Conquering Rome: Well Why Not?

Christians Beheaded

Ho hum, ISIS beheads 21 Christians for their faith and says that they are going to conquer Rome.  The response of the West?  You guessed it!  Words! Ed Morrissey of Hot Air brings us the details:

 

 

 

Call this a contrast of leadership. In a meeting today with a delegation from the Church of Scotland, who traveled to the Vatican on an ecumenical visit, Pope Francis decried the slaughter of 21 Coptic Christians from Egypt by Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).  Speaking in his native Spanish, the pontiff  used the ecumenical audience of Presbyterians to declare that the Copts were martyred for their faith — the faith of all Christians. They died “only because they confessed Christ,” Pope Francis emphasized, and their “testimony cries out to be heard”:

I would now like to turn to my native tongue to express feelings of profound sorrow. Today I read about the execution of those twenty-one or twenty-two Coptic Christians. Their only words were: “Jesus, help me!”. They were killed simply for the fact that they were Christians. You, my brother, in your words referred to what is happening in the land of Jesus. The blood of our Christian brothers and sisters is a testimony which cries out to be heard. It makes no difference whether they be Catholics, Orthodox, Copts or Protestants. They are Christians! Their blood is one and the same. Their blood confesses Christ. As we recall these brothers and sisters who died only because they confessed Christ, I ask that we encourage each another to go forward with this ecumenism which is giving us strength, the ecumenism of blood. The martyrs belong to all Christians.

Now, the point that the 21 men were beheaded for their faith isn’t exactly a subtlety in the ISIS propaganda video. The video title calls it “A Message Signed with Blood to the Nation of the Cross.” After beheading the Coptic Christian hostages, the Islamist terror leader threatens to “conquer Rome”:

After the ISIS leader finishes speaking, his fellow terrorists then commence the beheading of the 21 Egyptian Christians. “And we will conquer Rome, by Allah’s permission, the promise of our Prophet, peace be upon him,” The militant leader says after his comrades slaughter the Christian hostages.

Get the point? Most did, but not so much the White House. In the statement released yesterday after the video emerged, the Obama administration declared its outrage over the murder of … “Egyptian citizens” (via Charlie Spiering and Jeryl Bier, emphases mine): Continue reading

PopeWatch: Contradictions

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Rorate Caeli has a fascinating interview of Sandro Magister on Pope Francis which took place on November 14, last year

 

This year Sandro Magister celebrates 40 years as a Vatican journalist. His first articles in  L’Espresso in fact, date back to 1974.  And today, from those columns and also from the site of the weekly magazine, he still continues to report Vatican and Church news, everything very well-documented without bowing down to anyone.

Born in 1943, a native of Busto Arsizio, with degrees in Philosophy and Theology from the “Cattolica”, Magister has followed many Roman pontiffs. His articles regarding the present Pontiff, Pope Francis, are distinct from the mainstream Vatican journalists, unhesitatingly noting contradictions.  
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Question: Magister, Pope Bergoglio, has been basking in worldwide success these past months, but some of his decisions have given pause for thought. For example, he has presented himself as Bishop of Rome but at the Synod for the Family, he evoked the Codes of Canon Law confirming Petrine power.
R: It’s true. He did that in his closing speech.
Q: He outlined a shared and open vision in the governing Church, yet he appointed an outside commissioner with rather tough methods to the Franciscans of the Immaculate and also de facto put a bridle on the bishops conferences.
R: Some, like the Italian one, have effectively been destroyed.

[CONTRADICTIONS ARE INHERENT TO BERGOGLIO’S CHARACTER]


Q: When speaking to the popular movements he seemed to echo some of Tony Negri’s analyses on work, as you wrote on the blog Settimo Cielo. But then he accepted the “layoff” of 500 workers, among them, calligraphers, painters and printers of which the Office of Papal Charities decided it had no more use for.

R: In fact that incident is a bit jarring…
Q: …as jarring as his harsh ultra-libertarian positions on justice and prisons by having the ex-nuncio to the Dominican Republic jailed in advance of judgment on accusations of pedophilia.
R: That’s right.
Q: So, you have been a vaticanist for a long time, what do you think of all this?
R: That there are contradictions inherent in the character of Jorge Bergoglio. This is based on observations of valid evidence over many months.
Q: What conclusions have you come to?
R: Throughout his life he has been a person  who has acted on different fronts contemporarily and does the same thing now as Pontiff;  he leaves passages open, and on first reading, there are many contradictions. Anyway, those you mentioned are not the only ones.
 
[VERY TALKATIVE, BUT SILENT WHEN IT COULD MATTER]

Q: Tell us about some others…

R: He is a very talkative Pope and  has  telephoned and approached all different kinds of people both near and far, but has been silent about the Asia Bibi case.
Q: The Pakistani lady who has been in prison a long time, condemned to death for apostasy…
R: Exactly. Pope Francis has not uttered a word about her. The same goes for the kidnapped Nigerian girls and that unbelievable act of a few days ago in Pakistan when a Christian married couple were burnt to death in a furnace.

 
[POPE ORGANIZED THE SYNOD FROM START TO FINISH]
Q: These are stories connected to relations with Islam, which we’ll return to later. Some are beginning to define these contradictions as “Jesuitism” in the sense of a ‘multi-way of thinking’.
R: This is a disparaging and unacceptable estimation, even if it’s true that Jesuit spirituality historically has shown itself able to adapt to the most diverse situations, at times even contradictory among themselves.

Q: …as the organization of the recent Synod appeared contradictory…
R: An organization precisely calculated by the Pope, not left to chance as was lead to believe; there were other contradictory elements as well.

 
[POPE’S DEBATE ON COMMUNION FOR REMARRIED TOUCHES VERY FOUNDATION OF THE CHURCH]
Q: For example?
R: Bergoglio has said repeatedly that he didn’t want to make compromises with doctrine, that he was with the tradition of the Church. But then, he opened discussions, like the ones on Communion for the divorced and remarried, which effectively touch the very foundations of the Church.
Q: Why?
R: Because it is inevitable that Communion for  the divorced and  remarried will result in the acceptance of second-marriages, and so to the dissolution of the sacramental bond of matrimony.

 
[BEWILDERMENT WITH BERGOGLIO NOT LIMITED TO TRADITIONALISTS]
Q: I’m not a vaticanist, but the sense from the outside is that bewilderment is growing and not only from the hierarchy. What’s more, also in sectors you would certainly not define as traditionalist…
R: This is undeniable. We have leaders in prominent positions, not Lefebvrians, who are making this clear, even if they don’t express it in drastic and antagonistic terms. Not even Cardinal Burke, recently removed from his position as  the ex-Prefect of the Apostolic Segnatura, did so, because there isn’t a prejudicially hostile tendency against the Pontiff. Certainly there are evident manifestations of uneasiness.

 
[THE UNDERMINING OF BISHOPS IN AMERICA AND ITALY]
Q: What about an example?
R: Take for example the Episcopate in the United States, that is, the bishops of one of the most numerous Catholic populations in the world. In recent years, that Episcopal Conference expressed a coherent and combative line in the public arena, even regarding certain decisions by Barack Obama on ethical issues. A line shared by many prominent prelates. A collective, more than the sum of singles, a management team, we could say…
Q: And so the Americans?
R: They are somewhat uneasy. The Cardinals and Archbishops, like Timothy Dolan from New York, Patrick O’ Malley from Boston, José Gomez from Los Angeles or Charles Chaput from Philadelphia, are all uneasy. This is the episcopate that Burke himself comes from and is certainly not restricted to the marginal traditional circuits, but continues to be part of one of the most solid national Churches.
Q: And also the Italian Episcopal Conference as you said before, appears to be a bit in difficulty.
R: Yes, there are many difficulties in trying to keep up with this Pope. The President, Angelo Bagnasco seems to be the one in most difficulty.
Q: Also since his successor Archbishop of Perugia, Gualtiero Bassetti has already been indicated. He was made a Cardinal by Bergoglio.
R: But, as far I know also Bassetti is among the Italian bishops who are uneasy.

 
 
[IT WAS THE POPE’S DECISION TO USE KASPER TO OPEN HOSTILITIES]
Q: Among the Italians, the most explicit were perhaps the Milanese, Angelo Scola and the Bolognese, Carlo Caffarra.

R: Yes, they were with their  interventions before and during the Synod. But it was all inevitable considering the Pope’s decision to assign the opening of the discussions to Cardinal Walter Kasper, and so this basically was the start of the hostilities .
Q: Why?
R: Because Kasper is proposing again today exactly the same theses defeated in 1993 by John Paul II and Joseph Ratzinger, the latter being the Prefect of the Holy Office at the time.


 
[POPE ACTUALLY SCOLDS CONSERVATIVES, NOT PROGRESSIVES]
Q: Yes, the Pope launched Kasper, he made Abp. Bruno Forte special Secretary to the Synod and who  carried weight during the work itself, so much so as to provoke reactions from some Synod fathers. But then, finally, Francis intervened scolding both sides – almost like an old Christian Democrat against opposite extremisms.

R: It’s another recurring practice of this Pontificate: reprimands to one side and the other. However, if we want to make an inventory, the scoldings aimed at the traditionalists, the legalists and the rigid defenders of doctrine appear to be much more numerous. On the other hand, whenever he has something to say to the progressives you never understand who he is really referring to.
Go here to read the rest.  The main take away from the interview is that if you are confused by the Pope join the club.  1 Corinthians 14:8 comes to mind:  For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle ?   At best the confusion caused by the Pope is unintentional.  At worst, the Pope intends the confusion he sows as a feature, not a bug.

Continue reading

The University of Scranton: Reclaiming its Catholic and Jesuit heritage…

 

The University of Scranton’s President, the Reverend Kevin P. Quinn, S.J., has announced plans to terminate the institution’s health insurance coverage of all abortions.

Since the 1990s, the University’s healthcare policy allowed for abortion in cases of rape, incest, and when the life of the mother was endangered by a pregnancy. This policy was implemented so as to comply with the limits of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania law for traditional insurance plans.

However, that was then and this is now.

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In his letter to the campus, Fr. Quinn  stated that the coverage of any abortion is inconsistent with the University’s Roman Catholic faith:

…the moral teaching of the Church on abortion is unequivocal. Circumstances, “however serious or tragic, can never justify the deliberate killing of an innocent human being,” and “[n]o one more absolutely innocent could be imagined” than the unborn child. (Evangelium Vitae, no. 58)

Why the dramatic change in policy?

The University of Scranton is now self-insured, meaning  that “we can, and therefore must, offer insurance plans that are free of all abortion coverage,” according to Fr. Quinn.

Aware of the problems this change in healthcare policy will likely provoke–in particular, with the faculty union because the University’s contract with the union will need to be adjusted–Fr. Quinn wrote an eloquent, proactive defense:

…fidelity to our mission as a Catholic and Jesuit institution is the abiding theme of our history, regardless of the times and trials.

Remaining faithful to our identity as a Catholic institution calls us to serve the world in unique and inspiring ways. It has also, over the years, led the University to adapt its institutional practices to ensure harmony with the moral teachings of the Catholic Church….

Would that all of the presidents of the nation’s Catholic universities and colleges experienced a similar conversion or, at least, learned that it is possible to overcome their timidity, defend Church teaching at their institutions, and tred where angels fear!

Fr. Quinn’s defense of Church teaching raises substantive questions:

  1. Should not what is unique about a Catholic institution of higher education–its “value added”–be its role in integrating faith and reason, first, by propagating the Catholic faith and its values and, second, building upon that foundation? After all, shouldn’t one know what one is critiquing before critiquing it?
  2. Why ever would anyone pay tuition to attend a Catholic university or college in order to be strategically de-Catholicized? Aren’t there already enough officially secular-humanist institutions of public higher education available in the United States?

Kudos to Fr. Quinn and the University of Scranton! May his leadership inspire his colleagues in U.S. Catholic higher education to tred where they’d rather not…by becoming self-insured and, then, ending all abortion coverage as part of their healthcare policies.

 

 

To read Fr. Quinn’s letter, click on the following link:
http://www.scranton.edu/about/presidents-office/emails/letters/2015/our-mission-healthcare.html

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

PopeWatch: Rude Shepherd

 

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An interesting and completely wrongheaded article in Catholic Herald by Father Raymond de Souza:

 

What was more striking was the Holy Father’s denunciation of a particular woman who was expecting her eighth child, having had seven caesarian deliveries previously. Twice in the press conference Pope Francis said that, upon meeting her at a Roman parish, he had rebuked her for being irresponsible. He gave enough information that it would be easy to discover her identity. Her family and fellow parishioners certainly all know that she has been denounced by the Holy Father as irresponsible for conceiving her eighth child. The child, too, will grow up knowing what Pope Francis said.

Why would the Holy Father go out of his way to denounce a particular woman? It is not the first time he has done so. Last February, at his meeting with the priests of Rome, he criticised a specific priest in the Holy See’s diplomatic service, then at the nunciature to Italy. In April, an Argentine woman in an invalid marriage said that the Holy Father told her to ignore the instructions of her parish priest in regard to not receiving Holy Communion. As the woman’s name was known, everyone in the parish knew that their pastor had been corrected by the Pope.

Francis may be giving an answer to a question I have had since I was ordained more than a decade ago. I have often asked brother priests where in our pastoral ministry we imitate the denunciations – “brood of vipers”, “whited sepulchres”, “blind guides” and “hypocrites” – that the Lord Jesus used. Where do we obey His command to shake the dust off our feet at those who refuse to accept the Gospel?

In my own ministry, it would be very difficult to provide examples of how I have done what Jesus did, or commanded His Apostles to do. Jesus gives us different models of pastoral ministry. The dominant one would be that of the good shepherd who goes out in search of the lost, the friend to the afflicted and ostracised, the healer of the sick and the absolver of sins.

Yet that is not the only model given to us. It is just the only one that seminarians are trained to provide, and the only one that priests – myself included – tend to offer. Very few of us imitate the fullness of what Jesus did, and what the Apostles did in imitation of Him. Pope Francis is not like that. Rare is the daily homily in which he does not offer a pointed criticism of how some Christians are failing to live authentic lives of discipleship. In his principal magisterial document to date, Evangelii Gaudium, the denunciations were so numerous that commentators began to compile lists of them.

The Holy Father did the same in his Christmas greetings to his colleagues in the Roman Curia last December, composing a catalogue of their spiritual diseases and failings. Many of those in the room found it rude. Perhaps so, but no more rude than how Jesus spoke to the “curial officials” of His day, the Pharisees and scribes.

Is Pope Francis offering us a new model of how to be pastors, only slightly less quick with a lambasting word than with a loving one? Perhaps. It seems to me that the Holy Father is able to speak so harshly and so often precisely because he so transparently lives out the dominant model of Christian pastoral ministry, that of the good shepherd, the binder of wounds. Continue reading

Theodore Roosevelt: A Force of Nature

Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those timid spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.

Theodore Roosevelt

 

I have never liked Presidents’ Day.  Why celebrate all presidents when only a select few of them, like Washington and Lincoln, deserve to be celebrated?   Officially the date is still the commemoration of George Washington’s birthday, which actually won’t occur until February 22.  One of the few presidents worthy to be mentioned in the same breath as Washington and Lincoln is Theodore Roosevelt, and today we will look at his truly remarkable life.

I love Roosevelt as a man. He was always optimistic and led life at the charge. Whatever he did, he did with explosive energy. He was never half-hearted about anything. He was a good family man and a good husband. He loved God, his country and his family, and genuinely seemed to like most people who came into contact with him. As one of his enemies said, “Someone would have to hate him a lot, not to like him a little.”

In this look at his life we will list some of TR’s accomplishments, but I do not think that gets to the heart of the matter. Most presidents are smaller than their great office. A precious few, Washington and Lincoln for example, loom larger than the office. TR was in this class. The phrase bully-pulpit came about to describe how TR used the presidency as a giant mega-phone to get his views across to the American people and persuade them. He had a deep patriotism and a belief in the greatness of this country that resonated with the country. Some presidents debase us and some ennoble us, and none were better at ennobling us than TR. He understood that life is a grand adventure. Sometimes it is a hard adventure and sometimes a joyous adventure, but always an adventure. TR imparted this sense of wonder and grandeur to many of his contemporaries.

The complexity of TR makes writing even  a brief biography of him a challenge: scholar, historian, writer, naturalist, legislator, rancher, cowboy, hunter,  civil service commissioner, police commissioner, soldier, governor, vice-president, president, daredevil, adventurer, explorer, etc. He combined about a dozen lives into sixty brief years. Continue reading

Lego Luther

Leggo Luther

 

I don’t know who is more horrified by this,  Martin Luther or I:

Playmobil has found a new best-selling figurine in the unlikely character of the 16th century Protestant reformer Martin Luther.

Continue reading

Bear Growls: Michael Voris

 

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Initiating a new series.  I have been greatly enjoying the commentary at Saint Corbinan’s Bear.  Whenever I relay to the readers of TAC some of these, I will do so under the rubric Bear Growls.  The Bear has turned his attention to Michael Voris and his hear no evil, see no evil and speak no evil policy in regard to Pope Francis:

Here it is in a nutshell: Michael  Voris will expose, criticize and ridicule any bishop of the Catholic Church who fails to adhere to his own conservative sensibilities. That is mostly what his flagship program, The Vortex, does, day after day. Michael Voris cannot stand the “Church of Nice,” (i.e. ordinary Novus Ordo parishes) nor the weak, compliant and corrupt bishops who lead them. However, one thing Michael Voris can’t stand is laying any mistake or misdeed at the feet of the Pope.

Hence we have Christine Niles of CMTV saying at least some forms of criticism of the Pope were “just unacceptable.” Michael Voris interjects an “amen.”

Michael Voris is the furthermost right of legitimate Catholicism. Everyone to the left is despised as the “Church of Nice,” and everyone to the right is dismissed as reactionaries.

It is very narrow spectrum of opinion, if you think about it!

Now, Michael Voris and the rest at CMTV know the problems with Pope Francis as well as anyone. They admit (albeit in a sort of hypothetical way) all the problems we talk about concretely here at SCB. So it isn’t that they are fans of Francis (as far as the Bear can tell), or do not cringe at his mistakes.

The ostensible reason for Michael Voris and his people to ignore Pope Francis is that if media powerhouses like CMTV, or The Remnant, start pecking at the Pope, in no time people will desert the Church for more appealing havens, such as SSPX, whom they dismiss as “schismatic.”

Mr. Voris also characterized the Catholic blogosphere by putting both hands by his head and making rapid “talking gestures” while babbling — apparently suggesting ill-informed chatter by hysterical malcontents.

Mr. Voris was quick to point out that the Pope could never err in doctrinal matters, other people do not understand infallibility, and the Pope can entertain and even express wrong ideas on a human level.

Fair enough. But the answer to that is: Mr. Voris, with all due respect, where have you been the last fifty years? Has it been changes in doctrine that have all but destroyed the Church? Or has it been everything but doctrine that has undermined our worship, polluted Catholic culture, and confused the faithful? The Pope does not have to infallibly change doctrine to do mischief! Indeed, why would he, when he can use “gradualism,” and “compassion” to change the implications of existing doctrine until the same words mean the opposite?

The Bear isn’t sure where Mr. Voris is coming from with regard to the Pope. The risk of driving people to SSPX seems small to the Bear.

But to pretend that the Pope cannot harm the Church so long as he does not exercise his infallibility is ludicrous. If adulterers are welcomed to the communion line, one may be sure it will not have been because any doctrine has been changed. Indeed, the Church will take pains to explain that nothing has really changed, but our times demand an enlargement of compassion, not following the letter of the law in some picky way that doesn’t meet human needs.

One supposes Michael Voris and Church Militant TV will pass over all that in silence, unless they can blame the Bishop of Poughkeepsie, instead of the Bishop of Rome.

The irony of what you are reading right now is that the Bear isn’t what you would call a “traditionalist,” not in the way traditionalists would recognize, anyway. He doesn’t think Francis is not really the Pope, and can personally take or leave the Latin Mass. He tells everyone at least once a week to “nail your foot to the floor in front of your favorite pew and die there.”

But to adopt a policy of ignoring Pope Francis short of him infallibly declaring the Moon to be made of green cheese is unsupportable in a Western institution. If God wanted robots blindly obeying the big cheese in every tiny detail, no matter how ridiculous or harmful, He would have not a pope in Rome, but an imam, and there would be a great big mosque where St. Peter’s sits, around which we would all deliriously orbit. Continue reading

The Caine Mutiny: A Review

(I originally posted this in 2009 when the blog readership was much smaller.  I posted this again in 2013, but the scene after the court-martial was not online.  That pivotal scene is now available, so I am reposting this with the scene include in the review.  The Caine Mutiny has always been one of my favorite films in that it examines two themes, the law and military service, that have ever fascinated me.)

For my sins, perhaps, I have spent my career as an attorney.  Over the past 33 years I’ve done a fair number of trials, both bench and jury, and I am always on the lookout for good depictions of trials in films, and one of the best is The Caine Mutiny.  Based on the novel of the same name by Herman Wouk,  who served in the Navy as an officer in the Pacific during World War II, the movie addresses the question of what should, and should not, be done in a military organization when the man at the top of the chain of command is no longer in his right mind.

 

The cast is top notch.  Humphrey Bogart, an enlisted man in the Navy during WWI and a member of the Naval Reserve, he tried to enlist again in the Navy after Pearl Harbor but was turned down because of his age, gives the performance of his career as Lieutenant Commander Philip Francis Queeg, the captain of the Caine.  In the hands of a lesser actor Queeg could easily have become merely a two-dimensional madman.  Bogart instead infuses Queeg with pathos and demonstrates to the audience that this is a good man who sadly is no longer responsible mentally for his actions.  Van Johnson delivers his usual workmanlike job as Lieutenant Stephen Maryk, the “exec” of the Caine, a career officer who does his best to remain loyal to an obviously disturbed CO, while also attempting to protect the crew of the Caine  from Queeg’s increasingly erratic behavior.  Robert Francis, as Ensign Willis Seward Keith, is the viewpoint character, too young and inexperienced to make his own judgment he relies on Maryk and Lieutenant Keefer.  Fred MacMurray is slime incarnate as Lieutenant Thomas Keefer, a reservist who hates the Navy, spends all his time writing a novel, and eggs Maryk on to take command away from Queeg.  Finally, in a typhoon, reluctantly and only, as he perceives it, to save the ship, Maryk, with the support of Keith, relieves Queeg from command.

In the ensuing court-martial of Maryk and Keith, lawyer Lieutenant Barney Greenwald,  portrayed with panache by Jose Ferrer, reluctantly agrees to defend them. Continue reading

Something Rotten in Denmark and the West

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Coming soon to a city near you?

Police in Copenhagen say they have shot dead a man they believe was behind two deadly attacks in the Danish capital hours earlier.

Police say they killed the man in the Norrebro district after he opened fire on them.

It came after one person was killed and three police officers injured at a free speech debate in a cafe on Saturday.

In the second attack, a Jewish man was killed and two police officers wounded near the city’s main synagogue.

Police say video surveillance suggested the same man carried out both attacks. They do not believe any other people were involved.

“We assume that it’s the same culprit behind both incidents, and we also assume that the culprit that was shot by the police task force… is the person behind both of these assassinations,” Chief Police Inspector Torben Molgaard Jensen told a news conference.

He said police would maintain a high presence in the city.

Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt said it was “a very sad morning” and described the shootings as “a cynical act of terror against Denmark”.

“I am happy and relieved that police have disarmed the alleged perpetrator behind the two shootings,” she said in a statement. “I will continue to encourage everyone to follow police instructions and be vigilant.”

Early on Sunday, police said they had been keeping an address under observation in the district of Norrebro, waiting for the occupant to return.

When he appeared, he noticed the officers, pulled out a gun and opened fire, police said. They returned fire and shot him dead. The incident happened near Norrebro train station. Continue reading

The Press

 

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The twenty-ninth in my ongoing series examining the poetry of Rudyard Kipling. The other posts in the series may be read here, here , here , here, here , here, here, here, here, here, here, here , here, here, here , here, here, here , here, here, here , here, here , here , here, here, here and here.

 

Although he started out his career as an ink-stained member of the Fourth Estate, Kipling had little love for the press of his day, considering journalists to being gossip mongers who always focused on the trivial as they made up their inaccurate stories.  As a celebrity for most of his life, Kipling had many encounters with the press, few of them happy.  In September of 1899, Kipling put his frustrations with the Press into a poem, one of fifty that were lost to History and have recently been discovered: Continue reading

PopeWatch: Memory

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

 

The World Over Live anchor Raymond Arroyo apologized Wednesday for falsely claiming that he had been aboard a ship that was hit by a cannonball during the battle of Lepanto in 1571, EOTT is reporting.

On last Friday night’s broadcast, Arroyo cited “a terrible moment a few centuries back during the Holy League’s war against the Ottoman Empire when the ship I was traveling aboard began to sink after being hit by a cannonball. I was rescued, surrounded and kept alive by two ships from the Papal States.”

This week, several historians told EOTT that Arroyo had not been in a shipwreck, but that he had arrived centuries later.

On Wednesday, Arroyo conceded that he was not aboard the cannonballed ship, but he told reporters that he did not intentionally make the mistake.

“I would not have chosen to make this mistake,” Arroyo said. “I don’t know what screwed up in my mind that caused me to conflate one century with another. But I believe it began years ago when I was reading a book about the battle. I remember that I was sitting in the jacuzzi at the time and was surrounded by water, very much like the ships were doing during the battle. It was also hot in there, like some of the ships that caught fire that bloody day. I simply misremembered the event. I apologize to the entire fleet of the Holy League, and in particular, Don John of Austria and Miguel de Cervantes.” Continue reading

Carmina Burana

 

 

Something for the weekend.  Carmina Burana by Carl Orff.  Carmina Burana , literally “Songs from Beuern” (“Beuern” is short for Benediktbeuern) is the name given to a manuscript of some 254 poems and texts found at the Bendictine monastery in Benediktbeuern, Bavaria in 1803.  The poems and texts were written by students and clergy in the eleventh-thirteenth century.  Often off-color, they were typical of the type of ephemeral pieces that scholars wrote to blow off steam and amuse themselves, usually destroyed and forgotten soon after written.    Carl Orff set twenty-four of the poems to music in 1935 and the immortal cantata Carmina Burana  came into the world.  Its dramatic music has been used endlessly in films, with most non Latin or German speakers not having a clue what it is about, and thus has imprinted itself in the minds of a wide audience.  My favorite rendition is below: Continue reading

Lepanto is Ready for Its Close Up Mr. DeMille

 

 

Mark Judge has advised Hollywood that a movie on the battle of Lepanto would make a ton of money.  Go here to read his post.  Christopher Johnson, a non-Catholic who has taken up the cudgels so frequently for the Church that I have named him Defender of the Faith, dreads what Hollywood would do with it.

Mark Judge dreams big dreams:

Memo to Hollywood: if you want to replicate the blockbuster success of American Sniper, make a film about Lepanto.

The Battle of Lepanto was fought on October 7, 1571, in the Gulf of Lepanto south of Greece. It was a seminal victory of the Western world turning back Islamic imperialism, which in the 16th century had been spreading west for one hundred years, since the time of Mohammed.

It would make a ton of money.  But I think that Mark is smart enough to know that there is a five-word reason why a Lepanto movie will never see the light of day.  Roman Catholics win.  Muslims lose.

I’ll just be blunt about it: Lepanto would be a film about Islamic imperialism and the attempt by the Christian West to turn it back. It would depict Muslims — not all Muslims, but more than a few — as violent hegemonic oppressors intent on taking over the world.

Yeah, Mark, considering what Hollywood just did to Noah, here’s that pitch meeting.

“Okay, we LOVE the script.  Our tech people tell us that CGI-ing the sea battle itself will be a piece of cake so we’d LOVE to take this project on.  There are just a couple of very MINOR changes we’d like to make.

“What kinds of changes?

“Well, for a start, is it absolutely NECESSARY that the opposing fleet be Muslim?”

“Because…that’s what they…were?”

“I’ll take your word for it but remember, we’ve got foreign markets to consider.  What Muslim country will show this movie?

“What self-respecting Turk is going to pay good money to watch his own fleet getting blown out of the water?  No, we’ve got to lose the Muslim angle.  How about we make the other fleet Protestants?”

“Because Protestantism was barely 50 years old at the time of the battle and didn’t have a fleet.  Why would you even suggest such an absurd…”

“Artistic license.  What say we move the whole thing to land then?  Protestants v. Catholics.”

“Then it wouldn’t be a sea battle, would it?”

Will you work with me here?!!  How about this?  The enemy fleet is filled with Vikings.”

“Great!! Except for the fact that the Viking Era ended roughly 500 years before this battle took place.  Tell you what.  Thanks for your time and we’ll get back to you.” Continue reading

Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Indianapolis

 

It has been said ‘The world loves, not those who would sacrifice themselves for others, if they could find an opportunity, but those who have found one and used it.’ She, our mother, the state, saw the distinction, and applied it to her sons of the sword and gun; and now it is the text of the sermon she means these stones to preach immemorially. In other words, making this matchless structure speak for her, she says: ‘They are my best beloved, who in every instance of danger to the nation, discover a glorious chance to serve their fellow men and dare the chance, though in so doing they suffer and sometimes die.’

General Lew Wallace, speech on the dedication of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Indianapolis in 1902

 

My family and I vacation each year in Indianapolis in August as we attend the GenCon Convention.  A city of approximately 850,000, the state capitol of Indiana is a very livable city where it is still possible to park on the street in the major business section.  Indianapolis is filled with monuments and the most striking by far is the Civil War memorial, the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in downtown Indie.  Dedicated in 1902 to Indiana’s silent victors, the Hoosiers who fell in the War, the monument stands 284 feet tall on Monument Circle.  The Monument is huge, taking up an acre of space.  Costing a bit over a half million when built, the estimated cost to build such a structure today is half a billion.

There is an observation deck on top and tourists can either take an elevator or climb the 331 steps.  I recommend the elevator.  Several years ago I climbed the seemingly endless and narrow winding steps with my kids.  Being young teenagers then, they had no trouble.  I was about fifty at the time, and on that muggy day almost killed myself getting to the top! Continue reading

PopeWatch: Down Argentine Way

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

PopeWatch has long believed that the key to understanding Pope Francis is his life in Argentina, and is astonished at how little examination there is of that life.  From Rome has an interesting interview with an Argentinian prosecutor about the Pope:

 

To fill in this lacuna, the From Rome blog is honored to host an exclusive and new interview with a leading Catholic from the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires, Señor Jack Tollers, who has extensive experience in criminology. He is the author of the book, Fr. Leonardo Castellani: an Introduction, available from Smashwords.com.

Here is the text of our unedited interview, which we conduced by email:

____________

Q.1 Can you tell the readers of the From Rome Blog something about yourself, where you are from, what’s your education and professional background?

I’m a middle aged Argentine with an English mother and an Argentine father, born in Buenos Aires, partially educated in England and France. A criminal prosecutor, I have been married for the better part of nearly 40 years, with one of those “bunny-like” families Bergoglio seems to hate so much (fifteen grandchildren and counting).

Q.2 What parts of Argentine have you lived in?

I have lived most of my life in Buenos Aires’ outskirts.

Q.3 When did you first hear the name Jorge Mario Bergolio?

I think that that was in the early eighties when he became the Rector of the “Colegio Máximo”, the Argentine Jesuit’s main college, not far from where I live. In those days a group of us youngsters were very good friends with a local Jesuit priest very much known for his anti-progressive stance. In those days, most Catholics in this country leaned one way or the other. But I remember quite distinctly how this Jesuit told us that this Bergoglio fellow played quite another game, playing the progressive music most of the time, but now and again switching sides to the more conservative band if need be. This was when John Paul II had been recently elected and of course there was quite a lot of “band switching” going on in those days. But Bergoglio did it in a somehow blatant manner that was the talk of those days, all of it underscored by a surprisingly successful career.

Q.4. What did the newspapers say of him when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires?

Bergoglio was very wary of the Press in general, and had few friends among journalists in general. However he was always very much highly touted by “La Nación”, the country’s “serious” newspaper (if you know what I mean), and always openly praised by it’s  foreign correspondent in Rome, one Elisabetta Piqué, who’s 2001 interview of the recently appointed Archbishop was something of a scoop. By 2005 she wrote that Bergoglio had very good chances of being elected Pope, and when Benedict was finally chosen, said that Bergoglio had been the Cardinal’s second favorite. Of course, none of us believed it, not for one second. Now we take her more seriously. But going back to your question, I don’t remember any Argentine newspaper (except “Página 12”, and that for political reasons only) criticizing Bergoglio, ever, on any count (even when same-sex marriage was legally approved in the country: despite the general brouhaha that preceded and ensued, Bergoglio kept to himself in a very who-am-I-to-judge fashion).

Q.5. Do you know any of his family or friends personally?

His family is very small and from quite humble origins (the class question cannot be discarded here, it is quite obvious that Bergoglio resents any mention of his parents or sister). So nobody that I know of has ever known or met anyone of his family. As to friends, he never had them, not old friends, that is to say, friends who have nothing to do with his personal ambitions, his power games, his downright careerism. Not a single Jesuit, not a single priest, not a single friend from old times, shall we say. A quite different story you will hear if you refer to people like Rabbi Abraham Skorka who happens to live with him in Santa Marta, believe it or not.

Q.6. Do the Jesuits in Argentine have or did they at one time have, a reputation for fidelity to the Catholic Faith?

Yes, I suppose so, before Vatican II, Jesuits were generally seen as conservative in a conventional, freezed, deadpan way, I suppose so. Fr Castellani was their enemy and he got into hot water when he decided to confront them in the Forties, long before the Council. He was expelled by these conservative Jesuits who later were to play the liberation-theology game, among other things. But of course, as Louis Bouyer has so frequently pointed out: yesterday’s conservatives are today’s progressives, because they are in the same league, a league in which truth, fidelity and so on are… how shall I put it?, subject to change. But all this is irrelevant: Bergoglio is way over these sort of distinctions, he doesn’t give a fig, he belongs to altogether another cabal.

Q.7 Did he have a reputation for fidelity to Catholic Doctrine, when he was in Argentina?

He certainly did not.
Continue reading

The Church That Makes Satan Shrink In Fear

Saint Michael Vanquishing Satan

 

All I can say is amen to this from Saint Corbinian’s Bear:

 

In 1961, Father Patrick “The Family That Prays Together Stays Together” Peyton led a rosary rally in San Francisco. It drew half a million people to Golden Gate Park and was attended by dignitaries.

What happened in the decades following Fr. Peyton’s rally is the same thing that is happening right now. There’s a precise word for it: evil. “Bitter clingers,” the old men of Vatican II have sunk their cold, yellow talons into the Church, determined to do as much damage as possible before death brings their sorry careers to a welcome close.

When they’re gone, the faithful must pick up whatever remains of their Church — a pitiful remnant, to be sure — and reclaim it. Everything that marks the modern Church must go up in a bonfire of the vanities. Ugly, modern churches must face the wrecking ball. Protestantized Masses must be replaced with the old form. Homosexuality and modernism must be thoroughly rooted out of seminaries. Let’s see the Index of Forbidden Books make a come-back. Demand that Catholic universities be Catholic. Oh the howls will be music to the Bear’s ears! Let’s do a thousand different things to build a fortress Church that does not engage the world in endless, whining “dialogue,” but marches forth to conquer it.

In short, let’s be the Church our enemies think we are, the one that makes Satan shrink in fear. Continue reading

PopeWatch: Selfish Choice

 

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

Pope Francis enraged many of his most ardent fans with these comments:

Speaking Wednesday at his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square, the pontiff put it rather bluntly: “Not having children is a selfish choice.”

“Life rejuvenates and brings multiplying energy: It enriches, it does not impoverish,” said Francis, speaking during the audience on the role of children in the family.

“A society stingy in generation, that does not love to surround itself in children, that considers them overall a worry, a weight, a risk, is a depressed society,” said the pope.

The pope has been using his general audience in recent weeks to reflect on various roles in the family, leading up to October’s global meeting of Catholic bishops at the Vatican on the issue of contemporary struggles in family life.

Francis made his remarks about the need to have children in a brief aside during his talk Wednesday about the low level of birthrates in European countries.

“Let’s think of many societies that we know here in Europe,” said the pope. “They are depressed societies because they do not want children, they do not have children. The level of birth does not arrive at one percent.”

“Why?” the pontiff asked. “Everyone of us, think and respond.”

“The generation of children has to be responsible, as is taught also in the encyclical Humanae Vitae of Blessed Paul VI,” he continued, referring to the 1968 papal teaching that prohibits use of contraception by Catholics.

“But to have more children cannot become automatically an irresponsible choice,” said Francis. “Not having children is a selfish choice.” Continue reading

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