PopeWatch recalls an episode of the Hogan’s Heroes sitcom from the sixties. Colonel Hogan is attempting to disarm a bomb. He has to cut one of two wires, and if he cuts the wrong wire the bomb will go off. He asks Colonel Klink which wire he would cut, and after Klink chooses a wire he cuts the other one and disarms the bomb. Klink asks Hogan why he asked his advice if he wasn’t going to follow it. Hogan responds that he wasn’t sure he would pick the right wire but he was confident that Klink would pick the wrong one.
PopeWatch views Hans Kung as filling the Klink role when it comes to the Catholic Church. One can be certain that his views in regard to the Church will be wrong. PopeWatch thus read with interest a column written by Kung which appeared in The Tablet:
Church reform is forging ahead. In his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis not only intensifies his criticism of capitalism and the fact that money rules the world, but speaks out clearly in favour of church reform “at all levels”. He specifically advocates structural reforms – namely, decentralisation towards local dioceses and communities, reform of the papal office, upgrading the laity and against excessive clericalism, in favour of a more effective presence of women in the Church, above all in the decision-making bodies. And he comes out equally clearly in favour of ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue, especially with Judaism and Islam.
All this will meet with wide approval far beyond the Catholic Church. His undifferentiated rejection of abortion and women’s ordination will, however, probably provoke criticism. This is where the dogmatic limits of this Pope become apparent. Or is he perhaps under pressure from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and its Prefect, Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller?
In a long guest contribution in Osservatore Romano (23 October 2013), Müller demonstrated his ultra-conservative stance by corroborating the exclusion of remarried divorcees from the sacraments who, unless they live together as brother and sister (!), are ostensibly in a state of mortal sin on account of the sexual character of their relationship.
As Bishop of Regensburg, Müller, as a clerical hardliner who provoked numerous conflicts with parish priests and theologians, lay bodies and the Central Committee of German Catholics, was as controversial and unpopular as his brother bishop at Limburg. That Müller, as a loyal supporter and publisher of his collected works, was nevertheless appointed CDF Prefect by Papa Ratzinger, surprised people less than the fact that Pope Francis confirmed him in office quite so soon.
And worried observers are already asking whether Pope Emeritus Ratzinger is in fact operating as a kind of “shadow Pope” behind the scenes through Archbishop Müller and Georg Gänswein, [Benedict’s] secretary and Prefect of the Papal Household, whom he also promoted to archbishop. One remembers how in 1993 Ratzinger as cardinal whistled back the then-bishops of Freiburg (Oskar Saier), Rottenburg-Stuttgart (Walter Kasper) and Mainz (Karl Lehmann) when they suggested a pragmatic solution for the problem of remarried divorcees. It is revealing that the present debate 20 years later was again triggered by the Archbishop of Freiburg, namely Robert Zollitsch, the president of the German bishops’ conference. It was Zollitsch who ventured a fresh attempt to re-think pastoral practice as far as remarried divorcees are concerned. And Pope Francis? Continue reading
Last week saw the publication of an apostolic exhortation written by Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium. The wide ranging document (over 200 pages long) is self described as “on the proclamation of the gospel in today’s world” and opens:
The joy of the gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. With Christ joy is consistently born anew. In this Exhortation I wish to encourage Christian faithful to embark upon a new chapter of evangelization marked by this joy, while pointing out new paths for the Church’s journey in years to come.
So, naturally, everyone decided it was about economics.
Yes, the document does touch on economics. Page forty-six has the section that generated headlines:
We have created a “throw away” culture which is now spreading. It is no longer simply about exploitation and oppression, but something new. Exclusion ultimately has to do with what it means to be a part of the society in which we live; those excluded are no longer society’s underside or its fringes or its disenfranchised — they are no longer even a part of it. The excluded are not the “exploited” but the outcast, the “leftovers”.
In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and I the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting.
There’s something a bit frustrating about this one section out of a wide-ranging document which addressed everything from the need for a personal discipleship to Christ, to the importance of marriage to how homilies should be written to abortion and the sacredness of unborn life becoming the one passage which people reading news coverage of the exhortation hear about. Continue reading
Ed Morrissey at Hot Air reveals what will come as little surprise to those who have been following this story: the administration did not meet its November 30 deadline to fix the ObamaCare website:
Sloane’s description of the improvement boils down to this — you can go farther into the system before it fails. That’s well before anyone can actually enroll. Yesterday, the White House tried to spin the results by claiming that success was sustaining 50,000 concurrent connections in the database, but that’s only success if that’s all the government mandates Americans to do. And this was on a Sunday, the slowest traffic day of the week.
Of course, the mandate is to actually purchase insurance, and the site’s front end isn’t ready to do that on the heavy scale needed to enroll millions of people in the next 22 days in order to meet the requirement. And that’s just the front end, as the New York Times reminds us. The back end is still mostly missing (via Jeff Dunetz):
Weeks of frantic technical work appear to have made the government’s health care website easier for consumers to use. But that does not mean everyone who signs up for insurance can enroll in a health plan.
The problem is that so-called back end systems, which are supposed to deliver consumer information to insurers, still have not been fixed. And with coverage for many people scheduled to begin in just 30 days, insurers are worried the repairs may not be completed in time.
“Until the enrollment process is working from end to end, many consumers will not be able to enroll in coverage,” said Karen M. Ignagni, president of America’s Health Insurance Plans, a trade group.
The issues are vexing and complex. Some insurers say they have been deluged with phone calls from people who believe they have signed up for a particular health plan, only to find that the company has no record of the enrollment. Others say information they received about new enrollees was inaccurate or incomplete, so they had to track down additional data — a laborious task that would not be feasible if data is missing for tens of thousands of consumers.
In still other cases, insurers said, they have not been told how much of a customer’s premium will be subsidized by the government, so they do not know how much to charge the policyholder.
So where does the “mission accomplished” come from?
This is the administration where the DOJ investigates itself, where the State Department runs an investigation on Benghazi without interviewing the Secretary of State, and the head of the NSA appoints the people on a commission to investigate the NSA, of course they would have the people charged with fixing a failed website grading their own performance.
Healthcare.gov is not fixed from the standpoint of the insurance companies, nor has the security infrastructure been fixed, but that doesn’t stop the Administration from praising itself.
It took 42 months to roll out this turkey, and we’re going to be eating leftovers from the failure for months to come … and that doesn’t even include the damage done to coverage for millions of Americans who liked their plans. Continue reading
Beginning our Advent look at Messianic prophecies for this year, which we began in Advent 2011 and continued last year, the earlier posts of the series may be read here, here, here ,here, here, here, here, here , here , here, and here, we come to Psalm 2:
 Why have the Gentiles raged, and the people devised vain things?
 The kings of the earth stood up, and the princes met together, against the Lord and against his Christ.
 Let us break their bonds asunder: and let us cast away their yoke from us.
 He that dwelleth in heaven shall laugh at them: and the Lord shall deride them.
 Then shall he speak to them in his anger, and trouble them in his rage.
 But I am appointed king by him over Sion his holy mountain, preaching his commandment.
 The Lord hath said to me: Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee.
 Ask of me, and I will give thee the Gentiles for thy inheritance, and the utmost parts of the earth for thy possession.
 Thou shalt rule them with a rod of iron, and shalt break them in pieces like a potter’ s vessel.
 And now, O ye kings, understand: receive instruction, you that judge the earth.
 Serve ye the Lord with fear: and rejoice unto him with trembling.
 Embrace discipline, lest at any time the Lord be angry, and you perish from the just way.
When his wrath shall be kindled in a short time, blessed are all they that trust in him.
Saint Augustine wrote regarding this Psalm: Continue reading
‘Can‘t anybody here play this game?’
As the center of a global institution that includes one-sixth of the human race, one would have thought that the issue of translation of Church documents would have been something that the Vatican would long ago have mastered. Alas no, apparently.
Joe at Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam has been doing yeoman work in attempting to correct the inexcusably sloppy translation from Spanish to English of Evangelii Gaudium. Go here to read all about it. Spanish and English are not minor languages in the Church. One would have thought that the Vatican could easily have translated a Spanish document into English. Apparently such confidence would have been misplaced. Continue reading
I stand in awe of this comment by Instapundit:
MEGAN MCARDLE: A Fight Over Contraception Won’t Help ObamaCare.
I gather that both supporters and opponents of the mandate think the Supreme Court will probably rule that corporations (at least closely held ones such as these two) are going to be granted an exemption from the mandate if they have clear religious objections.
Social media was on fire over this when it happened, and I confess that I am struggling to see why. There was a lot of outraged talk about how corporations aren’t people, of course, but a lot more about employers trying to control their employees’ sex lives, treating women as second-class citizens and so forth. To judge from these reactions, you would think that birth-control pills were a scarce resource that could only legally be obtained through employers. In fact, generic birth-control pills are available for $25 a month through a Costco pharmacy, $50 if you want a brand name.
“But that’s expensive for a young woman on a budget!” you are about to cry. And I am about to answer that it doesn’t get less expensive because an insurer buys it. Regular, predictable expenses such as birth-control pills cannot be defrayed by insurance; they can only be prepaid, with a markup for the insurer’s administrative costs. The extra cost is passed on by the insurers to your employer, and from your employer to you and your fellow workers, either by raising your contribution or lowering the wage they are willing to offer. There’s obviously some cross-subsidy from your fellow employees who don’t use birth control, but overall, there’s no particular reason to force insurers to cover a minor and predictable expense.
The administration didn’t force employers with a religious objection to offer contraception because it made financial or medical sense; they did it because it had great symbolic value to Barack Obama’s political base. And much of that symbolic value seems to actually come from the willingness to coerce people who object to buy the stuff.
Obama, and his supporters, quite clearly take joy in coercing those seen as enemies to do things they find objectionable. It is indicative of a deep psychological disorder. Call it the “smell the glove” presidency. . . Continue reading
If liberalism was a religion, it’s parishes would be the nation’s public schools and its catechism would be the curriculum. Any evidence of their failure would be systematically denied, if only because “What happens in church must stay in church!” or “Who are you to question what we teach?”
Sounds a little bit like the Catholic clergy abuse scandal, no?
Back to the point. A short while back, Allison Benedikt published an article in Slate entitled “If You Send Your Child To A Private School, You Are A Bad Person.” Ms. Benedikt basically argues that parental choice in terms of what school their children should attend is a very bad thing, evidencing not “murder bad” but “pretty bad” parents. She writes:
If every single parent sent every single child to public school, public schools would improve…It could take generations. Your children and grandchildren might get mediocre educations in the meantime, but it will be worth it, for the eventual common good.
What a gem of logic!
- “it could take generations“…(in English) parents should subject the children of this generation to a subpar education that results in high dropout rates and poor tests scores.
- “Your children and grandchildren might get mediocre educations in the meantime“…(in English) education doesn’t really matter in the short run so providing a subpar education in this generation really won’t matter.
- “for the eventual common good“…(in English) we are all in this together, comrades, enduring a little short-term pain for some long-term hopium is a good thing.
Benedikt believes the body politic would do impoverished children a great favor by keeping them trapped in a failed educational system (especially in the nation’s urban areas) if only the body politic would pour all of its children into that system.
That’s nothing more than liberalthink! If the rich get all of the goods, the poor will suffer. So, let’s distribute the suffering equitably by tossing every child into the same failed system. Then, the long-term good will eventually be achieved.
What Ms. Benedikt’s ideology disallows is the fact that per-pupil spending in the nation’s public elementary and secondary schools has increased 18% between 2000 and 2010. Today, there are more teachers, more reading specialists, more social workers, more assistant principals and principal, and yes, more computers.
But, guess what?
For that investment of an additional $1.9+B on the part of 48% of the body politic, standardized test scores have not improved. Except for many of those impoverished students whose parents have taken advantage of various voucher schemes.
When parents are allowed to choose where their children will get the best education–giving the “public” choice–marketplace competition produces better results than a government monopoly.
The Motley Monk wouldn’t ever call Ms. Benedikt “a very bad person” because she believes in the ideology of public education. That would be an illogical, ad hominem argument. Deluded, perhaps, Misguided, perhaps. But, not a “murder bad” or “pretty bad person.”
To read Allison Benedikt’s article in Slate, click on the following link:
To read the NCES report on spending in the nation’s public elementary and secondary schools, click on the following link:
To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, click on the following link:
(I originally posted these sermons back in 2009 when the readership of the blog was quite smaller. Time to do so again. The Anti-Christ would seem at first blush to be a theme for the end of the liturgical year which focuses on the end times and not during Advent. However, Christ came to bring us to salvation and the exact opposite goal is that of the Anti-Christ. Thinking about the Anti-Christ during Advent reminds us that the mission of Christ is ongoing and that at Advent we celebrate the beginning of that mission, not as a mere historical event that occurred two millennia ago, but an on-going reality.}
Prior to his conversion to Catholicism, Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman preached in 1835 a series of Advent Sermons on the Anti-Christ. I have always found them extremely intriguing, and I am going to present them on each of the Sundays in Advent this year.
In this first sermon Newman gives us an overview of the Anti-Christ and the time of his appearance. We see in this sermon Newman’s total command of history and how he uses this knowledge to draw out the implications of the few mentions of the Anti-Christ in Scripture. Newman intellectually was always first and foremost a historian of the highest order and he puts this talent to good and instructive use in this sermon. When Newman converted the Church gained one of the finest intellects of the Nineteenth Century or any century for that matter. Much of Newman’s work concerned the working out of God’s plan for salvation through human history, and his examination of the Anti-Christ places that mysterious part of revelation into that plan. Continue reading
The day before Thanksgiving I prayed for a miracle and my prayer was granted. The miracle was a small one, with meaning only to my immediate family, but a miracle I am certain it was. As all faithful readers of this blog know, my prayer was not granted because of any holiness on my part, but because, due to the infinite mercy of God and the intercession of the Virgin Mary, and perhaps also due to the intercession I suspect of my son Larry, even the prayers of a sinful lawyer will gain a hearing in the court of Heaven. I have been too cavalier in my attitude toward prayer and that is going to change.
Please put your prayer requests in the comboxes below. Remember that God hears each of our prayers even, and perhaps especially, when to our eyes we do not gain what we request.