Donald R. McClarey
A film produced by the Army Signal Corps for troops who would serve on occupation duty in Japan. Written by Theodore Geisel, who would later achieve immortality as Dr. Seuss, the film explains why it was necessary to occupy Japan and convert the nation to the ways of peace and Democracy.
A still worse thing may happen. Novelty may fix our attention not even on the service but on the celebrant. You know what I mean. Try as one may to exclude it, the questions ‘What on earth is he up to now?’ will intrude. It lays one’s devotion waste. There is really some excuse for the man who said, ‘I wish they’d remember that the charge to Peter was Feed my sheep; not Try experiments on my rats, or even, Teach my performing dogs new tricks.’
I like to return to the subject of bad music in the Church periodically. I think it is a symptom of the post Vatican II “identity crisis” of the human portion of the Church. We no longer know who we are, what we should do or where we are going, and our music reflects this lost, aimless attitude by endlessly playing the most banal music in the history of the Church, as if to make certain that we receive no hint of inspiration to lead us out of our spiritual morass.
What is the Catholic hymn you hate the most? (I know, I know there are so many choices!) For me it is hands down Sing a New Song by ex-Jesuit Dan Schutte, a founding member of the Saint Louis Jesuits, the group responsible for writing more truly wretched music than any other organization in the history of Man. A miserable piece of doggerel that has been played to death at Masses since it fell from Schutte’s pen in 1972. Ah the seventies! One more crime for that kidney stone of a decade!
Why is Catholic music at Mass so bad when we have such a magnificent musical heritage?
If the Pope, remiss in his duties and neglectful of his and his neighbor’s salvation, gets caught up in idle business, and if moreover, by his silence (which actually does more harm to himself and everyone else), he nonetheless leads innumerable hoards of people away from the good with him, he will be beaten for eternity with many blows alongside that very first slave of hell [the Devil]. However, no person can presume to convict him of any transgressions in this matter, because, although the Pope can judge everyone else, no one may judge him, unless he, for whose perpetual stability all the faithful pray as earnestly as they call to mind the fact that, after God, their own salvation depends on his soundness, is found to have strayed from the faith.
Gratian, (Decretum, Part 1, Distinction 40, Chapter 6)
Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa explains how revolutionary the Pope’s changes in regard to the annulment process are:
ROME, September 15, 2015 – As the days go by it becomes ever clearer how revolutionary is the scope of the two motu prorio published by Pope Francis on September 8 – the second for the Eastern Rite Catholic Churches – on the reform of procedures for marital nullity cases:
It is the pope himself, in the opening of the document, who presents the reason for the reform:
“The enormous number of faithful who, despite wanting to look after their conscience, too often are turned aside by the juridical structures of the Church.”
In the official presentation of the motu proprio the president of the commission that elaborated the reform, Monsignor Pio Vito Pinto, dean of the Roman Rota, turned the reason into an objective:
“To move from the restricted number of a few thousand findings of nullity to the enormous number of unfortunates who could have a declaration of nullity but are left out by the existing system.”
Francis has been absolutely convinced for some time that at least half of the marriages celebrated in church all over the world are invalid. He said so in the press conference on July 28, 2013 on the return flight from Rio de Janeiro. He said it again to Cardinal Walter Kasper, as Kasper in turn said in an interview with “Commonweal” of May 7, 2014.
And therefore these faithful unheeded in their anticipation of having the nullity of their marriages recognized are also part, in the vision of Francis as presented by Pinto, of those “poor” who are at the center of his pontificate. Millions and millions of “unfortunates” waiting for the assistance that is due them.
The procedural reform backed by Jorge Mario Bergoglio aims precisely at this: to allow these endless crowds easy, fast, and free access to the recognition of the nullity of their marriages. The synod of last October (see paragraph 48 of the final “Relatio”) expressed generic support for improvements in the procedures. But a good number of fathers said they were against one or another of the reforms proposed by various sides. Which however are precisely the ones now found in the motu proprio.
THE ORDINARY PROCEDURE
The reform delineates two main types of marital procedures. There is the ordinary one and the one – entirely new – called “shorter.”
In the ordinary procedure the main innovation is the abolition of the obligatory double decree of nullity. Only one is needed, as previously permitted in experimental form between 1971 and 1983 in the ecclesiastical tribunals of the United States, a concession that was revoked after the flood of nullity decrees issued by the tribunals and the bad reputation of “Catholic divorce” that was the result.
A single decree, without appeal, reduces the duration of an ordinary procedure to about one year.
Ecclesiastical tribunals, moreover, will have to be set up in every diocese of the world, no matter how small or remote, an objective from which the Catholic Church is very far today mainly because of the shortage of churchmen and laity who are experts in canon law.
But there is another more substantial innovation, presented in the new canon 1678 § 1, which will replace the corresponding canon 1536 § 2 of the existing code of canon law.
While in the canon being scrapped “the force of full proof cannot be attributed” to the statements of the parties, unless “other elements are present which thoroughly corroborate them,” in the new canon “the statements of the parties can have the force of full proof,” to be considered as such by the judge “if there are no other elements to refute them.”
One discovers in this an exaltation of the subjectivity of the party bringing the case that matches up neatly with the official presentations of the two motu proprio by Monsignor Pinto and the secretary of the commission he heads, Monsignor Alejandro W. Bunge, with regard to the “principle motivation” that in their judgment drives many Catholics – in the future a “mass” – to apply to their marriage tribunals:
“Nullity is requested for reasons of conscience, for example to live the sacraments of the Church or to perfect a new stable and happy bond, unlike the first one.”
It is therefore easy to foresee that the longstanding controversy over communion for the divorced and remarried will fizzle out amid the facts, replaced by unlimited and practically unfailing recourse to the certification of nullity of the first marriage.
THE “SHORTER” PROCEDURE
The biggest innovation of the reform backed by Francis is however the procedure called “shorter.”
Very short, actually. According to the new canons it can begin and end in the span of just 45 days, with the local bishop as the sole and ultimate judge.
Recourse to the abbreviated procedure is allowed “in cases in which the alleged nullity of the marriage is supported by particularly evident arguments.”
But there’s more. Recourse to this kind of procedure is not only allowed but encouraged, seeing the superabundant illustration of supporting circumstances furnished by article 14 § 1 of the “Procedural rules” attached to the motu proprio.
The article says:
“Among the circumstances that can allow the handling of the marital nullity case by means of the shorter procedure […] there are for example:
– that lack of faith which can generate the simulation of consent or the error that determines the will,
– the brevity of conjugal cohabitation,
– abortion procured to prevent procreation,
– stubborn persistence in an extramarital relationship at the time of the wedding or immediately afterward,
– the malicious concealment of sterility or of a grave contagious disease, or of children born from a previous relationship, or of incarceration;
– the grounds of the marriage being entirely extraneous to conjugal life or consistent with the unexpected pregnancy of the woman,
– physical violence inflicted to extort consent,
– lack of the use of reason corroborated by medical documents, etc.”
The list is stunning in its disjointed variety. It includes circumstances, like physical violence inflicted to extort consent, that are actual grounds for the nullity of a marriage. But it includes others, like the brevity of conjugal cohabitation, that cannot in any way support a decree of invalidity. And it includes yet another, the lack of faith, that although difficult to evaluate is ever more frequently evoked as the new universal master key for nullity. And yet these circumstances are all listed on an equal footing, together with a final “etc.” that induces one to add other examples at will.
But in addition to being heterogeneous, the list appears to be misleading. In and of itself it lists circumstances that would simply allow one to access the “shorter” procedure. But it is very easy to interpret it as a list of cases that allow one to obtain the recognition of nullity. Many couples have experienced one of the circumstances illustrated – for example, pregnancy before the wedding – and it is therefore natural that the conviction should arise in them that, upon request, their marriage can be dissolved, seeing also the pressure that the Church exercises in suggesting – precisely in the presence of those circumstances – recourse to the procedure of nullity, and moreover to the quick one.
The Civil War was fought in 10,000 places, from Valverde, New Mexico, and Tullahoma, Tennessee, to St. Albans, Vermont, and Fernandina on the Florida coast. More than 3 million Americans fought in it, and over 600,000 men, 2 percent of the population, died in it.
American homes became headquarters, American churches and schoolhouses sheltered the dying, and huge foraging armies swept across American farms and burned American towns. Americans slaughtered one another wholesale, right here in America in their own cornfields and peach orchards, along familiar roads and by waters with old American names.
In two days at Shiloh, on the banks of the Tennessee River, more American men fell than in all the previous American wars combined. At Cold Harbor, some 7,000 Americans fell in twenty minutes. Men who had never strayed twenty miles from their own front doors now found themselves soldiers in great armies, fighting epic battles hundreds of miles from home. They knew they were making history, and it was the greatest adventure of their lives.
The Civil War has been given many names: the War Between the States, the War Against Northern Aggression, the Second American Revolution, the Lost Cause, the War of the Rebellion, the Brothers’ War, the Late Unpleasantness. Walt Whitman called it the War of Attempted Secession. Confederate General Joseph Johnston called it the War Against the States. By whatever name, it was unquestionably the most important event in the life of the nation. It saw the end of slavery and the downfall of a southern planter aristocracy. It was the watershed of a new political and economic order, and the beginning of big industry, big business, big government. It was the first modern war and, for Americans, the costliest, yielding the most American fatalities and the greatest domestic suffering, spiritually and physically. It was the most horrible, necessary, intimate, acrimonious, mean-spirited, and heroic conflict the nation has ever known.
Inevitably, we grasp the war through such hyperbole. In so doing, we tend to blur the fact that real people lived through it and were changed by the event. One hundred eighty-five thousand black Americans fought to free their people. Fishermen and storekeepers from Deer Isle, Maine, served bravely and died miserably in strange places like Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Fredericksburg, Virginia. There was scarcely a family in the South that did not lose a son or brother or father.
As with any civil strife, the war was marked by excruciating ironies. Robert E. Lee became a legend in the Confederate army only after turning down an offer to command the entire Union force. Four of Lincoln’s own brothers-in-law fought on the Confederate side, and one was killed. The little town of Winchester, Virginia, changed hands seventy-two times during the war, and the state of Missouri sent thirty-nine regiments to fight in the siege of Vicksburg: seventeen to the Confederacy and twenty-two to the Union.
Between 1861 and 1865, Americans made war on each other and killed each other in great numbers — if only to become the kind of country that could no longer conceive of how that was possible. What began as a bitter dispute over Union and States’ Rights, ended as a struggle over the meaning of freedom in America. At Gettysburg in 1863, Abraham Lincoln said perhaps more than he knew. The war was about a “new birth of freedom.”
Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa discusses how the Pope views Cuba and the United States, the two countries that he is about to visit:
ROME, September 11, 2015 – The United States and Cuba, or the devil and holy water. The journey that Pope Francis has scheduled from September 19 to 27 will take him to the two opposite poles of his geopolitical vision: to the temple of the “economy that kills” and just beforehand to the outpost of the peoples on the path of redemption.
In the island of the Caribbean and in the “Alianza Bolivariana” already established between Cuba and the populist regimes of Nicaragua, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Bolivia, the Argentine Jorge Mario Bergoglio in fact sees a preview of the “Great Homeland” that he longs for so much, the springtime of an integration of the Latin American continent in a Catholic and anti-capitalist vein.
He has already visited two of these countries, Ecuador and Bolivia, and will soon arrive in the third, Cuba. And he has always treated their rulers with great regard and even with cordiality, including when they have presented the greatest trials.
Against the totalitarian trend in the Venezuela of Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro he has never expended a single word, nor has he ever responded to the appeals of a population reduced to hunger. He has promoted the unworthy Bolivian president Evo Morales to de facto leader of those antagonistic “popular movements” that are for him, the pope, the future of the redeemed humanity. As for Cuba, here too what is startling about Francis is his silence.
Of course, once he has landed in Havana Francis will speak. But in skimming the program of the visit, it is striking how scanty it is. In other countries the pope has never failed to enter a prison or to meet with refugees and the homeless. In the United States it is already known where and when he will do this. But not in Cuba.
In Lampedusa he threw flowers into the ocean and cried out, “Shame!” but it is unlikely that he will do so from the Malecón in Havana, in front of the ocean strait that has swallowed up thousands of Cubans fleeing toward the coasts of Florida.
In a prison it would be difficult for him to encounter any of the hundreds of political detainees.
The Damas de Blanco, wives and mothers of dissidents in prison, who go to Mass every Sunday dressed in white and brave the insults and violence of the police, would have a hard time finding a place in the front row of the pope’s Masses.
As for the dissidents living in surveilled and intermittent freedom, many of them Catholic, the only hope is that the pope may be able to meet with one of them away from the spotlight and outside of the official program, as the regime benignly allowed American secretary of state John Kerry to do on the day of the inauguration of the restored United States embassy in Cuba.
There is a great deal of Realpolitik in the silence maintained by Pope Francis so far on the lack of freedom for the Cuban people. Vatican secretary of state Pietro Parolin and his substitute Angelo Becciu were raised in the school of Cardinal Agostino Casaroli, a great diplomat at the time of the Soviet empire, and were nuncios in Venezuela and Cuba respectively. They know the country profiles, and Francis seems to adhere diligently to their instructions.
What the pope adds of his own is his personal, confidential approach, almost as a confessor, with the despots he encounters. He has succeeded in touching the notoriously stony heart of Raül Castro, leading him to express, after a private conversation at the Vatican, intentions of returning to the practice of the Catholic religion. Fidel can be counted on for an encore. The wager is that during his three days on the island Francis may come up with something else unplanned, capable of giving a minimum of substance to the cry “Libertad” already raised in vain by the Cuban crowds during the visits of the two previous popes.
In the United States it will be a completely different tune. Continue reading
The task confronting MacArthur seventy years ago in Japan was absolutely staggering. As Supreme Commander Allied Powers, he found himself in charge of a devastated Japan. Most of its major cities were collections of rubble. The Japanese rail system was in shambles from Allied bombing. Most of the Japanese merchant fleet was now sailing the bottom of the Pacific. An immense famine was manifestly waiting in the wings. The Japanese shattered medical system was unable to cope with rampant disease. Finally, the Japanese economy was at a virtual standstill, awaiting the repatriation of millions of Japanese troops stationed overseas to add to the ranks of the unemployed. To top this off, MacArthur also had to fend off loud demands from politicians and ordinary American citizens that Japan be punished, anger at the unprovoked war still being raw in the United States. MacArthur, ever sensitive to public opinion, on September 14, 1945 released a statement to give some inkling to his fellow countrymen of the situation in Japan:
STATEMENT BY GENERAL MACARTHUR ON THE OCCUPATION OF JAPAN
September 14, 1945
New York Times.
I have noticed some impatience in the press, based upon the assumption of a so-called soft policy in Japan. This can only arise from an erroneous concept of what is occurring.
The first phase of the occupation must of necessity be based on military considerations which involved the deployment forward of our troops and the disarming and demobilization of the enemy. This is coupled with the paramount consideration of withdrawing our former prisoners of war and war internees from internment camps and evacuating them to their homes.
Safety and security require that all of the steps shall proceed with precision and completeness, lest calamity may be precipitated.
The military phase is proceeding in an entirely satisfactory way.
Over half of the enemy’s force in Japan proper is now demobilized and the entire program will be practically complete by the middle of October. During this interval of time, safety and complete security must be assured.
When the first phase is completed, other phases as provided in the surrender terms will infallibly follow. No one need have any doubt about the prompt, complete, entire fulfillment of the terms of surrender. The process, however, takes time. It is well understandable that in the face of atrocities committed by the enemy there should be impatience. This natural impulse, however, should be tempered by the fact that security and military expediency still require an exercise of some restraint. The surrender terms aren’t soft and they won’t be applied in kid-glove fashion.
Economically and industrially as well as militarily, Japan is completely exhausted and depleted. She is in a condition of utter collapse. Her governmental structure is controlled completely by occupation forces and is operating only to the extent necessary to insure such an orderly and controlled procedure as will prevent social chaos, disease and starvation. Continue reading
Well, this is an interesting story by Edward Pentin at The National Catholic Register:
Reports have emerged that a seven-page dossier, obtained by the German newspaper Die Zeit, is circulating around the curia in which senior Vatican officials have voiced discontent with the recent change in Church law on annulments, and an absence of consultation over the matter.
On Tuesday, the Pope made sweeping reforms to make the process of obtaining a declaration of nullity simpler, quicker and cheaper.
According to Die Zeit, the officials juridically “picked apart” the Pope’s motu proprio (papal decree) on annulment reform, accuse the Holy Father of giving up an important dogma, and assert that he has introduced de facto “Catholic divorce”.
Further concerns mentioned in the document are that, despite the gravity of the issue, no dicasteries, including apparently the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith as well as bishops conferences, were consulted about the decision — a claim the Register has had confirmed by numerous sources. The dossier says usual legislative channels have been “undermined” as “none of the planned steps of a legislative procedure have been followed.”
Critics say this goes against the Pope’s calls for synodality and collegiality, and resembles an ecclesialized “Führerprinzip”, ruling from the top down, by decree and without any consultation or any checks.
Instead, the papal commission that drafted the motu proprio had been ordered to keep silent throughout the drafting process, probably to avoid the reforms being thwarted by the CDF and others in the curia. But the report also alleges that even the commission did not see the final draft, and that an Italian cardinal along with two others “fiercely” tried to prevent the motu proprio being published before the synod but without success.
The Register has learned via other sources that this decision and others are effectively isolating the CDF and that the Pope is steadily making their work superfluous. Continue reading
Therefore, we who occupy Peter’s throne and possess power equal to his, not by our own merits but because of almighty God’s inscrutable wisdom, steadfastly desire that the Christian people embrace that faith proclaimed by Christ our Lord through his apostles in a continuous and uninterrupted tradition; the faith which he promised will endure to the end of the world.
Pope Innocent XI
Pope Innocent XI, Pope from 1676-1689, was one of the greatest men ever to stand in the shoes of the fisherman. Here are some of his accomplishments:
1. Successfully organized a crusade which ended in the decisive defeat of the Turks at Vienna on September 12, 1683.
2. Instituted the feast of the Holy Name of Mary in commemoration of the victory at Vienna.
3. Inheriting an insolvent treasury, he lowered taxes in the Papal States and produced a budget surplus through his frugality.
4. He battled Louis XIV of France, disapproved the Gallican Liberties which sought to turn the Church in France into an arm of the State and condemned Louis’ persecution of the Huegenots.
5. In his bull Sanctissimus Dominus he stated that the unborn do have souls and condemned all abortions as homicides. Continue reading
From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net , Eye of the Tiber:
The service will give Annulment Prime members faster annulment options at a fraction of the cost. As an introductory offer, members who sign up to Annulment Prime in the next two days will receive a 30-day free trial. Members will also have access to annulment paperwork order-tracking, as well as the option to track the priest working on his or her case in real-time.
Something for the weekend. A video clip on the charge of the winged Polish hussars on September 12, 1683, 332 years ago, that broke the back of the Turkish army besieging Vienna. John Sobieski, the Polish King, fifty-four years old, had been fighting the Turks since his youth. College educated at a time when that was rare, he had spent two years traveling in Western Europe. Multi-lingual, in addition to his native Polish he could also speak Latin, German, Italian, French, Tatar and Turkish. A scholar as well as a fighting man, he made a careful study of Turkish military methods. His skill on the battlefield and in diplomacy led to him being crowned King of Poland in 1676.
In 1683 he gained immortality in History by literally riding to the rescue of Vienna with his Polish army. A letter he wrote to his wife in the tent of the defeated Turkish general details what happened: Continue reading
WHEN WILL WE GET BACK TO NORMAL? A colleague asked me that today. “This is normal,” I replied. For most of human history, wondering when somebody from another tribe was going to try to kill you was the standard activity. In much of the world, it still is. Three million people have died in the Congo in the past couple of years. Before that, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, the Middle East, Cambodia, — you get the idea. It’s only in comparatively strong and wealthy Western nations that we can pretend that safety is normal. It really isn’t all that normal for us, either. In the past hundred years we’ve had two world wars and a bunch of others. In the 19th Century we had the Civil War, the War of 1812 (in which most of DC was burned), etc., etc.
Posted by Glenn Reynolds, Instapundit, on September 11, 2001
Queen Elizabeth after 9-11, breaking with royal protocol, ordered the playing of The Star Spangled Banner at Buckingham Palace:
At first, the anthem, played by the band of the Coldstream Guards, was heard in a hushed silence and then slowly, one by one, many started singing until the words of The Star Spangled Banner echoed across Green Park.
As the final notes of the anthem faded away, the musical tribute from the British armed forces, so warmly welcomed by those present, was greeted by a round of applause before a two-minute silence was observed.
Standing rigidly to attention in the palace courtyard in front of the troops from the Coldstream Guards and the 1st Bn, the Devonshire and Dorset Regiment, the Duke of York, representing the Queen, took the formal salute.
When they got up that morning fourteen years ago the very last thing that the 33 passengers and the seven crew of United Flight 93 expected was to be engaged in a life and death struggle to retake an airliner that was headed to Washington DC as a terrorist missile. All they expected the day to bring was a hum drum flight from Newark to San Francisco. Just ordinary people living their lives. Their occupations included pilot, first officer, flight attendant, an environmental lawyer, the owner of a public relations firm, university students, a senior vice president of a medical development company, a sales representative for Good Housekeeping magazine, a manager of a US Wildlife animal refuge, an arborist, an account manager for a corporation, an ironworker, retirees, a computer programmer, a computer engineer, a lobbyist for the disabled, a real estate agent, an executive vice president of a corporation and a free lance medical writer. They were wives, husbands, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters, all with unique histories and lives, with little in common except that they happened to be on board Flight 93 when the world changed.
The plane took off at 8:42 AM Eastern Time. Four terrorists had boarded amidst the other 33 passengers. The terrorists began to hijack the plane at 9:28 AM, soon after both the hijacked airliners had struck the Twin Towers in New York City, and just brief minutes before a fourth airliner was hijacked in Washington and slammed into the Pentagon. At 9:28:17 AM a member of the cockpit crew shouted “Mayday! Mayday!” over the radio, with sounds of violence in the background. 35 seconds later someone in the cockpit shouted over the radio, “Mayday! Get out of here! Get out of here!”
By 9:31 AM the terrorists were in control of the cockpit. They informed the passengers that they were in control of the plane and falsely told them they had a bomb. Now began the final 30 minutes of Flight 93.
Passengers and crew during these final 30 minutes made 35 airphone calls and two cell phone calls. They quickly learned of the other hijacked planes that had been flown into the Twin Towers.
Passenger Jeremy Glick managed to reach his wife. He told her that the passengers voted whether to try to take back the plane and decided that they were going to attempt it. He retained his sense of humor telling his wife that he still had his butter knife from the meal that had been served on board the plane. Before he and the other passengers attacked the hijackers he wished her and their daughter a happy life, a clear indication that he did not expect to survive the effort to retake the plane.
Flight Attendant Sandra Bradshaw called her husband and told him that she was boiling water to throw on the hijackers.
Passenger Thomas Burnett, Jr. called his wife and she told him about the other planes that had hit the Twin Towers. He called her back after their first conversation and told her: “We’re going to take back the plane. We can’t wait for the authorities. I don’t know what they could do anyway. It’s up to us. I think we can do it.”
“What do you want me to do?” Deena, his wife, asked him.
“Pray, Deena,” he said “Just pray.”
He ended the phone call by telling his wife: “I know we’re all going to die – there’s three of us who are going to do something about it. I love you honey.”
Burnett was a devout Catholic. He began attending daily mass in 1998. When his wife asked him why he was doing this he told her: ‘I feel like God is calling me to do something, and I don’t know what it is. But I know it’s going to have a great impact on a lot of people.’ He said, ‘The reason I’ve been going to daily Mass is because I feel like if I can be closer to God, then I’ll know what his plan is for me.'” Continue reading
Day of wrath, day that
will dissolve the world into burning coals,
as David bore witness with the Sibyl.
How great a tremor is to be,
when the judge is to come
briskly shattering every (grave).
A trumpet sounding an astonishing sound
through the tombs of the region
drives all (men) before the throne.
Death will be stunned and (so) will Nature,
when arises (man) the creature
responding to the One judging. Continue reading