PopeWatch: Satire?





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


Facing financial ruin due to the high cost of trying to provide their son with a good Catholic education, sources confirmed Thursday that parents of high school freshman Johnny Irving, Tom and Lisa, are quite impressed with their son’s growing knowledge of every tenet of every religion, but Catholicism.

According to the freshman’s parents, Irving has gained an immense amount of knowledge about the Koran, The Analects of Confucius, and the Book of Mormon in his class Fundamentals of Catholic Doctrine 101.

“It’s breathtaking the amount of non-Catholic knowledge he’s learning in his Catholic Doctrine class,” Lisa Irving told EOTT. “We’re about a paycheck or two away from filing for bankruptcy just so Johnny can learn about everything but Catholicism at a Catholic school, but it’s so worth it. He always comes home telling us interesting things about Catholic teaching like how according to the Church the most important doctrine is coexistence. And how the Church teaches that it’s pointless to evangelize since a person’s own consciousness, being infused by a higher spirit, stirs within him or her at birth and sanctifies every belief, whim, or desire that person has. I didn’t know that. Probably because I went to Catholic school when classrooms had crucifixes and whatnot in them.”

Lisa went on to say that, though her son still has never heard of the Nicene Creed, that he had memorized several verses from the Koran that incidentally mention Jesus, and that through Buddhist teachings, he has come to learn about Christ the bodhisattva.

“Listen, some people might think $40,000 for a four-year high school education seems absurd, ” Lisa Irving went on to say. “But tell that to me when my son graduates summa cum laude, which of course he will graduate with since every student in that fine scholastic institution graduates with that honor.”

At press time, Johnny is studying for his midterms in one of the school’s mandatory classes, Advanced Being Nice. Continue reading

Turkey in the Straw

Something for the weekend.  Turkey in the Straw seems appropriate for the weekend before Thanksgiving.  The spirited rendition above is by the Skillet Lickers, a Georgia band of the twenties and thirties of the last century. Part time musicians, they made up in enthusiasm and faithfulness to the traditional music they played, what they may have lacked in technical skill.

The Trumpeteers’ New Emmanuel Goldstein

Trying to keep Trump supporter logic straight is a harrowing ordeal. When confronted with the reality of Trump’s many, many, many (did I say many?) deviations from conservative orthodoxy, Trumps fans respond with an “argument” that employs “GOPe” “Jeb Bush” and “RINO” in some form. The irony of calling any other candidate a Republican in Name Only while supporting the one candidate who is – based on his actual voting and ideological history – quite literally a Republican in Name Only is often lost on these individuals.

Throughout the campaign the big bad for most Trump supporters was Jeb Bush. Jeb Bush was held up as the Establishment darling, and as such the symbol of all that was wrong with the GOP (e). This is perhaps the one time the Trump supporters were largely right. For reasons that defy explanation the GOP Establishment, such as it is, has propped up Jeb Bush. Despite being arguably the absolute worse type of nominee the party could hope for to run against Hillary, the big donors flocked to him. As such, any attempt to criticize Trump has been met with accusations that one must therefore support Jeb Bush. Again, this ignored the fact that at one time 15 (now 12) other candidates were in the race, and the combined polling support for those other candidates has hovered around 60-70 percent, which would seem to indicate to anyone with either a sense of logic or ability to do math that Republicans had other choices in the primary.

Now that Jeb’s star has faded he has been replaced with a new Emmanuel Goldstein. It’s not Ben Carson. Though Trump has personally attacked Carson (and quite maliciously), the real subject of his supporters’ vitriol is Marco Rubio. Just as Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia, and never Eurasia, evidently the real enemy has been Marco Rubio all along.

You can see it in comments sections of right-leaning blogs all the time. Marco Rubio is the clear GOPe darling (not Jeb Bush – it’s never been Jeb Bush), and the man to be feared. Now as Bush fades in the polls it’s quite possible that that hefty six percent or so of the electorate currently supporting Jeb will swing Marco’s way, and that indeed the big bad Establishment might see Rubio as their new savior. But the almost delusional antipathy to Rubio is only starting to peak, as can be seen in this bizarre rant where Ace of Spades lays the blame of Donald Trump’s inability to answer a question in a coherent manner at the blame of Rubio’s followers. Yeah, it’s the GOPe that rendered Trump incapable of clearly and convincingly saying no to a reporter who asked if we should just round up all of the Muslims in the USA and force them to register in some kind of database.

Sadly this is all too representative of the basic gist of Trump support, which is entirely grounded in some kind of hate towards the “other”: other candidates, other cultures, other ways of communicating that are more sophisticated than grunting. It also highlights how the Trump phenomenon is built on a foundation of sand. Even though Jeb Bush never reached particularly high in the polls, we were repeatedly told that if you didn’t hop aboard Team Trump then we were cruising towards a Bush coronation. Now Marco Rubio is the new scarecrow and symbol of all things to be feared.

And now that Ted Cruz is climbing higher in the polls, undoubtedly we will soon come to learn that the true Establishment darling all along has been the man that seems to be the most despised figure among this same so-called Establishment. In fact one Trump supporter has already assured me that “[m]any of us had Cruz pegged as a stalking horse before Trump even announced.” Scooby and Shaggy will soon unmask Ted Cruz only to see Mitt Romney in disguise, I suppose.  We’re not going to want the GOPe to get their man, they’ll say, and there’s no one that the GOPe loves more than Ted Cruz. Ted Cruz has always been their dream candidate, and never Marco Rubio. Or Bush. Or Romney.

And so it goes.

Video Clips Worth Watching: Ernst Janning Testifies

Ernst Janning: Judge Haywood… the reason I asked you to come: Those people, those millions of people… I never knew it would come to that. You must believe it, you must believe it!

Judge Dan Haywood: Herr Janning, it “came to that” the first time you sentenced a man to death you knew to be innocent.

Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)

Start of a new series.  Burt Lancaster as German Judge Ernst Janning, Judgment at Nuremberg (1961), explains how going along with the Nazis made his life “excrement”.

PopeWatch: Merchants of Death Redux



For a man who condemns ideologues, one of the salient features of the current Pontificate is how ideological Pope Francis is.  He is completely impervious to factual evidence when it comes to what he believes.  A prime example is his contention that arms merchants, merchants of death, are the causative factor in regard to wars:

Pope Francis went on to recall the recent commemorations of the Second World War, the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, his visit to Redipuglia last year on the anniversary of the Great War: “Useless slaughters,” he called them, repeating the words of Pope Benedict XV. “Everywhere there is war today, there is hatred,” he said. Then he asked, “What shall remain in the wake of this war, in the midst of which we are living now?”:

“What shall remain? Ruins, thousands of children without education, so many innocent victims: and lots of money in the pockets of arms dealers. Jesus once said: ‘You can not serve two masters:  either God or riches.’ War is the right choice for him, who would serve wealth: ‘Let us build weapons, so that the economy will right itself somewhat, and let us go forward in pursuit of our interests. There is an ugly word the Lord spoke: ‘Cursed!’ Because He said: ‘Blessed are the peacemakers!.’ The men who work war, who make war, are cursed, they are criminals. A war can be justified – so to speak – with many, many reasons, but when all the world as it is today, at war – piecemeal though that war may be – a little here, a little there, and everywhere – there is no justification – and God weeps. Jesus weeps.” Continue reading

November 20, 1945: Nuremberg Trials Get Underway

“But the most interesting — although horrible — sight that I encountered during the trip was a visit to a German internment camp near Gotha. The things I saw beggar description. While I was touring the camp I encountered three men who had been inmates and by one ruse or another had made their escape. I interviewed them through an interpreter. The visual evidence and the verbal testimony of starvation, cruelty and bestiality were so overpowering as to leave me a bit sick. In one room, where they [there] were piled up twenty or thirty naked men, killed by starvation, George Patton would not even enter. He said he would get sick if he did so. I made the visit deliberately, in order to be in position to give first-hand evidence of these things if ever, in the future, there develops a tendency to charge these allegations merely to ‘propaganda’.”

General Eisenhower letter to General George Marshall 4/15/45

The Nuremberg Trials got under way seventy years ago today.  One may cavil at some of the procedures used during the trials and the presence of Soviet judges and prosecutors at the trial, but no decent human being can ever claim that the crimes committed by the leaders of the Third Reich, in Eisenhower’s phrase, beggar description.  The video at the beginning of this post consists of film shot by the Army Signal Corps, at Eisenhower’s order, of the Nazi death camps and was admitted into evidence at the Nuremberg trial.  It makes for grim viewing, but the reality it reflected must never be forgotten.

Decline and Fall of the European Project?



“A people who still remembered that their ancestors had been the masters of the world would have applauded, with conscious pride, the representation of ancient freedom, if they had not long since been accustomed to prefer the solid assurance of bread to the unsubstantial visions of liberty and greatness.”

Edward Gibbon

Historian Niall Ferguson sees ominous parallels between the situations of modern Europe and the Roman Empire in the early Fifth Century:


Let us be clear about what is happening. Like the Roman Empire in the early fifth century, Europe has allowed its defenses to crumble. As its wealth has grown, so its military prowess has shrunk, along with its self-belief. It has grown decadent in its shopping malls and sports stadiums. At the same time, it has opened its gates to outsiders who have coveted its wealth without renouncing their ancestral faith.

The distant shock to this weakened edifice has been the Syrian civil war, though it has been a catalyst as much as a direct cause for the great Völkerwanderung of 2015. As before, they have come from all over the imperial periphery — from North Africa, from the Levant, from South Asia — but this time they have come in their millions.

To be sure, most have come hoping only for a better life. Things in their own countries have become just good enough economically for them to afford to leave and just bad enough politically for them to risk leaving. But they cannot stream northward and westward without some of that political malaise coming along with them. As Gibbon saw, convinced monotheists pose a grave threat to a secular empire.

It is conventional to say that the overwhelming majority of Muslims in Europe are not violent, and that is doubtless true. But it is also true that the majority of Muslims in Europe hold views that are not easily reconciled with the principles of our modern liberal democracies, including those novel notions we have about equality between the sexes and tolerance not merely of religious diversity but of nearly all sexual proclivities. And it is thus remarkably easy for a violent minority to acquire their weapons and prepare their assaults on civilization within these avowedly peace-loving communities. Continue reading

Vetting Syrian Refugees



One of the talking points of the Obama administration and Mark Shea, judging from some hysterical rantings on his blog, is that Syrian refugees are thoroughly vetted before they would arrive in this nation.  Aside from the customary incompetence of the Obama administration, ObamaCare ring a bell?, just what does this vetting process accomplish in ensuring that the refugees we admit are not dangerous?  Not much apparently.


The director of Homeland Security had no answer when asked if the “vetting” process amounted to anything more than asking refugees to fill out an application, asking them a few questions in a verbal interview, and assuming they answer honestly. The best Director Jeh Johnson could offer were vague assurances that the “tight-knit, supportive communities” they settle into would “embrace” these refugees.

FBI Director James Comey famously admitted last month that the U.S. government has no real way to conduct background checks on refugees. “We can only query against that which we have collected. And so if someone has never made a ripple in the pond in Syria in a way that would get their identity or their interest reflected in our database, we can query our database until the cows come home, but there will be nothing show up because we have no record of them,” Comey explained, quite sensibly.

He contrasted this lack of solid information with the screening of Iraqi refugees after the war: “With respect with Iraqi databases, we had far more because of our country’s work there for a decade. This is a different situation.”

It should be noted, however, that even the vastly superior security situation for Iraqi refugees was not sufficient to prevent some hair-raising mistakes. In 2013, for example, ABC News reported on several dozen suspected terrorist bomb-makers admitted to the United States as refugees, including a pair of Iraqi al-Qaeda insurgents living in Kentucky who admitted attacking American soldiers in Iraq.

What was the Obama Administration’s response to the discovery of those bombers living in Kentucky? The State Department stopped processing Iraqi refugees for six months… the very same measure Obama now insults skeptics for recommending with respect to the Syrians. One Iraqi who assisted American troops during the war was assassinated while awaiting delayed approval of his refugee application. Continue reading

Quotes Suitable for Framing: Saint Corbinian’s Bear



This is what the sheep are fed in the “unsettled Church” Pope Francis wants. Sheep don’t like to be unsettled, though. They like to be safe and at peace. That’s the whole idea of the Good Shepherd. Or any shepherd. Our Lord told Peter, “feed my sheep.” Not tie balloons to their tails and watch them chase around in panic and confusion.

Saint Corbinian’s Bear

PopeWatch: Liberal Catholics



We often hear that conservative and liberal have no meaning in the Catholic Church.  You wouldn’t know that from the fighting over the voter’s guide:



BALTIMORE — The nation’s Catholic bishops on Tuesday (Nov. 17) passed an updated guide for Catholic voters ahead of next year’s elections, but only after airing unusually sharp disagreements on how much they can, and should, adjust their priorities to match those of Pope Francis.

More than any other item on the agenda of the bishops’ annual meeting here, the debate over the lengthy voter guide, called “Faithful Citizenship,” revealed deep divides among the bishops and provided a snapshot of the extent of the “Francis effect” on the U.S. hierarchy.

In the most impassioned objection to the voter guide, San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy took the floor to argue that the document — which was a reworking of an 84-page treatise first written in 2007 — should be scrapped because it did not reflect the way that Francis has elevated the battle against poverty and for the environment as central concerns for the Catholic Church since his election in 2013.

“I believe that this document is gravely hobbled,” said McElroy, who was an outspoken advocate for the church’s social justice teachings even before Francis named him to the large and growing Southern California diocese earlier this year.

“Specifically, I think the pope is telling us that alongside the issues of abortion and euthanasia — which are central aspects of our commitment to transform this world — poverty and the degradation of the Earth are also central,” McElroy said. “But this document keeps to the structure of the worldview of 2007. It does not put those there.”


Instead, he said, the voter guide “tilts in favor of abortion and euthanasia and excludes poverty and the environment.”

Apparently referring to political conservatives who argue that Catholics cannot vote for candidates who support abortion rights or gay marriage, McElroy said the new draft still “provides a warrant for those who will misuse this document outside this room to exclude poverty and exclude the environment as key issues and say they are secondary, and cite this document as they have done for the last two election cycles.”

McElroy’s position was supported by a number of other bishops, some of whom were also dismayed by the number of times the draft mentioned same-sex marriage, even though the U.S. Supreme Court effectively settled the issue by legalizing gay marriage last June.

“I think we need a new document,” said Tuscon Bishop Gerald Kicanas. “I think it was a mistake to try to revise a document from 2007 when so much has happened since then.” He called Faithful Citizenship “very complex and not helpful.”

Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockon, Calif., agreed that “the times have dramatically changed” and said the “cumbersome” new draft needed to be scrapped.

But members of the committee that spent nearly a year-and-a-half reworking the voter guide rejected the pushback.

“We still think it’s effective,” a clearly irritated Houston Cardinal Daniel DiNardo — chairman of the drafting committee and vice president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops — told Blaire and the other critics.


DiNardo also told the 240 bishops that the committee was only fulfilling the mandate it was given by the USCCB and said the panel had done its best to update the guide with references from Francis — although, he added in a spiky rejoinder to McElroy, “perhaps not to your satisfaction, and to the rhetorical flourishes which you bring.”

Another member of the drafting committee, Hartford Archbishop Leonard Blair, also rejected the critiques, and he echoed comments by other conservatives who were disturbed by the idea that Francis has ushered in a “revolution” in Catholicism that their documents needed to reflect.

“There is kind of a rhetoric of regime change that is going on in the church” in the wake of the election of Francis in 2013, said Blair. “I think we have to be very, very wary of that.” Continue reading

In re Yamashita

As I said in the Manila Supreme Court that I have done with my all capacity, so I don’t ashame in front of the gods for what I have done when I have died. But if you say to me ‘you do not have any ability to command the Japanese Army’ I should say nothing for it, because it is my own nature. Now, our war criminal trial going under your kindness and right. I know that all your American and American military affairs always has tolerant and rightful judgment. When I have been investigated in Manila court I have had a good treatment, kindful attitude from your good natured officers who protected me all the time. I never forget for what they have done for me even if I had died. I don’t blame my executioner. I’ll pray the gods bless them. Please send my thankful word to Col. Clarke and Lt. Col. Feldhaus, Lt. Col. Hendrix, Maj. Guy, Capt. Sandburg, Capt. Reel, at Manila court, and Col. Arnard. I thank you.

Yamashita’ s last statement, through a translator, on the gallows.  February 23, 1946

General Tomoyuki Yamashita won early fame in World War II by leading the conquest of Malaya.  With inferior forces he decisively defeated the British and earned the popular title of Tiger of Malaya.  Troops under his command did engage in massacres and looting, but Yamashita, unlike most Japanese commanders, severely punished the troops involved, up to and including execution of the guilty.  His humane attitude towards prisoners placed him at odds with the Japanese government, and he spent much of the war in virtual exile in Manchukuo commanding the First Area Army.  Worsening Japanese military fortunes caused him to be placed in command of the Philippines, ten days before MacArthur and his army returned.  Yamashita conducted a skillful defense of the Philippines, marred by massive atrocities against civilians in Manila.  It must be noted that Rear Admiral Sanji Iwabuchi commanded the forces defending in Manila.  Yamashita had ordered the evacuation of Manila which Iwabuchi disobeyed, just as his men disobeyed Yamashita’s standing orders against ill treatment of civilians.

Yamashita was put on trial for war crimes in Manila from October 29, 1945-December 7, 1945 by an American military tribunal.  The principal accusation was that he had failed to keep his troops in the Philippines under control and that as a result he was responsible for their crimes.  This was a novel theory of criminal responsibility either under American military or civilian jurisprudence as his military defense counsel pointed out time and again.  Yamashita was impressed by the dedication and zeal of his defense counsel and stated several times that his respect for the United States had been reaffirmed by their efforts.

Behind the scenes MacArthur expressed impatience at the length of the trial, clearly wanting a quick guilty verdict.  When Yamashita was found guilty and sentenced to death, he swiftly affirmed the verdict and sentence when it was appealed to him.  Yamashita’s defense team then appealed to the US Supreme Court. The Supreme Court, In re Yamashita, 327 US 1, rejected the petitions for habeas corpus and writ of prohibition ruling:

It thus appears that the order convening the commission was a lawful order, that the commission was lawfully constituted, that petitioner was charged with violation of the law of war, and that the commission had authority to proceed with the trial, and, in doing so, did not violate any military, statutory, or constitutional command. We have considered, but find it unnecessary to discuss, other contentions which we find to be without merit. We therefore conclude that the detention of petitioner for trial and his detention upon his conviction, subject to the prescribed review by the military authorities, were lawful, and that the petition for certiorari, and leave to file in this Court petitions for writs of habeas corpus and prohibition should be, and they are


Justices Murphy and Rutledge wrote memorable dissents: Continue reading

Catholicism is Not a Suicide Pact



Maureen Mullarkey continues calling a spade a bloody shovel as she rips into the humbug that surrounds the Vatican and the Islamic world:

One thing for which we can be grateful to Pope Francis: His pontificate puts paid to the superstition that our popes are chosen by the Holy Spirit. That could only be believable if we are willing to say that the Spirit operates like a one-eyed Odin, setting his dogs loose at conclaves.

On Rorate Caeli this morning is a pronunciamento by the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin. It had appeared in La Repubblica on November 16, after the atrocity in Paris. Headline: Parolin, The Jubilee: “The Holy Year will be open to Muslims.”

The message out of Vatican City is an injunction to “respond with mercy and hospitality to violence.” It is hard to decide which is more disreputable, the moral vanity at work here or the absurdity of the instruction. Hospitality implies welcome. We are to welcome those who would slaughter us? Whose goal is the subjection of the West to the universal caliphate? In this context, the word hospitality is an obscenity.

Do we hear the Islamic world asking for mercy? Where are the Muslim voices of repentance? Last I looked, there was rejoicing in the Middle East over the grand success of the heroic action of eight true sons of Allah.

Parolin’s comments stink of Vatican lust for dhimmitude:

Mercy is also the most beautiful name of God for Muslims, who can also be involved in the Holy Year, as this is what the Pope wants.”

Mercy is drained of meaning by this pontificate. To distribute it freely to those who do not want it devalues the substance of it. Dispensing it unasked to those who would spit on it or turn it against their sentimental benefactors, makes a laughingstock of Christianity. And it further endangers what is left of the Christian world.

Preening quislings in the Vatican are free to lay mercy on their own killers if they choose. But not on mine. And not on the murderers of my children. They have no warrant to do it. Only the dead have standing to forgive their killers. The living cannot extend mercy—exoneration from consequence—in the name of the dead. We, the living, are obliged to protect our own. And, for their sake as well, ourselves. Continue reading

Housing of Muslim Refugees




Dale Price at Dyspeptic Mutterings has an interesting take on the housing of Muslim refugees:


Senior Obama officials have warned of challenges in screening refugees from Syria.

FBI Director James Comey added in congressional testimony last month that “a number of people who were of serious concern” slipped through the screening of Iraq War refugees, including two arrested on terrorism-related charges. “There’s no doubt that was the product of a less than excellent vetting,” he said.

Although Comey said the process has since “improved dramatically,” Syrian refugees will be even harder to check because, unlike in Iraq, U.S. soldiers have not been on the ground collecting information on the local population. “If we don’t know much about somebody, there won’t be anything in our data,” he said. “I can’t sit here and offer anybody an absolute assurance that there’s no risk associated with this.”

According to DHS, Section 212(d)(3)(B) of the INA allows either the secretary of state or DHS secretary in consultation with each other and with the U.S. Attorney General “to determine that certain terrorism bars of the INA do not apply.”

While Vaughan conceded that there are a number of immigrants seeking protection who have been denied due to unintentional contact with terrorists, she sees the exemptions as likely another opportunity for people to get around the system. 

“If the recent past is any guide, those evaluating these cases will be ordered to ignore red flags in the applications, especially if the applicant is supported by one of the many advocacy groups that have the ear of senior DHS staff,” she explained. “The administration already approves of the admission of gang members as asylees and criminals in the DACA program and grants of prosecutorial discretion, so I don’t expect them to be troubled by the admission of terrorists and garden variety fraudsters in our refugee program.  This is how we end up with families like the Tsarnaev brothers [the Boston marathon bombers], who were originally admitted for political asylum.”

All that said, I’d like to be able to offer help to people who are genuine refugees, regardless of religion. But it’s clear that this whole process is more about making a statement than addressing the genuine security concerns of the American people. If you can convince me that you are making the latter the top priority, then I’m open.
Still, I’m willing to compromise. If we really want to help, let’s take them all in, and place them where they can have the best chance to thrive–America’s wealthiest suburbs. Why should they be sent to some aging suburb with strained finances like Dearborn or into the decayed inner cities in hopes of revitalizing them? Nope–let’s help them hit the ground running.
This looks like a promising set of neighborhoods with the resources–especially schools–necessary to get a leg up life. And in many cases, it would sure help with the mosaic of diversity for some of these startlingly-pale enclaves.
Let me throw in a few other names–Silver Springs, Chevy Chase, Orange County, the Upper East Side, Arlington, Oakland County, Ann Arbor, the bedroom communities of Philadelphia and Boston…I’m sure you can come up more.
And why stop with mere zip codes? Surely, our enlightened private high schools and colleges can set aside blocks of scholarships (Sidwell Friends, answer the call!), residential housing and the like. Why put the burden entirely on local governments and aid groups? Nope. If we’re going to make sacrifices, that includes the privileged and portfolioed in bi-coastal gated communities.
If they are not willing to make such sacrifices, that tells you all you need to know about this process.

Continue reading

Edge of Darkness


My bride and I spent an enjoyable evening watching Edge of Darkness, a 1943 flick starring Errol Flynn, Ann Sheridan and Walter Huston, about a small Norwegian fishing village that revolts against its Nazi occupiers.  The film was quite a bit above the usual wartime potboilers and filled with striking images, including scenes of the villagers in their church debating whether they should revolt.  When the villagers began singing the Norwegian national anthem my bride joined in, although she told me that she was glad they didn’t go on to the second stanza as she had never learned that.  The film conveyed an anti-Nazi message so effectively that it was banned in Buenos Aires by the pro-Axis government of the time.  The film was the only war film among the top five requested by troops in the US Army for viewing during 1943.  Well worth watching.

Ten Ways in Which Obama is Just Like Lincoln!



The New York Post has a story entitled “Did Obama Actually Follow in Lincoln’s Footsteps?” After I stopped choking with laughter, I decided to write a post about how Obama is just like the Great Emancipator:

1. They both resided in Illinois prior to election as president.

2. They both were attorneys.

3. They both served in the Illinois legislature.

4. They both left the Democrat party in shambles after their terms in office.

5. They both amassed more debt than any president prior to them.

6. They both had Veeps who acted drunk in public. Continue reading

Lutherans and the Eucharist



Father Z explains the differences between how Lutherans and Catholics perceive the Eucharist.  Father Z should know, since he was a Lutheran prior to his conversion to the Faith:

As far as the Eucharist is concerned, Catholics believe that, with the consecration by a validly ordained priest (Lutherans do not believe in sacramental ordination that confers an ontological character – rather, every man is his own priest), bread and wine are changed in their substance into the Body and Blood of Christ even though the outward appearance and characteristic accidents of bread and wine remain for our human senses. After this change of substance, trans-substantiation, Christ is truly present in the Eucharistic species, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. So long as the outward accidents remain and the species are recognizable as, in their accidents, being bread and wine, they are still the Eucharist and Christ is truly present in them, even in very small quantities of the Eucharistic Body and Blood. When the Eucharistic species are destroyed or significantly altered in their outward accidents, they cease being the Eucharist and Christ is no longer present in them. Furthermore, we Catholic believe that the celebration of the Eucharist represents and renews and makes present again both the Last Supper of the Lord during His Passion as well as the Sacrifice of Cross on Calvary. The celebration of the Eucharist is Christ’s atoning, propitiatory Sacrifice, which, though it occurred at one fixed point in time, is renewed and made present again through the actions of the priest, who acts as alter Christus. Mass is the true, real, renewal of the Sacrifice in an unbloody way that once took place in a bloody way, historically, on Calvary. This is done through the actions and words of the ordained priest.

Lutherans believe that anyone can celebrate the “Lord’s Supper” (some few Lutherans call it “Mass”) though some are called by the community to preside in the central role. The Lord’s Supper is not the Sacrifice renewed. Lutherans do not believe that the substance of bread and wine change, transubstantiation. They think that Christ is present together with the bread and wine for as long as Christ is needed to be there, a kind of “consubstantiation”. (Some Lutherans don’t like that term, but I’m not getting into that fight.) That is to say, that for Christ to be present, there must be institution, distribution and reception.  If it is not received, Christ isn’t present.  Once no longer needed there for reception, Christ is no longer present and there is left merely bread and wine. They believe Christ is truly present, when required for reception, but not in an enduring way. Luther used the image an iron that is heated and then it cools again: the iron and the heat are there together and then only the iron is there.  However, some Lutheran churches are starting to reserve their eucharistic species and even to adore what they reserve, even kneeling outside their eucharistic communion services.  An interesting development as they become more “sacramental”.  Furthermore, the Lord’s Supper is a memorial merely. It does not renew the Sacrifice of Calvary or the Last Supper, but rather commemorates them. Lutherans believe in a priesthood of all believers. There is no sacramental priesthood or consecration of the Eucharist or sacramental absolution of sins or conferral of confirmation. Matrimony is not a sacrament, nor is anointing. Lutherans have two sacraments, Baptism and “Eucharist”. Their baptism is valid because water is poured on the skin while the Trinitarian form is pronounced. Their “Eucharist” is not the Eucharist. They do not believe it is a sacrament in the sense we do and there is no valid priesthood to confect it, etc. They do not believe, as Catholics do, that sacraments are outward signs instituted by Christ Himself that confer grace. For Lutherans, they are outward signs of realities that are taking place.

Also, I recall when I was younger that, at the Luther Northwestern Seminary in my native place, they would annually have their Lutheran form of “Mass” in Latin.  Yes, there are/were such things.

Lutherans, in a way, look on their confession of sins as a sacrament. Luther referred to “penance” as a sacrament in the Large Catechism. Some Lutheran prayerbooks have a rite for penance. But they do not believe that the action and words of the one who hears that confession and pronounces words of forgiveness are sacramentally effective, as when the Catholic priest gives absolution.

This isn’t everything that can be said about differences between Catholic and Lutheran beliefs.  Books are written about each aspect I touched on.  But this is a start for those who know very little about them.

However, if you are a true Lutheran, you don’t believe what the Catholic Church believes about Eucharist and Priesthood.  Not believing what we believe, you cannot receive Communion in the Catholic Church.  If you believe what the Catholic Church teaches… then you had better become a Catholic in order to be true to yourself.

I would also say, if you are Catholic but you don’t adhere to Catholic teaching, you are in serious trouble, particularly if you have been properly instructed and you choose against Catholic teachings.

The Second Vatican Council issued a spiritual warning in Lumen gentium 14.  Here it is via the Catechism of the Catholic Church when addressing the issue of salvation outside the Church (846ff):

How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers? Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:

Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it(LG 14).

I quoted LG 14 via the CCC to show that what LG 14 contains isn’t obsolete.

If you are not Catholic, but you have come to believe what the Catholic Church teaches, and you refuse to enter the Church by your own will (not because you are afraid, etc.), you are in serious peril for your eternal soul.

If you are Catholic, but you pick and choose what to believe among those teaches that you are bound to accept, you are in serious peril for your eternal soul. Continue reading

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