As he has done as President each year on the anniversary of Roe, Obama released a statement praising Roe:
“Today, we mark the 43rd anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade, which affirmed a woman’s freedom to make her own choices about her body and her health. The decision supports the broader principle that the government should not intrude on private decisions made between a woman and her doctor. As we commemorate this day, we also redouble our commitment to protecting these constitutional rights, including protecting a woman’s access to safe, affordable health care and her right to reproductive freedom from efforts to undermine or overturn them. In America, every single one of us deserves the rights, freedoms, and opportunities to fulfill our dreams.” Continue reading
Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa notes that the Chief Rabbi of Rome said no to the Pope:
ROME, January 23, 2016 – In the Catholic camp almost no one made note of it. But in the Jewish camp they did. And it is that curt “no” which the chief rabbi of Rome, Riccardo Di Segni, said to Pope Francis during his visit to the synagogue on Sunday, January 17:
“We do not receive the pope in order to discuss theology. Every system is autonomous, faith is not the object of bartering and political negotiation.”
A preventive “no.” Because immediately afterward Francis spoke. And in his speech the pope in vain proposed to the Jews once again a shared theological exploration of the relationship between Judaism and the Church. That proposal which Rabbi Di Segni had already rejected.
Francis justified his offer of theological dialogue by citing two documents.
The first was the declaration “Nostra Aetate” of Vatican Council II, which – he said – “for the first time gave an explicit theological definition of the Catholic Church’s relationship with Judaism,” naturally without resolving all of the questions but “providing a very important encouragement for the necessary further reflections.”
The second was the document published on December 15, 2015 by the Vatican commission for religious relations with the Jews, which – the pope said – “addresses the theological questions that have emerged in the decades since the promulgation of ‘Nostra Aetate.’”
And Francis continued:
“The theological dimension of Jewish-Catholic dialogue deserves to be explored more and more, and I would like to encourage all those who are involved in this dialogue to continue in that direction, with discernment and perseverance. In fact, precisely from a theological point of view there appears clearly the indissoluble bond that unites Christians and Jews. Christians, in order to understand themselves, cannot help but make reference to their Jewish roots, and the Church, while still professing salvation through faith in Christ, recognizes the irrevocability of the Old Covenant and God’s constant and faithful love for Israel.”
In saying this, pope Jorge Mario Bergoglio was speaking in full continuity with his predecessors, above all with Benedict XVI, who refused to make faith an object of dialogue between Christianity and Judaism, but always acknowledged a unique, absolutely special relationship between Christianity and Judaism, which makes not only possible but obligatory a shared dialogue that is also theological.
Joseph Ratzinger had reached the pinnacle of his theological reflection on the relationship between the Jewish and Christian faiths in the preface to the May 24, 2001 document of the pontifical biblical commission on “The Jewish people and its Sacred Scriptures in the Christian Bible,” and above all in the three volumes of his “Jesus of Nazareth,” in pages recognized once again in recent days as “unsurpassable” by the top-tier exponent of Judaism Sergio Yitzhak Minerbi, among the leading scholars of relations between Jews and Catholics.
So then, the Vatican document of December 15 not only attests to these levels, but it pushes even further, partly due to the fact that it presents itself not as “a magisterial document or doctrinal teaching of the Catholic Church” but simply as “a starting point for further theological thought with a view to enriching and intensifying the theological dimension of Jewish–Catholic dialogue.” Continue reading
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary,
that never was it known that
anyone who fled to thy protection,
implored thy help,
or sought thy intercession was left unaided.
Inspired with this confidence,
I fly unto thee,
O Virgin of virgins,
my Mother; to thee do I come,
before thee I stand,
sinful and sorrowful;
O Mother of the Word Incarnate,
despise not my petitions,
but in thy mercy hear and answer me.
Our Lady of the Snows, pray for us.
St. Joseph, pray for us.
St. Therese, The Little Flower, pray for us.
Glory Be To The Father Continue reading
When it comes to abortion, I am beginning to think that Carly Fiorina has the zeal of a convert:
Despite the blizzard warning, thousands of pro-life activists gathered at the March for Life in Washington on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade.
Former HP CEO Carly Fiorina, the only presidential candidate to attend the event, pledged to continue speaking out against abortion in the face of opposition from pro-choice activists.
“The establishment media and political class don’t want us to talk about what the abortion industry is doing. You saw what happened when I talked about the horrific truth of the Planned Parenthood videos during a Republican debate,” she said at the march. “Unlike the media, you’ve watched the videos. You’ve seen an aborted baby, it’s legs kicking, it’s heart beating while the technician describes how they would keep these babies alive to harvest their organs.”
In response to the videos, a Planned Parenthood representative said a woman might choose to donate tissue for scientific purposes.
“In healthcare, patients sometimes want to donate tissue to scientific research that can help lead to medical breakthroughs, such as treatments and cures for serious diseases,” said Eric Ferrero, vice president of communications at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “Women at Planned Parenthood who have abortions are no different.”
Fiorina had a message for those who protest her pro-life stance at her campaign events.
“You can scream and throw condoms at me all day long. You won’t silence me. You don’t scare me,” she said at the march. “I have battled breast cancer. I have buried a child. I have read the Bible. I know the value of life.”
Fiorina pointed out that President Obama’s successor will have the “awesome responsibility” to pick up to three Supreme Court justices who will weigh in on religious liberty issues. She added that the next president is going to decide if a life is a life only after it leaves the hospital.
“That is the Democratic platform – that a life is not a life until it is born, and they call us extreme. It is the Democrats and the pro-abortion industry that are extreme,” she said.
Fiorina told the audience Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and “the left” use women as a “political weapon” to win elections.
“I know, having started out as a secretary, being empowered means having a voice, but ideological feminism now shuts down conversation on colleges campuses and in the media,” she said.
She vowed to defeat Clinton and defund Planned Parenthood as president.
“You can count on what I will do as president,” she said. “Together we will restore the character of our nation.” Continue reading
From Father Z’s blog, and dedicated to those dauntless pro-life souls who dared the blizzard out East:
Here in this place new snow is falling,
now is the highway vanished away;
see in this bus our friends and our chaperones
brought here to you in the light of this day.
Please dig us out, the stuck and the stranded,
Please dig us out, the young and the not-as-young;
call to us now, and we shall awaken,
we shall arise at the sound of a plow.
We are the young, our lives now in chaos,
we are the old who want to escape;
we have been stuck through night into daytime,
Now we just wait for the National Guard.
Please dig us out, the rich and the haughty,
Please dig us out, the proud and the strong;
give us a plow, so we can get going,
give us the courage to finish this song.
Here we will grow in bonding and friendship,
here we will find His love in us all,
As the snow falls, each flake brings us closer
United as one we’ll bring life to the world.
Give us to hear God’s voice in the chaos,
give us to know His great love for us;
We have been called to do something special
Once we get home and get off this damn bus
Not in the dark of busses confining,
not on some snowplow, light years away—
here in this bus a new light is shining,
That’s cause I can’t turn my iPhone light off.
Please dig us and give us a pizza,
Please dig us out, I’m losing my mind;
Please dig us out, the bathroom is filling,
Send us a plow get us out of this bind. Continue reading
The hardest thing in the world to understand is income taxes.
After spending a good part of yesterday working on my Federal income tax, I think that perhaps a national day of mourning would be an appropriate commemoration. One hundred years ago, the United States Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the income tax. The vote was 8-0 with Justice McReynolds abstaining. Go here to read the text of the decision. Ironically, Associate Justice Charles Evans Hughes, who would soon resign from the Court to be the Republican Standard Bearer for President in 1916, had opposed the income tax amendment as Governor of New York in 1910. Continue reading
From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:
Pope Francis has changed the rules for the Church’s Holy Thursday foot-washing ceremony, issuing a decree allowing women to not only participate in the ceremony, but to have an optional pedicure for the low donation price of just $14.95. That’s right, just $14.95.
In a letter addressed to Cardinal Robert Sarah, the Pope said that 12 “lucky” people would be chosen to participate in the ritual of what is now being called the washing and pedicuring of the feet “from among all members of the People of God whose feet and toenails are in desperate need of superficial cosmetic treatment.”
“For some time I have been reflecting on the rite of the washing of the feet so that we fully express the meaning of the gesture made by Jesus in the Upper Room, his gift of self until the end for the salvation of the world, his boundless charity,” Francis said. “But also because I myself have had countless pedicures over the years and truly understand the importance of tootsie maintenance.”
Francis went on to say that “with the amount of walking the disciples did during their ministries, I am quite certain that they would not have said no to a soothing pedicure once in a while if it was ever offered them.”
Francis also stressed that the average person takes 8,000 to 10,000 steps a day, which adds up to about 115,000 miles over a lifetime, and that all the wear and tear on the feet can be harmful if they are not maintained properly.
“The Lord said, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.’ How can we expect to accomplish this task with wear and tear on our feet? And to the men I say be not afraid! Pedicures are no longer just for women, just as the washing of the feet is no longer just for men.” Continue reading
Something for the weekend. The Clancy Brothers singing The Wild Colonial Boy on the Ed Sullivan show. The song is based upon the exploits of bandit Jack Donahue. Born in Dublin in 1804, Donahue, an orphan as well as a pickpocket, was transported to Australia in 1825 after being convicted of intent to commit a felony. After he saw his cell in Syndey, he exclaimed, “A home for life”. Two whippings of 50 lashes could not break his rebellious spirit and he escaped into the bush with two other prisoners. There they formed a gang that became known as “The Strippers” because of their penchant of stripping wealthy men of their money, food and clothes. In 1827 he was captured and sentenced to death. Escaping yet again to the bush, he became part of a gang known as “The Wild Colonial Boys.” On September 1, 1830, his criminal career and life came to an end in a shootout with authorities. Donohue achieved earthly immortality in a play and the song “The Wild Colonial Boy“. Condemned as seditious, the song morphed his name into several variants, the most popular being Jack Duggan.
With tongue firmly in cheek no doubt:
I apologise of all the faithful and beseech their prayers who in my misconceived arrogance have been excluded by my legalism.
I apologise in particular to those ladies who would have liked to have had their feet washed at the Mandatum on Holy Thursday and were excluded by my rigourism.
I apologise, you were right and I was wrong.
I apologise for teaching that this Rite was about Christ washing the feet of those twelve chosen to be Apostles rather than seeing it as a Rite that expressed Christ’s care for the world and for sinners and for the poor. I apologise for suggesting that this Rite was about Christ’s priesthood and the Apostles participation in it, I apologise for suggesting that this Rite was in any sense hieratic. I apologise for quoting the Pope Emeritus, and the schismatic Patriarchs of Constantinople and Moscow in a sermon about this Rite. They were obviously misunderstood by me or were dealing with their own local situation. I was wrong, I was also mistaken. I humbly ask anyone who has been misinformed by me to in future to disregard any teaching I might have given at any time, and especially if I have claimed that it was the Church’s teaching.
I apologise too to the poor, I apologise to those my brother clergy who chose to ignore the written Law of the Church but nevertheless had the spiritual insight to understand the Spirit of the Law.
I have indeed been a Neo-Pelagian Promethean and I humbly promise in future to follow custom rather than any directives coming from the Holy See or printed in the Missal. I will indeed do my best to not to teach but to set people free to follow their own lights and inspiration.
I am humbly grateful for this change in the Church’s law, though because of the increasing stiffness in my knees for the last few years I have been unable to wash the feet of anyone. Continue reading
These communities, by their representatives in old Independence Hall, said to the whole world of men: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” This was their majestic interpretation of the economy of the Universe. This was their lofty, and wise, and noble understanding of the justice of the Creator to His creatures. [Applause.] Yes, gentlemen, to all His creatures, to the whole great family of man. In their enlightened belief, nothing stamped with the Divine image and likeness was sent into the world to be trodden on, and degraded, and imbruted by its fellows. They grasped not only the whole race of man then living, but they reached forward and seized upon the farthest posterity. They erected a beacon to guide their children and their children’s children, and the countless myriads who should inhabit the earth in other ages. Wise statesmen as they were, they knew the tendency of prosperity to breed tyrants, and so they established these great self-evident truths, that when in the distant future some man, some faction, some interest, should set up the doctrine that none but rich men, or none but white men, were entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, their posterity might look up again to the Declaration of Independence and take courage to renew the battle which their fathers began — so that truth, and justice, and mercy, and all the humane and Christian virtues might not be extinguished from the land; so that no man would hereafter dare to limit and circumscribe the great principles on which the temple of liberty was being built.
Abraham Lincoln, August 17, 1858
I call heaven and earth to witness this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Choose therefore life, that both thou and thy seed may live:
You know, if PopeWatch could give the Pope anything it would be a list of Catholic movies to watch. Our bruin friend at Saint Corbinian’s Bear gives us some of his choices for great Catholic movies:
A Man for All Seasons — I hope one day to meet St. Thomas More, the patron saint of lawyers, and I expect him to look like Paul Scofield. Great 1966 drama of a family man who would not compromise his Catholic conscience.
Becket — “Who will rid me of this turbulent priest?” A king’s expression of frustration with another one of those stubborn Catholics, or an invitation to murder? St. Thomas Becket Archbishop of Canterbury, had his brains bashed out and scattered across the floor of his cathedral while he prayed Vespers. Released in 1964 with a great cast including Richard Burton, Peter O’Toole, and John Geilgud.
The Passion of the Christ — Mel Gibson’s mesmerizing and bitterly moving 2004 reliving of Jesus Christ’s Passion. Authentic details include everyone speaking the correct ancient languages, so Jesus speaks Aramaic, while Pontius Pilate and his wife speak Latin. (There are subtitles.) We watch it during Holy Week. Some of it, especially the Scourging at the Pillar, are frankly hard to take. I think there are two versions, one less graphic, but still bad enough. I know when I say the Second Sorrowful Mystery of the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, it is the scene from the movie I often remember. The whole movie is perfect in tone for every scene, and the restrained use of bizarre images suggest the omnipresence of Satan, in his taunting moment of apparent victory.
Brother Orchid — Totally changing tone now, this is just a sweet tale of a ruthless gangster who hides out with monks, and… You can probably guess what happens. By 1940 Edward G. Robinson was sick of playing gangsters, but agreed to this one in exchange for a promise of broader roles. Humphrey Bogart co-stars, but, as is typical at this point in their careers, he is overshadowed by Robinson.
Song of Bernadette — 1943 movie faithfully presenting the traditional account of Bernadette Soubirous, the young visionary of Lourdes. This a solid movie built on a wonderful performance by a winsome Jennifer Jones as Bernadette. She won an Oscar for Best Actress. The screenplay was based on a novel written by a Jew, Franz Werfel, who never quite converted to Christianity. I saw it on TV as a young boy and still remember how sorry I felt for Bernadette when she rooted around in the mud as everyone made fun of her. I remember imagining that if I were there, I’d set them all straight! It sounds silly now, but we should not underestimate those early feelings of children. Mine, I would now call a childish chivalry. But what better sentiment for a boy to learn and to have? I wonder what we’re teaching young boys and girls in today’s entertainment?
The Passion of Joan of Arc — 1929 silent masterpiece by Carl Theodore Dryer. I know what you’re thinking. Sure, masterpiece for those days, before sound. No. This stands totally on its own merits. The cinematography is amazing, with constantly shifting angles, long pans, quick cuts to the faces of the clerics, each a fully realized portrait, many lasting only a few seconds. There is nothing dated about any of it. But it is Renee Jeanne Falconetti’s luminous performance as Joan that makes the movie a masterpiece. It is possibly the greatest performance ever captured on film. Joan always seems on the boundary of two worlds, slipping almost imperceptibly from one to the other in response to events. This film is powerful to the point of disturbing. It is based on the actual transcripts of her “trial” — some of the most remarkable documents in existence — which I cannot read except as a defense lawyer. My blood boils. She, an illiterate girl, was alone before educated men, without counsel. The English tricked her into signing a confession she could not read. She was tormented, condemned and burned at the stake. The film treats St. Joan with respect, and, being based on the trial transcripts, is quite faithful to the shameful events.
For Greater Glory — Critics hated this 2012 movie of the 1926-1929 Cristero War between Catholics and an atheistic Mexican government. The late Roger Ebert (a self-described Catholic atheist) had to admit the move was well-made, but reflected “Catholic tunnel vision.” Have never been movies about other religions’ struggles against wholesale slaughter in the 20th century that have won universal acclaim? I’m sure he did not criticize their tunnel vision! If the idea of guns isn’t frightening enough to mainstream movie critics, Catholics using them while crying “¡Vivo Cristo Rey!” must give them nightmares. Andy Garcia brings his usual understated yet compelling presence to the role of a former general who agrees to lead the Cristeros for a nice paycheck, plus the adventure. He is not religious himself, at least not at first. It got marketed as a “Catholic movie” but I thought it was just a great, old fashioned action drama. I had not known about this bit of history. ¡Vivo Cristo Rey!
The Mission — A 1986 movie starring Jeremy Irons, Robert DeNiro and Liam Neeson. Jesuits and Indians in 18th century South America. (I wonder if Pope Francis has ever seen it?) It is a surprisingly sympathetic portrayal of the Jesuits, who find the Indians are not necessarily peaceful. The movie is full of moral complexity where the right course is not as clear as in most movies. The great Ennio Morricone (still alive and working, by the way) wrote the score. He is known for scores for Clint Eastwood westerns, the Untouchables (which had a great one), and many, many others.
Of Gods and Men — Poignant, understated 2011 movie about a small group of monks who serve an Algerian village. When Moslem radicals move in they must decide whether to remain or leave. Based on a true story. There is one scene where they share a bottle of wine at dinner that is unforgettable.
Into Great Silence — 2005 beautiful documentary about the daily life of Carthusian monks high in the French Alps. The viewer is simply made a curious guest who watches the monks at their daily routine, goes along with some of them for their different work, and has conversations with others, young and old. The monastery has a barber shop, for instance, and the monks get their hair cut. No drama there. It is just an intimate look at everything. A monk is treated for a lung condition. Another repairs a cold frame for the garden. There are scenic shots of the mountains, a gathering storm. It is slow paced, but that’s deliberate, indeed part of the viewing experience.
The Exorcism of Emily Rose — I would not call this 2005 movie great, but it is good. A possessed girl dies after exorcism. The priest is put on trial, making this essentially a courtroom drama. As a lawyer, I find the idea of the criminal justice system being confronted by a supernatural event it is unable to deal with compelling. Interesting, effective and scary without going over the top, and it treats the subject respectfully and realistically. (The Rite is another exorcism movie released in 2011, starring Anthony Hopkins. It wasn’t bad, and was generally well received as accurate in Catholic circles, but I just didn’t enjoy it that much.)
The 13th Day — This 2009 movie was, I believe, a straight to DVD release, but should not color expectations. It is a lovingly made Catholic art film that reverently and accurately portrays the miraculous events at Fatima, Portugal between May and October, 1917. Besides excellent, if obviously careful, cinematography, there are scenes where colors suffuse the screen in a way suggesting the supernatural atmosphere. There is nothing cute or well-scrubbed about the young seers, and the human side of the story is even gritty, emphasized by the black-and-white cinematography of most of the film. It makes the supernatural elements more moving. The famous “Miracle of the Sun,” which was witnessed by 70,000 people, is especially well done in an unexpected, but compelling and utterly persuasive way. The story itself should be familiar to all Catholics, and probably even non-Catholics have heard something about “The Third Secret.” Continue reading
There is a poignant aspect to today’s opinion. Its length, and what might be called its epic tone, suggest that its authors believe they are bringing to an end a troublesome era in the history of our Nation and of our Court. “It is the dimension” of authority, they say, to “cal[l] the contending sides of national controversy to end their national division by accepting a common mandate rooted in the Constitution.” Ante, at 24.
There comes vividly to mind a portrait by Emanuel Leutze that hangs in the Harvard Law School: Roger Brooke Taney, painted in 1859, the 82d year of his life, the 24th of his Chief Justiceship, the second after his opinion in Dred Scott. He is all in black, sitting in a shadowed red armchair, left hand resting upon a pad of paper in his lap, right hand hanging limply, almost lifelessly, beside the inner arm of the chair. He sits facing the viewer, and staring straight out. There seems to be on his face, and in his deep-set eyes, an expression of profound sadness and disillusionment. Perhaps he always looked that way, even when dwelling upon the happiest of thoughts. But those of us who know how the lustre of his great Chief Justiceship came to be eclipsed by Dred Scott cannot help believing that he had that case–its already apparent consequences for the Court, and its soon-to-be-played-out consequences for the Nation–burning on his mind. I expect that two years earlier he, too, had thought himself “call[ing] the contending sides of national controversy to end their national division by accepting a common mandate rooted in the Constitution.”
It is no more realistic for us in this case, than it was for him in that, to think that an issue of the sort they both involved–an issue involving life and death, freedom and subjugation–can be “speedily and finally settled” by the Supreme Court, as President James Buchanan in his inaugural address said the issue of slavery in the territories would be. See Inaugural Addresses of the Presidents of the United States, S. Doc. No. 101-10, p. 126 (1989). Quite to the contrary, by foreclosing all democratic outlet for the deep passions this issue arouses, by banishing the issue from the political forum that gives all participants, even the losers, the satisfaction of a fair hearing and an honest fight, by continuing the imposition of a rigid national rule instead of allowing for regional differences, the Court merely prolongs and intensifies the anguish.
We should get out of this area, where we have no right to be, and where we do neither ourselves nor the country any good by remaining.
Justice Antonin Scalia, dissent, Planned Parenthood v. Casey (conclusion)
At the risk of restarting the Catholic torture wars, (No Don, for the love of God, no!) I would note that there is one Republican candidate running for President who is against torture:
One year after a bracing Senate report on post-9/11 CIA interrogation practices led Congress to ban waterboarding and other forms of torture, the leading Republican presidential candidates are talking like it’s 2002 all over again.
With one exception: Going against the GOP’s rhetorical grain is Trump’s main rival for the party’s nomination, Ted Cruz. “Torture is wrong, unambiguously. Period. The end,” the Texas senator said in December 2014. Cruz, whose own father was tortured in Cuba, reaffirmed that position last month, saying that “America does not need torture to protect ourselves.”
I assume that Mark Shea, and the denizens of the Catholic Left, will now be falling over themselves to endorse the pro-life Ted Cruz who is also anti-torture. “Crickets chirp.”
That was my first reaction when I read Dole’s comment blasting Cruz:
“I question his allegiance to the party,” Mr. Dole said of Mr. Cruz. “I don’t know how often you’ve heard him say the word ‘Republican’ — not very often.” Instead, Mr. Cruz uses the word “conservative,” Mr. Dole said, before offering up a different word for Mr. Cruz: “extremist.”…
“If he’s the nominee, we’re going to have wholesale losses in Congress and state offices and governors and legislatures,” said Mr. Dole, who served in the House and Senate for 35 years and won the Iowa caucuses twice. He described Mr. Cruz as having falsely “convinced the Iowa voters that he’s kind of a mainstream conservative.”
Dutch men in miniskirts protesting the Cologne New Year’s Eve attacks on women by Islamic “refugees”. With such defenders every European woman should invest in a firearm and learn how to use it. Of course in many European countries the law abiding populations are disarmed by the same governments importing the “refugees” from Islamic lands. In the West we are led by idiots due to the fact that mass idiocy is the most effective mass political movement in the West.