Death Be Not Proud

Friday, January 9, AD 2009
DEATH be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not so,
For, those, whom thou think’st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
And better then thy stroake; why swell’st thou then;
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.

The Mythical National Champion

Friday, January 9, AD 2009

Now that the mythical national championship has been won by the University of Florida Gators as per the bowl oligarchy, I’d like to ask The American Catholic readers whom they would pick as their N.C.A.A. F.B.S. national champion.  My pick goes to the University of Southern California Trojans.  They’ve destroyed all non-conference competition by wide margins and play in the toughest football conference in the nation where the Pac-10 went five-and-0 (5-0) in bowl games this year.

UPDATED (1-13-2009 A.D.): ESPN crowns the Utah Utes the National Champions of college football.

11 Responses to The Mythical National Champion

  • My vote goes to watching professional football, where the action is much better and they have this crazy thing known as a playoff.

  • I go with Gators. Tebow took care of business in the second half. Keeping it ahead of an Oklahoma team that handled itself well in regular season but went kaff kaff kaff for the big ugly glass trophy as they often do. Here are some scary thoughts for ’09. Tebow is likely to return. Their other major offensive and defensive starters are mostly sophs or juniors right now. Urban Meyer, probably the leading offensive mind in the sport, is staying put. And from what I hear, a remarkably soft schedule in that replication of the Civil War known as the Southeastern Conference. I see three teams vying for two spots in the 2010 BCS scrum- Gators, Longhorns, Trojans. USC looked comfortably and overwhelmingly better than Penn State in the Rose Bowl. Texas will be snorting for payback over the way the BCS Cartel jobbed them in ’08. Again, Sun Belt Ball whips Frost Belt Ball from here to Pasadena. Cannot wait for next September.

  • Pro football doesn’t hold a candle to the awesomeness that is college football.

    The BCS sucks, but a playoff would be even worse. It would destroy that which makes college football great: the fact that EVERY WEEK matters (by the way, is anyone really paying attention to what’s going on in college basketball – you know, where they have one of those precious playoff thingies – right now?).

    They should go back to the old bowl system and let the voters decide the “National Champion”. There wasn’t nearly as much bitching back then as there is now.

  • I’ll just put it this way. If I had the choice between going to the Kennedy Center to watch an opera performance, or to watch the George Washington University players perform an opera, I wouldn’t be alone in choosing the former. Yeah, it’s elitist, but that’s me. Then again, I admit that growing up in New York city with 6 pro sports teams and zero good college teams (though St. John’s was good in basketball when I was growing up) does color my thinking.

  • PAC 10 best in the country HA!!!

    Florida Baby nothing mythical about last night

  • The AP poll results:

    Florida #1
    Utah #2

    Anyone know what these two programs have in common?

    Clue: he’s named after a pope and Notre Dame wishes they had him instead of Charlie Weis.

  • Pac-10? The best? That has to be sarcasm.

    The SEC had more bowl wins and more bowl teams, with a 6-2 record. USC lost to Oregon State, which got pounded on several different occasions and only beat Big 10 teams Ohio State and Penn State, which isn’t a terribly impressive resume. The Pac-10’s 5-0 might look nice, but 4 of their wins were before New Year’s Day (against a fairly unimpressive lineup, with the exception of OSU). Both SEC losses came on New Year’s Day in the bigger bowls.

    I would take Florida over USC any day of the week.

  • The NASCAR mentality of the SEC at work:

    “If my guy in the Chevy can’t win, I’m going to cheer for some other Chevy driver. Ford sucks.”

    The SEC has proven itself over the years to be the strongest conference top-to-bottom, and winning the “National Championship” 3 years in a row, in addition to its overall bowl record, gives testament to this fact.

    But you’d never know it by the chip-on-the-shoulder SEC homerism mentality of its fans.

  • Or maybe you WOULD know it by the chip-on-the-shoulder SEC homerism mentality of its fans, since they tell you how great they are and how much you suck at every opportunity.

  • Urban Meyer coached Utah to a BCS bowl game and an undeafeted season.

    Don’t get me wrong about USC, I loathe them very much since I’m an Arizona alum. But growing up out west (Hawaii) and attending school in Arizona I have experienced the bias against the Pac-10, WAC, and the Mountain West conferences.

    When the Big East and ACC continue to get unwarranted attention and bids to the BCS while the Boise States and Utahs of the west continue to get the shaft of BCS bids is ridiculous.

    Pile in the fact that the Pac-10 has argueable the best football in the nation then you can see why I chose USC over the rest.

    On a side note, I attended the Sugar Bowl last year when Hawaii got stomped by Georgia. I have to admit the narcissism and self-centeredness of the Georgia fans were pretty ugly (not all just the ones in my section on the 50 yard line). It’s a football game folks, and Georgia won and their fans were still bitter and nasty towards the Hawaii fans.

  • At last, an issue raised on this blog on which I have absolutely no opinion!

One Response to Fr. Richard J. Neuhaus: Round-Up of Reflections

Father Neuhaus on the CBC

Thursday, January 8, AD 2009

Father Neuhaus was instrumental in my conversion. I have to admit that when I was first introduced to him I was a “devout” post-modern liberal relativist and his “conservative, self-rightousness”, as I saw it, really vexed me. Over time I could not deny the power of his arguments, afterall, they were not merely his opinions but the Truth speaking to my heart through him.  Father Neuhouse helped bring me home and I will be ever grateful. His humor, wit and intellect will be greatly missed.

Richard John Neuhaus, 1936-2009

Thursday, January 8, AD 2009

From Jody Bottum:

Fr. Richard John Neuhaus slipped away today, January 8, shortly before 10 o’clock, at the age of seventy-two. He never recovered from the weakness that sent him to the hospital the day after Christmas, caused by a series of side effects from the cancer he was suffering. He lost consciousness Tuesday evening after a collapse in his heart rate, and the next day, in the company of friends, he died.

My tears are not for him—for he knew, all his life, that his Redeemer lives, and he has now been gathered by the Lord in whom he trusted.

I weep, rather for all the rest of us. As a priest, as a writer, as a public leader in so many struggles, and as a friend, no one can take his place. The fabric of life has been torn by his death, and it will not be repaired, for those of us who knew him, until that time when everything is mended and all our tears are wiped away.

Funeral arrangements are still being planned; more information about the funeral will be made public shortly. Please accept our thanks for all your prayers and good wishes.

6 Responses to Richard John Neuhaus, 1936-2009

  • My prayers for all the friends and family of Fr. Neuhaus.

    Lord, we pray that You bless this humble servant of Yours, and ever hold him in Your embrace.

  • Irreplacable, in his gifts and service to the Church. Below is thread about how Paul Scofield and Orson Welles butted heads in movie version of Man for All Seasons. Father Neuhaus was truly one for our time. May light eternal shine upon him.

  • I have no doubt that he is now enjoying the Beatific Vision.

  • I have been a Catholic my whole life and I have, for the most part, attended mass my whole life. I never really was interested in the intellectual part of Catholicism until these past years. 9/11, wars, and an increasingly antagonistic Left has made me eager to learn more and to become an active defender of the faith. So here I am reading Catholic literature and visiting Catholic blogs. I feel that I missed out in a big way by not learning from Fr. Neuhaus while he was among us. I will read all his works and the legacy of his thinking will affect me and perhaps help me to affect others. RIP Fr. Neuhaus.

  • Well said daledog.

13 Responses to The Saint and the Cardinal

  • Cardinal Wolsey’s last words:

    “Had I but served God as diligently as I have served the King, He would not have given me over, in my grey hairs. Howbeit, this is my just reward for my pains and diligence, not regarding my service to God, but only my duty to my prince.”

    Contrast that sad lament with the almost triumphant words of Sir Thomas More as he mounted the scaffold to meet his martyr’s death:

    “I die the Kings good servant, and God’s first.”

  • Good for Orson. Spent the last 20 years of his life in coasting mode, for the most part. Taking cheap roles. Yukking it up in Dean Martin roasts. Kind of like Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro at this point in their careers. Heavy lifting does take its toll. At least they have Citizen Kane, Godfather I and II, Raging Bull on their resumes. As for St. Tom- always the patron saint of we who work for Somebody or Something Else, always the anecdote for acute political correctness. Did I see in my travels that current Brit comedian/actor Eddie Izzard saluted Hank 8 for the first invented religion. In glorifying atheism. Maybe he didn’t mean what he said. Or maybe he did.

  • Wolsey, More, Wolsey, More–didn’t anybody notice Rumpole of the Bailey standing outside the door!?

  • Well said Scott. Leo McKern’s classic role. I roar with laughter whenever I put on one of my Rumpole of the Bailey DVDs. Additionally, I have always thought that show gave one of the more realistic portrayals of the life of most attorneys who do trial work.

  • One of Jim Morrison’s posthumous records — there were many of them — consisted of his spoken-word poetry backed by music from the surviving members of The Doors. On a track whose name I forget, he pantomimes a dialogue in which an inquisitor sneers, “You cannot petition the Lord with prayer!” I have no doubt that a boozy Morrison was hazily recalling the Wolsey-More scene in A Man for All Seasons.

  • And Jay, Wolsey’s words, spoken sincerely, may have been enough to say him.

  • The Doors song you are looking for is “The Soft Parade.” Morrison seems to be trying to impersonate a Bible thumping Southern preacher.

  • Well, I had a soft spot for the Doors in my hazy-dazy youth, but think the best comment about Morrison was that his principal inspirations were Jim Beam and Johnny Walker. How else does one come up with screaming butterflies? Of course, that’s true of many poets in general – but if they’re good they usually rewrite. No need for that in the stoned ’60’s.

    I had the great pleasure of seeing Scofield playing Othello in London in 1980. The exchange rate was dreadful ($2.40 to the pound) but it was still possible to get very cheap tickets priced for students and see marvelous theater there. I wonder if it still is.

  • Thanks, DMinor. Perhaps I’m mistaken or thinking of something else. I used to love the Doors; listening that track is rather embarrassing now.

  • Well, Ray what’s-his-name played a mean keyboard, and Jim had a smooth baritone (and was a rather handsome fellow before he ruined his looks with booze and drugs – which took all of 3 years to do). I still turn up the radio when “Light My Fire” or “Riders on the Storm” comes on. But whenever I hear my fellow boomers talking about what a fine poet Morrison was, I have to wonder if they’re ever actually read any poetry.

  • It would seem that thing that keeps the Doors legacy running is that many young people, even today, become intrigued and go through a Doors phase. Just a phase because there isn’t the depth there that one suspected to find. I’ve always considered L.A. Woman to be their greatest work even though it has quite a commercial appeal. In a bar this past summer, the band played a number of Doors covers (even had Jim Morrison look alike – or wannabe – sing those songs). They were well received by the whole crowd (well mixed – ages from 20’s to 60’s), but when they played L.A. Woman it was like the place became electrified. It was like each person was listening to their favorite song ever.

  • Pingback: Res & Explicatio for A.D. 3-5-2009 « The American Catholic

Nationalism and the Problems of the Middle East

Wednesday, January 7, AD 2009

One of the books I’ve been reading off and on over the last year has been Avi Shlaim’s The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World. Shlaim is a one of the Israeli New Historians, which is essentially a “post-Zionist” revisionist school of Israeli history, who criticize the “old historians” of Israel of being too personally involved in the 1948 war and its aftermath, and thus writing history which is essentially apologetics for Israel.

There are places where I get the feeling Shlaim is leaning too hard in the other direction (for instance he spends a good deal of time on the expulsion of Palestinians from Israel in 1948, but glosses over the expulsion of Jews from surrounding Arab countries.) However, given that you know where his leanings are, it’s a fascinating read because it’s closely based on documented sources, and it focuses on the very real problem of Israel’s relationship with the Arab world. Among the things it made me realize, however, was how alien the modern sense of nationalism is to citizens of the US.

This may seem a strange conclusion at first,

16 Responses to Nationalism and the Problems of the Middle East

  • Excellent post Darwin and much thanks for the background history.

    (Coincidentally I’m (re)reading Benny Morris’ Righteous Victims: History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict and covering similar territory).

  • Benny Morris is well worth reading. His 1948 is first rate.

    Starting out as a historian of the Left, Morris has developed into a very objective historian. Here is his take on Gaza:

  • Darwin. I’m afraid I might agree with you.


    I’m just being nit-picky and jokingly so. But if a person starts out on the Right, but doesn’t remain there, can they too qualify to be a “a very objective historian?”

  • Eric,

    since objective truth is a principle of the right, and anathema to the left, the answer is “by definition” he would no longer be objective.

    God Bless,


  • Thanks for the informative post Darwin.

  • Actually Eric yes! In past times I can think of historians who started on the right in their analysis and then adopted what I lovingly refer to as the “Jack Webb, “Just the facts, Ma’am”” school of history. Interpretation will always be influenced by a historian’s world view, but the best historians work against their own biases. However most historians, in this country and abroad, start out firmly on the Left at the beginning of their careers, due to the strong Leftist sympathies of most academics post World War II.

    We also now have a large divide in this country between academic historians, often writing in a deconstructionist\post-modernist gibberish who are usually unread, and popular historians, like Victor Davis Hanson, often academically trained themselves, but who produce histories that eschew both the fashionable Leftism, the jargon, and the subject matter, “Patriarchy, Feminism and Peruvian garbage collection 1765-1767” would be a typical title for an academic historian of today, and whose books are often very widely read, at least in comparison to the histories of academia which tend to “fall still-born from the press”.

  • Eric,

    With some of the Israeli “New Historians” in particular, I think the change that has taken place in their writing over the last 15 years is pretty much a “mugged by reality” one. One of the main tenets they started with was that if only Israel would make some effort to engage with the Arab community peacefully, the Arabs would be glad of it and be eager to work with them. (Though I’m probably simplifying unfairly here.) Following the progress in the peace process under Clinton, and the loss of nearly all of that progress afterwards, I think they’ve mostly backed off to a more realistic view — retaining their understanding of how things came to this pass, but with less of a political sense that it could all be fixed easily.

    Generally, I’d say that any time you have people starting with a narrative and applying that to events in order to understand them, you often end up with poor history. Because so many of the academic trends in the last 50 years have been of the left in some sense, most of these can be pinned on “leftist” history, but I can think of right-leaning historians who have fallen into the same traps with their own narratives.

    At the risk of kicking off controversy, I think Paul Johnson falls into this a bit when he writes about communism in his histories, and I’ve been a bit concerned at some of Victor Davis Hanson’s more recent writing (although I really, really like some of his earlier stuff) in that I think he’s slipping into a bit of a “titanic struggle between East and West” narratives which does not do full justice to either the past or the present.

  • Matt,

    I think over reaching generalizations like that are really unfair and unfounded. People hardly fit into the rigid ideologies of “left” and “right” and what some say certainly don’t speak for the whole, and perhaps, not even the majority.

    I’m not sure relativism isn’t a problem on the right. It simply wears a different mask, namely as consequentialism and utilitarianism — not the natural law.

    I surely would not voluntarily place myself on the “right.” I would and do place myself on the “left” and I am very much interested in objective truth.

    Moreover, I think the nit-picky classification of things as either “left” or “right” is really unrealistic seeing as to how these two schemes really don’t exhaust the fullness of reality and are both majorly lacking.

    Here’s a fact, the objective truth is the principle of the Catholic Church and people of good will who can be found on both the left and the right. Thank you. God bless.

  • A great leftist historian: Eugene Genovese. Genovese’s “Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made” is an excellent account of slave life in the antebellum South which relies heavily on interviews conducted in the 1930’s with elderly ex-slaves. Genovese was a Marxist in the late ’60’s when “Roll, Jordan, Roll ” was published, but he was quite balanced in his treatment of Southern slaveowners. “Roll, Jordan, Roll” recognizes the evil of slavery, but recognizes the complexities of the humans, black and white, who were emeshed in “the peculiar institution.”

    BTW, Genovese did not remain a Marxist. Several years ago, both he and his wife, Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, converted to Catholicism.

  • Eric,

    I’m making generalizations precisely because I know that not everyone on the right is objective, but that objectivity is a “principle” of the right. Subjectivity is a principle of the left (that doesn’t mean nobody on the left is incapable of objective reasoning), would you not agree?

    Utilitarianism and consequentialsm are much more asso
    ciated with the left. These philosophies are not typical of the right at all. What might be confusing you is the distinction between what government must do, and what we as Christians must do for others and what people must do for themselves. Christianity opposes socialism, it demands charity.

  • Matt,

    I don’t think that it is necessarily a principle of the right, just as I don’t think that subjectivity is a principle of the left. I don’t think it’s so clear-cut. Though, I would agree that liberalism more manifestly embraces modernism.

    I think utilitarianism and consequentialism more describe the moral ethics of many conservatives I’ve ever encountered and debated. Even among evangelical conservatives, it is not as common as we’d like to think — at least from my experience — to find natural law thinking. But by and large, I’ve heard arguments more from the right in justification of evils such as torture on the basis that the ends justify the means or as I believe, cloaking preemptive war behind the “just war” doctrine and the natural law when it really is consequentialism, imperialism, militarism, nationalism, and many other “-isms” of modernity. Does the left make such errors? Sure. You’ll find hyper-liberal environmentalists supporting abortion as a means of human population control to protect nature’s resources as if population growth is really the issue.

    In all charity, I think the politicization of the Christian faith into a ready political view that is largely and predominantly conservative is profoundly mistaken. For one matter, I don’t believe that liberalism and socialism are synonymous nor do I believe that the alleged alternative — conservatism — is the only solution.

    I’ll agree with you on one point: Christianity demands charity, so in good charity, I respectfully disagree. Thank you for your dialogue.

  • Eric,

    I don’t think that it is necessarily a principle of the right, just as I don’t think that subjectivity is a principle of the left. I don’t think it’s so clear-cut.

    Ok then, what are the principles of the left?

    I would use this list as the principles of the right as described by Edmond Burke.

    1. “Belief in a transcendent order, or body of natural law, which rules society as well as conscience.”
    2. “Affection for the proliferating variety and mystery of human existence, as opposed to the narrowing uniformity, egalitarianism, and utilitarian aims of most radical systems;”
    3. “Persuasion that freedom and property are closely linked: separate property from private possession, and the Leviathan becomes master of all.”
    4. “Faith in prescription and distrust of ‘sophisters, calculators, and economists’ who would reconstruct society upon abstract designs.”
    5. “Recognition that change may not be salutary reform: hasty innovation may be a devouring conflagration, rather than a torch of progress.”

    What are the principles of the left? I can’t seem to find a good reference, perhaps you could provide one.

    Though, I would agree that liberalism more manifestly embraces modernism.

    like a hand in a glove.

    I think utilitarianism and consequentialism more describe the moral ethics of many conservatives I’ve ever encountered and debated. Even among evangelical conservatives, it is not as common as we’d like to think — at least from my experience — to find natural law thinking. But by and large, I’ve heard arguments more from the right in justification of evils such as torture on the basis that the ends justify the means or as I believe, cloaking preemptive war behind the “just war” doctrine and the natural law when it really is consequentialism, imperialism, militarism, nationalism, and many other “-isms” of modernity.

    So, based on your unfounded belief that splashing water on a person’s face is torture, or your belief that enforcing a truce agreement designed to protect the neighbors of a past aggressor is a “pre-emptive” war violating just war doctrine you impute these errors to conservatism?

    You can mischaracterize any argument you want, but it doesn’t make it reality.

    Does the left make such errors? Sure. You’ll find hyper-liberal environmentalists supporting abortion as a means of human population control to protect nature’s resources as if population growth is really the issue.

    abortion is the sacrament of the left, it’s not just found on it’s fringes… surely you’re aware of this?

    In all charity, I think the politicization of the Christian faith into a ready political view that is largely and predominantly conservative is profoundly mistaken.

    So opposing moral evils such as abortion is politicizing the Christian faith? What really happened is the Christian faith re-asserted itself in the political spectrum. Remember how this happened when the left completely abandoned it’s own Christian roots, and attempted to shift the nation deeply to the left, first in economic policy, then later in morality.

    For one matter, I don’t believe that liberalism and socialism are synonymous nor do I believe that the alleged alternative — conservatism — is the only solution.

    They aren’t synonymous, but they are inter-related. What is your solution? I never said conservatism is the “only” solution, just that (as a principle for government) it most complies with the teaching of the Church on the role of government.

    It may be that what you oppose is not conservatism at all but a lefty-mischaracterization of conservatism?

    God Bless,


  • Matt,

    While I myself would be interested to hear Eric’s formulation of liberal principles (not because I don’t think liberalism has principles, but because “liberalism” has meant a number of different things over the last 200 years and I’d be curious to hear how Eric approaches the matter) I’d like to encourage you to maintain a less aggressive tone.

    Though it’s sadly rare to see a liberal/progressive approach to economics and politics paired with traditional Christian morality these days, that doesn’t necessarily mean that such a pairing is impossible — and I think if you’ll look back at Eric’s post during the election you’ll see that he takes the moral issues very seriously. Indeed he came out strongly against Obama despite agreeing with him on many economic issues.

    There are many aspects of modern progressivism that I do not agree with, but one should disagree with them on their own, not dismiss them by tying them to false moral beliefs and practices which in this case Eric doesn’t hold with anyway.

  • Matt,

    The virtue of charity would be appreciated. I can understand that debate can easily impact emotions, but the condescending nature of your arguing really isn’t appreciated.

    Admittedly, I profoundly disagree with many points you made particularly in regard to torture. I wouldn’t call my belief unfounded nor that of many Catholics, who call themselves conservative, who oppose it just as ardently as I do.

    I don’t think the Christian faith is exhaustively conservative. These stringent labels hardly have any meaning given their constant evolution.

    Nevertheless, at this time, I don’t see it best to continue trying to present my point because it seems to be taken, from my perspective, as an absurd attempt to argue to frame the so-called inherently evil “liberalism” as consonant with Catholic beliefs. I think your view is misguided just as you surely think the same of me.

    I’m not going to answer you point by point because this is my last response on the matter. But it seems self-evident that the loud minority on both sides of the political spectrum do not even speak for the majority on that side because people tend not to be as monolithic as political idealogues make us out to be. There are probably as many “conservatisms” as there are “liberalisms.” Many aspects of both side speak to our Christian belief and many tendencies are incompatible with Christian belief; this is hardly surprising. In regard to one comment you made, being Christian does not mean only opposing abortion nor does opposition of abortion indicate a Christian political party. I think the Christian faith cannot be exhaustively be politically translated nor is it confined to express itself on one side of the political spectrum.

    I am a believing Catholic and I also frequently refer to myself as a “liberal” or “progressive” because I politically identify with Democrats moreso than Republicans; my subjective convictions in regard to such matters makes no statement on what other believing Catholics should do aside from abide by Catholic moral teaching.

    I believe as a “liberal” that society has a committment to protecting the weakest and most vulnerable among us. In the past election, my assessment was that the Democratic Party continued to ignore its historical committment to this fundamental principle in regard to the poorest of the poor — unborn children — and I voted against Barack Obama. My vote for John McCain was really a vote against Barack Obama because Sen. McCain and I had very few agreements on both policy and political philosophy.

    I fervently believe — rightly or wrongly — that the Republican Party under the label of ‘conservatism’ employs Christian moral themes in its rhetoric and panders to Christians as a whole because we are an active, powerful voting bloc. This is not to say that there are no sincere and authentic Christian conservatives. But I do believe much of the talk about traditional moral values and building a “Culture of Life” occurs during an election cycle and not as much in governance. This comment won’t be popular, but Ronald Reagan loved dearly by the religious right never went to church nor did he help the pro-life cause by appointing Kennedy and O’Connor to the Court. Seven of the sitting nine Justices post-Roe have been appointed by conservatives yet only four of them are pro-life. It does not take an appointment of a whole court to get a 5-4 majority. It s makes suspicious of whether the GOP really takes its rhetoric seriously. It’s one reason I’m not a “conservative.” If we’re going to end abortion, I think we would be better positioned to get principled Christians on all sides of the political spectrum. That’s my two cents.

  • Darwin and Eric,

    I meant no offense, I’m just trying to get resolution on Eric’s retort to my original statement “objective truth is a principle of the right, and anathema to the left”.

    Eric suggested that objective truth is not a principle of the right I responded with my best understanding of conservative values. Eric introduced a number of attempts to divert the conversation by alluding vaguely to some anecdotal arguments about torture without making distinctions on what torture is.

    In charity here are 4 expressions from Eric’s first response:
    “over reaching generalizations”
    “really unfair and unfounded”
    “nit-picky classification”

    I don’t think it’s fair to accuse me of being overly aggressive in light of this.

    Matt said: unfounded belief that splashing water on a person’s face is torture

    Eric said:
    I profoundly disagree with many points you made particularly in regard to torture.

    Well support your point then. There is no basis in Catholic teaching for declaring the practice of “water-boarding” for the purpose of extracting intelligence from a known terrorist to be torture. Prove me wrong.

    Here’s a handy reference from the Catechism:
    Torture which uses physical or moral violence to extract confessions, punish the guilty, frighten opponents, or satisfy hatred is contrary to respect for the person and for human dignity.

    Gathering intelligence does not fall under any of these categories. And by intelligence we mean information which can lead to the prevention of future attacks that have been planned or participated in by the subject, or to locate the names and whereabouts of his accomplices who are likely to be preparing such attacks.

    God Bless,


  • Matt,

    I’m sure you didn’t intend to cause offense, but I saw a danger of things going down hill fast when hitting a committed Catholic who is politically progressive on some issues with statements like “abortion is the sacrament of the left”. Certainly, a lot of people who are leftist treat abortion in that way, but I don’t think that one could turn around and say that political leftism must necessarily do so. (To my knowledge the various Christian Democrat parties in Europe do not make this pairing, though they trend at least as far left on economic issues as the Democratic Party in America does.) It strikes me that making that statement in this particular context could be just as antagonistic as when someone like Mark Shea starts shouting at us conservatives that torture is a sacrament of the GOP.

    I’m just trying to get resolution on Eric’s retort to my original statement “objective truth is a principle of the right, and anathema to the left”.

    Eric suggested that objective truth is not a principle of the right I responded with my best understanding of conservative values.

    Well, I’m not a progressive, but I’ll give it a shot in the interests of intellectual fairness. It seems to me that one of the most basic principles of progressivism is that communal action should be taken to change existing political and social norms in order to right injustices and improve the overall lot of society. As such, progressives are often quick to see the evils of the existing social and political order, and demand change immediately in order to right perceived wrongs.

    This can be a source for good in society, when progressives have a proper understanding of what “the good” is. The abolitionist movement, which I tend to think of positively for obvious reasons, was a highly progressive movement in its outlook and rhetoric. Early campaigns for better working conditions and an end to child labor, universal education, etc. were also progressive movements.

    The danger, of course, is that since progressives are eager to boldly go in new directions in order to improve society, they are often in danger of causing new problems because they aren’t aware of all the possible side effects of their actions. And if their ideas of what “the good” is, we get all sorts of trouble. So especially in a time in which much of society is highly confused in its ideas of what is good, I think conservatism is a much safer philosophy.

    However, since progressivism is directional (trying to improve society) I’d tend to argue that it at least implies in its overall model some sort of objective good — though as Christopher Dawson argues, in modern secular versions of progressivism this direction is really a vestige of a religious sense now continuing without justification.

    Well support your point then. There is no basis in Catholic teaching for declaring the practice of “water-boarding” for the purpose of extracting intelligence from a known terrorist to be torture. Prove me wrong.

    Here’s a handy reference from the Catechism:
    Torture which uses physical or moral violence to extract confessions, punish the guilty, frighten opponents, or satisfy hatred is contrary to respect for the person and for human dignity.

    Gathering intelligence does not fall under any of these categories. And by intelligence we mean information which can lead to the prevention of future attacks that have been planned or participated in by the subject, or to locate the names and whereabouts of his accomplices who are likely to be preparing such attacks.

    I’m not sure what moral difference you’re positing between “gather intelligence” and “extract confessions”. I’d tend to see the two as interchangeable. But if it’s the fact that we’re gathering intelligence rather than “to extract confessions, punish the guilty, frighten opponents, or satisfy hatred” that makes waterboarding acceptable, then by the same argument wouldn’t it be okay to “gather intelligence” by ripping out fingernails or branding with hot irons or cutting off thumbs or what have you?

    And if the reason why gathering intelligence by any of those means would be wrong is that they inflict severe pain, damage and humiliation contrary to human dignity on the person being interrogated, then I think that if someone concluded that waterboarding did they would be justified in saying that waterboarding was torture.

    Myself, I’m not one of those who freaks out that we’ve become a “torture state” or some such. I don’t think it’s necessarily surprising in our history of the history of nations that we did what we did to a dozen or so people in Guantanamo in an effort to protect our nation. But while it doesn’t necessarily strike me as shocking or surprising, it does seem to me at this point that it caused us more harm than good. And while I think the administration acted in good faith, I’d prefer others to be more hesitant in the future.

Fr. Neuhaus Update

Wednesday, January 7, AD 2009

Kathryn Lopez at the Corner reports that Fr. Neuhaus, editor in chief of First Things, received Annointing of the Sick last night, and is not doing well:

His friends and family are keeping vigil and he was administered last rites shortly after midnight. Fr. George Rutler, who gave him the Catholic Sacrament, says that “he is not expected to live long” and suggests “that it is appropriate that prayers be offered for a holy death.”

Please keep Fr. Neuhaus and his friends and family in your prayers.

6 Responses to Fr. Neuhaus Update

A Suggestion for Israel

Wednesday, January 7, AD 2009

Over at Human Events, Ben Shapiro has an article about how Israel will lose the conflict in Gaza again.  His initial premise states that we keep seeing an essentially endless cycle repeated: Hamas strikes Israel, Israel retaliates, the world comes down hard on Israel, Israel retreats and gives Hamas another chance to strike Israel. Elsewhere, the debate about how justified Israel is in its current cycle of retaliations continues heatedly and almost unanimously denounces Israel’s actions.

As a personal opinion, I believe that Hamas, despite claims to the contrary, is directly responsible for its strikes into Israel.  I believe that Hamas deliberately hides behind civilian shields in order to protect themselves from retaliation and to milk the public for sympathy when Israeli attacks kill those civilian shields.  I believe that Hamas is single-mindedly dedicated to the destruction of Israel, and that Israel is justified in trying to defend herself against Hamas’ attacks.

11 Responses to A Suggestion for Israel

  • Interesting take

  • It isn’t about money or economic development Ryan. It is all about the fact that the vast majority of arabs in Gaza and the West Bank are ashamed that they were beaten militarily by Jews and that Jews rule in arab lands. The Israelis and the rest of the world could provide a terrestrial paradise for the Arabs, and it would not diminish one iota the desire of almost all Arabs in Gaza and the West Bank to drive the Israelis into the sea. The US and the West have sent tens of billions of dollars to the arabs in Gaza and the West Bank in the form of humanitarian aid, monetary grants, development funds, etc. It has made no difference at all.

  • A very well-written and thought out point, and it makes a lot of sense.
    However, I just don’t know that it would appeal to a country that has to “sit still and take it,” so to speak, while at the same time providing aid to the perceived enemy. No doubt while Israel would attempt to pour money and resources and good will into Gaza, Hamas would still be attacking.

    I know this is an imperfect analogy, but if Mexico were firing into Texas, do you think the American public would accept a similar course of action?

  • Ryan,

    One must understand hatred and recognize the fallen nature of man. Many Palestinians hate Jews, not because of any wrong the Jews have committed against them, but because they are taught that by their religion, by their parents and by LIBERALS.

    Bribing them with goodies will do nothing but allow them to use all of their other means to build up and attack Israel again. Besides, Iran already pours massive amounts of money into the Gaza and we know what they spend it on.

    The only reasonable course of action in the interest of Israel, the innocent Palestinians and peace in the Middle East is for Israel to complete the destruction of Hamas and deny Iran it’s satellite regime.

    God Bless,


  • This past Friday, the Hamas television show Pioneers of Tomorrow (a child-indoctrination version of “Sesame Street”) depicted the bunny Assoud dying in a Gaza hospital after an Israeli attack. Assaud the Jew-eating Bunny was introduced to Gazan children in February 2008:

    The Pioneers of Tomorrow children’s series produced by Palestinian group Hamas and made famous by a Mickey Mouse-looking character declaring jihad on Israel and the US, introduced Assud the Bunny.Assud – who said in his first episode that he would “get rid of the Jews, Allah willing, and… will eat them up” – replaced his brother, Nahoul the Bee, according to the translation from the Middle East Media Research Institute.


    In an interview with the program’s host, a young girl purportedly named Saraa Barhoum, Assud talked about becoming martyrdom.

    “We are all martyrdom-seekers, are we not, Saraa?” Assud said on the show.

    Saraa said: “Of course we are. We are all ready to sacrifice ourselves for the sake of our homeland. We will sacrifice our souls and everything we own for the homeland.”

    Assoud will join Farfour, Hamas’ copycat version of Mickey Mouse, in Paradise. (
    Farfour was “martyred” by an Israeli on May 11, 2007).

    Yes, I wish I was joking.

    I’d bet you can plumb the channels of Israeli television and wouldn’t be able to find an equivalent of Hamas’ television show — not even in the town of Sderot, subject to over 3,000 rocket attacks this year alone.

    Ravishing Gazans with economic luxuries won’t change their minds — not while infants are raised from birth in this kind of hatred.

  • Even if one did this, how would one get the truth to the Palestinian people. Many, (most), Palestinians are illiterate. Who’s to say the aide comes in and Hamas tells the people that it was their work?

    As you point out, in this conflict propaganda is important and perhaps decisive. It could also be so in the scenario you propose.

  • Just to clear the record, I am well aware of the militant hatred that a vast swath of Muslims, not just in the Gaza, have for Israel. I am well aware that that hatred is difficult, bordering on impossible, to sway. I also understand the vast propaganda campaign going on (thanks Chris for the heads-up on the despicable TV show) to keep the regular populace both ignorant and seething. I also don’t believe you can ask a nation to sit quietly and accept thousands of rockets being fired across the border, especially when the self-appointed authorities not only will not do anything to help that nation, but also blatantly cheers the aggressors on.

    I would cheer on military aggression against Hamas (and now Hezbollah) except for one thing: Israel isn’t going to wage a campaign for victory. And if there is no reasonable expectation of success (and I suppose we could argue that there could be, I would disagree from recent trend lines), then the war cannot be just.

    But I disagree with Donald and others who claim that making the Gaza an economic paradise won’t change anything. Citing the billions that have been poured into Gaza won’t sway my opinion on this, either, because those billions obviously have been redirected to, oh, rockets and whatnot, not to fixing Gaza. Frankly, I think if Israelis are willing (and this either cold of me to say, or just insane, take your pick) to risk their lives to come into Gaza and build schools and power plants and waste management systems and power lines and so on, and hire on many Gazans to aid the construction, then at least Israelis will be visibly helping the Gazan communities. That has a chance of swaying your average Muslim. So I guess talking about spending money on Gaza isn’t the key, but spending money wisely and effectively is the key.

    How to actually make sure that Israeli contractors can flood Gaza and start a massive reconstruction campaign, I have no idea. Which is probably why no one has ever tried to implement it. Indeed, the death toll could be just as high on both sides with my idea.

    But I’m willing to believe that even years of indoctrinated hatred can be swayed with a consistent display of charity.

    I know this is an imperfect analogy, but if Mexico were firing into Texas, do you think the American public would accept a similar course of action?

    Let me answer your question with a question. Who did we just elect president this past Nov 4?

  • Ryan,

    I think a deeper analysis would find that the Israeli counter-offensive into Gaza is clearly just, perhaps material for a new thread.

    What you’re suggesting is akin to the US activity in Iraq and Afghanistan… the problem is that such nation-building requires security to be effective. Kind of a chicken-egg situation. Military defeat of Gaza is a necessary precursor to rebuilding it, regardless of who sponsors the rebuilding.

    God Bless,


  • Are you still defending the state terrorism of Israel?!!
    Israel kills Palestinians in their homes, in the fields and in mosques. It kills whole families as well as children with their mothers. Arab countries can – if they want – withdraw the Arab Peace Initiative. But they lost the will; therefore, the Israeli war machine keeps on killing Palestinians.
    The Israeli government, gathering the remaining Nazis around the world, is trying to squeeze the last useful drop from the Bush Administration before it departs. Once again, if Arab countries want, they can pressure the US Administration in many available ways. However, they do not. The reason is that they have lost that same will.
    The Palestinians are responsible, before Arabs, for this tragic situation in Gaza Strip. The division weakened them further; the policy of Hamas killed more than 500 Palestinians in nine ominous days.
    Yet I started with our responsibility, so people would not say I am denying it. In the ongoing crime, Israel appears as a Nazi, military, expansionist nation that has no right to exist in the Middle East.
    Tzipi Livni and Ehud Barak are terrorists. She is a terrorist born to two terrorist members of the Argon gang, which imported terrorism to Palestine and the Middle East. She worked in the Mossad to complete her family’s terrorism heritage. Now she is saying that all Israel wants is for Hamas to stop firing rockets. This is also the excuse of Barak, who practiced terrorism as a soldier and is still practicing it as a minister. Both of them say that war on Gaza has nothing to do with next month’s elections. This means that it definitely has something to do with it.
    Then you have the biggest liar in Israel or any other place: “President” Shimon Peres; I heard him say that Israel had the most powerful weapon in the world…Justice.
    Israel is a Nazi state that has no right to exist. The Christian West sought to establish it as a means to repent of its crime at our expense. There was never a Smaller or Greater Israel. The history of the Torah is fiction and not history. The same goes for Peres justice.
    George Bush, who promised a Palestinian State by the end of 2008 and lied or failed, is a full accessory in Israel’s murder. His administration killed a million Muslims in eight years; therefore, it is not hard for him to support the killing of 500 – or even 1000 – Palestinians. He accuses Hamas of terrorism. Yet, with his help, Israel is the terrorist nation. He also said that Hamas did not want the interest of Palestinians. Who wants it then? He or his VP Dick Cheney?
    On a rare occasion, I heard Cheney say the truth. He proclaimed that Israel did not ask for permission from the US Administration to attack Gaza. Why would it ask for permission when the whole administration is under its control and shares its war on Arabs and Muslims? But Cheney, leader of the war gang, cannot stay honest for long: he went on to say that Israel, a UN member state, was attacked by a terrorist organization. The opposite is true. Israel is a terrorist nation that has no right to join any international organization, while Hamas is a national liberation movement. What is also true is that Cheney is a wanted war criminal.
    I would like to add Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy. They both support a cease-fire, but the British PM eventually supports the US administration. As to the French President, he says one thing and does another. On the eve of the attack on Gaza, Israel was offered EU membership, one which is better than that of the original six countries that started the EEC in Rome. Israel was given all privileges without any financial or any other responsibility towards the EU. Even though the Czech Republic was deliberately held responsible, France was the country that spearheaded the campaign. Sarkozy hands it the EU Presidency then comes to us for mediation.
    After this tour of Israeli terrorism, with US-EU connivance, I go back to the Palestinian and Arab responsibility. We are so weak that we cannot win a military confrontation, not even a media confrontation. Israel has been killing, occupying and destroying for four decades, yet it managed to focus on Hamas rockets, blacking out the Nazi occupation, Hamas’ raison d’être. What does Israel expect after a long occupation? To be welcomed by Palestinians with roses and wedding rice?
    Many Israelis, including Livni, evoke the Transfer (Palestinian displacement). In return, we demand a transfer that would send the Israelis back to the countries they came from. Only original Arab Jews, who were in the lands before the establishment of Israel, would remain.
    What I am trying to say is that extremism breeds extremism. If we see a Palestinian extremism and refusal, it is because the other party’s extremism has undermined the moderates among Palestinians, Arabs and others. It made a peace seeker like me call for the withdrawal of the Arab initiative.

Another Day, Another Kmiec 180

Wednesday, January 7, AD 2009

Apparently Doug Kmiec’s change of heart last year was not limited to topics pro-life. As noted at the Volokh Conspiracy, he also reversed his position on the recent Heller decision, which overturned the DC handgun ban, in a span of about five months.

In February, Prof. Kmiec joined an amicus brief to the Court which argued “the [Second] Amendment secures to individuals a personal right to keep and bear arms and that the decision below correctly interpreted and applied the Amendment in this case.” When the Court affirmed the lower court decision overturning the ban as the amicus brief he joined suggested, Kmiec took to the pages of Slate to criticize the decision, arguing that the Heller majority misconstrued the Second Amendment, and their ruling had no basis in “Constitutional text, history, and precedent”. Here is Kmiec’s explanation for the switch as provided to the popular Volokh Conspiracy legal blog:

4 Responses to Another Day, Another Kmiec 180


Wednesday, January 7, AD 2009


A bit more to the Richardson removal from consideration as Commerce Secretary than I first thought.  Apparently the Obama campaign got $30,000.00 from David Rubin, the man at the center of the Richardson pay for play investigation.  This would explain why, combined with the Blagojevich indictment, that Richardson was thrown under the bus so quickly.  Since Obama raised over 600 million in the Presidential campaign, one can imagine all the seedy characters who tossed substantial funds into the pot, no doubt solely because they believed in “hope and change”.  Bet that Team Obama is matching with a microscope their fund raising records against those of each nominee now.

One Response to Hmmm

  • Or not. Richardson might have been among the most blatant possible offenders. Getting more concerned about other appointments. Like Leon Panetta at CIA. Might be as qualified for the job as Mrs. Schlossberg for the U.S. Senate. Which is to say not really. Showing the relative shallowness and naive perspective of Team Obama beginning with the top Hope And Change Guy. At first easy to rely on recycled Clintonoids. Or keeping Robert Gates at Defense. Now onto the jobs that require grownups. Or people who aren’t career political hacks.

Under the Bus-A Continuing Series

Tuesday, January 6, AD 2009


This is the initial post in what I expect to be a long running series here at American Catholic:  members of the Obama administration who resign in disgrace.  First up:  Bill Richardson, Governor of New Mexico, nominee for Commerce Secretary, who announced on Sunday that he was withdrawing his name from nomination.

Why was he doing this?  Because he is enmeshed in a pay to play scandal.  Did this suddenly blow up?  Naah, this scandal has been brewing since 2004.  Why was he nominated?  Simple incompetence on the part of Team Obama, or did they not think it would matter until the Blagojevich indictment in Illinois?  Probably mostly the latter.  Expect more of this.  More than a few of Obama’s nominees, most notably Senator Clinton, have plenty of skeletons hanging in their closets.

5 Responses to Under the Bus-A Continuing Series

  • Change? No. Business as usual? Yes.

  • Under The Bus indeed. Joining Rev. Wright, Fr. Pfleger, other undesirables. I sense the fine hand of our Secretary of State Designate in this affair. Icing somebody who threw her under the bus early in favor of the now President Elect. Speaks not only to the unwillingness of Obama’s aides to examine these dealings- just like the SEC to Madoff- but also the MSM’s refusal to report anything icky or nasty about a prominent Dem. Until it’s too late. Until John Edwards’ honey sings to the National Enquirer. Until Princess Caroline clutters interviews with ‘you knows’ and puffery. Of course we await the fun and frolic- a few hours from this writing- of the appointed successor to the Apostle of Hope and Change- another man of color- denied his Senate seat by Dingy Harry Reid. Would not have had this much fun if Johnny Mac squeaked out a win. Let the show roll on.

  • You have placed your finger on a weakness of the Democrats now that they are in power Gerard. Negative press coverage is painful for the party on the receiving end, but it can expose weaknesses and problem areas to be addressed. The slavish coverage that Obama in particular, and the Democrat party in general, receives from most of the media does not give them an early warning system for something that could long term be a major problem for them. If the puff coverage wanes it probably would be good news for the Democrats, but I expect the media to be carrying water for Obama unless and until some disaster of Biblical proportions ensues.

  • I heard Richardson was only nominated with the expectation he’d turn it down, thus making it look like they were reaching out to him and Hispanics, without having to have him in the Administration.

  • it’s interesting how Blagojevich seems so unaffected by all the chaos swirling around him; it’s as if he feels right at home…

Obama taps pro-life Catholic for DNC Chair? — Guess again.

Tuesday, January 6, AD 2009

“A Pro-Life DNC Chair!”, crows an apparently elated Michael Sean Winters in America, at the news that President-elect Obama has tapped the Virginian governor for DNC chair:

I never thought I would live to see the day. If anyone had any doubts about Barack Obama’s willingness to listen to pro-life Democrats, his selection of Virginia Governor Tim Kaine to head the Democratic National Committee should settle those doubts. Obama means business.

Perhaps, perhaps not.

2 Responses to Obama taps pro-life Catholic for DNC Chair? — Guess again.

  • What Kaine said can be seen here. Indeed, in his own words, he is not in favor of overturning Roe, and should not be counted as a pro-life Catholic.

  • Here is a politician who straddles the fence like the rest. What he supports has not stopped nor will it stop the killingof the unborn til Roe vs, Wade is gone. Its like claiming to be a little being a “little bit” pregnant.

Predictions for 2009

Monday, January 5, AD 2009

One of the ways pundits often get their kicks this time of year is by writing up lists of predictions for what will occur during the coming year. Seeing no reason why our contributors here shouldn’t have the chance to get in on the fun as well, I’ve invited everyone to add their own section of predictions in this post. Others should feel free to discuss or make their own predictions in the comments.

DarwinCatholic (Brendan)
1. The recession will continue through much of 2009, with unemployment reaching a high in the 2nd or 3rd quarter — possibly around 10%. Most of that number will be made up of workers in the construction and manufacturing sectors, and also workers with less than five years full time work experience.

2. Attempts by Republicans to label this the Obama Recession will be frustrated by President Obama mainly using traditionally Republican remedies from the last ten years including: tax cuts, stimulus payouts, tax credits, and free trade. (Those liberal pundits not disgusted with this will explain they’ve always been in favor of these when they’re done responsibly.)

3. Governor Blagojevich will resign or be removed from office.

4. The federal budget deficit will be larger than in 2008.

5. Israel’s offensive against Hamas will peter out and be declared a qualified success — but no one will be really pleased with the result.

6. Gas will not hit $2.50/gal (currently $1.40/gal in central Texas) during 2009.

7. FOCA will not pass, but the Obama administration will do as much as possible without hitting that level of visibility to return favors to the pro-abortion movement.

8. Pope Benedict XVI, turning 82 in April, will continue to seem in better health than when he became pope four years before.

9. The much discussed social encyclical will finally be issued — and all sides of the Catholic political spectrum will within several days claim that it supports the positions they already held.

10. Russia will continue to put political pressure on the former Soviet republics, but will not launch an attack on the scale of the Georgia invasion in 2009.

11. GM and Chrysler will receive enough “emergency” assistance from the Federal Goverment to keep going, but they will not succeed in turning themselves around and will lose market share to foreign car makers in 2009.

12. Principled progressives will be disappointed to find that in regards to foreign policy, the real divide in American politics is between the party in power and the party out of power, not the Republicans and Democrats.

Donald R. McClarey

1.  Bailout mania will continue, with the federal government adding 1.5-2 trillion dollars to the national debt in 2009.

2.  Two cabinet members in the new administration will resign in 2009.  (Make that one cabinet member.  I was counting Bill Richardson in my total and he withdrew as Commerce Secretary today because of an ongoing corruption investigation against him.)

3.  After he is forced out through impeachment and conviction, Blagojevich will spill his guts to Fitzgerald in a desperate attempt to forestall a criminal indictment of his wife and to gain sentencing leniency for himself.

4.  As a result of Blagojevich singing, Fitzgerald will open a series of new investigations on numerous Illinois politicians.

5.  Inflation will begin to take off by the end of 2009.

6.  Israel will attack the nuclear installations of Iran in 2009, causing a spike in oil prices and a wave of terrorist attacks around the globe.

7.  Card check, the number one political goal of Union bosses, will not receive a vote in Congress in 2009.

8.   Obama’s popularity rating will be around 40% by the end of 2009.

9.   A moratorium on residential mortgage foreclosures will be implemented by the Federal government in 2009 for 90-180 days, with the main result being an increasing reluctance of most financial institutions to write new residential mortgage loans except for borrowers with good incomes and pristine credit histories.

10.  The Clintons will become a rallying point for Democrats disenchanted with the new administration in 2009.

11.  There will be a major terrorist strike in the continental US.

12.  McClarey will be wrong on some of his predictions.

Tito Edwards

1)  Pope Benedict will appoint a strong orthodox cleric to Westminster such as Abbot Hugh Gilbert of Scotland or Englishman Fr. Tim Finigan. My personal favorite, besides the two aforementioned, is George Cardinal Pell of Australia who will be appointed as a change agent. With nearly 2/3rd’s of bishops and priests reaching retirement age the opportunity to transform the Church of England and Wales from a regressing congregation infested by unfaithful liberals to a vibrant church invigorated with practicing Catholics.

2)  Extremist Hindu groups will continue unabated attacking Christians, raping nuns, and burning down Churches, monasteries, seminaries, schools, and hospitals in eastern India and the mainstream media will deliberately ignore the violence against Christians because it doesn’t fit their perception of Christians being the aggressors.

3)  Fr. John Zuhlsdorf of What Does The Prayer Really Say? Will dominate the Catholic blog awards again by sweeping 90% or more of the categories.

4)  The State of California will go bankrupt unless President Obama bails them out with a $500 billion loan. Meanwhile businesses will continue to flee the Golden State as the legislature levy’s more ‘green’ regulations and other forms of taxes to fund social engineering projects and more bureaucracy.

5)  Secularists in America and Europe will have egg on their face when their ‘model Muslim democracy’, Turkey, continues to repress the Greek Orthodox Christians, refuse to acknowledge their role in the Armenian Genocide, and continue marginalizing the Kurds. The European Union will be hard pressed to reexamine their initial overtures towards inviting Turkey into their group as Turkey begins to resemble more and more a Middle-Eastern failed state.

6)  Three major conversion stories will occur when Bill Maher, Penn Jillette, and Tom Cruise will shock Americans with their jump in the Tiber.

7)  Christians in the United States will face greater pressures to succumb to worldly devices and probably even the beginnings of persecutions to the one true Church.  In the wake of the increased hostility to Christian ideals and values, many conversions, reversions, and the deepening of the faith will explode the further we retreat from our nations Christian heritage and patrimony.

8)  The Boston Celtics will win their second consecutive N.B.A. title with a six game romp of the L.A. Lakers (again).

9)  The Philadelphia Eagles will deliver a Super Bowl victory to the city of brotherly love in 2009.

John Henry

1. Many readers will stop reading the predictions before this point, and skip to the comments.

2. Obama will have the opportunity to appoint at least one, and possibly more, Supreme Court justices. Pro-lifers will not be pleased with the appointments. Doug Kmiec will praise them effusively.

3. The economy will not begin to rebound until after 2009. Unemployment will reach 10%.

4. Obama’s popularity will remain high; the New York Times and the Washington Post will continue conducting hard-hitting investigations of Obama and his appointments (consisting entirely of polite phone calls to designated spokesmen). Many Americans will not be able to correctly identify the name of the Vice President.

5. There will be countless Op-Eds (on the front page and in the opinion section) about Obama’s valiant struggles to rescue America from ‘the Bush recession’.

6. Card check will not pass.

7. FOCA will not pass.

8. Congress and President Obama will decide to force Americans to pay for the production of cars they choose not to buy. These payments will not improve the long-term prospects of the U.S. automobile industry.

9. Long-suffering Washington Redskins fans will continue to suffer. Long-suffering Wizards fans….well, this is getting depressing, let’s get back to the economy.

10. Oil prices will rebound, but not approach the highs of the summer of 2008.

11. Pope Benedict XVI will finally release the new encyclical. What Brendan said.

12. The Catholic Church will continue proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. God will continue to bless His Church. Grace will be freely available in the Sacraments.

Ryan Harkins

Archaeology: A new artifact will be found in Jerusalem which will ‘challenge the whole Christian world and undermine current paradigms’. This artifact, actually found in the hands of a man who bought it from a second-hand antique store, which in turn had carefully kept the artifact on the shelf for the past 86 years, will not show that Jesus had brothers, or that there was a previous conception of a Messiah who will die and rise again, but will make the startling revelation that Jesus was a Jew.

Biology: Using adult stem cells, scientists will discover startling new cures for cancer in lab rats. However, this research is undermined by the discovery that embryonic stem cells can cause cancer in lab rats, which in turn is undermined by a more efficient method of abortion.

Chemistry: A seminal paper will be published detailing a cost-effective means of converting coal into gasoline, diesel, and kerosene. Shortly after, the publication is pulled from the journal and Secret Service agents appear at the home of the author.

Economics: Despite the naysaying of pundits who have their own plans to salvage the economy, the economy shows a distinct recovery by October. Unemployment remains at 6.5%, though, and 3% of every paycheck goes into paying unemployment benefits. CEOs contemplate firing themselves to collect unemployment.

Journalism: MSNBC restaffs with an even more liberal crew. FOX responds with an even more conservative crew. Ann Coulter writes another book that everyone denounces as “goes too far”. The New York Times retracts three articles by March due to faulty journalism.

Law: A new legal precedent is discovered permitting the wiretapping of American citizens, if there is reasonable suspicion of hate speech involved. Laws are passed in 12 states making it illegal to carry any material which refers to homosexuality as an abomination. A new version of the Bible, called the Revised Newsom’s Version, is distributed.

Liberal Arts: Majors have an even more difficult time finding employment.

Mathematics: A new prime number, exactly 22 times larger than the previously known largest prime, is discovered. The Riemann Hypothesis remains unsolved, but an addition 32 people learn what the Riemann Hypothesis is.

Philosophy: Philosophers realize that, absent any unproved foundational point of reasoning, nothing whatsoever can be known. However, out of pride, they keep silent on this revelation, and the public is left in the dark for another 2000 years.

Physics: Particle acceleration at the Large Hadron Collider at the CERN facility produces black holes that, sadly, devour the oft-searched for Higgs Boson before it can be observed. The rest of the earth is unaffected.

Religion: A new prophecy predicts the end of the world late in 2009. This is later revised to 2090, citing dyslexia, and further to 2900 due to poor math. A new sect of Christianity, called the Neopaulist Reductionists, becomes the fastest growing Church on the planet at 1200%. The Catholic Church makes a measly showing at 1.72%.

Sociology: New studies show that extramarital affairs strengthen marriages. Divorce rates jump to 65%.

Theology: The Catholic Church reiterates all its doctrinal teachings of the past 2000 years. The world reacts as though it is the first time it has heard any of this. Terrorists threaten the Pope. The Catholic Church in the United States is accused, alternately, of being the bearer of hate-speech and the promulgator of weeny liberalism.

Zoology: 15 species of insects, found only Texas, Colorado, and Wyoming, go extinct. At first global warming is blamed, but eventually the true story comes out that this was a secret job conducted by Dick Cheney, with the express permission of George W. Bush. 23 new species of insects are discovered in Brazil.

11 Responses to Predictions for 2009

  • So if no one comments on John Henry’s predictions, does it validate the first one?

    Can anyone predict whether the Pope will publish the second installment of Jesus of Nazareth? It’s currently the June selection for my Church’s book club.

  • “1. Many readers will stop reading the predictions before this point, and skip to the comments.”

    Got through most of Donald’s predictions before skipping ahead to the comments. Only by accident caught sight of John Henry’s prediction and had a good laugh.

  • Zoology: 15 species of insects, found only Texas, Colorado, and Wyoming, go extinct. At first global warming is blamed, but eventually the true story comes out that this was a secret job conducted by Dick Cheney, with the express permission of George W. Bush. 23 new species of insects are discovered in the Brazil.

    What’s that? Cheney is supporting extraordinary rendition of insect species to Brazil? Oh the humanity!

    Just had to show that I’d read all the way down…

  • Heh. Thanks Darwin. I don’t know if anyone else will get a chuckle out of my predictions (they were kinda-sorta tongue-in-cheek, but oh so close to the way the world works…), but I enjoyed making them. I don’t think a single one of mine will come true, though.

    John Henry, though, made the most important prediction of all, though, and most important because we know for certain it will happen:

    12. The Catholic Church will continue proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. God will continue to bless His Church. Grace will be freely available in the Sacraments.

    Thank you, John. In our oh-so-clever bitterness, let us never forget, and never forget to be humbled by, this wonderful gift God has given us, through Jesus Christ His Son, Our Lord.

  • 1. Deadline for first wave of MSM stories in shock and sadness that the Apostle of Hope And Change is not who he promised: March 31.

    2. Deadline that Gov. Blagojevich is forced from his job, whether or not federal charges warrant that activity: February 15.

    3. First announcement that an NBA or NHL team is unable to make payroll due to financial problems by its corporate supporters: March 15.

    4. Winner of the BCS Bowl- Florida by 2 TDs. Tim Tebow chosen to save the Detroit Lions. Our prayers go with him.

    5. New York Yankees sell out 130 to 150 games, home or away. Bronx Boppers provide hot wire to slumping sales in burgs like Kansas City or Arlington, TX. A legitimate bad guy team makes the turnstiles spin, as in wrassling. Oh- CC Sabathia will win no more than 12 games, will cave under the pressure particular to this team in this town.

    6. Cardinal Mahony bows out at Archbishop of L.A. Our man Archbishop Chaput finally gets one of the largest sees in the nation, continues his role as the Go-To Cleric. With red hat to follow.

    7. Significant economic upturn by Memorial Day. In spite of oil prices back in triple digits due to one or more Middle East conflicts.

    8. Texas will win 2010 BCS Bowl over USC. Colt McCoy snags Heisman before triumphant departure for the pros.

    9. Jay Leno fails miserably as NBC’s prime time hope through nightly 10 P.M. program.

    10. 2 to 3 newspapers in major markets will shut down presses by August 31. Could come from large companies in trouble such as Gannett, Tribune Co.- oh, they’re all in trouble.

  • Donald R. McClarey

    4. …numerous Illinois politicians.

    From your list to God’s ears. Please let Daley be caught up in this.

  • Gerard,

    I like number six (6).

  • Agree. And I hope that in 2009 all the US bishops take a page from Chaput’s book.

  • The Pittsburgh Steelers will win their 6th Super Bowl.

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Epiphany, a Feast for the Gentiles

Sunday, January 4, AD 2009

C + M + B

For those of us who are gentile Christians, the feast of the Epiphany holds a special meaning, as it recalls that Christ was done homage as a king by Magi from the East at the time of his birth. Though Matthew’s gospel provides few details, the Magi are traditionally recalled as three, with the names Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar.

The traditional date for Epiphany is January 6th, but since our bishops have seen fit to put the feast on the nearest Sunday, I hope that no one will take it amiss if I wish everyone a happy Epiphany today.

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