PopeWatch: Spare the Rod

 

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

Pope Francis is capable of surprises every now and then, often to the dismay of some of his fans:

A group of child abuse experts summoned by Pope Francis to help tackle priestly abuse in the Roman Catholic Church has criticized remarks made by the pope himself in which he suggested that it was permissible for parents to spank their wayward children.

Two members of the 17-strong commission, holding its first full meeting at the Vatican, said Saturday they objected to Francis’ comments, made last Wednesday, in which he backed corporal punishment.

Leading British anti-abuse campaigner Peter Saunders, abused by two Catholic priests as a child, said the committee would ask the pope to reconsider his remarks.

“It might start off as a light tap, but actually the whole idea about hitting children is about inflicting pain,” Saunders said at a news conference at the Vatican.

“That’s what it’s about and there is no place in this day and age for having physical punishment, for inflicting pain, in terms of how you discipline your children,” he said.

Fellow commission member Dr. Krysten Winter-Green, a New Zealand native who works in the U.S. with young abuse victims, said any physical punishment of children was unacceptable. “There has to be positive parenting, in a different way,” she was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.

Speaking about responsible fatherhood at a general audience on Wednesday, Francis recalled a meeting with a father who told him he hit his children when they misbehaved.

“Once, in a marriage counseling session, I heard a father say ‘Sometimes I need to hit my children a bit, but never in the face, to avoid humiliating them.’” Continue reading

Interesting Times

Pope Francis Cardinal Burke

I truly wish that this period in the Life of the Church was much less interesting:

 

Cardinal Burke: I cannot accept that Communion can be given to a person in an irregular union because it is adultery. On the question of people of the same sex, this has nothing to do with marriage. This is an affliction suffered by some people whereby they are attracted against nature sexually to people of the same sex.

Question: If perchance the pope will persist in this direction, what will you do?

Cardinal Burke: I shall resist, I can do nothing else. There is no doubt that it is a difficult time; this is clear, this is clear.

Question: Painful?

Cardinal Burke: Yes.

Question: Worrisome?

Cardinal Burke: Yes.

Question: In your opinion, can we say today that the Catholic Church as an institution is threatened?

Cardinal Burke: The Lord has assured us, as He has assured St. Peter in the Gospel, that the powers of evil will not prevail, “non praevalebunt” as we say in Latin, that the forces of evil will not have victory over the Church.

Question of the end: The pope is your friend!

Cardinal Burke (with a smile): I would not want to make the pope an enemy for sure; let us hope for the best. Continue reading

If Only All Catholics Thought As Highly of the Church

 

In response to President Obama’s ignorant exercise in moral equivalency in invoking the Crusades and the Inquisition, ( as T.Shaw noted fewer people were turned over for execution by the Inquisition, actually Inquisitions, in all of history than die in American abortion clinics on any week day), go here to read about it, Jonah Goldberg quotes from his book Tyranny of Cliches which explains why such Catholic bashing is ahistoric and unfair:

 

As a fairly secular Jew I cannot and will not speak to the theological questions, in part because I do not want to. But mostly because I do not have to. The core problem with those who glibly invoke one cliché after another about the evils of organized religion and Catholicism is that they betray the progressive tendency to look back on the last two thousand years and see the Catholic Church — and Christianity generally — as holding back humanity from progress, reason, and enlightenment. They fault the Church for not knowing what could not have been known yet and for being too slow to accept new discoveries that only seem obvious to us with the benefit of hindsight. It’s an odd attack from people who boast of their skepticism and yet condemn the Church for being rationally skeptical about scientific breakthroughs.

In short, they look at the tide of secularism and modernity as proof that the Church was an anchor. I put it to you that it was more of sail. Nearly everything we revere about modernity and progress — education, the rule of law, charity, decency, the notion of the universal rights of man, and reason were advanced by the Church for most of the last two thousand years.

Yes, compared to the ideal imagined by atheists and secularists this sounds like madness.

But isn’t the greater madness to make a real force for good the enemy because the forces of self-anointed perfection claim to have some glorious blueprint for a flawless world sitting on a desk somewhere? It is a Whiggish and childish luxury to compare the past — or even the present — to a utopian standard. Of course there was corruption, cruelty, and hypocrisy within the Church — because the Church is a human institution. Its dark hypocrisies are the backdrop that allow us to see the luminance of the standard they have, on occasion, fallen short of. The Catholic Church was a spiritual beacon lighting the way forward compared to the world lit only by fire outside the Church doors.

You know that you live in loony tunes times when a secular Jew like Goldberg has a better appreciation for the role of the Church in History than some Catholic bloggers:  (Ahem, that is your cue Mark:)

Not feeling the hysteria…

…over Obama’s Prayer Breakfast remarks. It’s just today’s Panic du Jour from the Noise Machine. Here’s what he actually said:

“And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ…

“So this is not unique to one group or one religion. There is a tendency in us, a sinful tendency that can pervert and distort our faith. In today’s world, when hate groups have their own Twitter accounts and bigotry can fester in hidden places in cyberspace, it can be even harder to counteract such intolerance. But God compels us to try. And in this mission, I believe there are a few principles that can guide us, particularly those of us who profess to believe.

“And, first, we should start with some basic humility. I believe that the starting point of faith is some doubt — not being so full of yourself and so confident that you are right and that God speaks only to us, and doesn’t speak to others, that God only cares about us and doesn’t care about others, that somehow we alone are in possession of the truth.” (source)

This seems, not merely reasonable, but rather pedestrian.

 

 

Encyclicals For Our Time: DIVINI REDEMPTORIS

LiberationTheologyChart

 

The start of a new series on encylicals that have a special relevance for our time.  First up Divini Redemptoris.  At a time when the heresy that goes by the name of Liberation Theology is making a comeback, it is good to recall the words of Pope Pius XI against Communism, so the errors of the last century may not be repeated in this one:

 

 

DIVINI REDEMPTORIS


ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PIUS XI
ON ATHEISTIC COMMUNISM
TO THE PATRIARCHS, PRIMATES,
ARCHBISHOPS, BISHOPS, AND OTHER ORDINARIES
IN PEACE AND COMMUNION WITH THE APOSTOLIC SEE.

Venerable Brethren, Health and Apostolic Benediction.

The promise of a Redeemer brightens the first page of the history of mankind, and the confident hope aroused by this promise softened the keen regret for a paradise which had been lost. It was this hope that accompanied the human race on its weary journey, until in the fullness of time the expected Savior came to begin a new universal civilization, the Christian civilization, far superior even to that which up to this time had been laboriously achieved by certain more privileged nations.

2. Nevertheless, the struggle between good and evil remained in the world as a sad legacy of the original fall. Nor has the ancient tempter ever ceased to deceive mankind with false promises. It is on this account that one convulsion following upon another has marked the passage of the centuries, down to the revolution of our own days. This modern revolution, it may be said, has actually broken out or threatens everywhere, and it exceeds in amplitude and violence anything yet experienced in the preceding persecutions launched against the Church. Entire peoples find themselves in danger of falling back into a barbarism worse than that which oppressed the greater part of the world at the coming of the Redeemer.

3. This all too imminent danger, Venerable Brethren, as you have already surmised, is bolshevistic and atheistic Communism, which aims at upsetting the social order and at undermining the very foundations of Christian civilization .

 

Continue reading

February 8, 1865: Lincoln to Grant

 

 

Lincoln and Grant

 

As news spread of the abortive Hampton Roads Conference, members of Congress demanded to know what was said.  Lincoln sent the following telegraph to Grant on February 8, 1865:

Lieut. Gen. Grant Executive Mansion
City Point, Va. Washington, Feb. 8. 1865

I am called on by the House of Representatives to give an account of my interview with Messrs. Stephens, Hunter & Campbell; and it is very desireable to me to put in your despatch of Feb. 1st. to the Sec. of War, in which among other things you say “I fear now their going back without any expression from any one in authority will have a bad influence” I think the despatch does you credit while I do not see that it can embarrass you. May I use it?

A LINCOLN

 

Here is the message from Grant to Stanton on February 1:

CITY POINT, VA., February 1, 1865-10.30 p.m.

Honorable EDWIN M. STANTON,

Secretary of War:

Now that the interview between Major Eckert, under his written instructions, and Mr. Stephens and party has ended, I will state confidentially, but not officially to become a matter of record, that I am convinced, upon conversation with Messrs. Stephens and Hunter, that their intentions are good and their desire sincere to restore peace and union. I have not felt myself at liberty to express even views of my own or to account for my reticence. This has placed me in an awkward position, which I could have avoided by not seeing them in the first instance. I fear now their going back without any expression from any one in authority will have a bad influence. At the same time I recognize the difficulties in the way of receiving these informal commissioners at this time, and do not know what to recommend. I am sorry, however, that Mr. Lincoln cannot have an interview with the two named in this despatch, if not all there now within our lines. Their letter to me was all that the President’s instructions contemplated, to secure their safe conduct, if they had used the same language to Major Eckert.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General. Continue reading

GovNet

 

 

 

 

 

From those same wonderful folks who brought you ObamaCare and the IRS as a political weapon:

 

February 6, 2015

 

STATEMENT OF FCC COMMISSIONER AJIT PAI

ON PRESIDENT OBAMA’S PLAN TO REGULATE THE INTERNET

Last night, Chairman Wheeler provided his fellow Commissioners with President Obama’s 332-page plan to regulate the Internet. I am disappointed that the plan will not be released publicly. The FCC should be as open and transparent as the Internet itself and post the entire document on its website.

Instead, it looks like the FCC will have to pass the President’s plan before the American people will be able to find out what’s really in it.

In the coming days, I look forward to continuing to study the plan in detail. Based on my initial examination, however, several points are apparent.

First, President Obama’s plan marks a monumental shift toward government control of the Internet. It gives the FCC the power to micromanage virtually every aspect of how the Internet works.

It’s an overreach that will let a Washington bureaucracy, and not the American people, decide the future of the online world. It’s no wonder that net neutrality proponents are already bragging that it will turn the FCC into the “Department of the Internet.” For that reason, if you like dealing with the IRS, you are going to love the President’s plan.

Second, President Obama’s plan to regulate the Internet will increase consumers’ monthly broadband bills. The plan explicitly opens the door to billions of dollars in new taxes on broadband.

Indeed, states have already begun discussions on how they will spend the extra money. These new taxes will mean higher prices for consumers and more hidden fees that they have to pay.

Third, President Obama’s plan to regulate the Internet will mean slower broadband for American consumers. The plan contains a host of new regulations that will reduce investment in

broadband networks. That means slower Internet speeds. It also means that many rural Americans will have to wait longer for access to quality broadband.

Fourth, President Obama’s plan to regulate the Internet will hurt competition and innovation and move us toward a broadband monopoly. The plan saddles small, independent

businesses and entrepreneurs with heavy-handed regulations that will push them out of the market. As a result, Americans will have fewer broadband choices. This is no accident. Title II was designed to regulate a monopoly. If we impose that model on a vibrant broadband marketplace, a highly regulated monopoly is what we’ll get. We shouldn’t bring Ma Bell back to life in this dynamic, digital age. Continue reading

PopeWatch: Call it Bunny Love

 

 

 

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

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

 

 

Just days after Pope Francis made statements supporting the Church’s ban on artificial means of birth control, media outlets from across the globe are now reporting that the “progressive” pope has finally overturned the Church’s long-standing ban on contraception for bunnies.

Speaking with reporters on a flight Monday from the Philippines to Rome, Francis encouraged Catholics to use natural family planning so as not to breed like rabbits, before going on to add that rabbits would, from now on, be allowed the use of certain forms of artificial birth control.

MSNBC Vatican analyst Reese Moore reported that although the Church’s ban on humans using birth control has sadly not been overturned, that bunny contraception was a step in the right direction.

“This is certainly a step in the right direction,” Moore told EOTT this morning. “It appears to be an unprecedented statement that bunnies too may have a moral responsibility to limit the number of their offspring. When the Pope makes a statement saying that rabbits need not breed like rabbits, it appears as though the Pope is asking rabbits world-wide to look at Catholics as an example of responsible parenthood. I firmly believe that Pope Francis is testing the waters here for something truly groundbreaking.” Continue reading

Faces of Lincoln

Something for the weekend.   This video purports to have in it every known photograph of Mr.  Lincoln.  The songs in the video are Lincoln and Liberty Too, perhaps the most stirring campaign song in American history, Dixie, ironically a favorite song of the President of the Union, and the haunting Ashokan Farewell.  A fitting video in the weekend before we observe the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of Lincoln’s last birthday in this Vale of Tears.

Quotes Suitable For Framing: Bobby Jindal

 

 

Catholic convert and Governor of Louisiana Bobby Jindal wasted no time in responding with humor to President Obama’s wretched exercise in moral equivalency at the National Prayer Breakfast:

 

“It was nice of the President to give us a history lesson at the Prayer breakfast. Today, however, the issue right in front of his nose, in the here and now, is the terrorism of Radical Islam, the assassination of journalists, the beheading and burning alive of captives. We will be happy to keep an eye out for runaway Christians, but it would be nice if he would face the reality of the situation today. The Medieval Christian threat is under control, Mr. President. Please deal with the Radical Islamic threat today.” 

The Crusades and Historical Ignorance

 

One of the tenets of our faith is to instruct the ignorant.  Thus, for the benefit of President Obama who is obviously bone ignorant of the Crusades, I am reposting this post from 2012:

The above video is a salute to Rick Santorum, former candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, for understanding the essential nature of the Crusades as a defensive reaction to Islamic aggression.  In the video below we have a rather mindless reaction to the same quote from a talking head from the liberal group Young Turks, who, judging from his comments, gained his knowledge of the Crusades from the laughably ahistorical crusader bashing flick Kingdom of Heaven (2005).

 

Ignorance of the depth displayed in the video above is always to be lamented, and is not unusual, as noted by Dr. Thomas Madden, one of the foremost of the scholars of the Crusades, who, over the past 40 years, have revolutionized our knowledge and understanding of that epoch:

 

The crusades are quite possibly the most misunderstood event in European history. Ask a random American about them and you are likely to see a face wrinkle in disgust, or just the blank stare that is usually evoked by events older than six weeks. After all, weren’t the crusaders just a bunch of religious nuts carrying fire and sword to the land of the Prince of Peace? Weren’t they cynical imperialists seeking to carve out colonies for themselves in faraway lands with the blessings of the Catholic Church? A couch potato watching the BBC/A&E documentary on the crusades (hosted by Terry Jones of Monty Python fame no less) would learn in roughly four hours of frivolous tsk-tsk-ing that the peaceful Muslim world actually learned to be warlike from the barbaric western crusaders. No wonder, then, that Pope John Paul II was excoriated for his refusal to apologize for the crusades in 1999. No wonder that a year ago Wheaton College in Illinois dropped their Crusader mascot of 70 years. No wonder that hundreds of Americans and Europeans recently marched across Europe and the Middle East begging forgiveness for the crusades from any Muslim or Jew who would listen. No wonder.

Jonah Goldberg, in his just released book Tyranny of Cliches, demonstrates that he is aware of the current scholarship on the Crusades:

The great irony is that the zealot-reformers who want to return to a “pure” Islam have been irredeemably corrupted by Western ideas. Osama bin Laden had the idea that he was fighting the “new crusaders.” When George W. Bush once, inadvertently, used the word “crusade,” jihadists and liberal intellectuals alike erupted with rage. It was either a damning slip of the tongue whereby Bush accidentally admitted his real crusader agenda, or it was a sign of his stunning ignorance about the Crusades. Doesn’t he know what a sensitive issue the Crusades are? Doesn’t he know that the Crusades belong alongside the slaughter of the Indians, slavery, and disco in the long line of Western sins?

After all, it’s been in the papers for a while. In 1999, Muslim leaders demanded that Pope John Paul II apologize for the Crusades. “He has asked forgiveness from the Jews [for the Church’s passivity in the face of the Holocaust], so he should ask forgiveness from the Muslims,” Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, the grand mufti of Jerusalem, told the New York Times.3   Across the country sports teams have been dropping their crusader mas­cots because they’re offensive to . . . someone. Wheaton College changed their seventy-year-old team name from the Crusaders to the Thunder (no word from Thor worshippers yet as to whether they are off ended). Even Campus Crusade for Christ opted to change its name to Cru partly be­cause the word crusade has become too radioactive. “It’s become a flash word for a lot of people. It harkens back to other periods of time and has a negative connotation for lots of people across the world, especially in the Middle East,” Steve Sellers, the organization’s vice president told Christianity Today. “In the ’50s, crusade was the evangelistic term in the United States. Over time, different words take on different meanings to different groups.”

I’ll say. Until fairly recently, historically speaking, Muslims used to brag about being the winners of the Crusades, not the victims of it. That is if they talked about them at all. “The Crusades could more accurately be described as a limited, belated and, in the last analysis, ineffectual re­sponse to the jihad—a failed attempt to recover by a Christian holy war what had been lost to a Muslim holy war,” writes Bernard Lewis, the greatest living historian of Islam in the English language (and perhaps any language).5 Historian Thomas Madden puts it more directly, “Now put this down in your notebook, because it will be on the test: The cru­sades were in every way a defensive war. They were the West’s belated response to the Muslim conquest of fully two-thirds of the Christian world.” Continue reading

PopeWatch: Address Congress

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

Well this should be interesting:

 

Pope Francis will address a joint meeting of the House and Senate on Sept. 24, becoming the first pontiff to do so, House Speaker John Boehner said Thursday. 

“We’re humbled that the Holy Father has accepted our invitation and certainly look forward to receiving his message on behalf of the American people,” Boehner, R-Ohio, told reporters. 

Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II

 

Today is my 58th birthday.  I have always been pleased to share my birthday with one of the greatest of our presidents:   Ronald Wilson Reagan.  One of the fascinating aspects of his Presidency was the alliance established between him, Pope John Paul II and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to help bring about the demise of Communism in Eastern Europe.  Carl Bernstein chronicled what he called The Holy Alliance which began with a meeting between Reagan and the Pope in the Vatican Library on June 7, 1982, the first meeting of the two men:

According to aides who shared their leaders’ view of the world, Reagan and John Paul II refused to accept a fundamental political fact of their lifetimes: the division of Europe as mandated at Yalta and the communist dominance of Eastern Europe. A free, noncommunist Poland, they were convinced, would be a dagger to the heart of the Soviet empire; and if Poland became democratic, other East European states would follow.

“We both felt that a great mistake had been made at Yalta and something should be done,” Reagan says today. “Solidarity was the very weapon for bringing this about, because it was an organization of the laborers of Poland.” Nothing quite like Solidarity had ever existed in Eastern Europe, Reagan notes, adding that the workers’ union “was contrary to anything the Soviets would want or the communists ((in Poland)) would want.”

According to Solidarity leaders, Walesa and his lieutenants were aware that both Reagan and John Paul II were committed to Solidarity’s survival, but they could only guess at the extent of the collaboration. “Officially I didn’t know the church was working with the U.S.,” says Wojciech Adamiecki, the organizer and editor of underground Solidarity newspapers and now a counselor at the Polish embassy in Washington. “We were told the Pope had warned the Soviets that if they entered Poland he would fly to Poland and stay with the Polish people. The church was of primary assistance. It was half open, half secret. Open as far as humanitarian aid — food, money, medicine, doctors’ consultations held in churches, for instance — and secret as far as supporting political activities: distributing printing machines of all kinds, giving us a place for underground meetings, organizing special demonstrations.”

At their first meeting, Reagan and John Paul II discussed something else they had in common: both had survived assassination attempts only six weeks apart in 1981, and both believed God had saved them for a special mission. “A close friend of Ronald Reagan’s told me the President said, ‘Look how the evil forces were put in our way and how Providence intervened,’ ” says Pio Cardinal Laghi, the former apostolic delegate to Washington. According to National Security Adviser Clark, the Pope and Reagan referred to the ) “miraculous” fact that they had survived. Clark said the men shared “a unity of spiritual view and a unity of vision on the Soviet empire: that right or correctness would ultimately prevail in the divine plan.”

At first blush Reagan and Pope John Paul II had little in common, but that was deceptive.  Both had acting backgrounds and well understood the importance of how a message was conveyed as well as the substance of the message.  Both were outdoorsmen.  Both were men who were strangers to the seats of power of the institutions they led, who found themselves called to lead at moments of crisis, after the institutions they headed had gone through rocky times.  Both were simultaneously traditionalists of those institutions and yet also reformers.  Both had warm and winning personalities, but neither allowed more than a select handful of people to get emotionally close to them.  Both were exceptionally strong-willed men, not to be trifled with, yet day to day management of their institutions was not their strong point.  Both shared the attribute of all great statesmen:  the ability to see beyond the travails of their time to better days, and that is how both of them viewed the seemingly intractable problem of Communism, which they understand, in contrast to almost all of their contemporaries, as a problem to be solved and not a permanent feature on the world stage.  A strong President and a strong Pope, a fortunate combination for the World at that time.

Here is the text of President Reagan’s public remarks at the June 7, 1982 meeting: Continue reading

Men Wanted

“MEN WANTED: FOR HAZARDOUS JOURNEY. SMALL WAGES, BITTER COLD, LONG MONTHS OF COMPLETE DARKNESS, CONSTANT DANGER, SAFE RETURN DOUBTFUL. HONOUR AND RECOGNITION IN CASE OF SUCCESS.

SIR ERNEST SHACKLETON”

The above ad placed by Arctic explorer Shackleton received an overwhelming response.  Shackleton said that it seemed that every man and boy in England was desperate to go with him.  Attracting good men to a cause has never been difficult.   You must be completely honest with them.  Convince them that they will endure hardship and danger for a worthy cause.  Appeal to their senses of honor and adventure and that the sacrifices they make will be remembered and cherished.  Like so many simple and true things, the World and the Church have forgotten this.  Professor Anthony Esolen seeks to remind us of how we can foster vocations to the priesthood:

 

Do the obvious things that will attract men. You want men? Go get them. Tell them that you need them to do the job, which is true. Set up a men’s reading group, and read real works of theology and Catholic philosophy, works that are daunting in their significance for a deadening secular world. Read Romano Guardini, The Lord. Read Josef Pieper, Leisure: The Basis of Culture. Read C. S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man. Those, for starters. Invite teenage boys to join in, and treat them as absolute equals. Set up a weekly morning prayer in the rectory for the men of the parish, early enough to catch most of them before work. Let them pray on their knees, on the floor, as I’ve seen done at one extraordinarily vibrant parish in Connecticut. Let them hear a sermon that takes the truth to them and gives them their marching orders of the day. Notice how quickly and completely all the differences of class and education are forgotten.

Let them forge friendships in the vicinity of the sacraments. Announce a monthly meeting for men, for confession, discussion, and fellowship. Make sure there is food and beer.

The hymnals have been neutered. Get rid of the neutered hymnals. If you do not have the funds to replace Worship III, Gather, Glory and Praise, and others of that ilk with real hymnals, then incorporate into your worship some of the old manly hymns of the Church militant. We have copier machines; this can be done. At least once a month, sing one of those hymns. That is not much to ask! Sing Soldiers of Christ, Arise, or Fight the Good Fight, or Rise Up, O Men of God. The women will be happy to sing these too, if truth be known.

Return all attention at Mass to the action of Christ. What good and true man wants to give his life to a coffee klatsch? And Mass is not a coffee klatsch. It is not a comfy gathering of nice people with a taste for spirituality. It is the sacrifice of Christ, reenacted by the priest in persona Christi; it is the single holiest thing in the world. When J. R. R. Tolkien was writing to his son Michael, during the dark days of the German bombing of Britain, he told him to bind his heart to the Eucharist: “Out of the darkness of my life, so much frustrated, I put before you the one great thing to love on earth: the Blessed Sacrament … There you will find romance, glory, honour, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves on earth, and more than that: Death.” Yes, Death, which on earth ends all, but whose foretaste in the Eucharist, says Tolkien, gives the dimension of depth and reality to all that we seek and love on this side of the grave.

So put the tabernacle where it belongs, in the central place of honor. Get every layman out of the sanctuary after the prayer of the faithful. Put the chair of the priest on the side. Get the singers out of the view of the aud –, I mean, the congregation. If you don’t have baritones, find one.

Do not reduce the Catholic faith to a political appendix. Preach Christ and Him crucified. Remember that human beings are unified only from above. Continue reading

Correlation and Causation

Years of reading through and listening to debates on the internet and in other spaces is enough to make me yearn for mandatory courses in basic logic. In particular, it seems most people do not have even a remedial understanding of the difference between correlation and causation.

Enter President Barack Obama, who delivered remarks today at the National Prayer Breakfast. Meandering and condescending are but two of the words that come to mind after listening to this address. At one point the president lectures the audience on humility. Yes, Barack Obama was prodding his audience to be more humble. I’m just going to let that sink in for a minute and have you pause and reflect. Maybe you’ll even think about another concept: irony.

And no doubt many of you will need to take blood pressure medication after reading this part of the speech:

And this is the loving message of His Holiness, Pope Francis.  And like so many people around the world, I’ve been touched by his call to relieve suffering, and to show justice and mercy and compassion to the most vulnerable; to walk with The Lord and ask “Who am I to judge?”

But that’s not what caught my attention, nor is it the part of the speech that has gotten or will get the most attention. After some discussion of the events taking place in the Middle East and in Paris, and the dangers of theocracy, he intones:

 Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history.  And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.  In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.

Yes, of course he went there, would you expect anything less? Now many will rightfully complain that he is dredging up events that occurred centuries ago in order to morally equivocate, and that is indeed happening. We’ve all heard this song before, and we have naturally become somewhat inured to it.

Without jumping into the Crusades and Inquisition and why using even these centuries-old examples is flawed, let’s look at the more recent American examples, and let’s talk a bit about cause and effect.

President Obama is, essentially, comparing Christians justifying slavery to Islamic terrorists burning people alive. He is saying, “You see, Christians did some terrible things in the name of religion, just like these people.” Again, let’s ignore that we’re talking about something that took place two centuries ago rather than two minutes ago, and explore the inadequacy of this analogy.

The thugs in ISIL, the theocrats in Iran, the butchers in France: all of these groups are comprised of individuals acting in the name of their interpretation of Islam. Granting for the sake of argument that they are all acting in a way that is contrary to the true meaning of Islam, however that is supposed to be defined, they are clearly and unmistakably acting in accordance with their religious dictates. Put more bluntly: their interpretation of their religion is causing them to behave in a specific manner.

Now let’s look at slavery and Jim Crow. Yes, it’s true that some defenders of each would use the Bible to defend these practices; however, did anyone ever pick up a Bible and, “Gee whiz, God is really talking to me, I’m gonna go buy me a slave.” To put it another way, slave holders and, subsequently, practitioners of Jim Crow acted on purely, dare I say, secular reasoning to engage in their behavior. Christianity did not cause them to own slaves, nor did it cause southern politicians to enact Jim Crow laws. The Bible was used as an ex post fact rationalization for what they did.

Some may try to argue that this is a distinction without a difference, and to them I’d suggest that they still do not understand the difference between correlation and causation. Take away the Bible and you’d still have slavery in the southern parts of the United States. Christian beliefs did not inspire slaveholding – economic self-interest did that, and the latter also largely explains Jim Crow (plus a whole lot of irrational racism that didn’t have a whole lot to do with the Bible and Christianity).

Take away the religious motivation and do we have gunmen killing members of the press? Do we have the beheadings? Contra the ramblings of certain atheists, not all or even most violence throughout history has been “inspired” by religion, but the maniacs in ISIL are undoubtedly acting upon religious motivations. It isn’t some ex post fact rationalization for their behavior; no, it is the primary cause of the behavior.

Much of President Obama’s address is an exercise in moral equivalency with some vague platitudes thrown in, so about what one would expect from him. Failures in logic are just a little bit of icing on the cake.

Incidentally, Noah Rothman at Hot Air makes a good point:

It’s strange that so few see the contradiction inherent in this assertion. The president, and many of his allies on the left, frequently trip over themselves to emphasize – correctly, as it happens – that ISIS’s acts of brutality are not archetypical Islamic behavior. The insurgency’s most recent atrocity, the immolation of a captured Jordanian pilot, is apparently a violation of Islamic norms according to even Koranic scholars in the Middle East.

But to assert this and in the same breath suggest that Christianity was also a violent, expansionist religion a mere 800 years ago is a contradiction. Why make this comparison if ISIS is not representative of Islam? Isn’t the concession in this claim that those who commit acts of violence in the name of their religion, regardless of whether those acts are supported by a majority of coreligionists, are representative of their faith? Therefore, by perfunctorily nodding in the direction of a moral equivalency between Christian and Islamic violence, isn’t the president invalidating his own claim that ISIS, Boko Haram, Ansar al-Sharia, al-Qaeda, Jemaah Islamiah, Abu Sayyaf, and a host of other fundamentalist Islamic terror groups are agents of a violent strain of the Islamic faith?

Catholic culture wars: The soap opera at Marquette University continues…

 

The suspended Marquette University political science professor who asserted “Marquette…has again shown itself to be timid, overly bureaucratic and lacking any commitment to either its Catholic mission or free expression,” has received a 16-page letter from the Dean of Marquette’s Klinger School of Arts and Sciences, Richard Holz.

In his letter, Dean Holz notes that “Marquette University is commencing the process to revoke your tenure and to dismiss you from the faculty.” Why? Holz continues:

…your conduct clearly and substantially fails to meet the standards of personal and professional excellence that generally characterizes University faculties. As a result, your value to this academic institution is substantially impaired.

The brouhaha began last fall when the professor, John McAdams, posted an article in his blog, the “Marquette Warrior,” voicing his concern about the way the concept of social justice is communicated and typically understood at Marquette. McAdams noted how opposition to hot-button issues—like abortion and same-sex marriage—is not a part of the University’s version of social justice. “On the contrary, any opposition to gay marriage is called ‘homophobia,’” McAdams wrote.

Holz’s letter details the results of an investigation into the events leading McAdams to post that article and what transpired in the aftermath of his posting that article. Holz contends that McAdams’ conduct was not only unprofessional but that he also misled the public about what happened in a dispute between the graduate instructor and an undergraduate student that McAdams described in his article. Worse yet, McAdams published the graduate instructor’s name.

In a new post, McAdams responds to each charge, claiming that he is being punished for his free speech. McAdams also maintains that the problem isn’t him—he is simply defending an undergraduate’s views against gay marriage that are consistent with Roman Catholic teachings—but with those who are tolerant only of what is not Roman Catholic teaching. McAdams closes by noting:

Campus bureaucrats hate controversy, since it makes trouble for them. Thus the most “valuable” faculty members are the ones who avoid controversy, and especially avoid criticizing administrators.

In real universities, administrators understand (or more likely grudgingly accept) that faculty will say controversial things, will criticize them and each other, and that people will complain about it. They understand that putting up with the complaints is part of the job, and assuaging those who complain the loudest is not the best policy.

That sort of university is becoming rarer and rarer. Based on Holz’ actions, Marquette is certainly not such a place.

With what McAdams calls “excellent legal counsel,” he vows to fight Holz. McAdams states that he “most certainly will not go quietly.”

 

 

 

To read Professor McAdams’ post announcing his suspension, click on the following link:
http://mu-warrior.blogspot.com/2014/12/reprisal-marquette-warrior-under.html

To read Dean Holz’s letter to Professor McAdams, click on the following link:
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B4jS38HQ3f8dSDhNX1FQRnlpcTQ/edit?pli=1

To read  Professor McAdams’ original post, click on the following link:
http://mu-warrior.blogspot.in/2014/11/marquette-philosophy-instructor-gay.html

To read Professor McAdams’ latest post, click on the following link:
http://mu-warrior.blogspot.com/2015/02/marquette-to-warrior-blogger-were-going.html

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

Religious Test in California

 

The California Supreme Court has just enacted a religious test for judicial office, something specifically banned by the US Constitution.  In a policy aimed squarely at the Boy Scouts, the Court bans judges from participating in any youth groups that practice discrimination.  Although the Boy Scouts were the target since they ban homosexual adult leaders, the idiotic ban would apply to any group that practices what the Court deems to be “invidious discrimination”.  Since the Court appears to view as “invidious discrimination” anything that runs counter to the beliefs of the loony Left, one can foresee problems for judges who participate in Catholic, Evangelical, Orthodox Jewish and Muslim youth groups.

Of course this nasty little exercise in identity politics runs smack into Article Six of the United States Constitution that bans any religious test for public office:

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

That this is a religious test no one should doubt.  In California the powers that be wish to punish those who have not fallen into lock step on homosexual rights and this travesty is but a small portion of this punishment.  Such attempts by government to coerce believers is precisely why the no religious test was placed into the Constitution.  One would trust that the “Justices” of the California Supreme Court would realize that what they have done is blatantly unconstitutional.  I assume they do, and they simply do not care, which is a fundamental betrayal of the Law and their function as Judges.

February 5, 1865: Lincoln Proposes Compensated Emancipation

Lincoln, February 5, 1865

Throughout the War Lincoln had made several attempts to propose compensated emancipation to end the War.  All such initiatives were still-born, killed by the twin facts that Congress was uninterested in providing the funding and that the slaveholders were uninterested in ending slavery, even with compensation.  On February 5, 1865, Lincoln proposed this plan to his cabinet:

Fellow citizens of the Senate, and [February 5, 1865]

House of Representatives.

I respectfully recommend that a Joint Resolution, substantially as follows, be adopted so soon as practicable, by your honorable bodies.

“Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives, of the United States of America in congress assembled: That the President of the United States is hereby empowered, in his discretion, to pay four hundred millions of dollars to the States of Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West-Virginia, in the manner, and on the conditions following, towit: The payment to be made in six per cent government bonds, and to be distributed among said States pro rata on their respective slave populations, as shown by the census of 1860; and no part of said sum to be paid unless all resistance to the national authority shall be abandoned and cease, on or before the first day of April next; and upon such abandonment and ceasing of resistance, one half of said sum to be paid in manner aforesaid, and the remaining half to be paid only upon the amendment of the national constitution recently proposed byPage  261congress, becoming valid law, on or before the first day of July next, by the action thereon of the requisite number of States”

The adoption of such resolution is sought with a view to embody it, with other propositions, in a proclamation looking to peace and re-union.

Whereas a Joint Resolution has been adopted by congress in the words following, towit

Now therefore I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do proclaim, declare, and make known, that on the conditions therein stated, the power conferred on the Executive in and by said Joint Resolution, will be fully exercised; that war will cease, and armies be reduced to a basis of peace; that all political offences will be pardoned; that all property, except slaves, liable to confiscation or forfeiture, will be released therefrom, except in cases of intervening interests of third parties; and that liberality will be recommended to congress upon all points not lying within executive control. Continue reading

Follow TAC by Clicking on the Buttons Below

Bookmark and Share

Subscribe by eMail

Enter your email:

Recent Comments

Archives

Our Visitors. . .

Our Subscribers. . .