PopeWatch: Fundamentalism

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Carl Olsen at Catholic World Report gives a badly needed corrective to the Pope’s tendency to use the term “fundamentalists” to describe all purpose boogeymen:

This past week I spent several days with some Fundamentalists. Not only did I converse at length with these strange creatures, I ate meals with them and slept in the same house. They fed me well; they never threatened me; I never heard any of them refer other people as “infidels” or “disciples of Satan”. In fact, my family and I were treated like family. Which makes sense: I was spending time with my parents on the occasion of their 50th wedding anniversary.

As regular readers know—and I go into much more detail in Will Catholics Be “Left Behind”?—I was raised in a Fundamentalist home and attended a Fundamentalist Bible chapel co-founded by my father in the early 1970s. While we rarely, if ever, referred to ourselves as “Fundamentalists”, we were well aware of the term; it was impossible to escape in the 1980s, when Jerry Falwell—founder of the Moral Majority—became, in many ways, the face of American Fundamentalism. It was during that same time, on the heels of the 1979 Iran hostage crisis, that the word “fundamentalism” took on an even darker quality, synonymous with religious violence in many circles. While “fundamentalism” in North America had long been equated with backwoods preachers, semi-literate Christians, and creationist trolls, the somewhat mysterious attachment of “fundamentalism” to “Islamic” seemed to be just as much about tarring certain American Christians as it did with distinguishing moderate and peace-loving Muslims from violent and extremist Muslims.

 
Put simply, the term fundamentalist has often become, in common parlance, a pejorative term used to effectively place certain groups into that fenced-off area reserved for haters, bigots, homophobes, and uncaring crazies who are either filled with blood lust or have already carried out acts of terror and “absurd violence”. On top of that, it is widely accepted in many quarters that all religions have some form of “fundamentalism”, and it must be sequestered off from those who practice peace, love, and understanding.
This is apparently how Pope Francis understands fundamentalism as well, based on remarks made on several occasions, most recently in his presser on the flight back to the Vatican from his time at World Youth Day in Krakow. As is often the case during such press events, his remarks were fragmentary and not entirely consistent. A reporter asked Francis about “the barbarous assassination of Fr. Jacques Hamel” in France and noted that the pope had recently insisted that all religions want peace; in fact, Francis had placed the blame on economic inequality: “When I speak of war I speak of wars over interests, money, resources, not religion. All religions want peace, it’s the others who want war.” That is, to put it nicely, nonsense (some commentators were harsher in their assessments). The reporter then asked: “So Holy Father … why do you, when you speak of these violent events, always speak of terrorists, but never of Islam, never use the word Islam?”

 

 
The answer given by Francis was painfully shallow and evasive:

I don’t like to speak of Islamic violence, because every day, when I browse the newspapers, I see violence, here in Italy… this one who has murdered his girlfriend, another who has murdered the mother-in-law… and these are baptized Catholics! There are violent Catholics! If I speak of Islamic violence, I must speak of Catholic violence . . . and no, not all Muslims are violent, not all Catholics are violent. It is like a fruit salad; there’s everything. There are violent persons of this religion… this is true: I believe that in pretty much every religion there is always a small group of fundamentalists. Fundamentalists. We have them. When fundamentalism comes to kill, it can kill with the language — the Apostle James says this, not me — and even with a knife, no? I do not believe it is right to identify Islam with violence. This is not right or true.

Several observations could be made about the above excerpt; I’ll stick to three. First, Francis either doesn’t understand the simple question or he purposefully reshapes it into a straw man. Every Christian knows (or should) that everyone sins, and that Christians are capable of murder and other horrible sins. We are all deeply flawed and mortally wounded by sin. That is Basic Catholic Theology, just as it is basic common sense, as Chesterton noted in Orthodoxy: “Certain new theologians dispute original sin, which is the only part of Christian theology which can really be proved.” When Mr. Smith murders Mr. Jones in a fit of jealous rage in a bar in Toledo, Ohio, we don’t think, “Ah, he is following his Christian beliefs to their logical conclusion”, or, “Ha! He merely took the Sermon on the Mount and actualized its inherent violent subtext”, but rather, “Alas, he just committed an act of objective evil and has broken one of the Commandments.”

Go here to read the rest.  Two of the strengths of Catholicism traditionally has been its precision with words and the intellectual rigor of its champions.  Alas, Pope Francis displays neither quality.  He is an intellectually sloppy Pope for an intellectually sloppy age.

Five Key Issues

Pence zeroes in on Clinton and her influence peddling as Secretary of State for donations to the Clinton Foundation and big speaking fees for Bill.  He and Trump should focus on five issues:

 

  1.  Clinton is a crook and everyone sentient knows it.
  2. The economy is terrible.
  3. She is clueless on responding effectively to terrorism.
  4. Clinton is on the side of those who are waging war on cops.
  5. If you want to keep things the same, vote for Clinton, the champion of the insiders who are the only ones getting rich.

I realize this might be tame compared to Trump’s usual rambling stream of consciousness rants, but it would have the virtue of getting him elected.

Alfred Hitchcock and the Jesuit

(Yesterday was the 117th birthday of Alfred Hitchcock.  That gives me an excuse to rerun this post from 2012 with new video attachments.)

 

 

When I was a kid I loved watching Alfred Hitchcock Presents, known in its last four years as The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.  His sardonic wit and macabre sense of humor I found vastly appealing and no doubt had an impact on my own developing sense of humor.  Hitchcock was a Catholic, although some have claimed that he became estranged from the Faith later in life.  Father Mark Henninger in The Wall Street Journal relates his own encounter with Hitchcock shortly before his death.

At the time, I was a graduate student in philosophy at UCLA, and I was (and remain) a Jesuit priest. A fellow priest, Tom Sullivan, who knew Hitchcock, said one Thursday that the next day he was going over to hear Hitchcock’s confession. Tom asked whether on Saturday afternoon I would accompany him to celebrate a Mass in Hitchcock’s house.

I was dumbfounded, but of course said yes. On that Saturday, when we found Hitchcock asleep in the living room, Tom gently shook him. Hitchcock awoke, looked up and kissed Tom’s hand, thanking him.

Tom said, “Hitch, this is Mark Henninger, a young priest from Cleveland.”

“Cleveland?” Hitchcock said. “Disgraceful!”

After we chatted for a while, we all crossed from the living room through a breezeway to his study, and there, with his wife, Alma, we celebrated a quiet Mass. Across from me were the bound volumes of his movie scripts, “The Birds,” “Psycho,” “North by Northwest” and others—a great distraction. Hitchcock had been away from the church for some time, and he answered the responses in Latin the old way. But the most remarkable sight was that after receiving communion, he silently cried, tears rolling down his huge cheeks. Continue reading

Saint John of Damascus on the Assumption

THERE is no one in existence who is able to praise worthily the holy death of God’s Mother, even if he should have a thousand tongues and a thousand mouths. Not if all the most eloquent tongues could be united would their praises be sufficient. She is greater than all praise. Since, however, God is pleased with the efforts of a loving zeal, and the Mother of God with what concerns the service of her Son, suffer me now to revert again to her praises. This is in obedience to your orders, most excellent pastors, so dear to God, and we call upon the Word made flesh of her to come to our assistance. He gives speech to every mouth which is opened for Him. He is her sole pleasure and adornment. We know that in celebrating her praises we pay off our debt,  and that in so doing we are again debtors, so that the debt is ever beginning afresh. It is fitting that we should exalt her who is above all created things, governing them as Mother of the God who is their Creator, Lord, and Master. Bear with me you who hang upon the divine words, and receive my good will. Strengthen my desire, and be patient with the weakness of my words. It is as if a man were to bring a violet of royal purple out of season, or a fragrant rose with buds of different hues, or some rich fruit of autumn to a mighty potentate who is divinely appointed to rule over men. Every day he sits at a table laden with every conceivable dish in the perfumed courts of his palace. He does not look at the smallness of the offering, or at its novelty so much as he admires the good intention, and with reason. This he would reward with an abundance of gifts and favors. So we, in our winter of poverty, bring garlands to our Queen, and prepare a flower of oratory for the feast of praise. We break our mind’s stony desire with iron, pressing, as it were, the unripe grapes. And may you receive with more and more favor the words which fall upon your eager and listening ears.

What shall we offer the Mother of the Word if not our words? Like rejoices in like and in what it loves. Thus, then, making a start and loosening the reins of my discourse, I may send it forth as a charger ready equipped for the race. But do Thou, O Word of God, be my helper and auxiliary, and speak wisdom to my unwisdom. By Thy word make my path clear, and direct my course according to Thy good pleasure, which is the end of all wisdom and discernment.

To-day the holy Virgin of Virgins is presented in the heavenly temple. Virginity in her was so strong as to be a consuming fire. It is forfeited in every case by child-birth. But she is ever a virgin, before the event, in the birth itself, and afterwards. To-day the sacred and living ark of the living God, who conceived her Creator Himself, takes up her abode in the temple of God, not made by hands. David, her forefather,  rejoices. Angels and Archangels are in jubilation, Powers exult, Principalities and Dominations, Virtues and Thrones are in gladness: Cherubim and Seraphim magnify God. Not the least of their Praise is it to refer praise to the Mother of glory. To-day the holy dove, the pure and guileless soul, sanctified by the Holy Spirit, putting off the ark of her body, the life-giving receptacle of Our Lord, found rest to the soles of her feet, taking her flight to the spiritual world, and dwelling securely in the sinless country above. To-day the Eden of the new Adam receives the true paradise, in which sin is remitted and the tree of life growl, and our nakedness is covered. For we are no longer naked and uncovered, and unable to bear the splendour of the divine likeness. Strengthened with the abundant grace of the Spirit, we shall no longer betray our nakedness in the words: “I have Put off my garment, how shall I put it on?” The serpent, by whose deceitful promise we were likened to brute beasts, did not enter into this paradise. He, the only begotten Son of God, God himself, of the same substance as the Father, took His human nature of the pure Virgin. Being constituted a man, He made mortality immortal, and was clothed as a man. Putting aside corruption, He was indued with the incorruptibility of the Godhead.

To-day the spotless Virgin, untouched by earthly affections, and all heavenly in her thoughts, was not dissolved in earth, but truly entering heaven, dwells in the heavenly tabernacles. Who would be wrong to call her heaven, unless indeed he truly said that she is greater than heaven in surpassing dignity? The Lord and Creator of heaven, the Architect of all things beneath the earth and above, of creation, visible and invisible, Who is not circumvented by place (if that which surrounds things is rightly termed place), created Himself, without human co-operation, an Infant in her. He made her a rich treasure-house of His all-pervading and alone uncircumscribed Godhead, subsisting entirely in her without passion, remaining entire in His universality and Himself uncircumscribed. To-day the life-giving treasury and abyss of charity (I know not how to trust my lips to speak of it) is hidden in immortal death. She meets it without fear, who conceived death’s destroyer, if indeed we may call her holy and vivifying departure by the name of death. For how could she, who brought life to all, be under the dominion of death ? But she obeys the law of her own Son, and inherits this chastisement as a daughter of the first Adam, since her Son, who is the life, did not refuse it. As the Mother of the living God, she goes through death to Him. For if God said: “Unless the first man put out his hand to take and taste of the tree of life, he shall live for ever,” how shall she, who received the Life Himself, without beginning or end, or finite vicissitudes, not live for ever. Continue reading

Quotes Suitable for Framing: Thomas Jefferson

 

 

I feel an urgency to note what I deem an error in it, the more requiring notice as your opinion is strengthened by that of many others.  You seem in pages 84. & 148. to consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions: a very dangerous doctrine indeed and one which would place us under the despotism of an Oligarchy.  Our judges are as honest as other men, and not more so.  they have, with others, the same passions for party, for power, and the privileges of their corps. Their maxim is ‘boni judicis est ampliare jurisdictionim,’ and their power the more dangerous as they are in office for life, and not responsible, as the other functionaries are, to the elective control.  The constitution has erected no such single tribunal knowing that, to whatever hands confided, with the corruptions of time & party it’s members would become despots.  It has more wisely made all the departments co-equal and co-sovereign within themselves.  If the legislature fails to pass laws for a census, for paying the judges & other officers of government, for establishing a militia, for naturalization, as prescribed by the constitution, or if they fail to meet in Congress, the judges cannot issue their Mandamus to them.  If the President fails to supply the place of a judge, to appoint other civil or military officers, to issue requisite commissions, the judges cannot force him.  They can issue their Mandamus or distringas to no Executive or Legislative officer to enforce the fulfillment of their official duties, any more than the President or legislature may issue orders to the judges or their officers.  Betrayed by English example, & unaware, as it should seem, of the control of our constitution in this particular, they have at times overstepped their limit by undertaking to command executive officers in the discharge of their executive duties.  But the constitution, in keeping the three departments distinct & independant, restrains the authority of the judges to judiciary organs, as it does the executive & legislative, to executive and legislative organs.  The judges certainly have more frequent occasion to act on constitutional questions, because the laws of meum & teum, and of criminal action, forming the great mass of the system of law, constitute their particular department.  When the legislative or executive functionaries act unconstitutionally, they are responsible to the people in their elective capacity.  The exemption of the judges from that is quite dangerous enough. I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society, but the people themselves: and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is, not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education.  This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.

Thomas Jefferson to William Charles Jarvis, September 28, 1820

First Congressional Authorization For the Use of Force

 

 

It is sometimes contended that in order for the US to legally use armed force against an adversary, a declaration of war is required.  The weakness in this argument is that the Constitution does not set forth what constitutes a declaration of war.  Throughout US history Congress has felt free to authorize the use of force without using the language contained in Congressional declarations of war.  The first Congressional authorization for the use of force was at the outset of the Quasi War with France.  The text of the Congressional authorization of force was as follows: Continue reading

PopeWatch: Dopes

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

 

 

With Armageddon just around the corner, the Russian Orthodox Church is in the midst of a massive doping scandal.

On Monday, the Court of Spiritual Arbitration upheld a doping suspension for nearly 20,000 members of the Russian Orthodox Church. Patriarch Kirill of Moscow said he expects that the International Spiritual Committee will make its final ruling by this Saturday on whether anyone from his church will be allowed to compete for salvation.

“This is a conspiracy by the Roman Catholic Church as well as the Greek Orthodox Church,” Kirill told EOTT. “They know that we will have many more salvations then they will, and they are afraid.”

The doping suspensions could dramatically impact Russia’s ability to compete in souls saved when the first trumpet sounds, with hail and fire, mixed with blood, is thrown to the Earth burning up a third of the trees on the planet, and all green grass, ushering in Judgment Day.

“The Orthodox Church-sponsored spiritual doping program was all about covering up positive drug tests,” said Richard Hewitson, who headed a report about the doping scandal. “We were able to uncovered a church-run doping scheme implicating thousands of parishioners as well as the vast majority of bishops. This includes tampering with drug test samples in order to cover up positive test results by Orthodox parishioners.”

Hewitson went on to explain the doping process, saying, “The process would start by having each parishioner give a clean prayer sample, delivered on paper prior to using any spiritual enhancing drugs that would later be laid at the foot of an icon. Bishops would then proceed to ensure that, any time a positive drug test occurred, the tainted prayer would be replaced with a clean prayer in order to produce clean results.” Continue reading

What Comes Next?

 

Something for the weekend.  What Comes Next? from the musical Hamilton.  King George III, realizing that he is losing the American Revolution, predicts that the colonies would eventually come crawling back to the British. This was a fairly commonplace prediction, and, in the unrest and hard times that beset the new United States prior to the adoption of the Constitution, perhaps not as silly as it seems in retrospect.

The System Is Rigged

 

One of the sure fire applause lines for Trump at his rallies is his contention that the system is rigged.  Well, he is right under this administration:

Several FBI field offices approached the Justice Department asking to open a case regarding the relationship between the State Department and the Clinton Foundation, according to a law enforcement official,” CNN said late Wednesday.

“At the time, DOJ declined because it had looked into allegations surrounding the Clinton Foundation around a year earlier and found there wasn’t sufficient evidence to open a case,” the report continued. Continue reading

Clinton Bounce Fades

Hillary and Donald

 

I have been amused at the focus of the media on polls, since polls prior to Labor Day tend not to mean much.  Americans simply do not tend to focus on a Presidential election until we get to September, and often not until late September or early October.  However, polls are useful now for their direction rather than their topline numbers.  After the Republican and Democrat conventions both Trump and Clinton got bounces, Clinton having a bit more of a bounce which is typical usually for Democrats.  Thus we have had rafts of stories making predictions based on these bounces, most of them written by either highly partisan, almost always in a Democrat direction, or highly ignorant reporters.  Looking at the most recent polls we see Rasmussen showing a three point race, Reuters showing a 5 point race and Bloomberg showing a 4 point race.  (I am using the polls with the Libertarians and Greens included, since they are on almost all state ballots.)  The Los Angeles Times tracker poll which has consistently shown a much closer race than any other poll, had it on Thursday as a one point race. Continue reading

PopeWatch: Hmmm

 

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Is this Pope Francis’ Nixon to China moment?

 

 

The Vatican has offered the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) a personal prelature and confirmed that certain documents from the Second Vatican Council are not doctrinal in nature, according to an Italian archbishop tasked with overseeing the canonically irregular group’s return to full Communion with Rome.

Archbishop Guido Pozzo, the Secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, told a German newspaper that Pope Francis has offered the SSPX a return to full Communion via a personal prelature within the Church. A personal prelature is a hierarchically-structured group of Catholic faithful not bound by a geographic location — essentially, a diocese without a territory that complements the work of local dioceses “to which the faithful who form part of a personal prelature continue to belong.”

Opus Dei is the Catholic Church’s most well-known — and indeed, only — personal prelature.  

Pozzo’s remarks, which Dr. Maike Hickson translated at OnePeterFive, indicate that the SSPX could be fully reunited with Rome despite the society’s rejection of certain Vatican II documents because the documents it rejects “are not about doctrines or definitive statements, but, rather, about instructions and orienting guides for pastoral practice.” The Second Vatican Council’s documents themselves indicate that only the Council’s teachings explicitly related to faith and morals are binding to Catholics, Pozzo explained.

“It was already clear at the time of the Council” that different Council documents carried different dogmatic weights, Pozzo said. “The General Secretary of the Council, Cardinal Pericle Felici, declared on November 16, 1964: ‘This holy synod defines only that as being binding for the Church what it declares explicitly to be such with regard to Faith and Morals.’ Only those texts assessed by the Council Fathers as being binding are to be accepted as such.” Continue reading

The Attack of the Smugnorant

At the Cranky Conservative I coined a term: “smugnorant.” As I wrote:

[Stephen] Colbert and his former partner in crime at Comedy Central, Jon Stewart, represent some of the very worst aspects of our culture. They are the heroes of people whom I would designate as smugnorant – the noxious combination of smug and ignorant. They’re the types of people who will take to social media to decry those illiterate yokels in the hinterlands while displaying a keen lack of any depth of understanding of who their “opponents” are or what drives them as well as a deeply flawed (if that) grasp of American history. For years these two have taken to the airwaves to peddle a brand of humor based on ironic detachment and one-line snark meant to demonstrate the utter foolishness of the other side. They are the forerunners of generation meme, who think one-line slogans slapped onto funny pictures are genius insights that can shut down any argument. It’s the bumper sticker mentality given a new face in the information age.

I’ve been fortunate to come across a blog post that has plenty of smugnorance in both the main post and the comments. It comes from the Friendly Atheist over at Patheos – yes, I know you will be shocked that there could be any smugnorance over at Patheos (apologies to David Griffey, who is a rare voice of reason over there). The blogger Hemant Mehta wrote of an “illegal” Ten Commandments display the state of Arkansas is about to place on the grounds of the capitol. I’ll just gloss over Mehta’s seeming inability to distinguish the concepts of illegality and unconstitutionality to highlight this comment:

After all, the government is forbidden from promoting Christianity, which is all this monument would be doing.

This is the kind of sentence that almost literally gives me a headache because there’s just so much to unpack. I suppose he is referring to the establishment clause of the first amendment to the constitution, which does not mention anything resembling a ban on “promoting” a religion (not to mention that Christianity in and of itself is not a religion, but a group of religions, often with conflicting creeds). The erection of a monument does not establish any state religion. It does not signify material aid to any religion, which is generally what concerned the framers of the amendment as well as similar documents such as the Virginia statute for religious liberty. But I’ll again gloss over this constitutional conundrum to focus on this:

promoting Christianity, which is all this monument would be doing

So a monument to the Ten Commandments, or as Jewish people might refer to it, the Aseret ha-Dibrot, first written down in the Torah in the book of Exodus, which otherwise commemorates the Hebrew people’s flight from Egypt, surely only promotes Christianity. There just ain’t no other religious group who might be interested in this monument? There’s just no other religion that holds this set of commands in esteem? I mean I’m racking my brain, but there’s just got to be some other group or religion being, ahem, promoted here.

Now to be fair the post itself primarily evidences only one-half of the smugnorant combo. Have no fear though, we’re talking about Patheos, and thus there are always the comments. And we dive right into the very first comment, one which received no less than 13 upvotes:

Does it include the Commandment about not worshiping graven images?

Is it protected from irony chariots?

Does it explain why so many of the Commandments would be unconstitutional if made into laws in America?

Will they include the examples of bearing false witness that will be necessary to approve the idol of the words of the Gods?

There must be nothing quite like the pride someone like “Rogue Medic” feels when he/she/it/cis/cer slaps out an irrefutable jumble of logic like this one which completely eviscerates the other side’s point of view. Well, only if you disregard the fact that nobody is worshiping a graven image in this scenario, the “irony chariots” comment is just word vomit, the idea that commandments would be unconstitutional is a non sequitur if we’re being generous. and the stuff about bearing false witness is just logically incoherent. Other than that, it’s the sort of stuff Edmund Burke, John Locke, FA Hayak and countless other philosophers throughout history can only dreamed to have written.

Or how about this true monument to detached irony written by truth warrior ORAXX:

I would be astonished if they [conservative Christians] ever read any part of the Constitution other than the Second Amendment. They certainly don’t understand that document in any kind of a historical perspective. The commandments, probably, because they can be read in less than a minute, and that is more in keeping with their attention spans.

Yes, that’s right, there’s nothing like dissing the cumulative intelligence of an entirely diffeent group of people while commenting on a post that confuses “illegal” and “unconstitutional” and doesn’t seem to grasp that people other than Christians might be appreciative of a Ten Commandments display. Hooray for hipster irony, just not in the way the poster intended.

I’ll spare you further brain damage by posting more comments, including the long thread about gun owners and how totally stoooooopid they all are. You can read them for yourself, if you’re so inclined. There is absolutely nothing in the comments that betrays even a hint of understanding of what conservatives and/or Christians truly believe, or truly grapples with the constitutional issues of a Ten Commandments display on state capitol grounds. But we have an awful lot of smug jokes about how dumb the other side is. Yep, those yokels in hill country are just bubble-dwelling idiots with no comprehension of history, the constitution, the true words of the Bible, and logic. Yep, it’s those “others” who are just plain ignorant.

PopeWatch: Sex

 

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Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa brings us the heartening words of the Pope against those who believe that the sex we are born with is infinitely malleable:

ROME, August 8, 2016 – Breaking the initial mandate of silence, the Holy See made public a few days ago the transcription of the closed door conversation that took place between Pope Francis and the bishops of Poland on the first day of his visit to that country, on July 27 in Kraków:

> Meeting with the Polish Bishops

One reason for this unusual publication “ex post facto” was probably the desire to shut down the leaks that were circulating about the contents of that meeting, in particular concerning communion for the divorced and remarried, considering the staunch opposition of the Polish bishops to any concession in this regard.

In effect, to read the transcription of the long conversation, it does not contain any reference to “Amoris Laetitia” and to the relative controversies.

What it does contain, toward the end, is a vigorous harangue by the pope against “gender” ideology, which he branded as a “true ideological colonization” on a global scale.

Here are his actual words:

“In Europe, America, Latin America, Africa, and in some countries of Asia, there are genuine forms of ideological colonization taking place. And one of these – I will call it clearly by its name – is [the ideology of] ‘gender’. Today children – children! – are taught in school that everyone can choose his or her sex. Why are they teaching this? Because the books are provided by the persons and institutions that give you money. These forms of ideological colonization are also supported by influential countries. And this terrible! In a conversation with Pope Benedict, who is in good health and very perceptive, he said to me: ‘Holiness, this is the age of sin against God the Creator’. He is very perceptive. God created man and woman; God created the world in a certain way… and we are doing the exact opposite. God gave us things in a ‘raw’ state, so that we could shape a culture; and then with this culture, we are shaping things that bring us back to the ‘raw’ state! Pope Benedict’s observation should make us think. ‘This is the age of sin against God the Creator’.”

The mainstream media practically ignored these words from Francis, which moreover were enriched with a substantial citation from the pope emeritus. And this comes as no surprise, because this is what happens every time Francis says something that clashes with his dominant media image, as a pope open to modernity.

Meanwhile, however, those are things that he has said, just as on other occasions in the past. And it can be presumed that they have not been well received by those sectors of the Church that advocate a drastic modernization of Catholic teaching on matters of “gender,” homosexuality, “marriage” between persons of the same sex.

These are ecclesial sectors that are extensively present and active above all in central Europe, with many bishops and theologians in the front ranks.

But it is also true that these modernist tendencies encounter the opposition of much larger sectors of the Church worldwide, for which the words spoken by Francis in Kraków against “gender” ideology are music to their ears.

One of many examples of this resistance front is the pastoral letter published at the end of November 2015 – that is, after the end of the synod on the family – by the bishops of Australia, addressed not only to Catholics but to all the citizens of that country. Continue reading

Hills Are For Heroes

 

My favorite TV show when I was a boy was Combat!  In 152 grittily realistic episodes from 1962-1967, the experiences of an American infantry squad fighting in France in World War II were detailed.  Most of the cast members had served in the military, several in World War II.  The men were not portrayed as supermen, but ordinary men trying to survive while doing a necessary, dirty job.  The series won accolades from World War II combat veterans for its unsparing look at what fighting had been like for them.  The series hit its artistic peak on March 1, and March 8, 1966 with the two part episode Hills Are For Heroes.  Directed by Vic Morrow who starred in the series as Sergeant Chip Saunders, the episodes detail the battle of the squad and the platoon of which it was a part to take a vital hill.  At the end of episode two, after incurring heavy losses, they succeed, only to heartbreakingly having to abandon the hill due to a German breakthrough.  As they march away from the hill, Second Lieutenant Gil Hanley grimly tells his men to remember every feature of the hill for next time.  Television does not get any better than Combat! Continue reading

Gun to a Knife Fight

 

 

Remember the outrage among the media when Obama said this back in 2008:

 

Chozick, June 13, 2008: He [Obama] warned that the general election campaign could get ugly. “They’re going to try to scare people. They’re going to try to say that ‘that Obama is a scary guy,’ ” he said. A donor yelled out a deep accented “Don’t give in!”

“I won’t but that sounded pretty scary. You’re a tough guy,” Obama said.

“If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun,” Obama said. “Because from what I understand folks in Philly like a good brawl. I’ve seen Eagles fans.”

 

Neither do I. Continue reading

Clinton and the Art of Political Corruption

 

While the mainstream media concentrates on the latest gaffe of Trump, they are completely ignoring a story by The Daily Caller which demonstrates how Hillary Clinton used her position as Secretary of State to enrich herself and her hubby:

 

 

Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton publicly defended an embattled banker during an official visit to Bangladesh while Clinton Foundation officials tried to steer money from an Abu Dhabi oil company into the banker’s coffers.

A Daily Caller News Foundation investigation traced the convoluted payment by TAQA — formally known as the the Abu Dhabi National Energy Company — to Muhammad Yunus’ Grameen Bank. Yunus is a long-time friend and Clinton Foundation donor.

The oil company deal eventually put as much as $500,000 into President Bill Clinton’s pockets via a speaking fee he got in Scotland. Continue reading

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