shall rejoice when he shall see the revenge”…
Therefore the blessed will rejoice in the punishment of the wicked…
A thing may be a matter of rejoicing in two ways. First directly, when one rejoices in a thing as such: and thus the saints will not rejoice in the punishment of the wicked. Secondly, indirectly, by reason namely of something annexed to it: and in this way the saints will rejoice in the punishment of the wicked, by considering therein the order of Divine justice and their own deliverance, which will fill them with joy. And thus the Divine justice and their own deliverance will be the direct cause of the joy of the blessed: while the punishment of the damned will cause it indirectly.
End quote. So, the idea is this: On the one hand, the suffering of a person is not as such something to rejoice in, for suffering, considered just by itself, is an evil and, as Aquinas goes on to say, “to rejoice in another’s evil as such belongs to hatred.” However, there can be something “annexed” to the suffering which is a cause for rejoicing. For example, if we are able to develop a virtue like patience by way of suffering, that is something to rejoice in, and thus in an indirect way the suffering can in that case legitimately be a cause of rejoicing. But another sort of thing which can be annexed to a person’s suffering is justice, as when a person suffers some harm as a deserved punishment. And someone’s getting his just deserts is in Aquinas’s view something to rejoice in. Hence, Aquinas concludes, in an indirect way the suffering of the wicked can be something to rejoice in.
This is in Aquinas’s view true even when the suffering is eternal, if that is what is deserved. Indeed, he judges that the joy of the blessed would be incomplete without knowledge of the infliction of these just deserts:
Wherefore in order that the happiness of the saints may be more delightful to them and that they may render more copious thanks to God for it, they are allowed to see perfectly the sufferings of the damned.
Now, that’s schadenfreude, big league.
Putting the question of hell to one side, though, we can note that if schadenfreude can be legitimate even in that case, then a fortiori it can be legitimate in the case of lesser instances of someone getting his just deserts, in this life rather than the afterlife. For example – and to take the case Bill has in mind — suppose someone’s suffering is a consequence of anti-Catholic bigotry, brazen corruption, unbearable smugness, a sense of entitlement, groupthink, and in general from hubris virtually begging nemesis to pay a visit. When you’re really asking for it, you can’t blame others for enjoying seeing you get it. Continue reading
The usual open thread rules apply. Be concise, be charitable and, above all, be amusing.
(If faithful readers of the blog will permit me the indulgence of resurrecting this post from March 2 of this year.)
Hattip to commenter Ernst Schreiber for the idea behind this post.
As faithful readers of this blog know, I am a strong opponent of Donald Trump. I view him as an ignorant blowhard, a Democrat in a skimpy Republican disguise, and a disaster in the making of epic proportions if he should be elected President. I will not vote for him if he is the Republican nominee, an easy call for me since if Illinois is in play Trump is heading for a landslide win in any case. However, unlike many Trump critics my opposition to him does not have anything to do with his electability in the fall. If Clinton is the Democrat nominee I think it likely that Trump will win. Here is why.
1. Clinton Smear Machine-Unlike most candidates I think Trump is largely immune to smears. Throughout his career he has been subject to a largely bad press. Except for cannibalism and incest Trump has been charged with every crime imaginable and with some that truly do tax the imagination. I doubt if there is much more that could be revealed to harm him. Like Huey Long, the Kingfish of the Depression Era, he thrives on bad press and attacks.
2. Colorful Career-As loathe as I am to admit it, there are elements in Trump’s career that will probably play well with the voters, including this incident, go here to read it, where Trump intervened to stop a violent mugging in progress.
3. Wrong Clinton-I always said that Clinton had preternatural political skills, however that was Bill Clinton, who could probably have won an election after being discovered in bed with either a live boy or a dead girl. His spouse on the other hand is a miserable politician who got beaten like a drum by Obama in 2008 and who has struggled to beat an elderly socialist this year.
4. Empty Promises-Democrats have thrived over the years on making empty promises to voters with a straight face. No one can out empty promise Donald The-Mexicans-Are-Going -To-Pay-For-The-Wall Trump!
5. Outsider-This is clearly a year when the voters want an outsider. Trump, the croniest capitalist, would seem to be the consummate insider, except when compared to Hillary Clinton. In the primaries Trump has been able to paint himself as an outsider, and compared to Clinton it is not quite so laughable a claim.
6. Scandals-Beltway pundits clearly underestimate public anger over Benghazi. Tie that in with the e-mail
crime scandal, and doubtless a lot of juicy tidbits being excavated by Trump’s opposition research, and Clinton will be on the receiving end of endless negative attack ads that would have bounced off her husband but likely will do damage to her.
7. Jugular-Republicans frustrated by a too gentlemanly form of campaigning by their candidates will have nothing to complain about from Trump. He will begin with throwing the kitchen sink against Clinton and proceed on from there. Continue reading
Harris had been encamped in a creek bottom for the sake of being near water. The hills on either side of the creek extend to a considerable height, possibly more than a hundred feet. As we approached the brow of the hill from which it was expected we could see Harris’ camp, and possibly find his men ready formed to meet us, my heart kept getting higher and higher until it felt to me as though it was in my throat. I would have given anything then to have been back in Illinois, but I had not the moral courage to halt and consider what to do; I kept right on. When we reached a point from which the valley below was in full view I halted. The place where Harris had been encamped a few days before was still there and the marks of a recent encampment were plainly visible, but the troops were gone. My heart resumed its place. It occurred to me at once that Harris had been as much afraid of me as I had been of him. This was a view of the question I had never taken before; but it was one I never forgot afterwards.
Ulysses S. Grant, Personal Memoirs
The above is a description by Grant of the first time in the Civil War when he led troops against a Confederate position. As in War, so in Politics. We usually are eloquent in the weaknesses of the side we support in politics, but we forget that the other side have their share of problems also. After the shellacking of the Democrats on Tuesday perhaps we should look at things from their point of view for a moment.
In 2008 they won a great victory, placing Barack Obama in the White House, winning 257 seats in the House and 57 seats in the Senate. They controlled 29 governorships after the 2008 elections and 62 out of 99 legislative chambers. After eight years of Obama, they go into 2017 controlling neither the White House nor Congress, with 16 governorships and 30 out of 99 legislative chambers. Is it any wonder that some articles are being written by Democrats currently that read like this one by Thomas Frank, a fairly shrewd left wing observer of politics:
What we need to focus on now is the obvious question: what the hell went wrong? What species of cluelessness guided our Democratic leaders as they went about losing what they told us was the most important election of our lifetimes?
Start at the top. Why, oh why, did it have to be Hillary Clinton? Yes, she has an impressive resume; yes, she worked hard on the campaign trail. But she was exactly the wrong candidate for this angry, populist moment. An insider when the country was screaming for an outsider. A technocrat who offered fine-tuning when the country wanted to take a sledgehammer to the machine.
She was the Democratic candidate because it was her turn and because a Clinton victory would have moved every Democrat in Washington up a notch. Whether or not she would win was always a secondary matter, something that was taken for granted. Had winning been the party’s number one concern, several more suitable candidates were ready to go. There was Joe Biden, with his powerful plainspoken style, and there was Bernie Sanders, an inspiring and largely scandal-free figure. Each of them would probably have beaten Trump, but neither of them would really have served the interests of the party insiders.
And so Democratic leaders made Hillary their candidate even though they knew about her closeness to the banks, her fondness for war, and her unique vulnerability on the trade issue – each of which Trump exploited to the fullest. They chose Hillary even though they knew about her private email server. They chose her even though some of those who studied the Clinton Foundation suspected it was a sketchy proposition.
To try to put over such a nominee while screaming that the Republican is a rightwing monster is to court disbelief. If Trump is a fascist, as liberals often said, Democrats should have put in their strongest player to stop him, not a party hack they’d chosen because it was her turn. Choosing her indicated either that Democrats didn’t mean what they said about Trump’s riskiness, that their opportunism took precedence over the country’s well-being, or maybe both.
Clinton’s supporters among the media didn’t help much, either. It always struck me as strange that such an unpopular candidate enjoyed such robust and unanimous endorsements from the editorial and opinion pages of the nation’s papers, but it was the quality of the media’s enthusiasm that really harmed her. With the same arguments repeated over and over, two or three times a day, with nuance and contrary views all deleted, the act of opening the newspaper started to feel like tuning in to a Cold War propaganda station. Here’s what it consisted of:
- Hillary was virtually without flaws. She was a peerless leader clad in saintly white, a super-lawyer, a caring benefactor of women and children, a warrior for social justice.
- Her scandals weren’t real.
- The economy was doing well / America was already great.
- Working-class people weren’t supporting Trump.
- And if they were, it was only because they were botched humans. Racism was the only conceivable reason for lining up with the Republican candidate.
How did the journalists’ crusade fail? The fourth estate came together in an unprecedented professional consensus. They chose insulting the other side over trying to understand what motivated them. They transformed opinion writing into a vehicle for high moral boasting. What could possibly have gone wrong with such an approach?
Put this question in slightly more general terms and you are confronting the single great mystery of 2016. The American white-collar class just spent the year rallying around a super-competent professional (who really wasn’t all that competent) and either insulting or silencing everyone who didn’t accept their assessment. And then they lost. Maybe it’s time to consider whether there’s something about shrill self-righteousness, shouted from a position of high social status, that turns people away.
The even larger problem is that there is a kind of chronic complacency that has been rotting American liberalism for years, a hubris that tells Democrats they need do nothing different, they need deliver nothing really to anyone – except their friends on the Google jet and those nice people at Goldman. The rest of us are treated as though we have nowhere else to go and no role to play except to vote enthusiastically on the grounds that these Democrats are the “last thing standing” between us and the end of the world. It is a liberalism of the rich, it has failed the middle class, and now it has failed on its own terms of electability. Enough with these comfortable Democrats and their cozy Washington system. Enough with Clintonism and its prideful air of professional-class virtue. Enough! Continue reading
From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:
Just a day after Donald Trump shocked the world by defeating Hillary Clinton in a bitterly contested presidential race, the 70-year-old president-elect announced today that he has already overturned Roe v. Wade, as most Christians had expected him to do.
“I pledged to every Christian in our land that I would make America great again, and that the Church would no longer have its rights trampled on,” Trump told Catholic supporters gathered in New York City. “As of one hour ago, I spoke with Barack Obama to inform him that I have not only overturned Roe v. Wade, but that I have repealed Obamacare, shut down every transgender restroom, and made sure every transgender person in the country is in therapy. Yes, they’re all in therapy or in jail now. I get along with everyone, so when I told them my plans, they said I was right. Believe me.”
Trump went on to fulfill the dreams of millions of Americans that voted for him by announcing that he had, just moments before taking the stage, defeated ISIS, “including its founder, Barack Obama.”
“ISIS is no more,” Trump continued. “I said I’d do it and I did it. Believe me. I’m also happy to announce that, as of ten minutes ago, there’s not a single illegal immigrant left in the country, and that everyone American is now employed. Lastly, as many of you may have noticed, our great nation is now enclosed in a giant dome. I originally wanted a wall, but when I put my heart into something, I go all the way. Now Mexicans won’t be able to enter our country and celebrities won’t be able to flee to Canada. America is truly great again.”
At press time, Trump staffers are walking around the hall handing out free semiautomatics. Continue reading
Something for the weekend: Heart of Courage.
We have made men proud of most vices, but not of cowardice. Whenever we have almost succeeded in doing so, the Enemy permits a war or an earthquake or some other calamity, and at once courage becomes so obviously lovely and important even in human eyes that all our work is undone, and there is still at least one vice of which they feel genuine shame.
CS Lewis, Screwtape Letters
Catholic converts to Catholicism from other Christian denominations? After reading the following you may wonder why you went through the bother:
On Thursday, Pope Francis spoke about Christian unity and ecumenism, specifically what they are not. Namely, they aren’t about uniformity or the total absorption of one religion by another, but instead consist of a common communion in Christ.
“Ecumenism is true when Christians are able to shift the focus from themselves, from their arguments and formulations, to the Word of God who demands to be heard, accepted and witnessed in the world,” the Pope said Nov. 10.
“Because of this, the various Christian communities are called not to ‘compete,’ but to cooperate.”
Pope Francis addressed members of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity gathered in Rome for their plenary assembly at the Vatican.
When You Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say, For Their Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today
Inscription on the memorial to the dead of the British 2nd Division at Kohima
We have made men proud of most vices, but not of cowardice. Whenever we have almost succeeded in doing so, God permits a war or an earthquake or some other calamity, and at once courage becomes so obviously lovely and important even in human eyes that all our work is undone, and there is still at least one vice of which they feel genuine shame.
CS Lewis, Screwtape Letters
Sometimes simple questions can help illuminate great truths. Why do we honor veterans?
Today is Veterans Day. Ironically, many veterans will be working today as the “holiday” is mostly one solely for government workers, and most veterans in the private sector will be on the job today. Veterans Day was originally Armistice Day and was observed to recall the ending of that conflict on November 11, 1918 and to honor the American veterans who served in it. After World War II, veterans of World War I, many of whom had sons who served in World War II, spearheaded a move to change the name to Veterans Day to honor all Veterans. Legislation changing the name of the holiday was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Eisenhower on May 26, 1954. All well and good, but why do we set this day aside to honor those who have served in the military?
One veteran of World War I, CS Lewis, perhaps can help us understand why we honor veterans. Lewis served on the Western Front as a Second Lieutenant in 1917-1918 until he was wounded on April 15, 1918. Lewis, the future Oxford Don, was an unlikely soldier and he wrote about his experiences in the War with humorous self-deprecation. However, he had immense respect for those he served with, especially the enlisted men under his command, for their good humor and courage under the most appalling circumstances. His war experiences had a vast impact on Lewis, as can be seen in his Screwtape letters, where Lewis writes about war. Continue reading
E-bay sellers around the globe thank you Newsweek for this classic Dewey beats Truman moment:
“President-elect Hillary Clinton ‘went high’ when her opponent and his supporters went ever lower…”; “on election day, Americans across the country roundly rejected the kind of fear and hate-based conservatism peddled by Donald Trump… The highest glass ceiling in the western world had finally shattered.”
Most Leftists view history as a straight line progression, and are continually shocked when the muse of history, Clio, stubbornly fails to perform the role they have assigned to her.
Ah well, in the vibrant economy that Obama created, I am sure they will have no trouble finding jobs in the private sector to pay their attorney fees for the various felonies so many of them committed while in government. With old time hard-case federal prosecutor Rudy Giuliani likely in charge of the Justice Department in the coming Trump administration, I can imagine they will be having sweet dreams for the next 71 days that remain of the regime that I am sure they thought was merely the first of endless leftist control of the White House. Remember ladies and gentlemen to have your attorneys get the terms of the immunity deals in writing first before you start ratting out your colleagues.
An object lesson for the incoming Trump administration: always remember that some day your political enemies will be where you are now.
Ah California, the largest insane asylum in our country, with certain honorable exceptions, has groups calling for the State to secede from the Union. They have come into the limelight due to moonbat California’s rage at the election of Trump. I confess that I wish nothing but success for this movement with one caveat: votes should be taken county by county as to whether to stay in the Union. Counties voting to stay in the Union would remain American territory. Blue enclaves could then form their Republic or Republics. Refugees to the US would be welcome, after they step on a photo of Jerry Brown, recite the Pledge of Allegiance and use an automatic assault weapon against a target with a picture of Hollywood glitterati tacked to it.
Lots of commentary out there about what happened in the elections, most of it rubbish. However, one of the better short pieces is by John Podhoretz, one of the more vehement Never-Trumpers:
The nation’s cultural and political elite has been handed its walking papers by the American electorate.
What just happened is the most momentous shift in American political and cultural life in our time. There’s no way to digest the meaning of Donald Trump being on the verge of victory. Understanding it is the work of a generation.
Of course, we’re seeing desperate and pathetic efforts to declare the results illegitimate. For example, Paul Krugman of the New York Times said last night that Hillary Clinton’s loss was due to conscious efforts to suppress the African-American vote.
That idea is beyond preposterous and intellectually deranged. What we saw was a national wave that turned blue states red, not a case in which voter ID laws and efforts to restrict early voting changed the balance of a state or two.
We saw the populaces of America’s rural counties and exurbs — places Donald Trump visited and said had been neglected and forgotten and mistreated by America’s leaders — rise up practically in unison and vote for someone who said he would be the vehicle of their anger and the tribune of their restoration. Continue reading