PopeWatch: Amoris Laetitia-the Lean Version-Part 6




Part 6 of our stripped down look at Amoris Laetitia with some commentary by PopeWatch:

151.  Sexuality is only enhanced by the training of passions that go on in a good marriage.

152.  Erotic love in marriage is a gift from God that enhances the relationship of husband and wife.

153.  Sexuality is poisoned by the mentality of use and discard.  (“I’m going to trade in a forty for two twenties.”)

154.  The physical act of sex in marriage unaccompanied  by love can become a source of misery and manipulation.

155.  Sex as a goal by itself within marriage is destructive of the marriage unless it is accompanied by love.

156.  The Bible rejects every form of sexual submission.  (The Pope does his best to make the Biblical statements on marriage mesh with 21rst Century ideas of equality of the sexes.  The Sacred Authors of course weren’t interested in egalitarianism, one of the central shibboleths of our time, but rather in giving instructions for living a Christian life that would endure in the face of changing societal fads and intellectual prejudices.)

157.  Sexuality is an essential element of a marriage.

158.  A nod to Christian virgins.

159.  Virginity is a form of love and a foreshadowing of how we will live in Heaven, where people are not married or given in marriage.

160.  No basis for playing marriage off against virginity in determining which is more pleasing to God.

161.  Virginity and marriage are complementary in highlighting different aspects of the Christian message.

162.  Celibacy can risk becoming a comfortable single life, while married couples can display heroic virtues.  (Several priests that I have talked to over the years have rejoiced that Catholic parishioners  are unable to subject them to the indignity of trying to set them up with a date with single women in the parish, something that single Protestant ministers are frequently subject to, often with darkly humorous outcomes.) Continue reading

Quotes Suitable for Framing: Milton Friedman


There are four ways in which you can spend money. You can spend your own money on yourself. When you do that, why then you really watch out what you’re doing, and you try to get the most for your money. Then you can spend your own money on somebody else. For example, I buy a birthday present for someone. Well, then I’m not so careful about the content of the present, but I’m very careful about the cost. Then, I can spend somebody else’s money on myself. And if I spend somebody else’s money on myself, then I’m sure going to have a good lunch! Finally, I can spend somebody else’s money on somebody else. And if I spend somebody else’s money on somebody else, I’m not concerned about how much it is, and I’m not concerned about what I get. And that’s government. And that’s close to 40% of our national income.

Milton Friedman, 2004

After Tax


Death and taxes and childbirth! There’s never any convenient time for any of them!

Scarlet O’Hara, Gone With the Wind

The Year Of the Missing Federal Income Tax

1942 was the year of the 1942 revenue bill, perhaps the largest tax increase in American history.  Thirteen million more Americans would find themselves paying federal income tax.  This was out of a population of 130,000,000 and where, prior to the War, most families had only the father of the family as a breadwinner.  Only the War made such a radical expansion of the federal income tax politically feasible.  In 1943 wage withholding of taxes would begin.  The problem was that all of these new federal taxpayers would be trying to meet their 1942 tax obligations as their checks were being subject to federal income tax withholding, a train wreck in the making.  Beardsley Ruml, chairman of the New York Federal Reserve Bank and chairman of R.H. Macy and Co. hit upon an ingenious solution:  forgive the federal income tax owed for 1942!  Ruml compared it to daylight savings time, moving”the tax clock forward, and cost the Treasury nothing until Judgment Day.  One  wag completed the thought that on Judgment Day, “no one will give a damn.”  President Roosevelt was reluctant, viewing the forgiveness as a windfall to wealthy Americans used to paying income tax, but the idea was overwhelmingly, unsurprisingly popular in Congress and with the American people, and the tax debt for 1942 was duly forgiven.

The Pope’s Candidate

separated at birth



Well, Bernie Sanders, pro-abortion Senator from the Peoples Republic of Vermont,  has had his moment at the Vatican, courtesy of the fact that he and the Pope both embrace the pernicious superstition known as socialism:


Someone was listening. On Friday, Mr. Sanders was scheduled to fly to Rome to address the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, in effect the Vatican’s in-house think tank on social, economic and environmental issues.

“We invited the candidate who cites the pope the most in his campaign, and that is Senator Bernie Sanders,” said Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, the academy’s chancellor.

Monsignor Sánchez Sorondo, an Argentine who is close to the pope, said that Mr. Sanders’s focus on climate change and his attention to poor people on the margins of society were “very analogous to that of the pope.” He said that made the Vermont senator an obvious person to invite to Friday’s conference, which celebrates the 25th anniversary of an encyclical by Pope John Paul II about the potential pitfalls of the market economy after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

In his speech Sanders wrapped his socialist politics in a patina of Catholicism, something highly congenial to the powers that be at the Vatican:

But as both Pope John Paul II and Pope Francis have warned us and the world, the consequences have been even direr than the disastrous effects of financial bubbles and falling living standards of working-class families. Our very soul as a nation has suffered as the public lost faith in political and social institutions. As Pope Francis has stated: “Man is not in charge today, money is in charge, money rules.” And the Pope has also stated: “We have created new idols. The worship of the golden calf of old has found a new and heartless image in the cult of money and the dictatorship of an economy which is faceless and lacking any truly humane goal.”

And further: “While the income of a minority is increasing exponentially, that of the majority is crumbling. This imbalance results from ideologies which uphold the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation, and thus deny the right of control to States, which are themselves charged with providing for the common good.”

Pope Francis has called on the world to say: “No to a financial system that rules rather than serves” in Evangeli Gaudium. And he called upon financial executives and political leaders to pursue financial reform that is informed by ethical considerations. He stated plainly and powerfully that the role of wealth and resources in a moral economy must be that of servant, not master.




Go here to read the rest.  After giving this speech, Sanders had a brief meeting with the Pope.  The Pope, with his usual charm, attacked critics who thought it political that he would meet with a presidential candidate during a presidential election year:

Pope Francis says a brief meeting with Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders just “good manners” and not political interference.

They met early in the lobby of the Pope’s residence before he left to meet migrants on the Greek island of Lesbos.

“If anyone thinks that greeting someone is getting involved in politics, I recommend that he look for a psychiatrist,” Pope Francis added.


Like much that has gone on in this Vatican, this type of overt involvement by a Pope in an American presidential election is unprecedented.  It is also hilarious as the economic policies embraced by Sanders, like those of the Pope, would only produce disaster if he managed to get elected.  It is not an accident that the State which sends him to Washington has a very poor economic outlook: Continue reading

Bear Growls: Saint Skank?



Our bruin friend at Saint Corbinian’s Bear has a bone to pick with the Pope and his use of a famous passage in scripture:


Fortified by a cheap-vodka martini and ten milligrams of diazepam (note to self: do NOT run out of tranquilizer darts before tackling another episode of Amoris Laetitia) let’s do one more briefly. Paragraph 38:

Yet we have often been on the defensive, wasting pastoral energy on denouncing a decadent world without being proactive in proposing ways of finding true happiness. Many people feel that the Church’s message on marriage and the family does not clearly reflect the preaching and attitudes of Jesus, who set forth a demanding ideal yet never failed to show compassion and closeness to the frailty of individuals like the Samaritan woman or the woman caught in adultery. 

By now you know how to play this game at home. The good news is that marriage is doing okay in Africa. The bad news is that everywhere else we’ve been “wasting pastoral energy” (the Bear suspects this is a euphemism for something not mentioned in polite company, but isn’t sure). Anyway, for the slow learners, on one hand we have the terrible tragedy of being on the defensive, and wasting our precious bodily fluids, or whatever, and, on the other hand, “finding true happiness.” (See Gospel according to Disney.)

Helen Keller said “true happiness is found in fidelity to a noble purpose.” Pope Francis says true happiness is found in trading up.

Welcome to the new patroness of marriage, St. Skank. Yeah, the Bear knows Jesus forgave her and he’s okay with that, but when you make it into the Bible as “the woman caught in adultery,” people aren’t going to remember you for your wonderful goat sausage recipe. Maybe she really didn’t sin anymore — sorry, Bear means fail to lead an even more worthy life. The Bear hopes so. But whether she did or didn’t is beside the point, isn’t it? Of course she committed adultery. She was frail. She had limitations. Jesus doesn’t really care that much, and neither should we.

Is the Bear the only one to realize that — contrary to artistic representations of a chastened and disheveled woman — the whole point of the story is not to feel sorry for her, like she had just got caught in the wrong place at the wrong time? The point is that Jesus was willing and able even to forgive what was, in those days, an almost unimaginably horrible offense and betrayal. A capital offense like murder today. Think about her poor husband, if you want to feel sorry for someone. The rest of his life he was known as “that guy whose wife committed adultery with Abner, poor schmuck.” Maybe that’s why Jesus warned her not to sin any more (a fact conveniently omitted from your Pope’s accounts). Continue reading

James Otis: Forgotten Founding Father


“The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the forces of the crown. It may be frail – its roof may shake – the wind may blow through it – the storm may enter – the rain may enter – but the King of England cannot enter.”

William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, March 1763, in his speech against warrantless searches allowed under the proposed Excise Bill before the British Parliament.

James Otis had a glittering career ahead of him.  At the age of 35 in 1760 he was Advocate General for the Admiralty Court in Boston.  His wife Ruth was heiress to a fortune worth ten thousand pounds.  He threw it all away and resigned his post to represent pro bono, he refused the fee they wished to pay him saying that in such a great cause he despised all fees, colonial merchants subject to writs of assistance.  A writ of assistance was a court order that allowed British officials to search at whim houses and businesses of those suspected of smuggling without obtaining a search warrant.  These writs were in effect for the lifetime of the King during whose reign the writ was issued.  Bearers of writs of assistance were not responsible for any damage caused by their searches.  Otis viewed the writs to be a violation of Magna Carta, English case law and the traditional English legal doctrine that an Englishman’s home was his castle.

In a  five hour address that captivated listeners at the Boston State House on February 24, 1761, James Otis denounced the writs of assistance:

Your Honors will find in the old books concerning the office of a justice of the peace precedents of general warrants to search suspected houses. But in more modern books you will find only special warrants to search such and such houses, specially named, in which the complainant has before sworn that he suspects his goods are concealed; and will find it adjudged that special warrants only are legal. In the same manner I rely on it, that the writ prayed for in this petition, being general, is illegal. It is a power that places the liberty of every man in the hands of every petty officer. I say I admit that special Writs of Assistance, to search special places, may be granted to certain persons on oath; but I deny that the writ now prayed for can be granted, for I beg leave to make some observations on the writ itself, before I proceed to other Acts of Parliament.

In the first place, the writ is universal, being directed “to all and singular justices, sheriffs, constables, and all other officers and subjects”; so that, in short, it is directed to every subject in the King’s dominions. Every one with this writ may be a tyrant; if this commission be legal, a tyrant in a legal manner, also, may control, imprison, or murder any one within the realm. In the next place, it is perpetual; there is no return. A man is accountable to no person for his doings. Every man may reign secure in his petty tyranny, and spread terror and desolation around him, until the trump of the Archangel shall excite different emotions in his soul. In the third place, a person with this writ, in the daytime, may enter all houses, shops, etc., at will, and command all to assist him. Fourthly, by this writ not only deputies, etc., but even their menial servants, are allowed to lord it over us. What is this but to have the curse of Canaan with a witness on us: to be the servants of servants, the most despicable of God’s creation?

Now, one of the most essential branches of English liberty is the freedom of one’s house. A man’s house is his castle; and whilst he is quiet, he is as well guarded as a prince in his castle. This writ, if it should be declared legal, would totally annihilate this privilege. Custom-house officers may enter our houses when they please; we are commanded to permit their entry. Their menial servants may enter, may break locks, bars, and everything in their way; and whether they break through malice or revenge, no man, no court can inquire. Bare suspicion without oath is sufficient.

Otis lost the case, but his bold stand was considered the start of the American independence movement.  John Adams was present during the speech and later wrote:

“The child independence was then and there born,[for] every man of an immense crowded audience appeared to me to go away as I did, ready to take arms against writs of assistance.”

In the years to come he helped popularize the phrase, “No taxation without representation.”  Mental illness cut short his services to the American cause, illness exacerbated by his receiving a blow to his head from a British customs inspector in 1769.  In years to come he would have alternating periods of madness and lucidity.  His wife Ruth, although her personal political sympathies were Tory, loyally stood by her husband and cared for him.

Otis did not let his madness stop him from bearing arms.  Hearing the artillery bombardment preparatory to the battle of Bunker Hill, he snuck out of his house, got a rifle, and joined the American troops on Breed’s Hill.  After the battle he walked home. Continue reading

Happy 89th Your Holiness!

Pope Benedict Miss Me Yet

“I would say that the Spirit does not exactly take control of the affair, but rather like a good educator…leaves us much space, much freedom, without entirely abandoning us…. Probably the only assurance he offers is that the thing cannot be totally ruined. There are too many contrary instances of popes the Holy Spirit would obviously not have picked.”

Cardinal Ratzinger, 1997

PopeWatch: PapaLove266




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



Sources confirmed Thursday that Pope Francis was found crawled up in a little ball weeping in the men’s restroom in the Vatican after learning that a number of Catholic bloggers had given his document Amoris Laetitia bad reviews.

“I know that they say you can’t please everyone, but sometimes I just feel like I can’t please anyone,” a depressed and sniffling Francis said as he wrapped his arms around his knees and rocked back and forth on the restroom floor. “Just to think, a guy named Kevin from New Jersey tweeted that I was a heretic. He got 5 likes and two shares. Imagine what’ll happen to my reputation if those two people get shares of their own? It’ll all snowball and people will find out who I really am. They’ll find out that I’m not really a Catholic…that I’m an imposter set upon the destruction of the Church. I’ll be the laughingstock of all my Freemason friends.”

After close to an hour in the restroom, Francis blew his nose and emerged with several Cardinals consoling him.

“He’s so sensitive, poor guy,” one Vatican official told EOTT. “He just wants to be liked. He needs to feel appreciated. Don’t get me wrong, his number one priority is his relationship with Christ, but being accepted by bloggers and Catholics on social media is a very close second.”

At press time, Francis has found new confidence after a pep talk by close friends, and is now furiously commenting on all negative Amoris Laetitia comments on Facebook under the handle, PapaLove266. Continue reading


Something for the weekend.  Spring from Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons.  Until Thursday of this week I had been complaining to my wife and secretary that this was the most November looking April I could recall.  Then glorious Spring burst out in Central Illinois and all was well.

Stupid Moments in Catholic Education: A Continuing Series

When it comes to political correctness, no one can out PC most Catholic “citadels of higher education”:


DePaul University will no longer allow students to chalk political messages on the sidewalks of its campus because of the “offensive, hurtful, and divisive” nature of pro-Trump chalking found on campus last week.

“While these chalk messages are part of national agendas in a heated political battle, they appeared on campus at a time of significant racial tension in our country and on college campuses. DePaul is no exception,” Depaul’s vice president for student affairs Eugene Zdziarski wrote in a campus-wide email obtained by Campus Reform. “The university has been addressing campus climate issues in an effort to provide an inclusive and supportive educational environment. In this context, many students, faculty and staff found the chalk messages offensive, hurtful and divisive.”

Consequently, Zdziarski explained that DePaul’s status as a 501(c)3 tax-exempt non-profit organization prohibits students from participating in any political activity that could be interpreted as a reflection of the university’s “views or opinions.” Political chalking on Depaul’s grounds, Zdziarski argued, fits this description.

“However, as a 501(c)3 tax-exempt non-profit organization, the university is significantly limited in the types of political activities it can promote or support,” he wrote. “In accordance with federal regulations, DePaul may not engage in any activity in support of or opposition to any candidate for public office, federal, state or local. In practice, this means no partisan political advertising may be conducted on campus that could in any way be attributed to DePaul University.”


Last week, Depaul’s College Republicans organized a chalking 

campaign on campus, during which phrases such as “Make DePaul great again,” “Blue Lives Matter,” and “Trump Train 2016” were scrawled on the sidewalks.

The campus grounds crew removed the chalkings the following morning but cited routine maintenance as one of the reasons for their removal.

“After some investigation, it turns out this happened for two reasons,” the university wrote in a statement. “First, the crew regularly cleans up chalk messages on our sidewalks. This is a part of their duties. Secondly, some among the crew considered the messages inflammatory. The crew has agreed to consult about such matters in the future.”

Although the grounds crew “regularly cleans up chalk messages,” meaning DePaul students regularly chalk their campus’ sidewalks, this appears to be the first time university officials have expressly addressed their chalking policies. Zdziarski noted, after the Trump chalkings appeared, that students are not even allowed to chalk on sidewalks at all.

“Students or student organizations may not post partisan political flyers, posters, signs or images on University bulletin board, buildings, electronic message boards, forums or sidewalks. This includes chalking on campus property,” he said. Continue reading

PopeWatch: Amoris Laetitia-the Lean Version-Part 5



Part 5 of our stripped down look at Amoris Laetitia with some commentary by PopeWatch:

121.  Marriage is the icon of God’s love for us.

122.  Married couples do not have to reproduce perfectly the relationship of Christ and His Church.  (Whew!  That’s a relief!)

123.  Conjugal love is the greatest form of friendship.  (Too weak a term for what exists between spouses in a happy lengthy marriage.)

124.  A love that is weak cannot sustain the commitment that marriage requires.  (Basing a marriage all on love is always a mistake.  PopeWatch has seen some marriages survive rough patches simply because both parties were fundamentally decent people, and adhered to what some would consider bromides such as “A deal’s a deal.”)

125.  Marriage involves constant mutual respect.

126.  The joy of love needs to be cultivated in marriage.

127.  Tenderness is a sign of a love free of possessiveness.

128.  Pope writes about lover’s gaze in marriage.  (Parts of this Exhortation read like an old Dear Abby column from the Fifties.) Continue reading

Fox Escorted From Chicken Coop





The editor-in-chief and director of the U.S. bishops’ official news service resigned Wednesday at the request of the U.S. Bishops’ Conference general secretary.

Tony Spence, who had worked for Catholic News Service since 2004, had publicly criticized religious freedom and bathroom privacy legislation on his Twitter feed.

The news comes mere days after the Lepanto Institute issued a report highlighting Spence’s controversial tweets, wherein he had called religious freedom laws “pro-discrimination” and “stupid.” LifeSiteNews ran an article on the report Tuesday.

“The far right blogsphere and their troops started coming after me again, and it was too much for the USCCB,” Spence told the National Catholic Reporter Thursday.  “The secretary general [of the U.S. bishops’ conference] asked for my resignation, because the conference had lost confidence in my ability to lead CNS.” 

NCR’s Dennis Coday writes:

Bloggers from websites of The Lepanto Institute, The Church Militant and LifeSiteNews.com posted stories in the last week that accused Spence of issuing “public statements decrying proposed legislation in several states that would protect religious freedom and deny men pretending to be women the ‘right’ to enter women’s bathrooms.”

According to the newspaper, following a meeting with Msgr. J. Brian Bransfield, the general secretary of the bishops’ conference, “Spence was escorted from the conference office building without being allowed to speak to his newsroom staff.” Continue reading

Trump the Theologian



Is there a favorite Bible verse or Bible story that has informed your thinking or your character through life, sir?” asked host Bob Lonsberry on WHAM 1180 AM.
Trump responded, “Well, I think many. I mean, when we get into the Bible, I think many, so many. And some people, look, an eye for an eye, you can almost say that. That’s not a particularly nice thing. But you know, if you look at what’s happening to our country, I mean, when you see what’s going on with our country, how people are taking advantage of us, and how they scoff at us and laugh at us. And they laugh at our face, and they’re taking our jobs, they’re taking our money, they’re taking the health of our country. And we have to be firm and have to be very strong. And we can learn a lot from the Bible, that I can tell you.


Indeed we can learn a lot from the Bible:


[38] You have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. [39] But I say to you not to resist evil: but if one strike thee on thy right cheek, turn to him also the other: [40] And if a man will contend with thee in judgment, and take away thy coat, let go thy cloak also unto him.

Matthew 5:  38-40.

Quotes Suitable for Framing: Quark


 “Don’t push the pinkskins to the thin ice.”

Andorian maxim

Let me tell you something about Hew-mons, Nephew. They’re a wonderful, friendly people, as long as their bellies are full and their holosuites are working. But take away their creature comforts, deprive them of food, sleep, sonic showers, put their lives in jeopardy over an extended period of time and those same friendly, intelligent, wonderful people… will become as nasty and as violent as the most bloodthirsty Klingon. You don’t believe me? Look at those faces. Look in their eyes.


PopeWatch: Amoris Laetitia-the Lean Version-Part 4




Part 4 of our stripped down look at Amoris Laetitia with some commentary by PopeWatch:

91.  Love is patient.

92.  Patience takes root when we accept the right of people to live in the world just as they are.

93.  Love is kind.

94.  Love is shown more by deeds than by words.

95.  Love is not jealous.

96.  Love rejects covetousness, unless, apparently, the covetousness is in service of the welfare state to reduce inequality.  (Another example of the Pope attempting to use Biblical texts to support his leftist political agenda.) Continue reading

What Might Have Been

One of the great tragedies of American history is that Abraham Lincoln was assassinated before he could implement his post war reconstruction policy.  In a letter in January 1864 to Major General James Wadsworth, a wealthy New York politician and philanthropist who helped found the Free Soil Party, Lincoln set forth his basic policy:

You desire to know, in the event of our complete success in the field, the same being followed by a loyal and cheerful submission on the part of the South, if universal amnesty should not be accompanied with universal suffrage.

Now, since you know my private inclinations as to what terms should be granted to the South in the contingency mentioned, I will here add, that if our success should thus be realized, followed by such desired results, I cannot see, if universal amnesty is granted, how, under the circumstances, I can avoid exacting in return universal suffrage, or, at least, suffrage on the basis of intelligence and military service.

How to better the condition of the colored race has long been a study which has attracted my serious and careful attention; hence I think I am clear and decided as to what course I shall pursue in the premises, regarding it a religious duty, as the nation’s guardian of these people, who have so heroically vindicated their manhood on the battle-field, where, in assisting to save the life of the Republic, they have demonstrated in blood their right to the ballot, which is but the humane protection of the flag they have so fearlessly defended.The restoration of the Rebel States to the Union must rest upon the principle of civil and political equality of the both races; and it must be sealed by general amnesty. Continue reading

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