PopeWatch: Leadership Pathologies

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

PopeWatch despises books that attempt to distill leadership secrets from such diverse individuals as Napoleon, Attila, Lincoln, etc.  The history is invariably shoddy, and the leadership “secrets” usually banal.  However, Gary Hamet at The Harvard Business Review has looked at the verbal flogging given by Pope Francis to the Curia last Christmas and has distilled from it 15 diseases of leadership:

  1. The disease of thinking we are immortal, immune, or downright indispensable, [and therefore] neglecting the need for regular check-ups. A leadership team which is not self-critical, which does not keep up with things, which does not seek to be more fit, is a sick body. A simple visit to the cemetery might help us see the names of many people who thought they were immortal, immune, and indispensable! It is the disease of those who turn into lords and masters, who think of themselves as above others and not at their service. It is the pathology of power and comes from a superiority complex, from a narcissism which passionately gazes at its own image and does not see the face of others, especially the weakest and those most in need. The antidote to this plague is humility; to say heartily, “I am merely a servant. I have only done what was my duty.
  1. Another disease is excessive busyness. It is found in those who immerse themselves in work and inevitably neglect to rest a while.  Neglecting needed rest leads to stress and agitation. A time of rest, for those who have completed their work, is necessary, obligatory and should be taken seriously: by spending time with one’s family and respecting holidays as moments for recharging.
  1. Then there is the disease of mental and [emotional] “petrification”.   It is found in leaders who have a heart of stone, the stiff-necked;  in those who in the course of time lose their interior serenity, alertness and daring, and hide under a pile of papers, turning into paper pushers and not men and women of compassion. It is dangerous to lose the human sensitivity that enables us to weep with those who weep and to rejoice with those who rejoice! Because as time goes on, our hearts grow hard and become incapable of loving all those around us. Being a humane leader means having the sentiments of humility and unselfishness, of detachment and generosity.
  1. The disease of excessive planning and of functionalism. When a leader plans everything down to the last detail and believes that with perfect planning things will fall into place, he or she becomes an accountant or an office manager. Things need to be prepared well, but without ever falling into the temptation of trying to eliminate spontaneity and serendipity, which is always more flexible than any human planning. We contract this disease because it is easy and comfortable to settle in our own sedentary and unchanging ways.

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Abraham Lincoln: February 12, 1809-April 15, 1865

O Captain! My Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:

But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! My Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills;
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding;
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;

Here captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head;
It is some dream that on the deck,
You’ve fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;
From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won;

Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!
But I, with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.
Walt Whitman

Various & Sundry, 4/15/15

- Cancel the primaries, folks, Walker has it all sewn up. I jest, but the horserace stuff really bothers me. I’m as guilty as anyone, and I’m not helping matters with four different links to stories related to the presidential election in some way, but is it too much to ask that we wait a little while before digging seriously into poll numbers?

– I’m extremely critical of Rand Paul, but if he is able to turn the abortion narrative on its head, then kudos.

But Wasserman Schultz’s feigned confidence on the issue of abortion politics was betrayed when she channeled Mitt Romney just a few seconds later. “At the end of the day, it’s unlikely that voters are going to be deciding who they’re going to vote for for president and whether a candidate has their back on this issue,” the DNC chairwoman said of abortion. “It’s more going to be on jobs and the economy.”

You know we are witnessing a tectonic shift in American politics regarding right to life issues when the progenitor of 2012’s War on Women and a self-described champion of “reproductive justice” sounds more like a Republican than Republicans. Wasserman Schultz would rather take the issue of abortion off the table entirely than be faced with the prospect of alienating her party’s rabidly pro-abortion base.

I’m not as sure as Rothman that the tide has turned yet. I’ll note that the polling data has always been more favorable to pro-lifers, and has consistently shown that those whose primary issue of concern is abortion tend to vote pro-life rather than pro-abortion. What has stung Republicans is the, ugh, narrative. It’s about time someone took the fight to the Democrats and put them on the defensive, where they should be, as they are the ones truly on the fringes when it comes to this issue.

– Jonah Goldberg says its only a matter of time before we hear from the Hillarycons.

Since then, the caliber of defectors have proved to be less and less impressive. That’s not to say that some weren’t sincere, but generally speaking their public arguments for switching to the other side were not very persuasive and often at odds with their real motivations. Douglas Kmiec is probably the most notorious example of an “ObamaCon,” at least among pro-lifers (he famously defended Obama’s vote in support of partial birth abortion, a hard case to make for someone calling himself a Catholic pro-lifer). Obama rewarded him with an ambassadorship to Malta, inspiring any of us to quip that it profits a man nothing to trade his soul for the whole world, but for Malta . . . ? Anyway, it will be interesting to see if Hillary Clinton can inspire similar conversions this time around.

Speaking of old Dougie, how is his vice presidential candidacy coming along?

– Hilllary Clinton: faux champion of the poor. I’m not sure that stories like these, which accurately reflect the hypocrisy of Madame Clinton, really have much of an impact on the electorate. By now most people know she’s a phony, and the LIVs who don’t are lost causes.

– David French wants to bring some common sense to the topic of police shootings. This is absurd of course. We demand nothing short narrative-based journalism steeped in ideological hand-wringing.

We live in some scary times. The media are more invested in digging up dirt on ordinary joes (and janes) expressing opinions than they are in vetting actual candidates for the highest office in the land.

 

 

In this picture, who really are the “dreamers”?

 

My thesis is as simple as it is straightforward: The Roman Catholic Church should accept no federal dollars.

My response to the naysayers is equally simple and straightforward, per Amanda Hocking in My Blood Approves: “When you dance with the devil, the devil doesn’t change. The devil changes you.”

Consider the nation’s largest resettlement agency, the USCCB’s Migration and Refugee Services (MRS).

MRS estimates that between October 1, 2013, and September 30, 2014, ~90k young illegal immigrants crossed the border. To deal with the human needs associated with this influx, MRS had a budget of ~$71M (~$789/illegal immigrant).

However, 93% of that ~$71M—$66M–flowed into MRS from the federal government’s spigot. MRS argued that they needed this infusion of federal $$$s to assist the federal government to provide care for unaccompanied, young illegal immigrants.

Supporters of MRS ask: “Who could possibly disagree, except for heartless, anti-immigrant, xenophobes?” Then, too: “The federal government is pouring that money into a charitable, religious organization to provide much-needed services that the feds couldn’t possibly provide. You don’t want to expand the size and scope of government, do you?”

Sounds similar to subsidizing faith-based organizations, a central policy objective of the George W. Bush administration.

There’s one, very big problem, however. MRS must provide those services in ways that are consistent with Church teaching.

So, what’s going to happen when unaccompanied, young, illegal immigrant, females get pregnant? Those federal $$$s require that those females receive “reproductive care,” including contraception, emergency contraception, and abortion.

The USCCB rightly argues that such a requirement violates freedom of religion since contraception, emergency contraception, and abortion are against the Church teaching.

However, that argument may matter not one whit.

Why? The American Civil Liberties Union (ALCU) has filed a suit in a federal court “to order the federal government to release documents related to how groups that are awarded government funding contracts are restricting refugee and undocumented immigrant teenagers’ access to reproductive health services, including contraception and abortion.”

A senior staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, Brigitte Amiri, told Breitbart News, “Religious freedom does not include the right to take a government contract that requires providing access to health care, and then refuse to provide a teen who has been raped the health care she needs.”

So, it’s “deja vu all over again”:

  • Remember when President Obama double crossed the USCCB after securing its blessing to get Obamacare passed? POTUS promised a religious exemption.
  • Remember when, in July 2014, President Obama issued an executive order banning “all companies that receive a contract from the federal government from discriminating against their LGBT employees.” The USCCB called it “unprecedented and extreme.”
  • And just today, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has found “reasonable cause” to rule that a Catholic prep school has unlawfully discriminated against a homosexual band director formerly in the school’s employ.

Get the picture? In baseball, the rule is “three strikes and y’er outta here!”

But, this isn’t baseball. It’s hardball politics, not ecclesiastical politics.

If MRS didn’t take the ~$66M in federal money, its budget would have been ~$5M. MRS would have been free to provide illegal immigrants programs and services in alignment with Church teaching. And, the federal government could use that money to deal with the rest.

But, the USCCB’s desire to expand programming and provide services to more and more illegal immigrants has required taking to the dance floor with the Devil. To keep those federal $$$s flowing into the MRS’ coffers, the USCCB claims that if MRS didn’t provide those services, then chaos would break out.

And that’s the USCCB’s problem?

 

 

To read the Breitbart News article, click on the following link:
http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/04/10/aclu-demands-catholic-bishops-provide-abortions-for-illegal-minors/

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

 

 

April 14, 1865: Toward an Indefinite Shore

 Final Cabinet Meeting

On Friday April 14, 1865, Abraham Lincoln and his wife planned to go to Ford’s Theater in the evening.  But first, Lincoln had a day of work ahead of him, which included a cabinet meeting.

Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy, made this notation in his diary regarding the cabinet meeting that occurred at noon:

Inquiry had been made as to army news on the first meeting of the Cabinet, and especially if any information had been received from Sherman. None of the members had heard anything, and Stanton, who makes it a point to be late, and who has the telegraph in his Department, had not arrived. General Grant, who was present, said he was hourly expecting word. The President remarked it would, he had no doubt, come soon, and come favorably, for he had last night the usual dream which he had preceding nearly every great and important event of the War. Generally the news had been favorable which succeeded this dream, and the dream itself was always the same. I inquired what this remarkable dream could be. He said it related to your (my) element, the water; that he seemed to be in some singular, indescribable vessel, and that he was moving with great rapidity towards an indefinite shore; that he had this dream preceding Sumter, Bull Run, Antietam, Gettysburg, Stone River, Vicksburg, Wilmington, etc. General Grant said Stone River was certainly no victory, and he knew of no great results which followed from it. The President said however that might be, his dream preceded that fight.

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PopeWatch: SSPX

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

For those who assume they have figured this Papacy out, this latest development out of Argentina may come as a surprise where the SSPX has been recognized by the Argentinian government as part of the Catholic Church.  This was done with the support of the Catholic Church in Argentina.  From Rorate Caeli:

 

The Resolution comes from the Secretariat of Worship (Secretaría de Culto), the office of the Argentine Ministry of Foreign Relations and Worship (Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Culto) that deals with government relations with religious bodies, in particular with the Catholic Church, which remains the supported State religion in the Argentine Republic (Article 2 of the 1853 Constitution, revised in 1994). The Resolution credits Cardinal Poli, handpicked by Pope Francis as his own successor in Buenos Aires, with initiating the request for the SSPX to be recognized, but there is every reason to believe that the request came from much higher, from the very top. Rorate reported in May last year that Pope Francis himself had promised to help the SSPX gain recognition in his home country as a Catholic association for legal and administrative purposes:

“When, as a Cardinal, he was in South America, the District Superior [Fr. Christian Bouchacourt] came to ask him for an administrative favor with no relation to the Church; a visa problem, of permanent residency. The Argentine government, which is very leftwing, makes use of the concordat that was established to protect the Church to bother us quite seriously, and tells us, “you say you are Catholic, it is thus necessary for you to have the signature of the bishop in order to reside in the country.” The District Superior therefore went to him to present the problem: there was an easy solution, and that would be to declare ourselves an independent church [before Civil Law], but we did not want to do it because we are Catholic. And the Cardinal told us, “no, no, you are Catholic, that is evident; I will help you;” he wrote a letter in our favor to the government, that is so leftwing that they managed to find an opposing letter by the nuncio. Therefore, a 0-0 tie. Now he is the pope, and our lawyer had the opportunity of having a meeting with the Pope. He told him that the problem was still going on with the Society, and asked him to please designate a bishop in Argentina with whom we could sort out this problem. The Pope told him, “Yes, and this bishop is myself, I promised to help, and I will do it.”

Does this signal an imminent doctrinal and canonical rapprochement between Rome and the SSPX? It would not seem so, from SSPX Superior-General Bp. Bernard Fellay’s qualification that this favor was solicited to ease the visa and residency problems of SSPX members assigned to Argentina. The SSPX could easily have obtained, as almost every other confession, state recognition in Argentina if it had requested recognition as a separate body, for merely civil law purposes, which the SSPX refused to request — what is important is that this demonstrates both the SSPX’s resolve not to be an independent Church, not to be seen as outside the Catholic Church; and, evidently, Rome’s recognition that the SSPX is essentially Catholic. 
______

Update (12:00 PM GMT) – Speaking to Vatican Insider, the Secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei was glad with the decision of Cardinal Poli:
“I am glad that in Argentina this solution could have been found, which does not involve the Holy See, let it be made clear. It is not a juridicial recognition of [the Society of] Saint Pius X as a clerical society [*], the question of the legitimacy of the exercise of the priestly ministry of their priests remains open. But it is an ulterior sign of good will regarding this reality by the Catholic Church.”
“With his decision – Pozzo continues – the ordinary of Buenos Aires recognized that the members of the Society are Catholics, even if not yet in full communion with Rome. We continue working so that full commnion and juridical framing of the Society within the Catholic Church may be achieved.”
[*] Our comment: all true, of course. But Cardinal Poli’s attitude (which could not have reasonably taken place without the full knowledge and approval, and probably even direct participation, of the man who made him archbishop and cardinal) is relevant precisely because, in the eyes of the Argentine Republic, the details of full, or partial, or incomplete, or irregular communion are irrelevant. This Priestly Fraternity, the Society of Saint Pius X, is part of the Catholic Church in the State law in a Republic in which the Church is closely linked to the State, period. Good for the Cardinal, for Pope Francis (who was obviously involved in this decision), and for the Society in Argentina.

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Various & Sundry, 4/13/15

Apologies in advance as my schedule will make the V&S a bit spotty over the next few weeks.

– Marco Rubio is officially a candidate for the presidency. He seems to have rehabilitated his standing to the point where he should be considered, at the least. a solid tier two candidate at this juncture.

– I guess somebody else also announced her candidacy. Matt Walsh argues that no, it isn’t time for a woman president.

It’s time, instead, for a competent and honest adult of either gender to be president.

Competent and honest are not words I’d use to describe Hillary.

– The Maryland couple who had a run-in with CPS when their kids were caught walking by themselves once again had a run-in with the authorities.

Danielle Meitiv, the “Maryland Mom” just called. She and her husband are on their way to the CPS “Emergency Crisis Center.” Why?

The police picked up the kids when they were outside AGAIN sometime this afternoon, and this time the cops TOOK THEM WITHOUT TELLING THE PARENTS.

The kids, ages 10 and 6, were supposed to come home at 6 from playing. At 6:30, Danielle says, she and her husband Sasha were pretty worried. By 8, they were frantic. Only THEN did someone from the CPS Crisis Center call the parents and say that the police had picked the children up. The kids are at the Crisis Center. (Danielle thinks that the center must be a place that is open on weekends to intake kids from dangerous situations.)

Evidently a “concerned citizen” dropped a dime on the kids. Nothing says “concerned” as much as calling the cops when you see kids walking by themselves instead of, you know, checking in on the kids yourself. And while most of the comments I’ve read are supportive of the Meitivs, it’s clear that there are a not inconsiderable people who will be elbowing themselves to the front of the line when the police state victory parade comes marching through town.

– Fr. Z asks if you pray for the priests who administered your sacraments. This gave me pause as I considered that two of the priests who gave me my sacraments (or initally gave me the sacraments) are no longer priests. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that priests are people with temptations, anxieties and fears like the rest of us, and they they need our prayers and support.

– John Lillis writes of a dinner engagement with Glenn Beck. Beck’s schtick wears thin after awhile, even if his heart is often in the right place.

– The Mariners turned a 2-1 double play, and that may have been the first in MLB history.

– Somebody compiled a video showing all of the scenes involving Severus Snape in chronological order. Fascinating display of character development.

Miss me Yet?

imagesPKRXDH6A

 

Moe Lane reminds us of the Bush years:

 

In no particular order:

It’s been a bad six years, folks. Particularly the first two: they set the tone for the next four, and likely six. Just the way it is. Continue reading

PopeWatch: Laurent Stefanini

 

 

 

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

Father Z brings us this interesting tidbit:

 

I have been saying for a couple years now that when liberals figure that out, they will turn on Francis.

I read this today at the Telegraph:

Pope Francis ‘refuses’ gay French ambassador

Pope Francis’ reputation as liberal takes a knock over reports that he rejected the nomination of a new French ambassador to the Vatican on the grounds that he was a homosexual

Pope Francis has reportedly barred the nomination of a close aide of President Francois Hollande as new French ambassador to the Vatican because he is gay.
The apparent rejection calls into question the pope’s reputation as holding more liberal views on homosexuality.
Laurent Stefanini, 54, a senior diplomat and Mr Hollande’s chief of protocol, was nominated in early January but the Vatican has maintained a stony silence over whether it accepts his credentials, officials in Paris said.
The usual time frame for their acceptance is a month and a half. After that, a prolonged silence after a nomination is normally interpreted as a rejection.
The Elysee said that the choice of Mr Stefanini to represent France at the Vatican resulted from “a wish by the president and a cabinet decision” and that the president regarded him as “one of our best diplomats.”
French media widely reported that Mr Stefanini has been blackballed due to his homosexuality.
Le Journal du Dimanche quoted a Vatican insider as saying that the rejection was “a decision taken by the pope himself.”
Liberation, the left-leaning daily, said that “the Vatican’s homophobia seriously tarnishes Pope Francis’ image as being (slightly) more open-minded that his predecessors on sexuality“.
France in 2007 nominated a gay ambassador to the Vatican who had a partner recognised under French law but the Holy See never responded to the nomination, despite lengthy attempts to secure him the post.

[…]

Read the rest there. Continue reading

Lincoln’s Last Speech

 

On April 11, 1865, Abraham Lincoln made his last speech.  It was to a jubilant crowd that had gathered at the White House in celebration of the surrender of Lee.  The speech was an impromptu effort and clearly indicated that Lincoln was shifting gears from the War to the problems of Reconstruction.  Here is the text of that speech:

We meet this evening, not in sorrow, but in gladness of heart. The evacuation of Petersburg and Richmond, and the surrender of the principal insurgent army, give hope of a righteous and speedy peace whose joyous expression can not be restrained. In the midst of this, however, He from whom all blessings flow, must not be forgotten. A call for a national thanksgiving is being prepared, and will be duly promulgated. Nor must those whose harder part gives us the cause of rejoicing, be overlooked. Their honors must not be parcelled out with others. I myself was near the front, and had the high pleasure of transmitting much of the good news to you; but no part of the honor, for plan or execution, is mine. To Gen. Grant, his skilful officers, and brave men, all belongs. The gallant Navy stood ready, but was not in reach to take active part.

By these recent successes the re-inauguration of the national authority — reconstruction — which has had a large share of thought from the first, is pressed much more closely upon our attention. It is fraught with great difficulty. Unlike a case of a war between independent nations, there is no authorized organ for us to treat with. No one man has authority to give up the rebellion for any other man. We simply must begin with, and mould from, disorganized and discordant elements. Nor is it a small additional embarrassment that we, the loyal people, differ among ourselves as to the mode, manner, and means of reconstruction.

As a general rule, I abstain from reading the reports of attacks upon myself, wishing not to be provoked by that to which I can not properly offer an answer. In spite of this precaution, however, it comes to my knowledge that I am much censured for some supposed agency in setting up, and seeking to sustain, the new State government of Louisiana. In this I have done just so much as, and no more than, the public knows. In the Annual Message of Dec. 1863 and accompanying Proclamation, I presented a plan of re-construction (as the phrase goes) which, I promised, if adopted by any State, should be acceptable to, and sustained by, the Executive government of the nation. I distinctly stated that this was not the only plan which might possibly be acceptable; and I also distinctly protested that the Executive claimed no right to say when, or whether members should be admitted to seats in Congress from such States. This plan was, in advance, submitted to the then Cabinet, and distinctly approved by every member of it. One of them suggested that I should then, and in that connection, apply the Emancipation Proclamation to the theretofore excepted parts of Virginia and Louisiana; that I should drop the suggestion about apprenticeship for freed-people, and that I should omit the protest against my own power, in regard to the admission of members to Congress; but even he approved every part and parcel of the plan which has since been employed or touched by the action of Louisiana. The new constitution of Louisiana, declaring emancipation for the whole State, practically applies the Proclamation to the part previously excepted. It does not adopt apprenticeship for freed-people; and it is silent, as it could not well be otherwise, about the admission of members to Congress. So that, as it applies to Louisiana, every member of the Cabinet fully approved the plan. The message went to Congress, and I received many commendations of the plan, written and verbal; and not a single objection to it, from any professed emancipationist, came to my knowledge, until after the news reached Washington that the people of Louisiana had begun to move in accordance with it. From about July 1862, I had corresponded with different persons, supposed to be interested, seeking a reconstruction of a State government for Louisiana. When the message of 1863, with the plan before mentioned, reached New-Orleans, Gen. Banks wrote me that he was confident the people, with his military co-operation, would reconstruct, substantially on that plan. I wrote him, and some of them to try it; they tried it, and the result is known. Such only has been my agency in getting up the Louisiana government. As to sustaining it, my promise is out, as before stated. But, as bad promises are better broken than kept, I shall treat this as a bad promise, and break it, whenever I shall be convinced that keeping it is adverse to the public interest. But I have not yet been so convinced. Continue reading

Nanny State in a Kilt

 

 

I had realized that Scotland was ruled by a gang of daft leftists, but Christoper Johnson, a non-Catholic who has taken up the cudgels so frequently for the Church that I have named him Defender of the Faith, brings home to us just how all encompassing it has become:

Charging Highlanders wearing kilts and waving Claymores?  Bagpipes?  Tossing the caber at the Highland Games?  Really good whisky?  For those of you who have similar thoughts, Brendan O’Neill takes great pleasure in introducing modern, real Scotland:

Well, if that’s how you see Scotland, you urgently need to update your mind’s image bank. For far from being a land of freedom-yearning Bravehearts, Scotland in the 21st century is a hotbed of the new authoritarianism. It’s the most nannying of Europe’s nanny states. It’s a country that imprisons people for singing songs, instructs people to stop smoking in their own homes, and which dreams of making salad-eating compulsory. Seriously. Scotland the Brave has become Scotland the Brave New World.

Jailed for singing songs?  Surely O’Neill must be joking.  Unfortunately, he’s not.

Last month, a 24-year-old fan of Rangers, the largely Protestant soccer team, was banged up for four months for singing ”The Billy Boys,” an old anti-Catholic ditty that Rangers fans have been singing for years, mainly to annoy fans of Celtic, the largely Catholic soccer team. He was belting it out as he walked along a street to a game. He was arrested, found guilty of songcrimes—something even Orwell failed to foresee—and sent down.

Seems its now illegal in Scotland to make opposing sports fans feel bad in any way.

It’s all thanks to the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act, which, yes, is as scary as it sounds. Introduced in 2012 by the Scottish National Party, the largest party in Scotland the Brave New World and author of most of its new nanny-state laws, the Act sums up everything that is rotten in the head of this sceptred isle. Taking a wild, wide-ranging scattergun approach, it outlaws at soccer matches “behaviour of any kind,” including, “in particular, things said or otherwise communicated,” that is “motivated (wholly or partly) by hatred” or which is “threatening” or which a “reasonable person would be likely to consider offensive.”

Catholic Celtic or Hibernian fans might want to leave their rosaries at home.

Even blessing yourself at a soccer game in Scotland could lead to arrest. Catholic fans have been warned that if they “bless themselves aggressively” at games, it could be “construed as something that is offensive,” presumably to non-Catholic fans, and the police might pick them up. You don’t have to look to some Middle Eastern tinpot tyranny if you want to see the state punishing public expressions of Christian faith—it’s happening in Scotland.

I sure am relieved that they don’t have a law like that here in St. Louis or the City Police would have to commandeer every bus in the metro area every time the Chicago Cubs came to town.  But what else can the haggis-for-brains Scottish National Party get its panties in a bunch about?  Well, there’s obviously smoking.

Not content with policing what soccer fans sing and say, the SNP also polices Scots’ smoking, boozing, and eating habits. It was the first country in the U.K. to ban smoking in public. Last month it announced that it will ban smoking in cars with kids. It is currently pushing through a ban on smoking in parks. And it has its eyes on smokers’ homes: if a public-sector employee, like a doctor or social worker, visits your home, he or she has the right to say that you should “not smoke when they are providing [their] service.” This, of course, is the ultimate goal of the global jihad against nicotine: to move from making bars, cars, and parks smokefree to making our homes smokefree.

Scotland has set itself the Orwellian-sounding goal of making the whole nation, every bit of it, smokefree by 2034. What will happen to any smoker still lurking in Scotland after the glorious dawn of the 2,034th year? It’s probably best not to ask.

And drinking.

Scotland is also plotting to put a sin tax on booze. The SNP blubs about the fact that “alcohol is now 60 per cent more affordable in the U.K. than it was in 1980″—that’s a bad thing?—and so it is pushing through the Alcohol Minimum Pricing Act, which will impose a state-decreed price on all liquid pleasures. It is trying to push the Act through, I should say: it’s being held up by a legal challenge from the Scotch Whisky Association which, understandably, doesn’t want the state telling it how much it should sell its wares for. I would say “God bless those whisky makers,” but I’m not sure how much you’re allowed to say “God” or “bless” in relation to Scotland these days.

Now that’s just wrong.  Oh and then there’s what Scots eat.

Scotland’s great and good also watch what the little people eat. Last month, BMA Scotland, an association of doctors, declared war on Scotland’s “culture of excess” and said ads for junk food and booze should be banned. The SNP wants to go further: it’s agitating for an EU-wide ban on junk-food ads, clearly keen that all the peoples of Europe, and not just poor Scots, feel the stab of its Mary Poppins extremism.

There is even—get this—a discussion in Scotland about making salad bars mandatory at restaurants. Yes, there exist actual officials who would like to force businesses to serve you vegetables, even if they don’t want to and you don’t want to eat them. Concerned that “Scots are 30 years away from reaching the World Health Organization target of five portions of fruit and vegetables a day”—apparently the average Scot only eats 3.5 portions a day—there is talk of “beefing up [get it??] the number of greens by introducing mandatory salad bars.”

Can’t leave out how they raise their children (this one is truly frightening).

And then there’s the authoritarian icing on the cake, if Scotland will forgive such an obesity-encouraging metaphor: the SNP’s Children and Young People Act. This Act plans to assign a Named Person, a state-decreed guardian, to every  baby born in Scotland, in order to watch him or her from birth to the age of 18.

Due to come into force in August 2016, the Named Person initiative is truly dystopian. Once, it was only abandoned or orphaned children who became charges of the state; now, all Scottish children will effectively be wards of the state under a new, vast system of, in essence, shadow parenting. In an expression of alarming distrust in parents, and utter contempt for the idea of familial sovereignty and privacy, the state in Scotland wants to attach an official to every kid and to keep tabs on said kid’s physical and moral wellbeing.

Hopefully, the Scots will, at some point, rise up and rebel against all this crap.  But until they do, I’m going to start referring to my dad’s European ancestors as Ulstermen.  Because Country-I’m Thoroughly-Embarrased-By-And-Would-Really-Rather-Not-Be-Associated-With-Right-Now-Irish is far too long and wouldn’t fit on any forms. Continue reading

Historical Truth and the Crusades

 

Hatttip to John Hinderacker at  Powerline for the above video by Dr. Bill Warner in which he states a fact that is obvious from the historical record:  the Crusades were a tardy, and defensive, reaction to an ongoing Islamic Jihad that would continue against Christendom until the technological gap in the nineteenth century rendered Islamic states, for the moment, largely militarily impotent:

 

It has been a couple of months since Barack Obama suggested that the Crusades were somehow on a par with, or even a justification for, 21st-century Islamic terrorism. I objected to Obama’s casual slur at the link, saying, among other things:

There was nothing wrong, in principle, with the Crusades. They were an appropriate (if belated and badly managed) response to the conquest of the Holy Land by Islam. Did marauding 11th century armies inevitably commit outrages? They certainly did. In fact, that still happens today. But the most unfortunate thing about the Crusades is that they failed.

I have been hanging on to this video by Dr. Bill Warner of the Center for the Study of Political Islam for a while now, waiting for the Crusades to come back into the news. Which hasn’t happened. So here it is. Dr. Warner’s point, which he makes persuasively, is that the Crusades were a mere blip compared to the centuries-long, and nearly successful, assault on Christendom by Islamic armies bent on conquest.

It is frankly ludicrous for contemporary Muslims to whine about the Crusades. Continue reading

April 12, 1864: Surrender Ceremony at Appomatox

 

 

 

 

Last Salute

 

The choice of the two officers to oversee the surrender ceremony at Appomattox, Union General Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain and Confederate General John Brown Gordon, was quite appropriate.  In a War where the vast majority of soldiers were volunteers and not regular soldiers, both these Generals were volunteers, not professional soldiers.  They both during the War saw more combat than most professional soldiers see in an  entire career.  After the War both became active in politics and both often spoke of the need for love of the reunited nation and a forgetting of the angry passions of the Civil War, while ever remembering the courage of the men who had fought it, especially the courage of those who never came back from the War.

 

 

Chamberlain helped begin the healing of the dreadful wounds to the nation caused by the War  at Appomattox.  As the Confederates passed by, Chamberlain ordered a salute to them by the Union troops. He explained why he did this:

“I resolved to mark it by some token of recognition, which could be no other than a salute of arms. Well aware of the responsibility assumed, and of the criticisms that would follow, as the sequel proved, nothing of that kind could move me in the least. The act could be defended, if needful, by the suggestion that such a salute was not to the cause for which the flag of the Confederacy stood, but to its going down before the flag of the Union. My main reason, however, was one for which I sought no authority nor asked forgiveness. Before us in proud humiliation stood the embodiment of manhood: men whom neither toils and sufferings, nor the fact of death, nor disaster, nor hopelessness could bend from their resolve; standing before us now, thin, worn, and famished, but erect, and with eyes looking level into ours, waking memories that bound us together as no other bond;–was not such manhood to be welcomed back into a Union so tested and assured?” Continue reading

PopeWatch: Emoji

EMOJI-e1428618013211

 

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

 

 

The Vatican announced today that Pope Francis has approved a new emoji translation of the Mass to help young adults more actively follow along during church services.

“We’ve found that most young adults can no longer read complete sentences or even complete words,” said Vatican spokesman Ronaldo Bernini, going to say that the minority of young adults that can read, cannot do so fast enough to keep up with the blistering pace of the Mass. “We still have some work to do before the final version comes out. We’ve hired over one hundred teenagers to look over the new missal and to see whether, for instance, our choice of a clover is the best emoji for the word consubstantial.”

Bernini said that he hopes the new missal will not only help young adults better understand the Mass, but that it might also help parents learn how to tell their children that they love and miss them without having to “navigate the treacherous waters of actually having to talk.” Continue reading

The Last Stand of the Black Horse Troop

Something for the weekend.  I Am a Rebel Soldier sung by Waylon Jennings.  Stephen Vincent Benet in his epic poem on the Civil War, John Brown’s Body, follows, in part of his poem, a Confederate Georia cavalry unit in the Army of Northern Virginia, the Black Horse Troop.  On the way to Appomattox they met their destiny guarding the rear of their expiring Army.  I have always thought this was a fitting tribute to the men of that Army who endured to the end.

Wingate wearily tried to goad
A bag of bones on a muddy road
Under the grey and April sky
While Bristol hummed in his irony
“If you want a good time, jine the cavalry!
Well, we jined it, and here we go,
The last event in the circus-show,
The bareback boys in the burnin’ hoop
Mounted on cases of chicken-croup,
The rovin’ remains of the Black Horse Troop!
Though the only horse you could call real black
Is the horsefly sittin’ on Shepley’s back,
But, women and children, do not fear,
They’ll feed the lions and us, next year.
And, women and children, dry your eyes,
The Southern gentleman never dies.
He just lives on by his strength of will
Like a damn ole rooster too tough to kill
Or a brand-new government dollar-bill
That you can use for a trousers-patch
Or lightin’ a fire, if you’ve got a match,
Or makin’ a bunny a paper collar,
Or anythin’ else–except a dollar.

Old folks, young folks, never you care,
The Yanks are here and the Yanks are there,
But no Southern gentleman knows despair.
He just goes on in his usual way,
Eatin’ a meal every fifteenth day
And showin’ such skill in his change of base
That he never gets time to wash his face
While he fights with a fury you’d seldom find
Except in a Home for the Crippled Blind,
And can whip five Yanks with a palmleaf hat,
Only the Yanks won’t fight like that. Continue reading

My Little Pony v. Cultural Marxism

This is a hoot!  My Little Pony slams cultural Marxism!

From Brandon Morse at The Federalist:

For instance, the first episode includes a song-and-dance number where the village sings about how great being the same is. During the song, the Pegasus “Rainbow Dash” flies in the air slightly above the others, and two other ponies guide her gently to the ground. This is very reminiscent of the story of Stalin showing a young leader how to keep his people under thumb by cutting taller stalks down to the same height as the others.

The real-life parallels go on, but the real crux of the message comes from the portrayal of the village’s leader, Starlight Glimmer, who personifies today’s social-justice warrior. Using fabricated issues as scare tactics, she keeps her fellow ponies in line with fear and guilt.

Go here to read the rest.  I thought the article was probably over the top until I viewed the episodes.  This is the most conservative message in a cartoon since Scrooge McDuck used to lecture on the benefits of capitalism!

 

 

PopeWatch: Favorite Pope

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

 

Nothing of note about Pope Francis in the media this week, so time to take up a topic that fascinates PopeWatch:  favorite popes.  The favorite pope of PopeWatch is Urban II who summoned the First Crusade.

Otho de Lagery was a fervent proponent of the Gregorian reforms.  Named cardinal bishop of Ostia at the age of 38 in 1080.  Elected Pope in 1088, he headed a divided Church with the foes of the Gregorian reforms having their own anti-Pope Clement III who controlled Rome, supported by Emperor Henry IV, the archenemy of Pope Gregory VII.  The first years of his pontificate he wandered in exile, calling reforming Synods, until the pendulum of war turned against Henry.   It was six years before he was able to sit on the papal throne in the Lateran Palace.

Although remembered for the First Crusade, Pope Urban also forged an alliance with Roger I to spread Latin Christianity throughout southern Italy and Sicily.  His papacy saw the victory of the reforms of the great Pope Gregory.  He was ever a friend of learning, as typified by his extensive correspondence with Saint Anselm, the foremost philosopher of his day as well as Archbishop of Canterbury.

Pope Urban would be regarded as anathema by the powers that be in the Vatican today.  One can imagine the mass faintings of Cardinals if these words were uttered by a Pope:

“All who die by the way, whether by land or by sea, or in battle against the pagans, shall have immediate remission of sins. This I grant them through the power of God with which I am invested. O what a disgrace if such a despised and base race, which worships demons, should conquer a people which has the faith of omnipotent God and is made glorious with the name of Christ! With what reproaches will the Lord overwhelm us if you do not aid those who, with us, profess the Christian religion! Let those who have been accustomed unjustly to wage private warfare against the faithful now go against the infidels and end with victory this war which should have been begun long ago. Let those who for a long time, have been robbers, now become knights. Let those who have been fighting against their brothers and relatives now fight in a proper way against the barbarians. Let those who have been serving as mercenaries for small pay now obtain the eternal reward. Let those who have been wearing themselves out in both body and soul now work for a double honor. Behold! on this side will be the sorrowful and poor, on that, the rich; on this side, the enemies of the Lord, on that, his friends. Let those who go not put off the journey, but rent their lands and collect money for their expenses; and as soon as winter is over and spring comes, let hem eagerly set out on the way with God as their guide.” Continue reading

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