Donald R. McClarey
I am on vacation beginning today with my family until August 18. My internet connection in the coming week will range from intermittent to non-existent. I will have posts for each day I am away on the blog, but if something momentous occurs, for example: Elvis is discovered working at a Big Boy’s in Tulsa, the Pope issues a Bull against blogging as a complete waste of time, or Obama reveals that Area 51 does contain aliens and Joe Biden has accidentally started an intergalactic war with them, I trust that this post will explain why I am not discussing it.
We will begin up in Kenosha, Wisconsin with a visit to my bride’s mother. We have been doing this since the birth of the twins and it has always been a fun family gathering.
We will then be moving my son into his apartment in Carbondale. For those of you who have never traveled through Little Egypt, Southern Illinois, it is a remarkably beautiful part of the country. My son is beginning law school next week at Southern Illinois University. When I attended law school more than a third of a century ago, I received no scholarships. However, fortunately, my son inherited his brains from my bride and has received a full tuition scholarship. I found the first year of law school to be a challenging experience, but if I could get by my son should have few difficulties.
One of the more distressing aspects of the contemporary world is just how frequently people are asked to swallow the most total malarkey. Case in point, current Catholic policy in regard to Islam. This policy, to dignify ahistoric fervent wishful hoping, is best exemplified by Pope Francis in this passage from Evangelii Gaudium:
253. In order to sustain dialogue with Islam, suitable training is essential for all involved, not only so that they can be solidly and joyfully grounded in their own identity, but so that they can also acknowledge the values of others, appreciate the concerns underlying their demands and shed light on shared beliefs. We Christians should embrace with affection and respect Muslim immigrants to our countries in the same way that we hope and ask to be received and respected in countries of Islamic tradition. I ask and I humbly entreat those countries to grant Christians freedom to worship and to practice their faith, in light of the freedom which followers of Islam enjoy in Western countries! Faced with disconcerting episodes of violent fundamentalism, our respect for true followers of Islam should lead us to avoid hateful generalisations, for authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence.
Andrew Bieszad, at One Peter 5, has a brilliant piece in which he explains how this policy is directly the reverse of the position of the Church until the day before yesterday in historical terms:
Harry S Truman, 1952, in explaining his refusal to force the return of North Korean and Chinese POWs who wished to stay in the West.
An uncle of PopeWatch fought in the Korean War. A Protestant, he was given a rosary by a Catholic family out in California just before he shipped out for Korea, the father of the family, a World War I vet, saying he carried it with him in France. He carried it through bloody hill battles in Korea and it was with him every day after he got back to the States. He used to tell PopeWatch that the best thing he had ever done in his life, outside of his family, was to fight to make certain that South Korea did not fall under Communism.
Following the Battle of Atlanta, the Union effort to put Atlanta under siege began. Of course, so long as the Confederates controlled the rail lines out of Atlanta leading to the Atlantic & West railroad and the Macon & Western railroad, the city was not really under siege. Sherman now manuevered to take these rail lines. At the battle of Ezra Church on July 27, 1864, a movement by Howard’s Union Army of the Tennessee against the Confederate rail lines was stopped by two corps of the Confederate Army of Tennessee under Stewart and S.D. Lee. Howard, who had the presence of mind to entrench one of his divisions prior to the Confederate attack, inflicted some 3,000 casualties on the Confederates in exchange for 642 of his own. However, his movement against the Confederate rail lines was thwarted. A simultaneous Union cavalry raid on the rail lines came to grief with both Union divisions being smashed by the Confederate cavalry under Major General Joseph Wheeler.
Continuing his effort to extend his right to cut the Confederate rail lines, in early August Sherman moved the small Army of the Ohio, which consisted of the XXIII corps, under Major General James Schofield from his left, and through August 5-7, a division of Schofield’s army attempted to break through the Confederate lines south of Utoy creek without success. Total Union casualties were 850 to 35 Confederate, showing yet again the folly of attempting to attack prepared defenses at this stage of the War. Sherman was stymied again.
Here is Sherman’s report on these engagements:
Christopher Johnson, a non-Catholic who has taken up the cudgels so frequently for the Church that I have named him Defender of the Faith, addresses at Midwest Conservative Journal the perennial question of what to do when a child decides to go astray:
From the dawn of time, parents everywhere have dreaded having to face that terrible moment when one of their children rejects the family religious tradition:
You know, Saint John Paul II had a very good reason for suspending Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann back in 1985 from the priesthood. This was while he was part of the Sandinista government in Nicaragua and participated in their persecution of the Catholic Church. This included Sandinista mobs who tried to shout down the Pope at an open air mass in Managua in 1983, go here to read about it. Now the powers that be in the Vatican have lifted his suspension. Why the suspension was lifted is a mystery, since, as Rorate Caeli indicates, Escoto certainly has not changed his tune:
PopeWatch will be on vacation hiatus beginning August 8 until August 18, so just assume in this post that Saturday PopeWatch came early this week, courtesy of LarryD at Acts of the Apostasy:
(AoftheAP) Catholic blogger Anselm Gregory Benedictus Ambrose Tiberius Athanasius, who writes at “Ex Ore Dei” under the pseudonym “Pepe”, admitted to his readers yesterday that writing negative posts about Pope Francis for forty consecutive days has turned him into “a miserable SOB”.
“What began as a crusade for Truth ended as a victory for self-discovery. And what I’ve discovered after forty consecutive days of complaining about how Pope Francis has been bad for Church, is that I’ve become an even more miserable SOB. Before embarking on this endeavor, I was merely incorrigible. Now I am a torte of rich arrogance, with alternating layers of curmudgeon and bitterness, covered with a thin gruel of pompous ganache.
“And you know what? It becomes me. Sure, I’m irritated every day, and I get short with my family and co-workers. I have fewer friends. I engage in long, protracted arguments in the combox with people I don’t know. Even my dog avoids me. But it’s made me a better Catholic.”
“Damn the torpedoes!”
Bold Farragut said,
“Damn the torpedoes!
Full speed ahead!”
And, lashed to his rigging
With never a squeal,
He led his fleet into
The Bay of Mobile.
The Southern forts thundered
With vigor and vim
But grapeshot and canister
Never touched him.
The waters were mined
With a death-dealing load,
But Farragut simply
Refused to explode.
And fought till the Southerners
Gave up the fray.
(He’d captured New Orleans
In much the same way.)
So remember, if ever
You face such a plight,
There’s a pretty good chance,
“Straight ahead!” will be right.
And while “damn,” as you know,
Is a word to eschew –
He knew when to say it –
So few people do.
Rosemary and Stephen Benet
Time magazine, yes, it is still being published, has an opinion piece by John Gehring. Gehring is the Catholic program director at Faith in Public Life and a former associate director for media relations at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. He views Pope Francis as shifting the debate from issues such as abortion, euthanasia and gay marriage to issues much friendlier to the Democrat party:
The Religious Right has long dominated the values debate in the United States. Evangelical and conservative Catholic leaders built a formidable alliance in the 1970s and 1980s that became a major force in electoral politics. The Catholic activist Paul Weyrich teamed up with Rev. Jerry Falwell of the Moral Majority to fight liberalizing cultural trends and paved a path that helped Ronald Reagan win the White House in 1980. George W. Bush built on this model in 2000 and 2004 by operating what is often regarded as the most sophisticated religious outreach strategy in memory. His circle of Catholic advisors served as an informal kitchen cabinet during his presidency. While the old lions of the Religious Right have died or lost influence – and a new generation of progressive religious activists are finding our voice – Christian culture warriors like Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council and some outspoken Catholic bishops still shape a faith in politics narrative usually focused on a narrow range of sexual issues that overshadow Christianity’s broad social justice claims.
Since his election, the world has been focused on what Pope Francis says. However, as Sandro Magister points out at his blog Chiesa, what the Pope is silent about may be just as significant:
In Francis the collegiality of governance is more evoked than practiced. The style is that of a superior general of the Jesuits who in the end decides everything on his own. This can be grasped from his actions, his words, his silences.
For example, Bergoglio has spent weeks behind the scenes cultivating relationships with the heads of the powerful “Evangelical” communities of the United States. He has spent hour after hour in their company at his residence in Santa Marta. He has invited them for lunch. He immortalized one of these convivial moments by giving a high five, amid raucous laughter, to Pastor James Robinson, one of the most successful American televangelists.
When no one knew anything about it yet, it was Francis who alerted them about his intention to go visit their Italian colleague in Caserta, and explained the reason: “To extend the apologies of the Catholic Church for the damage that has been done to them by obstructing the growth of their communities.”
As the Argentine he is, Bergoglio has experienced first-hand the overwhelming expansion of the Evangelical and Pentecostal communities in Latin America, which continue to take enormous masses of faithful away from the Catholic Church. And yet he has made this decision: not to fight their leaders, but to make them his friends.
This is the same approach that he has adopted with the Muslim world: prayer, invocation of peace, general condemnations of the evil that is done, but with careful attention to keep his distance from specific cases concerning precise persons, whether victims or butchers.
He did not speak a single word when the young Sudanese mother Meriam was in prison with her little children, sentenced to death only because she is Christian, although he received her once she was liberated thanks to international pressure.
He is silent on the fate of Asia Bibi, the Pakistani mother who has been in prison for five years awaiting an appeal against the verdict that has sentenced her to death with the accusation of having offended Islam.
And yet the campaign for the liberation of Asia Bibi sees the Catholic world everywhere highly engaged on her behalf, and at the beginning of this year a heartfelt letter was made public after she had sent it to the pope. Who did not respond to her.
They are silences that are all the more striking in that they are practiced by a pope who is known for his highly generous availability to write, to telephone, to bring aid, to open the doors to anyone who knocks, whether poor or rich, good or bad. Continue reading
Well, we have added a new Catholic blog to our blog roll, OnePeter5. Run by Steve Skojec, here is his explanation of its mission:
We need to get back to basics. Belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. An understanding of the Four Last Things, and that Heaven is not a foregone conclusion. Adherence to traditional teachings on sexual morality in a world hell-bent on dragging us away from them. A properly-grounded knowledge of the Church’s thought on religious liberty and social justice, and how these impact those of us living in the post-Christian, deconstructionist ruins of Western Civilization. The re-establishment of long-discarded tradition that once made the Church strong, and can do so again.
The statistics aren’t good. Belief in core Catholic teaching among self-identified Catholics is at an all-time low. Liturgical orthodoxy is an endangered concept. We have a vocations crisis that stems directly from the crisis in the sanctuary and the family. And the governments of the world move closer each year to declaring Catholic belief a hate crime.
OnePeterFive exists as a place to begin rebuilding the Catholic ethos. We’re not just here to zero in on the problems, but to offer concrete solutions. We want to restore Catholic culture, rebuild the Church as a patron of the arts, reinvigorate the family and the traditions that keep it strong, reform the liturgy, support vocations, dust off the old devotions and make them relevant again. We want to help infuse the world with beautiful music, inspiring art, families that pray together, parishes centered around the Eucharist, strong communities, and a new generation of Catholics who can effectively bring the Gospel message to a world hostile to that message.
Our writers come from diverse backgrounds, but share a common goal: to work together to restore the beauty, majesty, and glory of the Catholic Church as the principle force for good in a fallen world.
The UN is an increasingly Orwellian organization. One of many, many examples is their outgoing High Commissioner on Human Rights, Navi Pillay of South Africa. Austin Ruse gives us her background:
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is expected to name abortion advocate Navanethem “Navi” Pillay of South Africa as the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR) this week despite reservations from the United States.
According to the New York Times, the United States has privately raised concerns about Pillay’s nomination to the top human rights post because of her strong support for abortion. Pillay is a founding member of the international non-governmental organization Equality Now, a group that has spearheaded campaigns for abortion access in Poland and Nepal. Pillay remains on the board of the organization which receives major funding from pro-abortion foundations including George Soros’ Open Society Institute and the Ford Foundation.
Go here to read the rest. So, being in favor of snuffing out unborn kids is now a “human right”. George Orwell was not so much a writer as a prophet. As the chief human rights bureaucrat since 2008, Pillay has been pushing to have governments around the world criminalize the pro-life cause. Go here to read about her efforts. Ms. Pillay is a walking stereotype of the contemporary left in the causes which she embraces and those she opposes, and in her firm conviction that those who oppose her agendas must be shut up by government power, so long as that power is wielded by her ideological think-a-likes. Human rights for thee so long as thou agree with me, sums up her philosophy.
The attitude of Ms. Pillay in regard to the Gaza War is therefore predictable and Christopher Johnson, a non-Catholic who has taken up the cudgels so frequently for the Church that I have named him Defender of the Faith, gives a recent statement by her on the subject a fisking to remember:
Manhattan real estate is an incredibly valuable commodity. So whenever this country wakes the hell up and withdraws from the United Nations (or, at the very least, pushes through the idea of moving the world headquarters of that ridiculous institution to Geneva, Switzerland and permanently off American soil), what should be done with the Rockefeller family’s former Turtle Bay property?
The United Nations’ senior human rights official said on Thursday she believed Israel was deliberately defying international law in its military offensive in Gaza and that world powers should hold it accountable for possible war crimes.
Oh right, right, right, Hamas is bad too.
High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay also said that Hamas militants in Gaza have also violated international humanitarian law by firing rockets indiscriminately into Israel, sometimes from densely-populated areas.
Except that we don’t really believe that.
Israel has attacked homes, schools, hospitals, and UN premises in apparent violation of the Geneva Conventions, Pillay said, a week after her Human Rights Council resolved to open a commission of inquiry into Israel’s alleged crimes against humanity.
“Therefore I would say that they appear to be defying… deliberate defiance of obligations that international law imposes on Israel,” Pillay told a news briefing. “This is why again and again I say we cannot allow impunity, we cannot allow this lack of accountability to go on.”
We all know the real criminal here.
She also criticized the United States, Israel’s main ally, for failing to use its influence with the Jewish state to halt the carnage.
“Many of my remarks have been directed to the United States since they are a party with influence over Israel to do much more to stop the killing, to bring the parties to the negotiating table. I’ve called also for an end to the blockade and an end to the occupation.”
Pillay said that she was appalled at Washington consistently voting against resolutions on Israel in the Human Rights Council, General Assembly and Security Council.
Here’s one blatantly obvious war crime for you. Israel refuses to share its self-defense technology with people who wish to exterminate it.
“They have not only provided the heavy weaponry which is now being used by Israel in Gaza but they’ve also provided almost $1 billion in providing the ‘Iron Domes’ to protect the Israelis from rocket attacks,” she said. “But no such protection has been provided to Gazans against the shelling.”
Seriously. I’m open to suggestions. Turn the UN into office space and/or a branch of the New York Public Library? Make the UN complex into an Orthodox synagogue and a particularly traditionalist Christian megachurch? Or should we just plow the place under and give it back to the Lenapes with our profuse and abject apologies. Continue reading
Some years ago Father Z wrote an internet prayer:
A prayer before logging onto the internet:
Almighty and eternal God, who created us in Thine image and bade us to seek after all that is good, true and beautiful, especially in the divine person of Thine Only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, grant, we beseech Thee, that, through the intercession of Saint Isidore, Bishop and Doctor, during our journeys through the internet we will direct our hands and eyes only to that which is pleasing to Thee and treat with charity and patience all those souls whom we encounter. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Here it is in the original Latin:
Oratio ante colligationem in interrete:
Omnipotens aeterne Deus, qui secundum imaginem Tuam nos plasmasti et omnia bona, vera, et pulchra, praesertim in divina persona Unigeniti Filii Tui Domini nostri Iesu Christi, quaerere iussisti, praesta, quaesumus, ut, per intercessionem Sancti Isidori, Episcopi et Doctoris, in peregrinationibus per interrete, et manus oculosque ad quae Tibi sunt placita intendamus et omnes quos convenimus cum caritate ac patientia accipiamus. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
The gaunt man, Abraham Lincoln, lives his days.
For a while the sky above him is very dark.
There are fifty thousand dead in these last, bleak months
And Richmond is still untaken.
The papers rail,
Grant is a butcher, the war will never be done.
The gaunt man’s term of office draws to an end,
His best friends muse and are doubtful.
Stephen Vincent Benet, John Brown’s Body
By the beginning of August 1864 Lincoln began to suspect that he was going to lose re-election and the Union was going to lose the War. Grant, at an immense cost in blood, had pushed Lee back to Richmond and Petersburg, but both cities still were controlled by the Confederates and Lee’s army was still a force to be reckoned with. The North was still reeling from Early’s victories in the Shenandoah, his daring raid on Washington and his burning of Chambersburg on July 30. In the West the Confederate Army of Tennessee still clung to Atlanta, and the Confederacy still controlled almost all of its heartland. The War seemed to be entering a stalemate, and if it remained so until November, Lincoln would be a one term president and the Union would be permanently sundered. With that on his mind, Lincoln sent a warning telegram to Grant. Lincoln never lost his faith in Grant, but clearly he wanted Grant to understand that unless victories were forthcoming the Union was in peril. Ironically, in this telegram Lincoln approves Sheridan being place in command in the Shenandoah, and it was Sheridan’s string of victories in the fall that probably ensured Lincoln’s re-election: Continue reading
Father Longenecker seems to think that conservative Catholics who have problems with some of what Pope Francis says are the same as liberal Catholics who reject Church teaching on abortion and euthanasia:
Now with Pope Francis the cafeteria Catholics are the conservatives. They splutter and fume at Pope Francis. He’s the pope, but they disagree with him about this and reject his words about that just as avidly and with as much fervor as the liberals used to reject Pope Benedict. They pick him to pieces, refuse to give him the benefit of the doubt and paint him as a terrible pope—just like the liberals did with Benedict. The liberals thought Benedict was a bad and inadequate pope. Ditto the conservatives with Francis.
Go here to read the rest. Now I think Father Longenecker is wrong on this, and I can name one person who probably would agree with me: the Pope Emeritus.
Back when he was Cardinal Ratzinger, he wrote a letter in July of 2004 in which he made some crucial distinctions:
2. The Church teaches that abortion or euthanasia is a grave sin. The Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitae, with reference to judicial decisions or civil laws that authorize or promote abortion or euthanasia, states that there is a “grave and clear obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection. [...] In the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to ‘take part in a propaganda campaign in favour of such a law or vote for it’” (no. 73). Christians have a “grave obligation of conscience not to cooperate formally in practices which, even if permitted by civil legislation, are contrary to God’s law. Indeed, from the moral standpoint, it is never licit to cooperate formally in evil. [...] This cooperation can never be justified either by invoking respect for the freedom of others or by appealing to the fact that civil law permits it or requires it” (no. 74).
3. Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.
Go here to read the entire letter. The idea that Catholics must be in lock step with every view of a Pope in order to be a good Catholic would have struck most Catholics who have ever lived as a bizarre notion. For those confused on this point Cardinal Newman, as usual, is a font of light and wisdom: Continue reading