Now that Ireland has voted to approve gay marriage, a few thoughts:
1. Catholic Ireland is now Anti-Catholic Ireland-The Irish have always found scapegoats useful as an explanation for Irish failings. Britain long played this role and the Church is now filling this role. This vote, for many of the voters, was a joyous opportunity to give a one finger salute to the faith of their ancestors.
2. Spineless Shepherds-With one or two exceptions, the Irish episcopate was worse than useless. Cowardice was their most notable attribute. Expecting these timeservers to stand up for Catholicism in a hostile environment is like expecting a wolf to become a vegetarian.
3. Pope-MIA-The Pope has endless time to waste on made up problems like global warming, and to make snide remarks about faithful Catholics, but he uttered not a word on this vote. In the current feeble state of the Church in the face of her enemies, the fish does rot from the head down.
4. No Representation-All the major parties in Ireland backed gay marriage, so the 38% of the Irish people who voted against it, a huge block of voters in a proportional parliamentary system like Ireland, effectively have no political voice.
5. Iron Triangle-In Ireland government, academia and entertainment were all overwhelmingly in favor of gay marriage. The group think on this issue makes the old Iron Curtain countries seem diverse in comparison. Continue reading
Just in time for Memorial Day, a five part miniseries begins tonight at 8:00 PM on The History Channel looking at the fight of Texas for independence from Mexico. Go here to read more about it.
Memorial Day is a legacy of the Civil War. Approximately 640,000-750,000 American soldiers, sailors and marines, North and South, died in that war. Out of a population of some 30,000,000, the death toll would be the equivalent of the US today losing six to seven million dead in a war. It was a rare family that was untouched by this great national tragedy and the mourning for the lives cut short went on for decades.
Immediately after the war, events honoring the fallen began to be held. Among the first of these was on May 1, 1865 in Charleston, South Carolina where a largely black crowd honored the Union dead. Such memorials quickly spread throughout the Country. Usually these gatherings involved decorating and cleaning the graves of soldiers. On May 5, 1868, General John “Blackjack” A. Logan, an Illinois Congressman and an able combat general during the war, in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, issued a proclamation that commemorations of the Union war dead and the decorating of their graves should occur on each May 30. “It is the purpose of the Commander-in-Chief to inaugurate this observance with the hope it will be kept up from year to year, while a survivor of the war remains to honor the memory of his departed comrades. He earnestly desires the public press to call attention to this Order, and lend its friendly aid in bringing it to the notice of comrades in all parts of the country in time for simultaneous compliance therewith.”
The May 30 Decoration Day events became a fixture of life in the Northern states. The states of the old Confederacy had similar events but on different dates, varying from state to state. The term Memorial Day was first used in 1882, but the name Decoration Day remained for the holiday until after World War II. As Civil War veterans aged and passed from the scene, the day was broadened to remember all of America’s war dead. The Uniform Monday Holiday Act in 1968 moved Memorial Day to the fourth Monday in May.
As Lincoln noted in the Gettysburg address, it is “altogether fitting and proper” that we honor our war dead, but in what way can we honor them? The monuments we raise to them are really for us, to remind us of the value of valor and sacrifice. They do not walk among us to view them. They cannot tell us what they think of the speeches praising them or read the blog posts written about them. Their lives are done and they have been judged by God, as we all will be judged, and are now in Eternity. Other than the important task of praying for the repose of their souls, nothing that we say or do about them on Earth has any impact upon them.
We honor and remember them not to aid them, but to aid ourselves. Gratitude is one of the noblest of human emotions, and it would say something appalling about us if we did not express it to our war dead. Almost all men fear death, and we honor those who faced death for us. Men who have had their lives taken away in our service, are entitled to all the gratitude we can muster. If our war dead could speak to us I suspect they would echo the sentiments of the memorial to the dead of the British 2nd Division at Kohima, India:
“When You Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say,
For Their Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today”. Continue reading
The long weekend has given me an opportunity to view blog statistics. Here are the top 10 viewed posts of all time at The American Catholic:
Google’s Top 25 Catholic Websites 73,094
A Map Of How Americans View Europe 48,007
Our Lady of Akita: Pray for Japan! 31,283
Top 25 Catholic Blogs by Technorati Authority 29,217
What is The American Catholic? 28,420
National Atheist Day 26,255
The Best Pro-Life Video Ever! 16,727
Last Eye Witness to the Lincoln Assassination 15,813
Booming Traditional Religious Orders! 14,972
Top 15 Misconceptions About Catholics 14,138
Here are the top ten viewed posts for the past year: Continue reading
So ever the king had a custom that at the feast of Pentecost in especial, afore other feasts in the year, he would not go that day to meat until he had heard or seen of a great marvel.
When my children were small as the family drove to Mass, I offered the kids a dollar for the first one to sight the Questing Beast, tying the Arthurian legend with the great feast. When my son died on Pentecost two years ago, the bright spot on that bleak Pentecost was when my bride gave voice to a thought that had occurred to me: Larry has gone after the Questing Beast.
The birthday of the Church, inaugurated with the great miracles of the coming of the Holy Spirit and the tongues of fire underlining the universal nature of the mission of the Church, at Pentecost has always reminded me that since the coming of Christ we live in an age of miracles, if we only have the wit and the faith to see them. I know this from personal experience: since the death of Larry I have received a small miracle to assure me of his love from the other side.
We live in a time in the West of great cultural pessimism and spiritual sickness that has infected the Church. We forget that over 2000 turbulent years Christ has never failed us and that we Christians should never give way to despair. We do battle with Principalities and Powers, and not merely misguided or evil fellow men, and Christ is ever ready to aid us if we call on Him in humility and love.
Thirty two years ago Solzhenitsyn had this striking passage in his Templeton Address:
More than half a century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of older people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.
Since then I have spent well-nigh fifty years working on the history of our Revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous Revolution that swallowed up some sixty million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened. Continue reading
The day after the Army of the Potomac marched in final review through Washington, it was the turn of the 65,000 men of Sherman’s Army of Georgia. Sherman was afraid that his weathered Westerners would make a poor showing in comparison to the spit and polish Army of the Potomac.
There had long been a keen rivalry between the Union troops in the East and the Union troops in the West. The troops in the West thought the Army of the Potomac got all of the publicity while the troops in the West were winning the War. The informal Westerners derided the Easterners as “paper collar” toy soldiers. The Army of the Potomac tended to look upon the Western troops as uncouth barbarians, more armed mobs than armies, and men who won victories against second rate Confederate troops and generals while they did battle with Robert E. Lee and his first team of the Army of Northern Virginia.
There was no way Sherman’s men were going to let Uncle Billy down and let the Army of the Potomac show them up. When they stepped off their uniforms were clean and repaired and they marched as if they had spent the War doing formal dress parades. Sherman was immensely pleased: Continue reading
From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:
New Haven, CT––The Knights of Columbus, which are made up of wealthy white men and organized into Jurisdictions, Districts, and Councils boasting of over 14,000 local units in America alone, were founded by Fr. Michael J. McGivney, who was totally a real person and whose real name was, no joke, “McGivney,” with the mission, “to prevent Catholic men from entering secret societies whose membership was antithetical to Church teaching.” Upon entrance, a new Knight is given the title “First Degree” during a ceremony to which no one who is not a member is invited. After serving in the Knights for a certain un-specified amount of time and attending their meetings (which are not closed off except to those who have not gained membership in the Knights), the member enters the “Second Degree” by partaking in a ritual service which is entirely open to all who are members of the Knights of Columbus. Similar events happen during the “Third” and “Fourth” degree ceremonies. “Joining the Knights of Columbus is quite simple,” said Second Degree Knight Robert Burkens. “One simply must be a male, over 18, and Catholic, and current Knights will seek him out and badger him to join, treating him as somehow not truly Catholic until he does. The Insurance policy is completely optional, but recommended, since soon-to-be St. John Paul II was once quoted as saying ‘The Knights of Columbus Insurance Policy is the right hand of the Catholic Church.’” Continue reading
Something for the weekend: Battle Hymn of the Republic. Doubtless many men who fought in the Civil War thought, and dreaded, that the War might go on forever. Now, however, it had ended with Union victory. Some European powers speculated that the United States would now use its vast armies to take foreign territory: perhaps French occupied Mexico, maybe settle old scores by taking Canada from Great Britain, Cuba, held by moribund Spain was certainly a tempting target. But no, the armies had been raised for the purpose of preserving the Union. Now the men in the ranks were eager to get home, and the nation was just as eager to enjoy peace.
One last duty remained however: an immense victory parade in Washington. On May 23, 1865, the 80,000 strong Army of the Potomac marched happily through the streets of Washington on a glorious spring day. For six hours they passed the reviewing stand, where President Johnson, the cabinet, General Grant and assorted civilian and military high brass, received the salutes of, and saluted, the men who had saved the Union. Most of the men had hated the Army, and were overjoyed to be going home, but for the rest of their lives they would remember this day and how all the death and suffering they had endured over the past four years had not been in vain after all. Almost all of them were very young men now, and many of them would live to old age, future generations then having a hard time picturing them as they were now: lean, battle-hardened and the victors of the bloodiest war in the history of their nation. When they died iron stars would be put by their graves, and each Decoration Day, eventually called Memorial Day, flags would be planted by their graves, as if to recall a huge banner draped over the Capitol on this day of days:
“The Only National Debt We Can Never Pay, Is The Debt We Owe To Our Victorious Soldiers.” Continue reading
The impact of a non-stop propaganda campaign in the entertainment industry and in “education”:
Fifty-three percent think gays compose at least 20 percent of the population. Huh. I don’t know what’s odder, the fact that this number has grown as the public’s paid more attention to gays over the past 13 years or the fact that guesstimates were already wildly inflated in 2002, before gay marriage had picked up national momentum. Logically, you would think the estimates would have been sharply lower as you go further back in time, when more gays were in the closet. Or, alternatively, you could argue that the estimates should be sharply lower now, as better information about gays has become more widely available. Instead ignorance abides — although maybe the source of the ignorance has changed. Maybe it used to be that people overestimated how many gays there were precisely because they didn’t know much about them and thought “20 percent” seemed like a reasonble-ish number, small enough to comport with gays’ status as a minority but large enough to comport with their visibility in celebrity culture. Now, Americans may have heard here and there that the actual number of gays is under five percent but they’re having trouble processing that figure because gays and gay-rights issues seem to be everywhere in media and on the news. Increased visibility may be overwhelming better information, ironically “confirming” the earlier 20-25 percent guesstimate. Continue reading
The Pope is noted for his personal communications with ordinary Catholics. This is a heartwarming one:
On May 13, the very day of her son Jose’s funeral, Bernardita Vial received a letter from Pope Francis.
The Pope had learned about little Jose when he was still in the womb and not expected to survive very long after birth because he had been diagnosed during pregnancy with anencephaly, a condition that usually causes the death of the child shortly after birth. Bernardita had written to Pope Francis a few weeks previously to share her story and her Faith.
The Pope’s letter was read at the funeral. Continue reading
Recently I have been reading of the Grand Review of the Armies which occurred in Washington DC on May 23 and May 24, 1865. This was a victory parade of Grant’s Army of the Potomac and Sherman’s Army. I was struck by a banner that was spread on the capitol dome those two days: “The Only National Debt We Can Never Pay, Is The Debt We Owe To Our Victorious Soldiers.” Indeed. So the boys in blue enjoyed two days of being cheered as heroes and saviors of their country, before they were demobilized and went back to their homes, the War left behind to fading memories and imperishable history.
However, there were silent victors who could not march in the Grand Review, and humorist Bret Harte remembered them in this poem:
I read last night of the Grand Review
In Washington’s chiefest avenue,–
Two hundred thousand men in blue,
I think they said was the number,–
Till I seemed to hear their trampling feet,
The bugle blast and the drum’s quick beat,
The clatter of hoofs in the stony street,
The cheers of the people who came to greet,
And the thousand details that to repeat
Would only my verse encumber,–
Till I fell in a revery, sad and sweet,
And then to a fitful slumber.
When, lo! in a vision I seemed to stand
In the lonely Capitol. On each hand
Far stretched the portico, dim and grand
Its columns ranged, like a martial band
Of sheeted spectres whom some command
Had called to a last reviewing.
And the streets of the city were white and bare;
No footfall echoed across the square;
But out of the misty midnight air
I heard in the distance a trumpet blare,
And the wandering night-winds seemed to bear
The sound of a far tatooing.
Then I held my breath with fear and dread;
For into the square, with a brazen tread,
There rode a figure whose stately head
O’erlooked the review that morning.
That never bowed from its firm-set seat
When the living column passed its feet,
Yet now rode steadily up the street
To the phantom bugle’s warning:
Till it reached the Capitol square, and wheeled,
And there in the moonlight stood revealed
A well known form that in State and field
Had led our patriot sires;
Whose face was turned to the sleeping camp,
Afar through the river’s fog and damp,
That showed no flicker, nor warning lamp,
Nor wasted bivouac fires.
And I saw a phantom army come,
With never a sound of fife or drum,
But keeping time to a throbbing hum
Of wailing and lamentation:
The martyred heroes of Malvern Hill,
Of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville,
The men whose wasted figures fill
The patriot graves of the nation.
And there came the nameless dead,–the men
Who perished in fever-swamp and fen,
The slowly-starved of the prison-pen;
And marching beside the others,
Came the dusky martyrs of Pillow’s fight,
With limbs enfranchised and bearing bright;
I thought–perhaps ’twas the pale moonlight–
They looked as white as their brothers!
And so all night marched the Nation’s dead,
With never a banner above them spread,
Nor a badge, nor a motto brandished;
No mark–save the bare uncovered head
Of the silent bronze Reviewer;
With never an arch save the vaulted sky;
With never a flower save those that lie
On the distant graves–for love could buy
No gift that was purer or truer.
So all night long swept the strange array;
So all night long, till the morning gray,
I watch’d for one who had passed away,
With a reverent awe and wonder,–
Till a blue cap waved in the lengthening line,
And I knew that one who was kin of mine
Had come; amd I spake–and lo! that sign
Awakened me from my slumber.
THEY’RE NOT SCIENCE DENIERS, THEY’RE SCIENCE FAKERS: What is it about progressives and their manipulation of scientific data? It’s not just
global warming climate change; now it’s social science on gay marriage.
According to the study, people from communities hostile to gay marriage could have their opinions shift dramatically after spending just a few minutes speaking with a gay person who canvassed their neighborhood promoting gay marriage. . . .
The study, among other things, lent support to the notion that those opposed to gay marriage simply don’t know or interact with open homosexuals. More broadly, it was seen as an important development in the science of how people can be convinced to change their minds on ideologically-charged issues.The study began to fall apart when students at the University of California at Berkeley sought to conduct additional research building off of it, only to find major irregularities in how its research was apparently conducted. . . .
Donald Green, a professor at Columbia University and a co-author of the paper, made the decision to retract it after having a confrontation with co-author Michael LaCour, a graduate student at UCLA. While LaCour maintained that he hadn’t fabricated the data, he was also unable to produce the original source files supposedly used to produce it. When he failed to write-up a retraction, Green took the initiative and did so himself.
Regarding these responses by Argentinian Archbishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, a close friend of Pope Francis, to questions posed by Stefano Gennarini of C-Fam writing at C-Fam’s Turtle Bay and Beyond, PopeWatch has just one question: What is in the water in Argentina?
Following last month’s appearance of Jeffrey Sachs and Ban Ki-moon at a Vatican conference on climate change several catholic intellectuals as well as pro-life news sources were puzzled about the Vatican giving a platform to the world’s foremost proponents of abortion and population control. I thought it could be useful to know what the organizers of the conference thought of the concerns so I reached out to them.
Below are the replies of Archishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, Chancelor of the Ponitifical Academies of Science and Social Sciences, which hosted the “Protect the Earth, Dignify Humanity” conference at the Vatican last month. Sánchez Sorondo initially apologized for the late reply, which resulted in me writing that the prelate had not replied to my enquiry last week, and then responded to my query at some length. The original questions and replies were in Italian.
Q. Were you aware before your collaboration with Sachs at the Vatican of his public position on abortion in the book “Commonwealth”, where he says abortion is a “low-cost” and “low-risk” intervention to reduce fertility in the event that contraceptives fail?
Sánchez Sorondo (S.S.) I’ve just come back from Argentina, where I attended a conference to combat new forms of slavery, like human trafficking, forced labor, prostitution, and organ trafficking, which I consider, together with Pope Francis and Pope Benedict, to be a crime against humanity. Unfortunately, there is not only the drama of abortion, but there are also all these other dramas, in which you should also be interested, because they are closely related. The climate crisis leads to poverty and poverty leads to new forms of slavery and forced migration, and drugs, and all this can also lead to abortion.
Q. Several Catholic intellectuals and media sources criticized your decision to collaborate with Ban Ki-moon and Jeffrey Sachs on climate change, because of their positions on abortion and population control. Do you have any reply to these concerns?
S.S. The Tea Party and all those whose income derives from oil have criticized us, but not my superiors, who instead authorized me, and several of them participated.
Q. Undoubtedly, you discussed Ban Ki-moon’s and Jeffrey Sachs’ position on abortion and population control in the lead up to the conference. How were any questions resolved?
S.S. Yes. We had these discussions, and as you can see, the draft SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) don’t even mention abortion or population control. They speak of access to family planning and sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights. The interpretation and application of these depends on governments. Some may even interpret it as Paul VI, in terms of responsible paternity and maternity. Instead of attacking us, why not enter into dialogue with these “demons” to maybe make the formulation better, like we did on the issues of social inclusion and new forms of slavery? Continue reading
Part 17 of my ongoing survey of the follies of many modern day Jesuits.
John McAdams, a suspended political science professor at Marquette, go here to read about why he is suspended, at his blog Marquette Warrior, shined the light on a mural at Marquette, a Jesuit university in Milwaukee, honoring a cop killer:
Marquette’s Gender and Sexuality Resource Center was set up as a sop to the campus gay lobby in the wake of Marquette’s refusal to hire aggressively lesbian Arts & Sciences dean candidate Jodi O’Brien. Not surprisingly, it has consistently pursued a leftist secular agenda including, for example, the Femsex Seminar, which was so raunchy and so opposed to Marquette’s supposed “Catholic mission” that the Administration ordered that sponsorship be withdrawn.
But now we have yet another case of the extreme leftist agenda of the organization. An entry from its Facebook page:
|(Click on image to enlarge)|
Yes, it’s a mural, in the offices of the Center, celebrating one Assata Shakur.
(Here is a larger view of the image.)
So who is Assata Shakur? A black militant who was convicted of murder and fled to Cuba, where she is still protected by the Communist government. According to Wikipedia:
Assata Olugbala Shakur (born JoAnne Deborah Byron on July 16, 1947), whose married name was Chesimard, is an African-American activist and member of the former Black Panther Party (BPP) and Black Liberation Army (BLA). Between 1971 and 1973, Shakur was accused of several crimes and was the subject of a multistate manhunt.
In May 1973, Shakur was involved in a shootout on the New Jersey Turnpike, in which she was accused of killing New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster and grievously assaulting Trooper James Harper. BLA member Zayd Malik Shakur was also killed in the incident, and Shakur was wounded. Between 1973 and 1977, Shakur was indicted in relation to six other incidents—charged with murder, attempted murder, armed robbery, bank robbery, and kidnapping—resulting in three acquittals and three dismissals. In 1977, she was convicted of the first-degree murder of Foerster and of seven other felonies related to the shootout.
Shakur was incarcerated in several prisons in the 1970s. She escaped from prison in 1979 and fled to Cuba in 1984 after living as a fugitive for a few years, and received political asylum. She has been living in Cuba ever since. Since May 2, 2005, the FBI has classified her as a domestic terrorist and offered a $1 million reward for assistance in her capture. On May 2, 2013, the FBI added her to the Most Wanted Terrorist List; the first woman to be listed. On the same day, the New Jersey Attorney General offered to match the FBI reward, increasing the total reward for her capture to $2 million.
More information on her can be found here.
Yes, this is the sort of person the “sexuality” bureaucrats at Marquette feel deserves to be honored.
Lots of furor over the apparently ghost written encyclical on the environment:
The Vatican has denied that Pope Francis’ forthcoming encyclical has been delayed because the Holy Father feared the first draft would not be approved by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).
Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told the Register May 14 that the “preparation procedure of the encyclical took place, and is taking place, in a completely normal way, and there has not been, and there isn’t, any delay compared to what was expected.”
He added there have “never been reliable predictions” about the time of the publication of the encyclical, which is expected to reaffirm the Church’s teaching on safeguarding the environment and controversially endorse the science of anthropogenic climate change.
Those who have claimed to know the date of its release have based their comments on “rumors and fantasies,” Father Lombardi said.
The Vatican spokesman did say he has always thought it would appear “before the summer,” but added that it has already been “announced and repeated that the final text is being translated, and it’s reasonable to expect the publication within a few weeks, probably in June.”
Father Lombardi’s comments came after veteran Vaticanista Sandro Magister claimed on his blog “Settimo Cielo” May 11 that the Pope had “binned” the first draft of the encyclical when he spent a week in March examining the document.
Magister said the Pope feared the first draft — which had been ghostwritten by his theologian friend from Argentina, Archbishop Victor Manuel Fernández — would have been “demolished” by Cardinal Gerhard Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “once it had gotten into his hands.”
But Father Lombardi said it is “normal and obvious” that, as with any encyclical, the CDF would check the document before publication and that he was unaware of “any cause of delays or problems.” He called the speculation “totally unfounded” and said it “seems almost unbelievable that such things are written.” Continue reading