4

Cthulhu Trumped

 

 

News that I missed courtesy of The Babylon Bee:

 

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Cthulhu the Great Dreamer has released a new tell-all book detailing his time working closely with President Donald Trump for several months in 2017.

The One who sleeps at R’lyeh briefly served as a consultant on the Trump administration late last year, but quickly left after he found himself unable to stomach the president’s platform, morals, and values.

The book contains many juicy details and behind-the-scenes glimpses of the seedy underbelly of the Trump administration, from occult rituals designed to awake the Great Old Ones from their slumber to portals leading to dimensions lost in time and space ripping open throughout the White House.

“I figured it was time for everyone to know exactly what goes on behind closed doors in the Trump White House,” the Ancient One said in a press conference, taking a sip of human souls from a mug. “I deeply regret supporting President Trump, and this is my little way of giving back to you worthless creatures, you insignificant specks floating in the nameless blights of outer voids where faint demon scratchings you sometimes hear on the farthest rim of space, yet from which your own finite vision has given you a merciful immunity.”

 

Go here to read the rest.  I suspect that Cthulhu is still fuming for not being considered for a slot on The Apprentice. I have been unable to confirm that Cthulhu and Omarosa are scheduled for a joint appearance on The View.  I doubt it, since Cthulhu carries a grudge from Omarosa passing him in a White House corridor and muttering “Amateur!”

 

 

13

PopeWatch: No Comment

Business as usual at the Vatican:

 

The Vatican has declined to respond to an explosive grand jury report detailing decades of sexual abuse and cover-ups by priests and bishops in Pennsylvania, refusing even to say whether church officials in Rome have read the damaging documents.

“We have no comment at this time,” Paloma Ovejero, deputy director of the Vatican’s press office, said Wednesday.
But in the United States and elsewhere, pressure is mounting on Pope Francis to address a rapidly escalating crisis that has spread across several continents, from Australia to Latin America.
In the United States, both liberal and conservative Catholics displayed a rare unity in pressing the Pope to respond to the Pennsylvania grand jury report.
“The silence from the Vatican is disturbing,” said Massimo Faggioli, a theology professor at Villanova University in Pennsylvania. “I don’t think the Pope necessarily has to say something today. He needs time to understand the situation. But someone from the Vatican should say something.”
Faggioli noted that Wednesday is a national holiday in Italy, and many church offices are closed. But he also noted that it was well-known that Pennsylvania’s grand jury report, which was in the works since 2016, would be released on Tuesday.
“I don’t think they understand in Rome that this is not just a continuation of the sexual abuse crisis in the United States,” Faggioli said. “This is a whole different chapter. There should be people in Rome telling the Pope this information, but they are not, and that is one of the biggest problems in this pontificate — and it’s getting worse.”
Go here to read the rest.  This is one problem that long predates Pope Francis.  However, he has given no evidence of understanding how destructive of Catholic faith this all is.  Instead, he has frequently appointed to high positions within the Church men who have almost certainly engaged in sexual abuse themselves or covered the sexual abuse of others.  When it comes to the abuse crisis, Pope Francis is part of the problem and not any part of the solution.
7

Miracle of the Vistula

A nice video of the Battle of Warsaw in 1920 where the Poles scored an upset victory against the invading Soviet Red Army, securing Polish independence and giving the nascent Communist movement its first serious defeat.  Poland has helped save Western civilization several times, but on few occasions have the odds been bleaker than  98 years ago.  All the Poles had to rely on was God, themselves and their traditional laughing courage, but they were enough to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

The Poles won the three day battle of Warsaw on August 15, 1920, the Feast of the Assumption.  I doubt it was a coincidence.

3

Satan’s Minions Never Sleep

News that I missed, courtesy of The Babylon Bee:

 

INTERNET—Sources confirmed Friday morning that Satan’s armies are still heavily focused on infiltrating and maintaining control of website comments sections across the internet, a tactical onslaught they’ve been focused on for the better part of the past decade.

“Comments sections are one of the primary recruiting tools Satan’s forces use to influence people toward darkness,” demonology expert Donald Velasco noted. “This is why most healthy people cannot wade too deeply into any comments section on the internet without being overwhelmed by the presence of sheer evil, as they are bombarded with words and opinions more hateful, vile, and barbaric than any mere human could concoct.”

“During my research, I got too far down in some YouTube comments and ended up having to wash my eyeballs with paint thinner,” he added.

Go here to read the rest.  Careful in the comboxes on this post.

1

The Assumption of Mary: Development of Doctrine

The Feast of the Assumption is an excellent time to take a look at it as a development of doctrine in light of Cardinal Newman’ s test to determine whether something is a development or a corruption in regard to the doctrine of the Church:

1. Preservation of Type-

This is readily suggested by the analogy of physical growth, which is such that the parts and proportions of the developed form, however altered, correspond to those which belong to its rudiments. The adult animal has the {172} same make, as it had on its birth; young birds do not grow into fishes, nor does the child degenerate into the brute, wild or domestic, of which he is by inheritance lord. Vincentius of Lerins adopts this illustration in distinct reference to Christian doctrine. “Let the soul’s religion,” he says, “imitate the law of the body, which, as years go on, developes indeed and opens out its due proportions, and yet remains identically what it was.

In his encyclical which defined the dogma MUNIFICENTISSIMUS DEUS, go here to read it, Pope Pius XII was at pains to show that this dogma logically developed in the life of the Church over the centuries.  Pius pointed out that belief in the physical assumption of Mary into Heaven was no novelty:

In the liturgical books which deal with the feast either of the dormition or of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin there are expressions that agree in testifying that, when the Virgin Mother of God passed from this earthly exile to heaven, what happened to her sacred body was, by the decree of divine Providence, in keeping with the dignity of the Mother of the Word Incarnate, and with the other privileges she had been accorded. Thus, to cite an illustrious example, this is set forth in that sacramentary which Adrian I, our predecessor of immortal memory, sent to the Emperor Charlemagne. These words are found in this volume: “Venerable to us, O Lord, is the festivity of this day on which the holy Mother of God suffered temporal death, but still could not be kept down by the bonds of death, who has begotten your Son our Lord incarnate from herself.”

Thus defining this dogma was a filling out of what had historically come before.

2.  Continuity of Principles-

As in mathematical creations figures are formed on distinct formulæ, which are the laws under which they are developed, so it is in ethical and political subjects. Doctrines expand variously according to the mind, individual or social, into which they are received; and the peculiarities of the recipient are the regulating power, the law, the organization, or, as it may be called, the form of the development. The life of doctrines may be said to consist in the law or principle which they embody.

Principles are abstract and general, doctrines relate to facts; doctrines develope, and principles at first sight do not; doctrines grow and are enlarged, principles are permanent; doctrines are intellectual, and principles are more immediately ethical and practical. Systems live in principles and represent doctrines. Personal responsibility is a principle, the Being of a God is a doctrine; from that doctrine all theology has come in due course, whereas that {179} principle is not clearer under the Gospel than in paradise, and depends, not on belief in an Almighty Governor, but on conscience.

Pope Pius quoted Saint John Damascene:  Thus St. John Damascene, an outstanding herald of this traditional truth, spoke out with powerful eloquence when he compared the bodily Assumption of the loving Mother of God with her other prerogatives and privileges. “It was fitting that she, who had kept her virginity intact in childbirth, should keep her own body free from all corruption even after death. It was fitting that she, who had carried the Creator as a child at her breast, should dwell in the divine tabernacles. It was fitting that the spouse, whom the Father had taken to himself, should live in the divine mansions. It was fitting that she, who had seen her Son upon the cross and who had thereby received into her heart the sword of sorrow which she had escaped in the act of giving birth to him, should look upon him as he sits with the Father. It was fitting that God’s Mother should possess what belongs to her Son, and that she should be honored by every creature as the Mother and as the handmaid of God.”(17)

The Church had long venerated the unique role that Mary was chosen to play in God’s plan of salvation.  That Mary did not taste of mortal death was a logical drawing out of the principle of that role and the gifts that God gave her for that role.

3.  Power of Assimilation-

In the physical world, whatever has life is characterized by growth, so that in no respect to grow is to cease to live. It grows by taking into its own substance external materials; and this absorption or assimilation is completed when the materials appropriated come to belong to it or enter into its unity. Two things cannot become one, except there be a power of assimilation in one or the other. Sometimes assimilation is effected only with an effort; it {186} is possible to die of repletion, and there are animals who lie torpid for a time under the contest between the foreign substance and the assimilating power. And different food is proper for different recipients.

This analogy may be taken to illustrate certain peculiarities in the growth or development in ideas, which were noticed in the first Chapter. It is otherwise with mathematical and other abstract creations, which, like the soul itself, are solitary and self-dependent; but doctrines and views which relate to man are not placed in a void, but in the crowded world, and make way for themselves by interpenetration, and develope by absorption. Facts and opinions, which have hitherto been regarded in other relations and grouped round other centres, henceforth are gradually attracted to a new influence and subjected to a new sovereign. They are modified, laid down afresh, thrust aside, as the case may be. A new element of order and composition has come among them; and its life is proved by this capacity of expansion, without disarrangement or dissolution. An eclectic, conservative, assimilating, healing, moulding process, a unitive power, is of the essence, and a third test, of a faithful development.

Pius XII demonstrated how the belief in the Assumption over the centuries was aided and strengthened by developments within the Church, for example Scholastic Theology:

 

4. Among the scholastic theologians there have not been lacking those who, wishing to inquire more profoundly into divinely revealed truths and desirous of showing the harmony that exists between what is termed the theological demonstration and the Catholic faith, have always considered it worthy of note that this privilege of the Virgin Mary’s Assumption is in wonderful accord with those divine truths given us in Holy Scripture.

25. When they go on to explain this point, they adduce various proofs to throw light on this privilege of Mary. As the first element of these demonstrations, they insist upon the fact that, out of filial love for his mother, Jesus Christ has willed that she be assumed into heaven. They base the strength of their proofs on the incomparable dignity of her divine motherhood and of all those prerogatives which follow from it. These include her exalted holiness, entirely surpassing the sanctity of all men and of the angels, the intimate union of Mary with her Son, and the affection of preeminent love which the Son has for his most worthy Mother.

26. Often there are theologians and preachers who, following in the footsteps of the holy Fathers,(20) have been rather free in their use of events and expressions taken from Sacred Scripture to explain their belief in the Assumption. Thus, to mention only a few of the texts rather frequently cited in this fashion, some have employed the words of the psalmist: “Arise, O Lord, into your resting place: you and the ark, which you have sanctified”(21); and have looked upon the Ark of the Covenant, built of incorruptible wood and placed in the Lord’s temple, as a type of the most pure body of the Virgin Mary, preserved and exempt from all the corruption of the tomb and raised up to such glory in heaven. Treating of this subject, they also describe her as the Queen entering triumphantly into the royal halls of heaven and sitting at the right hand of the divine Redeemer.(22) Likewise they mention the Spouse of the Canticles “that goes up by the desert, as a pillar of smoke of aromatical spices, of myrrh and frankincense” to be crowned.(23) These are proposed as depicting that heavenly Queen and heavenly Spouse who has been lifted up to the courts of heaven with the divine Bridegroom.

27. Moreover, the scholastic Doctors have recognized the Assumption of the Virgin Mother of God as something signified, not only in various figures of the Old Testament, but also in that woman clothed with the sun whom John the Apostle contemplated on the Island of Patmos.(24) Similarly they have given special attention to these words of the New Testament: “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you, blessed are you among women,”(25) since they saw, in the mystery of the Assumption, the fulfillment of that most perfect grace granted to the Blessed Virgin and the special blessing that countered the curse of Eve.

28. Thus, during the earliest period of scholastic theology, that most pious man, Amadeus, Bishop of Lausarme, held that the Virgin Mary’s flesh had remained incorrupt-for it is wrong to believe that her body has seen corruption-because it was really united again to her soul and, together with it, crowned with great glory in the heavenly courts. “For she was full of grace and blessed among women. She alone merited to conceive the true God of true God, whom as a virgin, she brought forth, to whom as a virgin she gave milk, fondling him in her lap, and in all things she waited upon him with loving care.”(26)

In the development of a doctrine the kernel of an idea usually exists from very early in the history of the Church, and the idea takes strength from subsequent developments in the life of the Church.

4.  Logical Sequence-

Logic is the organization of thought, and, as being such, is a security for the faithfulness of intellectual developments; and the necessity of using it is undeniable as far as this, that its rules must not be transgressed. That it is not brought into exercise in every instance of doctrinal development is owing to the varieties of mental constitution, whether in communities or in individuals, with whom great truths or seeming truths are lodged. The question indeed may be asked whether a development can be other in any case than a logical operation; but, if by this is meant a conscious reasoning from premisses to conclusion, of course the answer must be in the negative. {190} An idea under one or other of its aspects grows in the mind by remaining there; it becomes familiar and distinct, and is viewed in its relations; it leads to other aspects, and these again to others, subtle, recondite, original, according to the character, intellectual and moral, of the recipient; and thus a body of thought is gradually formed without his recognizing what is going on within him. And all this while, or at least from time to time, external circumstances elicit into formal statement the thoughts which are coming into being in the depths of his mind; and soon he has to begin to defend them; and then again a further process must take place, of analyzing his statements and ascertaining their dependence one on another. And thus he is led to regard as consequences, and to trace to principles, what hitherto he has discerned by a moral perception and adopted on sympathy; and logic is brought in to arrange and inculcate what no science was employed in gaining.

And so in the same way, such intellectual processes, as are carried on silently and spontaneously in the mind of a party or school, of necessity come to light at a later date, and are recognized, and their issues are scientifically arranged. And then logic has the further function of propagation; analogy, the nature of the case, antecedent probability, application of principles, congruity, expedience, being some of the methods of proof by which the development is continued from mind to mind and established in the faith of the community.

Pius XII, in this most historical of Encyclicals, was at pains to show how the dogma of the Assumption developed down through the long centuries:

 

13. Various testimonies, indications and signs of this common belief of the Church are evident from remote times down through the course of the centuries; and this same belief becomes more clearly manifest from day to day.

In the recitation of the Pope we see how the dogma advanced from simple belief  as its implications were thought about and written about by some of the greatest luminaries of the Church.  This was no flash in the pan development but rather the fruit of many centuries of thought.

5.  Anticipation of its Future-

Since, when an idea is living, that is, influential and effective, it is sure to develope according to its own nature, and the tendencies, which are carried out on the long run, may under favourable circumstances show themselves early as well as late, and logic is the same in all ages, instances of a development which is to come, though vague and isolated, may occur from the very first, though a lapse of time be necessary to bring them to perfection. And since developments are in great measure only aspects of the idea from which they proceed, and all of them are natural consequences of it, it is often a matter of accident in what {196} order they are carried out in individual minds; and it is in no wise strange that here and there definite specimens of advanced teaching should very early occur, which in the historical course are not found till a late day. The fact, then, of such early or recurring intimations of tendencies which afterwards are fully realized, is a sort of evidence that those later and more systematic fulfilments are only in accordance with the original idea.

2.

Nothing is more common, for instance, than accounts or legends of the anticipations, which great men have given in boyhood of the bent of their minds, as afterwards displayed in their history; so much so that the popular expectation has sometimes led to the invention of them. The child Cyrus mimics a despot’s power, and St. Athanasius is elected Bishop by his playfellows.

It is noticeable that in the eleventh century, when the Russians were but pirates upon the Black Sea, Constantinople was their aim; and that a prophesy was in circulation in that city that they should one day gain possession of it.

Pius noted that from ancient times a Feast of the Assumption was celebrated in the Church, both East and West:

16. This belief of the sacred pastors and of Christ’s faithful is universally manifested still more splendidly by the fact that, since ancient times, there have been both in the East and in the West solemn liturgical offices commemorating this privilege. The holy Fathers and Doctors of the Church have never failed to draw enlightenment from this fact since, as everyone knows, the sacred liturgy, “because it is the profession, subject to the supreme teaching authority within the Church, of heavenly truths, can supply proofs and testimonies of no small value for deciding a particular point of Christian doctrine.”(10)

6.  Conservative Action Upon Its Past-

As developments which are preceded by definite indications have a fair presumption in their favour, so those which do but contradict and reverse the course of doctrine which has been developed before them, and out of which they spring, are certainly corrupt; for a corruption is a development in that very stage in which it ceases to illustrate, and begins to disturb, the acquisitions gained in its previous history.

It is the rule of creation, or rather of the phenomena which it presents, that life passes on to its termination by a gradual, imperceptible course of change. There is ever a maximum in earthly excellence, and the operation of the same causes which made things great makes them small again. Weakness is but the resulting product of power. Events move in cycles; all things come round, “the sun ariseth and goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.” Flowers first bloom, and then fade; fruit ripens and decays. The fermenting process, unless stopped at the due point, corrupts the liquor which it has created. The grace of spring, the richness of autumn are but for a moment, and worldly moralists bid us Carpe diem, for we shall have no second opportunity. Virtue seems to lie in a mean, between vice and vice; and as it grew out of imperfection, so to grow into enormity. There is a limit to human knowledge, and both sacred and {200} profane writers witness that overwisdom is folly. And in the political world states rise and fall, the instruments of their aggrandizement becoming the weapons of their destruction. And hence the frequent ethical maxims, such as, “Ne quid nimis,” “Medio tutissimus,” “Vaulting ambition,” which seem to imply that too much of what is good is evil.

So great a paradox of course cannot be maintained as that truth literally leads to falsehood, or that there can be an excess of virtue; but the appearance of things and the popular language about them will at least serve us in obtaining an additional test for the discrimination of a bonâ fide development of an idea from its corruption.

A true development, then, may be described as one which is conservative of the course of antecedent developments being really those antecedents and something besides them: it is an addition which illustrates, not obscures, corroborates, not corrects, the body of thought from which it proceeds; and this is its characteristic as contrasted with a corruption.

Pope Pius noted the long historical pedigree of the dogma of the Assumption:  Since the universal Church, within which dwells the Spirit of Truth who infallibly directs it toward an ever more perfect knowledge of the revealed truths, has expressed its own belief many times over the course of the centuries, … 

Here was no reversal or contradiction of prior Church teaching, but rather its confirmation.

7.  Chronic Vigor-

Since the corruption of an idea, as far as the appearance goes, is a sort of accident or affection of its development, being the end of a course, and a transition-state leading to a crisis, it is, as has been observed above, a brief and rapid process. While ideas live in men’s minds, they are ever enlarging into fuller development: they will not be stationary in their corruption any more than before it; and dissolution is that further state to which corruption tends. Corruption cannot, therefore, be of long standing; and thus duration is another test of a faithful development.

Pius in MUNIFICENTISSIMUS DEUS demonstrated the vigor of the idea of the Assumption that had existed since the dawn of the Church.  It was no novelty dreamed up in his own century, or his hobby horse that defied what had come before in the history of the Church.  The dogma of the Assumption is a classic example of a true development of doctrine.  I will leave to another day an example of a manifest corruption disguised as a development of doctrine.

6

PopeWatch: Disordered Attachments

 

 

Father Tom Rosica, Vatican flunky and head of the Canadian Salt and Light television network, and who was last seen threatening to sue a Conservative Catholic blogger, go here to read about it, has some interesting statements about Pope Francis, as reported by Lifesite News:

 

A Vatican consultant who leads the Canadian Catholic media organization Salt and Light Television has issued a statement publicly recognizing and defending that Pope Francis “breaks Catholic traditions whenever he wants” and that he rules by his own personal authority, rather than the authority of the Scripture and tradition of the Catholic Church.

According to Salt and Light CEO Fr. Thomas Rosica, “Pope Francis breaks Catholic traditions whenever he wants because he is ‘free from disordered attachments.’”

“Our Church has indeed entered a new phase,” writes Rosica. “With the advent of this first Jesuit pope, it is openly ruled by an individual rather than by the authority of Scripture alone or even its own dictates of tradition plus Scripture.”

According to Rosica, Pope Francis has a “commitment to a ‘conversion’ of the papacy as well as the entire church.”

“It’s hard to predict what will come next,” writes Rosica, who calls Francis “shrewd” and imbued with the trait of “holy cunning.”

“The pope’s openness, however, also a signature of his Jesuit training and development, means that not even he is sure where the spirit will lead,” writes Rosica. “He has said: ‘I don’t have all the answers. I don’t even have all the questions. I always think of new questions, and there are always new questions coming forward.’”

The surprising statements, which confirm the strongest accusations made against Pope Francis by orthodox Catholic critics, appear in a recent blog post by Fr. Rosica on the Salt and Light Television website (a PDF of the post can be found here). The article was republished by ZENIT, but ZENIT has now eliminated the two sentences on Francis breaking tradition from its version of the article. 

Rosica’s open proclamation of Francis’ rule as an “individual” apart from the authority of historic Catholic doctrine is reminiscent of H. J. A. Sire’s portrayal of Francis as “the dictator pope” in his recent book of the same name. According to Sire, a well-published Catholic author and a (now-suspended) member of the Knights of Malta, Francis rules as an aloof and “arrogant” autocrat, indifferent to Catholic doctrine. 

Rosica also indicates that he regards adherence to the Scripture and the Catholic Church’s traditional doctrines, which the Church declares as the standard by which the Catholic faith is itself known and understood, as a “disordered attachment.”

Go here to read the rest.  There is a reason why, after five centuries, Pope Francis is the first Jesuit pope.  May we never endure another Jesuit pope.

 

15

Over 300 Perps – Over 1000 Kids

 

It makes sickening reading but go here to view the grand jury report on predator priests, the bishops who shielded them and the kids who were their victims in six dioceses in Pennsylvania.  The only proper comment to this atrocity is “Jesus Wept!”

Every Catholic should be outraged by this and swear by the Holy Trinity that they will not tolerate business as usual by the hierarchy, which is all we will get unless the laity demands more repeatedly and cuts off the flow of contributions if necessary.  These men involved have betrayed Christ, and the fact that they were shielded by the natural respect that Catholics have for their clergy only makes all of this even more appalling.  Past time for the Church to clean house before the moral credibility of the Church is one with Nineveh and Tyre for centuries to come.

5

A Letter for Our Time from St. Maxmilian Kolbe

Today, 14 August, is the Memorial Day for St. Maxmilian Kolbe.   He is the patron saint of addicts, and I have a special affection for him for this and his sacrifice at Auschwitz to save a man who had a family.  (Go here to read about his life.)  In the Office of Readings for today was an excerpt from one of his letters, a letter about “indifferentism” that seems appropriate for our times.   Here’s the first part:

“The burning zeal for God’s glory that motivates you fills my heart with joy. It is sad for us to see in our own time that indifferentism in its many forms is spreading like an epidemic not only among the laity but also among religious. [emphasis added] But God is worthy of glory beyond measure, and therefore it is of absolute and supreme importance to seek that glory with all the power of our feeble resources. Since we are mere creatures we can never return to him all that is his due. The most resplendent manifestation of God’s glory is the salvation of souls, whom Christ redeemed by shedding his blood. To work for the salvation and sanctification of as many souls as possible, therefore, is the preeminent purpose of the apostolic life. Let me, then, say a few words that may show the way toward achieving God’s glory and the sanctification of many souls.”

Go here for the rest.

11

PopeWatch: Pope Canute

It is a sad day when a Jew, Dennis Prager, is more loyal to traditional Catholic teaching than the Pope:

 

Last week, the Vatican announced that Pope Francis had changed the Catholic catechism. After 2,000 years of teaching that a moral use of capital punishment for murder is consistent with Catholic teaching, the pope announced that the catechism, the church fathers and St. Thomas Aquinas, among the other great Catholic theologians, were all wrong.

And God and the Bible? They’re wrong, too.

Pope Francis, the product of Latin American liberation theology — along with many other Catholic religious and lay leaders — is remaking Catholicism in the image of leftism, just as mainstream Protestant leaders have been rendering much of mainstream Protestantism a branch of leftism, and non-Orthodox Jewish clergy and lay leaders have been rendering most non-Orthodox synagogues and lay institutions left-wing organizations.

The notion that it is immoral to execute any murderer — no matter how heinous the murder, no matter how many innocents he has murdered, no matter how incontrovertible the proof of guilt — is an expression of emotion, not of reason or natural law or Christian theology or biblical theology.

Regarding the latter, the biblical commandment to put premeditated murderers to death is unique.

First, it is fundamental to biblical morality. The injunction of putting murderers to death is the only law found in each one of the first five books of the Bible (the Torah).

Second, all other sins involving the death penalty were only applicable to Jews (and for thousands of years, Jews regarded those death penalties not as literal but as pedagogic — to teach the seriousness of various offenses in an attempt to create a moral and holy nation).

But the Bible makes it clear capital punishment for murder is applicable to all of humanity. It is the first law God gives Noah after the flood, after commanding him to be fruitful and multiply. Putting murderers to death is therefore the first moral law God gives the world. Why this draconian penalty for murder? Because the penalty is a statement about the seriousness of a crime, and the God of the Bible deems the wrongful, deliberate taking of a human life the pinnacle of injustice. Allowing all murderers to keep their own lives diminishes the evil of murder and thereby cheapens the worth of the human being. In God’s words, “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image” (Genesis 9:6).

It is precisely to preserve the unique worth of the human being that the Bible mandates putting murderers to death.

Go here to read the rest.  Perhaps the most significant feature of the current Pontificate, is the attempt of Pope Francis to force Catholicism to embrace the transient current intellectual prejudices and fads of Western elites:  from global warning to capital punishment, to mass immigration from Islamic countries and serial monogamy, Pope Francis seeks to have Catholicism dash with Holy Water the ephemeral political wish list of the chattering classes of the West.  This entire pontificate is a Syllabus of Errors writ large, with a Pope placing the timeless message of the Church in thrall to a political agenda that 50 years from now will likely be completely out of date.  It is a mistake to view the Pope as a radical.  He is instead a reactionary of the deepest hue, seeking to give victory for all time to the current wisdom of the Western elites who rub shoulders each day with their clerical counterparts.  The Pope is transforming the message of Christ from the salvation of all mankind into a crutch for the political consensus of Western elites, and a manifestly failing political consensus at that.  Pope Francis is playing King Canute, with the difference that, unlike Canute, he truly believes he can stop the tide from coming in.

11

Victory in the Cold War

Historian Andrew Roberts reminds us of our victory in the Cold War.  Today when so many idiots, especially among the young, seem eager to embrace socialism, it is good to remember the crimes committed by the Communists, the foremost advocates for socialism on the globe.  The Communists slaughtered 100 million of their fellow humans in the last century in their attempt to bring about world wide socialism.  If so many people had not died, it would be a matter of farce that a politico-enomic system with so little success, is so widely regarded among our elite universities.  It was said by the Greeks that whom the Gods would destroy they first make mad.  I rather suspect that those hell bent on destruction, God ultimately allows to have their way for a time, and in that time it is a short trek to murder and madness.

7

Ten Years of TAC: Anne de Gaulle

(The American Catholic will observe its tenth anniversary in October.  We will be reposting some classic TAC posts of the past.  This post is from October 28, 2009.)

 

 

Charles de Gaulle could be a very frustrating man.  Churchill, in reference to de Gaulle, said that the heaviest cross he had to bear during the war was the Cross of Lorraine, the symbol of the Free French forces.  Arrogant, autocratic, often completely unreasonable, de Gaulle was all of these.  However, there is no denying that he was also a great man.  Rallying the Free French forces after the Nazi conquest of France, he boldly proclaimed, “France has lost a battle, France has not lost the war.”  For more than a few Frenchmen and women, de Gaulle became the embodiment of France.  It is also hard to dispute that De Gaulle is the greatest Frenchman since Clemenceau “The Tiger”, who led France to victory in World War I.  However, de Gaulle was something more than a great man,  he was also at bottom a good man, as demonstrated by his youngest daughter Anne de Gaulle.

 

Charles and Yvonne de Gaulle were both devout Catholics, so when their youngest daughter Anne was born on New Years Day in 1928, they had a strong faith to fall back on when they learned that Anne had Down Syndrome.   She also had birth injuries that meant that she would never walk unaided. There was never any question about Anne being institutionalized.  She was a member of their family, and she stayed with the family in all their travels.  There was one sacred rule in the de Gaulle household:  Anne was never to be made to feel different or less than anyone else.  Charles de Gaulle was noted for his reserve and even with family members he was usually not very demonstrative.  Not so with his daughter Anne, who received a warmth that he had seemed to be storing for his entire life just for her.  He would sing to her, read her stories and play with her.  She was, he said simply, “My joy”.   As de Gaulle said, “She helped me overcome the failures in all men, and to look beyond them.”

Yvonne de Gaulle, a formidable woman in her own right, as she demonstrated after the collapse of France in 1940 when by herself she traveled across the war torn country and made sure her family, including Anne, was on the last transport from Brest to England, in October 1945 bought the Château de Vert-Cœur and established a hospital for handicapped girls, the Fondation Anne de Gaulle.  The de Gaulles were heart-broken when their beloved daughter died on February 6, 1948.  After they had buried her, Charles gently told his weeping wife, “Maintenant, elle est comme les autres.”  (Now, she’s like all the others.)

Of course the de Gaulles did not forget their daughter.  Charles de Gaulles’ life was saved by his love for Anne on August 22, 1962 when an assassin’s bullet was deflected in the car he was riding by the frame of the picture of his daughter which he carried with him at all times.  When he died in 1970 he was buried beside his daughter at Colombey-les-Deux-Églises as he requested.  Love gives us no guarantees against the tragedies of life, but it does give us the strength to surmount them.

Anne De Gaulle

1

PopeWatch: Agentina

Last week the Argentine Senate rejected a bill which had passed in the Argentine House allowing abortion during the first fourteen weeks of pregnancy.  Credit where credit is due, on March 17, the Pope issued an open letter to the Argentine people in which he called upon them to defend life.  The vote in Argentina was  part of a continent wide pro-abortion effort to bring legal abortion to Latin American.  In response mass pro-life movements have been forming throughout South America.

47

Miracles and the Catholic Church

It has always surprised me that the Church does not emphasize the miracles that have routinely occurred though out her history.  Case in point, Father James Bruse.  From 1991-1993 this priest in Virginia had the stigmata, and holy statues would weep when he was present.  He has no idea why the miracles started and why they stopped, but we have hard evidence from skeptical eye witnesses at the time that the miracles occurred.

This from The Washington Post, March 13, 1992:

 

 

Then a reporter from Channel 5. And then her T-shirted cameraman. There’s something entirely new in his demeanor.

The statue, which has a halo and seems to be made of plaster, is on a fake wood bookcase. There are no visible wires. No battery-operated tear ducts like a religious Chatty Cathy with a hole in her back where you put in the size C’s. This statue seems actually to be producing water. The water, from what the naked eye can tell, is forming at the corner of the right eye. But the eye is very small and so it is hard to know for sure.

The Washington Post reporter is standing maybe four inches from the Blessed Mother’s nose. There’s gotta be a trick here. It’s as if the water is just appearing right out of the plaster and then rolling downward.

A bead forms under the alabaster-pink chin. It swells. BLOP, it falls. There are four tiny puddles of water at the statue’s base now.

Proof positive you can be seeing something and still not believe you’re seeing it.

This isn’t possible, of course, but a 37-year-old Catholic priest in the exurbs of Washington, down among the split-levels of I-95, is touching parish statues — and they start to “weep.” Small crystal clear droplets of water will visibly well up in the statues’ eyes, will line the ridge of their noses, will suspend at their chins, will form Lilliputian pools at their plaster or bronze or wood or fiberglass feet.

Sometimes it’s just an odd drop of water or two a particular statue will produce, and sometimes it’s a whole coursing mini-stream.

It’s done with mirrors and blue smoke, natch. Or computers. Or it’s atmospheric. Or the guy making this happen, who clearly has a head problem, has magic buttons up the sleeve of his black priest shirt.

But hold on.

Sometimes the Rev. James Bruse doesn’t need to touch the statues but only has to be in their proximity — on the altar saying Mass, or maybe seated at his desk in his windowless parish office. And then a statue will begin to water. Will start to produce something that is, by touch and taste, what we know as H2O.

It never happens on cue. There’s always a certain unpredictability. Which is what the otherworldly is about. Though not just the otherworldly, come to think of it.

The man apparently making this happen isn’t a cardinal or a bishop or some other church potentate. He’s a low-ranking associate pastor at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Lake Ridge. A cleric with an extremely low profile even within his own diocese. God, if He’s behind all this, makes His unfathomable choices, picks His unsuspecting spots.

One of the chief watering statues at the parish — it’s of Christ’s mother and is about three feet high and is olive in color — is affixed to a wood base on the side of the main altar. It’s flanked by a statue of Saint Joseph and by dozens of votive lights that flicker throughout the day, having been lighted by the swelling faithful. According to those who run the parish, many times in the past six or seven weeks, during or before or after a service, this statue of Mary has been clearly observed “welling up.” At least once copiously. Observed by puzzled, awe-struck, semi-frightened parishioners. By the otherwise curious, now flocking in.

Other statues at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church have been observed watering in recent weeks too. They’re in different places on the parish grounds, though most are in the rectory. Most, not all, are statues of Mary. The rectory is about 100 yards from the church itself, over a small wooded hill. That’s where the pastor and the associate pastor have their offices and private quarters.

People are coming now to these grounds from Pennsylvania and Florida and Newport News to see for themselves whatever there is to see. Sometimes they leave disappointed: It doesn’t happen. TV has rolled in.

But that’s only the watering part; you haven’t heard the bleeding part. It’s spookier yet. Because it turns out that the shy, short, pompadoured, semi-inarticulate man who once wanted to be a state trooper and whose uncharismatic priestly presence seems — against all terrestrial logic — to be causing strange things to happen in his midst has also experienced tiny red weltlike marks on the tops and undersides of his wrists. And in his side too, he says. And on the tops of his feet too, he says.

Marks that replicate the wounds of Christ on His cross.

And these wounds have leaked blood. Suddenly, inexplicably. “Seepage” is the way people at the church describe them.

The bleeding has now stopped. The wounds are now all but gone. But earlier this week traces of them were still visible on the cleric’s wrists. Bruse willingly exhibited them. They were like small red burls on the roots of trees.

The recent death of United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia reminded me of the so-called “Seton Miracles”, his belief in them and their relation to the Jesus King of All Nations Devotion.

The Seton Miracles included a priest’s wounds of the stigmata and incidents surrounding him such as weeping statues of the Blessed Virgin Mary, changing-color rosaries, miracle colors and lights in the sky, and miraculous healings from 1991 to 1993 at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Woodbridge, Virginia.

The priest’s name was Father James Bruse. He was the spiritual director of the mystic who received the revelations of the Jesus King of All Nations Devotion. He was also our apostolate’s first spiritual director.

I personally witnessed Father Bruse’s stigmata wounds and the weeping of a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary that he held in my presence. He reported many conversions and healings through his prayers. He told me that some of the phenomena that he experienced were connected to the Jesus King of All Nations Devotion. In His image, Jesus King of All Nations reveals His stigmata wounds.

On October 21, 2010, Justice Scalia gave an address in which he talked about the Seton Miracles, which he believed. He asked, “Why wasn’t that church absolutely packed with nonbelievers seeking to determine if there might be something to this?”

The answer was obvious, he said with disdain, “The wise do not investigate such silliness.”

Father Bruse’s pastor, Father Daniel Hamilton, saw the stigmata wounds on Father Bruse’s wrists, a statue in Father Bruse’s room producing blood, and other crying and bleeding statues.

“Father Bruse came to the ultimate cynic,” Father Hamilton said. “I don`t believe in these kinds of things. I told him it must be the result of atmospheric conditions.” The two priests then exchanged statues.

“When he gave me the statue, I noticed these marks on his wrists,” Father Hamilton said. “I said to him, ‘Stigmata.’ But, he didn’t know what I was talking about or what those marks meant.” So, I said, “Didn’t they teach you anything in the seminary?”

“Later, I went to Father Bruse`s room at the rectory. I looked at his statue of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and the statue was crying blood. I backed out of his room.”

“When I returned to my own room, the statue of Mary that Father Bruse had given me was crying.”

Father Hamilton said, “Of course I doubted it in the beginning. And then I saw some of this stuff he’d been talking about. It’s true. That’s all I can tell you. It’s true. It’s true.

Go here to read the rest.  Father Bruse is currently the pastor of Our Lady of the Blue Ridge parish in Madison, Virginia.  The attitude of the official Church to the remarkable occurrences that surrounded him from 1991-1993 has ranged from indifference to attempts to suppress mention of them.  Initial caution in the face of apparent miracles is always advisable, due to the number of fake miracles that con artists have attempted to manufacture down through the ages.  Here, however, we have well documented miracles around a humble priest who has made no attempt to profit from them and who confessed that he was completely baffled by them.  The complete indifference of the official Church to these remarkable events strikes me as idiocy or worse.
6

Sad News

“I’m afraid you have it all wrong, all of you.  I’ve been monitoring some of their old-style radio waves, the empire spokesman trying to ridicule their religion, but he couldn’t. Well, don’t you understand? It’s not the sun up in the sky. It’s the Son of God.”

Lieutenant Nyota Uhura, Star Trek, Bread and Circuses episode

 

 

Sad news that actress Nichelle Nichols, at age 85, has been diagnosed with dementia.  Prayers for her and her family.

2

Deplatforming

 

 

 

 

 

“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”

George Orwell

 

I regard Alex Jones and his Info Wars as noxious.  They are the very epitome of fake news.  However, the banning of him by Facebook is an obvious part of the strategy of the Left to “deplatform” the right.  RSMcCain, who was banned from twitter in 2016, explains:

There are many reasons I should include disclaimers to “distance” myself, as they say, from Alex Jones. He was a 9/11 “Truther” back in the day, and personally I have a hard time forgiving him for siccing a mob of his supporters on Michelle Malkin at the 2008 DNC in Denver. Yet this is not why Alex Jones is being de-platformed now. Rather, CNN and others on the Left are seeking to silence Alex Jones because he has been effective in calling attention to various facts that the Left desperately seeks to conceal from the general public. Please go read the entirely of the Ace of Spades post about this and ask yourself: “Who’s next?”

Go here to read the rest.  The precious snowflakes on the port side of our politics tend to do poorly in robust debate, and thus they wish to silence those who oppose them.  Mob tactics against speakers and “deplatforming” by social media controlled by Leftitist, like Facebook, is all part of this “crybully” strategy.  People who understand freedom of speech need to counter this attempt to create an enslaved Public Square in a free country.

 

15

The Gay Elephant in the Sacristy

In the wake of the McCarrick revelations many clerics have taken pen in hand to see if they can sucker, yet again, the Laity.  They write gravely of review panels, protecting minors and everything under the sun except the one fact that every sentient Catholic knows:  our clergy have been heavily infiltrated by the Lavender Mafia and that wretched group helped propel McCarrick to his cardinal’s cap and protected him from any revelation of his misdeeds by other knowing high ranking clerics, who obviously either feared the Lavender Mafia, were part of it, or had misdeeds of their own to protect.  These evil men care not a whit for the Laity or the Faith.  For them the Church is simply a host which they feed off of as the evil parasites they truly are.  Canon Lawyer Ed Peters, at his blog In the Light of the Law, dissects the latest appalling effort by a cleric to lull the rubes:

Homosexual acts committed by or between clerics—even among those presumably able to consent—are at the root, the very root, of the sexual misconduct and cover-up crisis exposed by the McCarrick scandal. Who on earth does not yet know that yet?

So my jaw dropped—which takes some doing these days—my jaw dropped when Msgr. Thomas Guarino, in an interesting-ish essay over at Catholic World Report, while calling for better responses against clergy sexual misconduct, wrote: “I speak here of crimes, not consensual adult relationships which, while sinful infractions against the commandments and the promise of celibacy, can be—and for centuries have been—salutarily treated with confession, penance and spiritual direction.”

My.  Jaw.  Dropped.

Where to begin?

First, Guarnino’s claim that “consensual adult relationships” (a tired euphemism for gravely sinful conduct, but one sufficient to include homosexual acts by clergy) have not been regarded as canonical crimes for centuries, is flatly wrong. In fact, it has only been in the last 35 years, since the advent of the 1983 Code, that such “consensual adult relationships” among clergy have not been treated as crimes under canon law!

1917 CIC 2359 § 2 stated:

“If [clerics] engage in a delict against the sixth precept of the Decalogue with a minor below the age of sixteen, or engage in adultery, debauchery, bestiality, sodomy, pandering, [or] incest with blood-relatives or affines in the first degree, they are suspended, declared infamous, and are deprived of any office, benefice, dignity, responsibility, if they have such, whatsoever, and in more serious cases, they are to be deposed.”

Now exactly what part of “debauchery” or “sodomy”, consensual or otherwise, was not a canonical crime per the Canon 2359? And given an hour, moreover, any competent researcher could prove centuries-old roots for Canon 2359 simply by checking Gasparri’s fontes for the canon.

Contrary to Guarino’s claim, then, it was only with the dilution that Canon 2359 suffered when it re-appeared as Canon 1395 of the 1983 Code that the express and long-standing criminalization of homosexual acts by clergy was blurred or lost.

Go here to read the rest.  Until clerics of our Church take serious steps to rid their ranks of the Homosexual Infestation, their pious protestations should be regarded as the lies they are and treated with the contempt they warrant.

 

4

PopeWatcher: Grim Reaper

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

Pope Francis decreed yesterday that death is “inadmissible” under all circumstances and that the Catholic Church should attempt to abolish it.

The change has been hailed by anti-death activists and rejected by Francis critics, who said he had no right to change the consequences of original sin.

A spokesman for the Vatican told EOTT early this morning that Francis had amended the Catechism of the Catholic Church to say that death can never be sanctioned because it constitutes an “attack” on the dignity of human beings, and that the Church teaches, “in the light of the Gospel, that death is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person, and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide.”

From the beginning of his pontificate, Francis began urging world leaders to abolish the permanent ending of the vital processes in cells and tissue, stressing that the innocent and guilty alike were both deserving of dignity, and therefore, not ever having to die.

“Think of Brad Pitt in Interview With A Vampire,” The Catechism of the Catholic Church now reads. “First, he’s living in like France or New Orleans (I forget which) as a normal person. But then Tom Cruise bites him and gives him the choice he never got and he takes it, remember that part? And so he becomes a vampire and a bunch of crap happens, and by the end of the movie, he’s in modern day America having seen so much stuff over the centuries, which is kinda like begin godlike, an imitation of Christ if you will, even though he did some bad things himself that could’ve easily landed him in jail and death row–I haven’t thought this all through yet, but this whole vampire angle will definitely be updated again and again in the Catechism until I’ve thought it through.”

At press time, Pope Francis is daydreaming during his weekly Vatican all-staff  meeting about how sad that one part is when Brad Pitt realizes that those French vampires are up to something and ends up finding Kristen Dunst and that random woman Dunst likes turned to ash because of the sun.

Go here to comment.  PopeWatch called a Planned Parenthood affiliate to get a comment from the Grim Reaper, but was told that he was at the unemployment office and unavailable for an interview.

0

The Untouchables: Death Theme

Something for the weekend.  The Death Theme from The Untouchables (1987).  Two posts about Chicago violence this week and my thoughts have turned to this wonderful, albeit ahistorical, movie.  The music by Ennio Morricone is wonderfully evocative of time and place.  The sad and powerful music recalls for me the line from The Lord of The Rings It is a sad thing to be a Man, but it is a proud thing too.

 

12

Chicago, the Home of Random Senseless Violence

 

News that I missed, courtesy of The Babylon Bee:

 

CHICAGO, IL—It looked like good news for Chicago as the skyrocketing murder rate finally started to level off, but the reason for the decline turned out to be alarming: murder has gotten so bad in Chicago that now even the average murderer won’t go out at night for fear of being murdered.

“I love murder,” said local murderer Carl Gross, “but I don’t want to be murdered. It’s gotten so bad out here, though, that we regular, salt-of-the-earth murderers are being preyed upon by all the really deranged murderers who don’t follow the murderer’s code of not murdering murderers.”

Bennie Arnold, Chicago resident and occasional strangler, agreed. “I just want to strangle people,” said Arnold. “But now I’m too scared to go out at night to find victims, so I just stay home with the doors locked. I guess now I know how I made regular folk feel… which would really make me think if I weren’t a sociopath.”

Go here to read the rest.  From 2011 MadTV:

 

5

Space Force

 

When I was a kid I watched the old cartoon show The Jetsons, a futuristic counterpart to the stone age The Flintstones.  Sometimes I think the twenty-first century bears more resemblance to The Flintstones than the Jetsons, but occasionally I am reminded that I am living in, what in circa 1965 would have been regarded as the distant future.  The serious idea of a Space Force goes back to the Fifties and we might say that we have been tardy in creating it, but its time has come.  No, we are a very long way in time and technology from anything approaching Star Trek’s Star Fleet, but this is the first baby step along that path.

 

9

PopeWatch: Chaplain of the Zeitgeist

Sandro Magister enlists the late Cardinal Dulles to explain why the Pope’s attempt to change doctrine on the death penalty flies in the face of twenty centuries of Church teaching:

 

The decision of Pope Francis to rewrite the Catechism of the Catholic Church in regard to the death penalty has ignited lively discussions.

The change was in the air, and Jorge Mario Bergoglio had been foretelling it for some time. In the letter of the prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith that accompanies the rescript, Cardinal Luis F. Ladaria says that “the new formulation of number 2267 of the Catechism expresses an authentic development of doctrine that is not in contradiction with the prior teachings of the Magisterium.”

But this is precisely the point that is raising the greatest controversy. For many, the contradiction with the previous teaching of the Church is there. And it amounts not to a “development” but to a real and proper rupture.

Also striking is the “historicist” nature of the motivations that Francis adopts: new awareness concerning the dignity of the person, new understanding of the meaning of penal sanctions, new and more effective prison systems, etc. From here would arise, “in the light of the Gospel,” the new current teaching of the Church on the absolute inadmissibility of the death penalty.

Given this precedent – as many hope, or on the contrary fear – what can prevent a pope from changing the doctrine of the Church on any other issue? Breaking not only with the previous magisterium, but with the Sacred Scriptures themselves?

To facilitate an understanding of the debate, the following are two useful elements of documentation.

*

The first is a comparison of the old article of the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the death penalty and the new article rewritten at the behest of Pope Francis.

THE OLD ARTICLE

2267. The traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude, presupposing full ascertainment of the identity and responsibility of the offender, recourse to the death penalty, when this is the only practicable way to defend the lives of human beings effectively against the aggressor.

If, instead, bloodless means are sufficient to defend against the aggressor and to protect the safety of persons, public authority should limit itself to such means, because they better correspond to the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.

Today, in fact, given the means at the State’s disposal to effectively repress crime by rendering inoffensive the one who has committed it, without depriving him definitively of the possibility of redeeming himself, cases of absolute necessity for suppression of the offender ‘today are very rare, if not practically non-existent’ [John Paul II, Evangelium vitae 56].

THE NEW

2267. Recourse to the death penalty on the part of legitimate authority, following a fair trial, was long considered an appropriate response to the gravity of certain crimes and an acceptable, albeit extreme, means of safeguarding the common good.

Today, however, there is an increasing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost even after the commission of very serious crimes. In addition, a new understanding has emerged of the significance of penal sanctions imposed by the state. Lastly, more effective systems of detention have been developed, which ensure the due protection of citizens but, at the same time, do not definitively deprive the guilty of the possibility of redemption.

Consequently, the Church teaches, in the light of the Gospel, that “the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person” [1], and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide.

[1] Francis, Address to Participants in the Meeting organized by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, 11 October 2017: L’Osservatore Romano, 13 October 2017, 5.

*

The second element of documentation offered here is an extract from an essay published in 2001 in “First Things” by Cardinal Avery Dulles (1918-2008), a Jesuit and one of the greatest North American theologians of the twentieth century, highly esteemed by John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

The complete text of the essay:

> Catholicism & Capital Punishment

To begin with, Dulles focuses on what the Sacred Scriptures say regarding the death penalty:

“In the Old Testament the Mosaic Law specifies no less than thirty-six capital offenses calling for execution by stoning, burning, decapitation, or strangulation. Included in the list are idolatry, magic, blasphemy, violation of the sabbath, murder, adultery, bestiality, pederasty, and incest. The death penalty was considered especially fitting as a punishment for murder since in his covenant with Noah God had laid down the principle, ‘Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in His own image’ (Genesis 9:6). In many cases God is portrayed as deservedly punishing culprits with death, as happened to Korah, Dathan, and Abiram (Numbers 16). In other cases individuals such as Daniel and Mordecai are God’s agents in bringing a just death upon guilty persons.

“In the New Testament the right of the State to put criminals to death seems to be taken for granted. Jesus himself refrains from using violence. He rebukes his disciples for wishing to call down fire from heaven to punish the Samaritans for their lack of hospitality (Luke 9:55). Later he admonishes Peter to put his sword in the scabbard rather than resist arrest (Matthew 26:52). At no point, however, does Jesus deny that the State has authority to exact capital punishment. In his debates with the Pharisees, Jesus cites with approval the apparently harsh commandment, ‘He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him surely die’ (Matthew 15:4; Mark 7:10, referring to Exodus 2l:17; cf. Leviticus 20:9). When Pilate calls attention to his authority to crucify him, Jesus points out that Pilate’s power comes to him from above-that is to say, from God (John 19:11). Jesus commends the good thief on the cross next to him, who has admitted that he and his fellow thief are receiving the due reward of their deeds (Luke 23:41).

“The early Christians evidently had nothing against the death penalty. They approve of the divine punishment meted out to Ananias and Sapphira when they are rebuked by Peter for their fraudulent action (Acts 5:1-11). The Letter to the Hebrews makes an argument from the fact that ‘a man who has violated the law of Moses dies without mercy at the testimony of two or three witnesses’ (10:28). Paul repeatedly refers to the connection between sin and death. He writes to the Romans, with an apparent reference to the death penalty, that the magistrate who holds authority ‘does not bear the sword in vain; for he is the servant of God to execute His wrath on the wrongdoer’ (Romans 13:4). No passage in the New Testament disapproves of the death penalty.”

Dulles then goes on to examine how the Fathers of the Church and Catholic theologians expressed themselves over the centuries, coming to this conclusion:

“Turning to Christian tradition, we may note that the Fathers and Doctors of the Church are virtually unanimous in their support for capital punishment. […] And throughout the first half of the twentieth century the consensus of Catholic theologians in favor of capital punishment in extreme cases remained solid”.

He points out, however, that already in 1977 a theologian of good repute had taken a position in “L’Osservatore Romano” in favor of the inadmissibility of the death penalty, giving voice to the “objections” of “a rising chorus of voices in the Catholic community”:

“Some take the absolutist position that because the right to life is sacred and inviolable, the death penalty is always wrong. The respected Italian Franciscan Gino Concetti, writing in ‘L’Osservatore Romano’ in 1977, made the following powerful statement: ‘In light of the word of God, and thus of faith, life-all human life-is sacred and untouchable. No matter how heinous the crimes… [the criminal] does not lose his fundamental right to life, for it is primordial, inviolable, and inalienable, and thus comes under the power of no one whatsoever’.”

And from here on Dulles discusses precisely this radical thesis, a forerunner of what Pope Francis has now decided.

Here are a few passages from his argumentation, written in 2001 but still perfectly relevant:

“To warrant this radical revision – one might almost say reversal – of the Catholic tradition, Father Concetti and others explain that the Church from biblical times until our own day has failed to perceive the true significance of the image of God in man, which implies that even the terrestrial life of each individual person is sacred and inviolable. In past centuries, it is alleged, Jews and Christians failed to think through the consequences of this revealed doctrine. They were caught up in a barbaric culture of violence and in an absolutist theory of political power, both handed down from the ancient world. But in our day, a new recognition of the dignity and inalienable rights of the human person has dawned. Those who recognize the signs of the times will move beyond the outmoded doctrines that the State has a divinely delegated power to kill and that criminals forfeit their fundamental human rights. The teaching on capital punishment must today undergo a dramatic development corresponding to these new insights.

“This abolitionist position has a tempting simplicity. But it is not really new. It has been held by sectarian Christians at least since the Middle Ages. Many pacifist groups, such as the Waldensians, the Quakers, the Hutterites, and the Mennonites, have shared this point of view. But, like pacifism itself, this absolutist interpretation of the right to life found no echo at the time among Catholic theologians, who accepted the death penalty as consonant with Scripture, tradition, and the natural law.

“The mounting opposition to the death penalty in Europe since the Enlightenment has gone hand in hand with a decline of faith in eternal life. In the nineteenth century the most consistent supporters of capital punishment were the Christian churches, and its most consistent opponents were groups hostile to the churches. When death came to be understood as the ultimate evil rather than as a stage on the way to eternal life, utilitarian philosophers such as Jeremy Bentham found it easy to dismiss capital punishment as ‘useless annihilation.’

Go here to read the rest.  The Pope’s attempted doctrinal change has bupkis to do with Catholicism and everything with this Pope’s constant attempt to splash with Holy Water the current beliefs and prejudices of the chattering classes of the West.  The Pope has made himself the chaplain of the current zeitgeist.

0

August 10, 1918: First United States Army Formed

 

The announcement of the formation of the First United States Army in France:

 

“The first American field army has been organized. It is under the direct command of General John J. Pershlng, Commander in Chief of the American forces. The corps commanders thus far announced are Major Gens. Liggett, Bullard, Bundy, Read, and Wright. The creation of the first field army la the first step toward the co-ordination of all the American forces in France. This does not mean the immediate withdrawal from the British and French commands of all American units, and it is probable that divisions will be used on the French and British fronts for weeks yet. It Is understood, however, that the policy of organizing other armies will be carried out steadily.”

Pershing had insisted throughout his presence in France that the United States would play an independent role on the Western Front.  The first of three field armies that would eventually be formed out of the American Expeditionary Forces, the First Army would see heavy combat in the reduction of the Saint Mihiel salient in September 18, 1918 and then would fight the largest battle in American history, the Meuse-Argonne offensive for 47 days from September 26, 1918 to the Armistice on November 11, 1918.

2

St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein) on Faith and Reason

Today is the Memorial for St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, a German Jewess who converted to Catholicism, became a Carmelite nun, and was gassed by the Nazis at Auschwitz.  Here’s a short biography.

Her thoughts on faith and reason came to mind today as I heard the  priest say a few words about her at the beginning of Mass (I’m quoting from “ESSAY 2: How We Believe…”

“St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein) explored the relationship between philosophy and theology, or equivalently, between faith and reason. In her work, Finite and Eternal Being, she proposed a hierarchy, that faith went beyond rational knowledge:

‘Since the ultimate ground of all existence [alles Seienden] is unfathomable, everything which is seen in this ultimate perspective moves into that ‘dark light’ of faith, and everything intelligible is placed in a setting with an incomprehensible background.’
–St. Teresa Benedicta, “Finite and Eternal Being,” p.25

I’ll put this another way:  the fundamental question we ask is “Why are we here?”   Science might be able to say how our physical bodies came to be here, but science can’t answer the question: “Why did we come to be.   Science would respond: “that question is meaningless, can’t be answered by scientific methods.”  Only faith can give a satisfactory answer to that why question.”

6

An American Priest’s Despair

I want to recommend an article in Crisis, “Where are the Bishops who will defend faithful priests?” It’s an eloquent cry of despair by an anonymous priest who wonders why Bishops allow abuses of liturgy, sexual behavior, pastoral care, in order that the boat may not be rocked.

I can’t put it better than the article, so I’ll quote from the last paragraph:

“The corruption in the Church is real. I can tell you this, if you feel hurt or betrayed, please know that I do too. If you have been hurt by a priest such as me, who is well-intentioned but fallible, I implore your forgiveness and beg your mercy. If you have been hurt by the abusive behavior of a priest, words cannot express my sorrow. Please let us help you. I remain in the Church not because she is free of corruption, but because she preaches the Truth of Jesus Christ, the Truth that I know makes us free. He has promised that the gates of hell, let alone, human corruption will never prevail against her. Know that these truths, along with one other essential factor are what keep me doing what I do and enduring this nonsense.”

Go here for the article. Continue Reading

20

Shazam! Found votes!

Well this is completely unsurprising:

 

The tight race between Democrat Danny O’Connor and Republican Troy Balderson just got tighter. 

Election officials in Franklin County found 588 previously uncounted votes in a Columbus suburb. The result: O’Connor had a net gain of 190 votes, bringing the race’s margin down to 1,564.

Go here to read the rest.  One thing you can always count upon in close elections is that election officials in Democrat areas will find uncounted votes that favors the Democrat candidate.  Funny how that works.

0

Black Day of the German Army

He who has not fought the Germans does not know War.

British Army military maxim

One hundred years ago the Battle of Amiens (August 8, 1918-August 12, 1918) was underway, a joint British and French offensive.  The Battle marks the beginning of what historians refer to as the Hundred Days Offensive which ended in victory in World War I for the Allies, a period of relentless Allied drives that tore the heart from the German Army.  Love them or hate them, the Germans have a deserved reputation of being good fighters.  It is therefore stunning to learn that of the 75,000 German casualties of the Battle of Amiens, 50,000 were prisoners.  Quartermaster General Ludendorff referred to August 8, 1918 when 12,000 German soldiers surrendered as The Black Day of the German Army.  By the end of the month Ludendorff was advising the civilian government to seek an armistice because the German Army had reached the limits of its capabilities.  The Fat Lady a hundred years ago was clearing her throat.

2

They Probably Don’t Even Have a Starbucks!

 

News that I missed, courtesy of The Babylon Bee:

 

RIVERDALE, NY—31-year-old Darlene Austin has always been an avid supporter of socialism, but she recently had an eye-opening experience.

“At a vegan cafe, I met a guy from Venezuela,” Austin explained. “I asked him about how great it must be to live in a country working to end economic inequality, but then he went into a long diatribe about oppression, poverty, and murder.”

Austin admitted she didn’t listen to much of it since she always knew that socialism would have “a few bumps along the way.” But then the man said something that really concerned her: he asked what the crispy bread slathered with a green substance on her plate was.

“He didn’t even know what avocado toast was!” Austin exclaimed. She asked him about whether they had lots of avocados in Venezuela, but he explained it wasn’t just an issue of the availability of avocados but also not being able to get bread and sometimes not having electricity for a toaster.

 

 

Go here to read the rest.

 

 

 

9

PopeWatch: Avery Cardinal Dulles

 

 

Prophetic words from the late Avery Cardinal Dulles in 2004:

 

If, in fact, the previous teaching had been discarded (on the death penalty), doubt would be cast on the current teaching as well. It too would have to be seen as reversible, and in that case, as having no firm hold on people’s assent. The new doctrine, based on a recent insight, would be in competition with a magisterial teaching that has endured for two millennia — or even more, if one wishes to count the biblical testimonies. Would not some Catholics be justified in adhering to the earlier teaching on the ground that it has more solid warrant than the new? The faithful would be confronted with the dilemma of having to dissent either from past or from present magisterial teaching.

14

PopeWatch: Development of Doctrine

Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman, among his many other services to the Church, clarified the concept of development of doctrine as opposed to corruptions of doctrine that occasionally fasten on the Church and are shed off by the Church over time.

Newman posited seven notes, I would call them tests, for determining whether something is a development of doctrine or a corruption.

1.  Preservation of Type

2.  Continuity of Principles

3.  Power of Assimilation

4.  Logical Sequence

5.  Anticipation of Its Future

6.  Conservative Action upon Its Past

7.  Chronic Vigour

PopeWatch defies anyone to argue with a straight face that what Pope Francis has done in reversing the Church teaching on capital punishment is anything but a corruption of doctrine using the Newman test.

30

Ah, the Good Old Days in Chicago

 

The gangland wars of the Twenties of the last century in Chicago left such an indelible impression that people around the globe when they hear the name Chicago will often make Tommy  gun motions with their hands.  All told gangland chieftain Al Capone  was responsible for 33-50 murders over his thirteen years in the Windy City.  Today Capone’s murders would be attained in about four weekends in Chicago.  Go here to read about the latest mayhem.  Thus far 300 homicides have been committed in Chicago this year, and the homicide rate is actually down from last year when Chicago had 650 murders.

 

 

The mayor of Chicago during most of Capone’s time in Chicago was William Hale “Big Bill” Thompson, the last Republican mayor of the city.  The Chicago Tribune wrote this epitaph for his political career:

For Chicago Thompson has meant filth, corruption, obscenity, idiocy and bankruptcy…. He has given the city an international reputation for moronic buffoonery, barbaric crime, triumphant hoodlumism, unchecked graft, and a dejected citizenship. He nearly ruined the property and completely destroyed the pride of the city. He made Chicago a byword for the collapse of American civilization. In his attempt to continue this he excelled himself as a liar and defamer of character.

If the writer of this well deserved screed could be raised from the dead, he would have to mine new levels of vituperation for the depraved crooks that currently misgovern Chicago.

14

There is No Right Not to Be Offended By Ideas

“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”

George Orwell

British comedian John Cleese has usually, but not entirely, been on the political left, but his stand against the attempted thought control that goes by the name of political correctness elicits my admiration.  We cannot have a democracy if “crybullies” can exercise a heckler’s veto over ideas presented in the public square.  Leftists, with honorable exceptions like Mr. Cleese, no longer believe in the power of persuasion and reasoned argument.  Instead their tactics are shouting down adversaries, banning them from social media, and, frighteningly, mob violence.  We have seen where this all leads time and again in history.

 

One of my favorite scenes from the musical 1776 is in the above video where Stephen Hopkins of Rhode Island introduces Benjamin Franklin to his insult cards.  In the musical Hopkins is portrayed as a lovable drunken rogue, but a font of common sense when big issues are afoot.  When his vote is decisive on debating independence his comment is to the point:  “I’ve never seen, heard, nor smelled an issue that was so dangerous it couldn’t be talked about. Hell yes, I’m for debating anything!”

The actual Stephen Hopkins bore little resemblance to his portrayal in 1776.  Born on March 7, 1707, in Providence, Rhode Island, he was the oldest man in Congress in 1776, except for Ben Franklin.  From a prominent Rhode Island family he early developed an insatiable thirst for knowledge, reading voraciously, and training himself in surveying and astronomy.  He became a Justice of the Peace at 23, embarking upon a career in Rhode Island politics.  He swiftly became a justice on the Inferior Court of Common Pleas while serving as Speaker of the Rhode Island House of Deputies.  He made his fortune through an iron foundry and his activities as a merchant.

In 1747 he was appointed as a Justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court and in 1751 became Chief Justice.  In 1755 he was elected governor of the colony, and would serve 9 of the next 15 years in that office.  In 1773 he freed his slaves, and in 1774 he sponsored a bill in the Rhode Island legislature forbidding the importation of slaves into Rhode Island  With the coming of the Revolution he served in Congress until ill-health forced him to retire in September 1776.

Regarded as one of the most learned men in the colonies he served as the first chancellor of the College of the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, now Brown University.  He died in 1785, universally mourned in Rhode Island.

On second consideration perhaps there is a bit of resemblance between the depiction of Hopkins in 1776 and this observation from John Adams:

Governor Hopkins of Rhode Island, above seventy Years of Age kept us all alive. Upon Business his Experience and judgment were very Usefull. But when the Business of the Evening was over, he kept Us in Conversation till Eleven and sometimes twelve O Clock. His Custom was to drink nothing all day nor till Eight O Clock, in the Evening, and then his Beveredge was Jamaica Spirit and Water. It gave him Wit, Humour, Anecdotes, Science and Learning. He had read Greek, Roman and British History: and was familiar with English Poetry particularly Pope, Tompson and Milton. And the flow of his Soul made all his reading our own, and seemed to bring to recollection in all of Us all We had ever read. I could neither eat nor drink in those days. The other Gentlemen were very temperate. Hopkins never drank to excess, but all he drank was immediately not only converted into Wit, Sense, Knowledge and good humour, but inspired Us all with similar qualities.

When the Left attempts to ban ideas from discussion they betray the best of this country which was, in Lincoln’s ringing phrase, “conceived in liberty.”

8

PopeWatch: Error

Ed Feser, PopeWatch’s go to man on the death penalty and the teachings of the Church has an article at First Things looking at the attempt of Pope Francis to do a 180 on the teaching of the Church in this area:

If capital punishment is wrong in principle, then the Church has for two millennia consistently taught grave moral error and badly misinterpreted scripture. And if the Church has been so wrong for so long about something so serious, then there is no teaching that might not be reversed, with the reversal justified by the stipulation that it be called a “development” rather than a contradiction. A reversal on capital punishment is the thin end of a wedge that, if pushed through, could sunder Catholic doctrine from its past—and thus give the lie to the claim that the Church has preserved the Deposit of Faith whole and undefiled.

Not only does this reversal undermine the credibility of every previous pope, it undermines the credibility of Pope Francis himself. For if Pope St. Innocent I, Pope Innocent III, Pope St. Pius V, Pope St. Pius X, Pope Pius XII, Pope St. John Paul II, and many other popes could all get things so badly wrong, why should we believe that Pope Francis has somehow finally gotten things right?

One does not need to support capital punishment to worry that Pope Francis may have gone too far. Cardinal Avery Dulles, who was personally opposed to the practical use of capital punishment, still insisted that “the reversal of a doctrine as well established as the legitimacy of capital punishment would raise serious problems regarding the credibility of the magisterium.” Archbishop Charles Chaput, who is likewise opposed to applying the death penalty in practice, has nevertheless acknowledged:

The death penalty is not intrinsically evil. Both Scripture and long Christian tradition acknowledge the legitimacy of capital punishment under certain circumstances. The Church cannot repudiate that without repudiating her own identity.

If Pope Francis really is claiming that capital punishment is intrinsically evil, then either scripture, the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, and all previous popes were wrong—or Pope Francis is. There is no third alternative. Nor is there any doubt about who would be wrong in that case. The Church has always acknowledged that popes can make doctrinal errors when not speaking ex cathedra—Pope Honorius I and Pope John XXII being the best-known examples of popes who actually did so. The Church also explicitly teaches that the faithful may, and sometimes should, openly and respectfully criticize popes when they do teach error. The 1990 CDF document Donum Veritatis sets out norms governing the legitimate criticism of magisterial documents that exhibit “deficiencies.” It would seem that Catholic theologians are now in a situation that calls for application of these norms.

Go here to read the rest.  Twenty centuries of Church history or the current Pope.  Choose, and perhaps choose more wisely than the Conclave obviously did in 2013.

 

2

Transfigure Thou Me

Jesus took Peter, James, and John
and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them,
and his clothes became dazzling white,
such as no fuller on earth could bleach them.
Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses,
and they were conversing with Jesus.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply,
“Rabbi, it is good that we are here!
Let us make three tents:
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified.
Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them;
from the cloud came a voice,
“This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.”
Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone
but Jesus alone with them.

As they were coming down from the mountain,
he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone,
except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
So they kept the matter to themselves,
questioning what rising from the dead meant.

Mark 9: 2-10

 

 

 

 

 

 

A striking feature of the Gospels in how faithfully the inspired authors set down what Christ said and did, whether they understood it or not.  The bewilderment of the Apostles to the Transfiguration I fully share in.  For a moment Christ dropped the flesh he was veiled in and stood revealed as the great I AM, the Second Person of the Trinity, and Peter, James and John reacted with sheer terror.  Our intellects, made dark here below by sin, cannot grasp such a thing, so Christ was perceived as a blinding white light.  No passage in the Gospels better illustrates the infinite gulf between Man and the God who made us.

Yet we are to become like Him if we win our battle against our sins, and grasp tight the lifeline of His grace.  One day, in the Beatific Vision, we will see God face to face, not as blinding light but as love incarnate.  However, to accomplish this we must be transfigured, shedding ourselves of our sins, our cowardice, our arrogance, our folly and the hardness of our hearts, making our souls as He made them, pure and undefiled.  In Purgatory the transfiguration is accomplished for those of us who die in a state of grace and are not ready for Heaven.

Dante described Purgatory as a place of joyous suffering where the penances match the sins, and where sinful Man is prepared for the Eternal Joy of Heaven.  May God grant to all of us the determination to begin our path of transfiguration today and not tomorrow, and to follow that path until we reach the mansion that God has prepared for us in the Kingdom of Love Eternal.

 

Batter my heart, three-person’d God, for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
John Donne
18

Stewart Trek

No, this is not a parody post:

 

CBS announced Saturday that Patrick Stewart will reprise his iconic role of Jean-Luc Picard in a new “Star Trek” series. It will be streamed on CBS All Access.

The still-unnamed series will explore the “next chapter” of Picard’s life.

Stewart played the Enterprise captain in the TV series “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (1987-94), and in several feature films. He last appeared in the role in the movie “Star Trek: Nemesis” in 2002. Stewart, who will also be an executive producer of the show, described it is an “unexpected but delightful surprise” to reprise the role after, he thought, it had “run its natural course.”

He said it has been “humbling” to hear from fans about how Picard has helped and inspired them.

Go here to read the rest.  Stewart is 78.  What will the title of the series be:  Star Trek:  The Dying Generation?  In any event it probably will not be quite as terrible as Star Trek:  Discovery.

 

0

Death of a Nation

 

Obviously a movie with a partisan slant, but I have found Dinesh D’Souza’s previous documentaries interesting.  Leftists and others will regard this as a thank you note by D’Souza to the man who pardoned him;  we shall see.   I confess that at first blush I can think of few American political figures more dissimilar than Trump or Lincoln, except for the key point that they were presidents at times when an old order of things was visibly in its death throes. I will be viewing it this weekend with my family and a full review will follow.

6

Elizabeth Heng

Thirty-three year old Republican Elizabeth Heng is running for Congress against Democrat incumbent Jim Costa in California’s Central Valley.  The Leftists at Facebook blocked her above ad, go here to read  all about it, and go here to read about Heng.  I can see why they obviously fear her since she radiates raw political talent and has a compelling personal story.  Jim Costa, a sixty-six year old typical cookie cutter liberal career politician, is in the fight of his political life.

5

PopeWatch: Ultra Vires

In the law the doctrine of ultra vires states that an action is null and void if it is beyond the powers of an entity.  For example, if Congress decided to turn itself into a court and try a citizen for murder this would be beyond its powers.  In regard to popes, they have very broad powers indeed, but these powers are not limitless.  Cardinal Newman noted this almost a century and a half ago when he wrote of papal infallibility:

 

I end with an extract from the Pastoral of the Swiss Bishops, a Pastoral which has received the Pope’s approbation.

“It in no way depends upon the caprice of the Pope, or upon his good pleasure, to make such and such a doctrine, the object of a dogmatic definition. He is tied up and limited to the divine revelation, and to the truths which that revelation contains. He is tied up and limited by the Creeds, already in existence, and by the preceding definitions of the Church. He is tied up and limited by the divine law, and by the constitution of the Church. Lastly, he is tied up and limited by that doctrine, divinely revealed, which affirms that alongside religious society there is civil society, that alongside the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy there is the power of temporal Magistrates, invested in their own domain with a full sovereignty, and to whom we owe in conscience obedience and respect in all things morally permitted, and belonging to the domain of civil society.”

In his recent statement about capital punishment, the Pope seeks to reverse the teaching of the Church and to invade a sphere that the Church has always left to the prudence of secular governments:  the use of the death penalty.  This was stated succinctly by the Council of Trent in 1566:

 

The power of life and death is permitted to certain civil magistrates because theirs is the responsibility under law to punish the guilty and protect the innocent. Far from being guilty of breaking this commandment [Thy shall not kill], such an execution of justice is precisely an act of obedience to it. For the purpose of the law is to protect and foster human life. This purpose is fulfilled when the legitimate authority of the State is exercised by taking the guilty lives of those who have taken innocent lives.

In the Psalms we find a vindication of this right: “Morning by morning I will destroy all the wicked in the land, cutting off all evildoers from the city of the Lord” (Ps. 101:8).

Innocent III in the thirteenth century noted that :


The secular power can without mortal sin carry out a sentence of death, provided it proceeds in imposing the penalty not from hatred but with judgment, not carelessly but with due solicitude.

Scripture is replete with examples of the State carrying out the death penalty, often pursuant to laws decreed by God mandating the death penalty.

The Pope in his condemnation of the death penalty flies in the face of twenty centuries of the teaching of the Church, and attempts to wrench from the secular world the ability to impose the death penalty.  He has acted beyond his powers and betrayed the first duty of any Pope:  to preserve and defend the teaching of the Church.  I would assume the Pope Emeritus would agree with this since in 2004, when he was Cardinal Ratzinger, he wrote:

Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia.  For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion.  While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia

Further posts this week will examine other aspects of the attempt by the Pope to use the Magisterium to Godstamp his personal political agenda.

 

 

 

 

 

2

Ten Years of TAC: The Lion of Munster

Neither praise nor threats will distance me from God.

Blessed Clemens von Galen

 

(The American Catholic will observe its tenth anniversary in October.  We will be reposting some classic TAC posts of the past.  This post is from March 6, 2011.)

 

The Nazis hated and feared Clemens August Graf von Galen in life and no doubt they still hate and fear him, at least those now enjoying the amenities of some of the less fashionable pits of Hell.  Going into Lent, I am strongly encouraged by the story of Blessed von Galen.  I guess one could come up with a worse situation than being a Roman Catholic bishop in Nazi Germany in 1941, and confronting a merciless anti-Christian dictatorship that was diametrically opposed to the Truth of Christ, but that would certainly do for enough of a challenge for one lifetime for anyone.  (Hitler privately denounced Christianity as a Jewish superstition and looked forward after the War to “settling accounts”, as he put it, with Christianity in general and Roman Catholicism in particular.)

Priests who spoke out against the Third Reich were being rounded up and shipped off to concentration camps.  What was a bishop to do in the face of such massive evil?  Well, for the Bishop of Munster, Clemens von Galen, there could be only one answer.

A German Count, von Galen was from one of the oldest aristocratic families in Westphalia.  Always a German patriot, the political views of von Galen would have made my own conservatism seem a pale shade of pink in comparison.  Prior to becoming a bishop, he was sometimes criticized for a haughty attitude and being unbending.  He was chosen Bishop of Munster in 1933 only after other candidates, no doubt recognizing what a dangerous position it would be with the Nazis now in power, had turned it down.  I am certain  it did not hurt that he was an old friend of Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, the future Pope Pius XII.

Von Galen immediately demonstrated that he had not agreed to become Bishop of Munster in order to avoid danger.  He successfully led a fight against the Nazi attempt to take over Catholic schools, citing article 21 of the Concordat between the Vatican and Nazi Germany.  He then began a campaign, often using humor and ridicule, against the Aryan racial doctrines proposed by Alfred Rosenberg, chief Nazi race theorist, and a man even some high level Nazis thought was little better than a crank.  Von Galen argued that Christianity totally rejected racial differences as determining how groups should be treated, and that all men and women were children of God and brothers and sisters in Christ.  The Bishop spoke out against Nazi attacks on the “Jewish Old Testament” stating that Holy Writ was Holy Writ and that the Bible could not be altered to suit current prejudices.

In early 1937 he was summoned by Pope Pius XI to confer with him on an encyclical in German, highly unusual for an encyclical not to be written in Latin as the primary language, that the Pope was in the process of drafting.  The encyclical was the blistering Mit Brennender Sorge (With Burning Heart) that the Pope ordered be read out in every parish in Germany on Palm Sunday 1937.  A head long assault on almost every aspect of National Socialism, it may be read here.

The language in the encyclical was blunt, direct and no doubt benefited from von Galen’s input and his experience from the battles he was waging with the Nazis. Continue Reading

5

71 Accusations; How Many are Guilty?

This Sunday morning (5 August, 2018) our priest read a letter to the congration at Mass from the Very Reverend Ronald Gainer, Bishop of the Diocese of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.   The letter, giving the names of 71 male religious (priests, seminarians, deacons) accused of child molestation, has been widely reported in news media: see here for the pastoral letter, here for the press release, here for the list of accused religious, and here, here and here for online articles on this.  The letter precedes the release (blocked heretofore by order of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court)  of a Grand Jury proceedings initiated by the Democratic Attorney-General, Josh Shapiro (but more of that below*).   Newspapers have anticipated this Grand Jury report with, shall we say, great expectations:

“The state Supreme Court disclosed recently that the grand jury had identified more than 300 “predator priests” in six Pennsylvania dioceses, including Pittsburgh. Those dioceses minister to more than 1.7 million Catholics. The 900-page report could be made public within days.”
—AP, in Philly.Com, August 4.

Before going further let me say first that this post is not going to be a defense of priests who are child molesters.  Nevertheless, it is a legal principle that a presumption of innocence is made until guilt is proved by trial or other legal action.  (Please correct me Don, if this isn’t so.)   And I am told by a lawyer friend that Grand Juries do not proceed this way;  those named in accusations are not allowed to speak in their defense, have legal aid or confront accusers.

If one examines the list and puts the accused into categories, the story becomes much less impressive than the tagline “71 predator priests” might imply.   Of those 71,

  • 10 are accused of multiple acts of indecent behavior and are alive;
  • 3 are accused of possessing child porn and are alive;
  • 4 are accused of a single act of indecent behavior and are alive;
  • 3 are accused of inappropriate behavior (kissing) or inappropriate communications and are alive;
  • the remaining 51  either died after the accusations were made, were accused after they died,  or were accused in other dioceses, but not in Harrisburg (the point being that there is no way to validate the truth of these accusations).

Let me also add that these accusations go back to 1947.    There are currently (if I’ve counted correctly) 270 priests in the Harrisburg Diocese, including retired.   If I assume an attrition and replacement rate of 5 per  year (that’s conservative), that corresponds to about 600 priests serving during 1947-2017.   So dividing (10+3+4+3) by 600 gives a percentage of about 3%, if one assumes that each of the accused was guilty.   Is this  percentage higher than it would be, say, in the Anglican Church, or amongst male teachers in the public schools?

To my knowledge, the Diocese—even before Bishop Gainer’s tenure—has been scrupulous in removing priests from duty when acknowledged acts of indecent behavior have been made.   One priest, a Vicar in a neighboring parish, was removed from duty (and not put elsewhere in the Diocese) after a proven accusation of misbehavior in another diocese had been made.

I want to emphasize again that we want 0% of inappropriate behavior; we want our children to be safe.   But we want them to be safe not only in our Churches, but in our schools and on the streets.   I can tell horror stories of boys corrupted by a local basketball coach, and one remembers the Penn State football assistant coach.   Let’s not make a blanket assumption that the priesthood has been totally corrupted because of headlines engendered by a political opportunist.

*Josh Shapiro is the second Democrat to hold the office of Attorney-General in Pennsylvania after a long line of Republicans (the first is awaiting jail after being convicted of malfeasance in office).   The office is regarded as a stepping stone to the Governorship and Shapiro owes a debt to left-liberal organizations that helped put him in office.  His letter to Pope Francis was published in our local paper today: he requested that the Pope intervene to help publicize the Grand Jury verdict.  As my wife put it, “I wonder what those two ___ make of each other.”

 

5

Well, This Sounds Reasonable

News that I missed while on vacation, courtesy of The Babylon Bee:

 

 

VATICAN CITY—Following his recent announcement that the Catholic Church no longer supports the use of the death penalty, Pope Francis clarified that it may still be applied to slow left-lane drivers. “It almost goes without saying,” the leader of the Church commented.

Whereas prior Church teaching allowed the death penalty in certain cases, the Catechism now teaches that the punishment is always impermissible. “Except,” said a Vatican spokesman, “for those reprobate souls who just hang out in the left lane as if nobody else has anywhere to be.”

Go here to read the rest.  Yes, but what about tailgaters?  Can’t they at least be maimed?

0

New York Times: Leftists R’ US

News that slipped by me on vacation, courtesy of The Babylon Bee:

 

New York Times Stands By Recent Editorial Board Hire Joseph Stalin Despite Criticism Of Mass Murder

NEW YORK, NY—Despite withering criticism of The New York Times’ recent decision to hire famed Communist leader and murderer of millions Joseph Stalin to the newspaper’s editorial board, The Times has defended Stalin and the move to allow him a platform to voice his far-left policies.

Upon the announcement of Stalin’s hire, thousands of readers pointed out that Stalin was responsible for the deaths of up to 25 million people. But on Thursday, The Times released a statement saying that editors were aware of Stalin’s sordid past before hiring him, and that it would not be bowing to “right-wing outrage” over “just a few million deaths.”

Go here to read the rest.  The New York Times refuses to confirm or deny that Pulitzer Prize winning Timesman Walter Duranty is seeking time off from Hell to also take up a position on the editorial board.

1

August 4, 1918: Ludendorff Whistles as it Grows Dark for Germany

 

Quartermaster General Erich Ludendorff, de facto commander of the Imperial German army, issued this terse statement on August 4, 1918:

Foch’s plan was undoubtedly to cut off the entire arc of our front south of the Aisne by a breakthrough on the flank. But with the proved leadership of our Seventh and Ninth Armies that was quite impossible.

We figured with an attack on July 18th and were prepared for it. The enemy experienced very heavy losses, and the Americans and African auxiliary troops, which we do not underestimate, suffered severely.

By the afternoon of the 19th we already were fully masters of the situation and shall remain so. We left the abandoned ground to the enemy according to our regular plan.

“Gain of ground” and “Marne” are only catchwords without importance for the issue of the war.

We are now, as before, confident.

Privately Ludendorff knew that the initiative on the Western Front had passed from the Germans to the Allies.  What the Allies would do with that initiative would soon be revealed to Ludendorff.

5

Ten Years of TAC: PopeWatch: Worst Pope Since Alexander VI

(The American Catholic will observe its tenth anniversary in October.  We will be reposting some classic TAC posts of the past.  This post is from September 24, 2015.)

 

shapiro-pope-1

Pope Yammers Full Paragraphs About Immigration, Dialogue with Cuba, and Global Warming; Mentions Protecting the Unborn in a Single Sentence

For some time, I’ve heard conservative Catholics defend the Pope by saying that the left amplifies and celebrates the Pope’s left-leaning cant, but ignores the things that appeal to traditionalists.

The problem with that is that while he does occasionally say things that appeal to traditionalists, he rarely says them, as if he’s obligated to say such things as the cost of getting to talk about what he really wants to talk about, which is Income Inequality and Global Warming.

Today’s performance is further evidence of that.

Yes, he made an allusion to abortion, not daring to speak it by name, and similarly made the vaguest allusion to gay marriage (not actually even taking a stance on it).

Then he yammered for long stretches about Nancy Pelosi’s agenda.

I’ve tried to not speak much about the Pope due to 1, respect for my Catholic readers, 2, my complete lack of knowledge of the sorts of things Popes typically say, and 3, generally not caring, but it seems impossible at this point to continue to indulge the optimistic wishcasting of right-leaning Catholics that Francis is merely “complex” and sometimes “misunderstood.”

I think we understand him just fine.

The left media is not just hallucinating this, or presenting a biased version of the Pope as they wish he were. He is in fact on the left on every single position he’s liturgically permitted to be on the left on.

Posted by: Ace at 02:18 PM
Go here to read the comments.  One of the more bleakly amusing aspects of the current Pontificate is seeing conservative Catholics bend themselves into pretzels in order to deny the obvious:  that except for a handful of issues Pope Francis is a man of the left, and that he is hell-bent in putting the prestige of the Church in service to left wing causes.  Conservative Catholics are used to viewing the popes as champions and it is painful for many of them to openly oppose the Pope.  I was never in their number, but I long hoped that Pope Francis was not as bad as I feared.   He is not as bad as I feared, he is worse.  He is an ignorant man who embraces ideologies and causes that would succeed only in spreading poverty, misery and the triumph of a nihilistic left, followed swiftly by the triumph of Islam.  He is prostituting the office of Peter to join in alliance with people who have nothing but contempt for the Catholic Church.  He is the worst pope the Church has seen since Alexander VI.  I pray that God will grant him either new wisdom or a short papacy.  As for me, I vow to oppose him and to join with other Catholics who share my belief that his election as Pope has been an unmitigated disaster for the Church.
0

On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away

Indiana:  The Mother of Vice Presidents

 

 

 

Something for the weekend.  On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away.  The state song of Indiana since 1913, the song has fallen into obscurity thanks to the popularity of Back Home Again in Indiana, a song often erroneously thought, at least by non-Hoosiers, to be the state song of Indiana.  My family and I will be crossing the mighty Wabash on our way back home today from Gen Con in Indianapolis.

0

Ten Years of TAC: Cardinal Newman’s Rules for Blogging

(The American Catholic will observe its tenth anniversary in October.  We will be reposting some classic TAC posts of the past.  This post is from January 18, 2015.)

 

 

Blogging can be rough amusement.  I will attempt to keep the Definition of a Gentleman written by Cardinal Newman in 1852 in mind as much as I can and still keep the readers of TAC informed and amused.  It is almost as if Newman could perceive blogging over a century and a third before it began, as  his Definition of a Gentleman is, in part, almost a code of behavior for bloggers.  Here are some rules for blogging I have distilled from it:

Bloggers would do well to keep the following in mind:

1.    His great concern being to make every one at their ease and at home. He has his eyes on all his company; he is tender towards the bashful, gentle towards the distant, and merciful towards the absurd.

2.    He never defends himself by a mere retort.

3.    He has no ears for slander or gossip.

4.    He is scrupulous in imputing motives to those who interfere with him, and interprets every thing for the best.

5.    He is never mean or little in his disputes, never takes unfair advantage, never mistakes personalities or sharp sayings for arguments, or insinuates evil which he dare not say out.

6.    From a long-sighted prudence, he observes the maxim of the ancient sage, that we should ever conduct ourselves towards our enemy as if he were one day to be our friend.

7.    He has too much good sense to be affronted at insults.

8.    He is too well employed to remember injuries, and too indolent to bear malice.

9.    He is patient, forbearing, and resigned, on philosophical principles.

10.   If he engages in controversy of any kind, his disciplined intellect preserves him from the blundering discourtesy of better, perhaps, but less educated minds; who, like blunt weapons, tear and hack instead of cutting clean, who mistake the point in argument, waste their strength on trifles, misconceive their adversary, and leave the question more involved than they find it.

11.   He may be right or wrong in his opinion, but he is too clear-headed to be unjust.

12.  He is as simple as he is forcible, and as brief as he is decisive.

13.  He throws himself into the minds of his opponents, he accounts for their mistakes.

14.  He knows the weakness of human reason as well as its strength, its province and its limits.

15.  He will be too profound and large-minded to ridicule religion or to act against it.

16.  He respects piety and devotion; he even supports institutions as venerable, beautiful, or useful, to which he does not assent.

1

3/5

Here then, are those provisions of the Constitution, which the most extravagant defenders of slavery can claim to guarantee a right of property in man. These are the provisions which have been pressed into the service of the human fleshmongers of America. Let us look at them just as they stand, one by one. Let us grant, for the sake of the argument, that the first of these provisions, referring to the basis of representation and taxation, does refer to slaves. We are not compelled to make that admission, for it might fairly apply to aliens — persons living in the country, but not naturalized. But giving the provisions the very worse construction, what does it amount to? I answer — It is a downright disability laid upon the slaveholding States; one which deprives those States of two-fifths of their natural basis of representation. A black man in a free State is worth just two-fifths more than a black man in a slave State, as a basis of political power under the Constitution. Therefore, instead of encouraging slavery, the Constitution encourages freedom by giving an increase of “two-fifths” of political power to free over slave States. So much for the three-fifths clause; taking it at is worst, it still leans to freedom, not slavery; for, be it remembered that the Constitution nowhere forbids a coloured man to vote.

Frederick Douglass, March 26, 1860