The amendment, like most other provisions in the Constitution, has a history. It was adopted with some modification and enlargement from the English Bill of Rights of 1688, where it stood as a protest against arbitrary action of the overturned dynasty in disarming the people, and as a pledge of the new rulers that this tyrannical action should cease. The right declared was meant to be a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers, and as a necessary and efficient means of regaining rights when temporarily overturned by usurpation.
Thomas Cooley, Principles of Constitutional Law (1898)
And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family?
Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?
After all, you knew ahead of time that those bluecaps were out at night for no good purpose. And you could be sure ahead of time that you’d be cracking the skull of a cutthroat. Or what about the Black Maria [Government limo] sitting out there on the street with one lonely chauffeur — what if it had been driven off or its tires spiked.
The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt!
–Alexander Solzhenitsyn, The GULAG Archipelago
Dave Griffey at Daffey Thoughts takes a look at the prompt denial by some atheists of hatred of Christians as possibly being a factor in the murderer at Umpqua College singling out Christians:
So after over a decade of the radical anti-religious New Atheists spouting rhetoric against religion that would make a party in the 1930s Reichstag look Kosher by comparison, atheists are dealing with the ugly notion that evidence suggests the killer of nine people at Umpqua College purposefully targeted Christians. Of course for most atheists, like most liberals and secularists, Christianity is the prime enemy. So most contempt, disgust, hatred, spite, demagoguery and lies are aimed at Christians and Christianity. And of course we know that such rhetoric is always behind things like racist hate crimes, and anti-gay hate crimes, and anti-Muslim hate crimes.
Now when he had come unto the Roman Curia, and had been introduced into the presence of the Supreme Pontiff, he expounded unto him his intent, humbly and earnestly beseeching him to sanction the Rule aforesaid for their life. And the Vicar of Christ, the lord Innocent the Third, a man exceeding renowned for wisdom, beholding in the man of God the wondrous purity of a simple soul, constancy unto his purpose, and the enkindled fervour of a holy will, was disposed to give unto the suppliant his fatherly sanction. Howbeit, he delayed to perform that which the little poor one of Christ asked, by reason that unto some of the Cardinals this seemed a thing untried, and too hard for human strength. But there was present among the Cardinals an honour-worthy man, the lord John of Saint Paul, Bishop of Sabina, a lover of all holiness, and an helper of the poor men of Christ. He, inflamed by the Divine Spirit, said unto the Supreme Pontiff, and unto his colleagues: “If we refuse the request of this poor man as a thing too hard, and untried, when his petition is that the pattern of Gospel life may be sanctioned for him, let us beware lest we stumble at the Gospel of Christ. For if any man saith that in the observance of Gospel perfection, and the vowing thereof, there is contained aught that is untried, or contrary unto reason, or impossible to observe, he is clearly seen to blaspheme against Christ, the author of the Gospel.” When these arguments had been set forth, the successor of the Apostle Peter, turning unto the poor man of Christ, said: “Pray unto Christ, my son, that He may shew us His will through thee, and when we know it more surely, we will more confidently assent unto thy holy desires.”
Then the servant of God Almighty, betaking himself wholly unto prayer, gained by devout intercession that which he might set forth outwardly, and the Pope feel inwardly. For when he had narrated a parable of a rich King that had of free will espoused a fair woman that was poor, and how the children she bare shewed the likeness of the King that begat them, and so were brought up at his table, even as he had learnt this of the Lord, — he added, as an interpretation thereof: “It is not to be feared that the sons and heirs of the everlasting King will perish of hunger, even they that have been born of a poor mother in the likeness of the King, Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit, and that shall themselves beget sons through the spirit of Poverty in a little poor Religion. For if the King of heaven hath promised an everlasting kingdom unto them that follow Him, how much more shall He provide for them those things that He bestoweth alike on the good and on the evil? ” When the Vicar of Christ had diligently hearkened unto this parable, and the interpretation thereof, he marvelled greatly, and perceived that Christ had of a truth spoken through a man. Moreover, he maintained, by the inspiration of the Divine Spirit, that a vision that at that time was shewn unto him from heaven would be fulfilled in Francis. For in a dream he saw, as he recounted, the Lateran Basilica about to fall, when a little poor man, of mean stature and humble aspect, propped it with his own back, and thus saved it from falling. “Verily,” saith he, “he it is that by his work and teaching shall sustain the Church of Christ.” From this vision, he was filled with an especial devotion unto him, and in all ways disposed himself unto his supplication, and ever loved the servant of Christ with an especial affection. Then and there he granted his request, and promised at a later day to bestow yet more upon him. He sanctioned the Rule, and gave him a command to preach repentance, and made all the lay Brethren that had accompanied the servant of God wear narrow tonsures, that they might preach the word of God without hindrance.
Saint Bonaventura, Life of Saint Francis
Fate has a way of picking unlikely material,
Greasy-haired second lieutenants of French artillery,
And bald-headed, dubious, Roman rake-politicians.
Her stiff hands were busy now with an odd piece of wood,
Sometime Westpointer, by accident more than choice,
Sometime brevet-captain in the old Fourth Infantry,
Mentioned in Mexican orders for gallant service
And, six years later, forced to resign from the Army
Without enough money to pay for a stateroom home.
Turned farmer on Hardscrabble Farm, turned bill-collector,
Turned clerk in the country-store that his brothers ran,
The eldest-born of the lot, but the family-failure,
Unloading frozen hides from a farmer’s sleigh
With stoop-shouldered strength, whittling beside the stove,
And now and then turning to whiskey to take the sting
From winter and certain memories.
It didn’t take much.
A glass or two would thicken the dogged tongue
And flush the fair skin beneath the ragged brown beard.
Poor and shabby–old “Cap” Grant of Galena,
Who should have amounted to something but hadn’t so far
Though he worked hard and was honest.
A middle-aged clerk,
A stumpy, mute man in a faded army overcoat,
Who wrote the War Department after Fort Sumter,
Offering them such service as he could give
And saying he thought that he was fit to command
As much as a regiment, but getting no answer.
So many letters come to a War Department,
One can hardly bother the clerks to answer them all–
Then a Volunteer colonel, drilling recruits with a stick,
A red bandanna instead of an officer’s sash;
A brigadier-general, one of thirty-seven,
Snubbed by Halleck and slighted by fussy Frémont;
And then the frozen February gale
Over Fort Henry and Fort Donelson,
The gunboats on the cold river–the brief siege–
“Unconditional surrender”–and the newspapers.
Major-General Grant, with his new twin-stars,
Who, oddly, cared so little for reading newspapers,
Though Jesse Grant wrote dozens of letters to them
Pointing out all the wonders his son had done
And wringing one dogged letter from that same son
That should have squelched anybody but Jesse Grant.
It did not squelch him. He was a business man,
And now Ulysses had astonished Galena
By turning out to be somebody after all;
Ulysses’ old father was going to see him respected
And, incidentally, try to wangle a contract
For army-harness and boom the family tannery.
It was a great surprise when Ulysses refused,
The boy was so stubborn about it.
Stephen Vincent Benet, John Brown’s Body
I am glad to announce that Dale Price is back to regular blogging at Dyspeptic Mutterings. I am glad to announce that because I have ever
stolen borrowed blogging ideas from him. Here is his review of H.W. Brand’s bio of Grant:
The Man Who Saved the Union: Ulysses Grant in War and Peace is an excellent biography of one of America’s most consistently-underrated historical figures.
University of Texas history Professor H.W. Brands does a fine job of illuminating Grant’s early life and struggles, not only with the bottle but with his failings as a provider–both despite his best efforts. As he does so, Brands presents the determined character that enabled Grant to overcome these failures and rise to become the most beloved general since Washington, and the most popular President of the 19th Century (at least in terms of electoral success).
The description of Grant’s military tenure during the Civil War is very solid, demonstrating that he was the best strategic thinker on either side, and no slouch as a tactician. Brands points out–correctly–that Grant’s casualty rates were lower as a proportion of men in combat than Lee’s despite being on the offensive much more often. That said, I still think Lee was slightly better as a tactician, especially considering that the quality of leadership in the Army of Northern Virginia declined drastically over time, and that of the Army of the Potomac increased with the rise of men like Sheridan and Ord.
None of that was a particular surprise to me, given my other reading. The real eye-opener for me was Brands’ revisionist (and I use that term advisedly) assessment of Grant’s two terms as President. Far from the failure “everyone knows” it to be, Grant’s Presidency had a remarkable number of achievements: the Fifteenth Amendment, the squelching of the attempt to corner the gold market, the settling of claims against England stemming from the giving of commerce raiders to the Confederacy and, most crucially, Grant’s dedication to civil rights for freedmen. In enforcing the Ku Klux Klan Act and related civil rights legislation and appointing determined attorneys general like Amos Akerman (who had been a Colonel for the Confederacy!), Grant was the President most devoted to civil rights and racial equality until the arrival of Lyndon Johnson. Furthermore, Grant presented the most humane policy toward the Indian tribes by an American president up to his time.
Where this reassessment (slightly) fails is in providing a thorough explanation of *why* Grant’s reputation as President went to and remains mostly in the dustbin at this late date. To be sure, Brands’ treatment of 1872-1880 is not all praise–Grant is rapped for his too-restrictive handling of the Panic of 1873, America’s first industrial depression, which cast a shadow over much of his tenure. Though, in Grant’s defense, his restrictive approach to increasing the money supply was well-within the mainstream of 1870s economic thought.
Interestingly enough, the economic doldrums did not damage his personal popularity much (as opposed to damaging the GOP)–he came close to winning a nomination for a third term in 1880, and almost certainly would have won that election, too.
All in all, the coverage of Grant’s presidency is an eye-opener which should act as a welcome rebuttal to the Good General/Bad President canard that unjustly haunts him.
Finally, Brands deftly handles Grant’s last battle–a race against time to finish his memoirs as he was dying of throat cancer. As he did through his military career, Grant won this battle through dogged determination, dying a few days after he finished them, ensuring that his wife and family would be well-provided for. The Mutt-and-Jeff friendship that arose between Grant and Mark Twain is also well-drawn. Brands also includes a hilarious anecdote of Twain’s one “battle” on behalf of the Confederacy in 1861 that left me–and my wife–laughing out loud. I am morally certain Twain would approved. Continue reading
Gillea Allison is a rarity, someone who has rejoined the Catholic Church due to Pope Francis. She writes at Vox about her politics and her path back to Catholicism of a sort:
For me, finding truth elsewhere meant finding a different kind of home in politics and in the candidacy of Barack Obama. In 2006, one of my best (Jesuit-educated) friends sent me a copy of Dreams From My Father, then-Sen. Obama’s memoir. I couldn’t put it down. His honesty, prose, and self-reflection were unlike any I had seen in a politician; his years spent on the South Side of Chicago in organizing in Catholic churches caught my attention. His compassion for others and understanding of injustice — drawn from personal experience — guided his interest in politics and felt to me like the real deal (and, I would argue, it still does). I started paying attention to Obama’s candidacy from abroad, and in September 2008 I moved back to the United States to volunteer for him in Colorado without a dime. A version of faith, one could say.
In the 2008 and the 2012 campaigns, I found an organization dedicated to empowering its people and providing an opening to the political process. In candidate and now President Obama, I found a leader who embodied what I had loved about the church and my Jesuit education: the notion that by loving our neighbor, seeing our similarities instead of our relatively smaller differences, and coming together, we will in fact change the world. We didn’t have to accept things the way they were; rather, it was our responsibility to question and make those things better. The Obama campaigns felt to me like the truest articulation of people over politics, of love over power — and after my falling out with the Catholic Church, they restored my faith in leadership and the potential for institutions to evolve.
I keep it pretty practical, but there’s certainly been a reigniting of my spirit. I volunteer at Xavier’s soup kitchen, which feeds hundreds each Sunday. I am a godmother to my best friend’s son — a responsibility that now carries new weight and meaning. I go to church whenever I can. It’s beautiful, and I’m often struck by the priests’ wisdom and humor.
By and large, however, it is the community that fills my heart. A few Sundays ago, we celebrated a dedicated parishioner’s 90th birthday. The priest presented her with a lovely bouquet; the entire congregation sang “Happy Birthday.” You could feel the love — it’s that simple.
But this reawakening comes with distinct challenges. As a monthly donor to Planned Parenthood, I am often at odds with persistent church policies on social issues. But we must avoid the American tendency to pull the church into our political battles and project our political dynamics onto figures like Pope Francis, the absurdity of which was abundant during his US visit. (An example: when the New York Times recapped his speech to Congress on A1 by stating, “Both sides could walk away taking vindication from parts of his message. But the liberal references in his speech were explicit and extended while the conservative ones were more veiled and concise.”). Continue reading
Father Z brings us a musical treat:
It is my pleasure to release here the super ultra exclusive new hit from the always backward-looking performance artist Zuhlio!
With the disturbing foreknowledge that the organizing office of the Synod of Bishops was going to change the rules and procedures yet again, the artist Zuhlio teamed up with the legendary T. Ferguson (whose initials are strangely similar to those of this blog’s official parodohymnodist Fr. Tim Ferguson).
You will recall some of Zuhlio’s previous hits, which you no doubt hum to yourselves even now. Who can forget Where Have All the Sisters Gone? How about “Lady Tambourine Priest”? How about his even bigger hit song from his urban rapper phase “Aging Hippie Paradise”. Continue reading
From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:
In a 80-minute briefing to the media, a lighthearted Pope Francis began to speak “very candidly,” when the head of the Pope’s security team, reportedly realizing the havoc the off-the-cuff remark might have on the rest of the U.S. trip, discreetly glanced at another member of the security team and nodded. That’s when, one witness reported, the Holy Father was struck in the neck with the dart and “went down like a ton of bricks.”
“Pope Francis had just seconds earlier mentioned the words ‘do not judge;’ that’s when it happened,” said a reporter on the papal flight. “He immediately stopped talking, felt the dart in his neck, and just dropped.”
Another witness reported seeing a number of officials quickly whisking the Pope’s limp body away to private section of the plane. The dart was removed shortly thereafter, and the groggy Pontiff awoke and found himself shackled to a post away from the media for the remainder of the trip. Continue reading
Something for the weekend. The theme from one of the my favorite childhood shows, The Rifleman. Broadcast from 1958 to 1963, The Rifleman featured Chuck Connors as Lucas McCain, the eponymous star of the show, and his son Mark McCain, portrayed by Johnny Crawford. Unlike almost all other westerns of the time, the title character, Lucas McCain, was not a sheriff, a rich rancher or a gunfighter, but rather a widowed farmer raising his son near the town of Northfork. Each of the 30 minute shows was a skillfully done morality play focusing on the human condition. Some of the episodes had plots drawn from the Bible and placed in a western setting. McCain’s modified Winchester 73 almost always came into play, but simple gun play and violence was not the focus of the series. The episodes were studded with appearances of actors and actresses who would go on to achieve fame, and with frequent appearances by classic Western character actors and actresses.
Anyone who has any doubt as to how far left the current powers that be at the Vatican are, should simply look at the terrified Vatican reaction to the furor on the left due to the Pope’s meeting with Kim Davis. The men in charge at the Vatican are now doing what leftists always do when they fall from grace with fellow leftists: lie, obfuscate and cravenly seek forgiveness. Allahpundit at Hot Air puts it well:
Here’s the official statement from a Vatican spokesman:
The brief meeting between Mrs. Kim Davis and Pope Francis at the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington, DC has continued to provoke comments and discussion. In order to contribute to an objective understanding of what transpired I am able to clarify the following points:
Pope Francis met with several dozen persons who had been invited by the Nunciature to greet him as he prepared to leave Washington for New York City. Such brief greetings occur on all papal visits and are due to the Pope’s characteristic kindness and availability. The only real audience granted by the Pope at the Nunciature was with one of his former students and his family.
The Pope did not enter into the details of the situation of Mrs. Davis and his meeting with her should not be considered a form of support of her position in all of its particular and complex aspects.
Hard to read that as anything but a plea to Francis’s liberal fans in the United States not to write him off because he showed a few moments of kindness to That Woman. But even that bit of distancing might not be enough to secure absolution, which is why some Catholic powers-that-be are now whispering that Francis essentially didn’t even know who he was meeting:
It is a meeting some charge was orchestrated by the man who lived [at the Vatican embassy in Washington], the Pope’s representative here, Carlo Maria Vigano…
A close advisor to Pope Francis tweeted that the Pope was, in his words, “exploited” by those who set up what the CBS 2 source says was a “meeting that never should have taken place.”
Some call it an attempt by highly placed church leaders in the U.S. to diminish the impact of the Pope’s visit.
Vigano tried to sabotage the Pope’s visit by arranging a hot-button meeting with Davis? In that case, how come he or an ally didn’t leak news of the meeting, which emerged only when Davis and her lawyers started talking about after it the Pope had left? More here on the “manipulation” theory:
“I was very disappointed to see the pope having been used that way, and that his willingness to be friendly to someone was turned against him,” Father [James] Martin wrote. “What may originally have prevented them from issuing a statement was the desire not to give this story too much air. But what they eventually came to realize was that they needed to correct some gross misrepresentations of what had happened. It shows that Pope Francis met with many people on the trip, and that she was simply another person who he tried to be kind to.”
Father Rosica’s statement seemed to square with that account.
Asked on Friday if the Vatican press office had been unaware that Ms. Davis had met the pope, Father Rosica said: “No, but I think we may not have been aware of the full impact of the meeting. It is very difficult sometimes when you are looking at things in America from here.”
In other words, maybe an aide whispered the basic details of Davis’s case to Francis five minutes before they met — county clerk, devout Christian, insists her duty to God prevents her from issuing licenses to gay couples — without stressing that her refusal is a monster news story in the United States that could have conceivably devoured coverage of his other priorities during his tour if word of the meeting had gotten out while he was here. Again, though — that doesn’t mean Francis doesn’t endorse her position. All it means is that whoever arranged the meeting didn’t want him to take the sort of media heat for it that she’s been taking for weeks. Which makes you wonder how seriously Vigano or his other aides took his encouragement to Davis to “stay strong” in defense of her position.
Look on the bright side, though: The fact that even the Pope has had to inch away from a symbolic statement of opposition to gay marriage proves that he really did get a taste of modern America during his trip. Gay businessmen, Democratic presidential candidates, even Caitlyn Jenner — anyone otherwise admired by the left who’s expressed a preference for traditional relationships must seek contrition eventually to return to a state of liberal grace. All the Vatican’s doing here is a bit of penance.
Update: Does this count as “staying strong”?
One Vatican official said there was “a sense of regret” that the pope had ever seen Kim Davis, a Kentucky county clerk who went to jail in September for refusing to honor a U.S. Supreme Court ruling and issue same-sex marriage licenses.
Ed Morrissey at Hot Air writes about a man whose courage defies belief:
Law enforcement officials have already refused to say the name of the dead perpetrator of yesterday’ shooting massacre in Oregon. Why not, the Daily Beast’s Michael Daly proposes, talk about the hero rather than the zero?
Forget the 26-year-old zero who murdered 10 innocents at Umpqua Community College on Thursday morning.
The one to remember is 30-year-old Chris Mintz, the student and Army vet who was shot at least five times while charging straight at the gunman in an effort to save others.
Mintz did so on the sixth birthday of his son, Tyrik.
“It’s my son’s birthday, it’s my son’s birthday,” he was heard saying as he lay wounded.
Mintz moved to Oregon to get accreditation as a fitness trainer. Fortunate to be alive, he will instead have to focus on rebuilding his own body; both legs are broken, and he will have to spend months in rehabilitation. Mintz has recovered well enough to speak about the shooting with ABC News, telling people to worry more about the other victims:
Chris Mintz, 30, was shot seven times during the Thursday rampage, but he says his main concern is about the others who were injured.
“I just hope that everyone else is OK,” he told ABC News this morning.
“I’m just worried about everyone else.”
Mintz was not just a person at the wrong place at the wrong time. He heard the gunfire and ran toward the danger, while urging others to run in the opposite direction:
“He ran to the library and pulled the alarms and he was telling people to run, grabbing people, telling them, ‘You just have to go,’” witness Hannah Miles told ABC News.
“He actually ran back towards the building where the shooting was and he ran back into the building and I don’t know what happened to him,” she said of Mintz.
According to witnesses, Mintz told the gunman that it was his son’s birthday after getting shot three times. The gunman responded by shooting him twice more, but couldn’t kill Mintz. His cousin has started a GoFundMe project to help Mintz recover from his wounds, and it has already met its modest target of $10,000. Over the next few days, don’t be surprised to see it head into six figures. Continue reading
Is the upcoming Synod a sham with the outcome already predetermined? Rorate Caeli in the following post believes the evidence pointing to a rigged process is becoming more evident:
Summary: Italian journalist Marco Tosatti reveals that A SECRET PARALLEL SYNOD has been established in Rome, a cabal composed almost exclusively by Jesuits, with the occasional Argentinian presence (easy to guess who), to draft the necessary post-synodal documents to implement whatever the Pope wants to implement. And they will implement it, no matter what, as the secret committee to draft the Annulment reforms has shown; what everyone supposed was true in fact is true: the Synodal process is a sham.
At last year’s meeting, the interim document, properly called a relatio post-disceptationem, caused controversy after it was sent out to the media before the synod fathers had read it. Critics said the document lacked references to Scripture and tradition, and most controversially, appeared to imply the Church was considering giving tacit acceptance of same-sex relationships — an issue that was hardly discussed during the meeting’s first week.The probable decision not to have an interim report may be an effort to avoid last year’s controversy from recurring. But some fear it will lead to less transparency, and worry the timing could be intentional in order to facilitate the advancement of controversial proposals as time runs out for discussion.Another rumored change is that the rule on propositions having to pass by a two-thirds majority might be eliminated and a simple majority take its place.This would favor a controversial proposal, such as Cardinal Kasper’s, because his thesis only received a simple majority at the last synod. (It should have therefore been rejected under the rules in place, but the Holy Father insisted that it, and the paragraph on a new approach to same-sex relationships that also failed to achieve a two-thirds majority, remain in the lineamenta (guidelines), for this October’s synod).
In this context [that is, of the procedural changes mentioned by Edward Pentin], news has arrived to us for about twelve days that around thirty people, almost all of them Jesuits, with the occasional Argentinian, are working on the themes on the Synod, in a very reserved way, under the coordinatin of Father Antonio Spadaro, the director of Civiltà Cattolica [the official journal of the Holy See], who spends a long time in Santa Marta, in consultation with the Pope.The discretion in the works extends also to the Jesuits of the same House, the villa of Civiltà Cattolica, Villa Malta, on the Pincio [Hill], where part of the work is done. One possibility is that the “task force” works to provide the Pope the instruments for an eventual post-synodal document on the theme of the Eucharist to the remarried divorced, on cohabiting [couples], and same-sex couples.
Did you mark how naturally – as if he’d been born for it – the earthborn vermin entered the new life? How all his doubts became, in the twinkling of an eye, ridiculous? I know what the creature was saying to itself! “Yes. Of course. It always was like this. All horrors have followed the same course, getting worse and worse and forcing you into a kind of bottle-neck till, at the very moment when you thought you must be crushed, behold! you were out of the narrows and all was suddenly well. The extraction hurt more and more and then the tooth was out. The dream became a nightmare and then you woke. You die and die and then you are beyond death. How could I ever have doubted it?
As he saw you, he also saw Them. I know how it was. You reeled back dizzy and blinded, more hurt by them than he had ever been by bombs. The degradation of it! – that this thing of earth and slime could stand upright and converse with spirits before whom you, a spirit, could only cower. Perhaps you had hoped that the awe and strangeness of it would dash his joy. But that is the cursed thing; the gods are strange to mortal eyes, and yet they are not strange. He had no faintest conception till that very hour of how they would look, and even doubted their existence. But when he saw them he knew that he had always known them and realised what part each one of them had played at many an hour in his life when he had supposed himself alone, so that now he could say to them, one by one, not “Who are you?” but “So it was you all the time”. All that they were and said at this meeting woke memories. The dim consciousness of friends about him which had haunted his solitudes from infancy was now at last explained; that central music in every pure experience which had always just evaded memory was now at last recovered. Recognition made him free of their company almost before the limbs of his corpse became quiet. Only you were left outside.
He saw not only Them; he saw Him. This animal, this thing begotten in a bed, could look on Him. What is blinding, suffocating fire to you, is now cool light to him, is clarity itself, and wears the form of a Man. You would like, if you could, to interpret the patient’s prostration in the Presence, his self-abhorrence and utter knowledge of his sins (yes, Wormwood, a clearer knowledge even than yours) on the analogy of your own choking and paralysing sensations when you encounter the deadly air that breathes from the heart of Heaven. But it’s all nonsense. Pains he may still have to encounter, but they embrace those pains. They would not barter them for any earthly pleasure.
CS Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
I won’t dignify the dead, murderous villain by using his name, but I would ask prayers for the souls of his victims:
A gunman singled out Christians, telling them they would see God in “one second,” during a rampage at an Oregon college Thursday that left at least nine innocent people dead and several more wounded, survivors and authorities said.
“[He started] asking people one by one what their religion was. ‘Are you a Christian?’ he would ask them, and if you’re a Christian stand up. And they would stand up and he said, ‘Good, because you’re a Christian, you are going to see God in just about one second.’ And then he shot and killed them,” Stacy Boylen, whose daughter was wounded at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., told CNN. Continue reading
PopeWatch couldn’t resist a glance at the coverage of The National Catholic Reporter of the meeting between the Pope and Kim Davis:
“I said, ‘Thank you, Holy Father,'” Davis reportedly said. “I had asked a monsignor earlier what was the proper way to greet the pope, and whether it would be appropriate for me to embrace him, and I had been told it would be OK to hug him. So I hugged him, and he hugged me back.
It was only after repeated requests that the Vatican offered a response. In an email in Italian to Vatican journalists, Vatican spokesman Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi wrote, “I do not deny that a meeting may have taken place, but I do not have comments to add.” (NCR’s translation.)
Hattip to commenter Murray who advises us of this mercy filled rant from Saint Blog’s answer to Robespierre:
“Likewise, sane conservative Catholics need to stop coddling those twisting themselves in pretzels of hatred and defiance for a pope who has done and said nothing heterodox, all in defiance of the Church’s social doctrine need to repent or they need to be repudiated by Catholics of good will. It would be a nice bonus if sane conservatives beyond FT also pressured the nuts to repent smearing a good man as an accomplice to murder (which is what “Che Guevara’s Pope” means) in their zeal to declare their non serviam to the gospel. But the person of Francis is less crucial than the office of Peter and it doesn’t do to ask too much of hard hearts all at once. But the bottom line is, the enemies of Peter need to take responsibility for their actions, repent, and believe the good news–and those who have hitherto enabled them should take responsibility for the fact that they did not spring up like topsies overnight but have been cultivated for a good long time. That cultivation must end.”
For Mark Shea it is always let a thousand flowers bloom so long as they all smell like him.
As my friend and co-blogger Paul Zummo has noted here, First Things has given the ax to Maureen Mullarkey’s blog due to her outspoken criticism of Pope Francis. They have every right to do this if they wish. However, I have every right to fisk the editor of First Things’, R.R. Reno, statement announcing this, hilariously entitled No More Tirades, if I found the statement fatuous, which I did. Herewith the fisk:
First Things stands for something.
That is a relief.
Many things, actually.
Considering the heterodox leanings of many people after working at First Things (I am looking at you Damon Linker and you Jody Bottum), I would say that is an understatement.
One of them is a commitment to reality-based conservatism, both in matters of faith and of public life. I mention this, because I’ve decided to end our hosting of Maureen Mullarkey’s blog.
“Reality -based conservatism.” Way to borrow the charming habit of the left of calling their adversaries delusional.
Maureen has a sharp pen and pungent style. Her postings about Pope Francis indicate she’s very angry about this papacy, which she seems to view as (alternately) fascism and socialism disguised as Catholicism. This morning she put up a post that opens with the accusation that the Vatican is conspiring with the Obama administration to destroy the foundations of freedom and hobble the developed world. I’ve had my staff take it down.
I do not ascribe to the view that Catholics should not criticize the papacy.
Unless, apparently, the criticism is barbed and attracts attention.
When Catholicism was derided by an ascendant Protestant elite, it made sense to close ranks.
Actually, as a matter of historical fact, Catholics in this country have always fought like cats and dogs.
Today we’re very much a part of the elite.
Only if we sneer at our religion. For those who don’t and who achieve high office, they are under continual assault. Google Antonin Scalia for a good example of this.
When Francis spoke to Congress, he shook the hands of a Catholic Secretary of State.
The pro-abort John Kerry is about as Catholic as his late senior senator Ted Kennedy.
When he spoke he was flanked by a Catholic Vice President and a Catholic Speaker of the House (who had succeeded a Catholic Speaker).
Pro-abort Joe Biden is on a par with Kerry. Boehner’s last major action as Speaker is brokering a deal for the continued funding of Planned Parenthood.
In the front row sat Supreme Courts Justices, the majority of whom are Catholic.
This after the Court just mandated gay marriage throughout the nation, with two of the “Catholics” happily signing on.
There’s no cultural need today for Catholics to maintain an artificial united front.
Only if Catholics are concerned about the Faith rather than using Catholicism as some sort of ethnic identifier.
I’ve criticized Pope Francis and his encyclical, Laudato Si. However, Maureen’s commentary on Francis goes well beyond measured criticism.
Measured criticism, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.
She consistently treats him as an ideological propagandist, accusing him of reducing the faith to secular political categories.
A sadly accurate assessment in many areas.
This is her way of reducing him to the political terms she favors.
Actually, the Pope by his language and actions has done that. His speech to Congress, in which he gave a big air kiss to most issues embraced by the left, is a prime example.
And those terms are the ones used by radio talk-show hosts to entertain the public with mock-battles against various Empires of Evil.
You don’t listen to many radio talk shows do you? Of course when bashing someone on the basis of stereotypes, it does not do to engage in accuracy.
I don’t want First Things to play that game.
Your call, just as it is our call whether we read First Things. Mullarkey has brought more attention and readers to First Things than any other writer for you in many a moon.
More is at stake here than decorum.
One would hope.
I’m much more favorable to free markets than Francis seems to be.
That is a pretty low bar. Continue reading
After reading these two items, it might be irreparably destroyed.
A Montgomery County man has filed a unique class action lawsuit in the wake of the Ashley Madison hacking scandal.
Christopher Russell, who is listed in court files only as a county resident, filed a complaint in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt Sept. 11 claiming that the site fraudulently represented its female users as actual women, but in fact most were automated bots designed to entice male users to spend money.
Russell spent $100 on the site to purchase credits that allowed him to message other users who he believed were real women, according to the complaint, but they may have actually been bots or workers paid by the site. The site is set up to allow married men and women to secretly coordinate affairs.
So you might say he is filing suit because a party with which he entered into a contract did not live up to the terms of said contract. Uh huh.
Item the second has to do with First Thing’s excommunication of Maureen Mullarkey from their blog. For those who missed the sordid affair, here is RR Reno’s post on the matter. For point of reference, here is Maureen’s blog, republished at One Peter Five. You can discern for yourselves if the post in question merited banishment.
One person who is not satisfied with First Thing’s actions: Mark Shea.
Mr. Reno: Though I applaud your decision to give Maureen Mullarkey’s pope-hating blog the well-deserved ax, I think it is important to note that the level of sheer malice and bat@#$% [edited by PZ] crazy in the comboxes announcing he ouster at First Things is, like the popularity of Donald Trump among the wreckage of what was once conservatism, an indictment of the catechesis that conservatives have been getting from their manufacturers of thought and opinion over the last decade.
First Things–like the editors of National Review and the talking hairdos at FOX who have spent all summer trying to figure out how to team the Trumpkin Frankenstein base–have nobody to blame but themselves for the creation of that demographic. That Mullarkeys and similar lunatics have been given a forum and treated as voices to be taken seriously at all in conservative media is what has helped foster the subculture that is now roaring and frothing in that combox, as well as banging at the doors ofNational Review like zombies assaulting a shopping mall. The sheer atavistic nuttiness on display among the Francis-haters in that First Things combox and elsewhere is the fruit of an Americanized fake gospel that FT and other conservative media has worked hard to promote.
Yes, in a post in which Shea describes others as bat@#$% crazy, lunatics, and zombies, and on a blog that is not exactly known for its decorum and lack of virulence, Mark Shea thinks that FT and its ilk are only to blame for sparking the development of an atmosphere that encourages the nuttiness that he claims is on display in the comments section of its blog.
Self-awareness, thy name is not Mark Shea.
Have you ever gotten to the last line of an editorial where the author’s biographical information is posted and just shuddered? That happened to me today as I read this lame attack on Congress by David S. Cohen, who is somehow a law professor at Drexel in Philadelphia. Cohen argues that the House bill which would strip Planned Parenthood of funding violates the constitutional prohibition against bills of attainder. No, really, check this out:
The first day of teaching constitutional law, I inevitably find myself asking the question: “Does anyone know what a bill of attainder is?”
When one reads the rest of the article, one wonders if Professor Cohen know what a bill of attainder is.
A bill of attainder is a law that inflicts punishment upon a particular individual without a judicial trial. In other words, a bill of attainder is, as the Supreme Court has termed it, a “trial by legislature” rather than by court.
Ladies and gentlemen, you have just read the one factually correct line in the entire article.
Though no one is talking about it, this most recent dust-up over federal funding for Planned Parenthood is very clearly an example of an unconstitutional bill of attainder: Congress is singling out Planned Parenthood and punishing the organization for allegedly improper and illegal actions.
So just having factually and accurately defined a bill of attainder, Professor (shudder) Cohen now stretches the meaning beyond all recognition to imply that the attempt to not fund a private organization is the same thing as Congress punishing a person for treason without trial.
I have a high opinion of the readers of this particular blog. Based on the comments most of you have displayed a good grasp of logic and basic reading comprehension. Sadly, Professor (weeps) Cohen does not have such a high grasp of logic and reasoning. It takes quite a feat of mental gymnastics to categorize a Congressional attempt to not fund an organization as a bill of attainder. Planned Parenthood is not being “punished.” Cecile Richards (unfortunately) is not about to face either jail time or the gallows. The organization that she runs, which still manages to rake in millions of dollars from clients and from donors, might – like thousands of other similar organizations – have to live without receiving grants from the federal government. Somehow I don’t think that when James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, Rufus King, and the other men who gathered together in Philadelphia during the summer of 1787 crafted the language in the Constitution about bills of attainder that this is what they had on their minds.
More fundamentally, Congress can make spending decisions based on whatever criteria it deems appropriate. Planned Parenthood is not entitled to federal money, and thus is not being deprived of essential liberty in the way that a person found guilty without trial would be. Therefore the linkage here is incredibly dubious, at best.
Professor (sobs uncontrollably) Cohen continues:
First, removing Planned Parenthood’s federal funding, over half a billion dollars that help it provide cancer screenings, gynecological care, contraceptive counseling, and more, is a clear instance of punishment. (emphasis mine)
Hmmmm, something seems to be missing from this list. Whatever could that “more” be?
Professor (what is wrong with this country) Cohen really gives the way over the course of his next two sentences:
The Republican-controlled House voted to remove the funding based on deceptive videos from the Center for Medical Progress that purport to show that Planned Parenthood sells aborted fetal body parts and alters abortion procedures to facilitate those sales.
Putting aside the fact that the videos show nothing of the sort,
So Cohen is going to go with the LIE that the videos are in any way deceptive, and then he is going to wishcast away all the parts of the video do indeed show that Planned Parenthood is engaging in all of the practices it has been accused of. I don’t think we really need to read any more of Professor (don’t send your kids to law school) Cohen constitutional “analysis.” He has just outed himself as a silly partisan hack who will bend constitutional law to mean what he wants it to mean.
Sleep well Americans – this is the man who gets to teach our next generation of lawyers about constitutional law. Clearly they are in excellent hands.