Continuing our Advent look at Messianic prophecies for this year, which we began in Advent 2011 and continued last year, the earlier posts of the series may be read here, here, here ,here, here, here, here, here , here , here, here and here, we come to Zechariah 12: 10:
10. And I will pour out upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace, and of prayers: and they shall look upon me, whom they have pierced: and they shall mourn for him as one mourneth for an only son, and they shall grieve over him, as the manner is to grieve for the death of the firstborn.
Saint Justin Martyr views this as a prophecy of the Second Coming of Christ: Continue reading
Father Z points out how disappointing for the Catholic Left Evangelii Gaudium is in regard to one of their top priority issues: Ordination of women:
I have written before that the ordination of women is the flagship issue for liberals.
So long as Pope Francis won’t change Church “policy”, he will remain in their dog house.
Some conservatives frown when the Pope gets out over his skiis in matters of economics, but liberals attack Francis when he upholds defined faith and morals.
The good thing about Miss Mansons’ piece is that she totalizes her analysis of Pope Francis: Francis can’t be wrong about gender and right about anything else. Obviously NSR disagrees with that judgment!
On lack of vocations, Francis’ diagnosis comes up short
Like many who care passionately about a fully inclusive priesthood in the Catholic church, I read paragraph 104 of Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium with deep sadness, though not surprise. [Remember when I wrote that Francis had created a split on the left? Remember also that Sr. Maureen Fiedler already attacked Francis on this point … as the surrogate for the NSR. The editors work thought surrogates.]
“The reservation of the priesthood to males, as a sign of Christ the Spouse who gives himself in the Eucharist, is not a question open to discussion,” Francis wrote, “but it can prove especially divisive if sacramental power is too closely identified with power in general.” [For true liberals, priesthood is about power, nothing less. That is one reason why the ordination of women is a liberal flagship issue.]
“It must be remembered that when we speak of sacramental power ‘we are in the realm of function, not that of dignity or holiness,’ ” the document continues. “The ministerial priesthood is one means employed by Jesus for the service of his people, yet our great dignity derives from baptism, which is accessible to all.
“The configuration of the priest to Christ the head — namely, as the principal source of grace — does not imply an exaltation which would set him above others.”
[And now the Popette speaketh...] Much as Francis would like to erase the dynamic of domination from the priesthood, his teaching will remain unrealistic if he continues to reinforce an unjust power structure [DING! Say da magic woid, win a hundred dahlahs!] in which only celibate males are permitted to consecrate the Eucharist.
Even as Francis perpetuates the same rigid restrictions on who may and may not answer God’s calling to the priesthood, just three paragraphs later, in section 107, he goes on to blame the “dearth of vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life” on “a lack of contagious apostolic fervour in communities which results in a cooling of enthusiasm and attractiveness.” 
Apparently for the pope, “vocations” are limited to the number of people in Roman Catholic seminaries or novitiate programs. He seems unaware that if he were to look into divinity schools and graduate programs in theology and ministerial formation, he would find no lack of Catholic young adults with a fervent desire to devote themselves fully to serving the church. [They can't do so as priests. Too bad, Jamie.]
Read the rest there, if you can stand it. You’ll find a lot of whining about unfairness and an exaltation of lesbianism. Continue reading
Sometimes The Motley Monk finds himself feeling irked when good intentions get translated into social policy and those good intentions end up hurting the very people who were supposed to be helped.
Why don’t the people holding those good intentions first consult competent economists about the unintended negative consequences that may follow once their much-cherished policy is implemented?
Consider the short-term negative consequences due to the roll out of Obamacare. Not the website, but what it has meant for real people. Like The Motley Monk’s retired priest-friend with advanced diabetes. His plan no longer will allow him to see his current doctor. Or, his neighbor who has a chronic illness. Her “substandard” policy was dropped. Now, she can’t afford the increase in the cost of her premiums if she were to sign up for what Obamacare calls a “standard” policy. Will The Motley Monk’s employer’s plan be cancelled next year when the mandate is implemented?
The Motley Monk recalls the testimony of the Chairman of the United State Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Justice and Human Development, Bishop William F. Murphy, before the United States Senate on May 20, 2009. In that testimony, Bishop Murphy laid out four assumptions which, he asserted, the USCCB hoped would “bring true reform to the nation’s health care system.” Those assumptions included:
- a truly universal health policy with respect for human life and dignity;
- access for all with a special concern for the poor;
- pursuing the common good and preserving pluralism, including freedom of conscience and variety of options; and,
- restraining costs and applying them equitably across the spectrum of payers.
The Motley Monk shares those assumptions. But, had they been subjected to rigorous scrutiny by competent economists, the USCCB might not have been so quick to make the critical deal with then-U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) that made it possible for Obamacare to pass the House of Representatives. According to an Accuracy in the Media report, all the USCCB wanted deleted from the bill was abortion and artificial contraception. And they got that…at least for a while.
Prior to the passage of Obamacare, eminent economists were sounding the alarm that the so-called “Affordable Care Act” would have deleterious consequences. It would end freedom of choice in healthcare. Large large numbers of doctors would have to leave the practice of medicine or form “concierge” practices catering solely to people of means. The health insurance market would be altered in such ways that carriers would have to drop individual policies in the short term and perhaps corporate policies in the long term. And, despite all of the promises, millions of Americans would be left without healthcare insurance. Some economists even warned that Obamacare had the potential to bankrupt the United States within a couple of decades.
Having fallen for a political promise that would translate their assumptions into law, the USCCB—similar to most Catholic members of Congress—either didn’t read the bill’s contents or allowed their experts to tell them that Obamacare presented no substantive problems. It’s also pretty clear the economists the USCCB may have consulted failed to warn that Obamacare would ultimately hurt the very people Bishop Murphy and the USCCB were lobbying so hard to protect.
The outcome of those efforts?
Currently, 4.8M+ Americans have lost or will lose their health insurance (with perhaps 100M+ more to come, if competent economists are to be believed). Thousands of doctors have been dropped by health insurance carriers, are leaving (or likely to leave) the practice of medicine, or forming concierge practices. The doctor shortage is expected to grow, perhaps creating long waiting lines for people who need immediate medical care. Untold numbers of Americans cannot keep their doctors or medical treatments, as the President himself promised on many occasions.
There’s certainly a lot of blame to pass around on this one. And the USCCB certainly deserves its share of the blame. Why? They didn’t heed the warnings of those economists who were predicting these deleterious consequences long before Obamacare was enacted. Worse yet, the bishops may end up having compromised their teaching authority in the process.
This issue is not one that’s going to disappear any time soon. The Motley Monk intends to follow up this discussion with an analysis of some European nationalized healthcare systems to provide factual information about what people should expect as Obamacare continues to be implemented. So far, everything that eminent economists have been predicting (and more) has already transpired across the pond, despite what those who want to “Europeanize” the American healthcare system are stating to the contrary.
To read Bishop Murphy’s testimony, click on the following link:
To read Accuracy in the Media’s report about the USCCB’s role in passing Obamacare:
To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, the Omnibus, click on the following link:
Memorandum On the Immaculate Conception
1. IT is so difficult for me to enter into the feelings of a person who understands the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, and yet objects to it, that I am diffident about attempting to speak on the subject. I was accused of holding it, in one of the first books I wrote, twenty years ago. On the other hand, this very fact may be an argument against an objector—for why should it not have been difficult to me at that time, if there were a real difficulty in receiving it?
2. Does not the objector consider that Eve was created, or born, without original sin? Why does not this shock him? Would he have been inclined to worship Eve in that first estate of hers? Why, then, Mary?
3. Does he not believe that St. John Baptist had the grace of God—i.e., was regenerated, even before his birth? What do we believe of Mary, but that grace was given her at a still earlier period? All we say is, that grace was given her from the first moment of her existence.
4. We do not say that she did not owe her salvation to the death of her Son. Just the contrary, we say that she, of all mere children of Adam, is in the truest sense the fruit and the purchase of His Passion. He has done for her more than for anyone else. To others He gives grace and regeneration at a point in their earthly existence; to her, from the very beginning.
5. We do not make her nature different from others. Though, as St. Austin says, we do not like to name her in the same breath with mention of sin, yet, certainly she would have been a frail being, like Eve, without the grace of God. A more abundant gift of grace made her what she was from the first. It was not her nature which secured her perseverance, but the excess of grace which hindered Nature acting as Nature ever will act. There is no difference in kind between her and us, though an inconceivable difference of degree. She and we are both simply saved by the grace of Christ.
Thus, sincerely speaking, I really do not see what the difficulty is, and should like it set down distinctly in words. I will add that the above statement is no private statement of my own. I never heard of any Catholic who ever had any other view. I never heard of any other put forth by anyone. Continue reading
Part II of my presentation of the four sermons on the Anti-Christ given by Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman during Advent in 1835 before his conversion. Part I is here.
In this second sermon Newman concentrates on what we can glean of the Anti-Christ from Scripture and from the writings of the Fathers of the Church. One thing stands out in this sermon for me. The idea that the reign of the Anti-Christ may involve both ferocious atheism and a return to paganism. This seems like a contradiction, but Newman points to the French Revolution:
In that great and famous nation which is near us, once great for its love of CHRIST’S Church, since memorable for deeds of blasphemy, which lead me here to mention it, and now, when it should be pitied and prayed for, made unhappily our own model in too many respects,-followed when it should be condemned, and admired when it should be excused,-in the capital of that powerful and celebrated nation, there took place, as we all well know, within the last fifty years, an open apostasy from Christianity; not from Christianity only, but from every kind of worship which might retain any semblance or pretence of the great truths of religion. Atheism was absolutely professed; -yet in spite of this, it seems a contradiction in terms to say it, a certain sort of worship, and that, as the prophet expresses it, “a strange worship,” was introduced. Observe what this was.
I say, they avowed on the one hand Atheism. They prevailed upon an unhappy man, whom their proceedings had forced upon the Church as an Archbishop, to come before them in public and declare that there was no God, and that what he had hitherto taught was a fable. They wrote up over the burial places that death was an eternal sleep. They closed the Churches, they seized and desecrated the gold and silver plate belonging to them, turning these sacred instruments, like Belshazzar, to the use of their impious revellings; they formed mock processions, clad in priestly garments, and singing profane hymns. They annulled the divine ordinance of marriage, resolving it into a mere civil contract to le made and dissolved at pleasure. These things are but a part of their enormities.”
Yet at the same time the French Revolutionaries made an idol of the State and of abstractions. Think of the worship of the Goddess of Liberty.
After abjuring our LORD and SAVIOUR, and blasphemously declaring Him to be an impostor, they proceeded to decree, in the public assembly of the nation, the adoration of Liberty and Equality as divinities; and they appointed festivals besides in honour of Reason, the Country, the Constitution, and the Virtues. Further, they determined that tutelary gods, even dead men, may be canonized, consecrated, and worshipped; and they enrolled in the number of these some of the most notorious infidels and profligates of the last century. The remains of the two principal of these were brought in solemn procession into one of their Churches, and placed upon the holy altar itself; incense was offered to them, and the assembled multitude bowed down in worship before one of them,-before what remained on earth of an inveterate enemy of CHRIST.
This is all fascinating when we consider what has happened since Newman’s day. Communist regimes have brutally assaulted the Church and proclaimed the reign of atheism. The Nazis were hostitle to Christianity, Hitler considering it to be a Jewish fable and only waiting for the end of the war to settle accounts with the Churches. The collapse of religious faith in Europe and the rise of militant atheism are facts of life in our time. Yet at the same time we see a growth in paganism: Gaia worship, Wicca and all of the New Age mumbo-jumbo. Heinrich Himmler, chicken farmer turned Reichsfuhrer SS, was ahead of his time in his attempts to revive Nordic paganism. A regime that is both atheist and pagan seems much less unlikely in our time than in Newman’s, and Newman was quite perceptive in highlighting this as key to understanding developments which were in their infancy during his life. As another wise Englishman C. S. Lewis put it in the Screwtape Letters:
I wonder you should ask me whether it is essential to keep the patient in ignorance of your own existence. That question, at least for the present phase of the struggle, has been answered for us by the High Command. Our policy, for the moment, is to conceal ourselves. Of course this has not always been so. We are really faced with a cruel dilemma. When the humans disbelieve in our existence we lose all he pleasing results of direct terrorism and we make no magicians. On the other hand, when they believe in us, we cannot make them materialists and sceptics. At least, not yet. I have great hopes that we shall learn in due time how to emotionalise and mythologise their science to such an extent that what is, in effect, belief in us, (though not under that name) will creep in while the human mind remains closed to belief in the Enemy. The “Life Force”, the worship of sex, and some aspects of Psychoanalysis, may here prove useful. If once we can produce our perfect work—the Materialist Magician, the man, not using, but veritably worshipping, what he vaguely calls “Forces” while denying the existence of “spirits”—then the end of the war will be in sight.
Newman’s second sermon on the Anti-Christ is most definitely a sermon for our time when atheism and paganism often seem to walk the same path. Here is the text of the sermon: Continue reading
[Via David Mills @ First Things Friday December 6, 2013]:
Father Edward Oakes, S.J., distinguished theologian, gifted writer and teacher, generous ecumenist, and our friend, has died, of pancreatic cancer, at 8:00 this morning. The announcement from the Academy of Catholic Theology, of which Father Oakes was president, reports:
Father Oakes entered the Society of Jesus in 1966, and was ordained a priest in 1979. He received his doctorate in theology from Union Theological Seminary in 1987. He taught at New York University, Regis University, and Mundelein Seminary, where he was deeply loved and valued by his colleagues, students, and indeed everyone on the staff as well.
He was a major contributor to the ecumenical magazine First Things on theological and scientific topics, and a longtime close friend of Father Richard John Neuhaus. For close to two decades he was an influential member of Evangelicals and Catholics Together. He was a founding member of the Academy of Catholic Theology and was elected president of the Academy in May 2013.
A deeply cultured man, Father Oakes enlivened everything of which he was a part by his penetrating intelligence and warm, friendly spirit. He was an esteemed translator of the works of Hans Urs von Balthasar and others. He was the author and editor of important works such as Infinity Dwindled to Infancy: A Catholic and Evangelical Christology, Pattern of Redemption: The Theology of Hans Urs von Balthasar, and The Cambridge Companion to Hans Urs von Balthasar.
To say that Father Oakes will be sorely missed is a profound understatement. Let us pray for his soul as he enters into the infinitely loving communion of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as an adopted son in Jesus Christ!
Goodbyes and Remembrances
- Edward T. Oakes, R.I.P., by David Mills. First Things “First Thoughts” 12/06/13.
- Edward T. Oakes, S.J.: An Appreciation First Things “On The Square” 12/07/13.
- Eloquent Critic Of Creationism Passes Away, by John Farrell. Forbes 12/07/13.
- Goodbye, Friend, by R. R. Reno. First Things‘ “First Thoughts” 12/06/13.
- Fr. Edward T. Oakes, SJ, Requiescat in pace The distinguished theologian and professor dies after a battle with cancer. Catholic World Report. 12/06/13.
- Jesuit theologian remembered for scholarship, joyfulness, by Kevin Jones. Catholic News Agency. 12/06/13.
But… but maybe he’s only a little crazy like painters or composers or… or some of those men in Washington.
Mr. Shellhammer, Miracle on 34th Street, (1947)
Something to brighten the Christmas Season courtesy of Mary Katharine Ham at Hot Air:
Capitol Hill staffers are hitting multiple obstacles in trying to enroll in the Obamacare exchange just days before the federal government’s deadline for getting coverage.
They and lawmakers have until Monday to sign up on DC Health Link, the District’s insurance exchange, if they want to maintain the government’s generous employer contribution to their health insurance.
But as crunch time approaches, Democratic and Republican staffers are getting error messages, denials, notices that they’re enrolled in multiple plans and incomplete confirmation — as well as a website that went down briefly Thursday.
Officials at DC Health Link say that they are working quickly to fix each problem. But the snags are causing a lot of frustration and grief.
I feel for anyone who has to go through this process who didn’t have a direct hand in passing this thing. As for the true believers, it is quite useful to have them experience exactly what the rest of America is going through. And, this is what that looks like:
We are in the best of hands.
Rep. John Boehner’s journey through the system has been well documented. It took him 3-4 hours to find out his premiums will double and his co-pays and deductible tripled.
“I’m thrilled to death, as you can tell.”
An amendment to the Affordable Care Act required federal lawmakers and their personal staff to forfeit their government-sponsored health care plans and enroll in state-based insurance exchanges. The goal was to make lawmakers experience what many Americans face in the individual marketplace.
But with the enrollment deadline looming, the complaints are growing louder — and are aimed particularly at the D.C. small-business exchange that members of Congress are supposed to enroll in.
The D.C. exchange’s log-in tool experienced technical difficulties Thursday morning.
“Sigh. I was just in the middle of signing up,” the chief of staff for Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican, tweeted in response to an internal Senate email about the hiccup.
Sen. Ted Cruz’s speechwriter and communications adviser Amanda Carpenter has also been tweeting her experiences. She went to a physical DC Health Link help line offered for staffers after her first online attempt failed. Continue reading
Joe at Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam , who has been translating Evangelii Gaudium into English from the original Spanish, believes that the official Vatican translation is so bad that it cannot be accidental. Here is a comment that he made on Father Z’s blog:
I have been following, and for the benefit of my monolingual friends, translating homilies and talks by then-Cdl. Bergoglio for at least the last five years and posted these translations on my blog. I also, for professional reasons, wind up translating mountains of reports, analyses, etc. between Latin American and Anglosphere clients.
Charity forbids me from accurately expressing exactly how abysmal the Official Vatican English translation AND ONLY the English translation happens to be. (This, of course, is nothing new.) I, personally, do not find it credible to say such a travesty of a translation is the result of simple carelessness, or ineptitude. To me – and this is only my opinion – in comparing both the English to the (presumably original) Spanish and back again, it seems decidedly deliberate.
In fact, I am so incensed by this, that I have taken the liberty to begin retranslating Evangelii Gaudium on my blog. (It’s up there now at http://jmgarciaiii.blogspot.com for anyone who’d like to read it, with the caveat it’s in very much a work-in-progress.)
When someone who is native-level fluent in both languages (as I am) contrasts the two versions, the differences are staggering. The Holy Father extols entrepreneurship, the increase of goods, demands that groups within the Church actually help the poor instead of talking or lobbying, decries the accumulation of national debt. The list goes on and on.
Insofar as I can tell, there are many on “the right” who are using Evangelii Gaudium to beat up on Francis, just like many on “the left” who are using Evangelii Gaudium to beat up on “the right.” But none of this is supported by an accurate translation.
Lieutenant j.g. Aloysius Schmitt had just finished morning mass aboard the USS Oklahoma. Acting chaplain of the Okie, a Sunday meant a busy day for him, a relaxed day for almost everyone else on board the ship. Since they were in port and the country was at peace a Sunday was a day of rest. Besides, the port was a tropical paradise. Life was good for the crew of the Okie.
Father Schmitt, born on December 4, 1909, was an Iowan, about as far from the sea as it is possible to be in the US. Studying in Rome for the priesthood, he was ordained on December 8, 1935. After serving at parishes in Dubuque, Iowa and Cheyenne, Wyoming, Father Schmitt received permission to join the Navy and was commissioned a Lieutenant j.g. on June 28, 1939.
On December 7, 1941 at 8:00 AM the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor began. The Oklahoma and the other battleships on battleship row were the primary targets. Alarms began to sound on the Oklahoma, and the ship was hit almost immediately by nine torpedoes from Japanese torpedo bombers. The ship began to list badly and every sailor knew that it was probably just a few minutes before the Okie would capsize. Continue reading
Something for the weekend. The US Naval Academy Glee Club singing Eternal Father aboard the USS Arizona Memorial. The dastardly sneak attack on Pearl Harbor killed 2,402 American servicemen and wounded an additional 1247 wounded. About one hundred civilians were killed or wounded.
For most Americans living today the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, seems like ancient history. It does not seem like that to me. As I was growing up in the Sixties I was surrounded by adults who recalled Pearl Harbor. My father, who was 8 years old at the time of the attack, remembered the long lines the next morning in our small town of men waiting outside of the recruiting offices of the Army and Navy to join up. He also conveyed to me the shock of a nation one moment at peace, and the next morning at war. Until September 11, 2001, I really didn’t fully comprehend what my father was talking about. Continue reading