Donald R. McClarey
If I were hanged on the highest hill,
Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine!
I know whose love would follow me still,
Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine!
If I were drowned in the deepest sea,
Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine!
I know whose tears would come down to me,
Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine!
If I were damned of body and soul,
I know whose prayers would make me whole,
Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine!
(I post this each Mother’s Day.)
My Mom died on Easter Sunday in 1984, age 48. Her second bout with breast cancer took her life, she having survived a first round in 1972. She told me at that time that she asked God to spare her life until her two boys, my brother and I, were settled in life, and so He did.
Mom had fiery red hair and a tempestuous temperament to match. When she was a child one of her colleagues at school made the mistake of chanting at her “Fox in the bread box, eating all the cheese!”, and Mom clocked her. Growing up it was a rare day when I didn’t receive at least one slap, which I had always earned, and one hug, which I rarely earned. Mom always wore her heart on her sleeve and that fact brought excitement to my life while growing up which I greatly enjoyed.
Mom was a talker. My laconic father said on occasion that Mom did the talking for both of them and I think that was true. My brother, who had both Mom’s hair and disposition, also liked to talk and so did I. When the three of us got going it was an interesting melding of three non-stop monologues. Continue reading
Donald Trump let us in on his fiscal policy yesterday. Apparently it consists of borrowing and debt repudiation if necessary:
After assuring Americans he is not running for president “to make things unstable for the country,” the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald J. Trump, suggested that he might reduce the national debt by persuading creditors to accept something less than full payment.
Asked on Thursday whether the United States needed to pay its debts in full, or whether he could negotiate a partial repayment, Mr. Trump told the cable network CNBC, “I would borrow, knowing that if the economy crashed, you could make a deal.”
He added, “And if the economy was good, it was good. So, therefore, you can’t lose.”
Such remarks by a major presidential candidate have no modern precedent. The United States government is able to borrow money at very low interest rates because Treasury securities are regarded as a safe investment, and any cracks in investor confidence have a long history of costing American taxpayers a lot of money.
Experts also described Mr. Trump’s proposal as fanciful, saying there was no reason to think America’s creditors would accept anything less than 100 cents on the dollar, regardless of Mr. Trump’s deal-making prowess. Continue reading
From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:
During his general audience this week in Saint Peter’s Square, Pope Francis announced the cancellation of the remainder of the Holy Year of Mercy, saying that the whole idea was a “complete and utter bust.”
“Let us not forget that God forgives and God forgives always,” Francis said. “But let us never forget that man does not forgive and will never forgive. That is one thing I have learned these past few months.”
Francis continued his statement, saying, “I was convinced that the whole Church, which has much need to receive mercy, would find in this jubilee the joy to rediscover and render fruitful the mercy of God. Boy, was I way off on that one. Way off. What is wrong with you people? Seriously, I considered keeping it going for a couple more months, but it’s clear you’re all too busy on your phones to rediscover and render fruitful the mercy of God. And the answer is no, liking a picture of Mother Theresa with a quote next to it on Instagram does not count as rediscovering anything but your laziness.”
The Jubilee, which was scheduled to end in November, officially ends today after the official closing ceremony, where Pope Francis is scheduled to take back all the graces Catholics received during the Jubilee, and to return them back to God.
Something for the weekend. Take Me Out to the Ballgame. My secretary’s two young sons have donned their uniforms and begun participating in their baseball league and that caused me to think of what used to be called our National Pass-time. I have never been a fan of any sports, but my sainted father was, especially baseball. I can still see him in his easy chair watching one game on TV and listening to another on a transistor radio plugged into his ear. He was a Cardinal’s fan, which made sense. His father had given him the middle name Dean after the immortal Cardinal pitcher Jay Hanna “Dizzy” Dean.
The anthem of baseball, Take Me Out to the Ballgame, was written in 1908 by two Tin Pan Alley composers: Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer. Ironically, neither of these worthies had attended a ball game prior to composing the song which became such a part of the game. The video at the beginning of the post is the original 1908 recording. Below is one of my favorite renditions: Continue reading
Chris Cilliza understands how difficult it can be to run against a candidate willing to say or do anything:
The best way to explain Trump is through pickup basketball. (Pickup hoops is the best way to explain lots and lots of things in life. I have long maintained that I can tell what kind of person someone is in their life by playing two games of pickup basketball with them.) In any pickup game, there are usually one or two excellent players — guys who played at some level in college who know the game, know how to get their shots and just make it look easy. Those guys aren’t easy to guard — they’re athletic and good after all — but, if you play against them enough, you can develop a strategy on how best to slow them down. Crowd them. Make them drive. Deny them the ball. Make them work on defense. Whatever. There is a game plan that can be built against them, because while they are good, they are predictably good — they usually do the same good stuff in roughly the same way over and over.
Then there is the one guy who plays super unorthodox. It’s usually someone who is a good athlete but has never played organized hoops in his life. He jumps off his right foot to shoot a right-handed layup. He takes shots from all sorts of weird angles that go in. He passes when he should shoot. He shoots when he should pass. That guy, weirdly, is harder to game-plan for than the predictably excellent guy, because you have no idea what he’s going to do next. He might pull up from 30 feet and shoot. He might try some weird up-and-under layup move. And somehow it works for him in a way it wouldn’t for someone who spent 15 years playing organized basketball. He breaks rules he doesn’t even know exist, even as you are trying to defend him within those rules.
That’s Trump as a candidate. He touts his own unpredictability as an asset, and in the context of a campaign it absolutely is. The likes of Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz could never develop a consistent plan of attack against Trump because he was, day in and day out, not only doing and saying things no “normal” candidate would but also changing up what he said and how he said it constantly. Bush always seemed somewhere between bemused and alarmed at Trump during the campaign. Why? Because Bush is the classic example of a pol who wants to know the rules of the game, commit them to memory and then play as hard as he can by them to win. He has no idea what to do with a guy who laughs at the rules and is willing to do whatever it takes to win. Continue reading
The usual open thread rules apply: be concise, be charitable and, above all, be amusing.
Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa has an article by Dominican theologian Angelo Bellon as to the correct way of reading AMORIS LÆTITIA:
Instructions for reading the post-synodal exhortation “Amoris Lætitia”
by Angelo Bellon, O.P.
In the exhortatiton “Amoris Lætitia,” the most controversial question is the one concerning communion for the divorced and remarried, which however is never expressly mentioned.
It must be noted that above all in the eighth chapter the language is at times very indefinite and can lend itself to conclusions that are not only different but even conflicting.
So then, precisely with regard to this chapter I would like to present a few general reflections and then take into consideration the most controversial expressions.
GENERAL CRITERIA OF INTERPRETATION
1. The first criterion of interpretation is that of the context in which the exhortation must be read in order to avoid distorting it.
This context was provided by John Paul II in the encyclical “Veritatis Splendor,” in particular at footnote 100:
“The development of the Church’s moral doctrine is similar to that of the doctrine of the faith. The words spoken by John XXIII at the opening of the Second Vatican Council can also be applied to moral doctrine: ‘This certain and unchanging teaching (i.e., Christian doctrine in its completeness), to which the faithful owe obedience, needs to be more deeply understood and set forth in a way adapted to the needs of our time. Indeed, this deposit of the faith, the truths contained in our time-honored teaching, is one thing; the manner in which these truths are set forth (with their meaning preserved intact) is something else’.”
So the hermeneutical principle of interpretation is found here: the documents of the magisterium, including those on moral issues, must be interpreted according to the hermeneutic of continuity and development. And certainly not according to the hermeneutic of discontinuity, rupture, or transformation with respect to the perennial magisterium. Continue reading
“It was at St. Marys that I met and learned to love the greatest man I’ve ever known. He was the father I needed. He taught me to read and write, and the difference between right and wrong.”
George Herman “Babe” Ruth, Jr. hit his first major league home run one hundred and one years ago. He would go on to hit 713 more over his career. Playing for the Boston Red Sox in 1915, he was 20 years old. He might well at that time have been in a penitentiary but for a life altering event. Regarded as incorrigible at the age of seven, his parents sent him to The Saint Mary’s Industrial School for Boys, a combination orphanage, reformatory and school. There Ruth came under the tutelage of the most significant man in his life, Brother Matthias Boutlier, the Prefect of Discipline in the school. A large man who brooked no nonsense from his charges, Brother Mathias was also a kind man. He channeled the raw, animal energy of Ruth into baseball. Ruth said he fell in love with the game instantly after seeing Brother Matthias smack a home run. Throughout his life Ruth spoke of Brother Mathias in terms of veneration and gratitude.
Brother Mathias taught Ruth more important lessons than just baseball. The Catholicism he was taught at the school, for all his well publicized sins, stayed with him throughout his life. Both privately and through the Knights of Columbus he was engaged in countless charitable activities. He lavished money on Saint Mary’s Industrial School for Boys after he became rich through baseball, including buying Brother Mathias two Cadillacs, the second one after the first one was wrecked. When he wasn’t playing ball or drinking in night clubs, he could usually be found visiting kids in hospitals and orphanages, children having a firm grasp on Ruth’s heart. When he died at age 53 of cancer in 1948 thousands of kids stood vigil around his hospital. His funeral mass was held at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, with a crowd of 75,000 gathered outside the filled to capacity mass. Continue reading
Trump Cultists will explain how this is a grand development:
Donald Trump’s presidential campaign announced Thursday that Steven Mnuchin, a former partner at Goldman Sachs who has donated to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, will serve as his national finance chairman.
Mnuchin has also worked as an investment professional for Soros Fund Management LLC, a hedge fun management firm run by George Soros, a billionaire Democratic donor who has sent millions to pro-Hillary Clinton PACs this election cycle. Continue reading
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air….
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace.
Where never lark, or even eagle flew —
And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
– Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.”
John Gillespie Magee, Jr.
If Donald Trump is elected president a TrumpWatch will be joining PopeWatch. Superficially these men, who obviously have little use for each other, have little in common. Dig a bit deeper, however, and certain similarities emerge.
1. Vituperation-Both men have endless names for those who rouse their ire, although the Pope never descends to the vulgarity of Trump.
2. Facts-Both view facts not as stubborn things, but infinitely malleable tools.
3. Conspiracy Theories-Both are given to believing and broadcasting conspiracy theories.
4. Conservatives-Neither of them are conservatives.
5. Stream-of-consciousness-Both of them make stream-of-consciousness speeches when they depart from texts. Continue reading
Amazing how surreal the real world is now in comparison to fiction. Time to take a break from an increasingly insane world and take a look at two of my favorite fictional locales: Star Trek and Star Wars.
In comparing the two franchises, I would give the prize to Star Trek for consistent quality, with the exception of Star Trek the Next Generation (PC In Space.) However, Star Trek never reached the heights attained in the first trilogy of Star Wars, or the depths plumbed in the second trilogy. Give your opinion in the comboxes.
Bonus debate: Most annoying Star Trek and Star Wars characters. Hint: Continue reading
Like most man made disasters, the question “Why Trump?” has several answers:
1. Out of Touch-The Republican Establishment has long been out of touch with its base, most notably on immigration. Trump opportunistically and mendaciously played upon such legitimate grievances.
2. Too Many Conservatives-This was a crowded field. At one time 17 people were running, almost all conservatives. This gave Trump a chance to stand out from the crowd early.
3. Trump the Clown-Early in the race, Trump was regarded as the clown of the race, a freak show attraction. Trump was ignored or condescendingly complimented by other candidates who assumed he would be out of the race soon in any case.
4. Not PC-Trump is a vulgar low brow. However, to his audience he came across as politically incorrect, and not as a rich man aping the manner of how he perceives blue collars, like my late sainted parents, behave and think. His performance I always found insulting, but it resonated with a lot of people.
5. Truth-Any lie is effective only if it contains some truth, and among the endless lies that Trump spewed were several truths: “America doesn’t win anymore” “Nothing gets done anymore” “It is time to win again”. Truisms and bromides, but they went to the core of the people who believe the country has been on the wrong track for quite a long while. Continue reading
Pope Francis continues to explore new dimensions of papal invective:
“Christians who stay still, who don’t go forward, are non-Christian Christians. We don’t know exactly what they are. They are slightly ‘paganized’ Christians: who are there, who stay still and don’t go forward in their Christian lives, who don’t make the Beatitudes bloom in their lives, who don’t do Works of mercy… they are motionless. Excuse me for saying it, but they are like an (embalmed) mummy, a spiritual mummy there. There are Christians who are ‘spiritual mummies,’ motionless, there. They don’t do evil but they don’t do good deeds.” Continue reading
Fox has called Indiana for Trump. It looks like he will win by twenty points over Cruz. Trump is now certain to gain the nomination. I confess to almost being relieved. With Trump and his delusional followers screaming that the nomination was stolen, a contested convention that resulted in a Cruz nomination would have been virtually certain to end in a general election defeat. This would have given life to Trumpism for another try in 2020. Now, there will be two possible results in the general election. If Trump goes down to defeat that effectively spells the end of this exercise in madness. If Trump is elected, I think he will prove to be a President who swiftly betrays his followers and that will break his spell, except for the most delusional members of his Cult.
Update: Cruz Suspends Campaign:
If Cruz had done this three months ago, we would be looking at a different race:
Ted Cruz had a media availability Tuesday morning and responded to Donald Trump accusing his father of being associated with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to assassinating John F. Kennedy. This led Cruz to rip into Trump, calling him more of a narcissist than President Obama. Cruz went on a rant for 10+ minutes criticizing Trump for attacks on his wife, saying she apparently is “not pretty” enough for the Republican front-runner, his morality and religious devotion. Transcript of key part:
CRUZ: I’m going to tell you what I really think of Donald Trump. This man is a pathological liar. He doesn’t know the difference between truth and lies. He lies practically every word that comes out of his mouth. And in a pattern that I think is straight out of a psychology textbook, his response is to accuse everybody else of lying.
He accuses everybody on that debate stage of lying. And it’s simply a mindless yell. Whatever he does, he accuses everyone else of doing. The man cannot tell the truth, but he combines it with being a narcissist. A narcissist at a level I don’t think this country has ever seen.
Donald Trump is such a narcissist that Barack Obama looks at him and goes, ‘Dude, what’s your problem?’ Everything in Donald’s world is about Donald. And he combines being a pathological liar, and I say pathological because I actually think Donald, if you hooked him up to a lie detector test, he could say one thing in the morning, one thing at noon and one thing in the evening, all contradictory and he’s pass the lie detector test each time. Whatever lie he’s telling, at that minute he believes it.
Cruz on his wife:
CRUZ: The man is utterly amoral. Morality does not exist for him. It’s why he went after Heidi directly and smeared my wife, attacked her. Apparently she’s not pretty enough for Donald Trump. I may be biased, but I think if he’s making that allegation, he’s also legally blind.
Cruz said Trump’s insecurity is the reason why he “builds giant buildings and puts his name on them.”
CRUZ: Every one of us knew bullies in elementary school. Bullies don’t come from strength, bullies come from weakness. Bullies come from a deep, yawning cavern of insecurity. There is a reason Donald builds giant buildings and puts his name on them everywhere he goes.
And I will say there are millions of people in this country who are angry. They’re angry at Washington, they’re angry at politicians who have lied to them. I understand that anger. I share that anger. And Donald is cynically exploiting that anger, and he is lying to his supporters. Donald will betray his supporters on every issue.
If you care about immigration, Donald is laughing at you. And he’s telling the moneyed elites he doesn’t believe what he’s saying. He’s not going to build a wall. That’s what he told The New York Times. He will betray you on ever you issue across the board. And his strategy of being a bully in particular is directed at women. Donald has a real problem with women.
The Pope is seeking to intervene in Venezuela, where, once again in the Third Word, a socialist regime has wreaked economic devastation:
Pope Francis has sent a “personal letter” to Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro in which he address his concern over the “seriousness” of “the county’s situation.”
“I can say that the Pope did write a personal letter to President Maduro concerning the situation in the country,” papal spokesman Federico Lombardi confirmed to journalists on Saturday.
“The seriousness of the situation is also clearly shown in the recent statement by the Bishops on April 27, when the Nuncio Monsignor Giordano very clearly spoke out in favour of dialogue sponsored by the Pope,” Lombardi said.
Additionally, the papal spokesman repeated Francis’ message from the Urbi et Orbi blessing from Easter, where he requested that the Easter message “be felt ever more powerfully by the beloved people of Venezuela in the difficult conditions which they are experiencing, and by those responsible for the country’s future, that everyone may work for the common good, seeking spaces of dialogue and cooperation with all. May efforts be made everywhere to promote the culture of counter, justice and reciprocal respect, which alone can guarantee the spiritual and material welfare of all people.”
After his success as an interlocutor in neighbouring Cuba, and his willingness to plant himself firmly in the middle of political disputes ranging from Europe’s immigration crisis to Ukraine’s civil war, An intervention from Pope Francis into the mounting political tensions in Venezuela appears more and more likely as the various problems affecting the country continue to deepen.
Amid a debilitating energy crisis, shortages of basic goods, and increasing violence, the country’s powers are embroiled in a political deadlock that looks only to lead to a pyrrhic outcome.
Since winning a landslide victory in December’s legislative elections, the opposition took control of the National Assembly with an absolute majority and have approved a series of bills that have been shot down one by one by the country highest court, which the opposition alleges is under the thumb of Maduro’s Socialist government. Maduro, in turn, accuses the opposition of arming a coup against him and of working for regional right-wing and US imperial interests.
Venezuela’s oil export-dependent economy shrank 5.7 percent last year, shortages of basic goods multiplied and prices soared. The government has instituted rolling blackouts and state employees are working only two days a week to conserve electricity. Continue reading