March 21: 1917: Loretta Perfectus Walsh Enists in the Navy

Tuesday, March 21, AD 2017

A bit of naval history was made a hundred years ago when twenty year old Loretta Perfectus Walsh enlisted in the Navy as a Yeoman F, becoming the first woman to be a member of the US military.  Some 13,000 women would serve in the Navy as Yeomen, or Yeomanettes as they were often unofficially called,  during World War I as clerical personnel, freeing up men for sea duty.  Walsh served her four year tour and tragically died of tuberculosis at age 29 in 1925.  She was buried in Saint Patrick’s Cemetery in Olyphant, Pennsylvania.  Her tombstone bears the following inscription:

Loretta Perfectus Walsh
April 22, 1896–August 6, 1925
Woman and Patriot
First of those enrolled in the United States Naval Service
World War 1917–1919
Her comrades dedicate this monument
to keep alive forever
memories of the sacrifice and devotion of womanhoo

5 Responses to March 21: 1917: Loretta Perfectus Walsh Enists in the Navy

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PopeWatch: Exorcists

Tuesday, March 21, AD 2017

PopeWatch agrees with this:

Pope Francis on Friday said confessors “should not hesitate” to refer penitents to exorcists, if they are suffering from “genuine spiritual disturbances.”

The pope was speaking to hundreds of priests taking a course on confession organized by the Apostolic Penitentiary, the Vatican court which deals with issues surrounding the sacrament.

Francis said having good confessors “was more useful than ever,” and “even necessary in our times,” and said churches should make confession more available to the faithful.

He said a good confessor must be a true friend of Jesus, a man of the Spirit, and should make the confessional a place of evangelization.

The pontiff said confessors are called to venture to the “peripheries of evil and sin,” and those who approach the confessional may come from the most desperate situations.

“They could also have spiritual disturbances, whose nature should be submitted to careful discernment,” Francis said, “taking into account all the existential, ecclesial, natural and supernatural circumstances.”

Francis was careful to point out priests should work with professionals to make sure a person is not suffering from psychological disorders, and again emphasized “discernment is necessary.”

3 Responses to PopeWatch: Exorcists

  • Pope Francis gets an atta-boy for this one. But how difficult it is to find the thread of consistency in his various statements. Let us pray for Pope Francis.

  • Bravo to Pope Francis. In this age of increasing drugs use, mental illness, and TV shows, books and websites on the occult, it must be difficult for priests and the medical establishment to differentiate
    between sin, physical and mental ill health and genuine possession. Who ever thought that Black Masses would be in the news or a subject of Sunday homilies or there’d be an exhibition of OUIJA boards at SFO? The church is quiet about actual possession cases but I have to wonder if cases are up in the civilized world? Used to be that the missionaries to pagan countries were more apt to see possession.

  • I remember there was a post about demons, but I put off reading it. Can possession of a person be intermittent?

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March 20, 1917: Lansing Memorandum

Monday, March 20, AD 2017

On March 17, 1917, President Wilson met with his Cabinet to consider the question of whether the US should enter the Great War.  Fortunately for historians of this period, Secretary of State Robert Lansing drafted a detailed memorandum of the meeting:

The Cabinet Meeting of today I consider the most momentous and therefore, the most historic of any of those which have been held since I became Secretary of State, since it involved, unless a miracle occurs the question of war with Germany and the abandonment of the policy of neutrality which has been pursued for two years and a half….

The corridors of the State Department and Executive Office swarmed with press correspondents seeking to get some inkling of what would be done from passing officials. It was through these eager crowds of news-gatherers that I forced my way at half-past two Tuesday afternoon under a bombardment of questions, to which I made no reply, and entered the Cabinet room where all the other members had arrived.

Three minutes later the President came in and passed to his place at the head of the table shaking hands with each member and smiling as genially and composedly as if nothing of importance was to be considered. Composure is a marked characteristic of the President. Nothing ruffles the calmness of his manner or address. It has a sobering effect on all who sit with him in council. Excitement would seem very much out of place at the Cabinet table with Woodrow Wilson presiding.

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PopeWatch: Dirty Money

Monday, March 20, AD 2017

 

When it comes to Vatican shenanigans, always follow the money.  Details are coming out about the Knights of Malta and potentially dirty money, and it all stinks to high heaven.  Edward Pentin at National Catholic Register gives us the details:

Germany’s mass-selling Bild newspaper has reported that the Grand Chancellor of the Order of Malta, Baron Albrecht Freiherr von Boeselager, accepted a 30 million Swiss franc donation ($31 million) on behalf of the Order from what Bild calls “a dubious trust” in Geneva. Boeselager denies any wrongdoing.

The Grand Chancellor told the newspaper that over a seven-year period, the Order would be drawing 30 million Swiss francs from the fund, which Bild calls by its acronym CPVG. So far, the Order has received 3 million francs from the trust, whose existence the Register first brought to public attention in January.

Bild correspondent Nikolaus Harbusch, a well known investigative reporter in Germany specializing in financial crimes, reports that the trustee, whom the newspaper names simply as Ariane S., signed a framework agreement with Boeselager to accept the money on March 1. The agreement came just weeks after Boeselager was reinstated as Grand Chancellor following his dismissal in December by the Order’s former Grand Master Fra’ Matthew Festing.

Ariane S., who also appears in the so-called “Panama Papers”, denied in a Jan. 6 email to the Register that she or her organization had any connection to the Order of Malta. In her correspondence with the Register, she referenced Swiss law and criminal penalties if the name of the trust or its members, or allegations about the trust, were published.

Boeselager and other members of the Order have had dealings with the trust since 2010, according to documentation obtained by the Register, but Fra’ Festing was unaware of its existence until only recently, after asking Boeselager directly about it.

The Grand Chancellor told Bild he had had lawyers check that the trust, which is now registered in New Zealand, was clean, and subsequently the Order’s government unanimously approved of the fund. He said he did not know details about the donor, Mr. Latour — only that the money came from a wealthy French family, and that the funds had been put into a foundation before the Second World War. “Since then there has been only investment, that’s all that I know,” he said.

“We really do not know the details because our donor is the CPVG trust and not ‘Mr. Latour’ personally,” Boeselager said — adding that the donor, so far only known as Mr. Latour, had “demanded anonymity from the trust and we had to accept that.”

Asked by Bild if it could be dirty money, Boeselager said: “To the best of our knowledge, no.”
According to the donor’s wishes, the Order of Malta was due to receive a quarter of the trust’s assets out of a total fund amounting to 120 million Swiss francs.

Bild revealed that, on the instruction of the Order, the public prosecutor in Geneva had put a freeze on the money in order to determine whether the trustee was guilty of embezzlement. The newspaper’s own investigations, using its own experts, leads them to believe that the assets in France had never been taxed properly.

Boeselager told Bild that the Order has withdrawn its “complaint against the trustee, since the accusation was baseless and no one suffered any harm.” He said the 30 million francs was by far the largest cash donation the Order has received over the past 10 years.

According to Boeselager, the Order has a policy for rejecting “dirty money,” and said it has turned down two donations from Switzerland, and one from the United States. “If money is dirty, we will not take it,” he said.

He said that, in the case of the CPVG trust, the Order carried out a “thorough risk analysis” and sees “no reason to place the order on a money laundering list. “

In the interview, Boeselager rejected the accusation that he wants to turn the Order into a normal non-governmental organization, saying anyone who makes such a charge doesn’t “know me at all” and that “the opposite is true.”

“We are continuing with our mission: evangelization through assistance and charity,” he said.

Boeselager also revealed he would be reducing the autonomy of the Grand Master, who will be “bound in the future to the decisions of the government of the Order.” His comment contrasts with the view of Fra’ Festing, who had privately complained that Boeselager had been pursuing his own policies and activities in the Order independently, without the Grand Master’s full knowledge.

Many questions, however, remain unanswered, including:

why the five-member Holy See commission set up to look into Boeselager’s dismissal was made up of three individuals closely associated with the trust, none of whom wished to speak publicly about it;
why the commission’s work was rushed and completed ahead of schedule, but in time for Boeselager to be reinstated and to withdraw the complaint against the trustee;
what the precise reasons were for Boeselager’s brother, Georg, being appointed to the board of the Vatican Bank in December;
and why the trustee was so threatening and reluctant to have any basic information related to the CPVG trust published, including its name.

One Response to PopeWatch: Dirty Money

  • Are we sure this isn’t in an event in Chicago? Did they move the Vatican lately? How many condoms can be distributed with $31 million …?

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Saints of Lent: Saint Oliver Plunkett

Sunday, March 19, AD 2017

 

 

Lent is a grand time to confront evil, both that evil which stains our souls, and the evil external to us.  Throughout the history of the Church there have been saints who risked all to bravely confront the popular evils of their time.  This Lent on each Sunday we will be looking at some of those saints.  We began with Saint Athanasius.  Go here to read about him.  Next we looked at Saint John Fisher.  Go here to read about him.  Today we turn to Saint Oliver Plunkett.

Oliver Plunkett first saw the light of day on November 1, 1625 in Loughcrew, County Meath, Ireland, a scion of an Irish-Norman family.  Educated by his cousin Patrick Plunkett, Abbot of Saint Mary’s in Dublin and a future bishop, Oliver decided at a young age that he wished to become a priest, and in 1647 he went to study for the priesthood in Rome at the Irish College.  Ordained in 1654, he acted as the representative of the Irish bishops in Rome.

While performing duties as a Professor of Theology at the College of Propaganda Fide, he never ceased speaking out on behalf of the suffering Church in Ireland, enduring massacre and suppression under the brutal Cromwellian Conquest.  On November 30, 1669 he was consecrated Archbishop of Armagh.

In Ireland he went at his duties with a will, traveling up and down the country confirming Catholics, the sacrament often being administered in huge open air masses.  He joyously shared the sufferings of his persecuted flock, often living on a little oat bread as he brought Christ to his people.  He attacked drunkenness as being a prime curse of the priesthood in Ireland and championed education for the youth of the Emerald Isle.

A renewed period of persecution struck Ireland in 1673, with the churches being closed, and the schools disbanded.  The Jesuit college at Drogheda that Plunkett had established was leveled.  With a price on his head, he refused to go into exile and traveled in disguise.    The Archbishop carried on with his duties, undeterred that his episcopal palace was usually a simple peasant’s hut. 

10 Responses to Saints of Lent: Saint Oliver Plunkett

  • St. Oliver Plunkett, pray for us. “. . . they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. ‘For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them. They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat;’. . . ” Revelation 7:14 – 17. Not totally apropos , but it touches the heart.

  • Archbishop of County Armagh.

    Beautiful.

    Thanks for the post.
    A future cousin or nephew perhaps, Joseph Mary Plunkett, the poet?
    I wonder.

    The poem; I see His blood upon the rose, is a golden thread.

    I see His blood upon the rose, And in the stars the glory of His eyes.
    His body gleams amid eternal snows, His tears fall from the skies.
    I see his face in every flower. The thunder and the singing of the birds are but His voice – and craven by His power Rocks are His written words.
    All pathways by His feet are worn, His strong heart stirs the ever beating sea.
    His crown of thorns is twined with every thorn, His Cross is every tree.

    Loving and compassionate.
    The families from County Armagh.
    I miss you Mom. Joan Taylor Nachazel
    d. November 9th 2016. The feast of the Bishop of County Armagh, Saint Benignus. d.467 ( a disciple of St. Patrick.)

  • “He was the last person executed for the Faith in England.”

    That is true, but the next century witnessed a persecution of the Catholic clergy in Scotland, with a savagery unknown in Europe, since Clovis was sealed with the Cross.

    Of the priests who had accompanied the Prince in the Jacobite Rising of 1745, Rev Mr Colin Campbell of Morar was killed at Culloden; although unarmed, he was shot down in cold blood by Hessian mercenaries, whilst trying to rally the fugitives for one last charge. Rev Mr Allan MacDonald, rector of the seminary at Scalan, near Glenlivet was imprisoned for a year in a military garrison and then ordered to leave the country. Scalan itself was burned on the orders of the Duke of Cumberland, as a “nest of traitors.” Rev Mr Aeneas McGillis of Glengarry was put to the horn (outlawed) and fled the country.

    Of those who had stayed at home, but had “prayed for the Pretender,” Rev Mr Neil McFie of the Rough Bounds, Rev Mr Alexander Forrester of Uist and Rev Mr James Grant of Barra were bundled on board ship and deported to France, without the formality of a trial. Rev Mr William Harrison of the Rough Bounds was later captured carrying Jacobite dispatches and similarly deported.

    In 1756, Bishop Hugh MacDonald, the Apostolic Visitor for the Highlands was put on trial under the obsolete act “anent Jesuits, priests, or trafficking papists” His real offence, in the eyes of the London government was the simple act of blessing the Prince’s standard, when he raised it at the memorable gathering at Glenfinnan on 19 August 1745. Sentenced to be banished furth of the realm, with certification that if he ever returned, being still papist, he should be punished with death, he ignored the sentence and the local authorities in the Highlands winked at it.

  • Lying and personal destruction have been around in politics for a long time. We’re seeing it today in Congress.

  • It seems as if I have eccentric and eclectic interests. One of which is readings on Irish, English, Spanish “interactions” in the 16th and 7th centuries. One book, The Twilight Lords, I own reports on the November 1580 siege and massacre (after surrender) of 700 Italian soldiers at Fort del Oro, Smerwick, on the extreme west coast of Ireland.

    A namesake of Oliver Plunkett was present at the fort. He cruelly lost his life. His arms and legs were broken. HE was left to lie for three days without food or water. Then, he hanged, drawn, and quartered. It was meant as a warning. After the Saxons left, the local people buried the dead, raised a cross in their memory, and “resigned themselves to undying hatred,” according to the author, Richard Berleth.

    Another point of information from my readings is that 17th century Ireland was not untouched by the religion of peace. In 1631, Algerine/Muslim pirates raided the village of Baltimore, County Cork kidnapping 107 Irish men, women and children who were sold into slavery in North Africa. Twenty-first century American and Europeans elites have precious little concern for the interests or safety of the common man. In 1631, the local Anglo-Irish aristocrat, Richard Boyle, refused to ransom the 107 poor souls.

  • Donald R McClarey

    You may find the sequel not without interest. Bishop Hugh had to rebuild the Church in the Highlands and Islands more or less from scratch. Himself the son of Alexander MacDonald of Morar and of Mary, daughter of Ranald MacDonald of Kinlochmoidart, he recruited his priests mostly among the Highland gentry; ordained ad titulum patrimonii sui and unpaid, they stayed with relatives, or with influential friends, and served their native place. Thus we have Alexander MacDonald of the Scotus family living in Knoydart; Austen MacDonald of Glenaladale in Moidart; Allan MacDonald of Morar’s family living in the Morar area; James MacDonald, son of John MacDonald of Guidall in the Rough Bounds, and so on. Bishop Hugh was succeeded by his nephew, John MacDonald.

  • MPS,
    Perhaps you can clarify… Clan Lamont, which was one Scottish clan that remained Catholic, faced severe persecution and was forced to sell their land and leave. Maybe you know more about it. My mother is a McLuckie, a relation of the Lamonts.

  • “Twenty-first century American and Europeans elites have precious little concern for the interests or safety for the common man.” -T. Shaw

    If common man describes Muslims I would disagree. The elites children will be subject to Sharia law and praising Allah, the false one, or face extreme consequences. This is islamophobia, they would say, but the history of Islamic conquest begs to differ.

    A political cartoon that was posted a week or so ago had made the poetic parallel of immigration into the U.S. and the extreme vetting of the entrance into Heaven. Walls? Yes sir. Gate? Pearly ones at that. Gate keeper? Absolutely.

    The point of course is privilege.
    The destruction and mayhem of certain EU city districts who have “mercifully,” opened the boarders is case in point.
    Demanding and arrogant to the point of rape and pillage.

    No thanks.

    President Trump hold fast!

  • Penguins Fan wrote, “Clan Lamont, which was one Scottish clan that remained Catholic…”
    Indeed it did. The current Chief of the Name and Arms of Lamont is Fr Peter Noel Lamont, a parish priest in Sydney. The family emigrated to Australia at the end of the 19th century.

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Kelly’s Irish Brigade

Saturday, March 18, AD 2017

 

(I first posted this in 2010.  Over they years it has proven quite popular judging from the number of hits it has received, so I thought this weekend would be a good one to post it again.)

I have had a few posts, here, here  and here, on the famous Irish Brigade that fought for the Union in the Army of the Potomac.  There were however other Irish units, North and South.  This song celebrates Kelly’s Irish Brigade that fought for the Confederacy in the West.  The Brigade was actually a regiment, the Washington Blues, organized by Joseph Kelly, a grocer in Saint Louis, prior to the Civil War.  Kelly was an Irish immigrant as were most of the men in his regiment.  They provided good service for the Confederacy, and you may read about them here.

Listen all ye that hold communion
With Southern Confederates who are bold,
And I will tell you of some men for the Union
Who in northern ranks were enrolled;
They came to Missouri in their glory
And thought at their might we’d be dismayed;
But they soon had a different story
When they met Kelly’s Irish Brigade.

CHORUS:
When they met with the Irish Brigade me boys
When they met with the Irish Brigade
Didn’t those cowardly Lincolnites tremble
When they met with the Irish Brigade.

They have called us rebels and traitors,
But themselves have thrown off that name of late.
They were called it by the English invaders
At home in the eve of ninety eight
The name to us is not a new one though,
Tis one that shall never degrade
Any true-hearted Irishmen
In the ranks of Kelly’s Irish Brigade.

CHORUS

Well they dare not call us invaders,
‘Tis but state rights and liberty we ask;
And Missouri, we will ever defend her,
No matter how hard may be the task.
Then let true Irishmen assemble,
Let the voice of Missouri be obeyed;
And the northern fanatics will tremble
When again they meet Kelly’s Irish Brigade.

CHORUS

 

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PopeWatch: Bugged

Saturday, March 18, AD 2017

 

 

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

 

The Vatican has refused to say whether an apology was in the works after eavesdropping allegations were made by Francis last week against his predecessor.

Pope Francis’ claim that his confessional was wiretapped by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has yet to be supported by evidence, but the Pontiff isn’t ready to apologize for the accusation just yet.

“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves,” Director of the Holy See Press Office Greg Burke told reporters on Friday when asked if Francis would apologize to Pope Benedict if his allegations were debunked. “I think it’s important to see where this goes, and I don’t want to prejudge the investigation at this time.”

Pope Francis has alleged in a number of tweets last Saturday that Benedict had let Vatican officials conduct surveillance on his Buenos Aires confessional before becoming pope.

“Terrible! Just found out that Benedict had my ‘wires tapped’ in San Roberto Bellarmino Church In Buenos Aires just before my papal victory. Nothing found!”

 

Go here to read the comments.  PopeWatch attempted to contact the Vatican for comment, but when his phone began to make odd sounds like a Bulgarian singing a Gregorian chant backwards, PopeWatch hastily ended the call.

3 Responses to PopeWatch: Bugged

  • Believe it or not, Fr. Raymond de Souza actually took this seriously. He took to Facebook warning people that this was fake news. A Catholic media figure who is too ignorant to realize EOTT is satire. Now there’s a real hoot for you. Sad too, when you think about it.

  • The international C.H.A.O.S. group is behind the wiretap. They were behind the Crow drone in the infamous Peace Dove attack at the Vatican a few years ago;
    https://youtu.be/QTj0xs6t8z8

    CHAOS is; Catholics Honoring Another Oracle than holy Spirit.

    This movement is catching on and some believe woman Priest’s​ will be the next big development since the election of its first Pope.

  • Fr. de Souza was right to spell it out. I knew several who thought Dan Brown’s “Da Vinci Code” was non-fiction.

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Why Is St. Patrick’s Day a Big Deal?

Friday, March 17, AD 2017

The Catholic Geeks can tell you!

Their opening:
There are a few days of the year based around Catholic holidays that have become heavily secularized. Christmas, of course, is the big offender in many eyes, and every year we have reports from the tinsel-choked and eggnog-spilled trenches of the “War on Christmas.” To a lesser extent, the same is true of Easter, while it seems like fewer and fewer people know who St. Valentine even is. With that, it’s probably no surprise that St. Patrick’s Day is has just become a day to celebrate being Irish.

But why? Why do we make such a big deal out of this day in the United States, to the point that some bishops offer special Lenten dispensations, even when (as it does this year) it falls on a Friday? St. Patrick’s Day isn’t even a big deal in Ireland, not compared to how we celebrate it in the United States. And corned beef isn’t even an Irish dish!

The answer is both simple and complex, and somewhat contradictory. No, it’s not actually an Irish day; but it’s rooted in being Irish. It’s a day steeped in Catholicism, and yet not in worship. And it’s a day that’s both very American and not at all, at the same time.

Go read the rest– and please share it around to all the people sniffing and sneering about horrible bad evil wrong selfish weak and probably, they imply, sinful it is that some people want to celebrate Saint Patrick’s day, including corned beef.  Not even authentically Irish!  (Psssst– neither is Pat!)

4 Responses to Why Is St. Patrick’s Day a Big Deal?

  • For the first time in many years, I quietly celebrated (all day listened to Irish music, prayed for and thought of all those who went before me who loved me so much). I sat up and watched “The Quiet Man” thinking all the time how much Mother and Father loved it – lovely caricature that it is. More than once I prayed, “God bless John Wayne.” And, “God bless John Ford.”

    In my opinion and experience, the Irish are a people characterized by their plethora of love for family, country, and heritage; and their capacity for suffering, ” And Ireland, long a province, be a nation once again.” From “The Boys of Wexford,” “. . . Fought with heart and hand to burst in twain the galling chain and free our native land . . . ” I compare it to Washington and the Continentals in the darkest days of The American Revolution.

    Importantly, in the 1800’s the Irish came here (many starving and destitute) and were abused, vilified (Irish need not apply) and exploited. They somehow managed not to hate though they were hated. Reader, let that sink in. Their descendants are among the best-assimilated, best-educated, most successful of Americans.

    I’m old enough to remember when the NYC Parade was about honoring St. Patrick, Irish culture (whatever that is), “England Out Of Ireland,” and the Faith. Today, I can walk into a saloon in Woodside, Queens or Woodlawn, the Bronx and think I am in Dublin. I could go to Gaelic Park, in the Bronx, and see a hurling or Irish football game and hear hundreds of Irish accents. There have to be 600 pipe bands and similar numbers of Irish step-dance schools.

    Now, some cranks use St. Patrick to advertise/promulgate anti-Catholic (in the “antichrist” sense) memes like Irish LGBT (Liberty, Guns, Booze, Trump?). Apparently, the Boston parade is not allowing to peddle their cause a group named “Veterans For Peace.” I doubt if they’re allowing “Veterans For Victory” to advertise, either.

    Despite the dispensation, we had planned to observe the Lenten Friday discipline. But, our youngest sons (around lunch time) asked if we were. We ran out, bought the fixings, and made the corned beef and cabbage. Why should I not give him (and his fiancée – they are completing their pre-Cana preps) that which was given to me?

  • Congratulations on the future daughter in law!

  • For decades, my mother was led to believe – as a McLuckie – that she was Irish, not Scot. Well, that wasn’t the case. The McLuckies are a sept family of the grand and noble Clan Lamont. However, the missus has Irish heritage – proven by a DNA test – so my sons have Irish blood in them. For a long time, Spain granted citizenship to any Irish who could make it to Spain, most certainly due to the shared Catholic faith of both nations. May they both become Catholic again.

  • Penguins Fan, your comment on the Spanish – Irish link might explain why Costello and Kinsella, Irish surnames, look Spanish. Perhaps sailors from wrecked Armada ships made it ashore the Irish coast and are the source of the Black Irish?
    In our little mission Father arranged a buffet lunch of corned beef and cabbage with soda bread prior to the info lecture on caregiving and caregivers and necessary forms. “Aging gracefully for mature adults”.
    Though there’s no Irish on either side of our families we too watched a series of films on TCM including the classics The Informer and The Quiet Man.

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Saint Patrick and the Nations Plunging in the Night

Friday, March 17, AD 2017

When Caesar’s sun fell out of the sky
And whoso hearkened right
Could only hear the plunging
Of the nations in the night.

GK Chesterton, Ballad of the White Horse

It is easy to lose sight of the historical Saint Patrick in all the fun and frolic of Saint Patrick’s Day.  He was a man of the fifth century and what a disastrous century it was for Patrick’s time and place.  The Western Empire was going down under wave after wave of barbarian invasion, pagan when they were not loosely converted Arian heretics.  Civilization was manifestly dying and Catholicism seemed to be faced with extinction, as it would almost entirely be extinguished in Patrick’s homeland of Britain in the terrible decades to come.  Patrick’s capture by Irish pirates and being held as a slave was typical of the fate of many Christians as the law and order of the old Empire became a fading utopian dream.  In these circumstances Patrick could have been forgiven for running and hiding in a cave as a Christian hermit, convinced that it was his fate and the fate of his generation to see the End Times predicted in Revelations.

Instead Patrick, after his escape from servitude, was filled with a burning zeal to convert the Irish, fired by a dream:

I saw a man coming, as it were from Ireland. His name was Victoricus, and he carried many letters, and he gave me one of them. I read the heading: “The Voice of the Irish”. As I began the letter, I imagined in that moment that I heard the voice of those very people who were near the wood of Foclut, which is beside the western sea—and they cried out, as with one voice: “We appeal to you, holy servant boy, to come and walk among us.”

Obtaining such education as could be had on the Continent, he was ordained, given the powers of a bishop, and sent back to the land of his slavery and labored night and day to bring the Irish into the light of Christ.  By the end of his life he could truly say that he had found Ireland entirely pagan and now it was mostly Christian.  His mission was one of pure Christian optimism in the face of disaster when most rational men would have told him that what he was doing was all for naught.  Instead, in the ages to come, Ireland became the fabled land of saints and scholars, where western civilization was maintained in the darkest of centuries and where the true sons and daughters of Saint Patrick, Catholic missionaries, brought the light of Christ back to lands which had forgotten Him.  It was a grand story, and no miracle attributed to Saint Patrick can surpass what he accomplished in cold historical fact.

To understand what Saint Patrick was up against, and the true miracle of what he accomplished, read below a letter of his in which he discussed the massacre of Catholic converts:

5 Responses to Saint Patrick and the Nations Plunging in the Night

  • St. Patrick’s Breastplate, the short version,

    “Christ with me,
    Christ before me,
    Christ behind me,
    Christ in me,
    Christ beneath me,
    Christ above me,
    Christ on my right,
    Christ on my left,
    Christ when I lie down,
    Christ when I sit down,
    Christ when I arise,
    Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
    Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
    Christ in every eye that sees me,
    Christ in every ear that hears me.”

    Christ with me,
    Christ before me,
    Christ behind me,
    Christ in me,
    Christ beneath me,
    Christ above me,
    Christ on my right,
    Christ on my left,
    Christ when I lie down,
    Christ when I sit down,
    Christ when I arise,
    Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
    Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
    Christ in every eye that sees me,
    Christ in every ear that hears me.

  • OOPS – looks like I hit “paste” twice. And, the wife is telling me “There’s something wrong with your hearing!”

  • “There’s something long and it’s nearing?” T. Shaw. Less hair on my head and more in my ears…. That’s how I explain my hearing deficiency.
    Happy St.Patricks day!

  • Thank you for posting. TAC encourages one to follow threads and learn somethings new. The letter made me look up that time in history; nations plunging into the night indeed. I had never read more than the basics about the saint’s life and was not aware that some of his writings still existed. His father was a British Roman cavalry officer, a decurion of some means. Patrick sold his birthright to finance his travels – no second collection for the foreign missions for him.

  • Thanks for St. Patrick’s Breastplate – I couldn’t get into a website that had it. Sometimes I need to hear or see words twice.

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PopeWatch: Saint Patrick Weeps

Friday, March 17, AD 2017

 

Phil Lawler at Catholic Culture demonstrates that if you are a faithful Catholic cleric in this pontificate, you have a target on your back:

 

In Agatha Christie’s classic Murder on the Orient Express, the great detective Hercule Poirot faces an unusual challenge. There are too many suspects—too many people with obvious motives for committing the crime.

That’s how I feel about the news that Archbishop Charles Brown, the apostolic nuncio in Ireland, is being transferred to Albania.

This is not a subtle move. The Vatican is explaining that it’s just a routine rotation; every now and then papal diplomats are given new assignments. That would make sense, except that:

  • Archbishop Brown is not a career diplomat. Pope Benedict sent him to Ireland, at a time of crisis for the faith, precisely because he trusted his orthodoxy.
  • When nuncios are moved, they are usually sent to assignments of equal or greater importance. A switch from Ireland to Albania is an unmistakable demotion.

Who would have wanted Archbishop Brown removed from Dublin?

– The Irish government, which is working to end the constitutional ban on abortion? Check.

– The Irish bishops, who don’t want pressure to act like Catholic leaders? Check.

– Liberal Irish priests, for the same reason? Check.

– The lavender mafia, always? Check.

– The Secretariat of State, which resented having a non-diplomat appointed as nuncio? Check.

– Pope Francis himself, who’s busy removing all Ratzinger loyalists? Check.

Too many suspects.

5 Responses to PopeWatch: Saint Patrick Weeps

  • “I am neither Conservative or Liberial, I’m Apostolic!” Pope Francis.

    May the snakes be lead out of the Vatican by the demand of God through His Saints! Sooner than later… Please.
    St. Patrick…Pray for us.
    St. Joseph…Pray for us.
    St. Peter…Pray for us.

    May Our Lady of Knock come to the aid of Ireland and the entire Catholic Church.

    Clean your Church Mother of God.
    Create a clean heart in Rome.
    One worthy of the Chair of Peter.

  • “..the gates of hell shall not prevail against it…”
    I’ve developed a more complete understanding, Jesus must have known that sometimes things would look like hell.
    Thank you, Pope Francis

  • David, I always view that quote about The gates of Hell….as one with a key word in it–prevail.
    Prevail to me, means that there must be one heck of a struggle first. The good guys also prevailed in WWII, but the cost of lost lives was enormous, and so it will be with souls, before this is all over.

  • Not only St Patrick but all of us should weep for the Church as the wheat and chaff are separated and mixed together by that grimmest of reapers, Pope Francis. This is truly a time of testing for all of us. Let us pray that we are able to discern the truth of God.

  • I keep feeling that the Church is leaving me and not me leaving the Curch

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Cross Examination the Lincoln Way

Thursday, March 16, AD 2017

 

I have always loved this scene from Young Mr. Lincoln (1939).  Few things are more enjoyable for a trial attorney than a cross examination that is tearing up the opposition case!  Of course in real life in the video above the prosecutor would be on his feet constantly objecting:  Argumentative!  Assumes facts not in evidence!  Mr. Lincoln is using a document that has not been admitted into evidence!  If Mr. Lincoln is going to testify let him be sworn in! Etc.  Of course this was done at a time when most judges tended to give a great deal of lee-way to counsel in their questioning of witnesses, especially in a frontier court and the jury might assume with frequent objections that the prosecutor was attempting to keep the truth from them and vote not guilty as a result.  In any case it is a great scene.

Adlai Stevenson, who would go on to be Vice-President of the United States, when he was young saw Lincoln in action in cross-examination:

2 Responses to Cross Examination the Lincoln Way

  • He killed him because he could. Cass killed Scrubs because he could. The ultimate power over life and death is procreation upon which even God waits; never homicide.

  • I once appeared for the pursuers in a partnership action. There were allegations that the defender had deceived and imposed on his partners, received secret commissions from the firm’s suppliers and had used the firm’s name to secure his personal borrowings.

    It so happened that his name was Cranstoun. Now, I have a slight knowledge of Scottish armorials and genealogy and, at my request, my instructing solicitors ascertained that he was indeed an impecunious member of the noble Midlothian family of that name.

    “What is your family motto?” I asked him

    “Family motto? I really don’t recall.”

    “Let me help your memory.” [Passing him a copy of Burke, with the page marked]

    The witness read, sullenly enough, “Thou shalt want ere I want.”

    Someone in the public gallery guffawed and that little incident unsettled the witness completely.

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PopeWatch: Anti-Semitism

Thursday, March 16, AD 2017

 

 

It would take a blind man not to notice that anti-Semitism is growing in strength on the left.  Unsurprisingly with the advent of Pope Francis, definitely a man of the left, anti-Semitic tropes are beginning to emerge within the Church.  Sandro Magister gives us the latest:

 

“Israel, people of a jealous God. Consistencies and ambiguities of an elitist religion.” Already from this conference title wafts an air that is by no means friendly for Jews and Judaism.

But if one goes to read the original text of presentation, there is even worse to be found: “thinking of oneself as a people belonging in an elitist way to a unique divinity has determined a sense of the superiority of one’s own religion.” Which leads to “intolerance,” “fundamentalism,” “absolutism” not only toward other peoples but also in self-destruction, because “one has to wonder to what extent the divine jealousy may or may not incinerate the chosen’s freedom of choice.”

And yet these were the initial title and presentation of a conference that the Italian Biblical Association has scheduled from September 11-16 in Venice.

The statutes of the ABI are approved by the Italian episcopal conference, and its members include about 800 professors and scholars of the Sacred Scriptures, Catholic and not. Among the speakers at the conference in September is the leading biblicist at the Pontifical Gregorian University, the Belgian Jesuit Jean-Louis Ska, a specialist in the Pentateuch, which in Hebrew is the Torah, the first five books of the Bible. No invitation to speak, however, has been extended to any Jewish scholar.

But the rabbis could not remain silent. And they have made themselves heard with a letter to the ABI signed by one of their most authoritative representatives, Giuseppe Laras, the news of which was first covered by Giulio Meotti in “Il Foglio” on March 10.

An extensive extract from the letter is reproduced further below. But first a couple of notifications are in order.

When Rabbi Laras writes of a “Marcionism” that is now emerging with ever greater insistence, he is referring to the school of thought that from the second-century Greek theologian Marcion until our day contrasts the jealous, legalistic, warlike God of the Old Testament with the good, merciful, peaceful God of the New Testament, and therefore, as a result, the Jewish followers of the former with the Christian followers of the latter.

Not only that. Laras – still remembered for his dialogues with Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini – makes reference to Pope Francis as one who perpetuates this contrast.

And in effect it is not the first time that authoritative representatives of Italian Judaism – like the chief rabbi of Rome, Riccardo Di Segni – have criticized Francis for the distorted use of the term “pharisee” or of the comparison with Moses to cast discredit on his adversaries.

This is what Francis did, for example, in the concluding address of the synod of bishops, when he lashed out against “the closed hearts which frequently hide even behind the Church’s teachings or good intentions, in order to sit in the chair of Moses and judge, sometimes with superiority and superficiality, difficult cases.” Not caring that he was contradicting himself, because one innovation that the pope wanted to introduce into the practice of the Church was the restoration of divorce, allowed by none other than Moses and instead prohibited by Jesus.

But now it’s Rabbi Laras’s turn.

*

Dear friends,

[. . .] I have read, together with my esteemed fellow rabbis and with Prof. David Meghnagi, cultural commissioner of the UCEI [Union of Italian Jewish Communities], the event guide for the ABI [Italian Biblical Association] conference scheduled for September 2017.

I am, and this is a euphemism, very indignant and embittered! [. . .]

Of course – independently of everything, including possible future apologies, rethinkings, and retractions – what emerges conspicuously are a few disquieting facts, which many of us have felt in the air for quite some time and about which there should be profound introspection on the Catholic side:

1. an undercurrent – with the text a bit more manifest now – of resentment, intolerance, and annoyance on the Christian side toward Judaism;

2. a substantial distrust of the Bible and a subsequent minimization of the Jewish biblical roots of Christianity;

3. a more or less latent “Marcionism” now presented in pseudo-scientific form, which today focuses insistently on ethics and politics;

4. the embracing of Islam, which is all the stronger as the Christian side is more critical toward Judaism, now including even the Bible and biblical theology;

 

8 Responses to PopeWatch: Anti-Semitism

  • I suspect most Europeans with some tertiary schooling are anti-semites in a very contemporary way. They despise the state of Israel – not because of any acts of the government therein or properties of social life therein – but because Israel’s political class sides with it’s own population in making public policy and has no time for the talking cure in international relations or domestic security. There are anti-semites in loci like this. About 1/3 of them are ‘social justice’ types, 1/3 are old-school cuckoos babbling about the Rotshchilds, and 1/3 are palaeo types. One thing that bothers me about Traditionalist literature is that (The Latin Mass the exception) editors are willing to open their pages to these types.

  • This is deeply disturbing because I can feel the frustration and concern in Rabbi Laras’s response and it greatly saddens me. The specter of anti-semitism is ever at the door and, to many of the Jews I know well, the Pogroms, Holocaust, and the Edict of Expulsion are as yesterday. What I mean is that I am friends with Jews DESPITE what has been done by my culture to their ancestors so every fresh insult and offense is going to cut deeper than our learned Jesuit friends imagine.

    Academia is rotten and one of the elements that is rotting that tree is an overabundant need to “publish or die.” We research, write, and publish to justify position, not to enlighten or spur thought. One of the results is that disturbing that status quo is its own purpose. We see that Shakespeare’s work is “homoerotic,” “Jesus” is an amalgam and, so, neither human, nor divine, or, as here, reinterpreting Scripture to create a stir.

    Here, we are, regular, ordinary Christians who seek to live as Christians in a diverse world that includes Jews. By declaring the fundamental beliefs of Jews to be elitist and potentially extreme, the presentation gets notoriety at great cost to the faith.

    Now, we have to answer for this nonsense, assuring our friends and the general public that we are not anti-semites, despite our history and the reinforcing realities of the now.

    Nice going, guys!

  • Saint John Paul II called Jews “our older brothers” because, since Abraham, the Jews carry the Truth of the Triune God, the law of God and the Ten Commandments. “(T)he laws of Nature and Nature’s God” allow “their Creator” to be a jealous God, in Justice. Those who would deconstruct “the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God” and “their Creator” as Lord must aggregate together to eradicate the Truth. We are all Jews in Jesus and Jesus Christ’s Virgin Mother, our Mother and Mother of the Church. It is atheism.

  • These people have no grasp of the obvious. They uncharitably judge entire nations/groups of their brothers and sisters based on dishonest, counter-factual stereotypes. and outright falsities

    Anti-Semitism isn’t the only “anti” of which many on the left are guilty. Many misguided, mal-educated ideologues apparently are also anti-facts, anti-free-markets, anti-historical, anti-personal responsibility, anti-marriage/nuclear family, anti-unborn, anti-economic growth, anti-white, anti-American, etc.

  • I have read a fair amount of rad-Trad items around the ‘NET. Many of them remind me of a Sponge Bob Squarepants episode when Sponge Bob chases around jellyfish with a net without catching anything. The thing is that the Jews reject Christ as the Messiah and Savior. There is no getting around that.

  • “The thing is that the Jews reject Christ as the Messiah and Savior. There is no getting around that.”

    Who is trying to? They share that with the majority of mankind. That says nothing as to how they should be treated by those of us who are fortunate enough to enjoy the gift of the Faith.

  • I think one of the reasons we’re seeing a resurgence in anti-semitism on
    the left is that the Democrats are cozying-up to muslims, and anti-semitism is
    practically as much a Pillar of Islam as making a pilgrimage to Mecca.

    The recent “Women’s March” held in DC right after Trump’s inauguration was
    chaired by a Brooklyn-based Islamist named Linda Sarsour, recruited by the event’s
    organizers. Ms. Sarsour has ties with Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood and is
    an outspoken proponent of sharia law for the USA. She is deeply and outspokenly
    anti-semitic, and runs with that unsavory BDS crowd. And the left recruited her
    to be a chair of that march. She was chosen to be the face of feminism by today’s
    left.

    The recent “Day Without Women” organized by the left was also chaired by the
    odious Ms. Sarsour, in tandem with others such as Angela Davis and Rasmieh Odeh–
    muslims all, and each more anti-semitic than the next. Interestingly, Ms. Sarsour
    recently made the news when she publicly stated that “Jews cannot be feminists”.

    And of course, the DNC’s recent selection of a new party Chair saw Rep Keith
    Ellison come close to securing the position, landing endorsements from Bernie
    Sanders, Rep. John Lewis, DNC chair Debbie Wasserman-Shultz, Sen. Elizabeth
    Warren, and Sen. Chuck Schumer. Ellison has a long history of anti-semitic
    statements and well-documented associations with Nation Of Islam and the Muslim
    Brotherhood– both groups being deeply, proudly anti-semitic. And yet this man
    just came within an ace of being elected chair of the Democrats’ party. Such is
    the willingness of the left to overlook (or not-so-secretly accept and normalize)
    hatred of Jews and of Israel.

  • Robert Redeker has suggested that, post Cold War, the French left has replaced “sovietophilia” with “islamophilia,” and that “Palestinians and the contemporary Muslim masses replace the proletariat in the intellectuals’ imagination” as the pure, ideal alternative to Western capitalism. (Le Monde, 11/21/01).

    Similarly ,in an essay on anti-Semitism, Au Nom de l’Autre: Réfléxions sur l’antisémitisme qui vient (In the Name of the Other: Reflections on the Coming Anti-Semitism), Alain Finkielkraut took aim at the left, explaining that anti-Jewish hatred of today comes not from those nostalgic for Pétain and Vichy but rather the activists of the anti-globalization and anti-racism movements. He explains that European unity is constructed around a series of ‘never agains.’ No more war, nor power, nor empire, nor nationalism. Progressive Europe has disavowed its embarrassing past. This makes it ill at ease with a state, Israel that clings to its borders just as Europe renounces its own, that nurtures its army just as Europe demilitarizes, and that must combat implacable enemies just as Europe denies such things exist.

    in La Nouvelle Judéophobie, Pierre-Andre Taguieff points to a myth current among many young people, Christians, third-worldists” and anti-globalization activists. The myth “is constructed on the demonized figure of ‘Jews-Israelis-Zionists’ supported by the ‘Americans’ and in opposition to that, no less mythical, of the Palestinian Arab ‘innocent victims.’“ On one side, Taguieff continues, stands the “cosmopolitan Satan,” the unholy trinity ‘United States/Israel/The West.’ On the other side stands the “dominated and the oppressed.” Thus the new judeophobia recycles old stereotypes such as the rich Jew and the dominating Jew under the “varnish of progressivism.” The Jew is once more the stand-in for capitalism, imperialism, cosmopolitanism, indeed the whole economic order

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March 16, 1926: Robert Goddard Launches First Liquid Fueled Rocket

Thursday, March 16, AD 2017

 

How many more years I shall be able to work on the problem, I do not know; I hope, as long as I live. There can be no thought of finishing, for “aiming at the stars”, both literally and figuratively, is a problem to occupy generations, so that no matter how much progress one makes, there is always the thrill of just beginning.

Robert Goddard to H.G. Wells, 1932

 

A very humble beginning to the Space Age 91 years ago, courtesy of Doctor Robert Goddard:

 

 

March 17, 1926. The first flight with a rocket using liquid propellants was made yesterday at Aunt Effie’s farm in Auburn…. Even though the release was pulled, the rocket did not rise at first, but the flame came out, and there was a steady roar. After a number of seconds it rose, slowly until it cleared the frame, and then at express train speed, curving over to the left, and striking the ice and snow, still going at a rapid rate.

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PopeWatch: First Sight

Wednesday, March 15, AD 2017

 

An interesting observation by Steve Skojec in regard to his first viewing Pope Francis:

 

 

On March 13, 2013, I sat in my office and watched my screen as a new pope — a man whom I had never seen before that moment — walked out onto the loggia of St. Peter’s Basilica. I had never heard of him. I did not even know his name. Like most Catholics, I had approached the papal conclave with a sense of hopeful anticipation. But the feeling that came over me when I saw the man the cardinals had elected was shockingly forceful. It was a feeling of icy cold dread. As I looked at him, standing there, staring out at the crowd, I heard seven words distinctly in my mind, unbidden: “This man is no friend of Tradition.”

It was a strange sentence. Oddly phrased. I knew, just as surely as one knows that the voice of someone speaking to them in a quiet room is not their own, that this was not my thought, but some sort of external prompting. It would have been impossible for me to even attempt such an assessment, since I knew literally nothing about the man, this Argentinian cardinal, Jorge Bergoglio.

I am admittedly oblivious to the minutiae of ecclesiastical dress or custom. I cannot, therefore, claim that my feeling was rooted in the observance of some obvious deviation from the protocols of a papal election. I did not notice, for example, that he chose not to wear the papal mozetta. I was not jarred by his unusual greeting of the crowd with a “good evening,” instead of something more spiritually profound. I can’t say I recall hearing, in those first moments, that he was a Jesuit. To be honest, I may very well not have noticed these things even under normal circumstances, but these were not normal circumstances. My impression of the man was something that took place on a visceral level. And the feeling was so strong, it distracted me from everything else.

There was something in his face. In the way he stared down at the gathered crowd. There was something…wrong about his eyes. What I saw — what I thought I saw — was something other, looking out through that unreadable mask. Something triumphant, haughty, contemptuous, leering out at long last from atop the pinnacle of a long and hard-fought battle. It was incredibly strange.

 

10 Responses to PopeWatch: First Sight

  • Can’t say I had that premonition, but I went to a CCD seminar later and there were many persons saying Pope Francis this and Pope Francis that, a man selling a young person’s magazine with Pope Francis on the cover. I thought to myself “no, Jesus, is our savior”. Glancing around I realized something was indeed wrong.

  • I still feel uneasy when I see his photo as I enter the vestibule or on a magazine somewhere.

  • I still feel uneasy when I see his photo as I enter the vestibule or on a magazine somewhere.

    The clergy at the novus ordinary parish I’ve been attending have quit mentioning him. The photo in the hallway is the only acknowledgement of him.

  • While not as strong as Steve’s, I felt a sense of unease. Something was off.

    The last four years have confirmed that first impression, and then some.

  • If you haven’t read Eponymous Flower’s Mar 10th post, “Why Can’t He Just Knell?”, I recommend it:

    http://eponymousflower.blogspot.com/2017/03/lenten-exercise-2017-for-pope-and-roman.html

    It is originally from the German site, Katholischesnet.de FYI. Especially, the comments and their citations are very good: the present Pope is alleged to have “sciatica” and unable to kneel: but there are many occasions (such as washing of the [Muslim women’s and other’s] feet on Holy Thursday) when, if he wished to make a point, he has knelt and knelt at length. Why is this? Why this clear obstinate refusal to kneel, especially when he wishes to make a bold statement?

    Now, couple that with EF’s comment on “The Invisible Last Supper under Pope Francis” (3/5/17). The Lateran Basilica is the ancient seat of the Pope going back to (at least the site) of Constantine and the year 313AD when a synod was held against the Donatist heresy. EF makes the point that the Lateran Basilica celebration of the Mass In Coena Domini was historically always open to the public and maintained the ancient tradition going back via the popes to Peter and the Apostles celebrating the Mass with Our Lord in the Upper Room.

    So where has Pope Frank celebrated the Last Supper these years of his pontificate?
    2013: Visit to the Youth Prison
    2014: visit to a disabled facility
    2015: visit to prison
    2016: visit to refugee home
    2017 😕
    (source: EF: http://eponymousflower.blogspot.com/2017/03/the-invisible-last-super-under-pope.html )


    Like Skojec (and I have read and pondered his comments before), there is something unsettling about this pontiff’s opposition to giving absolute honor to Christ in the Sacrament, and to respecting the ancient Petrine tradition, without which he would just be another babbling Argentine socialist.

  • Jorge Bergoglio had no business being elected Pope and he had no business ever being a Cardinal. Like so many Latin American prelates, his diocese has suffered a lack of vocations. Rorate had to shut down its combox which was melting down over his election.

    For someone who spends too much time castigating capitalism, he sure is friendly with the German bishops, who live fat and happy…at least Marx and Kasper do.

  • Not all of us have Steve’s gift of premonition. My immediate reaction was to find out more about Pope Francis. And the more I found out the more I was concerned. Note at that time I was not into the Catholic blogosphere in any way. Basically, it was Pope Francis that got me interested in learning more about Traditional Catholicism. Anyway, the blog sites such as American Catholic were most helpful in sorting out Pope Francis as a proponent of Modernism.

    By the way, for a stinging premonition of Pope Francis papacy try Ann Barnhardt:
    http://www.barnhardt.biz/2017/03/13/a-call-for-penance-four-years-ago-today-bergoglio-usurped-the-see-of-peter-and-this-antipapacy-began/

  • @Steve Phoenix

    Holy Thursday night and the Pope?

    My guess….He will be washing the feet of these criminals from his beloved Argentina; http://www.lifenews.com/2017/03/15/abortion-activists-kill-baby-jesus-in-graphic-abortion-on-virgin-mary-outside-catholic-church/

    A hometown boy in the Vatican…
    ….a bloody mess indeed.

    Jesus Christ alive in the Blessed Sacrament will not be mocked forever.
    Even if the mocking comes from the so-called leader of the Holy Church.

  • My first impression of Pope Francis is that this Pope cannot be serious, that Pope Francis is a joke. Stan Laurel comes to mind. Pope Francis even looks like Stan Laurel with a silly smirk on his face. However, Pope Francis’ aggression against tradition is simply his abdication of his office.

  • I was disconcerted a bit and felt let down when, as Pope Francis made his first appearance he said a rather banal, “Good evening”.

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Ides of March: Cato the Younger

Wednesday, March 15, AD 2017

And, in general, Cato thought he ought to take a course directly opposed to the life and practices of the time, feeling that these were bad and in need of great change.

Plutarch, Life of Cato the Younger

 

 

 

I think it would have amused the Romans of Caesar’s generation if they could have learned that the assassination of Julius Caesar would eventually receive immortality through a play written more than 16 centuries after the event by a barbarian playwright in the Tin Islands that Caesar had briefly invaded.  It would have tickled their well developed concept of the ludicrous, judging from Roman comedy.

Caesar was assassinated because he had established himself as absolute ruler of Rome as Marius and Sulla had done before him.  Once again the Senate was to be reduced to a rubber stamp.  However, unlike the brief periods of one man rule engaged in by Marius and Sulla, Caesar, a much abler man, was clearly aiming to turn Rome into a monarchy to be ruled by him alone, and his successors after him.  The Republic, dying for the last half century, was now dead and Caesar was the undertaker.  However, some Romans refused to accept this fact.  Foremost among them was Cato the Younger.  A living anachronism, Cato longed for the Republic that his ancestor Cato the Elder had lived in a century and a half before, and stood against those who sought to hurry on the death of the Republic.  Fate has allowed only one speech of Cato to survive, his powerful brief oration that convinced the Senators to impose the death penalty on the Cataline conspirators.  In this speech we see Cato’s love of the Republic and his clear eyed awareness that it was unlikely to survive the corrupt generation among whom he lived.  Cato understood that the Republic was a lost cause, but he viewed this lost cause as worth fighting for and dying for.  Here is the text of his speech:

7 Responses to Ides of March: Cato the Younger

  • Lord Acton describes the fall of the Republic and the Augustan Principate very well: “The Roman republic laboured to crush the subjugated nations into a homogeneous and obedient mass; but the increase which the proconsular authority obtained in the process subverted the republican government, and the reaction of the provinces against Rome assisted in establishing the empire. The Cæsarean system gave an unprecedented freedom to the dependencies, and raised them to a civil equality which put an end to the dominion of race over race and of class over class. The monarchy was hailed as a refuge from the pride and cupidity of the Roman people; and the love of equality, the hatred of nobility, and the tolerance of despotism implanted by Rome became, at least in Gaul, the chief feature of the national character.”

  • The American Republic also has died. Can anyone assign a date for the head stone? The slow death spiral likely began the day the Constitution was ratified and accelerated.

    Interestingly, I was reading (for banking and economic history) an old (before the reds seized public education) AP high school American History textbook. The book stated that under the (failed) Articles of Confederation Congress with the Northwest Ordinance of1 787 had solved the problem of empire (which had bedeviled the UK in the 1760’s and 1770’s) by establishing the mechanisms to admit territories into the United States as permanent equals to the original states.

  • “The slow death spiral likely began the day the Constitution was ratified and accelerated.”

    You make Cato the Younger T. Shaw seem like an incorrigible optimist.

    The Brits would hit upon the solution of self-governing Dominions in the 19th Century. The problem for the Brits is that the technology did not exist to have a unified global country in the great days of the British Empire. Of course with the rise of nationalism in the 19th century such a state was rendered impossible. Divergent interests of course would still have been a problem even without lack of technology or nationalism. Australia always has to keep a close eye on China and Japan while such Asian concerns, in the absence of British control of India, Hong Kong, Burma, Malaya and Singapore, are not even of tertiary concern to the Brits.

  • “Unprecedented freedom” made me think, MPS about the seeds of Jewish thought planted in the previous few
    hundred years by dispersion and captivity through esp the thoughts of the prophet Daniel the Maccabees – hey – even Jonah and Esther 😊
    You Daniel may have influenced Cyrus and the Maccabees certainly sent emissaries to Rome on behalf of religious freedom

  • I am an optimist. At my age, I’m elated every morning I wake up and most everything still works. Hope is one of the Cardinal Virtues. My true home is not the here-and-now. I simply ignore illegal executive orders, unconstitutional laws, unjust regulations, and liberty-denying court diktats. For example, for me LGTB means Liberty, Gold/Guns, Trump, and Booze. If I were not an optimist, why would I buy Lottery tickets.

    Another “victory” for the (failed) Articles of Confederation was the bond of union it created when the landed (about half of the states owned parts of the Northwest Territories) states ceded to the national government the Northwest Terr., and non-landed (about equal in number) were provided equal benefits from future sales of the lands (to pay the Revolutionary War debts). The states would need to stay with the Union in order to reap their shares of the benefits from land sales.

  • Anzlyne wrote, “[T]he Maccabees certainly sent emissaries to Rome on behalf of religious freedom”

    The Romans understood the power of religion; “Separatim nemo habessit deos neve novos neve advenas nisi publice adscitos” – Let no one have gods by himself, neither new nor introduced, unless publicly acknowledged, says the Law of the XII Tables of 500 BC. However, virtually all beliefs were tolerated; as Gibbon says, “The various modes of worship, which prevailed in the Roman world, were all considered by the people, as equally true; by the philosopher, as equally false; and by the magistrate, as equally useful.” What the authorities viewed with deep suspicion was any kind of sect, demanding the obedience of its members.

    We have a bronze tablet containing the Sc de Bacchanalibus, of 186 BC, suppressing the Bacchanalian cult and it is very revealing. “No one shall appoint either man or woman to be master or to act as master; no one, either man or woman, is to be an officer (to manage the temporal affairs of the organization); nor is anyone of them to have charge of a common treasury; they shall not form conspiracies among themselves… make mutual promises or agreements, or interchange pledges.” Drunken orgies in honour of a god were no problem; being part of an organization exercising authority over its members was to be “rem capvtalem faciendam censvere” – adjudged a capital offence.

    This fear only intensified under the Empire. After the great fire in Nicomedia, the Emperor Hadrian would not allow his friend Pliny to form a volunteer fire brigade; he feared it might become a political club. Christians were persecuted, not for their beliefs, but for their membership of a “collegium illicitum,” an illicit corporation, by authorities who condemned, as a state within the state, every inner group or community, class or corporation, exercising authority over its members.. “Non-denominational Christians,” had they existed (they didn’t), the Romans would have viewed with unconcern.

  • T. Shaw
    “The American Republic also has died. Can anyone assign a date for the head stone? The slow death spiral likely began the day the Constitution was ratified and accelerated.”
    The American Republic lives in our Founding Principles: THE UNANIMOUS DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE and our CONSTITUTION. Respect for the sovereign person. Jesus Christ is a sovereign person who has been maligned and evicted from the public square. This will change.

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