Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 26 years. Small town lawyer. President of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center.

Mark Shea on Climate Change

 

After the issuance of the Green Encyclical today I assume that Catholics will be debating global warming.  I thought we would kick off the debate here on TAC with Mark Shea representing both sides:

2011:

As you probably know, I’m skeptical of the Global Warming hype, not least because its marketers and packagers keep changing the name. First, it was “Global Warming,” then “Climate Change” (as if climate does anything besides change) and lately it’s “Global Climate Disruption.” I’m also skeptical that it is man made, and I think the dishonesty of some of the scientists in the field, not to mention the packagers and marketers, leaves me cold (clever pun, eh?). So, for instance, when I see evidence of rising sea levels that doesn’t always refer me back to the same remote island nobody knows anything about except that it might be a case of erosion and not rising sea levels, I will begin to take our melting ice caps more seriously.

Go here to read the rest.

2015:

I have always expressed ignorance of the science for the very good reason that I am not a scientist. I have always granted the premise that there is climate change for the very good reason that change is what climate does. Beyond that, I have always left the matter in the hands of experts to hash out because what do I know?

Go here to read the rest.

Why?

 

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Now that the Green Encyclical is about to be released, a good question to ask is why is the Pope doing this?  The answer is obvious and disheartening.  The Pope, with a few notable exceptions, most significantly in regard to abortion, shares the prejudices of most left of center educated people in the West.  For them the environment is the cause of causes, and they embrace it with a religious devotion.  The added bonus of course is that global warming, or climate change, or whatever name the scam goes under, is an excellent excuse for more government.  For the left of center the answer to virtually any problem is to scream for more government.  Our Pope has a naïve faith in government and a distaste for free enterprise.  This is not unusual when one considers his background.  Argentina is largely an economic basket case because its political class has overwhelmingly embraced heavy government intervention in the economy, that has led to stagnant growth, crony capitalism and immense corruption, all in a country that is blessed with natural resources that should largely ensure prosperity.  Thus we have the Green Encyclical which seeks to make the globe Argentina writ large.

John Hinderaker at Powerline points out that the Encyclical is as wrong in its premises as it is in its conclusions:

First, the Pope has no idea what he is talking about. His letter is full of factual errors. For example:

Scientific consensus exists indicating firmly that we are in the presence of a worrisome warming of the climate system.

This is false. There has been no net global warming for something like 18 years, according to satellite data, the most reliable that we have.

In recent decades, that the heating was accompanied by the constant rise in the sea level….

Sea level has been rising for approximately 12,000 years, first dramatically as the Earth warmed rapidly at the end of the last Ice Age, and much more slowly in recent millennia. Currently, the rate of rise of sea level is not increasing.

…and is also hard not to relate it to the increase in extreme weather events, regardless of the fact that we can not attribute a cause scientifically determined to each particular phenomenon.

Wrong again. Extreme weather events are not increasing. This isn’t an opinion, it is a fact: there is no plausible empirical claim to the contrary. In fact, for what it is worth, the climate models that are the sole basis for warming hysteria predict fewer extreme weather events, not more, because the temperature differential between the equator and the poles will diminish.

It is true that there are other factors (such as volcanism, and the variations of the orbit of the Earth, the solar cycle), but numerous scientific studies indicate that most of the global warming of recent decades is due to the large concentration of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and other) issued mainly because of human activity.

Putting aside the fact that there hasn’t been any net warming during the last two decades, this is precisely the issue that is the subject of intense scientific debate–a debate that, it becomes increasingly clear, the realists are winning. For the Pope to wade into this controversy would be nearly inexplicable, absent some overriding motive.

That motive is, apparently, hostility toward free enterprise and the prosperity that it creates. Francis has manifested such hostility in previous statements, and it comes through again in his anti-global warming letter. Francis sounds like just another leftist: the solution to global warming is more state control to dictate how people live, and new international organizations to direct vast transfers of wealth and power. Continue reading

PopeWatch: Fatima

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Rorate Caeli brings us this interview from 2008 by Tele Radio Padre Pio with Cardinal Carlo Caffara :

 

Q. There is a prophecy by Sister Lucia dos Santos, of Fatima, which concerns “the final battle between the Lord and the kingdom of Satan”. The battlefield is the family. Life and the family. We know that you were given charge by John Paul II to plan and establish the Pontifical Institute for the Studies on Marriage and the Family.

 

Yes, I was. At the start of this work entrusted to me by the Servant of God John Paul II, I wrote to Sister Lucia of Fatima through her Bishop as I couldn’t do so directly. Unexplainably however, since I didn’t expect an answer, seeing that I had only asked for prayers, I received a very long letter with her signature – now in the Institute’s archives. In it we find written: the final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and the family. Don’t be afraid, she added, because anyone who operates for the sanctity of marriage and the family will always be contended and opposed in every way, because this is the decisive issue. And then she concluded: however, Our Lady has already crushed its head.

Continue reading

PopeWatch: Sandro Magister

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More detail from Jimmy Akin in regard to the leak of a draft of the Green Encyclical by Sandro Magister.  (PopeWatch’s Italian is far too shaky for him to quote Magister until Magister comments in English):

6) How did Magister get the text?

This is unknown at present. In his article, he refers to the text having a “troubled” history and alludes to the first copies that the Vatican publishing house made having been pulped (destroyed) because of various places where they needed to be corrected.

It is possible that someone rescued one of the copies meant to be pulped and gave it to Magister. If so, he may have gotten it from a lower level person, such as a worker tasked with arranging for the copies to be pulped.

On the other hand, they could have come from someone higher placed.

If Magister’s text came from the batch that was pulped then that could explain why the Vatican Press Office said that it wasn’t the final version.

On the other hand, Magister may have been given a copy from a different batch, after some corrections were made. In any event, the Holy See Press Office says it isn’t the final copy.

 

7) How different will the final version be?

There is no way to know until Thursday.

Assuming that Magister is correct that a batch was pulped, this may have been due to nothing more than typos that needed to be corrected.

It is not at all uncommon for publishers to pulp runs of a publication that have typos which are caught at the last minute, assuming that the typos are significant enough. In my own experience with publishers, I’ve seen it done.

On the other hand, there may be more than typo fixes. This could happen, for example, if Pope Francis asked for certain editorial changes to be made and then, in the editorial process, these fell through the cracks and their absence was caught only at the last minute.

 

8) Why was the text leaked?

Without knowing who leaked it, there is no way to tell.

If it was a janitor who plucked a copy from a batch that were on their way to be shredded, it may simply have been that he knew Magister would be interested in a scoop and he wanted to be part of an exciting story (or possibly even be paid for his efforts).

Such an employee may not have read the text and there may be no larger agenda on his part.

On the other hand, if a person of higher stature leaked it—someone who had been entrusted with working on the text and read the content of the document—then there might be a deliberate intention to undermine the encyclical and its message.

 

9) How could the leak undermine the encyclical?

Part of the point of having an official release, with a press conference and everything, is to create on opportunity to get the document off on the best footing.

The media hops on it all at once, creating something of a saturation effect in different news channels, and the Holy See has the chance—via the press conference and associated materials given out to the press—to frame the story its way.

For a text to appear early can let some of the air out of the official release, and it can allow the text to be framed in ways contrary to the spin that the Holy See wants put on it.

In this case, because we have a pre-final draft, it will also cause attention to zero-in on the changes that were made between this draft and the final one, which may cause people to speculate about why those changes were made and what significance they might have (if they’re just typos or edits that were accidentally omitted and later caught: not much).

Further, this event raises the specter of the VatiLeaks scandal, in which Benedict XVI’s own butler was funneling private Vatican documents to the press as part of his own agenda.

This event raises the question of whether there are additional leakers—or new leakers—who are in some way seeking to undermine Pope Francis. Continue reading

Quotes Suitable for Framing: Leo XIII

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The unshrinking defence of the Holy Scripture, however, does not require that we should equally uphold all the opinions which each of the Fathers or the more recent interpreters have put forth in explaining it; for it may be that, in commenting on passages where physical matters occur, they have sometimes expressed the ideas of their own times, and thus made statements which in these days have been abandoned as incorrect. Hence, in their interpretations, we must carefully note what they lay down as belonging to faith, or as intimately connected with faith-what they are unanimous in. For “in those things which do not come under the obligation of faith, the Saints were at liberty to hold divergent opinions, just as we ourselves are,”(55) according to the saying of St. Thomas. And in another place he says most admirably: “When philosophers are agreed upon a point, and it is not contrary to our faith, it is safer, in my opinion, neither to lay down such a point as a dogma of faith, even though it is perhaps so presented by the philosophers, nor to reject it as against faith, lest we thus give to the wise of this world an occasion of despising our faith.”(56) The Catholic interpreter, although he should show that those facts of natural science which investigators affirm to be now quite certain are not contrary to the Scripture rightly explained, must nevertheless always bear in mind, that much which has been held and proved as certain has afterwards been called in question and rejected.

Leo XIII, PROVIDENTISSIMUS DEUS

PopeWatch: Bullet Points

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As expected, the leaked Encylical is being translated.  Here is the take of National Journal from what they have read:

 

 

1) Global warming is real

While the document largely focuses on theology and morality, it does go headlong into the science of the causes and impacts of climate change. The draft document says there is a scientific consensus that the climate is warming because of human actions, and that it is reflected in rising sea levels and increasing extreme weather events. The document even goes further into specific consequences of climate change on biodiversity and marine life, among others.

2) Fossil fuels are a problem

The encyclical states that fossil fuels, such as oil and to a lesser extent natural gas, should be phased out without delay in favor of renewable energy. While renewable power is built up, the encyclical says, it is permissible to rely on fossil fuels, but that overall, the extraction and burning of oil and gas is evil. The document further calls for countries to adopt policies that will reduce emissions of carbon dioxides and other gases.

 

One policy that Francis dismisses is the use of carbon credits, which he says could give rise to speculation rather than direct action to reduce emissions.

3) Governments should act on climate change—and do it right

The timing of the encyclical is no mystery—Vatican officials have said the document is meant to influence the United Nations climate talks in Paris this year. Francis repeatedly calls on governments to fight climate change, both domestically and through international agreements

Francis says previous international negotiations, specifically the 2012 UN meetings in Rio de Janeiro, produced ineffective results because countries were looking after the own interests rather than the common good. Francis also is calling on countries to set their own long-term policies on climate change, warning that environmental regulations should not change as governments come in and out of power. Continue reading

PopeWatch: Encyclical Leaked

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From Rorate Caeli:

Someone leaked (or broke the embargo) of the full contents of the Pope’s new encyclical Laudato Si to Italian periodical L’Espresso. Sandro Magister has also made it available.

The whole document, in Italian (pdf file), is available here.

 

Update: According to Vatican sources, the leaked Espresso text, despite all appearances of a final text, is not the final version… and that the final text is still under embargo until Thursday. It is doubtful that the published text will be much different (it is indeed quite likely it will be nearly identical), so the version above is kept at least for the historical record of events.

Continue reading

PopeWatch: The Encyclical

 

 

 

 

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Believe it or not the video above was put together by a group in support of the Green Encyclical.  We live in crazy times and they get a little crazier each day.

Vacation Book Haul

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As faithful readers of his blog know, I am a biblioholic.  Last week my bride and I were on vacation from the law mines, well for three of the days of last week, and we went to a fantastic book sale put on each year by the local chapter of the American Association of University Women in Naperville.  This is a big sale with approximately 40,000 books.  We purchased 45, well actually 46 because I accidentally picked up two copies of the same book, for $100.00.  Here is a list of the books with commentary.  Fortunately my bride shares to the full my biblioholism!  She will be doing the commentary for 4-12 on the list.

1.   From Savannah to Yorktown, Henry Lumpkin (1981)-Perhaps the best one volume modern study on the campaign waged by the British in the latter half of the Revolution to conquer the South.  Lumpkin does a good job of detailing the savagery of this fighting, with Northern and Southern Tories in the ranks of the British adding an air of civil war to the conflict.

2.   How to Stop a War, James Dunnigan and William Martel (1987)-Dunnigan is the founder of Simulations Publications Illustrated (dear old SPI) and the designer of numerous war games.  After SPI went bankrupt in the early eighties and was sold to TSR, he began a career of writing books about war.  This is one of his early efforts and contains his usual skillful use of historical examples to make his points.

3.   An Ordinary Person’s Guide to Empire, Arundhati Roy, (2005)-The one dud in our purchases.  Roy is a left wing loon and her tome reads like a fairly illiterate sophomore’s take on the world after having dozed through a class on Marxian Analysis of the World Crisis, while her boyfriend took occasional notes.  She is a supporter of the Naxalites, a particularly bloody and futile Maoist insurrectionary movement that has been going on in India since 1967.  This book is soon to be seen on e-bay.

4.   Saint Louis and the Last Crusade, Margaret Ann Hubbard, (1958)-This and the following 4 books are all Vision Books children’s biographies of saints, in the original hardcover editions (not the Ignatius Press paperback reprints).  Similar to Landmark Books, but on Catholic subjects and written from a Catholic perspective.  This one is a biography of King Louis IX of France.

5.   Katharine Drexel, Friend of the Neglected, Ellen Tarry, (1958)-A biography of St. Katharine Drexel (not yet canonized at the time of publication).  Cathy read this to the kids for their afterschool “mommy school” when they were in grade school.

6.  Saint Elizabeth’s Three Crowns, Blanche Jennings Thompson, (1958)-A biography of St. Elizabeth of Hungary; Cathy vaguely remembers reading about her to the kids during “mommy school” (might have been this book, or possibly a shorter account of her life elsewhere).

7.   Saint Isaac and the Indians, Milton Lomask, (1958)-A biography of St. Isaac Jogues, one of the Jesuit “Blackrobes” who worked (and died) among the Indians in North America (mostly Canada).  Cathy definitely remembers reading this one to the kids during “mommy school”!

8.   Saint Thomas More of London, Elizabeth M. Ince, (1957)-A biography of St. Thomas More, of course; Cathy thinks homeschoolers could use this alongside a family viewing of A Man for All Seasons (preferably the 1960s version) as an introduction to the Reformation in England.

9.   The Pattern Library, Crochet, Amy Carrol and Dorothea Hall, (1982)-An inexpensive crochet stitch dictionary for Cathy (if a family member knits or crochets, they’ll know what that is).

10.  Knitting into the Mystery, Susan S. Jorgensen and Susan S. Izard, (2003)-A book on prayer shawl ministries coauthored by a female United Church of Christ minister (Izard) and a Roman Catholic laywoman (Jorgensen); mostly about the spiritual side of such groups, rather than making the shawls themselves (although 2 simple patterns – 1 each knit & crochet – are included); tries hard (maybe a little too hard) to appeal to an interfaith audience.

11.  The Illustrated Afghan, Leslie Linsley, (1990)-A crochet afghan pattern book where the main panel or squares are done in plain Tunisian crochet (what Cathy says earlier generations called “afghan stitch”), and the intricate designs are cross-stitched on top.

12.  Norwegian Rosemaling, Margaret M. Miller and Sigmund Aarseth, (1974)-A book on Norwegian folk art decorative painting on wood, featuring lots of stylized flowers/leaves/scrolls/etc.; looks a lot like tole painting (but don’t let a rosemaaling fan hear you say that!).  We still have a couple of small rosemaalt items (a trinket box & a small decorative plate) Cathy acquired back in college while minoring in Scandinavian studies and connecting with distant cousins in Norway.

13.  Socrates in the City, Eric Metaxas, editor, (2011)-A collection of lectures by such luminaries as Peter Kreeft, the late Father Richard John Neuhaus, the late Chuck Colson, et al on the big issues:  God, Good, Evil, etc.  Metaxas is a man to keep your eye on.  He combines profound learning, a deep faith in God and a profound commitment to the pro-life cause.  His biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer is a grand example of using the past to help illuminate the present.

14.  Drummer Hodge:  The Poetry of the Anglo-Boer War, M. Van Wyk Smith, (1978)-Now what list of books purchased by me would be complete without some obscure tomes.  A good look at the poetry, and there was a fair amount of it, unleashed upon the world by the Boer War.  Most of it was forgettable and much of it was bad, but looking at it helps us understand the passions roused by this controversial war.

15.  Churchill’s Secret War, Madhusree Mukerjee, (2010)-Ms. Mukerjee claims in her book that Churchill’s dislike of Indians contributed to the toll of the Bengal Famine of 1943-44.  Arthur Herman, who wrote a recent joint biography of Churchill and Gandhi has written a devastating rejoinder.  Go here to read it.  I will reserve judgment until I have read the book.

16.  Platoon Leader, Thomas R. McDonough, (1985)-I have been reading this book since we purchased it last Thursday and have completed it.  It relates the story of the author as a newly graduated West Pointer, assigned as a First Lieutenant to command an understrength platoon occupying a village in a Viet Cong dominated section of Vietnam.  McDonough relates his struggles to be a competent platoon commander as he learns all the things that the Army had failed to train him about and that were vital for him to learn quickly if he and his men were to survive and prevail.  McDonough learned that when it came to stand up fights with the Viet Cong assaulting his village, American fire power would prevail and inflict heavy losses on the enemy.  What was deadly for the troops were the drip, drip losses caused on daily patrols through booby-traps planted by the Cong.  (Shades of IEDs in Iraq!)  McDonough comes to respect and like almost all the men he commands, impressed by their courage and their willingness to fight for each other.  He does not romanticize them, but he clearly shows the nobility of spirit of most of them as they stoically endure their tours.  The burden of command lays heavily on McDonough, a constant theme of the book.  This is illustrated when he sends a squad to swim in the ocean, hoping that the salt water will be good for their jungle sores, and be fun for the men.  Two of the men are caught in the tide and drown, and McDonough blames himself for their deaths, learning the old military fact of life that when you are in command, everything is your responsibility. Continue reading

Jesus Wept

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If any pro-lifers ever get tired or discouraged, please remember that the fate of “Baby Francis”, tossed away at the dawn of life like so much used garbage, is what we are fighting against:

In a simple, but dignified ceremony this morning in a section of Gate of Heaven Cemetery set aside for the repose of babies, Bishop Thomas J. Tobin presided over a Christian burial service for the unborn child he named “Francis,” fulfilling a commitment he made to officials five months ago after a fetus was found floating amid the sewage at a nearby wastewater treatment facility.

A tiny white casket, with “Baby Francis 2015” inscribed on a gold plaque affixed to one end, and flanked by flowers and a small teddy bear, rested upon a portable pine altar as the burial service was conducted under a brilliant blue sky.

“Now, we must entrust the soul of Baby Francis to the abundant mercy of God so that this beloved child may find finally a home in his kingdom,” Bishop Tobin prayed before a gathering of about 20 individuals representing the diocese and its active Respect Life Office and Human Life Guild.

Despite a five-month investigation into the case, not much is known about the circumstances in which the unborn child ended up at the Bucklin Wastewater Treatment Facility on January 12, when a worker saw what at first appeared to be a doll floating amid the slurry in a collection area of the plant’s Screen and Grit Building, according to the East Providence Police Department.

At the time, the Bishop offered a “decent and proper burial” for the unborn child, also offering prayers for his parents and the situation that led them to dispose of a child in such a tragic way. The State Medical Examiner’s Office indicated the child was a male, about 19-20 weeks gestation, but could not release the body while its investigation was ongoing.
Continue reading

Flag Day and the Army

On June 14, 1777 the Second Continental Congress passed this resolution:

 “Resolved, That the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”

The Flag was designed by member of Congress Francis Hopkinson who requested a quarter cask of wine for his services.  Payment was denied him on the sound ground that he was already being paid as a member of Congress.  Two years previously on June 14, 1775, Congress voted to adopt the New England militia army besieging Boston and so the Continental Army was formed.

I have always thought it appropriate that the Flag and the Army share the same birthday.  The Flag is the proud symbol of the nation but without military strength to back it up, it would quickly become a mere colorful piece of fabric.  John Wayne in a brief speech at the end of the movie Fort Apache (1948), part of John Ford’s cavalry trilogy, captured the spirit of the Army:

As did this passage the following year in the second of the cavalry trilogy, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon:

 

So here they are: the dog-faced soldiers, the regulars, the fifty-cents-a-day professionals… riding the outposts of a nation. From Fort Reno to Fort Apache – from Sheridan to Startle – they were all the same: men in dirty-shirt blue and only a cold page in the history books to mark their passing. But wherever they rode – and whatever they fought for – that place became the United States.

The song That Ragged Old Flag understands the necessity of men willing to fight for the nation, for the Flag, if the country is to endure: Continue reading

Something For Conspiracy Theorists to Sweat About!

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A fascinating piece in the New York Times which will have leftist moonbats reaching for their tin foil head gear:

When we think political influence, we think big money: the Koch brothers or Sheldon Adelson. Father McCloskey has taken a vow of poverty, but he has another kind of influence. He has helped shape the spirituality and the thinking of powerful people who have similar views about the market and social issues. Many of his converts know one another; it is a kind of club. As Pope Francis is breathing life into the Catholic left, Father McCloskey is defibrillating the Catholic right.

In Palo Alto, where Opus Dei sent him in 2013 after a period in Chicago, Father McCloskey and I shared a late-afternoon cocktail. He talked about his college years, his time on Wall Street and his calling to become a priest. I had expected to be overwhelmed by charisma and instead was drawn in by gentleness. He listened more than he spoke, asked about my family, touched my arm several times.

Then, when it was over, Father McCloskey surprised me by asking that I not quote him. Opus Dei would not let him speak on the record.

So, to learn more about him, I turned to some of the men and women whom Father McCloskey has counseled.

Several discussed the pleasure he takes in conservatives’ company, and his quiet facility with networking. He gets referrals. To take one example, before Mr. Regnery ever met Father McCloskey, he knew about him from Mr. Kudlow and Mr. Novak, converts of Father McCloskey’s who, as conservative opinion columnists, knew pretty much everyone.

And in a church whose priests are often on the left economically, Father McCloskey has a niche. He is a devout free-marketeer, a priest who defends the compatibility of pro-business policies and Catholic theology.

But more than anything, when I asked what made Father McCloskey so successful at persuading people to join the church, I heard the answer, counterintuitive in its simplicity, that he befriends people, whether they ask for it or not.

“Once Father John gets his claws into you, he never lets go,” said Mr. Kudlow, who was fighting addictions to alcohol and cocaine when he met Father McCloskey in the 1990s.

“He reaches out and gives you that kind of companionship, and stays in touch,” Mr. Kudlow, now clean for almost 20 years, added.

Shortly after he began counseling Mr. Kudlow, Father McCloskey suggested that he go to church. Mr. Kudlow found that he loved Mass, and in 1997, he was baptized Catholic.

Mr. Brownback and Mr. Lehrman did not respond to requests for comment. Nor did the presidential candidate Rick Santorum, whose son was baptized by Father McCloskey. But Mr. Regnery, whose family firm has published William F. Buckley Jr., Ann Coulter and Dinesh D’Souza, did respond, effusively.

In the 1990s, dissatisfied with the Episcopal Church, Mr. Regnery attended two weekend retreats run by Father McCloskey. They became friends, and in 2006 or 2007, he became a Catholic. Continue reading

Daffey Thoughts

 

A blog I have been reading lately is Daffey Thoughts, run by David Griffey, a Baptist minister who converted to Catholicism.  The video above is from 2006.  He is a graceful writer as demonstrated by this recent post:

This year has been a struggle, as I work things out relative to the shifts that have happened in Catholicism since I’ve been Catholic.  The last vestiges of pre-progressive culture have been swept behind us, except for those sexual issues that would likely not impact celibate men.  Everything else is increasingly along the lines of modern, Western, progressive and even secular social and political theory.

That is enough right there.  Add to it the slammed doors on any hope that I will be able to act in the capacity of a minister of the Gospel, and it’s been tough.  What to give up?  What to sacrifice?  What to commit to?

Well, I decided, a few weeks into Lent I admit, that my penance will be a daily visit to Catholic and Enjoying It.  That may sound strange.  But here is why.

In my early days of looking at non-Protestant Christianity, I stumbled on CAEI largely by accident.  I was searching for some free downloadable articles by Scott Hahn, without success.  Then I found an article by someone named Mark Shea.  It dealt with the strange aversion many Protestants have regarding Mary.  It was direct, but nice.  Even respectful.  There were some clever zingers, making the point without offending.  But the point was solid, fair, and truthful.

I went back, found his website, and gobbled up the articles.  They were almost all wonderful.  Here was a conservative American Catholic, not afraid to point out when Conservatism wasn’t following the path of Christ.  He was also fair when liberalism was correct.  His blog was a little more raucous.  But those were usually the readers.  Mark himself was often the goalie, stepping in and stopping things before they went too far.  Even telling his friends to back off.  No personal attacks or accusations were allowed.  Those would get you the door.

There you had it.  You could be conservative and Catholic.  The stereotype of Catholicism and Liberal Socialism voting Democrats as the sacramental calling of modern Catholicism was not universal.  You could love America, admit it sins, but not emphasize them (which Mark pointed out was often a very un-Christian thing to do).  You could respect the heritage of Western Civilization. You could evenly boldly declare “Why We Must Fight” following 9/11.  He even liked Tolkien, and the books I liked.  And his humor and mine were not too far off each other.

Perhaps it was my own fault that I saw in Mark’s rather balanced approach as what Catholicism was, rather than looking further.  But that was well over ten years ago.

Today, the Church has changed in just the time since we came into it.  The generation that had welcomed Protestant Clergy Converts into the fold have passed to retirement.  With some exceptions in the priesthood, most now in charge (Boomer age) seem to want little to do with us, unless we can design webpages or raise money.  And it isn’t hard to see that Oprah style liberalism and the growing pronouncements about reality from Church leaders sound increasingly the same.  The Bishops’ willingness to almost in one voice support the Democrats in all things, as long as they don’t screw the Church, and the shift toward accepting the Secular narrative are hard to miss.

True, Pope Francis is a horse of a different color.  But those who have studied liberation theology and the Marxist influences in South American Christianity will recognize at least some influences there, even if what he is willing to take a stand against other forms of radical leftist morality (again, usually where sex is concerned).

On CAEI, the change is even more pronounced.  It’s almost an entirely different world.  An entirely different blogger.  Most regulars of old have long since moved on.  The readers are either post-modern non-conformists cheering on their own superiority over all those loser “tribal Catholics”, or clearly hard to the Left progressives, with varying degrees of anti-abortion and non-gay marriage support.  In fact, opposing gay “marriage” is about the only thing that separates much modern talk about homosexuality in the Church from your average LGBT rally. And CAEI echoes this.

CAEI is a strange mixture now of Jack Chick, Glenn Beck, Huffington Post progressive thought, and a reminder that Catholics are, whether we want to admit it or not, heirs of the Inquisition.  For a couple years, many regulars tried to warn that there was little to do with enjoying anything on CAEI, and a growing discrepancy between a man who claims to be conservative, and a man who increasingly seems to love liberalism but hate conservatism.  One by one, those readers have apparently given up and moved on.  Only a handful remain.  God love them.

For me, who has been accused of horrible things by the stock readers and by Mark himself – including not caring about murdered children at Sandy Hook and desiring to increase human slaughter – there is little joy or happiness now.  The anti-Western, anti-American, anti-Traditional and anti-Conservative narrative fully embraced has made me more of an outcast there than I was at the Huffington Post.  And to be honest, I’ve been called far worse on CAEI than I was at the Huffington Post.  And it was leaving HP (as well as being banned for not being liberal) that was one of the reasons I started my blog!  Which is always a possibility at CAEI, since the thing that gets you banned now is pretty much defending traditional and conservative viewpoints, with rare exception. Continue reading

PopeWatch: Martians

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

 

From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:

New Calcedonia, Mars––Thousands of New Calcedonian martians from the northern quadrant of sector 490-3t protested outside New St. Peter’s today as bishops began talks on a number of heated issues including inter-species marriage and receiving communion in the pinchers. “The faithful and bishops alike are hoping to cover all the core issues that the average Catholic martian on the planet’s going through; issues such as understanding ‘the fall’ in regards to the martian race, and of course, receiving communion in the pinchers as opposed to one of the tongues,” spokesman for the Church in sectors 490-3t and 490-4t Androm’da Zmit told the press outside New St. Peter’s Square. “I have faith that our Holy Father Beeblebrox XV, together with the bishops, will be able to guide the faithful in these decisions…to help them better understand how he, she, or heshe can better telecommunicate the gospel.” One issue receiving lots of attention is that of intergalactic marriage. The question of whether humans could lawfully marry martians was first thrust into the spotlight when well known intergalactic space hockey player Xed Zardox fell in love with martian actress Trillion Pan Vogon, causing a storm of controversy. Other issues the bishops are considering are whether it’s admissible to form crop circles outside one’s own property and whether human probing is to be allowed during Lent. Continue reading

Flag, Country and Love

 

Something for the weekend.  Columbia the Gem of the Ocean seems appropriate for a Flag Day weekend.  Written in 1843, by Thomas a Becket, yeah, the name is correct, Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean was probably the most popular patriotic ballad of the Nineteenth Century:

O Columbia! the gem of the ocean,
The home of the brave and the free,
The shrine of each patriot’s devotion,
A world offers homage to thee;
Thy mandates make heroes assemble,
When Liberty’s form stands in view;
Thy banners make tyranny tremble,
When borne by the red, white, and blue,
When borne by the red, white, and blue,
When borne by the red, white, and blue,
Thy banners make tyranny tremble,
When borne by the red, white and blue.


When war wing’d its wide desolation,
And threaten’d the land to deform,
The ark then of freedom’s foundation,
Columbia rode safe thro’ the storm;
With her garlands of vict’ry around her,
When so proudly she bore her brave crew;
With her flag proudly floating before her,
The boast of the red, white and blue,
The boast of the red, white and blue,
The boast of the red, white, and blue,
With her flag proudly floating before her,
The boast of the red, white and blue.
 
 
 

The star spangled banner bring hither,
O’er Columbia’s true sons let it wave;
May the wreaths they have won never wither,
Nor its stars cease to shine on the brave.
May thy service united ne’er sever,
But hold to the colors so true;
The army and navy forever,
Three cheers for the red, white, and blue!
Three cheers for the red, white, and blue!
The army and navy forever,
Three cheers for the red, white, and blue

Here is a rendition by Bing Crosby of Edward Everett Hale’ s story The Man Without a Country.  Published in the midst of the Civil War in December 1863, I have always regarded it as a profound meditation on Patriotism, Home and the meaning of America.  Hale, a grandnephew of Nathan Hale, hoped to bolster support for the Union with this plea for love of country and patriotism.  Schoolchildren used to be taught it, and when I first read it as a young boy it brought tears to my eyes. Continue reading

Christopher Lee: Requiescat in Pace

 

At 93 his death does not come as a shock, but it did come far too soon on June 7.  The great underrated actor of several generations in Great Britain, Christopher Lee was something of a man for all seasons.  In World War II he fought for his country with the Royal Air Force and had adventures worthy of a book on their own.  (Prior to serving in that War he had volunteered to fight for Finland in the Winter War of 1939-1940, although he did not see combat.)  His activities with the Special Air Service are still classified.

Taking up acting after the War, he achieved fame by starring in endless horror films produced by Hammer films.  His Dracula is still considered to be the definitive portrayal.  Lee warned his fans about getting involved with the occult:

“I have met people who to claimed to be Satanists, who claimed to be involved in black magic,” Lee continued.

“I certainly haven’t been involved and I warn all of you – never, never, never – you will not only lose your mind you’ll lose your soul.”

 

He could play anything, acting in over 200 films, although he seemed to have a penchant for over the top villains.  A world champion fencer, he probably has the record for the number of sword fights in films.  He always seemed to be having  a very good time on and off screen.

In addition to his acting he had a notable career also as a singer.

He was fluent in several languages, including Mandarin Chinese, although he never recorded any Chinese love ballads, alas.

He entitled his first volume of memoirs:  Tall, Dark and Gruesome.

 

Unlike a lot of actors and actresses he had a happy home life, married to the same woman for 53 years.  Your life was a grand performance Mr. Lee and you will be missed.

 

Slobs at Mass

proper_attire_during_mass

 

 

Father Z, with his comments, brings us the remarks of Bishop Tobin in regard to the way too many people dress and act at Mass:

The Holy Mass – “Let the Whole World Tremble”

After attending Sunday Mass in Florida not too long ago I came across the following admonition in the Sunday bulletin: “Please come to Mass early enough not to disrupt. Leave late enough not to insult. (The Mass does not end until the final blessing). Worship reverently enough not to distract. And dress proudly enough not to offend.” [Excellent.  Fathers, jot that down.  No, wait.  You are ignoring this.]

“Now that little blurb contains some very useful reminders,” I said to myself. It addresses a recurring problem in some our churches these days – an habitual lack of reverence for the sacred mysteries taking place in our midst, especially when the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is being offered.
While all of the points in the bulletin article have merit and should be observed, the reminder to “dress proudly enough not to offend,” might be the most relevant, especially now as we enter the hot and humid, casual days of summer. The sloppy and even offensive way people dress while attending Mass is something I’ve witnessed personally and regularly receive complaints about.

You know what I’m talking about; you’ve seen it too. Hirsute flabmeisters[Well done! Just the other day I taught my altar boys the word “hirsute”.] spreading out in the pew, wearing wrinkled, very-short shorts and garish, unbuttoned shirts; mature women with skimpy clothes that reveal way too much, slogging up the aisle accompanied by the flap-flap-flap of their flip-flops; hyperactive gum-chewing kids with messy hair and dirty hands, checking their iPhones and annoying everyone within earshot or eyesight.  [Do I hear an “Amen!”?]

These displays reveal a gross misunderstanding of the sacred space we’ve entered in the church and the truly sacred drama taking place in our midst. C’mon – even in the summer, a church is a church, not a beach or a pool deck. Continue reading

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