The ginned up hysteria this week over the Confederate flag, after the dreadful murder of nine blacks in a Charleston church by a deranged white racist, marks a fitting coda to the one hundred and fiftieth commemoration of the War, as a symbol that few Americans know much at all about their own history these days. Amazon, along with other retailers including Walmart, has banned Confederate flag products, on the grounds that they do not want to offend customers. Katie McHugh at Brieitbart notes that Amazon has a long way to go if Amazon wishes to accomplish that:
Amazon sells a huge variety of shirts, posters, you-name-it featuring the hammer and sickle, Joseph Stalin’s mustache, all things Che Guevara, Vladimir Lenin and other colorful revolutionaries who fought to make the world a better place, man. Guevara’s book Guerilla Warfare is on sale in four different formats. In one of the worst genocides in modern times, Stalin forcibly starved Ukrainian peasants in what’s known as the Holodomor, a “terror-famine” that left anywhere from 2.4 million to 7.5 million Ukrainian peasants dead in 1933.
Communism is chic: Amazon’s senior vice president Jay Carney proudly features Soviet Union war propaganda in his lavish home, after all. “Have you enlisted in the army?” a poster featured by The Washingtonian Magazine photo splash asks.
Helpful reminder — Communism led to the deaths of 94 million people world-wide within a hundred years. That’s approximately 93,999,991 more murders than a drug-addled, fatherless loser committed in Charleston. Continue reading
147.The Pope wants improvement in the environment in which people lead their daily lives.
148.Pope praises people who live in bad locations, slums for example, but who improve their lives by ties of families, friendship and other associations.
149.Bad living conditions can lead to anti-social behavior, but the Pope is confident that love can always triumph even in the worst living conditions.
150.Pope believes that urban planners should always take into consideration the views of people who live in the locations subject to the planning.
151.Common areas and landmarks should be protected. (The Pope demonstrates no understanding that such “should lists” are carried out in real life by bureaucratic regulation that stifles investment and economic growth, precisely what poor people anywhere need.)
152.The Pope condemns lack of housing in urban areas. At the same time he wants to attempt to preserve and “integrate” slums and run down areas through improvements. (The Pope’s focus, as throughout the entire Encyclical, is for government to do quite a few things, many of them contradictory. He is unaware that some of his goals could be reached by getting government out of the way and unleashing the markets he so distrusts.)
153.The Pope likes public transportation and does not like private cars in urban centers. Public transportation should be improved.
154.Life isn’t a bed of roses for those living in rural areas, even though the focus of the Pope is on urban dwellers.
155.Pope takes a swipe at the gender ideologues who pretend that “man” and “woman” are voluntary categories rather than facts of life. (Would that the Pope had written an encyclical on that subject!) Continue reading
The patroness of the United States is the Blessed Virgin Mary as the Immaculate Conception. On May 26, 1846, the Catholic Bishops of the United States at the Sixth Provincial Congress in Baltimore, passed this decree:
With enthusiastic acclaim and with unanimous approval and consent, the Fathers [of the Council] have chosen the Blessed Virgin Mary, conceived without sin, as the Patroness of the United States of America; without, however, adding the obligation of hearing Mass and abstaining from servile work on the feast of the Conception of Blessed Mary. And, therefore, they decided that the Supreme Pontiff be humbly asked to transfer the solemnity, unless the feast fall on a Sunday, to the nearest Sunday, on which both private and solemn Masses may be celebrated of the feast thus transferred, and the vesper office of the same feast may be recited.
Pope Pius IX confirmed the request of the Bishops that Mary as the Immaculate Conception be the patroness of the United States on February 7, 1847.
Flash forward more than a hundred years to September 26, 1956 to Fostoria, Ohio. On that date Sister Mary Ephrem, born Mildred Neuzil, a thirty year old contemplative nun of the Indwelling Trinity had her first vision of the Immaculate Conception. The message of the Blessed Virgin was simple:
My child, I entrust you with this message that you must make known to my children in America. I wish it to be the country dedicated to my purity. The wonders I will work will be the wonders of the soul. They must have faith and believe firmly in my love for them. I desire that they be the children of my Pure Heart. I desire, through my children in America, to further the cause of faith and purity among peoples and nations. Let them come with confidence and simplicity, and I, their Mother, will teach them to become pure like to my Heart that their own hearts may be more pleasing to the Heart of my Son.
Mary called herself in the vision Our Lady of America. Sister Neuzil’s Bishop, Paul F. Leibold, later Archbishop of Cincinnati, gave his imprimatur to two books relating the visions, the only eclessiastically approved visitation of Our Lady within the United States.
Sister Mary continued to experience her visions until her death in her convent in 2000 at age 83. One poignant passage in her vision is this:
“Behold, O my children, the tears of your Mother! Shall I weep in vain? Assuage the sorrow of my Heart over the ingratitude of sinful men by the love and chasteness of your lives. Will you do this for me, beloved children, or will you allow your Mother to weep in vain? I come to you, O children of America, as a last resort. I plead with you to listen to my voice. Cleanse your souls in the Precious Blood of My Son. Live in His Heart, and take me in that I may teach you to live in great purity of heart which is so pleasing to God. Be my army of chaste soldiers, ready to fight to the death to preserve the purity of your souls. I am the Immaculate One, Patroness of your land. Be my faithful children as I have been your faithful Mother.” Continue reading
The final remnants of resistance on Okinawa were crushed on June 21, and the United States was stunned by the American casualties of approximately 80,000. For a nation that was becoming weary of war, this was a bitter victory. One casualty stood out: Lieutenant General Simon Bolivar Buckner, Jr, the commander of the Tenth Army, the invasion force.
The product of a May-November marriage, Buckner’s mother was 29 and his father, Simon Bolivar Buckner, a former Confederate Lieutenant General, was 63 when he was born in 1883, like his father he was a West Point graduate, class of 1908. Much of his career was spent either attending or teaching at Army schools, including a stint as Commandant at West Point. Prior to being tabbed to command the Tenth Army, Buckner spent most of the War in the Pacific sideshow of Alaska.
On June 18, 1945 Buckner was inspecting an observation post when a Japanese artillery shell exploded in nearby coral driving fragments into his chest. He died on the operating table. The General was warned just prior to the artillery barrage to remove his helmet with three stars that might attract enemy fire. He did so, but by that time the Japanese, ever on the alert, had probably targeted him. Continue reading
Out of the Roman States, there is no country where I am Pope except the United States.
Pope Gregory XVI
Pope Gregory XVI was a complicated man. In 1839 he issued a papal bull condemning both the slave trade and slavery. He also opposed railroads in the Papal States, calling them chemins d’enfer, “roads to hell” a pun on the French for railroad, chemin de fer, “iron road”. He feared that they would lead to more commerce, a larger middle class, and the growth of liberal revolutionary movements that would topple papal secular government. In the wake of the French Revolution of 1830, the Papal States had been convulsed with revolutionary republican movements initiating a guerrilla war, the papacy calling in Austrian troops to defeat them.
In Europe Republicanism tended to be anti-clerical, and Pope Gregory set his face like flint against these movements, behaving like a reactionary of the deepest hue, opposing the slightest political change, fearing that such changes would inevitably lead to persecution of the Church. In Europe he was largely correct in his analysis, at least in the short term, but when he looked at the United States, he saw something different.
There a Republican government persecuted the Church not at all and allowed the Church to manage her affairs as the Pope saw fit. As the quote at the beginning of this post indicates, this gave the Pope far more power than he had elsewhere except for the Papal States, including countries where Catholicism was the state religion with Catholic monarchs who never ceased to attempt to control the Church in their domains. Perhaps to the surprise of the Pope, his bishops reported that the Church was growing swiftly in the United States, with a steady stream of converts, the Church proving to be a strong competitor in the free market of religions that existed in the United States.
Pope Gregory took a keen interest in evangelizing the United States and established new bishoprics there. He was no fan of new-fangled Republics, to say the least, but the United States was different: a free land where the Church was also free. Continue reading
101.The mess that the environment is in is our fault and in this section of the encyclical the Pope will explain why this has happened.
102.Two centuries of rapid technological advances.
103.Technoscience when well-directed (By whom?) is good.
104.Technology has greatly increased our power to destroy.
105.Our technology has advanced far more rapidly than our wisdom to use it properly.
106.The Pope does not think much of the scientific method when nature is viewed as an object. He believes that this plays into the illusion that resources are limitless. (Like most Leftists, the Pope views the world through the belief that it is a fight over a limited pie, not taking into account Man’s manifest ability to expand the pie.)
107.Many of the ills of society come from viewing technological advance as an end in itself.
108.Making technological advance as a mere instrument rather than an end seems inconceivable in the modern world.
109.Pope stops to bash free markets yet again.
110.Rapid technological advance leads to fragmentation of knowledge rather than the generalized knowledge in many areas we need to make decisions. (Actually, the politicians who make the decisions in most countries usually have a fairly general education and are frequently untouched by much in the way of knowledge of individual technological fields.) Continue reading
Confederate General, and Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, Stand Watie surrendered on June 23, 1865, the last Confederate general to surrender his brigade. He and his men had fought throughout the Indian Territory and the Trans-Mississippi theater, participating in more battles than any other Confederate unit in the theater, and waging a guerrilla war against Union supply lines and outposts. Here are the terms of the articles of surrender: Continue reading
The Confederate commerce raider CSS Shenandoah, a converted steam merchant ship, steamed out of London on October 8, 1864. Her skipper was Commander James Iredell Waddell, a veteran of twenty years in the United States Navy prior to the Civil War, and a graduate of Annapolis. Under Waddell, the Shenandoah would spend the next year at sea taking or sinking 38 ships, mostly New Bedford whaling ships, virtually destroying the American whaling fleet. The last shot of the War was a blank fired on June 22, 1865 in the Bering Strait, to indicate to a Union whaling ship the wisdom of surrender. Some of the captured Yankee seamen claimed the War was over, but Waddell assumed they were lying.
Waddell remained unconvinced that the War was over until he encountered a British ship on August 2, 1865. Fearing imprisonment or worse for his men, Waddell then embarked on an epic three month voyage, pursued by the US Navy, to Liverpool where Waddell surrendered his ship and lowered the Confederate flag for the last time on November 6, 1865. The Union wished to try Waddell and his men as pirates. The British decided to parole Waddell and his men, as reported by The Liverpool Mercury on November 9, 1865: Continue reading
I assume the Pope will now be having the Swiss Guard disarmed, and foreswearing any and all protection by the Italian police and military:
Continuing on with the translation by PopeWatch of the Green Encyclical. Go here to read the first part.
51.Greedy gringo rich countries are responsible for economic disparities North and South and cause ecological damage in the South. (The Pope really is clueless when it comes to economics, isn’t he?)
52.The greedy gringos of the North are responsible for people being poor in the South. (Classic Peronism.)
53.Mama Earth has to be protected but we lack the political will and structures to do so. New techno-economic power structures if not stopped will kill the environment and freedom and justice. (One can imagine evil tycoons twirling their moustaches and chortling evilly. The Pope’s view of the world is not much more sophisticated than that.)
54.Economic and technological special interests block ecological reform; i.e. people who do not agree with the Pope have been successful in opposing the type of draconian ecological measures he favors.
55.Some countries are making ecological progress but those darn markets keep leading to more consumption which damages the environment. (Back in Real World, the best environment tends to be in the most capitalistic countries. The nations with the worst ecological records have all been Communist.)
56.More market bashing from the Pope. Man, does he hate free enterprise.
57.Pope foresees wars over scarce resources caused by financial interests. (Once again, the economic ignorance of the Pope is staggering.)
58.A break in the bleak for a brief acknowledgment that there has been ecological improvement in some countries.
59.Back to the bleak: such minor improvements in the environment blind us to the overall gloom and doom of the environment and the measures that must be taken to solve this problem.
60.The Pope points to extreme views on how to meet ecological issues, positioning himself to be the sweet, moderate voice of reason. Continue reading
A spot of blood and grease on the pages of English history.
Charles Dickens, referring to King Henry VIII
For English speaking Catholics, June 22 is a bright day on the calendar of the Saints. On this day we remember the two saints who stood against King Henry VIII, for the great principal that the State must never be allowed to control the Church. Much that we Americans celebrate as freedom was born out of Church-State struggles down through the ages. Sometimes those who stood against the State fell in the struggle, but the concept that the State is not absolute, that there are limits to its authority, is one of the great gifts of the Catholic Middle Ages to all of mankind. It is only in modern times, since 1500, that the heresy that the State may exercise absolute authority has been a constant source of misery and strife in the history of the West.
When he ascended to the throne of England Henry VIII was popularly known as the Golden Hope of England. His father Henry VII had never been loved by the people of England: a miser and a distinctly unheroic figure no matter what Shakespeare would write in Richard III. He had brought the end of the War of the Roses and peace to England, but that was about as much credit as his subjects would give the grasping, unlovable Henry Tudor. His son by contrast looked like an Adonis when young, strong and athletic. He had a sharp mind and had been well-educated, intended, ironically, for a career in the Church before the death of his elder brother Arthur. He was reputed, correctly, to be pious. He had considerable charism in his youth and knew how to make himself loved with a well timed laugh or smile, and loved he was, by the nobles, commons, his wife Katherine, and the Church. Few reigns started more auspiciously than that of Henry, eighth of that name.
By the end of his reign he was widely despised by most his subjects. Called a crowned monster behind his back, his reign had brought religious turmoil to England and domestic strife. The best known symbols of his reign were the headman’s axe, the stake and the boiling pot in which he had some of the luckless individuals who roused his fury boiled to death.
It of course is small wonder for a Catholic to have little love for Henry VIII and his reign, but the distaste for Henry extends well beyond members of the Church. Winston Churchill, the great English statesman and historian, in his magisterial History of the English Speaking Peoples has this to say about the executions of Saint Thomas More and Saint John Fisher:
“The resistance of More and Fisher to the royal supremacy in Church government was a heroic stand. They realised the defects of the existing Catholic system, but they hated and feared the aggressive nationalism which was destroying the unity of Christendom. They saw that the break with Rome carried with it the risk of a despotism freed from every fetter. More stood forth as the defender of all that was finest in the medieval outlook. He represents to history its universality, its belief in spiritual values, and its instinctive sense of otherworldliness. Henry VIII with cruel axe decapitated not only a wise and gifted counselor, but a system which, though it had failed to live up to its ideals in practice, had for long furnished mankind with its brightest dreams.” Continue reading
Mundabor celebrates these Vatican initiatives:
At this point you already all know about the latest, surprisingly coherent decisions in the Vatican. Lest it be told that I only speak of the man in order to criticise him, I would like to say a word or two of praise at least of the coherence involved.
1. The Vatican decision to shut down and destroy all air conditioners within the Vatican city (similar measures will be implemented in every Catholic diocese in time) is at least a sign of coherence. Granted, the one or other old prelate may die, at least indirectly, because of the heat that follows (it promises to be a very hot summer in Rome), but it is good to see that there is the willingness to put one’s sweat where one’s encyclical is. Note that the air conditioning appliances will be destroyed, not sold. It makes sense, as selling them would only encourage consumerism and shift the problem to other offices and households.
2. The decision, also announced, to put an immediate end to every travelling of the Pope is likewise to be praised. In the age of the Internet and social media, the voice of the Pope can reach pretty much anyone without any need to cause huge Co2 emissions for himself, his entourage, the security, the journalists, and the rest of the circus. Twitter is so environmentally friendly…
3. Even more coherent is the decision to put an end to World Youth Days. Millions of people gathering every time. A stunningly expensive exercise in terms of not only money (which can be given to the poor), but emissions. One can agree or not with the ideology of Laudato Si, but here is one saying that at least they practice their bad preaching.
4. I find the decision to have the Vatican carbon-neutral within 2016, and every diocesan office within 2019, a tad extreme. It will obviously require not only to sweat in summer, but also to freeze in winter; and the Roman winters can be fairly punishing at times, at least if you never lived in Connecticut, or Minnesota. It will require to curb the use of electricity, gas, fuel, mobility, food, everything. It will be a mess. But it will also give a great contribution in introducing that kind of simple, poor, rural society in which the Pontiff clearly sees the solution to our problems. And it will be an example. A great, if stupid, example. Continue reading
1. Captive audience for my bad jokes.
2. Relief from the strain of having too much money.
3. Lots of practice in learning to count to ten.
4. Lots of practice in asking, “What did your Mom say?”
5. An ever growing appreciation for my old man. Continue reading
If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.
Sam Adams, August 1, 1776
The American Catholic is proud to participate in this year’s Fortnight For Freedom. The Fortnights were started in 2012 by the bishops of this country in response to the unprecedented assault on religious liberty posed by the Obama administration, to remind Catholics of the preciousness of their inheritance of freedom as Americans and Catholics and the necessity of standing up to threats to it. All well and good, and a very worthy cause indeed. However, the leadership of the Church appears to be schizophrenic on this subject. While Caesar seeks to limit the freedom of the Church, too many ecclesiastics respond by wanting to get into bed with Caesar.
The examples of this are legion.
It is the policy of the Church to aid the Obama administration in flouting the immigration laws of this country, acting as a virtual arm of the State in sheltering illegal aliens.
The Church was all in favor of Obamacare, until the Obama administration targeted the Church with the contraceptive mandate.
The Green Encyclical released this week is one long demand for Caesar to engage in an immense power grab, and regulate business and citizens to fight a mythical global warming threat.
The Church through the Catholic Campaign for Human Development funds hundreds of left wing pressure groups to call for ever bigger government, and, inevitably, further restrictions on freedom.
Welfare States require huge amounts of tax money and huge amounts of government power. The default position of the Church today when confronting any need traditionally filled by private or Church charity, is to scream for Caesar to come fix things. This bastardized parody of the social teachings of the Church inevitably comes back to bite the Church as Caesar will always exact a price for his favors and under the Obama administration that price is for the Church to bend the knee to contraception, abortion and gay marriage. For all too many of our shepherds that is a small price to pay to keep the government largesse flowing. There is a reason why Christ whipped the money changers from the Temple and why He uttered the phrase to render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s. These days the Church too often seems willing to bow the knee to Caesar, no matter what Caesar demands, so long as the funds from Caesar keep flowing. Continue reading
On Fathers’ Day it is easy to recall and honor all the good fathers. However, even a very flawed father can have a positive impact on a child. Case in point Jack Reagan, the father of Ronald Reagan.
To be blunt, Jack Reagan was a drunk. At eleven years old Ronald Reagan came home from school to find his father passed out on the porch, dead drunk to the world. In a small town the shame of that moment for a boy would be clear. An alcoholic, one would think that the only impact that Jack could have on the life of his son was to be a negative example, but such was not the case.
Jack was gregarious and a born story teller, traits he passed on to his son.
He and his wife were always deeply in love, and his wife Nellie made sure that their sons knew that Jack was a good man in spite of his addiction to drink.
An Irish Catholic, he hated racial and religious bigotry. He refused to allow his kids to see the film Birth of a Nation, because of its racist theme. One cold winter night when he was on the road selling shoes, he slept in his car, rather than taking a room in a hotel that discriminated against Jews.
Reagan said of his father:
“Inspired minds. Amazing possibilities.”
That’s the tagline for the Dominican University (River Forest, Illinois) website for this Dominican institution of higher education which advertises its mission using the following descriptor:
As a Sinsinawa Dominican-sponsored institution, Dominican University prepares students to pursue truth, to give compassionate service and to participate in the creation of a more just and humane world.
Notice the word “Catholic” by its absence in that descriptor.
Just what might that mission mean in actual practice?
Consider the “New Faces, New Voices, New Ways of Being Church” conference scheduled for October 24. The conference’s subtitle is noteworthy: “An exploration of the American Catholic Church going forward.”
The description of the conference is even more noteworthy:
[The National Catholic Reporters’ (NCR)] founders were journalists whose first priorities were holding authorities accountable and being a platform for a free, open discussion of ideas. Solidly founded in an American culture, NCR has been a chronicler of society and the Catholic Church for 50 years. Through this uniquely American and Catholic lens, the conference will explore what might be on the horizon for the American Catholic church.
Putting some flesh on those bones, conference speakers include:
- Maria Pilar Aquino: A Catholic feminist theologian who teaches liberation theology, is pro-abortion, and supports the ordination of women. “We feminist Catholic theologians profoundly disagree with the intractable position of official Roman Catholicism regarding reproductive rights and women’s human rights,” Aquino has said. Of the pontificate of St. John Paul II, Aquino noted that it exhibited “strong signs of theological intolerance and of rigidity in the exercise of power….[The] mode of Church promoted by John Paul II was widely characterized by authoritarianism, centralism, conservatism, imperialism, and by monoculturalism, and is consistent with the patterns of dominant male-centered Western European Christianity.” In her talk, Aquino will explore the contribution of the deep voices from the Global South to those processes.
- Reverend Bryan Massingale, STD: A priest of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and professor at Marquette University, Father Massingale spoke at an event on Capitol Hill on behalf of Equally Blessed, a homosexual activist coalition which counts among its number Call To Action, DignityUSA, Fortunate Families, and New Ways Ministry. At the event, Massingale advocated “full equality” for homosexuals. Afterwards, Massingale was asked whether he agreed with the teaching found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church that “homosexual acts are contrary to the natural law” and “[under] no circumstances can they be approved,” Massingale evaded the question. In his talk, Father Massingale will explore how this moment challenges the Catholic faith community to face the “unresolved racism” in its own life, as well as the opportunities for more engaged social reflection and justice ministry.
- Jamie Manson: A National Catholic Reporter columnist, Manson covers the so-called “homosexual marriage” and and feminist ideology beat. A critic of Pope Francis for upholding the complementarity of the two genders, Manson accuses the Pope of denegrating both homosexuals and women. Defending legal recognition of so-called “homosexual marriage,” Manson has argued: “How sad that church leaders refuse to see that same-sex couples have as much potential to be visible signs of God’s ‘masterwork’ as heterosexual relationships.” She also calls Church leaders to “have the courage and humility to see that God can be as fully present in the relationships of same-sex couples as God can be in opposite-sex couples and that God can be as sacramentally present through the body of a woman priest as God can be sacramentally present in the body of a male priest.” In her presentation, Manson will explore some of the new models of church that have been emerging among marginalized faith communities and consider what forms of church may be meaningful and relevant to new generations of Catholics.
- Sister Joan Chittister, OSB: The “counter Mother Angelica” founder of Benetvision–an organization that promotes “contemporary spirituality” with the aim of awakening the “Divine Feminine” within each woman–Sr. Chittister is arguably most noted for her dissent against Church teachings concerning abortion (claiming it denies women a basic “freedom”) and female ordination as well as her critique of the Council of Trent, saying that it “plunged Catholicism into the Dark Ages.” Sr. Chittister will consider a way forward that is rooted in the prophetic message of the gospel which demands that we seek a new way of being church.
While the Dominican University website advertises that “All are welcome,” all of the invited speakers align themselves squarely with the NCR’s radical stance toward the Roman Catholic Church and whose shared desire is to shape the Church in their “American Catholic” image, as that’s defined by the contents of their lectures.
While those who are convening the event may “welcome” others to listen, they certainly aren’t welcome to speak. How open and inclusive of a diversity of thought! Tres catholique!
This conference isn’t an “academic” conference and, given topic’s parochial treatment, certainly won’t prepare any Dominican University students in attendance to pursue the truth.
“Inspired minds. Amazing possibilities.” That’s what it means to be Dominican University (with no mention of the word Catholic). And, all for only $40 per ticket (or $20 for students).
St. Thomas Aquinas must be scratching his head in disbelief.
To read the conference advertisement, click on the following link:
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