From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:
VATICAN–The focus of the conversation when President Barack Obama met with Pope Francis on Thursday was expected to be the gap between the rich and the poor. Obama has called income inequality “the defining challenge of our time,” and said as much to Pope Francis before the Holy Father, mesmerized with a black teleprompter Obama was using to discuss the plight of the poor, politely asked the President to stop what he was saying and to explain what “that black thingy” was behind him.
The former community organizer and pitchman, Obama, appeared more than willing to put a halt to his discussion about the poor, and to switch topics to the benefits of his teleprompter made by Autocue, saying, “Well, I’m glad you asked. Now if you don’t mind, let me ask you a few questions.”
“The President asked Pope Francis if he had ever had that awkward moment when he was giving a talk and lost his train of thought and had to revert to off-the-cuff remarks,” a Vatican insider told EOTT. “His Holiness nodded, and then Obama asked if he [Francis] was sick and tired of being misrepresented, or for suffering attacks from some Catholics about his sometimes suspect comments about gay marriage, abortion, and the potential of divorced Catholics receiving communion. Again Francis nodded.”
“Then boy are you in for a treat,” Obama reportedly told Francis. “Behold the all-new Autocue. Autocue is the world’s leading teleprompting solutions provider, with an unmatched heritage and the largest installed base. Autocue introduced the first teleprompters in 1955 and have led innovation in the industry ever since. Quite simply, Autocue is the household name in teleprompting. Just write out what you want to say, have someone take a look at it to make sure it can’t be misrepresented, and then just read off of it. No more off-the-cuff comments that’ll lead to scrutiny by some orthodox Catholics. Simply read off the teleprompter, bless everyone, and walk away. Continue reading
Northern casualties were more than 63 percent, and the number of black soldiers killed was disproportionately high. There is no doubt there was a massacre of some kind. But I think he (Forrest) did everything he could to stop it. Next day, when the Federals came in and shelled the place, he sent a captured Union captain and a Confederate soldier back with a white flag to tell ‘em to stop shootin’ their own wounded men because that’s all that was left at the fort.
Civil War historian Shelby Foote on Fort Pillow
Easily the most controversial engagement of the Civil War, the storming of Fort Pillow by forces under Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest and what happened in the aftermath have been hotly contested for the past one hundred and fifty years. Fort Pillow was a Union fort on the Mississippi 40 miles north of Memphis, Tennessee. It was garrisoned by around 600 Union troops, equally divided between blacks and whites. The black units were the 6th United States Regiment Heavy Artillery and the 2nd United States Colored Light Artillery. The whites were recent recruits of the 14th Tennessee Cavalry consisting of Tennessee Unionists. Both groups had every reason to fear falling into Confederate hands.
Forrest, commanding about 1500 men, summoned the garrison to surrender at 3:30 PM:
“The conduct of the officers and men garrisoning Fort Pillow has been such as to entitle them to being treated a prisoners of war. I demand the unconditional surrender of the entire garrison, promising that you shall be treated as prisoners of war. My men have just received a fresh supply of ammunition, and from their present position can easily assault and capture the fort. Should my demand be refused, I cannot be responsible for the fate of your command.”
This was a typical demand for surrender by Forrest, promising good treatment if the force surrendered and indicating that he could not guarantee good treatment if the fort was taken by storm. This was common practice, with commanders understanding that if a fort was taken by storm it was not unusual for the storming force, maddened by sustaining what they usually perceived as unnecessary casualties, exacting vengeance upon the garrison. The Union commander refused, and the fort was taken by storm about 5:00 PM. Continue reading
Something for the weekend. One of the most powerful depictions of Christ on film from the movie Ben Hur (1959). A wonderful melding of music and dialogue as Christ goes silently to the aid of Ben Hur and gives him water. The wordless encounter between Christ and the Centurion was amazing, as the Centurion’s face registers bewilderment, shame and curiosity as he has a totally unexpected encounter with the Divine. Whatever the actor who played the Centurion was earning that day, it wasn’t nearly enough.
PopeWatch has long believed that one of the keys to understanding Pope Francis is that he is an Argentinian, a very unique country whose tempestuous history has been dominated by outsized personalities. Here is an intriguing comment about the leadership style of Pope Francis by Nicolás Tereschuk which appeared in The Buenos Aires Herald:
As a bishop in Buenos Aires, Jorge Bergoglio pursued a conservative agenda critical of the “leftist” turn made by Néstor and Cristina Kirchner. But known for his “Peronist-style” leadership the priest’s strategy cannot be understood only in terms of the “right or left” spectrum. The question a man like Bergoglio asks himself is more like “how do I get to lead this organization?”, and not “how do I impose my own views in full to this organization?” In other words, with an institution without a real left for so many years — the last dictatorship and John Paul II views did the work — the biggest threat to Bergoglio was on the far right — an elitist conservative right. Behaving like quite a fierce challenger of the “red” Kirchners allowed Bergoglio to lead the Argentine Church and become papabile.
Now as Peter’s successor, the pendulum of power has swayed again for Bergoglio. To my own surprise — not everybody’s I must admit— it moved to the left. He does not seem that worried now about the conservative agenda he pushed in Buenos Aires, and his words sound more Latin American, younger, more progressive. Again, this should not be taken into account without noting the main fact. Bergoglio is now at the top of the organization he’s belonged to his entire life. He can neutralize his internal enemies best with this “liberal” shift than by being more conservative. It is also important to keep in mind that his former fellow cardinals gave him a task: get the Church out of a financial and political crisis, and clean its image as a first step to prepare it for the next two thousand years to come. Continue reading
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced her resignation today. Her signature achievement is the disastrous rollout of ObamaCare. She is fleeing a sinking ship as the elections in the fall are shaping up to be a disaster for the Democrats, much of it based on reaction to ObamaCare. That Sebelius has helped destroy the Obama administration, or at least neuter it, I find to be richly ironic.
Sebelius throughout her political career has been a strident, one might say fanatical, supporter of abortion. In 1992 as a member of the Kansas House of Representatives, her support for pro-abortion legislation brought this rebuke from Archbishop Ignatius Strecker. After she was elected as governor, she constantly clashed with Archbishop James Keleher over abortion. On May 9, 2008, Archbishop Naumann announced that Sebelius should refrain from taking communion until she repented of her position in favor of abortion and went to confession.
Sebelius is no ordinary supporter of abortion. She was a close ally of the late Tiller the Killer, otherwise known as Dr. George Tiller, the foremost practitioner until his murder of late term abortions in this country. The ties between Sebelius and Tiller are outlined here. Continue reading
Rorate Caeli has a report, translated from a story by Sandro Magister, which indicates that the ordeal of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, go here to read about it, may be coming to an end.
On Sunday, April 6, Pope Francis celebrated a mass in the Roman parish church of San Gregorio Magno alla Magliana. What he did not expect was for the pastor to introduce him to a couple, last name Manelli, six of whose nine children are members of the Franciscan Friars (two of the children) and Sisters (four of the children) of the Immaculate.
In a chat with the pope, the couple Pio and Annamaria [Manelli] – the latter painter of the icon [of the Salus Populi Romani, presented to the pope] – they told him:“Holy Father, we have nine children, six of whom are consecrated among the Franciscans of the Immaculate. We beg you, take them out of the sepulchre.”To which pope Francis – who, in the homily had spoken of Jesus who removes not only Lazarus but all from the sepulchres – smiled, a little surprised, caressed them and told them: “Soon, soon.”
Well, Bishop Jugis finally issued a statement regarding the debacle at the Charlotte Catholic High School:
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The past few weeks have been very difficult for Charlotte Catholic High School. We have all experienced a great deal of pain. During this difficult time I want to express my support and encouragement for all the parents, students, staff and faculty at the high school. We must move forward toward healing with charity, the hallmark of our Christian life.
Different viewpoints regarding Sr. Jane Dominic Laurel’s presentation to students on March 21, 2014, have been discussed in a variety of venues.
At the parent meeting on April 2, 2014, many expressed concern about the lack of advanced communication with parents regarding the subject matter of the assembly. Apologies were made at the meeting for that lack of advanced communication.
The content of the Church’s moral teaching was not raised as a matter of contention at the parent meeting. All of our Catholic schools are committed to hold and teach the Catholic faith in its fullness and with integrity. The Catechism of the Catholic Church contains an explanation of our faith and is accessible to all.
During this difficult time I support the continued work of Fr. Matthew Kauth, the chaplain; Mrs. Angela Montague and Mr. Steve Carpenter, the assistant principals; and Mr. Randy Belk, the dean of students; and all they are doing for our Charlotte Catholic High School students. All of us are indebted to them.
I am shocked to hear the disturbing reports of a lack of charity and respect at the parents’ meeting, and outside the meeting in conversations and in social media. There simply is no room in the Catholic Church for such displays of uncharitableness and disrespect. If we have failed in this regard let us make amends to God and neighbor. Even when we disagree, that disagreement should be expressed respectfully in love.
We ask the Lord Jesus Christ for His mercy and His healing as we approach the celebrations of Palm Sunday, Holy Week and Easter Sunday of the Lord’s Resurrection. Please be assured of our continued dedication to the mission to teach and live the truth of the Catholic faith at our Charlotte Catholic High School.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Peter J. Jugis Continue reading
Liberal Kirsten Powers was a key player in embarrassing the mainstream media into giving any coverage to the poster boy for legal abortion, Kermit Gosnell. Now she is reporting how Kickstarter worked against an attempt to obtain funding for a film on Gosnell:
Another incident of muzzling those without the proper worldview received less attention. Kickstarter, the nation’s biggest crowd-funding site,refused to accept a film about convicted abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell unless descriptions of his crimes were removed.
After producers Phelim McAleer and his wife, Ann McElhinney, complained publicly, embarrassed Kickstarter CEO Yancey Strickler claimed on Twitter that the allegation was false. Strickler released an e-mail accepting the Gosnell film, but failed to mention that it was accepted only after the filmmakers withdrew in frustration. The producers released e-mails from Kickstarter demanding that references to stabbing babies and “similar language” be removed. The “acceptance letter” came March 28, the day after the producers withdrew their proposal.
Kickstarter explained its reasoning for blocking the movie by writing, “We understand your convictions … however … our Community Guidelines outline that we encourage and enforce a culture of respect and consideration, and we ask that that language specifically be modified.”
Somehow, making a movie recounting the crimes of a convicted abortion doctor is disrespectful and inconsiderate. Kickstarter would only speak off the record, but its explanations were dissembling and contradictory. That might be because Kickstarter’s standards aren’t exactly rigorously enforced. An album titled Incest is the Highest Form of Flattery was fine. The movie Die Sluts Die telling “the story of … sex crazed friends … murdered in unusual and creative ways,” ditto. Continue reading
Excerpts from the Pope’s homily yesterday morning on the Cross:
“It is impossible for us to free ourselves from sin on our own. It’s impossible. These doctors of the law, these people who taught the law, didn’t have a clear idea on this. They believed, yes, in the forgiveness of God but considered themselves strong, self-sufficient and that they knew everything. And in the end they transformed religion, their adoration of God, into a culture with values, reflections, certain commandments of conduct to be polite and they believed, yes, that the Lord can pardon them, they knew this but they were far removed from all this.”
“Christianity is not a philosophical doctrine, it’s not a programme for life survival or education, or for peacemaking. These are consequences. Christianity is a person, a person raised on the Cross, a person who annihilated himself to save us, who became sin. Just as sin was raised up in the desert, here God who was made man and made sin for us was raised up. All our sins were there. You cannot understand Christianity without understanding this profound humiliation of the Son of God who humbled himself and became a servant unto death, even death on a cross, in order to serve us.”
“The Cross is not an ornament that we must always put in the churches, there on the altar. It is not a symbol that distinguishes us from others. The Cross is mystery, the mystery of God who humbles himself, he becomes ‘nothing.’ He becomes sin. Where is your sin? ‘I don’t know, I have so many here.’ No, your sin is there, in the Cross. Go and find it there, in the wounds of the Lord and your sins will be healed, your wounds will be healed, your sins will be forgiven. The forgiveness that God gives us is not the same as cancelling a debt that we have with Him, the forgiveness that God gives us are the wounds of his Son on the Cross, raised up on the Cross. May he draw us towards Him and may we allow ourselves to be healed by him.” Continue reading
Joseph Shaw over at LMS Chairman has posted a four part-critique of the conservative response to the Eich affair (and related incidents) titled “Why Conservatives Are Wrong.” Whereas Jeffery Tucker attacked conservative libertarians from the left, complaining about their “brutalism” in their assertion of their rights to live according to traditional and natural values, Shaw attacks from the right, following the general outline of the illiberal critique of the foundations of American political thought. A serious critique deserves a serious response, which is what I hope to provide here from a classical liberal perspective.
At the outset it is worth highlighting that Shaw, myself, and I imagine many of us on both sides of the “America is good/America sucks” divide share many common concerns and basic moral values. This is not a battle between left-wing “liberal” Catholics and orthodox “conservative” Catholics; it is a strategic and perhaps philosophical dispute between two groups that share a set of values and commitments to authentic Church doctrine and the natural moral law. Our most important point of agreement is that neither of us are “progressives”; we do not view history as a linear ascent to some utopian future in which fallen man has been redeemed by his own self-righteous awakening. We, political traditionalists and classical liberals both, ground ourselves in “self-evident truths” that do not change with the direction of the winds and in our belief in the superiority of reason to the irrational and fickle demands of the mob.
“If we punish thieves with the yoke, highwaymen with the sword, and heretics with fire, why do we not rather assault these monsters of perdition, these cardinals, these popes, and the whole swarm of the Roman Sodom, who corrupt youth and the Church of God? Why do we not rather assault them with arms and wash our hands in their blood?“
Martin Luther, June 25, 1520
One of the really terrible things about ecumenicalism as it is commonly practiced is the usual deep air of mendacity about it. Case in point:
Over the past 50 years, especially with the impetus provided by the Second Vatican Council, those divisions between Catholics and Lutherans have begun to heal and the pace of concrete efforts toward restoring unity has quickened, retired Archbishop Alfred C. Hughes of New Orleans told a recent ecumenical gathering at Christ the King Lutheran Church in Kenner.
“The international and national dialogues between Lutherans and Catholics in the last 50 years have yielded significant truth,” Archbishop Hughes said, prompting Catholics “to revisit the person and motivation of Martin Luther” in advance of the 500th anniversary in 2017 of the publication of Luther’s theses.
“His genuine desire to promote renewal in the church cannot be denied,” Archbishop Hughes said. “The personal struggle that marked his life was severely complicated by the way in which authorities in Rome, during the papacy of Pope Leo X, treated him. A helpful place to begin is to note the need for both faith and repentance.”
Bishop Michael Rinehart, head of the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, said there was “a spirit of ecumenical hospitality right now that we need to enjoy while it is happening.”
“Luther did not want to leave,” Bishop Rinehart said at the March 25 gathering. “He was bold, he was blunt, he was vulgar and mistakes were made, but he really didn’t want schism. He wanted to reform the church he loved.”
Go here to read the putrid rest. Where to begin? As early as 1520 Martin Luther was preaching that the Pope was the anti-Christ:
“We here are of the conviction that the papacy is the seat of the true and real Antichrist…personally I declare that I owe the Pope no other obedience than that to Antichrist”
Here are some of the milder things said by Herr Doktor Luther in regard to those Catholics who followed the Pope instead of Pope Luther: Continue reading
Hattip to commenter Scott W. From Lifesite News, with comments by Father Z, a heartening development:
CHARLOTTE, NC, April 7, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The bishop of Charlotte is backing a Dominican nun who has been at the center of a fiery controversy since last month when she gave a speech promoting Catholic teaching on sexuality to students at Charlotte Catholic High School.
After a public meeting with diocesan and school officials turned ugly, with parents and students alike shouting at administrators over what they perceived as “hateful” remarks criticizing homosexual behavior, divorce and extra-marital sex, [To think... that's how conditioned people are now by the MSM and the "new normal".] a spokesman for the diocese told LifeSiteNews that the nun in question, Sr. Jane Dominic Laurel, did nothing wrong and will be welcome to speak on the issue again if she chooses.
“Nothing in Sister’s talk opposed Church teaching,” Diocese of Charlotte Communications Director David Hains told LifeSiteNews in an email. “Sister would be welcomed to speak in the diocese in the future.”
Hains said Bishop Peter Jugis is expected to make further public comment on the situation soon.
Sr. Laurel’s critics have complained about a section of her talk in which she discussed scientific findings related to the causes of homosexuality. [And here I thought the Church embraced science.] According to the Charlotte Observer, she was accused of using “suspect anecdotes, antiquated data and broad generalizations to demonize gays and lesbians as well as divorced and single parents.” [That's right... if you state what the Church teaches, that homosexual acts are disordered, that's "demonizing".]
But one Catholic scientist says he recently heard the sister give the exact same speech she delivered to the students, and in his opinion, there is nothing in it to which a practicing Catholic could possibly object.
“I was in attendance at the same presentation when given on Long Island, NY a few months ago,” Dr. Gerard Nadal told LifeSiteNews. “In that meeting, Sister Jane gave medical and scientific data that came from reputable sources and were presented as examples of the consequences for human behavior that contravenes the moral magisterium of the Church. As a Ph.D. in medical science, and as a Catholic schooled extensively in my faith, I saw no contradictions, but rather a seamless presentation.”
Still, in light of all the controversy, Aquinas College announced in a press release Friday that Sr. Laurel has asked to take a sabbatical from her teaching and speaking duties for an indefinite amount of time.
After the sister’s speech at a school assembly last month, students at the school launched an internet petition drive demanding an apology from everyone involved with arranging the speech, which quickly garnered thousands of signatures. Some parents also initiated a letter-writing campaign to the school’s chaplain, the bishop and even the Vatican, to complain. [Complete with pitchforks and torches.]
Last week, school and diocesan officials held a public meeting to address the issue. The meeting attracted nearly 1,000 people, most of them offended by the nun’s remarks.
The Diocese of Charlotte’s newspaper, the Catholic News-Herald, reported that the meeting was acrimonious, with those who dared to speak out in support of Sr. Laurel or the Church being shouted down by an angry mob. The paper’s sources called the atmosphere “disrespectful” and “hate-filled.”
[... READ THE REST THERE... several quotes of reactions, all interesting...] Continue reading
Few Confederate Generals had a more exotic background than the man known affectionately by his troops as Prince Polecat.
Born on February 16, 1832, Camille Armand Jules Marie, Prince de Polignac, had a very aristocratic pedigree. His father Jules had been the chief minister of Charles X, and his grandmother Gabrielle had been the closest friend of Marie Antoinette. Serving in the French Army during the Crimean War, he resigned his commission in 1859 and traveled throughout Central America. Arriving in the US at the outbreak of the war, he quickly decided to support the Confederacy, and enlisted in the Confederate Army.
He served on the staffs of Generals Beauregard and Bragg, and served at Shiloh and the siege of Corinth. Promoted to Brigadier General in January 1863, he was given command of a Texas brigade in the Trans-Mississippi theater two months later. Surprisingly, the French aristocrat and the wild and wooly Texans got along famously.
On April 8, 1864 at the battle of Mansfield, Louisiana, Polignac led the charge that routed the Union army under Banks. For this service he received a battlefield promotion to Major General. He served with the Confederate Army until March 1865 when he was sent to France on a diplomatic mission seeking recognition from the Confederacy. The war ended before negotiations could be completed. Continue reading
The Union campaigning season of 1864 got off to a rocky start with the defeat of the Union army under Major General Nathaniel Banks at the battle of Mansfield in Northwestern Louisiana, bringing to an end Bank’s abortive Red River Campaign.
The Red River campaign, which began in mid-March 1864, had as its objective the capture of Shreveport, Louisiana, in northwestern Louisiana, the largest city still under the control of the Confederates in the Pelican state, and the capture of hundreds of thousands of bales of cotton on plantations along the Red River. The bales of cotton were eagerly eyed by Union speculators and the entire campaign had an unsavory plundering feel to it. In any case the campaign ended in disaster for the Union.
The Confederates were commanded by Major General Richard Taylor, the son of President Zachary Taylor. Here is his account of the battle from his memoirs Destruction and Reconstruction:
Pope Francis is satisfied with the success of reforms he has implemented in regard to the Vatican Bank and, as a result, the Bank may remain open:
The decision, announced yesterday, follows a breakneck transparency drive at the bank, known by its Italian initials IOR (Istituto per le Opere di Religione), which has been accused in the past of offering banking services to mob bosses and tax dodgers.
Consultants have been brought in to comb through customer lists and dozens of accounts have been shut down in recent months after years in which lay customers with tenuous connections to the Vatican were allowed to open accounts alongside priests and cardinals.
The announcement ends months of uncertainty over the bank’s future after Pope Francis said last July: “I don’t know what will become of the bank. Some say it is better that is a bank, others that it should be a charitable fund and others say close it.” Francis has also remarked that “St. Paul did not have a bank account.” Continue reading