Donald R. McClarey
Because we’re here lad. Nobody else. Just us.
Colour Sergeant Frank Bourne, Zulu (1964)
At the battle of Rorke’s Drift on January 22-23, 1879, some 141 men of B Company, 2 Warwickshire (24th Regiment of Foot) beat off an attack by a Zulu impi, around 4,000 men. At the time it was considered a military miracle. The officers in command had nothing in their careers before or after the battle to mark them out as in any way superior. They were typical run of the mill officers and almost all the men under their command were typical troops. The most unusual was Colour Sergeant Frank Bourne who at the battle was twenty-four years old. Two years previously he had attained the rank of Colour Sergeant, making him the youngest Colour Sergeant, the highest NCO rank in the British Army. He would rise to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel during World War I, and die at 91, last survivor among the defenders of Rorke’s Drift, on V-E Day, appropriately enough, May 8, 1945. For a secular purpose the defenders of Rorke’s Drift were willing to fight with all their being, and they won against apparently overwhelming odds.
This little excursion into military history is caused by this quotation from Father Z:
O God, who raised up a fallen world by the abasement of Your Son, grant holy joy to Your faithful; so that You may cause those whom You snatched from the misfortunes of perpetual death, to enjoy delights unending.
The great L&S indicates that erigo, giving us erexisti, means “to raise up, set up, erect” and, analogously, “to arouse, excite” and “cheer up, encourage.” The verb iaceo (in the L&S find this under jaceo) has many meanings, such as “to lie” as in “lie sick or dead, fallen” and also “to be cast down, fixed on the ground” and “to be overcome, despised, idle, neglected, unemployed.” Humilitas is “lowness”. In Blaise/Dumas, humilitas has a more theological meaning in the “abasement” of the God Incarnate who took the form of a “slave” (cf. Philippians 2:7). Blaise/Dumas cites this Collect in the entry for humilitas.
Because of the Fall, the whole cosmos was put under the bondage of the Enemy, the “prince of this world” (cf. John 10:31 and 14:30). This is why when we bless certain things, and baptize people, there was an exorcism first, to rip the object or person from the grip of the world’s “prince” and give it to the King. God is liberator. He rouses us up from being prone upon the ground. He grasps us, pulling us upward out of sin and death. He directs us again toward the joys possible in this world, first, and then definitively in the next.
Part 3 of our stripped down look at Amoris Laetitia with some commentary by PopeWatch:
61. Marriage is a gift from God.
62. Jesus mandated that marriage be indissoluble as a gift to Man.
63. Jesus restored marriage to its original form.
64. The love that Jesus demonstrated in his earthly ministry is an example to the Church.
65. Jesus becoming a member of a human family changed the world.
66. By emulating the holy family of Nazareth, any family can become a light in the darkness.
67. Cites Gaudium et Spes on the family.
68. Cites Humanae Vitae on conjugal love and procreation.
69. Cites Saint John Paul II on the family.
70. Cites the Pope Emeritus on the family.
71. The Trinity is represented in the family.
72. Marriage is a sacrament and a vocation. Continue reading
Dale Price at Dyspeptic Mutterings calls upon Orwell to explain this Orwellian time in the history of the Church:
‘You are a slow learner, Winston,’ said O’Brien gently.
‘How can I help it?’ he blubbered. ‘How can I help seeing what is in front of my eyes? Two and two are four.’
‘Sometimes, Winston. Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once. You must try harder. It is not easy to become pastoral.’ Continue reading
All of his life Abraham Lincoln enjoyed poetry and would occasionally compose poetry. In the fall of 1844 he was campaigning for Henry Clay in Clay’s unsuccessful run for the Presidency in southern Indiana and visited the region where he lived as a boy. He told a friend that the terrain was the most unpoetic imaginable, but moved by nostalgia he set pen to paper:
My childhood’s home I see again,
And sadden with the view;
And still, as memory crowds my brain,
There’s pleasure in it too.
O Memory! thou midway world
‘Twixt earth and paradise,
Where things decayed and loved ones lost
In dreamy shadows rise,
And, freed from all that’s earthly vile,
Seem hallowed, pure, and bright,
Like scenes in some enchanted isle
All bathed in liquid light.
As dusky mountains please the eye
When twilight chases day;
As bugle-tones that, passing by,
In distance die away;
As leaving some grand waterfall,
We, lingering, list its roar–
So memory will hallow all
We’ve known, but know no more.
Near twenty years have passed away
Since here I bid farewell
To woods and fields, and scenes of play,
And playmates loved so well.
Where many were, but few remain
Of old familiar things;
But seeing them, to mind again
The lost and absent brings.
The friends I left that parting day,
How changed, as time has sped!
Young childhood grown, strong manhood gray,
And half of all are dead.
I hear the loved survivors tell
How nought from death could save,
Till every sound appears a knell,
And every spot a grave.
I range the fields with pensive tread,
And pace the hollow rooms,
And feel (companion of the dead)
I’m living in the tombs. Continue reading
A powerful presentation in the movie The Robe (1953), by the late great Michael Ansara, of a repentant Judas sunk in the sin of despair. Pope Francis touched upon the theme of a repentant Judas with bizarre results. Oakes Spaulding at Mahound’s Paradise surveys the damage:
Then Francis presented a novel theory on Judas and the high priests.
Pope Francis said: “It hurts when I read that small passage from the Gospel of Matthew, when Judas, who has repented, goes to the priests and says: ‘I have sinned’ and wants to give … and gives them the coins. ‘Who cares! – they say to him: it’s none of our business!’ They closed their hearts before this poor, repentant man, who did not know what to do. And he went and hanged himself.
And what did they do when Judas hanged himself? They spoke amongst themselves and said: ‘Is he a poor man? No! These coins are the price of blood, they must not enter the temple… and they referred to this rule and to that… The doctors of the letter. “
The life of a person did not matter to them, the Pope observed, they did not care about Judas’ repentance.
The Gospel, he continued, says that Judas came back repentant. But all that mattered to them “were the laws, so many words and things they had built”.
- The Jewish high priests (being Jewish high priests) had no power to forgive sins in that sense.
- Neither Judas nor the high priests believed they had such a power.
- In any case, while looking down at Judas for being sort of a rat, the priests obviously wouldn’t think that acting against Jesus was per se a sin.
- Judas’ repentance was belied by the fact of his subsequent suicide, as well as (according to most Biblical commentators) the peculiar Greek word used for “repentance” in this passage but not in other passages.
- The common understanding is that his repentance was more akin to “stupid move” than “I’m truly sorry that I betrayed my Master and friend.” (Again, see suicide and Greek word used.)
- This is reinforced by the fact that Judas did not try to save Jesus or go back to the other apostles and apologize, etc. Rather, he pulled a “poor me.”
“History tells us of many people who were judged and killed, although they were innocent: judged according to the Word of God, against the Word of God. Let’s think of witch hunts or of St. Joan of Arc, and of many others who were burnt to death, condemned because according to the judges they were not in line with the Word of God” he said.
Who will be the first bishop to stand up to this?
Part 2 of our stripped down look at Amoris Laetitia with some commentary by PopeWatch:
Chapter Two: The Experiences and Challenges of Families
31. In this chapter the Pope will look at families.
32. Pope really likes the word anthropological.
33. Extreme individualism threatens families.
34. More on that theme.
35. Christians cannot abandon the concept of families.
36. Church has had too much focus on family as a means of procreation. (Yep, the Pope really did mean his breeding like rabbits comments. The Pope claims to be a loyal son of the Church. That he may be. He certainly is a loyal son of the Sixties.)
37. Some psycho-babble about marriage as a means of personal development. Church is called to form consciences not to replace them. (This theme is one of the major ones in this dog’s breakfast of an exhortation: conscience is everything, which completely ignores the fact that many people have no difficulty in giving a thumbs up to any wretched, self-serving piece of evil they wish to undertake.)
38. Most people value families that have permanence and mutual respect. Church has wasted effort on denouncing a decadent world instead of being like Jesus with his compassion to the woman caught in adultery or the Samaritan woman at the well. (In neither case of course did Christ give the slightest sign that he condoned their sins. Quite the contrary.)
39. The culture of the ephemeral and narcissism are threats to families.
40. We need to find the right language to encourage young people to take up the challenge to form families. Continue reading
An excellent look at economic power in World War II by the Extra Credit group on YouTube. This was produced as part of the ramp up to the release by Paradox Games of the latest version of their strategic World War II game, Hearts of Iron IV, to be released on June 6, 2016. (Hurrah, during my June vacation week!):
The most disheartening feature of Amoris Laetitia is not the text itself. It really hardly comes as a surprise. Pope Francis since assuming the papacy has given ample evidence that he is anything but orthodox. What is truly disheartening is the attempts by orthodox Catholics to pretend that all is well, or that Amoris Laetitia is a rejection of the heterodox who now believe they have a Pope on their side. Michael Dougherty at The Week explains why such attempts are folly and cowardice:
Finally, although the pope rejects a formal institution of the Kasper proposal as a general rule, he strongly encourages the readmission of people in “objectively” adulterous unions to holy communion. He doesn’t trumpet this, of course. He buries it in the 351st footnote. For a man showing such great audacity before God, Francis certainly isn’t bold before men.
Many conservatives are revealing themselves as cowards, too. They hope that because the pope’s document seems so confused and self-contradictory, because it hides its innovations under a ton of verbiage, and buried within footnotes, and because it is merely an exhortation and not a more lofty encyclical, that they can embrace what is good in the document, and pass over the rest. “It could have been worse,” they are telling themselves. “It cites the Church’s teaching against contraception, at least.” I would remind them that their forebears said the same thing about the Vatican II’s document on the liturgy. “Oh, it says Latin shall be retained, it promotes Gregorian chant,” they comforted themselves. As now, the betrayal of the institution was too unthinkable, and they willfully overlooked the footnotes that contained within them a mandate to destroy high altars, tabernacles, altar rails, and institute folk music in a synthetic vernacular liturgy. So too, many conservatives will try to find the good parts, an easy feat in a document so prolix.
But progressives are not so timid. In the talking points handed out to bishops and other spokesmen ahead of the document, the intention was made clear, but plausibly deniable. “Pastors need to do everything possible to help people in these situations to be included in the life of the community.” Words like “possible” and “inclusion” are left to be interpreted broadly, from the footnotes. Cardinal Kasper described the document glowingly as a “definite opening.” Cardinal Schonborn boldly papered over differences between Pope Francis and Pope John Paul II by describing the work of Francis in Amoris Laetitia as the development of doctrine.
Traditionalist critics of the modern Church have a kind of slogan: Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi, the law of prayer is the law of belief. It’s hard not to see how the already incoherent prayer of the Church is leading to incoherent doctrine and practice. The Church officially teaches that confession is necessary to be restored to holy communion after committing a mortal sin, and that receiving communion in a state of sin is itself sacrilege. Yet rare is the pastor who seems troubled by the long lines for communion and the near disappearance of the sacrament of confession among the people in his parish. Everyone just sort of knows the Church doesn’t really mean what it says.
The Church’s blasé attitude here has a pedagogical effect, teaching people that there is no need to have a holy respect or fear when approaching the altar. Naturally, this attitude has worked its way up the chain to a papal pronouncement. Pope Francis’ document justifies people receiving communion in a public state of sin by saying that the Eucharist is “not a prize” for good behavior. That is true. But instead the Church has turned it into a participation trophy, something so perfunctory and ultimately meaningless that it seems just too cruel to deny it to anyone.
Perhaps worse than Pope Francis’ official invitation to sacrilege is the document’s cowardice, cynicism, and pessimism. The Church can no longer even bring itself to condemn respectable sins such as civilly approved adultery. It can barely bring itself to address a man or woman as if they had a moral conscience that could be roused by words like “sin.” Instead, it merely proposes ideals; ideals cannot be wounded by your failure to realize them. And it promises to help you out of your “irregular” situation.
This supposed paean to love is something much sadder. A Church so anxious to include and accept you that it must deny the faith that transforms and renews you. It admits that God’s commands are not just beyond our reach, but possibly destructive to follow.
Pope Francis is trying to be more merciful than God himself. He ends up being more miserly and condescending instead. Continue reading
Shocking I know coming from perhaps the most mendacious man to be President, but he certainly did last week. Whether it was tactical, a la his Sister Souljah comment during the 1992 campaign, go here to read about it, or merely out of anger and exasperation, you be the judge:
At first, Clinton responded by touting the Democratic feel-good elements of the 1994 bill: a ban on assault weapons, funding for after-school programs in inner cities, and money for more cops “so that the police could look like the people they police.” It was then-Senator Joe Biden, Clinton said, who persuaded him to support the tougher sentencing measures in order to get the bill through a Republican Congress. But then, in the first of his inconvenient infusions of truth, Clinton added that it wasn’t just Republican lawmakers who wanted a tougher response to crime—it was also “African-American communities.” They urged him to sign the bill, he said, because their “kids were shot in the street by gangs.” Thirteen-year-olds were planning their funerals, according to Clinton. The result of the bill’s passage? “A 25-year low in crime, a 33-year low in the murder rate—and listen to this,” he said, “because of that and the background-check law, a 46-year low in the deaths of people from gun violence. And who do you think those lives were, that mattered? Whose lives were saved, that mattered?”
The hecklers weren’t placated. As chants continued to disrupt his speech, Clinton broke out in obvious exasperation: “I don’t know how you would characterize the gang leaders who got 13-year-old kids hopped up on crack and sent them out on the street to murder other African-American children,” Clinton said heatedly. “Maybe you thought they were good citizens, [Hillary] didn’t. You are defending the people who killed the people whose lives you say matter! Tell the truth. You are defending the people who caused young people to go out and take guns.”
Clinton also defended the historic 1996 welfare reform bill, currently the subject of a rearguard left-wing assault. If it increased poverty as its critics charge, he asked, “Why then did we have the largest drop in African-American poverty in history?”
Clinton’s equation of today’s virulent anti-cop protests with the enabling of criminals is about as visceral and daring a response to the Black Lives Matter movement as one could imagine. It also happens to be accurate. Data-driven, accountable policing and lengthened sentences for violent criminals have saved thousands of black lives since 1994. And now, as cops back off from proactive policing under the relentless charge that they’re racist for enforcing the law in minority neighborhoods, black lives—including children’s lives—are once again being lost at elevated rates, prompting no outcry or protests from Black Lives Matter. Clinton understands at a gut level the need for vigilant, strong law enforcement. He also knows that the people most hurt by crime are blacks. Continue reading
As the Pope himself acknowledges Amoris Laetitia is a loooong read. PopeWatch believes that the meat of the 264 pages is footnote 351, go here to read about it, but PopeWatch would be derelict in his duty without providing to the readers of TAC a version of the Exhortation, sans bloat, and with some commentary by him. PopeWatch will do about 30 paragraphs today, and since AL is 325 paragraphs, this will take awhile. So, without further ado, we begin:
1. Joy of families is the joy of the Church.
2. Synod revealed complex issues regarding families. Pope positions himself between those who desire too much change of Church rules regarding families and those who want no change. (See, I am between the extremes, the sweet voice of moderation!)
3. Pope doesn’t have to settle all the issues, wielding the Magisterium. Let a thousand regional and cultural flowers bloom, all guided by the Holy Spirit of course.
4. Synod process was illuminating and impressive. Now I am going to show where the Synod Fathers botched things.
5. Mercy Uber Alles in this Year of Mercy.
6. Brief outline of how the Exhortation is structured.
7. The Synod dealt with a lot of questions and that is why this Exhortation is 264, count ’em, 264 pages in length. The Pope warns against rushed reading, although he then suggests that lay readers may wish to read only the portions of interest to them. (Whew that is a relief. PopeWatch can just imagine Catholic life coming to a halt due to a vast number of Catholics putting their lives on hold to read every word of this document that is longer than the combined Gospels and 50% longer than Laudato Si. At this rate, if Pope Francis is Pope for a few more years, his closing documents might rival War and Peace in length.)
Chapter I-In the Light of the Word
8. Bible has a lot of incidents involving families. Lets take a look at a typical Biblical family. (Take out your curlers, Sarah! David, put on a clean shirt! Company calling!)
9. In the house we find a mother and father united in love.
10. Genesis tells us that God created humanity male and female.
11. A loving family is a reflection of the Trinity.
12. Christ referred to the second chapter of Genesis to the first family of Adam and Eve.
13. Christ referred to the passage in Genesis where the two became one flesh. (The Pope emphasizes romantic love, although the Bible often has a more pragmatic view of marriage.)
14. Various passages are cited from the Old Testament to emphasize how blessed are families who have kids.
15. Families as domestic churches. Continue reading
“You are the only man of all men that I would wish to surpass me in all things.”
Saint Augustine in a letter to his son Adeodatus who died at age 19.
The Better Angels (2014) is one of the most beautiful films I have even seen. My review is below the fold and the usual caveat as to spoilers is in full force. Continue reading
The trailer for Star Wars: Rogue One, due out this Christmas, which tells how the Rebels stole the plans for the original Death Star. The first of the Star Wars Anthology spin off films, and chronologically just before A New Hope, the first Star Wars film. At the end of the trailer there is the beginning of an unintentionally hilarious interview with a completely non-reactive Mark Hamill. Continue reading
From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:
Just a day after students at Indiana University mistook a Dominican for a member of the Ku Klux Klan, students and members of the faculty have been placed on high alert, with fears that the person in question could possibly be a devout Catholic praying on campus.
According to reports, Student Body President Allen Cheung wrote a post on Facebook saying, “There has been a person reported walking around campus in a Dominican outfit holding a rosary. Because the person is protected under first amendment rights, IUPD cannot remove this zealot from campus unless an act of violence is committed, like trying to convince students about the objective truths of Catholicism.”
“Please, PLEASE, PLEASE be careful out there tonight,” Cheung continued. “Always be with someone, and if you have no dire reason to be out of the building, I would recommend staying indoors lest you be indoctrinated.”
Other students also posted their own warnings on social media telling their roommates to keep safe and to remember that priests don’t approve of premarital sex or contraception, because of the “extreme hatred they have for anything fun or liberating.”
“We advise that students do not walk alone,” the statement read. “If you are confronted by the Dominican zealot, do not look him in the eyes, as this dangerous individual may attempt to convince you that you are a sinner, or worse, make you believe that not everything is acceptable just because it makes you feel good. Furthermore, should you run into this medieval time traveler, please remember atrocities he committed during the Spanish Inquisition, and that he has been trained in the art of manipulation and torture. If you are accused of being a witch or a Jew, admit nothing, and run to the nearest safe-space and call for help.” Continue reading
Something for the weekend. The Fightin’ Side of Me.
When I was growing up in the late Sixties and early Seventies, the radio station in Paris, Illinois, WPRS, “1400 on the AM dial”, my generation often referred to it as World’s Poorest Radio Station, had a country and western format. As a result, I often woke up to the strains, from the radio in the kitchen where my parents were having breakfast, of Merle Haggard.
A son of the great Okie diaspora to California during the Great Depression, Haggard was born in Bakersfield, California in 1937. Life for his family was a struggle after his father died in 1945. Growing up he was constantly in trouble, and by his 21rst birthday he was a convicted felon for having attempted to rob a roadhouse, and was serving time in San Quentin. A concert by Johnny Cash inspired him to join the prison band. He was released on parole in 1960. (Governor Reagan granted him a full pardon in 1972.) He began performing as a guitarist and fiddle player, quickly becoming a fixture of what became known as the Bakersfield Sound, performers in and around Bakersfield, California producing a fusion of country music and rock. Haggard first came to prominence performing songs written by Liz Anderson, mother of country and western singer Lynn Anderson.
In 1969 Haggard suddenly found himself the voice of what President Nixon called the Silent Majority. A fairly apolitical man, Haggard was disturbed by the counterculture, and his Okie From Muskogee, an idealized look at an Oklahoma life that he had never experienced, became a giant hit.
His song The Fightin’ Side of Me (1970) caused conservatives to regard him as on their side. This was incorrect. Haggard did not follow politics closely, and his own views could be described very,very roughly as libertarian/populist, although that probably gives him too much credit for consistency.
He always had, however, a great respect for our military as demonstrated in his song, I Wonder If They Ever Think of Me (1972):
In 1989 after the Supreme Court ruled that flag burning was constitutionally protected, he angrily wrote the song Only Me and Crippled Soldiers Give a Damn:
One thing I have learned in 34 years in the law mines is that the most important passages of documents are often carefully concealed in footnotes.
All you need to know about Amoris Laetitia:
In certain cases, this can include the help of the sacraments. Hence, “I want to remind priests that the confessional must not be a torture chamber, but rather an encounter with the Lord’s mercy” (Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium [24 November 2013], 44: AAS 105 , 1038). I would also point out that the Eucharist “is not a prize for the perfect, but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak” (ibid., 47: 1039). Continue reading
I recall a movie that I watched back in the Seventies in which the late, great Art Carney was confronting a cop seeking to gain admission to his house without a search warrant. When the cop told him that Carney had to let him in, Carney responded, “Not unless I made a mistake last night and woke up in Russia instead of America!”
That scene came to mind when I read this:
Harris has been investigating Daleiden for months, after his video exposé of Planned Parenthood’s alleged baby-parts scheme. His videos allegedly showed Planned Parenthood personnel actively negotiating the sale of the livers, lungs, hearts and other organs of aborted unborn children.
Today, the California Attorney General’s office of Kamala Harris, who was elected with tens of thousands of dollars from taxpayer-funded Planned Parenthood, seized all video footage showing Planned Parenthood’s criminal trade in aborted baby parts, in addition to my personal information. Ironically, while seizing my First Amendment work product, they ignored documents showing the illicit scheme between StemExpress and Planned Parenthood. This is no surprise–Planned Parenthood’s bought-and-paid-for AG has steadfastly refused to enforce the law against the baby body parts traffickers in our state, or even investigate them–while at the same time doing their bidding to harass and intimidate citizen journalists. We will pursue all remedies to vindicate our First Amendment rights.
Matt Heffron, a former federal prosecutor from Arizona and currently a legal adviser to Daleiden, said, “To storm into a private citizen’s home with a search warrant is outrageously out of proportion for the type of crime alleged. It’s a discredit to law enforcement, an oppressive abuse of government power.” Continue reading