0

The Preparer of The Way

[5] There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zachary, of the course of Abia; and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name Elizabeth.

[6] And they were both just before God, walking in all the commandments and justifications of the Lord without blame. [7] And they had no son, for that Elizabeth was barren, and they both were well advanced in years. [8] And it came to pass, when he executed the priestly function in the order of his course before God, [9] According to the custom of the priestly office, it was his lot to offer incense, going into the temple of the Lord. [10] And all the multitude of the people was praying without, at the hour of incense.

11] And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. [12] And Zachary seeing him, was troubled, and fear fell upon him. [13] But the angel said to him: Fear not, Zachary, for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elizabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John: [14] And thou shalt have joy and gladness, and many shall rejoice in his nativity. [15] For he shall be great before the Lord; and shall drink no wine nor strong drink: and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.

[16] And he shall convert many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. [17] And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah; that he may turn the hearts of the fathers unto the children, and the incredulous to the wisdom of the just, to prepare unto the Lord a perfect people.

Luke 1: 5-16

 

 

 

 

Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.

Malachi 3:1

 

2

Fortnight For Freedom: Saint John Fisher

Where are now the kings and princes that once reigned over all the world, whose glory and triumph were lifted up above the earth? Where are now the innumerable company and power of Xerxes and Caesar? Where are the great victories of Alexander and Pompey? Where are now the great riches of Croesus and Crassus? But what shall we say of those who once were kings and governors of this realm?  Where are they now whom we have known and seen in our days in such great wealth and glory that it was thought by many they would never have died, never have been forgotten? They had all their pleasures at the full, both of delicious and good fare, of hawking, hunting, also of excellent horses and stallions, greyhounds and hounds for their entertainment, their palaces well and richly furnished, strongholds and towns without number. They had a great plenty of gold and silver, many servants, fine apparel for themselves and their lodgings. They had the power of the law to proscribe, to punish, to exalt and set forward their friends and loved ones, to put down and make low their enemies, and also to punish by temporal death rebels and traitors. Every man held with them, all were at their command. Every man was obedient to them, feared them, also honored and praised them, everywhere now? Are they not gone and wasted like smoke? Of them it is written in another place, mox ut honorificati fuerint et exaltati, dificientes quemadmodum fumus deficient (when they were in their utmost prosperity and fame, they soon failed and came to nothing, even as smoke does) (Ps. 36:2). St. James compares the vanity of this life to a vapor, and he says it shall perish and wither away as a flower in the hay season. (James 4:15).

Saint John Fisher

When he ascended to the throne of England, Henry VIII was popularly known as the Golden Hope of England.  His father, Henry VII, had never been loved by the people of England:  a miser and a distinctly unheroic figure, no matter what lies Shakespeare would write about him in Richard III.  He had brought the end of the War of the Roses and peace to England, but that was about as much credit his subjects would give the grasping, unlovable Henry Tudor.  His son, by contrast, looked like an Adonis when young, strong and athletic.  He had a sharp mind and had been well-educated, intended, ironically, for a career in the Church before the death of his elder brother Arthur.  He was reputed, correctly, to be pious.  He had considerable charisma in his youth and knew how to make himself loved with a well timed laugh or smile, and loved he was, by the nobles, commons, his wife Katherine and the Church.  Few reigns started more auspiciously than that of Henry, eighth of that name.

By the end of his reign, he was widely despised by most of his subjects.  Called a crowned monster behind his back, his reign had brought religious turmoil to England and domestic strife.  The best known symbols of his reign were the headman’s axe, the stake and the boiling pot, the three instruments by which he had many luckless individuals who roused his fury done to death.

It of course is small wonder for a Catholic to have little love for Henry VIII and his reign, but the distaste for Henry extends well beyond members of the Church.  Winston Churchill, the great English statesman and historian, in his magisterial History of the English Speaking Peoples, has this to say about the executions of Saint Thomas More and Saint John Fisher:

“The resistance of More and Fisher to the royal supremacy in Church government was a heroic stand.  They realised the defects of the existing Catholic system, but they hated and feared the aggressive nationalism which was destroying the unity of Christendom.  They saw that the break with Rome carried with it the risk of a despotism freed from every fetter.  More stood forth as the defender of all that was finest in the medieval outlook.  He represents to history its universality, its belief in spiritual values, and its instinctive sense of otherworldliness.  Henry VIII with cruel axe decapitated not only a wise and gifted counselor, but a system which, though it had failed to live up to its ideals in practice, had for long furnished mankind with its brightest dreams.”

Churchill himself was not noted for being a churchgoer.  When asked if he was a pillar of the Church of England, he quipped that perhaps he could be considered to be a flying butress of the Church, supporting it from outside.  Perhaps this helped give him a certain objectivity regarding Henry VIII.  Here is part of his summing up of Henry’s reign:

“Henry’s rule saw many advances in the growth and the character of the English state, but it is a hideous blot upon his record that the reign should be widely remembered for its executions.  Two Queens, two of the King’s chief Ministers, a saintly bishop, numerous abbots, monks and many ordinary folk who dared to resist the royal will were put to death.  Almost every member of the nobility in whom royal blood ran perished on the scaffold at Henry’s command.  Roman Catholic and Calvinist alike were burnt for heresy and religious treason.  These persecutions, inflicted in solemn manner by officers of the law, perhaps in the presence of the Council or even the King himself, form a brutal seqeul to the bright promise of the Renaissance.  The sufferings of devout men and women among the faggots, the use of torture, and the savage penalties imposed for even paltry crimes, stand in repellant contrast to the enlightened principles of humanism.” 

 

Born in 1469, John Fisher was noted for his great learning, the austerity of his life and his piety.  He was made Bishop of Rochester, the poorest diocese in England, at the personal insistence of Henry VIII in 1504.  Usually this was a stepping stone to ecclesiastical preferment, but Fisher stayed there for 31 years, doubtless because he had the courage to oppose the King whenever he was wrong, and so he did when Henry attempted to divorce Queen Katherine and when he broke with Rome.  Fisher made a strange champion to stand against a King.  He was noted as a scholar throughout Europe, a man of exceeding mildness and friendliness and someone clearly made for peace and contemplation and not for turmoil and strife in public life.  However, for Truth and the Faith Fisher was willing to stand virtually alone with a handful of others, including Saint Thomas More, against his terrifying Sovereign.

 

John Cardinal Fisher was made a Cardinal by Pope Paul III in May of 1535, King Henry stopping the cardinal’s hat from being brought into England and bellowing that he would send Fisher’s head to the Pope.  Tried by a kangaroo court and convicted, the only testimony brought against him was by Richard Rich, a specialist in lying men to the headman’s block.  Fisher was condemned to be hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn.

A public outcry was brewing among the London populace who  saw a parallel between the judicial murder of Fisher and that of his namesake, Saint John the Baptist, who was executed by King Herod Antipas for challenging the validity of Herod’s marriage to his brother’s wife, Herodias. For fear of the mob King Henry commuted the sentence to that of beheading, to be accomplished before 23 June, the Vigil of the feast of the Nativity of St John the Baptist. Fisher’s martyrdom on Tower Hill on 22 June 1535, had the opposite effect from that which King Henry VIII intended as it created yet another parallel with St John the Baptist who was also beheaded; his death also happened on the feast day of Saint Alban, the first martyr of Britain.

Fisher met death with a courage which greatly impressed those present.  His body, on Henry’s orders, was stripped and left on the scaffold until the evening, when it was taken on pikes and thrown naked into a rough grave in the churchyard of All Hallows’ Barking. Two weeks later, his body was laid, fittingly, beside that of Sir Thomas More in the chapel of St Peter ad Vincula within the Tower of London. Fisher’s head was stuck upon a pole on London Bridge, but its lifelike appearance excited so much notice that, after a fortnight, it was thrown into the Thames, its place being taken by that of Sir Thomas More, whose martyrdom, also at Tower Hill, occurred on 6 July.

Tyrants can create Catholic martyrs, Caesar always being the master of imposing death, but it is beyond the power of the State to suppress truth, or liberty, forever.

0

At Last: The Peter Strzok-Lisa Page Texts Video!

Conservative film maker Phelim McAleer strikes again with a dramatization of the texts between the adulterous, Trump hating, FBI agents who were central to the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation and the investigation of the non-existent Russian interference in the 2016 election.  Language advisory as to the video.  A great service Trump has done to the Republic is to reveal just how corrupt and inane so many of our alleged best and brightest are.  These two carry on like lust smitten high schoolers gossiping about how much they hate another class clique.  The Deep State is real, but fortunately the denizens of it are usually farcically incompetent.

 

0

Groucho Marx Interviewing Rod Serling

The things you find on the internet:

Broadcast on Tell it To Groucho, the short-lived successor to You Bet Your Life, on April 2, 1962.  Marx was a born interviewer.  A seventh grade drop out, not unusual at all in his time and place, Marx made up for it by being a compulsive reader and, aided by his lightning wit, could hold his own with the most brilliant of his guests.

22

Cardinal McCarrick

It has come out that Cardinal Theodore McCarrick has been credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor fifty years ago.  What has also come out is that he was in the habit of bedding handsome seminarians and calling them his nephews.  Phil Lawler at Catholic Culture gives us the details:

 

 

Now at last the truth about Cardinal McCarrick’s misconduct has become public knowledge. If my email traffic is any indication, many more stories will soon emerge. But Rod Dreher drives right to the central point in his follow-up column, entitled “Cardinal McCarrick: Everybody Knew.

There’s a bit of exaggeration in that headline, because not “everybody” knew about the cardinal’s homosexual approaches to seminarians. The ordinary people in the pews didn’t know. But those seminarians knew, and the word spread across the clerical grapevine.

Now at last we know, too, that complaints had been lodged against the cardinal. These complaints, we are told, did not involve minors—and that’s all we are told about the complaints, apart from the fact that they were settled. But in light of those complaints, and in light of the many stories involving seminarians, it would be naïve to suggest that the cardinal has now been brought to disgrace because of a single, isolated incident. The seminarians may have been of legal age, but they were not a bishop’s equals. His position gave McCarrick the opportunity to recruit young men and to silence those who rejected his advances, and he abused a sacred trust.

Earlier this week I asked rhetorically why reporters did not follow up on this story years ago, since many journalists were numbered among the “everybody” who knew about Cardinal McCarrick’s homosexual activities. Julia Duin, the longtime religion writer for the Washington Times, has answered my question in a column of her own, recalling that she could not find sources willing to speak on the record, or editors willing to give her the latitude to probe further into the reports. Moreover, she writes, she ran into a wall of silence among Catholics: an unwillingness to discuss a prelate’s misdeeds. “There were priests and laity alike for whom McCarrick’s predilections were an open secret,” she writes, “but no one wanted to go after him.”

Go here to read the rest.  A few questions come to mind.  Why didn’t any of the seminarians who rejected McCarrick’s advances not break one or both of the pervert’s arms?  Why didn’t they go to law enforcement or the media?  For too long the Church, too often, has not been ordaining men but rather craven careerists who will do anything, anything, to protect their phony baloney jobs.  They are not only unworthy of being priests, they are unworthy to be called men.   Clergy tend to be the biggest pack of gossips in the world.  How many knew that McCarrick was a homosexual predator as he steadily went rung by rung up the ladder of ecclesiastical preferment?  This period in Church history was summed up long ago in 2 Peter 2:

17 These people are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. 18 For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. 19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.” 20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. 22 Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,”[g] and, “A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.”

 

14

USCCB Jettisons Fortnight for Freedom

A game among journalists is a headline that would always be true.  I would suggest “USCCB Never Fails to Disappoint”:

 

With the words “religious freedom” becoming ammunition in the ongoing culture wars, Catholic leaders hope a weeklong campaign titled “Serving Others in God’s Love” will shift the focus more toward essential human rights and dignity.

Religious Freedom Week is being led by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and begins on Friday (June 22), the feast day for Thomas More and John Fisher, the 16th-century Catholics martyred for their opposition to King Henry VIII’s split from Rome. The effort was previously a 14-day campaign known as “Fortnight for Freedom” but was shortened, a spokeswoman said, to “provide a more focused period to concentrate attention on this issue.”

The campaign includes support for the federal Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act (H.R. 1881/S. 811), which the church said “would protect the religious liberty of child welfare service providers, including adoption and foster care agencies.” Opponents say it would allow discrimination, particularly against prospective adoptive and foster parents who are LGBT. Both versions of the bill have languished in subcommittees since 2017.

Catholic leaders will also draw attention to religious freedom crises around the world, officials said, as well as to their ability to provide services to undocumented immigrants.

 

Go here to read the rest.  At The American Catholic we will go on with The Fortnight For Freedom.  I am actually relieved that it will no longer be sponsored by the USCCB which often seems to understand freedom about as well as a pig understands penance.

 

 

1

PopeWatch: Separation Anxiety

From the most intentionally humorous Catholic site on the net, A Catholic Misfit:

FT LAUDERDALE, FL – An unidentified US bishop suggested that penalties be put in place for Catholics who help carry out any parish’s Worship Committee policy of separating families during Mass, when children are removed from the congregation for the Liturgy of the Word. He presented the recommendation while speaking Wednesday at the annual spring meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

“Canonical penalties are there in place to heal, not punish,” he said, according to ACMPress. “And therefore, for the good and well-being of these people’s souls, it’s time we take a look at canonical penalties.”

A canonical penalty is defined as a punishment imposed by the church, which could include excommunication. Catholic church laws are outlined in its Code of Canon law.

Others joined the bishop in denouncement of Children’s Liturgy policies, which have been popular since the Second Vatican Council. The unnamed bishop read a statement at the event. “The Church has the discretion in our laws to ensure that young children are not separated from their parents and exposed to irreparable harm and trauma that the Spirit of Vatican II inflicts. Families are the foundational element of our society, and they must be allowed to pray together throughout the entirety of the Mass,” he said. “Separating babies from their mothers during the Liturgy of the Word is not the answer and is immoral.”

The USCCB is not expected to issue a similar statement recommending ‘canonical penalties’ for Catholic pro-abortion politicians.

 

Go here to comment.  PopeWatch was about to call the Vatican when the Pope called him.

“Gringo, I told you I would be calling you again.”

Yes, your holiness.

“What do you think of Mark Shea?”

I’d rather not say your holiness.

“Would he be loyal to me?”

I am sure holiness if you told him to engage in self cannibalism he would immediately reach for a carving knife.

” Good gringo, good, I will be calling you again.”

Seizing my opportunity I asked the Pope about the above story.

“You gringos.  If Christ came tomorrow you would be calling me to ask about how to properly address Him!  I don’t care if you have your brats play in the streets during Mass!”  And with a loud slamming sound the phone audience came to a conclusion.

0

Fortnight For Freedom: Yankee Doodle

Something for the weekend:  Yankee Doodle.

 Originally sung by British officers to disparage American troops who fought beside them in the French and Indian War, it was seized upon by Patriots, given endless lyrics, and cheered the patriot troops and civilians during the eight long years of the Revolution.  After Lexington and Concord it was reported by Massachusetts newspapers that the British were suddenly not as fond of the song:

“Upon their return to Boston [pursued by the Minutemen], one [Briton] asked his brother officer how he liked the tune now, — ‘Dang them,’ returned he, ‘they made us dance it till we were tired’ — since which Yankee Doodle sounds less sweet to their ears.”

James Cagney did an immortal riff on Yankee Doodle in the musical biopic of composer and actor George M. Cohan in Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942):

Yankee Doodle plays in the background as Cagney at the end of the film, entirely impromptu, dances down the White House staircase:

Continue Reading

2

“Maverick” Strikes Again

As I said in 2008, I was voting for Palin:

 

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch today released newly obtained internal IRS documents, including material revealing that Sen. John McCain’s former staff director and chief counsel on the Senate Homeland Security Permanent Subcommittee, Henry Kerner, urged top IRS officials, including then-director of exempt organizations Lois Lerner, to “audit so many that it becomes financially ruinous.”  Kerner was appointed by President Trump as Special Counsel for the United States Office of Special Counsel.

The explosive exchange was contained in notes taken by IRS employees at an April 30, 2013, meeting between Kerner, Lerner, and other high-ranking IRS officials. Just ten days following the meeting, former IRS director of exempt organizations Lois Lerner admitted that the IRS had a policy of improperly and deliberately delaying applications for tax-exempt status from conservative non-profit groups.

Lerner and other IRS officials met with select top staffers from the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee in a “marathon” meeting to discuss concerns raised by both Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) that the IRS was not reining in political advocacy groups in response to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.  Senator McCain had been the chief sponsor of the McCain-Feingold Act and called the Citizens United decision, which overturned portions of the Act, one of the “worst decisions I have ever seen.”

In the full notes of an April 30 meeting, McCain’s high-ranking staffer Kerner recommends harassing non-profit groups until they are unable to continue operating. Kerner tells Lerner, Steve Miller, then chief of staff to IRS commissioner, Nikole Flax, and other IRS officials, “Maybe the solution is to audit so many that it is financially ruinous.” In response, Lerner responded that “it is her job to oversee it all:”

Henry Kerner asked how to get to the abuse of organizations claiming section 501 (c)(4) but designed to be primarily political. Lois Lerner said the system works, but not in real time. Henry Kerner noted that these organizations don’t disclose donors. Lois Lerner said that if they don’t meet the requirements, we can come in and revoke, but it doesn’t happen timely. Nan Marks said if the concern is that organizations engaging in this activity don’t disclose donors, then the system doesn’t work. Henry Kerner said that maybe the solution is to audit so many that it is financially ruinous. Nikole noted that we have budget constraints. Elise Bean suggested using the list of organizations that made independent expenditures. Lois Lerner said that it is her job to oversee it all, not just political campaign activity.

Judicial Watch previously reported on the 2013 meeting.  Senator McCain then issued a statement decrying “false reports claiming that his office was somehow involved in IRS targeting of conservative groups.”   The IRS previously blacked out the notes of the meeting but Judicial Watch found the notes among subsequent documents released by the agency.

Judicial Watch separately uncovered that Lerner was under significant pressure from both Democrats in Congress and the Obama DOJ and FBI to prosecute and jail the groups the IRS was already improperly targeting. In discussing pressure from Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (Democrat-Rhode Island) to prosecute these “political groups,” Lerner admitted, “it is ALL about 501(c)(4) orgs and political activity.”

The April 30, 2013 meeting came just under two weeks prior to Lerner’s admission during an ABA meeting that the IRS had “inappropriately” targeted conservative groups.  In her May 2013 answer to a planted question, in which she admitted to the “absolutely incorrect, insensitive, and inappropriate” targeting of Tea Party and conservative groups, Lerner suggested the IRS targeting occurred due to an “uptick” in 501 (c)(4) applications to the IRS but in actuality, there had been a decrease in such applications in 2010.

On May 14, 2013, a report by Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration revealed: “Early in Calendar Year 2010, the IRS began using inappropriate criteria to identify organizations applying for tax-exempt status” (e.g., lists of past and future donors). The illegal IRS reviews continued “for more than 18 months” and “delayed processing of targeted groups’ applications” in advance of the 2012 presidential election.

 

Go here to read the rest.  McCain was always a member in good standing of the bi-partisan Swamp Party.  His run for President in 2008 was always Kabuki Theater as he spent much of his campaign trying to call off campaigning for “the good of the country” and chiding his supporters for harsh things said about Obama.  His entire career has been spent in sabotaging policies embraced by rank and file Republicans while, in election years, mendaciously embracing those policies.  The completely dishonest “Maverick” is the living, currently, embodiment of why Donald Trump is President.

 

4

Saruman and Leftist Catholics

 

Dave Griffey at Daffey Thoughts has conjectured that some Catholics are signing up with the Left because they view it as the winning side and they wish to be looking into the eventual Christian internment camps rather than looking out from them as prisoners.  There is probably some of that, although I think most Catholic Leftists are simply Leftists first and Catholics fifth or tenth.  However,  raw power is always attractive to fools and knaves and the Church, the human part of it, since it is made up of humans has never lacked plenty in both categories.  That is why it is so important that the Left eventually comes to this Saruman moment:

 

 

Yes we will have peace, when you and all your works have perished — and the works of your dark master to whom you would deliver us. You are a liar, Saruman, and a corrupter of men’s hearts. You hold out your hand to me, and I perceive only a finger of the claw of Mordor…. Even if your war on me was just as it was not… even so, what will you say of your torches in Westfold and the children that lie dead there? And they hewed Háma’s body before the gates of the Hornburg, after he was dead. When you hang from a gibbet at your window for the sport of your own crows, I will have peace with you and Orthanc…. A lesser son of great sires am I, but I do not need to lick your fingers. Turn elsewhither. But I fear your voice has lost its charm.’

No truck or truce with the contemporary Left.

 

 

1

How Science Works–Some Case Studies*

“Man is not born to solve the problem of the universe, but to find out where the problem begins and then restrain himself within the limits of the comprehensible.”
—J.W. von Goethe, as quoted in The Homiletic Review”

Many leftists complain that conservatives/Republicans/Trump followers are “anti-science.”  I am puzzled by this, since most of the complainants are scientific illiterates and innumerates (e.g. Al Gore, Hillary Clinton, and-alas-some in the Catholic hierarchy).   In a spirit of “educate your enemies,” I thought to proffer an article on how science does work, so that these advocates might then give more constructive criticisms.

The Lakatos “Research Programme” for Science

If you were to do a man-in-the-street survey, asking “How does science work?” you’ll get many different answers.  Here are some from an adult education class I taught on “Science and the Church” (actually, I supplied the last two answers):

  • Finding theories to explain everything;
  • Formulating a hypothesis, testing the hypothesis by experiment;
  • Finding an unusual experimental result, formulating a theory to explain the result;
  • Finding a theory that will explain a body of experimental knowledge;
  • Finding theories that could be proved false by suitable experiments;
  • Finding which theories are the most elegant and are also consistent with experimental results;
  • Depends on a scientist’s presuppositions and assumptions;
  • Is “reductionist”, i.e. attempts to reduce phenomena and the objects comprising these phenomena to the smallest components and the scientific laws governing the action of these components: for example, intelligence can be reduced to biochemical and electrical events on the molecular level;
  • Establishes a research program consisting of a network of hypotheses and experimental data: core theory, based on inner core principles, linked to secondary theories and results (Lakatos’ scientific research programme—see below).

The correct answer is “all the above,” depending on the scientist and his/her research focus.  However, I believe the last answer, the Lakatos Scientific Research Program,, illustrated in the feature image, gives the best, the most complete description of how science is carried out.  This  “Scientific Research Programme” can be thought of as a sphere:

  •  An inner core of fundamental principles--not theories, but principles to which theories have to adhere; these principles are assumed, because they seem obvious and confirmed generally by our experience:  for example, The First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics. But, as we’ll see below, there are  occasions when these fundamental principles are modified or violated.
  • A shell of primary or fundamental theoriessurrounds this core of fundamental principles (e.g. thermodynamics, general relativity, quantum mechanics).
  • Other shells representing auxiliary theoriessurround this shell of fundamental theories; such auxiliary theories are derived from the primary theories and other auxiliary theories; MRI, chemical bonding, heat transfer are examples of  such auxiliary theories.
  • Finally  there is an outermost shell of experimental facts or data.   The interplay between the shells and core that shows how science works is described in the diagram below and illustrated  below by several examples.

In this diagram the inner core principles are linked to fundamental and auxiliary theories, as shown by the black arrows.   There is feedback from data to theories,  as shown by the red arrows.   There is even feedback from data and fundamental theories to inner core principles, as shown by the red arrows.

Examples of how the Lakatos scheme works are given below.

HOW DOES SCIENCE WORK?  CASE STUDIES

History of  Thermodynamics: Count Rumford: Cannon Boring —> Heat Not Conserved.

Count Rumford’s Cannon-Boring Experiment–Making Water Boil

In 1798 Benjamin Thompson, Count Rumford, submitted a  paper to the Royal Society about his experiments in which boring a cannon could make water boil, and boring with a blunt instrument produced more heat than with a sharp one (more friction with the blunt).     The experiments showed that  repeated boring on the same cannon continued to produce heat, so clearly heat was not conserved and therefore could not be a material substance.

This experiment disproved the then prevalent theory of heat, that it was a fluid transmitted from one thing to another, “the caloric.”  The results validated another theory of heat, the kinetic theory,in which heat was due to the motion of atoms and molecules. However the kinetic theory, despite Rumford’s groundbreaking experiment, still did not hold sway until years later, after James Joule showed in 1845 that work could be quantitatively converted into heat.

History of Thermodynamics: James Joule: Work—>Heat

Diagram of Joule’s Apparatus for Measuring the Mechanical Equivalent of Heat
from Wikimedia Commons

As the weight falls, the potential energy of the weight is converted into work done (a paddle stirs the water in the container against a frictional force due to water viscosity).   The temperature rise corresponding to a given fall of weights (work done) yields the amount of heat rise (in calories) of the known mass of water.   Since the temperature rise is very small, the measurements have to be very accurate.

It took 30 to 50 years after Joule’s definitive experiment (and subsequent refinements and repetitions) for the kinetic theory of heat—heat caused by random, irregular motion of atoms and molecules–to be fully accepted by the scientific community.   James Clerk Maxwell published in 1871 a paper,  “Theory of Heat”. This comprehensive treatise and advances in thermodynamics convinced scientists  finally to accept that heat was a form of energy related to the kinetic energy (the energy of motion) of the atoms and molecules in a substance.

Contemporary Science: Experimental Tests of Fundamental Theories

Links are given below to examples of modern experimental tests of  ground-breaking primary and secondary theories in various fields of science.  (Some are discussed below in more detail and in other Essays.)

HOW DOES SCIENCE WORK? APPLYING THE LAKATOS SCHEME

Rumford and Joule’s  Experiments on Heat and Work

The core principle involved in the caloric theory of heat was the conservation of caloric (since it was a substance).  Count Rumford’s cannon-boring experiments showed that the more the cannon was bored, the more heat was produced;  therefore the supply of heat in the cannon was inexhaustible and clearly not conserved. A core principle involved in Joule’s experiment is the First Law of Thermodynamics:  conservation of energy, with heat and work as forms of energy.   Note that this conservation principle is linked to the fundamental theory of thermodynamics developed in the middle of the 19th century  and earlier, theories of classical mechanics developed in the 18th century and early 19th century.

Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity and General Theory of Relativity

Einstein’s two theories of relativity are  striking examples of how theory influences  fundamental principle (the red arrow), or perhaps more accurately, how fundamental principles are proposed as a basis for general theories.  His theory, special relativity, introduced the following new general principles:

  • the laws of physics are the same for systems (“frames of reference”) moving at constant velocity (i.e. “inertial systems”);
  • the speed of light (in vacuum) is constant, regardless of the speed of source or receiver;
  • neither energy nor mass is conserved but only mass + energy (from E= mc²)

His general relativity theory introduced the “equivalence principle“, that inertial and gravitational mass are the same.   In every-day terms, this principle says that a person (mass m) in an elevator accelerating upward experiences a force holding him to the floor due to earth’s gravitation, mg, plus a force due to the acceleration of the elevator, ma. This is the same force that the person would experience on a planet where the gravitational acceleration would correspond  to g+a, or in a spaceship accelerating at a rate g+a.  (See Science Background—Physics of Motion,for more about force and acceleration.)

Recently Einstein’s Theory of general relativity has been confirmed again from LIGO measurements of gravity waves.  See “Peeling Back the Onion Layers—Gravitational Waves Detected”for a more detailed account.

Is Parity Conserved?  Right- and Left-handedness

Left- and right-handed molecules (chiral molecules). These amino acids are mirror images of each other. from Wikimedia Commons

 

 

Parity refers to mirror symmetry.  For example,  many organic molecules are either right- or left-handed  (see the illustration above of two amino acids, constituents of proteins:  COOH is the organic acid group, NH2 is an amino group, C is the central carbon, R represents a general group attached to the carbon). Now biological molecules can be chiral either as a whole, or with respect to the constituent parts.  For example, amino acids found in nature are left-handed;  sugars found in nature are right-handed;  DNA as a whole has a right-handed spiral (helix).    The question of why only one kind of handedness for biological molecules came about has fascinated chemists and biologists since the time of Pasteur 150 years ago.  There arerecent theoriesto explain this, but they are to some extent conjectural

Conservation of parity (handedness) had been a fundamental principle of physics  until the late 1950’s, when a proposal to test it for nuclear weak force interactions–e,g, beta decay of Co-60 nuclei–showed that it was violated.  (See here for an expanded story.)   Since that time a conservation principle, CPT symmetry, linking parity (P) with charge (C) and time reversal (T) has been found to hold.

3

PopeWatch: Lying

Hmmm.  Is lying still a sin under the current pontificate?

 

 

ROME, June 21, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Speaking with Reuters in an interview which appeared yesterday, Pope Francis criticized Cardinal Raymond Burke and three other cardinals who joined him in begging the Pope for clarification on key issues of faith. The cardinals used the long-standing ecclesial practice of issuing dubia, or questions to the Pope. There were five such questions altogether. But, according to Reuters the Pope said that “he had heard about the cardinals’ letter criticizing him ‘from the newspapers.’” The Pope knocked the cardinals, saying that it was “a way of doing things that is, let’s say, not ecclesial, but we all make mistakes.”

Cardinal Burke, however, told LifeSiteNews that “The late Cardinal Carlo Caffarra personally delivered the letter containing the dubia to the Papal Residence, and at the same time to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on September 19, 2016, as he also delivered subsequent correspondence of the four Cardinals regarding the dubia.” 

Burke added that, “During the entire time since the presentation of the dubia, there has never been a question about the fact that they were presented to the Holy Father, according to the practice of the Church and with full respect for his office.”

Cardinal Burke suggested that perhaps the Pope misunderstood the reporter’s question. “If the question of the journalist is referring to the formal presentation of the dubia or questions regarding Amoris Laetitia by Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, the late Cardinals Carlo Caffarra and Joachim Meisner, and myself, then Pope Francis must not have understood him,” he said.

The only other living dubia cardinal also responded to the Pope’s accusation in comments to OnePeterFive. Cardinal Walter Brandmuller told Dr. Maike Hickson “The dubia were first published after – I think it was two months – after the Pope did not even confirm their reception. It is very clear that we wrote directly to the Pope and at the same time to the Congregation for the Faith. What should be left that is unclear here?”

Cardinal Burke insisted that, “The presentation of the dubia to the Holy Father was done according to the long-standing practice of the Church, that is, they were presented to the Holy Father without any publication, in order that he could answer them for the good of the whole Church.”

 

Go here to read the rest.  To be fair, it is possible that the Pope is telling the truth.  He may only read newspapers, since he has given precious little evidence during his papacy of reading much of anything else.

0

Fortnight For Freedom: A New Nationality

 

 

“We’ve spawned a new race here Mr. Dickenson, rougher, simpler, more violent, more enterprising, less refined. We’re a new nationality. We require a new nation.”

Benjamin Franklin, 1776

 

 

 

 

He started off in a low voice, though you could hear every word. They say he could call on the harps of the blessed when he chose. And this was-just as simple and easy as a man could talk.
But he didn’t start out by condemning or reviling.

He was talking about the things that make a country a country, and a man a man.  And he began with the simple things that everybody’s known and felt-the freshness of a fine morning when you’re young, and the taste of food when you’re hungry, and the new day that’s every day when you’re a child. He took them up and he turned them in his hands. They were good things for any man. But without freedom, they sickened. And when he talked of those en-slaved, and the sorrows of slavery, his voice got like a big bell. He talked of the early days of America and the men who had made those days. It wasn’t a spread-eagle speech, but he made you see it. He admitted all the wrong that had ever been done. But he showed how, out of the wrong and the right, the suffering and the starvations, something new had come. And everybody had played a part in it, even the traitors.

Stephen Vincent Benet, The Devil and Daniel Webster

 

12

Charles Krauthammer: Resquiescat in Pace

I have been uncharacteristically silent these past ten months. I had thought that silence would soon be coming to an end, but I’m afraid I must tell you now that fate has decided on a different course for me.

In August of last year, I underwent surgery to remove a cancerous tumor in my abdomen. That operation was thought to have been a success, but it caused a cascade of secondary complications — which I have been fighting in hospital ever since. It was a long and hard fight with many setbacks, but I was steadily, if slowly, overcoming each obstacle along the way and gradually making my way back to health.

However, recent tests have revealed that the cancer has returned. There was no sign of it as recently as a month ago, which means it is aggressive and spreading rapidly. My doctors tell me their best estimate is that I have only a few weeks left to live. This is the final verdict. My fight is over.

I wish to thank my doctors and caregivers, whose efforts have been magnificent. My dear friends, who have given me a lifetime of memories and whose support has sustained me through these difficult months. And all of my partners at The Washington Post, Fox News, and Crown Publishing.

Lastly, I thank my colleagues, my readers, and my viewers, who have made my career possible and given consequence to my life’s work. I believe that the pursuit of truth and right ideas through honest debate and rigorous argument is a noble undertaking. I am grateful to have played a small role in the conversations that have helped guide this extraordinary nation’s destiny.

I leave this life with no regrets. It was a wonderful life — full and complete with the great loves and great endeavors that make it worth living. I am sad to leave, but I leave with the knowledge that I lived the life that I intended.

Charles Krauthammer, June 8, 2018

 

 

Charles Krauthammer has died at age 68.  He met his death from cancer with the courage that one would expect from someone confined to a wheel chair from the age of 22 by a diving accident, and who went on to live a life full enough for ten able bodied men.  A psychiatrist by training, for decades he was a public intellectual in the best sense:  a man of endless intellectual curiosity who came to his opinions based upon a dispassionate analysis of the evidence.  I often disagreed with his opinions, but I recognized that he brought a powerful intellect to the issues of the day and a profound sense of fairness.  He made a slow trajectory from the political left to the political right, but he always retained a sense of humor and a desire to understand the positions of his adversaries.

In a time of ranters and frauds, Krauthammer was a true gentleman and a true scholar, and I will miss him.  He defined himself religiously as a skeptical Jew, but he also had this to say of atheism:

“Atheism is the least plausible of all theologies. I mean, there are a lot of wild ones out there, but the one that clearly runs so contrary to what is possible, is atheism”. 

 

May God have been gentle with him when he came to his particular judgment.  Prayers for him, for his one and only wife, and his son, and for the world which is poorer by his passing.  Although he spent his adult life in a wheel cheer, when the Grim Reaper came for him I am sure that Mr. Krauthammer met him standing on his feet.

 

 

31

Mark Shea: Ever the Voice of Reason

Why in God’s name did I ever worry for one second that I had alienated the sons of bitches who are now smugly justifying the torture of children at the border as the will of God? Why did I ever spend a second of my time trying to show such monsters that I was a Catholic in good standing and up to their discriminating standards? Why in God’s name should I ever care what they think about any moral, theological, or spiritual question ever again?

I’m more Catholic than I’ve ever been in my life. Not a particularly *good* Catholic mind you. But a deeply convinced one. And when I look at the pack of nihilist predators–posing as better Catholics than the pope and bishops and all the saints and martyrs–spitting in the faces of the least of these and whoring after this Mob Boss as he takes children hostage for his God-damned wall I feel ashamed that I ever let this mob of devil worshippers push me around.

#Donewiththesethugs

 

Go here to read the rest.  For Mark Shea it has always been about Mark Shea.

 

Update:  Hattip to commenter Nate Winchester.  Just when you think Mark has hit rock bottom, go here to witness him praising NARAL (National Abortion Rights Action League), the most radical pro-abort group because, although they are all in favor of separating kids in utero from their moms, they are quite happy to also bash Trump over the fake controversy at the southern border.  Any Catholic groups who hire Shea for any purpose other than to serve as a bad example are insane.

6

For the Left it is Politics 24-7

Men are so simple, and so subject to present necessities, that he who seeks to deceive will always find someone who will allow himself to be deceived.

Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince

 

 

 

Dave Griffey at Daffey Thoughts explains that almost all the furor about detaining parents of kids who chose to try to illegally cross over into the US, instead of filing petitions for asylum at a port of entry, was basically caused by Leftists being Leftists:

 

It looks like President Trump has shifted gears. I have no idea what the details mean.  I know that there has been tremendous pressure on this in the last week or so, as it’s been compared to Trump’s Katrina, the Holocaust, Japanese Internment Camps, Slavery and Genocide.  Everyone has jumped on the bandwagon, and conservatives, non-liberals as well as those on the Left have declared it a grave evil that cries out to heaven for vengeance and makes America into the new Nazi Germany.

Now, something happened yesterday morning that got me to thinking, as I am wont to do.  The local news interviewed the daughter of an undocumented immigrant (the mom’s name being Edith Espinal) who has been fighting deportation.  I say undocumented because the daughter wore a tee shirt that proudly boasted of the status (Memo: must remind my boys that they are white, traditional, Christian men; if they break the law they cannot wear a tee shirt flaunting the fact).  Anyway, the daughter was interviewed because she had been separated from her father and separately detained when they came into the country (I guess to join her Mom – I don’t know the details).  Apparently her father even came into the country legally.

Anyway, she painted a pretty bleak picture of what the kids were going through down near the border.  She said her heart broke, sort of like Rachel Maddow’s.  She felt their pain and was going to work overtime to make sure immigration reform happened because of this and many other reasons.  After all, she had been there.  Oh, and it’s worth noting that it was 2014 when her detainment went down.

And that’s what caught me.  She had this happen to her, by her own words recorded on our local news station – in 2014.  The focus, of course, was on her sympathies and experiences being detained.  I don’t know if anyone noticed the date.

I’m no great math person, but it seems like that’s not when Trump was president.  The press has spent a week calling Trump a liar, but I’ll be damned if I can figure out what he has lied about (with this at least).  The first impression was that he lied when he blamed Democrats, saying it was their bill, when it wasn’t.  But apparently there was a law that the Dems passed.  Then it seemed to be he was lying when he said this had been done before.  But apparently,  unless the girl interviewed is a liar, it has been done before.  Then it seemed they were saying he lied about having to actually do such a thing.  After all, it’s only a law, who says he has to enforce it?

I admit it’s Trump, so I’m willing to accept that he has said something that is demonstrably false.  The problem is, this is reported by the press that long ago taught me to believe it can be just as willing to stretch, twist and manipulate the truth, sometimes to the point of saying false things, as Trump ever was.  So I’m listening to one agency I don’t trust insist I must doubt a president I seldom believe.  Such is America, c. 2018.

But back to the girl.  So obviously this has been happening for some time.  According to a CBS report, the number of children separated from their parents is skyrocketing, though it admitted this has happened before now.  And yet, I never heard a thing.  Didn’t know it had happened.  I heard a few people fuss about Obama deporting immigrants back in the day, but no real comparisons to Auschwitz or calls to ban CNN for not calling him out.

You know, it almost seems like this outrage, this comparison to the pits of Hell, Himmler, the Holocaust, the Killing Fields, the Gulags, and any other horror as commentators, pundits, news anchors and delivery truck drivers all break down in tears over the unprecedented suffering of this is, well, fake. Just thespians playing their parts.

I mean, the young girl interviewed has been interviewed multiple times.  She was quite the local news celebrity last year and earlier this year when it sounded like her mom might be deported.  Her whole family, and the church that granted sanctuary, were quite the celebrities. And yet I heard nothing about her plight four years ago. Just like I heard almost nothing about the plight of many immigrants four years ago.  Or two years ago.  Or a year and a half ago.

But all of a sudden, it’s nothing other than the Great War of Satan.  It’s the death camps all over again.  We can barely mention it without our eyes discharging gallons of lachrymal fluids.  Why now? Why all of a sudden?  I mean, immigrants have had a bad way of it for some time.  They die during the journey.  Their children are harmed, raped and abused.  They starve and perish.  They’ve been separated and detained and deported before now.  Sometimes the press covered it over the last eight years.  Almost never do I remember a news anchor breaking down in tears.  I don’t remember Democrats storming the White House and asking Obama about his family.

I’m sorry, but as I consider the thousands dead from AIDS every year that are never mentioned; when I consider the fact that the biggest killer of black Americans is black Americans, but you’d never know it since it’s never mentioned; when I think of all the murder victims that aren’t killed by guns, or those cases where gun owners prevent murderous rampages and yet are seldom covered; and when I consider the fact that immigration has been a problem for decades, immigrants have suffered for decades, and we’ve been deporting and detaining them for years without nary a news anchor having an emotional breakdown, I can’t help but think it’s all just a big act.

I get creeped out thinking that the Left doesn’t give a rip about anyone, poor, minority or otherwise, unless their suffering is able to benefit the Left.  I know that sounds harsh, and I hope I’m wrong.  But sometimes you have to settle for the simplest explanation.  Trying to explain all of this in other terms just doesn’t seem to cover all the points.  It certainly would explain why, in the midst of the tears over the suffering of women and children, nobody seems to care about a well known celebrity calling for women and children to be beaten and tortured.  Then it all makes sense.

 

Go here to comment.  Always remember that for almost all Leftists it all comes down to a naked struggle for power.  Issues to them, with perhaps an exception for their sacred rite of abortion, are simply for them rungs on the ladder to achieve power.  Trump is a political enemy so they raised a hysteria about the phony issue of kids being separated from parents.  Obama was a political ally, so virtually nothing was heard of this issue during his eight years in office.  Machiavelli in the next world, is, no doubt, taking notes for The Prince, volume II.

10

PopeWatch: Open Borders

No left wing crusade these days is complete without a papal blessing:

In a new interview with Reuters, Pope Francis backed the U.S. bishops’ opposition to the separation of migrant children from their parents at the Mexican border, calling the move “immoral” and “contrary to Catholic values.”

“I am on the side of the bishops’ conference,” the pope said, referring to statements made by U.S. bishops earlier this month.

Francis’ comment was made in reference to the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy on immigration, which was rolled out in May and, among other things, enforces the separation of children from parents who have been detained by border officials.

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. bishops conference, issued a statement at during their bi-annual meeting in Houston last week criticizing the enforcement of separating migrant families at the Mexican border, saying “separating babies from their mothers is not the answer and is immoral.”

He said later the bishops would consider the possibility of sending a delegation to the U.S.-Mexico border to see the detention centers for themselves and offer solidarity for incoming migrants and refugees.

“Let it be clear that in these things, I respect [the position of] the bishops conference,” Pope Francis said in the interview with Reuters.

Go here to read the rest.  Now that Trump has signed an executive order requiring that parents seeking asylum reside with their children, we will see the illegal aliens’ lobby combating the administration’s attempt to overturn the Flores Decree to allow holding the kids until the government has ruled on their parents’ petitions for asylum.  This has always been about the attempt by Leftists to cause a renewal of the policy of catch and release and has zip to do with kids.  That our Pope is on the side of the illegal aliens and their advocates, and repeat their mendacious talking points, should come as no surprise to any sentient Catholic.

 

3

Fortnight for Freedom: Getting in Bed With Caesar

If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.

Sam Adams, August 1, 1776

(This is a repeat from last year.  I can’t improve upon it, except for minor changes that I have made.)

The American Catholic is proud to participate in this year’s Fortnight For Freedom.  The Fortnights were started in 2012 by the bishops of this country in response to the unprecedented assault on religious liberty posed by the Obama administration, to remind Catholics of the preciousness of their inheritance of freedom as Americans and Catholics and the necessity of standing up to threats to it.  All well and good, and a very worthy cause indeed.  However, the leadership of the Church appears to be schizophrenic on this subject.  While Caesar seeks to limit the freedom of the Church, too many ecclesiastics respond by wanting to get into bed with Caesar.

The examples of this are legion.

It was the policy of the Church to aid the Obama administration in flouting the immigration laws of this country, acting as a virtual arm of the State in sheltering illegal aliens.  Thank heavens that administration is now one with Nineveh and Tyre.  However, the eagerness of the Bishops to join in with the ginned up hysteria over children separation among illegal aliens at the border indicates that the Bishops have only contempt for the immigration laws of the United States.

The Church was all in favor of Obamacare, until the Obama administration targeted the Church with the contraceptive mandate.

The Green Encyclical, Laudato Si, released in 2015, is one long demand for Caesar to engage in an immense power grab, and regulate business and citizens to fight a mythical global warming threat.

The Vatican is a cheerleader of UN activities that spell a mortal danger to economic freedom in the West.

The Church through the Catholic Campaign for Human Development funds hundreds of left wing pressure groups to call for ever bigger government, and, inevitably, further restrictions on freedom.

Welfare States require huge amounts of tax money and huge amounts of government power.  The default position of the Church today when confronting any need traditionally filled by private or Church charity, is to scream for Caesar to come fix things.  This bastardized parody of the social teachings of the Church inevitably comes back to bite the Church as Caesar will always exact a price for his favors and under the Obama administration that price was for the Church to bend the knee to contraception, abortion and gay marriage.  For all too many of our shepherds that was a small price to pay to keep the government largess flowing.  There is a reason why Christ whipped the money changers from the Temple and why He uttered the phrase to render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.   These days the Church too often seems willing to bow the knee to Caesar, no matter what Caesar demands, so long as the funds from Caesar keep flowing. Continue Reading

0

Ten Years of TAC: The Ten Commandments of the Science Fiction Writer

(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 26, 2013.)

 

 

My co-blogger Darwin has a good post at his blog, Darwin Catholic, expressing his irritation at three laws proposed by the late science fiction writer Arthur Clarke.  Go here to read it.  The proposing of laws seems to often go with the territory of being a science fiction writer.  Asimov had his laws of robotics, for example.  Reading Darwin’s post propelled me into imagining the ten commandments for science fiction writers, and here they are:

 

 

1.  You are a science fiction writer, and will write only science fiction:  no fantasy, no (spit) urban fantasy, no (gag) romance novels disguised as fantasy.  This rule is subject to being overruled if you really, really need the cash.

2.  You will not bow down to the idols of popular taste or to what will sell in the mass market.  Kindle and e-publishing will have your sole worship.

3.  You will not take the name of science in vain and have more than three scientific absurdities in each story that you write.

4.  All the rest of creation labors for only six days.  For science fiction writing wretches remember the words of Heinlein:  “Six days shalt thou work and do all thou art able; the seventh the same, and pound on the cable.

5.  Honor your father and your mother as they may well be the ones supporting you as you seek fame and fortune by scribbling endlessly for a living.

6.  You shall not murder other science fiction writers who shamelessly steal your ideas.  You may think about murdering them however quite a bit.

7.  You shall not commit adultery with other literary genres, unless you really, really need the money.  See the first commandment.

8.  You shall not steal ideas from hack writers.  Stealing ideas from good writers is permissible so long as you have plausible deniability.

9.  You shall not bear false witness against other writers, even if they have it coming.  (Well maybe a little bit, if they really, really have it coming.)

10. You will not covet anything that more successful writers have that you do not.  You write only to express yourself and not to gain financial riches!  (Everyone can now stop laughing.)

1

Public Service Announcement

Amazon Prime now has all five seasons of the best science fiction series ever broadcast:  Babylon 5.

 

 

Bester: Would it interest you to know that I’m married, Mr. Garibaldi? That I have a five-year-old daughter? That on Sundays when I’m back home, we pack a picnic lunch and go out under the dome on Syria Planum and watch the stars come out? Hardly the description of a monster.
Michael Garibaldi: [applauds sarcastically] Smooth! You’re getting good at this. Keep working on it, and one of these days I might even be convinced that you’re human.

My bride has been binge listening to the series while working at her computer.  As always, she has impeccable taste.

 

2

June 20, 1985: Medal of Freedom for the Saint of the Gutters

We are misunderstood, we are misrepresented, we are misreported. We are not nurses, we are not doctors, we are not teachers, we are not social workers. We are religious, we are religious, we are religious.

 

Mother Teresa

A third of a century ago President Reagan awarded Saint Teresa of Calcutta the Medal of Freedom:

The President. This great house receives many great visitors, but none more special or more revered than our beloved guest today. A month ago, we awarded the Medal of Freedom to 13 heroes who have done their country proud. Only one of the recipients could not attend because she had work to do — not special work, not unusual work for her, but everyday work which is both special and urgent in its own right. Mother Teresa was busy, as usual, saving the world. And I mean that quite literally. And so we rather appreciated her priorities, and we’re very happy, indeed, that she could come to America this week.

Now, a moment ago, I said we’d awarded the Medal of Freedom to heroes who’ve done our country proud. And I believe Mother Teresa might point out here that she is most certainly not an American but a daughter of Yugoslavia, and she has not spent her adult life in this country but in India. However, it simply occurred to us when we wanted to honor her that the goodness in some hearts transcends all borders and all narrow nationalistic considerations.

Some people, some very few people are, in the truest sense, citizens of the world; Mother Teresa is. And we love her so much we asked her to accept our tribute, and she graciously accepted. And I will now read the citation.

Most of us talk about kindness and compassion, but Mother Teresa, the saint of the gutters, lives it. As a teenager, she went to India to teach young girls. In time, Mother Teresa began to work among the poor and the dying of Calcutta. Her order of the Missionaries of Charity has spread throughout the world, serving the poorest of the poor.

Mother Teresa is a heroine of our times. And to the many honors she has received, including the Nobel Peace Prize, we add, with deep affection and endless respect, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

[At this point, the President presented the award to Mother Teresa.]

May I say that this is the first time I’ve given the Medal of Freedom with the intuition that the recipient might take it home, melt it down and turn it into something that can be sold to help the poor. [Laughter]

And I want to thank you for something, Mother Teresa. Your great work and your life have inspired so many Americans to become personally involved, themselves, in helping the poor. So many men and women in every area of life, in government and the private sector, have been led by the light of your love, and they have given greatly of themselves. And we thank you for your radiant example. Continue Reading

5

PopeWatch: Bilderberger

This papacy is the gift that keeps on giving to conspiracy theorists,  Edward Pentin explains:

 

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, accepted an invitation to address the controversial and secretive Bilderberg Meeting earlier this month in order to take the teaching of the Church to a group who would not otherwise hear it, a Vatican official has told the Register.

The Vatican official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Italian organizers of the visit were persistent in extending an invitation to the most senior Vatican official after Pope Francis to this year’s event, which took place June 7-10 in Turin, Italy. 

“The cardinal decided to take part after the Italian organizers very insistently invited him to the meeting six months ago,” the official explained. “He thought about it for a long time and, after consulting the necessary people, he decided to go.” 

Key topics for discussion at the 66th Meeting included “populism in Europe,” “the inequality challenge,” and “the ‘post-truth’ world.” 

Founded in 1954 at the Hotel de Bilderberg in Oosterbeek, Netherlands, the Bilderberg Meeting has drawn controversy for its secretive nature and alleged globalist agenda, one that critics say is pushing for open borders and a one world government. 

But the organizers convey a more benign organization in which politicians, businessmen, academics and the media can come together to “foster dialogue between Europe and North America” about major issues facing the world. 

The meetings are held under the Chatham House Rule, which states that participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of any participant may be revealed.

The organization, currently chaired by French businessman Henri de Castries, argues that the private nature of the meeting means the participants “are not bound by the conventions of their office or by pre-agreed positions.” This allows them “take time to listen, reflect and gather insights,” it says, and so there is “no desired outcome.”

 

Go here to read the rest.  Perhaps The Simpsons give us the best commentary on this pontificate:

 

9

Nine Rules of Chris Pratt

No. 1: Breathe. If you don’t, you will suffocate.

No. 2: You have a soul. Be careful with it.

No. 3: Don’t be a turd. If you are strong, be a protector. If you are smart, be a humble influencer. Strength and intelligence can be weapons, so do not wield them against the weak. That makes you a bully. Be bigger than that.

No. 4: When giving a dog medicine, put the medicine in a little piece of hamburger and they won’t even know they’re eating medicine.

No. 5: It doesn’t matter what it is. Earn it. A good deed. Reach out to someone in pain. Be of service. It feels good and it’s good for your soul.

No. 6: God is real. God loves you. God wants the best for you. Believe that; I do.

No. 7: If you have to poop at a party, but you’re embarrassed because you’re going to stink up the bathroom, just do what I do. Lock the door, sit down, get all of the pee out first. And then, once all the pee is done, poop, flush, boom! You minimize the amount of time that the poop’s touching the air. Because if you poop first, it takes you longer to pee and then you’re peeing on top of it, stirring up the poop particles, create a cloud, goes out, then everyone at the party will know that you pooped. Just trust me, it’s science.

No. 8: Learn to pray. It’s easy, and it is so good for your soul.

No. 9: Nobody is perfect. People will tell you that you are perfect just the way that you are, you are not! You are imperfect. You always will be, but there is a powerful force that designed you that way, and if you are willing to accept that, you will have grace. And grace is a gift, and like the freedom that we enjoy in this country that grace was paid for with somebody else’s blood. Do not forget that. Don’t take that for granted.

Most contemporary actors and actresses are wastelands intellectually and spiritually.  Chris Pratt, of Guardians of the Galaxy fame, may be something more.

 

3

Suffer the Little Children

Those who selectively use the Bible to justify this cruelty are ignoring a central tenet of Christianity. Jesus said, ‘Suffer the little children unto me’; he did not say, ‘Let the children suffer.’”

Hillary Clinton, June 18, 2018

 

“I will defend Planned Parenthood. I will defend Roe v. Wade, and I will defend women’s rights to make their own health care decisions.”

 

Hillary Clinton, October 18, 2016

5

The Obesity Code

I wanted to take a moment and share information on a new book I just finished called The Obesity Code by Dr. Jason Fung. It was recommended to me not because I struggle with my weight, but because I deal with analytical problem solving for a living. The book gets into cause & effect confusion about weight gain. The author’s logic, and years of available data on diet and exercise, supports his theory that excessive weight gain is not about calories-in vs. calories-out (so just eat less and move more). It’s really about what you eat and when.

Eating refined carbohydrates and sugar throughout the day, like cereals, pasta, breads and other baked goods, plus the occasional carbs-based or sweet snacks, causes high blood insulin. Sugar includes not only the stuff you put in your coffee, but any processed sugar like corn syrup, which is a main ingredient in many processed foods. Natural sugars, like in fruit, are not as bad because they are consumed with fiber. There is a whole chapter dedicated to the benefits of fiber as a kind of sugar antidote. And by the way, carbohydrates are just a kind of hidden sugar.

Any food will increase your blood insulin, but highly refined carbohydrates and sugar act like highly refined drugs; they get into the blood quickly and efficiently, so the body reacts by spiking-up blood insulin. Over time, high blood insulin causes insulin resistance in your cells, which prevents them from using the energy from the carbs/sugar efficiently. This in turn can trigger strong cravings, so you’ll eat more carbs/sugar (a vicious circle).

So per the book, it’s actually insulin that is the driving force behind the nation’s obesity problem, not the number of calories we eat or lack of exercise. And the history of obesity in this country mirrors the increased availability of highly processed carbs and sugar. According to the author, there are two keys to losing a lot of excess weight permanently. One is to greatly reduce carbs, sugar and eliminate snacking. The second key involves periods of fasting. It was interesting when the book got into data about fasting, and how it can break the body’s insulin resistance and help lower a person’s body-weight “thermostat”.

On a spiritual note, the author acknowledged the wisdom of any religion that promotes fasting because of the clear physical benefits, aside from the spiritual benefits. You’d have to read the book for details, but the fasting the author speaks of is more intense than what Catholics might do on Good Friday or Ash Wednesday. I suppose one could say it’s about breaking a food addiction.

To make the thinking “visible”, I put some of this information into what I like to call a troubleshooting triangle that looks like this:

Here’s a simple example…

Conventional wisdom would say the problem of obesity looks like this, but this is greatly flawed per the Obesity Code and has been leading people astray for many years.…

The problem is actually like this…

If you or someone you know struggles with obesity, you might want to check out the book. I think it’s revolutionary in my humble, yet professional opinion.

3

Quotes Suitable For Framing: Vera Brittain

 

 

 

One day) I was leaving quarters to go back to my ward, when I had to wait to let a large contingent of troops march past me… Though the sight of soldiers marching was now too familiar to arouse curiosity, an unusual quality of bold vigour in their swift stride caused me to stare at them with puzzled interest.

They looked larger than ordinary men; their tall straight figures were in vivid contrast to the undersized armies of pale recruits to which we were grown accustomed…Had yet another regiment been conjured out of our depleted Dominions? I wondered, watching them move with such rhythm, such dignity, such serene consciousness of self-respect. But I knew the colonial troops so well, and these were different: they were assured where the Australians were aggressive, self-possessed where the New Zealanders were turbulent.

Then I heard an excited exclamation from a group of Sisters behind me, “Look! Look! Here are the Americans!”

I pressed forward with the others to watch the United States physically entering the War, so god-like, so magnificent, so splendidly unimpaired in comparison with the tired, nerve-wracked men of the British Army. So these were our deliverers at last, marching up the road to Camiers in the spring sunshine! … The coming of relief made me realize all at once how long and how intolerable had been the tension, and with the knowledge that we were not, after all, defeated, I found myself beginning to cry.

Vera Brittain, Testament of Youth

10

PopeWatch: Irish Hospitals

Well this was predictable:

 

Publicly-funded hospitals in Ireland will be required to perform abortions, even if they are Catholic and morally opposed to the procedure, the nation’s prime minister announced this week.

A survey on GPBuddy.ie, an online medical directory for Irish healthcare professionals, found that nearly 70 percent of general practitioners say they are unwilling to perform abortions.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar clarified to the Dáil (Irish Parliament) on Monday that individual medical professionals will be able to opt out of performing abortions, but entire hospitals will not be able to do so, now that abortion is being legalized in the country.  

“It will not, however, be possible for publicly-funded hospitals, no matter who their patron or owner is, to opt out of providing these necessary services, which will be legal in this state once this legislation is passed by the Dáil and Seanad (senate),” said Varadkar.

He went on to say that “hospitals like for example Holles Street, which is a Catholic voluntary ethos hospital, the Mater, St Vincent’s and others will be required, and will be expected to, carry out any procedure that is legal in this state and that is the model we will follow.”

A “voluntary” hospital in Ireland is one supported by charitable contributions. Healthcare in Ireland is government-funded and free for citizens. Many publicly-funded hospitals have historic ties to the Catholic Church and operate under Catholic ethics.

Go here to read the rest.  Of course the proper response is for the Irish Church to announce that all Catholic Irish hospitals will be closed down rather than participate in any abortions.  The Pope is visiting Ireland in August.  Will he say anything about it, or will he remain ingloriously silent?

1

Intersectionality

One aspect of Leftist politics that has been true since the French Revolution is the tendency of the Left to shatter into hostile factions.  During the French Revolution we have the Jacobins and the Girondins.  The reign of Stalin in the Soviet Union featured a campaign of extermination waged against, almost entirely, Trotskyites wreckers.  In the Spanish Civil War, Anarchists and Communists fought a civil war within the Civil War.  Intersectionality is the attempt to paper over this natural tendency and present a unified front based on shared identity politics grievances.  Short term it is possible to do this, long term such “let’s click our heels and pretend” politics always crashes and burns.

 

28

Think of the Children!

The latest contemptible effort of leftists within and without the Catholic Church to use kids to batter down the borders of the US is put into proper context by Rich Lowry at National Review Online:

 

The Trump administration isn’t changing the rules that pertain to separating an adult from the child. Those remain the same. Separation happens only if officials find that the adult is falsely claiming to be the child’s parent, or is a threat to the child, or is put into criminal proceedings.

It’s the last that is operative here. The past practice had been to give a free pass to an adult who is part of a family unit. The new Trump policy is to prosecute all adults. The idea is to send a signal that we are serious about our laws and to create a deterrent against re-entry. (Illegal entry is a misdemeanor, illegal re-entry a felony.)

When a migrant is prosecuted for illegal entry, he or she is taken into custody by the U.S. Marshals. In no circumstance anywhere in the U.S. do the marshals care for the children of people they take into custody. The child is taken into the custody of HHS, who cares for them at temporary shelters.

The criminal proceedings are exceptionally short, assuming there is no aggravating factor such as a prior illegal entity or another crime. The migrants generally plead guilty, and they are then sentenced to time served, typically all in the same day, although practices vary along the border. After this, they are returned to the custody of ICE.

If the adult then wants to go home, in keeping with the expedited order of removal that is issued as a matter of course, it’s relatively simple. The adult should be reunited quickly with his or her child, and the family returned home as a unit. In this scenario, there’s only a very brief separation.

Where it becomes much more of an issue is if the adult files an asylum claim. In that scenario, the adults are almost certainly going to be detained longer than the government is allowed to hold their children.

That’s because of something called the Flores Consent Decree from 1997. It says that unaccompanied children can be held only 20 days. A ruling by the Ninth Circuit extended this 20-day limit to children who come as part of family units. So even if we want to hold a family unit together, we are forbidden from doing so.

The clock ticking on the time the government can hold a child will almost always run out before an asylum claim is settled. The migrant is allowed ten days to seek an attorney, and there may be continuances or other complications.

This creates the choice of either releasing the adults and children together into the country pending the ajudication of the asylum claim, or holding the adults and releasing the children. If the adult is held, HHS places the child with a responsible party in the U.S., ideally a relative (migrants are likely to have family and friends here).

Even if Flores didn’t exist, the government would be very constrained in how many family units it can accommodate. ICE has only about 3,000 family spaces in shelters. It is also limited in its overall space at the border, which is overwhelmed by the ongoing influx. This means that — whatever the Trump administration would prefer to do — many adults are still swiftly released.

Why try to hold adults at all? First of all, if an asylum-seeker is detained, it means that the claim goes through the process much more quickly, a couple of months or less rather than years. Second, if an adult is released while the claim is pending, the chances of ever finding that person again once he or she is in the country are dicey, to say the least. It is tantamount to allowing the migrant to live here, no matter what the merits of the case.

 

Go here to read the rest.  With thirty six years at the Bar, I find this all vastly amusing.  Kids are separated from parents all the time in legal proceedings:  by criminal proceedings where a parent goes to jail or prison, by juvenile proceedings where a child is placed in juvenile detention,  by intervention by child protective services, by orders of protection usually initiated by one parent against another, by divorce proceedings.  If the idiots who have compared the usually brief separation of parents and kids at the border to actions of the Nazis were serious, there would be much to be outraged over by the way our legal system handles hundreds of thousands of cases each and every day.  Of course these are not serious people, but rather Leftists attempting to use ginned-up outrage to accomplish what they could not accomplish at the ballot box.  That our Bishops in the US have signed on to this unfunny farce says all that needs to be said about our hapless bench of Bishops.

 

Yep, just like a concentration camp if you squint real hard and remove your brains.

7

PopeWatch: Bravo

Now if he had only said something as devastatingly on target as this prior to the Irish abortion vote:

 

“I have heard that it’s fashionable, or at least usual, that when in the first months of pregnancy they do studies to see if the child is healthy or has something, the first offer is: let’s send it away,” Pope Francis was reported as saying.
“I say this with pain. In the last century the whole world was scandalized about what the Nazis did to purify the race. Today we do the same, but now with white gloves.”
Go here to read the rest.
4

The Mother of Father’s Day

 

 

 

One windy March night in the late ’90s, Mr. Smart, a grief-stricken father just returned from burying his wife, sat with bowed head in the front room of this farmhouse in the rolling hills of the Big Bend, near Spokane. Knowing nothing of the finality of death, the children looked toward the door, expecting their mother’s return momentarily. Finally one lad, frantic, rushed out into the snow to seek her in the woods. His father roused himself, went out into the snow to seek the boy, and finding him, brought him back to mother him before the fire. From that moment, he became both mother and father to the six children.

Sonora Smart Dodd, 1942

 

 

 

Sonora Smart Dodd always admired her father.  One of six children, her mother died giving birth to her sixth, and her father, Civil War veteran, he fought on both sides, and farmer, William Jackson Smart, was left to rear the children.  Eldest child, sixteen at her mother’s death, and only daughter, Sonora helped, and the task of raising her five brothers was accomplished in grand style.  Sonora never lost her admiration for her father, and on June 19, 1910 in Spokane, Washington she held the first Father’s Day.  The observance attracted the attention of such luminaries as William Jennings Bryan and Woodrow Wilson, but the date was not officially established until 1966 by Presidential Proclamation as being held on the third Sunday in June.  Sonora Smart Dodd lived to see it, dying in 1978 at age 95.

 

3

Ten Years of TAC: 20 of my Dadisms

(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 August 6, 2012.)

 

Ah, Dadisms, the short hand that many fathers use as they attempt to navigate life with their families.  Here are some of my favorite:

 

 

1.   Clean up this dump!

2.   You are not going outside like that!

3.   When I was young and dinosaurs ruled the earth…

4.   I’m proud of you!

5.   Always get it in writing.

6.   Can’t I trade you in for a new kid?

7.   Because I said so, that’s why!

8.   Did you ask Mom?

9.   Take this twenty, it might come in handy.

10.  Careful, there are lots of loosely wired people out there. Continue Reading

4

Jesuitical 22: Georgetown and Planned Parenthood

Part 22 of my ongoing survey of the follies of many modern day Jesuits.   If anyone doubts that religion of Georgetown University is Leftism rather than Catholicism:

 

 

Georgetown University, America’s oldest Roman Catholic institution of higher learning and located in the U.S. capital of Washington, D.C., actively encouraged visitors to its website to contribute to a vast array of left-wing activist groups in the name of supporting “civil rights.” A page on the website for Georgetown’s law library asked visitors to give to Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice America, the leftist attack dog Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), LGBT law group Lambda Legal, and others.

“One way to resist oppression is to strengthen the organizations that fight against oppressors. You can make a change, even if it’s just an hour a week or a dollar a week. If we all give just a little, it adds up and it keeps our civil rights, our environment — our nation — from being destroyed,” the page, entitled “A Brief History of Civil Rights in the United States,” urged visitors.

The page listed all sorts of left-wing advocacy groups, including the SPLC, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), NARAL, Planned Parenthood, EMILY’s List, and Lambda Legal. It also solicited requests for organizations users “would like to see added to this list.”

 

Go here to read the rest. This is not a one off situation.  Georgetown brought Cecile Richards, the former head of Planned Parenthood, to campus as a speaker back in 2016.  This year pro-abort “Catholic” Democrat Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois received the Timothy S. Healy, SJ award from Georgetown President  John DeGioia who lauded Durbin for devoting “his life to the core Jesuit value of service to others.”   Faithful Catholic parents who send their offspring to places like Georgetown are either innocent dupes or willfully blind.

1

PopeWatch: Mercy Me

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

 

The Vatican announced today that they will be opening a second Year of Mercy.

The initiative is intended to address the crisis in the sacrament of confession and is being called, “The Year of Mercy: A Second Helping.”

“Over half of the confessions in the Church today are invalid because the faithful actually do not believe any of their actions are sinful,” Cardinal Thomas Olvelli explained. “Without an actual sin confessed, the sacrament is invalid.”

“Many penitents find the confessional line burdensome and are not able to wait for confession. That is not mercy,” The Cardinal went on to say. “During this new round of mercy, an individual will simply have the ability to have a deep, inward conversation with the Lord. Then with prudent and mature reflection, that individual will determine, in the sanctity of his or her own conscience, that he or she has never actually committed any sins, and thus maintaining the sanctity of the sacrament.”

In addition, Olvelli announced that 10,000 newly appointed “Agents of the Second Helping” will begin circling the globe this January to close down all remaining confessionals.

One Agent of Mercy, Monsignor Alejandro Pipetti, explained the initiative, saying, “Let’s face it, the confessional is a medieval torture chamber, designed to instill fear of the Lord into the faithful. How can the faithful begin to grow closer to the Lord if they fear Him? I believe it is better to have fear of one’s own conscience, especially since it can so easily be manipulated and told what is right and what is wrong. After all, there is no fear in that which you control.”

 

Go here to comment.  PopeWatch would be afraid to confess to himself.  Saying perpetual Paternosters on his knees would make blogging problematic for PopeWatch.

1

The Incredibles

Something for the weekend.  The theme song from The Incredibles (2004).  My bride and I saw The Incredibles with our kids back in 2004 and greatly enjoyed it.  We will be seeing Incredibles 2 this weekend with our now adult kids, and a close friend of the family who has been an unofficial “aunt” of the kids since their birth.  Time is a river and in this Vale of Tears we can simply enjoy the view.

 

 

Full review of the movie to follow later next week.

22

PopeWatch: Canonical Penalties

The Pope can ignore a vote to bring abortion to Ireland, but his man in Tucson wants to go Innocent III on those trying to uphold the immigration laws of our nation:

 

Tucson Bishop Edward Weisenburger raised the possibility of implementing canonical penalties for Catholics involved in implementing the Trump administration’s asylum rules.Canonical penalties could range from withholding the sacrament of communion to excommunication.

Bishop Weisenburger and other leading U.S. Catholic bishops escalated their criticism of the Trump administration’s immigration policies, calling the separation of mothers and children at the border “immoral.”

The comments came as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the organizing body of bishops, gathered at their biannual meeting on Wednesday in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Bishop Weisenburger stated the following: “In light of the canonical penalties that are there for life issues, I’m simply asking the question if perhaps, our canonical affairs committee could give recommendations, at least to those of us who are border bishops, on the possibility of canonical penalties for Catholics who are involved in this. I think the time is there for prophetic statement. I also think, even though what I’m saying could be a little risky or dangerous, I think it’s important to point out the canonical penalties are there in place to heal.  First and foremost, to heal.  and therefore, for the salvation of these people’s souls, maybe it’s time for us to look at canonical penalties.”

 

Go here to read the rest.  Before the Bishop begins excommunicating members of ICE he might wish to read this provision of the Catechism:

2241 The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin. Public authorities should see to it that the natural right is respected that places a guest under the protection of those who receive him.

Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible, may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants’ duties toward their country of adoption. Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens.

 

These clowns are doing their best to convince people that if you are not a Leftist you have no place in the Catholic Church.  That is a lie.  Our Church has endured over 20 turbulent centuries and it will endure and outlast the current idiots in charge of the Bride of Christ.  May God forgive them.

 

0

Ten Years of TAC: A Priest Born on Flag Day

(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 August 6, 2012.)

One of the most highly decorated chaplains of World War II, Father Elmer W. Heindl used to joke that his decorations were simply due to him being in the wrong place at the right time.  Born on June 14, 1910 in Rochester, New York, the oldest of six children, Heindl decided at an early age that he was meant to be a priest and was ordained on June 6, 1936.  He said that being born on Flag Day indicated to him that during his life he would do something to honor the Stars and Stripes. Continue Reading

6

Newspapers and Time

Hattip to Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.  Any work of entertainment becomes a cultural artifact that historians may use to analyze a point in history:

How quickly new technology can radically alter societies.  In three decades newspapers have gone from being an essential part of daily life, to being an industry on life support, kept alive by the inertia of a rapidly aging readership.  My father would pore over our local daily paper each day, and usually work the crossword puzzle and the cryptogram contained in each paper.  After I grew up I subscribed to The Chicago Tribune.  After the Trib endorsed Obama in 2008 I cancelled my subscription.  However, I realized at the time that I hadn’t been reading much of it in years, the paper usually arriving after I went to the law mines.  Almost all of my daily reading of the news was being done over the internet.  When my partner retired from the law mines in 2010, I immediately cancelled the firm’s subscription to the local regional paper that the firm subscribed to, and which I hadn’t been reading in several years.  I still get the local town paper, which is a weekly freebie, and where I place my legal notices, but it is usually my secretaries who bring any local story of note to my attention.  In some ways it is sad seeing an enterprise with such a long pedigree being one with Nineveh and Tyre, and in some ways I think most of the ink-stained wretches richly deserve their fate, but like it or not, we can do many things with time in this Vale of Tears, but we cannot freeze it.

1

Ten Years of TAC: Dagger John and Honest Abe

(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 February 11, 2009.)

Archbishop John Hughes (1797-1864) of New York, was a titan within the Catholic Church in America in the nineteenth century.  Overseeing with skill the explosive growth of the Church in New York, and helping lead generations of Catholic immigrants out of poverty,  he also found time to take part in the public affairs of his day, and was probably the best known Catholic churchman of his time.  He was also a very tough and fearless man.  After the anti-Catholic riots in Philadelphia in 1844 he called on the mayor of New York, an anti-Catholic bigot, and informed him that if a single Catholic church were touched in New York, New York would be a second Moscow.  (The reference was to the burning of Moscow in 1812 during Napoleon’s occupation of the city.) Not a Catholic church was touched.  On another occasion when a threat was made to burn Saint Patrick’s cathedral the Archbishop had it guarded within hours by 4,000 armed Catholics.  No wonder his enemies and friends nicknamed him “Dagger John”! Continue Reading

0

Ten Years of TAC: The First PopeWatch

(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 6, 2013.)

 

 

Announcing a new series at The American Catholic:  PopeWatch.  I think it is obvious that Pope Francis will be making the headlines on a regular basis,  and I will be commenting on him fairly frequently as a result, hence the new series.  First up, a statement by papal press spokesman Father Federico Lombardi.  I have a soft spot in my heart for press flacks.  They have tough jobs, especially in the wake of feathers hitting a fan.  Then they come out to meet the media, and often have to say the most absurd things with a straight face, and it would take a heart of purest granite not to feel some sympathy for them at such times.  In the wake of Pope Francis’ colorful interviews, Father Lombardi explained what the problem is:

Perhaps the most insightful take on all this came from Lombardi himself, who said we’re seeing the emergence of a whole new genre of papal speech — informal, spontaneous and sometimes entrusted to others in terms of its final articulation. A new genre, Lombardi suggested, needs a “new hermeneutic,” one in which we don’t attach value so much to individual words as to the overall sense.

“This isn’t Denzinger,” he said, referring to the famous German collection of official church teaching, “and it’s not canon law.”

“What the pope is doing is giving pastoral reflections that haven’t been reviewed beforehand word-for-word by 20 theologians in order to be precise about everything,” Lombardi said. “It has to be distinguished from an encyclical, for instance, or a post-synodal apostolic exhortation, which are magisterial documents.” Continue Reading

1

Ten Years of TAC: 800 Dead Kids, Irish Catholic Bashing and the Truth

(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 June 9, 2014)

 

Catholic bashing has become the national sport of Ireland.  Blaming the Brits for every ill that has ever afflicted Ireland has become passé, and in the former land of saints and scholars the Church is the whipping boy du jour.  This of course suits the politicians who lead Ireland, eager to transform it into a carbon copy of every other European state with divorce, contraception and abortion ever available and with atheism as the de facto state religion.  Irish leftism, always of the most infantile variety, has eagerly joined in, along with academia and entertainment.  The attitude of the Church in Ireland has been, by and large, “Please sir, may I have another!” with most priests and prelates seeming to desire to become a Catholic Lite Church that will not utter a word troubling to their new lords and mistresses, the chattering classes in government and out.

Realizing this, I turned a jaundiced eye to endless stories about nuns supposedly casting the bodies of  some 800 children into a septic tank at a home for unwed mothers in Tuam, County Galway, between 1925-1961.

Go here to Salon to see a prime example of the Catholic bashing way the story was played.

Besides the anti-Catholic hysteria, the thing that struck me about the stories was the sheer ignorance displayed:  ignorance of the death rate of children in Ireland in pre-antibiotic days, ignorance that homes for unwed mothers run by religious orders were often used for caring for kids with mortal illnesses, ignorance as to the difficulties involved in  using a septic tank to hold even a small number of bodies, let alone 800.

Well, the truth is starting to come out.  Ironically it is from the local historian Catherine Corless, who was cited in all the stories for bringing this to light, but apparently wasn’t listened to very carefully by a media eager to hear what they wished to hear:

What has upset, confused and dismayed her in recent days is the speculative nature of much of the reporting around the story, particularly about what happened to the children after they died. “I never used that word ‘dumped’,” she says again, with distress. “I just wanted those children to be remembered and for their names to go up on a plaque. That was why I did this project, and now it has taken [on] a life of its own.”

In 2012 Corless published an article entitled “The Home” in the annual Journal of the Old Tuam Society. By then she had discovered that the 796 children had died while at St Mary’s, although she did not yet have all of their death certificates.

She also discovered that there were no burial records for the children and that they had not been interred in any of the local public cemeteries. In her article she concludes that many of the children were buried in an unofficial graveyard at the rear of the former home. This small grassy space has been attended for decades by local people, who have planted roses and other flowers there, and put up a grotto in one corner. Continue Reading

7

Jordan Peterson: Dangerous People Are Teaching Our Kids

Jordan Peterson explains what a sham much of higher education today is:

 

 

The Left poisons everything it touches.  Higher education is largely in the hands of a cult that substitutes indoctrination for education, and hates traditional Western Civilization.  Race and sex obsessions rank at the head of what is transmitted to youth at great expense under the guise of education.  Thus our colleges and universities produce graduates who know little about the subjects they were purportedly being taught, but who are experts on Leftist grievances and a view of the world that bears little resemblance to reality.  A German radical, the late Alfred Willi Rudolf “Rudi” Dutschke, came up with the plan of a long march by the Left through the institutions they wished to control, and so it has come to pass.  Leftists are almost always Leftists first.  Everything else takes a back seat to the political prism through which they view the world.  Leftism is an aggressive substitute religion, highly dogmatic and intolerant.  David Burge, Iowahawk, has summarized the usual mode of operation of the Left:

 

1. Identify a respected institution.

2. kill it.

3. gut it.

4. wear its carcass as a skin suit, while demanding respect.

 

Leftism is a deadly enemy of freedom.  No truck or truce with it.

6

PopeWatch: Six Counties

The Pope will not be visiting Northern Ireland during his visit to the Republic:

 

Arguably, the most significant item in the papal programme, at least from the secular viewpoint, will be the Missing Item, namely that oft-discussed papal visit to Northern Ireland.

This comes as no surprise. When Pope Francis officially confirmed the trip in a general audience in March, senior Vatican spokesman Greg Burke categorically told the Sunday Independent that there would be no “diversion” to the Six Counties.

The two main movers behind the visit – Cardinal Kevin Farrell, Prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life, and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin in Dublin – have always been very cautious and circumspect about the possibility that he would include the North on his travels.

He will make a pastoral visit to the World Meeting of Families on August 25-26.

The visit – the first by a Pontiff since Pope John Paul’s Mass at Phoenix Park in 1979 – will include a series of events.

It includes a national opening, simultaneously in the 26 dioceses on August 21, followed by a three-day pastoral congress at the RDS, Dublin, on August 22-24.

However, most attention will focus on the weekend – the Festival of Families in Croke Park on Saturday, August 25, and the centrepiece of the visit – the closing Mass for the World Meeting of Families on the following day.

Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from around the world are expected to flock to the Phoenix Park.

The feeling remains, however, that this is an opportunity missed.

Go here to read the rest.  Well why shouldn’t he visit Northern Ireland?  As the abortion vote indicates, Northern Ireland no longer has a monopoly on virulent anti-Catholicism.  Abortion remains illegal in Northern Ireland and the contrast could have been made by the Pope.  Better to face the honest hatred of Protestant fanatics in the North than the hatred of the Faith expressed by the “Catholics” in the Republic who celebrated, and that is not too strong a term, the abortion vote.  From a Catholic point of view there is little to choose now between the Six Counties and the rest of that island.

14

Grace in the Face of Death

As faithful readers of this blog know, I am a great admirer of the virtue of courage.  Nowhere does this virtue shine brighter than when someone meets death with grace and hope:

 

Dave Griffey at Daffey Thoughts gives us a current example of this grace:

Last week was a bad week for celebrities.  The suicides of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade shed light on a problem that has been well known, if not overly covered, for several years now.  Suicides have been growing fast in the US, and continue to increase.  And it’s not just in the United States either.  Countries around the world, in and out of Europe, are seeing increases in suicide.  It’s almost like the same factors that have brought the new phenomenon of mass killings might somehow be linked to suicide.  It’s almost as if something in the last half century or so isn’t working.

I know, I know.  Suicides have always happened, are complex, and can impact those in and out of religious circles.  But here’s the thing.  We can appeal to past suicide rates all we want.  Never in human history has there been such an emphasis on psychological and emotional well being as now; never has there been so many safeguards erected for the sole purpose of preventing such mental spirals as that which could lead to suicide.  And yet, once again, we’re seeing that after tearing down almost everything the old world said was right and wrong, good and bad, we’re left at best with problems as bad as they ever were.  In some cases, we could argue they are worse.

I’ll leave others to scramble for a cause.  Suffice to say I’ll listen to materialists insist it’s all physical, and Christians and other religious individuals look to spiritual causes.  I will not listen at all to Christians, no matter how trained in mental health, act as if they never heard of God or the Holy Spirit, it must all be a matter of chemicals or biological deficiencies.  Nope.  Not going to go there.

As if the suicide news wasn’t enough, Charles Krauthammer announced that he has weeks to live, owing to a terminal case of cancer.  He has been Nazi and Commie to so many who themselves have a history of being disastrously wrong, I can’t help but think he brought something of value to our national discourse.  Unlike the previous two celebrities I mentioned, however, Mr. Krauthammer chose to endure.  Despite receiving a life altering injury that left him crippled for good, he persevered and chose life.  And like Lou Gehrig before him, he departs this earthly stage with grace and class, not self pity or resentment – at least none he has shown.

I don’t know.  Perhaps it’s a matter of perception, of attitude, of the way in which we look at life and the world around us.  I became a Christian almost 30 years ago, and in that time, Christians sound more like the world of agnosticism I left than the world of agnosticism sounds like any traditional manifestation of Christianity.  Yet there are still those who hearken back to a world in which our place is within it, not above it; an age when we had jobs to do and duty to ideals higher than ourselves.  Not a world in which the only reason God decided to exist in the first place was to create a universe centered around the awesomeness of me getting whatever I want, as soon as I want, with whomever I want, as often as I want, free of charge and if things go wrong it’s everyone else’s fault.

A clash of world views I suppose.  I get what I want, others be damned, or I don’t always get what I want, because I have other things to consider. Who knows?  Perhaps that ‘me’ focused approach isn’t something new, nor is the idea that we owe to others above ourselves.  And you never know.  Perhaps looking at the history of those differences could reveal something when considering suicide through the ages.  I dunno, just thinking out loud.

But prayers for the loved ones left behind.  I will not celebrate or make martyrs of those who killed themselves and left their loved ones behind to agonize for the rest of their lives.  Early on I was told that suicide is the most selfish of all sins, and I’ll keep that.  Nonetheless, I do pray for their souls and their loved ones who must shoulder the burden they were given.  I will pray for all who take their own lives, as well as their loved ones, in that manner.

I will also pray for, and give thanks for, those who through no fault of their own are smitten with ill fortune and decide to make all of the gift of life they can, thinking of their contributions to the world, of their loved ones, and all who know and care for them. May God bless them and give them the strength they need to die well, and shower blessings and grace upon those who benefit from their example.

Go here to comment.  We bring nothing into this Vale of Tears but ourselves, and we take nothing out.  However, each of us leaves behind an example of how we lived our lives, and for many of us what will be most remembered is how we meet our own death.  May we all meet it with grace and courage, as Christ did.  Before the battle of Lepanto the priests of the Christian fleet preached sermons on the theme of no Heaven for cowards.  Christians are meant to be brave, and must be brave, something we have lost sight of over the past half century.

 

Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste of death but once.

William Shakespeare

0

Joseph Girard

When I was a boy and I first saw the film Sergeant York, I wondered if John J. Pershing, who was still alive in 1940, had played himself in the scene in which Sergeant York is presented with the Medal of Honor.  It was an honest mistake.  Joseph Girard portrayed Pershing, as he had many times, due to his uncanny resemblance to Pershing.  The role was not credited in the film.  Girard was ten years younger than Pershing and would die in 1949, one year after the General.  Girard appeared in more than 280 films.

 

 

Pershing called Sergeant York “The greatest civilian soldier of the war.”  Field Marshal Ferdinand Foch, commander in chief of the Allied Forces said of York:  “What York did was the greatest thing accomplished by any soldier of all the armies of Europe”.

0

Quotes Suitable for Framing: John J. Pershing

 

 

 

The deadliest weapon in the world is a MARINE and his rifle!

General John J. Pershing

Like most soldiers General Pershing had little fondness for the Marine Corps, viewing them as competitors and headline hunters.  He attempted and failed to keep all Marine units out of the American Expeditionary Forces. However, he was impressed by the combat prowess of the Marines who fought in France.  After a less than satisfactory inspection of an Army unit on February 12, 1918 he wrote in frustration “Why in hell can’t the Army do it if the Marines can; they are all the same kind of men, why can’t they be like Marines?”

3

PopeWatch: Sell Out

One of the few points of certainty in the current Pontificate is that we can always rely upon our Pope to sell out the interests of Catholics around the globe.  Sandro Magister gives us the details on the latest sell out:

 

The words addressed by Pope Francis to the delegation of the patriarchate of Moscow, received in audience on Wednesday, May 30 (see photo), evidently were supposed to have remained confidential.

But on June 2, the press office of the Holy See released the transcription of the discourse. Which at that point could no longer remain secret, because right away the website Rome Reports posted a video with the key passages from it, and above all the official website of the patriarchate of Moscow featured it prominently, with complete satisfaction over what the pope had stated.

An understandable satisfaction, seeing how Francis espoused the ideas of the patriarchate of Moscow and instead condemned, in very harsh terms, the positions of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.

Here in fact is what Francis said to the delegation of the patriarchate of Moscow, headed by its powerful “foreign minister,” Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk:

“Before you I would like to reiterate – in a special way before you, my dear brother, and before all of you – that the Catholic Church will never allow an attitude of division to arise from her people. We will never allow ourselves to do this, I do not want it. In Moscow – in Russia – there is only one Patriarchate: yours. We will not have another one. And when some Catholic faithful, be they laypeople, priests or bishops, raise the banner of Uniatism, which does not work anymore, and is over, then it causes me pain. The Churches that are united in Rome must be respected, but Uniatism as a path of unity is not valid today.”

And further on:

“The Catholic Church, the Catholic Churches must not get involved in internal matters of the Russian Orthodox Church, nor in political issues. This is my attitude, and the attitude of the Holy See today. And those who meddle do not obey the Holy See.”

To a non-specialist, these words of Francis may appear cryptic. But they become perfectly clear as soon as their backstory is known.

First of all, there is an ambiguity that must be cleared from the field. When the pope seems to say that he does not intend to create any Catholic “patriarchate” as an alternative to the Orthodox one of Moscow, he is not thinking about Russia – where Eastern-rite Catholics barely number 2,000 and are served by a Latin-rite bishop – but about Ukraine, where the Greek Catholic Church has 4 million faithful and has strongly aspired for some time to be established as a patriarchate, and in fact already often considers itself and acts as such.

In 2003, the elevation of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church to a patriarchate seemed almost like a done deal. And curiously, it had its promoter in Rome in Cardinal – now an ultra-Bergoglian – Walter Kasper, who at the time was the president of the pontifical council for Christian unity and sent the patriarch of Moscow a letter to announce the imminent turning point to him.

Look out below. When the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew, also saw that letter, he wrote a fiery response to Rome, threatening a complete rupture in the ecumenical dialogue. Bartholomew’s letter to the pope, dated November 29, 2003, was made public in the international Catholic magazine “30 Giorni,” and the Vatican made a U-turn.

But the Orthodox camp also has its internal conflicts, with their epicenter in Ukraine.

Ukraine is the birthplace of Orthodox Russia and it is there that the patriarchate of Moscow has a large portion of its faithful and finds many of its vocations and much of its economic support.

Today, however, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church that is part of the patriarchate of Moscow is only one of the three Orthodox groups present in that country and is the only one that is canonically recognized by all of Orthodoxy, with Metropolitan Onufry.

There have in fact arisen in Ukraine, in recent decades, first a patriarchate rival to and declared schismatic by Moscow, with its patriarch a former top-level hierarch of the Russian Church, Filaret, and then another autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church, with Metropolitan Methodius.

So then, for some time there has been a growing push – also political, with the government of Kiev very active – to unify these three Churches in an autonomous new reality, under the aegis of the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew.

Who has been working hard in this direction. And has personally kept Pope Francis informed, meeting with him in Rome last May 26.

The solution designed by Bartholomew is similar to the one that put an end to the Western schism at the end of the Middle Ages, when the three popes in office resigned in order to bring about the election of a new pope recognized by all.

In Bartholomew’s plan, the three Orthodox Churches now present in Ukraine would have to give up the jurisdiction they now exercise in order to allow the creation of a new Orthodox ecclesial subject in which the respective bishops, priests, and faithful would converge.

This new unified Ukrainian Orthodox Church would not necessarily be a patriarchate, but it would still enjoy its own autonomy and autocephaly.

And for the patriarchate of Moscow this would be a high price to pay, because it would lose any jurisdiction in Ukraine that it is now guaranteed by the Orthodox Church under its rule.

In Moscow, Patriarch Kirill and his deputy Hilarion are therefore understandably very distrustful in the face of this operation. And Russian President Putin is even more hostile, being at war with Ukraine and not wanting to see any decrease in his dominion over the region by autonomist religious as well as political movements.

But it is not out of the question that Constantinople patriarch Bartholomew may want to bring the operation into port anyway, even with the opposition of Moscow. There would be a repeat, in this case, of what happened in 2016 with the pan-Orthodox council, strongly backed by Barhtolomew and ultimately celebrated in spite of the defection of the patriarchate of Moscow.

And the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, what role is it playing in this affair?

It is certainly very active in supporting the reunification of the three Orthodox Churches, in agreement above all with the most anti-Russian one, which has in Filaret its self-proclaimed patriarch. But the officials of the patriarchate of Moscow are accusing it of something much more serious: of wanting to surreptitiously lead this reunified Ukrainian Orthodox world back into unity with the Greek Catholics as well, and therefore into obedience to the Church of Rome.

This is the “uniatism” that Pope Francis as well has condemned in no uncertain terms, in his discourse on May 30 to the delegation of the patriarchate of Moscow. “Uniatism” is the most intolerable thing there is for the Orthodox. It stands for the mimicry of those who display a resemblance to them in everything, in the Byzantine Greek liturgies, in customs, in the calendar, in the married clergy, but in addition to this obey – and want to make others obey – the pope of Rome.

At the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, with the title of major archbishop, is Sviatoslav Shevchuk, 48, a dynamic figure of great intelligence, whom Jorge Mario Bergoglio knows personally on account of a period of time that he spent in Buenos Aires caring for Ukrainian emigrants in Argentina.

This does not change the fact that Pope Francis addressed against none other than him, without mentioning him by name, the harshest words of his discourse on May 30, ordering him “not to meddle in internal matters” of Orthodoxy.

Among Shevchuk, Kirill, and Bartholomew, therefore, in this matter the pope is clearly distancing himself from the first of these, as he has also done with regard to Russian aggression against Ukraine.

While between Kirill and Bartholomew he is trying to be friends with both. With a greater preference for the Russian patriarch, in the event of a tie between the two.

*

It can be pointed out, in confirmation of this last preference of the pope, that Francis has declined to grant a place of worship in Rome to the Orthodox faithful of Russian tradition who fall under Bartholomew’s jurisdiction.

 

Go here to read the rest.  Bang up job on choosing Pope Francis in 2013 Cardinals.  No Pope would have been preferable.