PopeWatch: Now He Tells Us




In an interview about his plane returning from South America the Pope made this comment:


The pontiff began by admitting he’s been “allergic” to economics since he was a boy. He said his father, an accountant, would bring the ledgers of the factory where he worked home with him on weekends, and the future pope found them mysterious.

“I don’t understand it very well,” he said. Continue reading

Last Voyage of the Indianapolis


Hours after the successful test of the first atomic bomb on July 16, 1945, the USS Indianapolis left San Francisco with a top secret cargo that mystified the crew.  The cruiser delivered Little Boy, the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, to Tinian on July 26, 1945.  On July 30, 1945 it was sunk by Japanese sub I-58.  900 of the crew made it into the water.  SOS signals, contrary to the Jaws video clip, were sent off.  Three Navy stations received the SOS signal.  At the first station the commander was drunk.  At the second station the commander had left orders not to be disturbed.    The third station wrote off the SOS signal as a Japanese prank.  The Navy denied that the SOS signals had been received for years, and only the release of declassified material revealed the criminal negligence involved.  When the ship failed to dock at Leyte as expected on July 31, 1944, the port operations director Lieutenant Stuart B. Gibson inexplicably failed to report that the Indianapolis had gone missing.

This resulted in the men of the Indianapolis being in the water for 3 and a half days until they were spotted by a routine air patrol.  Heroic efforts were then undertaken to rescue the survivors.  321 men were rescued, four of whom died soon thereafter.  Most of the almost 600 men who escaped the ship and died in the water had been killed by hundreds of sharks who swarmed about the survivors.  Among the dead was Lieutenant Thomas Conway, the ship’s Catholic chaplain.  He spent his time in the water swimming from group to group, praying with the men, encouraging them, and reasoning with men driven to despair.  When Father Conway died on August 2, 1945, he was the last American chaplain killed in World War II.

Captain Charles B. McVay III, the skipper of the Indianapolis, had been wounded in the sinking and was among those who survived to be rescued.  He repeatedly asked why it took so long for the Navy to rescue his men, a question the Navy did not answer.  Instead, McVay  was court martialed, a scapegoat for an episode that had tarnished the image of the Navy.  He was convicted for not zigzagging, which was farcical since he had been told to use his discretion in regard to zigzagging, and with high-speed torpedoes and improved aiming devices aboard subs, zigzagging was not an effective technique for a ship to avoid being torpedoed by the end of World War II.

Admiral Chester Nimitz, the commander of the Pacific Fleet, recognizing the fundamental injustice of the court martial, restored McVay to duty and he retired as a Rear Admiral in 1949.  Although most of the surviving crewmen of the Indianapolis regarded him as a hero, McVay was eaten away by guilt over the deaths of his crewmen, guilt that was exacerbated by hate mail and hate phone calls he periodically revealed from a few of the families of some of the men who died in the sinking and its aftermath.

After the death of his wife in 1966, McVay took his own life, clutching in his hand a toy sailor given to him by his father.  In 1996 a twelve year old school boy, Hunter Scott, launched a campaign to clear McVay’s name.  The campaign to clear McVay was supported by former Lieutenant Commander Mochitsura Hashimoto who had commanded the I-58 and who noted in a letter that zigzagging would have had no impact on his torpedo attack. Continue reading

Hard Truths


batman the joy of the gospel

Dennis Prager, a Jew who has ever been a friend of the Church, dishes out some hard truths:


My heart breaks for the millions of Catholics who feel that their beloved Church is being led over a moral and religious cliff by a leftist pope and innumerable other leftists among cardinals, bishops, and parish priests. Though I am not a Catholic, my heart breaks too. The only institutions that can resist the left-wing takeover of contemporary life are religious ones. When they fail, upon which institutions can we depend? 

Tragically, we cannot turn to the contemporary Catholic Church. When the pope keeps a hammer-and-sickle crucifix; when the pope declares free-market capitalism, the one economic system that has lifted masses of people out of poverty, to be largely evil (“the dung of the devil”); when Cuba’s Cardinal Jaime Ortega declares that there are no political prisoners in Cuba; and when the pope issues an encyclical on global warming while the oldest Christian communities in the world are exterminated, it is clear that while one can still turn to individual Catholic priests and lay leaders for moral guidance, one cannot turn to the Church and its pope for moral guidance. On the contrary. One must fight back.

Continue reading

The Long Con

I just had a rather refreshing weekend. Why, you may ask? Not once did I go on Facebook, and though I perused some of my favorite blogs, I stayed out of the comments section  (except for this blog, naturally). It’s amazing what a little internet hiatus can do for the spirit.

The comments sections of conservative blogs in particular have been sources of frustration. So while I enjoyed parts of Kevin Williamson’s post about “Whinos’ on National Review Online (even if it’s a bit overdone), I knew enough not to get sucked into the comments, because it would have only filled me with despair.

When Donald Trump initially announced his candidacy I reacted like a good number of conservatives: I rolled my eyes and just tried to pretend that he wasn’t there. Then a funny thing happened. The more that conservative pundits criticized the Donald, the more popular he became. Soon Trump caught fire, and is probably the most discussed candidate in the race.

This should have been predictable. I noticed this trend during the 2012 campaign as well. The more it seems that a certain candidate is bashed in the press, the more a certain section of the conservative movement flocks to that person. It’s almost as though every time a Kevin Williamson or Jonah Goldberg pens a column bashing Donald Trump, the larger his support grows.

Of course there’s more to Trump’s popularity than mere spite. He tells it like it. Or so I’ve been told repeatedly by erstwhile conservatives who are sick and tired of the establishment (maaaaaan). Somehow modern day conservatives have morphed into hippies, stuck on an endless loop railing against the establishment, and Donald Trump represents that counter-culture.

And the thing is, as Ace so aptly observes, Trump’s ascendancy can be laid at the feet of many of the people who loathe him so much. The fecklessness of the Republican party has turned off a great many conservatives. The grassroots feels – with complete justification – that the party has abandoned them. Handed majorities in the House and Senate, it seems that the GOP leadership is afraid to do anything with their majorities. Understandably their options are limited with Barack Obama in the White House, but Boehner, McConnell have folded without even trying to take on the administration.

On the specific issue of immigration, many on the right feel that the party leadership is more apt to side with the Democrats than with their grassroots. Along comes Trump, “telling it like it is,” confronting the media head on. He’s not politically correct, and he doesn’t apologize. He says outrageous things and he doesn’t back down. He is effectively the young conservative id given voice.

Here’s the problem. The same conservatives who have been smitten by the Trump are those that regularly bash the GOP – again rightly – for making noise but failing to follow through on its promises. So what have they done? They’ve gotten behind a demagogic con man who not too long ago was criticizing Mitt Romney for being too harsh on the issue of illegal immigration, who has voiced support for single payer health care, who once backed partial birth abortion, and who has given money to Hillary Clinton and voiced general approval for her and the current incumbent of the White House. Jay Caruso is right when he says that Trump’s “truth telling” persona is a myth. And yet a large segment of the conservative base will continue to insist that Trump is a “truth teller,” while bashing Jonah Goldberg and others who are writing things that they know will upset their readership.

Just last week I was informed by one of these fearless Trumpaholics that he could never support Ted Cruz – a man he agrees with “99 percent of the time” – because of his initial support for Trade Promotion Authority. Nevermind that TPA was something that conservatives have traditionally championed, and nevermind the fact that Ted Cruz backed off his support. Oh no. You see Ted Cruz had demonstrated impurity. So who’s the fallback? A man who, if given a dose of sodium pentothal before being asked his political views, would register to the left of Jeb Bush (and Lindsay Graham and George Pataki, for that matter) on the political spectrum.*

And that, ultimately, is why I have grown more frustrated. I get Trump’s emotional appeal, but beyond that it is sickening to watch events unfold as they are. Once again conservatives purists are going to hand the nomination to the very person that they claim to despise. Why? Because they will pick off, one by one, candidates that express an impure thought, or who are less vocal in supporting the things they support than they’d like. So eminently qualified candidates with a proven conservative track record will be cast aside for some demagogue who says the right things but who is as genuine as a three dollar bill. And in the end the very man they’re all trying to avoid being the nominee will be the man who gets the nod.

The funny thing is that often Trump supporters imply that any criticism of Trump is a sign that you want Jeb Bush to win, as though there aren’t 15 other choices in this race, some of them even good choices. Yet they are doing as much to guarantee that Jeb is the ultimate nominee. Which is why it’s going to be amusing a year from now when all of them rail against the evil establishment that has given them GOP nominee Jeb Bush, when it is they who will have done more to make that nightmare a reality.

Of course Donald Trump will eventually flame out. He’ll say something wrong, as someone with no convictions is wont to do. So he’ll lose ground in the polls to someone else who can bloviate and act like he is a champion come to rescue the masses.

Chris Christie can hardly wait.

From the folks at LifeSiteNews.com: Planned Parenthood sells intact fetal body parts…


LOS ANGELES, July 14, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – An undercover video released this morning shows a national leader of Planned Parenthood admitting that the abortion provider uses the illegal and highly controversial partial birth abortion procedure to sell intact fetal body parts.

The average asking price for fetal body parts? Between $30 and $100 per specimen.

Dr. Deborah Nucatola has been senior director of medical services at Planned Parenthood since February 2009, where she oversees medical practices at all Planned Parenthood affiliates nationwide. She has been employed by Planned Parenthood for more than a decade. She also performs abortions up to 24 weeks in Los Angeles.

In the video, she met with investigators posing as buyers from a human biologics company on July 25, 2014.

While casually sipping wine and eating salad, Dr. Nucatola revealed that she charges $30 to $100 per specimen, and that fetal livers are especially in demand – although “a lot of people want intact hearts these days,” and she has had requests for lungs and “lower extremities.”

Planned Parenthood affiliates “absolutely” want to offer such organs, she said.

Nucatola admitted that Planned Parenthood’s abortionists take great care not to appear to be profiteering off fetal body parts. She said, “They just want to do it in a way that is not perceived as, ‘The clinic is selling tissue. This clinic is making money off of this.’”

The issue is not merely PR – there is also the little matter of federal law. Trafficking in human body parts is a federal felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $500,000.

The method of abortion she describes, on video, also appears to violate federal law.

Dr. Nucatola said she has “a huddle at the beginning of the day” to determine what fetal body parts consumers are requesting, and which patients that day will have babies from which they will be able to harvest them. Then Planned Parenthood abortionists tailor the procedure to assure they do not destroy the organs, maximizing profitability.

“For that reason, most providers will do this case under ultrasound guidance, so they’ll know where they’re putting their forceps,” she said.

She revealed that, as abortionists are dismembering the child, they decide, “I’m not gonna crush that part. I’m gonna basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact.”

In order to procure intact organs, she seemed to describe herself and others performing the illegal partial birth abortion method.

“Some people,” she said, taking another sip of wine, “will actually try to change the presentation so that it’s not vertex [head first],”she continues. “So, if you do it starting from the breech presentation [feet first]…often, the last step, you can evacuate an intact calvarium [the head] at the end.”

President George W. Bush signed a law outlawing partial birth abortion in 2003. It, too, is a federal felony punishable by two years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

But, Dr. Nucatola told the undercover investigators, there are ways around the law.

“The federal abortion ban is a law, and laws are up to interpretation,” she said. “So, if I say on day one that I don’t intend to do this, what ultimately happens doesn’t matter.”

“At the national office, we have a Litigation and Law Department which just really doesn’t want us to be the middle people for this issue right now,” she says. “But I will tell you that behind closed doors these conversations are happening with the affiliates.” (You can read a full transcript of the conversation here.)

In a separate video, the investigators meet with Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards, saying that Dr. Nucatola has been incredibly helpful in their efforts to procure unborn babies’ body parts.

“Oh good,” Richards replies. “Great. She’s amazing.”

In addition to overseeing all medical practices at the abortion giant, Dr. Nucatola has frequently been a media spokeswoman promoting the organization’s political concerns.

The video was the fruit of a nearly three-year-long undercover investigation by theCenter for Medical Progress.

“Planned Parenthood’s criminal conspiracy to make money off of aborted baby parts reaches to the very highest levels of their organization,” said Project Lead David Daleiden. “Elected officials must listen to the public outcry for Planned Parenthood to be held accountable to the law and for our tax dollars to stop underwriting this barbaric abortion business.”

National pro-life leaders immediately called for a Congressional investigation. “This video provides a shocking reality check about the grisly, inhumane business model of Planned Parenthood,” said Dr. Charmaine Yoest, president and CEO of Americans United for Life (AUL). “Under Cecile Richards’ leadership, breast screenings are down, abortions are up and profits are up, as even the bodies of the unborn become something else for her to sell. We call for an immediate Congressional investigation into these alleged atrocities. And just as important, the time is now to defund Planned Parenthood. The American taxpayer should not be in business with such callous profiteers.”

Organizers are asking that this information be shared on Twitter with the hashtag #PPSellsBabyParts. They also request that everyone contact Congress and demand a full investigation.

PopeWatch: Protest Art?



Well, now we are hearing that Pope Francis was not offended by the “Commie Crucifix” and brought it back with him:


Francis, an Argentine Jesuit, said Espinal was well-known among his fellow Jesuits as a proponent of the Marxist strain of liberation theology. The Vatican opposed it, fearing that Marxists were using liberation theology’s “preferential option for the poor” as a call for armed revolution against oppressive rightwing regimes that were in power in much of Latin America in the 1970s and 1980s.

During a news conference en route home to Rome on Sunday, Francis said he interpreted Morales’ gift through the prism of Espinal’s Marxist bent and viewed it as protest art.

After taking into consideration the time in which he lived, Francis said: “I understand this work. For me it wasn’t an offense.”

Francis added that he brought the crucifix home with him. Continue reading

Two Nations Under Red, White and Blue

We will wait for the Americans and the tanks.

General Philippe Petain, 1917


Today is Bastille Day.  Our relationship with our oldest ally has been frequently rocky over the years, in spite of the aid France gave us in winning our independence and the fact that the US was instrumental in saving France in two World Wars.  As we commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the Great War, it is good to recall a time when French and Americans fought so closely together that at times they seemed to be one army.

By 1917 the French Army was in a mutinous state.  Millions of Frenchmen were wounded and dead with little to show for it.  Petain, the victor of Verdun, was made commander in chief of the French army.  He constantly visited units and told them that wasteful, ill-prepared offensives were a thing of the past.  Petain had enjoyed a great deal of success with intensively prepared small scale offensives where he could mass overwhelming force against a small enemy section of the immense line of trenches that stretched from Switzerland to the North Sea.  He had these type of offensives on a grand scale in mind for a rejuvenated French army in 1918.  He also knew two other things:  Allied factories were beginning to produce massive amounts of tanks that could spearhead future offensives and America had entered the War:  the Yanks were coming!  At the conclusion of most of his speeches in 1917 he told his men that they would wait for the Americans and the tanks, a line that never failed to receive thunderous applause from the troops.  The average poilu was a brave man and he was willing to die, if need be, to win the War.  He was no longer willing to die in useless offensives that accomplished nothing, and Petain understood that.

American troops trickled in during 1917 and received a tumultuous reception from the French.  When Colonel Charles E. Stanton, nephew of Lincoln’s Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, said at the tomb of Lafayette on July 4, 1917:  “Lafayette we are here!” both nations were electrified.

America sent over endless amounts of food in 1917 and 1918 that kept the French from starving.  The American Navy helped to master the U-boat threat.

By October 1917 four American divisions were deployed to France.  French combat veterans acted as instructors for the troops and much of the artillery was provided by the French.  This of course was only the first wave of millions of Americans training in the US to be shipped across the Atlantic in 1918. Continue reading

How the Steamroller Will Hit the Church

Homosexual Flag

There have been a lot of suggestions going around that in the wake of the recent Supreme Court decision legalizing same sex marriage nationally, the Catholic Church in the US should announce that priests will no longer perform civil marriages.In order to be treated as married under the law in the United States, you need to file a witnessed marriage license in your state. The way it worked for us in California was: you go down to your city hall or other government building to pick the license up. The city clerk fills it out but then leaves the final signatures blank. You take the form with you and give it to the priest who is performing your marriage. After the ceremony, the priest signs the form, asserting that he has performed a marriage ceremony for you. It’s then signed by husband, wife, and two witnesses and filed with the state. At that point, the man and woman are considered married in the eyes of the law. Obviously, it’s not just priests that can process a marriage license for the state. Any kind of religious minister (Christian or non) can, as can “non denominational” ministers of their own religion. You can also have a strictly civil ceremony performed by a city official.

Continue reading

Good Priests Need Not Apply




A large part of the Vocations Crisis in regard to priests is that too many seminaries simply do not want priests who are attached to Catholic Tradition.  Father Z gives us a case in point:

Did you see the story about the “conservative” seminarians who were given the heave ho from Maynooth Seminary in Ireland?

From Irish Catholic:


A number of Maynooth student priests [i.e. seminarians] who were reportedly asked to take time out [euphemis alert!  “thrown out”] of seminary because they were ‘too conservative[i.e, they believe in God, they don’t think women should be ordained, they don’t think men should sleep together, etc.] are to return to the college in the autumn after interventions by a number of bishops, it has been claimed.  [Because, these days, there are so many seminarians in Ireland they can afford to lose some, right?]

The Irish Catholic understands that of 10 diocesan seminarians who were due to return to Maynooth in the autumn [they have TEN?] after completing their pastoral year, six were recommended to take time out to reconsider their vocation.  [This reminds me of the diocese in California which had no seminarians at all for a couple years.  They said that their admissions process worked.  It was so excellent and sophisticated that no one got through!]

Sources have indicated to The Irish Catholic that the clear impression was given to the students that they were so advised because their theological views were considered at the conservative end of the spectrum.  [I’m shocked!  Shocked!]

However, Msgr Hugh Connolly, President of Maynooth, rejected the claim, insisting that there has been “nothing out of the ordinary in terms of usual action between students, dioceses and the seminary in making a decision on what is the best next step for a particular student”. [Uh huh.]

Msgr Connolly said it was “not a question of conservativism” but rather a question of “getting the right experience”.  [Uh huh.]

However, the issue will put fresh focus on concerns that the Vatican’s investigation of Maynooth, ordered by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010, has had little practical effect. In previous years some Maynooth students claimed the college operated an informal ‘litmus test’ to sift out seminarians considered excessively conservative. [What does “excessively” conservative mean in the modern Irish context?  Translation: the rector didn’t like them.]


The Irish Catholic now understands that after interventions by a number of bishops, three of the six seminarians will in fact be returning to the college this autumn. It is understood that the bishops involved rejected the assessment of their seminarians by those involved in co-ordinating the pastoral year, [of course] and that the apprehensions shared were at odds with favourable reports from pastoral placements. The concerns aired were reportedly not shared by the college’s seminary council.  [It’s dejà vu all over again.  This is sounding really familiar.]

Maynooth President Msgr Connolly, who chairs the council, poured cold water on the claim that a bishop had to bring any student “back on board,” insisting that no student was ever “off board”. [Uh huh.]



This is not the first time the issue has provoked controversy. Some years ago, seminarians were reportedly suspended for wanting to kneel during the consecration at Mass.

[NB!] In 2012, Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin said “it is not just that the number of candidates is low; it is also that many of those who present are fragile and some are much more traditional than those who went before them”.  [That’s the old technique from the 80’s isn’t it?  Suggest that anyone who is conservative is psychologically damaged.  Then either force them out the door or into a shrink’s office so that he tell them that they are really gay.  It’s what we, back in the day, referred to as Lubyanka.]

Continue reading

State Senator Rick Bertrand (R-IA): A genuine Catholic pol…


Over at the Souix City Journal, State Senator Rick Bertrand (R-IA) has written an impassioned op-ed explaining why Catholics, especially those who are pro-life, need to stop supporting pro-death politicians.

Given the demographic data, Bertrand writes:

Abortion in this country will only be abolished through the legislative process, and that begins by Catholics electing representatives, an organization, that will aggressively pursue a pro-life agenda. Only then will a domino of judicial rulings pave the way back to the U.S. Supreme Court where this horrific tragedy started.

This is the reality. Can we Catholics handle the truth?


State Senator Rick Bertrand, wife Tammy, and daughter, Addison

More to the point, Bertrand offers an opinion about what the data suggest for the nation’s Catholic bishops, priests, and deacons:

Any priest or member of our clergy who is voting with the Democratic Party is not leading by example, and simply living and preaching a lie. “Not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.” (1 Peter 5:3)

“How do we Catholics end abortion?”, Bertrand asks. “By looking in the mirror.”

Kudos to State Senator Rick Bertrand for taking his faith into the public square and courageously stating what it requires of Catholics. Read his story here.




To read State Senator Bertrand’s op-ed, click on the following link:

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:

PopeWatch: Commie Kitsch



Father Z quotes from Vatican Insider how Pope Francis disposed of the Hammer and Sickle crucifixes given to him by Evo Morales, the odious president of Bolivia:


From Vatican Insider:

This morning Francis lay the two presidential honours he received Wednesday from President Evo Morales in La Paz, at the feet of Our Lady of Copacabana. One of these featured the hammer and anvil with a carving of a crucifix

Before leaving Bolivia, Francis placed two gifts he received on Wednesday from President Evo Morales at the foot of a statue of Mary. One of these, a chain with a chunky medallion, had the figure of the crucified Christ carved into a wooden hammer and anvil. This image had been drawn by Fr. Luis Espinal, the Jesuit priest who was assassinated in Bolivia in March 1980. [So, it is the chain and medallion with the image of commie-crux that the Pope left?  Along with the Bolivian honor?]

“This morning,” reads a statement issued by Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi, “Pope Francis celebrated Holy Mass in the chapel of the private residence of the Archbishop Emeritus of Santa Cruz de la Sierra. At the end of the Eucharistic celebration, the Holy Father presented two decorative honours that were conferred onto him by Bolivian president Evo Morales during his courtesy visit to the Presidential palace in La Paz , to a statue of the Our Lady of Copacabana, patron saint of Bolivia.[So… something doesn’t go back to Rome.  The wooden commie-crux?  However, didn’t Fr. Lombardi say that it wasn’t going to go into a church? ““Certainly, though, it will not be put in a church,” he said.” HERE This Pope is full is surprises.]

Francis accompanied this gesture with the following words: “The President of the nation was kind enough to offer me two decorative honours on behalf of the Bolivian people. I thank the Bolivian people for their affection and the President for this courteous gesture. I would like to dedicate these two decorations to the patron saint of Bolivia, the Mother of this noble nation, so that she may always remember her people and from Bolivia, from the shrine where I would like them to be, that she may remember the Successor of Peter and the whole Church and look after them from Bolivia.”

“Mother of the Saviour and our Mother,” Francis prayed, “You, Queen of Bolivia, who from the height of your Shrine in Copacabana attend to the prayers and needs of your children, especially the most poor and abandoned, and protect them: Receive as a gift from the heart of Bolivia and my filial affection the symbols of affection and closeness that – in the name of the Bolivian people – Mr. President Evo Morales Ayma has bestowed on me with cordial and generous affection, [uh huh] on the occasion of this Apostolic Journey, which I entrusted to your solicitous intercession.”

Francis concluded his prayer by saying: “I ask that these honours, which I leave here in Bolivia at your feet, and which recall the nobility of the flight of the Condor in the skies of the Andes and the commemorated sacrifice of Father Luis Espinal, S.J., may be emblems of the everlasting love and persevering gratitude of the Bolivian people for your solicitous and intense tenderness. At this moment, Mother, I place in your heart my prayers for all the many petitions of your children, which I have received in these days: I beg you to hear them; give them your encouragement and protection, and manifest to the whole of Bolivia your tenderness as woman and Mother of God, who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.” [I’m pretty sure he means that God lives and reigns forever and ever, although Mary now lives forever and she is Queen of Heaven forever.]

So, I hope the contraption isn’t returning to Rome. Continue reading

Father Thomas Michael Conway: Last US Chaplain to Die in World War II

Father Thomas Michael Conway

 (Much of the information contained in this post was taken from a post on Father Conway written by Bill Millhome.  Go here to read his post.)

Early this year the Navy rejected efforts to have Father Thomas Michael Conway awarded the Navy Cross.  I would be angrier at this injustice if I was not certain that the Chaplain had not been awarded the ultimate blessing of sainthood and the Beatific Vision immediately after his heroic death in shark infested waters at the tail end of World War II.

Born on April 5, 1908 in Waterbury, Connecticut, he was the oldest of three children of his Irish immigrant parents.  Ordained a priest in 1934 he served as a priest in various parishes in Buffalo, New York.  His main leisure activities was sailing a boat on Lake Erie.  On September 17, 1942 he enlisted in the Navy and was commissioned as a chaplain.

On August 25, 1944 he was assigned to the cruiser USS Indianapolis as a chaplain.

July 29, 1945 was a Sunday, and the Chaplain had said Mass for the Catholic sailors, and conducted a service for the Protestant sailors.  Fourteen minutes past midnight two torpedoes fired by the Japanese sub I-58 ripped into the starboard bow of the Indianapolis.  The ship sank in twelve minutes, taking 300 men to the bottom with it.  Nine hundred sailors, including the chaplain, were adrift in the pitch black shark infested waters.

Frank J. Centazzo, one of the 317 survivors of this ordeal, recalled what the Chaplain did, as he swam from group to group, tending the wounded, leading the men in prayer and giving the  Last Rites to sailors beyond all human aid:

“Father Conway was in every way a messenger of our Lord. He loved his work no matter what the challenge. He was respected and loved by all his shipmates. I was in the group with Father Conway. … I saw him go from one small group to another. Getting the shipmates to join in prayer and asking them not to give up hope of being rescued. He kept working until he was exhausted. I remember on the third day late in the afternoon when he approached me and Paul McGiness. He was thrashing the water and Paul and I held him so he could rest a few hours. Later, he managed to get away from us and we never saw him again. Father Conway was successful in his mission to provide spiritual strength to all of us. He made us believe that we would be rescued. He gave us hope and the will to endure. His work was exhausting and he finally succumbed in the evening of the third day. He will be remembered by all of the survivors for all of his work while on board the ‘Indy’ and especially three days in the ocean.” Continue reading

Pope of the Left



Pope Francis during his visit to South America, his home ground, gave vent to all those beliefs that  should send a shiver down the back of anyone who believes in free enterprise and views the State with extreme skepticism.  Andrew Stuttaford at National Review Online gives a good summary:

Even by the standards of this pontiff, Pope Francis’s speech yesterday in Bolivia to a crowd that included the country’s president wearing a jacket emblazoned with the face of a mass-murderer (Che Guevara, in case you needed to ask: we can at least be sure that Speaker Boehner won’t do that when he introduces Francis to a joint session of Congress), was a doozy.
The Guardian exults (of course it does), quoting this amongst other delights:
“The new colonialism takes on different faces. At times it appears as the anonymous influence of mammon: corporations, loan agencies, certain ‘free trade’ treaties, and the imposition of measures of ‘austerity’ which always tighten the belt of workers and the poor.”
Not for the first time with Pope Francis, we see traces of conspiracism (a demagogic standard, I’m afraid to say) in his use of the phrase ‘anonymous influence’ and the suggestion of dark works by ‘corporations’ and ‘loan agencies’. The distaste for ‘free trade’, complete with scare quotes of course, harks back to the Peronist preference for economic autarchy that marked the Argentina of his youth.
And so does another extract from the same speech in which the Pope seems to call what he refers to as a “truly communitarian” economy, often a buzz word for those, such as Perón, who claimed or claim to be looking for a ‘third way’ between communism and capitalism, a third way that, in Argentina’s case, ultimately led to disaster.
Turn now to a 2013 blog post from Jacob Lederman reacting to posters that appeared across Buenos Aires after Francis’s election, posters that read, “Francisco I, Argentino y Peronista”:
The fall of the first peronist government is said to have been precipitated by Peron’s break with the church but in fact I have always thought that the two shared many common attributes: top down structures, a measure of paternalism which can be discursively rendered a form of communitarianism, and a strong inclination toward the mystical.
Look at the speech, and we see that Francis has no time for what he refers to as “the bondage of individualism”.
And he seems unimpressed by the remarkable (and, of course, incomplete) achievements of the free market (however approximate, however imperfect) in not only coping with a vastly expanded global population (ahem) but in pulling so many out of poverty across the world. All that appears to count for little with a figure who, economically and politically speaking, appears to view much of the modern world through the lens of the exhausted ideologies of the mid-20th Century.
Let us say NO to an economy of exclusion and inequality, where money rules, rather than service. That economy kills. That economy excludes. That economy destroys Mother Earth.
To him this is the system (“a subtle dictatorship”, apparently, a description which left me wondering how he would describe Cuba) that has “irresponsibly” (an interesting word to use, in this context: some sort of central planning, I suppose, is to decide what is or is not “responsible”) accelerated “the pace of production, while using industrial and agricultural methods which damage Mother Earth in the name of “productivity”….
The Green Revolution was bad?

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Laudato si: Its pessimistic tone sounds like Environmental Defense Fund propaganda…


Many have rightly lauded Pope Francis’ encyclical concerning the environment, Laudato si. However, many of those doing so view the encyclical as a crucial document, not for its defense of life, family, and the impoverished but for its utility in furthering their environmentalist agenda.

For example, repeatedly mentioning the “environmental crisis””and stating “the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air, and in all forms of life” (¶ 2), Pope Francis provides environmentalists a motherlode of propaganda soundbites as well as rhetorical ammunition to make an appeal to papal authority in support of their agenda. Unfortunately, although this appeal represents the logical fallacy of “appeal to authority,” that won’t matter much.


The President of the Population Research Institute and the author of Population Control: Real Costs and Illusory Benefits, Steven Mosher, has carefully considered Laudato si and asks over at the New York Post: “Do the Pope and I live on the same planet?”

Answering his question, Mosher argues that the encyclical’s pessimistic tone neglects the much of the progress that’s already been achieved in caring for both the environment and the poor. He writes:

Many of its strong claims about the dire state of the world don’t take into account positive change reported even in UN documents, which themselves tend to magnify environmental and other global problems as a fundraising ploy.

In this regard, Mosher cites this discrepancy concerning the issues of: water (¶ 27-31); loss of biodiversity (¶ 32-42); decline in the quality of human life and the breakdown of society (¶ 43-47); and, global inequality (¶ 48-52). In sum:

…a dismal tone of environmental “apocalypse now” pervades the entire document, as when it breathlessly proclaims that: “Doomsday predictions can no longer be met with irony or distain. We may well be leaving to coming generations debris, desolation and filth….our contemporary lifestyle [is] unsustainable …” (¶ 161).


Mosher correctly argues that problem isn’t Pope Francis but the so-called  environmental “experts” who were hand-selected by the head of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Archbishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo. One of those experts, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, who assisted in drafting the encyclical, happens to be a member of the Club of Rome, a global think tank. In 1972, the group issued the now-discredited “The Limits to Growth” study which famously predicted the world would run out of “nonrenewable resources” in the 1980s and 1990s, and that environmental, economic, and societal collapse would follow.

“In selecting Schellnhuber,” Mosher asserts, “[Archbishop Sanchez Sorondo] might as well have turned the manuscript over to a fundraising copywriter for the Environmental Defense Fund.”

The truth concerning the scriptural injunction to cultivate, rule, and care for the environment is ill-served when ideology—in this case, the ideology of those who worship at the altar of environmentalism—and its propaganda are selected to provide the substantive foundation for the argument.

Where Laudato si promotes that truth, it’s a fine document for serious reflection and action. Where Laudato si veers from that truth, the encyclical can easily be hijacked by environmentalists and their  propagandists.




To read Steven Mosher’s article in the New York Post, click on the following link:

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:

Our New “Friends”

Naomi Klein



One of the more interesting feature of the current pontificate is how often the Pope extends the hand of friendship to enemies of the Church while giving the back of his hand to faithful Catholics.  In a rather gloating piece in The New Yorker, one of the Popes new best buds, environmental and anti-capitalist activist Naomi Klein, is on target about what a radical shift this all is:

This point is made forcefully by the Irish Catholic priest and theologian Seán McDonagh, who was part of the drafting process for the encyclical. His voice booming from the audience, he urges us not to hide from the fact that the love of nature embedded in the encyclical represents a profound and radical shift from traditional Catholicism. “We are moving to a new theology,” he declares.

To prove it, he translates a Latin prayer that was once commonly recited after communion during the season of advent. “Teach us to despise the things of the earth and to love the things of heaven.” Overcoming centuries of loathing the corporeal world is no small task, and, McDonagh argues, it serves little purpose to downplay the work ahead.

It’s thrilling to witness such radical theological challenges being batted around inside the curved wooden walls of an auditorium named after St. Augustine, the theologian whose skepticism of things bodily and material so profoundly shaped the Church. But I would imagine that for the conspicuously silent men in black robes in the front row, who study and teach in this building, it is also a little terrifying.

This evening’s dinner is much more informal: a sidewalk trattoria with a handful of Franciscans from Brazil and the U.S., as well as McDonagh, who is treated by the others as an honorary member of the order.

My dinner companions have been some of biggest troublemakers within the Church for years, the ones taking Christ’s proto-socialist teachings seriously. Patrick Carolan, the Washington, D.C.-based executive director of the Franciscan Action Network, is one of them. Smiling broadly, he tells me that, at the end of his life, Vladimir Lenin supposedly said that what the Russian Revolution had really needed was not more Bolsheviks but ten St. Francises of Assisi.

Now, all of a sudden, these outsiders share many of their views with the most powerful Catholic in the world, the leader of a flock of 1.2 billion people. Not only did this Pope surprise everyone by calling himself Francis, as no Pope ever had before him, but he appears to be determined to revive the most radical Franciscan teachings. Moema de Miranda, a powerful Brazilian social leader, who was wearing a wooden Franciscan cross, says that it feels “as if we are finally being heard.”

For McDonagh, the changes at the Vatican are even more striking. “The last time I had a Papal audience was 1963,” he tells me over spaghetti vongole. “I let three Popes go by.” And yet here he is, back in Rome, having helped draft the most talked-about encyclical anyone can remember.

McDonagh points out that it’s not just Latin Americans who figured out how to reconcile a Christian God with a mystical Earth. The Irish Celtic tradition also managed to maintain a sense of “divine in the natural world. Water sources had a divinity about them. Trees had a divinity to them.” But, in much of the rest of the Catholic world, all of this was wiped out. “We are presenting things as if there is continuity, but there wasn’t continuity. That theology was functionally lost.” (It’s a sleight of hand that many conservatives are noticing. “Pope Francis, The Earth Is Not My Sister,” reads a recent headline in The Federalist, a right-wing Web magazine.)

As for McDonagh, he is thrilled with the encyclical, although he wishes it had gone even further in challenging the idea that the earth was created as a gift to humans. How could that be so, when we know it was here billions of years before we arrived?

I ask how the Bible could survive this many fundamental challenges—doesn’t it all fall apart at some point? He shrugs, telling me that scripture is ever evolving, and should be interpreted in historical context. If Genesis needs a prequel, that’s not such a big deal. Indeed, I get the distinct sense that he’d be happy to be part of the drafting committee.
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PopeWatch: Sodom and Gomorrah



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


Just hours after ruling that all Americans, no matter their sexual orientation, can now legally marry the people they love, the U.S. Supreme Court went forward with plans to demand that God apologize and make amends for His actions at Sodom and Gomorrah.

Many are calling the decision to hold God liable for the destruction of the impenitent cities as a victory for gay rights activists who have fought for centuries to see God brought to justice.

The justices found that, under the 14th Amendment, states must issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and recognize same-sex unions that have been performed in other states, and that the Divine judgment of God that was passed upon Sodom and Gomorrah was unjust. Justice Anthony Kennedy delivered the majority opinion and was joined by Justices Ginsburg, Kagan, Breyer and Sotomayor in calling God to step down from his post immediately. Continue reading

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