16

PopeWatch: War

Pope Francis used an American military cemetery in Italy for his no war theme:

 

 

“No more, Lord, no more (war)” that shatters dreams and destroys lives, bringing a cold, cruel winter instead of some sought-after spring, Pope Francis said looking out at the people gathered for an outdoor Mass at a U.S. war memorial and cemetery.

“This is the fruit of war: death,” he said, as the bright Italian sun lowered in the sky on the feast of All Souls, Nov. 2.

On a day the church offers special prayers for the faithful departed with the hope of their meeting God in heaven, “here in this place, we pray in a special way for these young people,” he said, gesturing toward the rows of thousands of graves.

Christian hope can spring from great pain and suffering, he said, but it can also “make us look to heaven and say, ‘I believe in my Lord, the redeemer, but stop, Lord,” please, no more war, he said.

“With war, you lose everything,” he said.

 

Go here to read the rest.  Of course the Pope is wrong in his final sentence.  By being defeated by the US and its Allies in World War II, Italy cast off Mussolini and gained democracy.  By becoming part of Nato, Italy has had the longest period of peace for the peninsula since the time of Cato the Elder.  On a personal note, PopeWatch hopes that the Pope will not use a US military cemetery again for one of his historically ignorant pacifist screeds.  These are places of honor, and the brave men whose bodies rest there for their resurrection are not props for the Pope to use in his pacifist morality play.

 

 

 

2

Quotes Suitable for Framing: Theodore Roosevelt

 

 

In the first place we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here does in good faith become an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with every one else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed or birthplace or origin. But this is predicated upon the man’s becoming in very fact an American and nothing but an American.

“If he tries to keep segregated with men of his own origin and separated from the rest of America, then he isn’t doing his part as an American.

“We have room for but one flag, the American flag, and this excludes the red flag which symbolizes all wars against liberty and civilization just as much as it excludes any foreign flag of a nation to which we are hostile. We have room for but one language here and that is the English language, for we intend to see that the crucible turns our people out as Americans, and American nationality, and not as dwellers in a polyglot boarding house; and we have room for but one sole loyalty, and that is loyalty to the American people.

Theodore Roosevelt, January 5, 1919  (The last public statement made by Roosevelt prior to his death on January 6, 1919.)

18

Quotes Suitable for Framing: Father Anonymous

I am a Catholic priest. Sadly, I must remain anonymous out of fear. What Fr. Weinandy has written is truth. I’m quite certain that thousands and thousands of my brother priests feel the same way and are very concerned with Pope Francis. We pray for him, love his office, and want what’s best for him. Yet this pontificate is the most uninspiring thing to happen during our priestly lives. How do I know this? Because many of us talk about it with each other. Yet we are scared of retaliation if we share this with our bishops, religious superiors, or our ‘papa’. We feel like we are living in a household with an abusive father who needs an intervention but we fear he will beat us. We are trapped. We love Jesus, His Church, and the papacy so much that we are very hesitant to speak publicly about our concerns with Pope Francis. We are suffering greatly. Pray for us! We pray for better days. Days of clarity, truth, and zeal for God’s house. Those days will come again.

Anonymous Priest in the Comboxes of Catholic World Report-Go here  to read the original comment.

3

PopeWatch: Cardinal Sarah

Sandro Magister notes that the Pope’s recent slap down of Cardinal Sarah indicates how the Pope operates:

 

The letter with which Francis recently contradicted and humiliated Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the congregation for divine worship, is the latest proof of how this pope exercises his magisterium.

When Francis wants to introduce innovations, he never does so in clear and distinct words. He prefers to open discussions, to set “processes” in motion, within which the innovations are gradually affirmed.

The most glaring example is “Amoris Laetitia,” for which contrasting interpretations and applications are in fact given, with entire episcopates lining up on one or the other side.

And when he is asked for clarification, he refuses. As in the case of the five “dubia” submitted to him by four cardinals, not deemed worthy of so much as a reply.

But when a cardinal like Sarah, an authority by role and responsibilities, weighs in to give a papal motu proprio on the liturgy the only interpretation he sees as correct and therefore to be implemented by the congregation of which he is prefect, Francis does not remain silent but reacts with harshness, in defense of those passages of the motu prorio – which in effect are anything but clear – that contain the liberalizations dear to him.

This is just what has happened in recent days.

Let’s recapitulate. On September 9 Francis publishes the motu proprio “Magnum Principium” concerning the adaptations and translations into contemporary languages of the liturgical texts of the Latin Church.

In defining the role of the congregation for divine worship concerning the adaptations and translations of the liturgical texts prepared by the national episcopal conferences and submitted for the approval of the Holy See, the motu proprio distinguishes between “recognitio” and “confirmatio,” between review and confirmation.

But the distinction is by no means explained with clarity. And in fact, two sides took shape immediately among the experts.

There are those who maintain that the “recognitio,” meaning the advance review by Rome, concerns only the adaptations, while for the translations the Holy See need give simply a “confirmatio,” its approval.

And there are those who instead maintain that on the translations as well Rome must carry out a careful review, before approving them.

In effect, this is what was done before and it is why various new translations of the missals have had a troubled life – like those of the United States, Great Britain, and Ireland – or are still waiting for approval from Rome: like those of France, Italy, and Germany.

In particular, the new translation of the missal in German was an object of criticism by Benedict XVI himself, who in 2012 wrote a letter to his fellow countrymen bishops to convince them to translate with more fidelity the words of Jesus at the last supper, at the moment of consecration:

> Vatican Diary / “For many” or “for all”? The right answer is the first

Getting back to the motu proprio “Magnum Principium,” it must be noted that when this was drafted it was kept in the dark from Cardinal Sarah, prefect of a dicastery whose middle management has long been rowing against him.

On September 30, Sarah wrote to Pope Francis a letter of thanks accompanied by a detailed “Commentaire”, aimed at a correct interpretation and application of the motu proprio, one that was rather restrictive concerning its multi-purpose formulations.

In Sarah’s judgment, “recognitio” and “confirmatio” are in reality “synonymous” or in any case “interchangeable at the level of responsibility of the Holy See,” whose task of reviewing translations before approving them remains intact.

A couple of weeks later the cardinal’s “Commentaire” appeared on various websites, leading to the conclusion – given the position of the author of the “Commentaire” – that in Rome the congregation for divine worship would act according to its guidelines.

And this greatly irritated Pope Francis, who on October 15 signed a letter harshly repudiating Cardinal Sarah.

A letter in which the pope assigns the national episcopal conferences the liberty and authority to decide on translations themselves, on the sole condition of the final “confirmatio” from the Vatican congregation.

And in any case – the pope writes – without any “spirit of ‘imposition’ on the episcopal conferences of a given translation made by the dicastery” in Rome, even for “significant” liturgical texts like the “sacramental formulas, the Credo, the Pater noster.”

The conclusion of the pope’s letter to the cardinal is barbed with venom:

“Considering that the ‘Commentaire’ in question has been published on a number of websites, and erroneously attributed to your person, I graciously ask you to see to it that this response of mine be released on the same sites as well as being sent to all the Episcopal Conferences, to the Members and Advisors of this Dicastery.”

 

Go here to read the rest.  The mode of operation is abundantly clear by now:  Church liberals get a papal embrace and papal support.  Everyone else gets the back of the papal hand.

9

Prayers For Our Dead

O happy fault that earned for us so great, so glorious a Redeemer.

Exsultet

 

 

 

 

All Souls Day is a  good time to start a post where we can pray for our dead:

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

I ask Lord that the souls of Larry McClarey, Donald D. McClarey, Mary McClarey, Raymond McClarey, Thelma McClarey, Ralph McClarey, Chuck McClarey, Roscoe McClarey, Betty Taylor, Chris Bissey, Rowena Barry, Nanny Barry, Alice Moore and Dyke Moore, and some poor soul known only to You, may even now be enjoying the Beatific Vision.  May we all share in the joy of those who now see You face to face.

List the souls you wish to pray for in the comboxes.

18

PopeWatch: Fr. Weinandy’s Letter to Pope Francis

I’m going to cite a post from the Deus ex Machina blog commenting on a letter by Fr. Thomas Weinandy to Pope Francis.   There is nothing I can add to the analysis of S. Armaticus, other than to point out that his (?) viewpoint is probably quite traditional…There’s a picture of Archbishop Marcel LeFebvre on the web page.   However, even given that, I find nothing to fault in the analysis of Fr. Weinandy and S. Armaticus.

Go here for the full post.

5

Torches From God

“We are always ready to make a saint or prophet of the educated man who goes into cottages to give a little kindly advice to the uneducated. The mediaeval saint or prophet was an uneducated man who walked into grand houses to give a little kindly advice to the educated.”

G. K. Chesterton

 

 

 

 

 

 

“We are always ready to make a saint or prophet of the educated man who goes into cottages to give a little kindly advice to the uneducated. The mediaeval saint or prophet was an uneducated man who walked into grand houses to give a little kindly advice to the educated.”

G. K. Chesterton

 

 

 

All Saints Day reminds us of all those holy men and women whom God, in His infinite mercy, sends us as torches to light our path in a dark world.  Filled with God’s love and grace, they make golden the pages of our histories with their lives and witness.  Feeling the lure of sin just as much as any of us, they turned to God and reflected His love to us.  They come in all sorts of humanity:  men and women, all nationalities, wise, simple, warriors, pacifists, miracle workers, saints whose only miracle was their life, humorous, humorless, clergy, laity, old, young, united only in their Faith and their love for the Highest Love. Continue Reading

7

PopeWatch: Magisterium

Ed Feser at Catholic World Report describes the damage being done to the magisterium by attempts to paint the statement of Pope Francis that capital punishment is intrinsically wrong as a development of doctrine:

 

In fact, the opposite is the case. You cannot reinforce people’s confidence in the papal Magisterium unless you first make it clear exactly what are the scope and limits of that Magisterium. When well-meaning theologians like Prof. Fastiggi tie themselves in logical knots in order to avoid having to admit that a pope might have misspoken or made a mistake when not speaking ex cathedra – despite the fact that the Church herself has always acknowledged that this can happen! – they reinforce the slander that Catholics are committed to what I have called the Crude Protestant Caricature of papal authority.

In particular, they give (however unintentionally) the false impression that popes can reinvent doctrine at will and simply stipulate, by dictatorial fiat, that the novelties they are teaching are “scriptural” and “traditional.” They thereby make a laughingstock of Catholic claims to have preserved the deposit of faith whole and undefiled. And they thereby undermine confidence in the papal Magisterium. Non-Catholics are liable to conclude that Catholic claims about the papacy are a kind of Orwellian sophistry. Some Catholics are liable to conclude this too, and to lose their faith as a result – whereas if they were reassured instead that the Church does not require them to deny the obvious, their faith will be saved.

Here is the bottom line: In order to defend the suggestion that a pope could teach that capital punishment is always and intrinsically immoral, you have to maintain that the Church has for 2000 years been teaching grave moral error. Indeed, you have to say that the Church has for all that time been defending, as a matter of moral doctrine, a species of murder. You also have to say either that Scripture teaches moral error and that the Church has for 2000 years been wrong to claim otherwise; or you have to say that Scripture does not teach moral error but that the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, all previous popes, and indeed the Church in general for 2000 years, have misunderstood Scripture.

How on earth Prof. Fastiggi could seriously think that defending those propositions is remotely conducive to upholding people’s confidence in the papal Magisterium, I have no idea.

Go here to read the rest.  All good Catholics wish to support the Pope.  However when such support involves accepting lies and erasing out of memory 2000 years of Catholic history,  such support comes at too dear a price.  May God forgive Pope Francis for recklessly forcing faithful Catholics to stand against their Pope.

9

Worse Than Murder, Inc to Blacks: You Are Better Off Dead

Birth control is not contraception indiscriminately and thoughtlessly practiced. It means the release and cultivation of the better racial elements in our society, and the gradual suppression, elimination and eventual extirpation of defective stocks— those human weeds which threaten the blooming of the finest flowers of American civilization.

Margaret Sanger, as quoted in The New York Times, April 8, 1923

 

 

Planned Parenthood Worse Than Murder, Inc has never strayed far from its racist roots as the routine placement of their abortion clinics in high minority areas attest.  Of course today the overt racism of the days of Sanger’s youth is no longer fashionable on the Left where Planned Parenthood gets most of its support, but sometimes the mask slips.

Ed Driscoll at Instapundit sums up:

 

If this sounds like something the alt-right might tweet, as Elliot Kaufman wrote at NRO in August, “contrary to NARAL’s protestations, the leaders of the alt-right are actually pro-choice. They don’t oppose abortion because it’s good for racial minorities; they support abortion because it kills them. They hate black people and think America would be better if fewer of them were born. Though this is terrifying to contemplate, it should not be unfamiliar. In fact, the alt-right tends to praise abortion for the same reasons that Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, praised birth control: They help to rid the country of ‘undesirables.’”

Hey, it’s not like Planned Parenthood’s founder herself ever actually spoke at a KKK rally or anything.

Oh wait.

Eugenics and Planned Parenthood Worse Than Murder Inc go together like bread and butter.  Their political alliances have changed over time, but that essential reality has not changed.

17

Halloween Terror

Another atrocity from a member of the religion of peace.

 

 

 

A man in a pickup truck killed eight people when he drove onto the West Side bike path in lower Manhattan Tuesday afternoon — and then shouted “Allahu Akbar” as he got out of the car with fake guns, police sources said.

 

The suspected terror attack happened around 3:15 p.m., when a man in a flatbed pickup truck from Home Depot veered onto the bike path at West St., a few blocks north of Chambers St., police said.

The suspect, who was shot by police, then plowed his car into up to 23 people on the path, killing eight and injuring more than a dozen others, according to cops.

He continued driving south and hit another car, then got out and displayed “imitation firearms,” police said.

The man then shouted, “Allahu Akbar,” according to police sources.

Witnesses described a scene of terror, as people fled for safety.

 

Go here to read the rest.  Pray for the dead, the wounded and us.

 

9

Debate: Has Halloween Become Too Commercial?

“I got a rock.”
Charlie Brown

 

 

 

 

 

From the only reliable source of news on the net, the Onion.  My last trick or treating experience as a child was in 1969 and I reared my children in the McClarey Halloween tradition of ample candy, cheap costumes and Dad falling asleep on the couch after over indulging in candy.  May my offspring keep these hallowed traditions alive for the next generation!

12

Myths of the Reformation

“God knows the thoughts of the heart. It is well that Zwingli, Carlstadt, and Pellicanus lie dead on the battle-field, for otherwise we could not have retained the Landgrave, Strasburg and other of our neighbours [true to our doctrine]. Oh, what a triumph is this, that they have perished! God indeed knows His business well.”

Martin Luther’s reaction to hearing of the death of fellow “Reformer” Zwingli in battle in 1531, and the false report that two other “Reformers” had also fallen.

 

 

 

I find it bleakly appropriate that the Reformation began five hundred years ago on Halloween.  On this date in 1517 Martin Luther sent to his Bishop a copy of his “Disputation of Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences”, what has become known as his 95 theses.  He may or may not have nailed up the 95 theses to the door of All-Saints Church in Wittenberg.  If he did, there would have been nothing unusual about this, as this was a common custom to begin scholarly debate on propositions.  A scholarly debate, and no more, was probably what Luther initially intended, but debate swiftly became revolution with the Latin 95 theses begin translated into German by friends of Luther in January 1518 and swiftly spreading throughout Germany and then Europe.  The Reformation thus begun was a vast historical event, now shrouded in myths.  When it is recalled today, most people doing so will not be remembering the actual event but rather the popular myths that have been propagated about it.  Here are some of the myths.

  1.  The Church Was Corrupt-Actually the Church overall was in better shape just prior to the Reformation than it had been in centuries, with a better trained, educated and pious clergy.  Most revolutions occur in a time of rising expectations and that perhaps was the case with the Reformation.
  2. The Reformation Was a Victory for Freedom of Thought-Nothing could be further from the truth.  Luther and most of the other so-called Reformers stood foursquare against any idea that people had a right to freely discern truth in religion or other areas.  Luther, if he were alive today, would be appalled at the moral and intellectual anarchy he would perceive, none of which would have surprised him as he thought most men needed to be kept in constant check by State and church.
  3. The Reformation Was a Victory for Freedom of Religion-Luther thought that Christians should have the freedom to believe how Herr Doktor Martin Luther believed since he had discovered the truth of the Scriptures.  He took opposition poorly to say the least.
  4. The Reformation Stands for Separation of Church and State-This is the most laughable of all the myths of the Reformation.  Luther and his followers actually stood for the proposition that the State should be in charge of the Church, at least if the State were willing to impose Luther’s version of Christianity.
  5.  The Reformation Led to an Improvement in Morals-Luther himself would have laughed at that one.  At the end of his life he frequently lamented that people were worse than they had been when he was a young man.  He saw no improvement in morals at all and rather the reverse.
  6. The Reformation  Led to an Immense Religious Revival-We are indebted to the first generations of Protestant pastors who often kept careful records.  They frequently lamented how few people came to the new churches, although they were now legally compelled to come, and the ignorance, indifference and outright contempt of those who did come.  If a religious revival occurred during the Reformation it is very well disguised in the copious records that have come down to us.
  7. The Reformation Was a Victory for Democracy-Actually it was the Church, with quite a bit of difficulty, that had restrained the ambitious rulers.  Those rulers who turned Protestant were immensely strengthened, with the plunder from the Church at their disposal, a subservient local church under their control, and ministers who preached that they were God’s anointed.  The Reformation, taken as a whole, was a defeat for limited government and popular rule.

This list of myths could go on and on.  The point is that what people will be celebrating or mourning today bears little resemblance to the actual event.

2

PopeWatch: Luther

Sandro Magister reminds us that the cheers that the Pope is giving to Martin Luther was not always his opinion:

 

 

October 31 marks precisely five hundred years since the symbolic beginning of the Protestant Reformation. And on the part of the highest officials of the Catholic Church, the celebrations so far have been practically a one-way street: a chorus of praise for Martin Luther. “A medicine for the Church,” Pope Francis said of him in taking stock of his ecumenical journey in Sweden exactly one year ago.

“L’Osservatore Romano,” however, or “La Civiltà Cattolica” have been cautious not to republish what Jorge Mario Bergoglio wrote about Luther and Calvin before he was elected pope.

Only one of his texts on the Protestant Reformation has been preserved, from about thirty years ago. But it was republished in 2014 with a preface by the Jesuit Antonio Spadaro, director of “La Civiltà Cattolica” and one of Pope Francis’s closest confidants, without the slightest disclaimer of the crushing anti-Protestant invectives contained in it.

When the text came back to light, in fact, the eminent Protestant theologian Paolo Ricca, a Waldensian, expressed his consternation in an editorial for the magazine “Riforma”:

“I ask myself how it is possible to have still today, or even thirty years ago, such a deformed, distorted, mistaken, and substantially false view of the Protestant Reformation. It is a view with which it is impossible to begin a dialogue, or even an argument, it is so far and divergent from reality.”

Going so far as to doubt whether the anniversary of the Reformation could be celebrated together with the current pope.

“One thing is certain: on the basis of such a view, an ecumenical celebration of the five hundredth anniversary of the Reformation, in 2017, appears to be literally impossible.”

However, as is well known, Pope Francis has succeeded and then some in retying the threads of dialogue and in establishing in public opinion the image of a Catholic Church friendlier than ever with Luther and grateful for what he did.

Naturally, setting aside entirely that text of his. Which it could be useful to read and is linked here:

> Luther At the Stake. No, At the Altars. The Double Vision of the Jesuit Pope

*

But this censure of the anti-Lutheran Bergoglio is not the only one of this season of ecumenism. To it can be added another: on an author who is among the most prominent writers for “L’Osservatore Romano,” Marco Vannini, a renowned expert on theology and mysticism, especially that of Germany, and a scholar of Luther.

Vannini published a book this year that says right from the title what side he takes: “Against Luther and the false Gospel.”

Vannini calls himself “perhaps heretical but Roman Catholic,” although in an article in 2004, under the reign of pope Karol Wojtyla, “La Civiltà Cattolica” adjudged that he “excludes transcendence, suppresses the essential truths of Christianity, and by way of Neoplatonism inexorably arrives at a modern Gnosticism.”

The fact remains that with Pope Francis he has become a regular writer for “L’Osservatore Romano.”

But not this time. Not even one line on his erudite book against Luther. Curiously, it was noted in Italy only by the magazine “Il Regno,” an authoritative voice of progressive Catholicism, with an interview of the author.

 

Go here to read the rest.  In this papacy friends of the Faith are treated as enemies and enemies of the Faith are treated as friends.

8

C&C: Vampires

https://jenibrown.wordpress.com/2010/10/31/quick-get-buffy-its-a-vampire-pumpkin/

Through mere glimpses of him, however, demonic accuracy is achieved: Dracula is an Antichrist. He cannot attack unless willingly engaged. He baptizes his victims in his blood even as he drinks theirs in a sacrifice that gives eternal “life” in animated death. He unites captive souls to his existence, thriving on the unhallowed. He twists scripture to his purpose, lusts for worship … and fears Christ. Crisis Magazine, Oct 2013

Over at Father Z’s blog (several years  back) he made a (joking) post about how sad he was that he didn’t get a vampire hunting kit for Christmas; one comment pointed out that we can’t sell blessed objects. (Technically false; blessed objects can be sold for their intrinsic value, without added price for the blessing, but accurate in terms of buying a Vampire hunting kit which would be pretty worthless without blessing.) This got me thinking about the various legends related to vampires, and Catholicism, especially with how often it is gotten wrong.

The most famous example of really bad theology would probably be from Dracula; at one point, Van Helsing makes a putty out of consecrated Hosts and uses it vampire-proof a room.

Needless to say, this isn’t respectful of the Body of Christ, and if the vampire is reacting to the Body of Christ then it probably wouldn’t be effective, either:

With respect to the presence of Christ, most theologians would hold that, although the host externally remains intact for several days, the real presence would cease as soon as the host is fully soaked with water as from that moment the species is no longer exclusively that of bread.

Dracula is rather well researched on the folklore of vampires. For example, the crucifix has power in and of itself, since it has a representation of Christ on it, while crosses depend more on the person holding the cross invoking God directly. In various times and places the cross (or other objects, such as holy medals) being formally blessed was held to be enough to invoke God – those objects are called sacramentals, things that recall the sacraments. (Dracula’s mistaken abuse of the Host is in keeping with someone who didn’t recognize transubstantiation, but viewed it as a sort of super-stong symbol.) The most obvious sacramental, which is also used in popular pieties and commonly available for the asking, would be holy water– many parishes even have dispensers. It should be kept in mind that the people who really believed in vampires weren’t trying to use holy water or any other sacramental for some kind of a magical effect, but to invoke God’s protection from forces of evil.

Some of the things vampires fear are symbolic instead of sacramental– running water calls to mind baptism and the washing away of sins, silver is “white” metal and thus pure, garlic and various plants were believed to be medicines against corruption. Even salt, because of its powers of preservation, was thought in some places to ward off evil– including vampires.

Now, for someone wanting to do a Catholic friendly Dracula type vampire?  You might consider using an unconsecrated host– if the image of the body of Christ on the Cross works, then the object originally intended to become His body would work better. (Credit to Vathara, an author who poked at things long enough to get that spark moving.  If you like urban fantasy along the lines of Harry Dresden, but wish they had a little more theology, she’s got an awesome series started– first book is A Net of Dawn and Bones. It’s not exactly Catholic, but it’s not hostile, and it takes theology seriously, which is a nice change.)

Vampires not having a reflection probably grew out of the folklore of the soulless not having a shadow and the way that mirrors were once backed with silver. Some more folklore savvy stories have had digital cameras work to record vampires, but not silver-based movie cameras, and at least one used silver nitrate in the blood to kill off a vampire.

Speaking of souls, this is probably the biggest problem with vampire stories: all too often, authors write “vampires” that by all evidence possess rational souls. To shamelessly steal–er, borrow– from Jimmy Akin’s highly enjoyable Theology of the Living Dead, there are four basic options for any flavor of living dead:

animal soul- this is the most traditional, but has more in common with modern zombies as far as behavior goes; modern vampires are generally more intelligent than the average human.

non-human rational soul – Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s vampires– they are evil, but the “demons” animating vampires aren’t Satanic, and a lot of the other “demons” shown are know to just be multidimensional travelers. The theology of that show makes my head hurt….

human souls – the ‘vampire’ subculture would be an example of this, or if a story had vampirism as a sort of disease

No soul – the body is remote-controlled, either by technology (nanobot vampires) or perhaps demonic possession. (As I understand it, demons are spirits, rather than souls, and couldn’t inhabit a body the way a human soul would. I’d highly advise a lot of mythology research before anybody tried to write this!)

Most vampire stories these days are either humans with a disease or non-human souls animating a body; some of them aren’t “allergic” to blessed objects, even. Obviously, if they have rational souls, we have to treat them as people rather than monsters…but it doesn’t make any sense why holy objects would harm them, then. On practical levels, anything that smokes on contact with a holy object is not to be considered a good neighbor!

I hope this struck your fancy as much as it struck mine!

19

PopeWatch: Islam

Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch notes that Pope Francis often seems to be much more friendly to adherents of Islam than he is to traditional Catholics:

Before anyone starts accusing Lifesite of “attacking the Pope” for presenting this video and article, let me provide context. Also, I must add that the opinions expressed in the video are those of Robert Spencer. They do not necessarily represent the views of LifeSiteNews.

However,  Spencer is no “Islamophobe” or hater of Muslims or of Pope Francis and the Catholic Church. Wikipedia explains that Spencer “is a member of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, the Eastern Catholic Antiochian Greek Catholic counterpart of the ancient Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch.” 

More than that, however, he has become one of the foremost experts on Islam in the English-speaking world. Therefore, what Robert Spencer has to say in relation to Islam should at least be given serious consideration.

Robert Spencer presents well-researched, verifiable facts to help readers and listeners learn the truth about the great danger of Islamic jihadists and Sharia Law to the world. There is incredible ignorance and naivete about this in the West. Spencer has been attempting, at great risk to his own personal safety, to remedy that lack of public awareness on rapidly expanding, diabolical Islamist Jihadism.

In the case of this video, Spencer calmly presents legitimate concerns about what he believes would be the logical implications or real world perceptions by Islamists of Pope Francis’ statements and actions regarding Islam and the unchecked massive invasion of Islamist young men into non-Islamic nations. Given how deeply he is immersed every day in reporting on Islamist mass slaughters, violations of women and children and many other Jihadist depravities, it is no wonder that Spencer can seem rather harsh or blunt when discussing the pope and Islamism.

 

 

 

 

Go here to read the rest.  None of this is surprising.  The Pope is in favor of mass immigration of Islam into the West.  A realistic assessment of Islam would sink this policy.  Thus we have a Pope who lies about Islam practically every time he deigns to discuss the subject.  Catholics have a right to expect better of the Vicar iof Christ.

 

4

October 14, 1947: Yeager Breaks the Sound Barrier

I was always afraid of dying.  Always.  It was my fear that made me learn everything I could about my airplane and my emergency equipment, and kept me flying respectful of my machine and always alert in the cockpit.

Chuck Yeager

 

Seventy years ago Captain Chuck Yeager, a double ace in World War II, flying the experimental X-1, broke the sound barrier.  Two days before the flight Yeager broke two ribs and was in such pain that he could not close the cabin door without assistance.  Needless to say he did not report his injury to anyone in authority who could scrub him from the flight.  George Welch, also a World War II ace, may have broke the sound barrier on October 1, 1947, flying in an XP-86, but his speed could not be verified.

As indicated by the video clip below from The Right Stuff, the life of a test pilot in those days often ended in sudden death, so while we salute Yeager’s skill we should also be mindful of his courage and those of his brother pilots.  George Welch died in 1954 when the test plane he was flying disintegrated.  The Right Stuff consists of more than courage, but it is an essential component.

 

General Yeager, who is still with us at age 94, wrote an account of his breaking the sound barrier for Popular Mechanics on the fortieth anniversary:

 

 

I had flown at supersonic speeds for 18 seconds. There was no buffet, no jolt, no shock. Above all, no brick wall to smash into. I was alive.

And although it was never entered in the pilot report, the casualness of invading a piece of space no man had ever visited was best reflected in the radio chatter. I had to tell somebody, anybody, that we’d busted straight through the sound barrier. But transmissions were restricted. “Hey Ridley!” I called. “Make another note. There’s something wrong with this Machmeter. It’s gone completely screwy!”

“If it is, we’ll fix it,” Ridley replied, catching my drift. “But personally, I think you’re seeing things.”

Go here to read the rest.

4

Zombie Democrats?

Lawrence: “You live here?”

Montgomery: “Yes.”

Lawrence: “Then maybe you know what a zombie is”

Montgomery: “When a person dies and is buried, its seems there are certain voodoo priests who … who have the power to bring him back to life.”

Carter: “How horrible!”

Montgomery: “It’s worse than horrible because a zombie has no will of his own. You see them sometimes walking around blindly with dead eyes, following orders, not knowing what they do, not caring.”

Lawrence: “You mean like Democrats?”

 

 

 

Democrat Zombies?  Well, I do know that here in Illinois, up in Chicago, Democrats do seem to frequently find their way to the polls after death!

 

 

 

2

C&C: Witchcraft

From Card Captor Sakura, Japanese anime and manga

A reprint for the season. 

Let me see if I can sum up the archetypal belief:

All through the middle ages, single women– especially if they lived alone or practiced some sort of medicine– were randomly being accused of witchcraft and burnt alive for it. The Inquisition was the main group killing women, and hundreds of thousands were killed by the Catholic Church. Millions died, many of them Pagans.

Look about right?

Well, here’s a thumbnail that I promise I really didn’t model that off of:

For example, historians have now realized that witch-hunting was not primarily a medieval phenomenon. It peaked in the 17th century, during the rationalist age of Descartes, Newton, and St. Vincent de Paul. Persecuting suspected witches was not an elite plot against the poor; not was practicing witchcraft a mode of peasant resistance. Catholics and Protestants hunted witches with comparable vigor. Church and state alike tried and executed them. It took more than pure Reason to end the witch craze.

Nor were witches secret pagans serving an ancient Triple Goddess and Horned God, as the neopagans claim. In fact, no witch was ever executed for worshipping a pagan deity. Matilda Gage’s estimate of nine million women burned is more than 200 times the best current estimate of 30,000 to 50,000 killed during the 400 years from 1400 to 1800 — a large number but no Holocaust. And it wasn’t all a burning time. Witches were hanged, strangled, and beheaded as well. Witch-hunting was not woman-hunting: At least 20 percent of all suspected witches were male. Midwives were not especially targeted; nor were witches liquidated as obstacles to professionalized medicine and mechanistic science.

Sandra Miesel, Medieval historian writing for Crisis Magazine

On a side note, it seems Germany was utterly nuts for a while; a huge portion of the numbers for her defensible claim of “comparable vigor” comes from a couple of folks there; it might be worthwhile for someone really interested in the subject to find out what all was going on at those times and places– the phrase “prince bishop” worries me a bit, as a purely emotional reaction. I poked around enough to find this history wikia with enough details for someone who’s really curious and has the mind for German history. Apparently Germany had a big criminal law collection called the Carolina which required death for those believed to have harmed someone using magic. Good luck trying to tell what area was Catholic or Protestant, and how solidly so; I’ve seen long running anime that were easier to follow. In Japanese. No wonder even experts acting in good will can argue for decades about stuff.

Speaking of Germany, there’s another question: Alright, so a lady with a master’s on the subject says that, broadly speaking, the standard cliches are bunk. How do you explain that Catholic witch hunting manual from Germany?

Well:

The Malleus maleficarum was written by two Dominicans about 1486. The principal author, Heinrich Kramer, was widely recognized as a “demented imbecile” by contemporaries. The bishop of Innsbruck thwarted his attempt to convict women there of witchcraft and forced him out of town. The Malleus competed with the Carmelite Jan van Beetz’s Expositio decem catalogie praeceptum, “an icily skeptical treatment of tales of black magic. Of course, exposés never get the circulation of the lurid originals.

Michael Flynn, author and historical hobbyist

Mr. Flynn is one of my favorites, because he finds things like the fellow from the Spanish Inquisition who was brought a self-professed “witch” to try, and he insisted that she prove she could perform the claimed witchy powers; that Inquisitor may have been copying Vincent of Beavius, who is reported to have chased a supposed witch around the room with a stick when she insisted that she was able to pass through keyholes. Needless to say, both were proven innocent of sorcery.

Mr. Flynn’s mention of some of the Pagan activities against witches that had to be outlawed suggests that Germany may have just had some really, really brutal traditions. Another well read though vague on names scholar, who goes by SuburbanBanshee, observes the pattern that when you go way back, witchcraft was only seen as a problem far from the population centers. Christians ended up saving the supposed witches from those who blamed them for whatever horrible thing was going on at the time. Places where folk tradition was not stronger than formal teaching recognized that “witchcraft” and false gods could not possibly be more powerful than God!

 

Note: the image at the top isn’t really magical. It’s from a really fun anime called Card Captor Sakura; the Japanese are addicted to pretty stuff, I swear, and there’s a good chance it’s got crypto-Catholic symbols worked into the very weft. 

9

Christ and the Law

When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees,
they gathered together, and one of them,
a scholar of the law tested him by asking,
“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”
He said to him,
“You shall love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart,
with all your soul,
and with all your mind.
This is the greatest and the first commandment.
The second is like it:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”

Matthew 22: 34-40

 

 

The first commandment recited by Christ is taken from the Shema, the prayer recited by the Jews morning and night.  All his Jewish listeners would have known it by heart and His choice of it should have been unsurprising to his interlocutors.  They would also have not been  surprised by  his addition of a second commandment which required loving your neighbor as yourself.  The commandment is taken from Leviticus 19: 18.  The great Rabbi Hillel, who died when Christ was a child, stated the commandment negatively:  What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow: this is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn.  Saint Paul, who doubtless was quite familiar with the teachings of Hillel, echoed this teaching:  For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Galatians 5: 14.

If the answers of Christ were fairly obvious, why was the question asked?  Probably to test His knowledge.  Did this small town carpenter know the teaching of Hillel?  Perhaps to find fodder to accuse Him of heresy.  Whatever was the motivation, Christ yet again revealed Himself as completely supportive of the heart of the Jewish Law.  Normally Christ opposed it  only in regard to the Jewish ritual purity laws, at least as they had been interpreted.  Where he differed with a Jewish teaching outside of ritual purity, normally He increased the severity of the Law, forbidding divorce for example, or proclaiming that a man who looked lustfully at a woman was guilty of adultery.  Christ would add to the Jewish law and shore it up, but He came not to do away with it, but rather to perfect it.

 

“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.”

Matthew 5: 17

14

Church Watch: Bio-Extinction and Population Control

I ran across an article from Catholic World Report (see here) on bio-extinction and population control.  Don’t worry–it wasn’t favorable, in fact I’ll quote:

The Church has always emphasized the autonomy of spouses in all matters pertaining to procreation vis-a-vis the state. The magisterium has never sanctioned governments orienting or directing procreative decisions that are exclusively reserved to spouses.

Concern over the direction of the Magisterium in this area cannot be ruled out as speculative. Recent events at the Pontifical Academies for Science (PAS) and the Social Sciences (PASS) have created ambiguity in this area, and Archbishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, chancellor of the academies, voiced these very views in a letter published by First Things.

“You will be aware that there are methods of regulating births and of population control that are approved by the Church,” Archbishop Sanchez Sorondo wrote in reply to my criticism when Jeffrey Sachs was honored by the Vatican academies two years ago. Sachs is a Columbia University economist who has spearheaded a neo-Malthusian revival in academia and at the United Nations, warning of humanity “trespassing planetary boundaries,” and writing that abortion is a low-cost solution to the problem of unwanted children.

More recently, in February the academies welcomed Paul Ehrlich alongside other renowned population control theorists for a conference on biological extinction. Ehrlich predicted the starvation of millions people because of over-population and resource scarcity in his famous 1969 book The Population Bomb. Though his predictions were wrong, he became a celebrity and helped trigger a wave of population control policies around the world, including forced abortion, forced sterilization, and coercive family planning.

The scandal of a pontifical body giving a moral imprimatur of sorts to Ehrlich has been addressed amply. The quality of the science on which the Vatican academies are relying has also been questioned. Very little has been said about the views on the Church’s teaching on the transmission of life that surfaced from the conference.

The possibility that the Church hierarchy urge limited family size is frightening, indeed.   Where is that adherence to scripture?

“Be fruitful and multiply.”–Genesis 1:28

 

4

C&C: Demons

You do not know the power of the dark side

Slightly updated reprint for the season; C&C stands for Conspiracies and Catholicism, and means Foxfier is geeking out over something.

It’s a staple of horror movies– there is some invisible thing that will get you, destroy your life, take over your loved ones and drag you to hell.  A demon haunts this house!

First, we should probably back up a little– demon and devil are frequently used interchangeably, with devil more frequently used for specifically religious uses and demon for “scary and kind of hopeless.” Religiously, the devil is the chief of the demons, (Diabolus enim et alii daemones, as kept popping up while I was trying to find any decent information on this topic.) and it’s usually capitalized to indicate the Devil. Originally, demon was more like “supernatural being”– think kami, for those who are into anime and manga, or various location-gods and demigods for those who know their classic mythology. If you’d like to see how you get from δαίμων to “demon,” Dictionary.com is your friend., especially in special uses for various spellings. I’m going to save any further “other powers” geekery for a later article– on to demons!

What are demons?

So, when we talk about a demon, what are we talking about? Besides being the Devil’s henchmen, demons are fallen angels; this means that they are definitely not metaphors, symbols, impulses, or any other way of saying “there are not really demons.” They also are not a synonym for mental illness– any good exorcist is going to check for mental illness as a first step; it doesn’t do anyone any good to avoid treatment in hopes that a ritual will help someone, rather than trying to accurately identify the problem. (I have no idea how frequently mentally ill people are also afflicted by demons–especially when there are so many ways to qualify demonic involvement.) Here’s a longish quote from the Catechism to explain how that works:

II. THE FALL OF THE ANGELS

391 Behind the disobedient choice of our first parents lurks a seductive voice, opposed to God, which makes them fall into death out of envy. Scripture and the Church’s Tradition see in this being a fallen angel, called “Satan” or the “devil”. The Church teaches that Satan was at first a good angel, made by God: “The devil and the other demons were indeed created naturally good by God, but they became evil by their own doing.”

392 Scripture speaks of a sin of these angels. This “fall” consists in the free choice of these created spirits, who radically and irrevocably rejected God and his reign. We find a reflection of that rebellion in the tempter’s words to our first parents: “You will be like God.” The devil “has sinned from the beginning”; he is “a liar and the father of lies”.

393 It is the irrevocable character of their choice, and not a defect in the infinite divine mercy, that makes the angels’ sin unforgivable. “There is no repentance for the angels after their fall, just as there is no repentance for men after death.”

So: demons are definitionally evil, having chosen to throw in against God, and they cannot change now. That throws out a pretty good chunk of the more dramatic “can the fallen angel un-fall” type movies– now for the horror.  I am going to draw heavily from this interview with Fr. Gary Thomas, who you may know from the book pictured above– The Rite.

 What can demons do?

Infestation:

Think like Paranormal Activity or any other “house has a demon” story. No, you don’t try to fix it by putting a video camera in your bedroom and taunting it, you see about getting your house blessed; talk to your local parish. Get some holy water. See about getting your hands on a book of prayers, linked below. My mind keeps giving me the image of demonic fleas, but it’s not really funny–here is a quote of signs, from  The Rite:

The various kinds of phenomena that can occur in this situation are vast and include unexplained sounds or noises like mysterious footsteps, loud bangs, laughter, screams; the temperature of a room dropping or the feelings of a cold wind with no discernible source; objects disappearing suddenly and materializing in other parts of the house; strange presences felt’ the presence of offensive odors’ interruption of the electric current or the malfunction of electronic devices; pictures that mysteriously bang or fall off the wall; doors and windows that open and close on their own; dishes or other objects levitating and flying about the room.

This cursed activity can be caused by something horrible having happened on the site– crimes, suicides, satanic rituals (yes, including wicca-of-the-month, and probably turn-of-last-century seances, too– it’s a bad idea to invite in ungodly powers, go figure)– or because an infested object is there, or because the demon is there with a human.

That leads me to the next level of demonic involvement:

Oppression or Obsession

Two sides of a coin, the former pushed down and the latter wound up; your thoughts are warped in a bad direction; this is when an individual is being attacked by a demon. You can see why an exorcist would need to know a lot about psychology– it would be hard to tell mental or emotional attacks. You might think of this as the demon version of a monkey on your back, or maybe being stalked. I don’t want to belittle this– having a demon attack you is obviously bad, even if it’s not as cinematically iconic as the final type of demonic assault, possession.

Possession:

When a demon can move the victim’s body against their will. (Willingly accepting a demonic possession is integration.) Their soul isn’t controlled by the demon, but everything else…. This is when the exorcist goes to work, although this is incredibly rare and unlikely to involve green pea soup. Some exorcists have reported physical changes that are not scientifically possible. (A note on the limit of science– you’ve got to be there and set up to get really good data, and somehow I don’t think demons would be willing to cooperate.)

Don’t invite demons in, either actively or by sin, and try to soak your life in spiritually suited everything. The good news is– our Boss is incredibly stronger than theirs, He will win.https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001UMCA1O

2

PopeWatch: Regrets, They Had a Few

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

 

 

Just days after actor Mark Wahlberg statement that he regretted portraying a porn star in Boogie Nights, fellow Catholic actor Kevin James announced today that he hopes God wouldn’t hold the movie Paul Blart: Mall Cop against him.

James told EOTT this afternoon that he hopes “that God is not a movie fan and also forgiving” because he says he’s made some “poor choices” over the years. Among those movies James listed were, Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, Grown Ups, Grown Ups 2, I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, Zookeeper, and Hitch.

“People make bad decisions in life,” James said. “But in my case, these bad decisions are continually aired on TV. It’s hard to come to terms with it. The money helps, I guess.”

He added that the bad decisions of his past sometimes makes it easier when speaking to at-risk youth,  as he is able to show them what lies ahead if they don’t turn their lives around.

“It’s kinda like that show Scared Straight, you know? But instead of having convicts scare the crap out of kids, it’s me showing young actors what could happen to their lives if they make the mistakes and bad decisions I made. I can only hope that this’ll be good enough to make amends with God.

 

Go here to read the comments.  PopeWatch has been unable to confirm or deny the rumor that Mel Gibson will fund a Crusade, and wear sack cloth for the rest of his life, against bad movies in atonement for The Beaver.

13

C&C: Halloween

A repost, but a needed one– even EWTN is spreading some of these old myths!   Many thanks to Ben Butera for reminding me with his new post. 😀

Pag-again?

Just like every other big Catholic thing, it’s supposedly Pagan to have a party during the vigil before All Saint’s day. There is a long history of having a sort of harvest festival in pretty much any culture that can produce more than they can store (frequently it’s when you harvest fruits or slaughter the animals before winter) and there was one called Samhain in Ireland. There’s another one coming up in the US, called Thanksgiving. Since becoming Catholic didn’t suddenly make it so they had modern means of storing food that spoils quickly the parties would have kept happening, and when centuries after the pagan practices were gone the feast of All Saints was instituted there was nothing there to “steal.”

The trick-or-treating is believed to have grown out of gathering food for the vigil feast, plus hospitality, sort of like carolers traditionally get figgy pudding and something to drink; there is no specific support for this theory, but it does have more support than claims of pagan origins for the vigil of All Saint’s! Parties on feast days are traditional, priests (and their helpers, which at feast time would likely be small children) would likely be in charge of setting them up. There’s also the tradition of soul cakes, which were a food donation in exchange for a promise to pay for the dead. (Amusingly enough, a lot if Catholic customs have been taken by pagan groups from the UK area– if it’s not protestant, it must be pagan!)

Many American Halloween customs are most likely taken from Guy Fawkes’ day, November 5th– it’s entirely possible that they shifted over from the prior All Hallow’s Eve celebrations of the English, just as the harvest feast got hooked to the Feast and its vigil. People are very good at finding a reason to have a party and have fun, and fire is fun, food is fun, candy and costumes are fun.  (With credit to the father of our nation; Washington was very down on Guy Fawkes’ day. A shorter, modern version of his comments could be summed up as “grow up.”)

Black Cats and Jack of the Lantern

You’ve probably heard something about black cats– or cats in general– being condemned by the Vatican and thus killed as associates of witches? Specifically, by Gregory IX, in the Papal Bull Vox in Rama? I’m sure you’ll be just shocked, shocked to find out that no, he didn’t. That claim can be traced to a book from the ’70s that was supposedly about witchcraft in the Middle Ages. The only Papal Bull we’ve got records for that Pope issuing was to canonize St. Francis of Assisi, and it’s after records are rather good.

Startlingly enough, Gregory the IX did actually write a letter which started with the supposed title of the Bull, which does mention black cats… but that’s because it describes the supposed rituals of witches in Germany. (Kissing the cat’s posterior; I can’t read Latin, or even enough German to find the Latin text of the letter, but those snippets of translation I’ve seen suggest it was not a natural cat.) There is no claim before the ’70s that it was a Bull, nor does the letter say something to the effect of “hey, wipe out (black) cats, they’re satanic.” If there was actually such a strong connection, especially with official documents, it should have been showing up frequently during the witch craze; as it was not, I’d theorize that any connection was exactly the other way around– there was already a superstition about cats being witchy in various ways.

Jack-o-lanterns have a traditional sort of legend with many variations that can be summed up as ‘once there was a man who the devil couldn’t take and Heaven would not, who now wanders the world with a light in a carved container’ (the first part should sound familiar–it’s very popular for everything from fairies to the Wandering Jew). I know that swamplights, witchfires, will’o’wisps or foxfires (heh) are often associated with walking spirits, probably because a strange light from a non-human source at night is scary. The Irish carved turnips, the English carved beets, and here in America we carve squash- each year I’m startled that nobody has made some really impressive bottle gourds— that’s the hard, dryable variety of gourds; pumpkins are the soft type.

Random Bits:

The Vatican Condems Halloween!

This was several years ago, but it is probably still floating around.

Here is a great summary of where that came from:A quote from a priest in Spain reported in an Italian newspaper read by an Englishman who then reported it as fact that the Vatican condemns Halloween.

Basically, some Spanish youth thought that the rather gruesome, dark, “magic” soaked American Halloween they’d seen on TV looked like fun and were being poorly behaved in newsworthy in rather bad ways; Father Joan Maria Canals of the Spanish Bishop’s conference said that’s bad. Shocking, you know, a Catholic official saying that he thinks people shouldn’t glorify death and doesn’t like a Church Holiday being hijacked for occult purposes.

A lot of information can be found at this Catholic Answers podcast; it has a bunch of information all in one place. This pdf that I linked  for Guy Fawkes is also a good source.

None of this should be taken to mean that you must celebrate Halloween in any way, shape or form, and in fact my family doesn’t do costumes that glorify evil, or even that are gruesome. A few years ago we embarrassed a couple that thought it would be a hoot to dress themselves and their infant boy up as zombies for the Mall’s trick-or-treat, because our three year old girl had to be reassured that they were OK– and then went up and asked them if they were OK.

Twice.

It was pretty obvious from the parents’ expression that they hadn’t really thought through the whole “dressing in photo-realistic car accident injury makeup” thing.

We just have fun, and the adults are more likely to cosplay or have an outfit that complements the kids’. My husband made a very dashing Harry Dresden, Wizard Detective.  I am usually Miss Frizzle’s cousin, Miss Frazzled, complete with lizard.

Joy, laughter, and fun– we’re celebrating all of the saints!

11

PopeWatch: Life

Hattip to Amanda Servello.  Joe Gallagher at Crisis reports that the powers that be at the Vatican are attempting to transform what it means to be pro-life:

 

Fair is foul and foul is fair at the Pontifical Academy for Life (PAV). Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, President of the PAV, recently redefined the term “life” for the Catholic Church, stating that the PAV will now refocus its pro-life mission to include issues of migration, arms control, poverty and the environment. He suggested that to be authentically pro-life is to be pro-life in every way and everywhere. That is true, if we correctly understand the term pro-life. Correctly understood, it means defending innocent human life from targeted destruction from the moment of conception until natural death at all stages of development in every time, place and culture.

We should be extremely wary of accepting any new definition of “life.” The traditional definition only includes the issues of abortion, euthanasia, and bioethical concerns pertaining to embryonic stem cell research, cloning, IVF, etc. It excludes the death penalty, which involves those who are guilty of grotesque crimes such as murder and rape. The convicted may be put to death in rare cases as a matter of justice only after due process and especially if they remain a danger to society, which is in line with Catholic teaching despite Pope Francis’s recent statement that capital punishment always violates the Gospel. It excludes war, which may be waged after discernment for just cause, and killing in self-defense. But it also excludes the new areas of focus of the PAV. I am not suggesting that these issues are not constituent of the mission of the Church, or that they do not impinge on issues relating to human life, but they are not issues related to the Church’s traditional pro-life mission. There are other councils, institutes, academies, etc., wherein such issues should rightly be the focus, but to include them in the PAV is suspect.

This move to redefine “life” is highly disturbing for many in the Church suspicious of Pope Francis, his advisors and appointees, who believe that John Paul II’s original motive for the PAV outlined in his motu proprio Vitae Mysterium to spread the traditional “Gospel of Life” with “the specific task to study and provide information and training about the principal problems of law and biomedicine pertaining to the promotion and protection of life” is being undermined by those hell-bent on reforming Catholicism from within. It doesn’t help that Paglia is also Grand Chancellor of the recently and controversially renamed John Paul II Pontifical Theological Institute for Marriage and Family Sciences (which is now to be guided by Amoris Laetitia) who has expressed support for admitting the divorced and remarried to Communion, approved a controversial sex-education program in Spain entitled “The Meeting Point: Project for Affective and Sexual Formation,” commissioned and appeared in a mural on the façade of the cathedral church of the Diocese of Terni-Narni-Ameli that many describe as homoerotic, and, according to some critics, has equivocated on defending the Church’s position on same-sex relationships.

 

Go here to read the rest.  This attempt to transform the meaning of life calls to mind this quotation from 1984:

 

By 2050—earlier, probably—all real knowledge of Oldspeak will have disappeared. The whole literature of the past will have been destroyed. Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Byron—they’ll exist only in Newspeak versions, not merely changed into something different, but actually contradictory of what they used to be. Even the literature of the Party will change. Even the slogans will change. How could you have a slogan like “freedom is slavery” when the concept of freedom has been abolished? The whole climate of thought will be different. In fact there will be no thought, as we understand it now. Orthodoxy means not thinking—not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.

 

 

2

October 27, 1962: Black Saturday

October 27, 1962 has gone down in history as Black Saturday.  Three events pushed the world to the very brink of nuclear war.

 

 

Major Rudolph Anderson was shot down and killed during a U-2 flight over Cuba.  He was posthumously decorated with the Air Force Cross, the second highest decoration for valor in the United States Air Force.  Soviet Premier Khrushchev was furious when he heard about the shoot down and ordered that no further US planes were to be downed except on personal orders from him.  Here is the citation for Major Anderson.

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Title 10, Section 8742, United States Code, takes pride in presenting the Air Force Cross (Posthumously) to Major Rudolf Anderson Jr., United States Air Force, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving as Pilot of a U-2 airplane with the 4080th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, Strategic Air Command (SAC), from 15 October 1962 to 27 October 1962. During this period of great national crisis, Major Anderson, flying an unescorted, unarmed aircraft, lost his life while participating in one of several aerial reconnaissance missions over Cuba. While executing these aerial missions, Major Anderson made photographs which provided the United States government with conclusive evidence of the introduction of long-range offensive missiles into Cuba and which materially assisted our leaders in charting the nation’s military and diplomatic course. Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship, and aggressiveness in the face of the enemy, Major Anderson reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

The second event occurred when the US destroyer the USS Beale, enforcing the Cuban blockade, dropped warning non-explosive depth charges on nuclear armed Soviet Sub B-59.  The commander of the sub, thinking his ship was doomed, wanted to launch a nuclear torpedo at a nearby US carrier.  The launch required the concurrence of three officers. Captain  Vasili Alexandrovich Arkhipov, who would eventually rise to Vice Admiral in the Soviet Navy, refused to agree and probably saved the world from nuclear annihilation.

The third event involved another U-2 flight became lost and flew into Soviet air space.  Chased by Soviet fighters he flew to Alaska, with the US scrambling nuclear armed fighters.  Ironically, the events of the day probably helped ensure a peaceful resolution of the crisis, convincing both Kennedy and Khrushchev that the situation was careening out of control and that the standoff had to end if nuclear war were to be averted.

1

Kremlin Cola

Peripetchikoff: While they are putting Uncle Sam in cuckoo clock, we will put Soviet cosmonaut on moon.

C.R. MacNamara: Okay, so you guys may be the first to shoot a man to the moon, but if he wants a Coke on the way, you’ll have to come to us.

One, Two, Three (1961)

 

 

 

Ah, One, Two, Three (1961), a howlingly funny Billy Wilder movie and one of the most anti-Communist films ever made by Hollywood.  The last film that James Cagney made before his retirement, I do not count his ill-starred reappearance in a few films very late in life, it is a fitting cap to his career, even though Cagney personally had a terrible time making the film.  Bonus: torture scene:

 

 

 

5

PopeWatch: Apostasy

Father John Hunwicke reminds us of these prophetic words of Pope Paul VI three decades ago:

 

In 1977, Blessed Paul VI, on the sixtieth anniversary of the last Fatima Apparition, said this: “The tail of the Devil is functioning in the disintegration of the Catholic world. The darkness of Satan has entered and spread throughout the Catholic Church, even to its summit. Apostasy, the loss of the Faith, is spreading throughout the world and into the highest levels within the Church”.

I know some of you chaps out there sometimes feel a bit dubious about Blessed Papa Montini, but, really, faced with words of such prophetic discernment, how can you maintain your reservations? Come on!

By the way: have you yet read Cardinal Burke‘s very fine Buckfast Address on …  Apostasy? If not, you jolly well ought to get on with it …

Apostasy is a word we ought to be more willing to do business with. The beginning of the Catholic Revival in the Church of England is commonly dated to 1833, when  blessed John Keble preached a sermon on “National Apostasy“! Very Patrimonial! Immensely Prophetic!

 

Go here to read the comments.  Always remember that after the night of Satan there is the dawn of Christ.

13

DE CURA ANIMARUM PRO CHRISTIANIS COMMUNISMO INFECTIS

Lifesite News has a blockbuster article on the “lost” condemnation of Communism DE CURA ANIMARUM PRO CHRISTIANIS COMMUNISMO INFECTIS for Vatican II but not adopted due to the opposition of liberal German, French and Dutch bishops. Go here to read the translation prepared by Lifesite News.  Here is the background story from Lifesite News:

 

 

In 1962, as millions of Catholics languished behind the iron curtain and the Soviet Union worked to spread atheistic communism throughout the world, the Second Vatican Council was preparing to deliver an historic condemnation of Marxist and communist ideology, one that would involve a global strategy for its defeat.

Vatican II’s preparatory commissions had created three different statements that would condemn Marxism as an “exceedingly grave and universal danger” and communism as “a false religion without God” that seeks to “to subvert the foundations of Christian civilization.” They also envisioned a massive and highly-coordinated campaign to liberate mankind from communism and “shatter its audacity.”

It would be a full-scale counterattack against what Fatima visionary Lúcia dos Santos called “the greatest heresy to appear at any time in the world,” which was “carrying its errors to the ends of the earth.”

However, the documents were discarded in the early months of the Council when the liberal German, French, and Dutch-speaking bishops of the “Rhine group” out-maneuvered the conservative majority and took control of the commissions overseeing the council’s documents. They then rejected most of the preparatory schemas that had been issued to the council fathers, replacing them with schemas that generally avoided condemning the errors of the age. The schemas condemning communism and Marxism were never considered. What remained was only a timid critique of atheism in the document Gaudium et Spes, with an oblique reference in a footnote to previous condemnations to communism by the popes.

The council’s plans to combat Marxism were almost entirely forgotten, filed away and ultimately published in their original Latin form in the official acts of the council, where they can be found gathering dust in research libraries throughout the world.

In the years following the council, Marxism-inspired forms of “liberation theology” took hold among many Catholic clergy and theologians, particularly in Latin America. One such priest, the Argentinean Jesuit Jorge Bergoglio, initially resisted such influences, but began to ally himself with Marxism-inspired liberation theologians before being elected to the papacy in 2013.

In a recent interview with Pope Francis, the leftist atheist journalist Eugenio Scalfari reports that he asked the pontiff:  “So you yearn for a society where equality dominates. This, as you know, is the programme of Marxist socialism and then of communism. Are you therefore thinking of a Marxist type of society?” To which he says Francis replied, “It has been said many times and my response has always been that, if anything, it is the communists who think like Christians.” Francis has never denied nor repudiated the statement.

Francis has also engaged in other gestures expressing sympathy for Marxism, including the acceptance of a hammer-sickle crucifix from Bolivia’s Marxist president, Evo Morales, a gesture that caused much consternation in Latin America. He reportedly has requested help from Marxism-inspired liberation theologians such as Leonardo Boff in the composition of his encyclical letter Laudato Si’. Recently the Jesuit order elected a new Superior General, the Venezuelan Arturo Sosa Abascal, who has openly sought to reconcile Christianity with Marxism.

On other occasions, however, Francis has expressed disagreement with Marxism, while at the same time expressing respect for Marxists. “Marxist ideology is wrong. But in my life I have known many Marxists who are good people, so I don’t feel offended,” he told reporters in 2013 after he was accused of promoting Marxism in his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium.

Now, LifeSite is presenting full translations of Vatican II’s discarded condemnations of communism and Marxism. We believe that this is the first time that the documents have been translated into any vernacular language. There are three documents in all: two complete schemas with their own independent systems of footnotes, and a third text that comprised part of a larger schema. Together the translations cover twenty pages of text.   Continue Reading

3

A Century of Blood

But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.

George Orwell, 1984

 

 

 

In the Julian Calendar which the Russians used in 1917 the Russian Revolution, more accurately the Russian Coup, by the Bolsheviks occurred on October 25, hence the October Revolution.  (On the Gregorian Calendar the date was November 7, 1917.)  Dave Griffey at Daffey Thoughts reminds us that Communism is still a favored murderous mass movement among all to many intellectuals of the West.

 

Dr. Samuel Gregg examines the 100th Anniversary of Russia’s October Revolution.  This should be bigger than it is, though the Left has always been shy about focusing too much on the horrors of Communism. 

Growing up, all the hip shows and movies cast a sympathetic glance over at the legacy of Communism and its prevailing states, whether it be MASH or Reds, you couldn’t help but get the feeling that underlying the approach was a secret ‘they’re better than us’ message in it all.

In college, it was the same.  Communism, though not without its flaws, was never as bad as – can I say it – the Capitalism of America’s industrial war machines.  More than one professor took great delight in pointing out that the Communists were often just trying to help, unlike our own government that never seemed to have a pure motive in its history.

The same for Catholics, at least those more hostile to America and the Western tradition.  More than once I’ve been informed that if you take the Trail of Tears, twist and turn the numbers just right, it’s clear the US is the most murderous nation state in history, far worse than any Communist state of the 20th century.  And that doesn’t count the millions of slaves that were murdered, the billions of Native Americans killed, and the tens of millions killed by our military during our endless imperial grabs for power.

Nonetheless, outside of that weird universe of Marxist driven leftist ideology, in what we call the real world, Communism remains perhaps the most evil, murderous, and destructive ideology in the history of the human race.  That so many on the Left either try to downplay, or outright deny, this makes you wonder just how passionate the Left is about opposing things like mass slaughter, tyranny, destruction and endless terror. 

Nonetheless, this is the big 100th anniversary.  We’ll see how much it’s covered.  Kudos to The Catholic World Report for stepping out early and getting a jump on the future reflections. 

Go here to comment.  Ironically, considering how infested with Marxism the Catholic left is, the main attraction of this superstition for intellectuals is largely the atheism that is at the core of Marxism.  There is no God, merely an inevitable historical path laid out by Marx. Traditional morality was done away with:  cooperating with the inevitable historical process, the ultimate triumph of Marxism, was moral, and anything that opposed it was immoral.  Thus morality becomes a mere matter of political labels.  How convenient that this allowed movements dedicated to Marxism to commit any crime, no matter how vile, in the scramble for supreme power.  That Marxism has never been anything but a transparent fraud, with no more intellectual validity than a tale from The Arabian Nights, is a damning indictment of the human capacity to embrace any fable if it gives an excuse to engage in wretched conduct with an ostensibly clean conscience. One hundred million corpses later it is depressing to see how popular this murderous nonsense is in the West.

 

5

Book Review: How Alexander Hamilton Screwed Up America

NB: Cross-posted from the Cranky Conservative.

“Show, don’t tell” is a staple rule of writing. Though normally applied to narrative fiction, it ought to be a tenet of non-fiction, as it is crucial to provide substantiating evidence to prove a claim. Unfortunately, Brion McClanahan defies this cardinal rule throughout How Alexander Hamilton Screwed Up America, turning what could have been a valuable contribution to the internal debate on the right into an anti-Hamilton screed.

McClanahan’s thesis is that America’s founding principles were betrayed right out of the gate, and the arch antagonist is none other than the celebrated Alexander Hamilton. Hamiltonian nationalism, and the economic program it inspired, were unconstitutional usurpations of the original vision of an agrarian republic dominated by state and local interests. Hamilton’s constitutional interpretations were defiantly at odds with the bulk of his compatriots. What’s more, Hamilton outright lied during the ratification debates, underselling his nationalist vision to lull his fellow citizens into a fall sense of security, before unleashing his full-throated, state usurping program on an unsuspecting public.

Did I mention Alexander Hamilton lied? This is an oft repeated accusation in a book that at times reads liked a souped-up blog post, unleashing ad hominem attacks on the villains in McClanahan’s play-act, of which Hamilton is joined by three others: Supreme Court justices John Marshall, Joseph Story, and Hugo Black, who all solidified Hamilton’s betrayal through their extra-constitutional rulings.

McClanahan’s brief is pithy and concise. The narrative portions of the book are generally accurate (minus a few whoppers, such as labeling Stephen Knott a “liberal” historian), and distill the essences of the history and cases in a breezy manner. I could have used McClanahan while trudging through dull, dry constitutional law briefs in graduate school. Unfortunately, this pithiness comes at the expense of ever offering documentary evidence to substantiate his claims. Continue Reading

11

PopeWatch: Editor of Christ

Sandro Magister tells us about the latest stage in the Pope’s ongoing effort to correct Christ:

 

 

In the important newspaper “la Repubblica” of which he is the founder, Eugenio Scalfari, an undisputed authority of Italian secular thought, last October 9 returned to speaking in the following terms about what he sees as a “revolution” of this pontificate, in comments by Francis that are derived from his frequents conversations with him:

“Pope Francis has abolished the places where souls were supposed to go after death: hell, purgatory, heaven. The idea he holds is that souls dominated by evil and unrepentant cease to exist, while those that have been redeemed from evil will be taken up into beatitude, contemplating God.”

Observing immediately afterward:

“The universal judgment that is in the tradition of the Church therefore becomes devoid of meaning. It remains a simple pretext that has given rise to splendid paintings in the history of art. Nothing other than this.”

It is seriously doubtful that Pope Francis really wants to get rid of the “last things” in the terms described by Scalfari.

There is in his preaching, however, something that tends toward a practical overshadowing of the final judgment and of the opposite destinies of blessed and damned.

*

On Wednesday, October 11, at the general audience in Saint Peter’s Square, Francis said that such a judgment is not to be feared, because “at the end of our history there is the merciful Jesus,” and therefore “everything will be saved. Everything.”

In the text distributed to the journalists accredited to the Holy See, this last word, “everything,” was emphasized in boldface.

*

At another general audience a few months ago, on Wednesday, August 23, Francis gave for the end of history an image that is entirely and only comforting: that of “an immense tent, where God will welcome all mankind so as to dwell with them definitively.”

An image that is not his own but is taken from chapter 21 of Revelation, but from which Francis was careful not to cite the following words of Jesus:

“The victor will inherit these gifts, and I shall be his God, and he will be my son. But as for cowards, the unfaithful, the depraved, murderers, the unchaste, sorcerers, idol-worshipers, and deceivers of every sort, their lot is in the burning pool of fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

*

And again, in commenting during the Angelus of Sunday, October 15 on the parable of the wedding banquet (Matthew 22: 1-14) that was read at all the Masses on that day, Francis carefully avoided citing the most unsettling parts.

Both that in which “the king became indignant, sent his troops, had those murderers killed and their city burned.”

And that in which, having seen “one man who was not wearing the wedding garment,” the king ordered his servants: “Bind him hand and foot and throw him out into the darkness; there shall be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth.”

*

On the previous Sunday, October 8, another parable, that of the murderous vine dressers (Matthew 21:33-43), had undergone the same selective treatment.

In commenting on the parable during the Angelus, the pope left out what the owner of the vineyard does to those farmers who killed the servants and finally the son: “He will put those wretches to a miserable death.” Much less did he cite the concluding words of Jesus, referring to himself as the “cornerstone”: “He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but when it falls on any one, it will crush him.”

Instead, Pope Francis insisted on defending God from the accusation of being vindictive, almost as if wanting to mitigate the excesses of “justice” detected in the parable:

“It is here that the great news of Christianity is found: a God who, in spite of being disappointed by our mistakes and our sins, does not go back on his word, does not stop, and above all does not avenge himself! Brothers and sisters, God does not avenge himself! God loves, he does not avenge himself, he waits for us to forgive us, to embrace us.”

*

In the homily for the feast of Pentecost, last June 4, Francis argued, as he often does, against “those who judge.” And in citing the words of the risen Jesus to the apostles and implicitly to their successors in the Church (John 20:22-23), he intentionally cut them off halfway through:

“Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive, they will be forgiven.”

Omitting the following:

“Those you do not forgive, they will not be forgiven.”

And the fact that the truncation was deliberate is proven by its repititon. Because Francis had made the exact same deletion of the words of Jesus on the previous April 23, at the Regina Coeli of the first Sunday after Easter.

*

Last May 12 as well, while visiting Fatima, Francis showed that he wanted to set Jesus free from his reputation as an inflexible judge at the end of time. And to do this he warned against the following false image of Mary:

“A Mary of our own making: one who restrains the arm of a vengeful God; one sweeter than Jesus the ruthless judge.”

*

It must be added that the liberty with which Pope Francis cuts and stitches up the words of Sacred Scripture does not concern only the universal judgment. Deafening, for example, is the silence in which he has always shrouded Jesus’ condemnation of adultery (Matthew 19:2-11 and parallel passages).

In a surprising coincidence, this condemnation was contained in the Gospel passage that was read in all the churches of the world precisely on the Sunday of the beginning of the second session of the synod of bishops on the family, October 4, 2015. But neither in the homily nor at the Angelus on that day did Pope Francis make the slightest reference to it.

Nor did he make any reference to it at the Angelus of Sunday February 12, 2017, when that condemnation was once again read in all the churches.

Not only that. The words of Jesus against adultery also do not appear in the two hundred pages of the post-synodal exhortation “Amoris Laetitia.”

Just as no appearance is made in it by the terrible words of condemnation of homosexuality written by the apostle Paul in the first chapter of the Letter to the Romans.

A first chapter that was also read – another coincidence – at the weekday Masses of the second week of the synod of 2015. To tell the truth, those words are not included in the missal. But in any case, neither the pope nor anyone else ever cited them while discussions were being held at the synod about changing the paradigms of judgment on homosexuality:

“Therefore, God handed them over to degrading passions. Their females exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the males likewise gave up natural relations with females and burned with lust for one another. Males did shameful things with males and thus received in their own persons the due penalty for their perversity. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God handed them over to their undiscerning mind to do what is improper. They are filled with every form of wickedness, evil, greed, and malice; full of envy, murder, rivalry, treachery, and spite. They are gossips and scandalmongers and they hate God. They are insolent, haughty, boastful, ingenious in their wickedness, and rebellious toward their parents. They are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know the just decree of God that all who practice such things deserve death, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them” (Romani 1, 26-32).

*

Moreover, at times Pope Francis even takes the liberty of rewriting the words of Sacred Scripture as he sees fit.

For example, in the morning homily at Santa Marta on September 4, 2014, at a certain point the pope attributed to Saint Paul these “scandalous” words: “I boast only of my sins.” And he concluded by inviting the faithful present to “boast” of their own sins, in that they have been forgiven from the cross by Jesus.

But in none of Paul’s letters can such an expression be found. The apostle instead says of himself: “If it is necessary to boast, I will boast of my weaknesses” (2 Corinthians 11:30), after having listed all the hardships of his life – the imprisonments, the floggings, the shipwrecks.

Or: “About myself I will not boast, except of my weaknesses” (2 Corinthians 12:5). Or again: “He said to me: ‘My grace is enough for you; strength is in fact made fully manifest in weakness.’ I will therefore gladly boast of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me” (2 Corinthians 12:9), with more references to the outrages, persecutions, anguish he has suffered.

 

Go here to read the rest.  Pope Francis seems to view himself not as the Vicar of Christ but rather as the Editor of Christ.

6

The Girl Who Reversed Agincourt

 

Joan was a being so uplifted from the ordinary run of mankind that she finds no equal in a thousand years. She embodied the natural goodness and valour of the human race in unexampled perfection. Unconquerable courage, infinite compassion, the virtue of the simple, the wisdom of the just, shone forth in her. She glorifies as she freed the soil from which she sprang.

Sir Winston Churchill

 

 

 

 

 

By the death of King Henry V in 1422 it seemed as if the English had succeeded in conquering France.  Then God chose otherwise.  Three years old at the time of Agincourt, by the time of the end of her short life on May 30, 1431, Joan of Arc had set in motion forces that would result in the utter defeat of the English.  She transformed a squalid dynastic squabble into a crusade for the French.  One of the examples of the direct intervention of God in human affairs, the brief history altering life of Saint Joan of Arc has attracted the admiration of the most unlikely of men, including the Protestant Sir Winston Churchill, and the agnostic Mark Twain who called his book on Joan of Arc the finest thing he ever wrote.  She was not canonized until 1920, but almost all of her contemporaries who met her had no doubt that she was a saint sent by God.  Some of the English who were present as she was burned at the stake cried out that they were all damned because she was a saint.   Jean Tressard, the Treasurer of Henry VI, King of England, wrote the following soon after the execution of Joan:   ”We are all lost for it is a good and holy woman that has been burned. I believe her soul is in the hands of God, and I believe damned all who joined in her condemnation”.  With Saint Joan humanity came into contact with a messenger from God, and the result to her was as predictable as it was lamentable.  However, the outcome of her mission was exactly as she had predicted.  The weak Dauphin that she had crowned would reign as Charles VII and end the Hundred Years War in victory for France, something that none of his contemporaries thought remotely possible before Joan embarked on her mission.  With courage and faith she altered the course of the history of France and of all the world.

On January 26, 2011 Pope Benedict spoke of Saint Joan: Continue Reading

3

Agincourt the Battle

 

 

October 25, 1415 was an amazing day for the English.  The English longbow had long proved during the Hundred Years War to be a devastating weapon in the hands of skilled archers, but rarely had the English faced such long odds as they did at Agincourt.  Approximately 6,000 English, exhausted and worn from their march, faced approximately 30,000 French.  About five out of six of the English were archers with the remainder men-at-arms, knights and nobility.  The French had about 10,000 men-at-arms, knights and nobility, and 20,000 archers, crossbowmen and miscellaneous infantry.

 

The English established their battle line between the woods of Agincourt and Tramecourt, which offered excellent protection to both of their flanks.  The English archers made up the front line with stakes set in the ground before them to impale charging horses.  Archers were also placed in the woods to provide flanking fire against advancing French.  The men at arms and knights and nobility, were divided into three forces behind the archers.  They fought on foot.

The terrain between the woods that the French would have to cross in their attack of the English consisted of newly ploughed, and very muddy, fields.  Having walked through muddy fields on several occasions in rural Illinois, I can attest that simply getting from point A to point B in such terrain can be exhausting, let alone fighting at the end of the tramp through the morass. Continue Reading

October 25, 1983: Operation Urgent Fury Begins

 

 

 

It is strange to realize that events one has lived through are part now of the tapestry of history.  So it is  for me with Operation Urgent Fury, the US invasion of Grenada, which is now 34 years in the past.   Arising out of a murderous factional dispute in the New Jewel Movement, which had ruled Grenada since 1979, that led to the murder of Prime Minister Maurice Bishop and some of his cabinet on October 19, 1983, the invasion was a symbol that the US had recovered from its post Vietnam malaise, and was willing to use military force.  The Grenadian army imposed martial law and placed Governor-General Paul Scoon  under arrest.  The Organization of East Caribbean States and Barbados and Jamaica appealed for assistance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Reagan administration was happy to oblige, eager for the excuse to root out Cuban influence from Grenada, Cuba and the New Jewel Movement being firm allies.  The invasion began on October 25.  Initial resistance was fierce from Cubans, but the massive superiority in troops and firepower of the 7,300 US and allied invasion force swiftly defeated all opposition.  Fidel Castro when interviewed about the invasion was asked what he would do, and admitted there was nothing the Cubans could do.

Cubans captured on Grenada were repatriated to Cuba.  US forces withdrew from Grenada by December 15, 1983.  The date of the invasion, October 25, is celebrated as a national holiday in Grenada, which has been a democratic nation since that time. Continue Reading

13

Jesuitical 21: Georgetown and Love Saxa

Part 21 of my ongoing survey of the follies of many modern day Jesuits.  It seems that defending traditional Catholic teaching at Georgetown is verboten:

 

 

A student group at Georgetown University faces defunding and other possible sanctions for defending the Catholic Church’s teaching on marriage.

Love Saxa exists to promote healthy relationships and sexual integrity.

It describes itself as a “new initiative at Georgetown to promote and celebrate authentically loving relationships.”

Love Saxa was restarted as a student group after taking a break for a year, according to the Hoya. On October 3, it hosted a talk by Dawn Hawkins, executive director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation.  

“In a society where dating and courtship are largely forgotten, structures of marriage and family are eroding, traditional understandings of gender complementarity are distant concepts, the use of pornography is prevalent, and sexual assault is rampant, Love Saxa exists to promote healthy relationships on campus through cultivating a proper understanding of sex, gender, marriage, and family among Georgetown students,” Love Saxa says on its website and Facebook page.

“Many Georgetown students lack a space to discuss their experiences of the harmful effects of a distorted view of human sexuality and the human person,” Love Saxa’s mission statement explains. “Through programs consisting of discussions, lectures, and campaigns, we hope to increase awareness of the benefits of sexual integrity, healthy dating relationships, and the primacy of marriage & family as central pillars of society.”

Georgetown student Jasmin Ouseph submitted a formal complaint to the Jesuit-run Catholic school about the club, claiming it violates the Division of Student Affairs’ Student Organization Standards.

The presidents of GU Pride and Georgetown University Queer People of Color are complaining along with Ouseph.

 

Go here to read the rest.  The powers that be at Georgetown are about as Catholic as Karl Marx was.  Scratch that.  Old Commie Marx doubtless had more traditional views of marriage and homosexuality than the Jesuits of Georgetown.

11

Pope Watch–Rebuke to Cardinal Sarah

I don’t want to poach on Don McCleary’s turf, but  the following shouldn’t be passed up.   It’s from Whispers in the Loggia, a blog by Rocco Palmo that relates inside happenings in the Church hierarchy.   This is from his post 22nd October, 2017.

“In an extraordinary rebuke to one of his own Curial cardinals, the Pope has aimed to ‘explain simply, and hopefully clearly… some errors’ in his Worship chief’s understanding of Magnum Principium, his recent motu proprio on liturgical translations, indicating the new norms granting enhanced oversight to bishops’ conferences as a fresh development – and, most pointedly, declaring several key pieces of the operative rules in 2001’s Liturgiam authenticam ‘abrogated./

A year since Francis’ last open clash with his top liturgical aide, a personal letter from the pontiff to the CDW prefect Cardinal Robert Sarah (above, ad orientem), dated 15 October, was published this morning by the Italian outlet La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana and subsequently confirmed by the Holy See Press Office, then placed on the Italian homepage of Vatican Radio. (Ironically enough, even as this Ordinary Sunday takes precedence, today marks the feast of St John Paul II, under whose authority LA was promulgated.)

Noting that a lengthy, widely-circulated commentary published under Sarah’s signature earlier this month stated that LA remains ‘the authoritative text concerning liturgical translations,’ the Pope responded by relating that paragraphs 79-84 of the 2001 norms – those which deal precisely with the requirement for a vernacular rendering’s recognitio by Rome – were now abolished, going on to note that Magnum no longer upholds that translations must conform on all points with the norms of Liturgiam authenticam, as was the case in the past.’ “

See here for the  rest.   I am a great admirer of Cardinal Sarah, and I don’t know what to say about this.

2

October 24, 1977: Last Veterans Day in October

Then the teacher brought her arms down and the kids began to sing … I Knew why I felt at home.  The spirit of freedom was hovering over that play yard as it did all over France at that time. A country was free again. A people had recovered their independence and their children were grateful. They were singing in French, but the melody was freedom and any American could understand that.  America, at that moment, never meant more to me …
Audie Murphy describing a 1948 return visit to France

 

 

 

 

 

Due to the Uniform Monday Holiday Act Veterans Day was celebrated on the fourth Monday in October in 1971-1977.  Veterans’ groups were appalled and the date was shifted back to the traditional November 11 in 1978 where it has remained.

On September 20, 1975, President Gerald Ford, a Navy combat veteran of World War II, signed the law returning Veterans Day to November 11:

I HAVE signed into law today S. 331, a bill which will return the annual observance of Veterans Day from the Fourth Monday in October to its original date of November 11, beginning in 1978. This action supports the expressed will of the overwhelming majority of our State legislatures, all major veterans service organizations, and many individuals.

Under a law enacted in 1968, the fourth Monday in October was designated for the observance of Veterans Day. Since that law took effect, it has become apparent that the commemoration of this day on November 11 is a matter of historic and patriotic significance to a great number of our citizens. It is a practice deeply and firmly rooted in our customs and traditions. Americans have appreciated and wish to retain the historic significance of November 11 as the day set aside each year by a grateful nation to remember and honor those, living and dead, who fought to win and preserve our freedom.

I believe restoration of the observance of Veterans Day to November 11 will help preserve in the hearts and lives of all Americans the spirit of patriotism, the love of country, and the willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good symbolized by this very special day.

6

PopeWatch: Ed Feser

 

 

 

Philosopher Ed Feser recently authored a defense of traditional Church teaching on capital punishment, By Man Shall His Blood be Shed:  A Catholic Defense of Capital Punishment.

At Catholic World Report he takes a look at the recent comments of Pope Francis condemning capital punishment:

 

 

 

There simply is no way to make an absolute condemnation of capital punishment consistent with past scriptural and papal teaching. The only way out of the mess is for Pope Francis to issue a clarification that reaffirms traditional teaching.

Scripture, the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, and all popes before Pope Francis have consistently taught that capital punishment can in some circumstances be legitimate. In some recent remarks, Pope Francis appeared to suggest that this traditional teaching ought to be overturned, and that capital punishment is always and intrinsically wrong. In a recent article in Catholic Herald, I analyzed the pope’s remarks, noting that some of them do indeed appear to propose such a reversal, though others seem to point in the opposite direction.

I also noted that if this is what the pope is proposing – and it is not certain that it is – then he would be flirting with doctrinal error, something that is possible when a pope is not speaking ex cathedra, though it is extremely rare. For the legitimacy in principle of capital punishment is an irreformable or unchangeable teaching of the Church. Joseph Bessette and I assemble what we claim to be conclusive evidence to this effect in our recent book By Man Shall His Blood Be Shed: A Catholic Defense of Capital Punishment. (A few of the salient points are briefly summarized in an earlier Catholic World Report article of ours.)

The pope’s remarks have been controversial. For example, theologian Eduardo Echeverria has noted some of the problems with them in an article at Catholic World Report, as has P. J. Smith at First Things. But the pope also has some defenders. Interestingly, however, it turns out that they do not agree on why or how the pope’s remarks are defensible.

On Twitter, Catholic journalist Austen Ivereigh responded to my Catholic Herald piece with the remark: “This betrays a hugely deficient understanding of development of doctrine. It doesn’t even quote relevant parts of pope speech on topic [sic].” Ivereigh does not explain exactly what is deficient (“hugely” or otherwise) about my understanding of the development of doctrine (though of course, he could hardly have done so in a mere tweet). I quoted a number of key magisterial texts which illustrate how the Church teaches that a genuine “development of doctrine” can never be a reversal or overturning of doctrine. How Ivereigh would reconcile these texts with an overturning of traditional teaching on capital punishment, we are not told.

However, the “relevant parts” of the pope’s speech to which Ivereigh thinks I paid insufficient attention include, I would speculate, papal remarks like:

Here we are not in any way contradicting past teaching, for the defence of the dignity of human life from the first moment of conception to natural death has been taught by the Church consistently and authoritatively.

Ivereigh’s idea, perhaps, is this: The Church has always taught the dignity of human life, and the pope’s proposal is that this dignity absolutely rules out capital punishment under any circumstances. There is no contradiction between the claim that human life has dignity and the claim that capital punishment is always wrong, so that to draw the latter conclusion from the former is a genuine development of doctrine and not a contradiction of it.

But if this is Ivereigh’s reasoning, it is fallacious. For a genuine “development of doctrine” has to take account of the entire body of the Church’s traditional teaching, not just some part of it considered in isolation. For example, in hammering out the doctrine of the Trinity, the Church considered both the truth that there is only one God and the truth that the divine Persons are distinct. The Trinitarian conception of God is precisely a reconciliation of these ideas. Hence if the Church were to deny the distinctness of the Persons in the name of respecting the teaching that there is only one God, this would not be a “development” of past teaching but a rejection of it. It would be a matter of pitting one part of the deposit of faith against another, rather than preserving the whole. Indeed, the very term “heresy” derives from the Greek word hairesis, which means the “choosing” or “taking” of one part of orthodox doctrine while rejecting other parts.

Similarly, while the Church has always affirmed the dignity of human life, she has also always taught that an offender guilty of the gravest crimes can in some cases legitimately be executed. That these truths are perfectly compatible is obvious when we remember that there is a crucial moral distinction between the innocent and the guilty. Thus did Pope Pius XII teach that a murderer has, by virtue of his crime, “deprived himself of the right to live.” Thus did even Pope St. John Paul II, who was no fan of capital punishment, explicitly reaffirm even in the 1997 revision of the Catechism he promulgated that “the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty” under certain conditions. Thus did even he qualify his claims about the dignity of human life in Evangelium Vitae, teaching that “the commandment ‘You shall not kill’ has absolute value when it refers to the innocent person.” Such qualifications are necessary if we are to do justice to the whole of the deposit of faith.

(I am not, by the way – and contrary to what some critics of my Catholic Herald piece seem to think – suggesting that capital punishment is as central to Catholic doctrine as the Trinity is. That is not the point of the analogy. I am merely using Trinitarianism as an illustration of how a genuine development of doctrine works.) Continue Reading

2

Cardinal Newman’s Rules for Blogging

 

(I first published this on January 18, 2015.  Time to remind myself again as to how blogging should be conducted.)

 

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

Bloggers would do well to keep the following in mind:

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

2.    He never defends himself by a mere retort.

3.    He has no ears for slander or gossip.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

14

PopeWatch: Free Nations

The Pope doesn’t think much of loyalty to one’s country:

“The State cannot be conceived of as the sole and exclusive guardian of the common good,” the Pope told participants in a workshop organized by the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, “not allowing intermediate bodies of civil society to express, in freedom, their full potential.”

“This would this be a violation of the principle of subsidiarity which, combined with that of solidarity, constitutes a cornerstone of the social doctrine of the Church,” he said.

“The challenge here,” Francis added, “is how to bring individual rights into accord with the common good.”

“I think the position of civil society is to ‘pull’ the State and the market forward so they will rethink their raison-d’être and their way of working,” he said.

Last February, the Vatican’s Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin said that the Holy See is concerned over growing populist and nationalist movements, both in Europe and in the United States, adding that many of them “are born of fear, which is not a good counsellor.”

The Cardinal also recalled comments by Pope Francis, saying that “there is a risk of history repeating itself.”

In March, Pope Francis addressed more than 20 European heads of state, calling solidarity “the most effective antidote to modern forms of populism,” while denouncing nationalism as a new strain of selfishness.

In his speech, the Pope advocated a stronger, consolidated Europe against the rising tide of populist movements.

The pontiff contrasted solidarity, which draw us “closer to our neighbors,” with populism, which is “the fruit of a selfishness that hems people in and prevents them from overcoming and ‘looking beyond’ their own narrow vision.”

“There is a need to start thinking once again as Europeans,” Francis said, “so as to avert the opposite dangers of a dreary uniformity or the triumph of particularisms.” Continue Reading

17

Who Are the Christianophobes?

If one were to ban a Muslim group from attending a new student orientation fair at any given college, because the presence of such a group would be alienating for students of other religions and constitute a micro-aggression, I’d suspect such a person might be called an Islamophobe.

If one were to also ban a Gay Rights group from attending the same event, because the presence of such a group would be alienating for students of other sexual orientations and would also constitute a micro-aggression, I’d suspect such a person might also be called a homophobe.

The same logic could apply to any African-American group, except “racist” would be the word of choice or perhaps “deplorable”.

All these examples might be akin to saying you and/or your belief system(s) are not welcome here and you will not be allowed to recruit new members. What if this happened to an atheist group? I’m sure it would get ugly, although the term “atheist-ophobe” doesn’t roll off the tongue.

For some, the logic doesn’t seem to flow so well when the group is a Christian group. When one of the Oxford Colleges banned members of the Christian Union from its freshers’ fair on the grounds that it would be alienating for students of other religions and constitute a “micro-aggression”, I don’t believe the media stormed the internet and airwaves with cries of …“Christianophobe!” In actuality I’d have to say the action by the organizer(s) constitutes more of a macro-aggression as opposed to only “micro”.

To add insult to injury, the organizer argued “Christianity’s historic use as ‘an excuse for homophobia and certain forms of neo-colonialism’ meant that students might feel ‘unwelcome’ in their new college if the Christian Union had a stall.” Imagine if that exact same quote was used referring to a Muslim group.

In the face of perhaps a new era of direct attacks on religious liberty, clear thinking about inclusion becomes especially imperative. Without clarity, the cloud of muddled thinking that billows from all the “inclusion via intolerance” is quickly turning Christianity into society’s second hand smoke. As a people we don’t kill or arrest smokers; we just shame them and make sure they are safely out of the way.

“Marginalizing Christianity from the public sphere is a sign, not of intelligence, but of fear. It is failing to see, through the dark clouds of prejudice, that society cannot help but benefit from Christianity.”

̶ Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco

 

Photo by Tor Lindstrand – SWEATworkshop04, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=34812092

2

October 22, 1962: Cuban Missile Crisis Speech

 

For the lesson of the Cuban Missile Crisis is plain: Strength prevents war; weakness invites it. We need a commander-in-chief who understands that — and who won’t leave us facing a foe who thinks he doesn’t.

Arthur Herman

 

 

 

 

 

The world came very close to nuclear war just over half a century back.  The above video is of the speech that President Kennedy gave fifty-five years ago on October 22, 1962.  Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev in placing nuclear missiles in Cuba brought the world to the brink.  The crisis was ultimately resolved with the removal of the Soviet missiles in exchange for two  agreements between the US and the Soviet Union:  1.  No invasion of Cuba by the US and 2.  The removal of obsolete American Jupiter nuclear missiles from Turkey and Southern Italy.  Unsurprisingly the US kept secret the removal of the Jupiter missiles.  Surprisingly the Soviets also kept mum about the removal of the Jupiter missiles which led to the perception abroad and within the Soviet Union that Khrushchev had lost his confrontation with Kennedy, and paved the way for the Central Committee coup led by Leonid Brezhnev which toppled  Khrushchev from power in October 1964.  Here is the text of the speech: Continue Reading

5

Rendering Unto God and Caesar

The Pharisees went off
and plotted how they might entrap Jesus in speech.
They sent their disciples to him, with the Herodians, saying,
“Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man
and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth.
And you are not concerned with anyone’s opinion,
for you do not regard a person’s status.
Tell us, then, what is your opinion:
Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?”
Knowing their malice, Jesus said,
“Why are you testing me, you hypocrites?
Show me the coin that pays the census tax.”
Then they handed him the Roman coin.
He said to them, “Whose image is this and whose inscription?”
They replied, “Caesar’s.”
At that he said to them,
“Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar
and to God what belongs to God.”

Matthew 22: 15-21

 

While He was present on Earth, Jesus gave us God’s view of our mortal condition, and it often startled those who heard of it.  Typical was the trap lain for him involving paying tribute to Caesar.  If Christ had said pay no tribute, he would swiftly have been arrested by the Romans and condemned as a rebel.  Tell the people to pay the tribute, and He would have been regarded as a collaborator, one of those Jews who sided with the hated Roman rulers.  I assume whoever thought up this trap regarded it as foolproof and perhaps, in human terms, it was.  Jesus however demolished it with contemptuous ease.  He asked to see a Roman denarius, which had the face of Emperor Tiberius.  No doubt this made many Jews in the crowd squirm.  They hated the Romans, but Roman coins were in common usage.  Pious Jews would have hated handling the denarius because it blasphemously asserted that Tiberius was the son of the Divine Augustus, the Senate having proclaimed him a God.  (Ironically Tiberius was personally uneasy with the idea of being a God and the Senate did not proclaim his divinity after his death.)

One can imagine the anticipation with which the crowd awaited what was about to happen.  Christ had said almost nothing about the Roman occupation, as if it did not exist, or was simply too inconsequential for Him to notice.  Now He was being forced to take a stand on the central political issue of Jewish life.

Jesus inquires whose face is on the coin.  No doubt his interlocutor thought He was playing for time:  “Caesar.”

The words that Christ then spoke are obscured by our familiarity with them.  Israel had no tradition of separating religion from secular rule.  The rulers of Israel were judged as good or bad depending upon whether they had adhered to the worship of Yahweh.  The Kings of Israel and Judah had often been in severe conflict with prophets sent by God.  The Maccabees  were leaders of a religious revolt against the Seleucid Empire.  Herod had been condemned for his many atrocities and impieties.  The Jews longed for a Messiah to free them from the rule of Rome and bring about a Jewish utopia where God would rule His people.

Thus when Christ told the crowd to render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar and unto God the things that are God, he presented them with the stunning idea that there was a sphere of life which was a secular ruler’s, outside of the sphere of existence that was God’s.  We have been working out the implications of this divine revolutionary idea ever since.

6

October 21, 1879: Thomas Edison Invents the Incandescent Light Bulb

 

 

“We will make electricity so cheap that only the rich will burn candles.”

        Thomas Edison, 1879

 

 

Ah, Thomas Edison, that paragon of hard work and genius.  Electric lights had been experimented with since 1802.  Making a commercially viable light bulb however, eluded the numerous scientists working on the problem until Edison succeeded.  This was the type of problem that Edison excelled at:  one that required a bit of inspiration and a large amount of perspiration.
Beginning in 1878 Edison began work on a commercially viable incandescent electric lamp.  He decided that for indoor home use the light source had to operate on low voltage.  The idea of running current through a vacuum tube to produce light had been around for decades.  With improved pumping equipment Edison was able to make a better vacuum tube, and then his research centered on a long lasting filament.  Edison spoke about the process in 1890:
I speak without exaggeration when I say that I have constructed 3,000 different theories in connection with the electric light, each one of them reasonable and apparently likely to be true. Yet only in two cases did my experiments prove the truth of my theory. My chief difficulty was in constructing the carbon filament. . . . Every quarter of the globe was ransacked by my agents, and all sorts of the queerest materials used, until finally the shred of bamboo, now utilized by us, was settled upon.
Carbonized bamboo filaments would burn for 1200 hours.  A new age of light commenced.
Patent battles were inevitable with so many other inventors working on the light bulb.  Edison, ever the shrewd businessman, prevailed with a mixture of legal fights, purchasing patents, going into joint ventures with competitors, and buying other competitors out.  Edison’s business skills were as brilliant as his light bulb.

27

Banning and Moderation Policy

(In light of the banning of Phil, I thought I would dust off, and update, this post from 2012.)

TAC is a group blog and each contributor normally makes moderation and banning decisions in regard to their own threads.  When the blog started nine years ago I was initially somewhat hesitant to use either moderation or banning but that has changed over the years.  Here is some explanation of my current policies regarding both.

Moderation is automatically applied to anyone who has never left a comment at the blog.  This of course is a mechanism to prevent drive by trolls from launching a pure insult comment.  After the initial comment is approved the commenter is taken off moderation and may post freely.

What gets someone placed on moderation?

Direct insults aimed at another commenter.  I normally allow some lee-way if a commenter is directing an insult at me, at least if it is witty, although my patience tends to be limited.  A repeat offense may result in a ban.

Outrageous comments.  (Yes, T.Shaw I am looking at you!)  These include threatening to shoot anyone, a comment filled with vulgarities, etc.  I have T.Shaw on permanent moderation in this category, although I suspect he rather likes it as it enhances his bad boy of the blog image.  Happy to oblige T.Shaw.  (I have taken T.Shaw on and off moderation over the years.  I think it has become a game with us!)

Anti-Catholic bigotry.  This blog was not set up to give anti-Catholics a forum.

Riding a hobby-horse too frequently.  Some commenters will insist upon bringing every discussion around to their hobby-horse issue.  Do that too frequently and moderation awaits.

Wall of Text.  No, you may not engage in text spam that bears little relationship to the subject of a post.

Getting on Don’s nerves.  I blog for fun, and commenters who take the fun away will find themselves in moderation.

This is not a comprehensive list, but the above are the major categories.

Banning from the site occurs in the following situations.

Drive by trolls.  Normally you do not get to see the comments and I simply ban the authors as a matter of course.

Anti-Catholic bigots.  Banning is for those who either do not take the hint from a stay in moderation, or who make a comment so vilely anti-Catholic that it is a waste of time keeping them around.

Anti-Semites and Anti-Blacks. I do not wish to keep them from their Klan rally.

Disturbed individuals.  If a comment indicates to my untrained eye that someone is mentally disturbed they will be banned, mostly since taking verbal potshots at a deranged individual is not sporting.

Conspiracy mongers. If you are certain that the Illuminati, the Tri-Lateralists, the Cattle Mutilators or (insert name of group) are behind the scenes pulling the strings, we will not keep you from sharing your insight on other sites.

Being a persistent pest.  Longtime readers may recall the Catholic Anarchist who was banned after a year’s attempt at turning every thread into a fight between him and all and sundry.  That got old fast and it was a violation of the first commandment of blogging:  Thou Shalt Not Bore!

Attack trolls.  If your goal in life is to start constant fights on the internet, this is not cyber fight club.

F-bombs.  Constant use of profanity is boring and will not be tolerated.

Violating the rules against acting crazy on the internet.  Go here to this fine post by Paul Zummo to read the rules.

Not a comprehensive list of the factors I take into consideration when banning someone, but most of them.  I hope that no one I ban takes it personally or to heart.  Banning from a blog to my mind is equivalent to being gummed by an elderly toothless poodle who is attempting to tell you that your presence is no longer desired on her turf.  It doesn’t really hurt, but it is time to move on!

Banning and moderation help me prune the comboxes to make them more entertaining to our readers.  To me, the comboxes are just as important as my posts, and I pay close attention to the comments as a result.

We have a great stable of regular commenters at TAC.  I usually find your comments insightful, frequently witty and sometimes challenging.  You have helped make this blog the success it is, and I thank you from the bottom of my cold lawyer’s heart!

3

PopeWatch: Pope as Cruel and Unusual Punishment

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

 

Two prisoners in Bologna, Italy escaped during their lunch with Pope Francis yesterday, reportedly fleeing back to their jail cells after what they called a “harrowing experience.”

The two inmates, who are serving time at a social reintegration facility in Castelfranco Emilia, told EOTT that, though the few bites of lasagna they ate before ditching the lunch were amazing, they just “couldn’t stomach” another minute listening to His Holiness apologize for everything the Church has ever done.

“Don’t get me wrong, it is quite an experience to meet the Pope,” said inmate Giovanni Rotunda. “But he kept bowing to me and asking me to pray for him. By the tenth time I was really beginning to miss the prison food.”

Fellow inmate Dominic Bapideeboopi told EOTT that Pope Francis spent nearly half an hour explaining why the death penalty was contrary to Church teaching.

“I’m like, ‘Dude, let me eat.’ Of course I didn’t say that out loud, but the thing is is that I was just trying to have a pleasant afternoon, and to be honest, I’m a prisoner and I still believe in the death penalty! For goodness sakes, between all the praying for him, apologies on behalf of the Church, his near constant request to wash my feet, I just couldn’t take it anymore.”

That’s when, Bapideeboopi said, he and Rotunda looked at each other and nodded.

“That was all it took. We knew we just had maybe another hour or two there, but life is short—and we’d rather be spending our time in jail trying not to get shanked than being spiritually shanked by odd catechesis, if you know what I’m saying.” Continue Reading

8

October 20, 1944: General MacArthur Returns

 

Mine eyes have seen MacArthur
With a Bible on his knee,
He is pounding out communiqués
For guys like you and me,
And while possibly a rumor now,
Someday ’twill be a fact,
That the Lord will hear a deep voice
Say, “Move over God, it’s Mac!”

Anonymous Marine on Corregidor (1942)

 

 

 

 

 

 

The most controversial of American commanders in World War II, MacArthur has always roused strong emotion.  Reviled by some as a supreme egotist and an overrated general, and hailed by others as the greatest general in American history, MacArthur will be fought over in history books from now until Doomsday, a fate which I think would not have displeased him.  However, I suspect critics and admirers alike can agree on one thing.  Seventy-three years ago, October 20, 1944, MacArthur had the supreme moment of his life as he began the liberation of the Philippines: Continue Reading

2

PopeWatch: Luther

Father Z brings us this unsurprising news:

One of Pope Francis’ favorites of the Italian bishops, personally raised by the pontifical hand to power in the episcopal conference, Bp. Nunzio Galantino, gave a talk at my old school, the Pontifical Lateran University (“The Pope’s University”) for their LutherFest2017, sponsored by the theology faculty.

I read in Il Timone

“I’ve deployed against all the papists, against the Pope and indulgences but only by preaching the word of God.  And when I was sleeping the word of God was working such things that the Pope is now fallen.”  [Bp.] Nunzio Galantino, Secretary General of the Italian Episcopate, read at full voice this passage from Luther which for 5 centuries was considered offensive to Catholics.  “The reform started by Martin Luther 500 years ago was an event of the Holy Spirit“, the bishop affirmed while speaking at the Pontifical Lateran University to a conference promoted by the Pope’s school to celebrate the anniversary.

“The Reform”, Galantino underscored, “responds to the truth expressed in the formula ecclesia semper reformanda.”  “It was the same Luther,” the Secretary of the CI reminded, “who didn’t consider himself the author of the Reform, writing: “while I was sleeping, God was reforming the Church.”  “Even today,” the prelate commented, “the Church needs a reform.  And today, too, it can be fulfilled by God alone.”

[…]

One thing I’ll agree on with Galantino is that the Church is in need of a reform.

Go here to read the comments.