Donald R. McClarey
I was watching Orson Welles’ 1948 version of Macbeth. It is a version of the play steeped in darkness, with the drama taking place on a landscape that looks like a dark and evil lunar surface. Interestingly Welles adds a character, the Holy Man, a Catholic priest. At the beginning of the film he chases away the “three weird sisters”, waving the Celtic Cross he carries. After King Duncan arrives the Priest leads the court, anachronistically, in the rendition of the Saint Michael Prayer, go here to read about it, that would be written by Pope Leo XIII some nine centuries after the events depicted in Macbeth:
Saint Michael, the arch angel, be our safeguard
against the viles and wickedness of the devil.
Do thou, oh prince of the heavenly host,
by the divine power
thrust into hell satan and the other evil spirits,
who wander through the world,
seeking the ruin of souls.
Thus thou renounce Satan?
I renounce him.
And all his works?
I renounce them.
And all his pomps?
I renounce them.
Candles are distributed during the prayer, are lit and are raised by all at the end, Macbeth slower than the rest. Continue reading
The Vatican trial involving Francesca Immacolata Chaouqui has come to an end:
A nine-month trial against three former Vatican officials and two journalists for the leaking of confidential financial information came to an end on Thursday, with only one of the five accused going to prison, Monsignor Angel Lucio Vallejo Balda, who was sentenced to 18 months.
However, it is possible that Vallejo Balda’s sentence could be reduced to time served because he confessed his offense during the trial. A Vatican spokesman said Thursday he believes, but couldn’t confirm, the time he’s already served will be considered as part of the sentence.
Public relations consultant Francesca Chaouqui, the woman at the heart of the trial, was sentenced to 10 months. The tribunal declared that there was not enough evidence to prove that she had leaked confidential documents, but there was enough to accuse her of conspiring to do so.
However, her sentence was suspended for five years, meaning that if she doesn’t commit another crime under Vatican law, she gets a get-out-of-jail free card.
The other three who were on trial were Italian layman Nicola Maio, who together with Vallejo Balda and Chaouqui were members of a dismantled Vatican commission, and reporters Gianluigi Nuzzi and Emiliano Fittipaldi.
Maio was declared innocent, and according to the tribunal, the two journalists fall outside of Vatican jurisdiction, because they’re not residents nor were they ever employees.
We seem to be in danger of replaying the long, hot summers of the late 1960s and early 1970s when the radical left declared open warfare on cops. The above billboard was put up by the Minneapolis police department in 1971 showing an officer giving mouth to mouth resuscitation to a boy. The poster went “viral” across the nation.
In the wake of the murder of five cops in Dallas by sniper Micah Xavier Johnson, intent on killing as many white cops as he could, my memory was jogged about that billboard. Cops are not above criticism, and over the years I have done a fair amount of that. However, cops have a very tough job. Most of them do that job as best as they are capable, fairly and with a quiet heroism when they are called upon to go towards danger while the rest of us run from it as fast as we can. Let’s let Jack Webb as Detective Joe Friday have the last word:
That you may long continue to be the blessing of your country, is the wish of all its friends: and that you may not only live to enlighten and better mankind, but continue to do so, with freedom from sickness and pain, is the earnest prayer of, Honoured and Dear Sir Your most devoted and obliged servant, John Carroll
Letter from John Carroll to Benjamin Franklin, April 2, 1787
Rome had a problem. Prior to the American Revolution the Catholic priests in the thirteen colonies, approximately two dozen in number had been under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of Bishop Richard Challoner, Apostolic Vicar of London. Challoner died on January 12, 1781, at the age of 89. His successor, Bishop James Talbot, interestingly enough the last priest in England to be tried, twice, for saying Mass (each time he was acquitted due to lack of evidence), disclaimed any jurisdiction of the Church in the new United States. Something had to be done to set up an organizational structure for the Church in America, although knowledge about the situation of the Church there was rare in Rome. Fortunately in nearby France there resided an American whose advice might be helpful.
Benjamin Franklin, American Minister to France, by 1783 had reached a pinnacle of international fame that no American before him, and few since, have attained. It was therefore not surprising that when the Vatican was mulling the establishment of an American episcopate, that the idea was hit upon to ask the advice of Dr. Franklin. Thus is was that the Papal Nuncio to France, Archbishop Giuseppe Doria Pamphili addressed a short note to Franklin:
The 23. July 1783.
Before the revolution which has taken place in N. America, the Catholics and missionaries of those provinces depended in spirituals on the apostolic vicar residing at London. It is well known that this arrangement can no longer take place; but as it is essential that the catholic subjects of the united States should have an ecclesiastic to govern them in what concerns religion. The congregation de propaganda fides, for the establishment and preservation of missions, has come to a determination, to propose to Congress to establish in some city of the und. States of North America, one of their catholic Subjects, with the powers of Apostolic Vicar and with the character of Bishop, or simply in character of Apostolic Prefect. The establishment of a Bishop or apostolic vicar appear’d most convenient, in as much as the catholic subjects of the united States would have it in their power to receive confirmation and orders in their own country, without being obliged for this purpose to betake themselves to a Country under foreign domination and as it might as some times happen, that among the subjects of the united States, there might none be found to take on himself spiritual government, whether as a Bishop or apostolic Prefect, it would be necessary in such a Case that Congress should consent to the person they should chuse to it among the subjects of a foreign nation, most friendly to the und. States.
Giuseppe Doria Pamphili
(I repeat this post every July 9th. All of us can be saints, even if our sins be as scarlet, if we have faith, love and courage.)
When July 9 rolls around each year I am always reminded of my personal belief that before our end, perhaps especially for those of us sunk deep in sin, God gives us an opportunity to atone and turn aside from the downward path.
In Sixteenth Century Holland one of the longest wars in history began between Spain and Dutch rebels. The war was waged on both sides with sickening atrocities. Among the most violent were the Sea Beggars, Dutch patriots or pirates depending upon one’s point of view. In June of 1572 the Sea Beggars took the Dutch town of Gorkum, and captured nine Franciscan priests, Nicholas Pieck, Hieronymus of Weert, Theodorus van der Eem, Nicasius Janssen, Willehad of Denmark, Godefried of Mervel, Antonius of Weert, Antonius of Hoornaer, and Franciscus de Roye, of Brussels. Two Franciscan lay brothers were also captured: Petrus of Assche and Cornelius of Wyk.
The Sea Beggars also captured the parish priest of Gorkum, Leonardus Vechel of Boi-le-Duc, and his assistant, Nicolaas Janssen. Also imprisoned were Father Godefried van Duynsen and Joannes Lenartz of Oisterwijk, director of the convent of Augustinian nuns in Gorkum. Later imprisoned was a Domincan priest Joannes van Hoornaer who bravely came to Gorkum to minister to his imprisoned colleagues and joined them in their captivity, Jacobus Lacops of Oudenaar, a priest of Monster, Holland, Adrianus Janssen of Brielle, and last, and no doubt he would say least, the subject of this post, Andreas Wouters of Heynoord.
To be blunt, Andreas Wouters had been a lousy priest. A drunkard and notorious womanizer, he had fathered several children. Suspended from his duties he was living in disgrace when the Sea Beggars captured Gorkum. This was his cue to run as far away as possible, based on his past history. Instead, perhaps understanding that God was giving him maybe his last chance to redeem himself, he volunteered to join the captive priests and brothers. Continue reading
From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:
Blase Cupich has resigned as Bishop of the Archdiocese of Chicago after the diocese voted yesterday to leave the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
An emotional Cupich fought back tears late last night as he announced his resignation.
Surrounded by altar servers, deacons, and priests dressed as clowns, Cupich delivered an emotional statement outside Holy Name Cathedral.
Cupich said he accepted the decision of the laity, which voted by 52 percent to 48 percent to leave the USCCB.
The emotional Cupich announced he was standing down, before adding: “I will do everything I can in the future to help this great diocese succeed. Well, maybe it’s not great, but good. I will do everything I can in the future to help this good diocese succeed. Actually, come to think of it, it’s really not that good at all, is it? Ok, let me try this one more time. I will do everything I can in the future to help this not that good at all diocese succeed.”
“I think the diocese requires fresh leadership. I do not think I can be the captain to take the diocese to its next destination. In all honesty, I don’t even think I can captain a remote control toy boat.”
Bishop Cupich’s voice broke as he finished, watched on by his most trusted liturgical dancer. Continue reading
Something for the weekend. The song A Little Tin Box from the 1959 musical Fiorello. Judging from the current state of national politics in this country, it is amazing how little changes over time regarding political corruption and abuse of power. Loosely based on the life of Fiorello Enrico La Guardia, the legendary Depression era Republican mayor of New York City, the play won a Pulitzer.
Go here to take a quiz on the Declaration of Independence. I missed two out of twenty. It was a tougher quiz than I anticipated
A conservative talk show host on radio in Saint Louis, Stacy Washington explains what ails too many Americans, black and white. Hope on a bleak day.
Our bruin friend at Saint Corbinian’s Bear likes the latest video of Pope Francis:
The new Pope Video is out, and the Bear has to hand it to Pope Francis this time. The theme is something about indigenous people. Like, leave us alone, unless you’re giving us stuff. But it is by far the best Pope Video yet.
It begins with Daenerys Targaryen, First of Her Name, Khaleesi of the Grass Sea, The Unburnt, The Mother of Dragons, The Breaker of Chains, in indigenous Dothraki dress, stepping up to a podium in an empty hall as the usual synthesized score plays. Soft lighting behind her reveals an indigenous Dothraki royal tent and a servant steps up and begins braiding Daenerys’ hair.
Without speaking a word, she produces a horse heart and consumes it in a montage of very short takes. With her face covered in blood, she addresses the camera directly.
“I have many titles, but now I wish to address you simply as Daenerys Targaryen, First of My Name, Khaleesi of the Grass Sea. I love my loyal indigenous Dothraki subjects, who will soon cross the Narrow Sea in wooden horses along with their mounts.
“I speak for the Sheep People, and the Wildings, as well, and all indigenous folk who do not get a clockwork city of their own in the opening credits. I’m not sure if the Ice Zombies are indigenous, but we’ll include them to be on the safe side.
“The Dothraki ways may not be yours, but they deserve to be respected. Except for that giant dome for ex-Khaleesis, which I incinerated along with everyone in it. Leave us alone. Just like we would leave you alone if I did not have an enormous fleet, Dothraki horse lords, the Unsullied, the Second Sons and a squadron of fire-breathing dragons. Oh, and that dwarf, the eunuch and the old guy with the crush on me. As if.
“Swear obedience to your rightful queen, people of the Seven Kingdoms!”
Fade to familiar “Pope Video” closing title. Continue reading
Eleven police officers were shot ambush-style, including five fatally, in Dallas Thursday night by at least two snipers, amid a protest against the recent police shootings of two black men, Alton Sterling in Louisiana, and Philando Castile in Minnesota, according to the Dallas Police.
One of the suspects had engaged in a standoff for several hours with police, but a Dallas city official announced around 3:30 a.m. that it was over. It was not immediately known what his condition was.
The condition of the six wounded officers remains unknown. One civilian was also injured.
Officials said the gunmen aimed to kill as many officers as possible. Continue reading
As if further evidence were needed as to how far to the left the Pope is:
In yet one more sign of his growing confidence in the archbishop of Chicago, Pope Francis appointed Blase Cupich to the Vatican Congregation for Bishops, the office that proposes candidates for the episcopacy. Continue reading
FBI Director James Comey was grilled before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee for four hours/ A few interesting revelations came out.
- Hillary Clinton’s interview was not recorded and she was not placed under oath. Not recording the interview was not unusual, the FBI relying on written section 302 reports based upon contemporaneous notes of the interview made by an FBI agent. Normally one FBI agent conducts an interview while a second agent writes out notes. Federal judges have often expressed skepticism as to the reliability of these reports. Congress should subpoena the 302 report of the Clinton interview.
- Comey revealed that he is no longer a registered Republican.
- Comey noted that if Clinton had worked for the FBI she could have been subject to a broad range of disciplinary measures, up to termination.
- Comey refused to confirm or deny that the FBI is investigating the Clinton Foundation.
I unsay nothing that I have said against Donald Trump who would make an appallingly bad president. Having said that, John Zmirak makes a compelling case as to what a disaster a Hillary Clinton presidency would be for Christians:
Hillary Clinton, whose actions were more destructive than Edward Snowden’s, might squeak her way into our country’s seat of supreme power, which she has just learned she may abuse without any consequences. If so, she has promised her Planned Parenthood financial backers to pack the nation’s courts with the likes of Mark Tushnet, the Harvard law professor who in May proclaimed that the “culture wars” are over, and that Christians and other conservatives ought to be treated as the Allies did the defeated Nazis and Japanese.
Not since the Soviet dupe Vice President Henry Wallace was a heartbeat (and FDR’s fading heartbeat) away from the presidency in 1945 has the Republic been in such danger. The mainstream left in this country used to be just an opponent — a movement that shared our basic premises about civic order and common decency, but differed on how best to guide the economy, on the wisest foreign policy, on how much to tax and where to spend.
That is no longer even remotely true. Now the left is threatening to tax our churches, close our colleges, force our doctors to sexually mutilate mentally ill patients, and make our pharmacists hand out abortion pills. The people of Massachusetts have just been told that they may not even vote on whether the multiculturalist, dumbed-down Common Core curriculum will be imposed upon their children.
The leaders of our elite universities will not defend the teaching of basic texts of Western civilization, while the unhinged hysterical “snowflakes” whom they diploma-fy after four years of pricey coddling are screaming for their loans to be paid off by the taxpayer. So Walmart workers without college degrees would foot the bill for the next Lena Dunham’s M.A. in Women’s Studies.
Meanwhile our government proposes to spend our tax money providing sex change surgeries for soldiers and importing unvettable Muslim refugees all the way here from their safe havens in Turkey, while leaving local Christians to die.
A Supreme Court that Hillary Clinton has not yet had the chance to pack has tossed out basic safety laws that briefly made Texas abortion clinics less dangerous to women than Kermit Gosnell’s butcher shop, perhaps undoing similar laws in many other states — the fruit of decades of patient, scrupulous incremental work by the pro-life movement through the democratic process. All tossed in the trash. The icy contempt which British elites expressed for that nation’s voters after Brexit is reflected perfectly here, as the Citizens of International Business Class unite to repress the “racist,” “xenophobic” masses.
The left has made itself not our opponent but our enemy. While its partisans are still our fellow citizens and deserve basic Christian charity, they do not deserve our trust. We are long past the time when it was possible to compromise with the left in view of some agreed-upon common good. They have blasted it into No Man’s Land.
We are locked in a Hobbesean conflict for mere civic survival. Continue reading
It is ironic that Hillary Clinton began her political life as a staff attorney for the Democrat controlled House Committee on the Judiciary in 1973, arguing in a brief that Nixon had no right to counsel in regard to a House committee considering articles of impeachment, because the similarities between Nixon and her as politicians, and as individuals, are striking.
In a profession for extroverts both Nixon and Clinton share the traits of introverts who have political careers: ill at ease campaigning, giving rote, passionless, speeches and obviously detesting the necessary glad-handing that goes with being a politician.
Politicians have ever been regarded as honoring truth by using it as sparingly as possible. Even in such an assemblage both Nixon and Clinton developed reputations for raising bold faced mendacity to an art form.
Like Nixon, Clinton has a distrust of the normal channels of authority in regard to the position she held as Secretary of State, and preferred to exercise her power through her personal staff.
As in the case of Nixon, Clinton is distrusted by the dominant ideological faction in her party.
Clinton, like Nixon, would walk on her knees over any amount of broken glass for the sake of obtaining power.
Nixon was ever noted for the hatred he aroused in his political adversaries, a capacity Clinton shares to the full.
Paranoia and self-pity are essential elements in the psychological makeup of Clinton as they were in the case of Nixon.
Nixon could never conceal the raw contempt he felt for those who disagreed with him politically, and Clinton does not lack in that capacity to project disdain.
Nixon could, and Clinton can, inspire political devotion but not an ounce of the affection that charismatic politicians like Ronald Reagan and Theodore Roosevelt could excite.
No one would buy a used car from either of them.
Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa brings us the latest attempt by Pope Francis to transform Catholic doctrine:
ROME, July 1, 2016 – In his way, after encouraging communion for the divorced and remarried, in that it “is not a prize for the perfect, but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak,” Pope Francis is now also encouraging Protestants and Catholics to receive communion together at their respective Masses.
He is doing so, as always, in a discursive, allusive way, not definitional, leaving the ultimate decision to the individual conscience.
Still emblematic is the answer he gave on November 15, 2015, on a visit to the Christuskirche, the church of the Lutherans in Rome (see photo), to a Protestant who asked him if she could receive communion together with her Catholic husband.
The answer from Francis was a stupefying pinwheel of yes, no, I don’t know, you figure it out. Which it is indispensable to reread in its entirety, in the official transcription:
“Thank you, Ma’am. Regarding the question on sharing the Lord’s Supper, it is not easy for me to answer you, especially in front of a theologian like Cardinal Kasper! I’m afraid! I think the Lord gave us [the answer] when he gave us this command: ‘Do this in memory of me’. And when we share in, remember and emulate the Lord’s Supper, we do the same thing that the Lord Jesus did. And the Lord’s Supper will be, the final banquet will there be in the New Jerusalem, but this will be the last. Instead on the journey, I wonder – and I don’t know how to answer, but I am making your question my own – I ask myself: “Is sharing the Lord’s Supper the end of a journey or is it the viaticum for walking together? I leave the question to the theologians, to those who understand. It is true that in a certain sense sharing is saying that there are no differences between us, that we have the same doctrine – I underline the word, a difficult word to understand – but I ask myself: don’t we have the same Baptism? And if we have the same Baptism, we have to walk together. You are a witness to an even profound journey because it is a conjugal journey, truly a family journey, of human love and of shared faith. We have the same Baptism. When you feel you are a sinner – I too feel I am quite a sinner – when your husband feels he is a sinner, you go before the Lord and ask forgiveness; your husband does the same and goes to the priest and requests absolution. They are ways of keeping Baptism alive. When you pray together, that Baptism grows, it becomes strong; when you teach your children who Jesus is, why Jesus came, what Jesus did, you do the same, whether in Lutheran or Catholic terms, but it is the same. The question: and the Supper? There are questions to which only if one is honest with oneself and with the few theological lights that I have, one must respond the same, you see. ‘This is my Body, this is my Blood’, said the Lord, ‘do this in memory of me’, and this is a viaticum which helps us to journey. I had a great friendship with an Episcopalian bishop, 48 years old, married with two children, and he had this concern: a Catholic wife, Catholic children, and he a bishop. He accompanied his wife and children to Mass on Sundays and then went to worship with his community. It was a step of participating in the Lord’s Supper. Then he passed on, the Lord called him, a just man. I respond to your question only with a question: how can I participate with my husband, so that the Lord’s Supper may accompany me on my path? It is a problem to which each person must respond. A pastor friend of mine said to me: ‘We believe that the Lord is present there. He is present. You believe that the Lord is present. So what is the difference?’ – ‘Well, there are explanations, interpretations…’. Life is greater than explanations and interpretations. Always refer to Baptism: “One faith, one baptism, one Lord”, as Paul tells us, and take the outcome from there. I would never dare give permission to do this because I do not have the authority. One Baptism, one Lord, one faith. Speak with the Lord and go forward. I do not dare say more.”
It is impossible to gather a clear indication from these words. Of course, however, by speaking in such a “liquid” form Pope Francis has brought everything into question again, concerning intercommunion between Catholics and Protestants. He has made any position thinkable, and therefore practicable.
In fact, in the Lutheran camp the pope’s words were immediately taken as a go-ahead for intercommunion.
But now in the Catholic camp as well an analogous position statement has come, which presents itself above all as the authentic interpretation of the words Francis said at the Lutheran church of Rome.
Acting as the pope’s authorized interpreter is the Jesuit Giancarlo Pani, in the latest issue of “La Civiltà Cattolica,” the magazine directed by Fr. Antonio Spadaro that has now become the official voice of Casa Santa Marta, meaning of Jorge Mario Bergoglio himself, who reviews and adjusts the articles that most interest him before their publication.
Taking his cue from a recent joint declaration of the Catholic episcopal conference of the United States and of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Fr. Pani dedicates the entire second part of his article to the exegesis of the words of Francis at the Christuskirche in Rome, carefully selected from among those most useful for the purpose.
And he draws the conclusion from them that they marked “a change” and “a progress in pastoral practice,” analogous to the one produced by “Amoris Laetitia” for the divorced and remarried.
They are only “small steps forward,” Pani writes in the final paragraph. But the direction is set.
And it is the same one in which Francis moves when he declares – as he did during the return flight from Armenia – that Luther “was a reformer” with good intentions and his reform was “medicine for the Church,” skipping over the essential dogmatic divergences between Protestants and Catholics concerning the sacrament of the Eucharist, because – in the words of Francis at the Christuskirche in Rome – “life is greater than explanations and interpretations.”
So here are the main passages of the article by Fr. Pani in “La Civiltà Cattolica.” Continue reading