6

PopeWatch: Denzinger

 

 

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

 

 

The largest cross-boarder Lefeverist smuggling tunnel to date was discovered in a midnight raid earlier today by Swiss Guards.  The smugglers fled, abandoning contraband with a street value of over 3 million euros.

Smuggled goods found included pirated copies of “Teach Yourself Latin” software, DVD’s of “The Cardinal,” as well as thousands of copies of Familiaris Consortio and the Decrees of the Council of Trent.

Lead detective on the case Giovanni Verde told EOTT this morning that all of the items seized were street ready.

“From here they would have gone out and been available in the Vatican colleges and back rooms by sunrise,” noting that the tunnel terminated in a small subterranean chapel under one of the Vatican buildings.  “See how the chapel is set up ad orientem?  This is a site of a clandestine Tridentine Mass.”

Rumors have been circulating for years that undocumented Lefeverists were responsible for the countless tunnels undermining the Vatican since the early 1970’s.  According to Verde, his goal is not simply taking down the powerful Lefeverist “cartel,” but also “the numerous groups inside the Vatican supporting them.”

Verde told reporters that he has been tracking a “shadowy figure” who is considered the true leader of the cartel.

“We only know him as “Denzinger,” but he is highly respected in some circles, and his writings are quoted like the Bible. It’s not a secret in the Vatican that the recently terminated the head of the CDF, Gerhard Cardinal Muller, was an admirer of Dezinger.

“It was clear for a number of years that the Cardinal had been Denzinger’s man inside the halls of the Vatican, and now we finally have hard evidence of a conspiracy. Denzinger’s influence over the CDF and the Church will finally be broken.” Continue Reading

5

PopeWatch: Something to Keep in Mind

 

During the current Pontificate, PopeWatch has found comfort in this passage on the entry under Alexander VI at New Advent:

 

An impartial appreciation of the career of this extraordinary person must at once distinguish between the man and the office. “An imperfect setting”, says Dr. Pastor (op. cit., III, 475), “does not affect the intrinsic worth of the jewel, nor does the golden coin lose its value when it passes through impure hands. In so far as the priest is a public officer of a holy Church, a blameless life is expected from him, both because he is by his office the model of virtue to whom the laity look up, and because his life, when virtuous, inspires in onlookers respect for the society of which he is an ornament. But the treasures of the Church, her Divine character, her holiness, Divine revelation, the grace of God, spiritual authority, it is well known, are not dependent on the moral character of the agents and officers of the Church. The foremost of her priests cannot diminish by an iota the intrinsic value of the spiritual treasures confided to him.” There have been at all times wicked men in the ecclesiastical ranks. Our Lord foretold, as one of its severest trials, the presence in His Church not only of false brethren, but of rulers who would offend, by various forms of selfishness, both the children of the household and “those who are without”. Similarly, He compared His beloved spouse, the Church, to a threshing floor, on which fall both chaff and grain until the time of separation.

 

Go here to read the entire entry.

2

Vacation 2017

family-on-vacation

I am on vacation with my family until August 21.  My internet connection in the coming week will range from intermittent to non-existent. That is now by choice.  In the past it was not, but now with ubiquitous wi-fi, portable ipads and kindles, that is no longer the case, and truth to tell, it hasn’t been for the last several years.  I will have posts for each day I am away on the blog, but if something momentous occurs, for example:  Elvis is discovered working at a Big Boy’s in Tulsa, the Pope issues a Bull against blogging as a complete waste of time, Trump admits that some orange furred critter has died on his head or Robert Mueller admitting that he is a Russian spy, I trust that this post will explain why I am not discussing it.

We will begin  at the library school that my daughter is attending, the baby of the family having decided to follow my bride’s footsteps.  She was too bright to follow in mine!

Then on to Kenosha, Wisconsin with a visit to my bride’s mother.  We have been doing this since the birth of the twins and it has always been a fun family gathering.  I heartily recommend both the Kenosha Civil War Museum and the Milwaukee Zoo  Then it is back home for some Illinois activities including next Wednesday hosting the local Rotary District Governor, since, for my sins no doubt, I am serving as President of the local Rotary Club in Dwight for the eighth occasion.

Then on to GenCon 50 over in Indianapolis.

 

 

Continue Reading

46

August Bomb Follies 2017

In general, the principle is, the farther from the scene of horror the easier the talk. One young combat naval officer close to the action wrote home in the fall of 1943, just before the marines underwent the agony of Tarawa: “When I read that we will fight the Japs for years if necessary and will sacrifice hundreds of thousands if we must, I always like to check from where he’s talking: it’s seldom out here.” That was Lieutenant (j.g.) John F. Kennedy.

And Winston Churchill, with an irony perhaps too broad and easy, noted in Parliament that the people who preferred invasion to A-bombing seemed to have “no intention of proceeding to the Japanese front themselves.”

Paul Fussel, Thank God for the Atomic Bomb

 

 

 

It has been rather quiet this year on the annual breast beating over the Atomic bombings around Saint Blogs.  Here are a few posts I have seen:

  1.  Deacon Jim Russel at Crisis looks at the principle of Double Effect and the bombings.  It is a rather good piece.  Go here to read it.
  2.  Ah, what would the August Bomb Follies be without Patheos.  Mary Pezullo at Steel Magnificat puts us on notice that she is not like those terrible Catholics who defend the bombings.  Go here to read it.
  3. Matthew Walther at The Week I think would like to dig up Harry Truman and put him on trial if he could.  Go here to read his post.
  4. Mark Shea contributes the latest droppings from his mind here.

Continue Reading

7

PopeWatch: Letter to the Pope

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Evangelical minister who specializes in helping Christians facing persecution writes to the Pope:

 

August 3, 2017

Your Holiness,

I am writing to request a meeting between Catholic and Evangelical leaders from the United States at a place and time of your choosing. Though, I’m hoping we can meet quickly.

I speak for many Evangelicals when I say that we have looked upon your appointment with great gratitude to God and with great optimism for the new spirit that you have brought to the Catholic Church. Your commitment to the poor and to pastoral ministry and your efforts to build bridges and to spread the doctrine of mercy around the world have been a light and hope to us all.

As you know more than most, all of this has also come at a time of historic Christian persecution in more places than perhaps at any time in Christian history. Together, Catholics, Orthodox, Protestant, and Evangelical Christians throughout the entire world have shared – as you’ve said – “an ecumenism of blood.”

It’s in this moment of ongoing persecution, political division and global conflict that we have also witnessed efforts to divide Catholics and Evangelicals. We think it would be of great benefit to sit together and to discuss these things. Then, when we disagree we can do it within the context of friendship. Though, I’m sure we will find once again that we agree far more than we disagree, and we can work together with diligence on those areas of agreement.

I have to confess what prompted this request were articles published in the La Cattolica Civilitas recently and in the New York Times.  

We feel like this conversation is an urgent one, and I will bring a half dozen or so of our denominational heads and significantly influential Evangelicals for our time together.

We would also like to use the time to meet with various other high level officials throughout the Vatican to find ways in which we can cooperate on matters of great concern to us all, especially as it relates to refugees, the poor and the persecuted.  

I might add that when God put it on my heart to write you directly, I immediately reached out to a mutual friend of ours. He has recounted to me the warm experiences that he’s had with you, and they are what prompted me to write you, knowing that you would receive this letter in kindred spirits. 

With all the respect in the world and with love for Christ’s Church and every corner of it, I’ll earnestly await your reply.

Sincerely,

Rev. Johnnie Moore Continue Reading

7

Requiescat In Pace: Glen Campbell

 

Glen Cambell has passed away at age 81.  I will let Dave Griffey at Daffey Thoughts do the honors:

 

Glen Campbell died today. One of the earliest memories I have is watching him perform on some variety show. It was on our old console television set that was about as big as our sofa. We lived out in the country then, and moved in town shortly after I turned five. That must mean I was around four, and it would have been c. 1971 give or take.

Campbell was one of those individuals who formed the backdrop of my life. He was always there. His name rolled off as easy as The Beatles or Star Wars. His signature song, Rhinestone Cowboy, was released when I was around eight or nine. It was one of those songs everyone sang, whether correctly or not.

Over the years, he was always just there. A part of my collective memories. When he announced he had Alzheimer’s, I was sad. My Dad had the same, and it’s everything it’s cracked up to be.

Nonetheless, the memories for me remain. God grant his family peace and strength through the upcoming years. And eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let the perpetual light shine upon him.

Go here to read the comments.  Strangely, my memories of Campbell go back 48 years to his performance in True Grit (1969).  I thought he did a fine job and it is a pity he didn’t do more acting. Continue Reading

17

Things to Do to Observe Obama Day

 

The State of Illinois now celebrates each August 4 as Obama Day, a state holiday.  It is a curious holiday in that state workers will remain on the job.  President Reagan has a similar non-holiday, holiday in Illinois.  So what do you do to observe this day?  A few suggestions:

  1. Play golf.
  2. Try to stop the tides from rising.
  3. Sign your kids up for a very expensive private school.
  4. Double your household debt.
  5. Send out drones to deal with your enemies.
  6. Make a speech in favor of Planned Parenthood Worse Than Murder, Inc.
  7. Snack on some dog.
  8. Mispronounce corpsman.
  9. Look in the mirror and gaze admiringly at yourself for a few hours.
  10. Schedule an important meeting and be at least fifteen minutes late.

Continue Reading

9

Quotes Suitable for Framing: Niall Ferguson

 

 

Freedom is rarely killed off by people chanting “Down with Freedom!” It is killed off by people claiming that the greater good/the general will/the community/the proletariat requires “examination of the parameters” (or some such cant phrase) of individual liberty. If the criterion for censorship is that nobody’s feelings can be hurt, we are finished as a free society.

Where such arguments lead is just a long-haul flight away.

The regime of Hugo Chavez and his successor, Nicolas Maduro, in Venezuela, used to be the toast of such darlings of the American Left as Naomi Klein, whose 2007 book “The Shock Doctrine” praised Venezuela as “a zone of relative economic calm” in a world dominated by marauding free market economists. Today (as was eminently foreseeable 10 years back), Venezuela is in a state of economic collapse, its opposition leaders are in jail, and its constitution is about to be rewritten yet again to keep the Chavista dictatorship in power. Another regime where those who speak freely land in jail is Saudi Arabia, a regime lauded by Women’s March leader and sharia law enthusiast Linda Sarsour.

Mark my words, while I can still publish them with impunity: The real tyrants, when they come, will be for diversity (except of opinion) and against hate speech (except their own).

Niall Ferguson, British Historian

Go here to read the rest.

 

4

The Cure of Ars

 

 

Today is the traditional feast day of Saint John Vianney, the Cure of Ars.  He was born into a world in 1786 where the Church was soon under attack by the first of the totalitarian regimes, Revolutionary France.  His family remained loyal to the Faith, and helped priests on the run from the State.  Young John saw these brave men as heroes as well as priests, and soon wished to join their ranks.  He was hampered by his ill education and the fact that he simply wasn’t a very good student, no matter how hard he tried.  He was ordained more as an act of Christian charity, and a recognition that he had a good heart and would try his best to be a good priest, than because of any success in his studies. Continue Reading

PopeWatch: Bishop José Luis Azuaje Ayala of Barinas

 

 

Bishop José Luis Azuaje Ayala of Barinas, vice president of the Venezuelan bishops’ conference, speaks on the dire situation in Venezuela:

 

 

The representative of the bishops’ conference also addressed the Vatican-facilitated dialogue process that took place in Venezuela between the government and the opposition in 2016.

The bishop denounced the result, which, in his view, was “a feigned dialogue on the part of the government without any result.”

“Whenever this government has been at a disadvantage, it has asked to dialogue; but it is always the same script: dialogue is used to gain time and advance in the hegemonic project of totalitarianism and greater power of domination,” Bishop Azuaje stated.

“The Holy See has always been aware of what is happening in the country. Both Pope Francis and the Secretary of State, Cardinal Parolin, are well informed of the country’s problems. They have always been willing to mediate, and we thank them for that. But experiences teach. The failed dialogue from October to December has taught that governments like this should have something more than goodwill,” he said categorically.

 

He also explained that the Vatican “has reminded the government that to return to the table, they must meet what was agreed in October of last year, and recorded by Cardinal Parolin in the letter addressed to President Maduro on December 1, 2016.”

This agreement states that the government must commit to “setting an electoral calendar, the release of political prisoners, the opening of a humanitarian channel to let food and medicines enter the country, and return power to the National Assembly.”

 

In the bishop’s view, the real solution involves a “total change of government through general elections,” perhaps beginning with a “possible transitional national government.”

However, he noted that “we can not forget justice” because “there has been a lot of corruption and violence” and “those responsible for this can not be left uninvestigated.”

Regardless of how the political situation in Venezuela ends, however, Catholics must live and react to the crisis facing the country.

“A Catholic in the circumstances in which we live must be a permanent promoter of the common good, solidarity, and justice,” the bishop advised. “It is not a time of adornment, but of going to the essential, to what gives meaning to life.”

“We know that nothing will be easy when working for the good of the community, but Christians have a fundamental belief that the power of the Holy Spirit not only animates us, but enlightens us in walking the narrow way. It offers us challenges, but it gives us its strength, ” Bishop Azuaje said.

“I want to go to the extreme of saying that a Catholic can not bend to exclusionary policies, much less the voracious corruption that exists in the country, nor raise his hand to strike the dignity of anyone,” he added.

“A committed Catholic should demand justice and work for the people with the sole interest of developing processes that lead to greater human development,” the bishop urged. Continue Reading

Report of Stonewall Jackson on the Battle of Cedar Mountain

 

 

On August 9, 1862, Stonewall Jackson, spearheading General Lee’s offensive against General John Pope’s hastily assembled Army of Virginia.  At Cedar Mountain in Culpepper County Virginia he attack his old Valley adversary General Nathaniel Banks, known affectionately by Confederates as Commissary Banks due to the fact that forces under his command usually were whipped and Confederates then feasted on the captured supplies of his defeated forces.  Banks commanded 8,000 men and Jackson had 16,000.  Banks and his men, surprisingly, put up a good fight and Jackson’s victory was hard fought.  Here is Jackson’s report which he submitted on April 4, 1863, paperwork tacking a back seat to all the fighting which occurred between Cedar Mountain and April 4, 1863: Continue Reading

7

Google Does Evil

 

It is no secret that Google is a smug left wing outfit dedicated to shaping public opinion in a leftist direction.  The latest example is the firing of a worker who had the temerity to point out that Google lacks intellectual diversity.

 

Google has not publicly named but Bloomberg reported that software engineer James Damore confirmed in an email that he had been let go for “perpetuating gender stereotypes” and was exploring legal action against the company. Internal discussions boards seen by Bloomberg suggest that multiple employees supported the dismissal of the employee and said they would choose not to work with him.

 

The memo also criticized the company’s diversity programs and questioned whether differing views could be said freely within Google.

 

“Many points raised in the memo-such as the portions criticizing Google’s trainings, questioning the role of ideology in the workplace, and debating whether programs for women and underserved groups are sufficiently open to all-are important topics,” Pichai wrote. “The author had a right to express their views on those topics-we encourage an environment in which people can do this and it remains our policy to not take action against anyone for prompting these discussions.” Continue Reading

4

Dante’s Tribute to Saint Dominic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The dame, who was his surety, in her sleep
Beheld the wondrous fruit, that was from him
And from his heirs to issue.  And that such
He might be construed, as indeed he was,
She was inspir’d to name him of his owner,
Whose he was wholly, and so call’d him Dominic.
And I speak of him, as the labourer,
Whom Christ in his own garden chose to be
His help-mate.  Messenger he seem’d, and friend
Fast-knit to Christ; and the first love he show’d,
Was after the first counsel that Christ gave.
Many a time his nurse, at entering found
That he had ris’n in silence, and was prostrate,
As who should say, “My errand was for this.”
O happy father!  Felix rightly nam’d!
O favour’d mother! rightly nam’d Joanna!
If that do mean, as men interpret it.
Not for the world’s sake, for which now they pore
Upon Ostiense and Taddeo’s page,
But for the real manna, soon he grew
Mighty in learning, and did set himself
To go about the vineyard, that soon turns
To wan and wither’d, if not tended well:
And from the see (whose bounty to the just
And needy is gone by, not through its fault,
But his who fills it basely, he besought,
No dispensation for commuted wrong,
Nor the first vacant fortune, nor the tenth),
That to God’s paupers rightly appertain,
But, ‘gainst an erring and degenerate world,
Licence to fight, in favour of that seed,
From which the twice twelve cions gird thee round.
Then, with sage doctrine and good will to help,
Forth on his great apostleship he far’d,
Like torrent bursting from a lofty vein;
And, dashing ‘gainst the stocks of heresy,
Smote fiercest, where resistance was most stout.
Thence many rivulets have since been turn’d,
Over the garden Catholic to lead
Their living waters, and have fed its plants.

Dante, Divine Comedy, Paradiso XII

Continue Reading

11

PopeWatch: Venezuela

 

Events are quickly coming to a head in Venezuela, as Father de Souza at Crux tells us:

 

The Holy See declared itself on Friday against the brutal regime of Nicolas Maduro, capping an extraordinary few months of masterful maneuvering by the bishops of Venezuela. They have preserved the integrity of the Church’s witness in the face of a tyrant that has starved his people and refused to permit foreign aid to help them.

The statement of the Holy See’s Secretariat of State calls on Maduro to abandon his plans to hold a “constituent assembly” to rewrite the constitution in his favour. It calls again for human rights to be respected, and refers to earlier calls for political prisoners to be released and new elections to be held – which, presumably and hopefully – would lead to the end of Maduro’s regime.

Venezuela has been plunged into a lethal crisis by a communist government that has doubled down on totalitarian measures to tighten its grip on power. The collapse of petro-communism in Venezuela is now more severe than the Great Depression in the United States, or the economic decline of Russia after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

But it’s wrong to blame falling oil prices, which in any case have recently stabilized. There are no other petro-states in which the citizenry is without food or toilet paper, fleeing as refugees without papers because the government no longer has the capacity to print passports.

Venezuela has descended rapidly into starvation poverty because during the boom years the regime of Hugo Chavez ran up record debts to plug the holes in its failed, corrupt economic policies. Now under his successor, Nicolas Maduro, there is nothing left in the exchequer and little new borrowing to be had. The economic catastrophe has undermined the regime’s support, which is why Maduro has resorted to lethal violence, rampant thuggery and totalitarian measures to change the constitution to preserve his hold on power.

In the aftermath of Sunday’s vote for Maduro’s new constituent assembly – boycotted by the opposition – the government seized opposition leaders and continued its killing of protesters in the streets. The Venezuelan bishops stood with the opposition, and with the protesters. Indeed, one extraordinary photo shows Venezuelan priests facing armed government forces in the streets, pleading for them to allow medical care for a young man they had shot. The government forces let him die.

The country’s bishops made clear by name the cause of Venezuela’s agony, tweeting on Sunday a prayer to “free our homeland from the claws of communism and socialism.” It is not a matter of a clumsy bureaucracy, or of squabbling factions, or unfortunate economic shocks; Venezuela has been brought low by a failed ideology.

The Venezuelan Church now stands squarely in solidarity with the opposition and the people in the streets against the Maduro regime. In the weeks ahead, we might hope for something like the happy ending of the People Power revolution of 1986 in the Philippines, when the Filipino Church was at the forefront of the protests that brought down the regime of Ferdinand Marcos.

However matters play out in Venezuela, the leading bishops of the country have ensured that the Church’s witness will not be ambiguous. Even a few months ago, the role of the Church was confusing in Venezuela, with the astonishing phenomenon of Maduro repeatedly insisting that the bishops drop their opposition to him out of obedience to Pope Francis, who called repeatedly for dialogue but would not clearly criticize the Maduro regime, as he did yesterday.

Defenders of the previous papal strategy considered it an attempt to keep the lines of communication open, preserving the capacity of the Church to act as a mediator. Critics of the strategy thought it foolish to call for dialogue as between the predator and his prey, when the only path ahead for Venezuela was for Maduro and his socialist/communist regime to go. Continue Reading

2

Divisions

This event I believe occurred at the Fourth Moscow Conference in 1944:

 

In 1944, at a time when the Soviet Union bore the brunt of the struggle against Nazi Germany, it was important to convince Stalin that the Western democracies accepted him as an equal. “‘In the world of the future, for which our soldiers have shed their blood on countless fronts”, the British Prime Minister said in his bombastic style, “our three great democracies will demonstrate to all mankind that they, both in wartime and in peacetime, will remain true to the high principles of freedom, dignity, and happiness of the people. That’s why I attach such paramount importance to good neighbourly relations between a restored Poland and the Soviet Union. It was for the freedom and independence of Poland that Britain went into this war. The British feel a sense of moral responsibility to the Polish people, to their spiritual values. It’s also important that Poland is a Catholic country. We can’t allow internal developments there to complicate our relations with the Vatican…”

“How many divisions does the Pope of Rome have?” Stalin asked, suddenly interrupting Churchill’s line of reasoning.

Valentin Berezhkov, Stalin’s interpreter, in his memoirs recounted this.

 

The response of Pius XII I have been unable to source as to time and place, but it has become immortal:  “You can tell my son Joseph that he will meet my divisions in heaven.”

The divisions that Stalin put so much faith in are as dead and buried now as he is, as is his Communist State that lasted merely one long life time.  Dictators come and go, Christ remains. Continue Reading

3

Pope Leo the Great on The Transfiguration

 

 

The Gospel lesson, dearly-beloved, which has reached the inner hearing of our minds through our bodily ears, calls us to the understanding of a great mystery, to which we shall by the help of God’s grace the better attain, if we turn our attention to what is narrated just before.

The Saviour of mankind, Jesus Christ, in founding that faith, which recalls the wicked to righteousness and the dead to life, used to instruct His disciples by admonitory teaching and by miraculous acts to the end that He, the Christ, might be believed to be at once the Only-begotten of God and the Son of Man. For the one without the other was of no avail to salvation, and it was equally dangerous to have believed the Lord Jesus Christ to be either only God without manhood, or only man without Godhead , since both had equally to be confessed, because just as true manhood existed in His Godhead, so true Godhead existed in His Manhood. To strengthen, therefore, their most wholesome knowledge of this belief, the Lord had asked His disciples, among the various opinions of others, what they themselves believed, or thought about Him: whereat the Apostle Peter, by the revelation of the most High Father passing beyond things corporeal and surmounting things human by the eyes of his mind, saw Him to be Son of the living God, and acknowledged the glory of the Godhead, because he looked not at the substance of His flesh and blood alone; and with this lofty faith Christ was so well pleased that he received the fullness of blessing, and was endued with the holy firmness of the inviolable Rock on which the Church should be built and conquer the gates of hell and the laws of death, so that, in loosing or binding the petitions of any whatsoever, only that should be ratified in heaven which had been settled by the judgment of Peter.

But this exalted and highly-praised understanding, dearly-beloved, had also to be instructed on the mystery of Christ’s lower substance, lest the Apostle’s faith, being raised to the glory of confessing the Deity in Christ, should deem the reception of our weakness unworthy of the impassible God, and incongruous, and should believe the human nature to be so glorified in Him as to be incapable of suffering punishment, or being dissolved in death. And, therefore, when the Lord said that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and scribes and chief of the priests, and the third day rise again, the blessed Peter who, being illumined with light from above, was burning with the heat of his confession, rejected their mocking insults and the disgrace of the most cruel death, with, as he thought, a loyal and outspoken contempt, but was checked by a kindly rebuke from Jesus and animated with the desire to share His suffering. For the Saviour’s exhortation that followed, instilled and taught this, that they who wished to follow Him should deny themselves, and count the loss of temporal things as light in the hope of things eternal; because he alone could save his soul that did not fear to lose it for Christ. In order, therefore, that the Apostles might entertain this happy, constant courage with their whole heart, and have no tremblings about the harshness of taking up the cross, and that they might not be ashamed of the punishment of Christ, nor think what He endured disgraceful for themselves (for the bitterness of suffering was to be displayed without despite to His glorious power), Jesus took Peter and James and his brother John, and ascending a very high mountain with them apart, showed them the brightness of His glory; because, although they had recognised the majesty of God in Him, yet the power of His body, wherein His Deity was contained, they did not know. And, therefore, rightly and significantly, had He promised that certain of the disciples standing by should not taste death till they saw “the Son of Man coming in His Kingdom ,” that is, in the kingly brilliance which, as specially belonging to the nature of His assumed Manhood, He wished to be conspicuous to these three men. For the unspeakable and unapproachable vision of the Godhead Itself which is reserved till eternal life for the pure in heart, they could in no wise look upon and see while still surrounded with mortal flesh. The Lord displays His glory, therefore, before chosen witnesses, and invests that bodily shape which He shared with others with such splendour, that His face was like the sun’s brightness and His garments equalled the whiteness of snow. Continue Reading

3

Joan of Arc, They Are Calling You

I commend you to God; may God watch over you and grant you grace so that you can maintain the good cause of the Kingdom of France.

Joan of Arc

 

 

Something for the weekend.  Joan of Arc, They Are Calling You.  A hit song a hundred years ago in the US.  Music by Jack Wells and lyrics by Al Bryan and Willie Weston.  Although the Maid of Orleans would not be canonized until 1920, the French had regarded her as a saint since her death.  In World War I French soldiers would usually have an image of Joan of Arc on them as they went into battle in a War most of them regarded as a Crusade to save France.

4

PopeWatch: Beanies

 

 

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

 

It was announced today that the Swiss Guard’s uniform will be changed to a more modern hipster look.

Pontifical Swiss Guard Commandant Daniel Anrig told Guards gathered at the annual When Do We Get To See Some Action Jamboree that the traditional “uniform” worn by the Knights will be replaced so as to be more appealing to millennials.

Instead of the well-known European Renaissance-style uniform, the average member of the Swiss Guard will be wearing a pair of skinny jeans, a beanie, and a leather jacket “no matter how hot the temperature gets in Rome,” Anrig said. Anrig did not specify whether swords would be replaced with scarfs or whether they would be replaced with pens in case “the muse strikes and gives them the inspiration to write the next Infinite Jest.”

“I have decided that the time is right for a modernization of the Swiss Guard Uniform,” Anrig said. “From now on, along with skinny jeans, beanies, and leather jackets, the preferred dress for the Guard will include v-necks or flannel shirts, vintage sneakers, bow ties, and black squared frames for glasses whether Guards wear prescription glasses or not.”

Swiss Guard David Adank told EOTT via a shrug of the shoulders this morning that, though a little bit nervous and hesitant about the change, he welcomes it with open, sarcastic arms.

“Whatever,” Adank went on to say before departing to an undisclosed coffee shop.

Another member of the Swiss Guard, Toby Caspari, told EOTT that he was worried that he would be expelled from the Guard since he struggles growing a proper mustache.

“I guess it’s the mandatory mustache that I’m most afraid of,” Caspari said. “I’ve never really been able to grow one, and all everyone’s talking about is what type of “stache wax” to use. Whatever, maybe I’ll use a fake. I trust the commandant’s judgment. I think skinny jeans really helps to show a striking, imitative image of Christ because he was kind of a hipster in his own way. He too didn’t care what people thought. But at the same time, he wanted people to notice him, but at the same time not notice him, if you know what I’m saying. You know what I’m saying? Continue Reading

13

A Coastal Party

 

With the West Virginia Governor switching parties to Republican from Democrat, the Republicans control the state legislatures and the statehouses in 26 states.  The Democrats control the state legislatures and statehouses in 5 states.  (The Connecticut Senate is evenly divided.)  The Republicans have 35 governorships, and the Democrats now have fifteen governorships.  Republicans control the legislature in 32 states to 18 for the Democrats.  The Republicans control 67 of the 98 state legislative chambers.  (Nebraska has a unicameral state legislature which is officially nonpartisan, but which is heavily controlled by Republican nonpartisans.)  Political success often is ephemeral in the US, but the big political story thus far in this country in the twenty-first century is the collapse of the Democrat party on the state level, rendering it largely a coastal party.

2

Requiescat In Pace: Robert Hardy

As the war raged on I studied English at Oxford University, but my education was interrupted by my joining the RAF to train as a pilot. It was there that I got to meet Richard Burton – a navigator in the RAF – who would become so great a friend.

In 1949 I embarked on a career as an actor, and I was with Richard when I met Churchill for a second time in the early 1950s. We were appearing in Hamlet together at the Old Vic, with Richard as the Prince of Denmark. We knew Winston, who at this time was once again Prime Minister, was in the audience – he was unmissable sitting in the front row. 

After the performance we were in Richard’s dressing room when the mighty man burst in, cigar in hand, and, addressing Richard as if he was still in character, said, ‘Your Highness, I am in great need – do have you a lavatory?’

When he came out he complemented Richard on his ‘very forthright Hamlet’ before adding, ‘I’m astonished that such a man should wait so long to avenge his father!’ Needless to say, Richard and I dined out on that for weeks to come.

Robert Hardy

Sad news.  British actor Robert Hardy has died at 91.  Far too young for such a delightful man and talented actor.  At Oxford he studied English under CS Lewis and JRR Tokien, and he ever cherished that opportunity that fate handed him.  He became one of the foremost authorities on the English longbow.  (I have a book in my library that he wrote on the history of the longbow.)  He spoke and wrote in a most pellucid English, no doubt a tribute to his instruction from Lewis and Tolkien.  He of course is remembered for his acting.  To the younger generation he is Cornelius Fudge, the Minister of Magic in the Harry Potter films.  Some may recall him as irascible, but good-hearted, veterinary Siegfried Farnon in the television series All Creatures Great and Small.  To me he will always be the definitive film Winston Churchill, a role that he played nine times. His longest portrayal was in the eight part miniseries The Wilderness Years, broadcast in the eighties, which may be found on You Tube.  Hail and farewell Mr. Hardy, may you have a joyous reunion with your two favorite professors in the world to come.

Continue Reading

8

PopeWatch: Sheer Incompetence

 

 

George Weigel at The Catholic Report notes that the powers that be at the Vatican are not noted for their competence:

 

On occasion, however, that can be a journey through the looking glass and into Wonderland.

Last month, Civilta Cattolicà featured an article co-authored by its editor-in-chief, Father Antonio Spadaro, SJ, and Pastor Marcelo Figueroa, who edits the Argentine edition of L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper. The article purported to analyze a startling “ecumenism of hate” in the United States, forged by ultra-conservative Catholics and evangelical Protestants, and creepy-dangerous for its indulgence in a new Manicheanism that distorts the Gospel and divides everything in the world into rigid and narrowly-defined categories of good and evil. This bizarre screed generated weeks of controversy in the blogosphere, during which Father Spadaro tweeted that the article’s critics were “haters” whose vitriol confirmed the article’s hypothesis – a Trumpian outburst ill-becoming a paladin of “dialogue.”

My friends and colleagues R.R. Reno, Robert Royal, and Fr. Raymond de Souza have ably replied to the comprehensive inanities of the Spadaro/Figueroa article: its ill-informed misrepresentation of American religious history; its surreal descriptions of 21st-century American Catholicism and evangelical Protestantism; its obsessions with marginal figures in contemporary American religious life like R.J. Rushdoony and Michael Voris; its misreading of the dynamics of religiously-informed public moral argument in American politics; and its weird description of the premises of current Vatican diplomacy, which will give comfort to the likes of Vladimir Putin, Raul Castro, and Nicolas Maduro. Those who care to sift through this intellectual dumpster can consult Dr. Reno’s article, Dr. Royal’s, and Fr. De Souza’s. The questions I’d like to raise here involve Civilta Cattolicà’s relationship to its putative overseers in the Vatican Secretariat of State.

What kind of vetting did this misbegotten article get? Were any knowledgeable experts on U.S. Catholicism or American evangelical Protestantism  consulted on what the overseers must have known would be an incendiary piece? Does the Spadaro/Figueroa article really represent the views of the Secretariat of State about today’s debates at the intersection of religion and politics in the United States? If the answer to the last is “Yes,” then what does the Secretariat of State make of the American situation as described by the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Christoph Pierre, in his addresses to the U.S. bishops – a description that bears no resemblance to the wasteland of madcap pseudo-theology and hatred described by Spadaro and Figueroa? If the answer is “No,” then why was the Spadaro/Figueroa article cleared for publication? Continue Reading

8

Hmmm

 

 

The Spadaro-Figueroa American Catholic conservative bashing article came out two weeks ago, go here to read about it, but suddenly today it receives coverage all over the secular press.  Is this merely an example of how slow the mainstream media generally is to cover Catholic news, or is this a ramping up of the Pope’s war, and let us be honest that is precisely the term that should be used, against American Catholic conservatives?  Go here to look at some of the stories published today.  The New York Times article is driving the coverage, and why did they suddenly decide to cover this now?  For the present, American Catholic conservatives should assume that our enemies in the Vatican are working hand in glove with our domestic enemies.

14

PopeWatch: Padre Pio

 

Hattip to commenter Greg Mockeridge.  Edward Pentin at National Catholic Register reminds us of just how far we have fallen:

 

The decision to have the notorious abortionist Emma Bonino speak about immigration in an Italian church last week drew widespread condemnation.

But it also led some to argue, including the local Caritas representative who sponsored her talk, that Bonino’s atrocious abortion record, of which she has never repented, could be set aside to focus on this other aspect of Catholic Social Teaching. 

Yet effectively sidelining the gravity of abortion in favor of bringing a radical secularist to form a common front on immigration perhaps signifies how much the West, and some in the Church, have become numb to abortion and the gravity of the sin.

St. Padre Pio, for example, believed abortion was not just the murder of an innocent human being, but also a true suicide.

In a now famous story, Father Pellegrino Funicelli, who assisted Padre Pio for many years, once confronted the saint on the sin, asking him:

“Today you denied absolution to a woman because she had voluntarily undergone an abortion. Why have you been so rigorous with this poor unfortunate?” (Padre Pio would sometimes refuse to give absolution to a penitent if they showed insufficient contrition; often they would return and he’d give absolution if they were sincere).

Padre Pio responded: “The day that people lose their horror for abortion will be the most terrible day for humanity. Abortion is not only a homicide but also a suicide. Shouldn’t we have the courage to manifest our faith before those who commit two crimes within one act?

“Suicide?,” asked Father Pellegrino.

“The suicide of the human race will be understood by those who will see the earth populated by the elderly and depopulated of children: burnt as a desert,” Padre Pio replied.

Bonino, who boasts of performing more than 10,000 abortions in 1975, vacuuming the unborn child from the womb with a bicycle pump and putting the mangled remains into a glass jar, ironically noted in her talk the population decline in Italy. Continue Reading

4

Quotes Suitable for Framing: Alvin C. York

The American-born boys and the Greeks, Irish, Poles, Jews, and Italians who were in my platoon in the World War. A heap of them couldn’t speaker write the American language until they larned it in the Army. Over here in the training camps and behind the lines in France a right-smart lot of them boozed, gambled, cussed, and went A. W. O. L. But once they got into it Over There they kept on a-going. They were only tollable shots and burned up a most awful lot of ammunition. But jest the same they always kept on a-going. Most of them died like men, with their rifles and bayonets in their hands and their faces to the enemy. I’m a-thinkin* they were real heroes. Any way they were my buddies. I jes learned to love them.

SERGEANT ALVIN C. YORK

3

Benedict XV, Rudyard Kipling, John Bunyan and G. K. Chesterton

Benedict-XV

The cheapest and most childish of all the taunts of the Pacifists is, I think, the sneer at belligerents for appealing to the God of Battles. It is ludicrously illogical, for we obviously have no right to kill for victory save when we have a right to pray for it. If a war is not a holy war, it is an unholy one — a massacre.

G.K. Chesterton, October 23, 1915

(Pope Benedict issued his peace proposal on August 1, 1917.  To observe the occasion I am reposting this post from 2011.  Of all that I have written about Kipling, and that is now a considerable amount, this is my favorite piece. I would observe in passing that both Chesterton and CS Lewis, although they differed considerably from Kipling’s views on many topics, were both fans of him as a writer.)

The eighth in my ongoing series examining the poetry of Rudyard Kipling.   The other posts in the series may be read here, here , here , herehere , here and here.   Kipling wrote quite a few poems during his lifetime.  Some are world-famous, most are not, and some are today almost completely forgotten.   The Holy War (1917) is today one of Kipling’s most obscure poems, but caused something of a stir when he wrote it in Advent during 1917.

A tinker out of Bedford,
A vagrant oft in quod,
A private under Fairfax,
A minister of God–
Two hundred years and thirty
Ere Armageddon came
His single hand portrayed it,
And Bunyan was his name!_

He mapped, for those who follow,
The world in which we are–
‘This famous town of Mansoul’
That takes the Holy War
Her true and traitor people,
The gates along her wall,
From Eye Gate unto Feel Gate,
John Bunyan showed them all.

All enemy divisions,
Recruits of every class,
And highly-screened positions
For flame or poison-gas,
The craft that we call modern,
The crimes that we call new,
John Bunyan had ’em typed and filed
In Sixteen Eighty-two

Likewise the Lords of Looseness
That hamper faith and works,
The Perseverance-Doubters,
And Present-Comfort shirks,
With brittle intellectuals
Who crack beneath a strain–
John Bunyan met that helpful set
In Charles the Second’s reign.

Emmanuel’s vanguard dying
For right and not for rights,
My Lord Apollyon lying
To the State-kept Stockholmites,
The Pope, the swithering Neutrals,
The Kaiser and his Gott–
Their roles, their goals, their naked souls–
He knew and drew the lot.

Now he hath left his quarters,
In Bunhill Fields to lie.
The wisdom that he taught us
Is proven prophecy–
One watchword through our armies,
One answer from our lands–
‘No dealings with Diabolus
As long as Mansoul stands.

_A pedlar from a hovel,
The lowest of the low,
The father of the Novel,
Salvation’s first Defoe,
Eight blinded generations
Ere Armageddon came,
He showed us how to meet it,
And Bunyan was his name!_

At one level the poem is a fairly straight-forward paean to John Bunyan, the English writer who penned Pilgrims’s Progress, which every school child used to read back in days when schools spent far more time on academics and far less time on political indoctrination and fake subjects like “Consumer Ed”.  He also wrote quite a few other books and pamphlets, perhaps the best known of which is The Holy War, which portrays a war for the City of Mansoul between the good defenders and the evil besiegers.  I need not spell out the allegorical meaning of the work when the city’s named is rendered as Man Soul.  Kipling had been a devotee of Bunyan since his childhood, and I suppose that part of his motivation in writing the poem was to pay back a literary debt. Continue Reading

August 1, 1917: The Pope’s Peace Plan

 

 

On August 1, 1917 Pope Benedict addressed a peace plan to the heads of the belligerent nations.  The plan had not a prayer of success, as both the Central and Allied Powers had reasons to believe that a military victory was still within their grasp.  The plan is not a mere plea for peace but has some interesting features including:  freedom of the seas, the recognition of the rights of submerged nations, including Armenia and Poland, no war reparations, some sort of league of nations.  Although President Wilson, along with the heads of all the other powers, other than Austria-Hungary, would reject the Pope’s plans, his later Fourteen Points would reflect a borrowing from the Pope’s peace plan.  Here is the text of the Pope’s message:

 

From the beginning of Our Pontificate, amidst the horrors of the terrible war unleashed upon Europe, We have kept before Our attention three things above all: to preserve complete impartiality in relation to all the belligerents, as is appropriate to him who is the common father and who loves all his children with equal affection; to endeavour constantly to do all the most possible good, without personal exceptions and without national or religious distinctions, a duty which the universal law of charity, as well as the supreme spiritual charge entrusted to Us by Christ, dictates to Us; finally, as Our peacemaking mission equally demands, to leave nothing undone within Our power, which could assist in hastening the end of this calamity, by trying to lead the peoples and their heads to more moderate frames of mind and to the calm deliberations of peace, of a “just and lasting” peace.

Whoever has followed Our work during the three unhappy years which have just elapsed, has been able to recognize with ease that We have always remained faithful to Our resolution of absolute impartiality and to Our practical policy of well-doing.

We have never ceased to urge the belligerent peoples and Governments to become brothers once more, even although publicity has not been given to all which We have done to attain this most noble end has not always been made public.

At the end of the first year of war, in addressing to them the most forceful exhortations, we also identified the road to follow to achieve a peace which was lasting and dignified for all. Unfortunately, our appeal was not listened to: the war continued fiercely for another two years with all its horrors; it grew worse and indeed it extended by land, sea and even air, where on defenceless cities, on quiet villages, on their innocent inhabitants, there descended desolation and death. And now nobody can imagine for how long these shared evils will multiply and become worse, whether for a few more months, or even worse whether another six years will become added to these bloodstained three years. Will the civilised world, therefore, be reduced to a field of
death? And will Europe, so glorious and flourishing, almost overwhelmed by a universal madness, rush to the abyss, to its true and authentic suicide?

Continue Reading

7

PopeWatch: Clear Sighted Atheist

 

 

Some atheists see more clearly these days than many Catholics:

 

 

An atheist philosopher friend of Benedict XVI has strongly criticized Pope Francis, accusing the Holy Father of not preaching the Gospel but politics, fomenting schism, and issuing secularist statements aimed at destroying the West.

In a fiery interview published July 10 in Mattino di Napoli, Marcello Pera, who co-wrote the famous 2005 book Without Roots with then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, said he cannot understand the Pope who, he said, goes beyond the bounds of “rational comprehension.”

A philosophy professor, member of Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party, and a former president of the Italian Senate, Pera said he believes the reason why the Pope calls for unlimited immigration is because he “hates the West” and is seeking to do all he can “to destroy it.”

He added that he does not like the Pope’s magisterium, saying it is “not the Gospel, only politics,” and that Francis is “little or not at all interested in Christianity as doctrine, in its theological aspect.”

“His statements appear to be based on Scripture,” he said, but “actually they are strongly secularist.”

Immigration has become a highly sensitive topic in Italy in recent months as thousands of refugees arrive every month, mostly from north Africa, placing considerable strain on local communities and services. Continue Reading

5

August 2, 1917: The Green Corn Rebellion

 

US participation in the Great War was popular but not completely so.  The Socialist Party of America was strongly anti-war, and held 1200 elective offices around the country, including one seat in Congress, 32 seats in state legislatures  and 79 mayorships.  Its anti-war stance cost it membership.  Socialists however, and other rural radicals, were apparently the instigators of an armed anti-draft riot that began on August 3, 1917 in rural Oklahoma among a gathering of tenant farmers.  This fed off years of disputes between radicalized tenant farmers and the much more conservative residents of towns in Seminole and  Pontotoc  counties in Oklahoma.  August 3, 1917 was to be the end of the annual Muscogee Creek Indian tribe Green Corn Festival.  On August 2, 1917 the Seminole sheriff and a deputy were ambushed, bridges burned and telephone lines cut.  The next day  800 to 1000 armed men, a mix of white tenant farmers, Indians and black tenant farmers, assembled near the adjoining borders of Seminole, Pontotoc and Hughes counties in southeastern Oklahoma.  Their plan was allegedly to march on Washington, eating green corn and barbecued beef on the way, overthrow the government and end the draft.

The whole scheme proved abortive when a well armed posse of townsfolk showed up.  The embattled farmers fired a few shots and scattered. Continue Reading

On the Firing Line With the Germans

The things you find on Youtube.  Thirty-two year old  Wilbur H. Durborough, an American reporter, for seven months in 1915 followed the German army taking photographs for the Chicago Newspaper Enterprise Association.  He was also producing a movie documentary on the German army in the field, the documentary being financially backed by several Chicago businessman.  Durborough hired cameraman Irving G. Ries, who would later work in Hollywood and who received an academy award nomination for his work on the movie Forbidden Planet (1956).  Driving a Stutz Bearcat, one of the fastest cars of its time, flying an American flag, Durborough and Ries followed in the wake of the German army on the Eastern front, creating  a historically priceless visual record of the German army in action.  Lost for decades, the film was restored recently by the Library of Congress. Durborough went on to serve in the US Army as a public relations officer after the US entered the War.

Feast Day of the Maccabees

 

 

Father Z reminds us that in the traditional roman calendar today is the feast of the Maccabees:

 

 

However, in the traditional roman calendar today is the Feast of the Seven Holy Maccabee brothers.  They are listed in the Martyrologium Romanum. Here is their entry:

2. Commemoratio passionis sanctorum septem fratrum martyrum, qui Antiochiae in Syria, sub Antiocho Epiphane rege, propter legem Domini invicta fide servatam, morti crudeliter traditi sunt cum matre sua, in singulis quidem filiis passa, sed in omnibus coronata, sicut in secundo libro Maccabaeorum narratur. Item commemoratur sanctus Eleazarus, unus de primoribus scribarum, vir aetate provectus, qui in eadem persecutione, illicitam carnem manducare propter vitae amorem respuens, gloriosissimam mortem magis quam odiosam vitam complectens, voluntarie praeivit ad supplicium, magnum virtutis relinquens exemplum.

Maybe some of you good readers can produce your flawless English versions for those whose Latin is less smooth.

Who were the Maccabee brothers?

They may be models for our own day, given what is probably coming.

The Maccabees were Jews who rebelled against the Hellenic Seleucid dynasty in the time of Antiochus V Eupator. The Maccabees founded the Hasmonean dynasty and fought for Jewish independence in Israel from 165-63 BC.

In 167 BC, Mattathias revolted against the Greek occupiers by refusing to worship the Greek gods. He killed a Hellenizing Jew who was willing to offer a sacrifice to the Greek gods. Mattathias and his five sons fled to the wilderness of Judea. Later Mattathias’s son Judas Maccabaeus led an army against the Seleucids and won. He entered Jerusalem, cleansed the Temple, and reestablished Jewish worship.

Hanukkah commemorates this victory.

In the period 167-164 BC Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-163) killed and sold thousands of Jews into slavery. He violated the Jewish holy sites and set up an altar to Zeus in the Holy of Holies (1 Maccabees 1:54; Daniel 11:31). The people revolted and Antiochus responded with slaughter. He required under penalty of death that Jews sacrifice to the gods and abandon kosher laws. “Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment” (Hebrews 11:35-36). A chief of the scribes, Eleazar, an old man, did not flee. Pork was forced on him, into his mouth, he spat it out and was then condemned to death.

The mother is venerated by the Greeks as St. Solomnis.

St. Ambrose, in his work On Jacob and the Blessed Life recounts Eleazar’s death along with the deaths of seven sons of a mother. The work is filled with Neo-platonic and Stoic themes, especially about virtue theory.

Ambrose goes through all their deaths in detail, making commentary on them for what they meant.

In these scenes recounted by Ambrose from IV Maccabees, the mother, Solomnis, is being forced to watch each of here sons executed in different ways, eldest to youngest.

She urges them not to give in.

Ambrose thus explores the theme of how God chooses the weak and makes them strong.

The ancient “priest” Eleazar should be weak and infirm due to age, but he is a tower of strength. The mother of the seven boys should be weak by nature but is unshakable.  The sons are not to be moved to infidelity, even the youngest.

Here is a taste of Ambrose in De Iacob et vita beata II, 12:

The words of the holy woman return to our minds, who said to her sons: “I gave birth to you, and poured out my milk for you: do not lose your nobility.” Other mothers are accustomed to pull their children away from martyrdom, not to exhort them to martyrdom. But she thought that maternal love consisted in this, in persuading her sons to gain for themselves an eternal life rather than an earthly life. And thus the pius mother watched the torment of her sons … But her sons were not inferior to such a mother: they urged each other on, speaking with one single desire and, I would say, like an unfurling of their souls in a battle line.

Very cool image.  I wonder if that will unsettle a certain writer at the Fishwrap because it is so “militaristic”.  HERE

8

PopeWatch: Triumvirate

 

Sandro Magister tells us of three men who are the closest to the Pope:

 

The classic communist parties had their “organic intellectuals.” But Pope Francis has them, too. Their names are Antonio Spadaro, Marcelo Figueroa, Víctor Manuel Fernández.

The first is an Italian and a Jesuit, director of “La Civiltà Cattolica.” The others are Argentine, and the latter is not even Catholic but a Presbyterian pastor, and in spite of this Francis has put him at the head of the Buenos Aires edition of “L’Osservatore Romano.”

Spadaro has turned “La Civiltà Cattolica” into the organ of Casa Santa Marta, meaning of the pope. And together with Figueroa he put his name to an article in the latest issue of the magazine that slammed into the United States like a hurricane, because it accused both Catholic and Protestant conservative circles of acting in that country “with a logic not different from that which inspires Islamic fundamentalism,” none less than that of Osama bin Laden and the Caliphate.

And on what are these Catholics and Protestants supposed to have come together to fight as “neo-Crusaders”? On “issues like abortion, same-sex marriage, religious education in the schools,” in other words, on “a particular form of defense of religious freedom.” With the result – according to the two authors of the article – of fomenting an “ecumenism of hatred,” nostalgia for “a state with theocratic features.” The exact opposite of the ecumenism of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, a pope “of inclusion, peace, encounter.”

The trouble is that the defense of life, of the family, of religious freedom have been at the forefront of the American Catholic Church’s agenda for more than a decade. It therefore could not help but react at seeing that “believers are attacked by their co-religionists merely for fighting for what their Churches have always held to be true.”

The highest-level protest came from the archbishop of Philadelphia, Charles Chaput, who rejected the article by Spadaro and Figueroa as “an exercise in dumbing down and inadequate.” But other comments have been much harsher and have had an easy time pointing out a series of colossal historical and logical blunders in the article.

Any other magazine would have tossed out such an article, the Canadian Raymond J. de Souza for example wrote on “Crux,” the most important and balanced website of Catholic information in the United States.

But at Santa Marta, on Francis’s desk, it didn’t end up that way, and on the contrary the article by Spadaro and Figueroa was passed with full marks and made an even bigger splash in that it was correctly interpreted by everyone as expressive not only of the pope’s thoughts but also of his management style: in this case, an attack of unprecedented forcefulness on the “Ratzingerian” leadership of the Catholic Church in the United States, launched through middlemen.

In the doctrinal camp Fr. Spadaro is fairly nonchalant, theorizing that “in theology 2 + 2 can make 5,” and is infallible in prognosticating Bergoglio’s revolutions big and small. But among the counselors and confidants is one who is even closer to the pope than he is. And it is none other than the Argentine Víctor Manuel Fernández, a theologian whose first and revealing work was, in 1995, a volume entitled: “Heal me with your mouth. The art of kissing.”

It comes as no surprise that after this debut and after his other no less questionable literary productions Rome would veto Fernández’s appointment as rector of the Universidad Católica Argentina, only to have to bend, in 2009, to the then-archbishop of Buenos Aires, who fought tooth and nail to get the nulla osta for the promotion of his protege.

In 2013, just after he was elected pope, Bergoglio even made Fernández an archbishop. And since then this figure has almost spent more time in Rome than in Argentina, swamped as he is with acting as counselor and ghostwriter for his friend the pope.

Whole paragraphs of chapter eight of “Amoris Laetitia,” the document of Pope Francis that has most shaken the Church, have been found to have been copied wholesale from articles by Fernández of a decade ago. Continue Reading

12

The Military Coup Against Donald Trump

 

 

Kurt Schlichter, columnist, attorney and retired Army Colonel, has written the first part of a fictional account of a military coup against President Trump in 2018:

 

But how would one pull off a coup d’etat in the United States? Most of the political hacks had no idea, while the military experts understood the massive challenge. Some answers were obvious – in the Third World, the first thing the plotters take control of are the radio and TV stations and the newspapers. In America, the media was already in the bag. Hell, they would cheerlead a coup. But the actual seizure of power? That was more complicated.

“You just send in some soldiers and take over everything,” said the younger and, astonishingly, stupider California senator. “You know, with guns. How hard can this Army stuff be?”

Retired – actually, fired by Trump – General Leonard Smith, who had been promoted by Obama after failing to win in Iraq and Afghanistan, but who successfully spearheaded the transsexuals in foxholes initiative, tried to explain.

“Look, it’s a matter of numbers. We take all our land forces in CONUS…”

“What’s CONUS?” asked a former Clinton Deputy Assistant Undersecretary of Defense.

“The continental United States,” the general replied, annoyed. “We have maybe 45 brigade combat teams total available, counting everything active and reserve, Marine and Army. Less than one per state. And a city takes a brigade to control – at least. New York would take ten. And that’s assuming they were all loyal to us. There’s police and federal law enforcement too, but we also have 100 million armed Americans who might object.”

“Ridiculous,” sniffed the senator. “How can a bunch of citizens armed with their deer rifles stop a modern army?” Continue Reading

11

PopeWatch: Humor?

 

 

Father Z has an interesting anecdote about the Pope:

 

It seems that the site Messa in latino picked up on an anecdote recounted by a French site Benoit etmoi.  Here’s my translation from the French, which seems to be the original of the anecdote.  I’m cutting out the first part, just to get at the core of the anecdote itself.   Mind you, we are dealing with something that happened recently, after this spring or early summers traditional round of diocesan ordinations to the priesthood.  However, we are also dealing with something that it second hand at best.

A group of young priests from the same diocese, who were just ordained, made a pilgrimage together to Rome. They were not traditionalists, but young priests of today, white shirt with discreet collar, [in some European countries you will see during the summer priests in a white clerical shirt with “tab” collar] classic, pious, normal, very happy with the gift of Christ they had just received. Naturally, they asked and obtained (the chance) to have dinner at Santa Marta and to be presented to the Pope, and also to concelebrate with him at Mass the next day.

They arrived at Santa Marta at the designated time, and went to the place indicated. A secretary pointed them out to the Pope who was approaching. The Pope: “Where are you from?” They, proudly: “Of the Diocese of X”.  And he, with a sour expression [avec la mine des mauvais jours]: “Ah, X, there are still many priests there. That means that there is a problem, a problem of discernment.” And he continues his journey.

The young priests, dismayed, looked at each other, conferred, and left without eating.  And the next day, they spared themselves the concelebration at Santa Marta.

Okay… what to do with this.  And, mind you, I’m doing this here because I’ve had a lot of requests.

It could be that these young men mistook the Pope’s expression.  Some people’s default face isn’t always cheerful looking.

It could be that these young men mistook the Pope’s words.  There could be a language difference.

However, since there were a few of them, they probably were not all mistaken in their interpretation and it drove them to leave and not come back.

Popes kid around with seminarians and priests.  John Paul II sure did.  Here is one of my own anecdotes with John Paul.  I’ve never told this one here before.

Since my seminary in Rome was named after JPII, we seminarians were often called to serve his Masses.  Hence, I had quite a few opportunities as a seminarian and as a deacon.  I was a deacon often enough that the Holy Father got to know me.  One day, as deacon, I brought the thurible into the small sacristy tucked away near the altar of the Pietà (they laid our our dalmatics, etc., on the altar beneath the Pietà – that wasn’t cool or anything…) for the Pope, as celebrant, to “charge”.  As I approached he said in Italian, “You again!”  As I held it up he said, “Which seminary are you from?”  Of course he knew.  He asked every time.  “The John Paul the Second International Seminary, Your Holiness.”  With clearly mock dismay, he almost bellowed, “Terribile! Terribile!”  Everyone was amused, including myself.  Then he became very grave.  Leaning in almost nose to nose, he repeatedly pounded me hard on the chest with his finger and said, punctuating every word, “Tu… deve essere serio.  You… have to be serious.”  “Serio” means “serious”, but also “focused, earnest”.

That experience was a little frightening, to be frank.  First, that was the POPE.  Also, that was Pope Wojtyla.  It is a bit cliché to speak of what it felt like when he came into a room, but I guarantee you he was like no one else I’ve seen.  Seeing him come in or meeting him briefly is one thing.  Having him pound you repeatedly on the chest nose to nose is another.

Clearly the saint was trying in an extremely personal moment to inspire a man to something more than mediocrity.  After all, my seminary had his name.  Ergo, we reflected him, in a way.  We had to live up to that.

Let’s just say that I have not forgotten that moment.

It could be that Pope Francis was trying to do something similar with these young priests, but missed the mark. Continue Reading

7

PopeWatch: Debt

 

 

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

 

Total catechism student loan debt in the U.S. has officially topped $1.8 hundred dollars.

In March, the Francis administration announced a series of changes to the Free Application For Federal Catechism Aid (FAFCA), the form for prospective catechists applying for church financial aid.

This measure was taken in the hopes of making the burden of learning the fundamentals of Catholicism more manageable. EOTT has found in a recent study that cradle Catholics ages 30 to 55 owe nearly as much money on past catechism classes as do converts to Catholicism even after years of payments, and that loan payments have become a major portion of their monthly expenses, crippling many households.

Head RCIA financial aid expert Devin Bolero recently told EOTT that more than 37% of borrowers are graduating with debt that can take them days if not weeks to pay off, significantly impacting their lives.

“I found that new Catholics who graduate with catechism debt are about 17% more likely to wait an extra week to pay off their debt before getting married and having kids,” Bolero said. “It’s an issue the USCCB seriously needs to look into.”

Bolero estimates that America’s catechism student loan debt is growing at a rapid rate, rising nearly $2 every week. Continue Reading

13

Resquiescat in Pace: Charlie Gard

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

CS Lewis

 

 

Charlie Gard has died.  He was dealt a very rough deck of cards, but he also had two parents who loved him and fought an uphill battle for him and in that he was indeed fortunate.  His brief life heightened the new barbarism to which we are descending in which the all powerful State wields the power of death against the completely innocent.  The final indignity was that his parents were not permitted to have him die at home:

 

His parents and Great Ormond Street Hospital have been in a months-long legal battle over his treatment. Their final request to a judge this week was to be allowed to take Charlie home to die.

On Thursday, a judge ruled that Charlie will be moved to hospice and his life support will be removed at a time not publicly disclosed. He will not be allowed to go home, as his parents wished. Continue Reading

9

PopeWatch: Memory Lane

 

Father Z takes a trip down Memory Lane:

 

Here is something to ponder.  HERE

On this day in 2013 I posted:

Over at First Things I saw a piece called Five Myths About Pope Francis by William Doino Jr.

What are those myths?

1. “Francis is the anti-Benedict.”
2. “Francis is Not a Cultural Warrior.”
3. “Francis is a ‘Social Justice’ Pope.”
4. “Francis Will Be More Charitable Toward Dissenters.”
5. “Francis Loves the World.”

I think it would be interesting to reread the article in question and see how things are going now…. with some perspective. Continue Reading

16

PopeWatch: Summorum Pontificum

 

Summorum Pontificum bye bye?

 

 Sources inside the Vatican suggest that Pope Francis aims to end Pope Benedict XVI’s universal permission for priests to say the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM), also known as the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. While the course of action would be in tune with Pope Francis’ repeatedly expressed disdain for the TLM especially among young people, there has been no open discussion of it to date.

Sources in Rome told LifeSite last week that liberal prelates inside the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith were overheard discussing a plan ascribed to the Pope to do away with Pope Benedict’s famous document that gave priests freedom to offer the ancient rite of the Mass.

Catholic traditionalists have just celebrated the tenth anniversary of the document, Summorum Pontificum. Pope Benedict XVI issued it in 2007, giving all Latin Rite priests permission to offer the TLM without seeking permission of their bishops, undoing a restriction placed on priests after the Second Vatican Council.

The motu proprio outraged liberal bishops as it stripped them of the power to forbid the TLM, as many did. Previously priests needed their bishop’s permission to offer the TLM. Continue Reading

2

The Choice

 

The thirty-third in my on-going series on the poetry of Rudyard Kipling. The other posts in the series may be read here, here , here , here, here , here, here, here, here, here, here, here , here, here, here , here, here, here , here, here, here , here, here , here , here , here , herehere, here , here here and here.  Like most Brits of his generation, Kipling had ambivalent feelings towards the United States.  He had married an American and had lived with her in Vermont from 1892 to 1896 when the family moved to England.  He found much to admire in the Great Republic and much to criticize.  It could be said that Kipling, the quintessential Englishman, adopted an American attitude of both love, and the freedom to speak his mind about what he perceived to be wrong, as to America.  In any case there was nothing ambivalent about the poem he published in April of 1917 after the US entered the Great War on the side of The Allies:

THE AMERICAN SPIRIT SPEAKS:

  To the Judge of Right and Wrong
With Whom fulfillment lies
Our purpose and our power belong,
 Our faith and sacrifice.
  Let Freedom’s land rejoice!
 Our ancient bonds are riven;
Once more to us the eternal choice
Of good or ill is given.
Not at a little cost,
 Hardly by prayer or tears,
Shall we recover the road we lost
In the drugged and doubting years.
  But after the fires and the wrath,
 But after searching and pain,
His Mercy opens us a path
To live with ourselves again.
  In the Gates of Death rejoice!
 We see and hold the good—
Bear witness, Earth, we have made our choice
For Freedom’s brotherhood.
  Then praise the Lord Most High
Whose Strength hath saved us whole,
Who bade us choose that the Flesh should die
And not the living Soul!

Continue Reading

28

Resolved: Mentally Ill People Should Not Serve in the Military

Image result for section 8 discharge

 

Corporal Klinger was born too soon.  A furor has erupted due to President Trump’s reversal of the one year old allowance of the Obama administration enabling so-called “transgenders” to serve in the military.  The Army this month was warning soldiers that they might encounter “transgenders” in showers who appeared to be the opposite sex and that they should go along with this exercise in make believe.  Go here to read about it.  All people not mentally ill owe a vote of thanks to President Trump for the simple common-sense conclusion that people so mentally twisted that they believe that their DNA does not establish their sex have no business serving in the military.  Next up, fire burns and water is wet.

9

Quotes Suitable for Framing: Glenn Reynolds

 

Trump, as I keep saying, is a symptom of how rottenly dysfunctional our sorry political class is. Take away Trump and they’re just as awful and destructive. He just brings their awfulness to the fore, where it’s no longer ignorable. Now they’re willing to play with fire, risking the future of the polity over little more than hurt feelings, in a way that would have been unthinkable not long ago.

Glenn Reynolds, Instapundit

5

July 26, 1945: USS Indianapolis Delivers Hiroshima Bomb to Tinian

 

The delivery of the Hiroshima bomb by the crew of the USS Indianapolis to Tinian on July 26, 1945 received screen immortality in Quint’s (Robert Shaw) speech in the movie Jaws (1975).  Although historically inaccurate on several points, the scene has an understated power that makes it a gem of the filmmaker’s art:

 

“Japanese submarine slammed two torpedoes into her side, Chief. We was comin’ back from the island of Tinian to Leyte. We’d just delivered the bomb. The Hiroshima bomb. Eleven hundred men went into the water. Vessel went down in 12 minutes.

Didn’t see the first shark for about a half-hour. Tiger. 13-footer. You know how you know that in the water, Chief? You can tell by lookin’ from the dorsal to the tail. What we didn’t know, was that our bomb mission was so secret, no distress signal had been sent. They didn’t even list us overdue for a week. Very first light, Chief, sharks come cruisin’ by, so we formed ourselves into tight groups. It was sorta like you see in the calendars, you know the infantry squares in the old calendars like the Battle of Waterloo and the idea was the shark come to the nearest man, that man he starts poundin’ and hollerin’ and sometimes that shark he go away… but sometimes he wouldn’t go away.

Sometimes that shark looks right at ya. Right into your eyes. And the thing about a shark is he’s got lifeless eyes. Black eyes. Like a doll’s eyes. When he comes at ya, he doesn’t even seem to be livin’… ’til he bites ya, and those black eyes roll over white and then… ah then you hear that terrible high-pitched screamin’. The ocean turns red, and despite all your poundin’ and your hollerin’ those sharks come in and… they rip you to pieces.

You know by the end of that first dawn, lost a hundred men. I don’t know how many sharks there were, maybe a thousand. I do know how many men, they averaged six an hour. Thursday mornin’, Chief, I bumped into a friend of mine, Herbie Robinson from Cleveland. Baseball player. Boson’s mate. I thought he was asleep. I reached over to wake him up. He bobbed up, down in the water, he was like a kinda top. Upended. Well, he’d been bitten in half below the waist.

At noon on the fifth day, a Lockheed Ventura swung in low and he spotted us, a young pilot, lot younger than Mr. Hooper here, anyway he spotted us and a few hours later a big ol’ fat PBY come down and started to pick us up. You know that was the time I was most frightened. Waitin’ for my turn. I’ll never put on a lifejacket again. So, eleven hundred men went into the water. 316 men come out, the sharks took the rest, June the 29th, 1945.

Anyway, we delivered the bomb.”

5

PopeWatch: An Authoritative Churchman

 

Sandro Magister publishes this from a source he describes as “an authoritative Churchman”:

 

 

*

EVERYONE IS RESPONDING TO THE “DUBIA” EXCEPT FOR THE POPE. THIS TIME IT WAS SCHÖNBORN’S TURN

by ***

On July 13, 2017 Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, archbishop of Vienna, spoke for four hours in two conferences and a question-and-answer session at Mary Immaculate College in Limerick, Ireland.

The Austrian cardinal spoke in the context of the event “Let’s Talk Family: Let’s Be Family,” which is part of a series of assemblies organized in preparation for the world meeting of families (1), under the direction of the dicastery for the laity, family, and life, which will be held in Dublin from August 21 to 28, 2018.

After reading the reporting on the event offered by the main specialized media outlets (2), I cannot help but note that when it comes to the “dubia” submitted to the pope by four cardinals, everyone is answering them except for him; and that in this way to the chaotic chorus of the most disparate comments and interpretations of “Amoris Laetitia” – which do anything but clarify for the faithful and confessors the problems raised by the document – there has been added a new voice, or better, a new fog.

This because the arguments offered by the archbishop of Vienna – at least according to how they have been reported by the most reliable media – are anything but convincing. Let’s take a look at the main ones. Continue Reading